1964-06-17 - The Threads of Fate and Golden Apples
Summary: Thor crashes into the Norn Pools to demand a golden apple from the Norns.. and more than just Amora is restored.
Related: Asgard Plot logs
Theme Song: Wardruna- Hagall
amora strange thor 

Donald Blake had shown up on Strange's doorstep with Amora on his arm. The Enchantress- wasting, exhausted, turning ashen gray and almost translucent at the fringes as her very life force was leached away.

"I need you to take us to the Norn pool," Donald had said— and so grim was his face (and the grip on his hammer) that there was not overmuch debate on the topic.

Once more, Strange, Amora, and Donald Blake found themselves on the windswept bluffs overlooking the ancient Cavern of the Norns. A place where a strange transformation had triggered something in Donald— not merely a communique with his God, but (what many) suspected was the beginnings of his apotheosis.

Jaw clenched, tight-lipped with his plan, Donald led Strange and Amora to the base of the cavern, up to the edge of the pools, and then turned to Strange.

"Doctor. Would you be so kind as to look after Amora?" Donald asks of the Sorcerer Supreme, transferring Amora's fingers from his hard-knuckled grip to Strange's hand. "If peril comes to pass, I ask of you to escort her to safety."

He doesn't make it much of a polite request.


The Sorcerer Supreme has the patience of a saint and the realization that interdimensional diplomacy can be a total pain in the keister at times. Thus, indeed, he finds himself taking charge of Amora's weirdly-weak grip and keeps his grimace to a minimum. Wanda would be proud. He looks much less like he's eating a lemon and more like there are kids on his lawn. Again.

"It's no burden, your highness. She's in safe hands." Bah-dum-cht. "I hesitate to ask what your plans are, but I'll press anyways, given my aid up to this point."

He pauses, giving Thor a rather gimlet look.

"What in the seven hells are you up to that requires a Norn Pool?"


The Enchantress hooks her slim hand into the sorcerer's grip as her care was 'transferred' over. "My shadow was able to draw on the threads of the astral plane and was able to start up the spell again. Loki put a halt to it for a while." She grimaced, holding up a hand that had become so pale it made plain paper look tanned by comparison.

Her gaze swung toward the blonde and she grimaced, "I cannot summon the power to cure myself, or to take us to Asgard to do so." She exhaled a breath, her hand rising to comb through hair so bleached it barely could be counted as blonde.

"He fears that I will turn into a shade without the proper attention of Asgard's healers."


"You'll see presently," Donald tells Strange, grimly, and while Amora speaks, he turns and stalks away with his fists clenched and shoulders rolled forward in anger.

He walks to the edge of the pool. The waters writhe and lash, and Donald surveys their murky, infinite depths.

"Norns! I am Donald Blake, Herald of Thor, and I would speak with you!"


The waters spit and hiss.


"NORNS! I am Donald Blake, and I would speak with you!"

NO mortal NO LIES mortal KNOWS not MORTAL

Donald grits his teeth and grabs the hammer hanging from his belt— the armor of Asgard gathering around his shoulder with a crackle of lightning that smashes divots into the walls of the cave, illuminating him with a halo of blue fire.

"So be it," he snarls.

"NORNS! I AM THOR ODINSON!" he bellows, holding his hammer over the waters. "THRICE I SUMMON, AND BY MY WILL, YOU WILL OBEY!"

The waters /exploded/ in a brackish geyser of force, water flying everywhere and outraged screams hammer at the ears and senses as the Norns don't just speak through the water— it begins to manifest as a physical /body/.

Donald Blake is all that stands between Strange and Amora as a Norn Queen emerges from the water, at least fifteen feet tall and with amorphous limbs, long clawed fingers, and a skull spouting a strange array of watery horns.


"I see," replies the Sorcerer, looking between Amora and Donald. It makes sense, given her pallor and the lack of staticky friction he can feel from her touch resting on his hand. It could be the bronze chit at his neck as well, but more likely than not the severe drain of whatever curse afflicts upon.

Strange watches, his concerned frown never abating, as Donald gets to shouting at the water. Okay, yes, he's got a great voice for yelling, but the man in storm-blue battle-leathers and fidgety crimson Cloak is with the Norns. Come on…do it…yes.

"Finally," Strange hisses, the heavy spit of the word likely lost beneath the chaotic swirling of the pool in response to the Asgardian's proper summoning. It's been moderately difficult to keep his knowledge of the Prince's true nature behind his teeth, but hey, he likes his brain in a non-smoothied state.

And that is what a Norn Queen looks like…huh. Fascinating. Warily, Strange observes the being, feeling the foreign magics tickling and doing a metaphysical sniffing of his aura. He sends a subtle riffling of power through it, a warning to knock it off and reminder that he is not to be trifled within in the confines of his Realm.


Amora stood, watching with a sharp eye. Perhaps it hadn't been a mistake after all that her Shadow had been able to once more start draining away her magics and her physicality. Perhaps.. Well..

As Strange hisses finally, Amora offered a weak grin in response. "Aye.." Her hand clenched at Strange's grip as the Norn Queen appeared, not The Norn Queen.. but still. It earned a slight hiss from Amora's lips and she squeezed that hand in Strange's stabilizing grip a little tighter.

