Chapter 1

"You're ready."

"Father…" the maiden hesitated. "I do not wish to go."

Folkvar sighed. He had been expecting that. One look into his youngest daughter's eyes almost made him regret his decision. Almost.

"Kára," he started softly. "We have always provided Asgard with healers. Yours skills are ready. You will be taken care of. There's nothing to fear."

"I won't leave you." Her voice broke. She took on glance at her Father, slowly withering away, bedridden, tired, weak.

Folkvar provided her a stern gaze full of old age wisdom and command. Her shoulders dropped, along with her spirits. She stood slowly from kneeling at his father's bedside. With tender hands, she brushed the old man's hair aside and kissed his forehead softly. With as much courage as she could muster, she breathed out, "I will make you proud."

Her father chuckled and held her close. "You already have."

Her heart was heavy with sadness.

Glancing around her room while packing was enough to pull at the strings of her heart and tug another uncomfortable sensation. She had been packing since the early hours of morning, slowly, deliberately, stalling the moment when she would have to leave her home for indefinite time.

She sat on her small vanity and took a glance at the mirror.

She had shadows under her eyes. The very hours of the night had provided no comfort for her.

She was bound to leave her home for Asgard, for a place she had never seen, had never imagined and yet had been prepared all of her life to serve.

She was a healer. The youngest daughter of Folkvar and Astrid, out of four. Quite plain, compared with the beauty of her sisters. Kind, caring, insecure. There are many words Kára might have chosen to describe herself with, but she had over analyzed herself long before and nothing had changed.

The neighboring realm of Asgard welcomed her during the warm seasons, years ago. A small, pretty child, anticipated and loved by her family, she grew training to become the only healer her family could've provided. Her sisters neither had the skill nor the limitations of that last resort.

Her sisters had inherited many blessing from her parents. Whether a quick wit and charm of beauty unsurpassed. Kára deeply loved her sisters. Siri, with her sharp violet eyes and strong will was the epitome of a ruler, a queen, long destined to marry the prince of a realm far away. Eiri, with her widened mind and rapt interest for knowledge had grown bored with the healer training and wanted more. And Laetif, her older sister was impatient and beautiful, charming and eloquent. With their hair as light as sunshine and eyes different shades of blue, their future had been set up since young.

Growing up, Kára had never been able to identify how different she was from her sisters. Her hair was a dark shade of auburn, too dark to catch a spark or charm. Her eyes too were dark, brown and plain. She was curvy, curvier than other maidens. To her, this was a synonym of health. Apparently, that was not so attractive to other people. She had never minded, of course. Until turning into a young woman compelled her to wonder why her sisters had flock of young and not so young men around them and she did not.

Her parents had told her not to worry. In time, they would provide a match suitable for her. She didn't mind. Kára had long figured her match would be an advantageous one and not one made for love. Such things did not exist for people like her, she thought. Never with self-pity or misery. It's just a truth she had come to accept. So she dedicated herself to make others happy. Her sisters, who had always supported and loved her; her parents, who had pushed her into self-confidence with little success, those who wanted nothing but the best for her, as every parent would; her people, who trusted her skills as a young apprentice to the masters when most needed.

And she was happy, living her life for others. Until now, when her duty requested her presence away from her family, away from her dying father, away from the protection of her sisters and mother's embrace. Her people had come to love her, but she was not ready to face other realms.

Her insecurities were too many, everything out of her home sounded overwhelming. She had never had reason to and did not want to leave her haven. It was home.

It is safe.

But her father had asked. And she loved her father so deeply she could never refuse him. So she was being sent to Asgard, to serve his friend and King, Odin the Allfather, in his land.

Pushing all thoughts of misery aside, Kára finished packing. Handmaidens hurried to her aid in clearing everything from her room. Hurriedly, she snatched her precious satchel filled with empty scroll and pencils, a gift from her sisters, created from the beautiful gardens of Valhalla and its mystifying plants and flowers that had been used to create the pigments for her art.

With one last look inside, Kára squared her shoulders, planted a firm smile on her lips and mounted her horse, ready to leave her beloved home behind.

It was all so grand and beautiful.

Asgard was everything she had never imagined. It was greater, more astonishing than everything her mind could've once imagined.

As she stood at the foot of the main entrance to the palace, she couldn't help the breathy sound of her exhale, taking everything in. The overwhelming feeling was too much that she stood rooted to the spot until a kind gentleman made a motion to follow him. The Allfather was waiting and she was to be led straight to him as soon as she arrived.

Her handmaidens stood at her side, shielding her, it seemed. They walked through halls and passages, grand galleries and gardens until reaching an airy hallway.

"Allfather," The guard fell on one knee. "Lady Kára has arrived with her company."

Odin was intimidating, to be sure. Even in his injuries of battle, his only eye was enough to make anyone fall to their knees in respect. He towered over everyone in an aura of power and leadership. And yet, as Kára made her way forward, heart pounding, palms shaking, the Allfather granted her a small smile, kind and understanding.

His friend's child was small and frail. She was brave, he was sure about it, but he doubted if she knew it. For now, he thought, she needed gentle hearts around her. She was much like a child, forever protected by her parents, innocent and naïve. "Come, child." He beckoned.

Kára dropped stance to a respectful bow. "Allfather, my mother and father send with me their sincere gratitude. It is an honor to walk the land of my ancestors." Turning to Frigga, she added, "My queen, please accept the gifts my family sends."

Frigga smiled gently. "Welcome to Asgard, daughter of Folkvar. I pray your mother and father are well."

