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Conquest

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…<-|->…

5,800BC The First Aesir – Vanir War

Frigga – 1,500 years of age

Odin – 1,505 years of age

Vili – 1,516 years of age

Ve – 1,510 years of age

Bor – 4,398 years of age

Fjorgynn – 4,398 years of age

 

 

“Be my Bride, and we call off the Einherjar.”

Screaming echoed in the vast palace halls from outside as the Asgardian Einherjar attacked Vanaheim’s capital.

“Call off your army first Borson.”  She growled, stepping toward him slowly, her black and gold heeled combat boots clicking on the ruined pavers of the throne room, the gold and bronze veins on her black skin-tight armour glowing softly in the dim light.

The youngest of the three Aesir princes stood across from her, one hand supporting himself on a vine covered pillar, the other clutching at the stab wound she had just inflicted upon his gut.  Odin’s elder brothers Vili and Ve were fairly easy to eliminate for a Völva and Shieldmaiden of her status.  She was the best warrior in Vanaheim and put many of their best male fighters to shame.  Bor and Odin proved to be a bit more of a challenge though, Bor had more experience in battle, Odin had basic training in Seidr but was limited to healing spells, weak energy blasts and small deflection spells. 

Most of the battle between them had taken place in the Vanir palace throne room.  King Fjorgynn, her father; lay crumpled at the base of his throne, the vines that grew on the stone surface had come down and grown around him to shield him from further injury as Frigga continued to fight the King of Asgard and his youngest son.  It was just her and Odin now, Bor was pinned under a collapsed pillar, out cold after she threw him into it with a blast of Seidr. 

Odin, in a desperate attempt to get her to stop trying to kill him had suggested an arranged marriage between the heir of Asgard’s throne and herself to establish peace between Vanaheim and Asgard.  With a Vanir Queen at the side of an Aesir King on the throne of Asgard, things would be much easier between the two realms.

“You aren’t the heir.  I’d have to marry Vili, and according to the rumours he holds no respect for women whatsoever.”  She hissed, the black and gold antlers on her helmet swivelling to point at the Aesir Prince.  Her midnight-blue cape fluttered behind her as she strode over to the pillar Odin was leaning on.

Odin eyed her warily as he spoke, “That is exactly why I intend to marry you myself and then get my brothers out of the picture.”  He rasped, his blue eyes twinkling.

“You would assassinate your own brothers just to have me as your Queen and to have the throne?!”  she said incredulously.

If it stops this meaningless war between their two tribes, so be it.  If Vili was on the throne, Vanaheim and Asgard would be at war for more than twenty years and she’d be powerless to stop him or convince him otherwise.  But Odin seemed reasonable, she might be able to stop him from waging another war on her realm if it came down to it.

Vanaheim will surrender to Asgard’s rule as the first realm to do so in the Aesir tribe’s conquest, and work toward a lasting peace treaty between their two realms.

Frigga stepped back from Odin and flung another blade toward the chink of his armour in his gut.  He just managed to deflect it into the pillar in time before it made contact with his already battered armour.

“You’d better do something about this.  I’m not marrying your eldest brother.”  Frigga turned and walked away, the cool breeze lifting her cape up.  “Call off your army, we have an agreement.”

Odin unbuckled a horn from his belt with difficulty and blew into it.  The screaming outside stopped and the Aesir forces withdrew back to the Bifrost site they first came from.  Frigga morphed her helmet back into straight waist-length ash-brown hair and let her muscles relax as she watched the Einherjar depart from the entrance of the palace. though she looked relaxed, she was ready to spring into action at any second. Heavy footsteps rang out behind her as Odin dragged himself to lean on the doorframe beside her.

“In case you haven’t noticed, I’m hopelessly in love with you.  Vili and Ve can get stuffed.”  He huffed.

Frigga chuckled, “It would seem that we’re in the same boat then.”

She spoke the truth.

 

…<-|->…

 

5,555 BC Hela’s Birth

Frigga – 1,745 years of age

Odin – 1,750 years of age

Bor – 4,643 years of age

Bestla – 4,641 years of age

Vili – 1,761 years of age

Ve – 1,755 years of age

Eir – 1,745 years of age

 

Frigga paced in her chambers, one hand on her swollen stomach.  It had been 245 years since she and Odin had married, and the war had ended.  244 years since they both ascended to the throne of Asgard.  And now they were expecting their first child.  Nobody had told her that it’d be this fucking painful, numbing spells didn’t even work on this!

Bestla had a hand on Frigga’s lower back, pushing the pressure point to ease some of the pain.  Eir’s body was humming with magic as she summoned things from the healing halls into Frigga’s chambers.  Odin was waiting outside with Bor, her father Fjorgynn, Vili and Ve (who had both refused the throne, preferring the battlefield rather than running an entire Realm).  Odin was no doubt pacing up and down the hall as he tried to calm his nerves.  Another wave of pain hit; her vision went black as her foresight took over her normal sight for the fifth time that day.  Every time it was the same vision. 

War raged around her, blades as dark as night and black and green tendrils of Seidr lashed out in all directions.  And there, at the centre of the maelstrom, was a girl with Frigga’s green eyes who couldn’t have been more than 500 years old.

Frigga was snapped out of the vision as another contraction hit.  This time a small whimper escaped her.  Eir and Bestla had shifted her to lay on the bed while she was subdued by her vision, both of them whispering words of encouragement each time a contraction hit.  It felt like an eternity later before Eir told her to push.

Her screams bounced off the walls in her room as she managed to get the head of the child out after roughly twenty minutes of feeling like her insides were being ripped out.  Odin came through the door with a bang, but the guards pushed him back out at Eir and Bestla’s command.  Tears streamed down her cheeks and her skin as well as her nightdress was bathed in sweat.

Several roars of pain later, another voice joined hers.

Frigga could feel the power rolling off the baby’s small, frail form in waves.

“It’s a girl Frigga!”  Bestla whisper screamed excitedly.

The door opened and Odin rushed in with Fjorgynn, Bor, Vili and Ve as Eir gently gave the small bundle to Frigga.  She looked down at the small child that had caused her nine long months of discomfort, weird cravings and three hours of labour pain.  The small child that would one day rule Asgard, the child that had immense power rolling off her in waves, the child that was the Asgardian personification of Death itself.

Odin sat beside her and watched on as she looked at their child.  Her child.  She would do everything in her power to stop that vision from becoming reality.  If she couldn’t do anything to stop it entirely, the she can damn well be there to ease her child’s pain and help her through the horrors that war would undoubtedly bring into her small mind.  Frigga passed the bundle to Odin to hold as she lay back and tried to recover from the immense pain that still throbbed dully in her abdomen.

“What is her name?”  Bor asked.

Odin opened his mouth to speak, but Frigga cut him off quickly, her voice husky from screaming so much.

“Hela.”

Fjorgynn sat on the seat at the end of the bed and pulled a bunch of dead lilies (that were definitely alive and healthy before she went into labour) out as Odin handed the child back to her. 

“A name suitable for the Goddess of Death.”  Her father sighed, tossing the dead flowers into the fire on the other side of the room.

Frigga focussed on the little person in her arms and tuned out what Vili and Ve were saying.  Hela’s eyes were still closed, but little hands made their way to her breasts.  She’s hungry.  Time to feed her then.

While she was feeding Hela, Frigga looked at the babe’s face.  Small golden veins spider-webbed from her temples and ran across her face, you could only see them if someone pointed them out to you.  They were there, but not noticeable.  They were also all over her tiny body.  Again, not noticeable unless you deliberately looked for them.

Hela finished eating and settled into sleep after she was burped.  Her head laying on Frigga’s chest as the both of them slipped into the welcoming arms of sleep.  She felt Odin kiss her forehead before slipping into her dreams.

She will protect her child.  Even if she has to kill everyone to do it.

