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Asgard is a small planetary body (its surface area about the same size as the continental US) in the like-named Asgard dimension, whose nature and physics are different from Earth's dimension. Asgard is a relatively flat, asteroid-like landmass, with no axis or sun to orbit, yet has a night and day (of undisclosed duration) but no evidence of seasons. It is unrevealed if Asgard's source of light and heat is the Earth's sun, a sun or other stellar body in the Asgardian dimension or purely magical in nature. Asgard's gravity apparently originates from some point or object beneath the landmass; consequently, there is a top side to Asgard's landmass, upon which beings can stand. At the boundaries of or under Asgard's landmass, an object or being can step into the void and fall through space toward the source of gravitation. Presumably magical forces keep the bottom and edges of Asgard's landmass from eroding. This force also prevents bodies of water at Asgard's boundaries from pouring into the void, as well as preventing Asgard's atmosphere from escaping. Asgard has been described as floating on a "Sea of Space." This sea apparently has a surface that is navigable by certain Asgardian ships resembling Viking longboats. The exact nature of space in the Asgardian dimension is unrevealed. While Asgard's gravity is roughly analogoous to Earth's, matter is considerably denser on average. Consequently, a chair made of Asgardian wood would be more massive (and heavier) than a chair made of Earthly wood. Rock, water, steel - most Asgardian matter is denser and thus more durable, including flesh and bone.

Asgard is connected in some as yet unrevealed way with at least two other dimensional planes, Muspelheim and Earth (which the Asgardians call Midgard, meaning "Middle Realm"). The Asgardians refer to all the major known inhabited realms of their cosmology as the "Nine Worlds." Only four of the Nine Worlds are on the main Asgardian landmass: Asgard, former home of the gods; Vanaheim, home of the Asgardians' sister race the Vanir; Nidavellir, home of the dwarves; and Alfheim, home of the light elves. The remainder of the Nine Worlds are on separate landmasses isolated from one another by interdimensional space. For the sake of creating a comprehensible diagram, the Nine Worlds of Asgard are placed in a multi-leveled configuration; these levels don't represent any real physical distances or relationships. Instead, they represent the interdimensional relations between the realms. Earth is evidently unaffected by the motions of any of the other physical bodies in the Asgardian cosmology, although Earth's axis is in alignment with one of the roots of Yggdrasil, the cosmic ash tree of Asgard. Jotunheim, the world of the giants, is a flat, ring-shaped realm with high mountains along its inner edge. Jotunheim is apparently on its own separate dimensional plane, discrete from Asgard and Earth. Svartalfheim, home of the dark elves, is another asteroid-like landmass, smaller than Asgard. There are numerous nexus-portals between the mountains of Jotunheim and Svartalfheim with the mountains of Asgard permitting easy passage by denizens of each realm. These passageways make Jotunheim and Svartalfheim seem like "underworlds" of the Asgardian continent itself. The eighth of the Nine Worlds is Hel, realm of the dead, and its sister realm, Niffleheim. In the Asgardian afterlife, heroes and honored dead go to Valhalla, a special region of Asgard, while common dead go to Hel, and the dishonored dead (murderers and other evildoers) go to Niffleheim. The ninth of the Nine Worlds is Muspelheim, land of the fire demons and their master, Surtur. Muspelheim is on its own dimensional plane, separate from all the other Nine Worlds. Asgard is honeycombed with nexus-portals to the various extra-dimensional realms of the Nine Worlds, making the worlds (with the exception of Earth) sometimes seem like they are on a contiguous plane (indeed, early cartographers of Asgard mapped it this way). The ony permanent portal to Earth is Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge, fashioned by Odin Borson. There is a special passageway from Asgard to the extra-dimensional realm of Olympus, home of the Greek Gods. Since Olympus is not a part of the Asgardian cosmology, this nexus-portal is believed to be an artificial rather than natural phenomenon. Another unique feature of Asgard is the Cave of Time, an apparently natural phenomenon through which passage to other eras is possible. It is theorized that somewhere in the Sea of Space there are floating nexus-portals to Earth's space. Beings of the Earthly dimension have in certain instances been able to travel to Asgardian space. There may be an edge to Asgard's Sea of Space, perhaps at the perimeter of the "Dome of the Sky" extending from the outer edge of ringed Jotunheim. At the edge of the sea there would exist "dimensional borderlands" that serve as transitional areas between discrete dimensions.

