2019-03-24 - Overture to Shadows


Loki seeks out his exiled brother, Hod, master of shadows

Log Info:

Storyteller: NA
Date: 3/24/2019
Location: A ship in the Atlantic ocean

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Theme Song

Mother Mother Ocean


The creek and groan of wood and rope in the soft swells of the open ocean if a familiar if now mostly forgotten sound to human ears. To Hod, it is home. Ish. Okay, it's like one of his apartments. So there's that. The scooner, large and spacious for it's type, is set away for the evening, sail tucked and trimmed, rigging secure, and nary a speck of land in sight. The night sky here is dark and this far from civilization and it's overwhelming light polution, it's stars are innumerable and cover the sky in a twisting winding ribbon of celestial beauty. It's a sight only visible when one finds oneself miles from man, where people don't congreate and feel the need to chase the darkness away with lights on every surface.

Hod sits at the prow of the boat, it's modern brass railing acting as a place to drape his arm, his arm a place to rest his chin. His feet dangle over the side of the boat, dangling lightly in the air, jeans rolled up to his knees, sweater jacket covering the rest of him comfortably. He raises his free hand and takes a pull from the bottle that dangles there, letting the contents burn a path down his throat as he stares out into the darkness in silence, allowing the soft noises of waves and pullies and ropes and wood lull him into a meditative calm.

There is a soft sound that does not come from the boat. A flap of leather against a boot. It could have been a jumping fish, perhaps, but, jumping fish don't smell like leather, and snow. They also don't cause the boat to jostle with the rather sudden amount of weight near the stern. There is silence of voice, though. Though the shadows love Hod, the new presence doesn't cause them any fright, nestled among them like a close cousin. While Hod has lived in exile, Loki managed to discover a few of his tricks. Its been a while…he's not exactly certain how Hod will react, so the mischief-maker is tensed on his guard.

Hod was once something to behold. The antithesis of Baldur, dark where he was light, ice, holwing wolves, and biting winds when he was warmth, puppies in a pile, and gentle breezes on a sunny day. Baldur was a master with a sword, striding the battlefield like an avenging angel while Hod struck from the shadows with speed and consomate skill, a spear in the night.

Once he was a frightful thing.

That was a long time and one Odin-Exiling ago. He doesn't even /feel/ the same. The closer Loki gets, the more… mortal Hod feels. The edges of the man aren't clean and hard like they should be, that cold, that dangerous air of him is fragmented, crumbling, bits of it falling away around him even as he sits there. Hod is not what he once was, in fact, if anything, he's barely better then human anymore. Perhaps a cautionary tale?

He tilts his head to the side slightly and inhales through his nose, long and deep before rumbling out in Asgardian, "If Father sent you you should know, I don't die as easy as it may appear." and it's then one can see the cane resting across his lap, a cane that can't hide it's true form from eyes like Loki's.

"If any would come to kill you, it would not be I. I…come for a different cause." Seeing as Hod doesn't outright try to attack him, the dagger slides away in silence. He approaches, careful of the rocking of the boat, then sits on the slant of it, still some feet away. He's silent as he settles, looking at the faded Asgardian…his brother from so so long ago that he can barely recall when he called him that. Yet, Hod's cautionary tale has been ever on his mind, knowing that he was one breath away from sharing the same fate, for a very similar reason. "Baldur the Brave is being hunted by shadows. Not yours, I think. But…I have to ask."

Hod turns to look at Loki, actually /look/ at him, the hollow sockets of what should be eyes somehow possessing the ability to see when they should not. He's not wearing his glasses out here where no one can see him, and in the darkness, true darkness like this, he can at least make out vauge shapes, images, if little more then that. He looks so… old. Not old old, not like Father, but there are lines in his face that shouldn't grace the features of an Asgardian a mere three millenia old, his beard, his hair, there are silver threads in it. Not many! But a few, a handful maybe, but to many all the same. There are tattoos on his skin, they peek up from where his shirt is unbuttoned, glyphs and runs about his collar bones though it's to dark to read them or understand their purpose. But they are there, permanant marks made presumably by a mortal hand on Asgardian flesh.

"I," he hisses through his teeth, anger somehow radiating from the empty socketed glare, "will never harm my brother!" he of course means one very /specific/ brother. Reminding Hod of the reason for his banishment clearly doesn't go over well with the fallen.

