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palefire73

Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United Kingdom
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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Hel looked out over the crowd of celebrants as she relaxed on the Throne, amused at how it was she who sat in her father’s place on the day when the new ruling House was being formally welcomed by the citizens of Asgard and The Nine. She glanced at Tyr, who caught her eye and she found herself growing a little hot under the collar as his kindly eyes held hers and he smiled. Feeling a blush rise on her cheek, she quickly looked away again and sipped at the mint julep a servant had just brought for her. This – apart from the obvious disruption of the explosion over in the gardens which had taken her father and brothers away to deal with it – was bliss! Hel felt she had definitely been born to rule; her time in Helheimr would not last forever with any luck and she was determined that she be given a title in one of the upper realms. Asgard was looking good as a Princess to start with and who knew where she would end up as a potential Queen? A few glances came her way from various visiting dignitaries and she returned them all with a gracious smile. She had allowed the modesty veil to slip down the living side of her face a little so that people could see her expression and she was overwhelmed by the fact that no one seemed to be staring in disgust.

 

The fact was that Loki’s daughter had inherited her parents’ good looks – on her living side. However her striking features, clothed in her vibrant Jotúnn blue skin, were often overshadowed by the gristly appearance of her dead side and as a child all she had experienced when allowed out in public in Asgard was badly disguised repugnance. As she had become old enough to realise she was not looked at by the nobles and Gods with joy or interest, but rather in pity or even abhorrence, she had asked her mother why the other children received more attention than she did. In a brutally honest and heart-rending fashion, the Jotúnn Witch Angrboda had stood her in front of a mirror and pointed out exactly why eyes were averted and mouths were covered whenever she visited the ruling realm. She and Loki were discussing the necessity of Hel’s visits being stopped when Odin had suddenly stepped in. He had announced the prophecy he had been shown of the downfall of the Gods at the hand of Loki and his mis-matched children and had banished their daughter to Helheimr where she was entrusted with the judgement of the fallen. Jormungandr had been sent off to Midgard, where, ironically, he had flourished in the frigid waters of the great Northern oceans and had attained his great size. Fenrir, who had still been quite young and not very big, had incurred scorn from Odin, who had not believed him capable of what had been foretold. He was ordered back to Jotúnnheimr to live there permanently with his mother. Unable to hold out much opposition against the All-Father’s decree, all Loki had been able to do was promise to visit as often as he could.

 

Today the delicately crafted and expertly positioned modesty veil had done its job in hiding the dead half of her face from view, yet it had also allowed her new public to see just what a handsome woman she was on her living half. That, combined with the small measure of Seidr she had inherited too, meant that many of the guests had been pleasantly surprised to see their grown up Princess looking nowhere near as grim as they had guessed she was going to. A warm feeling went through the young Royal and she wondered if this was what feeling at home meant. She had a home, of course. Back in Helheimr with her beloved Baldur, the God Loki had had a hand in getting there for her. But it was not a true home. It was a joyless place where she carried out a duty which had been bestowed upon her by a scared and uncaring old man. She had been abandoned there and forgotten, but now she meant to make up for that and truly live again.

 

However, Hel’s daydreaming came to a rude and abrupt end. Just as she was musing upon the potential for having a say in the Palace décor and wondering whether more than one party a week would be frowned upon, Loki suddenly appeared at the side of the raised staging upon which the High Table had been set. A few people called out in fright and more than that number jumped in surprise as he materialised out of thin air, but it was only Hel that felt the weight of his hostile gaze when his displeasure in her having decided to sit in his place became evident for all to see.

 

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Arriving back at the celebration to distance himself from the infuriating business back in the kitchen area, Loki was nearly pushed over the edge by what he saw. At first the amenable faces of those who had gathered to welcome his family as the rulers of Asgard improved his mood, but as he turned to go to sit back upon the Throne, all that soon changed. He had transformed his battle armour back into his Royal dress and had changed back into his Asgardian form whilst he was teleporting from the kitchens so that he would appear regal yet approachable, but he wished he hadn’t. He found himself wishing he was still the intimidating Jotúnn who had only minutes before been on the warpath trying to find the traitors. Only that form would convey his true emotions at this particular moment.

 

As he took in the sight of Hel sitting on the replica Throne with Odin’s son Tyr beside her, he almost felt himself go numb with rage. From this side she looked the image of her mother; a beautiful Jotúnn with rich black hair and features which were fairly elegant considering her genes. She was exuding the confidence and sense of superiority and entitlement which he knew she had inherited from him and looked exceptionally comfortable in that seat, and if it had been any other throne in the Nine, then he would have been proud of her. But it was not. It was his throne and she had no right to be there! He would have been less surprised – but no less angry – if Tyr had assumed the Throne in his absence. It only took her a few moments, but she noticed his presence and his expression, and she very quickly rose and took a seat in one of the lesser thrones to the side, smiling nervously. Deciding not to make a scene on this important day, he merely took his place and waved for a drink to be brought, but he sent Hel a very clear message telepathically.

 

“Make sure I never experience that again.” His green eyes locked with her living crimson eye and did not leave it until she nodded slightly and looked away deferentially. He had made his point.

 

Noticing that many of his guests were looking in his direction questioningly, he realised they were waiting for an explanation of the earlier incident and, taking the goblet of wine which had just arrived for him, he rose to his feet. Silence quickly descended and everyone waited to hear what he had to say.

 

“My guests, my neighbours… my friends.” He began with a benevolent smile, “Thank you for your patience while I investigated the disruption with the aid of my sons and my King’s Company.” He raised his goblet towards Hel and Tyr, “I hope you have been well looked after in my absence!” A ripple of agreement and a few small laughs went through the crowd, but they were quickly stilled as his expression became serious and the smile was replaced by a hard, thin-lipped mouth. “We were attacked today… I was attacked personally today… by an underground organisation intent on splitting Asgard apart. They are cowardly and work in the shadows. Instead of bringing their grievances straight to me in order to talk them through in a diplomatic and sensible manner, they scheme and they skulk. They connive and they creep. And they do not care who gets harmed in the process! The two… children… who warned us that something was afoot?” Loki paused for dramatic effect, “They are dead! Killed whilst in the employment of these insidious trouble causers! Two lives cut short because of the unscrupulous nature of those who hide behind the ones they send to carry out their nasty operations!”

 

Of course, he would not allow the true nature of those deaths to be discovered; he wanted to make them count against ACPoS. He wanted to shock them, alienate them, and possibly even drive them into making a mistake which would expose them. From some of the faces in the crowd, he could see the effect this announcement had had on his guests and he inwardly grinned. Let them be upset! A little fear of an unknown “them” would make Loki seem by far the better option for anyone who was not quite sure if they wanted him as their King. He delivered a short speech on how he would work to worm out this threat and to protect his people, and over the next five minutes or so he manipulated the situation to his advantage with his skilful silver tongue.

 

“What hurts me most of all is that they chose to destroy the emblem of our dear departed Queen. My mother, Frigga. The Great Lilac tree, which was possibly one of the most beautiful and evocative memories of that gentle, loving and yet incredibly strong woman, has been utterly destroyed despite my efforts to save it.” Genuine tears began to form in the Tricksters eyes as his own words began to bring home just what they meant and quite a few in the crowd found their own sight blurring as they were moved too; it seemed the memory of Frigga was a powerful one and Loki was strangely comforted to know that there were others who missed her terribly too. Suddenly finding it difficult to hold himself together, he dropped his gaze to the ground, trying to get what he wanted to say straight in his mind as well as fighting back the tears, and in that moment some of the citizens of Asgard were witness to a side of their King that none of them had ever seen before. Unintentionally, Loki achieved more headway in trying to win people over in that moment of vulnerability than he had ever done through trickery or threat, yet he still did not realise it.

 

“I shall find them!” He exclaimed raising his head and staring sternly out over the people again; the upset and emotionally exposed Loki had gone in the blink of an eye. “I shall find them and they will be punished, let no one be in any doubt. I am the King of Asgard, Protector of the Nine Realms and that is a great responsibility. A responsibility I do not take lightly.” He raised his hands towards the crowd and smiled, “Please, relax now and enjoy the occasion. The House of Laufeyson bids you welcome!”