Chapter Text

5455BC

Hela – 100 years of age

Frigga – 1,845 years of age

Odin – 1,850 years of age

Eir – 1,845 years of age

Bor – 4,743 years of age

Bestla – 4,741 years of age

Vili – 1,861 years of age

Ve – 1,855 years of age

 

…<--|-->…

Bestla’s Point of View

 

Having a little Death Goddess that was as tall as her hip, running around with a knife at a picnic was literal chaos. 

 

“Let me see what you have!”  Bestla yelled to the 100-year-old as she ran around a fishpond with something in her hand.

 

Hela’s face lit up as she flashed a black dagger up before running off and screaming, “A KNIFE!”

 

“NO!”  she scolded.

 

She jumped over the picnic basket they had set down in the courtyard and set off at speed to chase her Granddaughter.

 

“Oh my Norns!  Why does she have a knife?”  Frigga’s voice faded away as she chased Hela deeper and deeper into the maze of lush, green gardens bursting with colour, the little girl’s laughter as her only way of tracking her down without a spell.

 

“Hela come back!  You shouldn’t run with knives!  You’ll cut yourself darling!”  she yelled into the garden.

 

She had lost track of her, the laughter had stopped.

Bestla moved toward the darker corner of Frigga’s garden and spotted two grubby little feet poking out from under a bush.  Hela always liked small dark places; she wasn’t very good at hiding herself though.

 

“Helaaaaaa!  Come out, come out wherever you are!”  she sing-songed.

 

The bush rustled and tiny giggles made their way to the Jotun Queen’s ears, she walked past Hela’s bush and peered behind another, pretending to look for her there.  The dark, leafy bush behind her rustled again as the child who hid in it shifted about.

 

“Aww cute puppy.  Come here to me.”  A little voice said from the bush behind her.

 

They didn’t have dogs on palace grounds.

So, either one of the hunting dogs that the Einherjar used had gotten loose, or it was…

 

A small howl pierced the air.

 

An Asgardian Wolf.

Bestla launched herself behind the bush Hela was hiding behind and scooped her up into her arms away from the wolf.  A small, black blur raced out after her and came to an abrupt stop at her feet, large green eyes looking up at her sadly when it realised she was keeping its friend away from it.

 

“Fenris!”  Hela said happily.

 

Wait.

Fenris?  Since when did her granddaughter adopt a small, undeniably cute, fluffy, black wolf with large startling green eyes?  Obviously right then and there as soon as she laid her little eyes on it in the bush.

 

“Grandmother put me down!  Fenris needs her cuddles.”  Hela ordered.

 

“Not until you give me that knife you were running with Little One.”

 

Hela pouted and reluctantly handed a small black knife to her that had green flecks in it if the light hit it right.  It was sharper than her own sword that she always kept strapped in a scabbard at the leather belt around her waist.  If Hela had tripped with this…

But she hadn’t, she was unharmed.

 

Bestla put Hela on the ground with the small wolf pup and watched them carefully in case Fenris decided to take a chunk out of Hela’s arm.  The little black wolf zipped over to her friend and snuggled into the raven-haired girl as Hela scratched behind its ears.

 

“How about we take Fenris with us back to your mother and the rest of the family?” 

 

Hela nodded and picked Fenris up, taking great care in how she held the pup and making sure it was reasonably comfy in her bony arms.  Fenris was almost as big as Hela and was probably around the same weight too.  She always was small for an Aesir goddess.  She was tiny when Frigga pushed her out, so frail, so easy to break compared to many of the other newborns.  Eir said she’d grow given time and she had, but she was still smaller than the rest of the other children. 

 

They kept walking through the jungle of plants until they came out of the trees and flowers, onto a cobbled path leading to the shady courtyard they were having lunch in.  Vines twisted up the sandstone pillars and across a trellis that expanded over to the stone wall screening the royal gardens from the rest of Asgard.  Light filtered through the leaves and colourful flowers in a haze of multicoloured light.  A fountain trickled away in the centre of the area as her family chatted happily on a quilt under one of the oak trees in the corner of the courtyard that helped screen the gardens from the public eye.

 

“Mama!  Look what I found!”  Hela said cheerily, holding Fenris to the sky underneath her front legs.

 

Odin choked on his sandwich when he saw his daughter holding an Asgardian Wolf up to the heavens without getting scratched or attacked by the small creature.

Frigga got up and took the wolf into her arms, holding her how she would hold a baby.

 

“She’s very cute, isn’t she?”  the Vanir goddess said quietly.

 

Bor opened his mouth to say something but was cut off by Odin.

 

“CUTE?!  THAT THING COULD TEAR HER TO PIECES IN AN INSTANT IF IT WANTED TO!”  he roared.

 

Hela shrunk back and clutched her mother’s skirts.  Frigga shot Odin a glare and gave the wolf to Hela to hold.

 

“We’re keeping it.  A wolf like that will help greatly in future battles if the legends regarding the size of an Asgardian Wolf are true.”  Bor growled at Odin.

 

Hela’s face brightened up at her Grandfather’s words (probably the part about keeping it), as Vili and Ve nodded in agreement along with Fjorgynn.  Frigga kept her icy gaze on Odin a moment longer before sitting down with Hela and going over the rules of keeping a pet.

Bestla vaguely heard her say something along the lines of “Remember my Little Wolf, Fenris is not your pet, she is your friend.  You must treat her as such.” Before she sat next to her husband with a hot, buttery chicken sandwich.

 

“You go after her to get a knife and come back with one of the pups of the most dangerous beasts lurking in the wilderness?  How in Valhalla does that happen?”  he said gruffly in between bites of leftover Saehrimnir.

 

“I’ve got some idea.  Mother couldn’t resist the look Hela gave her when she asked if she could keep it.”  Ve piped up.

 

It was more of a “If you give me the knife you can have the Wolf” trade.  But they don’t need to know that.

 

“Yeah like hel she’d fall for that dritt.  It didn’t work for us, therefore if wouldn’t have worked for Hela.”  Vili countered as he took a swig of his mead and finished polishing his daggers.

 

“Ah but Brother, you were never any good at doing the look perfectly anyway.  Odin was the closest.”  Ve teased.

 

Odin looked up from the papers he was reading and scowled in their direction.

 

“I was not!”  he argued.

 

Fjorgynn rolled his eyes and leaned back against the trunk of the oak with his own papers to work on.  Frigga and Hela were beside him, Fenris curled up in Hela’s lap, Frigga holding the girl’s full attention as she made an illusionary galaxy spring to life above them.  Stars and Nebulae in all colours glowed softly in the shade of the oak.

Bestla wants it to stay like this forever.  But she knows it is not going to be like this for long.  Pretty soon Fjorgynn is going to have to return to Vanaheim and tend to his people and she and Bor will have to go back to Jotunheim while their three sons, daughter in-law and granddaughter stay in Asgard. 

 

 

…<--|-->…

Frigga’s Point of View

 

“Mother it’s not stopping!”  Hela shrieked.

 

She watched as green plumes of magic pulsed out from Hela’s small fingers.  In a matter of seconds, all the light and colour in the illusionary galaxy glittering around them had been snuffed out.  The stars blinked out one by one as the planets crumbled and the air filled with the smell of decay.  The grass around them withered and turned brown as the trees in the courtyard shed their leaves and their wooden trunks rotted out. 

 

Frigga tried to quell the rising panic inside her as she kept her face calm and scooted around to sit next to Hela.  She hadn’t dealt with Necromancy on this scale before.  In fact, she’d dealt with all kinds of magic except for Necromancy.  Now she wishes she had looked more into the topic, but back then she hadn’t known she’d give birth to a Death Goddess, so that was that.

 

“Calm yourself and focus in giving the life back.”  She murmured.

 

Hela took several deep breaths as she flexed her fingers and green magic flowed from them.  It washed over the whole courtyard, the trees sprang to life again, leaves brighter than before.  The grass straightened up and turned green again.  The air no longer smelled of decay and the illusionary galaxy above them slowly gained colour as its stars blinked into existence and the planets rebuilt themselves.

