Loki felt like he was floating. The all too familiar sensation filled him with a crippling fear. There had been about thirteen months between Thor throwing him off the Bifrost and his own attack on New York. Only twelve of those had been spent with the Chitauri.
That first month he had spent floating in the void. A body needs sensory input from the five senses to stay sane. While he had been in there he had had none. All that was there was an unyielding blackness, and through some fluke he hadn't been able to hear his heartbeat or even move his body. His mind had retreated in on itself, scared from the nothingness around it and had slowly shut down as his heartbeat slowed dangerously. It was no wonder it was called the Void.
When Chthon had plucked him from the Void and transported him to a Chitauri ship, Loki had been overjoyed to be able to feel something again. Chthon had soon reinforced one lesson Loki had learned: If you could feel pain, you were alive.
Loki clenched a hand and felt a trickle of pain when his uncut fingernails cut into his palm. He was alive and he thought that was good. Since he had been able to move his hand then he wasn't in the Void. That was better. He tried to move his arms to no avail but felt needles of pain in his shoulders.
What happened? What did he remember last?
Loki's last memory was being as on Midgard speaking with Jane on the roof of a building. Then he stole a pair of swords from soldiers in white mid-strike and slew them. Jane's intern clinging to his arm, bruises on her face – later. After that… He couldn't remember.
Waking up would be the most helpful now. His memories will return then. He could feel cold tiles on his cheek and an aura in the air that disrupted his magic and disturbed him. Something was interfering with his breathing, making each breath difficult. His magic was out of reach by… restrainer cuffs? Finally, he opened his eyes.
He was laying on the floor of a cell within the Asgardian dungeon. The rest of his memories appeared accordingly. Loki felt a pain in his chest. Whether it was from Jaro's last kick or the knowledge that his memories brought, he couldn't decide.
Angborn was dead. His friend risked everything and gave up everything to help him escape. Loki had gotten so caught up in the bloodlust of battle with those Wolves he had entirely forgotten about Jaro and Angborn paid the price for that. Perhaps it was better if Loki stayed away from everyone. No one would be willing to help him and if by some chance they did they'd likely meet a similar fate as Angborn.
The metal restrainer cuffs were tight enough to make his wrists bleed, and his old muzzle was back in place. Loki sat up and tried to pull the restrainer cuffs under him so his hands would be in front. His reward – a redouble of the previous throbbing pain and a feeling of something wet traveling down his fingers. That would be his blood. If he was Tilaria then he would just use the pilled blood to cast blood magic and get out that way, but Loki had already tried his hand at blood magic was was not eager to repeat the experience.
Well, that was wonderful. He made himself sit up and scooched back so he was in the corner farthest from the outside world. Sitting up alleviated the pain in his wrists slightly.
What happened to Angborn wasn't my fault, Loki thought sharply. It couldn't be. This was Thor's. If Thor hadn't thrown Loki off Bifrost then none of this would have happened! Angborn's dead because of Thor and the rest of Asgard.
I'm going to get a front-row seat when Asgard's burns, and burn it would for Angborn's sake. He would be avenged. That was a promise.
There were two figures in Odin's throne room that were equally furious with each other. One was Allfather Odin sitting on his throne. The other was Freyja, the leader of the mages on Asgard – the Chief Majestrix.
Freyja broke the tense silence that had fallen between the two of them. "You say Heimdall was too busy repairing the damage to the Bifrost to notice Loki and Chthon fight. That's just fine, but I noticed."
Clenched in her hand was a small blue diamond like recorder crystal. Imprinted onto it was the recording of Loki and Chthon's fight and all that had been said.
Odin glared at her. Why was it all mages were as irritating as Laufey's son? "I was unaware you were gifted with mindsight Freyja."
"Clairvoyance is not in my blood Allfather," Freyja replied with just as much tartness, "but I can still scry." She opened her hand and nudged the crystal awake with her magic. An image appeared in blue and white sparkles of Angborn boldly standing between Loki and Chthon with only his dagger, the start of the recording.
"You have told me of your crystal already and shown me it," Odin dismissed.
Freyja closed the hand the crystal was in and the projected image disappeared. She twisted her hand and gold light rippled around the crystal as it vanished. "I thought you may need to see it again."
"You were mistaken," Odin promised. "I do not doubt the recording is true, but the acting in the recording changes nothing." He waved his free hand dismissively, Gungnir in his other.
"Acting?" Freyja looked at him in surprise. "You believe that the battle between Loki and Chthon was staged?"
"Loki is trying to get sympathy," Odin snapped at her in impatience. How could she not see it? "So we will drop the death charges." Am I the only one that knows how devious Laufey's son is?
Freyja looked at the floor and took a breath as that sunk in. Then she looked up at Odin, amber eyes furious. "Precisely how large of a fool are you Allfather? Clearly, we did not have the full picture of Loki's actions. He did not just attack New York because he wanted to. There are likely other details we are missing as well – important ones. And you think Loki and Chthon staged that attack?" She put a hand to her head. "I think I see why Loki was so frustrated with you."
The last sentence was spoken quietly but Odin still heard it. He bristled and stood, walking down to her level.
"Are you going to strike me as you did Thor?" Freyja challenged, subconsciously making sure her magic was in reach.
Odin was sorely tempted. "Do you support the son of Laufey?"
"I support punishing the correct person," Freyja dodged. "Loki was merely a pawn of the Chitauri and there was obviously some… coercion needed to have him attack Midgard. Thanos and Chthon are the true enemies."
"Most of it was not coercion," Odin corrected. "He has made it clear he wants to see Asgard burn."
"He is a prisoner of war," Freyja continued, "broken and betrayed by the Chitauri he lived among for a year. It was possible before that he could be convinced gently to tell us what he knows about the Chitauri. Or at least he would have before the Blood Wolves cut Angborn down."
