Chapter 13: Conflicting emotions
I watched her walk away. And I was not offended by her sudden departure or how she refused my offer to escort her. If I was confused of my behaviour, no doubt she is too.
I looked back out onto the balcony, trying to decipher what had happened moments ago. I had come close, so close to admitting something I was not even sure of: my adoration for her. I shook my head, as if to clear it. Adoration?
To be honest with myself, I had to admit it. I adored Noelle. Every waking moment, she flitted into my mind. Her warm smiles and laughter were infectious. She was intelligent, she was good company. She was brave, honourable. And she was lovely.
‘You do not want her.’ A whispered raspy voice echoed in my head. It brought on a terrible head ache with it. I put my head in my hands, cringing. This had been happening for days now. At every thought of Noelle, there was the same creeping, haunting voice that entered my mind, bothering me, pushing into my thoughts. It was the strangest thing I had ever experienced.
I do want her. I will pursue her, I thought back and I was wondering if I had gone mad. Were my wits leaving my mind already?
‘She is a human. A weak mortal girl. She is naïve. She knows nothing of the world, nor of intelligence to be had.’ The voice echoed through my mind again. It was not sane to argue with the ‘voice’ in my head, but I found myself doing so anyway. It was as if I could feel a presence around me, commanding me.
She is Asgardian, I thought fervently, still wondering why I insisted on arguing.
‘Only half her blood is mixed with Asgard.’
But she has proved herself more Asgardian than many who were born in this realm. She is different than the mortals. I thought of how she beat Callum, how she had let me confide in her, though I did not speak much of my troubles. How she confided in me, trusting me.
‘So you think. She will be your downfall.’ The voice was harsh, cold with hate. ‘When she is trapped, who shall she call? You. When she is hungry, to the brink of death, who shall she attack and devour? Her companions. When she is weary of life, who shall she lash out at with words more painful than death? Her loved ones. She will live and die. She is no different from any human. How can you let your heart become entangled in another woman’s trap?’ My thoughts were pulled back to the past, memories I had buried and tried to forget for years.
A child with dark eyes, wailing up at him. No, I must not think of this.
Sigyn, performing her complicated magic, dabbling in the darker arts. She had wanted another child.
“Our marriage is broken!” Sigyn spat at him, lashing out, books flying. She had little control over her dark magic. One emotion could lay waste to any who stood too close. “We need a child to fix it!”
“Sigyn, another child will not fix our marriage.” I had been trying to reason with her.
“Yes it will!” She sobbed. “We were so happy when Nari was a babe. He will soon become a little boy, then a man, and we will be bitter together without the joy we once had!”
“Sigyn-” I had wanted to convince her to have Father annul the marriage. Nari may live in the court with Sigyn, and I would be able to see him.
“NO LOKI! I WILL BE WITH CHILD WITHIN DAYS!” She calmed at the thought. “We will be happy again. I will repair our damaged marriage.” He willed the memories to stop. He could not go through them again. No after living them day and night for years.
They continued on. Each time, Sigyn becoming more and more wildly out of control. Lashing out at him, and their son only a year old. Objects flying, the wardrobe smashing to the ground. In fits of rage or sadness, Sigyn destroyed all in her path. It was all he could do to protect his son, keeping him close at all times. And then the dreaded day happened, when Sigyn could no longer be controlled.
STOP! I screamed in his head, shutting down the memories. My ears were ringing, the still night so quiet compared to what I had witnessed. I had never wanted to think of what had happened that night. I did not want to think of Sigyn.
I let out a shaky breath, choking back a sob. I had to be strong. It was all in the past. And the past will not repeat itself. I suddenly felt claustrophobic, even though I was out of the still crowded hall. I needed to be alone, though I was the only one out enjoying the beautiful night.
Leaving the balcony, I went through the feasting hall, hurrying past the crowds. I could have transported myself to my chambers, but I my hands were shaking, my mind was not clear. If my focus wavered while transporting myself, I could end up anywhere. No one spoke to me in the halls, only giving polite nods, which I just consciously returned. I was too nervous to speak.
I reached my chambers, and looked around, feeling slightly comforted. I went to the adjoining bathing chamber and filled a bucket of warm water, grabbing the chamomile soap mother loved to make for Thor and I. It was the only soap I used.
