Written for me by my lovely husband, Jason! He abides my Loki obsession nicely! XD
Sif took stock of the repairs being done to the castle walls surrounding Asgard. The troll and frost giant's initial assault had done much damage, enemy catapults firing massive boulders that had punched through the perimeter in several places.
Here in Asgard warrior and mason were one and the same; too great was the city's need for capable troops for any tradesman to not also learn to wield a weapon. Such were the lives of her people that the very young tasted battle upon graduating to manhood.
Then there were the women warriors of Asgard. Women like herself, the Valkyrie. Though Sif was not an official member of their prestigious order, due to her own confused destiny. The furies of Odin's eye were highly trained, and perhaps as a result of competition with the men; each was the equal of several warriors.
Thor had stood upon the parapet Sif now stood only days before, musing as to why the cycle of violence continued or was needed. Sif sighed. She had been the one to tell Thor that it was for the best, since change would mean Ragnarok: the end of days.
Thor's last words had worn into her heart, though. 'Perhaps our fate is not our own to decide'. He had meant the statement to lighten the mood, yet it was a sobering notion that she had never contemplated. Given their reliance as a people on prophecy, did they all invite the cycles down upon themselves?
Sif was pulled away from her reverie by someone who caught her eye, a beautiful woman dressed in a flowing green dress. Sif gritted her teeth and vaulted the wall she stood upon, making a beeline for the woman with her hand reaching for the hilt of her sword.
A large man stepped between herself and her quarry, and Sif looked up to see the blonde visage of Thor. He held up a hand, bidding her to halt. "Lady Sif, Amora the Enchantress is here by my leave."
Sif glared at Thor. "Have you lost your wits? This vile creature is responsible for more destruction than even the armies of Jotenheim could manage! Her pet Hulk nearly slew All-father Odin himself!"
Thor remained stolid in his stance, his jaw set tightly. "Have you already forgotten? Amora herself aided you in defending Odin, and without her the day would have surely been lost."
Sif was incredulous. "If she had never summoned the beast into our world there would not have been any danger to begin with!"
Thor nodded soberly, but didn't move. "Aye, and she should atone, but as long as our sister wishes it, we will not prevent her entry into Asgard."
Sif pushed her sword back into her scabbard angrily. "Then enjoy the company of your traitor, I wish not to set my eyes upon her!" She turned on a heel and marched away.
Amora raised an eyebrow with a smile upon her lips. "Well, that could have gone better."
Thor turned a surly look on her. "Do not think all is forgiven. Your presence here is a mockery of those slain by your mistakes, unless you have some pressing need to be here?" Thor waited, staring patiently.
Amora took a step back, bringing a hand to her throat, hurt on her face. "I... I merely wish to secure some items."
Thor grunted. "Then good luck to you in securing trade here. I will defend you from physical harm, Amora, but do not think I will protect you from all of the things your actions have wrought."
Thor turned to leave as well, and Amora was unable to fight past the hard lump in her throat to retort bitterly, which is what she had wanted to do. Once he was gone, all that was left her was the feeling and loneliness.
Sif sat nursing an ale later that day, and gave Thor a cursory glance as the large warrior moved to sit next to her at the table. There was no one else to observe this midday drinking, since most others still busied themselves with the extensive repairs needed.
Thor gave out a sigh after they sat in silence for awhile. "I understand you are unhappy with my decisions concerning Amora, but I would have you know she saved my life; pulled me back from Hela's grasp as I lie dying."
Sif tightened her grip on her mug and scowled. "With a kiss, I hear tell. Might your mind not be clouded by the Enchantress' seductions?"
Thor could hear the jealousy in her voice and raised both hands in surrender. "Her means were not my choice and I swear I am not seduced." Thor took her hands in his. "I have only one Lady whose face warms my dreams."
Sif seemed to relax a little but her expression was still stern. "I do not believe she should be allowed here."
Thor sighed again. "How else is she to reform? Iduun was once one of the most important members of Odin's court, and we cannot forget all the good she has done for our people before..."
Sif slammed a hand down on the table. "Before she betrayed us all and caused the deaths of many!"
