Blood red eyes looked out towards the dark horizon, the land was stark; existing in shades of white, black, and grey.
It was a seemingly barren expanse of unforgiving winter made of snow, ice, stone, and very few bare-boned trees. Jotunheim seemed to be a place no creature would be able to survive, let alone flourish in. Yet to the trained eye, the planet of cold was not the lifeless shell it appeared. No, animals both large and small blended in with the environment. They slipped under and over the banks of snow, quick and nimble to either catch or flee from becoming prey. Plant life existed underneath the frozen crystals and could be scrapped off of rocks in the early morning when Jotunheim was at its warmest.
The Jötunn were predators, they did not need much vegetation to sustain their diet. Preferring meat to fuel their large bodies. They were, however, light boned and able to cross over thick layers of snow without sinking in.
There was also the fact that what was seen on the surface of their world was far different from what laid several meters deeper, far from the sight of prying eyes. Cities sat in giant caverns illuminated by both naturally glowing stones and lanterns of cool burning flames that existed in a cascade of different colors that danced upon the ice. Tunnels that spanned throughout the planet provided ways for travel between place without ever breaking the surface. This led those not of Jotunheim to assume that the Jötunn population was far smaller than it was and that they existed in isolated tribes that could not reach each other in time if aid was needed.
Another assumption was that the Jötunn were trapped in their realm. That they could not travel under the watchful eye of Asgard.
This too, was false.
There were powerful sorcerers among the giant race. Many beings of the Nine Realms had the ability to perform some acts of seidr: of magic. However, the Jötunn had a particular affinity for it and were taught from a young age to hone their gift. All were taught to wield their seidr as well as any blade. Still, the number of Jötunn that were magically gifted and strong enough to use the hidden paths that stretched through the branches of Yggdrasil weren’t many.
These Jötunn were the ones tasked with slipping into other realms, establishing secret trade deals and exchanging knowledge with those that were accepting of their company. That number had unfortunately grown ever smaller with the passing centuries as pressure from Asgard grew. Demanding others to avoid any contact with the blue skinned race.
Now, there was only one Jötunn that remained able to cross between the realms without the use of the Bifrost.
Crown Prince Loptr Laufeyson. The eldest son of the king, whom gazed out of the windows of the towering castle of ice towards a spot in the distance. The air was so thick with the scent of blood that Laufey felt that it was coating his very tongue.
Blood. That of both Jötunn and Æsir.
This war, it had been waged for centuries now. Odin attempting to bring Jotunheim to heel through multiple different methods. He declared a ban on their travel to other realms citing them as a danger to the residents of the foreign lands. Citing their frostbite inducing touch and viciously carnivorous nature. He demonized the Jötunn character as being those of savages, living in underdeveloped tribes that had little organization or propensity towards advancing themselves intellectually. Their magic was only used to trick others and the word of a Jötunn carried as much weight as a bilgesnipe’s.
In simpler terms, it was worthless.
Now, it seemed that the war was reaching its head. Odin free to act as he wished with the rest of the realms having turned a mostly blind eye to the happenings of Jotunheim. However, for them to truly fall, all beings knew two things must occur.
Laufey was not about to let either happen. Not while he still bore breath.
The king finally turned away from the far distant battle waging, though it was inching ever closer, to face the one that spoke.
“Loki,” Laufey greeted, his voice reminiscent of a mountain rumbling before an avalanche. While his child’s birth name was Loptr, he was known as Loki to the people of Jotunheim. A nickname that had been given to the prince when he was young and that had stuck with him even now. The origin of the name coming from the Jötunn word leug, meaning ‘to break’ with ki being added meaning ‘small’.
Indeed, that was what the other was meant for, destroying expectations. When the small babe was still suckling, Laufey had placed him to lay against a loyal wolf to be guarded and kept warm while the king attended to some duties.
