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December 1, 2015 

 

Thrude had already had a busy day fighting some sort of horse-headed creature from beyond the dome of lopt when she detected the spell - ancient, powerful Norse words were being spoken by a caster with formidable arcane powers, words designed to summon a being of Asgard to the side of the caster! The spell was a dangerous one, a summoning without a binding, the sort that would likely get some fool killed and unleash any number of powerful creatures upon the innocent people of Midgard. Luckily the nearest creature to them was Thrude herself, and she was unlikely to smite even a mortal sorcerer so badly that he would not regret the error of his ways. 

 

She followed the 'signal' to a beach at the edge of the city proper, absolutely deserted by the cold-hating locals given the time of year - i.e., what felt like a mild autumn day to one who had taken the battle to Jotunheim itself. Standing amid a rune that spelled the letters of her own name stood a figure wrapped in the chilly mist of the coldest Scandanavian winter, a creature of death and a mockery of all that lived - a man in a blue parka and green uniform she recognized as Hel's representative on Midgard, Comrade Frost

 

"Hello!" he called up to her in a heavy accent like the scion of Rurik he was. "You got message, good! You want parley?" he asked, waving his hand. "I got guy who made me some mead under floor last year!" he went on, pointing to a nearby orange and white beverage cooler. "Is supposed to be pretty good!" 

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Bombshell was very glad her new costume had a jacket but less so about the bare midriff. Not for the first time, she lamented the fact that whatever fell power that regenerated any damage from the cold did not extend to an immunity from feeling it. Since she was effectively hidden from most perception of her existence, Bombshell felt no need to join in on the posturing and was seated on a sandy rock not far from the summoning circle, a blanket over her shoulders and some of Frost's 'Mead' cupped between her gloved hands. 

 

Oh, good. There she is. Bombshell noted with some relief. She, understandably, was always a touch leery of ritual magic. I was halfway afraid we'd end up having to stuff a frostwyrm back into Hel today. 

 

Discerning if Thrude was going to be a problem should have less collateral damage. Probably. 

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"FROST!"  Thrude's squint of confusion hardened into a glare of rage as she landed before the Russian vampire.  "PARLEY?!  Thou wouldst have me COURT DEATH as THOU HAST?!"  She pointed her enormous axe toward the runes carved into the ground.  "How DARE thee PROFANE our tongue with thy CADAVEROUS CLAWS?!"  She then hefted the axe behind and above her in a fighting stance.  Lightning crackled down onto her from the axe like a waterfall.  ""I know NOT why the Freedom-Warriors have SUFFERED thy FOUL PRESENCE for so long, but thou shalt DEFILE the mortal world NO LONGER!"

Edited by ShaenTheBrain

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My God, what a beautiful woman! Talya knew what that look on Dimitri's face meant. "What, this? Pfaugh, I know how to ruin a ritual." He scratched his foot along the bloodlines, obscuring the arcane lines that would have carved a spiritual hole into the heart of Asgard. "Don't worry, only gonna summon one thing today, and that's you," he added with a wink. He kept his hands in his parka pockets, slowly walking a half-circle beneath the flying goddess.  

 

More seriously, but still trying to keep this a casual encounter, he went on, "You know, Hel said to me 'Little Mitya, this is bad idea. Thrude is crazy Asgardian, she's just gonna pop your head.'" Thrude was almost certain Hel did not have that kind of accent. "But I said 'No, Lady Hel, my friends Jack and Willow say Thrude is all right, so she's all right.'" He spread his arms and said, "So we gonna fight, or you gonna have some mead?" 

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Talya glanced up from her glass as Thrude began her threats. She appreciated the Asgardian tendency to monologue. It gave her time to put down her glass and straighten, popping her back once before she scooped up her batons. Spinning one in her hand, she rested the weight against her shoulder as she took up a position opposite Frost, enough to give him a look that he couldn't see. His relationship with that particular pantheon was strained enough.

