1964-07-17 - Party Hearty in the Meadhall
Summary: Celebrating guests in the Court of Asgard leads to parries of witticisms and spilled mead. Party foul!
Related: Inside One's Guard
Theme Song: None
kelda thor 

Thor and Kelda, having gone their separate ways after the sparring session, met up again on the other end of their social obligations; just as warriors must train, the royal Retinue must drink and revel to celebrate.

Granted, in Asgard there's cause for celebration almost nightly; a thousand years of memories, memorials, dedications, holidays, and ceremonial events provide plenty of excuses to get riotously drunk and feats on the finest of victuals. And then pass out and wake up the next morning to repeat it all.

Thor enters the dining hall, after his father and mother; then, the royal guests; and when he arrives, it's with his own retinue in tow, those Asgardians who are his allies and confidants. He's dressed in a long, belted robe of deep blue with silver trim, with truncated demisleeves; a thick warrior's belt adorns his waist, with three bands of ringleted leather dangling to his knee from the buckle. A ceremonial red cape hangs to his midwaist, but scuffed and well-loved bracers on his wrists mark him a warrior, first and foremost. Still, at least as a nod to the occassion, his hair's been combed and two thin braids from his brow pull it back into a symmetric array.

Sturdy leather boots scuff the floor and he walks to his own table; with Odin and Frigga playing the hosts to Karnilla and several other foreign leaders, he's released from the duties of diplomacy today, and so seats himself at the head of his entourage and bids them sit with a gesture.

As an ally and confidant, it falls upon Kelda to join the Prince's retinue. Behind him, to one side, the pale-blonde walks with the smooth grace betokened to her person. Her own evening wear is rather simple compared to the rest of the gathering and court as a whole. Butter-gold, her gown, trimmed in ivory and with pearls sewn in accenting places. With a modest gentle V of a neckline and gossamer veils for sleeves from elbow down, her waist is contained within a bodice of a slightly darker hue. Her hair is loose, left to its own devices, and it lays flat in silken sheeting down her back.

She sits as bade by the Prince, again to one side. Immediately, the servants are busy with filling tankards and various stemware about the table.

Kelda glances to Thor and gives him her signature mild smile. "You clean up well, my liege. I would not have considered that you so recently fought on the sparring grounds. Again, well-played," and she inclines her head respectfully. "I must be more on my guard when wielding my ranseur. You are a dangerous combatant."

"I find myself in fine company," Thor tells Kelda with a gracious, good natured grin for the leggy, slender warrior at his side. "That weapon alone makes you a formidable foe; combined with the talents you summon from the ice and storm, I should not desire to find us at opposite ends of a battlefield!"

Gracious in victory and defeat, Thor grins and hoists his flagon at Kelda, and leads the others in digging into his meal with abandon, so no one waits on his propriety to feed themselves. Just because he must observe the rules doesn't mean he must acceded to their spirit, after all.

"I do not relish these courtier's clothing; this frippery is better suited for those who dwell in the court, not the field," he says, wryly, plucking at his robes. Somehow he manages to make them look fairly masculine, despite their fine cut and the dense threads of the valuable cloth.

"Find you more comfortable with a return to Asgard, then, Kelda?" he inquires of his friend, ripping into a bread loaf. "I know 'tis a most uncomfortable experience at times, to find a world you do not recognize; I hope we are helping you feel more comfortable with life now that some time has passed."

"You speak kind words, my liege," murmurs the Lady Stormwrider with another little nod. They get to their meals — and the spread is sumptuous, per the usual spare-naught take on parties in Asgard — and she glances up when addressed from delicately cutting away pieces of meat from a rather large leg of turkey.

"Oh yes, my liege. Some aspects of the Court have not changed in the least. They are welcome points of recollection to me when confronted with the more…recent events." Not one for gossip, Kelda levels a significant look upon the Prince for a short moment before returning to dissecting her meal. She pauses, her eyes rising to him again. "Midgard, my liege. It has changed since my time amongst the mortals there, I presume…?"

