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Fjolnir (Wisdom)

In Aesir guise Loki bows his head, and slips from shadow to shadow. The streets of Asgard are filled with gangs of rioting youth. For once the word youth means something - twenty years ago a group of rebel Aesir and Vanir destroyed a good portion of Idunn's orchard of immortality bestowing apples.

The sky is heavy with the smoke of gunfire. There are many shadows to slip to.

At a wide intersection near the palace a woman holds up a severed head. Loki's eyebrows raise. The head was once attached to one the judges of the Diar - one of those that condemned him to so many years of torture. He can't be sorry, but he is glad he convinced Darcy, his human wife, it was too dangerous to come here. A creature of Earth's first world, she would shudder at the sight.

Raising the head high the woman screams. "For too long the Diar held us back while humans rise and exploit the stars! Now there will be equality and fraternity for all of us, the forgotten youth of the Aesir...we will rise above humans once more, for we are gods!"

The crowd goes wild. "Democracy!" someone screams. The voices in the street rise to a roar.

Fools. Loki exhales sharply, and slips into another shadow.

He clenches his jaw. The young of Asgard have imported the ideas of democracy, fraternity and equality, but not the heart.

Shaking the head the woman screams again. "The All Father and the Queen are next!"

Loki tenses and his eyes narrow. He catches the eyes of a young Aesir with a torch in hand looking at him suspiciously. Pulling his cloak around him Loki dematerializes...

...and re-materializes in the palace.

He thought it would be difficult to slip past the guards, but he was wrong. The palace is in disarray. He slips a spell of invisibility around him, and proceeds unhindered. Usually magical wards would alert the guards of his presence, but either the wards are not working or the guards no longer care.

With quick strides he goes to the chambers of Odin and Frigga in the oldest portion of the palace. When he gets there he doesn't bother to open the well-fortified door, he just lets himself pass as mist through it. Rematerializing in the main room at a run he shouts, "Mother! Mother!"

There is no answer. Outside the palace he hears an explosion. Loki sends doubles of himself throughout the chambers. There is no one.

Blood going cold he pulls all of his apparitions back to himself and turns to leave. And just then he notices a tapestry half falling from a wall and a light coming from beyond.

Loki blinks. He thought he knew of all the secret chambers. Without hesitating, he runs to the tapestry, slips behind it...and gasps.

He is standing in a hall as wide and as tall as the throne room. But where the throne room is bright and gilded with gold this room is made of rough quarried stone. That a room such as this exists is not so surprising, there are plenty of spells that warp time and space to allow such a chamber to exist without taking up space - Darcy calls it "The TARDIS Effect". It is a shock to not have known of it though.

At the far end of the room are three unadorned wooden chairs on a raised dias. All are empty. Loki tilts his head. He has never seen this room before, and yet...

"It's familiar to you," says a voice Loki has not heard in decades. But it is different than he remembers, frailer. Sadder.

He turns slowly, letting the facade of his Aesir form melt away. He is stronger when he is in Jotunn form, and no matter how weak Odin sounds, he is still dangerous.

"Where is Mother?" Loki says.

Leaning heavily on the staff Gungnir, Odin gives him a tight half smile. "Thor left with her a few hours ago - he used one of Stark's craft."

Loki straightens. "Why did he not tell me?" The question is more for himself but Odin answers. Lifting his eyebrows the old man say, "I told him I already asked for your help and you turned me down." He shrugs.

Green magic swirls around Loki. "Liar!" he screams and the magic unfurls like a whip. Odin holds up his staff to protect himself, but he is hurled around the room and comes crashing down on the dais in front of the three wooden chairs.

Loki is standing over him an instant later. "Why?!"

Shaking, Odin swallows and whispers. "Because I need your help Loki, yours and yours alone."

Loki's eyes go wide. He feels his magic rise around him again. "You think I will ever help you. After you condemned me to the cave, after you imprisoned me after Thanos took my mind, after you tied me to the rocks to be tortured as Prometheus was -"

"Loki" says Odin, "Do you remember these chairs -"

Somehow unable to help himself Loki looks at the chairs.

"- Brother?" Odin whispers.

And then Loki remembers, not himself really, someone else who was him sitting on the chair furthest to the left. Next to him sat a young man, features too perfect to look upon, and to the far right another man...another man smaller than Loki, softer, with eyes like kindness. He remembers the man creating impossible creatures out of thin air, squirrel's with peacock tails, snakes with butterfly wings...

"Hoenir..." Loki doesn't mean for the sound coming out of his mouth to sound like a whine, a tearful plea.

"Is safe in Vanaheim," Odin says, his voice faint as a breeze.

Loki releases a breath he didn't know he was holding.

Odin closes his eyes. "Loki, I am sorry. I am sorry. Once I was a chief...only a chief...and you and Hoenir were too, and we ruled together, do you remember?"

Loki's hands begin to tremble.

Odin swallows. "But then there was the war with Jotunheim, Hoenir was already among the Vanir, and you and I...we quarrelled so. You wanted to give more giants admittance to our realm...they weren't ready, they weren't Loki, they weren't, even you saw it at the end, when you went to them...they tried to destroy you...but your and my quarrel - it weakened Asgard..."

Loki's fists clench. He finds himself oddly paralyzed by the old man's words though Odin is not using any magic he can detect.

Odin continues to speak. "And the Diar, the Diar said there could be only one ruler, that our indecisiveness would destroy us...and they were right..."

Loki's lip curls.

Shaking his head, Odin says, "But after the war, after the war, after you...I should have restored you...I should have raised you as you are."

"But you couldn't bear to share power with a frost giant!" he hisses.

Odin sighs. "No, I couldn't bear to admit my brother is my equal."

