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Twice a Widow, Ultimately a Bride

Chapter Text

Loki Laufeyson, Duchess Consort of Lower Jotunheimr, Dowager Princely Countess of Utgard

 

Each event is preceded by Prophecy. But without the hero, there is no Event

 

His breathing is laboured, I know his time is near. I know the same for my child; my Fenrir, who lay silently in my arms. I've been only a short while ago been released from my confinement in which I recovered from the birth of my son. I suppose Thrym does love me, in his own sort of way. I am fond of him, yes I am to an extent but nothing more possibly less.

 

I know that now is the time, he has refused the doctors and healers.

 

'Let me die in peace' were his words

 

As so as his dutiful consort I stand vigil for him as my Dam would my Sire and vice versa. If Thrym should die, which I am certain he will and if by some miracle my boy does not then I will be Duchess Militant and must fight to secure the inheritance which is my sons. I place my son gently in his arms and mutter a silent prayer. I know it has come.

 

So brief is their beauty but now it is gone and once more I am alone.

 

If only, if only had I been but a little stronger I would have seen you spared.

 

But for once in my life I realise it is okay to be alone.

 

 


 

 

When I was young a Vanir sorceress came to tell my my fortune. She looked at me through a thick black veil, though I could not see her eyes I could see them peering into my very sould. She took my small cool hands into her long, wrinkled old ones and ran her fingers over my knuckles. She leant forward and seemed to stare right into my eyes, if she could do so anymore.

 

“Child” She muttered inspecting my hands and holding them as though they were as precious as diamonds “I see much in your life...” She trailed off.

 

“Well” I urged “Go on pray tell”

 

She let out a sigh “Very well, I see no harm” She took my other hand at this point too “You will be a wife” Said she, I knew that much there had been a proposal of marriage from the Count of Utgard and we all assumed my sire would agree “But only for a short while, you will suffer heartbreak but you shall recover” I looked forward, into the veil I could almost see her eyes “You shall marry again but this marriage will not be like the first nor the last, he shall die and you shall marry once more, you my dear shall be queen of a realm and heart, more than a queen” and with that she released my hands and disappeared in a cloud of smoke and I was left bemused, an accomplished mystic at my fifteenth winter I had not a clue what was to come about.

 

 


 

 

It now seems that what the Vanir woman said is to come true. Perhaps she was the woman of legend, a goddess whom even god king's doubted existence of, perhaps, perhaps she was Hecate.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

I'm at the palace, no not the ducal palace my Sire's, the ice one let Thrym's kinsmen fight over the other. 

 

I am as I stand titled but impecunious,  I've sold most my jewels and finery to cover the seemingly endless stream of debts that seem to have followed the death of Thrym. 

 

Jotunheimr is bankrupt from the war with Alfheim even though we won, we've been feeling the backlash since before I wed my first husband. We are the impoverished royalty of Yggdrasil. 

 

 

My escape from this comes in a most unexpected form. 

 

 

"Loki" says my father gripping my shoulders tightly  with both hands "How would being a crown prince suit you?"

 

I look at him bemused and blink twice. My Lord Sire is uncharacteristically cheery. 

 

"W-what?"

 

"You my boy will marry the Crown Prince of Asgard; Thor” States my Sire with a strange contortion on his face I soon realise is a smile, well no a grin, the sort of grin when you win a fortune at cards.

 

“Th-that boor?” I ask, incredulous anyone would even consider such a thing. It's not like I haven't heard of him and his...ways.

 

“Yes” Says My sire

 

“He's bedded half of Asgard!” I cry “Father! I am one of honour I shall not be sullied by such a beast!” It is absurd I could be expected to wed and bed that decadent elitist brat. Quite recently I remember him going absolutely mad when Jotun rebels interrupted his coronation and only gravely wounding my Thrym in the process of it all.

 

“Loki” Says my sire sharply regaining my attention and cutting short my harangue of cruel words, he soon returns to the softer tones he usually utilises when speaking to me “You know this marriage will benefit our realm greatly, they will be paying a bride price of several million crowns and the Casket of Ancient Winters. You will be the person to bring us back into ascendancy once more” I know he is being reasonable and for one of my station there is no such thing as marrying for love unless of course said love will bring your father a fortune. I know I haven't any choice but I have been for a number of years the premier duchess in all Jotunheimr and before that the Countess of Utgard.

