I Need A Hero Pt 4

Participants:

haldor_icon.jpg

Scene Title I Need a Hero Pt 4
Synopsis Haldor learns to be a hero: He takes three challenges from Utgard Loki; 1) Throwing contest, 2) Treasure hunt and 3) Iron Chef Aesir?

Brynhildr is an excellent psychopomp. She is the leader of the Valkyries afterall, and it is her job to make sure the glorious dead and other such worthy individuals make it to the halls of Valhalla. That is the first place that she is taking Haldor as she continues to ride in the sky on her mighty and powerful valkyrie horse who is drooling a bit into the clouds. She looks back towards the Viking and lets out a soft chuckle.

"I hope you've brought your appetite for there will be feasting upon your arrival, Thorson.."

Haldor would expect no less of the leader of the Valkyries. As he follows along, keeping pretty even pace with Brynhildr and her Valkyrie Horse, Haldor continually rubs Drake's belly. Maybe he's trying to make Brynhildr's mount feel jealous or maybe he's just glad to have a chance to hug his puppy again after what seems like forever.

"I always bring my appetite. Just ask Maia."

And Drake does enjoy the hugs! He doesn't even wriggle that much as he doesn't want to be dropped afterall! The puppy basks in the attention of the tummy rubs while letting out happy barkbarkyelps as he lets his toll out as the wind flaps up his hair. He's definitely enjoying being cradled on the way to Asgard afterall.

And as they continue to fly in the air, they see a rainbow off in the clouds. It's not Bifrost. The actual rainbow bridge is being constantly under attack by creatures of Muspelheim afterall. No, it is the valkyrie using her powers to bring Haldor off to the great hall. And off they go! Woosh! Through a connection of one of the tapestries in Valhalla, they finally arrive to the Great Hall where there is already a feast.

In a mist-shrouded corner of Asgard, a long building of fine wood and stone stands atop a hill. The mist clears to let the sun or moon shine on the hall alone. The heavy wooden doors bear carved scenes of great battles and heroic deeds, but they swing open easily as Haldor and Brynhildr approach. Inside, the huge structure surpasses even famed Herot or the Round Table Chamber of Camelot. Its tables strain under loads of delicious food and drink that never spoil and that outside hands cannot poison, be they God or Titan. Faint festive music echoes throughout, and he can hear the sounds of laughter and revelry. Oh look! There's Thor, Baldur, and an assorted variety of gods at the table cheering! They're having a drinking contest at the moment it seems.

WAAAAAH! RAINBOW BRIDGE!

Okay, not really. Haldor takes this in stride because, well, Aesir are kinda used to rainbow bridges whether they're Bifrost, the effect of a high level psychopomp, or a level in Mario Kart. Yeah, that's right, Mario Kart is clearly an Aesir training device. No one quite knows what it's training the Aesir for, but it's clearly a training device for the Aesir. Mark my words.

Haldor whistles softly as he steps into the hall. It's hard not to do so when in the presence of such raw awesome. The Viking's gaze swivels everywhere, drinking in everything as Haldor tries to pay any attention to Brynhildr at all. With digs like this, it's hard to use his Parallel Attention to pay her any heed at all.

"Huh. Pop's here too?"

The great hall of Gladsheim is where the Aesir gather for serious discussion and for social intercourse. It is also where the male Aesir gather to engage in such manly activities as drinking, eating, drinking, wrestling, drinking, storytelling and, occasionally, drinking. Its walls are made of close-fit stone, sturdy enough to withstand the feasting and good-natured fighting of even the strongest Gods, and the ceilings are warm thatch supported by beams as big around as a man’s waist. Rush lamps light the hall, since its stone walls are unbroken by windows. At each end, a massive stone fireplace lends light and warmth to the hall. The great hall is furnished with a massive trestle table of carved oak, which fills the center of the room. Sturdy oak benches with leather cushions run along each side. The table is set to feed a hundred, where the food thereon never spoils, allowing the Aesir and their guests to sup whenever suits their desires.

At one end of the great hall, massive wooden chairs are arranged near the fireplace. The largest of these has Odin surrounded by various female servants,his wife noticeably absent. There is seating enough for all the Aesir, though there's an empty spot next to Thor's seat. Presumably that's where Haldor goes! Several great hounds normally lounge near the hearth, each as large as a pony. They appear lazy and slow when at leisure but are fierce hunting beasts that Drake immediately notices! It's time to play and he bounds out of Haldor's arms to go andinspect the pony sized canines as his tail waggles. He seems to have found new friends as the lazy beasts peer down towards the cute little shiba inu puppy with interest. At least they are in a sharing mood as one of them nudges a smaller bone towards the puppy!

Finally at the other end of the hall rests a gigantic floor loom, which appears to be operated by invisible hands. The pattern on the tapestry being woven consists of countless gripping beasts and interlaced people and animals, some large and imposing, some so small as to be barely visible to the naked eye. The patterns represent the history of the World, with each individual being represented as they are born and their figure not completing until their death. Some figures (Gods, Titans, Scions and others with extensive life spans), stretch throughout the tapestry, while others make only fleeting appearances.

When Haldor finally enters there's a loud cheer from those in the room. For most of them at least. He found Thor afterall, one of the favorite sons of Odin and so there's Uller, Njord and various other entities clapping for the Thorson. They lead him towards the spot next to his father as Thor beams brightly towards his son. Sure he's the level of a hero level Scion, but he can still drink like the rest of them.

"I heard you were undergoing special training with the Amatsukami! Tell us, m'boy what did they have you do! They are fierce warriors yet they have usually looked down upon us. It seems your relationshipwith the sun child has given us a bit of respect now!"

Haldor blinks as he's half-led, half-ushered along toward a seat beside his father. Somehow he didn't quite expect this. The loom with the ever-growing tapestry, woven by invisible hands, gains a very, very long look from Haldor as he follows along relying entirely upon Perfect Partner to remain in perfect step with the other Aesir.

One can almost imagine how he's clenching his fist and dramatically yelling, "FAAAAAAAATE!" in his own head in the moment immediately preceding him plunking down beside Thor. Haldor blinks and twists his head to look at his father, keeping Odin in his field of vision. Well crap, they want story time. The Viking really wasn't expecting to have to go into boasts at all, he would have prepared.

"I, uh."

Crap. Focus. /FOCUS/!

"Well where do you want me to start with that tale? At the very beginning or nearer now?"

A predatory smile spreads across Haldor's face as he asks the question. Finally, he's focusing.

"Starting with the beginning would be wonderful!" Thor bellows out, raising his horn of mead before one of the rather voluptuous and skanky shield maidens who also serve as waitresses in the halls brings one over towards Haldor. She gives him a lecherous leer before shaking her bootie to and fro as she heads off.

Somewhere, Maia is in the mood to punch something, but that's another story. The Aesir are renown storytellers afterall, and this is Haldor's chance to toot his own horn so to speak!

"QUIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTTTTT!" And that's the gregarious redhead yelling to the other Aesir to settle down. And they do, for Thor is just awesome like that. Once they've quieted down, he motions towards Haldor and beams towards the others.

"My son has a story to tell."

The predatory smile doesn't fade until, quite suddenly, Haldor realizes that he's going to have to go on with The Boast in front of all of the assembled Aesir. Even then, it remains a broad and confident smile; it's simply not as predatorily confident as it was a minute ago, when there was a skanky shield maiden waitress bringing him a horn of mead. Haldor sucks it up though and does his best to flush out the extraneous thoughts from his mind.

"Well it started out when Maia, Daughter of the Japanese Sun, received a letter from her mother, requesting she return to Japan with a member of her Band to assist in retaking a monastery where the Amatsukami have sent their Scions for training for generations now.

"Having just dispatched an awakened Atlantean in New York with Maia, I went along with her to the Land of the Rising Sun. We weren't in Japan more than ten minutes before a nekomata, a half-cat, half-human Titanspawn more familiar to the lands of the Amatsukami than our own tried to assassinate her by opening her old wounds. I gave chase, preventing it from doing so, and forced it free of its hiding place within the soulless shells of a pair of older Japanese women.

"It rose from their blood and raised their headless bodies as warriors against me, but it was for naught. Their reanimated forms were no match for dvergar-forged steel or Aesir speed and strength. The nekomata, however… That was surely a fierce and worthy foe for one at my level of power at the time. Fast and agile, with a deviousness that cannot be underestimated, it tried to lure me into its murderous claws by feinting an attack on Maia.

"The battle raged at speeds unfathomable to mortal eyes for near to ten minutes before I saw an opening and overcame its ability to regenerate from the wounds I etched into its damnable flesh. I hacked it to bits with a mighty axe, sundering it limb from limb until it could not regrow itself."

How's that for the opening to a tale?

The gods are drawn in. Like little kids in storytime, their eyes twinkle brightly as Haldor regales them with his tales of heroism, courage, loyalty endurance and well, he's expressing himself rather well. He's a true Aesir at this point and they continu to peer towards him.

Meanwhile, Thor is a proud poppa! A very proud poppa indeed as he just preens there next to his son.

Uller raises his arm as he peers towards the Thorson.

"The wrath of Haldor is mighty indeed! Tell us more! more!" he cries out his fist pumping in the air.

Haldor takes a moment, just a moment, to take a quick swig of his mead. Mmm… Mead, the Viking Maker. That accomplished, Haldor sets his mead horn back to the side while he regards the other Aesir seriously, a broad smile on his face. Somehow this seems a bit easier than he was expecting; the words are just flowing out as he pictures the biggest parts of the story.

"From there we retired to the home of Maia's mortal father, a spiritual warrior and accomplished musician in his own right, so that Maia could recuperate and I could prepare for the mission to come. The next morning, Amaterasu herself visited the Tsuchimikado homestead and charged us with the mission of finding and retaking the Monastery of the King of the Tengu, Sojobo. The tengu are another Titanspawn foe familiar to the Amatsukami, a mixture of man and crow gifted with the ability to fly and terrible speed. Sojobo and his followers remain loyal to Amaterasu and the Amatsukami, though Sojobo was at this time deposed by Taimatsu-Maru, a tengu of terrible power and malevolence.

