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 Two For Tragedy, [ Balder ]
Loki
 Posted: Feb 20 2013, 11:39 AM
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[ CF: Serpent In The Garden & Time Jump ]


THE FROZEN WASTES OF JOTUNHEIM


"Unacceptable!"

The voice of the God of Mischief, King of Jotunheim, rang out over the icy caverns, trembling some of the icicles hanging overhead. The young frost giant was more than willing to trade blows with one of his Jotuns, for he knew his power was greater than anything they could muster. Though it was an unlucky thing for whomever received his ire. Loki had been restless as of late, weakened emotionally and cripplingly hollow as he was. The whispers had gotten stronger, driving him to search for the last piece of the puzzle. He needed the Darkhold, the dark magick grimoire which would provide the necessary spells and means for taking over what he believed was rightfully his. Yes, he had obtained the throne to one realm but he wanted all of them, Asgard especially, and if that meant he would need to focus his efforts on destroying Midgard first, well, he was more than willing to oblige. But having his soldiers tell him they had failed to retrieve what he had sent them for was less pleasing and it was starting to show. Green radiated from his hands as Loki raised them, one tightening steadily into a fist as the other spread fingers even further. He was compressing and expanding everything inside of the Jotun at the same time, shoving the behemoth back with little effort. The Cube had made him more powerful, more capable of being the king and tyrant he needed to be. Thor had been right in some ways, that being a ruler would soften Loki's resolve and make him a ruthless monster, but he was born a frost giant. Didn't that make him a monster already?

"I warned you what failure may bring, did I not? Were you too senseless to heed my words?" Loki's sneer became steadily more menacing, his eyes alight with the same green fury. Finally he crushed both hands into tight fists, slamming them together and watching as the frost giant all but imploded into a black spray of mess. The Jotun king took a step back then, eyes leveling with Beli as his general stepped from the shadows. "Bury this mess." A nod was all Loki received as he turned back to the steps leading up to the "throne room". Since the destruction he'd reined down upon Jotunheim years prior he had needed to relocate where his throne would be, finding it suitable to carve out a glorious dais for him to settle upon. Loki made it to the top in no time, warmth of his cloak and armor providing the perfect balance against the blistering cold of the wastes around him. What a kingdom he had acquired, no? Thor had thought it full of monsters and liars; Loki was the only liar anyone needed to worry about.

But where was Balder in all this mess? He had brought his brother with him, having found it appropriate as the God of Light had defended him against his own friends. Loki was willing to bet his brother would do anything for him, no matter what was asked, but Loki had not the heart to ask something so vile of Balder. Loki wanted a general he could count on; one whom could pass unnoticed amongst the mortals. Loki's face was known almost everywhere, he was sure of it, or at least to the Avengers, and their monitoring of him would prove tiresome if he were to always be found out before he could accomplish his greatest task. He needed someone who could be trusted with not only Loki's life but with his secrets as well. And that general was Balder. Yet Loki was still torn, hesitating again and again for ordering his brother to do something. Jotunheim was his kingdom, his domain, and with HYDRA wrapped around his fingers like he wanted it was proving difficult to be the villain everyone made him out to be. He was a monster, but Balder did not see it that way. So Loki abandoned his dais for the ceremonial hall. The Temple, as Odin had called it, and Loki gave pause there. He'd been abandoned in this place, where the Casket had now been settled again upon its pedestal, and yet he could not remember that day. What good was remembering the things which made him what he was if they were never there at all?

--------------------

FOR THE HEART I ONCE HAD
ONCE MY HEART BEAT TO THE RHYTHM OF THE FALLING SNOW
BLACKENED BELOW, THE RIVER NOW FLOWS A STREAM OF MOLTEN VIRGIN SNOW.

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Balder
 Posted: Feb 20 2013, 12:30 PM
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[CF: Burn the obedient & Time Jump]


Jotunheim - long has Balder been forbidden from setting foot in this perilous waste of a realm, lest the worst occur and Ragnarok be loosed upon them. He has never known the why, only that it was forbidden and being here feels like a violation of some great trust that has been placed in him. Since his arrival, Balder has been expecting some harsh master to make an appearance and strike him down for this violation, yet none has come. The chill seems to be the only master here. Balder's body, used to the gentle warmth of the Asgardian sun, feels it's bite all too keenly. It seeps into flesh and bone, and invades his lungs, attempting to rob him of the breath that now escapes him in little white wisps. He is not made for the bitter cold and wonders how his brother can stand it, wonders why they have come to this realm when, previously, only strife has stemmed from landing upon it. Surely there is a method to Loki's apparent madness. Perhaps he has done the impossible and managed to reconcile with the Jotuns, but no, something tells Balder that this is not the case - a sinking feeling in his gut that warns him that he has done some wrong, that this is wrong. Yet, how can it be so when he has been reunited with his brother at long last, when he has been given this chance to redeem himself in Loki's eyes, for every perceived wrong, every moment when he stood quiet and allowed others to pass judgment when he should have spoken out in his brother's defense?

