1964-11-07 - A toast to your good health
Summary: Starfire gets invited into the Asgardian embassy for drinks with Thor.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
starfire thor 

The Asgardian embassy is… noisy.

There seems to be a hell of a party going at any given time. Despite the late autumn chill, the windows are flung open wide and flickering firelight competes with the glow of incandescents to illuminate the large building from within. The front door's open as well, and the guards look to be having a 'moderate' good time, drinking from a meadhorn as they keep watch. The guards are each well over six feet tall, and built so thickly through the chest that they seem almost deformed. Their clothing is clean and well-maintained, but there are some hard marks to their arms and armor that suggest they are used heavily and far from ceremonial.

"Every night it's like this," a man remarks to his date as they hustle home ahead of the twilight. "Do they ever stop feasting?"

There's a rich smell of baking bread and roasted meats coming from the mansion, and from inside the doors a ribald song suddenly floats out, joined soon in off-key chorus.

For the visiting alien Central Park makes for a wonderful landing spot. It's got remote areas that are far enough from buildings that you can land at a fairly good speed without damaging more than a few bushes. Which is why the area around Central Park is one of Starfires favorite places to explore.

And what could be more interesting than a mansion throwing a huge party with a pair of huge guards outside? The alien princess is dressed in her Tamaranean finery after her Earth clothing met with yet another violent end and floats towards the Asgardian embassy. "Excuse me," she says brightly. "May I ask what this place is? Is it perhaps one of the houses for frats?" She tilts her head. "From what I have gathered they seem to be some sort of wild animal?"

The guards give Koriand'r a curious look as she walks up. She's certainly distinctive, as one of the few mortals who can look the guards in the eye! Not to mention the flaming red hair and the intensity of her bright green eyes.

"This is the Embassy for the world of Asgard, crown jewel of the Nine Realms," says the leaner, taller of the two guards. His hawkish features seem to mark him as a hunter, with sharp cheekbones and a short black goatee.

"Aye, lass!" the burlier of the pair says, his nose red with drink. "The Crown Prince is inside, so we raise our drinks in toast to his health and good name! Do ye have an appointment inside, or are you here to test your mettle against Asgardian cheer?"

"I have not heard of the planet Asgard," Starfire muses, looking at the guards and then upwards. "I… did not detect any spacefaring civilizations close to Earth. Is your world nearby?" She frowns. "I do not have an appointment and alas I have no experience with the Earth art of cheerleading with which to compete with you all."

Kori holds out a hand, in the traditional handshaking manner, and smiles. "But it /is/ nice to finally meet sentient beings from other worlds. I am Princess Koriand'r of the planet Tamaran."

The guard moves to shake Kori's hand, but when she says 'Princess', they startle slightly and then snap to attention. The handshake is swift, and becomes a formal bow of welcome.

"Hail then, Princess, and welcome to Asgard," the more senior of the guards says. He steps aside, bows from the shoulder, and invites Kori in with a sweep of his arm. "Please, be welcome!"

The guard follows her into the middle of a hell of a feast. Everyone's eating, drinking, and competing to tell the best story. A brawny woman in a sleeveless tunic is wrestling a bear of a man in the corner, to much hooting and approval.

The guard slams the butt of his spear against the floor and lets loose with a stentorian voice that somehow cuts across the feasthall.

"Presenting, the Royal Highness, Princess Koriand'r of the planet Tamaran!"

There's a lull in the violence, and the more sober members of the assembly still themselves to look at the newcomer. At the head of the table a man rises, with shoulder-length blonde hair and thick shoulders left bare by his blue sleeveless tunic.

"Greetings, Princess! I am Thor, Crown Prince of Asgard and defender of the Nine Realms! Join us, please!" He hoists his flagon in toast, and the entire assembly is on their feet and joining him.

"Welcome, Tamaran!"

"WELCOME!" everyone choruses, and the noise resumes as Thor beckons Kori to join him at the head of the table. He considerately tips the drunken Asgardian on his right hand out of his chair, freeing up a seat for Kori.

There is a brief moment of confusion as Starfire shakes the guards hand and doesn't pick up any interesting alien languages. But as the formal introduction is made years of royal etiquette lessons kick in and she enters, smiling and nodding in acknowledgement as she floats inside.

Strangely the scene inside is not vastly removed from a traditional feast back on Tamaran. The lifeforms might differ along with the food and the drink. But the feasting, song, ceremony and feats of courage & strength? Those are much the same albeit with more modest attire.

"It is a pleasure to meet you Crown Prince of Asgard," Kori starts as she floats over to the now empty chair. "Please forgive me if this is a rude question but have we met before? I encountered someone who could have been your twin by the name of Donald Blake, he told me he was blessed with the spirit of the god Thor.."

Thor pauses, a hand extended, and a complex series of emotions wash over his sturdy features. "Donald… Blake. Aye," he exhales, some of the fierce good humor leaving his sky-blue eyes. "Please, come with me, Princess Koriand'r, that we might talk more privately," he invites.

