Iskalla looked out her bedroom window to the view of the icy landscape before her. The cold land seemed to mirror her inner turmoil, as if it could sense something dark and menacing looming in her future. She delicately wiped at the tears that stained her blue cheeks. How could her father do this her? How could he be so cruel? It was well known how the Asgardians felt about Frost Giants.
Iskalla's handmaid, Isbiter, entered the room, attempting to lift Iskalla's spirits. "Do not be nervous, dear. I am sure that you will learn to love Asgard."
A second handmaid, Tulling, followed. "They say that Thor Odinson is very handsome and a mighty warrior, if not all that bright."
Iskalla turned her head towards Tulling. "But wasn't it Thor that wanted to destroy us in retribution for ruining his coronation?"
Tulling continued to make Iskalla's bed, staying silent. It did not give Iskalla much faith.
Isbiter broke the silence, saying, "Maybe Thor has seen the error of his ways. He must have, if he wishes to partake in this alliance."
"Iskalla should feel lucky that she is not betrothed to the younger brother," gossiped Tulling. "I have heard that he is the true heathen."
The words were of little comfort. Iskalla broke down, beginning to sob uncontrollably. Iskalla's father, Isvann, walked in and ushered out the handmaidens. "Enough of this useless nattering! I must speak with my daughter. Alone."
Isvann placed his hand on his daughter's shoulder. "Cease your blubbering – it will do you no good! You know as well as I do that this is what you were born to do. To bring peace to this realm. As the princess, your responsibility is to your people. Why should you live a luxurious life while your people suffer in war? Lest we forget, that you cannot provide me with a true Frost Giant heir due to your small size. No respectable Frost Giant will have you."
Deep down, Iskalla knew that her father spoke the truth. She was looked down upon by her people and was bound by duty to marry Thor. She knew that she would have to learn, at the very least, to tolerate him in order to save her people and make the most of her future. Iskalla bravely lifted her chin.
"I will do it, father. I will marry the Odinson, Thor. For this realm."
Iskalla stepped off the Bifrost, escorted by her father's most trusted guards. She straightened her spine and looked straight ahead to face what she had to do. A tall man dressed in gold, regal armor stood before her.
She lifted the embroidered veil that covered her beautiful face. "Are you my betrothed?" Iskalla asked nervously.
The man chuckled kindly. "No, my lady. I am Heimdall. It is regretful that my Lord could not meet you, he was summoned away for an important matter."
What could be more important than meeting his future wife? Iskalla thought curiously.
"It is nice to meet you, Heimdall. Will you escort me to my living quarters while my Lord attends to his urgent matter?" Iskalla asked politely.
"Unfortunately, I cannot, my Lady. I must remain here and protect the Bifrost," said Heimdall apologetically.
One of Iskalla's guards spoke up. "I will not leave you, Iskalla. It is my duty to protect you and deliver you to your new home safely. You must not be left unattended in a strange land in which you are regarded as an enemy still."
"I will show the lady around," a deep voice came from behind Heimdall. The darkly sensual voice of the stranger caused Iskalla's skin to tingle and sparked a strange heat inside her. Iskalla was immediately intrigued. She whipped her head around to get a look at the face that belonged to the perfect voice.
He was absolutely striking.
His silky black hair was slicked back, cascading over his broad shoulders. His eyes were a piercing, sharply calculating green, seeming to penetrate the depths of her very soul. His black and green armor was perfectly tailored to his slender yet athletic body.
His tempting lips were curved into a perfunctory smile, but there was something curious about it. Something almost nefarious.
"And who might you be?" Iskalla inquired curiously, fighting the flush of attraction that was rising to her pale blue cheeks.
The stranger extended his arm regally. "I am Loki, Prince of Asgard. I am told that you are to wed my brother, Thor. It would be my pleasure to show the Lady to her quarters." While Loki's words themselves were polite, his tone bordered on disingenuous.
"Very well," replied Iskalla's guard. "I shall take my leave."
Iskalla tentatively slid her hand into Loki's arm and they began to make their way from the Bifrost. Iskalla looked at the gleaming buildings and architecture in awe, taking in all the sights and sounds that Asgard had to offer. She did not notice that Loki had not spoken anther word since they left the Bifrost.
Finally, Loki and Iskalla reached her quarters. Everything was pleasant until Loki opened the door and ushered Iskalla inside. The look on his face turned cruel as he abruptly slammed the door behind them. Iskalla did not have time to process the change in him before he was upon her, pinning her against the wall. She gasped in shock. She was both frightened and aroused from the closeness. As a virgin, Iskalla had never had a man press his body against hers before.
Loki towered over Iskalla, staring into her eyes as he brought his face closer to hers. His body was taut with tension. "Listen here, Frost Princess, I do not care that my 'father' has this idiotic notion of an alliance in his head. I do not care that you are to wed my 'brother'. I do not trust that you will bring anything but ruin to Asgard."
Iskalla, stunned, began to struggle against Loki's hold. It did little but bring her into further contact with his body. She was loath to admit that part of her enjoyed it. "I do not wish to be here anymore than you want me here! You think I don't know that Thor does not wish to marry me and your people hate my kind? I am here because I want peace, no matter how slim the chance may be. My duty is to my people, whether you like it or not."
Loki looked down mockingly at her meager struggle against his superior strength. He chuckled darkly, "It is bold of you to speak to a Prince of Asgard as you have. I admire your spine, if not much else about you." His gaze dropped lower to her bosom, which was heaving after her impassioned rant. He licked his lips. "Be warned, frost witch. I will be watching you. Closely." He leaned down and breathed "Very closely" against her cheek.
Iskalla shuddered despite herself, unable to tell if it was fear...or something more.
All at once, Loki released her from his grasp. She was met with the broad lines of his back as he turned to leave. Iskalla's brave façade did not falter until she heard the door close soundly behind her. She slid to the floor and grabbed her knees. Only then did she allow the tears to flow. She could only hope that Thor would be more friend than foe since it seemed that she had just made an enemy out of his brother.
The door creaked again, startling her. Iskalla leapt to her feet, frantically attempting to brush away the evidence of her despair. But it was too late. Loki's head popped in from behind the door.
"By the way, if you are wondering why my dear brother was not available to greet you, the whore that just walked out of his chambers should have the answer." The door creaked shut again and Loki's cruel laughter could be heard echoing from down the hall.
If anyone is wondering how I picture Iskalla, the image below is a good depiction.
image credit: www.ladyphoto.com.au
Loki sat on the steps of the banquet hall. He scowled, quietly observing the people around him. Odin looked impatient as Frigga attempted to calm down the old god.
"Where is he?" Odin's voice could be heard booming across the crowded banquet hall.
Frigga tried to hush Odin. "I'm sure that wherever Thor is, he has good reason to keep Iskalla waiting," said Frigga anxiously.
Loki snickered as he heard the exchange. "Good reason indeed," he muttered under his breath. Perhaps another tavern wench has caught the oaf's attention. Shocked gasps made Loki turn his head. He watched as Iskalla entered the room.
"We cannot postpone the banquet any further. It is clear that Thor's priorities are elsewhere. We must make the introduction now. Our guests have waited long enough," Odin told Frigga, displeased.
Odin tapped a goblet to quiet the upset whispers and protests of the crowd. "Quiet, all of you. We are gathered today to welcome Princess Iskalla of the Jotunheim to Asgard and to celebrate the impending marriage of Iskalla and Thor. Unfortunately, my son cannot-"
"Hello, father. Now that I am here, let the celebrations begin!" Thor interrupted Odin, lumbering into the banquet room and reeking of ale. "Mead for everyone! For we have come together to celebrate me! The mighty Thor!" Two wenches who had followed Thor into the room giggled to themselves, smitten by the drunken prince.
"Quiet, you fool! The evening has already begun! I am sure your future bride is not impressed by your behavior thus far! Go sit with your bride and embarrass me no longer!" admonished Odin.
Thor looked at Iskalla, taken aback as if he had forgotten her very existence. His expression darkened and Thor sighed heavily as he took a seat next to Iskalla.
Iskalla, humiliated, did not look towards Thor. She glanced around the room, spotting Loki, who had watched the entire display in amusement. Loki's emerald gaze locked with Iskalla's ruby eyes. A faint blush stained Iskalla's cheeks from the intensity of Loki's stare, and she quickly looked away. For a brief moment, Loki felt smug, his ego stroked that he could affect Iskalla so.
The entire exchange went unnoticed by Thor, who was still pouting like a spoiled child. The banquet marked his first real look at his bride, and he did not seem pleased. "Am I really to marry her, father? There is not enough mead in the world that can make me wish her to warm my bed!"
Fandral laughed and said, "If you do not want her Thor, I do not mind. I have not bedded a frost giant before."
Thor laughed derisively. "Fandral, she would freeze your manhood clean off!"
Fandral paused, his eyebrows furrowed together. "…But my Lord, are you not worried about your own manhood? It is common knowledge that the touch of a frost giant is deadly to us Asgardians."
Thor frowned in alarm, whipping around to confront Odin. His hand twitched as if he wanted to protectively cover his family jewels.
"Fear not," Odin sighed impatiently. "Your mother and I spoke of this when we shared with you the news of your union. I have enchanted Iskalla's skin with magic that renders her touch harmless, the same as your brother Loki."
Loki noticed Iskalla's eyes widen at Odin's casual mention of Loki's true nature. His lip curled in barely perceptible disdain as he let out a growl and stormed out of the banquet hall, walking purposefully towards his quarters.
The last thing that Loki wanted was for Iskalla to have the misguided notion that they were two of the same. He might be part frost giant, but his heart was of Asgard.
She would not find an ally in him.
Iskalla pushed around the food on her plate, unable to bring herself to eat. She could not stomach anything with the way her would-be-husband was carrying on.
She didn't know how things worked in Asgard, but in Jotunheim, the royal family did not speak of "bedding" and "manhood" so openly in front of the kingdom.
She was seated next to Thor, yet felt entirely alone. Her betrothed refused to look at her, instead focusing on the man named Fandral, who was seated across from him as they continued to partake in their vulgar conversation.
Iskalla feared for her wedding night as the two carried on. She struggled to find a redeeming quality in her future husband but so far all she was seeing was a crass, oversized oaf with no table manners and a weakness for mead. She also noted, to her discontent, that he reeked of multiple women.
She hid a shudder at the thought. Clearly, Thor would not be loyal to her.
She didn't know who was worse. Loki, who seemed to view her as an enemy, or Thor…who seemed to view her as nothing at all.
For a brief moment, when she'd heard that Loki was of Jotunheim, she'd felt a flicker of hope. It was comforting to know that someone from her homeland was there, even if he hated her.
Maybe she could make him warm to her and find at least one ally in this strange realm.
Loki was still fuming in his quarters about Odin's revelation to Iskalla in regard to his true heritage.
He had no right! I was raised a Prince of Asgard. There is no frost giant in me.
A knock on his door interrupted his mental tirade.
"Brother!" Thor boomed, as he barged into Loki's chambers uninvited. "Why did you leave the banquet early? I was counting on you to entertain Iskalla while I attended more important matters."
"What matters would that be, Thor?" Loki hissed. "I thought you'd already seen to your many whores. Was that not why you were so late?"
"Brother, you wound me," Thor said, stung. "Can you truly blame me for not wanting to wed that abomination? I do not understand what father is thinking!"
Am I an abomination? Loki thought to himself. Is that what you think of me, even after all these years? Out loud he responded, "Clearly father wants to unite Asgard and Jotunheim, since he was unable to do so with me. It is like him to try again with the 'worthy' son." His tone turned bitter, though Thor did not notice.
"Peace?" Thor balked. "Of what use is peace? We have the Casket of Ancient Winters. Jotunheim is no threat to us. I do not fear war. I can defeat anyone in battle."
"Who knows what the All-Father's motives for this are? It could be that he has seen a vision for the future that we know nothing about. We must trust him." Loki did not believe his own words, but knew that the complexities of politics were beyond Thor's comprehension.
"Maybe so…" Thor admitted begrudgingly. "But did father have to select me such an uncomely bride? Perhaps you wish to marry her, brother, as she is like you."
Loki's rage ignited. He threw one of his many books from his bookshelf at his brother, yelling, "Get out! Get out, you stupid oaf!"
Thor's face fell in shocked dismay. "Brother? What is the matter with you?"
Loki was unmoved, tired of his brother's constant casual disrespect. He continued his assault, pelting Thor with heavy books until Thor retreated with his tail between his legs.
"I am sorry, brother," Thor said in parting. "I did not mean to offend you—"
Loki slammed the door on his brother.
He clenched his fists, pacing around the room. What idiotic thoughts my brother has to think that Iskalla and I could ever be together? It is just like him to foist his problems onto me. He does not want his own future tied down to the frost princess, but he is fine throwing away mine. Iskalla does not belong on Asgard.
A dark thought slithered through Loki's mind as he thought back to Iskalla, remembering the way her blue cheeks had pinkened from his gaze. Maybe Thor was onto something (for once in his life). Thor and Iskalla's impending marriage was an abomination.
What a pity it would be if someone were to manipulate matters so that the marriage was called off.
Loki knew of Thor and Odin's double standards well. His brother was allowed to whore around on his wife, but the same could not be said for Iskalla. Thor would not tolerate the same behavior from his future wife. She was expected to be loyal to him until death, no matter how he treated her.
If she was caught being unfaithful to Thor, she would be exiled from Asgard forever and shamed by her people, which was nothing less than the monster princess deserved.
Perhaps he would strike up a friendship with her, and trick the princess into damning herself.
After all, he was already aware that he had an effect on her. Loki smirked to himself. How difficult could it be?
He slipped into his familiar mask of cunning.
It was time to pay a visit to Iskalla's chambers.
I hope people are reading and enjoying. If anyone has any complaints about Thor, I want to point out that this is a Jane-less Thor. A Thor who never became worthy. He is like he was in the beginning of the first movie.
Chapter 3: Only In Your Dreams
Iskalla's chambers were large and luxurious. There was much to explore and she had not yet had time to appreciate her living quarters. Iskalla walked through each room, taking in the artwork and sculptures that adorned the walls. The rooms were opulent and seemed to be inspired by Thor's red colour scheme.
From a distance, Iskalla's attention was caught by a large skull mounted over the fireplace. She drew closer to get a better look. She covered her mouth and gasped in shock as she realized the skull had once belonged to a Frost Giant. She could not believe that the Asgardians had decorated her living quarters with the bones of her own race. Tears welled in Iskalla's eyes, but she bit them back. It was then she realized just how much the Asgardians hated her kind.
She would have to become stronger in order to survive in this place. She would no longer give them the satisfaction of her tears.
A knock on the door interrupted her thoughts.
"Enter," granted Iskalla.
Loki entered Iskalla's chambers, carrying a covered tray.
He smirked as he noticed the look of surprise on Iskalla's face. "You look disappointed. Were you expecting Thor? I thought you would have learned by now he has no interest in you." As if that idiot would pull himself away from his whores to visit his future wife.
Iskalla would have to learn the hard way that Thor was not the king that Asgard deserved.
"I was sent by mother. She noticed that you had not eaten and asked me to bring this to you." Loki placed the tray on the table beside him. He was only too happy to accept Frigga's request as it would help further his plan to get closer to Iskalla.
"Tell Frigga I said thank you. You may leave now." Iskalla pulled her robes tightly against her body. The princess seemed distracted, barely looking at him as she spoke. Her blue skin was extra pale and her red eyes kept flitting to the fireplace across the room.
Loki followed her gaze. His eyes settled on the skull over the fireplace.
"Oh, I see you've noticed Thor's trophy. Or 'The Blue Buffoon' as Thor likes to call him," said Loki carelessly. He took great pleasure in her discomfort.
"You think this is funny?" Iskalla accused angrily. "Did I not hear Odin say that you are a Frost Giant yourself? How can you be so callous? How can you hate your own people?!"
Loki felt his rage building inside him. This was not going according to plan at all. It took all his self control not to force the ice princess to kneel and show some respect. How dare she talk to him thusly!
"They are not my "people" as you say. I was abandoned on a frozen rock and left to die due to my size! You of all people should know what Frost Giants think of their runts! Should I feel sympathy? They will get the same compassion from me as they have given – none." Loki suddenly felt exposed. He had not meant to divulge so much so soon. Damn that ice princess for triggering his rage. It only furthered his desire to see through his plans and leave her ruined.
He would show her no mercy.
Iskalla stared at Loki for a moment after his outburst. She had not considered before that his attitude could have been born out of rejection. She knew only too well what the Frost Giant thought of their runts, especially the males. Frost Giants did not see the point of wasting valuable food and resources on males that could not become warriors and defend their people. Iskalla could almost feel a pang of sympathy for Loki.
"I…I am sorry. I had no idea," Iskalla said as she reached out tentatively to touch Loki's arm.
Loki pulled away as if he had been burned by her touch. "Do not touch me! I do not need your pity."
"Pity? No…I just...understand...that is all," said Iskalla.
"I do not require your 'understanding' either," Loki spat. "Eat your dinner, we would not want you to lose your strength before the 'nuptials'. I hear from Thor's many wenches you're going need it."
And with that parting shot, Loki turned on his heel and swept from the room.
Iskalla stared at the door long after Loki had left. As she contemplated his words, she was surprised at how deep Loki's scars from the rejection of his people ran. As confusing as Loki was, Iskalla understood Loki's pain all too well.
If only there was a way to make Loki see that they could become allies. Then perhaps they could help heal each other.
Loki stalked around his bedroom. Rage was boiling within his veins. He ran his fingers through his silky black hair – his mind racing. How dare she! How dare she presume to know me! This frost bitch thinks she can toy with me, the God of Mischief? I will show her exactly who she is playing with. An evil smirk crept across Loki's face as he looked towards his bed.
Loki eased into his bed under the satin green sheets. His pale chest was almost glowing from the moonlight beaming from his large palace window. He began to concentrate on Iskalla; her stubborn blue face, her bluish-black hair that went down to her waist, the way her breasts had heaved when she confronted him in anger…
It was time to put his plan into motion.
Iskalla tossed and turned restlessly. Her dreams were plagued by the cruelty of Thor towards her people. She envisioned him slaying Frost Giant after Frost Giant right in front of her. Bloody bodies of her people began to pile at her feet…she fell to her knees and screamed in horror as Thor laughed during the slaughter.
Suddenly the bodies vanished and the horror stopped. She found herself standing alone on a snowy Jotunheim hill, the fresh snow crunching behind her as she felt someone approach. "Shh," she heard Loki whisper against her ear. "It's alright, princess. Nothing can hurt you here." He traced his fingers lightly up and down her arms, creating goosebumps on her skin.
Iskalla was ashamed to feel a powerful lust rise within her, both soothed and aroused by the sound of Loki's voice. She had never felt anything like it before. She turned around and met his emerald gaze. They locked eyes as they had in the banquet hall.
"How did we get here? I thought you hated me?"
"You're mistaken, little one. I realize now that you are the only one who truly knows me. We are two of a kind, you and I," he whispered against her cheek. He felt cold to the touch as he leaned down and lightly ghosted his firm lips against her own.
Iskalla was torn. Her sense of duty told her to pull away, but her body curiously wanted more. She tentatively opened her mouth to allow him access. It was her first kiss and she wasn't quite sure what to do.
She needn't had worried, as Loki took full control. He possessively attacked her mouth with a kiss that stole her breath. She felt consumed by it; completely under his thrall.
The force of her want scared her, and she found herself pulling away before things could go any further.
"Stop! This isn't right!" she protested weakly, pushing at his firm chest. "I am betrothed to your brother."
Loki chuckled darkly. "Your loyalty to my brother is admirable, princess. But I can give you so much more. I can be all that you need. Give in to me."
His mouth crushed hers as he pulled her against him. His slender fingers slid over the bodice of her gown, deftly undoing the fastenings before she could have time to catch up with what was going on.
She feebly struggled against his hard chest. She had never been disrobed in front of a man before. Especially a man as powerful and dangerous as this one.
"I should not," she breathed, kissing him back despite herself. "This is wrong."
Loki scoffed. "There is no right and wrong, princess. It is but a dream."
He was right. There was no duty here. No one would ever know that she dreamed of the wrong Prince of Asgard.
Her body craved what was happening between them. She already hungered for more of his kisses. She could not bear to deny herself this one escape from her duty-bound reality.
Iskalla wound her fingers into his thick hair, giving herself over to him completely.
He roughly pushed the material of her night gown passed her shoulders, exposing her nipples to the cold air. He trailed kisses down her neck and over her collarbone until he reached his destination.
Iskalla let out a sharp cry as he took a pretty dusky blue nipple into his mouth. She felt a warmth pool between her legs as he increased his suction, expertly manipulating her body.
Iskalla threw her head back, her long blue-black hair cascading over her shoulders. She had not imagined such pleasure was possible.
His slender fingers went back to work, reaching into her nightgown once again. His touch slid lower this time, parting her soft thighs.
What is he doing? she thought to herself. He couldn't possibly touch her there, could he?
She felt the barest ghosting of Loki's fingers over her most intimate flesh. The feeling was too intense. It was overwhelming.
The shock of it caused her dreamscape to dissipate. And Loki and their surroundings vanished into a fine mist.
She found herself back in her bed, jolting upright.
Panting, she brought a shaky hand over her frantically beating heart, trying to calm herself.
How was she ever going to face Loki again? How had she dreamed such a thing? Her father had raised her to be a proper lady.
Iskalla feared that her problems in Asgard were only just beginning.
Loki sat up in his bed, breathless. His hand was outstretched as he tried to grasp breasts that were no longer there. He'd almost had her. With little more than a few heated kisses, the princess had fallen into his waiting arms. He had nearly felt her submission.
Iskalla had nearly given into him, but somehow, she'd managed to find the strength to push him away. That was no matter; he would infiltrate her dreams as many times as needed until she was as wanton as Thor's whores.
Infiltrating Iskalla's dreams was not an entirely unpleasant endeavor, no matter how much he did not like the young princess. Scowling at his traitorous erection, he admonished himself for feeling affected by the dream and by the touch of her inexperienced hands. Surely I am stronger than that.
Loki's hand drifted slowly towards his straining erection. The hardness was almost painful. His urge to finish the task was strong, but he refused to bring himself to completion while thinking of Iskalla. No…that was disgusting...he could not allow himself to sink to such a level.
He would not let himself forget that he was the one in control.
Chapter 4: A New Beginning
Iskalla was awoken by a loud pounding on her chamber door. "May I enter, my lady?" her Asgardian handmaid, Ysmay, requested, entering the room without waiting for a reply. She walked over to the large bedroom window, parting the red drapes to let the sun spill in.
Iskalla scrunched her face and threw her arm over her eyes, trying desperately to block out the warm light. She could feel her skin begin to itch as she reacted to the sun's rays. "Please close the curtains!" Iskalla ordered Ysmay. Iskalla was not yet used to the Asgardian climate, but knew that she would have to adjust eventually.
