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Dreaming Apprehension

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“Nightmares exist outside of logic, and there's little fun to be had in explanations; they're antithetical to the poetry of fear.” - Stephen King

The mighty ice warriors strode through the desolate planet, blizzard conditions did not affect them in any way for their skin was as cold as the ice that coated the planet they lived on, and their advantage was their extraordinary skin. The blue skin showed intricate markings, depending on one’s heritage, metal and cloth clothing covered them for modesty purposes; they had no need for amour for their skin was as tough as the icy nature which seeped from their planets pours.

Destroying anything that landed on the planet or posed a threat, they were merciless killing machines; the frost that seeped from their skin also coated their hearts, no compassion and no remorse for the ones they killed. They had intense red eyes which matched the colour of blood they shed from enemies, which splattered against the snow like crimson silk, some believed their eyes were so red from the frigid climate they had to endure, but those who thought that had died, the last thing they saw was the piercing blood red eyes staring into their souls.

Wielding weapons larger than some Asgardians, axes and swords a plenty, the ice they used to form the weapons could slice a person in half with one swipe, but that was not the scariest of what they were capable of, one touch could freeze the blood flowing through one’s body, stopping their heart, freezing a person from the inside out. They say the reasons the Frost Giants are so angry is because a shadowy figure slaughtered most of their young, years ago but it is all a myth, a thing to be forgotten, to be told to younger ones, so they don’t think of travelling to Jotunhiem.
The Jotun race was lead by Laufey, who lead numerous attacks on Midgard until the mighty Asgardians opposed them, forcing them back to Jotunhiem and where they were defeated. However Odin granted them mercy, instead of killing them all, he also confiscated the source of their power The Casket of Ancient Winters. They say that they’re looking for a reason to lay waste to Asgard, any excuse to get back the source of their power; if they do they will throw Asgard’s weather to an eternal winter and slay everyone who opposed them, even Odin.

Even though they were granted mercy, one cannot expect them to not be angry at the one man who took away the power source of an entire race and to not have that race to do anything about it. The revenge will come one day, the bloodshed will be brutal, and the snow that will cover the land will be permanently stained red, as a reminder to never challenge the Frost Giants.

If one listens close enough, you can hear the sound of the frost giants approaching, dragging their ice weapons with them, heading for Asgard.

X-x-X

Loki sat there looking solemnly at his brother, hiding the shakes that would rack his small slender frame, he had asked his brother to tell him a story, but it was just too scary for his ten year old mind so he glared at the other. Thor was an excellent storyteller, even though his tales patterned with the hero, who would ever emerge the victor, Loki couldn’t find it within himself to mind. The storm raging outside the castle echoed through the halls, it was the reason the blonde was currently sitting on Loki’s bed, telling him stories.

“Brother, surely you are not afraid of a mere myth!” The blonde laughed loudly, leaving emphasis on the ‘you’ while giving the other a little nudge with his hand.

Loki kept glaring at the other, the story gave him a cold feel right through his body that he couldn’t explain or bother to dwell on as he pushed the other off his bed, watching emerald sheets fell off along with his brother. He crawled to the edge of the bed, smirking down at the golden haired boy; he often pushed the other on to his buttocks, laughing at his older brother. “I am not afraid of your silly stories, you cannot scare me.” He stated, climbing to the edge and reaching down, stealing the jade blankets for his bedding back.

Loki watched with amusement as the other was tossed off the blankets, onto his buttocks again for the second time in minutes. The older of the two glared through sky blue eyes, emerald eyes met the opposing blue eyes, entertainment shone through Loki’s eyes, melting the glare of his brother, Thor, into a smile before climbing back onto the bed and sitting near Loki.

“Brother... why do you practice spell casting and spend all your time in the library? I have never found anything interesting in there, and those spell books cannot hold my attention for a minute.” Thor stated, looking at the other with genuine curiosity.

“Because, dear brother, books hold the answers to everything, plus brute strength does not always win in the end. Spells test one’s ability to concentrate and decipher the correct rhythm, sorting it into a completed puzzle. A game almost, to see if you can decipher the code and cast the spell properly.” Loki smiled, talking about this always made him feel calm. Knowing that he was excellent at casting spells even though he was still young gave him pride, his intellect was highly favoured by those who were older and appreciated the smarts of the young, such as himself.