She seems to be waiting for a blow, nearly.

"Aye, has been… most of three thousand years, as humans reckon time," Thor says, frowning and doing the math in his head. "A long era, even by our standards; I recall visiting the mortals 'pon the turn of ten centuries ago, when they creaked across the seas in perilous boats of mere wood, glue, and rusting iron. Warriors!" he booms, laughing. "Violent, dangerous men and women; but honorable, and filled with great courage."

"Why do you ask, my friend?" he inquires of Kelda, applying thick pads of butter to his breadroll.

In a deft motion, Kelda catches her fork before it makes an obscene clatter and draws attention to herself.

"Three…thousand years, my liege?" she breathes, staring at him with wide eyes. "I had…not considered how much time I spent away from both Worlds. The years…were swift and kind in Valhalla." Her gaze, having returned to her plate, is heavily pensive now, her motions more practiced than focused.

"Aye. Twas a half-score of centuries, between my visits to Midgard and my return," Thor assures Kelda, trying to give her an earnest bit of sympathy. "The world of mortals has waxed and waned, but now they grow so fast that in a few short millennia, they may even approach the other Realms in power," he concedes. "They harness technology as we did magic; immortality has been granted some of them, and great strength to others. The mortals have grown powerful, in singles and pairs; in time, the whole of their species might share such might. 'twill be a glorious day for the Nine Realms, when Midgard stands along Asgard and the other realms in power and might, unequalled!"

"Undoubtedly," Kelda finally replies quietly, wearing that same mild smile. "If you have reason to visit Midgard, my liege, think of me as one willing to attend you there. With the number of years passed, I shall find it very…" she frowns lightly before finding her emotional footing again. "Educational."

She pauses to take a healthy drink of the clear liquor in her flute-glass. No mead for her. No, the ice-fire of the finest distilled nectar of the ice-berries for the battle-mage.

"My liege, you say that they grow in singles and pairs. Immortality? Magic? They may already find themselves on equal footing with many of the Realms if such things are spreading within their societies."

"Of course," Thor tells Kelda, nodding. "Next time we pass to the Embassy 'pon Midgard, I shall bring you with me. Such is the way of things now," he says, marveling a little; "'twas a few centuries ago, we visited churches and mortals worshiped us. Now, when we visit Midgard, we must obtain permission to visit their lands and reside there." He laughs easily at the wonder of it all. "'tis like seeing children building up a castle in the sand, and discovering that they've built a palace of marble while you were distracted."

"Does it bother you so much?" he inquires, cutting some mutton for himself. "Asgard is, as always, the Realm Eternal; a beacon of perfection for all the realms to cherish and admire as a paragon," he reminds her.

"Bother me? No, my liege." Kelda seems surprised at the line of questioning. "Last I visited Midgard and their people, they were already advancing in their knowledge of weaponry and of the druidic magics. I knew of one such aspiring mage who had an advanced understanding of the elemental magics of their far northern climes. Advanced for their current society, mark this. If they have advanced further still…"

And she goes silent to wonder at the possibilities, pale lashes blinking a few times as her eyes go distant beyond his shoulder.

"Aye, 'tis one of those thoughts that returns me such favor to the mortals," Thor says, grinning and following Kelda's contemplative inquiry. "In three thousand years, they built themselves up from nothing; with scraps of iron they fight wars, and floated their vast seas in ricket boats made of common, soft lumber. With barely threescore years for most of them!" he laughs, slapping the table. "Perishing by blood and infection and starvation and predation, dying again and again, they've hurled their mortality at the teeth of the abyss and beat it back."

He shakes his head. "When Buri first rode at the head of Asgard's armies, our culture was already advanced; we were gifted magics unending, which made of us gods among the rest of the realms. Undying, eternal, mighty indeed. And now, humans scrape ever closer to us, with nothing but will and ingenuity and determination, for centuries!"

"Ay, I remember their mortality well enough, poor things. The cold did them no favors when I spent the winters with them. Who was I to attempt to ward off the chill?" Kelda laughs lightly, somehow hollowly. Again, there's the sense that she's grappling with something akin to a word on the tip of her tongue — those dratted missing gaps in her memory again, no doubt.

"It is to be admired, their resolve," she continues quietly, softest spoken of all at the table. "Would that they lived longer. They seem as moths about our flames, drawn to us and yet to be found in dusty, dead splendor next we inquire in."

Thor frowns heavily, nodding agreement. "Aye, but— I have come to appreciate their transitory nature," he remarks, after a lengthy pause to applaud some diplomat's boring speech. "'tis like seeing a castle on the beach, made of sand," he offers. "There is beauty in permanence, but there is beauty, too, in a transitory nature; to see something because it exists only for a short timeframe, rather than because it exists forever. I think of them oftimes as flowers; short lived and beautiful for it," he offers.

He leans forward on his elbows, as if thinking of reaching for her hand and thinking better of it. "Something troubles you, my friend— what is it that gives you such a dour complexion?"

The battle-mage nods in agreement to his thoughts on the fleeting lives of the mortals of Midgard and she too offers up a muted clap in polite acknowledgment of a speech well-given.

Kelda takes up her flute of clear berry-liquor and sips at it again before replying to his query. "Dour? Oh dear, that I should be seen as such at the festivities of the eventide." Clearing her throat gently, she smiles again and seems to force aside the cloud over her features. "I dream of things, my liege, and have no explanation as to how they set me to uncertainty. Somehow, Midgard is involved. I shall deal with what comes of visiting such a place when I accompany you there. For now, this night is for celebration and warm welcoming of the visiting dignitaries." Suddenly, she raises her glass as well as her voice. "To the ones who visit our Golden City! May they drink deep of her wonders and her mead and return with tales of our royal family's hospitality!" Cheers erupt from around her and for a moment, she laughs — and she twinkles.

Well, if Thor remotely considered arguing with her, that toast cuts it off— he hoists his flagon, and by the time the roars of applause, and the drumming table, and the spontaneous fistfight all quiet down, he's utterly forgotten what next question he was going to posit for the lean blonde magess.

"Volstagg! Put him down!" Thor roars at his friend, and the tables erupt in laughter as Volstagg walks his two opponents out of the dining hall, one held over his head in each hand.

"Well Kelda, come way may, you've proven to be an interesting friend," Thor grins at the woman, throwing back another mug of his mead (and admittedly, wobbling a bit). "I can say it's been some time since I traveled with someone so much -older- than I am!" he teases her.

The sight of the two brawlers being removed by the most stalwart (and bottomless) of Thor's steadfast friends makes Kelda cover her mouth with her hand, but the chuckling slips around it regardless. She is more aggressive too with her translucent drink, in turn, as the minutes pass, and she'll feel it shortly — most likely akin to being swamped by an avalanche.

The battle-mage gives Thor a tart expression and scoffs. "You say that as if my wisdom matters naught a whit to you, my liege! After all, I am a prime example of having survived the dangers of life. I might have been considered to nanny you when you ran about chasing your brother with wooden staves, but my time in Valhalla has spared me the passing years. Consider this and then weigh your thoughts on the matter," and she points her fork at him while grinning.

"Aye, and you've had a span of threesome millennia to cavort and rest!" Thor hoots at Kelda, as she brassily challenges him. "Wisdom, aye, wisdom is -fine-, but pretend not that you have double such a tally over me!" he grins, laughing merrily along with a few others at the table. "Your years do not vastly exceed mine, unless you are willing to claim that your time among the Einherjar was spent in training and quite contemplation of the arts!" he says, banging his fist on the table and hooting. "Come now, were you a woman, or a monk, you spirit?!" he demands, as more mead and nectarwine is poured for all.

Kelda laughs, throwing back her head, and that light touch of a blush pinks her cheeks for the sudden rush of the liquor consumed. The dining hall, in its bright lighting, takes on the glints and glow of warmth that tingles in its wake.

"Shall I challenge your stance further, my liege, and claim homage to both woman-kin and mage of the elements? The duality may be enough to send you spinning further into your drink — though that won't take much, it seems. The servers are ever attentive tonight."

Indeed, when did her flute get filled to the brim once again with the chilly-sweet drink? Best had make a dent in its volume — and she does, licking the excess from her lips.

"Or is it that you fear an older woman for her wisdom in all things? You would not be the first to lay claim to such. We are a forbidding caste, I admit to this, those of us with passing grace and sagacity." What a wicked grin she wears.

"Old- OLDER?" Thor asks, hooting at her round rebuff. "Think yourself a twisted crone, shepherd of the knowledge of ages?" he inquires, speaking over the roar of laughter— the women at the table seem to be roundly championing Kelda's witty retorts, and the men look to Thor for his rejoinder.

"A man may be mystic and male, and a woman may be warrior and female— Asgard celebrates the doer of the deed, not the contents of their pants!" he slurs at Kelda, propping a wagging forearm on the table to aim an index finger in her general direction.

"I fear nothing! I am Thor, the Prince of Asgard!" he says. "I have seen the end of worlds, and slain beasts that make imagination tremble!" he boasts, and the men chorus and drum their hands on the table. "The Prince of Asgard fears nothing, not even the superstitious ramblings of -crones-," he tells Kelda, grinning floridly and throwing her words back at her. "But! But, hearken, she is the loveliest of crones, aye?" he demands of the table, with a spread hand. More hoots. "Nay, never have I seen a woman of such advanced and middling years, with such features and fine form!" he crows. "What secrets do you hide from your Prince, then?" he asks of Kelda, bemusedly. "Are there secrets you've dredged from the Einherjar that would set my mind aflame?"

A cat could possibly look more pleased with what bowl of cream it's found, but not by much, given the smile that Lady Stormrider now curls.

"My liege, what I know would set the King and Queen against me for the madness it would cause in you. I spare you an awful fate by keeping such wiles to myself! I assure you, your imagination would tremble for these machinations." Her drink is half-gone now and even the Prince's entourage seems to glow about the edges of their personages, including Thor himself! "It takes much to touch upon what secrets I keep behind my breast. After all, I know much of your manful personage simply by observing, but you, my liege, may grace us all, fairest feminine blossoms of the Golden City, with your presence and…be none the wiser." She then laughs behind her hand again, her drink sloshing within the fluted glass in the other grip.

The women burst into hoots and cheers, banging their steins on the table in applause, and even Thor falls back laughing until he's red in the face, almost falling out of his chair. The table goes into roaring upset— thankfully Odin and the diplomats have long since withdrawn, so the party can kick off properly.

"Alas, as I'll not plunge your breasts for secrets in such a public setting, I'll let the blossom stay unfolded!" Thor says, surging to his feet, and more laughter follows the joke. He hoists a flagon. "To Kelda Stormrider, friends! Ancient and wizened, she teaches the young of us that in age comes wits, if nothing else remains!" He winks at her, toasting the woman in particular, and upends his stein to empty it.

That hand descends from her lips to rest just beneath the hollow of her collarbone and reveal them in a circling of amused surprise at Thor's jest. Kelda too chortles, however, as she rises to her feet in a rush and raises her crystalline glass high after the toast is given.

"And may the young remain as foolhardy and quick to snap up the joyous moments in life to remind us that age means nothing when all is said and done!" More laughter follows, stomping and riotous clunking of tankards on wooden table and mingling shouts of agreement. The battle-mage wobbles in place, still wearing that broad grin, and then sits back down with a decided lurching to her descent. Some of the nectarwine spills onto the table as she gestures at him again with her glass. She leans towards the Prince on top of that, still managing some decorum despite the revelry about them. "I thought my liege had a blossom to fold every which way he wished in the Enchantress at this time," she says, raising an eyebrow conspiratorially. "I may be your Shield-Maiden, with my secrets, but I am not without recognition of jealousy in others."

