Time passed on as it always does and at last the day of our wedding arrived. It was being held in the main hall of the palace as it was largest. There was a large crowd of people gathered for the occasion; some even from other realms. Not a one of them was my family or even friend. The only family I had ever really known was Loki's family. I had no memories of my own family. I do not know if it was from the trauma I had endured or because I had been so young. To be honest, I did not even know how old I really was. Loki had assumed I was about three years of age when I came to Asgard. We celebrated my birthday on the anniversary of my being brought here.I was in the Queen's chambers being prepared for the ceremony. She was fussing over my dress and hair; making certain both was perfect. I was practicing what I was expected to recite during the ceremony. I was terrified I would forget what to say and embarrass myself. She did her best to reassure me and reminded me that Loki would be there to help me if I got stuck. At least one of us had done this before.
My wedding gown was a heavy pale pink silk with a modest neckline that did not reveal any cleavage at all. Above it I wore a beautiful golden necklace that resembled vines ending in a single, large pink gem studded blossom. It was a gift from Queen Frigga; she apparently had it made just for me. The front of my gown had been altered to have a high waistline with many gathers of fabric in the front to hide my growing belly. The hem was at my feet with a long train in the back. The sleeves were well below my elbows, but very openly cut so they did not cling to my arms. I wore tiny pink flowers in my partially pinned up curls that were swept back from my face. The rest of my curly hair was left to flow down my back. Loki did not like it when I pinned up my hair completely. He said it made me look like I was a still a servant. I wore nothing covering my hair. Veils were not worn by royalty anymore, even on their wedding day. I simply wore a small bejeweled tiara on loan from the Queen.
It was soon time for us to make our way to the doors outside of the great hall. I followed closely behind the Queen as I was so nervous I was afraid I would get lost. I would love to be able to go into exquisite detail about our beautiful wedding ceremony, but to be perfectly honest, once those doors opened and I looked down the aisle to see my handsome Prince in his black and dark green formal wear, my mind sort of went blank. It was so nerve wracking to be walking down that aisle toward him in the middle of a sea of strangers who are all gawking at me and probably wondering about my identity. None of them knew me; I was a stranger to them, yet I had captured Prince Loki's heart. I am willing to bet the room was seething with jealousy as well. I am certain there were a large number of Asgardian women present who would be glad to take my place.
I do remember that I did not make any mistakes to embarrass myself or Loki. His kiss on my lips at the end was gentle and sweet. We retreated down the aisle and out of the hall hand in hand. We went to a sitting room down the hall to rest a few minutes alone while all of our guests retreated to the dining hall for the reception. We were to wait fifteen minutes and then make our grandiose entrance as husband and wife.
We sat on the sofa and kissed. "Well that was fun," he said between kisses.
"I would not call that fun! It was extremely stressful! I have never been more nervous in my entire seventeen years!"
He laughed and kissed me some more. "You did fine darling. You said everything correctly and did not trip over your dress."
"Now I have to go before all of those people again for a reception. I have to eat in front of them and be a congenial court Lady. Your Mother may have given me several lessons in proper court etiquette, but I am not certain I am ready for this."
"Oh darling, do not stress over it. Would you like to skip the reception and go on to our honeymoon? I have arranged for us to stay at the family manor in the mountains. It is beautiful this time of the year; not nearly as beautiful as in the autumn, but the weather is cooler at the higher elevation."
I was so tempted to take that offer and skip the reception. "Will your parents be upset with us?"
He laughed. "I suppose they would. I would rather not upset Mother since we are going to need her baby expertise soon. I guess we will just have to suffer through it. If you would like to at least cut it shorter, I can make the excuse you are getting tired; Mother will understand that. These celebrations can go on for hours and I do not want you to exhaust yourself. It is not good for the baby for you to be over tired."
"I guess I can handle it for a couple of hours. I need something to eat anyway. I was too nervous to eat much earlier today."
"It is settled then; we will stay for a couple of hours then tell our parents you are tired and we need to leave. Besides, I would rather get to the mountains before dark and it takes an hour to get there."
