Note: The events in Loki: Blood Royal take place after the events of Loki: For All That Is Lost which can also be found on this site and should be read first.
Seruta had much to offer those seeking to be lost as well as those who were looking to find. It was a veritable shopping mall for whatever deviant or criminal enterprise one sought. Games of chance promised payouts beyond one’s wildest imagination...if the winner survived long enough to collect. The purveyors of intoxicants from across the known universe did a steady business as evidenced by how few were capable of ambulating in straight lines. Those seeking pleasures of the flesh, female, male or undefined, had a smorgasbord from which to choose. As long as currency or other items of value were readily available to be exchanged no one asked questions nor did anyone care what the answers would have been had they been asked. It was most definitely not the sort of place one would expect to find an angel, let alone their new Queen.
Sif and Sigyn descended the gangway of Sif’s ship in the hanger bay. Sigyn was far from the “perfect” in “practice makes” where her illusionary skills were concerned, but she had managed to at least disguise the two of them somewhat. She now sported a head of cascading red hair, Sif’s chocolate locks now streaked with a rich electric blue. Sigyn knew she was far more likely to be recognized than Sif by their target, the mysterious Lamia, if she did happen to be one and the same as their quarry, the demoness Loriel. Loki was right, she would never be inconspicuous, though not due to her rank as queen and the finery he insisted on procuring for her so that she would, in his words, “look the part.”
She now fully understood why Frigga had disguised her as the Plain Jane she had been during her long exile on Midgard. Even the least attractive of those with any angelic blood stood out in a crowd. Having spent the majority of her life fading into the background she remained, a year after regaining her true appearance, unaccustomed to it. She found herself at times staring in wonder at her own reflection as if she were gazing upon the visage of another.
“Uh...you’re Sif and uh...Angela? Uh, think that’s what he said to call you. Know I’m not supposed to call you the other thing.” the man approaching them asked as they left the gangway and Sif retracted it, securing the ship remotely.
“Who’s asking?” Sif said suspiciously. They had of course not advertised their coming or arrival. The man with the silver fin attached to his head and wearing a worn looking Ravagers jacket extended a hand towards Sif.
“Name’s Kraglin. Quill sent me. Happened to be in the neighborhood. He figured seein’ as you ain’t been here before, you could use a guide.” Kraglin said. Sif ignored his extended hand, looking at Kraglin warily.
“We’re not here for the tour.” Sif told him, not in the friendliest of tones.
Sigyn stepped forward and took Kraglin’s hand.
“Thank you. I...we,” she said, glancing back at Sif, “appreciate all the help we can get.”
“I’m not sure how friendly we should be with anyone that just ‘happens to be in the neighborhood’ of a place such as this.” Sif said, looking around at the dingy hanger bay as scantily clad women plying their trade approached drunks stumbling to their ships.
“Any friend of Quill’s is a friend of mine.” Sigyn said, smiling at Kraglin. Kraglin’s legs appeared to go weak as if he were about to melt into a pile of goo on the floor as he continued to shake Sigyn’s hand and stare at her as if mesmerized.
“Uh, yeah...Quill and I go way back.” Kraglin informed Sigyn.
“You ok?” Sigyn asked, noticing Kraglin’s reaction to her, removing her hand from his. Kraglin stood up straight and cleared his throat.
“Yeah...fine...I’m fine...Quill said you were pretty but he didn’t-” Kraglin began. Sigyn, smiling, walked past Kraglin, Sif following her. Kraglin turned to trail behind them.
“Not that you’re not...” Kraglin said to Sif, “I mean...you’re not-not pretty’s what I’m sayin’” Kraglin said. Sif rolled her eyes.
Kraglin moved in front of the two women, leading Sigyn and Sif towards a building, gaudily lit with a plethora of colored lights. As they made their way towards the entrance, a drunk patron who had recently exited, a tall, thin, non-terran with yellow toned skin, a pointed chin and prominent cheek bones, staggered into Kraglin. Kraglin pushed him aside, where the drunk man continued unphased on his way. As they drew nearer the entrance, another non-terran, bald with blue hued skin, stopped his non-linear trek and leaned over, retching and proceeding to vomit as Kraglin, predicting what was about to occur, put his arm out and moved the two women farther to the side to avoid him and the mess.
“Nice place you’ve got here.” Sif said sarcastically.
