Cognitive Dissonance

May 11, 2017:

Let the Kraka begin…

Asgardian Mead Hall, with a belated Rite..((Post - http://cmbeta.wikidot.com/log:5797 ))

Asgard

((In RP!))

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Thor Loki Malekith

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

    I can hear my heartbeat
        Silence’s all around.

“Twenty one years. Lies withholding.”

Mattias Larsson lifts the stein to his lips and drinks after their cracking of mugs. With closed eyes and only a palm burning with the feral glee of having found purchase amidst the fur and curve of a godlike hip, he throws his head back. Pale, uninked neck muscles tighten, baring his chin upwards in a display of his throat widening, swallowing down the drink he’s been given.

    Though he does not truly believe,
        He drinks like a Vanir.

When the mug comes down with only drops left within, Mattias hoods his eyes with low lashes to listen to Amora. An ever-captive audience, there’s a blankness in the whites of his eyes at her questioning his nomad status. Could it be so true? Born of treachery by the Accursed, an escaped project roaming alone, unprotected, undefended to not know what he does? Sometimes the creature escapes its chain, and often it seeks to hunt, to feed. Mattias, escaped creature that he is, escaped his chain only to circle around once more, setting his quarry to be none other than Malekith.

    Only to swing and hit darkness.
        Or a kraken, instead.

Malekith’s teachings in the way of the warriors of Svartelfheim, would be proud of that, at least.

“I am careful in what I do, but he could be anyone. Anywhere.” Mattias replies, shoulders slipping back down to their normal breadth while she peels stray blood from his leathers. Admitting in so many words that he is, in fact, without compass. His fingertips roll from index to his tiniest against her side, twitching like the lurch in his heart as the mugs are floored and she’s rising again, to him. His pectoral muscles, as firm as his shoulders, tightens as she looms closer. “But what is this Harpa? My world? I’ve never heard of such a thing back…”

Shadows wrap around his eyes, blinding him. His last sight of her lips as she presses against his shirt. The cotton shifts, scratching the old indent of letters from a band long left broken up and cast their separate ways, against his chest.

    Into the empty storm
        Into the formless loss of hope
    Where we can forget the game.

“…home.”

Like a dream.

Mattias Larsson opens his eyes to wide, blue circles, pinned back by the black iris that seeks to drink in the sudden changes around him. The feel of warm bodies and heat from the hearth fires comes first, followed by a flexing of his nose at the scent of drink and food. The wooden walls of the mead hall cast an earthen scent that wasn’t there before, leaving him with a plump lower lip dropping slowly as he looks up to her lowering form before his chair.

    A wish come true.

“Amora…” The name flows off of his tongue, past his teeth, and he’s reaching for the arm of his chair to feel the wood under his fingertips. Enchanted, his eyes never stray from her lips, her eyes, the passing sensation of her curve that was once in the palm of his hand only to be lost again to memory, but he touched her. Once. He swallows roughly, slamming his mouth shut to tighten his cheekbones and the hollow beneath his adam’s apple that disappears against the leather cord about his neck.

“Is it true?”

    A night of partying, shards of broken wood held in the air, and Frost Giants, and yet, the man has no wish to be an *Oaf*, to be a fool for all he’s been fooled. Answers are like the hilt of an axe, the touch of heated skin, or fresh blood on the face; they can be weighed far more than dreams, and somehow…he knows something has changed forever.

“My friend Darcy tells me that I may be a demigod. That the legends are real. That Thor is the Thor and that Loki is his true brother.” Mattias dares to lift his fingers, brushing them past his temple and over his jaw. His digits dimple into the skin, rubbing at the nerves, testing them, untrained in what is real and what is not, but seeking for a handhold.

“Gods…” Mattias tries to pry his eyes from her, wanting to so badly despite the spell she’s placed upon his lips. He fights it and fails, caught between the want to explore and the supernatural desire to tend to his temporary goddess.

    Gods, indeed.

        “…is this real?”

//

One of Mordred to another…Some things are similar, while others have a very different stance..

        Hush child, the darkness will rise from the deep,
                and carry you down into sleep….

Amora's place in Asgard is questionable, as that of parentage unknown, but she rooted in and made sure the bindings were reinforced with ‘title in teachings’, Karnilla is not a Sorceress you train under and get scoffed at… Even if expelled.

