Hidden Within


"My king." The simple guard replied with haste, as he bowed gently down to the Allfather.

"What is it?" Odin barked back, annoyed with having been disturbed from his moment of peace, sitting atop the throne, his eyes shut. The guard swallowed and stood straight before his ruler.

"Sir, we have noticed a considerably large amount of gathering forces, just outside Asgard's barriers."

The Allfather jolted forward in his throne, his expression narrowed curiously.

"Forces of what, exactly?" He asked and the guard nodded, "Tieflings, your majesty."

The king froze and gulped unsteadily. After a moment of intricate thinking and silence, he rose again towards his guard.

"Get me in contact with their leader." He ordered, and the recruit nodded to confirm his understanding of the command, and then quickly trotted off. The king sighed and shook his head. Always something.

Adeline grinned as morning greeted her. She prepared herself in her armor and "uniform", combing through her long, blonde hair, and washing off any grime she may have contracted yesterday. She stared at herself in the mirror; her reflection's smile quickly fading. The powerless fire elf. The idea had plagued her for a decade, constantly reminding her that she was different than everyone else. She recalled the moment she had been most suspicious, remembering it as the day she was truly informed of her upbringing.

"Mother?" The short, blonde haired girl called out, tugging on a small, red coat as she prepared herself for a walk out into the streets of Asgard, hoping to learn the ways of her new home. Her mother turned to gaze down at her, her light hair glowing in the rim of sunlight outlining her features.

"Yes, my dear." Adeline shifted and swallowed softly, "Why don't I have a flame?" Her mother stared down at her, cocking her head in confusion.

"I mean, father is always burning in an array of magic. Why don't I have that?" She added to her question as her mother knelt down so that she was her own height.

She let out a small, dainty laugh, "Do I have that?"

Adeline narrowed her eyes and shook her head, "No."

Her mother smiled angelically, "Then it is my fault, my dear."

Adeline tilted her head to the side, as she fell conflicted, "What do you mean?"

Her mother chuckled and went back towards the meal she was preparing in the kitchen, stepping only a few feet away from her curious daughter.

"You see, darling, I am different from your father." She grinned kindly, working now on cutting an exotic fruit. "Your father is of Muspelsheim, born and raised. I am of Asgard, an Aesir." She informed the beautiful, little girl staring straight up at her. "I'll spare you the soppy story of how we met." She winked and Adeline smiled a crooked smile, but it quickly faded.

"So, I'm different." She breathed to herself, slightly repelled by the idea.

Her mother instantly dropped what she was doing and took her little girl's hand. "You say that like it's a bad thing." Her mother smiled warm-heartedly, caressing her daughter's pale cheek. Adeline shrugged.

Her mother quickly nodded her head, "Yes, Adeline you are different. And that's why you're so special." She grinned and kissed her forehead.

"Because you are different, it will work as your strength." Her mother went on, "I think every person has his or her own identity. Difference is beautiful. If we were all the same, it would be boring." Her mother shrugged, tapped her daughter on the shoulder with a playful smile, and went back to her cooking.

Adeline grinned at the blissful memory returning to her overly crowded mind.

Because you are different, it will work as your strength.

She took a deep breath and left the bathroom of her chamber, steadying herself in her heavy armor, and sweeping out the door. Now, it was time. Another day of successfully fulfilling her duty awaited her, whether she spoke to the imprisoned prince or not. She didn't bother to warn herself any longer. She knew she would have no control over her mouth when the time came anyway, and most likely she'd be the first to strike up an interesting conversation. She swayed down the many decorative corridors towards the dungeon doors, preparing herself to enter. With a large exhalation, she nodded her head and pushed her way inside. She marched steadily down the hall of cells, heading for the last one in the line, ready to grab her chair, sit herself down, and wait for the day to go by. But as she gazed into the prison, she couldn't help the redness from forming on her cheeks. The door to the cell's bathing room was hanging open, as each prison chamber had to be fit for long time holding in the case of any convict (even though this one in particular most likely got lucky, being a prince and all), and Loki was elegantly striding out, the top of his tunic removed, so that he only wore his simply brown pants.

His body was lean and slender, pale of course, but still unbelievably fit, and breathtakingly attractive.

