Wafflicious Exposition

September 06, 2018:

In the aftermath of the Black Berserkers' attack, Atli, Angela and Hercules join Loki for some quality exposition and waffle consumption, in which everyone learns that their current predicament is entirely Atli's fault and everyone lives happily ever after. Hurray!

The Waffle House

The waffle. The legend.


NPCs: Thori, Toothbender

Mentions: Gorr the God Butcher, Thor, Rocket, Groot, A Fool Named Peter Quill

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

"I shall have mine scattered, smothered, skewered, and fire-roasted."

Of course, some of those options for hash browns do not exist. Well, at least on Midgard. Who knows, perhaps there's still a Waffle House open somewhere on the Asgard at the end of time, now populated by Shadow duplicates, tirelessly working to make pecan waffles and eggs and bacon and everything in between. Or maybe it's that Atli Wodendottir, Girl of Thunder, is still a bit concussed from her encounter. Indeed, she did not wake up in the arms of Hercules until she could smell bacon, which turns out, can cure anything.

"I don't remember an offer of iced mocha from you, large one." she had complained, speaking of Midgardian courtship rituals. A few moments later, she was less irate with Herc for all he had done, and more intent on her prospective meal.

The waitress, well.. she's worked here almost fifteen years. She's seen some shit, and she just shakes her head as she writes down the order.

"Just keep that animal out of here this time."

The menu falls from Atli's fingertips, and the tired, some-what out of it God looks to her goat through the window, which has taken to laying on someone's car. "Verily Toothbender, I can not take you anywhere. Aunt Loki, God of Gut Muscle, Lady Ultraviolence, I suggest several pecan waffles. There are few things like them in all the realms."

Without her usual jubilance, words ring hollow, and she drowns her sorrow in coffee and the promise of fried potatoes.

"My name is not Lady Ultraviolence."

Angela sits across from Atli in the booth with blood spattered across her button-up shirt.

The way here was quiet as far as her input went. She followed Hercules and Loki because there was little else to be done, and patience is as much a friend to hunters as haste. Her resolve is stiffened by the presence of Asgardians, albeit ones of which she has never heard. Her teachers had told her tales of the semi-mythical figures of cruel antiquity, such as Bor Womanslayer, Arch-Pervert Heimdall the Voyeur, and — of most pressing concern to the young ears hearing these tales — Volstagg the Devourer of Children.

Though Angela remains unsure of the veracity of all this, she is convinced enough of the Asgardian threat that it cannot hurt to be on guard. For all her lies the Queen of Heaven at least seemed truthful in her cautioning.

Seated here now, sharing a meal with the sworn enemies of her people, Angela finds that her appetite has left her. She is in the middle of one of her piercing stares at Loki when the waitress clears her throat, prompting Angela to look over a bit too quickly.


"Ah," says Angela. She looks down at the glossy, colorful bill of trade set out before her.

"I will have… a coffee."

"Cream and sugar?"

"I do not require cream nor sugar."

"Four waters and four coffees, all black. I'll get that started for you."

Angela furrows her brow. "Hn."

O! Muse, we're too hungry to sing!

At the mention of iced mocha, Hercules, the PRINCE of POWER, grins hugely. Dire divine power has left his teeth sparkling white despite a lifestyle involving eating, drinking, and smoking most things he can get his hands on. "Iced mocha," he rumbles, "is an offering of cowards who fear their own desires." He is crammed into a corner, his mace wedged under the table, hulking over his menu.

Hercules makes a show of looking it over, flipping it, looking over the other side, before tucking it back into the menu order. "Whole thing," he simply says. He's no stranger to the House of Waffles - he was at the grand opening.

He yawns hugely and stretches his arms above his head, shoulders popping. Herc notices his hands still have Berserker goo on them, and he manages to wave the waitress down before she heads off. "Got some moist towlettes back there?"

A thrilling victory, of course, deserves a most thrilling feast with which to celebrate it. And so it is that we join our fabled heroes at the Waffle House.

Like most art, whatever the deeper implications of this are up to you, the viewer, to decide.

"So, as you can plainly see, you are all terribly, terrifically doomed."

These are the words of the wise and fair Lady Loki, perched with all due elegance upon a stool a good ten feet from the booth which the others occupy. She would enjoy the closer proximity of their company normally, of course, friendly as she is, but they just recently almost died in vigorous combat and reek of the stench of the primordial dark, and various body fluids to a similarly proportionate degree.

