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04 November 2014 @ 03:24 pm
A Crocus in the Snow, part 10  

ASGARD

Frigga did not want to see Tyr with the knowledge she held now. She did not want to look at someone she had believed to be a loyal friend, someone she had given the cup to at the feast numerous times and bestowed one of her flowers on him for bravery never knowing that he had betrayed her trust in such a vile way.

She did not want to look on him ever again. But nor did she want Odin and Thor to confront him without her, so she joined them on the way to the dungeon to see Tyr.

The Warriors Three were with them to provide extra security, and because they already knew the truth. Hogun and Fandral stayed behind her, as Thor paced his father up ahead, with other Einharjar trailing behind and left at the main doors.

She held Volstagg's arm, grateful that this old friend at least was true. He caught her glance at him, and his other hand came up to pat the back of her hand gently in sympathy. "Aye, my queen, I am with you always," he promised, his voice a deep rumble.

"Thank you, Volstagg. It eases my heart to know we have true friends."

She looked inside the empty cell where Loki had been as they walked past it, picturing him at the little table scribbling those words of farewell in the poetry book, even then keeping back the truth. Yet if it hadn't finally fallen free, he might be in there still, consumed by his pain and anger.

The party's slow steps halted before the smaller cell where Tyr stood. He saw Odin had come and though the shock passed through him at the sight, he immediately sank to one knee. "My king, I--"

Odin's voice was like stone. "I did not give you leave to speak."

Tyr nodded and swallowed hard, bowing his head.

Odin continued, "This is not a trial. Your guilt has already been determined."

Tyr looked up at that. "With evidence from the Trickster himself? My king, you know he has always hated me. Even before his pet viciously attacked me, he resented me. Whatever you think I did, I swear I never did anything against you. My loyalty to you and Asgard is true."

Unmoved, Odin glowered at him. "I know the truth, Tyr. Do not seek to muddle it with half-truths and false accusations."

"But it is the truth, my king, I swear! I am loyal to you, always. We are companions, warriors together..." He tried to smile at Odin, coax him into forgiveness. Frigga clenched her hands, a seed of power in her fists that she fed her anger so she could keep from lashing out.

Volstagg had no such restraint, growling in fury, "Do not claim to be a warrior. Warriors do not torment children. Warriors have honor, and you have none."

"I would never--!" Tyr started in outrage and horror, and if not for knowing the truth, Frigga might have believed his performance.

Odin ordered, "Thor, open the cell."

Tyr looked hopeful that he was about to be released, but Frigga knew there was no chance of that. She waited patiently, glad she was here to see this, and only a little sorry that Loki was not.

The moment the front barrier died away, Tyr started to rise, smiling in relief. Odin stepped forward, Gungnir shining and twirling. The spear caught Tyr behind the knees, sweeping him off his feet and dumping him on his back to stare up at the king, stunned.

Gungnir's point was set at his throat, glowing like the sun on snow. "Had you been truly loyal," Odin said, "you would have come to me and said you could not teach him. That your hate was too strong to be just. But you did not. Instead, you pretended to be my loyal companion and servant, and you lied to me. In secret you punished my son for something that was never his fault. You hurt him and, worse, you enjoyed it."

"That thing is not your son!" Tyr spat at him, face twisting in hate. "It never was."

Frigga put a hand to her chest as her heart shattered into a million pieces, hearing the echo of Loki's own words.

Odin did not react except to tighten his hand on Gungnir. "So you stand revealed," he murmured. "But that is not enough. So though I would rather swim in a midden than touch your thoughts, you will clasp Gungnir in your hand. And I will know the full truth."

Tyr stared up at him now with wide terrified eyes, finally understanding that cold death was staring back at him. "N-no, my lord, please, you would never require that of me, I promise whatever you believe I've done, it is all lies…"

"Hold the haft and open your mind," Odin ordered. "You have seen what happens to those who resist, Tyr. Do not choose that path. I have little mercy in me today."

When Tyr still didn't lift his hand, Thor knelt down beside him, lip curled in disgust. "You are a coward, Tyr. A dishonorable traitorous coward, who preyed upon someone who could not resist. You make me ill that I ever considered you worthy of my attention." He grabbed Tyr's wrist, and Tyr tried futilely to pull free, struggling so he wouldn't touch Gungnir.

Thor inexorably forced Tyr's hand onto the spear and his fingers to curl around the haft, holding his own hand on top of Tyr's.

"Thor, let go!" Frigga called, realizing Thor's danger. If he was still holding Tyr's hand when Odin initiated the contact, Thor would be privy to everything as well.

