Descent-(The Path)


Days went by without a visit from Silas. By the end of the week, she asked Helgi again if she had seen him.

“No. He does his chores late in the evening and is gone before morning meal.”

Eidra had considered searching the corridors for him but knew it was now getting more dangerous for her to be seen. He would either come to her when he felt he could or not at all. Still she missed him sorely. She was ecstatic when Helgi joined them one night a week later, knitting in hand.

They had moved the chairs to the balcony to catch the evening breeze, a lantern hanging on a wire frame between them. Helgi sat on a low stool.

“You are doing so well Eidra, the blanket shall be finished by the time the baby comes.”

She smiled, “I had a good teacher.”

“Oh not at all, I could teach you from now till crack of doom and if you did not have the ability, you would not be able to do it...”

“You should teach Loki.” She giggled.

Loki was sitting in his chair, head back, eyes closed, “No thank you, 'tis women's work.”

“Yes men prefer the rough play.” Helgi sighed.

Eidra nodded in agreement. Just last week, the summer games had been held in the arena near the south courtyard. It had been a rousing affair and he had allowed her to come down dressed in the hooded cloak with a pair of breeches one evening but when she had told him of being jostled by the crowd, he had ordered her to stay in her chambers thereafter. Therefore, she had tried to see from the balcony of their rooms but to no avail. He had come to their chambers that evening cut, bruised and bleeding, but with the flush of success and she had washed his wounds while scolding him for being so reckless.


Helgi glanced at Eidra, “Yes child?”

“Were you ever married?”

Helgi looked at Loki who was now turned to them, listening. She moved her ball of yarn, pulled out more for play, then sighed.

“I was, many seasons ago.”

Eidra leaned forward intently, “What happened?”

Helgi cleared her throat, “He was killed in battle.”

When Eidra put her hand to her mouth, Helgi waved at her, “There is no greater honor for a warrior than to die fighting.” She saw Loki nod.

“And you never remarried?” Eidra sat back in her chair.

“No, he was the light of my life. I could see myself with no other,” Helgi turned her work, eager to be upon another subject.

“I saw Silas out in the fields with that girl, Ingrid,” Helgi knit a few stitches, “I did not speak to him, not wanting to trouble him while he was with a girl.”

“Oh I am so glad,” Eidra stopped knitting and looked to Helgi, “If only he would come see me, though I know I would shun someone who was responsible for my brother's death.”

Loki put his hand on her arm, “His brother was responsible for his own death, not you. The fault none but his own. Believe me, there was nothing anyone could have done.”

“He may not see it that way. Helgi if you see him, tell him to come visit me.”

“I will dear, I will.”

Helgi put her knitting down and gazed towards the door. “That servant girl, Erwen. She is a worrisome creature, I have a good mind to sneak down there and check on her. A lazy slattern is she.”

“Only say the word and I shall turn her out into the fields from whence she came.” Loki waved his hand at Helgi.

“Mmm, 'tis tempting but I shall give her the benefit of a doubt.” She resumed her knitting.

“Do not hesitate to show her the back of your hand if she be defiant or uncooperative. A heavy hand often helps to still the threat of rebellion.”

There was silence. Loki turned to see Eidra staring at him. She set her knitting down in the chair and struggled to her feet, nodding to Helgi, “Excuse me.”

Loki sat up straight in the chair as Eidra stalked off the balcony into the bedroom, “What now?”

“I would venture a guess that it was the remark about a heavy hand.” Helgi kept her eyes on her knitting.


Helgi finally glanced up at him, “Men very often miss what is right before them. You should go speak with your servant, Milord.”

Loki peered around the back of his chair to see Eidra sitting on her cot, hands clasped in her lap, then he looked at Helgi again, “I shall be right back. If you hear the sounds of something large being broken, perhaps over my head, would you come to my rescue?”

Helgi smirked, “I think this is your own battle, Milord.”

“Eidra,” she heard him but did not look up. He knelt on the floor before her, “My love?”

“What?” Her tone was sharp, petulant.

He laid his head in her lap and gazed up at her, “Forgive me?”

“For what?”

He kissed the swell of her belly, “For my advice to Helgi.”

“So do I forgive you the advice or the time at which you said it?”

He knelt back on the floor, his hands on her thighs, “I do not ken.”

“You very obviously believe that your past injustices with me were warranted. What is to stop you from visiting them upon me again?” Eidra cradled her belly with her arms.

