Hidden Within


"Are you alright, Darcy?" Thor sighed, holding the frail woman in his arms, expression twisting into that of empathy. The brown hair resting on her shoulders bounced as she nodded her head, "Y-yes."

Thor smiled apologetically and patted her shoulder; pushing himself back from the side of the couch he'd placed her on. "I'll be right back, okay?"The blonde took off toward the front door, eager to catch up with his brother who was currently drowning in his rather appalling mood.

The cool London breeze nipped at his cheeks, as he pushed himself into the outdoor world, taking notice of the small snowflakes flowing to the ground in a melancholy rhythm. He caught sight of his brother's eager silhouette, pounding onward through the already fallen snow, his shoulders hunched in anger, and his face hidden in outrage. Thor shivered and jogged toward him, his long red cape spiraling in folded motions around him.

"Loki." He uttered softly, trying to approach his sibling with the utmost tranquility.

Loki didn't say a word; he simply stood frozen still in the ever falling flakes of white snow, contrasting brilliantly with the darkness that shaded his hair.

Thor sighed and inched nearer to the dark prince, careful not to make any drastic movements, only observing him from his side."Brother." He began again, and this time Loki turned toward him, eyes glowing a colorless gray, as they were shadowed from all emotions by the dull lit sky.

For a moment, the two simply stood there, gazing at one another; one brother was ultimately heart-broken and unhinged, while the other was compassionate and hoping to prove reassurance. Thor thought he would have to break the ongoing silence, but he was proven wrong.

"I'm going to go to the Tieflings." Loki murmured, and Thor was instantly glaring his way.

"You cannot, brother." The older sibling protested but was immediately fought against.

"Adeline is with them, no doubt, and I need to get her back."

"You know that is exactly what they want."

"Then what do you suppose I do, brother!" Loki exclaimed, snarling at the blonde prince with a ferocity Thor had never laid eyes on before."I cannot mope around pretending everything is alright! I cannot wait for father to make a decision!"

Before the dark-haired man could shriek another compelling statement, Thor placed a hand on his shoulder.

"I understand, Loki. But…" Thor trailed off, knowingly aware that he had no plan, no evidence to make his brother hold back on the threat and action.

Loki sighed and shook his head, shrugging his sibling's soothing hand away, "I do not care what the Tieflings do with me. I do not care if I have to join them, and I do not care if I die."

Thor gazed solemnly at his younger brother.

"I just want her safe." The dark prince finished, turning his face away in despair, eager to hide his emotions from the man who always believed he had them.He wouldn't give him that privilege; he wouldn't give any one that privilege – except Adeline.

Thor circled him, moving his position so that he was staring Loki in the eyes again, straight forward, contently. "But do you want her happy as well?"

Loki peered over at his brother, throat burning in torment, and confusion while he processed his sibling's question."Of course." He swallowed, "Of course I want her to be happy."

Thor nodded and sighed, "Then you cannot allow yourself to die, nor ally with the Tieflings. Then she will not – brother, I assure you – she will not be happy."

Thor's eyes glowered in all seriousness, and Loki found himself weak in the knees with lack of comprehension in what to do. Concern flooded every corner of his heart, and oxygen threatened to vanish, constricting his mind into a dull sensation of sentiment. He winced and lifted his chin upward; head lolled back as he shut his eyes, his nose pointing to the night sky above.

"Then what do I do, Thor? What. Do. I. Do?" The blonde cringed, leaning forward to place to firm hands on Loki's thin shoulders.

"We, brother. What do we do. We are in this together." Thor shook him gently, "I will help you save Adeline Crow, and we will destroy the Tieflings for all they have put us through; put our family through."

Loki stared back, expression blank, and eyes glistening in emotions straining to be held back.Thor grimaced and shook his head, stomping his foot on the ground as he turned to plead with his sibling, "Just please, Loki. Please, come back with me now." He huffed in exasperation, "Do not choose now as the time to be spontaneous."

Loki glanced up at him and shut his eyes for a mere moment, before slowly nodding in reluctance.

Thor sighed a sigh of relief, and dropped his hands from his brother's shoulders. "Thank you."

The two shifted back to face the house, before silently swaying through the ever-falling snow, and back toward the light.


Adeline winced, the chains grasping her wrists growing far sorer by the second. She kept her eyes downcast, sure to not give the Tiefling king the glory of seeing her pain. It was intimidating, this she had to admit. The red being glaring at her for hours on end, ceasing to look away, and occasionally humming songs she used to listen to as a child. They made her shudder, reminding her of what her father used to sing before she went to sleep in an attempt to soothe the ever present nightmares. Once in a while, Rollnick would enter the long corridor, share a few words with the Tiefling leader, in a dialect she was unsure of, and then leave, so that once again she would be alone with the monster. She sighed, her exhalation echoing in the silence and eeriness of the long, dark, hall. The snickering of the being caused her to flinch, shivers attacking her spine once more, and she instantly shifted in her chains, knowing full well that he was about to indulge in a grimacing conversation.

"Lady Crow, are you uncomfortable?" His deep voice hissed from the seat of his throne.

