Author Topic: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 13 FIN 07/09/2014  (Read 498 times)

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Offline ban sidhe

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[Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 13 FIN 07/09/2014
« on: Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 08:23 AM »
Author:  ban sidhe
Title:  Lost in Otherwhere
Rating:  G
Fandom:  Loki(traditional) AU
Disclaimer:  Pictures were gathered from all over the Net and belong to their creators.  Gods and the Fey are from legend.
Summary:  Banished to Faerie as punishment for being too charming and attractive, Loki finds a way home.
Pairing: OMC/OFC (sort of)
Archive: Here only please, unless a specific request is made... just shoot me a pm.
Feedback: The more the merrier!  I love hearing your thoughts.
Author's Notes:  Another Loki as misunderstood, but more human, story.  He’s not really such a bad guy once you get to know him.

            
Lost in Otherwhere
                     
(or Down the Rabbithole)


 
   

Travelers:

Alicia, (Ah-LEE-see-ah), a young noblewoman from the South   delicate, blonde, blue eyes
Sir Carney, her guardian - big, brawny, bear-like, much faster and nimbler than he looks, dark chestnut hair, blue eyes, squarish face and jaw, a Northerner
   
the Fey:
Queen Maeve, sovereign of all the fey
the black elf, Maeve’s champion
Puck/Loki, the imp, troublemaker


   
###
                  
The blonde young woman pulled her travel cloak closer about her shoulders.  The evening was growing damp and chill.  Typical for weather in these northern hills, even in summer.  Her escort were all dressed more warmly than she.  It would have been nice if someone had warned me, she thought, ungraciously.

 

Noticing the young noblewoman’s shiver, her personal guard moved closer.  Slipping off his own cloak, he tucked it around her.  She made a soft sound, almost a moan of relief.  The material was still warm from his body and immediately, she felt better. 

“Thank you, Sir Carney.  That’s so much better.  But won’t you be cold?”

“No, my Lady.  I was raised in these parts and am used to this weather.”  The knight frowned, “Someone should have prepared you better.” 

Alicia laughed softly.  “That’s just what I was thinking.  Are you a mind reader, Sir Carney?”

He did not answer aloud, only shaking his head, but Alicia did not miss the small quirk of his lips.  She smiled to herself, as well.  It wasn’t easy to coax a smile from her guard; he was always so serious.  Not that I blame him.  If I had to walk around all day encased in steel, I’d be a bit cranky too.
 


The small party continued along the winding path of the sluggish stream, avoiding the quagmires and fenny areas.  They were heading straight for the highlands, Alicia’s new home once she was wed.  She still wasn’t sure how pleased she would be, but she could always winter in London if she hated the cold too much.

Sighing, she leaned over her horse’s withers to ask, “Might we stop and rest for a few minutes, Sir Carney?  I cannot feel my legs anymore.  Perhaps a warm drink for everyone?”  The knight was riding between Alicia and the brook so when he turned, she caught a glimpse of the dark water.

Carney was just answering Alicia, hoping to delay her for a little while longer.  He saw her startled face and turned himself to see what had surprised her.  Looking across the meadow showed him nothing untoward.  Just more thick forest, clouds and the first of the ramparts they would need to cross.

Alicia gasped and pointed at the water.  “Look at the reflection!”  Everyone did so, then automatically their heads turned to the tor ahead of them.  Wreathed in cloud and fog, the crest was invisible.  Still, the castle on the mount was reflected clearly in the shallow river’s inky depths. 

The knight’s reaction caused her to gasp once more.  Carney grabbed the girl’s reins and kicked his mount into an immediate canter, exhorting the rest to “Run!”  Though he did not raise his voice, the command was clear and the troop obeyed.

Alicia grabbed her horse’s mane and hung on, bent low over its neck to lessen the sting of the wind on her face.  She didn’t understand, but she knew the knight had to have a good reason.  He was a careful, practical man and very good at his job.

Somewhere in their mad rush to pass the ghostly fortress’ lands, they got separated from the rest of the guards.  Now, slowing finally, it was just the two of them.  Carney’s face reflected his dismay and unease.  They had passed through several thick patches of fog and lost several men each time.  And all the pack animals, too.  But he knew it would be fatal to stop and search for them.

“Where are the guard, Sir Carney?” Alicia quavered when they had slowed to a walk.  The horses had to rest, blowing in the cold air, and steam rising from their heated flanks.  She was looking over her shoulder at the empty road.

He shook his head, unhappy,.  “I don’t know, my Lady.  Lost.”  He looked at her, uncomfortable and scowling.  “We cannot search for them.  We must pass these lands and quickly.  It is not safe here.”

He shook his head again when Alicia wanted to protest.  “Ssh.  Sounds travel well here.  We must not draw attention to ourselves.”  He frowned over at her.  “The results would not be pleasant.  We can only hope the others will catch us along the way.”

She did not question him, knowing the area’s reputation was not good.  These were wild lands, occupied by thieves and bandits.  Desperate men who would not hesitate to kill in order to take whatever they might from travelers.  And now, alone, the knight would be hard pressed to defend her if they were attacked. 

