Things aren't looking good for the Avengers.
*Sheesh! What's in this for him?* thinks Dark Angel. *It's not like besting Cap will gain a god a heck of a lot of prestige one way or another... Hey! That's it! Didn't he hear somewhere that gods like to fight over "mortals" when they are in love with them? Could Amora be in love with Cap??? Could Thor be drubbing him out of jealousy??? Well, perhaps if she fancied some other fella...*
Victor watches the fight and starts to wonder if the Captain is capable of besting the Asgardian. Dumas moves through the croud until he stands behind Skurge. In a low voice he speaks to Skurge. "Tis a pity Thor will be the hero in the Enchantresses eyes once more. It should be the Executioner of Asgard out there meeting out punishment to these outlanders."
After that was said Victor slips through the floor and goes back over to where the women are. He hopes he can possibly goad Skurge into interfering with the fight.
Dumas's half-whispered words cause Skurge's spine to stiffen. For a moment, his piercing gaze shoots back to Emerald, but is then drawn back to the conflict.
Cap tries to shakes the stars from his vision as he hauls himself up to a three-point stance. Barely aware of the laughter, jeers, and occasional grunts of pain from the fallen figures around him, the young hero calls out through the mind-link: *Guys? What's our status?*
*You're doing great, kid,* Aegis thinks at him, as reassuringly as she can. *Just hang in there.* Worst case, we can just grab them and run, but I'd rather not have these guys at our backs like that....
Through keeping her attention on the other gods and on the crowd, she hasn't been able to scrutinize all the details of the fight, but is impressed by what she sees; she wouldn't like to be the one down there. For someone his size, Thor is just too darn quick. *I don't think this is going to take thirteen rounds,* she adds. *We get back to Manhattan, drinks are on me.*
The mental contact provides a point of clarity, and Cap manages to push the cobwebs from his head just as two Asgardians are hauling him up to thrust back into the "ring". Shrugging both off easily, he locks eyes with his opponent. *This pounding is going to take me down sooner than it will him. I need to try to draw those cheatin' wizards or that psycho Skurge in, right? Let's try pushing ol' Thunderhead about their influence*
"Well, you sure seem as strong as the legends say, tough guy," the Captain's loud, steady voice booms out as he walks slowly, resolutely towards his hulking adversary, "But murdering helpless mortals? Abducting women? Sounds like exactly the sort of thing to expect from an overgrown coward like Skurge, but I'd heard better of you Thor. Is that really your style, son of Odin?" *Oh God, I hope this works*
Aegis seconds the prayer, waiting for the Asgardians to make the first move. She can feel the frustration building; things seem to be happening on two levels, the visible one of the fight and a second, more subtle one that has yet to erupt but consists of a steadily tightening tension. Everyone is in position, now just waiting. She spends a moment regaining her calm, focusing on the two sorcerers. *Come on, guys,* she thinks privately. *Just give us an excuse....*
Thor's bemused expression fades. "Impudent whelp, dost thou thinkest to defeat me with words?"
*I was kinda hoping for a second there* Cap muses in his mind, having caught his breath and realizing how little actual injury he's sustained* But that DID seem to touch a nerve...a ticked off fighter is a sloppy one*
Adrian feels a stab of envy for the obviously more combat-trained Aegis, who is at least able to offer some help in this fight. Keeping the majority of his attention on the self styled Executioner, Adrian glances around the field of battle, while listening to the roar of the crowd and the thoughts in the link. Slowly, the moment begins to clarify. *This is just another puzzle to be solved, which means we can solve it...*
Dark Angel moves slowly closer to Amora and attempts to look aloof and indifferent as he flaps his wings ever so gently in a provocative manner. Dames always dig the guys who are a bit more stand-offish. Should she notice his attempts, he'll just stand there and look unconcerned... Yeah! That's it. Unconcerned...
The wing flap certainly attracts Amora's attention, along with the sudden, startled looks from several other Asgardians who notice Dark Angel. A most unattractive sneer distorts the Enchantress's beautiful face and she grasps Loki's arm to get his attention. Loki actually slaps Amora's hand away, his cruel eyes apparently seeing nothing but Thor and Captain America.
*This cunning may succeed yet.* Ravdna thinks as she begins to up the ante in the game that Dumas and The Captain are playing with the Executioner. *I must break our link for a moment.* On her continued way to intercept Loki and the prisoners she quickly establishes mental contact with a number of her like-minded Asgardians who begin issuing further taunts "That mighty Skurge would allow this whelp of midgard to speakst so mayeth explain why the lady Amora hast turned her affections toward the Thunderer!" and chants of "Skurge! Skurge! Skurge! Skurge! Skurge!" ring out through the hall. Ravdna then re-connects with her mortal partners.
A confused murmur spreads through the crowd as the chant picks up momentum. Amora's sneer fades to bewilderment as she looks around at the Asgardians calling for the Executioner and then looks back to Dark Angel.
*This guy is way outta my league* Cap's worried thought echoes through Rick's mind. Emerald is beginning to think the same thing about the large dark-haired man called Skurge. He waits for the man's reaction to being insulted by his comrades, and hopes their plans work out. Reaching out with his empathic senses, he tries to get a sense of how the large Asgardian and the blonde haired Enchantress feel about the ongoing fight.
And Emerald senses a growing fear in Amora's mind, coupled perversely with an almost sexual excitement. From Skurge, Emerald feels a growing rage of frightening intensity.
Delta V continues to move through the crowd, watching the Enchantress and waiting for something to happen. Listening to everyone's plans, Delta V shifts his attention between the Enchantress, Skurge, and Loki, waiting to see if his comrades were able to elicit a response from any of them.
Union concentrates on the winged albino, who's... interesting... strategy may yet bear fruit. *Darkangel. I don't think she's in love with Cap, but I do think that Executioner may be in love with HER, enchantment or no enchantment, and Thor is certainly under her spell. Make a solid comment about her mercurial affections and you might push Skurge over the edge, throw Thor off base, or both.*
I don't know how well that will work of course, Adrian muses to himself, but it might do something. Other than offering advice, all I can do now is sit on the sidelines and let the big boys go at it. Hell, Ade, you should be used to that...
Dark's attention pivots in the direction of Union's message. *Mercurial, huh?* you might have an idea there. Stepping up to the plate, Dark puffs out his chest and rests his heated, jet-black gaze on Amora's own obvious assets.
"Ma'am," he begins loudly, cockily, his eyes deliberately never lifting to her face, "I've been noticin' that you're not takin' a fancy to any of the other fellas here, or if you were, that you're not hankerin' for their lovin' any longer. So, I was thinkin', since you seem to be washin' your hands of the rest here, that you could take a likin' to some fussin' and pettin' from a man who could show you what real lovin's all about."
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© 1999 Mark L. Chance et al