Chapter 28: Jotunheim
I waited for what seemed like hours. I could feel the adrenaline and stress pumping in Loki’s veins while he fought. The problem was that I couldn’t see what was happening. I didn’t want to bug him for details, because I didn’t want to distract him.
So I sat on the steps, my anger simmering. People steered clear of me, and when asked where Loki was I made up a lie. Each time I did, I got more pissed off at Loki, since I was actually doing what he told me to do.
He was really going to get it when he got home.
“Damn.” The words escaped my mouth as the Frost Giant mocked Thor loud enough for us to hear. I closed my eyes, cursing the wretched creature; Thor had an ego and would not let that comment slide. Just as I thought we were going home. I had been hoping Thor could keep it together, or the guard would have stopped us.
And Noelle will have known a fight happened, whether we come home unscathed or not. She will not be happy with me when I get back. I had told her it was simply to find answers for the Frost Giants slipping through.
But you already know who did that. The raspy voice spoke to me. It had been doing so more often, but I didn’t fear it as I did before. Strange. I felt guilt bubble in me, for ruining Thor’s day. It was quickly squashed down, with a feeling of reassurance. You did what needed to be done. The kingdom would have thanked you. The voice assured me.
I watched as Thor took down the first Frost Giant in his path. “Next?” He challenged. They charged us at once, and I pulled the throwing knife from my belt, taking aim and hitting a running enemy. The battle raged on after that, Giant after Giant coming relentlessly towards us. I used magic to trick most, but surprisingly not all of them were entirely gullible.
I saw one speeding towards me, too fast for me to conjure an illusion, and not far enough to be worth throwing a knife. I pulled my dagger from its sheath, and aimed it at the Giant’s chest. He caught my arm as I thrust the dagger forward, breaking through the chainmail I wore, exposing my flesh to the cold. I waited for a burning sensation, to have my skin blackened like Volstag’s. But it never came. I looked down to see my flesh turning blue. Like the Giant’s hand holding me.
What? What is happening to me? I watched as the color creeped up my arm. He looked at me, the same confusion I felt. I took the chance, stabbing him. As his hand let go I examined my arm. It went back to its normal pale color.
What in the nine realms is happening to me?
Noelle’s P.O.V (Later)
As soon as I saw horses galloping to the palace, I stood up, waiting to greet my friends. They were riding fast, and came skidding to a halt close by. They were carrying something.
“Fandral!” Volstag and Hogun carried him as he winced and growled in pain, hurrying along. I followed after them and Sif at their brisk pace. “What happened to him? Where are Thor and Loki?”
“The Allfather is lecturing them at the Bifrost site.” She said as we entered the healing room. The healers immediately began tending to Fandral, clearing off surfaces. As they removed his armor and shirt, I could see the deep wound in his right shoulder and under his left collarbone. “The wound goes clean through his shoulder.” Sif said absentmindedly.
I winced. Fandral gritted his teeth as they cleaned the wound. “Will he be alright?”
“He will have a scar. But he will live.” The head healer said, watching the other healers tend to him.
“Damn.” I said, impressed. I knew Asgardians healed fast and were able to survive ridiculous injuries. But this was amazing. No human could survive this. I was so focused on Fandral that I forgot about Loki and Thor missing. It wasn’t until the Allfather stormed into the healing room with Loki trailing behind that I remembered that the Allfather wasn’t even supposed to have known they had left.
We all got to one knee, heads bowed. “My Lady Noelle, I believe you had no part in this.” He gestured me to leave. I stood up and hurried out into the hall. Loki followed after me.
“What happened?” I demanded from Loki. I had never seen Odin that angry. Or shaken. “Loki, what happened?” He didn’t say anything, but continued to look at his arm. “Loki!” I finally caught his attention. He looked up at me, startled.
“Thor almost got us killed. That’s what happened.” He said bitterly.
“Where is Thor?” I hadn’t seen him yet.
Loki looked down now, back at his arm. “He has been cast out. To Midgard.”
I was stunned. We all sat in silence by the fire in a secret common room that I actually didn’t even know about until now. Apparently there were a lot of private common rooms around the palace if you knew where to look. Sif sat by herself on a comfortable looking couch. Fandral was lounging on another couch, his wound now covered with cloth and drinking wine. Volstag sat on his own and Hogun was tending to his extreme frost bite.
