The Sword

September 12, 2018:

Aboard the Asgardian ship Bilskirnir the Justice League has chased the demon comet all the way to one of the upper Realms. A forbidden pocket dimension hiding a terrible secret from Asgard's history. (Emits by Doctor Strange) - Due to time travel the battle with Phorcys actually happened around May

Azure Sky Sanctum, a Shard realm of goodness and light

Basically it is the sky, with a floating island and a fortress

Characters

NPCs: Phorcys and the crew of the Bilskirnir

Mentions: Odin, Surtur; Loki

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Free of the dark god's trap the Bilskirnir breaks into the Astral space, easily finding the trail of darkness left behind by the comet. The chase is on!

The enemy has been forewarned, however, and becomes elusive. The next weeks the Asgardian vessel crosses over two dozen alien realms, having to defend from hordes of monsters and even a huge pan-dimensional Kraken, a battle that sends to Valhalla many of Captain Njordson's sailors.

It is only after the eighth week of travel the 'Comet' is spotted.

It is only as the Bilskirnir circumvallates the living planet Munnopor, when they finally see their quarry. The 'comet' is a huge crystal and bones thing upon which an ivory fortress has been built. The dark glass seems illuminated from within, gold light turning what should be pitch black into dull grey. It shifts into the Dream before the heroes can catch up with it, and the harrowing passage through the nightmare realms allows it to pull ahead.

But not for long.

Njordson is forced to take a brief stop by the palace of Morpheus for the crew to recover from the nightmare-induced madness, which threatens even the psyche of the Asgardian sailors. A night of rest and a favor owed to Dream, the ship speeds again, trailing Atum's prison. The walls between dimensions are broken.

Everyone expected another hellish realm, but the sky is dark blue, the clouds are pure white, the air smells to summer. There is no land below, or above, just clear air and a sensation of peace.

"By Odin's beard," says Njordson, "we are at the right side of Yggdrasil, among the branches. Why, I think we might even be in charted territory, for once."


For the better part of the weeks they had been traveling, Donna had managed to find a way to keep herself to herself. She had spoken when she'd been spoken to, and performed what duties were required of her. But more often than not, she'd spent the time lost in the bowels of the ship, moving from room to room like a ghost, when she wasn't hidden away in some closet or another. Some of it might have been attributed to the strain of the encounter with the God of Death, but not all. Donna, however, had not seemed inclined to explain herself. But now that they seemed to be arriving at their destination, she found herself once again, gathering with the rest of the team, resting, for the moment, on a crate she had pulled over from the small reserve by the wall.


For Caitlin Fairchild, her second major sojourn into deep space is proving a lot less fun than she'd imagined. The fighting was right up her alley, sure, but the nightmares— well, Cait's nightmares run as deep as anyone else's. They'd left her quite shaken, in ways much worse than mere sleeplessness.

Still. She's got her game face on. She'd thrown herself into a few fights where a strong back was more useful than magic, and carried her weight as best she could.

She's kitted out in an outfit that could be described as eclectic, at best. It's bits and pieces of armor and equipment begged, borrowed, donated, or loaned over the years, all over a new skintight exosuit she'd finished just before starting the trip.

She keeps an eye on Donna, a little worried for her friend but not wanting to intrude into the other woman's space. The nightmares had left everyone a little rattled. Caitlin's path to the bridge lingers near the other woman, and she rustles an open brown bag towards Donna invitingly.

"Want a cookie?" she offers.


Nightmares, Hal's are raw, fresh due to his life away from the League right now but the man who has spent his life battling fear in all forms and garish colors doesn't appear that phased, he is a pioneer, a voyager, an astronaut and this is the sort of thing he just does, he lives for, fighting, flying, exploration…

Maybe it is what hes been needing as though it's an eight week journey around his fellow Leaguers, which gives plenty of time to touch base, catch up and get to know those with him it's also forced time around people who don't often spend this much time around one another, the League is off the cuff, show as needed, Big Damn Heroes that assemble and then disperse… an unspoken fellowship of casual teamwork and order. To say the least, its different and new.

Jordan doesn't have the creativity of his fellow Lanterns like Rayner or even Stewart, his outfit doesn't exactly change up during this. It remains what they're used to… if it ain't broke don't fix it.

They have learned, he enjoys drinking, maybe too much and he also has a hell of a time staying focused or sitting still like now, his pacing, anxious, they're so close… and he is very ready.


Donna looks up, at the sound of the rustling bag, catching Caitlin's words as she looks up from where she was staring off into the middle distance. Despite the fact that she's been so decidedly not present, she seems to catch herself up rather quickly, "Sure. Thank you." She does extract one, though she doesn't bite into it right away, "You haven't snuck any extra raisins into it have you? Fruit in cookies is how the devil gets inside of you. Or so I've heard." She reached back, pulling another crate over, though her attention shifted to Hal as he stepped in, "Shouldn't be long now, unless I've missed my mark."

¬---

THE OTHER DAY …

"NJORDSON," Thor bellows, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! WE ARE LOSING THEM!"

The God of Thunder stands upon the bowsprit one hand gripping the railing that is supposed to keep him from venturing off the deck and the other holding Mjolnir high. He is Thor Odinson, figurehead of of the Bilskinir, and as the cosmic mist blows his blond hair backward into a tangled mess he stretches somehow holding the hammer higher-still.

Cosmic winds summoned from intensify in a horrifying roar the mighty vessel quivering as the tack threatens to snap from the force of the thunder god's gale.

"THOR," Njordson screams a death-grip upon the ship's wheel his titan grip barely able to hold the rudder on course, "YOU MUST STOP! SHE WILL NOT HOLD! WE CANNOT CATCH THEM IN A SPRINT WE MUST OUT SAIL THEM!"