"They were ordered to bring both back alive if possible," Odin tried to interrupt.
Freyja didn't let him. "Publicly yes but I do wonder a bit."
"You wonder what Majestrix?" Odin challenged.
"I wonder plenty," Freyja replied vaguely.
"I do not care for your tone Majestrix."
"No, you never do when it's someone questioning you Allfather," Freyja sighed. She believed that while Loki was not innocent, he was not truly guilty. "At least Thor and Loki understand that they are not perfect and can take a little criticism when they act like fools."
Light glimmered around Gungnir and Freyja's wards snapped in place instinctively to protect her. Freya stepped back, amber magic glittering around her hand briefly. Odin calmed his thoughts and Gungnir went from battle mode back to sleep mode.
He-he was going to shoot me? Freyja thought radically. It seemed Amora was not exaggerating when she spoke of Odin's demands of her to send the Warrior's Three to the Bifrost. He was acting irrational.
"Has Loki swayed your loyalty with his charm?" Odin demanded. "Are you going to give him my throne or shall you crown yourself?"
He can't be serious, Freyja thought. Wait, he said 'my throne.' That is not his throne it's Asgard's, and he should have crowned Thor long ago. Why hasn't he redone Thor's coronation?
"No to both Allfather," Freyja dodged. "I have not spoken to Loki since he fell from the Bifrost."
"Dismissed," Odin snapped, "before charges are pressed."
Charges of what? Freyja bowed slightly and left. Amora was wrong. Odin was not being irrational about Loki. He was being a paranoid schizophrenic and as it stood she didn't think he was stable enough to be king.
Someone was crying.
Thor followed the muffled noise around a corner to where a servant was leaning against a wall. Thor recognized her. "Azura? Are you ill?"
Azura looked up in surprise. "Oh, my-my prince. No I'm not sick." She let out another little sob and Thor saw a tear fall from her cheek.
"Have you been hurt?" Thor demanded. He knew some men could be irrational when it came to servant women.
"No," Azura shook her head. One had was clutching her necklace. The pendent on it was a dragonfly made of loops of silver. Its wings filled with small shards of varying shades of dark blue. It was a gift from Angborn. "I-I just found out that Jaro didn't, didn't…"
Didn't return with Angborn, Thor finished silently. Loki's right Thor, he scolded himself, you're an idiot. Thor awkwardly touched Azura's arm. Azura was just a servant but she took care of Tilaria's room and often delivered food and such to the Princes. She and Angborn had been very close.
"I will be fine in a moment," Azura tried to say. She failed and started crying again. "I-I was getting your breakfast from the kitchen when I heard the rumor." There was a tray of food on the ground. "It's true isn't it? They killed him and just left him like you would a dead dog."
Thor could see that there was just a touch of hope in Azura's blue eyes – eyes so bright they were nearly fluorescent when she looked up at him. She was hoping Thor would say no, say that Angborn was fine but Thor couldn't. He looked down to avoid answering.
It is true, Azura thought. It can't be true!
Thor knelt down and picked up his food. "I have this Azura. You should go lie down."
Azura did a fumbled curtsey and hurried down the hall.
Thor didn't watch her retreat. It was only when the sound of her footsteps faded that he finished his walk to his room. He had heard Loki had been brought back, and he tried to see him to little avail. Odin had been waiting and had forced Thor to turn away.
Thor nudged his door open and set the tray on his table. Then he walked to the doors that led to his balcony and opened them, stepping outside. A warm summer breeze rustled his hair almost playfully. He reached up and touched the right side of his face. His long blonde hair hid the cuts from Gungnir that were there. They aren't cuts anymore, Fey said that they had permanently scarred. Gungnir was charged with magic when it struck me. When Odin hit me.
Thor had brushed off the new scars as a nuisance earlier. They were a small price to pay to see Loki teleport safely away from the arena. Now though… he was right back where he started and nothing's changed. Angborn died for nothing.
Someone knocked on the door.
Azura? No, the knock was too confident. One of Loki's Raven Blades?
*May I speak to you Thor?* A voice politely asked telepathically.
*Come in Freyja* Thor offered, stepping inside the room and closing his balcony doors.
The door opened and Freyja entered. As usual, she was wearing her beautiful cloak of falcon feathers. "What do you think of Odin's decision?" She asked, closing the door behind her with a wave of her hand.
"With Loki?" Thor looked down, "he's still my brother."
"And innocent of the charges," Freyja noted.
Thor's breath caught. "What?!"
Freyja flicked her wrist and a small blue recorder crystal appeared in her palm. "Odin is keeping theis information secret, so he will be able to to execute Loki. Do you remember the childhood stories of the Elder God Chthon?"
"Yes," Thor nodded, "but what does he have to do with anything?"
"He is an ally of Thanos and his Chitauri."
Chitauri, Thor gulped. Loki was with the Chitauri. "What…"
"Loki attacked Midgard not just because he wanted to but because the Chitauri forced him," Freyja sighed. "And not gently either."
They hurt Loki? Thor didn't ask the question aloud. "What did you record?"
"Proof that Loki was not a willing ally and does not deserve the death sentence," Freyja promised. "Odin however, refuses to listen to me."
Thor watched as Freyja sent a small pulse of her amber magic to the crystal and activated it. An image appeared. Angborn was standing defensively in front of Loki, watching a person in a cloak. "Is that…?"
"Chthon yes," Freyja nodded.
Thor looked closer at Loki. He looked scared. My little brother is scared. He could count on one hand the number of times he had seen fear in Loki's eyes and still have fingers left over.
"Watch this. Mayhaps you can speak to your father and convince him to spare your sibling until all of the facts are known for clearly," Freyja shrugged. She told the crystal to play.