He beckons Koriand'r to an antechamber off the grand feasthall; it's somewhat quieter, though by no means silent. But it's close enough that two can speak freely and be heard. Thor invites Kori to take a seat and sits opposite her.

"'tis a tale of joy and woe, complicated by the magics of the Norn fateweavers," he begins, one hand tapping the table idly. "Donald Blake is dead. He was— and yet, was not— Thor. He carried an echo of my spirit, the divine spark," he explains. "But he was little more than a homonculi created by the Fates. Meant to sustain my spark while my spirit dwelt in darkness. When I returned from my sojourn into the Beyond, the fires of my spirit enveloped Donald's. He died, though he did not live."

Starfire offers more smiles and nods to those she passes as Thor leads her to the antechamber and offers her a seat.

As the story unfolds her smile turns to a slightly confused frown. "That is quite an unusual and sad tale I think? I hope that he did not suffer?" Her head tilts to one side. "And that my asking about him did not cause you any distress. I must confess that I do not think I fully understand the implications of what you have told me… Many things about this world and it's languages are still strange to me."

Starfire eventually forces another smile and adds "He seemed to be a noble soul though and I hope whatever of him was not a part of you has found peace."

"Aye, 'tis hard even for a god to consider," Thor concedes. "But in the song of my life, he is but an interlude. I have been for millennia, and will live for millennia more. A year as a mortal is a time made long by how short it is."

He waves it off. "Bah, 'tis a maudlin topic to dwell on overlong," he says, his boyish grin returning. "It is well to meet you, Princess Koriand'r. Are you here upon official business? I must admit that affairs of state are far from my strength, despite the lessons pressed upon me. I am Crown Prince, but there is little chance of me stepping to the throne in the coming centuries. Still, my mother beat a few lessons of etiquette into me, so I suppose we should observe the old formalities if you're here in your formal capacity."

Starfire wipes her eyes with the back of her hand. "I did not mean to spoil the mood of your feasting," she notes solemnly. "Alas I wish I had come to Earth or indeed to your embassy on official business." She laughs. "Truth be told I did not even know this place existed until I was travelling close by. It is however quite hard to miss once you are close by though!"

"My homeworld has had some… problems which have forced me to go into hiding," Kori explains with a sigh. "There was a.. a betrayal which allowed our enemies to invade. If I were to return many of my people would be killed and so I am in an exile of sorts. It is perhaps another topic to maudlin to dwell upon."

"Ah," Thor says, chagrined. "Well, forgive me then again for my dour conversation! Come, share a drink with me," he says, reaching for a horn of mead. He cracks the wax seal and offers the mouth to Koriand'r. "I know not what the future might hold for the politics of our homes, but for now, let us toast each other! To my new friend, the Princess Koriand'r!" he says, voice brimming with good cheer as if having put the previous conversation completely out of mind.

Starfire accepts the horn of mead, eyes it for a moment, then shrugs. "To the health of the realm of Asgard and it's Crown Prince." She then takes an entirely ladylike (by Tamaranean standards at least) gulp of mead.

"That is an unusual beverage. May I ask what it is?" she wonders as she carefully hands the horn back. "I have yet to try anything quite like it while I have been exploring the city of New York." Kori chuckles. "I must admit I wish I had been able to obtain a suitable gift in exchange for your hospitality. I could perhaps recite some Tamaranean poetry? The poem of gratitude is only six thousand verses.. although I do not think I could translate it into any Earth tongues.."

Thor accepts the horn from Koriand'r and throws the rest back in a few hearty gulps himself. It's not a small amount of mead, and the magic to the honeyed elixir makes more than mere alcohol hit the bloodstream.

"To friendship!" Thor says, putting the empty horn aside.

"'tis mead, made from honeyed syrups," Thor explains. "The way of it is a closely guarded secret of Asgard, and few mortals can withstand its effects." He grins broadly at Koriand'r. "We will see how the constitution of Tamaran fares against our cups!"

"If you wish to favor us with a song or poem, or ballad or entertainment, I shall not stop you," Thor tells Kori. "But do not feel an obligation to do so! A gift is given freely without a desire for compensation, and the gift of good cheer is as lighting one candle from another— it takes nothing to provide, yet lights up the room with each new kindling."

Starfire hmmms thoughtfully. "I do not feel any ill effects yet," she admits. "My biochemistry is quite different to an Earthling. I am unsure if alcoholic drinks even work on me. Some do however taste quite pleasant. Perhaps instead I shall transcribe a story or poem. Into.. the runic written language your people use? That way any guests who are currently.. resting could still enjoy the gift."

"Whatever gift you deign to favor us with, will be welcomed most heartily," Thor assures Koriand'r with a bow. "Whether that gift is your culture or your company!"

He laughs heartily. "My brother is the diplomat, Princess," he apologizes. "I lead the armies, and my brother makes the peace. You may meet him at some point— Loki, a mercurial fellow with dark hair and a slender jaw. Ofttimes in the middle of some pranking jest," he grins.