"The sun will help you wake up, my lady. It is too lovely a day to remain in bed. You have much to do today. You must dress for breakfast. Quickly now," said Ysmay with an almost forced cheerfulness.
Iskalla sighed, sitting up in bed. She wished she could spend the day hiding in her chambers. Iskalla felt her cheeks grow warm as she remembered her dream from the night before. She dreaded facing Loki at breakfast, in addition to having to face her 'honorable' fiancé, Thor. For all she knew, Thor would come to breakfast with his wenches in tow. How am I to keep my composure? Iskalla wondered to herself.
"Allow me to assist you, my lady." Ysmay selected one of Iskalla's gowns from her closet and crossed the room towards her, launching into a flurry of movement as she quickly drew Iskalla a scalding hot bath.
Iskalla could feel the steam coming from the tub. She cringed, imagining the way her flesh would burn if it came into contact with the water. "This water is too hot. I cannot tolerate this kind of heat. Will you please draw me another bath?"
Ysmay feigned concern. "I do apologize, my lady. I am so used to serving Asgardian royalty. Unfortunately, we do not have the time to draw another bath. We will just have to get you dressed so that you are not late."
Ysmay began with Iskalla's dress. She tugged the dress over Iskalla's head and then pulled the laces of the corset so tightly, Iskalla felt as though the handmaiden was attempting to suffocate her. Afterward, when Ysmay began to brush Iskalla's long, flowing hair, she did so with such force that Iskalla was left wondering if she'd have any hair left on her head.
By the time Ysmay was finished, Iskalla felt as though her handmaiden had done her more harm than good. Ysmay had been of no help at all. It had become clear to Iskalla that Ysmay carried the same contempt for her people as did the rest of Asgard.
"Fruit, my lady?" a servant offered Iskalla as she entered the banquet hall for breakfast.
"No, thank you," replied Iskalla. Fruits and vegetables were not common on Jotunheim and a Frost Giant's diet consisted of meat and fish. She was not eager to sample such strange foods. She politely took her place at the table, seated in between Frigga and an empty chair that Iskalla knew was reserved for Thor. In front of her—at the opposite end of the long, oval table—sat Loki, who seemed to be observing the people around him with haughty disdain.
Iskalla lowered her gaze, not wanting to catch his eye.
Loki's smooth voice addressed Iskalla. "Good morning, my lady, did you sleep well last night?" His expression was pleasant but there was a twinkle of mischief lurking behind his green eyes.
"Very well. Thank you," Iskalla quickly replied. She hoped that Loki would not notice her discomfort and would turn his attentions elsewhere. She could almost feel a warm blush creep into her cheeks just from his close proximity.
For a brief moment, it seemed as though her prayers were answered. Loki's gaze left her, shifting instead to a fruit platter on the table. He seemed thoughtful as he looked through the assortment of fruits, before deciding upon a ripe, juicy peach. He bit into the peach, the juices making his tempting lips glisten obscenely. "Did you have any pleasant dreams?"
Iskalla watched as his mouth moved, his Adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed. She felt a forbidden, unfamiliar desire clench in her womb. She couldn't help but remember all that his masculine lips were capable of as he'd pressed his mouth against hers in her fevered dreams.
If Iskalla did not know any better, she'd think the young prince could read her mind. "I do not recall," she squeaked. "I never remember my dreams," she lied.
Loki smirked and took another bite out of the peach. Iskalla inwardly berated herself for daring to speak an untruth to the God of Mischief and Lies. She was positive he had seen through her words.
It seemed as though Loki was getting ready to torment her further when Iskalla was saved by the noisy entrance of his tardy brother, Thor, and his two favored wenches. The blonde and shorter of the two clung to Thor possessively whilst glaring smugly at Iskalla.
Iskalla watched as Thor picked up a stein of mead and drank the whole thing in two large gulps. "Another!" he yelled as he threw down the stein in a crash. Put off by such behavior, Iskalla turned her head away.
Loki wrinkled his nose as Thor began shoving food into his mouth. "If you insist on being tardy, brother, you could have at least bathed first. Your stench is so awful I am surprised it hasn't rotted the fruit."
"As the future King of Asgard, I have more important matters to attend to than idling in the tub," replied Thor smugly. His mouth was full with cheese and meat. Iskalla distantly noted that he did not close his mouth as he chewed, and that he already had pieces of food in his beard.
"You there!" Thor barked at the server, his mouth still full. "Bring more mead at once!"
The server hastened to comply, yet somehow ended up tripping and spilling the two large steins of mead all over Iskalla's gown instead.
Iskalla gasped as she was suddenly covered in sticky liquid. Her dress was ruined.
"I do apologize, my lady!" the servant cried. Yet Iskalla couldn't help but notice that the server hadn't sounded any more authentic than her handmaiden Ysmay. She suspected that the servant's "trip" hadn't been all that accidental.
Iskalla tried to keep her composure as she excused herself from the table. "I'm sorry, your majesties," she addressed Odin and Frigga. "I must change."
She quickly turned to leave the banquet hall.
The last thing she heard was Thor laughing at her predicament as the All-Father scolded him.
Loki watched as Thor continued to chuckle after Iskalla had been forced to leave the banquet hall.
"Silence, you fool," reprimanded Odin, obviously annoyed. "Do you care to explain to me what you find so amusing? You should show more respect to your future queen. For if you cannot accept her, how can you expect the people of Asgard to respect her as your wife and you as their king? Only a weak king does not stand up for his family and, like it or not, Iskalla will be your family."
Thor looked as his father, taking in his words. He swallowed the hunk of meat lodged in his throat. "What would you expect me to do, father? You ask too much of me. You can force me to marry her, but you cannot force me to respect her. She belongs to a race of monsters. Do you not remember the stories you and mother told us as children? How the Frost Giants would come and get us if we did not behave? Now I am supposed to love her? To treat her as one of us? I do not even know where to start." He sighed heavily.
Odin looked at his son thoughtfully. "If you keep antagonizing Iskalla with your drinking and your whores this marriage will never work. You will have failed in your duty as the future King of Asgard, and you will have failed in your duty to bring peace to your people. You do not have to love Iskalla, but you must tolerate her and be civil."
Frigga, listening quietly to Odin and Thor, suddenly spoke. "You can begin, my son, by offering an apology to Iskalla. A sincere one. It is a lovely day outside, go and take her on a walk through the gardens. I am certain that Iskalla will appreciate the gesture."
Thor hung his head dejectedly. He knew he could not win this argument. "Yes, mother. I will try."
Loki scoffed inwardly as he listened to the conversation unfolding around him. Thor will certainly find a way to screw up this 'apology,' he thought to himself. It might be fun to follow the oaf and see how spectacularly he fails.
Loki cast his invisibility spell and followed Thor out of the banquet hall.
Loki followed Thor all the way back to his brother's chambers. Still cloaked by the invisibility spell, Loki sat in a chair and watched as Thor reluctantly called for one of his manservants.
"Father is forcing me to spend time with the princess." Thor sighed heavily. "Please inform Iskalla that I send my apologies and that she is to meet me in the gardens in one hour."
"Right away, my lord," replied the servant sympathetically.
Loki tried to stifle a snicker. Really, Thor? You are going to send your manservant to apologize for your own stupidity? I am sure that will go over well...why don't you just hit her with Mjolnir and call it foreplay while you are at it?
Thor raised one of his arms and sniffed. "I don't smell so bad...I do not know what Loki is talking about," he muttered to himself. He looked toward the bathroom and thought for a moment before reaching for the bowl of myrrh instead. He grabbed a handful and rubbed each armpit generously.
Loki rolled his eyes as he watched Thor 'bathe' and admire himself in the mirror before leaving his chambers.
As Thor left, he turned towards one of his many manservants. "Fetch the Warriors Three, it is time for a hunt! I wish to clear my head if I am to make it through my obligated outing with Iskalla."
Loki was unimpressed and unsurprised by the way Thor was already handling the matter.
The ice princess was about to have the worst 'date' of her life.
If Iskalla was not a Frost Giant he would almost feel sorry for her.
Loki yawned as he watched Thor and the Warriors Three track their prey. A wild boar.
This is why I never go hunting with them. This is as uninteresting as I remember. All the oaf speaks of is bedding women and his conquests in battle. I do not know how Sif puts up with it.
"Quiet," Thor whispered to the Warriors Three as he aimed his bow at the beast, readying his arrow. Alas, the blond prince lost the opportunity to take the shot—he was struck unexpectedly in the back of the head by a small stone. "Ouch," cried Thor, dumbfounded.
Loki snickered as he pelted Thor with more rocks to break his concentration. He decided he'd better stop as Sif began to narrow her eyes and look around in his direction. I better quit while I'm ahead.
"Where did that come from?" Thor shook his head, regained his concentration, and shot the boar. The boar squealed and fell dead in a pool of blood.
Thor began to work on cleaning the dead boar. While he worked on removing the pelt, Fandral spoke, "Has the ice princess invited you to her bed yet, Thor?"
No, Loki thought smugly. She is far too busy with her dreams of me.
"Not yet, Fandral, and even if she did, I would not wish to accept the invitation." Thor scowled.
Volstagg spoke up next, eager to find out what Thor wished to do with the remains of the beast. "Are you just interested in the heart, Thor? I would very much like to keep the meat of this tasty beast."
"You may take as much meat as you wish, Volstagg," replied Thor. "I have special plans for this," he said as he held up the heart of the animal.
Loki raised an eyebrow. No. Thor, you truly are an idiot if you are planning on doing what I think you are with that heart.
Loki watched as Thor continued to work on the animal. "What time is it?" asked Thor, absentmindedly.
"It's nearly midday," Sif replied.
Which makes you an hour late, Thor, thought Loki sneeringly. As inconsiderate as always, you witless oaf. Already late for your 'first date'…
To his credit, Thor did react with some haste. "I am to meet Iskalla in the gardens," he told the Warriors Three, leaping to his feet. "I must take my leave now."
"You go, my lord. We will finish cleaning up here," said Sif kindly.
Fandral winked, chuckling. "Have fun on your 'date'. I wish to hear all the sordid details later."
Thor ignored Fandral, and stomped off through the forest, heading towards his 'date'.
Loki hurried after Thor, excited to see the disaster that was about to take place.
Iskalla paced impatiently through the gardens, wondering where Thor could possibly be. Maybe he changed his mind, she thought to herself. Iskalla had been pleasantly surprised when Thor's manservant had arrived in her chambers with the invitation. She'd wanted to be optimistic that Thor had possibly had a change of heart. Now, Iskalla wondered if this was merely another attempt to humiliate her.
The Thunder God was already over an hour late.
"I am sure he will be here soon, my lady." Thor's manservant attempted to appease her. "My prince must have his reasons for being late."
"I will wait for him for a few minutes more," decided Iskalla. "But if he does not show, tell your prince that I will not accept any more invitations from him without a proper apology."
The manservant was about to speak when none other than the prince's voice itself boomed through the garden, cutting the servant off. "Iskalla!" Thor rushed up to her. "I apologize for my tardiness. I was searching for a proper gift for you, my lady. I heard that Frost Giants love meat." Thor's hands held out a bloody boar's heart. "I wish to gift you with a trophy from my kill."
Iskalla stared down at the blood covered organ held within Thor's large hands. Her reaction was one of shocked disgust. On Jotunheim, animals were never killed for fun, but out of necessity. The frozen land was nearly bereft of life and animals were considered a sacred gift to be respected. Iskalla tried to hide the aversion in her voice. "Thank you, my lord. I appreciate the gesture, but it was not necessary. Please do not gift me with more animal hearts in the future."
Thor's face fell. "I do not understand, are you not pleased with my gift? Perhaps if you heard the tale of how I slew the beast, you might be more impressed," he boasted.
"If you do not mind, I thought we might talk more of Asgard. As this is my new home, I wish to learn as much about it as I possibly can," said Iskalla.
"Asgard? I am ill-equipped to give you a full history, my lady. Perhaps your handmaiden, or my brother, Loki, would be able to provide you with all the information you seek. Now, let me tell you the glorious tale of my hunt today!"
*Twenty minutes later*
Iskalla tried to hide her yawn as she listened to Thor's tale. The story seemed endless.
"The beast was 30 feet tall! He began chasing me, The Mighty Thor! I thought that this may have been the end for myself and the Warriors Three! The beast knocked down Fandral, and tried to gore Sif with his horns! Volstagg was lost far back as he could not run very far! It was up to me to save them. I grabbed the beast by the horns and tried to wrestle it to the ground, but the damned thing would not stay down." Thor gestured animatedly with his hands as he spoke, violently reenacting his battle with the animal. "Finally, after the beast threw me off of him with his enormous strength, I decided it was time to reach for Mjolnir." Thor's fist tightened around his hammer. "So I swung left," Thor swung Mjolnir to the left enthusiastically. "Then I swung right," Thor gave another swing, this time moving further towards Iskalla as he became more excited. "Finally, once I was close enough, I brought the hammer down and crushed the skull of the beast!" Thor was so caught up in his tale, that when he swung Mjolnir for the last time, it narrowly missed colliding with Iskalla's head.
If Iskalla had not been blessed with her Jotunn reflexes, she would not have been able to jolt out of the way in time. As a runt, Iskalla was three times more vulnerable to the strength of Mjolnir than the rest of her people. She felt as though she were watching the hammer descend on her in slow motion. She could hear a crackle of thunder as it soared dangerously past her ear. The hair on the back of her neck rose on end and her heart slammed against her rib cage in terror.
Thor continued with his story, unperturbed, until he noticed Iskalla, who was now staring at him with red eyes frozen wide in shock. "What is the matter, Iskalla? Why are you looking at me in this way?"
Iskalla managed to catch her breath for a second. "How can you ask me that? Did you not notice that you nearly hit me with Mjolnir!?" she demanded incredulously. "I could have been killed!"
"Nonsense," scoffed Thor. "I know how to handle Mjolnir. I would never hurt you with it! Clearly, you do not know how to appreciate the value of grand storytelling! I will not stand here and be accused of petty crimes by a Frost Giant! I realize that I was a fool to attempt to reach out to you. Obviously, this 'date' has been a disaster! I will not make the same mistake again." Thor snatched the boar's heart out of Iskalla's trembling hands. "I wish to take this back. I will give it someone who will appreciate it. Have a good day, princess."
Thor turned around and stomped away. Iskalla watched him go, and as soon as she felt he was a safe distance away, she allowed herself to drop to her knees. She couldn't calm the frantic beating of her heart. She had never been more fearful of her impending marriage to Thor than at that moment. This was a man who was going to be eternally tied to her. A man who was supposed to swear before Odin to love and protect her for the rest of her days. Yet he'd so casually almost killed her with his thoughtless neglect.
At this rate, I will be lucky to survive Asgard another week.
Just as Iskalla thought that she could not possibly feel any worse, a familiar silhouette emerged from the shadows.
The Prince of Mischief smirked down at her. "Pathetic. Did you honestly expect anything different?" Loki taunted. "Thor is incapable of change. He will never accept you."
Oh no! Poor Iskalla. Loki is about to deliver her with a devastating blow when she is already down.
Iskalla could not could force herself to get up from her knees in the garden as she recovered from the troubling scene that had just taken place. Her gorgeous red gown flowed out around her, painting a hauntingly lovely image of her sadness. She felt ridiculous for having tried to dress up for Thor.
It seemed as if nothing she did would ever please him.
The Prince of Mischief smirked down at her. "Pathetic. Did you honestly expect anything different?" Loki taunted. "Thor is incapable of change. He will never accept you."
Iskalla ignored Loki, too caught up in her own despair. She refused to look at him as she heard the heavy sound of his footfalls drawing closer. "I've seen many a woman on their knees for Thor but never quite like this."
Iskalla ignored the bait. She knew that Loki would use any response from her as ammunition for one of his relentless, verbal assaults.
Iskalla felt Loki's hand reach out to tilt her chin up, forcing her to make eye contact with his mocking gaze. Her lips trembled but she held his eyes. His green eyes were colder than she'd ever seen them.
Satisfied that he had forced the princess to acknowledge his presence, Loki released her chin and rose to his full height, lording their difference in size over her. Loki spoke quietly, "You do know that your marriage to Thor will be nothing more than a sham. He will never grow to love you. Loving you would take away the focus from his greatest love – himself. He will never be able to give you what you need."
Iskalla's breath caught for a second as a memory from her previous night's dream invaded her thoughts. "I can be all that you need. Give in to me," she remembered Loki's sensual voice saying to her just before his lips had crashed down onto hers. Iskalla gave her head a slight shake to push the unwanted thoughts out of her mind. Now was not the time to find herself reacting to the dark prince.
Loki seemed to pounce on Iskalla's discomfort like a predator sensing the weakness of its prey. "What's the matter, princess? Do my words affect you so because you know they are the truth?"
Iskalla felt rage building within her heart. "The truth? You are the God of Lies! You have not exactly kept your hatred of me a secret. Why should I worry myself with anything you have to say?"
Loki shrugged. A satisfied smirk played across his face. "Then do not believe my words. Look at Thor's actions, instead. He's bedded how many wenches since your arrival? You have been here for days and only now has he graced you with the honor of his time! Where is he now, ice princess? Where is your precious Thor? Instead of apologizing for nearly hitting you with Mjolnir, the oaf has stalked off. He is probably comforting himself with ale and wenches as we speak!"
Iskalla stood suddenly and slapped Loki hard enough to turn the Trickster's head. The smirk was literally wiped off his face. "Enough! I do not have to listen to any of this! We both know that you would love it if I simply gave up and went back to Jotunheim. I will not give up. I have a duty to my people to make this marriage work."
"Have it your way, princess," snarked Loki, still infuriatingly calm as he rubbed his jaw. Iskalla could see the quiet rage burning in his eyes, but he surprised her by holding his anger back. It unsettled Iskalla. She was more used to his tantrums than his cool restraint.
Loki sneered. "When you are finally able to see the futility of your efforts, I will be the first one to say 'I told you so' as you are escorted to the Bifrost on your way back to Jotunheim."
Loki turned and walked away, dismissing both Iskalla and their conversation.
"You are lucky, my lady," Loki said over his shoulder, dealing her one last parting shot. "My brother is lacking in many areas but combat is not one of them. I doubt he would miss a second time."
Iskalla watched him go, more determined than ever to prove The God of Mischief and Lies wrong.
"Arrrgggggggggggggh!" Loki screamed as he burst into his chambers. The ensuing blast of his magic sent his room into an instant upheaval. Chairs exploded into shards of wood, tables overturned, and goblets shattered.
Loki's manservant, Stakker, watched the display in stunned horror. His master was angry, and while he was used to Loki's rages, he did not welcome what came afterward. Something had upset his lord more than usual. Afraid to speak, Stakker waited for his lord to address him.
"I cannot believe the audacity of that frost bitch! How dare she slap a prince of Asgard so!" Loki stalked around his room surveying the destruction he had just caused. "She is lucky I will not have her head for this!"
"My lord," Stakker found the courage to speak up. "Is there anything I can do for you?"
Loki turned to look at Stakker, irritated by the servant's mere presence. "Can you not see that I am busy? Leave! Now!" Unable to take his rage out on Iskalla, Loki began to throw his books at Stakker until the man frantically scrambled out of the room.
Alone, Loki ran his fingers through his hair and sighed. He cursed Iskalla's determination to see her marriage to Thor through. Yet, as trying as Loki found Iskalla's resistance, he could not deny that it was somewhat intoxicating. It had been a long time since anyone had engaged Loki in a worthy battle of wills. (Certainly not the oaf!)
Loki thought back to his invasion of Iskalla's dream. He still remembered the sting of how she had nearly given into him before slipping away.
He wanted to meddle with the frost princess's head as badly as she was meddling with his. He wanted thoughts of him to plague her every waking thought.
Perhaps I should pay the frost princess another nightly visit, Loki thought to himself.
He wanted her to hurt with how she longed for him.
He wanted her lust to drive her to madness like the sweetest of torture.
Iskalla sat in front of her vanity, brushing her long bluish-black hair. Her thoughts kept drifting to her last encounter with Loki. She was loath to admit it, but his words had stung her. For some unknown reason, Loki's actions were able to affect her even more so than his brother's.
Iskalla pulled her nightgown over her head as she changed. She'd decided to skip dinner and retire early to bed. The day's events had exhausted her. She settled under the soft, satin sheets and closed her eyes. As a Jotunn, she did not need the covers to keep her warm, but she found the silky softness of the sheets comforting. Sleep came to her quickly.
Her dreams were once again plagued with nightmarish images of Thor. Iskalla found herself running through a long, creepy hallway that flickered back and forth between Jotunheim and Asgard; the dream shifting into an interchangeable mix of the two realms. She could hear Thor's enraged voice calling out for her. "Come here, wife! Come here and swear fealty to your king!"
Terrified, Iskalla knew that he did not want her fealty. He wanted her head. He was hunting her like he had so many of her kind. Iskalla feared he was going to carve out her heart like that of a wild animal.
Iskalla cried out for help as she ran. "Help! Help! Somebody - please! He's going to kill me!" But not a soul in Asgard or Jotunheim cared. They drank from their goblets and chatted away merrily as she ran for her life, not so much as bothering to glance at her.
The strength in Iskalla's legs was leaving her, the muscles in her legs burning from running so fast. She could tell that Thor was catching up to her.
Right as Iskalla felt Thor's meaty fingers clasp her robe in victory, he disappeared. She closed her eyes tightly in fear, only to open them again once she heard a familiar voice. "Are you alright, princess?" the smooth, silky voice addressed her.
"Loki," Iskalla breathed. They were standing alone in a snowy Jotunheim forest, the wind whipping Loki's long black hair savagely around his handsome face. Iskalla stared at him, confused by the relief she felt in her dreams at his presence. How is it that in my dreams, Loki is my savior, but my worst nightmare when I am awake?
"Which one are you?" she asked, peering up at him through the snowfall.
"Pardon?" Loki asked, confused.
"Are you my dream or my nightmare?"
"I am both, princess." Loki chuckled. "Does it matter to you what I am right now? Either way, we both know that you crave my touch. The last time we met, your passion was undeniable. You need only to let yourself go." He reached his arm out to her, beckoning. "Take what you want."
Iskalla placed her small blue hand into his, letting him pull her into a passionate kiss. The Prince of Lies was fast becoming her addiction. Being in his arms was the only time she felt wanted or desirable. The relentless rejection of both her future husband and her own people had taken its toll on her.
Loki's tongue began to trace her lips in an attempt to gain access to the cool recesses of her mouth. She complied with his need, eager to follow his example and explore his mouth with her own tongue.
Iskalla felt more brazen than the last time. She allowed herself to indulge in the overwhelming urge to explore Loki's lean, muscular body with her hands. She pulled at Loki's green tunic and ran her fingers over the smooth skin of his chest. Whilst she explored his chest, his forceful hands took liberties of their own. He gently cupped and massaged her breasts through the thin material of her nightgown. Iskalla moaned softly as Loki bent his head to gently place a kiss on one pale blue nipple. The now familiar warmth pooled between Iskalla's legs as one of Loki's hands ran up her thigh.
