2020-06-29 - Brand Be-Gone, Get Yours Now!


Loki and Sigyn approach Persephone, Goddess of the Underworld and She Who Saves, about the removal of the Bane-Brand. Success is had and celebration is warranted.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Jun 29 06:43:26 2020
Location: RP Room 3

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Theme Song



Guest appearance by Ambrose as Persephone!

It has been a few months since Loki got hit with the Bane brand, thankfully a weaker one, but still bad. Very bad in many regards. Luckily Sigyn was there, she KNEW the mark was there and that it had affected her husband of some twelve centuries. It affected their relationship, of course, between guilt and fear of the Banemark causing problems. However, having that awareness, knowing what it was, at least in part they have been researching means to cure it, and the best, first clue is that there's ancient beings of similar origins to the filthy outsiders that afflicted him.

Loki smiles. "Here we go, I think I have a means to get us to the border of Persephone's demesne without it seeming an assault. I've never really interacted with her, so there's really few channels I can use, shall we give it a go?" The Liesmith and his wife are in their workshop, in a pocket dimension tangentially adjacent to the Nine Realms, somewhat 'closer' to Midgard than any other.

Sigyn nods, having dressed in Asgardian finery but not armor. Not when approaching asking for help. "I have never dealt with her directly. But when our indirect influences have crossed, it's thankfully always been on the same side." She gives Loki a wry smile, "And she and I do have things in common, including love for our husbands." Love that baffles and confounds others at times. And Sigyn is hoping that Persephone's understanding of that devotion will make her at least a little sympathetic to their pleas for aid.

For a caster such as Loki, the travel is easy — that Sigyn is nearby, mystically-inclined as she is, makes it nearly as simple as a snap to arrive on the very edges of what appears to be a very quiet place.

The area itself is shrouded by night and the skies above the verdant trees are vast and broad, carpeted in stars in constellations not known to earth. The moon, however, is dark — completely at its darkest zenith. But there's light, if one looks around: fireflies lazily circling from bush to bush, the veins of a nearby willow tree nearly humming with glow, and some of the flowers even give off their own opulent light in various hues. Funnily enough, it all smells crisp — clean — clear…for a second.

Is that…flowers in the air around them? It is, light and sweet, brushing the tip of the tongue and nose like the petals of…daffodils — violets — red poppies — lily of the valley — deadly nightshade. From a particularly thick nook of shadows between two towering oaks steps a svelte figure. Her artfully-draped chiton is lamb's-wool white, soft as hen-down in direct counter to the hard golden gleam of her intricate torc-like necklace and helm. Not a full helm, just about her jaw and temples, with its Spartan-like cut heart-like framing her face. A crown of bone-white daffodils tuck above the helm's brow-piece and into golden hair falling warm as summer sunshine.

Eyes rove to the two casters, irises a brilliant fuchsia hue found nowhere else but in the petals of nature, and the Queen of the Underworld gives them both a calm, reserved smile. A stirring of breeze follows: cool, fresh, as if from a pale spring morning still clinging to winter's chill.

"My greetings to you." Persephone's voice is sweet and echoes slightly upon itself, as if this reality could never fully contain it to one wavelength. "This is a good time. My husband is taking the dog for a walk."

Loki is himself dressed in formal robes of deepest green with elegant gold trim and embroidery, but is carrying his sword, it is a symbol of his power and rank, he is a Prince of Asgard after all, to go unarmed would be inappropriate. He /does/ peace-bond the weapon, however as a token of respect and a symbol of his intent to do no harm.

In his free hand is a guest gift, a bottle of wine from one of his many estates, a custom label showing it to be aged, and a very rare vintage.

"Lady Persephone, I am Loki Laufeyson, and this is my bride, Sigyn, we greet you and hope we might be granted audience." He smiles his most charming of smiles, offering the bottle. "Thank you."

Sigyn is young, well, by the standards of Asgard. But she knows power when she sees it, and knows age has nothing to do with appearance. There is a feeling about Persephone, that makes her hope the whispers might be true… that Persephone was one of those who was much older than the Greek pantheon, older and from -elsewhere-.

Sigyn smiles up at Persephone, and if Loki is the Liesmith, his wife is the opposite, as transparent as glass with her love for her husband and her worry, and her desperate hope that Persephone can help them shining in her eyes. "We hope that you can aid us… if not directly, then perhaps by offering wise council. If you would hear us out…?" Sigyn knows Persephone can order them to leave, and they'll have little choice but to go. Thankfully honesty and politeness both come easily to her, and her sense of pride is tied to hearth and home, not in being the biggest or baddest. She sees no shame in asking for aid.