“Ah I see however I think you should come and practice with us, use a sword or do archery, I know you’re excellent at that, considering I tried to shoot an arrow at your buttocks and you stood up, caught it and managed to shoot it into the armour on my shoulder. You should practice in case we are invaded by the Jotun’s.” The blonde haired boy snickered softly, while trying giving Loki an almost innocent look.

“I know that look brother, I have spent enough time around you to know that you need to retire to your own room and let me sleep.” Loki yawned, climbing under the covers and watching as the other slid off the bed and out the door shutting it on the way out. Lying down against the cool pillow, he sighed while a shiver racked his body as he recalled the story his brother told, no matter how brave he acted, he had a bad feeling about the story but brushed it off in favour of sleep.

Staring into darkness, he felt his eyes slowly slipping shut, his last thought before he slipped into the world of dreams was the inane possibility of Frost Giants invading Asgard.

 

-X-x-X-

 

Loki looked around frantically, the weather was chillier than normal as he roamed Asgard, his brother and friends had gone off to practice their skills while he was captivated by an excellent book. An almighty roar stopped him in his tracks; it came from inside the castle before a gust of wind swept him off of his feet. He looked up to see the sky clouding over, dark grey clouds consuming the light as white specks fell from the sky, coating the planet like a fine white rug before the gust was back again, not enough to sweep him off of his feet this time, but enough for him to know the Frost Giants had invaded.

The blizzard hit seconds later as Loki headed for the cover of his home, slipping through the doors he saw the blue giants, holding his father by the neck as his face went blue. Loki felt his heart stop as his father was dropped, the giant was ten feet tall and was holding the other about eleven feet off the ground, when his father’s body hit the ground, it shattered into a million pieces, as if he was made of glass.

He bit back the cry that was crawling up his throat and slipped into a nearby hallway, it was empty as he silently ran down it, a stomping sound made fear rush through his veins as he slipped into a room, noticing with a silent laugh that it was his brother’s. A warm hand over his mouth stopped him from screaming as he was dragged further back into the room behind some ornate furniture, once the stomping disappeared the hand covering his mouth relaxed.

He turned around to see his brothers worried face; a finger stopped his lips from moving, stopped him from talking. The dim light coming through the windows allowed him to see that it was his brother that had captured him, a worried looked etched into his face as he let go of Loki, Thor moved towards the window. Curiosity made Loki follow, what was outside the window made the blood in their bodies congeal, the Frost Giants were holding people up, freezing them from the inside or cutting them in half with one clean swipe, the blood dripping from their weapons as they moved to slice the next person in half.

He gripped his brother’s shoulder tightly, tears filling his eyes; he wondered if his brother knew of the tragedy that had befallen their father, the torturous death he would’ve endured. “Brother, I saw our father he was been frozen from the inside by one of the Jotun’s, then dropped and shattered into a million pieces.” He muttered quietly, horror laced his voice which gave away how frantic he felt inside.

“Calm down... as long as we are quite we may be able to escape unscathed.” The blonde said voice barely more than a whisper on the air.

Loki knew what his brother was saying was accurate, but he couldn’t calm down, what he had witnessed was frightening, that much he understood, however he just couldn’t calm his breathing down while tears pricked at the edge of his eyes. Breathing a deep breath he looked to the other with determination, nodding as they both swiftly and silently crawled towards the door, leaning against the wall beside it, they waited a few seconds to hear if there was anything on the other side which could cause harm, it was silent.

After quietly quarrelling for a few minutes, Loki gave in and let Thor go first, quickly opening the door and rushing into the hallway, Loki shook his head and followed swiftly and wordlessly, noting the unusual darkness of the hallways even though the candles were lit, it would be easier for him to not be seen but he noted that he unfortunately could barely see in front of him as he ran into a marble pillar and promptly fell to the ground.

