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The Queen's Heir: [then] queen-grief

Title: The Queen's Heir
Rating: M/R
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe/Norse Mythology/Tolkien's Hobbit
Pairings: Fárbauti/Laufey
Genre: Adventure/Mythology/Family
Summary: then: Something more than just our ability to travel between the Realms was stolen from us this fateful day. This day, when we lost the war, I lost also my son. And I mean to have him back. No matter what it takes.
I am looking.
now: Thrown into a world not my own, I can no longer tell wrong from right, night from day. Two months I spent in the care of the goblins under the mountain. Two months I cultivated my hatred of Odin and spurned all that I had once loved.
I am lost.


His Queen is grieving, and Fárbauti fears that the grief will take her where he dare not follow, to madness and death.

Even now he dares not comfort his Mage-Queen, his most beautiful and precious of creatures. To try to touch her now would be his very death.

He grieves as well. It is his child taken too, his responsibility failed and shattered over the steps of the temple. He had been looking forward to being a father, to helping his child through the steps of becoming an adult, even though, since Fárbauti is male, and their precious, precious child was (is?) jrale. Still, what Fárbauti could not teach their child, his Queen would have been able to. Jrale were closer to the female spectrum than the male, magic-users all, and capable of bearing children.

Still, Fárbauti would have been able to teach jir to hunt, and that of itself would have been a delightful thing to share.

He is broken from his ruminations by a hand upon his shoulder. He looks up. Laufey is there, bathed and clad once again, a great and terrible grief in her eyes.

(She sees the same grief mirrored in his, and relents)

“I have chosen a name for our child.” She says, and Fárbauti is confused before his heart leaps.

“Je is alive? You know?” He asks, because he must know. He sees the exhaustion lining his Queen’s fierce, fair features, an exhaustion he associates with the tireless working of magics. She closes red eyes briefly, and nods.

“It is all I could get past the shields of Asgard. My child - our child is alive.” He rises, and sweeps Laufey into a tight embrace, and she does not resist. She even relaxes into it for several long moments, before pulling backward. “I have a ritual, bondmate. I don’t know if it will work, but we must try. It should be able to tell us how our child fares, and, at the very least, when je is hurt or if je -” she shudders, resting her head against his shoulder. “If je dies.” She grates out, and Fárbauti’s happy heart plunges. He cradles her against him again before moving.

“Come, beloved. What do you need?” He asks, and she motions behind her.

“The remains of the birthing-blood, in the dish by my bed. Your help,” she grates out (his Queen is proud, reluctant to admit she needs help, but Fárbauti is at the highest point of joy when he can render aid to his beloved), “to reach the lower Casting Chamber.” He quickly leaves he leaning on the wall and retrieves the bowl.

He gives her the bowl and carefully (with her permission, never without) lifts her and carries her down the flights of stairs to the lowest level of the castle, buried deep in the frost-bitten earth. He sets her down and she begins the rituals. First she bids him sit in the center of her work, bowl in his lap.

Frost follows her bared feet as she pads along the intricate designs inlaid to the stone of the floor (designs that have been there for millennia and more) Her breath puffs in a crystalline vapor as she intones words of the old tongue, and Fárbauti is rapt. She comes forward, sprinkling herbs, ash, and finally drops of his and her blood into the remains of the birthing-blood, following it with a swirl of clear water. She stirs, voice rising and falling in a song of magic before she catches liquid between cupped palms and bids him bow his head and drink.

He does, and she repeats the gesture, drinking herself, before pulling him up with her as she stands, and she ceremoniously pours the remaining liquid on the stone at their feet. It vanishes as it strikes, and her voice is raised in exultation, before she drops the bowl and collapses to her knees, spent of magic and strength.

“Loptr, child of Laufey Mage-Queen and Fárbauti Queen-Speaker!” She cries out, and falls against him. He gathers her close, closing his eyes.

Loptr. (Air, a good name for a mage-child, for they could be as deadly as the howling wind and as playful as a breeze, and impossible to live without.) His little mage-child, and his Queen’s.

He feels it. A bare stirring beneath his breast, nestled close to his heart. A tiny echo of a heartbeat, slow and steady, as if in sleep. He chokes, bows his head against his Queen’s mane of soft black hair and cries out in joy and grief.

~

“Who is this?”

