When a Ragnorök comes, only one survives. He is known by many names: Amdiff, Aexar, Agvil,Aullod; yet none know him by his true title.
He is Historikeren, The Historian, and he is burdened with glorious purpose. He is the one who lives through every cycle waiting for Ragnorök, yet remembering the past cycles. Were that not enough, he remembers the cultures and histories of every world whether or not it is the one he makes his home on. Historikeren finds that the knowledge simply comes to him whether it is his own or not.
When Ragnorök comes, he sits among the branches of Yggdrasil and awaits the regrowth of civilization. His eyes are always open, watching, waiting for the rebirth of his lover.
Sometimes he will visit a realm as it civilization buds and he will tell stories, stories of how past cycles have come to pass. He speaks of his own experiences and also of memories which are not his, histories imprinted into his mind against his will.
Every cycle is different, in the current cycle he watches as his lover is born into Jotunheimr and stolen away by the Asgardian King.
He goes to Jotunheimr instead of his little Loki, his lover is to young, but his home realm is not and it will serve him well to learn about this realm if only for Loki.
As he shifts into the form of a giant and his feet crunch against the floor of ice, he is pleased with his decision. He knows it is one thing to have memories of his own and another to have the memories and histories that he hasn't collected himself. No doubt Loki will appreciate a firsthand account of his former home.
He travels to the war torn capital of Jotunheimr where he encounters giants who stop him in his tracks.
"State your name and business," they growl their spears poking him in the chest.
"I am Arjin," he informs them, "I seek audience with your king."
A guard snorts, "Why would we allow one such as you, a stranger to our city, access to our king."
He has an answer ready, because knowing the history of everywhere includes knowing their laws.
"You can not deny me Hallitsija Yleisö," Arjin hisses, "Not when I have real information for Laufey-King."
"Very well," the guards allow him to pass. "But if Laufey kills you there is no one to blame but yourself."
Arjin snorts, but walks into the throne room even as his magic shrinks hm back down to his usual size. He does not remove his Jotun skin, not yet, but he knows in this aspect his short stature will help.
"Your son is not dead," Arjin calls as he enters the room where Laufey paces and Fárbauti mourns. "Simply stolen."
"Who are you to comment-" Laufey hisses only stopping when he lays eyes on Arjin and his short stature. "You are one of the Taika."
"I am," Arjin confirms despite it not being a question. In Jotunheimr any Jotunn who is not a giant is a magic user, Taika and to be held in reverence. The shorter the stature, the more magic the Taika has and thus less need for the height the others have.
Laufey motions him closer, "What do you know of my son?"
"You left him on the temple steps to be trained by other Taika, yes?" When Laufy nods Arjin continues, "From there he was taken by Odin, who will raise him as a son."
"Then we shall attack Asgard and steal my son back," Laufey snarls but he's stopped by Fárbauti's gentle hand on his arm.
"We cannot," she says, "Jotunheimr would not survive more war."
"Odin has the Casket of Ancient Winters," Arjin adds, "We would not last long at all. Instead we must leave Loptr to grow up an Æsir. He will be raised as royalty and Queen Frigga will teach him magic."
"Tell me Taika, can you guarantee my son's safety?" Laufey asks and Arjin knows he must answer truthfully.
"No, but could you even if he were here. Our world is dying, let our Prince learn to thrive."
Fárbauti sighs, "Very well than, for now we shall allow Asgard to raise our son. But you, little Taika, will one day be the one who returns to us our son."
"I hope I will be," Arjin says with a low bow.
From that moment on, he is consider High Advisor of the Royal Court. He is there to soothe Laufey and Fárbauti for many years. He watches as they birth two more sons: Helblindi and Byleister. He gather memories and histories from all the nine realms, but mostly his own home.
It's after almost a thousand years that he once again brooches the subject of Loki with the King and his consort. This time however it is in the much more comfortable setting of a family dinner. Young Helblindi and Byleister are excused and Arjin turns to the royal couple.
"The time has come to begin the process of introducing Loki to Jotunheimr."
Laufey's turns his wine glass in his hand, "How do you suggest we do that?"
"Send a delegation of Jotnar to Asgard," He suggests, "After negotiating with Odin of course. Tell him you tire of tensions between our realms, and you wish to begin and sooth them."
"Then, should he accept, who do I send? I can not go myself." Laufey growls.
