Author's Note: Thank You
----------And now, a message from The Laughing Man-------------
Hello TTH and all readers/reviewers. This entire series has grown to be much more than I ever expected. Seriously, I have more hits than there are people in my state. I've tried not to let it go to my head, but one can not measure their own pride, so I decided to make this little note for all of you who have supported me. I really want to say thank you, but it doesn't seem to be enough. Still, I suppose that it'll have to do. No, I'm not ending the story. Don't worry, I plan to keep adding to the archive as long as TTH will have me even should I become a successful writer. This is my home site, it's where my love for writing was born and where that love was nurtured. You've all had some input into how I write, my style, and the good ol' fashioned originality that is only found here. I don't think there are words in the English language to describe my gratitude or how much fun I've had here over the years. Life is brief my friends, we never know what moment may be our last, so just in case I wanted to say THANKS because I think it'd be awful if I died before I could say it to all of you. Now, I have no plans to die to disappear just yet, but TTH has taught me that life is chaos, we never know what may happen today or tomorrow. You could win the lottery, you could die a most painful death, or you could end up with a loving harem compromised of hot actresses. Live every moment like it's you last because the odds are very much against you seeing the morrow. Remember that, do a good deed, share a kind word, and love someone like they've never known before. Punching a jerk is also something to consider.
Until the next chapter, this is The Laughing Man wishing you all happiness and copious amounts of hot sex.
P.S. I'm not sure if having an AN Chapter will get the story quarantined or not, so if this is a violation, please let me know before hand so I can take it down. A 24 Hour notice is all I need. Cheers!
AN: This came to me last night and I typed it all up this morning. I'm going to work on Son of the Dawn next. Please enjoy and review, even if it's only one word. I chose Tom Welling for the role of Baldur due to the fact that he can act, is the right size for an Asgardian, and is supposed to be very attractive to women, according to my ex anyway. I'm was also a fan of Smallville before they turned it into DC without Superman.
Baldur was a beloved Prince of Asgard. Many believed him to be the perfect medium between his two elder brothers, Thor and Loki. He was calmer than Thor and kinder than Loki with a mind sharp enough to debate politics and philosophy with Loki. Unlike Thor who focused on physical strength or Loki who studied magic ravenously, Baldur preffered to view beautiful things and burn them into his memory: sunrises, an uncommonly pretty maiden, even something as brief as a view. Anything could be beautiful to him, depending on the time or light he might very well focus on an otherwise plain girl who had seemed otherworldly for a few brief seconds. Many agreed that Baldur looked upon the best of life.
He got along well with his brothers. Thor would often challenge Baldur to a spar which Baldur would lose spectacularly, despite being quite skilled with a spear. Thor was simply stronger and larger, but more than that he was a born warrior and Baldur was not. Baldur did not have the urge to seek out fights, he only wished to protect his kingdom and family. Frigga, their mother, had told him that it was very wise of Baldur. Occasionally, he would have small duels with Loki in matters of magic but like with Thor he would lose. That did not matter to Baldur, he knew he would never be as talented in magic as Loki just as he would never be quite as skilled with a blade as Thor, but the smile Loki always wore after their spars was worth any loss. There were very few in Asgard who did not adore the young Prince, either for his kindness or for his well known good looks.
Baldur stood tall, rivaling his brothers. His shoulders were broad and his muscles were honed by hours of training, but he was not as large in mass as Thor, yet was considerably larger than his thinner brother Loki. His black hair was wavy, always appearing windblown with the fringe nearly reaching his bright blue eyes and the hair near the back of his neck curled up a bit. His skin was lightly tanned giving him a faint healthy glow, due more to having the time to laze around in the fields than genetics. Baldur's face was unusually handsome with a squared jaw, full mouth, well fitted nose, and high cheekbones. Many maidens called him 'the beautiful man', much to Frigga's amusement and Baldur's horror. Loki and Thor, of course, constantly reminded him of his nickname and sometimes even mockingly read horrible poetry about him in Odin's Hall.
However, Baldur did have his talents though they did not lie in sword or sorcerer. For one, he was an excellent speaker with charisma though no one thought to tell him of that, fearing he may lose his humility. Another was his great talent and love for architecture, enough so that when he received permission from his parents Baldur set out to build his own hall in the palace. He spent years designing it, seeking out inspiration from the most wonderful places of Yggdrasil and the Nine Realms. When it was built, it was unearthly and made of white marble with murals on each wall dedicated to the sights he had seen. So great was his hall that it was given the name Breidablik by Frigga which meant broad and gleaming. Many agreed it was the loveliest place to be found in Asgard.
