Ozymandias: King of Kings

Far Away

She did remember the dream.

She walked /ememin fields of golden, blazing flowers. All around, the sweet smell of honeysuckle permeated the nearly unbearable lightness of the air, bringing her back to a hopeful and innocent childhood summer. Far beyond lay a far green country, and a swift and burning sunrise shone brilliantly off the glittering sea. Mountains rose from the hills to the south, their ridges and valleys purple in the hues of a rising dawn./


The voice sounded behind her. She turned, eyes brimming with tears at the beauty of the landscape and at the sound of the familiar voice whose tones she had so longed to hear once more. The woman before her might have been Jane's reflection. Dressed in simple, brown robes that flowed down her graceful body, the woman was the picture of natural beauty. Her face was scarless, unmarred, perfection, and was framed by dark brown, braided hair that cascaded down her back. And her deep eyes, like Jane's, were spilling with tears.

"Mom," Jane responded, throwing herself into the older woman's outstretched arms.

They held each other tightly, as though they were clinging to rocks in a stormy sea. Jane sobbed into her mother's shoulder, forcing from her mind the awful and terrible memories of the older woman's death. That did not matter now; they were reunited once again. When Jane finally released her mother, she leaned back slightly and gestured to their surroundings.

"Where...where are we?" she asked, wondering at the sights of this strange land.

Her mother smiled, raising soft fingers to Amareth's face and wiping away tears that streaked across her cheeks.

"Our ancestors called it Elysium, Jane," her mother said, pausing when she noted the confused look spreading across Jane's face, "But you might know it better as Heaven, or the afterlife, or whatever you need to make sense of it in that logical head of yours."

Jane stepped back, eyes wide with wonder. She again spun slowly and took in the landscape. The smells of honeysuckle, the mountains arising from the south, the growing dawn, the sounds of the faraway sea...it was all, simply, perfection. Of course, the afterlife demanded such perfection.

"The Elysian Fields," she whispered. Suddenly, a great feeling of simultaneous hope and fear arose in her chest, and she struggled to form the words of the next question, the question that demanded an answer. "Why am I here, Mom? Am I dead?"

Her mother shook her head, a flicker of something akin to sadness flashing across her face. Jane might have missed it if she had blinked.

"You are alive, Jane," she responded. "You walk the line between dreamland and reality. You are here so that the fields of Elysium and the lands of your ancestors might give you strength.

"Great sorrow awaits you, Jane. Use the strength from these lands to power you through these times."

Jane's eyes brimmed with tears. She had almost wished for death; this land was beautiful, unscarred, happy, lacking all pain and confusion of her current life; more importantly, lacking the Asgardian royal who had terrifyingly captured her heart and mind. She turned back to her mother.

"But Mom, I'm not strong enough to - "

She stopped suddenly when she realized that her mother had vanished. To her surprise, anger, and sadness, the older woman was gone; it was as though a mirage had appeared and disappeared before her very eyes.

But before she could react in anger, a soft chorus arose around her, matching the sighs of the ocean waves and the ghostly touch of the breeze that danced through the flowers of the golden fields. Voices of her ancestors, of her passed relatives, rose around her, chanting the songs of her people, filling her heart with strength and devotion. They spun around her in the fields of the dawn. And as daylight broke across the wild plains and as brilliant hues of red and purple broke and streaked across the sky, the chorus found its pinnacle, and Jane closed her eyes to fill her heart with the hope of their voices.

When she opened them again, she was awake in the palace of Odin. But she was no longer alone, and she was no longer afraid.

Jane rose from the comfort of her bed and shakily walked toward her washroom and observed her reflection in the mirror. Her cheekbones were prominent. Her eyes were sunken into dark circles, and her skin was papery, as though threatening to tear with the slightest trauma. But her eyes shone with the newfound strength from her dreams, from the encouragement of her ancestors, and Jane took renewed courage; she was a Foster, and Loki Odinson would see a stronger royal when he next returned.

It appeared that she wouldn't have to wait long for that opportunity.

When her evening meal arrived, Jane was seated in a corner chair, pouring over the pages of some strange book from her library.

She felt that Loki stood alone in the room, gazing down at her with a look that was either anger or pride - or perhaps a combination of both. On her side table, someone had laid out a meal for two: a basket overflowing with fresh fruit, a decanter of wine, and a small pot of something warm and steaming that smelled of cinnamon and home and that pulled Jane's stomach toward its contents.

"I want to eat but I don't think I'm strong enough," she responded, again taking up the pages of her book and attempting to ignore Loki's presence, something that proved difficult when the novel was suddenly snatched from her hands and throw harshly across the room.

"I will not have you starve to death," Loki said, crouching down to her level and gazing into her challenging eyes. "You will break your fast with me, and if you are able and willing, you will come with me to the Feast."

A wave of dizziness overcame her as blackness crept in at the edges of her eyes. Breathing slowly, she calmed herself and smiled at Loki, feeling at last peaceful in this place She relished in the brief moment of pride that came with her realization. Strength from my ancestors, indeed, she thought, as she saw the same recognition flash across Loki's face. But the Asgardian royal regained composure and again emanated an encapsulating form of power and control as he spoke again - tinged with a playfulness as he recognized the shift in Jane's demeanor.

"You have changed, Jane Foster," he whispered, his voice a mere breath against her lips. "But remember that you will never be a match for me."

A shiver went through her bones. Loki's eyes narrowed as he leaned in, capturing her lips with his own, demanding dominance. She was weak, so weak, and could not even raise her arms to push him away as he again moved down her neck, his mouth ghosting over her prominent collarbones - but she did not care. She relished in his kisses. He needlessly grabbed her wrists, ensuring her immobility as he continued his slow but steady path across her shoulder.

"Let's eat" she said, her voice hardly a whisper, smiling as Loki's face fell.

He stopped short, letting her words sink in. His lips grazed against the side of her neck as he suddenly stood up, gazing down at her with a smile before offering her a hand. Jane stared at it, still lost in the sensation of his lips across her own and his mouth upon her neck. When she took his hand and went to stand, she found her legs incapable of supporting her weight. Collapsing back into the chair, her face burning, she muttered some sort of apology through her shame.

Suddenly, strong arms lifted her from the chair, and Jane realized that Loki was carrying her to the side table. Exhausted in mind and body, she leaned slightly against his powerful chest, closing her eyes against the spinning world as Loki gently placed her in a cushioned chair at the table. All she wanted was sleep, and she kept her eyes closed as her head fell back against the softness of the fabric. Somewhere, she remembered long, cold fingers spooning something hot and comforting into her mouth. She recalled a faraway whisper urging her to drink another sip of water. She thought she remembered strong arms lifting her from the chair and carrying her to the bed, soft lips leaving a ghostly kiss upon her temple before she passed into blissful sleep.

But she was also far away in fields of honeysuckle and golden flowers, walking in the pale and fragile dawn of a new day.

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