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Fear Primordial

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Empire Building". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Odin looked upon her, and despaired.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Marvel Universe > Thor > Fred/Illyria-CenteredVampireCowFR1811,1501135,2826 May 126 May 12Yes
Disclaimer: Angel (and Buffy) characters belong to Joss Whedon and his loyal army of lawyers/movie makers. Thor and like characters are part of the Marvel Universe Pie (which Joss also has his thumb in, the lucky bastard).

Timeline: Post 'Not Fade Away' for Angel. Post 'Thor' movie, but before 'Avengers'.

The giants came, and there was no warning. They came in small groups at first, slipping past Heimdall and the broken Bifrost -a monument that once symbolized peace and unity and Aesir supremacy- without a sound. They came and they saw and they left, nothing in their blood like eyes but a cool indifference and a promise of things to come as the scouts slipped back into cracks of reality like eels through water. It was a frightening thing, even to the All-Father.

Thor's interrupted coronation had been thought a fluke, a deadly prank pulled by a jealous younger brother (for who else could sneak past those golden, all-seeing eyes?).

Then the giants came, and they came in droves. It should not have been possible: nothing and no one could move such numbers of warriors so rapidly, hitting and running and burning fields watered with blood as they went singing songs of war and blood and cold. Laufey was only recently dead, and after a regime that had held for millennium to replace it so soon, when his heirs (and Odin did not think of Loki, he did not, and this was to be his undoing) were yet babes. And still they came, and still they struck, and Odin's warriors fell by the hundreds as reports of a great beast, a slight girl, a warrior-king, and a Horror of Old flew to him on raven's wings but still too slow.

Gazing upon Her, Thor held by the neck and Mjolnir herself dangling like a forgotten trinket from one tentacle, Odin watched helpless as his people were brought to their knees in ice and snow. Gungnir was a twisted heap at his feet, and Frigga fallen unconscious on the steps where she landed after being slapped aside like an errant child. Sif lay near-death, her godhood being the only thing keeping the war goddess clinging to life as her organs chilled in the snow. Tyr had lost his other arm in the beginning, beset by a horde and an ambush.

The scouts had learned the terrain and their opponents well. The Creature was a true master at War.

Looking out at the calm, blue, darkly satisfied faces that turned like flowers to the sun toward the Thing that lead them, Odin heard Muninn caw painfully in the distance.

The limb wrapped around his son's throat squeezed as if trying to see how many colors the god of thunder could turn before death. "Please," Odin coughed out, his own magic long since spent in an ultimately futile attempt to push back the beast. "I know not who you are, or why you have brought this-" It had been no war. There was no glory in this. His people were dead before they could make a true stand. Though their spirits would move on to Valhalla, they had no stories to tell there. "-slaughter to our lands."

The Beast, though it was hard to tell under the armor and the monotone, growling speech, seemed surprised. "Do you not call yourself a god? Have not mortals sacrificed in your name, slaughtering their own kin in the hopes that you might look favorably on their endeavors? What reason do we gods have to war, other than for the sport itself?"

By Bor, She called war a sport. A game. "That was a long, long time ago. The affairs of mortals do not concern us any longer."

"You are a poor god indeed, if you abandon your people so easily, to let another claim their hearts and minds and worship." She tossed Thor away like a broken toy She no longer had a use for, and the frost giants howled as he skipped like a stone on water along the blood slick streets. Mjolnir was propped in mockery against what passed for a shoulder. "No matter. I have come for that which is Mine, that which I am told you took as spoils from Laufey-King's keeping when you assailed the Temple."

The Casket? This Creature that reduced his armies from thousands to mere handfuls, that ripped holes in the sky and carried the weapons of ages sought The Casket of Ancient Winters?

Odin's heart clenched. He fell to the ground, weeping. Weeping for his kingdom. For the child he had once called son. All for a box he'd thought would ensure peace. "Take it, Demon. Take the Casket and begone, please..." He crawled to his wife and took her hand, head bowed, waiting for the Creature to send in Her minions to recover the wretched thing.

Instead, he felt a swirl of air and where a Monster the size of a house once stood was a young woman, slight of frame but with pale skin speckled in blue and eyes as cold as Jotunheim itself. "I come not for trinkets, false-god." She mounted the steps, walking purposefully forward, and Odin remembered. He had thought it strange for a babe to be left in a temple (a sacrifice to the Jotnar war god, he reasoned later) and wondered why Laufey would not speak in defense of his own child (had to be, the markings of royalty had been on the infant's skin before it changed... hadn't they?). The Jotun King had merely watched, a kind of knowing in his gaze that had sent Odin a step backward before he composed himself.

Huginn flew in the tainted skies overhead, and Odin knew who She was. His mother had told stories sometimes, rarely, the words skipping off her tongue in wistful tones.

"I am told he has his mother's eyes." Illyria, Shaper-of-Things and God-to-Gods, continued. "But my power."

"Loki." He choked out, knowing all those who still lived could hear him, and the terrible truth he had kept hidden. That the darker prince, his wyrd child who had defied every expectation with abilities and talents that had been at times frightening, had not been Odin's but a stolen relic. He had taken a true child-god right out of its home, had raped him of his heritage, and now all of Asgard would pay the price for that arrogance. (And oh, what could have been-! If Loki had not broken, if he had stood, what a weapon the favor of a true god could be!)

"Where is my son, liar-thief?"

And Odin looked past the deceivingly harmless shape-shifted form of the Ruler of the Primordium, She-Who-Sleapt-No-Longer-In-The-Deeper-Well, and into the haunted blue eyes of his eldest. They asked, What have you done.

Frigga stirred.

There was no Loki to talk their way out of this. No Trickster to shift the blame and watch beguile their opponents.

And that was the point, wasn't it?

"I am sorry." He begged, not for himself but for the kingdom. For those Aesir still breathing.

The End

You have reached the end of "Fear Primordial". This story is complete.

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