“I apologized to you a thousand times over. You are my servant no longer, you know this to be true. It is I who so often wait upon you. Is that not proof enough?”

She shrugged, “But what of other servants? You would still treat them as such.”

“Because they are servants,” Loki looked up into her face, “I still do not see..”

“Listen to yourself! Because they are servants...It would break my heart if you were to ever lay a hand on Helgi or Silas, they are as much my family as you are. They are all I have.” She sniffed, put the back of her hand to her lips.

“No tears, I implore you,” he moaned, “Do not cry. You know how horribly it distresses me.” He put his head to her hands but she shoved him from her lap.

“Can I help it if I am upset, and when a person is upset, they cry.”

He sighed, sitting down on the floor before her, “Helgi and Silas are safe. You are safe. Should I ever raise a hand to you again, I will gladly hand you my dagger and plunge it where you may,” he stared at the marble floor between them, felt her hand on his head, stroking his hair.

“My heart, however can I stay cross with you?”

He reached up and caught her hand in his, drawing it to him and kissing the pulse point at her wrist, tasting salt and sweet at once.

“My darling, we have company,” she murmured, her voice husky.

He nodded, gave her wrist one last stroke with his tongue, “Do you forgive me? Do you trust me?”

“I do, my love. My life is yours.”

He stood up then, offered her his arm and they walked back out onto the balcony where Helgi sat, looking up at them.

“Is not love the greatest of all things? So what names have you decided upon again?”

The month of Sól-mánuðr, the haying month, was well on its way, the heat of summer building to a fever pitch. Eidra had taken her morning meal with Loki in their chambers. He'd then joined Thor, inspecting the royal fields. She had stayed in, tidying up their chambers, sweeping, dusting, when she began to feel sick. At first, she believed the heat was the cause of her discomfort though there was also the possibility of spoiled milk or foodstuffs. She had barely made it to the basin in the bathing room before she purged the contents of her stomach into it. Twice more throughout the morning she had purged until only bile and dry heaves were all she had left, that and a burning thirst. She kept returning to the bathing room for handfuls of cold water until, exhausted, she had collapsed onto her cot and fallen asleep.

The touch of a cold hand at her face woke her. She looked up to find Helgi hovering over her. “My child, you look terrible! Are you well?”

She shook her head, crying at the dull throb the movement produced, “I sicked up my morning meal. I should not have morning sickness now should I?”

Helgi arranged the covers for her, “I would ask Petar but she is still in no condition to deal with her duties. She may never recover.”

Eidra groaned and clutched her stomach. “Is the baby coming?”

Helgi brushed a lock of hair from Eidra's face answering in a voice shaky with fear,“You cannot be. It is too early.”

Helgi heard the bedchamber door open and she turned to see Loki walking towards them, face flushed from being out in the heat, his smile fading as he saw Eidra on her side in the cot.

“What is wrong, is the baby coming?”

Helgi shook her head, “Eidra has taken ill.”

Loki was immediately on his knee at her side. “My love, what happened?”

She was shivering, “I do not know, I have purged three times this morning, my thirst is immense, I am tired, dizzy.”

He laid his hand on her forehead, “I am going to fetch Clotho.”

Loki strode into Clotho's quarters, nearly startling the elderly physician into losing his grip on a pewter cup he'd been drinking from as he sat in a chair reading a tome.

“Loki, my boy, you gave me a start. What might I do for you?”

“Eidra has taken ill, you must attend her.”

Clotho held up a hand, “I must know what symptoms she has.”

Loki described to him all that she had told him and he nodded, “Let me get a few things together.”

Loki paced the floor of his quarters, “Hurry, please.”

Clotho opened a tall cabinet beside a long table at the opposite side of the room. He took down a few various vials, a cloth, a silver spoon. Placing them in his pouch, he closed it and waved to Loki. “Take me to her.”

As they traveled the corridors, Loki spoke to him, “I am entrusting you with a grave secret, Clotho. What you are about to see, you must keep to yourself, upon pain of death.”

Clotho gave him a curious look, “No need to be so serious about it boy, you know you may trust me.”

When they arrived at Loki's chambers, Eidra was sitting at the side of her cot, holding her belly.

Clotho stared at Loki and whistled, “When you spoke of secrets, you failed to mention the immensity of the thing.”

She lay back down on her side as he knelt down on the floor before her,“My dear, let me look at you.”

