Sunday, January 4, 2015

Machinations of Loki

The quiet whirring of gears and minuscule piston-drives busily rotating and churning out what looks like life from automatons and clock-works constructs is the back ground noise of most of Asgard, emanating from the palaces, homes, bridges and constructions. Huge machines rotated nonstop, providing constant power to the physical and magical gridirons of the realms. Mechanical messengers buzzed back and forth in the open starlit areas between holds and castles. All the clicking and clacking blended to make a soothing drone that Loki took great pleasure in. Seated across the chess board was a personal construct, a gift given him not long ago. The clockwork was quite advanced, with a speciality in strategy games and logic.  It was created with an intelligence to learn patterns of opponents and evolve plans, mainly in chess.  It was a mastercraft construct, built on equations and principles that were stringently rigid, a paragon of true harmonious law. Loki had spent weeks locked in strategic combat with the automaton, an ebb and flow of wins and losses flowing like tides. But the last few hours, the feel was different. People had begun to gather to watch a game of growing legend, and Loki called for a pause. He implored the construct to consider that they had played to a stalemate, and they had only one choice to declare one a better master of strategy- change one rule in the game, play one game. The best player will make the adjustment to win. The spirit within the clock-man was intrigued, and agreed. Loki would make one rule change, and the clockwork would have first turn.after three hours, the clock-man was starting to overheat, but neither man had achieved an advantage.  In six hours, loud squeals and squeaks had turned to a cacophony as the clock-work was under extreme stress trying to win a game that had been sabotaged by Loki.  The rule change put it so that it was practically impossible to not end in a tie. Loki laughed as it was torn apart by it own rules and laws.

It was a clever Sif who saw the reality of what Loki had done. He changed one rule, halfway through an arranged plan, and the entire construct, the whole exercise completely fell apart. She watched Loki laugh maniacally, just as happy to destroy the construct as he was to own it.

This was the lesson Sif was thinking of when Thor first told her of Loki's plan to build a team of Nortlander Raiders to spread and strengthen their masks in the southlands. That was a reasonable and believable reason to commit to mortal heroes, to be sure. But what was the second part of the plan? Why did he need this team of mythic heroes?

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