The Torment Of A Life Built On Lies.
This room was once a sanctuary of joy.
This golden hall once rang with echoes of laughter, gurgling from parallel cradles as siblings learned the sounds of each other; the soft, excited encouragement of a mother watching her two most precious gifts discover their hands, their feet, take their first steps; a father's booming pride at enthusiastic first words, names tentatively sounded out, screeching laughter at joyous expressions.
But joy and laughter have long since abandoned these halls. The only sounds that echo now are ones wrought of grief, of sorrow, of loss and regret.
Tears will forever mar Frigga's face; tears shed for a son she never really had.
The memory was painfully clear; now it replayed in her head every day, rousing the long forgotten emotion that accompanied that day.
The joy and sorrow of victors returning, their numbers few, the tears of Asgard that were shed for the ones who never returned home, the relief and concern for gravely injured fathers and sons; the swell of her heart, the flutter of excitement as Odin entered the hall to meet his first born son, mere days old.
The fear that gripped Frigga's as bloodied hands handed her another life to hold, a life so small, abandoned for fragility, rescued in the midst of bloodshed;
The warmth that filled her as all sounds of sadness ceased, her sons catching each other's gaze for the first time, Thor twisting in her grip to get a better look at a body much smaller than his own;
The love that spread like wildfire, engulfing everything else in the world to create this beautiful moment in the ashes of war, a mother, a father and two brothers, still gazing upon each other curiously, a family at last.
The laughter grew louder along with the boys, but so did so many unanswerable questions.
Thor was a strong willed child, curious about his world, an insatiable hunger for adventure, pure hearted ad always spoke his mind. He would ask his mother, time and time again, why was Loki so different?
Loki, a raven haired child, pale as the swirling clouds he often gazed upon, lost in his own thoughts. Quiet, smart wit to his brother's brash, a thirst for knowledge deeper than any of the fjords of Asgard, small in stature, a quick mind and a sharp tongue, 'a red rose in a bed of white', Frigga often said to him.
Particularly on the days the questions flowed, when Loki was too small, too fragile, Odin decreed, to spar with Thor and the other young warriors; when Loki showed signs of magic and was torn away for days at a time to learn the mastery of it; When Odin would take Thor to the bifrost to explain the laws that governed the cosmos, and Frigga would take Loki, they knew, even then; they were being guided down different paths.
Frigga knew she could satisfy Thor. Every time he and Loki were separated, he would gaze upon her with large, sorrowful eyes and ask a simple, 'Why, mother?"
A soft smile.
"Everything your father does is for a good reason."
A gentle push out the door, and Thor was gone, accepting the world the way it was.
But Loki, Loki had a sharper mind than any other child his age. He was growing up quickly, learning to play the game of life the use of the silver tongue which would become his greatest asset.
His questions were always so direct, no passing it off without a good solid answer.
"Why won't father show me what he shows Thor, mother?"
And with a sigh, Frigga relented.
"I don't know, my love."
And it was the truth, that for the first time in their lives, Frigga did not understand the reasoning, the rift her husband was driving between the brothers.
But brothers in arms they remained as they grew.
Thor, the golden haired god of thunder, entrusted with Mjolnir, a precious relic from the dwarves of Svartalfheim, a powerful warrior, popular with the people of Asgard, respected by his peers, on the road to becoming king.
And Loki, dark and subtle, now the wielder of magic so powerful, some whispers of fear followed him.
People were wary of the slight man, who still stood out amongst the Aesir, his hair smooth and dark as the nights he loved to venture out into, the mischievous prince who antics were now the stuff of legends.
But Thor saw nothing to fear from his brother.
Their bonds were strong, and could not be broken by anything.
Jotunheim, not for the first time, sent their world off balance, like a gyroscope at the end of it's motion.
Frigga felt the fury of the moment was over her yet again, an unequalled rage that Odin would banish their first born to Midgard without warning, unprepared, unarmed, powerless.
Her rage, Loki's distress, the confusion that followed and the threat of impending war left them all unprepared when the Odinsleep fell.
Frigga would remember that day forever; the look of betrayal, of horror and pain in Loki's emerald eyes as a lifetime of lies was laid bare in front of him; the numb silence as he regarded Odin, concern, pain, guilt and confusion awash on his face as he watched him, as he turned to sort through his thoughts.
As he was handed Odin's staff. Handed power.
It was that moment, Frigga realised, that moment, when he had turned back to face her, staff in hand, the weight of Asgard, impending war with his newly discovered blood, the fate of all of the nine realms in his hands, he looked to her, their eyes meeting for the last time Loki was truly Loki.
His soft gaze had become as steel, cold and sharp, almost dangerous.
It was the moment Loki turned.
It was the moment Frigga thought, as tears rolled down her cheeks, that she failed as a mother.
She should have said something, tried anything.
Thor's return, the accusations thrown at his younger brother; she should have stepped in, bruised as she was from the frost giant's sweeping attack.
Brother attacked brother, Thor was gone once again, and Loki was turning to leave.
She blocked his path, reaching for his hand, only for his to recoil, a look of undisguised disgust on his face.
The first of many tears tracked down her cheeks as he fell to her knees in front of her son, Laufey's attack, seeing Thor return and Loki's treachery all hitting simultaneously.
"Please, my son. My baby," she pleaded, watching helplessly, reaching for Loki as he strode past her sobbing figure.
Hope flared in her heart as she heard his tracks stop at the door.
Then the final blow, the shattering of her heart into a million, unfixable pieces.
"I am no son of yours."
Frigga had not heard all of what had transpired on the bridge that night. She did not want to. Even when Odin and Thor returned to the chamber, sorrow clear in their eyes, to hold her close and tell her that her youngest son had fallen to his death from the shattered bridge, she shook her head, trying to block the words and images that build in her mind, desperately trying to cling onto that first moment when Odin had handed her a tiny, innocent, green eyed baby, for a little while longer.
Now, in the silent hall, as Odin reigned and Thor planned his return to Midgard, a changed man, grieving for his much loved brother, Frigga felt bereft.
She had lost the son who had stayed with her, a comfort his entire life, her favoured son.
She knew as he look through towards to sun spilling across the floor of the chilly hall, she had failed. She was broken, and nothing could ever fix her.
She had lost everything now.
And she was alone.