“We’ve been places almost this bad before and I’m sure you’ve been to worse.” Sigyn said to Sif, “After our last trip, I had to toss my boots out of the airlock.”
Reaching the entrance, Kraglin held the door open for the two women.
“After you,” Kraglin said, gesturing them inside. Within the bar loud synth-music blared, the sound bouncing off the walls creating strange acoustic effects. The establishment was crowded with a variety of humanoids of different origins and races but there remained ample room for the three to maneuver to the long row of seats at the bar. Tables filled with patrons took up one half, the other half was filled with gaming tables. The lighting was low, the air rank with the smell of stale bodies, drink, and other things Sigyn and Sif did not take the time nor had the wish to identify. A short lived brawl erupted at a corner table as Sigyn and Sif sat down at the bar but was soon ended by a large, brawny, slightly reptilian looking man grabbing the offending patrons by the collar of their jackets and heaving them simultaneously out the door.
“I’ll hang back, keep an eye on ya. Gonna go get ’im to shut this crap off, put on some real tunes.” Kraglin said quietly.
“What can I get ya ladies?” A short and portly bartender asked Sigyn and Sif in a gravelly voice. Sigyn looked over to where Kraglin now stood near a man with spiked gray hair that she assumed must be the DJ. Soon after, a song from Earth began to play, Sigyn recognizing the unmistakable voice of Jim Morrison singing, “Hello, I Love You.”
“I’m not sure...Sif?” Sigyn answered the bartender, turning towards Sif hoping for a drink recommendation. Sigyn, having endured years of abuse from an alcoholic father, had never been much of a drinker. In her time on Earth she had only imbibed an occasional glass of wine or a rum or whiskey and soda after she had finally screwed up the courage to visit bars while she still had money after she had left her island and gone among people after centuries of isolation. Sif looked past Sigyn as a scruffily handsome looking man in a red and black leather jacket sauntered his way towards them.
“Creeper coming up on your left. That didn’t take long.” Sif said. Sigyn turned her head back towards the bartender but shifted her eyes, watching the man as he approached.
“Well, what’ll it be?” The bartender asked again, somewhat impatiently.
“What do you recommend?” Sigyn asked the bartender.
“I suspect you’re the type that would like something fruity, with just the right mix of sour and sweet...” the man in the black and red jacket said as he reached Sigyn’s side and leaned on the bar.
“I’ve got just the thing. Coming right up.” the bartender said, turning.
“One for both of these fine ladies...on me.” the man said, putting a couple small hexagon shaped coins on the bar.
“I don’t really know what I like I guess. I don’t drink much.” Sigyn told him.
“What in heaven’s name are you doing in a place like this?” the jacketed man asked.
The bartender placed two drinks in front of Sigyn and Sif, red in color, then tapped the side of each glass with the edge of a metal wand. The drinks began to fizz, oranges and yellows bubbling through the red.
“I’m looking for someone. I owe them something. I’m here to pay them back.” Sigyn answered. She picked up her drink and took a sip as did Sif, “You’re right, this is good. Very good, actually. Thank you.”
“Who is it you’re looking for?” the man asked, leaning on the bar. Sigyn took another drink from her glass before answering him.
“A woman...she calls herself Lamia. I was told she hangs out here. Do you know her?”
“Can’t say that I do. I just got in myself. Not many people come here to pay a debt, most are running from them.”
“Yeah, well, I have to pay this one so I can get on with my life.” Sigyn told him, taking a long drink from her glass.
“I see. So where you from?”
“I’ve been around.” Sigyn answered noncommittally.
She knew she shouldn’t volunteer too much information about herself. However, there was something about the man that put her more at ease than she would normally be in such a situation, in such a place, approached by a stranger. He reminded her of Quill in a way. Sigyn discovered that she had finished her drink more quickly than she had anticipated. It had gone down far more smoothly than any other liquor she’d ever had, almost like fruit punch. Sif was still nursing hers, listening to Sigyn and the man’s conversation while at the same time keeping an eye out over the crowded bar. The man in the jacket noticed her empty glass.
“Would you like another?” he asked. Sigyn looked down at the empty glass, knowing what her answer should be as she hesitated before answering.
“What the hell. Sure, why not?” she said.
Sif looked over at Sigyn with a displeased expression. The man waved down the bartender, wordlessly pointing at the empty glass. The bartender nodded and set to work on another drink which he then set before her and again tapped with the metal wand.
