Boulders For Baseball

April 03, 2016:

Fenris and Astryd scry the meeting between the Frost Giants and the Dwarves. And then decide to attend in person

Fenris' House and Minneapolis Dwarven Keep

Characters

NPCs: Utgarda, Hilda

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Fenris is not a paragon of magic, at least, not compared to those of his kind that are. He has, however, had a long time to study it and he's very very proficient with the basics. At present he's scrying the dwarf hold in Minneapolis. It's nearing the time they claimed they'd be meeting with the mysterious frost giant messenger they'd been treating with. The God-Wolf is quite eager to see who it is, and look for an opportunity to either take or follow this potential lead. Fortunately all this can be done from the comfort of his house.

So he's doing it with a bowl of water on his kitchen table. And he has a sandwich.


"So is the sandwich part of the ritual, or are you just hungry?" The grey eyed woman leaning against the wall with her arms folded asks the God-Wolf? There's an amused look on her face and her eyes are dancing - clearly enjoying the banter. Taking a moment before they speak with the Frost Giant.

Her long strawberry blonde hair has been put in Nordic braids and when the smile drops, she'll look 'martial', the hard planes to her face lending a degree of sternness to her countenance … an effect she's counting on, to be honest.


"If I say 'yes' will you make me another when I'm done with this one?" Fenris takes another bite and licks some mustard off his fingers. "Hilda hasn't been doing anything particularly interesting but several members of the town council are clearing preparing for something." He's not forgotten his warning to the dwarfess, that if they continued to try his patience they'd feel his wrath. So far they've been quiet and honestly he'll take quiet at this point. Better than them sending assassins.

"I'm hoping we can simply watch but I rather suspect a more direct approach will be required."


Quirking an eyebrow, the Goddess smirks "No, I don't think I think will." she's teasing, of course, as she pushes off of the wall to stand beside Fenris, leaning against him a little as she peers into the bowl. "Play your cards right, I might cook dinner, though."

"Hilda does not strike me as lacking for intelligence, Destroyer. And we did deliver a rather clear message to her." the words sound distracted as she watches the scene and lets out a rather deep sigh "I would prefer something more direct at the moment."


"She's certainly no one's fool, but yes." Fenris agrees. There's a small group of dwarves gathering in the town square. One of the disadvantages of this particular method of scrying is the inability to hear anything. Nevertheless, it's fairly obvious when a noise starts, as the dwarves all start looking at the center of the square for no visible reason. Then a cold and icy portal opens up in the center and a trio of giants, one larger than the rest, climb through.

"Hrm… Utgarda… sometimes called Utgard-Loki in the human sagas. A master of illusion and manipulation." Much like Fenris' father. "And clever. I hadn't expected to see him involved. He ranks high among the frost giants."


"Ah, it's starting." Astryd murmurs as the giant appears, eyebrows rising a little in surprise. "The human mythology around Utgarda, is interesting." Fenris might be amused that the Valkyrie has read much of what's available.

"Can we hear what they're saying?" She would rather not lip read.


"No, which is our cue to get closer." The God-Wolf says rising. He finishes the last of his sandwich and puts on his coat. Might be a bit chilly where they're going.

The tear in space and time is what Astryd's come to expect from Fenris. From the looks of it he's going to drop them into a quiet part of town a couple streets back and they can make their approach on foot. "Shall we see what this is all about then?"


Astryd takes a moment to collect her own jacket. A long, sheepskin one that makes the woman look more like the warrior she is, than not. Stepping through the tear, she casts her grey gaze around before nodding at the God-Wolfs question.

"Yes, lets." She answers as she falls in beside him. "I'm keen to find out why they want me."


The dwarven city is oddly quiet and Fenris doesn't want to reveal them just yet, so he moves quietly, staying low to the dwarves already low buildings. It's not that he's giant here but these are definitely made for people who are shorter than average. Much shorter.

Up ahead Astryd can hear voices and in time see the little gathering of dwarves and Frost Giants.

"Your latest communication hasn't arrived. We assume everything is in order here? Where's Snorri?"

The dwarves look about. "Snorri is dead. Unfortunate mining accident."