Races

The Asgardian gods, who currently live on Earth, were worshiped a millennium ago each with varying degrees of magic-wielding aptitude and superhuman longevity: the gods are the most human-looking and powerful race. Asgard and its realms are usually populated by six distinct humanoid races, by the Norsemen of Scandinavia and various Germanic tribes, but no longer actively pursue followers. The gods are extremely long-lived (though not immortal like the Olympian gods), aging at an extraordinarily slow rate upon reaching adulthood; semi-regular ingestion of the golden apples of Idunn help them retain their vigor (the golden apples can also cure most mortal injuries). Asgardian gods' flesh and bone is about three times denser than human tissue, contributing to the gods' superhuman strength (lifting 25-30 tons) and weight. Asgardians are immune to all terrestrial diseases and have superhuman durability, metabolism and endurance. Nornheim's inhabitants are believed the same race as the gods who reside in Asgard's capital.

Asgard's second race is the giants, who dwell in Jotunheim. The giants are humanoid in appearance and color, although they tend toward the Neanderthalic in body and bone structure. Their most distinguishing feature is their height, averaging 20'-30'. On occasion, giants will produce stunted offspring who look similar to the gods, such as Loki and Skurge the Executioner; giants have also interbred with the god, including Odin's family. Giants tend to lead a simple hunter/gatherer existence, but their great resentment of the gods' superior attributes frequently incite them to wage war against them. Giants are frequently sub-classified by their locale: Storm and Mountain Giants live in the mountains, while Frost, Ice and Rime giants live in the frozen tundra; rock giants' locale is unrevealed. The eldest Frost Giant is Ymir.

Asgard's third race is the dwarves. Dwarves are smaller in stature than the gods, and have squad, stocky bodies. Their average height is four feet. The Dwarves tend to be craftsmen and farmers who maintain friendly trade and relations with the gods. Dwarves dwell in the land of Nidavellir, where they have crafted Asgardian weapons such as Thor Odinson's hammer, Mjolnir, and Odin's spear, Gungnir.

Asgard's fourth race is the elves. There are two types of elves, the dark elves and the light elves, and each dwell in their own separate world, Svartalfheim and Alfheim, respectively. Elves of both kinds vary greatly in size, from 4'-8'. They tend toward slender bodies with proportionately long limbs, although there are exceptions. The light elves tend to be lighter in color than the dark elves and dwell on the surface, while the dark elves often dwell underground.

Asgard's fifth race is the trolls. The trolls are the least human-looking of the denizens of Asgard's worlds, possessing almost simian-like characteristics. Trolls are stocky and massive, have thick body hair (almost fur), and tend toward a ruddy orange in color. They are on average taller than the gods but shorter than the giants, around sevel feet tall, although some trolls are considerably taller. They live mostly underground in scattered settlements throughout Asgard, Vanaheim, Jotunheim, and Svartalfheim. The trolls toil as miners and metalworkers.

Asgard's sixth race is the fire demons, beings of flame who dwell in Muspelheim, but sometimes venture to the other worlds in the name of war. A nomadic race, fire demons are the offspring of the great fire demon Surtur, whose existence is said to precede the gods. Fire demons tend to be about the same stature as the gods.

Also originating on Asgard are various notable creatures such as dragons and other great serpents (notably the Midgard Serpent and Nidhogg), the three Norns (aka the Fates), lupine beings (including the wolf gods and Fenris Wolf, descendants of the Elderspawn Varcolac), Garm the hound of Hel, the miniature winged Vanna, Oddbrand Otter, Rattatosk the squirrel, Agnar and Lerad the eagles, the boar gods (including Gullin), Odin's ravens Hugin, Munin and Hescamar, Odin's wolves Freki and Geri, Odin's horse Sleipnir, various winged horses of Odin and the Valkyrior and Thor's goats Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder. Gnomes and ogres have been sighted in Asgard but are presumed non-native species, possibly having emigrated from Otherworld (the Tuatha de Danaan/Celtic gods' realm).

Origin

According to Asgardian legend, in the distant past two worlds came into being on the opposite sides of the Sea of Space: Muspelheim, the land of fire, and Niffleheim, the land of ice, separated from one another by Ginnungagap, the Yawning Void. Eventually, the warm air from Muspelheim affected Niffleheim, generating Ymir the frost giant, who fathered the race of giants. The cow Audumla licked from the ice he first Asgardian, Buri. Buri had a son, Bor, who married the giantess Bestla. Bor and Bestla's sons were Odin, Vili and Ve, who grew up to slay Ymir and from his blood formed a great sea. The brothers raised Ymir's body from the sea and created Midgard, the middle between Niffleheim and Muspelheim. With Ymir's bones they created mountains and with his hair they created trees. They then raised Ymir's skull upon four pillars to create the heavens. The skull contained sparks from Muspelheim that became the sun, moon and stars. When Midgard was complete, the brothers create a home for themselves above it called Asgard.

