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You Can’t Hear Me Cry

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She hurried her steps down a long corridor of icy marble and gold pillars, the chill in the air seemed laughably fitting as the wind teased its way through the open palace. Aside from herself and the guards stationed at the entrances, the hallways were empty, uncommon for this time of year as there were usually dozens of noblemen and women, councilmen, and scholars carrying out their daily tasks.

Busy and Bright. Golden. Ethereal beauty comparable to no other realm in the cosmos. If she looked back, Frigga would find it hard to think of a single traveller that did not look upon her kingdom in awe. But today, through her eyes, it is dark. Tendrils of anticipating grief weaved their way into her heart and she looked upon her city with dread.

Frigga quickened her pace as she drew closer to the dungeons. The musty stench of the lower prison resonated in her stomach like a stone, she buried her hands in her dress in an attempt to warm them with the thin fabric.

It had been centuries since Asgard has seen temperatures this low and the bitter air was gone within days. Not since before the ice war had Frigga seen it hold for so long.

Some of the women in her court cautioned that it was a sign of misfortune. Crops were to slowly wither away, mysterious deaths, political unrest. At the time she smiled faintly at their superstition, quietly embroidering the quilt she was finishing. But now… she wondered if they were right to fear what lied ahead.

No. She would not believe such folly. The silly premonitions of those already on edge with brimming agitation. The current state of this realm had nothing to do with the numbing air, she would not allow her mind to entertain such inane thoughts.

The events of the past year had left all of Asgard in shock, and after Loki waged the attack on Midgard… Frigga sucked in a sharp breath and held it. When she let it out she could see it dissipate in front of her. The warmth of it mingling with the wintery chill.

When Heimdall told her and Odin that he could feel the essence of Loki’s life force on Midgard it was as if she had eyes again. The fog that clouded her vision and overtook her mind was blown away, and the possibility of seeing her son again was an unimaginable gift that she had longed for until she thought that she would lose herself to grief.

Her son. Her child, that harboured so much hurt and betrayal in his last days on Asgard before he fell. She had yearned for one more chance to speak with him, hold him, tell him that he was loved.

When he found out the truth of his birth, she believed that by granting him the throne he would be reminded of his place in their family. He was her son. Odin’s son. Thor’s brother. And he belonged with them, by their side, as he had been for the last millennium.

He had always confided in her, and that is why she would never be able to forgive herself for not seeing through the facade that masked his despair. In those final days she barely saw him, she knew that he was busy with the duties of kingship and she did not spend much time away from Odin’s bedside.

The few times that they were in each others presence, she was so preoccupied that she did not see the stiffness in his posture, the white knuckled fists tightly clenching gungnir, or the deceptive words that escaped his mouth.

He could never lie to her. Rather, he never used to be able to.

Not long after he departed, Thor returned from Midgard with Loki. She had already learned of his deeds and a part of her denied the truth, so she assured herself that he would return with a mischievous smile on his face. Not born out of malice but of playful intelligence.

That day he walked into the throne room in chains, not appearing to be bothered by the cold, and regarded her with a look of such indifference that it felt as if a blade slid painfully into her heart. Loki looked her up and down as if he was assessing an unworthy opponent that he was guaranteed to best. He then slowly turned his body away from her to face Odin.

The blade twisted and pulled out, leaving a gaping hole in her chest.

Never, throughout all of his trials, all of his hardships had he gazed upon her so. Even in her darkest nightmares, she could not imagine a universe where Loki would ever be able to look at her with such disinterest.

She did not recognize her son. But she knew he was there.

Her Loki, shy and gentle. He guarded his heart so closely and was hurt so easily. Curious to the point that it had genuinely concerned Odin. She used to tease him about his concern but now she longed to go back to simpler times.

Frigga also knew that he would not go unpunished. His crimes were unthinkable and their laws outlined specific actions that must be taken when offences were extremely severe. As the ruler of Asgard, Odin could not ignore these laws in favour of his own son. It would show his weakness as a king and his willingness to disregard the security of his people in order to satisfy his own personal desires. She knew this, understood it even, but it did not make the truth any easier to bear.