An explosion sounds in the distance, closer than the last. Odin closes his eyes. "I should have let your son's reforms pass the Diar. But the Diar, which I made to help us rule, it became too strong."

"Destroyed by your own monsters." Loki hisses.

Odin's eyes open. "You brought the ideas of Earth to this realm Loki, when you parked the human vessel with its nuclear magic above our heads. Do you control the creatures you have unleashed?"

Loki's mouth drops.

Odin shakes his head. "It is as much my fault if not more...I should have let Nari's reforms pass...I should have remembered I need you and yours to maintain my power...Nothing that remains static remains..." He chuckles low.

Narrowing his eyes, Loki says. "What do you want?"

"I hear you and your human wife have a little girl..." says Odin.

"So much as threaten to harm a hair on her head and I will kill you now!" Loki shouts, a spearhead of ice forming on his hand almost unconsciously. He raises it to Odin's throat.

"...but you haven't been able to have another child..." says Odin his eyes sinking.

Loki pulls his ice bladed hand back as though to strike. But does not. He swallows. Trembling at revelation of his weakness.

His and Darcy's first child, Eisa, was unexpected, an improbable, inexplicable accident. Now that Darcy wants to have another child, so that Eisa will not be alone, they've met with only grief. Three miscarriages in as many years. Loki knows somehow it is his fault. Something to do with his nature.

"What do you want!" Loki says again.

Odin's breathing becomes shallow. "Only what I gave to you."

Loki's head tilts.

And then there is a swirl of the velvety black magic that is like the fabric between the stars. Odin's magic. It twists around Loki and the old man on the floor. Odin's staff Gungnir shatters, as does Loki's spear of ice. The magic becomes so thick around the old man that for a moment Loki can't see him at all.

And then a wail of a newborn echoes through the great hall, the magic pulls back, and the air itself speaks to Loki in Odin's voice. "Perhaps you should call him Bindi."

Bindi. Blind. Loki's eyes go wide, the magic swirls around the room, and into the tiny wailing newborn baby boy lying twisted in an old man's robes.

And Loki understands.

He stares at the baby, pink and writhing, two perfect blue eyes sparkling in his face. And part of Loki wants nothing to do with this. But his wife would never forgive him.

He moves to pick up the babe, and as Loki's blue frost giant skin touches the baby's, the baby's skin turns from pink to blue, the eyes from blue to glowing red. It's wailing stops, and it seems to smile up at Loki.

The walls of the palace shake, and Loki gathers the tiny giant into his arms, and slips into the shadows.

x x x x

The light of Venus colony is pink from the sulfur clouds the city floats upon. But every dwelling is covered in green crawling plants - whether beans, or flowers, or simply ivy. The plants are helping to convert the CO2 atmosphere above the sulfur clouds into breathable air. The colonists still rely on a barrier field to keep most of the CO2 out, but it is working. Slowly.

Beyond the barrier is a floating orchard of apple trees, growing quickly in Venus' natural CO2 abundance.

Loki barely notices these things as he strides to a dwelling at the center of city. He pauses in front of the door, and looks down at the sleeping child in his arms. The child that was Odin. Who once held a third of the knowledge in the universe in his mind. But that is gone now. Loki takes a breath and steps forward. The door beeps in recognition and slides open.

"You're home!" Darcy jumps from the couch, a book she was reading with Eisa falling to the floor. She comes running towards Loki, but the small robins egg blue shadow that is their six year old daughter comes faster.

"Father! Do you have a present, for us?" Eisa shouts jumping up and down, her navy blue hair bouncing in neat pigtails.

"Shhhhhh..." says Loki, kneeling on the ground, pulling back Odin's robe that has served as a blanket for the journey.

Eisa and Darcy both gasp.

"Awwwww..." says Eisa. "May I hold him? Please?"

Loki looks up at Darcy, her eyes are focused on the baby.

"Maybe in a minute, Eisa," says Darcy says, her brow furrowed. "If you sit down on the couch."

Immediately spinning, Eisa races back to the couch. Hopping in her seat, she declares, "Sitting!"

Darcy looks at Loki and holds out her arms.

"I found him in the palace," Loki says transferring the baby to her arms. "No one will claim him." Both are true.

"A frost giant in Asgard?" says Darcy.

Smirking, Loki tilts his head. "It has been known to happen."

Darcy raises an eyebrow.

Loki looks down at the baby and runs a finger over the boy's brow. "It is chaos there now, Darcy...It makes Earth look like paradise."

Loki's face falls. He brought orchards of apples of immortality to Earth - in part because Odin would not share them. Of course, there aren't enough apples for 7 billion people yet. There have been...incidents. Some nations have started their own orchards, and are distributing the apples fairly. Others are not.

Loki and Darcy's family became a target of the greedy who wanted orchards of their own, and of religious fanatics who believed the apples were a curse. It is one of the reasons they came to Venus colony.

Loki's schemes always tend to get a little out of hand.

Darcy says nothing. She swallows and looks down at the baby boy.

In the background, Eisa says, "I'm waiting!" and smacks her lap.

"Can we keep him?" Darcy says. She closes her eyes. "If we can't I want you to take him away this instant, I can't fall in love with him and then let him go."

Loki stands and puts his arm around his wife. "He is ours, if you wish it."

Darcy pulls the baby closer, and starts to cry. "Of course I wish it. Oh, poor little man. He can't be more than a few days old!"

She takes a breath. "Does he have a name?" she whispers.

"I thought to call him Fjolnir," says Loki.

"What does it mean?" Darcy asks, tickling the baby's chin.

"Wisdom," says Loki.


Blame it on bookdragon. She MADE me write this. Gah!

Want more myths and more Loki? Check out my original fiction in "My Stories" called "I Bring the Fire".

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