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palefire73

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THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR VISITING!

You have managed to stumble upon Loki's biggest fan's profile. Stay a while. Have a read and maybe even look at the pictures!

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Started writing about him July 2014. I also make amateur attempts at photomanipulation whenever I need a preview picture for my stories or make memes if I get a bit bored :)

Love to hear from people, so feel free to comment :)

Loki's my favourite, whether Nordic myth, Marvel mischief or Disney misunderstood-betrayed-Prince-arch-villain. I love every incarnation. I have to admit a certain interest in the career of his mortal actor, too ;)
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The Asgardian Sun finally disappeared below the horizon and the darkening sky began to reveal the treasures of its nocturnal aspect; the stars, distant realms, constellations and many other luminous wonders started to appear against the velvet backdrop. Having to admit it had been a long day, Loki called a halt to the proceedings at the house and ordered a guard be posted outside until the following morning to prevent any would-be sight-seers or opportunistic looters. He thanked everyone for their efforts and made his way back to the Palace with his son. He turned down an invitation to dine in the Great Hall, knowing that Erika was waiting for him back in his rooms and that she expected him to come home. Remembering that she had insisted upon a “serious discussion” that morning – which seemed so long ago – he sighed and felt himself becoming irritable. Why was it that a King should have to put up with such treatment and expectations from his maid? He smirked ironically. He knew why, of course; it was because she was the one who knew him inside out and was one of the very few who was brave enough – and cared enough – to talk to him in a straightforward and honest manner, even if it was to discuss things which could anger him.

 

Bidding Fenrir and a few of the men a good evening, he set off in the direction of the Royal Accommodation of the Palace to see what the evening had in store for him.

 

“My King!”

 

The voice of Eir, his most trusted and senior of the Healers, stopped him and he saw her rushing towards him with a portable display device.

“Eir. Do you have news?” He was eager to know the results of the tests she had carried out for him.

“Yes… I ran several experiments and then I did comparisons and…”

“What did you find?” His voice was unintentionally harsh, but when he thought of all that Erika had been through because of the actions of a would-be murderer, he could not help but become impatient.

“The items you found were directly involved in Erika’s illness. They were in whatever it was that she was given and were from the same source as the extracts Dr Banner got from the sample you gave him. Loki…” The Healer’s eyes grew even more serious if it were possible and the Trickster’s mood slipped another notch.

“What is it, Eir? Just spit it out, I am tired and have very little patience left.”

“Very well, then I must tell you that the other substance you brought for me to test was indeed Asgardian Greenbell extract. I did not really need to test it very much; I could tell as soon as I opened the phial. I have ordered it to be placed under the highest of security. If any of it should be stolen, you would be at risk…”

“Yes, I am aware of that. Thank you Eir.” He struggled to keep his voice in a reasonable tone as what she had told him sank in. He felt anger growing inside him as he realised that the residence of the poisoner had been right under his nose all this time. So many major events had transpired and kept him busy since that terrible day that he had not devoted time to finding anything out about this and now the trail had potentially gone cold; he might never find the culprit. Images of Erika lying as though dead in the shower flashed across his mind along with thoughts of all he had risked to try to save her, the strange metamorphosis she had undergone and now the legacy of all of that she carried. She was irrevocably changed and it had all come about because someone had made an attempt on her life. The very girl who had devoted her time to him as she tried to heal him from his brush with death had herself been hurt by those same people.

 

“My King? Loki? Do you wish to keep the results?” Eir’s voice brought him back and he smiled gratefully at her, only just managing to keep calm.

“Yes, yes I do. Eir I must thank you for your efforts. As ever, this is confidential!”

“Of course, Loki. I will not tell a soul. I have cleared everything away and the evidence was taken for storage by one of your Captains. He has set a twenty-four hour watch.”

“Good. Then I bid you a good night, Eir.” Taking the offered display tablet from the Senior Healer, Loki set off in the direction of the Royal Suites to go back to the girl he had come so close to losing.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Having had a lovely day so far, Erika had decided to test just how far her privileges as the maid of the King of Asgard went. Until today, she had not even considered that her role would include certain rights and benefits; as far as she was concerned she was simply one of the Palace servants. It appeared she was wrong. Of all the people in the Palace, she seemed to have been the only one who had not known of all she was entitled to, and she was pleasantly surprised several times.

 

And so it was that the kitchen staff would be the ones to bring the King’s evening meal to the suite tonight and they would do it without any prompting. Unbeknown to her, there was a set way in which meals were served privately and the Head Chef was more than capable of ensuring things would run smoothly; it was simply that she had taken so much pride and care in doing it herself that he had never mentioned it to her. Erika had been caught in that natural headspace of “no one can look after him better than I” which was fairly common amongst personal servants and now it was her turn to take a step back and allow others to play their part in keeping the life of their King comfortable. Not having nearly as much to sort out meant that she had some time on her hands and so she decided to make one of her regular entries into her diary – hidden in the bottom of her wardrobe now that Mjölnir was not there to protect it – and to make a list of what she wished to discuss with Loki to stop the digression which usually ended up happening.

 

Glancing at her timepiece, she noticed it was approaching the time for him to be getting back and she put the diary away. She went to her small dressing table and looked into the mirror, still delighted with her new hairstyle. Taking out some small clips which were holding it in a neat braid, she fluffed up the gentle curls she had freed from their constraints; they now only just reached her shoulders at the back and were layered up shorter and shorter towards the front. It was still just about long enough for her to take up into neat braiding which started at her temples and led back along her head, but gone was the magnificent mane of blonde curls which had once cascaded down her back. She felt lighter and more care free without them and she smiled at her reflection. The new style made her look a little older and more mature and she was very happy with the result. She had decided to wear her favourite blue dress this evening, since she was as good as a guest of Loki’s now that she would be waited on and she found that her spirits were quite high as she went out onto the balcony to have a drink while she awaited her King.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Faðir, might I have a word?”

 

Loki bristled with annoyance as he spotted Hel peering out through the door to her suite just down from his own. Had she been waiting for him?He sighed and went over to see her, even though all he wanted to do was to go to his rooms and relax after such a trying day.

“Yes, dear daughter?” He said, not completely without a sarcastic tone, but Hel ignored it and smiled anyway.

“Seneschal and I…”
“Seneschal? Since when were you two such friends?” Loki’s face was now set into an expression of disdain.

Seneschal,” Stressed Hel, once again ignoring her father’s rudeness, “told me of the harvest of Iðunn’s Apples and that it is quite an important occasion. We think it should be celebrated as such and I have taken the liberty of starting to make the arrangements. You have nothing to worry about; I have it all in hand. All you need to do is turn up and smile!”

“Really?” said Loki, “And just who will be at this ‘harvest feast’? Who do I have to put up with this time?”

“Oh Faðir! You are King of Asgard and a large part of your time should be taken up with hosting feasts and throwing parties and celebrations! You should be showing the people how successful and happy you are in your role, not skulking about being moody and boring!” Hel glared at him from her living eye and pulled an unimpressed face. “And while I have your attention, you are sadly lacking in another area of your public life.”

“I assume you are going to advise me as to which area and just how I should go about rectifying the situation?” Loki’s voice was laced with a warning tone as his mood deteriorated rapidly with this line of conversation, but Hel chose to ignore that too. It did not impress her and she was on too much of a roll for it to scare her; she carried on regardless.

“You need a wife. Or at the very least a consort. Your bachelorhood needs to end now that you are in charge of everything. The people need to see you settle down in your domestic life so that they will feel they can rely on you as their All-Father. You need to produce more heirs, to give off an air of stability. They know you are impressive on the battle field, they know you are ruthless when it comes to enforcing laws, they know… Ahhh!” Hel stopped and looked down at her arm, which was in the vice-like grip of her father. “What are you doing?!” She exclaimed, glaring at him now with a furious expression on the living part of her face, “Unhand me! You cannot…”

“Quiet.” Loki’s voice was low, but laced with Seidr and Hel found that her words died in her throat as a green glow appeared around it. “Do not presume to tell me about how I should be conducting my public… or even my private life.” He growled. “I will see who I choose, escort who I choose and…” Allowing the magical freezing of her throat to dissipate, he let go of his daughter’s arm and gave her a scathing look before setting off to his suite, “and I will sleep with whom I choose. I will not be wedded off at the whim of the general populace and nor am I necessarily ready for more interfering children!”

 

Unable to let the matter drop, Hel called after him, “You really need to think about what you are doing! The ruling city needs to know it has a future. What do you have to offer? Your ‘family’ is in splinters and half of us are predicted to bring the downfall of the Gods! You need to change minds, Faðir! Faðir, are you listening to me?!” A nasty grimace crossed Hel’s features as she watched Loki storming away across the antechamber in a temper, causing the ravens to flap about and caw loudly and she flinched as she heard the doors to his suite bang shut loudly. Why was he so stubborn?!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Erika jumped at the sound of the main doors to the suite slamming and rose to go to see what the matter was. As she went through the balcony doors to greet Loki with a cheerful smile, she was concerned to see him striding across the room clearly in a terrible mood. Thinking he had not seen her, she was a millisecond from backing away to avoid any confrontation, but to her dismay he spoke to her.

 

“Erika? Is my supper to be served here? I do not wish to socialise in the Great Hall tonight. It has been a trying day.” He disappeared into the en suite and she heard the splash of water as he took a wash.

“Yes,” she called out, “it is going to be served here in about quarter of an hour. Would you like a drink?” She glanced in one of the many mirrors at her reflection and hoped he would not mind that she had changed out of her uniform. His snappy attitude was worrying her now and she felt too casual in her silk dress, wishing that she had simply spent the day in her usual role instead of spoiling herself at the Spa.

“Yes please. A glass of red would be most welcome.” Oh by the Norns, he was coming back out of the bathroom! Erika moved quickly over to the large writing desk and put it between her and Loki as she decanted some of the spicy red liquid into his goblet. As she looked up, she saw him go to his dresser, dragging along his heavy Royal Dress and throwing it almost contemptuously to the floor. She looked at the faintly visible pattern of his scars on his back as he reached into one of the drawers for a green shirt and as he pulled it down over his pale skin she blinked and looked away, delaying now as she became worried about what he would think of her appearance.

“Chop-chop!” He said to hurry her along and she realised he had gone to sit near the fire to have his drink while he waited for his supper to arrive. Swallowing hard, she took the wine over to him and placed it on the low table in front of him.

 

What was it about Loki? Even though Erika was not looking at the Trickster, she felt every inch of the path his eyes took as they travelled from the hand she held the goblet in and over her, taking in her clothing, the light make up she was wearing and her hair. They moved slowly and in a fashion which began as curiosity, but which quickly became predatory… or was there a hint of displeasure in there as he looked again at her hair, examining the new shorter style she now wore.

 

“I… er, I hope this is a good vintage.” She said lamely, completely avoiding his gaze, “I chose it because it should be nice with the menu for tonight.” Unable to resist the magnetism of the mischievous God, her eyes briefly flickered to his, but then she moved away to go to check that the table was laid correctly. The seductive effect he was having on her was almost instantaneous and it would not make for serious conversation.

“Will you not join me?” It was not a question. “I believe you wished to discuss various matters with me… serious ones as I recall?”

“I think you should relax and have supper first, Your Highness. I do not wish to trouble you after a bad day.”

“Hmmm.” A thoughtful smile graced Loki’s face as he refused to look away from her, his emerald eyes drinking in this new look and considering it. What did he think? She wondered, and then admonished herself as she remembered he would hear everything she thought. Yet she could not stop herself from being curious as to whether he liked what she had done with her hair since it was such a big change from how she had always worn it. “I wonder if you will ever completely drop that formality, Erika?” He conjured a goblet of wine on the table, “Please, sit with me a while. Tell me of your day so that I may forget my own for a bit.” He raised his own goblet and took a sip, his glittering eyes fixing on hers, “You look like you have been… busy.” His face still gave nothing away as to what he thought, even as she made her way to sit opposite him and picked up her wine. A small sip of the smooth spicy Asgardian Red warmed her through and she took a few more gulps before cradling it in her hands and shaking off her shoes so she could tuck her feet up under her on the over sized chair. Loki had slumped in his own chair and was sprawled out in a very relaxed manner, given his frame and the awful mood he had apparently been in when he had first arrived. He nodded at her to start and still he did not look away. This was starting to make her feel uncomfortable and so she decided to look into the embers of the fire as she spoke in order to avoid looking at him. She did not want to lose her nerve and drop the topics she most needed to address with him.

