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#Marvel's Loki
axeken · 5 months ago
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They look like they're about to drop the hottest album in the Nine Realms
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thenightling · 5 months ago
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No, Disney is NOT trying to trademark Norse mythology!
I think you should know this all started when someone’s shirt was pulled down from an online store for being the exact same “Low Key” shirt that comic book Loki is wearing in his most recent comic. See issue 3 and 4 of Lok: The God who fell to Earth. You fell for a false panic / clickbait.  Disney cannot legally trademark the Norse Gods.   
They CAN trademark their own depictions.   That means they own versions following the lore of the comics and films specifically (not the myths).  Versions that look like Tom Hiddleston and dress like his version, for example, that they can trademark.  
The Norse myths are about as copyrightable as Dracula, which is NOT copyrightable. Universal only owns their own version though they did try to claim the trademark to a lot of character traits.
All of this started because someone wanted to sell a shirt the Marvel / Disney character actually wears in the comic and then started this online panic when their shirt was removed from the shop, while neglecting to tell non-comic readers that the shirt in question was literally on the cover of issue 4 of Loki: The God who fell to Earth, published in the summer of 2019.
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yesokayiknow · 4 months ago
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loki keeps introducing sylvie to ppl as him from a universe where he was born a girl and one day she takes him aside and is like actually technically i uh kind of wasn't. i'm a trans woman. actually. and he's like ???? yes you were born a girl did i stutter and then she hits him for making her cry
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mewmewmarw · 5 months ago
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Someone make this with Mobius and Loki please !!!
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weareunderthesameskies · 4 months ago
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curious about an actual norse mythology reference in the loki series?
personally i quite enjoyed the reference to one of loki's classic mischiefs: the cutting of sif's hair!
most people who know norse mythology would have told you upon seeing Marvel's Thor films that "Sif doesn't have black hair... its golden!" and thats literal - she had Gold hair. because of loki!
additionally, this story also leads to how thor gets his hammer, mjølner
so loki had snuck in and cut off all sif's hair one night
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thor found sif crying and was like "WHO COULD HAVE DONE THIS" and afterwards odin was immediately like "... loki. loki would have"
so they bring loki to court in Asgard (and odin reminds thor not to kill him) and are like "fix it" and loki kind of goes alright yeah
loki goes off on a personal mini quest to the bestestest craftsmen - the dwarves! after some classic sweet talking and diplomacy loki bets HIS OWN HEAD against two family of dwarves about who can make the best crafts.
the dwarves essentially make a TON of magical items. one group makes sif's new magical weave of actual gold hair that continues to grow naturally. the other started to make a hammer that returns by itself but couldnt make the handle properly because a fly kept biting the guy (guess who was the fly...)
so they brought all the treasures to Asgard and presented them and everyone agreed that the flying hammer was the best, which meant that the dwarves had won loki's head!
but loki was like "alright, but i didn't promise you my neck" so they couldnt cut his head off, and eventually they just sewed his mouth shut cause they got so mad at him for talking his way around everything all the time.
it's a classic story about how loki's silly mischiefs lead to a snowball of events and his iconic chaotic neutrality
source: read the whole thing here, it's quite funny
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The Asgardian song
Yeah so the Italian fandom loved Tom Hiddleston speaking latin and tbh I didn’t see the point, didn’t really like the english accent when he spoke it, but. But. When he sung the asgardian song, oh boy. I fell in love. It might be my nerdy ass’ fault but I liked it so. fricking. much. And at the exact moment I realized that I understood bits of the song, oh man, I lost it even more.
Turns out, he was singing in Norwegian. I went back more than once to listen to it, and I think I got the gist of it (please keep in mind that I’m not Norwegian, I’m basing myself on swedish pronunciation and even then I’m not a native Swedish speaker --just a student of it): 
I storm svart fjäll Jag vandrär allena Över isbreer tar jag mig främ I applehagen stammer i enden och vänter Och sjunger När kommer du hem?
It should be something like:
In stormy black weather I wander alone Over glaciers I pull myself together Towards the apple orchard in the end and wait And I sing When do you come home?
And I realized: Loki may be singing about Asgard. The apple orchard is probably that of Idunn’s golden apples, based in Asgard. He is singing of homecoming, of going back to the place he still considers home, after all this time.
Don’t mind me, I’m just probably going to spend the next week or so crying about this. Curse you, @marvelentertainment.
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fanonical · 20 days ago
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there's a loki variant who's a stand-up comedian
naturally, he goes by joki
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multiversalsorceress · 4 months ago
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Mobius: LOKI!! I KNOW YOU STOLE THE TEM-PAD!!
Sylvie:*whispers* Play dumb
Loki: WHO'S LOKI?
