The Prodigal Son Returns

Recorded: December 20, 2013
Characters: Frigga, Loki, Thor
Location: Grand Throne Room of the All-Father
Summary: Loki returns from his time as a mortal, and suspicions are raised of Jotun activity.

A lot of time has passed since her youngest was banished to the mortal realm, and the All-Mother still paces the throne room as if that action alone will bring him back to her. She has refused to watch over him, knowing that her motherly bond would cause her to interfere with his life lesson. She has even refused word from Heimdall on his exploits in the mortal realm. So the queen continues to pace, brow furrowed in her self-inflicted torture of wondering while refusing to satisfy her curiosity. The white gold of her gown sparkles in the light that continuously bathes the throne room and makes her appear far more heavenly than she feels at the moment.

Concern mars the usual brashness that mark the great Thunderer's features as he stalks into the room. It only takes him a moment to spy Frigga. When he does he is quick to close the gap.

"He was gravely wounded upon Midgard." He reports, tensely towering a safe distance from the woman. "A state he had fallen into in defense of a mortal. More importantly, the locket has opened before Heimdall and I lost track of him."

A grave look falls upon Thor when he delivers his message and all at once, Frigga's worrisome movements are halted. "Did I not charge you to see that your brother came to no mortal harm while he endured your trial?" Her tone rises with the power of previously suppressed anxiety that the rest of her body refuses to display. Then, her eyes focus on no particular part of the throne room as Thor's remaining words dawn on her. "If the locket has opened, why has he not returned to us," she asks at a calmer but no less worried volume.

"He approached the precipice but did not fall in." Thor responds sharply, clearing his throat and turning away as he gathers his thoughts. "His wounds were grave. Had his condition fallen I would have retrieved him. To interfere any earlier would have deprived him of the revelation he has uncovered." Thor explains, faltering slightly at the end as he turns a frozen gaze over his shoulder to peer into Frigga's worried features. "Right? This is the right thing I've done?"

The All-Mother steps evenly as she moves to approach her eldest, her fingers tightly woven in a clasp in front of her abdomen. "We, my son. I share all the guilt of this moment with you, for it was I who carried out your request." She looks to the nearest window. "We desired Loki's reform, but to what end? If the locket released his power but he is no longer here, I can only wonder if all that he is has joined our heroes in Valhalla—Or others in Niffleheim." Frigga shakes her head firmly. "I will not wonder." She lifts the edge of her skirt and begins to descend the brief staircase leading up to Odin's throne. "I must know the whereabouts of my child. I will visit both realms and see for myself."

There is a whirl of magical energy in the room, invisible to the untrained eye. It increases in size and intensity, like a bubble, until it finally bursts with green and black smoke, revealing a haggard looking trickster in a tattered hospital gown, the tubes and wires that were attached to him still hanging from him. His hair is a mess, hanging down around his shoulders and framing the look of absolute fury upon his face. Thor is the first person he sees, and immediately makes his way toward him, throwing his entire weight at him, pounding on his chest with his balled up fists. "YOU! This was all YOUR idea, dear brother. You couldn't get rid of me so easily, could you? It was a valiant effort, but not good enough!!"

Loki effectively startles Thor out of his concern and, despite the accusations and rage, he cannot but smile at his brother. "Nice dress." He calls boisterously, stepping aside to give Frigga a clear line towards the trickster.

Frigga is once again frozen in her actions when she picks up on that trail of familiar energy. Her face registers her shock when Loki appears in his disheveled state and would have registered relief immediately afterwards if he had not lunged for his brother. Instead, her jaw locks and her eyes become deadpan as she lifts a hand to separate them. Golden streams of light come out of nowhere to bind Loki's arms to his body and suspend him a few feet off the ground. "Though your feelings are justified, my son, your actions beg the question of what lessons may have been learned, if any at all." The light moves to gently settle Loki so that he is facing the All-Mother. "Truly something in your heart must have changed, for the locket would not have opened for you otherwise."

Loki tries to get free but is seized by Frigga's magic. He squirms, kicking his feet until he just surrenders to it and looks at the Allmother with those big watery eyes. "I did what you wanted from me. I saved that mortal. Your attempts at casting me out have failed. Now I am to find the idea was his? How…how COULD you, brother?"

A small wrinkle knots at the bridge of Thor's nose. "If you just found out that it was my idea why would you have held this over my head and lunged at me like a maniac?" He barks back gruffly, snorting and glancing aside at Frigga's words. "If we were to banish you why would you have the locket around your neck? Why would you even be able to earn your power once again? You're an idiot, Loki."

Frigga lifts a hand again but this time it is only meant to signal for calm in Thor. "It is not just what your family wanted, Loki, it is what you needed." While she speaks, the light that binds Loki gently lowers him to the ground and begins to wash over him, cleaning him and changing his clothes to a more traditional Asgardian outfit. "Your thoughts and actions were out of control. You were blinded by your own arrogance and needed a reminder that all that we have, all that we are, we should be thankful for. We have so much more than what the mortals do, and yet they still manage to live the richest lives." The light fades, leaving Loki free once again. "Now tell us, son. Your brother especially. For what reason did the locket restore your power? What was it that you came to realize about the mortals?"

