Long before the birth of light, there was darkness. And from that darkness came the Dark Elves.
Millennia ago, the most ruthless of their kind, Malekith, sought to turn the universe back into one of eternal night. Such evil was possible through the power of the Aether, an ancient force of infinite destruction.
The noble armies of Asgard, led by Bor, waged a mighty war against the Dark Elves. As the nine worlds converged above him, Malekith sought to unleash the Aether - but Asgard ripped the weapon from his grasp. Without it, the Dark Elves fell.
With the battle all but lost Malekith sacrificed his own people in a desperate attempt to lay waste to Asgard’s army, but in vain. Malekith was vanquished; the Aether was hidden; and the Nine Realms were secure once more.
Secure for a given value of ‘secure’.
The problem with hiding ancient forces of infinite destruction is that ancient forces of infinite destruction tend to want to be found.
And, being infinite, they are very, very good at waiting.
The World Tree grows. The Wheel of History turns. And what was once hidden, will be found…
Heimdall the Observer, guardian of Asgard and keeper of the Bifrost, could hear the sound made by a sapling bursting forth from its seed. He could see the pulse fluttering in the throat of a squirrel half a universe away. His powers allowed him to see and hear as far as creation, but he did not need to use those powers now to be aware of the tread of footsteps behind him on the Rainbow Bridge.
He heard Thor chuckle ruefully. “Merriment can sometimes be a heavier burden than battle.”
“Then you’re doing one of them incorrectly.”
“Perhaps.” He paused. “How fare the stars?”
Heimdall smiled to himself. The Prince of Asgard was all but bursting with the question he truly wished to ask, and yet here he was, spending his breath in polite conversation. He decided to play along.
“Still shining.” He stepped down from the dais and thrust the sword Hofund into its holder. Sections of the Observatory began to spin and move, golden spirals and cogs rotating about one another in a thin mimicry of the nebulae and galaxies that danced above their heads. “Do you recall what I taught you of the Convergence?”
The lecturing tone came naturally to him. Years ago, both the princes of Asgard had been under his tutelage. He remembered Thor as an apt pupil, obedient and attentive when he believed in the value of what he was being taught. In that he had been very unlike his brother, who had been impatient and quarrelsome, eager to draw his teachers into disputes – until, that is, he had learned watchfulness, and had drawn secrecy around himself like a cloak. It was difficult to say which was worse.
“Yes. The alignment of the worlds. It approaches, does it not?”
“The universe hasn’t seen this marvel since before my watch began. Few can sense it. Even fewer can see it.” His voice trailed away as he allowed himself to turn his eyes towards the visions that he alone could see: nine realms turning to their own rhythms, drawn momentarily into synch. “But while its effects can be dangerous, it is truly beautiful…”
Obedient, Thor turned his gaze towards the stars. “I see nothing.”
Heimdall’s smile broadened. “Or perhaps that is not the beauty you seek,” he hinted, taking pity on his prince.
Thor did not deny it, although he did look sheepish as he gave in and asked the question that had been on his mind even before he had set foot in the Observatory: “How is she?”
“She’s quite clever, your mortal,” Heimdall admitted, bending his gaze towards Midgard. Nine realms and ten trillion souls, and the heart of the Prince of Asgard beat for only one. “She doesn’t know it yet, but she studies the Convergence as well. Even now -.” He stopped
Thor took a step forwards, immediately alert. “What is it?”
“I can’t see her.”