"I will go," Arjin informs him.
Fárbauti shakes her head, "You are Taika, we can not send you before outsiders."
Arjin's fingers tap along the table. He knows far better than most others how closely guarded the revered Taika can be. Still, he wishes to go and see his lover.
"I will not go as myself." He offers, "They need not know who I am. I can take on an Æsir skin."
"Perhaps," Laufey mutters. "No doubt it would make the fools more comfortable to see pale skin amount the crowd of blue."
It takes only nine more days of convincing for Laufey to send a courier to Odin. Within a mere three years arrangements are made for Arjin to arrive in Asgard.
"I am to send Helbindi with you," Laufey says the night before Arjin's departure. "Odin demands that if Jotnar are to be near Asgard's princes than one of Jotunheimr's princes must be near Æsir."
Arjin's eyes flit over to Laufey quickly, "You refrained from mentioning that he already has our lost Prince, correct?"
"Of course," Fárbauti chimes in, "We are not fools Arjin, we know Odin only lets our delegation come because he believes us ignorant."
"Then send Helblindi along," Arjin agrees, "I will care for him."
The next day the delegation gathers outside the palace grounds. It is a small group, only Arjin, Helblindi, and three guards. They have only just finished their goodbyes when the Bifrost's light comes and carries them off to Asgard.
Arjin is in his natural, tan skinned form by time they're deposited on the Rainbow Bridge. Behind him, he feels the guard shift in shock, and he almost smiles. Perhaps, when he had shown this form to Helblindi he should have also shows the guards. They had been told of course, but seeing is believing.
"Welcome to Asgard," a voice says and Arjin looks up to see Odin appearing. "Who is the Head Delegate?"
"I am Arjin-Head Delegate," he says stepping forwards and giving a small bow. Then he gestures besides himself, "May I present to you Prince Helblindi Laufeyson."
Introductions take off from there as Odin introduces them to the royal family. Arjin watches in boredom until Odin reaches his youngest son.
"Prince Loki Odinson," he says and Arjin's eyes latch onto the man. There is not doubt in his mind that this is his Loki reborn once again. "He will be your guide to your chambers. I presume the guards will be staying with those they're assigned to protect."
"You are correct," Arjin answers even as Odin mounts his horse and prepares to leave.
"We shall feast later tonight," Ofun announces as his wife and Thor both mount their steeds. "For now, please make yourselves comfortable in your chambers."
Then Odin rides off closely followed by the rest of his family sans Loki.
The delegation finally sets off towards the city of Asgard, Helblindi and Arjin walking side by side with Loki as the guards trail behind.
"Where do you hail from," Loki asks quietly, "Since it is obviously not Jotunheimr."
Helblindi in mind, Arjin answers, "Jotunheimr is my home."
"That is not an answer to my question," Loki says his eyes narrows and filled with curiosity as he takes in the man who came with the Jotnar.
Arjin shrugs, "It is an answer all the same. Perhaps you did not ask the right question."
"I feel that there are many questions to ask about you, Arjin No Man's Son." Loki stops in front of a door and faces Helblindi. "These are you chambers Prince Helblindi, there are linens for your guards to use as well."
"Thank you, Prince Loki," Helblindi says and Arjin wonders what he would act like if he knew that Loki was his brother.
Helblindi enters his room and Arjin watches Loki's face as all three guards peel off to follow him. The shock is well hidden, but there and Arjin has to struggle to conceal his smile at that. It appears Loki has yet to learn to expect anything is possible.
"Why does the prince need so many guards," Loki wonders as he leads Arjin to his room.
"He is young, not even nine hundred years," Arjin hesitates before adding, "And if his parents worry for him, it is no surprise after the fate of their first born."
Loki's sharp eyes take over him, "I thought he was their firstborn?"
"Perhaps that is what they say in Asgard, but all of Jotunheimr knows the firstborn of Laufey and Fárbauti was lost in the war with Asgard."
"I did not know," Loki murmurs, "It was not mentioned in any of the histories I have read."
"It would not be," Arjin responds as they come to a stop, "Jotnar are private beings."
"These are your chambers," Loki informs him pushing the door open. "Tell me, why do you have no guards?"
"I need none," Arjin answers.
Loki's brow raises, "Then it is not because you're not a Jotun and thus aren't as important."
"No," Arjin laughs, "Trust me when I say I am just as important as the prince."