Loki and I stood. I was too tense to sit after hearing what had happened in Jotunheim from my friends, and all of us listening to what had happened to Thor. I still couldn’t believe Odin would do that. To his own son.
I guess to me, him being banished didn’t sound so bad. It wasn’t like he was killed. But when I compared my knowledge of earth to Thor’s, that was different story. Where would Thor go? He didn’t have family there like I did. What would he do?
“We should never have let him go.” Volstag said, the sadness etched on his face. He winced as he spoke, Hogun currently applying paste to it.
“There was no stopping him.” Sif said sullenly. I nodded, remembering how determined Thor was to go to Jotunheim. Not even Loki could reason with him. Loki was silent, looking at his arm still. I wondered what he was doing and why the heck he kept obsessing over it. He wasn’t saying, and his mind was completely on Thor. ‘Out of all the rules, he had to break this one.’ Loki was upset that Thor was gone, and that he couldn’t stop him. But I knew he felt relieved. He never thought Thor was capable to rule yet.
“At least he’s only banished, not dead.” Fandral had been trying to be optimistic the entire time, even though his injuries bothered him. “Which is what we’d all be if that guard hadn’t told Odin where we’d gone.” I nodded slowly, a weak smile coming to my face. That was true.
“But Thor is still out there alone.” I put all our concerns to light, the word alone echoing in my head. Poor Thor.
I sighed. “How did the guard even know?” Volstag said, breaking the silence again. My friends looked to me.
I put my hands up in surrender. “It wasn’t me. I sat on the stairs and sulked while telling people you were all in with the king.” Fandral gave me a weak smile. We were both trying to cheer everyone up.
“I told him.” Loki spoke up suddenly, claiming all our attention with those words. I opened my mouth, then closed it again. I didn’t know what to say.
“What?” Fandral moved forward to look Loki in the eye.
“I told him to go to Odin after we left.” He shrugged. “He should be flogged for taking so long, we should never have reached Jotunheim.” I just stared at Loki. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Loki told the guard?
Where I failed to speak, Volstag didn’t. “You told the guard?!”
“I saved our lives. And Thor’s.” I glanced between the two, not knowing what to feel. He was right; if the guard hadn’t been told to tell Odin, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here with my friends minus one and the man I loved. “I didn’t know Father would banish Thor for what he had done.”
We all calmed a bit at knowing this, but not Sif. “Loki.” She stood up, pleading with him. “You must go to the Allfather and convince him to change his mind.”
I felt his emotions shift from mournful to angry and jealous. “And if I do, then what?” His voice was edged, emotion spilling through his usually controlled voice. “I loved Thor more dearly than any of you, but you know what he is. He’s arrogant, he’s reckless, he’s dangerous! You saw how he was today! Is that what Asgard needs from its king?!”
I watched as Loki turned his back to us and left the room, storming out. I looked to his retreating figure, to my friends and back, feeling torn. Loki obviously needed comfort, or someone to talk to. But he also seemed to want to be alone. ‘Loki?’ I received stony silence, a wall. Sighing, I sat down next to Fandral. ‘Please don’t shut me out Loki.’ My pleading didn’t do much.
Loki was never this detached towards me. I kept running it through my mind, wondering what was wrong.
“A master of magic could bring three Jotuns into Asgard.” I tuned back into the conversation to hear Hogun’s remark.
“Loki’s always been one for mischief, but you’re talking about something else entirely.” Fandral shook his head.
I agreed with him. “Loki wouldn’t do that. It would be treason.”
Volstag huffed. “If only we could contact Thor. Ensure he is alright.”
Sif nodded. Fandral turned to me. “What if we could? Noelle, could you go to earth? Find Thor?”
I thought about it. “Perhaps. But earth is vast, and populated by seven billion people. I would have to be transported to the exact country, state, region and town where Thor landed. And then I would have to find him. He could have wandered off by now. Someone could have found him, taken him in.”
“So it is not an option.” Sif said sadly.
“It’s an option with too many missing factors. And I’m sure the Allfather would find it highly suspicious if I were to go ask Heimdall to transport me where Thor was.”
“Then we must go to the Allfather.” Hogun said. “We must present our case.”