Odin eventually became Asgard's monarch, raising his son Thor to be the realm's greatest champion. Asgard withstood many internal conflicts, the gods often warring against Surtur, the trolls and giants, as well as dealing with the machinations of Odin's adopted son Loki. Early on, Odin learned the prophecies of Ragnarok that revealed Surtur would engulf the Nine Worlds in flame, destroying all the gods. Loki was foretold to be the key factor in these incidents, setting a chain of events into motion by killing Odin's son Balder; Odin concocted many elaborate plans to protect Balder from death and thus prevent Ragnarok. In several instances, Loki assumed Asgard's throne, often seizing advantage of Odin's periodic "Odinsleep" rests. Asgard also faced outsiders in a brief war with the Olympian gods and holding back invasions by cosmic beings such as the Mangog and Infinity. The Olympian death god Pluto once led an army to Asgard hoping to claim Odin's soul, but was repelled.

Ragnarok and on

When Balder was mortally wounded through Loki's plots, Ragnarok loomed over Asgard, at the same time as the extraterrestrial Celestials' Fourth Host threatened to pass judgment over Earth, determining whether the planet should exist. The gods waged war on the Host, their consciousnesses inhabiting the Destroyer armor, until the Celestials destroyed it; Thor survived battle with the Host, who ultimately judged Earth fit to survive. With the aid of other Earthly gods, Thor restored the fallen Asgardians to life and full health, including Balder. Soon after, Surtur led his fire demons in an all-out war with Asgard that played out on Earth, and Odin finally cast himself and Surtur into Muspelheim to keep the demon at bay. Balder ruled Asgard in Odin's stead until Thor rescued his father. The loss of Bifrost in battle with Surtur caused Asgard to drift into other dimensional planes, including the Negative Zone until Odin restored the bridge and its ties to the Nine Worlds. Later, Odin placed Heimdall on the throne while he entered his Odinsleep, only for the Norn sorceress Karnilla to aid Loki in planting his spirit within Odin's body. The deception was discovered by the replacement Thor Eric Masterson, who helped restore Odin. Hoping to cheat Ragnarok, Odin later cast all the Asgardians (except Thor and Thor's lover Amora the Enchantress) into the guise of mortals on Earth with no memories of their previous lives or superhuman abilities. The "Lost Gods" gradually began to realize their true identities and were finally returned to normal, only to be captured by the Dark Gods of Narcisson, who imprisoned them within their realm. Thor, joined by the Destroyer and Olympian god Hercules (Heracles), finally rescued his people.

After Odin perished in battle with Surtur, Thor assumed the throne and claimed his father's Odinpower. Thor brought Asgard fully into Earth's dimension, believing he had a responsibility to provide humans guidance. Cults soon formed around the Asgardians and Earthly nations became concerned regarding Asgard's intentions. After his alternate future (Reality-3515) counterpart showed Thor his reign would eventually transform him into a dictator, he withdrew Asgard from Earth. Soon after, Loki obtained an arsenal of uru weapons to outfit an army for an all-out assault on Asgard. When Balder died in the battle, Ragnarok moved forward; Thor learned from the prophetic Mimir's well how Those Who Sit Above in Shadow, a supposed gathering of "gods above all gods," cyclically allowed Ragnarok to occur before they recreated Asgard. Outraged at how the Asgardians had been ensnared, Thor allowed Ragnarok to occur, apparently slaying Those Who Sit Above in Shadow to prevent further manipulation. Thor later recreated Asgard anew, ensuring his people's lives would now be freed from fate.

Thor returned the city of Asgard to Earth, leaving it near Broxton, Oklahoma. He began collecting the various gods who perished in Ragnarok, each revived in a mortal identity. However, Loki plotted to control the throne by revealing that Balder was Odin' son, hoping Balder would be more pliant than Thor. When this faied, Loki made an alliance with the human Norman Osborn, head of US superhuman forces, helping him to falsify an Asgardian attack on US soil to justify a siege of Asgard. However, the truth of the manipulation came out, nd even Loki realized he had gone too far when Osborn attempted to destroy Asgard, partially shattering the city and sending it crashing to Earth. Heroes, including the Avengers and Secret Warriors, saved Asgard, and the Asgardians began reconstruction. Unknown to the Asgardians, by removing the capital from Asgard's space they allowed the extra-dimensional World-Eaters to occupy their previous space, and the World-Eaters began a conquest of the other Nine Worlds.

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