2019-10-05 - From The Fiery Depths


Fenris has an interesting visitor who brings news on the attacks on the Asgardians.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Oct 5 04:28:33 2019
Location: Central Park

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Theme Song



Often when the Old Wolf calls up asgardians who are not Astryd, it means that something is afoot. Today that's no exception though the meeting point is in Central Park rather than at Fenris' house. He's waiting there, patiently, with a guitar at which he's picking and a small party keg of godsmead which he'd broken out of storage for the occasion. And if he broke out the godsmead, it might be a formal occasion.

"And the timbers groaned, river wind softly moaned that the king in the sky doesn't know how a wolf's vengeance grows…"

Timbers and Wind. A favorite of his. It's a somewhat melancholy song, really.

Astryd has been looking at Fenris curiously as she lounges on a bench near him. "Godmead, my heart? And that song?" She rather wonders what he is up to.

"I shouldn't be surprised you can still surprise me, won't you give me even the smallest of hints?"

Receiving an 'invitation' from Fenris is akin to receiving an official summons from the Allfather, at least in Sif's mind. Not knowing exactly what to expect, she comes prepared. She's dressed in full armor, her travel pack is on her back with a couple of days' worth of provisions, and she has a pouch of healing stones along as well.

"Fenris. Astryd. Well met." She looks from one to the other and back questioningly.

And no, no rollerskates anywhere to be seen.

"Sif." Fenris pours a mug of godsmead and holds it out to Sif. It's actually a good thing that she's in full armor with provisions but possibly not for the reasons she thinks. Astryd gets passed a mug of godsmead as well.

"I got an interesting message from abroad, today." That's in answer to Astryd's question. Abroad in this context means 'from beyond earth'. And if Fenris got it directly without Astryd knowing about it, it was likely sent in secret and meant only for his ears. He lays the guitar aside and gets some mead for himself.

"The visitor should be here any mo- Ah. There she is."

Striding toward them is a woman dressed similarly to Sif but instead of dark hair, hers is fiery red and falls to her waist, and she has what the norse would have called a 'sparth axe' rather than the short arming sword Sif has.

Sif and Astryd may both recognize her despite her human guise. Her name is Sinmare, and she is a handmaiden of Sindr, daughter of Surtur of Muspelheim.

Sif accepts the tankard from Fenris even if she continues looking confused, though that only lasts until she turns to look at the newcomer. Then, it's a bit of a wonder that she doesn't promptly drop her beverage and pull her sword. Or, maybe it's a testament to trust in Fenris that she waits to see why the handmaiden is here.

She studies the denizen of Muspelheim warily, as if trying to divine her reason for being here. She can already guess it's nothing good.

"Sif! We should go skating again!" Astryd calls out as the dark Asgardian arrives. "It was so funny how you went over that fence …" That's likely to get her clocked if she's not careful.

"A message, my heart?" It's not all that common for Fenris to not share information with her that he has her wondering.

When Sinmare arrives, the blonde moves like lightning, taking the pin from her hair and transforming it. Placing herself between the God Wolf and the newly arrived handmaid, the reckless Valkyrie glowers. "What is you want here?"

Such a welcome.

The woman stops short when Astryd draws her sword and reaches behind her to lay a hand on the haft of her axe. "Peace, Valkyr. I have not come to battle you this day."

Fenris steps forward and lays a hand on Astryd's sword arm. "It's alright, Raven."

Sif gets a rather concerned look but that's more for Astryd and less for her going over a fence on roller skates.

"Sinmare is here with some… concerns about her mistress."

"Aye." The flame haired woman says. "Wilt thee and thine treat with me?"

Again, Astryd's rash response to Sinmare's arrival has Sif looking at her for a moment. But then, as the woman has come seeing peaceful conversation and Fenris is backing her, she does so as well.

"Well met, Sinmare. I am Sif of Asgard." She glances over at the other two briefly. "This is Valkyr Astryd and I would expect that you already know Odinsbane Fenris."