When Laufey returned however, his child was nowhere to be found. The castle had almost been torn apart as the king, his mate, and staff searched for the prince. It was only when Laufey was close to crumbling that he noticed a small pup whimpering beside the wolf. Curious and confused as he knew that there was not a pup there before, Laufey lifted the small creature only to be startled as it shifted before his eyes back into Loptr.
While some Jötunn were gifted in the ability to shapeshift in some capacity, it was unheard of for one so young to be able to do so, nor in such a complete way. The stronger in sedir that a Jötunn was, typically the smaller they were to their counterparts. Loptr had been so incredibly tiny, many feared for his survival for decades, but the prince only continued to flourish. The origin of the name Loptr was from their word for ‘air’. When Laufey had been handed his child, he had thought that he was holding air. Something so delicate and weightless compared to other Jötunn young.
Now, the prince at over a thousand, he was strong, capable, and the most powerful sorcerer Jotunheim had ever seen. He was cunning, clever, and delighted in causing mischief that brought smiles to the faces of even the Jötunn that were at the receiving end of the pranks. Loptr’s spells had also greatly advanced their own lives. Bringing knowledge of different magicks and technologies from other realms back to Jotunheim from his ability to transverse the hidden paths.
These advancements however, where only able to be seen far beneath the surface of the planet. Through his adventures and trades, Loptr had become well known and liked by many different races. Unfortunately, not all enjoyed the Jötunn. Over time he was accidentally mentioned in passing more and more by others whom were too close to listening ears that led back to the Æsir.
As Loptr’s skills, exploits, heritage, seidr, and beauty became known the tensions between Asgard and Jotunheim finally boiled over.
No one outside of the Jötunn knew of Loptr’s other name, which was spoken more often than his given. Never was it used outside of their realm. The prince himself had told his family that he referred to himself by both Loptr and Loki, to him they were both one and the same. Perhaps, though, he was more partial to the nickname for the fact that there was both love and affection associated with it. It was without any of the political boundaries or responsibility like Crown Prince Loptr.
“I’m glad that you arrived safely, my child.” Laufey extended a hand and with a few quick strides his son was before him, setting a cheek against the offered palm and feeling large fingers slide into his long dark hair as he closed his eyes. Laufey used the time that Loki relaxed into his touch to let his gaze wander over his precious heir.
By the fates, he was beautiful. Long limbs of lean muscle that were covered by royal blue skin with raised lighter colored symmetrical lines that declared his lineage that was as old as the Jötunn people. Fine, narrow nose and bright, clever red eyes like rubies. A pair of elegant horns sprouted just behind his temples and reached up towards the heavens before the tips arched gracefully back towards the ground, as though they could pierce through the ice and stone to the very center of Jotunheim. Black claws tipped the fingers and the toes that decorated arched feet which aided his speed and ability to climb slippery slopes.
Long black hair that hung to his waist was pulled into a single thick braid that held multiple smaller braids decorated with strands of golden chains and jewels weaved into them. They were not just for a show of power and wealth, but held enchantments in the form of small runes carved into each small stone. Bangles and bracelets caught the light, but currently had charms in place to make them silent instead of twinkling together. There were other pieces of jewelry that the prince wore, earrings and cuffs lined his ears which were tipped into points. For Jötunn their ears were not as large or dramatic as those of the elves, which suited them fine in their cold environment. Multitudes of necklaces hung from his neck of various thickness, material, and length, many of which were presents he had received from companions he had met across the realms.
A gold circlet sat upon the prince’s brow that curved around the base of his horns, it too was dotted in jewels.
Wrapped around his hips was a long loincloth made of rich silk which was covered in intricate patterns that were embellishments of the royal family. There was no fur cloak upon his shoulders, such a thing was unnecessary on the battlefield he had just come from.
Loki’s eyes fluttered open once more as he felt his bearer draw his thumb over his cheekbone. Brought back to the present, he straightened up as he knew that they did not have time for these sentiments. Not with the decimation that was spreading towards the castle.
“Why have you called me away from the field, the warriors need me. My brothers, my shier, need me.”
