Hidden Within


"Majesty." The loathly Tiefling* hissed towards the other, sitting atop his throne, as his long devilish tail swung from side to side in an eager motion.

"Spit it out, rat." The king remarked as he glared down at one of his lowly guards.

"Sir, Loki has returned to Asgard."

At this, the Tiefling King jerked forwards in his seat and stared wide-eyed at the peasant before him.

"Say that again." He commanded and the other nodded quickly, "Aye, sir. Loki has returned and has been placed in the royal dungeons." The Tiefling king reached forward and gripped his guard around the neck, grasping onto the red skin, as his horns glowed with anger.

"Do you play a game with me?" He growled and squeezed tighter. The Tiefling, hanging by his leader's hold, shook his head the best he could, "No, majesty."

The King raised his chin in instant joy and dropped the termite squirming in his palm. He then smirked deviously and adjusted himself in his throne.

"Well, well, well. Our plan shall be set in motion." He snarled, a wide grin piercing his expression, and his tail twitching in excitement.

The guard smiled wearily and nodded, followed by a small salute.

"If Loki is as they say, he will surely join my army." The king snickered and clenched his jaw, "We will conquer every realm, starting with Midgard." He let out a devilish laugh, "That should gain dear Loki's interest."

With one smooth order, he sent the guard sprinting out the door."Ready the warriors!"

Adeline was clueless as to where they had taken the prisoner. She thought up all the possibilities but none made any sense to her, and so yet again she was left to sit, waiting, bored out of her mind. Being an Asgardian warrior certainly had it's highlights, but at the moment, all she found exciting was counting each tile that decorated the intricate floor beneath her. 343…344…345…

The doors suddenly flew open, revealing the now returning guards.

Adeline sighed in relief, as she realized she'd finally have someone to speak to, much to her regret, as she continuously told herself NOT to speak to him. However, when she saw the limp body dangling by the strength of his arms, her breath caught and she was immediately whipped back into reality. It didn't take her long for the image to click in place. Guards surrounding him, his body cloaked in chains, dragged off into another room of a mystery location.

Adeline cringed. Daily payments.

She'd witnessed them before, in public, once when she used to live in Muspelsheim. It was a terrible experience that she never hoped to witness again.

The elderly man was strapped tightly to a firm column, placed accurately in the center of a round circle that made of the market square of Muspelsheim. A small, young Adeline followed her father by the hand to each of the different stands, ignoring the color fruits, vegetables, and the aroma of fresh bread rolls. She was simply distracted by the man, leaning against the surface of the wooden cylinder. She tugged on her father's shirtsleeve, and he quickly bent down to smile at her.

"Pa, who is that?" She questioned in a sweet, innocent, childish voice. Her father's beaming expression immediately vanished and was instead left with an emotionless stare.

"Someone who did something wrong." Her father put delicately, but she didn't understand.

"Why is he there?" She asked with a point to the center of the market. Her father hastily grabbed hold of her hand and yanked it downwards, to squeeze it within his own fingers, just as the peacekeeper walked across towards the hunched over man. Adeline observed silently. And not a moment too soon, the whip was brought down onto the 'bad' man's back. She quickly dug her face into her father's warm tunic, hiding the image away from her disturbed vision. She winced as she heard his grunts of agony, but was instantly comforted by her father's hand as it twirled through the locks of her long blonde hair.

He bent down to face her with a weak, saddened smile. "Adey," He began, "Don't forget what you saw here today, you hear me?" He informed her with a now stern look. "Mistakes cannot be driven away by the force of violence. The will to do good has to be first given."

Adeline wiped a hand across her eyes, and gazed at her father with a nod.

He smiled again and went on, "You promise me this, Adey. No matter how mad someone makes you, how sad, as long as you see the good in them, you will guide them towards the light."

She grimaced and bobbed her head up and down, "I promise, pa."

Staring at Loki, as they shoved him back into his prison cell and unhooked his wrists, ankles, and muzzle, she replayed her father's words. They had moved soon after that, to Asgard, and never again did she see another public beating. But the memory stayed with her. It never left. Because it was a reminder. A reminder of her father's wisdom, and the importance of honor.