 

“I think you will be happy with what I have done today.” She began. Or some of it. “I made the decision to return Mjölnir to the Weapons Vault.” Wanting to gauge his reaction, her blue eyes fastened on his, clearly expecting a response to this statement, but he held his tongue, merely nodding and taking another sip of his wine. He was not going to make this easy, clearly. “I felt that her presence close to me was causing friction between you and I and it is where she belongs, after all.” Loki still did not speak, so she decided to carry on, even if only to avoid the silence. “I also spoke to Fulla today. I met her as she came to attend Princess Hel this morning and we both remarked upon the ravens.” She paused as she saw a wrinkle of annoyance almost settle on Loki’s face, but the damn Trickster quickly disguised it, preferring instead to continue to stare noncommittally at her. She lifted her chin to emphasize the seriousness with which she took the birds’ situation, “You should unchain them.” An element of impatience began to spoil her mood as the infernal God of Mischief still remained silent. This had gone beyond simple politeness in listening to her and was becoming downright rude and ignorant! Did he have nothing to say? “They should be allowed to come and go as they desire. They are birds and should be allowed to fly! I will take responsibility for them if that is what you want.”

“So that you can communicate with Odin?” Loki’s voice was low and casual with no hint of wanting an argument; he was merely asking the question. What was the matter with him?

“No! I have always believed your treatment of them is cruel, you know that. Fulla agrees with me.” Erika set a stubborn look on her face as her courage grew in her efforts to help someone else, “Anyone would. It is as if you do it out of spite towards Odin. Well, he is a better person than one who might rise to that and you just look like someone who enjoys mistreating intelligent animals! You really should know better.”

“Very well. Having thought about it, you can talk to Odin and Thor anytime you choose and the ravens neither help nor hinder you. Your access to the vault was only possible because an authorised person intervened and since it was not me, it only leaves Odin and Thor as far as I am aware. I cannot stop you by continuing to keep Huginn and Muninn chained up. They are annoying anyway.” Loki made a brief gesture with his long fingers, emitting a faint trail of green sparkling dust and Erika heard the two Ravens cawing loudly out in the antechamber as their chains clattered to the floor; he had been as good as his word! The God of Mischief took a large gulp of his wine and glanced over to the timepiece, then back to Erika. “Any chance of another before supper?”

“Yes, Your Highness.” Erika got up from the chair rather too quickly and winced as the pins and needles spiked her legs on the way to fetching the carafe of wine for him. She poured him a generous serving and willed the Head Chef to send up from the kitchens as soon as possible. Sitting back on her chair, she said,

 

“Speaking of Odin and Thor. Where are they?” There was no other way to ask him and so she had gone for the most straight forward and honest way. She did not expect an answer from him of course; why would he tell her such a secret? It did not matter, of course; Gaia had told her of their whereabouts when she had told her of the prophecy where Erika could be the potential nemesis of the House of Odin. Yet she thought she would test just how honest he would choose to be with her. He raised an arched eyebrow as her question sank in and then he laughed heartily.

“They are on Midgard. Why do you ask?”

Erika was so shocked that he had simply told her where they were that she could not speak for a few moments, but then curiosity took over her and the questions began to flow.

“Why? What manner of stronghold is there on such a realm that is able to contain them? Surely Heimdallr can see them! I have had communication with Thor through Mjölnir, but I also know Odin is conscious… is he no longer in the Odinsleep? Why will you not bring them back? Surely there has to be a way to explain everything and…”

“Erika, Erika, Erika… You speak too quickly; your ideas are spilling from you like a torrent! Think about what it is you are asking. I cannot bring them back here unless they are my prisoners and I do not think the citizens of Asgard would be too pleased. There would definitely be an attempt to liberate them and to overthrow me and I could not hope to remain free! I would be back in that cell before I could blink!” He laughed bitterly, “Let them languish on their favourite realm a while longer while I think upon their situation. Asgard is doing very well under my rule and I intend to improve things further. Perhaps when I have accomplished all I have planned, they will want to come back and accept me as their King anyway!”

 

A knock at the door announced the arrival of their supper and the Head Chef arrived with the same apprentice as last time, only he did not stare in the same way as he had when he had first come here. Erika smiled inwardly; she could imagine the conversation on the way up here, with the chef threatening the poor lad’s very existence if he so much as glanced at the King. The pair quickly laid everything out on the table and then Loki and Erika were beckoned over to take their seats. It was so nice to be waited on that the young maid almost forgot the rest of what she wished to discuss with Loki while the napkin was placed in her lap and her wine was poured for her. The Head Chef bowed to Loki, “Your Highness.”

“Thank you. This looks delicious.” Replied Loki, nodding his approval. The Chef and his apprentice left the room and Loki looked up at Erika with a grin on his face.

“Well, I am ravenous, are you?” He began to tuck in to the dish with enthusiasm, savouring each mouthful as he did so, and Erika could not help but watch him. Even when doing something as simple as eating his supper, he was still mesmerising to watch with his graceful movements and enjoyment of the meal he had been served.

“Eat up. It will go cold!” Erika quickly looked down to her own plate, blushing at the realisation that she had been staring and she began to eat her supper. It was delicious indeed and there was quite a while where the two of them ate in silence. Erika was wondering how best to go about raising some of the other points she wanted to talk to Loki about and was just about to start when he announced,

 

“You look lovely tonight Erika. What prompted you to have a new hairstyle?”

“I was at a loose end and I happened to pass the Spa and I wondered if I was allowed to use its facilities…”

“Of course you are! You are the King’s personal maid and you are entitled to as much around the Palace as a lot of the nobles and Gods. I suppose I should have made it clear to you…” Loki reached out and touched her arm, “Erika, you are as good as family to me and you can have anything you desire.” Erika looked at him despondently. There was only one thing she really desired and that was for Loki to give up on his ideas of revenge against Odin and to bring him back to Asgard with Thor so that everything could be sorted out. A day dream of a sort crossed her mind where the green-eyed God had somehow been forgiven for everything he had done and he had decided to calm down and live simply as a noble about court with Erika as his companion, perhaps even his wife. He would have none of the pressures of ruling Asgard upon him, he would be able to pursue his love of the arts and take back up his horsemanship… they could take long walks along the river, see the sights, maybe raise a family…

 

Her fanciful thoughts abruptly ended as she felt the strong elegant fingers of her King slip from her arm and she looked up to see him eating his supper again. Had he seen any of that? Mentally berating herself for letting her guard down, she began to push her own food around her plate as she thought about what he had said.

 

“I know I should look smart as your maid for it would not do for the King to have a scruffy girl in this position, but is that all that matters, Loki?” She kept her eyes on the plate and her voice became quiet as she asked the difficult question, “I cannot ever be seen as more than that, can I? In public, I mean.” This was something which had occurred to her more than once since she had realised she loved Loki and definitely since their relationship had matured into what they shared now, complicated as it was. Silence stretched on for what seemed like a lifetime to her, but which was only a few seconds; she continued, “I believe the exact words are ‘Fornicate if you will, but do not carry it on into a matter for your heart. A Prince of Asgard can only have a wife from the correct echelon of society’?”

 

Loki’s fork clanged down on his plate and Erika was shocked to see the hurt expression on his face.

“Why do you use those words, Erika? Do you not know what they mean to me?!”

“I… I am sorry, Loki. I should not have said that. I apologise, I really do… I was not thinking properly. Forgive me.”

“Yet you said them for a reason. What was it?” His emerald eyes, although still showing his upset, were curious as to why she had used something Odin had said to him decades ago.

“Because it is as relevant today as it was back when mother was banished from Asgard.”

“And is that what you want, Erika? Do you wish to be my wife?” His voice had grown soft with his own question and Erika found herself unable to cope with it. Feeling rising emotion, she took her napkin from her lap to get up.

“Stay, Erika. Please. I want to know what you are thinking!”

“Read my…”

“NO!” Loki’s shout shocked her into silence, but then the tears really did come and she did get up and she did leave the table. Yet a strong hand grasped her arm gently bringing her to a stop before she could escape the room and she found herself drawn into a firm embrace where she gave in and started to cry freely.

“Oh Loki, do you not understand? What future is there for me? I am the common daughter of a seamstress and a stonemason and I can never be any more than your servant! I am trapped, Loki! I am trapped by my heart in a situation where I can never be with you officially. Oh, Gods, Loki… if this is love then I do not want it! It hurts, Loki. It hurts and it constrains and it does not feel nice at all!” Pulling away, Erika looked up into Loki’s infamous eyes, the eyes which she and she alone could read like an open book, to see confusion and concern there. “You cannot possibly hope to understand, my King…” she said, “You need a wife, or you need to bring the mother of your sons back to your side. You need a noblewoman, or a Goddess… someone of a high enough social standing and you need to do it soon. No matter what your intentions are in the long run, Asgard needs a Queen, Loki.”

 

Erika extracted herself from Loki’s arms, leaving him standing dumfounded as he watched her cross the room. Pausing at the great doors, she looked briefly back at him through her tears and managed a small smile. “I will see you in the morning Your Highness.” She said, and left to go to her own rooms.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The last guest had thanked her for the evening meal she had provided and now there were a few people sitting out in the back garden enjoying a social drink in the pleasant Asgardian evening. Although it was quite chilly, the small garden was kept at a decent temperature by the heat given out by a cheerful brazier in one corner and the sky was so clear that it was wonderful to see all the patterns made by the stars. Helga cleared the table and was preparing to wash up the dirty crockery when a quiet knock on the kitchen door announced the arrival of Bjorn’s beautiful foster daughter, Aida. The Elven Jotúnn paused briefly and her crimson eyes widened at the sight of Helga’s Jotúnn appearance before she came in and gave the land lady a warm hug.

 

“Hello my dear girl, how do you fare?” Helga pointed to the sofa in the corner of the kitchen, “Take a seat and I’ll bring us something to drink.”

“I am well, thank you. You have decided to drop the Asgardian visage permanently?”

“Yes. And do you know, it is such a relief? I do not have even to think of it any more. People are becoming used to it and do not stare nearly as much as I thought they might. I feel free, Aida!” Helga joined her on the worn and over stuffed sofa and handed her a drink, “How are… things?”

“’Things’ are good, thank you. I have had quite a few days, but I am not permanently harmed by the accident in the gardens and I am getting to know my new friend very well.”

“Good, good. You are enjoying your design work at the Palace, too?”
“Oh yes and we are to have another celebration too! I have not known the Palace to be so busy since before the troubles with Loki a few years ago, but I confess it is really nice to see such happy occasions having feasts and parties arranged around them. I have just come from a meeting with Hel and Seneschal as it happens. They are very fascinating people… Hel seems to have taken a bit of an interest in me too, for some reason.” Aida looked meaningfully at Helga and mouthed “Loki” to her, raising her eyebrow.

“She will have to dig deep in order to find out anything about you!” Said Helga cautiously, “She will not find much which is out for all to see…”

“I know, Helga.”

“Yes, it will be nice to have such friends in the Palace and I believe you are close to Freyja too?”
“Helga,” Aida tapped at one of her temples and locked crimson eyes on her. “I know.”

 

Helga hesitated a moment and dropped her own eyes to look into her drink while she thought about what Aida had just said. Did she mean the Dragonsmark?

 

“Aida…”

“I do not mind. I must have given you permission in the first place and I confess it makes my task easier. I have had communication with Khellendros and he made it possible for me to remember. Do not worry, I will not reveal this to anyone else, but you are the leader of us and you have a right…”

“I am not.” Interrupted Helga, “After those two poor children, I could take it no longer. I resigned.”

“I do not know what to say…”

“There is nothing to say. Carry on as you are and keep in touch with the person assigned to you already. I will not tell them that you know of your… mark. Just be careful, Aida.”

“Yes… regarding that. I am clear in my mind as to what I wish to accomplish. It may take a few weeks, perhaps even months, but I feel I am on track with it. I will give it my best.”

“Please be careful, Aida. It is not a simple thing you are undertaking.”

“No, it is not, but I have noticed the atmosphere in the Palace since so many of the Gods came home to see Loki officially take the Throne. There are whisperings and mutterings and although the visible attitude is one of celebration and progress, the undertone is much less happy. What will happen now you have stepped down?”

“Not much will change my dear, but rest assured that your contact will advise you on that if necessary. Now, would you like a freshly baked biscuit to go with your drink?”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Wiping her eyes with the back of her hand, Erika flinched when she heard the door of the King’s Suite open.

“Erika! Come back, please. I would speak to you of this!”

 

Instead, the young maid began to hurry faster towards her own doors. She did not want to see him! What she had said to him was true, no matter how much she wished it was not and to be in his presence at this moment would only hurt more. To her dismay, she found it more and more difficult to move her feet and she looked down to see a green glow about them. He was using magic to stop her!

 

“No, Loki! That is not fair!” She struggled to lift her foot, “No! Let me go. I do not wish to see you! I want to be alone!” If she could have stamped her foot, she would have, but instead she screamed in frustration, balling her fists as her impotent struggling got her nowhere. “Loki!

