The Song Remains the Same
June 19, 1912
"Not quite a god?" Lenore repeated in a shocked voice. "Wha…what do you mean?"
Loki cast a suspicious look at the surrounding dark words and ushered Lenore inside before closing the door. Inside their home, regardless of the mildly warm summer temperatures outside, the fireplace flickered with warmth. But Lenore felt anything but warm at the moment.
Rubbing his fingers against his temple, Loki shot her a pained look. "We swore never to tell another entity the story of where the other came from. You have to understand why I did not tell you sooner." Loki snorted in grim amusement. "And perhaps because I was ashamed as well."
"Then why tell me know?" Lenore asked in puzzlement.
"Because Odin tested me tonight and I am unsure how trustworthy he is when it comes to you," Loki answered flatly as he settled into the maroon-upholstered couch.
"Hmm." Lenore raised a singular brow as she settled at the end of the couch and faced her lover. "Are you referencing the 'what is yours is mine' deal?" Those words had sent a terrible feeling through Lenore's spirit and she worried what they meant.
"Yes," Loki sighed with a regretful look.
"Explain," Lenore prompted.
Loki seemed to stare past her as his eyes took on a far-away gleam. "I've known Odin since soon after he was born."
"Born?" Lenore interrupted. "Gods…get born?" Well, obviously – Loki had children and so did many other gods. Lenore supposed she had never given thought to Odin's parentage.
"Where do you think 'gods' come from?" Loki asked with a mild smirk; mild only because he looked too unhappy to actually be amused.
Lenore rolled her eyes. "The birds and the bees?" she asked drolly.
"Not really," Loki chuckled as he caught her gaze. "Some of the gods were manifestations of misguided worship by humans; entities brought into being through sheer will. A few were celestial beings who lost their way. Others were supernatural beings who decided to play god – or were mistaken to be gods by the humans."
"And which is Odin?"
Lenore prompted him with a look. "What kind of supernatural creature?"
"One of the Nephilim."
Lenore was two-hundred and forty years old. During her lifetime she had spent a great deal of time reading and thought she knew about most supernatural creatures, especially demons and pagan gods. But… "What's a Nephilim?"
Loki visibly winced. "A child born from a human woman and an angel."
She gasped so loudly that she began choking. "What? How?"
Pressing his lips into a thin line, Loki's eyes took on that faraway look. "There were a group of angels named the Grigori, or the Watchers in our language. God first placed them here to watch over the humans…but they became too close to their charges. They taught them weaponry, metalsmiths, and more. Worst of all, they fell in love with mortal women and produced sons and daughters – the Nephilim."
Shaking his head, Loki continued. "They were abominations, of course. The Nephilim were immense giants whose shadows covered the lands in darkness. The greatest betrayal since Lucifer." He glanced at her with a haunted look. "And on the Summer Solstice, as Daddy's favorite little warrior, I got to smite them all," he said sarcastically before his voice took on a more painful tone. "My brothers. The humans. The…the children."
"My brothers fought back, of course. This was before Lucifer was locked up and a few, like Azazel, joined his forces and escaped. They became twisted creatures of darkness and lost their heavenly powers."
Gabriel's voice cracked and he suddenly looked older than Lenore had ever seen him, as if his 'Loki' mask was slipping and she could see the immortal archangel beneath it all.
"Anyways, I found the youngest sons, the childred of Azazel, in the reeds of the Nile River. Odin was the eldest and with him were the twins Vili and Vé. They were…so small." Loki's voice died and then he let out a bark of humorless laughter.
"Oh Lenore, if only you understood the God that you worshiped," Loki whispered bitterly, his voice raw with emotion. He shook his head and Lenore didn't know what to say to that, so she opted to say nothing.
"I couldn't do it. Father help me, but I couldn't. I hid the boys in these mountains and the wolves raised them– Geri and Freki's ancestors, actually," Loki snorted.
"Years passed and the moment came after Lucifer was caged and Father disappeared that I decided to leave. But I couldn't just leave, you know?" Loki told her in a pleading tone that begged to be understood. "They would never stop looking for me. To abandon Heaven would be a sin as bad as Lucifer's. So, I faked my death. And then I found Odin."
"And Odin welcomed you?" Lenore inquired.
"Sort of," Loki replied with a lopsided smile. "He actually hated me for killing his mother – and, well, he thinks I killed his father but doesn't realize that Azazel is down in the bowels of hell, probably suffering endless torment." He shrugged. "Same thing, I 'spose. I just thought it was better to not let him know in case he ever decided to do something crazy.
