5209/Magical inquiries

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Magical inquiries
Date of Scene: 16 February 2021
Location: Palace - Asgard
Synopsis: The brothers speak, civilly if not cordially! Carrots are dangled and Loki takes the bait.
Cast of Characters: Loki, Thor

Loki has posed:
The sun sets over Asgard, across the capital city, setting the buildings into burning hues of golds, reds, oranges, and other colors too numerous and beautiful to name. The way the light shines through the palace towers, the crinolations, the windows would give any visitor the full belief that here lies a heavenly city. The roads, with their horse and carts, their sole riders and pedestrians are lessening with traffic as the markets close for the evening. The only things that remain open are the taverns, dotted along the avenues.

Within the great palace, the food from dinner is cleaned from the Great Hall. The rulers of this magnificent kingdom have taken their fill and are each back to their nightly duties before candles are quenched for the evening.

Deeper within the palace, other lights burn bright, and this in the study of the younger Prince of Asgard. Loki is dressed down, the leathers traded for cloth of greens, blacks and browns, his dark hair combed back away from his face, and he stands before one stretch of shelving, his expression thoughtful. Upon one of the many lower tables, dinner remains uneaten for the moment.

Thor has posed:
Thor has been away on Midgard for a number of weeks, and traveling the realms for some time before that, so he has not made his presence felt in the palace for some time. But like the tempests he marshals, the god of thunder is not always easy to predict, and with Heimdall ever watchful, the halls of Asgard are never more than a quick Bifrost jaunt away.

On his approach, Thor avoids the palace heralds the best he can: not normally the sort of thing he bothers with, but the rhythms of boyhood misadventures return easily enough as he slips past them for a //slightly// less obtrusive arrival. At least, until he arrives at the entrance to his younger brother's chambers.

A rhythmic, booming knock, no less thunderous than any arrival of Thor's, resounds through the study. He does not press forward, for now; he simply waits at the door to the suite, his expression stormy but his temper held in check. He is mistrustful of his brother, as only a rival sibling can be, but what wisdom he has tells him that his cause will be better benefitted by self-discipline. At least until that mistrust is proven well-founded.

Loki has posed:
There's a sixth sense about the trickster. A knowledge and understanding of that around him. He doesn't know all, however, and there are even a few times when his guess is actually //wrong//, though he won't admit to it. So, the footfalls are not so much heard as guessed at, and there are none with such deliberation as Thor's. (If it was the guard, there would be more than one, after all!)

So, as the knock sounds, Loki cants his head up so he's more talking to the ceiling as he calls, his tones clear, plain and calm, holding just a hint of humor.

"When do you fall back on convention, brother? Enter." There is a pause, and a brief sigh exits the younger brother, and turning around to face the door, Loki continues, "There are no traps laid for you."

Thor has posed:
Thor does enter, then, the door swinging wide as he strides into the chamber. Loki's wry accusation is not amiss; even when invited, Thor walks into this room with the rhythm of one barging in, likely out of simple muscle memory. Boyhood misadventures, indeed. He stops, facing Loki with a guarded expression, bare arms crossed sternly over his chest.

"I thought it wise to start with my best manners, brother, and see what kind of mood I might find you in," he answers. "I did not assume that you would set deathtraps in your own study." He pauses for a second, blue eyes scanning the room, then amends, "At least, not until you saw fit to mention it."

Finally, his eyes return to Loki's, and he says, with the air of one setting up a complex conversational gambit, "Have you visited Midgard recently, Loki?" Ah, yes. The old 'ask directly' opening. Weep, grandmasters, at this mastery of the form.

Loki has posed:
The sigh that escapes Loki as Thor enters can easy be voice as an 'oh dear' as the mood that the thunderer brings with him could threaten his well loved and well used study with not only a thunderstorm, but one of hail.

His own expression passes, and taking a step towards his brother, his head cants slightly in askance, brows rising, his tones in accord with the curiosity that plays there. "I'd know where they are," Loki reminds. "I rather do like our primer. You know, the story of the hunter and his hounds?" That's not the topic of the conversation, at least not at the moment, and he exhales again in an audible breath and now holds a clear blue gaze with his own emerald.

