1964-08-16 - Pearls before Slaves
Summary: Thor and Kelda stop Svartalfheim slavers on a strange alien world.
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kelda thor 

The missive had come across the appropriate channels to the Golden City. Thus, the eldest Prince of Asgard and his fellow warrior-mage find themselves on the oddly-fertile planet of Krogon-X14. Sprawling sands composed of a rare mineral dominate the planet itself; they aren't wastelands, however. Oases of black water speckle its surface far from what counts as conglomerations of society upon it and within, a creature not too unlike an oyster propigates. Within its bivalved shell grow carbon lattices better identified as 'pearls', though that may be a kind choice in the end.

These have drawn the Dark Elves, those masked interlopers from a shadowy realm, and they are the main reason the duo have arrived. From a respectful distance and behind a cragged outcropping of crystalline rock, the chilly wind of the planet's atmosphere, always slightly ionized, lifts Kelda's blonde hair aloft briefly. She narrows her glacial-blue eyes at the Elves, scouring the edges of the oasis.

"My liege, I consider myself knowledgeable of the uses of such pearls, but I cannot fathom the Elves' reasonings." She looks to him, clearly concerned given the pursing of her lips. "Regardless, we must do something."

"I know the pearls are unique in many regards," Thor concedes, resting his hand on Mjolnir's hilt; the hammerhead balances on a rock nearby, providing a convenient post to lean against. "Valuable, too, in certain circles. Polished and honed, they are akin to diamonds," he explains to her. "Perhaps 'tis wealth they seek," he muses. "The Dark Elves export little from their homeworld; mayhaps they are here seeking fortune to fund some enterprise."

He scowls heavily, then, his sharp eyes picking out a distressing sight— four-armed Korgon nomads, bound and chained in a slave line. Two of them are small enough to be of minority. "It seems they've ambushed a caravan, at that," he says, his voice dropping to a low, angry rumble. Lightning glints in his blue eyes.

Her attention shifts to the appearance of the Krogon locals, indeed sporting manacles and rattling interlinking lengths to keep them from straying or even running. Kelda bares teeth and the air temperature drops sharply around her.

"A pox on their murky hides," she spits, leaning down to pick up her ranseur where it laid beside her in a cradle of violaceous sand. "Would you rather the pearl-snatchers or the slave-drivers, my liege?"

"The pearls are not ours to take, anymore than they are the Svartalves," Thor reminds Kelda. "'twould be most untoward were we to sally forth and abscond with such luxuries. Besides," he says, hefting Mjolnir and slapping the slight concave of the hammer's face into his palm. "I think if we drive our point home well enough, the slavers will have no path for returning home, aye?" he inquires, cocking a blonde brow at the other Asgardian.

He aims his hammer at the elves. "Would you care to make the entrance, lady, or shall I start the show?"

"As if I would entertain such a theft, my liege," replies the Lady Stormrider as she rises to her full height — still shorter than the warrior beside her, mind you. The weird lighting glints in the oceanic gemstone inset to the center of the ranseur's shaft. "They entertain another thing entirely with their shackling. Shall I attempt diplomacy before we confer upon them our displeasure in their actions?"

It's not quite a smile, not quite a snarl, something between and even as she takes her next breath, Kelda's conjuring up a spell to knock some Elves butt over teakettle.

Thor just snorts at her suggestion.

He flings Mjolnir skywards with a minimum of effort; the motion bears him aloft in a great, arcing leap, and he adjusts his angle at the height of the parabola so his landing will be a red-caped missle in the middle of the Elven body of warriors. Timed properly, Kelda's storm should arrive right before the meteoric impact of the God of Thunder; few foes could weather such a devastating combination of force and fury.

In the Prince's opinion, it seems that diplomacy is best served with a serious swat of Hammer and the snarling wind-sheer with a temperature in the negative Celsius digits.

He flies in a controlled bow, projectile aided in gathering static from the charged atmosphere itself, and the incoming blizzard seems to appear from…literally nowhere. The Elves have a moment to turn and point towards the battle-mage, standing atop the outcropping and pointing the glistening length of the ranseur towards them, and then SLAP — it bears down upon them with the pointed and screaming force of unleashed nature.

