A Marvelous Tale Told in the Mighty Marvel Manner!
The Day the Thunder was Stolen!
It was a bright spring day as Jane Foster busily stacked the various medicine bottles in alphabetical order. She could hear Dr. Blake in the examination room with his latest patient. As she carefully placed the glass bottles in neat rows, she looked down and smiled at the simple ring adorning her finger.
It had been a few weeks since Don proposed to her. Ever since then her mind had been elsewhere. Granted, she was thrilled and accepted at once, but the meeting with Sif still weighed on her mind. Two years ago if one had told her Dr. Donald Blake was in fact the Norse god of thunder, she would have laughed herself silly. Now, however, things were different. She believed Don was who he said he was; yet Sif had been so adamant about it she was now harboring doubts. She loved Don, yes, but the idea that he was actually god…
The ringing of the phone snapped her back to reality. Entering Don's office, she answered it.
"Jane Foster?" The reception was bad, but the voice of Sif was still recognizable.
"Sif?" Jane almost dropped the phone. Cupping her hand around the receiver, she lowered her voice. "What's going on? Where are you?"
"Norway, and I am in need of thy aid."
"What kind of aid?" Jane looked around and eyed her cane.
"All shall be explained in person." Her tone softened. "Jane, please come. I trust not these strange devices and would speak to you face to face." The line went dead as she hung up.
"Well, that was odd." Jane hung the phone back in its cradle and picked up her cane. Making her way towards the roof, she shot a glance at Don's door. For some reason she had the overwhelming urge to tell him what happened. "I don't want him to worry though." Snagging a pen from her pocket, she scribbled a note and left it wedged in the door. "I hope I can be back before he reads it."
Making her way to the roof, she gripped the cane tightly in one hand as she slammed down. The air sizzled with ozone mystical forces were unleashed. In a split second, the normal and plain Jane Foster was overcome with lighting bolts that appeared out of the clear sky and enveloped her utterly. Her form was swallowed up by the fury that raged around her. In an instant the storm was over. Jane Foster was no more and in her place stood Lady Thor, goddess of thunder.
"Ah, thou mine reasons be murky, but 'tis good to feel the wind flowing upon my face once more!" Lady Thor swung her hammer and held fast as she was lifted high into the air. She soared past buildings with ease as her flight carried her out of the city. As she flew towards the land where everything began, her thoughts drifted. Why had Sif called, and what could she want?
Heimdall stood ever vigilant across Bifrost the Rainbow Bridge. Hearing the sound of grass being bent, he drew his sword and spun around. "Halt!"
"What madness is this?" Neri gasped as she stepped back. "Can not even Lady Frigga's handmaiden be allowed near Rainbow Bridge?"
Heimdall sighed and lowered his sword. "A thousand apologies milady, but I am under orders from All Father himself. None may cross Bifrost."
Neri protested. "This is madness! I was going nowhere near Midgard! Lady Frigga herself ordered me to collect some rare flowers" Heimdall cut her off.
"And I do offer apologies, but orders are orders. None shall pass for any reason."
Heimdall possessed the sharpest senses in all of Asgard. Rumors that he could see how many individual strands of hair that stood up on a buck's neck and hear how many drops of water struck the ground were not mere exaggerations but the truth. Thus he was aware of a small snake slithering in-between a small outcropping of rocks. Heimdall saw the snake dart into a hole the second his eyes were focused on it, but he wrote it off as nothing more than what it seemed to be: a snake.
Loki cackled with glee as his mind left the snakes' and floated back to his own body. "Wonderful!" He smiled. Tensions were growing and Odin was unable to see why. Loki's mood soured as he thought of his adoptive father. "Odin shall not remain blind forever, and I doubt that accursed 'sister' of mine shall remain on Midgard forever either." His mood brightened suddenly as he formulated a plan. "Perhaps if dear All Father could see just how the craven thief has soiled his precious son's legacy, then he would twist further into my trap."
Walking into a small closet, the evil trickster rummaged through ancient dust covered chests before finding a small canvas bag hidden away in the corner. "Ah, the Unbreakable Chains, I recall these well." Memories of him being chained deep within the Earth as snake venom dripped into his eyes made him shudder with rage. "All the better that they shall become the instrument of my revenge!" Picking the chains up, he skulked off through a side door.
Lady Thor landed a few miles outside of Oslo. Tapping Mjolnir once upon the ground, Jane Foster emerged from the field. "Well, better late than never." She wished she had time to take in the nighttime beauty, but Sif's call had sounded urgent. She knew Lady Thor could have landed right in the heart of the city, but she wanted to keep things low key for now. As she walked towards the distant lights of the city, her mind went over the phone call. Where was Sif staying?
She would get an answer as she entered the city proper. On a large billboard was Sif, decked out in a slinky evening dress and holding a bottle of perfume. "What on Earth?" As she made her way through the city she saw more advertisements and images of the goddess adorned across buildings and storefronts. "I know I wasn't going to do this, but I think Lady Thor could find more answers." Ducking into a nearby alley, Jane slammed her cane to the ground.
Lady Thor emerged and at once attracted a crowd. Ignoring the offered pieces of paper and pens, she pointed towards a lighted billboard. Strangely enough, she found that she could understand Norwegian as well as speak it. "Where is she?"
Sif mused to herself as she downed yet another cup of mead. True, it was lacking as compared to Asgard's finest, but at least the mortals could get a few things right. A pounding at the door interrupted her thoughts. Carefully putting the flagon down, she picked up her broadsword and carefully made her way to the intercom. "Yes?"