Thor pulled away as Gungnir blazed with power, and both king and prisoner were caught within it.

For a few heartbeats, during which no one dared speak, they all watched. Tyr's eyes were enormous, staring into the blinding white light, while the brightness made Odin look nearly transparent.

The king groaned and then abruptly wrenched Gungnir free. The glow died, and the king staggered away into the wall, chest heaving breath. Tyr collapsed to the floor, limp, and Frigga could not bring herself to care if he was still alive or not.

Thor went to Odin, anxious, as Odin leaned heavily on Gungnir with both hands. "Father!"

"Do not, my son, I will not tarnish you," Odin shrugged him away. "Such… filth in his soul." He slowly turned to look down at a Tyr with his glowering eye.

Tyr stirred from his daze. "That monster has you in thrall!" Tyr cried hoarsely, desperation shining in his face as he pushed himself up on one elbow.

"You call Loki monstrous, and his deeds have been terrible and dark. Yet his heart is purity itself compared to the sickness in yours. You took him apart to create a reflection of yourself." The king's revulsion was so great he could not bear to continue to look at Tyr, returning to the corridor.

"Replace the barrier. He will remain until I sentence him, when Loki returns," he ordered curtly. "We are done here."

Thor hurried out of the cell and Hogun activated the barrier, as Tyr struggled up to his knees. He called after them, "You should have killed the creature! He is no son of yours, he is --"

Frigga whipped back around to face the cell, her hand extended and teeth gritted together. She twined seiðr around Tyr and brought the threads together, snapping her fingers together into a fist. His voice choked to silence. Tyr put his hand to his throat, as if that would help, and she moved close enough to the barrier to feel its hum against her skin as she glared at him coldly. "When you scorn Loki, you scorn me. A sword can only kill you. But I can make you know nothing but pain and fear the rest of your days. So you had best pray to your ancestors for the king's mercy because I promise you will get none from me."

Tyr looked pale and a little shocked as if he had forgotten her power. She longed to continue the reminder and set him on fire with forbidden spells, but let Odin call her away.

"Thank you, my queen," Odin said. "His raving was hard to hear." Slowly they climbed the steps to exit the dungeon chamber. In the hall outside, he stopped and admitted wearily, "I must rest for a short while. This has been a difficult day. Thor, I leave the Realm in your hands. The height of the convergence has passed, and I believe Loki and Sif were successful, but keep a wary eye at our borders. Malekith is not the only one who may attempt a crossing."

Thor bowed his head. "Father."

Frigga left her son and the Warriors Three, and walked with Odin back to his chamber. He didn't head toward the bed, but instead to the chaise before the view of the city.

"So?" she prompted softly, sitting beside him. "What did you learn and not wish them to hear?"

"More. None of it good. I think the most important one for you to know..." He inhaled a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Tyr found Loki in the final days of the war; he was the one who put the baby on the altar to have him suffer and die, not Laufey. Laufey thought his son was dead because he was missing from where he had been hidden, not because he had sacrificed the baby to their gods."

"Oh, no." She gasped, not only for the horror of knowing Tyr had tried to kill a helpless baby but with the realization that Loki had never been left to die. He should know that. Yet how could they tell Loki that he had slain his blood father, angry at an offense that had not happened? Yet she could not keep another secret from him, especially when knowing Laufey had not abandoned him might ease his fears.

Odin continued, his voice low for her ears alone. "Tyr was never completely certain that baby was Loki, but he believed it - his earliest abuse was attempting to force Loki to admit the truth or to show his true form. But when that failed, he'd had too much of a taste of the power to stop." He shook his head slowly. "There were no others, but I can scarcely feel glad about that, feeling his delight - his hunger for what he did." He shut his eye and his shoulders slumped. "This is a terrible thing," he whispered, "to have shared these memories about my own son."

She caressed the soft white hair, and let him lean against her in heartsick weariness. "It seems as if all the secrets are coming forth all at once. We will struggle through, and help Loki as much as we can when he returns."

His hand gripped her forearm. "How did I not see him?" he asked hoarsely. "This viper and his poison…"

"I did not see him either, husband. We believed what he showed us."

He shook his head, more in despair and anguish than negating anything she said, but said nothing more, consumed by his thoughts and regrets. She wondered if he would fall into Odinsleep to escape the trials of the day, but he held on, apparently unwilling to seek that solace even in his exhaustion.

She patted him and offered her strength, but she knew there would be no solace for her until Loki returned.

***
tbc..