Sylvie: Not that dumb!
Loki: ┐(︶▽︶)┌
Sylvie: ٩(ఠ益ఠ)۶
Mobius: ( ಠ ʖ̯ ಠ)
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amethysthollis · 4 months ago
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Loki’s Magic: Spells from the School of Illusion
More spells: School of Conjuration & Evocation School of Transmutation & Enchantment
+Bonus drunk spell:
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brightwanderer · 5 months ago
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New series of Doctor Who with Tom Hiddleston is looking great.
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thenightling · 4 months ago
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While everyone is watching Loki and how he deals with encountering his other selves and how f--ked up he and his other selves are...
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(Loki gifs made by  @mrslokibarnesrogers​​  )
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 I would like to remind everyone that @neil-gaiman​ technically did that first with Morpheus (Dream of The Endless) in The Sandman: Overture.  Only not as violently...
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yesokayiknow · 4 months ago
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If marvel weren't cowards they'd have Loki go back to before ragnarock, and have a while dramatic sad scene where he's looking at his dead mum's stuff and he reaches out to stoke a really nice looking dress in a nostalgic boo hoo moment, then cut to the next scene and he's wearing the dress. Sylvie cannot stop looking, nobody can, he is rocking that dress.
loki in a dress, sylvie in a suit & tie, they don't even need knives bc their looks are sharp enough by themselves
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paradox-time · 5 months ago
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Wish disney would just fucking burn. They don't do anything. It's just a money pit. The only thing they exist for is to profit off of things they had no part in producing and then screw over every creator and employee. Then they pretend they have every right to thing that THEY DO NOT OWN AT ALL. They do not own Loki or Thor or Heimdall or Odin. Those are gods of the Norse pantheon and have existed for centuries. Just because disney made a quick buck off of the lore unfriendly marvel characters barely based on them, does not mean they get to send cease and desist orders to people who sell worship candles on etsy to people who practice Norse paganism. They stole the story of coco without crediting the woman it was from unsurprisingly. They tried to trademark dia de los muertos. And have done so many other shitty things that I don't have time to list. You can not trademark the Norse gods that showed up in your little superhero stories you money hungry pigs. It disgusts me. Don't get me wrong, the marvel universe is very dear to me, but the original stories need to be respected. You can't trademark gods. And more people need to realize how fucked up disney is.
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mewmewmarw · 6 months ago
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Absurd.
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elen-aranel · 4 months ago
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Fade, Wither, Fall
Five apocalpyses you and Sylvie leave, and one you don't. (Read on AO3)
Pairing: Sylvie Laufeydottir x GN!Reader (no Y/N) Warnings: Reader dies (I'm sorry), Angst, Apocalypses, Romance. WC: 6.5k Rating: Mature (for themes not graphic content) A/N: I watched Loki and had this idea and it wouldn't go away, even though it is a downer. I wanted to explore what it would be like to live like Sylvie for a human plucked from their normal life. Set pre-series. Reader and Sylvie evade the TVA. For a while...
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Pacific Coast, United States, 2101
The beach is full of people, but the water is pulling out, even though it’s high tide. There are rocks visible that weren’t before. This area has a tsunami warning system; maybe it failed, or maybe the earthquake was just too close. You don’t know but you’re resigned; everyone’s going to die, but then, everyone dies. You’re a little sad that you have to move on. Find somewhere else. You like the sun.
You notice her, long dark hair whipping around her, right as the wave fills the bay and everyone else starts screaming. She looks resigned, too.
*
Zolravis Mining Colony, Nova Empire, 1983
You hate living your life at the end of other people’s. You hate being surrounded by terror all the time.
It was an accident when you found out this was the only way you could live. You had been running. Sometimes literally, but sometimes hiding, eavesdropping, trying to learn what you could before you moved on and they found you again. But this time the Timedoor opened on a ship at sea, and people saw you immediately. They also recognised you were an alien immediately, too – they had grey-blue skin and you did not. You were definitely causing what the TVA had called a nexus event... but you didn’t have time to enter your next co-ordinates because you were dodging the crew and passengers from one cabin to another.
It was only when a massive tremor rocked the whole ship, fire broke out and it started taking on water very very rapidly you realised...
...the TVA weren’t there. No one had followed you.
You don’t know what caused the initial tremor. The ship hitting rocks? A lightning strike? You never cared to find out. But the lifeboats were flimsy in the face of the storm which sprang up, and you spared a thought, as you raided a mini-fridge for snacks, for the people whose loved ones would disappear into the sea, never to return.
And then you thought… if this ship is going down, lifeboats too… it doesn’t matter what you do here.
You have been living from disaster to disaster ever since.
