Understanding the Storm
Comes the Hurricane
Prologue - Falling
The darkness swirled around him, like smoke, like something alive, not like the void of space. From the shadows, shapes took form.
First, the great golden throne of Asgard, high above where Loki knelt, bare knees on stone. He looked up at Odin, whose face was stern and unforgiving, and the king pronounced, "You are no son of mine. You are my enemy and for you I feel only hate and scorn. Darkness and ice are your birthright, and to them you go. The light and warmth of Asgard are not for you, foul beast. Be gone."
Gungnir flared, blinding with power, and pushed Loki away, deeper into the clinging shadows.
Next, Thor came forth, wielding Mjolnir. He called lightning against Loki and hit him in the chest with the hammer, forcing him to his knees. "You think yourself my equal, you worm? My might is greater than yours by far; you are not fit to be my shadow."
"You forfeit my love, creature. You are no brother of mine." Thor turned his back and was swallowed by the dark.
Frigga appeared, but her eyes were cold and her lips sneering. "I have only one son, and he is bright and perfect. You were the foundling Odin Allfather brought home to amuse us all with your primitive ways. But you are no child of mine. You are nothing."
He held out his hand, imploring, "Mother!"
She turned away. "Touch me not, monster. I have no love for you."
"Mother, please!" he begged, and the desolation in his heart was an endless chasm. "Amma...."
"You disgust me." And she was gone, lost in the nothingness around him, the shadows pulling her away.
Loki stood on the ragged edge of the Bifrost, and before him was a gathering array of friends and enemies - Sif and Laufey, Fandral and Heimdall, Malekith and Sigyn, so many, so full of hate. "Go, Loki the Liar, Loki the weak, Loki the son of nowhere. Be gone from this place."
"No, please…" Loki whispered, "Please, I'm sorry, I tried, why will no one help me?"
But they all turned their backs and left him. Beneath his feet even the Bifrost abandoned him, the rainbow shimmer dying as the bridge cracked and crumbled. He scrambled to hold on to edges that cut his hands to the bone, but all of it shattered to dust.
There was nothing to hold him up. Ir was gone and he was falling into the dark again, screaming, but he heard no sound.
He was held fast. A warmth surrounded him from the dark and the cold, and it felt welcome until he looked up and saw the gray-violet skin of his rescuer.
Thanos grinned at him. "Mine. I shall play with you, little Jotunn traitor. I shall break you and you shall serve me, for all eternity."
"No, no, no!" he screamed and attacked. Thanos was amused by the futility of his blows and the knife blades that shattered on his skin, and then he tired of it, seizing Loki's head in one great hand. The pressure of his fingers threatened to crack his skull, as he inexorably forced Loki down. Loki tugged at the hand, kicked at him, resisted with every bit of strength he possessed, and still the hand forced his head lower, until Loki was crouched awkwardly on the ground, spine bending, neck bending, until his forehead touched the ground beneath Thanos' feet.
"You serve me," Thanos declared. "You are mine."
His grip shifted, to grab Loki around the throat and lift him up, until Loki's feet dangled. Loki clutched at the arm and pried at the tight fingers, but could not shift them a hair. Those lifeless eyes stared into him, pitiless as a viper, and his smile was nothing but malice. "Did you think you could escape the prophecy, traitor? You will make the Nine Realms burn. You will raise mountains of dead for me."
"No," he whispered, and the hand tightened, choking off all breath, strangling him.
Thanos leaned closer, fetid breath in Loki's nose, and his eyes gleamed. "There is no peace in death, not for you. There is nowhere you can hide where I will not pluck you out, little rat. There is no escape."
Loki had no breath to speak, could not have found a voice in his terror regardless. Thanos laughed. "In your place, toy. Until I have need of you."
Thanos threw him to the edge of the platform above the endless void. Loki slammed into the stone ground, and his ribs and legs shattered at the impact. He lay helpless, every part of him on fire with pain, throat crushed so he could draw no breath to cry out.
He was alone. No one was coming to help him. No one cared. There was only one way out, only one path to escape. He rolled off the platform, falling again in the endless chasm.
The darkness swirled around him, like something alive, not like the void of space. From the dark, shapes took form… Odin, Frigga, Thor, Thanos.. a parade to taunt him with hate and despair, to drown him in fear and pain…
He rolled off the platform, into the void…
The darkness swirled around him...
… again and ...
The nightmare held him in icy fingers, refusing to give up its prize. There was no escape.
He was lost.
... to be continued...