July 26, 2014: After the success of a search for a trinket, Mystique is visited in situ by Loki.

Himalayan Mountains

A ring is located in a remote, remarkable location far off any beaten trail. Loki checks up on her and the pair talk.



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Mood Music:

It had taken them some time now. Rumors and ancient history and trails which had gone cold centuries ago. Many false starts and changes to the team roster have taken place over the years but it would seem as though the end result would be worthwhile. A team of six have found their way deep in the Himalayan Mountains, battling extreme cold and elevation every step of the way to seek that which had been lost.

Today is the day. Within a small, roughly hewn cavern the first of the runes begin to appear upon the wall, heavily worn and faded from the ages. The crew had quickly become ecstatic, pressing onward in search of their long-lost prize. Even with their confidence, with their near-certainty that they were on the right path, actually finding the item they coveted had been met with disbelief. All of these years, lost and forgotten about.

Until today.

The gravesite holds the usual Nordic appointments which had accompanied their fallen. An axe, a dagger, an ornate belt, a rotting helm. All interesting and of value in their own right, but not the item which had initiated this quest. What these six seek is the ring which rests upon a golden chain, having laid upon the owner's sternum before falling into the depression of dried skin between the upper ribs.


No sooner had the lead explorer carefully removed the chain with gloves upon his hand and held it up for all to see that fate threw them all an unexpected twist.

To five of them, at least.

Five members of the six strong team now lie ripped apart, torn to pieces, diced, impaled. Ruined. Yet standing is the sixth, a geeky thirty-two year old male that had devoted his life to search for this lost relic. Or so he had claimed. Now, standing with the body of the lead explorer still twitching and gasping for breath upon two hands which had been turned into viciously sharp blades, that man's eyes shift from green to solid glowing yellow. He grins as he watches the last of the older man's life slip away, one agonizing second after another.

All of this. For one cursed ring.


It is within this venue that the God of Deceit shows himself. There, standing in the entry is an Asgardian Prince dressed in finery, seemingly unconcerned with the temperature without or the vision within. Stepping forward, he steps over bodies within which no life stirs to gain the one that lies upon the ground, life's blood pooling before slipping into the frost. Crouching, he reaches out to touch the man's lips gently, a 'shhhhh' sounding. "The last vision you see is of a God. The last word upon your lips will be my name."

A breath sounds from the man, and he doesn't take another. His eyes close and there is no other sound to come.

Now, Loki rises, blue eyes turning about to the single, remaining soul. Brows rise, and his expression turns quizzical even as his clothing shimmers and turns to that which he tends to prefer; the gold and green leathers, covered with a greatcoat. "They led you to it." A statement.


In an instant that one living figure bristles, in the most literal sense possible. Long, thin calcified spines jut out of his back like a porcupine that had its tail stuffed into an outlet, turning so quickly that one of the bladed arms tears out of the dying man's chest with a wet *shunk!*

He was supposed to have been alone now.

"Still not respecting my privacy, I see," the bladed man lilts as his very tone starts to pitch into a twisted harmonic of its former self. The lows grow lower, the highs more acute, then they divide into two separate octave ranges, both speaking as one. Carelessly shaking the other's blood from his hands and forearms also causes those blades to morph into pure cobalt blue hands, surrounded by a thick white Arctic coat with fur-lined sleeves.

"They required some persuasion along the way. Apparently there is some superstition following this trinket. They said that it is cursed, that any whom try to retrieve it shall die horrible deaths."

Here she neatly plucks the ring, necklace and all, from a rapidly cooling hand. Mystique smirks, solid yellow eyes full of amusement. "Who am I to oppose tradition?"


"Privacy? For that? That required an audience." Loki knows how the game is played. He does.

Watching Mystique shift into her true form brings a smile to his face, his gaze studying her. Every nuance, every twitch will be memorized. Filed away for future reference. He doesn't reach for the ring, even though his eyes gleam with pleasure in the potential capture of the artefact. He knows what it is.

"Legend. Myth. Stories told at the camp fires and feast halls to explain why warriors were unable to retrieve such a slight thing."