Adeline froze in her steps, slapping her self internally as she didn't remove her staring eyes. Loki suddenly caught sight of her and stopped walking as well, mid movement of his next step. She swallowed, he gulped, and the moment passed in pure silence, until Adeline finally managed to turn away with her eyes squeezed tightly shut.

"Can you-" She cut herself off, shaking her head vigorously while sitting firmly in her chair, her eyes still covered, and her cheeks embarrassingly rosy.

She listened, as Loki simply laughed, "Might as well get used to it, Lady Crow."

She turned back to him, as he stared her way with a smirk.

"Just-" She didn't finish again, scolding herself for getting so incredibly flustered, and hurriedly hid her face away once more, blocking her view.

He chuckled again and shook his head, "Well, I must bathe at some point, Miss Crow, and I don't intend to do it in my clothes." He winked when she looked his way again, and slowly vanished into the other room.

Adeline let out a sigh of relief, and instantly rolled her eyes. She felt somewhat ashamed of herself, at the fact that she had secretly wished to stare. She sat in her chair by the cell wall, a small blush still scolding her expression, and her legs crossed formally. She sat up straight and allowed herself to fall deep into thought, finding anything else to do, instead of waiting, extremely boring.

"He was a warrior in Muspelsheim at the time." Her mother smiled, gazing gracefully at the blue sky above as she recalled past memories. Adeline had finally gotten her to fess up about the moment she met her true love.

"I had visited by request of an old friend who had been given word of my dresses." She smiled proudly; lifting up the dress she was currently sewing in an act of reminding her daughter of her natural profession.

"I was hired to create a fancy gown. Fit for a queen in the end! It was gigantic and oddly overly dramatic." Her mother rolled her eyes, causing her small fair-haired daughter to glisten with delight. "In the middle of my creation, I ran out of the correct materials. I was young, and still new to the work at the time. I wasn't the brightest." She teased herself and tapped her daughter on the nose.

"Soldiers, warriors, were in and out of the city at that time. Recruitment was in progress, so the town was bustling with new faces, none of which I recognized." Her mother shrugged and carried on, "And then once I got my things at the market, I headed back, not before passing a group of the warriors." She shook her head, blushing; "Most of the men smiled politely to me, but one in particular simply gazed with intent bliss."

She let out a laugh and held up one of the objects she was working with. It was a thimble, a dark, ruby red thread wound around it. Adeline raised her eyebrows and beamed at her mother. "It was this color that led your father to me." She giggled and caressed her daughter's cheek.

"A simple act of clumsiness from one and a chivalrous act from the another." Adeline grinned warmly at her mother, and took hold of the suspiciously bright color. Her mother nodded with a dreamy sigh, "You see, not entirely magical or unique. But still, important."

A gentle tap on the shoulder jolted Adeline out of her deep thoughts. She turned to her right to see the thick, muscular man, with shoulder length blonde hair standing next to her, wearing a suspiciously friendly expression. She shot up and quickly bowed, leaning on one knee.

"Prince Thor, I mean, your majesty." She managed and shut her eyes in an act to scold herself for being so oblivious. She felt a hand on her shoulder once more.

"Please, there is no need." His deep baritone voice summoned her to her feet and she quickly did as told. She gazed at him with a polite smile and nod of her head.

"I just came to see my brother." His face suddenly twisted into that of fear and worry when he turned to the empty cell, and then he looked to her with certain anger. Adeline swallowed and quickly went to reassure him.

"Of course. He is-" She paused and shook her head, with a slight blush. "Bathing." She annunciated the word clearly and inwardly rolled her blue eyes.

Thor nodded and let out a breath of relief. "I see."

Adeline shifted uncomfortably and bobbed her head up and down.

"I take it you are Lady Crow?" He big blue eyes asked her kindly and she smiled softly, "Yes."

He grinned, causing his appearance to brighten all the more. "My father speaks often of you."

Adeline perked upwards at this with a sudden jolt of pride, "Really? I am honored." She breathed gently and with full surprise.

He nodded and smirked, "As am I."

Adeline tilted her head to the side and swallowed, "I am sorry, my prince. I am afraid I do not-"

He quickly spoke before she could finish her sentence. "I knew your father, Lady Crow."

She raised her chin in realization and smiled faintly.