He then kissed me passionately. We were interrupted by a knock on the door. Loki bid them enter and a servant informed us that it was time to go to the dining hall for the reception.
I followed him out and held his hand as we went to the double doors and waited to be formally announced to the crowd within. The doors were pulled open by servants inside just as a footman announced us as Prince Loki and his wife Lorelei. I was dismayed to realize he pronounced my name wrong making the end rhyme with lay instead of lie. Great now I was going to spend the next two hours correcting everyone. Loki came to my rescue and very loudly proclaimed, "Thank you for that wonderful introduction, but my beloved bride's name is Lore-lie. She was not named after a Midgardian floral garland that is worn about the neck. "
There were a few polite tithers of laughter. We then moved down a row of dignitaries, greeting and thanking them for coming to our wedding. They said nothing more to me then "congratulations." Occasionally a woman in the line would wish us a long and happy marriage. We finally made our way to the front of the room where the dais was set where we would be dining with his Mother, Father, and brother. Prince Thor was unmarried and did not have a betrothed so it was just the five of us. Once we sat down, the guests filed to their seats and sat as well. This was the cue to the servants to begin serving. Queen Frigga sat on my right while all of the men were to my left.
I managed to eat some. People still came by to congratulate us. No one noticed my wine goblet sat untouched while my water goblet was refilled a few times. Loki was completely lost in conversation with his brother and father; some of the men would linger and talk for a while as well. Queen Frigga was drawn into a conversation with a woman who joined us after half of an hour; Frigga had introduced her to me as her sister. Any of the women who wandered up to our table got into a brief conversation with Frigga and her sister. I sat there alone with no one talking to me. I nibbled at the food I was brought. I thanked the servants profusely just so I could hear the sound of my own voice. They looked at me oddly, but I did not care what they thought any more.
Finally, after over an hour of complete and utter boredom, Loki asked me to dance. No one would dance until the bride and groom did as it was Asgardian custom to wait until the couple had the first dance. I took his hand and followed him the dance floor. He led me into a waltz. After a few minutes of everyone watching us dance, we were joined by several other couples including the King and Queen.
When it was over, I followed Loki back to table. We were alone as everyone else was dancing. "Are you enjoying yourself darling?" He asked.
I sighed before saying, "Do you want my honest answer?"
"Of course my darling, I want you to always be honest with me."
"I have never been so bored in all of my life. You have been talking to your brother and father while your mother has been talking with her sister; I am left out of every conversation and I do not know anyone here other than your family."
"I am sorry darling; I did not mean to ignore you. Are you ready to go on our honeymoon?"
"I would like one more dance first. Then you can make our excuses to your family so we can leave."
He leaned over and kissed my forehead then lead me back out on the dance floor. We ended up dancing twice instead of just once more. We then returned to the table, where I sat down while he went to find his Mother to tell her we would depart as I was feeling tired.
I simply sat and watched the other guests while sipping my water. Prince Thor came over and sat down next to me where Loki had been sitting all throughout dinner. I did not greet him. I waited for him to speak to me first.
"I just wanted to congratulate you before you leave for the mountains," he stated after several minutes.
I glanced at him and thanked him politely. We had not had a conversation since I was a child.
"When is the baby due?" He asked nonchalantly.
I nearly choked on my water. "You know about that?"
"Yes I found out just a little while ago."
I could not remember the Asgard name for December so I simply told him early in the winter.
"I look forward to meeting my little niece or nephew. I hope you have a healthy pregnancy and easy childbirth."
I did not know what to say so I simply thanked him for his well wishes. We were both silent, but he made no move to get up and leave. Finally he said, "Lorelei, why did you marry my brother?"
I turned to stare at him now. Finally I said, "He loves me and I him. He has loved me since I was a little girl. He took care of me."
"He is not the only one who has loved you for as long. I looked after you just as much as he did. I played with you just as much as he did. I mean, yes he provided you with a Nanny and was more into educating you, but I am the one who taught you to ride a horse and shoot a bow and arrow. Do you not remember any of that?"