The long elegant fingers of her King slipped around one of her arms as he came into view and he looked at her with eyes full of concern for her.Damn him! She tried to look away, wanting to refuse to acknowledge that he was there, willing him to go away – shouting her thoughts at him: “Go away!” and sobbing terribly, stuck as she was to the floor of the antechamber. To her surprise, everything around them began to shimmer as though she was looking through a thin curtain of falling water and then the antechamber disappeared abruptly. A second later a garden came into view around her, dimly lit in the crisp light of the Asgardian Moon as she climbed up from the horizon, and Loki was steering her over to a bench where they sat down. Erika shivered in the chill of the night air and then gasped as she felt a warm woollen shawl form over her shoulders and Loki pulled her closer to him. She was still very upset, but the sudden change in surroundings had shocked her out of her episode and now she was looking around, wondering where she was.

 

It was a relatively small garden for the Palace, and was surrounded on three sides by high russet brick walling. There seemed to be paths wending their way through many differently styled beds of flowers and there were a couple of dark shapes which indicated small buildings and maybe a glass house. As she sat on the bench, the gentle scents of the lavender around them and of the camomile at their feet began to calm her down and a slow realisation came to her: this had to be Frigga’s garden. At one time anyone could have come here to look around and possibly be lucky enough to meet its owner while she pottered around caring for her beloved plants, but ever since the late Queen’s death it had always been locked; the iron gates set in an arch built of the same small bricks as the walls were never seen open and Erika had only tried to look through them a couple of times when she had been wandering around the Palace grounds. For some reason, no matter how one craned one’s neck, the view into the garden beyond the gates was never quite in focus and one quickly gave up trying. It was magic of some kind she knew, so to now be sitting in the middle of the forbidden space was making her feel quite emotional. As she looked around, she saw a large lilac tree in the furthest corner and she was surprised at its size. It was nicely pruned and the heavy blooms looked like they must be at least as beautiful and as fragrant as the ones that had graced the tree which had been destroyed out in the main gardens only a few days ago.

 

“It is from the same stock as her tree.” Said Loki in a quiet voice and he sighed heavily as he looked in the same direction as Erika. “When the very first original tree began to sicken, my mother took cuttings – about a dozen of them – and I helped her to bring them on. I was only a small child. The tree out there in the main gardens is one of those my mother grew and it is the sister to this one, which I grew. Frigga was upset that the original tree planted to celebrate her marriage to Odin had a malaise caused by little insects and so she cultivated new ones from it before it died. She accelerated their growth using her natural talents with nature and her Seidr. She taught me at the same time…” Loki’s voice sounded wistful at first, but as he related his story to her, Erika heard it grow stronger and happier. “We stole out in the middle of the night and we used our magic to swap the two trees once her new one was large and strong enough. No one ever knew – not even Odin! Only I was in on the secret. And now, this one remains as a testament to how much she cared and to her wisdom and talents.”

“Why not transplant it? You could replace the dead tree…”

“No. No, that one must stay there as a reminder of the vindictiveness of those who destroyed it.” Loki looked around at the garden, which was highlighted in silvery white light from the moon. “I come here when I have to get away from things. I find a solace in tending these plants which I am unable to find elsewhere.” Loki took hold of Erika’s hand and turned slightly to look at her, “Except with you. There is something about you…”

“Please don’t, Loki.” Said Erika, interrupting him, “I would like to go back now, if I may? I need to think upon my future.”
“There is nothing to think about. We have been through this Erika. You are my maid and my chosen companion and I will not…”

“Loki. There has to come a time when you realise your true responsibilities. You wanted Asgard and you got her. You wanted the Throne in your own right and now you have it. You. Are. The. All-Father. You are not a young free-spirited Princeling with a couple of brothers in line before you. You are the King. There are expectations of you and if you do not start to fulfil them then you will experience displeasure and opposition like nothing before.” Erika slipped her hand out of his. “Please, I want to go back.”

“Come back with me. I brought us here because I saw Hel opening her door and I did not want us to have an audience while we talked to each other. Please go back with me, not by yourself.” Loki was not begging her, but he was not far from it. The idea that Erika was voluntarily removing herself from his life to make enough space for someone else to become his official female… partner? companion? Queen?... was not sitting well with him and he began to feel the start of desperation as her silence dragged on.

“Please, Erika. At least share a warm drink with me to ward off this chill?”

 

Erika made the fatal mistake of looking up at her handsome King to see a lopsided smile as he tried to win her over and her heart melted as she fell into those pools of emerald green. Somewhere in her mind, she knew he was employing all the charm he could muster to get his own way, but the roguish little daemon sitting on her shoulder just didn’t give a damn.

 

“One, Loki. Then I will return to my own room.”

 

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Hel pressed her living ear up against the door trying to hear what was being said. Something was going on for certain and it did not sound as if it was very good. It sounded as if her father and his maid were falling out about something. The mischievous Princess of Asgard winced and drew back from the door as she heard Erika’s annoyed shout and she decided she could not simply stay here and do nothing. What was happening?!This was far too delicious a situation to ignore! She grasped the handle of the door and turned it slowly, listening for any further development and peered out cautiously.

 

Erika was standing towards the nearer side of the antechamber, clearly on her way to her own room, which was between Hel’s door and the door to the King’s suite. There was a furious expression on her face and there was a green glow around her feet, explaining why she was simply standing there and not moving away from Loki, who was reaching out to take her arm. Hel noticed she looked especially pretty tonight, wearing a lovely blue dress and having had a very flattering haircut. She wondered if her father and his maid were supposed to be having a special evening together, then all of a sudden Hel’s father’s eyes fastened on her and she flinched as he gave her a look as cold as the wastes of Jotúnnheimr. A second later, he had disappeared along with Erika and it was Hel who now grunted in frustration. She would not get to see an emotional display tonight. Where had they gone? Going back inside her rooms, Hel thought about the various situations she had seen her father in over the last few days and gave out an impressed snort, which was not very attractive on the dead side of her face. He was a busy man, it seemed. As far as she could tell, he was juggling a wife and children, his little pet companion and an exotic half-breed. What potential for fun!

States Of A God's Heart Ch85: Women
Loki finds himself beset by information and advice from all sides... and it's all from women who he counts as prominent in his life, even if for different reasons.

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This is the eighty fifth part of the sequel to To Tame A God
Previous Chapter: States Of A God's Heart 84 Dalliances + Detections
Next Chapter:
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So, where was I? Oh yes, my dream. Well, I still do not know what to make of it, but I decided it was time to remove Mjölnir from my immediate vicinity. All her presence does is cause problems between me and Loki because he cannot let go of his jealousy and suspicions to do with my ability to lift her. No matter how much I have done to try to prove I mean no harm to him and that I am not some kind of proud would-be Royal Assassin, he only ever reacts badly to her. Earlier this evening I took her back to the weapons vault, but when I got there, they would not let me in. Mjölnir came to my aid a final time though – she seemed to channel Thor and it was his power and his voice which came through me and I was allowed inside. It is an amazing place and I could not help but walk up to the plinth at the far end. Upon it was a large casket which seemed as if it was made of stone, but stone through which a storm held within could be seen. It was so beautiful and captivating and I reached out to touch it, but a voice sounded in my mind warning me off. I think it was Loki, but I am not sure, as there are lots of defensive mechanisms around important areas like that.

 

But going back to when I stayed at Móðir’s and the dream I had there; this morning’s walk back to the Palace cleared my head somewhat and when I arrived, I spoke to the ravens of it. I asked if they could communicate the information to Odin and then I went to get Loki up. That was when my day was not so good. I could tell he had passed a bad night and I almost didn’t want to wake him up. I would rather have climbed in beside him and had a nice morning nap. However, I did wake him up and he ended up not wanting to bathe and, well just the way he acted and what he said… oh, Diary I do hate it when I have suspicions like these because they make me feel so bad, but I think he was with Aida while I slept at Móðir’s house. Anyway, I got him ready to go for his breakfast – which he had with his family – and told him that I wanted to talk to him about important things over supper. After he had gone, I ran into Fulla, his former nanny and Frigga’s sister and we decided to join forces in order to get the ravens freed.

 

Earlier today, before I took Mjölnir back to the weapons vault, I actually spent some time in the Palace Spa and, do you know, Diary… I was treated like a Princess! The lady who runs it told me my position entitles me to all kinds of treatments and luxuries in the Spa and elsewhere and I was pampered wonderfully. I have even made a new friend. Her name is Sæunn and she is a young attendant there. She is so very pretty and kind and we had a fun time while I was there, so I have promised we should meet socially soon. It was so nice to talk to someone of a similar age and who is just an ordinary girl like me, not a God or a Goddess, or a noble. Just an ordinary teenaged Palace servant like me.

 

Well, Loki is due back any time and I do not look my usual self any longer. I have had a hair cut and it is now only about half the length it was, but I love it! The curls are light and bouncy now that I have had all that weight cut off and I feel lighter and freer somehow. I want to look good for my King – both in my capacity as his maid and privately, so I hope he likes it. I have a small list of everything I wish to discuss with him too, so wish me luck, Diary.

 

It could be a long evening…….

 

Diary Of Loki's Chambermaid Ch72: I Belong To Loki
Erika grabs a moment before returning to her role as Loki's maid after a day to herself and wonders if he will be angry with anything she has done...

This is a series that follows 
Am I truly A Monster? Loki x Reader. Part 1 of 2
and it starts here: Diaries of Loki's Chambermaid. 1: Appointment

Previous Chapter: Diary Of Lokis Chambermaid 71: I Belong To Mjolnir
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“Tyr, my Prince, I must seek audience with you!”

 

Njörðr looked at the God of Justice in an almost desperate fashion. “Sire, I wish no disrespect, but you have been back in Asgard a while now and you do not seem too perturbed by the fact that The God of Mischief rules the Nine! It is all too easy to settle into a way of life which is comfortable, but you have to remember that it should be Odin who sits upon that Throne and Loki is only there through trickery and subterfuge! Have you seen the sheer size of Fenrir? We warned Odin that he should have been restrained when he was younger and he did but scoff at our words. Look at him now! He is a giant amongst wolves and ferocious into the bargain. Hel has matured into a formidable Goddess of the Underworld and is no simpleton; she has a canny mind and should not be underestimated. Jormungandr is a huge beast too and they have all converged upon Asgard in the absence of the true All-Father and his heir!”

 

Tyr stroked his stubbly chin and looked at the Seafaring God. He was clearly concerned about the presence of Loki’s children in the ruling realm. It was of course one of the prerequisites to the Prophecy of Ragnarök.

 

“I appreciate your words Njörðr, yet I have come home to Asgard to find her on a fairly even keel. Yes, my father and his son are not here, but Loki is not that bad! When I first returned I was concerned at the state of affairs, but I feel that I have not been given due concern as to the status of Asgard as the ruling realm. The only thing I wish to have out with Loki is the whereabouts of my Father and Thor. However, Loki has not brought about events that will cause the Twilight! He is fending off enemies quite well and quashing any treasonous attempts to overthrow the Monarchy. I have listened to the commoners’ complaints and, quite frankly, they are not out of the ordinary. Indeed, many of them hark back to the time when Odin was ruling, so how can they be attributed only to our Trickster? It seems to me that his iron hand will simply serve to strengthen Asgard, which is what the people seem to desire!”

“My Prince… I fear that I have offended you. Yet there are many amongst us that are of a concerned mind. We are wary of the current situation and would ask that you at least try to find out where the true All Father and Prince Thor are. You have admitted you are curious yourself?”

“Yes, I long to see my father again. Let me think upon this, Njörðr. I understand your concerns and I do not dismiss them in the slightest. The future of Asgard and the Nine is of utmost importance to us all and Loki is well known for his trickery and his mischief. Rest assured I will be making enquiries while I am here. My time will not be idle.”

 

The God of the Seafarers sighed; he would have to be content for now, but he had been speaking to various other Gods and there was a general consensus that Fenrir was potentially dangerous and should be restrained in some way to prevent any major damage on his behalf. He made a shallow bow to the Son of Odin and smiled curtly.

 

“Thank you for hearing me, my Prince. I hope you will keep us abreast of any developments?”

“Of course, Njörðr. You are one of the most senior of us all and I trust your judgement and your loyalty to Asgard. Please, do not worry. Loki will not be allowed to simply enforce his own way. There are many Gods and Goddesses here in Asgard and we are not completely without power!”

 

Feeling a little reassured at Tyr’s words, Njörðr bowed and left his company. He decided to not lapse into complacency however; he would be on the constant watch from now on and Loki’s actions would determine just how much he would place pressure on Tyr in the future.