 

“All things aside, their gatekeeper and his father assure me he is not so much of a rake as you may think. He is indeed...experienced in such matters” I know he is aware of that Midgardian peasant girl. Jane something or other. Though they are friends only at this moment it is common knowledge the prince in question fancies her and has not made a secret of it. Sire believes in subtle courting and as per usual I am certain to use him as my moral compass.

 

I wring my hands and twist the wedding band on my finger. For all it's worth now I know that Thrym would hate to see me destitute, he always insisted upon me being in the finest of clothes and possessing only the best jewellery receiving only the finest education in all the nine.

 

“Sire, my husband has only died recently. It would be distasteful to marry so soon” I say, it would be a dishonour to both his name and mine were I to remarry so recently after his death.

 

“Loki” Says my sire in earnest tones “If I didn't think this was best for us all do you think we'd be having this conversation now? All things aside your brother married one of my squires the second his wife died and Odin has all but married one of his whores so I doubt this will cause much of a scandal”

 

I think this over, if I marry the Odinson I shall be the premier consort in all the land once more and since the Allmother's confinement I will also be the Foremost of Noble Ladies. I shall want for nothing and I shall not have to worry so much about my inheritance as Duchess. I shall one day soon be queen of Asgard if I marry this man and if I am queen I can see to the welfare of my home. And by consenting to this I believe the Vanir woman's prophecy will come true.

 

Queen of a realm and heart, more than a queen!

 

At this moment I know my decision is made.

 

“Well then My Lord Sire” Says I “We had best draw up a marriage contract then shouldn't we?”

 

 

Chapter Text

For years there has been a huge strain on Jotunheimr's finances, though during my tenure as duchess I knew very little of this and as such I spent extravagantly on clothing and jewels without a thought for my subjects plight. I knew nothing of the world beyond my own circle of ladies and gentleman. It was not until Thrym's death did I come to realise the debts I had incurred in my senseless extravagance and that I would have to pay them, as such my jewels and my pretty clothes were sold with still a large amount to be paid.

 

As such marriage to the crown prince of the wealthiest realm is Asgard is my only choice if only to avoid the debtors prison and the scorn of the Jotun people. But if I am lucky the Vanir woman's prophecy will be correct and I shan't meet my fate on the block or meet pardon and disgrace by the Jotnar.

 

And so it is to be, I shall marry, not for love as some might but instead for wealth and titles, jewels and my pretty clothes.

 

 

I wear my prettiest gown and my tallest headdress which indeed are quite old. My face powder has turned to dust and my jewels are sold, I must wonder if he will notice the threadbare silk, the dusty mantle drawn over my shoulders and the fragile conical headdress. Indeed must wonder how sorry I look, but no, no they will not pity me if only so I may show them that victim of circumstance though I be I shall not accept their pity.

 

It was once said by my dearly departed Dam that Certain souls are grand only when a wave of misery is thrust upon them, indeed it would seem that she is correct for this phrase relates to my current situation. By my Sire said that If it is no longer to ally myself with one I ally myself with another

 

I bid adieux to my Sire and my brothers in a tearful departure, I bid adieux to my ladies whom have come all this way with me through Hel, hurt and hunger and above all I bid adieux to my home. My Sire gives me one bit of advice before I depart

 

“Don't make enemies, if somebody is determined to be your enemy fight, but do not turn friends or potential friends into enemies through arrogance and carelessness”

 

I grip onto every word and take his advice to heart, I shall do my best to adhere to it.

 

It is in the favourite hunting forest of the king and his son; Thor. To my knowledge Frigga is still in confinement to recover from her most recent birth; a boy if what I'm told is correct. I suppose meeting here in a forest makes sense being that among other things Odin is the god of the hunt. Here I am to meet my new household and greet my betrothed in the style of a queen, here I must make my first and best impression upon those I will one day rule over, the great enemy of the Jotnar turned ally.

 

When I emerge from the chaise all eyes are on me, I shed my travelling cloak and reveal the pale blue threadbare shot silk gown, drawn in as tightly as possible at the waist with padding on my hips so as to give the illusion of good birthing hips and an exceedingly tight corset to give the illusion that I have a figure.

 

I greet my ladies and my lady-of-honour; Ulrika. I curtsy low to them since I am as I stand only a dowager duchess and not yet prince of Asgard since my marriage to Thrym I signed the Act of Sucession effectively dissolving my rights to the throne and relieving me of title as prince.

