1964-07-07 - Loki Bound - Finale
Summary: In which an ancient war replays itself, Death and Life have a conversation, and death magic is not to be taken lightly.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
bucky loki kai thor carol-danvers lambert amora hela 

Leaving behind the dry, featureless plain outside Helheim's great walls means leaving behind any vestige of civilisation, any trapping of comfort. The Aesir shades in Hela's court see to packing up the feasting table and the food, the golden apple taken by the Dread Queen herself. The powerful display of orogeny leaves a narrow gap between soaring cliffs, black basalt stones interlocking into a snaking path that goes immediately left and then zigzags through the stony mountainside. 'Tis a place of lasting shadows and numbing cold, chased by the mists of Niflheim that pervade even so far. Above the sky is a toneless dun streaked without clouds, only the sense of being very, very far away from light, joy, and life. That's what you get when Hela doesn't love you.

Lambert has his picnic blanket knotted at his neck, a backpack full of various items of food, and more than a little mead burning through his veins. Over all this rescue has been wonderful, as far as Lambert is concerned. He has that new mead recipe, he has a full belly, and he has some godlets and full blooded gods to follow along after. And after consuming alcohol? He has no self preservation. Lambert trip traps through the dark, winding chill, occassionally glancing up at the sky before saying "Do you think she ever goes to Palm Springs for a holiday?"

It's at least Lambert's fifth quip in the middle of trudging silence, and Thor sighs. Very, very wearily. He and Amora had stood off a small ways, having what sounded from the distance like a pretty good row; they've apparently made up, but there's some tension from the big blonde man at the front of their little party as he hikes along through the empty wastes of Helheim.

"Lambert, perhaps a gentle song for a time?" he suggests of the Bard. "A little music might lighten the burden of our spirits," he says, focusing on the terrain around them in case of ambush.

Safe passage from Hela's people is not the same as being safe in Helheim.

Carol glances sidelong at Lambert, "I suspect, if she's anything like Hades in the old Greek mythology, she stays here because it's her job, and she has to stay." She tilts her head towards the satyr, "But it's definitely a grim place here. Gives me the booboojeebees." She hovers a foot or so off the ground, gliding along with the group… just because that gives her a chance to get mobile fast, if necessary, though she keeps her voice down, looking a bit wary not that the relative safety of the Hall is behind them.

The metal-armed assassin trudges along, keeping a tactical eye on the landscape. He's not in a talking mood, and he only seems to be catching every other word. He's got his thoughts to struggle with, even if he prefers not to give them voice. This is his fault. None of this would be happening if he hadn't struck that fatal blow.

Trudging too far behind is what appears to be an older figure. Gnarled staff held by long fingers, the quiet thump-thump of the staff and the drag of a bum leg who'se foot seemingly drags to the side with a bit of effort. The off tune walks quite possibly creates an eerie sound, along with the hunch-back and terribly cloaked sound of the person who consistently grunts and grumbles, coughing to clear its throat as if the air itself, hurt.

Amora kept to Thor's side, her cloak seemingly appeared again, fur lined and smelling of spices. She for one, didn't seem too bothered by the cold nor the company. She stepped lightly as if she owned everything she espied, a sway of her hips following and a smirk on her full lips. Green eyes the color of Spring grasses and new growth settled on Carol.

"She is Queen and Mistress, her duty bids her stay. However 'tis by the All-father's enforcement and Asgards that it is enforced." She murmured softly. "Forget not that she might very well make attempts for more. It has occurred in other ways and other times."

Then she shrugged and reached up to tap her chin. "How well do you all know of the other Slavi Pantheon? Of what might we encounter?" She murmured, arching a golden brow upwards.

Travel passes… And passes…

The labyrinth is no friend to those who walk in the darkness. Even those with near perfect night vision may be perceiving strange images at the periphery of their gaze, hallucinating the shapes of roots pushing through the rough stone walls that guide them forever onwards. Every circuitous turn and tormented curve leads to some direction deeper. Cold turns numbing. Numbing turns desert-hot. It might be an hour, a year. Time cares nothing for the dead, and by the time they're anywhere near the cleft in the rock that shows a murky shading of colour, their feet surely ache. Even the Asgardians' boots are treading leather, though mercifully some like the Trickster keep their complaints to themselves.

Colour. There isn't much of it to go by, but in a realm of ash and bone and frost, anything sticks out. Sepulchral darkness and a hint of indigo shows. A kiss of russet dirt. An end…

The Horns of Aduma

A rearing, extinct volcano rises above the surrounding red plain.

The double-crested peak has weathered the centuries, its sharp slopes giving a hint of its former conical shape. Basalt and sharp igneous rock rims the base in a forbidding jumble, leaving the peak to the wild rams and birds. None of them are present now, leaving the brooding presence for the shades gathered below. Rusted cliffs and jagged promontories guard a walled keep of some kind that perches hundreds of feet above. No windows grace the ragged gates. Nothing remotely invites entry through a visible gate or arch, for there aren't any seen from below. Not so much as a goat trail to access the ramparts. Such makes the presence of some kind of staggered, rough-shouldered mountaintop above all the more forbidding.