Persephone's eyes fall to the bottle and consider it. Her polite smile deepens in what must be a form of appreciation for its worth before her regard rises to shift between each of their faces. The way she lingers is considering, patient, kind in a distant way.

"I know of you, young Loki…and you as well, young Sigyn. Though, you…" Her mildly-incandescent irises land on Loki again. "…someone disagreed with you and appears to have made it known. I assume this is why you have come?" Her gaze falls to Loki's neck, as if she might be looking through it and to its far side without effort.

"If so, you arrive at an auspicious time. The zenith of the moon is in your favor. Had you come much later…" Persephone continues to smile in her mild way and leaves the rest to imagination. "I do not like knowing this entity has touched your reality. What of it?"

As in, what is the state of things?

"It is indeed, Lady Persephone. I…seek your aid." Unlike his wife, Loki mislikes having to ask for help, but it is a measure of his need, his desire, and his dedication that he asks all the same. Proud, so very proud this Jotun prince. And quite accomplished, for his age, a powerful magus, a cunning Trickster, if perhaps too proud, overconfident and hasty at times.

Truly though, for Loki the Liesmith, where's the fun in playing things safe? Trouble, in or out, is always at least interesting! Maybe someday he'll grow out of that, but one wouldn't be wise to count on it.

"A mark was branded upon me, albeit weakly. It seeks to have me corrupt and defile my wife. Its to compel me to steal the power of one I have named my friend." Loki looks up then, his ire at the effrontery to so afflict him, to restrict his freedom - oh, how unbearable an affront. "Please, can you aid us? Will you aid us? What price do you should you be so willing to offer aid?"

Sigyn explains further, "Those who made the mark… they had been working one named Gurim, who has been dealt with. A plague had been released that brought madness to mortals and the goddess Kali of India. I was able to end that plague, but the bane-mark when lifted from Kali tried to latch on to me, and when I managed to thwart it… it snared Loki instead and has been trying to make him turn on me. I have no small skill as a healer and a sorceress, but this, this is beyond my seidr." She names Gurim, with him eliminated it is safe to do so, but she does not even venture the use-names she has discovered for the mark makers. Sigyn knows they aren't the … entities true names, but she's afraid even a use-name might attract unwanted attention.

Sigyn is granted the Elder Goddess's attention, weighty as it is. Persephone listens and then nods. "A temporary peace, but a welcome one for your world," she muses distantly. "This poor being, Gurim… Not but a pawn in the end."

An eerie thought.

Her gaze returns to Loki. "Your guest gift I will take and I thank you for it." Her steps glide forward across the lush dark grass and she retrieves the wine bottle from Loki with an easy of handling such containers. This close, she smells of dewy dawn air and roses with an undernote of dust. Her aura has a palpable strength to it. "I ask no price but for your aid in turn as I require it, without, as mortals say, strings attached." As in, no lies, no fluff, sweet and simple, no matter the task at hand or its morality in turn. "Should you accept this bargain, your words are writ on the face of memory here — and all I need to do is touch the brand," the Goddess reveals.

"MY guest gift, yes." Loki says with a soft emphasis. "And my debt, freely accepted." Loki draws himself up even as he renders over the bottle to Persephone's care. "Let this place hear me, I, Loki Laufeyson, Adopted Son of Odin the Allfather, called the Liesmith, the Lord of Trickery, God of Fire, of Illusion, the Trickster, Lord of Evil, do hereby offer his bond, in exchange for the aid of Persephone the Elder, a favor, to be claimed at her pleasure, and I forsake any right of refusal, and any strings for this singular boon to be granted later." A deep bow. "So swears Loki."

Sigyn gives Loki one of her sweetest smiles, "Though if you need my help instead when the time arises, Lady Persephone, I will gladly settle the debt in my husband's place." Yeah, Loki knows that too-sweet smile, Sigyn isn't going to budge on this and if he wants to yell at her about it, he better do so LATER in PRIVATE or she will 'accidentally' shove a pointy elbow someplace tender. They've been married long enough they have an entire vocabulary of looks, smiles, and in Loki's case, smirks.

Patiently, the Elder Goddess look between the two of them again, her smile never changing and constant as the dark moon above them all. Loki claims debt — and then Sigyn speaks — and then reality itself thrums like a plucked bass string once Loki finishes speaking. There's a rattling sigh from the area around them as leaf and bud, bough and limb, glimmering of stars on-high: all acknowledge the promise(s) given.

