It was a normal day in Valhalla as far as everybody else was concerned.
The joyous noise of the chosen slain feasting with one another echoed thought the humongous mead hall, a multitude of different languages being spoken by the millions of people who occupied the room, some still used to this day, and others not having been used in hundreds of years. The boar Sæhrímnir rotated on a spit about a roaring fire, the smell of it's cooking meat wafting though the halls as hundreds of valkyries flitted to and fro, carrying pitchers of mead which they used to refill the einherjar's tankards when they ran out.
At the very back of the hall, sitting on a ornate wooden throne on top of a platform build against a part of the World Tree itself, sat the All-Father with a golden tankard in his hand. His slim, muscular body was adorned in a dark green t-shirt, weathered black jeans, brown leather bracers on his arms, and heavy-duty boots that were just as worn down as the jeans on his feet. His brown hair covered his neck and his beard reached down to his chest. Behind him, perched on the back of his throne to his left and right, his two ravens squawked and preened themselves, while his two wolves chewed on their own slabs of meat at his feet.
Currently, he, along with some other einherjar, were invested in listening to a warrior who sat at the very front of the hall near the platform tell a story. The warrior, who looked like he came from somewhere in Asia and was speaking some language other than english, was very animated as he told his story, the god and all the warriors who were paying attention to him listening intently, his one eye with it's dark brown iris locked onto him, the one next to it covered with a brown eyepatch with was also made of leather just like his bracers.
Odin bellowed a laugh and banged the right arm of his throne in amusement as the warrior finished telling his story, his lean form shaking with laughter as the other einherjar laughed as well, some patting him on the back.
The god proceeded to raise his tankard to the man, his eye gleaming with delight, as the other warriors followed suit before all of them took a swing of mead from their tankards.
Emma really didn't want to ruin his mood.
From the very back of the hall, which was easily the size of four football fields, stood a woman clad in silver armor with a sword at her hip. Even from where she was standing, Emma could easily spot, and hear, the chief of the Aesir.
But she was a valkyrie. She had to report this to him.
With a sigh, and a rather nasty remark in her head at her losing the rock, paper, scissor game she had with Greta, the valkyrie she went to go check up on him with, to decide who got to tell him, Emma floated off of the ground and zipped toward Odin.
As she flew through the room, she waved and smiled at some of her fellow warrior women despite her mood. Once she landed on the platform however, her face sobered.
Odin had spotted her when she was about ten feet away, and smiled gently at the valkyrie, whom he had a fondness for, having hand-picked her himself. His smile became a frown however when she landed and they locked eyes, him seeing her serious face.
"Emma," He greeted, gazing at her in concern. "What troubles you?"
Despite being much older than, her, Odin appeared to be in his early thirties thanks to Idunn's youth-giving fruit being a regular part of his diet. Technically thought, it was still older than Emma was. She was only twenty-four.
Emma bit her lip. "I have news Lord Odin, urgent news," She began before dropping the volume of her voice a decibel. "News that might be better discussed in private."
Odin nodded, his two ravens gazing at her curiously at hearing this. Getting up from his throne, he gestured to the stairs behind her. "Then by all means, let's go somewhere more suitable."
The two walked down the stairs and into a hallway.
Emma turned to face Odin once they'd stopped.
Well, moment of truth.
"It's Loki, my lord," She said. "He's...he's gone."
Odin tensed visibly, his one eye gazing at her intensely. "What do you mean he's gone?" Odin asked at the valkyrie in front of him incredulously.
The warrior woman stood in front of him tensely, a frown gracing her beautiful face. "I mean he's gone Lord Odin. Greta and I went to check on him on our routine check, but he was gone. The snake was killed, strangled to death, and Sigyn..."
Odin noted Emma's pause.
"What about Sigyn Emma?" He asked, his tone requesting she spit it out.
"She's dead my lord." Emma finally said.
Odin stiffened as he took in this information. Who could of done this?
"She had a hole in her chest from a sword, straight through the heart." The valkyrie elaborated. "Greta stayed behind to look after it."
Odin nodded. He'd have to have Emma go back and have her and Greta bring it back to Asgard so he could give it a look over and so they could give Sigyn a proper burial. He was actually fond of Sigyn, despite her husband. Speaking of which...
"And do you know where Loki is?"
Emma shook her head. "We don't know my lord." She replied. "But, my lord, there was something odd about Sigyn's wound that's worth mentioning.
At this, Odin raised his eyebrow at Emma to tell her to go on.
"The wound-it was cauterized."
Odin's jaw set. That was all he needed to hear for him to deduce the perpetrator.
But why? This isn't what was supposed to happen. This isn't what the Völva told him.
Odin growled softly to himself in frustration as he suddenly set off in a speedwalk to the nearest exit, Emma was startled by his sudden movement, but composed herself and dutifully moved to keep up with him from behind.
This wasn't how things were supposed to go. Where was Fimbulvetr? Why hadn't Skoll swallowed the sun and Hati battered the moon? Why hadn't the roosters crowed? This wasn't right, this wasn't right at all.
"My lord?" Emma spoke, "Where are you going?"
"To Hliðskjálf." He replied.
Emma stopped in her tracks. A smile came onto her face. Hliðskjálf, of course. Nothing, nor nobody, in all the Nine Realms could hide from Odin once he sat upon that mountain peak and looked for what, or who, he wanted to see.
Emma wasn't sure how he want about doing it. She had heard a rumor from her fellow valkyries and some of the einherjar she had served, and she wasn't sure if it was true, not to say there was anything wrong with it if there was. She never had the courage to ask him if it was true, or what he really did.
