The view outside my cell was the same as always. Dull. This was beginning to get tedious.
I sighed, glancing at the prisoners in the cells across from me. Miserable rogues, thieves and mercenaries. A fine collection of criminals were here, in these walls, until they succumbed to death or madness. Or managed to escape, something no one had ever done.
I watched as they restlessly paced their cells. Odin had brought in new prisoners again, more dirty, poor creatures. Aimless lives they lived. I sighed again, before letting myself flop onto my bed. I bounced a bit, before settling.
I refused to spend the rest of my life here. Even if Noelle somehow proved my innocence, I doubt Odin would let me out into society so easily.
And there is no proof. That was the key problem. There was not one scrap of evidence to show that I was truly innocent. None could penetrate my mind when he took over. No one could see him taking my mind by force. Except Noelle. And she wouldn’t be taken seriously; she was biased.
And being manipulated to do a crime still made you a criminal, whether you wanted to kill 80 humans in two days or not.
Yes, I was definitely trapped here, whether I liked it or not.
I reached to the bedside table, finding a small cup. I examined the fine detailing, the glint of the gold in the light, and tossed it in the air. I watched it spin, before catching it again. Toss, observe, catch, repeat. Toss, observe, catch, repeat. This is a fine way to spend eternity.
This wasn’t what I wanted. What I had planned.
I had planned to propose to the woman I loved. I had planned to spend my life with her. But that dream was dead. It had been murdered, long ago, by Thanos and the ones keeping me from peace.
But, there was no point in dwelling on what could have been. What should have been.
I caught the cup once more, when the roar outside caught my ears…a riot? The light in my cell flickered. Sitting up, I looked out past the golden walls to see guards running one way, only to be killed by a malicious creature.
This. I thought. Can’t be good.
And then I felt it. The creeping sensation, the feeling of being watched. And when I turned to look into the icy stare of this demon, it wasn’t me looking back.
I felt my own mind shrinking back, and him sneaking forward.
“Didn’t we tell you?” The raspy, guttural voice said, mockingly. “There would be no place for you to hide. Resistance is futile. You cannot stay free forever.”
I needed Noelle. I needed her to bring me back. Keep me sane. But I found my mind immobilized. There was no way to reach for her…
“Sif, come on. Jane seems really nice.” I said over my bowl of soup. I wasn’t really hungry, but Sif needed some company. For once though, I wished I didn’t have to hear this rant.
I didn’t know Jane that well, but Thor was in love with her. She made him happy. He practically glowed when she came out of the room, dressed like an Asgardian princess. She seemed really sweet, and I liked her already.
But not everyone felt the same.
“She is the reason we have so much trouble on our hands. She is carrying the Aether around!” Sif raged, her eyes blazing. “She should have never come here. She doesn’t belong in Asgard.”
I shook my head. There would be no convincing her. Sif had been in love with Thor for years. It had to have stabbed her pride to find out he fell in love with someone else in a weeks’ worth of time. But I didn’t want to bad mouth Jane either. If Jane ended up staying, a confrontation would happen. Sif couldn’t avoid her forever.
I opened my mouth to try and change the subject when I was interrupted by an alarm. I paused…The prison alarm…oh no. I reached up to rub my necklace, worriedly, but found nothing on my neck. I had forgotten to put in on this morning.
“Something is going on down in the prisons. We must go.” Sif stood, and I followed suit. Odin would be needing every man on deck if the prison alarm was sounded. This wasn’t good.
“Loki, I swear, you better be in that cell when I get there.” I sent him the threat, relieved to find no walls separating us.
“And if he isn’t?” It wasn’t Loki who answered me. I felt a feeling of dread as this thing reached into my mind. I put a hand over my mouth to keep myself from gasping. This was Hyde. Loki’s demon, living in him. This was the one who did all those terrible things.
I hadn’t ever been able to reach Loki while his mind was taken over. Why was I able to now? What had kept me away before?