 

I am greeted with a haughty coldness but a warm smile by one of the lesser nobles, one of my ladies; Cecilia who is older than most but nevertheless only a dame. I know that I will like her best, she is the most ladylike of them all.

 

Ulrika however I immediately dislike immensely, she is cold and haughty. She wears a bodice encrusted with jewels and an absurdly large coronet upon her head, a blatant affront to my financial situation. To this I decide to greet with indifference and modesty.

 

“A lady of honour is not immodest” Are my words to the young conceited countess who is clearly offended by my words. She is more concerned with her husband than I.

 

It is not long before I am greeted by the king and his son, his brothers Balder and Vidar stand behind the pair.

 

I curtsy before the gentlemen deeply, certain to push back my gown with me as I lean backwards with my left leg extended to the right and my right leg leaning back holding my weight. I find that Thor is quite handsome though not quite what I expected, I had thought him red-headed and with cold unforgiving eyes, at least that was what he appeared from the distance that I saw him during the debacle on Jotuneheimr. Quite the opposite, he is blonde with azure eyes with an emotion I cannot pinpoint. I offer my prettiest smile when I rise. But it is then that I notice the stature of Odin, I begin to shake, he is tall and imposing with hard eyes, he can see my hands shaking by my sides, he lets out a breathy laugh.

 

“Thor fellow, come forward” Says Odin in a voice with an omnipresent regality “Meet you lovely bride”

 

“My lord” Says I to Odin, soon my father-in-law “I shall never forget your role in my happiness, I shall do my duty to the best of my ability and beyond that if only to ensure the welfare of the people of Asgard”

 

“Now, now!” Exclaims Odin “We are family, none of this my lord business, just Odin or father if you please and my son is Thor, not my prince of other such nonsense, we are to be immediate family and are already kinsmen to some degree”

 

“I am most pleased then” I tell him as I greet my betrothed.

 

“Some time since I last saw you, not since that debacle with Mjolnir and Thrym if I'm not mistaken, were it not for that I daresay I wouldn't be here now” Says I in coolest tones.

 

“I was at fault for that, my arrogance was my folly” Thor tells me avoiding my gaze since come to think of it I am marrying the man whose actions led to my husbands death. Is my marriage just an extravagant apology?

 

I sit between Odin and Thor in the gilded coach, Thor says not a thing and sits twiddling his thumbs, there is a sheen of sweat on his forehead which he wipes with his arm to my distaste. I make light conversation with Odin, as it happens he is well-versed in poetry. He asks me to read aloud to them, I do so. I read poems written by a man named Homer. Such is the detail the I begin to feel ill.

 

“Would you read that again, a old man such as me needs time for these things” Odin says regarding one part in which a man is shot with an arrow.

 

“Of course” I reply “A man can ponder a sentence for hours and be all the more wiser for it”

 

“Do you hunt?” Asks Odin, bless him for ceasing the awkwardness that has taken hold once I have finished reading.

 

“Yes” I tell him “Falconry mostly but I do-did take part in the royal and ducal hunts on Jotunheimr, of course most of what we hunt is not necessarily for eating as opposed to ensuring the safety of the people”

 

“I always thought you duchesses were appalled by such things” Odin says looking over the landscape to his right.

 

“Some are but not I, Jotunheimr is a land of savage beauty. I have seen many men die and I have conducted the defence of Lower Jotunheimr on many occasions as Duchess Militant” I fill with pride at that, knowing that I can tell this great man of my deeds.

 

“Military strategy?” Asks Odin.

 

“As well-versed as a general” I reply still filled with the pride of a duchess.

 

“And of the feminine arts?”

 

“I am well-versed versed in those too, in Jotunheimr people like myself receive an education befitting both man and woman”

 

“Then you are a valuable addition to our family”

 

“I should hope so”

Chapter Text

The ceremony is an extravagant affair in which all from far and wide are invited to attend. I am in a new gown, one that is covered entirely in diamonds and glitters fiercely in the sunlight. Outside it is miserable and stormy grey clouds cover the skies. I can hear the falling of rain against the windows and the hushed murmur of courtiers and the like. At the front of everyone are high ranking nobles and generals, followed by the lesser nobility, the upper gentry and then the lower gentry and finally the commoners.

