So, about a year ago, I wrote a story called 'In the End', where I attempted to bring together all my theories/opinions leading up to 'Thor'. I left some things out. This is the first of the four (one for each member of the Asgardian royal family) sequel/prequels that I intend to publish - somewhat simultaneously. Each story is exclusively from one viewpoint, and if you choose to read them together as I release them, you'll get one cohesive story, told from all sides. If you don't, you'll get one side of it.
If you're discovering this story late, I'm planning on putting up a plan for how the chapters line up chronologically.
I can't promise daily updates, but you'll never have to wait too long ;) I have yet to finish them, which is a first for me. Usually I finish things before I put them up. But what can I say, I got excited.
The title is from the song by Mumford and Sons, which I found strangely applicable, taken from many angles.
Bor's words rang in his ears and his face burned.
Paying little heed to the tiled floor or the wide pillars that arched to either side of him, he stormed down the long hall. Summer wind played through the openings between the pillars. It lifted the hair on his neck. But he did not notice it.
She blocked his way. Gathering back his annoyance, Odin shoved all emotion out of his face and opened his hands at his sides. He did not wish to speak with her. He drew to a halt and turned his face to look at the ground to his right.
Bestla looked at him with her hands folded before her. Proud and tall. Her dark eyes were stern, black hair piled on her head. The breeze knew better than to toy with it.
He hadn't seen her this nearly in many weeks.
"You and your father fought again."
He let out a slow breath.
Mockingly, she asked him, "You do not answer your queen?"
"I was unaware any reply was required of me," he turned his head to face her and straightened. "The context left me uncertain, Mother."
He clasped his hands behind him.
A slight smile touched her eyes as she drew closer. Traced an icy white finger under his chin. "What was it this time?" she whispered, almost in a hiss. "You were caught outside the palisade again, weren't you." Odin could have sworn that his face did not change, but her eyes glowed, "So," she purred. "It is that, then. How was it he caught you? I had thought you better skilled than to be caught by your father's ham-handed goons."
His teeth closed. It was an involuntary response that he cursed himself for as she latched onto it.
"No," she marveled, "No. You went to him. Why? What hope have you of thwarting the old goat's schemes?"
"Why should I not?" Odin raised his chin. "I've been in his wars and he thinks to deny me passage beyond his walls? He has no right."
"He is your father," Bestla said, "your commanding officer, and your king."
"He leaves them to starve in his streets," Odin snapped, "While he goes out to wage war on Realms no more advanced than Midgard for no purpose but his own glory! He is no king."
"What is it you would have him do?" she frowned, "Take the food from the mouths of our servants?"
Odin said nothing, chest heaving and face washed with heat. He watched the glitter of the light playing on the rich jewels that rested about her white throat.
Her hand hovered protectively above them. "To subjugate the people is the king's right."
He raised his chin and looked into her dark eyes with all the force of his blue ones. "Then I will be no king."
Bestla looked at him for one startled moment. Then she put her head back and she laughed at him.
Odin's face flushed dark and his callused hands curled into fists that he made no effort to hide. The muscles in his arm shifted.
"Be not a fool, Son," she said. Mirth danced in her eyes. "There is no other heir."
"You have kinsmen who can take the throne. I will have none of it."
Her face darkened, "Hoenir? He is an imbecile. And Lodur is but a child."
He closed his eyes and took a long breath. "At least," he breathed, "they might not bring the Realms to ruin."
"Your father," her chin went up and her eyes flashed with her jewels, "forces the Realms down to raise Asgard to its rightful place among them. Too long have they mocked us."
Odin didn't look at her. One side of his mouth tugged into a sneer he did nothing to hide. "It's rightful place among the Realms?" he said. He turned his face to see her, where she stood looking at him, pale and angry. "Where the source of its strength rots in the streets and the stench of it rises to the palisade. Where the reek is ignored by sovereigns who care for naught but for glory and for wealth. Eventually the putrefaction will spread and even your terrible beauty will not be spared, oh my queen. A palace of splendor crafted on corpses is no exaltation at all." He gave a soft laugh in his throat. "Is this the place you spoke of, Mother?"
Her hand flew and the impact of it flamed against his face. Channels scored deep into his cheek and went cold with the cut of her nails.
"You will learn not to speak thus against our power, your power. I am your queen and I will bear no such insult."
He caught his breath as the pain faded. He felt the blood bead in the grooves her nails had left. It slipped hot, like crimson tears, to his chin.
"Where would you be?" she flashed, "You who speak so proudly, if it were not for your father's conquests? You would be no better off than our servants. Would you have that?"
"You are my queen no longer," he said.
He watched her white hand curl at her side. For one, long moment she watched him. Then she drew back.
"I expected that towards your father. But I never anticipated..." her voice faded. She turned her head sharply away.
Blood trickled from one furrow to another on his left cheek. He did not touch it. He watched her very steadily until she turned again to look at him.
"You lost me long ago," he promised.
She looked at him. Her face was hard, her chin erect. "I see."
She turned on her heel, "Be on your way, then, Borson. Your father will seek you with all haste when he discovers your absence. Though I know I trained you better than to be caught."
"I did love you, once."
She paused in her steps and turning part-way round she looked at him with one dark eye. "I had hoped for more."
And with no further word to him, she was gone.