1963-12-13 - Folly. Curiosity. Ambition.
Summary: Sinjin has been kidnapped and taken to Jotunheim, to be presented before Sutur. (Louis=scenerunner, Tarqa/Sutur)
Related: Death of Loki
Theme Song: None
sinjin louis 

The first thing that would reach the senses as consciousness creeps its way back ever so slowly would be the cold. The chill of the air is such that it would make Minnesota winters seem weak in comparison. But then there's the smell, the peaty earthy smell of the ground surrounding one. Moss, moisture, decomposing plant matter which has been in place for ages and ages. None of it is pleasant, though assuredly it would be moreso than the sight that is destined to greet the eyes of the man known as Sinjin.

The leering face hovers there in the dark, the wizened features of the elder giant, with the mad blue eyes and the toothless smile. Tarqa the Mad, Tarqa the Dancer Among the Dead, Tarqa Bonedancer is intent upon his prize. Oh it was a lovely thing, snatched in the moment of victory. As for the why… who is to know for now?

"Oh it is cold isn't it? Can you warm yourself I wonder?" The voice is not speaking English, but the mortal can understand him somehow. "Comforting. Comforting. Poor hosts we. Shall I give you fire? Hee hee, what would you do with it. In your mind I burn. Then again everything burns for you doesn't it?"


"Kind of screwed that way." Sinjin is not a cold-weather person. His lips and nails are blue with the chill, his teeth rattle if he doesn't clench his jaw. He's been in the hot, damp jungles for too long to survive this kind of weather. "Can't really warm myself up unless I set myself on fire. Can't really start fire without a spark." Might as well admit to all his weaknesses. The creature might lose interest.

"Don't suppose you'd like to teach me a trick — starting fires." That would actually be useful. And then he could maybe get out of wherever this was, make himself a bird of flame and fly free. "Where am I?"


"Oh home, home. My home. Your home. May-be." Tarqa's skull is almost as big as Sinjin's torso, so when he leans close the leer he gives seems almost like some surreal fleshy jack-o-lantern with brilliant blue eyes. "You are to be a gift. So fine. So fine a gift."

As the giant speaks perhaps Sinjin's eyes adjust enough to the surroundings. It's a cave of some type, underground definitely, a large chamber with a fifteen foot tall door on the far side, a faint hint of light's glow barely visible through the barred window at the top of it.

The deformed and maimed giant reaches to a large pouch at his hip that hangs from the loin cloth he wears. He extends the hand sharply, throwing a mass of bones upon the floor with a clatter of sound, then leans over them to examine and read the way they fall. "Hmm. Hmm. You are at a cusp. So much potential. Take a hand in your life! Take it! Seize it!"

He reaches a hand down into the dirt and scoops up the bones. "You are to be Surtur's, fire for fire for fire. Toy?" He holds up a bone, smiles to himself. "Son? Hahaha. Son. Word the same for some for some."


"Who's Sutur?" Sinjin pushes himself to his feet, forcing his knees not to shake. "And what the hell does he want with a skinny, broken-down journalist?" The bones don't make any meanings for him.

"I'd make a terrible son, you should tell him that." Sinjin makes for the door, mind reaching to see if he can feel any flame before his eyes make contact with the fire. Right now, he'd like to get warm as much as he'd like to get out. "I did my time as a prisoner once. Doing it again isn't on my agenda."


"So many choices." Tarqa's back is to Sinjin now, sitting cross-legged upon the floor of the cell. "Freedom comes from freedom deprived. Free now are you." He lifts his arms up towards the ceiling, "What worries have you?" A chuff comes from him, "What fear?"

He looks over his shoulder, a dribble of spittle creeping down the curve of his chin. "No control, no duty! Exist. Or not exist." Slooowly he leans forwards and grabs a boulder the size of medicine ball and draaags it to the center of the cave. "Here, heat." He touches the boulder and lightly presses his hand upon it with his one massive palm, causing the granite stone to begin to faintly glow, waves of heat coming off of it. "Stone is the brother of fire. So strong you'd be."

Turning around he waves Sinjin towards the heat source, the warmth coming off the boulder a rather palpable thing. "Surtur will decide your fate. Enjoy your time. Enjoy words with Tarqa."


"Truly? I fear irrelevance. Tell me about Tarqa." Sinjin is getting a feel for the situation, disorientation dissolving in the face of the dangers ahead of him. He thinks back to Anduvin's words, the Asgardian's archaic challenges and references. He looks for words — words are his best defence — to frame things in Tarqa's context. "My work is to tell the tales of masters and heroes of Midgard, to expose the evil and raise up the brave. I would know who took me from my task."