Now, Loki turns around and steps over the bodies again as if he was simply stepping over a rock or somesuch. His words sound almost tossed to the wind as he speaks to the great outdoors, his back turned to the mutant matriarch. "Don't become too fond of it."


Here the metamorphic mutant misfit looks down at a severed arm, lightly nudging it with the toe of her boot. "When one expects privacy they expect to not lose privacy. That is why it is called 'privacy.'"

What may have taken everyone else in this world millenia to retrieve only cost her seven weeks. The necklace is hooked around one blue finger then spun about like the blade of a helicopter, the ring making a soft but musical report as the smooth surface runs across the details of each delicate chain link. "I prefer my jewelry to not damn me to a prolonged and agony-filled demise. Broken goods, as they say."

"So, what brings you to the frigid and desolate yet oh so breathtakingly gorgeous Himalayas, my Leige?" she teases while neatly and delicately tiptoeing around the growing pools of blood, yet twirling the ring about like a trinket won at a carnival. "Surely you didn't come all this way because you didn't trust me to deliver on the goods. Was I so sorely missed?" she asks with an amused golden glance and a hint of teeth lying behind her smirk.


"Do you believe such stories, Mystique?" Loki twists around to watch her progress, brows rising in easy conversation. "But no, I didn't come here to see how close you were to finding it. I didn't know myself where it was until—" and here, he lifts a hand in a light shrug for gesture.

"Now, however, that you have found it, it can be added." To the arsenal, against the greedy. Those who seek gold and riches beyond any other.

"Actually, I came here because it was the safest place in which to speak. My brother doesn't tend to travel this far; he doesn't like the cold." Loki wears a 'poor thing' expression, followed with a soft 'tsk'. "I have something to show you when you return, and I don't wish it to be a surprise. For appearances, anyway."


"I believe that the thought of superstition is what gets people killed," Mystique lilts as if the subject as a whole held no interest to her. "Humans are such fickle, foolish creatures. They'll believe anything they see or hear and manifest the most benign of topics into yet another world-shattering crisis, with or without underlying cause."

It's true, she -did- find it. In return, her effort to recover the ring translates into financial backing for her next grand scheme. What's a little time spent chasing ghost stories for a chance to move forward with her plans in a completely legitimate, and legal, manner? The slap she's about to deliver to the face of the globe shall ring within its ears for decades to come.

"Is your sibling causing you trouble?" she inquires with another glance, head yet dipped downward to the fallen explorers though with one crimson-hued brow now hooked upward. "Family is always such a touchy subject, if you are unable to land the killing blow then I am sure something could be arranged." Oh my, better still. A surprise. Here she stops her idle pacing, turning toward the God of Deceit with a quizzical expression falling into place. "So long as it doesn't happen to be a proposal. Exchanging one ring a day more than meets my quota," she states while letting the cursed piece of jewelry dangle by its chain, suspended between the top of two blue fingers.


Loki chuckles as her words echo his belief. "Mortals -need- stories to make sense of that which isn't anywhere near their ability to understand. And in some cases, use stories as a morality play. 'Why you will be punished for greed' or 'Why Midgard is round'." His smile creeps across his face, and it's one that mocks; the Asgardian prince has little time or need for mortals. "And it's one that I'm more than willing to tap into."

Loki watches the ring as Mystique spins it on her chain, the smile ghosting there yet. "Thor? Hardly. I think he's off righting perceived wrongs somewhere else." A dismissive hand waves, signifying that the chances are better than even that it's not even on this mortal realm. And, of -course- he'll blame Loki for it. Or Odin will. Or.. someone will. "Family is a nuisance," Loki agrees, but when the lovely blue mutant begins to speak of arrangements? Proposals?

A laugh sounds and he shakes his head slowly. "My dear Mystique," he purrs, "If you are expecting a proposal, I assure you that it wouldn't be a with a cursed ring. See?" Loki turns about and looks outside, just scanning the mountain ranges.

"I have a lab set up. I'm still finding the people to run it, but it is properly secured. First shipments are on their way right now, actually. Due to arrive in… 2 days, I believe."

