Continuing Tales

Fallen Star

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by Alydia Rackham

Part 9 of 27

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"I sit beside the fire and think

Of how the world will be

When winter comes without a spring

That I shall never see.

For still there are so many things

That I have never seen:

In every wood in every spring

There is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think

Of people long ago,

And people who will see a world

That I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think

Of times there were before,

I listen for returning feet

And voices at the door."

-The Fellowship of the Ring

"Now watch this Father—watch closely…"

"Loki, I'm very busy at the moment—"

"It will only take a moment," Loki assured his father, anxiously trying to catch his eye. Loki had stood for an hour outside the throne room, waiting for his father to finish mediating a case between two feuding landlords. Loki wore his best: a long, deep purple tunic and trousers and polished black boots—all of which his mother had given him for his latest birthday—the last birthday he would have before he came of age.

Now, he stood just to his father's left as Odin sat on his throne, parchment documents spread out on his lap.

"All right, Loki—what is it?" Odin asked, lifting his eye from one of the papers and turning to Loki.

"Watch," Loki instructed. He held out his hands in front of him, his left hand hovering over his right. Then, he reached down deep inside him, took a breath, and moved his hands.

A subtle blue flash issued between his palms, and the tingling shiver of energy radiated through his fingertips. Then, a jeweled silver goblet materialized in the air, and floated down into Loki's grasp.

"That's my wedding goblet," Odin observed.

"Yes—but see how I can hide it?" Loki said, flicking his hands again—and the goblet disappeared.

"That's very impressive, Loki," Odin nodded, smiling.

"I've been working at it all week," Loki told him, feeling a swell of pride. "So if you ever need anything important kept out of sight—and I mean completely out of sight—just call me, and I can—"

"Father!" The bellow rang through the great hall. Loki spun, his eyes flashing to the entrance.

Burly Thor, wearing only his trousers, and covered with dirt and sweat, raced to the head of the hall, hefting his hammer over his head.

"It flew!" he roared, beaming, his eyes bright. "Mjollnir flew and came back to my hand! Did you hear it?"

"It did?" Odin cried, quickly gathering up the papers and setting them aside. "It came back to your hand?

"Yes!" Thor crowed. "Come quick! Come see!"

"I'm coming, I'm coming," Odin laughed, trotting down the stairs and hurrying up the hall. "Before you know it, you'll be calling lightning down—be sure to tell me before you try that—I must come watch!"

"Hurry up, hurry up!" Thor complained, and turned back around and raced outside.

Loki stood beside the throne for a long time after the hall had fallen silent. Then, he held out his hands, both palms up, and re-conjured the silver goblet. He held it for a moment, studying it as it glinted in the light. Then he set it down on the throne and left, his footsteps echoing on the stone.


The warm, late afternoon wind blew over the sparse red hills, and the cloudless sky appeared limitless, the sunbeams reaching from horizon to horizon. Jane only had a light jacket on, and jeans, and that was enough to keep her warm—her boots scraped on the sand of the country road. She glanced over at Fenris, who walked to her left. He wore his own boots, but loose-fitting jeans, a black collared shirt, and a leather jacket. He kicked a rock ahead of them, his hands in his pockets.

"I'm glad you finally let me give you some different clothes," Jane commented. "You have to be more comfortable now."

"Comfortable, yes," he answered. "At ease? No."

"Oh, come on…" Jane sighed.

"I cannot summon my armor without that tunic—I told you that," he answered, giving her a pointed glance.

"Thor's armor came to him when he was wearing a flannel shirt and jeans," Jane countered.

"Yes, but Prince Thor's power had been taken from him," Fenris pointed at her. "And then it was returned. Which is entirely different."

"But why would you need armor out here anyway?" Jane gestured to the broad nothing all around them. "What are you expecting to happen?"

He shot her a disapproving look.

"Armor is a preemptive measure," he answered. "Because you don't know what could happen."

"I've survived all my life without magic armor," Jane muttered.

"I am actually amazed at that," he said, watching the road ahead. Jane stopped a moment, then decided that he was teasing her and smiled to herself.

They walked a little further in silence, Fenris sometimes casting glances straight up, but mostly studying the horizon.

