Oh, For a Single Laugh
by Sauron Gorthaur

The wedding celebrations have finally ended and everyone is making his way back to his own hall. The groom and his delightful bride are gone for the night, and I am left alone. I wander down the silent hall, so still and quiet now with only my memory's echo of the rowdy drinking songs, boasts, and laughter that filled it such a short while ago.

The laughter seems particularly clear.

I've already heard enough bawdy jokes about goats and manhood to last me a lifetime, mostly from Thor and Freyr, both of whom are better at butchering jokes than making them. I also doubt I'll be having more children anytime in the near future. But it's all the same to me. I accomplished what Odin needed me to do.

I'm the Trickster anyway. I'm used to being the fool of Asgard, the buffoon, the one who can make anyone and everyone laugh at my expense. I'm used to making the women shake their heads and mutter about my inappropriateness while also making the men howl with laughter and cringe at the same time. It's what I do. I'm Loki.

I entertained them, and for most of them, that's all that mattered. When they're drinking and eating and happy, on a regular night the Æsir are an easy enough bunch to entertain.

But when I looked at her, the only one tonight who really mattered in this hall, I saw the icy shards of her eyes and that dagger-slit of her unsmiling mouth. And I knew there was only one thing in the worlds that would make Skadi laugh.

My pain.

And so I gave her what she wanted.