Loki's kisses began to make their way down Iskalla's body. She panted and ran her fingers through his hair, watching as his dark head moved further and further over her stomach, until finally reaching her most intimate flesh.
"Do not pull away from me this time," he whispered huskily as Iskalla tensed. "I can show you pleasure you never dreamed of," he said as he stared intensely into her eyes. "Do you not trust me?"
"When I am awake? Never. In this place? Yes," she admitted breathlessly.
"Good girl," Loki rumbled. "You were made to be ruled. Your body belongs to me and me alone. They call me silver tongue for a reason, princess. Allow me to show you."
Iskalla blushed, nodding her permission.
This time, when Loki reached between her legs she did not pull away. Encouraged by her willingness, Loki crouched down and ghosted his cool lips between her thighs. The picture the two of them made together was the most obscene thing Iskalla had ever seen. A Prince of Asgard was kneeling between her legs in order to pleasure her. Her nightgown had been pushed up to below her breasts, baring all the feminine dips and curves of her pale body to the moonlight and his hungry gaze. The impropriety of it alone was enough to send her lust to new heights.
But that was nothing compared to what happened next.
Loki dragged his tongue up her cool slit. Reaching her clit, he flicked his tongue back and forth, making Iskalla moan.
Iskalla writhed against his face, her fingers clutched desperately into his thick, black hair to keep her balance. Her legs threatened to buckle beneath her under the assault of his pleasure. "Oh god, Loki! Please don't stop," she begged him shamelessly.
She could feel Loki smiling against her as he continued to lick and kiss her core with passion. Iskalla pressed Loki's mouth harder against her as she felt herself being skillfully manipulated to a previously unknown peak.
"Oh…Loki...oh...something's happening...I can't-" Iskalla had been raised to believe that women were not meant to enjoy themselves in the bedroom. She had never experienced the white-hot building of pleasure within her. As she felt her climax hit, the dream world disappeared.
She opened her eyes, sticky and panting. She could feel the damning evidence of the wetness between her thighs and her face flushed in embarrassment.
Iskalla once again found herself faced with cruel reality. She was very much alone in her empty bed.
Loki opened his eyes and licked his lips, almost expecting to taste Iskalla on them. His heart was pounding. I had nearly broken her will, he thought to himself. Loki's body ached as he realized he had also succeeded in achieving his own frustration. The evidence of his frustration was erect and painfully hard.
Loki's hand drifted to his manhood. The burning need was too much to bear this time. This is not about Iskalla...I am a man...It is natural for me to feel pleasure at her touch...at any woman's touch, he tried to convince himself.
His hand enclosed his cool, pale shaft gripping firmly as he moved his hand up and down, slowly at first but with gaining speed. He was still undecided if he wanted to finish this. He tried unsuccessfully to push the images of Isksalla's beautiful breasts and the sweet taste of her out of his mind.
His hand gripped tighter, moving faster. Loki began to pant. His lips parted as he let out a small moan. As he began to feel the pressure build, he fantasized about invading Iskalla's dreams. I will make her beg for me again and again. She will long to feel me inside her. She will submit to my every dark desire and crave it like the air she breathes. The thought of Iskalla submitting to him was enough to push Loki over the edge. He felt the cool wetness of his release cover his hand as he came.
Loki looked at his wet hand, suddenly feeling disgusted by what had just occurred. This should not have happened! he berated himself. I cannot let the frost witch get to me so! He was confused and sickened by the turn of events.
He could not help but feel like the ice princess had won this round.
Maiken burrowed into Thor's broad chest, watching as her golden prince snored loudly in sleep.
It was not often that she got to spend the night in his arms. The prince usually dismissed her after she was done warming his bed. Though the nights would sometimes come where, well-sated and tired from the day's work, the prince would fall to slumber before he remembered to ask her to leave. Secretly, Maiken liked to believe that it was because the thunder god truly wanted her there.
Maiken wished that she could bask in these stolen moments with him, but her heart was fraught with anger and pain. Everything had changed for the worst since that ugly blue demoness had tainted Asgard with her presence.
The ice princess had nothing but a negative effect on the people, the palace, and the prince himself. Maiken hated how bad-tempered Thor had become since his betrothed's arrival.
Ever since the blue witch had arrived, Thor was not as gentle a lover as he had been, often taking out his anger on her poor body. Maiken loved Thor, though, and she would gladly endure any pain if it pleased her thunder god.
Her golden prince had once paraded the halls like he had not a care in the world. Now, he was tense, constantly troubled, quick to anger, and partaking in even more ale than usual.
If only I were not a servant girl, Maiken sadly thought to herself for the hundredth time. Then Thor and I could wed.
Maiken had long accepted the prince's duty to marry a high standing lady of Asgard. But for Thor to be forced to marry a Frost Giant, the very enemy of their people? Maiken could not abide it.
The very thought of Iskalla one day giving birth to Thor's heirs made Maiken so sick with fury that she found her hands shaking.
That could have been you, a dark thought whispered to her. If only you had not been forced to abort your child with the prince because the baby was not a legitimate heir.
Why did Iskalla—a monster, a disgusting unworthy abomination—get that honor?
Someone had to save her beautiful prince from the All-Father's madness. Someone had to stop the ice princess before it was too late.
Maiken would make that sacrifice.
She would stain her own hands and take the life of that blue witch.
Then perhaps, one day, her beautiful Thor might come to know just how much his servant girl had loved him.
Dun dun dun! Iskalla better watch her back. Maiken is coming.
As Tumblr's youth would say "Shit is getting real."
Hey, so, I want to let anyone reading this know that from this point on I will be aiming to update one chapter a week on either Saturday or Sunday.
I'm also going to see Ragnarok for the 2nd time today and I am not ashamed. Anyone else see it more than once? :P
Dawn broke and Iskalla steeled herself for another day in Asgard.
She arrived at breakfast, relieved beyond the telling of it when she noticed that neither Thor nor Loki were there. She let out a breath that she did not know she was holding in and sat down next to Frigga who was chatting casually with Odin. Iskalla halfheartedly picked at the assortment of fruits offered to her before heading back to her chambers to get her measurements taken by her handmaiden Ysmay. Ysmay had been ordered by Frigga to take them so that the Asgardian seamstresses could began their work on Iskalla's wedding gown.
It had not been a pleasant experience.
"Hold your breath in!" Ysmay had ordered Iskalla while trying to pull the measuring tape tightly around Iskalla's waist.
"I am holding it in!" Iskalla replied, frustrated.
"Perhaps if you curtailed on the sweets, my lady," Ysmay muttered under her breath.
In truth, Iskalla had found herself losing weight since her arrival in Asgard. Her ribs were more prominent than they should have been. In addition to the stress from dealing with Thor and the new way of life that had been thrust on her, she had not yet acquired an appetite for Asgardian food.
After being needled by Ysmay's underhanded comments and rough treatment, Iskalla was given a respite and spent the rest of the afternoon reading peacefully in her room. The hours passed quickly and, before she knew it, the sun had set.
Iskalla entered the banquet hall. She had already braced herself to face Loki and Thor. Although Loki was fortunately nowhere to be found, Thor could be seen at his usual seat swilling ale and rudely stuffing his face full of meat.
Iskalla took her seat between Frigga and Thor. "Good evening, Thor," she said cordially. She was still angered with him due to his treatment of her in the gardens, but she knew that her feelings on the matter meant little to nothing. She was expected to be polite and supportive and nothing more.
Thor grunted at Iskalla with a mouth full of meat and continued to ignore her.
Iskalla turned to her future mother-in-law. "Good evening, Frigga."
"Good evening, child. I have been meaning to speak with you. I heard Thor took you to the gardens yesterday. How did the date between you and my son go?" asked Frigga pleasantly.
Iskalla avoided Frigga's gaze, unable to meet the older woman's eyes as she lied. "It went well, my majesty. Thank you for asking."
Thor paused in his chewing, his mother's question capturing his attention. He straightened his shoulders. "Well, if you must know, mother, I was the perfect gentleman. I gave Iskalla a token of my appreciation, and I entertained her with the heroic story of how I obtained my offering to her," said Thor proudly.
Iskalla glared at Thor while he spoke to Frigga, suppressing her desire to refute his false claims. Entertain me? You nearly killed me! If your mother only knew what a spiteful, boastful idiot she had raised, she would be ashamed!
"If you would excuse me, All-Mother, I would like to go upstairs and turn in early. I believe your son is taking me on another wonderful date tomorrow and I would like to be well rested," Iskalla said while giving Thor a knowing look.
Thor choked on his ale as he heard Iskalla make mention to Frigga of them going on 'another date.' His face paled.
"Yes, dear. You may be excused. It is such wonderful news that you and my son are finally reaching an understanding," Frigga said cheerfully. "I hope you and Thor make many more enjoyable memories together in your future."
Thor's fingers tightened around his stein of ale. His knuckles turned white as he threatened to break the glass. "Yes mother," he said through clenched teeth. "As do I."
Iskalla flashed him a sickeningly sweet smile. "I look forward to seeing you again, my prince," she put on thickly.
She curtsied and left the banquet hall, relishing the look of thinly disguised hatred burning in Thor's blue eyes as she took her leave.
Loki paced back and forth in his chambers. His black hair now disheveled from the constant pull of his fingers through them. He was wearing nothing but the pajama bottoms he wore the previous night. His impressive chest rose and fell in deep, agitated breaths. His eyes wild from the thoughts that troubled his mind.
His mind was plagued by thoughts of Iskalla. He had meant to torment her, but found himself the tormented instead. He was trapped in the illogical desires that lingered after each visit to her dreams. I should not have allowed myself to get caught up in these dreams. They are a means to an end. I should not be affected by her fumbling, virginal hands. I should not have allowed myself to give in last night he berated himself. The memory of pleasuring himself after his last encounter with Iskalla was almost too much shame to bear. Is it shame? It must be...it can never be anything else...he reasoned to himself.
Loki regarded his now-empty bookshelf. Between Thor and his manservants, Loki had succeeded in throwing all the books he had ever owned at someone in a fit of temper. Such a waste of great literature, he thought to himself. But they all deserved it!
"If you keep abusing the books I give you, you will receive no more from me," a familiar female voice said from behind him.
Loki turned to face his mother. "Mother, how long have you been standing there?"
"Long enough to know that something is troubling you, my son," Frigga said, her concern etched on her face. "You did not show up in the banquet hall at all on this day. You must be hungry. Are you not feeling well?"
"I'm fine. Just fine, mother," Loki replied tersely.
"I know you better than anyone, Loki, even yourself. This is about Iskalla, is it not?" said Frigga softly.
"Why would you pester me with questions of the blue witch?" snapped Loki, Frigga unknowingly hitting a nerve. "She is Thor's bride, not mine. I have nothing to do with Iskalla "
"Perhaps she makes you uncomfortable, Loki. Perhaps you see the similarities between her situation and the way we brought you into our family. You have both suffered rejection at the hands of your people due to your size. Can you not use the common ground to perhaps forge a truce, if not a friendship, with Iskalla?" inquired Frigga.
"She does not make me 'uncomfortable' in the way you are thinking, mother. I simply do not wish her to be in Asgard because a Frost Giant has no place here. As to my true parentage, I am an Asgardian! You of all people should know that. Is it not how you raised me? I am no Frost Giant. You should do well to remember that and so should Iskalla…" Loki's voice trailed off.
"Loki…I can sense when something is not right... I sincerely hope that you have not been making it difficult for Iskalla to fit in here…" Frigga narrowed her eyes suspiciously.
"Mother, it is not my job to make Iskalla feel welcome. That is Thor's duty. I simply let Iskalla know what she should expect from her marriage to Thor," said Loki, avoiding Frigga's eyes. "…and while doing so, if I might have also implied that she should go back to Jotunheim, it was nothing but the truth."
"LOKI! What exactly did you say to Iskalla?" demanded Frigga, shocked.
"I simply stated that Thor prefers the company of wenches to that of his Frost Giant wife and that she should be prepared to spend her many nights on Asgard alone. The frost princess then had the audacity to raise her hand to me!" exclaimed Loki, incredulously. "She is as barbaric as the rest of her kind. I do not know how you and father expect peace to ever be an option."
"Iskalla slapped you? I know you well enough to know that this was hardly a civil conversation. You have a talent to use your words as knives, my son. Each cut you inflict upon her will make her integration into our society even more difficult. I demand that you apologize to Iskalla immediately," Frigga commanded sternly.
"Mother, you cannot order me to apologize to Iskalla. I would rather be eaten by a bilgesnipe and sent to Hel than swallow my pride for the ice princess."
"Loki!" Frigga scolded impatiently. "Apologize. Now."
As angry as Loki was, he could never deny a request from Frigga. She was one of the few souls he truly cared for. Loki lowered his head, biting his tongue. "Yes mother. For you."
Iskalla yearned for sleep after her trying day. She was preparing for bed alone in her chambers when she heard a knock on the door.
"Who's there?" she called.
"My lady," a female voice replied, "It is Maiken. I have an important letter for you from our prince."
Curious, Iskalla went to the door. As she opened the door a crack, she saw a petite, blond woman. Iskalla immediately recognized her as one of Thor's wenches. The woman was holding a letter branded with Thor's official red seal.
Iskalla wished that she could be surprised by her husband-to-be sending one of his handmaidens to do his bidding. And one he slept with, at that.
"You may enter, but make it quick. I would like to go to bed," said Iskalla, impatiently.
Maiken handed Iskalla the letter with a polite smile.
Iskalla turned her back to the handmaiden as she began reading the prince's words.
My dearest Iscalla,
It has been brought to my attention that I have not always been the kindest to you since your arrival. It has been hard for me to hide my disgust for you. I am struggling to accept my father forcing his hand in our marige.
Iskalla wrinkled her nose. Thor had not even bothered to spell her name right! She was also shocked to note how poor the prince's grammar was. She would have expected a Prince of Asgard to be better educated.
Iskalla began to hear the cracking of logs in the fireplace behind her. She turned her head towards Maiken. "Oh, it's not necessary to start a fire. The cold does not really affect me."
"If my lady does not mind, I find it quite chilly in here and would like to warm myself," Maiken replied.
Iskalla shrugged. She will be leaving soon. I can put up with the heat for a little while, she thought to herself. She continued to read…
I know that I have been rude and crass at times Iscalla. I will try to curtail my rudeness and hide my disgust better.
Really Thor? Iskalla thought to herself. You are such an idiot. I will try to curtail my surprise at your stupidity and hide my rage better, Iskalla thought sarcastically.
I wish to enter into a peaceful marige with you Iscalla. However, I must confess…my heart beats for another. My soul cries out for my beautiful handmaiden Maiken. If you could possibly accept an 'open' marige, I could see a peaceful future for us both.
Behind Iskalla, Maiken continued to loiter around the fire. She was hovering and puttering over the flames. Iskalla was not used to her servants taking so long to start a simple fire.
Iskalla barely resisted rolling her eyes. She could not believe the audacity of the prince. He had never tried to hide the flaunting of his wenches in front of her. She had already accepted that their marriage would be an 'open' one, whether she wanted it or not. He must think me truly stupid.
Iskalla did not see the attack coming.
One minute, she was angrily mulling over Thor's words, and in the next, a bloody blade was protruding from her stomach, her entire body going into shock from the pain.
Unbeknownst to Iskalla, Maiken had crept up behind her with a fire-heated blade, and stabbed the princess in the back. The blade had gone straight through her lower back and all the way out to the other side, the heated metal cutting through her flesh like it was butter.
Blood dripped onto the floor beneath her.
Iskalla fell to her knees, looking down at the blood pooling around her wound and staining her nightgown in disbelief. Her hands shakily reached up towards the wound and grasped the blade, but it would not budge. She began to gasp for breath in a panic.
"Did you enjoy reading 'Thor's' letter?" Maiken stalked over to Iskalla so that she was standing over her fallen body. "The letter that I, in fact, wrote? Everything was fine between me and Thor until you showed up! I am going to enjoy killing you, Frost Giant! I was supposed to marry Thor - not you! It was I who was supposed to have his baby!"
Maiken grabbed a heavy statue off the wall nearest to her. "It was very selfish of you to retain my blade," Maiken sneered, her face flushed with the twisted excitement of her crimes. "Now I am going to have to find a more creative way to destroy you. I do believe that beating you to death has a nice sound to it."
Maiken brought the statue down on Iskalla but was met with an unexpected resistance. The statue froze into a block of ice and fell heavily to the floor as it slipped from Maiken's hands, too cold for Maiken's touch.
Maiken shrieked in pain and outrage. She stared down at her black, frostbitten fingers in horror. "You little witch! How dare you use your evil frost magic against me!"
Iskalla felt her body growing weak from the loss of blood, her vision beginning to blur. She dimly made out Maiken heading towards her, using her mangled hand to grab Iskalla and drag her slowly to the fireplace. "I wonder how long it will take you to melt, ice princess."
Horrified, Iskalla began to struggle with what little strength she had left. Iskalla could feel the heat of the fireplace becoming closer and closer. Tears welled in Iskalla's eyes. "Please," she choked out desperately. "Don't do this! I'll give you anything you want!"
"You have already taken everything that I want!" Maiken spat bitterly as she finally wrestled Iskalla directly in front of the fireplace. Maiken's teeth flashed victoriously as she readied herself to push Iskalla's weakly protesting body into the raging fire.
Iskalla knew that the dancing, orange flames were going to be the last thing she ever saw. She almost welcomed the darkness pulling at her consciousness. At least if she was passed out, she may not feel herself burn.
"What in Hel is the meaning of this!" a familiar voice yelled out, causing Maiken to let go of Iskalla in shock.
Iskalla was able to make out the blurred, green and gold shadow of Loki before she could hold on no longer and her body finally blacked out.
This chapter should be called 'A Maiken Scorned,' tbh.
Loki's eyes grew wide as he observed the gruesome scene. He took in the sight of Iskalla's still body bleeding out by the fireplace. A blonde servant girl—who Loki recognized as one of Thor's wenches—was gaping at him with frost bitten hands. She was covered in an incriminating amount of blackish-red Frost Giant blood. It was clear that she had been trying to pull Iskalla into the fire. "Guards! Guards! Help! The princess is injured!"
Maiken lunged toward him in a fit of rage. "No! Do not call for the guards! She has to die! The Frost Witch must die! It is the only way for my Thor to be happy! For us to be happy together! You should be helping me! Help me kill the bitch!" screamed Maiken as she pounded her frost-bitten hands against Loki's chest.
"Are you mad? Have you lost all your senses?" Loki hissed as he grabbed Maiken by both wrists. "You will gain nothing by killing her! Thor does not care about you! You will rot in the dungeons if you're lucky, but I suspect the All-Father will have your head for this!"
"I should have known that you would defend her. After all, you are no better than she is, frost monster!" Maiken accused angrily. "You can dress like a prince but I know what you really are. You and the witch should die together!"
At that moment, Loki's eyes turned ruby red. His rage made it difficult for him to suppress his true nature. "Take care of how you speak to a Prince of Asgard. Continue to speak of me as a monster and you will find out just how dangerous I can truly be," Loki said quietly, threateningly.
Loki wanted nothing more than to turn the traitorous wench into a frozen statue, ending her right then and there. It took most of his willpower to resist.
"How dare you threaten me! You should not even be a prince! You're an abomination from a race of monsters! Odin should have left you on that frozen rock to die!" Maiken shrieked, spitting in his face as she uselessly struggled against him like a wild animal.
Loki could hear no more of the insipid girl's words. His rage broke through the surface as he raised his right hand to strike Maiken, still restraining her with the other. Before his now-blue-and-deadly hand could meet with Maiken's cheek, a guard tackled the wench to the floor, unknowingly saving her from Loki's wrath.
"Get this treasonous wench out of my sight!" Loki ordered. He made his way towards Iskalla, who was still lying pale and lifeless on the floor.
Loki stared down at the unconscious body of the frost princess, conflicted. While it was true that he wanted Asgard to be rid of her…he hadn't wanted this. His plan was a far better one. A more pleasurable one. For Iskalla to die this way, it would inevitably be cause for war. King Isvann would no doubt lay blame at Asgard itself and at Thor for not protecting his bride. Whereas, if Loki had his way, Iskalla would be the one to betray Asgard, making the Jotunn the guilty party. Jotunheim would have no choice but to accept the failure of the ill-advised marriage and bring Iskalla home in shame. What they did to the girl afterwards was of no concern to Loki.
I might as well help her, Loki reasoned. Mother will be displeased if I let her die. I would so hate to pass up the opportunity to be seen as the more heroic son. As usual, the oaf is nowhere to be found in a time of need.
Loki began to tend to Iskalla. He tore off a strip of fabric from Iskalla's nightgown and tried to staunch the flow of blood. "Iskalla? Princess, can you hear me?" Loki asked quietly as he pressed the cloth to the gaping wound on her abdomen. Iskalla was bleeding out quickly. Without thinking, Loki picked up Iskalla in his arms and began running towards the healing room. He knew he did not have much time.
Loki watched as the healers worked on Iskalla. He leaned against the wall with his arms crossed, silently observing the scene before him. His chest felt oddly tight. He couldn't possibly be worried for the girl, could he? No, that is madness, Loki thought to himself. I am just being practical. Iskalla must live to prevent a war between Asgard and Jotunheim.
He ran his fingers through his hair, disturbed by the sight of Iskalla's blood on his hands.
Odin and Frigga stood nearby, concern etched on their faces as they fretted about the alliance in the event of Iskalla's death.
"If she dies, there will be no hope for peace," Odin said tensely.
"We must not think the worst. Eir is the best healer in Asgard. We must be positive for Iskalla's sake," replied Frigga.
Eir walked towards Loki, Frigga, and Odin after consulting with the other healers. "I am afraid Iskalla is in grave danger. She is in need of a blood transfusion from a fellow Frost Giant. Luckily, the prince is considered a universal donor."
"A transfusion?" repeated Odin. He looked towards Loki.
Loki, horrified, realized that the task of aiding the ice princess had fallen to him, yet again. Loki had never found himself so often reminded of his true nature until Iskalla's arrival in Asgard. The fact that they shared a common bond by having the same blood irritated Loki to no end. Loki wanted to distance himself from the Frost Giants, not spend his time saving them.
"Loki, please. You must do this," pleaded Frigga, turning her knowing eyes on him.
I have already gone this far, Loki thought to himself as he looked at Iskalla lying almost lifeless on the healing bed. To let her die now would be a waste of my previous efforts.
Loki turned towards Eir. "When do we start?"
"Come with me," Eir said as she led Loki to another healing bed next to Iskalla.