Gathered below its flanks is a heaving mass of darkness…

Lambert has never found a stomach or silence he did not intend to do something about. As Thor speaks, he considers, then he starts to sing quite softly "Sto parathyri provale / ligo na se do kale / provale provale sto parathyri / kane mou to chatiri…" From tone, a romance, perhaps - and what else would he have, unless it was something about drinking? His voice is untrained, but sweet enough, it has to be said, though it is a little wavery. Boobojeebees here as well, Carol Danvers. Then there is a wry smile and a shake of the head to Amora as Lambert begins the second verse of the love song. He knows little of non-Greek Gods.

But once the horns show up, Lambert slows and puts his hands on his hips with a low whistle of worry at the darkness below, then shoots a sharp, startled look at everyone else "Er," he says, then hesitates, and points back at the trudging figure behind them as well.

Thor throws a hand up to stop the party. All of them. Tensions sings across his shoulders, eyes narrowed as his warrior instincts twig to something yet unseen.

He grips Mjolnir and looks at it in surprise. The runes on the hammer, ancient and usually dull, glow an angry red in tone. It shocks even Thor; he looks around, then beckons the others to form a circle, facing outwards.

"We are watched, and we tread into some dire peril," Thor hisses, voice low and tense. "Captain Marvelous, mind your height; Amora, be ready with illusions. All others, to arms and ready," he says, finally spotting the latecomer and staring at him with a narrow-eyed gaze.

Carol Danvers blinks in surprise, hovering to a halt, then lowers herself to just a few inches above the ground. "Yeah, you don't have to tell me twice…" She frowns at the floating blob of darkness with a wary expression, before adding, "I don't know anything about Slavic gods… all the Russians I dealt with were atheists, at least in theory. Reality, not too sure."

Bucky takes up a defensive position without a word. Does he have a gun? Yes, he has a gun, and he holds it loosely at his side, non-threatening but ready.

Him.. her.. it.. them.. we.. she.. did not matter..

For the sound of the horns awaken such terror beneath. The first to rise were the dust that clings to metal, a quickening wind that blows across the battlefield. The rattle of chains that signify something being pulled taut, and shattering due to the age of the metal that contained what gruesome beast it helled. Teeth slowly begin to gnash at the air, testing and working jawbones that still have little flesh clinging to them. Tongues, purple, fat and rotted test and scent the air as if they were snakes tasting fear.

The first sound was a boom, the second dragging. And then a million grunts and groans as if men and women were waking up from the longest slumber that they have ever had.

Could it be that the dead walked?
Or maybe the enchanted were called.
Perhaps the cursed, those doomed to these very hellish lands repeated the battle again and again with no respite.

Their bones clacked, the ones visible as their heads hung at an unnatural state, a few of them screamed in the distance as the joints oft filled with liquid that spilled out onto the ground like black oil. There could have been a stumble, and a tumble through the liquid, unknown language to state their distates.. but the following was clear..:

'EGH ARU NAK'TAUNA!' A shout came across the horizon..

And it all looks pretty dire.

Nevermind the one who trudges along in the back. -SHE- is not here for the living. (Okay, maybe she is. Maybe.)

Amora had backed up against Thor, but her eyes were not upon him nor the hammer. No her gaze as upon the distant sight of twisted magic that seep around them. Her hands shot upwards around them, a shouted word of power pulling from her lips. Of spring and summer days, or green and growing things. Of sweet mead and lovers between sheets. Of life.

Green bloomed up around them in a defensive shield, and she glared out at the warriors beyond the sight of most mortals into the darkness beyond. "The death march. Thousands of them. They wait. There is a necromancer. I can taste his power on the air. He has brought them to unlife again."

When the last, Loki, is through, Hela's passageway collapses on itself. The Horns of Aduma rise off to the left of the group's current position. To the right, and nearer, the staggered skyline representing a town lies against a dully gleaming lake. Few lights or fires glow in that direction, and none from the mountain proper. Soot and dust dance over the air. Gone with the gate, the muffling effect.

Noise roars through the air, instantly recognizable to Thor before anyone else. They've fallen into the middle of a terrible, violent battle. Before them, however, lies heaving darkness filled by thousands upon thousands of men. Men wielding sword and ranseur, lance and pike, shield and mace and morningstar. Darkness chases over the warriors. Behind them, at some distance thanks the torched olive grove, more warriors clash.

The sparkles surrounding Captain Marvel pick up in intensity as she slides towards the front of the grove, glancing over towards Thor and Amora, "Okay, you guys are gods, and I'm decidedly not. Do we want to head for the town, or the mountain? I'm thinking unless these dead people are coming for us directly, there's no need to try and fight them."

Thor turns to Amora. Long experience lets them bypass many nuances of the discussion.

"Stealth and guile is yours and Loki's," he tells her. "To crash across this battlefield armed is a suicide mission, and I think only Carol and I can sustain it. We must reach him swiftly and surely, and with our entire force intact."