"She also gave us Drake, off-spring of one of the Amatsukami's revered Shiba Inu and one of /OUR/ powerful Valkyrie Horses, to help us track down Sojobo and his sieged monastery. Amaterasu also gave me this ring to help me channel the power of the Dread Cold and overcome Taimatsu-Maru's henchtengu with greater ease. For hours Maia and I trekked up the side of Mount Fuji and through the woods, pursuing that swift little pup through the undergrowth and the rockiest of terrain before we came upon a great inferno surrounding Sojobo and a young tengu woman.

"Both were fighting at speeds such as I have never seen before or since, just barely at the fringes of my ability to track. The tengu woman swiftly departed, leaving us with Sojobo who regaled us with the mighty battles between himself and the new Tengu King Taimatsu-Maru that ended with Sojobo's deposition and exile from his own monastery upon Mount Kurama. Sojobo requested our help in clearing the monastery of his rival and the tengu loyal to Taimatsu Maru, offering us a ride upon his mighty dragon, Tatsu, for the great trip."

Thor leans in and chuckles softly under his breath.

"It was Uller to helped give his own divine ichor to fuel that ring of yours my son.." he whispers softly.

Uller has a knowing grin and seems proud of that fact as the Aesir are still enraptured as to what lead him to being trained by Sojobo himself! Sojobo is a feared and cunning warrior and a smith of relics, known even to the Aesir themselves. They all seem impressed.

Haldor asides to Thor, it is fortunately not a stage-whisper, "It would have been nice to know that ahead of time, Pop." The Viking clears his throat and smiles to Uller, he will have to thank him later.

"Our arrival at Mount Kurama was noticed and the tengu descended upon us almost immediately. Sojobo stayed with Tatsu to act as a diversion while Maia, Drake, and I charged ahead to the monastery proper. Narrowly dodging patrols and reinforcements trying to intercept us, we reached the great monastery and I managed to get us within its great walls with a little athletics and ingenuity. Once inside, we were swarmed by tengu trained by Sojobo, but loyal to Taimatsu-Maru.

"Unfortunately for them, the tengu were utterly unprepared for us. Cunning and dangerous warriors all, but they were led astray by Taimatsu-Maru's ego and charming words. Maia slay one with naught but a single prayer strip," Haldor emphasizes this by making a flicking motion with his wrist, inexplicably sending a playing card sailing through the air, "While I lay in wait for the perfect moment to strike with my swords. And then, in a flurry of motion, I surged forward in true Aesir fashion and carved the leader of the tengu guards within the monastery, his bleeding and shocked body toppling back toward the ground as I turned my blades to beheading a second tengu and running a third clean through, both one fell motion.

"In three seconds, no more, no less, I had slain three of Taimatsu-Maru's inner guards. Maia drew the remaining two guards in close, calling upon the spirits of their weapons to abandon them in their seconds of greatest need. In a flash I was upon them, swords traded for axes, and I carved both in twain with a single stroke, letting their bodies fall in long halves to the ground.

"Then and only then did Taimatsu-Maru, Shortest-Lived King of the Tengu Nation, show his face. With a rush of fire and a terrible proclamation that neither I nor Maia possessed the strength to defeat and depose him as he had defeated and deposed Sojobo. He offered us each a single, unopposed attack upon his body to defeat him. I think that may have been two strokes too many, Taimatsu-Maru's ego would surely have defeated him first if we had engaged him in a proper fight."

"It seems his hubris got the best of him!" Odin calls out this time his brows furrowed as he looks back towards the boasting Thorson. Boasting is part of the whole Aesir storytelling epic.

"Sojobo is one of the fiercest warriors of the Amatsukami! His tales are legendary. You are telling us that you fought the one who defeated him! And defeated that Taimatsu-Maru! It seems you are not just strong but cunning as well!"

It's the skanky waitress this time as she waggles her brows towards Haldor. Heroic Scions are hot afterall.

Again Maia really wants to punch something.

"It did indeed, Mighty Odin," Haldor inwardly explodes because that was so freaking awesome, "But I am certain I have not yet seen the last of Taimatsu-Maru."

The Viking blinks as the skanky shield maiden waitress pipes up at him. He tilts his head at her, regarding her carefully as if appraising her for something. With a shrug, Haldor makes his reply.

"Maia and I fought Taimatsu-Maru and we bested his challenge. He was strong enough to defeat one of the Amatsukami's greatest warriors and I, at the time, was not even a demigod. His true defeat will come in time, when he rears his head again…"

A devious smile spreads over Haldor's face as he trails off.

"Assuming he can reattach it to his shoulders after a pair of prayer strips and my axe removed it."

And with that boast,the Aesir cheer! There's a bit of mead spilled as people raise their glasses as Thor stands up.

"As you can see, my son has accomplished much already. He has the Amatsukami's respect to the point that one of their fiercest warriors and wisest sages is teaching him. Hopefully this will bring prosperity both to the Amatsukami and the Aesir.." he says with a sage nod before he lifts up his horn full of honey mead.

"To Haldor!" Thor cries out and everyone raises their glasses and drinks to him. Huzzah!

What? That's all? But he didn't get to tell the part about Kamui or getting thrown through alternate dimensions by the Fates or anything like that. Haldor feels very faintly disappointed, though that is quickly swallowed up by /HOLY CRAP/ /THE GODS ARE TOASTING HIM/.

Haldor lifts his horn of mead and chugs. Idly he wonders if this is what being in a frat is like.

It's totally what being in a fraternity is like. They like their drinking and the look on Haldor's face reveals a lot to Thor. It seems that his son wasn't done yet. He tries to hush the crowd once more as he snickers softly before wrapping an arm around Haldor, giving hima fatherly hug.

"My son isn't done yet! There is still much more to this tale!" he bellows, the crowd quieting once more.

"Well, you did ask what Sojobo's training has been like, Pop," replies Haldor. Wow. Fatherly hug. Haldor isn't quite sure what to make of this moment, though he is pretty sure that it is very quickly being filed away in his memory as something that will kill Badarus. It's hard to be envious of other people's fathers when his is being this awesome.

Well Thor is a proud father! A very proud one afterall. He looks back to his son and beams brightly, flashing a toothy grin as he nods.

"Well of course! We would like to know more.." he says firmly and resolutely. And so the rest of the Aesir eagerly listen.

"Training with Sojobo has been a long and very strange affair. His training is very much unlike any training I have ever heard of. It has been as much about training my mind and my soul as about refining what my body can do. For a long time though, I tried to be content with merely that, honing and refining what I already knew.

"But after I fought Kamui to save you and Yggdrasil from his… Vile purposes, I knew I would need more. Kamui is a very worthy foe, a brilliant strategist whose command of illusions rivals that of Loki, I found myself straining to beat him without doing undue damage to Yggdrasil. I will yet figure out how to undo all of the new connections between the Worlds that he's somehow forged and heal the World Tree."

Haldor pauses a moment, taking a long draw from his mead horn. The Viking takes that moment to reconsider his words. So much to tell, so much to explain, and likely not a whole lot of time left to tell it all in; Haldor has a sudden and new appreciation for poets.

"So I went to Sojobo to ask his council and request new training that I might better bring Kamui low. Sojobo has answered many questions for me and started me on a path toward learning a new fighting style, new techniques, that I hope will help me in defeating Kamui; my rival of my own creation. How could I have guessed how much power he would amass after I smote him so many, many months ago in Central Park?"

"The fates often have a hand in the creation of rivalries.." the voice of a young woman can be heard once more as she peers towards Haldor. she's dressed in long flowing robes, her face beautiful with her strong Nordic features as she raises her brows and peers back towards the assembled gods.

There's a lot of rabbling and mrring amongst the assembled Aesir now. Baldur hrmms for a few moments and raises his flask of mead while looking towards the demigod.

"THe World Tree is maintained by the Norns. Yet there is a new spirit there keeping watch over it. What is it? And do you think we can trust it?" he asks curiously.

Well that's interesting. Who the heck is this apparent female Ás in the midst of the men's club? Haldor arches a red brow at her before looking toward Baldur. The Viking clears his throat and looks at Baldur, holding his mead horn up in the air as well.

"The new spirit is," shit, he needs to pay more attention to what comes out of Maia's mouth when she's saying onmyouji things, "A spirit in the employ of Maia, Amaterasu's daughter, who is helping to keep Yggdrasil from breaking further in the aftermath of my battle with Kamui. I was overzealous and overconfident in the World Tree's ability to resist harm while I was trying to both defeat Kamui and prune back the strange new connective branches he forged."

Haldor smiles broadly at his uncle, momentarily taking a sip of his mead.

"I believe we can trust this spirit of the wood."

Rabble rabble. The gathered Aesir continue to discuss thing amongst themselves at this latest development. They are getting more aid from the Amatsukami. Surely this might not be good should Amaterasu return to power once more.

It's then that a familiar man with horns raises up. It's Loki, deciding on take on the appearance of how he's portrayed in Marvel Comics, cause come on, it's a pretty cool.

"You rely too much on this Maia of the Amatsukami. Amaterasu has always looked down upon us as uncouth barbarians and nowthat her daughter is helping Yggdrasil keep stability will only emphasize this point further!" he says quite angrily, trying to incite anger in the others as well.

"That is true! Amaterasu does look down upon us!" yet another person speaks up!

/LOKI/. Haldor reflexively clenches his free hand into a fist as he thinks the Trickster's name so loud his ears are ringing a little bit. The Viking narrows his eyes as he regards Loki, something feels… Wrong. Didn't Brynhildr say he was going to see Utgard-Loki?

