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Ritual Masks

Author: ciaranbochna
Characters: Loki, Yggdrasil, OC
Fandom: Avengers movieverse
Length: 821 words
Disclaimer: I own neither the characters nor the world of the Marvel universe

Warnings: Grief, self-destructive behavior, mental instability
A/N: Another prompt from the  comment_fic archive -  It only hurts.  A friend and I were mentioning recently that when we have no spoons to deal with reality, our characters spoons lend us strength to deal with our own. Of late, this has never been more true.


Ragged grooves are carved into the arms of the all-father’s rebuilt throne.  The architects do not know they appeared, and are wise enough not to ask questions of the king.

He can tell them, but that would be breaking character. As entertaining as that would be, the time has not come.

Using Hagalaz to destroy Odin’s—his—throne is petty. He is never petty. Cunning, destructive, chaotic—all of these. Never petty. There is a reason for everything is does, or fails to do. The colour of his rage has not settled on a form as yet.

Carving the throne is a temporary release. Sometimes he tastes stars, meteor dust. The dust on books in the library. Cinnamon and steel. Her hair smelled of…

For a moment he feels the pulse of his heart. Realizes the rune has drawn a path into his thigh. He watches the blood stain his leggings and colour the armour above it. He murmurs another spell and the wound disappears. The illusion extends over his leg. The room clouds with grey—or he does.

“Leave me.” The guards hesitate, bow, and leave the room.

The line he walks is thin. The strain of acting wears on him some days. This game is not distracting enough.

***
Her room is cool. Silent. Deep blue curtains conceal the bed. Fur rugs covers the grey and black stone near it. There are high-backed chairs with green brocade seats in front of the fire. It burns, but he feels no heat. His nails are black, his flesh blue. He sees the whorls over his skin.

On the mantle above the fire sit a collection of metal trinkets.

He sways on his feet as he realizes the work is his. Before the tree pendant he gave his mother there were other attempts. He had thrown them in the scrap heat in the cave where his forge was hidden. Most he had melted down, unable to stand the sight. But a few had remained, tumbled with lumps of meteor. He sees a crude leaf now, a star with too many points, a lopsided raven with wings of different sizes and eyes too large.  He drops into one of the chairs, realizing what else hovers on the end of the mantle.

No one but he and mother could see them (though Odin may have an outside chance).  Spells are not visible to most, but the energy can be trapped if you have enough skill. He didn’t when he first wrote the spells held above him, but Frigga did. Why she would keep such flawed, pathetic…

He coughs, crumpling over, trying to squeeze air past his closing throat. He stares at the spells on the mantle. Their energy is erratic, shifting constantly. The runes fade in and out. If he had used such a spell to vanish, his limbs might have been torn off. Youth was no excuse.

She. Kept. Them all. She always knew where his forge was, had visited him more than he wished (but he didn’t turn her away). She sullied her hands digging out his failures. Somehow trapped his faltering spells even as he had banished them.

In the past, it was so easy to use the shadows around Thor. To ride them into the dark. Invisible to father, everyone. To the eye of Odin’s disappointment. Pity.

His jaw cracks. He gets up and moves to the window. Thor created shadows by the light of his presence. It was always easy for Loki to use the darkness, skim the edges until he wanted to be seen. If he ever did. Does.

His fingers sink into the stone of the window sill. A word and he feels his tongue start to bleed. Perhaps he has done too much today. He gathers a palm full of stone, malleable as snow.

Mother carried the first shield he made for her and the copy of Yggdrasil on the ship that bore her into the void.

We can take you to her, when the time comes. The path is never lost to us.

Yggdrasil and Borghild’s voices keep his skull from breaking. His vision dims again. The spell on his leg falters. Kneecaps crack as he hits the stone floor. No rug beneath the window—bit of an oversight. He laughs and cannot stop.

There is a knock at the door.

“Sire?”

He feels their strength trickle into him on the wind. Remembers to use Odin’s voice.

“Fine. Return to the throne room and await me there.”

He waits until the footsteps recede.

His back is pressed to the floor. The cold travels up his legs. He sighs. Reaches a hand and buries it in the rug near the bed. His fingers trail in the fur. Cinnamon, armour oil, steel.

Yggdrasil and Borghild embrace him with silence. Loki challenges the quiet around him. Until darkness swallows his mother’s room and drowns him deep.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
caffienekitty
May. 5th, 2014 04:20 am (UTC)
Of course she kept them *flails*
ciaranbochna
May. 5th, 2014 02:12 pm (UTC)
Indeed:)
lurkingwombat
May. 5th, 2014 06:16 am (UTC)
Nice.
ciaranbochna
May. 5th, 2014 02:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )