The guards bow before opening the heavy, golden doors of the throne room. I begin my long descent down the aisle. My legs feel like lead; I keep an even stride. It feels like I have lived twice my lifetime when I finally make it to the bottom of the stairs leading to the terrifyingly grand throne. The guards flanking either side bow at my presence. “My King.” They say in unison. I grip the scepter tightly as I make my way up the stairs. I feel like I am in another reality. I cross the shiny, marble floors to the golden throne. I slowly turn around and lower myself into it. It feels all wrong. Too hard. Too prominent. I feel as if the grand structure of this monstrous throne room is closing in. It’s all happening in your mind. Composure. Keep your composure. I repeat those words. Run them through my head. But they don’t wash out the horrors that lie within it. My knuckles are white. Tightly grasping the golden scepter. I sit quietly keeping up a calm, collected expression; greatly contrasting with my mind. What is to be done about Jotunheim? It is clear what…. Laufey wants. “We are beyond diplomacy now, Allfather.” It is agonizing to recount the events of today. But I must not let my emotions rule over my ability to articulate a plan. I must set them aside as I have countless times before. No simple treaty shall suffice. Asgard(Thor) deliberately attacking Jotunheim….. War? No. “A wise king never seeks out war..” Odin’s words echo in my mind. From decades ago… Thor and I. Young and ever so eager to please him… An agreement. I shall try that first. There must be benefits for Jotunheim, indeed. They shall not agree to anything without such things; since they were the ones wronged in this situation. And Laufey doesn’t seem like the merciful type from the little time I saw him today. And what Odin told you… a little voice seethes from the back of my mind. I try to push it away. The thought trails to the next. Odin’s voice adds, “…Small for a Giant’s offspring. Abandoned, suffering, left to die. Laufey’s son.” My father. Laufey. Politically I am against my father. My father who does not want me. Never did want me. Because I was not good enough for him. And currently the plans Odin made for me no longer matter…. Because Thor dashed all hopes of settling things peacefully with Jotunheim…. I look down. Wanting to erase all these dark thoughts filling and consuming my mind. “Allfather, we must speak with you urgently.” Sif. I take a quiet inhale and exhale and look up to see the Warriors accompanying her as well. “My friends.” I sound so artificial. Tried too hard to achieve a calm tone. The four of them stare at me. Flabbergasted. “Where’s Odin?” Fandrall exclaims. My whole body feels like it is sinking into the throne. I feel an incredible weight all over. But my mind quickly accesses my natural ability to formulate words. My emotions are immediately subdued and I put up a strong persona. “Father has fallen into the Odinsleep. Mother fears he may never awaken again.” Despite my efforts I still feel shaky. They continue making their way to the throne. Sif says in a firm voice, “We would speak with her.” I reply, “She has refused to leave my father’s bedside.” I see their expressions. Hungry for someone they usually talk to about urgent matters with. Also, I need not be a mind reader to know that their visit concerns Thor. The last thing I want to think about right now. I try to manage a more steady, sure tone. “You can bring your urgent matter to me.” Now is the time to assert yourself. If you can’t be strong now you never will. I muster all the strength. Focus on it surging through my body as I rise to my feet. “Your king.” I look down the steps at them. Their faces display instant shock but they all drop to one knee. Sif, the most reluctant of them all says in a constrained voice, “My king, we would ask that you would end Thor’s banishment.” Frigga’s voice echoes in my head “We mustn’t lose hope that your father will return to us. And your brother.” And now Sif. I slowly walk towards them. I say in an even tone, “My first command cannot be to undo the Allfather’s last.” I continue earnestly, “We’re on the brink of war with Jotunheim. Our people need a sense of continuity in order to feel safe in these difficult times” They all look at me with different degrees of hiding their disdain. I stop about five paces away from them and conclude, “for the good of Asgard.” Sif immediately rises to her feet with lightning speed. Her nostrils flaring and her eyes full of rage. Fandrall anticipates this and quickly catches her arm to restrain her. “Yes, of course.” Ok, all is done here. “Good, then you’ll wait for my word.” I say. “If I may-“ Volstagg quickly interjects the seemingly end. I slowly turn my head to face him. What? “beg the indulgence of Your Majesty to perhaps reconsider…” I can’t take this. Everyone wanting Thor back on the very same day that he put Asgard and Jotunheim on the brink of war with one another. “We’re done.” I say in a militant tone. Volstagg stands with wide eyes. I stare back, not backing down. He rises slowly and the others follow. They walk backwards, except for Sif. She gives me a challenging gaze. I look back and lean forward, daring her to test me further. She gives me a hateful smirk and follows the rest out of the throne room. I loosen my iron grasp on the scepter. I slowly lower myself back into the throne and close my eyes. Letting out a tired exhale.
I have to earn it. My only choice is to earn Odin’s respect. I have lived out practically the whole of my existence here. Here is where I must stay. I think back to Odin in the Weapons Vault earlier today. “I thought we could unite our kingdoms one day, bring about an alliance, bring about permanent peace. Through you. But those plans no longer matter…” I’ll make him change his mind. I have to. The situation is set up with the odds in my favor this time. For real. At least, I hope it is… Well it has to be because it’s all I have. There is a major problem: the kingdom on the brink of war with Jotunheim. I simply must solve it. Somehow. I will restore the previous state of the two kingdoms and Odin will finally accept me. See at least some worth in me. Despite the elimination of his previous plans for me…. Also… It is a dark thought, but it is the truth. With Thor gone I won’t have anyone to outshine me. Therefore my chances of success are at least doubled. I have to succeed. There is no other option. All my existence I have craved a sense of equality with Thor. Not the throne. No, equality. Or to be appreciated, at the least… Of course, at the time I had no idea who I was; I know now. But this situation that has unfolded… I have the opportunity to mend everything. The weight of this task settles on me and I doubt myself but I quickly push it aside. I cannot afford to think of that. I must set my goals on nothing but repairing the damage Thor has done. Only then will I be worthy. I stand up. I must go see Odin at once. They will not think highly of me if I am gone when such a horrible thing has happened. I run to the city limit and from there slow to a fast walk.