The heat, and curiosity, bring him back to the stone. Proximity is a relief. Sinjin lets his fire senses explore the stone while he listens to Tarqa's answer, whatever he gets from the old giant.


"Ah. Ah!" Tarqa is settled cross-legged and if he were to be of normal size he'd almost look harmless, except for the bones woven into the wisps of hair that come off of parts of his body, and the ritual scarification that offer a tale all its own separate from the giant himself. "Skald of flame, sings songs to the Midden. Princely tales, given to princely beings?"

The elder giant leans to the side to look at Sinjin, a crooked eyebrow cocked as if so very curious. "Tarqa," He spreads his hands, "Tarqa has seen the fall, has seen the great laid low. His people. His father. All gone, under the boot of Aesir. Bor's children."

The great elder crinkles his nose, "But death, what is death? Fear it? No. Embrace it." Tarqa shakes his head as he rises roughly, grunting to himself as if he were truly a tired old man. "Tarqa met death. Spoke with it. Friends they are now. This…" He waves his one good hand around, "This is the shadow. Death. Ah. That is truth."

With that said he shuffles over towards the door, "Come. To Surtur. If nothing else, choose to die well."


"That, I can do." Sinjin and death have crossed paths numerous times. He follows Tarqa, turning the giant's words over in his mind. Skald of flame. Yeah, that's him. Keeping the old giant's words somewhere safe in his memory for later, if there is a later, will give him something to work with. He couldn't have made this up if he tried.

"What's Sutur's purpose?" he asks. He keeps an eye out for a chance to make a break for it — not that he's sure he'd take it. This isn't Earth — Midgard — so how the hell would he get back?


The hall opens up before him, as large as a great ball room for people of Sinjin's size, but to the giant it is but a passageway to lead elsewhere. Yet out here it is so very cold, so entirely cold. The wind that cuts through the great walkways carries with it a chill, and the snow that filters in seems heavier than it has any right to be.

Yet Tarqa walks on, and if Sinjin seeks a moment to escape… it could be at any moment. There are no guards present or evident to be sure. There seem to be only doors on some of the cells, and the architecture is decidedly primitive. The windows that they walk past are high up on the wall and they have not even glass in their frame, he could simply leap straight outside…

Outside, that as they walk he can get a glimpse of. Outside where it is naught save a white and blasted wasteland where the sky meets the land and it is so hard to discern a difference. Outside where the same snowstorm has raged for the past three thousand years.

"Surtur. Surrrrtur. Surtur?" Tarqa's voice is distracted for a moment as he rolls the name over his tongue, as if trying to get a feel for it. "He rules of the Muspelheim. Creatures of you, like you. The fire, the flame, the quick." Tarqa's smile creeps over his wrinkled flesh for some reason. Yet he continues to walk on. "Hated of Aesir, Hated of Odin." The old giant grins to himself, "Your land is the cross roads, Midgard is key. Key to all. Freedom for those blind to being truly free." He chortles to himself as he steps towards the only other door they've seen along their stroll, a much larger door that he steps up to and leans his shoulder into it. Sloooowly it begins to creak open, and the great throne room it reveals is larger than any room Sinjin has likely ever seen.

But what might draw the eye all the more inside that throne room are the beings there. There in his tremendous throne is Laufey, slouched to the side and looking bored as he is surrounded by his court. There at the base of the dais is Surtur, for who else could that figure composed entirely of flame be? And at his side are two red-skinned beings with hooked noses and reptilian features, with instead of hair upon their heads there is instead an inferno…

And for one such as Sinjin that flame calls out to him. It is _right_ there, so strong, so powerful, and it sings.


That fire is immediately the center of Sinjin's attention. He can't help himself. His mind reaches out for it, flows through it, feels what it feels, tastes what it tastes. He would, if he could, have that fire burn near him forever. For the moment, he can't feel anything but ecstatic to be here, even though he came against his will.

He wants to draw it out, to wind his fingers in it, to play with it, but his manners reassert themselves. Laufey is imposing and potentially a threat. Sinjin schools his mind as he keeps pace in Tarqa's shadow. All he really wants to do, though, is burn. He envies the demon creatures, the way their flesh doesn't blister in the heat.


