2020-01-11 - Wagers Of The Gods


Fenris calls a banquet - and drops some news.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Jan 11 04:03:05 2020
Location: New York

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Feasts are, it must be said, a thing. And as Fenris had not had the opportunity to invite people over for a feast over the holidays, he does so now. Why not. He declares this to be the Festival of Friday, celebrated by cooking many things and inviting people over.

That, right away, should set off alarm bells. It's not that Fenris can't be hospitable. Indeed he abides by the Old World rules of hospitality. It's that he doesn't generally go out of his way to gather any of his extended relations and associates up, let alone so many of them at once. Which proooobably means there's one or more things he wishes to discuss.

Over food. And ale. Because food and ale make discussing things easier.

Fenris is presently grilling… something out back. Whatever it is, it is big and it was marinated. He'd eat it just like that himself, but not everyone shares his fondness for raw food.

Sigyn is bringing two large casks of her Asgardian mead, and two smaller casks of some of her experiments with -distilling- Asgardian mead. Because no, it just wasn't strong enough. Also a huge basket of cookies, because to Sigyn's way of thinking there is no bad excuse to bake, and a dozen cookies is for many of her friends and family a tiny snack. Thus, a large basket of what has to be over a hundred cookies. And brownies. And a few loaves of dessert bread. She murmurs to Loki, "Maybe I should have made more…"

Sif is likely one of the earliest of the guests to arrive. She was the one that suggested the butcher shop near the Embassy, as they've learned which cuts of meat appeal to Aesir palates. And, despite being almost completely inept at any skill that involves preparing food other than over a campfire, she has immediately offered to help with the feast preparations. The kind of wonky slices of various ingredients? Those are her handiwork.

Having set her offering to the feast of hearty whole grain breads amongst everything else, she's only too happy to flee kitchen preparations to go answer the door every time someone arrives. The potatoes are certainly glad to get breaks from her mauling them quite unevenly.

Guest rite is not a one-sided thing. Accepting the breaking of bread, the consumption of drink, the sprinkling of salt all has its import between two parties. But it is also a duty bound upon the guest as well as the host. A guest must not spill blood lest the duel is sanctioned. A guest is to not arrive before the announced hour upon which visitors are to be accepted. And a guest should bring something to contribute to the feast as well if only as a gesture of respect to be granted the host.
And Thor is capable of most of these.
The first two are easily enough fulfilled. For when Thor arrives Mjolnir is not easily to hand and the hour of his arrival is a good time after the guests had been slated to arrive. It's the third that had given pause. For the Thunderer is much more used to going to gatherings on Midgard where mortals were holding the festivities. Another Asgardian? His usual offerings clearly would not serve for assuredly they would be here in abundance.
So when he arrives at the front door dressed in mortal garb, a tinkling clinking sack over his shoulder and a cardboard box under his arm, Thor offers greetings with a hearty bellow. "Good e'en!"

Delighted to be invited over to Fenris & Astryd's place again. It has been a while, and something that bugged him a lot is about to be rectified. Namely that the house, though secure enough, you know, for a /house/ is completely unwarded. And that's just not acceptable to the Lord of Lies. He quirks a brow at Sigyn, eyes the sheer quantity of food and drink, and then nods uncertainly. "If we need more I'll world walk us."

Eyes bright he closes a beautiful brass bound chest, after setting the last of nine stones inside it.

Once done he tucks the thing under an arm and then scrys ahead before he teleports them to the Kerensky house, the bounty Sigyn prepared floated behind them so she can hold his arm as they arrive. "Greetings, one and all." He offers with a genuine smile.

Hod is not a fool. Fenris called a feast. Fenris. Who eats… everyone. Thing. Everything. And only a fool goes to the feast called by the thing that eats everyone. Thing. Whatever. He 'watches' from the shadows, as has always been his way, unseen, unremarked upon, listening and scenting the guests as they arrive. This gathering grows less to his liking with every passing moment. Hod, no matter what recent events have transpired, has had only two things to hold onto for two and half millenia, Light Drinker, and a grudge. He's loath to release either.