But only one could cast her out, one beyond her power then, and even now keep her at a and for so long she spent  bay that would leave them both in ruin r one or the other dead. But, with Enchant/ress, there is a method to her madness -
                    For so long she was alone until she found her quarry, coveted it, enthralled it, and took everything freely given and offered. Thusly, finding just who she is, and what she must do to no longer be among the ‘unnoticed’.
                                    Rise above.

Archaic knowledge, lore, mysticism. No bounds, no restraint, and just the very things that got her removed from Karnilla’ tutelage made her the very being she is now!
                    Clad and bathed in enchantments, they could nearly glisten from her pores, and cling to honey’d lips, but that is just what burned to the very core when those pillows of flesh scathed over Mattias’, heralding a beck-and-call that could suffocate, but that meet of lips never dared to take his breath despite his hand almost rising to take her own

    Guileless son,
            I’ll shape your belief…

The Hall is bustling with life, the men or boys vary in age and size, but none are denied one or the other while women remain lingering among them. Places earned, places kept, and no -one- discarded….
    Not even the arrival of Mattias in his NEVERMORE ‘T’ and the Midgardian accessories, far beyond their own. There is hardly anything to fear here, aside from a lack of pride. No one noted, it seems, until those heels hit the ground of the Hall….
        Concussive, if you can see the ripples in the Aether, if not it is just as if something crawled along their skin in warning and heed. Lips do not move, but one hand rises after the massive stein ‘carried over’ is slammed upon the table and left to spin upon its cusp into a /walleringwarble/ of a stop that is rictus in its own manner over the heavy wood of the massive dining table.

What was once a scant dress, is… Still just that, but the fur hems, that “lining”, is a cloak that descends off her shoulders and trails behind lofted feet strapped in leather and enforced by the tedious boltwork of one to ‘never miss’. Still Midgard, but the ‘veil’ is dropped and the fur of a Hunt worn openly.

Amora… Taunts…

Enchantress… Beguiles.
    That rise of flesh should be warning, -not- enthrall…

But Mattias is not left apart from her for long, that small cusp of deeper fields of color trails behind her feet, rimmed in fur like that of the lycan itself, bred of kin of Fenrir, even if the death was honorific. There is *no* insult in being clung over The Enchantress, Goddess…
    Try and tell her otherwise..

That ‘train’ sweeps behind her as she steps in a pivoted circle once reaching Mattias’ side, but the stalk around him and that sweep in which that (crest)fallen cloak splays around her seems to be meticulously played to be in place. The trails of braids and waved strands of a silver-lined pearl descend and bleed into the fur to dangle loosely over the green in a stark contrast nigh to a receding winter trailed through valleys of rolling hills and slopes. But every contour is dangerous, every curve beckoning ‘Dead Man’s’ twists and turns that could bring a fall far from Valhalla.
But how worth it….

“Sisters! Brothers! Welcome another, one lost to the depths of Midgard, but borne cycles ago, on Lordag! The day of cleansing…” Though as Amora stood just behind Mattias, one hand stroking over one shoulder his leather had been dropped from, her other gathered that long refined carcass and seeks to finish it’s loss from his person, but her hold upon it that gathers the fabric in a subtle moan in that clutch tells enough of her truth there.
        His belongings are of no importance to her, and truly scarring him inwardly will do her no good. It is safe…

The hand upon his shoulder, though, did not slip away, instead it rolls over the defined curve of musculature, only leaving a thin layer of cotton between touch and his skin, those nerves she sought to put on end as fingers curled inward, drawing tips of elegant fingers and elongated nails across his chest at an angle, to once more threaten… NEVERMORE in it’s own faded memory that beats at a scholar's minds in the true darkness that comes in such a meaning.
    Band, Poe(m)…
            Death, carrion. Trickery, deceit. Your only path, guide…

Nevermore…

Amora’s head tilts now, her chin resting upon his shoulder, just inside her arm’s caress and path to press her chin near the crook; her lips just along the shell of his ear where tip of her nose has to push through a veil of his hair to usher her assurance.