Loki grits his teeth and glares at Thor, wanting to answer, but Frigga manages to calm him down and make him look presentable. "A Jotun followed me to Midgard, as he had somehow heard about my predicament. He tried to kill me along with a mortal named Yuuma. I shielded Yuuma from attack because it would have meant his death when he did nothing to bring the wrath of Jotunheim upon him. A mortal protected me when you cast me out and I fell to Earth defenseless. Yuuma could not defend himself against something from our realm."

"Look at him, mother. I forget if he was the Lord of Trickery or Thespians." Thor remarks with a snort, crossing both arms about his torso as he studies Loki. Further criticism and jabs are held in check at her beckoning and a silence settles as he allows Loki to present his lessons.

Frigga sighs softly to herself. Her arms have wanted to embrace her lost child for so long, but instead they remain fixed to her sides. "If feeling cast aside by me is what it takes to find your humility, then I will gladly bear that false claim." Her eyes narrow thoughtfully. "What became of the Jotun? Do we know how he came to know of your banishment? None should have been aware of this arrangement outside of those of us who were in the throne room that day."

"I don't know. Perhaps he was on Earth in disguise and overheard me speaking to someone. I do not know what became of the Jotun because I was taken someplace else. Either way, are you satisfied that I have completed your trials? If so, I will take my leave of you now and return to my chambers for rest. Then I shall return to Midgard to find the Jotun and see to it that he does not cause any further harm."

"Then it sounds like you gave away your defenses the moment you revealed your secrets." Thor observes, setting his jaw thoughtfully. While the jotunn makes a weary escape an inquisitive stare is tossed towards the elder goddess.

"Rest well, my son," is Frigga's response as Loki turns away, but her attention quickly falls to Thor. She shakes her head at his comment and begins to pace again, this time with a thoughtful stride. "I would agree with your words if not for the timeliness of the Jotun's appearance weighed against Loki's banishment." The All-Mother stops and looks at the God of Thunder. "When was the last time you checked the guards for spies and traitors?"

"Admittedly, longer than should have been. I will do so immediately and plan a new schedule for screenings. Balder, no doubt, would be keen for the task." Thor replies, tugging his hands apart to rest a palm atop Mjolnir. "I understand the prudent step that shall be taken. I would vouch for the boastfulness and hubris he wraps himself with in the presence of mortals."

Frigga replies, "I know my son curses himself with his own words. His speeches last longer than scribes care to record his dictation." She gestures. "But that brings up another concern: The Jotun. What other business might they have on Midgard? If his original purpose was not to slay Loki, then other foul deeds must be in the works. Can you persuade the mortals to release him into our custody for interrogation?"

"Your wisdom is, at times, as terrible as it is impressive, mother." Thor muses aloud, parting his lips into a rough grin. "I can hunt the beast down and retrieve it personally, should you prefer. If I can make a suggestion: Loki should not be present for the interrogation."

Frigga nods to Thor. "Do what you feel is best, but bring him to Asgard alive, so that we may learn all that we can from him before he is brought to justice." She looks thoughtful at his suggestion. "… Send word when you have the creature in custody. I will occupy Loki elsewhere, so that he does not disrupt what must be done." For a brief moment, the queen relaxes her regal expression and lets a motherly smile regard her eldest. "What we have done for your brother has had more of an impact than either of us may have considered. His heart has been changed. The locket would not have opened for him otherwise. And I am relieved to know that the light of your love has not gone out for him. You should know that he still looks to you for favor, whether he admits it or not in your presence."

"He is my brother and I will do what must be done for him. Despite his accusations, I regard him with the same love as any brother would." Thor explains with a roll of his eyes and a childish groan. "Still. I wonder how and why he came to defend a mortal. I did not expect him to learn so quickly."

"Perhaps he has always cared for mortals but needed a moment of humility to try let it show." Frigga waves a hand dismissively. "Whatever his behavior, I appreciate your patience with him. I love your brother as if I had given birth to him, but knowing where he comes from, I also know that he needs more than my love to keep him from venturing down a dark and unforgivable path."

"We're patient because he's our family. It extends beyond blood." Thor agrees, relaxing as he shifts to head towards the stairs. "I fear if we cannot teach him to maintain his own vigilance he will have greater problems to grapple with."

"As do I, which is why I need you to help me shoulder that task for as long as you're able." Frigga nods to Thor and resumes her regal bearing. "Scrutinize the guards, retrieve the Jotun, and let me know once you have him here for interrogation. I will let the All-Father know of these things in the meantime."

"I will work out a plan with Balder that he can oversee while I prepare for another hunt in Midgard." Thor explains, twisting to dip into a reverent bow as he hurries towards the door. "Good luck with Loki. He shall be moping for some time, I'm certain. It should keep him out of trouble for a time."

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