 

A smattering of applause began in a few places and it quickly spread until everyone was clapping at his words, nodding in approval and even a few shouts of agreement were made. Once again, Loki was touched at this reaction, but then he quickly reminded himself that a lot of it was probably calculated or even under sufferance and as he sat down, his own suspicions and paranoia spoiled his moment. He turned to look at Tyr and they both nodded to each other politely. Loki raised his goblet to the God of War and leaned in to speak quietly.

 

“We will talk later… brother.”

 

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

 

Njörðr watched the Trickster with interest as he made his speech and had to control a snort of derision. That lying little wretch did not fool him. All of this was an act constructed around the earlier incident in order to bring it around to his advantage and it was as plain as day to the God of Seafaring. Once Loki had sat back down on the Throne and had turned to talk to Tyr, the guests began to enjoy themselves again and Njörðr looked around at who was present with some interest. Then Fenrir returned to take his place at the side of the High Table. Njörðr was astounded at just how much the Great Wolf had grown since he had been banished back to Jotúnnheimr to live with the Witch Angrbodr and he recalled how his warning had not been heeded. Back when Odin had learned of the prophecy about Loki’s children, he had laughed at the young Fenrir and scoffed at the thought that such a tiny pup would ever reach a size which could be called threatening. Even though Njörðr and others had recommended he be imprisoned, the All Father had ignored them completely and it seemed it had been a costly mistake.

 

Yet, other things had not happened yet. As far as he could tell, the weather here in Asgard and indeed across the Nine was fairly clement or was following the normal local seasonal pattern. There was no sign of the bitter winter which was supposed to precede the events leading up to the twilight of the Gods and Loki was actually behaving as if he meant to rule the Nine in a fairly decent manner so far. He was trying to root out antagonists and he was strengthening borders which had fallen into disrepair, but there was still something about the Mischief which Njörðr did not trust and he hoped he was not the only one who had not dropped their guard. Loki had a history of pranks, misdemeanours and deviousness, and it would not do well to completely forget that fact.

 

The God of Seafaring glanced around again and spotted a few other Gods and Goddesses he was friendly with and who had been concerned when Odin had ignored the warning about the Wolf. It was probably time for an informal chat about what to do about Loki’s Lupine son in case things started to indicate the prophecy was finally starting to come about.

 

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Once she had dressed and had left the healing rooms, Aida found herself at a loss as to what to do next. Still shocked by the experience of the blast and of her subsequent treatment by the healer at Loki’s request, she wandered for a while in the corridors of the Palace, trying to decide where to go. Finally she returned to the healing rooms and sought Freyja, who was now looking much better and was starting to become bored in her room. The combination of the healing stones, Soul Forge treatment and a drink made up of a strong extract of Idunn’s Apples had accelerated the healing process and she wanted to be discharged. Upon the arrival of the young designer, she swung her legs off the side of the bed and began to call out for someone to help her to get dressed.

 

“Do you not wish to return to the celebration, Aida? I am feeling so much better and I am quite sure that whoever did this has been captured. Nothing else bad will happen I can assure you. Loki will be on top of this.”

“No, my Lady. I merely wanted to check that you were on the mend. I am going to go to see my foster father.”

“Oh…” The Goddess of Beauty pulled a face, “Really? I would love for you to accompany me back to…”

“No, thank you. I must decline.”

 

A young Healer entered the room followed by one of Freyja’s ladies and the Goddess’s face momentarily lit up, but then she sighed as she saw that Aida had made up her mind.

 

“Well, my dear, I am definitely going back. I wish to discover what has happened since we were so rudely removed from the proceedings!” Freyja looked at Aida and smiled sympathetically. “It has shaken you up, has it not?” She went over to her and gave her a hug. “Fear not! It was not aimed at you personally and you are still in one piece! I consider you a friend and if you need me you know where I am.”

“Thank you Freyja.” Aida briefly hugged the Goddess back. “Stay safe.”

 

Leaving the Goddess to instruct her maid in getting her ready to go back to the celebration, Aida took her leave and turned down the corridor which would lead her out of the Palace, now sure that she wished to see Bjorn. The scrape with danger had shaken her and even though she was not permanently physically hurt, she wanted to be with someone she cared for. However, there were others who had decided they required her presence and it was to her surprise that Martika happened to enter the doors of the foyer just as she got there.

 

“Aida!”

“Oh, hello Martika!” Aida looked at the pretty dress her friend was wearing in some surprise, “Were you at the cele…”

“Hello!” The young girl smiled warily and grabbed Aida’s hand, “Come with me, there’s someone who wishes to talk with you.”

 

Before she could protest, Aida found herself being whisked out of the Palace and in the opposite direction to the one she had intended.

 

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

 

Having found it difficult to go back to simple, ordinary everyday tasks such as boxing up her mother’s possessions after the incredible experience she had undergone in the Palace Gardens, Erika had eventually ended up sitting on the porch at the back of the house staring thoughtfully at the place where her brother’s remains were buried. She found herself going back over the many things which had happened to her whilst in the employment of King Loki and then her memories went even further back to when she had been a young child and this garden had been her playground. Her grandparents had visited quite often, travelling down from their farm to bring apples and honey for Elisabet and to see their family.

 

One night Johannes and Védís had been looking after the children while their parents went to stay overnight with friends. Erika had been suffering from nightmares for a while and during the night, they had started up again. On this occasion she had not been able to wake up and break away from the upsetting scenarios playing out in her slumbering mind however, and her moaning had disturbed the others. Reassuring his wife, Johannes had managed to enter a deep sleep and he had travelled into Erika’s dream using Astral projection. Or, as he knew it, the Dream State.

 

He had found Erika’s Dream Form running from something which scared her, but as he looked back along the path she was taking, he could not see anything following her. He began to manipulate the landscape of the dream and caused her to run into a peaceful garden area in which he was sitting waiting for her. The Dream Erika skidded to a halt as she spotted him and then scooted over to hide behind him, looking fearfully towards where she had come from. Holding her hand, he had told her to be brave and to wait for whatever it was that had caused her to run, but after a while they realised that nothing was coming. He had managed to convince her to take his hand and walk back along the trail she had taken and still there had been nothing to see. Manipulating the Dreamscape again, he had taken Erika to a seat looking over a calm lake and had treated her to a glass of Asgardian Apple juice and had introduced her to the idea of the Dream State. It had turned out that his granddaughter was talented in the manipulation of the scenarios within the Dream State and after that they had often communicated at night in order that she could refine her abilities there.

 

Smiling at the memory of how she had soon outstripped Johannes’ talents as a Dream Walker, Erika’s thoughts then returned to her brother, who had not had the same talent. Yet she had managed to enter his dreams when he had been disturbed and had helped him to settle, even though he had no memory of it when he awoke. Her eyes strayed back to the tree and sadness washed over her as she thought of the future he had never had. He had been caught up in the politics of his elders and, hoping to make his father proud, he had made the fatal error of blindly following him, no matter that his actions were treasonous.

 

Was she now doing the very same thing, only on a grander scale? In standing by Loki and even becoming his companion, was she not committing High Treason too? This was a question she had asked of herself in the very beginning – before anyone knew of Loki’s deception – and it seemed she still did not have an answer. At least, an answer she wanted to hear. Erika rose and went back into the house in order to prepare something to eat. It was growing late and she had no desire to return to the Palace, and if Loki did not approve of this then he could quite easily have her taken back or come to get her himself. Mjölnir was sitting where she had been left in the middle of the kitchen table and Erika kept glancing at her as she made herself something to eat. Her earlier question was bothering her, but the more she thought about it, the more she realised that Mjölnir and Loki were not mutually exclusive in her life. She did not have to constantly carry Thor’s Hammer around with her; she was not essential in Erika’s daily life. Indeed, Thor did not carry her everywhere all the time either. No, Mjölnir could be taken back to where she belonged: the weapons vault, where she would be out of Loki’s sight, out of his mind and perfectly safe, meaning Erika could just get on with being his maid.

