Loki Laufeyson, crown-prince regent, lowered his head and breathed out slowly. His breath displaced sleet and the thin threads of wind passing through the broken temple like the soft brush of Mimir’s eyelashes against the future strands of fate and knowledge.
Seidr crackled beneath his skin, crawled like the water beneath ice, dead spots like bubbles of air beneath ice-slick blooming in the numb areas where he’d beaten himself in his own morning for his second sire’s death. Extending a hand, he brushed the fresh snow from the altar, pulled himself up just that little bit further until he could sit facing the window high above cast of clear ice and blood. The Casket’s last remaining depiction.
And how he hungered to know that power. His seidr reached for what should have been where he sat at this very moment, but no, there was nothing but the old ice and new snow-fall.
Cheated, was he not, to never feel the caress of his ancestors, to restore this place to its glory. His people, his sire’s people, smelt like shame and defeat. It had rankled since the first time he’d took in the frigid air of Jotunheim, the foul stench of this place, the destruction and once-glory chaffed like the too-tight jewels bestowed by court. Yes, yes he was cheated. Cheated of the knowledge, and wasn’t that the truth that hurt most. His own birthright was denied to him because of a war lost not moments after his birth.
What a shameful way to claim your victory, Aesir Odin, son of Borr, he wanted to say. To take your victory while my sire, the King, was on his back giving birth. What could he do but surrender. Farbauti had all but lost himself to the madness in that moment, trying to keep Odin not only from his King, but the Jotun carrying his child.
He curled a lip in a snarl, wrapped himself tighter in his wolfskin. Felt the cut of the bones laced around his neck on tendon-string cut into his flesh, felt the cold press of the royal finery against his skin like a comforting caress from Mimir herself.
“Ancestors,” he called, even though this temple was long-since destroyed, to those dead to him. “Mimir, Ymir, Farbauti... this I swear on your restless spirits.”
The green glow of his seidr burst from him like a flame, lighting the nothingness and dim light of the night, turning all that surrounded him. His general, his brothers, their legions of soldiers and peoples of Jotunheim all. Rows and rows extending past the broken boundaries of the temple, faces lit with the green light of their only hope. Loki shone like a star as he stood, and the seidr poured from him like mist, crackled through the air like a stationary shooting star, ozone and blessed cold all at once.
He threw his head back, black hair of Farbauti’s line snapping through the air like an uncoiled whip after. “The casket will be ours again! By these bones you shall not rest in shame, as we shall not live in shame, as our King mourns for the last death he can bear from this broken home of ours! We shall have, our lifeblood, our Casket once again!”
And the soldiers, the common-folk, the lesser slaves and Generals all, distant royal cousins to his very brothers, let out a roar, a cheer, a resounding cry echoing his own, a single oath to their fallen that they would not take this anymore. They would have their battle again, and they would have their Casket, their glory and honour.
But, most of all, they would have their now Prince-King appeased.
Because, well, the King, he’d been taken by a strange depression, hadn’t he? Not been from his chambers in weeks, months even, perhaps. And the Prince-King had insisted that he’d spoken with Laufey-King, assured his bodily health.
Loki Laufeyson lowered his arms, the bright sting of his seidr lighting his eyes as they rolled back in his head and he basked in his other birthright.
The wonderful beginnings of deception, and the game that would bring the whole life-tree crashing into nothingness. He revelled in the chaos, the soon-death that would out-weigh the stink of this hellish, half-finished, broken and marred relm.