Thor roars in frustration and with one hand still gripping the deck he heaves backward and throws …

… Mjolnir screams across the expanse between the vessels. Rapidly gaining ground for thousands of miles only to slow, and then to begin to fall.

The Thunderer's hand flexes. The cosmic gale begins to subside. The hammer returns to him and as the ship begins to slow he remains transfixed upon their elusive quarry as it gets away.

TODAY …

Thor is at the front of the ship as if believing that, should the comet emerge again, a proximity only a dozen feet closer might allow him some advantage against it. The clarity seems to change the winds of his mood. He takes a deep breath and surveys the clarity that surrounds them with a softening expression.

When Njordson speaks Thor squints slightly, "Might be?" He questions the son of the sea god, "Do not tell me we are lost …," perhaps it is the serenity but Thor gives the older man a friendly smirk and squeezes the railing once before pushing away and walking slowly back towards the center of the vessel.

He looks to Donna and Caitlin pausing with interest as the cookie is produced and then asking them, "Did you eat your gourds this morning?"


Charted space is good. The sailors are quite happy for a few minutes, thinking they are going to find a friendly port or something. Navigation charts are brought, and the captain and navigator do their esoteric calculations. Then Njordson curses loudly.

"Prince Thor!" He calls, gesturing to the Thunder God. "We are in a place called the Azure Sky Sanctum. By Odin decree no Asgardian can come here under penalty of death. It is a… really old law, from the time of the Seventy Fourth War with Ymir's brood. That was, hrm, about seven thousand Migardian years," he says that in consideration for Diana and the others.

He looks forward, frowning. "Those villains are just ahead, I can feel it on my bones. We can catch them today, and face Odin's wrath tomorrow. Or turn back and seek them out some other day. But… why have they come here if not for great mischief? What should we do, my lord?"


"Then he will seem foolish when he comes here to kill us," Thor guffaws, "and when he realizes how foolish he is to break his own law he will certainly change his mind."

'Oh,' Thor thinks, 'Tomorrow?' Perhaps not having thought through that Odin would just wait for them to leave. This is reflected in his face by a thoughtful crease of his brow.

"Besides, we have already arrived," the Son of Odin adds, "and so tis better to return with a tale of glory than an apology. Let us continue forth."


Caitlin gives Donna a shocked look. "I wouldn't inflict raisins on a friend," she promises her. "It's my gramma's recipe." She peers in the bag. "I mean, kinda. What rations we had on the ship, but I think they came out pretty good. Not sure about the goat milk butter," she mutters, under her breath.

When Thor addresses her and Donna, she makes a face. "Yes. I'm gonna try to make the gourds into something good though, like maybe some kind of summer squash pie?" The cooks had relented early on into letting Caitlin into the galley; it was just too much additional work to actually try and stay ahead of her appetite without letting her contribute a little to the workload.

She offers Hal a cookie as well, then Strange, then anyone else who wanders in arm's reach. Cait's clearly a believer in the notion that cookies improve virtually any situation.

"So what's the gameplan when we go in?" She uplfits her chin at the vista unfurling, trying to look casual. "Waltz in, say hello, try not to start a war?"


Donna reached up, offering Thor the cookie she had taken from the bag, as though she was sure there would be others to follow, "We've been tracking the comet too long to wait even longer. We have no idea what condition the Atum is in. Or how he will respond to a further delay. Something tells me that they are not simply allowing him to rest in peace wherever he is in that comet." Though, given the glow, there was probably a fair bet that they could figure out his location. "But if it would be better for the crew to stay behind, we can make it work." Donna settled back onto her crate, looking between the gathering forces, "I did. But I never much liked melon." A glance back to Caitlin, "I believe they started the war when they kidnapped a god. I believe we are simply here to finish it."


Donna gets a nod while a cookie is accepted, Hal sniffs it before biting in. Chewing quietly as the others converse about gourds of all things. Each person present getting a moment of regard and acknowledgement, "Yeah, the crew can be our support if we need it." He looks towards Njordson. "No offense, guy." Hearing himself say this sounds silly. Another bite of cookie.

"Time for the fun stuff."


And so. although they will face Odin's wrath tomorrow (they are doomed - but the Aesir are usually doomed) the Asgardian ship sails forward fearlessly. One hour, two.

Ahead on the distance, visible to the sharp-eyed first, there is an… well, asteroid would be some way of describe it, if it was floating in space and not in a weird dimension which seems to have atmosphere and gravity without requiring a mass of solid matter.

IT is a mass of solid matter. Looks like a disk of earth maybe ten miles in diameter and a mile thick, upper surface formed by hilly terrain, with a walled complex in the middle. Looks like some pagoda-domed buildings of exotic, alien architecture. White marble and brass that shined even from the distance.

The comet is there, a mile long diamond of unholy glass and bone. It has 'landed' on one side of the floating disk. And there is a battle ongoing there. Flashes of light and explosions fire can be seen faintly. "Full speed ahead!" Yells Njordson, and defying human science and logic the Bilskirnir flies well beyond the speed of sound, without breaking the sound barrier, and apparently thanks to its full sails.

They are closing quickly, and the Leaguers can see alien banners on the top of the buildings. One of the Asgardian sailors mutters he had seen something like that way back, when he was a kid. Another mentions his old uncle told him about… uh, bird people. Something.

That story actually rings a bell for Thor

============= FLASHBACK TIME ================

ABOUT TWENTY SOMETHING CENTURIES AGO

Asgardians are born like mortals, grow up like mortals and then live for millennia. Adults at twenty, old at maybe six thousand years, or one million if you believe all Odin says.

Moreover they are very hard to kill and pretty hard to keep dead, which would lead to super-population if they were prolific.

But they are not; Freya and Odin had three children in like 3000 years of marriage (actually four). Odin had a few bastards too, but not many (well, compared to Zeus). Oh, and he adopted one child, too.