"I hate them so.." She muttered under her breath. She's spent too long in Nornheim when she was younger to ever hold anything besides loathing for its creatures and rulers.


This is not an Asgardian. It is not Karnilla, or the residents of Nornheim styling themselves as the 'Queens of Nornheim'. It's a true Norn Queen— the ancient rulers of Nornheim. A manifestation of the Weird Sisters. The Moirae.

The Fateweavers.

And the stinging psychic rebuke Strange gets is like getting kissed by a charging rhino. The air -seethes- with the intensity of her magical presence. It vibrates out of tune with his magical senses as jarringly as a tuning fork jammed into his teeth. The power of the Demiurge itself— the lifesoul of the Nine Worlds. The heartwood of Yggdrasil. Summoned here, now, by Thor's obstreperous demands for its presence.

Here, this is an extension of the Demiurge itself. And Thor has summoned it to Midgard.


Thor raises his hammer slightly across his body as the Fateweaver leans down towards him.

SUMMONED broken thing DEMANDED wretched TINY THING what what WHAT do you WANT

Thor swallows, bracing himself, but his voice comes out strong. "Passage, Fateweaver. Passage to the Golden Orchard, for myself and my friends," he tells the creature.

It starts in surprise, rolling forward by inches, growing larger and larger as a sharp, fanged maw manifests in the middle of the watery surface.



Man, this Moirae is rude, gods be damned!

It's natural for him to step between the being summoned and Amora, simply because he is to guard the weak. Strange doesn't drop her hand, instead keeps a steady grip upon it. His teeth still tingle something awful and there's the taste of liquid stardust at the back of his throat that he can't swallow down.

"You know, this was a bad idea, Thor," he comments dryly despite his heart tapdancing about the inside of his ribcage. Anyone close enough should feel the confliction of the Arts, Norn to Midgardian, like the beginnings of high-altitude wind before two thunderheads.


Amora turned her gaze to the sky as Strange shifted to place her between her and the Moirae. She kept her silence, watching for clouds, for storms.. for crows or anything else that might yet suddenly join the chaos that had come to the realm. Eyes beyond the paleness of green then returned toward the sight before her, and her full lips thinned into a white line.

"My prince," She stopped and started, a glance over the rather irate creature before them. "I urge thee caution, if you seek to persuade.."


Strange would bargain.
Odin would make his own peace.
Loki would probably cajole, or wheedle.

Thor hits in the Norn in the face.

She screeches in surprise, and Thor hits her /again/. And then /again/, his hammer crackling with power.

"I have HAD ENOUGH OF THIS FOOLISHNESS!" Thor rages, over the sound of the avatar of Nornheim screaming her rage. His hammer crackles and snaps with lightning, scribing curling marks of power against the rock and dirt around them.

"I AM THOR ODINSON!" he bellows, smashing the creature's hands, its face, its body. It starts to retreat into the pool in stunned shock, barely able to cope with the sudden, overwhelming assault on it. "No! You do not FLEE, monster!"

Thor grabs lightning from nowhere and flings the power of Asgard right into the Nornpool. Not just into the water— but into Nornheim. Blasting open the portal the Norn Queen tries to flee through should be impossible.

But Thor does it.

And then, just for good measure, he doubles down on the impossibility as the waters of the Norn Pool explode around all three— Asgardian, Sorceress, and Sorcerer.

There's a screaming lurch of time and space and sound, and when the waters recede, Thor, Amora, and Strange are flung to the ground.

Above them, stretching to infinity in the stars, crawls the immense, infinite trunk of Yggdrasil.

In front of them, the Garden of the Gods, with a single apple tree bearing golden fruit.

And between Strange and Amora stands a dripping, shoulder-heaving Thor, still trembling with rage, and ahead of three stunned women in robes near a loom, a tapestry, and a pair of scissors.

Silence reigns for a long time.


With every thundering smack of impact, the Sorcerer flinches. The Hammer colliding with the avatar sends bone-jarring vibrations through him, as if someone were alternating a subwoofer against his spine. His Mystical aura quakes in strong waves and disconnected droplets that somehow manage to merge again, boiling and evaporating and sublimating wildly. He can barely get a word out edgewise over the cacophony of insulted Asgardian and Nornheim construct alike.

"Your highness, NO! STOP!!! THIS IS — ACK! — NOT — THE ANSWER!!!"

Topsy-turvy, butt-over-tea-kettle, and Strange comes to a rolling halt on thick grass too pungent to be real. It pervades his senses even as he's scrambling to his feet, hands raised in mudras and absolutely ready to throw down with…

Oh gods below.

"You…impulsive bas — " Diplomatically, the Sorcerer Supreme averts the curse and instead finishes enunciating that S in a nice, long, slow hiss of disapproval. Massive amounts of disapproval. He squares his shoulders and moves up alongside Thor, heedless of any approval on the Asgardian's part. "Greetings, Sisters." How cautious of him. Not even a name. …not that he'd need to introduce himself, considering the vast knowledge of the Fateweavers.