"How are you feeling?" Jane asked.

He glanced at her, then considered as he raised his right shoulder.

"A bit sore. But it's not as painful. I can sleep easier."

"Good. Has the bruising gone down?"

"A little," he nodded. Jane studied him a moment, remembering how his shoulders had looked…

"Speaking of that," she began. He tensed, and cast his gaze down. She hesitated.

"Tell me about your necklace," she said instead. Fenris lifted his face to her, and she could actually see the silver chain and gold pendant glitter against the pale skin of his neck, beneath his open collar. His mouth twitched.

"It's not very exciting."

"I'm interested," Jane said. He gave her another sideways look, then focused on the road.

"My brother and I had just come of age, and we'd also been declared masters of our chosen weapons," he said, resigned. "My brother wanted to test out our skills against a fierce clan of Midgardian dwarves. I—"

"Dwarves?" Jane interrupted.

"Yes," he frowned at her. "You know…Shorter, burly men with thick beards who work with metal and dig in mines…"

"You mean in fairytales?"

"No, they're not fairies, they're dwarves."

"No, I mean…I mean in legends. Myths," she clarified. He lifted an eyebrow.

"They are mentioned quite often in The Fellowship."

"That's fiction," Jane said. "It isn't real."

Fenris stopped walking, turned and looked at her.

"It isn't a history of Middle Earth—of Midgard?"

Jane's eyebrows went up.

"No," she shook her head. "No, the author, Tolkien, invented it all."

Fenris stood there a moment.

"Jane," he said seriously. "It's irresponsible for you not to tell me what it is I am reading before I read it."

Jane tried not to smile. She didn't succeed. Something in his eyes sparked for a moment, and the corner of his mouth lifted. Then, he turned and started walking again.

"Nevertheless, dwarves exist—or at least, they did—and my brother and I wished to pay them a visit," he went on. "I admit I was just as willing as he, because life had been slow and rather boring of late," he began. "We wanted to retrieve a relic that had been lost long ago during a royal visit to Midgard—these dwarves had taken it for their own, and pulled it deep into the mountains. So, we two, without telling our parents, left for Midgard and sought them out." He ran his hand through his thick black hair. "To make a very long story short, we underestimated their numbers. Though we did snatch the relic—snatched the relic—we were caught, and we had to fight our way out. I got free, but my brother had let himself get cornered, his weapon tied up. It was then that the ground gave way and he fell. I managed to get through to him and catch him up by the wrist, then cast an illusion around us that muddled the dwarves' senses. We climbed back up, broke free, and hurried back to the bridge, and returned safely to Asgard." Fenris sighed. "At first, we were soundly scolded. But when we presented the old relic, our actions were pardoned, and our father threw us a feast. At the feast, my brother presented me with this necklace—he put it on me himself. And the necklace does not come off. It can't. It's bound on with a magic even I don't understand," he said, meeting Jane's eyes. Jane thought for a moment.

"What did your brother say to you?"

His eyes flickered, and he turned back to the road.

"I can't remember." He reached up and tugged lightly on the chain. "But I do know that there have been a few times of late that I wish I could get it off."

Jane's heart frowned at that, but she sensed that he would not want to answer her questions about it right now. So she chose a surface subject.

"It's Mjollnir, right? The necklace?"

Fenris shot her a startled look, then narrowed his eyes.

"You remember its name?"

She smirked a little.

"It kind of made an impression on me."

Fenris' look darkened as he faced forward.

"Yes, it's Mjollnir."

"So does it mean something? That emblem?" she asked. Fenris sighed.

"I suppose in Midgard it would have some sort of religious meaning—since the fools thought we were gods—"

"They weren't fools," Jane protested. "That's a legitimate assumption, considering how you guys appear and disappear, and call down lightning and—"

"We aren't gods, Jane," he interrupted. "We can die, either by very old age, or by wounding. We know we aren't gods—and we know who is."

Jane blinked in surprise. The glance he gave her was slightly secretive.

"We don't speak his name," he said. "But his symbol marks everything of ours—even the hammer that interests you so much." He stopped, and drew a symbol in the dirt—one that looked, to Jane, much like a Celtic trinity knot.

"That…I know that symbol. We use it here, too," she said.