Speaking of… where is the Trickster? Loki apparently vanished from sight a few moments after stepping out of the gateway. No comment on his whereabouts needs to be made.

Lambert has no sparkles whatsoever. Indeed, the only thing he does is turn around to his backpack and pull off an odd looking stave from it. A little shorter than a walking staff, but thick, with a moulded pinecone head in bronze. Compared to the army before them, it is _nothing_. Indeed, it is ancient, and ordinary, a literal family heirloom "I'm…just a person," he says to Carol after a moment, voice unusually meek. That…battle has clearly shaken him.

|ROLL| Hela +rolls 1d20 for: 4

Combat. This is Bucky's comfort zone inasmuch as he has one. Still, he's oriented toward the mission, and so while he gets ready to fight it out, it's to clear a path for the others, not to indulge in the catharsis of bloodshed.

Amora frowned faintly at Thor, her expression pinched. "I know not if the necromancer is the one we seek, but I bet a fair bit he may very well be. If he can trap Kai's soul beyond Hela's reach, this army is not beyond him." A pause, her brows shooting upwards as she eyed it. "I know spells that would do this." Her lips thinned faintly, she could do a spell similar if not very close to the same. "You must not die here. If you do, there every chance your soul too shall become his play thing." She exhaled a harsh breath, her hands still glowing green from the protective bubble she'd encased them in. Keeping them from immediate sight, and from immediate danger at least. "I shall take them to the mountain then, Thor, for the magic is strongest in that direction." And she stepped up to the Thunderer, reaching up to steal a kiss from his lips unless otherwise stopped.

It's an ugly sound, that sucking wheeze of a punctured lung. Multiply by tenfold — nay, thousand-fold. Add in the creak of spinal columns rent near to rupturing by war-axe and broadsword alike, the rare complete juicy crack of a leg bone giving way as they rise.

Fight, do they fight. Soldiers in forgotten, damned red crosses on what once was snowy-white; now the lambs return from the abattoir they were once led to by their beliefs. Still others collide, in bronzed plate-mail and with recurved bows already strung and pulled back to sing with arrows ready to find a home in giving flesh. Volleys of them shoot through the dark sky, more heard than seen by the mortals. Even Amora's going to have trouble perceiving them despite her magic.

All are dead, looking as if they're simply shaking off a nap. Blood freely flows from wounds, spurting where arteries have been rent to patter upon the ground like rain. These warriors ignore their wounds. The attention falling upon the few called truly living is a heavy thing, ripe with fetid breath, sweetly sickening like the kiss from the grave. They turn — and they come.

|ROLL| Hela +rolls 1d20 for: 4

Thor kisses Amora fiercely and without abandon, and then releases her so she can shepherd the others to the objective. To cut a path through the undead with hammer and force would be a suicide mission, of course.

But distracting them— well, Thor does do a /great/ distraction.

"Friend Captain," Thor tells the blonde flier, grinning at her with a growing ease and whipping his hammer at the end of his arm. "To buy my friends time, I'd fain your aid in kicking a thorough amount of undead arse," he tells her. "You may go with them as a protector, or stand with me as my left hand. Have you ever been a Shield-Maiden of Asgard?" he asks, rhetorically. "This would be one fight towards that worthy title."

Thor turns and flies a few hundred yards from Amora and the others, up over the battlefield, and raises Mjolnir to the skies.

And to his calls, the Storm responds— elemental, brutal, and gleefully obeying the summons of the God of Thunder.

Captain Marvel grins, "Now we're talking!" She looks at Lambert, "Stay close to her, she'll keep you safe." And with that, she launches into the sky after Thor. As the lightning flashes from the storm, Carol flies right into the thunderbolt, the lightning transfixing her…

And suddenly the golden sparkles turn a brilliant silver, the heroine shining bright enough that it's almost impossible to look directly at her, a divine star guided by the Storm as she cuts loose with massive energy blasts, aimed at causing widescale carnage amongst the battling undead.

While she does so, she does say as an aside to Thor, "Shield-Maiden of Asgard? Does this mean I get a suit of armor?" She grins at the question, continuing her work as… well, it isn't exactly killing people when they're already dead, right?

Lambert makes a noise at that thunder - he would say it was a manly bellow of assent, but mostly it comes out as 'urgh'. He is still staring at the dead, without the experience of the others here. One does not learn such things in culinary school. Lambert keeps his thrysus in his right hand, and he then gloms up next to Amora, telling her "Uh, I can. Run fast? I'm, er, mostly just a. Distraction." When Captain Marvel does her Marvellous thing, Lambert has to shade his goatish, lozenge-shaped pupils with his free hand. But he is ready to follow Amora.

Relevant song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLCuL-K39eQ | https://open.spotify.com/track/4c4g3PTuPVb9aNwgxUsSI6

Lightning scorches a midnight sky, practically vibrating out of the hammer along its scalded ruby sigils. Runes fill in and turn weirdly white, the churning ozone stench building. Then it roars out and forks, crashing through some of the bodies massed in the battlefield. Of course every soldier is damn near turning for the incandescent figures. Thor's light and Captain Marvel's glow make plain something: not one of those warriors is anything close to twentieth century.