“I think two drinks entitles me to know who I’m buying them for.” the man said as Sigyn took a drink from her second glass.
“That’s all it entitles you to. Angela. What’s yours?”
“My friends just call me Buddy.”
“That’s not your real name, is it?” Sigyn asked, taking another drink.
“No, but then neither is yours....” Buddy countered.
“Actually, it is...or it was...for a long time anyway.” Sigyn said, thinking back to the centuries she had gone under that moniker to escape detection from the angels under Loriel’s control.
She had already finished more than half of her second drink and was beginning to sense the effects of the liquor, whatever its origin or type, despite the fact that the drink tasted as if it had little at all. Sif noticed the slight change in Sigyn’s voice and demeanor, eyeing the situation between Sigyn and Buddy more intently, ready to intervene.
“It sounds like you have quite a story.” Buddy said.
“A long one, but not all that interesting...most of it anyway. Same shit different century.” said Sigyn, downing the last swallow of her second drink.
A new song began to play, another from earth from Kraglin’s collection, a ballad, one of the few from an artist that Kraglin had taken a particular liking to. Again, Sigyn recognized it, “You and Me” sung by the man who went by the name Alice Cooper. She had once known his real name having read it in a magazine article, but couldn’t at the moment recall it. She did recall that the album was in her collection, yet another that had always left her dreaming of having someone to dance with.
“I’d ask for a dance, but-” Buddy said, indicating the ring on the ring finger of Sigyn’s left hand.
“Oh...yeah...but I don’t recall anything about not dancing-” Sigyn began. Sif, feeling things were going too far, interrupted.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Sif said, putting a hand on Sigyn’s shoulder.
“It’s ok. It’s just a dance.” Sigyn said, then quietly added, “You’re always saying to blend in.” Buddy extended his hand, Sigyn taking it.
“But no one else is-” Sif began but Sigyn was already off, the two walking a few yards from the bar into a semi-empty space as other patrons of the bar crossed back and forth around them. Kraglin, seeing Sigyn making her way away from the bar with Buddy, made his way back to Sif, standing beside her.
“Would you like to-” Kraglin began to ask Sif. She turned from watching Sigyn and Buddy dance to the bartender.
“No.” she said as she motioned for the bartender, he making his way over to her.
“Another?” he asked, looking at her glass that she had finally emptied.
“No...there’s a woman that spends her time here. Her name is Lamia. Is she here now?”
“Sure is, just like every night, right over there...gal with the black hair, white dress.”
Sif looked in the direction the bartender indicated, at a table in the far corner and saw a woman with charcoal black hair piled in curls on top of her head, a filmy, delicate veil attached, wearing a gown reminiscent of that worn by the ancient Grecian people of Earth. She was sipping a drink as she listened with rapt attention to a young man sporting a brown jacket with a silver triangle shaped insignia on the left front.
The drinks were having an effect on Sigyn as they worked through her system. She felt a sort of electric buzzing in her head. Strangely enough, it was pleasant, a feeling she had not experienced in the past the few times she had drank anything intoxicating. She did her best to dance with Buddy without it becoming too intimate, but now found herself with her head on his shoulder, her eyes closed. She was becoming lost in the feeling and the music. It was as if she had forgotten where she was and who she was with. The feeling of Buddy’s arms around her was comfortable and familiar.
Sigyn and Kraglin turned their attention from Lamia at the far table in the corner back to where Sigyn and Buddy danced...or where they had been dancing. The space was now empty, patrons criss-crossing through it from one side of the bar to the other. Sif shot to her feet.
“Where’d they go?!” she asked, frantically scanning the room.
“I dunno...didn’t see ’em leave...” Kraglin said, also looking around the crowded bar.
Sigyn noticed the music sounded more distant as she continued to dance, her eyes closed, relishing in the sensation she had so long been denied. She thought little of it, chalking it up to the effects of the drinks.
“Strange how just the right song comes along.” Sigyn heard a voice say, a familiar voice. Sigyn slowly opened her eyes, the fuzziness in her head waning as shock overtook the sensation. She found herself in an empty corridor off the main room of the bar. In his hand, Loki held one of Heven’s familiar transport cylinders.
“Damn...” Sigyn said quietly.
“We really must discuss these excursions of yours. You’re bound to get yourself into some mischief.”
Sigyn raised her head from Loki’s shoulder to look into his eyes. What was it she saw in them? Sadness? Fear? Worry? A combination of the three? She decided the latter most likely.