 

If for any reason she wanted Erika to wield her, then she was quite capable of getting to the young maid herself.

 

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

 

“So, Tyr…” Hel leaned slightly forward in her seat and peered round Loki to smile at the God of War, “Tell me something of your adventures. I’ll wager they must have been full of excitement!”

“My travels have certainly not been uneventful, that much is true, yet I did not spend all my time at war! To have reached the point at which the necessary sacrifice of men’s lives will be undertaken is a failure in war craft and diplomacy in my opinion.” Tyr paused at the sound of a derisive snort from Loki, but chose to ignore him. He would not be dragged into a petty argument with the Trickster, especially in front of all these people. “Much of my time was actually taken up acting as a Justice at the many Things* held amongst Men. It appears my wisdom was held in high regard and it was indeed in as much demand as my spear.”

“So what do we call you now, Your Highness?” Hel’s voice carried a slight nuance of mischief and Loki glanced at her with narrowed eyes, wondering where the little madam was going with this. “What I mean to say is that our poor inconvenienced All Father is often called The God of War, which I always thought was your title? Have you changed your role in the eyes of Men? Are you more of a peacemaker than a warmonger now?”

“Hel!” Loki hissed. The last thing he wanted right at this moment was this kind of conversation, where Hel poked and prodded mercilessly with her seemingly innocent remarks which were actually barbed and full of provocation.

“What?!” She asked, trying to appear affronted at his interruption, “I am having a polite talk with your brother, who has been away for ages and who I have not seen since I was sent to Helheimr. What is your problem? Why…” Her words died on her lips as her father turned to look directly at her and she saw the strangely patterned maelstrom of red and green in his eyes. What was wrong with him?!

“You will cease this line of questioning and you will refrain from insulting our returned Prince!” Loki kept his voice low, but it was full of venom and threat, and Hel sulkily slumped back in her seat to stare out over the crowd.

 

Tyr smirked briefly at this little exchange; Hel was only young and tact was certainly not one of her strong points, but Loki seemed to be quite touchy and even on edge. It was perhaps to be expected, especially with the attempt made earlier to spoil the day and to upset the King and Tyr was quite impressed at how the Trickster was managing to keep his temper, all things considered. He mused over the situation and realised that the state of affairs – although not perfect – was not too bad, if one took the absence of Thor and Odin out of the equation. But the fact of the matter was that Loki had gained the Throne by deception and it was a certainty that the All Father and his son were being held somewhere against their will. Tyr resolved to remain fairly quiet at this celebration as there was no need to upset the visitors and other guests, but he also promised himself that he would be having a conversation with Loki about his actions very soon.

 

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

 

Hel stewed inwardly at the admonishment she had received from Loki. She sat back in her throne and decided to look out over the people assembled there who had seemed to have accepted her presence without much of a fuss. Realising that she would not be able to have a conversation with the handsome God of… War? Justice? Both? anytime soon, she rose from her seat, curtseyed politely to the both of them and went to start to mingle with the dignitaries and nobles.

 

Her father could wallow in his boredom. Hel just wanted to have fun.

Notes:

I hope you like how I am starting to let go of the Marvel side of things more and more and to bring in the Norse mythology. Obviously, their attitudes, actions and thoughts are purely my own creation, but I will try to get as much factual stuff in there as I can - bearing in mind that the sources are widely varied in quality and opinion on these wonderful characters.

*Thing: In Viking times, these were gatherings where people could bring their grievances to be heard by a justice.

States of a God's Heart Ch78: Inescapable Destiny

It was not only Odin who sought to avert the path to Ragnarok. Loki's devious plans to gain the throne and to overthrow the House of Odinson without bringing on the Twilight of the Gods may have worked in the short term, but events and coincidences are conspiring once again to allow the Great Cycle to right itself.

Notes:

One of those necessary chapters where not much happens, but you get to look inside their heads!

Another major player takes an interest in Loki's son.


This is the seventy-eighth part of the sequel to To Tame A God
Previous Chapter: States Of A God's Heart Ch77: Dissension
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“’My side’?” Mocked Loki, “What do you mean you are on ‘My side’? This is not some silly game. This is a directly targeted attack against me. Everyone should automatically be on ‘My side’! No one should support these cowardly aggressors! They are the rot within our own community!” He shot another look at the ruined tree, gritting his teeth as the true extent of the damage began to hit home, “This is a hateful and personal attack which has little to do with equal opportunity for success for our businesses, the strength of our defence, our economics or politics! It is simply a way of trying to get straight to me and me alone!” His voice grew louder and louder as he gave vent to the anger within him and he pointed an accusatory finger at the decimated tree, “That was something done by spiteful people, little cowards who hide in the shadows, trying to stab me in the heart in the hope that I would begin to crumble!” His smouldering emerald eyes swept back to Erika and stared at her for a moment.

 

“They did not count on one thing though, did they Erika?” He sneered, turning towards the Palace building.

“I do not understand!” She said confusedly, “What did they not count on?”

 

Loki began to stride away from her, throwing his answer back over his shoulder:

 

“That I do not have one!”

 

Sighing in despair, Erika picked up Mjölnir and looked at her sadly.

“Oh but you do Loki.” She whispered as she looked at Thor’s hammer, “It is simply that you insist on burying it so deeply within you that we are only ever afforded a rare glimpse.”

 

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Aida held her arm out as the healer examined the bruising she had sustained when Freyja had been thrown into her by the explosive force. They had both landed badly on the ground, but Aida’s physique was deceptively robust. While she had the elegance and stature of an Elf, the skeletal structure and the strong muscles underneath her striking blue skin had the resilience of a Frost Giant. Consequently and fortunately for her, she had suffered very little damage, but for Freyja it was a different story. Although she was one of those granted the gift of Idunn’s apples, the magical fruit merely held off the ravages of time and her physical form was only as strong as it would have been if she was a mortal. The healing stones had mended her enough to allow the Healers time to get her to a Soul Forge, where a quick diagnostic check had shown she would make a full recovery and she was now resting in a private room surrounded by bouquets of freshly cut and delicately scented blooms looking out over the Mountain of Asgard.

 

“You appear to have no lasting ill effects from your accident, my lady.” Said the Healer as she examined Aida’s arm. “You were very lucky. I would still recommend that you are diagnosed properly in the Soul Forge…”

“Must I?” Aida was impatient to get away; Loki could turn up at any moment to question her about the incident and she was not sure she wanted that to happen. It was obvious to her that it had been an ACPoS attack and she was scared that he might glean it from her thoughts.

 

As she had worked frantically on Freyja to try to revive her, Aida had paid scant attention to what was going on around her and so when she had moved back to allow Erika to try to help, the sight of Loki suddenly standing right in front of her for the second time that day had caused her another shock. His face was set in a fascinated expression, having been watching her efforts to revive the Goddess of beauty, but it quickly deteriorated into a horrible grimace as he witnessed Erika using the healing stone. He had clearly grown more and more angry, and the way he had looked at Erika with pure jealousy as the poor girl used Mjölnir to complete the healing had been a revelation; Aida had realised she was seeing naked and truthful emotion spoiling that handsome face and it was a clear indication of just who her target really was.

 

When he had ordered her to go to be medically assessed, she had not needed to be told again; she wanted to be as far away from the dangerous God as she could.

 

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

 

After searching the grounds of the Palace and the building itself, the King’s Company warrior and those he had enlisted to help eventually found two discarded Palace Runner tabards. The red and gold uniforms had been stuffed behind one of the long curtains which adorned the windows in the long gallery and it was clear that the wearers had long gone. Realising that it would not be a good idea to reveal this to Loki in the very public celebration area, the warrior ordered that they were taken to the War Room so that it could be discussed there in private. If Loki’s reaction became angry and even violent, then it would be better done out of the view of his public. As he approached the room with the other guards, Fenrir also arrived and he revealed that there was nothing to be found anywhere which might indicate who had carried out the attack, although there was a common belief that it was the work of ACPoS. No one had witnessed the setting of the explosive device, nor had anyone seen the statues being painted, not even Heimdallr. He had been incredibly busy with the Bi Frost as well as keeping an eye on a few of the guests whom Loki did not trust.