"Anyways, after some heavy discussion we worked out something. See, centuries had passed and Odin's power had grown so much that he had already created companions – gods, he called them – with the support of the Nordic people who worshiped him and he had established a pretty nice place in Asgard. So Odin absorbed me into the world he created and I have been hiding here every since." Loki shrugged. "Pretty long story."
Eyes widening, Lenore shook her head. "Yeah, it is." She observed the sadness that seemed to emanate from Loki's pores. "But why is everything of yours, his?" she asked cautiously.
"Part of the blood oath," Loki answered. "I have certain obligations to him, especially when it comes to attending his rituals when invited because my power lends to his. But you?" Loki's eyes narrowed dangerously. "You are not part of the deal. If Odin even thinks he can control you or hurt you I'll kill him, even if it means my own death."
"Your own death?" Lenore exclaimed in a hushed tone.
Loki had the decency to appear bashful at his slip of the tongue. "Er, well…after the blood binding we're so closely tied that I'm honestly not sure if I could kill him without ending my own life."
"Well then don't you dare kill him!" Lenore ordered fearfully. She knew Loki was apt to make impulsive decisions and if he ever decided to do something, he did it. With her lack of blood over the four weeks, hell, even she was feeling the impulsive desire to do something crazy.
There were few times throughout their relationship where Loki was actually serious, so the startling blank look on his face coupled with his words was almost chilling. "I will do anything I need to do in order to keep you safe, Lenore. No matter what."
"Loki," Lenore whispered in a small voice. She shook her head. "Don't talk like that. Please."
Loki's expression faded to the more genial one that she was used to. He scooted to her side of the couch and embraced her. "Don't worry babe. I'll go to the Solstice tomorrow because I have to but you can stare here."
As Lenore clung to her love she couldn't help but feel a trickle of trepidation move through her. Somehow she didn't think that Odin would approve of that…
Later that night she moved silently through the words with a velvet pouch strung across her chest like a purse. Listlessly she fingered the contents of the bag and maintained a silent prayer that her spell would work. Once she reached a meadow inside the woods she began a fire by gathering fallen branches and lighting them with her magic. As the fire roared to life she began assembling her spell.
For a month she had fasted. Her intention had been to fast longer but Lenore felt that she needed to regain her strength in case Odin pulled any tricks – if he liked to make Loki's life difficult around the anniversary of his parents' death then she wanted to be ready just in case.
Pouring the contents of the pouch into the fire, Lenore began chanting in a low voice that slowly grew with power. Her vision spotted and the world tilted – because of her lack of nourishment or the spell, she did not know. Once the final chant left her lips the fire flared. It appeared to jump out and consume the tattered world map that Lenore held in her fingers before it quickly leapt to her body. Before Lenore could yell out in pain she realized that the fire was not real although a heat rose up within her body. Black dots spotted her vision and suddenly the dots expanded until there was nothing but darkness.
Lenore gasped as a light slowly grew within the blackness and she saw Eli and the others again. It was the same vision but this time she saw who was shooting arrows at her friend.
Odin, and the members of his Wild Hunt.
June 20, 1912
Lenore's mind was on her vision the next day as Loki began to get prepared for the Solstice celebrations. Her vision had clearly shown her that Eli was still alive, which was good. Unfortunately, the responsible party was a secret-Nephilim-Norse-God and his hunting party.
Her spell had worked in a sense – it was a location spell for Eli – but she recognized now that whatever was blocking her from knowing Eli's location prevented an actual map. Instead, her magic showed her a different way of finding Eli – through Odin.
Needless to say, Loki was not terribly pleased that she wanted to accompany him.
"Loki, I've already fed on an entire moose! I am more than strong enough to deal with a Nephilim," Lenore shot back.
A panicked look came into Loki's eyes as he brushed a finger against his lips. "Shh, Lenore. I am so serious. You can never mention this. It is possible that if Odin discovers my broken vow he can break our blood bond – and then I would no longer be Loki."
Lips pressed together in deep thought, Lenore gave him a curious look. "Would that really be so bad? Don't you want to be Gabriel again? Someday?"
Loki stepped away from her with an angry expression. "Lenore, haven't you heard a single thing I've told you about my past?" he snarled suddenly. "I cannot and will notgo back to Heaven. Loki is who I am now."