It was eerily silent around him, he couldn’t even hear his brother’s footsteps, and he knew simple spells to produce a small green flame, however any small light could attract the beasts they were running from, in essence it would be a stupid move, he told himself as he crawled on his knees, one hand always against the wall. The cool marble provided a slight sense of safety before his thoughts consumed him, from what he saw before, he knew that not only was his father dead, his mother probably would be too, killed brutally, a tragic end for such a kind soul.

He shook his head, continuing on his course while trying to ignore the stabbing feeling of foreboding in his gut; the palace he lived in he once knew like the back of his hand, now there where new corridors. Venturing down one was his last hope as the hallway produced a dead end, the apprehension grew as the corridor opened up to a balcony, a flash of blonde ran past the entrance and Loki forgot his safety and ran out to find his brother.

A startled gasp and a cloud of white left his lips, what once was a lovely scenery was now all ice before his eyes; a blizzard raged outside, sending shivers down his spine, the clothes he was wearing were not meant for the frigid conditions. Loki’s emerald eyes scanned the balcony looking for the blonde blur he had sworn he saw, his blood froze as his eyes landed on his brother, Thor was on his knees surrounded by giants, ice spears and swords surrounded him in a tight circle, preventing him from moving.

Eyes connected and he knew his blue eyed brother whom he loved and cared about would be lucky to survive the next few minutes, he couldn’t breathe as red eyes locked on him as he slowly approached his brother, safety forgotten. Blue skinned men were behind him in seconds, preventing his escape even though he knew he wouldn’t of been able to escape regardless, Loki raised an eyebrow as a Frost Giant he assumed to be the leader smiled at him, before raising a giant axe, the ice gleamed in the shallow light which was reflected through the clouds.

He swallowed; warm liquid slid down his cheeks as he mouthed to his brother his last goodbyes, a scream was torn from his throat as the axe met flesh and blood spurted on his face, his brothers blood coated him. The body before him falling to the floor in an unmoving, undignified heap, the giants who were close also had blood on them; it made Loki’s innards twist painfully as he growled at the blue skinned giants.

Loki had just seen his father and brother killed brutally by these so-called men, they showed no mercy, the thought made him gulp as darkness clouded his mind, the panic twisting within the obscurity in his mind. Trepidation laced his veins, covered in his brother’s blood and the memory of his death fresh in his mind, his brothers and fathers face appeared behind his eyelids whenever he blinked, the way they looked before the frost giants took his brother’s and father’s lives so greedily, so easily, he was glad he hadn’t seen his mother die, it would’ve traumatized his mind.

His stomach churned as the only thought that went through him was that he was next, he was going to suffer the same fate as his family, and no one but him was left alive in the palace then. He didn’t know if they were going to finish him off like his brother, easily slicing through his skin, or making him ostensibly appear of glass and shattered to millions of pieces, the thoughts swimming through his head reeked of dreadful presentiments.

There were more of them then there were of him, obviously, they outweighed him by a few hundred kilograms and where at least five to six feet taller, he did not like his odds. He grinned as he remembered a simple distraction spell, twisting his hands and muttering a simple incantation a cloud of thick smoke surrounded the balcony he was standing on, noting that the spell had worked he ran as fast as he could, finding his way through the smoke and back through the entrance to the balcony in which he came through.

His legs wouldn’t stop, adrenaline coursing through his veins as he ran as fast as he could through hallways before stopping in the middle of the ballroom, his lungs burning as the adrenaline pumped faster through his body. Hands on his knees, leaning over to catch his breath, it was a mistake to stop as a blue hand closed around his wrist, a piercing scream left his burning throat before he looked into the ruby red eyes, seeing his death.

He blinked, realising his blood wasn’t freezing, his heart wasn’t stopping, instead the skin on his wrist was turning blue, it was travelling up his arms, turning him into the monsters he saw before him, one of the monsters that killed his family. He kept shaking his head, wishing the transformation to stop as the other giants surrounded them, holding weapons and grinning like he was a last meal, thinking about it, he probably was.

