Irish Hunger Memorial 1
December 12, 2011
Irish Hunger Memorial
New York, New York
Stumbling forward as the overly theatrical variation of Amora's teleportation spell bled away, Courtney Gibbs caught herself with her crutches and stared out over the remarkably green slope of the Irish Hunger Memorial before peering back over her shoulder. Down below, the bank of the Hudson River was dotted with barren trees and clumps of snow too stubborn to melt, as was befitting a thirty-nine degree December day in New York City. And yet here, under the wards her friend had set up? Sixty-six and lush foliage. Oh, that wasn't going to attract undue attention at all…
Courtney looked both ways before sinking to her knees on the pavement. It was bad enough that Amora had shown up as herself rather than 'Sylvie' at GameStop; the last thing she needed was to totally obliterate her secret identity by being caught transforming. Gently lowering her crutches to rest on the ground in front of her, she held her hands out over them and reached out with her magic. The tendril of power brushed over the enchantments in her crutches a few times, and then she intertwined them and pushed.
Even after undergoing dozens of transformations since her arrival on Midgard, Courtney was still caught off-guard each and every time by how unnervingly painful it was. She understood why it was so - her entire body, inside and out, was remaking itself - but for someone who hadn't experienced much in the way of pain for the first century and a half of her life, it was… unnerving. To distract herself, she stared down at the ground in front of her, watching as her forearm crutches dissolved into two separate puddles of silvery metal that then oozed together, forming themselves into her broadsword Rensaren. As that was happening, the ground itself was slowly growing further away as her body put on nine inches in height along with three hundred pounds of muscle and denser tissue. Then the last stage of the change was upon her and the world became brighter and louder as her brain subtly rewired itself, bringing her superhuman senses to life. Tossing her head to send her now longer and curlier red mane tumbling down her back, Thrúd Thordóttir rose to her feet and looked her companion over before sighing. "It irks thee overmuch to change thy shape to that of Sylvie ere thou bring me hither, yet still thou choosest to wear the 'Midgard chic' we crafted for her?"
"I am in sooth no 'Sylvie', but Amora still, apprentice. If thou wilt hide thy true self from mortal eyes, must I therefore do the like? And the robes … wherefore should I set them by? These past few hundreds of years, hath not the garb of Asgard withered and grown stale?" Glancing down, Amora smoothed her hands over her belt before looking back up at Thrúd. "The wearer of this raiment commandeth both ease of movement and the eyes of onlookers, and yet may be taken for none but I. More than any of these, it vexes thy father by putting him in mind of his lost love. What more could I desire?"
Thrúd shook her head in a combination of amusement and resignation before gesturing to her own body. Or, more accurately, to the overtaxed, Courtney-sized clothing struggling to contain her true form. "May I then crave thy aid?" Smirking, Amora waved her arm over Thrúd's body, releasing a shower of yellowish-green motes of light that seeped into her mortal self's attire. After a few seconds, her clothes wriggled and transformed into a strapless green dress with silver accents on the front that were vaguely reminiscent of her father's armor, along with brown leather boots, a wide brown leather belt with a silver buckle, and brown gloves. Tan fur encircled her biceps at the top of each glove and ran along the neckline of her dress. Given that she was considerably more physically active than Amora it wasn't a particularly practical outfit, Thrúd mused, but it would do for now. "I thank thee."
Waving her hand dismissively, Amora wandered off toward the nearby stone retaining wall, patting her hand along the top as she walked. "If you really wanted to thank me, you could drop the 'otherworldly persona'. It may impress the mortals, but it just makes you seem like a geek to the rest of us." Thrúd let out a huff at that, crossing her arms over her chest. "Pout all you want, but it's true. I'm all about theatricality, and even I think it's too much. I'll play along in front of your mortals for your sake, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Or keep it up when we're alone." Ignoring Thrúd's subsequent grumbling, Amora made her way out onto the memorial's grass as she continued to follow along the wall. Eventually, she paused and frowned as she peered back over her shoulder at Thrúd. "The wall doesn't get any shorter, does it?" The redhead shook her head, causing Amora to bounce on her toes a few times before stepping back and peering down at herself. "Hmm. Maybe this wasn't the best outfit to wear today…"
"Probably not, no. Then again, are any of your outfits good for climbing, Amora? Or running? Or… well, anything other than walking slowly?" Thrúd smirked at the sour look Amara shot her, and then the blonde huffed before turning back to study the four foot tall obstacle. Already having a solution to the problem her mentor was facing - or at least an idea for a solution - Thrúd opted to turn her attention back to her own outfit. It was really starting to grow on her, she decided as she eyed her bare, pale shoulder. It wasn't as skimpy as the outfits Amora preferred, thank the All-Father, but bared enough skin that it would be impossible for the people around her to ignore the uncomfortable - even ugly, to most - reminders of her parentage if she chose to drop her glamour.
Personally, Thrúd didn't understand what the big deal was. So she had blue skin adorned by swirling grooves, pointed ears, and red irises that bled into matching scleras. She was half-jötunn, which wasn't her fault any more than it was her mother's fault for being born a jötunn. Why should she be ashamed of her true nature, or try to hide it from the world? Or at least her world; she understood full well the necessity of hiding what she really was from the mortals, at least until she could ascertain what - if anything - her father might have told SHIELD to poison their minds against her kind.
