Sons of Odin, Assemble!

Recorded: February 28, 2014
Characters: Balder, Bragi (NPC), Frigga, Heimdall (NPC), Hermod (NPC), Loki, Tyr (NPC), Vadir (NPC)
Location: Grand Throne Room of the All-Father
Summary: The Queen of Asgard meets with the sons of Odin to lay down some laws.

The Sons of Odin have all received a summons to the Grand Throne room, though their father will not be there to greet them. Instead, the Queen of Asgard sits patiently on the seat of the All-Father, waiting for all of the brothers to arrive. Her dress is a mixture of blueish-green and gold colors, much like a turquoise gem, with length that hides her slippered feet. The jeweled bangles that cling to her wrists sparkle delicately as she props her elbows on the chair's arms.

Tyr makes as rapid a path towards the throne as he can, ignoring most of the detours. He, as always, maintains his aged tunic and cloak. Since returning to court he has made an effort to make himself more presentable, replacing older weaponry and polishing any metals worn, including his circlet. No welcoming speech is provided for Frigga, nor would it be necessary. His mustache lifts in the faintest hint of a smile when he makes eye contact then he retires immediately to a chair.

Less stoicism is visible on the giant-blooded Vidar who seems to have taken to Asgard with gusto. Thunderous steps herald his coming as he stomps down the long hall leading to the throne, cradling a massive keg of ale over his shoulder. When he arrives at the base of the stairs he takes a few deep drags from the barrel then sets it down to use as a small stool. His massive horned helm is removed and set on the ground to reveal cropped, brown hair and a heavy, scarred jaw.

Loki approaches the throne room as ordered, dressed in his generic cloth armor. He doesn't say anything, just reports and stands with his hands folded behind his back. The entrance of the other two draws a slight frown from him, but he says nothing, just watches. They should have more respect for the Queen of Asgard than that.

Balder stepped through a flash of light at one of the hall. He tracked snow through, and it flurried around before settling on the floor. He sat any any open chair with no more fanfare than the snow provided. He leaned back and remained silent, waiting to find out the purpose of the meeting!

The All-Mother makes the faintest movement at each brothers' entrance. She returns the brief smile of Tyr with one of her own. To Vadir's entrance, her eyes cast a disapproval but it is something he would be used to. Loki receives a thoughtful gaze that lingers until an errant snowflake from Balder's entrance flitters into the queen's field of vision. Her right eyebrow arches briefly as she regards him, then her head lifts from its delicate perch on the back of her left knuckles.

"Sons of Odin. Princes of Asgard. You have been called together by the crown prince to fulfill your duty to your people." She smiles gently, spreading her arms wide. "How pleased I am to have such warriors in my court. Surely, when the four of you stand as one, there is nothing in the universe that can bring harm to Asgard."

Tyr keeps his eyes pinned on Frigga as she speaks, averting his gaze only to assess the condition of each arrival. Balder, in particular, receives a wary, lingering gaze.

Vidar remains seated and, though politely silent, sizes each of the approaching prince with more curiosity than he does any brotherly love. He wonders at their strength.

Wind rushes through the room, tossing each cloak into a fluttering frenzy that dies nearly as soon as they flap. For the unfortunately long-haired royalty, most of that hair is likely frazzled from the violence of the gust. Cunning blue eyes shine like daggers from beneath the visor of a regal, crowned helm that is carelessly tugged off Hermod's head and left to spin across his finger to free his short, unruly waves of brown hair. The rotation stalls for a breath as the blur vanishes from sight and returns calmly drinking a mug of sweet mead. "My apologies, mother!" He calls, dipping into an extravagant bow then flashing towards the nearest chair to sprawl, hand cupped over the lip of his tankard to prevent spillage. "Did I miss any merriment?"

Loki folds his hands in front of him, giving Vidar a withering look. Hermod distracts him from his irritation, however, and he turns to watch his approach. "You have not yet missed anything." Loki says quietly, then takes a seat, perching neatly on the edge of a chair, folding his hands in his lap.

Balder sat. He didn't return any looks, and he didn't show any animosity towards his brothers. Balder simply sat back into his chair and crossed his hands over his torso while he waited. Attention was on Frigga.

Frigga's gaze narrows in an illustration of her thinning patience when she watches Hermod's entrance. The feeling only lifts as Bragi enters the room, meandering towards a chair with his nose firmly planted in the pages of a book. It's a wonder that he manages to sit down when he's too busy muttering to himself and scribbling in the tome to see the world around him.