Sif fumed and Thor watched her sadly, unable to rebuff her feeling or the rightness of it. "I have come to offer something and to ask something of you."
Sif eyed him warily. "What is it that you wish?"
Thor gave a tight smile. "They request and the gift are one and the same, actually. I want you to be Amora's warden here in Asgard."
Sif scoffed. "Why would I burden myself with such a nuisance? How is this a gift?"
Thor's smile widened. "Because I know you are the most capable at dealing with her attitude, since she cannot enchant you. I believe you will enjoy being able to keep an eye on her personally as well, since you most fiercely protest her presence here."
Sif glared, pulling her hands from his grasp. "Is this an order?"
Thor gave her an exasperated expression. "Yes."
Sif stood, finishing her drink and slamming it back on the table. "Fine. Do not expect me to enjoy your babysitting mission, however."
Thor watched her leave, rubbing his chin with one hand.
Amora stared at Sif through narrowed eyes. "You what?"
Sif crossed her arms over her chest. "I am to be your guardian for your stay within Asgard for the remainder of your stay."
Amora sneered. "Don't worry, 'Lady' Sif, I'm not after your man, you don't have to follow me around protecting your obviously endangered securities."
Sif only glowered. "It is the prince who asked me to do so. Trust that I wouldn't otherwise be caught dead in your vicinity, witch."
Amora waved a hand dismissively. "Well, I wish no such protection, so you may tell your lord as much."
Sif shook her head negative. "Nay. This is not so much for your protection as for that of our city. I would have assumed you would catch on to that by now."
Amora gritted her teeth. "I am not some enemy to be treated this way! This is as much my city as yours!"
Sif only glared and Amora finally turned. "So be it. Enjoy your show, I'm sure you'll bore of my mundane tasks soon enough."
The two of them moved over to the tradesman's hall, where everyone showed their wares to all both to encourage trade and to boast workmanship. Asgardian craft was not dwarven by any standard, but a few warriors were also skilled in their art, a handful of older ones even staying behind from battles to focus on their craft.
Amora had not jested Sif. The items she needed were indeed mundane; staples to make her stay in Asgard more comfortable. But regardless of which vendor she approached, whether the fur trader or the blacksmith, Amora found the men and women tending the booths close their doors as soon as she approached.
Amora stared at the closed window of a wagon that had suddenly closed upon her approach. She shook with anger. " Leather-worker! I demand you trade with me!"
No one answered her challenge, and Amora thought she might have heard a snicker, whirling furiously on Sif, who smiled openly. "You mock me!"
Sif shrugged, not guilty. "Perhaps you were wrong about this not being entertaining; I could watch Asgardians turn you from their hearths all day."
Amora steamed. "That is unjust! I am a citizen, a sorceress no less, and I demand to be given due respect!"
Sif stopped chuckling, annoyed by Amora's sense of entitlement. "The only thing these people might owe you is perhaps a sound flogging. Half here are actually only closed in order to burn their dead. Perhaps you would like to rail against those as they lower their family onto the pyre?"
Amora held at her rage, but it threatened to overwhelm her any moment. "Is this your game? To follow me about reminding me of what has happened and how it was somehow all my fault? Have you forgotten that Loki was the mind behind all these events?"
Sif narrowed her eyes. "You blame him for it? You two are two peas in a pod; I imagine he would have said exactly the same thing, were he not in his rightful place in Hel."
Amora was taken aback. "How could you wish anyone to Hel?" Her countenance darkened. "You really are cold to your own kin. Are you sure you are not a frost giant?"
Sif only watched, and Amora was disappointed to see that she could no longer nettle the warrior to anger. "I retreat to my home. You may return to Thor and report that I have been thoroughly balked from enjoying my time here, as per your plan."
Sif gritted her teeth but said nothing, and followed Amora as she made her way to the mage's tower that served as her new home in the shining city. That Amora would want to 'enjoy' herself after what she had recently done caused her no end of anger, but she refused to show the Enchantress that it was getting to her.
