She had asked herself that very same question numerous times in her life. It was ever present in her mind. It reverberated through her skull like the echoes of his whispers in the night. It was a question she had asked herself when her thoughts returned to him, as they often did. She could never escape thoughts of him. And even then, after everything, she wasn’t sure that she wanted to.
The first time she had been asked that question it had been in the exact same place. The only difference was the circumstances that lead to the question. The first time she had felt very confused and shocked, and somewhere beneath all of that was an emotion she couldn’t quite make sense of. Elation.
The very last time she heard those words uttered with the same tone, though laced with much more venom. She felt a similar confusion and shock in her gut, but instead of elation, the emotion she felt was deep and penetrating and burned at every inch of the life she had lived. It was fear and grief.
The throne of Asgard was vast and intimidating as she stepped across the gleaming stone floors. Her footsteps tapped and echoed through the deathly silent, and nearly empty hall. The royal family waited for her at the towering golden throne. All eyes were on her as she twisted her fingers in her hands and nervously tried to steady her breathing, so as not to faint from the nerves.
She had never had a reason to meet the royal family before then. The king and queen were loved in her home. The young princes were adventurous and playful, and she had admired them from afar. She never thought they knew her at all. Her family had never been in any trouble. They had never required the attention of the king before now. The princes were far too busy and important for them.
And so she stood before the large and intimidating chair with her fingers twisted and her mind whirring. She was still wearing her wedding dress, with golden bangles, silk shoes, and the gauzy lace fabric swishing softly around her body.
“Lady Sigyn,” the king spoke as she held her breath and kept her eyes on him. The others watched her, and it was difficult for her to avoid them. Notably, the pair of green eyes that she knew were watching her with a smile she had only seen once. He was the playful prince. The trickster. And he had tricked her in the worst way he could have. He had potentially taken all chances of her family’s future from them. But in spite of that, she was strangely glad that he had.
“Yes, your majesty?” she replied.
“I would first like to offer my sincerest apologies for the unfortunate events that ruined the joyous day you had been promised.”
She nodded her head, feeling her fingers tremble, and shot a glance at the queen at his side. Her eyes were as warm as honey, and she gave the girl a nod of encouragement. As if she could see right through her nerves and down to the very core of her where that relief and joy was swirling and growing with every second.
“Forgive me for asking,” the king continued. Sigyn nodded to show that she was listening. He spoke the first of many questions that would haunt her for the rest of her life. “Did you know?”
That was the moment she chose to glance at the man who had devastated her betrothal. The man had used magic that had been taught to him by his mother, to disguise himself as her would-be-husband, the man who would have kept her family safe and secure. He took that man’s form, and as she spoke her vows to him, she actually said them to the prince of Asgard.
He stood on the golden steps that lead to his father’s throne. The horns of his helmet shined like the glimmer of deviousness in his emerald eyes. He wore that smile on his lips. Like the smirk of a child who had successfully completed the ultimate prank.
She wanted to hate him for what he had done to her. For taking that life from her and her family, but in his own way he had saved her from something. A loveless marriage arranged for convenience and comfort and nothing more. Although being married to a prince of Asgard would be far better for her future than a soldier, she was still trapped in a marriage based on a trick and a lie. There was no love and devotion in his eyes. She turned her gaze back to the king who stared down at her with one cold and distrustful eye.
“No, your majesty. I have never met the prince before today, to my knowledge at least. And I had no prior knowledge of his scheme.”
The king’s gaze flicked to his son, and his mouth was set in a stern straight line. There was a frightening anger on his features, and she felt dread in the pit of her stomach. She did not want the trickster prince to be punished for what he had done.
“Loki,” the All-father spoke in a sharp tongue. “What do you have to say for the crime you have committed against this poor girl?” Sigyn turned her eyes to the golden steps at her feet. She could not face him. I did not want to see him as he spoke about what he had done.
“I was merely taken by her beauty, Father,” the prince said smoothly as he stepped toward the king and stood much closer to his bride. “I acted, not of reprisal, but of love.” Sigyn held her breath again because though his words were spoken with a tone of sincerity, she knew him to be silver-tongued.
