The Secret Son of Asgard

Recorded: March 14, 2014
Characters: Frigga, Gramma Jody (NPC), Jerry (NPC), Thor
Location: Gramma Jody's Ranch
Summary: Thor confronts Jody on the mysterious events he's witnessed at her ranch.

Lunch, followed by more chores and dinner. The day has been a simple one except for the interruption by the biker chicks. At its end, Gramma Jody is seated on the back porch, puffing on an old Peterson pipe. The wood of her chair creaks noisily as she reclines. After one thoughtful puff, she reaches two fingers into the front pocket of her overalls and reveals a small slip of paper only to herself. Jerry and Old Bob are running around the patch of dirt and grass several yards away from the back of the house. The sun is completely gone, and what's left of its light bathes the farm in a warm, orange glow.

The day has been longer than others. For Thor it wasn't the chores that were draining, it was the thoughts floating through his mind. Scenarios and possibilities that could lead to this. The simplest explanation seems to be 'mutant.' Anything more complex is contextual. When he approaches Gramma Jody he reeks of the day. Sweat, animal, and work stick to the thin flannel shirt and muck stains his jeans to the ankle.

"Gramma Jody. I must know what motivates these women and from where they draw their strength." He begins, wood along the porch creaking beneath each heavy, booted step. "Why do they avoid your land?" The topic of the Jerry he decides to approach last.

The old woman squints at the paper she holds partway out of her pocket. She takes a few thoughtful puffs of her pipe before an answer is forthcoming. "Don't know much 'bout the first part. Second part's a might complicated." Her eyes find Jerry to make sure he is at a distance, then she gestures to the empty seat closest to her.

Thor glances towards the distant boy then sinks into the chair. He maintains silence, allowing the woman to explain at her own pace.

Gramma Jody ruminates on the flavor of her pipe and rests the paper on her thigh. "S'pose I should start by confessin' you ain't the first white boy to appear on my daddy's land sayin' you ain't from this country." She smirks down at her thigh. "I married that one. I'm too old for that now so don't you be gettin' no ideas."

Her eyes drift out to her grandson again. "He weren't just from another country, though. By the time I learnt the truth, we was too stuck on each other for it to be much more than interestin'."

Jody switches the paper between hands and holds it out to Thor with the closest. It's an old black and white photograph of her as a young woman: Still meaty but not as much as she is now, with a more voluptuous quality to her curves. Next to her in the picture is a light-skinned man with equally light-colored hair hanging from his head in two thick braids on either side. His full beard conceals a strong jaw but even in the flannel and jeans familiar to country styles of dress, it is hard not to see the warrior form native to the people of Thor's home.

The picture strikes Thor like a slap on the face and the slackened jaw he returns to Jody is transparent. "S…Storn. We thought he had fallen in a raid…" He murmurs, bringing his lips back together and looking for Jerry. "He used…Asgardian enchantments. The same used by the farmers on the outskirts."

An amused 'hmph' slips past Gramma Jody's lips along with a stream of tobacco smoke. "We ain't had no trouble on daddy's land since he showed up. None 'cept yo' mamma, Odinson." She briefly turns a knowing glance in his direction before resuming her stare out into the distance. "She showed up here lookin' to take Storn away from me but by then I was already carryin' Jerry's daddy, so she let him be." The old woman chuckles to herself. "Thought she were his wife. Man had to do so many chores to make up that scare t'me."

Jerry keeps himself out in the fading sun for as long as he can, pushing rocks around the dirt into what looks like a makeshift mini fort. The most recent rock he has acquired would be too weighty for a child of his age, but he manages it with his unique strength and awkward steps.

"This is much more than I would have suspected. You knew who I was? How?" Thor inquires, immediately regretting the question. He made no attempt to hide his identity and it makes sense that Storn would have spoken of the royal house. A hand raises to flick his hair from his face. "These women, do they know?"

