1964-06-15 - Act VIII: Loki Bound
Summary: In which a deal with a Vanir warrior-princess is done.
Related: Loki Bound
Theme Song: None
kai hela 

Niflheim, the Norse realm of the dead, could be summarized by an enterprising real estate agent thus: expansive property with spellbinding views in all directions. Perfect for the privacy lover! No neighbours for miles. Charming garden ornaments sure to add to curb appeal. Low maintenance landscaping a real plus.

The dusty expanse is not exactly flat. Landforms do exist, the crust in upheaval in places to form mesas and cliffs, collapsed in others for shallow basins carved out in the dessicated earth. No plant would grow here. They could not find moisture in the parched soil. Vast skies overhead portend no clouds to rain down moisture, no change in the unyielding contoured darkness that hints of mighty duststorms and surging, wailing winds that can rip a man's flesh from his bones or mummify him down to shoe leather in the space of a night. If the night ever ends. If a sun ever rises on this place, defined at the uttermost ends of existence where the roots of Yggdrasil are gnawed by Nidhoggr, past the icy realms. Kai has left behind the comforts of heat and light. Cold reigns in the direction he moved away from, but the persistent, chill mist crawls along.

His leanto isn't much to speak of, scarcely taller than him. Old bricks worn down to rounded nubs stand above the undulating grounds. In the opposite side dust build up into heaps, and the faint depression implies many a traveler on their way has sheltered here. Perhaps they all do, the heartbroken and downtrodden, the dishonoured and the forgotten, vainglorious and impetuous beings from the high realms of Alfheim and Vanaheim, golden Asgard, all the way down to the louts of Nidavellir and Svartalfheim. Here they come, they always do.

He has no landmarks but the distant horizon suggesting heaps where other landforms and unnatural structures lie. But that's the nature of unchanging, dead Niflheim. Where you belong is dictated by your life; torment and punishment for some. Joy and extension of life for others. And for a few, called to Hela's kingdom, there is far, far worse. There's the Queen herself.

Kai hasn't thought overmuch why he's here instead of some happier realm. He did his best in life, but not for some reward in the hereafter, but because he wanted to be better than what he was. He sits in that indent, his back against the worn wall. He shivers in the chill, closes his eyes, and just is for a moment. Whatever he is. Dead, a shade. He thought sorrow would leave him along with everything else when he died, but it wraps around him, bone deep as the chill of this dead place. It'll fade, he tells himself. As will I, until there's nothing left.

That is what he expects for himself, and why not? One can't cling forever to memories of a lost life. Bucky will suffer, and he will heal. Loki will be heartbroken, but he'll move on. What then is there to hold on to?

Still, he's not ready. Not just yet. The pain is sharp, and it writhes inside him like a snake with its head cut off. One bit of water in this dried place; a shade's tear trails down his cheek. He sniffles, and he trails a fingertip through it. On the wall, he writes KAI. Because, like so many others, he was here.

Then he settles back, turns his gaze to the sky, and he rests. He'll have to move on, but to where? Which direction? Even if he knew Niflheim, he'd have to know where he was to guess at where he ought to be going.

|ROLL| Hela +rolls 1d20 for: 20

The bitter truth? Alfjar, light or dark, go to only two places. Valhalla lies for those who die in glorious battle. Hel waits for the rest. This isn't the Olympian underworld or one of hundreds of others divided up in the afterlife. Maybe too much time on Midgard has blunted that truth for the light elf. He is. He is what he is, still moving, still afflicted by the sensation of breathing and a gnawing hunger lurking under the surface of his skin. His stomach boils. His tongue feels thick and dry. Sandpaper throat, grit in his eyes. Niflheim isn't especially hospitable for the (un)dead.

Here. Here he was. Here he is.

The dust isn't dry or crumbling on the wall as the air stills to ponderous thickness, an oppressive weight pressing down on bowed shoulders and crushing on the chest.

:: He is right. The Trickster will not wait. ::

:: Poor counsel, sister. ::

:: Will the elf plead he should not be here? This is not his proper place? ::

:: That we came too late? ::

:: That love will save him? It has not halted others in their separation. ::

:: Siriana still waits. Mimir waited. ::

:: Be glad he has not met Mimir's fate. He would condemn him to it. Worse, as her sisters see. ::

Kai should have given more credence to his grandmother's stories and her scolding of him for playing at being human. Won't she be pleased to hear he's met a bad end? No, even Kai has to admit she won't be pleased at all to learn her daughter's son is dead and, with him, the family's illustrious legacy.