I burst through the palace doors and make my way to Odin’s chambers. The guards see me and let me pass. Odin lies under the golden canopy of his bed with Frigga at his bedside. “Loki.” She stands and rushes to me and embraces me. I return her embrace; but for the first time it feels wrong. She is not really my mother… I am the first one to pull back and I ask, “How is he?” she looks sad that I pulled back but she replies, “He is fine, now.” Frigga takes my hand and pulls me over to his bed. I take a seat on the opposite side to her. We sit there quietly for a while. Odin lies there helpless; deep in sleep. I say, “I never get used to seeing him like this.” She looks down at him as she says, “He’s put it off for so long now that I fear…” but she trails off. Doesn’t want to say whatever it is she fears aloud. But the same suspicion has crossed my mind. I fear he may not awaken…. But he has to…. I ask, “How long will it last?” She takes his hand. “I do not know. We were unprepared this time.” That sentence hits me like Mjolnir thrown straight in my gut. We weren’t prepared for Thor leading you and the Warriors into Jotunheim. You discovering your true identity…. I feel so sick. “So why did he lie?” I look at her, searching. Wanting an answer. I really want to be asking Odin this himself, but that’s not an option. She looks into my eyes. “He kept the truth from you so that you would never feel different. You are our son, Loki, and we, your family.” She doesn’t give much time for that to settle before she adds, “We mustn’t lose hope that your father will return to us. And your brother.” I’m- I’m not trying to be selfish but after all I’ve been through today I don’t want to hear about everyone’s infinite hope in Thor despite the fact that he nearly killed his “brother” and friends, and set the kingdoms at war with one another. “What hope is there for Thor?” She quickly replies, “There is always a purpose to everything your father does.” I think of how Odin said “But those plans no longer matter…” Yeah, until it doesn’t matter anymore. Odin’s purposes stand firm in everything. Unless it applies to me… Then it is subject to change. I stand and head for the door when the Priest comes through the doors wielding the Allfather’s scepter. I freeze in my tracks. The Priest with the scepter. What? “Frigga says, “With your brother banished, and the Allfather under the Odinsleep; the throne has fallen to you.” I can’t breathe. I can’t think. The Priest holds out the scepter to me. I have to do this. I steel my arms and raise them to accept the scepter. It feels far too heavy. The Priest bows. I display a calm face. “Lead your kingdom well, my king.” Frigga says. I turn to her still holding out the scepter in front of me. I hold it in one hand at my side and nod my head once and leave the room.
I want to cast the scepter away. Get it as far away from me as possible. Steal away to my room and stay in there. Think of a plan to regain Odin’s trust. Simply as Loki. Nothing more. I don’t want this! All my life I have been cast aside. I want to gain Odin’s respect; not take on the throne. It’s not for me. I don’t want it. I don’t deserve it. But I must do it. I must not back out when put under pressure. I must be strong. It is what Odin would want. I walk past my bedchambers. Past the closest thing I have to a safe haven. I walk directly to the throne room. You will be ready, I keep telling myself. You have to be. I take a deep breath and pass through the heavy, golden doors.
My whole body is threatening to give out. I am engulfed in a wave of emotions. Shock. Hurt. Overwhelmed. Crushed. Infuriated. Betrayed. What just happened? Odin lays on the steps at my feet unmoving. No… I slowly crouch down as best I can with my shaking knees and place my hand on his. Still warm. His chest rising and falling evenly; unlike my own shallow breath. I look over him with the shock of the realization. He has succumbed to the Odinsleep. Here. Now. I want to cry. I need to talk to him…… He can’t just…… After…. Oh I feel like breaking. But I cannot. I focus on taking a deep breath and shout, “GUARDS! Guards, please help!” The heavy doors immediately swing open and two guards ascend down the stairs hurriedly. I almost stumble as I get out of the way for them to look at their sleeping king. I stand there paralyzed. They call in two more guards and they gently pick him up off the stairs and carry him away. My heart is racing. I will my legs to carry me up the stairs and follow them. The servants are bustling down the halls. A group of servants with a stretcher. Odin is placed on it and they go in the direction of his chambers. I walk in a daze following them for a while until they disappear behind the doors. I lean against a nearby wall for support and lean my head against it and close my eyes. I stand there for a moment. Then I push off it abruptly and take off into a full sprint. I need to get out of here. I don’t even know where I’m going. I hear Mother-no-Frigga call my name but I press on. I don’t want to talk to her. I don’t want to be in this palace. I don’t even belong here. Everything. My memories. My title. My identity. All a lie. I charge through the doors freeing me from this golden prison. I run past guards, citizens… Tear through alleys and walkways. Make sharp turns through the maze of the city until I am escaped from its sickeningly cheerful aura. I make my way to the rocky cliffs. No one strays this far from the cities. I stop my run and stand at the edge of the cliffs. I scream at the top of my lungs for as long as I can. I stagger backwards and fall to my knees. Words echo around in my head. Laufey’s son. Abandoned. Left to die. Bring about an alliance through you… no longer matter… stolen relic… monster… I am the very thing that I was raised to despise. Raised as an Asgardian prince. To look down on the Frost Giants as ruthless enemies. To discover I am no better than them. I am them. Dressed up in all the golden shining clothes. Given a noble title. Falsehood easily dissolved… I notice I am hunched over with my eyes shut tight. I was so consumed in my thoughts I didn’t notice. I sit up and look out over the crashing waves. What am I going to do? I can’t just stay here being a broken wreck. At least, that can’t be what the others see. Even if my true identity is a lie, I must uphold my reputation of having a quick wit at the least. Even though my reputation is greatly influenced by my ‘title….’ I shake my head. Focus. Going back to Jotunheim is completely out of the question. From the beginning I was…. I was unwanted. Asgard. I was wanted formerly for a purpose….. Ok, before I start brainstorming and going off on gloomy tangents I need to assess the situation. Thor is banished. Asgard and Jotunheim on the brink of war. Odin succumbed to the Odinsleep. Why is Thor banished? Because of his audacious personality…… and Asgard and Jotunheim are toe to toe because of it. Odin is in the Odinsleep because…. Because of you. No. He has not been in the Odinsleep for quite some time. With Thor gone, War…. And to top it off the little adopted son discovers the truth. I bury my head in my hands. What am I going to do? Then the plan dawns on me. It all becomes clear.