Amora goes slack jaw as Thor swings and thunder cracks all around them. When the hit impacts and he keeps up the strikes? If it was possible she'd have gone pale. However impossible it was for the Enchantress to lose color any further than she was, she was rushing toward the golden Prince of Asgard. "Beloved! You have to st-" when suddenly reality snapped and reformed around them. Knocked to the ground as she was, Amora lay there gasping and shuddering from the sudden power of it all. She had no wards, she'd had no way to prepare herself for the jump between the realms and it was a shocking as jumping into ice water.

The ambient magic in the air choked Amora up, and she was slow in rising. Pale eyes landed on the sisters three, and she stared, shock and awe pulling at her expression. All of which ended as Strange spoke, his abrupt break to a hiss caught her attention and held it long enough for her to get over her shock.

By then she was moving toward Thor's side, attempting to secure his arm in her ever diminishing grip.


The Fateweavers look … a little surprised.

Silence reigns.

"Well, Mother, /some/ things about him don't change," the slender one remarks, a laughing lilt in her voice. "He /is/ headstrong."

"Rude, more like it, snaps the shortest, roundest one, her features barely visible under her hood. "Such rudeness. A snip of my scissors, daughter mine, and I'll have all three of these fools sorted," she says, reaching a wizened hand for the rusty, worn scissors nearby.

The middle Fate stays the other's hand, regarding Strange, Amora, and Thor levelly. "Peace, mother-mine," she says, in an even, mature tone that straddles youthful laugh and creaky, arthritic outrage. "The boy's a fool, but an earnest one. Perhaps he's earned some outrage."

Thor's teeth grate like rocks crashing together. "What— what is there? Who are you, and why do you bar us from the golden orchard?" he demands, barely held back by Amora and Strange combined.

It's getting noticeably more difficult to restrain him by main strength alone.


And the touch of the Sorcerer Supreme is only passing, a pat-pat on the Asgardian's arm probably not felt for the ire being displayed.

"Amora, you might want to let him go. I can't risk the fate of Midgard for his actions, unfortunately." There is a thread of true rue in Strange's tone. "Your highness, these are the Fates. I suggest you stop from annoying them further." Spoken like a true diplomat. The Cloak about his shoulders undulates lightly and even the collars wiggle. The relic agrees, apparently.


Amora's grip, if at all possible, becomes ever more tighter. She wraps both arms through the muscled chords of Thor's arm, possessive, protective, and possibly utterly in a panic too. She stared at the three weird sisters, her gaze locked upon them. She'd known they lived in Nornheim, knew that they only gave a passing glance to Karnilla's Kingdom and had never seen them before herself.

Though she had raged against them repeatedly enough in the past few centuries of her life.

"I am unwilling to risk him." She shot back toward Strange. For all that she spoke, she was still fading. Whatever had been set in motion before seemed to drag at her despite the shift in realms. Though it did not seem quite so rapid now, now that she automatically began to track through the ambient magic of the area around her, drawing it in and holding onto it as naturally as breathing.

It had been months since she'd been off Midgard and like a man forbidden from drink, she lapped it tightly to her person.


Thor looks at Strange and /growls/. It's a low basso that makes the rocks shudder.

"Ooh, mother," the youngest Sister says, clapping enthusiastically. "Look at him! So full of… vigor, and passion. Can I keep him?"

"I think the Enchantress would object mightily to that, daughter," the middle one remarks. "You'd have to fight her for him. Though she looks hardly able to bear her own weight, let alone rally a defense," she muses.

"Bah! You two are pathetic," the old crone mutters, moving to a rocking chair and flumping into it irritably. Clawed hands stretch over the wood, scarring it with a gentle caress. "Men are good for two things, babies and dying early."

"Perhaps some introductions are in order," the middle one says, removing her hood. She proves to be a woman of extraordinary beauty, middling into the age of maturity. So does the younger one, a ravishing woman barely out of her teens, by appearance.

"I am Verthandi, What Is Coming Into Being. My daughter, Skuld," she says, gesturing at the slender girl. "What Shall Be. And my mother, Urthr," she says, looking to the hooded crone. "What Once Was."

"We are the weavers of fate at the root of Yggdrasil. You are welcome here, for the moment, Thor Odinson, known as Donald Blake. Amora the Enchantress, you may rest here as well. Drink and eat of our magic."

Urthur spits on the ground. Verthandi looks to Strange, and all three women dip their heads at once, respectfully. "And the Sorcerer Supreme, the scion of the Demiurge. You are welcome here, Defender of the Tree."


"Your funeral," the Sorcerer whispers to himself in regards to Amora's stance on things.

Strange then gives Thor, in turn, a glance in that imparts being utterly unimpressed. A blonde teenager he once called his apprentice made him more uncomfortable by asking after what gives cause for liking another person.

"You need to jut out your jaw more, give a little underbite. You'll look more threatening that way," he mutters, arching an eyebrow imperiously before turning his attention back to the Norns. Ah, a proper introduction, very good. No one's thrown leven-bolts or smacked anyone with relics or given him an ulcer. The nods are returned with a bow that hinges Strange at the waist, properly old-fashioned and respectful in turn.