Adeline let out a laugh of irritation, shaking her head and finally meeting eyes with the foul beast."No, I feel incredibly relaxed at the moment, you know, having my arms go num."She spat the words out like they were poison on the roof of her mouth.

The Tiefling king chuckled and pulled himself gracefully from the seat of his shrine, swaying over to her, a wide grin plastered on his sick expression."There is no dying need for sarcasm, my lady."

Adeline groaned at the two words ending his sentence, growing utterly frustrated with this being's cruel sense of conversation."Oh, just go sit back down in your cozy chair, and leave me alone."

The king laughed again and shook his head in amusement. "You have quite the personality, Lady Crow."

Adeline bit her tongue, trying to hold back her anger and all-around worry, as the king stepped closer and closer toward her. She winced when she felt his scaly, and clawed hand drop down on the rim of her wrist, gently sliding over the sore skin. It wasn't soothing, nor unsettling; it was just painful. It burned more than the metal itself.

"No need to worry, my dear." The creature hissed upon feeling Adeline squirm beneath his touch, "Your precious dark prince will be here soon enough."

Adeline grimaced and attempted to yank her hand away, only to cry out when the chains whipped harder against her damaged pale skin.The Tiefling leader was suddenly snickering again in content, as Adeline stared down at the floor, filling her thoughts with nothing but Loki. She wanted the strength he brought her, the strength she felt when she was around him, but it was impossible. All she could process was what would happen if he showed up, here, in front of the Tieflings. What he would do, how he would react, what he would decide – most of all.

"You know, I always found you fascinating."

The words summoned her from the deep thoughts she was suddenly abandoning, to instead turn up to the monster glowering down at her.

"No, not you in particular. Your – how do you say it – kind."

Adeline narrowed her eyes in suspicion, following the King's every move as he stalked over and out into a better line of sight.

"The mighty Fire Elf." He boasted and a sharp grin tugged at the sides of his lips."Beings with pointy ears and the ability to control the elemental heat we know as fire."He chuckled under his breath and shook his head, as if he was utterly entertained by the idea.

"I never paid any sort of attention to you, you Fire Elves, until I met one in person."

Adeline perked upwards, her chin lifting to better view the creature.

"Yes, it was quite a few years ago now. Some sort of scout patrol. Not sure. Anyway, I was out with a few of my own scouts when we ran into the lot of them. Asgardians brats." The being smirked giddily, striding around Adeline's position like he was a vulture scoping out his next deceased meal. It was his voice that irked the warrior so much. He was speaking to her as if she was a good friend, perhaps a family member; so casual and pleasant with his current discussion.

"That one, that one specific man, stood out to me. You know that?" Gallien awoke her from the depths of her outrage, and she turned up to face him again.

"He was a handsome one – that Fire Elf – stood forward, and claimed to be the leader of their little patrol."

Adeline narrowed her eyes, swallowing the lump beginning to form in her throat. She glared daggers his way, continuously.

"Tried to get me to remove myself from Asgardian land. Of course, I didn't argue with him for too long."The being laughed a rather horrific laugh, sending more shivers to cascade down the warrior's back.

"Had my men kill the other scouts with him, and then I went to kill the Fire Elf myself. But you know what? I hesitated."

Adeline winced upon hearing the story, knowing full well that her own race member's death would come next.

"I hesitated because he tried to tell me something. Want to know what he told me?"

Adeline wanted to shake her head, but she didn't see the point. He'd tell her anyway.

"He said, 'Please. Spare me. I have two kids at home; a wife. A good life'."

She bit her lip, finding herself trembling all too vigorously.

The being chuckled again, "For the fun of it, I asked him what their names were."

Adeline cringed and shut her eyes. This creature was sick. Absolutely sick.

"Beautiful names too. Henry and Adeline. Rolls off the tongue rather nicely, huh?"

The warrior couldn't breathe. Her heart was beating far too abnormally, and her vision was clouded with a flood of salt water, tears pounding to be freed in a drowning emotion of outrage, desperation and grief. She shook her head quickly, too quickly, a headache threatening to cause her to hurl.No, no, no, no. Not dad. Not dad.

"Anzelmus Crow was his name. Relative of yours or is this just a coincidence?" The Tiefling was laughing again.

Adeline let the tears fall now, rolling down the creases of her dirtied pale skin."You bastard!" She shrieked, yanking her arms forward to protest, and sinking against the ground in despair.

The being just kept on laughing. "So sorry, Miss Crow. But I thought I should tell you how your father died."

He zoomed over to her in a heartbeat, clutched hold of her chin and whipped her head upward, so that she was looking him in the eyes.His clawed fingers tapped her cheek impatiently, and a grin lit up his features."I slit his throat with the very hand that's holding you now."

Adeline felt the bile rising in her throat, and she instantly spat out at the monster.He pulled back, wiping off his face in disgust, and he growling loudly under his breath.

And then. He was laughing again.

"Oh, Adeline it's been a pleasure." He snickered and trotted off toward his throne again, calling out once more before leaving a broken warrior alone in the shadows of chains, thoughts of anguish consuming her whole, "Loki will be here shortly, I assure you darling. Then, we will decide if you live or die."

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