Sow a thought and you reap an act
Sow an act and you reap a habit
Sow a habit and you reap a character
Sow a character and you reap a destiny.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prologue: Cleft

"You look distraught, young prince. Does your fortune displease you?"

She didn't bother with sounding earnest. Fortune. She knew using that word would irk him. No, what she had told him was not fortune but a most unfortunate fate.

He only scowled, having long since grown accustomed to her burlesque nature. She stared on with unblinking eyes at the haughty prince. The skin of his face was nearly white as bone, and his inky hair was misplaced from where he had dragged a hand through it during her tellings. His eyes were cast down at the blue flames that danced between him and her. The rich blue clashed with his emerald eyes, making them appear shadowed and black. But she could see the fright in his gaze, clear as day.

Loki, son of Laufey, was scared.

"Well, I am not entirely sure I believe in-"

"Fate?" She asked. "Then you have traveled a long way for something you do not believe in."

The expanse between Nornheim and Asgard was no small distance and she was surprised the Gatekeeper had even allowed the prince across his bridge. She could feel Great Heimdall watching them now. His gaze was heavy upon the both them, scrutinizing and suspicious. Of course he would turn his attentions to the shifty prince and she did not have such a great reputation herself. She had to assume that Heimdall must have wanted Laufeyson to come to her, if he had allowed this trespass into her Keep. She severely hoped she was not doing damage and Heimdall must hope so, too.

She had expected the young prince for a while now. With his brother's coronation impending upon them, she knew the prince would grow restless. So when he had arrived at her Keep she had not asked any questions, only went about preparing her stones.

He lifted his eyes to hers and the corners of his lips turned down as he gave her a look of suspicion. "How am I to know you haven't altered my fate to your liking?"

She nearly smiled at that. It was a very self possessed and ignorant thing to ask. He was deluded to think that she would waste her talents on his fate, even if tampering with destiny was within her capabalities. If she were capable of altering anyone's fate, she would start with her own.

Loki was not the first man to come into her Keep, wishing to know of his destiny nor would he be the last. She was a seasoned forsayer and Loki had not asked anything yet that surprised her.

Yet this young prince was different from all the others.

When she had peered into the blue flames, she had seen something most abnormal. Something she had never seen in all of her years of forsaying.

A fork.

She had seen a man split straight down the middle, his fate in the form of a cleft. Loki Laufeyson held two entirely separate fates, both halves were equally capable of taking him whole. Two different destinies. Two seperate lives. It was like something she had never seen.

She had made a decision right away of which half she would relay to him. She hoped it would be enough to urge him onto the better path; the better of the two halves.

"I only tell you what I see," she said. "These are not conjurings of mine own mind, but the path that lies before you. You wished to know what would come to past and I told you what I saw."

"And that is all you saw?" His dark gaze lifted to hers then. "Nothing more?"

There was a new edge to his voice and she raised an eyebrow. Somehow, without him saying the words, she knew exactly what he was asking. He wanted to know of a woman. Most men did.

She could feel another pair of ears, listening with an intensity that was worrying. Not Heimdall but her apprentice, pressed against the other side of the wall and had been so since the Asgardian prince had arrived. When they were through here, she would deal with her eavesdropping apprentice but for now she turned her attentions upon the young prince.

"There is a woman."

Her words grabbed him and he leaned forward. "Her heart is yet bound to another," she continued. His face, bathed in flickering blue light, did not change but she could feel agitation brewing beneath his stoic gaze. "But you knew that," she added and watched his eyes tighten.

"Our paths are never to cross then?" He asked quietly.

"No, I did not say that." Her eyes fell to the blue flames and they began to whip widely alive. The prince brought up an arm to shield his eyes from the brilliance of the flames. The light bounced off the golden pieces in his armor that had been polished to perfection. The fire was not hot and so provided no warmth. But it stirred the air around them and charged it with a crackling energy.

"There will come a time when your paths cross."

