Sif wandered the palace corridors, taking long determined strides though she had not made up her mind exactly where she was going. It had taken her some time to compose herself. Berating herself for everything from her tears to the memory of his gentle touch which she hated herself for remembering and even more for longing for it. She would not be made such a fool of again.
Pulling her long dark hair into a ponytail, she decided to seek the council of the only person who knew the princes better than she, Frigga. The King and Queen's chamber was far to the north of the castle. The halls became more and more luxurious as she approached, the golden archways gleaming in the firelight and the smell of fresh flowers, spilling from the various vases calmed her. She had been here once before, under very different circumstances. As a young woman, barely out of her awkward growing years she was already a skilled and respected fighter. She engaged in many sparring matches with her fellow male counterparts, using long wooden rods in place of swords or spears and in one such duel had broken the youngest princes' nose. It did not take long for word to reach Odin and she had been swept up to his chambers so fast she was surprised to learn she still knew the way. She had expected to be severely punished, even imprisoned but the All-Father was just and fair. Sif was sternly reprimanded, reminded of her rank and status, and swore to never lay a hand on either prince again (though Thor often sparred with her for fun in secret) but beyond that received no punishment. Something Loki never forgot.
A somber faced guard stood in front of the door and did not even glance at Sif as she approached.
"I require an audience with the Queen." She demanded, slightly out of breath from the long walk.
"The All-Father and Queen are not to disturbed. Her majesty will not leave his side during the Odin-sleep."
Her brows knit together in frustration.
"Odin is still your King."
"Loki is King now."
"Where does your allegiance truly lye?" She looked the guard dead in the eye.
He seemed to war with himself, staring fixedly back at her as their wills battled it out. Finally he closed his eyes and turned towards the door, muttering over his shoulder.
"I will summon her majesty."
Sif let out a sigh of relief when he left but her heart lifted to know there was still some honor left in this upside-down world.
Frigga emerged quietly from the door followed by the guard who resumed his place. The queen looked tired, there were dark circles under her eyes and her skin was pale, her lips drawn tight with worry and stress. How long had it been since she slept? Still she managed a warm smile for the young warrior woman as Sif knelt before her.
"Please child, there is no need for such formalities among friends."
Sif's heart ached for her queen who had long been the only motherly figure in her life having been orphaned since birth. Frigga's burden was a heavy one with a husband in a sleep from which he may never wake, a son banished to an alien world and another son seizing the throne and plunging the kingdom into a terrible war. And still she managed to speak with grace and kindness. Sif would never be like her.
"Let us walk, I am in need of fresh air." Frigga folded her hands in front of her, walking with elegant poise in sharp contrast to Sif's masculine strides. They walked in silence and Sif was thankful for the time it gave her to choose her words, though her head spun as to what she would say. They soon emerged on an outdoor balcony, ivy and flowers spilling over the railing, the city glittering far below. The night air was cool and refreshing on Sif's face which still felt sticky from crying. The queen rested her hands on the balcony, staring at the twinkling lights of Asgard before turning her gaze to Sif.
"You are troubled child?"
"Is it that obvious?" She half smiled, she had always been comfortable in Frigga's presence.
"You would not have come to me other wise my dear."
Sif bit her lip unsure of her words.
"It's about…Loki." She finished lamely.
The queen looked back out over the city.
"He was never meant to be king-'
"Exactly!" Sif interrupted. "This war with the frost giants is too costly, too many lives will be lost! Thor's banishment must be undone!"
Frigga's face was serious and full of sorrow and Sif immediately regretted her words.
"Only the All-Father can bring Thor back."
It was as she feared. Sif sighed bitterly.
"Listen to me Lady Sif." The young woman was startled my the Queen's formality and the gravity of her tone.
"Loki is as much my son as Thor and I love them dearly. Believe me when I say there is a goodness in Loki few have ever seen but I know it is there!" She grasped the younger woman's hands in her own.
"You are the closest thing Loki has to a friend, long have you known him, you must speak with him, you must turn his actions."
She Queen's eyes bore deep into her own and she shook her head.
"I beg of you, Sif. If ever there was hope for my son it rests with you."
A long silence past between them. Looking at her haggard Queen, so regal and yet so desperate to save the ones she loved Sif remembered her honor, remembered her pride.
"Very well, your Majesty." She bowed her head.
Frigga released her hands and grasped the warrior woman's shoulders.
"Do what you must, you have my blessing…and my deepest apologies."
Sif nodded and turned on her heel. She strode quickly but not quick enough to escape the sound of the Queen's muffled sob. She did not turn. She marched as fast as her legs would carry her towards the throne room but not before stopping by her own room and grabbing her sword. She had a bad feeling she would need it.