        Loyalty..
            ~“Oh, but not everything is like the stories. Your other home…”~ He can feel it, the slow tilt of her head that sweeps her facade through the hair she had nestled into to whisper near sweet nothings while the Hall slowly turns in some areas to heed, but their eyes… Bear challenge.
    ~”Welcome to Asgard….”~ Only part within the massive expanse of the Mead Hall, but he will see the rest /hopefully/ in the morning. The hand crushing and rearranging the fabric of his shirt across the front, rises, threatening to lift it from him before them…
            … but they are bare as such, if not more so in some respects, from male to female.
        //..only to Me.

    But her fingertips finally brush upon that small hammer bearing its own valleys and ridges to detail out the intricacy and hidden depths, but not as fathomless as his eyes went upon the ber-sekir. It inspired a flame Amora keeps poking openly, despite the (over)dozen of wary watchers, their interest obvious by smiles only warriors can bear, even as they bring their own mugs upward…

“Mattias, Son of Lars! stands before you, untried, his passages unmet with no witness agreed upon, or borne witness /to/, by any of the blood! Yet he wears a mark you all know well,” The hammer is stroked over and turned within palm, that ether cord feeling presses /just slightly/ against the back of his neck in that stretched show, but none of it ever left her hands, not even him…

“Yet the Kraka has bled, and his very cloth, not of ours, bears the remnants of the beast to which I imbued upon your ….” A pause, “Prince’s sigil as permanence!”

“Challenge me and my truth of your new brethren, and you know the consequences if you are wrong,” Enchantress’ voice depthens slightly, from  a casual accented roll to one that harbors a cloying suffocation, or maybe it was perhaps the fact that her lips had managed to not touch, not even draw her words in small passages of air along his jaw to that very corner of his lips.

The ridge of her cheek aligns with Mattias’, the smile returning to the corner of her lips nearly brings them to a mate of speared edges and a /whole new war/ beside his own, but hers, tilted ever so slightly with the slight twist of neck to cast those eyes more fully on him.

“However. Challenge him! His place is like any other, and to do such a battle and remain only bathed in blood, and not having the sacrifice of Tyr!….” The men and women in the room go from whispers to murmurs, to a lofted sound of approval… But the beginning of the choral cheer of battle-hardy lungs, is Amora’s order.  “KEEP! Sigr-drifa miaþar for all until it is done…” A mead meant to drive victory.
        For all.

“Of all of the things tonight, Mattia/s/… -This- is real. Make your day during the festival between winter and summer. Harpa is the start, and it is the time of the woman.” No holds barred, Mattias’ will have to face the Maidens as well as the Men…Tell a Valkyrie no, refuse her…
        Only if you wish to die slowly.
Tilting, closing that gap, but drawing back only to barely drag her lips along the cut of his jaw in departure, there is no further press of her upon him then what already remains, but that drag can feel the very shuddered exhale over his taut skin just before words. “Answers are earned, just like respect. You know you place, show it to them, and let them speak of it for weeks, months, years.”

No voice carries louder, and further, than that of an Asgardian after battle.

When Mattias looks down, his stein is filled, as are the others within this hall, the silhouettes of those around the massive fires showing the same posture before his eyes became opened anew. “This time, I’m not taking you anywhere. It is all your travel and victory to be had, and I will be rooting for you to Champion.”

As Amora draws back, her hand drags across as well, that fabric snared, tugged, pulled, and wrinkled in a manner that could betray far more than the look alone… But when she released him and moved back to reclaim her perch upon the table and place those heeled feet within the chair he had awoken seated within….

From behind him the Battle cry uplifts and echoes off the walls and the curved roof of their Hall in a massive vibrating ROAR!!! to sound off the first taker.
        No warnings.

//

The flurry of attention thrown to Mattias and his new, traveling leadership severs his words, leaving in place of his questions a grim silence. Every eye in the house, from veteran warrior, to chest-bare Valkyrie, to those bringing meat and mead to the tables sends their vision towards them, and Mattias Larsson, though his nerves and alarms fire on all ends, finally turns his eyes to gaze right back at them.

There is no protest from the younger warrior, lost to Midgard. If there is a class at Xavier’s Academy on overcoming the fear of standing before a crowd, he need not apply.

The disbelief that once owned Mattias has been replaced with grim brows, hardened to vicious bedrock above his eyes. In Amora’s placement of herself beside and around him, maintaining her intoxicating presence in his periphery, the impromptu teardown may have swayed his eyes to the dozens before him, but he listens. Intently. Each syllable a reveal, an answer, a new path.