"I see, our deal stands, though. Have you the bracer? It is to be given to the goddess servant immediately. You've had more than enough time to prepare it."


The buildings aren't tall for Astryd either. She's not as tall as the God-Wolf but she's not short either. She can move as quietly as her companion and she does, as she listens, casting a glance to the God-Wolf as the bracer is mentioned.

That bracer is in their possession and they're not likely to let it go. More importantly though, someone who knows they have the bracer, hasn't passed that information on.

The raised eyebrow should be question enough - do they listen a little longer or do they announce themselves.

She's moving to announce themselves, but he can stop her.


"We… uh…"

"We're not giving it to ye." A woman's voice says. That's Hilda. She looks around at the assembled dwarves. "I thought I told you all to see him off. Snorri's dead a number of other of our number. We've had some problems here. Deal's off. Too dangerous."

The rest of the dwarves look a bit nervous. As if they're afraid to defy Utgarda. They're right to be.

"I'm not in a mood to play dwarfess." The giant steps forward, ice forming along the ground. "Perhaps you need new leadership here."

Fenris nods to Astryd. "Let's go."


That's all Astryd needed to hear and she moves into the open, removing her torc and letting it transform into the spear "Cease Utgarda. Your deal with these dwarves is voided."

Perhaps Fenris should have taken the lead.

"Tell me what you wanted it for." The stern grey eyed woman looks around at the gathered dwarfs and jerks her head. The tone is nearly go on, git.


Fenris steps out as well, moving to Astryd's left. The appearance of the two Asgardians has Utgarda frowning and narrowing his eyes. "God Wolf. Raven." He greets both other divinities. "Just having a little discussion with these d-"

"I know what your deal was, Utgarda. I even know who you're working for." He thinks. "But I have a number of unanswered questions. Feel like answering them?"

The giant looks around as the dwarves scatter. Hilda backs away but doesn't leave entirely. "Pursuade me that I should."


Astryd casts Hilda a look as she doesn't leave, gesturing the dwarfess should join her. The Valkyrie has no lost love for dwarves but this one has dealt with them … honourably

"Persuade you?" the greyeyed womans wings snap free, extending to their full span … oh yeah, the Valkyrie is angry. "How would you like to be persuaded?" Right now, she'd like to beat the Frost Giant to a pulp.


Utgarda's two body guards coat their hands in icy spikes and clubs but the noble Jotun himself doesn't move. "Make me an offer." He smiles.

Fenris growls and steps forward as Hilda steps near Astryd. "I'm not particularly here to bargain, Utgarda. Your people entered into an alliance against me and mine, stole what belonged to me on my ground and have attacked me repeatedly."

"God Wolf, my people were not involved in the theft and if any have attacked you I'm sure I didn't authorize that." He smiles. Technicalities. "Besides, if we fought here, it may well level these dwarves homes."

"I'm not too pleased with them at the moment either." Fenris grunts. Hilda looks up at him wide eyed.

"Ah, well that does change things a little. We're honoring a bargain, God Wolf. Our benefactors are going to reward us handsomely for our part in their plans. Make me a better offer or… beat me in a contest and I shall tell you what you wish to know."


He's not called Utgarda-Loki for no reason and Astryd's eyes narrows at his words. They could argue semantics forever but they need answers, not fights.

She offers no reassurance to Hilda at Fenris' words. Although the woman has proven herself quite reliable. The Dwarfs went and entered this agreement and … well, it's been dealt with.

"Without knowing the reward you were offered, it would seem a moot point to make an offer. We could be here all night playing that game." the grey eyed Goddess nearly growls herself in frustration "What contest are you thinking of?" That's dangerous. Utgarda's cunning precedes him.


Utgarda produces a bat. "Baseball. The dwarves have a nice little open cave park here. Three strikes, mmm? We'll see who can hit the ball out of the park, shall we?" He grins. "I love baseball. So very… mortal."

Fenris snorts and his eyes narrow but he doesn't ask what Utgarda's game is. He simply looks to Astryd. What does she think of that?


Utgarda's game is clearly baseball the question is, what's the win conditions? "Baseball" she raises her eyebrow at the Frost Giant "Three strikes or one home run?" Highly unlikely this will be a 'mortal' game of the national sport. "And we take one of your Frost Giants, and balance the teams with the dwarves."