"Again, my greeting, Sisters. Forgive my intrusion. I was caught up in the backlash of the magics. However, being present in your realm gives me reason for wonder. I have always wanted to attend this place," he adds on a thoughtful note.

Still…Demiurge. Scion of the Demiurge?! A little swallow betrays the trouble he has with this nugget of information.


Amora's gaze remained locked on the Norns, though she didn't so much as bristle once, not even at Strange's whisper. She merely remained as she was, standing beside Thor and holding tight with both arms locked around his. Only after they were given leave to remain, did she unlock her joints from the tight grasp on Thor and bow. "Greetings. I fear I am too unwell for the proper pleasantries, I—"

Which seemed only to be proven true as she staggered without her arms locked around the Thunderer. Her knees went out first, followed promptly by the rest of her as she collapsed. Pale eyes rolling back in their sockets as she went cold.


"Amora? AMORA!" Donald spins on her, trying to catch the blonde Goddess and succeeds only in keeping her from collapsing to the ground hard enough to injure herself. He clutches her in his arms, patting her brow and cheek, and then sets her down on the low grass as carefully as he can and turns to the Fates.

"You are welcome here, Doctor Strange," the Fates say in unison. "Know that the weavings of the tapestry are forbidden from mortal minds, even yours; but when a threat to the demiurge rises, you may look to us for aid."

"Enough!" Donald shouts, slashing a hand through the air. "Amora needs a golden apple and I will have one, or—!" He stalks towards the orchard, but is flung back by a burst of invisible force that sends him flying. He grunts, hitting the ground and rolling heavily. Dirt flies behind him. With a groan of pain, he rolls to his feet and grips his hammer tight; and it goes flying towards the Fates, unbidden, and the oldest crone catches it deftly.

"Welcome back, Thunder Fang," she croons, petting the steel. "Oh, you're so close to yourself here. The heart of Mjolnir is so near… just missing a little something yet, aren't you?" she says, stroking the steel face.

"Return my hammer!" Donald snarls, stalking forward.

"It is OUR hammer," the three say, and their relaxed posture turns adamant, all of them looking at Donald at once. "Odin drew upon the power of the Demiurge to forge Mjolnir," the Mother says, her voice clear. "And as there is no Thor in front of us, it is our Hammer— until Odin asks for it or the Worthy one comes to claim it."

Grandmother drops the hammer into the ground with a *clunk* of finality, and cackles at Thor, hissing under her breath.


"Thank you, Sis — " And then the Thunderer is shouting overtop him and Strange simply shuts his mouth and sighs slowly. This isn't his battle to pick, not this time. A glance to Amora proves that she's indeed unconscious and he frowns. The blur of the Hammer, ripped away from its wielder, brings the Sorcerer to raise eyebrows. Now…that's interesting.

The eldest of the three Sisters lays down the challenge. It brings him to ask, "Your highness, would you rather I kept an eye on the Enchantress or aid you in your efforts?"

It's a bit of a trick question in itself, the answer likely hinging upon some important point to the Fates-three.


"Your friend here, good Doctor, will need your counsel soon," the Daughter says, and there's sympathy in her voice. "A most terrible and difficult decision must be made."

"One apple, and one apple alone," the Mother remarks. "That is the gift the Norns grant Asgard," says Grandmother. The three Fates drift towards an increasingly unsure and confused Donald Blake.

"A bite from a golden apple will grant Asgardians a century of life," Daughter remarks, as the three fates move to flank him. "They cure all ailments and restore the virve and lifeforce."

"But they will kill a mortal," Daughter tells Donald. "One bite will strike you dead."

"I'll snip your thread of life right in half," Grandmother cackles, clicking her scissors in the air.


From where he kneels beside the Enchantress, fingertips pressed to her neck in order to ascertain the presence of a pulse — there we are, still kickin', excellent; Strange slowly raises his eyes to the trio of Norns approaching the Asgardian Prince with intent. He waits, acknowledging the youngest one's comment for the circumspection in lingering attention to her in particular.

Without any insinuation of threat, he then rises to his feet. At his shoulders, the crimson Cloak clings closer to him, defying whatever breezes whisk through outside the garden. They too prove to hide away the half-shaped gestures inclined towards defense. There's an Art to it, keeping the air of casual interest about himself while gathering the taste of Words upon his tongue. Closed lips let nothing escape.


"I do not wish an apple for myself," Donald booms at the Fates, trying to find his resolve, his chin upthrusting. He steps next to Strange for support, the two men interdicting themselves between the Norns and Amora's prostrate form.

"No, of course," Mother agrees, shaking her head. "But we cannot give an apple to a mortal. Such life was not meant for man, for he has but a short time upon Midgard."

"Only an Asgardian, a worthy soul, may be gifted an apple from our orchards," Daughter tells Donald, glancing at Strange as he gathers his Will to him.

"You are not yet Thor, Donald Blake," Mother says, her voice level and clear. "You share his mien, and Mjolnir hears a song in your heart, but Thor is locked away from you. You must become Thor. Fully and wholly. You must embrace him and become the God you were meant to be," Mother remarks.

