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Loki's Tale

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[The sound of a crowded feast echoing in a large hall. Closer, a table of people eating and listening to a young man recite over the simple plucking of a lute.]

And so the brave knight did stand tall
And raise his spear up in one hand
To smite the bilgesnipe where it stood
He killed the beast and saved the land

[Slowly filtering in over this comes the sound of footsteps and the clink of chains.]

Then climbed up to the highest point
Where maiden waited oh so fair
In purple silk and ornate lace
With ever flowing golden hair

[The background noises of the hall are fading as the footsteps grow louder. The lute stops.]

The knight knelt down there at her feet
And swore his love true for all time
And she -

[The bard stutters to a halt as the footsteps stop. The hall is now completely silent, as though holding it's breath.]

Loki: Is there no place laid for the King's youngest son? I was invited, after all.

Thor: Brother! We did not realise you would be coming when you have declined to leave your room for so long now.

Loki: A feast in celebration of our great Allfather? How could I possibly resist. I would have been here sooner but you know how it is when your feet are chained together. You just can't seem to walk at the speed to which you were accustomed.

[The clatter of plates as Thor pushes aside space for Loki at the table.]

Thor: Come, sit with me. Eat, drink, be at peace.

Loki: I had rather a different plan in mind. After all Jotuns don't need food or drink so I can only assume you begged your father to remove my gag in the hope that I would talk.

[There's the clink of chains and scatter of plates and goblets as Loki climbs onto the table. A few gasps from the crowd and chairs hastily pulled back]

Thor: You wish to perform? How wonderful, I have always loved your epics. Tell the one about the time we hunted the giant deer in Svartalvheim and we chased it for seven months all the while avoiding the attention of a single dwarf.

Loki: I have a better story in mind. I presume some poor bard has been forced to recite your account of the events of Midguard to these fine people. Perhaps, in the spirit of unbiased storytelling, they would like to hear mine.

Sif: Epics are about heroes, not murderous scum.

Loki: The lady Sif, charmed as always. [footsteps and chain clinks as he walks down the table.] Have you not heard that every man is the hero of his own story?

Oh Lords and Ladies gathered here today
Prick up your ears to listen to my tale
May Hel and Nidhogg guide my golden words
My unbound tongue left free to entertain

I'll tell you a tale of the trickster god
Who they call silvertongued weaver of lies
Named younger son of Odin allfather
A shadow of the true prince of Asgard

Sif: [muttered] Why must we listen to his gilded lies?

Thor: He is here to learn peace and trust once more, fair Sif. How can he learn if we do not show them to him?

The Liar who was raised on silken sheets
And once did fight beside Asguardians true
Stolen at birth by the man he called king
Discovered was left to fall into space

And so the shadow slipped through all darkness
He saw countless worlds beyond all knowing
Searched for the realm Midguard of which he had
Been told of how it changed the one true prince

From parallel space he watched their world turn
Night filled with smoke and lights to lose the stars
He saw no king, no unified presence
No hope for peace as all men craved power

Wars fought by those at such a great distance
They see not what their actions may unleash
They fight to drill for blackness thick as blood
That lets them spew smoke to burn out their sky

Thor: It's not like that, brother. You twist the mortal's honest doings to your own tale.

Loki: Do I, brother? How long did you spend there, truly? Scarce a week as I recall, do you really believe your precious mortals would have told you all their planets darkest secrets?

Sif: They cannot be any worse than you, you twisted snake.

Loki: If I am to be continually interrupted, perhaps I will retire back to my rooms and my studies.

Thor: No! You are free to be here, and to speak. We will let you tell your tale though I can make no promise to believe it.

[Sif scoffs scornfully but does not speak again.]