 

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Having found herself left at the breakfast table with her half-brothers and their mother, Hel had managed to make polite conversation for a while, but had quickly become impatient with the way that Sigyn clearly could not conceive of a bad thought about Loki. What was it about the women he had in his life? Why did they all find the space in their hearts to forgive him his transgressions? As his daughter, Hel managed to remain removed enough to see his failings and to be a little irritated about them, but all these women he took as wives and lovers; they were acting as if under some kind of spell, even her own mother, Angrboda. It infuriated Hel no end and she almost felt like taking Sigyn by the shoulders and shaking her into realising the truth of Loki’s mischievous actions, but the purity of the poor woman stopped her. She simply could not cause a scene in front of the two boys and, instead, steered the conversation towards the future of Asgard and the roles they could potentially take up in support of their father. She enthused over their education and training and, in the end, found herself warming to the pretty woman who was their mother. As she watched Sigyn’s happy smiles, directed toward her sons while she described their achievements, she realised that Loki was missing out on a lot. In his efforts to be a formidable and almost omnipresent Monarch of Asgard, he was overlooking the efforts of his children to become worthy of their positions in the hierarchy of the Royal House of Asgard, and it was not going entirely unnoticed. Narvi and Vali found it quite hard to be enthusiastic about how little Loki had been there for them as they were growing up.

 

“You are both wonderful men!” Hel enthused towards her half-brothers. “I am quite sure Father would be very happy to know that you are both making efforts to work your way up the ranks of warriors, even though you have not been invited to the prestigious training grounds which are normally offered to Royals. Has he mentioned these to you?”

“Oh, yes!” Answered Sigyn, “He has expressed a desire for the both of our sons to go to the special training camp on the Mountain of Asgard, as is usually offered to all the Royal Children.”

“Good!” Replied Hel, “It is their birthright!” She smiled brightly at Narvi and Vali, “Are you excited by this opportunity?”

 

The two sons of Loki nodded somewhat shyly at their older half-sister and she grinned back at them. “So you should! The tutors there are nothing but the best and you will flourish under their guidance. Sigyn, may I take this opportunity to request that we become closer? I understand that my being the child of another wife of Loki could cause some discomfort, but I assure you – I wish only to be your friend.”

“I… I am honoured, my Lady.” Began Sigyn.

“There is no ‘My Lady’ about it!” Exclaimed Hel. “We are at least equals and I insist that you call me Hel. Is that clear?”

“Yes of course Hel, and I am Sigyn.”

“Well, there we have it.” Said Hel brightly. She looked around the table at everyone’s empty breakfast plates, “Tea, anyone?”

 

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Loki’s eyes raked the walls before him and he felt the anger rising like an inner volcano. There were badly sketched pictures of him and lists of imagined slights he had apparently committed. There were dates and names and all manner of things pasted and pinned to this wall of “evidence” against him, the “Usurper” as he was called over and over again, and he could not stop looking at it. After a while, the King’s Company Captain cleared his throat and Loki’s thoughts were brought back to the present.

 

“Your Majesty? What do you require of us next?”

“Hold a moment, I wish to look through these caskets myself. I would know their contents.” For a while, Loki and some of the men who had accompanied him into the secret room searched the jars and barrels to see what they contained. Eventually, the God of Mischief happened upon a pouch of powder inside a chest of drawers and he shouted for everyone to stop as the scent of the contents piqued his interest. He sniffed at the powder again and caught the distinct aroma of nutmeg. It was unmistakeable; an earthy yet sweet scent and the brownish stain it lent to his fingers once he dipped them inside left him in no doubt. Nutmeg. One of the ingredients of the drink which had nearly killed Erika! He made everyone stop what they were doing.

 

“Everyone! I want you to cease your actions! I have found something which I recognise. Bring Eir!”

 

The God of Mischief shooed everyone from the small room and placed the pouch of Midgardian Nutmeg on the table in the middle of the space. As his men went to fetch the Senior Healer, he continued the search alone and he was quickly rewarded. About half a dozen phials of Vampire Orchid extract were up on a high shelf in the dark and then he found several bunches of dried stems and leaves with an unmistakeable bouquet.

 

Midgardian Hemlock.

 

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Once Loki had left the Summer Salon, Aida had felt her tension start to fade, but she still had to endure the infrequent glances Hel was throwing her way. Although it was nice that Freyja was being such a friend to her and made her feel quite welcome in the Palace, the young designer was feeling a little out of her depth. To be surrounded by Gods and Goddesses like this was still something out of the ordinary and the fact that she was carrying on a secret affair with the King did nothing to help her disposition. She stayed as long as she felt was polite, then bade Freyja goodbye and left, but only after The Goddess of Beauty had extracted a promise that they would meet soon to take a walk along the river.

 

The experience of the headache in the Salon was playing on her mind and she decided to go to her room and have some quiet time to herself. There was not an awful lot going on in the Palace today and she had originally intended to spend the day in the library researching fabrics. Instead, she arrived back at her room and set about making the space as calm and as quiet as possible. She drew the long heavy curtains at the windows so that only a small sliver of light got through and then she stripped off her clothing in order to don a loose-fitting light cotton robe. Lighting an incense cone and setting it on a small table to bring a calming scent to the room, she climbed onto her bed – which had been freshly made while she breakfasted – and sat in the lotus position with her eyes closed. She placed her arms so that they rested on her knees and then pinched her thumbs against her middle fingers lightly. Employing meditative techniques, she felt herself finally start to relax and she prepared to go through troubling thoughts in order to solve them sensibly and calmly.

 

The building which represented her quiet space where she housed all her feelings and emotions appeared in her mind’s eyes and she moved towards it, preparing herself mentally to deal with all that was troubling her. But as she arrived at the large doors and reached out to push them open, a large shadow fell upon her and she turned to look for its source.

 

To her amazement, a gigantic Dragon was sitting proudly in the gardens which surrounded this building deep within her mind and after she got over the initial shock, she appreciated just what a handsome and ferocious beast he was. He was regarding her from sparkling reptilian eyes set in a head which was surrounded by an impressive spiked frill and topped with two striking horns. Although his wings were folded back along his huge body, she could see that they were enormous and would be a sight to see once unfurled for flight and the blue scales which clothed him sparkled and glittered like the most precious of sapphires.

 

“So, you retreat into your mind again, dear lady… is this something you make a habit of?” The low rumble of the Dragon’s voice vibrated in Aida’s chest as he spoke.

“Yes, I do. And now I am here I know I have seen – or rather sensed – you here before. Who are you? Are you the one who speaks to me?” Oddly, Aida felt no fear of this creature, only curiosity as to why he was here.

“I am Khellendros of Krynn and no… I am not truly here. However, I have been joined to you through enchantment in order to protect your mind from would-be intruders and I am indeed the one who speaks to you. You have nothing to fear dear girl! I am not your foe in any way and I will not harm you. I simply wanted to see you for who you were and to discover who it was that has been trapped in her own mind in the name of service to her realm.”

“I do not know what you speak of, but I am just one person who serves her realm. I have been chosen for a special task…”

“To kill the false King.” Interrupted Khellendros.

“Yes, to kill him. Are you here to help me in this endeavour?”

“No, I am not directly involved, but I am a magical creature and one of my scales was used in a powerful enchantment placed upon you to prevent the reading of your mind. You have been forgetting this because of the nature of the spell, but no longer. I think you should know of it. Whether you tell your friends of your discovery or not is not up to you to decide.”

 

All Aida felt from this revelation was a strange sense of relief, as if she had been place under an unknown burden. Yes, a small part of her was a little confused as to what he meant by enchantments and forgetting them, but the knowledge that Loki could not pry inside her mind was a huge boost to her confidence in her ability to carry out her mission.

 

“So, it is you who tells me that you will protect my thoughts?”

 

Khellendros chuckled, and a small plume of smoke emerged from his flared nostrils, “Yes, it is I. Does this concern you?”

“No… no, not really. Will you always be here? Inside my mind when I try to meditate?”

“No.” The Blue Dragon shook his mighty head, “The link is not a physical one and I do not really reside here. However, I can hear you if I choose.” His eyes narrowed as he looked at Aida more closely, “You seem to be of a warrior type, but I do not know your race. What are you?”

“Oh! I am part Elf and part Jotúnn. Some would say a rare and perhaps unfortunate mix…”

“Then I would disagree with them. You seem strong and quick from your appearance and your innate talents are many.” The Dragon drew back and blinked slowly at her. “I will depart now, as I am wanted back here on Krynn. However, the enchantment will remain and none shall see within your thoughts. May strength and good fortune be your guides. Farewell, dear lady.”

“Farewell.” Replied Aida as she watched the great dragon take flight and disappear into the distance of her mind. Shaking her head and wondering what the effects of this enchantment would be on her besides closing off her mind to others, she turned back to the building containing her thoughts and pushed open the doors. It was time to sort them all out and get her plans properly on track.

 

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Hel left the Summer Salon in quite good spirits having forged a friendship with her father’s wife, tenuous as it might be. She was finding her nature to be a fairly gregarious one now that she had escaped the confines of the Underworld and her instinct was to search out and befriend people who were of a similar mind to her own. In addition, being well-acquainted with others who might not necessarily see eye-to-eye with her would not do any harm; better to keep them close than to alienate them. Being at a bit of a loose end, she had decided to track down her father’s maid, Erika, and to convince her to spend some time with her around Asgard, but before she could get anywhere near the Royal Suites, Seneschal came hurrying up to her looking rather giddy.

 

“Your Highness! I am so glad I managed to find you. May I have a word?”

 

Seneschal was a man who took his role at the Palace very seriously, but he also missed the high-jinks and festivities which had been fairly commonplace at one time. Things were more sombre of late and he wanted to try to lighten up the heavy atmosphere. The arrival of Hel had provided him with the ideal accomplice in this and he was not about to throw away the opportunity to bring life back into the golden corridors, even if it meant more work for him.

 

“Of course, my dear Seneschal. What is it?”

 

The two of them fell into step as they made their way along, passing through the opulently decorated spaces of the Palace of Asgard and Hel listened with interest as he explained some of his ideas. He had worked closely with Aida, the designer, in creating themes for potential celebrations and there was an ideal opportunity coming up. The arborists employed to help maintain the orchard in which the Apples of Iðunn were grown would be celebrating the main harvest in a few days’ time and he believed it would be nice to hold a feast and to invite a few lucky citizens to come along and enjoy the company of the Gods for an evening. His idea was to pick out some of the gardeners and cooks who were involved in the care of the trees and of the preparation of various dishes made from the apples for the consumption of the Gods and invite them to feast alongside them. Aida had a lovely theme already designed and it should not take too long to dress the Great Hall for the occasion.

 

Hel of course immediately said yes. The life of a Princess of Asgard should be crammed with feasts, parties, celebrations and other such occasions, should it not? The Palace should be seen as a welcoming place, open to all its people and it should be a Paragon of etiquette and grandeur. She sent Seneschal off to organise the large scale operation required and grinned as she made her way to the Royal suites. Oh, her father was going to love this! Then her face fell. He would be as moody as ever sitting on his lonely Throne, with no companion beside him. She frowned; it was time to talk to him about his future and about just exactly who he should be presenting to Asgard as his potential Queen.

 

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“Your Highness… Loki…” Eir placed her hand on the arm of The trickster and steered him to a quiet corner of the room as the men around them boxed up the evidence. “This is serious. These ingredients could be the ones which were in the drink used to poison Erika. There are other out-lawed substances here too. I have identified Asgardian Greenbell for one, but some of them are from completely alien realms. …” She looked meaningfully at her King and he held her gaze for a few moments as the meaning sank in. This was not simply some amateur or second-rate dealer, as was probably common in the shadier parts of the city; this was well-organised, well-funded and obviously well-connected. Whoever had been running this underground supply must have had access to money and contacts, including those from off-realm. A sneaking suspicion began in his mind as to who one of those contacts could have been and anger began to fester within him.

 

He looked down at the small box into which he had placed the few items he was particularly interested in. “I understand, Eir. Please keep these particular things secret for now and take them to the healing rooms. I want you to run full tests on them to see if they are from the same source as those phials I brought back from Dr Banner.”

“Yes, Loki. I will have the results within a few hours.” The healer secreted the small box within her voluminous red robes and nodded.

“My thanks, Eir. Please send word once you know.”

 

Loki found that his temper was deteriorating rapidly, especially as wherever he looked in this dim and dingy subterranean chamber, he was faced with strong propaganda aimed directly against him. Why did they feel this way about him? Asgard had been getting a bit frayed around the edges under Odin’s rule, glossed over as it had been by the centuries of assumed superiority and high-living. A simple trick Loki had played at the coronation of Thor had revealed that rot for all to see and that was why Malekith had been able to circumvent the city’s defences. Everything Loki had done since he had assumed the Throne had been to strengthen borders, bring in more of his kin to improve the War Council, create a new Warrior Elite, open negotiations with other realms to reinforce alliances… Why were there people who still opposed him? He snarled at the pictures and slogans and swept from the room to go to consult with Fenrir. Hopefully the calm disposition of the Great Wolf would help him keep his cool. Some of what he had had to say to the Council regarding his domination of the Nine occurred to him and he decided the time was right to bring it up with him.

 

“My son!” Loki saluted Fenrir as his War Master and motioned that he would like to take a walk. “This is great work indeed and I thank you for your dedication and instinct. I wish to talk to you of Jotúnnheimr.”