I didn’t have time to find out. I minute later, the presence was gone, and there was a stony wall of silence. And I didn’t have time to ponder it. Odin was walking down the hall, and having spotted us, motioned us to come along.
We got in line and followed the gathering amount of Asgard’s finest warriors. I pulled my knives out from the sheathes at my sides, and was reassured when I felt the cold steel of my boot knife brush against my calf. I always carried backup.
“Send a squadron to the weapons vault.” Odin was instructing the captain at his side. “Defend it at all costs, secure the dungeon-”
“Odin.” I turned my head to see Frigga and Jane approaching our group.
“Frigga.” Odin seemed surprised to see his wife. “Go!” He shouted to us. The captain began to jog forward, and we began to follow. I turned to catch Jane’s eye and smile, before jogging along. Sif had her head turned, looking at Jane, before turning and focusing on the task at hand: The defence of Asgard.
A few moments later, the group in front halted, and we had ended up in the throne room. I was so caught up in my own thoughts that I hadn’t noticed the loud rumbling sound getting closer and closer…
And then I saw it.
A giant, flying ship was coming right for us.
“Get down!” Someone shouted, and I hit the deck, my wrists searing. The large shuttle hit a series of pillars, spinning as it took out the structures with ease. It almost looked comedic, and I was waiting for someone to shout a punch line.
The pillars seemed to be slowing the ship down though, slowing it enough that the captain felt confident enough to stand, bringing the rest of us to our feet. I looked around, watching people running in confusion. I couldn’t tell if anyone had been hit, due to the tall fighters standing in front of me. Sif was nowhere to be seen. She must have gone off with a different group.
The ship slowed to a stop, bringing debris and dust with it. The captain and the guards in front of me pulled out their swords, ready for whatever was about to happen. I gripped my knives tighter, looking at the guards and fighters around me. Everyone was on edge, and I felt fear grip me.
I wasn’t used to looking at my battle companions and seeing them so tense, so afraid for what was about to happen. In all the battles I had experienced, there was a certain adrenaline rush to it. But there was no rush here. This fight wasn’t in some foreign land, on a distant planet. This fight was here, on our home planet, in our very own palace.
This shouldn’t have happened. The palace was supposed to be sealed. There was no way they should have even gotten this far.
The doors to the ship opened slowly. And before I could blink, shots were being fired from it. Creatures came out, their faces covered with a white mask, with dark armour and white braids going down their backs. I had never seen anything like them. Who are they? This had to be more than just a prison break. I watched as one, two, three guards fell, before moving forward. I ducked when a shot was fired at me, feeling useless.
I couldn’t do anything unless I got close.
I watched as something small came flying above my head, before hitting a man behind me. I turned, watching in awe and horror as the little canister-like object opened and a bluish substance came out. It looked like it was tearing the man apart, before it disappeared in a flash, leaving nothing behind.
They kept firing, and I watched as men were falling at my sides. I ducked, before taking cover behind a pillar. I would have to fight the assassin’s way. As soon as a gunman came close, slash him, grab his gun and shoot. There was no other way I could fight them and win.
I watched as more guards joined the fight, and the creatures seemed content to finally fight fair. I watched some of them pull out swords, and begin to take on opponents. I kept my spot. A could see one with a gun coming close. A little bit closer…just a little more… gotcha!
The creature had walked just past the pillar when I jumped on his back, my knife at his throat. I moved automatically, grabbing the gun and firing at the two beside him, who were starting to aim at me, realizing I had a better weapon. I shot twice, before letting go of my opponent, and aimed again, this time at the creature who kept tossing those annoying canisters.
I watched him crumple, but before I could aim at his partner beside him, something caught my eye. There was another group walking out of the ship, being led by a man without a mask. His eyes were ice blue and cold. He was looking at something, something I couldn’t see.
I turned my head to see what he was looking at, when I felt searing pain go through my side. I gasped, watching as the man left the ship and began striding towards the throne. I aimed at him, before feeling another shot hit me, this time in my calf.