"I have a distinct feeling that there is reason behind the question, and it's not to chastise me for not visiting." There's that hint of humor, that measure of protection that he wraps around himself. "I know you haven't visited Asgard lately. Mother sends her greetings."

Thor has posed:
"I do not trouble Heimdall to bring me all this way so I can ask idle questions," Thor says, his weight shifting forward, just a bit. "Not everyone can delight in meaningless chatter as you do." This is partly genuine annoyance, but mostly a defensive swat at the implication that he's neglecting their mother.

Thor always has been a lot thicker-skinned when it comes to all-out battle with lethal stakes than he has been against minor needling. But he marshals what patience he can to tamp down on his temper and continue, "There have been troubling developments on Midgard. I want to know if you had a hand in them. So I'm curious as to when you last visited. It is that simple."

It's not that simple. Anyone can see that if Thor thought this were just another of Loki's schemes, he would neither be so on edge, nor so (for him) painstakingly diplomatic. To someone who knows Thor as well as Loki, it's kind of embarrassing how badly the man is tipping his hand.

Loki has posed:
Meaningless chatter?

Loki chuffs a breath and manages a theatrically hurt expression before he turns away his gaze, taking a couple of steps to put a little distance between them. Hands drop into his pockets as he considers all that is happening right at this second, mulling over the path of his words, the considerations; all in the span of a couple of heartbeats.

Looking back to his brother, brows crease and there is a slight shake to his head in silent answer to the question. He's questioning again, though if it's from concern or curiosity, it might be difficult to discern. "Only once," is admitted. "The Embassy. And, really Thor.. the library there is pitiful. Though, I'm not certain why I expected more from you.."

It's an answer, certainly, and Loki steps forward once more, his gaze settled back onto his brother's obviously troubled features. "Why."

Thor has posed:
Thor rears up a little bit, snapping, "I'll have you know---" but then flails as to what, exactly, he would have Loki know. The embassy is not where they should put Asgard's most important tomes? The New York Public Library is already as impressive an edifice to literacy as one might hope to find on Midgard? He, Thor, reads books all the time, so there, and no, it's none of your business what he's reading now, shut up???

These rejoinders race through his head, but Thor just sags into his crossed arms, shoulders bouncing slightly as he fights the urge to lose his mythical cool. "Jane Foster's soul has gone missing, and some strange facsimile of Mjolnir encircles her wrist," he blurts out. "The latter, I know you have nothing to do with, because like Mjolnir, its powers will only benefit the worthy. If you made such a weapon, you would never put that limit on it, much less let it out of your grasp. As for the former... I have my suspicions, Loki. You have never been shy about threatening those who matter to me." Specters of childhood pets and beloved toys, plus probably an Avenger or two, dance behind Thor's sky-blue eyes.

Loki has posed:
As the words tumble from Thor's mouth, Loki does give his brother the benefit of listening, truly listening, his normally stoic expression hiding very little of reactions to them, and the implications that surround them. This //is// his brother, for good or ill, even if their tumultuous relationship is becoming legendary.

Loki considers the words once spoken, allowing for silence to surround him. Couched in the explanation are a number of slights, of stings, whether Thor realizes it or not.


Jane Foster holds some relic like Mjolnir?

Holding his hand up now to slow the arrival of the next onslaught of words and explanations, Loki turns it into an invitation to partake in the as-of-yet uneaten dinner of meats, cheese, and fruit, with some mead held in a stylized bottle.

"Now, Jane Foster. That.. woman. You've struck something with her again?" The sound of his tones bring a soft 'tsk' sound before he shrugs lightly, dismissively. "I really don't know what you see.." and he lets his voice trail off.

It's the other bits that instead pull him in. "Her soul. Have you spoken to the valkyries that so like to tread ponderously upon Midgard? That really is more their field of expertise, is it not? Perhaps one with a grudge that decided that her death couldn't be hastened in any other way?" He really doesn't know, and what the process would be to remove a soul from a living being really offers a puzzle. One that he hadn't really counted upon. "Or one of the many sad who consider themselves to be sorcerors? You count them as friends, do you not? I'm certain it's none of them, as they are so so trustworthy.." The last bit is stated with a touch of bitterness attached.

