Tricksters Lesson

In all the Nine Realms, there were few as cunning as the God of Mischief Loki. With masterful deceit and sleight of hand, he’s performed innumerable feats of trickery on mortal and Æsir alike. Yet as he sat on a tree branch within a forest bearing trees as large as mountains, he found something he was woefully unprepared for. Teaching his nephew and God of Thunder, Thor, how to think before he acted. The trickster clad in ebony robes with golden trim ripples out of reality like a mirage and reappears on the ground below. Several feet from him stood Thor clad in a simple red tunic, brown leather boots, and a fur cape around his shoulders. In his right hand was a hammer with a handle so small his hand barely had any separation from its head. At his feet lay several somewhat humanoid individuals. Each a towering 10 feet tall with four arms. Each hand possessing three clawed fingers. They’re snouts possessing seemingly only four long canines.

“How is it your first response was to bludgeon them with that terrible hammer of yours?” Loki asks exasperatedly.

“I’ve seen those beasts in a number of places on Midgard. Tis always the same. No matter how bestial they seem, they seek only conquest and destruction.” Thor defends his actions with a fierce glance towards Loki who shakes his head in disappointment.

“You are truly hopeless.” Loki crosses his arms behind his lower back and walks away while continually shaking his head. The world around them rippling and fading. Transforming into the courtyards of Lokheim. “There’s more than one way to complete an objective. If you only see the surface you’ll have far more regrets in your life than even Odin.”

“You dare insult the All-Father?” Thor grabs Loki by the throat with his left hand.

“Insult? No, I speak the truth.” Loki says as he reappears next to Thor. The ‘Loki’ he was holding fading away. “Æsir, Disir, Frost Giant, Avatar…even the Creator & Destroyer have regrets. Odin is no exception.”

“If you know Odin as well as you suggest then what does he regret?” Thor asks curiously.

Loki hesitates at the question. “Perhaps another time.”

“First you want me to use my mind and question things. Yet now you refuse to answer?”

“You’ve quite the tongue when you desire it.” Loki sounded almost proud. “Do you remember the Disir you met months ago?”

“Hmm…Grigori & Angela were their names if I recall.” Thor replies unsure of himself.

“Yes, Grigori the King of Reapers and Angela the Queen of the Valkyrie. The first children of Odin himself. Though is that not strange?” Loki muses as he walks through the courtyard. Thor following close behind.

“What?”

“They are his children yet they are not Æsir.”

“Though it pains me, you are Odin’s blood brother. An extended family is nothing new.” Thor interjects.

“Yet in all your years a few months ago was the first time you met either. Even I’ve freer roam than they. Perhaps one of Odin’s greatest regrets is the divide he created between the Disir and the Æsir. Though perhaps it was his new Æsir children that made him realize he should regret his treatment of the Disir in the first place.”

“But they do a proud and noble service. He’s never treated them poorly.”

“Is it your job to patrol Midgard or do you do so of your own volition?” Loki glances at Thor while maintaining his casual walking pace.

“They are but one and the same. It is the duty of Æsir to aid Midgard. I choose to give it wholeheartedly.”

“Oh, Thor…You don’t realize the Æsir have no such obligations.” Loki fades like a mirage alongside Thor. Together, they reappear on top of a skyscraper. The skies blotted out by smoke and flames. The night sky stained red as the city below spiraled into ruin and destruction.

“Such madness.” Thor was taken aback by the citywide rioting. His hand clenching Mjölnir ready to take command by force.

“No.” Loki says calmly. With a flick of his wrist and a flash of green magic, chains form around Thor and trap him. “Your hammer and lightning will do little good here. Nor do I believe Surtr would welcome the intrusion on his domain.”

“Surtr?!” Thor’s eyes widen in shock and disbelief. Of all the beings across the Nine Realms, Surtr’s was one of the names all knew and feared. The Fire Giant and ruler of the Realm Muspelheim. While the Frost Giants led by Loki had a somewhat stable relationship with the Æsir, the Flame Giants and Surtr wanted nothing but destruction to all realms. Even in the face of The Rift, they cared not for reality but their own bloodlust. Just being present in the Realm of Muspelheim risked spelling death. “What mad game are you playing at trickster?!”