Taken aback from his reaction, Lenore crossed her arms and shifted uneasily. "I'm sorry," she apologized.
Amber orbs met her eyes with caution. "I know." Loki sighed. "It's okay. I'm…I'm sorry I reacted like that. It's just, I can't have my bond broken. Please."
Lenore walked forward and wrapped her arms around his midsection. "Okay," she whispered. "I won't say anything." She pulled back and gave him a stern look. "But I amgoing. I don't want Odin to think I scare easily."
Lenore's expression was identical to Willow's 'Resolve Face'. Loki did not argue further.
It was a good thing he did not know she planned on going on the Wild Hunt to find Eli and be exposed to violence, or else he probably would have attempted to argue further.
Lenore stayed indoors during the Solstice events at Asgard. Although she did not burn like her demonically-possessed vampire brethren, she was still quite sensitive to it. Fortunately, that allowed her to avoid Odin – if she were to spot him she was unsure if she could control her temper.
Thank God she had gorged herself on moose blood. If she had arrived at Asgard without blood in her system after four weeks there probably would have been a massacre, starting with Odin, Baldur, and Sigyn.
Sigyn she had spotted earlier across the room. They had shared a chilly glance but fortunately no words. Lenore had no love for Loki's former wife and after Lenore humiliated her at Odin's blót, she knew the goddess abhorred her. Lenore would have to watch her step around her.
Around dusk Lenore's moment arrived.
"Tonight, in celebration of the day of the longest sun, the Wild Hunt shall ride again!" Odin called out joyfully, his single eye alight with anticipation.
Lenore had spoken with a group of gods earlier – including Thor and his golden-haired wife Sif – about what the Wild Hunt encompassed. Essentially the Wild Hunt was formed of Odin, several gods, and the souls of a dozen victorious warrior souls from Valhalla. They would travel across the world during the night in a raucous fashion and slayed any demon in their path.
Knowing that, Lenore now understood why her vision showed Odin killing Eli – they did not realize that Eli and the others were animal drinkers. It was for that reason that Lenore volunteered to accompany Odin, on the basis that she 'would not be forced to kill but to simply observe'. Loki had been outraged and immediately stated he would accompany her. Odin only smiled secretively and welcomed her into the hunting party.
Now Lenore rode a magnificent black steed as they flew across the North American continent. Stops were made in D.C., Cleveland, and New Orleans as they took out nests of demons. Still no sign of Eli…in her vision he was in a jungle and they had yet to travel through one yet…
"So Lenore, what do you think of the Wild Hunt?" Odin called out cheerfully from Sleipnir's back. Baldur rode along his right flank and Loki to his left; closest to Lenore.
"It can be rather gruesome," she admitted. The warrior souls and gods took distinct pleasure in maiming and murdering the demons…not that they shouldn't. Well, probably.
"The foul beasts deserve it," Baldur sniffed. "The demons are an infestation on this earth." His cool brown eyes flickered towards her dispassionately.
"Aye, they make hunting interesting," Odin commented with a toothy smile. His long grey beard flew around his neck and behind him; yet instead of looking comical he still gave off a regal air.
Perhaps, Lenore thought, because he was descended from an angel. That probably gave someone a regal bearing.
They rode through two more cities, but no sign of Eli. Finally Loki rode near to her.
"I don't get it. Why did you want to come?" he questioned.
"To get answers," Lenore whispered. She glanced at his puzzled expression. "I can't speak freely here but once I find what I'm looking for, you'll know."
Lenore, fearing that Odin's unstable behavior last night would lend itself to irrational decisions tonight once she found her friends, was loathe to admit anything just now. She knew that Loki would understand soon.
Several hours later, after dawn had descended over the Norse lands and was now heading quickly towards the Americans, they began flying over South American – Brazil, she suspected since the land included the ocean coastline and masses of trees.
Lenore's eyes widened. She knew what dwelt in these lands. The Amazons.
"One more stop!" Odin said with a mischievous grin – and was it just her or did he wink at her?
The Wild Hunt began to descend into the canopy of the rainforest. The area was alive with sound – the slither of anacondas, the soft breathing of sleeping sloths, the lithe movements of feline predators – and a shiver ran down Lenore's back.
This was it.
The moment she had been searching for. For almost two months.
No, scratch that – for decades.
A dull pain entered her heart and Lenore, not for the first time, felt incredibly lonely. She missed her family, her clan.To see them after all these years…well it was something she both desperately wanted and feared.