“No... No... No...” Loki could hear himself chanting it, over and over again. It was as if his worst nightmares had come alive, watching his father being brutally slain, his brothers blood coating him and knowing that his mother was certainly dead, his heart rate accelerated to an alarming pace as he was surrounded by large men, holding weapons which could slice his skin off in one clean swipe.

He gulped softly as another hand gripped his other wrist, dragging him to the place where they held the Casket of Eternal Winters, holding it in front of him, he suddenly realised that all the magic in the world wouldn’t help him right now.

“You; will be killed here, the last Asgardian alive will see the true power of us, the Frost Giants, no matter this disguise you have coated yourself in with your magic, you are not one of us! You are one of the ones who had stolen our power, our freedom, after this no one will oppose us.” The evident leader said, twisting the axe in his hand.

A guard behind him, holding the casket, before the leader put his hand out, stopping the advancement of the other, he then grinned at Loki. “I have a better idea... He will be begging for death in the end.” He murmured, before releasing the grip on one of Loki’s wrists as they moved back to the ballroom.

He struggled in vain to get out of the others hold as another hand encircled his wrist tightly, a loud snap was heard and then a scream left his mouth. His wrist was broken and been tugged at, forcing him to lurch forward and sending jolts of pain up his arm, he bit back the pathetic screams and cries clawing for release at the back of his throat, another sickening snap and he realised that his other wrist was broken, he held back the scream but only by biting on his tongue, bitter copper flavour filling his mouth indicating that he had bitten too hard, blood was coating his mouth.

Swallowing the coppery substance, he felt darkness nipping softly at the edges of his vision, though he was still able to walk with pride, he was of Asgard after all, he wouldn’t be thrown about so callously, the blood welled up within his mouth again and he spat it on the person in command, it landed on his feet and he let out a shrill laugh as they threw him to the floor. He landed hard on his elbows, trying to get up he erroneously leaned on his wrists, he held back a scream as a foot was placed on his back, pushing him further into marbled floor.

He let out a small whimper, his ribs where being compressed and it was starting to hurt his lungs, he wheezed as he felt one of his ribs crack, he tried to crawl away, using his elbows to dig into the marble flooring, he moved a little, not enough for the pressure to be eased, much. Strong hands gripped his thighs and pulled him backwards, the foot eased a little and he took in a shaky breath, not fulfilling his desire to breathe as deep as he could, terror laced his veins as the hands gripped him tightly once again.

He knew that he was going to die here, with them breaking every bone in his body before he begged for them to take his life, and then they would have the upper hand, killing him in an indecorous manner just like his brother. He was correct as strong hands gripped his forearms, ankles and thighs, they squeezed hard and he felt all the bones snap, the foot that was on his rib cage before was back again, pressing down harder and rupturing his ribs, he hoped they missed piercing his lungs.

“You will not make me beg.” He puffed out, unable to move from his face down position on floor. He screeched as one of the giants flipped him over, moving a broken arm and waving it in front of his face, the blue skin made him sick, the flaccid wrist made the sickness worse.

“I made your father beg for death... You are a mere child and he was a man, you will not last.” One frost giant hissed out, getting close to his face and squeezing his jaw bruising it.

“I am Loki, son of Odin, I may be young but I will not beg for death from you insignificant fools!” He yelled; emerald green locked with ruby red eyes. His future, he realised, was bleak from this moment as one sneered and another smiled, releasing their grips on him, he was a boneless indecorous heap surrounded by people who were inexorable killers, this was not the way he wanted to die.

“We will enjoy killing you, little boy so full of strength and knowledge yet so discouraged and humiliated...” The frost giant laughed, stroking the other’s face, a sickening mimic of kindness.

A cold laugh rushed through his body at the words as a hand stroked his face, the hand was imitating a touch that reminded him of his mothers, the tears came from his eyes faster, running down the side of his face and probably mixing with the blood and other bodily fluids on the floor. A quick slap met his cheek, throwing his head to the side, his head pulsated, and he didn’t know anything in that moment besides pain as it raced through his veins and pricked at his skin like needles.