And Loki, accommodating and saintly though she well may be (according to the words of some very reliable sources), is not quite that accommodating and saintly.

And so does Loki remain at her comfortable distance, dressed in a black-furred bolero jacket and green dress that she quite promptly changed into when it became clear they would be in a more social setting. That it makes her stand out and catch the eye even moreso than her horns might dressed as such in a Waffle House of all places, well — it certainly wasn't her decision to come here, was it?

Yes, it was.

I suggest several pecan waffles, advises Atli, and Loki takes her niece's words into the deepest consideration.

"I require several plates of pe-" a subtle pause settles here, of course, as is dramatically appropriate, "-anut butter waffles. And I require a thorough smothering of bacon. I cannot emphasize 'smothering' enough. I wish this to be a feast worthy of one's last days before the inevitable call of Hel beckons them away for all time."

Green eyes meet the white that have been staring at her this whole time.

"Four waters and four coffees, all black. I'll get that started for you."

And her smile blooms, because the FAIR LOKI does deeply appreciate subtle employment of dramatic irony.

Outside, Thori is excitedly alternating between yanking futiley on his bound leash, and running circles around Toothbender shouting "THORI IS BEST OF ALL ANIMALS!" or "YOUR END IS NIGH, SIRELESS GOAT-WENCH!"

Occasionally, he tries to headbutt something to prove that he is the superior goat on top of the superior dog.

"Now where was I?" wonders Loki aloud. "Ah yes! Your imminent and messy demises. I believe a meal at such a prestigious locale as the Waffle House is worthy answering your questions as far as that is concerned. To the best of my ability, of course. My niece, forthright and earnest and honorable as she is, doubtless has more intimate knowledge of the subject."

The tilt of Atli's head, sent to the side as if to look at Toothbender but instead staring off into some point in the distance, one that might even be staring back. It doesn't last long, squinting back at Angela as she disavows Atli's newfound title for the wayward angel, features scrunching up in mild, disheveled protest. Indeed, her hair is scattered about and mattered with blood, only some of which is hers. Do not cast your eyes to her cloak or vester, for parts of it resemble an oil slick.

"That doesn't sound right."

Hercules, Prince of Power, condemns the iced mocha, and Atli's head tilts back and forth as she considers.

"Hmm, that sounds right."

A few things are delivered quickly. One of which was bought with a piece of Asgardian gold to fuel it's expediency. It could be that the giant plate of bacon to be shared among them will cut into Loki's smothering of bacon. What woe might Atli face for her pre-emptive strike? Well, none shall know, for the Waffle House can even surprise gods. They have more than enough porcine delights on hand.

This she reaches out and waves a hand, as if to invite them all to partake, before taking up a few pieces and noisily biting into them, each soul-soothing taste of salted porkflesh rejuvenating her in a way the legendary droughts of old never could. And so, finally, Atli becomes a little bit of her old self, smiling with that mouth full of bacon, and using a half-eaten bacon wand to point at Angela's

"Your shirt is quite.. the shirt. Wonderful in all it's buttony.. yes."

Bacon. Smile.

"Soooo, what is your name then? We should all know who our new ally in the fight against Gorr is, for.. yes, yes.."

Atli nods along to Loki here, clearly agreeing that they're all doomed, at least until she doesn't, finally realizing what she's on about and giving a face-scrunching shake of her head.

"Don't mind my Aunt Loki, for it is canonized in the annuls of history that she can be a bit of a drama queen. Three Thors defeated Gorr and one of those didn't even have a hammer. Our great friend here made of muscles is worth, well, at least three hammers. At least that many. For some reason I keep thinking you're worth five hammers, Aunt Loki, which sounds strange until I say it aloud, and then it sounds perfect. And you, Lady.. Well, whoever you are, I'm sure you're worth, ten, maybe eleven hammers."

Outside the goat puts up with Thori's onory nonsense for at least twice as long as the actualy Goatlords might, and then he absently snorts, sending snot flying across the bow of the little Helhound with great prejudice.

It draws Atli's attention, and she absently indicates with her bacon. "The animals are perhaps half a hammer, combined."

