Previous Entry Share Next Entry
OVERFLOW POST- ROUNDS 1-3
norsekink
norse_kink wrote in norsekink
How to post:

1. Link to the original prompt
2. Text of the prompt
3. Link to the previous parts of the fill on the prompt post (only if the fill is incomplete)
4. Text/Link of the fill (depending on whether you are hosting the fill here or elsewhere)

Fills that have already been moved to Round 3 form Rounds 1 and 2 to be continued may stay there so as not to cause confusion. Some spam has been cleared off rounds 1 and 2, so I suggest you comment here with your fill and then comment on the original prompt with a link to the corresponding comment here while there's space to do so.

Note: all new fills of prompts from Round 1, 2 and 3 should be posted here.
Note 2: If you are continuing a fill from Round 1 or 2 and haven't been continuing those fills in another round (either round 3 or overflow), just keep updating your fill in its original round. (edit as of Jan 2012)

EDIT (24/10/11): This overflow post now includes fills for Round 3. Formatting remains the same.

 Quick Links 

Fill List | Discussion Post | Round One | Round Two | Round Three | Golden Oldies Round One | Flat View


Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (7a/?)

teh_will

2011-10-30 08:36 am (UTC)

Prompt: So in the original myths, Loki was Odin's 'brother' (by agreement), and not Thor's. So let's pretend this is the case in the movie, and Thor sees this pact happen as a child and grows up knowing Loki until he's an adult. (Loki pretty much stays the same throughout)
In this time, he spends day in and day out with Loki, who tolerates him with calmness and the slightest affection that no one else but Frigga gets, (not even Odin himself, but they don't need affection, just the agreement) and Thor gets this deep-set love for Loki that was cute as a kid, but now a little.... off, as an adult. Eventually, Thor acts on it.


Warnings: non-con, abuse/torture, mpreg, miscarriage/infant death, underage (not the Loki/Thor part), violence, some gore

Parts 1-6 under the old title here
Thor gazed up at the clear sky in disappointment. The frozen ground crunched and broke under his feet as he walked to the training ring to meet Loki for their evening session. Loki had insisted on more than knife throwing, taking what Thor learned from his tutors and finding his own applications for them. Thor had been happy to oblige. It was no later than when they would usually spar, but the sun was nearly gone and bathing the already frozen and dreary world in blue, the temperature dropping further. Thor shivered and tightened his furs about himself. It was more than cold enough, winter was well into its season, and still it had yet to snow. There had been not a cloud in the sky nearly the entire season.

Thor had tried calling on the storms to bring him snow, but he’d been overzealous and the clouds dumped only rain and thunder, warming Gladsheim just enough that the rain did not freeze but soaked everything and caked the ground in mud. He’d received a good swat on his behind from his nursemaid when he’s tracked it all over his room. Now the muddy swirls had frozen into place, making the path uneven under his feet.

When he reached the ring, he thought he must have beat Loki there, for he could not see anyone in the encroaching dark. Odd, Loki was never late. Movement by the weapons shed caught his eye and he could see the dull outline of Loki, laying out their weapons for the evening. Smiling, he hurried over, only to be brought up short as Loki turned to him, red eyes practically glowing in the evening light.

Loki’s blue skin blend in with the surroundings, making him difficult to see. He wore only a simple tunic, his arms and feet bare. He didn’t look cold at all, if anything, he looked more comfortable than Thor ever recalled seeing him.

“Loki...” Thor began, unable to help but take a step back. He knew Loki was a Jotunn, had seen the blue of his hand from that time before, but to see it now in its entire truth caught him off guard.

Paying no mind to Thor’s reaction, Loki selected a staff and lifted it, testing its flexibility. “I felt it would be good for you to get some practice against that which is not normal for you. The cold does not bother me and I have a thicker skin than you, freeing me of armor. I’ll have the advantage of movement.”

Thor only nodded, hands fidgeting with his furs. Once they started and Thor’s blood began to warm, he would discard most of his extra layers. He’d been drilled too many times in his life of the dangers of allowing himself to sweat overmuch under his layers in the cold.

Loki set aside the staff, knelt on one knee, and motioned Thor forward. He obeyed without hesitation, though there was some apprehension on his face.

“Look well, my son. This is the face of your enemy.”

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (7b/?)

teh_will

2011-10-30 08:42 am (UTC)

Thor leaned in close, taking in every detail of the alien face before him. The deep red eyes that glowed like dying embers, the strange blue skin. Reaching up, Thor traced one of the markings down Loki’s cheek, noting the cold texture of the skin. It was thicker, but not hard like stone, as he’d always thought. Yet...the facial structure was the same as Thor knew. The eyes, though different, still looked at him in the same way. Under his fingers, Thor could feel the dips of scars in certain places where flesh had been renewed, just like an Asa.

Thor let his hand drop and smiled, lifting a shoulder in a shrug.

“It is the face of Loki.”

Loki stared at him, not expecting that answer. He stood quickly, almost jumping back from the boy. Turning away, he took up the staff again.

“Choose a weapon. We don’t have much time before it gets too dark for you.”

“What about you?” Thor asked, reaching for the wooden sword he’d come to prefer.

“Jotunheim is in darkness most of the year. I can see as well as if it were daylight.”

Thor removed his heavy fur cloak and followed Loki to the center of the ring. Cold as it was, there would be no one to interrupt them tonight. He stood across from Loki, but did not raise his sword. No steam emitted from Loki’s nose as he breathed, nor from between his lips when he spoke.

“You’re breath’s cold.”

Loki sighed, realizing his form was going to cause more distraction than he thought. More advantage for him, and that was the lesson. “It would do us no good to have our homes melt around us because of our breath. Our anatomy is such that exhaled air is cooled while the air we inhale is warmed, else we’d freeze from within.”

That confused Thor. “But I heard that Frost Giants were made of ice.”

“As much as you are. The branches of Yggdrasil is not the only thing that connect the races, my son, we all came forth from the Ginnungagap. When you slay your first giant, and feel his blood splatter upon you, you’ll realize we burn as hot as you.”

“But you were cold when I touched you!”

Loki leaned on his staff. “After the great war, both ancient and new, there were Jotnar who remained on Midgard. They had no choice. Fire is an effective weapon against us, and one you Aesir use liberally. Burns are grievous injuries, and strips of us our connection to the ice.” Ice grew up Loki’s arm like glistening goosebumps and formed into a point at his fingertips. Thor stared in awe. “More than that, our skin is our insulation. When the flesh is burned too severely to regenerate, we are as susceptible to the cold as you are. My people who’d been so injured could not return home without causing their death. Some chose that fate anyway. We may not be made of ice, but we are born of it, and to lose that connection...I cannot imagine.”

The ice shattered and broke off of Loki’s hand. He picked up his staff and poked Thor in the chest. “Now, are we going to train at all or have an impromptu history lesson out in the cold?”

Thor lifted his training sword and grinned.

--

Stripped down to a vest and a woolen shirt, Thor panted and made another swing at Loki, who was barely visible in the dark. There was no moon tonight, and Loki was skilled in moving between the shadows of stars. The ground beneath them began to thaw from their movement as they continually circled each other, Thor often finding himself the recipient of a firm staff strike when he left himself open. He’d landed a few blows of his own, and Loki would laugh and dance out of reach again.

“Very good, my son!” Thor heard him pant when he landed a blow to Loki’s thigh before he moved out of sight.

“When do I win?” Thor asked, though he did not lower his sword.

“Win? You win when all your enemies are dead, but when they just keep coming, well...”

Loki’s voice drifted from behind him, very close. Thor shifted his feet and turned his torso, reaching out to where he caught a glimpse of Loki’s arm, intending to take it and pull Loki off balance. His small hand grabbed Loki’s wrist.

Thor cried out and leapt away, his hand both burning and numb. Dropping his sword, he sat in the dirt and cradled his hand.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (7c/?)

teh_will

2011-10-30 08:48 am (UTC)

“Wh-what happened?” he sobbed, more from the shock of it than anything. Loki had actually hurt him.

“Let me see,” Loki said, dropping beside him and reaching for the injured limb. Thor pulled away, afraid of his touch. Strangely, Loki didn’t feel any satisfaction like he usually did when he harmed someone. He hadn’t meant to hurt the boy. “I’m sorry, my son, I was...it’s habit. I’ve stopped, my touch won’t hurt you.”

He reached out, slower this time, and Thor let him take his injured hand and inspect it. His hand was frostbitten. “It’s not so bad, you let go quick enough. Here, tuck it under your armpit, like that, keep it warm, I’ll get your clothes. We’ll go inside, let it thaw out.”

“Why? All I did was touch you...but nothing happened when I touched you before!” Thor asked, his voice stronger now that the initial shock had worn off.

“It’s a Jotunn defense mechanism. We’re less likely to get eaten by something when our very touch causes harm. We learn to control it but when we fight... My son, we can’t harm each other, so we don’t think about it.” I didn’t think about it, he cursed himself. What if Thor hadn’t let go? Worse, what if Thor’s trust in him was lost? What then? He turned away, moving to the bench to retrieve Thor’s furs.

“So you didn’t mean to?” Thor’s eyes were wide, his face far too open. Loki draped his cloak over Thor, entrapping his own heat.

“No, Thor, I didn’t mean to hurt you. Come on, we should get you to the healers just in case.” Hands on Thor’s shoulders, he steered the boy back towards the palace, leaving the training weapons where they’d been dropped. Light from the windows spilled across the ground and all that was Jotunn in Loki’s appearance was whisked away, as though the Frost Giant within could only exist in the dark places of Asgard. Goosebumps raised on his arms and legs as the cold air kissed As flesh. Thor dug his heels into the frozen ground, halting them.