I sat silently searching my memories. I had vague memories of riding on a horse through the woods to the south of the palace. I did not realize Thor was the one who always let me ride alone.
"You used to let me ride the horse alone."
"Yes I did. Loki was afraid to let you ride a horse alone. He was always afraid you would fall off and get hurt."
More memories suddenly came flooding back to me. I remembered playing with his helmet and his laughing at how silly I looked because it was way too big for my head. I saw fleeting images race through my mind of riding in the woods with him on the horse behind my own, of practicing archery and him cheering me on. He often said that he loved tickling me because I had the cutest laugh in all of the Nine Realms. I even remembered stealing his red cloak and sleeping wrapped up in it for several days because he had left and I missed him.
"Loki was the one who was always there when I had nightmares. I remember sleeping with him many nights for many years. He was always there for me," I said reeling in my confusion.
"Yes Loki was usually the first to respond when you had nightmares because you two are telepathically linked. He did that to you not long after you first came here when he taught you to speak to him through your mind alone. He can hear your thoughts and heard you cry out for him. You slept with me plenty of nights too. When Loki was away you would not sleep in your own bed so you slept in mine. You preferred to fall asleep with your head lying on my chest. You said the sound of my heart comforted you more than any sound in the world."
I was beginning to feel severely conflicted inside. I remembered saying exactly the same thing to Loki on many occasions. "Why are you telling me all of this now? What difference does it make? Where were you during my years of servitude? Where were you when I was brutally whipped?"
"Do you know why you have never seen the man who did that to you since it happened?" He questioned in response.
I shook my head no so he continued. "I killed him. I saw him drag you out to the stables that night, bind you to a hitching post, rip open the back of your dress and strike you with horse reins. He only hit you twice before I stopped him. I had never been so full of rage; I killed him quickly and without mercy. I then untied you and brought you to my chambers. I tended your bleeding wounds myself. Do you not remember any of that?"
I was fighting back tears. "All I remember is the pain and shame I felt. Why did you return me to my servitude afterward? If you loved me why did you not keep me?"
"My Father forbade it. He demanded I send you back. He did not want Loki or me to have anything to do with you. He thought you must have been some kind of a changeling witch and not really a Midgardian to have bewitched both of his sons into loving you. I was absolutely terrified of what he might do to you if I did not obey him. He was convinced that time and distance would finally break the spell you had cast on us. He did not understand that it was our own hearts that had fallen for your innocent beauty and compassionate heart. To be honest, Loki and I fought over you more than once because we both had such strong feelings for you."
I got up and walked away, moving toward a door. Thor got up and followed me. In the hallway, I stopped and turned to him, "Why do I not remember any of this? I have vague memories of you playing with me some when I was a very little girl, but I do not remember anything else you spoke of. If you loved me so much, why did Loki come to me first when I was only fifteen?"
"He did not come to you first. Do you not remember? I came to you on your fifteenth birthday. I sought you out when you were scrubbing floors on the far side of the palace and told you how much I loved you. We kissed so passionately. I begged you to come to my chambers then; I wanted to claim you as my own. I no longer cared what Father said. I was determined to save you and I thought making you mine was the best way to achieve that, but you were so young and naive that you were terrified and begged me to wait a while. I agreed, but we were planning for when you were ready. I came to you almost every day and you always left me with your kisses and promises of love. Then one day, it just stopped. You avoided me. I was so confused. Then I saw you gazing longingly at my brother every time you saw him."
He stopped speaking and took my hands, pulling me close to him. "Lorelei, I think he has enchanted you. I do not think your choices have been your own in the last couple of years."
"Why did you wait until my wedding day to tell me this?" I nearly whispered, the tears now flowing freely down my cheeks.
"I have not been able to get to you before today. He has kept you away from me. Lorelei, I have never stopped loving you! It is not too late to go to Father and tell him what has happened to you and have him declare your marriage invalid."