So children are rare in Asgard, which means there are no normal schools. Children are homeschooled, even princes are homeschooled. Odin adopted Loki in part so Thor had a companion during childhood.

Homeschooled by old gods.

Like Hoder the Blind, son of Vili and cousin of Thor (older by many, many millennia). Today's lesson seems to be 'guys that are no longer around'. It is kind of boring for twelve years old Thor, although Loki listens, attentive, eyes wide, as if it was the most interesting thing ever. Such nerd.

"The Elder Gods chose tribes from the early Migardians and turned them into beings of some power." Drones Hoder, "and so diabolical Set made the Serpent Folk, sinister Ch'thon made the Wolf-People and to combat them both benevolent Oshtur made the Bird-Men of Akah Ma'at who were often allied to the Aesir when Odin was young. The Bird-Men eventually succeeded in destroying the Serpent Folk and drove the Wolf-Men into the shadows. Yet their time of greatest glory happened later, under the rulership of Supreme Sorceress Samhat Saraswati, when they grew mystically powerful and nearly equal in might to the Aesir."

But of course this is an Asgardian tale and it can't only end badly. "Alas, Set was furious with the Bird-Men and managed to corrupt many of them. They became proud and greedy and began to lord over the mortals of Migard, in defiance to their own holy laws. These evil Bird-Men called themselves the Asura, and when their dark deeds became known a civil war shook and ruined the kingdom of the Bird-Men. So great was the power of the Bird-Men by then Oshtur in person was forced to exile them all from Migard lest not they shatter the whole Realm with their squabbles. So exiled the treacherous Asura built cities in far realms and continued their evil ways, while the loyal Bird-Men did the same and took a new name: they would then be known as the Seraphim, and forever would oppose their corrupt siblings."

Hoder makes a pause, drinking from a flagon of ale he always keeps nearby. Then he continues, "this was, oh… about ten thousand years ago. The Seraphim were around championing good causes for a few thousand years, but eventually their numbers dwindled and they retired to their fortresses-monasteries in distant dimensions. They are rarely seen nowadays, although I hear they still respond the prayers of powerful wizards. Mortals called them Angels, but they also called the Asuras Angels. Mortals never get their facts right."

The memory fades as Loki starts asking questions about if the Seraphim would respond to an Asgardian sorcerer and what they can they do for this… hypothetical Asgardian sorcerer.

============= FLASHBACK END ================


"Verily, you should bake them," Thor agrees, "I do not know why -."

The sailor in the crow's nest calls out. Without a word to his companions he turns away and runs to the front of the ship. Sharp-eyed, he reaches to his belt and unhooks Mjolnir which he proffers above his head and then points forward, "Land Ho!"

This seems familiar …

Thor was never a great student. If Loki were here he could doubtlessly extol them all with a full account of what lies before them but Thor, at the time, was transfixed with a small garter snake he had captured earlier that day. He had named the serpent Snootildir - the first in what would become a long line of Snootildirs. Atli has even told him that his future self, King Thor, would have a Snootildir.

"Bird-people!" Thor suddenly exclaims, "or perhaps snake-people!"

"Donna, Caitlin, Lantern, Lady of Water," Thor beckons them close, "Hold tight to my cloak. We shall go see what type of people have ensnared Atum and then hammer them until he is returned to us!"


A god of Set's power was terrifying even among gods. Niamh was bo simple goddess though. Her mother was fae and her father a god. She was a link between the faerie queen and the god of the seas. Niamh was, by nature a trickster and one with the water. She flowed and moved in ways that others could not and even now she was returning here from a place others could not go nor could they enter.

Water flowed across the ship deck to near where Thor was, slipping along like some small flood that coalesced into the shape of a woman and prigressively color flowed through her form and she takes in a breath necessary only for speaking.

"I cannae say that I enjoyed this journey thus far but I can say that it will make quite the tale" Niamh nods her head and then her veiled eyes go to before the ship as she says, "Have we finally caught up or shall we spend more time upon the pursuit? I seek to end this soon so that we might put my grandmother's heart at ease."


Caitlin quickly hands out cookies to anyone who wants one, and takes a few moments to power down some gelatin mix from a spare foil package, and make sure her pack's stuffed with a few more of them. A single gelpack is designed to sustain a soldier in the field for a day, and Caitlin's got at least twenty of them in her kit.

She checks the rest of her gear quickly— belt, armor, straps, gun, mace, boots, water. "I can't believe I forgot to bring a helmet," she mutters to Donna. She pulls her braided ponytail into a tight knot above her neck, where it won't be easily grabbed, and finally shoulders the heavy mace she'd borrowed from the Asgardian training armory. "Ready," she tells Thor— and rests a hand on his shoulder, just as Niamh flows into existence and addresses the entourage.


"But, we had such laughs and karaoke night was a hoot." Jordan teases the water-entity, he met her some time ago in the Hall at least, an international + roster is not always easy to keep up with… especially when you're not the most attentive at times.
"Your cape?" Green Lantern inquires, not moving to do so immediately, reluctance in the gesture but he ends up hefting a piece of it up. "Always a bridesmaid… " He jokes once.

"All right, anything we need be aware of directly before we go bash some heads in the name of All-Fathers, Godly virtues and the Universe?" The emerald shimmer of his ring actived by a nudge of will forms protectively over his body.

"You really need all that?" He questions Fairchild whilst not looking at her, white masked eyes forward. Resisting the urge to shake the cape and yell 'Mush!' hes just not Guy Gardner there is a point to obnoxious without the right company like Barry or Ollie he can't touch on.


Caitlin glances at Hal. "Last time I went off-planet, I got stuck on Apokalips for three weeks with no food, no water, and no gear except what I was wearing. I'm not making that mistake again."


