Chapter 5: Deception
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Hogun's feet trodded on the waste that seeped through the cracks of one of Svartalfheim's vilest dungeons. Alflyse led Hogun and Volstagg with a glare or two along the way as she waited for one of them to say something.
"I don't think three will suffice against one as powerful as the demon you are foretelling" Hogun eventually spoke.
A knowing smirk crept across Alflyse cheeks "You won't have to defeat Surtur, merely surpass him, besides this is the only way you can win the trust of my people. Also the warrior I'm giving you is proficient in every category, magic, determination, combat, you name it, though she has her faults I must admit."
"Faults Madame?" the bulky Volstagg intervened.
Alflyse nodded as she continued to lead "Yes, she is responsible for the deaths of many, including my own mother."
Volstagg bellowed "How could one do something so revolting?"
Hogun followed "And forgive me for asking but why let her live?"
Alflyse shrugged seemingly unfazed by the grimness of the conversation "It makes her happy, I tried everything to make my love known to her but at the end of the day the kiss and warmth of blood on her cheeks is irresistible to her heart. As for why she's still alive, forgive my feeble nature but I could never justify killing my own daughter."
Odin's Dinner Table
Althea's glittering green eyes peeked through the small keyhole of Odin's dining room.
Vili and Malekith were eating late night supper in Odin and Frigga's vacated chairs.
Vili plunged his knife into the Asgardian boar and gnawed "You look eager elf, what's on your mind?"
"Just hungry for my home and not so hungry for food" Malekith mulled.
"We'll march on Svartalfheim soon enough but first I need you to complete what I asked you to do" Vili simply stated.
"How's the girl? Have you made use of her yet?" Malektih, the Dark Elf tyrant eventually hissed in Vili's direction.
Vili chewed slowly "Mind your tongue elf, and the girl is fine, as you should be."
Malekith gnarled and scraped the table with his long dark nails "Very well then, I'll complete what you wish, but tell me something why do you want me to do it?"
"You know why" Vili responded.
Malekith's fingers curled into a ball "Maybe I do, but it's not the reason you tell me."
"I'm telling you..." Vili attempted only to be interrupted by Malekith's widened grin.
Malekith chuckled "When I ruled Svartalfheim I would pluck away at a man's family one by one if I felt he didn't tell me the whole truth, fear has a means of exposing who people truly are, unfortunately with you I do not have that luxury, because well you've done it already."
Vili edged closer "What's your point?"
Malekith's joy continued to enhance as his game continued "I can see things others can not see. I can tell a small lie from a big lie, a small truth from a big truth, and you my...friend have a lot of liars around you which I'll gladly tell you about once we reclaim what is mine."
Malekith waved his fork at Vili's silver torso "But I digress, I may not know you long Vili but I can see in your eyes you're not a madman running out with a sword looking for as much blood as he can find, you are a leader. So tell me, why conquer the Nine Realms if it's a battle you know you're destined to lose?"
Hogun pulled Alflyse's chained daughter up the Svartalfheim mountain as Volstagg valiantly tried to keep pace.
"Slow down brother Hogun" Volstagg huffed and puffed "We won't be able to make it to the top, let alone defeat that demon if you use up one's energy so...briskly."
Hogun bemoaned Volstagg's pleas as Alflyse's daughter smirked.
"What's your name girl?" Hogun tugged.
"I have no name" she mischievously stared in return.
Hogun met her devious eyes with a pleasant smile as the wind cut across his face "In order for me to even consider releasing you from those chains, I must have at least an inch of trust or understanding, now please, tell me your name."
Alflyse's daughter looked down as she tried to remember "Names are for pets and I am not a pet. I had a name once at birth I believe, but I can't quite place it for I refuse to care for a name given to me by that bitch some people call my mother."
Her eyes returned from her daze as a snow flake fell on her nose and eventually the rest from the heavens "But if you wish to know me by a name you may call me by the next man I kill ...oh look, here comes a name now."
Sif's Tent, Svartalfheim Army Encampment
Sif sharpened her blade as she lay within her tent filled with confusion.
She should feel sad for the loss of Odin, of Eir and possibly of many others.
She should feel joy in knowing they have a plan of action of some sorts with an army at her beckon call.
She should feel something, but she didn't.
"Knock knock" Fandral whispered from outside the tent "Are there any lady bits showing before I enter?" Fandral enquired.
Sif's eyebrows wavered "No but there'll be plenty of your man bits scattered across the floor if you do not state your business."
Fandral poked his head inside the tent with the merriest of smiles "I've brought wine."
Sif paused for a moment to decipher what it was Fandral wanted before signalling for him to pour some into her cup.
"I half expected one such as you to be joining in on the entertainment outside?" Sif pondered as she reached for her cup.