But he also works very very hard to only be half a dick. He's seen what sorts of people his family can turn into if they're not careful, and so guards his own personal code (which really isn't that different then the Old Ways really) zealously. So there was an invite. And… and well… He can't stop remembering Astryd taking the shot that would have killed his people. His. When he wasn't strong enough to protect them himself.

His teeth grind softly in his mouth, "one foot in front of the other you fucking coward." he growls under his breath to himself before doing just that and slipping out of his personal cloak of You Don't Notice Me so he can cross the street, the front yard, and head straight for the gate that leads to the back. "Get bent." he quips to Loki as he walks past the showy entrance. "Party's in the back. I could smell the grill from four blocks out."

When the guests arrive and make their way out the back, Astryd is out the back talking with Fenris and Sif as she works at the table - laying out goblets and place settings. She's dressed casually, in jeans and a jumper, long blonde hair cascading down her back - just a small section pulled in back that in hair pin she wears.

As the others enter the yard, they catch part of a conversation the blonde is having with Sif and Fenris "I told you, I'm not sure. All I did was to call… and he showed up. I wonder if he'd appreciate a lunch like this - he seems like the type to enjoy a good meal."

They all feel it, the Valkyrs power as it rises. The focus of that attention is likely not ready for it - *again* - as the portal opens to draw the Valkyrs warrior to her.

Today was a long day at work. No one's sleeping on the couch because Agent Barnes was forewarned this time about Steve planning to stay after the majority of the day-force has gone home from the Triskelion.

Seated at his desk, he's actually taking a moment to text Bucky about what to bring home for dinner. His thumbs fly across the touchscreen: «SO MILK / EGGS / LEMONS / TUNA / AVOCADOS / I THINK AVACADOS ARE OUT OF SEASON. STOP.»

Yes, he texts like morse code and only to Barnes, mostly to annoy the hell out of him. Ping! Off the text flies and Steve smirks.

And then feels like he's being yanked out of his own skin much less his seat at the desk. Reality blurs around him as he rises to his feet — the phone drops to the desk and the reply text goes unheard —

And there's Steve stepping out of the portal in full Spangled regalia of his stealth-suit, shield at his back, helmet on his head, and he's fully expecting a brawl.

Not a luncheon.

He blinks a few times and backsteps, though not back through the portal. "Excuse me, M'AM?!" This rather loud and terse comment is aimed dead at Astryd. It's also accompanied by a low rolling growl from…Steve's shield? No, from the spirit-tattoo resting on his back. Glydril's picked up on her babysitter's stress and is not happy in the least.

Being on Loki's arm helps calm and anchor Sigyn. The funny thing is, most people think it's the other way around. More than once someone has commented on what a good influence Sigyn is on Loki, something that never fails to infuriate her though she hides it behind lowered eyes and modest smiles. And she alas cannot worldwalk, so her husband's offer to do so if more food is needed makes her beam with joy up at him and give his arm a squeeze.

"Greetings Astryd, Fenris. Thank you for inviting us." Sigyn gestures to the smaller casks, "Those need to be kept well away from any flames. I've been distilling Asgardian mead, and the brandy is delicious but can… well… explode."

Fenris turns to see someone headed his way. Someone who can't see him wave. But can probably smell the everything that is cooking. There's a plate near him that has steaks. And chicken parm. And sausages. And ribs. And there's two more plates like it inside. He and Astryd had been busy.

Also there's booze, not only what the guests brought but other things broken out from 'the stash'. Wine and Ale and Mead from places far flung and times far removed. Some of them even not from this plane of existance.

"Hello… everyone." His smile falters only slightly when Astryd calls Steve and he gives her a look that says 'Would it kill you to text him first?'

"Captain. Welcome to our home. The cannier among you will suspect that I want to talk about something of importance and so I do. But first…"

First there's going to be food and a lot of it.

Dinner is gotten on with and it is about an hour before Fenris says or does anything of importance again. When he does it his him loudly (it needs to be loud) tapping his spoon on his mug. Chunk chunk chunk chunk… actually he needs more ale.

"Keep enjoying the food, by the way." He says as he refills his own plate again. "But I'd like to speak to you all of beasts with many heads. Cut one off and two more grow. That kind of thing. I made an interesting discovery a few days ago."