Donna rose, as Thor moved to access the situation. She seemed, rather unlike herself, more than willing to take the assistance, as though she needed to conserve some goodly amount of her energy. And so, she moved to slip in between Caitlin and Hal, reaching out to grasp a fold of Thor's cloak, fingers curling firmly into the fabric. if they meant to be flying, she'd rather not go hurtling out into space and have to make her own way back. "I am as ready as I am likely to be, Thor."


The sailors are happy to take the offered cookies, quickly, as they busy are arming themselves too. Uru-tipped spears, rune-covered axes and gleaming swords are produced, also chain-mail and horned or winged helmets.

"Look, they are demons," exclaims a sailor.

And they are demons. A couple dozen of them are attacking the walls, tearing them apart as if they were made of cardboard. The defenders, winged humanoids wearing hoods over their heads, fight them with staves and spells, but are getting slaughtered. The demons are fast and powerful, their bodies made of shadow and purple carapace. Barely humanoid, they have large, elongated heads, long bony tails and claws on hands and feet. They would be almost nine feet tall if they stood straight, but they crouch like stalking animals, vaguely reptilian.

Those are N'Garai demon lords, among the mightiest of the elderspawn, any of them could destroy a modern human army. Even among the Asgardians only a tiny number of the mightiest, most skilled warriors could stand one-on-one against a single N'Garai. If they do not receive help the Seraphim in the fortress are doomed.


Caitlin starts taking slow, measured breaths. Get into the game without going completely nuts. Her hand tightens on Thor's shoulder, and she points with her borrowed mace at the point of breach where the N'garai are clustered most thickly.

"Thor!" she shouts, to be heard. "You and me, we can seal the breach there! Donna, can you take the ones on the inside? And Lantern— keep them off the battlements!"

"Golly, I wish I'd brought some /grenades/ about now," Caitlin mutters, and shifts her grip on her weapon until she's white-knuckled with readiness. "Or an orbital defense cannon, I guess."

Closer, closer, closer… and when the moment is right, Caitlin lets go of Thor's cloak, grabs his free hand, and hangs on for dear life as the God of Thunder whips her in a fast softball pitch at the targets.

"WHEEEE!" can be heard— and then Caitlin smashes feet-first into one of the N'garai, three hundred and fifty pounds of fighter putting all her mass into a single straight line behind her heels. *CRUNCH*!

She doesn't stand around to admire her work, either. Cait's up and moving with an earsplitting battlecry, swinging that heavy mace with one hand and backing it up her shield on her left arm— and discharging thunderclap explosions of plasma from a magnum high-tech handgun that would look massive in anyone else's hands.


Thor spins his hammer thrice and then hurls it over the edge of the ship.

Mjolnir pulls them off into the air and across the expanse.

As they get closer the peril to the heavenly city becomes clear, "Bird people," Thor confirms as they fly past. He reaches outward as Caitlin grabs his hand and then HURLS her into the mass.

Then the hammer pulls him down onto the firmament in an uncharacteristically mild entrance for the sake of his remaining passengers.

Rolling his shoulders then Thor starts forward walking unhurried for a few paces. His grip tightens upon Mjolnir and the mallet sheds a blue light as arcs of electricity sputter outward travel down the length of his arm and begin arcing across the metal discs sewn into his hauberk bringing the distinct smell of ozone.

Then he starts to run. The ground tremors at each step. A storm of currents thrash wildly from his form as he leaps into the air and brings Mjolnir into a two-handed grip. A gust of wind bears him higher and then pushes him downward.

Metal Sings.

*KRAK-KOW*

The hammer impacts the ground in a pulse of deafening thunder sending a cascade of electricity blasting outward. Without pause he's on his feet. The hammer spins and he swings it into the face of his nearest foe. Grabbing that same's foe by the head and hammering twice more in the face *THONK THONK* before flinging him at his fellows. Pivoting smoothly then he leans to his right in the same movement ducking a pair of slashing claws and then driving forward. Putting his shoulder into the next beast's arm pit and heaving it off the ground before coming around and flinging it away. He completes the movement by hurling Mjolnir at another one of the beasts as it comes for him.

Grinning madly he reaches outward to recall Mjolnir and then looks to Caitlin. Then noting that the foes seem to be recovering from his onslaught in record time, "Fear not, bird-people!" Thor calls pulling the hammer closer to his body in a defensive position, "Thor the Prince of Asgard and Caitlin the Technomancer of Stark Industries have arrived to quell this menace!"

He nods seriously to Caitlin then. Undeterred for the evident resilience of their foes.


"When did you start throwing orders out?" Green Lantern questions, one brow quirking up. There is no chain of command in the League, though experience tends to be a determining factor. Jordan is more giving grief for sake of rattling the young redhead. "Go you girl, I dig it." He encourages playfully.

"But I think that plans not going to work for me, not completely, going to this other thing…. " Which incidentally includes the battlements.

Cloak let go at the apex of Thor's lift off using it to assist himself as trail of green cosmic energy streaks out behind the Lantern in ascent, going high in to the air and spreading his arms out wide fingers fanning out.

"In brightest day, in blackest night
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil's might
Beware my power…" Both of his hands come forward clapping together, ring gleaming in the forefront. A massive glowing construct begins to form in front of him, a Lantern (of course). Not his power battery but a projection of it…
"GREEN LANTERN"S LIGHT!" He shouts, voice booming loud and projected as that emerald figure erupts in a larger bulb of light, from it's forward facing 'lense' a swirl of blazing radiance emits shooting out like a titan sized flashlight that splits in to threes, zipping across the battlements, around it and in a destructive encircling pattern.

Full intent to make himself as big a target as possible to draw enemy fire and focus from the struggling defenders.