“They will have to persist without you. For now, all they can do is buy time.” Laufey answered striding towards the throne and to the pedestal that stood beside it. He knew that his eldest would take offense and misunderstand his words. Before he could protest, the king continued, “I do not doubt your abilities, little one. That would be a fatal mistake that only our enemies have the misfortune of making. However, something has happened.”
Loki narrowed his eyes as he spoke, not liking what was going unsaid. It was that Laufey no longer believed that winning the war at this time was possible. The king of Jotunheim was as iron willed as that bastard Odin, what could have shaken him to his core in such a way?
“You believe we are fated to fall.”
“No!” Laufey’s answer was sharp, voice rattling the bones of any that listened. “No, I will not allow Asgard to have the victory they seek. We may bow, but they shall not break us. We will not kneel. They have failed in the past and they will fail again.”
The certainty and vitriol that his bearer spoke with soothed the worry that had begun to bubble within Loki. Only for it to raise again with the next words.
“The Norns have granted me a whisper. I have an inkling on that which Odin plans. We know that he does not wish to simply wipe us out or they would have done so millenniums ago. They want to subjugate us, reduce us to what they believe and proclaim we are.” Laufey’s voice dropped to a whisper despite knowing that all the castle was cloaked from any spying. His face for once showed the many thousands of years he had lived, “He means to take the very heart of Jotunheim.”
Immediately Loki’s eyes shifted to the pedestal where the artifact sat proud. “The Casket of Ancient Winters, without it our world will slowly warm.”
Drawing his lips back in a snarl, the prince hissed as he puzzled out this new knowledge, “Genocide is still Odin’s goal then, but this way it will be seen as a slow, natural decline. We will be pushed to starvation and grow weak from the heat. The other realms could not blame this on Asgard as it would happen over centuries.”
“Yes, the Casket is the physical heart of Jotunheim, but Odin will not content himself with the theft of only it.” Laufey muttered while placing a hand upon the artifact, sighing as he felt the old magicks sing through his very veins and briefly the heritage lines etched across his skin flashed white with the power of past kings.
“Of course he will not be satisfied with the dissemination of so many of our kind. What more could he want?” Loki cursed as he came closer. His eyes flickering over the set of five thrones sat upon the dais. Laufey, Farbauti, Loptr, Helblindi, and Býleistr. How many of them would be left empty at the end of this? He had seen the viciousness of the warriors on both sides, each meaning to kill if able. One fighting for freedom and survival, the other wishing to conquer.
“He wants not only the physical, but the incorporeal heart of our people.” Laufey finally answered, the utterance was soft, like it pained him. Then, he was kneeling, pulling Loki into his tree trunk thick arms in an embrace. Cold lips pressed briefly to the crown of the prince’s head, “He means to steal you, my Loki.”
“What?” Was the only thing that he could say as he stiffened in his bearer’s embrace. Mind stuttering at the admission. An element that Loki had not prepared for in his vast collection of contingency plans to see his home stay standing.
“You are the hope of our people, your abilities to skywalk, manipulation of seidr, and mastery of wit. They all promise a greater future for us. Your antics bring bright smiles and laughter that threatens avalanches of mirth in dark times. You show what it means to ascend against the odds. The Jötunn, I, would do anything if it means keeping you safe.” Laufey swore into the soft locks, squeezing his first born closer to himself knowing that despite his small size, Loki could withstand the hold.
“You have made connections across the realms as well. Those both in power and not would rebel at the idea of your light being extinguished. For that reason, Odin may not be able to kill you, but he can bind you.”
“He thinks he can keep me locked away in the dungeons of Asgard?” Loki demanded, arms wrapping themselves around the neck of the king. He had not clung to Laufey since he was a child, but now he felt that he could not get enough contact. It felt like red hot needles of flame were threatening to dissolve his heart.
“No, you will be put in a far more gilded cage than that.” He answered, fury howling inside of him like a wolf to the moon, “The Norns, they told me he means to tie you to that imbecilic son of his.”