"I have called you here to complete the God of Thunder's work in his absence. You are all men with lives of your own, but do not forget the blood and earth that binds you together. When the day comes that your king and queen must leave this realm, I especially want to be assured that we leave it in the care of those most capable." The All-Mother looks across the band of brothers with scrutiny. "Do I have your assurances that this will be so?"

"Aye." Tyr returns to Frigga, removing his hand to wave towards the pack of siblings quickly filling the room. "While I cannot speak for these men, I can vouch for my own preparations. Everything is progressing as planned. Security is tightening and our perimeter defenses are sound. Drills will be prepared within the week."

Vidar follows Bragi with his eyes, wrinkling his nose incredulously then searching the other faces for sign of shock. Really, a scholar? "I told Loki and Balder; I tell every soul here. Asgard has my strength."

Hermod seems less interested in the proceedings, twirling his finger in the beverage then craning his neck to peer inside dubiously. "Of course, mother." He murmurs, lifting a boot to drape over the arm of his chair.

Loki averts his eyes, looking away when she mentions the blood that binds them together. He doesn't say anything, however, looking back at Frigga and listening. His heart continues to feel as though its sinking, but he hides it. "I will do whatever is necessary, my queen."

Balder only nodded his head for a moment. He waited until the room of Gods was finished pledging themselves to Asgard's service. Then he spoke up, "Of course. We will all shoulder the weight of Asgard together."

"If words were swords I would wield them well in the name of our people," Bragi mutters from his pages. "But, I will wield whatever I must," he mumbles in a long sigh.

Frigga nods to each as they make their pledge, then adds, "Though not all of you were born here, you have each come to know this place as your home. I trust that tie will bind you together in the warrior guard of our kingdom. Onto other matters." She reaches into one of her long sleeves and produces a scroll. "Midgard. You know of it well, and while some more than others are drawn to its fascination, I want for all of you to hear how our interaction with the mortals must now be regulated. For though they are strong in spirit, their race is delicate, and must be carefully dealt with to avoid corruption."

The God of War would voice his concerns if this were the proper forum. It is clearly not. He settles into his chair and runs readies himself to run the rules through a gauntlet of scenarios in his mind. Someone will, undoubtedly, attempt to bend them.

Vidar hardly pays attention at the sound of 'Midgard' but tries to appear as if he is at least interested. The hulking brute is many things, subtle and diplomatic are not any of those things.

Originally arrogant and aloof, Frigga now finds herself as the focal point of Hermod's uninterrupted attention. His crowned helm clatters against the ground as he leans forward, thin lips parting into a wide and mischievous smile along his stubbled jaw.

Loki furrows his brow. He is a bit creeped out by Hermod. "Should we not be ruling or protecting them rather than bringing harm to them? Who has been corrupting them? What would you have each of us do?"

Balder didn't have much more to say. He just listened to his mother and brothers.

Bragi's only acknowledgement of the going's on is a light 'hmph' in between scribbling. He has no interest in Midgard. It does not inspire him.

Frigga levels a purposeful stare on Loki and pats her free palm with the length of the scroll. "I would have you adhere to what is written on this parchment. This is for the good of Asgard as well as Midgard. Hear my words, and do not air your opinions until I have said all that is written here."

The All-Mother's eyes scan the room for silence, then she unfurls the scroll and begins. "Interference shall be kept to a minimum. We must not improve or detract the mortal quality of life. They should neither depend upon us, nor fear us in their average, day to day activities."

Loki looks among the others and sighs softly. He takes up picking at one of his thumbnails, looking down at his folded hands. He assumes he won't be able to see his friends on Midgard anymore. Coupled with the idea of taking the throne of Jotunheim, Loki is positively fuming inside.

Balder just listened, like the rest of his brothers. The rules of Midgard meant nearly nothing to him since he never left Asgard.

"We must not share with the mortals the secrets of Asgard. This includes informing them of our way of life, or teaching them our ways of combat and sorcery. To add to their knowledge would make the knowledge we gain from them, impure.

"To that end, we must remember that we are not their gods anymore. We shall not force our will upon them, or insist upon their worship. We will not treat them as lesser beings, although at times this may seem so. Forcing our will upon them is in direct opposition with what was decreed by the All-Father, your king. Do not provide a mortal with orders unless their life is in danger.