Bucky is like a ghost on the battlefield. So to speak. He's silent save for the report of his gunfire in short, contained bursts. He's got a sniper's precision, and dead warriors who get too close drop.


They may not be of the twentieth century, but they still could pack a punch. They could take orders, they could move and ride like the wind on skeletal horses like moving chess pieces across the board. Attention was had, naturally. And ivory bows created from the bones of the fallen, thickly laced nerve-endings to create the string were unassed and arrows.. ruined with rust, old blood, ichor and poison were notched into place.

'AKLATA!' The scream comes.. and soon arrows go flying. Many arrows that threaten to snuff the life from Carol and Thor to blot out -their- suns.

Breathlessly, Amora stepped back as Thor turned and took off. Her green eyes lingering on him as he stormed into the hordes of undead. Then her gaze was back to Lambert, and Bucky as he maintains their area. She shed her cloak as if she had all the time in the world and it vanished in a cloud of magic that swirled around her. Green eyes fell on them and her lips thinned as her gaze scanned the horde. Magic spread out from her, illusion coating those around her in the image of the dead. Cloaking them to appear, smell, and sound as the dead that swarmed around. "Halt your firing, if this is to take!"

There comes a disembodied voice that is most certainly Loki's. He speaks softly, purring, at Lambert's ear, "Off we go, my friend…" Then closer to Bucky, "To the challenge. But fear not, I will keep you safe. But move. Move as swift as you can, follow Amora." Loki's powers of illusion may be taxed with such a great many enemies to shield them, so he does not try to affect every undead soul. Only the nearest, and only when the group is close, trying to help them make a run for the mountain while his brother and Carol destroy swaths of the past warriors with their combined might. "Amora…I am here with you."

Many people think Mjolnir is the great weapon. It's powerful, certainly, with the mass of a dwarf star. Momentum enough to break /worlds/ if it were thrown hard enough.

But it is the lightning that makes Thor mighty— the storms. The raw elemental fury of nature itself. And Thor cuts loose in a way that he never can on Earth, around mortals and with the concerns of a vast environment to protect. The winds push downwards with galeforce intensity to deflect arrows back at the launchers, and Thor keeps Mjolnir spinning near him and Carol to help maintain a more direct ablation. Lightning crawls across the battlefield like fingers plowing furrows in loose sand, flinging dirt and rock and bodies around with explosive concussion. It moves like no lightning— more like a living thing, electricity harnessed to Thor's will. Vast bolts piledrive larger groups of enemies even at great range, and the ground is raked with finer lines of power that leap from foe to foe.

And just to keep Carol topped off, once in a while Thor hits her with a bolt of lightning too so she can put her heart into it.

|ROLL| Hela +rolls 1d20 for: 5

|ROLL| Hela +rolls 1d20 for: 7

No less than two dozen arrows skim through the lightning charge and tear through Thor's peaceful garments. Pity for him the cape is now a white flag flapping at the dead, an ancient sign of surrender. Now if only flipping Mjolnir agreed at all with that. The projectiles are not solid, not in the true sense of the word. They plunge through physical barriers and keep going, ghostly weird.

Of course, the two spellcasters can probably taste the iron-tang of blood on them. Another takes Carol through the knee, melting into a pang of pain and nothingness. Now her adventuring stories will surely speak of that one time her career was ruined and she had to take on another post guarding an Asgardian door.

Captain Marvel keeps shining like a star… occasionally her glow dips a bit, considering the sheer amount of energy she's burning through, but then she gets a hit from Thor's lightning for a quick recharge. They really make a deadly tandem, as Carol glances at Thor, "I think I could really use that suit of armor about now!" She glances down at her knee, trying to vaporize some of the arrows with her blasts, though she's not sure that would work… "I think we've distracted them enough big guy!"

Bucky, Amora, Loki, and Lambert vanish from relative sight. Nothing protects them from the broad storm of arrows in front save the two combatants and lightning. Now, the problem behind the widening gulf the two warriors open is fairly plain: those soldiers in plate mail and leathers have pikes. Long, long pointy pikes. And they're starting to jog with their skewers for… Thor? Hey, why not. Between a pointy place and a Thor place, their ends. Run!

Lambert does not scream as Loki whispers in his ear, probably because he is getting close to Total Maximum Terror already and little more can be done. His tanned skin is rather pale right now, lit by the occassional flash of lighting. He is forced to put his hands over his keen ears, moving them to his sensitive nose now blocked from all the generated ozone. The sybarite just nods frantically and, trying to avoid thonking himself in the face with his thrysus, he heads behind Amora. FWIP - an arrow goes past his shoulder, and Lambert skeddadles behind the creatures of Asgard - and Bucky. When Lambert really cuts loose, he _bounds_ rather than paces, in great bouncy lengths. No wonder he has that varsity jacket.