"Sif?" A familiar voice rang through the metallic box.
"Jane!" Sif hurried towards the door but kept her sword at the ready. Checking through the peephole, she carefully opened the door. "Are thou alone?"
"Yes and freezing to boot." Jane grumbled as she was ushered inside. "I think Lady Thor's going to be rather popular here for a while, but what happened to you?"
Sif sighed and lowered her weapon. "I think this best be explained over mead."
As Jane gingerly sipped the strong brew, Sif settled back on the leather sofa. "So, how exactly did you get all of this?"
Sif was silent for a moment as she stared into the fire. "After I left ye, I tried to find my way in this strange world. I made my way back to western coast where I found work as a grappler. My skills as a warrior served me well, as I was soon crowned champion." She gestured towards a large gold belt hanging over a doorway.
Jane blushed slightly. "Sorry, I never followed wrestling."
"'Tis no matter." Jane could tell Sif was hurt by her admission. "As my coffers soon filled, I was quickly approached by people wanting to 'represent' me. They said they were from 'motion pictures' and that my fame would serve me well."
"I'd say it has." Jane whistled as she took in the full details of the apartment. The place was decorated with all manner of Viking relics from furs to weapons. Movie posters adorned the walls as well as various championship belts. "All of this is yours?"
"Aye. I was never worshiped this much back in ancient days, but the attention is most gratifying."
"No question, but why did you need my help?" Jane tried to steer the conversation back to the purpose of her visit.
Sif looked away before answering. "I confess, there be two motivations for my summoning ye. The first is professional. The latest picture that I am working has suffered a setback, and the appearance of Lady Thor would be most welcome."
Jane grew angry as she listened, but her anger cooled as Sif explained into more detail. "And the second is personal. In this old land I hath found a way to go back to the Golden Realm, and I would have thou stand with me."
"A way into Asgard? From here?" Jane raised an eyebrow. "And you haven't used it already?"
"Aye." Sif stood up and walked over to the fireplace. Picking up a large broadsword, she held it close to the flames. "I could have gone back alone, but then I would only end up in prison with my daughter or banished like the rest of my family. Nay, we must go together. The blight that has settled upon the Golden Realm will surely fall under our hands!"
"Fair enough, but what about the movie?"
Sif blinked, as if she just forgotten that particular detail. "Ah, of course. 'Tis a middling affair, as the devices needed to make rain and storm have been damaged and put the entire campaign in jeopardy."
"So you want Lady Thor to arrive, whip up some quick special effects, and then walk with you to Asgard, right?" Jane pieced it all together. If she helped her, then this could be the very chance she needed to finally get to the bottom of her powers. "Alright, I'll do it."
Sif smiled. "Excellent." Raising her flagon in toast, she downed the contents in one gulp. "To battle and glory eternal!"
The next day things began wild and never let up. A quick phone call to Don resulted a quite a few things that had to be explained. Riding with Sif to the set, Jane marveled at the press that followed them out of the city. "You get used to this?"
"Aye. It's only another form of worship, after all."
After arriving at the location, Jane slipped quietly out of the limo (an easy feat considering) and made her way back toward a nice isolated spot. Taking her cane out of her bag, she tapped it against the ground. Lady Thor arrived on set a few minutes later.
"Where be thy leader?" Her voice rumbled as crewmen ran around her like ants.
"Right here ma'am." A lanky man stepped forward. "Just call me Roger and we should get along fine." His voice was pleasant, and vaguely midwestern. Walking with her, he explained his problem. "LT, the snafu here is out big money shoot. The Viking Women, after having returned from battle, encounter a sea serpent. What was supposed to happen was the serpent churns up the waves and breaks up the ship, but our motor died thanks to the salt water, and we're in danger of behind schedule."
"And thou would have me use mine divine gift to mimic a storm?"
"Um, yeah?" Roger seemed to shrink before her gaze.
"Very well, where shall I start?"
Standing on the cliff, Lady Thor looked down at the sea below as the crew moved the foam monster into position. She recalled Roger's words: "Remember, once the sea serpent is clear and we launch the model, just open up with a nice storm. Nothing too fancy, just something to churn the waters a bit."
"Very well mortals, if it be a storm thou desire, then so let it be." She quickly tapped Mjolnir quickly upon the ground. As the ancient handle left the ground, dark clouds appeared in what was once a clear blue sky. Thunder rumbled as rain began to fall. The oceans started to churn violently below as lighting darted across the sky. Holding the mystic hammer aloft, she yelled to the heavens above as the tempest increased. "Storms, heed thy mistress!"
Below, the crew struggled to capture the awesome fury on film. "Keep rolling! Keep rolling!" Roger shouted above the din as the model ship was tossed about on the waves.
"Boss, the model's getting waterlogged!" a grip shouted.
"Who cares? With this footage, we can replace the monster, heck, we can just do up a whole new film! Keep rolling!"
Sif watched from the safety of the makeup tent as grips and cameramen struggled to cover up equipment. Many just stood in rapt attention at the sight of the goddess above them who controlled storm. "Thy form be different, true, but thou art Thor." Sif found herself strangely at ease as Lady Thor stepped off the cliff and flew down to the shore, driving the storm away the closer she got to land.