The freighters leave the Zolravis colony once every thirty-six hours. The cracks started not long after one left. The last didn’t take any of the mineral they mine: it just took people. The incoming empty freighter took people too.
But a whole city had developed over the mine… and they mined so very deep. No one else would get out before it collapsed. The next ship found a deep crater, and that was it. There was a dome over the city which shattered and fell in too, and there wasn’t much passing for an atmosphere outside it.
You figure, though, you should have a few hours before you have to move on.
Food shops are not generally a priority when the world ends. Yes, there is looting; yes, on rare occasions they are shelters; but as a rule, no one cares if you’re in one. Law enforcement, if any remain, are usually muscling into wherever they think gives them the highest hope of survival or escape. If you’re in a place like this where you can charge your TemPad you do that first. After that, and avoiding terrified, hopeless people as much as possible, food for you.
Once, most of the food you ate was cooked from scratch. Once, most of it was from Earth. Now your tastes are more eclectic. You always raid the energy bars; you can carry a few meals without much effort. Then fresh produce you eat then and there. You risked getting caught for some water purification tablets once. You still have some left.
You’ve just taken a bite of what looks and feels like a slice of melon, but tastes jarringly like a banana, when you see her again.
Correction. When she sees you again.
“Are you working for them?” You turn, your watermelon-banana still in your hand.
“For who?” She is unmistakably the person you saw on the beach, even though you think her hair is a little different: a little shorter perhaps. Time has changed her, a little, but you expect that it’s changed you too. She stares at you, hostile.
“The TVA,” she says, obvious.
You laugh reflexively, disbelieving. “They—Wait. Are you?” That would track, you think, grimly. They’ve been watching this whole time.
“I’ll find out,” she says, and before you have time to think she grabs your wrist and...
You’re in the park, sitting on a bench at the edge of the grass. It’s sunny, warm for spring, and you have a book with you, but you aren’t reading it. Instead, you watch as pink cherry blossom flutters down from a nearby tree. It almost feels like a dance, floating this way and that before gently settling on the ground. There are children playing in the playground in the distance, dog walkers passing by, and you feel happy. You’re surrounded by people, it’s the first really warm day of the year, you have nowhere you need to be, and you are happy.
You blink, and you’re in the alleyway. The one, you realise now, where you were supposed to die.
You had been to self defence classes, even got a few martial arts belts as a child, and you weren’t going to let a mugger get the better of you. Well okay – you weren’t going down without a fight, even if your mugger was bigger and stronger than you, and took you by surprise.
You duck out of the way of hitting your head on a protruding brick, and your attacker’s momentum carries him into the wall. He hits it, hard; not as hard as you would have if you hadn’t ducked, but hard enough to loosen his grip and fall to the ground.
You run. And part of you thinks, when you see the Timedoor open out the corner of your eye and the people come for you, that they may have something to do with your first attacker? But somewhere between your adrenaline, your determination not to succumb to whoever these people are, and one of them making a mistake, you have a TemPad in your hands, a Timedoor opens and you’re through.
“You’re not,” she says, a little incredulous.
You’re back in the shop again, piece of fruit still in one hand, her holding your other wrist. You stare at her, gathering yourself for a second.
“The park—the alley. I remembered, but it felt… it felt like living it again. How did you do that?”
“I enchanted you,” she says, tone smug, as though that’s supposed to mean something outside of a fairytale. “You didn’t resist,” she adds, almost a little reproachful. “But you’re not TVA. I don’t have to kill you.”
“Thanks, I think... …wait so you’re like me? On the run, too?”
“Since I was a child,” she says, and for a moment there’s such a look of sadness and loneliness on her face that you want to reach out to her. But then you look down and see she’s still holding your wrist and before you have time to process that—
Crash. You’re both on the floor. As well as half the ceiling at the other end of the store.
“I thought I’d have more time,” you say, as you pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Your fruit is on the ground, ruined.
“There’s always more time,” she says. But she winks as she gets her TemPad out, calls up a Timedoor and steps through.
You take a moment to grab a soda, then call up your own Timedoor and leave, too.
*
Misenhope, England, 2064
“Don’t you think, sometimes, these people are asking for it?” She sits at your table, waving the waiter over.
You’ve seen her many times since Zolravis. Sometimes in the distance, sometimes up close. Mostly a look is enough, but occasionally you talk. You know her name is Sylvie, and you know she hates the TVA. More than you do.
You follow her gaze up to the wall of the dam that looms over this town. It’s a sunny day, and there’s blue sky above the huge grey concrete edifice. You can’t see it, yet, but you know there’s a crack. And the shape of the valley means that once the dam bursts, no one here will have a chance. You hear a bell tolling the hour from the local church. You know it won’t ring many more times.
