Hidden Within

Defiance

She couldn't possibly sit around and do nothing.

She'd been reassigned. A simple task; to be on the lookout for suspicious activity and/or continuous threats.

Tomorrow was the end of the line. Not only was it the day the Tieflings threatened the Allfather with, but it was also the morning of Loki's execution. Adeline couldn't watch it happen. She'd known this prisoner, this so-called monster, for what? A day? Two days?

But there was this unexplainable attraction. This connection.

She felt the need to help him, to aid him, to nurture him.

So, she would do as he said. She would find Thor.

And he would save his brother. Right?

She sprinted down the corridors of the palace, hall after hall, past doors and doors and doors.She didn't know where his quarters were, or where he was to be, but she continued to search. Her motivation was, of course, quite motivating.When she had almost lost all hope, she passed the palace library. A large open room, with decades of books, sitting perfectly fitted on the golden shelves of the white room. And there he was, lying against the back of a cushioned throne, as he held a book in his hand.

She quickly ran towards him, panting slightly in relief.

"Thor." She gasped and shook her head instantly. "I mean, your majesty." She hunched over, adjusted her armor, and fixed her posture.

"Adeline." He breathed softly, never looking up from the book he held. She wasn't sure, but it didn't seem like he was reading it at all. More like he was simply staring off at one word, while his thoughts did jumping jacks in his head. She swallowed and bowed a short bow.

Thor sighed, "What can I help you with?"

She let out a deep breath, collecting her courage to speak. "It's Loki, your highness." She stated firmly, staring him down with pleading eyes.Thor didn't even flinch. He just gazed off, solemnly, at the wall of books across the room.

"Your father, he-" Adeline was immediately cut off by a stern voice.

"The execution." Thor uttered in disgust, still never working up the nerve to look up at her.

Adeline nodded slowly and narrowed her eyes. "Well, yes. You know?" She questioned the prince before her, his long blonde hair looking oddly dark in the dim light, and his eyes distant, as if he wasn't really there at all.

"Loki is to be burned at the stake." Thor confirmed with a slight bob of his head, his eyes still burning in hidden defeat.

"Burned?" Adeline stuttered and shook her head, crossing the room to sit in a chair facing Thor's distressed yet flat features. She had no worries of a death like this for herself, as it would never be able to destroy her. Fire was a powerless method of torture for her liking.

Thor nodded to her with a long exhalation."The good sail out into the sea, as my mother did, burned once they hit deep waters.The evil are, instead, to be burned uncomfortably and with prolonged sensation."

The words that exited his mouth were so stale and volatile; they made Adeline shudder in conflicted emotions."Why has the king made this decision?" Adeline croaked, gazing straight forward at the young prince, his eyes glowing beneath the out-of-place locks of his hair.

Thor visibly swallowed, "Frigga is dead, and he blames Loki."

Adeline sat straight up in her cushioned seat. "And is this sound reasoning?"

Thor peered up at her, his shoulders hunched forwards in despair, but said nothing.

Adeline narrowed her eyes and leaned backward, "Loki told me to find you."

Thor cocked his head to the side in suspicion. "Told you?"

Adeline winced and nodded, "He is plagued by disbelief and betrayal. He needs someone to trust."She informed the young prince of such precious knowledge yet he quickly shook his head and peered sadly up into her eyes, "He has you."

Adeline froze, and then quickly squinted down at him, with a shrug of confusion."Are you not the least bit concerned for your brother?"She was getting angry now. A sudden rage that always lied hidden within her, at the idea that this so-called soon-to-be king was taking his family for granted.

She swallowed, and let the words flow. "He will die. One spark and he will go up in flames. Suffocated by heavy chains grasping onto his body as he watches himself burn." She snapped harshly at the blank gazed man, looking right at her."All his mischievous smirks, tricks, and lies. All his irritable mockery." She announced, preparing to end her angry ventilation.With a snap of her fingers, she finished with, "Gone."

