The revenge of Loki
Asgard 500 YLT (Year of our Lord Thor)
(or 2500 AD in the displaced Earth calendar)
The god of evil seethed with seemingly impotent rage. How could Lord Thor have treated him thus? Had he not loyally served his master as head of Thors security forces ever since Thor had assumed custodianship of the Earth? Had he not foregone his aspirations to leadership of Earth and Asgard? Now all of Loki's considerable power and privileges had been removed.
Even worse the dark god was now persona non grata in Asgard City and for all intents and purposes under house arrest in his own castle. Loki's powers of teleportation, interdimensional and otherwise had been taken from him. As yet he was still capable of traveling in his astral form and of mental probing and telepathic influence over great distance. Still he was being closely monitored and Lord Thor might at any stage take these powers from him.
In the early days of Lord Thors reign Loki along with the Enchantress had been the greatest influences on the monarch. They had gently steered him down a darker path. Still over time other forces had sought the ear of Lord Thor seeking to make his reign over Earth more benevolent. Lady Sif had played a part as had Frigga, Thialfi and Thor's son by the Enchantress great Magni. Loki reeled at the thought of how the upstart Thialfi was now Thors grand vizier, most trusted of all in Earth or Asgard. Loki also knew that timely appearances on several occasions by the personification of the OdinPower had profoundly influenced the Odinson. Also it seemed the accumulated list of casualties of those who had opposed Thor's reign over Earth had weighed heavily upon the monarch long years after their deaths.
Not so long ago Lord Thor finally took the same path as his father had going through the necessary ritual ordeal to acquire the knowledge of the runes. This was the final stage in Thors long path to enlightenment. While Loki's loss of power and privilege had been gradual, the emergence of Rune Thor made it complete. It was at this point that Thor was finally reconciled to the fact that Loki had no part to play in the affairs of either Earth or Asgard.
In all truth Thor now faced much the same dilemma as his father had long years ago – what exactly to do with Loki. Eternal banishment of his step brother to a fortified imprisonment within limbo was under consideration.
A bored Loki brooded in his confinement no matter that it was comfortable. The hatred festered within him. A hatred in many ways now greater than that which he bore for his half sibling when they were children and in their earlier adult lives. Loki's thoughts turned to possible alliances – Dormammu, Tyrant, Mephisto, Thanos, Zheillia and her dark gods were just a few of the names that crossed his mind. The enmity was so great that Loki was prepared to ally himself with any entity or combination of entities that would help to humiliate his half brother. Regardless of any price they might demand. Even Mangog briefly went through Loki's mind but that hateful entity had been killed by mighty Magni scores of years ago.
To this end Loki was aware of dark unfathomable powers that had plumbed far greater depths of evil than any of the traditional dark powers. It was to these forces that he would address himself if he could but break free of his current restraints. The Lord of Evil considered how to contact them.
In all truth since Lord Thor's ascendancy to power many of the traditional enemies of Earth and Asgard had shown little interest in either. There may have been considerable opposition to Lord Thor on Earth itself but with the sole exception of Mangog no extra-terrestrial or extra-dimensional force had menaced either Earth or Asgard.
It came to pass that Lord Thor now with the even greater consciousness, knowledge and awareness afforded by the rune magics decided upon a quest of some magnitude. To make contact with some of the great other-dimensional pantheons. Thialfi counseled against Thors departure – suggesting even that mighty Magni might go in his stead but the Earth/Asgard Lord would hear none of it. Thialfi even suggested that Thor undertake the quest in astral form or just resort to remote communication.
Thor pondered upon whom to leave at the helm in his absence. Strangely neither Magni nor Thialfi were chosen. The former was still seen as too inexperienced and the latter was best placed as Grand Vizier. Balder and Heimdall who had both served in the past and indeed Lady Sif all came to mind but in the end Thor left custodianship with Hogun the Grim temporarily bequeathing him with elements of the Odinpower. "Life may be a little dour in Asgard during my absence" mused Thor "but I have every confidence in Hogun ably supported by Thialfi, Magni, Sif, Hogun's fellow warriors and others. "In any event I can return immediately if needs be" thought Thor finally.
Prior to his departure Thor further stifled Loki placing a damper on an assortment of the evil one's powers particularly his telepathic and astral projection capabilities.
No matter, the Lord of Evil saw his opportunity.
He is known by many names – God of Evil, Lord of Lies, Master of Mischief, and Prince of Deception are among them. Sometimes the adversaries of Loki, son of Farbauti and Laufey and adopted son of Odin the Almighty forget just how cunning and deceptive he can be. It is not the vastness of his power but rather the sheer diversity of powers he commands and his willingness to use them. Even his step brother Thor, Lord of Earth and Asgard can sometimes momentarily forget the sheer craftiness, the pure wiliness of Loki.