Odin and his councilmen planned the execution to take place the moment the light faded from the sky this eve. Still, her eyes remained red from the tears she had shed and her throat sore from the desperate begging, pleading with her husband to stay his hand. Though she knew her efforts were futile, even Thor did not sway him.

Asgard waited in silent shock after it was announced that their second prince was to be executed at the hands of his father, their king. Not a whisper to be heard this fateful day, not even the scuffle of the royal horses in the stable across the east field. Only the eeriness of the wind howling through the long corridors of the hushed palace.

Frigga weaved her way through the entrance of the lower prison, passing by two guards and nodding her respect out of pure habit. She kept her head held high as she passed the cells, the queen of Asgard could not be seen looking anything less than regal in a time of tragedy. Though her shoulders felt heavy and her heart ached until she felt as if her legs would buckle underneath her.

The prison was perfectly maintained, as all things were on Asgard. The cells were lined side by side and protected by an impenetrable energy barrier, within them the individual was stripped of all possessions, and enchantments ensured that they were not able to wield any form of siedr.

The lower prison was meant for Asgard’s most dangerous criminals, hidden many steps below the palace it held a quietness very different from that of the rest of Asgard. It was a silent acceptance.

Not in the millennia since before Bor’s great-grandfathers rule, a time lost to even Asgard’s most ancient history books, has a single soul escaped the lower prison. Those below the golden towers awaited a predestined fate as soon as they even considered the possibility that they could plot against this realms eternal power.

But Loki. The son of the All-father. Asgard’s king for a brief time. He did not belong here anymore than a silver trout belonged on dry land. She would never accept that his name would become one of the many names on a long list of people who have taken up space in this damned prison.

Although he denied it, this realm cared for him. Not in the way that they cared for Thor, but he was still their prince. He was well spoken, treated his people with respect, helped his father with important negotiations. He did not bask in the attention and importance of being a prince but he wore the position well, kept his head held high. And although he was not the ideal Asgardian man, as Thor was, she could still remember walking in the streets with her son and hearing children whisper ‘Mother, look! It’s Prince Loki!”.

He got himself into a fair amount of trouble, yes, but until now it was mostly the mischievous innocence of a youth.

All the cells were bare excluding the single individual occupying its space. The floors were a cold basalt stone and the corner of the room held a small place where one could relieve themselves. No bed.

Though, the cell she approached was not empty. It contained a bed, a wooden desk with books scattered upon it, and various other items. Frigga was able to send some of Loki’s personal belongings down to him, a small victory. She hoped that he appreciated this, a gesture letting him know that she still loved him even though she couldn't see him.

The figure in the cell had his back faced to her, slouched down at the base of the bed. Resting his head on the thin mattress. Black hair messily brushed with narrow fingers and sitting awkwardly at his shoulders. If it was any other time she would have scolded him for letting it grow so long.

Frigga could see the faint rise and fall of his shoulders, his attenuated frame was visible even through his clothing. Loki’s attire was that of a dark olive green tunic and black trousers that made his too pale skin look translucent. It was unsettling. He wore not the usual royal garbs from his chambers but his clothing was still a quality not gifted to common prisoners.

She was noiseless as she broke off her steps in front of the cell and she stared at the figure. Her eyes drank up the sight of her youngest son sitting alive in front of her, not fighting, not falling, not lost in the void.

She traced the lines of his back, every strand of his ebony hair. This was someone who had brought endless happiness and love into her life, her quiet child. If she closed her eyes she could remember his bright youthful smile and the way his eyes crinkled when he laughed.

Frigga would die in his place if she could. If it would give him a chance to mend his wrongs and rebuild his relationship with his brother, with his realm. She would do the same for Thor. This was a fate no mother should ever have to accept for her child.

