“Loki.” Thor’s voice boomed through the private library, echoing. Loki had hidden himself there for hours, attempting to master a new spell. The master of magic had surpassed his original teachers, his mother and private tutors, and needed to be learning at least a dozen spells a day.
“Yes brother?” Thor rarely came looking for him when he was immersed in his studies. Loki hated being disturbed, and thought he seemed to be the embodiment of calm, he was wondering what his brother was thinking disturbing him.
“Father wishes to see us. It appears…we have a strange visitor in Asgard.” Thor ran a hand through his hair. Loki put his book down, and got up from the desk he was sitting at. “A visitor? Is that a polite way of referring to a criminal?” If he kept following the sound of Thor’s replies, he would find him.
“I do not know what status this visitor is. Father will not give any detail yet.” Loki had found Thor at the entrance of the library. He smoothed his trousers and his long leather vest. Had he known his father was going to summon him he would have not started his studies.
“Well I’m sure father will inform us.” They started down the hall, their boots echoing. “The halls are emptier than usual.” Loki thought aloud. The servants weren’t hurrying around like usual. It was getting later into the evening, and the servants should be preparing for their work tomorrow.
“They are most likely spreading the news of the visitor. You know how servants spread news.”
“Remind me to have a little fun with their grape-vine method.”
“Fun? Brother, if you wish for fun come join us in the training grounds. It would do you some good, and we can see who is the strongest of us.”
“You know as well as I do brother, the only one who would enjoy such a battle would be you.” Loki’s voice was cold. Thor was a being who loved war and celebration. He would love nothing more than to prove to Loki why he was truly the rightful king.
“Well brother, maybe it would do you will to master more weaponry. The axe maybe?” Thor laughed. Oaf Loki thought darkly. When I hex Mjölnir to disappear each time you choose to wield it, then we’ll see who laughs.
“The axe is messier and harder to aim. Throwing knives are simple to use, easy to carry and conceal. You can predict an axe being thrown. It is no wonder Volstag uses his fists in battle.”
“Brother, I jest with you. Do not take me for a fool. You are a fine fighter. I have not once needed to come to your rescue in battle.” Loki laughed, his light mood returning. He may be jealous of Thor sometimes, but in the end, Thor was his brother. “Well brother, I might just challenge you to impress the Lady Sif.” Loki scoffed.
“Again with Sif?” Thor had always had a soft spot for Sif. Loki had also harboured secret emotions for her, but had refrained when he had met Sigyn. He would have to talk to Thor about women and marriage. It was not all joy and blessings. Women are difficult and stubborn beings. He had read once in a Midgardian text, called the Bible, of women having hearts of nets and snares. How true. Sigyn, Sif and any other women are the same. Except mother, of course.
They had arrived in front of the throne room doors, where their father was requesting their presence. The doors opened and the brothers walked in side by side, like always. They were equal in their father’s eyes, though Loki knew his father preferred Thor, the warrior. Odin sat on in throne in all his glory, with Frigga on the steps. They were in deep conversation, and did not hear their sons enter the room.
“But Odin, she is a child! We cannot send her back!” Frigga was indignant. She was thinking more like a mother than a queen.
“I cannot make a decision just yet Frigga. I must know of her origins. I think I know them, it seems quite obvious. No Midgardian child could have called to Heimdall-”
“A Midgardian child has arrived in Asgard? That is why you called us here?” Thor has no brains Loki thought. We could’ve gotten more information from just staying quiet!
“Thor, Loki.” Odin greeted his sons. He returned his focus to Frigga. “Interrogation will begin when she is well enough to endure it. Which may not be for days now, according to the healers.”
“Would someone be so kind to enlighten us?” Thor interrupted again. Loki decided to let Thor ask all the obvious questions. He had no interest in a Midgardian. He knew little of them, but he respected their arts. He was a god to them. Why worry about them? What was one Midgardian to the 7 billion others? Why did Odin not send the woman back?
Odin nodded, and stood from his chair. Frigga and his sons watched him make his way to his own private library, motioning them to follow. Loki felt the excitement bubble in him. He loved his father’s private library. It was filled with private tomes of all the realms histories. The royal library had only portions of the tomes, the parts pertaining to Asgard and its role in the realms. It was a rare occasion should he be allowed to enter his father’s library.
“I assume you have heard some of our conversation.” Odin began, taking a seat at a round table set in the middle of the library. “Earlier this evening, Heimdall received a call to open the Bifrost. Heimdall let the woman through, thinking it was an Asgardian. She came through the portal, beaten and severely injured. She is in the healing room being tended to.”
