1963-09-22 - Harvest's End
Summary: Time for the Harvest's End blot in Asgard, and the hunters three set forth to get a fabled, ferocious snow cow….
Related: The Crown Prince's Back...
Theme Song: None
thor hrimhari rogue 

A new day is born in the golden city on Asgard, and the palace is filled with activity even though the sun hasn't yet truly graced the sky. The halls are filled with laughter, which for some may signal a very, very long day indeed.

From his chambers bounds the Crown Prince in full vigor, his hands grasping armor and weapons even while Mjolnir is set quietly upon his hip. Loud greetings reverberate down the hall; one more booming voice, a recognizable basso, to add to the choir.

In his enthusiasm, there is a touch of etiquette that is passed up in preference for excitement, and the door to the chambers of the princess and her maid are first "knocked" upon before he opens the door, searching at least for life within. "A hunt, ladies! Horses are prepared for you. Bring your warmest clothing and my men shall have cloaks for you when they are required."

Thor doesn't leave much time to respond, however, before the chamber door is closed once again and he's on to the stables. It's not a quiet, unassuming hunt- warriors of all ages are in on it. It's just the groups, who will ride with whom, that requires a little organization.

Outside, then, Thor has pieces of his armor on and he's getting his particular horse ready for himself. Swords are in place upon saddles, as well as throwing weapons that dangle off cords. He's most definitely in good spirits, even if there's a touch of wistfulness about him. He's missing his favorite people this season.


The Prince of Wolves is already outside.

In point of fact, he has been out all night, having only just returned a short while ago. Those few Aesir related to him (of whom Thor is one) would have heard Hrimhari's thoughts cast out among the Realm, calling wolves to himself.

As this present moment, there is no sign of any wolf — save Hrimhari himself. Leaving the horses after a diverting conversation with them about the habits of riders and grooms, the wolfman makes his way over toward Thor — a bemused expression upon his lupine face.

"Your Highness," says he to his uncle, bowing solemnly. "This one is pleased to accompany thee. The horses claim to be ready. The grooms… disagree. They beg a few more minutes."

His tail twitches in wry humour.


The thrill of activity leaves a frisson in the air, a kinetic energy impossible to resist. For one little given to sleeping restfully when all Asgard lies at her boots, the excuse to depart from an endless cycle of plumbing the realm's histories and laws, markets and hidden corners is a welcome thing. Scarlett may be the strangest of ladies-in-waiting, waiting very little upon her princess, and making guarded appearances nigh on everywhere the people of the realm meet and talk. She listens, and she learns. And oh, what she learns…

In record time, she bounds out into the main room of the suite, altogether prepared. Her clothing hasn't altered much during her visit, that lovely forest and gold confection of leather and mail immaculately serviceable in court or slaying the unexpected monster. The only difference is the diaphanous sash, that skirt like layer surrendered for a hooded cloak. Any chance of cold affecting her is minimal, but best not let on to that.

"A celebration for the season," she murmurs, merry enough as she stretches her arms overhead and creaks, or rather, those very long sleeves do. "I look forward to seeing the wilds better than I have, especially the distant views are lovely. To adventure!"

Unsurprisingly, a chance to move at a pace more than sedate has brought out the sparkling energy and enthusiasm entirely unlike the demure academic they've all seen. "I hope to do my liege some honour this day." Pray she doesn't fall off the horse. Though if she does, to hell with it, flying is allowed.


"Ho, the be-furred prince arrives!" is called as a greeting with a decided lilt in his tones. No question that it carries the distance, through the sounds of preparation. Saddles are tightened, cinches pulled, reins. A single brow quirks upwards and that grin turns lopsided, "You've been holding out on me then if you can even know the minds of horses. Tell me that you understand women and the Nine Realms are at your feet. Or cats. Sometimes I find they are one in the same when it comes to their humors."

Oops.. did he say that too loudly? There is raucous laughter; this seems to be a rather masculine endeavor. The fact that Prince opened it to the women of at least his circle bespeaks something perhaps as to his character? Or his belief that the women with whom he is intimately involved would find pleasure in the hunt.

