Of Thorns and Lightning

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A New Ruler is Born

♦️

Meaghan had been thinking about what Talia said in the club the other night, and as much as she hated to admit it, Talia was right. Meaghan might have all the qualities and morals to be Dike, but she can’t possibly take Dike’s place in her current state. She was a simple human, not an ancient goddess, like Dike. She was sure it would be part of her plan eventually, but the thought was weighing on her heavily. It put her down, she was sure Maize was having a hell of a time in Asgard, and she would surely come back as a Norse god with abilities like flying or super strength. She felt discouraged.

What she didn’t know was that Dike already had it all planned out. It just happened to occur at the same time Meaghan was yearning for an upgrade in her training, or at least some more exposure to what Dike really was. Dike shot her a text saying to meet him in the basement instead of the gym for one of their training sessions, and Meaghan was slightly nervous but otherwise excited, she knew that something new was coming her way and she couldn’t wait to find out what it would be.

She got up and put on a white t-shirt and dark wash jeans, tossing her hair back into a ponytail and slipping on her sneakers. She deviated from her normal routine and for the first time since she had arrived, headed down to the basement. When the doors opened she was greeted with a brightly lit but industrial room that hosted the on-site hospital, Dike standing against the wall right in front of the doors. They accidentally wore the same outfit, Dike noticing and trying to hide his smile. Meaghan stepped off the elevator and towards him, Meaghan’s curiosity getting the best of her.

“Hey, Dike, what are we doing in the basement? I thought this was just all hospital.”

“Ah, I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve. Follow me, we’re going to the Vault.”

“The Vault?” She asked, trotting next to Dike. He took long strides, but she almost equally matched them.

“You’ve never once wondered where we keep all our cool Gods stuff?” She smiled. Meaghan knew she was up to something, and her heart raced a little bit.

The basement was more extensive than she ever thought it would be, it had winding corridors of steel and concrete and was a maze and a fortress all at the same time. She didn’t know where she was going but she put her full trust in Dike and followed his lead, going wherever he went. Eventually they stopped at, well, a vault. The hallway ended to reveal a large, fortified steel door with a big crank that was like the vaults at banks, and Dike swiped his ID card, put in a code and did a retinal scan, just to gain access. The heavy lock thudded, and the door was opened for them, and Meaghan saw every single piece of Gods equipment and technology that had ever been created and used, ever. She was astounded; she spent so much time looking at all the pieces that she had stopped in her tracks and didn’t follow Dike, and he laughed. The wonder in her eyes made her blush, and as she smiled, Dike smiled. he let her have a few moments before reaching out for her hand and guiding her to exactly what he wanted her to see.

In a back corner of the Vault, all of Dike’s past, present and some future gear resided. Meaghan tried to keep her jaw from gaping open amongst it all. Dike let her revel in it, deciding to keep quiet about her entire section for a few more moments. Dike eventually spoke first.

“I brought you down here today for a few reasons, Meaghan. I know that Talia was making fun of you, saying that you’re just human and haven’t got any special powers. I also wanted to shake training up a little, since you’ve demonstrated that you’re very capable and a quick learner, so you deserved a little treat. So, I wanted to show you your future, what you’ve got waiting for you, but some of these things you won’t have to wait for, because today, I’m going to introduce you to Betty.”

“Betty?” She asked.

“The shield.” She clarified, taking it off of the wall, smiling at it while dusting off the surface. “Made of Diuranium, the strongest and most rare metalloid in the world. It’s treated me very well over the years. We’ve been through a lot, Betty and me. I have some very fond memories of us together,” She spoke as if the shield was her girlfriend.

“And now it’s yours.” Dike finished, extending it out to Meaghan.

“No fucking way, Dike!” Meaghan exclaimed as she took the shield.

“Oh, it’s heavier than I thought it would be!” She noticed as she took it, but she soon discovered the shield’s unique balance while Dike helped her with the appropriate grip. He stood behind her and guided her arm into the straps, helping her with her stance. He was making the final touches with her arm as he dropped one hand to her hip with a light, barely their touch, guiding her until she was in the right position.

“How does that feel?” he asked, his question sending Meaghan into a screaming internal monologue, trying to decode what exactly he meant. It was only a few seconds before he clarified, taking a step back and coming around to stand in front of her. She didn’t understand the feelings behind it all, but she never wanted Dike to take his hand off her hip.

“It’s not as heavy now, is it? It’s all about how you stand and how you hold it to give you the biggest advantage. Betty is an extension of yourself, you two kind of have to work in harmony. It’ll take some getting used to, but from now on we’ll be working with her. Try it out, block me with her and try defending with your other hand.” Dike explained, and Meaghan attempted to do what he asked. It felt weird and different, but at the same time it felt natural. It really was an extension of herself. It made her feel empowered.

She was exhilarated. Dike knew this and saw the sparkle in her eye, and once again didn’t doubt that she was, in fact, the one.

Dike, and his soulmate.

**********

Meanwhile, in Asgard, Maize was having the same kind of shock and bewilderment that Meaghan had upon entering the Vault, and Thor had much of the same response Dike did.

“What the FUCK, this is ASGARD?!” Maize excitedly screeched, glad she was feeling excited instead of feeling the crippling weight of immense panic and anxiety.