He took her wrist and felt her pulse, “Her heart is racing. Open your eyes.”

She did so and he patted her forehead, “How long ago did you say this started?”

“After morning meal,” Her voice sounded hoarse.

Clotho had her lie on her back as he palpitated her abdomen and she winced.

“When is the baby expected to arrive?”

“Another moon at the most.” Helgi answered

“Well she has no fever,” he sat back on his heels and stood, “Keep water coming, she must replace what she has purged. Thin rice gruel and mashed apples for the evening meal.”

He took her hand and rubbed it. “Her skin is dry. My dear, have you felt the baby move today?”

She nodded and he smiled, “Someone should stay with her. She should not overexert herself.”

Loki bent over and lifted her from the cot. She whimpered, drawing her arms about his neck. “You are to stay in our bed.” He slid her beneath the covers, drawing the linen sheet to her waist. When he turned to speak to Clotho she reached out and held fast to the hem of his great coat.

“Stay with me.”

“I shall not leave you. Let me speak with the physician. Rest now.”

Clotho rummaged through his pouch, pulling out a small black bottle, setting it on the small writing desk beside the wardrobe, “I am going to leave this here, we may need it.”

Before Loki could ask why, Clotho held his arm out to Helgi, “Will you walk me back to my chambers? I wish to discuss her diet with you.” He glanced at Loki, “If you have need of me, you know where I am.”

On their way back to his chambers, Clotho was pensive, his steps slow, broken.

“What is troubling you?” Helgi shook his arm gently.

“Many things. If I did not know better, I would say this is no illness.”

“Do you think the baby is indeed ready to be born?”

He shook his head, “No, at least I do not think so. I must study my tomes. I cannot be sure.”

When they reached his chamber doors, he studied Helgi, “Loki swore me to secrecy so I gather her condition is not known to the family.”

She fiddled with the edge of her apron, “No, it is not.”

“And if it is a boy, it would be a contender for the throne, correct?”

She tilted her head, “I suppose...”

“And we are the few who know of her condition, correct?”

“Clotho, you are talking in riddles.”

“Helgi, my dove, go attend to Eidra while I read up on something.” He shooed her away and darted into his room, closing the door.

Helgi arrived at the kitchen minutes later to start fixing the rice gruel for Eidra, finding Erwen gone.

“Oh that shiftless layabout.” She grumbled as she pulled open the sack of rice.

“Come Eidra, eat for me please?” Loki had pulled his chair to the side of the bed and now sat with the bowl in his hand, a spoon sticking from it.

“Not hungry,” she mumbled, barely able to keep her eyes open. All she wanted to do was sleep.

“Just a few mouthfuls, the baby needs nourishment. If you do not eat, the baby cannot.”

She pushed herself up on one elbow then and allowed him to spoon the gruel into her mouth. “I must drink, I am parched.”

“I will give you water, but first another spoonful.”

She took another spoonful but lay back down afterward and put her arms around her belly

“I wish to sleep.”

“Sleep then. I will be right here.”

He put the bowl down on the tray, climbed into the bed behind her and hugged her to him, protecting her the only way he could now.

Helgi was rinsing out the large kettle when she felt a tap on her back and turned.

“Erwen said that Eidra is sick,” It was Silas.

“Where have you been?” Helgi took his arm and shook him, “You do your chores like a thief in the night. Eidra has been asking for you endlessly.”

He gazed at the floor, “I have been working in the fields as well, taking my brother's place.”

She observed him for a moment, he looked to have aged five years in the month since Malek's death.

“Well at the very least you could have told us the reason for your extended absence.”

“I have also been spending time with Ingrid,” He muttered, his face reddening and Helgi smiled.

“How fares your mother?”

He shuffled his feet, “She fares, she delivered her first baby since Malek's....passing.”

“Ah that is good to hear. You should go and see Eidra if you feel you can.”

“Should I?”

She sat at the kitchen table, “Well work could not have been the only thing keeping you away.”

“I did not think she would ever want to see me again. Not with my brother's taint on my family.” Silas sat beside her, staring into the embers of the fireplace.

“It does not matter to her, she was frantic for you.”

He stood, “I will go see her, then I must start my chores.”

The creak of the door opened her eyes and she tried to sit up.

“Silas.” She whispered opening up her arms.

He blushed at first but then walked to the bed and was caught up in her embrace. “Where have you been?”