What if Eli still was against her for the strategic error she made when she searched for Drusilla, only to fall into Bilquis' trap?
The wolves, Geri and Freki, began growling and the Wild Hunt members let out a battle cry as Odin's beasts began leading them to their quarry. Suddenly frantic, Lenore wove her horse in-between the dense trees. Several hundred yards away she could hear movement; likely her brethren had heard the descending caravan of hunters and began fleeing.
Warrior cries sounded in the night and Lenore urged her horse to go faster. She debated on saying something now, but what if this was not Eli? What if she blew her chance? What if—
Fleeing shadows came in view, their outlines barely visible under the never-ending leafy canopy. Lenore concentrated and shifted her vision to see auras and sure enough, one of those figures was Eli.
Looking over, Lenore was startled to see arrows already flying through the air.
"NO!" she commanded. Power dripped from her voice and the arrow halted in place, and fell softly to the ground.
Surprised, the shadowy figures ahead turned to stare at her – and she could have sworn her keen ears heard Eli's voice whispering her name.
Looking past Loki's shocked and horrified expression, Lenore turned her gaze to an outraged Odin.
"Lenore!" Odin barked. "What is the meaning of this?" But his eyes…while his voice and body language stated his anger with her, his eyes displayed a different sort of emotion that she couldn't quite pin down.
"You were attacking a member of my clan, Odin. I cannot allow this. I ask you to grant them amnesty," Lenore stated. Her power, long left unused, wrapped protectively around her. No matter how Eli treated her, he was family. She would never let him be murdered if she could help it.
A chorus of laughter sounded throughout the group – except Loki. He looked anything but happy. Lenore was thankful that he was taking her side against Odin – clearly he was just as unhappy as she was about this situation.
"They're demons," Baldur stated in a lofty voice with a roll of his eyes. "They deserve death."
"No," Lenore argued. "Not these." She turned towards Eli and, now that her eyes had adjusted to the darkness, she gazed at him. "Do you still keep to the old ways, Eli?" Lenore called out.
Eli nodded slowly; clearly understanding that he was prey and sudden movements may make his life forfeit. "I do. As do my new charges." Behind him were seven other vampires; all of whom appeared terrified.
"That doesn't matter, Lenore," Odin growled. "This is my Wild Hunt. I must have sacrifice."
"Leave her be, Odin," Loki snapped. "We don't have to harm these vampires. Let's release them and all go back. The sun is almost up, anyways. The Hunt is almost complete."
Odin stared at Loki in wonder with wide eyes…and then those wide eyes filled with wicked humor as he began letting out riotous laughter.
Unnerved, Lenore shared a look with Loki. In fact, everyone appeared bewildered except for Baldur, who wore a smug expression.
"Loki," Odin guffawed. "That is rich, my friend, coming from you. Aren't you the one who blocked Lenore's spells from even finding her clan?"
Odin's words did not register at first. As the entire jungle became silent Lenore could only stare at Loki in horror as the words echoed in her mind. "Loki?" she asked in a small voice.
Paling, Loki gave her a pained look before directing a malevolent look towards his blood brother. "Odin," Loki growled. "What lies do you seek to sow now?"
A serene expression washed over Odin's face. "Loki, you have no right to order me to leave the vampires alone. You wanted them dead as well. Don't lie." He gave the other heavenly creature a small smile.
"Loki. Please tell me Odin is the one lying," Lenore pleaded.
Her lover turned to her with such a guilt-stricken look that she knew the truth.
"Why?" she gasped, appalled.
"Lenore, please understand!" Loki begged as he rode his steed closer to hers. "I just wanted to protect you! If you were to reunite with your clan you would begin your crusade again and that will only get you killed! You've done so much already, you deserve peace. With me." Amber eyes gazed at her forlornly as he struggled to make her understand.
Clenching her eyes shut, Lenore tried to ward off the pain of betrayal that was threatening to consume her. Why would he…why would he do that?
For the same reason he didn't want you leaving with Kali hundreds of years ago…he wants you to be safe and sound, his; to not claim your destiny…to control you.
Lenore's eyes hardened as she received insight into their relationship – and that it was just like every relationship she had with a man. "You know," she whispered coldly. "My father controlled me as a girl. He forced me to marry Connor, who controlled every aspect of my life – how I raised my children, who I talked to, what I did for him. Then Aurelius stole me and forced me to drink blood after forcibly turning me, controlling me. And you…you are just like them," Lenore whispered scathingly.