They press buttons to massacre a city
With smoke and fire a thousand miles away
Slaughtering their own kind like animals
Wage wars against their own with no honour

He saw them twisting metal and mortar
To build machines that take the tesseract
The energy of life and creation
And feed it into weapons that burn homes

These folk had been trusted with such beauty
But let it fade in second importance
To their own freedom and their greedy hearts
The fallen prince resolved to set them true

The silver tongued slid through space in the form
Of shadows and reflections in a glass
He spoke in whispers to a sorcerer
Of Midguard older but less cold of heart

He led the man unto the tesseract
And whispered in his ear until he chose
To turn that power of life away from war
Toward a way to bring the new king home

And so the exiled prince slipped back to space
To search for help in saving that lost world
He followed the echo of energy
Across countless systems and foreign worlds

He saw the Jate that fight with swords of air
And birth their young from nets up in the trees
He rested with them for three days and nights
But saw they lacked the strength so left alone

From there he found the lava fields of Hein
Where he walked in shields to save burning skin
The army stood ten thousand fire-armed men
But heat was their life and Midguard had none

He left that place of fire and slid instead
To Relaka where ice is life and love
In Jotun form he walked among the men
But they were full of peace and would not fight

Ten score more worlds he passed through on this quest
So far from the fair trunk of Yggdrasil
Some offered gifts, some rest, some weaponry
But none were fit to war with Midguard guns

The future king was almost out of hope
Tired and weak he stumbled on a rock
Seeming barren and empty of all life
He sat to take rest and rethink his plans

He had only meant to sit a moment
But proper rest had been lacking of late
Within a moment his eyes were closing
Sending him spiralling into mixed dreams

Inside his sleep he saw a blue scorched sky
Saw new formed lightning flash around his head
He saw his home with the gates closed to him
And woke only when metal touched his throat

The beings were not quite flesh nor metal
They led him 'cross the rock with spear and force
So tired was he, he had not strength to fight
His questions met with silence from the beasts

They voyaged for three days across the rock
With no pause, no rest and no sustenance
The trickster could hold no spell for so long
The rock so cold he walked in Jotun shape

No sun was there to measure the days past
And T'was in the sixty fourth hour they stopped
Fed him dry bread with melted snow for drink
Such that he could appear a Prince once more

Once the food was all spent and the Liesmith
Was illusioned in armour and green cloak
The escort led him to a stone plinth where
Creature with hooded face called him by name

The beings were other, the chitauri
Part machine and part skin powered by ships
Hanging hidden high in the darkest sky
Warriors all with no equal yet known

The shadowed prince smiled then upon their king
He sat on offered seat and told his tale
Of bastard son and deceitful brother
All that he did for love long since denied

Long hours they spoke of Midguard's suffering
Of the weapons they forced from cube of light
The other's king brought forth a long sceptre
The end of which shone as the tesseract

This he promised was the secret to their
Continued victories in all their fights
Twas filled with untapped power over minds
Of lesser men who could learn to obey

The former trickster took the sceptre in
His hands and watched it light upon his touch
It breathed secrets into his ear and oh
It promised all the worlds of which he dreamt

The sceptre sang words of the tesseract
A string like fishing line linking it to
The cube where it sat with the sorcerer
On Midguard the door was his to open

The hooded creature offered him a trade
The Chitauri forces at his command
To subdue the greatest Midguardian threat
And place him on the golden Midguard throne

In return they begged for the tesseract
Such that they could use its greater power
In place of the sceptre they passed to him
For victory in their future battles

The Silver tongued liar named prince and king
Saw the assembled hoards around that place
And being a liar in all such things
Made the promise with no intent to keep

He stood then among the army he'd found
And raised the shining sceptre in one hand
Feeling the magic well up in his palms
He bade them prepare their forces for war

With that he let the tesseract power
Pick up the light of the sceptre he held
And force the Midguard door which had been built
To pry open and let him travel through

The voyage was fast as the rainbow bridge
Like fish on line a hook tugged him through space
Stripped the illusion of armour and crown
Such that he landed weary and so weak

The door was built within a great chamber
Filled with machines of magic that they used
To control the cube like it was no more
Than an object designed for paltry use

The sorcerer to whom he had whispered
Was standing with a one-eyed man in black
Who called out as soon as the king landed
With threats of violence as was Midguard's way