My heart was racing. My head pounding with anticipation and fear. Every step I took was forced because my legs felt like lead. I was incredibly reluctant because of the anxiety of what I might find out. I wasn’t even totally certain what was going to be revealed in doing this. I just had a feeling that this was the best place to look. Well, the only place I was willing to look at the time being.
I walked through the great doorway opening to the Weapons Vault. The heavy stone walls looked timeless and forbidding. I could see it sitting on its solitary pedestal at the end of the room. Churning shades of blue dancing across its surfaces. Eerie. Glowing in the monotonously dim room. I descended down the stairs and walked up to it. For a while I just stood in front of it staring. Feeling the cold radiating from it. My heart threatened to burst. I was growing dizzy with its presence. I slowly raised my arms. Spreading out my hands and letting them close around the icy handles of the casket. The cold was surging through my skin. I picked up the casket. I looked down at my hands. Slowly. Insidiously. My skin changing. No burn. No pain. My ears were pounding; Synchronized with the rapid beat of my heart. What am I???? “STOP!”Father is here. I instantly said, “Am I cursed?” I slowly lowered my arms and released my grip from the casket. He replied slowly, carefully, “No.”I was restless. If I’m not cursed… Then what? Out of all my existence, never have I questioned what I am. I know he is conscious of my affliction. “What am I?” I demanded. My back was still to him. He replied neutrally, “You’re my son.” I slowly turned to face him. He stood halfway down the stairs to the base level that I am on. Slowly, agitated, “What more than that?” I am through with these platitudes and simple facts. At least, I think they are facts… He looked at me warily, unmoving. I slowly began to close the distance between us. He didn’t speak. I continued, “The Casket wasn’t the only thing you took from Jotunheim that day, was it?” I reached the base of the stairs. My eyes fiercely locked on his, not flitting away. Hungering for an answer. “No.” My stomach dropped. All the suspicions swirling around in my head ever since Jotunheim; the most horrific was confirmed. “In the aftermath of the battle, I went into the temple, and I found a baby. Small for a Giant’s offspring. Abandoned, suffering, left to die. Laufey’s son.” With every word my heart accelerated. My head pounding. My knees threatening to give out from under me. Laufey’s son. No… no… no… It can’t be true. My skin tingles at the thought of it transforming in color. To cold temperatures. Blue. Laufey’s son. I… I am a Frost Giant.A thousand memories resurface. All the bitter talk of Frost Giants over all the centuries. Ruthless. Evil. Monstrous. Enemy. As a child one is lead to be repulsed by such a horrid creature. I took a deep breath and continued to contimplate Odin’s words. Abandoned. Why would he take his most bitter adversary’s child?! I echoed his statement out loud, “Laufey’s son.” He confirmed, “Yes.” I looked up at him. I could feel my face contorting into expressions of agony and confusion. “Why? You were knee-deep in Jotun blood, why would you take me?” My eyes were threatening to spill the accumulated tears of anger, pain, frustration, shock….. He replied evenly, “You were an innocent child.” No. I do not believe that. Not for one second. I seethed back. Pressing him, “No. You took me for a purpose, what was it?” He just stood there. Petrified. Unmoving. Staring at me with emotionless eyes. I couldn’t stand it. I will not accept this obvious falsehood. Taking in your enemy’s unwanted child out of pity. I am done with swallowing down lies! “TELL ME!” I was breathing hard. With every confession the truth of my existence unraveling into a disheveled heap of lies. He admitted, “I thought we could unite our kingdoms one day, bring about an alliance, bring about permanent peace. Through you.” A sharp stab of pain pierced through my chest. Shattering my heart. Use me. Use me. A living olive branch. Stowed away until the opportune moment. Broken, in disbelief, “What?” He cast down his gaze and says in a grim voice and continued, “But those plans no longer matter.” No longer matter. I was breathing in uneven, ragged breaths. “So I am no more than another stolen relic, locked up here until you might have use of me?” My ears were ringing. He looked down with disdain, “Why do you twist my words.” They need no twisting to form the sharp point that penetrates through my heart. I pressed on, “You could have told me what I was from the beginning, why didn’t you?” Instead, it all accumulates over the centuries and comes crashing down… “You’re my son. I wanted to protect you from the truth.” Crippling. I can’t handle this. Guarding me from my monstrous identity. Masking over the fact that I am the enemy. A valuable asset, for a time. “W-What? That I-I’m the monster that- parents tell their children about at night?!?!!” I couldn’t even hear anything. I was shaking with rage. Brimming with anger. Black dots danced across my vision. Immense pressure in my head as I made my way up the stairs. He fell into a sitting position; weary. It was too late, though. I couldn’t contain my rage. The infuriatingly painful reveal of my ignorance. The unknown reason why I was always second best. Will always be second best. Destined to be second best. Because I’m not even his son. Not even a simple peasant. A sworn enemy. A monster. I screamed my anguish. “You know it all makes sense now! Why you favored Thor all these years! Because no matter how much you claimed to love me, you could never have a Frost Giant sitting on the throne of Asgard!”
Staring at the ceiling. Pacing around the quiet room. Sitting down staring at the floor. I looked at my arms. What does it mean? Why did my arm turn blue? Nothing has ever happened like it before; reaching back through my centuries of memories. Running through the facts in my head. That was the first time I have ever been in Jotunheim. I was born around the end of the war against the Jotuns. When the war was won Asgard and Jotunheim agreed to a truce. It was a realm-wide principal never to go Jotunheim. Absolutely forbidden. The horrific memories forever instilled in our minds of the War, the merciless Jotuns was more than enough reason to abide to such a rule. Except for Thor. Thor… Leading us straight into Jotunheim. You think he would stop at compromising the safety of the realm. His friends. His own brother. I wasn’t going to stay here in Asgard and watch my brother travel to his death! I went for hopes of dissuading him at last minute. Pulling together some last minute plan to get us out of there. And now I have a haunting mystery on my hands because of it. What is wrong with me??? I thought as I looked at my skin. Versatile. Changing color at the touch of a Jotun. It resembled the color of his own skin… I shook my head. No. I cannot stay locked up alone in my room any longer. Plagued my thoughts and notions stirring around in my mind. I dressed myself and walked out of the quiet room.