"And what would you have me do, Loki? Leave Yggdrasil to break and me not to know how to fix it? What a fine state of affairs that would be."

Haldor narrows his eyes as he glares frigid death at the Liesmith. The Viking tightens his grip on his mead horn, standing his ground as he quickly scrambles for a coup d'grace on this situation.

"You know, every Pantheon I run into looks down on another Pantheon. And every Pantheon looks down on the Pantheons looking down on them. I feel like I'm stuck in some sort of childish M.C. Escher painting gone horribly, horrible awry. Looking down on one another and turning away perfectly good help from friends, allies, and loved ones just because they come from some other viewpoint is an exercise in futility. If you try living like that, you know what? The Titans are going to win.

"Would you like the Titans to win, Loki? Is that why you're questioning my allegiances?"

He is stil going to see Utgard-Loki who is completely different from regular Loki! So yes, things are just kind of behind schedule so to speak. Still, the Aesir wait for the demigod's response and there are quiet murmurs amongst the other gods. Haldor does have a point! Their eyes widen as they all look towards the Liesmith for a response.

He seems flustered. He did not think Haldor would have something smart to say! But considering he is the one who is supposed to cause Ragnarok, he pffts and just rolls his eyes dismissively.

"Then explain that to Amaterasu when she says how the mighty Aesir have relied on her daughter's aid to survive." Loki replies before easing back down once more.

Thor beams brightly at his son as he reaches over and ruffles Haldor's hair playfully. He may be weaker than his son now, but damnit, he's still a full fledged Aesir afterall.

"Well, thank you for your grand tales of adventure, my son. But I do believe that you have an appointment to keep in Jotunheim." he says matter of factly. "King of the Jotun, Utgard-Loki requests to see my son due to his growing fame and legend!" he boasts to the rest of the gathered Aesir. "Tyr and Baldur will accompany you to make sure that you will be safe.." he says in the end.

Haldor was going to say something else to Loki, but is cut off by his spikey hair getting ruffled. The Viking does his best not to flail even as his stately spikes are set all asplay, it'll take him forever to - Wait. What? Did his Fateful Aura just force his hair back into position? Is that even possible?

Apparently, his hair is fated to remain spikey! The Norns keep it that way for him. Sweet.

Still, two figures rise up from the gathered Aesir. One is of course incredibly handsome in a very masculine way. It's Baldur! Then there's a gruff man with a full beard, and that's Tyr.

"Cmon, m'boy. Time to bring you off to Jotunheim. Wouldn't want to get seduced by one of the shield maidens while you're away, now would ya? Unless you want to, then we can arrange that for ya.." Tyr replies teasingly.

Haldor knocks off the last of his mead as he reaches up to poke at his hair inquisitively. That's just not normal. Blinking, the Viking looks at Tyr and Baldur, lightly punching Thor on the shoulder.

"See you around, Pop. I, uh… Probably shouldn't go getting seduced, no."

"Owww! That hurts!"

Oh noes! Is Thor actually hurt? Naw. Not when he flashes a toothy grin back to his son. "Now go." he says with a sage nod.

The other two gods laugh at the mention of not wanting to be seduced. "You do have an old ball and chain already. So young.." Tyr replies with a hearty laugh as he gives haldor a bit of a winter coat. It's made of the most plush fur that can be ripped off another living being of course. "It's cold when we go to Jotunheim, and there will be a beast prepared there. We're going to use your father's chariot.." he continues as there's already two goats there, ratherhuge and imposing.

"Care to take your father's ride out for a spin?"

Haldor grins at Thor and follows along with Tyr and Baldur, glancing curiously at the winter coat. It's not like he actually needs it, what with being a Demigod of the Frost. Even so, Haldor accepts it and follows along with a broad smile on his face.

"Wor- I, mean, uh. Seriously?"

GAME: Matthew has disconnected. <Timeout>

"Well how else are we going to go to Jotunheim? Neither of us are excellent psychopomps, and Thor offered us the use of his goats." Baldur says matter of factly as he pats the Thorson gently on the shoulder.

Come on, what son doesn't want to take his father's ride out for a bit of a joyride?

Haldor would rather take his father's muscle car out for a joyride, but hey. Two goat-power is better than nothing, right? A playful smile spreads across his face as Haldor glances toward Tyr and Baldur, "Well then. What are we waiting for?"

Oh dear. It's as if Haldor is replaying the Phaeton legend at this point. Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr, are goat gods. Yes, they are gods! They snort a little as he approaches while Baldur and Tyr chuckle to themselves. It's their own little practical joke on the demigod really offering to let him control the two mighty goats. Still, they're surprised when he takes the helm and the goats actually respond to the force! He succeeded in starting up the two goat powered vehicle without going off into a wild joyride.

"Even Modi got dragged off the first time. Only Magni was able to control the goats right away.." Baldur says, seeming quite impressed as they start to head off towads Jotunheim.

And a woosh they go! The goats are powerful creatures, responding to Haldor's controls barely though really, they know they're supposed to go to Jotunheim already. A big mountain range can be seen after they leave the fortress of Asgard itself as they're in the sky going at godly speeds. A few hours later and the environment changes.

Beneath them, frozen fog becomes sleet, which transitions to the ever-present blizzard that continuously surrounds the opening to Jotunheim. Located deep within a fault in the glacial fjords along the western shoreline, the Utgard Gate rises up more than 50 feet tall, bordered on each side by a column of clear ice. What lies beyond is Jotunheim itself! And with that, the trio can definitely see rather large wurms, tatzelwurms of the arctic variety bellowing as they wriggle in the raging winds of the blizzard.

Haldor has heard the stories. He knows what to expect, but god damn it all if he doesn't have to fight to wrangle the goats. On the plus side, Haldor's wrangling will earn him yet more bonus points. The Viking growls to himself as he fights to maintain the goats' pace and heading without losing some limbs in the process. Relic cyborg limbs don't sound terribly fun to Haldor, but maybe that's just him not being one of those metalheads that wants an actual head of metal.

"Huh."

They easily pass by the raging tatzelwurms who try to snap at the goats as they pass. Still, the goats just snort and huff once more, the wurms soon leaving them alone.

Eventually, they pass through a few more miles of frosty plains before arriving at their goal. The fortress of Utgard rises up from the ice, its frosted walls towering above the surrounding terrain. The doors open considering Haldor is an invited guest and there's various thundering sounds as they land in a rather large hallway.

Fee fi fo fum! There are giants about afterall! They arrive with bright smiles as they look down at the trio down below.

"Utgard Loki is expecting you.." one of the retainers says, offering each a cup of a warm and inviting liquid.

Oh good. Warm and inviting mystery liquid in GIANT CUP. Just what Haldor always wanted after man-handling the reins to his father's sky chariot and Goat Gods. Haldor takes the cup quietly, stepping off of the chariot while trying to figure out how to pop all of the cricks and aches out of his body. That was some extreme chariot-driving after all.

And as Haldor sips on his GIANT CUP, he's brought over to yet another feasting table. It's definitely large, but there are Haldor sized stools and tables as well. That's where Baldur and Tyr sit along side him. Of course,the giant women start tugging Baldur away, cause come on, he's hunky and definitely swoon worthy. Obviously, the giantesses want snu-snu from the infamous Baldur.

Soon, there's a thud. The liquid contents of the cup starts to ripple, very much in a Jurassic Park like fashion. OMG! There's a giant T-Rex on the way, as it ripples once more with each step! Run! Run!

Well, there are no T-Rexes in Jotunheim, and instead is a rather large and old looking figure who arrives with a walking stick. He peers down towards the gathered Asgardians and hrmms for a few moments. Then one of his retainers steps out, "All Hail Utgard Loki!" and the other giants join in!
From afar, Jason lounges, "And I dunno. My brain is not working."
Long distance to Jason: Maia ponderponders.

Why in the world would Haldor run away from a T-Rex? He's super strong, super-fast, and super-durable, plus he now has Opening Gambit. More likely than not, he could fricking wrestle a T-Rex to the ground and beat it until it became his new war mount and Drake's new li'l brother. Yeah, that's right, "li'l brother".

Haldor sips his GIANT CUP while it vibrates and foretells the arrival of Utgard Loki. The Viking has remained standing for a reason and sets his GIANT CUP down on the table while he hails Utgard Loki. It may or may not involve a cheerful, Epic Charismatic smile and a courteous bow, this hailing that Haldor is doing. Fortunately he does not have Weather Husbandry or Blizzard Call yet; Haldor could actually hail Utgard Loki.

Snorthaha at the puns. Haldor is punny. Still, as he's hailed, the King of Jotunheim peers down towards the Thorson, his gaze serious as he takes his seat on his throne. Once he eases down do all the other giants do the same thing, along with Tyr as well.

"Haldor Thorson, I have heard of many of your exploits. I am intrigued by what you have done, and I am more concerned that you actually broke Yggdrasil herself. Thus, like your father before you, I would like to offer you a series of challenges, three of them all for you. If you succeed, your name will become great, there will be more kennings associated with you and we shall offer you a prize. Should you fail, then, well, you will be just like your father.." he says with a soft chuckle under his breath.

When everyone else sits, so too does Haldor. The Viking resolutely stares up at Utgard Loki, listening intently to the Lord High Giant's words. Haldor resists the urge to quirk an eyebrow at this, because there are really only two ways to understand Utgard Loki's final threat. Even Haldor knows that and, well, while he liked being a Hero, now might not be the best time to be a Hero.

"And what challenges might you have for me?"

The king of the Jotun smirks as he shrugs his shoulders while letting the doors of the palace open. There's a long field of just ice, with two rather large wagons outside. Each wagon is about fourty feet tall and at least twenty feet wide. They look like the old trail wagons of the wild west, except ya know, Jotuny.

"The first challenge is very simple." With that said, he points towards one of the scrawnier giants amongst the group. He's only at ten feet, looking like Scott if he were a Jotun. He's still big compared to the Aesir, but he's a runt as far as Jotun are concerned.