“Perhaps they just wanted to keep their home.” You shrug as you sip your tea. You have to force yourself not to think about the lives that are constantly being lost around you, because if you do… you’re not sure you’ll be able to stop.
“Would that we all could,” she says, picking up the menu. “One day...”
“One day what?”
“One day I’ll put an end to it. I’ll break whatever... whatever the TVA is. I’ll destroy them, they won’t be there to chase us. I’ll go back to my home, and you can go back to that park. It looked dull to me... but you were happy.”
“I’m happy now,” you say, surprised that it’s true. You smile, feeling a little shy all of a sudden. She smiles back and it’s unexpected, like light piercing through a cloud.
The waiter comes and takes her order, and you sit in friendly silence until she returns moments later with Sylvie’s coffee and lemon drizzle cake.
“Would you like a top-up, pet?” The waiter nods to your teapot.
“Oh, no thank you,” you smile back at her, shaking your head. You have plenty left for the time you have. She leaves to tend to another table, and you’re fleetingly glad for these folk that it will all be pretty sudden.
“Where was home for you?” You ask Sylvie, expecting an evasion.
“Asgard. First of the Nine Realms. You people down here on Midgard worshipped us, you know. A millenium ago.” She frowns a little, taking a sip of her coffee. “That’s in linear time, for here and now. For me...” she tilts her head, calculating. “I don’t know how long it’s been. I was a child when they took me. I barely remember it, really.”
“And is being... Asgardian... how you do magic?”
“I’m not technically Asgardian. But maybe. Maybe not. Have you ever tried?”
You laugh. “A human magician? We don’t believe in magic.”
“You used to, you know. And there are human magicians even now. They just keep a low profile.”
You enjoy chatting about magic, the Nine Realms, and the places you’ve both seen over your tea, coffee, and cake. You feel comfortable here with Sylvie, and for the first time in so long you lose track of time.
She doesn’t.
You follow her gaze up to the dam again. If you squint, you can just about make out the fault. Time to leave.
“We should do this again,” you say, as you stand. “Axoria? The night side? I’ve never been to Zupion, but I hear it’s beautiful. Perhaps I’ll see you there.”
You smile at her as you call up the Timedoor. She doesn’t smile back, not exactly, but she does look thoughtful.
*
Axoria III, 2197
You don’t know what, specifically, kills everyone when Axoria goes Supernova. You know the light gets here first, and you don’t know whether that turns out to be deadly, or whether it’s the outer layers of the sun hitting the atmosphere an hour or two later. Either way, you will be gone.
In all the time you’ve been travelling, you’ve never met yourself. You did see yourself in the distance once, and you had chills because you knew you’d never been there before. But part of you was comforted to know you’d be around long enough to make it back, even if, judging by your appearance, it wouldn’t be very long.
You tried to put it out of mind, and you did, until the battery on your TemPad was running low and you realised that was why you’d been back again so soon – you remembered that it was an easy place for a full charge.
It was all you could do not to look over your shoulder.
You’ve been to Axoria III several times now, but you make a point of going to a new town or city each time you visit. Overall, you prefer to be on the night side. Well, the side which will be the night side, come the end. You find the giant star hanging in the sky, sometimes a little brighter, sometimes a little dimmer, to be a bit creepy. The locals are used to it, but they don’t know any better.
The planet spins slowly, though, so one day and night there is worth several on Earth. You worked it out: it’s a bit of a backwater, so there’s not much traffic between it and the rest of the universe, and the last ship leaves at the very start of night side sunset. So when you really want to spend some time, you go there. And when the supernova happens, even if there’s time to launch a ship it won’t get away.
The equator passes through Zupion, and the main square is built around an ancient monument to the sun. It’s a giant circle, made of dark stone, somewhat organic looking. It’s weathered, but it still aligns perfectly with the sun as it sets. There are fountains in front, arcs of water passing between them, and when the water hits just right it looks like fire, too.
You stand in a loose little crowd, mostly Axorians, with their deep blue to purple skin. But there a few aliens like yourself, watching the sun set for the last time. You don’t know how long it’s been since the café beneath the dam; you don’t count time, only survival. But when you left the desert where a sandstorm was about to wipe a village off the map, dangerously close to feeling sadness for the villagers, it felt right, so you came here.
You don’t know if she’ll show up, so you keep to your normal routine in places like this: power, food, and, since the apocalypse is some time away still, a comfortable bed. You pickpocketed the cash for your deposit, and the hotelier doesn’t know the bill will never come due. All that sorted you can enjoy yourself for once. The nights are so long here the nightlife starts slowly, but from your experience in other cities the people of Axoria know how to party like it’s their last night on this rock.
