The journey to Earth took near five months. There was no fast way to travel across Galaxies aside from ship. The crew that carted her from one place to the other was small and disgruntled for having to travel so far to a place as merger as Earth.
They, however, didn't complain outright, but she could see it in their gaze. It was pretty boring flying for days on end. Even she tired of reading the books she'd packed for her trip. She thought they'd be enough to sustain her travels, she had been wrong.
Leaving Mechanova behind like this meant it would be a long trip, it always was. Only until her sister came to see her would Cephera see anyone from Mechanova or have a way to return.
Still, Cephera had not changed her mind. She left Mechanova but not before having an extended argument with her former lover whom she'd hoped to avoid. She wanted no more to do with Krystoff. She simply didn't care for him the way she once had.
He'd changed over the centuries. The longer they continued to be lovers the more he changed. He blamed her for her lack of fertility, blamed her for not being attentive enough. Even got angry when she was simply not in the mood for sex. These traits weren't always there, but over time he became the kind of man Cephera couldn't be with.
She felt free now that he was far behind her. A distant memory. One she didn't plan to revisit.
She always feared being alone on Earth. Never finding someone to love her or for herself to love. She wondered if a child between herself and anyone was possible, and if that child would have the same strange traits as her, such as her longevity.
She no longer feared those things. She knew her sister would have no problems coming to see her and Cephera was ready to throw caution to the wind. If there was someone of Earth meant to love and understand her for who she was, she was finally ready to embrace that and move forward.
"We've arrive on the border." Her captain told her. Cephera looked out one of the many crystal glass windows and saw Earth in the distance. From here she could use a stone imbued with magical properties to get to the surface.
They didn't dare land there. They liked to be discrete.
"Thank you," Cephera gave the captain a smile before gripping the stone in her hand. The ships interior vanished, but she didn't land where she normally would land.
She fell through the sky to hit rubble below her. She felt herself sustain damage but nothing that wouldn't heal. The fall hadn't been that high, but it had startled her.
When she looked up her breath hitched in her throat and she forgot her healing injuries.
New York City all around her was in ruins.
It took a moment for her to gain her composure and stand up. Buildings that once rose high in the sky were nothing more than broken hallow walls and some were complete ruins in the streets.
Her friend, Tony Stark, had been building a very large tower not far from her small apartment building, that was no longer there, but erected in its place was a different tower. It looked new. It was a odd focal point among all the devastation.
Looking more closely, Cephera noticed other small buildings that looked new. She could hear construction in the distance. It would seem life was not completely halted despite it looking like armageddon hit them.
Unsure what to do now, she did the only thing available. She climbed from the rubble that had once been her apartment and made her way toward the noise.
Tony's ear perked up at the sound of his door opening but he didn't react or turn to see who stepped inside. He hoped it was Pepper, but even if it was, only Loki could open the enchanted door.
"Tony," Pepper's voice was like satin on his ears. He might see her once a week if he was lucky. Loki wasn't charitable or trusting enough to allow him a visit unless he was a 'good boy'.
Finally turning, he smiled at her and accepted the hug she gave him and watched the door close. The King was gone. For a moment they were quiet, waiting for complete privacy before Tony let Pepper go and went to his workbench.
Pepper followed glancing back at the door as she did. "He's gone," Tony assured her. "Has he treated you properly? He hasn't used his Kingly wilds on you has he?"
"Tony," she began in an exasperate tone and then just stopped talking. Tony wouldn't admit it, but he sometimes feared what Loki might force Pepper to do. She deserved better than the life they had now. Her relationship to him was what got her here.
When Tony had been found among the rubble of the city by Loki's men, Tony had been in rough shape. His suit had saved him from the nuke but it was months before he even woke from his unconious state and by then Pepper had come running to New York to find him and Loki had found her instead.
"Alright give it to me easy." He urged her, eager to hear about the outside world. Pepper was able to hear information he couldn't. She was like his personal inside spy. Pepper put on her serious work face before answering.
"Fury is still a free man. Loki has been meeting big resistance from East Asia and Russia. He's been meeting with government officials that he's allowed to stay in power. There are rumours he's looking to try a different approach to taking the rest of Earth. Peace talks and the like." She frowned.