Eir began to insert the transfusion needle into Loki's arm. Loki tried to look away as he watched the blood drain into the transfusion bag. He hated that his blood was a different color than an Asgardian's. His Frost Giant blood was now in full view to the healers, Eir, and his parents through the clear transfusion tube. It made Loki feel unsettled and transparent.
As Loki sat back on the healing bed, his gaze wandered to Iskalla's pale, blue face. The ice witch had better be grateful for this, he thought bitterly.
Maiken charged at the Asgardian prison wall but was rebounded back from it painfully. The damned force field was blocking her escape. She had to get out. She had to get word to her beloved Thor.
Surely, he would save her. He would understand. She had gotten rid of Iskalla for him. She was the only one who had. His family and the rest of his people had betrayed him, forcing him into a marriage he wanted no part of.
Maiken heard footsteps coming towards her. "It's dinner time. Eat up. I suspect this is going to be your last meal, wench," the guard said to her as he magically transported the tray into her cell.
Maiken ignored the tray of food. "Please! You must help me get a message to Thor!" Maiken desperately tried to get the guard's attention. "I am close with the Prince. I was to have his child! Tell him I did it for him! Tell him I love him and that we can be together now! We can have a family now, like we always wanted." She sobbed hysterically.
The guard snorted. "Yeah, lady, and I am the Queen of Asgard. Sure...I'll tell Thor…sure I will..." he said sarcastically. "I am sure he will come running to save you."
Maiken nodded frantically. "Thank you," she gushed. "Thank you."
The guard shook his head as he walked away. He knew that Prince Thor would not be visiting the unstable captive anytime soon. The All-Father already had the servant girl slated for execution.
Loki woke up the next morning still groggy from his part in the blood transfusion. He had barely slept the night before. He had dreamt of a different scenario, one where Thor's crazy wench had succeeded in assassinating Iskalla. He shook his head violently, angered at the path of his own unconscious thoughts. Why would I dream such a thing? Why would her death disturb me so? The frost princess means nothing to me!
He got dressed, but his thoughts still lingered unwillingly on Iskalla. He found himself wondering how the princess was faring after his heroic attempt at saving her. Loki made his way to the healing room to check on Iskalla, if for no other reason than to sate his natural curiosity. He knew the thoughts of her would not leave him until he did so.
When Loki arrived at the healing room, the scene he found was chaotic. The healers hovered around Iskalla and were frantically trying to cover her with blankets. Iskalla did not appear to be awake, but she was sweating profusely, her teeth chattering from a fever.
There was a fire roaring in the back of the room.
"What is going on?" Loki demanded of Eir.
"My Prince, Iskalla seems to have developed a severe infection from her wound. Her temperature is rising and she is dehydrating quickly," replied Eir. "We are hoping to sweat the infection out."
"You imbeciles! Take those blankets off of her! What are doing heating her up? She is a Frost Giant!" Loki berated impatiently. "She needs to be kept cold - not warm! If you keep this up, you will kill her!"
"My lord, please - we have so little experience with Frost Giants. We are doing the best that we can." Eir tried to placate Loki.
"Get out of the room! You mewling, inadequate quims clearly know nothing of what you are doing! I will tend to the princess myself!" ordered Loki in disgust. How could father have been so neglectful as to not train the healers in Frost Giant anatomy? What if I had gotten sick as a child or injured in battle? Loki shuddered at the thought. Who would have been there to help me?
Loki knew that there was not much time left for him to save the princess. She should have been recovered by now. Instead, the healers had made her worse.
Hastily, the healing team scurried out of the room. They were well aware of Loki's power and what he was capable of while in a rage.
Once alone, Loki began to run an ice-cold bath for the princess. The princess needed to be cooled down, and quickly. As a Jotunn, Loki could make his own body temperature colder than almost anything else on Asgard. He knew that skin-to-skin contact was the most effective way to bring down the princess's high fever.
He removed his green tunic but kept his black leather pants and Iskalla's modest, flimsy healing gown in place. I would not want the princess to accuse me of taking advantage of her. He did not want to imagine how Iskalla would react if she were to wake up to find the both of them completely nude.
Loki carefully lowered Iskalla into the bath and then climbed into the tub after her. He allowed his Jotunn side to take control as his skin began to morph into a dark blue. He held Iskalla's slight body close to him as the coldness of his touch began to lower her body temperature. It disturbed him how well she fit into his arms.
Loki looked down upon Iskalla's face, her dark lashes making crescent moons on her cheeks. She is not that ugly...for a frost giant, I mean he thought to himself. Most of her kin looked neanderthalic and were covered in barbaric markings, but in Iskalla's case that was not so. Her facial features were delicate and refined, her blue skin soft and smooth. The slight markings she did have were more flattering than not. Loki's mind began to wander to the times he had invaded her dreams. I wonder if her lips would feel as good as they did in the dream. Loki shook his head. I should not be thinking these thoughts. I need to stop this. Loki began to feel his leather pants get tighter as he unsuccessfully attempted to push the memories of his hands wandering over Iskalla's body out of his mind.
He tried to tell himself that he hated having her in his arms. That he was counting down the seconds until she had recovered so that he could toss her aside and forget how she had felt against him.
But the problem with being The Prince of Lies was that it was nearly impossible to fool himself.
Iskalla slowly felt the fog of sleepiness lift. The cold surrounding her felt blissful against her skin, reinvigorating her with strength anew. She sighed contentedly as she felt two large arms caging her comfortingly. The arms felt familiar and good. The smell of fresh pine needles and winter tickled her nose. She turned her head upwards as she tried to open her eyes.
Her half-conscious gaze settled on Loki's face "Oh, Loki," she breathed delightedly. This must have been another one of her dreams. Why else would Loki be holding her so gently? She smiled at him and leaned up towards him to press a kiss against his lips.
Loki's green eyes filled with shocked disgust and he yanked his head back from her. "What in Hel are you doing?" he hissed.
Iskalla's red eyes opened wide in surprise, shocking her fully awake. Suddenly, she took note of the tub and the cold water submerging her. There was a very large, uncomfortable bulge pressing into her bottom as she sat on Loki's lap. Her cheeks flushed with fire as she realized what it was. The prince was aroused.
It is possible that he is affected by my touch? Iskalla thought deliriously.
The fleeting thought was quickly forgotten as reality hit Iskalla all at once, and she frantically began fighting to get off Loki and climb out of the bathtub. She was betrothed to Thor, she reminded herself for the dozenth time. She had been raised to have dignity and propriety. She was not the type to lay in baths with strange men!
Especially ones with enormous, intimidating erections!
Iskalla panicked, smacking at his arms with her hands. "Release me at once! What is the meaning of this?"
"Settle down, you foolish woman! I am trying to save you!" Loki explained disgruntledly as he tried to get a grip on Iskalla's slippery body.
"Why are you half-dressed? What happened to your shirt?" Iskalla rambled anxiously. "How did we get here?" The last thing she remembered was Maiken trying to push her into the fire.
"I saved your worthless life," Loki boasted smugly. "Three times, by my last count. First, when I fended off Thor's rabid whore. Second, when I generously gifted you with my blood, the blood that is now coursing through your ungrateful veins. And, thirdly and finally, when I stopped the healers from cooking you to death with their lack of knowledge concerning Frost Giants." He curled his tongue behind his teeth, his impressive chest looking all the more enticing as it was dripping with wet beads of water. "Where is my thank you, princess?"
Iskalla processed his words. She wanted to continue to yell at him but could not seem to find her anger. Had he really saved her life? She would have thought him the type to leave her to die. "Even so…" she tried to keep her voice from wavering. "That still does not explain why we are in this tub! And why you are," she looked pointedly down at his lap, her already inflamed cheeks pinkening more. "...doing that."
"'That,' as you so aptly put it, is a perfectly normal male reaction. Do not flatter yourself, princess." Loki smirked, leering down at her. "If it bothers you so, you might want to stop your struggling. Your wriggling is only making me harder."
Terrified, Iskalla doubled her efforts, frantically flailing her arms as she tried to extricate herself from Loki's grasp. She fought so hard she managed to flip herself out of the tub and onto the floor, collapsing in a sopping wet heap.
"Stupid woman!" admonished Loki.
Iskalla's arms wrapped around her stomach with a groan. The pain of the wound that was inflicted upon her came back with a vengeance.
Shaking his head at the sight of Iskalla, Loki bent to pick up the princess and began carrying her back into the healing room. "Do you never get tired of being the damsel?" he scolded harshly as he placed her back into her bed. "How many times are you going to make me come to your aid? If you keep overexerting your body, you are going to rip your stitches. And then I will be the one who has to answer to Frigga."
Iskalla felt foolish at his words. She could admit, now, that she had perhaps overreacted, but she was unused to finding herself in such intimate contact with men. Her father had all but kept her in a glass tower as to keep her pure until he could marry her off. "So why did you do it then?" she asked softly, looking up at his handsome, unreadable face. "Why did you help me all those times?" She was truly curious about the motives of a man who claimed to hate her.
"I did not do it for you." A muscle in his jaw ticked as his green eyes flashed harshly. "I did it for Asgard. I do not want to see a war between Asgard and Jotunheim. You owe me now, princess, and I will collect as I see fit." Loki straightened his shoulders and left the room.
She watched him go.
"Thank you," Iskalla whispered out quietly after him, even as she knew Loki would never hear it.
He may have helped her but Iskalla was deeply unsettled by the thought of "owing' Loki anything and dreaded what he could possibly want from her when it was time to 'collect'.
Even if part of her-a secret, foolish part of her- welcomed it.
Thor shifted restlessly in his large bed as his wench watched him in concern.
"Is something wrong, my lord?" the woman asked.
"Father was not pleased about the injuries inflicted on my betrothed. He has been laying the blame on me and nagging me to go visit the princess," sulked Thor. "I have known her for only a handful of days. Is it wrong of me not to find myself attached?"
"You could not have known that Maiken would attack her so." The wench sympathized.
"Indeed. It is not my fault that Maiken was under the impression that I cared for her. How is this my fault? I wish father would understand. As a Prince of Asgard, I am entitled to whatever pleasures I desire," Thor continued.
"Of course, my lord, you are entitled to 'every' pleasure you desire. And I can provide many of them," she murmured seductively. She giggled as Thor flipped her on her back.
"I am glad you agree," Thor said as he kissed her.
Thor did not think himself an evil man. He had not wanted harm to befall Iskalla. But he had to admit that when he'd heard that Iskalla was gravely injured, a part of him had felt hope that the marriage would not happen.
He could imagine nothing worse than seeing his father's crazy plan to fruition and spending the rest of his life shackled to the frost princess.
Forcing himself to focus on his bedmate, Thor turned his mind to more important matters.
Maiken was to be executed on the morrow. He would have to find a replacement pleasure wench, as Maiken's cock sucking skills had been unparalleled.
Maiken's replacement auditions are now open! Just kidding. :P Could Thor be any more of an asshole?
Sorry for leaving you guys with such a bad cliffy last chapter. I hope this one made up for it. ;)
Thank you to all who review/leave kudos. It inspires me and encourages me to update on time. :D
PS: Raise your hand if you laughed when Loki called the healers mewling quims. You know I had to slip that in there.
"You are a vain, greedy, cruel boy!" Odin shouted at his eldest son. "Your selfishness has nearly cost Iskalla her life and Asgard the peace treaty with Jotunheim! You are a disappointment and a danger to the people you claim to want to protect!"
Loki listened intently, hiding the smug grin that itched to stretch across his face. He forced himself to look contrite instead. Finally, someone sees you as you really are, Thor. It's about time, Loki thought to himself. I only hope 'father' remembers his disappointment in you tomorrow.
As Odin's right-hand and second in line to the throne, Loki hoped that Odin would notice that a more suitable heir to the throne was right under his nose. Or, at the very least, save Asgard from Thor's idiotic rule a while longer. Surely 'father' can see that Thor is not fit to be king. Thor will only lead Asgard to destruction and war.
"Until your wedding to Iskalla is finalized and perceived as a happy one," Odin continued sternly, "I forbid you from seeking the company of wenches. You have been so brazen in your disrespect of Iskalla by flaunting your 'activities' that our people consider her a laughing stock. They will never respect her as our future Queen."
Thor appeared baffled. "How can you blame me, father? You arrange a marriage to a woman that I can barely stand to look at, much less love! I need the wenches—I have needs and I have no desire to satisfy them with Iskalla!"
"Your 'needs' are the very reason I just had to publicly execute a disturbed servant girl, who was under the misguided notion that she could one day be your bride!"
Loki tried to suppress his laughter and stifled a snicker. Disturbed servant girl, indeed. You really have a talent for picking them, don't you, Thor?
"You cannot take my wenches away!" Thor boomed angrily. "You may be a foolish old man who no longer craves the companionship of a warm woman but I am not! What do you know of desire and needs?"
Careful Thor, Loki thought to himself. Odin might just do away with you altogether if you're not careful. Loki smiled to himself at the thought of Odin banishing Thor.
Odin's outraged glare at Thor was most impressive, considering he only had the one eye. "How dare you speak to your King and father with such disrespect? Is this the man I raised? Standing in front of me now, I see a child who thinks of nothing but his selfish needs and wants. Get out of my sight! If I hear so much as a whisper in the palace of you in the company of a woman who is not your betrothed, I will strip from you all the luxuries that you have come to take for granted. Go. Now."
Thor looked like he desperately wanted to argue with Odin. His nostrils were flaring and his fists were clenched at his sides as he restrained himself. Without another word, Thor whirled around and sulked out, his red cape flapping behind him.
Loki approached Odin, lowering his head slightly in respect. "I agree with you father. You made the right the choice to…"
"Silence! I am in no mood for your pandering. Get out of my sight!" Odin ordered. "I wish to be alone."
Loki concealed the flare of his temper and turned his back, intending to leave as wished.
"I have two sons and not one is a worthy predecessor to the throne," the old god could be heard muttering to himself.
Loki suddenly tensed, his footsteps faltering as he listened to the mutterings of Odin. Someday old man...someday...I will have the throne I deserve.
Loki left Odin and entered the banquet hall just in time to witness Thor flipping the banquet table over with a howl of rage. Loki fought the urge to sarcastically clap at his brother's dramatic display.
"It is not wise to be in my presence right now, brother," warned Thor.
It is never wise to be in your presence, Loki thought back.
Loki was furious at Thor. Even after Thor had nearly made a catastrophe of Odin's peace treaty with Jotunheim, and he, Loki, had prevented that from happening, Odin had still dismissed Loki as unworthy and had failed to acknowledge any of the good Loki had done.
"You need to control yourself, Thor," Loki hissed. "Father has a point. You nearly ruined everything! Iskalla was nearly killed and if it was not for me, she would be dead right now!"
Thor's face clouded over. He straightened up, using his added bulk to try and appear intimidating. "Then maybe you are the one to blame for this…" he said ominously.
Loki, used to Thor's intimidation tactics, was not impressed. "Oh, you can't be serious." Loki scoffed. "You were the one who insisted on bedding multiple women instead of focusing on your fiancé! You were the one who led on that crazy wench! Did you bother, even once, to visit your Frost Giant bride in the healing room? Where were you, Thor? Where were you?" Loki shouted. His rage had reached the boiling point.
Thor outstretched his hand, calling Mjolnir to him. "Why should I visit her? She might be my betrothed, but I feel nothing for her! I have not kept my contempt for her a secret. I was relieved to hear that she had not perished, but I do not see what more was required of me. I doubt she desired nor wanted my company."
"Does it matter, Thor? It would have been the decent thing to do. Not that you would know anything about that, as demonstrated by your recent behavior," Loki scolded.
Mjolnir returned to its master and Thor caught his hammer without pause. "I am tired of being lectured over how I should be treating that monster! She walks the halls of our palace as if she belongs here. Our people feed her and clothe her and she has been gifted one of our most esteemed chambers - none of which she appreciates. I believe she has been given more than what she deserves!" Thor roared.
Loki's facial expression turned dark as the weight of Thor's tirade hit him "And what of me, Thor? Is that what you think of your 'Frost Giant' brother, as well? Do you think I am a monster? Do you believe that I do not deserve to be a Prince of Asgard?"
"Brother…" Thor's face fell as some of his rage left him, his defensive posture slumping. "You know that is not what I meant...we were raised together...we fought together...we've been through things that will always tie us together. I meant no disrespect." Thor reached out a large hand to place on Loki's shoulder.
Loki stepped back from Thor, not wanting to hear Thor's platitudes. "Sometimes 'brother' the truest words are said without thinking first," Loki answered quietly. "I would suggest that you go visit Iskalla to salvage whatever you can of this 'union' before father grows any more cross."
Thor let his hand drop, rejected. "And what do you care, Loki? What do you care of my union with Iskalla?" Thor's blue eyes narrowed suspiciously.
Loki faltered for a moment, unsure himself of what his motives were. "I do not care," he said firmly to both Thor and himself. "My only concern is for this alliance and the future security of Asgard. Visiting Iskalla is what father would expect from you now."
Thor threw his hands in the air, bringing Mjolnir with him. "What he 'expects' of me," Thor repeated, snarling. "I grow weary of father's expectations! Why did he raise us to hate Frost Giants if he intended me to marry one?" The brewing thunder of Thor's rage crackled over his head. "I am done with this conversation. I feel the need to kill something! It is time for a hunt!"
Thor stormed out of the banquet hall without sparing Loki another glance.
I often wonder what 'father' was thinking when he taught us to hate Frost Giants as well, Thor. Loki thought to himself. Why did father raise me to hate Frost Giants when I, myself, am one? What was he trying to accomplish by teaching me to hate myself? Why would father believe we would ever achieve peace with Jotunheim this way? Loki mulled over his father's motives. Loki thought back to Frigga's words and to the conversation he'd had with his mother when he had first discovered that he was adopted. Frigga had tried to assure him that Odin would reveal his plan when he was ready and not before, but Loki did not find that good enough. Sometimes he felt as though the old god was moving him around like a chess piece.
Eir examined Iskalla as the princess lay impatiently on the healing bed. "You have healed remarkably well, my lady. You are free to leave the healing room whenever you wish."
Iskalla was relieved that Eir was releasing her. She had grown bored trapped in her healing bed. She had recovered remarkably quickly after Loki had taken control of the situation and had helped heal her. Eir had only kept her so long as an extra precaution.
"Thank you for your help, Eir. I will take my leave now. I am eager to get back on my own two feet."
Iskalla ducked into the private bathing quarters, happy to finally be rid of her drab healing gown. As she slipped the white gown over her head, she caught sight of her own reflection staring back at her in the mirror across the room. She was almost startled to see herself again. A healthy amount of color had returned to her blue cheeks and the wound on her torso had vanished to nothing more than a faint, raised scar that would surely disappear given a little more time...but her eyes...there was something in her red eyes that hadn't been there before. She looked older, somehow. Less innocent. More grimly determined.
She let her fingers lightly trace over what was left of the scar before turning away from the mirror at last. She changed into the dress the Asgardian servants had brought for her and exited the room.
As she made her way back to her chambers, she couldn't help the pangs of sadness that ate at her. No one cared enough to be present for her discharge from the healing room. It would have been nice to have someone escort her back to her quarters. Back on Jotunheim, Isbiter and Tulling may have been her handmaidens, but they had also been her friends. They would have welcomed her return to good health.
She felt terribly alone as she walked the halls of Asgard.
Once she reached her chambers, she pushed the door open and entered warily. Her footsteps were tentative as she walked towards her bedroom, returning to the scene of Maiken's crime. It jarred Iskalla to see that the room was back in pristine condition after the horrors that had taken place. All the evidence of Maiken's vicious attack had been wiped away as if it had never happened. Iskalla's blackish-red blood had even been scrubbed from the stone floor, though Iskalla was surprised it had not stained.
Iskalla stared into the unlit fireplace, thinking back to the flames that had almost swallowed her whole. She could hear herself pleading with Maiken; the painful memory seared into her mind.
"Please," Iskalla choked out desperately. "I'll give you anything you want!"
Iskalla's stomach churned in shame. She was disgusted with her own weakness. How easily she had fallen to begging. Never again, she thought to herself. Never will I beg for anything from anyone! Iskalla looked at the skull of the Frost Giant that still resided over her fireplace. I wonder if you begged Thor before he killed you, she reflected darkly. I will be strong - for both of us, Iskalla promised the skull.
A knock on her door interrupted Iskalla's thoughts.
"Who is it?" Iskalla asked suspiciously. She would not open her doors so easily again.
"It is Ysmay, my lady. I have the...uh, delivery, you requested," Ysmay replied uncomfortably.
"Enter," Iskalla granted.
Ysmay entered the room sourly, carrying a covered tray. "I...It was cleaned and preserved for you, my lady. Where shall I place this?"
"Just set it down on the table and leave. Oh, and Ysmay? I will no longer be requiring your services. You are relieved of your duties as my handmaid. I do not wish to see you again." Iskalla turned her back on Ysmay.
"A-as you wish, my lady," Ysmay stuttered, clearly perturbed by the change in Iskalla. Ysmay nervously set the tray down and backed out of the room, throwing cautious glances at Iskalla as she did so.
Iskalla regarded the tray for a moment, stony faced, before her lips finally curled into a small smile as she walked over to it. She lifted the cover off of the tray. Maiken's head lay on the silver plate - well, what remained of it, anyhow. The flesh and muscle tissue had been removed from Maiken's skull, leaving nothing but bone. "I have the perfect place for you," she said.
Iskalla took down the skull of the Frost Giant. You will get a respectful burial, she vowed to herself. The Frost Giant's skull was replaced with the skull of Maiken. "Ahh...that's much better," Iskalla said in cold satisfaction.
Maiken's skull would serve as the perfect reminder of the harsh lesson Iskalla had learned. I will never be so naive again. I am not a victim. I am a princess of Jotunheim. I will request self-defense lessons from Queen Frigga at once.
From now on, I will look out for myself.
Rise, Iskalla. Riiiiise. lol There might be hope for her yet ;)
Boom - you guys get an extra chapter this week because I had some more free-time to write. (I will also still be updating on Saturday as scheduled.)
And, I see you Loki, you say you don't care about Iskalla but you were almost defending her to Thor just there. *wiggles brows*
I also want to apologize in advance for this gif lol. I make no excuses, I clearly have issues. (⌐■_■)
Chapter 10: A Changing Tide
Iskalla turned her head as she heard the heavy, clumsy footsteps of another visitor approaching her door from outside her chambers.
Almost no time had passed since Iskalla's permanent dismissal of Ysmay and Iskalla was still in a confrontational mood. The drunken mumblings outside her door could belong to no other than her husband-to-be.
The God of Thunder artlessly pushed open her door. The pungent smell of ale wafted into her room, following after him. "Iskalla...Isk-…*hiccup* Iskalla? Are you there?" The slurred voice of Thor reached her ears as he approached.
Iskalla's hackles immediately rose at his impolite intrusion. Naturally, the prince assumed he was welcome anywhere he pleased. "I did not realize I granted you permission into my chambers..." Iskalla remarked, annoyed.
