A slight breeze lifted the floor-length black empire-waisted sleeveless gown with gold brocade accents at the chest to create a halter around a short, pale neck. Broken shards of the Bifröst remained mere feet away from the unusually petite sullen Goddess dressed for mourning. Sparkling diamonds circled the tiny neck until right in center where a large black heart-shaped diamond sat proud, and a crystal butterfly held back a very small section of hair. A gold bangle rested over a child-sized wrist of a not completely slender arm and a diamond engagement ring nearly took up her entire tiny left ring finger. Frosty blue eyes glittering from bitter tears gazed down into the abyss caused by the bridge's destruction; the site where the future king was saved and the other prince released to his death…at least that was how she saw it. Thick, hip-length waved raven hair swirled about her small healthy frame and nearly blended with the chiffon fabric of her gown. She wasn't a great warrior like Sif, so the lack-of renown earned her free reign to dress as she pleased.
All of Asgard had moved into the palace to congratulate the Odinson and try to re-coronate him, but Thor had refused the throne from the Allfather because he wasn't ready for it…and rightfully so. He would have made a terrible king even with his newfound piety.
Small plump lips to compliment a round baby-like face with oversized eyes and a small nose curled in and out, tightening with her chest and quivering with the clenching of fists. She shook, eyes welled up once more, and tears freely rolled down full cheeks. The build she had compared to the other Goddesses could either be envied or avoided; she wasn't svelte, tall, or muscular. She had her father's build and height, yet remained the fairest of face arguably…arguably. Finally dropping her jaw, she released a cross between a sharp inhale and a whimper; beginning a cycle that wasn't lost by any means by the only other Asgardian not inside the palace walls at the moment.
"He's not coming back," standing stiff as a board with his staff firmly planted in front of him, the dark-skinned man with flaming orange eyes did not so much as glance her way as he spoke.
Wrinkling her nose and whipping her head to the left like he had brutally insulted her personally, she sneered but said nothing. She wanted to, oh hell how she wanted to, but it wasn't in her nature to do so. Undoubtedly the Goddess possessed the sweetest disposition, making her the brunt of jokes regarding a lack of intelligence.
Staring straight ahead of them, Heimdall continued, "You and I both know why you linger…and I regret to tell you that he is lost. Go back to your home, child-bride."
She wasn't a child. It was a cruel nickname to mock her naivety.
Uncharacteristically cold, a high-pitched voice cracked, "You're all-hearing…" sarcastic exhale, "you see all…" sneer, "piece it together,Gatekeeper."
"You speak from grief, not wits, my Princess…" the fact that he remained stoic was driving her up the wall. "You should be inside the House of Odin with your mother and sisters…"
For a minute she swallowed hard as if considering the lecture, but then hardened once again and stared into the darkness of the abyss once more.
"You have not moved for days, the future of your realm is far more important than a traitorous outsider…"
"Out-sider…?" trembling, she shook her head and bit her tongue.
Words didn't come to her as freely as they did to someone she knew very well. In lieu of speaking, round blue eyes lit up and glowed a frightening near-white hue. Heimdall, of course, was not impressed.
"Your threats are empty to me, child-bride. Naught but the acts of mourning…I suggest you return to your mother and sisters."
"No…" lighter than the air, she faltered and gulped with a shake of the head, "don't…" strength in the usually endearing tone increased, "presume to tell me what I will and will not do!"
It rolled off her tongue sourly; like she had eaten something displeasing.
"I presumed nothing, my Princess…" he didn't, "loss has made your temper grow ill."
Shifting from foot to foot, she trained her eyes back to the waterfall and tilted her head at the rushing sound; it was soothing. For a split second, she contemplated throwing herself off the remains of the bridge and into the water to fall into space, but the thought was fleeting. Once calmed by the rushing rapids, she searched the constellations in the distance. It was daytime in Asgard, but there at the edge of the bridge she could see night. Bursts of blue, green, and gold aurora beams decorated the sky and yet again she allowed herself to be lost. Nothing made sense anymore. What were the constellations? What was the name of the body of water she was peering into? Could the bridge actually be repaired? Did Heimdall know everyone's dirty laundry?
Finally swallowing whatever ounce of pride she gained, icy eyes narrowed and lifted so Heimdall could look directly at her doll-like face, "Can you see him?"
"No…" it trailed off, which she didn't like one bit. With quivering lips she slapped a hand over her mouth and just broke into a choked sob. Porcelain skin turned stark red from her own spit and tears, actually baring teeth and biting onto her own knuckles to muffle the cries so all of Asgard wouldn't hear. "His sorcery deems him the only being I cannot see…"
Plump lips pouted and she gulped, heart pounding out of her chest, "Wouldn't that make him alive?"
The biggest, widest grin slapped itself onto her face, though he was quick to make it vanish.
"I guarantee you nothing."