 

The Great Wolf thanked the warrior for what he had done and relieved him back to his duties out on the terraces. Fenrir was frustrated at the way the culprits had seemed to be able to fade away into the background as if they had never been here. Then he had it. They must still be here! He turned back to the War Room to go to investigate those two red tabards. If they had a scent then there might just be a chance that he could track the wearers down and find them.

 

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“On my world, Dragons were the children of the Gods; the first creatures to inhabit Krynn. They live for many centuries and are huge creatures, gaining power with time. They are incredibly intelligent and sly, with great cunning, able to wield magic and to detect charms and illusions. Khellendros is one of the Blue Dragons of the Chromatic type and he is the mount of Kitiara; she is a powerful female warrior of my world… and my sister. Although the Dragon is formidable, he is not impervious to physical damage and the scale likely came from the battlefield of one of the many wars he has had a hand in. Once these battles are done and the combatants are gone, there are many who scavenge for trinkets, relics and items such as special body parts and armour and weapons, and indeed make a living from it. I have spent much time studying the magical arts and I do not lie when I tell you that I am highly skilled. I have been through all manner of experiences, learned a lifetime’s worth of knowledge and I have great plans!” Anders and Helga stared as they saw Raistlin in a different light; he was suddenly exhibiting passion and it was slightly unsettling. They exchanged glances as the Dark Mage continued. “However, as I was saying… the scale is not just formed like any common sapphire; it is Chromatic Blue Sapphire from the hide of one of the oldest and strongest of the ancient Dragons of Krynn. It is imbued with his magic, his intelligence, his personality… and there is a chance that a small portion of these traits were retained even after being powdered and mixed with other things to create the Dragonsmark.”

 

“Will it harm Aida?” Helga’s question was not unexpected, but it irked Raistlin; they had not been so swift to ask such things when they were searching for a magical way of binding her thoughts as a quick fix to their problems.

“I do not think so. But the spirit of a Dragon is strong and he may wish to communicate with her. She is an unusual and exotic creature herself and her full talents are yet to be realised, of that I am sure. Elven blood? Jotúnn blood? Did you even test her to see what she was capable of before you bound her with the Mark?”

“Well, er… no!” Anders spread his hands out in his admission of ignorance, “We did not imagine that she had anything special about her, except to say that she is good in combat and she agrees with our politics and…” he stopped as a rasping laugh escaped Raistlin.

 

It turned into a bout of coughing and the handkerchief which came away from the Mage’s lips was spotted with blood. Drinking deeply of his herbal tea and taking a moment to settle, he turned his hourglass eyes to the two shape-shifter Jotúnns sitting before him; one aging faster before his eyes now she had adopted her natural form and her brother managing to hold off time just a little longer by remaining Asgardian. He gained a small measure of satisfaction at how they both flinched under his gaze in their discomfort and he decided to keep them right there.

 

“So different and yet so similar… how intriguing. All races of your ‘Nine’ have an inherent impatience about you, even the Gods. If you had taken time to discover Aida’s true potential before imprisoning her talents within her, then you may have found her to be more use to your cause than she is now.” He blinked slowly like a lizard and finally looked away. “All I can surmise is that Khellendros’ residual presence has recognised something in your young lady and has become interested in her. Did she elaborate upon what he had said to her?”

“Not really. She was forgetting the experience even as she was telling us about it.” Anders frowned.
“Hmmm. I wonder if it might be of benefit to you to try to induce a memory of it and find out what is going on…”

“A memory? What do you mean?”

“Well, she may not be able to recall the precise memory of what she experienced, but it does not mean it was not formed. It will be in her mind somewhere; the Dragonsmark simply prevents her finding it. At least not without help.” He sighed and finished his drink. “It is up to you, but I have to go back to Krynn. I have stayed away from her too long in my studies and I have a great task to carry out. Those who have an interest in me believe I have been holed up in the Tower of High Sorcery at Palanthas for the last two years, but in that time I have also travelled far and wide and I now have all I need to challenge Takhisis.” Raistlin smiled at the puzzled faces of Anders and Helga. “Yours is not the only world where there are great changes required. I am destined for greater things.”

“Will you help us with Aida? At least to try to find out what it is that ails her and, perhaps, how to alleviate it?” Helga reached out her hand and placed it on one of Raistlin’s as she entreated him. He suffered it because he did actually like the guesthouse owner, but he pulled it away after a few moments.

“Very well, but my time here in Asgard must soon draw to an end. There are many important things afoot on my own world and I really must return. I must rest now. Have the girl taken to the safe-house and I will attend her tonight.” He stood up and smiled briefly, “We will get to the bottom of this I assure you.”

 

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

 

The Healer nodded, “I really recommend that you do, just to be absolutely sure there is no internal damage.”

Aida frowned. The healer was infuriatingly insistent!

“I feel no ill effects…”

“My lady, King Loki ordered a full diagnosis.”

“I do not have time for this!” Aida slid off the examination table she was sitting on and went to the door. “Where are my things?” She asked, indicating the medical gown she had been given to wear while she was examined.

“My lady…” The Healer glanced worriedly at the door and Aida frowned, becoming annoyed. What was wrong with her? She tried the handle, but it would not turn.

“What in The Nine is going on here?!” She exclaimed, rattling the handle and glaring at the healer.

“My lady, if you would please come over to the Soul Forge? A diagnosis will not take long…” She indicated the examination table, which now had red mists forming over it.

“No. I will not! Open this door. I am in perfect health and I wish to go to my own room to rest.”

“I cannot. I am locked in here with you. King Loki…”
“Never mind Loki! I wish to leave.” Aida began to bang on the door with her fists and shouted out “Open this door!”

 

 

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

 

The journey back to her mother’s house was not nearly as thrilling and scary as the one she had taken to the Palace with Mjölnir and Erika found herself trudging along in low spirits. Was this how everyone felt after they had gone through such an experience only to return to normal circumstances? She had finally made her way back to the small field just behind the house and as she crossed the patch of grass and wildflowers, Mjölnir seemed to grow heavy in her hand. Was she sensing Erika’s darkening mood? The problem was that the young maid knew that Thor’s hammer was coming between her and Loki; whenever she held her or mentioned her, he would forever be unable to stop that jealousy and anger from surfacing. Emotions he held for his brother, surely, and not her? He was transposing these negative feelings onto her simply because of whom Mjölnir’s true partner was and he was failing to see that Erika could bring good in her own right and that she had nothing to do with Thor. Yet this time she had. This time she knew deep down that the voice she had heard telling her about healing stones was not just suggestion made by Mjölnir; the voice which had even managed to combine with her own and come out of her own mouth had clearly been that of Thor.

 

Erika climbed back through the fence and she spotted her mother’s house and made her way towards it wondering if she should lay the hammer down for good. Her heart was being torn in two diametrically opposite ways and she was distraught to find that she truly did not know which path she should follow.

 

Abandon Mjölnir… or lose Loki?

 

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

 

“Father!”

Loki turned to find Fenrir approaching and he hoped for some good news. He had been on his way back to the celebration to see if the guests were still there and he was in one of the opulently decorated corridors of the Palace near the War Room.  As the Great Wolf arrived and bowed his head in respect to his King, Loki saluted him in the Asgardian fashion.

“My son. What news?”

“I have taken the scent from the tabards the two runners wore and I have the trail. There is a chance I may be able to find them if they simply went back to some place in Asgard City. Will you accompany me?”

Loki smiled in satisfaction at his son’s words, “Of course! Lead on.” Motioning to his warrior, who was still with him, they set off after Fenrir to see what they might find. As they marched through the Palace behind the giant wolf, who was sniffing around and acting in his proper Lupine fashion, some of the people who were there retreated to the side and starred openly in curiosity – even fear – at the sight.

