Poisoning The Tree

July 31, 2016:

Rindr and Vali unleash their plan to break Fate. The worlds guardians of magic, a God-Wolf and a Valkyrie respond

The Base Of Yggdrasil


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…


In ancient times people believed in it. They believed thier lives were fore ordained, that spinner-goddesses measured out a man's life span and meted out glory according to the inscrutable dictates of their craft. As time passed and the gods passed from memory to myth the belief that great unseen forces played games with the lives of men fell out of favor. It was uncomfortable. Surely man, men thought, sets his own destiny by his actions.

As is so often the case, neither of these views are completely true. And yet, neither is completely false.

The roots of the World Tree are not a pleasant place. They're cold, and dark and dangerous for what haunts them. It's not a place that the gods often visit but here they are. There's a small knot of them. Vali and Rindr are both present and both are? different. There's something off about them. Behind them the other one called 'Loki'. A giant that sometimes goes by the name of Utgarde Loki', a king among his kind. A number of attendents, jotunn, demigods and einherjar surround them.

"Our purpose is about to be fulfilled." Rindr intones, her blue eyes bright and wild. "For the glory of Asgard, we will break the cruel wheel of fate. For love and honor we will free the king of the gods from its dictates. By our will, we will save ourselves by saving the one who can save us all." The goddess produces a dagger that looks like a serpant's fang dripping with black ichor. She stabs it into the roots of the world tree. Its like a pinprick. The size in comparison is so insignificant that seems that it can have no effect.

But it does. Slowly but steadily black veins begins to spread through the roots, climbing up toward the trunk and the worlds on the branches. In all nine worlds magic subtly twists and cries out. It's not an apocalypse. Not yet. But everyone who can sense such things knows that something terrible is happening. Fenris, the God-Wolf vanishes from where he had been and appears amid the roots of the tree.

"Rindr! What have you done?!" Even as he confronts the conspirators he reaches out to Astryd and to Primal Force, to anyone connected to the earth that they all live upon. If ever the world needs champions, its now.

"I have done what needed to be done Fenris. And I'm not nearly finished yet." Blades and other weapons are in evidence and behind them a dark, dark shadow moves.

The Valkyrie may be Earthbound, but the World Tree spans all the Realms, she can get there.

As Fenris disappears and then reaches out, the tall, lean strawberry blonde doesn't waste time. With a thought, her normal attire of jeans and a tunic top is replaced by gleaming armour. Armour that hasn't seen much use in recent years, but it's been kept in good condition.

Wings snap out, her grey eyes stormy, spear in hand, Astryd simply appears at the base of the World Tree "Rindr! This must end and now!"

When a call to Primal Force goes out, May heeds it no matter what else is going on. Stopping only long enough to collect her weapons — including the only slightly singed Tengu katana and now mismatched-looking butterfly swords — and she gets to the nearest ley line as quickly as possible. Since she's not really sure HOW to get to the base of Yggdrasil (it's not like she can try to look it up on Google Maps), she instead opts to do the 'zero in on Fenris' trick she's been practicing.

Just as Astryd is calling Rindr out, May appears a step or two behind Fenris and to his left, swords already in hand and ready. She doesn't waste time on any kind of pretty speech. But then, when does she waste time on words?

Jesana appears next to her God only a moment later. She's clad in her pendulum necklace and nothing else, clutching a shot gun, two pistols and six daggers. She drops them on the ground at her feet along with a handful of her magically enhanced bindings then shifts into a St, Bernard sized coyote. The large animal snarls and snaps glistening fangs at the Asgardians. Her eyes, usually a warm brown are dark and cold with rage.
'I know I cannot kill her yet, but for this act of madness I will.' Jesana might not be one of the heros, it's true. She's many things, and often quite criminal but despite that harming the innocent has never been her way and this group would bring about the end of the nine worlds. She can save her children and their caretaker but all the rest.. it's incomprehensible to her, such a risk. She'll die to stop them if she must.