I pulled away from him. I just could not believe what he was telling me. It seemed so preposterous and not at all like the tender sweet Loki I had grown to love with all of my being. I shook my head and wiped at my tears.
"No! I do not believe you! I do not understand your motives, but you are just trying to confuse me. Maybe you are jealous or maybe you are mad. Loki loves me. We are now married and have a child on the way. Please leave me alone!"
Loki appeared from seemingly nowhere, just as I screamed at Thor to leave me alone. "Is everything all right my love?" He asked of me.
I said nothing. Thor glared at him angrily. Loki smirked back at his brother. I finally ran to him, threw my arms about his neck and begged him to leave now.
"Yes, my darling. We will leave immediately. Has something transpired to upset you so much?"
Thor just glared and stormed off angrily. I shook my head vigorously and told him I would tell him later, when we were at the manor in the mountains.
"As you wish, my love. Everything is ready for us to depart. Come along and we will be on our way."
He put his arm around me and we walked down the hallway and were outside within minutes. He took me out to the dock and helped me into the vehicle. It was like a boat, but was capable of flying or sailing through the waters. He wrapped a warm cloak around me as it would be a bit chilly in the air with the sun setting.
We were quiet on the trip. I leaned back on the bench seat and nodded off. There were a thousand thoughts swirling in my head making it impossible to truly sleep. I had no memory of what Thor had spoken of. I did not remember him coming to me before Loki did. I did not remember him taking care of me after the whipping. I did not remember ever sleeping in his chambers.
We finally arrived at the manor and Loki assisted me out of the vehicle. We went inside and he escorted me to our chamber. He helped me out of my wedding gown and into a sleeping gown. Our belongings had been sent here earlier in the day and the few servants who would be here during our stay had put everything away for us.
"This is the first time you have ever worn a gown to sleep in my darling. We usually both sleep nude. Is everything all right?"
"I just feel cold," I replied.
I moved to the bed and lay down. He stripped off his clothing and lay in the bed next to me, pulling himself close to my body. He stroked my temple and kissed my head. "Are you ready to talk about it yet?"
"Do you love me?"
"Of course I do Lorelei! If I did not love you, I would not have married you."
"Did Thor love me too?"
He was silent for several minutes. I rolled over and sat up, waiting for him to answer me. At last he said, "I am sure he loved you in some manner. You were like a baby sister to us both. I am unaware of him loving you the way that I do. What were the two of you discussing in the hallway when I interrupted?"
I then proceeded to tell him everything that Thor had told me. It all just came rushing forth like a dam had broken and I had to let it out. I also started crying while I revealed all, including the fact I do not have clear memories of any of it.
When I finished, he sat up, wrapped his strong arms around me and pulled me close. "Oh my darling, I do not know why he told you such things. None of it is true. Sure he played with you some when you were little. Yes he did teach you archery, but that was it. You went riding with me and every time I tried to put you on a horse alone, you became frightened and begged me join you. I never went away overnight. You never slept with him except for that one time you were very sick. You were in my chambers and I was caring for you and had been awake for two straight days. He insisted I go to his chambers and sleep for a while and he stayed with you to watch over you. He did not sleep, but just sat at your bedside and held your hand. My only guess is he is jealous. You are my second wife and he has never married or had a serious relationship. Lady Sif is madly in love with him, but he is completely blind to it. I can only guess though. I do not know his motivation."
"It is not true?"
"No darling. That is why you have no real memory of it. He was just trying to confuse you. Do not let it trouble you anymore. This is our wedding night and we should be enjoying each other."
I wiped away my tears and giggled. "I think we have been enjoying each other a lot in the last few months."
He laughed too and rubbed my swelling belly. "Yes we certainly have been. I have enjoyed every single moment of it too."
We then kissed. It led to more kisses which soon led to us making love. Afterward, we fell asleep entwined around each other as usual, naked, but covered with a blanket.
TO BE CONTINUED...
The Conclusion of For the Love of Loki