Bucky pauses only briefly when he hears Loki's voice. Before all of this started he might have been surprised, but these days, it seems to be just another day at the office. He covers Lambert as they make a break for it, shooting at archers whose arrows get to close.

|ROLL| Jean Grey +rolls 1d20 for: 20

Amora ran as fast as she could without disrupting her spell work, or attracting attention, or even losing those that trailed behind her. The Enchantress was trying her best. And running in even magick'ed high heels over a rugged battlefield steeped in undead magic was hellish on her calves. "Loki, no matter what happens, one of us needs must get to that castle." She muttered. The strain of holding the magic while they moved was showing in the sweat that prickled her brow. Even though it managed to only make her look rather more gorgeous. Such was her state.

|ROLL| Amora +rolls 1d20 for: 11

Dead soldiers in red-crossed tabards and carrying the crescents on their shields storm after the luminous figures in the sky. Their collective screams and shouts blend into a deafening cacophony. Even those under the invisibility veil thrown by the Asgardian sorcerers cannot hear themselves. The ground vibrates as units form up with a discipline generally forgotten in the modern age. Children of war pivot and charge, and the wailing brassy horns bring a surge of terrible magic. Their rush after Thor and Captain Marvel is met with more of those projectiles, spears jabbed, pikes rammed through defenses. Weapons of spectral make inflict a sapping of energy more than actual bloody wounds, though the soldiers' cut, battered bodies show all sorts of interesting wounds. Still, the two warriors open a route for Amora to lead the others through towards the forbidding cliff-faces of the Horns. The volcanic mountainside rears up above them…

…until the mountainside abruptly loses about a hundred feet of height. Those twinned crags giving its name as the Horns of Aduma suddenly aren't horns at all. Rattling motion sets the ground to vibrating harshly. Anyone unfortunately below may just be knocked off their feet into the bloody mass. Movement shears down to a shadowy blight spreading long, long wings into the battlefield. Those limbs slide over the base of the mountain and stretch to the battlefield. A casual sideways swat brings a shocking amount of force for something that looks utterly ephemeral.

Except it isn't. The malice in the darkness gives it an unholy strength.

Amora doesn't have much chance to do anything more than mount a token defense. She is violently hurled airborne through Thor's lightning towards the lake. Her Asgardian physiology will save her from having almost every bone in her body shattered, but it can't stop pain. And Czernobog is a master of delivering that.

Loki makes himself visible to the others in his little attack-group, and Loki appears to have a rather impressive-looking bow in his left hand. A bundle of arrows is on his back. Not enough for an army, but…enough in a pinch. "We are getting there, Amora. Once we reach the castle…we need to find its drain…its /secret/ entrance…" And then Amora is gone and…, their threat is looming very humongous in front of them, "THOOOOOOOR?!" He calls out, and then he puts an arrow to his bow, aiming it at the creature's face. "Bucky, Lambert…stay against the wall! Find the entrance!" Then he lets fly the arrow from Godkiller, his ancient bow that is capable of slaying Asgardians and things that normally would laugh at bows. The arrow sings and strains with the force of its launch.

Of course he does. Buck's slinking along the wall, seeking the entrance as ordered, rifle slung for the moment, knife in hand. His expression is grim, remote, as if he were only half paying attention to his surroundings.


Thor's voice is louder than any battlehorn, and he flies across the battlefield like he's his own bolt of lightning, aiming towards the shattered green blur with bewildering acceleration.

He snatches Amora out of the air and banks around, looking at the dragon with a desparate look. "Amora! Veil thyself!" he tells the blonde.

He drops her from a relatively painless height into a thicket, outside the view of the undead warriors.

And then Thor puts on the speed. Thor can fly on his own power— but he throw Mjolnir even faster. The storm abates for a moment and then returns with crashing force, a vast web of lightning and power slamming down against the monster's's back and wings with all the power Thor can demand of the world aroudn him.

And then, as swift and sure as Godkiller itself, Thor's hammer flings skywards from concealment like a well-flung uppercut, aiming to drive the beast's skull backwards and expose some chink in the armor for Loki's arrow to exploit.

Because this, too, is a game the brothers have played for many a millennia.

Carol blinks as Amora gets knocked across the sky, then she narrows her eyes at the giant shadow-thing. She flies into a lightning bolt, then another, gathering up as much energy as she can manage… and then, her glow dims, and seems to vanish entirely.

Until she unleashes a brilliant white bolt of power straight into the Heart of Darkness, channeling her stored energy into one wrathful burst as she shouts, "DARKNESS WILL NOT AVAIL YOU!" The energy blast goes on and on, a brilliant and righteous rage in contrast to the miasma and shadows of this place, also buying cover for the stealthy people to advance to do what must be done.