I screamed, falling to the ground and landing on my side. My leg and side burned, my eyes were bleary and my ears were ringing. I held my hand to my side, sat up and tried to slide backwards behind another pillar and take cover while I attempted to shoot this guy down. He was important.
Before I could move, I felt a third shot blaze into my back, pushing the air out of my lungs. As I fell to my side again I watched as the man threw a canister at the throne. The metal warped, the gold being torn apart and ripped out of its place, before disappearing. The man didn’t even watch his destruction.
And then it hit me. He’s got a different target. He’s here for something specific.
I don’t know how long I laid there. Time seemed to stand still. I felt myself getting sleepy, my eyes heavy and falling. Stay awake.
If I went to sleep, I didn’t know if I would be okay.
I instinctively reached for Loki. He was my lifeline. I needed him to stay awake.
“Noelle?!” I could hear his panic. This was my Loki. The Loki who loved me. There wasn’t a trace of the intruder who was occupying his mind before.
“Stay with me!” I could hear his urgency.
“I’m working on that.” I was trying to keep my eyes open. But my vision was darkening, and it was getting really hard not to give in.
“Just breathe, love. Breathe. Help will come, just stay with me.” I could feel his fear. I was here, probably dying, and he was in his cell, unable to help. To come to my aid.
“I didn’t think it would end this way.”
“This isn’t the end! Stay here with me.” His voice was full of pain, and I knew he was feeling the pain I felt in my body. I suddenly felt his presence in my body. Loki was giving me strength to stay alive. To hang on until someone came looking in here.
I suddenly saw feet walking into the room, and I hoped it was help.
“Check for wounded.” I heard the Allfather’s voice sound out, before hearing footsteps walk away. I tried to move, a leg, an arm, make noise, anything for someone to notice me.
Please, please don’t leave me here. I prayed. If they didn’t see I was alive, and that I needed medical attention, I would die here. Please don’t leave me to die.
And suddenly, Sif was over me. “She’s alive! Someone help me get her to the healing room!” She took my hand. “Stay with me, my friend.”
“Sif.” I felt tears spring from my eyes, my hands groping for hers.
“Shhh, it’s alright.” She said, moving aside for two guards to lift me up, one grasping under my arms, the other below my knees. I cried out, feeling the wound in my back tense, and it felt like my innards were pouring out of me. My calf felt equally bad from being moved.
My vision was going black, and I couldn’t stop my eyes from closing this time. The last thing I could hear was Sif yelling at the guards to hurry.
The whole kingdom mourned the death of the queen. She was given a funeral fit for a queen and warrior. It was the last thing Odin could ever give her.
Noelle was still in the healing room, and had yet to wake from her injuries. The healer who had stayed with her watched from the window as a thousand Asgardian warriors fired flaming arrows at her boat, setting it aflame, before it went over the falls. Odin tapped his staff to the ground, and her body became glimmering dust, before settling in its own constellation. Frigga would always be there to watch over their kingdom, as a star.
The healer wiped the tears gathering in her eyes, looking back to the young woman who was lying as if dead on her bed. You could see the laboured breathing in her chest, proof that she was still very much alive. She was the only one to survive the skirmish in the throne room.
Down in the prison, her soul mate was in his cell, pretending to read a book. He was waiting for his beloved to wake up, reaching out for her, in hopes to find her conscious. He was worried sick for her, knowing how close to death she had come, how close she still was, and he was unable to help her. He couldn’t be there for her.
It was then he noticed a guard waiting outside his cell for his attention. Turning his head, he listened as the guard spoke, nodding. He turned his head to face away from the other prisoners, his face blank except for his eyes. They were full of grief and sadness.
The young prince put his book down, and stood from his chair. He walked few feet, as if unsure where to go, before clenching his fist, sending objects and furniture in his cell crashing into the walls, before letting out a yell of pain.
And he felt his heart break again for the only mother he ever knew.