You don’t see her coming.
But you never do.
The sun has slipped below the horizon, and your little crowd of watchers has dispersed. You’re walking along a boulevard off the square, watching as harried staff straighten up chairs, turn on lights and put out menus and cutlery ready for the first night meal. Pavement café chairs seem to come in the same types the universe over, you’ve noticed. Wooden and metal ones with arms, spindly looking folding ones, and your current favourite: wickerwork with cushions. It’s probably not called wicker here. But you feel your point stands.
“Fancy seeing you here,” she says from behind you, and you turn to see her, smiling at you with an amused light in her eyes.
“In the city I invited you to! Yes, fancy that,” you reply, laughing. “How’ve you been?” You ask, and the light dims momentarily.
“Surviving,” she replies, and then the twinkle is back. “So what are your plans for ’doing this again sometime’?”
You eat at a restaurant on a different street, with wicker chairs. You’re not sure quite how it happened but you end up with one of every dessert on the menu. You use sharpened chopstick-like, skewer-like utensils to spear perfect little glazed cream-filled cakes. Pieces of candied fruit in all different flavours – a mint one which took you by surprise, but others tasting like citrus and berries. Pastry bites which remind you of flapjack made with lots of honey or syrup. One dessert is custard-like, and Sylvie dips her finger in and smiles, impish, before licking it. There are sweet breadsticks for dipping, but you ignore them and use your finger, too.
You talk about the food you’ve enjoyed across the universe, although you don’t tell her that you still crave Earth food almost every day.
Eventually you’re full. You lean back in your chair and relax, a glass of a chilled local tea in your hand. It tastes like vanilla, but grassy. Sylvie seems relaxed, too, and you sit in silence for a while, digesting. Listening to the sounds of life around you. Children, too young to sit at the table for too long running around, chasing each other. Chatter from other tables of diners at different stages of their meals. Traffic in the distance (vehicles are banned from the centre of town, even in the air). The occasional rumble of what you think may be an underground train. And above it all, the chirruping conversation between two green birds, each intent on marking the street as their territory for claiming fallen morsels.
Sylvie stretches. “I haven’t had this much sugar... this much food... I should...” She stretches again.
“Work it off? The night is young, you know. Very young.”
Her gaze sharpens on you. “Did you have a plan?”
“Well, I might have heard of a place...”
You leave a generous tip in the local currency on the table when you leave. You hope at least someone has time to treat themselves before the end.
The night spot the concierge recommended is close to the main square, and you easily find your way. There’s a line, but it’s not too long. It feels late to you but it’s still early for the locals, so the fact that there even is a line shows you how popular it is.
You step inside into a maze-like tunnel. It’s clear, but hung with thousands of tiny fairy lights, which are warm against the darkness of whatever the tunnel is in. You can see lights in other directions where the tunnel branches. Music is playing: something low. Expectant. You look up and you can see tunnels above you, too. You let Sylvie lead the way, first left, then right, left again, then you stop paying attention to the direction and focus on her instead.
She pushes aside a curtain of white feathers, and you feel goosebumps spring up on your arm as you step through; the room you’ve walked into is icy cold. There are frosted white trees, ice on the walls, icicles hanging down from the ceiling. Even snow on the ground, although the path you step out onto is compacted. You see footprints, though, where people have strayed off it.
In the middle of the room is a cluster of people surrounding two Axorians standing in what looks like a cage, but as you get close you realise it’s a harp-like instrument. They wear white fur coats, and their music is rhythmic, but chilly. A stream of perfect notes sparkling in the air.
“Brr! Too cold,” Sylvie mutters, and you follow her through into another tunnel.
You find your way through several other rooms looking for one you both like. One black room filled with black blocks of different heights where every step you make, everything you touch glows and makes a noise. A weird bar where you can drink or run your fingers round the rims of the glasses to make that high pitched whining sound, like two staff are doing continuously. You hurry Sylvie out of that one.
But you spend some time in a room with what sounds like a folk band, although you don’t recognise the instruments. It’s decorated all over with carved wooden leaves in warm autumnal tones, and there’s a bar too, made of a polished golden wood. You sit and listen for a while over a drink, before the band leader steps forward and invites you all to dance.
Sylvie raises an eyebrow, and you nod. You stand, and join a few other couples on the dark wooden dance floor. The dances are simple, not a lot of contact, although you do hold hands at times. The set up reminds you of a barn dance you had been too back on Earth, before—
You wonder if Sylvie had had something similar on Asgard. Or if she’d remember if she had.
You dance until you’re grinning and out of breath.
“Burnt enough of those desserts off yet?” You ask as you head into the next tunnel.