"All you have to do is throw the wagon farther than he can. Think you can do it?"

Haldor turns his head to peer at the Jotun and the ice field beyond. Instinctively, Haldor's eyebrow quirks. Slowly he turns to look back at Utgard Loki, eyebrow still slightly quirked at the stated mission. As amiably as he can manage, Haldor offers another Epic Charisma smile and a slight shrug.

"We'll never know if we keep sitting around, will we?"

It's the winning epic charisma smile that makes even Jotun women swoon. Somewhere, Maia is really wanting to beat up on something. but fortunately for her, she's in the middle of the contest against the Maiden at this point.

Still, there are two and only two wagons outside. As the guest, he goes second, for the runtiest of the runt giants heads out with cheers and jeers from the other Jotun around. He lifts up the wagon no problem, his body straining justa bit as his knees wobble. He humphs as his muscles strain. The wagon is heavy! But he throws it! And off it goes towards the horizon!

Haldor, in his usual Scion gear and some heavy furs that Tyr and Baldur hooked him up with as they left the Mead Hall of the Gods, waits patiently on the ice. Unlike some people, Haldor is utterly unfazed by the cold and looks like a total pimp out there with all that fur. All he really needs now is a giant fedora with, say, leopard print around the middle part.

When it's his turn, Haldor steps up to the remaining wagon. He claps his hands together as though he were Hans and Franz, about to *clap* PAHMP SOMEVAHN AHP, before grabbing onto the wagon's yoke. With a roar of exertion, Haldor grapples the wagon and attempts to whirl around and hurl it. For the first time in… Ever. The Viking is stymied by the improbably heavy wagon.

"Hrrngh?"

The wagon itself doesn't move! OMGWTFBBQ? It's just there, standing there as if it were somehow connected to the ground in some sort of way. But as he looks around, it's still a wagon. It's a wagon, right? How did the other guy move his so easily.. well at least he was able to move his anyway.

Utgard-Loki lets out a hearty laugh as he looks towards the Thorson. "What? Can you not lift your wagon? I mean our weakest Jotun could lift his. Does this mean that the Thorson everyone is talking about not as strong as he thinks he is?" Uhoh.

Haldor turns to look at Utgard Loki, one red eyebrow quirking on his slightly reddened face. Exertion does that to white guys. The Viking frowns and turns to look at the wagon, doing his level best to not snarl at it. After about three or four seconds, Haldor gives in to snarling at the wagon that is clearly somehow gimmicked.

Rocky wagon? Haldor resists the urge to rub his chin. Instead the Viking takes a few cleansing breaths as he kneels down on the ice, pressing the palms of his hands to the frigid ground. Slowly lightning starts to spark and crack off of Haldor's body as he takes his measure of the ice and the earth beneath it. As Haldor starts to rise again, lightning starts to coalesce around his left hand.

"Excuse me. I didn't get in my morning work-out today. Need to stretch."

With that Haldor stands up tall and straight, breathing slowly and purposefully as his left hand starts to curl into a fist. Haldor moves his right hand to grasp his left arm by the bracer, steadying it as the lightning continues to build in intensity and speed around Haldor's VIKING FIST. The Viking starts walking backward across the ice, moving toward Utgard Loki's castle in reverse, and stops a short distance away from the front door.

Once there, Haldor stops and steadies himself again. His breathing grows slower still, gaining a strangely rhythmic quality as Haldor focuses all of his power into his VIKING FIST. And then, as abruptly as it began, Haldor is gone from his standing position. The Viking's wake is evident upon the ice and he moves with terrible, shocking speed to build up even more power behind what is clearly intended to be a cataclysmic strike. Haldor, at the last moment, launches into the air for a short distance before he angles down toward the ground directly in front of the wagon.

VIKING FIST meets ground with a report like a bomb. Ice and dirt spray in all directions as Haldor plows VIKING FISTfirst into the ground, all but annihilating the ground immediately under and around the wagon in a tremendous crater. Haldor finally lands at its base, lightning arcing off of his body in all directions as the wagon hangs impossibly in the air over him. Slowly Haldor rights himself, reaching up to catch the wagon as it tumbles down into the crater toward him.

"Mmmhmm, that is it. You needed to stretch.." Utgard Loki replies, letting out a soft chuckle under his breath, thinking he has outsmarted the Thorson. It's then that he does something rather unexpected. He watches with interest the ice crackling, the elemental fury that the son of Thor can seemingly unleash in an already unforgiving land. It's then that it happens.

The VIKING FIST! It's Haldor's signature move which he shows off to the rest of the giants. The Jotun start murmuring amongst themselves at the power and fury that he can summon.

CRASH! The ice cracks and breaks amongst the ground. Now Haldor can see it. The shadow that was on the ground is not the shadow of a wagon. No, it's not. The shape is a bit more triangular. It's more mountain or perhaps plateau like. But all is revealed as the ice cracks and the crater is formed as the illusion fades.

What did Haldor send into the air? It's a plateau! A plateau of ice and rock that is hurtling back down! Fortunately his FOS is ridiculous and he can lift such a thing. Now it's just a matter of throwing it!

"Fate must really hate either me or important landmarks," grumbles Haldor as a /MOUNTAIN/ falls down onto his head. Even for a demigod as retardedly strong as Haldor who also possesses Making It Look Easy as a knack, catching a falling mountain of rock and ice is a kind of a big deal. The Viking staggers under the impact of the weight on his hands, head, and back.

Staggered, yes, but Haldor does not fall. Haldor carefully spreads his legs and shrugs the mountain about on his hands and back, slowly getting the weight balanced just so while his body gets itself into just the right position to support such tremendous mass. Only when he is content that he is in just the right position does Haldor roar a question to his challenger.

"Do I have to throw the mountain from down here or can I come out of the hole before I throw?"

The Jotun are… well, they are flabbergasted. jaws drop and eyes widen as they just stare at the Thorson. They had expected,if anything, that he would just throw the other cart in the end. They did not think he had this kind of power.

"I.. well.." and Utgard-Loki hrmms for a few moments, stroking his beard as he stares at Haldor for a few moments. "Well, you may get out of the crater…" as the rest of the Jotun continue to murmur. A few women have even swooned at the display of strength! Haldor, seducing giantesses through feats of strength since five minutes ago.

Yeah, Haldor has a tendency to do that to people. He's just glad that he can keep standing, Haldor suspects that being squished to death by a mountain would be a horrible way to go. At the response, Haldor works to slow his breathing again. Winds start to whip up, building in intensity as the mountain and Haldor both very slowly start to rise up from the hole in the ground.

Bobbing in mid-air, supported as much by the roaring winds that seem almost to coalesce beneath his very feet into a solid surface, Haldor stands at ground level once more. He keeps breathing slowly and deeply as he takes one step back. Impossibly the Viking braces the weight on air alone before he takes two steps forward. Perfectly timed to take advantage of all of that infinitessimal momentum, Haldor swings his arms and hurls the mountain from atop his head with both arms.

Freed of the tremendous weight, the winds immediately die down to barely a breeze as Haldor wavers in mid-air, just barely maintaining his balance. Haldor's not even looking to see how far he hurled that thing - maybe he's afraid of watching it fall short.

Haldor's muscles are being worked out like they have never been worked out before. Really, a mountain should squish him, but still, he is getting to show off in front of the greatest enemies of the Aesir! Who knows, he may have just made Utgard-Loki crap his pants as there are continual murmurs that he may even be stronger than.. gasp, Magni, which might lead to disastrous consequences.

Still, the mountain is thrown into the air. It doesn't hurl towards the horizon like the regular cart does and eventually it lands farther than the cart, but also on it as well. The miniature mountain was that big! Gasp! Then, Baldur and Tyr cheer him on! Huzzah!

To be honest, Haldor is surprised he didn't pinch his vegas nerve too hard and either crap himself or induce a heart attack. Hurling a giant god damned mountain across the quasi-barren Jotunheimr landscape is not something Haldor does with any regularity. Punch giant holes in the landscape with single tremendous blows of his fist? Yeah, he's done that before. But catching and hurling mountains is not Haldor's normal thing.

Quietly Haldor floats backward onto solid ground once more. The Viking accepts Baldur and Tyr's cheering, with a tired smile and a wave of his hand. Inwardly, Haldor is reeling from hurling that thing so damned far - or at all - and trying to recoup his strength and stamina. As a result, Haldor lopes back into Utgard Castle, doing his best to appear as hale and hearty as he was before.

Fortunately, there is a GIANT CUP with his name metaphorically all over it that he can drown his raging thirst with.

Drown his raging thirst he does with the Giant Cup! It's the same cup that his father once drank out of which lowered the oceans of Midgard when he took mighty gulps! Maybe it will be like father, like son!

There's a soft golf clap though from Utgard-Loki as he grins once more. "Well it seems you have passed that challenge. And for that, I must commend you for your valiant efforts even though you did things the.. hard way.." he says, a bit bitter in the end.

With his thirst slaked, Haldor *WHUMP*s his GIANT CUP down on the table and turns to face Utgard Loki. He smiles broadly and shrugs a little bit at the Jotun King's somewhat embittered remark. Trying to be as careful as he can with his words, Haldor responds.

"I've found the hard way is often the more rewarding way to do things. That sudden respite after great travails and effort; it's freeing and truly makes the task all the more satisfying to have accomplished."

Not to mention that they have damn good mead in the cup! It's like a magic cup that turns the ocean waters into honey mead. Mmmm.

Still, Utgard-Loki remains passive, his brows furrowing as he looks down towards the Thorson, hrmming once more. "One challenge you have successfully accomplished, but there are still two more. Your next task will take you underneath the mountain, though really, you made an easy path considering you made the crater. Follow the tunnels. There is a hidden treasure there, and I would like you to retrieve it for me.."
Long distance to Haldor: Maia dipsmooch.