He wondered what had become of his brother after his fall into the great void beyond, when all had believed him to be dead and mourned his passing, wondered how he had come to stand opposite Thor and his Midgardian allies, wondered a great many things. He'd missed so much while he'd been away. It had been as if Odin known what was about to occur, as if he'd known that Loki would turn against them and break is heart. And that was the crux of it, Balder was always being sheltered, always being protected from the world, but none could protect him from this, from the harsh reality of the frozen waste all around him, or it's biting cold, or the implications that loomed over him, as solid and unforgiving as the ice.

"Brother...what has the world done to you?" The Loki that he had seen at the SHIELD fortress had been pale and drawn, with dark circles beneath his eyes and a kind of mad desperation in their depths. In all his years, he had never seen his brother in such a state. Loki had always taken care of himself, and little had seemed to ruffle him, or so it had seemed to Balder, growing up in the shadow of his two talented brothers. In his eyes, Loki had been able to do no wrong, whereas Thor was a beacon that could not be matched for brightness, well meaning but often misguided, and this he knew only from Loki's words - Loki, who had always known when something had gone amiss. Loki, who could talk his way into or out of anything. Loki, who had been the voice of reason that cut through his boyhood fears. All the signs thus far pointed to the death of that Loki, and yet Balder refused to see them, refused to believe that so much had changed in such a small span of time. They were Asgardians, after all and, to an Asgardian, the time that had passed was minimal, it meant little in the grand scheme of things. Surely Balder could right whatever wrongs had been done and thereby clear his brother's name in as much time. Surely there was a still a chance that Balder might convince him to come home.

The Temple was as cold inside as it was without yet, still, there was warmth to be found - a familial sort of warmth that did little to chase away the chill of Jotunheim and much to warm his heart and lift it from despair, for there stood Loki, whole and proud, just as Balder remembered him, just as Balder had always hoped against hope that he would find him and, for a moment, it is as if nothing has changed between them. "Loki..."



This post has been edited by Balder: Feb 20 2013, 12:31 PM
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Loki
 Posted: Feb 21 2013, 09:59 AM
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Nothing really had changed in terms of Loki's behavior. He still harbored the terrible feelings of inadequacy and jealousy within his heart, closely guarded, but he knew there was one person who could bring out that small part of good in him. Unfortunately it also meant he was more venomous, more defensive. Loki didn't feel the same heat his brother did when Balder's voice addressed him. No, the cold chill still remained in his flesh as he turned to the God of Light. Hollow rings, dark circles beneath his eyes still remained; eyes sunken somewhat from the sway the Cube had over him. Things had become different over the last few years since his disappearance and subsequent reappearance. His assault on Midgard had done nothing to sooth the worry in his thoughts, driving him to try for more and bigger. But destroying Thor's favored realm with an alien invasion had not been his intention. No, he wanted something more akin to suffering, forcing his brother to watch as everyone he'd ever loved was wiped from existence. From the human woman Thor so loved to a father who held no love for Loki. Never again would he fall for such whimsical, childish feelings. Loki had toughened up considerably, watching the world pass by as he formulated his final assault. Though that one person who could do what others could not was standing before him. It was strange and wondrous and frightening at the same time.

Balder had protected Loki, having not stood for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s assault against the God of Mischief. It made Loki wonder, startled as to why someone so good would defend someone so evil. Loki was a god who strayed so far from the path there was no hope of getting back again. Or maybe Balder thought otherwise. The Liesmith knew Loki always had their mother's heart. No, not his mother--Balder's mother. Thor's mother. Never Loki's. The God of Mischief paced steadily forward after facing the younger Odinson, corner of his mouth twitching before rising into a sharp half-grin. The look spoke volumes of what was on his mind but he felt the need to relay those thoughts anyway. "Glorious, isn't it? The realm which birthed me." He took a moment to gaze around the Temple, eyes lingering over the Casket before returning to Balder. "Abandoned right here. Stolen by your father to live a lie. Apt for one such as myself, am I wrong?" Loki spoke truth despite hiding it behind venomous lies. Most of the time few chose to listen, to really hear what the Liesmith had to say. He was willing to tell them things as they really were but it was up to the listener to believe it. Loki had been malignant most of his life, had been full of anger and envy and rage but he had never showed it.