As her feet touched the sand, the rains stopped and the sky grew clear. The crew was utterly silent. The only sound was the camera rolling and the film moving the metal gears. Then, slowly at first, an assistant clapped. Which in turn made a makeup woman clap, and then a grip, then a designer. Like a rolling wave the crew applauded and cheered.
"I hadn't been expecting this." Lady Thor blushed inwardly as she strolled back towards Sif. Leaning in close, she whispered. "Was that acceptable?"
Sif smirked. "I think they found it adequate."
Roger staggered towards them. "Amazing! That was…the most incredible thing I have ever seen!" He waved his arms like a madman. "Oh, this is going to blow those guys at Columbia away when they see this!" He darted off, shouting instructions as the crew readied to shoot other scenes.
Loki smiled as he witnessed the scene. "Ah, abusing thy power in a pathetic display? All-Father would surely not approve of this." He clucked his tongue in mock disapproval as he lifted the Unbreakable Chains. "Cast from uru, thy will be as unmoving as my accursed brother's hammer!" Laying the chains down carefully, he began to cast a spell as he saw Lady Thor preparing to take flight.
"From this mortal garden fly, on to Loki up high!" The sky rumbled as mystical strands, invisible to both mortal and immortal eye, reached out across space and time to ensnare Mjolnir.
Preparing to leave, and then return later as Jane Foster, Lady Thor felt a strange grip seize her hand as she twirled Mjolnir. "What madness is this?" Feeling her hand freeze, she fought with herself as her fingers clutched and then let go of the hammer. "Look out!"
Crewmembers ducked out of the way as the hammer flew free from her grip and soared high out of sight. Sif was at her side in an instant. "Quickly, thou must leave and hid thyself."
Nodding silently, as she knew she had roughly 60 seconds before the mystical energies left her body and returned her to mortal form. Ducking past curious mortals, she stumbled into an empty trailer just in time. "What is going on?" She looked upward as her uniform faded away like a dream. Her muscles shrank and her bright blond locks darkened and shortened back to Jane Foster's length. Garbed once more in the street clothes she wore as Jane Foster, the former goddess of thunder stood up and took account of her surroundings.
"So, what happened?" She tried to rationalize what she saw. "Did Odin finally take back what's his? Or was it someone else?" As her thoughts drifted, a leering face came to mind. "Loki-he's responsible for this, I just know it!" Exiting the trailer, after making sure the coast was clear; Jane made her way back to Sif. "We need to talk about that passageway."
"Aye, we do."
Sif, now garbed in her traditional Asgardian armor, looked around the desolate mountainside around them. Jane tightened her coat around her as they left the jeep and made their way up a long abandoned trail. "So, this will lead us to Asgard?"
"In a sense. 'Tis an old trail, one often used by frost giants. It will take more than mere boots, however, to get us to the Golden Realm. Heimdall sees all, so expect us to encounter more of my fellows."
"Will they attack?" Jane recalled Sif telling of the circumstance of her leaving, and wished again that she had her cane with her. She lightly fingered the small dagger she had tucked away in her sleeve.
"Possibly. I know not what Odin has ordered in my absence. Loki's power has grown stronger by the day-I do not doubt that he was responsible for the theft. We must be on our guard at all times."
Loki's laughter echoed throughout the hills as Mjolnir stuck out of the pile of chains. "Perfect! With this, that mortal shall bother me no more!" A dark look crossed his brow. "Wait, Sif still lives." Turning his attention away from the pile of chains, he withdrew a small crystal ball from within his cape and peered into it. The image of Sif and Jane Foster filled it. His face was flushed with anger before an idea came to him. "Wait, why not allow them access?" His smile returned even wider than before. "Odin's fury would be so terrible that he would slay them on the spot!" He cackled with mad glee as he disguised the pile with a spell and hid the crystal ball. "Now to return to the court and to be seen as these interlopers trespass."
He turned to leave, but before he left he made one final look at the blasted heath around him. "Hmm, perhaps it would be better if they would have a little help. That trail is rather long, and the longer it takes the more someone might miss my presence." With his long fingers he cast another spell, this one not so covert, but enough to manipulate the pieces according to his whims. He smiled with an evil glee as the mystical strands reached across space and time and enveloped both figures.
Jane blinked. One second she was freezing on a mountain pass, the next she was standing in a lush meadow. "Am I dead?"
"Nay, but that status may soon change." Sif sheathed her blade as an armed patrol spotted them. "Offer no resistance and be silent."
Jane nodded as they were roughly rounded up and marched towards a magnificent golden city. Jane held her breath in silent awe as she walked past wondrous sights that defied reason. Golden buildings towered high into the sky as goat drawn chariots raced through the streets. Foreign odors assailed her nose as they walked though a market. Wines and other spirits were drunk with a silent remorse as the guard moved them through the city. Her mind was overloaded as they ushered through a massive doorway. A crowd parted for them as they moved the center of the throne room.
On the golden seat, overlooking all of them, sat Odin. Jane had seen pictures and read descriptions, but none of them did the man himself justice. He sat, adorned in golden armor. A winged helmet sat by his side alongside a spear that had been propped against the throne. His one eye started balefully at them as their presence was announced.
"So, the miscreant returns." Sif stood silently as he unleashed his insults. "And I see you brought the mortal varlet that slain thy husband and stole his birthright!" He stood up and marched towards them. "Now, truly, justice shall be served!"
Seeing the mad glint in his eye, and the spear in his hand, Jane ignored Sif's warning and stepped in-between the pair. "Hold it!"