“We can’t! If they see my hand, they’ll know I was burned by a Frost Giant! You’ll be discovered!”

Loki sighed, pushing at Thor. He’d left his own cloak behind and it was far too cold to be standing outside arguing. “I doubt anyone will suspect a Jotunn in Asgard, much less one that went to all the trouble just to give the crown prince a minor case of frostbite on his hand. But if it will make you feel better, we’ll get the assistance of one of the healers who’d joined Odin’s campaign on Jotunheim. They know what I am.” Probably a better idea anyway, they knew how to deal with Jotunn-inflicted injuries.

“Alright,” Thor relented, and let Loki push him inside.

--

Aesir or not, the flames of the healing room burned too brightly and Loki stood a good distance from them. More important was some distance between himself and the healer’s scalding gaze when he glanced up from examining Thor’s hand. Loki merely shrugged at him. He knew better than to get on a healer’s bad side, but that didn’t mean he was going to mope about in repentance, either.

One application of salve and firm instructions to stay inside later, and Thor was once again happily at Loki’s heels as though nothing had happened. Loki had to admire that kind of resiliency that children always possessed. It was a decent walk from the healing room back to the royal living-quarters, and at this point in the evening, so close to the evening meal, the corridors were night empty.

“After dinner,” Thor began, “can we go to the library again?”

“While I approve of your sudden interest in learning, not tonight, my son.”

“Why not?”

“There is a certain flower with unique properties that only blooms in winter evenings I am interested in. I plan to go collect a few samples after I eat.”

“Can I come?” Thor’s eyes grew large and hopeful at the idea of a possible adventure.

“No. If for any reason, because you were just told to stay inside for a bit, last I recall.”

“But what am I supposed to do without you?”

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (8a/?)

teh_will

2011-11-21 02:20 am (UTC)

“Your son has been struck barren.”

Laufey did not turn around. He’d heard his new Shaman enter, unbidden, and while he’d always allowed his Shamans certain freedoms from formality, he was a little annoyed she had not waited for him to give her permission to speak. Her words did not help. But Laufey had not remained King this long without developing patience.

“If he cannot bear, then he will sire again, as he did before. I will find another woman willing to tolerate him.”

“No, my lord, he can no longer birth or sire. I have tested this myself.”

Laufey rolled his eyes at her smirk. Turning, he settled himself on his throne, sighing as the weight of ages settled upon him. It had been a good plan, one that would have supplied Jotunheim with much needed weapons to use in the coming days, for Laufey was not satisfied with one lonely realm and was looking beyond the stars for better. But, as always, his damned chaos-spawn of a child thwarted him at every turn.

The Shaman watched as Laufey’s eyes darkened in fury, the very storms of Jotunheim seeming to boil within, and she shuddered.

“My Lord, it is a temporary condition. Regardless of your son’s nature, he is still a man, and the stress of such a birth can be damaging even for a woman, but with enough time...”

“How long?” Laufey snapped.

The Shaman swallowed. “One year for every babe he birthed.”

Nine years!” he bellowed, his fist smashing down onto his throne so hard it shattered and cracks ran up the wall behind him. The Shaman, feeling his rage and fearing for her life, threw herself prostrate upon the floor, ready to beg forgiveness. Instead, Laufey grew calm and had his eldest brought to him.

Loki was dragged in between two guards like a prisoner, rather than a prince, limp and unwilling even to lift his head. His hair was unkempt and filthy, his clothes in tatters. Laufey reached out and took hold of Loki’s chin, lifting his eyes to meet his own.

“Take heart, my son,” the Jotunn King smiled, his voice sweet and mocking, “your punishment is at an end. You are free.”

Loki said nothing, his expression unchanging.

Fingers sliding from chin up past the jaw, Laufey held his child’s cheek in his palm, feigning affection. His hand could encompass all of Loki’s head. Was this as large as the boy was going to get? He pulled Loki close, whispering to him.

“You have nine years, my son. Nine years until before we start this all over again. And next time, I will succeed.”

Loki emitted a small, choking sound, and Laufey couldn’t tell if it was from relief or apprehension.

It was the most delicious thing Laufey had heard in a long time, either way.

--

As soon as Byleistr heard of Loki’s release from the torment their father had concocted, he ran back to their shared chamber, quick as he was able, in hopes to find his brother there. Loki sat on the edge of the bed, one leg tucked under him so he looked less like a child with his feet dangling. Already he’d tried to return to some semblance of what he was before; his hair was clean and brushed back and he was dressed in his rarely-used long tunic. His kilt wouldn’t hide the marks he’d received. He beat his fist against the edge of the bed, slowly in a methodical rhythm, leaving blood he neither felt nor saw.

“My father...” Byleistr began, entering the room with careful steps so not to startle his brother.

Loki did not look at Byleistr, his eyes far away with his mind. “This will not break me,” Loki hissed, his voice crackled from misuse, “I am Loki of Jotunheim, son of the King. This will not break me. Tomorrow...I will return to court tomorrow, and they will all see...”

“No,” Byleistr said, kneeling before Loki so that they were at eye level, “You need to get well.”

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (8b/?)

teh_will

2011-11-21 02:43 am (UTC)

“No?” Loki’s eyes finally met his brother’s, though his hand continued its rhythmic assault, “My son will tell me ‘no?’”

Even now, Loki was dangerous, and Byleistr knew he would not win this battle, not directly. Blood trickled down the side of the bed, diverting this way and that as it found a path along the ice, and then froze. A red lightning bolt emblazoned upon the pale blue. Byleistr would kill their father himself for this, but for now he grasped Loki’s hand, tiny in his own, and held it from further harm.

“Just one day, then,” he said, running his fingers along the abused flesh of his brother’s hand, soothing the pain he knew Loki now felt, “Please, you need rest. One day is all I ask.”

Loki regarded him a long moment, his gaze sliding down to their joined hands. Byleistr, his younger half-brother whom he’d brought to the surface, as much his child as a sibling, who’d stood by him throughout his ordeal best he could. Who’d remained outside the door when he couldn’t, listening to his brother cry out and moan through his torture. Who cleaned him afterward and soothed him into something akin to sleep. All this from a brother’s love, not from pity, like Helblindi.

Loki could not deny him so simple a request. He nodded.

Byleistr sighed in relief and leaned forward, resting his head against Loki’s own. Where Laufey’s closeness had been mocking, Byleistr only sought comfort, and Loki let him have it, turning his face so that they were cheek to cheek in a sign of affection.

“If I am to lie about, tomorrow, there are some spells I wish to look over,” Loki began, breaking contact before their stimulated ridges started to burn, “I recall one that allows the caster to whisk himself about with little more than a thought. I would learn this spell, it could come in handy, and best if I prepare myself for Laufey’s next round.”

Byleistr winced at the thought, but said nothing on the matter, instead agreeing to bring Loki some spell books from the temple. Books were inscribed tablets of stone, ice, and sometimes metal, bound by rings of gold and silver, but spell books were made only of ice, that they could be melted away without a trace should an enemy attempt to take control of them. With the sorcerers of old now gone, a majority of them were useless and would have met such a fate save that each book was a work of art. The ice pages so thin and smooth that one could be looking through glass, each rune carved delicately and with care, intertwined with detailed pictures of figures from myth and history, of animals and diagrams of stars. For this, the spell books were precious and forbidden to be removed from the temple.

Not that this ever stopped the sons of Laufey from sneaking them to and fro as they pleased. Loki, small and born of the world of shadows as well as ice, came and went through the most sacred parts of the temple as easily as if they were his toilet.

Loki waited as Byleistr fussed about him a few minutes more, laying fresh, thick furs upon their bed, before he chased him out on his errand.

Alone, Loki had no choice but to surrender to the torment of his own mind, riding on a wave of fresh memories. His back bent under the weight of dark shadows, and his hands started to shake.

“This will not break me,” he chanted, “This will not break me...”

Nine years until before we start this all over again...

All over again...


Loki collapsed onto his side on the furs, burying his face in them, and began to sob.

Short chapter, because it didn't mesh well with the next scene. Yeah, that bit with Loki and Byleistr? No clue what happened there shhh, just let it happen. Anyway, a huge, Ouroboros-esque thank you to everyone for your comments and patience. I don't think I could have kept up this long without you!

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (9a/?)

teh_will

2011-12-07 07:28 pm (UTC)

No matter what I did, this chapter wouldn't come out right.

Loki had good dreams, sometimes. Remembrances of pleasant moments that flitted through his brain like ghosts. The really good dreams would take such moments and combine them to make a better fantasy. He remembered his magical education with the old Shaman, whose knowledge he drank like honeyed milk. He remembered walking though the dark tunnels, his small hand in his mother’s, as she told him tales of Svartalfheim.

In his dream these became one, and he walked with his mother who whispered to him words of power and drew sigils upon the walls for him to memorize. They were distorted in his sleep, but he paid no mind, instead listening to his mother’s beautiful voice, her long fingers carding through his hair. Then the hands became Byleistr’s, and he bade farewell to his mother, laughing, as he and his brothers vanished into the white on a hunt. She would wave and disappear, but Loki did not worry, knowing she would still be there when they returned.