 

But as I walk with Ulrika holding the train of my gown and my ermine cloak; robes fit for a queen. For a minute, just a minute the sun shines and seems to engulf me entirely, I shine greatly, more so than any other in the room. The women regard me with insane jealousy, the men, their eyes rake over me hungrily, obscene words are heard which I do my best to ignore.

 

Thor is in regalia, an ermine trimmed cloak, a red tunic embroidered with gold and tight white trousers with embroidered knee high boots, Mjolnir at his side.

 

It is not long before the ribbon is tied and vows are taken and I am wed and created Crown Prince Consort of Asgard and we are told to kiss.

 

Thor delicately lifts my veil, he hesitates so I close the distance and press a quick kiss to his lips before quickly pulling away and restoring my veil. It is to be certain the most frigid kiss I've ever experienced in spit of having wed two different Jotuns and that I am one myself. It is at this moment I look into his eyes and see a mixture of sadness and fear 'he feels just the same as I' At this moment I do not care if is raining on my wedding day, all I feel is fear and dread.

 

We are met with a roar of approval by most people, the men I suppose because I am to them something that never can be. I can tell by the frigidity in the air that the women do not approve and are jealous, insanely so. Thor's friends cheer along with the crowd and shout their approval.

 

 

The Aesir feast over everything, births, deaths, marriages and anything inbetween. They are boorish, loud and churlish with their behaviour at such events. Thor by all accounts is a most repulsive eater, he devours plate after plate of food and cup after cup of mead, slamming each cup down on the table when he is finished, the most I can do is sink further into my chair and drink more wine as the night progresses. It is some time later in the small hours of the morning that I am called to bed, now I must bed this man I call my husband if only to procure yet another sick prince who shall die in his fathers arms if all should go as last time.

 

Well, shall we go to bed?” Says I when we are in our nightclothes and at the foot of the bed, it is all I can say for all I feel is dread. For now I must do a wife's duty.

Chapter Text

“Nothing?” Asks Cecilia as we promenade in the hedgerows of the gardens.

 

“Nothing” I confirm.

 

I found the other night to be not at all what I expected, nothing happened, I suppose I ought to be glad but I am not, I must prove my fertility to the people of Asgard and show them I am capable of producing as heir otherwise Thor may take another wife which would effectively lessen my influence on this court, undoubtedly he would marry that insufferable Sif woman or that harlot from Midgard which would cause by all accounts a scandal all across Yggdrasil and possibly beyond. If he doesn't take multiple wives we may either be divorced or our marriage annulled, I would be sent back to Jotunheimr in shame, we all know what happens to princes and other noblewomen for whom a husband can't be found; they're sent to a convent or temple, something of the sort to live out their days in disgrace.

 

Cecilia gives me a knowing look, I nod gravely.

 

“This could be dangerous for us all” she says sadly.

 

“To be certain” I reply “I shall do my best to attain a more-” I hesitate “Intimate encounter with my husband”

 

“Only fools rush in”


 

 

 

Court Gossip

 

 

 

“I hear he's frigid” Says one lady to another

 

“The Jotnar aren't exactly warm people” Replies the latter

 

 

“I heard they spend no time at all together” Says one to the other

 

Our little dowager spending too much time with the stable boy I daresay”

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

One night when Thor has returned from a hunt with the Warriors Three and that woman he comes to bed after a meal and without bathing, his stench is one of the most repulsive especially considering that I've been where none ought to.

 

The week has been exhausting” Says Thor as I run my fingers ever so delicately along his arm as what my father would call 'Inspiring passion'

 

No too exhausting” Says I in a most flirtatious tone

 

No, very much so, goodnight” And with that he rolls over and is asleep within minutes and I am left fuming.

 


 

 

Jarnsaxa” Says the woman of whom I take an immediate dislike “Charmed” She presses a kiss on my proffered had leaving me with an uneasy feeling inside.

 

This woman has disregarded my station as Prince Consort & Dowager Duchess of Lower Jotunehimr & Dowager Princely Countess of Utgard, I do not respond merely give a sneer and turn on my heels with the ladies in tow. This I am permitted to do being that she has blatantly disregarded etiquette in all its forms by approaching and speaking to someone who is far above her.

 

How dare she” I whisper to Cecilia in ill-concealed anger.

 

D'you know who she is?” She asks

 

I haven't clue, just that she belongs in bedlam” I sneer

 

She is a Princess of the Blood, but as much as I hate to say it...” Cecilia trails off there

 

Well, go on pray tell” I tell her impatiently

 

Ulla cuts in “They think she's Thor's mistress” she speaks of this particular woman with naught but contempt present within her voice.