Donna nodded at Caitlin's order, though it was hit or miss, really, whether the women could see her response. But as soon as Thor landed, Donna released his cape, quick strides leading her off towards the breach in the wall. More dangerous, to be sure, as it was easier to be cornered in there, but she didn't seem to pay that any consideration, wading into the mass of demons attempting to infiltrate the fortess. her intention seemed to be to get ahead of the crowding demons and serve as a stopgap in the breach. Fists, feet, and concussive blasts all put to good use. And the woman clearly did not intend to allow her foes to rise. Of course, that would mean meeting them multiple times, as resilient as they were, and dodging the beams of light from the Lantern, but if there was ever a woman up for a challenge, it was Donna Troy.


Three hundred and fifty pounds at terminal velocity is like rain drop for a N'Garai demon. Caitlin bounces off, leaving a nice crater on the ground. The demon she hit skids a few yards on the other direction, turning back, cat-like in speed and grace. He ducks easily, avoiding the mace, and shreds the shield with his claw as if it was glass. All that saves Caitlin from having her heart ripped from her chest by the follow up move, lightning fast, is the bullet that hits the demon's head. It surprises him, as this particular demon lord had never seen a gun or felt a bullet shatter against his skull.

That gained her half a second. Then the demon pounces. It is ridiculously fast and at least as strong as her.

Thor entrance is even more violent and the lightning sends two of the demons flying, stunned. Before they recover Mjolnir hits one on the head, shattering two of the monster teeth and knocking him down. *THONK THONK* There is a sickly sound as the demon-god skull, stronger than a battleship armor, actually caves in. That is one dead N'Garai.

But the second one had time to recover, dodging Mjolnir and launching on Thor in a blur of claws and teeth. Before the demon touches Thor, though, the Thunder God vanishes!

Just second, then Thor reappears, the demon missing him. But the creature lands on his feet and whirls with inhuman grace, charging again.

Hal entrance strikes several of the demons, sending them flying off the wall and crash into the ground. Not really injured, but surprised by this weird non-magical solid light. But one of the monsters manages to dig the claws on the stone and clings fast. As soon as the light passes, he jumps a hundred yards up, trying to grab Hal and dig in, his mere touch painful cold and soul-draining.

Donna lands on the breach where two N'Garai were just wading through the thick wall. Her speed and strength succeed at hitting both monsters and making them retreat for a few seconds, before they gather their wits and begin dodging and slashing back. Pretty much none of her weapons or defenses except for the Bracers of Submission can stand those claws.


Thor vanishes!

Pulled by powerful magic, but not a hostile one. Thor finds himself standing on a large hall, a place that exists inside the central pagoda of the building complex. Surrounded by massive swords, each 20 to 50 feet long, and in front of a tall, hooded figure, his or her body cloaked, the face shadowed. A Seraphim, it seems.

The winged one gestures, and Thor can understand thanks to the All-Speech alone. « Son of Odin. Behold the Twilight Swords of Surtur we keep hidden here on your father's request. Collected at great cost after each Ragnarok Cycle. Each of them is powerful enough to shatter a star or slay any god. We, the Seraphim, have sworn to protect them with our lives and souls. But I fear we can't stand Y'Garon's army. Don't let them reach this chamber! »

And then he is back to the battle.


Caitlin screams in anger and pain as the claws rake through her shield, ribboning it. Red blood flows from her arm and shoulder where those claws rake, though her breastplate saves her chest from being slashed by a whipping tail. She swings that Asgardian mace around to try and buy herself some space.

Caitlin starts fighting defensively. Low risk, high percentage moves, desperately using every trick she's learned from three years of training with everyone from Asgardians to Amazons to even home-grown special forces fighting. There are points on all living creatures that are vulnerable, places where joints and ligaments by necessity are not protected as heavily as the internal organs. Caitlin stops trying to club the N'garai's head in and aims for those strange double-jointed knees, toes, hands, anything that gets close enough to get swatted at.

It buys her just enough time to turn the dial on her gun up to 11. The internal magnetic accelerators quiver to the point of whining audibly. She abruptly reverses course on the N'garai to bull into it, jam the gun under its jaw, and pull the trigger. A flash of searing heat bursts from the muzzle as she hits the N'garai in the soft underjaw with a slug of copper plasma travelling six times the speed of sound.


There was an impressive amount of /will/ energy put in to that initial attack, the Corpman's drain expected, not calculated as Jordan sort of just 'does' on the fly. What is not expected is the apparent lack of any harm to the things they're fighting beyond knocking them around.
The Lantern doesn't get hesitant or waver, he just gets annoyed. At least he can knock them around… that is something. Need to figure something new. Right now though…
The N'Garai playing aggressive grasshopper is about to get a hard boot to the face followed by a flailing swing of over-large hardlight fists. Jordan is a very punchy Lantern after all. The intent is to pummel and knock the thing away so he can fly higher, find a new target or something that will allow them to turn the tides here more quickly.


Thor rematerializes the teleportation causing him to rock on the balls of his feet and momentarily disorienting him.

"Ah-ha!" Thor exclaims stance shifting to one of conflict again, "LANTERN. LADY OF WATERS." Thor bellows voice carried preternaturally across the winds, "My father has given the bird-people the Swords of Surtur! If the demons wrest them from this place then reality will be in great peril," pause, "Also, if save them I believe the All-Father will forgive our breaking his comm—."

A demon charges him into the ground. Thor drops Mjolnir. Claws flash for his face but he grabs the beast's wrists as it writhes around on top of him. Head goes left to write. Teeth snarling inches before his face, "RAAAH!" Thor bellows in response and then twists the clawed hand at an odd angle and brings it towards his face. He /bites/ the beast back. Teeth sinking into the creature's tendon at the wrist and thrashing his head he pulls the N'gari's thumb from its hand.

The creature shrieks in terror. Trying to scramble away by reflex but Thor still has hold. The maneuver has pulled the creature's weight from him and so using the fiend's own backward momentum he draws himself to his feet and then releases its wrist front-kicking it /hard/ so that it rockets away into open sky.