She had not been allowed to visit him until today, and she would never let Odin forget the misery he caused by robbing her of the precious little time she had left with her son.

Frigga did not know how Loki would react to seeing her. She assumed that the pretense of his apathy toward her would fade once she was alone with him… but in truth, she was not certain.

This may well be the last conversation that she had with her son. The light of day drew closer to an end with each passing moment and she felt as if the icy blue sky was her lifeline. She would not waste this second chance.

Her hands unraveled from her dress and they ached. She didn't realize how tightly she was clenching them at her sides. Frigga steadied her breathing and she walked, slowly, through the energy barrier. The enchanted golden band on her wrist throbbed as it granted her access to the cell.

“Loki.”

Loki licked his finger and turned a page of the novel he was reading. He did not look at her, nor did he speak.

She proceeded to move around the bed to the back of the cell, where she was now facing him fully. Frigga stared at him for a moment and collected her thoughts. It did not usually come with such difficulty to speak with her son, she faltered before beginning again.

“My son,” Loki visibly stiffened at her words. A part of her was grateful that she at least got some form of reaction from him. “Please, speak with me. I must hear your voice… Please Loki.”

A deep breath, a lick of his fingers, a turn of a page. No response.

Her resolve was dwindling and it took everything inside of her not to fall to her knees and beg him to utter even only a word. Plead with him to smile at her or laugh and tell her that he loved her. She wanted to let him out of this Norns forsaken cell so he could run, far away from here, away from his tragic fate.

This was delicate work, she must weave her words carefully.

“If you will not talk with me, then I will speak and you can listen.” Frigga placed herself on the wooden chair facing the bed, her dress crumpled underneath it but she didn’t bother rearranging the fabric. “This is a tale that I’m sure you’re familiar with but I will start from the beginning."

His eyes darted across the tome in his hands. He could continue to feign this outlandish indifference but she knew his mind grasped her words desperately. It had been too long since he had heard her speak. She knew her son.

“Long ago, during a time of war and bloodshed, a babe was born. A precious thing. Its birth symbolized life, hope that blessed light can emerge from crippling adversity. But the babe was born small for its kind and was left to die in a temple made of ice, foolish they were, for this child was something truly extraordinary. At the end of the war, the enemy king heard crying from across the battlefield and followed the noise. Inside the ice temple he found the child, a little boy, desperate for someone to care for him. The king lifted him into his arms and the child shifted his appearance to match that of the one holding him, he was so talented, already destined for greatness.

“When the king returned home, he greeted his wife and newborn son. The realm was awash in glee after their victory and the queen was relieved beyond words that her husband had returned safely to her and her child. As she approached to embrace him she noticed something carefully bundled in his arms and realized what it was almost immediately. He explained his plans for the babe in great detail while she gathered the bundle into her hold. It squirmed and wrapped its little hand around her finger and cooed its greeting. The queen was apprehensive at first but she looked down at the little boy's face and found herself falling in love, much like she had with her newborn. Who would treat such a delicate thing with such cruelty the queen had thought to herself. They returned to the palace with the bundle cradled in her arms and placed the babe in the crib next to her own child, the two stared at each other for a long moment before snuggling close to one another for warmth. The king and queen gazed upon the sight in silent awe, hearts filling with joy. This was the first moment that the queen saw that she had not one, but two sons laying before her. Two sons that she would cherish and care for until the last breath left her lungs. A mothers love is stronger than any bond you see, and she vowed to love them until time itself ended and the cosmos grew dark.”

Frigga paused for a brief moment and looked at Loki. His eyes were still stuck on the ivory page but they had long glazed over. His fingers frozen in place. She took a breath and continued.