Feelings aside on the matter, Loki reaches to break a small vine of grapes from its main hold with a clip of a fingernail, and in picking a bit of fruit from the small twig, pops it into his mouth. "That other bit," Loki begins again, "I should very much like to see. Will you show me?"

He ignores the bit about threatening pets and loved ones. Obviously he'll never let the fact that he'd lost one of Thor's pets in the palace.. It was, however, a rather gruesome discovery later on...

Thor has posed:
Thor is a god, and a powerful one, possessed of a tempestuous nature and heir to a legendary throne, and there is only one word to characterize his reaction to Loki's chiding: he sulks. "I've 'struck' nothing," he harrumphs. "I heard she had disappeared, searched for her, and found her body dormant, her animating spirit gone." Then, pointedly: "My feelings for her are almost as irrelevant as your romantic advice, brother."

For all his bluster, though --- not to mention the bread and cheese he is all too happy to gnaw on as Loki continues --- Thor is listening closely as Loki muses on the problem. "I suspect the Valkyries are involved, perhaps even more closely than you think," he confirms around a mouthful of food. He swipes at his lips with the back of a gauntlet and swallows before continuing.

"The relic's inscription says it gives power over life and death, just as Mjolnir gives power over the storm. That puts it clearly in the domain of the Valkyrior. But I worry that if they are involved, they will not give me a straight answer."

He sighs, and continues, "I thought instead to go to the source: Nidavellir. Only the dwarves could build Mjolnir; they must have built this other weapon as well." Finally, Thor stares at Loki, as if trying to search the man's soul. To say that he is reluctant to let his brother see Jane is something of an understatement. Finally, he offers this: "Her body is in the custody of SHIELD. I do not think they will welcome your visit. But... I cannot remove the bracelet, any more than you could rob me of Mjolnir. I had thought to take her with me to the dwarves. You could possibly have a look at it then." With Heimdall a few feet away and watching your every move, he does not bother to add.

Loki has posed:
"If I saw it," Loki finishes the grapes held in hand, popping the last one in his mouth, "I could tell you possibly who made it. Before, of course, bothering the dwarves with such trifles." He's offering his expertise, there in hand, just don't mind the tiny branches from the grape vine. "I'm certain I could be in and out without them ever knowing I was there."

There's a huff of air, and the remains of the fruit disappears from his hand in an unconscious gesture. "For example, I could tell you who made the inscription to look as if it was of Mjolnir. Perhaps it isn't. Things aren't always what they appear, after all. And," here, Loki offers a smile to perhaps reduce the sting of his words, "magic really isn't your strong suit."

Still, there buried in those green eyes is the full belief; if Thor won't bring him to SHIELD, he'll undoubtedly go there himself regardless, now that this carrot's been dangled.

"I could meet you in Nidavellir, but then we are at disadvantage. I still would not have had a good look at it before they began their posturing, their denials or their anger at being accused of creating such a bauble. And I could be of no help to either catch them in their truth or their lies." Loki shrugs his shoulders, cants his head, and lifts his hands in a light spread in gesture. "You do want aid, do you not? You just have to decide if you wish mine. And I have told you the best way I can help."

Thor has posed:
"I will not be led around by the nose, Loki," Thor blusters, in defiance of their entire history as brothers. "The implication that the dwarves stole some of father's tempest-infused Uru to make another thing like Mjolnir is hardly a trifle, and not an accusation I would make without evidence. That is why I thought to bring her with me at all."

His jaw, clenched, works back and forth. The jab about magic isn't missed, but for once he's not even going to try to object to it. "I am willing make a stop here, in Asgard, so that you may see this bracelet. You may come with me to Nidavellir if you wish to test their hospitality, as well. But!"

He holds up a finger between them. "I did not say I doubted your ability to evade the sentinels of Midgard. I said they would //object//. I will not have you deceive them, much less help you do so." He crosses his arms again. "You are right that I want aid. And I believe, in your curiosity, you want to see this mystery through." Begrudgingly, he even admits, "I would like to work with you again, as brothers, in a way. But you must respect the Midgarders' wishes, and mine, if that is to happen."

