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Inevitable Confrontation by David ScholesThe landscape was as bleak, and barren, as any he had experienced. Not a single strand of vegetation and just a small dilapated cottage located on the broadest part of the isthmus.
At least it had the shape of an isthmus. A long narrow neck and bulbous head. Yet there was nothing behind the isthmus or ahead of it, or above or below it. Not even the stars.
It just sat there in a sea of nothingness.
If the mighty Thor had encountered a more miserable place, in all of his vast travels, he could not recall it. The cottage reminded him of a disused crofter's residence in the islands of the Outer Hebrides of a world he had once protected.
A woman form, in rags, with long unkempt hair, and suffering etched in her face came out of the cottage. She was frail and slightly bent over. An equally ragged looking, boy child followed her out.
"Who are you stranger? and what are you doing here?" she mouthed in an unusual form of communication that was a mixture of audible sound and telepathy. "No one comes here," she continued, unable to disguise her surprise, "no one can come here."
"You seem like a sort of, well a ___, a sort of a man." she finished. Then fell silent.
Though she thought to herself "It could have sent him, or just possibly a random teleportation between the realities went seriously wrong."
"Neither of those things" came the response "I am Thor of Asgard and I have come here deliberately."
The woman form was silent for a moment. "I have heard of you mighty one, who, either before, in, or after time has not heard of the son of Allfather Odin?"
As she finished, a storm not of Thor's own making, began to gather in the nothingness that surrounded the small isthmus. The small cottage looked inconceivably frail beside it.
The woman form looked not at all surprised. "The storm is part of a cycle of torment to which we are subjected here," she explained.
"For all of Eternity," replied Thor knowingly.
"We are beyond Eternity here," came the woman form's response etched in inconceivable bitterness "beyond time, beyond any and all of the realities."
"I know that," said Thor.
Yet the storm did not gather with the intensity that it always had. Something held it in check.
The woman form pointed to what appeared to be a deep well at the very edge of the isthmus. The god of Thunder had not noticed it earlier. "It is a limitless reservoir of mystical anti-energy," she said "and will just go on fuelling the storm, giving it however much power is needed to overcome you. Best to let the storm come now, if you persist, you will alert It and It will come here."
"It is my intent to persist," said Thor.
The son of Odin stepped closer to the woman form and boy child touching them both at the same time. With the merest caress he took from them all the pain, all the fear, all the infirmity, all the hopelessness, all of the endless agony they had endured. The woman form stood to her full height. Thor saw that unshackled from the pain, and fear she was beautiful beyond even his experience.