“She and her husband watched this child grow. The king's previous plans for him long since vanished into nothingness, for he thought of this boy as only his son, and he would raise him as such. They soon forgot that he was not truly their own and lived contently knowing that they had two precious children. The boy was frighteningly intelligent and quite mischievous, but he was also kind and his soul was pure. The queen’s heart swelled when she saw how much he cared for others, this shy little boy. What a mistake it was to leave such a treasure to die. Years passed and despite his tendency toward mischief, the boy kept his brother out of trouble through their many adventures. They were best friends. The sun and the moon. Both beautifully different. The queen was present for all of this child's triumphs and hardships, his first love, his first heartbreak, when he became a man, and a warrior. She taught him everything she knew about magic and he excelled beyond even the realms most experienced sorcerers. She comforted him when he cried and smiled with him when he laughed. And how his smile made her feel blissful happiness, for it was as radiant as the moon.”

The fingers on her right hand began to knead her other palm as she spoke, a gesture of anxiousness that had plagued her since she was a young woman. It was a gesture that Loki later copied as he grew.

Frigga wanted to speak faster but her story required a calm patience. The day grew dimmer still. She knew she was running out of time.

“In their manhood, one of her boys grew increasingly reckless. Thirsty for war and when he was in battle, insatiable. Not the queen or king, nor his brother could curve his thirst for bloodshed. In a decision of great foolishness, the king planned to crown this impulsive boy. All clapped with approval for they were blinded by his commanding presence. All were blinded but his brother. He was so clever. Her son planned to stop his brothers rule before it began, but his plan lead to disastrous ends. He succeeded in stalling his brother's coronation but in turn, received a truth that he was never supposed to know and it turned him mad with betrayal and rage. The queen was foolish for she did not see her son suffering, and the boy tumbled into despair while she remained ignorant. Then, as she was waiting at her husband's bedside, for he had fallen into sleep, enemies of her people rushed into their chambers. She watched what she thought would be her husband's last breaths when her youngest saved him, her heart burst with pride as she beheld him. Their saviour. But when her eldest returned from his banishment, he did not return with glee. The next moment her sons were fighting and she was helpless but to watch as they quarrelled, she was left frozen in her confusion for what felt like an eternity. At the end of the eve, her husband and eldest returned without her youngest. All of the realm could hear her weeping cries, her screaming, her begging. For she had lost a part of herself and she knew that she would never be whole again.”

Her eyes burned and her throat swelled but she remained speaking, the story was not yet finished.

“There was no comfort for the queen. No comfort to ease the pain of his passing. His place at their table remained empty as did his bedchambers. The queen visited his rooms, and some nights she fell asleep while weeping as she held his pillow to her nose. Trying to hold onto his scent for as long as nature would allow. How could she let his life slip through her fingers? She spent her days wondering how she had failed so greatly that he did not confide in her. How his life meant so little to him that he let go, that he fell into all-consuming darkness. But not only did he take his own life, he ripped the queens out of her very body until she was but a shell, void of everything but anguish and grief.” 

Frigga’s vision blurred as tears welled, if they were yet falling she could not feel their trails down her cheeks. Only the pain in her chest as she poured her soul into her words.

“And the greatest tragedy? He died believing that his family did not love him. Oh, how wrong he was. His father and brother, ever the outgoing ones, drew into themselves and the realm fell into mourning. But then, the king and queen were informed that he miraculously survived the fall. Impossible, but true. This was a blessing beyond anything they could have ever imagined and they had hope once more. The joy did not last though, for they were told of the terrible deeds their youngest had committed after his fall, so very unlike him. While his brother went to retrieve him, the king had to consider a just punishment. One that was fair to all of the realms. And when her boy returned home, it was too late to make amends, his fate was already decided.

“His mother now visits his cell, desperate to speak with him, to love him, to hold him tight in her arms. Because once more she will be without her child, and she will never again hear his sweet voice. So I ask you this now, how cruel would it be to deny a mother a genuine goodbye to her son?”

Loki remained seated, utterly still. As if a single movement would cause him to crumble. She still could not see his eyes for his head was bowed slightly. His knuckles were white as he tightly grasped the tome in his hands. Finally, he spoke.

“My queen,” She could hear the hollowness in his voice. “As much as I appreciate your visit, truly, your generosity knows no bounds. You should not be here. It would not do your image well to be seen mingling with the prisoners.”