"Oh no, just a batter's contest. A contest of strength and speed if you will. Let's say, whomever hit's it the hardest shall we?" Utgarda grins and hefts the bat. "I'll bat, you can go against me. Or, well, which one of you will be hitting, mmmm?"

Fenris glances to Astryd. He could take the contest on, but then this is about Ulani and she may want to do it herself.


Does Fenris even know how to play baseball? Astryd … doesn't. In her 300 years in this realm, she's watched the sport but never really played it. "Alright. If we hit the baseball the hardest, meaning who moves it the farthest or destroys the baseball with the hit, you'll tell us what we want to know" She's trying to be specific - Utgarda-Loki can be tricky.

Fenris gets a nod from the Valkyrie. It might touch on her, but she knows her limits.


Fenris does know how to play baseball. What? Immortals have a lot of time.

"I'll hit. You go first Utgarda. I'll pitch."

"Wonderful. Hilda, some balls if you will? I know you have them."

It takes about ten mintues to relocate to the dwarves rather cavernous park. It's quite nice down here down to the artificial sunlight. The giants and Hilda and Asgardians set up in a wide green area and Fenris warms up. Astryd, keep an eye on that one. He's tricky.

And the pitch.


That doesn't surprise the Valkyrie - that Fenris knows. He knows a surprising amount of things. Relocating with the group, Astryd takes up position where she can see both Utgarda and Fenris. Mostly Utgarda, but she doesn't put it past them to do something to affect the God-Wolf.

Mmmmhmmm. I know Destroyer. I'm familiar with them.

The Goddess watches as the ball is tossed towards the Frost Giant.


Fenris gets the first one past Utgarda. And then the second. He's fast. The third one, though gets belted toward the far end of the park. "Mmmm. Very nice. Not bad if I do say so mayself. Well, alright God-Wolf. Your turn."

Fenris takes the bat. Utgarda grabs some balls. The first one flies and Fenris conencts. It only goes about ten feet though. "Pretty weak hit, God-Wolf."

The second one flies also. It only goes about five. Fenris' eyes narrow a bit. Something's up.

Something is indeed up. Astryd might note, if she's quick, the faintest hint of illusion about Utgarda. What's he actually throwing?


Astryd hasn't put her wings away. They sit, furled, behind her back. Breathing a sigh of relief as Fenris' pitches go through to the catcher, the goddess relaxes a little. Relaxes until Utgarda starts to pitch.

As the first ball only flies a short distance, she sits forward and watches more intently. Fenris. He's using illusion. Shall intercept?


Yes. Do it quietly if you can and unravel whatever illusion he's using. Fenris makes a show of winding up. Utgarda smirks. "Last chance God-Wolf."

"Bring it." Fenris snorts.

The pitch winds up… and then flies.


Astryd had anticipated rushing onto the field and intecepting the ball. Fenris' words put a stop to that and the goddess sighs. She doesn't have much 'normal' magic, but she's got enough… if she applies it creatively.

There's a slight 'pulse' of her magic. Fenris should be the only one that feels it, it's so subtle … and the glamour around the 'ball' falls away.


It falls away just as Fenris' bat connects. The illusion seems to shatter on impact (good timing, that) and reveals the baseball to be a boulder. A very large boulder. It goes about twenty feet and rolls to a stop. Utgarda swallows as there's a moment of perfect silence before Fenris steps around from the other side of the boulder and gives the frost giant his best human 'husky face.' Destroyer Wolf is not amused.


As the boulder is revealed, Astryd's wings snap out to full span and she moves towards Utgarda with menace. "You broke the terms of our arrangement. You forfeit, Utgarda." Still holding her spear in her right hand, she is not happy either.

"Now tell us… "


Fenris face could almost be a meme. You threw the ball. Except it wasn't a ball. You cheating dick. He clears his throat and takes another step closer. Utgarda puts both his hands up. "Can you blame a giant for trying? Yes, you caught me. I'll tell you what you want to know. Well, I'll tell you what I know of what you want to know, anyway."