Odin stepped back, but only for an instant. "Thou would dare address the king of the gods?" His voice quivered. His shock gave way to rage as he thrust the spear into the air. "Thy blasphemy ends now!"
A hush fell over the entire throne room as Loki stepped forward. "Hold thy weapon father. True, this mortal has given my injury after injury, and this one" he looked at Sif, "has spread dissention among thy people for years, but I ask that ye spare them."
Odin lowered his spear, but his rage was palatable. "And why would I do such a mad act?"
"We are still mankind's superiors, are we not? As gods, we must be above their petty problems. No father, we must not kill them like animals before a feast. Nay, they must be put on trial and their skill tested." Loki threw himself before Odin, but Jane saw the wicked smile that curled his lips as he spoke.
"Hmm, thy speech has wisdom my son." Turning back towards the throne, Odin stamped his spear onto the ground. "Very well, if these two wish for freedom, then they must first pass the trial." A murmur went through the crowd.
"What's he talking about?" Jane whispered to Sif. The goddess's grim expression told her all she needed to know.
"Set them loose. The trial has already begun." Jane was confused, but offered no protest as she and Sif were lead out of the throne and put on horseback. They rode out of the city; past rolling hills and lush fields they rode, until the breathtaking beauty slowly faded. The bright greens, reds, yellows, and blues were replaced with dull grays and diseased blacks. Their guards stopped as the road under their feet came to a halt.
As they were kicked off their mounts, Jane whispered softly to Sif as the guard quickly rode away. "What's going on?"
"Trouble." Sif rubbed her wrists. Her sword had been taken, but Jane quietly patted her dagger. "The trial is our survival. We are to survive in this barren and diseased mire and make out way back to the Golden Palace."
"Unarmed, no food, and surrounded by undoubtedly hostile creatures? How is this fair?"
"It isn't, and that's the point." Loki's evil face appeared before them in a wisp of smoke.
"This seems like a bit of trouble just to kill us. What do you really want?" Jane stepped forward and bravely stared the evil god down.
He called her bluff. "As if I have to explain myself to a mere mortal." Loki's laugh grated on her ears. "But since your impudence amuses me, I will give you a hint. What you seek is closer than you think." The smoke faded away, leaving only the mocking laughter behind.
"Well, that was helpful."
"Aye, thus we should be suspicious." Sif overturned a rock with her foot.
"Wait, what do you mean?"
"Uru. That's how he did it!" Sif walked around the blasted heath as ideas came to her. "The only thing that can call Mjolnir away from its master is uru!"
Jane stared blankly at her. "And that is?"
"Metal!" Sif sounded exasperated. "The same metal that the mighty Mjolnir was forged from all those many years ago. Loki must have found some and used to call the hammer away from you."
"Like a magnet! I see now." Jane gazed around the dead vegetation that surrounded them. "But how does that help us?"
"If Loki wants us out here, then he isn't going to simply slay us. Nay, he spins his web tight, I doubt that he would risk his game this early." Sif climbed to the top of a small hill and peered off into the horizon. "Come, I see a dwelling not too far from here. Norns with us we can find weapons and shelter there."
Jane carefully hung back as Sif investigated the shack. A few dying embers were in the fireplace, suggesting that someone or something was living there. From the items they saw hanging up on the walls, the owner was possibly a blacksmith. "Well, at least we have something to protect us, right?" She tried to joke as Sif picked up an iron bar.
"Aye, but there is something amiss. I saw neither tracks nor any signs of mounts. Where did the-" Sif words were lost as the owner, a oversized troll, burst out of the dirt floor. He snarled and leapt at Sif, knocking her through the flimsy wall.
Knocked the ground, and using all her strength to keep the troll's grimy hands away from her throat, Sif managed to shout. "Jane, run away!"
"And leave you? Not a chance!" Freeing the dagger, Jane quietly slipped up behind the troll. As she raised her clenched fist, the troll suddenly rolled over and used Sif as a shield. Moving her hand away, Jane was left wide open as the troll brought his knees up and launched Sif at her.
Knocked to the ground and dazed, Jane groped blindly for the weapon as Sif raced to her feet and tackled the monster. Jane slowly, painfully, sat up and saw Sif and the troll wrestling over control of the blade. Looking around, her eyes fell on a discarded hammer. "Well, why not?"
Racing over to heavy tool, Jane lifted it with a grunt. Sif and the troll rolled over towards her. With a snarl the troll flipped Sif away and stood up. As he started to turn, Jane swung low and connected with the back of his kneecap. The creature howled in pain as he fell. "Hit him again!" Sif commanded as Jane brought the hammer down again. It sounded with a sickening crunch as it connected with the monster's forehead. With a shudder, the troll lay still.
"Is he dead?" Jane felt foolish asking, but then again she wasn't up to date on monster anatomy.
"Nay, he lives." Sif kicked him in the ribs as she spat on him. Clutching the dagger, she loomed over him. "Jane, fetch me some rope from yonder house."
Unsure of her intent, Jane entered the dwelling anf found several yards of thick rope. "What are you going to do?"
Sif sighed, as she looked at the dagger first then her. "We shall bind him, but not before making sure he can trouble us no more."
With the troll safely bound and gagged, Sif and Jane made their way back towards Asgard. Jane could tell Sif had wanted to kill the creature, but she held back. Was it because of her sake?
Before she could bring the topic up, Sif held up her hand. "Hold, we are near!"