The wood of Gramma Jody's chair squeals in protest as she sits up straight. "I knew who you was 'cause your mamma sent you to me, though Lord only knows why she sent you in such a state. You keep a good ranch but I don't know how you can help me where I need help the most. That's why I ain't said nothin' to you 'fore now." The chair cries out again when she resumes her recline. "Doubt it, but they do know that the menfolk I've had got somethin' about them worth havin'." Her jaw fixes in a tight-lipped frown as she fills the air around her with puffs of tobacco smoke.

Thor sets his jaw as Jody explains and allows his gaze to travel to the boy playing in the distance. She doesn't need to fully explain the problem. "If they're not stopped…where do they make camp?"

Gramma Jody pulls the pipe from her lips and taps it against the arm of her chair, shaking the smouldering tobacco onto the back porch. "Don't know an' you don't need to know, boy. Now, look, them girls have already taken from me an' I don't want 'em to take anymore." She levels a stern frown in Thor's direction, then points her pipe in Jerry's direction. "What I need is for you to help me with that boy there."

With his stone 'fort' created, Jerry has now taken to marching around the pile of rocks with Old Bob draped over his shoulders like so much animal fur. The dog doesn't seem to mind—in fact, he seems quite comfortable being hauled around by the small child. "Jerry's gettin' stronger all the time, and I'm gettin' too old to help him deal with it." The frown worn into Jody's face by age loses a bit of its edge when her gaze is lost in reflection. "When Storn died, our boy was almost a man. He'd had plenty of time to learn to control himself from his father." She shakes her head. "Jerry ain't had none of that and he's go'n need it real soon."

"When I am through with my time here I will not remain here to tutor him." Thor replies sharply, meeting Jody's frown with a determined scowl of his own. "He will be returned to Asgard and be trained along our young, as he should be. You are invited to accompany him as his ward." He states. The is a spritely calm to his motions as he reaches up to fret over and straighten his collar then unbutton the top of his shirt. His sleeves are unfurled then rolled firmly once again.

"I haven't any doubts that Storn has told you of our people. Perhaps he even mentioned me. You know what I must do; you know what any man must do." He remarks, flicking his gaze back to Jody. "I must know what weaknesses you know. This ends with me."

Thor's words are met with a deeper frown from Gramma Jody. Despite his conviction, a stonewall aura radiates from her squared shoulders. She pushes out of her seat and turns to face him. Meaty arms lock across her broad chest as she replies, "I don't care who you are, or where you're from, boy. Jerry and this farm are what I got left, and ain't nobody takin' either away from me." Her forehead creases as she leans in to loom over him. "Them witches did away with Storn. They did away with Oren. What chance you think you got against 'em when you ain't got a lick'ah what my boys had?"

She shakes her head again and reaches for the back door. "If you ain't here to help, then you best call yo' mamma to come git you, 'cause I ain't gonna watch another fool die 'cause he ran headlong into them witches. JERRY!" Jody heads inside, leaving the door to swing closed without her. Jerry comes stumbling up the back porch soon enough to run into the house before the door can close completely.

"Hold, good woman. I mean no offense. I will not take the child away; but, I propose to take you with him. The blood of my people runs through him. It will call to him and he would answer honorably. I know it in my heart." Thor replies, drawing his lips into a thin, frustrated line as she storms off. "Those men are not me. I will avenge them, but I must know how."

The door closes after Jerry enters the house. It is timely that the mortalized God of Thunder is left alone—or perhaps he was being observed more than he realized. Either way, a shimmer of light reflects on the wood of the door and draws one's attention to the source at the foot of the back porch. Frigga appears as the light fades and she looks to Thor with a tense brow. Her hands claps in front of her white gown as she speaks. "Have you had your fill of the mortal realm, my son? Your people are in need of their champion."

"I beg you speak of what ails them, my queen." Thor replies without skipping a beat. He turns to regard the woman with a warm smile and relaxes when he shuffles aside to lead her from the house. "There have been developments. I sense it is no accident that I am placed in the care of Jody Stornswife. There is something foul in this region and I have caught scent."

Frigga can't help but return the smile her son offers, though it soon fades as she returns to the subject at hand. "Asgard has gone to war. The Dark Elves — an ancient enemy of Bor — have made their intentions known. Your father has taken the Eirherjar out to meet them in battle." She says nothing of the situation he mentions on Jody's farm, though the vaguest twitch in her otherwise firm brow denotes her acknowledgement.