Lambert is trying to leap along with caprine agility, but landing in blood and fat when you have such an acute sense of smell is misery for him. He scrabbles a bit, keeping up with the others only due to Olympian levels of innate fitness. Once the mountain starts to rumble, though, the goat-man is holding his thrysus out wide, trying to keep his balance, bouncing from one foot to the other until he tumbles himself. Lambert lands, bounces, and grunts, and bounces again, and lands thankfully on his head for the worst bit. This means that he is just bruised everywhere _else_, because that skull is designed to hit things with. As Loki commands, Lambert nods dizzily, and then he tries to stay affixed to the wall, to limp around to find an opening of some kind. He has heard Amora fall, and his attention keeps swinging that way, because there's a terribly soft heart inside Lambert. The light and sounds are confusing, so he tries with his hands as well.

Amora's response to Loki was broken off as she was suddenly sent flying before she could as much sa catch her footing. She knew pain and it was horrible and noxious and— Then she was in Thor's arms. Not breaking into rubble and crashing hard. The impact of hitting his armor was enough to steal the breathe from her none the less and she couldn't so much as formulate a response to him. Only barely able to catch herself as he set her in the brambles before darting off to face Chernabog.

The Enchantress stood panting for breath, her eyes closed as she struggled to orient herself.

The lone finger that followed the motley crew was mostly forgotten. Forgotten in the sense of urgency, where she lingered back and hung upon her staff like a woman too old to breathe. But there was -life- there, life in how her fingers clutched the staff and began to twist. A slow, rolling anger that coated and twisted the hunch of her back. Anger that sent cracks amongst bones as the enchantment slowly begins to drop.

With the spread of the wings, Czernobog grow to life and so will -she-.

The hood of her ratted cloak was drawn away, short bristled hair upon brown skin began to spark with nearly the same living thunder that Thor himself commanded. The gale wind slowly begins to creep at her feet, kicking up dust and debris into a tornado like maelstrom that emcompasses her very being. And it -grew-.

It grew to heights that matched the God, and yet.. nothing else seemingly picked up in its path. The cloak itself was tossed aside soon after, and like a crack of thunder the winds, the maelstrom, all ceaed around her.

"CZERNOBOG!" The dark goddess' voice boomed across the horizon, her foot lifting to plant hard upon the ground which sends the entire environ to shake around her. T'was like an earthquake, brought on by force and the will of battle, the battle that draws the womans once brown eyes to bleed a sclera of black, her tribal armor like a moving void that creeps upon her skin. "NO MORE."

No more shall the living suffer amongst the dead. Let the dead fight in their endless fight to tease and entertain the gods that have them.. but not them.

"I am Oya Inyansan. The Mother of Nine. Ayaba Nikua. The Queen of Death." Another step forward, the dead crunged beneath her feet. And yet when she moves, they will continue to rise. "Lady of the Wind. She Who Turns and Changes.." And as if those words brought on a terrible might, the once brown beauty's face transforms into something -horrid-.

"I am the Goddess of the Nine Skirts. She who bears CHAOS and ORDER. Orisha of death and rebirth.. and you shall -not- have these children this day!"

If there was a distraction that would be needed at this time, this was it.

Her voice, now soft, carries through the battlefield of the travelers.


The mountain is still steep-sided, no path up. It may be missing the top hundred feet, but the mountain fastness remains. The keep simply sits above the high cliffs. There aren't archways or gates leading up to it, no parade of ghosts doing a conga dance to show them the way. Rocky sides go up at least two hundred feet before reaching the base of the keep's walls. Want in? Better climb.

Three discrete attacks are launched. The arrow zips through a crackling gap in the electrical storm crashing down from the cloudy heavens. Thor's lightning-girded hammer goes flying up the mountainside and crashes into the dark figure, whose scaled hide ripples and crackles with a dark light. Czernobog is knocked off his perch by the strength of the throw. Carol's light follows in reflection, but as Czernobog falls into the greater shadows down the mountainside, it's a glancing blow at best for her. A night without stars where the clamouring hordes on the battlefield chase after Thor and the glowing human makes detecting someone perfectly black and dark very difficult.

Loki makes a motion, then stows his bow and starts digging in and climbing up the mountain with Bucky and Lambert, sneakily. Hand over hand…at least the army has to climb too if they want to pursue the climbers.

He's got a shot from here. It's not a great one, and none of the ammo he's brought is specifically created for the injury and death of the divine, cthonic or no. But before he too starts clambering up the mountainside, Bucky draws a bead and fires - the crack of the rifle report an odd gracenote in a battle fought mostly with magic or medieval weaponry.

|ROLL| Hela +rolls 1d20 for: 8

Bucky's shot flies off into the vertical mountainside. It cracks against the foundation stone of the keep, and sends down a fine shower of grit. Proof the castle itself is apparently not terribly protected against steal or lead.

Having tumbled off his spot under a triple salvo, Czernobog throws his heavy head back and utters a bone-rattling howl that rolls around like a crashing wave. The Yoruba goddess' presence, along with three Asgardians, is insult upon injury. The ground shakes to a wobbling pitch… and then the mountain goes completely still.

The coward runs; its more than enough for the Yorubian goddess to crack off a cry of war.