“Getting there,” Sylvie smiles, and you realise that somewhere along the line she’s caught hold of your hand. “I wouldn’t mind that ice room now,” she says.
The next room you stop in is pretty chill, although not cold like the ice room. There are swings suspended from the ceiling, relaxing, lo-fi beats playing through speakers you can’t see. You sit next to each other on a swing, watching a projection of white clouds on a mauve coloured sky scud across one wall and round onto the next as you swing, leaning into each other just a little.
Finally, you end up in the main dance hall. This is like a club on Earth, or really any other planet you’ve found time to party on before the end, and the press of people, the loud music, dancing, Sylvie… you lose yourself for a while.
Axoria III brings a new meaning to party all night, you think, not for the first time, as you and Sylvie find your way toward the main square again. The locals are adapted to the long nights, but you are not.
“We can’t go up there,” you protest, weakly, as Sylvie starts to climb into the circle sculpture.
“Why not?” She calls down to you and... she has a point. Nothing matters here. So you follow her, using the worn carvings which may once have represented vines as steps up into the middle of the circle.
You look down. The square is quiet – first night meal has long finished, but no one will think about the second one for a while, and there are just a couple of other revellers making their way blearily across the square. The fountains are still playing though, and every now and then a stream of water will suddenly be lit silver, almost like flowing metal.
You look up, and gasp. You had never really paid attention to the night sky here before, preferring to drink, dance and sleep the night away, but there above you are two moons, visibly moving across the sky. They’re both going in the same direction but the smaller, slightly rose-hued one is a little quicker.
You turn to Sylvie, and whatever you were about to say dies on your lips as you see the look in her blue eyes, lit up by the moons, and... and afterward you couldn’t say who kissed who first. But her body is warm against yours, her lips soft, and it feels right, it feels like it wouldn’t matter if the planet shattered then and there because you can taste her, and she tastes like magic.
By the time you pull apart the moons are gone.
*
SS Spirit of Nix, Blue Diamond Nebula, 2021
You couldn’t imagine having someone in your life. You thought you would be alone forever… although you didn’t know how long that would be. But here you are, flitting from disaster to disaster, ending to ending, at Sylvie’s side.
She is like no one else. Funny, intelligent, mercurial. Magical. And while you’re good at surviving, for her it’s a drive. An imperative.
There’s darkness there. You don’t talk about it, but you know she’s killed and will kill again. You have killed too, of course, and it isn’t really different, but it is. You kill, occasionally, to stay alive. And the people are as good dead anyway, even if they don’t know it yet. But sometimes Sylvie has her own agenda, apart from that.
She wants to reclaim her life. Every death she sees, every apocalypse she witnesses hardens her resolve. To take back what was taken from her. You admire that about her… you almost envy it. You think she may even have a plan. You won’t ask, though, because she won’t tell, and you’re afraid.
You’re falling for her. And yet…
Every death she sees, every apocalypse she witnesses hardens her resolve. But every ending you live through erodes something in you.
You don’t notice at first.
You walk through the legendary gardens of the Palace of Vinoroa together, just before the landslide, and they’re beautiful and it’s history and apparently the Princess was a pretty bad person anyway. You kiss on the famed fire terrace, and Sylvie is all you care about.
You relax together at a spa beside Lake Abrion on Gora V during the day, before the limnic eruption releases dissolved gases from the lake water and smothers people as they sleep that night. You tell yourself there were only a couple of hundred people there, and they must have been dead before the tsunami hit. Which would have been much worse.
You spend a hot night in a luxurious tent on the plains of Thereth, and leave before the unprecedented stampede of – you can’t pronounce the name, but they’re something like wildebeest or moose, only with more teeth – transforms the richest, best connected travelling town into little more than rags in the dusty grass. But you know that the people had been at war, killing their rivals to enhance their wealth – they even told you themselves – so what goes around comes around, in a manner of speaking.
You joke that you should go to Earth, and see the dinosaurs right before the meteor hits.
But sometimes when you try to sleep you see the face of a mother, soothing her toddler and singing to them as everyone ran to try to escape the firestorm on the horizon at Basion II. She knew like you did that there was no escape. (Not for her – you followed Sylvie through a Timedoor.)
You tire of running away. Never towards.
And you don’t expect it, but the Spirit of Nix is the last straw.
You’ve been on ships before. There was the generation ship Palairew, when she lost power and stopped spinning and the third generation died long before they could make it to the planet their ancestors hoped their descendants would see. But you had prepared yourself. You knew they were good people, worthy of better. But at the same time, the lives they were born into were so regimented, so restricted. They had no choices, and in some ways it was hard to see them as people rather than parts in a machine. And history recorded that if they had made it, as a group from their world did eventually, the planet would have been unsuitable anyway.  
