"How could this happen?" Thor's hands were clenched into fists. He wanted to destroy the magnificent table in front of him with one bat. "How could anyone dare to act against your judgment, All-Father!"
"Calm down!" Said Odin. His voice filled the room. "Almost everyone here in Asgard harbored a grudge against Loki."
"This is not an excuse," cried Thor. His body trembled with rage. Odin's word was law. No one was allowed to act against it.
"But above all it was an act of cowardice." Thor bowed his head. The last one he spoke in a whisper, almost not hearable, but Odin knew and nodded approvingly.
"How is Sigyn?," asked the young god, after he had calmed down a bit.
"Bad", the All-father said. "The poor thing is still completely distraught. I just hope she does not think she is guilty. "
"How could she? She only did what was told her. She could not know that the meal was poisoned and she will hardly be in a position to carry out such an act. "
"Certainly not," sighed Odin. "But I do not believe that one of our chefs were also able of such a deceit."
"And then who?"
"I do not know, my son. But whoever did, he has achieved his goal. There was no chance for Loki, but even if it hurts me to say, maybe it is better that way. "Odin looked down from his throne to the young god, who stared at him in disbelief.
"How can you say that death is better than life, father?"
"Thor to lock someone up from all that he knows, from all that what he likes, force him to lay in eternal chains, condemned in darkness without his words can be heard, just because you do not want him to die has nothing to do with life, but with selfishness. "
"No," hissed Thor, but before he could reply to the God of gods, the hall felt suddenly into an eerie light. It was neither light nor dark. Neither hot nor cold. But Thor felt every single hair of his neck straightened and a shiver ran down his spine. Steps sounded behind him and out of the corner of his eyes, Thor could see how even the All-father`s face lost all color. Whoever had entered the room, made even Odin`s blood run cold.
Thor opened his fist, a gesture that each of his enemies knew well. Within seconds, his mighty hammer found its place into the hand of the Thunder God, willing to kill anyone who dared to threaten the home of Asgard.
"Now, now, my dear Thor," came a woman's voice behind him. "How can you threaten someone with your hammer to death if these died before they were born?" A woman in a long, black dress walked by him, directly to the All-Father.
"Hel! What you allow yourself! Asgard is a forbidden place for you!" Odin's voice was a rumble, which could have been heard far outside the gates of Asgard .
Hel's steps stopped. With raised head, she stood before Odin's throne. Her look was as beauty as abomination. One half of her face with such radiant skin, smoother than every porcelain could be, full red lips, promising any sensibility and one with gorgeous long lashes decorated eye. But it was the other half of her face, which was almost concealed by her long, black hair, which was such a shocking eyesight, able to scare someone witless literally. The once full red lips, rotten and warped into an eternal grin. No skin covered the bare, withered flesh which just hung loosely over her bones. Her eye appeared seemed to ooze out from the orbit. Hel, the ruler of the lost souls, of the underworld. The living dead. One side as beautiful as life itself, the other side rotten, inhabits no life. Loki's daughter.
"Be calm, Odin", said Hel. "I am not here to bring evil upon your world." She smiled, but it looked like a partly disfigured visage. "You could even say I am here for family reasons. I want to take the body of my father and bring it to Niflhel. "
"Since when do you care for the perishable flesh of your souls, Hel?" asked Odin.
"Well, at least it was my father." Her lips were deformed into a sardonic grin. "His bones will certainly be a feast for me."
Disgusted by her words Odin turned away from her sight.
"So Loki's soul is in your world now?" asked Thor, his hammer still aimed threateningly to the goddess of death.
"What do you think?" She said to him quietly. "Did you really thought his soul would went to Valhalla? So corrupt as he was? Of course it is in my world, at least if Nidhöggr has not devoured it already." She chuckled gleefully grinning.
"Well then," Odin interrupted her. "You shall have his perishable flesh."
"But, Father ...."
With a gestureOdin ordered Thor to be silent. "She is in right by being his daughter, so I agree. You have Odin `s word, Hel."
"Now, however, I have one more request. I also want the woman who is responsible for his death! ", said Hel, fixing the All-Father with her red eyes.
"We do not know who is responsible for his death." Odin replied with a distorted face.
"I'm talking about the woman who fed him the poisoned meal. I want her, because she carries guilt."
"Sigyn?", yelled Thor. "Sigyn is not to blame! She never would have been capable of such a crime ... She has nothing to do with Loki `s death. You can not take her to your world! "
"Silent, God of Thunder! Let this be my concern. If she is innocent, I will learn it. If she is not, she will be punished! "Hel's red eyes were shining.