Thor either ignored her remark, or did not hear her. Iskalla had already grown accustomed to seeing Thor in a drunken state, but this was by far the worst she had seen him. The prince could barely stand up. He was leaning against her wall with one hand as if it was the only thing keeping him from toppling over. He was filthy, unbathed, and covered in blood—blood that she was going to assume had come from another poor animal he'd slain—and was muttering to himself under his breath.
Iskalla was disgusted.
"What do you want, Thor? Why are you here?" Iskalla hoped he would just answer the question and leave quickly. She did not want to deal with the God of Thunder's trying company tonight.
"Iskalla...I have come to see how you are…you look well *hic*...I am...am...glad," Thor slurred. Iskalla could hear the insincerity in his babbled words all too well, as if the act of saying something kind to her had pained him.
"Are you really, Thor? You did not come to visit me while I was in the healing rooms. Why is that?" Iskalla asked, her anger building.
Thor blinked, his inebriated mind working even slower than usual. "As...the Prince of Asgard...I have duties I must attend to. You know this, Iskalla...you are always angry with me…why are you always angry with me?" Thor mumbled in confused frustration.
Iskalla rolled her eyes. Yes, Thor, it's always about you. How would this man ever competently lead Asgard? I am beginning to see why Loki speaks so lowly of you. "Interesting," Iskalla replied sarcastically, "because your brother found the time to visit, and he is a Prince of Asgard too, is he not?"
"Loki is not as burdened as I am!" Thor exploded instantaneously, visibly angry at being compared to his brother. "My brother does not have the same duties as I do. What ...wait...my brother visited you? Why?"
Iskalla glared at Thor, waiting a beat before replying. "You did not know? Did you inquire about my wellbeing at all while I was in the healing rooms?" Her voice was beginning to rise as Thor's carelessness began to sink in. Perhaps he is regretful that Makien was unsuccessful and that I have not perished.
She knew that Thor cared not for her, but she was still continually surprised by the sheer depth of his disregard. He truly did not view her as someone with needs and feelings, or as someone in possession of her own personhood. She was a Frost Giant monster to him and nothing more. It was obvious that he thought of her as no better than the animals he hunted or the Frost Giant trophies he kept on his walls.
Thor shifted uncomfortably under her scrutinizing gaze. "As I said, my lady, my duties...the responsibility of the crown...I...it takes precedence…" Thor trailed off, grasping for words. He looked around her room as if he'd somehow find the perfect excuse written on one of her walls. Iskalla witnessed the exact moment that his blue eyes landed on her new fireplace mantle. Thor's eyes widened and his mouth fell open in shock. "That was not there before…" he said in a low, strangled voice. "What happened to the Blue Buffoon?"
Iskalla smiled sweetly. "Do you like it? Your handmaiden gave it to me."
For the first time since Iskalla had met him, Thor was visibly shaken. It was the most vulnerable she'd seen him. His golden confidence had taken a hit. "Maiken…" Thor whispered to himself. "No."
Iskalla regarded Thor with a coldness she had never shown before. "Yes, Thor. Now you don't have to miss her," she said cruelly. "I think we have said all we need to say to each other this night. Now get out."
Thor's face grew pale, his eyes roving over her like he was seeing her—truly seeing her—for the first time. "This is not over. You have just proved yourself the monster I have always believed you to be."
Iskalla held his gaze, unrepentant. The hypocrisy of the situation was not lost on her. It was seen as perfectly acceptable for Thor to litter the palace with trophies of slain Frost Giants, but norns forbid she did the same with a precious Asgardian.
Thor struggled for balance as he tried to storm out of Iskalla's chambers. His large, lumbering body bumped into chairs and knocked figurines from their perch as he stumbled off, failing to maintain a dignified composure before he slammed the door behind him.
Iskalla was in no mood for another grand Asgardian feast in the banquet hall. However, she knew that any absence on her part would be taken as a sign of weakness.
Iskalla entered the banquet hall, determined to demonstrate that she was strong and had completely recovered from the attempt on her life. The Asgardians needed to see that they had not defeated her. I have the blood of warriors and ice magic in my veins. I will not be cowed.
She held her head up high and straightened her shoulders, affecting her best royal posture. As she moved through the room, she head the gasps and hushed whispers of the other dinner guests in the hall. Undoubtedly, they had heard what had transpired between herself and Thor's wench. Gossip travelled quickly in Asgard.
The animosity in the palace towards Iskalla was at an all-time high. The Asgardians were no doubt angered after witnessing Maiken's execution that day. Maiken may have been a lowly servant, but she was still of Asgard. Iskalla suspected that most of the Asgardian people had not perceived Maiken's actions as crimes. To them, slaying a Frost Giant was supposed to be seen as a point of pride.
Iskalla took her seat next to Frigga, but Thor was nowhere to be found. He is no doubt licking his wounds. Or passed out in a drunken heap. Good, she thought to herself.
Loki sat in in his usual chair in front of Iskalla. "You look well, princess. I see that my heroic efforts were not in vain," he said, his green eyes gleaming arrogantly as he placed some roast beef on his plate.
"Thank you, Loki. I want you to know that I appreciate everything you did to save my life. Now that I have recovered, I have made it my personal goal to ensure that I will never be in that situation again," Iskalla said determinedly.
"That is good to hear," Loki said as he put more food on his plate. "I have other duties besides constantly rushing to your aid and I would very like much to attend to them," he said smoothly, now pouring himself a goblet of wine. The words were almost teasing.
"I am delighted to see that you have healed, Iskalla. It is lovely that you've returned to us." Frigga smiled warmly. "I know you have suffered greatly due to recent, unfortunate circumstances, but I have some good news. The seamstresses have informed me of the completion of your trial wedding gowns. I am looking forward to attending your fitting tomorrow as to help you pick the perfect one."
Iskalla felt her stomach turn a little as she was reminded of her impending marriage to Thor. She felt compelled to humor Frigga, though. "That's wonderful. I am very much looking forward to trying on the dresses," she lied with forced enthusiasm.
Iskalla hoped that Loki would not notice her insincerity. But it was not to be.
"As she is to marry Thor, perhaps a funeral gown would be more fitting? Something black and mournful and more suited to the occasion?" Loki interjected with a smirk.
"Ignore him." Frigga shot her son a glare but it lacked true heat. She was undoubtedly used to his antagonizing ways. Addressing Iskalla, "I am sure the dresses will be lovely. The seamstresses promise me they are some of their best work."
Ignoring Loki was exactly what Iskalla planned on doing. Nothing and no one was going to phase her tonight. She would panic about her upcoming marriage later. Tonight, she had a message to send. "He does not bother me," Iskalla said airily.
You can stab me, you can insult me, you can even pretend that I am not here, but I will not be defeated that easily, Iskalla thought to herself as she mechanically forced herself to finish her meal.
Asgard would not break her.
Loki sat at the desk in his chambers, resting his boots on the wooden surface. His fingers were steepled under his chin pensively. Iskalla seemed rather closed off tonight, he thought to himself. She seemed different, distant, colder. I wonder how much the incident with Thor's wench has affected her? Something like that is bound to change a person, he mused to himself.
It needled him that she had so easily disregarded him at dinner. Up until now, he was used to eliciting whatever reaction he desired out of the princess.
Well, there is one way to find out what is going on with the frost princess, he reasoned. It had been awhile since Loki had entered Iskalla's dreams. He saw no appeal in taking advantage of Iskalla's helpless state in the healing room. I may be a God of Mischief, but there are some things even I will not do, he thought to himself. Furthermore, what challenge would there be in seducing a dying girl?
Unfortunately for her, Iskalla had now healed. Their game of seduction was back on.
It is time to pay the frost princess's dreams another visit. I do hope she has missed me, he thought mischievously.
Loki wandered through the myriad of horrors that flitted through Iskalla's mind as she slept. He found it curious that the girl was always in the midst of a nightmare when he visited her dreams. By the norns, so many nightmares about Thor, he mused. Though he supposed he'd have night terrors as well if he was forced to marry the oaf. Loki shuddered. Perish the thought.
Loki watched Iskalla's newest dream play out with amusement. Iskalla was garbed in a wedding dress, looking forlorn and distraught as she stared down at the long, red aisle before her. Thor—dressed in bloodied battle armor—and Odin were waiting for Iskalla at the end of the aisle. Iskalla refused to move forward towards her betrothed, despite the guests yelling out to her. Her fear was evident as her eyes grew wide. This should be good, Loki thought to himself as he waited for her to reach her destination. Suddenly, a ghoulish hand made of fire reached up from the floor and began to pull Iskalla towards Thor. "No! Let me go!" Iskalla began to scream. "I don't want to do this!"
Loki sighed to himself. Now this is getting predictable. I guess I should go save her...again. Where should I take her this time? he mused.
Instead of manifesting the terrain of Iskalla's beloved Jotunheim, Loki brought the princess into his chambers as a twist. "Welcome, princess." He let her keep the illusion of her wedding gown, however, as the trickster in him found a perverse joy in manipulating her while she was garbed in the symbolic white dress intended for Thor.
Iskalla's breath began to slow as she realized that she was no longer in the throes of her nightmare wedding. She calmed and looked around the room curiously. "We are in your chambers?" she asked.
Loki knew that Iskalla believed herself to be safe when she was in the presence of the 'dream' version of himself. She was a lamb to slaughter here. Unprotected by the guarded walls she erected in her waking hours. "Why yes, princess. I thought I would bring you somewhere more personal, more intimate," Loki purred.
Iskalla confused Loki by suddenly and unexpectedly pinching herself on the arm. "That did not hurt," she exclaimed happily. "Good."
Loki raised an eyebrow. "Am I to understand why you are pinching yourself, princess?"
"I, well...I needed to be sure this is not real. I might have...mistakenly attempted to kiss you while I was awake the other day, my lord," Iskalla admitted sheepishly.
Ah, yes. Her half-conscious, fumbling attempt to press her lips to his.
Iskalla's brows lowered, her red eyes revealing a hint of sadness. She continued, "You did not seem to like it, I must admit. The 'real,' you, that is."
Loki thought about the split-second kiss and how he had reacted in disgust. It did not serve my purpose to kiss you then, frost princess. Not all of us here are slaves to our lusts.
"Is that so?" he asked Iskalla. "I would never turn you away here. I can assure you, princess, that I would not hold back my desire if you were to kiss me again." Loki looked down upon her and smiled, exploiting the advantage given to him by his handsome face in order to feign honesty.
Loki raised his hand to gently touch her face, caressing her cheek with his thumb. "Would you like that Iskalla? Do you wish to kiss me again?"
"Very much," Iskalla breathed. It was almost too easy for Loki's tastes. But then the girl surprised him by taking a step back and shaking her head softly. "You confuse me. You treat me like the enemy, like a nuisance...but then you turn around and save my life."
"Apparently, I am more heroic than even I give myself credit for," Loki replied smugly.
"When I was injured, I was unable to properly thank you, my prince. I would like to do so now," Iskalla said demurely, but with a sweet, flirty tinge to her voice. She stood on her toes to attempt to match Loki's height and gently pressed her lips to his. She was soft and inviting and Loki found himself responding. His mind clouded over as she traced her tongue over his lips.
"What exactly do you have in mind, princess? I have saved your life, after all. It is not easy to please a Prince of Asgard," Loki said darkly, hoping the princess would take the hint.
Iskalla bit her lip, unsure. "Then tell me how I can please you. I would very much like to try."
"Kneel," he whispered harshly. It had been some time since a woman had pleasured Loki with her mouth and while he assumed the princess would be unskilled and lacking, he was not one to turn down such an offer. The thought of what was to come was almost too much for him to bear. He was already growing hard in his trousers from mere anticipation.
Iskalla drew in a sharp breath. Loki could see the way her nerves were mixed in with her excitement. "I have never...I have never kneeled before," she confided, her face vulnerable and open in her honesty. So trusting. So foolishly young.
Loki stepped towards Iskalla and placed both hands on her shoulders, guiding her to her knees in a way that was both gentle and forceful. "You will learn. I will teach you. Now kneel before me," he commanded.
"Yes, my prince." Her knees buckled and she dropped slowly before him. Her face was now directly in front of Loki's aching manhood, still trapped within the confines of his tight leathers. Loki could feel her cool breath through his trousers. "Undo my fastenings. Take me out, Iskalla. Now. I don't like to be kept waiting."
Iskalla did as she was told. Her small hands shook as she tentatively pulled at the ties of his trousers. His large manhood sprung free, and Iskalla gasped, taken aback. She must not have fully realized what she was getting into. Loki smiled, a distinctly masculine part of him crowing in triumph that he was so impressive to Iskalla. Then again, he had never had any complaints.
"Are they always this big?" Iskalla's innocent, wide eyed stare made it hard for Loki not to chuckle.
"No, princess," he said smugly. "There are no men like me." Now get on with it, he thought. The feeling of her cool breath caressing his velvety cock as she spoke was the utmost torture.
Iskalla tilted her chin up at Loki expectantly. "What do you wish me to do now, my prince? I am unsure how to proceed. Will you...um...that is to say, my lord...will you even fit in my mouth?"
"Let us find out. Now wrap your pretty pink lips around my cock, princess, before I die of old age," Loki replied, anxious to feel her wet tongue against him.
Iskalla licked her lips nervously but did as she was told. She attempted to take his large member into her mouth, giving small, inexperienced licks to the head. She licked him slowly at first, and Loki could see her curiously learning and savoring the taste of the salty flesh. A copious amount of his precum was leaking out of the tip onto her tongue. She gave a small hum, as if pleased.
Loki quickly grew impatient at her tentative, kittenish licks as they only further stoked his desire. "Put me in your mouth. Take me deeper. I want you to suck all of me," he demanded as he panted breathlessly.
Iskalla loosened her jaw, attempting to take him slowly into her mouth, unsure of how much she could fit. "Oh norns." Loki moaned as he was hit with the cool sensation of her tongue as she finally drew him in deeper. Still, it was not enough. Loki needed to push himself deeper into her mouth. He wanted her to feel his cock at the back of her throat. Wanted to brand himself onto her. His hands went to the back of Iskalla's head, tangling themselves into her hair as he tried to push her close. "Take me, take all of me," he said in ragged pants. He was on the edge and needed his release. The pleasure was almost too much. He began to thrust eagerly into her mouth, stopping only when he heard her gag. Damn, I forgot how inexperienced she is, he admonished himself.
His desperate cock slipped from her mouth as she turned her head, coughing. Her red eyes were wet from a lack of oxygen. "Are you alright, princess?" he asked gently, masking his irritation at her lack of skill.
Iskalla blushed fiercely, sucking in deep breaths of air. She didn't appear turned off by his rough, dominant ways. To the contrary, it seemed to excite her further. She nodded. "Yes, my prince. Please give me more. I want you so much," she panted, her eyes desperate. "I want only to please you."
Loki felt his desire rise to the point of no return as he sensed her submission to him. "Then please your prince." He grabbed her by the hair again and pushed her towards him, forcing himself passed her lips and into the cold cavern of her mouth. His climax was close as he began to thrust into her mouth again, this time taking a little more care not to gag her. "Oh Iskalla, that's it. Suck it, suck it harder. That's it, princess." The pressure grew as he began to feel himself climb over the edge. "Oh...I'm going to cum. Get ready for it, princess. I want you to swallow every drop like the whore you are."
He was almost there. About to topple right over the cliff into sweet oblivion.
And then, somehow, that very oblivion was snatched away from him. The fabricated illusion of his bedroom folded in on itself, crumbling away like bits of vanishing ash. Reality returned to him.
Loki awoke with a furious start. "Arrrggghh!" Loki roared. He punched his fist into the mattress with such force that the steel frame creaked and bent beneath him. His temper was such that he didn't even notice the destruction.
His neglected manhood ached painfully as it jutted high against his firm belly. He was still hard from the dream and on the painful edge of a denied release. How had the frost witch escaped him this time? He was sure he'd had her. She'd been enjoying herself - wantonly accepting everything he'd demanded of her. I was so close...so close. The little frost whore had nearly taken everything that I had to give her. Soon, I will have her completely. And when I do, it will be outside the 'safety' and realm of her dreams. It is only a matter of time.
He wanted to storm into Iskalla's chambers and force her to finish the job she had started. What right did she have to leave him, a Prince of Asgard, wanting?
Loki began to fantasize about roughly forcing Iskalla to bring him off with her mouth. He pictured his hands grasping the back of her head as he she sucked him just as she had in the dream. As he thought of Iskalla, Loki's hand wrapped around his large, straining erection. He only needed one or two urgent strokes before he was embarrassingly spilling his seed all over himself.
He lay in the wet, uncomfortable feeling of his own spend, hating what he'd been reduced to. She is only prolonging the inevitable by denying me so, Loki thought to himself. She worsened her fate by fighting him. He would stop at nothing until he conquered the witch. There will come a day when I shall have you, Iskalla.
Ruining the ice princess was no longer simply a plan to rid Asgard of her presence. It was no longer a sinful challenge he indulged in to help pass the endless days of his immortality.
It was fast becoming his obsession.
Iskalla sat at her windowsill, staring out at the darkened sky. It was night still and she had just awoken from her latest dream. She knew she wouldn't be getting anymore sleep that evening. Her own imagination had frightened her.
Loki's final, harsh demand kept echoing through her mind.
"Oh...I'm going to cum. Get ready for it, princess. I want you to swallow every drop like the whore you are."
The words had been responsible for jolting her awake. He called me a whore, she thought to herself. And I…liked it. Loki had been rough, commanding, and domineering. He had treated her no better than a lady of the night. What was wrong with her that she enjoyed it so? What was wrong with her that she would think up such things? She was uncovering a side of herself she hadn't known existed, and one that she was not sure she liked. Such things went against everything she had been raised to believe. Despite her shame, Iskalla could still feel her own arousal at the memory, curled warm and hot in her belly. Her undergarments were uncomfortably slick with her feminine arousal.
It was not real, Iskalla reminded herself. It does not mean that I truly want Loki or that I desire such things in my waking hours, she tried to reason.
But even if that was so, looking the prince in the eye again would be no easy feat.
My dreams have turned to Loki so many times now. Will this futile longing ever cease haunting me?
Iskalla sat at the windowsill for a long time. She did not move until the sun rose in the sky.
Iskalla struggled to lace up her dress and fidgeted with her hair in the mirror. This is a lot harder than it looks, she thought to herself. She was unused to being without the services of a handmaid yet she did not regret firing Ysmay.
Iskalla was still fixing her hair as she heard a knock on the door.
"Who is it?" she asked.
"It is I, Lady Sif, the Asgardian Goddess of War. May I enter? I was ordered by the All-Father to attend to you as a guard," the female voice replied.
"You may enter, although I do not believe a guard is necessary. I have requested self-defense lessons because I intend to take care of myself," Iskalla explained.
Iskalla's door swung open to reveal a tall, striking woman with long dark hair. The woman was fitted in silver and red armor and had a long sword strapped to her back. Iskalla recalled having seen her before; the woman kept company with those Thor called 'The Warriors Three'.
Sif strode into the room.
"A warrior's skill cannot be learned overnight. Do you not think it wise to have a guard present until you are at least proficient in self-defense, princess?" Sif quirked a dark brow.
"I am certain that I will be fine. I am going to attend a dress fitting in the All-Mother's quarters. You do not need to follow me, but I appreciate that you have come by. Have a good day, Sif." Iskalla not-so-discreetly tried to dismiss Sif.
"I am sorry if my presence is not welcome, my lady, but I am under orders by the All-Father to accompany you wherever you may go. Do you not think I would rather be training and further mastering my craft than watching you braid your hair? I am a goddess of war - not a einherjar. I have as little choice as you do in this. The All-Father does not wish a repeat of the attempt on your life," Sif explained adamantly.
Iskalla was annoyed by the woman's insistence. She felt as though she was being treated like a fragile piece of glass. Does the All-Father truly think me so weak? Still...perhaps a guard would not be such a terrible idea. At least until Iskalla attended a lesson or two. Sometimes, when she was alone with her thoughts, Iskalla could swear she still felt the sting of Maiken's phantom blade.
"If there is nothing I can do to turn you away, you may follow me to the dress fitting. But you will stand outside and not interfere with my day. Is that understood?" Iskalla realized there was no winning this argument.
"Yes, princess. I will be sure to stay out of your way," Sif replied, sounding resentful of being relegated to 'Frost Giant sitting' duties.
Iskalla and Sif made their way to Frigga's chambers.
"Stay outside," Iskalla ordered Sif.
Iskalla tentatively knocked on the door. She was not looking forward to trying on her wedding dresses—the thought of marrying Thor made her ill—but she was eager to start on her self-defense lessons.
"Do come in Iskalla, I've been expecting you," Frigga greeted warmly. "Are you ready to try on your gowns?" she asked as Iskalla made her way into the room.
Iskalla's eyes moved over the clothing racks that held the many opulent designs that the Asgardian seamstresses had made for her. While the gowns were undeniably beautiful, Iskalla could not bring herself to feel any excitement.
As Iskalla perused the gowns on the rack, she began to think of what she knew of Jotunn wedding traditions. I wonder if I will have to mate with Thor in front of everyone to consummate our union as I would on Jotunheim. That would be...unpleasant, she shuddered. These gowns are so feminine and soft. Nothing like what we have on Jotunheim. Her fingers traced the silky fabric of one of the gowns. Jotunns rarely wore so much material, as the cold was no threat to them. Most Jotunn brides wore nothing but a small fur covering that preserved their virtue for their husbands. Jotunn brides were also released into the wild to procure a hunt for their males before the consummation of their marriage could take place. It was supposed to prove that the women were warriors and could birth strong, fierce young.
"See anything you would like to try on first?" Frigga asked as she watched Iskalla.
"This one looks lovely," Iskalla replied, trying to muster up some enthusiasm in her voice.
One of Frigga's handmaidens fetched the white gown off the rack and handed it to Iskalla. Iskalla took the gown and walked behind the changing screen. She pulled the gown on and scowled at her reflection in the mirror as she closed the gown's fastenings.
"Oh! You look so beautiful!" Frigga exclaimed as Iskalla walked out from behind the changing screen. "I think your first instinct was correct, my dear. I believe that dress is 'the one.' What a picture you will make on Thor's arm." Frigga's gaze studied Iskalla in her dress. "Oh, but I see that you left one of the fastenings undone. Let me help you with that."
Iskalla turned around as Frigga began to tend to her, pulling the laces to cinch Iskalla's waist.
Frigga's eyes were bright as she smiled at Iskalla affectionately. The All-Mother seemed truly delighted for her son's upcoming wedding. Iskalla felt almost guilty for not returning the sentiment.
Frigga had been nothing but kind to her since Iskalla's arrival in Asgard. They frequently chatted over the banquet table and Iskalla had noticed the woman jumping to her defense more than once. In fact, Frigga treated Iskalla better than most other Jotunns (with the exception of Tulling and Isbitier). Odin had been decent to Iskalla, too, but the old god was distant and closed off in the way of most kings. I might not approve of my betrothed, Iskalla thought, but at least I can tolerate my new mother-in-law.