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"CEASE thy movement, AND thy PRATTLE!"  Thrude stood her ground and swung her battle axe around, pointing the head at Frost.  She turned her glare briefly again to the summoning spell as his boot smeared it.  "First the RUNES, then MEAD.  Art thou DETERMINED to sully ALL the All-Father's GIFTS to mortal kind?!"  Her eyes narrowed at his words, and blue sparks danced between them.  "ONLY by my cousin's FOUL SORCERY canst thou TREAD upon Midgard, spreading thy BLIGHT!  Yet I am to BELIEVE thou doth DEFY her will for MY sake?!  Thou speakest either RIDDLES or MADNESS.  I give thee only THIS for 'PARLEY': Say NOW to what end I am summoned here, OR BE DESTROYED!"

 

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Good Lord, why does every conversation I have with a beautiful woman go this way? Oh, right. 

 

Frost gave an exaggerated sigh that could only be described as long-suffering. "Ugh, I get this all the time. 'Frost, you are hideous abomination!' 'Frost, we can't leave you alone for second!' 'Frost, where are pants!?'"

 

He looked at Thrude and spoke, and the exaggerated accent vanished from his speech as if a switch had been thrown. "For almost seventy-five years, I have fought the Thule Society - the people who 'bound' your father to do their dread work. No one now upon this globe has sent more of their number to icy cold of Nifleheim. And what do I get from you? Sneering abuse from a lordly Asgardian." He put his hands in his pockets and glared up at her. "If you are better than your father, come down and have some damned mead. If you are worse, come down and fight with some damned honor." 

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Oh, that wasn't good. Talya was well aware that Dimitri spoke English as well as she did when he wanted to. Those whims, however, were few and far between. And usually bloody. Between one eyeblink and the next, Bombshell appeared on her other side of the circle. Sure, sucker punching the woman was a good plan but it was a lot less possible when she was floating and secondly, and more importantly, appearing now didn't mean she wouldn't have the element of surprise if it did come down to the fight. 

 

The woman that appeared was dressed in blacks and silver from her thick boots to the jacket she wore. Though the costume was new, the woman who wore it was a well enough known figure. With the baton still balanced idly against one shoulder and her expression a faint smile that never reached her eyes, Bombshell offered in a voice as sweet as Frost's was cold, "The mead really isn't half bad, truth be told."

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The vortex of mist swirling around Thrude's legs vanished the instant her boots touched the ground.  She glanced over her shoulder at Bombshell, then fixed her gaze upon Frost.  She hesitated for a few moments.  "...'Thule'..."  She spit upon the ground.  "...is a name I have come to know well since my return to Midgard."  She lowered her battle axe.  "What quarrel hath Hel with their wretched sorcery?  Did they not do her bidding when they disgraced my family?  Did they not fill her realm to the brim with armies of slaughtered children?  How can thou defy her will, when it is only by her hand thou doth rise to wreak your vengeance?  Is my cousin truly so reckless with her power?  Thou hast the eyes of one who means that which he doth say.  Yet thy words, like most of this new world, make little sense."

 

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"In winter of 1941, Thule Society attempted to summon and bind Hel to their service, just as they had Donar. Used son of Rurik as candidate for human sacrifice." He put his hand over his heart. "Was quite a thing, I tell you! Great to-do of pagan chanting and ritual signs, all of which meant absolutely nothing to me until they came out with sacred knife. I actually saw my own heart outside my chest, before all was black greyness and I was in presence of Lady Hel. Big surprise to me, I tell you that much!" The accent was coming back, pouring thick like honey. "But sorcerers learned lesson. Hel could not be summoned to Earth because she was already here. In every camp, in every pit, waiting for every soul." He smiled, and she saw teeth. "Lady Hel, she does not appreciate being bound. So she sent me back to Midgard for vengeance sake. And so I have done her work these many years." 

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"Thule sorcerers were very keen on human sacrifice during the war," Talya said, the words dry. Her steps were casual as she crossed towards the circle but the very observant might notice that she'd kept her distance until Frost had taken care of the arcane lines. Flipping one baton end over end in her off hand, the movement absent minded, Talya headed for the mead to pour it. Internally, she relaxed marginally as the feigned accent came back. That made it less likely there was going to be god-on-avatar combat which was a good thing. This costume was brand new after all. 