Vision blurred, stomach lurching as he was picked up off of the ground, he wasn’t even able to stand properly on his feet as he felt a blade against his throat, the bile that was coming up he swallowed back, it slowly reverted to his stomach. Two strong hands on each of his arms holding him up as the blade softly ran against his throat, warm liquid spilling down in tiny rivulets, then down, cutting through his clothes but not piercing the skin on his chest, the blade stopped at his navel.

He blinked a couple of times before his vision returned, emerald hues met amused red ones and a cruel smirk, the blade still dangerously close to his stomach, if he tried to struggle it would pierce the skin and possibly go deeper. Loki gulped, he knew trying in any way to escape would probably earn him an even harsher death than what was to follow, after all no one who so softly put a blade against ones throat and cut downward slowly had an amiable motive.

Deciding to risk a glance to the left and right of him, he saw the grins plastered on each of their faces it made his stomach coil harder, Loki’s heart rate increased to an alarming pace and sweat beaded down his forehead, mingling with the tiny rivulets of blood to make the liquid streams rush down his skin quicker. All his breath left his lungs as a sword was swung so fast he barely saw it move, he did however see the amount of blood on the sword and the now missing bits of skin on his legs.

‘They’re... They’re going to skin me ALIVE!’ He thought in dawning shock, this was one of his worst nightmares, he would feel, every piece of flesh being slowly cut away while muscle and blood were shown. A slow, painful and yet somewhat poetic way to kill him, to kill probably the last Asgardian on this planet, how befitting that he would get one of the slowest deaths, the death where the giants could take pieces of him, keep them as trophies, memorabilia’s of their victory over the Asgardians.

His head flopped forward, looking at the blood gushing from his legs, nothing like the tiny streams he felt still slowly sliding down his neck, the skin torn. He looked up and saw the skin slide off the blade, slowly hitting the ground with a sickening splat; his stomach released all the food he had eaten previously landing near the skin, mingling with the blood creating a nauseating mixture, he put his chin in the air, facing his death, jade eyes meeting scarlet.

The smile the other gave him made his blood run cold; facing death with false courage was only going to make the pain worse, the pain would stay longer than the blood dripping out of his body, the pain would carry onto the next life. He couldn’t hold back the pained scream as they slit the skin off his arms, the blade looked as thin as a butterfly wing and as graceful as one as it tore the skin from the muscle, the blood rushed from the wounds and poured down to the ground like a liquid ruby waterfall.

His legs and arms now in ruin, skinless, bleeding warm crimson liquid onto the cold white marble, and the clash of them made him laugh, though he knew it was part delirium and panic that his life was slowly slipping away from him. Breathing was laboured as he managed to get one last look at the blue skinned man that was going to take his life, his vision distorted as he met merciless crimson eyes, nothing but pain and death shone through the scarlet chasms.

Gradually the slender blade made of ice rose to his midsection, Loki gulped he didn’t know how they were going to skin his chest and stomach, if they did the stomach too thick his internal organs would slip out, onto the floor to mix with the blood, skin and vomit. The knife cut quickly, opening up from his navel to the centre of his chest, organs spilling everywhere, sloshing around in the mess before him, darkness consumed his mind and he knew he wouldn’t be conscious to see what other punishments they had in store for the rest of his body.

“Weakling...” Was the last thing he heard as the shadows consumed him fully.

-X-x-X-

Loki awoke with a scream; his throat was raw, indicating that he must have been screaming as his dream played out. He fell out of his bed, sheets tangling around his ankles as he desperately tried to free himself, recalling the dream he felt his stomach twist and acidic bile build at the back of his throat, he finally kicked free of the blankets. He grabbed a nearby urn and expelled the contents of his stomach and anything else he had left, resting his chin on the edge of it he breathed deeply, his mind was racing.

I am going to kill my brother, not only for telling me that story, but for actually getting it right that I was afraid of a silly myth. He growled, hating to think that it affected him so greatly, the vividness of the nightmare sent chills up his spine, and he was going to talk to his brother as soon as the dizziness and sickness passed as soon as he knew he could walk. Minutes which felt like hours had passed before he stood against the wall, slowly walking towards his older brother’s room.