Thor leans towards Kelda as she slouches his direction; he listens attentively, and then a grin splits his features. He shrugs, shaking his head, and slurps down more mead. "The Lady Amora and I have had a tumultuous way for centuries uncounted," he concedes, slurring his words a little. "She has her bed, and I mine; but ever has jealousy been the bookmarks in our story, too," he says, hiccoughing. "She finds comfort where she chooses, as do I, and at times we circle each other like falcons in flight."

"'tis ever our nature, I think, as permanent as the stars, to wax and *hic* wane."

Kelda shakes her head, the motion wobbly and accented by the liquor's touch to her system. "'Tis a shame, my liege, that it remains so very…messy." Words are hard suddenly. She blinks a few times before frowning down at her drink. She finishes the offending remnants and pushes the empty flute away from her, out of immediate reach.

"Would that you had more stability within your life. Not in your exploits, no, your liege, those must remain worthy of tales!" And she whumps the table with her delicate fist, making nearby objects jump the tiniest bit. Not that it's heard over the carousing around them. "La, no, my liege, not your liege — forgive me, your — my liege — fie!" She breaks into helpless laughter after throwing up a hand as if to dismiss her slurring apologies and holds her stomach. "I have not any wits about me anymore, I think, for the drink!" Not laughing any longer now, giggling like a fiend, nearly in tears for it!

"Fie, and shame, my liege is objecting to your lack of endurance!" Thor scolds Kelda, almost slumping out of his chair as well. He recovers, blinking owlishly, with his chin on the table, and eases back to his seat. "A war-hic- warrior in my retinue must be mighty in the field, and sturdy at the table! Redoubtable in … all … uh, circumstances!" He goes to drink more mead, and frowns when he realizes he's out.

He flings the container over his shoulder with a flick of his fingers, causing it to skitter and *clang* against the stone underfoot a fair distance away.

"Well at least you have your looks, if not your wits, an' 'tis a circumstance that's worked for me fer MANY years," Thor tells Kelda, reassuringly.

"Has it, my liege? The looks over wits? This seems a fine way to go about things." Kelda then thumps her fist upon the table once again, but this time, it's for the servers of the drinks. "The Prince is without mead and this is travesty! It offends my sensibilities!"

With much alacrity, another flagon of mead is set before Thor and the battle-mage's flute is refilled, much to her teetering delight — or chagrin? Somewhere, deep in her mind, she knows she's going to be feeling so very under the weather for at least some time in the morning.

"My looks, my liege? But what are looks without wits? Such pretty petals but no sweet honey for the mind within? A dire shame, that state of being." That whole flute goes down in a few big swallows. Uh oh. The battle-mage points at him and rocks in her seat for the momentum taking her off-balance for a second. "An' I'm very aware that I am a lovely flower, so my gratitude for your kind words." The respectful nod nearly causes her to faceplant on the table. She blinks slowly at her empty flute. "I thought they had refilled my glass. All's the more the shame an' those…clever sayings," and she giggles again, the color high in her cheeks.

"Well, you haven't your wits to appreciate yer turn of 'frase," Thor slurs, "And I haven't the turn of phrase fer a clever wit." He chugs down more mead and gets to his feet, then thinks better of it and sits again. "So failing wits OR wittiness, we'll honey ourselves with the mead!" he suggests, swinging his mead flagon at her empty flute and knocking it flying. Fortunately, Asgardian glass won't break; still, it bounces, skitters, and wholly improbably, lands upright in someone's soup bowl.

They're already facefirst in the dessert, so they don't look as if they'll mind overmuch.

Indeed, someone's going to have mousse up their nose in the morning when they awake. Poor courtier — at least one of the servers will attempt to allow them proper breathing in a moment by pillowing their head beneath a napkin instead of dessert.

Kelda wipes tears of amusement from her eyes after considering just where her flute ends up. "My liege, we have no more witsies about us! What use are we to the likes of such fine folk?" All the folk being in various states of inebriation, from guffawing over a joke to having fallen sideways out of their chair to the floor like a sack of grain. Her own broad sweeping gesture whiffs past Thor's face, barely missing her nose. "I am of no use, not as such."

