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Through the Icy Mists

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Before his father’s death. Before the war with Asgard.

Laufey always smiles. He smiles because he knows he will help lead Jotunheim one day, because Jotunheim’s winters are always cold and the snow always falls, because his peers reverently call him Nál when he assists them with their studies and teaches them to make ice out of nothing. 

His father rarely smiles. On his father’s mouth there is always a frown, or a line like a fallen ice shard, or a wrinkled ridge of worry. His father is dour and full of warnings.

“See what the Asgardians did to Svartalfheim,” he intones when the elders recited Bor’s conquest of the Dark Elves.

But they were evil; everyone knows that. They sought to cover all realms in darkness!

His father only shakes his head. “Bor thought himself the father of all realms.”

And Laufey smiles and returns to his ice statues and studies.

Eternities later, when Laufey’s father’s spirit travels to the Icy Mists, when Laufey runs his father’s battle dagger over his skin to forever mark his grief and loss, when Bor proclaims Jotunheim a protectorate of Asgard, Laufey stops smiling.

*

Laufey made many mistakes during his life.  He knows that.  He did not heed his father as much as he should have as a young prince.  He knows that.  He did not play the role of diplomat as well as he should have as a ruler trying to unite seven realms against Odin’s desire to appoint himself the ruler of all.  He knows that too.  What Laufey could not have known, what he should have known, was the depth of Odin’s desire to appoint himself the ruler of all, to appoint himself the All-Father.

*

Laufey, battle-stricken, enters the temple where he placed his son for safety, and sees the pale, little thing flailing in Odin’s arms. Odin allows Laufey to touch the child only once more, and only then to prove he is Laufey’s son. Laufey runs his fingers over the scars of protection drawn on his son’s face before balling his hand into a fist. He watches the child’s true form fade into that of an Asgardian infant: now pale, now scarless, still squalling. No longer son of Jotunheim, this Son of All.

Laufey lays down his weapons and promises their ancient casket to Asgard.

“We call him Loptr,” Laufey whispers as the All-Father turns away with fallen Jotunheim’s prince crying in his arms.

*

When his father still lived, when the war with Asgard seemed all but lost and still his father fought, Laufey often wondered if he would ever match his father’s legacy.

During his sad rule of Jotunheim after the second war with Asgard, Laufey wonders what legacy he leaves his son. He does not recognize his own son when he comes to him on Jotunheim and seeks council. He does not recognize his own son when he offers him the opportunity to slay the All-Father. He does not recognize his own son even as that son turns on him with Odin’s Gungnir to vanquish him. 

It is only after what is left of Laufey’s being travels to the Icy Mists to join his father, his ancestors, that he recognizes the child who slayed him for the love of the All-Father. Even here the realization causes a phantom pain.  But, he also feels the ghost of a petty but righteous joy. For through the Mist he has foreseen Malekith the “Accursed.” Through the Mist he has foreseen Ragnarok. The All-Father and all he loves will turn to ash, and Odin will know the ruin and devastation he begat upon the nine realms. Through the Mist, Laufey has foreseen that Loki, son of Odin, Loptr, son of Laufey, will accomplish what Laufey and his father could not. 

That is their legacy.