Loki's mouth parted in surprise as if she had skewered him through the heart with an iron poker. "Lenore, no! I swear! That's not it at all." His eyes gleamed wetly and he held out a hand to her. "By Thor's Hammer, that was not my intent—"
"—Perhaps not your intent consciously, but the result was all the same," Lenore stated coolly.
The pain…the heartbreak…it threatened to overwhelm her…but she had to finish this conversation.
Had to finish this part of her life. Forever.
"Never contact me again, Loki." Her eyes caught Baldur's smirk. "And if anyone touches one of my clan members again I will carve a mistletoe stake especially for them and take my time running it through their chest," she threatened in a neutral tone. Judging by Baldur's expression, her threat had worked.
Lenore climbed down from the steed and Loki rushed over to grab her hand. "Lenore, please," he begged softly.
She yanked her hand from hers. "Stay away from me Loki. Forever."
The walk away from him was painful, but necessary.
She was grateful to be in Eli's brother-like embrace moments later – and even more grateful when the entire Wild Hunt party, including Loki, were gone.
Note perspective change
Asgard, Highest of the Nine Worlds
June 21, 1912
The great hall Valaskjalfwas empty save for two entities and the wolf companions Geri and Freki. The eldest creature sipped his honey mead and hummed happily to himself. "To you, my son," Odin rumbled as he led Baldur in a toast. After they took a sip, Odin congratulated the other god. "The vampires were there exactly as your sources stated. Well done, my son."
"Thank you, Father," Baldur said with a deep smile. "I must say, that went better than you expected. Lenore has left Loki and now he has been hurt just as terribly as he did to Mother when he killed me. What great fortune that it did not take much effort to coerce the vampire to go on the Wild Hunt."
Odin chuckled and nodded. Yes, he was extremely pleased with tonight's sacrifice – although not for the reasons his son believed. That, of course, was a valid reason and Frigg would be pleased. However, now he felt a true sense of satisfaction for the revenge that played out tonight.
"It is the truth," Odin shrugged nonchalantly, but his eyes gleamed in the flickering firelight.
"Listen, I've heard you say it a million times – regardless of how fascinating Lenore is, I should be with someone like my own kind, more or less. But I'm not interested. I love her. I would do anything for her," Gabriel spoke passionately, his right hand pressed over his heart.
"Fine," Odin said with a growing smile. "You love her. You would do anything for her." His head tilted to the side as he gave Gabriel a curious look. "Perhaps you are right to hold onto that. Few in life get to find their soul mate," he mused.
His angelic father Azazel, and his human mother Bestla, had been forbidden to love and be with their soul mates. What made Gabriel the Giant Slayer, murderer of all his kin, any better? Now, Odin thought with a smirk, Gabriel would understand exactly what it was like to be torn away from his soul mate.
I am so pleased to have this chapter out so soon! :) I'm really trying to finish this story up next!
** Nephilim:Vaguely referenced in several Old Testament passages, they are featured more prominently in the Book of Enoch , which is a book of the Bible their main Christian Church turned away from in the 4th century, except the Christian Church of Ethiopia who still use it to this day.
**Azazel: Biblically this name has been used in place of 'Satan' by some theologians of the Middle Ages. However, Azazel in the Book of Enochwas one of the Watchers (Grigori) who "taught men to make knives, swords, shields, and how to devise ornaments and cosmetics."
Azazel in the Supernatural mythology is known as Yellow-Eyed Demonand he is responsible for giving Sam demon blood as a baby and for killing the mother of Dean and Sam Winchester, Mary Winchester. Known for his distinct eye color (all SPN demons have black eyes, except Lilith who has white eyes), YED is the main antagonist until his death at the end of season 2. He even has a 'son' and a daughter'; the daughter is Meg, a notorious demon who has interacted with the Winchesters many times throughout the 6 seasons.
**Regarding Odin's story: Clearly I twisted Biblical scriptures with Norse mythology and then with Supernatural mythology. In chapter 36 Hel briefly spoke of how Loki came to be at Asgard:
Hel looked at her sharply, the concaves of her oval, thin face shadowed in the darkness of the night. "No one knows," she replied, her voice lowering an octave. "They say that he appeared to Odin, a refugee himself, and stated that Odin owed him a great favor. Thus Odin gave him a place at his table in Asgard. Although," she mused, "while they are great friends there has always been a tension to their relationship that I have yet to understand."
**Bestla is, in Norse canon, the name of Odin's mother.