Thor's eyes glazed over in withdrawn tears, willing to fall as soon as he shut them. She was eager to give him a second alone, but the pain of needing an answer dawned on her much to strictly.

"I understand." He made out in a choke.

She sniffed slightly, running a finger by her nose, just to be sure she wasn't close to crying herself. Of course, she was nearing it."Then what will you do about this?" She asked strictly, staring across the large, intricately designed rug in between their two cushioned chairs.

"I cannot disobey my king." Thor murmured almost inaudibly, but Adeline caught on.

"What happened to your will to stand by him? You told me yourself! And he trusts you!" She exclaimed, causing Thor to jump from his seat in a blinding fury.

"We are threatened by war, Lady Crow! My mother is dead, and my father is too corrupted by grief to see clearly!" He shouted, and Adeline caught her breath. "My brother is to be executed and there is nothing I can do to save him without disobeying the Allfather's orders." Thor sighed, and Adeline partly relaxed."The king has been through enough." Thor added, causing Adeline's expression to cringe in hatred.

"And Loki hasn't?" She asked with raised eyebrows. Thor peered up at her with narrowed eyes of confusion."Because of your precious king, Loki has been chained to a wall, whipped like a weak, overrun horse, and beaten to a pulp!" She gasped for air in between yells. "The Allfather has forced him through more than he deserves, while you sit up here lounging away, sipping on brew, and daydreaming about your Midgardian girl!" The words flew from her mouth with so much graceful anger that she had to place a palm firmly over it to make it stop. She grimaced and looked down at the floor, away from Thor's shocked eyes.

"I cannot save Loki." Thor uttered in defeat, causing Adeline to steadily head for the exit.She turned around to face him, taking a deep breath of air, attempting to ease her fury."You can at least try." She snapped and swayed out the frame of the open door.

Adeline glared at the ground as she rushed hurriedly towards her destination. She was outraged. Simply outraged.If Henry, her own little brother, was ever in this situation, she would betray anyone to save him from his death. Especially, if he didn't deserve the sentence.

How could Thor just sit there?

Alone, with no plan of action?

Just equipped with a simple, silent goodbye to his brother in the dungeons below.

But if he wasn't brave enough to save Loki, she would have to be.And she needed to let him know that.

She pushed open the large metal doors to the prison cells beneath the palace, taking a deep breath as the bright white walls blinded her vision.

Thor was desperate, of course. He couldn't lose his brother.But he couldn't possibly betray his father. Could he?He'd been through enough, but then, Loki didn't deserve to die.

And on top of that, one memory continued to ring in and out of his head.

A memory before all this disaster occurred.

All this chaos.

A memory that very well could have been the cause of it all.

~ "It's unwise to be in my company right now, brother." Thor snapped at the man approaching him, preparing to sit at his side on the steps of the palace hall. "Today was to be my day of triumph!" Thor growled and shook his head angrily."It'll come, in time." Loki spoke softly with a reassuring smile, and a hand on his brother's shoulder."If it's any consolation, I think you're right. About the Frost Giants, about Laufey, about everything. If they were able to slip past Asgard's defenses once, who's to say they won't try again? Next time with an army." Loki attempted to comfort his brother with a daring grin.Thor sighed and nodded a firm nod of agreement. "Exactly!" He exclaimed and shook his head in frustration."There's nothing you can do without defying Father." Loki stated to his brother with a small huff of defeat.Thor turned to gaze at his sibling, and Loki quickly shook his head."No! No, no, no, no! I know that look!" The god of mischief proclaimed and got to his feet, staring sternly at his brother.Thor only chuckled in denial, "It's the only way to ensure the safety of our borders!" He informed his brother and raised his hands in the air in a high shrug.Loki swallowed and sighed, "Thor, it's madness!" ~

At the time, it was madness.

He could hear Loki's voice echoing through his head as he conceded an alternate plan.But there wasn't one.

Defiance would have to do.

Madness. It was indeed madness.

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