"And I will know this hidden treasure when I see it?"

Haldor stands up tall again, breathing regularly now that he's regained some composure. The Viking waits patiently, eyes expectantly considering Utgard Loki's expression and posture as much as he carefully regards his own. Quietly the Viking waits for any caveats or assurances that he's sure will run contrary to his actual experience.

"It is the most precious thing there. The path is like a maze, long and treacherous, and there are many forks in the road. Should you choose one fork, the other path will be lost to you, so choose wisely.."

And that's Utgard Loki once more as he chuckles once more, a predatory grin curling onto his lips.

Suddenly Haldor wishes he were a Psychopomp. Or, say, a Supernal Hunter. The Viking smiles back at Utgard Loki, even though he is inwardly frowning at this new challenge. Quietly Haldor nods and offers another gracious bow to Utgard Loki before he strikes forth into the tunnels in his terrible crater of doom.

Maybe Haldor can cheer himself up by thinking the Indiana Jones theme.

Really? Indiana Jones theme? Considering the dungeon theme, perhaps the Zelda theme would be more appropriate, no?

As Haldor enters the dark depths of the cavern slash crater of his own making, torches within the tunnels flicker on. As the ST resist the urge for a sprite to come out and go "HEY!", he can see that the tunnels are reasonably well lit. This was planned ahead of time, but for what purpose? Everything is damp as he heads in, and his own epic perception allows him to here a trickling noise of water in the passageway to the left. To the right is the sound of a roar, a monstrous one. Which way to go?

Haldor stands at the crossroads and looks back and forth. The Viking scratches his chin as he considers the possibilities. If he's reading Utgard Loki right, then the Jotun King is likely to try to confound him by, perhaps, inverting directions. After all, tricksters are tricky bastards and one's own senses cannot fully be trusted.

So, perhaps, the simplest thing to do is head toward what seems like danger. Of course, Utgard Loki could have foreseen such a thing and disguised danger as another danger. Then Haldor would run into danger expecting safety because he did not expect there to be any danger at all.

Okay. Haldor's head hurts. The Viking does the only thing he can do. With a soft breath, Haldor charges off to the right. MONSTER HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Oh dears. He did not follow Beyonce's advice "to the left, to the left". Instead, Haldor goes to the right where the monster sounds continue to be heard. He finds himself getting deeper as walls are soon a mixture of granite, marble and clay. He finds himself in a rather cavernous room, with stalagmites and stalagtites almost as big as he!

The cavern itself is at least the size of a football field as echoes of trickling water can still be heard. Then, off in the distance, the monstrous roar can be heard once more.

Haldor attempted to suss out the appropriate direction by means of The Princess Bride. How in the world could he have known that Beyonce was singing him directions when Maia is the Beyonce fan of the apartment? The Viking walks along at a casual rate, looking around slowly.

And then something roars at him again. Haldor, vaguely annoyed, */ROARS/* right back at whatever it is. The Viking snorts and starts strolling along some more, winding absently through the stalactites and stalagmites. Silly cave tee- Oh crap, he's in a giant creature's mouth isn't he?

No. There is no drool that is dripping down onto Haldor's head. So no, he isn't gone into the mouth of a Sarlaac. He's actually in a cave. There's yet another roar, this time from the left, from the left. All the monster sounds are coming from the left.

And of course to the right, there's.. a whimpering sound?

Nnngh. Damnation. There is whimpering from the right? Haldor frowns as he looks left and right, rubbing the back of his neck. What if someone is in trouble and that's why they're whimpering? On the other hand, this is probably a trap. Silently the Viking tries to decide.

… PROCESSING… PROCESSING…

Okay. Haldor's brain decides to go left again. Not because of Beyonce, but because he did decide that innoccuous or non-threatening sounds were likely to be less dangerous in the long run than safe sounds. Utgard Loki is, after all, a master trickster. HE COULD BE PLAYING THIS OUT IN HALDOR'S OWN MIND.

Oh goodness. This time he follows Beyonce's advice. As he proceeds into the left path, there's a boulder that moves into the way. Utgard Loki was not joking at all. His choices really do matter in this case, and so he follows the path. This time, he can hear the monstrous roars that are up ahead.Again, there's another path.

Off to the right, he can hear the sound of a woman screaming. Up ahead, his epic perception allows him to see a treasure chest with some tentacles coming out. It's a chimera of sorts going forward. But there's a screaming woman to the side. What will he do now?

Haldor frowns. This thing is getting even more nefarious at manipulating him. Quietly he settles down onto the ground and breathes slowly, the Viking apparently deciding that now is a good time for meditation. Or, maybe, he's trying to pierce the veil of illusion to try to figure out what's real and what's going to eat him.

Y'never really know with Haldor.

There are no illusions in place. Alas, there is a woman screaming. And there is the treasure chest up ahead by the chimerical beast. Haldor has to choose. Save the woman or fulfill Utgard Loki's request. Save what is precious inside the cave.

"Oh. Good. I've been going the wrong way the whole time. Except I probably would have walked into a room and fallen into a giant, inescapable pit of water if I took that first left."

Haldor shrugs as he stands up, looking toward the treasure chest. What's most precious in here? An excellent question, as questions of such a qualitative nature go. The Viking shrugs at the chimera, pointing a finger at it.

"I'll be back for your ugly ass if I need to be, but I got a damsel in distress that needs undistressing first."

Promptly, Haldor charges to the right. Woman in danger trumps treasure chest and epic mythic creature battle any day.

And run he does! He heads towards the voice of the woman screaming! A boulder blocks off the path of the other way towards the monster, cutting off any way of going for the treasure box. Still he heads towards the way and can soon see a creature an the woman. She's screaming. She's beautiful, Nordic, and tall and statuesque. Her clothes have been ripped, and there's..

Oh goodness! It's an aptrganger! And he's trying to kill her!

"Hey, Johanssen. Wake up, buddy. You want some payback on an Aptrganger?"

Haldor skids across the cavern floor on a sheet of ice as he draws his drumsticks from his pockets. The Viking smiles broadly as Johanssen lets out a somewhat mortifying war whoop before golden armor starts forming over Haldor's body. Scarcely waiting, Haldor launches toward the aptrganger with one and only one intent: Knock it clean off its feet.

Haldor and Johanssen sail past the Nordic woman. Both bemoan the fact that they now have a mouthful of Aptrganger as they knock it off of its feet and keep going. Until they all hit the wall that is. The Aptrganger explodes in a frigid, bloody spray while Haldor and Johanssen stagger backward, the golden armor resonating with the force of the impact.

One Viking hand rises to clutch their helmet/head, Haldor blinking his icy blue eyes a few times as he peers at the woman. He steps toward her quickly, though cautiously, and offers her a hand.

"You are the treasure, right?"

The aptrganger goes splat really! Cause well, Haldor and Johanssen working together is just that badass. The woman however, lets out a shriek as she soon is coveredin dead go, but that's a good thing for her nipples are now quite perky. She has almost ice princess-ish features as she flutters her eyelashes towards Haldor as she takes his hand, her fingers silky soft and delicate.

"I am Utgard Loki's daughter.." she says softly with a warm smile. "I did not expect such a handsome As to be my rescuer.." she says softly.

Somewhere, Maia's kicking something.

Haldor feels like Maia may have just kicked him in the soul. The Viking helps Utgard Loki's daughter to her feet, still bearing Johanssen as armor rather than a shield. Quietly Haldor coughs at the response, rubbing the back of his helmet with one hand.

"I, uh. You're welcome? So is there any special way of getting out of here now or do we need to go hiking through the slime again?"

"There is only one way out, and that is the way in.." she says softly, hooking her arms around his. She ooohs, and gropes at his biceps, giggling impishly the entire time. "I am glad my father chose you.." she whispers.

"Ch-chose me?"

Oh crap. Marriage ritual. How did this happen? What is he going to say to Maia?

Oh crap. What is Maia going to do to him? The horror… The infinite horror.

Haldor makes a thoroughly strange expression under his helmet as he starts leading the way back toward where he came from. Good lord, Haldor has never wished so hard that he weren't so damned gallant as he is wishing right now. Maybe… Maybe Maia won't be upset. Maybe she'll understand.

"To save me of course.." she whispers softly, waggling her brows as she lets her fingers run over his biceps. She giggles impishly as she rests her head on his shoulder as she starts leading him the way out.

"And Maia will totally be upset. How will she understand?

"Oh thank you, dear sweet Frigg," hisses Haldor under his breath. It's not a marriage ritual. Haldor was afraid Kamui would run rampant because Maia would end him first. The Viking promptly notices that Utgard Loki's unnamed daughter is getting very chummy with his arm. Quietly he quirks an eyebrow and looks off to the side, as if he could actually see Johanssen's spirit.

"You're loving this, aren't you?"

"I imagine Maia's wanting to kick puppies and kill things. Poor Drake.." Johanssen quips as he lets out a hearty laugh as he appears on the shoulder of Haldor. "You know, he's a taken man.."

With that, the young woman gasps, her eyes widen just a bit. "Yes! He is! By me!" she chirps merrily.

"You and Maia would get along well, I think. Maybe I should introduce you two."

Haldor sighs and rolls his eyes. This is just getting to be silly. Even so, Haldor allows himself to be lead along by Utgard Loki's daughter. Surely she knows the way out.

"Who is Maia?" she asks curiously, squeezing Haldor's arm tightly as she continues to lead him out of the cavern. And soon enough they're out!

"Maia is the woman I love. I'm sure she can figure out a way for you to be together with Johanssen. You certainly seem to like his armored bicep there."

Oh my. Sassy Haldor is sassy. The Viking strolls along casually, waving idly in Utgard Loki's direction while moves with the Jotun King's daughter. Huh. She's kinda tiny, isn't she?

