The war had lasted centuries beyond its prophesied end. Decades had passed and thousands upon thousands had been sent to the after life by the time it was finished. The king victorious took a breath of relief as he caught the first glimpse of his palace gleaming in the glorious sunlight. The tall spires seemed to welcome him home. The long road stretched out before the king and his horse strode across the rough ground like smoke.
His army marched exhausted yet proud behind him. The men smiled and talked among themselves as they marched holding off their fatigue till the time was right and they were home. There were less than two thousand marching now. Most had returned to their family's as soon as they were able. The king himself wished only to see his family again, and begrudged no man that desire. Now that the war was over there was no need for brooding faces and the king himself smiled and spoke of lighthearted subjects with his generals as they moved. The conquering solders were in a strict conflict with the defeated soldiers marching with them. The prisoners hung their heads low and shuffled along creating a dull music with the chains they bore. The conquered king lead the small hoard of defeated solders with his head held high and fierce determination despite the dark blood that still leaked down his face. His young son following closely by his side, trying to mimic the proud stance of his father.The boy flinched every time one of the guards bumped into him or shouted to keep in line. There were story’s that the boy was a bastard, Mother by a powerful sorceress. Not that the king cared much, but he did find it interesting that the boy would be brought along to the final battle. Perhaps he had wanted to prove himself to his father, or the queen had insisted the boy be sent with the army. It would not be the first time war was used as an a weapon against unwanted children. It could be both, or something completely different. The king felt sorry for the boy, he was about the age as his own son. The young prince looked around at his smiling captors like he expected them to suddenly drop their cheerful manner and become cold and cruel. He knew what the boy was thinking about. During war there were always stories of the enemy’s barbaric ways and the undesirable consequences of being captured. Victory had been hard won and the men looked forward to the spoils of it. However it had been made perfectly clear that the king would kill any man that forced himself on any that did not wish it. The followers camp was well stocked with whores both male and female, and the king was pleased at the control him men showed in the midst of blood lust.
The war had taken many things from his people. The greatest city on their planet had been reduced to little more than rubble in the enemy’s attack. The greatest secret their planet held had been built up to protect the Innocent. The newly built palace sat at the top of the mountain like a diamond. The city spiraled down the slopes in elegant curved roads and strings of elegant house. The wall that enclosed the city was tall and strong. Before the war there had been no such need to create prisoners of citizens, but as with everything else that had change. There was great celebration as they marched through the gates. The women and children cheered and shouted for the conquering heroes. The procession winded its way to the great palace. The happy shout of family’s reuniting brought a smile to the face of the king. This war had killed many (far too many in his opinion.) good loyal men and women. They halted before the crown room to allow those that did not absolutely need to be there to go rejoin their family's. The only thing on the royal mind was getting inside to find his own family. He knew his wife would be waiting for him on the throne he had left in her safe keeping, and hopefully his youngest son who had been wounded would be able to come greet him. However he moved among his men talking and laughing with them as was his duty. One of his officers presents him with a new child. The king holds the energetic boy, smiling at him and his parents. They tell him how glad they are to be home and how proud they are to have served both their king and their world. They speak of light and sure topics as the army dispels, leaving the guards for the prisoners and the kings royal escort. The doors fly open and the kings heart almost breaks with happiness. The king marched into the hall followed by his entourage surrounded by the cheers and shouts of civilians that line the walls. There on the thrown sits his queen and wife, looking as beautiful as he remembered and made even more so for his absence from her side. Standing next to her at the right side of the thrown is his son, his arm was still in a sling but the smile that graced his face at the sight of his father was bright and happy.
“Laufey.” The queen called jumping out of the thrown and rushing to her husband with less grace than befitted a queen, but all the passion that befitted a wife. She threw her arms around him and pulled him close.
“Farbauti! I have missed you.” Abandoning his oath to keep his dignity he grabbed his wife around the waist and twirled her around in a circle lost for a moment in his joy. He returned her to the ground, turning to find his last and youngest son standing a few feet away smiling at the pair and shaking his head.
“Loki! I have missed you also.” Laufey clasped his son on the shoulder and bent down to press their foreheads together. His son may not be the son of his queen, but he still loved him with all his heart. He looked back at his army and was surprised to find the eyes of Odin and his son on Laufey’s small family. Odin had a calculating gaze that even with one eye made Laufey unconsciously shift in font of Farbauti. He had always disliked the way Odin looked at those around him. The Aesir king watch everyone as thought he was constantly estimating how much use he could get out of them, even his wife and children. It made Laufey uneasy and protective. His gaze fell next on the son of Odin whose blue eyes kept flickering from the floor to Loki. For all the wind and sky Laufey could not remember the boys name, but the flush that was faintly creeping up his pink face left little doubt about his estimation of the young jotun.
“Father? The people. You should address them.” His son smiled at him as he tilted his head to the doors where people had gathered. Even from where he was he could see the smiled of the people as they watched their king greet his family.
“The people can wait. You are healing well, you look almost fully recovered. Your eyes are a little cloudy.”