Fandral took a sip from his cup "In truth one such as me was going to but unfortunately they don't sing the songs of home nor do the people act like those at home."
Sif nodded with disdain as she remembered those who she met in Asgard and where they must be now.
"Are you alright?" Fandral asked.
"I'm fine" Sif dismissed.
Fandral mumbled as he collected his thoughts "I know I'm not a man worthy of Mjolnir but if you give me a chance I can be a man worthy of a talk...that and I am incredibly drunk Ms. Lady Sif."
Sif chuckled for the first time in a while "I'm not a Lady".
"Are you not?" Fandral asked as confused as a Jotunheim pup.
Sif shook her head "No...not now, not at this moment though I will admit I wish to be. I crave the day when I can have children and tell them stories of old, when I can speak with someone and not question their motives and when I can eat dinner with a loved one such as..."
"Thor?" Fandral intervened.
Fandral reassured "We will find him Sif and we...."
Sif's eyes drew outside the tent.
"What is it?" Fandral asked as a shadow dashed across the tent.
"Valkyries" Sif informed.
"Untie me Aesir" Alflyse's daughter demanded.
Hogun halted as the demon lofted his axe on to his shoulder.
"DO IT..." Alflyse's daughter begged.
"'Tis done" Hogun sliced her chains.
"Stay by my side Hogun" Volstagg prepared his axe.
"Rah" Alflyse daughter raged forward.
"Wait" Hogun reached out.
Alflyse daughter caught the demon's axe in her hand and watched the blood meander down her wrist "Mmmm...you cut me, allow me to trade my blood for yours."
Alflyse daughter's incisors crunched through the demon's jugular "So much blood, you're too kind."
The roaring sound from the demon throat sent ripples through the mountain.
Hogun looked over at Volstagg's dismay.
"I won't be camping with her tonight" Volstagg informed.
Hogun nodded "Nor will I or he".
The horrific sound eventually stopped as Alflyse daughter strutted towards the two men while rubbing her chin clean of the blood "You may call me Zara".
Hogun scratched his head with his lofty mace "Zara? I thought you were naming yourself after the next man you killed?"
Zara shrugged "Yes...but when I asked for his name all he could shout was Zara...Zara".
"His wife?" Hogun questioned.
Zara licked her palms clean of the blood and proceeded forward "Maybe she is, maybe she isn't...some of us don't get the fortune of marrying the ones we love. Now do me a favour and toss me a blade, I'm sure there are more friends up ahead."
Svartalfheim Army Encampment
Sif's head raised to the stars above as she witnessed twenty seven valkyries led by her old friend Brunnhilde circle around in the sky.
"VALKYRIES WHY HAVE YOU COME?" Sif shouted as she made her way through the crowds of dark elves.
A furious dark elf bemoaned "I knew we could not trust these Asgardians, they're here as informers for Vili."
Fandral nudged Sif and whispered "The quicker we get out of here the better".
Sif shifted through the crowds.
"Ah you've arrived at last" a familiar voice spoke.
"Speak to your people Alflyse" Sif pleaded.
"Very well then" Alflyse agreed as she made her way to the front of her men.
"Well, well, well if it isn't Queen Alflyse we were getting lonely" Amora the Enchantress said with joy as an army of Asgardians stood in front of the Svartalfheim army otherwise known as the border between Svartalfheim and Asgard.
Alflyse allowed a sarcastic laugh "What games are you playing child?"
Amora levitated upward "Child? I thought you would be more respectful of the Queen of Asgard and this is no game elf, this is your end, one way or the other, whether you live or you die...AM I RIGHT MEN?"
A battle cry rung out the newly found battleground as their shields started to push against the Dark Elves who were unmovable without death and Sif stood behind uneasy.
Alflyse turned her attention to the men and valkyries of Asgard "IS THIS WHAT THE GOLDEN ARMY HAS FALLEN TO? PROTECTING A FASCIST KING KNOWN AS VILI? WHY NOT REVOLT AGAINST THE MAN WHO SLAY YOUR TRUE KING AND SPAT ON HIS GRAVE?"
Amora chuckled in reply as the men's eyes remained set on the battle that was destined to come "Many have tried, many have failed, Odin's death is at the hands of the Ragnarok cycle I'm afraid."
Sif grew tired of Amora's torments and climbed up on to the shoulders of one of the Dark Elf giants "Ragnarok? THE PREDICTED DEATH OF THE GODS? YOU ARE A LIAR."
Amora waved "Hello dare Sif and no I do not lie, Ragnarok is very much real and it comes for you this day."
