Author: Khilari PM
Two travellers meet and everything changes.Rated: Fiction K - English - Friendship - Loki & Odin - Words: 598 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 9 - Published: 09-12-11 - id: 7377144
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No great thing needs a man to give,
Oft little will purchase praise;
With half a loaf and a half-filled cup
A friend full fast I made.
Hovamol - Bellows' translation
The youth had stepped out of the forest and into the light of Odin's campfire with movements both wary and bold, meeting Odin's eyes in challenge and supplication at once.
'May I join you, traveller?' he asked.
'If you wish,' said Odin. As courtesy dictated he broke his bread in half and placed one piece on a plate before holding it out to his guest.
The boy's eyes lit up. They were not, Odin realised, reflecting sparks from the fire. The sparks drifted within them. With his pale skin, red hair and quick graceful movements the boy bore quite a resemblance to the fire he was now walking around. Odin poured out half a cup of ale and set it beside the bread.
'I am Odin,' he said. 'Son of Bor and Bestla.'
'Loki,' said the boy. 'Son of Farbauti and Laufey.' He ate the bread in fast savage mouthfuls that only increased the impression of fire, before sipping more slowly at the ale.
'Laufey is not a Jotun name,' said Odin. The boy had something of the Jotnar about him, but not entirely. They could be graceful, especially the women, but they were hard. This one had a sense, not of softness, but of movement.
'She was an elf,' said Loki. 'I visited her people after my father cast me out. They were…hospitable.' He sighed. 'I think I made them nervous.'
Odin nodded. 'You would have done. The Alfar are a people of the forest, of crops and hillsides. There would be no place among them for a little firebrand like you.' And no place among the Jotnar either. Rocks and ice would smother fire, storms and rivers would douse it.
'Then where do I belong?' asked Loki plaintively. Although he had shown physical wariness at first, he seemed to have no urge to conceal his feelings. There was a strange innocence about him, like that of a young child or an animal. The elves, Odin recalled, could be like that.
'With me,' Odin said, surprised at his own impulsiveness. 'A wildfire will destroy everything around it and then die, but there are other types of fire. A hearth fire can bring warmth to everyone near it, a forge fire can be used to create beauty. As long as both are tended and controlled they can be useful and will be loved.'
'You want to control me?' asked Loki. The quirk of his lips told of amusement.
'I want to use you,' said Odin. 'I plan to create civilisation and for that I need fire on my side. We cannot be equals. You have more power than you know, and, if I do not restrain you, you will destroy me. Even a hearth fire can burn down the house it has warmed.'
The boy considered. He set down his empty cup and stared into the fire Odin had lit, held within its stone hearth. 'But will you love me?' he asked.
'Always,' said Odin, surprised to find that he already did. 'If you agree to come with me we shall be brothers. And any food and drink brought to me shall also be brought to you.'
'I'll come,' said Loki. He put his hand, warmer than the fire, over Odin's. 'And you may control me, if you can.' None of the elves could smile so sharply as he did then.