“Oh, hush nephew. I brought us here to convey a point…a point that would’ve been moot if you had gone in with your usual bravado. Now, pay attention.” Loki says as the pair wait together. All the chaos and destruction before them was boundless. But amidst this all there was something Thor noticed after several minutes. “So you’ve finally realized it then?” His plan complete, Loki waits for the realization to set in. The realization that the World had a constant influx of Reapers and Valkyrie. Not a second went by where hundreds weren’t arriving and then departing. “While we sit leisurely watching the World, pardon my choice of wording, burn. The Disir are tirelessly working. Now imagine for one second that this happens across all the planets of this one Universe. Now consider how many Worlds are in a Muspelheim…There is no end to their work from just one Realm. Such a woeful fate…to serve tirelessly from creation to destruction…” Loki’s heart sank at the thought. To be created by someone strictly to serve a purpose and nothing more. That giving them the capacity for greatness much like the Æsir was a curse they’d never be able to escape.

“You belittle their noble efforts. They work tirelessly so that the souls of all the realms may find peace. A Disir who’d turn their back on such efforts is not worthy of the title.” Thor states proudly.

Loki rolls his eyes and banishes Thor’s chains. His magic effortlessly shifting them from Muspellheim back into Lokheim. “Do as you wish. I’ve clearly gone talking to a wall.” With an exasperated sigh, he sits down hard on his throne. Crosses his arm and crosses his right leg over his left. “You know the way back to Midgard or Asgard or whatever Realm you decide to plague next.”

“I care little for your tone.” Thor scowls unamused. The sky begins to slowly fill with thunder and lightning.

“Nor I yours. But throwing a tantrum won’t get us anywhere. Though I suppose you could battle me…if you dare.” Loki smirks smugly. “We could even make a game of it. Yes, I do believe we shall do that.” Loki stands from his throne and looks down on Thor with his head tilted slightly skyward. “If I best you in a fight then you’ll listen to every word I say without question. Every. Single. Word.”

“I’d be a fool to trust a trickster.” Thor remained cautious of his adversary.

“I suspected you’d say that. If I were to get Heimdall as judge? Then surely you wouldn’t have reason to back down. Even I can’t deceive his eyes.”

Thor paused and contemplated the offer. Heimdall was a Æsir much like he was. The Guardian of the Bifrost, he stood overlooking the Bifrost bridge and all the gateways between all the multiverse. With eyes of stars, none could escape his gaze. But most importantly of all, he was Thor’s older brother. Thirdborn son of Odin behind the eldest, Grigori the King of Reapers and Baldr the God of Light & Purity. Even if he didn’t trust Loki, he could more than trust his own flesh & blood. “Very well then. But this will be a proper contest. None of your parlor tricks and deception. I will beat you in a contest of strength and strength alone. And should I win you’ll never set foot before me or Asgard again.”

“I swear you’re almost as spiteful as your father.” Loki shakes his head. “Very well, you have a deal.”

Loki extends his left hand and after a moment, he shakes hands with Thor while simultaneously warping the pair to the Bifrost. The massive rainbow bridge seemed to extend without end into the skies. Even Odin did not know the true length of the Bifrost. For most, the path was far less literal in nature. Leading to gateways and portals between all the Realms and all the Worlds within them. Standing there at the entrance of the bridge connected to the outer walls of Asgard stood Heimdall. He was the most handsome man in all of Asgard and stood tall at 6’2. His straight hair was a gold that shone like the sun wherever light touched it. His eyes that could see the entirety of the multiverse, looked like galaxies upon inspection. A reflection of what he saw at every waking moment. Heimdall was clad in a furred loincloth held up by an armored belt. Platinum armbands and greaves adorned his forearms and legs respectively. A platinum harness was worn across his chest in the shape of an “x” and secured a brown fur cloak that draped over his shoulders. Finally, a golden horn attached to the left side of his belt.