It especially didn't show when he'd come to Balder in the middle of some nights, soothing away night terrors and ensuring his brother could sleep again. The pain of that memory made Loki cringe only slightly, turning his head slightly to deal with it mentally before he focused entirely on the God of Light. "How are you enjoying your new home?" Loki began to pace, circling slowly near Balder but just far enough to remain out of reach. He didn't want to get too close, not until he knew what the God of Light was truly there for. Motive was everything and Loki had yet to discover what the Odinson wanted. "Not quite as elegant as Asgard, certainly, but more than accommodating when you remain loyal in the eyes of the King." A bit cryptic but accurate to a degree. Loki stepped closer then, hands no longer folded behind his back but instead clenched at his sides as he studied Balder, searching for signs of treachery or lies. His eyes did narrow now, focused heavily on Balder's own two for that glimmer of uncertainty. "Why did you defend me from the mortals and your own brother?"

--------------------

FOR THE HEART I ONCE HAD
ONCE MY HEART BEAT TO THE RHYTHM OF THE FALLING SNOW
BLACKENED BELOW, THE RIVER NOW FLOWS A STREAM OF MOLTEN VIRGIN SNOW.

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Balder
 Posted: Feb 21 2013, 02:23 PM
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Loki's birthplace - this realm of ice and agony. Loki's kingdom - this frozen waste in all of it's harsh glory. It strikes Balder as ill-suited to his brother, and he takes the dark circles and hallow cheeks, the pale skin and dark expression, to be proof that Loki is out of his element in his so called home. He was not raised here, amongst the sharp crags and bitter cold, and he no more belongs here than does Balder. They were raised together in a realm filled with warmth and light, and it is there that they belong. Surely his brother must know that in his heart, must know that Asgard is his home still and, if not, then Balder must be the one to remind him, to return the light so sorely lacking in his brother's eyes, to replace the darkness with laughter and banish the madness from his gaze. Yet, here and now, before the weight of so much misplaced anger, Balder finds himself at a loss. It is not meant for him, not really, and this he knows, yet he feels the weight of guilt upon him just the same. Had he been there...had he been able to explain...to comfort his brother when he felt shunned....had he been able to do something.

Not for the first time, he wonders if it hadn't been planned that way, his unexpected diplomatic mission abroad, wonders if Odin hadn't known the events on the horizon and wanted his youngest son elsewhere when their family came apart like a house of cards. Could he have known how Loki would react when he discovered the truth? How any of them would react? Surely he'd have known that Balder would call him brother still, whatever his blood. They had been raised together, taken baths together, fought together, played together. Not amount of blood, flowing or spilled, could changed that.

"This realm, it does not suit you. There is no warmth here, no laughter, no room for mischief. It will stifle all that is good in you if you if you remain too long." Balder speaks the truth as he sees it, as he observes his brother, so small, and pale, and fragile looking surrounded on all sides by walls of ice. This place will do him no good, will serve only to further twist his views in regard to home, and family, and who knows what else. This may be his birthplace, that much cannot be denied, but it is not where he belongs. "This may be the realm where you were birthed, but it not your home, brother."The familiar term of familiar endearment comes without thought only to be met with anger.

Balder winces and, with good graces that their eldest brother does not possess, he seeks to make amends. Loki." he does not wish to cause strife between them, not now. And in that interest, so too does he avoid making mention of the comment about this being his new home. He does not truly believe that Loki would hold him here against his will. Brute force has never been his way. Thor's, perhaps, but never Loki's. he's always been far more subtle, far more cunning, and yet, what he says next belies all that.

Loki asks why Balder chose to shield him from Thor and his mortals, and Balder marvels at the fact that he cannot see it. Much has changed since last I saw him. "Does it truly puzzle you so? You may not be my kin by blood, but we have grown together, laughed together, fought together, played together. You have helped shape me into who and what I am today, and I would call you brother still, if you would have me. And if you would not, I would still think of you as such and treat you with a brother's care for you are, and always have been, my brother in all of the ways that matter."