 

"Deep breaths little one.  You're doing well."  She soothed, rubbing circles on Hela's back to help soothe her.

Eventually Hela's Seidr calmed and the courtyard was silent.  Power in that quantity and that advanced should have put her in a coma, instead, Hela sat up and kept trying to get the illusion right without any sort of issues.  Odin seemed to notice this too, his eyes glued to Hela as she finally got the illusion right and proudly spun a ring from one of the planets around her waist.

Frigga feels her face stretch into a grin.  She remembers the pride she felt at learning her first illusion.  Soon she would teach her more Seidr, but that won't be happening until they get her blades and other powers under control.  She's had to replace nearly every plant in their rooms this past week alone.  Most had had the life sucked out of them, but there were a couple that had been sliced to bits.  That usually only happened when Hela sneezed though.  Several blades would be impaled in the walls and the ceiling after she sneezes.

 

“Nana look!”  Hela had a handful of stars cupped in her small hands and was spreading them all over Fenris’ dark fur, “Fenris is sparkly.”

 

Bestla chuckled as Fenris shook the stars off and blew them around with her tail, making Hela giggle too.

 

“I’m going to go find Eir and show her Fenris!”  she said, skipping over to grab more stars and pick Fenris up.

 

“Make sure you watch where you’re going Hela!  You don’t want to mess up Eir’s work at the Healing Halls or disrupt the Valkyrior training!”  she called after her.

 

Hela nodded and set off at a sprint in the direction of the Healing Halls, the vines on the archway she had run under curled away from her as she passed under.

Frigga tore her eyes away from the arch and faced her family.

 

“So… what do we do if she can kill with a slip of her magical control?”  Bor asked.

 

“Train her of course Father.  Hela will be our most powerful soldier since Eir and Frigga combined.  We can wipe entire realms out and take control.”  Odin stated, “We can build an empire unlike any other!  The universe will tremble before the might of Asgard.”

 

Bestla rolled her eyes and started demolishing another sandwich, speaking between mouthfuls, “When do you plan to start this training?”

 

“Tomorrow.”

 

Bestla and Fjorgynn choked on their food.  Frigga nearly choked on her own saliva, coughing violently just to be able to breathe properly.

He wants to train her tomorrow.  She is one hundred for Norn’s sake!

 

“I’m sorry brother… you said you wanted to train your one-hundred-year-old daughter tomorrow and teach her to kill?”  Ve said seriously.

 

Odin looked back up from the sheets of paper in his lap, “Why not start now?  The sooner she knows how to do these things, the sooner we can begin asserting our dominance with the other realms and rebuild our own realm with the gold we take.”

 

“She is one hundred for Norn’s sake Odin!  You weren’t killing people at that age!  You hadn’t even picked up a sword at that age for Frigg’s sake!”  she growled.

 

“Wife you fail to see the big picture.  The younger she learns these things, the more time she has to improve and control her powers,”  he stood and walked over to where she was leaning on the tree and cupped her face with both of his hands, “Frigga she won’t be killing until I deem her ready to shoulder that burden.  The most that we’ll be doing is theory and seidr until she can at least get her power under control.”

 

She tuned the rest of the courtyard out and placed a spell around the two of them to prevent eavesdropping.

 

“If she gets hurt, if she so much as gets a scratch on her during these “theory” lessons or kills a person under your command,” she growled, emphasising “theory”, “I’m going to castrate and feed your bits to Fenris.”

 

Odin’s eyes twinkled as he gave her a peck on the lips.

 

“You and Mother can teach her seidr if you want.  I’m hopeless at it.”

 

Her lips tingled and her cheeks felt cold as he shifted away to go back to his papers.  She dropped the spell around the two of them and let out a sigh.

This was going to be a long eternity if she was stuck with him.  Luckily, she loved him, and he loved her.  She wasn’t quite sure about this conquest they were going on though.

 

Odin may end up biting off more than he can chew.             

Chapter Text

5000 BC -

Hela – 556 years of age

Frigga – 2,301 years of age

Odin – 2,306 years of age

Eir – 2,301 years of age

Vili – 2,317 years of age

Ve - 2,311 years of age

Tyr – 555 years of age

 

…<--|-->…

Frigga

 

She’s worried sick.  About nothing.  She knows they’ll be fine, and that Hela is more than capable of keeping herself safe thanks to the many days of training both in seidr and in combat.  Garm had been a massive help in teaching Hela how to use her powers and she couldn’t thank her Father and Mother in-law enough for the help they’d given.

 

She stands on the pedestal in the Bifrost chamber with Hofund clutched in her sweaty hands.  It’s dusk right now, she can see the galaxies swirling out in the abyss in front of her.  To be completely honest, she’s never understood why Asgard was flat.  She’s always been cautious when swimming in the oceans of Vanaheim, but her caution had been heightened when she realised that if she got sucked too far out by the currents when swimming in Asgard’s seas, she’d fall off the edge of the world.  The abyss may look pretty now from on Asgard, but Frigga was one hundred percent sure that she did not want to fall through it in her togs after a swim in the goddamn ocean.

 

They really need a gatekeeper.  Sure, it was fine having a group of Einherjar take turns keeping watch, but they needed someone like Garm.  Someone who could see and hear everything in the universe.  That way they could keep an eye out for any threats to Asgard and stop them before they got here. 

 

She shuffles from side to side and looks behind her at the guards tasked with keeping her safe.  One of them looked as bored as she felt, the other was staring at nothing and occasionally looking out into the void of space or checking the Bifrost Bridge for any sign of a second party joining them.  The third guard stood silently on the pedestal in the centre of the chamber.  Nobody spoke as they waited for the King and Princess to come home with what remained of the Einherjar.  She handed Hofund to the guard and settled for rubbing and picking at the skin of her palm to ease her nerves.

 

Hela had sent her a message with Muninn telling her they'd be back at midday tomorrow.  That was two days ago.  Time on Alfheim was obviously different to time on Asgard.  Vanaheim was only Three hours ahead of Asgard though, it made her shift from Vanaheim to Asgard an easy one without having to wrap her head around the time difference. 

 

Huginn was perched on her shoulder, staring out at the swirling galaxies in front of them and occasionally using his beak to preen her hair and nuzzle her cheek.  He was one of Odin's ravens, his other half; Muninn, was on Alfheim ferrying messages from Hela and Odin back and forth to Asgard.

 

Huginn gave a soft trill as the slot that Hofund fit into lit up, flashed and buzzed several times.  Hela's tired voice emanating from the spire and requesting for the Bifrost to be sent down.  The guard on the pedestal hoisted Hofund into the air and lined it up in the slot before pushing it in and turning it ninety degrees clockwise.  The chamber started spinning, gaining in speed until a shot of rainbow light was fired from the spire that had moved its way from the top of the dome to the archway in front of them.

 

She watched it travel through the void of space until she could no longer see the end of it. 

 

“All-Mother, you may want to step back.”  The guard on the pedestal advised her.

 

She took his advice and stood on the pedestal behind him as what remained of their army flooded through the Bifrost Chamber.  Surprisingly, there were many more than she thought there would be.  Hela described the battle as the most brutal and loss filled, she’d ever witnessed.  Of course, it was her first battle, but the way she made it sound suggested that it was indeed very devastating for both sides.  She watched as several hundred Elven slaves were marched through after the Einherjar.  She understood why the battle was so devastating when Vili and Ve didn’t come through and Odin wasn’t his usual happy self after a victory.  She steps down from the pedestal and runs over to welcome him home properly.

 

“They’re dead Frigg.”  He says softly, voice laced with sadness. 

 

The glowing blue cube he has clutched tightly in his hand whispers words to her, “Take me.  You know you want to.”