And at 177A Bleecker Street Dr. Strange spills his tea all over the ancient biography of Arion of Atlantis. No real danger to the ancient tome, which has survived eighteen millenniums of abuse. But Strange stands up in a flash. "Wong! I have to depart. Some dangerous, corruptive force is altering the Axis Mundi."

Where to? The Cloak of Levitation falls on his shoulders, and his magical senses guide him true, to the second floor. "Master… ah, very well. I will cancel the afternoon appointments." That door, which leads to Niflheim, has been closed for years. Hela does not like Strange much (but hey, she doesn't like anyone much). And there is no time to ask for an audience with the queen of the Norse Underworld. "Winds of Watoomb, protect my soul," he mutters, stepping through and… landing at May's side. "Agent May," he greets politely, "Lord of Wolves. In the name of Hoary Hoggoth… what madness has transpired here?"

"Sorcerer Supreme." Fenris greets Strange with a grim smile as he arrives to defend the world along with Primal Force and Astryd. "Rindr has poisoned the world tree's roots. I don't know what it is that she's used but it has the scent of the void to it." Even from here the power flowing off that dagger just feels… incredibly wrong.

"Do you wish to experience the end over and over Fenris? Why must the world continue to suffer? Why must any of us continue to suffer? Stand aside." Rindr's voice has some magic to it, but not nearly enough to sway those who know how dire what she's attempted really is. It's like trying to take a wheel off a car doing 100 on the Autobahn. Unsafe for the person doing it and definitely unsafe for the people in the car.

"We won't. Stand down. Only chance." Fenris growls.

"Why would I? Having come this far… Nidhoggr!"

The great dragon of Nilfheim creeps out of the shadows hissing. He's huge. Fenris growls and starts to change. "I'll handle him. The rest of you deal with these guys and find a way to halt that poison!" He doesn't care what they have to do. Hack off the infected roots or find a way to reverse the poison. Strange might well be able to do that if he can get a look at the dagger.

The dragon roars and Fenris charges into the fray. The assembled combatants make room for the two gargantuan predators and then turn to face the remaining heroes. Utgarda bends to dredge up a boulder and hurls it at Strange. Vali goes right for Astryd in a fury, blade flashing unnaturally quick and Jesana… well, the very ground beneath her begins to buckle as sharp spikes emerge to stab at her belly.

"You are all fools. You risk oblivion itself!" Astryds wings beat down slowly, swirling the earth at their feet. "We will not stand aside."

As Vali charges, her grey eyes narrow "See to the tree…" Astryd exhorts Strange and May as her spear lashes out at the younger god. "Come now, Vali, we've a dance unfinished." the Goddess spins in blocking and parrying. "I hope that's a void tainted blade because it is the only way you can even come close to defeating me."

She's taunting the god, most definitely.

There is tiny echo of that wrongness from the void coming from Jesana as well, though it may not be detectable amidst all that's going on. Just in case she plans to stick close to Fenris. She doesn't want Strange mistaking her for the enemy and if they or the creature in the void try to subvert her, she's counting on her God to put her down before she can cause any harm.
The coyote demigod doesn't think it will be a problem. She'd meant it when she told the Valkyrie there wasn't a force in existence that could get her to betray her God. The coyote's vicious snarling quiets as she listens to Rindr. The void monster had sworn to her she could stop it all, save Fenris from dying. That is her greatest fear, and she would do almost anything to prevent it. Almost. And that is the difference between Jes and Rindr. Ending nine worlds and countless lives isn't an acceptable alternative. It's so much worse in fact that.. Jes still can't fathom what the fuck these people are thinking. Utter insanity and that thought, coming from the young native american is saying something. She's often not counted among the sane herself. She leaps aside as the spikes erupt and charges towards the group in a blur of motion, hair standing on in, tail raised in attack position. She can't kill Rindr without making things worse but she can hurt the bitch, or at least try.

"The usual, Strange. Idiots on parade."

Everyone is facing off big guns against big guns, leaving the supposedly insignificant little mortal to her own devices. That suits May just fine.

Using the sudden flurry of activity to her advantage, she races toward the root structure that is veined in black and has a distinct feeling of wrongness to it, and tries to assess the damage the way she did with the legs of the turtle. There's got to be a way to reverse this poison.

Strange's eyes narrow when Fenris explains what just happened. That has to be some unique poison. And he is not good at truly epic healing magics as they are too close to necromancy for the laws of his order.

But reversing spells, and this was a spell of sorts. He can do that.

Before he can even start, though, a giant is tossing him a huge rock. He flies out of the way, not wasting magic trying to stop it. He is rather far from his home ground. "I am going to need that dagger," he comments.

Utgard-Loki gets a frowny glare. Given his size and strength a physical attack seems useless. Only a dimensional entreaty could seriously hurt him out of his arsenal, and Strange prefers to save the big guns for the right moment. Fortunately a giant's mind is often the weak point. He fires a blast of magic at the giant head, but it is not elemental magic, but one of the Bolts of Bewilderment. A spell to cause confusion and forgetfulness.

Giants, even very clever giants, tend to rely on brawn over brain. Utgard-Loki is a very, very clever giant but Strange has chosen the right pressure point. The sudden bout of confusion causes the Giant King to play one of his other tricks. Suddenly there's Utgard-Loki's everywhere. Illusions. He's good at those. No doubt he's bolted somewhere to assess and try and figure out what the hell is going on. He'll be back, of that Strange can be sure. For the moment though the Sorcerer Supreme is free to act.

Astryd finds herself fencing with a god par excellence. He's fast, just as in their last duel. He's also going to be difficult to kill not only because he's tough but also because he's Fated. He has a destiny and it will be very difficult to change it. Right now, though, all his focus is on putting down this Valkyrie. "You cannot believe you can oppose us. We do this for Odin! Lay down your spear Valkyr and perhaps we will see you returned to his side." There's magic behind those words. Potent magic. In fact there's only one way he could be targeting her so directly… he's using her feather against her.

Jesana finds that despite the fact that Rindr isn't visibly armed, she's still a god. As the coyote closes an Earth wall appears before her to block her way and boulders begin to rain down from nowhere, conjured by Rindr's magic. She means to crush Coyote's daughter and be done with her. "I would not destory the worlds! I would free them! No more Ragnarok! No more endless cycles of destruction and magic! Why would you fight us?!"

May isn't completely unnnoticed. A pair of lesser giants move to interpose between her and the roots. Even from where she's at though she can sense the corruption. The Pendulum is almost speaking to her without words, explaining how the essence of the void is causing the tree to separate from the normal laws of causation. If it reaches the worlds… well, no one knows quite what that will do. It'll be a problem though. In the mean time the problem is two huge giants swinging ice clubs at her.

Like the trolls just the other day, May suspects that these giants rely on their size and brute strength over speed, and hopes she's right. Asking her Pendulum to give her an extra bit of speed, she tries to use similar tactics on them as she did the trolls: getting in so close that they will either ht each other or trip over each other trying to get to her.

Maybe she can get them close enough to that dragon that it'll squish them like ants under a boot.

Jesana sends a quick thought of thanks to Fenris for her pendulum and teleports on top of the wall, briefly shifting to human to answer. "You stupid bitch. They all depend upon this tree, I'm a dumb young pup and I can see that. You're off your effin' tits!" Her bonded's familiar's colorful language seems to rubbing of on Jesana.
The demigod vows to work harder at her earth magic in addition to the Necromancy Walker is teaching her. She wants to be able to raise walls, even if fighting hand to hand or as coyote is what she prefers. Clearly it's a useful ability as well. She'd almost gone headfirst into that damn thing. It's good she has fast reflexes but Jes knows she'll be lucky to survive this battle and is certain it won't be without serious injury. She shifts again and will teleport behind Rindr, hoping to get at bite at the Goddess's femoral artery. It shouldn't be a kill wound for an Asgardian, if she actually manages it. They're pretty tough.

