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08 October 2013 @ 03:52 pm
Hail of Shadows 19/20  

As Loki looked to that dome of the sky far above, resigned to his inevitable end, the opening suddenly filled with a strange dark blue light that grew brighter, like an indigo star had fallen down the chimney straight for him.


It rained down on them both, splashing on Malekith's head and body, and he screamed in surprise and agony.

It fell on Loki, too, a liquid so cold it felt like acid fell on his bare chest, running in all directions. It burned everything it touched with cobalt flame but left behind ice instead of ash.

He tried to cry out, choking on the collar's grip. His body was aflame in agony, burning, helpless under the onslaught. The frostfire spread like something alive, and frost covered his torso and up to his neck.

At first he cursed the Frost Giants for their clumsy attack, but then, after the first wave spread over him, the frostfire stopped hurting. It left no mark and the frost did not hurt him, unlike Malekith whose white hair was burning with blue coldfire, as Thanos twirled, trying desperately to call true fire to rid himself of it. But Malekith's body had few defenses against it and the ice grew all around him, covering him in ice and snow, as the chamber turned frigid.

And Loki smiled with eager anticipation, because this would not only hurt Malekith significantly, but Loki needed only a little bit more... a tiny bit of help and the frostfire to go in the right places, and he could turn this to his advantage. And whether it was his mind directing it or the frostfire itself, it did.

The frostfire spread to the chains that held Loki's legs to the altar and dripped down his arms to find his manacles. It pooled in the valley created where the collar pinched the flesh of his neck.

He felt the exact moment the collar's molecular composition altered. He activated the potential energy he'd stored in it with a hoarse word and a mental shove. The collar splintered open. He dragged in a breath, past the painful bruises, and whispered the spell to crack the manacles and chains that held him down.

The room was growing bitter cold and frostfire was crawling along the floor and heading for the walls, as he sat up. He rejoiced in the cold; it would be dangerous for anyone else, but for him, it matched the cold rage that filled him. It was all his: all this power belonged to him, the frostfire belonged to him. He pulled its power into himself, halting its progress and draining the fire from it to renew his own strength and stand. He held out a hand, and the Casket flew to him as if it was coming home.

The ice exploded away from Thanos. Malekith's hair and much of his clothes were burned off and the damaged half of his face looked worse, gray and pitted by frostbite. But Thanos' power animated him still, a rictus of a grin on his face, and his eyes glowed with his hatred for all life.

"And now, we have a reckoning," Loki murmured, gaze fixed on him. He held up the Casket in both hands as the pale pink unfurled over the blue in his hands and the gold-chased royal Asgardian armor and his cape flowed into place with easy familiarity.

Thanos said in scorn, "You wear their armor, wear their face, but you are no Aesir."

"Not by blood," Loki agreed with a strange yet welcome calm. His blood had kept him alive when the frostfire poured down and freed him from his bonds, but now he needed the Aesir training that enhanced and expanded his Jotunn power. He had felt he belonged to neither but now, for the first time, he felt he understood, he was a being never before seen in the Nine Realms; he was a power made for the twilight of days and the death of gods.

He was not one nor the other: he was both.

With an icy clarity of mind and vengeance a hunger within, he called the Casket's power into his grip. Using the same spell Sigyn had tried, but far stronger now, he reached for Thanos to rip him out of Malekith's body and crush that bodiless spirit.

Thanos countered, blocking him, but his counter-attack was no blow, only a whisper of influence. A shadow descended.

"No." Loki staggered back a step, struggling to force it away, and stop the insistent vision from burrowing in his mind.

Loki attacked again, the Casket rousing the frostfire into a wall of cobalt flame and ice hurtling at Thanos.

Thanos shielded himself from the attack and spoke words of activation.

Surprised, Loki glanced behind as a portal formed, powered by the dim lines of force beneath his feet. They had been hidden by the frost before, but now he saw this whole chamber was a work room with pre-drawn lines in the stone, circles and triangles set inside one another, runes and glyphs carved for power and protection, and Thanos woke them for a portal.

Snarling defiance, Loki hurled the power of the Casket at Thanos, who held up a palm to reflect it against him.

Loki fell backward, and he clutched the Casket tightly, still trying to reach Thanos, reaching for more power. Glancing in the direction Sigyn had fallen, he remembered his promise. She was dead because of him, at least he could save her people -- Only Malekith and Thanos, keep control... When he tried again, he focused the power entirely on peeling Malekith free from his possession. All around him, the power of the Casket screamed and swirled.

But Thanos did not surrender. He struck again, shoving Loki back another step, while another vision seized his mind…

The pale ones come back, but this time they come for him, catching him in a net. He hisses and throws his magic and his knife, but he can't get free. They haul him to a place too bright, too big, and put him in a cage. He snarls and screams, and he beats at the walls, wanting out, but there is no out. Their food makes him sick so he stops eating. He curls up in the corner, as the weight of the cage and the lights and the heat press down on him.

The pale pink ones visit. They speak, but it is only empty noise. The one with the long golden hair seems to want something from him, her eyes soft with pity. Fearless, she enters his cage, kneels before him, and holds out her hand to him. Though he expects a blow, he is too weak to move or attack. Her touch is gentle as she smooths his matted hair. He thinks about biting her or clawing her white flesh to make her go away, but he also wants her to stay. He closes his eyes and dreams of being free on the ice.

He was dimly aware that was not him. It was a dream, a nightmare. It was not the truth and yet it felt true. He cast a freezing spell at Thanos, trying to freeze Malekith's body to icy death and force Thanos out. But even then, he saw the cage in Asgard, and he felt Frigga's hand on his hair as she soothed the wild animal who was not her son.

Thanos cast a blow of force, and Loki stumbled backward. His boot and the hem of his cape crossed the event horizon of the portal, and it seized him.

Thanos grinned in vicious delight. The demon eyes went blank, and Loki's last sight of Svartalfheim was of Malekith's body collapsing to the floor, a broken discarded toy.

The plains of ice called him, whispering that was where he belonged. He was one of those lonely shadows, waiting in the blowing snow. The cage was too bright and warm, and he wanted to make it colder, more like home.

But Asgard… was it not home?

A faint whisper came from his throat, in desperate, lost plea: "Amma, help me."

But it was too late. The portal pulled him in. Squeezing him tightly in transition, it spat him out the other side, far from Svartalfheim.

Unaware of where he was, or who he was, while in his hands the Casket roared with power unleashed,

Loki fell.

Crossposted from DW There are comment count unavailable comments over there. Feel free to comment wherever.