"I suppose we shall see," Loki says before turning on his heel and marching off.
Arjin flips back on his bed and considers it a good beginning. He knows his lover's natural curiosity, knows it will bring Loki back to him.
That evening it is Thor who collects the delegation. He is brash and thick headed and wastes the trip yammering about war stories instead of attempting to gather information.
On the way from Arjin's room to Helblindi's he is brave enough to utter the words, "When I am King there will be no need for peace talks, Jotunheimr will bow before us or I will destroy them.l
"Careful boy," Arjin growls, "I may not be appear a Jotun, but that is still my home you speak of. Say another ill word towards it and I shall rip out your tongue, peace talks be damned. After all, what's the point of them when I know I cannot trust the next King to uphold any treaties we form."
After a long welcome feast, it is Loki who leads them back to their chambers. There is a faint smile on his face, "I hear you put Thor in his place."
"He is a fool who did not consider that despite my skin color, Jotunheimr is my home." Arjin says his eyes flitting to Helblindi who has a faint smile.
"I am glad to see such a bond between the Frost Giants and you," Loki says, "It brings me hope for Asgard's ties with Jotunheimr."
"If you wish to have stronger ties," Helblindi interrupts, "You should begin by seizing to use the term Frost Giants, it is offensive. We are Jotnar."
"I can see I have much to learn," Loki replies, "Thank you for the correction, Prince Helblindi."
"You are most welcome, Prince Loki." The Jotun responds before he leaves them for his room.
"Tell me," Loki begins when it is jus him and Arjin, "How did Jotunheimr lose their first prince? The fact that you mentioned the war helps me guess, but how did the Æsir ever get near him?"
"To tell you, would be to tell you the secrets of my people, and I don't believe you are ready for that." Arjin's eyes search Loki's face. "No, right now you would be all to willing to run off and tell your father. This is a story for when you earn my trust."
Loki smiles slightly, "Then I shall endeavor to do so."
After that night, Loki seeks him out daily. Often he will be waiting for Arjin after a meeting with Odin and they will walk about the palace talking. A friendship forms, one that Loki hadn't expected (Arjin has seen this happen far to many times to expect anything else).
Helblindi is not blind and he notices the growing affection between Loki and Arjin, "What do you tell him Arjin-Mentor? Which of our secrets do you spill?"
"None," Arjin answers eyes filled with rage, "Do not think me a traitor. I have told him nothing of importance, he knows nothing even of Taika who need not be a secret!"
"Arjin-Mentor, you must be careful," Helblindi cautions. "He is still an Æsir, he would slaughter us all."
"Perhaps, student of mine, it would do you well to remember which of us is the advisor," Arjin says. Then his gaze softens and he pulls Helblindi in for a hug. "I am being careful. I know, better than most, what Loki is capable of."
And so life goes on, meetings with Odin continue in which Arjin attempts to regain The Casket of Ancient Winters and Odin refutes him. While it angers Helblindi, Arjin does not care, he knows Loki is the true mission here.
"Odin is a fool," Loki says after several months of friendship, "If he listened to you, he would realize the Jotnar are not the monsters he believes."
"He will not listen," Arjin says immediately, "But it is not what he believes that concerns me. Tell me Loki, what do you think of my people?"
"I think they are a mystery," Loki answers, "I think they are like you, I do not know nearly enough, yet I find myself intrigued. I wish I could see for myself the world you've described."
Arjin is pleased enough by the words to not even think of consequences as he leans in to kiss Loki. He's pleased when Loki doesn't stop to think either, instead teleporting them to his chambers.
Later when they are both tired and simply lying in Loki's bed, Arjin speaks, "I willing tell you now, how the Æsir found our first prince."
"I hardly think this is the appropriate setting," Loki says quietly.
Arjin sounds tired when he speaks, "Loki. You know I have a reason for telling you now."
The prince goes quiet, "Then tell me."
"First I must explain to you an unknown part of Jotunheimr's culture. There are some Jotnar who other realms view as runts. We see them as our most valued treasures; you see, the smaller a Jotun the more magic they have. They do not require a large size to defend themselves. These magic users are called Taika and are raised in our temples to learn magic. Our lost prince was Taika and he was left at a temple to be trained. Little did Laufey know the Æsir would come and slaughter everyone at a holy temple."
Loki kisses him gently, "Thank you for telling me."
And that is the start of their forbidden romance.