If anyone in the waken world were to come upon Loki as he slept and dreamt of delightful things, they would find his lips curled in a small, stupid smile akin to that of a child. For Loki’s growth from a boy to a man had been an unhappy one, and he’d never learned the sincere smile of an adult. The twisted smirk, the charming curl of the corner of the mouth, the mocking baring of teeth, these he knew, but an honest smile was beyond him, coming across more as a small boy presented with praise and a sweet. Foolish, with a mouth pulled too wide and a cock of the head, and far, far too open, easily seen and manipulated.

Loki only smiled like that when he slept and did not know he was doing it.

Either way, Loki was dreaming and quite happy to be there, for once, when servants entered and woke him, announcing the Queen was waiting for him.

It had snowed all night, a fresh blanket of white covering the whole of Asgard, and Frigga thought a morning with her son in the virgin snow would be good for them both. Thor had informed his mother of Loki’s promise to play with him that day, and she, regal as ever and yet giggling behind her hand, had come to fetch him.

Growling, Loki threw aside his covers and let the cold of the palace wake him.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (9b/?)

teh_will

2011-12-07 07:34 pm (UTC)

With a yell, Thor threw himself into a pile of snow and vanished from view. He sat up, face red and grinning, and shook snowflakes from his hair. Frigga, bundled in furs against the cold, called out to him cautions that all mothers should give and all little boys must ignore. Loki stood beside her, his eyes wandering and taking in his first Asgardian winter.

It was a cold, clear day, the sun shining brightly upon the snow and turning golden Asgard into a pure silver. It was as though the cold had sapped the world of color, and yet this limited palette was no less beautiful than a spring day, if not more majestic in its silence. Save the sky, bright and blue and so near in its clarity that Loki thought he could reach up an touch it. Would it be cold and solid, like Jotunheim, or soft like the Aesir below it? Loki had never seen such a sky at all until a sojourn to Midgard in his youth, and he had shrunk from it. Little Hela, clutched to his chest, had actually laughed, and he’d started at the sound never before heard.

Frigga noticed his scrutiny and could not help but ask, “Is it at all like your home?” She had never seen Jotunheim, but Loki’s arrival had spurred her curiosity and she’d had many books on Jotunheim brought to her chamber for her to peruse. She’d read them in leisure, not in the swift, scanning manner she’d used during the war, aiding her husband as she could with knowledge even from afar.

“No,” he said, “your winter is something Asgard wears but briefly, to be discarded when the season ends. Jotunheim is winter.”

So much so that the Frost Giants didn’t really have a word for ‘winter.’ The closest Loki could think of were words of permanence and solidity, all derived from the root “to be.” This was why the four songs of the Jotnar had similar titles, as they were all named for things that were and had been as far back as his race could remember. He had not realized the severity of such a difference in language until an exchange between himself and Odin during their shared days of war:

“Laufey must not be permitted to keep the Casket of Ancient Winters.”

“You mean the Casket of All Things?”

Odin had eyed him suspiciously, as though he’d been mocked. “That is what I said.”

It was then Loki learned of the flaw of the All-Tongue, though he reconsidered his judgment now. Perhaps it was not a flaw, but the perfection of the advanced magic of the language that allowed it to convert foreign concepts into something understandable. The eternal state that defined all that the Jotnar were was a mere season to the Aesir, an everlasting Winter, and in the Casket was merely the power of those winters past, not the very heart of Jotunheim itself.

Such a powerful magic, the All-Tongue, one which Loki would love to learn, someday. But it would take eons to travel back to the very fabric of its beginnings, so many words long said he would have to sift through until he found their long-forgotten roots. Well, when he ruled the Nine Realms and had an eternity before him, he could make a hobby of it.

“Still,” Loki said, returning his thoughts to the present, “it is an improvement, this weather.” To Frigga’s surprise, Loki bent low, bringing her hand to his lips in the fashion of young lovers he’d seen at court. “But it cannot outshine the beauty of the Queen of Asgard.”

Frigga drew back her hand and chuckled. “Oh my, and what is it you’re hoping to ask of me?”

“My Queen wounds me, to think such a thing.”

“I think,” she said, very amused by his sudden debonair manner, “that you have been with us long enough for me to begin to understand you and your wants.”

Loki clutched at his chest as though wounded. “A double injury! My Lady, how your accusation stings. None may understand Loki.”

“Hmm.” It was a simple sound, but complex in its meaning that as Frigga began to move after her wandering son, Loki had no choice but to follow. He winced at each harsh crunch of snow underfoot.

“But our little play aside,” he continued, “there is something I wish to discuss with you. About Thor.”

Re: Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (9a/?)

wynter_z

2011-12-08 02:33 am (UTC)

And man is Loki messed up. Not really crazy, just...suffering from deeply engrained PTSD. His desire to take over is the result of his need for control and safety.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (10a)

teh_will

2011-12-18 11:06 pm (UTC)

For your amusement, if you'd like, most Jotunheim scenes were planned while listening to Lifetime in a Moment by Stratovarius.

The fire burned brightly, vivid green, but gave off no heat. It was her acolyte’s duty every morning to set the fire that the old Shaman may work, a trifle thing, yet something that the old woman could no longer do for herself. She could read the stars and cast the bones better than any and provide her king with the words he desired, and in that she was still safe.

A woman of the surface, Jotunheim had treated her as any man. Her skin was hardened and angled, making the deep lines of her face more prominent. The Shaman was not attractive for her sex, but it was a price she gladly paid for her right to live under the stars and serve the king directly. For many, many years she had done so, so long that her knotted hands shook as she lay the lines upon the ice that she may attempt to summon a spark of something from herself. The clouds were heavy this day, hiding the stars, so she huddled in her den and pondered a hot drink.

There was a shift nearby, of something moving that shouldn’t, and she watched as a shadow moved through the wall, approaching her. The shadow stepped clear, solidifying into the form of a child who, upon realizing the wall was ended, dropped to a squat, his hands before him and his head turning. A very small child with fine features and dark hair on his head. It was grown long and wild, hanging lank from his scalp before it decided life was not what it had hoped for and attempted to curl back from whence it came but lacking the strength to do so.

He did not seem to know she was there, and she confirmed he did not as he tilted his head to listen, his eyes seeing nothing. The Shaman remained silent, watching in fascination as the blind runt (Laufey’s firstborn, she had no doubt) reached out his hand to the fire, fingers stretched out but not touching the flames. He held like that, and then, reaching a decision, thrust his hand into the emerald fire, twisting it into a fist as though he meant to grab hold of the flame itself. The runt retracted his arm and opened his hand, and the Shaman’s eyes widened as she watched a new flame flare from his palm, thrive for but a moment, and then burn out.

The old Shaman couldn’t help but laugh. Oh, did King Laufey not know what he had wrought?

The tiny prince jumped at the sound, hands up and ready to step back into the safety of the wall. “Who’s there?”

“Only an old woman,” she answered, still smiling.

“The Shaman,” Loki said, relaxing a little. Her voice had revealed her general location to him, and his head was turned in her direction, but his eyes were looking more towards her feet.

“What happened to your sight? Surely the prince was not born this way and survived?”

Loki’s gaze returned to the fire. “No. The surface is too bright.”

Brought up too fast. Odd, males were usually smarter than that. She narrowed her eyes as she regarded him. His eyes remained unfocussed, but they were staring directly at the flames. “Can you see the fire?”

“No, but I know it’s there.”

Sighing, the Shaman smoothed her intricate lines from the floor and pushed aside her tools. “Approach me, let me see your eyes.”

He hesitated, then decided he had nothing to lose and crawled forward, his hands feeling out his way. He stopped when he felt her bony hands upon his face, holding his chin and tilting his head back. Holding him still, the Shaman used two fingers to pry back eyelids, examining the eyes. She also peered at his features closely, and in them found another truth. While the prince looked Jotunn at first glance, he was also half Svartalfr, and it was readily apparent in the structure of his face, in his hair, and his size. She nearly laughed again; indeed, Laufey had no idea what he’d sired, otherwise he’d realize that this was no runt. The boy was the exact size he was supposed to be.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (10b)

teh_will

2011-12-18 11:09 pm (UTC)

“Your eyesight can be saved. Do as I say and you will be able to see again within a few days.”

Loki nodded, though for all he knew she did not see it. He listened as the Shaman moved about, heard the tinkering of ice and rare glass, of bottles being opened, sack strings pulled. He listened and heard the grinding of a mortar and pestle, of the mutterings of an old Shaman and her craft.

“Why is it that only women can use magic?” he asked, tired of the silence.

“Contrary to what you males think, it is we women whose blood burns hot,” she growled, her voice straining as she ground her ingredients into dust, “It is we who need that heat, so that we may sacrifice some to create new life. You men do not burn as we do, and so have little skill in the art. Why waste a man on something he cannot master when there are better things he could be doing?”

“Yet I can see the fire.”

“Your blood burns hotter than a man’s, then.”

“Why?”

A smile crept across the Shaman’s black lips. He did not know! “Because it must,” she nigh purred, then continued when it looked that he may keep asking questions. “I am ready. For this to work, the medication must reach your eye; you will need to pull back your third eyelid. There will be pain. Do not struggle or I will take longer and your eye will freeze in the meantime. We will do one then the other. When I tell you, shut your eye and keep it closed.”

With no more warning that that, the old woman knelt behind Loki, pulling him onto his back so his head was held still in the crook of her leg. He was so small, she momentarily feared harming him. She brushed such concerns aside. So what if she did? The boy would not survive long as he was anyway.