They are magnificent are they not? The way Surtur himself seems to flicker and flow and his shape shifts. It could all be but the way that Sinjin perceives him, for what is fire but chaos given manifestation? The cold seems not to touch him, and perhaps in some way out of respect for his host his heat does not burn, does not melt, does not twist at the threads of the ice and snow as they exist here in Jotunheim.

But then Laufey's resonant and deep voice washes over the crowd of Ice Giants… and how many of them are there? So many are in this hall, so many shapes and forms. The Rime giants looking torn and twisted. The Storm Giants tall and magnificent with the hint of lightning to their every move. The Stone. The Ice. Laufey holds court over them all and in some ways their legions seem to exist far out into the wasteland that's visible behind the giant king's throne. "I have upheld my end of the bargain, Flame King. The mortals reel. Asgard is in turmoil. It is your turn."

Surtur, for his part is a creature of pronounced sibilants, not overly so yet the mind keys onto them as he speaks. "It is indeed time. My armies are ready. My forces will seize the vanguard, retire your army this e'en and recover. Midgard shall be laid bare."

The King of the ice giants slowly nods, turning his head slowly towards Tarqa who steps forwards, cavorting pleasantly, dancing a faint jig as he spins around and presents his one good hand open in a wave. "I bring the first of the gifts, my king my king."

And it's then that Surtur turns his head to the side and looks upon Tarqa, and then Sinjin for the first time. What passes for eyes for the being narrow, then shift.

Laufey comments with a wry smile, "Midgard has its bounty. Such a time for it to turn. Young gods. All lost and without their way."

"Very young." Surtur turns his head and then somehow seems to just be right there in front of Sinjin, taking up the entirety of the young man's perception somehow. "Tell me, child of Midgard. Why do you not flee?"


"Folly. Curiosity. Ambition." If Sinjin weren't so aware of his flaws — who decides to do the things he's done without such motivations? — he wouldn't be able to answer. He can't stop himself from trying to understand the nature of the living flame in front of him. It's magnificent. He's envious. His memory of the world he left unwillingly is of something dull and barren and small, a lightless pebble rolling insensible under a sun that barely knows it exists.

"Where would I go, besides?" He gestures around him. He's surrounded by creatures so far beyond his ability and understanding that he'd be completely mad to just make a break for it. Better to stay, to learn, to balance the risks until he finds strength or guile that will let him take advantage of the situation. Or, perhaps, an ally. Stranger things have happened.


It's as if the entire world has shrunk away, it is just Surtur, or what Sinjin perceives Surtur to be right now. There are no surroundings, no room, no physical self. It is just two beings, two intellects, speaking.

"Self-awareness is often so lacking in mortals. Awareness of the future. Of their role in it." Something in his voice is almost gentle, as if he regrets what must be done, regrets the future.

"Our worlds are at odds, and yet it has produced you. I would burn a million of your worlds to produce a creature such as yourself…" There seems to be no subterfuge in the words, no hint of lying for truly… what care would he have to do so?

"Will you see Muspelheim I wonder? Will you walk with my soldiers and see your world burn?" The face seems to float closer, naught save the essence of flame, all flame, all fire. "What is it you want, young god?"


"To become an old god." Sinjin isn't being sarcastic or flippant. That is what he wants. He wants to live, to grow old, to grow beyond old. He wants to extend the reaches of his power, to refine it, to see through his flame, to call it to him without any interference. To be free of reaching for a source, to be the source of his own flame, seems the only thing missing in his life sometimes.

"I owe my world a debt, though. It made me. I have yet to repay it sufficiently." Sinjin doesn't want to damage his world, at least not now, not yet. "I'm not done with it." If Sutur conquers it, Sinjin will only be left with the ashes. He likes feeling responsible for the little corner of it he calls his, he likes having a voice that matters.

"Perhaps my scope is small, but I'm only just beginning." Every fire starts with a spark. Sinjin feels like the spark more than the flame, especially next to this creature.


A low chortle echoes around him and suddenly the room comes rushing back. Some time has passed or the conversation at the least has passed him by as Laufey is no longer there, the representatives of the two realms have split apart and the trio of fire beings are walking away… and Sinjin is apparently forgotten? The frost giants no longer seem to be seeking to hold him in custody. But then there's a moment as one of Surtur's captains turns and focuses its snake-like eyes on the man. A small nod is given and with aught else beyond that slight beckon…

They make their way from Jotunheim. And perhaps the next time Sinjin is aware of the world, he will find himself once again on Midgard amongst the armies of flame.


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