A secret and obvious smile crosses Loki's lips. Angela has no room in her budget for visible emotions at this time. One may perhaps read intense distrust into her sharp features in absence of evidence to the contrary.

"They serve me," Angela replies to Atli on the subject of her buttons, distracted as she is with glaring.

With the plate of bacon comes the waters and the coffees, and this, finally, must steal Angela's attention. She wraps her hands around the too-hot mug, heedless of the burning. Loki has her mysterious smiles, and Angela has this subtle link to her memory. It ties her to what is real. Why she is here. It is always foolish little things like this that mean all the worlds and all the stars.

Meanwhile, Atli elucidates on the subject of Asgard's hammer-based rating system. As disinterested as she is in this topic, Angela mechanically files the information away in case of later use. It is what Atli said earlier that truly requires her replies.

"I have little to do with your fight," she says. "Save for the matter of my stolen blood. I am no god. Tell me of this bonethief that I may know how to seek restitution from him for his ill-considered error."

Hercules looks out the window at Toothbender and Thori. "Adorable," he comments, without specifying who.

Four mugs and two carafes of black coffee are eventually brought to the table, though one is diverted toward Loki's aloof position. Hercules forgoes his cup and takes one carafe directly, cheeks puffing out as he blows heroically into it, displaced steam belching upward around his face. The liquid roils and bubbles from the force of the breath, some of it spattering out onto his bearded cheeks. In the end, he's dropped it down to his preferred temperature in the space of a few seconds.

While Loki mentions doom and gloom, Hercules politely places his headgear on the window sill and nonchalantly takes a pull of coffee straight from the carafe. Most would have the decency to look tired after such a great fight - he looks like he just woke up from a nap, fresher than he had when it started, as though something vital he had been missing is now flowing through him.

"Been doomed before," he says. "Had to pull a city apart brick by brick the last time." Herc wraps a load of bacon around one fork as one would a pasta. The exposed kitchen enjoys a 'spirited' conversation about how to interpret the Greek's order.

Cronch. Herc speaks around his bite. "Anyone got any more information on this godbutcher? I don't know how you Asgardians keep things straight with nine realms to keep track of. Think of all the family drama you could get down to if you focused up a little."

The topic of whether Zeus's or Odin's family is more of a hot mess is a weighty one amongst people in the know.

He swallows and gives Atli a narrow look. "Why do I have the fewest hammers in this conversation?" He thuds his mace with a sandalled foot illustratively.

Thori Deathripper's barking is a thing that the sprawling Eddas of old are composed of.

"Gargle upon your sphihrrrh"

And even moreso, the tale of how he was cowed by a not-quite-Goatlord with naught but a single sneeze, flailing about desperately trying to fling goop off his face before looking at the be-horned animal with wide-eyed wonder wonder mid-desperate rolling.

"teach me your ways"


Loki, of course, does not offer even an inkling of pence to foot their bill, nor will she. It's not the storyteller's job to pay to tell her stories, after all, is it? Well. Perhaps if they're of poor quality.

But she is really, very good.

Atli's great congress of cured pork arrives first for the table before Loki's. Her brows tying up in a brief and subtle flit of thought, there is a crackle of green before a piece of that cooked pig meat disappears from its plate and directly into the waiting grasp of the green-eyed goddess (by way of technicalities). Just a mild bit of mischief. It's her nature, after all.

And so as Angela regards her with a stoic eye that betrays only distrust, Loki seems to take the stare with the casual ease of someone engaging with an old and cherished friend. So magnanimous is Loki that she hardly so much as bats an eye as the others discuss and Atli meanders her way through discussion about Gorr that inevitably starts to revolve around Thor, and hammers. Dark green lips purse together in a mildly blank expression. Five hammers, says Atli of her aunt.

"I rather think you're losing your audience, dearest Atli," advises Loki right at the tail end of the red-head implying Angela would be of a greater hammer-value than she. "You really must learn how to better read and relate to your chosen demographics. And a revision of your rating policies would hardly hurt either."

And so, taking a bite of her lone piece of bacon (though it should be noted in the process of their conversation a not-inconsiderable bulk of said pork product has mysteriously and conveniently disappeared off the table's plate and onto Loki's; the reasons how and why shall forever remain an enigma to time), Loki takes it upon herself to fill in the necessary role she was so born for:

"I suppose it's time we indulge in a story the likes of which even the storied scribes of Amazon would be jealous of."