Amora glanced over her shoulder as she approached the door to the dwelling that many of Asgard's gifted shared. "Why are you still following me? Do you wish to watch me bathe and sleep, too?"
Sif's expression was neutral. "I am not a city guide for you; I am your warden. As such, I shall not allow you from my sight until you pass from these city walls."
Amora narrowed her eyes at the warrior woman. Was Thor punishing her?
The construction to rebuild the wall, buildings, and lives that had been shattered by the yearly struggle was completed in a few weeks. These were a people who rebuilt yearly, so their skill at doing so quickly was almost unrivaled.
Sif had brought a bedroll to sleep on Amora's floor in the Enchantress' modest apartment within the mage tower. Amora had hoped that the other residents would have turned her out due to her lack of affinity for the arts, but Sif's reputation insured that they allowed her to do as she wished, to Amora's disdain.
She followed Amora everywhere, and the Enchantress often turned to address her, "Have you not stumbled upon enough of my evil plots as I pick cucumbers for tonight's supper to have need to report this evening's findings?" or "I have just read a book about animals that can talk; you should tell Thor at once of my miscreant behavior."
Sif always endured these sarcasms without comment, however, and was dutifully quiet to the point that Amora came more and more to simply forget her presence, only getting rifled when Sif demanded she stay in a room so the former could bathe.
Amora was piqued at the request. "Why should I be resigned to wait on you? Do you honestly think I will wreak havoc in the small time it takes you to wash? You stink in general, might as well eschew bathing entirely, it will save time."
Sif only glared, and Amora smiled as she stepped from the room pointedly. She heard a loud splash and Sif was out of the wash tub and standing within view wielding her sword as if it did not bother her at all that she watched naked and soaking.
Amora's smile widened as she decided to see how far Sif would take this and strode from her rooms entirely and into the tower proper before the warrior would have time to robe herself. Sif responded without hesitation, staying in view of her quarry.
Amora turned as she heard a voice behind her. "Um, Sif. You are naked, milady." Thor stood blushing hard but staring openly as the features of Sif's form.
Amora gasped and retreated to her dwelling, waiting for Sif to cross the threshold to slam the door and block Thor's line of sight. She hissed at Sif angrily, "You are a whore!"
Sif raised an eyebrow. "This from the seductress herself? Should I be pleased?" She still seemed relaxed, if anything amused that Thor had been visiting when Amora had tried to embarrass her.
A knock on the door made Amora jump, even though she had known Thor was coming. She pointed back in the bath room. "Finish bathing and dress yourself!"
Sif only shook her head and Amora rushed into the room first, crossing her arms and tapping her foot as Sif entered and finished her bath, then robed. Amora hurried to answer Thor's knock afterward, but the warrior had obviously grown bored and moved on by that time.
Amora always allowed Sif the bathe from then on, finding some reason to occupy herself until that too became routine.
The city celebrated: Thor had been in Midgard for a long while, and now returned. It was Asgard's way to have merriment and feasting available for the thunder god's return. He would regale them all with tales of his exploits as they drank themselves into a stupor later, but for now the city lined up in rows to greet him in his return.
Amora watched as the regal tow-headed warrior waved at those thronged to see him, smiling in his open, boyish way. When he turned and saw her, and the smile did not fade, Amora felt a thrill of joy. He nodded to her and she gave him a small smile in reply.
Later, before the festivities and after the arm-clasping welcome homes, Thor found Amora on the outskirts of those gathered to eat and drink at the great hall. "Enchantress, it is good to see you taking part in the celebration with everyone else. I see that the populace of Asgard does not stand away from you as they once did."
The Enchantress smirked. "They will always do so; they know their better when they see it. I... suppose I needed some fresh air; your return was sheer coincidence."
Thor smiled widely. "I'm sure it was. And you are right; you are more special than most here realize. I hope one day persons like yourself can lead this shining city to a new golden age."
Amora smiled deeply now, struck by the handsome man's honest look. She looked down, pulling herself away from the way she felt. Such feeling for Thor had led to her getting hurt before...
Thor took her chin in his hand, pulling her gaze up to see his searching eyes. "You should not doubt thyself. I have complete faith in you."
