Thor sat upon the throne, waiting. He had made his decision regarding Loki, but even now there was still lingering doubt in his heart. Was this truly the best choice? As much as Loki deserved such severe punishment, Thor was not sure he could condemn his brother. They may not have shared common blood, but they were still brothers.
With a sigh Thor rubbed his forehead. He had made his choice. As king, he must be able to make a decision for the good of the realm, not to ease his sentimental heart.
“Thor?” he heard someone say from his left.
Thor looked up quickly to see his father standing there, watching him. “Father,” he said, standing quickly in respect. “I did not think you would be here for this.”
Odin slowly stepped forward. “It may not be a pleasurable time but it is of great importance to you as king.” He said.
Thor nodded slowly as he looked out and stared forward. “Do you think I will make the right choice?” he asked softly.
Odin sighed. “There are no rights or wrong choices, Thor. There are only the choices you make, and the actions that will follow because or in spite of it. And the most you can do is be prepared for what may come.”
“But Loki…” Thor paused. “Any choice could have horrible reactions.”
“Thus is the case with any decision, Thor,” Odin reminded him. “But you know what Loki is at his worst and so you fear he will once again turn to that. But you must have faith in your decision.”
“What would you do, Father, if this were your decision to make?” Thor inquired, looking to Odin.
Odin shook his head slowly. “I cannot say, Thor,” he replied. “But I would think of Loki’s motives for his actions. Why did he escape? What did he do when he left? Why did he return? That is more important than the actions themselves. And that is something you should consider as well.”
Thor nodded slowly. “Thank you, Father,” he said with a grateful smile. Odin’s words had not helped his decision, but it did give him something more to consider as he waited for Loki to be brought before him.
After the guards had come to take Loki to Thor, Sif had not gone with them. She had hurriedly weaved her way through the palace to the gardens, where Frigga had taken Caedra while Sif had been to see Loki. She knew what she was thinking of doing was probably a foolish thing to do, but she would do it regardless. Caedra deserved to be with her father.
Loki walked with his head held high as he was led to the throne room. It didn’t matter that he was in chains. It didn’t matter that he would be brought before a person whom he knew as well as he knew himself. It simply didn’t matter. He knew the truth about Caedra now, and he knew that she was in good care, whatever may happen to him.
Loki was brought out of his thoughts of Caedra only when the guards stopped him. He saw Thor sitting on the throne, looking down at him with a solemn gaze. The guards forced Loki to his knees, and Loki watched to see if Thor caught the irony of it. If he did, he certainly did not show it.
“Loki,” Thor said as he stood slowly. “You have been brought here to answer for your crimes against the House of Odin, the kingdom of Asgard, and the Nine Realms. Have you anything to say for your actions?”
Loki lifted his head and glared at Thor, but held silent. There was nothing he could say that would appease Thor. Even if he begged and pleaded for mercy, it would make no difference. He could taunt, and he would have very much liked to, but he still held his tongue. He was done. He had fought for so long, always struggling. For once, he would simply let fate take him.
He glanced at Odin, who only watched him silently. What was the great Allfather thinking, he wondered. There were so many things Loki thought to say to him, and he had to bite his lip to keep from speaking. He thought of Caedra. He wouldn’t give such taunts if she were here. It was a struggle to tame his pride, but he managed to stay quiet.
“Loki,” Thor said again. “You are aware of what your actions have caused? You have broken your sworn oath with the Allfather that you would remain within the boundaries of the palace of Asgard unless given a direct order.”
“I am well aware,” Loki replied, keeping his voice calm and measured. “I am aware and I do not deny that I willingly chose to leave Asgard.”
“Have you nothing to say in your defense?” Thor inquired.
Loki smirked. “Would it matter, brother?” he sneered. “My words would only fall on deaf ears.”
Thor remained unmoved by Loki’s words. He had not expected his brother to defend his actions. It was simply something Loki would not do. “If you do not wish to defend your actions, then you shall be sentenced upon my own judgment.”