And here, she takes a thoughtful sip of her coffee to punctuate her declaration. All black, of course.

"Mm. Bitter. Appropriate, I suppose.

"Our tale today is not of Asgard. It is not of any pantheon. Not even the highest of celestial realms, nor the deepest of infernal pits. Our tale is not of gods… but of a single, solitary man who would be known as Gorr.

"If you have not heard this name, I do not blame you. No god would ever dare to whisper it, for such would be to admit against their pride that there is something that cows even them. That even gods know such things as bogey men, or monsters that lurk under their beds at night. More still have likely never heard his name, because those who have seen him scarcely live to tell the tale. All save one, of course — but that is a tale for another day, and barely relevant to what brings us here today. No point losing the thread of our story so quickly. Waffles can only last so long!"

Pointedly, this is when said waffles arrive. Loki, of course, doesn't dare deign to be interrupted while weaving her tale, and thusly weaves on even as their food is being set out.

"There exists in the Halls of All-Knowing a list, a ledger of names. Gods missing or dead. No one mentions it; no one cares to. The universe is a vast and indifference place, after all… and Gorr has traveled that vast indifference for thousands of years now, slowly and methodically adding upon that list. Torturing and slaughtering the divine across galaxies.

"And so it was that those who would know him, would know him as God Butcher.

"The gods, of course, being a reasonable and open-minded lot, largely turned a blind eye to such legends, as surely they must be absurd. Even the one who lived to tell the tale never told it, for such might risk his precious pride to speak of it. My dear niece Atli and her apparently good friend, the machine god Decimux - whose tale is one similarly to be told at another time of equally ill fortune - attempted to subvert the God Butcher's murderous machinations by stranding him at the beginning of all that was."

Loki gestures, ever-so-vaguely, with her strip of bacon, to all their blood and goop and sweat soaked selves.

"Obviously that went exceedingly well, and the story thusly had a happy ending."

A second passes by. And Loki turns that sharp green gaze on Angela, crooking a single finger.

"Your serpentine souvenir, if you'd please."

The hard questions come Atli's way, stacked one after another, equally important to be certain. But that's alright, really, she's well informed and really the best source of information about either of these subjects. Bacon finds her mouth. The hashbrowns are delivered. What glory this day has wrought, new friends, a victory worthy of song, and… oh right.

They're all doomed.

"Yes well, I didn't know about you pulling a city apart before giving you just the three! I'll revise that up to four hammers, if only because you look like Four Thors could fit inside your skin, so ripply and defined and all that. Also, because you're not Thor, I wouldn't vomit by picturing you naked, which I just did, and so, I rounded up." This, to Hercules, hopefully a balm for the man she did not mean to wound with her words.

Say what one might about Asgardians, but they have smiles, earnest and prideful and sometimes full of mischief, but they are a dawn all their own. Even half stuffed with bacon. Atli proves it by beaming at Hercules before pouring something from her flask into her coffee and drowning all her woes about Gorr.

Speaking of which.

"Yes, well, nine is a rather large number of realms. Of course it's all a bit easier in my time, as they're all mostly destroyed. So, not really much to keep track of, save for the Flying Sharks of New Midgard. Which were in fact, my idea. So, you're welcome, if any of you live to my time to see them."

Of course she only remembers now that they certainly were not around when making flying sharks, and so poor Ultraviolence and Ripple-Deluxe must certainly have perished. Already she mourns them, in some small part of her br-PANCAKES!

This is the part where Atli might counter her Aunt Loki on a great number of things, but somewhere in her dispute about the ratings, the Girl of Thunder gives Angela a little wink, shows all ten of her fingers to indicate her hammer rating, and then goes to drown her waffle in butter and syrup and ketchup.

Yes, ketchup.

When she speaks again, her mouth is once again completely full. "Decimux is still a friend, I am sure he will help. Forr no doubt stole your blood to fuel his God-Bomb, which will utterly rend you from existence should he succeed in his plan. But don't worry, I also have a better plan. You see, it's quite simple… we'll Fix Everything. I know a raccoon, a tree, and a fool that can help. Not to mention my grandfather, Thor, who is worth just his one hammer, but it is a very special one."

