He had just finished the hated warrior training he grudgingly did as was expected of him and was going back to his chambers to get clean when one of his father's messengers stops him.
"Your Lord Father wishes to inform you to get ready to travel to Asgard and must dress appropriately."
Loki's eyes widened at this, but he only nodded and continued on his way, pretending that he was fully aware of the reason for his father's summons. In fact, it was the opposite. The only reason he could think of was that he was grooming his Crown Prince as a diplomat, rather than the actual heir of the throne.
Loki's fists clenched at his side, tight enough for his nails to draw blood until he was able to reign in his temper and slowly uncurl his fists. He muttered a spell and the wounds were gone, but the agony and shame of his father's deceit wasn't going away as fast.
It wasn't his fault that he had been born a runt and the first and last child of Farbauti. His father had never really forgiven him for that one, he supposed that was also part of the resentment that was mired with the embarrassment of having such an undersized and weak giant as his firstborn and heir.
Loki gritted his teeth then and stalked into his bathroom. He would show him. When the time was right, he would show him and the court what he could do. He would show them that strength wasn't just a matter of size and muscle, but also of wits and words.
It was cold comfort at the moment, but it would have to do. He couldn't afford to be off when he was with his father. Especially not if they were traveling to that place.
Asgard. Even thinking about it made irritation crawl up his spine and into his brain.
He had only been a baby when the War had broken out between Jotunheim and Asgard. It had been a hard and ugly battle and he only knew that he had escaped being taken by one of his father's Guard.
It had been during that battle that Odin had fallen, felled by Laufey's own blade on the steps of the ruined palace that had been razed to the ground once victory had been declared.
Loki wished he could have seen it all happening. How his father had accorded the enemy's fallen the proper honours and had been at the back of the Asgardian troops that had carried their king's bloodstained body back to Asgard and to his Queen and daughter.
Loki's eyes widened and he nearly slipped into the tub full of lukewarm water.
How could he have been such a short-sighted fool?
He wasn't being dragged to Asgard to behave like a diplomat. He was being taken there to finish the treaty that his father and the Asgardian Queen had hammered out to stop the hostilities once Odin had fallen.
She could have continued the war, but their men and resources were running out and she still had her daughter at her breast. So they had agreed that when her daughter had come of age, Laufey and his eldest would come for her.
Loki had to admit that was one of the most ruthless things that his father could have done to the Asgardians.
Frigga would never marry again and the daughter was the only child that had been produced from her union with Odin. She would have been the heir to the throne. But now, she would be nothing of that kind. A prisoner on whose good behaviour the fate of Asgard depended on.
And maybe, just maybe, she would be the way for Laufey to gain control of the Asgardian throne.
He had to admit that it was a diabolically clever plan and even though he sometimes hated his father, he had to admit that he certainly was able to run the long game to near flawless perfection.
Yes. He hated his father, but at times like this, he couldn’t help but to admire him.
And learn from him so that when the time came, he would be able to play him and gain the throne and all the respect that he deserved.
Thora couldn't speak as she watched the maids working to make her look as beautiful as she possibly could be.
Even though they were all aware that the Jotunn had a different standards of beauty, her mother had decreed that making Thora look her best surely wouldn't hurt their case any.
The dress that they had put her in was heavy wool, a royal blue that would contrast with the flame-red of her hair, which was simply swept back behind a silver and sapphire tiara and tumbled down her back in loose curls.
The dress was tight and showed off quite a bit of breast, hip and thigh without revealing much flesh. On top of this, a heavy fur cloak to keep her warm. Her face was scrubbed clean and she only wore heavy pendant earrings with moonstones set in the silver.
Thora wanted to move and rip everything off and dress in her hunting leathers. She hated being dressed up and she hated the fact that she was only being put in such rich clothes so that she'd be a better piece of chattel.
She had known, ever since she had been old enough to understand, that she was the price that was paid for peace. She would, when she came of age, go to Jotunheim. Asgard's well-being would depend on her good behaviour.
She wriggled and was chastised for the movement, making her sigh and recall the last words of wisdom her mother had imparted on her just that morning.
"Remember, no matter what happens. You are my daughter. You are your father's daughter. You are Asgard. Never forget that and you will be able to bear anything over in Jotunheim."
Frigga had reminded Thora. Her eyes had been full of tears and she could only press a kiss to her daughter’s forehead before handing Thora off to the maids to get ready.
And now, it was nearly done and Thora was afraid.
What would they do to her, once they were in Jotunheim? Would they simply keep her a prisoner? Or would they use her as a bed warmer, bearing bastard half-breeds until she finally expired in childbirth? Which one would it be?
She didn't dare hope that she could rise to be a beloved mistress or a consort. She had seen the Jotun women and she had known, with a sinking feeling, that she couldn't compete.
They were pale, an icy blue that made them look ethereal. Their hair was long and a dark indigo that was almost black and their bodies were graceful and slender. No. She couldn't compete and she had resigned herself to being either a prisoner or a whore. Nothing more.
She just hoped that she would have the strength to endure whatever it was that they would do to her and not give in.
Thora had just made that promise to herself before the maid moved back, after positioning the heavy silver and sapphire girdle around her hips and Thora stepped off the dias she had been standing on.
A messenger opened the door at that moment and the look on his face is a mixture of relief and guilt. Everyone knew what was to happen to her, but no one dared to say anything on her behalf. Although it incensed her, she knew she would probably do the same.
"The Queen and the Court are waiting for you, Princess."
He said to her, holding out his hand to escort her. Thora nodded and took the proffered hand.
Even though she was terrified, she would meet her fate with her head held high. No one would then say that Thora Odinsdottir was a coward.