"Nothing you will learn about from her. Sigyn is unable to see, to hear and to talk. She will not understand what you want from her. "
"You are a fool, Thor! I speak all languages, including those that are not hearable and I can see everything, even if it`s not visible to the eye." Hel turned back to Odin. "Well, where is she? Without her I will not leave Asgard! "
Odin looked at Hel long time. His eye had shrunk to a narrow slit. "Hel since when you are so moody?" He asked finally, in a quiet but determined tone.
"Moody?", hissed Hel. "You dare to call me moody, when all of you Aesir and all of the gods are! Banished everyone, whose sight make you shiver, but also accommodates those uncontrollable, neither friend nor foe. The one, who often sought for your life like you were after his, but at evening both of you shared your mug of beer with eachother. If you are bored, you start wars. Is there a war going on, you are looking for peace. Can you distinguish at all between friend and foe? With whom were you not in a sorry state yet? Who among of us is capricious, Odin? For sure I am not!
But I demand justice. I doubt that you were able to be, so I will attend it to a matter. As I said, Loki was my father, even though not a good one. "
Odin kept silent for long, but then he raised his head. With his arm he made a gesture, ordered the guards to open the heavy door of the hall.
"I have finished my decision," he said at last. "I will allow you to take Sigyn into your world."
"But only if I can trust you that it is only justice which you require, Hel."
"Certainly, All-father. I do not care about the shenanigans of life. "
They waited until the guards returned. On a stretcher they carried Loki`s body, covered by a blanket closely followed by Sigyn. Thor coud read in her face that now Sigyn just wished to be able to see. But she could be happy unable to see the vision of the Hel.
Hel took roughly Sigyn's hand and slid it between herself and the stretcher with the lifeless body.
Again the room was filled in a strange twilight.
Hel looked to Odin a last time. Her face was twisted into a grinning grimace and her eyes shone red as blood. Then they were gone.
Groaning, Odin had to fall back on his throne. What had he done?
Bored Hel took her place amidst a massive hall. In front of her the stretcher with the lifeless body of her father. She sighed, while the hall was suddenly turned into darkness.
"Into darkness, I have dismissed you, now go back to the light from I have taken you!" Hel snapped her bony fingers, the room lit up in a warm, glowing light and the previously lifeless body suddenly writhed, gasping for air. Unimpressed Hel looked at her father, squirming with pain.
"Damn," panted Loki. "Why must it always burn like fire?"
"It doesn`t burn," Hel replied. "Your body was just cold."
Slowly and still stiff Loki rose down from the stretcher. He looked up at his daughter grinning.
" As usual I am very grateful to you, my dear daughter. Everything has worked out perfectly, hasn`t it? "Loki gasped. His lungs felt like two heavy stone blocks.
"Therefor that you cling to life, you are very talented in dieing, Father."
"Well, lucky that I rented a season ticket with you."
Furiously spun around Hel. "Do not think that I am willing to bring you back to life all the time!"
Loki stretched. His back creaked horribly. "Why are you always so full of grief? I mean without me you wouldn`t be even here. I caused your life.
Hel looked at him. "Very funny, dad, really. Your efforts have been enough for a whole half living being. But now by thinking about it, because of your inclination toward death, I think I owe this half of mine from mother. "
Loki snorted. "Oh, not her ...". He sat back down on the stretcher and looked to Hel Suddenly his voice sound serious and quiet.
"Did you take her with you?"
"That woman? Yes, I did. I gave her a nice room, but I doubt that she will be able to appreciate the beauty of my premises. "
"Can`t you help her?" said Loki. These words astonished Hel and she stared at her father in disbelief. "If you can bring dead back to life, Hel" continued Loki. "Then it is easy for you fill her dead senses with life again." Hel saw the pleading look of her father. He really seemed to be serious. For once.
"I could ..." she replied. But before Loki ever had the chance to hope, she went on: "But I will not!"
"What? Why? "enraged Loki jumped off from his place.
"Because it does not correspond to yourself", Hel replied calmly, unfazed by Loki's angry gaze.
"What do you mean? "
"Father, you are a rascal, a liar, well known for your misdeeds in all nine realms. Bad will alwas weigh more in simple minds, as goodness that each one carries in their souls ever could."
Loki looked confused at his daughter. Hel went up to him and looked at him gently. Loki was not scared of her look.
"Only one who can not hear your lies, and only one who pays no attention to your misdeeds, will be able to see you entirely. If I gave her back her senses, truth would be only deluded . She would be more blind than before." Hel smiled as she stroked through her father`s hair. "She's perfect the way she is. But it`s you who need to hone your senses now, to be able to see what she sees and to speak in a ways she will understand. "
"I'm better leaving now," said Loki. "Where is she?"
"I'll send her to you," said Hel. "Take good care!"
Loki laughed. "That from your mouth sounds a little ironic!"
Hel smiled softly. "From whose mouth, but mine could these words more honest?"