And then comes the part that Angela is, by now, very much familiar with: the exposition.

A great deal of exposition.

(And, because Angela is by now a storied art critic in her own right, just a tad bit too much rambling if you ask her.)

By the time that Atli finishes talking about her grandfather's special hammer, Angela sets down her mug with a dull clank that announces its emptiness. She pushes it away from her with her fingertips and then takes a long few moments to level her stoic gaze first upon Atli (every punch-drunk bacon-smeared inch of her) and finally upon Loki (some intuition in her warns not to linger overlong on the dress).

"You did not hear me just now," says Angela. "I am no god. Your Gorr is sloppy."

Angela shifts her leg underneath the table. There is a pained, squirmy hiss. Angela kicks sharply. After a moment of silence, she reaches down and fishes about with her hand. When she sits back up again into her intimidatingly perfect posture, she has a shadow goo snake to throw at Loki.

Because that's what she does.

Throw it at Loki.

Loki has magic, she can catch it.

Hercules doesn't seem at all to actually be bothered by the (in his opinion) mis-assessment. He grins right back with his easy manner - one somewhat unique amongst his own divine race, lifting his coffee toward Atli in salute. "Then we're even. Opa!" Drink.

Loki launches into the tale. While she does so, one of the line cooks comes around with Hercules's meal the 'Whole Thing' - because the server was uncertain she could lift it and wasn't paid enough to try. In confusion and some desperation, the staff created a sort of melange of corned beef hash, hash browns, and eggs. This is being served on a random, diced-up scattering of every kind of waffle and pancake on the menu, covered in cheese, gravy, and syrup, all swept together on a serving tray in lieu of a mortal plate.

There are also three pieces of toast and a bowl of grits (salted and buttered). It smells like the restaurant.

Herc nods in benediction, eating his pile at random with a fork and a knife. "Hmm," he considers. Awash in modern media, Hercules mentally translates the Gorr the God-Butcher to 'serial killer'. He amuses himself by replacing Loki's references to him as 'unsub,' becomes distracted thinking about procedurals he needs to catch up on, which as always inevitably leads to thinking about the jawline of Leroy Gibbs.

O! Muse, we sing of Mark Harmon!

He visibly shakes himself, clicking his mouth closed. "I can say with some confidence he's stayed away from my kin thus far. My contemporaries are so concerned with their games of musical chairs, they always notice when someone doesn't show up to the backstab party. So, then, why now?" He just accepts the matter of time travel, because life is stupid.

Herc then looks at Angela, eyebrows lifting. "Neither was I, at first. Perhaps Gorr knows something about your destiny you haven't figured out yet - if he's being pushed around in a time sense, hey, why not?" He pauses eating to lean away from the goo snake, using one hand to shield his food.

The dress is a trap. You certainly should not trust it.

But she surely wears her traps impeccably.

"You'll have to forgive young Atli," Loki asides to Hercules, quite conversationally of course, "she comes from a different time where you were more than likely long dead and likely knows little of your legendary journeys. Not even the ones made famous on television and streaming! Youths, you know. I still find them quite charming."

Atli, of course, interjects. Offers some editor's notes of one who has some measure of future contexts of the great labors of Gorr the God Butcher. Loki occupies this time by indulging in her great tower of peanut butter-mired waffles, carving away a chunk to chew on with all due daintiness even as Atli messily spews her secrets all across the dining table.

Yet still further evidence that Loki, separated from the pack, is the wisest amongst them.

"I am no god," says Angela in the aftermath of all this exposition (of a most perfect length, by Loki's estimable reckoning). A thin, dark brow lifts.

"You certainly aren't, are you," wonders the trickster, her voice muted. "But hardly of Midgard, either, hm? Maybe Hercules has a point. Perhaps our God Butcher sees in you something we don't. Or perhaps you're just thrust into these circumstances now by twist of fate, forced to associate with unusual and dare we say distrusted companions until you learn the deep and abiding value of camaraderie. You're like our very own Harry Potter!"

And so Loki is about to indulge in her meal, until she gleans a brief vignette of Atli gorging herself on ketchup-stuffed maple-drenched pancakes. Her expression curdles ever-so-mildly.

