|loki laufeyson (toberuled) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2012-12-18 20:50:00
|Entry tags:||loki, thor|
Who: Loki and Thor
What: A confrontation, and a rather damaging spell.
Where: Loki's temporary lair in New York.
The signs came late in the day, as sundown was nearing and the sky was growing dark. The rune found Thor then.
It zipped in close to him, small, burning bright, blue and white, almost playful, no bigger than the span of his palm. Then it darted away, leading him on, remaining always within his line of sight. Through the air, past crowds of people - no one seemed to see it. Down alleys and narrow throughways, ever deeper, ever darker places. It seemed to lead him always down the hardest road imaginable, always the trickiest path, until at last it led Thor to the edge of the water in New York, to the bay.
To the waterfront the rune led him, down to a district of crumbling warehouses with long-forgotten docks down by the sea. The building was crumbling inside, dusty, made of old brick, but hardly ancient by anyone’s standards except a human’s. The rune led inside, past rusted chains, dust-caked work benches, and a beached wooden boat whose painted name had long since peeled and turned to dust.
It stopped at a hatch in the floor, apparently rusted shut. If Thor breached it, the dark steps blow would lead him to a place with no light, a tunnel that stretched back toward the ocean.
As far as signals came, it was both subtle to the mortals and unable to be ignored by Thor. There was no doubt when he saw the floating rune that it had come from his brother, even if it hadn't been glowing and floating, leading him through the streets of New York.
His surroundings were noted and dismissed when there was no immediate threat. What few humans clung to places like this were no match for him and even if he didn't want to hurt them, they seemed less than interested in him. It was just as well.
At the hatch, Thor paused and glanced over his shoulder, gaze glancing once towards the sky before he opened it with a creak and a groan, rusted metal screaming as he forced it open. Whatever Tony's plan was, whatever he would do, Thor trusted him. He didn't expect the other man to come to his aid, but there was that simple, unfailing trust that the Man of Iron would ensure Peter's safety. That was what mattered.
Heaving the hatch open, he followed the floating, dancing rune down into the darkness.
The darkness stretched on. The rune's illumination was weak, and failed to brighten the dark around Thor much. In the distance, however, came sound. There was a clanging, and a buzzing. Then, behind him, the hatch door slammed shut, and he was left utterly blind.
He would have to feel his way ahead, then, or follow the flow of air. The passage remained narrow, twisting, turning, leading for a few hundred feet. It sloped gently downward, deeper and deeper into the earth, until, at last, at a final turn, light glimmered ahead. The rune winked out like a dying star, sighing softly as it went.
The passage emptied out into a long room. It was hard to tell just how long it was, but feeling along the walls would lead one only into an expansive darkness. A few dozen feet from the entrance of the passageway, however, the object that had shown light in the darkness was revealed to be something reflective. A stone, it seemed, glinting in the thin light of a single barred grate. The grate was set high above, in the ceiling, and it showed only the darkening sky.
The stone was resting on a rickety table, long since abandoned in this forgotten place, the legs worm-eaten and unstable. It was roughly the size of a Jotunn's head, its facets wide and rough. It appeared to have been hewn from the ground not too long ago, the edges of raw rock clinging to its base. On closer inspection, it did not simply reflect the light. Inside the rock, something glowed.
There was no sign of Loki. Not a sound, not a whisper. There was a small squeak, though, and a rat ran across Thor's boots before disappearing into darkness again.
There was no sign of his brother, yet Thor knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it had been his brother to lead him here, to this glowing rock beneath the darkening sky.
"Where are you?" He asked the darkness, not expecting an answer, but trying all the same. It was doubtless a trap, even he knew that, but as always, he was either too stubborn to believe that Loki's cages would harm him or too bold to be scared. Perhaps both. Or, and just as likely, Thor still believed that there was something good in Loki, no matter who might say otherwise.
His brother had presented him with the rock and with the sky, a clear route to bring what he was known for. Overhead the clouds began to mass as he reached out, Mjolnir first, and rapped the glowing stone lightly with the massive head.
An ill-chosen move.
Several things happened at once. It only took a fraction of a second for the rock to pulse its spell through the hammer, and spark the lightning through it. High above, through the grate, the clouds split open and fired down a bolt of lightning. Another split second, and the lightning arced from through Thor's body, through the hammer, and into the stone.
The power of it was immense. As soon as a circuit was established, the force of the energy being channeled through Thor's body into the hammer and the stone was incredible. A sound of humming grew, and grew. The very rock walls rattled.
In the flashing brightness of the lightning, there was Loki. He had been standing just a few short feet from the rock all along, in the darkness, his hands folded behind his back. He wore an expression of savage joy, the horned helmet on his head catching the light, the blue-white shine of the lightning turning his pale skin almost white.
