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She Who Was Named Death

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Overture

Dismembered bodies scattered or piled up like logs across the frozen ground as far as the eye could see. In that moment she was sure that no one was left standing or moving, although the occasional spasm would shoot through a corpse as a final act of existence- in this lifetime at least, she thought. It wasn't exciting or satisfying but Hela had to remind herself that it must be done.

The quietness and gravity of the war had fallen once again on her shoulders alone. Odin knew better, of course. He was her father and she was his first born and she had to follow him to the battle, forging her sword into the heart of the enemies.

She didn't enjoy killing, much to her people's surprise though. She only saw it as a duty, an act that was necessary for the realm, no questions asked. Vanirs, Dwarves, Elves, Humes or… Jotuns. There was no difference between them when death called upon. When Odin claims that they have disturbed the peace, she is ready to war to bring it back to the realms. She was his arm. His weapon. His executioner…. His daughter, although it tasted bitter in her mouth. She was never treated as such. Thor, Frigga's son, was Odin's son as well but Hela, daughter of Heidr of infamous dark elves was only a stranger.

At times she thought of that. Of her strangeness with Odin's golden family, in times like this though, when there was blood to be spilled, she once again became his daughter.

She walked with grace, like a queen to be, among the dead bodies of the Jotuns, she hated so much. When forced by Odin himself to spy on their plans and live in their realm in disguise for two horrifying years, she almost every day dreamed of this day. Every passing moment with their kind and that disgusting Laufey. Oh… how she hated Laufey and how she wished Odin would allow her to cut his filthy head off. This, she would've done only for joy. She would have slayed his manhood and cut him in half for all those forceful nights, she had to tolerate in his arms, only… only to make father proud.

He looked over at Odin's exhausted silhouette, clenching her fists tighter around the hilt. He didn't let her kill Laufey, why? She gritted her teeth. After all torture, she went through. By Norns, she had to even give birth to his spawn. She hated herself and hated Laufey for that and for how weakened she had become. It had only been two weeks, yet one thing was for sure, Odin should never know of this.

The war seemed to be over now and Hela felt a lightness in her chest. It was over and she could go back home. Although she hated Frigga beyond imagination, it was still her home too and she wasn't about to willingly present it to her or her son. Still, Odin was lingering, going in and out of the remnants wreckage of the Laufey's castle, as always, taking war relics and trophies. She never knew why he had to own up all the glories of a war which destroyed lives. But he is the Allfather, The young Hella would tell herself, He knows better.

Lost in her thoughts, she was soon drawn away by the sound of a whimpering, coming from a stony temple nearby. It was a baby. Her heart stopped beating for a second. A baby. The pain of the night, she delivered the baby monster, stung her chest and suddenly seized her. She did everything in her power to stop the baby from growing, from developing to a full giant. She used up almost all her magic to suffocate it before it was even born, then. She didn't want a child and definitely not of Laufey's seed. She would die first than to give birth to a monster. But all her attempts in vain, the time came after nine full months. It came. Pushing, struggling and clawing at her inner organs to come out, to be freed. And she couldn't help it. She couldn't.

The screams coming from the sanctuary, got louder with every step she took, still thinking of that cursed night. It was inevitable. She wished she could stop it, that was why she left the city. Her steps became more steady as she remembered the walls, the temple. No… The magic had worked but only partially. The baby was born, seemingly healthy but small, weak for Laufey's offspring. Still, looking at that blue skin and blood red eyes… she hated it. She loathed the baby, she loathed her own body for giving birth to something like that.

Hela stopped, listening to cries of the baby inside. It couldn't be… two weeks ago. She left the baby to die. She left him in the temple, running away. Hela remembered holding the dagger to the baby's throat, threatening to slit his throat, if he didn't stop crying but it was a baby… for once Hela felt unable to take a life. She didn't feel anything… no… she didn't feel love or sympathy for the baby monster… she just… she couldn't bring herself to take his vulnerable life.

"It'll die anyway," she said to herself.