Sif smiled. "Before I gagged the troll, I asked him some questions. You recall what I said of uru?"
"The troll told me of a large deposit of it not too far from here. If we could but acquire some of it, I think it may lead us to Mjolnir."
Loki watched the battle with mild interest. "Hmm, they did survive my first attempt, but it matters not." Turning his attention back to the throne room, he smiled to himself as he saw a mirror image of himself interacting with Odin. "My illusion shall keep my honored father busy while I deal with those two. If I succeed, then they will be declared guilty and I can move without fear. If I fail, then it would be only because they used trickery, and thus shall be banished forever more." He laughed softly as he picked up his sword. "Either way the runes fall, Loki shall be the victor this day!"
Jane wiped her brow as they trudged further and further into the wild. Sif was mostly silent, save for a few grunts and whispered directions as they navigated the marshes and mires. Holding her hand up, the pair stopped before a small clearing. Sif nodded as they entered and made their way towards a small mound. Kneeling, Sif thrust her hands into the peat and lifted up a large chunk of bluish black metal. "Aye, right where he said it was." Sif smiled as she sat it down. "Jane, go over yonder and fetch me something suitable for a shaft."
"You mean you're going to make a weapon from that? How? We left all the tools with the troll."
"Aye, but uru is a soft metal." To demonstrate, she ripped a large chunk of it away with one hand. "This piece should do nicely." Pulling out a length of cord, she sat down and began to shape the chunk. Jane left her to her work and made her way back into the grove.
Breaking off a particularly gnarled tree branch, Jane rejoined Sif as the later was shaping the stone like clay. "So what are we going to do?"
"We? We shall do nothing. The task falls to you Jane. As the last person to handle Mjolnir, thou are needed to find it again." Taking the branch, she made a crude hammer as she tied the rock to it. Handing it to her, Sif stood up. "Feel it Jane, and the hammer will call to you."
"Actually no, it won't." Loki's voice echoed from the surrounding woods. "I've taken special care to hide that blasted hammer." The evil god appeared before them. In his hands was a sword and in his eyes was an evil glint. "And I shall not let you or anyone else ruin my plans."
Drawing her dagger, Sif stepped forward. "Jane, find the hammer. That is the most important thing."
"I can't leave you alone with this guy, he's dangerous!"
Sif smirked as she dropped into a combat stance. "Really? Then perhaps you should I have never a duel to Loki, no matter the weapon."
Loki's face darkened. "I'll slay you first then the mortal."
Jane gripped the makeshift hammer tight as she darted away from the fight. She rounded several corners as the sound of steel clashing rang through the woods. As she dodged trees and their giant roots, she suddenly stopped as she felt the hammer in her hands shake. Turning around, the shaking intensified in relation to which way she was facing. Going with the strongest movement, she dashed through the woods, praying she would find her hammer in time…
Sif's breathing was heavy, but not nearly as bad as Loki's. Blood ran down her arms and legs as she kept the dagger in front of her. For every single cut on her, Loki's body had at least two more. "Do you yield?" Loki gasped as he began to struggle with his heavy blade.
"If I slay ye, then my seat of honor is assured!" Sif panted as she dodged a thrust and nimbly sliced his forearm.
"And if I am slain, then Odin will execute your family, and I assure ye, Hel is not one to let someone go once she has them in her clutches." Loki began to circle her. Sif eyed with him with hatred. With a mad laugh, he threw his sword at her and quickly used a spell. The blade fell to the ground and transformed into a mass of twitching vines that ensnared her feet and hands. Calmly walking over to her, Loki none too gently pried the dagger from her hand. "And now, a quick summons to my" he placed an extra emphasis on the last word, "father, and this entire affair shall end."
Jane was stumbled blindly through the wood. The hammer glowed and shock every time she made a turn. Her feet felt like hot sand and her legs were growing numb as she forced herself to move. She stumbled and fell over a large root, dropping the hammer. "Come on, come on, be lazy on your own time!" She cursed herself as she scrambled to her feet.
The hammer had fallen a distance away from her and the strap had come undone. The uru had slipped free and gently rolled away from her. "Hey, come back!" Giving case, she dodged low hanging branches and tall roots as she struggled to keep the piece of metal in her line of vision.
She gave a sigh of relief when the uru stopped at a small cottage. Seeing the smoke rising from the chimney, she carefully made her way towards the nearest window and gazed inside. Before a raging fire was the hammer stuck in the center of a mass of chains. Before she could formulate a plan, the front door opened.
Loki casually flung the dagger away as Sif screamed muffled threats at him. "Now my sister, I would suggest you try to regain some of that composure. After all, threatening the favored son of Odin carries a heavy price, but if you throw yourself upon his mercy, I'm sure the might high father would only imprison you for two eons."
Lighting and thunder were his answer. His entire demeanor shifted, while Sif's eyes brightened. "What? This can not be!"
J-a few seconds ago
"Who art thou?"
Jane stumbled back from the window. Standing in the doorway before was a tall woman. Jane found herself unable to speak in her presence as the woman stared at her. "Art thou a ally of my husband?" The woman looked at her quizzically.
"Of sorts. Sorry, but I failed to get your name." Jane played it cool and tightened her grip on the branch.
"Oh, how rude of me! My name be Sigyn, please come inside." She stepped out of the doorway and held the door for her. "Forgive my manners, we receive so few guests."