 

Once she reached the mead, she pressed her baton against her hip, collapsing it down before she hooked it onto the leather belt. "Not that that's changed," she added as she poured mead into a cup for the goddess even though she'd not yet agreed to a glass. Her tone was mild, conversational. "People go missing all over the globe, every day." Talya held out the full goblet in one black gloved hand to Thrude, her blue eyes glittering behind her mask and her tone friendly, "Would you like a drink?"

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"Of COURSE."  Thrude shook her head at the ground and chuckled.  "PRIDE and PETTY VENGEANCE.  Those RARE THINGS which could turn the WRATH OF HEL, or ANY of Loki's MISBEGOTTEN SPAWN, away from US."  She reversed her grip on her battle axe and dropped it to the ground.  It landed on its head with a mighty *THUD*, the haft standing straight up.  "These 'NAZIS' who yoked my IDIOT FATHER'S strength to their DOOMED CAUSE almost IMPRESS me.  They were able to make enemies NOT ONLY of this ENTIRE MORTAL WORLD, but ALL THOSE BEYOND IT as well.  RARE IT IS that god AND giant, dwarf AND elf, share a COMMON foe."  She took the glass from Bombshell's outstretched arm, closed her eyes, and sniffed it.  "I thank ye," she whispered as she looked Bombshell directly in the eye for the first time.  Then she downed the whole glass in one gulp, hurled the glass to the ground, and turned back to Frost.  "But were these MOST FOOLISH of mortals not CONQUERED and BROKEN in days PAST?  What further need hath Hel of ye in this world?"

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"The Thule Society yet lives, here and there. As does its archdevil, Kantor. Little kohl-eyed der'mo thinks he can run from Frost just cause he's got some extra bodies," said Dimitri with the fire of seven and a half decades of murderous rage. With that he shrugged, still trying to keep the conversation casual. "Listen, I know you on side of old order, me on side of revolution, we not gonna be friends." He gestured from himself to Thrude. "But world out there is bigger than bunch of old family feuds. You seem like better woman than your old man, who I once...hah-hah, well, sometimes I go visit friends in Jotunheim and Nifleheim and things happen!" He laughed uproariously, then went on, "Anyway, Donar and I, we have some troubles. You and me, if there's trouble, we gonna work together? Or we gonna be trouble?" 

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Bombshell's smile never faltered as she turned to refill her own mug even as the goddess's emphatic speech rang in her ears, every other word ringing with emphasis. She arched one brow behind her mask at Frost, who seemed to be taking this as a challenge to thicken his own accent. It was clearly going to be the English language under assault today which, at least, was less likely to result in bloodstains. 

 

"To your health then," she replied to Thrude in undertone, from all appearances largely uninterested in the discussion of Kantor or the Thule. Taking a much smaller sip than the goddess had, she cocked her head at Frost then and his question, "I think you'd certainly be trouble if you worked together. Just not for each other as much," the ex-spy suggested. 

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"Still ALIVE?!"  Thrude bellowed up at the sky and clenched her fists.  Bolts of electricity exploded from her eyes and writhed around her body in every direction, gradually slithering down to the ground beneath her.  A *CRACK-KOOM* of thunder echoed in every direction.  "The carrion-eating SWINE who PUT TO THE SWORD an ENTIRE GENERATION and BURIED my family name in BLOOD-SOAKED DUNG are STILL ALIVE?!"

 

The goddess took a deep breath and slumped her shoulders, turning her eyes downward.  "A better person than my father.  This...on the tree of life, this is NOT a branch which sits HIGH above the ground.  The climb is NOT a difficult one."  She brought a hand to her forehead and dug her fingers into the edges of her scalp.  "God and giant...living and dead.  'Common enemies' indeed.  If this be another of LOKI'S TRICKS, then may I be FLAYED AND LEFT FOR THE CROWS, for unlike my father before me, I ally myself with the forces of darkness BY MY OWN WILL."

