|nishka//loki (nishka) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-05-19 15:52:00
|Entry tags:||hod, loki|
Ormen ligg i kveile, i løyndom vakar under
Who: Loki and Hodr
What: Loki comes to ‘comfort’ poor Hodr after the death of his brother.
When: After the death of Balder
Loki walked through the halls of Asgard, purposeful, on his way to the dungeons. He'd had his turn down there before, and it was a refreshing change not to be led there in chains this time. His smile was sickeningly sweet as he acknowledged the guards, though he was sure their presence was unnecessary. Of all the people who could be held here, Hodr was the least likely to ever attempt escape.
He opened the door to the boy’s cell, more of a comfortable room than he'd been granted while he'd been here, and slipped silently inside.
It took time for his sharp blue eyes to adjust to the dark in the room, and even longer to find its only other occupant in that darkness. “Hodr,” he sighed sadly, “ohh, Hodr, what have they done to you?” His voice was soft, soothing, like fine velvet in the dark space between them. He truly did not enjoy to see his nephew like this, and a small pang of something twinged in him. It was almost like guilt, if he had indeed ever experienced such an emotion.
Hodr didn't need to wait for a voice to know who his visitor was. No one else that he knew brought that chill, lowering the temperature of their surroundings everywhere they went. It was more than likely most of the other Aesir never noticed it at all, but Hodr -relying on nose and ears and skin- had learned to be attuned to small differences.
He rolled over to face the newcomer, but otherwise remained curled on the bed, a ball of grief and pain. His judgement was official now, hence the move to a more formal sort of captivity, and now all that was left was waiting. Only a son of Odin was fit to kill a fellow Odinson, no matter how disgraced, and his remaining brothers were proving less than willing to take on the task. Until the dilemma was solved Hodr was stuck in the dark, waiting, uncertain when the moment would come, that summons to step into the sunlight for the final time...
It was an acknowledgment. Not an answer.
Loki spread his hands, smiled, though he knew that Hodr couldn't see either of those gestures. “I admit that I sometimes have a...flexible relationship with the truth,” he said, “but it is sometimes necessary. When the truth would wound, would start wars, end marriages, kill friends. Some lies are constructive, Hodr,” he said smoothly.
He stepped forward, further into the room. “Have you been treated well?” he asked with concern, “I apologise for not visiting sooner. I wanted to come, but they kept me away.”
Shoulders rising in a shrug, Hodr gestured briefly at his surroundings. “As you see.” Somewhere in the dark a table with a platter of untouched food could be made out. He had been persuaded to eat an apple, but not much else. It had been that way ever since Baldr’s death. Murderer or not, he was still a son of Odin and he was being treated as such. Any damage -the circles under his eyes, the bruises on his hands, his hoarse voice, his overly-thin frame- were the fault of no one but Hodr himself.
“You shouldn't have come. I don't want visitors.” They brought with them their accusations, their questions, their anger, but the worst were the ones who were accompanied by pity, real or feigned.
Loki strode forward, his sharp eyes picking out the shape of a chair nearby, which he straddled backwards so he could easily look at Hodr on the bed. “And yet, as a prisoner, it is unfortunately your due to put up with visitors,” he said, though the words were soft, not accusatory. He spotted the untouched food and frowned. “Why do you not eat?” he asked, his voice conveying true concern. “Is it grief, or guilt? Because you did nothing wrong, Hodr,” he said, leaning in a little closer, as if sharing an important secret with him.
“These charges against you are unfair. All you did was join in on what everyone else was doing. Your brother’s death was caused by your parents’ arrogance, not your innocent actions.” His voice was the voice of a caring friend, distressed at the injustice of what has been done to him.
As Loki spoke, Hodr curled in on himself even more, as if he was trying to escape the words themselves and the thoughts they planted in his brain. That was what Loki did. His words were the seeds he spread in the minds of others. Some would lie fallow, but others would bear fruit, ready for him to collect when the time was right.