Into the room and following after several of the others, Thor makes his way out toward the back and through. He does linger at times, considering this bit of paraphernalia or that tchotchke even as his attention is once again arrested but this time by the some of the other Asgardians. He lifts his head and offers greeting as they walk, "Family, mine."
A beat, then Thor's head draws back, "Captain?" But he seems to take it in stride that Steve is there and simply shrugs with his eyebrows before focusing on others.
It's only once they're outside that he sets down the sack with a glassy clink and tinkle upon the ground nearby. "Greetings, Fenris, Astryd." His attention on the host and hostess for now. "I come bearing gifts. Ale of Amber from the Sceptred Isle, I am told by Stark it serves as what the mortals pass for a vibrant taste, good for cooking and flavoring."
Then the cardboard box is set down upon the tabletop, "And to aid your homestead I bring the Pet of Chia, representative of fertility though I am informed this embodies one of Midgard's greatest artists, Robert of House Ross. A man of peace, wise and kind."

Sif greets Thor readily enough when he arrives, but Hod's appearance has her pausing. This is the last place she would have expected to see him, though she is simultaneously very glad to see him. Thus, she doesn't for the boisterous greeting when addressing him. Instead, she simply offers him a quiet "Cousin," and then steps over to greet Loki and Sigyn. "Prince Loki. Your Highness Sigyn." She's trying for the polite formalities, but warrior training didn't really put a whole lot of emphasis on the proper polite terms of address for royalty and nobility and the like. She knows those casks and takes it upon herself to move them over with the other beverages, as safely away from the grill as possible.

When Fenris calls their attention over the meal, she looks over from her plate of ribs (mostly bones now) and potato salad. At the mention of a beast with many heads, her eyes almost of their own volition flick toward Thor, fully expecting him to leap up and call for a quest to slay the creature.

Could be fun.

"Lady Sif, Lady Astryd, Prince Fenris…" The 'get bent' from Hod earns the man a bark of laughter, which he can appreciate and a smirk he cannot. "Brother." Then Thor is greeted with a manly hug, and thump on the shoulder. "Hello, Brother." He is amused at the conjured Rogers, and his apparent vexation. And Cap's in costume! Or…well../armor/, of a sort. Modern armor is jus so…bland. I mean, rarely does it have spikes or the like, often it doesn't even LOOK like armor! Where's the fun in that?

Thinks the master illusionist and Liesmith.

"And Captain Rogers, delightful." He says with evident glee and a warm smirk. "Captain, one suggestion, do not partake of the smaller casks, the contents are…dangerous, far more so than most."

He offers Fenris the box. "Nine wardstones, arrange them in the order they're stored, outer box for alarms, inner box for the home, and the last in your bedchamber - they get progressively more…" He ponders, then beams. "…FUN…as you move between the layers."

Then there is food and drink, lots of it, and what Asgardian worth his or her (or its) salt doesn't enjoy a good feast?

Astryd gives Fenris a return look and shrugs a little. "Ah, Captain. There you are, I was just thinking of you …" Clearly. "Would you like to join us for dinner? I'm sure I can find a change of clothes for you, if you like. Not Fenris' …" The Valkyr tries not to appear so non-plussed at the warriors appearance "And do tell your Dragon to be calm. You aren't in any danger here."

That depends on how you look at things.

"Are you acquainted with the others in the family? Princess Sigyn, Prince Loki, Prince Thor … and Prince Hod." In an aside to the Avenger "Just call him Hod, though, and ignore how cantankerous he can be."

After thanking their guests for the contributions to the feast, the blonde piles up a plate and takes a seat.

"Do you mean a literal beast with many heads, my heart?" The blonde asks the God Wolf "Or the type that wears that hideous green and yellow?" A fight? Now that seems right up her alley.

Deciding that it's probably better to smooth his ruffled feathers (FOR NOW), Steve simply grits his jaw back and forth a few times. His arms predictably end up folded across his chest as he glowers at Astryd.

"Yes, I know everybody here," he replies to Astryd, tone still curt. To Fenris, he adds, "Thank you." Still polite if curt. "Glydril, stand down." This is a sharp mutter over his shoulder. The dragon ceases growling aloud; only Steve can hear it in the back of his thoughts, a constant sound to distract him now and then.