This time you were cutting it a little finer than usual. Sylvie only had enough juice for a couple more jumps in her TemPad, and you only one. But the ship was awash with power. The problem was when the rogue asteroid hit the ship it damaged the drive so she couldn’t move, and the environmental systems so they started to fail. There were escape pods, and even shuttles, but none of them could withstand the radiation from the Blue Diamond nebula for more than a minute or two. Not long enough to escape. And the nebula’s radiation meant that no one could even call for help.
Still, you have a little while before that. Sylvie left a trail of enchantment in her wake, and you have a first-class suite, engineers rigging up mobile chargers for your TemPads, food, even clothes. You dance in the ballroom, and look out the window at the nebula. You have to admit it is stunning: the young blue stars, the tendrils of gas glowing orange between them, and the music playing over the speaker system between songs, somehow generated by the resonances between the stars.
You prefer the stellar music to the band’s, if you’re being honest.
When you’d heard of the wreck of the this ship you’d written the people off as entitled fat cats. And they mostly are. There are Xandarians, Krylorians, Hurctarians, and many others. Some even now you don’t know the names of. Most of them are there to see and be seen; you suspect that if you replaced the nebula outside with a car park a lot of them wouldn’t notice.
Even so, a couple of teens catch your eye. They’re affecting boredom as teens do, but every so often they let their guards down and seem genuinely fascinated by what they can see.
But as you watch them someone hits you. You turn to face an older, bald man with yellow skin – an Aakon, you think. “Excuse me,” you say, polite, even though you know he was the one who wasn’t looking where he was going; he had backed into you. He glares down his nose at you, curling his lip. “I should think so,” he says, looking you up and down. He opens his mouth to speak again but as he does you see that telltale flash of green, and you smile, satisfied.
“Off you go,” Sylvie says, and he retreats, cowering. “Most of them deserve it,” she says, and you nod.
And you agree, in that moment.
You knew the TemPads wouldn’t be charged by the time the meteor hits, but it still takes you by surprise a couple of hours later. You’re in a public area, and you can feel the slight thrum of disquiet, even as the crew try to pass it off as a routine thing. You slide your hand into your bag to check your TemPad. It’s still charging, and you still have lots of time to get back to your cabin to change into something more practical before you leave.
“Concert?” Sylvie asks, as you pass the hall. Neither of you are particular music fans, but you’ve chalked up quite a few last performances. Some where the artists didn’t know and some where they did and played anyway. This time they don’t know, which is easier. Yes, there’s something special about people genuinely giving it their all, but also you find it taxing, in a way. It makes you anxious. This music has been composed to complement the music of the nebula and it is beautiful. Synths, flutes, strings, in harmony with something cosmic, larger than themselves. You relax against Sylvie, absorbing it. Forgetting what’s happening outside this perfect little bubble.
But when the concert finishes you can feel that people’s general alarm level has increased. “We’re not moving,” you overhear one of the teens from earlier say. “We’ve stayed in the same place relative to that streamer for two hours now. We know there’s a problem.”
The staff member who is trying to pacify them is unconvincing. You can tell she’s trying to convince herself, really, but can’t, and you find yourself wondering who she will leave behind. She isn’t rich – she can’t be if she’s wearing that uniform.
An elderly lady of a species you don’t know looks at you with piercing dark eyes as you pass her. “This is the end, isn’t it?” She says. “For us, I mean. Maybe not you,” she adds, looking you in the eye. You glance at Sylvie, and briefly see a look of confusion which must match yours on her face. “Empath,” the woman says, pointing to herself. “I’ve had my time, don’t worry. You youngsters are the ones with a long way to go.”
You keep walking, keep waiting for your TemPads to charge. Sylvie is calm, but you’re antsy. You can see the truth beginning to dawn on people. There’s a crowd at every bar you pass, people getting drunk and morose, or drunk and combative. You overhear arguments about escape pods, people saying they would rather die of radiation poisoning than just wait here for the end.
You can feel Sylvie looking at you, concerned, too. You can see a question in her look, one that you’re afraid to answer.
It’s the Aakon man that finally erodes that thing inside you to dust.
He’s alone, with a bottle, sobbing quietly in the corridor near your suite. He doesn’t stir as you pass him, even though they’ve had to evacuate some of the decks already and it’s busy for a first-class corridor. And you think— yes he was rude to you, yes there’s hubris in even coming to a place like this and believing that metal walls can protect you from the unforgiving universe outside, but...
...when you were back on Earth, back living your old life... if you had had the means, would you have said no to a cruise like this?