Nobody notices, no one sees how sometimes their garden walks end with them teleporting elsewhere, or shoving each other into small nooks where they can kiss and touch without worry.
But nothing can last forever, and one day it all falls apart.
"You are a fool Odinson if you think this will weaken my father," Helblindi's voice says and Arjin and Loki both brace themselves as the approach. "All you do is bring war upon the nine realms."
Thor, Sif, and the Warriors Three, that is what they see. Each warrior has a weapon against a Jotun's throat, Sif with Helblindi himself. Thor stands before the prince waving Mjolnir threateningly.
"Oh Thor," Arjin sighs, "I had hoped it wouldn't come to this."
Helblindi's eyes widen, "Arjin-Mentor, do not reveal yourself-"
Then Arjin snaps his fingers and all the Jotnar are gone. Taika, Loki thinks as he stares at the obvious use of magic and blue bleeds onto Arjin's skin.
"I promised Laufey I'd take care of Helblindi." Arjin explains as he approaches Thor. "If that means dealing with you, so be it."
Thor laughs, "What can you do? You're a runt among your own kind, all you have a parlor tricks."
Not a runt, Loki thinks, Taika. Even as he watches Arjin begins to grow. Soon he is even larger than an average frost giant.
"I don't need parlor tricks to fight you little boy," Arjin thunders before he turns to Loki. "Bring Odin, someone will need to stop me from killing Thor."
Loki runs to do as he is told, he has no desire to watch as his lover- his Jotun lover how had he not seen it- fights his brother.
Odin is in the throne room and when he hears what is happening he is quick to follow Loki. They arrive right as Thor cracks Mjolnir across Arjin's skull and the giant slumps to the ground.
He is dead, Loki can tell even from here.
"No," he yells in time with Odin, though for different reasons he knows.
"You fool," Odin says as he shakes Thor.
"Fool?" Thor asks, "Father, I defeated him!"
They both look over at the body which has already shrunk back down to its normal size. Odin shakes his head.
"He let you, and now there will be another war upon us."
There is a loud crack, the sound of ice breaking and when Loki turns to face where Thor and Odin's eyes rest he sees Laufey-King. He can not find the energy within him to be intrigued, not as he stares at Arjin's body.
"You are a fool, Odinson," Laufey says and he sounds tired. "You have begun a war neither of us can stop."
"Control your people and there need be no war," Thor spits, "Frost Giant."
"You've brought ruin upon yourself," Loki shocks himself by saying. Thor's eyes flit to him and in them he can see disappointment. No doubt he had expected Loki's support. "Arjin was Taika!"
Laufey studies him curiously, but not in anger, "Loki-Prince is correct. Arjin was Taika and the others will not stand for his death. You've brought a war you can not win. The last time out realms fought, our Taika were trained as healers, after you slaughtered their temples they taught themselves war magic. There is no way for you to win this time. You have slaughtered one of their own."
"It is his own fault," Thor grumbles.
"Silence," Odin bellows and Thor blanches as he notices his father is actually angry. "Laufey-King, what can we do to sooth the souls of the Taika?"
"There is nothing-" Laufey spits but Loki cuts him off.
"The Casket of Ancient Winters."
Both Laufey and Odin turn to him, and he continues, "Thor killed a powerful political figure. He's a member of the court, Taika, a delegate, and he gave his life for Helblindi-Prince. Nothing less will satisfy them."
"Then so it shall be," Odin mutters, "The Jotnar will be given their casket."
Arjin watches from where he is seated upon Yggdrasil's branches. Initially it had not been his plan to fake his death, he wanted to kill Thor, but that would not endear his lover to him or the Jotnar. Instead he sent Loki away so he would not watch his apparent demise and he allowed Thor to swing Mjolnir against his temple.
He watches Odin hand over The Casket of Ancient Winters before turning away. Mentally, he reviews the recent histories of all nine realms. He already knows where he will go, Midgard is not likely to have any visitors from other realms and make it probable for him to be recognized. Still, it never hurts to check and so he looks into his collection of memories. Earth, as the natives call it, has recently had its Great War, the war to end all wars they call it. He knows they are wrong, already he can see the slow rise of power for a man called Adolf Hitler.
With a change in appearance (he figures it's safer to go at least a while without using his natural form), he goes to Midgard, takes up the mantle Howard Stark and begins to build weapons.