"You show your face here …" Astryd growls, ready to spring to a fight. "It is never alright, my heart to have one of these in our midst." It takes a long moment for her to put the sword and shield away, expertly pinning her hair back up quickly.

"What is it you wish to treat with us about? What are your concerns about your mistress?" She's not being polite.

"I do yes. It was he I asked to send a message. I could not trust any other." Fenris is at least known to serve no master but himself and is known to occasionally consort with other Asgardians. Beyond his consort, that is.

"As you may or may not know, my Mistress has engaged agents on earth to target descendants of Asgard. This had caused some… concerns in the court but no one has dared defy her. However I recently discovered… something disturbing…"

The woman takes a deep breath. "I wish it to be understood that I am betraying my mistress to tell you this. But she has done this in service to something else. Something from Outside. And her aim is to begin a war with Asgard."

Sif nods as Sinmare starts by stating what they had mostly already figured out about the Aesir descendants being targeted, but the fact that she's working for someone else is … even more worrying news. "What could she possibly think to gain by beginning a war with Asgard?"

It just … boggles the mind. Asgard would not be merciful to Muspelheim in any way.

The disdain from Astryd is palpable. Whatever is going on with her is getting worse - usually it is she that counsels calm and caution with Fenris and now she seems prepared to burn the whole thing down.
"We are aware of this, Sinmare. We have seen the results of her attempts. It is cowardly and just like your Mistress to be." She sneers. Her eyes narrow at the mention that of Outside.

"Who? Who is she dealing with from Outside?" bear "Tell us now or face my sword."

"Astryd!" Fenris snaps, trying to bring the newly aggressive raven to heel. What has gotten into her? "She contacted us and came under a flag of truce. There's no need to threaten her."

Sinmare looks at Astryd for a long moment and then at Sif.

"She doesn't gain anything. Not of her own at any rate. But her Master, I believe, benefits from the chaos that would result from such a thing. And Surtur lets her do it because he is not aware of the ulterior motive and because a weaker Asgard is to his benefit."

She takes a breath and lets it go. "I cannot prove it. But I *believe* that the responsible party is one of the Octessance."

The Octessance? Sif hasn't heard of this before, but she knows Fenris will explain it. Later.

"Would it be to our benefit to inform Sutur of his daughter's alliance and ulterior motives? I would imagine that he would not take kindly to someone undermining his authority by using Sindr in such a manner." Of course, it would be a gamble, as it is entirely possible that the king of Muspelheim would think the Asgard going to war would be a GOOD idea and would encourage the attacks even more.

Ugh. This is why Sif chose to be a warrior. Statecraft makes her want to hit something.

Astryd … bristles at Fenris' tone but settles into a protective stance between her Lord and the handmaiden, still glowering.

At the mention of The Octessance, the Valkyrie cureses inventively. "Has your mistress decided to try and take part in their wager?" Poor Sif, Astryd knows of them, but how is a good question. "For what purposes has she treated with one so lacking in honour?"

Fenris can see his Raven isn't happy but she's stopped threatening?

"And which one?"

"Dimensional deities. Eight of them as the name implies." Fenris says briefly to Sif. Not people that she will have been familiar with likely. They've been pretty quiet for ages. If one of them is active now…

"I think that is likely. Or perhaps she is simply more interested in their games than her father's right now. I do not know if telling Surtur would do anything. He might stop his daughter, but he would have to believe us first. And if I thought I could convince him, I would have gone to him instead of Fenris." Sinmare says.

"Which means we either need to stop her ourselves or we need proof." So not statecraft, this problem. Stabbing things.

"Yes. I think, Astryd, she is aligned with Balthakk."

That'd be the one who seems to have power over energy. Especially heat and light.

Yeah. Sif clearly has never heard of these dieties before, though that's likely not all that surprising. But, stopping Sindr? That she can understand, and she is only too happy to do.

"Do you perhaps have any information about where the next attack will happen? Or how they are choosing the places to target?" She's suspected for a while that part of it is someone following her, but she has no way to prove it, and nothing she could do about that even if she could. Unless…

No. Requesting Loki's assistance would be risky at best.