I undressed, and cleaned myself off quickly. Baths were not something I particularly enjoyed. Cleanliness was of importance, but bathing required my precious time, time I could use studying. I took baths every two days, no more, no less.
I dunked my head into bucket, scrubbing my hair, and then summoning a linen to dry myself with. I dried my hair, while walking over to the curtained window. I threw the curtain back, still wanting to glimpse the night sky. If one should see me here, they would be privileged to see myself without garments. But it was unlikely anyone would.
The night sky was so blue. Blue like her eyes. Noelle’s. I stopped my thoughts there. Fear crept through me, like a weed. I had vowed to keep away from women. I would not have my heart taken from me and ripped apart again. I would not lose my wits to lust. I would keep sane, keep to my books. I did not know if I could go through with the past repeating itself. But I couldn’t keep her out of my head. Her laugh, her smile, her intelligence. She was also aware of my mischief, and would not spoil the fun.
Noelle may be sane now. She may be kind and happy. She may even come to love me. I had felt her gaze on me when she thought no one watched. I know she feels a certain amount of affection for me. But Sigyn was all that as well before.
But I had to admit to myself that these feelings, they were different. Sigyn had been lust, matched with admiration for her daring tongue and teasing glances. I had thought I had loved Sigyn. But I had not even felt anything similar to the affections I felt for Noelle. I may have felt a small amount, when Nari was born…but it was shot lived.
I had never loved Sigyn. She had never loved me. And yet she would not let our marriage go until forced to.
Though my logical mind told me Sigyn was insane, unbalanced and uncommon to most, I still feared leaving his heart to someone else. Which left me with a bit of a dilemma: Would these feelings pass? Perhaps if I did not act so friendly with her, I could move on. She would have to move on as well. I could not offer her anything but my knowledge. That was all. I left the window and pulled back the silk covers of my bed, before getting in and pulling them up again. I laid on my back, my arms behind my head.
It would be difficult, considering when I acted friendly with her, I did not think of it. It came naturally to me, to hold her hand, to roll her sleeve up to check her arm. Even carrying her to my chambers when she was too exhausted after a day of lessons because she could not make it to her own. I forgot about the Asgardians observing our behaviour, or of the proper conduct towards a lady. It was as if I was raised on Midgard, with the looser morals associated with humans.
I was going to try this solution. If I cannot, for some reason, move on from Noelle, at least she would turn her affections elsewhere. As much as it bothered me a little to think of her with someone else, it would be for the best. Wouldn’t it?
I turned to my side, closing my eyes. My plan was formed, and ready to be put to action. There was only one part of the plan that I could not fix, and may never like: The possibility of falling in love with Noelle, and never being able to let it go.
It was a depressing thought, but love could not come my way. It was not meant for me
“The prophecy has shifted.” The same guttural, raspy voice said to his master. The voice belonged to a creature wearing a cloak and hood, kneeling to his master.
“How?” The master did not turn to look at his servant, but remained gazing up at the sky. He was waiting for his most elite soldiers to return to him with his most needed captive, who had recently evaded them yet again. He was an important part of the plan. “The prophecy was set for years. Nothing would change it. Or so I was told.” He turned to his servant, his annoyance obvious. He had had the boy watched for long years, since his birth. Fate had not changed their plans. What could possibly change them now?
“It was master.” The servant nodded eagerly. “For years, we have had a foothold on the boy’s mind without his knowledge. We have whispered to him. Transformed his feelings of admiration of his brother to dislike and given him the need of approval. He was ready, and in a year’s time, he would have begun his destruction.”
“Then what has changed his course?” The master was getting angrier with each minute. His servants were displeasing him.
“A woman, master.” The servant cowered when his master raged.
“A woman!?” He was seething. Had they not already dealt with a woman of his?
“Yes, master. A woman. He has developed…affections for her.”
“Then plant seeds in his mind! Persuade him to forget this woman!” How incompetent was this servant? He had only one role to play: ensuring the boy stayed on the path they wanted him to be on.
“I have master. He has decided to not fall for her, or to encourage her to find affections elsewhere.”
“If the issue has been dealt with, why are you pestering me? Why ask for my important time when there was no need?”