"Stay here Emma." Odin called out, reaching a set of large, wooden doors. "Once I return from Hliðskjálf, I will have you and a group of other valkyries capture Loki and bring him Asgard. Just as he moved to open the hefty door, a voice called out to him.
"Odin, my love, where are you going?"
Odin and Emma turned. Standing there behind them was Frigg, queen of the Aesir and wife of Odin.
Appearing to be in her late twenties with a look of curiosity was on her face, she strode forward, her long, blonde hair and gorgeous white dress flowing behind her.
Emma gave her a respectful nod of her head when she passed, the goddess turning to smile at the valkyrie. Once she was in front of Odin, the inquisitive look returned.
Odin sighed. No point in hiding this from her.
"My dear," He said, looking into her eyes, "something quite horrible has happened."
Concern etched Frigg's beautiful features. "Whatever could this be?"
"Loki has escaped." He whispered to her.
Shock was the first emotion her faced displayed, her mouth agape, before it was replaced with pure disgust and rage, which made her alluring face look quite ugly.
"How?!" She hissed in a hushed tone, hatred lacing her voice. Thought she intended to be quiet, Emma heard her, and flinched upon hearing the goddess spat out something that sounded so uncharacteristic.
Odin didn't flinch though. He harbored that same amount of hatred for Loki.
"Surtr let him free." Odin replied, causing his wife's face to scrunch up in confusion.
"I know." Odin interrupted her. "My reaction is the same as yours."
"How did you find out he escaped, and that Surtr was responsible?" Frigg asked.
"Emma and another valkyrie, Greta found out when they went on a routine check." Odin nodded to the valkyrie behind her.
Frigg turned to look at her, the valkyrie standing there attentively with her hands behind her back. Frigg eyes then widened as she realized something.
"But what of the precursors of Ragnarök?" She asked, turning her head to look back at him.
Odin shook his head. "There have been none my love, none of what the Völva foretold has come to pass." He hesitated before speaking again. "Frigg, there's something else."
Sorrow now occupied Frigg's face. Frigg and Sigyn were close.
"Surtr killed her." Odin continued.
Frigg's jaw set. "We have to find him Odin." She said with determination.
"And we will." Odin confirmed with a nod. "I am going to Hliðskjálf right now to find where he is. Once I know, I will have a group of valkyries lead by Emma retrieve him and bring him here to Asgard."
Odin gave her a soft smile before pecking her cheek. "We'll get him my dear, I promise." She gave him a tight-lipped smile.
Odin smiled back. "Emma." he said, looking over her shoulder.
The valkyrie stood to attention. "Yes Lord Odin?"
"Explain everything you saw to Lady Frigg."
She nodded. "Yes Lord Odin."
Odin returned his attention back to Frigg and squeezed her hand in a gesture of comfort before he turned away. He knew she was stressed.
"I will tell you what I've seen once I return." He told his wife before opening the doors, walking out into the mighty city of Asgard and heading for the mountains where Hliðskjálf was.
New York. The son of a bitch was in New York.
He had told Emma what he had found out once he return having found her standing behind the door waiting for him. She had revealed that his wife had gone to their quarters. Odin knew what she was doing. He would have to go and comfort her in mourning for Sigyn, as well as her perpetual mourning for their son Baldr. Odin knew his wife well enough to know that telling her that Loki had gotten free would cause her to dwell on their lost son. He, on the other hand, was enraged. Enraged that the fucker responsible for his son's death was walking free.
After telling Emma that she and the other valkyries would be leaving tomorrow and to go back to the cave and have she and Greta bring Sigyn's body to Asgard, he entered the hall the same way he exited it. The hall was empty now, save a couple of einherjar who had passed out from drinking to much spread randomly about the tables. Trudging up the stairs, he sauntered over to his throne and plopped down into it, considerably less cheerful that he was an hour and forty-five minutes ago.
His animals were still in the same spots. His two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, picked up on this and stared at their friend worriedly. His two wolves Geri and Freki, having finished their meat a while ago, also sensed their master's tenseness, and both gazed up at him, whining. They knew something was bothering him. And Odin knew that they knew.
"Loki has escaped." He stated to the four. The creatures surrounding him tensed. They knew how Odin felt about his former brother.
Odin sat there for hours, watching as the handful of drunk einherjar spread throughout the hall woke up and stumbled out mumbling to themselves. He was still sitting there when dinner came around, the einherjar flooding through the multitude of entrances that lined the walls on either side of the hall. Though he ate and drank, the mood had been ruined for Odin. His thoughts laid on the prophecy of Ragnarök.
How could the Völva he had spoken to all those years ago have been wrong? With this turn of events, Odin wasn't sure if the prophecy could be trusted. Even when all the einherjar had gone to retire, and his ravens had flown off to their nests, and his wolves had fallen asleep at his feet, Odin still sat in his throne, his body ridged with his hand gripping the armrests of his throne tightly, his thoughts still on Ragnarök. This whole situation caught Odin unawares, the prophecy of Ragnarök seemed wrong and he didn't know. And he hated not knowing.
Odin shifted his spear to his left hand and looked down at the scar that extended down his palm in a slanted fashion.
"I will get you." He whispered to the floor, his teeth gritted together, before getting up and head to his quarters.
No, Odin didn't know how Loki escaped and where he'd gone. He didn't know if the prophecy of Ragnarök could be trusted or not. He didn't know what the future held.
But he would find out.