Kai licks his dry lips and as the weight bears down on him, he tries to sit up. There were no stories like this. "Who's there?" he says. I will wait. I will wait until there's nothing left of me to wait with. "What do you want?" Love is all there is.

Voices originate from above, behind. Distance matters precious little, their resonating tones a sombre symphony weaving interchangeably. Some are lovely to hear, and others beauteously dull. A taste of emotion coexists among them, perhaps, vague curiosity and harmonized ruin.

But their source… ah, when he turns, there's nothing there at all for him to see. Only the crushing weight and the empty space.

:: Love is all there is? ::

:: How the young would say that. He is still fresh. ::

:: His eternity spent waiting will make for a very dull vigil. ::

:: Would he wish to be a wall? ::

The question seems to be pointed to Kai there, wherever it comes from.

Kai sucks in a breath, not without effort what with the weight bearing down on him. He presses his back to the wall, the wind drying his tears, and eyes too parched to bring forth more. He looks for the source of that voice, and when all is emptiness and weight, he just draws another breath, letting it out in a low sigh. "What else is there to do but love him?" The thought of Loki with that slave girl, with Malekith, oh he hasn't forgotten what the dark elves said, but they lie.

But what if he did it?

Kai bows his head. That intensity of feeling doesn't change; it just takes on a sharper edge of pain, then the strange and rare grace of forgiveness. To be honest, Kai would take a thousand humiliations and a million betrayals just to see that beguiling smile again. Even if it was while Loki told him he was nothing.

"Even if he doesn't come, I don't mind. I just want to have him here." He presses a hand to his heart. "For as long as I can hold on to him."

:: He would forfeit millennia to bring the traitor of Asgard? ::

The question hangs loose in the air. Then silence, a depravity after an oblivion alone. How long has Kai been here? Time does not have a meaningful measure without some kind of watch point to measure against. What sort of yardstick is sleep or the unchanging illumination? He'll have to discover for himself. Not that it matters. Niflheim will withstand Ragnarok, it's said. Its mistress, well, she's another matter.

Blurring dust gives rise to a shape, one distinctly humanoid and like so many things, taller than him. First moment of resolution might be the helm, pushed back to reveal a face smoked in black before the rest of the features resolve. Tangled braids formed in fashionably difficult plaits of varied size whip around shoulders broad enough to bear the odd armour swept over her, a fish-scale effect that leaves little doubt she is female, a warrior at that. Sweeping ribbons twine around her, blown off the shoulders in clusters, instead of a cape.

:: He should know this may be granted. Would he forfeit his comforts here to retrieve one who may not wish him? ::

Relevant: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/c6/ec/e1/c6ece15cdaab29b8898ab4cab6e0a42a.jpg

Helm: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/ba/a2/5d/baa25d582483b447dddb71ab5eb754f3.jpg

Kai squints, holding a hand to his eyes to his brow to shield his eyes from the billowing dust. "If Asgard is where he wanted to be." The (shorter) elf looks up at the strange figure. Is she a skald? A valkyrie? Surely neither, but does Niflheim have things like those? He should have paid more attention to his gran! The thought it could be Lady Hela herself hasn't sunk in. Why would someone so important come to see an elf who still hasn't wrapped his head around the idea he might be important?

"If it would bring him joy, I would never know a moment's peace again," he says. "Whatever comfort he might be given, please let him have it."

No judgment comes; no answer on the choice of a man not present. It's probably beyond other shades to speculate on such business far beyond them. Though the figure in question certainly does have all the elements appropriate to be a female warrior, plausibly a valkyrie. She resolves and solidifies until almost fully formed to the flesh, her feet barely in touch with the ground. The solid boots guarding her feet do not extend to her soles, where they all but appear to be bare. Wouldn't be unlike the Vanir, who are so often forest- and wild-folk, to adopt such a style. The three point spur-like protrusions spanning the arch of her foot would also hint at that.

:: Then he agrees to the terms? This one cannot take him forth without his consent. ::

She inclines her head, the spiked helm sliding an inch down her brow. Those dark lines masking her face are imposing and intimidating to most, but not beyond her features.

:: He must say yes or the sister cannot help. ::

:: His path is his own. ::

:: He could still be a wall! ::

:: Sister, the elf has not asked to be a wall yet. ::

:: He wrote himself upon that one. It would correspond he might wish to be so and wait. ::

The incarnated one inclines her head. :: This one will make him a wall should he like only to stay and wait. ::

Kai shakes his head and says, "I don't want to be a wall. I just wrote on it because I wanted to be reminded that I was here." He pats the wall awkwardly and murmurs to it, "Sorry." He looks to the incarnation. Declarations of love are nice and all, but it's gone beyond that, hasn't it. There's a ring of fate to these murmurings, and though he didn't pay enough attention to be a good grandson, Ma and Pa Elf didn't raise no fool.

