Chapter 26: Saga
I ran a brush through my hair, glancing at the sundial. I had about half an hour before Loki was due to accompany me to the ball.
It had been a week since my father had arrived in Asgard, and I had spent time with him every day. He had meetings to attend most of the time, but I had at least an hour with him every day. We caught up and had bonding time. And it was nice. I didn’t think hanging out with your dad could be so fun.
I also had to deal with the fact that since he had missed out on so much of my life, that he would buy me things. I didn’t want my dad to go out and buy me things, but he often insisted on it. Which was how I got the gorgeous dress I was wearing now. It was more along Grecian lines, which seemed to have become the style here. It was one shouldered, with a braided belt at the waist and braided fabric on the shoulder. There was a long piece of fabric attached at the back of the shoulder, flowing down the side of my dress, almost like a cape. The dress was a deep green, almost black at the hem, and then gradually becoming lighter and lighter until the very top of the dress was nearly white.
I had seen it while my father and I were walking through the city. I didn’t go to the city often, mostly because it was mainly shops, taverns and inns. I didn’t exactly need to go shopping much. But my father wanted to go there, see what there was to see. It was cool. It was like a medieval market: open air shops with cooking meats, fresh bread and sweets, glass blowers and metal workers. Children ran about, around toymakers and book shops. It was bustling and full of life, and I could see why my father enjoyed walking there.
We had passed the seamstress’ when it caught my eye. It had been on a bust, and when I glanced at it, my father immediately pulled me aside into the store, claiming that he knew the shop owner. Honestly, I think he knew everyone, because we stopped several times to say hello to people and to have me introduced. Anyways, he would not hear any protests from me. He politely ordered me to put the dress on, had it fitted for my size and sent to the palace. He wouldn’t even tell me how much it cost. I was glad we went home after, because I didn’t want him spending more money on me.
I put my brush down and was unsure of how to fix my hair. I wanted to do something different with my hair. I usually wore it down, in a braid or a high pony tail. I played with it for a bit, when I heard a knock on the door. I whipped my head around to the sundial, wondering why Loki was so early. I had twenty minutes left! I wasn’t ready yet.
I walked brusquely to the door, muttering under my breath about men. I pulled open the door, mouth open and ready to speak my mind when I saw it wasn’t Loki at the door, but my father. I shut my mouth, silenced. “Hi dad.” I could feel Loki listening in and laughing at this moment. ‘Sorry.’
My father smiled. “You were expecting the prince?” I nodded, embarrassed. He smiled wider. “I know you did not want me spending any more money on you, but you are my daughter and only child-”
“Da-ad.” I whined, inviting him in to my room and shutting the door.
“Can I not spend coin on my only child?” He asked innocently.
I sighed. “You don’t need to.” I didn’t want him to think he needed to buy my love. He had it.
“I know. But I would like to.” He pulled out a small, sparkly clip. It had a simple design of crystals. “They are Asgardian crystals. Your mother has the matching broach. I had it made for you long ago.” It was beautiful, sparkling in the light.
I hugged my dad. It was a beautiful gift. “Thank you daddy.” It wasn’t the fact that he gave me the beautiful clip, but the sentiment behind it that made me tear up. My dad had special jewelry made for my mother and I.
“For my two favourite girls.” He murmured. Then he let me go put the clip in my hair. I knew my dad still loved my mom. He had told me so a few days earlier. He asked about her, how she was. But I knew he was asking because he wasn’t going to go see her. For some reason, he said he couldn’t.
I ended up twisting my hair and pinning it at the back of my head with the clip. I let a few loose pieces frame my face, and slipped on my silver, sparkly platform shoes. One thing that earth and Asgard had in common was the fact that the shoes were very stylish, very high and pretty. I glanced it the mirror quickly, adjusting my dress in certain places, wondering what was missing.
Another knock on the door caught my attention, but my dad was already answering it. “Good day to you, sir.” I heard Loki’s voice and he conversed with my dad. I smiled, happy that they were getting along. I watched as my father opened the door further for Loki to come in. As soon as he saw me, he smiled wider.
I did too. Loki looked handsome, and well, like a prince. He wore black leather pants, black boots, a silver breast plate, silver chain mail and a deep green cape. He bowed to me, before waving his hands, and making a black box appear. The charmer. “For you, my love. And might I saw you look beautiful.”