Astryd knows that Vali is a better swordsman than her but she's no slouch and she she just has to keep the god moving. Let him expend his energy and keep him distracted, buying the others time to do what they need to.

She … just needs to survive long enough and make it seem like she's truly engaging. And given the focus he has on her, surviving might be difficult.

Grey eyes narrow in concentration as she holds her spear at each end, blocking a cruel overhead strike from the God "You assume, God of Revenge, that I wish to be returned to the All Fathers side. Perhaps I've chosen another path…" she grunts, using all her strength to push the god back, trying to hook a leg behind his and send him sprawling. "… and I'll have my feather back before this day is done."

Wings beat down powerfully, causing the Valkyrie to rise in the air before diving towards the god, feinting an attack, baiting him to expend more of his energy.

Illusions? That was no normal giant, muses Strange. But at least his mental defenses were not exceptional. Still, "the Eye grant me sight," he intones, and the Eye of Agamotto flies from the amulet around his neck to merge with his forehead, giving him a creepy, glowing third eye. This allows him to see which Utgard is real and which is. And he left! He has an opening.

The dagger, then. He sees Jesana the Coyote confronting Rindr. Diving low, he sends a barrage of force blasts towards the mad goddess to distract her. She is an Asgardian, so it won't hurt her much, but Strange's main goal is dissolving Rindr's earth wall with his own elemental spell, to allow Jesana to attack her.

May's pendulum glows in response, granting her speed that she'd never be able to achieve on her own. She's not the Flash, certainly, but she is faster now than any mortal woman could hope to be and more agile and graceful in the bargain. The heavy clubs miss her and the giants ponderously turn to follow and one shoulders into the other. Maybe May's perceptions are sped up as well because they seem to be moving so… clumsily… Either way she's past them. There's several more normal sized einherjar in pursuit but she's outpacing them for now. The roots are ahead.

Utgard-Loki has withdrawn to the outskirts of the battle, quite distant. He left indeed. He's not an immediate threat and Strange knows where he is and can keep track of him if he starts to do anything. The Sorcerer Supreme's barrage of force bolts disintigrates the wall and as Rindr raises her next defense against Jesana, disintigrates that too. Hopefully Jesana heard him, that he needs the dagger in her hand because the Coyote has an opening now.

Vali raises his blade to defend himself against what appears to be a swooping attack from the Valkyrie. His free hand is glowing with power. There's something he's preparing but he needs a moments respite from her. He seems to have fallen for he feint.

In the background there's a quake and crash as a giant wolf and an enormous dragon battle and crash into the world tree. It shakes ever so slightly from the force. Fenris gets flipped onto his back by Nidhoggr and kicks viciously with his hind legs at its belly. This fight could level a city. Good thing they're not in one.

Astryd hears the battle between the God-Wolf and Dragon, but her attention is fully on Vali. As the Gods blade blocks her attack, the Valkyrie takes that distraction to move behind the god and plant an armoured foot in his back, trying to pitch him forward and away from her. She hasn't noticed the hand glowing with power.

"Give it up, young God." the blonde says to the … blonde. "Give up this foolish pursuit and return my feather …" She might be a goddess but her power isn't endless, there's only so long she can keep this up.

Melinda May can't NOT hear the crashing of Fenris and that dragon wrestling, and the accompanying quake almost knocks her off her feet. Almost. She uses the brief upset as best she can, though, abruptly stopping and racing back at the two giants chasing after her. Again, her aim is to get them tangled up, and maybe use them to block those more human-sized pursuers. Though those she will definitely take a swipe at as she nears them.