 

Fenrir, a huge black wolf who only just fit into the space within the giant Royal building, was trotting along and investigating where the trail lay. He was followed by his father who was now in his Jotúnn form, making his stature well over eight feet high and this was then topped by the great curving horns of his golden helmet; a most formidable sight. And then the King’s Company warrior followed. Although he was not of as great a size as the other two, his appearance was possibly the most awful. As he strode along behind his King and his Prince, his gaze swept those who cowered back from them, casting a deathly chill upon them. He was so changed from how he had looked when he signed up for the training all those months ago that even his closest friends would not have been able to tell who he had once been. His name was forgotten to him; it no longer mattered now he was part of the King’s Company. They were all united through the Morgul magic which lived in their weapons and which had leached into their bodies and minds, changing them from robust and cheerful Asgardian warriors into shadow-like creatures with no emotion and who crept around as if they were not truly on this plane. It was these three mismatched beings which were now on the trail of the two youngsters who had signed up to simply bring a message to the King at an appointed time then disappear. Although Loki did not know it, they were two youngsters who had no idea why they had been asked to do it, no idea who the people they had spoken to were and no idea where the headquarters of the organisation were, even if they knew who they had been. Recruited as a favour through a friend of a friend, they had met to receive their instructions in an abandoned house on the edge of the city, to which they had never been before and even if they were to lead someone there, they would find it burned to the ground. Anders had been very thorough in the organisation of the mission. Stooping to depths he would not have believed of himself, the ACPoS member had simply told the two of them that they would be paid a decent sum to wear the uniforms and deliver a message. In doing so, he had placed their very lives on the line.

 

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

 

As the Mage left the room, Anders turned to look quizzically at his sister and gestured towards her with a large hand. “May I ask what all this is?”

“All what?” Asked Helga and she frowned at him.

“You know very well what!” Exclaimed her brother and the volume of his voice surprised her. She knew he was referring to her visage, but she did not understand why it bothered him so much.

“Do you mean my decision to return to my true form?” She asked and started to clear the table, ignoring his hard look.

“I certainly do! Just what are you playing at? When I arrived earlier to see you talking to the Mage looking like that, I did not find it to be a pleasant surprise.”

“Are you suggesting that our heritage as Jotúuns is one to be hidden away like a shameful secret?” Helga’s voice was now the one to become louder. “We have concealed our true nature up to now because of the many wars between the two realms, but now that there is a Jotúnn on the Throne of Asgard, we can stand up and be counted! Any unfair or prejudiced behaviour towards us will surely not go unpunished! Loki himself told me that I was beautiful in this form and that Asgard needed more diversity in her streets!” As soon as the words had left her mouth, she knew it had been a mistake to say them.

“Loki? When did you talk to Loki?”
“At the wedding… he was there… He… he saw me and he spoke to me.” She dropped her eyes hoping that her face would not give anything away about her having ‘met’ Loki, but Anders was too wound up to detect her faint blush.

“You are still so naïve!” Anders shouted back, his eyes flashing red and betraying the very genetics he spent his days camouflaging, “Has the reason why we came here deserted you? Martika’s mother and your husband lie dead on that Norn-forsaken realm, murdered by the Asgardians we now rely on to keep us safe! But we can only trust them to accept us if we appear as them! They are…”

“No!” Interrupted Helga, “No Anders. You are mistaken. They have undergone much change in the last year and have come to accept many things…”

“Things which we are now opposing through the actions of ACPoS!! An organisation which is largely made up of Asgardians who oppose the way in which Asgard is becoming soft. How do you think all these invasions and uprisings have been able to happen? Apathy. Arrogance. Feeling too comfortable. Add to that the fact the Loki has taken the throne and has brought with him his own enemies and you have a recipe for disaster! The only one who would strengthen Asgard and actively seek out her would-be oppressors and enemies to vanquish them is Thor.” He waved at Helga and shook his head despairingly, “And your insistence on returning to your Frost Giant form will only bring animosity your way, I tell you!”

 

Helga put down the things she had been taking to the sink to be washed and planted her hands on the table as she brought her furious face round to stare at Anders in confrontation.

 

“Then let it.”

 

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

 

The Healer watched as the tall Elf banged on the door and wondered what to do. The young woman was incredibly angry about her incarceration, that much was obvious, but there was nothing that could be done. She raised her hands in supplication and tried again.

 

“Please, my lady. If you would allow me to run a full diagnostic, I can let my superior know and then you might be allowed to go.” She looked at Aida and held her hand out in the direction of the Soul Forge, “Please?”

 

Aida ceased her banging on the door and rested the palms of her hands on the wooden surface as she took a deep breath and tried to calm down. Realising it was not the fault of the Healer, who looked very upset indeed, she smiled a little sheepishly, “I apologise for my outburst.” She said and glanced over at the Soul Forge. “Surely you can understand my frustration at this treatment? I have been in an accident, that much is true, but I am perfectly healthy and I have suffered very little injury… just a few scrapes and bruises. I do not understand why Lo… King Loki wants me to undergo all these tests.” The Healer remained quiet as Aida spoke, not wanting to cause any more ill temper or shouting. The Elven Jotúnn sighed, “Very well. I will consent to a diagnostic in the Forge, but I am not happy.” She walked over and lay down much to the Healer’s relief and the young woman began to activate the controls. The red mists formed around Aida and the Forge began a series of basic tests, the results of which were analysed and recorded. After around twenty minutes, the Forge powered down and the Healer told her she could sit up.

 

“Am I allowed to leave now?” Asked Aida, “And where are my things?”

 

As she spoke, the door opened and another Healer walked in, carrying her clothing. Smiling at the shocked designer she said, “You may get dressed and leave now. Thank you for your co-operation.”

 

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

 

Fenrir’s lips drew back over his huge canines in a Lupine version of a smile as the scent he had been following became stronger and he increased his pace, eager to find the culprits. Fortunately, they had not been canny enough to split up – at least not so far – and the direction they had taken was to a more secluded part of the Palace grounds. They were approaching the private areas of the kitchens, which were not open to the general public and which the residents tended to avoid anyway. It was an area which only the staff frequented as part of their job and it was here that the three intimidating characters turned up to find a large room where all the dirty crockery and serving platters were brought to be emptied, cleaned and returned to the kitchen to be used again. It was a bustling hive of activity, with about thirty or so servants all milling around as they carried out their tasks, and the scent trail became a little lost in with all the other smells of food and detergent and other people.

 

However, Fenrir’s nose was not easily confused and he quickly located the two youngsters in a far corner as they scraped plates clean and loaded them into large tubs of soapy cleaning water. It had not taken long for his presence to be noted, especially as he was accompanied by the King and one of his Company Warriors, and many of the staff members were backing off in trepidation as they stared at them wondering why they were here. The sudden descent of silence alerted the two who Fenrir had hunted down that something was wrong and they both looked to see what was happening. When they saw who had turned up and then quickly realised that they were heading in their direction, panic set in and they started to run.

 

“Stop!” Shouted Loki, “I command you to stop now!” Neither of them took any notice and they split up this time, hoping to confuse their pursuers in their naivety. Unfortunately, all three of them were veteran soldiers and there was little chance of their escape. In addition, Loki was a master of Seidr and he held no compunction against using it to his advantage. As the rest of the servants scattered in fear, he tracked the culprits through the maze of tables, sinks and shelving and waved his hand in a quick gesture as he voiced an incantation. Clones of himself appeared in various parts of the large area and confused the fleeing youngsters, who then tried to dodge around them which unfortunately slowed them down and allowed the real Loki to draw closer.

 

The boy panicked as he thought he was about to be grabbed and picked up a knife, which he plunged into the belly of what he thought was his King. To his horror, the clone wavered and disappeared upon his attack only to be replaced by the very real presence of the King’s Company Warrior. The lich-like soldier held no emotion in his deadly white eyes as he unsheathed his Morgul tipped sword and thrust it into the boy’s heart, and he merely observed how the fluttering hands of his dying victim scrabbled at the deadly blade which even now was sucking the life from him and transforming him into a pitiful wraith before he finally died, screaming in horror at the visions he saw in his tortured mind.