Loki gets a sharper look at first, but also finally a nod. "Thanks, I'll keep that in mind."

Apparently still fairly insulted at being randomly summoned, the Captain deigns to not eat but for a few bites. It's Fenris's wording that has him focused now. A beast with many heads and two more grow where one disappears? That…sounds unfortunately familiar.

Hod arrives with gifts as well, and from inside his coat he pulls them, handing one to Fenris even as he cooks ignoring whether or not he has a free hand, "For the lawyers." he says in a flat afectless expression, and then to Astryd… he pulls a sci-fi looking cannon of a weapon, "IWI's Tavor TS12 gauge shotgun. Mortal thing, holds a lot of really big bullets, they like that sort of tripe." he is holding it by the barrel as if it were a fish. Then one last thing, in case it were assumed he were rude, he pulls out a bottle of bourbon with dust on it. "And booze." he adds before walking away from the pair of them to lurk, not waiting for a responce. He brought a weapon, some booze, and… and when Fenris looks down he'll see a small stack of Beware Of Dog signs that have had two of the letters cut out and swapped so they now read, 'Beware Of God'.

Sif gets a reserved (if thawed from freezing to maybe room temp) grunt from Hod, "Cousin." as he passes her, heading for a shadey corner of the back yard where he can mope and lurk like the goddamned god of both of those things that he is. "Hodr was a Prince. Hod is a blind alcoholic barman." he clears up with Loki before fading into the background of the party with booze always at hand.

As for the Captain… well, with a dragon in his ear he's easy for Hod's shadows to do what little they still do for him. Hod's face just sort of becomes indistinct and hard to notice. His words muffle and seem to be mumbled and covered over with white noise. His very being just sort of… fades from the mind. It's not invisibility, that is crass and lacks subtlety, this is something else. This is knowing someone else was at the party, but never remembering who, never being able to recall a face, and perhaps more importantly, not thinking that's odd in anyway. It's God Teir Wallflower Power. The last vestige of Hod's once scary command of the Dark.

Fenris seems quite amused by and appreciative of the gifts. One of the Beware of God signs gets hung up over the mantle. The Chia pet is placed said mantle. The runestones are artfully arranged around the house and those smaller casks that Sigyn gifts are kept WELL AWAY from the mantle. But they are delicious. As he speaks, Fenris is dipping one of Sif's cookies into one of Sigyn's drinks and damned if it doesn't work quite well.

"No beast to fight I am afraid, but Loki and Sigyn this is one reason I asked for you to come. I was poking into the little spy problem the embassy has been having and found something rather disturbing."

He produces a yellowed sheet of parchment with old norse runes painstakingly scratched in quill onto it. It tells a tale - one that Fenris knows might well NOT be true given how mortals are - of a time when Loki was allegedly being punished by being bound under a snake that dripped agonizing venom down on him. Supposedly Sigyn would stand by her husband and catch the venom in a bowl to keep it from harming him.

"Someone has taken an interest in Sigyn. In particular that someone is very interested in this venom catching bowl that she may or may not have had. They have done some work on a summoning ritual, though as you can see it's incomplete."

It's not just incomplete. It's the kind of summoning ritual that has a corrupting effect on the target. Even worse, it invokes Hodr in his aspect as 'He who will blot out the sun.'

What is below the norse is of more interest to Thor, Sif, Cap and Astryd, though. "This was to be forwarded to a man named Kraken. He is supposedly someone high up in the heiarchy of this organization and…" He pauses and looks up specifically at Thor and Sif. "He is allegedly the one that ordered the Embassy spied upon."

Cap, if no one else, should know that name. Kraken is one of the top leaders of HYDRA. A man known for incredible strategic foresight and 'chessmaster' type planning.