The men around him readied their weapons
Fired bullets made from metal fast as sound
As to pierce armour were his shields not strong
But he was not yet so weak as to fall

The sceptre leapt unbidden in his hand
Filled with that power of Chitauri war
And fired the Tesseract energy out
To burn the men who'd try to fight their king

He leapt to fight a handful face to face
To show his strength and prove to all present
That he had no need to distance himself
From the glorious battle for the world

And so the new king returned to his land
The silence fell just when the men were slain
Save one, a man who had not moved to fight
Though reached for weapon as Loki approached

This man was known to most as Clint Barton
A Midguardian archer of great skill
Who's faithfulness towards those he obeyed
Would be his greatest asset to the cause

The Liar saw he knew how to be brave
And had a heart truer than those elsewhere
He raised the sceptre to the archer's chest
And took the man's loyalty for his own

Once done, he turned to find his sorcerer
Who earned his place within the new Midguard
When he worked tirelessly to construct
The doorway that brought the sceptre 'cross space

"I am Loki," The liar said to him
"I am burdened with glorious purpose."
And he took control of a second man
Such that he may be protected from harm

The sorcerer then spoke that he had known
The Asgard prince named Thor when he was here
And thus the liar knew that he could not
Be trusted anymore with his freedom

And so he told the men what he had learned
That mortals can't be left to run their world
And that he would take on himself the task
To bring Midguard back to serenity

And so he spoke, "Freedom is life's great lie.
You must accept this as truth in your heart.
And only once that's done may you know peace."
To this end he claimed the sorcerer's mind

The one eyed man continued to object
But was cut off by Barton the archer
Who moved to warn his king of future doom
Should they not swiftly depart from that place

The energy made by the Tesseract
To carry the trickster unto Midguard
Was gathered up in the roof of the room
About to bring the rock upon their heads

The one eyed man smiled at this one reveal
Promised them deaths "Just as Pharaohs of old"
Would fall himself to stop them leaving there
A brave but ultimately foolish goal

With but a word the archer drew his gun
To slay the one eyed man and take the case
Into which the Tesseract had been placed
And so all of the trickster's men escaped

The liar was led unto a vessel
Of iron and steel which carried him away
And though there was much pursuit through the base
The sceptre rose to defend its master

The roof was coming down over their heads
But they avoided all the falling rocks
By virtue of the skill of the archer
With one hand steered and with the other shot

And though their skill was great, their time was short
And all great plans require some sacrifice
The nameless man was caught upon that road
He gave his life so his king could escape

The archer sorcerer and their new lord
All made it out beyond the falling rocks
Only to find the one eyed man waiting
To fire upon them from craft in the sky

At this point the sceptre was nearly spent
And so too was its holder the tired king
But he raised it for one last des'pret stand
Sending the craft from sky into the ground

The one-eyed man leapt from the burning wreck
As though a demon from the jaws of Hel
But the vessel was swift and the night dark
Such that they vanished before he could strike

Through the shadows and darkness they travelled
And the liar's exhaustion was so great
He slept upon that berth left so unarmed
With only mortals to guard him in rest

As such was he carried throughout the night
And awoke in an unfamiliar room
That no mortal nor god could hope to find
Where Barton stood protecting as he slept

The archer's eyes shone blue like staff or cube
He laid the sceptre down at trickster's feet
And bowed his head over the king at rest
Speaking so soft and without emotion

"I wished that I could kill you where you lay
So helpless here with none to hear you scream
Selvig is old and too weak to defend
I carried you, you were at my mercy."

He closed his eyes like could not bear to look
"And yet my hands would not close on your throat
My knives were stilled not inches from your chest
So seems by all evidence I am yours."

The trickster took the sceptre in his hands
And rose up from his berth to stand up tall
"You will follow behind and keep me safe
As I command to you it shall be law."