A large hand sweeps across the battlefield, grabbing up a swatch of fleshy minions to crush beneath her mighty gasp. Now was the chance for them to run, The Mother of Nine, she who is unbeatable, is in play.

Thor flies back to where he'd dropped Amora, calling low and urgently for her. "Amora! We must over the wall swiftly," he say, spotting Loki with a brother's unerring eye. He hugs her quickly once he finds her, and hodling Amora to his chest, Thor launches skywards, hammer low and ready for battle. He sweeps past the glowing star that is Captain Marvel.

"Captain, stifle thy light and follow me," the Thunder says, finally ditching his white coat. The enchantment of his armor flickers, shading it a deep grey in color from head to toe. He flies to join the others, as silently as possible.

Captain Marvel shakes her head, "Don't have much in the way of reserves left, big guy, that's not going to be a problem." Indeed, she's just got a few silver and gold motes around her, as she flies down and low, pausing just long enough to scoop up Bucky and Lambert, one under each arm as she says, "Hey boys, need a lift?" She grins and then takes off, going pretty darn fast up the side of the mountain. Why walk when you can fly? Or get a free ride anyway?

Lambert is not so arrogant so as to believe that Loki - or Bucky, or the others - need his help in climbing. As the mountain stills, it helps a great deal, and he takes the chance to move faster, to climb higher. He lacks the supernatural protection and strength the others have, so he has scratches, a bloody spot on his arm, and bruises starting to show up more and more. His breathing is fast and high, his expression turning from 'Ahhhh!' to 'Oh God!' as he is scooped up "…I'm not used to girls picking _me_ up," Lambert comments to Bucky.

Loki continues to climb up the mountain, now alone, until he is at the base of the wall, hands stinging from the effort. Though, when Lambert and Bucky are lifted up, then he just tries to teleport to the top of the castle wall with a quick motion of his hands. Since the boys have a ride, no need for him to stick around doing wall-work!

The teleportation attempt rebounds back on Loki and tosses him to the bottom of the mountain.

Loki attempts immediately, to teleport to the bottom of the mountain!

Amora was swept up into Thor's arms with a grateful sigh, exhaustion apparent on the Enchantress who had kept the illusions running for as long as she'd been able. "I know," She got out before he'd taken off. She held tightly onto him as he picked her up and flew them both toward the mountain. Her golden hair whipping about them both just as much as his own cloak usually did.

He's getting a ride. This is enough to break Bucky's deadpan….and by his uncertain expression, he's not at all sure what he thinks about this. "Thanks," he says, gruffly. "Yeah, me neither," he asides to Lambert. "And mostly it's redheads, when it happens."

The walls of the castle rear up in a smooth push of metal. There's a curiously jagged roof that gives no real foothold, and exactly one point of entrance. The slab of stone and metal is rust-red, though in the dark, it looks black. Its bas relief is marked with…
… a chicken.

Its beak is opened imperiously. Even the chicken is an asshole.

|ROLL| Hela +rolls 1d100 for: 72

Thor stares at the door. He clearly thinks about hitting it. Very hard. Possibly smashing his way through the entirety of the building.

Thor gives in to his instincts. The time for subtlety is past.

"Back," Thor warns the others— and then punches at the door with Mjolnir with all the force he can muster, blowing it not just open but rocking it off the hinges as well.

A pained *bawk* echoes in the night, then vanishes into the echoing silence…

Carol drops off Bucky and Lambert at the top, then flies back down quickly to see Loki at the bottom. She extends her arm, "Guessing it's warded against your magic or something, huh? I might actually start understanding all this weird shit some day." She actually smiles at the trickster, "Need a lift?" Well, unlike a satyr or an assassin with a complicated backstory, Loki is a deity so doesn't just get scooped up.

Within the castle is a large, rectangular chamber. Burning torches let off absolutely no heat and have a uniformly dim glow to reveal the wash of fiery marble and dark pillars that stand like ash. The place has been clearly ransacked by whatever Crusader soldiers rushed through it. An archway opens to a hallway that swings directly west or immediately north.

Loki gets picked up by Carol. He's a lot heavier than he looks. But, its rude to say that to him. He is dragged along, a total failure yet again, until he is deposited by the Kree into the entrance of the castle. Once he's set down again, he heads on into the castle, following his blond brother to whatever end. "Thank you, Danvers. I think not…about understanding any of the weird shit, as you put it. I have no idea what is happening. I do know that if this starts to go poorly…just fly away with James and Lambert. Kai would not wish anyone to die for him."

Lambert says to the others "You know, with all the crazy stuff going on down there, and the exploding chicken, I don't think we're going to get away with being quiet, so, uh…" He has been rather quiet, for the last little while. Intimidated by the violence - while his thrysus is effectively a small mace, it is _nothing_ compared to the weapons wielded by the others. And then he cups his hands around his mouth and calls out "Kai! Kai?" And he starts to trot to the north. Compasses point north, right?