"I accept." It is as simple as that, the words which fall from Persephone's mouth afterwards. A shadowy tendriling of dark vines from the grass rises to cradle the wine bottle from her arms at some unspoken command and then bring it back down into the earth with no sound whatsoever.

"I suggest you kneel then, Loki Laufeyson, for this would kill many of lesser strength and blood," she continues, then lifting a palm now limned in a faint spring-green glow. Its shining pulses in time to some unknown rhythm. "You will survive."

Oh, a low blow, making Loki kneel. SO not his nature, and absolutely by design he's sure. A moment, no more, of hesitation and then his vast ego and pride are subdued, and Loki does indeed bend his knee before the Persephone. Necessity suppressing the galling act, he /is/ here as a supplicant, after all. He /is/ here seeking and needing aid in a task that would take him years to achieve, centuries perhaps and that only if he could manage it at all.

On bent knee, he lowers his head as well, the act baring the Bane brand to sight, granting easy access. He can't help but smirk. "I know." He sort of has to survive if he's going to be there to start Ragnarok, after all.

Sigyn moves to stand in front of her husband, her hand lightly brushing the front of his hair, careful as always not to touch that cursed mark. If he topples from this, she is ready to catch him. Sigyn catches his eye, then quirks a tiny, impish grin. Not his -normal- reason for being on his knees in front of a woman, is it? Hopefully the teasing look will get a laugh out of Loki, or at least distract him from what is to come.

Sigyn's presence, her shifting of position to further aid and the manner in which she impishly grins: all of this garners approval from the Elder Goddess, she in love with a man all but banished to his eternal duties of overseeing the dead.

"Good," affirms the Elder Goddess of Loki's words. There's no warning from the night forest around them. Stepping around to his side soundlessly upon the cool dark grass, the glowing hand of the Goddess then descends.

Persephone's palm to the Trickster's neck is soothing in its coolness — the press of a washcloth to a fevered brow, a blessed breath of fresh air in stifling weather. There's no more pressure than necessary to make contact from the heel of the palm to fingertips.

This negates nothing of the sudden influx and warping of elemental willpower upon the brand itself. From sullen dormancy, it SCREAMS to life with a flare as hot as its initial tattooing upon his skin. Has it grown through his every vein? Through every nerve and into his skull in sickly inky coils to attempt to influence thought? Down into his fingers and toes in order to warp his travels and his touch? His heart, to fill it with a bold and bleak desire having little to do with love.

All of this, Persephone pulls upon with her willpower, this boundless horizon to horizon, as if she were removing a weed.

The stars shiver.

Hey now, no fair! He's trying to be sincere and dignified, even if he's on his knees and yeah…most of the time that only happens when up to some pretty specific shenanigans. Still, Loki's very stubborn, he manages not to laugh, but only by dint of heroic effort, effort so vast that he can't hide the lip quiver.

Sigyn will take that as a win, no doubt, knowing full well how *good* Loki is at hiding his true feelings.

His first thought 'Oh, this isn't so bad…' is quickly supplanted by a rictus of agony as the Bane Brand shrieks torment through every particle of the god's body. Agony upon agony, images of things that passed and came again, torment that feels as if it will consume him. A low groan of pain shudders forth, a hand pounded against the ground, and fingers digging into the soil as he trembles and endures.

What else can he do?

Sigyn sheds the tears she knows Loki will not. He is proud, stubborn to the last, and … she would not change him for the world. So she holds him, putting her arms around his shoulders, hiding his face against her skirts. She makes it look as if she is clinging to him even as she positions herself to take his weight, keep him upright if he needs the help. That terrible moment last ages and no time at all for Sigyn, she can only imagine what it is like for Loki.
Then the universe shivers as Persephone exerts her will, pulling free the taint like removing a weed. Sigyn exhales softly, and inclines her head to Persephone. "Paersaephon Sohteira." One of the older forms of the goddess's name, though far from the oldest. Still, Sigyn is speaking the ancient Greek, not using Allspeak. She has studied and learned the hard way, and gives the goddess her title of 'she who saves' with the utmost respect.

"There, there…" Softly, Persephone speaks, as if she were settling all woes of another kind entirely. Somehow, even her words penetrate the haze of the brand's removal. With unyielding, unmerciful steadiness does she continue to root out the influence of the Void's touch upon the Trickster God to the barest molecule. It burns backwards through all it's woven into like the inhalation of a cigarette's cherry — oozes like the rot of slimemold in reverse — wails in tongues of madness and chaos — sleeks like the empty nothingness between the stars above —

— and it's done. Just like that, the immense pressure of the Elder Goddess's will evaporates as her hand lifts from his skin. She glides away to the side, turning as she does, and the fall of her chiton drifts almost ethereally about her torso. Those petal-bright eyes fall to Sigyn as she speaks one of the many mantles worn by the Elder Goddess in her existence. Her smile deepens in a knowing manner and a winkling of fondness is bestowed upon Sigyn for it.