Alicia noted the road they had been traveling, while still paved, was not as well-maintained as at the beginning of their journey.  There were occasional missing stones and most of it was overgrown with moss.  Carney no longer rode ahead of her, but rather kept her close by his side.  The path narrowed more until there was barely room to ride that way.
     
 


The tall trees grew closer until they began to overshadow the road.  Alicia shuddered; not only was it colder here, but she felt like she was being watched and the fine hairs on the back of her neck stood up.  When the path finally vanished into the gloom, she whispered to her protector, “Sir Carney?  Are we really going in there?”

He nodded, leaning toward her to murmur very quietly.  “Unfortunately, it is the only way, my Lady.  And do not stray from the path.  No matter what you think you see or hear.  Stay very close to me.”

Alicia looked up at him, realised he was completely serious and she swallowed in fear.  They rode under the trees and the sound of the horses’ hooves became muffled.  She glanced down and saw the thick mossy covering that had caused the change.  They rode in silence for a time, going slower and more cautiously now.  It was rather black in the shade of the thick forest.

The young woman got so used to the near silence, with only the quiet thump of the horses’ feet and the faint jingle of harness, that the sudden alteration in the sound of their tread startled her.  She’d been riding with her eyes on her horse’s ears, not paying attention to the trail.  Dozing, half asleep in the saddle. 



The sudden noisy clop of shod hooves on stone snapped her awake of an instant.  Looking ahead, Alicia saw a narrow paved path that meandered through the towering dark forest.  There didn’t seem to be any end to it.  The narrow track was much cleaner here, better maintained than the road up to this point.  But that didn't seem to please her companion.  Carney looked even more tense than usual. 

She turned to him and he frowned, shaking his head no silently.  So no questions for now.  She sighed and faced front again. 

Alicia began to hear what she thought were whispers now and again, to one side of the path or the other.  When she turned to look, there was never any sign of someone there.  But several times, she thought she’d caught movement out of the corner of her eye. 

That went on for a time, then stopped again.  Now, though, there seemed to be a faint, flickering light off to the side and in front of them.  And it was coming closer, bobbing and swaying as would a lantern being carried by someone running. 

Alicia was certain she heard a voice now.  Muttering and complaining quietly, in almost a chant, a singsong cadence affecting her ability to make out the words.  Whomever it was, was quite upset.

“Late again, late again!  How do I get in these situations?  You are a fool, my man.  One day, you will linger too long and that bitch will have your head.  Have to hurry now before she sets her hounds loose.  That would never do.” 

The voice stopped and the light ceased moving in the same instant.  “Well, well.  What have we here?” whispered out of the shadows.  All she could see were two glowing green eyes.

Before Alicia could even open her mouth, her knight had pushed forward and drawn his broadsword.  “Come forth and be known.  You with the light.  Show yourself!”  The flickering glow immediately went out.
« Last Edit: Wed, Jul 09, 2014, 05:25 AM by ban sidhe »

Offline Montgomery Burns 13

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 1 ONG 06/15/2014
« Reply #1 on: Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 09:25 AM »
Interesting start, I love it!  It seems that our heroes have to pass through a pretty eerie part of the country.  I love the way you describe their surroundings.  The atmosphere you create reminds me of Gothic horror novels.

Just one question: Do you look for the pictures first, and then make up the landscape, or do you think of a specific landscape first, and then look for the matching pictures?  Or is it a mixture of both?

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Offline Tiberius

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 1 ONG 06/15/2014
« Reply #2 on: Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 10:23 AM »
Interesting start, I can hardly wait to read more!

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 1 ONG 06/15/2014
« Reply #3 on: Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 11:42 AM »
a little of both, Monty.  sometimes I find a pic and it inspires a story, sometimes I'm thinking of something and search for pics to match.  I have several folders saved of pics I've found interesting in some way, and I use those, as well.  btw, I LOVE deiviantart.  some amazing stuff on there.

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 2 ONG 06/17/2014
« Reply #4 on: Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 05:34 AM »
Carney spun his horse in a circle, peering into the dark.  “That won’t help you, sir knight,” came the quiet, deep chuckle.  Carney came back to Alicia’s side still frowning and searching the dark.  He stopped suddenly with a quick inhale.  Sitting beside the trail on the stump of a downed trunk was a very unusual person.

“Oooh, now he’s a pretty one, eh?  Is he tamed, milady?”  The smallish, slender person asked Alicia.  She smiled down at where he crouched before her, then up at her doughty warrior. 

“Well, partially, I suppose.”  She almost laughed at Sir Carney’s scowl.  “He can be fairly fierce where my safety is concerned.”  This weird little man didn’t seem frightening at all to her.  His voice was surprisingly deep, though.

Taking a closer look at the odd man, she stopped smiling.  He would be no taller than she when standing upright.  Except for his too wise eyes, he could have been a child.  His wild, red-blonde hair stood out around his face in curving spikes and his eyes were too green. 

Almost like a cat’s, she thought, then her own widened.  He did have slit pupils, exactly like a cat.  They had at first appeared normal until he looked at her and directly into the light from the knight’s lamp.  Both travelers had dismounted to speak with the stranger.