Loki has posed:
Loki exhales in exasperation, and just when he feels as if he's going to lose his own temper at his blustering brother, he tamps it down and quickly. As a result, his words come out measured, even and slow. "What I am trying to say, dear brother, is that it may not be what you believe it to be at all. Do you really think Uru is easily gained? The mines are almost impossible to gain, much less be mined. Did you even begin to perhaps believe it may be an intricately conceived falsity?" He knows next to nothing about this wristband, other than what Thor has claimed it to be, and as a result, he can only see it through his brother's eyes.

Clarity of magic? Not so much.

"I will go to Midgard," now Loki is telling his brother what he will do, rather than be so instructed. "At the Embassy. Bring her to the study where I can actually work without quite so many things hanging over my head." Like guards. The All-Father. "I dislike working in such conditions. As it is, it won't be ideal, but at the very least, I shall not bother your friends at SHIELD." There's a promise, such as it is.

"And brother," Loki's voice lowers, "if you take away all my resources and all my ability, I cannot help. Think on it. Recall the deeds we were able to perform, you and I. You, your strength and me, my magic. If there is need to help your friend, you are putting blocks in my way because of Midgard's rules. How are we to help her with such... obstructions?"

Thor has posed:
Thor takes a deep breath, and perhaps to Loki's surprise, there's a reprieve in his engagement with the sibling rivalry. He simply looks at Loki with an expression of genuine worry. "Brother, I might not have your knowledge of witchery, but I touched it. I felt the echoes of the storm. It's not just Uru -- it's Uru infused by the God Tempest: unique in all eternity. There was only one tempest. Father caught it in one nugget of Uru. The dwarves forged Mjolnir from that nugget, and I have felt the echoes of that storm every time I wielded the hammer since. Trust me when I say that this bracelet is made from that same metal and carries the power of that same storm."

Once he has that off his chest, Thor takes a deep breath, letting it out in a sound almost a sigh, and then reaches up to pinch the bridge of his nose. "I can bring her to the embassy. That is a fair compromise," he says through his hand. Then, he lowers his hand and the mythic rhythms of Asgard fall away, and the cadence he is starting to pick up from his friends on Midgard rises instead. He cocks his head to the side and says, "Please -- just don't, okay? Whatever thing you're thinking about doing. Just this once -- don't. We don't have to go through this whole thing again."

Loki has posed:
The concern in those pale blue eyes is difficult to dismiss; for all the disagreements the brothers have had, Loki does have a heart. And there are so very few that actually had the chance to get close to understanding him. They've shared experiences, losses, gains.. feasted and mourned together. He watches his brother closely, and there is his own concern, though it's more for his brother than anything else. Nodding slowly, there is a tightness around his eyes at the information, and he presses his lips firmly. When he speaks again, he makes the attempt to keep his tones upbeat, playing off the severity without downplaying it.

"Well, let's hope that's a grand illusion, shall we?" The singsong tenor of the words simply doesn't reach those green eyes as he begins to pace once more. This time, the path he takes seems more like a caged lion taking stock of its confinement and a desire to be free of it once more.

Once the compromise is accepted, Loki pauses in his step, offers his brother a quick smile and inclines his head, soon after looking oh so very.. theatrically puzzled with a touch of feigned innocence. "Brother.. I assure you, I have nothing in mind except to solve this little puzzle of ours." And go wherever it may lead.

Thor has posed:
"Let us hope," Thor agrees, without a trace of his normally unfailing optimism. It's also not entirely clear whether he's talking about the 'grand illusion' theory, or Loki's averral of a singular focus. Still, it's a start: there's no knife in his back just yet; Loki is certainly engaged and seemingly sincere.

But given that unfailing optimism, was it all too predictable that Thor would extend Loki the benefit of the doubt? Regardless, he is committed to this path now. "Well met, Brother," he says, clearly still weighing the consequences of his decision as he starts toward the exit. "Enjoy the rest of your meal."

As he swings the door shut behind him, he can be heard muttering to himself: "I had planned to just Bifrost her out. Walking is going to raise questions."