A decisive resolution.
Dumas gained his bearings and spied his target. The Enchantress and Skurge seemed to be tasked with the other members of his group, while Loki was fighting Ravdna and Aegis. Victor quickly sank into the floor and attempted to rise up underneath Loki and partially solidify inside him to incapacitate the trickster half god.
Dumas's ploy pays off. Loki, perhaps due to his arrogance or perhaps simply due to a limit in his power, is not completely encased in the seemingly invincible force field. Instead, the Trickster's feet still stand on the floor itself, which enables Dumas to phase up through the floor right next to Loki.
"Aaaag!" Loki howls in pain has Dumas phases a hand into Loki's chest before partly solidifying the limb. Loki's force field vanishes in a flash as Loki himself drops to the floor, moaning in pain, obviously stunned by Dumas's attack.
The bellow, coming from the very center of the grand hall turned battleground, rattles teeth and vibrates guts. Immediately, the brawlers cease fighting, stopping in mid-thrash, heads and bodies turning towards the source of the command. Loki and Skurge lay stunned. Amora rises unsteadily to her feet, shrugging off the helping hands of two warriors. Ravdna, sealed in solid rock, can still hear and feel the authority of the voice. Even Thor himself starts and faces the dais.
The Thunderer then drops to one knee, an action mimicked by every Asgardian in the hall except Loki and Skurge, who are unable to rise, and Ravdna, who is unable to move.
On the dais is a man. No, that's not quite correct. On the dais is a being with the form of a man. He is as tall as Thor and as broad as Skurge, encased in gleaming gold armor. A massive steel spear is held in a mighty fist, its butt-end resting on the dais. A single, piercing blue eye gazes at the assembled mob from beneath a mane of silver hair. The other eye is covered by a leather patch. The aura of power and influence emanating from this sudden, new arrival is palpable.
"We be not pleased by what we see," announces Odin. "Some explanation shall be forthcoming."
Doctor Victor Dumas, AKA the Specter stands over Loki's still form keeping one eye on the trickster and one on the man in golden armor. Surely this must be the All-Father Dumas thinks to himself.
"We are warriors from Midgard and we came to retrieve what we lost when Loki and his allies raided our city. They took several women and killed many of our people. We have our women and all we desire is to leave in peace."
Odin frowns, his heavy brow furrowing with displeasure.
Emerald looks for a clear spot on the floor to land in, then gently returns to the ground. He too drops to one knee, but keeps his head up to see how this latest surprise will turn out. As soon as Dumas has finished speaking Emerald adds his two cents worth. "Odin," Rick gestures towards Loki at this point, "thy son has been up to mischief again, and in so doing he snared us and all of Asgard into his net. We came here to rescue those who should not have been here, and speaking for myself I will gladly depart knowing that justice holds sway once more here."
*I thought one didn't address royalty unless one has been directly addressed... maybe I've forgotten some of my etiquette.* Aegis shrugs to herself, taking stock of the battle's results: one heck of a lot better than the last time. *Either way, unlike some of these others, eloquence has never been my strong suit....* Thinking that some appearance of solidarity might be wise at the moment, she lands in the vicinity of the others, her stance respectfulthough she does not relax her guard for an instant. After all, Odin might not be inclined to look favorably upon their intrusion, however just.
Dark Angel whips around to face the source of the booming command. It only takes a second to calculate that this fella is probably royalty of some sort. Not knowing much about fancy manners, he follows his companion's lead and kneels. Figuring it's best to keep his ignorant mouth closed and let those who know the man better address him first, he waits in patient silence for some better indication as to what his next move should be.
Cap, not wanting to add to the deluge of explanations being directed at the all-father, flies down to near ground level and hovers, holding a formal hand-to-brow salute towards Odin.
Union, who had frozen rock still in mid attack against the stunned Executioner, settles to the ground next to Aegis and Emerald, taking a stance similar to his fellow armor clad comrade-in-arms. *Lights on,* he thinks to himself, *Ravdna said everything went wrong after he left, so hopefully...Ravdna!* It takes a couple of seconds for Adrian to find his voice in the face of the lord of Norse gods. "Um, Odin, Sir, one of your Valkyre is bound within that pillar of stone, and I don't know how healthy that is for her...Do you think we could do something to get her out of there?"
Odin's single-eyed gaze flashes from Emerald to Union to Ravdna's granite prison. "Hogun," the All-Father says simply.