The brother that could be harmed sits there while Hod glares at him, a mix of pale skin and dark clothing, the greens lost to the darkness, though his metal armbands can still glint in starlight. "I believe you. I also believe there is an opportunity in what has happened…for you to…prove it to father." Loki rubs his first finger and thumb together, letting his honeyed words soak in. Each syllable is crafted like a lure, conjuring up images of Asgard, the sounds, the smells, as if he could bottle the concepts with a perfect pronounciation. "I believe it to be Kek…of the Pesedjet. He is your counterpart…that drew their strength from mortal worship in the lands of Kemet. The embassy was attacked…by shadow creatures, who cried for death to the light. I come to you first, though, there is no possibility that you would be left out of this matter. Baldur is their target. We repelled them, but…someone released them, and it was not I."

Hod continues to stare at Loki, his sockets narrowing slightly as if they had lids, though the effect works when he draws his dark brows downward, "I have spent two and a half millenia among the mortals. I sat at the feet of the greatest manipulators in this Realm's history, listened to their words, their lies, and worse yet, their truths. You remain the best I have seen." it /sounds/ like a compliment. Technically. But Hod never trusted any of the Aesir, none that were not Baldur anyway. He was given good reason not to even before his banishment. Loki may remember that no hands were clean in Hod's early manhood.

He turns back to stare at the ocean once more, "It matters not what I do, you and I both know it Liesmith," he uses the Old English word on purpose and takes another swig from the bottle before turning to thrust it out Loki's direction in offering, "but counter point… Fuck Father." he lets out a breath, "If the shadows attack my brother my name will be once more whispered among the Aesir, and with it the hunters will come. I do not wish to kill my kin, /any/ of them." this time when he glances Loki's direction his expression is wry, "In two and a half thousand years you are the first to seek me out. The first. Of them all. I don't know what your game is magician, but I'm not sure it matters either. If the shadows stalk Baldur, then I shall stalk the shadows." his lips twist a bit in what might have been a grin if all the lines in his face didn't deepen with the motion, "Who better to hunt in the dark then a blind and broken god?"

"Thank you…" though if its for the alcohol, or the compliment, he does not clarify. He nears with caution, then thinks better of it. "COme…I would not risk the loss of what I have to show you…sit back here a moment." And he settles back on the slope where he was before. "And you are right, brother…though Baldur recognized it as the language of the Pesedjet…there can be no doubt that suspicion has flown your way among those in the embassy. But, they cannot find the man of shadows, because they do not know how to look for him. I wanted to speak with you first. The others are loud. Though you doubt, I have no doubt that I could not weave this to allow you some of your greatness back, at the very least. Care not what Odin thinks, but think of yourself." Loki whispers, plaintiff, /caring/, even, the way his words tempt the gruff one to have a hope.

Hod chuckles, "Think of myself he says." Hod quips, pressing the bottle back to his lips, "Do you know how long-No. No of course you don't. Because you were up there." he continues to stare out at the sea, his bare feet kicking back and forth slowly in the air, "I forget sometimes, what it was like. In the grand scheme I've been down here-what? Five times my span in Asgard? I know the palace of the forbidden city better then my own chambers back home. I forget it, the details, they slip. So then I peek. I look in. Been almost eight hundred years since I dared, but I used to do it all the time, just to jog my memory. Dad turned my chambers into a closet for broken armor and weapons last I checked in. Nice touch that, broken things. None to subtle is Dad." another sip, "I already told you I'd look into it, stop trying to sell me a car I already bought." he pushes himself to his feet with a groan and stretches, something somewhere pops and he makes a little happy sigh when it does. Then he meanders towards Loki, "You remember I'm blind right? You can't /show/ me anything, but tell me what you know, what you think would solve the problem, and I shall assist in what way I can." he holds up a finger, "Without! The others knowing." because he doesn't wanna get stabbed repeatedly.

"Oh /really." Loki's tone changes as he reminds him of his blindness. "As usual, my intelligence is underestimated. In this case, I think you can see it better than I can." He reaches out to take the man's free hand, turns it to palm up, and places in the center of it an object that is heavy for its size, metal, carved into a shape. Hod can feel it with ease. A beetle. No, a scarab. There is a hinge. The legs might move. The wings might move. Symbols. Glyphs. But, more than that, the object is absolutely riddled with shadow magic, and powerful stuff at that. Its not dead. Its just 'off' at the moment. "Try not to activate it and sink your boat. The last time it was active, it nearly destroyed the embassy. Our shining brother wished me to destroy it, but I figured out how to deactivate it. I thought you might be able to tell me more."