"Only defend the mortals when a threat approaches them that cannot be resisted by their own champions. As the fledgling must be removed from his nest to face the dangers of the forest floor, so too must mortalkind fend for themselves without our assistance. Were we to fight their battles, they would grow to depend upon us again, and that would be in violation of the All-Father's wishes.

"Visitation is permitted, but remember what has been declared. In addition, remember that your actions on Midgard reflect your people. If we are just, honorable and virtuous, then Asgard will appear as such. To be less than any of the above will make Asgard diminish in greatness."

Frigga continues to read from the scroll, glancing up only occasionally to ensure that the sons of Odin have not wandered while she speaks.

Balder continued to sit and listen. His brow was lofted as if he were interested, but his eyes were low and tracing lines over the floor.

Loki's shoulders slouch by just a fraction as he listens, occasionally looking up at her to indicate he's still paying attention, however little. He still doesn't know what the point of all of this is. The others don't travel to Midgard, do they?

"Only members of the royal house and nobility are permitted to travel freely by way of the Bifrost. For the safety of our people, all other Asgardians must seek the king or queen for permission to leave this realm. It is also forbidden to bring mortals to this realm without our permission. Too many have brought harm on the people of Asgard for their kind to be allowed free access.

"To further safeguard our people, we must all take better care in our use of the Bifrost. Heimdall is not a ferry to be called upon at will. If his eyes and ears are upon you often, how then will he watch for enemies of Asgard? If you seek the use of the Bifrost, make your coming and going discreet. Call for it only when you know you are away from mortal eyes and structures. We all know the scars that it leaves behind, and we must not leave marks upon their cities."

Frigga rolls up her scroll and looks out at her captive audience. "Lastly: It is important that we honor the laws of the lands we enter, just as we would require them to honor ours. While you need not bend knee to human dignitaries, you will follow the tenets of their order. You are an emissary of Asgard when you set foot upon their land, and you will conduct yourselves respectfully. Only if their will conflicts with the word of the All-Father are you given reason to overrule them." She scans the group silently for a moment. "Has anyone here a word of rebuttal, or article to add to this decree?"

"I do not use the Bifrost to travel to Midgard. Also, there are passages between the realms that Heimdall cannot see. As far as I know, I am the only one who knows their locations. The mortals once worshiped us as their gods. Why do we not venture to the lands where that is still true? They would be more than happy to visit with their chosen deities and we would not interfere with the rest of them." Loki flicks his emerald eyes between the others, waiting for them to snipe at him.

Balder offered to rebuttal. He just let Loki talk, and idly wondered if the snow he tracked in had melted yet.

"Because that is no longer our purpose in life, Loki." Frigga calmly furls the scroll and returns it to her sleeve. "The mortals needed gods when they knew not what it meant to be civilized. Now that they have learned from us and come about their own society, they may be seen as equals: A people worthy of our respect, not our rule." Her jaw sets as a firm tone elicits from her lips. "And that you steal away to Midgard like a thief in the night is not lost on me. However you come to visit their realm, you will engage them as I have decreed, or I will personally seek out every portal that binds us to the mortal realm and use all the power within me to ensure they are sealed for good."

The All-Mother turns her gaze to Balder. "You wish to speak?"

Balder shook his head, "I have nothing to say, mother. You've made your wishes known."

"As you wish, my queen. I shall refrain from visiting my friends on Midgard, then, so as not to risk breaking your rules."

Frigga gestures to Loki. "That is your choice." She looks around the room. "If any of the sons of Odin have anything else to say, now is the time to speak your peace. It can be of any subject. Your queen and brothers will hear you."

Balder gave a shrug of his shoulders. He had nothing to say!

"Is…is that all? Is there nothing else you wish for us to do? What are our assignments? Or have they been doled out already?"

"I've a duty for you, trickster." Tyr's gravelly voice finally croaks out. He stirs from his seat and finally rises to his feet so that he may stride forward and square himself towards Loki. "You openly share that you know mysterious and unguarded points of entry into our realm yet, until this point, you have made no effort to address this information." He sneers, steel eyes sharpening upon Loki's visage. "While your former insubordination to father has been summarily addressed, this network remains. I require a map of our realms that they may be sealed or secured." Tyr dictated, grasping the golden cup upon his stump with his free hand and squeezing slightly as he considers. "I suspect it will be an incomplete picture; but, mayhaps, we can try and analyze it for a pattern. If Loki were so benevolent as to provide us all the portals he knows the task would be completed all the swifter."

Frigga responds to Loki first. "Your assignment is to work with your brothers and watch out for our people. Remember all that we spoke of earlier." She nods once, then leans back in her throne to allow Tyr to have his say.