Little issue despite the following smash by Thor into their midst: it's rather difficult to keep the chains on a raging tempest of ice. Kelda's going to have to remain where she is, uninterrupted, or else it may snowball. Literally.

Thor endures the hoary cold with his usual doughty, stout manner. Kelda's magic is cold, but so is space, and the ravaging thunderstorm in a winter squall; Thor has endured both.

So he crashes into the middle of blinded, frost-frozen elves, who are more accustomed to the dry and intemperate climes of Svartalfheim. And his impact is more akin to explosion than mere landing; the force of it sends purple sand and grey rocks flying, knocking the elves to their rears and stunning them with the force of concussion.

Thor whips Mjolnir in a blurring circle, and winks once at Kelda before dropping his scowl onto the prone elves.

"Doth anyone wish a chance at parlay?" he offers, his tone low and dangerous.

Was that a chilly ruffling of the Prince's hair via the swirling cascade of icy wind around them? …it just might have been. Kelda remains statuesque upon the amethystine outcropping, the bladed point of Boreal's Tear not wavering from the stunned gathering of Dark Elf warriors. No doubt they're literally shivering in their boots now. Thor sounds not too unlike a leonine nightmare and his voice does carry to effect on the winds.

Thank the gods for the natural physiology of the Krogon natives; they too withstand the brunt of the arctic winds, but…the chains and manicles they wear cannot. It will take time, however, for the temperature and inherent magic on the breeze to bite at the metal. They are too startled to react at the moment, their four eyes all resting upon the red-caped figure still glittering with sparks of electricity about his person.

The first elf recovers his wits and flings a knife at Thor. Knives are generally poor weapons; save when flung by ancient, well-trained warriors, and the blade shimmers with the oil of a poison common to Svartalf's warriors.

Thor swings Mjolnir's whirring arc and batters the knife from the air, and with a roar flings his hammer at the elf who assaulted him. This spurs the others into action, knives and swords being drawn even as the first elf is crushed to a pulp and Mjolnir whips back to Thor's hands.

"Then let us dispense with pleasantries!" Thor roars, with gleeful, wrath-filled abandon.

With her irises and pupil gone marble-white entirely, the battle-mage only has eyes for the whirlwind testing every passing moment of her skills. The blizzard itself aids in defending Thor once the scrum gets going in earnest. Knives may be thrown, but the whip of each slashing sheer bats them aside if his attention strays and the Hammer is dedicated to elsewhere impact.

The chains of the captured gain a slow growth of heavy frost upon them. The eldest Krogon, matriarch of the caravan, seems to realize this and begin to tense her four arms, the wiry muscles standing tall on the elongated limbs. Metal groans in a high pitch, but the chains don't break just yet.

Thor's got the small platoon of elves more or less in hand, and the infinite mass of Mjolnir ignores the mighty storms that Kelda summons. A star could not divert that weapon's course once flung; it is a projectile that could cross the universe if flung carelessly.

Thor fights with his heavy, powerful blows; swinging from the hips and digging his boots inches into the ground with the massive arcs of the hammer. He catches one elf under the ribs and casts the lean invader fifty feet through the air, his ribcage concaved by impact. Another is gripped by the throat and flung as a bludgeon at his ally.

"Kelda! Are they yet freed?" he demands, roaring his question back to his ally.

The battle-mage's ranseur glows with its own captured sun in eerie hues of near-ultraviolet, all emitted from the gemstone in its center. That the Elves haven't the wherewithal to come after Kelda is proof of the terror inspired in them by the abrupt onslaught of magic and might both.

Thor's immediate answer comes in the sudden sharp skting!!! of one of the lengths of metallic chain, falling to the strength of the matriach and to the weakening force of the frost collected upon its surface. Simply enough now to pull the length from its D-ring moorings on each shackle and the small group of Krogons immediately gets to retreating from the outskirts of the melee between Asgardian and Svartelves.

Grimacing, Kelda inhales sharply and the storm swirling around them lessens for her tightened grip upon its wildness. "They…run, my liege," she manages to shout, sounded all the more winded for it. Her robes undulate at odds with the speed of the winds and at this point, she's off the ground, coruscated by the elemental power she's conducting.

