"So let's talk about magic. We can dicker on the exact rules, if you like. There are all sorts of grimoires and cryptonomicons. I've got an AD&D manual somewhere. At the core, though... magic is taking a thought and making it real. Taking a lie and making it the truth. Telling a story to the universe so utterly, cosmically perfect that for a single, shining moment... the world believes a man can fly."''
—Loki, Issue #1
"Once upon a time, Thor was exiled to Midgard, and spent his time playing the role of the hero. So his brother Loki—smarting over a few minor squabbles—decided to play the role of the villain. But the gods are creatures of magic. Creatures of story. We must be careful which roles we step into."
—Loki, Issue #1
"This universe prefers old patterns, old cycles. It would prefer me in an old shape. These files—these stories—have a gravity that pulls at me. That would crush me back into what I no longer am. Away with them, then. I did terrible things to be Loki—things that haunt me, crimes that cannot be forgiven—but I am Loki. And more than that—I am 'myself."
—Loki, Issue #1
"This is the story of Loki. A story between drafts. In the process of being rewritten. Loki wanders the world, performing the All-Mother's missions, earning his rewards—old crimes forgotten. Parts of the story erased. The story is in flux. Gaps form in the narrative, through which a new story may be written."
Doom: Consider this. If 'magical thinking' is the assumption of a higher narrative in the flow of events... then true magic...
Loki: What are you talking about, you mad old—
Doom: It's. My. Move. As I was saying. True magic is the imposition of a narrative upon reality. It is telling a story to the world... and making the world believe it. The dark work of police and politicians. Of rulers. And tricksters. And if magic is narrative... then to be a creature of magic... to be a god... is to be a creature of story. Yes? Your move.
Loki: Um... Sorry, I wasn't listening. Why do your robots all look like you again?
Doom: Not the move I would have made. Still— it's a fair question. Why do they look like me? Doesn't it create the possibility that I am one? That Doom may, at any moment, be a machine? That I am not myself? Of course it does. That is how I wish it. I once let Arcade strike a match on me, just to maintain that confusion. Think, boy. If I am ever defeated or dishonored— If I ever act in ways unworthy of myself... If I ever die... The word goes out: "It must have been a Doombot." And the reverse is true. My robots often confuse my foes—I may be a robot now, speaking these words. How would you know? How would I? What is Doom? The flesh and blood I can swap out at my convenience? The mind that can be copied into a thousand machines? No. Doom cannot fit in such small containers. I am not my body. Not my mind. I am... I am the old trunk, filled with ancient mysteries. I am the explosion in the college laboratory. I am the mask that burns with the fires of vengeance. I am the legend that unites this nation. I am the story of Doom. And if Doom is a creature of story...
Loki: Stop. Just... stop. This is madness, Doom. You're not a story. You're not a god. One day, you'll die—
Doom: Oh? The story of Doom can end, you say?
Doom: Then I'm a better story than you.
"Time plus space equals narrative. A time machine is a space machine for moving through narrative. And if we can move— we can also be still. "It is not dying." I have made you a prison without time, Loki. Without space. Without story. Your narrative is on pause—forever."
—Doctor Doom, Issue #6
Magpie: O nobly born. Listen well.
Loki: Away, bird. I've no stomach for... omens.
Magpie: Trickster. Shapeshifter. Tamer of monsters. Moon king and wanderer. That which is called ego-death is coming to you.
Loki: ... What?
Magpie: Remember. This is now the hour.
Freyja: I heard every word the Odinson said, Loki. I heard the charges laid at your door—that you are not Loki at all. Merely an echo who stole his corpse. I heard a grizzled, sniveling apology—the lowest and cheapest coin of all. But no denial. Is it true, then? Is it?
Loki: ... Aye. And don't pretend it isn't what you wanted. You wished to bring back the eternal villain, to help shepherd your perfect Asgard into being? Now he stands before you! As hated as ever! Even though you should thank me! Thank me for keeping your lily-white hands clean! All of you! Your precious little hero—your "Kid Loki"—will never rot in the cage you built for him. He had the luxury of dying as himself."
Freyja: Be—be silent—
Loki: Never! Why such fury, mother? Because now you can't betray him? Because you'll never get to turn him into me? Or into that monster, that "King Loki" you keep secret in your dungeons? Because I robbed you of that pleasure?
Odin: And yet... [points to his eyepatch] here there is wisdom. The strange wisdom of the World-Tree I gave this eye to. The tree that is everything. That has its roots and branches in all that is. There are ten realms in this reality—ten spheres, ten universes, and the tree winds through them all. Through every star and planet. Every hero and villain. Every life. Every story. I am Odin Borson, who built the world from corpse-meat. I am Odin One-Eye, and sometimes my one eye is open. But above all, I am Odin All-Father. I am the one who speaks for the tree. I am the king of all stories... and you are my child.