“My homeland? Why? Father, I hope you do not wish for me to go back there? I have only just…”

“No, my son, your place is here by my side. Yet, she is a realm much reduced from her former glory and I have the means with which to restore it… I would have her as my closest ally and I need someone there who will ensure it.”

“The Jotúnns would pledge immediate loyalty if you return the casket, Father! Conditions there are such that even a slight improvement would transform lives all across the realm! The clans have been forced to unite in many areas and the feudal structure is not what it once was. Perhaps the time is ripe for creating a true High Chieftain… and I think you know who the prime candidate is.” Fenrir stopped walking and looked expressively at his father, “She will resist at first, but I know she is more than capable.”

“You think along the same lines as I do, my son. I do not want you to return there to live, but I believe you would be the perfect ambassador to represent me there, along with your brother. I believe you could convince your mother to take up the mantle of High Chieftain of Jotúnnheimr… and to persuade her to form an alliance with me here in Asgard. Of course, I will remain King of Jotúnnheimr and she will have to pledge allegiance to me…”

“I will see what I can do, Father.”

 

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Erika moved through the huge darkened corridor – or was it almost like a tunnel? – of rough hewn stone which led to the weapons vault of the Palace. She was not quite sure she would even be granted access once she got there, but she had an important item to return. Although there was no one around, there were faint echoes of strange noises down here; whispering breezes from unseen sources, the odd drip of water and far-off voices speaking in tongues she had never heard before. Eventually, she reached a set of gigantic doors, carved from the very rock of the tunnel they formed the end of, and came face to face with two formidable warriors standing guard. They were not the usual Palace Guards as frequented the more public and gentrified areas of the Palace, they were larger and their uniforms were definitely of a sturdier construction. Swallowing hard, the young maid curtseyed, although she was not quite sure why she did it, and spoke up.

 

“I wish to enter the vault.” Her voice was a little shaky, but quite clear. However, the guards completely ignored her. She frowned. What should she do now? She wanted to put Mjölnir back in there for safe-keeping!

“Excuse me!” She said in a louder voice and stepped closer to the guards, who frightened the living daylights out of her as they suddenly changed stance and crossed their lances over the doors. Erika faltered, but she felt the Hammer grow lighter in her grasp behind her back and she strengthened her resolve. Lifting her chin, she took another step forward and brought Mjölnir to her front to find she was glowing.

 

Fear not…

 

As Erika turned her eyes to the guards, blue electricity suddenly crackled within them.

 

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“The way we fought that day was different to how we had approached it the previous three and we… Thor? My son… are you well?”

 

Odin stopped his reminiscence of an ancient battle and watched as the Golden Haired God became still and stared off into the distance. The air became palpably charged as Thor took deep breaths and his crystal blue eyes lit up with lightning.

 

“Open the vault! I wish to return Mjölnir!” His deep voice boomed out in the relatively small space of their cell and he still stared off, seeing something elsewhere. After a few moments, he shook his head and turned to look at his father. Smiling happily at Odin he said, “Erika has taken Mjölnir home. She has the truth of it now and knows that she will be sought out if Mjölnir ever deems it necessary.”

“Clever girl.” Said Odin noncommittally. He was not impressed with the inclusion of one of the Asgardian mortals in all of this, especially as she was the daughter of the woman who Loki had become romantically entangled with once. What was it with history and how it always seemed to find a way to come back and haunt one? He looked at Thor and wondered what was going on in his mind. He was linked to Mjölnir, as was inevitable, being the one who she was partnered with. What Odin was not happy about particularly was that this slip of a girl had for some reason been chosen by the mighty weapon too. Her mother had once inveigled her way into Loki’s life and now Erika was interfering with his son, Thor. Outwardly smiling at Thor and agreeing that it was best that Mjölnir was back in the weapons vault, inwardly he was already considering just how he could get rid of Erika once he returned to Asgard.

 

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Back on Asgard, the two guards outside the weapons vault fell to one knee at the sound of their Prince’s voice and saluted Erika in the Asgardian fashion. The huge doors swung open silently on their giant hinges and the young maid passed between them to go into the cavernous space. She descended a large flight of stone steps which were lit by bowls of fire and found herself in a large room with a ceiling so high she could not see it. The floor was bordered with pools of glistening liquid, which she was not entirely sure was water. Columns sculpted from the living rock went up to heights unseen between these pools and concealed alcoves came into view between them as she walked along, each containing marvellous artefacts from distant realms. She walked slowly along, taking in the amazing sights, her young mind almost unable to comprehend the importance of what she was seeing. At the far end of the room, a massive grated wall seemed to stretch upwards and sideways forever and a large casket rested upon a stone plinth in front of it.

 

As she passed one of the alcoves, she saw an empty space and Mjölnir twitched slightly in her grasp. She opened her fingers and the Hammer lightly flew to go to land on a stone cushion which seemed to have been carved into just the right shape for her. The glowing runes dimmed and it was almost as if the Hammer had gone to sleep. Erika smiled; she was home safe and now was one thing less for her to worry about! Glancing back, the casket piqued her curiosity and she approached it slowly. Looking at it, she could see swirling storms through the thin stone walls bound in iron. Lightning crackled and snow swirled around inside, and when she reached out a tentative hand, her fingertips felt extreme cold even though they were still inches away from its surface.

 

“I would not do that if I were you!”

 

Jumping in fright, Erika whirled around to see where the voice had come from, but there was no one there. Looking round guiltily, like a child caught about to steal an apple from a cart, Erika hurried back along the room and up the steps to leave the vault, completely missing the dark haired clone hiding in one of the alcoves.

 

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What was she doing in the vault?

 

Loki’s attention was diverted from the conversation he was in the middle of with his son Fenrir as his sight changed to that of the clone he kept in the weapons vault. Concentrating now, he directed it to look around to see what had alarmed it and he saw Erika standing in front of the Casket of Ancient Winters, reaching out to touch it! She looked different somehow, but he did not really pay much attention to that. Why was she standing in front of the casket? Why was she even in there? Only certain people had access to the vault and he was quite sure she was not one of them!

 

“I would not do that if I were you!” He said loudly, and the words came out of his clone’s mouth in the vault. He watched as Erika flinched and quickly left the vault, then he sent the clone to look around the vault, quickly finding what had changed. Mjölnir was back in her proper place! Had Erika decided to relinquish her ability to control the thing? The jealousy he found so hard to control regarding Thor’s Hammer resurfaced, but he managed to contain it as the thought that Erika wanted no more of her power occurred to him. Had she chosen Loki over the weapon after all?

 

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Eir worked quickly in her workshop. Loki had expressed the urgency of the answers he sought, but the Senior Healer also wanted to know if these compounds were from the same source. She had recognised the house where they had been found and realised that the woman who had lived there was one of the more prominent nobles who had often been seen around court trying to further the societal standing of her daughters. One of those daughters had been notorious for throwing herself at anyone she felt was important and had been seen going back to the King’s suite with a couple of her friends after the feast which had taken place on the day he had initially revealed his presence to Asgard as King. She was a feisty red head and took after her mother in many respects, ambition being one of her well-known qualities. The coincidence of her disappearance along with that of her mother within hours of Erika having fallen ill due to poisoning had raised suspicion in Eir, but she had nothing to back it up and subsequent events had conspired to make her ideas fade. Yet now they were rekindled and she knew time was of the essence; Loki would not tolerate any hindrance in the effort to solve this crime in the light of new evidence.

 

She had set up two identical experiments for each of the substances; one being performed on the extracts provided by Dr Banner and one being performed on the confiscated material. These were basic tests which were easy to perform and then she would take them one by one to the Soul Forge to run additional diagnostics. She worked quietly and efficiently on the tests, noting down initial results just in case the King came along to see how she was getting on. However, it was not long before she was getting answers from her experimentation and she loaded them up properly on to a portable display for Loki to look at.

States Of A God's Heart 84 Dalliances + Detections
Hel continues to do the Asgardian version of social networking and Loki finds that Fenrir has stumbled upon evidence related to an unsolved crime against one of the most important people in his life.

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This is the eighty fourth part of the sequel to To Tame A God
Previous Chapter: States Of A God's Heart 83: Pampering and Progress
Next Chapter: States Of A God's heart Ch85: Women
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Hello dear readers. This was a while in the writing, but as I keep saying... I will not abandon this story as happens so frequently across fan fiction. I now have the luxury of a few thousand words lead and a few threads I am ardently pursuing. I think I have been on a slow burn due to "life worries", but I have been working hard to give me and my important people things to look forward to, even if they're only little things. It makes all the difference, folks. Create future goals, even if it is only to go to drink your coffee outside under the sky. Even if it rains, it is simply cooling it down for you :)

Thanks for reading
Palefire
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“You want your son back, do you not?”

 

The writhing black tendrils which made up what would have been the hair of Gaia seemed to react unfavourably to Anders’ bold statement and the poisonous yellow eyes of the Earth Goddess bored into him.

 

“Never use my son as an argument against me!” She hissed between her pointed teeth.

“I apologise, My Lady.” Anders lowered his eyes momentarily, “Yet I believe we have a common desire. You wish to see Thor take the Throne from Loki – who can be imprisoned properly as he should – and I want it as well. They might not say it publically, but there are many in the realm – indeed in the Nine – who agree with me!”

“That much may be true, but there are certain ways and means by which one can obtain ones’ “desires” and they do not necessarily involve brute force.” The ancient eyes bored into Anders and he felt the weight of her years pressing upon him; he would do well to remember that he was but an infant in comparison to her.

“Yes, of course, you are right… yet sometimes brute force is those most direct way. It is quick, efficient and gets the job done quickly. I do not have the luxury of time in the same way that the Gods do! I want to…”

“Sometimes,” Interrupted Gaia, “sometimes a person needs to devote their entire lifetime to obtain something which they may never live to see themselves.” She gave Anders a meaningful look and he realised that she would have to be convinced in other ways.

“I understand what you say, but the longer Loki is allowed to stay on that throne, the more comfortable he will get. Odin and Thor will start to become distant – if fond – memories in the minds of the short-lived Asgardian mortals and the chance of the rightful heir ever coming back will diminish. There is another thing… his maid, Erika.”

 

At this statement, the Goddess seemed to become much more interested in what he had to say and she narrowed her eyes as she said, “The girl…? What of her?” She knew the rumours surrounding Erika were rife, especially as she had been seen using Thor’s Hammer both in Rivendell and Asgard now, but she wanted to know why Anders was bringing her into the conversation.

 

“She wields Mjölnir. Surely she cannot do this without Thor’s help?” It was a naïve statement, as anybody who had any knowledge of the mighty weapon would know that it was she who used the person, not the other way round. Yet the disguised Jotúnn had reminded her with his simple question of the communication that was possible through Mjölnir and her mind began to turn over with possibilities.

“Your question is interesting, Anders. Thor’s Hammer is a weapon which holds limitless powers and harbours many a secret too. Tell me your idea…”

 

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Hel’s crimson eye simply boggled at the scene in the Summer Salon. Straight in her line of sight was a sun-lit table next to one of the large windows overlooking the orchard and Aida was breakfasting there with Freyja, although she didn’t look like she was eating much and her expression was somewhat unhappy. Then as Hel looked to the other side of the room, she saw her father taking breakfast with his wife, Sigyn, and their two sons. She whispered to Fulla, “Oh what a treat! Which table shall we visit first? Which table should we join? Oh, come along, let’s say good morning to Aida and Freyja and then we can join Father and my half-brothers. Oh, I feel so much better than when I awoke!”

 

Adopting as regal a poise as she could, Hel crossed the Salon, nodding respectfully to her father, whose green eyes followed her suspiciously on her walk to Aida’s table. A sense of mischief went through Hel as she approached the Jotúnn, who was now warily watching her approach.

“Good morning, my dear Aida! And good morning to you too, Freyja. What a beautiful morning it is, if somewhat cold. Would you not agree?”

 

The two ladies smiled and nodded, and Aida mumbled a greeting to her.

“Good morning, Princess Hel.” said Freyja as she scrutinised the half-dead woman’s outfit. She found it to be very beautiful and appropriate for a Princess of the Ruling House of Laufeyson. “Are you well, Your Highness?”

“Yes, yes I am. I had rather a late night, but Fulla here is positively the best Lady In Waiting one could wish for and I feel… perfect! May I ask how you both fare? No lasting effects from the attack?” She especially looked at Aida and continued, “Not feeling too battered and bruised from your experiences?”

 

Aida squirmed under her gaze, wondering if Hel had any idea about her trysts with her father, and a pain started across her temples. Nausea rose in her throat as the band of pain increased, but then a warm voice sounded in her mind and a feeling of peace drove the discomfort away.