I searched the palace halls. Needing to talk to someone. Preferably not Father or Mother. Not Father because… well… And Mother would probably try to comfort me. I’m not in the mood for that and I’d feel horrible pushing her away. I spotted the Warriors and Sif in a lounging room. I walked in quietly. Hogun was preparing a remedy of the sorts. Fandrall looked to be on the mend. The wound in his chest gone with the help of some healing stones that I saw nearby him. Volstagg noticed me standing there quietly and nodded a greeting. Hogun walked over and began applying the remedy to Volstagg’s arm. “I got burned by one of them.” He explained. Burned. I glanced down at my hands. My heart started accelerating. Why didn’t my skin burn at their touch? I was drawn out of my thoughts with Volstagg’s blunt statement. “We should never have let him go!” Easier said than done. “There was no stopping him.” Sif said. Fandrall said in a slightly bitter tone, “Well at least he’s only banished, not dead. Which is what we’d all be if that guard hadn’t told Odin where we’d gone.” My heart was racing. So they found out about the guard. The one that we rode past from the stables. That I told. “How did the guard even know?” Volstagg exclaimed. They all shared looks of suspicion. I couldn’t hold back any longer. “I told him.” Out of the corner of my eye I saw Fandrall turn to me and say, “What?” I explained, making sure to keep up a calm voice, “I told him to go to Odin after we’d left.” They were all looking at me now. It was making me nervous. “He should be flogged for taking so long. We should never have reached Jotunheim.” Never have arrived in that wretched place. Volstagg exclaimed incredulously, “You told the guard?!” I turned away from the wall to face them. Agitated. “I saved our lives.” And they act as if I was being a sniveling little… Tattling off to Father on behalf of a minor matter. I saved their lives!I tried to save the realm from war as well, but I can only do so much with such a reckless brother. I continued, “… and Thor’s. I had no idea Father would banish him for what he did.” I struggled not to bolt out of the room. I was regretting seeking their presence more by the minute. Sif flies off the couch with a start and walks over to me. “Loki. You must go to the Allfather and convince him to change his mind.” I thought of the last time I saw Father. Furious. Superior. Powerful. Going to him on behalf of Thor’s return; basically questioning his reasoning… No. I’m not even sure I’m ready to face him in general. They were expecting an answer from me, so I said, “And If I do, then what? I love Thor more dearly than any of you, but you know what he is.” They were taken aback by my refusal. I continued, “He’s arrogant. He’s reckless. He’s dangerous.” I looked around at all of them. Searching for some sense. Some reasoning. Some understanding. Was I the only one afraid for my life today? Afraid for Asgard’s safety?! “You saw how he was today. Is that what Asgard needs for its king?” I didn’t want to linger to hear their response. No one has been taking my reasoning to heart lately. Or ever… I don’t want to think about Thor. I need to find something out. There’s only two ways I can think of to answer my question. I’m not going to Jotunheim. I’m going to the Weapon’s Vault.
Through your arrogance and stupidity you’ve opened these peaceful realms and innocent lives to the horror and desolation of war! You are unworthy of these realms! You’re unworthy of your title! You’re unworthy of the loved ones you have betrayed. I now take from you your power! In the name of my father and his father before. I, Odin Allfather, cast you out!
Those words echoing in my mind. Arrogance. Stupidity. Horror. Desolation. War. Unworthy. Unworthy. Unworthy. Loved ones. Betrayed. Take. Power. Cast. You. Out.
I was once again at the rocky cliffs signifying the end of the realm. The cursed spot where I formulated my wretched plan in the first place. I was pacing back and forth. Restless. How in the name of Yggdrasill did it all come down to this?! What is this cruel twist of fate?! It was just a prank. Just a… a bit of fun. I stopped walking. I stood in one place, shoulders heaving up and down with every ragged breath. Thor is banished……. Because of you, a voice in the back of my mind said. No… No… All that has happened is consequent to his actions! ………You provoked him…… It was his choice to cross into Jotunheim! Not mine! I told him not to. There was no stopping him. Once he’s in one of his raging fits there’s no changing his mind; or stopping him. I should have found a way…. No, I couldn’t have. Volstagg’s voice echoes in my head, “What happened? Silver tongue turn to lead?” I shook my head. No. Even I could not stop him. He wasn’t even listening to me. When I was consoling him he was just hearing “I think you’re right…” and an outside voice agreeing with him. I didn’t have his attention to dissuade him… No… There is nothing I could have done… It is not my fault…… You could have not let the two Frost Giants into the Weapons Vault to begin with…. Just let the Coronation happen…. NO! And let Thor declare war on Jotunheim as king? No… I couldn’t have done that at all. If I let the Coronation carry through, an instance like this would present itself in the future and ‘King Thor’ would carry Asgard into battle on his foolish whims! So really I was doing everyone a favor in bringing this all about when Father- a ruler of sound judgment could take care of it- Gah! I clamped my hands on both sides of my head. STOP IT! Brother is banished! How could I think such horrible things? I don’t care that… that he’s reckless… I don’t care that he is the impossible comparison to me, sealing my fate as second best. I love him. And I know through his… arrogance…. Stupidity… That he doesn’t see this competition. That he simply loves his little brother. Because that’s how brothers are. That’s how love works. In a cruel, captivating…. Twisted way. And there’s no escaping it. A tear slides down my cheek. Brother…. Even though I know it not to be my fault entirely; the amount of guilt I feel is equivalent to me killing him. I don’t even know where he is…. Exiled. Powerless. Alone? Thor has received countless reprimanding over the centuries for his follies, but never in my wildest dreams would I think of this even possibly happening. Just this morning we were teasing each other about our ceremony uniforms! It feels like centuries ago… I want to just reach out across the realms. See where he is. Tell him I’m sorry. I’ll take back the irritating, audacious, impulsive, arrogant, narcissistic, reckless…. But at the heart with good, loyal intentions…. My loving curse. My essential obstacle in my existence. My brother.
