Zoe tested the door one more time, hoping that maybe if she stood by it long enough, she would be able to channel something within her to pry the doors open. Realizing that there would be no opening of doors, she turned on her heel, fell against her bed, let out a muffled scream and slammed her fists against her pillows like a child having a temper tantrum. She had been told off by Banner and then by Tony and finally by Steve, Clint and Natasha all at the same time. And of course, the Pantene model himself had scolded her the entire ride back to Asgard. She was still getting married to Loki and her arm, although bandaged, was still throbbing and it was cold to the touch. Apollo was probably never going to look the same again. On top of that, Sigyn, who she had tried to frame, was getting away scotch free and Zoe was confined to the palace walls. Could her life get any worse?

She had changed from her wet, still somewhat frozen jeans and sweatshirt and after taking the hottest bath she could manage, she wrapped herself in a large, fluffy down comforter to keep away the chill. Nothing worked because Zoe was still freezing. She rubbed her dark hair fiercely, half of her hair coming out into her hands before she threw the towel away in disgust. She had decided that she hated them all, leaning up against the balcony, watching the stars set over the horizon. She had been on Jotunheim for merely an hour. In Asgardian time, as Thor had explained to her, it had been about 5 hours since she had dissapeared. A bowl of enchanted soup sat on the desk across from her but she merely glared at it from across the room, silently swearing at the inanimate object in her head, making up new strings of filth as she went along.

A cool brush of air on her cheek made her look up to see a handsome falcon sitting on the balcony watching her with his amber eyes. It was a curious bird with beautiful plumage and eyes that were cold, clear and precise.

"Well, at least I can still attract some friends." She grumbled with a bitter chuckle, "I'm sorry, Mr. Falcon. I don't have any food. Unless you like soup because in that case..."

"Who are you calling Mister Falcon?"

The voice made Zoe jump and as she watched the falcon, it transformed into a shockingly beautiful woman with kaleidoscope eyes and cascading copper hair. She had a face that made Sigyn look like an old hag and her long, lithe body was wrapped in a cloak the same colors as the plumage of the falcon. She smirked at Zoe's surprise and glided from the balcony into the room, placing the cloak on a chaise by the doors, "I apologize. I didn't mean to startle you but I didn't want my daughter to know we were talking."

"Your d-daughter?" Zoe stammered, finding it hard to believe that a woman so young could even have a daughter.

She rolled her eyes and gave a soft little chuckle, "I probably should have made myself and my daughter known earlier. Sigyn is my child and I," She touched her clavicle and closed her eyes, exposing ridiculously long lashes, "I am Freya, Lady of the Mountain."

Zoe shook her head slowly in disbelief, "And you're a bird?! Never mind...Asgardians are weird...Why are you here?"

Freya gave her a slight smile and then cocked her head, "I am here to give you a warning and advice. There are reasons that you came here, Daughter. The reason you were chosen wasn't random, there is a rhyme and a reason to why you are here."

"Why is that, might I ask?" Zoe asked with a scowl, "Do you people think it's cool to drag someone from their life and mix them up with all this?" She lifted up her arm to show Apollo's deformed face, "I didn't sign up for tattoo removal by ice!"

Freya sighed and her shoulders sagged slightly before she pursed her lips, " I cannot tell you yet, dear child."

"Why not?! I'm tired of being kept in the dark! I don't want to be a pawn like this anymore!" Tears began to blur Zoe's vision but she quickly blinked them away. She didn't want to appear weak. Not while she was so angry.

Freya narrowed her eyes and looked down at the young woman, "My place is not to tell the future but to observe it. I came here to warn you and give you some food for thought."

"Alright...fine. Go ahead. Give me your unsolicited advice," Zoe's scowl deepened as Freya rolled her eyes and looked to the setting sun.

What you have just experienced is only the beginning of what Sigyn will do. My daughter will do all in her power to destroy you and your sanity as well as those who defy her. She may seem innocent but she will do everything in her power to ensnare Loki and will manipulate all that stand in her way until she achieves that goal."

"I think we've figured that one out." Zoe snapped, "She's already nearly killed me once. Can't you do something about her?"

"No, I cannot. If the fate of your world is to be saved, then she must run her course, and so should you. However, what I can give you is a gift," her eyes changed to a warmer amber color and she smiled warmly, "I come to you with the advice that however hard loving Loki will be, you must overcome. The fate of the world depends on the choices that you make...The weight of every man, woman and child in Yggdrasil rests on your shoulders. You are not a pawn, my child. You are the queen. And if the queen falls..."

Zoe's own blood froze as she heard this, as if Thrym had again wrapped his grip around her throat, "The game is forfeit."

Freya gave her a thin lipped smile and glanced over her head, "Yes, and if this happens, the Frost Giants have already won. You need to marry him. You must carry out your bloodline or all worlds will fall."

Zoe suppressed a shiver. Children with Loki?! Marrying him was already gonna be bad enough..."You said you observe the future. Can you tell me anything that may help me be the queen and make the choices that will save the world?"

Now she gave Zoe a kinder, more motherly smile, "You, my dear one, are favored by me and for that you will learn of a prophecy that I learned many years ago, in shadow of a great tree, long before you walked the earth a second time..."

She cleared her throat and spoke, this time sounding far and distance, as if she was speaking from the bottom of a well.

"The second coming will be the strongest, until that day, the Marked of Freya will be upon the daughter of the Warrior until Steel and Magic collide! The jewels of persistence will reveal their true colors and at the Throat of the World, where the Crossroads meet; she will take a new lover but only a lover through sacrifice! The Steel will be cut down and the Groom will appear from her flesh at the Top of the Mountain and the Winter will fall once more."

She stopped speaking and Zoe looked onward, mouth agape.

"Wow...so...uh, do you know what any of that really means?" She asked in a hushed voice as the goddess gave a little titter of laughter, "What is the Marked of Freya?"

She stopped laughing but the ghost of a smile was still etched upon her face, "A chosen one of Freya. A child born not of my womb but of another. And as such, will receive a blessing."

Freya took a step forward, placed her hand on Zoe's wrist, leaned forward and kissed her forehead gently. The cold that had plagued her body instantly went away and Zoe's eyes widened as the bandages fell away and she could see no marks of where Thrym had touched her.

"My blessing will pass from you to your children, when you have them." Freya said, smiling again, "Now, I am technically not allowed to be here but I will say that I will be watching and I will be with you wherever you go, my Daughter."

Zoe nodded as the goddess gave her one last smile and melted once again into a falcon that took off. Zoe raced to the balcony to watch it depart until it was nothing more than a small black blur against a cosmic sky.

I apologize, short chapter but I've been busy! I know, how can you get busy when you're story is pre-written?

It's called life, children. Life which ultimately stinks. Don't grow up, it's a trap.

Cleaning off her glasses with butter,


Loki, Avengers (c) Marvel
Zoe Evans (c) The Queen of Asgard