 

Fear not… I will protect you…

 

Hel made a small sound and an unimpressed look crossed her face as she withdrew from Aida’s mind, remembering that the designer was a natural born closed-mind. Yet she had looked positively ill as Hel had reached out to try to take a look. Her mind-reading skills were not the best in the Nine, but she could usually at least glean an emotion, if not a thought or two. Well, it mattered not. Smiling brightly on the living half of her face, she bade them good day and went over to where Loki sat with his family. Waiters rushed to arrange two more place settings and Hel plopped down into the empty chair beside her father, whilst Fulla took a seat opposite them beside Vali.

 

“Good morning Father!” To Loki’s annoyance, Hel placed a quick peck on his cheek before helping herself to a cup of tea, “Good morning, Sigyn, brothers.” Despite the cheery air Hel exuded, the atmosphere at the table became appreciably chillier than it had been only moments before and it was Fulla who eventually broke the ice. She caught Loki’s troubled emerald eye.

“May I say how proud I am of you, Your Majesty? You have grown into a fine man and now you are King and Protector of the Nine!” She smiled warmly at the man who she had seen brought to the Palace of Asgard as a tiny infant hostage of war so long ago. She had seen when he had first cast Seidr, she had helped him learn to share, to have patience, to be kind and courteous. She had helped him with his numbers and letters, his colours and shapes and she had watched him grow up through all the experiences that had made him who he was now. Yet even though he had turned out to be what some might call evil, she had a soft spot for this man, having also seen the disparity with which Odin had treated him when compared with his other children. She was his only true link to Frigga now and it nearly broke her heart when he smiled in the boyish way he had always reserved for her; it made him look so carefree and so kind.

“My thanks to you, Lady Fulla. I could not have done it if I had not had such a wonderful Nanny of course!” He reached across the table and patted her hand, the skin of which was creased with the passage of time despite the Apples of Idunn, but then his face became stony as Hel piped up.

“We are all grateful to you, Fulla. Now, Father, will you pass the milk, please?”

 

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“Dictate those names and addresses to my Captain and then you may go. The King of Asgard wishes me to convey his thanks to you in your efforts to protect the House of Laufeyson.” Fenrir nodded to the King’s Company Captain, who turned his dead white eyes to the haberdasher as he waited for the man to tell him the information. Fenrir left them to it; he was on his way to meet with Jormungandr and one of the other War Masters in order to discuss his findings and to draw up a plan of action. When they had lost the potential trail at the burned out house and discovered that the families of the dead conspirators knew absolutely nothing of what they had been involved with, Fenrir had lost hope of getting to the bottom of the attack. This new lead had given him a direction to take and his desire to root out any dissenters or traitors was renewed.

 

Once they had formulated the plan, several Palace Guards were summoned and grouped off with a King’s Company Warrior to visit the various addresses. Five guards accompanied each Warrior and as they left the Palace and went off in their various directions they did not go unnoticed. People stared after them, wondering what they were doing. The King’s Company were not usually deployed around the city to run errands for the King – they were soldiers meant for battles! Their creepy countenance, devoid of all the life they had once had, made the skin of the citizens of Asgard crawl and the very obvious presence of their notorious weapons at their sides caused widespread apprehension. That afternoon, several houses, shops and hotels were visited and searched for anything which may have been presented as evidence of treason. People were frightened and watched on in fear and sadness as their homes and businesses were ransacked. By the time the searches were done, and the victims were left to tidy up the aftermath, two locations had revealed questionable items and had been sealed off for the personal inspection of the Lupine Prince of Asgard.

 

Fenrir employed his superior senses in order to ascertain any illegal goings on or indeed to discover anything which may have linked the suspects back to the Palace attack. One woman was dragged out to be placed unceremoniously into a cart to be taken for questioning despite her terrified assurances that she was simply a seamstress and made uniforms for many of those who lived and worked at the Palace. Fenrir decided that a spell in the dungeons would soften her up enough that she would tell him anything he wanted to know. Her dressmaking shop was boarded up against opportunistic looters and he went on to the second address, which was a house in a well-to-do area.

 

As they approached the house, they found it to be closed up as if the occupants were away and a few enquiries with neighbours confirmed it. The noble woman who had lived there had suddenly packed up one night a few months ago and had disappeared with her daughter who was an ambitious young lady often seen about court. In fact she had been making a bit of a name for herself in the way she often attended the parties and feasts which were held in the Palace in order to inveigle her way into the circle of high status people who surrounded the King of Asgard – who had since been revealed to be Loki in disguise. Apparently, two men had turned up the following morning and had boarded the windows and locked the doors with huge padlocks, only saying that the two women had gone away “Until further notice”. Fenrir’s interest was piqued; why would someone of note with a daughter who was ingratiating herself with Loki decide to leave at a moment’s notice? And just where had they gone?

 

Standing back, he watched as the Palace Guards broke into the house and then he nodded to the King’s Company Captain, who went inside to have a look around. When he emerged about twenty minutes later, Fenrir’s thin patience was rewarded with what he had found. As the saying went on Midgard: they had hit the jackpot.

 

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Having done everything she could to clean and tidy the King’s suite, Erika went to the kitchens and arranged for Loki’s supper to be brought there. Judging from his appointments today, he was not going to have a long or arduous day; he was having breakfast with his family right now, for example. As she imagined the family group eating and chatting together, a pang of envy went through her and she realised she missed her own family. Due to the many events and decisions of recent times, she had taken the path to her current situation and it was not entirely the Fates who had made it this way. As time had gone on since she had first been appointed to be Odin’s maid, she had made progressively more and more choices about her future herself, bringing her to the here and now. Yet, just what was her position now? She was still Loki’s maid, attendant, whatever it was called, but she was also his friend and his lover after a fashion, although even that was being sorely tested at the moment. He had never publicly announced her as someone he saw as a companion, so she was certainly no consort, but she knew she was important to him in many ways. And here on Asgard, he was all she had too. It was not a good position to be in as a young woman and she knew she should make friends – or even seek out her old ones! That would be a start. She added it to the mental list of things she wished to discuss with Loki that evening and decided to go to pamper herself for a while.

 

She left the suite and made her way through the antechamber to her own rooms, passing the ravens as she did so.

 

“We’ll have you out of those chains soon, I hope. And this time I have someone to help me.”

 

The young maid caught sight of herself in a mirror as she entered her small bedroom and sighed; she looked a total state! There were dark circles round her eyes and her blonde hair had strands coming loose from her braid, in fact it was altogether too long and in need of some care and attention. Suddenly deciding she was definitely not in any fit state to be called a King’s consort anyway, she made up her mind to make use of the spa near the healing rooms of the Palace. She had hardly ever been there and even then it had only been to pick up laundry, but she was the King’s maid! Surely she should be allowed to avail herself of the services there so that she looked presentable enough for her role?

 

Now excited at the prospect of having someone look after her and treat her to nice things for a change, Erika almost skipped along the corridor in the direction of the Palace Spa.

 

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Loki found himself drawing back from the conversation at the breakfast table more and more as the women talked – incessantly it seemed to him – of inconsequential things such as the latest fashions and the difference in tastes one found when considering the various realms and their people. It was too much, however, when they started to speak reminiscently and childhood was brought up. Hel had decided to be particularly peevish it seemed and she kept referring to how siblings were very often treated very differently by their families. He had had enough and he made his apologies so quickly that none of them had a chance to try to stop him leaving the table.

 

As he made his way along the corridor, Loki’s mind decided to go on a spree of thinking of just where he was in the grand scheme of things and realised his lapse into fondness for his maid and the sudden emergence of his Jotúnn’s desire to find some sort of a mate had led him to become diverted from his goal. He was allowing Thor and Odin to languish in the Collector’s care on Midgard and there were still daily reports of skirmishes and attempted invasions around the borders and outlands of Asgard. The attention he was paying to the personal side of his life was to the detriment of the professional and he needed to put it right. For all he knew, this could all be a diversion of a kind, to try to tempt him into complacency, leaving him exposed and vulnerable to a potential coup. Suspects began to pile up in his mind and his old friend, Paranoia, began to play with his thoughts.

 

He decided to start the day’s proceedings and went straight to the council chamber, where many of the elders and councillors had already congregated. Although he had managed to wind himself up on the walk here, Loki had decided to wear his Asgardian visage today; it seemed to keep his head clearer and to improve his temper somewhat and so there was no small measure of relief on the faces of those assembled to meet with their King over various matters. Loki, however, was now of a mind to start to assert his authority across the Nine and started the meeting with an announcement which struck the hearts of his council with fear.

 

“Today we start to plan just how I get the Nine completely under my control…”

 

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Frustrated by the fact that he was not able to get into the – in relation to his huge size – tiny abode where there was supposedly a hoard of evidence, Fenrir growled nastily. Although he thought it was only quiet and under his breath, to those around him it certainly was not and it was only the King’s Company Captain who did not quail in fear.

 

“Your Highness, shall I bring a Master of the Seidr? Perhaps you could see through another’s eyes?”
“No! Simply describe what you have found and in the meantime I will send for my father.” The Great Wolf turned to one of the Palace Guards and barked out, “To the Palace with all haste, man. Do not return without my father, no matter what it takes!” He watched as the man saluted him in the Asgardian fashion before departing and then turned back to the Captain. “Your report?”

“Yes, War Master. The house is of opulent standards and clearly that of someone who had high standing in Asgard. However, we found a secret entrance to a very small flight of steps which lead down to a cellar and it is completely separate to the main cellar, being on the other side of a thick stone wall down there. The stairwell was behind a large dresser and completely undetectable unless one was specifically looking for something like it…” The wasted face of the Captain turned to one of the Palace Guards beside him and said, “This young man found it. The flame of the candle he was holding to help him in his search flickered as he went past the dresser and it raised his suspicions enough for him to alert us.”

“Well done, my man,” Growled Fenrir, flashing his fangs in a sinister smile, “Continue.” He said to the Captain.

“We found a room. It is clearly a storage room and is full of many boxes, barrels, scrolls, caskets and the like. There are also many documents fixed to the wall which look like plans, lists of strange names and other such things. I will have my men bring everything out, but I believe our King should see it intact before we do, so that he may appreciate what it means.”

“Very well.” Said Fenrir. He looked around at the small band of guards and nodded his huge Lupine head at them. “You have all done well today in the service of your King, who would want me to extend his thanks to you in your endeavour to ensure the security of the House of Laufeyson. Secure the perimeter and await the arrival of your War Master General!”

 

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The feel of someone else washing her hair was blissful to Erika and she smiled to herself as she appreciated the gentle attention. The Palace Spa was a very nice place indeed and she had been a little worried that she might not have been seen as a high standing enough person to be allowed to use its services. However, the woman who was in charge had welcomed her warmly and had taken her to a private room to discuss her requirements while she was given a cool refreshing drink. Confessing that this was the first time she had been there, Erika asked her to simply provide a nice hair wash, but had been taken aback when she was offered much more. The woman, who was called Agatha, insisted she be given a full pampering as was her right as the personal attendant of the King and soon Erika was enjoying luxuries that even outstripped those she had experienced on the day of her mother’s wedding in Rivendell.

 

There were other people there making use of the services of the Spa; many of its areas were unisex but some were split off into private areas for those who preferred it that way, or for more personal treatments. She was invited to make use of the giant spa pool first, where she was served yet more of the very enjoyable drink as she soaked in the soothing waters, listening to the calm music being played by a quartet of musicians over in one corner. As she looked around at the other patrons, she felt a little overwhelmed at just whose company she shared. There were mortal nobles here, but there were also a fair number of the Gods and Goddesses, who were just so different in appearance, even here in a pool. They were generally of a larger stature and there was just something about them; they seemed to shine slightly, as if from an inner light and their grace and beauty was a sight to behold. Although Erika worked for, lived with and even loved possibly one of the most handsome and certainly the most powerful of them all, she was still amazed by those she found herself to be in the company of today. She kept herself to one side of the pool where there were not many people and tried not to stare too much.

 

After a while, a young woman dressed in a neat white uniform of a well cut short sleeved shirt and cropped pants came to her and knelt down at the side of the pool. She placed a pair of sandals and a white fluffy towel down and opened up a fresh white robe.

“Hello, my lady. I am Sæunn. I am your attendant for today and I will be here to bring you anything you require. If you would like to put on this robe and follow me?”

 

Erika hesitated slightly, she – along with everyone else – was naked in the pool, but it was something which was the norm in Asgard and not to be ashamed of. She quickly stepped out of the warm relaxing waters and Sæunn helped her on with her robe.

 

“Thank you, Sæunn. Have you worked here long?”

“No, my lady. This is my first month here. I am fourteen years old and I have come here on an apprenticeship. I like it a lot.” The young girl smiled shyly, “I am surrounded by such wonderful people!”

Erika smiled down at her and thought back to when she had first started her own apprenticeship. She had been scared at being around all the elite of Asgardian society at first, but the day to day chores had soon become normal to her, as had seeing nobles, courtiers and Gods.

“Well, I hope you will be very happy here at the Palace. Where am I going first?”