It could be truly said that Baldur was beloved of Asgard with many a maiden convinced he personified romanticism for even when he was amorous Baldur took care not to break any hearts or cause unnecessary grief, oft aided by his eloquent words which flowed off his tongue like lies from his brother Loki's silver tongue. Due to his looks and romantic nature, it was often joked that Baldur must have one hundred sons and fifty daughters, but in truth Baldur had no children, though he desired to have many children one day. The reason for so many sighs was not merely his handsome face, but his noble manner, his kindness, and the compassion he held for all Asgardians from the wealthiest to the most humble.
For all that stout Thor held the pride of his people and cunning Loki the mystery of Asgardian magic, Baldur held Asgard's adoration and for his love for them they loved him in turn.
Baldur stood on the balcony overlooking the training yard, watching with a smile as he brother Thor tossed aside yet another challenger. He was dressed in a dark blue tunic with a matching cape that had a crimson underside to it, all trimmed with white gold thread. His antlered silver helm was in his room along with his armor since he rarely wore it save for formal events. He grinned with anticipation when he saw that the Lady Sif stood up with a smirk to once again challenge the mighty Thor. It was true that Asgard had no warrior able to truly stand against Thor's full power, but Sif was even more skilled with blades and in the training yard she won against Thor nearly as often as she was defeated by him.
His blue eyes rested on the black haired warrior maiden, admiring her form and the sharp angles of her face which seemed to match the sternness and coldness of her personality. It was always a pleasure for him to watch Thor and Sif do battle. Her long black hair, like that of his father's ravens, gleamed in the sunlight as a fierce grin appeared on her beautiful face. Oh yes, Baldur did lust for her, but he thought it as more than lust, it was admiration. Twas not her looks which captivated him, it was the woman bearing them. Her strong spirit, her unwavering determination in the face of countless jeers, and her fierce warrior nature stirred him, commanding his full attention on her spar.
"Lovely is she not, brother?" Came the smooth tones of his elder brother Loki, causing Baldur to turn to see his sibling leaned against the balcony. Loki was also watching the spar, his green eyes as captivated by Sif as Baldur was.
"Indeed, she is. Lovelier with black hair than with her golden curls." Baldur joked, patting Loki's back playfully. Loki quickly nodded in agreement, a small smirk playing on his thin lips. "To see her do battle is truly a thing of great beauty for despite the attracted of soft armed maidens, such strength is a beauty all of it's own that can turn even the plainest girls into the most heated beings in existence."
"And Lady Sif is far from plain." Loki input, nodding in agreement. Baldur observed his brother, noting the softness of his green eyes as they laid upon Sif. "There are none like her. None to match her beauty or her bravery."
"I see that you hold her in unusually high regard, brother. Usually, you can not stop complaining about her." Baldur said casually, watching his brother closely. "Has the Lady Sif unknowingly captured another heart? The heart of thy brother?"
"Some would say I have no heart to capture." Loki murmured, bitterness in his voice. He envied his brothers, Thor for Odin's favor and his great strength respected by Asgard. Baldur for his handsome face and inherent kindness, for love of their people which he effortlessly held. "I've nothing to offer the Lady Sif that she could not find elsewhere. She has no love for magic and respects only strength."
"That is not true. Sif has high regard for loyalty. You have much to offer. Who has followed Thor into every adventure, who has gone into danger knowing what awaited yet continued on for thy brother's sake if not Prince Loki of Asgard?" Baldur stated encouragingly, grasping Loki's shoulder as he defended his brother from himself. He put aside his own lust and admiration for Sif, knowing that it was not often Loki held any love for those not in their family. "You are the greatest sorcerer since the Allfather himself. It was your cunning which saved Thor's life many a time and Asgard just as often. Twas not my looks nor Thor's strength which saved lives, but your sharp mind and wonderfully crafted words."
"Thank you, brother." Loki gave a smile, but it looked pained as if he doubted the words that Baldur spoke to him so passionately. "But I fear that Sif only has eyes for Thor or perhaps even you, not Loki Liesmith."
"And you would accept such a state? Where is Loki the Resourceful, my brother who would challenge even the Norns if he were not satisfied?" Baldur teased, shooting a sly look to his brother. "Sif prizes determination and dedication as well, you know. Show her that you are dedicated to gaining her affection, woo her with your clever words, and state the sincerity of your care. She will listen. Sif may doubt at first, but when you continue, she will begin to think on you and your heart."