"We must replace your thread in the Tapestry of life," Grandmother creaks, jabbing a finger at a dull steel thread winding through Asgard where Thor should be. "We must pluck that strand out so Thor can take his rightful place. Or else Asgard's weave and weft will fail soon, as mortals reckon time."

"A snip, a stitch— a knotted splice," Grandmother creaks and the *click* of her bare scissors at Donald suggests more than anything the intent behind their words.

Eyes wide, Donald looks to Strange for confirmation of the ending that the Fates seem to be demanding of him.


At first, Strange seems to pointedly ignore the look given him by the Asgardian-turned-mortal. He is, instead, weighing the options available to him as fast as his squirrely mind can muster. The Fates have never been glared at quite like this, with a deep-seated hurt lingering in the bruised-cloud colors of his eyes.

Finally, he sighs, raising his chin in unspoken defiance to the whole of it. "Your Fate is your own, Donald…your highness," he amends, finally rotating a quarter-step to face the man more fully. It is with sympathy that he continues. "The Fates cannot tell a lie. You must make the choice. Her Lady Death is…not unkind." His faint snort is acutely discomfited even as he grinds his teeth behind thin lips for a second. "Merely…overwhelming."


"Wh-what?" Donald stammers, confusion on his features. He backs up a pace, looking from Strange and the Fates to Amora, and back again. "What are they saying, Strange?" he demands of the Sorcerer.

"The Realms need the Prince of Asgard returned," Daughter says, kindly.

"Only a Prince of Asgard can receive a golden apple and deliver it," Mother adds.

"The difference between poison and medicine is dose and timing," Grandmother cackles. "If you would save the Lady Amora, then you must take enough poison to medicate Thor. One must die so another can live."

"It is the Natural Law," all three Fates intone.


Strange's expression is a mask now, a doctor's professionalism the successful bulwark against what aches in his heart.

"I would think it obvious, your highness, what taking the apple entails. I did mention Lady Death." His eyes rest upon Donald, willing the man to make the connection. "The eldest Sister did explain it rather succinctly." However, she gets no nod of acknowledgment for her satisfaction, for his dignified stillness won't allow it.


Donald's face turns almost as ashen as Amora's, real fear on his features. "This. … this is cruel," he mumbles.

"Yes," all three Norns intone.

"Did you think we would just give you such power? Immortality? The cure for all life?" Mother asks, brow lifting.

"No, Donald Blake. The God of Thunder must return. Asgard needs her Prince. The Nine Realms need the Hammer of Odin as much as they need the Sorcerer Supreme," says Daughter, firmly.

"There are threats that imperil even the Demiurge," Grandmother hisses. "The tapestry of life severed. Burned on the ground. Life as we know it snuffed out, the Demiurge destroyed. We must have the Prince returned to the Nine Realms."

Daughter steps forward, barefoot, and looks at Thor. She lifts up a palm, fingers closed— and when it opens, a Golden Apple gleams. She drives a thumbnail through the heart of it and splits a quarter away, holding it near Thor's lips. When he reaches for it, she pulls it sharply back.

"Put the apple on your tongue, Donald Blake," Daughter says. "Accept death."

"Natural order," Grandmother hisses, giggling pleasantly.

Donald stares at the apple. He looks to Strange, muted appeal for help in his eyes.

"…Doctor?" he asks, real fear trembling in his voice.


The slow shake of Strange's head might as well be the knell of a silver bell, resonant and quivering in the bones of the Asgardian.

"I cannot decide for you, your highness. I cannot tell you that it won't hurt. I cannot tell you what your senses will experience. Lady Death is not without her comforts. Kid-skin gloves," he explains with a shifting in place, mark of aborted full-body shudder. "I am here." And so he is. Stalwart presence, immovable as the earth itself at this point, for to risk displacing him would presume the wrath of the three gods called down upon them.

From beneath the Cloak, he reaches out. "Take my hand, Donald. Clasp it, warrior to warrior. You are not alone." Limber the fingers, rent with red lines the flesh, not a quiver to be found.


Donald seems reassured by Strange's words— as much as one can and turns to regard the Sorcerer Supreme. He looks at the hand, then clasps it, a rocklike grip, and nods at Strange as he finds his backbone.

"'tis for Amora," he says, looking to the blonde woman. "I would throw myself between her and any peril. I cheapen my good name by being more afraid of a slow death than a fast one. I hope you do not think ill of me for my hesitation, my friend," Donald tells Strange. His lips thin, nodding.

"I wish we'd known each other better, Doctor Strange. But I hope you'll think you knew me at my best."

He stoops, kneeling next to Amora, and kisses her ashen lips. "Farewell, my love. May Odin bless me and bear me to Valhalla."

He rises, looking around one last time— taking in the view. The worlds beyond. Yggdrasil reaching to the skies.

Past, present, Future, all hooded and staring at him.

"I am ready," he declares, and leans down without hesitation to be fed the bite of apple.