"Not as well as I would have liked, but I did have the honor of meeting him." Thor informed her with a small grin. "He trained me once. I was young, but I listened to his words with gratitude and admiration."

Adeline smiled and took a bow, "Thank you, your majesty."

Thor held up a hand and shook his head, shooing her thanks away. "Your father," He paused, "He inspired me."

Adeline grinned and looked down, thinking back to the brave man she missed so greatly.

"He had that effect on people." She blinked away the growing tenderness around her blue eyes, holding back long imprisoned tears. Thor was silent and they both just gazed out at the empty dungeon cell.

"Loki used to inspire me." Thor's deep voice startled Adeline slightly as she focused her attention back to the god standing next to her. Her eyes fluttered widely open in surprise as she gazed quietly at him.

"Surprising, I know." Thor chuckled and shook his head.

Adeline smiled, "No."

Thor turned to her with a small grin, "He was always so clandestine. His mind was a mystery to me. It held the thoughts, ideas, and secrets he would never share among the people whom surrounded him."

Adeline smirked and scoffed quickly, relating to the topic.

"He was bombarded by slander and annoying foes, but it never stopped him. He always fought on…" Thor trailed off, staring blankly at the long corridor before him.

Adeline winced and cleared her throat, "But?" She asked and he turned to her, as if jolted awake by her question.

He then sighed and nodded, "But he changed."

Adeline swallowed and straightened her stance, "Why? I always heard stories of the two princes of Asgard, with their unbreakable bond of brotherhood." Adeline attempted to comfort the young prince beside her.

"Ah, that is a question, worthy of an honest answer." Thor stated with a sad shrug. Adeline gulped and listened intently. "However, I didn't, and still do not, understand why he betrayed my father and I, nor why he attacked Midgard head on." Thor swallowed and exhaled deeply, "But whatever changed him, put him in here." Thor gestured to the corridor of cells with a twitch of his head. Adeline nodded and bit her lip, feeling an emotion of pity for the prisoner, as she always had.

"I believe part of it had to do with my father's lack to share the truth." Thor spoke somewhat hurriedly, afraid of the fact that he was angry with the king. Adeline jerked her head back to him and tilted it to the side in confusion, "What do you mean?"

Thor cleared his throat. "Loki is not of this family. Not technically."

Adeline nodded, "Yes, he did tell me that."

Thor whirled to face her, "He what?"

Adeline grimaced, "Well, he informed me he is not Aesir."

Thor raised his eyebrows, somewhat peacefully. "To a stranger, whom he barely knew?"

Adeline was slightly taken back, even though it was the truth.
She bit her lip and nodded with a sharp, "Yes."

Thor swallowed and narrowed his eyes, swaying in his position, causing his gray armor to jingle, and his long red coat to swing.

"Excuse me. That is just, simply, not like him." Thor informed her and shrugged unsteadily. She cocked her head and smiled a small smile of pride.

"What is he then?" She questioned, immedaitly wincing at her bluntness. This was not some commoner on the street, Crow! This was prince Thor, next heir to the throne, you idiot.

Thor turned to her with a small smirk and raised brows.

She blinked rapidly and shook her head, "I apologize, your highness." She breathed out with a sigh, "I simply wish to understand him."

Thor smiled, much to her disbelief. "That is kind of you."

She bowed slightly and beamed back, "Well, if I am to be a babysitter, I would at least like to know whom it is I am babysitting." She teased and a flash of pure bliss fell over the blonde prince's expression for a moment. She couldn't help but feel at sadness for Thor; he not only had to experience his brother's betrayal first hand, but also suffer the guilt of believing he was the reason for it.

"Then you should know, my father found him on Yodenheim." Thor clearly stated to her.

She froze. "Yodenheim?"

Thor nodded, "Indeed."

Adeline swallowed, unsure of where this was going.

"My father lacked to tell him that-" Thor's explanation was cut off by a sharp, mocking voice from the dungeon cell beside them.

"That I am the monster parents tell their children about at night?" Loki's voice pierced her ears and she was soon gazing at the still being in his black, green and brown tunic, his hair at it's darkest, as he stood, contrasting in the corner of the white room. She winced in pity as he stood there, looking angered, saddened and conflicted all at the same time.

"Hello brother," He breathed and a smirk carefully lined the entirety of his dark features.

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