Choosing an eye, she pried back the lids and held them. She then told him to pull back the remaining one, though it took him a moment to comply. The Jotnar never had need to pull back the haw, else risk exposing the eye to freeze, and so working the muscles to do so proved difficult for him. Finally the clear lid slid aside and the Shaman used her free hand to drop a bit of the potion she’d made into his eye. Loki winced and tightened his fists, fighting the instinct the shut his eye and hissing through the pain.

The Shaman told him to shut his eye and watched the third lid close before she released him. His eye snapped shut and he moaned, it felt dry and scratchy, and burned terribly. She slapped his hand away when he tried to rub it. There was one more, and now that he knew what pain to expect, getting him to draw back the haw and expose the other eye for a dose was more difficult. It was only after she threatened to slice it open that he obeyed. When she had finished, and left him sniffling on the floor, she cut a strip of soft leather and tied it around his head, covering his eyes.

“Do not remove this until three days have past,” she said, “and even then, I would remain inside and out of moonlight.”

“Moonlight,” Loki whispered. He was of the surface now but had yet to see its wonders. He had dreamed of the moon and stars for years.

The Shaman shooed him away then, and he vanished through the wall from where he came without thanking her.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (11a)

teh_will

2012-01-14 05:54 am (UTC)

This chapter nearly killed me, I hate it, and I'm sorry. I can't remember if I said it before, but if not, this chapter is the perfect example of it: none of this story is beta'd, so errors, repetition, and contradicting myself is probably rampant. And Loki wouldn't cooperate and when he did show up it was in a black doublet declaring that there shall be NO MORE MARRIAGES! My life is hell.
----

It was that time of night when the long-burning candles of Odin’s office melted into warped puddles and flickered out. The golden glow of the room was light enough, but the candles had always aided in reading the seemingly endless sheaves of papers that lay strewn across the grand desk that dominated the room. Odin pondered having new ones brought, for all the good it would do. The wording of every trade agreement, treatise, and request were beginning to blur and sound the same. The King of Gods lifted his hand to snuff out the last sputtering candle and retire when the doors to his office opened with a soft creak.

They were made of an ancient wood, crafted from Yggdrasil during Buri’s time. The doors were once the gateway into Gladsheim during its beginnings, and as the citadel grew and was made all the grander, Borr had the ancient wooden doors replaced with finer, stronger materials. Odin would not let them be laid aside, and instead placed them before his private office, and the old sentinels thanked him by never allowing any to pass them by without a warning creak of the ages.

Loki slid into the room, dexterous as a shadow. “Hush, old fathers,” he whispered to the doors as he shut them. He smirked at Odin over his shoulder as they shut with a thud so deep it was more felt than heard. “You’re still here, then?”

“You are skilled in the art of saying that which is obvious,” Odin said, snuffing out the last candle. For the last season or so, Odin noticed that someone had been sneaking in and out of his private office. The culprit was meticulous in returning anything he touched to its proper place, and Odin would not have noticed save the wards he placed and the fact that a book from his collection would be gone. He suspected Loki, for who else could come and go so well, and yet he found himself not minding the trespasses. He even stopped bothering to place the wards, as Loki simply found ways to unravel them.

Odin didn’t believe there was anything sinister in Loki’s secret visits. The Aesir King had taken his Queen and blood-brother’s advice and Thor was placed alongside other children in their lessons. It had been a wise choice, as Thor indeed had initially not bonded well with the children, unaccustomed to simply being among them. But he had begun to warm to them, and spoke of his new friends often during meals, but every day, as his lessons ended, Thor would dash off to find his favorite Jotunn playmate.

Somehow, Loki had learned that Odin’s office was a place that Thor had been forbidden to enter and that was the one decree he dared not disobey. So Loki took to hiding there when he tired of an exuberant As boy, bursting with energy after a day of lessons, climbing all over him.

Odin found it uproariously funny, but also found himself gladdened by Thor’s love for Loki. For all he was careful to stress to Thor the fact that the Jotnar were not monsters, he could not cloak his son from the feelings of the populace, who still dehumanized their former enemies. It was a necessary mindset to hold in war, one could not hesitate to slay their enemy in the heat of battle, but no one wanted the war to end more than Odin, and for him, it would not be so until his people let it, and that would be a long time coming. He still insisted that Loki kept his identity to as few as possible, for his own protection.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (11b)

teh_will

2012-01-14 06:00 am (UTC)

This only raised curiosity among the Aesir, but fortunately most believed the story that Loki was a common Asa from one of the outposts stationed on a distant branch of Yggdrasil (this also explained Loki’s penchant for magic and his foreign behaviors, since all Aesir who lived so far from their homeland were generally regarded as strange). Still, lips loosened by drink would speak and rumors would run rampant. This even the All-Father could not stop. Through Hugin and Munin, he’d heard them all, from the scandalous rumor that Loki was in fact his illegitimate son by a Vanr, to the laughable story that he was the fire demon Surtur trapped in a manageable form to be kept under the All-Father’s watchful eye. (Odin suspected Loki himself started that one for his own amusement.)

Thor would grow up in the aftermath of hate, turned cold to depravation. Odin could only hope, when Thor became a man, that the day he met a Jotunn he would think of Loki and not instinctively lash out.

Loki hesitated by the door, and Odin could not surmise if it was because Loki had not expected to find him in his office or the bout of caution his new brother displayed on occasion. Maybe he was just waiting to be invited. For all Loki’s schemes and tricks, he was a relatively polite young man.

“Hiding from my son?” Odin asked, gesturing Loki forward.

Loki stepped closer with cautious ease. “He gets most excitable before bed and tends to run the maids ragged. I found he’s easier to manage if I’m not there. Besides,” he held up a slender book, “I believe this belongs on that shelf right there.” He pointed to a book-sized gap among the tomes that lined almost every wall in the office. “And, most important,” he set the book down on the edge of Odin’s desk and sat on the empty chair before it, “Frigga tells me this is where you hide the best wine.”

“Treacherous woman,” Odin muttered, but he pulled out the bottle from its hidden nook and poured them both a glass just the same.

Loki accepted it with a nod, inhaled the bouquet, and watched Odin take his own sip. Tasting the wine, Loki let the palate settle on his tongue and basked in the aftertaste once the liquid fled down his throat. He had no experience with wines as they had little popularity on Jotunheim. Asgard produced some wines but the best were from Alfheim and the Jotnar had good relations with neither. All wines tasted the same to Loki, but if he was going to drink it, he wanted the best.

Odin set aside his glass and glanced at the book Loki had returned. A History of Basic Magical Theory. Not light reading, but Odin had thought Loki beyond that level of knowledge and said so.

Loki shrugged. “My teachings more or less covered the practical. What I learned of theory was whatever I managed to find on my own. Unfortunately, our texts were rather limited in their scope.” But even the vast library of Gladsheim had not answered his question. For too long, Loki had thought himself akin to women in the ways of magic, just as the Shaman had told him, and yet he proved himself more powerful than most. He’d always assumed it was ambition and necessity. Upon entering Odin’s private office, he’d found a far greater library in books on magic and the ages. Many nights he spent pouring over the heavy tomes to no avail, so when the greatest of magic did not answer his questions, he returned to the basics that had been denied him and there found his answer.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (12a)

teh_will

2012-01-17 08:35 am (UTC)

Long weekend second post! Whoo!
----

The Jotnar had only four songs, and yet they could encompass any emotion or story the Frost Giants wished to express.

More specifically, the four songs were set tunes to which any lyrics could be applied, their meaning dependent upon that tune. A march to war from the Hunt song became a lament when the same lyrics were applied to the Snowfall tune. Words were of higher import in a song than the tune, so a man skilled in song could improvise the lyrics with minimal repetition of a chorus.

The Snowfall tune was the easiest and most common song, its rhythm slow and steady, allowing for the singer time to construct his lyrics, and repetitive with little deviation. Known songs were plentiful in this tune, including mourning songs and lullabies.

The Hunt too was repetitive, but where Snowfall was soft, the Hunt was bold. It was to this tune bands of hunters would sing as they traversed across the plains. To as As ear, it sounded akin to a march, and the Aesir were indeed familiar with it, as the Jotnar marched into battle under its cadence.

The sacred Spire tune’s tempo and pitch rose and fell through its cycle dramatically, representing the raising of one’s focus upwards to the stars as he beseeched his ancestors, and then falling in humility. This song was rarely sung outside the temples, but on occasion it could be heard under the breath of an individual after a personal victory or in the face of beauty. Women hummed its alternating tune in the crystal caverns below, where it was both beautiful and the acoustics unmatched.

The most complex was the Wind song, as it was in fact a compilation of four individual tunes that were to be strung together in the fashion of a tale. It was not true Wind if one did not perform at least one cycle of each of these four tunes: the soft Calm, the slow but rhythmic Breeze, the swift tempo of the Gale, and the wild and alternating Fury, always sung loud and fast.

In the Jotunn King’s court, many were allowed presence, but only those who had proven themselves skilled in the art of speech were permitted to do so. A song was required as proof. A man who could not improvise lyrics well could sing a known song and still be given his due, but his future words would not carry even half as much weight as those who sang their own.

The first day Loki was in his father’s court, he stood before the gathered men and readied himself. His height rendered him unnoticed and the loud voices continued on until Laufey raised his hand for silence. There were laws even a king could not break, and the right to try to prove oneself worthy to speak was one of them, much as he would prefer Loki not be present at all.

The hall grew quiet and all eyes turned to Loki, some men peering over the shoulders of those in front of them to see him. He was nervous, but he dare not show it. Snowfall was the most common tune, the easiest, then the Hunt, and this was the one Laufey expected his son to sing, as it so often inspired those who heard it. But Loki was a prince, the King’s heir, and a runt cursed to be inferior in all he did.