"Fury's still ticking, I guess we know why he was boss." Tony grabbed a map he had rolled up in plain view. Loki tended not to look hard at things out in the open. The map had marks around it for places Loki still hadn't conquered.
SHIELD had literally blown a hole in his world domination plans. Not only had the nuke destroy New York and taken thousands of lives but it also killed many of his invading army and damaged the Tesseract badly enough for the portal to close. Enough of his army remained to gain him control of many places, but not all.
Loki's alien army was beginning to dwindle and left behind was his mortal army.
Poor saps most of them.
Loki had many of his mortal army brainwashed using his sceptre. There were a select few who served the King willingly, traitors within SHIELD. They defected to helping the King as soon as the war was lost.
Pepper grabbed Tony a marker to begin marking off places she knew Loki had managed to take over and before Tony finished she passed him a highlighter. "Washington was infiltrated by the Resistance, they've taken control back from Loki and closed off the city."
"The Preseident?" Tony asked.
"Still missing." That was good news in Tony's books. Missing was better than captured or dead. Most likely SHIELD had him in hiding. Most of the military were currently working for the Resistance so there was a good chance that's were the President was.
Tony hopped onto his computer and typed in the code that would allow him access without alerting Loki. After all, he was the designer. If Loki thought JARVIS actually worked for him than he was a fool.
He manually coded in a command to cut Loki off from the live feed of cybernetic information coming from Washington. Loki would see silence from that City while Tony made contact with them.
"JARVIS, daddy has good news." Tony rubbed his hands together.
"And I have bad news Sir," JARVIS replied. Tony paused.
"You know I hate it when you ruin my good mood.", Tony said typing in his codes.
"Sorry, but Cephera Fair-O'lite approaches the North side of the spiral."
"Oh no," Pepper breathed.
"Hide her from all security camera's," Tony ordered JARVIS.
"Already done, but it's only a matter of time before she's caught by the patrol guards." The A.I. replied. Tony cursed under his breath. He couldn't stop her from where he was. Tony wished Pepper was still in the kitchens, were she slaved for Loki. She could grab a second to find and warn their mutual friend. He'd wondered if she was safe, now he knew.
Cephera hadn't the slightest idea what she would do now that she was here. It was only an hour ago she'd been talking to a young mans wife not too far from here.
The woman had been frightened and spoke in whispers while constantly checking over her shoulder for anyone who might be nearby. She explained to Cephera what had happened and Cephera was stunned speechless.
Earth, invaded and taken over by Loki, the God of mischief.
When Cephera had inquired over the whereabouts of her friend Tony Stark she had been pointed toward the spiral Tower she was now standing outside of. She'd waited for the patrol to pass first, but now that she was here, she hadn't the clue how to proceed.
The kind woman wasn't sure if Tony would be here or dead, but Cephera had to know.
A part of her wished she'd admitted to Tony that she wasn't human and told him her real story. Instead, she'd fabricated a life for herself. An identity on Earth to suit King Yorin's rules.
A part of her felt that if Tony had known what she was, if they had establish a way to communicate off world then maybe none of this would have happened. Maybe King Yorin might have helped. After all, the only reason he didn't want the Humans knowing about them was because they didn't want to upset the delicate balance of normal life for them.
The mortal world held no magic, at least not naturally. Now it would seem trying to protect them from alien existence was futile and Cephera's fabricated life no longer mattered.
She didn't desire to be captured. Not after the stories she'd heard from the young woman. She needed to get into the King's massive tower, find her friends if they were there and get out.
The only advantage she had was her odd magical ability. A genetic mutation from being half twin sister with an alien. It would help against the humans, but against Loki's army or the King himself..., she wasn't sure.
Looking around her she smoothed her hand over the rough outer wall. The spire was decorated with intricate carvings all the way up. They looked to be ruins, she'd seen some in books once. Enhancements for the King who lived inside no doubt.
She followed the building around its circumference, avoiding doorways that were guarded by using those grooves to climb high enough to shimmy over their heads as silently as possible.
At last she found herself a window that was cracked open to allow breeze inside. Cephera hadn't time to look in. She heard the sound of the patrol not far from her. Taking a leap of faith, she squeezed herself almost painfully through the gap. Her dress hitched on the windows edge along her sleeve and tore as she tugged to release herself.
Cephera gasped when her free arm was seized and she was yanked all the way into the room and fell flat on the hard marble floor.