He touched a hand to the other man's brow
With magic he quelled the last resistance
And Barton did kneel then at trickster's feet
"My king," he said head bowed in surrender

The king being kind bade him stand again
"You see," he said into the archer's ear
"Freedom is not the gift you all believe
Is this not so much easier to accept?"

And Clint shook for one moment like a leaf
Captured by twists of wind en route to ground
A tremor running through from head to toe
But spoke only two words and those: "My king."

Side by side they then left that room behind
And found the sorcerer in a chamber
Large enough for the start of glorious plans
With no commands he knelt and whispered "Lord."

Under the ground and with nought but two men
One older sorcerer, one normal man
The trickster saw the start of his new world
And knew the sight of victory in reach

Unto the sorcerer he set the task
Of building up the greatest of machines
To turn the Tesseract into a door
Through which the full army could be unleashed

The man did all he could within the base
But the rooms were clear of all things of use
And he was old with just two hands to build
So could not work as fast as was required

"Oh king," he said unto his greatest lord
"I cannot work with this and this alone
Need metals, powders, space to rest my work
And many hands make light the tasks of one."

"Of course, great sorceror," the god replied.
"Write down a list of all that is required
And I will bring you all that you may seek."
And Selvig bowed, thanked him and called him king.

With archer by his side he scoured the land
For men and means to help them in their quest
Turned them toward the cause with words or staff
And brought them back to serve beneath their king

Found scientists in towers painted white
Engineers building machines with their hands
Wrote magic out in numbers cross the walls
Their eyes lighting up with this new challenge

Guided by words of men and lines of code
Tracked crates snaked long running down metal tracks
Directed precious cargo from it's route
And with a flash of magic brought it home

And finally the archer took his hand
To lead him to darkest and hidden rooms
Where men with guns had services for sale
Smiled rotten teeth when hearing of his quest

He offered gold and land once world was his
Convinced with words and blood from slitted necks
And once they'd knelt and sworn their swords to him
He used magic to send them all to work

Then returned to the base to see his men
And while waiting as the machine was built
The Liar and thief stole the archer's heart
In order that he'd not be so alone

And everywhere he went the archer followed
And whispered loving praise where none could hear
His arms were warm round trickster in the night
Who then could sleep and know that he was safe

And only in the darkest depths of night
When Clint believed his king to be asleep
He whispered "One day I will see you die
And then feel nothing but vindication."

From then the liar, silvertongued glory
Slept ill within that place or on that world
And kissed the archer more to still his tongue
Than from any joy that it passed unto him

He took the sceptre more to the man's chest
Just to be sure that he would never stray
And kept him close at all time possible
With questions about all his other foes

So he learned of Fury the one-eyed man
And leader of the army known as SHIELD
Who once did try to stand between Mjolnir
And that great prince of Asgard who wields it

He learnt of the soldier trapped deep in ice
Who fought a war that spanned cross that whole world
Such strength and skills as to be words of myth
Returned to life to fight once more for men

And then to the man encased in iron
A sorcerer of great midguard renown
Though torn up from a past tried to forget
Still then he fought to keep his race alive

Another sorcerer, mild mannered man
Who changed himself through tests that were ill thought
That when angered turned to a fierce beast
No love nor loyalty just rage and pain

And finally with not small persuasion
He told of the woman he fought beside
Hair red as fire and suit black as night
Brings death like valkyrie by gun or blade

Natasha Romanov he said her name
And oh how his voice softened as he spoke
When sent to kill her spared her life instead
And there the trickster knew how she would die

The captain, man of iron, the beast and girl
All scattered lost and lonely in the world
And SHIELD so weak to lose to the trickster
When last he sent the destroyer to earth

The Liar gathered up this new knowledge
Used it to lay careful plans in the night
Passed silently across Midguard's surface
Set careful traps and tricks for victory

Then each morn he returned so silent back
To his men and sorcerers in the base
And back with ever more questions to which
The archer never failed with an answer

And so Clint talked through day and night again
With every word spoke his eyes glowed brighter
Where the liar held him close in his arms
And helped him to forget those he betrayed

They were not to be seperated there
Or so he hoped, but it was not to be
For the Chitauri were growing restless
And called to him 'cross space to have him speak

So losing Clint through tricks and misdirects
He stood alone to feel the hook once more
Sent shadow of himself back to be seen
Once more armoured before that dreaded beast

For no greater purpose was he called back
Except for threats and warnings for the same
For which the trickster had little patience
His plan unfolding just as he had hoped.

