It must have been the very darkest the very worst of all of Earth's alternate realities

The Dark Lightning

There seemed to be nothing to alleviate the darkness in this place. Even the energy discharges from the unending storms were dark. Evil of an intensity unknown elsewhere permeated every single aspect of existence here. Surely in all of the myriad alternate realities there was not a darker or more cheerless place.

It must have been all the more surprising then for the mighty Thor, as he stood atop the highest elevation in this world, to know that this reality was his father's creation.

It had been a time long before Odin's and Gaea's productive union. A time when even Odin was yet young. In not his greatest moment the Lord of Asgard created an entire alternate reality intended as a permanent prison for the most profoundly evil entities and forces that sought the destruction of the Asgardian way of life. The prison was built not just with the traditional enemies of Asgard in mind but any others who might seek to challenge existence.

Utilizing his knowledge of the natural forces that bind all realities and with judicious use of the Odinforce, the Allfather bound the new reality in such a way that no power placed within it should ever be able to escape its fate.

The motivating force for the creation of this reality was hatred – a hatred of evil and a desire to contain it. It was perhaps not surprising therefore that hatred was one of the primordial forces in the evolution of this reality.

Not long after the creation of the new reality, Asgard, indeed all of the nine worlds were beset by a series of crises. Odin's mind was on things other than his new creation.

Afterwards there was a long period of calm and the new creation slipped even further from the Allfathers mind.

At a later time still Odin began to utilize the limbo between dimensions as a prison for some that sought Asgard's destruction. His earlier creation, a prison that was an entire reality, seemingly all but forgotten.

Elemental building blocks were present in Odin's creation and they grew unsupervised. Dark intelligences fuelled by hatred evolved and, in the absence of Odin's intervention, they inevitably took control.

From time to time the powers that evolved in and had taken control of this reality sought to breach Odin's barriers. That they might flood out into other realities. In this they were unsuccessful though thy learned from each attempt. They had no access whatsoever to any of the other myriad realities. In a sense the only knowledge from beyond were small elements from Odin's mind that had filtered through during the act of creation. Nothing more than snippets really.

Thus it would not have been surprising to Odin had he ever troubled to come this way again that some aspects of this reality were modeled on Asgard and others of the nine worlds. Albeit in the darkest and most perverted way.

Atop the elevated place the mighty Thor now Lord of all Asgard looked across the darkness to a massive scarred fortress perched high atop a sheer cliff of tens of thousands of feet. It looked like a perversion of something from the Surtur wars. As a skyfather and one of the great powers of the Multiverse, Thor did not of course need light in order to see in this place.

Thor could sense that the real power in this reality emanated from the massive fortress. It must be aware of him but had not moved against him – yet.

"The very first thing I must do here," thought Thor "is cast some physical light upon this reality."

Requiring more effort than he would have thought possible Thor called a halt to the endless discharges of black lightning about him and then called forth his own version of lightning.

In the intense brightness all manner of disgusting and revolting creatures scurried about looking for anywhere amid the rocky landscape where they might seek relief from the blinding light.

Then the black lightning came again and struggled for supremacy with Thor's white lightning. At the same time a single figure emerged from the huge fortress.

Thor gasped.

As discharges of dark and white lightning competed for supremacy the figure emerging from the massive fortress could almost have been Odin.

Well perhaps not exactly. It was clearly modeled on Odin. Bigger and younger but uglier more brutal, more savage, and with hatred etched into every inch of its face. As if somehow it had never wanted to be created. In some ways perhaps only a perverted caricature of the Allfather.

This need not have surprised the mighty Thor. Would it be so unthinkable for the greatest power in this alternate reality to have modeled itself (even if loosely) on the creator of its reality?

On his deathbed Odin had told Thor of this reality. He had asked his son to investigate it.