"Do you have a name for him?" Fenris asked.

"Well…" Jane struggled. "God."

Fenris almost smiled. Then, without voicing his thoughts, he turned around and started walking back the way they had come. A little flustered, Jane followed him.

"But what about Mjollnir?"

"In Asgard, if someone wears the symbol of Thor," Fenris explained. "It can mean many things. In my particular case, I believe it meant loyalty, strength, service, family..."

"So why has it become a symbol in Asgard, if people don't worship him?"

He hesitated, as if calculating what to say, then cleared his throat.

"Thor represents a great deal to the Asgardians," Fenris said, his voice sounding a bit strained. "Mostly protection, and bravery in battle."

"Why?" Jane wondered. Fenris gave her a strange look.

"Because he is Thor."

"That's just a little circular," she criticized.

"Haven't any of Erik's silly stories sunk in at all?" he suddenly demanded. "You've seen him! He's the prince, he's shining and handsome, he can make thunder and lightning, he is reckless and fearless and peerless, all of Jotenheim fears him, and even the people of Midgard, who deny he exists, hide from him. No one has ever been able to defeat him in combat, singlehanded or with large numbers. And nothing can dislodge his father's favor." Fenris practically spat. "He is the beacon, the symbol of hope and the son of Asgard's heart. Asgard falls without the might of Thor."

Jane had watched him very narrowly while he spoke, hearing the sarcasm—and something else—drip from his voice. Then, she took a breath.

"You don't like him very much."

Fenris ground his teeth and stared at the ground as he walked, visibly gathering himself.

"He is my prince. Someday he will be my king."

"You don't like him," Jane said again. Fenris made an odd growling noise.

"It…is not that simple."

Jane stared at him.

"Why would it be complicated?"

"Can we discuss something else?" Fenris said, gesturing in exasperation. "Anything. Anything in the World Tree, besides Thor."

Jane did not want to let it go. She had allowed Thor into her heart—she felt herself falling in love with him—yet the way Fenris talked about him twisted something in her chest. How could the Thor she knew contrast so sharply with the one Fenris knew?

But she also did not want to push Fenris away again. She had a feeling he had isolated himself before when they had talked too much about Asgard. But he had not missed a meal since the night they went to the bar, and so far as she knew, had been sleeping nights. And at the moment, that was more important than learning facts about a realm she couldn't reach.

"We don't have to discuss anything," Jane said, tempering her words with a smile. "I think we need a soda. Sound good?"

Fenris looked at her, bemused, but the tension in his shoulders eased.

"I have no idea, Jane Foster—but it looks as if I'll have to trust you."

Her smile broadened, and she led him back toward the van.


"Now, watch closely…" Loki took Jane's spoon from beside her soup bowl and held it up by the end in his right hand, between his forefinger and thumb. Erik and Jane—Jane to his left, Erik to his right—around the circular table, fixed their eyes on the spoon as sharply as he had seen them study data on a computer screen.

For a moment, Loki sat still, unable to resist a small smile as his eyes flicked over their serious faces. Then, he took a breath, and held his left hand over the top of the spoon, then made a small circular motion.

A little tendril of magic swirled from his palm and spiraled around the spoon. Then, a blue flash issued—and he felt the spoon snap out of existence, a quiet thud announcing its disappearance.

Jane yelped. Erik gasped and leaned back. Loki lifted his eyes to Jane's. Her mouth hung open.

"What…What happened?" she cried. "Where did it go?"

"Hold out your hand," Loki told her, deliberately not answering. She closed her mouth and looked at him sideways. He raised his eyebrows, met her gaze and gave her a small smile.

"Trust me." He put out his right hand, palm up. Jane cast a glance at Erik, who now sat with tight mouth, watching. At last, Jane held out her right hand and laid it in Loki's, palm up as well. For a moment, Loki reflected on how delicate her fingers felt. Then, he set his left hand, palm down, just an inch above Jane's palm. With a quick mental flick, he sent the tendrils swirling, and with a sparkling flare, the spoon popped back into being, lying lengthwise in Jane's hand.

Jane twitched, her fingers reflexively closing, catching Loki's left hand in hers. She gasped, then looked up at him and let out a delighted laugh. A thrill shot straight through Loki's chest, and he beamed at her.