"I do not deal in threats," the trickster said
"Til I open the door for your creatures
And your force stands here strong, mine to command
To me you are but mist and smoke and words."

The Other snarled displeasure in his face.
"If you should fail," he said as a promise.
"There'll be no realm in the nine or beyond
No barren moon where I cannot find you."

He laughed out such a strange inhuman sound
"You think that you know greatest pain," he said.
"The one I answer to will make you long
For something oh so sweet as simply pain."

And with that threat like fortune from his lips
The Other pressed hand to the trickster's cheek
And with pain that would break a lesser man
The trickster was returned once more to earth

Deep in the base he closed his tired eyes
Pushed the ache down where it could be ignored
The archer found him sitting there alone
And sat beside him just to feel him close.

The servant's heart was great and oh so true
Promised a thousand impossible things
That he would save his king from things arcane
And fight a race so far beyond his skills

And though the trickster knew it could not be
He was still soothed so slightly from the words
That he did let his guard drop so briefly
And took the offered comfort as it came

"We move too slow," the trickster said to him.
"The Chitauri grow restless as a storm
And ever in their impatience I find
I am only a pawn in their great game."

Clint reached then to gently pull him closer
With no more false promises sat silent
For knew as well as fate there were no words
To save his master from the precipice

His silence was welcome in that moment
Gave liar time to piece his thoughts and plan
And only once he had found measured calm
Did archer say, "If it's a game then win."

And so he gathered up his men around
To bid them increase the speed of their work
Then settled to the sound of production
And watched the future taking form around

He walked among his people such that they
Could see their king gave them his full support
And thought himself no greater than them all
As without help any plan's doomed to fail

The sorcerer had blue glow in his eyes
And spoke he did of long conversation
With tesseract that great shimmering cube
For it did try to guide him in his work

And Barton though the archer tried to fight
The cube it spoke through him as easily
To guide him to his new ascended role
Finding the final piece of the puzzle

With this the trickster knew the time was nigh
Machine almost complete, the battle near
That small brief snatch of peace could never last
And they would soon be thrown into the fray

The archer stepped forward to ask his king
"I need some way to guarantee a time
Through which the path I'll take is free and clear
That I may take the substance from it's berth."

And so this was to be the trickster's path
To set turning the wheels he had long planned
Leading the enemy on merry chase
Unto his orchestrated conclusion

Into the flying craft is where they went
The archer, trickster and some of the men
The men with guns to shoot iron with fire
The trickster with his staff, archer with bow

As the ship landed on a raised platform
The men spread and secured the landing site
Then twas just Barton and King in the craft
Archer leaned close, whispered, "I hope you die."

Then he too jumped clear of the craft's doorway
Called commands to his men and they moved out
Following their leader down the stairwell
Leaving the king alone inside the ship

And though this was the start of his great plan
And he could see no way for it to fail
The king looked down at sceptre in his lap
And triumph tasted bitter on his tongue

His moment of discontent could not last
He closed his hands tighter around the staff
Remembered all the darkest midguard acts
The murders, massacres and loss of lives

Then reminded of his great conviction
He rose unto his feet and stood full height
Resplendant for one moment king of all
'Fore illusion covered him in disguise

He walked down Midguard streets, through Midguard ways
Where people passed without a second glance
So used were they to living with their lies
They could not tell that he was out of place

He counted down the minutes, watched the skies
Until the moment Barton should be set
Could only hope the archer would stay true
His mind still fought against the sceptre's strength

But the hour was far too late for doubts
So with the faith of one with nought to lose
The trickster walked into the grand palace
Through crowds and beneath ornate chandeliers