Loki: Then—then you must help me—
Odin: No. I must not. You are my child, and you are loved—these are truths that do not change. But you have the blood of your better self on your hands. And the blood must have payment. The blood must have the fire."
Loki: Father, what are you—
Odin: This is your time of fire. Your hour of trial, when the storm is at the door and all is darkest. Hold to yourself, God of Lies. Be worthy—not of your brother's power, but of your own. Remember. Remember what a lie is.
"That's why. Because I tried to change—and I changed. And it didn't matter. Because even if the God of Lies is not the God of Evil—he is still the God of Lies.''"
—King Loki, Issue #12
A storm is at the door. It has lashed the hills for three long days, tearing root from rock, stone from stone. White sky-fire struck the roof of one of the great long-huts, and the wound belches damp, black smoke. The wind howls like wolves. The fields are sodden swamp. There can be but one cause.
The gods. The gods are angry. In the remaining hut, the tribe listens to the thunder. Like dragons at war. Like a great and terrible hammer, breaking the walls 'tween Earth and Sky. The tribe listens... and fears. For what could hold fast against the hammer of thunder? What power could stand amidst the storm and call it brother?
"The Skald knows. He is old now, and his voice is hoarse and cracked. But he knows a magic greater than gods. A master-magic to harness the gods to his bidding. To tame the storm. A magic of fire and darkness. A magic with a burning heart.
... The storm is dead now. But none heard its passing. For in their ears, they have the magic words of the Skald—spells passed down from teller to teller, to conjure the gods themselves, to make them dance and play in the mind and heart—to steal away all fear.
The storm was fierce, and terrible, and strong enough to shake the world. But the storm is over now. And the fire is burning still."
Old Loki: I didn't want to die. I laid schemes upon schemes, all to free myself from the yoke of destiny. Not some reincarnation of myself—myself. Me. Not you. But my trick turned back on me. When the Void took me, I died forever. And from that moment on, any Loki in my shape can only ever be a worthless copy. I am done. I am gone. "I'm sorry, brother."
Kid Loki: I didn't want to die. I was a fresh start—what everyone said they wanted. But the old was deemed preferable to the good, as is always the way. So my tricks were turned back on me. The Void took me. I died forever. But I died as myself, not a worthless copy. I won an ending. I am done. I am gone. "I win."
Loki: And now... what? It's my turn? The copy—sorry, the worthless copy—gets what's coming to him, is that it?
Loki: Quiet, bird of ill-omen—
Old Loki: Aye, enough bird-talk. You are the God of Lies, and that is all you'll ever be. Accept your place. Take your crown. Be what everyone wants—another version of me. Embrace nostalgia. Enjoy the security of doing what's expected. It's better than nothing, after all.
Kid Loki: Is it, though? Really? Why not take my path instead? End the story of Loki. Embrace the Void to save everything from yourself. Cease to be.
Old Loki: Whichever path you choose, boy—choose quickly.
Loki: Verity—stop. It is too late. It's always been too late for me.
Verity: What? What are you...?
Loki: I can't change what I am. I'm the God of Lies. Forever. And whatever happens, I'll never be anything else. You should stay away from—
Verity: Loki, shut up. That makes no sense. You can't tell a lie right now. That's what started all this, remember? So you can't do what you're apparently the god of? You're already being something else, you idiot! You—you can't just give up on yourself! I don't care what he said! You don't give up! Seriously—what does "God of Lies" even mean?"
Old Loki: Loki—you—
Kid Loki: You must choose—
Loki: Quiet. What does the God of Lies mean...?
Magpie: The magic theater. Of heroes and demons. Saints and sorcerers. The lotus lord of dance. The trickster. The shapeshifter. Tamer of monsters, mother of gods. Moon king and wanderer. Master-magician of them all.
Loki: ... Right. What is a lie, when it's at home? Anyone?
Old Loki: L-Loki—listen—
Kid Loki: Listen to us—
Loki: Is it the depressed little voice inside? Whispering in my ear? Telling me to give up? Well, I'm not giving up. Not for that part of me that hates myself. That wants me to wither and die. Not for you. Never for you.
Loki: What's a lie, Verity? A lie is a story told. That's all.
Verity: Loki? What are you—
Loki: And we can rewrite our stories. All of us. Write our own happy endings. Our own redefinitions. We don't have to be what we're told to be. Even by ourselves. But... if you really want to change, you can't just trick yourself into thinking you already have. That's never a trick worth playing. ... Is this goodbye, or see you later?
Verity: It's... see you later. Please.
Loki: I'll do my best. You'll see me again, Verity.
"I have a friend who believes in me. I have a brother whom I love. I am my own, and will not sit long in any box built for me. These things are right. These things we'll keep. As for the rest... let's tell a different story. Let's be something new."
— Loki, Issue #13
"Me? I'm the God of Stories. I'm Loki."
— Loki, Issue #13