With the shake complete, the good Doctor hides away his hands again. Sentinel and audience, he appears to be. Cruel Fates, making the man watch as a life is wrenched away from his grasp, but…in his heart, he understands. It makes the twinkling soul-font in his chest expand a painful amount, not unlike the burgeoning reminder of life within the womb, and he swallows thickly.

"You'll be no less entertaining in your true form, your highness," Strange murmurs, watching him bestow affection on the Enchantress; " — and I assure you…I understand your sacrifice." Tact dictates he expand no further and instead, changes topic. "If you choke on this, I will find it greatly ironic."

Huzzah for snark as a shield! Emotions are for squares!


The Fates feed Donald his little bite of Death, and he chews steadily. Only a moment's hesitation— then he swallows.

He blinks after several moments. Then coughs. He coughs again, the sound a deep, booming wrack, and the Fates move to encircle him, eyes wide.


For as often as they cut a thread of life, how often do they see it extinguish? Witness death with their own eyes? Donald falls to one knee, then lands on his hands, coughing and wheezing. His eyes bulge and water, and his breathing grows laboured.

Grandmother holds a grey thread between her fingers, eyeing him hungrily, expectantly— and when he collapses face first into the grass, her scissors *snip* with dread finality.

Donald Blake is dead.


For the stoicism the good Doctor projects, holding the leash on his impulsive need to avert this costs him his controlled mien. A sharp inhale as the first rictus of pain takes over the blonde Asgardian's frame and then a snarling grimace, shifting of weight checked by both brutal common sense and a yank by the crimson Cloak itself at his shoulders.

No. This is not his war. Not his fight. Not his life to save. Even if it may haunt him in nightmares to come.

The flash of ambient light on the shears in the eldest Sister's hands is too bright, the sound of his heart to drown in his ears, and someone's breathing both deep and shallow against a tight throat, who, himself. He is. Swallowing hard, Strange averts his gaze to the side, hating it all in a sudden acidic wave to swamp him and cause his aura to fracture into glass shards instead of the usual fluid droplets of agitation.

The body of the man is so still. So very still. It chills the Sorcerer to his bones as he side-eyes it, chin tucked and balanced on a knife's edge to action.


The ambient magic of the realm did more to salve the shadow's drain on Amora's personage than the patch-work that Loki had done to stabilize her weeks before. Or at least, enough that the longer she spent in the realm, the more or less solid she became. However the shock of it, had been enough to send her body to unconsciousness, it seemed only a few minutes passed before she awoke.

Groggy, and only slightly more renewed in color, her green eyes slid open to observe the sight before her.

There the blonde Thunderer collapsed and gasping for air before the Norns, wherein the eldest trapped the thread between her fingers and snipped.

With a shocked sound peeling from the Enchantress she staggered up to rise and rushed toward the dead man's side. With shaking hands as pale as dawn's weak rays, she reached for him, attempting to turn him over and cradle him against her gently, oh so gently, unless otherwise halted.Yet nothing else escaped her lips, as she crouched over him. Her hands, trembled as they smoothed over cheeks and jawline, over his closed eyes, still warm with the just passed life.

She had been too late, too late to say goodbye. Even as she knew what had to be done to restore him to his true self. It hurt some part of her she was still struggling to understand.


The death of a mortal man on the fields of the Norn Orchards is observed for only a moment of silence, then the Fates fly to their loom.

"Swiftly, mother!" the daughter calls, tearing at her golden hair. Three strands emerge, and she rapidly twines them into place.

"Hurry, child!" Grandmother says, tying the three golden strands to the end of the snipped strand. She hands it to Mother.

"As fast as fingers fly, Fate decrees that Thor not die," Mother chants, and she starts feeding the golden thread into the loom. The grey thread of Donald Blake's life follows to a golden strand, and it begins to glow brightly against the backdrop of the Tapestry of Fate. Life flows along it, energizing it, and somehow flowing into Thor as well.

The corpse shakes, then elevates into the air, slipping from Amora's fingertips. His grey, pallid skin grows hale and ruddy once more. Short-cropped hair lengthens, burnished like a wheatfield— and then blue eyes, bright as summer skies, open and fixate on Strange.

Thor descends to the ground, landing on his boots, and staggers once to find his balance. Bewilderment flashes on his earnest, strong features.

"I— Strange? Amora?" he says, blinking at the woman kneeling near him. "Where am I?" He whirls in place, and his eyes bulge. "The— Norn Orchard? How did I come to be here? Last I recall, Loki… Loki! Where is my treacherous brother?" he booms.

"Where is my HAMMER!?" he demands, holding a hand out— and Mjolnir flies to his palm with a *smack*, as if it belonged there more perfectly than anywhere else in the universe.

"By Odin's Beard, Amora, you look near to death," he tells the Enchantress. "What malady afflicts you?"


The Enchantress felt him beginning to slip from her arms as the magic swirled around him, strengthening, and renewing the Thunder God to what he once was and should be. Yet for all the joy that his return would bring, there was still the loss of the one who had spent months beside her. The emotion tightened her jaw, as she loosened her grip and let him go.