"That's amazing!" Jane declared, her eyes sparkling as she let go of him and held the spoon in both hands. "I…I've never seen anything like that!"

"Me either," Erik said hoarsely, and Loki felt a deeper sense of satisfaction when he caught a glimpse of the astonishment in the older man's face. Jane's head came up.

"I thought you said you couldn't conjure things without that tunic!"

"No—I can conjure anything I want exceptthat armor. The armor is part of the tunic, unique to the fabric. It's not magic of my making, and requires certain movements." Loki answered.

"Okay, but where did it go?" Jane wanted to know, holding the spoon up in one hand.

"Erm…In between," Loki tried to explain. "Not out of existence, entirely, but not into another plane of existence, either. It's like…a cosmic larder, or a cabinet."

"You have an invisible storage closet," Jane said slowly. "In limbo."

Loki laughed. The sound rattled his chest—like rust cracking—but it felt indescribably good.

"Limbo—yes, that is a good word for it," he nodded. "In fact, I have several things stored there at the moment."

"Like what?" Jane asked, putting the spoon down on the table. Loki sat back and thought a moment.

"Well…A gold wrist band belonging to my brother, an old helmet, a broken time-keeper, a silver pen…I believe that is all," Loki said—for he stopped himself before he mentioned the Jotun ice casket he had hidden during his last few hours in Asgard. Remembering it, however, was sufficient to make his smile fade.

"Oh, and this also," he added on sudden impulse, trying to shake off that memory that clung to him like a cobweb. He reached toward Jane's head with his left hand. She pulled back.

"What are you—"

"Hold still, Jane," he said. "I thought I saw something back…" He reached past her ear as she sat stiffly, and ran his fingertips through her soft hair at the back of her head. For a moment, his thumb brushed her ear, and his eyes met hers. She blushed. He kept his expression still. Then, without breaking eye contact, he brought his hand back around, holding a stone in front of her between finger and thumb.

"This," he said.

Jane's eyes fixed on it.

"What is that?" Erik asked.

It was an oval-shaped stone about an inch long. At first glance, it appeared black. Then, when they peered closer, they could see it actually held deep tones of purple. And then, when Loki turned it in the light, the stone fairly burst with millions of tiny glittering silver, lilac and violet flashes, all captured in different depths.

"It's a Lokistone," he said quietly, paying no attention to it, and instead drinking in Jane's awed expression. "There are only seven of them in all the realms. Prince Loki discovered them on a high mountain whilst flying with Freya's falcon cloak. He nearly died in the endeavor. He brought them back, and gave them as gifts to a few of his friends and faithful servants. He also kept one for himself."

Jane stared at it, following the silver flashes with a grave and wonderstruck gaze.

"May I hold it?" she asked. Loki hesitated. The story was partly true—there were only seven of these stones in existence, and he had given them to his friends, family and servants. However, he had not found them—he had made them. He had spun his own personal magic into these stones, and each was unique.

But this one was his—the one he had kept for himself. The largest, deepest, most multi-faceted and mysterious one of all. His masterpiece. It was also as fragile as an eggshell, and light as cotton.

"Yes," he murmured. "Hold out your hand."

Jane obeyed, and Loki rested it in the center of her palm, then let it go.

Jane just held it there, slightly tipping her hand one way and then the other, allowing the overhead light to shimmer through the gem.

"I've never heard of a rock that looks like this," she whispered. "Not even meteors or moon rocks. Is it naturally this smooth, or did you have it polished?"

"It hasn't changed," Loki said, watching her every move.

"It's beautiful," she breathed. "One of the prettiest things I've ever seen. You have to really look at it, you know? Because even right now I can see different layers, different colors that I didn't see before…it's like it's a different stone every way I turn it. It's incredible."

That thrill washed through Loki's chest again, but this time it traveled down his arms and tingled into his fingertips. For a moment, he thought it was residual magic. But then it tightened his stomach—and it forced out words that, for the first time, he did not think about before saying.

"You may keep it."

Her brown eyes flashed to his.