With Lord Thor departed on his great quest to seek out other pantheons Loki waited patiently until deep into the Asgardian night. He knew that he was being closely monitored. Also Thor had placed a near impenetrable mystical energy field about his palace. Eventually Loki moved into a small antechamber of his castle where he was afforded some privacy from prying eyes. There and only with great effort Loki split into two separate beings. One left the ante-chamber for the master bedroom. The other half shapeshifted into a microbe without loss of intelligence.
In this microscopic form this part of that which was Loki was able to slip through Thors mystical energy field. Shapeshifting again part Loki took the form of a bird departing for a remote part of Asgard. The bird flew swiftly yet so silently that even Heimdall's keen senses would not have detected it. Mindful of the sensory capabilities of both Thialfi and Heimdall part Loki knew that utmost stealth was of the essence. At his destination part Loki "phased" through the base of a mountain into internal caverns. Only here did he shapeshift back into his normal form and thence struggle to project himself astrally.
The much attenuated astral form of half of that which was Loki would have been barely perceptible to the ordinary Asgardian. However it was as clear as day to those who received it. In a place that would have made Hel or even Mephisto's dread realm seem blissful two entities listened to the astral form. The mother(s) of the two spawn of Thanos were a matter of conjecture. Mistress Death and Mistress Love had been mentioned as had others. Suffice it to say that these offspring were not creatures one visited socially. But Loki was ready to strike a deal with anyone or anything that would listen.
The Thanos progeny were prepared to assist Loki but at a price and only so far. In mighty Thor's absence they would facilitate Loki's physical escape from Asgard. There was also something they were prepared to loan him – although in truth it was not theirs to give. Suffice to say they could direct him to it and could facilitate his acquisition of it. What he did with it after that was not their concern, but it would have to be returned.
Deathos and Thaove discussed two prices for their services. One if Loki was successful in his obvious ambitions and another if he failed. One thing the Thanos spawn made very clear – they would never join Loki in a direct clash with Thor in Asgard. Almost all known powers knew better than to directly challenge Lord Thor in Asgard.
When it's business was done that part of Loki that had escaped the confines of his castle returned in the same way that it had departed and rejoined it's other half making Loki again whole.
That next Asgardian night the grim one walked out in the City – he was very restive. With the benefit of the part Odinpower his senses tingled and he knew that all was not well. Hogun instructed Heimdall, Thialfi and the Asgard watch to be more than usually alert. Hogun then levitated a reasonable height above the city watching over all.
Heimdall and Thialfi raised the alarm almost simultaneously. An interdimensional intrusion near Loki's palace. Hogun the Grim, temporary custodian of Asgard was already on the scene. Thors mystical energy field about Loki's castle had collapsed and a good part of the castle had been destroyed in the process.
About to teleport away were Loki and two entities unknown to Hogun. As Hogun moved to stop them the larger of the two confronted him and in a brief struggle Hogun, part Odinpower notwithstanding, was thrown to the ground. Instantly drawing power from the very land of Asgard Hogun arose with fists clenched. The creature Deathos regarded the grim one for a moment as if he would relish the challenge. Then he seemed to think better of it as the trio teleported away despite Thialfi's attempts to hold them in an energy field.
Magni who had been with the Asgard watch approached Hogun and whispered in his ear.
The Destroyer armor further enhanced by Thor in recent times but not actually used in nearly 500 years was gone.
"We have no choice" said Hogun "other than to request Lord Thors immediate return."
The Lord of Evil looked on at the roiling mass of disparate life forces. The full range of emotions known to man or god issued from it and a few more as well. "There must be billions of entities here" he mused. "Much more" said the Thanos spawn Deathos, reading Loki's mind. "Where are their physical bodies" asked Loki. "They have none" responded the other Thanos progeny Thaove "at least not anymore." Loki chose not to enquire further about that.
"The life force amalgam that you see before you is a collection of as diverse a range of entities as you could imagine" said Deathos "the physical forms once possessed by some of them were powerful in their own right." "We offer this on loan to you for empowering Asgard's Destroyer construct beyond anything you might have imagined" finished Thaove pointing to the inert form of the Destroyer nearby.
"The price these two have demanded for their services is unthinkable" mused the trickster heavily shielding his thoughts while already considering ways in which he could avoid paying it.
"The ability of Odin's construct to absorb life forces has never been fully tested" said Loki. "Conceivably, energized by sufficient life force there is almost no limit to the Destroyers power" replied Deathos smiling. The smile reminded Loki of Deathos father.