 

Thrude looked back up at Frost.  She took slow, measured steps toward him.  "I SWORE AN OATH, to PROTECT Midgard AND its peoples from ALL who wouldst DARE threaten them.  So long as ANY remnants of "the Reich" remain, that OATH stands UNFULFILLED."  She extended her hand to Frost.  "Help me shed their blood, and Hel can take their souls."

 

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Well, that was easier than I thought! 

 

Frost shook Thrude's hand, his grip in hers icy and cold as, well, Nifelheim itself. "You know, Loki is not really so bad," he said sociably to Thrude. "He is...ah, you probably don't want to hear about that, eh?" He laughed jovially, putting his hands back in his pockets. "And if you do not know, this is breathtaking Bombshell, the deadliest woman I know who will still return my telephone calls, heh-heh. She is pretty one and I am terrible one." The former was not a complete description of Bombshell, of course, but it suited Talya often to be seen that way. He took a cup of mead himself, and actually drank from it - as thoroughly irrelevant as all that was. 

 

"As for Kantor, his flesh has died more than once. But he cheats death with help of ancient Egyptian curse. Have had words with Set but Set says Anubis is son of some other god and not gonna do what he asks." 

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"Hullo," Bombshell drawled, the words a laconic counterpoint to the Asgardian's bombast. She touched two fingertips to her mask covered temple in a small sassy salute, her other gloved hand still holding onto her drink. "If it helps, the forces of darkness throw the best parties. Wouldn't you say so, Frost? My parties really are legend." Bombshell said as she tried to find a discrete place to put her cup of mead now that she'd had the requisite sip with a goddess. All to often Asgardians got into drinking contests and immortal, or no, she had no desire to experience acute alcohol poisoning before magic resuscitated her from such folly. Finally she found a craggy rock to set her glass and conveniently free up her hands as well. 

 

"Osiris, if legend is to be believed. Honestly, we'd have better luck if the Book of the Dead was willing to cough up Horus - not that Set isn't a lovely god in his own right, or her if the mood strikes. But honestly, except for rare exception the Egyptians don't really do reincarnation. It would be easier if it were a more regular thing," Bombshell offered her opinion on the matter, with the sort of wisdom that had come from a former relationship with one of those exceptions. "As then there would be more clear rules on how one might put an end to it. It's certainly been proven that the whole dismemberment and immolation are not effective means of ensuring a lack of return, unfortunately."

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"Bomb...Shell."  Thrude sounded out the words in her heavily accented English, nodded to the mortal woman, and offered her hand.  "Thou took up arms against my FATHER," she spit upon the ground again at the mention of Donar, "and the HORDE of mortal PLAGUE-RATS who bound him to their wagon like an OX.  I thank ye."

 

Thrude took the bottle of mead and downed another swig.  "If Kantor's gods INSIST on sending him back to Midgard, then we can simply TAKE PLEASURE in the chance to KILL him OVER and OVER again.  But if his Thule-wizards and his Übersoldaten have ESCAPED JUSTICE, then we must HUNT THEM to the FARTHEST REACHES of THIS world and ANY OTHER.  Hast thou picked up the scent?  Or is resuming the hunt not thy purpose this day?"

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"The scent is in all places in these days - hence the worry." Frost looked away for a moment, considering his options, and shot a glance at Bombshell. There was one particular reason, in fact, that he'd sought out Thrude in particular - something he and Talya had discussed in detail before this potentially dangerous conversation. "Investigation would take me into halls of Asgard itself, which is a pretty big problem for fellow such as I." He turned back, looking at Thrude. "There is child of Asgard now covered by Kantor's shadow - one that by all I have seen serves his dread father willingly and well. I can hunt him here, but how he came to this place is...ah, over the head of old Frost?" 

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Bombshell sighed like whatever Frost had brought up was a long standing point of disagreement. "Frost, we've only just met the woman. Besides, you have no idea how dangerous such investigations might be. There's no way to get any information ahead of time and you know how I feel about leaping into things blindly. It's always messy."