"Kai doesn't get to decide that," growls Bucky. Or maybe Winter. Hard to know. He's apparently taken escort duty for Mr. Goat. "Hush," he tells Lambert, a little more irritably. "Don't let 'em know where we are." He's picked north, too, creeping forward as if to scout. No use jumping facefirst into the traps that surely have to be there.

Amora trailed after Thor, keeping close even as she sent a glance back toward Loki as he was set down. The banging of the destroyed door earned a wince, but she went into the castle regards after him. Even if most of her instincts were screaming at her to get out and leave. She pursed her lips, and muttered a spell under her breath. A globe of light came to life in her hands, "Loki, have you something of Kai's? We can send it after his shade if he be here. Or his body. I know not which it is."

|ROLL| Kai +rolls 1d20 for: 20

In his childhood bedroom, of the old farmhouse in Scotland, circa the early 1700s. Kai sits on the floor, his back against his bed, and he holds in his hands a wooden pig with articulated joints. It's scuffed from time and wear, and one of the ears is chipped off. How long has he been here? He's lost track of time. There's been nothing to break the silence. No company, nothing happening. Til he hears a familiar voice around the door. Sitting up, he calls out, "In here! Lambert! I'm in here!"

_Crumble_! Lambert has wonderful reaction speed - for a mortal. Which is what enables him to scramble sideways in time for Bucky to grab his arm and help him stop going into a deep hole that goes down in the ground. He skids wildly, other arm windmilling, and then pants as his bruised form stabilises "Uhhh. Door ahead of me is - someone - Loki, and, uh, others, you should get through that -"

Thor keeps one arm around Amora's shoulders, supporting her; the other, under Carol's arms, offering a shoulder for the blonde aviator to lean against. All three look haggard, and Thor is clearly feeling the fatigue of his injuries. Still, he holds Mjolnir across Amora as if shielding her from any harm.

Captain Marvel actually looks pretty winded, but hovers near Thor as she's still having a bit of a problem using her leg, thanks to that arrow to the knee. She winces, "Hope that recovers and…" She blinks as she hears Kai's voice on the other end of the door. "Kai, this is Carol, stand away from the door!"

Then she gives a ten count for Kai to get clear, before she winds up and flies at the door. And through it, as she blasts into the room, the door cracking into kindling as she hovers in the air. "Oof, what a day." Carol looks pretty tired, but grins a bit.

Loki offers Amora a lock of golden hair. "My magic is failing in this place. If yours still works…then please. Find Kai." The green-eyed god definitely looks like he's currently on a low note. When he began, he had risen, with shining helm and fierce heart. He has been beaten down through frustration and insurmountable odds. He's struggling onwards though, to whatever end. He hears the voice. His brows lift, though, also skepticism clouds his joy. When Lambert almost falls through the floor, though, he sucks in a quick breath. "Perhaps…" He looks at Carol, then Thor, then draws in a deep breath. He's just about to ask Carol to retrieve Kai, when she does just that and brilliantly. He can do nothing but waitf.

Carol's busted the door down. But once the dust clears, there's Bucky. "C'mon," he says to Kai, extending the metal hand, like the elf has been dawdling over doing his hair and made them late for the movie. "Loki's come to rescue you, along with a buncha your friends. Let's get outta here."

Amora leaned heavily against Thor's side, her hair a mussed tangle from her flight. Yet as Loki makes to hand her a lock of hair, she reached to take it, only to pause at the mention of a door up ahead. It would seem they had found Kai regardless! She lets her magic evaporate, waving off the hair to Loki. A smile graced her lips as she came to a halt, catching her breath and reaching out to burying her head against Thor's shoulder.

"At least he's been found."

Kai stays back from the door, and once it's busted down, the toy pig whips through the doorway, poinking off Carol harmlessly. "Sorry! Reflex!" Kai calls. At least he didn't go for the chamberpot. He doesn't come to the door immediately. He's been through so much, anything could be a trap. An elf can't be too sure! But the he hears that Loki has come, and he hurries to the threshold. He's rather well-groomed for being a prisoner in an underworld, in the regalia of a wealthy Alfheimian, never mind that the room itself is from a rather poor farmhouse. He's had a complicated afterlife. "Loki? Everyone! Where's Loki?" He searches, then his eyes widen. "It's really you!"

The interior of the room holds an elf in accustomed antiquity. Simple enough for Kai to walk out, avoid the hole, and step out onto the mountainside again. Dawn waits. And there's the odd thing.

As soon as the last person steps out from the keep, it starts to blow away into a ruined state. Walls crumble visibly into weathered rocks. The roof isn't there. The mountain stands tall, however. The warriors on the ground are simply gone. In their place, baked earth and pale grass blows in the pale light. A sleepy town waits by the water. The spell Amora detected vanishes away.

Except for one feature. The woman in a black dress with a dark crown raising her arm into the air, and a globe of solid darkness infusing her. Hela might not even be noticeable to those emerging the dawn-licked ruins.

She vanishes a moment later into the streets of that forgettable little place on the shores of a Near Eastern salt lake.

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