He watched midguardians feasting on the fruit
Of other's honest labours in the fields
Then taken by these men with red stained hands
To fill their stomachs up beyond their need

He stood upon the balcony and watched
And knew then that no matter what the cost
This world needed him more than it did know
And he would rise unto their wordless call

In normal times he would slip by with words
Lead his target into a private space
And take the services that he required
Where no one else would have a need to pry

But as he passed the sceptre hand to hand
He knew the time for secrecy was past
A distraction could not be done in quiet
And it was time these people met their king

So swung the staff around with all his strength
Knocked down the guard and scanned the silent room
His target stood upon a raised dais
Spoke full of self importance to the crowd

The trickster crossed the room unto the man
And pinned him down upon his own table
Where nestled in his unearned treasury
The king could take from him what was required

The Liar pulled a device from the air
Where he had left it so it would be safe
And pressed it down upon the target's face
Where with a little magic it would work

He felt the pull of the device's mate
Held up in Barton's hand against a wall
And with not a small amount of relief
Used magic to transfer the eye across

With Barton safely through the secured door
The king left the man to die on the bench
And turned to see the rest of his subjects
All fleeing out in a disorded crowd

Dispensing with pretence and illusion
The king followed in full armour and helm
Stood tall in cloak and sceptre in his hand
Used magic to surround the fearful crowd

"Kneel," he commanded to his subjects
They cowered and cried out but did not bow
"I said kneel," he repeated twice more
And like a wave they knelt there at his feet

The quiet fell slowly across the square
And in the shadowed twilight the new king
Could walk amongst this crowd of new subjects
And speak to them a little of their lives

"Oh my people, why do you never see
Is this not easier than what you had
Your natural state has always been to yield
That one unspoken truth of all your race

And oh, I know of that bright lure freedom
You scramble so for power or for self
But know that you have fought so long in vain
For you were made such that you could be ruled."

The king looked out across the lowered heads
He knew these midguardians were now his
He promised them their future like a balm
"And in the end," he said. "You always kneel."

And he could see that they all understood
By the looks in their eyes and in their hearts
They knew and yielded in that square before him
Save one an elder of that mortal race

And this man would not stay upon the ground
But stood to put himself above the rest
Unable to comprehend the king's might
Said would not kneel, "No, not to men like you."

"There are no men like me," the king explained
But elder man would not listen to him
Fighting as though he could not comprehend
The king's strength so required demonstration

But as the liar raised his staff to strike
And show assembled subjects his power
A being dropped like comet from the sky
Sending the blast aside like mirrored light

The Captain long frozen inside the ice
Dressed in bright cloth and masked to hide his face
Armed only with a shield which seemed so plain
Yet had skill to deflect the sceptre's blast

The people in the square scattered like flies
Leaving a space clear for the coming fight
A helicopter hovered in the sky
Defending the good captain with it's guns

Once more the mortals thought they could demand
That he reliquish the sceptre he held
But their guns were no match for all his might
And he did knock the captain to his knees

The battle was turned fully in his favour
When night was broken by a dreadful sound
And man of iron soared over the square
His golden palms raised prepared to attack

The king looked out across the ruined place
Last remnants of his subjects long since gone
And in the face of two full rested heroes
Knew it was time for his plan to unfold

He let the armour fade back from his arms
Vanished the helmet back to the abyss
And raised both hands before the two heroes
Surrendering himself unto their care

Then gathered up in chains and forced inside
Their foul polluting vessel of the air
And forced to sit in silence as the two
Heroes fought over between themselves

He saw now what the archer had not known
That these so called saviours of the world
Were little more than men and all so proud
They would not band together in this fight

One moment he allowed himself to think
That his plan would run smooth without a flaw
But fates demanded at that very second
The craft began to shake in grip of storm

The heroes were confused and unaware
But their prisoner had no trace of doubt
What other reason could their be for such
A sudden and ferocious local storm