“Hail Heimdall.” Loki greets the Æsir with an aside glance.

“Hail Loki. Came to best my little brother again?” Heimdall asks to Thor’s annoyance.

“You heard what we were wagering. Perhaps this time will turn out differently than in the past.” he shrugs his shoulders.

“Enough idle chatter.” Thor hisses discarding his fur cape and drawing his mighty hammer, Mjölnir. “Let us settle this matter once and for all.”

“Indeed.” Loki closes his eyes and raises his left hand. In a flash of green magic, he summons a sword. It was a single sided blade that appeared to be made entirely of wood. Its handle was a smooth finish and the hilt made of curving vines that wrapped around the base of the wooden blade. Parts of the blade appeared to be unkempt and poorly maintained as if branches would begin growing from it were water to hit it. “Let us settle this like brutish men.” he lowers his sword so it’s blade is just barely grazing the ground.

“What trickery is this?” Thor thought to himself. In all his battles with Loki, he was bested by his sorcery and trickery. Never once has he drawn or summoned a blade. “Could this be another of his schemes?”

“The first move is yours, dear Nephew.” Loki took a step back with his right foot so the left side of his body was facing Thor.

“Trick or no, there are none able to best me in strength!” Thor thought to himself before throwing Mjölnir at the air slightly above Loki’s head. In a flash of lightning, he disappears and reappears holding Mjölnir. Swinging it down upon the Trickster God who easily jumps back to avoid it and the explosive surge of lightning it creates. The lightning continues to course through the Bifrost bridge towards Loki’s feet as a hidden secondary attack.

“I’m almost impressed.” Loki says, swinging Laevateinn to the left and discharging the wave of lightning easily. “Almost.” Moments after he finishes his taunt, Mjölnir flies through the air once more. Though this time it flew directly at his head. A duck was all he needed to avoid the blatantly direct attack. “Again?” Loki thought briefly. Glancing for a second over his shoulder as Mjölnir began to fly back to Thor’s hand like a boomerang. “Oh?”

“Do not turn from me!” Thor shouts as he charges towards Loki. His body and right arm surging with electricity as he readied himself for a mighty uppercut. With his two-pronged attack, there was no way he’d miss Loki. Right before his fist can connect, Thor blinks his eyes once. When his eyes open, he’s flat on his back with Loki standing with one foot on his chest and Laevateinn at his throat. Mjölnir laying several feet behind him on the floor. “What the hell just happened?!” Thor thought to himself. Stunned and confused by whatever had transpired.

“I do believe this is my win.” Loki smirks smugly at his win. Removing his foot and lowering his blade.

“What manner of sorcery did you pull trickster?!” Thor’s shouts like an unholy beast. Mjölnir returning to his hand and surging with electricity enough to raze a city.

“Nothing against the rules of our wager. Oh? Don’t tell me you’re a sore loser.” Loki’s taunt works as Thor lunges in a blind rage ready for a wide and powerful swing from above. In a contest of strength, Loki was no match for Thor and without illusions, much of his arsenal was removed. But he didn’t need it. As Thor barreled closer to Loki he exhales a breath of cold air. Air that was colder than even the deepest frozen depths of space. In a single second, Thor is frozen in a cold that deprived him of every sense he possessed. For him, not a moment had passed. “Four seconds left…better make the most of it.” In the second, Loki parries Mjölnir to the side, knocking it from Thor’s hand with ease. In the third, using the momentum from his parry he spins and elbows Thor in the stomach with his right arm. In the final two seconds, he stabs Laevateinn into the Bifrost bridge and summons green chains to bind both Thor & Mjölnir to the floor.

“Again?!” Thor thought as his senses return. His struggles to break free of his shackles only serving to tighten their grip while sapping his strength.

“As fun as this was dear nephew, it’s your loss.” Loki banishes his blade and clasps his hands behind his back. “What say you Heimdall?”