Loki tilted his head slightly. “I expected nothing less.”
As this had gone on, Sif came hurrying toward the throne room – with Caedra. Thor had said that Sif could attend this hearing if she desired, but he had also said that Caedra was not permitted to come. At first Sif had simply decided that she would not go, but after speaking with Loki, she felt that she must. Even though she had sworn that she would not tell Thor of Caedra’s true parentage, if he at least saw the love this child had for Loki and the love he had for her, would that not help sway his mind? Never in her life had Sif imagined that she would be so concerned with Loki, but there were a lot of things that Sif had never imagined would happen.
She walked as quickly as she could without dragging Caedra, who had no idea where they were going or why. They neared the throne room just as Thor was about to speak.
Thor continued staring down at Loki, his gaze hard as steel. “Very well,” he replied. “Loki, you are hereby sentenced to-“
“Loki!” Caedra cried as she broke free of Sif’s grasp and ran towards him. She slipped between two of the guards and threw her arms around his neck, burying her face in his shoulder as she clung to him.
Thor stood up quickly, looking to Sif angrily. “What is the meaning of this, Sif? I specifically told you not to bring her here!”
Sif nodded, unfazed by Thor’s angered gaze. “I know what you said, Thor, but do you not see? She needs him. And he needs her.”
Thor gritted his teeth. “Loki has made it very clear that he needs or wants no one. This child is no exception to that.”
“But she is!” Sif objected. “Just look, Thor!” she pointed to Loki and Caedra. “Do you not see?”
Thor slowly looked back to Caedra and Loki, and for the first time, he truly noticed the change in Loki that was there when he was with this child.
As Caedra clung to him, Loki had wrapped his arms around her, gently kissing her temples as he did so. Thor saw how Caedra laughed happily to be so near Loki, considering she’d not seen him since he’d been taken to the dungeons. But there was something more that Thor saw. He saw how Loki smiled as he held her, the light that sparkled in his eyes as he looked at her. It was something he had never see in his brother before. Loki truly loved this child with his whole heart. There was not any bit of hatred in his soul as he was with her.
Loki glanced at Thor as he felt his gaze upon them. He gave Thor a look, a bit of a glare that was a threat and a promise. It was a look that told Thor Loki would protect this child no matter who or what came against her.
At long last, Thor had settled on his decision. No longer was there any doubt of what he would do. “Take her away from here, Sif,” he commanded.
Sif silently moved towards Caedra and tried to take her hand, but the child refused.
“No!” she whined as she clung to Loki, afraid to leave him.
Loki leaned back to look her in the eyes. “Go with Sif, Caedra,” he said softly. “I’ll find you later.”
Caedra gave a slight pout. “You swear?” she asked.
Loki nodded as he kissed her. “I swear,” he repeated. “Now go.”
Caedra held to Loki for a moment longer, hugging him as tight as her small arms would allow. Gently, Sif took her by the hand and slowly pulled her away.
All were silent until Thor was sure they were gone. He looked back to Loki, whose head was bowed low. “The child loves you,” he remarked softly.
Loki gave a very faint smirk. “That she does,” he said he lifted his head. “With innocent love.”
“Have you nothing to say in defense of your actions?” Thor inquired, knowing it was only fair to offer yet again.
Loki shook his head slowly. “No,” he answered.
Thor sighed. “Very well,” he said as he made his way down the steps. “I, Thor Odinson, for your crimes against this house and Asgard, sentence you to imprisonment for life. The boundaries of your prison extend to the grounds of the palace. Should you cross their boundaries without a direct order, your life shall be forfeit. You shall not be bound or shackled, and are free to roam these grounds as you will.”
Loki stared at Thor in disbelief as he was hauled to his feet by the guards and his shackles released. “Why, Thor?” he inquired as his brother turned away.
Thor paused and partially turned back towards Loki. He smiled faintly. “Why is anything done, Loki?” he inquired.
Loki watched silently as Thor departed. With a sigh he turned away, walking back as free as he ever was, with the intent of finding his daughter.