“It is this way. You will be given a soothing massage with the oils of rare flowers of the Nine, designed to relax and to invigorate.”

“This sounds wonderful! I am not quite sure why I have not been here before!”

 

The young maid was treated to a couple of hours in the Spa where she underwent many indulgent treatments, accompanied the whole time by Sæunn, who took her from one area to another and kept her supplied with drinks and little canapés. They chatted together and Erika felt as if she was finally getting to know someone of a similar age, even if she was just a little younger. Sæunn was cheerful and looked at the world with fresh eyes which were not jaded with age or experience. Her naivety was revitalizing to Erika, who found it to be a pleasant change to be the older one and she knew she needed to spend more time with people like her. Being in the constant presence of centuries old Gods and snooty nobles was not doing her any good; she needed alternative company to keep her mind balanced and happy. By the time the two of them had agreed with the hair dresser assigned to Erika that she needed to lose the incredibly long curls and go for something a little more practical, she felt they had become fast friends.

 

“Sæunn, I must thank you for your company today.” Said Erika as the hairdresser styled her newly cut hair, “I have had a lovely time and I confess I would like to be a friend to you, if you would permit me?”

 

The young Spa attendant looked a little taken aback at Erika’s request and a blush appeared on her cheeks as she looked to one side, considering what she had been asked.

 

“Of course, if you have your own circle of friends and do not feel that I…”

“No, my lady! I… I should be honoured that one in your position would ask such a thing of me!” The young girl smiled brightly at Erika, “I should very much like to spend some time with you socially, if I may? I am new here in the Palace and I have not had much time to make friends as yet.”

“Then it is settled! Please, do not assume that my position makes me a distant or unapproachable person; I am by far the opposite and I believe it is that very notion which means I am not exactly weighed down with friends myself. I confess I am a busy person, but I assume your work here keeps you occupied too?”

“My lady,” Said the hairdresser, “how do you like that?” she held a mirror up to show Erika her new hair style and the young maid grinned happily.

“Oh! It is wonderful! I would never have dared to go for such a style. Thank you so much and thank you both for convincing me to have it.” She stood up as the robe protecting her clothes was removed and thanked the hairdresser once again. Sæunn took her to have a small amount of make up applied to finish off her treatments, which was simply a small amount of blush and smoky pencil to accentuate her clear crystal blue eyes, and she felt as if she were a princess.

 

Promising Sæunn that she would be in touch to arrange lunch one day soon, she almost skipped along the corridors of the Palace back to the Royal Suites feeling refreshed and on top of the world.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Vanaheimr is as good as ours… The King and the Prince have been uncommonly generous in their offers of allegiance since we entertained them a few weeks ago – something which I confess surprised me from a warrior nation, but which I am happy to accept.” Loki paced up and down as he spoke, his long leather-clad legs conveying him across the room and back in a few strides, his green floor-length cloak rippling magisterially behind him as he did so. He had elected to keep his golden horned helmet on during this meeting, for it was less a meeting and more of a lecture, even a decree. Those who were assembled may have been here to counsel him, but he would inevitably have the final say and today he did not feel like giving them a chance to voice their own opinions. He had laid down plans for the fortification of Asgard as discussed with his sons, he had revealed his plans for the rejuvenation of Jotúnnheimr, along with his decision as to who should be the one to go there and keep the citizens in line and now he was listing the other realms one-by-one, along with how he expected to ensure their loyalty if at all possible. There was without doubt going to be some opposition to his plans from one or two of the realms, but he would get round that as and when it occurred. Possibly the worst of them would be Midgard. They had only recently rediscovered that their Gods from their Myths and Legends were actually real and they were a petulant and young race, eager to rebel and to fight. However, Thor was in no position to protect them any more and he would not allow their “Avengers” to overcome him this time. He had only allowed it last time in order to get back to Asgard and away from Thanos.

 

Thanos. The very name made him shudder and he knew he was lucky that the Titan’s attention had been diverted from Asgard of late, but to where? And how long before he set his eyes on the ruling realm again?

 

“As for my treacherous “brother”, I have him confined safely. I have been alerted that Odin has awoken from the sleep he fell into just after he implored me to look after Asgard, but I feel he is too weak to come back here to face the problems we have. He is somewhere safe and being cared for and I will bring him back when I have made the Nine a suitable place for him once more.” The sound of a few mumbles from his audience caused Loki to stop his pacing and glare at them, but just as he was about to demand what their rumblings were about, he was interrupted by a Palace Guard who was very red in the face. The man saluted him in the Asgardian fashion and dropped to his knee with his head bent.

“Your Majesty! I beg your pardon, but I have important news from your son!”

 

Loki gave him his immediate attention.

 

“Stand up, man. What is it?” He demanded, crossing the room to hear what the Guard had to say.

“We have found a secret room in a house in the city. It contains treasonous material. War Master Fenrir bade me summon you immediately.”

 

Loki eyed up the councillors and snorted his disdain for them. Turning back to the Guard he smiled and saluted him in return. “Lead on…”

States Of A God's Heart 83: Pampering and Progress

Oh.... I know not how to describe this chapter!
In short, I move some characters on and I am about to steer Loki towards solving just who may have made the attempt on Erika's life....

Enjoy :)


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This is the eighty third part of the sequel to To Tame A God
Previous Chapter: States Of A God's Heart Ch82: Grand Designs
Next Chapter: States Of A God's Heart Ch84: Dalliances & Detections
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Erika deposited the laundry hamper with the staff responsible for doing the washing for the Palace and wandered back to the King’s suite slowly, hoping Loki would be long gone by the time she got back. She just wanted to carry out her duties and then go back to complete the closing of her mother’s house. A nice, simple day, with straight-forward tasks to carry out before the evening, when she had decided she would tackle Loki about the various things she needed to discuss with him.

 

As she turned down the corridor to the suites, an older woman appeared and began to follow her. Curious as to why someone else would be coming this way, she turned to look at her and discovered that it was Fulla, Frigga’s Lady-in-waiting and, indeed, the late Queen’s sister.

 

“Good morning, my lady.” She said, by way of a greeting and the other woman looked over at her, smiling.

“Good morning! Erika, is it not? How do you fare today?”

“Oh, I am very well, my thanks to you.” Replied Erika. She indicated the door to the private suites and asked, “Are you going this way?”

“Yes I am. I have been requested to attend Princess Hel again.”

 

Erika politely indicated that Fulla should go first and the two women thanked the Palace Guards who flanked the doors. Once inside, they were both taken aback by the loud caws of the ravens and to Erika’s surprise Fulla laughed and approached the two large black birds fearlessly.

 

“Oh hush, you two! I know you are missing Odin and your daily exercise…” She turned to Erika. “It is a little cruel to confine these magnificent birds, do you not think?”

“Yes! I do and I have asked Lo.. the King about it many times.” Erika paused thoughtfully, “You know the King very well, do you not? Did you not help to bring him up from infancy along with Thor and Tyr and other children around the Palace? Perhaps you could have a word with him? He has always grown impatient with me when I have tried…” She smiled hopefully at Fulla, who observed her for a moment before turning to Muninn and stroking his glossy black feathers.

“I have known these two old birds…” Huginn made a raucous noise and she chuckled at him, “Yes, my dear Huginn… old! I have known you both for many centuries and I do think these chains are humiliating to such proud and intelligent creatures.” She glanced mischievously at Erika, “Perhaps we should unite our forces and approach Loki about this together? I am sure that between us we can come up with a convincing argument?”

 

Loki’s maid smiled back and nodded; it seemed Fulla and she understood each other quite well on this matter. “That sounds perfect! Well, you had better go to attend to his daughter! It is very late and I am quite surprised she is not already up and about.”

“I hear she had a rather interesting and… late… night!” Whispered Fulla and she winked before crossing the antechamber to get to the small corridor off which lay the King’s private guest suites. Remembering her own experience with Hel and her fondness for drinking from the last time she had visited, Erika shook her head and smiled to herself as she went to the King’s suite and let herself in. It was time to get it nice and clean and tidy so that they could spend some time together later in the evening in order to have their talk.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“So… are you going to share details of just why I found you half asleep and in a terribly untidy room this morning my dear, or do I have to drag it out of you?” Freyja’s grip on Aida’s arm tightened a little as they walked along, reinforcing her tone of voice, which was virtually demanding a minute-by-minute account of Aida’s night.

“No, my Lady. I am not.” Aida refused to look at the Goddess’ questioning face and kept up a steady pace towards the place they were going to for breakfast; she was rather hungry after all the exertion of the night before! “I have a confidence to keep. If you really, really have to know, I did entertain someone last night, but I shall not say who it was.”

“Hmmm.” Mused Freyja. She had strong suspicions as who had spent the night with her, but it seemed she was not going to get verification from the young designer. She had to hand it to her; she had integrity, even if it meant the breakfast conversation was going to be relatively boring without a rundown of Aida’s nocturnal “entertainment”!

 

Fortunately for the gossip-hungry side of her, Freyja did not need to grill Aida in the hope that she would eventually give in and spill everything; she was about to learn just how good her instinct was. As the two women reached their destination, her Jotúnn companion suddenly slowed down and began to stutter a sentence out.

 

“Er… could, could we perhaps take our breakfast elsewhere?” She asked and looked at Freyja seriously.

“Nonsense!” Exclaimed the beautiful Goddess loudly, causing a few heads of those already dining to turn in their direction. She steadfastly pulled on Aida’s arm and they arrived at the station of the Maître De, who looked at them quizzically as Aida began to whisper her desire to go elsewhere.

“No, I insist we eat here. A table for two my good man, somewhere near the windows to catch the glorious morning sun!”

 

Aida was mortified and struggled really hard to calm down and look at the floor in order to avoid seeing the family of four who were looking at her from their table over in a sunny corner of the room. This was a nightmare! Of all the places to come this morning with her new friend, why had it been this one?

 

Keeping her eyes away from everyone they passed on the long way across the room to the large windows overlooking the orchard where Iðunn’s Apples were grown, Aida reluctantly allowed Freyja to lead her into the Summer Salon to take breakfast.

 

And Loki watched her every step of the way.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Good morning, Your Highness!”

 

Oh, they were words Hel’s ego craved, but this morning they heralded the necessity of having to get out of bed to face the morning after the night before. She swung her legs over the edge of her mattress and sat cradling her head in her hands, wishing the pounding would go away, as well as the nausea that threatened despite having thrown nearly everything up last night when… Hel groaned as fragments of memories of her behaviour and who she had been with surfaced. She had behaved terribly in front of Tyr! Of all the people out of the entire Palace, it had to have been him and now she would be really embarrassed the next time she saw him.

 

“Come along, let us get you freshened up and feeling ready to face the day.” Fulla’s cheerful voice was accompanied by a kindly smile as she handed Hel a glass of a clear liquid with a vague green tint to it, along with a linen napkin in order to catch the spills which would more than likely occur in her dead half. “Drink up; it will make you feel better. This is my own recipe and it has been curing Royal hangovers since before even Thor and your father learned how to drink too much!”

 

The Lady-in-Waiting wandered through to the bathroom and Hel heard the shower being turned on for her. She knew Fulla would be arranging her favourite toiletries and cosmetics for her and she smiled; it was so nice to have an experienced lady around to see to her every need without being told what to do. Ganglot was woefully inadequate, being as slow as she was and Hel had recently found herself growing increasingly short tempered with her. Then she thought about Erika, but quickly pulled her face; Loki had put his foot down the last time she had asked if the young maid could be sent to live with her as a female companion and given recent events, it was plain to Hel now just why he would not let her go. She sipped delicately at the headache remedy and even managed to not let any of it leak out onto her night gown as she pondered upon things. Then all too soon, Fulla was back and was ushering her into the bathroom and Hel was treated to a thorough Royal pampering just as the Princess of Asgard – and Queen of Helheimr – should. By the time they had finished, she was feeling refreshed, headache free and looking every inch a King’s daughter.

 

“Many thanks, Fulla. Queen Frigga was very lucky to have you…” Hel admired herself in the long mirror, turning from side to side to examine the beautiful gown Fulla had suggested for her today. For some reason, Asgard was not quite as warm at the moment and the style of the dress, which covered her arms and shoulders a bit more than a summer dress would have, disguised those parts of her which were not very appealing to the eye. A sudden pang of hunger cramped her stomach and surprised her. Breakfast, although welcome, was not something she thought she would have been able to face this morning, but now that she felt better, it would certainly be nice.

“Fulla, I should like to take breakfast now. I feel so much better and I am actually quite hungry, but I would like somewhere in the Palace that is not cold. Do you have a suggestion as to where I can go, even at this late hour?”

