2014-03-08 The Sentry Returns

Recorded: March 8, 2014
Characters: Beta Ray Bill, Frigga, Heimdall (NPC), Odin
Location: Heimdall's Observatory
Summary: Heimdall returns to his post and reports his time away to the All-Father.

A runner was dispatched to the palace with odd news. Near the Plains of Ida, a sorceress found herself unexpectedly caught in the arms of Heimdall, who was berthed out of a rift only moments from being closed. Though her escort attempted to question him, his purposeful march was a better indication that they should follow and not interrupt whatever dark mood had possessed the man. Now, the procession of two guards and one sorceress have found themselves crossing the bridge to the observatory, curiously muttering to themselves while they try and keep up with his stride. His body is dingy from the typical dirt one might expect of someone who's been in a scuffle, and Heimdall's beard and crown are caked with dried blood from recently healed injuries. His face is quite visible since he is missing his helmet, and instead of the mighty Hofund, his right hand clenches the hilt of a shamshir—a foreign weapon to all but those who are familiar with the ancient weapons of Svartalfheim.

With runners that were dispatched to the Palace, Odin was quick in reply. Quick stalking steps took him through the halls and in his path, he crossed Bill. "Come." A simple word, but the edge of command is obvious in the tone. There was little ceremony for the All-Father has purpose.

Mounting Sleipnir, Gungnir in hand and crowned helm adorned, he leads the way down through the City and across the Rainbow Bridge. Granted—even with Sleipnir, it would take a minute to get there.

Bill could ride a horse, certainly, but in his case, he flies, wielding Mjolnir as if he were the Thunder God himself. Landing with his cape billowing behind him, he glances at Heimdall, surprise evident on his features, "What happened?"

The Sentry of Asgard has not said a word since his unexpected landing. The grim look on his face has kept his entourage from inquiring, and not even the sound of Sleipnir's hooves gives him pause. He marches right up to the open doorway of the observatory and into the inner chamber, where an odd sight causes the guards and their sorceress to stop with mouths agape.

There is another standing at Heimdall's post. His stance, clothes, helm, and Hofund all bear the unmistakable appearance of Asgard's faithful guardsman, and anyone who conversed with him in the past few days might swear to his authenticity. But the reality quickly begins to fall into place as the battle-worn Heimdall continues his approach. A leaf flutters from the dark space in the helm of his counterpart—Sensing it, the current sentry turns and glances at the parade that gathered in his hall. Twigs fall away from his armor and dirt from his boots as the real Heimdall quickly closes the distance between them. There are no words the doppelganger can utter in light of his current predicament, though his mouth fixes to try.

"My king, I—" Whatever excuse he might have made is quickly lost in the swift movement of the true Heimdall's fist. The room fills with the resounding echo of his hand making contact with the metal helm. Everything that the fake sentry was becomes shattered in an instant, sending leaves, twigs and dust swirling about the inner chamber.

There is a grim expression that Odin wears as he dismounts Sleipnir and moves into the observatory itself. "Stay." A gesture given to the Sorceress and her Eirherjar escorts to remain outside the observatory. A bare glance is given to Bill, making sure he is within the inner sanctum of the Observatory before Gungnir is struck against the floor. For all intents and purposes, the Observatory is sealed; the outer shell rotating to lock it and bar them inside.

The weight of the single blue eye of the All-Father settles on Heimdall, and he demands: "What is the meaning of this?" And just in case the question might be missed; the resounding boom of his ire echos within the sealed inner chamber.

Bill stands near Odin, ready if necessary, though he looks at the simulacrum being obliterated by Heimdall with some sort of approval. However, he doesn't add anything in, mainly because he doesn't want to lead Heimdall on.

The shamshir clatters to the ground as Heimdall finally relaxes his grip. He reaches for his helm and shakes the dirt from it. "Forgive my leave of absence, my king," he mutters. "The call to action sought me and I was brought to Svartalfheim to answer it." He fixes the helm over his face and the galaxy lights up immediately, concealing the fury that continues to burn in his eyes.

"How were you taken?" The under current of 'How did I not know?' lies there, burning in the fury in his own eye. Odin glares at the dropped shamshir, but only briefly. "Explain. All of it."

Bill moves towards the discarded shamshir, looking curiously at the weapon as he picks it up. He remains silent for the moment, looking between Heimdall and Odin, then down at the dark elvish blade.

Hofund is picked up next, and the blade is wiped down with obvious care. "In days passed, I made use of the Gjallerhorn to alert of impending threat to Asgard." Heimdall looks around for that treasured horn so it can be returned to his belt. "I see they used this creature of earth and leaves to assume my duties. An armored golem subdued me and his companion may have made the exchange. I was held prisoner in the depths of Svartalfheim. The golem's companion goes by the name Malekith, and seems possessed of mystic talent." The blade in Bill's hand looks well-used, stained in dirt and two different shades of blood: One belonging to Dark Elves, and another to a Jotun.