"I would be willing to do whatever I must to give my love his true heart's desire." To trust Loki with this much, not to mention Loki's heart and its desires, some might call it fate, but rather it's fatalism. If it is to Loki's relief and pleasure that he's gone, then let him be gone so that he might have it. Kai doesn't believe it, though. He can't. Those dark elves were lying.

Unless they weren't.

Kai swallows. "Yes. That is what I want. His true desire."

:: The elf's true desire to retrieve his love here. It is said. This is not about his true love. It is about him. Does he understand? ::

The woman reaches up and pulls her helm low over her face, the noseguard sliding into place over the fine bridge and leaving only her mouth apparent. Her braids slip off her shoulders as she steps forward and holds forth her gauntleted hand to the shade. It is most certainly simple.

Ma and Pa Elf probably didn't raise no fool, but they might have raised him to use pronouns in the first person. The warrior there, on the other hand, uses third person for herself and for Kai.

"You're doing that on purpose," Kai says, "turning my words around." No one raised Kai to banter with Vanir shades, so everyone kind of dropped the ball on that one. Surely they all knew he'd end up here one day. Who couldn't see it coming? But fine! Fine, if they're asking for what he wants, Kai says, "I want to be alive again!"

There are so many other qualifiers he wants to put on that, because there are so many ways he could be alive that aren't great, but these voices are confusing him, damn it. He's had a rough… however long this has been!

Besides, for all he knows, they're just fellow shades messing with him. They can't actually give him what he wants.

The valkyrie has all the expression that metal allows her, which is her dark mouth staying in a flatten line. Her toes curl slightly. Metal scratches against the dirt. Those metal spurs aren't anything to mess with.

:: One has been clear with the elf. He said that he wanted his lover for as long as he could hold him. He cannot hold a person set apart from Niflheim, can he? ::

:: The elf is confused. ::

:: Perhaps he doubts? The fair sister can take him away from Niflheim. No one ever said she and her sisters were not allowed to return souls. ::

The standing one nods. :: The elf will have time to complete his stated goal. If the lover will not come, then new terms must be made with the elf. It will not be unfair. :: A gentle reminder, thus. He isn't fully free of himself. :: The travel will feel strange. Do not try to kick overhard or he will feel ill. ::

Kai goes very still. Damn right, the elf is confused. How could things have been clearer when he was just plain old dead? What is going on? What madness is this! Though honestly? It does beat being left on this vast plain to languish, even if that was something he understood.

It is at this moment in the long dark hour of Kai's eternal soul that he comes to grips with the fact that, in some ways, he's not very bright. In his defense, has no one taught these shades poetry? Metaphor! Oh god, what if they try to cram Loki into his chest cavity?

Kai crosses his arms over his chest and hunkers against the chill. "What do I do now?" he asks. "I need shelter and water or I'm going to…" What, die? "Be cold and thirsty."

:: The elf takes her hand and she takes him to Midgard. He cannot go himself. She will take him. This cannot be done if he stands there. ::

The woman's impatience is nonexistent, and the chorus of voices around her murmurs thoughtfully. He wants out, he's going to have to do it the simple way.

Kai eyes the Valkyrie suspiciously, though he steps forward and offers his hand. "Perhaps you'll understand if I'm not sure what's going on," he says. "I've never died before." And his last moments were of torment, lies, pain, and anguish. He's still a little wracked from all that.

It could be a trick. A trap. But it's Niflheim. He can't go much lower than this. "Thank you," he tells her. Because anywhere has got to be better than here.

:: One returns the elf above. He fulfills his oath, if he can. He receives his relief. If he cannot, then this one or her sisters will inquire. Use the time wisely. It goes quick. It is not his time to dally. It is to find his lover. ::

The gentlest of reminders, that, of what means to make the beauty of the everlasting eternity he faces real. Her hand clasps around his, firm and cool, like gripping the mist and touching a spark of moonlight.

The spark that becomes a sudden whirlwind as she launches herself up into the sky that suddenly isn't. Around them both the luminous portal spins and whirls on a bending of space-time. It opens for her as the brownish relief of Niflheim collapses inwards and a singe of green follows them up, up, up.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License