As Jane stepped inside the cottage, several things struck her. The first of which were the two children that came rushing from some dark corner and attached themselves to her legs. The second was the air of the scene. There was food cooking over the fire and places set at the simple table for four.
"Narvi! Vali! I raised ye both to act better than that!" Sigyn gently scolded the two boys as Jane quietly backed toward the hammer. Narvi, the taller of two, had a patchwork of scar tissues around his throat and neck. With his tunic half-open, Jane could see that the scars went down his chest all the way to his stomach. Vali stood off to the side and kept his head down. His ears were pointed, and Jane could see thick whiskers running down his cheeks.
"Its ok." Jane raised her hand as the boys apologized.
Sigyn smiled as the two raced each other to the dinner table. As they sat themselves, Sigyn turned back to her. "Come, let us eat. My husband rarely brings guests home."
"Thank you, but I really can't stay." Jane inched closer to the hammer. Sigyn noticed her action. "In fact I really must be going. A friend of mine is in trouble."
"Perhaps Loki can aid ye."
The remark stopped Jane in her tracks. "Eh?"
Sigyn continued, oblivious to Jane's shell-shocked look. "My husband Loki is quite powerful. He is on a quest, but I expect him back at any moment."
"Loki… is your husband?" Jane suddenly felt alone in the cottage.
"Aye." Sigyn looked puzzled at her response. "Art thou ill?"
"No, I'm just fine." Jane quickly turned and jumped towards the hammer's grip. The instant her fingers touched the aged leather blinding light filled the room as the air crackled with lighting. When the light dimmed, Lady Thor stood before them. Sigyn and her children were speechless.
Casting a spell, Loki made the dead and withered trees around him lock branches and move as one. Turning them into a mass moving carpet, Loki easily moved towards the sound of the explosion, Sif in tow. "No, it can not be!" Sweat ran down his face as he ran. Could she have discovered it? The lighting that arched across the sky confirmed his fears.
Lady Thor stood at the ready. Sigyn, for her part, took the transformation in stride. "Forgive me please, but from thy garments, art thou kin to Thor?"
"In a sense. Forgive me, but the song of battle calls me." Quickly moving, Lady Thor exited the cottage just as Loki landed. "Loki, unhand Sif and let us battle as gods."
Loki stood before her, but his face was ashen. Sif was gagged behind him, but her eyes were focused on something else. Loki made no movement, no sound, but instead only stared dumbly. Slowly, silently, Loki gestured. Sif's bounds vanished and she dropped to her feet. Stilling holding her hammer, Lady Thor readied herself for battle. Loki silently walked past her.
Quickly turning and expecting an attack, she was shocked as Loki embraced Sigyn. He faced her as the other woman entered the cottage. "There will be no battle here."
"Thou attack me like a craven coward, yet now you beg for mercy?' She raised her hammer. Loki threw up his hands.
"Nay, stay thy hand!" Loki threw himself to his knees. "Spare my family the sight of this battle, and I shall trouble ye no more. I swear it upon Odin's blood."
Sif walked up to her and whispered in her ear. "Loki's words are never true."
Lady Thor nodded. "Aye." Turning her attention to the groveling form of Loki, she lowered her hammer. "Stand up." As Loki straightened up, a horn call shattered the peace.
"Hold!" Cried the most handsome man Lady Thor had ever seen. His sword was drawn and a armed guard accompanied him. "Loki, thy father will reward ye for the capture of these two." The man's words were earnest, but his face betrayed his thoughts. He clearly did not relish his duties.
Sif leaned in closer to whisper. "That's Balder! One of Thor's dearest friends."
"Then maybe we can explain ourselves."
Balder approached the trio as his men waited at the edge of the clearing. Loki quickly spun on his heels and rushed towards. "Balder the Brave! Truly my heart sings at thy presence!" Pointing over to them, the arrogance returned in full to the trickster's face. "Those two malcontents were threatening my family and my land. I managed to capture them, with great risk to my person, but sadly I was outnumbered."
Balder sneered as he listened. "Of course." Walking up to her and Sif, Balder looked them over. "You shall accompany me and my men back Lord Odin without delay." As they were lead away chains were slapped on their wrists. Loki almost danced a jig as he walked up to them to gloat.
"Wait of shinning one, shouldn't you remove thy weapons? That accursed hammer has done nothing but cause problems!"
"Only those who have deemed worthy can lift Mjolnir, and since she can carry it without problem, I fail to see why we should complicate our task."
Loki agreed, but Lady Thor could tell the evil god was already putting more plans in motion. Balder took the reigns on his horse and handed them to him. "Go; thy be the fastest one here, and they will need to prepare the dungeon for these two."
Loki said nothing, but even as he rode away Lady Thor could feel his eyes on her. The rest of the guard rode in front, leaving only Balder the Brave to ride directly beside them. "Tell me, how fairs my daughter?" Sif asked in a low tone.
"She is well, considering." Their horses gradually lost their pace with the rest of the guard. Balder looked over at Lady Thor. "So tell me, thou art not Thor bewitched, correct?"
"Nay, but I wield the hammer, does that not prove my worth?"
"It depends. Odin's magic can be tricky at times. Lord Odin also seems to be of the mind that thou hath slain Thor and stolen his birthright." Their pace slowed down even further as Balder removed his helmet. "Forgive me, but armor can be most stifling. We should be careful though, as brigands have been active in this portion of the woods." He winked to Sif seconds before a small projectile hurtled through the air and struck him. Falling off his horse, he rolled to the side of the road as masked men charged the guards. Swords met clubs as the two groups engaged in battle.