 

The girl was quickly cornered by Fenrir and despite being terrified by the huge wolf, she was even more scared by the thought of what awaited her should she be taken prisoner by Loki. She had watched as the people he had declared as traitors had been led to the gallows in the mass execution and she had heard the rumours about how those in the dungeons were treated. Desperate to somehow escape her predicament and to flee, she heaved a large kettle of hot water from the stove next to her and threw it in his face. But as his teeth met around her neck, her last seconds were spent realising she had never had a chance.

 

Loki was furious as he shouted ineffectually at his two companions who murdered the only potential leads he had right in front of his eyes. He screamed out his anger and frustration at them when they brought the lifeless bodies to lie at his feet, asking them just how they thought this had furthered their investigation. Ordering them to remove the unfortunate pair to the Palace morgue, the enraged King of Asgard disappeared in a green light.

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Upon reaching the foyer of the Palace, Loki quickly found that the supposed sinister box was simply discarded packaging for table decorations which had been dropped by an overworked servant. The poor woman was shaking with fear at having been brought to be interviewed by her King and he quickly dismissed her to go back to her duties. There was nothing suspicious here!

 

But then he, along with everyone else, heard an explosion and he very quickly reached the conclusion that this had been a ruse, intended to divert his attention while someone put disruptive plans into action elsewhere in the Palace.

 

“Find those two runners!” He barked out at one of the King’s Company who had come with him. “You! With me!” He said to the other and he ran off in the general direction of the sound, just as the second boom sounded. It was coming from near the gardens!

“What in the Nine is going on?!” He shouted and the two of them broke into a run along the corridor towards the back of the Palace, where the main gardens were situated near the guest accommodation. However, after a few moments people began to spill into it, rushing in various directions as they wondered what had happened. As it became more crowded, Loki’s patience snapped and he grabbed hold of the King’s Soldier. He teleported the two of them right to the centre of the garden and straight into the ruins which appeared around them. Almost immediately he was accosted by Erika, of all people, and he noticed she was carrying his brother’s weapon.

 

“Loki!” She hurried over to him and grabbed his hand. Giving him no chance to look around to work out what had happened, and with no effort at all, she managed to easily drag him over to where it looked like someone was mauling a woman on the ground. His belly flipped as he realised it was Aida who was looming over… was that Freyja? He looked at Erika for answers.

 

“There has been an explosion!” She said, pulling him down onto his knees with her as they joined Aida at Freyja’s side, “It has injured Freyja and we cannot find a pulse… Aida was using a Midgardian technique to try to revive her until the healers could get here… but you are here now. Do you have any healing stones?”

 

Loki was fascinated by what Aida was doing to Freyja and he did not catch Erika’s question at first, but she shook his arm – quite violently for someone her size – and he turned to see what she wanted.

 

“Healing stones! Do you have any? I am being asked for a healing stone.” The young maid looked at him and as he failed to answer her immediately, she almost snarled, “By the Norns, Loki, do you have any?!” Her voice rose to a deep and resonant shout and he knew it was somehow being altered, as if there was a man’s voice entwined with hers. He patted a small pocket in his leather surcoat and nodded, retrieving one of the silvery grey stones. What did she mean by ‘I am being asked for a healing stone’? Erika immediately grabbed it from his palm, thanking him, and turned to Freyja, where she crumbled it, allowing the dust to fall lightly over the chest and décolleté of the Goddess. Loki balked at this; how was she managing to do all this and how had she known of it? Suspicions as to her motives and just whether she was working in conjunction with an outside force began to form in his mind. In the meantime, Aida had ceased what she was doing in order to allow Erika to work on Freyja and she had sat back up on her heels, whereupon she caught sight of Loki. He saw her face blanch as she saw him and she immediately looked down at her hands and then at Freyja, avoiding his intense gaze completely. He was about to say something when Erika got to her feet mumbling something he could not catch, and then raised Mjölnir up in front of her face. She seemed to be listening to something, but Loki certainly couldn’t hear anything; he could only feel a sense of rising annoyance at his maid’s ability to hold that judgmental and self-righteous hammer!

 

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

 

Martika had just taken a glass of crisp Asgardian Apple juice from a waiter when she, along with most of the other people around her, flinched in shock at the huge bang which came from the direction of the gardens. Wide eyes and gaping mouths were all around her and then it came again, causing many to call out or to scream. A pang of remorse went through the young girl as she saw the abject fear in some of the faces of those around her, quite a few of which were children, but she knew it had been necessary and no one had been hurt anyway; the gardens had been empty when she had set the fire pots.

 

Frightened babbling was reaching a crescendo when a strident voice called out, virtually silencing everyone.

 

“Ladies, Gentlemen! Nobles, citizens, Gods, Goddesses! Please listen to me!”

 

The hubbub gradually lessened and people began to sit back down in their chairs, looking around worriedly, but knowing they needed to be as calm as they could. Standing at the front of the High Table, Hel was holding out her hands and casting her eye around the feast area with a stern look. She motioned almost imperceptibly to one of the Captains of the two King’s Company contingents that were on duty and he immediately attended her. In a low voice, she commanded him to tighten the ranks of the warriors he led while she calmed everyone down. As he made his way to carry out her orders, Tyr stood up from his table and approached her. Before he had a chance to even open his mouth to explain who he was, the crimson eye of Loki’s daughter ran over him appraisingly.

 

“Prince Tyr! What an opportune time to have you back! Are you here to defend the Princess of Asgard?!” Her voice was laced with assumed authority, sarcasm and an underlying warning that she felt she was in charge here and she expected to be backed up. As soon as the blast had happened, a quick word with Jormungandr and Fenrir had seen them leave to go to see what was happening and to mobilise forces if necessary. Then she had decided to bring the panicked people to heel; it being by far the best thing to do in order to prevent some kind of hideous stampede. She watched the handsome and very well-built warrior Prince walking towards her and he nodded politely.

“My dear… Niece. I am yours to command.”

Hel fluttered the eyelashes of her living eye and blushed prettily on her living cheek at Tyr’s words. He was so much more… rugged than she remembered from all those years ago when she had been banished to Helheimr. He was very good-looking indeed and she almost forgot what it was that she had been saying. He smiled warmly at her and she coughed lightly, trying to compose herself. She tore her eye away from him and turned back to the crowd.

 

“See, dear people! The houses of Asgard are returned and united in our desire to keep our realm safe! As I speak, our guards and warriors are sweeping the grounds and we will have an answer as to what has happened. Please. Sit with your friends, drink, feast, and make merry! I assure you that my Father will be back soon and we will have news!” She looked round and slowly people began to turn back to one another, but the atmosphere was much subdued and she sent a waiter over to the musical quartet to instruct them to play strong and uplifting tunes. Turning to Tyr, she invited him to sit on the supporting Throne she had occupied during the afternoon, and he graciously accepted, but not before kissing her living hand in greeting. With her heart racing and trying her very hardest to remain composed at the simple gesture from such an attractive specimen of a man, Hel smiled… and then took her father’s place on the replica Throne to watch over the guests as they settled back into a somewhat uneasy feast.

 

Her choice of seat, of course, did not go unnoticed.

 

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

 

On Midgard, in the cell which had become almost like a home to them, the air became palpably charged and Thor and Odin looked up at one another.

“Mjölnir….” Breathed Thor and he felt himself becoming energised even though she was not in the room.

“Listen within, my son…” Said Odin as he watched the younger God close his eyes, “Feel for her. She may have a message.”

“No, Father. She… she is asking for help.” Thor tried to remain calm, but contact with Mjölnir inevitably excited him. As he sat quietly, images began to form in his mind of what looked like an accident and he saw an unconscious woman on the ground. All of a sudden, a young female voice sounded really loudly in his mind and he winced.