Her hands lifted up to shield her gaze from the flow of light and magic that swirled and surrounded him until he returned to the ground before her. Slowly, her hands dropped back to her lap, and she stared up at him, lips parted as she remained otherwise unmoved.

When it became apparent his memory of the events leading up to that point were absent, Amora lowered her head in a faint symbol of a bow, unable or perhaps unwilling to do more. His question, however stole her attention and lifted her gaze back to him. Where a weak smile pulled at full, faded ruby lips.

"I am. Or at least near to the shade's realm. I am.. a shadow of myself.." She raised her hands, where her veins and tips of her fingers were slowly darkening to mirror her shadow's form and figure.

"You were attempting to save me via the Norn's Golden Apples."


Thor's eyebrows rise towards his hairline, and he looks to Strange. "Friend Strange, that seems a most unlikely tale. 'tis it true?"


Replies Strange in a calm cadance, "It is true, your highness."

Kudos to the Sorcerer for his steely-spined stance regained and dignified expression masking all sorts of sickly relief ricocheting about his person. The Cloak aids and abets, hiding the trembling in his hands. Thank the gods there was no need for him to intervene.


Thor looks from Strange, to Amora, then back again. Never one to be skilled at spotting a liar, he reluctantly must trust those around him to look after his best interests. Amora, of course, was as slippery as Loki, but Strange, Thor reckoned, would not lie to him.

"I… I see," he frowns. He turns to look at the Norns— and they're gone. Loom, thread, and all. Only the trio remains.

"'tis a most holy place. I pray our hosts forgive me trespassing where only my Father normally treads during our harvest," he says. With a reverent expression, he walks into the orchard, unobstructed, and pulls down a single golden apple from a tree. It falls easily, and he walks back to Amora, then kneels in front of her and hands her the golden fruit.

"I know not what service you performed to be so worthy of such a gift," he tells her. "But I sense 'twas done in my service, so… I thank thee, Enchantress."


Amora remained where she was, waiting, silent. A softness in her gaze when she beheld Thor, for he was well and truly Thor as he should be. Oddly however, she had yet to launch herself up at him, not even when he returned to her with apple in hand. When he knelt, holding it out to her she stared up at him, searching his features for a long, silent moment.

And then, rather than reach for the apple, her hands slid out toward him, trying to slip over his cheeks. "I have fought so long to see you returned to who you are, to your true self. With your memories and powers… everything my Prince. I stayed with you, when you were aught but mortal. As I swore I would do long ago." Her voice was soft, and gentle. Without the usual sultry heat behind it.

Her gaze dropped back to the apple in his hand, that same sad smile tugged at her lips.

"Forgive me, but I took advantage to what affections you would offer me in that state. I loved you with all my heart. And you were willing to give your mortal life for that apple. I feel as if rejecting such a gift now would be an insult to that… even if my heart now mourns that loss.." She exhaled a breath, and reached out for the golden apple finally, and took a bite.

Her color returned immediately, and while her magic did not return, (Odin still held half of it after all), it was as if Spring had returned to a land locked in ice. Her golden, sun kissed skin's hue returned. Her hair renewed to spun gold that shimmered in an otherworldly glow. Ruby painted lips. And those eyes that made poets and skalds weep with a failure to find a true comparison, returned to their natural jewel tones.


Would that Thor never learns how cleverly the Sorcerer can twist words to suite his own purposes from time to time. Silver-tongued diplomat he is, but no lies this time. There would be no point to it.

Content to observe and mentally-catalogue for the sake of knowledge, this is what Strange does, keeping his musings to himself. Finally…finally, however, he can Name the Asgardian without fear of reprisal. His skin tingles for the return of Amora's vitality and he sighs. Perhaps all is righted in the world now. …at least for the moment.


Thor blinks in surprise when Amora ignores the apple— a relic rare and treasured by even Asgardian standards— and touches his bearded cheek. She doesn't vamp or seduce him or caress him. It's a plaintive, sincere gesture, and all the more surprising for it.

"My.. memories?"

He blinks in confusion and rocks back on his heel, kneeling upright and looking to Strange for confirmation while the life force flows back into Amora's skin, and then he rises and moves to the Sorcerer Supreme, eyes intent on the man's face.

"Strange, this is a most curious passing, and my head rings as if a bell was struck in my skull. I think this is a story worth the telling… but I need your word of honor that you'll not let a lie be spoken in my presence while the story unfolds."


Amora sat, watching Thor in that same oddly sad manner. Her color restored, she kept her position, settled on the ground before the golden Prince of Asgard. She finished the apple, and with a wave of her hands, the core vanished with a puff of green magic. A hand reached up to run through her hair, her full lips pursed together as she kept her silence only for a moment more.

"I swear by the Norns and their weavings I would not lie to you about such a thing, darling. I found you lost and bereft of all such memories and powers on Midgard. I tracked you down by the traces of what I could find. If I had not put a spell on the hammer prior to your fight on Asgard.. I might not have found you at all. But I did. And I saw you protected, and safe. I tried my best to see you restored, even if it broke my heart." She glanced back to Strange.

"He can attested that I sought him out in my search to see you returned to yourself."


