The Cracks Grow...
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Land of Timeless Mists.
Faith blocked Xander's overhead strike with her short sword and swung the her long sword at his knees. He jumped over the swing and tried to kick her in the chest.
She blocked the kick and replied in kind. Xander while still in midair used his other leg to kick the sole of her foot and launched himself into the air.
Faith tapped into her own energy and used it to fly after her husband. He was cheating, but then there was no such thing in a no holds barred fight.
On one side Clint, Bobbi, Dawn, Loki and Hilda watched as Xander and Faith went all out. This was Xander's graduation test, so to to speak.
After fifteen years of training under Clint and Faith, Xander was finally able to meet Faith as an equal.
On the other side of the arena The children, who were now in their teens watched as their teachers went at it tooth and nail.
Alex and Jenny, Xander and Dawn's twins and eldest children, sat with Gram and Joyce. Loki's son and their youngest sister. After growing up together Gram and Joyce were inseparable. The thirteen years old teens were holding hands, while Alex smiled at the open display; like his father he had senses that noticed everything. Jenny much like her twin brother saw, but payed little attention to her youngest sister and concentrated on the battle taking place with their other mother Faith.
To the right of Jenny sat her older brothers Tony and Rupert. Faith's boys. Tony was a year older, and Rupert was less than a week older than her and Alex. To the right of the boys sat Loki's oldest children Hela and Fenris. While Bobbi's brood were sitting together on the north side of the arena. Phil and Tasha were almost a spitting image of their parents, and Jake and Kelly the youngest and the same age as her and Alex were about as different as different could get. The youngest were almost a six inches taller than their older siblings and were red heads to boot.
Jenny let all thoughts drain from her, and concentrated on the moves her parents were using while they were in the air. This was a whole new style of combat and her father had the edge over her mother; since he was the one who developed most of it with a little help from uncle Clint.
The two dove at each other and exchanged quick slashes and jabs with both weapons. They passed each other and both climbed for the higher elevation. Her father was quicker and got there first and used the sun to cover his strikes.
Faith didn't let it affect her. She could fight blind just as well as she could with her eyes open. It took more effort to do so, and it cost her the match. With the small edge that he gained, Xander was able to score on Faith and win the match, and with that win graduate as a master of the art.
There whoops and laughter as Xander won. Faith was the first one to hug, and congratulate him on his win. Over the years she had mellowed. With the love of her family she was no longer an insecure young woman, but someone who had made peace with herself and had forgiven herself for all the sins she had committed, just as her family had forgiven her long ago. She just needed to forgive herself and once she had done that, the path to peace was achieved.
After the adults and the children congratulated the new graduate and master of the art, they all settled down to
enjoy the feast Jackie had prepared while they were watching the match. The android had recorded the entire event and it would later be played on the big screen in the Hall.
Ice Giant Encampment
"There goes another one." Natasha reported, before Tony defended her with his loud screeching.
"I see it. Any sign of our missing people?"
"Not yet. I would have reported that before I told you about the crack in the ice."
"Yeah, I know. Sorry. I'm just on edge. I have little to do, but watch JARVIS play with the ward circle Dawn etched on his face plate. It's almost on every inch on his body and there's this green glow all over him."
"That's nice, now get off the line and let me get back to work. Natasha out." she disconnected and settled down to some serious watching. The shamans were still doing their chant. They didn't increase or decrease the time they did it, nor did they they change anything in the tempo. It was all the same, and the numbers in the camp kept growing. A small city was quickly taking shape. Gungnir told her that the massive structure to the west was a temple dedicated to Ymir. He expected that when it was finished, Ymir would be ready to manifest on this plane.
*Yay. More fun for the rest of us.*
Gungnir was about to doubt the sanity of his wielder, until he saw that she was just letting out tension. She was focused like a sword ready to strike in a split second should the need arise. He kept his quiet and left her to her task.
*YMIR WILL SOON BREACH THE WALLS OF HIS PRISON WIELDER!*
*I know old friend. The warriors I have sent have reached the gate, and will soon join you and my son. You may have to abandon Loki and the other members of Thor's entourage.*
Yggdrasil, Mountain Gate.
"Quickly Volstagg. This way." Sif yelled over the rising wind as she raced into the cave.
Grim Hogan and Fandral were already inside the cave looking at a giant branch of the mighty tree.
Volstagg ran in after her and gulped great big lungful of air. His mighty girth was not made for running. When he finally caught his breathe he said, "Let us get to it my friends. Thor and his companions await us."
"How do you propose we get there large one." teased Hogan.
"This is the reason the All-Father has sent me with you. To guide you on the true path."
"Now is not the time for storytelling my friend. Do what you must." Sif stopped the argument before it could develop into another of their tiresome all night debates. Thor needed them and they must hie unto the icy plains of Joutenhiem once more.
"Stand ye back." Volstagg unsheathed his sword and struck the tree. He then nicked his thumb and bled into the cut he made in the giant branch. He murmured under his breath the spell taught to to him by Odin long ago. A few moments later a gate opened before them. The icy winds from the other side assaulted them, but they were ready for it. The four jumped through the gate and to the other side.
'We are coming Thor my love.' Sif though as they raced to the mountains where Thor and his companions waited for Ymir to arrive.
"Are we sure that this is the right path?" Fandral asked Volstagg.
"Why do you doubt me Fandral. Have I not led us into glory in the past?"
"I think that it was Thor who did most of the leading my friend. I don't think you remember how..."
"Enough bickering!" Sif shut them up, but it was just a for the moment. They would be at it in a few minutes. She sighed and increased her pace.