Hod takes the small beetle in his hand and sets the bottle down at his feet, his cane tucking up under his arm all in a single gesture. He cups his hands together over it and tilts his head downward. Lesser or not, some of the Aesir still clings to Hod, as the night itself wraps and twists around him, the fabric of that which is not light bending and conturing to his will. It condenses there, in his hands, slipping between his fingers and vanishing from sight… and then hissing away like smoke on the breeze once more, "Interesting." he says after a long moment, his hands opening and fingers now lightly passing over the scarab in detail. He holds it to his nose and sniffs, even licks it's surface with the tip of his tongue, a brow quirking. "Sand and heat." he spits to the side, "The Pesedjet always were a buncha prats."

Loki watches Hod with some tension, since if anyone else could figure out how to work it besides himself it would be Hod. And for all the obvious reasons, Loki hasn't tried to turn it back on again. "The only hand it has been in since its placement was my own." As Loki feels the shadows move, he stays alert, uncertain what the faded man might be able to do in a pinch. "You wish to help, anonymously? I suppose I can keep the source of our aid a secret…keep the glory for myself for the time being. Still, it has always bothered me to see the unbalance in the house of Odin."

Hod nods his head, "Yeah, I can taste something that tastes like almonds but that I'm pretty sure is cianide too. Chalked that one up to you." he offers a smirk before going back to the scarab, "I will require time. There are not wards on this persay, but I don't want to turn the damned thing on while I'm poking about in it's inner workings either." then he snorts and pockets the scarab, letting it slide into his coat, "I don't remember you caring much when we were kids Loki, nor when I was cast out. Keep your platitudes to yourself. My memory of home may not be what it once was, but it still catalogues injustices well. And I remember the 'girls' from our two hundreth nameday." a knowing glance is shot Loki's direction as he brings up one of the many um, 'pranks' pulled upon him in Asgard when they were all still much younger. "Smoke that you've been blowing up my backside aside, thank you. For letting me know."

Loki makes a humming sound and lids his eyes at Hod. "I had a few centuries of self-preservation to worry about…and all were forbidden from Midgard during that time. Still, I will tell you truthfully, I did visit a few times on the paths I learned from you."

Hod snorts, "Not all were forbidden." he points out, at least one Aesir was in Midgard all along. He bends down to pluck up the bottle and sighs a bit, swilling it about and using it's movement to check it's contents level, "I'll work on your little toy, I'll try to solve your shadow problem for you." he offers, "While you're not Baldur, you're not that fuckstick Thor either. I don't think you and I will ever be friends, but," he reaches out, offering his arm to Loki, "you are still my brother. Might not mean much, but it means enough to me. Thank you. For uh…" he waves the bottle through the air as if trying to encompass things words wouldn't. He doesn't finish the thought any more elequently then that.

Loki doesn't press his luck of making them the best of friends in one sitting, but he does take the man's forearm, and clasps it securely for a moment. While Hod has felt age and the suck of time, Loki's shadows reveal an Asgardian in his prime, but elegant, Princely, having taken full advantage of his privaledged life, despite all the perceived injustices in it. "He calls the fuckstick Mjolnir." He jests. "And…he is also on Midgard right now. I will say nothing though. I actually really enjoy looking like I have a secret, but refuse to tell anyone."

Hod nods his head, "Good. I could barely stay alive when sparring with him when I was at my best." and clearly he's not at his best anymore, "Now? I like ageing Aesir better then 'red pulpy smear' as a descriptor." he returns the shake with a fierceness, and despite his lack of eyes and how unnerving it is to stare into sunken pits in someone's face, he seems almost grateful for the visit. "Now get out of here before you attract attention and I get thunderbolted into oblivion or something and then no one is left to tell you about shadow powered wind up toys." besides, he has a bottle to polish off while he considers this rather monumental turn of events.

Loki stands up. "Indeed…I will find you again soon. And…don't lose that." Loki flashes a grin, and then there's a soft green and gold light, then a faint whoosh as the air fills the space he just left. Loki is gone, but he has dragged Hod back into Asgard's reach, even if its just in connection with himself at the moment. Thw two dark sons of Odin being together couldn't be trouble for the universe at all, right?

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