Loki could not merely be, he had to be better.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (12b)

teh_will

2012-01-17 08:38 am (UTC)

His voice burst from his throat, loud, almost screeching, and wild. He did not miss the look of surprise on many in the crowd. He was attempting the Wind song, and starting with the Fury. Wind was a story, and like most stories that required it, usually began calm and slow, building to the climax, and then softening to its end, be it a good or sorrowful one. Not Loki.

Loki sang of the greatest of all stories, the history of the Jotnar, and that tale began in chaos. He sang of the Ginnungagap, of fire and ice, of cauldrons and rivers that turned to mist. He sang of Ymir, the First and Most Powerful, and the coming of the lesser beings. He told of the slaughter of Ymir by the jealous Aesir and of the survival of Bergelmir who fathered them all. He sang of the Serpent of Chaos, who coiled about Yggdrasil’s branches and made them eternally waver, never settling.

Loki’s voice slowed slightly, the wild words gaining rhythm in the Gale tune. He sang of how the races allied themselves in the face of chaos and marched to war. The Aesir swung their swords, the sorcerers cast their spells, the Alfar forged weapons for all of them. They traveled across Yggdrasil leaving order and blood in their wake. He sang of the Serpent’s fall, and how its landing shattered the Ginnungagap and the battle was won.

Here Loki’s voice fell, slow and so quiet that many leaned close to hear his Calm. The war was won, but at what a price. He sang of the loss of life, the betrayal of the Aesir, and of the death of the sorcerers who had slain their own serpent mother. Without the Ginnungagap, that Chasm of Chasms, fire, ice, and mist coiled up the trunk of Yggdrasil and settled into its branches and the Nine Realms were formed.

Raising his voice into the slow but steady Breeze, Loki sang of the realms, from cold Niflheim below to golden Asgard high above. He sang of Jotunheim last, describing its beauty and culture, and though it nestled itself amidst the branches lower than Asgard, it was truly the greatest of all the realms.

So ended Loki’s song, and those gathered in the court hailed their prince, for he had earned the use of their ears.

Laufey sat through their congratulations, what a talented son he had sired, what a king would he be to continue his noble line, suffering in silence. There was no pride in his child, no congratulations or joy. Once, he may have allowed such things in his heart, but then the image of the laughing little beast, covered in blood and standing over his slain mother, would appear at the forefront of his thoughts, and any possible affection would turn to lead.

After that, Loki sang rarely for an audience. He was well aware that, while everyone praised his use of words, no one enjoyed actually hearing him. Loki’s voice was atrocious. The Jotnar sang so deep and low that the stones themselves would vibrate, as though they wished to join. Loki’s small size denied him this. He sounded like a lizard.

(He would also learn from Helblindi that when he sang his accent would become apparent. Loki had worked hard to quell it and so was properly mortified. His mother was a foreigner who’d been decent in speaking the Jotunn language at best, and Loki’s speech early in his life had suffered for it. He knew the words and how to say them, but his pronunciation was marred by Svartalfr accents.

Fortunately, the more time he spent among other Frost Giants, the less obvious his accent became as he learned the proper Jotunn pronunciations. Once on the surface, he managed to rid himself of it entirely, or so he thought. His brothers were quick to point out that it was discernable whenever he became impassioned. Loki was suitably annoyed.)

Not that Loki wouldn’t make use of his high-pitched, ‘womanly’ voice. He would amuse himself by creeping up behind newly ascended young men and letting loose a high ululation. In habit, the men would whirl around in terror, expecting their angry mothers and only finding a laughing Loki. He wasn’t popular with the young men.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (13a)

teh_will

2012-02-27 04:58 am (UTC)

Thor practically squealed in delight as his father and Loki rode past, leading the delegation toward the Bifrost. He had not seen Loki in his magnificent horned helmet and armor since the day he’d first arrived in Asgard. Granted, the armor was not the heavy plated campaign armor he’d worn then, but the far less cumbersome ceremonial armor worn for celebrations and, such as in this case, diplomatic missions, but he looked no less impressive. The original design had been silver with varying shades of blue and black, like Jotunheim, but Loki had instead opted for subtle browns and greens to counteract the gold. These colors he had come to learn and love on Asgard.

Thor called out and waved his hands, jumping in place. Loki saw him and, brows arched in amusement, waved his fingers in the young prince’s direction. Thor squealed again and wrapped his arms around himself in delight, but as the delegation left Gladsheim and passed through the gate to the rainbow bridge, his smile faded.

He had come to accept that, as an adult, Loki sometimes had other things to do than play around, but if Thor was real quiet, sometimes Loki would let him sit with him. If anything, Thor made a game of seeing how many different faces of annoyance he could get Loki to make. Even on days when Loki would disappear into the mountains to do whatever he did out there, Thor would at least see him once in passing.

Thor never liked it when his father went away, but it was something to which he had become sadly accustomed. This would be the first time Loki would be gone since he’d arrived, and while that was not a long time ago, to a child like Thor, it was as though his Jotunn prince had always been there.

The crowds began to disperse, leaving Thor alone with his mother and some Einherjar. He had his classes soon, but he couldn’t muster up any excitement for them. Once they ended for the day, Thor would be on his own. He clasped his hands, twisting his fingers anxiously.

“Come back soon,” he whispered.

--

The Bifrost deposited the delegation in an open field on a bright, sunny day. Each warrior took a moment to calm their disturbed mounts; the horses never took well to the violent form of Aesir transportation. Even Odin’s seasoned beast, a black monster of a stallion, turned its head and bit at Loki’s own in frustration. Loki tried not to yelp as his horse reared back a bit. He hated horses. He’d considered himself an accomplished rider on Jotunheim, but the Jotnar used sensible mounts, such as bears, who were hardier beasts and not prone to rearing. Riding Fenrir had been a terror, and a feat Loki would not have been able to accomplish had his son not been invested in keeping his father on his back, but Loki’s trust in his child gave him his confidence. He held none for the beast currently beneath him. The other Aesir had a good laugh at his expression of panic.

It was a day’s journey to the city of the Ljosalfar where Freyr had offered the use of his hall. Long ago, when the Bifrost had first been constructed, it had led to the city directly, but as the ages passed and the realms turned about each other and shifted, so too did the landing site change, for while space and dimension twisted about the rainbow bridge, the beam remained a straight line and a single moment both. To force the realm itself to bend and twist would be its destruction. So the Aesir rode, enjoying the fresh air and beautiful weather of Alfheim.

It was warm, and already Loki could feel the sweat beginning to pool underneath his new armor. He was grateful for his cloak that, while warm itself, kept the beating sun off his back. The helmet, on the other hand, was fast becoming intolerable, and he pulled it off, hooking one of the curving horns on a strap of his saddle, letting it hang. He would replace it once they neared the city.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (13b)

teh_will

2012-02-27 05:01 am (UTC)

The Aesir passed the time telling tales and singing songs, and to these Loki listened intently. They were a warrior people, and their songs reflected this. A most important theme was of a worthy death in battle, and this was another way Loki supposed the Aesir and the Jotnar were not that different. The difference lay in death itself, where the worthy warriors were carried to Valhalla. The Jotnar did not speak of the dead outside the lives they lived, for to do so was to presume knowledge of that which they did not have. They all had their own ideas of what came after death -from elaborate worlds beyond to nothing at all- that they would whisper to each other in small groups in the dark as children, but to speak such things aloud would be insulting to those who’d passed. It was rude.

“Jotunn!” one of the Aesir just behind Loki and Odin called, “Tell us a tale from your land! Come now, don’t be shy, little Jotunn!”

Speaking of rude and dashing headlong into justifiable slaughter. Baring his teeth, Loki was about to snap his fingers and make the man’s horse transport out from under him when Odin placed a hand on his shoulder. The All-Father turned in his saddle and set his baleful glare upon the soldier, berating him without a word. The offending As paled.

“Lord Loki,” he amended, ducking his head as though attempting to make himself smaller, “perhaps we could hear a tale from your homeland? We love our stories much, but they’ve been told many times. Something new would be wondrous to hear.”

Loki snort to himself and didn’t deign to answer. It was Tyr who nudged his horse forward until he rode beside Loki, grinning beneath his mustache.

“Come now, Trickster, I can’t get you to shut up most days, and now you choose silence when you might have something worthwhile to give?”

Loki glowered at him. There was no love nor even like between he and Tyr, but they had fought beside each other and that in itself had forged something akin to a bond, even if it mostly consisted of insults. In fact, he had fought alongside most of the warriors of the delegation. There were a few faces he did not know, replacing those lost in the war, most likely, like the one who insulted him. The elder warriors knew who and what he was, and that knowledge had apparently been passed on to the new men. No surprises, in war or politics.

The men he’d fought beside were looking to him in interest, waiting. Loki sighed.

“Does the All-Father wish to hear a tired Jotunn tale?” he asked, dismissing the decision from his hands.

“Indeed he does,” Odin said, a grin of his own etching into the corner of his mouth.

“Very well.” Loki thought a moment, sifting through the various stories he’d remembered throughout his life to find one appropriate for an Aesir audience. It was difficult. He finally recalled one that could be acceptable enough, with some omissions.

“This was a tale told to me by Thrym, my father’s brother,” he began, as was appropriate.