“Yes the horse had strong legs. There were points were we thought we might lose him. It is a good thing he had a head of rock. It is as hard for it to break as it is to compromise.” Farbauti touched both their shoulders and smiled down at them. Tightening her grip as Laufey shuddered. The image of his sons broken body was one that he would no doubt dread to see in his dreams. He had charged Loki to help his older brother Byleist take the Asgardian out post on the cracked plains. Byleist was a strong warrior, but was foolish and arrogant in strategy. The kings hope had been that the two would benefit from the partnership, and for a short time that seemed to be the case, with Loki’s brain and Byleist’s brawn they took the outpost and three others that were nearby. They were set upon a few nights later when they traveled back to give their reports. Laufey had found them the next day, Loki still clutching a spear trying to protect his brothers body. Laufey had not shed a single tear until he was sure that Loki was alive. His anger had blinded him in a way that he had not experienced before. Only a few short months ago he had lost his other true born son: Helbindi was a cruel child, selfish and determined to make the lives around him difficult. Laufey could not say he had loved all his children equally, but he did love all his children and the loss of both had angered him to the point of careless action. Seeing Loki bloody and broken left to gasp out his last breaths alone in unimaginable agony surrounded by the corpses of his kin. Laufey had ordered that the men responsible be found and killed. He offered a reward for the heads of those that had killed one son and almost killed another. It was the most barbaric thing he had ever done in war. Gold for flesh. He was ashamed. Yes, but every time he thought of Loki he knew that the message he sent would never be something he regrets: ‘Touch my family your life ends in pain and terror.’
“ I am less thickheaded than I was. However if you preferred it, I am sure I could accommodate you.”
“By the moons no. I remember the arguments you and your father would have when you were a child. I will not be responsible for that sort of return.” Laufey stiffly got to his feet leaning a bit heavily on Loki, just to watch the pride his son displayed at the chance to help his father. He took a step away from his family and turned to face the hall, now full with onlookers ready for the celebration to continue.
“People of Jotunheim. The armies of Asgard have been vanquished. Those that seek to destroy our world will think twice before they attempt it again. We have lost many fine and noble warriors. We honor them.” The crowd bowed their collective heads in memory of those fallen. The prisoners fell still and silent no doubt awaiting punishment for having killed those that were being honored.
“Let the celebrations begin!” Laufey drew his family close and quickly making their way into the the dinning hall. Loki pulled away from his father with a smile telling him to go enjoy the feast, his duty was to see to the prisoners and he would return when they had been seen to. The king and Queen both watched with pride at Loki leading the prisoners and guards out of the halls and up to the keep. Farbauti took his hand and lead him to his seat at the high table.
“He is mature for his age. So much more than me when I was his age.”
“He is so much of a man. I sometimes think he grew up to fast.”
“He got into plenty of trouble.”
“Very little of it was instigated by him and you know it.” Farbauti shook her head remembering the antics the three bothers got into.
“Yes. Though I believe you and Loki were responsible for many meals that went missing from the kitchen.” He smiled at his wife's mischievous guilt. “It gladdened my heart when you two became friends.” A shadow passed over the queens face as she remembered.
she had been angry. She had not expected Laufey to not avail himself of the pleasures of the followers camp while he was away, but when he brought back a small boy that he proclaimed as his son, it was not a insult she would bare lightly. The boy was young and small. He looked absolutely terrified of everything around him. His innocence and the way he clutched at Laufey’s hand only made her rage bun the hotter. For the first few months she would rant and rage at Laufey, calling him every deplorable name she could think of and making up a few for good measure. She could tell that Loki wanted to please her yet was terrified to come near. She was not proud of the pleasure she took in his fear. One day as they were eating dinner the two older boys, started teasing Loki. They spoke of how small and frail he was, he would never be much good as a warrior. He might do to work in the kitchens, but no, he had no endurance. Laufey had been dragged away on some matter or another, and it was Farbauti’s responsibility to tell them off however to her everlasting shame she encouraged them to continue. In the back of her mind he hoped Loki would ask Laufey to let him go back to his mother, wherever she was. They spoke of how his skin was pail and almost green, how his eyes were more pink than red. How his markings where thin and practically nonexistent. How in fact if Laufey had not declared it, they would not have been sure he was even a jotun. At this point Loki ran from the room with tears streaming down his face. Farbauti did not want to go after him, but she knew that Laufey would return soon and if Loki was not there they would all be in for a stern lecture. It took her longer than she thought it would to find him. He was just outside the palace siting on a small hill. The tears that still ran down his face mixed with the blood on his chest and arms. Farbauti clapped a hand to her mouth in horror and rushed to the small boys side. He gasped and pulled away in a panic, with the knife he had used to deepen his markings still clutched in his hand. Farbauti felt sick to her stomach as she brought him to the healers. She had tried to comfort him until he passed out from the pain of having his wounds cleaned. She sat by his bed as he slept and felt sick at what she had done. The boy had never asked for this. He had no doubt been devastated to leave his mother and only allowed it for the love of his father. He had come to this strange new world and been met with nothing but rage, contempt and hate. She looked at the small pail boy and remembered how she had felt when she was first married to Laufey. They loved one another from the moment they talked, but until that moment Farbauti was determined to climb out the window and run away she was so scared. Loki was her son, maybe not by blood, but she would make sure that he knew she would always be his mother. It had taken almost a year for Loki to feel comfortable in her company, and a year after that for him to look her in the eye when she told him she loved him, but eventually they managed it. When the word came that Loki’s birth mother had died. He curled up on his fathers lap and let Farbauti brush his hair and sing him songs till he fell asleep. After that the two had been inseparable. Their love of magic kept them in the great library for days on end. They walked the roots of Yggdrasil. Visiting many worlds and many people. Going to the realm of the dark dwarfs and having them make Loki a spear of his own that would return to him and cut thorough any armor, as well as a set of throwing knives that would never miss their target. Both king and queen remember the day, where Loki came charging into the room with his new weapons shouting happily about their beauty and balance. He sat himself on his fathers lap and made him examine each one offering praise for each. The King and queen had looked at one another and realized that this child was more like them that either of their biological borne ones.