Nodding along, she turned her back again and hugged her slightly chunky waist; allowing the wind to careen the lengths of raven about her and shield the tear stains from view. Heavy footsteps that were not those of her black mare with a blonde mane and tail sounded. Too distraught to ride, she had simply walked her horse out onto the bridge if the need to ride arose. The mare's name was Finna.
"Sigyn…" that block-headed, yet thunderous voice even when he was trying to be gentle startled the tiny Goddess.
Slowly she craned her neck and smiled meekly to see Thor. Alone he stood; away from his mother and friends who were all enjoying themselves in the House of Odin, as she should have been. She was, after all, one of the Asynjur: the seven goddesses who served Frigga, Queen of the Asgardian Gods. Most of the Asynjur were her own sisters. Frigga had barely spoken since her son Loki's death. Sigyn had indeed given the Queen her condolences, but there was more than met the eye and the good Queen, as a woman herself, knew exactly what it was. Loki had always been sweet on Sigyn since they were children. She was Loki's age, but had developed quite the bond with older brother Thor as well.
Sniffling, she dropped to one knee; bowing her head when he gave her a frown and stepped forwards immediately to raise the tiny creature to her feet.
"Little One, you never have to bow to me," that boyish grin and warm touch made her shoulders almost pop out of their sockets. "It is nonsense, I won't have any of it."
Nodding along, Sigyn clasped hands dwarfed by his over his wrists and just stroked the armor in their place.
"Has my Queen summoned me?"
Her eyes did not lift even as he tilted back her chin with a single index finger, cocking his head of long blonde hair and trying to catch blue with blue eyes.
"Hey!" He didn't want to, but forced his childhood friend's eyes on him whether she consented or not. "More than anyone, Mother respects your condolences. You know how close she was with my brother…"
She said nothing, but nodded faintly. Her entire body rattled like a cage. Crown Prince of Asgard narrowed his eyes and brushed a lengthy stray piece of hair behind her shoulder.
"Yet, despite his bond with Mother…" averting his gaze to the abyss, he took a long breath to gather himself and frowned, "all he spoke of since he learned how was you, Little One."
Bleary-eyed and heartbroken she nodded, not hesitating to shimmy under the protective, hulking arm of Thor. Short arms couldn't even make it all the way around Thor's massive frame. Sigyn was only an inch or two shy of five feet tall, something extremely uncommon for any Asgardian. For the males of the realm, she was the ideal housewife in the making, which most strong Asgardian females would object to…but she was too gentle. Of course, she had a few tricks up her sleeve taught by none other than the lost Odinson. Self-defense wasn't exactly an issue for her as a Goddess; she was capable of lifting up to 25 tons like any other Asgardian female.
"You've been here for days…" he tightened the hold around her body and gripped her side firmly against him, "there is no hope for my brother…" She was bawling silently again so he had to speak up, "Does Theoric know you have been here?"
A sniffle, "No…" choking on her own spit, she croaked with a stuffy nose. "I don't want him to."
"Little One," sternly he had to take a breath to bring her head back into orbit, "I understand love for my brother-"
She opened her mouth to interject.
"-but you are betrothed to Theoric, it has been decided since you were born the marriage was arranged."
Raising medium-toned eyebrows sarcastically, she sighed, "Lucky me…"
Frowning, Thor was not exactly left in the dark to the entire situation, but had to somewhat play neutral for the safety of her reputation.
"What could be wrong with Theoric? He is Captain of the Crimson Hawks, a noble young warrior just over your age…"
Her face simply fell apart at the mention of him and a coughing sound escaped her throat, as if falling under a human ailment. Taken aback, he immediately rubbed her bare upper back and frowned.
"Breathe the air, Little One, you must!"
Shaking her head and clamping a hand in that mane of raven hair, she shook her head and whimpered like a kicked puppy; slightly hunching her spine and making herself even smaller than she already was. In disapproval of the violent reactions to marrying the man she was engaged to her entire life, Thor took her shoulders gently and leaned close so his breath nearly went into her hanging jaw.
"Even if my brother were to live and was standing with us at this moment…you would still be betrothed and wed to Theoric. He had tried to convince Father, you know how well that went over."
Hugging herself and practically ignoring Thor's words, she barked, "I don't care!"
"You are dressed in mourning for a man you never truly belonged to!"
"YES I HAVE!"
She didn't mean to bite, and even though he knew the answer due to his brother's antics, he had to play dumb.
"Why would you say such things? Companionship and feelings do not equal-"
"I have known him!"
It was screamed so loudly what remained of the bridge actually began to shake. Finna was on the verge of spooking until soothed by uneasy Thor. Immediately catching the word vomit, hands clasped over her mouth, she gasped, doubled over, and dropped onto her knees to hang her head in shame. Observing the sudden burst for a moment, he stared down at the little ball on the ground before squatting to her level and rubbing her back, he knew. He knew the entire time. What she kept a somewhat secret, Loki wasn't too shy to brag to Thor.