Thor does share a look with Hrim as Rogue appears before he looks back and over his horse to the approaching Midgardian. "Lady Scarlett. I have horses readied for you and your Princess. Has she decided to stay abed this day, or perhaps will be taking the views of preparations for this week's end?" And does she, do they know what is in store for the Palace for the next couple of days?

"We ride for the wild snow cow."

All this… for a cow?



The wolf-prince smiles.

"Perhaps 'twas only Hrimhari that did the speaking, Highness," he replies with another wry gleam in his golden eyes. "Horses are splendid listeners." At the mention of understanding women, Hrimhari quickly tucks in his chin and his ears twitch in surprise.

"Highness, this one does not believe even the Allfather understands women. If thou seekest guidance in this matter… Hrimhari would advise learn the tongues of animals. Thou wouldst have an easier time of it."

A pause.

"Hrimhari also recommends one to avoid cats; 'tis said those who learn the tongues of cats… fall to madness soon afterward. So 'tis said among wolves." Turning as to look at Scarlett, the Wolf-Prince bows floridly.

"Milady Bloodcrown," he greets. "Ever thou dost put the rose to shame when thou walkest in its presence." Hrimhari loses some of the formality in his voice and adds: "You mean to join us on the hunt, then?"


Trust in her presence to generate a few ripples, though relatively few at best. Dipping in a curtsey, Scarlett clearly bears no arms or extra armaments save a pair of vambraces woven out of gilded leaves or feathers. These flash when she stands, finishing her formal greeting. "My lady intends to join in the festivities at her earliest convenience, and bids me send her apologies for missing this. She will make her appearance in due course, as the resplendent moon rises o'er the horizon in her own time."

English, naturally, comes to her lips with all the lyrical rhythms best suited for song. The sly crook of her smile gives no reason whatsoever why Crystal stays abed, though possibly leaves every ribald possibility under the sun open for Thor's entourage. Let them chew on that. Or mayhap it suggests Crystal was out hours ago, and this decoy allows her a hint of freedom. "I do intend to ride, my lord, so long as my friend deigns to bear me. Though place no wagers upon my ability to contend with any prey."

This said to a man who watched her hiding behind trees from a jotun. He may know better. Thor, well…

Either way, the young woman approaches one of the horses with a modicum of caution in her too bright green eyes. Presumably someone will cast the fragile, delicate maiden up on the back of the quietest mare they have, or worse, someone thinking of testing a Midgardner's fortitude and frailty have given her the damned foal of Hrimfaxi, the devil horse eager to flee for the dark of the sky.


"I have a feeling that in my attempt to understand the minds of cats," Thor begins with a laugh, "I will find myself speaking with the dogs in their abodes more often than not." Maybe he's remembering it wrong from a Midgardian saying, 'In the dog house?'

With a final check of the saddle, Thor pulls himself up and onto the back of a black charger, and the horse takes a couple of steps; he's ready to go. Already, the prince has to apply the reins to keep from moving overmuch. "Then come. Lend me your aid of a silver tongue to speak with them so they listen well."

A groom walks a rather large, young gelding that is only now beginning to grow his winter fur in. So.. in that half-way to shaggy.. but he is solidly built and looks to have a kind eye. Thor bows in acknowledgment of Rogue's greeting and explanation of what transpires beyond with the lady Princess. "It is enough that we have your company. You wished to know of some of our customs, and it is on the hunt where you'll hear of more stories and perhaps share in the creation of more. In a thousand years, those of your Realm may tell the stories of your hunt around their fires and in their feast halls." How's that for immortality? If one can't actually live forever, there is always the stories and poems! "I would wish Princess Crystalia's presence here, but the more she learns about the palace, the more ease she may feel when… if the time comes that she joins it all." Thor is quick to add, "Not that she will be required to do so.."


The Wolf-Prince smiles.

"Dogs are not so difficult to talk to… when one overcomes their need for one's approval. This one knows." And all too well; Hrimhari could not risk the lives of his canine friends in a perilous journey back to Asgard… thus he left Dodger and Mr. Pickles behind, much to their sorrow.