"You know, my dear, originally Odin wanted you to marry Loki, but your father rejected the offer," Frigga commented nonchalantly as she finished cinching the dress. "I'd like to think that either way, I would have gained you for a daughter. For that I am grateful."
Iskalla felt her pulse quicken at the new information. "May I ask why he rejected the offer, my queen?" The curiosity would kill her if Frigga deigned to answer.
Frigga's mouth tightened with displeasure. "Your father was of the opinion that Loki was an illegitimate member of our family due to his adoption. He claimed to be insulted that Odin was offering the 'inferior' prince into a marriage contract with his daughter. In order to appease your father, Odin gave Thor to you instead." Frigga shook her head. "To make myself clear, it does not matter to me what your father believes. Loki has been, and always will be, my son. In my eyes, Loki is no less equal than Thor."
For some unknown reason, the thought of nearly being married to Loki made Iskalla's heart skip a beat. She wondered what her life would have been like if she were engaged to Loki as opposed to Thor. She couldn't help but be disappointed at the way things had turned out. At the very least, Loki would have been the lesser of two evils, she mused. Perhaps on our wedding night, he would have been as skilled in the bedroom as he is in my dreams. The thought of consummating a marriage to Loki wasn't nearing as frightening. She had a feeling she would have enjoyed herself.
There was also the added benefit of Loki not being a raging drunk. Iskalla could not remember a single time since arriving in Asgard where Thor had not reeked of ale. "Frigga, do you mind if I ask you a question about Thor?"
"Of course, child."
How to go about this delicately..."I cannot help but notice...has Thor always...partaken in the consumption of mead with such, um...vigor? Has he always been this way?" Iskalla hoped that she was wrong and that her future husband wasn't quite the alcoholic lush he appeared to be.
Frigga seemed hesitant to answer Iskalla. "Thor has been under much stress since his father's announcement of your wedding. I am certain he is no less nervous than you must be. I am afraid he is not handling it as well he should. It will pass...with time. Of that, I am sure."
"Thank you, All-Mother. Your words bring me comfort." Iskalla hoped Frigga was correct in the assessment of her son, even if she doubted it. "I have been thinking of how I can be a better wife to Thor and I believe that as his wife, it is my duty to be able to defend myself in battle so that he would not have to worry about my safety. I do not want to be another burden of the throne," Iskalla began nervously, hoping Frigga would not deny her wish. "I would like to begin training in the ways of battle."
Frigga's eyes studied Iskalla intently. "The All-Father has given you Sif as a bodyguard. But still...I can see that you wish to be independent. I respect that about you, Iskalla. I myself undertook self-defense lessons and can handle myself on the battlefield. Being able to defend oneself is an admirable quality and a wise move for a queen. I will arrange for the lessons as soon as possible."
Iskalla felt the first real smile grace her face that day. Frigga's approval and complimentary words were both strange and wonderful. Iskalla had never experienced parental approval before. Isvann had merely tolerated her until she reached maturity; and then he had quickly married her off, all too eager to be rid of his runt of a daughter.
Frigga smoothed down Iskalla's dress and gently guided her towards a large, gold mirror. "Do you not wish to admire yourself? You will be one of the prettiest brides Asgard has ever seen. Loki will not be able to pry his eyes away from you," Frigga said confidently and with a hint of pride.
Iskalla's head snapped up as she craned her neck to look at her queen. "L-loki, my majesty?" she stuttered.
The All-Mother rose a perfectly arched eyebrow. "Loki? What about Loki, my child?"
"You said 'Loki,"' Iskalla repeated, her voice raising with emotion. "That 'Loki' will not be able to pry his eyes away from me!"
Frigga laughed as though she was amused. "You must be mistaken, Iskalla. Why would I make mention of Loki? I spoke only of Thor. I said that my Thor will not be able to pry his eyes away from you."
For a brief moment, Iskalla thought she glimpsed a spark of mischief in the queen's eyes—the same look that Loki often sported before he was about to cause trouble. I must be losing my mind, Iskalla scolded herself. My dreams are starting to bleed into my reality. I only hope Frigga does not see right through me. I doubt very much she would approve of my sinful lusts towards the wrong son. My betrothed's very own brother, no less! She decided to drop the subject lest she make herself more suspicious.
Iskalla smoothed her fingers over the wedding dress. "Yes," she lied. "I do hope I will look pleasing to Thor. I cannot wait to wear this as I walk down the aisle." Iskalla hoped that her words sounded sincerer to Frigga's ears than her own.
Loki walked to his mother's chambers as he responded to her summons. He found Frigga standing regally on her balcony, a blue shawl around her shoulders, as she looked out at the view of Asgard before her.
"You summoned me, mother."
"Yes, Loki." Frigga turned around to greet him. "I have a request to make of you. I would like you to train Iskalla in the ways of self-defense."
"Mother, you cannot be serious, and if you are, surely Lady Sif can see to her training. I do not understand why you would wish me to do it," Loki protested. Though on the inside, he was intrigued. This will suit my plans to get closer to the princess nicely.
"I would prefer that you be the one to train Iskalla. You are both Frost Giants - you know her capabilities better than anyone here. If there is anyone who can bring out Iskalla's full potential, it is you, Loki, not Lady Sif," Frigga insisted.
Loki scowled at the reminder of his true heritage. "If you believe it is wise for me to train Iskalla, then I will not protest further. Besides, the girl has required saving so many times already it is almost comical." By the norns, the princess must have a death wish. Since her arrival, Iskalla had narrowly avoided being struck with Mjolnir, had been stabbed by Thor's disturbed wench, and then, for the pièce de résistance, the healers had almost accidentally murdered her. It has become ridiculous at this point. What is next? Will she trip on her own gown and break her neck?
Frigga paused, her eyebrows lifting at Loki's easy compliance. "I'm pleasantly surprised, my son, I thought you would require more convincing."
"What can I say mother? I am, after all, a good Samaritan. I am always eager to serve Asgard in anyway I can," Loki said as he winked at her. He knew Frigga would detect the playful sarcasm in his tone.
Frigga shook her head, but there was a small smile tugging at her lips. "Of course, my son. You know I think the world of you." Unlike Loki, her words were genuine and from the heart.
Loki pushed down how her compliment pleased him. "When would you like me to begin training my new pupil?"
"As soon as possible, Loki. I fear that with Iskalla's luck, more trouble may not be far behind..." Frigga reasoned worriedly.
Loki bowed his head. "As you wish, mother."
Iskalla followed Sif towards the Asgardian training arena, excitement nipping at her heels. She was keen to begin her training. Frigga had provided her with her own traditional Asgardian female armor of which she was wearing. Iskalla was not used to the stiffness and weight of the armor. It would take some getting used to. She did, however, enjoy the surge of fierceness she'd felt as she'd put it on.
"What will you teach me first, Sif?" Iskalla asked just before they reached the arena doors. As they approached, Iskalla spotted a telltale flash of green and gold.
"I will not be teaching you anything, princess. I have been informed that Loki will be your trainer," Sif said over her shoulder as she swung open the doors.
Iskalla was shaken to see Loki standing proudly in the middle of the training arena. He smirked widely as he caught Iskalla's startled gaze.
"Iskalla, Sif." Loki nodded his head to acknowledge them. "I'm afraid I must temporarily relieve you of your charge, Sif. I can assure you that the princess is in good hands," he put on thickly, his smile widening even further.
Sif eyed Loki suspiciously. "Do not try anything, Trickster. I will be waiting right outside that door. If I hear so much of a whisper of Iskalla requiring my assistance, it will be you who will be 'relieved' of your duties."
Loki stared at her smugly, unaffected by her veiled threat. He simply waited for her to leave.
Sif scowled and turned on her heel, exiting the arena.
Iskalla almost wanted to call Sif back. She felt terribly exposed without the warrior's company. It was the first time Iskalla had been face-to-face with the prince since her most recent dream. She knew it was illogical, but she felt a great sense of embarrassment. He does not know what I have been dreaming. He can't possibly know how corrupted my mind has become, she tried to reason. Nothing that transpired between us was real. My feelings are silly - I need to gain control of myself.
It did not help matters that the prince looked more handsome than ever. Iskalla's eyes wandered over his lean, muscular form. Loki was so different from Thor. Loki was strong, but still graceful and compact. His green, gold, and black armor fit him snugly, revealing the lines of his biceps, and his defined chest. Iskalla's eyes moved lower; she could not help but notice his strong thighs and the way his leather pants fit him like a second skin...her breath caught in her throat as she noticed how his trousers clung to the prominent bulge of his manhood.
It appeared her dream had not been far off.
"You are my trainer?" Iskalla sputtered, darting her red eyes quickly back to his face. She prayed he had not noticed her slip. Please tell me I am hearing things. I will never maintain my composure if I am to work so closely with him. She was already on the verge of flushing just from her own silly mind picturing them pressed together as they practiced hand-to-hand combat.
Loki looked her up and down, his disdain clear. "Mother forced me to train your worthless hide. I did not wish to displease her," he replied bitterly. "Though I doubt any amount of training will make a warrior out of you."
A look of realization washed over Iskalla's face. "Frigga sent you to teach me Frost Magic, didn't she?" She would have bounced on her feet in excitement had her armor not weighed her down. "That is why you are here!"
Iskalla had always longed to learn Frost Magic. She had never been able to summon it at will. Her father had refused to train her, claiming that she had no place on the battlefield. He believed it was an unbecoming and unnecessary skill for a young lady to possess. When Iskalla had been defending herself against Maiken, she'd felt a surge of her hidden frost abilities. She longed to access that power again.
"What? No! You foolish woman. I will only be teaching you Asgardian battle techniques. Why ever would I teach you something so abhorrent?" Loki protested angrily.
Iskalla was not deterred. "Why else would the All-Mother send you? You are a Jotunn, as am I. It only makes sense. You will teach me the magic of our people!" she insisted.
"I will only say this once, as it has still not penetrated your thick skull! I am no Frost Giant! I do not wish to teach you their magic - I do not wish to speak of them or think of that race of monsters in any form! I have never, since your arrival, been so reminded of my perverted heritage! I will not encourage you in the barbaric ways of Frost Giant culture, or tolerate mention of them from this point forward. Do I make myself clear, frost princess?" Loki's temper had been unleashed.
Iskalla felt her own temper ignite in response. She was hurt and exasperated with Loki's stubborn denial of his true self. "No! No - it is not clear! Why do you hate yourself so much? Your blood flows through both of our veins because we are the same! Why can't you understand that? What have the Asgardians done to you? We both come from a proud heritage, Loki! There is nothing shameful about either of us! You have known me for a while now, am I truly so bad?"
All at once, the wooden weapon rack behind them exploded with the force of Loki's power.
Iskalla's red eyes widened as she jerked back in alarm, caught by surprise at his violent outburst. However, she quickly reclaimed her nerves, jutting her chin high as she held his gaze stubbornly.
Loki said nothing in response. His hands were clenched into fists at his sides. His green eyes were burning into her with a world of hate. She could sense the internal struggle that was surely going on in his mind.
Iskalla was once again shocked at the sheer force of Loki's self-hatred. She'd believed that he was refusing to teach her Frost Magic out of spite. Now, she thought better of it. Everything he had done to her had been born out of his own self-loathing.
Iskalla almost regretted her outburst. Her voice lowered pityingly as she watched at him. "I see through you now," she admitted softly, striking him with another verbal blow. "And I feel sorry for you..."
Loki's rage hit the roof.
"You? You feel sorry for me? A Prince of Asgard? That's rich, ice princess. You, who have nearly gotten yourself killed almost every day since your arrival - you dare to pass judgment on me!" Loki shouted, an angry vein in his neck pulsing. "Tell me, princess, what do you know of pain? How would feel if you were left on a rock to die by your own father? How would you feel if the one who took you from your home—the one who raised you—taught you to believe that you were one thing when you were really another! All my life, I had been told by my own 'family' that Frost Giants were monsters - and all the while they raised one in their midst! And you want to know the best part? I was told this lie for more than one-thousand years! I have even been given the name God of Lies by my own people. I used to think it was due to my skill at trickery but now I wonder if it is because of all the lies they had told me!" he shouted between ragged breaths.
Iskalla stared at him, stony faced, throughout his entire rant. Her red eyes were swirling with something—sympathy perhaps—but she showed no other signs of having heard him. Her cool composure felt like a slap in the face after all he had revealed.
The princess took a breath. "Your story is not as unique as you think, you know," she said softly. "I had a twin brother, one who never even received a name. He was a runt, like you, and he was left out to die. My father was angry that all he seemed to be able to sire was undersized offspring. I was forced to suffer the brunt of his fists and his disappointment many a time. He only saw value in me because I am female, and was therefore an asset instead of a person - someone who could advance his political connections. He locked me away in a tower. My handmaidens were the only friends I ever knew. Suddenly, without warning, I was transported to a land where I was hated everywhere I go. Your 'people' even had the natural sharpness of my teeth shaved down so that I could better please an Asgardian male in bed. You tell me, Loki, are we all not monstrous in our own way? Is one truly worse than the other?"
For a moment, Loki was left speechless. He did not know that the Asgardians were capable of something so brutal. They shaved her teeth down, he thought to himself. Norns, that is vile. He cringed slightly at the thought.
"You are not the only person who has suffered," Iskalla said plainly. "I spoke to Frigga. She truly loves you. That is more than I ever had."
Loki felt a sudden pang of guilt of at the mention of Frigga's love, but smothered it before he could dwell on it. He found himself needing to retreat from this verbal battle between himself and Iskalla. He did not like the way the princess was making him question his own beliefs, or the way she was making him feel. What right does she have to analyze me? She does not even know me. She is nothing but a stupid girl who falls prey to my manipulations every night. If she only knew...he thought indignantly.
"I think this was enough 'training' for one day, princess," he said in a tight, clipped voice, pretending he had not just borne the brunt of her outburst. Loki quickly turned to leave.
"But we haven't even…" Iskalla began to protest.
Loki ignored her as he strode from the room, leaving Iskalla alone with her thoughts.
Later that evening, Loki lay in bed reflecting back on Iskalla's words. He did not wish to enter Iskalla's dream that night. Odin only knows what that stupid girl will say next, he griped to himself with a heavy sigh.
He stared out his large bedroom window at the moon, drumming his fingers on his pale chest in contemplation.
Though he tried to push his and Iskalla's heated conversation from his mind, he found that he could not. He had to admit to himself that the ice princess was getting to him. Loki continued to think of Iskalla until he fell into a restless sleep.
Friendly reminder that I do this for non-profit because I enjoy sharing my creativity with others. But part of that joy is the feedback. How will I grow as an author if I never hear what you guys like or dislike about my work? I might as well be posting my work into a void.
If you guys can't be bothered to review, then maybe I'll be less inclined to update. Fair?
Loki lay on his bed, attempting to read the latest novel that Frigga had recommended to him. Try as he might, he could not concentrate. With a heavy sigh, he slammed the book shut and tossed it onto the floor. It joined a pile of at least nine other discarded books.
"Stakker!" Loki bellowed. "Bring me something more interesting! I grow weary of these insipid romance novels that my mother seems so inclined to recommend to me."
"Perhaps you are not in the mood to read, my lord. Might you be feeling cooped up after spending these last three days in your chambers? May I suggest a walk through the gardens for some fresh air…?" Stakker suggested timidly.
"Don't test my patience, Stakker, you know that I do not wish to encounter that insolent ice princess," Loki replied. He had turned avoiding her into an artform ever since their disastrous day in the training arena.
"I do not mean to step out of line, my lord, but Queen Frigga has made specific inquiries regarding the progression of Princess Iskalla's training…I have not told the Queen that the training has been...paused…for the time being, but the Queen will catch on eventually. What shall I say to her in the future?" Stakker asked worriedly.
Loki's lips tightened. He did not want to face Frigga if she found out that he had walked out on Iskalla or the reason why. Foolish girl...if only she could just accept that I will not teach her Frost Magic everything would be fine, he thought to himself.
"I have it on good authority that Princess Iskalla has spent the last few days waiting on you in the arena..." a perplexed Stakker added. "She appears to be under the impression that you are still interested in training her."
"Then she is a greater idiot than even I give her credit for."
Loki's ridiculing words were punctuated by a knock on his chamber door.
The prince exhaled in annoyance. He was in no mood for visitors. "Who's there?"
Silence. There was no answer - however, the persistent knocking continued.
Loki rubbed his temples in increasing irritation. "I said - who is there?"
He was, yet again, ignored.
Incensed, Loki stormed up from the bed and flung the door open.
He was met with the face he least wanted to see. The ice princess stood before him dressed in full battle gear.
"Good day, Loki." Iskalla smiled.
Loki's shock quickly morphed into rage. "You would dare visit my chambers? Take leave. Now," he ordered, attempting to slam the door closed on her. Alas, he was met with resistance as Iskalla jammed her heavily armored foot between the doorjamb. "Insolent pest! What do you think you are doing?"
"It is time for my training! You will train me or I will tell Frigga that you have been slacking in your duties," said Iskalla cheerfully as she fought to keep her foot wedged in the doorway.
Loki scoffed. "Tell me, are you truly threatening to run to my mother to 'tattle' on me? You would resort to such childish threats? How very mature, princess. What are you, a mere 100 years old?" he asked sarcastically.
"Actually, I am 80," she corrected. 80 in Frost Giant years put her at around 20 in Midgardian years. Either way, she was ridiculously young where Asgardians were concerned.
Loki shook his head slightly at Iskalla's revelation. Foolish girl, you still have so much to learn. "I am not training you. You are wasting your time and mine. Good day, princess," Loki replied. Having reached the limits of his patience, he finally used some real strength and pushed Iskalla out of the way once and for all, closing the door in her face.
"This is not over!" Iskalla shouted through the wooden barrier. "I will not be denied! You will train me, Loki! Do you hear me? This is not over!"
Loki walked back over to his bed, grinding his teeth in an attempt to block out Iskalla's angry shouts. Forcing himself to be calm, he selected the next book on Frigga's reading list.
Shortly after he deemed it safe, Loki decided to follow Stakker's advice and go for a ride on his steed. The Asgardian weather was lovely as usual and Loki enjoyed the peace and freedom he felt as he tore through the forests. It gave him some much-needed levity over the constant weight of his thoughts.
Loki's riding style could be described as nothing less than madness as he rode as fast as he could, jumping dangerously over fallen logs and debris. He rode until thoughts of Iskalla completely disappeared. He finally decided to stop at a lake to allow his horse to drink after the hard workout.
"Hello, Loki," a familiar, unwanted voice greeted from behind, causing dread to settle in his stomach. "I do say it is a coincidence running into you here." Iskalla came into view as another horse saddled up beside his.
Loki's jaw ticked. He had half a mind to push the princess off her horse and drown her in the lake. He felt like he was in the midst of a nightmare that he could not escape. Norns, but the nine realms must truly be having a laugh at my expense. How did she find me?
"Coincidence?" Loki snapped. "I do suspect that I have acquired a stalker, princess."
"You say stalker, I say admirer," Iskalla teased him, trying to lighten the mood. "I long to be your pupil, Loki. Please teach me the magic of our people. I will not give up on this. Please stop avoiding me and do what you promised Frigga you would do - train me," she implored.
"I said that I would train you in Asgardian magic. If you would let go of this ridiculous notion of learning Frost Magic, we would not be at odds right now," he replied.
"You and I both know that Frost Magic is what you were meant to teach me. What good is Asgardian combat to me? I am small in stature - I will never excel in hand-to-hand with a well-trained warrior. My best hope is the magic born within me." Her big red eyes were beseeching as she stared at him. He found himself needing to look away in order to resist their pull. "Please stop twisting this into something it is not and just teach me," she begged.
Loki was about to reply when he caught sight of Sif riding up to him and Iskalla. "You need to take better care of your charge, Sif. Keep her away from me."
Sif smirked. She was obviously enjoying Loki's plight. "My job is merely to protect the princess, not control her. Iskalla is free to go wherever she desires. You did, after all, give Queen Frigga your word."
"I am the God of Lies, Sif - you of all people should know that," Loki said menacingly. "My word is not always to be trusted. But trust me when I say this - if you both will not end this fruitless pursuit, you will live to regret it." He snapped the reigns of his horse and took off, leaving them far behind him.
What could the oaf possibly want now? Loki thought to himself crossly. He had been informed by one of the servants that Thor wished to meet with him in the throne room. He was surprised his brother had pulled himself away from his ale and his constant bemoaning over his lack of wenches long enough to speak with him.
Loki walked into the empty throne room. Hmmm, this is odd, he thought to himself. I wonder where Thor could be...perhaps he is drunk and has forgotten that he summoned me. It would not be the first time. Loki turned to leave.
His steps halted when, from behind one of the large pillars, out popped Iskalla. It was rather anticlimactic.
At this point, Loki could not say he was surprised. "Iskalla," Loki said tiredly, "Please do not tell me that you are the one that summoned me here, because if this is another one of your 'tricks', it will not end well for you," he threatened as he walked toward her.
"Don't try anything, Loki, Sif is nearby," Iskalla said. The girl clearly had no regard for her own safety. Had Loki genuinely wished to harm her, Sif would be unable to stop him. "I only wish to talk," Iskalla continued with a self-assuredness he had not yet seen in her. "I shall not stop asking you to train me. This will only end when you say yes."
Loki glared at Iskalla. He wanted to wrap his hands around her pale, blue neck and strangle her. Or force her to her knees in submission.
Unfortunately, he would have to settle on a third option. He shot her a smug grin and proceeded to disappear right before her eyes. Originally, he had not wanted to reveal one of his most coveted tricks to the stupid girl, but he had been pushed past all point of caring.
Iskalla's mouth fell open in shock as a small gasp escaped her. "Wait! What are you doing?" She spun around, desperately searching the throne room for any trace of him. "What has happened? Loki…!?"
Now invisible, Loki smirked to himself and walked out of the throne room, leaving Iskalla to her confusion. Let her find me now, he thought mockingly.
"How was your day, my lord?" Stakker inquired, almost afraid of the answer. Loki's pacing was always a clue that something was not quite right.
"My day? You wish to know about my day? Well, let's see...I took your suggestion to go for a ride and found myself accosted by that stupid girl. She is relentless - she even lured me to the throne room under the ruse that Thor had summoned me! I cannot go anywhere without that frost witch close behind! I am a prisoner in my own home!" Loki ranted angrily.
Stakker failed to hide his flinch. "Perhaps we should order some dinner for you, my lord. Some good food and wine may help to ease your mind..."
"Yes, that is probably the most sensible suggestion you have had all day." Loki nodded. "Call the servants, I am famished."
*20 minutes later*
"Where are they! I said I was starving! What could be more important than seeing to the needs of a Prince of Asgard? Useless...all of them!" Loki shouted, making Stakker cringe feebly.