 

She kisses his tears away, not minding the grime on his face, and holds him as they wait for Hela.

 

Fenris comes through after Odin with Tyr and the mangled corpses of the two elder Borsons on her back.  Sleipnir trots in after them.  Her panic increases when Hela doesn’t come in after Fenris.  Another thousand rotations of the spire and an antlered figure stumbles out of the light, inhaling deeply as she steps back on Asgard for the first time in three months.  She lets go of Odin and races over to Hela as the Bifrost dies down and the dome stops spinning.  She doesn’t realise how hard she’s squeezing until Hela taps her arm weakly.

 

“Are you hurt?”  she fusses.

 

Hela doesn’t say anything and hugs her tighter.

 

…<--|-->…

Hela

 

The things she'd seen had been unlike anything she'd ever seen before.  Not even her dreams had left her as shell shocked as actually fighting in a war did.  She supposed it was the stickiness of the blood coating her arms, hands and chest.  Maybe because she had actually been there completely and felt herself working and fighting, it had sunk in better than the dreams had.  In her dreams she was usually just walking through a field of corpses with the odd soldier wandering among them.  She was helping souls out of their bodies most of the time, but sometimes she was there to snatch the life from the creature, gather its soul gently in her arms, and watch the corpse fall lifelessly to the ground.  Those dreams never unnerved her, they were just dreams, and while they gave her a few things to think about during her training; they'd never set her on edge as much as her time on Alfheim had.

 

She had seen it coming from a mile away.  She knew her uncles wouldn't return home with them alive.  She was amazed they'd even managed to bring them back at all.  That explosive arrow had blown them to bits.  Unlike everyone else, Hela could see when someone or something would die, check their vitals, look at their identity and who or what would end up killing them.  By the time she'd looked in their direction to see if their vitals were okay, it was too late.  She was busy helping Tyr get out of the mess he'd gotten himself into with more than a dozen Light Elves when arrows hit Ve, then Vili and detonated in a huge explosion that sent chunks everywhere.

 

Her Father had obliterated half the Elven troops in his grief-stricken rage.  Sheer power had rolled off him in shockwaves that destroyed the Elven troops.  It was absolutely terrifying.

 

Now she was walking down the Bifrost Bridge.  Her mother's arm was wrapped comfortably around her waist as they trudged on.  Fenris was up ahead with Sleipnir.  The remains of Vili and Ve tied securely on her back.  They'd only gotten the full bodies after she had performed a summoning spell that had brought all the chunks back to them.  That hadn't been a pleasant experience at all.

 

To make matters worse, the light side of Alfheim that they'd conquered didn't have much of a difference between day and night.  Night-time over there had been the midday light level for Asgard and the day-time light was even brighter.  Everyone was lacking in proper sleep; she was running on roughly three hours right now and her father was on less.  She doesn’t think he slept at all last night.

 

As they walk through Mother's Gardens, Hela can feel her mother trembling slightly.  They walk through a neatly trimmed pathway of hedges before coming out into the courtyard she remembers having many family picnics in.  There, they go through an archway of vines before going through to the entrance of their wing of the Palace.  The balls of floating light lit up brighter as they walked down the corridor and passed Eir's room, then the guest rooms her grandparents used when they visited.  The blue-white light illuminates the dark, carved doors leading to each room in the wing.  They stop at her room, her mother opening the heavy double doors with a spell.  

 

"Odin you have a council meeting to attend, I'll help Hela." Mother says quietly.

 

She peers around the side of her mother and looks at her father.  His face is saddened, weary, there is no happiness.  He leaves, too tired to argue about sitting in the council chamber and listening to the Nobles drone on and on.  If that is what it's like to lose someone close to you, she pities whoever has to go through that.  She hadn't been as close to her uncles as her father had, neither had her mother, but it still affected her, nonetheless.  

 

There were moments when Vili would push her down at trainings and tell her she was too weak to be fighting and would be better off practicing seidr and doing a woman's job instead of a man's.  But she figured that it was because of his jealousy toward the Valkyrior.  Nearly all of the Einherjar were jealous of the Valkyrior's fighting prowess.  She forgives him and is even thankful for his hurtful words, for she has only worked harder to prove him wrong and is better than most her age.  Tyr comes in at a close second with his skill level.

 

Ve on the other hand, was the opposite of his arrogant, sexist older brother and had often encouraged her to kick everyone's asses at training.  He also cheered her on alongside her mother and aunt when she had finally beaten Tyr in hand to hand combat.  She'd probably mourn Ve more than Vili, but she'd miss them both.

 

"Hela." Frigga said gently.

 

She looked up at her mother.  Her ash-brown hair was tied up in a bun that still looked good on her, even though large strands of hair were falling out of position and flying around her face.  Her green eyes looked worried as she looked her over, checking for injuries or signs that she was hurt.

 

She's drawn into a gentle hug, her face leaning against her mother's chest as Frigga holds her.  Hela feels the tension drain out of herself as her muscles relax and she finally processes the fact that she's not about to be ambushed by Light Elves and can actually rest.  She inhales her mother's scent of… something she can't put a name to.  It's something uniquely Frigga.  Whatever it is, it calms her and reminds her that she's home at last.

 

"You smell terrible."  Frigga whispers into her hair.

 

"You smell pretty good though."

 

Frigga's chest vibrates as she lets out a low laugh and orders one of Hela's handmaidens to start preparing a bath for her.

 

They don't speak for a while, both of them contended with the comfortable silence and the feeling of the other in their arms.

 

"You can speak to me whenever you want darling.  I don't want you suffering alone."

 

She thinks about this, and decides to ask something that’s been on her mind since she first became Asgard’s executioner a little more than two years ago.

 

"Is it wrong that I like seeing the light fade from the eyes of those I've slain?"  She asked.

 

Her mother swayed side to side and for a moment, Hela thought she would push her away from her and give her a look of disgust and horror like everyone else did when she brought it up around her classmates.  She didn't though.  Instead, Frigga cupped both of her cheeks in her soft, yet calloused hands and looked her in the eyes.

 

"There is nothing wrong with liking that.  We all have our preferences, and yours happens to be watching the life drain from your enemies."  She sighed and brushed a strand of Hela's hair out of her face, "I must admit though, I too enjoy watching the lights go.  Gods that's all I used to do, still do now as well; just not as often."

 

Hela couldn't help the giggles that escaped her.

 

"Why do you laugh my Little Wolf?" Mother asked, holding her tighter and poking her ribs with a smile on her face.

 

"You are so gentle now Mother, and although I have sparred with you and seen you train, it is hard for me to imagine you killing another."

 

Mother kissed her forehead, then rested her cheek on the top of Hela's head gently.

 

"I'll come with you to the next realm we go to conquer, and we can fight side by side.  How does that sound?"

 

"I'd like that Mum."

 

She can feel the muscles in her mother's face shift into a smile on the top of her head.  

 

"Which is the next realm?  Did you take both sides of Alfheim or just the Light Elf side?"  

 

"We go back for the Dark Elves soon.  Father said we need a new General and to gain Einherjar numbers again." She answered.

 

Her mother hummed in response and guided her into the well-lit bathroom, where a steaming bath with healing properties in the water awaited her aching body.

 

"Soak yourself, get all the grime off you, then come out when you're ready.  I'll arrange for food to be brought up."  Frigga said before shutting the bathroom door and leaving her to her own devices.

 

She slowly walked into the large bath and willed her armour to disappear.  She watched as it crawled back under her skin and left no trace of its existence before she began lathering soap onto herself.  It irked her slightly that she could do that, but it wasn't as weird as seeing little dead children playing in the courtyard at three o'clock in the morning.  She asked Garm about it and received a two-hour lesson about how she'd be able to see and speak with the dead while nobody else could.  Speaking of Garm, she'd have to get around to asking the giant wolf about her dreams.  Her next trip to Helheim for tutoring wouldn't be until next month.  Until then, she'd have to suck it up.