“If he hasn’t already decided our case is as guilty as Thor’s.” Fandral muttered into his glass. I suddenly felt drained. I rubbed my eyes. So much had happened today. What was supposed to be Thor’s celebration day turned into one big battle, with Thor being banished.
I stood. “I’m going to bed. I need to sleep before we think on this any further.” We bid each other goodnight before I left, turning right to find the hall where my room was located.
I sat up straight from my sleep. I put a hand to my chest, feeling my heart hammering out of control, stress, anger, confusion and grief flooded into me. I gasped for air, calming myself. I curled up, my knees to my chest, trying to figure out what was going on. And then I realized that these weren’t my feelings. They were Loki’s.
I threw off the covers, not even bothering to change or put shoes on. If Loki’s emotions were strong enough to wake me from sleep and cause a panic in myself, I couldn’t imagine what they were doing to him.
I ran down the hall in the cover of darkness, when I heard the scream in my head. I pushed on faster.
Loki’s P.O.V (A little earlier)
“Laufey’s son.” It was the only words that were able to slip through my mouth. The only statement I could make. I felt numb saying the words and thinking that of myself. Laufey’s son. I was Laufey’s son.
I couldn’t process what was being told to me. I was not Loki Odinson. I was Loki Laufeyson. I had never known my true name. I had never truly known myself. Because Loki Odinson didn’t exist. It felt like I was dreaming, having a nightmare.
I looked up at the man staring down on me, the man I call father. But he wasn’t my father. I looked up, unable to mask the disbelief and grief in my voice. “Why?” I needed to know. It was the question I could not answer myself. “You were knee deep in Jotun blood. Why would you take me?”
“You were an innocent child.” Fath-Odin replied lightly. He sounded sincere, genuine. But I knew he wasn’t. I could see through his soft façade. I was the master of lies, and none could fool me.
“No.” I breathed, the desperation growing in my voice. I felt my lungs closing, gasping for air, for release. Release from this nightmare. “You took me for a purpose. What was it?” I needed to know. The old man stared at me, revealing nothing from his face. After hearing nothing, I snapped. How dare he pretend to be telling the truth? How dare he try to lie to me? “TELL ME!”
“I thought we could unite our kingdoms one day, bring about an alliance, bring about a permanent peace. Through you.” His face was still unchanged.
“What?” I whispered, not able to contain myself. I felt wetness on my cheeks, my knees were barely capable of keeping me still. I was supposed to bring an alliance? I was a pawn. A pawn in Odin’s game.
“But those plans no longer matter.”
“So I am just another stolen relic. Locked up here, until you may have use of me.” I threw the statement into his face, willing him to answer me. To tell me I could still be more than a pawn to him. I wanted to know I was of use to him, even if it was just to make an alliance.
“Why do you twist my words?” My anger became fueled, questions flying out of my mind.
“You could have told me what I was from the beginning, why didn’t you?!”
“You’re my son. I wanted only to protect you from the truth.”
I became so angry, building and building. Years of lies, of playing pretend. “Because I-I-I am the monster parents tell their children about at night?” Years of wondering why I was different. Why Odin could never praise me. Why I couldn’t be king. “You know it all make sense now, why you favored Thor all these years, because no matter how much you claimed to love me!-” I spat the last sentence, disgusted. Disgusted with his lies, with his false pretenses. With myself and the truth I faced alone. “You could never have a Frost Giant sitting on the throne of Asgard!”
I watched as Odin fell to the steps, his hand reaching for me. I didn’t understand what had happened. I hadn’t cast any spells. I could barely understand what was happening. Had I done something? I bent low, my hands sweeping over his body. Looking for a curse, magical residue, something to tell me what happened. “Guards! Guards please help!” I watched as the came in to carry Odin out, calling for others to fetch healers. I barely registered the questions they asked me, I didn’t even remember.
The only thought in my head was the truth. I was not Asgardian. I was not of this realm. The guards left me, and I turned in the other direction, wandering aimlessly. It was when I passed people that I suddenly became nervous, cold sweat forming.
“Prince Loki? Are you alright?” It was an older man, a politician, asking my condition. I shook my head.