"What? I—oh, no. No, no," she shook her head. "This is priceless. And it feels like it's fragile. I couldn't possibly take this from you. There's only seven in existence, and it's yours, and it was given to you by a prince—"

"Keep it, Jane," Loki interrupted softly, catching her gaze and holding it. "It's the least I can do in exchange for all you've done for me."

Loki felt Erik's eyes on him, but he didn't turn to Jane's mentor. Jane studied Loki for a long moment, brow furrowed, as if trying to puzzle him out.

"Are you sure?" she asked. But all at once, Loki could see in her face that even though she would not resent him for taking it back—for she comprehended its value—she was more captivated by it than anyone on Asgard had been. It flattered him to the core.

"Yes, Jane," he said. "I'm sure."

She watched him for just another moment.

Then, suddenly, she smiled.

"Thank you," she managed, looking down at it again with real pleasure. Then she turned her smile on him. "Thank you—it's gorgeous, it really is."

Loki inclined his head, trying to suppress his own smile.

"I am glad you like it."

"So do all Asgardians have the ability to make things come and go at will like that?" Erik asked, putting his elbows on the lunch table. Loki took a breath and sat back, then faced him.

"No. It's a gift. A few people are adept at magic—the ebb and flow of the energy of the universe—and many others have different abilities, be it flight or foresight or long-sight or physical prowess or intellect," he said. "We each receive training concerning our gifts, and we also teach ourselves a great deal. Most of us are scholars. Most," he added, shrugging as he thought of Thor.

"What kind of training?" Jane asked, still focused on the stone in her hand.

"Academies," Loki responded. "Which concentrate on different fields of study. Some of them are equipped for honing mental skills, others for physical, and some for both."

"So, being a guard on the Asbru bridge, I assume you studied both," Jane's eyes flicked up to him, brow furrowed. He canted his head.

"Initially. Everyone does. But as I advanced, my study narrowed to the magical arts." He settled back into his chair. "But that was a very long time ago. I am now capable of teaching anyone in Asgard—even my old masters," Loki added with a crooked smile. To his surprise, Jane also smiled, without disbelief or sarcasm.

"Can you tell me about it?" she asked, lifting her eyes to him. "About your studies, your training? You said magic was the ebb and flow of the energy of the universe, right?"

"Erm…Yes, that is as simply as I can put it."

"She's an astrophysicist," Erik stated pointedly. "Graduated from three of our academies, top of her class, in half the time it usually takes most people."

"I always knew you were clever," Loki gave Jane a warm look out of the corner of his eye. She chuckled.

"I'm sure she can handle it," Erik assured him. Loki raised his eyebrows.

"Even so," Loki said. "Things are so vastly different here on Midgard—I would have to start from the beginning."

"Okay," Jane said, gently setting the Lokistone down on the table and folding her hands on her lap. "I've got all afternoon."

Loki stifled a laugh.

"I'm afraid it might take…slightly longer than that."

Jane shrugged and gave him a bright look.

"I'm all yours."

Loki laughed again, thrown, then shot a glance at Erik. And, for the first time, Erik smiled at him.

"Well…" Loki hesitated, turning back to Jane, then cleared his throat. "In the time of the great beginning, during the days of Odin's father's father, magic hung around the stars, on the tops of the clouds, and in the roots of Asgard in various forms, such as radiant heat or invisible force…"


The great feasting hall of the palace of Asgard rang with music and laughter, and glowed with torchlight that gleamed off the gold-gilded pillars and arches. All of the royal court, dressed in their flowing silks of pearl, scarlet and lavender, sat at the long tables, eating and drinking and passing platters. Goblets clinked, jewelry sparkled, and the scent of roasted boar and venison filled the air. Odin, clothed in his dress armor, sat at the head of the table, his beauteous wife in white linen sat at the opposite end—and beside her perched Balder, a golden-headed, shining, universally beloved youth with eyes like stars, who would not come of age for a good while yet. To Odin's right sat Thor, resplendent as always. And to Thor's right sat Loki, still nursing a wrenched shoulder, but enjoying the sound of his brother and father's raucous laughter.

"I swear to you, Father, if Loki had not stepped through their ranks at that exact moment, I would have fallen to my doom," Thor declared, slamming his stein down and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

"Oh, I'm certain you would have come up with something," Loki smirked at him, taking a sip of wine.