The story began with the As Skirnir, who, like many Aesir, had heard of the beauty of Jotnar women, and wished to possess one as his wife. He and a faithful band traveled to Jotunheim to the hall of Suttung, brother of King Mogthrasir, and a predecessor of Thrym’s in ownership of the hall. Suttung, wishing to maintain the tenuous peace between the Jotnar and the Aesir, welcomed them and made them comfortable. Skirnir told Suttung of his desire to marry the most lovely of Jotunn maidens, Gunnlod.

(It was here Loki omitted much from the tale that described the Aesir’s brutality and the fact that they all but took over the hall, refusing to leave until Skirnir had Gunnlod, even threatening Suttung. It was Suttung’s determination to maintain his brother’s peace that kept him from unleashing his guard against the Aesir brutes.)

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (14a)

teh_will

2012-03-20 04:59 am (UTC)

Warning: a whole lot of nothing in this segment. Sorry. Be back on track soon.

--

The tables of Freyr’s hall were laden with delicate and complex dishes, colorful and fantastic in their presentation that would put even a feast of Asgard to shame. But where the Aesir feasts were simple they were also hearty: meats, cheeses, and breads heaped upon reinforced tables for many hungry and inebriated warriors. The meals of the Ljosalfar were much like themselves, beautiful to behold but, as far as Loki was concerned, consisting of little substance. He’d picked his way through several dishes yet remained ravenous. More than that, this slow manner of eating was upsetting his stomach; the constant influx of minimal substance was going to give him an ulcer. He stole a roll from Odin’s plate, slathering it in gravy and steaming fat from a serving tray, and swallowed it whole.

Odin gave him a look, and Loki gave him one right back. When Loki sat at a proper, civilized table again he would behave with civility.

Upon their arrival, the Aesir had been shown to the lavish guest quarters and then given a proper welcome feast. While the talks would begin tomorrow, Freyr began the feast with promises of goodwill and introductions. It was then that Odin, as though remembering that Loki was not Aesir and did not speak the All-Tongue, turned to him and asked:

“Will you be able to understand for tomorrow?”

Loki smiled just slightly, the very face of confidence. “I speak my mother’s language, and while the Ljosalfar may claim otherwise it is very similar. I understand well enough.”

Odin nodded and returned his attention to Freyr while Loki struggled through the speeches. The truth was that while he did learn from his mother, one woman did not a language make and he had not spoken it since his mother’s death. Loki had to admit to himself that his vocabulary was woefully inadequate, and between that and the linguistic differences between the Ljosalfar and Svartalfar he found himself floundering. It was only by combining what he could glean from their speech and the responses given by the All-Tongue speaking Aesir he was able to follow the conversations at all. He would not be speaking tomorrow.

Not that he expected otherwise. Odin had brought him to observe and gain an understanding of politics in the other realms, not because Loki had anything to contribute to old Alfar disputes. There was also the fact that anything he could say would be tarnished by his Jotunn accent, and wouldn’t that just be a fine thing to explain? Loki was both Jotnar and Svartalfar, neither who would be welcome at the table of the Ljosalfar.

For once, Loki saw the wisdom in keeping his mouth shut. No surprises in war and politics indeed, unless it gave you advantage over the other side. Or it was something they simply didn’t need to know.

Speeches and welcomes finished, the food was brought and Loki began the arduous task of seeking something edible amongst the decorations and fruits. When he snuck one too many items from Odin’s plate he received a forceful blow from the butt of Gungnir on his toe in warning.

The Alfar were a strange people who drank only water with their meals, but once the plates were cleared the wine poured freely. Servants dashed about ensuring no one’s goblet became empty.

Odin made a toast to his hosts and drank, delighting in the light taste of the finest wine Alfheim had to offer, for they would serve the All-Father nothing less. He then turned to Loki, who always sat on his good eye’s side, and watched as his enjoyment was considerably less. The last time Loki had found his drink unpleasant...

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (14b)

teh_will

2012-03-20 05:01 am (UTC)

“I hope you do not intend to stab the server this time. I don’t believe the Ljosalfar would appreciate it.”

Loki took no offense, seeing Odin’s subdued amusement. “Only if he annoys me.”

“Then we are done for. Know that I will not cover for you.”

“No? But what are brothers for? I would do so for you.”

“You would not.”

“Well, if it forwarded my plans, I would.”

“Your blatant honesty is delightful.”

Loki accepted Odin’s sarcasm gracefully. “Thank you, I do so hate being predictable.”

They could laugh about it now, as no true harm had been done then. Loki was not a fool to actually harm one of Odin’s men, but he had held the blade to his throat closely, his pride demanding nothing less.

Many times Odin learned the hard lesson that even one such as he, whose knowledge and wisdom spanned ages and realms, could forget certain cultural factors and not realize what until after the offense had been committed. In outright war with Jotenheim, he pushed such knowledge of Jotunn etiquette to the back of his mind and focused instead on victory.

It was after said victory, as the warriors of Asgard packed up their camps to withdraw from the conquered Jotunheim, that Odin called his generals and best warriors to him and the victory mead was poured. Loki, standing near the All-Father as always, was given his own drinking horn. The proclamation for Asgard was given and the men drank.

Odin barely managed a gulp before there was a clatter and a cry followed by scuffling. Loki had thrown down his drinking horn as though it burned him and grabbed the servant who had given it to him, a blade at the startled man’s throat.

“Is this the gratitude of Asgard, then?” Loki snarled, his green eyes baleful and looking only at Odin.

Weapons were drawn as soon as the blade leapt to Loki’s fingers, all pointing to the Jotunn turncoat. Tyr’s cry of “traitor!” echoed everyone’s thoughts.

“Stay your hand!” Odin roared over the commotion, forcing his generals to step back, though their weapons remained trained on Loki.

This was not an attack by the Jotunn prince, who was not so stupid as to make his strike while Odin was surrounded by his best, much less waste it on a servant. No, he’d reacted to the mead. The liquid was splattered across the patterned stone, already freezing at the edges, and Odin cursed himself for his forgetfulness.

The Jotnar did not take their drinks cold. They took meticulous care in maintaining their internal temperatures and while a cold drink could not harm them, they generally didn’t find it a pleasant feeling. The insulating hide of a Jotunn made it difficult for him to benefit from external heat should he become cold. Granted, the raised markings that carried blood close to the surface allowed for some temperature penetration, keeping them from overheating, but never enough to cause actual freezing. (This was why a Frost Giant would suffer discomfort in warm climates, when otherwise his insulating skin would protect him. This was also why the runes on a Giant’s skin were relatively sensitive.)

Hot water was the basis of every Jotunn drink, save mead, reserved only for feasts. When the food had been eaten and the drinking and entertainment began, great pitchers of mead would be set out, and specially trained servants (the Jotnar of the servant caste, never the foreign thralls from previous conquests) would dash about and plunge ensorcelled hot pokers into the pitchers to keep the mead hot.

A cold drink would not harm a Jotunn, but the meaning was there, and to serve a cold drink of mead during a gathering was to place great insult upon the recipient.

As far as Jotunn culture was concerned, Odin had just declared before his generals that he wished Loki dead.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (15a)

teh_will

2012-03-24 06:40 am (UTC)

The Aesir-Vanir war had ended when both sides grew tired of the fighting and agreed instead on alliance and unification. But hurts of the war were still fresh and so Odin made a grand gift of Alfheim to a young Freyr to help smooth relations.

Loki wondered what exactly the Alfar had thought of that agreement.

It turned out they thought very little of it. The Ljosalfar were free spirited and kept such restrictive things as government and law simplistic, mostly living by their own instinctive morals. They spent their time gardening, tending their forests, and dancing through the mists from which they were born. So long as Freyr respected this, they were perfectly happy to let Vanir hands conduct the majority of their politics.

Not so the Svartalfar. They maintained their own realm with no influence from Freyr, and so long as they kept to themselves he let them be. This was no longer the case, though both sides were pointing to the other for fault.

The two realms had been warring for as long as anyone could remember. The Alfar had been one race, long ago, but a cataclysm that’s specifics were lost to time had separated them. When they met again, Ljosalfar and Svartalfar, they had only animosity for the other and that unnamed hatred remained to this day, held and amplified by all the wars fought since then. But unlike the Aesir and the Vanir, the Alfar did not grow tired of their incessant fighting. The other realms did.

When the wars of the Alfar spilled outward, threatening the peace of the other realms, they found themselves in sudden disfavor. Both sides cried out for aid, and both were rejected (even Jotunheim, needing wood and metal from the two realms, chose to support neither). In the end, the remaining realms, united under a newly ascended Odin, cut all trade with the Ljosalfar and the Svartalfar until the warring ceased.

The truce that formed between the two races of the Alfar was unsteady and hardly peaceful, but it kept them apart and quiet, and had for the passing ages. Recent events had changed all that, and now both sides pulled out ancient blades and wait. A family of Ljosalfar had been discovered, slain in their home, with the wounds and markings of the Svartalfar blazoned across their flesh like bloody signatures. The Ljosalfar had barely cried out in fury for this when the Svartalfar declared accusation in return. A family of their own had been murdered in the same fashion.

Freyr had called upon the All-Father to help him in this matter, hoping to discover the cause of these murders and find settlement between the realms before war broke out. Odin agreed to travel to the two realms to speak with each individually. Freyr welcomed this, and even Malekith, ruler of the Svartalfar, was willing, though he’d grumbled loudly when Odin announced he’d go to Alfheim first.

So here they were, seated in the council chamber of the Ljosalfar listening to an endless stream of Alfar officials babble on about suffered hurts and the unproven whispers of Svartalfar invasion. They presented the All-Father and Freyr their gathered evidence that showed, without doubt, the Svartalfar hand in the murders.