"The Octessance have a wager as to who is the most powerful among them." Astryd does not sound happy. Whether that's because Fenris chided her or just the fact they're dealing with Sinmare, that's an even bet. "They created artifacts and took avatars to play it out. Sindr might have decided that being in Surturs shadow is just … boring."

"Blathakk … their power is heat and light based. It makes sense the Lady of Cinders is dealing with *them*. We could find their avatar by locating their artifact, Sif…" There's a meaningful look for that. They know someone who is the God of Finding Things.

Sinmare, perhaps to Fenris' mortification, is totally ignored.

"Their avatars are quite potent." Fenris notes. "And their artifacts have transformative power. It would be a good way to get their attention but the question is still 'why' does Balthakk want Asgard weakened and a war started between it and Muspelhiem."

"That's no big mystery God-Wolf." Sinmare says. "Asgard would move to protect humanity's independence. It cannot do so if it is fighting for its survival or if it's agents on Midgard are being eliminated."

The redheaded woman shakes her head at Sif. "Not as such, no. I do know, however, that she is deliberately targeting those near to people of influence. She wants to make you all feel and appear helpless in the hopes that it will goad you into acting rashly."

Astryd at this point gets a look from both Fenris AND Sinmare.

And from Sif as well. Sif even adds a faint frown to her look. "I will see about finding their artifact, then," She tells the others. "This must be resolved quickly, Midgardians are suffering due to Sindr's scheming."

"Astryd, may I speak with you briefly?" She's trying to make it sound like she's going to consult with the Valkyr, though the way she glances at Fenris and the apologetic and polite nod she gives to Sinmare make it clear that that's not the only topic of discussion that she has in mind.

"That makes sense" the blonde nods slowly, giving Fenris and Sinmare a questioning look as they look at her. "I'm not going to do anything rash, though your mistress might regret allying against Asgard in this."

Yeah, not rash at all.

"What is it you have to say, Sif? I'm sure it can wait till we're done here." She's polite but there's resistance to be drawn from the conversation.

"If we find Balthakk, what is it you are prepared to do about your mistress?" That's to Sinmare.

"I will do what is necessary to prevent her from endangering this reality, and herself in the process." Sinmare says. "I am her loyal handmaid."

Which does her credit in a kind of annoying way. Were she not so loyal they might have an ally inside Muspelheim instead of just an ally of convenience.

"Take this." The flame haired woman continues, offering up a small chain with a deep red ruby set into gold hanging off it. "It will enable me to contact you later should I discover more of importance. For now it is imperative that you investigate the Eight and Balthakk in particular."

Fenris reaches out to accept the token. A speaking stone. Sif and Astryd will both be familiar.

Sif watches Astryd for a moment longer, but seeing as the Valkyr seems to be settling at least a little, she relents. "You are correct, it can wait." And she turns her attention back to the topic at hand.

"I will find out what I can about Balthakk, and search for his avatar on Midgard." Yes, she has an idea who can help her with both of those things. "Thank you for risking your safety to bring us this information, Handmaiden Sinmare."

"That is good." Astryd answers, grey eyes stormy and wild, but she's not being quite so adversarial at the moment. "I expect that you will."

She shifts as if to stop Fenris getting close to the Handmaid but doesn't, letting him take the stone from the woman.

"We will do what we must."

Sinmare bows and Fenris nods to the other two. "Keep an eye on her for a moment, Sif?" He says as he steps away to open a Way out of sight of the mortals so that Sinmare can depart. He'll be back in just a moment or two but that does give Sif and Astryd a few moments alone to… talk. If there is to be talk.

There's also more mead and after that message Fenris may well decide that he needs some of it. It calms the nerves. It doesn't seem to calm the ravens though.

