Loki stood on the balcony adjoining his chambers, gazing out across the city with a grave expression. It was as beautiful a day as possible in Asgard, but he did not seem to notice. He didn’t seem to notice anything, for his mind was only focused on one thing – Caedra. What had become of her and Sif? Thor had set out after them the prior evening and if all had gone well he should have already returned. But he was not back yet, which only left Loki to wonder what had happened. Not knowing was driving him mad.
He fingered a piece of fruit between his slender fingers before releasing it to fall to the ground far below. He’d not had much of an appetite since he had been locked in his room. Loki pulled another grape of the vine and let it fall. Grapes were Caedra’s favorite sort of fruit. The child would eagerly eat any she was given, at any time. Loki could only give a faint smile at remembering. He missed her dearly.
“Loki?” he heard Frigga call to him from within his chambers. He had been aware of her presence from the moment she’d entered, but he had said nothing and allowed her to silently watch him. Even now he pretended not to notice. He didn’t care. He pulled yet another grape off the vine and let it fall.
Frigga stepped out onto the balcony, her arms across her chest as she stared at her son. “I clearly remember teaching you not to do that when you were a child,” she said as she stared disapprovingly at the grapes in his hands.
Loki pulled the last grape off the vine as he turned towards her, throwing the vine over his shoulder and off the edge of the balcony. “I am a child no longer,” he replied coolly.
Frigga gave a slow nod. “That you are not,” she agreed.
“Why are you here?” Loki asked briskly as he brushed past her and stepped back into his chambers. Though he usually found visits from his mother to be pleasant, today he most certainly did not.
Frigga watched her son with a sad gaze. She could see that he was distraught over everything that had transpired in the last day. As so often she thought, she longed to see Loki smile as he had before…everything else had happened. She longed to see her son truly happy once again. “I am concerned for you,” she said as she followed slowly after him.
“Is that so?” Loki murmured, showing little if any interest. He had long ago learned how not to care for what people said to him or their feelings towards him. Such feelings were weaknesses, or so he had once said.
“Loki, I know you are troubled about this, but you must try to be reasonable,” Frigga said as she took another step towards him. “Thor is doing what he believes to be right. Besides, he is just as capable as you are to bring Caedra and Sif home.”
“But Thor is not Caedra’s father,” Loki objected, the first emotion he’d shown since his mother had come to him.
Frigga stared at him silently for a moment. “Neither are you.”
Though her words may have been said with a gentle tone, they stung just as much as they possibly could. What right did she have to say such a thing anyway? Was she not his mother, though they did not share the same blood? How could she say he was not Caedra’s father, if she dared to claim him as her son?
Because I am the trickster, the liar, Loki thought. Did he consider himself to be Caedra’s father now? Truthfully he did not know. He loved the child dearly but such a thing as that was something he didn’t believe himself ready for. As he looked back up to Frigga, he tried to ignore her words. “Then what would you have me do?” he inquired.
Frigga gave a soft sigh. “Be patient, Loki,” she answered. “You must trust that Thor will do all he can. But you must be prepared if-“
“If what?” Loki snapped. He knew where this was going. “If Thor does not return with Caedra? If she-“ he stopped himself quickly. He could not even bring himself to suggest that something horrid might happen to Caedra. He would NOT let anything happen to her. “Whatever happens, whatever I must do, I will get Caedra back.”
Frigga remained silent. She did not doubt the veracity of Loki’s words. He had always done what he’d wanted, and he would do anything to have Caedra safely home again. But Frigga also knew that the laws of Asgard would mean nothing to Loki if he set out after these captors.
She turned towards the door, but paused and looked back at her distraught son one last time. “You will do what you will,” she said softly. “But do not forget that your actions – whatever they may be – will bring about some form of consequence.”
Loki said nothing, nor did he even look to her as she swiftly left the room in silence.
The hours of day passed quickly and were well into the evening before Loki was once again disturbed from his imprisoned solitude. The disruption came in the form of a solitary knock, followed by the sound of the door being opened and a servant stepping inside cautiously.
“Prince Loki?” the servant asked in almost a frightened tone.
Loki looked up from where he had been sitting, the strain in his eyes revealing how little he’d rested over the past day. “What is it?” he snarled, the old familiarity of such a menacing tone returning to him as though it had never left.
The servant, who was already frightened of Loki, was now absolutely terrified. “Y-you are requested t-to speak w-with…” he stammered.
“Who requests my presence?” Loki demanded, rising slowly from his seat. He hated having to deal with such impudent servants.
“T-the king,” the servant managed, backing away from Loki slowly. “He waits for you in the throne room.”
Loki stared at the servant closely, momentarily intrigued. What news did Thor have for him? Had he found Caedra and Sif? Had he caught those that had taken them? Loki was more than eager for news of any sort. More than anything he wished that Caedra had returned and was safe, though somewhere in his heart he knew that something else had happened. But what? He needed answers.
With a quick step Loki moved towards the door, passing by the servant who had nearly fainted at his quick movements. The guards outside Loki’s chambers were on especially high alter as he emerged, the spell surrounding the door lifted. The guards had been informed that Thor had summoned Loki, and did not stop him as he walked. Four guards, however, did escort him towards the throne room – a necessary precaution. No one, certainly not Thor, would leave Loki to his own at such a time as this.
Surrounded by Asgardian guards, Loki made his way quickly to the throne room.