And she is still looking so vaguely (vaguely) disapproving by the time that shadowy serpent goes hurtling at her. It is a tribute to her disgust, perhaps, that she cannot even wrench her gaze away from the sight even as her wrist flicks, and the serpenting creature seizes in mid-air, thrumming with jade life that pulses through it like seeking veins.

"Many thanks, my mysterious mercenary friend! Now then… 'why now?' That certainly is the question, isn't it? What my enthusiastic niece has failed to realize, through no fault of her own, is the simple act of her presence here has fundamentally altered things, to say nothing of the actions of her and her co-conspirator. Long ago, it is said, Gorr the God-Butcher happened upon a weapon to help him in his plight. A weapon certainly older than any one of you. This creature," Loki jabs a finger into the slimy black mass pointedly, "is made up of it. And something else, threaded into it, made an inseparable, intrinsic part of it. Something quite familiar." Brows inch upward as Loki works her magics through that little abyssal pet of Angela's, one leg crossing over the other as she leans back.

"Oh, what fun. Atli, say hello to your twin sister!"

And here, the serpentine creature is forced to wiggle, as if trying to wave.

"'Hello, Atli!'" mimes Loki. Her voice may be but a touch shrill.

Goo-snake? Oh right, that thing. It brings Atli's brows skyward, as does Angela's assertion that she is not a God. Of course, she's eating so her snort comes out sounding much like the goat, but she points to Hercules with her fork, indicating at all his points were the ones she were going to make, as well as making sure to top off Herc's coffee with her flask, before tapping his cup with said flask, a long swig once more washing the pain and shame of having not dealt with Gorr down her gullet.

It's her fault, you see, and she dwells on it, until she remembers how much she wants to drink some more, and she finishes off her flask. Then she leans sidelong where she sits, which is odd. There's no reason for her to do that, pointing at Angela with her fork, though now in a menacing fashion.

"You have the look of a God. For instance, your hair is a godly color, if I do say so myself. Hercules is a God, and you look as if you belong next to him, which is good, since you are. Finally, and I believe this is all the evidence we need, Gorr wants your blood. Also, you are very good at violence, the likes of which I had not seen until I saw Hercules deal out similar violence, just moments prior. Verily, the two of you combined have nearly put the Man of Magnets with such a flustering display, if I don't say so myself."

Wavering in the other direction, Atli mostly-listens to her Aunt Loki, digesting all of her trickster words and, you know, especially, the snake-miming. Her eyes turn glassy at it, and she squinting as if Loki may in fact have her twin in her grasp. "Oh. I see. Verily, by coming here.. it's.. It's my fau-"

Then Atli Wodendottir flops forward and into the Atli-Sleep, passing out as her wounds once again catch up to her, her hair hanging into syrup and ketchup, part of a waffle falling from her mouth. But otherwise, she still sits mostly upright.

By the Nine Realms, she snores like Volstagg, Devourer of Children.

Somewhere outside, as those inside discuss important matters or snore, Toothbender has been teaching Thori to ram cars.

An entire block full of them.

Woe to the fool who dare get his vehicle detailed this day, for a combined half hammers worth of might seeks glorious vengeance upon such audacity.

Angela settles back into her booth, giving no outward reaction to the not-quite-that-peculiar-in-context sight of a goo snake from the edge of time being frozen in the air by minty green magic. This could have been a completely normal throwing of a goo snake from the edge of time. Not a single thing meant by it, other than that throwing and minty green magic are the best way to deliver goo snakes from the edge of time in this context.

The waitress refills Angela's coffee. She must be very careful to reach over and around Hercules' splash zone.

"It is an inequitable system of judgment," Angela murmurs, which seems to be her grudgingly acquiescing to Hercules' point. Across the table, Atli transitions smoothly from rambling about all the things that make one godly in the eyes of an Asgardian — inherited physical traits, matching aesthetic, skill in violence, clearly a rubric favored by Odin Whoremonger — into crashing onto her face asleep.

Angela quietly judges her for being unable to handle her flask.

"Is it possible to track the part back to the whole, then?" says Angela, speaking of the snake. "If you are committed to haranguing me for my assistance, I will demand service in resolving this matter swiftly. I require only a path to travel in order to make good time."

Hercules unearths a vein of mislaid onion, scattering it around the rest of his pile. "Don't get me started," he asides to Loki. "Courts wouldn't let me get royalties on account of public domain bullshit. Should've hired Murdock."

