This was written after episode 4 came out, so it will be AU, or adjusted accordingly, if new information is revealed.
I know I'm not the only one who's noticed the similarities between Floki, boat builder extraordinaire, and Siggy, the Earl's wife. Not only do they have physical similarities, but they also are the only two characters who regularly paint their eyelids. They also share a certain cadence of speech and a flair for dramatic body language, and in Episode 3 they seem to stare at each other for a moment at the meeting. I wanted to play with the idea that they are siblings, and I love writing madness! (Yes, there's an echo of my previous story "The Queen's Amusement" here. I'm experimenting with a style.)
A note on the name: when I first began to write, I listened for the earl's wife's name and assumed it was "Signy," which means "victory" and reinforced my sibling theory because it's a name honoring Sigyn, Loki's wife. However, IMDb lists the character as "Siggy," which is a very modern version of the name that comes from a modern form of diminutive; and really if you listen, he IS saying "Siggy." If the earl is calling his wife by a nickname, it should be "Sigga," according to my limited research. I use "Siggy" here out of respect to the show.
They were alone on the narrow shore, lit by a small bright bonfire, but hidden by the trees. The firelight reflected off the black lines drawn around their eyes.
"Many years ago there lived a beautiful woman named -"
"Auda," Siggy interrupted firmly, plucking the leaves from a broken branch one at a time and blowing each leaf out to sea with a puff of breath.
Floki looked hurt. "I was going to tell a new story," he protested.
"I like this one."
"It's my story."
One leaf, refusing to be lifted by any air, was torn to neat shreds by Siggy's fingernails.
Floki finally shrugged. "All right. A beautiful woman named Auda."
"Who was the wife of Domari."
"Are you going to tell the story?"
Siggy fixed her brother with a withering glare which did not affect him in the least.
"For a time, they had no children. Then Domari went away for a very long raid, and when he returned, Auda swelled with child."
At this, Siggy jumped up to her feet, the branch abandoned. "You skipped the most important part!" she cried, marching over to where Floki lay on the shore.
He laughed at her in his wicked, giggling way. "Have I?"
"The part where Auda was raped by -"
"Ah, but no one really knows who fathered Ginna, except for Auda. And she told no one."
Siggy fumed. "We know who he was."
"Are you going to tell the story?" Floki said again, mouth curving upward.
Siggy opened her mouth, closed it, and sat cross-legged on the sand. "Go on."
"Thank you." He pulled himself up to sit opposite her. His fingers began twitching through the coarse sand, drawing and molding. "Domari claimed the child was his, and would not be swayed by fact or reason. And so little Ginna was born."
"And was loved by all who looked on her," Siggy proclaimed with fierce triumph.
Floki giggled again. "Now you are skipping important parts."
She snorted. "You are a strange judge of stories. You will not name Ginna's father, but you will take the time to tell of her childhood?"
Her brother waved his hands dismissively. "It is Auda's fate you have skipped."
"She was a fool. She did not care for her daughter as a mother should. She deserved to be torn apart by wolves."
"Yet the wolves did not touch little Ginna."
"Of course they would not. They were her father's servants."
"This all part of the story. Are you certain you do not wish to tell it yourself?" Floki teased.
"Get on with it," she sighed. Her fingers twitched and found the branch again, resuming their slow torment of each green leaf.
Floki grinned. "Ginna was just barely a woman when her mother died. She was beautiful beyond compare, but wild. She could frighten even the bravest warrior. Many men fought for her. She accepted only one."
"Yes. Brave and strong, yet never did he seek to tame wild, beautiful Ginna. He did not listen to rumors about her birth or fear her fits of madness. He thought she was a seeress and revered her."
Siggy's face had relaxed, and now curled into something resembling a smile. "And then they had two children."
"Yes. A son first, who she named in honor of her own father. Then, after many stillborn, she bore a daughter and named her victory."
"Skip a bit," she instructed suddenly.
He frowned. "Which part?"
They fell quiet and still for several long moments. The story continued in their minds, told by their memories.
Then, as quickly as the silence had come, it passed. "Continue."
"Ginna's son had taken no rings, but Ginna said he would protect them," Floki said, the words coming out oddly between pauses. He was shaping something in the sand, and it took up his attention. "But he was still young when the rumors of his sister's unearthly beauty spread."
"The Earl himself was captivated," Siggy mused, smiling to herself. "The old fool."
"But he had a young son," her brother reminded her.
"Strong and clever. But weak."
Floki stopped shaping sand and looked at her incredulously. "He is your husband still."
She snorted, turning her head toward the fire.
"You liked him well enough when you wed."
"That was then," she scoffed. "That was before. . ." she trailed off.
Floki nodded once, slowly. "You are still the wife of the Earl. You are showered with decadence and worshipped by many men."
"What does that matter when I have no sons?"
"You have -"
"An empty daughter. She is his, not mine. She has no fire in her heart." Siggy held her head high, eyes burning and proud, words scathing and barbed. "They are not of OUR line."
"Of course not. You should have known that."
She let out a huff of air. "These are your dreams again. I told you I will not listen to your dreams any longer."
"Listen or don't listen," Floki replied evenly. "I know what I know." He reached out and plucked the branch from her hand. "Grandfather wanted two planks. So he cut down the tree of Auda and hewed it into Ginna." He broke off the smaller twigs, leaving just the long, main branch. "Then he divided her again, into you and I." He deftly snapped the branch in half just at the right point, leaving two straight, useful-sized sticks.
Siggy reached for the larger of the two sticks. "Then I broke myself again, into two sons."
"No." He pulled the stick out of her grasp. "Grandfather only wanted two sticks. Your sons were illusions and splinters. They had to break."
She threw a handful of sand at him.
She fixed him with all the force of her burning glare. "What?"
Other men would have fallen at her feet. Floki merely giggled louder. "You look like her. Like mother."
She softened and smiled again. "Truly?"
"Yes. I see her burning within you."
"She does, she does." Siggy giggled like a schoolgirl. "She burns bright. She gave her gift to me."
Suddenly, abruptly, she stood and towered over her hunched brother. The fire shone on her hair as though it, too, were made of flame.
"I am winning, brother."
Floki looked up at her in his odd way, curling his head up, then his neck, and then his whole frame. He did not stop laughing.
"For now, sister."
She remained confident. "We are old. Our game is almost over."
He raised one bony finger. "Not yet."
Then he dissolved into a fit of laughter that left no room for speech.
Siggy's face began to color, pale skin blossoming to match her hair.
When he was able to speak, his voice was almost sing-song. "I know why you visit my shore this night. A year and a day since your sons were taken away. So tall in your hall. You think to creep down to my hut, where I carve my little boats, to remind yourself of all you have."
She was a statue, carved of fire.
"You ask me for the stories because you cannot accept that Grandfather saved Ginna and gave you an Earl, but would not save your sons."
Her voice was a bellows to her flames. "He abandoned me!"
"And you have abandoned him, and he, you."
She slapped him. He didn't try to avoid the blow.
She marched away from him, toward the fire, and stared into it for a long time. Then she turned and marched back.
"I am Siggy, daughter of Ginna, daughter of Loki. All men desire me. The Earl is under my sway, and through him, all this land. You are a forgotten, overlooked madman. You are alone."
In that moment, as she stood tall and he hunched over drawings in the sand, the firelight struck each detail that marked them as kin: the glint in their hair, the willowy frames, the black drawn around their eyes.
Floki grinned, wide and mad. "That is true. For now."
He giggled. So did she.
Their laughter, free and wild as the wolves, mingled and echoed across the waves until no listener could tell one voice from the other.