This post has been edited by Balder: Feb 21 2013, 02:23 PM
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Loki
 Posted: Feb 21 2013, 06:09 PM
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"You sound as Thor did. Telling me my kingdom should not have me." The sneer in his voice lowered itself to a growl the moment it had left, eyes continually narrowed now at the God of Light. Just as Thor was, indeed. If Balder truly wanted to remain with him there was no doubt in his mind a side would be chosen. What side that was, however, was entirely up to the Asgardian before the Jotun King. A quick swipe of the hand over his hair allowed Loki to draw it back, turning his head a moment later before turning away entirely. Too much trust was placed in Balder. It was trust which had stifled the malevolent tumor inside of Loki's heart. Always jealous, always wanting more for himself and everything going to Thor. The Thunder God had been more of a son than Loki would have ever been, and time and again the Liesmith had failed at being a prince of Asgard as well as a son of Odin. This time Loki was not going to do his family displeasure; he was all the family he truly needed. But some small part of him still wanted to keep the cherished memories of boyhood safe. He had wanted to stay in that nice, safe cocoon of nostalgia for as long as he could. The fall into the void had given him time to think on all the things which made him the way he was that day. Jotunheim may have been cold and grafted together with ice and malice but it was still a home Loki could relate to. What was childhood when all he'd had were two chosen sons to compete with?

Now was not the time to grow soft as Thor had done.

Loki's return to Balder's side was less of a comforting one and more of confrontation, lips twisted in an almost snarl, teeth bared just enough on one side, accenting his words. "Brother? You would call me brother? Enlighten me as to why I should trust you. As a son of Odin it is your duty to protect all the realms, to guide them safely through tranquil peace and lies." The words were all but spat out, a raging fire burning behind crystalline eyes. "If you knew what truth your nightmares wrought you would not say such things. You would not dare try to be the only one I could trust during my darkest hours." Loki could feel the anger settling in the pit of his stomach, forcing his shoulders forward just enough to haunch, never letting his eyes tear away from Balder even as he let his magic consume him, stripping away layer after layer of Asgardian filth until the blue of his natural skin returned, sharp lines appearing almost as scars (but natural to his bloodline at birth) crossing their way over his flesh, mapping out ancestry only Jotuns truly knew how to decipher. Red started to bleed into his eyes, pupils tightening now as he remained focused on his "brother". "I am the monsters we learned to fear and respect as children. I am the creature your father sought to imprison on this wretched realm." The regal air about Loki had all but vanished, revealing the monster beneath not a moment later. "If Odin would have his way this would be my exile for all of eternity."

--------------------

FOR THE HEART I ONCE HAD
ONCE MY HEART BEAT TO THE RHYTHM OF THE FALLING SNOW
BLACKENED BELOW, THE RIVER NOW FLOWS A STREAM OF MOLTEN VIRGIN SNOW.

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Balder
 Posted: Feb 21 2013, 07:16 PM
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The threads stretch but do not break. The door will be open soon. The golden one draws closer to the eve of knowing, the plateau of truth that holds his fate and that of those whom he holds most dear. The serpent writhes, expectant. But there is no thunder, no quaking, no roiling waves, not yet, it is not yet time, not when there is still hope. Instead, he shall bear them in nightmarish form, a plague upon his sleep intensified until such a time as he shall come to know that it is unavoidable, that it is fate.

What do you know of my nightmares, Balder nearly asks, but a shudder runs through him at the thought of Loki knowing something about his nightly hauntings, about him having known something all along, and he shoves the thought aside, refusing to succumb to doubt, refusing to open any door that might cause him to question the trust between them as Loki has come to. They are words said in anger, he tells himself, nothing more, for Loki is all anger now, all rage. There is pain beneath that anger too, pain at the root of it, but now it lies obscured, buried. Yet Balder does not despair. He believes that he knows his brother well, that the years could not have lead him this far astray, not truly. He means to distance himself and, if Thor's reaction to his appearance on Midgard was any indication, he has done well in that regard, but Balder is not yet convinced, he is not yet ready to relinquish his brother to this madness. For, in his mind, they are brothers still. Yet in Loki's...Balder frowns. What is he to Loki now? Reason tells him that he must tread carefully, that he stands on the edge of a precipice down which they might both tumble and never return should he push Loki too far and yet, push he must if they are to resolve this, for Balder refuses to let things stand as they are, even as Loki spits his venom, even as the lines of blue begin to form, altering the visage that Balder knows better than his own. He has seen it change, from year to year, but never like this and, yet, somehow...it suits Loki in the way that his milk pale flesh does not. The creature that stands before him looks nothing like Loki, yet Balder is sure that he is Loki still. A monster he calls himself, one of the monsters that they learned about when they were young, that were used to frighten them into compliance when they misbehaved as children. What must Loki think about himself, about this skin of his after growing up in a realm where such tales were common place? And Balder, Balder remembers those tales well enough, in the way that any man grown remembers tales from childhood - a fuzzy recollection tinged with nostalgia. Yet the history between the two realms would suggest that there exists much truth in those children's tales.