Who knows? Maybe she can change sie. Still, when she finds out that Maia is the woman he loves, she awws and giggles softly, giving him a fond and squeezy hug. "I knew you hada woman. Part of the test was to see if you would trade her in so to speak.." she admits ruefully, grinning the entire time as they finally arrive in front of Utgard Loki once more.

He grins as he looks down upon Haldor. "It seems you found my most precious treasure.."

"I'm glad I could be of service. An Aptrganger was trying to, I don't know, eat her or something horrible."

Haldor pauses, looks at Utgard Loki's daughter, then looks back at Utgard Loki.

"I'm, uh, sorry about the undead goo. I didn't expect it to explode quite so quickly."

"It's quite all right. I'm used to goo.." she replies with a hearty laugh, giggling impishly as she wrinkles her nose and smiles warmly. "Tell Maia that she should treasure and cherish you, or else she will have competition.." she warns before looking up towards her father for the final challenge.

"And so you have successfully completed two challenges. The third will be you preparing a feast for us. I have taken a liking to that mortal show.. Iron Chef, and so you will battle one of our very own cooks in creating a meal for myself, a few other Jotun, and a surprise guest.." he says with a bright smile! Oh snap! Iron Chef Aesir!

Haldor pales at the final challenge. The Viking visibly pales and Johanssen doesn't help as he contorts down into his shield shape. Promptly the spirit chimes in, "You might want to change events, your majesty. The kid can't cook worth a damn."

"Damn it, Johanssen."

Utgard Loki laughs heartily as he leans in and chuckles softly as he peers down towards Haldor. "I know.." he says, waggling his brows before he lets out a bellow of a laugh as the feasting hall suddenly changes into a kitchen stadium of sorts. There are already gathered several culinary masters, even the original Iron Chef Japanese! Well, all three anyway. There is Chairman Koga, whom is reprising his role and of course, there's a panel, a mix of Alton Brown, who is actually a Scion of one of the Aesir! Gasp!

Eventually, another red haired Jotun rises up from the stadium, dressed properly with the icy blue color of the Jotuns. It's Iron Chef Jotun! That is his opponent it seems.

"So, are you ready to see what the secret ingredient is? You will have two hours to prepare the meal.." What? Isn't it just one hour?

Haldor looks around. Man. Illusions is actually useful, if disorienting. The Viking sighs a bit and shrugs, "Sure. Let's get it on. No, wait. That's Judge Mills Lane." While Orion ponders the Iron Chef fight theme, he bows respectfully to Iron Chef Japan and Iron Chef Jotun. No sense in not being polite.

With the pomp and circumstance of all Iron Chef battles, Haldor is led towards the center of kitchen stadium. It's all prepared and it seems that Baldur and Tyr will be the sous chefs on his side while a raging fire beast and an ice beast are the sou chefs for Iron Chef Jotun! It's an interesting setup, especially considering that Haldor's kitchen is still as large as the side of the giants, which will definitely make things interesting.

With his parallel attention, he can notice the judges already. There's Utgard Loki, sitting in the head seat as he chats idly with Alton Brown amicably even though their size difference is quite hilarious. There's a fancy schmancy food critic whom is also a Scion of the Aesir. How interesting! And then the third seat is well..Maia! Gasp! She's definitely the surprise as she watches Haldor with a bright smile, wriggling her fingers his way to see if he notices.

It's then that the dramatic music happens as Chairman Koga steps forward. "Reveal the secret ingredient!"

With that, there is loud thunderous booms from trumpets and horns as the veil is lifted up. "Today's secret ingredient is!…"

NEMEAN BEASTS!

Cages aren't revealed. Instead a deep pit is revealed with a variety of Nemean creatures wandering around inside. They're still alive! Holy crap! There's a couple of Hogzillas, Nemean Cattle, and of course, the most interesting one, the Nemean Chicken, Faljar, herald of Ragnarok in the nine worlds!
<OOC> Maia says, "Now you understand? :)"

Oh. Nemean Beasts. Well that shouldn't be too har- WWWWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT! Just one second there.

Haldor's eyes widen in shock and he jerks his head backward as he stares into the pit. For a second he feels as though the pit is looking back into him. The Viking works his jaw a moment or two before looking toward his sous chefs.

Surely Haldor has actually lost his mind this time. The Viking shrugs a little bit before Shadow Stepping to Tyr and Baldur. As he emerges from their temporarily conjoined shadows he idly inquires, "So I take it the extra time is for killing and butchering these things?"

"That would make sense for the extra hour, I would imagine.." Tyr replies, letting out a soft chuckle under his breath.

"We read the rules, and the slaying of the beasts is just for the chef at hand. We can only help butcher the carcasses.." Baldur replies,snickering softly as he seems rather amused with this challenge. "Oh, and did you notice the judges?"

"I know she's there. What ingredients do we have? How's a course a Pantheon sound to you? … And do we have any Alaska?"

Haldor is going to make Maia proud, even if it mangles him for twenty seconds. The Viking glances over his shoulder a couple of times, smiling brightly at Maia, before looking back to his wingmen - I mean sous chefs - for help.

Maia waves and wriggles her fingers in Haldor's direction once more. SHe giggles softly, chuckling softly, finding the whole thing terribly amusing the entire time. She wrinkles her nose and starts taking some notes before speaking with Alton Brown. She's trying to get his autograph it seems!

Now back to the action! "We have pretty anything and everything in the freezer, fridge including gourmet items such as foie gras, offals and other things like that.." Baldur replies, already going through a variety of ingredients as he starts chopping vegetables just to helpout.

"And what doyou mean any Alaska?" Tyr asks looking rather confused.

"… Well, I figure we can bake some Alaska over everything else."

Oh, poor, poor Haldor. The Viking makes a face at the mention of foie gras and offals. He shakes his head for a moment or two while drawing his drumsticks. Now is the time for obscene-o speed.

"Look. Just get the fixings for barbeque pork, teriyaki glaze, start steaming some rice and vegetables, set up for breading and frying, and get some tomato sauce and Parmesan ready. I got three dishes in my head already, we can figure out the game plan for the other courses as we go. Trust me on this, okay?"

Haldor promptly steps into the shadows again, promptly dropping from the air above the Nemean Pit. Somewhere along the way his drumsticks have changed to labrys and Haldor has put on his game face. Cuisine is serious business, he'll have you know.

"Baked Alaska! Oh, you know that's just ice cream that's baked, right?" Baldur says matter of factly, chuckling the entire time as he just shakes his head as he nods. "Yes chef, that's what we'll start doing then."

With that said, Tyr also gets ready. The two Aesir are good at chopping things, though the teriyaki glaze is a bit of a foreign concept to them.These are hearty men. They know barbeque, and they know how to steam things and setting up trays for flour is good, but teriyaki?

And suddenly, there's the sound of several beasts roaring. Iron Chef Jotun has already jumped into the pit and is going for one of the Hogzillas, chasing it around with a giant axe! Choppy choppy! Wild boar meat is tastier than commercial pork afterall, if a bit gamey.

"Baked ice cream? That's so insane it might work."

Baldur is left with that nugget of wisdom from Haldor as the Viking vanishes into the darkness. Promptly Haldor descends upon the giant Nemean chicken, axes swinging. If there is one thing Haldor is exceptionally good at, it is killing things… With blades.

"Here chicky, chicky, chicky. I just want to have you for dinner."

Faljar is twenty feet tall. It's as big as a house and just peers back, cocking hishead to the side as he peers back down towards Haldor. There's a loud shriek as it starts running, each step causing the ground to rumble as he heads straight towards the Thorson. To him, Haldor looks like a nummy treat afterall. It seems this whole feeling of wanting to have the other for dinner is mutual!

Okay. Falling on Faljar is harder than it sounded to Haldor. This is duly noted for all future attempts to kill and eat giant poultry. Haldor charges toward Faljar, roaring murder as frigid air starts to stream off of Haldor's body and his axes alike.

The Viking launches upward either with his pre-activated Wind's Freedom or Holy Bound, who really knows or cares which? In midair he whips himself into a freezing human tornado of axes as he attempts to carve his way clean through Faljar. Color Haldor ambitious.

SLIIIIIIICE! The whirling freezing human tornado of axes carves through the Nemean Chicken, Fjalar like a hot knife through butter. THere's at least one wing off already as it falls to the side, blood spurting out as the creature screeches and roars in pain. It looks bloody as feathers are everywhere from it's struggles. It looks angry. Haldor pissed it off! But at least there's fifteen foot wing to the side which is ready to be cooked.

And at that point, Haldor's parallel attention will notice that Iron Chef Jotun, having succesfully just slayed a Hogzilla is trying to go for the wing! He wanted to reapin on Haldor's hard work! Oh noes!

And at that same time, a giant beak tries to come crashing down on the Thorson! It is chaotic in kitchen stadium!

Haldor frowns as he notices Iron Chef Jotun running toward his food. Oh wait, hold on, GIANT BEAK IS INCOMING! The Viking side-steps Fjalar's beak, the ground beneath the giant fowl's beak shattering into a spider's web of cracks and micro-craters. With a roar, Haldor reaches up and out to grab Fjalar by the beak.

Less than a moment later, Haldor moves forward and tries swinging the bird at Iron Chef Jotun. "I NEED THE DAMN CHICKEN, FRIEND JOTUN!"

It's a miss! Fjalar is bodyslammed and lets out an annoyed and angry squawk as he falls onto the gound. While it misses the Iron Chef Jotun, it does cover the flailing arm and eventually finishes off the Nemean chicken! Now it's time to pluck the feathers and make the carcass more presentable. How will Fjalar be cooked?

But really, the question is, what happens now that Fjalar is dead. Is Ragnarok averted?

The Viking snorts cold breath at Iron Chef Jotun as he picks up Fjalar with one arm, the other arm employed in picking up the fowl's giant wing. Haldor /BOUNDS/ out of the Nemean Pit with Fjalar and walks rather casually toward his side of Kitchen Stadium, he really doesn't care if he's averted Ragnarok or not. Dinner needs cooking and this giant bird is needed for at least two dishes, probably three.