Loki’s head ached with his constant struggle to understand their speech. He finally gave up and let their musical language flow past him, watching their eyes for momentary shifts or the fiddling of fingers that told what was nervousness and what was a lie. He could understand the language of the body so much easier. Occasionally Loki looked to Odin, no easier to fool than himself, who would meet his eye with raised brow in question and Loki would nod just slightly. There were liars here.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (16a)

teh_will

2012-04-24 05:05 am (UTC)

“What are your thoughts?”

Odin wait for Loki’s reply as his blood-brother gagged up the bones of the cooked fowl he’d swallowed whole. Nibbling on one of the fruits Loki refused to touch, Odin suspected he wasn’t going to be eating any meat on this journey so long as Loki was anywhere near him during meals.

Loki pulled the larger half of the furcula from his mouth (“Oh, I get a wish!”) and belched behind the back of his hand. “There is certainly more going on than some members of the court would have us believe. The murders were real enough, so what is there to hide and why?” He chose a pointed bone and began to pick his teeth. “How well do you trust Freyr? I cannot read him.”

“I have known Freyr since he was a babe, there are few so trustworthy as he. And even if he were involved, he would not have called for my aid.”

“Unless he was trying to look innocent by doing so.”

“No, were that his plan, he would not have asked for my help until after the war began, when my focus would be to end the fighting rather than its reasons. He would have ample time to erase any proofs against him before then.”

“If you say so.”

Leaving the rind upon the plate, Odin leaned back in his seat, his hand habitually moving to Gungnir. “Liars in the court or not, the evidence against the Svartalfar is sound, and all have said their piece. There is little else to be found here until we reach Svartalfheim.”

“No,” Loki pondered, half to himself, “there is one voice we have not yet heard.”

“And who would that be?”

“The people. The common man and woman of this realm. I don’t know what they’re saying, and that is a big piece of the puzzle.”

“Witnesses of the common class were brought forward, Loki. Were you listening?”

Loki sighed, his voice harsh and insulting enough that Odin glared at him. “Witnesses speak of the events alone they were called for, forced into the eyes of their betters and so watching their words. The eyes of the people as a whole are everywhere but their whispers stop at the gate. You Aesir and Alfar separate yourselves from your commoners because without your vestments and materials you are indistinguishable. I am Jotunn, all that I am is written upon my very flesh, so it is with any man. We do not segregate ourselves. You are like our women, unmarked and born not knowing who you are.”

“Free to choose who we are, you mean. And,” Odin added dryly, “we’d rather have our women than men of other rank.”

Loki smirked, “Fair enough.”

“Furthermore, you forget who your brother is. I hear the people of Asgard, do not insinuate I am deaf to their wants and needs.”

“I did not mean to do so, obviously,” Loki said, eyes wide with apology he didn’t mean, “You are the All-Father, highest in all the realms, after all. You are the exception, but not all kings have Thought and Memory by their sides,” at this, he gestured to the two ravens perched on the windowsill, “or an all-seeing Heimdall at their gates. Heimdall is not here, and, if I may, my brother, everyone knows of the ravens of the All-Father.”

“You’re dancing around a point, Loki, if you are going to make it, do so.”

“Secrets will not be whispered where they can be heard by known spies. I am of no use to you in the council, but I can be another set of eyes and ears. I can bend my shape so that I am unknown amidst the Ljosalfar, hearing all they have to say in the safety of their own kind.”

Indeed he could, and this was an idea Odin had pondered himself. Loki’s desire was also more than a wish to have purpose, but a chance to stretch his legs. He was a shape-shifter, a sorcerer by birth, and many seemed to forget the link between the mind and body and the discipline that entailed. Like any athlete in such things, Loki grew tired of the same routine and wished to push his skills to their limits and advance them. He had little chance to do so shifting between a Jotunn and an As, and Odin recognized the waste. Loki was the most advanced shape-shifter for his age the All-Father had ever met.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (17a)

teh_will

2012-05-10 07:50 am (UTC)

I'm sorry about how long this is taking. I've moved, but this is a temporary stay and I have little privacy and workspace. Also about the pace, I didn't realize this stupid Alfar sideplot was going to last so long -_-

Odin did not like secrets. He understood their necessity at times, but he didn’t like them, and there was a secret here hidden under lies spun by certain influential Alfar. He was determined to uncover it, for this secret was anything but necessary. This secret could start a war, and Odin intended to avoid that. The Aesir were a warrior people, bred for battle and thriving on tales of war, but the Alfar, even the dark cousins of that race, were creatures of beauty and war amongst them was a tragic thing.

It was late when Odin finally retreated to his quarters. He was tired and frustrated, and not the only one. The conferences had been dragged out as long as possible, witnesses recalled and officials angrily repeating their findings. Let them get angry, the more they stood under Odin’s eye the more frustrated and, more importantly, anxious they became. Good, Odin had noticed a few beginning to sweat. Even more noteworthy were the looks the inexperienced would shoot to their brethren on the sides, uncertain.

If there was one thing Odin disliked more than secrets it was politics, but that was a fate even he could not avoid. He was a warrior, a husband, a father, and in his own perfect world he would be happy with that alone, but he was also King of Asgard, highest of all realms and so by obligation custodian of all beneath on Yggdrasil. In this too was he happy, in a way, for he loved Asgard as dearly as his family. But Asgard, a people, a realm, was priority even over his beloved family and more often than not Odin found himself making decisions he would rather not, all in the name of politics.

Odin did not always like the decisions he had to make, but he could not regret making them. The only other option was to be crushed under the weight of his own guilt, and he could not do that.

For Asgard.

The room was dark, the moon hidden behind a cloud. Odin moved to the couch by the fireplace, waving a hand to light the fire, and nearly sat on Loki.

Once more an As, Loki slept soundly, undisturbed by Odin’s grunt of surprise. The All-Father was certain Loki would claim he merely fell asleep waiting for Odin, though the confiscated blanket and pillow from the bed told otherwise. He slept like a child, always had as far as Odin could remember, on his side with his knees bent and arms tucked close to his chest. It was in these moments, gazing at a face unmarred by worry or irritation, that Odin was reminded just how young Loki was, and so he’d been reminded near every night in his war tent on Jotunheim.

In the frozen wastes, even as an As Loki’s Jotunn nature gave him greater tolerance to the cold than any of the Aesir, though this was negated by sheer ignorance of his Asa form. Odin had lay trust in his people to ensure Loki learned how to care for himself in the harsh environment, and while most had not betrayed this trust, there were a few who found great amusement in watching the irony of a Jotunn freezing to death. Loki, adaptable as he was, could not get over the idea that the home he’d always known was now dangerous to him very easily. His very beliefs denied it.

While the paternal aspect of the Jotunn religion encompassed the worship of their ancestors, more specifically the line of Kings all the way back to Ymir, the maternal embraced Jotunheim itself. The realm was the mother of the Jotnar, raising and sheltering them, only turning her ire on those who dared become careless, and her very heart, the Casket, lay in the hands of her children.

Both Loki’s ignorance and his people’s indifference were brought to the forefront of Odin’s mind when, early in the days of their invasion, Loki literally stumbled into his tent, confused and slurring, his clothes damp beneath his cloaks. Worse, as Odin and several servants struggled to help him, Loki had instinctively tried to shift back to his natural state, the one that did not fear the cold.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (18a)

teh_will

2012-05-16 12:44 am (UTC)

So anyway, Loki-car made it from central Texas to Montana before he'd had enough and jumped off the proverbial Bifrost. Engine's shot. Had to tow him all the way home. I was not happy. And that's why this whole chapter's been a mess. (But now I have an excuse to supe him up! woo!)
Thank you guys for reading and your support!


The Aesir were a physical people, drawn to laying hands upon each other in friendliness or ill intent. Intensive though these touches were, they were brief; a slap on the arm or a firmly gripped shoulder. While Loki shied from such touch, the short duration of an As’ hand upon him made it tolerable in most circumstances if he couldn’t avoid it otherwise. (Although Loki cared little to whom he offended in Asgard and blatantly brushed off any attempts at touch outside the immediate royal family.)

The Ljosalfar were the most tactile race in the realms. Long, soft touches were the norm among their kind, even with strangers, with close embraces and the press of lips means to both welcome and appreciate. Odin forewarned Loki of this, for he would not tolerate his brother insulting any of the Alfar officials with his rejections, intentionally or otherwise. Fortunately, the elders of the council were accustomed to working with those of other realms and knew to restrain themselves accordingly. Loki accepted the light touches of their fingers on his arms and hands with as much aplomb as one so far out of his element could muster. (Which was much, for what were politics but a show, and an actor but a self-convinced liar?)

It was after the feast, during the thrice-cursed dance on which the Alfar had insisted, when Loki finally lashed out.

The night began well enough; it was a pleasant meal and the Jotunn prince spent most of it scouring the plates for meat and bits of cheese. By the end, as full as he was going to get and relaxed, he began a slow, cautious conversation with a woman who wait patiently for him to construct his sentences. Odin glanced over in time to see her, smiling, reach out to touch Loki’s face, and he instinctively jerked away. She withdrew and did not attempt to touch him again, but Loki’s demeanor changed to wariness and he did not relax again.