"So wise in the ways of love, Baldur, yet ye are so very ignorant of the love that the maidens of Asgard do hold for you. Were those looks from the beautiful maidens aimed at I, then they would not be maidens for much longer." Loki laughed, causing Baldur to flush in embarrassment. It was true that for all his wisdom in love, Baldur rarely noticed when it was aimed at him which had led to more than one adventure with his brothers. "Do you really think she would listen?"
"I do." Baldur stated with certainty, not hesitating for a moment. "True, Sif does hold some grudge against you for your prank which is why she may not believe your sincerity in the beginning, but if you show her how much you care, then I see no reason why any woman, even stern Sif, would recoil from love."
"Ah, but I have seen her look at both Thor and ye with fire. Never once has she graced me with any such emotion." Loki lamented, staring at her longingly. Envy ached inside of him, but he tried to push it aside. He did envy Thor and despised his rashness, his ignorance, and clumsiness, therefore he did hate his brother a little in his heart, but for Baldur, he could not hate for he had always been good and kind to him. Baldur respected his elder brother and had encouraged his use of magic, despite it being seen as a 'womanly art'.
"A handsome face and strong arm may catch the eye of a woman, but tis the love and care in a man's eyes which keeps the lady's heart." Baldur advised wisely. "Show her this love, this tenderness of your's which she knows not. If she rejects ye, then keep trying for it is better to have tried and lost then to spend an eternity questioning yourself."
"But what if I can not handle such rejection?" Loki asked uncertainly, unspoken grief in his green eyes at the thought. "It is Sif who is in my dreams, her who makes my heart clench so painfully."
"Then she does not deserve you. We have thousands of years worth of life ahead of us. I have no doubt in that time you will fall in love a dozen times over with the most exotic of women, each of whom will return your love in differing ways." Baldur smiled at him, letting Loki see his honest belief in his own words. "One day, you will find a woman. A woman whom you will simply love and whom will love you in return just a simply. No tangled webs, no clever conversation, you will see her and know 'this is whom I've been waiting for, this is her whom I can hold, this is she who fades through the walls of your heart like a ghost'."
"Your words are touching, dear brother." Loki nodded, leaning forward on the golden half wall of the balcony. "Where does thy wisdom come from? Surely not Odin nor Thor, but perhaps Frigga, Mother of All?"
"Nay. I, too, once admired a woman as fiercely as you do now with Sif. There was not a thing about her that I did not adore, even when it frustrated me beyond all reason." Baldur recalled, a loving smile appearing faintly on his full lips. "Like Sif, she was a born warrior and proud, very proud. I tell you her skin was like the richest of sweets, darken by the sun, and her hair was akin to spun silver. Brunhilde is her name and the name I cry out for in my heart."
"What happened?" Loki questioned, now very curious about the woman who stole the heart of Baldur the Beautiful. Baldur's bright eyes dimmed and his mouth grimaced, even as Loki spotted the pain that lay in the blue of his eyes. "Baldur..."
"She swore to love no man and became a Valkyrie." Baldur whispered, his head lowered before he turned and left the balcony.
"Lady Sif!" Baldur roared as he entered his father's hall, ignoring the feast taking place there as was the custom. His blue eyes were enraged and his large hands clenched at his side, seemingly of their own accord. All speech in the Great Hall ceased, each Asgardian stunned by the anger with which their Prince had shouted. None had seen the kind and calm Prince angry before, let alone as enraged as he appeared to be at the moment. "I would have words with ye!"
Sif, who had been feasting and laughing with the Warrior's Three, froze and frowned, but stood up nonetheless from the table at her Prince's command. Thor, likewise, stood up and was confused by the anger he saw in his brother. "Peace, brother. What is this about?"
"It is between her and I, Thor. We shall have words only, I do swear it, but it shall be away from the listening ears of honored guests." Baldur stated calmly, though his face a mask of anger. Thor glanced between Baldur and Sif uncertainly, unsure if he should get between them or let them settle whatever had happened on their own. In the end, his trust in his brother won out over his concern for his childhood friend. "Follow me!"
Sif watched as Baldur stormed out of the hall, his blue cloak billowing behind him as if it was as angered as it's master. With a pause to gather her courage and ignore her own confusion, she marched out of the feast after him. It took her a moment to catch up with the handsome Asgardian, but when she did he said nothing and continued his march. Soon she noticed they were near the eastern hall where the Trickster Loki dwelt, but did not put much thought into it for most of Asgard ignored Loki save for when he put his wickedness into practice. Yet, looking at Baldur, she felt fear begin to clutch at her heart. Never had anyone seen Baldur lose his temper and she knew that she would lash out were she as angry as he seemed to be.