"For how long?"
Shivering and sobbing, she croaked miserably, "From the moment we realized we were no longer children…"
Taking a moment, he just soaked that in and forced a nod. His mother must have known that meant…Sigyn lived in the palace with her sisters…special servants to the Queen. That would have meant Loki had freer rein with her than anyone realized. How many people knew was the frightening burning question.
"Who knows of this?" It was important. "Sister…" he looked her square in the eye. "For both you and Loki, I must know exactly who has been made aware of this relation."
Jerking her head behind her to signal Heimdall, she made Thor smile thinly before taking a breath, "You, her majesty, my mother…" swallowing hard, she gulped, "the rest of the world knows what you thought you knew."
"And what?" He didn't intend to sound so harsh as he lifted her to her feet. "What would you have done upon your marriage to Theoric? Continue your adulterous pattern?"
Her face fell. The fashion in which they looked the other in the eye suggested quite a lot of hipocrisy between the two of them, especially the way they bit their lips ruefully and averted stares.
"Little One," taking a breath, he exhaled and shook his head slowly. "It was a dream…nothing more. You must place my brother behind you and move forward-"
"Then I shall instruct you forget Miss Foster and do the same, Brother." There was a sneer, a nasty sneer…an extremely un-Sigyn-like sneer. Catching the glint in his eyes, she covered a gentle hand over her mouth and flinched. "I am sorry…"
Subtly shaking his head he could only say, "You have become poisoned with him."
Tilting her head back, she stiffened and let her lips quiver.
"And now I am doomed to marry a man that I will never love, for I have given myself wholly to the one I do." Icy eyes igniting with winter fire, she tried to leave him with a parting word. "Strike me dead for I shall never love again."
The moment she tried to strut away, he snagged her arm none too gently and pulled her back so he linked arms with her and led her towards Finna.
"You must marry Theoric, Little One."
"And I shall do so with a heavy spirit, for he may hold my hand but my heart remains high as the waves above me."
She didn't turn to face him, but instead trained large eyes forwards and just admired how strong the arm linked in hers was. Loki was incredibly strong too, but far leaner and less imposing than the blonde meathead she allowed to lead. She knew quite a lot concerning what the Lord of Storms' arms were capable of in ways she would take to the funeral boat at the moment.
"You are far more difficult than you present yourself, Little One," a small smile trickled across his lips. "I would have greatly enjoyed you as a sister-in-law if possible to catch you between pregnancies."
Porcelain skin flushed scarlet. Curling her lips, a fist was made and it lightly slammed into Thor's arm; tears spilling, but she was actually smiling as she shed them. Tightening the hold on her arm, he reached over with his left hand and smoothed the top of her hair.
"Will you come home? Mother may require your company above all others, dearest."
"What good will that do?" Pouting her lips, she finally craned her neck to look all the way up at him. "I'm not Loki. We are day and night. All I know of the world I learned from him."
Light eyebrows rose amiably.
"That is true…" he perked, "yet his heart has always belonged to you…and Mother will find comfort in that. What piece of him is left may very well live through you."
She cringed and quickly clutched her lower abdomen, face going sickly pale at the thought; she changed face before Thor could notice.
"Mama has not said a word to me…" glaring at her feet as they approached Finna and Thor's white stallion, Sigyn bit her lower lip hard and shook it off. "Is she still in the palace?"
"Lady Freya?" Thor gave her a furtive glance. "I'm afraid not. Your sisters, on the other hand, have been uneasy."
Getting a leg-up from Thor, she swung over Finna and without a saddle or bridle guided the animal with just calf strength next to Thor's massive horse. She originally was going to take Loki's chestnut out with her, but thought it was too soon. One skill she had over many Asgardians was supreme horsemanship. Horses and Sigyn were one and the same.
"Because," mounting his horse, Thor rode right alongside her and gave her a look, "their baby sister has spent her days in mourning for a man she could have never married."
Bitter once again, eyes straight ahead they narrowed, "He asked many times for my hand…"
"Your mother chose your fate-"
"Yet she granted me a barren womb until I wedded the love of my life…"
Processing that statement, Thor shook his head, "You said you could never love Theoric…"
Raising shapely eyebrows, she had to crack the faintest of smiles, "I did not submit such a lofty request for Theoric."
He paled, aquamarine eyes widening as the pieces came together in his head and they exchanged rather competitive smirks.
"So you will marry Theoric and bear him no children…?"
A girlish sigh, "Is he the man I love?"
He spurred his horse on and she caught up immediately, pushing Finna ahead to keep her dominant role in the conversation.
"You are sharper than I thought, Little One…" a deep breath and he kicked the horse harder so he was almost meeting pace with Finna, "the plan is awfully well thought-out…"
"Of course," she shrugged and flipped of a wall of raven hair behind her. "Loki devised it. He knew about us, too. We are terrible at hiding it."
If he could have slapped a palm to his forehead he would have done so.