The manner in which Odin had bounded the alternate reality prison was such that possibly not even the mighty Thor could have entered it by direct inter reality travel. However at the time of it's creation Odin had included a "key" to the alternate reality. A circuitous path through other alternate realities that led to a "back door" entry. Of course Odin had created it initially for his own use.

Levitating across the chasm between them the Dark Odin, or even Anti-Odin if such it could be called, moved toward Thor. About half way across it raised its right hand and energies swirled about the hand that were darker even than anything else in this reality. A random discharge of white lightning struck the swirling dark energies and was absorbed by them.

Then the dark mystical energy stream was directed across the remainder of the chasm at the mighty Thor. Thor absorbed the dark energies in his great hammer mjolnir and then hurled them back at the Anti-Odin amplified many fold and transformed into lighter energies.

The returned energies struck the Dark Odin on his wrist and dissipated immediately. They seemed to trouble him not at all. He then raised his right arm again and with the most casual gesture the entire monstrous mountain that Thor stood atop was transformed into a moving fluid mass of small rock, debris and dust. The Dark Odin directed it to smother the mighty Thor as billions of tons of it fell upon him. But what is that to one who controls the real Odinforce? With his vast matter manipulation capabilities Thor remained levitated in exactly the same position and simply returned the fluid mountain to its original non fluid form.

Thor then twirled mighty mjolnir at indescribable speed but saw that he could not by this method generate the heat here that might be possible in other realities. Instead he allowed the lightning and Asgardian energies to gather about the hammer then threw it at near instantaneous speed directly at his adversaries face.

Dark Odin was unmoved. It grabbed the head of mjolnir in one huge hand, then, clasping it by the handle in its other hand, triumphantly raised it high. By some means it had discerned the importance of the hammer to Thor, the bond twixt the two.

It did not matter to Thor that he was now a skyfather level being. Odin had had his mace and his spear gungir, so Thor had mighty mjolnir – some things do not change.

The alternate Odin had no time gloat because the son of the real Odin was upon him seeking to wrest the hammer from his grasp. Distracted the two great beings fell the thousands of feet to the chasm floor below. There the battle continued in a more purely physical way. Such was its intensity though that the entire mountainous topography about them began to collapse. Mountain ranges buckled, colossal earthquakes began, and valleys rose up from the floor.

In a sense the battle had only just begun in earnest, as the two entities had only been testing each other out, merely prodding and probing, so far.

Thor wondered if this entity had any way of knowing that he was the son of the creator of this entire reality. Since the being made no attempt to communicate with him Thor could not be sure. He had unsuccessfully attempted to mentally probe the creature and was sure he had not been probed by it.

As Thor and the alternate Odin struggled so to did the dark and white lightning. Though originally directed by their masters the Lightnings took on a separate life of their own.

They seemed to duel throughout the length and breadth of this reality. Gradually though this reality grew ever darker a sign that the dark lightning was beginning to prevail.

Thor knew that he was not merely facing some sort of evolutionary accident that had simply taken his fathers likeness. No - somehow trace elements of the Odinforce had been retained in this reality after its creation. The elements had been too small and became too dissipated to form a coherent single force and went undiscovered for some time. Eventually though forces aborning in this reality discovered the trace elements and succeeded in synthesizing the Odinforce. The ultimate result of that action was a parallel dark Odinforce wielded by the Dark Odin.

As the battle between Thor and the alternate reality Odin grew in intensity it threatened to unbalance that reality and to break the imprisoning barriers created by Odin himself so long ago.

Thor saw also that other significant powers in this reality were working on the barriers. Applying dark energies against perceived weaknesses and at the same time following aspects of the mighty Thors energy trail as a possible indicator of a back door entry to other realities. Among these others were what had to be a dark cold-heat version of Surtur carrying not a sword but a monstrous axe. Also a black ice version of Ymir, colder by far, Thor could sense, than even the Asgardian elemental. There were others too such gross caricatures of certain Asgardian entities as to be all but unrecognizable.