Alflyse vanished into her army as she announced "WELL IF THIS IS THE CYCLE YOU WISH TO DIE FOR THEN I SAY TO YOU THESE SIMPLE WORDS...STEP ONE FOOT ON THIS LAND AND WE SHALL NOT HESITATE TO STOP YOU, BUT IN DOING SO MAKE SURE YOU STATE A CLAIM AS TO WHY, FOR I DO NOT WISH TO KILL A CONFUSED MAN OR WOMAN."
"Enough" Hogun smashed a demon's jaw with his mace.
A maniacal chuckle escaped the girl's lungs.
Volstagg's arms gathered up a hoard of demons as he lunged forward.
"OUT DEMONS" Volstagg roared as he flung them down from the mountain.
Hogun ceased a moment to gather his thoughts as five more demons slowly yet ferociously hovered forward with their venomous fangs.
"Up there" Hogun pointed, observing the distortion in the clouds that fed the demons "At the top of mountain lies the source of what's keeping these demon's alive."
"Well spotted brother" Volstagg commented as a demon swung a sword that snipped a piece of his long red beard.
Hogun nodded before turning his attention to the demon's once more "But first we must..."
Hogun's mace plunged into the ice as his knees fell to the ground.
"HOGUN" Volstagg shouted as the demon's blade reigned down towards Hogun's head.
Volstagg's axe met the blade "What is wrong with you friend? GET ON YOUR KNEES."
Hogun stumbled back up as he spoke the words he was terrified of "I...I can't kill them".
Volstagg swiped his axe into the air in order for the demons to stay back "We've killed many like these before, we can do it again and again until they stop."
Hogun whispered with guilt "I can't...they're my family."
"ASGARDIANS, FORWARD!" Enchantress commanded.
The golden army lunged ahead as the Dark Elves lost patience.
"FOR SVARTALFHEIM AND THE BLONDE ONE'S HEAD" Alflyse commanded as the Dark Elves held.
Sif's heart was pounding as both of her people began to slice each others throats and danced on each others pools of blood.
"For Asgard" one of Brunnhilde's Valkyries cried with an arced spear.
Sif tossed her blade on the ground with an attempt of confidence yet, the Valkyrie was unrelenting.
"Watch your guard" Sif said as the Valkyrie edged nearer.
"Watch your guard" Sif repeated as the Valkyrie roared.
There was no time for emotion in times of war.
Sif flipped and kicked the Valkyrie off of her flying horse and climbed on as Fandral tended to the woman "You should have watched your guard....Fandral, ready your bow."
Enchantress's fury increased more and more with every failure of the ripping of a Dark Elf heart "TURN BACK AND I WILL KILL YOU MYSELF...MOVE FORWARD AND LIVE AND YOU WILL BE REWARDED GREATLY."
The words of Enchantress ushered on inspiration in the dwindling number of Asgardian hearts.
Sif dashed up into the sky with three Valkyries ready to pounce.
A shout escaped Brunnhilde "NOT YET. She was once our sister as a Valkyrie, she will not dishonour us nor does she have a means of doing so without her blade".
Sif approached Brunnhilde with a hesitant trust, a few days ago they were close friends but now they stood on opposite sides of the battlefield.
"Valkyrie" Sif said softly.
"Sif" Brunnhilde replied.
"Please...give me time" Sif simply pleaded.
"Time? Time is something no one can spare." Brunnhilde questioned.
Sif's attention turned to the battlefield that she floated above.
"What are you looking for?" Brunnhilde observed.
Sif screamed "NOW FANDRAL".
Brunnhilde pointed her blade at Sif's throat "YOU DARE AIM YOUR ARCHER AT ME?".
Sif creaked her neck back in order to avoid the discomfort of the blade "No...not you."
"Ding dong the witch is dead" Fandral joked as he aimed his arrow at Enchantress.
Brunnhilde's blade began to push more and more into Sif's skin "Killing our Queen will not do you any favours either."
Fandral's arrow flew directly at Enchanctress.
"She's not your Queen" Sif explained.
The arrow pierced through Enchantress's head.
The warriors at the back stopped first, followed by those who fought with all their might at the front.
Enchantress disappeared into a million particles.
"She...she was not here" Brunnhilde noted.
Volstagg's anxiety weighed down on his crown as he attempted to pull Hogun away from the demons.
"What do you mean?" Volstagg asked.
Hogun attempted to explain "Their faces they..."
"Hogun..." a demon groaned.
"M...mother?" Hogun fell to the ground once more as he trembled at the sight of his own mother.
"You abandoned us" Hogun's mother explained "You must die."
"Get back DEMON" Volstagg's axe decapitated Hogun's mother.
"NO" Hogun cried out as one by one Volstagg annihilated the demons and with that came a silence and single roar.
Volstagg spoke with as much sympathy as he could muster "Hogun..."
There was no reply.
"Where is Zara?" Volstagg asked.