He let her go and eased her back to the pillow, “Working in the fields as well as the palace. Eidra, I talked to Ingrid.”

Eidra smiled, “Oh that is wonderful. Is she as nice as you thought she would be?”

He blushed further, “Yes she is.”

Eidra's eyes closed for a moment, “I am so happy to see you, Silas. Please say you will come back tomorrow.”

He nodded, “I will, after evening meal.”

She opened her eyes and held out her hand which he took and squeezed, “If I have a son, may he be as good and kind as you.”

“Rest Eidra.” he set her hand on the coverlet.

“Now you sound like Loki,” In response, Loki grunted, threw his arm around her and Silas jumped back, startled. “I did not know he was there.”

“I am, boy. Now let her rest for her health.”

“Yes, Milord.”

He closed the door quietly and walked back towards the staff kitchen, he would be here tomorrow as early as he could, maybe he would introduce her to Ingrid.

Loki had awoke in the middle of the evening from a bad dream, a true nightmare where he was trapped in the cavern behind the waterfall with strange spiny creatures arching up out of the water and Eidra's voice somewhere in the darkness calling to him for help. He lay there until dawn broke, listening to her breathing, putting his hand to her belly to feel the baby move.

That morning, she'd taken one bite of the gruel, purging it and everything from the previous night up into the basin. Loki sat through the day with her, alternately dozing in the chair, startling himself awake, rubbing her arm, getting her water as needed. He could think little of eating for his own health until Helgi made him promise to eat what she would send him along with Eidra's meal.

As Helgi was fixing Eidra's tray, Erwen came running into the kitchen.

“Artra has told me that she needs your help. Come quickly.”

Helgi wiped her hands on her apron, “Goodness, child calm down, where is she?”

“She is in the laundry room, I think she did not feel well.” Erwen glanced down the corridor the way she'd come.

“I shall be right back. I will yell if I need you!” Wiping her hands on her apron, Helgi trotted down the hall.

Erwen held the bottle above the small bowl, her hand trembling as she tapped the bottom. She had been late to her chores because of a dalliance with the new field foreman. To make matters worse, on her way down the corridor to the kitchen, he had stopped her as well. He had said this would be all that was needed to finish the job she had started. The last dose. They would think she had died of dysentery, or food poisoning at the very least.

She had wanted to be rid of this chore more than anything in the nine realms. She set the bottle on the table to stir the powder into the gruel. So intent was she on her task that she did not hear the footsteps on the stairs behind her until they were almost upon her. She reached for the bottle, sending it spiraling down the table in a fan of white powder. Another fumbling grab and it skittered back towards the tray. She made one more attempt, then darted down the corridor to her right into the darkness, her heart in her throat.

Silas watched the bottle wobble in a slow circle beside the tray. Picking it up, he looked around the kitchen. “Helgi?”

Loki had dozed a while in the chair, holding her hand while she fell into a fitful sleep. He sat forward in the chair and looked out past the balcony at the evening sky. “Helgi is late with your tray. I am going to see what keeps her.” Eidra moaned, tightened her grip on his hand as he tried to pull it away from her.

“Do not go.”

“Eidra, I shall be right back, I promise.”

He left her curled protectively into herself.

Silas sniffed the bottle and rubbed his nose. There was no smell to it. He looked down the corridor again, then down at the bowl of gruel on the tray. White powder dotted the surface of the contents. The realization of what was happening began to dawn on him, his mouth dropping open in horror when all at once, Loki yanked the hand containing the bottle towards him,

“Silas, what are you doing?!” He shook Silas's hand, the bottle dropping to the table.

“Nothing, Milord, nothing. I swear it, I found this bottle here beside the tray. I had just come upon it myself.”

Silas was frozen with fear, panicked. Loki picked up the bottle, then looked into the bowl, seeing the white powder stark against the dark gruel.

His hand shot out and took Silas by the throat, pulling him close, his teeth bared in rage, “You seek to poison Eidra! You would take revenge for your brother's death on her? She who loves you as a brother herself?”

“Milord,” Silas gasped, his hands upon Loki's at his neck, “Please, upon my life, I would never hurt her! I swear, ahhh!”

Loki drove Silas back to the kitchen wall.

“I will see you follow your brother for this!” He roared.

Helgi heard the commotion in the kitchen and it spurred her heels. She arrived to see Silas nearly suspended by the neck against the cold stone wall.

