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Darkness, Flooded in Light

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”Loki,” Thor whines. “Brother, this is dull. Come outdoors with me! I’ll let you use my new practice sword.” He holds it up proudly. He is still a boy and so it is not yet a full-size practice sword, but someone has taken the time to paint the wood silver and add scrollwork to the hilt. Thor has been carrying it around with him for days, even though by all rights he should be too old for such behavior.

Loki peers at his brother over the top of his book. “Thor, you know you aren’t allowed to bring that into the library.”

Thor rolls his eyes and flops down dramatically in a chair. “Another reason why the library is a terrible place, brother. It is a fine day outside, I don’t know how you can stand it in here. It smells strange.”

His voice is so petulant it makes Loki smile. “I like the way it smells.”

“Fine,” Thor grumbles. “Then I shall sit here and die of boredom, and you will be forced outside when you must attend my funeral.”

Loki laughs. “Very well. I will bargain with you, brother - if you use your superior height to get Aerinmund’s Compendium from that shelf, then I will come outside with you until dinner.”

Thor brightens immediately. “Will you spar with me?”

“You know I am useless in a fight,” Loki says. “But I will sit nearby and say complimentary things while you practice.”

Thor considers this. “Will you be reading the whole time?”

Loki sighs. “I will leave my books behind.” The practice yards are dirty in any case.

Thor beams. “It is a deal, brother. Which one is Aerinmund’s Compendium?”

“The red one, just there. With the gold lettering.”

Thor makes adventurous work of scaling the bookshelf, which Loki had anticipated, and is duly made much of when he returns triumphantly from his quest. As a reward Loki shows him the pictures in the Compendium; they are full-color painstaking illustrations of monstrous beasts and are impressive even to a grudging reader like Thor.

When the book has been suitably admired the two boys make their way out to the practice yard. Thor was truthful when he said the weather was fine; there is sunlight and a warm breeze and Loki is able to find a soft patch of grass to occupy while he watches his brother.

They stay there until the sun has gone from afternoon gold to evening bronze, Thor tumbling about the packed dirt of the practice yard with his mighty silver sword while Loki narrates adventures for him and creates beasts for him to fight. He is new to magic and while he has a natural talent for shape-shifting his illusions are shaky at best, but Thor still pronounces each one a valiant foe after he has vanquished it. When Frigga comes to collect them for dinner, they are both sorry to cut the afternoon short.