"You know our duties well, to uphold the peace between the realms and serve as their protectors, and is Jotunheim not one of the known realms?"

"Loki," the name comes easily in the way that the next bit does not, cannot, yet come it must, for he must show Loki that it is neither blood nor race which creates a monster and, to do so, he must acknowledge Loki's true parentage. he has heard the name of the former Jotun king precious few times, and always has it been spoken with malice, yet Balder's tone displays neither bitterness nor malice as it escapes his lips. "Son of Laufey." With Laufey gone, it is little more than a name now, neither good nor evil. It is fact, and history, and moments past, yet Loki seems to see it as an inescapable legacy to which he must live up.

Balder takes a step toward him. He cannot allow his brother, who had shown him such care when he felt most lost, to walk this perilous path alone. "You stand before me and proclaim yourself a monster." Again he edges forward, his steps slow and cautious, purposefully non-threatening. "Brother, you are not a monster. Blood alone cannot make you in your father's image, it is nurture as much as nature that makes us what we are. " There is as much understanding in his words as there is innocence. It is a statement brought on as much by purity as by knowledge, the sort of thing that only Balder might claim. Such things have spring forth from him in the past, on occasion. never prompted and rarely expected, earning him the moniker Balder the Wise when the Balder the Pure might have been more apt. Yet, perhaps, purity provides a sort of wisdom all its own. It is that purity, that innocence that allows him to close the distance between them as he speaks, to reach up to touch his brother's cheek, too feel the difference even as it is clear there before his eyes.

Balder does not know precisely what to expect when he reaches out. Loki's skin is beyond cold to the touch. It burns unpleasantly beneath his fingertips, yet he takes the time to trace a faint white line across the trickster's cheek, and when he withdraws his hand, there is not a single trace of revulsion to be found there in his gaze, even as Loki meets it with malice. Instead, Balder's eyes are filled with wonder, with the kind of awed curiosity oft found in children. "You are wrong, Loki" the words are quiet, yet they seem to echo in the ice hewn hall as Balder's hand falls back to his side, and there is little doubt that he believes every word he says. "Father would still have you return home, even now, even after all that you have done. We all would."



This post has been edited by Balder: Feb 21 2013, 07:18 PM
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Loki
 Posted: Feb 21 2013, 08:02 PM
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Oh, so Balder wanted to proclaim Jotunheim as a piece of the heavenly realms. Loki could feel the tumultuous anger within his chest begin to bubble over, starting to creep along the underside of his skin and further into his muscles. It sank its fangs into his heart, right into the blackened core and he felt immediately threatened. An emotional response, albeit a very aggressive one, meant Balder was touching on notes Loki himself had not heard sung in decades. Being immortal things as they were they were immovable, always existing and never fading, but in his mind Loki knew there had to be an end somewhere in sight. The God of Mischief did not move, freezing where he stood, muscles tensing at every viable movement Balder made. Like an animal frozen in a hunter's sights, keeping himself steady and barely scraping by with his sanity intact. Fight or flight; Loki did not know which was more preferable. But he remained resolute, hands tightening into fists as he stood his ground. Giving an Asgardian the chance to overcome whatever strength he did have would spell the end for Loki, no matter how much Balder claimed they were brothers and he would thusly defend the Liesmith to the very death. But it had become a strange and wondrous thing, how Loki continued to stand with his front to Balder. Like a predator feeling threatened by a bigger one, dangerous and more willing to eat the heart right out of its prey's chest. He did not show his back again, not this time.

The sound of his father's name drove a pain like knives through his chest, forcing the seizing of limbs to halt their stance. How could Balder have called him that? Loki was confused, the fury subsiding, bleeding away to give a glimpse into the heart-wrenching hopelessness he'd been living in for some time. Balder always knew what to say to bring the God of Mischief down, even from a height as dangerous as his Jotun aggression. But he had never had it before. Certainly there had always been spite and malice, a cool dislike for Thor that shadowed even the desolate peaks of Jotunheim's ice mountains, but Loki had never felt so in-tune with his lineage. And the whispers, oh, the sweet nothings of power would drift to him every now and then, consoling him and telling him what he was doing was right. They all deserved it.