At that moment she rushed to his side. Her hand grabbed his chin and turned it up towards her.   

“Loki, will this be the way it ends? You have but hours, and you will spend them in silence!”

“Silence is all I have left my lady.”

His green eyes shone in the overbearing light of the cell. She could tell that his breathing was laboured, and his cheeks were coloured rose. After a millennium of being his mother, she knew that he was on the verge of tears. He could not hide his emotions from her for long.

“You need not hide from me my son.” She said.

“I.” He yanked his chin from her gentle grasp. “Am not. Your son.”

She laughed. It was a joyless, brittle sound. “I may not be the woman who birthed you, no, but who cared for you when you were sick? When you argued with your brother? Who taught you every enchantment in the Ancient Book of Astridur? Surely not another woman. No, no. I am certain that it was I.”

Loki let a sharp breath out of his nose and closed the novel on his lap. When he looked at her again, his eyes were cold. “Odin should have let me die.”

The silence that lingered between them was deafening. Frigga’s tongue felt like lead.

“My child, he is.”

In an instant, she watched his face transform from that of spiteful cruelty to frightened dread. A look of pure terror that she had not seen upon his features for many centuries. He stared at her, the pits of his pupils burning into her own in silent grief.

She softly placed her hand on his cheek and swiped the tear that had escaped his eye with the pad of her thumb. He did not recoil from her touch. Rather, she felt him lean into it. She brushed a strand of hair that had fallen to his face behind his ear.

“Mother I am so scared.” He whispered.

As tears began to fall down her face and her vision blurred again, she placed a tender kiss to his forehead. A gesture that she used to give both Thor and Loki in their childhood before they slept.

He acknowledged her. A bitter victory, mocking them of the little time they had left.

“We will see each other again.” She promised. “We must.”

Loki all but threw himself into her embrace, a mirthless laugh shook his body. She felt more tears fall onto her shoulder and run down her back.

“I will not be allowed entrance into Valhalla.”

She pulled him back slightly, just enough so that she could see his face. Frigga smiled through her sorrow as she breathed, “I would not be so sure.”

His face crumpled and she guided his body back into her arms where he slumped. He trembled as sobs began to wrack his thin form. She held him tightly to her, so tight that she feared she may break him.

There was nothing she could do to stop time from passing. Nothing she could do to stall those who would rip her son from her grasp. Tomorrow he would be gone, and she would never again hear his voice, his breathing in her ear. She felt the rise and fall of his chest against her and tightened her hands on the collar of his tunic, as if that would keep him there for longer. She cherished the scent of his hair, rosewood and cinnamon, as it hit her nose in a way that she never again thought possible.

He was not meant to die so soon. Just over a year ago she had planned to take him to Vanaheim for his birthday, it was now only months away. There were so many things that he was supposed to be present for, so much that he would miss. Tomorrow her son would be gone. Tomorrow.

“Cry Loki, it is alright, I will always be with you. Cry, little one.”

She held him and stroked his hair, it was the only solace she could offer as darkness began to swallow the fleeting light of day.

 

 


 

“Loki you must focus.”

They sat on the grass in their private gardens. The comfortable warmth of day nurtured the maze of blossoming flowers as they intertwined with each other in effortless beauty, slowly opening themselves to maturity.

Frigga watched Loki as he sat in front of a golden orchid, tiny hands cupped around the blooming flower. His eyes were squinted in concentration. After a moment he huffed out a sigh and removed his hands.

“Mother I can’t.”

“Yes, you can.” She said. “Place your hands in mine.”

He did as she instructed and she felt his hands fall atop hers. She directed them so they were once again sitting around the orchid.

“Chin up. Good. Breathe, Loki.” She squeezed his fingers gently before releasing them. “Remember what I taught you. Draw your energy from the nature you are surrounded by. It is everywhere, you need only look.”

A dim green light began to grow from his fingers and spread to the plant before him. His mouth quirked ever so slightly to the side as he stared down intently.