Thankfully, there was one aspect of her mother's heritage that she could display without fear, at least when she wasn't hiding in her mortal guise: her magic. Holding her arm out, Thrúd summoned Rensaren to her hand before conjuring a scabbard for it on her belt and sheathing her sword. That done, she whistled softly to get Amora's attention before snapping her fingers, teleporting to stand on the back fill beyond the wall that vexed the blonde so. Amora just raised an eyebrow in response. "Aren't you usually the one lecturing me about relying on magic too much?"
Thrúd just shrugged in response. "I'm fine with being a hypocrite if the alternative is exposing myself to strangers." Amora rolled her eyes at that before teleporting to stand beside the redhead. Leading Amora over to where the rest of their group was gathered, Thrúd blinked at the sight that greeted her before pinching the bridge of her nose and sighing. "You're going to fix them before they go home, right? Sif-"
"Sif has no taste." Amora let out a snort of disgust as she looked over the pair of valkyries sitting near the memorial's capstone. "If she did, she'd come up with a better uniform for her little girl power army. And leave your father."
"If Sif has no taste for being with my father, what does that say about you?"
"I've never wanted your father, dear. Not the way the others do. I just seduced him to prove to Sif that I could. And Járnsaxa. And Sinmara. And Loki." Pausing, Amora cocked her head to the side. "You know, when you put all his conquests together in a list like that… I wonder if I'd have gotten laid faster if I'd posed as a ljósálfr? Or maybe a svartálfr, since he seems to enjoy ravaging the enemy's maidens…" Chuckling at the disgusted look on Thrúd's face, Amora gestured back over to where Kára and Göndul sat on either side of the Mórrígan. "At any rate, you can't honestly tell me that they don't look better this way. Especially Kára…"
Oh, they did. Then again, Thrúd was of the opinion that most anything looked better than the blue and silver armor that her stepmother forced upon the valkyries. That being said, Amora had put an awful lot of effort into tailoring the outfits to their owners. Not only did each blend the fashions of both Asgard and Midgard, but they did so in a way that displayed a subtle common theme while still respecting the individual preferences of each woman. Göndul's overbust corset, bracers, and boots were all the same purple as literally every dress that the valkyrie owned, and the neckline of the corset was trimmed in the same fur as Thrúd's dress. And Kára… Thrúd bit her lip to avoid laughing at how Amora had mixed elements of Asgardian fashion with the design of a certain superheroine's costume for the blonde valkyrie's makeover. Each woman's outfit also included metal accents similar to those on Thrúd's dress, Kára in gold and Göndul in silver.
But while Göndul and Kára did in fact look better in their new outfits than they did in standard valkyrie armor, Thrúd had no intention of admitting as much. Amora had enough of an ego as it was…
Lifting one hand from where it rested on Göndul's thigh, the Mórrígan brought her conversation with the valkyries to a halt before waving cheerfully at Thrúd. The redhead groaned as she looked her friend up and down; evidently Amora's influence was starting to spread beyond Asgard into other pantheons. Not that the older goddess's black sweater dress, chunky black belt, and thigh-high black leather boots didn't suit her, because they did. Thrúd just- "How's my favorite minimum wage monkey this afternoon? And please, drop the 'otherworldly persona'. It may impress the mortals, but it just makes you seem like a dork to the rest of us. A dork, might I add, to the woman who sells 'healing crystals' and other useless crap to wanna-blessed-be for ten hours a day."
"Yeah, I already got that one from Amora. Almost word for word, even. Thanks, though." Making her way over to the trio, Thrúd reached down and offered Göndul her hand. The blonde valkyrie took it, allowing Thrúd to haul her to her feet, and then the half-jótunn ásynja shot a petulant look down at the Mórrígan. "I just thought that a goddess should be classy and sophisticated and elegant. Is that really so bad?"
"No. But how about you save classy and sophisticated and elegant for someone who hasn't seen you throw a tantrum because the boots you want don't come in size fourteen?" Leaning to her right, the Mórrígan gave Kára's thigh a squeeze and lowered her voice conspiratorially. "That's why we usually meet as Courtney and Moira now instead of Thrúd and the Mórrígan. She made the poor salesgirl faint."
Thrúd growled softly at that and narrowed her eyes at the Mórrígan. "I did not throw a temper tantrum. I… expressed my unhappiness very loudly. While gesturing wildly. And the salesgirl didn't faint until I bumped into that rack of shirts and you transformed into a conspiracy of ravens to avoid getting hit by it."
Wandering over to join them, Amora shook her head as she clucked her tongue softly. "I can't dress you two up or take you anywhere."
This piece is mostly just an intro to characters that we've yet to see - or see in any real depth - yet. There's definitely more to come, with proper interaction and a reason for it all. I opted to split this scene here, though, because while I have most of the rest of the piece finished, I don't quite have the voices right for the Mórrígan at rest or one of the other characters who will feature in it. I've got three different variations out to my beta at the moment, though, and so hopefully she'll have things ironed out for me in short order. Or suggest a fourth, or just plain send me back to the drawing board, in which case the next update might take slightly longer than anticipated.