The temple seemed to be drawing away from her with every small step. Who cared for the baby? who fed him in the past two weeks? Before she knew Odin was coming at her. She had to move on, she had to kill it before he found out. Her steps quickened and she ran up the frozen stairs, two at a time.

The old sanctuary smelled of blood and odor as she walked in. The wailing still not ceased but got louder with every passing moment like the baby monster knew someone was coming. And Hela remembered once again, how it was to be alone and scared and wounded, out of breath, away from home, giving birth.

She was young. Much too young to deserve this. All because of father… She thought.

She looked down at the giant corpse on the temple floor. It was a young woman, who had a knife in its side. Blood was puddled around the body. Flies infested the blood. How many days, has she been here? Hela thought. She brushed away the thought quickly as her green eyes landed on the little monster. Walking grudgingly to it, she raised her daggers, ready to take its life without thinking twice this time—

"Stop!"

Tears were still fresh in her eyes as Odin's voice bombed between the walls of the temple and her eyes finally rested on the baby. Why… oh why…

"Why in the nine realms would you kill a baby?" She felt the walls shook by his bland exclamation.

She wet her dry lips, swallowing thickly, not even moving, with a raised dagger on the baby's head. " I am doing as you once said, not leaving an enemy alive. "

"I don't remember have I ever said to take a newborn's life... have I?"

"Newly born or not—," Hela retorted angrily. "It is necessary! Do not think so lowly of me, father! I am merely doing what I must!"

"What you must do now is to put away that dagger and face your father!"

Having no other choice, slowly Hela lowered her arm and swiftly turned on her heels. She hoped Odin wouldn't realize the pain in her eyes.

"You left Laufey alive and I did not protest." Her heart quickened with anger,"You thought it was punishment enough to leave him to mourn for what he's lost but I … I do not understand why you're stopping me now?" She spat, her long black hair, covering her one eye." Haven't you killed thousands of women and children years before this?" Her voice was firm but her eyes were glimmering with tears.

Odin might have sensed the wave of desperation in her voice though, as he took a step closer to her. "Those days are long behind us. In my battle with Laufey, I simply taught him a lesson. I took away his power and showed him his place… all for the realm. "

"All for the realm, now—" She didn't realize how loud she had screamed, her voice now echoing between the columns, suffocating the baby's cries. "— I take his spawn's life!"

"His spawn?" Odin mused, his gaze now softened."That baby… it is Laufey's… how do you—"

" Only a knowledge I gained recently—" Hela lied but it was too late. To her shock, Odin walked past her quickly and took the baby in his hands.

No. Hela shook her head, fighting inwardly with herself. Odin must not know. She took a deep breath and plowed. "Why do you think I insist on taking a babe's life, then?"

The baby was so small in his hands, moving restlessly and gurgling, but stopped screaming at Odin's touch. Now with his big eyes, smiling weakly at the Allfather. Hela felt disgusted. No… she felt hurt and small. She stared at them as Odin surged his seidr into the baby, changing the color, making him look like a true Aether. And then Hela saw how pale it looked and how big his emerald eyes shone with tears.

It looked like her. She wondered if at that very moment Odin realized it as well but the resemblance wasn't easy to go unnoticed.

Hela pinched herself to wake up. It was a nightmare. She wasn't a mother. She couldn't be a mother. She never had a child. No… no… she wanted to wake up. She wanted it all to be over. She wanted to be at their old palace in the mountains again, back to his father's arms, back to when Odin still wasn't married to that witch, when he was all hers when he taught her how to ride and fight and—

No… it wasn't real. It couldn't be.

"We take him." Odin finally announced and looking bewildered at her father, Hela froze. "To Asgard and to my wife."

Frigga? Hela clenched her jaw and tightened her fists, wanting so badly to protest but Odin's words were holy to her. Whatever he said, it was law and she wasn't going to break any of that. No matter how pressing it was.

She didn't look away from the baby though. Her green eyes fixed on the baby's as they walked to their rides. She looked serious, with her dark brows knitted and the baby seemed confused, staring at her.

Although They were ready to leave.

To home.