Brotherly embrace properly returned, Thor grins wryly to Loki and gives him a parting thump thump on the shoulder as he gets settled. Once he's discharged himself of his burdens, Thor makes his way over toward the food and begins to stock up a plater as is proper as well as a suitably sized available vessel for the drink. He keeps an ear for the conversation, however, head tilted to the side so he can listen in and then quirks an eyebrow. "Whichever it ends up being I would not be adverse to lending a hand to whatever effort is mustered."
That said he bites into one of the ribs on his plate even as he's still piling on some more food. Steve might well notice that apparently the way Thor dines with his own kind is a smidge different than when he partakes of matters with the mortals.
But then Fenris produces information about the possible situation and it draws his attention towards Sigyn as he frowns marginally. "This sits ill with me, we have only recently gained Sigyn back, I would be most displeased if we lose her again." He spares a glance toward Loki as if expecting him to share the sentiment, which he likely does.

Who's this Hod guy? Steve knows no Hod guy. He's not anything logged away into the Captain's memory as important. If the man's memory were pressed, the Asgardian will end up being explained off as 'someone there at the party' — likely just as Hod wanted.

He becomes less curt as time passes at the table and no one can resist the jovality of an Asgardian gathering. There's even one rib eaten, though still resentfully. It's Fenris that has his full attention not halfway into the tale of the parchment and its runic markings. Steve's eyes rise from it to Fenris's face. His frown deepens considerably to hear an unfortunately familiar name tossed out.

"Not only that, but this's HYDRA. If the Embassy's been compromised, there's other trouble," he adds on the tale end of Thor's comment, looking around the table. "HYDRA can't keep their fingers off Teutonic magic, not back when, not now."

Sigyn isn't familiar with Hydra. But Fenris is Loki's son, and Loki loves his son, so that simplifies the whole issue for her. And then Fenris reveals that they are after her, and she arches a brow and looks at that yellow parchment as though her glare alone could burn it to ash. She then looks at her husband and says quietly, "I would rather not be sent away for my safety again. That did… not work so well last time."

Astryd gives Steve a stern look - his arms folded glower is nothing compared her to haughty ones. "You're most welcome, Captain. Be welcome in our house." Nothing unusual here. This is business as usual. "Perhaps you and I might talk, later."

Watching as Fenris places the gifts they've been given, Astryd smirks at the sign from Hod - she's amused. The weapon is inspected, the blonde beaming brightly as she moves to the shadow shrouded God to kiss him lightly on the cheek. "Thank you. It's wonderful." Then she offers the weapon to Steve to inspect.

"The Embassy has indeed been compromised…" the blonde agrees glancing at Loki, Thor and Sigyn as that news is delivered. "There's something they want there and have been working on putting their people in, I'm sure, for years. That they've an interest in Sigyn, is more than worrying though. Whether the bowl is real or not - Midgardians love their stories - that Hydra thinks it might be, is enough for them to target her."

Loki did eat with great verve and gusto, he made merry, poured mead when and if it was called for, and enjoyed lighting his shots of Sigyn's distilled spirits just before drinking it, sort of risking an /actual/ explosion as he drinks. Yeah, definitely fun!

And then Loki's attention is /very/ much engaged by that rite, in truth he looks more Loki than ever as he snatches the papers from Fenris' hands, and studies it with mounting fury literally palpable as he does so. "Brother…" To Hod. "…this rite invokes your power." His tone is chill enough that he must be channeling what little Jotun nature a fire god might have, the air is chill around him, more so than it was already for the season. Now, it is pretty clear that he's not accusing Hod, just commenting.

Just about to suggest that Sigyn might want to spend some time is Asgard, Loki simply nods. "Then we find this Kraken, and we kill him so dead that his demise will raise terrors for humanity until Ragnarok comes and beyond." Oh, does someone have an overdeveloped sense of vengeance? Perhaps a smidge, at least a dram or two.

"I have no memory of such an event, I cannot imagine how they would chain me, but this Bowl, should it exist…"

Sigyn says quietly, "If such a thing exists, it would be a tool of healing, meant to purify and cleanse and unfit for hands such as theirs." No, Sigyn is not going to admit one way or another if she has such a bowl, or even if it exists.