And sure enough the ship was torn apart
By such a mighty blow from one Mjolnir
The weapon of the one true prince of Asgard
Whom once the king had called his own brother

Stolen out from his captors, liar flew
In Thunder's mighty arms unto a ridge
Where he was freed to stumble to the ground
Thrown once more at his brother's noble feet

He rose up from the ground and turned to face
The man who once had been his closest friend
And in that face saw little but raw rage
No hint of loss or sadness from days past

"Where is the tesseract?" The true prince asked
As though there was no history recalled
Though the last time the two had parted ways
Twas as the trickster fell far into space

And on that rock in Midguard far from home
Did Laufay's son and Odin's heir elect
Stand face to face once more beneath the sky
And the prince told the greatest lie of all

For Laufay's son was a frost giant born
Stolen as a child for to be raised
In someone else's palace far from home
"Brother," the Prince called him, that grandest lie

Prince listened not when trickster told his tale
How he was raised with hopeless vane belief
Left in shadow, fooled by Allfather's lie
That each of them had same claim for the throne

He told of all his plans for Midguard's rule
How he was working to Thor's noble quest
The humans could not save themselves alone
A King could restore them to greatest glory

But the prince would not listen to his words
Only demanded return of the cube
Which had been left back with the sorcerer
Who would long since have moved it from the base

And before he could explain his plan more
The man of iron appeared in the sky
And threw the prince of Asgard from the ledge
Far down to battle in the trees below

Through sounds of fighting, the liar sat still
And wondered on the status of his plan
If archer had succeded in his quest
And if he had then oh where was he now

For though he would not admit it aloud
His heart already ached for simpler times
The easy company that comes from love
It was clear he would not have it again

And in too short a time the prince returned
With man of iron and soldier in his wake
"You'll go quietly with these two good men
And once their task is done I'll bring you home."

The liar looked into the fairest eyes
Familiar face that once he called brother
And let them lead him back into his cage
Though he no longer called Asguard his home

They took him to a craft so wide in span
Could almost be a village in the sky
And though the king had heard of it before
Its majesty still blew him quite away

They were met upon landing by the man
In black coat and eye patch over one eye
Who lead a team of ten fully armed men
To escort the liar down through their base

The floating vessel hummed with their machines
The power seemed enough to run a city
And in the walk he caught a glimpse of those
Others who the archer had spoken of

His eyes were drawn to dark haired sorcerer
Ensconced inside a lab full of machines
Reminding him of the base left behind
And all his men whom he had left alone

But the man was important for good reason
This was the creature Clint has spoken of
As intelligent in this human form
As the beast was irrational in it's thoughts

And as he passed the window how he smiled
For all the elements of his set plan
Were sliding like a puzzle into place
And he knew all he had to do was wait

They shut him up inside the monster's cage
A box of glass and metal hanging high
And showed him how with a touch of a switch
The cell would drop like lead out of the sky

"How desperate are you?" he asked the man
Who stood to gloat outside his new built cage
"To call upon such creatures for defence
So lost and proud they will not fight as one."

The one eyed man looked back at him and said
"By threatening by world with your new war
The lengths that you will go for victory
You have made me most desperate of men."

"It burns you to have come so close," king said
"To have this power there at your fingers
That warmest light for all of your mankind
I will show you what real power is."

With that the one eyed man departed hence
Leaving the Liar with just his thoughts once more
And though he knew the torture on the way
He settled in his cell ready to wait

Far sooner than he'd thought, he heard a sound
And turned to see a woman watching him
Smaller than most warriors he had met
But still he knew her from the archer's tales

He had expected her to come in last
Once they believed him broken and afraid
She would extract the answers they required
From his tortured and long abandoned mind

"Tell me what you've done to agent Barton,"
She said inviting no arguments there
And then he knew exactly why she'd come
And something like jealously touched his chest

"Tell me about the two of you," he asked
If only to kill time until the plan
And though he did not expect full reply
She hesitated then began to speak

She spoke of the life Barton had told of
Falling too deep in poorest choice of crowd
And when the archer went to take her down
He stopped before his arrow left the string

And in that moment Loki knew the truth
He stole Clint's love from this, this mortal girl
"With your whole world in flux," he said to her
"You come to me to bargain for one man."

