Asgard's Enemy is Revealed, Part 2

Recorded: February 15, 2014
Characters: Frigga, Loki, Thor
Location: Grand Throne Room of the All-Father
Summary: Frigga tells Thor and Loki what they must do to save Asgard.

This morning, the queen was in the Sorcerer's Haven conducting a ritual with Doctor Strange. It is now the early afternoon, and she has sent urgent word for her sons to meet her in the throne room. She sits upon the grandiose chair with a single book floating in front of her, its pages flipping slowly with each turn of her eyes. Her outfit makes her look like a true sorceress: A muted blue robe with her hair draped around her shoulders at its full length. The age lines on her face are far more apparent now than they typically are, for she has not taken the time to recover from the power she expended earlier in the day.

Loki enters the throne room, hands clasped behind his back. He is dressed in his formal tunic and leggings, his hair left loose to flow over his shoulders and back. He came as soon as he could, but didn't want to appear to be in too much of a rush. "I am here as commanded, my queen."

It isn't long after Loki's arrival that Thor makes a grand entrance of his own. His body is wrapped in the usual armor and sweat that one would expect of the prince by now. It seems training had consumed him. "I have been summoned?" He mutters, dipping into a reverent bow.

Frigga nods though her gaze keeps on the turning pages. "When Asgard was young, when Thor was but an infant and many of your brothers were mere notions, the All-Father looked to all of Asgard's neighbors for signs of friends and foes." She pushes one hand forward and a living image flies from the book's pages, showing a cavernous area with a thriving civilization living in its depths. "He found one realm where the people could never be our allies: Nastrond, a realm with beings so inherently evil that he had no choice but to wipe them out in their entirety." The image shows Odin and the Einherjar rushing to attack the people of the civilization. It would almost appear to be a senseless slaughter, except that every man, woman and child depicted becomes a ravenous fiend that immediately puts up a murderous fight of their own. The battle is hardly one-sided, but Odin and his forces eventually succeed.

Loki lowers his brow as he listens, but he says nothing just yet. He has an idea of where this is going already, but is simply waiting to hear the exchange between the two. A quiet Loki can never be good.

"Inherently evil? How is anything evil from infancy?" Thor interjects, catching himself after and pursing his lips to try and stifle further questions. "I apologize."

Frigga levels a humorless stare on her elder son. "There are many dimensions that cling closely to Asgard, which is why Odin reached out to all of them. Nastrond is one of them, and for the safety of our people he ended those that thrived within its core. We both assumed that this particular danger had passed, but apparently it has not." The image flies over the modern-day ruins of the city, stopping above a deep chasm where a silvery light reflects off a distant object. "There is a well of terrible power within the depths of Nastrond. The golden dagger lead me to its origin point, and as I stood before this well I could not resist the feeling of dread that came from gazing upon it. How your father missed this artifact I do not know, but it has created something far more terrible than the weapon our people have recently been exposed to." A pair of red eyes shine from the darkness surrounding the silver light and a massive, draconic hand reaches up to crush whatever is projecting the image. The book drops into the queen's lap.

Loki draws in a sharp breath and stares wide eyed at the projection. "I thought he was slain with his people millenia ago. Is that…is that dragon..him?" He approaches slowly, frowning. "How? How?" Loki has read a lot of books over the years, even some he probably shouldn't have been able to get into. When the book drops, he steps back, remembering his place and lowering his eyes.

"We speak vaguely when plain dialogue would reveal much more. Respectfully, mother. Who is our enemy, what are their capabilities, and how do we kill them?" Thor inquires, lowering his palms to rest at his side and gathering his brow. "They have plagued our people long enough, I am eager to claim their lives."

Frigga nods to both her sons. "Of course you are right, Thor. This is no time for theatrics, and you have guessed true as well, Loki." She rises from her seat and steps down to their level. "Fafnir, the king of Nastrond, is alive and well. He was thought to have perished with his people, but he found that well of terrible power and used it to transform himself into a gargantuan fiend. He has been using the dagger to take the souls of our brothers and sisters as fuel for his rift between our dimensions. It has already been made, yet it is not large enough for him to come through. The two of you could easily pass through its portal and face him, but I fear that his power is immeasurable. I do not wish to risk your lives so foolishly."

"Then allow Thor to stay here, as he is heir to the throne, and I will pass through the portal. If I do not return, there will have been nothing of importance lost. It would most likely be easier to close the portal from there while you close it from here, rather than fight him in combat."

"This is an ill-conceived plan you suggest, Loki." Thor remarks, slipping a gaze to his brother and adding a scowl for good measure. "We need to test his power; to determine his limit then push him beyond it."

Frigga lifts a handle to signal for peace between her sons. "I agree that this portal needs to be sealed, but that will not settle things. Fafnir created it on his end. He used the power of the well to wound our realm's barrier and turn her people against each other. He must be stopped, and that well must be destroyed or contained."

Loki shrugs. "Of course it is. Yours is not much better. Shutting the door in his face seems much safer than poking him with your hammer." He falls silent when Frigga signals, however. "It seems unlikely we will be able to destroy him."

"Wait." Thor motions, lifting his thumb to rest by his nose. "This well has given him the ability and strength to do what he has done; why can we not take it for ourselves? How does it even work?" He inquires, looking expectantly towards his mother. "Fafnir is a monster that must be destroyed. But, if our people can become stronger can we afford not to take an opportunity?"

It is rare that the Queen of Asgard is shaken out of her regal stance, but at Thor's words, her face registers shock at his very suggestion. "You draw from that well at the peril of your soul," she exclaims in a sharp hiss. "It is not a power that should be taken at all. It needs to be gotten rid of, or kept where it can be contained and kept out of reach of others."

"No, brother," Loki says quietly, rather than insulting him. "Even I would not dare tap into that well." Or would he? Hmmm. "It is possible it can be contained and stored in the armory, protected by the Destroyer. If we have kept the Casket of Ancient Winters safe, we should be able to keep the well safe as well."

"No, you are both right. I spoke in haste." Thor admits, emitting a weary sigh and giving Mjolnir a spin at the strap. "The approach feels obvious. I engage Fafnir and maintain his attention. Loki, that will give you the cover you need to sneak in and destroy the well. Once the well is destroyed, we seal the portal." He suggests, bringing his attention back to his mother. "This is acceptable?"

The All-Mother's posture and expression relaxes with Thor's admission of error in judgement. She nods to the suggested plan. "I believe that is best. Loki, I will see to it that you receive a container that may draw in the well's water in case it cannot be destroyed. If we can at least contain it, Fafnir can be sealed in his realm and he will not be able to call upon its power in the future." Frigga waves her sons away and gestures for a servant to approach. "Prepare yourselves, my sons. Asgard is depending on the two you."

Loki takes a step back, bowing his head cordially and says, "As you wish, mother. I am prepared to leave whenever Thor and the container are ready."

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