The young lady smiled sadly. "Thank you, my queen."

"I know your father is ill, Kára." Odin's mighty voice turned soft. "We must not despair. I'm sure he sent you here with purpose and it is a great honor to provide care for you in our land."

Kára bit her lip. Thought her eyes were sad and lonely, she smiled peacefully. "I…I am not sure of my father's intentions, Allfather, but I am here to make him proud, to serve you and your people."

Odin nodded approvingly. The girl before him may not impress much at first glance, but she had spirit and her docile being had something about her, something hidden. "We welcome you, child and request your presence in last meal tonight. You shall meet my sons and their closest friends as well as your tutor."

Kára smiled widely. Though she was nervous, the Allfather had provided with the calming nature of her reception that she couldn't help feeling that she had been childish and petty in her worries. She would make the best of this journey. For herself and for her family.

He was doing it again.

Loki's thoughts betrayed him.

Thor was celebrating along with everyone else while his brother watched on with conflict.

He's not fit to be king.

He shook his head. He tried to ignore it. He tried to defend Thor against his own mind. But the truth was clear and soothing to his troubled soul. This was his justification. This was his advocacy.

That his brother was not ready to ascend the throne of Asgard brought peace to his ever-growing anxiety. To his own concern, he himself was more suited for the role. And he loved the idea.

Growing in the shadow of his mighty brother, in a society where power lay in raw strength of body and mighty screams of war, Loki had found himself always second best. Looked down upon by some, feared by others. It enraged him. He wasn't a pariah, no. But he wasn't the one casting the shadow. He lived in one and it angered him. His father had always said they were meant to be kings. And Loki had fought long and hard to become one. Cunning, manipulative, astute; gifted in eloquence and diplomacy. HE was fit to rule.

Loki shook his head, willing himself to focus on the festivities. He needed to stop that envious logic. He loved his brother. Loved his brother deeply. Despite the fights and disagreements, Thor had always acted upon his role as an older brother, protecting Loki from harm. He stood up for him more often than not. And Loki was grateful…

He glanced around with mild entertainment. Loki had never particularly enjoyed the gran festivities of the House of Odin and tonight was no different. He was indifferent to that which he couldn't take advantage of. As children, he remembered, he and Thor hadn't been allowed to attend so they had to amuse themselves in mischief. Loki enjoyed it the most. Harmless pranks that got both brothers under the stern lectures of the Allfather had been worth it. Only so that growing up they'd have something to share. As they grew, their paths became diverted. Thor favored war and strength. Loki, power in all of its forms, particularly magic. Their parents had been supportive, of course.

"My friend!" Fandral's slap in the back caught him as he stood. "Why are you here brooding? You should be drinking and dancing. Enjoy the celebrations!"

"I am simply tired. I do not wish to be here."

The warrior gave him a knowing nod. "Yes, yes, but you'll miss the introductions."

"From whom?" Loki asked.

Fandral's eyebrows shot up. "Why, Lady Kára, of course. Did you not know? The Allfather has asked her to come tonight." At Loki's stormy eyes, he quickly added. "Oh it's alright. Thor was not aware of it, either. We only know because Sif offered to care for her preparations beforehand."

The young prince became thoughtful. "And how is it that we were not told about this?"

"How should I know?" Fandral offered with a good-natured smile. "Perhaps her beauty is a legend's tale that has been left as a surprise for you, princes, or perhaps something more dramatic for your convenience."

"No." Loki started slowly. "I don't believe it's of any importance that would require our immediate attention."

"Perhaps." Fandral conceded. "But…ah, so there she is."

A petite figure walked unsure across the Hall, glancing around timidly. Sif, walking besides her, was talking animatedly. They approached the Allfather and Frigga, kneeling and bowing. The young maiden, it was noted, stood close to Frigga as though expecting some protection from the curious eyes.

And for the second time that night, someone slapped him hard in the back. Loki grimaced slightly. "It seems we are needed, brother." Thor grinned and pulled him towards the throne.

"Sons," began Odin as they approached. "This is lady Kára, daughter of Folkvar and our guest tonight. A healer, sent by our gracious friend to serve the realm."

Loki's eyebrows furrowed. A healer of noble birth. How curious. He studied the woman standing before him. Clad in a heavy yellow gown, she was only adorned by the warm smile now directed towards them. Her dark hair fell across her shoulders and to her back in a straight blanket. Her dark eyes danced in mirth and wonder as his brother took her hand and kissed it lightly. "Prince Thor, prince Loki. It is a great privilege." Her voice was amiable and well mannered. Timid, small, like everything her.

As expected, Loki took the offered hand and pressed his lips against the delicate, fair skin. As she modestly pulled it away and blushed, casting her eyes downward, Loki was filled with a thought he'd regret in the near future. No one of importance, after all.

Author's note: Hello, everyone!

Well, I've been officially Loki'd. This story came to me as bit and pieces of ideas for scenes I'd like to see in a story. Loki, set during the Thor movie, is not as jaded as we see him at the end of the movie. His personality (I hope I can do it justice) will start off as the young man we see in the first deleted scene of Thor, further developing into who he will become.

Personally, I like criticism, if it is written in a very gentle manner. English is not my first language so I often have trouble with it. Please, bear with me.

I'd really like, for all the readers (please review! It's very much appreciated), if you guys have any ideas you'd like to see happening in the story, suggestions, feel free to let me know! I love to put everyone's opinion and wishes into consideration.

This is my first fanfic in a very long time.

Hopefully, this is the start of a marvelous journey!

Needless to say, reviews are needed for encouragement. Thank you!