“If you succeed, I just may allow you to sleep in Thor’s chambers tonight.” She said.

He perked up immediately and the green glow shimmered into nothing.

“Ah, no matter the distraction I give you, you must focus. Go on then.”

“Motheeerrrr.” Loki whined. His bottom lip protruded just a little too far and he slouched. She barely held in a laugh.

“Motheeerrrr nothing. You will not always be able to cast in utter silence, but I will not interrupt you again. I promise.” She smiled down at him. “You may continue.”

He took a deep breath, turned back towards the plant and stretched out his arms. Green once again began to flow.

Tendrils of magic weaved its way through the small bud of the flower and encased it in delicate energy, the essence of the cosmos. The pleasant yellow petals folded out slowly until its crimson lip emerged from hiding. As light beamed down upon the orchid, it appeared golden, shimmering like the gates to Valhalla. The gleam of Loki’s siedr gradually dissolved as if the Norns themselves sucked it out of existence.

Loki stared for a moment before twisting his body to look at her, expectantly. He had been practicing for months, she already knew how excited he was and he just wanted her approval. She would have beamed with pride even if he could not form a single thread of energy.

“Very good Loki. It is unheard of for a youth your age to already be able to perform such an intricate spell.” She said. “You must know how proud I am of you.”

A smile formed so wide on his face that she feared he may crack open. What she had done to deserve such a gift, Frigga was not certain. A giddy laugh escaped his lips and he launched himself into her arms where he nuzzled his face into the crook of her neck.

“I love you.” He said.

She closed her eyes. Basking in the warmth of the day and the knowledge that her family would forever provide her with the strength she needed to face all the trials that life would offer her.

“And I you little one.”

 


 

They stood in the throne room. Illuminated only by the torches lining the walkway and the galaxies shining their ancient light upon Asgard's comparably brief existence.

The jarring chill in the air resonated like death and the silence lingered, accompanying Loki as he was lead down the grand expanse of the room. Guards flanking him on all sides.

The elite few in attendance eyed him with sorrow. Most here had watched him grow from a child or had grown with him.

Frigga was positioned next to Odin, Thor slightly behind her. His firm grip was tight on her arm. They remained at the base of the throne, just before the steps ended, watching as Loki walked towards them in chains.

The guards came to a halt as they drew closer, far enough back so Loki could be viewed easily. They bowed in salute to Odin, then to her and Thor. She did not bother returning it, her eyes were only for her youngest.

“Loki Odinson. Prince of Asgard. Second in the line of succession to the throne.” Bragi, the head of the council read. Frigga leaned against Thor for support. “Has been found guilty of crimes against both the realms Midgard and Jotunheim, two of the nine. For the deeds he committed in Asgard’s name. The very place he swore to protect with his life.”

She focused on her feet planted firmly on the ground and drew a shaky breath. Anything to help her keep what little composure she yet possessed.

“Treason, attempted genocide, attempted fratricide, and attempted subjugation of a weaker realm resulting in mass casualty.”

Bragi pursed his lips, his eyes darting around briefly before he continued.

“By decree of Odin All-father, King of Asgard and protector of the nine realms. For his crimes against Asgard, his very people, and against both Midgard and Jotunheim. Loki Odinson is hereby sentenced to death by the axe before light welcomes the new day.”

Loki’s eyes betrayed no emotion as he was forced to his knees, they made a sickening crack against the marble and she heard him gasp quietly.

Their battle commander, Tyr, flicked his wrist and the large doors leading to the room shut with a resounding thud, the sound echoed and Frigga could almost feel its vibration within the floor.

Tyr walked over to where Loki knelt. As his hand reached out towards Loki’s shoulder all she could feel was panic, something shredding into her heart in utter hysteria. A despairing need to shield her son from this madness in any way possible. She took hurried steps forward before Thor rushed ahead and regained his grip on her arm to pull her back.

“Mother you can’t!” Thor said.