Upon his arrival, the door to the throne room was pulled open quickly and Loki entered, though his “escorts” did not. The door was then pulled shut soundly behind him.
Loki looked around the throne room curiously. Never in his entire life had he seen the place truly empty. There were always servants or guards or someone somewhere in the grand room, but not today. Today, the room was completely silent.
“Loki,” Thor called, his tall, muscular form moving towards him.
Loki remained where he was and tilted his head up slightly as Thor approached. “Should I be thanking you for summoning me here?” he asked with a sneer.
“Loki…” Thor said, already slightly annoyed.
“Oh no, brother,” Loki continued, waving his hand dramatically. “Please allow me to show you my immense gratitude,”
“Loki,” Thor warned.
“Because,” Loki added, clearly ignoring Thor and finding some pleasure in taunting him. “You are the king, after all.”
“LOKI!” Thor shouted, his deep voice echoing through the empty room.
Loki closed his mouth with a smirk. Like always, he’d won. But his smirk quickly faded and he became very serious. “What has happened, Thor?” he asked.
Thor stood very still as he contemplated exactly how he was going to explain things to Loki. Better to tell him bit by bit. “They are gone,” he said solemnly.
Loki’s blue eyes flashed with a look mixed of anger, panic, and fear. “What do you mean?” he asked quickly. “Explain yourself!”
Thor gave Loki a harsh glare to remind him that despite all the turmoil of what all had transpired, he was still the king and would not be shown so little respect. “I was able to track them down to a small, seemingly abandoned village.” He began slowly. “One of the men is skilled in magic. As I tried to approach he cast a spell that set a boundary between us.”
Loki studied Thor carefully, deciding how much he should dare to believe. “Then what?” he asked slowly.
Thor quickly recounted the story of how the boundary was turned to stone, and how as he just managed to break through, the magic this one man had summoned spirited them away before he could be stopped.
Loki remained silent as the full weight of Thor’s story came upon him. “So they are gone,” he said softly. They were gone. Caedra was gone. If they had gone to Midgard, there would be no way for Loki to get her back. But surely not all was lost. Somehow, somewhere, there must be a way for Loki to bring this dear child home to him. He began pacing as he thought. Plan after plan, idea after idea came to mind, but each proved futile.
Thor watched his brother silently. He knew what Loki was doing. There was still one piece of information that he had not yet revealed to Loki, and he was still hesitant to tell him of it. Loki might understand it, but that would not mean he would explain it. But at this point, Loki was one of the few who could understand it, and therefore Thor decided to tell him.
“There is something else,” he said slowly.
Loki paused from his pacing and looked to Thor, eager for any information. “What?” he asked quickly. He hated that he was practically begging Thor for information, but so long as Caedra was involved, he would have to endure.
“The magic he used,” Thor began, unsure how to explain something he himself did not understand. “Was unlike any I have seen.”
“How so?” Loki asked. If there was a variation in the magic used, he could very well guess who might be behind all of this. It was a long shot, but it was better than nothing.
“He used…stones,” Thor answered. “To escape.”
At this point, Loki’s curiosity peaked. “Stones?” he repeated. “What did they look like?”
Thor held his hand to Loki to show him one of the stones that was in his hand.
Loki took the stone quickly and began to carefully examine it. It was more of a rectangular tile than an actual stone, with some sort of rune on one side of its smooth surface. Loki immediately recognized it from one of the old texts he had studied when he was younger. There was only one race that had ever used such stones for magic.
“Jotuns,” he murmured as he fingered the stone.
“What?” Thor asked, not sure if he’d heard Loki correctly.
Loki looked up to Thor, holding the stone up for him to see. “These stones are/were used by the Jotuns.”
“Frost Giants?” Thor asked. “I thought their only power was the Casket.”
Loki gave a slight smirk. “Oh, how little you truly know, brother.” He replied as he slowly resumed pacing. “Without the Casket, the Jotuns’ magic is weakened to the point that it is ultimately useless. But there are some whose magic is strong enough that with the aid of such enchanted stones, they may use magic.” He tossed the stone back to Thor.
Thor caught it quickly and glanced down at it. “But the man I saw was not a Frost Giant,” he objected.
Loki gave a slight shrug. “He may not have been, but that does not mean the Jotuns are not somehow involved.”
“Regardless, where have these men gone?” Thor asked. “To Midgard?”
Loki paused. “I do not know. Heimdall said that is where they intended to go, but…” he paused and glanced at Thor. “Did you find any other stones?”
Thor nodded. “There were many,” he replied, walking over to a nearby table to show Loki. “These were on the ground and this bag was found nearby.”
“Loki stepped over to the table and studied the stones carefully. He could tell that the stones laid out had been used to cast a spell of transportation. But there was one question that remained – where had they gone?
“The stone you have,” Loki asked, looking back up to Thor. “Did you find it with these?”
Thor shook his head. “It was found a few feet away.” He answered. “Sif attacked the man just before he could set this one down with the others. Why?”
Loki allowed himself to smile slightly. “The rune inscribed on that stone says ‘Midgard’, which is where they intended to go.”
“So that is not the stone he set down,” Loki answered, lifting another similar stone from the table. “And therefore they did not go to Midgard.”
Thor crossed his arms. He despised that Loki would make him ask so many questions for such simple answers. “Then where did they go?”
Loki’s eyes glimmered with his usual mischievous look. “Jotunheim,” he replied.