He hits tray in the middle of his plate, making impressive time. But there is still much more work to be done. He scrapes it together into a new pile and pulls from his carafe, consuming with heroic aplomb.

He glances toward Atli when Loki indicates that this is technically her fault. Herc thinks for a moment, preparing some line about how she shouldn't consider this her fault - I mean, it is, but he tries to stray away from brutal honesty. However, she deals with it in her own way, gesturing at them, speaking about Godhood, and then passing out right as she begins to confront it.

Hercules lets out a low, rolling laugh. "Ah, the trials of those first few centuries of divinity!" He booms, drawing looks. He reaches to his shoulder and produces the Nemean Lion pelt. He had not been wearing it before, but some of those strange magics around him are unpredictable - it is mythically appropriate for him to have this here, and so, he does. He drapes it around Atli, and it drapes itself around her protectively, the lion's head seeming less harsh than when it's on Hercules's shoulder as a garment of war.

The lack of her influence, however, brings Hercules closer to the mien of a soldier. He pauses eating for a moment, putting his fork down and folding his arms. "That would be passing convenient. I worry about the behavior of those things. It'd make sense if every god he kills feeds into his own strength. Speed can only help us take the unsub down."

Angela does not ask what an unsub is because she intuitively understands procedural legal television.

"Well," declares Loki Laufeysdottir drolly, as Atli collapses upon her Aggro Crag of Carbs,

"she certainly seems suitably shocked."

And so with a handwave and an indifferent declaration of, "she'll be fine, probably," the Goddess of Mischief moves on to other more pressing matters. "Whatever this creature was, its purpose is quite different now. The blood in here has been made part of it. Blueprints for divinity. I'm quite impressed. We can likely assume the same was done to both of yours. To what end, I couldn't rightly say. But it ought to prove a thrilling surprise for you all!"

You all, of course, being the operative term. Because, after all —

"Hm? Oh, I've no interest in any of this," explains the Goddess of Lies quite matter-of-factly as Angela lays out her terms. "I stand to benefit in no way, and to be expected to have a cost reaped from me on top of that? It's simply not my bag!"

Slowly, Loki twitches her fingertips. Jade magic threads around the snake until it forms a cage in which to imprison it, before gingerly pushing the floating container yonder-mercenary's way. "I wasn't truly here for the Berserkers; I was simply returning from a visit with a friend, and picking up an important resource." Outside, Thori shouts something about headbutting all hammers to prove he has the most hammers of all hammers. "… Knowledge, however, is a most precious resource of no comparison, and of that I have plenty. This little sliver of knowledge seemed suitably sufficient to at least barter myself a free meal from the legendary House of Waffles." The trickster stretches arms over her head gingerly. She heaves a slow, leisurely sigh as she slides out of her seat. Her food, mysteriously, has vanished.

When on earth did she eat it? That, too, is a story for another time.

"That said, whatever Gorr's minions are made of is quite singularly distinct. Perhaps even multiversally unique. Tracking like sources is something I am wonderfully overqualified for, and I've no doubt you could exact a cost from the poor, guilt-ridden Atli here and retrieve your stolen blood all in one swoop should you choose to pursue this further. A nice deal, wouldn't you think?"

And with this said, Loki slides out of her seat. She stifles a yawn, and brushes past, layering a hand over Hercules' burly shoulder as she goes. "It was quite the delight to see a good friend once again, however! And is that the Nemean Lion pelt I spy? Good on you; getting that back must have been quite the tale. As for the rest…"

And she makes her way out, passing another, final smile on to Angela as she goes.

"Atli's haranguing can be quite ceaseless, so I would advise you to take advantage while you can. However the choice is, of course, entirely yours. But if you wish to employ my myriad talents for this or any other reason… well."

A smile that promises so much more to come.

"I trust you can find me. You are a hunter, aren't you?"

Hercules responds to the touch on his shoulder, reaching up to pat Loki's hand with familiarity. "And you, old friend. And it sure was. It came with another Lion as well, which is still a bit much to process. Perhaps we'll discuss it sometime in the Greek style."

He doesn't elucidate further as to what that could mean. With the conversation over, he can finally attack his meal with true gusto. Nobody working at the Waffle House sleeps soundly that night after the display they are forced to witness.

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