His blood sings.

The lift of his shirt sends his fingers into motion, lifting in her introduction. The black, cheap fabric, clothes made by machine and not of his own hands, his own prize, or the woman who loves him, tears an easy line from the base of its hem to the collar that forms about his neck. He hears it. For her. For him. It only serves to accentuate the once-thought holy symbol against a detailed torso that appears made, by hammer and chisel. A musculature he was born for, grew into, and sweat his way through his battles into earning.

But for Amora's senses, the scent of fresh blood shoving through his arteries, so closely to him, is for her eyes alone. His chest rises and falls not out of fear, but the heavy inward and outward drags before battle, summoning up fresh blood for the mosquitos to dine upon, a bloody beacon. His chest ripples over in gooseflesh, dimpling between sweeps of her fingernails at the near touch of her lips. His senses heighten, sharpen, and water board with purpose, a spear point directed at the Asgardian's, being turned towards a room full of warriors, their presence his challenge, every bit as theirs.

His blood sings.

She can hear the vertebrae in his neck tense in the most invisible of nods at her whispers. His skin lifts at her touch, savoring the burning line her fingers leave, and when his shirt is pulled away in the finality of her introduction, leaving his mind filled with pride of his battle against so famous a beast, he sighs only once into the visage of the crowd roaring before him…yet, only because, for a short time, she will have left his side.

Mattias, Son of Lars, steps towards the oncoming danger, with naked breast and boots that upset the sawdust on the floor. From the tables, a challenger with three knots in his beard slams his mug down and vaults over the wooden table to kick up dust beneath him. Challenger and newcomer stalk towards each other.

The crowd roars, shaking the walls with their bellows.
Fists draw back.
His blood…sings.

The Asgardian swings his fist in an arc. Bending, feet sliding out in the dust, Mattias uses his hips and his speed to dodge, stylized in the war-methodology of the dark elves. Mattias slams the heel of his hand to the inside of his challenger’s elbow, punching his arm away and freeing the room to crush his forehead against his challenger’s nose.

Mattias draws first blood. Quickly.

When the flurry of fists and knees comes to an end, it is with the cacophonous bang of the challenger's forehead against the table. Drinks rattle and the unconscious Asgardian flops to the sawdust, heels quickly grabbed by the others, pulling him from the center of the room.

With a bloodied face and eyes that could bore through steel, Mattias whips his head, hair streaming, to cast a belatedly pointed glare to Amora. His chest heaves in his battle stare to her before his battle lust is directed in a returned whip of his long, soon to be sweaty, hair.

Mattias, Son of Lars, pens his first statement to Asgard.

“Another!”

Fists and mugs pound on tables in time.
The war drums begin.

Another challenger, the second a proud valkyrie, presents herself to Mattias, and within seconds of eye contact are running into each other's path, palms crushing together in a lock, saliva spitting freely in their war cries into each other's faces. His back ripples in hundreds of defined places. His shoulderblades crackle against muscle and sinew, outlining the ridges of his spine for Amora to see. Mattias roars past his first challenger's blood coating his lips to push his valkyrie down to one knee before he…

Explodes.

In a flash of blackened smoke and flame, Mattias, Son of Lars, reappears behind the valkyrie. Flying at a low jump, the front of his knee connects against the back of the valkyrie’s skull, sending her into the sawdust.

ANOTHER!

Malekith the Accursed, by an accident, failing, or trickery of his own, unveils his new weapon against the Nine Realms.

//

Sent by forces beyond salvation,
    There can be not one sensation…

For the beginning moment, when Amora took her seat back upon the table that Ale is also slammed beside her with the beat of low drums in the beginning, accented by the murmurs that have yet to rise to a higher chant and bidding as the moment of drengskapr begins for Mattias.

The man who slams that mug beside the perch of her hip, looks upon Amora with a wolfish grin that flashes teeth beneath the shadow cast by the outline of a beard - brought down in density by runed and inlaid silver clasps that keep the braids set within the gathered mass as an accent and decorative draw to that trimmed accent, setting his already stone-henged features to something far more fierce…
    Down to that smile.