 

Of course, Talya had agreed that tapping Thrude for information was sound but for all of his fondness for the blonde spy, he'd not brought her for her pretty face. No, she had her part to play and she did it very well. If Talya felt badly about manipulating the goddess with her machinations, that expression like so many others, never flickered across her aristocratic features. She turned towards Frost as if Thrude was forgotten, her voice falling into placating rhythms, "There's no need to rush into anything. It's not like we don't have time. I'm sure there's a favor or two that we could tap somewhere."

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"I say thee NAY!"  Thrude's open hand shot up into the air.  Thunder rumbled again in the sky above.  "If NAZI VERMIN still TREAD upon Midgard, and THEY DARE to DEFILE my home with their presence, then we must KICK OVER whatever ROCK they WRITHE BENEATH, WITHOUT hesitation!  EVERY MOMENT we tarry is an INSULT to the memory of their VICTIMS!  I am THRUDE, daughter of SIF HARVEST-QUEEN, and THOR THUNDER-KING, son of ODIN ALL-FATHER and JORD, she whose very FLESH you STAND UPON!  I am the DAUGHTER OF STORMS, the PRINCESS of ASGARD!  If thou doth travel to fair Valhall at MY beckoning, under MY protection, then there are NONE in ALL THE NINE WORLDS who wouldst DARE to bar thy path!  At MY command, the Rainbow Bridge ITSELF will open for thee, and the honored dead will attend to thy EVERY NEED."

 

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Well, that was fast! said Frost's face to Talya. He had predicted they might be able to pry something useful out of the godly scion of Donar, but not so far and so quickly! Still, he was never one to turn down such a chance. "My every need, you say! Well then," he said aloud, "I shall take your offer of safe conduct, let us take small journey to large realm." He turned to Talya and said, "Will you be so kind as to accompany us on short excursion, Bombshell? Choosers of Slain may be more inclined to speak to ladies of war than old Frost. They have heard tales of my ways, I am sure!" He laughed, hands in his parka pockets. 

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Talya arched one brow at Frost in return. This WAS what she was good at after all and the day Talya couldn't have an Asgardian eating out of her hand... "As long as its a short excursion. I have promised to let the home front know if my dimensional jaunts are going to be more than a few hours." Talya said, the words light but full of meaning. If they ended up with weird time antics, she was going to be a cranky camper. "I've always said that the valkyrie are the most sensible of their lot. A little intense, to be sure, but intensity isn't always a bad thing."

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Thrude raised her battle axe into the air above her head, gripping it with both hands.  A few sparks erupted from her eyes and from the runes etched into the blade.  Then a freezing wind rushed through the area, thunder boomed, and a bolt of lightning fell from the sky.  When it touched the axe, Thrude heaved the blade down into the dirt.  The ground shook beneath their feet.  A ribbon of light, containing every color of the rainbow, spiraled down from the sky and unfurled in front of them, straightening into an arch.

 

"COME, honored guests!  THE HOME OF THE GODS awaits!"  Thrude took off running up the arch.  Despite appearing to simply be a glowing hologram, the light supported her weight.

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Frost looked at Talya and shrugged, mouthing "Gods!" in Russian before heading up the bridge after Thrude. 

 

Up at the mouth of the Rainbow Bridge, Thrude's unexpected company had brought unexpected guards. In addition to Heimdall, two Valkyries stood on either side of the guardian god; one a stern-faced woman in heavy armor, wielding a massive sword that gleamed with the light of a brand-new blade, and the other the surprising figure of a striking young woman wielding a magical bow, who of all things bore the arcane marks of Loki about her. 

 

"Frost!" declared the older woman at Heimdall's side, pointing her blade at the icy Russian behind Thrude. "We warned you what would happen if you came to Asgard again! And made any more cracks about our women!" The young woman nodded at that, her bow obviously at the ready. 

 

"Hey, hey!" said Frost, his hands in the air with a demeanor that suggested he only mildly cared, "Lady Kriger, when I asked if your daughter had had any relations with Midgard, I did not mean it in insolent way! Look at her, she, what, is eighteen? What sort of man would make implications about honor of fine young warrior, eh?" 

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