At first, Thor is given a silence implying mild offense taken by the Sorcerer. Then, slowly and with no small amount of sly pride in the faint dimples, he nods.

"There would be no benefit to me lying about what occurred before your ascension, Thor." Hey, no deific screws to his temples and no blenderizing of his brain! Strange looks around the tall Asgardian, past him, as Amora speaks in turn.

When she's had her say, he nods in confirmation. "She did and I was beholden to the Vihanti to keep silence in the matter. The mantle of the Sorcerer Supreme does not extend beyond the reach of Midgard unless the safety of the Realm is in question. Were you unable to return to your previous incarnation, then the geas would have been lifted and my ability to intervene permitted."


"I-I see," Thor says, looking more than a little stunned. "Such tumult has occurred, and I have so little memory of it."

He walks towards Amora, then, examining her, then moves Mjolnir to his left hand and offers her his right to aid her to her feet.

"Then I owe you a great debt, I think, Lady Amora," he tells the Enchantress, as humbly as he's able. "As you guarded me while I … slept, it seems. I know not what I can do to repay you for this, but if it 'tis in my power to do so, I will honor my debt," he promises her, bowing slightly.


Amora watched Thor, not so much as glancing in the Doctor's way as he spoke. She had eyes only for the Thunderer. So as he turned his gaze back toward her, and shifted the hammer from one hand to the other she reached up with her delicate, manicured hand and slipped it firmly into his grip to stand. She did not let go so easily, however. Not even as he spoke and bowed.

"Nay, my Prince. I owe my life to the man who loved me. The one who died to see my life restored. There is naught for you to thank me for. You owe me no debt." She whispered, and stepped closer toward him, her head tilted back slightly as she gaze upon him, attempting to lock eyes with her own as she gave his hand a squeeze.

"I can only hope you shall forgive me for whole heartedly taking what affections he gave to me, while you were not you. And ask your patience.. for I fear my heart is most remiss in seeking that still." She blinked repeatedly as she spoke, as if trying to fight off any sense of water that welled up in her green eyes. Her throat tightened and her jaw squared briefly but otherwise, the emotions she felt were only seen in the tone of her voice and in her words.


The moment is theirs, before the expanse of the Gardens and the Sisters Three. Strange finds interest elsewhere, someplace beyond the walls of the otherworldly arboretum, and his gaze goes distant and aglow in amaranthine. A little message is relayed through a diamond-weave strand and it flies off at the speed of thought to unerringly transmit through a pentacle bearing gemstones five. Yes, all is well.

Only when addressed again will he break from this trance-like moment.


Thor looks baffled by this side of Amora. Wistful, touching, emotional. Full of … not pain, not envy. But grief. Something dear and important lost to her.

And so he makes no effort to extricate himself from her fingers, leaving her to squeeze his hand.

"I… I think perhaps we should take our leave," he says, finally. "'tis unwise to tarry overlong in the Norn Orchards. Doctor, I trust you can find your way to Earth?" he inquires politely of the Doctor.

"And Amora, we should return to Asgard. I sense we have much to discuss," he tells her.


To say that the Enchantress had matured beyond the typical emotional level of a possessive teenaged girl was an understatement. And an odd one at that, and yet.. she had. For centuries she had remained the jealous, possessive, and self-absorbed woman that she always had been. This woman, had changed, had loved and not lost her love to some hated "other" woman. There was no one for her to strive against, to curse, or spit venomous words at.

There was nothing..

So she clung to Thor's hand as if it were some life line. Her gaze locked upon him fast and unable to move seemingly. Only when he addressed Strange did those green eyes move toward the Doctor. There was no flirtation in those eyes as she watched, waiting for his response before she returned her focus back to Thor.

"Aye, there is much my prince." She hesitated, and a brow rose. "Will not the All-father be displeased to see my return thus? I am .. I was to serve you on Midgard previously, as per the Queen's orders.. Till you sit as King or are married.."


The Sorcerer blinks away the Sight and turns to face the two Asgardians again. "'Tis a simple Gate, your highness. Nothing more complicated than this." Well…simple enough for him, with the ability to slice between dimensions with the ease of a Mystical scalpel. "I shall be on Midgard should you need further input or more information in regards to what occurred in your…absence."

The oculus is quick to open upon a press of his willpower and he steps through it into the Loft proper. The Gate falls shut behind him in a fleeting cloud of firefly-sparks.


Thor raises his hammer in salute of Strange. "Farewell, friend," he says, gravely.

His blue eyes turn to Amora— wondrously, confused at her strange melancholy and change of heart. For the first time in centuries, she does seem a different woman.

"If Odin is displeased, then let him be displeased. If my mother insists her orders stand, then I will have words with her and tell her that you served me well 'pon Midgard— my spirit, at least, if not myself."

Thor lifts his hammer and tilts his head skywards. "HEIMDALL!" he roars. "A BRIDGE!"

A downpour of glittering kaleidoscopic light slams from the heavens atop Amora and Thor, and moments later, they are gone— whisked to Asgard, for what will no doubt be many hours of telling and retelling the story of how Amora saved the life of a mortal who would be Thor.

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