“I have discovered some curious things of the woman…which may concern us.” The servant said softly, hoping to please the master. “She is half mortal, half Asgardian. She had been raised on earth, and has recently come to Asgard. But most interesting of her is-” He gulped, seeing his master’s displeased look. “Who her father is.”
“And who is he?” The master clenched his teeth.
“The...the captive, master. He has a daughter.”
The master was surprised by the information passed to him. He knew of the captive’s travels to other realms, but he had assumed it was to hide from them, to guard the Amaranth from him. He had never known he had conceived a child with a human.
“This is important news.” The master could not see her part in his designs just yet, but she would be useful. When the boy realises his destiny, he will lead them to her. Perhaps her father had left the Amaranth with her. Perhaps clues to his whereabouts, should the captive evade them. She could become bait for them.
There were infinite possibilities for this half-breed to be used to their purpose. He could not be sure of them, with the debut of their plans coming in a short year. But soon enough, she would become part of his plan. But he must wait. He cannot act too soon, or he will risk being overthrown.
He must wait one year. In a year’s time, all his pawns will move, all will be set in motion.
“Well done.” He praised the servant. “Keep watch over this woman. We will watch. We will wait. If she interferes with the boy and the path we set him on, ensure that he continues on. See to it that all goes as plan.” The servant nodded fervently, before exiting.
He had waited millennia for this. Centuries of planning, watching, waiting patiently.
Soon. He thought. My day will come. The universe will be mine. All shall bend to my rule.
I sat up, gasping for air, trying to remember where I was.
It’s okay, I breathed. You’re in your chamber. I looked around taking in the familiar setting. What a night it had been. First Loki acts strange, and now this weird dream. This shadow of a man, huge, towering, the shadow covering his features, was getting talking to his servant. The strangest thing was it was so real. I’ve been known to have lucid dreams before, but this was different. It was more…dark, I guess. I usually had stupid dreams, like finding tape, or dreams of me doing a test. I never had a dream that was so dreary and dark. I couldn’t hear what they were saying either, to make it even odder.
I thought about going to the library, but decided not to, in case Loki happened to be there. He said he sometimes suffered from insomnia, and would go to the library to study, or plan my lessons. I was still working out my feelings towards Loki, and wondering why he was acting so weird earlier.
I admitted that I liked Loki. And even though his behaviour has been odd lately, it made me like him more.
When Sif, or anyone else described Loki, they described him as this mischievous, jealous, shy and indifferent person. I got the hint they even though they were friends with him, it was because Thor was their best friend. But I didn’t think that at all about Loki.
Loki was misjudged by them, from what I know about it. I spend literally everyday with Loki, and even though it hasn’t been too long that I’ve known him, I really did believe I knew Loki better than they did. Sure, Loki was a guy who loved to stir up a little trouble, play pranks. He does it to everyone, including me.
When I first started to be able to read minds, Loki would purposely think about funny things and even images of himself, half naked. I can’t say I didn’t like them, but I’ve seen Loki pull pranks of everyone, and once or twice I knew about them too, and went along with them. The point is, I didn’t think that necessarily made him a bad person.
And they were right, Loki was jealous of Thor. He didn’t talk about it too much, but I knew he was by the way spoke about Thor inheriting the throne. Which was also another weird thing; Loki will complain about Thor, with a loving voice…and then contradict himself. It’s like he has half his mind telling him he should be jealous of Thor and hold it against him, and then the other half was telling him that Thor wasn’t trying to make him feel bad.
Loki wasn’t ‘shy’, per say, but he wasn’t loud and out there like Thor. Loki was the kind of person who would talk if he had something to say. If he didn’t, he just listened, or thought of other things. Maybe they assumed he was shy because he didn’t speak much. But I knew for a fact that if I brought up magic, horses, politics, languages, arts, Loki would talk your ear off. He talked to me quite a bit. He wasn’t indifferent either. When I looked back to today, when I felt down because Callum was insulting me, it was Loki who made me feel better. He was a nice guy, he was honest and a great friend.
But I wanted to be more than friends. I turned on my side, cuddling my pillow. Did I really want to get involved in another relationship?
Garrick was the first guy I ever dated, and I didn’t even feel close to how I feel about Loki now. I really just went out with him because he asked me and I couldn’t see why not. He was cute, he was in the loop with the whole Halfling thing. But with Loki, it was different.
The only problem was Loki. Did he feel the same?