Seizing the moment, Thor hurled the Dark Odin many kilometers through a super dense buckling mountain range. Though the creature teleported back almost within the instant the son of the real Odin had just time to prepare a skyfather level godblast – with a difference.

As the mighty Thor allowed his god essence to become one with the hammer supreme he also allowed those energies to burst forth purely in the form of the most brilliant light. That light filled up this entire reality and surely was an act that bore comparison with the original creation of Thor's own reality.

With the barriers surrounding this reality about to give way it was the best attack Thor could think of to give immediate pause to all within this reality.

Yet with all it was not enough.

The brightness of Thors godblast released only as intense light/heat energy was, in physical luminosity, beyond anything heretofore experienced in any reality. Here in this darkest and coldest of all the realities its effect was staggering.

There was no place in this reality to escape the intense brightness and many of this realities scurrying demon like minions perished under a bombardment of light and heat anathema to them and entirely outside their experience.

Though it briefly halted the attempts to breach Odin's imprisoning barriers on this reality, Thors controlled godblast did no permanent damage to its great powers.

Amid the mountainous topography still buckling and heaving from their earlier battle the Dark Odin moved again toward Thor. Unlike the creator of its reality, that it was modeled on, it carried no obviously overt weapons or channeling conduits such as a sword, mace, or spear. Except that is for some form of highly energized and grotesquely shaped mystical pounders on its fists.

Thor sensed something behind him. Moving faster than the speed of thought he moved just in time to avoid the swing of the Dark Surtur's monstrous axe. The entity was even larger than the Asgardian elemental upon which it was modeled. The fires also burned within it but they were cold fires, combustion taking place at temperatures high for this reality but too low to support combustion for even mystical fires in many other realities.

Not yet seeing the need to alter his own size Lord Thor struck the Dark Surtur's axe hand with such reverberating power that the monstrosity released its grip on the axe crying out in presumably a guttural expression of pain. Indeed this was the first utterance of any kind Thor had heard from any of the non communicative great powers of this reality.

The Dark Odin watched on with an ugly smile on its face. It seemed content to see how the Dark Surtur fared against the intruder. Thor felt that compared to the original majestic template, Dark Odin was little more than a primordial brute.

Dark Surtur motioned slightly and the axe rose up from the depths below returning toward him much as mjolnir would to Thor. Of a vicious sharpness it seemed to be sheathed in an energy envelope that could both protect and enhance it but could also disappear when merely metallic ultra sharpness was required.

Thor hurled mjolnir at the huge axe smashing it sideways and driving it into Dark Odin's massive fortress which had already sunk somewhat as the sheer cliff under it had buckled with the earlier fighting. While mjolnir's return to its masters hand was near instantaneous Dark Surtur's axe was less responsive, only slowly returning to its master.

Motioning Surtur to stay back the anti-Odin lunged at Thor fists flailing. Thor stepped aside smashing the behemoth in the back with a two fisted blow that drove it deep into the ground. Dark Odin reached out for Thors leg like lightning but Thor was even faster moving clear of the titan.

Getting to his feet there was a look in the alternate Odin's eyes that reminded Thor of a certain green mortal behemoth that had once walked the Earth. Though the power and strength involved here was of an entirely different order of magnitude still it served as a reminder that getting into a purely physical slugfest with the Dark Odin might not be the best approach tactically. Particularly with Dark Surtur, Dark Ymir and what now appeared to be some alternate Mangog abomination all nearby.

Thor saw that sheer power alone was probably not going to win the day. Not for the first time since arriving Thor wondered if he should have asked Lord Zeus and one or two other skyfathers to accompany him.

The extreme light and heat that Thor had created with the god blast was inevitably dissipating. Without the generation of still more light and heat it seemed to be slowly absorbed into the darkness of this reality. Thor saw also that the seemingly random black lightning discharges continued anew interrupted only briefly by his godblast.