“It was still my doing. I was the one that killed him.” And you guided my hand. Now blood had to be answered with blood and he knew it would not be Loki who would pay. Hodr’s hands clasped the back of his neck, close to covering his ears. He didn't want to hear any more.
“But you didn’t intend to kill him, did you? It was an accident,” said Loki’s smooth, honeyed words. “You were only joining in the fun with everyone else as your parents and all of your family scoffed at death and gloried in their perfect son’s invincibility. There was no way anyone could have known that, of all of the things in existence, you happened to be holding the one thing in all of the nine realms that could possibly hurt him.” He paused for a moment, letting the words hang in the air between them, and then leant close again.
“And now you see...just how much they loved him more than you. It was by an innocent accident that your brother was taken from them, but see how quick they were to condemn you, who is also their son, and a twin to Baldr at that.” His voice had turned bitter now, blaming Odin and Frigg for their deplorable treatment of their other son. “They should be comforting you over your brother’s death, but instead you sit in a cell.”
“You could have known,” Hodr replied, his voice sounding small as tears began streaming down his face once more. Yet there was weight in the accusation. He was powerless and would soon take his suspicions with him to the grave, but before he did he would at least make them known. He would not die a complete fool.
“I know they love him more than me. I love him more than anything too. Everyone does.” He raised his head slightly, sightless eyes meeting Loki’s by sheer accident, following the sound of his voice. “Everyone does except you. You could’ve known.” You handed me the dart. You led me through the crowd. You pointed me in the right direction. You were there till the very moment I let it go…
Loki sat up. “Yes, I could have known, but the most important part is that you could not have. You were condemned for something that wasn’t your fault by parents who don’t seem to care at all that you suffer just as much as they do. Where is the All-Father’s justice in that? Where is the love that every parent should have for their child, even a blind one?” He shook his head, standing up and pacing the small dark room. “Hodr, it grieves me that you are valued so little by your own parents. Perhaps…” he paused, as if just realizing something earth-shattering. “Perhaps...the All-Father...cannot be a proper father to even his own children.”
“Why say this to me? Why now? You don't truly care.” The words were punctuated by a short, frustrated noise, caught somewhere between a choking sort of sob and a bitter laugh. “Why?” As he spoke he rolled over to face the wall once more, turning his back on Loki and his words. What did he hope to accomplish? Hodr knew that out of all of Odin’s sons he was the least. He knew that one who killed his own brother could not live, regardless of whether the act was accidental. Loki’s sudden concern for Odin’s parenting meant nothing in the end.
Loki’s eyes narrowed just slightly. “I care, Hodr,” he insisted, a slight edge creeping into his voice. “I care that Odin, my sworn brother, is mistreating his own son, and that nobody here has the courage to say that to his face. I care that this ‘justice’ he hides behind is bent by favouritism and he doesn’t even see it. I promise you, Hodr, that I will speak to him on your behalf. I will do everything I can to secure your release.” His words were so earnest that he’d even convinced himself of their authenticity. Yes, ultimately Loki himself had been the reason behind Baldr’s death, but it wasn’t about squashing the joy of the gods anymore. Now it was about justice, and proving the innocence of this boy now seemed like the perfect way to freshly undermine the authority of the gods.
“You think I want to go out there again? After what has happened? After what my hands wrought?” Hodr laughed, brief and bitter. The Aesir may have lost their golden favorite, but Hodr had lost a part of his own being. “Do you think I want to live in any realm where my brother does not?
“I may be a fool, Loki Lie-smith, but you are a greater one.”
Loki sighed and put up his hands in a gesture of surrender. “Then there is nothing more I can do for you, my friend,” he said regretfully. “If you don’t wish to fight for your own freedom, I cannot help you. I will leave you in peace.” He stepped away quietly, towards the door, watching Hodr’s face as he did in the half-light. At the door he turned back, his hand resting on the heavy wood barrier in front of him. “If you change your mind, ask one of your guards to send for me; I will come.” And with that, he left.