“You acted like a fool!” the King shouted as he rose from his throne and unsettled the ravens perched at his sides. His scepter pointed at his son. His rage was palpable, and if Sigyn did not know her place and her manners she would have fled in terror. “And you shall be punished as such!” he spat.
His staff slammed against the golden floor, and the ravens shook their feathers. Sigyn felt the vibrations of the strike in her legs all the way at the bottom of the steps. His eye burned with fury and his plan for punishment. She could see it even before he spoke. Odin’s favorite form of punishment was banishment, and she twisted her fingers as she thought about what that would mean for Loki.
But it was Frigga who spared her accidental husband from his father’s rage. She reached out, and her gentle hand gripped his arm. Not like a queen, but as a mother protecting her son and whispering sense into her husband’s ear.
“Odin,” she spoke under her breath like a lover, not caring about using his name so intimately in the presence of a subject. The tension drained from his shoulders. His face relaxed. This was a man who had married for love. And Frigga had done nothing but love him in return. “He is a boy,” she reminded him.
“He is a fool!” the man retorted.
“A fool, yes, but a boy nonetheless. And he is your son. Perhaps you should ask the girl what she wishes instead of making a hasty decision.”
Sigyn’s heart began to race despite her attempts at controlling her breathing. She returned her eyes to the all-father and twisted her fingers once again. Loki stood several feet before her. She did not focus on him, but she could see him in her vision, and he seemed so calm and collected in the presence of his father’s rage. His hand rested at his side with his fingers outstretched, almost as if at any moment she might reach out and grasp his hand.
“Lady Sigyn,” the king spoke again. “What would you have us to do right the wrong that my son has caused you and your family?” She felt her tongue go dry as it stuck to the roof of her mouth. Frigga turned her warm eyes on the girl again and gave her the same reassuring smile once more. She knew. All along she knew that Loki had saved her from a loveless marriage.
“Your Majesty,” she said, pushing through the sickness in her throat. She stepped up, itching to reach out and take those outstretched fingers. “Your son has committed a terrible act. But I believe his intentions were far from malicious. And though he is not my husband by choice, he is my husband regardless.”
The man thought this over as he returned to his seat on the throne. All along he must have believed her betrothal to Theoric had been one made of love. He had thought that Loki had taken love from this poor girl. And now he sat, debating his trust in her. Perhaps the crown and title were more appealing to her than the simple life Theoric had offered. Perhaps she was just as sneaky as his son and the two of them had planned it from the start. But his eye returned to her, and she gulped through the lump in her throat.
He spoke the question that she would hear again and again in her life. The question that she would continue to ask herself until her dying breath.
“After all that he has done, you will remain loyal to him?” the question was spoken out of love for his son. Perhaps admiration for her for refusing to leave her husband’s side even though he was never meant to be her husband at all. Maybe it was intended to test her or test Loki’s love for her.
“Yes,” she said as she took a few steps up and reached for the hand that seemed to have been waiting for her. His fingers, much longer than hers, wrapped around her, and she felt the chill of his skin but the warmth of his touch. “Yes,” she repeated. “I made my vows to him, even if I did not know it was he I made them to. And I will remain loyal to him.” It was a promise, and Loki’s hand tightened around hers in response.
“Very well,” the All-father spoke in a whisper. He returned his eye to his son, but the relief was evident on his aging face. “I hope you understand the seriousness of what you have done. You may have your bride, but you will be loyal to her so long as she is loyal to you. Understood?” The prince nodded his head, the horns of his helmet caught on the light and shined. She couldn’t help but think of how kingly he looked standing above her.
“Yes, Father,” he spoke.
She kept her promise and remained by his side, year after year, lie after lie. And those would never cease to haunt her.
*Screams at self* What are you doing?!
*Reasons with self* Its for a contest, I swear!
So yeah, here I am with another contest entry. I can't guarantee how often I'll update since I'm basically making this shit up as I go. But I hope you guys like it anyway? And please feel free to point out inconsistencies.