 

At this I know what I must do, if indeed she is my husbands mistress I must vanquish her, I must defeat her, though these be strong words I know it shall be nothing less of a battle..

 

Then” Says I “We've a whore to get rid of”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

I've taken it upon myself to invest some measure of  interest in my husbands hobbies. His most manly taste does not deter from the barbarous acts of sparring purely for the right to later brag about one's victory over the other. I do believe that my husbands fondness for such things may be called Corporal's Mania. These people care only for strengths and of outward beauty they care not for intellectual pursuits and one's inner beauty. They know so little of feelings that they commit such immoral acts and the most absurd practical jokes in which blows have always a share, when I was Duchess there was no such thing, out people were moral and intelligent, kindness and all the virtues of a gentleman or woman were valued far above debauchery and brutish behaviours, my court was one of intellect, art and the scholarly pursuits in life.

 

"I am Fandral the Dashing" says the man on front of me he thinks himself the gods' gift to women. I am well aware of the debauchery this man takes part in on a daily basis, the countless whores he beds in particular. Such behaviour is for me the most immoral and ought to be condemned for it corrupts women and destroys families.

 

"Is that so?" Replies I coolly allowing a contemptuous smirk. Boldly going against my fathers advice. Of not making enemies

 

My husband goes on introducing the other two men and finally that woman of whom I immediately find terribly disagreeable.

 

"And this is lady Sif" says Thor with a sigh, one of longing too.

 

I scoff when she sends a glare in my direction, it is ice cold, to look at those eyes is like wading through the deepest waters of Jotuneheimr in the deepest darkest depths.

 

It is obvious that Thor has a number of...feelings towards this woman, I notice his wandering eyes, the lingering touches, the unnecessary contact.

 

I am resolved to never speak a word to her, I cannot bring myself to be civil to that woman. This I believe is the one and only time Ulrika and I agree upon something. I shall speak with Thor tonight, I am resolved to do it.

 

 

 

I slowly pace the small salon leading to my bedchamber, I'm wearing a pretty white gown with silver and gold embroidery.

 

“Thor” Says I, gathering my energies I prepare myself for what I am going to say “What are their names?”

 

“What d'you mean?” He asks from his slumped position in a wing back chair

 

“Do you take me for a fool?” I demand

 

“What? No, I don't” Incredulous that he should not know of what I am speaking.

 

“Which one of those sluts are you taking to your bed, or is it all of them?” I seethe with ill-concealed anger.

 

I can feel the tension in the air, there is a horrible feeling bubbling in my stomach, one of foreboding I feel as though I may retch at any moment “Well, get on with it!” I cry

 

“I am not taking anyone to my bed” Are the plain words from his mouth.

 

“Lies!” I shriek, I am overcome with a sudden bravado, something reminiscent of my mother “Lies and Deceit! Be cruel and evil! Anything is better than lies and deceit!” I find I have expelled all the air from my lungs and I am attempting to regain my breath “Of Jarnsaxa, Sif and that goggle eyed whore from Midgard!” I do not understand entirely why I am acting this way, I feel betrayed that is for certain but there is another feeling inside, jealousy, gods I've not felt this way since I was a child.

 

Thor rises from the chair abruptly and advances on my position in long heavy strides he grabs me by the shoulders with the strength that he is famed for. I cannot look him in the eye.

 

“Look me in the eye” His voice is surprisingly soft considering he has grabbed me by the shoulders. I hesitate but meet his eyes. There is no anger in them, that much is for certain.

 

“Listen” He says in the softest of tones “I have not taken another to my bed since we were wed” In my head I know he is being truthful but in my heart I feel otherwise.

 

“Then swear it” Says I in a rushed voice, it all comes out in a jumble of words “In the name of your mother swear that you take our union and our vows of fidelity seriously”

 

“I swear it, in the name of my mother I swear that I am honourable in all things and that if I were to break my vow of fidelity then I am unworthy to wield Mjolnir”

 

“Thank you” I whisper, barely audible. Now I know that I need not worry about slovens taking my place, reducing me to something barely above a concubine, for this I am glad. My wittum is nothing any more, without the crown of Asgard I've nothing to support myself. My Wittum was destroyed in the most recent Jotun-Aesir war and so this marriage has been my only chance to retain what is mine.