For a long moment, Odin is silent. Brooding. A million thoughts going past his single eye. "It is well you found your way back." The light compliment for an old friend. Escaping such clutches would not have been easy, he knows. A glance to Bill: "Shamshir, a weapon forged of Dark Elvish make." There is ire still, a look to where the remnants of the doppelganger remain with a frown. "To be fooled so thoroughly." He growls.

Bill frowns, "And what could have slipped past while we were unaware of this threat…" His visage darkens a bit as he glances back towards the city, then he lets the blade drop without another word.

"The sorcerer knows deception as his kin," Heimdall says to comfort his king. "Though he held me prisoner, he spoke kindly, as if to learn his chance to restore his people's place among the Nine Worlds. I entreated Malekith to come forward as an ambassador with my word to vouch for him, but he claimed caution as his reason to detain me. I am glad to have made my escape, if only to deliver the true purpose of his actions." The Sentry looks between Bill and Odin, then turns his gaze out into the vast cosmos.

A single digit is pointed in the direction of Jotunheim, and though normal eyes cannot behold what he can in a single blink, the horrors are no less taking place. "The Dark Elves have begun a campaign to clear Jotunheim of its people. They have an army, attacking the outer tribes by the scores. I can only reason that my replacement was meant to keep you ignorant of their planetary conquests, my king. Thinking that, I can only wonder what place in line our fair Asgard holds."

As Heimdall explains, Odin's expression darkens. There is little comfort in being made a fool, and even moreso at the looming threat. He knew something dark was on the horizon, but not this. It barely takes pause before his gaze shifts aside to Bill: "Ready the men. We march for Jotunheim." There may be little love for the Frost Giants, but if that is where the Dark Elves make their attack, then Asgard shall answer. Odin has every intent on taking his stand on the frozen wastes of the battlefield.

He makes another strike against the ground with Gungnir and the Observatory unlocks, the outer shell rotating to allow passage once again. Turning on a heel, the All-Father moves to leave. He needs to see Frigga and summon their sons.

Bill glances at Heimdall, "Then that is what we shall do." He gazes to Odin, "I shall ready the men, so that we can begin planning the assault." He smiles faintly, "I think we might even have a surprise or two for these 'dark elves'."

Heimdall sheaths Hofund and turns back to his post. Though the Sentry of Asgard is well overdue for downtime, he cannot rest until he has used his all-seeing eyes to learn all he can about Asgard's impending conflict.

Another long day is nearing its end and the All-Mother of Asgard is relaxing in the sitting room. She's sipping a goblet of mead, watching the roaring fire from her recline on a nearby fainting couch. Her body is draped in a fine silk gown colored in lavender and her hair falls in long braids on either side of her head, woven just beneath a silver circlet.

The door to the sitting room opens and Odin moves within. Though his presence is a heavy one indeed. Gungnir is wielded and his majestic helm is held against his side, expression set grim. "My Queen." He greets, though his tone is distracted. Distant. There is heavy burden upon him.

Frigga knows that tone well. She swings her feet to the floor and stands, setting her goblet on a nearby table. "What troubles you, my king?"

"The Dark Elves have made their presence known. Heimdall was captured and replaced by the sorcery of a doppelganger." Odin's expression darkens, his grip on Gungnir shifting slightly. Tightening. Clearly he's more than pissed about that. "They march on Jotunheim. I have sent Bill to ready the men; Asgard shall fight at Laufey's side." It leaves a sour taste in his mouth, but it is against a greater enemy.

"Dark Elves?" The gravity of Odin's words strike the queen quickly. She strides up to him, bringing both hands up to rest over his shoulders. "Why do they march on Jotunheim? You would put yourself between the enemy of your father and the enemy of yourself by getting involved."

"There is little choice. They march with intent to take the realms around us. The only viable answer is to march now while their campaign is only beginning. The enemy of thyne enemy is thy friend. If temporarily." Odin's lips tug in chagrin, though the touch of his wife does alleviate some weight from his shoulders. His helm is set aside on a nearby sidetable within reach, allowing his free hand to lift to rest against Frigga's cheek. "Our sons must march with me. Loki and Thor will remain on Midgard."

Frigga nods in understanding. In her youth, she grew to know the heavy feeling of watching her husband march off into long campaigns of war. It's a weight on her heart that begins to resurface—one she knows other Asgardian women will soon share. For that reason alone, she steels her gaze into a firm nod. "Then lead well, and bring back those who fall so that they may rest on the pyres of their home realm."

There is no words necessary in response to that. A firm nod. Her support does mean more to him than she may realize. Odin leans forward, his large hand shifting slightly to curl fingers against the back of her neck as he aims to press lips to her brow. The gesture given, he draws away, turning to collect his helm and march back out into the hall. Orders can be heard barked outside- summoning the Princes as he himself heads for the bridge where the others are likely massing.

The Queen of Asgard allows herself to rest against her husband for the brief moment that he kisses her brow. When her hands draw away from his shoulders, they immediately go to her chest, and she nods once again while she watches him depart.

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