Spitting black goo, Thor reaches outward reclaiming Mjolnir.

"We must not let them take the swords!" He continues, "Perhaps if /we claim them/ then they will most assuredly be safe!"


Donna was, as always indefatigable. And she seemed, almost not to mind the combat, as though every strike she parried gave her more ammunition in her attempt to find the weaknesses of the demon creatures. And if it was a stalemate, she was still relentless. The shriek of pain that she could hear, even if she could not see its source seemed to give her an idea, and she launched herself at one of the demons. Clearly, just beating it into submission was not about to work, but she seemed to be intent on grabbing on to the demon and, if she could, to try to rip the head off. Let it try to regrow that. "Lady! Is there any way that you could summon enough water to send these things anywhere else but here?"


Vulnerable points exist in creatures that conforms the principles of biology and physics.

The N'Garai scoff at such science. They are Demon-Gods that rule alien hells humans can't even imagine. Caitlin desperate defense keeps her alive, but only because her reflexes are also superhuman and nearly a match for the monster. Her training helps quite a bit, but she is up against a demon with millions of years of experience slaughtering anything in his path. It is not a fair fight.

Again, it is the gun surprises him. The bullet penetrates the relatively thin flesh of his lower jaw, making the demon back down. He shakes his head and coughs out the red hot bullet along a small amount of black blood.

Congratulations, Fairchild, you just pissed off a soul-devouring super-demon. The roar alone is blood-curling.

Meanwhile Hal finds flying is a great, great advantage. As fast as the N'Garai was the monster can't cover all the height fast enough. So Jordan's kick hits him just as he was going to grab the Green Lantern.

A very solid kick, followed by a punch, the demon flies away and down… and over the edge of the earth disk. That demon will be falling a long, long time.

Thor… bites a N'Garai.

And the demon screams. Because he can feel Thor's soul. The Thunderer is the son of an Elder Goddess, and that alone is what scares the ilchor out of the ancient demon. They fear no young god. But they do fear the Elder Gods they know so well.

And Donna dares to wrestle one of the demons. A dangerous prospect as they are all sharp bony protrusions and claws that can cut everything. But she manages to bring it down, although if she can keep the flailing creature on the ground without getting eviscerated is quite questionable.

Neverthelss the Justice League attack has cleaned the battlefield and giving the Seraphim a few seconds to regroup. The silent, winged people form into squads and attack a couple of the closest demons, overwhelming them with their numbers and magic. And then the Bilskirnir arrives, landing on top of another demon, crushing under its ram. Njordson and his crew jump off screaming like berserkers. The tide of the battle seems to be changing.

"ENOUGH! HOW DO YOU DARE!" A slight redheaded boy appears from the same direction the N'Garai came. And the N'Garai scramble out of his way! "ENOUGH, I WILL KILL YOU ALL MYSELF!"

The boy shifts, changes, grows, becoming a giant monster of claws, pincers, tentacles and massive arms. Sixty feet tall, moving like a walking mountain. "I AM PHORCYS, SON OF SET. I WILL HAVE THE TWILIGHT SWORD AND I WILL SLAY ATUM!"


As soon as they had touched down Vivienne had vanished in a splash of water and nothing more. Certainly the flight over could not have killed such a being as the Lady of the Lake. No, instead she was doing what she did best. Watching, waiting and preparing for an opening. She was no push over but she was not a direct combatant as some others are.

Then she saw it, the being known as Phorcys coming to the fore and she was seeing an opportunity. Even as he stomped forward, he might not notice something happening below and behind him. Simple droplets of water had been moving about the field, preparing for an attack on multiple ancient demon creatures only to see a better target. Even as he stomps forward, declares and screams, suddenly the droplets shoot upward.

Like looking upon the steel cables of a suspension bridge, the droplets are all becoming hardened whips that try to grasp at the giant creature of madness like a kraken given life beneath him but with vastly more tentacles. Raising up behind him on a column of water, the form of the Lady of the Lake raises her arms as she uses all her focus to whip cylinder after cylinder of water up to try to grasp at the being and form a growing net of water as they meet, "Thor! I am turnin' this elder beast into a sittin' duck. Ye might want to take advantage while ye can!" Whether or not she can hold long is anyone's guess.


Caitlin goes down in a scrabbling, ugly wrestling match when her high-tech gun absolutely fails to do anything but thoroughly piss the demon off. She wraps arms and legs as best she can, trying to avoid snapping claws and maneuver so that lashing tail can't get a solid hit.

She and the demon roll, a tangled mess of green and red and purple, and Caitlin screams in pain and anger and slugs the demon across the jaw with her gauntleted knuckles— hard enough to dent the heavy armor. She rolls, slips the guard, and comes up behind the demon with a textbook omaplata and arches her back and hips. The arm breaks, and the demon screams and slithers from her grasp.

Cait staggers to her feet, wiping blood from her face and missing the streaking sheet of it trickling from a shallow but long headwound, staining her armor rusty red.

"Okay, I might be a bit outta my weight class," she admits. Her shoulders sag against the wall and she starts applying a liquid field dressing to the worst of her wounds to staunch the bloodflow.

Then Phorcys rises, sixty feet of immortal fury, and Cait's jaw slacks. Still— she grabs her mace, recovers her pistol and holsters it, and limps to Thor's side.

"I'm, uh… okay, I'm /way/ outta my weight class." She shifts her mace to her shoulder, setting her feet in a ready stance and face pale with fear and uncertainty. "Did you say something about some swords? Because I don't think I'm gonna make it through Round Two here," she admits to Thor, voice trembling slightly.