“There was no trickery or sleight of hand involved in this win. The contest is Loki’s.” Heimdall replies firmly. A fact that Thor hated but he was unable to challenge.

“With that said.” Loki banishes the chains around Thor & Mjölnir with a flick of the wrist. Extending his hand to help him up.

“This changes nothing.” Thor begrudgingly takes Loki’s hand and stands.

“I’d expect not.” Loki smirks smugly. “But I am going to gloat about this win in the great hall later.

“Y-you’ll do no such thing!”

“Hahahaha, oh you are fun. But now that you HAVE to listen to me I suppose I can let you in on why you lost.”

“Hmm?”

“Your mind is too one dimensional. You saw me as only a Trickster and never considered what else I might be able to do. Just as you saw yourself only as the God of Thunder and never considered what more you may do. By learning you’ll be able to better grasp how you can make up for shortcomings. You are without a doubt stronger than me in raw strength but my skills lay in the mystical. Both illusory and more traditional spells. That’s not even accounting for my Frost Magic.”

“…Perhaps you are not so foolish after all.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Loki asks. His right eyebrow twitching in annoyance. “I’ll have you know I’m a fountain of wisdom.” he pauses for a moment in thought. His right hand under his chin. “That’s it for today. We’ll pick up your lessons in due course. Try not to murder anyone needlessly now.” Having no reason to remain, he disappears from the Bifrost.

Elsewhere, Realms away was the Ream of Aaru. Home to the Reapers and all souls damned to eternal punishment. On the surface, it appeared to be peaceful fields much like those of Valhalla. The occasional castle located to house a number of Reapers. But beneath the surface was an endless labyrinth of caverns with an unlimited number of doors leading to different unique hells. No matter the Realm or the World you came from, a fitting punishment awaited you. Though King Grigori rarely left his throne, today he felt an overwhelming melancholy. He found himself wandering the fields of Aaru aimlessly. The journey taking him to the edge of a lake large enough to be an ocean. As he gazed at his reflection he could see another standing in his place. An all too familiar Trickster God he cared little for.

“What do you want Loki?” Grigori asks in a bored and disinterested tone.

“I just wanted to talk.” Loki replaces as he exits Grigori’s reflection and stands on the surface of the lake.

“If you came for Odin, you can leave.”

“Though I have come because of Odin, I did not come for him.”

“Then speak quickly.”

“Such tension…your duty as king of Reapers is truly a tiring one is it not?”

“Your point?” Grigori remained unamused.

“My point, dear nephew, is I think you are more than your station. There is so much more to you than the ringleader of soul torturers.”

“Choose your next words wisely.” Grigori’s voice becomes deep and dark like the jet black shroud he wore as he scowls.

“What is it you desire? Do you really want to spend the rest of your eternal life serving day in and day out with no end in sight?”

“…What are you getting at Loki?” Grigori’s interest was now peaked.

“It’s a shame really.” Loki puts his left arm around Grigori’s shoulder. “The Æsir are not only gods but they can go as they please whenever they please. Their fates their own to choose. Yet you poor Disir are forced to slave away with no reward or future ahead of you.” he waits several seconds before tilting his head slightly towards Grigori. “But what if I could change that?”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m nowhere near as powerful as Odin but I do know my way around a spell. So tell me, do you want an heir? Someone to carry on your legacy and give you a future to look forward to?” Loki waits for a response from Grigori but receives only silence. “I know no Disir are capable of bearing children. So how about I change that? I can grant you the ability to sire a single heir. But if you wish for an heir you must be absolutely certain of the woman you choose.”

Grigori contemplates going with Loki’s idea but hesitates. Was this just another prank by the Trickster God? “Very well then, what do you need of me?”

“Take me to her.” Loki smiled as he followed Grigori. As he taught Thor, there was more than one way to complete an objective. If Odin was unable to regain favor with Grigori then why not give him an heir who might be more sympathetic to their cause? And if he refused then there was always marrying off the heir of Aaru with the heiress of Lokheim…

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