“-must take the King’s place in the meeting with the nobles to discuss the revision of land borders between the shires, then you must attend to the foreign dignitaries from Alfheim, thereafter there will be….”
Loki stared down at the squat and greying man, trying to prevent his eyes from glazing over as his duties for the day were recited to him. Somehow he also managed to retain his rigid posture, despite the temptation to let his shoulder’s sag to reflect his quickly dying enthusiasm.
“-must be evaluated for the king’s banquet in two days’ time, there will of course be prominent figures from the other realms present so the highest standard must be upheld. Also you must address the petitions made by the public and then lastly your presence will be expected during the council’s assembly to deliberate with the Dwarves about their arms trade in Asgard.”
Loki hesitated before daring to question, “Is that everything, Bjólan?”
“Yes, your Highness”
Loki nodded curtly before sighing in resignation.
“It’s best I get started then” he said as he turned away, swiftly leaving the study to attend to the first of his many duties.
“Is that all our business concluded for today then, gentlemen? We are quite happy to let the Dwarves barter their wares as long as all weapons are approved by Asgard’s Arms Standard, for which a licence will be granted upon the approval of their application.”
A murmur of agreement rumbled through the room as Loki stamped the royal seal on the newly constructed settlement and shuffled the minutes into an orderly pile. Chairs scraped against the marble floor as the council members and Dwarf representatives departed, leaving Loki alone in the resonating silence.
He set the papers down on the table with a sigh and took the first moment of solitude he’d had since that morning to slump back in his chair. He let his head fall back as he kneaded his aching eyes, enjoying the silence which rung in his ears after a particularly tiring day of incessant debates and niceties. After moments of stillness, Loki pushed himself with effort to his feet and vanished the minutes on the table to the appropriate archive with a flick of his wrist.
He was finished; all duties for the day met and put to rest and Loki couldn’t have been more relieved as he left the cavernous meeting room to tread the golden halls. As he walked, he noted the vivid orange tone of the pillars and the deep shadows cast along the floor, indicating that already the young hours had grown as weary as Loki.
He turned a corner and entered through a wide arch and was met by a sparsely occupied social room, decorated in the same casual opulence as the other similar spaces scattered throughout the palace.
The Prince weaved through the thin crowd of soldiers, nobles and ladies, nodding and offering passing words of greeting which were returned in kind, and made his way to the other side of the room. Loki had his eye set on the empty balcony, of which the archway took up a good portion of the wall. Brushing past the rich red drapes, he made his way to the balustrade and took in the stunning view of Asgard, where the tall spires reached towards the sky which was stained blood and gold as the sun set behind the distant mountains.
Slowly Loki gripped the sides of his helm and eased the weight from his head, placing the horned armour piece on the wall beside him. It shone grandly in the light, and Loki brushed a finger along a smooth arch of one of the horns fondly.
He leant his elbows on the balustrade and gazed out at the city, chin propped against his palm as he allowed himself to relax after the stress of the day.
He remembered looking out over Asgard from the palace as a boy with nothing but reverence in his gaze, when his days were not filled with chores but the occasional lesson often skipped and the brawls had with his brother in the gardens below. He smiled unconsciously as he recalled the childish pranks he and Thor had played during a time when they needn’t have worried about appearing indecorous in front of the court and visiting royals; like the time they had turned every piece of armour in the palace pink. They had been scolded, but the guests had been thoroughly amused. And Odin had suited pink quite well.
Loki chuckled quietly at the memory as his eyes drifted back to his helm. His eyes softened as he studied it, recollecting a time, long, long ago, when it had not borne the weight of responsibility it did now.
”Where are we going, father?” Thor questioned, giving Odin’s hands a demanding tug as the King led his two sons through the palace.
The elder chuckled and gave each small hand tucked in his own a light squeeze. “Have patience, you will see.”
“Are we going to the weapons vault? Will I get to try and wield Mjolnir?” The blond piped up excitedly, prompting Loki to roll his eyes from Odin’s other side.
“Don’t be preposterous brother! You are not even old enough to use a proper sword!” he chided, peering around Odin to frown reproachfully at his sibling. Thor scowled and stuck out his tongue, an action Loki didn’t hesitate to return.
“In here” Odin rumbled suddenly, gesturing to a large ornate door behind which the princes had yet to venture. At the prospect of exploring the new room, both boys, argument forgotten, scampered through the doors that Odin parted for them.
“The royal armoury” Loki breathed in awe as they stopped mere feet inside the room, eyes drifting from one magnificently crafted piece of mounted armour to the next. Every metal plate and link of chainmail gleaned brightly, polished to perfection, and the two princes weaved through the displays, captivated.
Odin watched them fondly before he made his way down the center of the room, keeping an eye on each head bobbing amongst the armour.
“Boys, come here.”
At the summons, both children emerged immediately from amongst the mass of gauntlets, shields and breast plates to join Odin.
“What is it, father?” Thor queried for them both as they gazed up at their father’s sole blue eye, but he wasn’t looking at them. Curious they followed the All-Father’s gaze to the two armour stands situated side by side in the center of the room. They were splendid in colour and craft, one scaled like a silver dragon with a deep crimson wing and the other a more subtle but no less elegant piece of forest green and tasteful gold plating. Upon each stand a helm was mounted, one with sharp, ornate silver wings and the other with large, opulent golden horns.
Striding forward, Odin reached up and plucked both helmets from the stand, gesturing for his sons to follow. Slowly the awestruck princes tottered forward and found the helmets promptly placed upon their heads.
Loki’s breath caught, and with tentative fingers he reached up reverently, feeling the smooth metal beneath his fingers, sleek and cold as he followed the arch of the horns as far as he could reach. His grin was so wide he feared his face would split in two, but he pushed the too-large helmet back from his face and gazed up at Odin with wide, adoring eyes.
“Thank you father” Loki breathed, “It’s perfect.”
Thor snorted, and Loki snapped his head round to face his brother who stood smirking at him from beneath his own helmet which he had to hold above his brow. “My helm is obviously better! You look like a cow!” He laughed, causing Loki’s brow to furrow angrily.
“I do not know, brother,” Loki replied before Odin could admonish his eldest. “Yours looks a little... flighty” he smirked, magic dancing at the tips of his fingers as he gestured at Thor’s helmet.
Thor flinched and stepped back warily, having been on the receiving end of Loki’s magic enough times to know to be cautious.
“Loki, what did you d-HEY!”
With a stiff stretch and a light jerk, the wings on Thor’s helmet began to flap wildly until it lifted itself wonkily into the air and took a lopsided lap around the room, leaving a dumbfounded Thor staring after it. By the time Thor came to his senses and took up pursuit, Loki was already laughing joyously, the room echoing shortly after with the rumbles of Odin’s own merriment.
Loki grinned, despite the pang in his chest which missed and fondly remembered his childhood.
But then again he mused, as he turned with a wide grin and watched the King burst into the room, chasing after the helm which fluttered madly on sharp silver wings just out of reach. Growing up did mean it now took Thor twice as long to reclaim his flighty wayward helmet.