"My dear, I think this be a sign." Sif dismounted. Lady Thor followed suit as they dashed into the nearby woods. Around them stood more people, all dressed as the brigands.
"Who might you be?" Lady Thor asked as she tightened the grip on her hammer.
The closest man took off his hood. His face was grim and dark. Sif's, however, brightened considerably. "Hogun the Grim! It does my heart well to see ye."
The man's serious expression never softened. "Aye, as I. Balder was kind enough to allow us to strike him, but we must flee. If we tarry, Loki may grow suspicious."
The journey through the woods was quick and the explanation brief. Balder was one of the few members of the city to remain free of Loki's influence. "So out allies be few?" Lady Thor asked. Hogun's answer was as grim as his name.
"Aye. Odin grows blinder by the day."
The rest of the journey was silent. When they had stopped, Lady Thor brought up an idea she had been thinking of ever since she set foot in Asgard. "Tell me, why can't I just go and visit Odin?"
Everyone, even the animals, seemed to stop at her words. "That…never occurred to me."
"Bah, the Lion of Asgard has been telling this lot to do that very action!" A heavyset man slammed down his tankard of ale. "Why haven't we done so?"
"Because, Volstagg, this charming creature was the first to broach the idea." A devilishly handsome man stepped forward and took her hand into his own. "Fandral the dashing, at your service."
"Such an idea is good, but I fear it would be futile." Sif squashed their plan. "With Loki already at Odin's side, we'd never be allowed within the gate. Simply arriving would just bring about more violence."
"Aye, it would, but with mine own hands I would end this farce!" Lady Thro roared. "Odin is still my father, correct? Then shall I not be granted an audience with him?" Lighting crackled off the hammer. The assembled party stared at her in silence for minute.
"So the briefest of moments, I would have sworn Thor himself stood by our side." Fandral whispered.
"Sif, does thou have a way to return to Midgard?" Lady Thor began to swing her hammer out before her.
"Aye, but what-" her words were lost as the blond goddess took to the skies.
It was Fandral who broke the silence. "It's almost like having Thor himself back, eh?"
Odin sat in quiet contemplation in his private chambers. His peace was shattered when a guard threw open the door and stumbled inside. "What be the meaning of this?"
"Sire…" The guard tried to speak, but the words died in his throat. Gesturing wildly, he slumped to the floor as Odin marched past him. When the great king of the gods entered the outer chamber, the room fell silent. His one remaining eye widened in disbelief at the sight before him:
"Thor?" The person wearing his son's clothes stood silently before him. Her face was hard and her jaw set as she stepped forward.
"Nay, but I wield both his name and his power." She began before Odin slammed his spear upon the golden floor.
"Then thou art a thief and murderer! Seize her!" His voice shook the very walls, but the assembled throng, Loki excluded, did nothing but stare. "What is this madness? All this time, I've sat haplessly as this imposter not only stole my son's birthright, but slew him as well, and yet now with victory at hand you desert me?"
Loki was silent, but Lady Thor knew he couldn't act here-not with so many witnesses. Pressing her advantage, she stepped closer and dropped to one knee. "Odin, 'o mighty king of the sky, grant me an audience with ye."
"Thou must think me mad!" Hoisting his spear high overhead, he aimed it her throat. "With this thrust, my son shall be avenged!" In one instant, he lunged. And in one instant, the assembled gods and goddess saw a sight they had never before seen.
Odin's spear was casually blocked. Lady Thor, seconds before the point could pierce her, brought up Mjolnir. The tip of Gungnir, cast from the same metal as the spear, drove itself against the mystic uru metal as it tried in vain to find its target. For countless seconds, the two wills were locked. Lady Thor, on her knees and determined to speak with Odin, and Odin himself, personified in his weapon. Slowly, gradually, Lady Thor stood up. With one hand, she reached out and gripped the terrible weapon. In one smooth motion she removed her hammer as she flipped around, forcing the spear into the ground.
"Now may I be granted an audience with ye?"
Odin was speechless. Shaking his head, he stepped back and gestured for her to enter. As she strode past him, Odin held up his hand. Without one word being spoken, the assembled throng understood what he meant and stepped back. All save Loki, who quietly slipped away. "I must see what they plot together!"
"Very well, what is thy wish?" Odin removed his helmet. His long white hair looked thin in the pale light of the fire. His armor was tarnished and his voice frail.
Lady Thor stood breathlessly in his presence. She knew she was Jane Foster. She knew who her parents were, and yet before Odin she could only say one word. "Father"
Odin's one eye flared in the socket. "Do not call me that! Only my son has that right, and thou art not Thor!"
"No, I'm not." Tapping her hammer on the ground, Jane Foster looked up at the astonished god. "I'm just plain Jane Foster. May we speak now?"
Odin was taken aback by her actions, but he kept his guard up. "Yes we may. Tell me, what are thy plans?"
Jane sighed and ran a hand through her hair. "I don't know. I found this cane by mistake. I've been using it for good, doesn't that count for something?"
Odin shook his head. "Nay, thy actions have damaged us all!"
Jane raised an eyebrow. "How can you say that? Ever since I found this, I've been under attack by gods, monsters, and things I can't even begin to explain. I've taken no life and used this power to the best of my understanding. If Don" She choked slightly as she spoke. "Is the true bearer of this power, then I will gladly give it back to him." Collecting her thoughts, she placed the withered piece of wood at Odin's feet. "I've saved the Earth, mostly from your son Loki."