"It has been some time since I have heard this title. It is gratifying." Her gaze then falls to the Trickster God. "See for yourself, young Loki. Your influence is your own alone."

It takes several moments before Loki is able to do more than pant for breath, he needs the support of his wife. Yes, he is very proud, too proud really - one of his truest flaws is hubris, but she lets him preserve some semblance of dignity, her skirts concealing, her leg supporting when even his strength falters.

But he IS Loki.

Rising, he half stumbles, Sigyn's presence giving him purchase to stand tall once more. Proud, but thankful, he meets the gaze of the Elder Goddess, and inclines his head in thanks even as he regains his composure. "My wife is much more the diplomat, than I am. I can seduce, and mislead, but honesty? That's /hard/ for me, it is her nature."

He has no illusions about his nature, he can't really be what he is not, but one thing that a trickster more than any other god has is the ability to /choose/. The best tricks are those laced with honesty, and that gives Loki margin and leeway that few deities will ever know.

He is free, and with her words he can sense that the Bane Mark is truly gone.

Too proud to shed them, his eyes briefly silver. "I thank you, Lady Persephone." This said with something few have ever seen from Loki - simple sincerity.

Sigyn supports her husband, it is part of what she does… Good advice is another part. She smiles at Loki as he credits her with being the diplomat of the pair. "I am not completely without guile… or at least, I have the sense not to say what I really think of the gossips around the Allfather's court." It's not that Sigyn /can't/ lie, it's that Loki does it so much -better-. And besides, the truth can be a devastating weapon when properly used. She smiles at Persphone, "I give you my thanks as well. Please give our regards to your husband, I hope you will speak well of us to him." And that is a playful paraphrase of many of the ancient prayers recorded to Persephone as well. Sigyn /has/ done her research!

"Some natures are immutable." Quietly, the Elder Goddess observes this, as well as the pair make to better compose themselves after an earth-shaking process of healing. "Some have their states. It is the way of things. You are welcome, the both of you," she adds, still smiling that benevolent little curve of rose-pink lips. Sigyn's words in particular bring Persephone once more to smile that touch more deeply.

"You mention my husband again and I wonder: the brand which brought you to me sings a specific song. We have been listening to a song in a different key for a short time now. My husband is curious because he has seen many shades arrive with a particular touch upon them. A hand?" Persephone, by all sakes and appearances, isn't being coy in the least about the lack of details. It's the lack of details she's asking after, now sliding her eyes between Loki and Sigyn.

"Fate is a bitch." Loki states. "The Norns triply so." Because screw them, they're always mucking up his life. Always. Apparently he's getting his mojo back. Eyes of glacier-heart green study the Lady of Spring. He ponders her words, and then looks thoughtful. "Perhaps you speak of Ambrose Atherton, or his erstwhile friend, his once friend, Oliver." He thinks a moment, then shrugs. "I forget his surname, but he's likely to be a footnote to a footnote, or more likely edited out, slides left on the cutting room floor." Ouch.

A shake of his head. "Yes, Oliver, that must be the song you speak of, was it composed of dissonance?"

One might get the idea that Loki is not overfond of the man, shocking, right?

He turns then to grip one of his wife's hands, holding it close and looking upon her with no tinge of red tainting his eyes. "Free, my dear, success." Though not without price.

Sigyn frowns faintly, "I do not believe I have met this un-friend of Ambrose's." Her eyes narrow, just for a second there is the flicker of the battle-planner, the fighter. Then Loki clasps her hand and she smiles up at him warmly, her tone affectionate and teasing, "And I bet you have already thought of a way to celebrate."

"The song is still being sung…so if this Oliver is but a footnote, it must be this Ambrose Atherton. But dissonance? No, a minor key that intrigues my husband-king." Persephone's regard shifts briefly to Sigyn. If she has thoughts on possibly having received this Oliver's shade, the Queen of the Underworld shows none of them.

Instead, she looks up at the night sky, strewn with its stars and its dark moon. "Then go. Take your freedom, the both of you. It is a night for bountiful celebration." In the distance, there comes the sound of three belling hound-calls. Persephone glances over her shoulder and then back at them. "I will see you both again."

No mention of when. Not 'soon'. Not 'later'. Just a statement of certainty.

And then reality washes over both to reveal the backyard of Cover Story as the Elder Goddess simply wills them free of her demesne.

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