It was late when I finally returned to the palace. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. Father and Mother were asleep. All was quiet. The halls were eerie. The floors casting off luminous grey light from the lights of the night sky. I walked past Thor’s bedroom chambers to my own. I peeled off my boots and overcoat and collapsed on my bed. Staring at the high ceiling. Feeling numb.
We were back in Asgard. I felt like hitting Thor. Crying out of relief. We’re alive. We made it… We’re doomed. We’ll be in heaps of trouble. War with Jotunheim. My arm…… My head was spinning with all that I had encountered. I was brought out of my disturbing thoughts to the present(and still disturbing) moment. “Why did you bring us back?!? Thor said with questioning rage. Father exclaims with frustration, “Do you realize what you’ve done?! What you’ve started?!” Thor replies in a furious forceful voice “I was protecting my home.” I was paralyzed. No, Thor. STOP! You’ve already made yourself out as a big enough fool today! Stop quarreling with Father! I wanted to stop it; but they weren’t giving any openings for outside interjections. They were full force rage. Father thundered back, “You cannot even protect your friends! How can you hope to protect a kingdom?!” He ripped out Heimdall’s sword from the center piece and threw it in his direction with a sharp jerk. “Get him to the healing room! Now!” Translation: All of you! Out! I need to teach my son a lesson. Fandrall draped his arms around Volstagg and Hogun’s shoulders and they managed to drag him out as quickly as they could. Nervous expressions. I was not the only one conscious of the sheer tension of this. It sure wasn’t fazing Thor. He was too caught up in the fact that Father pulled him out of the fight. Thor replied, “There won’t be a kingdom to protect if you are afraid to act.” You know well, Thor that your true motives were not to protect the damned kingdom! You would take up any excuse no matter how weak to swing your hammer at some Frost Giants! To my great displeasure, he was not finished. “The Jotuns must learn to fear me just as they once feared you.” He said, struggling to keep an even tone. Father looked back on him with disdain. “That’s pride and vanity talking, not leadership. You’ve forgotten everything I taught you about a warrior’s patience.” Thor sneered back, “While you wait here and be patient the Nine Realms laugh at us!” Erm, laugh at you. “The old ways are done. You’d stand giving speeches while Asgard falls.” I closed my eyes and let out a shaky breath. No… no… no! This is not happening! This is serious. No. Father bellowed back, “You are a vain, greedy, cruel boy!” In reply Thor snapped, “And you are an old man and a fool!” I could hear Thor’s breath from across the room. His hands shaking with rage and frustration. Father replied in a weary voice, “Yes,” he looked down, defeated. “I was a fool… to think you were ready.” I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t stand here and watch Thor jump off the deep end. I felt so heavy with guilt! Yes! It was Thor’s foolish actions and overlooked judgment that brought this… But I am also to blame! If I had only found a way to quell his rage so that he would have stayed in Asgard… Not provoking war… My arm… The Frost Giant… My eyes stinging with tears. I stepped forward, giving my best effort to muster up all my strength I had left; keep my voice even. But instead I said, breaking at the end, “Father-” Father cut me off with a commanding finger pointed at me.“Harraghh!!” A sharp pain shot through my chest. I looked down. I will not cry in front of him. I looked up. Father said, “Thor Odinson…” bringing me back to the Coronation that was held just this morning… “You have betrayed the express command of your king.” Where is he going with this…? “Through your arrogance and stupidity, you’ve opened these peaceful realms and innocent lives to the horror and desolation of war!” This sounds like a trial… The judge giving the verdict of the persecuted….. No, please, no. I was paralyzed. Father stormed down the steps to stand toe to toe with Thor. “You are unworthy of these realms!” he rips of one half of Thor’s cape. Rip! I staggered back. No. “You are unworthy of your title!” Other side. Rip! “You are unworthy…” in a broken voice, “of the loved onesyou have betrayed.” I was petrified. I couldn’t feel anything. This couldn’t be happening. Wasn’t happening. No. Father turned around in a sharp jerk and walked back. He held out his hand and Mjolnir flew out of Thor’s grasp into Father’s firm grip. “I now take from you your power! In the name of my father and his father before me! I, Odin Allfather, cast you out!” Sparks. Energy. Bits of metal armor sailing through the air. A splitting crack filled my ears. Thor flying backwards into the Bifrost. GONE. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t comprehend. My head was spinning. I looked at Father. How…? What??? I couldn’t stand to be there. My legs snapped into motion. A subconscious act. I crossed the room to the opening to the Bifrost. I searched the flourishing, changing, beams of llight. I knew I would not find him in there; but I still did it. No… “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” I turn around to see Father throw Mjolnir into the Bifrost. Thor is banished.
It’s over. We’ll either live to receive eternal punishment or die in the cold waste of Jotunheim just as Heimdall said. Where is Heimdall???!! Not simply thinking of my own fate, Thor’s and the Warriors, in fighting the Frost Giants we are openly declaring war on Jotunheim!