"Don't be a fool," Thor countered. "I'm indebted to you, Loki—I know that."

"Then I hope you plan to repay that debt, at least in part," Odin prodded. "Do you not have a gift for him?"

Loki swallowed his wine—almost choking on it—and looking up at his brother in true surprise.

"I do indeed!" Thor crowed, getting to his feet, his scarlet cape tumbling behind him. "Loki—my brother—come up here."

"Oh, no, really…" Loki protested, feeling his face heat. Thor gave him a grin.

"Come on!" he ordered, motioning him forward. Loki cleared his throat, wiped his mouth on a napkin, then stood up and stepped over the bench, and up to his brother's side. Thor slung a heavy arm around his shoulders and led him up the few steps to the dais.

"What are you planning?" Loki said under his breath. Thor just chuckled, which made Loki uneasy, but before he could say anything, Thor had turned him around to face the assembly, holding him there with a broad hand on his shoulder.

"My friends," Thor announced. "Today, I set out on a quest—one that was fraught with adventure—and more peril than I had expected."

The people laughed. Loki swallowed.

"I was plunged in glorious battle, and Mjollnir's thirst for blood was quenched!" Thor went on. "But then, for the first time in my long life, I was caught unawares. The numbers of the enemy proved too great, even for my fists, and the might of Mjollnir. And even as the floor of the cavern tumbled away beneath my feet, Mjollnir was twisted from my grasp." Thor's grip on Loki's shoulder tightened, and he turned his burning blue eyes from the feasting hall to those of his brother, a half smile on his face. "But call it wisdom or luck—or perhaps some of both—I had not come alone."

The hall fell quiet, sensing a solemnity come over Thor. Loki did not look away from his brother's eyes.

"Loki, my younger brother, had walked and fought beside me in those caves, closer than my shadow," Thor continued. "And it was in that moment, when I had lost all hope, that he snatched me from the icy teeth of death." Thor gave him a warmer smile. "I fear his arm will never recover."

Loki could not help but smile that time, and duck his head, as their friends and family chuckled.

"So," Thor slapped his back, then released him. "I will endeavor to make amends by this." He reached into a leather pouch that hung at his belt, and pulled out a shimmering silver chain, by which hung a gold pendant of Mjollnir. Loki blinked as he reached out a hand and fingered the pendant.

"The workmanship is ingenious," he remarked quietly. "Who made it?"

"I did."

Loki, shocked, lifted his head to search Thor's face.

"Remember what Father always says," Thor said, glancing down at the bearded king for a moment. "There are two sides to Mjollnir. If I ask it to split mountains or crush bone, it will. But if I ask it to build or forge, it will do that as well." He paused, and gave Loki a serious look. "And I know where my true strength lies."

Loki was too stunned to say anything. And before he could try, Thor had stepped up to him, hung the chain around his neck and clasped it.

A jolt of power ran from the top of Loki's spine to his heels the instant the clasp clicked. Then, Thor wrapped his arms around him tight, taking a fistful of his dark hair.

"For as long as the east stands across from the west," Thor said, so only Loki could hear. "I will be your brother."

Loki stood alone on the roof of Jane's lab, watching the purple twilight as the stars began to appear, one by one. A soft, cool breeze ruffled his new clothes. He listened to the silence, gazing up at the heavens, drowning in memory.

He reached up to his throat and hooked his fingers through the chain that hung there. For a moment, he stood still. Then, he took it in his fist, gritted his teeth, and jerked the chain.

It cut into his skin, but did not snap. He adjusted his grip, and yanked it again. That same strange power jolted down his spine, buzzing against his skull as if in protest. With both hands, he pulled at it, until it bit into his palms. It did not yield.

Then, a sharp twinge traveled across his ribcage, and he let out a gasping breath as his hands relaxed and his arms fell back down to his sides. He blinked as his vision clouded, and then squeezed his eyes shut, bowed his head and pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Blast you," he hissed, his voice breaking. He swiped at his eyes, shot a hateful look at the sky, then headed back down, turning his back on the stars.

Fallen Star

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by Alydia Rackham

Part 9 of 27

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