“I am fine. A little shaken. But fine.” The lie sounded terrible, so terrible the politician frowned, not believing me. “Please, I must go.” I walked as fast as I could, hurrying, ignoring the calls from the men. When I turned the corner, I began to run.
I had to get away. No one could know what I was. No one could know I was a monster. There was a monster in the palace. I ran faster, faster, thoughts racing through my head. Thor is not my brother. Frigga is not my mother.
Past the library. I was not born here. I was not meant to be here.
I reached my room, collapsing. I hadn’t even realized I had intentionally wanted to go there. I dragged myself into the room, not bothering to turn the lights on. Crawling towards the mirror in my room. I looked. Touched the pale skin. The dark hair. Sharp nose. I looked for the feel of the grooves in my face, like Frost Giants had. It was like my skin melted then, turning blue by the second. The green in my eyes flooded with red, overtaking them.
I felt the lines on my face, my hands shaking. Then I released a scream, closing my eyes. My fist slammed to the mirror, pain and a cracking noise echoing in my ears. I backed away from the mirror, hiding behind my bed, leaning against the side of it. It was all real.
I was a monster. I was the prince of monsters. I was disgusting, cold. I didn’t belong.
I heard the creak of bed, of something landing on it. Looking up, I saw the deep blue eyes I loved staring back at me, focusing on the surroundings around her.
Noelle. My love. And then I realized I had another problem.
How could someone so beautiful want me?
I watched as her eyes grew big. She backed herself up. “Loki? Is-is that you?” I backed away also, covering my face. I didn’t want her to see me like this. As a monster.
“Do not look at me.”
“Why didn’t you answer the door? I knocked, you didn’t answer.” She whispered. I felt her come closer. I searched her feelings. She seemed to not have seen the red eyes, or blue skin. She wanted to know why I was crawling on the floor. “Loki.” She was in front on me now, I could feel her breath tickling my hands as I hid from her.
“Please.” I felt the tears slip through my closed lids. “Please don’t look at me.”
“Why not?” She went to pull my hands away from my face.
“Don’t touch me!” I didn’t want her to have the badly blackened flesh Volstag suffered. I didn’t want to hurt her. Monsters hurt people. She tugged on my hands anyways, a gasp escaping her throat. I looked up, waiting for the disgust on her face. But still, she had not seen me. She was looking at her hands, blackened and bitten by the ice that was now my skin.
Then she looked up. I saw the shock and disbelief in her eyes. “What happened Loki? What’s happened to you?” I looked into her eyes, her beautiful face, her pale skin.
“Nothing happened to me.” I felt the tears spring forward. “This is my true form.” I felt my skin again, wishing the grooves on my forehead would go away. When I felt them seep back into my skin, I knew I must be in my Asgardian form again. I took her hands gently, thinking of a healing spell. The least I could do was heal her skin.
As the skin grew back, she winced. “What?”
“Isn’t it funny?” I wondered if I could make a joke of it. Break it to her comically. “This is only a disguise. A ruse constructed by Odin.” She looked at me blankly. I kept my thoughts from her stony, guarded. I didn’t want them giving away my secret. “I am adopted.” I leaned in closer to her. I waited for her rejection. Her screams of disgust. I waited for her to throw herself away from me. “I am a Frost Giant. Laufey’s son.”
I slowly willed myself to become my true form again. I watched her face, in shock, confusion. As I turned back, nothing was said. I didn’t look for her emotions, her thoughts. I did not want to know them. I closed my eyes. “Run if you want. I understand.” A tear slid from my eye and I cursed myself for being so weak. I couldn’t expect her to want to stay. “Monsters do not have happy endings.” I waited. For something. Anything.
And then I felt soft flesh pressed against me, warmth surrounding me. I felt the rush of emotion as her body collided with mine. “Loki.” She whispered my name. She held me to her. I let myself enjoy the feel of her warmth, her softness, her heart pounding against mine. I enjoyed the fragrant scent of her hair. She maneuvered my face so I faced her. I averted my eyes. How could one so ugly look on one so lovely? “Don’t think that.” She whispered, brushing her lips to mine. I was glad I could control my forms. I didn’t want to burn her soft lips.
“Tell me everything.” She whispered, moving us gently so she could sit on my lap and face me. I felt my body begin to shake as I replayed the hellish reality that had taken place.