"I disagree. Mapping the portals will make them known to others. If others know the pathways between the realms and begin using them, they could become trapped. Say what you will about me keeping quiet about them, but I sacrificed my life to collapse one of the portals so that you are not reduced to a mere ice cube." He rises to his feet to stand in front of Tyr. "A map can be stolen. Minds can be read, the information taken elsewhere and used against us. No, I do not think mapping the pathways is wise."

"Ah yes. How kind of you." Tyr gruffly replies moving forward and drawing his grim face into one of his standard frowns. "We can take the time to collapse the portals ourselves. If you fear corruption of information and the damage this can potentially cause then perhaps the map of the pathways will remain on myself and mother. Within our tribunal only one has sown mayhem and hatred with such critical information." He advises, narrowing his blue eyes to emphasize his meaning. "Not to worry, brother. He has been summarily addressed."

"I would agree with Tyr in this matter," Frigga replies after a moment of thoughtfulness. "To harbor knowledge of our realm's weak points and not share that with your fellow defenders is treasonous. We cannot defend ourselves if we know not where the enemy may strike. Just because you alone bear that knowledge in our realm does not mean that others elsewhere will not come to know it for themselves."

Loki stands firm on the matter. "I have known about the pathways for centuries, my queen. I do not feel it is safe to share them with others that have no defenses should someone attempt to take control of them. Neither Bragi nor Tyr nor Vidar or…erm..him…" He points to Hermod, "can keep it safe. Balder can teleport, as can I. You have had no knowledge nor need of the pathways up to this point, had I not said a thing to you you should still not know. I gave my life to protect Asgard. Is that not enough? Should a portal become compromised, I will reveal their locations."

Frigga slips forward and sits on the edge of the throne, her posture more rigid than ever. The All-Mother stares down Loki with the stern look one might expect a queen to give a defiant subject. "The centuries of your safekeeping this secret are now over, Loki, for you have just spoken the fact aloud for I and your brothers to hear. That you would so easily speak of these portals in our company, calls to question whether the knowledge is truly safe in your sole possession." Her eyes narrow. "Do you recall how it was that a Jotun assassin came to know you were among the royal family of Asgard, sought to pursue you on earth, and later came to destroy me? Your tongue cannot be trusted. It likes too much to tell what is not yours to share. If you will not reveal the whereabouts of these portals because your mother asks you to, then you will reveal them because your queen demands it."

Tyr knows better. Though he would pursue the matter himself the queen has been mobilized. When the Queen has her sights on the prize all would do well to yield. The warrior raises an arm to signal the others should mind their tongues then steps aside for Frigga to bear the burden.

Loki looks at Frigga, neither flinching nor changing his expression other than a slight movement of his eyebrows. "Fine." He says simply. "There is a pathway to Svartalfheim in a crevice high in the mountain overlooking the water on the outer edge of Asgard. There is a pathway to Jotunheim in the Plain of Ida. There is a portal to Midgard in my room. Is my queen now satisfied?"

Frigga maintains her regal poise and firm expression. "The tear within your room will be mended. I will not have a gateway from one realm to the next within the very walls of our palace. I will summon the sorceresses, and you will point out this portal so that we may end it. For the others, you will show your brothers where they are so that they may assess the risk and report their findings back to me." She gestures to Tyr and Vidar. "That is your next task. Am I made clear?"

Vidar tosses a bored glance at Tyr for guidance on a proper reaction then parrots the nod provided to Frigga. "What would you have of us now, Allmother?" Tyr inquires, curling his lip with derision at Vidar's clunky attempt. The Warmaster descends the stairs towards Vidar, fully comprehending just how large the jotunn-blood truly is.

"Unless your sons can fly, I do not see how they will reach the portal. May I say that unless there is an unusual circumstance such as the portal in Jotunheim, the hidden pathways are from Asgard to other places. They do not go both ways."

Frigga looks to Loki and says, "You are trying my patience by sharing this information piecemeal. How do you expect—" The Queen's words are cut short by one of few things that could cause her to break away from this moment: The unmistakable sound of the Gjallerhorn echoes across the land of Asgard. Frigga's brow lifts high at the implication, then she gestures to the room's entrance. "We will continue this conversation another time. To your duty, warriors of Asgard!"