She observed Loki, after the guards left with gracious smiles her way, as he sat in his cage, gazing at the white walls with a blank stare. She shifted into her chair, and the temptation to start a conversation rose again. She wanted to cheer him up. She knew it sounded stupid, after the beating he probably just went through, but she couldn't help it.

She cleared her throat and sighed, "You know, I was so bored sitting here, alone, that I counted 345 tiles on this floor." She blushed at her own embarrassment. "And suddenly, that invitation of yours to speak to one another, sounded quite pleasant." She raised her head, in an attempt to get a better look at Loki's expression, but she was blinded by the wave of his black hair.

He didn't respond at first, but after a few moments, he carefully shifted in his position. "What are you afraid of, Lady Crow?" His voice was so soft, soothingly quiet, with a tone that displayed a melancholy hopelessness. She swallowed, the knot in her throat returning as she thought of the prisoner's words.

"Many things." She stated honestly and slouched slightly in her seat as her mood changed from eager to devastated. Devastated for Loki, for herself, for their conversation of fear.

"Like what?" He asked, now turning to face her, his blue eyes glowing amongst his pale skin. She bit her lip and sat up straighter.

"Well." She gulped, shifted uncomfortably and continued, unsure if she should be telling a criminal of her fears.

"Abandonment. Loss. Grief." She breathed softly, quite relieved by her willing admittance.

Loki narrowed his eyes, "But those are only emotional fears. You have no fear for physical objects, animals, people?" He questioned with a sincerely curious expression.

Adeline smiled, "Of course I do. But emotional fears are far more powerful and certainly more painful." She sighed as she gazed at him solemnly. He nodded and furrowed his eyebrows. Adeline stayed silent, before asking, "What about you?"

Loki jerked his head towards her with wide eyes. "Me?"

Adeline nodded, her expression gentle. "What do you fear?"

Loki shook his head, and chuckled softly, "Nothing."

Adeline rolled her eyes and crossed her arms over her torso, which bulged over in armor. "Please," She breathed sarcastically, but it faded when she saw Loki's smirk vanish.

"Physical things do not scare me. Anything that lives can be killed." He snapped and cringed steadily. Adeline bit her lip, now aware of his solution to fear.

"But emotionally?" He asked aloud as if he was asking himself, but then turned to Adeline with a scowling expression.

"Loneliness." He shook his head as if in embarrassment. Adeline went forward to say something, but was quickly interrupted by another word from Loki, "Rejection." Adeline jerked upwards and stared at him with a reassuring gaze; a gaze that said, 'It's okay'.

Loki smiled and sighed, "I'll spare you the last one."

Adeline winced and shook her head, "Say it."

Loki stared at her with a startled expression. She saw him, then, cast his eyes downwards and turn way from her intrigued twist in features.

She swallowed and grunted, "You will tell me one day." A small grin formed on the convicts face. Adeline smiled, "Maybe then you'll be brave enough."

Loki glared over at her teasingly, and lifted his head upward, "Maybe."

She chuckled and shrugged her shoulders effortlessly, causing her armor to rattle slightly. At that moment, a knock echoed through the corridor of cells. A knock that told her, her duty was accomplished for the day. She got to her feet and turned to the man behind the hidden glass.

"Till tomorrow." She stated with a small smirk and trudged towards the door that served as the prison's exit.

With a glance over her shoulder Loki was smirking widely her way and just as she went to open the door, his voice called out again. "To be forgotten."

She spun around to face him once more, taking in his handsome features, as she raised an eyebrow.

He sighed and nodded, "I have a fear of being forgotten."

Adeline smiled and looked down at the floor.

"You'd be a hard person to forget." She uttered gently, receiving a surprised gaze from Loki, and shut the door softly behind her.

*creatures of myth and fantasy. Often with a human build, body curved and agile, red skinned, horns spouting from the hairline, devilish tails.

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