"You killed my family" Hogun eventually spoke.
"They are not your family" Volstagg explained.
Hogun stood to his feet and waved his mace "And nor are you".
"She was never here" Sif informed to Brunnhilde and eventually to the once roaring but now silent Asgardian Army.
"But I am...we are" Sif explained.
The wind swept across the Asgardians as Sif soared across the battlefield.
"I count at most 500 men amongst your ranks...there are at least 27,000 back in the Asgardian barracks, why?" Sif questioned.
Sif deduced the matter more clearly "If you were sent here to invade Svartalfheim then why not send more? If you do not know the answer...I shall tell you, you are a sacrafice...you were destined to die today whether you killed Dark Elf or not. You have been deceived but we shall not."
She continued "We do not sit on our thrones, gawking at the sight of war like she does with her illusions for we are warriors. We do not lie or kill without purpose like she does for we are warriors. And we do not follow blindly into the night like they expects us to and like she does for WE ARE WARRIORS."
One by one the Asgardian's swords, shields bows and armour fell to the ground as a sign of peace.
All but for one.
"Well aren't you lovely?" Zara sarcastically commented.
Surtur's monstrous hand rested on the ledge that Zara stood on.
Zara could feel the heat increasing more and more the longer Surtur's hand rested "I've read stories about you in my cell you know."
"You've destroyed kingdoms"
Surtur's fiery finger crept forward.
"You've struck fear into many"
An infernal smile blazed across Surtur's face.
"Yet like the fire that surrounds you've gained nothing"
Surtur's smile turned to a burning disdain for the conversation "What do you want Elf?"
Zara winked "That's the irony, I want to know what you want."
"To be left alone" Surtur confessed before turning to find Zara had vanished.
"Elf?...hmmmm" Surtur asked into the seeming emptiness bedazzled by the series of events.
A crunch was heard by Surtur and his eyes peered around.
"GET OUT OF MY CAVE" a wallop into the ground from Surtur shook the foundations of the cave.
"No problem" Zara toyed with the small box believed to be the Ancient Casket of Winters.
"DO NOT" Surtur demanded.
"Too late" Zara replied as she opened the box.
Her eyes could not believe what she had just witnessed "Well now...isn't that interesting?"
In synchronisation, everyone's attention turned to the man who would not let go of his sword nor his shield.
He jaunted forward as the people of Svartalfheim whispered about his intentions "I will not bow before traitors to Asgard and I will definitely not bow before the Dark Elves."
Sif flew down to the lone man who walked from the back of the Asgardian army to the Dark Elf army "What you do is noble but please we do not wish for any more anguish."
"F@;# you" the man responded callously.
"My name is Robert Moonson and I will have words with thee Svartalfheim scum" the man dashed forward to Sif's worry.
"Why?" she begged for an answer.
Robert cited "I serve the king".
Sif contested "The king and those who sit on Asgard's thrones are enemies of Asgard not ones you should serve...he killed Odin does that not mean anything to you?"
Robert halted for a moment "If Odin were to die of natural causes am I not to serve the king who comes after him?"
"Yes but not if the man who succeeds him is the one who killed him" Sif attempted.
Robert chuckled as he stood five feet from the Dark Elf Giant "And what if Odin killed Bor? perhaps he did, now that I think about it except without all the drama. How did Bor die again? Oh that's right fighting by his good son Odin who so happened to benefit greatly from his first day out on the battlefield."
"You lie" Sif insisted.
"My name is Robert Moonson and I die for the king" Robert swung at the Giant.
"Kill him" Alflyse demanded.
"NO" Sif begged but it was too late the giant had ripped the head from his shoulders and the blood spewed on to the ground, Robert's head revealed he died smiling.
A panicked man ran forward to hold the headless body "He...he was my brother, you killed my brother you Dark Elf scum"
The man picked up Robert's blade "My name is Frederick Moonson..."
Sif hopped off her horse in order to try and hold the man yet he continued "And I to die for my brother Robert Moonson".
The man walked forward and the blood gushed on to Sif's face.
One by one each Asgardian queued up for the man before him, in order to pick up Robert's sword and to die for their brother before them.
"Valkyries stay" Brunnhilde commanded as the valkyries acknowledged yet the bloodbath was the most unpleasant sight they had ever seen.
Sif had felt nothing for days but on this day as the bodies piled up beside her, she could feel only sadness and anger as the battle was lost.
Malekith's eyes pulsed with excitement at the true nature of Vili's plans "You truly are a worthy king Vili."
Vili nodded "Complete what I have asked and we shall both see it come to fruition."
Malekith bowed as he entered the portal "'Tis done...may the Gods have mercy on Midgard, for what is soon to come will be quite extraordinary."
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