Hod sits in the corner drinking and snorts under his breath, "Lemme guess, he's standing up there holding a parchment with a serious expression on his face assuming we all know what the fuck he's talking about, isn't he?" he mutterasks Sif who has the misfortune of being nearest to him. "Wanna translate what's on the damned thing so I can join in the loaded silences and gasps of surprise in equal measure?" he takes two more pulls from his really pretty fantastic mead. It should be notes that while his stamina is superhuman, and well exercised so as to be in tip top shape, he is /not/ possessing of his one time Aesir constitution. Someone may wanna take the super powered depressent away from the god of darkness, secrets, and cold before he gets maudlin. He will totally start singing super sad songs at everyone here. He'll do it. Don't test him.

Until the name Kraken is uttered, and then theres a chill breath of air in the room. Hod's breathing is even, quiet, calm. Very. Very. Calm. Sif, Thor, Loki, it's been 2500 years since they've seen that calm but they /have/ seen it. Usually when he was returning with the War Band to Asgard covered in the blood of his enemies. Unlike the others, Hod never grew hot with rage or blood lust, he always grew cold and quiet. But now things are getting uncomfortable for Hod. Cap is here. Memories of the Thull Society, of Zola's knives, Zemo's fucking endless questions, Kraken's soft stoic intelligent voice echoing from the blood soaked stones, all come crashing back in on Hod like the tide. He can feel the flickers of his Sight out of the corner of his Noeyes and he quickly pulls the bottle to his lips, draining half of it in a go. No. Not tonight. Not again.

Loki's words break him out of it, and the chill peters out, maybe a draft from the winter air outside got through? "What power?" he croaks around the burn in his throat, his lips twisting in a wry self destructive smirk. "You can't kill the Kraken." he then adds off handedly into the room, "I know. I've killed him twice." he points at Steve as he were a conductor and knew the next note that was comingg the Captain to say the line that anyone familiar with HYDRA knows by heart. Cut off one head…

Sif straightens in her chair when Fenris notes that this Kraken individual is the one that bid spies to enter the Embassy. "Yes," she answers quietly to Hod. "He is, and I will try but Loki is reading it now."

Reaching to swap out Hod's mead for a more normal Midgardian beverage, the bomb in the form of the name Kraken drops before she can. She now has EVERY reason to track this Midgardian down and show him the complete folly of his life choices.

"No," says to Loki. "Even if he can be killed despite Hod's words, Death is too good for this one. He needs to suffer, for the entire length of a very long Midgardian life span." She knows that Loki is fully capable of THAT, too. If she has to call out the favor that the dark-haired Aesir prince owes her, she will.

"It gets better." Fenris looks at Astryd. That, she knows, means it gets worse.

Steve gets an interested look. He's right of course, Hydra has a rather notorious reputation for going after anything that is magical, or unusual or powerful and if it is connected with the norse or the germans, it has extra bonus points in their book. Apparently. But how the man knows that…

"There are eight mystical artifacts scattered around earth related to something I will let Hod explain to you called the 'Wager of Octessence.' Now, exactly why they are interested in gathering these things I am not sure, but they have connected Loki to one, and Sif to another and Sigyn to yet another. Something that they hope to utilize with this 'bowl' they want."

He flips the paper over and frowns. "Pardon. I did not actually see this. There's a hand written note in the back that says 'Make sure to keep the Spangly One out of it this time.'"

How weird, there's this voice off and behind him half-acting like a goad. Steve frowns and takes a moment to glance over his shoulder, but it's no big deal. He must be hearing things.

"Of course it gets better…" Steve mutters of Fenris's further explanation. A quick jerk beneath his chin has his helmet clasp unbuckled; he removes the whole thing to reveal mildly-mussed blond hair. He sets the helmet on the table, all a fidget. When Fenris reads the note on the back, the Captain lifts both hands up and then drops them to the table.

"Well. Like I can resist an invitation like that."

"Cousin." Astryd gives Hod a look for being shadowed and not letting Steve see him but it's Fenris that gets a growl.

"Octessence again." Betty and Hod have already retrieved one of the artifacts. Betty has to make a pilgrimage to see the Morrigan on behalf of the Valkyr and the God Wolf, so Sif can retrieve another. And Astryd … she might be given the location of a third if she can retrieve something The Finder wants.

"Spangly one?" There's a smirk. As much as this is serious, Astrdy is a bit of a troll. "It seems like they want you there, Captain."