The sigr-drifa mead is lifted in the large stein, brought to lips, despite the man at her side they are intent upon the beginning of the battle as two Titans collide, and the impacts of fists, feet..
        The groans of exhaled air by force..
            The spray of vitae in an arch that only comes to fall when heads part..

The ground thunders in acceptance! Voices became louder, deafening and yet despite the heat rising from the massive pyres for roasting the sacrificial meat, it is enough to raise those bumps along flesh, stand tiny translucent hairs upon end along the nape of her neck beneath the fall of dozens of tiny pale braids and a waterfall that descends even to the tabletop she is throned upon.

    I will cover you when the sky comes crashing in…

The glare offered towards Amora, that hair now streaked in highlights of essence of the fallen opponent whipping around him in lashes between the fan of what is yet untouched.

..For now. The night is young.

That mead lowers from her lips slightly, and over the dark brown of carved wood, Mattias can fully see that smile, iniquitous, even as the mug rises to him and the heel of opposing hand joins the cannonade of excitement. Her draught tipped back… To victory!

The man seeking her company now gets his own grin acknowledged, the drained stein lowered to the top of thigh, a pale contrast the other clinging stretch of crumpled skirt that bunches and takes the form of a desperate enduring of this time passed.. All lined in that fur as if she sat within a blanket of it, mingled with fabrics of a sateen import and the very craft their people pride themselves in - for heartiness.

/His people, now, too./

    I’ll go the distance,
        Lead the way to your darkest sin.

It seems only heartbeats, but interest is feigned and just as Mattias is consumed by smoke and light, only to reappear and lay the final blow, Amora seeks to stand, her spine rigid in that very moment and her eyes keen at the outer edges while nostrils flare and there is a new piece slid across the archaic board she has taken heart in owning.

Time to strategize anew.
        *Not magics… None I know..

The shift in focus insults, her rise to stand and loft interrupted by a large hand. Not meant for assault or insult but to realign attention back to where he thought he ever had it in the first place..

His clasp shoves the cloak aside, exposing upper arm bearing her own circlets around bicep, where just beneath his hand circles with an ease.

One movement and her own hair fans in the reticulate snap of reaction, braids bearing heavier weight like whips in their assault that cuts across her visage just as that stein seeks to meet the other Asgardian's profile!

//

Not but a second after the wayward Asgardian rides his knee across the back of a head, hopping over the falling torso of the valkyrie, is his challenge answered. Mattias’ torso constricts, his meaty pectoral muscles stained with droplets of blood, in a fierce lift of his arms with hooked fingers to the gods themselves, bathing his senses in newfound love for something he hasn’t had in ages: Men and women he can give his strength to without fear.

    Men and women who do not fear to hurt him, as well.

The sudden rush of bodies has a larger Asgardian male, his belly bloated with far too much ale across his long years, and arms as large as Mattias’ thighs, spearing Mattias mid-taunt into the tables. The heavy wood splinters and cracks when the mutant’s back snaps the table with the force of impact. Grapes, mead, and cooked meat fling in all directions, spilling what food and drink the drumming warriors could not grab before it all happened.

    Steins are snapped up.
        Laughter and crashing mugs comes to those whose drinks were saved.
            Mattias’ head snaps back in a painful snarl.

Dark splotches fill Mattias’ vision as the large man unfurls his arms from about the young man and brings a fist down in a pound on the younger man’s stomach. Row after row of Larsson’s abdominal muscles crunch in protest, tightening like a shield wall to absorb as much of the blow as he can. Another fist rains down, swinging sideways to burrow fresh knuckles into his jaw, forcing his head aside, forcing his eyes down the segment of bowed, broken table in Amora’s direction.

Through the globulous, reflective spots and past the cling of her skirt upon her legs, Mattias finds the man’s hand, gripping her arm, forcing his will upon the Lady Amora.

    No.

One blood-specked hand lashes out, fingers curling through the space between a punch to grip his attacker by the beard. The attacker is off-balance, his weight surging forward, making it all the easier for Mattias’ hardened belly and sore back to push up as he pulls down. His forehead connects with the bridge of his attacker’s nose, and though the cartilage doesn’t crack, his attacker now has spots of his own to contend with.