With a nod to Fenris, Sif steps over toward Astryd, partly to have that 'talk' with her, but mostly to keep the Valkyr from going after Sinmare and Fenris for some reason she has yet to fathom. She shifts her tankard over to her shield hand, partly to take a sip from it, partly so her other hand is free to grab at the blonde if it become necessary.

"Astryd, why have you been so quick to anger of late?"

The instruction from Fenris gets a look from Astryd. It's almost not recognisable, so foreign it is to her face.

Hurt and confusion.

The blonde doesn't make to go after the God Wolf, simply takes up a tankard and drains it.

"They tried to turn my Lord, Sif. They tried to make him find his Fate. When he does, it's not the world that will burn, my Sisters and I will fight at Odins side against him."

She looks away. "That is something I can not abide. It is something I will not allow to happen."

As Sif is making her reply Fenris returns. He's alone and on his face worry and concern is etched clear as day. He has known Astryd for centuries. Fought at her side. Trusted her. Never before has he found he could not rely on her.

Never until now. Now when so much is at stake and she is acting so very erratically.

"And do you think I will again, Raven? I will embrace what I fought so long against?"

Sif looks at Fenris, then steps aside so he can talk with Astryd. She feels a bit as if she's interfering.

To give them that bit of time, she steps over to carefully (and slowly) refill her own tankard and fill a fresh one for Fenris. He looks like he might need it.
As she's pouring, she how she's going to approach Hod with this new information and new request for his assistance. Especially considering how he's made it VERY clear that he'd be only too happy to have nothing to do with Asgard or its people ever again.

If Fenris had meant to do this privately, he would have. Astryd knows that. He wanted Sif to hear it for a reason.

The look of distrust and worry, breaks the blondes heart and she turns away. "I think you will fight against it, Fenris until you can fight no more. My fear is that you will fight against me when you do … And I will see you die. Again."

"Hod owes me, Sif. He owes you as well. He wishes to avoid Ragnarok as much as I do." How she knows that, she isn't saying. "He is already seeking something for me. He will seek this if you … ask. He will grumble and moan but he will do it."

Fenris sighs and sits down on the table, pouring himself another mead. "We have always found a way, Astryd. Trust me to find a way again. A way to escape this." Maybe in the end he can't. But if that's true he'd rather not spend his last days mistrusting those closest to him and worrying that they're going to push him over faster.

He gestures for Astryd to sit beside him.

"Sif that's your thinking face. I remember that from a long time ago. What's in your head?"

Yup. Busted. Sif has a 'thinking face'. Loki would probably liken it to her having eaten something that is disagreeing with her, but Fenris identified it correctly.

"I have every intention of asking Hod for his assistance, Astryd. I was simply … trying to determine how." She looks into her tankard for another moment, actually considering bribing the exile with one of Idunn's apples, or perhaps a cask of godsmead. Though she's certain he'll complain regardless.

"He does have very good reason to be less than happy about doing anything in Asgard's best interest, after all."

"As you should trust me, my heart." the blonde murmurs. "We've been by each other side for aeons…" She's not sure she can explain why she feels such dread over this.

"Go and talk to him. He plays piano at Arthurs Pub in the Village a couple of nights a week. That's where I found him and because he was working, he couldn't run from me."

Astryd takes a seat next to Fenris, studying his face good and long before leaning into him.

Fenris remembers Sif's thinking face because he saw it a lot. When she was considering him. He never did ask her what she was thinking about. Whether or not it would be better to kill him now? If the Allfather had been right to imprison him? Or just perhaps why he had such terrible dog breath (it's because he couldn't brush his teeth hobbled up like that).

"And good luck. If he doesn't come around to you, I can always pay him a visit."

That'll go over so well…

Fenris pours Astryd another glass and puts an arm around her as she leans in. "For now though, Sif, you're welcome to stay and help Astryd and I finish this ale off."

By her facial expression, Sif is thinking — considering whether she should go try to track down Hod now, or sit and drink ale with the couple.

Ah, what the Hel. She's heard Midgardians use that phrase when trying to make decisions.

"If I am not intruding. This ale is quite good."

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