She broke down there before his glass walled cage
And in a moment of careless misthought
He let a hint to his true plan slip out
And she left him alone there in the dark

But though this one slight lapse could not be stopped
He counted down still until the moment
The full extent of his scheme was revealed
And when the floor lurched neath his feet he knew

He stepped up to the glass that sealed the cell
Counted the seconds back down from sixty
And had not yet reached ten when the men came
Three shapes in black who ran towards the door

At his instructions they typed in the code
That would open the door and let him out
Then retreated back out of that chamber
Left their king to complete his own set tasks

With common enemy there was a risk
That all these wayward folk would band as one
And with the stakes of battle set so high
The trickster did not dare to take the chance

Set illusion in the door of the cage
A trick he had perfected as a child
And Thor - the Asgard Prince - when he saw it
Went racing up to catch him in escape

His charging form did pass clean through the door
Which sealed shut behind him locking tight
And then did Loki let the image fade
Replaced with himself standing set apart

"Are you ever not going to fall for that?"
He asked of his imprisoned once-brother
"These humans think we are so immortal
Would you like us to test that theory?"

He paused, his hand above the red button
To send the Prince tumbling from the sky
But before he could move his hand to press
He heard the sound of weapon raised behind

"Move away please," said the mortal human
Raising a gun that shone with orange fire
"We built this from the destroyer you sent
Even I don't yet what it will do."

The Liar turned to catch his brother's eye
Because, yes, this is what midguardian's do
They build their weapons without care or heed
Of what lasting effects their deeds may have

The trickster raised the sceptre in his hand
And plunged the blade up through the mortal's back
As the illusion of his shape faded
And his true form came visible behind

The mortal fell dying down at his feet
And he stepped past the man to the button
Sparing barely a glance toward the cage
Sent brother, liar, prince down to his doom

"There's a new perfect world coming," he said
To fallen cage and dying mortal man
"And sacrifices must be made if we
Are to make it through to a bright new day."

Standing tall he walked away from that place
Out through the corridors of falling ship
And his men led him down deserted halls
To the aircraft awaiting his approach

"Five dead," the leader said as he sat down
"Selvig is waiting for us on the road
I hear that the machine is now ready
Awaiting your arrival and commands."

The king nodded and settled in his seat
As the engines fired up and they flew off
He looked around the cabin and noticed
"The archer, Barton, why is he not here?"

The men's leader shrugged once and glanced around
"He said himself to leave once we had you
No waiting and no turning back for men
Any who stay get left behind to die."

The King knew well there was no time to stop
And knew also that Barton would be here
If there was any way he could have been
Such was the great power of the sceptre

And so he settled in his seat again
As they flew far away from that dark place
And once more t'wards the light of fair future
A better place for Midguard and it's men

And if he was alone on that great seat
That golden throne from which he'd run the world
It may even be better off that way
For trust when giv'n is ripe to be betrayed

[Long pause]

Loki: Well, don't all rush to clap at once.

Sif: That's not how it ends. There was a battle, you lost.

Loki: I never lose, fair Lady, I simply plan a longer game.

Thor: So many of your beliefs are misguided, brother. You are loved here, you are needed here. Your thoughts are much misled but you must see how you can lose this bittern-

Loki: I see nothing but an Asguardian prince who has once more listened not to a word I say.

[There is a thud and a clank as Loki jumps off the table onto the stone floor.]

Loki: Now if you will excuse me, I think I have exhausted my ability to tolerate the present company. Give my warmest regards to your father, if he ever bothers to make his appearance.

Thor: Our -

Loki: My dearest brother, leave the lying to those with the talent for it.

[Footsteps and chain clinks grow fainter in the silent hall as Loki walks away. A door slams, and then silence.]