A Frost Giant was advancing on me so I pulled out a dagger and flung it straight at his heart. Dead. I was in battle mode; looking around at all angles, hyper-alert. My mind spinning. Hel! I didn’t know Thor would actually come to Jotunheim! Break the most critical rule of Asgard! As a child one learns that you are never to cross Jotunheim’s border! I thought him to at least respect that. Crash the Coronation. Send Thor into one of his unruly rage fests. Nope. That’s too good to be true. Where the Hel is Father?!?? I looked around. Thor’s expression filled with rage, pleasure, and anticipation. He was loving this. I need to get to a safe spot to contact Heimdall. I slowly made an advance back to our arrival spot. Fighting through the Giants. Flinging knives. Dodging wicked shards of ice. I finally broke through the fight. They were all headed for Thor, the strongest of us all. I stole myself behind a boulder. “Heimdall!” Nothing. “Heimdall!!!” Someone was approaching. I quickly produced a hologram of myself fifteen paces from me to act as a divergence. He took the bait, went into a full run to tackle it, and fell over the side of the cliff. Well, it was clear Heimdall is not listening at the moment so I made my way back to the heart of the fight. Strength is not the only way to win in a fight. Being quick to react and light of foot can also spare your life. The Frost Giants were intimidatingly tall and strong, but they were slow with their size. I was fending them off easily, as long as I was attentive. This was my advantage. Duck. Jump. Side-step. Throw. Stab. How long have we been fighting? It feels like forever. The cold climate aggravated my already restless state. Making me increasingly nervous. I lost my focus on fighting for a second and let my guard slip. He took hold of my forearm. No! They are as cold as the realm that they live in, if they touch you they burn your skin. My mind was so occupied in the dread that I did not notice that burning was not the case. It crept up and down my hand insidiously. Tendrils of blue. My entire arm was blue. I felt no pain from the grip. The Giant looked up at me questioningly. I knew not what to think. He was so immersed in this strange reaction occurring on my skin. His eyes looked into mine asking, “What are you?” I instinctively stabbed him deep in the side and he fell. My heart was racing, my breathing shallow. I looked at my arm. The blue was receding back to the spot where he made contact with my skin until it vanished. I looked around. Did anyone see? No, they had their attention directed elsewhere. What just happened…..? I had no time to think of this. Getting distracted got me into that mess. I channeled my full attention to staying alive. “AAhhhhhhh!!!” someone’s cry of pain. No. I searched the scene. Fandrall. He stood, gorged by a giant sheet of ice shards. Great. I was fifty paces from Thor. “THOR!!!” Sif exclaimed. Might as well join in. I said with urging force, “We MUST GO!” He swung Mjolnir underhand to send a Frost Giant flying backwards, “Then GO!!!” For the love of Valhalla. I looked around at the others and they exchanged glances as well. Volstagg slung Fandrall over his shoulder. We all headed back towards our point of arrival. Running for dear life. Fending off the few Frost Giants coming after us. I kept looking back; hoping Thor would be following. He wasn’t. Come on, Thor! For once in your life have some discretion!
We were about halfway to our destination when I felt a deep rumbling in the ground. I looked back to find out we were being pursued by a giant Beast. I turned back and kept running. With wishful thinking I hoped that somehow miraculously Heimdall would open the Bifrost just before the Beast slays us all. If not- no, I have no time to think of that. I turned around and saw the ground breaking behind us; the Beast gone. We were at the edge of the cliff. Standing at the spot we first arrived. Shouldn’t have left. Shouldn’t have come to in the first place. Thor not here. Still. Then suddenly, it climbed over the side of the cliff. It let out a penetrating roar. This is it. Then I heard him coming. The whooshing sound of air being displaced by the fleeting speed of him. He sailed through the open mouth of the great Beast and out the other side; gouging a great hole through its head. It became instantly inanimate, like a formation of rock toppling over. Thor landed firmly on the ground in an instant. An audacious smirk on his face. Oh, the curses I wanted to cast upon him. I wanted to kick him right in the face and knock off his impudent expression… But I was too overcome with dread to do so, and the Frost Giants were gaining on us by the second. We were backed to the edge of the cliff, severely outnumbered. Looking at the Frost Giants. Them returning your gaze; more than conscious of your thoughts. Eager to finish us. Then a jarring beam of light split through the sky. Father was here; wielding his scepter in full armor seated on Slepnir. Power radiating from him. Relief flooded over me for a split second, but didn’t last. “Father! We’ll finish them together!” Thor. Father seethed through his teeth in a forceful whisper, “Silence.” I was beside myself. I knew not what to think. Jotunheim. Asgard. Toe to toe. The brink of war. Laufey ascended to Father on a sheet of ice. “Allfather- You look weary.” Old enemies, going back centuries. Face to face. Father replied evenly, “Laufey, end this now.” Laufey retorted, “Your boy sought this out.” Yes. He did. Idiotically sought it out. “You’re right. And these were the actions of a boy, treat them as such.” Yes, please do. “You and I can end this here and now, before there’s further bloodshed.” Always keeping up such a calm appearance. His back was to me but I could perfectly picture his unforgiving expression when he replied, “We are beyond diplomacy now, Allfather.” I could picture the bitter way his lips curled around the dark words, “He’ll get what he came for. War. And Death.” Odin replied, “So be it.” Instantaneously Father blasted a beam of light into the sky and we shot into the Bifrost. Right before my vision was consumed by the kaleidoscopic light I saw Laufey flying backwards from the force of the sceptor.
We walked with haste to the stables to fetch our horses. Think… Someone better do something that results in the favor of our survival. Thor was happy as a drunk. His day was turning around. “We must think of a way to get past Heimdall.” Volstagg added, “Yes! It is said that the gatekeeper can see a drop of dew fall from a single blade of grass across the realms!” Fandral laughed, “Ah yes, and he can hear a cricket pass gas as well!” Volstagg pointed a finger at him, but could not fully suppress a grin. “This is not a jesting matter!” Fandral countered, “Well the gatekeeper is not seeing everything after all if he lets Frost Giants into this realm!” Ha, well what happened today was new to Heimdall…..Heimdall! Yes, of course!!!