Kicking hard with his boot, Mattias presses his toes into the flooring and centers his weight against the man, finding his feet once more and dragging his attacker for the ride. Mattias counts the flaring pain in his knuckles in the assault. Each time the wet, packing sounds of fist upon face is felt through his bones, Mattias counts within his head.

    He gets to five before the man goes limp.

        Three down. Forty-two to go.

Wasting little time, Mattias turns with a streamer of blonde hair clinging to his forehead. Sawdust from the floor paints his arms and naked skin in powdery clumps, like mud smeared before a hunt. A hunter now, he twists at the hip and turns, planting his boot upon the table and leaping through the air towards Amora and her domineering suitor. Belly bared and arms high, the newly born Asgardian dives for his prey with enough force to shatter one of the weak denizens of Midgard.

Amora’s stein shatters against Mattias, Son of Lars, crushing in an explosion of mead across his upper arm and slicing his skin in passing. Clay and earthenware shards draw superficial rakes across his meat, giving the sawdust packed against the skin a new tale to tell.

Mattias and Amora’s suitor find the wall of the mead hall, leaving cracks in the stone.

    Fists and elbows rain.
        Fighting like wolves.

In one blow, Mattias’ head whips to the side with so much force that his hair, briefly, is horizontal to the floor. A fine mist of sweat and blood from Mattias’ own cut lip sprinkles through the air. The pinprick of dozens of offending bodily fluids assault Amora’s face and breast, and so fine a dress.

    Mattias, so busy, so feral, sees none of it.
        His face turns away from Amora, hungering back into the fray.
            He holds the man by his jerkin while punishing him.

When the suitor goes limp, he falls, fingers hooking in the chain that Mattias wears from hip to backside. The jean fabric tears and gives way, leaving the Trivium logo-faced wallet to dangle and sway in his turn back to the battle. Mattias unclips it. It falls near Amora’s feet. He wipes blood from his lips with a sweaty forearm, then spits the excess blood away from her in passing.

    Their eyes meet.
        For one glance.

I can see in their eyes
They've already died
Inside, but as for the outside…
…I'll take their fucking heads
Mattias, Son of Lars, disappears into a surge of challengers. As the sands in the hourglass fall and the sweltering heat of the sacrificial flames chokes the senses, making the scent of sweat and blood tangy and thick in every breath, Mattias still stands. For each challenger that falls, an exhausted one who has been defeated and awoken drags them out of harm’s way. Flame and smoke dance as his sweat-lined form traces a serpentine path from one to the next.

    A ridged hand cutting upwards, backhanded against a collar, in passing.
        Everything but the black skin and ears in such a move.
    An elbow against the jaw, holding in place for a kick to the back of a knee.
        Everything but the golden armor of an Einherjar in such brutality. Textbook.
            Yet, taught only to the Einherjar. Officially.
    A flash of smoke while attacking from the front, only to reappear from the side.
        A boot to the face.
            Everything but a bright, red “X” where his belt used to be.

In tatters of Midgardian thread and growing bruises and thousand-year aches, blood is spilled.

    Forty becomes thirty.
        Thirty becomes twenty.
            Twenty becomes ten.

When the last challenger falls and the hall grows silent, Mattias is left in the center, hair over his eyes, knuckles bleeding freely, his lip, torn asunder and eyes running vein-red with blue orbs that has held firm in such a brutal display of gauntleted pain to grip his handhold to his misplaced heritage with all of his might.

    They could have killed him, this name day of his.
        But here, he would have not died lost to himself.

His lips crack, spitting a trail of blood to his feet.
    The word comes, barely audible, even over the silence of the room.

“…another.”

//

Aim that should have landed true, should have shown the insult she took although unintended by the attempted suitor…
        // Not without permission!
            Graces earned, not given. Amora is no Valkyrie, but the Maiden she is bears a differing Shield, and she will not hesitate to remind..!
                            … //Goddess
….

    She’s a killer,
        …She’s a keeper…

That precise and square impact does not make it, the sound of her own desire having come borne upon the chaotic uprising behind her with Mattias’ drengskapr and the sheer way it brought the very nature of the Asgardian’s to a more natural light then the laughter and joy in one another they were taking in regard.

        And in comes Enchantress, the golden apple palmed within invisibility in her hand, or in the facet of Mattias, Son of Lars, (not) of Midgard.