Hod takes a breath and lets it out slowly before extending his hand to Sif for the shittier drink she's fetching him. He can smell the different long before it reaches him of course, and they'll have words about this later. But priorities. Which should be an indication of how serious this 'feast' got, Hod is passing up Super Booze to consentrate. "The Wager of Octessence was a Contract bound and entered into by eight gods of the Outer Realms. Beings not of this universe, but others that border ours, who feed upon the energies this exsistence seems to spawn and shed like light from a star." his voice takes on a quality he's always been good at. Bragi may be the god of poems, songs, and stories, unparralelled in perfection of voice, but Hod always knew the secrets, knew the /best/ stories. Not hte perfect ones. An opera singer may be the pinacle of the vocal arts, but no one taps their toe to Figaro. They tap their toe to the growling twang of Delta blues in all of it's glorious flaws.

Hod is like that. He tells a story through growl and pause, breaks and implication. "These eight gods knew that were they to tear open the viel between their worlds and ours to do battle, the ensueing confligration between each other and the pantheons of this universe would rend all of reality assunder and when there is nothing, then there is nothing to feed upon. Carl Sagan was right, first you must create the universe." he is quiet for a moment, taking a sip. His face is entirely cast in shadow, and only the reflection from his mirrored shades gives the impression of a face, a pair of glowing lenses in a dark corner, "Each of them enstilled their power into an artifact and set it free into Midgard, the Wager was that any mortal who should find their totem would become their avatar and do battle with the others. Whoever was victorious-" he waves his tankard in the air, "the spoils." another long pull, "The last avatar standing would possess the power to command the god machine, a creation of one of the eight that sapped the creatures of Midgard of their free will and harnessed them as an enslaved food source. I have recently-" he pauses, shifts nervously, "been to Muspelheim where I negotiated for one of the eight totems. The Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, upon who ever wields it is granter the power of the Juggernaut." he clears his throat nervously, hoping no one asks about Muspelheim and the gem and … things. "Betty Brant has it last I saw."

Sif is inwardly a little bit relieved that Hod agreed to swapping out his mead for the lesser beverage. And to keep him from trying to get it back, she quickly swallows what was left of it. Kind of like chugging a strong beer. Not the smartest thing she's ever done, but it won't knock her on her ass either.

She listens to Hod's story, moving back to sit at the table near Steve. She's not heard of this Octessence before, and it sounds important enough to focus on committing the information to memory.

Well, right up until he mentions the near-disaster that was their quest to Muspelheim. That sets her to frowning. She doesn't need to ask about it. She was there. And … wait, what? She turns back to Fenris. "You said this Hydra and Kraken have connected one of these Octessence items to me? Which one? Why?" HOW? Wouldn't she KNOW if she had a link to some artifact with that level of power?

Loki is many things, slow on the uptake is not one of them, Hod is shielding himself from Steve Rogers for some reason, he'll ask about it…well…he COULD bespeak him, but, no…not just this moment. Later. He'll ask later, you know, when the fate of all reality everywhere is being discussed, and when his wife's fate is not part of that equation.

"The bowl, if it is real, is tied to these artifacts somehow?" He hands Sif the rite, though he knows she's no sorceress, he's read it already. In fact his mind is racing down paths to /block/ the rite, though this one is incomplete and thus may have changed. He looks speculatively at Sif too, wondering how she could be tied in, and then to Fenris and Astryd wondering if THEY are tied in.

After Hod's explanation of the Octessence…he frowns, mien still quite serious, a measure of the gravity of the situation.

"Sounds like we're in a race. Though, I admit, I'm leaning towards Lady Sif's idea for this 'Kraken'. Maybe put HIM in a cave with acidic venom endlessly dripping on him, if he cannot die…"

"The Fearsome Fist of Farallah, Sif." Not that this will mean much to her. "Disturbingly, the one associated with Sigyn is the Verdant Vial, an artifact that is said to confer the 'touch of death'." That is antithetical to Sigyn's nature. In fact it is the exact opposite. What would forcing her to possess it do? Nothing good, that's for sure. That may explain the bowl though. Something healing might be corrupted by a sufficiently powerful force and if so… usually they become dark mirrors. Equally powerful in death as in life, for example.