 

Sighing, she leans her head on the side of the bath and shuts her eyes.  They ache from being open for so long, but the feeling subsides as she rests.  Along with the bath’s magic, she can also feel Asgard healing her.  It’s different to Alfheim, but it feels good… it feels heavenly.  A knock sounds at the door, she checks who it is before letting them enter.

 

“Tyr; God of War asked me to give this to you my Princess.”  Alinta said, her voice carrying through the echoing room.

 

She cracked an eye open tiredly as Alinta set a box down on the edge of the bath.  She knows exactly what it is as soon as she sees it.

 

“Tell Tyr he’s an absolute legend please Alinta.”

 

“Of course, Princess.”

 

“Thankyou.”

 

Alinta leaves the bathroom, Hela shuts her eyes again and watches her soul move among the others in the Palace.  The box contained a set of graphite pencils from light to dark.  She's been looking for them for ages since she lost them; she could have used a summoning spell, but that would leave her with nothing to do when she was bored.  The amount of little quiet areas she'd found while looking for those pencils had given her an advantage over Tyr when they played hide and seek or had mini wars for lollies and other treats.  

 

She paddled around in the bath, moving her muscles as much as possible in the water before getting out and drying off.  She grabbed the black, long-sleeved nightgown hanging on a rack mounted into the grey stone wall and slipped it on.  She dried her hair with a spell then stepped out into her room.

 

A tray was waiting on her desk with two mugs of hot chocolate and two plates of roast potatoes, pork, beans and cucumber.  Her mother sits on the couch on the balcony, looking down at the city sprawled in front of her.  The sky is getting darker, stars glowing brighter now that the sun had sunk below the world.  She could see storm clouds forming out over the sea with what little light from the sun that remained; lightning flashed in their fluffy forms as they drew near.  The wind the storm brings is strong enough to blow the double doors to her balcony shut with a massive slam.  Hela watches as her mother continues to sit outside, the vicious oncoming wind whipping her wavy hair around as she finally takes it out of its bun.  She turns to Hela; her eyes are glowing a faint green that shows through the window.  

 

The glow dies from her mother's eyes the rain starts pelting down and she moves back inside.  A worried look haunts her as she looks at her.

 

"Promise me you'll seek help when you need it please my Little Wolf."  She says quietly, reaching for her plate and conjuring a table for them to sit at.

 

"I promise Mother."

 

She moves her plate to the table and sits down, eating the food slowly and revelling in the perfection of the pork chop and the creamy, crunchiness of the potatoes. 

 

"Good."  

 

They eat in silence.  Her mother finishing before her, moves to the bed and carefully climbs onto it as she settles in with her Hot Chocolate.  Hela brings her own mug with her as they both cocoon themselves in the blankets and watch the storm rage outside.

 

Lightning flashes, lighting up the sky as the thunder rumbling makes the bed and walls vibrate slightly.  The liquid chocolate slides down her throat easily, her tastebuds tingle with excitement.  Her hands warm up as she holds the mug.  Soon, she is falling asleep.  Her body finally gives up on keeping her awake and she passes out.  She feels her Mother shift beside her before she sinks fully into unconsciousness.

 

There will be no sweet dreams tonight.

Chapter Text

Hela

100 years on from conquering Light Alfheim

 

"CATCH!" Tyr bellowed.

 

Hela caught the spear he'd thrown her way and impaled the nearest Elf next to her.  Then she threw it back to him.

 

She looks down.

There's a blade piercing her abdomen.  She wonders why it doesn't hurt, why it hasn't killed her even though it's gone through most of her vital organs.  

 

Then it's dark.  Very dark.  So dark, she can barely see her pale hand thirty centimetres in front of her.  Then there's light, a battlefield and corpses.  So many corpses, and she’s the one who’s taken all the souls.  

 

Her body shakes violently as she sobs.  She can hear her name being called, it's her mother's voice.

 

"Hela."  It screams.

 

"Hela."

 

"HELA!"

 

She wakes up and feels tears on her cheeks.  Frigga sits next to where she lays on the bed, worry etched onto her elegant face.  She doesn't speak, she just gathers Hela in her arms and holds her.  Words are whispered, seidr infused lullabies are sung, and the night goes on with her falling asleep in her Mother's arms for what seems like the fiftieth time that month.

 

She still dreams of various locations, ending the lives of those that have reached their expiry date.  But at least she doesn't wake continuously.  She can feel her mother's seidr soothing her when everything becomes too much.  

 

...<--|-->...

 

The next morning, they bring the blue cube from Alfheim out.

 

"It's the Space Stone."  She says.

 

"The Infinity Stones are nothing more than myths you silly girl!" Odin bellowed, "Get your head out of the clouds and your nose out of those foolish books!"

 

The whole chamber fell silent, all eyes were on her as the Nobles and councilmen waited for her to react to her father's harsh words.  Her mother sat silently in her chair, eyes encouraging her to say what she needed to say.

 

She casts the necessary spells just to make sure she's correct about what the glowing blue cube on the table hosts inside it.  Spells are easier now that she can control her seidr, there aren't any more accidents and she's almost as good as her mother.  Garm's training had stopped her other powers making a surprise appearance when she didn't want them to surface, and everything was as normal as life could get for her.  She learned, practiced and perfected new spells every day.  She trained, she did her duties, did everything necessary to prove to her father that no, she was not a giggling court maiden or a pathetic helpless female.  Did she care what his opinion of her was? No, but it would be nice to be acknowledged by her own father for skills other than her fighting prowess.

 

The cube was in fact the Space Stone.  Now she just had to prove it to an entire room of ignorant men.  

 

She ignored the gasps filling the room as she wrapped both hands around the cube.  Her mother shot up from her seat to steady her as a shock ripped through her body from the cube, making her sway on her feet.

 

"Put it down." Her father ordered.

 

"Odin.  She has made a claim, and she intends to prove her claim to be correct.  Let.  Her.  Prove.  It.  She knows what she’s doing.  Her mother said icily.

 

“You don’t know what it will do to her.”  he said lowly.

 

“And you do?”

 

They both took his silence as confirmation that he didn’t know either.

 

Mother let her stand up by herself.  She swayed, but it wasn't like she was going to tip over anymore.  The power from the stone inside the cube felt familiar, like she'd been around something similar but couldn't quite place when or where.  The stone couldn't be seen from the outside of the cube and the only method she could think of to get it out, was to crush the Tesseract and take the cube from its ruins.  That would take a lot of seidr if she didn't use her hands, but if she used her hands, she'd have shards embedded in her skin.  It was either collapse from overuse of seidr or get a splinter.

The splinters would be better.

 

She squeezed the cube with both hands, she could feel her face taking on a slight blush from the effort as her arms ached.  It clearly wasn't going to work if she was squeezing it with both hands and compressing it from all sides.  She placed the cube back down on the table and shook her hands.  Her father had a look on his face that looked suspiciously like worry, her mother watched with encouraging eyes and the Nobles in the court were shouting abuse at her.  A pity she can't execute any of them, verbally abusing the Crown Princess of Asgard was against the law.  Alas, they needed a full court.

 

She picked the cube back up and squeezed with her right hand.  The crystal of the cube shifted and groaned under the force she was putting it through.  A crack meandered its way across the blue tinted crystal as she squeezed harder.  At last, with a sound like shattering glass, a crystal the length of her pinky finger and width of the pad of her thumb sat buried in the pile of chunky, pale blue Tesseract remains.  The Space Stone was a lovely azure blue.  It gave off a dull glow that intensified as she maintained direct contact with it.

 

She could feel its power, what it could do.  It showed her things.  Things that had not yet come to pass.  They flashed through her mind, too quick for her to comprehend yet, but she knew she'd be able to decipher them once they stopped and she was alone with her thoughts.  She placed the stone on the table as her vision blurred, and a spike of pain shot down her spine.  Her mother steadied her and helped her back into her seat, worry evident on her face.  Her father watched her with that same worried expression on his face.