The tables were cleared and the festivities began. While the courtly dances of the Ljosalfar lacked the ethereal beauty of their cavorts in the twilight, it was no less impressive to behold and Odin’s mood improved. Loki’s did not, for many young Alfar, so closely attuned to magic by nature, had gathered around him in curiosity. They had never seen a male sorcerer of Asgard before. Unlike their elders, the youth had little experience with those less sensate than themselves and could not comprehend another’s discomfort in their caresses. There were too many hands and too many so close to him. Tense as he was, Loki held, though he began to unknowingly step backwards and he’d long lost track of any conversation.

A young man, nearly as tall as Loki and meaning nothing but to give the warm greeting of Alfar men, pressed himself to Loki’s back, hands on his shoulders, and brushed his lips against the shell of Loki’s ear.

The taut bowstring of Loki’s restraint snapped, cracking over the heads of the gathering in a cry as he whirled, arm raised and hand open to strike.

Odin caught the blow before it landed and pulled Loki back.

“Excuse me, but I need to speak to my brother for a moment,” Odin said to the stunned Alfr as if he were merely interrupting a pleasant rapport.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (19a)

teh_will

2012-05-16 07:43 pm (UTC)

Finally saw Avengers and there was much squeeing. So here you go, the end of this chapter. Sorry if it seems rushed, and I'm really hoping I haven't contradicted myself somewhere along the way.

Loki had never seen a male Svartalfr before. In fact, aside from his mother, he’d never seen any Svartalfr that he could remember. He’d expected his mother’s people to be like her in appearance: grey skin so pale it was nigh translucent, black hair, and eyes a solid obsidian that had always unnerved Laufey, for he could never tell whether or not she was looking straight at him. (Loki always knew.)

The Ljosalfar had all been similar in their visage. Creamy milk skin and hair the color of the sun and earth with bright eyes blessed them all. The Svartalfar, however, though lacking the same beauty, had far more variety. Some were pale like his mother, while others had skin black as pitch, and there was a range of varying shades of grey in between. Black hair was common, but even more so was white, and while many had the black eyes he knew so well, some had the white sclera with visible irises and pupils. These unnerved Loki, for he felt they did not belong on a Svartalfr face.

In the underground tunnels in which the Svartalfar made their home, there were few animals Loki could easily get his hands on, even if he so wished. He was half Svartalfr, and the changing into the form of one felt almost natural. He’d hoped to look like his mother, but the transferability of the spell made the grey shade of his skin closer to that of the blue of his natural form. His hair stayed black and his eyes were solid like his mother’s. His face and form remained unchanged and that made him laugh a little. It was an unattractive face, but apparently quite universal.

(He wondered on the ease with which he had changed to a Svartalfr when the form of a true Jotunn was denied him. In the end he could only conclude that, despite his halfbred nature, he was born and raised of Jotunheim and had always considered himself without a doubt one of her children. He thought himself Jotunn, so when the spell was cast, he remained himself, for such things were reliant on perception as much as reality. Knowing this, he could now take such a Jotunn form if he wished, but found he no longer had the desire. He was Loki, and he would change that for no one.)

This time the Bifrost deposited the delegation on a barren world of black stone, the skies grey and overcast above, but no rain or water. There was no life on the surface of Svartalfheim, for all things lived below without the light of the sun. It was a full day’s ride to the nearest entrance to the underground realm, and as darkness settled above the Aesir dismounted from their horses to lead them into deeper darkness below. Torches were lit, and Loki released small globes of light from his fingers to guide the way. They did not rest but traveled through the night. It was morning when they reached the city and, exhausted, they were all shown to the guest quarters within the palace. They would not sit in council until tomorrow, allowing the Aesir a day to rest and refresh themselves.

With a nod from Odin, Loki slipped away as the Aesir delegates settled in with food and drink, moving through shadows that understood and accommodated his skill. Cloaked in the form of a dark elf, he left the palace and walked through the city, listening to the voices around him and gazing at the wonders of his mother’s homeland.

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (20a)

teh_will

2012-07-23 09:33 am (UTC)

I'm so sorry for how long this took. I fell into a deep funk (I'm still in it) and had to force this out. Even started some new fills to try to get the juices going again. Didn't work. This chapter's short, but focuses on Thor for a bit, yay!
--

“By Valhalla and all those within, child, go and play!

Frigga thrust her son out into the corridor and with a light slap on his bottom sent him on his way. She’d allowed him to remain by her throughout the day, but after his fifth dramatic sigh of despair she’d had enough. Thor had found plenty to do before Loki had come into their lives and he could do so again.

Unfortunately, the stubborn boy did not want to.

It was not as if he didn’t know what to do with himself, there were many games his imagination could supply and his classmates to play with should he want them, it was that most of these had lost their allure. Loki was magic, both literally and (if Thor had known the word) metaphorically.

When Loki was in a playful mood it more than made up for his generally cranky nature. Thor and Loki would sit on the balcony at night and Loki would reach out and move aside nebulae and stars to get a peek at the pale blue dot that was Jotunheim as he told Thor of his home. He could reach up and pluck the moon itself from its place in the night sky, multiply it, and juggle them for Thor’s amusement before returning it to its dark perch.

Illusions all, Thor knew, but no less wondrous. What else in Asgard could compare to that?

Best of all, sometimes he would find Loki reading in the library or on the window seat in his room, and while Loki would sigh and roll his eyes in the image of suffering he would let Thor climb onto his lap and read to him until he fell asleep. It wasn’t fun, not like playing a game, but he loved listening to the cadence of Loki’s soft voice and the steady beat of his heart under Thor’s ear.

But it would be days at least until his father and Loki returned, perhaps longer if things did not go well with the Alfar. Thor sighed, so long and mournful that it echoed down the empty hall and followed him for hours until his first set of lessons.

Winter was behind them and the days were growing warmer, but very, very wet as Asgard’s rainy season settled in. Today was the first in many that Sol did more than peek through the heavy grey clouds, but thrust them aside entirely and bathed the shining city in her light. Steam had wafted from the roads and earth in the morning, but by the time Bragi ushered the children outside into the gardens the grass was dry. On days such as this he believed it a crime to keep children locked up indoors; the beauty of nature inspired the poetic mind more than any classroom ever could. It did require extra effort to settle his students, however.

Thor always enjoyed Bragi’s lessons. The old skald would tell grand epics of valor and victory, sweeping tales of love, and sorrowful tragedies that were not mere fancy but the history of the Aesir themselves. Again and again he would recite this wondrous poetry, that the young ones would memorize it, and yet he spoke in such a way that it never grew tiresome. At their age, any one of his students could tell these stories, but it was recounting of events only, not the flow of words that so inspired the Aesir to song and passion in the feasting halls. By the time the children reached these halls themselves, the poetry would be written into their very bones and they too could recite them with such reverence and power, as well as their own exploits as men and women.

“Remember, my little Lords and Ladies, that it is the spirit of the tale you must know. Speak in confidence, and do not fear the remembrance of every word. Use another, let the poetry fly living from your tongue, never to sour in your belly because you have forgotten a rhyme or phrase. That is a crime!”

Round 3, Loki/Thor: The Hammer and the Forge (21a)

teh_will

2012-12-16 04:05 pm (UTC)

I'm so so sorry for how long this took. Is taking; the chapter isn't done yet, but I thought I should give you guys something. For those of you still here, as an apology and thank you both, I made a quick drawing. Not very good, but it's what I've got right now. Seriously, thanks and love to you all.
--

He had neither the throne of Jotunheim, as he’d promised, nor had he slain Laufey in vengeance as she’d always wanted.

The mother gazed upon the son and found him wanting, her face twisted in disgust.

You kill me and don’t even have the decency to do the only thing that I ever asked of you?

Loki the child knelt before his mother, his hands reaching out despite the distance she kept between them.

“Please, Mama,” he said, using the less formal speech of the Svartalfar, “I’m trying, but I’m so small!”

She scoffed and turned her back on him, facing the door to their home where Laufey emerged, towering over them both. He had come seeking pleasure from his wife, but the Queen had no desire for him.

She pushed Loki into his father’s waiting arms instead.

--

Loki startled awake. He shivered, the sweat chilling his skin in the stable temperature of the underground while his innards burned. Kicking the bedclothes away, he got to his feet and paced about the room, allowing his conscious mind to overtake those of his nightmare and force his hands to stop shaking.

A dream, obviously, twisted into fears kept in the back of his mind. His father never touched him, not like that, and his mother had never done anything but protect him from Laufey. For his thoughts to start traveling down such dark paths meant nothing good; he’d get no more sleep tonight, much as he wanted to.

Odin’s venture was exhausting him, not only in the traveling and the mind-numbing politics, but his personal contribution demanded its own fee upon him. It was the pervasive weariness of warfare all over again without the benefit of alleviating aggression on his enemies. Calmed but annoyed, Loki sat on the disheveled bed and relit the flames in the fireplace with a gesture.

It was an unnecessary piece in the room. The temperature of Svartalfheim’s underground was unchanging and comfortable, much like Jotunheim’s own (though any non-Jotunn would disagree on the level of comfort). A forge for a smith’s trade or the oven for cooking were common to the dark elves, but a fireplace was a commodity present only in the royal guest chambers. The flue connected to a vast network in the rock that vented the smoke on the realm’s bleak surface, making Svartalfheim look far more inhospitable to would-be invaders.

On Alfheim, the guestrooms presented the best that the Ljosalfar had to offer, from the beautiful and delicate furniture to the flowing artwork and open windows. The Svartalfar, by contrast, tried to give their guests the comforts of their own homes left behind. The wood frame and silken sheets of Loki’s bed were from Vanaheim, the tapestry on the wall woven far away in Asgard, and the white fur pelt on which he sat was from Jotunheim.

?

Log in