I blushed. “Thank you. You look very handsome.” He opened the black box, revealing a sparkling necklace. The chain was made of delicate silver links. The pendant was oval shaped, crusted with crystals around the outer rim, with a larger crystal in the middle being held by small crusted ovals. It was breathtaking, and seemed to match my clip. I gasped. “You two planned this, didn’t you?” I pointed to my father and looked at Loki. I couldn’t believe these two!
Loki laughed. “I coordinated with your father’s gift. They are Asgardian crystals, and they look ravishing on you.”
My father agreed. “I will see you both at the ball.” He gave me a gentle hug, shook Loki’s hand giving him a pointed look. I laughed. Even though my dad gave Loki and I lots of space and alone time, he was still my dad.
‘Help me put it on?’ I whispered to Loki. I turned around and felt the cool metal touch my exposed skin.
‘Do you like it?’ Loki wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me close, looking in the mirror at our reflections.
“I love it.” I said aloud, wanting him to know the sincerity. I truly did love it. It was the most beautiful thing I owned now. “And I love you.”
He squeezed my waist. “I thought of choose Midgardian jewels, but decided on Asgardian crystals. So no one could doubt that you were Asgardian.” I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. “I also refrained from putting an emerald in the center so you could wear it every day. You do not seem to have every day jewelry.”
I smiled, turning my head to kiss Loki on the cheek. He was so sweet and thoughtful to me. I put a finger to the necklace, feeling the texture of the metal and crystal graze my skin. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. “Shall we go?”
He nodded, offering his arm to me. I tucked my hand into the crook of his arm, letting him lead me. As we entered the halls, servants were bustling about, walking around us. The feast was a big deal, due to the announcement of Thor’s coronation. We walked silently, but our minds were communicating, as always.
‘Is Thor excited?’ I wouldn’t be myself, but Thor had been raised knowing he’d be king someday.
‘Yes. So excited he drank half a cask of wine.’ Loki chuckled. ‘He has been waiting for the announcement for some time.’
‘And what about you?’
‘What about me? I am not going to be king.’ Loki hadn’t talking about Thor’s coronation, unless I had brought it up. I wanted to make sur he was okay.
‘Are you alright with that?’
Loki stopped walking, pulling me to a halt beside him. Turning, he cupped my face in his hands, glancing around as he did so. He didn’t seem to care if any servants saw us; it was no secret that Loki and I seemed to be infatuated with each other, or so the gossip went. Not that we weren’t, but I didn’t have the patience for gossip, especially because I was a Halfling, a good topic for discussion.
‘As long as I have you with me, I will be alright.’ I could feel the sincerity and the doubt in Loki’s thoughts. I gripped his wrists, holding his hands to my face.
‘Loki…It’s okay to be envious.’
He sighed. ‘I just wish I could be more for you. For my father. For Thor.’
I nodded, leaning my forehead against his. ‘You are already more than enough for myself. You do not need to prove anything to anyone.’
‘I-’ Loki’s thought was interrupted by a few throats clearing. We broke apart, a little disorientated from ignoring the world. Volstag and Sif looked like they were trying not to laugh. Fandral smiled suggestively.
“Are we interrupting something?” Fandral asked, his one eyebrow cocked. He was being his cheeky self, and I had to laugh.
Loki didn’t seem as amused. “Yes, but it seems we will not have peace and quiet now.”
Fandral winked at me. “I am afraid not.”
We ended up walking with our friends to the ball. When we entered the hall, I was amazed at how many people were packed in there. All Asgardians were invited, and that was a big deal. You could see all classes of people, wearing their finest. You could tell who was a noble, by the way they behaved, kind of snobbishly. The nobles also wore a lot of gems, flashing their wealth. I felt very underdressed just by looking at them.
People were standing around, mingling when there was the sound of metal being stamped on stone. Loki had been talking to someone and I had been looking around at the beautiful dresses and gems when the sound was heard, and everyone quieted. The Allfather had entered the room with Frigga at his side, calling for everyone’s attention.
“Let the feast begin!” The Allfather never delayed a happy event, and with a smile on his face he tapped his staff to the stone again, making long tables with cushioned benches appear. Loki and I were seated at the very front with Thor, who looked like he wanted to down the wine he had and throw it at the exact same time.
“What has the mighty Thor troubled?” I asked, as Loki and I sat down. “Nerves?”
Thor smiled weakly. “I have never once been nervous.” He declared, trying to fool us.
“Well, there was that time in Alfheim…” Loki trailed off, watching Thor raise an eyebrow, daring him to go further. “With that female Light Elf…” He winked at Thor.