As his mind raced Thor realized that he could not now simply leave this reality to its own devices. Thanks in part to his own appearance here its denizens were on the brink of breaching the barriers that kept them in them in this reality. Even if he left as he had come via the inter reality back door Dark Odin at least would be able to follow him – with all that entailed.

"Surely Odin would have built in some kind of fail safe for this reality?" mused Thor "a plug that could be pulled if the barriers bounding this reality were ever breached?"

As Dark Odin kept up the pressure the alternate Surtur and Mangog joined the fray. As alternate Odin's fist pounders went off the scale in an energy surge he struck Thor a mighty blow on the side of his ace and at that exact same instant Dark Mangog struck a bone shattering blow and Dark Surtur struck with his powerful tail.

Thor struck the ground harder than he could ever remember. As he attempted to rise Allfather Odin himself offered his hand. Surtur, Ymir, Mangog and others trembled in the background. "Arise my son" boomed the Allfather and we shall deal with these miscreants in short order."

Thor wondered if the Dark Odin had simply created an illusion in his mind or whether his enemies had resorted to Shapeshifting and were merely acting out their parts. No matter as the Allfather offered his hand Thor rose striking him with the blow to end all blows. The Allfather reeled under the seldom used "Thorblow" and as Thor looked down so he again saw the Dark Odin before him. Thor saw also that this was neither Shapeshifting nor illusion but rather a mild attempt at reality manipulation. For all the brute that Dark Odin appeared to be Thor realized he must not be underestimated.

Thor needed to buy a few moments of time for his next move. He did so by employing another skyfather level godblast. This time though it was the normal energies that one associates with the godblast but in pulsating bursts at each of his adversaries. Even the Dark Odin grunted and gave ground before the onslaught.

Thor then twirled his hammer about him at indescribable speed and began the short trip back in time to the commencement of this reality. There to prevent the evolution of life in this reality ever before it began.

Thors intent was clear to Dark Odin and Thor did not quite reach his intended destination before the dark god, dark elementals, and Dark Mangog intercepted him and again engaged him in battle. The black-ice Ymir grabbed Thor in his monstrous hand and Thor suddenly knew a level of cold heretofore beyond his experience. For a moment Thors mind reeled and he looked like succumbing to a coldness that made the theoretical absolute zero seem like a blazing sun. As his mind reeled Thor looked back at the seemingly unreachable another few hundred years back in time where he thought he actually saw Odin in the process of creating this reality.

Thor called out "Father" willing his voice to travel backward in time "aide me."

If Allfather Odin heard his son or witnessed the events taking place in his near future he gave no sign of it. Instead he continued with his mighty act of creation.

Thor finally escaped the alternate Ymir's grasp shattering the dark elementals black ice hand into a million shards.

Dark Odin and the others had no desire to remain in this time and literally dragged Thor back up though time to the now moment where the struggle continued.

A look of grim resolve appeared on Thors face. There could be no holding back now, he would have to literally defeat every single denizen of this reality before he could return to his own. If necessary he was prepared to induce a controlled warrior's madness in himself to achieve this objective.

Dark Odin prepared a massive energy onslaught as did the other alternates but instead of directing it at the mighty Thor they struck at the very barriers that had held them so long in this reality.

The already weakened barriers started to crumble and glimpses of the myriad alternate realities beyond could be seen beyond the failing barriers. But then this whole reality started to alter, to decrease in size, to draw in on itself in an act of implosion.

As elements of this reality there was nothing that Dark Odin and his allies could do to escape the implosion. Thor not being a native of his reality twirled mjolnir about himself creating a barrier that protected him against the implosion.

Safe within his own protected field Thor watched the entire act of implosion from start to finish until, along with the total collapse of Odin's imprisoning barriers, there was nothing. Absolutely nothing at all.

During his act of creation back at the start of this reality had great Odin seen or heard the mighty Thor's struggle with the All Fathers dark counterpart? Or had the fail-safe implosion mechanism always been in place for just that eventuality if Odin's barriers were breached?

Thor was pretty sure he knew the answer.

Garth