There is something surreal about being on the Bifrost. You can feel its power resonating from it. Brilliant shades of color and light leading to the end of the realm. We galloped down the kaleidoscopic bridge until we came close to Heimdall. We dismounted our horses and walked up to Heimdall, flanking Thor. I ran up to Thor and whispered, “You leave this to me.” I turned to face Heimdall, “Good Heimdall-“ He cut me short with his monotonous voice, “You’re not dressed warmly enough.” This is already going in my favor! I pretend to use my gift of persuasion, while I am really giving no effort so all you idiots will be dissuaded from this suicidal, war evoking, petty plan. I continued, masking my true intentions, “I’m sorry?” He continued, “Do you think that you can deceive me?” No, and I have no true intentions to either… “Enough!” Damn. Thor steps forward. He says in a fervent tone, “Heimdall, may we pass?” Growing tired of this impediment to his mission. “Never has an enemy slipped my watch until this day. I wish to know how that happened.” It won’t happen again if you people stop jumping hastily into horrific decisions… “Then tell no one where we have gone until we’ve returned. Understand?” Thor says earnestly. Not waiting for an answer he and the Warriors walk past him into the Golden sphere, where you are transported to any realm with the gatekeeper’s sword. I stood there, paralyzed. This is all getting out of charge… “What happened? Silver tongue turn to lead?” Volstagg joked. This snapped me out of it. I wasn’t using my silver tongue, fool! I wouldn’t try to persuade us to our death! I stayed behind and watched them all file into the room. “Heimdall,” I said before he went in. “You must tell Odin where we have gone immediately. The good of the realm depends upon it.” He looks at me and slowly gives one small nod. I walked in to the room until I was to the right hand of Thor. Heimdall took the center of the room and began the process of opening the Bifrost. The ground began to shake, the turbines whirring, beginning to spin, reaching the speed of light. Bursts of raw power came from the center of the sword. My heart was beating at a fleeting pace. “Be warned. I will honor my sworn oath to protect this realm as its gatekeeper. If your return threatens the safety of Asgard,” Return? Our going to Jotunheim alone threatens the safety… “…the Bifrost will remain closed to you and you will be left to die in the cold waste of Jotunheim.” Not if we are killed by Jotuns first… “Couldn’t you just leave the bridge open for us?” Volstagg questioned. What’s the matter, second guessing yourself? Heimdall replied, “To leave the Bridge open would unleash the full power of the Bifrost and destroy Jotunheim with you upon it.”
Hmmm…. Why not just kill of the barbaric monsters, then? I remember thinking. Very ironic, thinking back on that thought now….
Thor spoke, not an ounce of his fortitude drained from the severity of all this, “I have no plans to die today.” Oh no… Heimdall better run to Odin the moment we leave. No need for formal reserve. Heimdall said one last thing before we shot off into space, “None do.”
Energy rushing around you. Enveloping your body in it. Shooting you forward at inconceivable speed. It was a matter of seconds before our feet were firmly planted on the cold, barren realm of Jotunheim. It was aphotic and eerie. The large formations of rock and ice stood in a forbidding way. ‘Turn back…’ they said. Heimdall better be alerting Father right now. We’ll all be in heaps of trouble… Especially Thor. It’s no mystery that he would lead such a foolish mission. “Where are they?” Sif said with uneasiness. Thor kept up his determined, steady walk. He spat, “Hiding, as cowards always do.” We made our way to a tedious, dark courtyard of the sorts. No signs of life. Now would be the perfect time to co- “You’ve come a long way to die, Asgardians.” A grim dark voice came from above, its owner still in the shadows. My heart was racing. The Warriors shifted nervously and flexed their hands around their weapons. Thor spoke out, “I am Thor Odinson!” Shut up. The menacing voice replied, “We know who you are.” Thor’s aggravation multiplied with the sound of this unknown adversary’s voice. He said bitterly, “How did your people get into Asgard?” The voice replied darkly, “The house of Odin is full of traitors.” I looked down at the icy ground. “Do not dishonor my father’s name with your lies!” Thor said with booming force. Then, the being rose from the shadows. I think everyone but Thor, of course took a sharp breath intake; as I did. He replied with bitter hatered and resentment at Thor’s previous statement, “Your father is a murderer and a thief!” I could not take my eyes off him. He was the first Frost Giant I had ever seen… So often talked about as the sworn enemy of Asgard… The horrific long war of ending their terrorism on the humans… He must be Laufey. He could be no one else. Who else would be standing up there, elevated above the others; which there must be others… Hanging in the shadows. Up to that point, I had never been so afraid in all my existence… He continued, “And why have you come here? To make peace?” Thor flexed his fingers around his hammer. No, no, no, no… “You long for battle. You crave it. You’re nothing but a boy trying to prove himself a man.” Suddenly they appeared. On the balconies, the doorways, above, below. The Frost Giants showing themselves. Thor’s features were rigid. “Well this “boy” has grown tired of your mockery” It’s all about to boil over. What in the name of Yggdrasil is taking Heimdall so long?! Where is Odin?! I hastily walked up to Thor, not bothering to hide my uneasiness and urgency, “Thor, stop and think.” I know, it was a poor choice of words… “Look around you, we’re outnumbered.” I looked intently at him. He shoved me away with his shoulder, “Know your place, Brother.” I winced. Laufey brought my attention away from what just happened by saying, “You know not what your actions would unleash. I do.” He looked timeless. All the things he has seen. “Go now, while I still allow it.” Ok, now I’m doing the talking, I thought. I said, mustering all my strength to keep my voice even, looking up at Laufey I said, “We will accept your most gracious offer.” Thor looked at me with pure contempt. I don’t care how furious you are with me! Come back before we start a full-fledged war! I turned around slowly and began walking, “Come on, Brother.” A tall Frost Giant crossed over to stand in front of Thor. Thor let out a huff and reluctantly turned around following me. Come on! I was shaking with frustration and fear. Everything so precariously set, one tip and-“Run back home, little princess.” The Frost Giant said. No. “Damn.”
“Two Jotuns entered the Weapons Vault, my liege. The Destroyer successfully killed them, but not without the casualties of two guards.” A guard was walking hastily beside Father informing him of what happened. Odin nodded and he broke off from our stride. Thor’s face was pure rage. This time I don’t blame him. I silently walked with them. We reached the doorway leading to the Weapons Vault. It opened up into a colossal cavern: stairs leading down to the Vault in the center of the wide, open expanse.