He didn’t bother knocking, he did however bother to be as quite as possible when opening and closing the door, stalking noiselessly over to the other’s bed, snoring met his ears as he smirked at how deeply his brother was asleep. The bed slightly dipped from his weight but it didn’t stir his brother, the other was a deep sleeper and a bad snorer he noted mutely as he sat there, emerald hues observing his brother closely.

He smiled as he poked his brother’s cheek; a hand slapped his away not stirring an inch so he held his brother’s nose between his index finger and thumb. The other awoke startled, grabbing Loki and pushing him to the bed underneath him, pinning him against the firm mattress, he laughed as Thor took a few moments to gather his bearings, realising that it was he, Loki, who was beneath him, his baby brother.

“Loki... what’re you doing here? I could’ve hurt you!” Sleep lined the others voice, but the worry could still be heard through it as Thor nonchalantly rubbed his sky blue eyes.

Loki laughed lightly and shook off his brother’s hands and sat up looking at the other. “You’re a very deep sleeper; I was originally intending to push you off the bed.” Loki stated matter-of-factly. “Regardless of that, I came to startle you and tell you that I cannot sleep because of that stupid myth you told me in place of a story!”

He growled and pushed his brother in annoyance; he was very tired and wanted nothing more to sleep without fear of lapsing back into another ghastly nightmare. His eyebrow twitched as he felt warm arms encircle him, pulling him close and offering comfort before speaking.

“Brother... Did you have a nightmare because of the story I told you?” The question was sincere and full of curiosity, but a little laugh escaped Thor near the end of it.

“Well done captain obvious, this is why I hate telling you things! You laugh and then you go tell people we’re both friends with!” He yelled, feeling tears prick at his eyes. He wanted to trust his brother to tell him everything that came up, however lately when he had told his brother secrets and that he had being plagued by nightmares, he had run off and told their friends, claiming that he had never meant for anyone to laugh at Loki, merely for them to take it in silent jest.

“Brother...” Thor’s voice was laced with sadness, as his large hands gripped his brother’s face.

Loki was forced to look at Thor as small tears trailed down his cheeks, he knew that Thor was correct, that he never meant to hurt Loki, but it still didn’t stop him from aching inside. The tears fell faster and he knew that he was more emotional than normal, probably because of the nightmare that had plagued his mind even after it finished; it had really shaken him up and it had scared him.

“Listen... “Loki was cut off as he was pulled into another bone crushing hug.

Thor smiled and laughed. “I promise on my soul I won’t tell anyone of this, and you may sleep in my bed tonight if it will help... now tell me what happened in your dream.” Thor said earnestly.

Even though it was dark, he realised that he could hear the curiosity, seriousness and worry in the other’s voice, chasing back the bad feeling that was in his stomach, he trusted his big brother no matter what he had done previously. He told the blonde in detail what happened in his dream, how vivid it was and how it made his stomach twist painfully, and how he awoke screaming and was sick immediately after waking.

“Brother... you know I will be here for you, you may climb into my bed anytime you have a nightmare. Just remember to tell me about it when you wake me.” Thor smiled, rubbing Loki’s back slowly.

“I know brother, but you cannot tell anyone about this, I already feel like an idiot being here. I should be a grown up, not afraid of my nightmares, picking them apart and finding the source of them... “Loki admitted softly, he hated being seen as weak. “I do not want to be seen as weak.” The last bit was stated even quieter in the darkness of the room.

He was pulled down to his brother’s bed, head resting softly on a pillow as he was hugged and his back was rubbed in a comforting manner. “You are not weak; you are one of the bravest people I know on Asgard!” His brother bellowed with admiration, not caring what time it was or who he would wake, clear in his voice as it voice echoed throughout the room.

Loki felt something ease in him and suddenly feeling how tired he really was, a yawn escaped him as he stretched and rolled over to the other side of the bed, however not before grabbing one of his brother’s pillows. He felt sleep grasp at his mind, the darkness of the room making his eyes flutter shut, before he fell into a deep peaceful sleep, feeling his brother drape a comforting arm around him soothingly, it made him smile.

Loki had a peaceful sleep that night; however he still found it acceptable to kick his brother out of his own bed during the night.