Amora could not help herself, and threw her arms around Thor, surprising him with a hug. He smiled again, returning the embrace, lifting her from her feet in his huge arms. "Thor, you have given me more than anyone else..."
Thor nodded, still smiling. "This is only the beginning..."
Amora exclaimed, "It is!" and kissed the prince of Asgard deeply, his eyes wide with surprise.
"Enough!" came Sif's voice from a few yards away. "How dare you kiss my man, and so boldly in front of me!"
Amora smiled at her, still holding onto Thor. "How could I do anything less, seeing as how you leave me no time to myself to steal your man?"
Thor gently pulled himself free of Amora, his smile strained now. "She meant nothing of it, I am certain; just caught up in the moment. There is no need to..."
Sir roared. "No need! You enjoyed it! And she blatantly claims to steal you! "
Amora clapped her hands together in joy, so happy was she to have finally pierced the warrior woman's defenses and made her angry. "Why would you fear my advances unless you were not certain of your own hold on him, Sif? Perhaps you are finally realizing that he and I belong together."
Sif balled her fists at her sides angrily. "You know not of what you speak."
Amora's heart raced with the game of angering her hated rival. To see that Thor did not speak either gave her hope, too. He had chosen Sif because he wanted a strong woman. Amora was not physically strong like Sif, but she could prove stronger in other ways..
The Enchantress closed on Thor again, tracing a finger down his chest. "Perhaps I do, Thor? Have you grown tired of her unimaginative manner in bed?"
Sif drew her sword and Thor lifted a hand to halt her while he pushed Amora away again with the other. "Sif, her manner is insulting you, but not cause for drawn blade."
Sif gave him an angry look, but sheathed the sword. "You defend her?"
Thor backed away from both women a step, raising both hands with palms outstretched in front of him. "No!"
Amora was upset by the vehemence of his shouted word. "No? I thought you just told me I had your support? Or was that just something you tell everyone to keep them in your good graces?"
Thor shook his head again. "No! I mean, I defend you both, but this argument is not mine to hold. You ladies will have to sort it among yourselves."
Amora smiled and stepped forward once more, looping her arms around Thor's muscled neck. "Then I have already won, for Sif has all of the social grace of a sow."
Sif moved to the two of them and took Amora by the wrist, pulling the Enchantress free of Thor and turning to look around while Amora tried to free herself with her other hand. "Unhand me!"
Sif saw a bench that was seated against a nearby building and pulled Amora along with her as she marched over to it. Thor followed after, "Sif, what are you about?"
Once she had reached the bench, Sif sat herself down on it and threw Amora over her lap in a single fluid motion. The other woman stared back over her own shoulder in bafflement, and only once Sif had hiked up Amora's dress and secured her so that she could not slip free of her did she seem to realize what was happening.
Amora reached back to grab at her own dress but Sif casually swept her hand away then held that arm to Amora's side as her other hand pulled at Amora's undergarments as well. "You seek to undress me in public! Have you no shame?"
Sif replied in a clipped tone. "Only this much do I need uncovered. Do not worry yourself, I doubt anyone will be admiring any quality of yours while I am spanking you."
Amora gave a gasp of disbelief and suspended rage as Thor watched on, an amused expression playing across his face as she struggled. "You bitch, let go this instant!"
Sif was true to her words though, and began to slap Amora in an unyielding manner, her hand leaving pink imprints behind as it made it's harsh impact. The Enchantress bucked hard for release but Sif was quick to counter her attempts to escape. "I will once I have shown you that you are easily bested by this 'sow'. So then, that makes you less than a sow, does it not?"
Amora let go of an shriek of frustrated anger and pain that she could not free herself, acutely aware with each passing moment how embarrassing the whole situation was. Of all people to disgrace her in this manner, and in front of Thor, no less. "Whore!"
Sif picked up the pace, her hand working in a flurry, and Amora's twin cheeks began to glow a dull red color. Her eyes were wide at the fury of the punishment and her mouth opened wide in her cries of still surprised agony and helpless anger.