“How could a Midgardian access the Bifrost?” Loki asked. “Midgard does not have access to the Bifrost.” Most realms don’t.
Odin gave him his full attention and smiled. His youngest son may not be the warrior Thor was, but he was clever. He had picked up on the heart of the matter. “That is the question. I have two theories.” Odin stood up, and began to pace. “Only Asgardians have access to the Bifrost. There are many who utter Heimdall’s name among humans. Mostly cult groups searching for life meaning, still worshipping us. Heimdall never hears their calls or prayers.”
“So she was an Asgardian?” Thor spoke up. “She was on earth and attacked?”
“It is one possibility. I believe my second theory is more correct than the first. She may be a Halfling.” Loki’s mind began to race. A Halfling?
“Father, I have never once come across the term Halfling being used in reality. Why not?”
“Because there has not been a Halfling who has reached Asgard in over 3000 years.” Odin began. He stopped pacing and sat down again. It would be a long tale. “It is time you learned of them. Halflings are the offspring of an Asgardian and a Midgardian. There were quite a few of them during the time of turmoil in the nine realms. Often, soldiers would go down to Midgard to fight any threats. It was not odd for them to celebrate with mating or even fall in love with a mortal.”
“So why is this Halfling so important? Why has she reached Asgard?” Thor asked. “And why does it concern us?”
“You will be king one day my son.” Odin said patiently, and a tenderness reached his eyes. He is so proud of Thor. Loki felt he pang of jealousy. He secretly wished his father would look to him that way. “You must know of this. Halflings still exist, but in very small numbers. Many do not reach Asgard because they’re sire is not powerful. They are not nobility. They have to rights to Asgard. Their blood is more human. Which is why only one has ever reached Asgard. Few have ever had a father powerful enough to make it.”
Loki readied himself to hear his father had a bastard child. But that never came forward. “My brother Vili had sired a child on Midgard. He had raised the child long enough for him to understand his origins. Long after Vili had returned to Asgard, his son, Lek, had called the Bifrost. He was transported to Asgard. Now the question remains with this young lady: who is her father? She must know her history to have called to Heimdall.”
“We must wait to find this.” Frigga had been silent the whole time. “She is badly injured, and has not awoken. She must rest. I do not doubt she is a Halfling. The poor girl needs to heal. She may be healing faster than any human, but she will not heal as quickly as an Asgardian. We must not disturb her.” Frigga pleaded to her husband. Odin had not seen the girl yet, but Frigga had seen them doing a soul search on her. “If you would look on her condition, you would wait.”
Odin stood. “Then we will see to her condition.” He swept from the room, leaving no room for argument.
Loki looked at Thor. Thor looked back. They nodded and followed. Frigga came up behind them. “She is a girl, not a show!”
“Mother, we wish only to see.” Loki spoke up. “We will not disturb her.”
“You will not. Or I shall see to it you are punished.” Frigga picked up her pace and walked ahead of her sons.
“All-father.” The healers stopped momentarily to bow to their king, their queen and the princes. Loki saw Odin nod back and freeze as soon as he looked towards the closest bed. The healing room was empty, all the beds clad in white linen empty. Except one.
They could all see her. She was still in Midgardian clothing, which were dirty and blood stained. Loki could see she was badly beaten. Her forehead, eye brows, her right eye and right cheek were a deep purple. Her cheek and forehead also had a dent in them. She had scraped hands, from fingertip to wrist. That must have been where the blood had come from. Loki could see now his mother’s reluctance to question her. She looked so fragile.
“What are her injuries?” Loki could tell his father was shocked.
The head healer stopped applying a salve to the woman’s hands. “She had internal bleeding, All-father. Her ribs were either broken or cracked, and she has damage to some bones in her face. We will fix those soon.”
“What happened to her?” Thor was the only one brave enough to answer the question.
“Heimdall said when he saw her, she was being attacked by 5 men. She was beaten with a piece of metal. She is still innocent.” The healer said, going back to her task. Frigga had a hand to her mouth in shock. Loki didn’t know what to feel. He had the urge to protect her, she looked so small and fragile. But he also felt curious. What power did a Halfling possess?
“She is in good hands now. We will wait and when she is well enough to answer questions, she will do so. I expect a daily report on her health. We must get to the bottom of this.” Odin said swiftly, leaving the room. I looked back at the woman.
If she is truly a Halfling, who is she? Who is going to take care of her? A bigger question came to him: Will she stay in Asgard?
“The poor girl.” Thor said, before turning. “How could 5 men want to attack a woman?”