Loki was draft from his reverie by the warmth of a hand near him, the radiance of the God of Light not necessarily bright but full of that heat he knew Asgardians to have. Loki had it when he wasn't a monster; now was not that time. But Loki knew the burning cold of his skin was not quite as unbearable as that of his ilk. Rather it was something he found ironically pleasing. A runt on both Asgard and from within his own species. Loki fought with everything he had to turn away, knowing he shouldn't have let Balder go that far. Something had gone terribly wrong in this little exchange. Despite all his sorcery Loki was not powerful enough to hold the spell Odin had weaved around him at bay, pale white seeping over blue as lines vanished and red eyes became blue again, the cold chill settling back down in his weakened Jotun state. "You have always had your mother's compassion, Balder, just as Thor has your father's ruthlessness." The Jotun King turned away completely now, no longer feeling he had a right to push Balder over a fine edge. Like any dagger he wielded, Loki's silver tongue often got him into trouble. This time it would not be used to get him out of it. Balder had proclaimed him the son of Laufey, the true heir to a throne most unwanted even then. Yet the Liesmith spoke not a word to the giants who followed blindly. They were barbaric, uncivilized, and Loki did indeed miss the warmth of the Asgardian sun on his skin.

Some days.

Others he resorted to roaming the halls of his frozen palace, feeling the bite of wind and the chill of ice against his flesh. It still bothered him to know Odin had never loved him, not truly for who he was. An alliance, he'd said, permanent peace. Now it was nothing more than a flight of fancy. Loki was not worthy to sit on the throne of Asgard even as he'd had it shortly before. No, this time it would be Thor and then Balder. They were the prodigal sons; they were the ones Odin favored most. "Your father would have me imprisoned for my crimes against the realms. I tried to destroy my own race, Balder. I sought to wipe them from the face of the universe only to find your brother stood in my way. Odin would not accept me, the son of Laufey, back into his halls without condemnation and contempt."

--------------------

FOR THE HEART I ONCE HAD
ONCE MY HEART BEAT TO THE RHYTHM OF THE FALLING SNOW
BLACKENED BELOW, THE RIVER NOW FLOWS A STREAM OF MOLTEN VIRGIN SNOW.

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Balder
 Posted: Feb 21 2013, 09:05 PM
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The blue fades beneath his touch, the spell unraveling, and it is a marvel to behold. Balder remains frozen in place as he watches the blue melt away, watches pale Asgardian flesh take the place of Jotun blue. The Loki he knows has returned, both in appearance and temperament, yet he will not deny that there is something equally fitting about his brother's Jotun form. There is an alien beauty in the contrast between blue and white, in the lines that had run along the visible bits of his brother's body in complex whirls and patterns. The red eyes, though disconcerting, had seemed the perfect portals for the rage within their depths and yet, Balder could imagine a wealth of other other emotions reflected in that rich red, emotions that he'd seen many a times flickering through familiar blue eyes, the same eyes that now stare back at him. The anger has gone, for now, and Balder is loath to recall it.

His mother's compassion, perhaps he did have it, yet still it was his own, he had made it his own, just as Loki had taken this anger upon himself and made it his own. His father's anger, now his own. Or perhaps it was Odin's rage, Odin's supposed ruthlessness given new form. Loki put much stock in what each of the Odinson's had taken away from their parents, what they had made their own, but he saw nothing of what he had taken away from them. Balder saw it all too clearly. He had once told his brother that he possessed their father’s cleverness and their mother’s gentle heart and, even now, he did not believe himself to be too far off the mark. Loki was as much a product of his upbringing as he believed himself to be a product of his Jotun blood and, though he had changed, in form as well as allegiance, he still retained pieces of the family that had raised him - Odin's ruthlessness, as Loki called it, and Freya's sensitive soul, which allowed him to hurt so deeply. Perhaps it would have been easier had he been all Jotun, as cold and unforgiving as the frozen waste that now surrounded him. Easier not just for Loki, but for Balder as well, for Balder had seen good in him, saw it in him still, and it pained him greatly to see Loki struggle thusly. If he could but fight this battle for his brother, he would to so in an instant, yet he cannot. He can but remain at Loki's side and remind him that, though the way ahead might be perilous and dark, there's still light to be found in the world, and he is not alone.

"Father is not the only one who posses the ability to be ruthless, Loki."Balder speaks without condemnation, lays his observations before the god of mischief and leaves him to come to his own conclusions. "But I think you will find that things are not as you believe them to be if you would only look with open eyes. The All-Father has always been prone to anger, an anger that he has passed on, but all anger cools with time, all tempers fade, and he would have you home with us once more, I am certain of it." he says nothing of his own feelings on the matter, for they need no saying. Balder has always been something of an open book, especially where Loki is concerned, and his feelings are writ across his face, clear as day. He would have things as they were. He would have his brother back.