"I am sure they will arrive soon, my lord." Stakker tried to calm the prince. "Ah, I hear a knock now," he said with much relief. "One moment, my lord." He hurried to the door.
Stakker greeted the servants and ushered them in with a quiet warning. "Inside now, quickly. My lord is in a foul mood. Please do not displease him further," he pleaded.
Loki eyed the array of food hungrily as the servants placed each tray carefully upon his dinner table. "Ah, yes. That smells delightful," he said as he licked his lips with anticipation. All but the last tray looked appetizing. "What is this?" he asked as he turned up his nose. "It looks unappealing. Take it away," he instructed the small servant who was wearing a veil and gloves. For a fleeting moment, her unusual attire struck him as odd, but he quickly dismissed the thought - he did not waste time dwelling on the fashion of servants.
Stakker looked at the dish Loki was referring to. "I believe this is a dish from Vanaheim, my lord. Perhaps the chef wished to try something new."
"Well, I don't like it." Loki pointed to the veiled servant impatiently, summoning her over. "You, come here. Please remove this tray. The smell is very off putting."
As the veiled servant reached for the tray, the sleeve of her gown rolled up and Loki's eyes caught what he suspected to be a flash of blue skin.
Realization struck. The frost witch was back with another tactic.
Loki surged to his feet, grabbing her by the wrist. "Get out! Everybody get out!" he roared at Stakker and the rest of the servants as he held Iskalla's wrist in a vice like grip.
"You! You do not know when to quit, do you?" he seethed. "Impersonating a servant in order to sneak into in my chambers? This is a new low, princess - even for you. What will it take for you leave me alone? What will it take for you to cease this foolish endeavor!"
The idiot girl looked visibly embarrassed to have caused such a scene yet made no move to back down. "I told you! Teach me Frost Magic like Frigga ordered you to!" she shouted.
Enraged, Loki gripped Iskalla's wrist even tighter. "Enough! I cannot take any more of your foolishness!" He dragged Iskalla across the room and threw her out of his chambers.
"Loki, please," Iskalla's hurt voice began to speak through the door. "Listen to me…I know why you are doing this. I know that you feel horrible about who and what you are..."
Loki cringed as her words began to penetrate. No. I cannot let her get to me again, he thought to himself. He slumped tiredly, pressing his forehead against the wooden door. He wondered how much more time would pass before she grew weary of begging and conceded defeat.
"Leave, Iskalla. Your persistence is futile and will only end in misery for you. I have said it once and I will say it again - I am willing to teach you Asgardian combat techniques only. Agree to leave this foolishness of Frost Magic behind us and I will train you in the morning." Loki desperately hoped that she would take the olive branch he'd offered and leave him be.
"Loki…you and I both know why you are refusing to teach me Frost Magic. You are a hypocrite, my lord. You are quick to denounce Jotunn ways…yet, you yourself are proficient in our magics. You refuse me, yet you do not hesitate to use your abilities when it suits you. Obviously, you know that being a Frost Giant has its advantages…" Iskalla paused and even through the wooden barrier, he did not miss the quiet sigh that followed. "You would be so much happier if you just embraced who you are."
Loki did not wish to answer her. He hated to admit that Iskalla's words had a way of getting to him. He realized that he was close to being drawn into the same conversation they'd had in the arena the other day. He decided that the best course of action was to go to bed and ignore her.
Surely, she is not capable of standing outside my door all night. She will have to give up eventually.
Loki opened his tired eyes and stretched in his large bed. The last night had been unpleasant, to say the least. She is persistent...I'll give her that much, he thought to himself as he got up to begin his morning routine.
Despite what he'd believed, Iskalla had not stopped pestering him. The foolish girl had begged him, had argued with him, and had even resorted to pounding on his door in her attempts to sway him. It had not mattered how efficiently he'd ignored her; she had not turned away. The meddlesome witch hadn't fallen quiet until sometime near dawn.
Loki's stomach growled, demanding its breakfast. Stakker was, annoyingly, nowhere to be found. "He's probably afraid of me after yesterday," Loki chuckled to himself. Well, I guess I will have to fend for myself, he thought as he decided to head to the banquet hall.
No sooner had Loki opened his door than he was gifted with an unwanted surprise. An unconscious Iskalla fell backwards, tumbling gracelessly into the room. "Oh, norns…" he cursed, more incredulous than angry.
Iskalla jolted awake, seemingly confused as to her whereabouts before recollection hit her. "Mmm?" she mumbled sleepily. "Have you come to tell me that you will train me?"
Loki shook his head, glaring down at her. "You stupid girl! Tell me you did not spend the whole night outside my chambers? Have you no shame?"
"Good morning to you too, Loki," Iskalla replied with a big yawn. She struggled to sit up, still dressed in her faux-servant garb. "Why...I think I did. Tell me, my prince, did you sleep as well as I did?"
Her lackadaisical attitude only served to grate on Loki's nerves more. He couldn't fathom surviving another day of Iskalla's relentless pursuit.
"Do you not have anything better to do with your time?" he snapped.
She rubbed the sleep from her eyes, shrugging. "I am a princess of a realm that does not want me and likes to pretend that I do not exist. My only duty is to make my betrothed comfortable and your brother wants nothing to do with me. So, I guess you could say I am a lady of leisure and that I have all the time in the world." She grinned. "Luckily for you, I have many unoccupied hours of which to stalk you with."
Iskalla's sentence was met with a snort of female laughter.
Loki snapped his head around to find Sif leaning against the wall with her arms crossed. "You spent the night here too?" he accused. What is it with these women?
"Nice to see you too, Trickster," Sif gloated, her brown eyes dancing with undisguised amusement.
"You should be ashamed to be an accomplice to such asinine behavior, Sif. It is no wonder Odin never wanted you to marry Thor," he verbally struck her. "I have no doubt that you would fail to curb his idiotic actions either."
Sif glared at Loki.
Iskalla tried to get up from the floor but Loki stepped on her gown, causing her to stumble and fall back down. He resolutely stared straight ahead, feigning innocence and pretending not to notice the mishap.
"Do not take your temper out on Sif!" Iskalla squawked. "She does not deserve it. You are the one who caused this by going back on your word. I will not rest until I get the training I deserve."
The training she deserved? Entitled brat. You will get what you deserve, alright.
She dares to play her silly games with me, the God of Lies? Perhaps the best course of action is to give her what she wants...and give it to her I shall, he thought with a smirk. In the future, the princess would learn to be careful what she wished for.
Loki knelt down to meet Iskalla's eyes. "You win."
Iskalla blinked. "I what?" she said in disbelief.
"You win. I will teach you Frost Magic," he replied as he rose back to his full height, idly noting how pitiful she looked below him on the floor. "But be warned, I will not go easy on you. You will become my star pupil," he said in an ominous tone. "Now, do get up. Remove yourself from my sight and leave me be for a few hours. Eat your breakfast. You will need all your strength for what is coming next."
Slowly, the princess' face lit up in a blinding smile. She jumped excitedly to her feet before throwing herself at Loki and capturing him in a tight embrace. "Oh, thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You will not be sorry! This will be great for both of us! You'll see!"
Loki's muscles tensed as she pressed herself against him. He was unused to such gestures of intimacy. Frigga was the only soul he allowed such familiarity, and even then, he did not do so often. He believed himself above such sentiment.
And yet...the princess didn't feel entirely unpleasant wrapped around him. Her skin felt cool and soothing—much like his own—and she was impossibly soft. For a moment, he felt himself relax. As quickly as he became aware of the comfort of her embrace, he realized that he needed to get away.
Just as he was about to shove her from him, Iskalla released him.
Loki recollected himself and stepped back, putting more distance between them. "Let's see how much you wish to hug me after your time in the arena, princess. Your training starts mid-day."
He called on his invisibility spell and disappeared.
AN: Happy holidays everyone! (and even if you don't celebrate them, I hope life is going well for you!) *cough* your reviews are the best gift a gal could receive *cough*
Shout out to those of you that left such encouraging comments after my mini-meltdown last chapter. Thanks to you, I will be returning to my usual weekly updating schedule.
…For now. I am not above petty behavior (Loki would be *so* proud! lol) I will stop updating if I feel people are reading and not bothering to show any appreciation.
I hope you all enjoyed this chapter. I think it's the closest one to fluff I've written yet. Are you excited for Loki to begin training Iskalla? ;) He will show her the magic of his
Chapter 13: Let The Battle Begin
Weighed down by her heavy armor, Iskalla walked as fast as she could manage to the training arena. I am finally going to learn Frost Magic, she thought to herself excitedly. Despite my father's controlling efforts, I will learn to wield the power within me.
"Hurry up, Sif!" Iskalla called out behind her. "I do not wish to be late. Loki is an impatient man and I do not want to give him reason to leave the arena before I arrive."
"We will arrive in time. Do not worry, princess. I must admit, it was an impressive feat that you managed to wear down the Trickster's resistance in regard to your training," Sif replied with admiration.
Iskalla quirked a grin over her shoulder. "I think that is the nicest thing you have said to me yet, lady Sif."
"Well, I do not often dole out compliments so freely. You should feel honored, my lady," The Goddess of War let down her guard long enough to tease.
Iskalla and Sif finally arrived to the front doors of the arena. Sif was to wait outside until the lesson was done.
The warrior nodded her head in parting. "Give him Hel, my lady. I, for one, would like to see the Trickster's pride knocked down a few pegs. I enjoy seeing you make his life difficult - as he has so often done unto others."
Iskalla smiled warmly as she opened the doors. "I will do my best," she winked.
She should have been paying more attention as she stepped into the arena - or rather, she should not have been looking back at Sif. She paid the price for it dearly as Loki got the jump on her.
"Ahhh!" Iskalla cried out as a snowball hit her in the back of the head. She whipped around to locate where the projectile had come from and was immediately pelted with another. "Stop!" she yelped. Iskalla attempted to duck out of the way but the onslaught of ice and snow kept coming. "Please! Give me a minute!"
"Rule number one: always be alert," Loki said as he stalked towards Iskalla with more snowballs in hand. "Always be ready for battle!"
"But I just got here! Give me a moment to fetch my shield!" she replied irritably while trying to spit out all the snow she'd swallowed as another snowball hit her in the face.
"Rule number two: the enemy will not wait until it is convenient for you to defend yourself, princess," Loki sneered, summoning blizzard winds to knock the princess off her feet.
"I do not see how this is helping!" her voice rose a decibel as she flailed around, trying desperately to remain standing.
"It is helping me, princess. You have given me a lot of stress these past few days, and I do believe this is a fine way to relieve it." He smiled as he threw more snowballs at her.
Iskalla realized that the harder she fought, the more amused Loki became. "Fine," she said flatly, raising her shield. "Do your worst." She stood there, still as a tree stump, as she allowed Loki to bury her in a mountain of snow. Then she mentally counted to 60 until she heard the sounds of his merriment grow quiet. Hoping he'd become bored, Iskalla climbed out of the avalanche and asked, "Are you quite finished? Have I amused you enough? Will you please teach me something now?"
As Iskalla looked around her, she had to admit that she was impressed. Loki had managed to produce a considerable amount of snow in such a short amount of time. He seemed to control his power with apparent ease. I cannot wait until I can do that, she thought to herself.
"That was not my worst," Loki's silky voice said ominously as he walked closer to her. He leaned forward and allowed his hands to brush some of the snow from her shoulders. "If I had done my worst - you would be dead." He smiled his 'Trickster' smile.
"You would not kill me." Iskalla felt a shiver run through her.
Loki raised an eyebrow. "No? You seem rather confident of that fact."
"I am confident that Odin would lock you up if you did. You often speak of your loyalty to Asgard. You do not want war."
Loki took a step back from Iskalla, a shadow of what looked like admiration flickering over his usual derisive expression. "For now, you are correct. But my wants and needs have been known to vary from moment to moment. Never say I didn't warn you."
He paused, letting his words hang. Iskalla watched him, pondering what he had said. Their eyes locked and their gazes held.
Frosty snow struck her in the face. She wiped the white from her eyes and glared witheringly at Loki.
The prince shrugged. "Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Now that I've had my fun, let us begin your training."
Loki looked at Iskalla thoughtfully whilst rubbing his chin. She could not even defend herself against a meager snowball fight. There must be some wisp of magic or sense of self-preservation within this girl...he mused. "What do you wish me to teach you, princess? Give me a demonstration of the magic that you possess."
Iskalla's brows furrowed and her face scrunched up in concentration.
Loki found the effort she was exerting charmingly pathetic. What in the Norns is she doing? What is that odd face that she is making? She clearly knows nothing. He rubbed his face in frustration, I will have to begin teaching her from scratch. Unable to bear it any longer, he decided to put an end to Iskalla's 'demonstration'. "Please stop." Iskalla opened her eyes as if to question him silently as he continued, "Please stop making that face. Whatever it is you are doing – it is not working. Do you have any abilities at all?"
Iskalla looked away from Loki. It was obvious that she was embarrassed. "My father never allowed anyone to train or teach me. When I was a child, my cousin once tried to teach me Frost Magic behind my father's back, but my father found out and had him brutally whipped. Many heard what my father had done to my cousin so no one ever attempted to train me again. I have only been able to summon my abilities when I am in great danger or in fear for my life," she explained, her eyes clouding. Loki knew her mind was plagued by the trauma done unto her by Thor's wench.
A gleam of mischief sparkled in Loki's green eyes. "Really?" he asked with much interest. This is going to be fun. Without warning, he hurled an illusion of a hundred ice daggers straight for Iskalla.
Iskalla let out a piercing scream and threw up a rudimentary wall of ice. As the daggers made contact with the wall, the illusion vanished as instantly as it had appeared. "What was that?" she demanded, shaken.
Loki's smile widened into a full grin. "Progress. You managed to summon an ice wall to deflect me. It was pitiful and would not have saved you had my daggers been real, but you summoned it nonetheless."
Iskalla reluctantly conceded his point. "Very well. But that trick will not work again. I wish to summon my magic at will…not only as a last defense."
Loki's eyes wandered towards the weapons rack. "We will get there." Walking over to the rack, he retrieved the wooden training staff and handed it to Iskalla. "Freeze this into ice."
Iskalla gave a frustrated sigh. "I can't. I just told you that I can't."
Loki stared into Iskalla's ruby eyes. "Remember that feeling of danger. Of fear. Hold onto it." He began to circle Iskalla as he spoke. "Remember there are always those who will want to do you harm."
Iskalla closed her eyes and gripped the staff tightly. A smile pulled at the corner of Loki's mouth as he noticed the silly scrunching of her 'focusing face' once more. The staff shook in her hands. The barest whisper of frost appeared on the handle. But nothing more. Iskalla opened her eyes with a heavy sigh. "It's not working," she said dejectedly "It's not that simple. I need proper, methodical training. You cannot just will my power to be."
Loki continued to circle Iskalla, prowling around her in a deliberately intimidating manner. Looming over her, he ducked down to speak next to her ear. "Think of my brother. Think of how it felt when he almost hit you with Mjolnir." He could hear Iskalla's breathing turn shallow as her rage began to grow. "Think of his wenches - his bloodthirsty servant. What was her name? Maiken? Think of how her blade felt embedded in your flesh. Of how a lowly, deranged underling bested you so easily."
The princess looked wrecked. "Please stop. This will not work, Loki! I cannot hear anymore!" she pleaded, unaware of the veins of ice that were beginning to grow on the staff she was holding.
"You are useless, Princess. You are nothing more than a child. You cannot even control the magic that lies within your own blood," he hissed. "A Frost Giant incapable of Frost Magic? I haven't heard of anything so laughable in my very long life!"
"Loki- I beg of you - stop!"
But Loki would not. Not until he had peeled away ever last layer the ice princess possessed. A look of pure cruelty darkened Loki's face. "You are no better than your lost brother. You deserved to die by his side. I am certain your father would not miss you if you had. Tell me, princess, who of your beloved people have reached out to you since shipping you off to Asgard? Do you think they care how you are faring at all? They are probably happy to be rid of you! Do you really believe that they would retaliate if we killed you? Perhaps they would be thankful as you seem to be more trouble than you are worth. Is your pitiful life worthy of throwing two realms into war?
A small tear leaked out of the corner of the princess' eye. "I... I d-demand that you stop," she commanded desperately.
That's it, princess, get angry...feel your rage...feel the strength of it burning inside you. She was almost there. I just need to twist the knife a little more. He positioned himself so that he was standing face-to-face with her before unleashing his most devastating attack. She flinched as he dominated her gaze with his own.
"Are you looking forward to your wedding night with Thor, princess?" he mocked as he smiled wickedly. "Even your own betrothed does not want you." He leaned down to whisper against her cheek, his voice a twisted imitation of a caress. "I have heard my brother is merciless to those who occupy his bed." He stepped back to observe the horrified look in Iskalla's eyes. "Do you think he will show you kindness - you, his frost monster wife? He will punish you again and again. He will laugh in your face as you beg him to stop." A grin of pure evil took over Loki's face. "Do you think he will share you? Offer Fandral a go? Fandral does, after all, seem rather eager to get between the legs of a Frost Giant whore!"
All at once, a blood curdling scream of pure rage shattered the air. The noise was such that even Loki felt startled by the sheer pain of it.
Suddenly, Loki found himself knocked to the ground by a powerful blast of ice magic. The magic was so strong that it had even managed an impressive dent in his armor. Loki chuckled as he felt himself over for injury.
He smiled with delight. "Well, well, well. Now we're getting somewhere. Well done, princess. It seems you have some power within you after all."
Iskalla looked down at the laughing Loki. Then she looked over her own hands in amazement, her chest heaving from exertion. "You are lacking in conscience and scruples, Loki," she said flatly. "I do not approve of your methods…" she continued slowly. "Nevertheless...your results are undeniable."
Part of her wanted to slap the prince for using his words to cut into her so deeply, but another part was strangely grateful. In that moment, as she'd let loose with her ice magic, it was the most powerful thing she'd ever experienced. She also, inexplicably, felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. She'd been taught as a girl to conceal her pain. She'd been holding her true feelings in for as long as she could remember.
Loki stood up and brushed the snow off himself. "Have you had enough for the day?" he asked. His eyes were beaming with what Iskalla thought might be a hint of pride but she did not know if it was for her or merely self-satisfaction for besting her.
Iskalla knew he was most likely expecting her to retire for the day and run back to her chambers. He clearly thought she had reached her limits.
As well as he knew her, he still had much to learn.
Iskalla straightened her shoulders and met his green eyes directly. "No," she challenged him. "Show me more. I can take it."
Loki poured a goblet of wine as he tried to relax for the evening.
Iskalla's training had not gone as he'd expected. As trying as that girl is, I have to admit she is determined. Her rage had been refreshing to watch. She is usually so polite and reserved, he thought. Even though he had not wished to teach Iskalla Frost Magic, he had enjoyed using his silver tongue to provoke her.
Loki was no stranger to manipulating others but there was something intensely satisfying about this particular challenge. He wanted to tear down the princess until he discovered and owned every part of her. He wanted dominion over Iskalla's very soul - and if that came with ownership of her body, all the better.
He thought back to the look of rage in Iskalla's ruby eyes after she had set the blast of ice magic loose upon him. He felt something stir within him. She does look lovely when she is angry, he smiled to himself, but then he quickly dismissed the thought and took another sip of his wine.
As the wine began to relax him, he got ready for bed. His muscles ached from the repeated blasts of ice magic Iskalla had thrown at him after her initial success. He shook his head. She needs some work, but she is a quick learner indeed, he mused, while trying to rub a kink in his back. He had been knocked backwards numerous times that day. Perhaps a practice dummy would be ideal, he decided as he climbed into bed.
Even after spending most of the day with the princess, a part of him still desired more. Now, the itch to invade her dreams was an appealing one. Norns knows she owes me some 'relief' for the pain she has inflicted upon me today. It is the least she could do, after all.
Loki closed his eyes and linked their minds with his usual ease. He'd expected her to be in the throes of another nightmare of Thor - but as he reached out for her terror to locate her, he was met with silence. He found himself materializing inside a white room full of mirrors as the memories of Iskalla's day played out inside their reflective surfaces. Where are you, Iskalla? he wondered. Why aren't you dreaming of Thor? The mind was an endless palace that was easy to get lost in and Loki needed a strong emotion or thought to grab onto in order to pull himself into her current dream. Suddenly, he caught the distant whisper of her voice. "Today was amazing, you're amazing," Iskalla could be heard saying. But who is she talking to? Curious, Loki focused on the sound of her voice and followed it. She did not sound scared at all. She sounded relaxed and safe, in fact. As he closed in on her, the white walls disappeared and were slowly replaced with a room - Iskalla's room. Why are you here? he thought as he walked towards her bedroom, his mouth agape as he saw her cuddled up to a 'dream' version of himself in her bed! You...you are dreaming of me? he thought silently without revealing himself to her.
He stood at the foot of her bed and watched as she continued to compliment her 'dream Loki.' "I never thought I would be able to learn Frost Magic, Loki, but you brought it out in me. You believed in me. Nobody ever has," she said as she planted a light kiss on his cheek.
"You always had it in you. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for - than I give you credit for," Dream Loki replied as he brought her closer to his chest in a strong embrace. Real Loki watched their interaction with interest...he felt something burn within him as dream Loki held her. What is this? Jealousy? No - I would not feel such a thing. It is pathetic that she wishes to hear such praise from me. This 'false' Loki could never make her feel what I can.
If he had to hear the dream version of himself compliment the princess one more time he would surely fall ill. It was time for Loki to break up this nauseating scene and take back control. He smirked. Within seconds, Loki had taken the place of the imposter and Iskalla was none the wiser. Let the fun begin, princess, he thought.
"Now, how about you repay me for my services?" he demanded as his hands began to make their way up Iskalla's body.
"No... wait." Iskalla tensed as she placed a hand over his. "I don't want this tonight. I would like for you to just hold me. I want to feel close to you."
"If you wish to feel close to me than let me have you," he said crudely as he freed his hand from hers. He began to push down her nightgown to bare her breasts as his lips latched onto her neck with insistent kisses.
Iskalla grabbed him by the wrists. "Loki! I said stop! Please...today was so wonderful. Please do not ruin it. I just want to talk and be close to you in a different way. Why are you being like this? Does everything have to be about sex?" She looked at him with pleading eyes.
"Does everything have to be about sex…" he mocked, frustrated. "Of course, it does! This is who I am, princess! This is why I am here…" he breathed heavily as he resumed kissing her neck. "And you love it…" he planted another wet kiss. "Admit it...you love being my whore," he said as he licked her neck and bit down gently.
Iskalla moaned...but pushed him away. "No! Why must you always be so cruel? We were having a great time...why must it always turn this! There is more to me than sex, Loki. I want a real conversation with you. I want to know you and for you to know me...please…for tonight…just hold me."