 

Her head was pounding as she picked the stone back up (much to her mother's chagrin) and held it suspended in between her thumb and forefinger.  By this time, the room was completely silent.  Everyone was watching her as she used the stone to open a portal of swirling black and blue leading to Vanaheim.  

 

“Space Stone.”  she stated as a spray of water from the other side of the portal came through and hit Lord Harentson square in the face.

 

“Hela.”

 

“Father.”   she said.

 

“Put the stone down.  You’re getting paler by the second.”  he said, his voice full of concern.

 

She shuts the portal and drops the stone back onto the table with a flourish.  It was as simple as focussing on what she wanted to do with the stone.  The pounding in her head has gotten worse, it felt like she was being stabbed repeatedly.  

 

Before she could protest, Eir had an arm around her waist and she was being whisked to her chambers, her mother at their heels.  Her father is left to deal with the uproar the nobles are causing after her “epic” display of magical skill (as Tyr put it) before she lost consciousness.

 

...<--|-->...

 

Turns out that being exposed to the Space Stone for so long wasn’t good for her health.  She was confined to her room with a bag of fluids and Golden Apple juice hooked up to her when she woke up after a day of being trapped in a state of unconsciousness.  Her father was her second most regular visitor (after Tyr of course) and insisted that she get all her strength back before he started her training again.  Why he was giving her his full attention now was beyond her, but she made the most of it.

 

He was a lot like her in some ways.  She supposed that being fully committed to whatever it was they were doing, whether it be writing lists or training was one of the things they shared.  That, and discussing strategy, tactics and new fighting techniques for hours on end without tiring or getting bored of the topic.

 

Apart from her father visiting nearly every three hours, Eir would flit in and out of the room checking up on her and making sure she wasn’t about to drop dead on them.  

 

“You gave us all a fright Hela.”  Eir said gently as she removed the drip from her arm.

 

“I feel like I’ll probably give you more in the future.  Some worse than this.”

 

“You’d better not!”  her Aunt exclaimed.

 

She giggled at the look on her aunt’s face.  Her usually calm features were twisted into one of mock anger.  The thing that gave Eir away were her eyes.  Their brown depths sparkled with mischief like her mother’s did when she was fooling around with her in the garden.

 

“I’ll try not to.”  she giggled.

 

Eir grinned and hooked a new fluid bag up to her arm.  The sleeves of her olive-green healing robes were rolled up around her elbows, her dark brown hair was done up in a single tight braid that was swept up into a bun at the base of her neck.

 

A tray of food was pushed into her lap, a kiss pressed to her forehead.

 

“I recommend not handling any Infinity Stones for a while or doing any seidr.”  she said.

 

“Sure.  But did I prove my claim to everyone?”

 

Eir smiled widely and nodded, “You also scared them shitless.  It’s been said that only a being of immense power can wield them and not die.  Clearly they didn’t expect one so young to survive such a feat.”

 

“They never do, do they?”

 

“No.  That will be their biggest downfall.  Never underestimate your foes Hela.”

 

“Gotcha.”

 

“Good.  Now sleep child.”

 

“Night Eir.”

 

“Night Hela.”

 

The lights were dimmed, and then she was left alone to mull over the events of the past week, and stare at the balls of light floating around her room.  Fenris trots in and jumps up on the bed, then rests her huge head in her lap.  She runs her hand through the thick, soft fur as she drifts off to sleep.

 

...<--|-->...

 

“He’s getting more and more power hungry by the day!”  her mother whispered to Eir, “All he ever does is plan and go on about the glory he will bring to Asgard on this conquest of his.  He’s obsessed!”

 

Her mother was right.  He’d been getting more and more wrapped up in his war councils and barely paid them any attention.  Save for herself.  He still checked in on her to make sure she was okay; he’d also taken it upon himself to oversee her trainings with the Valkyrior.

 

Eir’s face remained screwed up in a frown as she tugged the thin, black strands of Hela’s hair.  Bestla was reading over Hela’s last essay that would allow her to graduate from the Learning Halls, just to be sure she wasn’t using Odin’s biased information on the Aesir-Vanir war and correcting her where correction was needed with a red inked quill made from one of Huginn’s loose feathers.

 

“This is not the man I married to ensure peace between Asgard and Vanaheim!  This is an entirely different man, hellbent on conquering everything he sees as a threat to Asgard, and unfortunately that’s every single realm and being in the whole Norn’s damned universe!”  her mother ranted, her face contorting with anger each time she said a word.

 

“He can be quite ambitious Frigga, but nothing lasts forever; not even his ambition to rule over all others will keep him going once he realises what it’s doing to us and what it’s doing to everyone else.”  Bestla said without looking up from the papers in her lap, “Oh and Hela dear, Bor was thrown into a wall and knocked out cold by your mother, not smacked with the hilt of a sword by Fjorgynn.”

 

“Damn right he was.  She slayed his pride that day.”  Eir stated, finally tying off Hela’s braid and getting up to head back to the Healing halls for her shift.

 

“Thank you Aunt.”  she said.

 

“No problem,” Turning to Frigga she said, “I should be back for dinner, but if I'm not I'll be at the Healing Halls.”  

 

Eir left the room with a nod and her mother came to sit next to Bestla and read over the paper with her.

 

“My Queen,” an Einherji said from the door, “The King requests your presence in your quarters.”

 

Hela watched her mother’s face change swiftly from the embodiment of anger, to the Queen of Asgard that couldn’t let anyone except those she chose, to see her emotions.  Her eyes are hard as she leaves.  She’s left with Bestla now.  The Jotun Queen’s pale blue cheeks are almost the peachy colour of the Aesir.  The only thing that splits her from the rest of the Aesir are the raised kin markings on her skin and the pale, sky blue hue of her skin.  She has eyes like fire.  They can be wild or tame depending on her mood.  Their colours vary from an amber brown, to a hazel green.  Hela loves her Grandmother’s eyes.  They look as if they’ve seen a thousand lifetimes in a few short millennia.

 

She doesn’t realise she’s staring until Bestla’s eyes fix onto her green ones, amusement and mischief sparkling in them before they softened as she spoke.

 

“Your world can change in an instant,” Bestla took a breath and handed her essay back to her, “When it does, I want you to be like water.  To take on any form.  It’s not the fittest that survive, Little One; it’s the most adaptable.”  her grandmother’s calloused hands found their way to Hela’s cheeks, “Be brave, be strong, be yourself and always have an open mind.  Do you understand me?”

 

“Yes Grandmother.”

 

Bestla nodded before letting her face go and turning their attention back onto the essay.

 

She chewed on her bottom lip before she said the sentence that had been bothering her since she'd last been visited by her father.

 

“I don’t want to be a weapon.”

 

“Who said you were?”

 

“I can see it in his eyes.  All I am to him is a tool that he can use then toss away.  He does not look at me like a father looks at his daughter, he looks at me as if I am an object to be used.”

 

There was silence, broken by the rustling of fabric as Bestla wrapped Hela in her arms.  

 

“Remember, be like water."

 

"I will try."

 

Bestla shifts back to the papers and pulls one up from beside her on the window seat.  She looks at it before speaking.

 

"This is really good.  Did you sketch this?"

 

It's a sketch of Fenris sleeping.

 

"Yeah."  She said meekly.

 

"Does it relax you?  Take your mind off what happened on Alfheim?"

 

Now that she thought about it, it did.  Sketching took her away from the stress of school, her father and her memories of Alfheim.  

 

"You should do more of this.  It's amazing.  Very lifelike too."  Her grandmother babbled happily.

 

Oh, she does do more…  her many hidden sketchbooks are evidence of that.  She just doesn't show anyone...

 

...<--|-->...

 

"Father."  She said loudly, trying to get his attention.