“Maize! Language!” Thor boomed.

“You sound like Dike! But I’m sorry, this is just... I don’t have any words, Thor.” She said, breathlessly, hoisting herself up on the wall with her arms and leaning out, trying to take it in all at once.

“I’m glad you love it, because this land is just as much yours as it is mine. You will be spending a lot of time here so do not worry about not knowing everything immediately. Over time you will know everyone and everything, and it will become a second nature to you. Let this first trip be educational, calm and I daresay entertaining. I want Asgard to feel like your home, because it is. I want it to leave a good impression on you, Maize. Enjoy it.”

“Believe me, I will!” She spoke, listening to him completely but not once looking at him. She was busy feeling the stones and the pillars and looking up at the intricate architecture of the buildings and the ceilings, admiring it all.

“I hate to interrupt this, but we have to get you into some normal attire, Maize.”

“What’s wrong with my outfit now?” She asked. Thor sighed.

“Putting it simply, my people don’t know what leggings are or what Nike is, and you look... odd. Follow me and we will get you properly dressed.” He spoke, leading her through the palace and to the garment room where she was dressed in a gold-toned dress and a rich blue cloak paired with sturdy but light lace-up sandals that were tied up her calves. Thor himself also traded his Earthly clothing for his standard uniform; some armor and a shiny black layered cloak instead of his velvet, drape-like cape. Upon seeing Maize’s clothing transformation, Thor seemed satisfied.

“Ah, that’s much better. Now, you look like the royalty you are. After all, I- we, rule Asgard. There will be a celebration tonight for your homecoming, Maize. Maize- ugh, must you touch everything?!” Thor spoke to a distracted Maize, frustrated. Maize was, once again indeed, touching everything.

“What do the mortals call that? Thigmophilia?! Maize, please, some parts of Asgard are tens of thousands of years old-” Thor spoke again to a Maize that didn’t seem to care that the ancient artifacts she was rubbing her hands all over were irreplaceable and priceless, and only existed in that exact spot in the universe.

“Yes, I have to touch everything, Thor.”

“Well, if you’re going to touch something, it might as well be Mjolnir.”

Maize spun around quickly, diverting all her attention back to Thor.

“The hammer?!”

“Yes, the hammer. Come, follow me.”

“I just got here, do you really think we should rush into this?” Maize asked nervously.

“I won’t force you to hold it and lift it, I know that what it means can be overwhelming to you, but I want you to be acquaintances with it at least.” Thor clarified as they walked through the corridors to the throne room where the illustrious, storied hammer sat on a marble table. Thor approached it, Maize staying a few paces back. Thor picked up the hammer and tossed it up in the air gently, giving it a little spin before catching it in his hand again. He had a fond smile on his face before setting the hammer back down and noticing that Maize was standing back.

“What are you waiting for?” Thor asked. “Come on in. Mjolnir won’t bite.”

“I just don’t think I’m ready.” Maize spoke quietly, feeling vulnerable. This was her biggest fear.

“Why dost you think that?” He inquired, using more Asgardian language.

“I’m genuinely afraid I’m not going to be worthy.” She responded, doubting herself and her capabilities.

“Believe me, you are.” Thor chuckled, knowing that she was worthy from the start and having it reaffirmed with her humbleness towards the hammer.

“Go ahead.” He encouraged gently with a smile. Maize trusted him and reached out towards the hammer slowly. She slid her wrist through the strap and curled her fingers around the handle, it had a mild electric buzz coursing through it, her body completing the circuit.

“Be careful, it’s not that heavy.” He cautioned, afraid she would use an incredible amount of force to lift the hammer, assuming it was terribly heavy or not knowing what weight to expect, and have it swing around wildly. Maize still hesitated on lifting it.

“You can do it, Maize.” Thor spoke once more, and this time Maize went for it. She took a breath and shut her eyes, effortlessly lifting the hammer. She opened her right eye and saw her hammer had been lifted off the table, to her ultimate relief. She let out the huge breath her lungs had been holding in as a precaution.

“Hey! It’s much lighter than I thought it would be!” She exclaimed happily, letting it bounce in her hand. “It almost feels alive.” She remarked, amazed.

“It doesn’t look like much, but you are wielding one of the most powerful weapons in the entire universe, Maize. You have most of the power inside of you, the hammer just helps and accentuates it. Though, you two must work together in order to be efficient. I know you don’t want to ever let go because you’re afraid you might never pick it up again, but Mjolnir will come back to you. Just like the Midgardian boomerang. If you summon it, it will return to the spot it was tossed from. Likewise, if you throw yourself with the hammer you will fly along with it, but you cannot take flight without it. So, don’t go jumping off of things. That I do not advise.” Thor spoke, giving Maize the crash-course on the hammer and how to wield it.

Maize’s biggest fear about being Thor had been squandered. She was utterly confident in herself that she would finish out her training. She knew that she would eventually, one day be capable of ruling all the land her eyes could see, and she was genuinely secure in that thought. She knew now more than ever that she could do this, and Thor knew that she had finally realized what he had known all along. It just took a little help from the hammer.

Truly, and undoubtedly, two new gods had been born that day, and there was no stopping them now.

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