Jesana either did hear Strange or knows already that someone who knows what to do with it needs that dagger. She saw the poisoning of the tree in that vision afterall. The coyote sees the opening, shifts to her human form and grabs it. She knows exactly who Dr. Strange is though the demigod has never met him.
Hoping the man doesn't react to her appearing in front of him naked with an attack, Jesana teleports herself to Strange to give him the dagger. She has great potential for earth magic but for now its mostly just that, potential. She can't see how Necromancy would help here either even if she knew what to do which again, she doesn't. She's only just begun to learn from Dr. Beck. "Here. Have this. I need to go shiv that bitch!" Jesana snarls as she holds the dagger out. An intricately detailed feather tattoo adorns the skin along the demigod's right collarbone and the tattoo on the back of her left hip is currently a withered hand. Both radiate magic. The feather feels of her Father's realm, Giizhigong. The hand feels of death and the egyptian desert. Jesana is strange mixture of things. While she waits for Dr. Strange to take the dagger, Jes quickly takes a look to see how the others are doing.

Strange reaches for the dagger with his mind, making it float to where he stands, to study the blade carefully, using the Eye to analyze the workings of the item. "Ah… it can spread, but it can draw too," he murmurs.

"I believe I can stop the infection," he says to Jesana. "But we need to clear the area of these villains. Not the dragon, he belongs. The others need to go." And with those words he launches the strongest force blast he can muster at Rindr.

Rindr is still exposed. The blast from Strange hits home and genuinely hurts. It rocks her onto her back and leaves her open for a follow up strike. The earth goddess' eyes are near crazed as she begins to summon up her power but it's going to take her a moment and Jesana might be able to interrupt her. Gods only know what that will do but it's probably best not to let her cast.

Utgard-Loki vanishes and takes the giants with him. Clearly he's not one to stay for a losing fight. He's not quite quick enough to prevent May from tangling up her two gaints who - better than could have been hoped for - actually fall on the pursuing einherjar. That… probably will hurt, even for the honored dead.

Vali lets go with an almighty blast of power and shatters Astryd's spear. The power flows past it and siezes her by the neck, lifting her up. "You forget, Raven. I have your feather. Now, kneel and return to our service!"

At that moment Fenris throws down Nidhoggr and howls in triumph. The noise actually dispells most of the einherjar and has Vali clutching at his head in sudden pain. The area is almost clear. A little bit more effort will see it secured and then…

Then they have to fix this.

Melinda May skates out of the way when the tangled-up giants topple over on top of the more normal-sized warriors, and after a quick glance around she throws the butterfly sword in her off-hand at Vali as hard as she can before pulling its mate and rushing to help Astryd. Maybe she can pickpocket that feather back… if her pickpocketing skills aren't too rusty.

Jesana is visibly impressed with Strange knocking Rindr on her ass. She doesn't waste time trying to grab one of her own daggers first but shifts and teleports herself back. She means to land on the Goddess and rip her throat out. That should stop or at least distract her from the casting.
As she arrives the demigod remembers Fenris warning. If she kills Rindr here, now, it could turn out just as badly as what the goddess is trying to do. She's not sure whether it would kill her and while she desperately wants to do that, it's not worth the risk. So Jes shifts again, grateful for perhaps the millionth time she isn't a Were and grabs a hand full of dirt to cram into Rindr's mouth. That will shut her up. She also jabs at the woman's left eye rather viciosly with her thumb. Pain tends to break most people's focus.

As Astryd's spear shatters she cries out in pain. A cry that is wrenched from the soul. That spear was her Torc - connected to her in many ways.

Hanging in the air, wings taking some of the pressure that might be bought to bear, chin forced up by the power encircling it, the haughty Goddess peers down at Vali. "You … fool. It was you spreading that tale. My feather can't be used to compell me…"

When Vali grabs his head in pain his power wanes a little. The Valkyries eyes flash as she shakes her left wrist causing a small round shield to appear upon it. The she dives, towards the young god, shield forward to knock him backwards. "Aaaaargghhh…" That hurts.

Strange can also feel the battle turning, so he flies forward and lands at the exact point Rindr stabbed the tree, the dagger in tow. Carefully, he sets the dagger hovering a few inches over the notch. Then looks at the battlefield, and speaks. His voice reaching to the defenders of the Tree.