“Loki, Odin's beard!” she cried, grabbing at his hand, “Put the boy down! What is happening to everyone, is the world going mad? First Erwen tells me Artra is hurt, then she nearly knocks me down running from the kitchen, now I find you try to choke the life from poor Silas.”

Loki relaxed his grip on Silas's throat and the boy began to cough, drawing great whooping lungfuls of air. He picked up the bottle from the table and stared at it.

“Good Freyr what is that?” Helgi took it from his palm. “I have never seen it before.”

Loki's head snapped up, “The new servant girl, where is she?”

“She went down the corridor.”

“Go fetch Clotho, take this bottle to him and tell him to come to my chambers at once, Silas!”

The boy cringed at his name but answered, “Yes, Milord.”

“Go to Eidra, see that no one save us gets through my door, if you must bar it with my sword, bite, kick, scratch, do not let anyone in,” he squeezed Silas's shoulder.

Silas headed up the stairs at a wobbly run and Helgi and Loki headed down the far corridor.

Helgi knocked on the door to Clotho's quarters. Receiving no answer, she tentatively pushed on the door and it swung open. “Clotho?”

In response she heard a snore. He was in his chair before the cold fireplace, a tome open upon his chest.

“Clotho!” Helgi shook him, loosening his grip on the tome. He snorted awake, catching the heavy book at the last minute.

“Helgi, what is the matter, what is wrong. Has Eidra taken a turn?” he peered into the candlelit darkness, “Is it evening already?”

“Yes, Loki has summoned you to Eidra's side. He gave me this to show you, it was found beside Eidra's evening meal tray and the contents had been put into the bowl.”

Clotho eyed the bottle and looked at his cabinet, “How could that be?”

He walked to his cabinet and threw open the doors. “How did I miss it?”

Helgi peered into the cabinet with him, “Miss what?”

He pointed to a vacant spot on the shelf and held up the bottle, “This bottle belongs in my stores. Someone has been in my chambers while I was absent.”

“Or asleep.” Helgi muttered.

“This is a bottle of Arsenicum. This is grave indeed. Go fix her some eggs and a dish of stewed plums, they will help flush the poison from her further. I am going to purge her system as best I can. I was close, I knew something was not right.”

He closed the cabinet and shooed Helgi out, following her into the corridor.

Loki scoured the corridors of the palace with a small phalanx of the royal guards looking for Erwen. As they trooped past Thor's chambers, he opened his door and stepped out, rubbing his eyes.

“Brother, what has happened?” he yawned.

Loki whirled about, “Our new servant girl has sought to poison Eidra. I mean to run her through when I find her,” He tossed his sword from one hand to the other impatient, “She was sent to the staff kitchens to work. I am now sure she asked to be placed there for this purpose.”

“Did this servant have a name?” Thor put a hand on his hip.

“She is called Erwen. I must continue to search.” Loki kept looking back and forth down the corridor.

“Loki, this is absurd.”

Loki held up his hand, closing his eyes, “Thor, I shall not be dragged into this debate, now I must go.”

Thor watched Loki and the guards disappear down the corridor, only then did he retreat back into his chambers.

The dark haired girl crouched on the floor beside the door stood and took Thor's hands, pressing them to her forehead.

“Thank you, Milord. Forgive me for failing you.”

“There now. I never should have given such a task to a simple servant but you seemed so eager.” He patted her head as if comforting a fretful child.

“The bitch took Malek from me,” She growled, glaring at the closed door.

Thor nodded, took a couple coin from the pouch on his writing desk and handed them to her. “Get yourself as far away from here as you can, I will see that the corridor is clear.”

He poked his head out and looked both ways then stepped back, “Go on.”

She bowed deeply, clutching the coins in her hand, and passed before him on her way out the door.

His hands shot out, gripped her head and turned it sharply to her left. The crackle of her vertebrae separating coincided with the merry clink of the coins hitting the marble in a macabre dissonance. He dropped her body to the floor.

“And to your treasonous beloved you shall travel.”

He bent to pick up the coins then hefted her body to his shoulder, walking through his chambers to his balcony. He leaned over looking at the dark river far below, nearly invisible in the waning light of dusk, and let the body drop over the railing into the darkness below. After a second's hesitation, he tossed the two coins into the void behind her.

Clotho took the black bottle he had left on the writing desk the day before, and unstopped it.

“Forgive me, Eidra but this is a necessary evil.”