Thor fidgeted from one foot to the other and Sif addressed him hotly. "You look as if you wish to speak, but know that you have opted out of this argument, so stay out."
The thunder god nodded soberly, and Amora's cries became more desperate. "No, Thor, make her stop, this is undignified!"
Sif pulled at the Enchantress' hair and wrenched her head back to speak closely to her ear. "You should have thought of that before you intentionally provoked me." She pushed Amora's head down again and began to pummel her bared ass unmercifully so that the other woman was brought to tears.
"Stop!" Amora screamed, feeling the hot tears pour down without heed to her wish to retain her composure. Thor wasn't going to help her; no one was. To think herself as being at Sif's mercy only drove in the the last nail to the way she had felt these last weeks having the warrior hound her steps at all times. "No more! I will leave Asgard, I want nothing to do with your kind here anymore!"
Thor opened his mouth to speak and Sif gave him a withering glare that shut him up. "Leave if you wish, but know that should you return, you will be equally welcomed to stay as an Asgardian sister and equally punished for foolishness."
Amora gritted her teeth. "You have no need fear my return, I will be glad to be rid of you forever; I know not how I have tolerated you this long!" She screamed as Sif repaid her comment with a hard stinging swat.
Sif nodded matter-of-factly. "So be it. As long as you know that some here are less lenient in dealing with your insolence."
Her hand continued it's downswing, and Amora kicked in helpless abandon. "It is agreed, why do you continue?"
Sif smiled darkly, speeding up rather than slowing. "I have been waiting a long time to do this, and it may take some time to alleviate the stain of every snide remark you have made to me from my memory this way. Brace yourself; this will be a while."
Amora stared agape in shock at the implication, the realization of how long Sif might continue causing her to cry out a long wail of misery as the sound of Sif's thorough hand filled the air...
Amora sat gingerly, trying not to put too much pressure on the seat of her backside. She had run from the confrontation with Sif as soon as the bitch had let her go in shame, and boiled for revenge, but something else had picked at her mind while she had endured that punishment.
Everyone here treated her as if everything that had happened lately had been her own fault! Even Loki had tried to imply that it was her own broken heart that had stirred the entire incident...
Amora frowned. Loki. He had devised the entire plot, sought her out to help him. Only after a long bout of argument had he convinced her to join in his little game. Loki had been claimed by Hela, and now it was as if everyone had forgotten his role in things entirely!
Amora brought one finger to her lips as she thought. Likely the trickster had intended it that way; perhaps not the part about going to Hel, but definitely the part where Amora took all the blame, even though it was she who had revived Thor when it mattered.
The Enchantress balled her fists. She wouldn't stand to be the only one who faced such ridicule! Thor seemed to believe that Amora could reenter Asgardian society, and for him she really wanted to, but Loki would not escape to Hel while she shouldered the hard part of this!
She set out, then, leaving Asgard as journeying into the realm of the giants; Jotenheim. She knew these dangerous barbaric lands well, and wasted no time in finding a seedy tavern in the closest village to Asgard.
She received stares as she always did when she visited such places, but her renown had spread far and wide long ago as a traveler who was small but not easy prey, her magic having slain many giants who thought to test her in the earliest parts of her travels here.
Now they watched , curious, but it took some time before one even bothered to approach. She waited patiently, ordering a foul smelling ale from the bar and sitting on the large stool quietly until a giant finally addressed her.
This one was the largest present, and his belt jangled with vicious weapons, his body swathed in furs that undoubtedly previously adorned predator beasts of the wilds. "What brings you to Jotenheim, morsel, and to such a place within these lands as this?"
Amora appraised his bearded, scruffy countenance and judged that he would do. "I come looking for a real man; a giant unequaled in strength, and I have heard that this area was host to fearsome warriors."
The big man smiled, displaying jagged, rotten teeth. "There are none stronger than Atax, son of Atax." He slammed a fist into his own chest as if to insure she knew he spoke of himself.
Amora resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She feigned interest instead, "Perhaps you would buy this maiden some brew, and what tales you have with her, then?" She gave him her most seductive smile and could almost see him melt to putty in her fingers.