This post has been edited by Balder: Feb 21 2013, 09:05 PM
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Loki
 Posted: Feb 21 2013, 09:58 PM
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Somehow there was doubt on whether or not Balder could change someone as poisoned as Loki. The God of Mischief had more on his plate than anyone else in the multiverse, most certainly. Or maybe he was simply accustomed to being the end of every scornful joke. The Trickster God, the Liesmith, Mischief-Maker—all were appropriate names for the god Loki had become. None were more so fitting than the tyrant he was now. Jotun King, a new title he'd taken to calling himself, or rather that he let his subjects call him. It was a displeasing sensation to be one of the most scorned species in the realms but Odin had seen fit to make it that way. Laufey had been a great king to his people, and Loki as his son would need to live up to those expectations. It was why Loki felt it difficult to accept what Balder was saying, trying his best not to look at his former brother again. No, perhaps Balder was still more of a brother. Balder the Kind; Balder the Wise. Was it wise to be in Loki's presence at that moment? The Liesmith weighed optional words on his tongue for just a moment, not bothering to turn and peer at the God of Light for all his sanity could not hold back the entirety of what he might say were that bravery to come about. Loki the Brave—a scornful idea. "As my predecessors before me I will draw blood from realms until it flows like a river. The cold bite of Jotunheim will be felt and there is nothing the All-Father can do to stop me." His words had little feeling, however, and Loki held them as such.

His masterful plan would not come to fruition until he could gain the Darkhold, and while he was certain his brother would try to stop him Loki felt it was time for him to be the nightmare he had become when he'd slighted Balder all those years ago. Centuries, it would seem. "Mistletoe, dear brother, is my only warning for you." Again very riddle and cryptic. But he felt his heart sink lower in his chest as he turned to face the God of Light, stepping closer now as if to meet Balder on the same field of emotional battle the other was adept at fighting. But Loki was fighting back the anger that still roiled beneath the surface, like electric sparks igniting in a furnace of immeasurable wrath. For now it was sated and his sneer went unhindered in the way. "If you suggest my temper is the same as Odin's, you are sorely mistaken, Balder the Wise." He was throwing titles like they were taunts, all but feeling his magick thrumming like the beats of a thousand wings of darkness. Instead he heard the slight growl behind him, pausing the Trickster God in his movement to confront the Golden Son.

From behind Loki came the thud of footsteps, alternating between front and back legs, four at a time. The snarl that came forward now was even more threatening and Loki had to raise a hand, turning away from his "brother" to stay the flashing fangs of the dire wolf appearing from between crevices of ice. "You remember your nephew, Balder. Or have you never met him?" Fenris the Wolf gave a momentary pause in gaze over the God of Light, huffing even as he turned to his father, lowering his snout a bit to speak. "I have found it, father." Loki raised his head now, forgetting about the rage he had bottled up and instead giving Balder this moment to realize what dangers lay ahead. Let him learn the hard way. There would be no intervention of Odin on part of the Golden Son this time. "Do nothing with it until I send word. Ensure none come near it, Fenris." The wolf snarled his understanding but refused to leave just yet. Not until Loki gave word, of course.

--------------------

FOR THE HEART I ONCE HAD
ONCE MY HEART BEAT TO THE RHYTHM OF THE FALLING SNOW
BLACKENED BELOW, THE RIVER NOW FLOWS A STREAM OF MOLTEN VIRGIN SNOW.

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 Posted: Feb 21 2013, 10:45 PM
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The wheel of fate turns. One of the three takes center stage. Soon the others will join their kin (three of four children, cursed, born to play a part in the world's unmaking) and it will begin in earnest, that downward slide toward the inevitable, for the threads of fate cannot be altered, only tangled or intertwined. The question is, how long before they begin to unravel? How long before the world begins to follow? Mistletoe. A deadly foe that once tipped the scales in favor of the end. How long before history repeats itself? How long before these miserable creatures realize that what is to come in inevitable? How long before the nightmare becomes the reality?

Mistletoe. Balder does not understand the warning for what it is, cannot, for that knowledge has been lost to him, repressed by powerful magicks at a cost near as great as their undoing. Mistletoe. he does not understand, and yet a shudder of recognition ripples through him: an object flashes before his minds eye, long and slender, and gone in an instant before he can place it, likes pieces of a dream, perhaps one of his nightmares. And there's that sinking feeling curling in his belly, tugging at it, warning him away from this fool's errand. But this is his brother still and he cannot, no, he will not, turn away from him, not now when Loki needs him most.

There's a pain in his chest that he mistakes for heartache, for that is just as surely present, and then they are three.

Three nights prior, a wolf stands atop a sheer cliff, eyes agleam in the darkness, blood upon it's maw. Long into the night it howls, and that howling becomes the backdrop for horrors untold. Something is coming it says. No, not something is coming, something is here, and then it comes and the howling is lost in a chorus of screams, familiar voices rising up in shared agony. Yet, in the here and now, there is no howling, no bloody maw, merely a low growl and a few words exchanged between father and son.