“Sif’s with me-”
“What was that? Sif is with you? You don’t say! I don’t see her anywhere...” Loki said mockingly, feigning to look around the area surrounding them, “I could have killed you twenty times already!”
“Loki...” Sigyn began, hearing the anger spawned from fear more prevalent in his voice.
“Are you in such a rush to leave me after a single year?” Loki asked.
“No...of course not...it’s not like that. It was just a dance.” Sigyn said attempting to reassure him, misinterpreting Loki’s meaning.
“That’s the least of my worries.” Loki responded
“You said I should be myself. That’s what I’m doing.”
“I have allowed you to ‘be yourself’ for far too long. I tire of chasing you across galaxies.” Loki said, perturbed.
“I’m doing this for us. Once she’s gone...”
“And in her place there could come another Hela, a Surtur, another Thanos...there will always be that chance. You cannot make the universe into what your island was for you for so long.” Loki said. Sigyn bowed her head, nodding.
“I know...I’m just afraid...if she comes back...if we have...if she-”
“There’s no shame in fear, it’s what you do with it. It was a lesson I myself took far too long to learn. Come home, my love, be with me by my side as I need you to be, as I needed you to be all those years.” Loki said, a gentle pleading in his voice with his last words.
Sigyn fought back tears recalling those years of which he spoke and nodded still looking down at her feet, feeling the shame she had pushed to the back of her mind at her deceit having previously rationalized it.
“It’s been well established without your influence I have a tendency to...misbehave.” Loki joked, grinning, hoping now to lighten the mood.
“You do that even when I’m there.” Sigyn said, looking up at Loki and smiling.
“True, though that’s misbehavior of a different sort that by all indications you seem to enjoy.”
Sif and Kraglin rounded the corner into the corridor and stopped dead as their eyes met the unexpected sight of Loki and Sigyn standing with their arms around each other.
“Shit...” Sif said, Loki and Sigyn turning their heads towards her.
“Ah! Good Lady Sif, did you misplace something?” Loki asked condescendingly.
“What happened to the other guy? She picks up guys faster than a two unit wh-” Kraglin began.
“He is the other guy, you dimwit!” Sif said, interrupting Kraglin.
“What? No, I saw that other guy. That ain’t him. The other guy was better looking.” Kraglin said, confused. Loki looked at Kraglin with annoyance.
“He can make himself look like anyone he wants. For example, if he wanted to look like a moron, he’d look like you.” Sif explained to Kraglin sarcastically.
“An associate of Peter Quill, I presume.” Loki said.
“She’s on the move!” Sif said hurriedly. Sigyn looked from her to Loki.
“We’re already here...might as well...” Sigyn said to him.
Loki once again disguised himself as “Buddy,” leading Sigyn past Kraglin and Sif.
“We will speak later.” Loki said quietly and somewhat menacingly to Sif, who scowled as she and Kraglin followed him and Sigyn back into the bar.
As the four reentered the bar area, Sif caught sight of the back of Lamia on the arm of the young man she had been speaking with at her table earlier, exiting through the door. She pointed towards the pair. The four followed, keeping their distance.
Loki disguised as his alter ego from earlier in the evening and Sigyn, put an arm around each other as they walked casually. Sif and Kraglin followed a few feet behind as they continued to trail Lamia, past other shady establishments and people. Kraglin moved to put his arm around Sif, emulating the pair in front of them. Sif looked over at him with disdain.
“Don’t even think about it.” Sif warned. Kraglin lowered his arm back to his side.
Lamia and her suitor finally arrived at what looked like a run down flop house. Two sets of buildings faced each other connected under a long roofed corridor, a series of doors along each side. Lamia led the man to the farthest on the left side and held her hand over the door, the lock disengaging. She opened it and both entered, closing it behind them. Loki and the others hung back, Loki peering cautiously around the corner to ascertain what room the two had entered.
“Stay here.” Loki commanded Sif and Kraglin as he and Sigyn casually made their way towards the door Lamia had entered. As the two reached the door Sigyn stood with her back against the wall on one side of it as Loki dropped his disguise, returning to his true form and did the same on the other side. Sigyn looked over at Loki as he closed his eyes.