 

Nothing.  Not even a glance in her direction or any sign that he'd heard her calling for him.  He’d been so worried about her health two months ago and now he wouldn’t even spare her a glance.  Things had more or less returned back to normal now that she was recovered, and his “weapon” was back to full strength.  He was too busy writing out papers for the next attack he was planning on Alfheim in a century's time.  Their army was steadily growing, Aesir men were being recruited and trained.  Her father took care of all of that as well as the trading deals they had with the dwarves at Nidavellir that supplied some of their more powerful weapons, like the cannons mounted into the Skiffs and the ammunition needed to power them. 

 

Fenris lays down for her to get on her back.  She does so and then they wait a while longer to see if he'll answer.  When he doesn't, Fenris starts walking through the portal her mother has created with the newly restored Tesseract that hosts the Space Stone.  She waves to her mother with a smile on her face until she can no longer see her kind face.

 

Garm greets them in their usual meeting place.  The ruined plains of Helheim spread out before them.  The land scattered with the corpses of ruined houses as souls wandered aimlessly through the ruins.  Fenris carries her through the ruined city of the dead, easily keeping up with the other huge wolf.

 

Garm's silver fur glittered in the feeble light from the sun that managed to make it through the thick, dark clouds blanketing the sky.  Her golden eyes glow brightly in the dim light.  

Fenris jumped over fallen pillars of black obsidian as they made their way to the clearing in the forest where Garm took her for lessons.  

 

It was dark under the trees.  Tall pines marked the way along the border between Helheim and Niflheim as an icy river flowed on the other side of the rift between the two realms.  It was cold near the rift, she stayed on the warmer side of the clearing and watched as Garm opened her mouth and spewed forth an illusion of bright stars that illuminated the clearing nicely.  

 

She slid off Fenris' huge form and landed in the soft dark green grass that grew in the rich soil.  Garm trotted over from the centre of the clearing where the grass was nothing but black bits of charred earth from her previous practical sessions.  

 

"Are you ready?"  She asked excitedly.

 

"Yes?" She said with uncertainty.

 

When Garm was excited she either had a new spell to teach her or couldn't wait to make her run until she collapsed from exhaustion.  It was usually the second option seventy percent of the time.

 

"Has your mother taught you Astral Projection yet?"  

 

"No…"

 

Garm's thick silver tail wagged as she tried to contain her excitement.  It stirred the stars of light around and made them float around the clearing.  She watched them float around lazily, bumping into each other and swirling in and out of the lush leaves of the great oaks surrounding them.  Some oaks have joined together, their roots, branches and trunks entangled to form a bigger tree.

 

“But I picked up an Infinity Stone…”

 

Garm padded over to the entrance of her cave between three large trees and comes back after a while with three thick books floating behind her.

 

“Norns I saw that happen.  It looked painful to hold with your bare hands.”  her mentor says, golden eyes filling with concern.

 

Hela blows the fine layer of dust off of their well-used covers and opens the first.  It's a black leather-bound book with gold buckles on the edges of the front and back cover to hold the pages closed.

 

“It was painful.”  She unclips the buckles and carefully flips through the worn, yellow pages.

 

Runes and words light up as she lays her eyes on them, pictures and diagrams come to life and move around on the pages as she continues to flip through.  This grimoire was more ancient than the last that Garm had brought her.  The dates on the pages go back to the beginning of the last Ragnarok cycle.

 

“I knew you’d be able to take it though.”

 

“So did I.  That’s why I picked it up and proved my point.”

 

She didn’t know.  She knew it was powerful as heck, but she didn’t know it was powerful enough to render her confined to a bed for two weeks.  Usually it took a decent amount of force and power to get her down...

 

"Astral projection should be on page seventy.  I need you to read it carefully before you ask questions and try to attempt it yourself."  Garm instructed.

 

Fenris got up and sniffed around, "I'm going for a look around."  

 

"Do not wander too far Fenris."  Garm growled lowly.

 

Hela found the page she was looking for as Fenris left the clearing. 

 

Astral Projection looked very complicated on paper, but as she read, her dreams came to mind as "accidental projection" and "projection during dreams" were mentioned in the last paragraph of the introduction.  

 

"Garm?"

 

Her mentor stuck her head out of the cave entrance with her ears pricked up.

 

"I think I'm already doing this."

 

"How so?"

 

"My dreams- they are non-existent in a way.  I do not dream, yet when I am asleep, I have visions of myself on a battlefield, taking life from warriors.  Sometimes I'm in someone else's home.  Every destination I'm at, there is always death."

 

"Oh, that's normal for you.  Part of your job description actually."

 

Noting the confusion on her face, Garm continued on with her explanation.

 

"Your job as the Goddess of Death is to make sure death continues on by flitting around the universe reaping souls.  Even now, you aren't entirely here.  Some part of you is off on a distant realm making sure that the natural order of life and death stays in order.  It's just that you see yourself doing it when you dream because, your base conscience is resting while your many other consciences are still working."

 

"Ah… that's nice."

 

"It could be worse."

 

Not wanting to hear what could be worse just yet, she kept reading and after a while she managed to project while she was awake.

 

It was strange, like she was seeing double.  She could see the northern and southern ends of the clearing without having to turn as she stood back to back with the projection of herself.  

 

"One; you’ve done it wrong.  And two; how long have you had these dreams for?"

 

"Roughly three and a half centuries.  Before that, I didn't dream at all."

 

Garm nodded and flicked her tail to instruct her quill to write something down in a black and green book that the giant wolf had been working on since Hela first stepped foot in Helheim.  

 

"What do you write in that book Garm?"

 

The quill scratched away on the pages for a while longer before Garm broke her concentration and looked up, the black quill falling lifelessly onto the page.

 

"It's a list of your abilities."

 

She scrunched her nose up and made the projection of herself disappear as Garm continued.

 

"I keep one for every Queen of Helheim, so that I know what they're capable of, and how I can teach the next to control their powers as soon as possible, with as little casualties as possible."

 

"I am to be Queen of this realm one day?"  She asked.

 

But her father had said she would be ruling Asgard.  He had repeatedly told her during his lectures about her disgracing the House of Odin every time she spoke her mind or spoke out of turn.  Nothing was mentioned about Helheim.  He only ever talked about Asgard and Asgard needing its future Queen to know how to hold her tongue.  

 

Garm nodded to confirm her answer.

 

"One day."

 

Garm shows her how to project without seeing through the projection’s eyes, then they sit in silence.  With Garm's quill scratching on the paper of her ever growing "Guide to raising Death" grimoire.  Hela was skimming through the other books and trying some of the spells she thought she could manage, their colourful and detailed, glowing pages shone brightly in the dull, now fading light of Helheim.  She packed up her books and carried them toward the cave where she placed them on the desk Garm let her use, then she went and got changed for bed.

 

A thought crossed her mind as she came back out to pick up the rest of her things.  

 

"How do I get into Hel if I don't have portal access or Bifrost access?"

 

Garm's answer was intriguing, she'll have to learn everything she can about this place if she’s going to be spending most of her training here.

 

"Helheim is different in a way.  Yes, it is a realm, but it can't be spotted or accessed in Space.  The only way to get here is to find the Helvegr and follow it, open a portal, travel down Yggdrasil or come through the Bifrost."

 

"Helvegr?"  

 

"The way to Hel.  It’s a path that leads straight into the realm.”

 

"Oh."

 

"The Helvegr changes every month.  One month the start of it might be in Asgard, the next it could be on Vanaheim.  We can usually predict which realm it'll appear on, but the exact location is always the trickiest.  Whoever rules this realm can usually get here without use of the Helvegr though.  You should be fine coming to and from Helheim from Asgard."

 

"Good to know."  She nodded goodnight to Garm, "See you in the morning."