"If the mead agrees with you, help yourself to as much as you wish. It ever flows in the halls of Asgard, and as this is sovreign soil, we keep our larder well stocked with victuals, mead, and other spirits. You are welcome here as a guest and dining companion whenever the mood strikes."

Starfire bows in return. "Your offer of hospitality is gratefully accepted," she replies. "And I hope some day I will be able to offer you and your people the chance to visit my homeworld for feasting and merriment."

"I do wonder," Kori muses. "How did you convince the people of Earth of your good intentions? I have found many are uncomfortable when they learn I am an alien. So much so I have been incognito as a 'mutant' Earthling. Or they ask me where I have left my saucer of flying. At least once they assumed I had escaped from a hospital for the sicknesses of the mind."

"I am Thor," the god remarks, a little baffled by the question. As if that should answer everything. He screws his brow up, thinking.

"When last I walked on Midgard's hoary surface, 'twas the height of a brittle, cold age of ice. The gods of Asgard spent centuries dwelling atop high mountain peaks, observing and testing the mortals below us. They called us rightly as gods, immortal and unending. After generations passed this knowledge on, fewer and fewer questioned it. Even after we quit this land to return to our sacred world at the heart of Yggdrasil, the stories persisted."

He shrugs his bare shoulders at Kori, the motion like a small landslide. "No convincing was required. I am Thor. I ride the lightning and thunder rings ahead and behind of me. What mortal would question a god?"

Starfire blinks a few times at the conclusion of the explanation. "Surely many mortals question gods?" she points out. "Is that not the purpose of the Earthling houses of worship? So that they might ask their gods for guidance, help and about the nature of the universe?" Then with a wry grin she adds. "Am I not also a mortal who has asked you many questions? But anyway, I did not mean to imply anything by my line of questioning! I simply hoped there might be some way I could formally gain permission from the Earth government to reside on the planet. That way I would not have to mislead my new friends."

Thor frowns again, deep in thought. Boisterous and impulsive as he is, he deliberately slows himself down enough to chew through Koriandr's larger question.

"Nay, the purpose of mortals is to see us as rightful paragons," Thor says, absently. "We are the embodiment of what they wish to become. Someone must be an example for others to follow, and as long as mortals crave growth, the gods will be above them as a sign of paradise to come. Midgard will equal Asgard, someday— but it is right and proper for gods to dwell above mortals to teach the ways of godliness."

He bites at the corner of his thumbnail, eyes narrowing, then grunts. "Hrmph. You are not a formal emissary of your people, so an embassy is out of the question. And as a Princess-in-Exile, Asgard cannot recognize your status and offer asylum."

He squints. "You /might/ find an embassy among the Midgardians who will shelter you. I may know of an ambassador who would offer you the protection of their authority," he concludes. "I will make some inquiries and see if any can aid you in this matter."

"That sounds… almost sad. For your people that is. To live a life with nothing greater to aspire to," Starfire muses thoughtfully, tilting ever so slightly to one side. "It is strange though. The teachings of X'hal, goddess of my home world and many others within the system, do not seem so different. They are very much about aspiring to be better and to help those who are not able to help themselves."

"Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated." There is a pause as Starfire bites at her lip. "But I hope your ambassador friend will understand I am unable to share any of the technology my people have developed. For it would be unethical to advance a species which has yet to master interstellar travel before they are ready." She pauses again, straightens in her chair, then giggles. "I think perhaps that beverage does work on my biochemistry after all. But only in a particular stomach."

Thor laughs at Starfire, shaking his head kindly. "Nay, my friend— there is nothing I should prefer more than being myself. I am Thor, and I know my place in the universe. I am happy with this place, and my responsibilities are but to be the best version of myself possible. I can think of no fate I would prefer, not for all the wealth in the stars or all the power of the cosmos."

"I will ensure my friend understands the limits of the aid you can offer," Thor reassures Starfire. "I can make no guarantees save that I will tilt my most earnest efforts towards aiding you in this matter."

"That is all anyone can ask from another," Starfire says brightly. "And I am very grateful for any good words you can say on my behalf." She nods emphatically. "I have been trying to make myself useful to the people of this country at least. To repay them for any damage I may have accidentally caused during my early days on the planet… When I was unaware how fragile the buildings were.. It also helps keep my training sharp. After all what use is a warrior with nothing to fight!"

"Asgard may not offer asylum here, but we welcome a warrior to train with us anytime," Thor booms, a broad smile crossing his rugged features. "You are welcome to visit the feasthall and cross blades with anyone willing! Asgardians are a doughty and tough lot; you might find your skills and mettle sorely tested. But all welcome the lessons of defeat as readily as the thrill of victory."

"Come! Let us return to the victuals," Thor tells Kori, gesturing broadly at the meadhall. "Tonight we eat, feast, make merry, and toast our new companion— Koriand'r of Tamaran!"

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