“Mjölnir, what do I do? Can you help her? It is Freyja the Goddess and she has been hit by tremendous force… she is… she is unconscious, has faint breath, a weak heart beat. The healers have been sent for, but I do not know if she will last!”

 

He recognised the voice as Erika and he smiled at the knowledge that the girl was still able to talk to and through Mjölnir. He opened his eyes.

“It is the maid. Freyja is badly injured and she is asking for help. I think she hopes Mjölnir can heal her, but she cannot do it alone…”

“Are there any healers around? She can join in their magic… amplify it to the level required for a Goddess.”

“No…” Thor closed his eyes as her voice came again.

 

“…please! Is there any way I can help? Oh… wait! Wait! Loki has arrived with a warrior. Is there anything?” There was silence for a moment, but then it was clear that she was now addressing his brother back on Asgard, “Loki! There has been an explosion…”

 

An explosion? Things did not sound good at all. However, Thor had an idea. If there was a warrior there, then there was a good chance he and maybe Loki were in battle gear and they would be carrying healing stones. It was one of the best ways to heal someone and it was an item whose powers Mjölnir could enhance greatly – enough to revive even a God.

 

“Erika! If you can hear me, ask for a healing stone. A healing stone. All warriors carry them, but only Gods and those with Seidr can use them. Ask for a healing stone and crumble it over Freyja. Mjölnir will recognise it and she will help you to bring Freyja round. She will heal any damage and Freyja will survive, then she can be taken to the healing rooms to be assessed. Erika. Can you hear me? Ask for a healing stone…”

 

“… healing stones!” Erika’s voice suddenly came to him again, “Do you have any? I am being asked for a healing stone.” So she had heard him…

 

Thor became impatient, knowing Loki was probably suspicious of Erika asking for such a thing and he added his voice to that of the young maid, distorting the tone of it. “By the Norns, Loki, do you have any?!” Seconds passed and then he heard Erika saying “Thank you!” and he relaxed, knowing the Trickster must have got one for her. He continued to concentrate on the link, feeling rather than seeing what was happening, and then he felt the air start to charge again. He felt a renewal of his strength, as if Mjölnir’s residual power was somehow able to get to him even across all this distance and he heard her song as she activated the healing stone to make Freyja better. It was a euphoric feeling to experience how Mjölnir healed, and Thor felt refreshed and optimistic even though he had only had it second hand and a small proportion at that. He opened his eyes and smiled over at his father, who was watching him with interest.

 

“Father, she is one of a kind…”

“I know, my son. You will be reunited one day.”
“I do not mean Mjölnir, Father. I mean Erika.”

 

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

 

Loki was about to make a crass remark at how the Goddess of Beauty was still lying unconscious – even possibly dead – at his maid’s feet when the runes on the head of Thor’s mighty hammer suddenly ignited. Erika closed her eyes and raised Mjölnir even higher, right up above her and to Loki’s amazement – and jealousy – the clouds above quickly gathered with bright and crackling lightning flickering inside them, growing in force and luminosity. All of a sudden, a huge bolt of energy connected with Mjölnir and Erika screamed in fright, but she managed to hold on and brought the hammer downwards to point at the prone woman at her feet, whereupon Mjölnir sent many smaller forks of the electric energy out around her, each finding a fragment of the healing stones and infusing it with power. Her eyes glowed with intense white light and electric blue bolts of lightning appeared in her pupils as she steadfastly held the hammer in position while she worked. Freyja’s body jerked violently and her body rose up into an arch on her heels and her shoulders before collapsing back to the ground, but then her mouth opened to gasp in the air and after a few moments, her eyes began to open.

 

The energy and the clouds dissipated so quickly it was as if they had never been there, and it was now Erika who fell to her knees in exhaustion. Loki quickly reached over and caught her before she had a chance to fall completely to the ground and Mjölnir slipped from her fingers to land at her side. The blonde maid lay in his arms breathing heavily, peering at Freyja. “Did it work?” She gasped, and Aida, who had been transfixed by this amazing spectacle she had just witnessed blinked and hurriedly inspected the poor Goddess. She gently helped her to sit up, brushing wisps of singed hair back from her beautiful face and smiling reassuringly. “Yes! Yes it did!”

 

“Well!” Exclaimed Freyja after a few seconds, breaking the stunned silence, “Just how on Asgard are you able to do all that?!”

 

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

 

“So, dear… Uncle. No, you’re not my uncle, are you really? How should I address you I wonder?” Hel looked meaningfully at Tyr as she mused upon the situation. “I suppose you do actually hold rank over me, being Odin’s son…”
“Hel, do not complicate matters by being pedantic over Royal succession. I think we can both agree that the ruling House of Asgard is in question at the moment. There is no proof that Odin is dead; indeed Loki himself has told us that he is simply in the Odinsleep in a secure medical facility somewhere and that Thor is being held prisoner for attempting to kill Loki whilst in the guise of Odin, which he claims he was doing under the All Father’s orders! It all stinks to me of one of Loki’s ruses; only in this case it has meant he has been able to claim the Throne of Asgard. For now, let us stick with our names? It will avoid confusion and potential… insult.”

“Very well, Tyr. What you say does make some sense. However, I would like proof of all these allegations before I decide what I believe. In the meantime…” She fixed her crimson eye on him and smiled what she hoped was not too ghastly a smile, “may I say it is very nice to have an impressive brute such as you home?! If our enemies see a Prince such as you present in the Palace, then they are sure to think twice before trying to take advantage or to attack. No wonder they call you the God of Glorious Battle. You look like you have fought a few…” Hel’s eye passed over Tyr’s muscular forearms and up to his tanned and square-jawed face, which was framed in thick dark blonde hair. His beard was over a week old now and he had decided to keep it. It all added to the air of masculinity he exuded, even when sitting in a relaxed manner and drinking from a cup of mead and Hel felt a thrill at holding a rank high enough to be able to sit with, to converse with and even to flirt with, should she so desire. Oh… the benefits of having decided to visit Asgard to alleviate her boredom and to catch up with her brothers were ten times better than she had imagined they would be. Listening to Tyr recounting a tale of one of his most recent commissions, she sat back and savoured the moment, hoping it was the first of many to come.

 

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

 

“More to the point,” Interrupted Loki, “what in the name of Helheimr has happened here?” He was now looking around at the fallen statues and scorched plants. He turned his head as he surveyed the damage and his glittering emerald eyes finally came to rest on the devastated lilac tree, which was still partly on fire. For a moment, his face remained impassive, but then he gently let go of Erika, who had managed to sit up, and got up to begin to take slow steps towards the tree. His hand rose, reaching out towards it as he began to examine the damage, his green eyes flickered from one smashed limb to the great trunk which was rent by the blast, and went on to look at the green leaves and beautiful sprays of flowers which were withering in the heat of the fire which clung tenaciously to them, destroying any last semblance of beauty the once magnificent tree had displayed. His fingertips brushed along one of the mighty branches as he walked along, following it where it had fallen, feeling the life force dwindling from within it as the oxygen was sucked out of it by the wicked flames. He stroked the elegant bark as he approached the burning canopy and passed his hand right into the crackling destructive heat. As his fingers moved along the tortured wood, the fire died in their wake and he continued to caress the dying behemoth, extinguishing the cause of her torment. Images of a burning lake of fire surrounding hot pillars of rock to which he had been chained flashed in his mind and the remembered whips of burning chains slashed at his back again, causing him to flinch. Then another memory surfaced, of a time when he had healed this ancient being after storms had caused her great damage. It had been a time when he had been so proud to see the joy he had caused in his mother’s eyes…

 

“Loki!”

 

Brought back to the here and now, The God of Lies glanced to his side where Erika stood looking at him with concern. “Be careful…” She reached to pull his arm back, but then she saw how he was putting out the fire and she stopped, her eyes meeting his. “Oh, Loki… your mother’s tree…” Amazingly, he saw tears filling those beautiful crystal blue eyes as she realised what this must mean to him, but he found he had none himself. All he had was a hard lump of hatred inside for whoever had done this. The person who had set this explosion had known full well what they were doing. They had not intended to harm anyone; they must have known the garden was likely to be empty and Freyja being here had been pure coincidence. They had not wanted to directly harm him physically; planting the device under the platform upon which the High Table rested would have done a much better job. No, this was a spiteful move intended to hurt him in a much nastier and more personal fashion. Erika watched as he put out the remaining flames and then she wrapped her arms around him, trying to extend some comfort.