Spinning around, Loki cocks his head quizzically, the question on his lips, "Have you ever heard of a town called 'Los Alamos'?"


"Oh indeed, they do," Mystique agrees. "Regrettably not all of my kind have learned to evolve beyond such conditioning, but there is time."

Now she comes to stand beside the Asgardian, her weight shifting to one leg as she admires the view for herself. It had been positively dreadful having to climb this far without any use of her abilities, though.

"New Mexico?" she inquires with that touch of curiosity back in play. "That was you, wasn't it. I figured you would have learned to be somewhat more subtle than to make national news due to a radiation leak. But, if your intention was to scare away all of the nervous little sheep there are fewer ways more effective within this country." It also won't affect her if she happens to swing by for a visit!

"Tell me," she starts in while once more playing the golden chain from a web of fingertips, this time held out in offering to the Trickster Lord. "What use would you have for a modern lab when many of these pieces are of bronze age vintage? Unless you wish to try your hand at acid-etching. 'If lost, please return to your Lord and Master for reward.'"


"Is that the place? Yes, in a place called 'New Mexico'." The nuclear cloud, to him, is more than enough deterrent. "How much fun is that, having this 'government' keep the public away? That all movement within the lab looks all the world like cleanup, and no questions will be asked." Loki fully believes that it's perfect. Nothing could possibly go wrong on this one."

Loki takes an easy hold on the chain, avoiding touching the golden ring. "Many of the pieces…". He quirks his head, and brings his hand up, fingers wriggling in silent request for an item. "Give me something."


There's a soft but thoughtful "Hmm" duet as Mystique considers this plan in full. "It does have a certain twisted eloquence to it," she admits. "So long as they continue to clutter up the globe they may as well try to make themselves useful."

Something. Give him 'something.' That's easy enough, without so much as a thought she grows another one of those slender bone spines, right out from between the knuckles like a certain feral mutant would, then tugs it free. Neat and clean, like tugging out an ingrown hair. "We'll avoid the obvious collection of horrible puns and go straight to the point you wish to make, I presume."


There. Some compliment, and Loki inclines his head in acknowledgment. He's a man who lives by flattery.

Waiting, now the shard comes into his possession. The Asgardian studies it for a long moment before he lays a hand over it, moving it slowly until the tip just touches his finger. With a murmured word possibly unheard in centuries upon Midgard, or if ever in the Realm, the item glows in his hand before it ceases.

Now, Loki turns its point down, and simply drops it. The spike drops, embeds… and seems to burn away the permafrost, moving easily through it, and slowing only when it begins to hit rock. It does continue, however. It's only slowed.

"Did the stories ever mention I was a sorcerer too?"


Some people might look at the ground and think 'great, okay, so he turned a piece of bone into a rock-tunneling worm that can't turn.' Mystique, on the other hand, is immediately fascinated by this. In fact, she's quickly getting ideas on how such power could be used to further their own gain.

"They had," she softly responds in that melting duet of a voice. "They've also glossed over the particulars. How does that work?" she pointedly asks with the God receiving her complete attention. "Must it transform the entire object or merely its skin?"

There's a reason behind the questions. As a metamorph, one whom could give herself an organic metal surface coat over her natural skin, if just the top layer need be enchanted or imbued in such a fashion for the entirety of the object to pass through solid matter…


Loki looks almost disappointed. And his expression turns a bit piqued.. like a trick that he expected to please his audience is greeted with crickets chirping.

Straightening, his jaw sets and his cheek tightens, and the smile that comes, followed with the 'Huhn' exhalation isn't filled with humour. Or amusement. "The entire object. But that does not say that one simply can't cover an object with the coating."


It takes a more developed mind to appreciate not the spectacle itself but the implications of such a phenomenon. True enough, there is no gasp of surprise, no awe and wonderment from Mystique as a little piece of her becomes one with the very roots of the Himalayas. She's already ten steps ahead of the intangible thought train.

"It would appear that we have one more thing left to discover," she suggests with a sly little grin. "My how the world is simply -full- of hidden wonders."

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