The fire jumped to life, engulfing the space between them. She could sense his startlement as the suddenly roaring fire grew triple in size. It cast the entire room in blue, filling every shadow with it's haunting light. In her peripheral vision she saw the prince scramble back, away from the flames and his black hair flopped into his wide eyes.

Let him be uneasy. She hoped to strike fear in his tiny little heart. Lest it diverge him from the path he was on. She turned her attention away from the shriveling young prince and stared deep into the the blue flames.

She smiled at what she saw.

"What do you see, Norn Queen?"

"I see a man," she began to relay the vision birthed of the azure flames, a vision that only her eyes could see. "No longer a trickster, but a demented soul, driven so mad by his own jealousy and longing that he will take most unnatural measures in acquiring his beau." Her voice rose and so did the flames. "You will claim her body as your own. Occupy it, she being your host, and use it as a puppet for your play. Only then will she turn her attention upon you. Only then, when you wear her skin as a husk, will she turn her gaze to you. But it will be full of hate and disgust. Fear most of all. And by that time you will cease to even be a man but be known as Lady Lok-"

"That is enough." The young prince cried and suddenly the fire was gone, completely snuffed out and blanketing the room once again in shadow. The Norn Stones sat like glowing blue coals in the shallow cauldron, still crackling but diffused of their previous fire. He was silent for a moment, and she watched him take a few slow breaths. He looked ill.

"So I am to forever be Thor's foil, always a darkness to his light. Never to know victory...never to know rule." She did not interrupt his wallowing, but listened silently. "I am a prisoner of my own fate and utterly alone." He raised his eyes to her. "This is what the cosmos have ordained for me?"

"Yes," she replied plainly. She felt no great amount of pity for the young prince; most suffering he was to face would be self-inflicted. She watched him lower his head to his hands with disinterest and awaited the question that all men asked.

His head remained lowered as he spoke. "Is it possible to redirect the course of one's destiny?"

"If I knew that, I would be a great sorceress indeed. If you are a prisoner of anything, young prince, it is your nature. You are an envious man who does not know what he wants and cares for no one but himself."

His head snapped up and his cheeks flushed, taking her words as insults but she only spoke in fact. "I know what I want," he stated, making it sound like a declaration as he smoothed back his hair. He stood and straightened his attire while peering down his nose at her.

"And I will have it."

"My services come at a price," she reminded him as he swept past her. It was something they had already discussed but she wanted it to be clear that her assistance would not go unpaid.

"So you have said, more then once."

Knowing his own fate hardly ever did a man any good. But perhaps this prince would be an exception. Just as it would do his adpotive brother well to learn some humility, it would do Laufeyson well to learn humanity. The woman he wanted for, she would be the one to teach him. She would be the one to break the chains of destiny. For if he could escape his nature then he could escape his fate.

"Loki." She was half tempted to call him by his sur name, but she would allow him to make that discovery on his own. She had already given him more then enough to swallow.

He hesitated at the threshold and his eyes slid to her.

"What does your brother feel for her?" She asked though she knew. She hardly asked a question without already knowing the answer, such was the way of a forsayer.

"Nothing," he replied without hesitation. She wasn't surprised by the hint of smugness in his tone. She was more then happy to erase that smugness.

"Are you sure about that?" It was erased and doubt took it's place. His eyes were wavering and she could see he was not sure if she was taunting him or providing insight into what would come. She was known to do both.

It was true, his mighty brother was most oblivious to the woman's affection but the forsayer did know of what was to come and she knew that he would not remain this way forever.

Only once the Asgardian prince had left the Nornkeep did she realize the gravity of what she had done. Not only would the events of today effect the young prince's fate but those around him as well. She could already feel the effects of the thoughts and ideas she had planted in his head, shifting and altering even her own path. She had caused a ripple.

Having never encountered a forked destiny such as the young prince's, she did not know what to expect. And that had never happened. She could only sit back now and hope she had made the right decision.

A change was near at hand.