Nodding his head to both Thor and Scarlett, the Wolf-Prince walks ahead of the horses several paces, morphing into a true wolf-form with each step. When the transformation is complete, he lifts his head and howls.


Then a single howl in the distance can be heard. He looks back at his uncle and bows his head solemnly. The wolves are ready — eager, too, now that their own liege is back. "If Her Highness cannot join the Hunt," says he, referring to Crystalia. "Then perhaps this one may help thee chose a fitting trophy. The heart of a great kill is customary among my people…"


"Know ye not that cats speak the divine secrets of creation only to women? Your lady mother grasps their ilk, and surely Lord Fandral's sister." No word if Amora knows; something more vain than a cat may never stoop to hear felines. Though this notion readily brings a smile to Scarlett's face. She murmurs a word of thanks to the horse, and any implicit rigidity in her spine must surely be accounted for a city girl put upon a horse, and one at Asgard at that.

She balances well, though, and curls her fingers around the reins. Rather than looping them around her wrist, she distributes a length of leather easily enough, testing her seat with a penchant for resting lightly. Her lovely mount can largely choose his own path, following the others, given encouraging words murmured into his ear. The rapport and kindness with animals will demonstrate itself now and then. "A trophy worthy of song will require me to be exceptionally observant, so the skalds can bring to life the events. We shall have to keep, my handsome friend and I." A grin follows the unearthly chorus of howls, and she gives both Thor and Hrimhari a deep nod.

Hunt on.


Thor's horse jigs in place with something of a sideways dance, and the Prince lifts the reins to redirect attention. A wide, lopsided smile graces his face and he inclines his head, adding with a laugh, "A fine idea, nephew. We shall bring her the heart of the largest." Apparently that's a 'thing' on Asgard too? His voice lowers for Scarlett, hidden from Hrim, hopefully, as the junior prince howls, his tones filled with amusement, "Which she shall appreciate after several tankards of mead."

Thor's voice rises once again at the sound of the response in the distance, and he looks first to Scarlett and then in front to Hrim before he kicks his horse forward. It's all the urging that is required as the charger begins a fast walk through the paths, as directed by Thor, before it begins its trot as the more open roads lie before it.

"Cats, my Lady Scarlett, are indeed the realm of the ladies. That is why I set the two together. One is just as curious as the other and as mysterious in their thoughts. Have you ever seen the great chariot pulled by the beasts?"


Just one of Hrimhari's ears twitch, but other than that he does not react to his uncle's whispered words. Rather, he pads over toward the horses — going on all fours, naturally — and then breaks into an easy lope to keep up.

This is living.

By the time the three hunters have cleared the city and reached open countryside, Hrimhari is running — far from 'full tilt', but he runs with the speed of one tasting freedom and joy. Every so often other wolves join him. They do not always stay there, running side by side with the party, but they do remain close.

Scarcely making a sound.

Hrimhari angles his trajectory toward the horses and remarks: "A scent is found. Our quarry is not far. The wolves wish to see how 'Two-Legs Sitting on Four-Legs' hunt. These ones… do not believe Hrimhari — that you hunt this way."

Most of the wolves who have come, have never before run alongside 'Two-Legs' before. This is very much a first for them.


The gelding and the redhead reach their understanding well enough. He keeps pace, she enjoys the ride and demands little. Excitement chasing through the veins will convey them both forward at a healthy clip, and the bright stream of her hair flows in a fiery banner on a green bed. Her white-trimmed verdant cloak snaps and flashes at any pace above a trot; the Midgardner has a uniform, now, with which to hunt and fight.

"A chariot of cats, my lord? I have," she answers, mischief colouring the slanting arc of her lips. "Albeit a very small one, and the cats were not entirely quarrelsome, being made of ceramic pottery. Nothing so fine as the war chariots said to be here. Will you take the princess out for a drive?"

Her eyes spark in emerald mirth, and she gives as much of her attention to the terrain around them as the princes. A lupine challenge, of course, must be met.

