When Thor first came to dwell among the great warriors of Midgard, in their ship which was drawn through the sky by four tethered whirlwinds, there were many things which were unfamiliar to him. And he came to learn, as he had never needed to learn before, in all his travels through the nine worlds, for never before had he sought friends in the worlds he visited, that "warrior" did not always mean the same thing to his Midgardian companions as it did to a son of Asgard.
There was one thing which was familiar, though, which made him smile, here among these sparely furnished rooms of angled glass, as he recalled the songs and storytelling of the great halls of his father's house: of the mightiest heroes of Midgard, they were all of them poets.
The skald's way had never come naturally to Thor, not as the ways of weapons and of war-tactics did, not in the way Loki could stand in the midst of whirling chaos and declaim a few well-chosen lines to make the doughtiest of opponents lose heart; and Thor had been willing enough to leave those portions of the warrior's art to him. He had learned the least of the stories and the songs of his people, what was necessary to be king of Asgard, but what need he more when he would have his brother beside him?
And indeed, when, as a youth, he had at times attempted to sit by Loki and read the tomes of saga and myth which he studied so intently, to accompany him to the great convocations of poets and scholars at which the stories were taught and changed and created, Loki had only smiled at him distantly and told him to go back to his swordplay, for which he was better-suited.
And if Loki wished to keep his stories for himself, as he kept so many things, twined into that snail-shell of a mind, Thor would let him: it was mostly for the knowing of Loki that he had wished to learn, and Loki did not wish him to know this. He would have all of Loki if he could, but he would not take what his brother did not wish to give.
(Also he grew tired, as Loki lost patience with his questions and his fidgeting, of being chased from the room by a spell of foul sorcery which might turn him into a woman, or a frog, if he did not flee with all speed. Foul sorcery which, unlike poetry, was not a proper part of a warrior's arts.)
It was only after Loki was lost to them, after Thor realized that mortal humans on Midgard knew more of his own stories than he, that he turned back to the things that Loki loved so much, those tales of heroes and monsters, of great ventures and vast magics. He sat once again among the young warriors, learning the skaldic arts from Lord Bragi, and listened to Hogun and Volstagg in their cups, as they spun their great yarns - truly listened, as he had never done before; he sat at his mother's feet as she spun yarns of other sorts, and learned from her the songs she had composed in her girlhood, different than the skalds' but ringing with the same truths; he went to the great convocation, in his brother's place, and spoke to the poets and warriors who had composed many among the poems he was learning, saw the wild contests of wit and erudition, sat among them as they raised toasts to warriors of old and traded verses between them like thrown weapons, like handclasps between brothers.
It was as much a shock to Thor as anyone the day he sat in the great hall in Asgard and, unthinkingly, answered Iðunn's quote from the saga of Egil Skallagrímson with one of his own. All the hall stood silent and stared at him, for it was not a thing he could have done even a year ago, to so much as recognize the words of the wise, much less speak them; but he shrugged, from his seat at Odin's right hand, and said, "He hath need of his wits who wanders wide, / aught simple will serve at home; / but a gazing-stock is the fool who sits / mid the wise, and nothing knows."
There was a general murmur of approval from the assembled, and the conversation resumed; though the Hávamál was not so well known on Asgard as Erik of Midgard had spoken of it among his own people, so perhaps they thought the verses were his own. But his father favored him with one of his now-rare smiles, and for the first time in a long time, Thor began to think again that someday he might be truly worthy of his father's place in more than strength of arms.
A fortnight later he defeated Fandral in a contest of flyting. It was not so great an accomplishment - Fandral was only but competent at the art; to gain true renown he would have to defeat Hogun, or Sif, who in Loki's absence was the court's acknowledged champion in the art of insult. To a lesser man his friends' exaggerated astonishment at such a minor victory might seem an insult in itself, but he was too astonished himself to thank them with ought but sincerity for their congratulations.
So when he stood among his new Midgardian companions, and Tony replied to Bruce's complaint about dead equipment with an adage about a plaintive longing for the waters of the North, and together they recited the poem from which it came - a dialogue of a formalized sort - he felt himself truly among brothers, though he understood little of the poem itself or its forms.
When Steve closed a large book he had been reading, and recited to himself, "Now far ahead the road has gone / and I must follow, if I can / pursuing it with eager feet / until it joins some larger way," Thor knew how to ask him about the poem, and how to listen with proper attentiveness as Steve told him a tale of a warrior-poet of Midgardian legend, who went out seeking adventure for its own sake, and came home to find all things changed.
Once Colonel Fury, attempting to talk Clint out of adding a bright purple loincloth to his ceremonial armor, folded his hands over the conference-table, and said, "You will find, Agent Barton, that criminals are a superstitious and--"
"Cowardly lot," the others chorused all together, even Steve, and Natasha said, "What, Colonel, don't you think Barton in a loincloth will strike terror into their hearts? It does me." Thor laughed along, and thought to ask JARVIS, in his role as archive-keeper, to show him the saga of its origin.
And when Tony proposed a program to familiarize Thor and Steve with the most important tales and poems of a Midgardian skald's repertoire, Thor was more than eager to take part. After the first session - a viewing of one of the recorded dramas which they called 'movies', though most of his team-mates knew it word-perfect by memory, as was only fitting for warriors of their status - Bruce turned to him and asked him what he thought.
Thor frowned. "It warms my heart that the great Tattúínárdǿlasaga is remembered also in Midgard; but why do you begin only with the history of Leia Konigsdottir and the burning of the Daudastjarna? Has the start of the saga, the tales of Duku Joðison and Kvaeggan and of Paðéma the Fair, been lost to you?"
Tony crossed his arms and said, "Sorry, there isn't anything that comes before that movie, and there never was."
"Oh, but there is much valor and many great deeds! How, indeed, will you come to understand the significance of Veidr and Lúkr--"
Natasha was risen, her hand clasped over his mouth, quicker than Thor could follow. "Steve doesn't know the rest of the story yet, Thor. Let him come to it in its own time."
Thor nodded and she removed her restraint. "At any rate you would need my brother if you wish to hear the full tale, as it is meant to be told," he added sadly. "I have not yet drunk of the mead of poetry so deeply as you have, my friends."
"Don't worry, Thor," Clint said. "I like the prequel trilogy better too-" but before he could expand, Tony had hit him over the head with a cushion and spat, "Take that back!"
Thor leaned back into an over-soft chair of Midgard and watched the friendly battle that soon engulfed Bruce and Natasha as well. Yes, it was good to know that even here the arts of the storyteller and of the warrior were so deeply interwoven.