"Your organization, Captain…" Fenris turns to look at the soldier. "It has tangled with Hydra before. Is it possible that you can get some intelligence on him? His locations? His methods? I'm afraid I know very little of him so anything would be helpful." Hod seems to know something of him but Fenris doesn't say that.

"We have one more immediate concern." The Old Wolf finally says. "One of Astryd's former sisters, someone who still bears her some kind thoughts, got word to her that the All Father is, quite independent of our discussions, moving an artifact of ancient power to the vaults on Earth for safe keeping. She thinks it's the Cask, is that right, Astryd?"

The Cask. On Earth. With a spy in the Embassy. Ummmmmm…. They have a LOT on their plate, suddenly.

Steve emerges from rubbing at one of his temples. His eyes, having been pinched closed, open and reveal a startling sharpness despite the laze of his lids.

"So a bunch of 'gods' got together and put a wager out that we'd all pummel each other to death over some relics in a bid to become some ultimate head of power here. And I used to worry about chillblains." Another sharp sigh and he sits up, forearms rested on the arms of the chair now.

"I'd give my left eyetooth to put a hand on the Kraken myself. That being said, he's Midgardian, and he's SHIELD's jurisdiction. 'm not gonna say no if you all want to lend a hand bringing him in, but he's ours." The set of Steve's face begs anyone to say otherwise. "We've got enough intel on him to fill a spiral notebook 'nd more. It's putting a thumb down on him. You gimme the time, I'll get what we need."

"I'm not sure they're linked in the way you're inferring, Loki." Astryd answers that first. "They may have a way to use them together though." Of course what the Midgardians want to do might just be a load of bunk, it's not something they want to risk though.

Grey eyes settle on Steve for a long, long moment - waiting for his response to Fenris' question. "Have you encountered him before, Captain?" Kraken she means. "As long as you let us have a go at him, I don't think we'd mind letting SHIELD have what's left."

The blonde nods at the next words. "Which is worrying. Someone might be … influencing the All Father to do this. We know there have been plants placed in the Embassy for years now. And moving that Cask, isn't like him. He has to have been convinced of a *great* risk on Asgard."

Hod grows quiet now and fades into the background. Let them discuss their plans, plans that he cares little for. The Kraken is back, and Hod spent a few years in the 60's and that one surprisingly enjoyable weekend in 1977 in Cambodia as he was witness to the beginning of the end of Khmer Rouge. A small smile flickers over Hod's lips. Yeah. That was a really good weekend. Then someone mentions the Casket and he snaps back into the now. "Father has been many things, great big bag of dicks among them, but a pawn?" he shakes his head, "Not even HYDRA would tug on his cape and be so foolish as to believe they could walk away unscathed."

Sif looks at Steve when he shows his stubborn side and claims the right to taking Kraken down. "When you find information about this Kraken from your SHIELD, I will gladly assist you with apprehending this deplorable Midgardian."

And then Astryd adds even more FUN to the evening by mentioning the Casket of Ancient Winters. "The Casket? Here on Midgard? That is," Sif stops herself and shakes her head. It would be wrong of her to second guess the All-Father, even if she thinks sending the casket here would be a terrible idea.

Steve is given a /look/ from Loki, Loki is REALLY fucking keen on the endless suffering solution to the Kraken. "I'm kind of partial to seeing him tortured for a few millennia for his temerity, actually." Loki's smile is not even a little bit smile-like. At all. He bares his teeth even more. "They -directly- threaten my wife of over twelve hundred years with this filthy rite. I believe that gives my claim seniority."

And that's all Loki has to say on the matter.

Obviously there's no way Loki is not in on the smite mission, regardless of anything else.

"Not a pawn, cousin." Astryd says quietly rising to fill everyones mugs / goblets / whatever. "There is something occuring and we do not have the full visibility of it. At least in that regard."

"Well, that's wonderful news, my heart." The blonde gives the God Wolf a look. "If you're done with the bad news, I will bring dessert out and we can partake of that and more of the wonderful alcohol we have here."

When was the last time this many Asgardians had been present together on Midgard and there wasn't a brawl? Never, in Astryds mind and she's been here a very long time.

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