Nephew, the words takes him like a slap. Nephew. Like he ought to know. "You remember your nephew, Balder. Or have you never met him?" A flicker of recognition. A whisper of warning. There's mockery in Loki's tone. 'Do you not remember' it says, like Balder has missed out on some crucial piece of a bit of trickery, or the punchline to some famous joke. Fenris. The floodgates are jarred. Balder takes a step forward, then thinks better of it. He wonders at this creature who looks upon him with recognition in it's eyes, this creature that Loki calls son, that he ought to call nephew. Fenris...why does he know that name? Why does it call to mind images of fingers tangled in soft fur, a wet tongue, howls of laughter? Balder finds himself at a loss. Fenris...Mistletoe...A name on the tip of his tongue, then rolling off. "Fenris."

The floodgates begin to open.

The world goes dark all around him as he pitches forward.

This post has been edited by Balder: Feb 21 2013, 10:55 PM
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Loki
 Posted: Feb 22 2013, 12:51 PM
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The wolf made not a move, watching content to see what his "uncle" would do. But the Asgardian made no move to defend himself against the wolf and it was wise; there was no reason for defense in the end. Loki kept his hand up towards Fenris to stay his son, gaze still focused on Balder to see what reaction there was towards this revelation. But nothing happened, the Trickster God's smirk fading slowly now to an expression of confusion. What has happened? Fenris took several steps back, watching Balder with intensity. Loki knew what was happening now, the blank look Balder had. "Leave, Fenris. Do as I have commanded." The son of Loki turned without another word and without hesitation, disappearing into the blanketing darkness within the Temple. Loki could give his undivided attention to the son of Odin. "Balder?" He took a step forward, eyebrows furrowing slightly into a sign of worry. Why was Balder silent as that? Why did he look as if he were about to—

Because he was.

Balder suddenly falling, losing the apparent strength to stand or perhaps from something else. Either way Loki had to intervene, reaching out now as quickly as he could to wrap an arm around Balder's shoulders, taking the god's weight unto himself to prevent damage to his brother. Balder should not be harmed, could not be harmed, not on Jotunheim where weakness was a death sentence. Yet even Loki was no match for the exact weight of his brother, dropping to his knees to prevent some terrible end from happening. Like the end of the universe, mayhaps. Once the Trickster God had settled with Balder's weight all but in his lap he drew at his power to shield them from sight, to protect Balder in his state of absolute weakness from the potential of murder. Jotuns were not known for their kindness against Asgardians, even when said warriors fell temporarily ill. But the Liesmith knew Balder would awaken and there would be questions, perhaps a righteous anger, but he would be there to protect until then. No one had been loyal if not Balder, and his brother was the reason he'd survived on Asgard a lot longer. Staying the Trickster's hand from terrible things, like against the bilchsteim incident when the Dark Elves had threatened. Loki had done a terrible thing but none had discovered beyond the original offending parties and Balder. Loki had yet to be punished for that.

But the alien invasion, the stealing of two relics and now a third—those would certainly draw the retaliatory vengeance of Odin at one point or another. It was surprising the All-Father had yet to appear on Jotunheim for his wayward "son". Balder became the most important thing now, however, and Loki drew off his own cloak to drape it over his brother, his magic shimmering as invisibility settled about them. He could hold a simple spell as that for as long as he wished, though he didn't know how long it was going to take for his brother to awaken. No matter, Loki thought to himself before brushing fingertips against the God of Light's fair locks, drawing them away and settling clear of his face. Just as they were children and Loki had been there he would be there now. At least until he could tell more truths rather than spit lies. Balder never deserved any of Loki's ire but this was necessary. He had to know, had to learn, and if anyone were to do it for the sake of his brother's sanity it had to be Loki. Balder was the only one who managed to stay true to his word, to his morals and values and beliefs. Even when his siblings were changing Balder seemed not to, almost stronger because of it, and Loki would preserve that. Ruining something like Balder's wisdom or courage or strength, that would have been a truly unforgivable crime.

Yet the Jotun King knew Balder needed the truth to survive. The end of the world depended on it, and having Balder know was better than keeping him further in the dark than he already was.
    [ End thread. ]

--------------------

FOR THE HEART I ONCE HAD
ONCE MY HEART BEAT TO THE RHYTHM OF THE FALLING SNOW
BLACKENED BELOW, THE RIVER NOW FLOWS A STREAM OF MOLTEN VIRGIN SNOW.

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