A sudden wind whipped through the room. Loki stepped out of the shadows. "See father? She admits to attacking me! Quickly, while she's distracted!" he lunged for the cane, but Odin's firm hand clamped down on his shoulder.
"Nay!" Odin's voice shook the very bricks around them. Narrowing his eye, Odin hoisted Loki up with one hand. "Loki, thou art my son. For that, coupled with Thor's death, I have placed you closer to me, closer than I would have in the past." Shoving him back, his voice grew to a roar. "But I shall tolerate this madness no more!" Pushing him into the greater chamber, Loki found himself surrounded by scores of well-armed Asgardians. "Loki, thou can still claim godly blood, but until thy use it as one born, thou will have no place here!"
As Loki was lead away, he seethed. "Well played father, but there will be other opportunities." Inwardly he smiled. Forcing himself to take a different tone, he held up his hands. "Very well," he bowed his head low as he was lead away, "I shall leave ye with a thief and a craven murder. Let it be said, however, that I was never lax in my devotion to Asgard or our people." A small rippling murmur went through the crowd, as he had hoped. "If I can not be an active piece, then I shall control the game from the side."
Focusing back on Jane, Odin shook his head. "I've been a fool. Loki has never stopped his plots, but I was too blinded by hate and sorrow to see that." Frigga, who had stood silently in the crowd, stepped forward. Her knowing glare only further humbled Odin all the more, but she said nothing as she slipped back into the assembly.
Gently, Jane placed her hand on his arm. "It's ok." Changing the subject, she lifted the cane up. "Tell me, could I still give this back to Don?"
Odin paused. "In truth, I knowest not. The time and the prophecy intended that my son would feel a calling to the land of his birth when his crimes were paid and that he would find the Mjolnir. Those stone beings were meant to be a method to bring forth his transformation." Turning away, he moved over to a small corner filled with archaic scrolls. "If he refused, or failed in his quest, he would remain as a mortal forever."
"But that's the thing, he didn't fail, and he never refused."
Odin spoke slowly as the thought turned around his mind. "Aye, aye! Tell me Jane Foster, thou hath proven worthy, but will give back what rightly belongs to Thor?"
Jane stopped. Granted, Odin did have a point. It wasn't her power to begin with, but what would happen to Don? "What of Don Blake? What would become of him?"
"Why, he would cease to be." Looking into her horrified face, he quickly added. "All that is good within Blake would still exist, save that his right mind and power would be restored."
Glancing down at the ring on her finger, Jane didn't know how to respond. "Sir, perhaps if we ask Don what he thinks of this."
Odin's face grew dark. "Nay! My son has been lost too long."
"Then let me tell him, please."
Odin relented. "Very well. Thou have until the new moon. I shall send ye and Sif back." As they left through a back way, Odin glared down at her. "But be warned Jane Foster. I shall book no deceit on thy part. Give Thor what is his or I shall personally see to it thou art damned."
Jane saw Frigga again, this time standing from atop a small ridge. The queen said nothing, but her eyes did. Jane could feel the Queen's blue eyes looking over her, but she couldn't tell if she was being judged or comforted.
Jane said nothing of this as they made their way towards the Rainbow Bridge. Sif and Thrud were already waiting beside Heimdall. "Sif, I have pardoned thy family, but on one condition."
"That we return with thy son." Sif nodded. "Fear not, we shall not fail ye." Jane shot another look back and again saw Frigga, this time riding on an eight-legged steed. The Queen waved softly as she turned around and vanished in an instant. Jane quickly turned around and started to walk. She was curious by Frigga's actions, but she would wait until she was back on Earth before inquiring about them.
And so it was Jane Foster, a mortal wielding the power of a god, walked back to Earth with two goddesses. "What I going to tell Don?" No answer came to her as she walked. "I knew this power wasn't mine, but to lose him as well…" She glanced at both women. "Perhaps we can figure something out." The stars around her gave her neither hope nor solution to her troubles.
Ok, this particular tale was based on "The Day Loki Stole Thor's Hammer" which was first published in Journey Into Mystery#92 (May 1963). Credits go to Stan Lee (writer), Joe Sinnott (artist and inker), and Martin Epp (letters).
And now the fan mail
From They call me Bruce
This is pretty good. You write some good stuff. I don't know why you don't get more reviews.
You and me both Bruce.
And of course, from Tiffani herself
Cambot, I think you somehow found a time
machine and have used it to
go back into the past because these stories remind me so much of the
classic comic tales that I've read when I was younger. ;)
Wonderful job, as always. Thanks for sharing
And again, thank you for reading
And from Agent00soul
I totally agree with Tiffani - you are really channeling the vibe of
60s era Marvel! (In fact, it reminds me just how far ahead of
everyone else they were back then.) You also manage to seamlessly
change the sex of the superheroes and yet make it feel perfectly
natural in the context of the stories. Kudos - you must work hard,
because it pays off!
Truer words were never spoken. 'Tis a pity that I'm not getting paid for this.
But don't write me off yet True Believers! Keeping you monitors read for the next amazing issues! And be sure to be here for the next issue: Romance! Answers! Oh, and did I mention the Radioactive Man?
Amazing Adventures#6-Meet Krogg!
Tales to Astonish#8-The Voice of Doom
Sensational Comics#10-The Celebrated Flying Toads of Outer Space