 

Two healers arrived and quickly looked over Freyja who started to protest and Loki pulled himself from Erika’s grasp, not thanking her or returning any kind of comfort to her. Erika lowered her empty arms and watched him pitifully as he stalked over to the Goddess.

“You will go to the healing rooms for a full diagnosis.” He said and then turned to Aida, “As will you.” Not daring to argue, the two women allowed themselves to be led away by the two healers.

 

A splash of red on one of the statues nearer the edge of the garden caught his attention and he strode swiftly to it, not quite believing his eyes. The eyes and fingertips were painted crimson and there were slogans proclaiming him to be a false God and a Usurper. Rage boiled within him and he felt his inner self begin to churn. His hands balled into fists as he struggled to remain composed and so it was that he almost struck Erika as her fingers landed on his arm.

 

Flinching from him, she said “Loki… this is terrible! We must do something! Is it…”

“Why not ask Mjölnir?!” Shouted Loki, brushing her hand away. “She seems to have all your answers, does she not? How do you know of healing stones? How are you able to administer them?! Hmmm?!” He leaned down towards her and an ugly grimace distorted his features as he growled, “Did she do this?”

 

“No!” Erika’s face was set in an expression of such shock that Loki – almost – regretted his question. He knew from the slogans that this must be another of ACPoS’ actions against him. Yet he continued; he wanted answers and Erika was the only one here to question.

 

“Then how were you here to ‘help’? How was it that you were conveniently in the right place at the right time? Unless you knew that this was going to happen?” His eyes narrowed again as the paranoia crept in and he eyed up his brother’s hammer. “Are you communicating with Thor? Are you acting under his orders? I heard his tones in your voice before! Well?”

“Loki, you have this all wrong! I heard the explosion from my mother’s house…”

“Then how did you get here before me?!” Loki’s voice became lower and a gravely quality started to change it as his anger began to win out, “Just how did you manage to travel over two miles in mere moments?” Erika shrank back as the clear green of his eyes began to swim in the crimson currents that were suddenly taking over the irises, “Answer me!” He barked, and she screamed in fright. To her horror, Mjölnir’s runes began to glow dimly and a faint song rose as the young maid lifted her to look at her. No! Not now! Loki would see this as aggression…

“Oh, are you going to fight me now?!” Loki’s sarcastic remark proved her right and she turned to look at him again as he held out his own hand and Gungnir appeared. This was too much like the other night when he had tried to goad her into summoning the hammer to try to kill him! Loki would never accept this aspect of her character; his jealousy of her being able to hold Mjölnir and to be used as a vessel for her to carry out good deeds would never go away. She lowered Mjölnir and dropped her to the ground at her feet. She closed her eyes in anticipation of some kind of physical attack from her beloved King. “No, Loki. I will not fight you. I cannot. Please, please calm down! I am on your side…”

 

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

 

The three people sitting round the kitchen table in the beautifully appointed guesthouse were all deep in thought.

Anders had only been there for a short time, having arrived only a few minutes before the sound of an explosion had come from the direction of the Palace. A small satisfied grin was sitting on his face as he sipped at his drink and thought about all the uses he could put the other fire pots to now that he knew they worked. He was awaiting the return of his daughter, Martika, but he knew she would be a while. It would raise suspicion if she tried to leave so soon after the incident.

Raistlin stirred his tisane and watched the liquid swirling around the cup as he considered the implications of having been the one to supply the device which had caused the explosion. He had tried to hide the magical enhancement as best he could, but if someone with the Sight managed to ascertain that there had been magic involved then there was the potential for him to be in trouble here. He had been arrested once already on suspicion of trading in magical items deemed illegal. It probably was time to move on, but both Helga and Anders had told him they had things they wished to discuss with him.

Helga was hoping fervently that no one had been harmed by the explosion. She believed in the cause of ACPoS: to try to preserve the great nation of Asgard, but things had changed since Loki had taken the throne and even more so since the decimation of the Society’s ranks. Their remit was different now. In order to preserve Asgard, they no longer needed to simply protest Odin’s lack of true commitment to the common man. They now needed to remove the Trickster from the Throne of Asgard and try somehow to get Thor – or even Odin – back. Then there was the situation with Elisabet’s daughter, Erika. What was she to do now that Raistlin had told her of his suspicion that the girl was immortal? Should she let her friend know?

 

“Mage Majere, I need to ask something of you.” Anders took a biscuit and snapped it in half so he could dip it in his hot drink.

“Yes? What is it?” Raistlin pulled a bit of a face as he watched him eat the soggy biscuit.

“Aida Bjornsdottr. The girl with the Dragonsmark. She came here in the night, claiming to have seen a Dragon in her mind and then within minutes of telling us that, she forgot what she had said and apologised for disturbing us unnecessarily. Can you shed any light upon this?”

“She talked of a dragon?” Raistlin was puzzled.

“Yes, she was quite adamant until the memory started to fade. She clearly said ‘Dragon’”

“Hhmmm. Perhaps we should consult the tattooist… Although he did guarantee she would forget.”

“Well, I have secretly had people try to read her mind on a few occasions since she had it done and not a single one of them has been able to get in there. They say she just appears as one of the naturally born closed minded people. So, the tattoo works and until she came here she has not mentioned anything to do with it.”

“It must be down to the ingredient.” Said Raistlin, tapping the side of his cup as he pondered upon what Anders had said.

“The ingredient?” Asked Helga, “What do you mean?”

“Well, the tattooist simply asked for powdered Dragonscale, which I happened to have. He did not elaborate upon what grade or from which species, or realm, or any other aspect. I gave him what he required and he used it. Then we tested the reliability of the tattoo and it worked, so there did not seem to be any reason to worry.”

“So why are you wondering about the Dragonscale now, other than the fact that it is what Aida claims to have seen?”

“Well, it is because of which Dragon it came from. You remember it was incredibly expensive? Well, that was not only down to the difficulty in actually powdering a scale from a Dragon. It was also to do with the Dragon the scale originally came from – more than likely at a high cost… in life. You see, I really do only trade in the highest grade ingredients I can find; sub-standard materials will never allow one to perform very good magic and I am a powerful Mage. I can only use the best myself, so why would I trade inferior things?”

“So, which Dragon did this powder come from?”

“Well, as far as I am concerned, there is only one Dragon whose scales would ever have been of any interest to me.” Raistlin placed his cup on its saucer and looked up at Anders and Helga with a serious expression. “It came from Khellendros, one of the mightiest of the Blue Dragons of Krynn.”

States Of A Gods Heart Ch76 The Tools of The Trade
Magic is a huge part of any fantasy fiction, as it allows the writer to get away with (almost) anything. Combine it from several fandoms and light the touchpaper and.... well, stand back!

This is the seventy-sixth part of the sequel to To Tame A God
Previous Chapter: States Of A Gods Heart Ch75: The Immortals
Next Chapter: States Of A Gods Heart 76 The Tools Of The Trade

Notes:

As I publish and continue to write, sometimes readers' questions actually guess what I have already written next and I think that is great, because it means you are paying attention!!!

It also allows me to do different things.

1. If I really like what I already wrote, then I am happy you guessed - but I won't usually tell you because I want you to have that little satisfactory smile as your suspicions are proven true.
2. If it makes me think I am too predictable, I will rewrite the storyline to try to keep you guessing.
3. If I like it but realise it was too easily guessed, I will hold off from the reveal to keep you hanging on a bit (Sadistic, I know. But I am a Loki writer and he makes me do what I want!!)

So, thank you for continuing to read. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Thank you if you left Kudos and hopefully you sat there and had a little smile of satisfaction too :)

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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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:D
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