"Ladies, come to me. This dagger can draw the venom back as it can spread it. But as the villains were four, we also have to be four, and committed to undo the harm done," he explains. He reaches for the dagger, pushing it down with his hand.

Rindr's focus breaks. Her magic warps uncontrolled and the earth reaches up to pull her down. She's gone. She'll emerge again… probably. At the moment the sense of her is nowhere to be found.

Vali is knocked back. Then May slices into him. In his distraction he doesn't notice the feather leave his possession. The fight has turned against them and, almost against his will, he pulls himself away, out of this plane. He still has a destiny after all.

Fenris goes to work mopping up. There's not much left of the conspirators bodyguards and they'll be gone soon. Strange seems to have a plan though, and that's the most important thing right now.

"Go. Whatever he needs. That poison must be reversed."

Melinda May gets her swords back and, holding both butterfly swords in one hand and the feather against the grip of the Tengu katana in the other, she looks at Astryd. "Come on." She'll pull the fallen Valkyrie along if need be, but she's getting them both to where Strange is as quickly as possible.

Astryd takes a knee, breathing heavily. If May was to look into the Goddesses eyes she'd see pain and torment. Whatever just happened it's affecting the Valkyrie deeply. "We are not finished, God of Vengeance." the woman growls as the blonde makes good his escape.

May taking her arm snaps her focus back to the situation and shakes the hand off, gently. "I know my duty, Daughter of Dragons." The words are soft, an assurance to the SHIELD agent more than anything.

Seeing Strange push the dagger back into the tree, she nods to the man - unfamiliar with who he might be - she places her own palm on his, sending her intent and commitment into the tree… "Tell me what else you need… I can call on Valhalla to a degree."

Jesana growls. She'd have loved to dig that eye right out. The demigod rises and moves to Dr. Strange's side. She needs to be commited to this? Well.. She gazes up at the worlds dangling from the Tree. None of them came to help. All those that word was sent to and none of them came. Her eyes go in the direction of Asgard. She already them for what they did to her God and now, here today seeing that none of them came to stop this insanity done by their own people.. it's not something Jes will ever forgive or forget. Whatever destruction she might want to rain upon them, the other worlds are innocent, including her earth and she won't let it be destroyed. So yes, she's commited.
The dark mark on her chest pulses as the creature tries to convince her otherwise and tears stream down Jesana's cheeks as she sees Fenris dying and Ragnorak happening, over and over and over. "If you can, draw this mark out of me so that monster in the void will leave me be, please.. I will owe you a great debt." If he cannot, well then she'll deal with it. It's worth the asking though Jes thinks. She nods at May and Astryd, then gazes at Fenris to make sure he's okay. "I am ready, Dr. Strange."

There is not much more to do. It is not a complex ritual. The dagger was able to contain an alien thing, a poison so strong it could injure the World Tree. The metaphysical implications are fascinating… and crazy.

But it is a link to the poison. Enough a link to draw it back into the blade in a reverse of what Rindr did when she stabbed the tree. Slowly, the darkness flows back into the dagger. The World Tree will survive and heal, but there is damage already done, and it might cause changes and corruption in the metaphysical equivalent areas of the Nine Worlds. More work for the heroes.

The pendulums glow in response to Strange's spell. The power of the Valkyrie would help here as well, defining the passage between life and death - sending one man along while denying rest to another.

The spell-work isn't flashy. But it's effective. The combined power of the Earth's champions draws the corruption back into the dagger. When it's pulled out again there's not even a mark on the tree's skin.

Fenris comes over as the Sorcerer Supreme departs with his work done. "May, take that dagger and hide it. I know SHIELD has places to conceal things. And thank you all for coming. You've just saved the world." And ensured the Ragnarok cycle will go on. So you know…

More or less.

The God-Wolf is bleeding from dozens of wounds and Nidhoggr's venom courses through him. He's going to be weak for a bit. "I'll send you all home. I may need… a few minutes before I follow."

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