“Yes, Your Highness. The Summer Salon serves a variety of foods all day.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The Docks of Asgard were bustling with activity on this particular morning; there had been a bumper catch of fish and the fishing boats were queuing up to reach the moorings so that it could be landed and sent to market in as fresh a state as possible. Auctioneers’ voices could be heard as they announced each lot and began the bidding and opportunistic Asgardian Gulls were dipping and diving, snatching at the odd morsel on the quayside, or congregating around the hatches through which the fishmongers threw back the guts and waste after they had processed their wares. In amongst all the various noises and goings-on, Anders was directing his crew to the latest boat so that they could begin to unload it onto a cart to take up to the Asgardian warehouses. He had been there for a few hours by now and was just starting to think about having a break for something to eat after this shipment had been dealt with. His second-in-command was more than capable of looking after things for half an hour or so.

 

“Anders!”

 

The tall overseer looked round in the direction from which his name had come and smiled to see his sister there, but his face fell almost immediately. She was in her Jotúnn form! Noticing that quite a few of the men were glancing up from their work to look at her, Anders quickly instructed his assistant and walked over to her, ushering her back down the docks and away from public scrutiny. But to his dismay, the warehousing area and the market behind it were just as busy and she was attracting just as much attention. Helga seemed oblivious to it all, chattering to him about how she had brought him an early lunch and was hoping they could eat it together in a local park. All Anders was concerned about was that people were looking at his sister and it was making him feel uncomfortable.

 

What he did not appreciate in his discomfort was that not everyone was staring impolitely. There were many amongst the onlookers who were appreciating the view of the exotic creature walking down the dock and would have been quite happy to greet her – if she had not been getting hurried along by a rather angry looking Anders. Helga was unusual, and Frost Giants were not quite as feminine and pretty as Asgardians, but neither was she ugly or coarse. Ander’s behaviour was doing her no favours.

“Anders! Slow down a little… what is the rush?” Helga’s breath came out in gasps as she struggled to keep up with her brother.

“Why did you come down here?” Growled Anders, “And why are you still insisting on showing your true aspect in public? Do you not appreciate what it means for me? When they realise you are my sister, people will start to ask questions! You are placing me in a very difficult position!”

 

They reached the point where the docks gave way to a relatively pleasant promenade which led to a small park area where there were tables and benches for people to use to eat their lunch in the open air. Anders took her right to one side which was fairly quiet and they sat down, each glaring at the other.

“Let me ask you in turn why you do not reveal your true form?” Countered Helga, “Are you ashamed of it or have you grown so used to deceiving others that you cannot give it up?”

“You know damn well I will lose my job if I am found to be Jotúnn!” Hissed Anders, unaware that his eyes were beginning to flash red in his rage. “There is still so much prejudice…”

“Loki is Jotúnn and it is well known throughout the Nine. He sits on the Throne in his true form and no one protests. There has been no formal move made to have him removed. Only ACPoS have shown resistance.”

“Helga, you are talking nonsense…”

“No I am not!” Helga banged a clenched blue fist down on the table between them and bared her teeth in the Frost Giant manner. “I will not hide this form any longer and anyone who does not like it can tell me to my face. While I am at it and while you are clearly angry with me, I may as well tell you my other news. I am stepping down from my position in the group.” Standing up from the bench she raised a shaped black eyebrow and pulled a face at her brother, “I will have no more to do with any of your ideas. They cause nothing but trouble… and death!”

 

The burly dock worker watched as his sister stalked off leaving him alone to eat the lunch she had made and he tried to understand what had made her do these things. But then he hardened his heart towards her; let her become soft, let her lose direction. He would not. Now that he was more or less the sole director of things in the group and no one was there to oppose him, he could accelerate their missions. Assassinate Loki and bring back Thor. The first one would be an easy task; all he had to do was lean on Aida. The second however…. Suddenly an idea came to him. There were rumours that the King’s maid could wield Mjölnir.

 

And where Mjölnir was involved, Thor was usually not far away.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Loki watched as Aida and Freyja took their seats at a sunlit table near one of the large windows of the Summer Salon. Somewhere in the background, Sigyn was telling him about the exploits of their sons, but he was too interested in how the bright rays coming in through the pane of glass illuminated the colour of Aida’s skin; it was truly beautiful. He recalled the previous nights’ pleasurable pursuits and felt the Jotúnn personality within him stir as memories of the touch of her, her scent and her taste all crowded his mind and it was only as he realised there was now silence at their table that he broke out of his daydreams and looked round at his breakfast companions, who were staring at him. A glance down at the table revealed blue skin fading back to white and he realised that his thoughts had caused more than just the personality to be awakened; he had been well on the way to transmogrifying into his Frost Giant aspect. Sigyn averted her eyes quickly and picked up her tea to take a nervous gulp, trying to hide the hint of fear they held; she had never been keen on Loki’s Jotúnn form, especially as it reminded her of his other wife, Angrboda.

 

There was a palpable tension building, but then a waitress appeared and started to clear away the used crockery and it dissipated. Completely ignoring the incident, Loki took the opportunity to ask some questions regarding what Sigyn had told him about their sons and her pretty face brightened up as she elaborated for him. She was very proud of them and rightly so; the list of achievements was impressive indeed and Loki decided that it was high time that they were brought to the Palace in order to receive the kind of training all members of the Royal Household were privileged to. He realised he had not been the most attentive husband and father to his little family and in a rare moment of decency he decided to try harder. It was not completely unselfish however; the more of his own blood he had around him in Asgard, the better placed he would be as King.

 

Not able to entirely ignore his Jotúnn lover of the night before, his emerald eyes strayed to her several times as he discussed his idea with a much delighted Sigyn and basked in the thrill as Aida met his glances on a few occasions. The pink blush which decorated her blue features was most pleasing to him and he resolved to visit her again as soon as the opportunity presented itself. The sway the Jotúnn part of him held over his Asgardian self was growing and even Loki, the God of Mischief and Trickery, was being seduced by the raw emotions induced by the hormonal surges that having such an ideal mate close by caused within him. He was completely unaware of the discomfort Aida was experiencing because the responses she was showing were so similar to those of arousal. In that Summer Salon over breakfast, Loki’s masculinity was positively brimming over and he was clearly the dominant God in the room, even given that he was the self-proclaimed King. He truly was in his prime and it was evident in his stature, his visage and in his attitude. Now in a much improved mood, he pleasantly surprised his wife and sons with a fairly jovial and generous nature as he discussed his plans for them with regard to the future of Asgard and the Nine.

 

But then Hel turned up.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Fenrir strode along with one of the King’s Company warriors through the part of Asgard which was not quite as affluent as those areas nearer the Palace, taking in all he saw. He was unable, of course, to come somewhere like this in disguise to snoop around and gain sources of information, but he had turned up completely unannounced and there was little-to-no opportunity for anyone to hide what it was they were doing that might be deemed… illegal. He had come here on a whim, believing as he did that it was an ideal place for any dissenters to come for goods and services they might find useful in their attempts to displace his father. As he made his way down the main street where there were many shops and street-sellers, he noticed how the people reacted differently to his presence and that of the fearsome-looking warrior; some gave him respectful nods despite the fact that he knew they probably had shady dealings. These were the sort who knew that a mutually beneficial relationship could be formed with Fenrir, Loki’s son and War Master. Then there were those who would not meet his eyes even after their show of deference; these were the ones who would probably stab him in the back as soon as he dropped his guard.

 

The area was not that large and they had more or less made their way right round within an hour. He had made many mental notes and was planning to sup with his brother Jormungandr later on to discuss them with him. However, as they made their way back up the slope which led out of the slummier parts, he caught a familiar scent and he stopped in his tracks. The fact that he was a huge wolf who towered over most people drew immediate attention to his stance, which was one of being to attention as he allowed the scent to invade his nostrils and to remind him of what it was.

 

It was the same scent as the tabards those youths had been wearing on the day of the destruction of the Great Lilac! As he concentrated on the scent, his Lupine senses kicked in and he found the trail, which was strangely visible to him. Small motes of scent floated along in the air, leading him along and he eventually arrived at a small shop which was set back a bit from the main street. It had a large window making up most of the front of the building and in it was displayed a wide selection of material on long rolls, including some which looked like the red and gold which the tabards had been made of. Turning to the warrior beside him he growled, “Get me the shop keeper.”

 

A few moments later a very harassed and scared looking man emerged from the shop and fell to his knees in front of Fenrir.

 

“Your Highness! I… I have done nothing wrong, I assure you! What is the na…”

“Silence!” Snapped Fenrir. The man’s eyes boggled at him in fear and his mouth snapped shut. “The red fabric in the window, do you sell much of it?”

“The r…r…red f…fabric?” Stuttered the poor man, “Well, s…sometimes. It depends…”

“Do you keep records of the fabrics you sell and to whom you made the sales?” The patience of the Great Wolf was growing thin and he made no attempt to disguise the fact.

“Yes!” The man seemed relieved that he might have the right answer for Fenrir as he blurted out his answer and he was met with a wide smile which revealed huge white fangs.

“Then perhaps you would be so kind as to fetch them? You may wish to lock up your premises too; we are going for a walk…”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Were you close as sisters, you and the Queen?” Asked Hel as she walked along with Fulla. Essentially, this woman was supposed to be her Great Aunt and she had asked her to accompany her to the Summer Salon to take some tea with her.

“Well, yes, somewhat. When she wed the All Father she insisted I accompany her here to Asgard. She was very young and quite overwhelmed at her new role and needed someone familiar with her, I presume. Odin was a very loving husband, but he was away at war very often, which can mean a lonely existence for a Queen. I had to maintain a formal distance from her as her Lady-In-Waiting, but to be honest we let it drop in private most of the time!”

“Do you miss her?” The question was abrupt and caught Fulla by surprise, leaving her stuck for words, but Hel continued before she could reply. “I do… or rather I have done for a long time. No matter what our real history is, no matter our true origins, Frigga was always nice to me. She never revealed to me that Loki was not their son and I had no idea that I was not her true granddaughter until that terrible day when Odin sent me into Helheimr to await the arrival of my dead mother, announcing that I was a ghastly reincarnation of the ancient Hela. Helheimr’s Gates had been closed since Hela had herself died and I trod that long and lonely path alone to go to wait for my mother to arrive. In that freezing dark the skin and flesh of the diseased side of my body began to perish and to fall away completely, making it even worse than it had been when I was amongst the living. He proclaimed me to be a child of monsters and a threat to the safety of Asgard. Yet it was he who had murdered my mother! Three times he burned her until she was nothing but ash in his own hall, to which he had invited her to speak of my father and their children together.” The half dead daughter of Loki pulled a proud face, “He made me a better person that day, you know? It may have hurt to the ends of the Nine and back, but in the long run his actions made me stronger and more determined to be someone of note. I refused to be banished to the Underworld to be forgotten in the way he meant it to happen.”

“There were more than a few of us who were shocked at his actions…” Began Fulla.

“Yet there was only one who cared enough to turn that shock into action, Fulla.” Hel threw her a stern look, “It was only my father who came to look for me and to comfort me; a young outcast lost in the cold and the dark with only the wandering dead to keep me company. He had brought my mother back to life in the Iron Wood and, although he told me that I could never return to live in the sunshine while Odin ruled, he gave me hope that someone, at least, cared enough for me to help me to find my feet and to have a purpose. Oh, and what a glorious purpose it became! To judge the fallen and now… to build an army.”

“An army?” Fulla was confused at Hel’s prideful words, which had inadvertently revealed Loki’s plan.

“Yes!” Caught up in her sense of self-importance, especially as she was now officially a Princess of Asgard, Hel continued, “We have a ship, Naglfar, built of the clippings of the dead. It is immense and it will bear a horde such has never been seen to the battlefield! Those souls which have been transformed into powerful and unstoppable wraiths by the magic of the Morgul will bring down any who attempt to thwart them!” She turned to the Lady-In-Waiting and her eyes were shining with excitement, “My father will be at the helm and he will defeat all who oppose him. He will rule the Nine!”

 

As the two women arrived at the Summer Salon, Fulla felt every ounce of her appetite disappear.

 

Odin needed to be told. The prophesy was still coming about despite his attempts to stop it.

States Of A God's Heart Ch82: Grand Designs
Fulla, Loki's nanny and the former Queen Frigga's sister, befriends his maid and tends his daughter, from whom she learns something disturbing.

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This is the eighty second part of the sequel to To Tame A God
Previous Chapter: States Of A God's Heart Ch81: The God Delusion
Next Chapter: States Of A God's Heart 82: Grand Designs
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not often I upload two at once, but there are lots of chapters already up on AO3 which are not here yet!
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:iconsamahami:
samahami Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
thank you for the llama!! :D:D:D:D
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palefire73 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome! 😊
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samahami Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
:D:D:D
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ColdForDeath Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Congratulations for your birthday! ^O^
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palefire73 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you - it's been a nice one so far :happybounce: 
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Pauline-Shatalova Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the fav!!<3
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palefire73 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
You're very welcome :D
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missizelisting Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2016  Hobbyist
thanks for the Llama!
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palefire73 Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome :D
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missizelisting Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2016  Hobbyist
:D
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