Chapter 33: Gone
I watched as the healers looked her over, checking her vital signs. “We will need to do a soul search. Bring her to the forge.”
“You cannot detect what is wrong with her?” I asked, worried, my voice tight.
“No. I have not seen magic like this in a long time. You are sure you found her this way, your Highness?” It was the story I had told them. That I had been returning from Jotunheim, attempting to forge another peace, when I found her in the library like this.
“I am sure.” The head healer gave me once last grave look, before going to the soul forge. It should never have gone that far. I don’t know what happened, but I should have kept my control. I had no idea what I had done to her.
“Enough Noelle!” I remembered raging at her, trying to get her to stop questioning so much. It was safer that she didn’t know my plans. Then I completely lost my grip.
I didn’t know what had happened, but the next thing I know, she was on the ground, twitching. Not even a scream, that’s how quick it was. But I knew I had done it. I could feel the heat of magic running through me, and I knew I had done it. I had harmed her.
‘It was for the best, my King.’ The raspy voice had become my only comfort, the only thing that kept me going. ‘You are doing all of this for the good of Asgard. Few can understand what you are doing.’
I sighed, walking out to the balcony of the library. Guilt spread through me, eating away my mind, my heart. ‘I am truly sorry, my love. I did not mean to do it...It was not me.’ I tried to reach for her again, though I knew by now she would not respond. Her being had been unresponsive since the attack. I just hoped she could hear me.
‘If she does not understand, she is worthless.’ I listened to the voice again, consumed by it. ‘How can a meager Halfling understand the designs of the great, the one true King? Your friends-’ Flashes, images of the glares of pure loathing in the faces of my friends- ‘Your family-’ the sad face of Thor, when I lied to him. The joy on Laufey’s when I lied to him- ‘Your lover-Noelle, her eyes filled with confusion, fear, as she wondered where I was. The melancholy look she has worn these past two days- ‘They cannot understand. Their minds are too little. Too selfish. They will not help you, but hinder you. You must do as you plan.’
I stood, decided. I had to do what I had planned. Too much had gone into this for me to fail. I needed to ensure Jotunhiem would never be a problem again. I needed to erase that race of monsters. I would have nothing to do with them. And when it was all said and done with, I will have brought glory to Asgard. To myself. I will have proved myself a good son. None should doubt me. I shall be king, and Noelle will understand then, why I had to do a little evil for a greater good.
‘It is time. You must act now. The golden son must not return to Asgard.’ I looked out, ready to send the Destroyer, when the bright light of the Bifrost caught my eye. I commanded the Bifrost to be closed…I turned, realizing who would dare defy me. It was time.
“It had begun.” The Other whispered. “The boy is going to kill his brother, and take Asgard.”
Thanos nodded. He knew. What the Other did not know, was that the boy would fail. It was in his failure that they would succeed. Once he falls, the Tessaract will be found, the prophecies have said it so. Only the boy will find the cube.
“Keep the girl restrained.” We needed him to find us.
“It’s said.” Laufey began, as he used his finger and thumb to pry open the sleeping man’s eye. “You can still hear and see what transpires around you.” He relished in the moment, knowing this was always how it was to end between him and Odin.
“I hope it’s true, so that you may know your death came at the hand of Laufey.” He formed a small dagger of ice, poised, ready. He had been waiting for this moment forever. The moment the mighty Allfather would die. It was too bad he would not see Odin’s last expression when he killed him.
As he went for the kill, a blast of pure energy smote him, away from Odin’s still body. As the King of Frost Giants looked up to counter the blow, he paused. It was the young prince. Loki lowered the staff, a look of duty on his face. “And your death came by the son of Odin.” With one last look of contempt, he blew his father to smithereens.
I couldn’t move. I couldn’t open my eyes. I was stuck in some sort of paralysis, and it scared me.
I tried to open my eyes again, to pry them open, to do something, but to no avail. I was trapped in my own body which couldn’t move. Great.
I tried to hear what was around me, but it seemed fairly quiet. I need to know what’s happening in Asgard. I need to see what’s going on with Loki. I knew I was arguing with Loki before I blacked out again. We were fighting about him being distant. He was hiding something and I knew it.
I reached out, trying to see what Loki saw, trying to figure out if he was working on getting my body to move again. It made my head throb, and I felt tired already, just trying. But I had to get somewhere, I couldn’t just sit here. I reached again-
I felt my mind launched from my body, no longer confined. I was in the Bifrost dome, but something was wrong. Heimdall wasn’t there, but the bridge was still functioning. A glint caught my eye, and then I saw it: Heimdall’s sword was in place, keeping the portal open, held upright and stuck in a tree of ice.
“You can’t kill an entire race!” I knew that voice. I turned, and saw Thor. My happiness soared to see him again, but when I took into account what he had said, I turned to see who he pleaded with.
“Why not?” I was greeted with shock to realize it was Loki. What was he doing? “You could have killed them all with your bare hands.”