Neither of them said anything after that, but stared at each other, a challenge on their faces. I sighed, shaking my head. “You are both conversationalists, that’s for sure.” I said sarcastically, as I sipped my wine. It was fruity, refreshing and delicious.
“I could entertain you.” Loki raised an eyebrow. I scoffed.
Loki, not at the table.” Thor groaned at bit. Loki laughed.
“I did not mean that kind of entertainment. I meant this-” I watched as Loki waved his hands and a large drop of wine rose from my cup, and levitated towards my mouth. I opened it and it floated into my mouth before dropping, becoming shapeless liquid again. I laughed after swallowing. “Again?” He asked, readying his hands.
“I think I preferred the silence.” Thor said, laughing. Loki still played around with the wine until the first course was served to us.
“A word of advice.” Loki whispered to me as I took the first few bites of the rich meats and cheeses laid before me. “Do not eat more than half of what is served.”
“Why?” The appetizer was tasty, and I assumed everything else would be too.
“Because Asgard never does any small celebration. There will be many courses.”
He was right. There were nine courses, including two desserts. I was very full by the time the fruit came out, and I refused to eat anymore. Halfway through the meal, Odin had stood up to announce Thor’s upcoming coronation, and the hall had been noisy for a good fifteen minutes. Thor had cheered along with them, standing and receiving the praise. I cheered along and so did Loki, but I kept my thoughts open, making sure he was okay. He seemed to be fine, and as the noise died down he gave me a knowing look.
Now, music had started up and people were getting out of their seats to dance. Thor had gone to get more wine, while Loki picked at the fruit absentmindedly. I squeezed his hand under the table. ‘Thank you.’ His thoughts were grateful, and when I peeked into them I could see he was happy for Thor, yet wished it were him receiving praise.
“Does he always drink like this at celebrations?” I gestured to Thor who was tossing his cup, calling for another.
“Only when he is excited or nervous.” Loki said, standing up. “May I have this dance?” He offered his hand. I sighed, feeling very full. “Did I not warn you?”
“You did.” I took his hand anyways, letting him pull me up to dance. We joined the crowd of dancing couples, Loki taking my hand and putting the other on my waist. I rested a hand on his shoulder and let him lead in the waltz.
As I watched Loki dance, I could see the simple grace in his movements, and wondered how long Loki had known how to dance. Where had he learned? He pulled me in close, twirling me around as the beat picked up and a new song was playing. “My mother had Thor and I learn.” He said to me. I smiled, knowing how fond Loki was of Frigga, his mother. I glanced over to see her watching us, and smiled at her. She was a lovely woman. I had only met her on a more personal level a handful of times, but each time she had been happy and sweet.
Loki smiled over at her as well, getting a smile in return. “She if fond of you, you know.” Loki leaned down to whisper in my ear. “She is happy for us.” I smiled, leaning in to kiss his cheek. I didn’t care who was watching. I glanced around after I did anyways, and I caught no on staring…Except a young woman staring intently at us, a slight scowl on her face. I ignored her, not recognising her face. She was quite beautiful, with white blond hair and sky blue eyes. Her skin was flawless, and I wondered how I could have not seen her.
We danced a lot, Loki and I. I tried to be as graceful and he was, but I didn’t think I ever would be. Loki didn’t complain though. We danced until I got tired, and Loki sat me down to go get drinks. I sat on a bench, watching the dancing pairs glide on the floor, as well as the colorful dresses swirling around the floor.
I wasn’t alone long. Someone sat next to me on the bench not saying anything. I could tell it was a woman, due to the gold dress she wore. I focused back onto the dancers, when my gazing was interrupted by a very high, feminine voice. “I do not believe we’ve met.”
I didn’t know what to say for a moment. I had never had anyone greet me in such an abrupt way. “I believe not.” I said, my voice a little uncertain. “Noelle Tyrdottir. Halfling.”
“Oh, I know who you are. The court speaks highly of you. You are known for your prowess in weaponry. Quite unlady like.” The young woman said offhandedly. She was kind of snobbish. I guessed her to be no more than seventeen or eighteen by earth’s standards, but being Asgardian, she could have been much older than that.
“You did not mention your name.” I said, changing the subject. I had no clue what to say to this girl. She had a scowl on her face, and wouldn’t look my way, though her eyes seemed forced away from me. It was as if she was afraid to look at me.