Donna was neigh invulnerable, but even her skin had taken a few hits as she fought, still trying to pop the head off of the demon she was fighting, like a child throwing a tantrum over their Barbie whose hair has now become too matted to comb. She broke spines off the body where she could or tried to, but in the end, she seemed to accept that she would need to feel pain to inflict it. Her own ability to heal herself seemed to be a bonus there. When the demons began to try to struggle away, she kicked free, flying up and them coming to her feet, moving to join Thor and Caitlin, shaking out her hands as she studied the new foe.


Thor steps forward as the flesh of the boy splits birthing an eldritch horror that soon towers over them all. His jaw sets in grim determination and as Caitlin comes to his side he reaches outward with his open palm hand and lays it upon her arm, giving her forearm a firm squeeze, "Nay, Caitlin, you are far from finished." The Son of Odin pronounces, "If we fail in our task then retreat to the keep and claim the sword. Fight to your last breath and let none remain standing before you - Valhalla awaits."

He looks to Vivienne and nods as she summons the waters. Releasing Caitlin he strides forward and extends Mjolnir outward to his right side. Grasping the throng of it the mallet begins to spin. Faster and faster *WHOP WHOP WHOP* like the blades of a helicopter as it rends the air, "Hold him fast," Thor says to the Lady of the Lake, and he flings it high.

*SHOOM*

Thor shoots straight up and over the beast's head. The spinning hammer is held above his head he hovers a moment. There is a *CRACK* and black storm clouds boil from the hammer turning day to night. Then they begin to rotate over his head. Straight-line winds howl like an oncoming freight-train as a great funnel stretches downward to consume PHORCYS.

The distinct smell of ozone.

*KRAK-A-DOOM* A hundred points of lightning spear from the clouds in a blinding light. Spearing into the beast within the tornado. As vision clears Thor is now within the funnel. Driving himself at the creature with titanic swings. Hammer white-hot with each connection electrifying the tornado in a peal of thunder.


The Lady's water trap entangles Phorcys legs, making the monster scream in outrage, and then grunt with effort, pushing forward. Like trying to stop a mountain, but he is clearly slowed down. The Hal fires several powerful emerald light blasts that hit the demon-god head, making him snarl, and whip the tentacles to try to swat the Green Lantern as if he was a fly.

The problem with being 60 feet tall is that humanoids are so very small, difficult targets.

Asgardian spears and harpoons and the Seraphim spells pepper his legs, doing very little but causing some pain. He tries to stomp the gnats, but the legs are still kind of entangled. "YOU VEX ME, LIKE INSECTS, BUT I SHALL…"

BOOM

Phorcys takes a giant lightning bolt to the head, blinding, also painful. It tries to step back. But… entangled!

Then Thor's hit him like a bullet. The impact is deafening and the giant monster-god falls down, on his back. The impact makes the whole disk of land tremble and crushes a few N'Garai that were too slow getting out of the way.

Hurt, but not down, Phorcys struggles to stand up, his curses now in alien languages that would be painful to the ears if the thunder had not rendered most everyone half-deaf already.


Gathering her water away, she slides out of the way. The Lady of the Lake hardly wants to truly be under such a monstrosity. She flows to the side as he hits the ground and she nods her head, "Well, done, Thunderer." She then flows her water up and around her and flies back to the ground. She looks to Caitlin as she arrives and says, "Stay still and don't fuss, child." She then raies up her hand and…flicks water in Caitlin's face? Rude. Well, not so much.

As soon as the water hits the girl will feel instant relief flow over her as she smiles, "Let the water work and you focus on the fight. I'll keep ya up right if you trust me." She nods her head and her hand raises. She closes her eyes and Caitlin will feel a warmth flow through her as her body begins to knit any damage it had at an accelerated rate, "Careful, I can only heal so fast but I'll keep ya movin to keep up with the hammerer. Give that tentacled freak a good knock for me, will ye?"


Caitlin is trying to ignore the pain and the blood when Vivienne approaches, and almost groans in relief when those healing waves soothe away battered limbs and heal the dozens of scratches on her flesh. "Oh my gosh, thanks," she mutters at Viv. "I owe you cookies later." She's rummaging in her bag, and passes a bundle of wires, charge cells, and runestones to Vivienne. "I'm not good at much, but I can punch stuff real hard and make some pretty cool stuff. Take this, stick this against his… ankle… or something. Somewhere /vulnerable/," she tells Vivienne. "It's on a remote ignition," she calls back, already jogging towards the stronghold to meet Donna. "Just get it set, and I'll set it off when the time is right!"

Leaving the bomb to Vivienne, Caitlin sprints as fast as she can to keep up with Donna. Both women have the same goal in mind, and they arrive at the Swords of Surtr simultaneously. "Crabapples, these aren't /swords/, they're telephone poles with hilts!" Cait curses, complaining. She goes for the bigger one, gripping it by the haft and hilt and balancing it like a javelin on her shoulder. "Just like working at the ironworks again," she mutters. Cait looks to her friend, exhaustion and apprehension fighting against her endless, enthusiastic optimism and love for battle alongside her friends. "I…" she swallows. "It's been real, Donna. Guess I'll see you on the other side, right?" Cait offers Donna a squeeze of the hand, in solidarity— and possibly, in farewell.


Donna is nowhere near the same height as Caitlin, but she's fast, and able to keep up with the younger woman, as they speed through the fortress, searching for the sword Thor intimated, as much as the God of Thunder ever intimated anything, might be effective against the demon. Once they reached the thing, rather than allowing Caitlin to carry it alone, once she had returned the squeeze of her hand, she moved to the hilt, lifting it from the ground, and herself, hovering there and taking some of the weight from the other woman. She was exhausted and this would take both of their strength. "or on Paradise Island. I don't actually know where we Amazons go when we die." And Caitlin, born or otherwise, was clearly one of that number.