TIME TO CLEAN THE CARCASS!

"So what are we making with that, Chef?" Tyr is positively beaming. Surely this has great ramifications. Unless it's one of those beasts that suddenly comes backto life as long as none of the bones are broken. Who knows?Or maybe there are more Fjalars? It's really wierd, but still, there is a battle at hand! A Chef battle!

Baldur in the meantime is continuing to prep the vegetables and the sauces. Meanwhile, Utgard Loki's daughter lets out a swoony sigh from the stands. Is it aimed at Haldor or Baldur though?

"Chicken Teriyaki and Chicken Parmesan at the very least… Hm. There's a Yankee Pantheon right? Buffalo Wings."

Haldor points toward Baldur, "BUFFALO SAUCE! WE NEED BUFFALO SAUCE!" The Viking looks back to Tyr, "Breast meat for chicken parm, cut it, filet it, batter it, and fry it. We'll put sauce and parm on the top before we pop it in the oven to bake." All the while, Haldor is busily plucking and stripping the carcass.

"Yes chef!" and that comes from Baldur who starts prepping up a Buffalo sauce. "How spicy?" he calls out. These are ice giants afterall. Should they try to melt them with truly a hot concoction or should it be on the milder side?

Still, Tyr is prepping things, getting the ovens preheated as he nods at Haldor's orders. "Got it!" he says with a hearty reply, waiting for the carcass to be stripped of feathers.

"Medium, Baldur. We can make some atomic grade for ourselves."

Haldor, promptly, sets to super-speed plucking and cleaning. This should not take too long at Haldor's ridiculous speed, right?

It's only a chicken the size of a house. He's ridiculously fast, but it still takes at least thirty minutes to do the whole thing. Imagine how long it would've taken if he didn't have the speed. With the carcass free of feathers, Tyr gets a chopping, letting out loud yells as he likes to make a show. Maia giggles, still watching as she chats amicably with Utgard Loki in the judge's section.

Still, there are a variety of other Nemean beasts wandering the pits below. What else is on the menu. There are six pantheons which are considered to be the most powerful and influential. Then three more that are getting to that status. The others which are losing influence or still relatively young. Just how many dishes is Haldor planning?

Haldor pauses to consider things as he finishes stripping Fjalar, Chicken of Destiny, of his feathers. This will do nicely for chicken parmesan, Buffalo chicken, and chicken teryaki. If he needs to, he can probably make wonton soup with chicken-stuffed wontons… Actually that's a great idea!

"Tyr, we need balls of the left-over meat. We're making chicken wonton soup. Also any left over breast filets are to be set aside for the chicken teryaki, I'll make it if you and Baldur don't know the recipe. I'll need broccoli, rice, and some kind of sweet and savory glaze for it in addition to the chicken."

The Viking promptly storms the Nemean Pit again. If he's going to make barbeque pulled pork sammiches (for the Yankees) and roast pork (for the Aesir), then he's going to need a Hogzilla. What was he thinking for the Dodekatheon or the Loa? Is there even time to get at the cattle if he needs to think fast? Maybe he can pass the barbeque pulled pork sammiches off for the Loa if he adds rum (mmm, rum) to the barbeque sauce. Then he'll just need a heiffer to make hamburgers for the Yankees and maybe some beef stew for the Dodekatheon?

Haldor is thinking! The only real challenge in the pit is well the Nemean Chicken which he easily took care of. He took care of a Hogzilla back when he was still just a teeny tiny little Scion hero, and this should be no different. It's quite easy this time, especially since the Nemean cattle is justmoo-ing and grazing and chewing on cud. The Hogzilla however is running around squeaking and oinking, just causinga terror!

And that's when Haldor hears a voice in his head. It's very familiar. It's Maia!

«Hey handsome! I'd cheer for you, but I have to remain impartial cause I'm a judge and all. You doing okay?»

Haldor, not having Telepathy, cannot really answer. Of course, he does his best to shoot Maia a broad smile as he chases after Hogzilla. The Viking's drumsticks are drawn again, transforming into labrys as he draws them, ready for a, ah, hatchet job.

"SUUUUUUUUUU-OUUUUUUUUUUUUIIIIIIIIIII! HERE PIGGY, PIGGY, PIGGY! SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-OOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUI!"

A Hogzilla turns toward Haldor, decides that he looks like a good snack, and charges. Haldor keeps charging toward it, eventually leaping into the enormous beast's mouth. For several seconds, nothing seems to happen and a pall briefly crosses the crowd. Quite abruptly, Haldor explodes out of the Hog's eye socket, dripping grey and white matter… And possibly some eye jelly.

The Viking frowns slightly, turning up his personal field of cold and freezing everything until it shatters off of his body. Haldor ruffles his own hair and promptly sets about butchering the Hogzilla in the pit. Axes fly, blood stains the walls and floor, and every few moments Hogzilla meat flies out of the pit and toward Tyr and Baldur.

MAY THE PORK BE TASTY!

The crowd gasps when Haldor dives into the Hogzilla's mouth. Haldor is tastymeats! Maia knows he's tasty from licking him. But fortunately others do not know that! Still, there's deadsilence for a few moments.

And then suddenly there's loud cheers as he bursts forth from the eyesocket of the Hogzilla itself! This was expected and he butchers the beast with style as slab after slab of pork is tosssed up onto onto the stage so that the sous chefs, Baldur and Tyr can continue with the cooking!

Of course Haldor hears Maia's voice again.

«I'm so glad you're okay!» Her tone being rather chirpy as she giggles softly and points toHaldor as she looks up towards Utgard Loki. "That's my boyfriend.."

Haldor grins at Maia, hacking off a great big piece of thigh. The Viking tosses that up and out of the pit before he slides his drumsticks back into his pockets once more. Promptly, Haldor picks up the rest of the boar and launches out of the pit, setting it down beside Fjalar… Just in case.

"Okay. Where are we at? How much time do we have?"

"55 minutes remaining." It's the soothing and feminine computerized voice that playson Iron Chef. It seems Utgard Loki went to full lengths to recreate the Iron Chef experience.

Baldur is busy working on the various chickens.There's a swoony daughter of Utgard Loki staring at him, just sighing contentedly as he works on the chopping, putting in bits of Fjalhar for the teriyaki style chicken.

Meanwhile,Tyr is busily working away, cutting and chopping and dicing. He is ginsu-tastic! He's working up a sweat as he looks towards Haldor. "Almost done chopping everything, Haldor!" he beams brightly, seeming tohave fun at this."

Huh. Killing and butchering Nemeans took longer than Haldor really expected it to take; he'll have to keep that in mind for the future. The Viking, in the meantime, blurs into action. So much to do and so little time left to do it in, fortunately Haldor believes in short term cooking.

First order of business is pretty obvious, getting the chicken parm breaded and cooking. Haldor stands still in front of the chicken and prepared breading station, arms blurring as he breads chicken and sets it into skillets for cooking as fast as he can. If only he had Fire boons, you can bet that chicken'd be cooking triple fast with Haldor putting on a tremendous pyrotechnics display.

Maybe he should have freed Jason ahead of time. The Scion of Aphrodite could be cooking about a dozen things at once just by bolstering flames everywhere. No doubt that would be a terrific sight to see.

But doesn't Haldor have a unique ability to make food spontaneously combust? Maia watches with interest, giggling impishly as she continues to amicably chat away with the king of the giants as Alton Brown heads up towards them.

"No, there won't be any bias from me." she chirps merrily, beaming the entire time, filling her Benefit of the Doubt throughout the whole stadium. Of course she'll be biased,it's her one true love cooking food for her!

Meanwhile, ther teriyaki is the first to be finished, the sauce being glazed over a plate for a nice presentation by Baldur. He looks towards Haldor, his brows furrowing. "What else needs to be done next?" They are taking orders from the head chef afterall.

"More BBQ sauce. We don't have time for beef stew or hamburgers. We're going, ah-heh, hog wild on Hogzilla's left overs!"

Haldor continues going as fast he can, zipping from the chicken parm toward the Buffalo sauce so he can set about smothering the chicken in said sauce. From the smothering, it goes right onto a series of giant oven pans, ready for roasting in the oven. The Viking doesn't stop, he cannot stop, charging toward Hogzilla's carcass to start pulling pork for the sammiches. SAMMICHES!

SAMMYS! Yay! Maia watches with interest as they look at the commentary. "Yes Alton, nhe's very punny. He could totally write for your show!" she chirps merrily, letting out another hearty laugh!

Still, Baldur blinks at the chicken wings go into the oven. "Not frying them?" he asks curiously. He cants his head to the side and puts stuff to the side as he looks at the Nemean cattle.

"Haldor, have any ideas for dessert? I can pasteurize milk from the cows and we can make Nemean flan or something.." he offers.

Haldor looks at Baldur, "Why fry when we can speed bake and resauce?" The Viking keeps moving, flipping chicken parm over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over until everything is frying on the other side. Zipping past Baldur again to grab some giant racks of Hogzilla ribs, the Viking muses at the second question for a few moments.

"Bacon. Cut some bacon from the Hog, get it cooking, and mix bacon bits and grease into ice cream mix. Do we have what you need to make ice cream up here or do I really have to go down there and milk a Nemean cow?"

RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN! So far nothing has spontaneously combusted on Haldor… But the battle is still young.

"We have cream. I'll just handle that. But bacon ice cream!" Gasp! The idea is genius! Baldur beams brightly, and he almost literally does as he tells Tyr who goes about chopping up and frying some bacon.

Mmmm. Bacon. Maia watches with clear interest, wrinkling her nose as she can't help but let out another soft chuckle under her breath, definitely amused by the cuteness that is her beau going about cooking for everyone. Time flies when you're cooking a meal for gods and demigods! And so, with the bacon cooked and ice cream made, the female announcer can be heard.