The room felt cold. Colder than usual. The presence of the frigid chill from the Frost Giant’s presence lingered in the strong stone walls. The Jotun’s relic was ever constant in its usual place. Good. It is almost all finished. Father quietly strode up to the cold, blue casket looking down at it. I stood at his left flank, Thor at his right; the whole of his features teeming with anger. “The Jotuns must pay for what they’ve done!” he says without a moment’s hesitation. I steal a glance at Thor out of the corner of my eye. “They have paid, with their lives.” Thor flexes his jaw, not satisfied. Father continues, not shifting or moving, “The Destroyer did its work, the casket is safe, and all is well.” Thor lets out a surprised, irritated laugh. “All is well?” Oh, this will be good…He shifts his weight and continues. “They broke into the Weapons Vault!” He looks at Father, who does not yet turn around with frustration. “If the Frost Giants had stolen even one of these relics-“ Father interjects, “But they didn’t.” Thor says with tension to not just scream, “Well I want to know why!” With his back still turned, Father replies calmly, “I have a truce with Laufey, King of the Jotuns.” I look over at Thor. Even if I did have something to say, it wouldn’t be needed. Thor is furious and ready to do all the talking with lack of thought. “Well they just broke your truce!” he exclaims. He stops and says in a serious, fervent tone, “They know you are vulnerable.” Suddenly Father spins around to face Thor with his piercing gaze. “What action would you take?” Thor is the slightest bit appeased; he at least has his full attention. He says with a steadfast feeling, “March into Jotunheim as you once did. Teach them a lesson. Break their spirits so they’ll never dare try to cross our borders again.” Father looks back at Thor, “You’re thinking only as a warrior.” Thor takes on an exasperated expression, “This was an act of war!” Father calmly says, “It was an act of but a few, doomed to fail.” Hmm, well at least the two of us realize this…. I looked at Thor, thrilled to see what he has to say to this. Father’s calm reserve is aggravating him just as I predicted. “Look how far they got!” Father himself is getting a bit irritated, “We will find the breach in our defenses and it will be sealed.” He says through tight lips. Thor is not one to back down though. “As king of Asgard-“ then Father snaps, “But you’re not king!” Oh sweet Valhallah! Thor actually said that! Father calmed himself and says in a quiet, but annoyed tone, “Not yet.” Thor’s hands shaking, eyes blazing with anger, breath rapid, he briskly exited the room. Father turned around and looked back at the casket. I stood there for a while. By the gods! I looked at Father, unmoving. I slowly turned and headed out in search of Thor.
I feel the smallest bit of contempt. Playing on Thor’s unruly temper like this… But it was for the best. The kingdom. The Nine Realms. Him. And you could say it was a pure brotherly act of annoyance… Well annoyance does not really embody Thor’s current state but I think you get my aim…. I always feel like this… Only with him… I shake my head and continue my search. Even if it is in the smallest degree I always feel a certain guilt whenever I trick Thor. Whether the trick is just a bit of fun or a foolish thing I did in my envy….. I always felt remorse over it.
I still feel remorse over what I have done to him……… Looking back. Even now. Hidden under all this mess.
I stepped out onto a balcony looking around, wondering if he went outside the palace, but was soon proved wrong. “RRRAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!” Bang! I looked at the neighboring balcony. Yes, it came from there. I silently leapt down to the lower balcony and quickly hid behind a large pillar. Table overturned. Its arrangement of decorations, food, and refreshments strewn all about the floor. Thor stood there panting and darting his eyes around angrily and eventually barreled over to the steps leading to the balcony and took a seat. I slowly made my way over to him and took a seat next to him. His breath fast. He said in an irritated tone, suppressing his anger. “It is unwise to be in my company right now, Brother” I looked over at him, not moving. He quickly realized my intentions of staying and said with force, “This was to be my day of triumph.” I looked over at him and said quietly, “It’ll come… In time…” Which in this moment I was being entirely truthful. And reassuring him. Even though he definitely had a ridiculous ego… it pained me to see him so disappointed… He looks over at me silently. “What’s this?” Oh. Good. Volstagg followed by Fandrall, Hogun, and Sif enter the scene. I nervously jerk my leg a bit but quickly try and bury my sudden nervousness. I don’t like them being here. They could influence him to try and prove himself or something. He’s always been all the more ridiculous with a crowd. No matter the size… I continued, taking his attention, “If it’s any consolation, I think you’re right. About the Frost Giants, about Laufey, about everything.” If he was not so enslaved to his anger at the present moment he would probably wonder if this is true, why did you remain silent in the Weapons Vault? But, that is not the case. I easily continued, “If they found a way to penetrate Asgard’s defense once, who’s to say they won’t try again.” He looks over at me, nodding. This is what he has been craving. Someone to agree with him. Yes, I’m directing him where I want him to go……
So I thought.
“Next time with an army.” “Exactly.” Ah, but wait right there, brother, “There is nothing you can do without defying Father.” Thor’s face suddenly lights up. Like whenever he has a plan. Almost always an incredibly audacious and foolish plan. He rises from the steps. “No, no, no, I know that look.” Better turn this around…… “Thor, it’s madness.” This catches Volstagg’s attention from his precious food. “Madness? What sort of madness?” Thor says in a confident, serene voice, “We’re going to Jotunheim.” “What?”, Fandrall says. Thank you. He continues, “This isn’t like a journey to Earth where you summon a little lighting and thunder and the mortals worship you as a god. This is Jotunheim.” Of course, any sound reasoning does not shake the Mighty Thor….. “My father fought his way into Jotunheim…” Oh, for the love of Odin… And they were going to make him king today? Stop it… “…defeated their armies and took their Casket. We would just be looking for answers.” Yeah, let us just go there now and ask our sworn enemies some questions! Sif steps forward, “It is forbidden!” He lets out a laugh. Of course. “My friends, have you forgotten all that we have done together?” Stop. Stop. Stop. He walks forward towards them. “Fandrall, Hogun. Who lead you into the most glorious of battles?” Hogun keeps his stone expression, “You did.” He continues his advance on Volstagg. “And Volstagg, to delicacies so succulent you thought you’d died and gone to Valhalla?” Stop. Stop using your charisma….. “You did.” He replies with a smile. “Yes!” Thor exclaims with pleasure. Oh yes, winning them over on your suicidal mission. Excuse me if I seem reluctant… Thor was on a role. His bad luck turning around. He thought. “And who proved wrong all who scoffed at the idea that a young maiden could be one of the fiercest warriors this realm has ever known?” Oh, why bother listening, I know the answer. Thor was glowing with bliss from his idiocy…. He returned closer to where he was sitting and turned around to face us all. “My friends, we’re going to Jotunheim.”