She makes it to her feet and promptly finds the hall's flooring to be doing gymnastics beneath her. With a whoop of laughter, she collapses against the Prince's chair, half sprawled across his lap in the process. Her attempt to disentangle herself slap easily a third of his mead from his tankard. "My liege, I am sorry, forgive my lack of ability, the stones made to throw me!"

"Gah! Not th' mead!" Thor says, as Kelda gets a good dollop on her shoulder and chest, and the rest lands in Thor's lap. "The floor threw you? Nonsense, you were merely not strong enough t' throw the floor BACK," Thor slurs. He grips Kelda's arm in one hand and holds her steady, and throws back his mead with four mighty gulps; slamming the stein on the table, he gets to his feet, half leaning on Kelda and almost going ass over teakettle before he remembers that he's supposed to be helping her.

"On yer *hic* feet, Stormrider," he orders her. "You're too walk to drunk, so escort me chambers back to you," he slurs, more or less tucking Kelda under his left arm and propping her on his hip. "And we'll wring the mead out of your dress, because that's a damned waste of fine liquor," he says, joining the train of drunken Asgardians staggering back to their rooms in ones and twos— and a few fallen soldiers collapsing into snoring heaps in the hallway.

With the Prince being taller and broader of build than the battle-mage, they nearly do go ass over teakettle at first for his initial shift in balance. Her stumble away is kept from disaster by his steadying hold and they yo-yo back together in a muffled collision of drunken state.

"Your liege, I am fine to be drunking back to my quarters, so you needn't worry about your Maiden-Shield," Kelda states with as much of an airy tone as she can manage. She plucks at what dress she can reach and finds that this weird wet sensation does indeed smell of honey-mead. "I can also mead out my dress — r'move the mead from my dress of my own two hands. It is no diff'cult task."

The walk to her quarters isn't that far, tucked between the royal and guest wings, and she reaches out for the door's handle long before it's actually within touching distance. "Your liege, I am fine, I promise by m' staff an' skills." Grabby-grabby at the air, missing the handle time and time again for how it's now doubling in her vision.

"I don't care about you, I want m'-m' mead back," Thor scolds Kelda. He lets her get the door— or try, rather— and swings her back and forth by his grip on her waist, trying to help her aim.

"Nonono, you're doing it all wrong." He grabs Kelda's wrist, and with a big, exaggerated caution, moves her hand so she's gripping the lever and can pull it to unlatch the door.

"Ah, thanks!" he says, turning around and hipchecking the door open; he shuffles sideways so he doesn't smack Kelda into something, and then tosses her vaguely at the first furniture nearby, though he's not terribly cautious about making sure she's aligned with it.

"Hey, these aren't— isn't— thisn't my quarters," he says, looking around with befuddlment. "Or is it. Kelda, why're you in my quarters?"

From on her bed, Kelda does a push-up to bring her heavy head up from planting in the thick covers and blearily looks around the room.

"This's my quarters, your liege, so is more of a question as to why you are in my quarters." Pushing herself into a woozy sit, she tries to fix her hair and fails utterly. In fact, she nearly falls off the bed for her efforts and rights herself with a little whoop of sound. "I can r'move the mead myself, Prince Thor, shoo now. Get." She does a flippant wave of her hand a few times…and then a few times more just because — or maybe because her fingers are all tingly and it feels entertaining to do it.

"Well, I'm sure not going to help you," Thor says. "… er… not … what? I don't 'member what I was going to help with, now."

He does a circle in place. "And these aren't my chambers! I should find them," he says. "Goodnight, Kelda, d'not forget to drink water and sleep well, and… uh… carry one, I s'pose," he says, before blundering into the closed door. He staggers, opens it, and then wanders into the hallway, his voice breaking into a bawdy tavern ballad before he makes it more than a few yards away.

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