Astryd might have been amused by Fenris' face, if she wasn't so focussed on the Giant. "Who are your benefactors and what did they want with the bracer?" They might already know that answer but, it pays to double check information.

Moving to stand beside the God-Wolf, the tall stern woman doesn't take her eyes off the God-Wolf.


"I'm working through intermediaries." Utgarda says simply, seemingly relaxed despite having tried to cheat two gods who are now somewhat upset with him. "However I believe them to be working for Rindr and her son Vali." A simple question, a simple answer. Astryd may get the impression that she has to word her questions carefully. "They intended to give the bracer to a woman named Brenna who was going to use it to bind you to her will and compell you into her service."


It's Utgarda, of course she has to word her questions carefully. There's something about the Giants demeanour that bugs her though. Fenris, he wanted to get caught. This is all an act.

She's sure of it. Seem to put up a fight and loose - no one think will think less of you for that.

"Name your intermediaries, Utgarda, how you contact them, how you meet them." They've still not got the proof on Vali and Rindr, but intermediaries will help that along.


"The elves Kesili and Eleswyn, the troll Grungni and of course, Skiri, Rindri's hand maiden." One of them. Fenris and Astryd have met another.

Possibly he did. If his information turns out to be good I won't complain too much. If not though… They have to be careful and Fenris knows it.

"I contact them with this…" He pulls out a gem, round and the size of his fist. The depths of it seem to swirl as if with fire or lava.

"Scrying device. Using the earth, Rindr's specialty. Makes sense." Fenris murmurs.


And if he wanted us to have this information and it's good? The question is why, Fenris. But that might be a question for later.

"And what do they gain by giving Brenna the ability to compell my service?" They already know that Rindr needs Astryd's pain but it doesn't make sense to make deals like this with a mortal.


"A way to change fate." Utgarda smiles widely and unpleasantly. "That's what this is all about, did you not know? The dissonant cries of a harbinger to usher in an era where fate no longer rules God or Man. Or that was the pitch they made to me, at any rate."

Good question. We'll answer it later.


Dissonant cries of a harbinger. Do they truly think my pain can change fate that way? They are truly seeking to avoid Ragnarok. It kind of boggles Astryd that they do. But then, there's likely more to the ritual than that. But still, she's /just/ a Valkyrie.

"So we had heard, Utgarda." Astryd shakes her head. "Who is it that is trying to waken the Midgard Serpent?" Looking to Fenris, Astryd raises a shoulder in an elegant shrug. Apart from the intermediaries, they knew this much, and that seems to be connected to Astryds fate.


"Now that I don't know other than 'allies'. I know that she talked to one of Ran's daughters recently but not what about. I do know that Jorgamundr's stirring was not the original plan. Some disturbance beneath the waves started that. Now that it's begun though it's something of a… too good an opportunity to pass up." Utgarda explains. "It's getting a lot of effort. I suspect you know why."

Fenris makes a face. Your pain perhaps combined with other things. I've never heard of this kind of magic. It'd be from beyond this sphere and beyond Asgard. Something dark and old.


So they had this train before they detected his stirring. That means it's likely been in play for a very long time.

Astryd rolls her eyes at Utgarda's response "Yes, I rather suspect we do. What are you going to tell your intermediaries, now that you don't have the bracer to give them?" That's more curiousity than anything else.


"Tell them? I'm not going to tell them anything at all." Utgarda smiles. "I'm going to return to Jotunhiem and devote my time to more worthwhile pursuits. Getting between Vali and Fenris here isn't going to end in anything but pain for me, so I'd just as soon not. Rindr's people will have to make do as best they can."


Astryd looks at Utgarda for a very long time, grey eyes cold and assesing. Her wings, full extended, move slowly on their own accord as she stands there. "If the God-Wolf will allow you."

I believe I have nothing more to ask, God-Wolf. If you do, please do so. Otherwise, they should let the giant be on his way and probably watch their backs - for a very long time.


"Go, Utgarda. I don't begrudge you your deceptions, but I'm tired of looking at your face. Don't be caught on my hunting grounds either." Fenris doesn't have anything to add either.

Utgarda smirks. "Charming as always god-wolf." He steps back and away. Yes. It's time to be anywhere but here.

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