"Aye! I would! Stop staring, you heathens, this one's mine! Barkeep, give me a keg!" The huge warrior gave a glare around the room to insure that all the other giants present bowed their heads to him; that he would have no competition, then he smiled and sat to begin regaling Amora stories of his deeds.
Amora nodded and smiled in turn, pretending it all fascinated her, not letting on that she was aware that most of those tales were likely the stories of the actions of others if not total fabrications.
After a time, when he had drunk himself halfway stupid and leered openly at her intentionally exposed leg, she gave him a sultry look, "You do know that I am the Enchantress, do you not?"
He nodded dumbly, "Aye. The others fear you, but I see a lass the same as any other..." He ran his eyes over her body, "...and with the same needs for a strong man to warm her bed."
Amora smiled as if his comment was not insulting. She placed a hand on his leg, "Show me that bed, and if I find you the man I wanted, share it with me."
Amora walked down the long halls that constituted Hela's domain, glancing casually at the rather refined artwork and statuary that adorned her palace. The mistress of Hel really had good taste, and not everything was dreary doom and gloom down here, she noted.
Of course, she wondered why Hela would bother having such an elegant meeting hall, since most persons tended to shy from meeting with death. She supposed that perhaps this was just a facet of Hela's vanity.
The dark lady met her in the throne room, already sitting upon that royal seat as if she had expected the visit. Perhaps she had, as little transpired in her realm without her knowledge of it. "Enchantress. What brings you here, to a place mortals fear to tread?"
Amora smiled. "I have come to make a bargain."
Hela's face was impassive, as always. Amora had heard that emotion never breached her features, and while that may not be true, the coldness that radiated from her now gave the rumor some credence. "Go on."
Amora lifted her chin, pulling a small vial from between her breasts to show her. "A soul, belonging to a powerful giant of Joten, in exchange for the miserable trickster god..."
Loki felt cold. No. Cold was putting it far too lightly; the man who was half frost giant was freezing. He brought his arms about himself and his teeth chattered as he wondered how he had not noticed his cold state before. Then it all came back to him.
Hela had frozen him in a block of ice, effectively suspending him so that he could cause no trouble for her during his time in her realm. He had not been dead when she had taken him, so he had known when she claimed him that the cold but fair warden of Hel would not keep him.
But how long? And where was he now? Loki looked around himself but saw only a broad stretch of white nothingness in every direction. Was he actually still in Hel; was this some bizarre form of punishment that Hela had concocted for his mortal self?
"Hela," he croaked, his mouth dry, "you cannot leave me like this for long; I am still alive and will require food and drink... Hela!" Loki grimaced at the silence that replied to him, wondering how far the dark lady would go to torture him for causing trouble in her lands. As for sustenance, Asgardians did not truly need such things; but being without them would surely be... uncomfortable.
Loki roared in fury once he could get his bearing enough to do walk in one direction long enough to realize that if he was making progress, he could not tell due to the white backdrop that was now his only world. Even the ground below his feet was pristine white, and showed no distinction between itself and the horizon, which created a sort of vertigo, up and down no longer solid concepts.
Feminine laughter pealed from every direction at once, and the trickster raged that Hela was amused by his suffering. "Daughter! I demand you release me from this foolishness! You have no right to hold me!"
The form of the mistress of Hel appeared before him, her face void of expression. "I have you, despite your feeble words. You are as an ant in a glass jar; you may wriggle and protest, but you are helpless to escape your entrapment."
Loki stared at her hard, folding his arms over his chest in silence for a few moments. "What do you want for my freedom, then?"
The dark lady stared back, then pointed at him. "I wish to secure your aid in bringing Thor into my domain. Does this sound like anything less than what you wanted, anyways?"
Loki nodded, smiling. "Perhaps this arrangement is best to mutually..."
Hela held up a hand, halting his words. "That is not all; that is part of how you benefit, knowing that Hela aids you in Thor's death. The part where you pay me for your release is something else altogether..."
Loki's smile dropped away as he lifted an eyebrow. "Then what is this catch?"
Hela motioned behind her and Loki beheld the Enchantress, Amora. "Meet your new master."