“Thor,” Loki spat out the name, a flash of lightning shone through the windows of the throne room making Loki curl his lip in distaste.
The God of Thunder was little more than a bloodthirsty beast, whom believed that all problems could be solved if he struck it hard enough with his precious hammer. The two princes had only seen each other from a distance when they were far younger, but more recently Loki had observed the young god on the icy wastes. He did not believe that Thor had seen him on the battlefield as Loki was in the habit to cloak himself in invisibility. Using the skill to kill several of the Æsir commanders in the melee. The tactic was terribly energy consuming so Loki could only perform it for a short time. Just enough to get close enough to assassinate key figures in Odin’s army when they were distracted by other Jötunn warriors. Often the Æsir were crossing blades with either Helblindi or Býleistr, none the wiser that the eldest prince was creeping closer unseen.
“He will try to use us as ransom against you as well, Loki. Our safety for your obedience.” Laufey shook his head as he muttered, “But we will suffer regardless knowing what fate will meet you in whatever chambers the Thunderer keeps.”
“The people of Asgard would not stand to see their golden prince lying with a Jötunn.” Loki reasoned, denying the obvious way for Odin to force the pair together. One that Loki would be helpless to stop.
The Jötunn were a race of one gender, but two dynamics. Omegas and Betas, sorcerers were typically the former with being also small, graced with locks of silken hair, and increased fertility. Laufey and Loptr were both Omegas, while the rest of the royal family were Betas. Betas were mostly warriors with larger, bulkier frames and sharper senses to aid in hunting. Both dynamics worked in harmony and respected each other, this was not the case in the rest of the Nine Realms. Æsir were a race of almost exclusively Alphas and Omegas. The former looked down upon all the rest as weaker, inferior beings.
Jötunn also mated for life, though Æsir were known to sully each other’s beds and then breed chaos inside of the ranks when it was discovered. Yet they all continued to do so, or at least, the Alphas did. If Loki was in heat and Thor was able to knot him, then indeed, they would be tied together in many ways and make escape far more difficult or nearly impossible for the Jötunn.
“How like you to discard your usual vanity to hide from the truth,” Laufey grumbled, a hint of amusement coming through as he ran his fingers over the long braid, “You are beautiful and you know this. You are also aware that even the Æsir have admitted so amongst themselves.”
“What is it you wish for me to do?” Loki needed answers, he always did. He wasn’t one to take directions well, but now he was eagerly, desperately, grasping for them as Laufey stood and released him.
“You-,” A pained shriek, filled with heartbreaking grief, cut off Laufey’s words as his hand flew to the circular scar that sat in the junction of his left shoulder and neck. The scars were lines left behind by sharp teeth.
Laufey’s mating mark.
They both knew what this violent reaction meant, Farbuati was dead.
Laufey’s breath was shuddering, but he forced himself to speak as he lifted the Casket from the pedestal with surprisingly steady hands, “You must go with the Casket, far from here, a different realm, a different galaxy. Hide until we might be able to find some way to take back what is ours. Without both of these things, Odin will not truly have won.”
The last part was uttered as a prayer before a long, complex flow of words of a spell followed them as Laufey pressed the Casket to his son’s chest. There was a whimper of pain and surprise from Loki, but Laufey forged ahead. It had to be done, the Casket appeared to be growing small, but in truth it was sinking into the prince’s very flesh. Then it was gone, with a new set of raised lighter colored lines that spanned Loki’s chest and wound their way to the prince’s hips. They echoed the pattern that had been upon the artifact. To anyone outside of the Jötunn, the new scars would appear to be of little importance as they seemed the same as any other heritage line that traced their skin.
As Loki gasped, standing only by the hold Laufey had upon him, the king apologized, “I’m sorry, I could think of no other way to keep the Casket safe and within your possession. They would have to cut it out of you using magic to obtain it once more.”