In the shuddering light, it was now clear that Loki had led Thor to the abandoned basement of one of the other shuttered warehouses along the water. Their current location, though, was still unclear. Where the window was, and even how close to the water they were, was no longer obvious. The brick was cracked and crumbling, and a few rusting machines stood off to the side. Perhaps this had been a factory, once, an enclave of human machine production and invention, a relic of technology they had since left behind. Well, they would shortly know what it was to be left in the dark by all on which they had come to rely.
In the city, the lights began to power down. Building by building, block by block, New York started to go dark.
How far did it stretch? There was no way to tell from inside this basement, where the window only showed the sky. But Thor had to feel it, the gather and burn of all the electricity in the city, the state, the country - beyond - dragged through his body and into the stone, which glowed brighter and brighter. Loki walked toward him, closer to the stone, and around, circling, his eyes pinned to him. Thor would be able to take the current. It would kill a lesser being, but not Thor. Loki could count on him. Always.
Before he'd been given Mjolnir, Thor hadn't been able to channel the lightning. It had sat under his skin and in the sky, but there had been no way for them to connect. Thunderstorms on Asgard had brought elation, the rain washing the snap and shatter of lightning out from his blood but days without left him twitching, too much energy condensed into his small body. That was almost like this, the lightning spearing out of the sky to Mjolnir, but it hadn't come at his command, but at the insistence of his brother's magic.
It felt wrong, like fingers stroking backwards through his hair, lightning moving from ground to sky, nature tilted wildly and set upon it's head. His body still knew how to handle it, how to make it flow and move, but it was like moving upstream instead of downstream, his will battling what the magic wanted.
"Loki," he growled, both hands closing around the shortened, leather wrapped handle of the hammer. What was his brother doing? Distantly, he was aware of human electricity, measured and doled out in careful, human sized doses. It was like a slight breeze in the middle of a hurricane -- unremarkable until there was more of it, transformers and power stations going, sparking out like flames.
He couldn't tell how far the electricity spread and died, but he could tell it was growing. Thor did the one thing he could think to do -- Loki had always been susceptible to his lightning. He summoned more of it, branches spiking bright hot out of the clouds to connect with Mjolnir. Those he could control as his will brought them, not Loki's magic, it didn't stop them from arcing towards the stone, but soon enough they began to lash out, flicking at the abandoned pieces of metal and machines that had been left behind.
It was something he did without thinking about it. Even as he felt the current moving through him, to summon more, to meet the steady charge of electricity with brute strength was something he could very much be counted upon to do.
Loki's smile began to fade as Thor began calling the lightning down himself. No. He wouldn't be defeated so simply, not after going through all the trouble to kidnap Thor's pet brat and pass him off to his new keeper just to get Thor here, not after the work he'd poured into building the enchantments in that stone, carving them himself with a needle of bone. Not after Thor's imprisonment of him. This was just the first step in the longer game, and if he was checked here, then he would need to work around, and how tedious that would be.
Loki began pouring his energies into the stone, barely visible as strands of green light in the intense flash of the lightning, trailing from his fingers. The sound in the room was deafening, the crack of thunder and the sizzle of electricity. The air stank of ozone, bricks, and mouldering mortar, and when the lightning struck the rusting machinery it sent into the air a smell like burning copper. "No," he said, to Thor, and to the stone itself, which he refused to see falter. A burst of glow within the stone signalled his reinforcement of its magics, and the electricity from the world outside poured in all the faster.
Thor did not have the twists and turns in his mind that Loki had. If their minds were mazes, Loki's would be the ever-shifting, ever changing labyrinth, always moving whenever you thought you had it figured out. Thor's mind would have been a straight line, from the entrance to the exit, perhaps with a few small offshoots, but largely straightforward and without secrets. He didn't understand Loki's thoughts, didn't understand how he moved so quickly from one thought to the next without them appearing to have any connection and he certainly couldn't figure out what his brother was up to now. What he did understand, what had been ingrained in him upon Asgard was battle, and whatever one's opponent wanted to protect, was something to have.
Thor didn't know what kind of effect he was having on the stone or what it was doing, but he felt the increasing drain on mortal energy as more ropes of lightning fell from the sky and the opening above. It was more than Thor was used to controlling, but not more than he could handle, another whip of white light arcing down from the clouds to join the rest connecting to Mjolnir. A normal storm would have had the lightning vanishing as soon as it struck, but for him it remained, dancing and wavering before him. The first fat drops of rain began to fall, sizzling off the lightning, something cleaner, something far more fresh adding to the scent of rot that clung to mortar and brick within the room.
Loki refused to give up on the stone he had worked so hard to create, on the plan he had constructed. Rather than pulling back when the lightning intensified, he poured even more power into the stone. He took a calculated risk, however, throwing up a shield between them in case Thor managed to divert the lightning away in an attempt to strike him. Too much more of Thor's own power, and he would be able to break free of the circuit binding him down. The act had even odds of plunging his opponent into unconsciousness, but it would halt the stone's swallowing of power where things stood. Once sealed, it would hold what it had taken, but take in nothing more.