 

Heading back inside, she drew her robe tightly around her and tried to keep the cold out.  Niflheim was sending a northerly wind through Helheim, it was bitter, icy and there would be snow by the time the sun makes an appearance tomorrow morning.  She folds back the many blankets and furs that make up her bed and wraps herself up, trying to make it as warm as possible.  The temperature had already dropped several degrees since the sun had dipped below the horizon.  Yes, there would definitely be snow tomorrow.

 

...<--|-->...

 

Hela wakes with Fenris' huge form curled gently around her.  Her giant friend still sleeps soundly, massive ears twitching in her sleep as she dreams.  She runs her hand through the soft black fur surrounding her, then curls back up into a ball.

 

So, Helheim was meant to be hers one day… as well as Asgard, and any other realm they conquered.  She's going to have a lot on her plate by the time she's crowned Queen.  There would be dead to sort, people to be taken care of, other realms to protect that fell under Asgard's rule and then there'd be the paperwork.  Norns her parents already had enough between them, how they managed to do it all and do their other duties, she'd never know.  Then there was dealing with the Nobles and the peasants… no, she'd be fine with only one realm to look after.  She has souls to reap and sort.  To her, the cycle of death was more important than anything else.  If it was somehow altered, whoever altered it would be faced with her extreme displeasure.

 

Fenris cracked a massive green eye open.

 

"Morning Hels."

 

"Morning Fen."

 

They prepare themselves for the day.  Fenris jumps on Garm to wake her up while Hela busies herself with making breakfast.

 

"You know how to cook?"  Fenris said incredulously.

 

She turned around to face the two wolves sitting around the fire burning in the middle of the room.  They were both ripping into a Bilgesnipe Fenris had caught last night.

 

"Yes.  It was a compulsory subject I had to take."

 

She wanted to be able to have something decent while they fought other realms.  Norns knew that everyone was sick of porridge by the end of the first week on Alfheim.  It didn't even have brown sugar on it, or fruit to at least add more flavour to it.

 

"You have to sort out the souls today."  Garm said between mouthfuls of meat.

 

She groaned.  Doing that was fun, but it could be just as boring depending on who was telling her of their death.  Most of the time she knew how they'd died, it kind of ruined the thrill of the story for her a bit.

 

She made quick work of her breakfast (consisting of three slices of bread, an apple, a pear and a bunch of grapes), then dressed in a pair of black leggings with a long-sleeved, dark green top.  She stuck a pair of black leather boots onto her feet, then stuck a hand out of the cave.  Her hand came back coated in a thin layer of a mix of frozen fruit juice that she hadn't quite wiped away.

 

"I'll freeze out there." She muttered.

 

Garm licked her lips and began cleaning up after herself while Fenris continued to gnaw on a bone she'd extracted from her breakfast.

 

"Your Jotun blood should help."

 

She's got Vanir, Jotun and Aesir blood in her.  She wouldn't be surprised if someone told her she had a bit of Elven blood in her either.  The slaves they'd brought back had said many times that she had the grace of a Dark Elf.  A bit strange, but it was better than being told she was as uncoordinated as a newborn deer like Tyr was told by the Einherjar Captains.

 

"Am I supposed to go blue?"  She asked.

 

Garm looked confused for a second

 

"Oh… Bestla is a Warm Jotun, isn't she?"

 

"Both I think?"  Fenris interjected, also starting to clean up her mess.

 

"She's pale blue."  She added, hoping that her small contribution of information would help.

 

Garm had her quill scratching away at a piece of paper.  The huge silver wolf summoned a raven, Hela folded the paper, then the raven was sent off with the paper in its beak.

 

They waited ten minutes for a reply.

Garm tore the envelope open when it arrived, then read it.

 

"Both."  She said.

 

"Both is good."  Fenris added

 

"You should be fine, but if you start getting too cold you know what to do."  Garm said, filing the letter away.

 

A warming enchantment would suffice, though she was glad this was Helheim and not Niflheim.  Nothing kept out the cold in that place… how the hel Skadi managed to live there was beyond her.

 

She grabbed her cloak off her pile of furs anyway and stepped out into the clearing.  The smell of dead beast was ripped away from her senses as a freezing wind from the rift to Niflheim tore through her and the forest.  She shook in the cold and teleported to the wastelands where the new souls she brought in were roaming freely.  It was slightly warmer here, but not much different to Garm's home.  

 

She looked at her arms.  They were as pale as usual, covered in goose bumps and surprisingly unaffected by the cold.  Just like the rest of her body.  There was also no sign of any blue.

 

She puts her cloak on anyway and begins the tedious task of sorting punishments out and rewarding those that had been deserving of it.

 

...<--|-->...

Odin

 

He finished reading his last paper for the day and sighed heavily as he filed them away with the rest.  According to the report, the mines were humming with activity as the many elf slaves they'd brought back from Light Alfheim farmed the crystal they needed to maintain the Bifrost bridge, and mined Uru, Gold and any other material they came across.  The report also detailed that casualties had been surprisingly low for the past fifty years.

 

Frigga entered their shared study with her own paperwork and carefully filed it away with the rest of the trade related papers.

 

"Will you be joining us for dinner, or shall I send for the servants to bring your meal here?"  She asked.

 

"I'll have it in here.  There are still things I have to get done."  He said.

 

Her face fell slightly, but she sent for the servants and gave them their orders anyway.  Her light teal-green skirts rustled as she darted around to the many archives, putting her papers back and organising the ones that he'd hastily shoved in earlier that day.

 

"Hela was trying to get your attention before she left a month ago."  She said, breaking the silence.

 

He hummed, not really paying attention to what his wife was saying as he started reading over the next report.

 

Frigga spun around on her heel and put her back to the bookshelf to face him.  Her green eyes were fixed on him like how a hawk's would watch their prey.  The bronze of her breast plate glinted in the light from the orbs floating around the room.

 

"Listen here Odin."  She said angrily.

 

Frigga crossed the room and stopped in front of his desk.  She leaned on it with both hands and captured his eyes in her piercing gaze.

 

"You barely even speak to her and when you do, it's to scold her for doing something perfectly reasonable.  Or to tell her that her training session was pathetic."

 

He opened his mouth to protest and set the reports down, but Frigga silenced him with a glare.

 

"Yes, you did speak at length with her as she was recovering from the Space Stone, but as soon as she recovered you didn't even spare her a glance.  She's worked her arse off trying to get even a tiny bit of your attention or praise, to get you to realise that she is good at other things and not just executing prisoners or fighting in battles."

 

Again, he tried to argue.  Again, he was silenced.

 

"And then your mother tells me that Hela thinks you only see her as a weapon for your conquest!"  Frigga's voice was rising at this point.

 

"But I don't!" He argued.

 

"YOU ACT LIKE YOU DO THOUGH!"  She screamed.

 

Her eyes had taken on a slight green glow to them as seidr flowed around her fingers.  Her chest was heaving as she tried to contain her anger.

 

"I've seen things.  And they aren't good things."  She said quietly.

 

"What have you seen?"

 

She took a breath and shifted her weight from foot to foot.  Her long hair falling from her shoulder to her back as she straightened up.  Sweaty handprints were left behind on the polished wood of his desk as she moved away.

 

"It doesn't matter.  But if you don't start looking at her like she's a person, and giving her the attention she needs from you, then you may just end up in a huge pile of shit that even I won't be able to get you out if like I often do."

 

"I'll try."  He said, standing up and walking around to where she was standing and nervously picking at the skin of her palm.

 

He stopped her hands and took them in his bigger ones.  She glared at him.

 

"If you hurt her.  If you mess up.  Nothing, and I repeat, nothing will be able to help you escape my extreme displeasure."  She growled.

 

He swallowed.

 

"I will make the effort."

 

She huffed, then leaned her head on his chest.  

 

"You'd better.  Because it won't just be me you'll be trying to escape from."

 

He wrapped his arms around her waist and held her as she put most of her weight on him.