"If they are of the same constitution as those of Alfheim, they must simply be drawn into the light and ground hard beneath our heel." Thor muses, twisting about to press his back into one of the fence posts. "This is father's answer. I need not hear it to know it. Can peace be found?"

Frigga spreads her hands to show they are empty. "They stole Heimdall from his post, and replaced him with a golem so that we would not be wise to their actions in other realms. Heimdall himself swore that he attempted to convince their leader to present himself as an ambassador, but the offer was refused. They seek only conflict. We have nothing else to offer."

A shadow falls upon him at the news. "Mjolnir is, as ever it was, in good hands. As is Asgard. The Sons of Odin are united—" He stops. Bright eyes lower with shame as he considers Frigga's position. "I am…so sorry, mother. I know Vidar draws breath because father had wandered. I asked that they retrieve him for the good of the realm. Please…" He implores, lifting his stare to search Frigga's eyes. "Please understand, I would not wish to revisit dishonor unless I thought it a matter of great import."

At the mention of Vidar, Frigga's brow raises a touch but soon finds its way back to framing her calm expression. "Your thoughts were of the safety of Asgard, and the unity of your brothers. For that, there is no cause for remorse. In truth, the sons of Odin do well to guard their home in your absence. I only wish that you were there to be a part of their formation." She holds a hand in his direction. "Won't you come and see to the enemies of your realm? I know what you would leave behind, but we cannot aid mortals with their ills if they choose to suffer alone."

"If things grow truly dire I will return as I must. As everything is contained, I request that I may be permitted to see this through." Thor replies, clearing his throat and glancing over his shoulder. "When I return they will accompany me. It is where the boy belongs, and Stornswife belongs at his side." He states. Is is clear that it is not a question to him.

Frigga sighs lightly. "I know." She glides close to the fence to rest a hand on the nearest post. Within the wood facing outside of the property, a symbol has been carved into the post that glows white at the All-Mother's gentle touch. It looked worn at first, but when the light fades, its carving is branded anew. "I have spoken to Jody on two occasions to try and convince her of this: First when Storn joined his ancestors in the afterlife, and again when Oren met the same fate. Though she bears great strength, grief is rooted in her heart, and she remains shackled to the land of those she loved." She throws one arm to the side, sending a thin ribbon of light along the length of the farm's outer fencing. Each post that bears a mark of protection is rejuvenated by the light's passing.

"Because she is a mortal, I cannot force this fate upon her. But I can protect her as Storn would, and hope that one day she will see reason."

"Then I will rob them of the danger that claimed Storn and Oren." Thor declares, studying Frigga carefully as he presses on. "What do you know of these women? How are they so strong and why did they do this?"

"I know little of them, for this is a mortal's plight, and my king has decreed that the gods will no longer intervene in the affairs of mortals." The All-Mother turns from the fence and studies her son's face. His determination plants a smile on her lips. "But you are mortal now, so their affairs are yours. I will tell you what I know."

Frigga gestures to the house, where a light can be seen in the window of Jerry's room. "The women harvest the strength of men as we do the golden apples. From Storn and Oren, they have come to know vitality as it is only given to those of Asgard. But what they take does not last, and they must soon take again. The men of Midgard do not satisfy that which has tasted the fruits of our realm."

Thor gathers his brow and straightens at the response. "Harvest the strength? What sorcery is this?"

Frigga turns to him and replies, "That is for you to discover, if you so choose, but have a care in how you proceed. Storn and Oren both met their fates thinking their strength would see them through. In the end, it became their undoing." Her brow settles into the seriousness of the moment. "I would also suggest that you act soon, for Orenson knows not the danger he is in, and Jody lacks the wherewithal to protect him."

Thor clenches his fists as he turns to storm back to the farmhouse but stops himself midstride. "You have my thanks, mother. If I don't die I may even grant you a grandchild." He jests, giving his neck a firm crack then hurrying towards the edge of the farm.

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