Just a little longer. None of this would be worth it if only the city was affected, after all. This had not been a plan for New York - how provincial. Loki had a world to conquer. Lips pulled away from his teeth, the snakes of emerald arcing from his fingers to the stone began to harden and brighten, growing more and more intense.
More and more of his concentration was needed in controlling the branches of lightning spearing out of the sky but before all was taken with it, Thor made it spark out, just a small finger that lanced out and sparked over the shield. His lips pulled back from his teeth as he tried again, to no avail. Very well. As often as he was a creature of habit, Thor knew when something new was needed.
And there would not be another chance to make it spark out again. The muscles along his back and shoulders, down his arms stood out in stark relief, lit with the glow of lightning and the green of Loki's magic. The roll and rumble of thunder no longer had a clear break, lightning strikes coming too quickly now, the warehouse and the sky near bright as day. Distantly he was aware of what windows remained blowing out, the metal structures that remained warping as slender tendrils of broken lightning raced over their surfaces. And then there was nothing but light filling his vision, too much energy funneled into him and he could feel that thing that laid dormant under his ability to call the storm come screaming to life. Thor had felt it before when he held Gungnir, but then it had been sluggish and resistant like the docile energy of Midgard and nothing like this wild rise. For a brief second his eyes glowed as the first crack of lightning did, as he reached not towards the sky but towards the stone itself and pulled in an attempt to overload it.
He felt it drawing on the influx of power from Midgard and then there came a very panicked voice in his head. Benji, who was often quietly awake when they were on this side, was very much loudly awake now. Too much!
There was never a second thought. Thor let go. All of the channeled lightning, all that he had called forth, shot back to the sky. Where once there was light, there was only darkness. Stillness. The rock's job complete as the rising power lashed back at the one who had brought it forth and Thor crumpled to the scorched, fissured floor, Mjolnir thunking down beside him to add a fresh spiderweb of cracks.
In the moment after the crack of lightning and the physical sundering of the stone, striking Loki’s own magic back against him like a whip that struck bloody lash marks across his face, Loki did an unexpected thing. In that dark room, where no one was there to see, Loki closed the distance between himself and Thor in less than a blink, kneeling beside him, hand on his chest, measuring his breathing.
He could have judged it from where he stood before. He could have licked away the blood dripping across his own lips from the cuts, as he was doing now, from behind the stone. He could have reached out with his magic and checked Thor’s vitals, and gone about the second phase of his plan.
Instead, Loki knelt on the ground beside him, one slender hand buried under the plates of Thor’s armor, and checked to be sure his chest rose and fell. Coming to his side was no more a thinking thing than that breath was. His own breathing went briefly ragged.
But when assured that Thor still breathed, Loki snatched his hand away.
Loki stood, still looking down at him, then turned his gaze up to the grate. Outside, night had come, and a light rain fell in the wake of Thor’s reckless tampering with his magic. What lay in the world beyond that hole in the ceiling that mattered so much to him? So much that he would reach for all his power to stop anything from happening to it? It couldn’t possibly be his friends. Thor had friends in every world - the thunder god, beloved by all. What made this place so important?
The lightning had melted the iron bars of the grate into pools of silver on the ground around the stone, and now rain was falling on Thor’s feet. Loki waved a hand, and the bricks around the hole crunched into grains of sand, melted, and made a skylight of glass to cover the gap.
He looked to the stone and smiled, faintly. Well, not nearly as much as he’d hoped for - not the world round gone dark, but good enough for now. He could rob the rest of this sphere of its wretched technological accoutrements soon enough. For now, there was the business of concealment - and imprisonment. He wouldn’t be able to keep Thor for long, undoubtedly, just until his tiresome attendants came barreling through, looking for him. But he could keep him for a little while, somewhere close, and isolated, somewhere Loki might at last have a chance at convincing him of the bargain they had come so close to striking before. Long enough that Loki could sip a little from the draught of vengeance - Thor his prisoner, rather than the other way around.
Loki hummed, quietly, and from the dim edges of the room, shadows rushed to his call. They slid under Thor, nestling there. Thor’s body shuddered, then lifted, buoyed by a squirming collection of shadow, soft as a cloud. His smile remained, curved as the sickle moon behind the clouds. Let it not be said that he was unkind to his captives - he even offered Thor a bower befitting a prince of Asgard. He cast a glance to the hammer as he moved away from it, half buried in the ground. Wicked thing. His palm itched to grasp it - but no. He wouldn’t let the Allfather laugh at his expense again, where ever he was now.
And much had gone well, and Loki’s prisoner was in hand. And yet. Though no one had any right to know of it, and no one would be told, Loki’s black heart did not sing in the way he had planned for it to.
The rain outside pattered on the makeshift pane as Loki left the decrepit warehouse with his captive in tow, and no one saw anything at all.