Loki thought on the possibilities and the dangers, so many disparate intelligences, a dominant one might take over control of the Destroyer. Or it might simply be too many intelligences impossible for any single one to exercise control. "It is just an amalgam of life forces now with a very limited overriding intelligence" responded Thaove as if reading Loki's thoughts again. "The individual component intelligences are not discernable." "Whatever that means exactly" mused Loki again heavily shielding his thoughts.
"You are welcome to leave your own physical body here in our safekeeping" Deathos smiled again. It was an offer Loki refused.
Loki had been able to re-assert those of his powers that Thor had recently dampened. In part this was due to Thors enchantment being less effective in this place. Loki's interdimensional teleportation capabilities were a different matter as Thor had actually removed them totally. Still this was not an immediate issue – one of Thor's more recent refinements to the Destroyer construct was to add a teleportation capability, interdimensional and otherwise.
Loki struggled to find an optimum size for the Destroyer. Celestial size was comfortable in terms of housing the life force amalgam but otherwise seemed too large and too impersonal. He would savor victory more if he did not see his adversaries as ants. At the Destroyers normal size it was simply impossible to contain all the life forces within it. The evil one settled on something in-between – about the size of a large storm giant. Deathos and Thaove had been truthful about one thing at least. The overriding intelligence of the life force amalgam was modest at best and no individual intelligences were evident.
Loki saw the need for haste. Thor would be already be back in Asgard and would quickly trace him even to this remote and unutterably foul place. Thor would come and soon. Loki did not want to fight Lord Thor here. Victory would be all the sweeter in the ruins of Asgard.
Thus it came to pass that the Destroyer construct controlled by Loki's intelligence but empowered by a life force amalgam dwarfing, by many orders of magnitude, Loki's own life force arrived above Asgard City.
The Lord of Asgard and Earth was ready for it. Thor in recently made battle armor grew to the Destroyer's size and levitated skyward to meet it. Thor held what was once his fathers spear gungir in one hand and a shield that Loki did not immediately recognize in the other hand.
From the vantage point of their own distant dimension the spawn of Thanos watched on. "Have you discerned where the trickster has hidden his physical body brother?" asked Thaove. "I believe I have brother" smiled Deathos "in the event that information may prove useful to us."
The Loki Destroyer looked about, the location of Asgard's defenses was about as he would have predicted with one notable exception. He realized, disconcertingly, that Thialfi was nowhere in Asgard.
As Lord Thor and the Loki Destroyer confronted each other in the sky above Asgard Magni called out from below. "It is not too late uncle, you are of Asgard, you are one of us, and we should not fight among ourselves." Even as he said this Magni twirled his great hammer (once known as the hammer of Thor) at fantastic speed readying to throw it. As if he didn't truly believe he could influence Loki.
The only response to Magni's utterance was the energy that started to gather atop the Destroyers disintegrator visor.
Using not only his teleportation capabilities but every ounce of his legendary speed Thialfi, Grand Vizier of Asgard sought out the physical body of Loki. He did not know where it was but Thor had supplied some possible locations, some even going back to his and Loki's childhood. Thialfi was being systematic, investigating each possibility in the order of their probability. Thor sent him Balder and the Lady Sif to help with some locations.
Deathos, Thanos spawn thought he knew the location of the body but he had been cleverly misled. The entity smiled again, in truth a grotesque caricature of his own fathers smile. Thanos was almost handsome by comparison with this offspring. The Thanos spawn thought they had been playing Loki for a fool, but he was not known as the prince of deception without good reason.
As the energies began to gather atop the Destroyers visor Magni threw mjolnor coruscating with electrical energies directly at the Destroyer visor. Thus pitting one of Asgard's great weapons against another.
Magni was the strongest god of Asgard past or present. His throw at least as hard and straight and true as any his father might have made when the great hammer was Thors. Many of Asgard's enemies would have fallen before it, but alas not this version of the Destroyer. The hammer struck against the Destroyers force fields, which flared clearly registering the mighty blow, then it returned to it's master. As if the near indestructible durability of the Destroyers armor were not enough Lord Thor in more recent times had added more powerful force screens to protect that which seemed hardly to be in need of protection.
The Loki Destroyer high above Asgard was unmoved but the energies gathering atop the visor began to diminish – had the schemer experienced a change of heart? Not at all as the Destroyer struck wildly at nearby Thor. Loki had decided that rather than simply incinerate Thor under the Destroyers disintegration weapon he would prefer to first humiliate him with a physical beating the like of which he had never known. Besides it just felt good. The Lord of Earth and Asgard seemed prepared to oblige.
Using the shield of Odin Thor blocked the Destroyers blow although the noise from the its fist striking the shield was deafening across all of Asgard and was even heard upon the Earth. Thor struck at the Destroyer using the edge of the Odinshield putting it off balance. For a moment it seemed as if the Destroyer might fall to Asgard below and Thor teleported them both to an uninhabited part of Asgard.