"The opinions of your dear friends are somewhat mistaken. I think we're all bound to catch dinner very well this way." Hand around the reins tightening, she adds, "Provided these cows cannot fly."


The quick pace and step through the main city of Asgard brings them to the edge of the golden city soon enough. Once free of 'civilization', there stretches forth a land very much like Iceland had been; fields of fruit trees for miles yet, but beyond that, walls and then beyond. Mountains appear off in the distance, and the green, green valleys lay as a path beckoning. This will be a day's adventure, to be certain.

The moment they are free is the moment Thor looks to his charge, and brows rise in prelude to the question, "Shall we?" It may be a silent acquiescence, but the Prince brings his hand forward in cue to the horse that he may now have more room to stretch out, and a comfortable canter begins.. which is much, much easier than the bouncing in town. Easy strides, and the horses are sure.

"While their noses may be keen, and teeth sharp, we have our own way of discovering prey and bringing it down. Each to his own, nephew."

To hear of a scent, however, brings Thor to pull back on the reins to follow potential marks in the ground. It shouldn't be hard to see the great bovine tracks. "Have a care, Hrim.. they are many but they're also in foul temper." Mating season before the winter months. "They may see you as competition for their lovely ladies."


To begin with, the silver-grey wolf does not respond to his uncle's comment about cows and competition for their ladies. It is Scarlett's suggestion that these creatures could maybe FLY that has him distracted.

Distracted enough to almost run into a fruit tree.

"This one wonders if milady really does have… flying cows upon Midgard?" he asks as his pace quickens easily. "There is no mention in the sacred tales of your Realm, and the wolves of Midgard do not speak them…"

He pauses a little in his train of thought, and then murmurs aloud: "But the Two-Legs of Midgard do speak of flying PIGS… Yours is a curious place, milady. This one wonders if many if your kind have run into too many trees…"

He frowns a moment later.

"Strange," he tells Thor. "More wolves have come; some of these unknown to Hrimhari. Introductions must be made, albeit not at this moment." He does take seriously the danger in hunting beasts such as these — especially with unfamiliar wolves in tow. For now, the new additions keep away from the horses (and with good reason, their scents being more foreign).


The fresh, piercing air fills her lungs and teases her pale skin. Scarlett, much in her element, straightens a little in the saddle to behold all Asgard. Handsome orderly streets transformed to lush fields of a long plain hidden between the green clothed mountains that demarcate the wilderness from civilised spaces. How can she not respond to the enlivening pulse of life around her, or the warming horses, the thrilled hunters, the bounding wolves?

She is only human, and in some ways not. A lyrical chord of laughter punctures the air, over jangling metal and heavy leather, weaponry and tack.

"Come now, he is not wearing a horned helmet. How will they visualize him as a threat for the affections of their cows?" Bulls, cows, and terrible jokes beg to be spoken in the sense of camaraderie between their merry band off hunting a cow. "We do have a variety of oddities, including a number of gliding rodents, but nothing quite such as that." Take that Columbia!

References to a strange smell, a strange wolf, might be cause for concern. Not especially so with this young woman, though she tips her head, whilst glancing over her surroundings anew. "Do we anticipate trouble or ride these fine horses straight for the far horizon yonder?"


Thor laughs and shakes his head, "I have heard of these pigs that fly but I have never yet seen one. They must be new because they had not been around when last I spent time on Midgard." 800 AD.

It's the brief and subtle shift in Hrim, however, that brings Thor's attention around. The horses have slowed to a walk as tracks are followed, and the prince is pulling a throwing axe from its sheathe. Thor isn't about to mock his brother without his presence, and certainly not to a Midgardian, even if she insists she loves him. Instead, there is a broad grin in return, and his rejoinder, "The cows could be a giant in disguise, my Lady. There are tales of such, are there not? Is there not a saying, 'Wolf in sheep clothing'?"

"Tell me if there is a change in our quarry, nephew," is murmured. There's nothing else overt that might give any indication of a change of target, but he's always prepared. "We ride for the cows still."

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