The elves scream outrage, two of them spotting the retreating captives; they move to give chase, but Thor hammers them both to the ground with a sweep of his weapon. One long blade slashes against his armored sleeve, sending scales of armor to the ground. Thor roars in pain and grabs the elf by the face, slamming him into the rocks with an effortless spiking motion.

"To me, Kelda!" he roars. "Let us purge the land of these verminous slavers!"

Unbuffeted by winds and immense chill, Kelda steps daintily down from her posturing atop the outcropping. Each step freezes the sand beneath her, tendrils of ice reaching down into the purple earth, and those pale-marble eyes never stray from the Prince.

"As you wish, my liege," and her reply is both lost and echoed by the shrieking of the blizzard contained about the immediate battle zone. Any Elf who attempts to come at her finds agonizing wounds and perhaps even death on the cold-kissed edge of the blades of Boreal's Tear.

Thor and Kelda make an efficient team; caught between the blizzard and the storm, the elves have nowhere to go. A few runners dare for Kelda, but find the frigid lash of her magics stop them in their tracks. Others try to flee, only to find Mjolnir between their shoulderblades.

Thor swings his hammer overhead and brings it to the ground with a shout of force, and the impact blows up a hurricane of sand around him, blinding the remaining elves; then, worse, it's swept into Kelda's storm, and while the Asgardians disdain such irritants as dusty eyes, the elves are rendered blind and agonized by the whipping particulate against delicate, frail skin.

The Elves will suffer dearly for the granules that collect miniscule razor-blading in hyper-hardened frost on them. Instant road-rash, that's what they'll get for lingering within swirling reach of the contained storm.

Thundersnow, that's what they'd call it on earth. Clumps of collected ice, translucent hail, glows internally with collected static charge, and what breaks upon the enemy is akin to electrified buckshot.

Kelda's still distant, lost within containing the elemental fury, and behind her, one bloodied and desperate Dark Elf rises up, poisoned knife in hand, and very much intending to bury it deep between the shoulderblades of the battle-mage.

Thor whips his hammer at Kelda.

The hammer is a strange thing. Mostly it seems to obey the laws of physics, albeit in a manner made possible only through Asgardian magic. Trajectory, momentum, velocity, are all common denominators.

But in Thor's hands, the weapon becomes a little alive. A little 'aware' of his desires and needs. So when he flings the hammer, the handle and head whip around the center of gravity and instead of a straight line the hammer describes a narrow, slicing arc that misses Kelda by a margin she'd best not be ever informed of, and smacks into her would-be assassin with enough force to smash him six inches into sand a dozen yards away.

The hammer continues the trajectory as if it'd encountered a fly, not an armoerd Svartalf, and Thor recalls it to his hand with an outstretching of his fingers.

The boomeranging return of the Hammer riffles Kelda's light-blonde hair in passing and this is what seems to bring her back to the present. With the very last Svartalf down for the count permanently, the hurricane of ice and wind begins to slow. What was nearing five on the Fujita scale in terms of windspeed drops by noticeable increments down…and down…and down…until the air is merely alive with the kiss of frost rather than nearly consumed by it.

Kelda plants the butt of her ranseur in the sand and it crackles beneath the force, still heavily inundated with icy tendrils reaching down into the earth. She leans on it heavily, sighing.

"Diplomacy, hmm…?" she asks quietly, trying so very hard not to smirk and likely failing at it in the end.

Thor looks around, with idle askance at the corpses and silence; he moves his jaw silently, then shrugs and tosses Mjolnir to himself, catching it by the handle and palming the face of it.

"It's polite to at least /offer/," he says, finally— before a boyish grin blossoms across his sturdy features. "There were but a half a score of them, after all."

It seems the Krogons have retreated to safety, wherever that may been, and that suits Kelda just fine in the end. Freed limbs mean they can release themselves from the manacles that once braceleted wrists and ankles and they can continue living as they should, devoid of fearing for their lives or the scourge of the slavers' whips.

"Indeed, my liege," replies Kelda with a tired laugh. Straightening, she winces as her back literally crackles from vertebrae aligning. "The Svartalves will fear our brand of diplomacy soon enough, given another encounter. Or perhaps they fear it now, with Hela laying claim upon their souls." She eyes a group of fallen bodies with a marked, martial, and practiced lack of concern. "None to return to their masters and tell tales of the cost of such an endeavor. A shame."

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