There the battle continued. Leaving the enlarged gungir aside Thor with his strength still mystically augmented wielded the Odinshield with both hands. Blocking blow after blow from the Destroyer and again unbalancing it with well placed and timed thrusts with the shield. It was a display of "shieldmanship" that would have made an old and now long dead friend justly proud. At the same time Magni reigned blow on blow against the Destroy, without any apparent affect. Ay one stage Magni was swatted miles away as if he was no more than an irritant.
However the warrior in Thor soon tired of this semi-defensive approach. Sensing that Loki was having difficulty controlling the Destroyer Thor threw the enlarged Odinshield at fantastic speed at the Destroyer causing it to lose its footing. Thor then waded in pummeling the Destroyer with fists moving faster than any known pistons. By now Loki was even having difficulty controlling the Destroyer's size as it grew immensely. Thor mystically increased his own size to compensate.
Meanwhile together with Balder and Sif, Thialfi finally located Loki's body. It was in Asgard in the place that is not a place. Where as a child Loki had been able to hide from Thor and even from Odin. He did not know even now, that Thor had also uncovered this place in his youth. Still it seemed that if Loki's body was to be discovered he would rather it be by his own kind than the Thanos spawn.
As the trio looked down at Loki's inert body Balder was struck from behind and rendered unconscious. Sif turned and confronted Deathos impudently here in Asgard itself. Thialfi launched himself at maximum speed but was held firm by Deathos. Lady Sif struck with her sword but with his third hand Deathos grabbed the sword and easily broke it in two. The Asgardian trio appeared overmatched but just at the moment that Deathos prepared to make good his escape with Loki's body he was struck directly in the face by the mace of Hogun. Now if there is anything worse than being struck in the face by Hogun's mace it is being struck twice in the face by that weapon as Deathos will attest.
Normally even a blow from the grim one ought not to trouble one such as Deathos but somehow the fiercest of the warriors three had retained vestiges of the Odinpower bestowed upon him during his brief but recent custodianship of Asgard. Hogun the Grim is not given to smiling very often but as he prepared to strike Deathos again he was grinning from ear to ear. Deathos did not return the smile and deciding that discretion was the better part of valor he departed on the instant for his foul smelling habitat.
At 2,000 feet tall and still growing the Destroyer paused clearly in some difficulties. At this point Magni grabbed it at the base of an ankle and physically lifted it and threw it into a nearby mountain. It was a prodigious feat of strength by any standards. The Destroyer still seemed confused and was slow to recover. By the time it did re-enter the battle Loki's life force was compelled to depart it for his threatened physical body.
The colossus came to a grinding halt much to the relief of Thor and Magni. Thor sensed the inner turmoil within the titan and a struggle amongst vastly different intelligences to take control. The Lord of Asgard and Earth sensed also that the integrity of the Destroyer armor was being threatened by the sheer power and volume of the life forces contained therein.
Whatever battle had raged within the Destroyer was over. The giant moved coldly forward energies again gathering atop its disintegration visor as bludgeoning waves of Asgardian and other energies were directed from its hands against Thor and Magni. Between them Thor using Gungir and Magni using mjolnor were able to absorb much of the initial energy assault.
Still sensing weakness in the Destroyer armor Thor threw Gungir with all his might, the weapon defeating the Destroyer's energy shields and lodging in the Destroyers chest cavity. Before the Destroyer could pull it loose Thor grabbed it pushing it further in and wrenching it at the same time using it as a conduit to convey his own vast energies. Magni assisted the process with a controlled but nonetheless powerful godblast right at the breach in the Destroyer armor. It was enough, the Destroyer armor was rent asunder and the countless life forces therein drifted helplessly away into the Asgardian atmosphere. The souls were clearly in torment and screams even to numb the minds of gods could be heard across all Asgard and (laws of physics notwithstanding) across the dimensional barrier to Earth.
There are proper places for the souls of all living beings and they are under the custody of a far greater force even than Thor of Asgard and Earth. Knowing this to be so and exercising all of his formidable power Thor helped the tormented souls along their way assisting them in their long journey to the place of final rest. Magni looked on pride swelling in his heart as at the end of the long process his father offered up the last few souls still adrift in the skies above Asgard.
Back in his own body and with Thor distracted at the time Loki was able to escape his captors. But not for long. In truth where could he go that the mighty Thor would not find him? In the end with his teleportation powers already taken from him they found him in a pile of dung transmogrified into a dung beetle. In all truth he looked relieved to have been caught as it cannot have been that much of an existence.
As to the Thanos spawn Deathos and Thaove, they will not be paid for their services to Loki. Even if Loki wanted to repay them he is in no position to do so.