"Fifteen minutes left…"

Haldor soaks Hogzilla ribs in one enormous pan of BBQ sauce while his hand-shredded Hogzilla meat soaks up yet more BBQ sauce in another enormous pan. The Viking is a flurry of motion, tossing and cleaving sandwich rolls in twain, halves neatly falling into baskets on either side of him. All the while, Haldor is watching the clock with nerves of OHGODWHYISTIMEMOVINGSODAMNEDFAST?!

Moments later, Haldor flicks his wrist and embeds the cutting knife into a cutting board before he zips across the kitchen to take out his pans of chicken parmesan and Buffalo chicken for plating. Fortunately these ovens are capable of cooking in a jiffy, otherwise the Viking would no doubt be in serious trouble. Chicken parmesan goes down on plates, marinara sauce ladled carefully (if swiftly) upon each cutlet before Parmesan is sprinkled atop it to melt and mingle. Some mint and parsely is set down on either side at jaunty angles to set off the dish before Haldor zips toward setting down a mess of Buffalo chicken on other plates, slathering them in yet more Buffalo sauce, delicious Buffalo sauce.

Apparently, Haldor has had French training. Almost all French foods have plenty of sauce and that is one thing that is a common theme amongst the ingredients. Meanwhile, his opponent has gone in a different route all together, serving up some Nemean steak tartare, Nemean fish sashimi, doing a few raw preparations. How will it compare to Haldor's saucey spicy goodness? Whose cuisine will reign supreme?

Well, it is still not decided as there's still a good bit of time made. Baldur brings out the bacon ice cream, having bacon bits in the sweet cream before he tastes it. He blinks a few times. It's good! It's yummy, even though it's probably heart attack inducing and he goes to help setup anice little preparation. Bacon ice cream sundaes. Nom

Haldor has no formal culinary training. Rather he is American and in America, sauce reigns supreme as a food condiment. The Viking zips back to his pork, grabbing the racks of ribs from the BBQ sauce and slinging them into a waiting oven. You can tell it was waiting because there are flames pouring out of the oven's mouth.

From there, Haldor zips back around to gather his rolls and more plates. He skids into place, spinning plates out onto the counter and then flicking rolls down onto the waiting plates. A moment later, he starts grabbing great handfuls of pulled pork from the BBQ sauce and setting it down on the waiting roll halves. Within seconds he is sprinting past with a sack of roll tops and capping the BBQ pulled pork sammiches.

"TYR! CHICKEN SOUP! WE NEED CHICKEN SOUP! BALDUR, I NEED SOME LIGHTWEIGHT DOUGH!"

Time to make the wonton soup.

Chicken noodle soup. Chicken noodle soup, with a soda on the side!

Yung Joc and Weezy would like that, considerig it's their song. But Tyr does as asked, zipping around as he already made some broth earlier. "Just need the chicken!" he calls back, stirring a big pot before he looks towards Haldor and Baldur quizzically.

Time is not a purview for any of these gods unfortunately, lest they could really make something special. The clockis ticking as Baldur quickly mixes up some dough at top speed before tossing it in the air (with a little flour slipping around) towards Haldor's face. Hopefully he'll catch it!

Haldor draws his drumsticks, each stick turning great big, ultra sharp knives. As the dough flies toward him, he whirls and spins while his arms and blades flash. Dough is cleaved in twain in air while Haldor inexplicably - and gymnastically - dodges the flying dough. Speedily the drumsticks are tucked away again while Haldor zips after the dough, collecting it into dough cards that he slaps down on a free counter.

Promptly, Haldor zips toward Fjalar's corpse, hacking off still more bird meat that finds itself deposited in Tyr's broth before Haldor zips past the wontons to be, depositing little meat nuggets on the center of each piece of dough. A moment later, he starts assembly lining the wontons again.

"HEADS UP! BASKETBALLS FOR THE SOUP!"

When we say 'assembly lining the wontons', we of course mean that Haldor is closing the wontons over the meat and flinging them rapid fire at Tyr and the chicken broth. Seeing as how he's shooting from downtown, each wonton must be worth three points.

Very impressive. Part of judging in this competition is how he cooks as well. While he may be lacking in the originality category, he's certainly raking up points in the showmanship category as the audience and the juges are applauding his efforts.

Tyr coordinates with Haldor perfectly as the wontons are caught in the soup base making little splashes as they all head in. It only takes just ten more minutes, which is about how much time he has left. See Haldor cook. Cook Haldor Cook!
Long distance to Haldor: Maia nibblecuddlehughumps

Haldor is not exactly a trained chef, but he is a natural showman and that is definitely what is showing as he finishes off his cooking. The Viking zips toward the plates, lining things up and carefully laying out great bowls for the as yet unfinished wonton soup. Soon though, soon the wonton soup will fill those bowls with expert care and deliciosity.

Minutes pass. Everything has been cooked and prepared,at least everything Haldor wanted. It's only one minute left as the soothing robotic feminine voice announces just how much time. Everyone once again claps as Maia looks in eager anticipation to taste Haldor's cuisine.

«Go Haldor! You can do it!» she cheers telepathically again!

Haldor gestures to Tyr, holding up two bowls at a time. Clearly the Viking believes now is the time to plate the soup. The Viking works as speedily as possible, trying to strain as much soup into each bowl as possible while allowing only four wontons into each bowl. As artfully as he can, Haldor arranges the wontons in the soup before setting the bowls down and moving to the next set to be poured.

"5, 4, 3, 2, 1…."

BZZZZZT! The alarm sounds and it means that it's time to stepaway from the plates. Hopefully everything was set and a series of Jotun waiters head on over to see and pick up the servings. As the challenger,Haldor gets to present his food before the judges table afterall. Dun Dun dun!

Haldor has just enough time to get the last two bowls filled and arranged before the alarm sounds. The Viking lets out a deep whoof as he steps back from the bowls. Quietly he glances toward Baldur and Tyr, eyebrows arching ever so slightly as he tries to gauge their reactions to the situation.

After all, Haldor is fast. He can get his ass over to the table area to present the food pretty quick.

Tyr and Baldur hi-five. They seem pretty pleased with themselves as they head to their own little sous chef area while smiling up towards the judges. Baldur flashes a true Aesir smile towards the ladies which makes even Maia giggle. Uh ohs!

Still, Chairman Koga brings Haldor up before the judges table, bowing low and proper as he asks, "Please tell us about your thoughts about the theme ingredient and how you tackled it today.."

Haldor flash-freezes his own sweat and scrapes it off of his body in a few deft movements on the way over to the presentation area. The Viking quickly decides which dish to present first, rubbing his chin thoughtfully while he glances at the judges again. Finally he opts for the wonton soup, soup is always a good option for first course.

"The theme ingredient was fairly straight forward and open to being as simple or as elaborate one would like. Personally though, when I think beef, chicken, and/or pork, I think of comfort foods. Simple dishes that anyone can enjoy with just a few minutes of prep time and the proper fixings."

For a moment, Haldor pauses. He glances at Koga and the judges for a few fractions of a moment, considering his words carefully.

"My first dish is chicken wonton soup. The soup is a chicken broth made from the Nemean chicken while the wontons are filled with tender Nemean chicken nuggets. It makes me think of cold days when my mom would be working late and come home with Chinese take out and also fits into my own theme of trying to make comfort foods unique to as many of the pantheons as I could."

And with that, the tasting begins. The first to comment is Utgard Loki of course as he hrmms, slurping a bit of the broth. "Fjalhar tastes interesting. It's a thicker, creamier broth, perhaps from bones that were used to make the broth…"

"No, I think I saw Tyr add a little bit of cream. It's unusual in that I've never had it that way with a simple wonton soup. It changes the mouthfeel of the broth, yet it's still pleasant. And no MSG! Cause well, I'd get headaches if there were some.." Maia admits ruefully, beaming brightly as she looks towards Haldor. "I like it. It's delicious. I'm all for comfort foods. You made some mashed potatoes, right?" she asks curiously.

Haldor grins wryly at Maia. "I did not see any Nemean potatoes down in the pit," he replies playfully, glancing toward the other judges. The Viking does, however, glance back toward the other plated foods. Did Baldur and Tyr make any side dishes for the assortment of foods?

There are sidedishes indeed! For the pulled pork there's cole slaw, potato salad and fried potato wedges all artfully decorated. Meanwhile, the judges just wait for the next course. And Haldor, feel free to have the gods prepare proper side dishes for each of the meals asyousee fit. You were the head chef afterall.

Haldor clears his throat after checking the food situation again. The Viking disappears for a moment to acquire and serve the Buffalo wings with their retinue of either bleu cheese or ranch dressing for dipping, as well as carrots and celery artfully surrounding the main pile.

"And this is something of a tribute to both the Yankee and Aesir pantheons. I kept the Buffalo sauce relatively mild because I wanted the flavor of the chicken to shine through the spiciness." That's a lie, Haldor didn't want to accidentally melt a jotun with spicy chicken. "The Yankee and the Aesir both appreciate a good show of manliness and, while Buffalo chicken is definitely a creation of those people who spawned the Yankee pantheon, the Aesir love the challenge of hot sauce and the compliment of Buffalo chicken with beer."

At which point Baldur arrives with great steins of beer. It is delicious, non-chicken beer. Perhaps a perfect compliment for Buffalo chicken.

Not melting a judge is good afterall. And the jotun do appreciate a good show of manliness as Utgard-Loki seems to buy the presentation thus far. He likes the non-chicken beer. That is probably his best part as he starts devouring the ginormous Faljarchicken wings. He omnomnomsaway,wiping away the sauce. "I do enjoy the tartness and the spice. It's mild, but not boring.."

Maia seems to agree,smiling brightly as she looks towards her beau with admiration and love. "It's tangy. That's the word I'duse for it.." she says, dipping a piece into some bleu cheese. «Definitely make this at home, love..»


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