“You did what you thought was necessary, but a little warning would not have gone amiss, bearer.” Loki answered shakily, but he steadily gained his bearings once more as his system hummed with the new powerful source of magic within himself. It demanded to be used, released as it built up inside of him. For now though, he tried to ignore it, focusing on Laufey’s words as the king reluctantly released him.
“You must go now. I love you and I know you do not want to leave us, but you must go.”
Before Loki could answer a strangled call sounded in the hall, giving Loki and Laufey just enough warning to throw a shield of magic before them as the doors to the throne room were blasted apart. Stone was sent scattering through the air with enough force to break bone if it had not been for the spell. As the dust cleared, there stood Odin the Allfather, God of War, with his most powerful guards at his back.
“And so, we finally stand face to face. There will be no more hiding.” Odin announced proudly before letting the barest hint of what could’ve been benevolence from any other coat his words as poison would a dagger. “There could also be no more war, no more death or bloodshed.” The Asgardian king moved forward, confident in his standing and in the Jötunn royalty’s constricting options. “Put an end to these wasteful battles, Laufey. Kneel and we can be at peace. Your people can be at peace!”
“And by what terms would you label your peace, Odin. You, whose son has just killed my mate?!” Laufey’s voice boomed in the hollow of the throne room. His fists curled at his sides, but standing tall and immovable as a mountain. His seidr swirling thick through the cavernous room of ancient stone and ice, flakes of snow stung the faces of the Æsir as they looked upon the king.
Unafraid stood Laufey of the numerous enemies before him. Loki on the other hand, had a wild look in his eyes as he realized who was the murderer of his shier. He cupped his hands over his mouth in what appeared to be agonizing dismay.
It was only partly an act.
Odin shook his head in disbelief, at the announced death as well as at his son’s unknown blunder, but remained firm, “Many lives were lost. I cannot imagine the pain of losing your mate, but their death does not have to be in vain.” The king pleaded with the other, it almost seemed honest if the Jötunn did not recognize the faintest trace of smug Alpha. The scent would have been lost to any other race. “I cannot bring your mate back to you, but if you lay down your arms and surrender; I can assure your son does not suffer needlessly.”
“Which son?” Laufey asked, head cocked slightly as he sneered at the other ruler. “You do know I have three? All of them now without one of their parents.”
“Three, yes. But only one who is your heir, and only one who I hope will unite us.” The Asgardian glanced at Loki meaningfully before continuing to speak towards Laufey. Dismissing the prince as no great threat in this spar, while with just words it could be as deadly as with blades. “You asked what my terms are. I simply ask to have your heir be bonded to mine, a union to solidify our treaty of peace… Once you’ve been discerned as benign by offering us the Casket of Ancient Winters.”
“I cannot offer you that which I do not have to give.” Laufey answered flippantly, stepping to the side to reveal that the Casket was indeed missing from where it once sat. He paced the line before the thrones, red eyes glaring at the invaders.
“You ask for an object which can be likened to the fury and vitality of winter. Who can truly own such a thing? The Casket is far from both your hands and mine, now. I do not know exactly where it has gone, nor where it will go.” It was not a lie, Laufey did not know where exactly in his child’s body that the artifact had sequestered itself. Could not afford to know where Loki planned to flee.
A frown crossed Odin’s face before being replaced by a look of feigned calm. “Fortunate for us, then, that your son remains quite within our grasps… and that Gods have been known to own many things.” The last remains of any amiability gave way as Odin turned to his men.
“Seize the Prince!”
“My son is not some relic that you may place in your vault, Odin!” Laufey roared, a large staff and shield of ice appearing in his hands as a short wall of spikes rose from the floor to block the way of the Æsir from his child. He would leave it up to Loki to decide how the events would play out. Truly the prince was a skilled puppet master that he even played the strings of his own family if he thought it might benefit them.
Unseen by all, a long needle of ice formed between Loki’s fingers, kept at his side out of sight.
