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Sins Of Our Fathers

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               Once upon a time there was a happy peaceful kingdom of snow and ice. Its people were large and strong, its landscape healthy. Though barren in appearance Jotunnheim was a land of hidden bounty for those bred to survive in this place. It was a fruitful land. The people in it were happy and their King, Laufey was beloved for his practical stewardship. Laufey wanted to expand the wealth of his people and so looked to the land of Midgard for colonization. The only thing in the way was a race of mortals inhabiting the rich land there. They needed to be removed, exterminated so that his people could take up residence. He knew he would be heralded by his people for doing such a thing and the history scrolls would favor him for all the good he did for his people. He was wrong.

                Asgard took issue with Laufey’s claim on Midgard and defended the mortals there. Odin insisted the mortals had the right to exist and so protected the little fledgling realm from destruction. Jotunnheim and Asgard waged war and in the end Laufey was defeated and the Casket of Ancient Winters taken. The life force, the very soul of Jotunnheim was removed from the land, to lay dormant in a dark room collecting dust. Jotunnheim is no longer fruitful.

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                Loki’s gut flips as the sight, the sound, the smell of his father’s crushed head fills his senses. Laufey is dead, murdered right in front of him by none other than his own brother Helblindi. This is it. This is the end. The famine has reached the royal family and the rations are almost depleted. The race known as Frost Giants is doomed to a slow death by starvation. The Allfather cares not. He turns his one good eye away from their plight. Have the Jotunn people not suffered enough for their mistake? No. Odin would see them suffer the very fate that they tried to inflict upon the mortals all those centuries ago. It is poetic justice, Loki supposes, but at the moment he needs to think about more important things, like running for his life.

                In the commotion of the assassination Loki slips away unnoticed. It is one of the few benefits of his short stature. He runs to his room to commit a desperate act. For months Loki has planned for this contingency. It is a long range teleportation spell, powerful enough to reach Midgard, he hopes. He has refrained from using it until now because he just does not know if it will work or where on Midgard he will land. He could land in the middle of a vast ocean or hot dessert. He could land in the middle of a crowd of mortals that may kill him on sight. It is a dangerous gamble and the odds are more likely than not that he will die trying to escape to safety. Loki grabs his large satchel filled with the last of his food rations, a spell book, and gold. He calls upon all the threads of magic he can tap and gathers the energy to him.

                The door to his room bangs loudly as someone tries to break into his room to kill him. Loki has only managed to survive this long because of his magic but his enemies are being bold today, now that his father is dead. A ball of green magic energy envelopes Loki just as the door bursts open and Loki disappears in a burst of emerald light. Helblindi sneers at the vacant spot Loki was just standing in, cursing the little runt to die.

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                Thor swings Mjolnir and hits the Chitauri wreckage as hard as he can. He is trying to help break it up without it further damaging the building or falling and harming people below. It is tedious and stressful work. The invasion happened three months ago and though Thor and his new mortal companions were able to defeat the Mad Titan, the carnage left behind still remains. Many mortals died that day. Odin has ordered Thor to remain on Midgard for the foreseeable future in case another attack occurs.

                Iron Man hovers just below and catches the separated piece when it breaks away, carrying it to safety. He and Thor are the only ones that can do this particular clean up assignment. They are the only two that can fly. Thor grabs the other piece of the wreckage and carts it off as well, saving yet another building from condemnation.

                “That’s enough for today. Let’s pack it in.” Tony says.

                “Agreed.” Thor replies. The two men fly back to Stark Tower for much needed rest and refreshment. The repair and renovation of Stark Tower was completed just two short days ago and Thor is grateful for the large lavish new quarters Tony has afforded him. Before he was taking turns sharing an army cot with Steve, which Thor found to be much too narrow for his broad shoulders.

                Thor sits down on his large new comfortable bed. It has a large heavy bed frame forged from solid English oak. It does not squeak or wiggle with his movements. It is sturdy. Thor changes out of his armor into some of his new comfy Midgardian clothes. Thor slips into a simple black t-shirt and set of blue jeans before meandering out to the kitchen to grab a beer and maybe something to eat.

                “Nice job on the repairs today. That damn thing has been teetering for months.” Clint says.

                “Removing it was simple, but keeping little bits from falling down to the street and hurting people is what is so difficult. I am glad the worst of it is almost finished.” Thor says.

                “Have no fear, the food is here.” Tony says with a small smile as he carries in four large boxes of pizza. Tony knows that Thor will eat an entire one all by himself. The blonde god has a hollow leg.

                “Oh sweet! I’m starving.” Natasha says. Bruce grabs a stack of plates from the kitchen and the crew dives in. Libations are distributed as music is turned on and the Avengers relax after another long day of hard work.

                “Why is Canadian bacon and pineapple considered Hawaiian?” Steve asks as he swallows down his bite.

                “I don’t know. Maybe because Hawaii was colonized by the Canadians.” Bruce says. Steve smiles at him. He’s not completely clueless.

                “So Thor buddy, is the beer in Asgard as good as ours?” Tony asks.

                “Aye and more. Asgardian ale is brewed with the apples of Idunn and is as golden sunlight upon the tongue. Midgardian beer cannot hope to compete.” Thor says. He misses home but he has been on campaigns before, one lasted for an entire two years. And as campaigns go, this one has been one of the more comfortable front lines he’s lived on. The fields of Svartleheim did not have pizza or such amiable company.

                “Sir, I am picking up strange energy readings out on the balcony.” Jarvis chimes in to inform Tony.

                “What kind of energy readings?” Tony says.

                “Unknown. They appear to be of alien origin.” The AI says. A small green light no bigger than a marble appears on the balcony then. Bright like the light at the end of Daisy’s dock it hovers in mid-air as it slowly grows in size.

                “Everybody suit up. We don’t know what this is.” Tony says as he gets into position to have his Iron Man suit erected around him. Mjolnir flies up into Thor’s hand as Clint grabs his arrows and Natasha grabs her guns. Steve’s shield is at the ready. Bruce just stands there. He doesn’t have a cool toy to play with. Maybe he should take off his shirt or something?

                The green light bursts like a firework in the July night sky, momentarily blinding everyone. The light is gone. On the balcony, lying in a heap is a very skinny blue creature.