"Well, I'm Catholic," Caitlin tells Donna, panting with moving the swords. They're not heavy, no, but there's a peculiar /mass/ to them that taxes even her mighty thews. "So I guess if I've done everything right, I go to Heaven. If …" she swallows. "I mean, if people, like me…" She coughs.

"Anyway, Heaven /better/ look like Paradise Island, that's all I'm sayin'," Cait says, mumbling under her breath. "Pearly gates my butt, I wonder what the policy is on bumping into Euryleia in the afterlife…"


There is an ancient Seraphim sorcerer in the chamber of blades, the last guardian of the swords of doom. For a second it looks he (or she) will try to prevent Fairchild and Donna from taking one of the swords.

The sound of Phorcys fall that shakes the whole building gives the silent angel pause. It might be his vows can be ignored for five minutes, after all. Odin's wrath and everything else. The winged one lets the young women pass.

Surtur is a giant, so they are large, large swords. The smallest is 20 feet long. The one Caitlin picked is 50 feet long and is nearly one hundred tons of enchanted, cursed uru.


Thor drops from the sky ontop of the struggling Phorcys.

"You shall stay put," Thor commands and then drops Mjolnir into its cavernous maw looking towards the keep, "I do wish to show you what my father has left here for you."


Hal "Highball" Jordan becomes a living aerial acrobat in his evasive moves dodging those tentacles until the last one comes up from his blindside, swatting him as if he was the coolest looking green firefly ever. The pinwheel motion he sets in to ends up a skip-hop-bounce that explodes through rock, wall and then an airburst as hes launching back in to the fray, backing up Thor and Niamh. Large chains start to appear and overlap the offending tentacles, their weight as much as Jordan's will can commit which, the man is heralded as one of the greatest Lanterns to ever exist and, if he had one power aside from being able to rock aviatars like a champ it would be an ungodly will. It's sort of his deal after all.

"Thats right!! Show them why you're in all those hair commercials you big stud!"


Phorcys roars, reaching to grab Thor with a dozen appendixes when he comes closer. But as tentacles and pincers grab his cousin, the Thunder God, Mjolnir drops into his mouth.

Despite his incredible physical might Phorcys is not powerful enough to override Mjolnir's enchantment, and clearly NOT WORTHY. He falls down again, emerald chains making sure he is solidly pinned, but this time trying to drag Thor with him for a godly beat down.


A blink as she is handed a strange thing and Vivi looks at it for a long moment, "If ya say so." She nods her head and then she idly glides along the ground, her long dress hiding her feet (if she was even using her feet) as she flows over to beside the downed thing and she idly sticks the device to Phorcys' ankle. She then looks past where the girls are headed a moment and then turns her gaze to the other beasties that are about. For the moment, the Lady of the Lake is keeping an eye on those other creatures. Making sure they don't interfere and preparing whips of water for them if they wish to.


A tentacle snakes its way about Thor's ankle. The Thunderer's blue eyes go momentarily wide and then his feet are pulled out from under him. Thick rope-like tentacles coil about him and his eyes bulge the coils growing tighter each time he exhales making it more difficult to breathe. The pressure causes his spine to pop. Ribs cracking as he begins to squirm. Muscles tightening. As if the force of his flexing biceps could create enough room to take some pressure from his chest.

And then the tentacle flails to the right. Though fettered in chain there is enough slack for this. Thor is pounded over and over into the ground. As if trying to batter its way through the disk using the Asgardian prince.


Caitlin and Donna explode into motion from the stronghold. Cait's got the hilt— Donna, airborne, is aiming the tip of the blade. Cait puts her entire being behind throwing the sword, face set and sweat dripping from her brow. She's lifted more, sure, but the sword is *massive*, and cumbersome, and there is only /one chance/ to get this right.

She runs, sets her feet, and with an Amazonian twist of her hips, hurls the sword like a pilum in perfect concert with Donna. The 50' blade soars through the air, just as Thor is entrapped by the monstrous deity.

Caitlin grins fiercely. "Blow it, SIRIN," she tells her headset— and the improvised explosive, emplaced by the Lady of the Lake, detonates just behind Phorcys' ankle. It's a targeted, controlled demolition that could blow a hole through three battleships and sink a helicarrier on top of it, with every little gadget in Caitlin's empty slingpack backing it.

But that's merely a prelude to how the two women hurl the massive Sword of Surtr with blurring velocity at the monstrous deity, in perfect concert and moments before the tentacles start ripping Thor into pieces.


Caitlin tossed the sword, and Donna put all of her considerable strength behind assisting her. But, she was also not about to release the sword entirely, and she kept hold of it, lest a demon pluck it out of the air while it was in flight. And being that she had both superhuman speed and flight behind her, she used her own body to help guide the blade. Hopefully, it would not mean that she would be seeing precisely where Amazons did go when they died, but death…was not something that had the power to frighten Donna Troy any longer.


Getting his ankle blown up doesn't matter much now. Phorcys would have healed in a few days.

But not the Twilight Sword. A weapon made to destroy starts and kill Odin. Oh, it would have killed Atum too.

Phorcys does not even have time to scream as the cursed blade runs him through.

It is not quite over, not quite. The sorcerer Y'Garon, at the Comet-vessel, realizes what has happened right away and the demon-ship takes off. The remaining dozen or so N'Garai are commanded to cover the retreat, and they remain a very tough fight even for the Justice League and their allies. It is a bloody ten minutes of desperate battle before the last N'Garai is defeated or tossed through the edge of the world. Most of the Asgardians and Seraphim don't survive the skirmish, and by the time the Bilskirnir is ready to continue the chase the Comet is fading into another dimension.

The Seraphim help with the healing, but ask for a promise not to reveal the existence of the cursed swords. They will be moved to another monastery-fortress and the Seraphim will keep their eternal watch.

And the Justice League keeps chasing a Comet. All the way to the end of the universe.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License