“I have brought you another son, Frigga. They left him at the top of a tower to die, not hours old. I shifted him so no one would know, but he is a jötunn. I will be able to maintain the spell, I believe, for as long as he lives, given some times to recharge the magics. Will you take him, and raise him with Thor?”

“...I will. Give him to me. Oh, he’s a squirmy child. What do you look for, dear one? You, I think, shall be Loki. Loki Odinson”

“It is done. Perhaps we may have a chance at lasting peace now.”

~

Months pass, the clamor of wartime subsiding to peace, though theirs is a difficult peace. Laufey finally permits him to join her in sleep once more. They return to more pleasurable forms of passing time as well, and Fárbauti is glad to be able to worship his Queen the way no other is permitted to worship her.

Years pass, peace becoming a more common notion, though life on the tundra is more difficult than ever without the measuring, controlling force of the Casket of Ancient Winters to aid them. Odin had seemed to think that he was merely taking away a weapon, but really, he was taking away the tool that had helped them grow what limited flora they could in the harsh tundra. Their race is mainly carnivorous, but beasts need things to eat, and migratory herds are growing thinner than ever.

Years pass, and Laufey carries again. Another child is born, this one definitely male, a warrior, not a hair on his head and the bare ridges of horn already dark against the surface of his little skull, where Loptr had had a fine coating of downy black hair and dark nubs above his ears where mage-horns might have grown.

Laufey sits at the top of the temple with his child, angled so the babe cannot see him, and endures scared, hungry, cold cries throughout the night (there is a reason patrols are kept to the base of the temple).

The baby lives

They name him Býleistr, buzzing lightning. He is a joy to teach the ways of the warrior, and Laufey looks on in contentment. She loves Býleistr, there is no doubt, but Fárbauti knows that her heart belongs first and foremost to her stolen Loptr.

Fárbauti searches, through the years. He finds little but better hunting grounds and fishing holes. He is not trained to see around the edges of reality, he has difficulty in his search for ways beyond realms. But he does search, every season of melt when he and the rest of the hunters go hunting for food to last them through the season of frost, before coming back to live with his Queen and their child.

Laufey herself cannot go out and search. Her people are laid with unrest, dissenters among the ranks.

One mage actually comes right out and challenges Laufey’s right to rule. Laufey demands a duel, as tradition dictates, and utterly decimates her opponent. She stops shy of killing the female, because their life is hard enough without taking away a child-bearer, especially one such as this, bound not only to a male, but to a jrale as well in a triad bond. Such bonds are highly-sought-after, producing twice as many children, and some think with richer magic

So she is merciful. She takes her pound of flesh in the form of the female’s left horn ripped from skin and bone with magic-enhanced strength, and the herald of a scream that leaves everyone’s ears ringing for the rest of the day. Laufey allows a healer to hastily knit together cracked bone and rent skin, then locks her in the prison at the highest point of the castle, where the roof and walls are made of magically-reinforced, unbreakable, sheet-thin ice, so that it catches and refracts the sunlight into heat uncomfortable for any jötunn. She stays there for a sevenday cycle, and is released, humbled and grateful and obedient once more.

Laufey takes Fárbauti to her bed that day in high spirits, bloodlust raging through her veins.

Ten months later a third child is born, a second healthy male-child.

Laufey again sits at the top of the temple with the child, breaking his heart over the course of the night.

The babe survives, but the winter night has seen fit to steal his sight away. They name him Helblindi, all-blind.

Laufey tells him that her womb will bear no more children. It is uncommon, to have fertility die out at only three living children, the number is usually closer to five (the attempts at children, usually closer to twelve); but then, they had also not had any miscarriages or lost children, so Fárbauti counts his blessings.

Býleistr is touchingly ecstatic to have a sibling, and quickly takes the younger child under his wing. Fárbauti watches the two of them and sees the empty places where Loptr should have been, feels the reassuringly steady heartbeat just below his own. He knows Laufey sees it even more keenly that he, even as he strides in and grabs one child under each arm, hauling them indoors to their chambers amid happy shrieks of laughter.

He is happy, and his Queen is content. Now is the time, Helblindi is finally old enough to understand. Now he and his bondmate will tell their warrior-children of the mage-child that they should have grown up protectors of. Now they will tell Býleistr and Helblindi of Loptr.

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