“I’ve changed.” My vision began to blur, and I knew my body was pulling my mind back. I tried to resist.
“So have I.” Loki whacked Thor with his staff. “Now fight me.” The scene blurred again. I felt a rush, before the scene went black.
I couldn’t move, or see yet. I was still stuck in the damn paralysis! I need to get out of here! Loki was going to fight Thor…Thor who had somehow found his way back to Asgard…
Nothing made sense. Loki wanted to fight Thor? Why? I couldn’t wrap my head around it, but I knew I had to stop him. I went to find Loki again, to split my mind and body, when I felt a sharp pain. A block was in my way, keeping me from leaving my body again. Something or someone didn’t want me to see what happened. Didn’t want me to interfere. I fought again, pushing against the block, imagining being freed. I felt more pain, trying to keep me still.
‘Stop.’ A raspy voice caught my attention. ‘You cannot escape. Sleep now.’ I felt sleepy, heavy. And though I couldn’t move, I felt my mind start to dim, to shut down. No, I thought. I can’t give up. I couldn’t let Loki and Thor fight. I had to help him, I had to fight this force.
I kept fighting, feeling myself inching towards success. I could hear the voice telling me to go to sleep, and I could feel myself torn between giving in and getting out. After what seemed like hours, I felt the block leave my mind.
‘We shall meet again, child.’ The voice whispered, before letting me go. I opened my eyes, the lights bright from being closed for hours. I felt the feeling slowly come back to my body, and little by little I was released from paralysis. I gently attempted to sit up. Success.
I needed to see what was happening. I had no idea how much time had passed. I swung my legs over the side of the bed I was laying on, and pushed myself off. I felt the weight hit my feet, my knees buckling. The paralysis had not lifted from my legs, and I went toppling to the floor. I felt pain hit my hands as I tried to stop my fall. I must have made a lot of noise too, because I heard feet running.
As I saw healers coming into the room, I tried to stand again. “My Lady, please stay where you are! It is a relief for you to be awake, but please do not injure yourself more!”
“I must… I must speak to Thor and Loki.” I was exhausted. Fighting the force had taken a lot of energy, and moving had taken much as well. I wanted to lay down and sleep, but I had to find out what was happening here.
“Prince Thor is in with The King.” A young healer said tentatively, while the others glared at her.
“Thor is with Loki?” I was hopeful they were talking, not fighting.
“No, he is with his father.” The same healer said.
“So where is Loki?” I reached out for him, trying to find where he was, hoping to shed some light on what had happened. I could feel him, faintly. But when I tried to speak to him, I received nothing in return.
“We will let the King and his son explain all to you, My Lady.” The head healer said, ending the conversation. I was lifted back into bed.
“What happened to me?” I asked the healer.
“You were cursed.” She said, before leaving the room. I waited for a while, mostly sleeping and resting. After what seemed like hours, I heard footsteps, but not that of my healers. They were heavier. I looked up to see Thor standing in the doorway, speaking to the healer.
“Thor!” I shouted my delight, happy to see him. It had felt like years since I had last seen him. Taking a look at his face, it looked like he had aged years a well. He looked wiser, sadder. I had never seen him look so burdened.
“My Lady. I hear you are healing well.” I nodded eagerly.
“I desire to be out of here.” I decided to get right to the point. “Thor, what is going on? I know you came back, and Loki wanted to fight you. What’s happened?”
I watched Thor’s expression grow graver. I had never seen him look to sad, so unhappy. “How did you see this?” I mentally smacked myself. Only Loki and I had kept our secret of being bound from everyone. How was I going to explain this to Thor?
The silence grew awkward between us, before I finally realised there was no way around telling him. “The thing is…Loki and I…we were bound.” I stammered out.
“Bound?” Thor looked dumbfounded. “Cursed together?”
I nodded. “It happened in Nilfheim, over a year ago.”
“Why was this kept from us? So much could have been prevented… It doesn’t matter, never mind. Noelle, we need you to find Loki.” Thor babbled out. I stared at him, wondering what he was talking about.
“Why?” I was totally confused.
“Because you are the only one who can locate him.” Thor ran a hand through his hair.
“Isn’t he here? I can feel his presence. He’s alive Thor.” He nodded.
“I think, Noelle, we should keep this a secret. I do not know what my father would do if he knew you were bound. He is concerned at the moment for you wellbeing, as you and Loki were very…attached. He worries you were somehow involved in his plans.”
“I don’t even know what happened to Loki! I don’t know where he is, what he’s doing or what the planned.” I was firm. I had no idea what was going on, and I wasn’t ready to have accusations thrown at me. I didn’t even know the ‘plans’ he was talking about!
Thor stared long and hard at me. “There is no way to spare your feelings for what I am about to tell you. But let it be relief that you know he is alive.” He took a breath, sitting down on an empty medical bed. He looked at his hands. I felt dread come over me, waiting for bad news.
“Loki is gone.”