Loki rolled his eyes. Damn...she will not give in to me. His eyes narrowed as he stared at her. He contemplated leaving her with the imbecile 'dream Loki,' but for some unknown reason, the thought of that deeply bothered him. He sighed heavily. "Fine, have it your way. I will hold you for tonight," he grumbled as he embraced Iskalla.
He lay there with the frost princess contentedly cuddling into him. His mind bitterly went through all the pleasurable ways they could better spend the evening. He resigned himself to the fact that he would be holding Iskalla instead.
As the night wore on, he thought about the feel of her in his arms. It was comforting, her body was soft, and he liked the quiet sighs she made as she rested there. He thought of the hug she had bestowed on him earlier that day when he had agreed to teach her Frost Magic. He'd hated to admit it then, but for a brief moment he had enjoyed the affection she had shown him. This was no different. A part of him received comfort from her closeness. His chest swelled with an emotion he did not recognize. Is this…affection? Am I capable of such sentiment?
Normally, such a thought would've alarmed him. It would have caused him to pull away and lash out at whatever source had caused it. If he had been more awake, he almost certainly would've punished Iskalla and twisted her dream into an ugly nightmare. But Loki found that he did not have the energy to care.
He turned his head into her hair and breathed in her scent as he succumbed to sleep.
Loki rolled over in his sleep and reached out for Iskalla but was met with empty space. Perturbed, his green eyes opened and he awoke. He was alone in his bed. It had all been a dream...the silly girl had wanted him to cuddle her all night. He couldn't remember what had persuaded him to go along with her tenderhearted whim, or the last time a woman had begged him to hold her. In the past, Loki had felt smothered when his previous bedmates had felt inclined to cling to him. And while a part of him still felt that way with Iskalla…there was another part of him—a larger part—that had enjoyed having her rest in his arms. Surprisingly, he'd slept better than he had in a long while.
From the peaceful way the girl had entrusted 'Dream Loki' to watch over her as she'd slept, he was certain that Iskalla was as well rested as he. It is clear the girl has developed an infatuation with me, he smiled to himself. It will only be a matter of time before I conquer her completely. The princess might not have realized it yet, but she was slowly letting him past her defenses. Her soft heart will be her downfall.
*One Week Later*
Iskalla was on her way to the training arena when one of Frigga's servants approached her.
"Excuse the intrusion, my lady. Queen Frigga has requested your presence at the bi-frost. I believe she has a surprise for you," the servant explained.
"A surprise? I wonder what it could be…" Iskalla was intrigued. "Thank you. Please let the All-Mother know that I am on my way."
Iskalla sent word to Loki that their training would be postponed until later in the day and quickly changed out of her battle gear. As Sif escorted her to the bi-frost, Iskalla could make out the sight of Frigga and Heimdall standing next to a woman wearing familiar Jotunn robes.
Iskalla felt a rush of happiness as she realized it was Isbiter. "Isbiter! Isbiter!" she shouted before she had actually stepped into the room. "Oh, my goodness, Isbiter, it is so good to see you!" Iskalla rushed up to her friend and hugged her with all her strength.
The old Jotunn returned the embrace. "Iskalla, my dear, it is so lovely to see you too! I hope the Asgardians have treated you well."
Tears welled up in Iskalla's eyes as she clutched at the old woman. She had never expected to see her beloved handmaiden again. Iskalla had not had much of a life on Jotunheim but it was still the only home she'd ever known. After being discarded on Asgard and having been treated like a monster by its people, having someone there who cared for her meant more than she could say. "What are you doing here? I am surprised father would allow you to come to Asgard," Iskalla said as she wiped away happy tears.
"It was Queen Frigga's doing. She convinced your father to allow me to resume my duties as your handmaid," Isbiter replied gratefully.
"My handmaid? You mean...you're staying?" Iskalla asked in wonder.
"That I am, dear." Isbiter nodded.
Iskalla turned to Frigga. The Queen had been observing the happy reunion with a quiet smile.
"Thank you, my majesty. I cannot tell you how much this means to me," Iskalla said, touched. She knew that this gift had not come easily. The people of Asgard would surely object to another Jotunn living amongst them. Frigga would've had to fight to permit such a request.
"You are very welcome, my child," Frigga replied, satisfied. "I hoped that bringing Isbiter here would help you feel more at home. I know it has been difficult for you to adjust to your new life. When I heard of how you fired Ysmay for her mistreatment of you, I felt personally responsible to make it right. We should have chosen your handmaiden with more care. I know my people are not the most...tolerant."
Iskalla's chest tightened with fondness for her new Queen. "This is a tremendous gesture, All-Mother. I won't forget it." She turned toward Isbiter. "We have so much to catch up on!" she exclaimed as she hugged Isbiter once more.
Frigga cleared her throat politely. "I'm afraid that will have to wait, child. We still have preparations to make for the wedding." She clapped excitedly. "The cake tasting is upon us!"
Iskalla entered the banquet hall with Frigga, Sif, and Isbiter by her side. As she looked around the room, she saw many tables with cakes and pastries from not only Asgard, but the other realms as well. Iskalla resisted the urge to turn up her nose in disgust as she noticed Thor in the corner of the room, sitting with Fandral and Volstagg. His shoulders were slumped and he was holding a hand to his head as if it were hurting him. It didn't take the All-Father's ability to perceive that he was hungover.
I might as well greet my...husband-to-be. She sighed internally as she walked up to Thor. "Hello, Thor..." Can it be that you are you sober today and punctual to boot? she thought to herself. "It is a lovely day today, is it not?"
"Greetings Iskalla," Thor grunted. He quickly masked his irritation as he caught sight of Frigga over Iskalla's shoulder. "Aye, it is a lovely day. Hello mother," he attempted to hide his hangover.
"It pleases me to see you, son," Frigga said in an almost warning tone, her eyes narrowing ever so slightly. "I'm grateful that you have joined us to sample the cakes today. I do hope you are hungry."
"I'm sure there is no reason to worry, Frigga. Thor is known for his hearty appetite," Iskalla said in a deliberately loud voice that caused Thor to rub his temples in pain. "Look at all these cakes! I bet that you cannot wait to try all of them, am I wrong, Thor?" she questioned even louder, causing Thor to glare at her. His face began to turn slightly green as if he was going to be sick.
"I know I will try all of them!" Volstagg chimed in, slapping Thor on the back as he made his way to the tasting tables.
Frigga turned towards the room of guests. "Please help yourselves. I am eager to know which cakes are the most crowd pleasing."
The Warriors Three all attacked the sweets simultaneously - though no one more voraciously than Volstagg. The redhead crammed four samples into his mouth at once.
How can he even taste anything that way? Iskalla thought as she and Isbiter stared down at the dessert table with twin expressions of distaste on their faces.
"It is all so...colorful, my lady," Isbiter said warily. "Though no doubt...er, enjoyable. Have you become accustomed to their food yet?" she asked Iskalla.
"Honestly? No...I have not," Iskalla whispered uneasily. "I just eat what I can in order to survive."
Iskalla felt Frigga's eyes on her and forced herself to pick up a piece of cake with pink frosting. As Jotunheim was unable to produce natural sweeteners from its frozen land, sugar was not something Iskalla was used to. She took a bite and tried not to make a face as the sweetness overwhelmed her senses, making her tongue go numb. "Oh...my ...this is...this is..." repulsive, she thought to herself. "Um, delicious." Her eyes began to water.
"How was that?" Isbiter asked curiously.
Iskalla forced herself to swallow. "Awful. Just awful," she whispered and quickly reached for a goblet of water.
Frigga made her way over to Iskalla. "I enlisted the best pastry chef on Asgard to prepare these baked goods. How are you finding Asgardian sweets, Iskalla?" She had clearly noticed Iskalla's discomfort.
"I am not used to such sweet flavors, my majesty. Perhaps I am not the best one to ask for an opinion on which cakes to serve. It would appear that my Jotunn sense of taste is much different than an Asgardian's," she explained, hoping that she had not offended the All-Mother.
"What is this?" a shout boomed from across the room. It came from Thor. It appeared the fog had finally cleared from his hungover mind long enough for him to notice Isbiter's presence. "Why is another one of those abominations here!" he yelled as he pointed at the handmade.
"Thor!" Iskalla was horrified.
"Thor - I will not have you speak to one of my personal guests in this manner," Frigga warned. "If you cannot control yourself...you may leave," she said sternly.
Thor surged to his feet. "You still have not answered my question. Why are there more of these blue monsters on Asgard? Is one not enough? I will not marry both of them!" Thor shouted defiantly.
"Thor! You will stop. Now," Frigga ordered, the anger in her eyes building. "If you have any objections with the way your father and I chose to handle matters, you will take them up with us privately. Like a dignified person."
"Mother...you would really choose those monsters over your own son?" he replied, hurt.
"Right now, the only one behaving monstrously is you. You will sample the cakes and make your selection. You will be respectful to Iskalla and Isbiter because your Queen orders it!" Frigga commanded.
Defeated, a sulking Thor sank back into his chair.
"I like her," Isbiter said under her breath by Iskalla's ear. "I like her a lot."
Iskalla bit her lip as she smiled gratefully up at Frigga. She was impressed and surprised with the way Frigga had dealt with Thor. No one had stood up to the man-child in such a way before, and certainly not on Iskalla's behalf. The princess could count the number of times someone had bothered defending her on one hand - and that included her days on Jotunheim.
"So, tell me, child, what would you—as a Jotunn—like to have on the menu?" Frigga asked as she tried to restore the goodwill in the room after her son's rudeness.
Iskalla thought for a moment and replied, "On Jotunheim...there is a dessert called Iskrem. I think it is made using the frozen milk from the animals that are kept in the royal palace. It is not sweet except for the natural sugars that are present within the milk… you remember the recipe don't you, Isbiter?"
"Indeed, I do, my lady," Isbiter replied.
Frigga nodded. "It is settled, then. Iskrem and cake shall both be served at the wedding. This is a brilliant idea, and it will expose Asgardians to a little of Jotunn culture."
"Why not just feed them raw meat like the dogs that they are," Thor muttered petulantly from where he was seated with his arms crossed over his mighty chest.
All three women glared at Thor.
"Ignore my son. He is not making his mother proud on this day," Frigga said dismissively. "However, that brings me to my next point. Are there any other changes you would like to make to the menu, Iskalla? I want both Jotunns and Asgardians to feast alike on such a momentous day."
Frigga's request marked one of the first instances of someone asking Iskalla what she wanted. "I appreciate your efforts to be inclusive towards my people, my majesty. I believe that a generous platter of uncooked meats and Iskrem for dessert will be sufficient."
"Marvelous. I will inform the chefs of your choices." Frigga smiled.
Iskalla was pleasantly surprised at the Queen's consideration of her people's needs. When Iskalla had first heard of the cake tasting, she'd assumed the worst. She'd imagined that the Asgardians would simply push their ways onto her as they had so many times before. Iskalla found herself feeling hopeful for the first time since her arrival. If Frigga was capable of treating her with such kindness, then possibly more of the kingdom would follow.
Iskalla could scarcely imagine a day where she wasn't regarded as the enemy...though perhaps Asgard would surprise her yet.
"Again!" Loki instructed Iskalla as she breathed heavily from exertion.
He had been forcing her to run drills and throw ice daggers at the same target for hours. He was as relentlessly brutal as he'd promised her he'd be, making it his goal to push the girl to her limits during each session.
"Can we not take a break? I am getting tired," she protested.
Loki regarded her as she continued to throw the daggers. "Why stop now, princess? You have shown remarkable progress considering your initial lack of skill." The princess, surprisingly, was learning quite quickly - although he would never tell her so. After only a week, she could already make small, crude ice weapons like daggers and spears. She could freeze objects as long as they were under a certain size, and was even slowly mastering the ability to make a light snowfall.
Iskalla blinked, looking at him with wide eyes. "Remarkable progress, my lord? Did I truly just hear you compliment me?"
Did I? I suppose I did. "Do not grow used to it. You still have a long way to go."
He walked over to the well-used target, looking it over. "Hmm...I see only about 500 hits here. That is mediocre, at best." He shook his head. "That simply will not do. Is this not what you asked for? To learn to cast your Frost Magic at will? I am not here to coddle you. I am here to turn you into a warrior, however impossible that may be."
Iskalla dropped her eyes. "It has just been a long day...that is all. We'll continue if you feel it is best," she replied.
Loki watched as Iskalla returned to her drills. His forehead creased as she suddenly lost focus and swayed on her feet. Her dagger missed the target entirely. "I don't think I need to tell you how dreadful that was." Her unnatural pallor stopped him from berating her further - she had almost no color in her cheeks. "You are tired, aren't you? Have you been eating enough?" he asked as he narrowed his eyes. Come to think of it, the princess did look like she had lost weight. She doesn't need to diminish herself. She is already too thin. This foolish girl must know that she has to eat if she is training this hard.
Iskalla's brow furrowed in displeasure as she once again failed to hit her target. "Hmmph," she huffed. "Of course, I have been eating!" Her stomach growled then, almost timed perfectly as if to give her away. Loki raised an eyebrow to call out her bluff, prompting the princess to add reluctantly, "But, perhaps, well...I do not wish to disrespect the Asgardian hospitality…but it has been difficult to find foods that are palatable."
"You mean to tell me that you did you not inform anyone that you could not eat what was being served? You have been here for weeks! Were you planning to starve to death to avoid your marriage to Thor?" he asked sarcastically. Not a bad plan, actually, he smirked to himself.
"I - I did not wish to offend anyone…nor did I think anyone would care. I was hoping that I would become accustomed to your food and that it would cease to be an issue."
Loki planted his forehead into his palm. What am I to do with this silly girl? "Do you realize the position you have put me in? If you were to pass out from an insufficient lack of nutrition, I would be blamed for training you under inhumane conditions. I do not like to be held responsible for crimes I did not commit." He paused, adding "...Or ones I did commit. But no matter. Either way, Mother would not be pleased. Tell me, princess, what would you like to eat right now? You need to get some food in you at once."
Iskalla looked embarrassed as she said in a small voice, "Raw meat."
"What was that, princess? I did not hear you."
"I said raw meat. I know you all think that we are barbarians for it, but I require raw meat," she said more confidently.
Lok smiled, knowing Stakker would be uneasy with the order he was about to place. "Stakker! I have a special request to make of our kitchen staff. Please bring a table of various meats - raw meats - for the princess."
As Loki suspected, the servant failed to hide his shock. "Yes, my lord, right away."
Loki used his power to create an ice table in the center of the room and then had Iskalla remove her armor and sit down while they waited on Stakker's return. The servant returned shortly, setting down a tray that held the meal Loki had requested. "Here you are, my lord." He looked at Iskalla nervously. "...Enjoy."
"Thank you, Stakker," Iskalla said as she eyed the various meats on the table hungrily. Loki could tell that the girl was practically frothing at the mouth with her desire to eat them, yet she was still putting on a ruse of daintily cutting her meat with a fork and knife in the manner of an Asgardian princess
"You have starved yourself for weeks. Do not be pretend on my behalf. Go on…" he encouraged her. "Eat as you would on your beloved Jotunheim," he challenged as he folded his hands in front of him and watched the frost princess.
Iskalla gave Loki an unsure look before succumbing to her hunger and dropping her utensils as she desperately snatched up the meat with her hands. She bit into it, still managing to tear off an impressive chunk even with her shaved down teeth. The blood of the meat stained her lips, making them appear more crimson, and dripped down her chin. It was almost as attractive as it was grotesque.
The ice princess let her eyes fall shut in bliss as she chewed, letting out a hum of pure satisfaction. It reminded him of the sounds he evoked from her in her dreams.
Loki found himself amused by the feral display the ice princess was putting on. "I take it the food is to your liking, princess?" he chuckled.
"You have no idea how hungry I have been!" Iskalla shot back, barely pausing her annihilation of the meal. "As for the meat, it is good, but fresh bilgesnipe is better," she replied cheekily.
"You have eaten bilgesnipe?" he asked while scrunching his face. "That is disgusting."
"Do not disparage it until you have tried it," she smiled at him.
"I will have to take your word for it," he replied, unconvinced.
"Do you wish to try some?" Iskalla asked as she pointed to her plate. "I am warning you - my goodwill to share will not last long."
Loki stared at the piece of meat on her plate. He had to admit that he was curious about the taste after watching her inhale it like it was better than an Asgardian golden apple. "Just one piece. But don't be surprised if I find it to be disgusting," he said, before taking a piece of raw meat and popping it into his mouth. He gagged dramatically and spit it out. "Ugh...how can you stand this?"
"Of course, you hate it. You have tasted it in your Asgardian form, Loki. Why not transform into your Jotunn form and try it?"
"I am certain it will make no difference," he said, irritated at her suggestion. He looked away from the morsel she was offering. "I will leave you to your primitive meal," he said as he began to get up from the table.
"What's the matter, Loki? Are you afraid you will like it?" Iskalla goaded. "It's not like I haven't seen blue skin before."
"Me? Afraid...please," he scoffed. "Your attempt to manipulate me is as weak as it is obvious. I am the master of bending people to my will."
"Well? Show me then, if you are not afraid," she said smugly.
Iskalla's arrogance grated on his nerves. The audacity of her to accuse me of being afraid. He was positive that shifting into his Jotunn form would change nothing. He wasn't raised by barbarians. He did not dine on unseasoned animal carcasses like a savage. He was positive he had nothing to lose by proving the princess wrong.
Loki turned towards Stakker. "Your presence is no longer required. Leave us, Stakker."
Once Loki was certain that the servant was no longer present, he willed the illusion of his Asgardian self away. Slowly, the red eyes and blue skin of his monstrous half appeared. This is going to be disgusting, he thought as he picked up the meat and placed it near his lips. However, the smell was not as bad as he had imagined it to be - the aroma was nothing like it had been a second ago. He caught Iskalla noticing his hesitation and quickly put the meat into his mouth.
All his taste buds seemed to come alive at once, hitting the pleasure center of his brain. Norns...this is...so...good, he thought as he chewed. His mouth filled with saliva and his stomach rumbled appreciatively as he savored it. How is this possible? he admonished himself. That small piece of raw meat had satisfied a dark, repressed part of him. He now felt a primal hunger he didn't know he'd had. Suddenly, he became aware of how he must have looked and a neutral expression returned to his face.
"Well?" Iskalla asked.
"It is...edible, but just barely," he lied.
Iskalla gave him a sly, knowing smile. "Mmm. Do you want more?"
Feeling unsettled, Loki quickly returned to his Asgardian form. "No, that is not necessary. I will leave you to your...feast." He moved away from the table and swiftly began to walk out of the arena. "Training will recommence tomorrow."
Iskalla sat at her vanity, humming as Isbiter brushed her hair. The gnawing hunger that had eaten at her since her arrival was gone. Her stomach was blissfully full and she felt completely content.
He actually let his guard down and turned into a Jotunn in front of me, she thought incredulously. Such progress, considering Loki didn't even want to believe he was a Frost Giant.
"You seem happy tonight," Isbiter commented as she continued to brush Iskalla's hair.
"Today has been a very good day," Iskalla replied. "You have returned to me and I was finally served a decent meal."
"Oh? You had a proper Jotunn feast, then? Who arranged it?"
"Loki. He noticed that I was very drained from training and that I had not been eating properly. He was quite distressed that I had not asked Frigga for proper food, but I explained to him that I had no wish to offend anyone as I was already having trouble fitting in," Iskalla replied.
"That was very considerate of him. Is he a friend to you?"
Iskalla felt herself become flustered at the question. Her feelings for Loki were very complicated and she didn't want the older woman reading into them. "I wouldn't exactly call him a 'friend'...but we have an understanding. He is training me in self-defense and he has come to my aid several times. Unfortunately, he is also very defensive when it comes to his Jotunn side."
"The Prince of Asgard is a Jotunn?" Isbiter exclaimed. "How is this possible?"
"Loki was abandoned during the first war with Asgard. He was adopted by Odin and Frigga. Odin took pity on him and raised him as one of his own," Iskalla explained.
"Oh, I see…that was quite…generous of Odin," Isbiter replied with a note of suspicion. "And what of your betrothed, Thor?" The older woman changed the subject. "Is he treating you well, my lady?"
Iskalla paused for a moment. "He...has not hurt me...if that is what you are asking." She didn't want to alarm Isbiter with Thor's true character. "He took me on a date in the gardens," she lied weakly.
"My lady...I saw how he treated you during the cake tasting. It is obvious that all is not well. I do not wish to overstep, but I am worried for you."
"He is drunk every night!" Iskalla broke down, unable to contain her disappointment in Thor any longer. "He does not wish to marry me and comforts himself with ale and the company of wenches! One of which attempted to take my life. Odin has now banned him from wenches altogether - and who can say how Thor will be on our wedding night with so much pent up frustration! Isbiter...I would say this to no one else...but I am scared...I fear being alone with Thor on the night of our marriage."
The old woman's eyes had turned into tiny slits. She set the hairbrush down. "Do you truly believe he would harm you?"
"I do not want to believe he would, but deep down, yes…I feel that Thor is capable of harming me," Iskalla replied tearfully, worry reflecting from her ruby eyes. "I know it is my duty to consummate our union...I know that I do not have a choice in this matter...but I'm afraid I won't survive it. Even if he does not hurt my body, I fear that he will break my spirit, for I have no desire to be intimate with him."
Isbiter smoothed back Iskalla's hair, almost petting her. "I was afraid of this. I came here prepared to protect you from him. Do not worry, my child, for I have a plan."
Iskalla lifted her head hopefully and listened.
Loki's footsteps echoed through the halls of the palace - now empty as most of the servants had retired for the night. His invisibility spell had allowed him to stealthily make his way to the large palace kitchen.
Loki was hungry, famished in fact, and what he craved shamed him. I need to consume more raw meat, he thought as he desperately searched through the cold stores for leftovers. Ah, here it is. He smiled victoriously as he took out a large platter of uncooked meat and placed it on one of the counters. He looked around to double check that no one was there, and let his invisibility spell down. Loki then allowed his Jotunn to come out. Pale blue skin washed over his body.
Ready now, he picked up an enormous steak and tore through the meat greedily with his sharp, Jotunn teeth. The ravenous craving inside him was appeased and he immediately devoured more. A surge of renewed vitality spread through him, lighting up his every nerve ending. His Jotunn form seemed to grow stronger.
This so unlike anything I have ever tasted before. While sucking the juice from his fingers, he continued to keep a watchful eye on the door. No one can find me like this...
His red eyes caught sight of his reflection in the silver cooking pan hanging from the ceiling, causing him to go still. He did not immediately recognize himself. His blue face was streaked with blood and his knife-like teeth were glinting dangerously in the darkness. He looked like the predator the Asgardians feared him to be.
In that moment, a small voice in the back of his head couldn't help but drawn a comparison between himself and Iskalla. He had called her a savage, but now he was covered in blood as she had been. The irony was not lost on him.
Mortification flooded him.
What is the princess turning me into?
The next chapter may take me a little longer than usual to update. I am very shackled with work and exams right now.