Might you have taken a job on a cruise ship because you needed money and at least it gave you a chance to see the world?
You think about it as you change into more practical, less conspicuous clothes.
Are you different from all the people you watch coming to terms with their death?
You stare at a vase of blue daisy-like flowers, knocked to the floor when the meteor hit. Like all the lives around you they’re dead already but don’t know it, and the water, the little life they were clinging on to, is gone, soaked into the carpet.
“Hello?” You look up at Sylvie, who is standing, waiting for you. “The TemPads are charged. It’s time to go.” Her brows draw together a little. “Are you all right? You were miles away.”
“I—” you falter, not sure what to say. The weight of the endings has fallen on you, and you feel like you can’t move, never mind speak. But take a breath. Summon up the courage. “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep going from disaster to disaster. Ending to ending. I can’t keep being around people’s deaths.”
She stares at you, a little shocked, then she shakes it off. “You’re being ridiculous. You’re fine. We’re fine.” She pauses for a moment, fingering her TemPad. “And anyway, I—I said I’m going to end it, and I meant it. I know how. You—you could help.” She falters a little, and you think that really she knows.
“No, Sylvie. I couldn’t.” As you hear yourself say it, you know it’s true. Hiding in wait for the TVA. The inevitable deaths. You don’t have the strength. “I’m sorry. I know you. You’re going to do it, but there’s a cost to that and I can’t pay it. You can... that’s part of what I like about you. I care about you, and I don’t want to leave you—”
“Then don’t. No ones making you. Don’t.”
You stand, face her, look into those beautiful eyes.
“I’m human, and my people used to worship yours as gods. I look at the people on this ship, and I think... I should be one of them. If things were different... but this life is killing me, and I’m holding you back.”
You kiss her, and she still tastes like magic… but the spell isn’t for you anymore.
*
Herculaneum, Roman Empire, 79 AD
It’s volcano day. But everyone forgets: Pompeii was not the only town that was buried.
It’s a little chillier than you would have chosen. You wish it really had been August, but no, it’s autumn. Still, you picked carefully. Somewhere on Earth, even if not your home. Not somewhere you would cause a nexus event, but somewhere you might be able to leave a mark.
Herculaneum is nicer than Pompeii. It’s richer. And unlike Pompeii, a lot of the people had time to flee. The wind blew the ash the other way and the town was covered in a pyroclastic flow instead.
But the inhabitants left nearly everything behind, and you amble through the streets in your thick stolen robes, helping yourself to the best of the produce. Your last meal will be dates and dried figs, grapes, and chestnuts. Pomegranates. You go into a bakery and find honey cakes topped with hazelnuts abandoned on the counter. You take one of those too.
You do attract a few odd looks from the few people who remain. But your confidence, hard won over more apocalypses than you can count gets you through, and anyway, there’s a column of ash in the sky. People know they have bigger problems.
It won’t be the gentlest end. It will be an end you can see coming. But at the end, you won’t be surrounded by terror.
You’re in the garden of a fancy villa at the edge of town. It’s not like your park, but close enough, even though it’s late autumn rather than spring. But there are still a few leaves falling even now, and you watch them drift to ground as the sun shines through the hazy air.
You wonder, as you eat your fruit and nuts and drink wine scavenged from the cellars of the villa, whether someone will find a skeleton buried under Ercolano, and tell a story about a rich Roman who died here. They will never know it was all lies, and you can’t tell them without causing a nexus event. You left your TemPad on the other side of your last Timedoor and there’s no going back.
You save your honey cake until last. It’s nutty, not too sweet, and spiced. Somehow it tastes of the summer that has past. You’re pondering saving some for Cerberus when you see her.
She’s on a ridge a little way away, and you wonder how long it’s been for her since you parted. Even though you decided on the Nix you took a little time to plan; you could have just gone somewhere to wait for the TVA but you wanted it to be on your own terms. Sylvie got angry, tried to talk you out of it, then abruptly accepted it. You told her where you would go, but you didn’t ask her to come with you.
You don’t recognise her clothes, and her hair is different. It’s blonde now, and you wish you could tell her that it suits her. You would wish her luck, too, but… she doesn’t need that. You raise your hand and wave at her once, and she nods. She lingers for a moment more, opens a Timedoor and leaves.
You wonder, if she succeeds, if there will be a variant of you who survives. Who gets to go back to the park the next day, and live out the rest of what you still think should have been your life.
The sulphur smell is intensifying, though, and the pyroclastic flow is on the way.
You take a moment to mourn. Sylvie, and the person she should have been. Yourself, and the life that was stolen from you. All the people you’ve seen die, and those few you’ve killed.
But you’re ready, at the end. You smile, and you don’t feel it.
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