She yanked her arm from Thor’s grip and he let her. She whirled around to face Odin, her eyes filled with an urgent plea. Frigga grabbed the metal chest plate of his armour, her fingers digging inside the decorative openings.

“Odin, please, there must be another way. We can’t do this to him. Odin please.” She said. “Please.”

She was well aware that all could see their queen begging. She did not care.

“My wife, it is done.” He turned to face her and brushed his thumb along her cheek. Tears were falling onto his hands. “I am sorry my love.”

He had the audacity to look at her with grief etched upon his face. As if he could not end this here and now.

“You are here with him. That is good.” Odin said. “Be with him Frigga, that is all we can offer.”

She shook her head in denial. “No. No, no, no, no.”

Frigga removed her face from his grasp and backed away slowly, still shaking her head until she bumped into Thor, he tried to steady her but she shrank away from him as well. She stumbled down the step and forward before she glanced at Loki again.

His eyes were wide and his mouth hung agape. She knew that he had never seen her so publicly distraught.

She tried to step toward him but her feet were twisted in the mounds of fabric within her dress and she fell onto her hands and knees. The marble sent shooting pain into her wrists and she clenched her teeth. Frigga reached for him. “Loki!”

A stone grip that she soon realized was Tyr seized her arms so abruptly that she barely had time to resist him dragging her backward.

She fought his grasp and kicked her legs out in any way that she could. Frigga thrashed against him in pure desperation. “Unhand me!” She shrieked.

“My queen, please stop fighting!” Tyr said. She was remotely aware that she was still being pulled back as she continued to flail her body against his concrete hands.

“GET OFF OF ME!”

Suddenly his tight grip was gone and she once again fell to the ground, gasping.

Her eyes searched around frantically, she was again near the steps of the throne. She felt a presence behind her and she flinched away immediately. Thor ran to the front of her and came to his knees, overwhelmed shock on his features.

“Mother, you must calm yourself.” Unshed tears gleamed in his eyes.

She could hear her own breathing… each exhale came with a wrecked sound close to a sob, accompanied by a wheezing inhale.

Her mind was distantly concerned of those watching her break down, but she was so desperate. She fought for air and dizziness became overwhelming, Frigga found it hard to think of anything but Thor’s body supporting her and the wide green eyes that met hers.

Loki stared at her, into her very soul. His previous composure had faded and she could see him shaking.

She mouthed the words, ’I am sorry.’

Guards were now stationed on all sides of her and Thor, she knew that further fighting would be in vain.

There was nothing she could do but watch.

Tyr and three other men that she vaguely recognized made their way to Loki’s side. Tyr once again reached for his shoulder as the other men adjusted his chains so they were now connected to metal hoops hammered into the floor. This made it impossible for Loki to move, even slightly.

His eyes did not leave hers, even as tears began to slip down his cheeks in surrender.

“Norns have mercy.” She recited, loud enough so that she knew he would hear. Her voice wavered but she carried its sound across the room.

“Let him feel no pain. Ease his suffering and take away his sorrow.”

A metal gag was placed roughly around his mouth and tightened. The skin surrounding it turned white with pressure and she saw him flinch in pain. She held his gaze.

“Carry him, soft and gentle into comforting light.”

Tyr stood behind him, axe in hand. Its keen edge flickered in the torchlight.

“Allow your embrace. Let him live for eternity in your tender arms.”

So much fear marked his features. She could feel his terror.

His eyes said forgive me, mother. His eyes said I cannot leave you. His eyes said I do not want to die this way.

“May his last breath be brave. May he feel no fear.”

Odin gave a sharp nod and Tyr slowly began to raise the axe above his head.

As Loki’s chest heaved up and down, more tears leaked from his face.

“Norns,” She said. “Have mercy.”

She gave him a small smile, twinkling with mischief. One that spoke of youthful joy. Memories.

“May we meet again, my son, in a better life.”

And as the axe swung Frigga knew,

Death offered no compromise.