    Tell me what have I done?       
        To watch you lose…. control!

And that meet of bodies in the heavy impact suddenly comes to a still, but no time is stilled, no breathes are held, the roars of the lions call in the immense gathering does not cease, it reaches a height where ears ring, and her pivoted throttle is interrupted and hitting the (un)intended.

Skin opens in the sheer brute force their people know well and can commit to, others can only try and look like a child trying to move a sleeping giant. One bleeds, swells, and still moves as if the Ber-sekir still rolls through his blood and pulses through his heart - but this is all him…
        Larsson, Laurel Bearing, Bringer of Peace.
                    Made and molded in the Dark, and spoken to in Lies.

Those eyes flicker, that jade paling to nearly meld with the whites of her eyes, rapt attention paid as the fifth blow lands and he maintains an order of control, an honor - but when he looks at her there is -no- Peace, and more truth untold even as the thickly layered spatters of blood cross the distance between them in that moment…
        A shared look, truth without words in the differing depths to the very soul that pales against the heat of exchange and does not flinch as the Rorschach spreads from the tip of ‘V’ in that dress just below navel, skin to violence, adapted enough not to flinch even as it sticks to the webwork of criss cross to the swell of chest…

            l will give you sanctuary!

Amora’s chin rises as the blood trails in the dwindling of distance and remnants along the slender curve of neck, where it should glisten if she so much as swallowed, but she did not. There is pride in that display, one that draws a hand upward, the one revealed that the cloak sags from, stroking fingers through it and smearing it from jaw and down in a fingerpainting of stripes-three down the center of her throat and then a swift sweep across shoulder to snap out and… flick

Mattias is moving, his flag long dropped, needing no guiding hand to do what was natural. (“There are two outcomes in every danger: Either I will live, or I will die.”) The charge met with no fear and a song carried within his blood, within every pound of his heart to push it further, and it is met with the drumming of their familial war where they all get out alive and laugh even if missing teeth and with a swollen eye.
        Mattias is going to depart this Hall with nothing but the coating of familial blood, as the day he was born.

Nothing slows, nothing stops, and every time he blurs in his step, more and more appears, illusions fading, but all that was lacking was small plate maille gauntlets around slender wrists, spires stabbing down over the top of her hand, a point direct of split in twine to hover over the middle finger on both sides. A circlet matches, bearing its own detailed dance of vined ‘laurels’, but all of it black metal, but beneath it, that burning light off the fires bleeds it a swampened green that even ripples with motions, a hooking sweep of a vine hooks around the outer corners of those eyes, still paled, still watching…Still bearing a light fleck of droplets-red beneath her left eye.

Gladiator boots reborn in mate with the accessories permitted revealed, tiny chains descending in waves over feet that seem more bare with every step she takes and only clad in the tiny links instead of straps.

A pause as a body laid between herself and Mattias, standing amidst the remnants of his chaos, of his victory, of everything he is.

One hand flicks back, gathering the tail of her cloak to twist it from her and hook it over her arm, stepping nonchalant over the hulking Asgardian warrior as if he was a puddle.
            He lost this night. Perhaps another.

“It is true.” There, she answers his question, and when he calls for ‘….another,’ her hand extends, also now bearing those tiny chains laced like ‘webs’ between fingers and around the slender offering that unfurls like a Venus-trap.

Behind and around them…
        The walls, the roof, the solid earth beneath their feet bears a scale of richter in the response, weapons battering shields, pommels to ground, and animalistic calls of glory, even by those who had fell and now rise. He is a sight enough to garner pride from.

This is the stuff their people are made from!
        But in some secular corners, a few are silent. They saw, they remember. Cover it in blood, sweat, spit, and deafen it by the crack of meat and bone… Some things will not stay buried for long…

“There is no other tonight, unless you want it to be me…” The void that has paled her eyes gives him no tell, and is a deep shade of haunt where blood still clings just beneath one eye and is painted further between to cast shadows deeper than intended along hollows and subtle dips that outline the stature of the figure before him, offering him the hand for only a breath as if it is choice.

The other that bore the spatter of stricken and marred paint of life across her strait, descending to the heavier visceral blemishes over a figure of her own supple rises and falls, underlain with the evident pulse and flux of vitality beneath that is hardened and hidden for a purpose, but still bears every aspect of who and /what/ she is by birthright.

