Fire, everywhere, flames leaping up into a once-blue sky turned black with smoke and ash, and oh, how that beautiful golden realm burned, burned so wonderfully, the gold seeming to melt in the heat.
Above it all, he stood, that fallen prince who had been scorned and cast out for his crimes, his sins so numerous they could not be counted, chief among them the traitorous serpentine lies of treason he had once woven so long ago that had ended in a brief ascension to the throne that would forever taint that realm’s light, for he had left a mark, a mark of distrust, a seed of hatred sown to take root deep down. He stood with his head held high, watching with a satisfied smirk, arms spread wide as if to welcome the destruction like the long-lost child that he was.
Below, he watched them flee, watched the armies fall, for how could they fight when they had no direction, how could they fight when their king and leader was dead, when the throne had been taken from within in the silence of night and Asgard had awakened to the dawn of a new king bathed in the blood of the royal family? Ill-prepared from a time of prosperous peace, armies once-mighty struggled under the onslaught of creatures from the deepest darkness of Yggdrasil’s roots, monstrous behemoths plowing through to devour everything in their paths, too many in number for there to be any hope of the tide turning in Asgard’s favor. They had no leader under which to unite, none willing to lead them, for their new king was a farce.
Their new king was a king that had no intention of ruling anything, his hatred for that realm ran so deep that only its destruction could ease his burdened soul that hung heavy about him like a thick shroud of misery.
And he would go down with it.
The God of Destruction, born from the God of Mischief like a phoenix rising from the ashes, turned on his heel and strode into the palace, the staff Gungnir held firm in his grip as if it belonged there. Swiftly, he followed the winding halls of his childhood, halls that had come to represent nightmares so torturous and angry that sleep became dreaded and a thing to avoid, down, down, down deeper down to the dungeons where a special cell held no one less than the beloved elder prince of Asgard, dethroned and chained in captivity, bound as they would have bound Fenrir in the tales told on Asgard of Norse Gods. The golden head stirred, blue eyes lifted to meet the dark, hateful green as Loki made his approach once the door had swung open with an ominous creak.
“Your kingdom has fallen, Odinson,” the deranged god purred, his voice a harsh echo that bounced off of the walls and surrounded Thor, sending chills down his spine as he tried his best to understand how it had come to this.
“Loki…Why have you done this…?” the prince whispered, his expression a twisted expression of agony and anger, teeth bared, eyes filled with tears. “Why, Loki?! I WANT TO KNOW WHY!” The bulk strained against the chains, but it was no use.
The dark haired one only stared down at him, unmoved, face a stony mask of satisfaction and pleasure at having the great God of Thunder at his mercy, the taste of his revenge delicious against his serpent’s tongue. He would be the one to end the thunderer, and he alone. He would enjoy it, he would savor it.
“It is futile, thunderer. Those chains could hold Fenrir the great wolf, but as you see, they hold you instead. Is that not funny? You’ve been reduced to little more than an animal, just as you would have my son reduced had fiction become reality. Oh, but thank the Norns, for you know well how the stories go, do you not?” Loki’s eyes lidded halfway as his tongue licked at his thin lips, and he could hear Asgard burning above them, burning as it had always burned in his dreams.
His eyes suddenly flew open, blazing with an unnatural, ethereal light, angry, hateful, yet desperate and despairing, a wide mix of emotions that battled for supremacy; he did not know whether he should be glad or angry or sad, and under their intense and frightening gaze, Thor recoiled. This was not his brother, this being that stood before him. This was not the Loki that he had grown up with, this vile and twisted creature. It was something more, something worse, something that dug deep down into his darkest imaginations and toyed with nightmarish monsters.
“This is our Ragnarok, brother! There is no great wolf, there is no serpent rising from the sea! There is no army of the dead, no sounding of Heimdall’s horn! THIS IS OUR RAGNAROK!” The walls shook with the force of Loki’s voice as it rose until he screamed, the floor trembled, and stone began to crumble.
“LOKI! Stop this madness!” Thor bellowed, struggling to free himself, chains rattling, and Loki was instantly upon him, long fingers tangling in the soft strands of gold, dulled in the gloom of the cell, and he yanked his head back, exposing the strong throat of the powerful god.
“…It cannot be stopped…” Loki rasped, voice cracked and dry, as a sharp knife appeared in his free hand, the staff of kings left discarded on the dry floor near the door, for he had no need of it any longer. There would be no king of Asgard. There would be no Asgard. “THIS IS MY FINAL MERCY.”
In a swift motion, Thor’s protest ended abruptly, and within seconds, Loki stood, holding the severed head of the man he had once called brother, the man that he had grown up with, played with, fought with. He held the head high, staring at it in a daze as if he could not realize what he had just done, had he truly just killed the prince, the one who had always loved him far more than anyone else had loved him?
Grief twisted his face into a horrific expression of pure, raw pain. The blade dropped to the floor as his fingers trembled, though his grip on Thor’s hair remained tight and firm. Time slowed to a crawl, each second ticking past like grains of sand, as his knees gave out and he sank to the floor. His chest grew tight, painfully tight as unwanted tears filled his eyes and spilled down his cheeks. Ever so gently, he released the hair and drew Thor’s head to his chest, pressing it tightly against his armor, his teeth bared as a low keening sound left his throat; he was rocking himself, rocking the severed head of the one being in all of the Nine Realms who had loved him no matter what he had done, loved him regardless of his true heritage, loved him unconditionally no matter how often they fought.
Then the God of Destruction began wailing, anguish pouring forth from his lips, hands clutching at the hair matted with blood, wailing and screaming until his voice cracked, his pain real and total. Power built up within him, rising, twisting and churning through his being, amplified quickly by his pain, an unstoppable force that he could not contain even had he wished to.
A final scream, and Asgard crumbled.