“Allfather!” The call was made in a voice heavy with panic, fear, and desperation, it was a plea. Odin lifted a hand to stop his men’s approach before turning his gaze towards where the Jötunn prince stood. Loki kept his head bowed towards the floor, his shoulders visibly trembling.
The perfect picture of a creature that had been turned meek and broken by trauma after heartbreaking trauma. Internally he grimaced as he scented the air with terrified Omega. Once he was sure that he had all’s attention, which wasn’t hard as he noted that some of the younger guards’ eyes had clouded with lust at the almost sickly sweet scent that drifted from him. Loki continued, “Please, this must end.”
“And it shall. You have nothing to fear in Asgard, Loptr. Thor may be brutish at times, but I am certain you will learn to adjust.” Odin assured.
Loki could have rolled his eyes, of course Odin did not have the gall to say they could grow to love each other. The Æsir could never imagine themselves loving a monster, after all. No, the relationship on Thor’s side would no doubt be one of lust and desire to dominate the slender prince.
“I am to remain faithful only to Prince Thor. Allow only him inside my bed and bear his children?” Loki questioned, noting the way that Laufey tensed at the mere idea of such.
“Of course.” the Allfather confirmed, he seemed pleased that Loptr was considering the arrangement that was already settled in his mind. So he tried to shift the conversation to what he saw as of more importance, “Now, where is the Casket? Surely you know where your father has hidden it.”
“And will Thor have the same expectations upon him as myself?” It was an innocent enough question, but oh so heavily loaded. The silence after told the obvious answer as well. Thor was not expected to be faithful or limited to sharing his pleasures with Loptr. Asgard would not accept having a despicable hybrid sat on its throne. Any child that the Jötunn prince had would be carefully groomed to be a puppet king to rule over Jotunheim for their ‘grandfather’, of this neither Laufey or his son had no doubt. After such a child was established, there would be no more need for the former king nor any others that were currently in line for the icy throne. Loki suspected that he would be the only one allowed to live as the Æsir were greedy, not liking to give up what they considered theirs.
A soft laugh escaped Loki as he shook his head, “I see, so I am to be reduced to some mewling quim waiting for him to be the slightest bit attentive with me? My, my...”
“It is the best solution for both of our realms.” Odin reminded sharply, it was obvious that his patience was starting to fray as the conversation moved away from the whereabouts of the casket. The warriors at his back were shifting as well. They probably did not see the need to speak or debate with savages, nor Jötunn Omegas at that.
“No, it is the best for ASGARD, I will not be submissive to a realm built on lies. Now, Odin, I will give you your answer.” Loki’s declaration was made as a light birthed from magic flared to the hypocritical king’s left. As the Æsir turned to face what they presumed to be an approaching attack…
Loki let the needle fly.
It struck true, burying itself deep into Odin’s right eye, quickly spreading frostbite across his blackening skin. It would not be enough to kill the Æsir or even stall him for long, but he was certain that the eye would never be functioning again. Loki did not stay to relish in the look upon the bastard’s face, nor savor his cry of agony. As the prince stole through a hidden passage that sat behind the thrones, he called back, voice filled with malicious glee.
“No longer shall you be known as the All-Seeing King!”
Laufey’s rumbling laughter followed Loki out of the palace, it was the only parting gift that he could give his bearer before he disappeared. Not a final present, no, Loki would return one day and see that vengeance was wrought against the Æsir for what they had done to his home and people.
In original Norse mythology Odin lost his eye at a different time and way, but this felt like it worked better in my opinion. Much more satisfying.
There's the end, there are plenty of plans that I have for this fic, and the next two chapters are written out but will be posted right away because of my schedule. I don't know when I will get back to writing on this since my attention will be devoted to Only in the Dark, Stars Shine(Harry Potter fic with a dark twist) and Lineage of Frost and Magic(an Avengers and Harry Potter crossover with Draco being raised by Loki).
What do you think will happen next, how will Earth handle a runaway prince?