The hand extended to the side, fingers fork, another, he said…
        The hand she had held out to him now presses closer, daring while the other bears a subtle arching glow around fingertips that paint with more than just the blood…       
                …But by the blood…

“Accepted!” A single declaration, backed by her own promise to enforce it. His challenge, and his conquest in one.
        The rumble could be felt outside of the hut if any were present there and looking within.

Fingers span in their reach, sweeping like an intricate weave between the dreaded falls of bloodied hair, hovering just before his face, still darkened, still anticipatory, still heated. No touch, just the stroke upward that captures the hair fallen before his face, revealing him to them and to her as she steps nearer.

“Tell me how you feel about your name-day in the morning.”
            SLAM!
                And beside Mattias, another mead, but this one bearing no potent aside from Asgardian draught.

Closeness also serves a purpose, the cloak end is dropped, the shadows cast…. And one of the chains that dangles from extended fingers bears a Trivium wallet pendulum in sway from loop around wrist.

//

It’s like nothing Mattias Larsson has ever felt. His body aches in a thousand points, and the pain is held at bay by the ghost-faced chemical feeling of adrenaline dominating his bloodstream. Having long lost sight of which blood on his torn jeans is his, or whether or not the streak of liquid streaming down his temple is his blood, someone else’s, or sweat, the Asgardian instinct in him long left dormant still waits for another challenge. The splits in his knuckles sizzle with fresh pain when sweat creeps into the cuts there, and when the warbling lack of sound long kept in slow motion rushes back, like cresting out into the air from beneath the waves, the sense of immediacy that comes through war like none other brings him back to the present-tense.

Mattias’ half-closed fist loosens. Fingers that feel like blood-caked redwood trees remember their joints, and in their unfurling, the ache of half-moon shaped cuts from his fingernails in his palm and the flexing of punished muscle sends a lance of dull, pleasurable ache all of the way to his elbow.

She.
    She returns to his vision.
        She is loomed by the sound of dozens pounding their fists in his acceptance.

The side of Mattias’ face is caked in a layer of blood, sweat, and dirt that paints his face like fresh clay. When his hair is pried away from his face, he’s left appearing like a creation of Odin, himself, or forged and left half undone. A creature carved out of wood with two sapphires shoved through pliant, torn sockets to rule as eyes upon a face that needs to be dunked into water and washed clean to determine if the lines were drawn correctly.

Doc Martin boots, a rarity in Asgard, scrape the dirt-lined floor as he rises to his full height. The fresh cuts from her smashed stein weep a dribble down his arm when his muscles uncoil, releasing the taut meat beneath layers of flesh. Lines once jagged and rippling, over-defined, relax.

His eyes meet hers, then sweep down the pasture of her cheeks, taking the picture she paints. Blood, his or someone else’s, has been smeared across her body and the chains of his wallet are through her fingers, dangling his leather fold of personal information from her wrist like a trophy collected off of a battlefield, which, in truth, it now is.

Slowly, like a broken statue coming to life, the edge of Mattias Larsson’s mouth pulls into a smile.

“I have strength in me, still.”

His dirty fingers reach out to hers, sliding past her fingers and the offered chains and over her palm. His fingers split in the middle, forming his own ‘V’ shape around her wrists to kiss the maille with his knuckles. Fingernails scrape, leaving a line of blood across the heel of her palm before fingers recede, hook, and clasp in hers.

Mattias Larsson guides Amora in closer to his chest. His collar tightens and jerks as his free hand collapses around the girth of the stein offered to him. Lips peel back in a war-face of defiance and brutality when his eyes break from hers. Momentarily, with no need to watch her — he’s touching her — he thrusts the stein out towards a sea of black eyes and bloodied lips in a salute.

When he throws his head back and jabs the stein against his lips, he drinks quickly. Mead slips clear of the corners of his mouth, painting fresh lines in the blood and dust down the center of his naked chest. The hammer pendant around his neck is washed clean from the oncoming flow.

On his nameday, Mattias, Son of Lars, salutes the people of Asgard and drinks like a newly born warrior.

    Those in the crowd without hate in their eyes, roar their approval, shaking the mead hall once more.

//

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