An Asgardian warrior, broad shouldered, dressed inof all thingsgarb much more Mongol than Nordic, steps forward, pulling back a heavy mace which he then swings with enough force to shatter the rock into pebbles, dropping Ravdna to the floor, covered in dust, but otherwise unharmed.
"Rise, Thor," Odin commands and Thor obeys. "Be there truth to what these mortals say?"
"Aye," Thor admits.
"How came this to be?"
Thor points at Amora, who cringes. "Yon Enchantress, my lord, ensorceled me to do her bidding. She and Loki, foul Trickster, hatched together this evil scheme to attack Midgard."
"And thus it is time for Amora to flee!" the Enchantress exclaims, and then, along with Skurge, she vanishes in a flash of green-golden light. A murmur ripples through the crowd.
Odin's frown grows even more disapproving. "Fandral, Volstagg, Hogun. You warriors three ride anon to Amora's palace. Express to her our displeasure."
A tall, slender blonde Asgardian in green clothes, bearing a strong resemblance to Errol Flynn, bows elegantly. The "Mongol" nods. A third Asgardian, easily the most obese person any of the heroes have every seen, grins broadly.
"Thy will is our meat and drink, mighty Odin!" Volstagg replies happily before the three turn and run from the hall.
"Ravdna," Odin says. "Seize Loki and bring him hence. Mortals, approach our person. We would have words with you. Thor, my son, go and assist with the apprehension of Amora and Skurge. Subjects! We bid you leave our presence anon!"
"With great pleasure," Thor responds with a bow. Turning on his heel, he pauses before Cap. "Thou art truly a formidable adversary, lad, e'en if thy manner be mad."
Captain America turns and faces the thunder god. "Well, Red, a guy would HAVE to be mad to go toe-to-toe with you!" Cap grins. "Next time we meet, let's hope we're on the same side."
And with that, Thor is flying, leaving the hall through the shattered window above. Murmuring, many of them limping, the assembled Asgardians begin to file out of the enormous chamber. The heroes note that several who just a few moments ago fought against each other are walking arm in arm like long time friends.
Shortly, only Odin, Ravdna, a groggy and unsteady Loki, and the mortals from Midgard remain.
Doctor Victor Dumas approaches the All-Father as he requested, half wondering if they were to be punished or rewarded. He stands, hands on his hips, before the awe inspiring majesty that is the King of the Norse Gods.
Emerald stays where he lands long enough for any of the others to go past him, then steps towards the All-Father. His most fervent hope is that Odin will send the group home without further incident, but some small part of him thinks that unlikely. Some of this fear leaks onto his face, visible even through his mask. He edges away from Loki, trying to keep Odin between himself and the Trickster. He waits to see if anyone else has something to say.
*OK, Odin seems to have done a quick job of separating the guilty from the innocent in this one. That's a good sign for our side. We should be in fine shape as long as no one does or says anything really arrogant or stupid that would get the supreme rules of Asgard angry enough with us to keep us from going home.* Union takes a few smooth steps forward, joining Dumas and Emerald in the line of mortals before Odin, his eyes moving under the helmet to see what the other members of his team are doing during these unexpected but hopeful events.
The Captain glides forward and touches down next to Specter to stand by his companions, waiting for Odin to get around to addressing them. Never comfortable with kneeling, Cap simply bows his head respectfully.
The group moves to stand before Odin as commanded. Ravdna has Loki well in hand. Odin looks down on the assembled heroes, still frowning.
"Thou," Odin says, pointing to Dumas.
Victor adjusts his footing when Odin looks at him. He has promised himself he will stand firm.
"We sense that thy efforts were key to entering Asgard. We be not pleased by this. Asgard be not a place for mortals to tread. We also sense, Ravdna, that ye were instrumental in assisting these mortals. We be of two minds about this."
Dumas wonders what Odin will say. What could he do? They acted justly and if this old man was fair, then they would survive. If he attacked them, Odin would not find them such an easy target.
Odin pauses, apparently deep in thought.
"Hear us, mortals. Thy cause was most just. Loki and Amora, with any others who aided them, shall be duly punished. We be most displeased that gods hath made war against mortals. Examples shall be made. Ne'ertheless, Asgard cannot be entered so easily. Ye are not welcome here, and thy presence cannot be tolerated. Thusly, ye come under the merciful judgement of Odin."
Odin raises his right hand, fingers extended.
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© 1999 Mark L. Chance et al