Despite their differences, most of the princes have their own duties and recognize that they must be accomplished. Tyr tilts his head as the horn continues to wail then slaps a palm against Vidar's back. "To the main castle doors. Reinforce and prepare for battle." He barks, turning to Hermod and tilting his head towards the door. "I will head to the roof to oversee the defenses. Hermod will be at my side to run commands. Balder will retire to the inner sanctum." He briefs Frigga, slapping Hermod in the back of the head as he glides by and heads for the stairs. The messenger scowls up at Tyr but gathers his helm and follows suit. "Bragi. Ready your finest warchants. We will have need of the Lord of Skalds to inspire the troops." He calls, halting in the doorway as he gets to the bottom of the list and frowns to himself. Should he really trust this responsibility to…"Loki!" He bellows over his shoulder. "Make contact with Heimdall at the bifrost. If he requires aid, administer what you can."

Loki narrows his eyes as Frigga speaks, quickly rising to his feet and shifting into his fancy/battle armor, the horns growing from his forehead as his helmet forms. He pulls his daggers and breaks into a run, reaching out to grab Bragi on his way through, since the useless bugger can't teleport, but when he is told to get to Heimdall, he nods once and disappears, reappearing on the Bifrost near the Observatory."

The scene at the observatory tells the story of a brief struggle. There are small drops of blood near a crack in the floor, several cracks along one of the circular room's walls, and a body laying near the gateway to the Bifrost. A fire demon makes one final hiss from the hole in its throat that blood spews from, before a final swing from Hofund makes the hole a gape. Heimdall stands over the beheaded brute with a grim expression behind the starlight that occupies his gaze.

Darting into the Observatory, Loki approaches Heimdall. "Heimdall! Are you all right? What has happened that you have sounded the Gjallerhorn? Do you require attention from the healers?" His mouth is asking questions while his eyes assess the situation. "How did a demon from Muspelheim come to be in Asgard?"

The Sentry of Asgard lingers in his observation of the dead demon. "Forgive the alarm, my prince. The creature brazenly breached our gate, but I have put an end to his boldness. I sounded the horn with thought that others would follow, but it seems this agent acted alone." He finally turns to look at Loki, tucking one arm to his chest and bowing slowly. "Asgard is not in danger."

Loki nods as he keeps his gaze upon Heimdall. "It is all right. It is better to be overly cautious than not cautious enough. From where did it come? If Muspelheim has become active, we will have to use extra caution. You need not bow to me, gatekeeper. If you are not injured, I will report back to the Queen and inform them that Asgard is under no threat of an invasion at this time."

Heimdall nods twice, then returns to his post. "I am well. My prince's concern is more than I deserve." He turns his far-reaching gaze back to the cosmos, leaving the corpse to spill brackish blood along the observatory floor.

Loki lifts a brow. "Why would you not deserve my concern? You have looked out for Thor and I since we were children. " His gaze turns from the gatekeeper to the corpse. He isn't certain about this. How did a demon from Muspelheim get past Heimdall? He looks up at the man, an uncertain expression upon his youthful features. "Is there anything else, Heimdall?"

"If you would summon someone to dispose of the interloper, my station will be all the better for it." That is all that Heimdall has to say about the matter. He resumes his silent study of the cosmos.

"Yes, of course. But tell me, Heimdall…how did a demon from Muspelheim escape your sight? Perhaps you have been on duty for too long and are in need of a break. If you would like to retire for the evening, I will stand guard."

The Sentry of Asgard remains silent for a while. Finally, he admits, "I allowed my eye to linger on the realm of your birth for far too long, studying the nomadic ways of your people. It was my error, and I can only make amends by keeping my post and looking to Muspelheim for any further signs of danger." He tears his gaze away from the cosmos long enough to offer Loki a nod of assurance. "Please advise the royal family that all is well, and send them my apology for the moment's distress."

"Jotunheim? Why were you watching Jotunheim?" He approaches Heimdall and looks up at him, curiosity reflecting in his expression. He telepathically projects to his 'brothers' and Frigga that everything is fine. He cannot receive, but he can project messages at least. "The message has been relayed. What did you learn about the Jotuns?"

"I watch the comings and goings of all living beings. It is nothing you are unfamiliar with. Now, if my prince has no more need of me…" Heimdall speaks with a tone that seems to suggest he would prefer to be left to his duties.

Loki nods, furrowing his brow. "Yes, of course. I am just curious. We do not often have the opportunity to talk. But, as you wish, I will leave you." Man, even Heimdall wants nothing to do with him. He lets out a tiny sigh and exits the Observatory, choosing to walk back.

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