“Saga.” She said, her voice clipped. “I see you are in close favour with the young prince.” It wasn’t a question, but a statement.
“I am, yes. We have been courting for a year.”
“A year? You are not married yet? The prince is known to be quick about things.” The attitude could be heard in her voice.
I was getting annoyed with her. I had no idea what she was trying to get from me, or what she wanted. “Is there any reason you question me so, Saga?”
She didn’t say anything for a few moments. “The prince is known to be fickle. He finds himself enamoured with you. For now. But he will seek another eventually, once the first hardships of love seek you.”
Loki was walking back to me now, weaving through the crowds. “And what do you base this off?” Saga was out of line, and talking out of turn. I resisted the urge to hit her.
“Did you not know of the Lady Sigyn? How he disgraced her? How she gave him all she had and he turned from her?”
“What happened between Sigyn and Loki is no concern of mine. It is in the past.” I had already talked about what had happened with Loki, and I knew he carried the hurt with him still. But I also knew that after their son’s death, there was little love between them, and Sigyn had left willingly after the marriage was annulled. Loki had even told me that he and Sigyn were foolish, both in love with the idea of love. I knew that wasn’t the case with Loki and I, due to the relationship we had, and the fact that we were bound together and I knew his thoughts and emotions.
Loki stood in front of me, handing me a drink. He took a sip. “You will like this. It is sweet.” He didn’t notice Saga sitting next to me until he saw my eyes glance over to her, annoyed. ‘Who is she?’
‘I don’t know. But she has a problem with you and I. Her name is Saga.’ I watched Loki freeze momentarily, before taking another sip of his drink and setting it down. Then I got curious. ‘You know her. How?’
“Prince Loki.” Saga stood, giving him a mock bow. “Do you not recognise your used-to-be sister-in-law?” my jaw dropped a bit. So that was why Loki tensed up. He definitely knew her. She was Sigyn’s sister. “Would you like to know how my dear sister is? I would guess not, seeing you are so infatuated with your new-” Her eyes flitted over to me. “Halfling.”
“Saga.” He said stiffly. “I was not informed of your coming.” I could feel his discomfort, even though he put on a brave, bored face. I reassured him, sending it to him.
“Oh, it is not only I who wanted to come, but Sigyn as well. She wishes to see you.” Saga’s voice was now malicious. Loki’s anxiety grew, and it began to flood into my emotions. “But, she if unable. She is too upset by the thought of you.”
“Dear Saga, do you not think I see what you are attempting?” Loki’s voice was confident, yet there was dangerous edge to it.
“I am attempting to make conversation with the woman you chose over my sister.” She said, glaring daggers at me.
Loki sighed. I could feel the guilt he felt. “I know you must hate me Saga. And I see no reason why you should not. But I do wish we could part ways. Eternally.” His voice was flat, with no emotion.
She nodded. “I see you wish nothing more than to rid yourself of my sister and her presence. But know that your lover will suffer the way Sigyn has. She will suffer your change of heart.” And then she left, with the warning still fresh in my mind.
Was she saying Loki would do the same to me? I couldn’t see it, since we weren’t in the same sort of relationship. But it still scared me a bit. It made me insecure to think one day Loki could see something better, and leave me. We were only courting, and that meant nothing solid. But still…
“Do not let what she had said influence you. Saga has always been a spiteful being.” Loki sat down next to me. He took my hand in his.
“Loki-” I didn’t even have time to formulate what I was going to say.
“Noelle, you are an incredible woman. I have never loved any woman the way I love you. I do not believe I ever loved Sigyn, but the idea of love was what drew me to her. I was young, and I made a mistake, which cost me greatly. And never since then have I underestimated emotion. But you…” He stopped talking, and continued mentally. ‘You are the only one who makes it easy. To feel again. To love. You are the only woman I want. I believe you are the only woman I shall ever want. And I will not lose you to Saga’s ruses. I love you.’ The familiar rush of emotion flowed between Loki and I, of love, affection. Of wanting and being wanted. And I knew every word he said was true. It wasn’t said out of spur of the moment decision, but of thought and feeling.
‘Loki. I believe you. And I was going to tell you that I didn’t believe Saga.’ “Just please don’t ever give me a reason to doubt you.” I said quietly. He nodded, standing up again.
“Take a stroll with me?” He asked politely. I got up and accepted his hand. I wanted to be alone to feel Loki’s arms around me. I had had enough Asgardian etiquette for the evening.