"Listen." Baldur hissed, holding up a hand for silence and stillness. Sif obeyed, submitting to the anger she saw in his flashing blue gaze. After a long moment of straining her hearing, Sif heard the faintest choked sob from down the hall. She tried to question Baldur, but he held up his hand again for silence and gestured for her to follow him again, now in another direction.
Sif followed, confused as she could be. Surely it was not Loki Silvertongue whom she heard weeping so brokenly. No, the Trickster never wept. He did not know how to. The Prince of Lies was incapable of such sincerity. She must have heard some serving girl weeping, perhaps due to some misunderstood comment Sif had made. It was not long before she had followed Baldur to the South Wind where Breidablik lay and entered into the gilded white marble halls where breathless beauty covered everything. "My Prince, I do not know why....."
"You would do well not to speak, Sif! My anger is dangerous at the moment, so keep your silence lest I become wrathful, something I would not wish to happen." Baldur snarled out, having ceased his long trek and replaced it by agitated pacing. Sif obeyed, knowing that Baldur spoke truth. Finally, he seemed to calm enough to speak to her. "Do you have any respect for the Royal Family, Lady Sif?"
"Of course, I do. You know that I fight alone against an army of Jotuns were that the Allfather's command!" Sif answered tightly, angry at the insinuation. Blue eyes blazed at her again and again words failed her.
"Then why did you public embarrass a member of Odin's House!" Baldur demanded, perfect white teeth flashing in anger like a hungry wolf's would. He pointed in the direction that they had come from, "Do you know that sound, Lady Sif? I do, I know it well. That is the sound of my brother Loki. It is he who weeps in that hall, hiding from the rest of Asgard and it is because of you that he weeps!"
"Loki does not weep! Is this some prank of his that he..." Sif began, indignant at the accusation but she froze as a fist came within an inch of her face yet it crashed against the wall. The fist remained there, it's owner breathing deeply through his nose like a mad bull.
"Keep ye sharp tongue behind your teeth, Sif, for thy own sake." Baldur threatened after a long pause, then he rescinded his hand and backed up to keep himself from unleashing his anger. "It was several months ago when my brother confided in me. He had fallen in love. Loki was content to watch this woman from afar, fearing rejection should he approach her. I have him advice on how to woo this woman, how to best show his love for her. 'Show her you are dedicated to her' I said to him, 'prove to her the love ye hold' were my words. He was uncertain and unwilling, but I coached him into it, convinced him how it was better to have tried than to have known.
"My Prince, I swear to you that I had no..." Sif began to defend herself, but fell silent with at a look from Baldur. She trembled, but not entirely with fear. Baldur's anger, his commanding presence, and her previous admiration for him worked inside of her treacherously.
"I heard from the servants that Loki spoke to you, yet you spurned him. He went to you again, speaking what I know to be sincere and honest words, but again you spurned him. Twice you spurned him, but on the third you mocked him and mocked his professed love." Baldur growled out causing Sif to tremble again. "You mocked him in PUBLIC, surrounded by the Warrior's Three along with all of Asgard's warriors! In front of the servants, in front of the nobles, and in front of our honored guests from Dvergar! You tore my brother's heart apart in such a way that I never conceived of such cruelty and publicly humiliated him, a member of the Royal House. Were I Thor or a man with lesser control, I would smite you unto HEL and let you stand in judgement of Queen Hela Lokidotter."
"I-I thought it was a trick! Loki is known for his deception!" Sif tried to explain, not understanding how everything went so wrong for her so quickly. She tried to swallow, but the knot in her throat would not allow it.
"You will be silent!" Baldur snapped, glaring at her with disgust. "You will speak of what happened no more. You will silence any servant heard speaking of it. I will not have you nor anyone else add to my brother's humiliation. Lastly, you will go to my brother and beg for his forgiveness on your hands and knees if you must!"
Suddenly, Sif kissed him. It lasted only a moment before she was thrown back by a powerful shove from Baldur who stood panting and glaring at her. Regret filled her suddenly and she tried to say something, but Baldur stormed away, never knowing that Loki was hiding nearby and had only seen the kiss Sif gave to him and nothing else before he fled. Hatred was bred in Loki's heart that day, born of a mistakenly perceived betrayal and nursed by paranoia. In his desperation to hurt both Baldur and Sif, Loki would make a terrible mistake that he would always regret and never recover from. A mistake that would have Asgard turn on the less favored prince and set Ragnarok into motion, all because of a petty grudge born from a childish prank on a girl far too vain.