He poured the black contents down her throat and she coughed, sputtering. “Gods, it is as if you bottled Helheim.”

She lay back down on her side and closed her eyes.
“Did you feel the baby move today?” Clotho asked, putting his hand on her belly.

“Yes, not as much.”

“There is less room for the baby now,” Helgi chimed in, hopeful.

“Have the basin ready, boy,” Clotho gestured to Silas, “The emetic will not take long to work.”

Helgi busied herself with tidying the room, clucking her tongue every once in a while as she thought of Erwen.

Loki swung the door wide and strode into the room, “We have not found the whore. I have guards searching the grounds and the city,” he sheathed his sword, “How is Eidra?”

“I gave her an emetic to purge the rest of the poison from her.” Clotho glanced at the bed, “Then she must have certain foods to cleanse her body.”

Eidra sat up swiftly. Silas already had the basin before her as she purged the medicine as well as the contents of her stomach up, tears in her eyes. Loki sat down behind her and she leaned back against him with a sob.

“It will pass, my love,” he kissed the top of her head, “Do not cry.”

She nodded, let her head back against his shoulder. “Soon I should hope.”

Clotho took her hand and patted it, “It will take time. Now I expect strict bed rest for at least seven days. A diet of eggs, garlic. Stewed plums. Rice, beef barley soup. Make sure you drink plenty of water.”

“I will. Loki, I must lay down.”

He stood and eased her to the bed again, pulling the coverlet up.

Clotho put a hand to Silas's shoulder, “Boy, stay here with her, see that she has all she needs. We shall return.”

Clotho indicated for Helgi and Loki to follow him. Once they stood in the corridor with the door closed, Clotho shook his head.

“The bottle that Silas found was from my cabinet. It was taken without my knowledge. I always keep my door locked because of the many dangerous potions and elixirs I store there, not to mention the many tomes and parchments.”

Loki was leaning against the wall, his arms folded, “What does that mean?”

Clotho moved in closer, his voice low, “It means that whoever did this, had to have picked the lock or have help from someone who possessed a skeleton key.”

Loki stood up, “You think the servant girl had help? Who would want Eidra dead besides Erwen?”

“Who indeed. Malek had friends in the field. What of his mother, Petar?”

Helgi gasped, “Oh no, she may be distraught, but she knows what Malek did was wrong. I cannot see her doing such a thing.”

“Nevertheless,” Loki looked to her, “All must be considered . Servant or noble, it is a crime that has been committed. I will send for Petar to be brought before the High Council tomorrow. She will be questioned, perhaps she will know of anyone else we should talk to.”

Clotho shook his head, “I doubt she will be very forthcoming with any information.”

Loki's face was grim, “If she refuses to talk to us, I shall personally see to her myself.”

Helgi put a hand on Loki's arm, “Milord, she has suffered so. Please have a modicum of pity for her.”

He stared at the closed door, “I shall, provided she is not found to be the culprit. I cannot say what will happen if she is found to have had a hand in it, Helgi. I cannot promise to control my rage then.”

Helgi dropped her eyes to the floor, “I would help you were it true, I wish no harm to come to Eidra.”

Loki gave her a gentle grin, “Thank you, you have ever been a loyal servant.”

“I will stop in on the morrow to check on her.” Clotho shouldered his satchel, “And I shall have our locksmith fashion a lock for the cabinet that only I have the key to.”

“Helgi, will you fix Eidra a tray per Clotho's orders?” Loki opened the door to his chambers, “Eggs, some stewed fruit. I will send Silas to help.”

Helgi bowed, “Of course, Milord, I shall hasten to it.”

Time won out and within the space of five days, Eidra was up and walking around, doing the chores that Loki would let her, or rather the chores that she did without Loki's knowledge, though she would tire easily. Helgi had said the baby was wearing her out, though she was more inclined to believe it was the aftereffects of the poison.

Soon after the incident, while she was knitting the edge onto the baby blanket she was nearly finished with, Loki had come into his chambers and presented her with a new dagger complete with a leather thigh scabbard similar to his own.

“I could not feel safe leaving you alone without a weapon,” He tightened the leather straps around her leg, “Lithasblot is upon us and there are rituals that must be performed. I will be absent for a couple of days, I feel better now that you have your own dagger,”

“Loki, you take such good care of me,” She put her hand to his cheek, “My love.”

“I must, we are soon to be three.”

“Soon,” she kissed him, “Very soon.”

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