Just as Loki had done when visiting Thor in the gladiators’ holding cell on Sakaar, Loki projected himself silently into a corner of the room at his back, hoping not to be noticed as he suspected the couple inside would be too distracted by other activities to notice his illusionary double’s intrusion. Ready to pull his doppelganger from the room at a moment’s notice were he to be discovered, he found himself to be correct. They were, in fact, paying no attention whatsoever to where his image stood in the shadows.
He felt voyeuristic as he watched the couple, Lamia kissing the man deeply as she eased his jacket off with her hands and let it drop to the floor, next working his shirt over his head to fall beside the jacket. Lamia moved her lips along his shoulder, the man, obviously inebriated, somewhat swaying on his feet.
Loki was beginning to feel as if there was little amiss in the situation, aside from the obvious circumstances, and prepared to remove himself when Lamia raised her head from the man’s shoulder, baring a set of double fanged teeth, serpent like, and sank them deeply into her suitor’s throat. The man tensed for a moment and Loki expected a struggle to ensue. Instead, the man’s body relaxed, though he remained standing, his head lolling to the side as Lamia appeared to feast on the blood from the wound she had inflicted.
Shocked and terrified by what he was witnessing, Loki quickly withdrew from the room back into his body outside, turning his head towards Sigyn.. She could immediately tell that he had seen something horrific from his wide eyed expression.
“What’s going on in there?” she asked.
“You have it?” Loki whispered with urgency.
“Is it her?” Sigyn asked.
“I’m not sure. Whatever she is, she slithered out of the same depraved depths!” Loki replied. Sigyn held out her hand, producing from seemingly thin air the blue orb pulsating with light, the same which Odin had informed them both was necessary to contain Loriel and her demonic minions. Loki took it from her and stood before the door as Sif and Kraglin, realizing that something was about to go down, made their way down the corridor.
Loki with one swift kick busted open the door. Lamia, who continued to feast on the fount of blood from the wound her fangs had produced quickly raised her head at the unexpected intrusion. Her victim, in a trance state, continued to stand motionless, his blood dripping onto the floor.
“Back to hell with you, vile demoness!” Loki declared as he held out the orb towards her but what he had expected to take place failed to do so. The orb continued to pulsate with light as Lamia broke into a vile and bloody grin. Loki looked on in horror as Lamia stepped around the man who continued to bleed and cackled, the sound enough to freeze the blood even in a Jotun’s already icy veins.
“I am not of that realm. Your trinkets have no power over me. I am Empousae. It appears my people will dine as well as I this night.” Lamia extended her hand, closed into a fist, a large ruby ring on her finger. It began to glow, a red swirling portal opening under her victim and also under Loki. Its appearance, the liquid like movement of its expansion, reminded Loki of the Aether that had invaded the body of Jane Foster years before. He magically stowed away the orb once again as he quickly searched for a means of escape.
Lamia’s victim, as if falling through a hole that had suddenly opened in the floor, fell from view. Loki felt the solid ground beneath his feet vanishing as if it were one of his illusions giving him no time to react. Sigyn, watching from the doorway, ran the few feet between her and the edge of the portal, quickly thrusting out her hand to Loki.
“Loki!” Sigyn called frantically as Loki attempted to throw himself in her direction as the ground disappeared beneath him, desperately reaching for her hand, relieved as he felt hers grip his own. His hope was short lived as the portal seemed to suck him down into it. He realized that all hope was lost, escape was impossible. There was only one thing for him to do.
“Release me! Leave this place!” Loki told Sigyn as he began to fall through the portal.
“No! I’m not letting you go! I won’t lose you again!” Sigyn exclaimed, desperately attempting to pull Loki back but even her combined Asgardian and Angelic strength was useless. True to her word, she refused to let go, determined to share his fate, wherever it may lead, whatever it may be. She felt herself being pulled off her feet as she clasped Loki’s hand in an iron grip.
Kraglin, stood in the doorway, paralyzed by shock at the sight of Lamia, blood dripping from her mouth as she stared back at him from inside the room.
“What’s this? Yet another for my table.” Lamia moved towards the open door as Kraglin remained rooted to the spot, his face drained of color, horrified beyond the capacity to take action of any sort. As Lamia came within only a few feet of the doorway, a hand suddenly shot out from the other side of it, pushing Kraglin out of the way as Sif stepped into the spot where he had stood and swung her sword. Lamia’s body, relieved of itss head, sunk heavily to the floor.
Sif looked down at the decapitated corpse, then around the room, confused and anxious as she saw no sign of Loki or Sigyn.