   
“Who are you?”  She questioned, a bit taken aback by his strange appearance.  He was dressed in forester’s colours, a patchwork of black stripes and greens.  Probably how he got so close before we noticed him. 

There were silver rings in his ears and he wore a small charm on a beaded chain around his neck.  He didn’t seem dangerous.  At least he hadn’t moved since she had stepped out from behind her knight’s broad back, ignoring the big man’s growl, to question the stranger. 

The pixie-like person stood and looked down to one side.  Shrugging, he looked back at Alicia from between dark lashes.  Grinning suddenly, he chuckled, “Ah, what’s in a name, milady?  I’ve had so many over the years.  You may call me anything that suits your fancy.”

Surprising them both, the normally silent knight spoke.  “You’re fey.  Puck or some other woodsprite by my guess.” 

“What?” Alicia squeaked, shocked. 

At the same time, the slender, lithe creature turned and bowed formally to Sir Carney.  “Correct, sir knight.  And might I have the pleasure of knowing yours and the lady’s names?” 

Sir Carney narrowed his eyes, but introduced Alicia and himself.  He didn’t trust this being as far as he could toss it.  If he could even lay hands upon the creature.  It looked fast and agile. 

“I am Sir Carney of Roxbury Cross.  This is the the Lady Alicia Windsor.  We are on our way to the home of her betrothed, Lord Niall Moncrieffe.” 

“Sir Carney?”  Alicia lay a gloved hand on the knight’s arm.  “You think he’s a... a fairy?”  It was the very last thing she would have expected from the dour man. 

“I am not!” Puck protested. 

Sir Carney smiled, fiercely, as was his wont.  “Nothing so benign, my lady.  Not if he really is the creature I named.”

“But, but... fairies aren’t real.  They’re only from bedtime stories for children!”

“Do I look like a story to you, Lady Alicia?” Puck stood with hands on his narrow hips.  His eyes had momentarily flashed a brighter green as he denied her naming him ‘fairy’.  “Here.  Touch me if you don’t think I’m real.”  He held out an arm, but backed up quickly when Sir Carney growled again. 

“I mean her no harm, sir knight.  But she does not believe and that pains me.”  Now he held his hand over his heart with a sad expression.

“It’s not that I don’t believe you are real.  I can see and hear that you are.  But... what did you call him, Sir Carney?”  Alicia look up at the knight.

Both he and the smaller man answered her at the same time.  “Fey, my Lady.”

“What’s the difference?”  She frowned, confused.

Carney looked over at Puck.  “Shall I defer to your greater knowledge... Puck?”

“I would be honoured, Sir Carney,” the fey creature bowed again.  Giving a quick glance up to where the moon was on the rise, he sighed.  “This may take a little while.  Why don’t you sit and be comfortable, Lady Alicia?”

“I’m not so sure that would be wise, milady.”  Carney grumbled.  “We should continue on out of these woods as swiftly as we may.  Yon sprite may accompany us to the end of his territory if he wishes.  He can explain as we go.”

Alicia sighed; she was so tired and the thought of a few moments’ rest was enticing.  Her back ached and her buttocks were numb from so many hours in the saddle.  Her toes she could no longer feel and her hands were cramped from holding the reins.  She was cold and growing thirsty and hungry, too.  But one look at Carney’s face gave her her answer before she even asked.  He would not allow it.

So she only looked back at this Puck creature and smiled sadly.  “Would you be willing, sirrah?  I am curious to know more about you and your kin.”

“Not my kin, Lady Alicia.  But not yours, either,”  the imp replied quixotically.  “I will come along for a time.  Educating mortals is always amusing, and you are most pleasant to look upon.”  He glanced up at Sir Carney’s frown.  “Never fear, sir knight.  I will not touch your lady.”  Looking away, he mumbled under his breath, “Not unless she asks.”

Offline Montgomery Burns 13

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 2 ONG 06/17/2014
« Reply #5 on: Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 06:16 AM »
Quote
...and his eyes were too green

So somebody cast an evil spell on Loki and turned him into an imp? Poor Loki, it must be horrible for him, especially since he's such a vain person... :giggle

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Offline ban sidhe

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 2 ONG 06/17/2014
« Reply #6 on: Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 08:57 AM »
Not an imp, but one of the eldar... Puck was the court jester and informant for the rulers of the Sidhe Dubh; the dark fey.  Similar to Loki's role in Asgard.  Odin sent him as a punishment; but you will learn of that later.

Offline Montgomery Burns 13

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 2 ONG 06/17/2014
« Reply #7 on: Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 10:38 AM »
The Sidhe Dubh and the eldar, they are not part of the Norse mythology, or are they?  What exactly are they?  Or is it not important for the story?


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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 2 ONG 06/17/2014
« Reply #8 on: Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 04:50 PM »
They are the celtic mythic version of elves... there are both light and dark, as in Norse mythology, but they are a much stronger, wiser and older race than the elves Loki knows.  Think more like The Lord of the Rings.  However, the dark elves, (the Sidhe Dubh) are evil as far as humans are concerned.  They hold only enmity for humans, unlike their light cousins, who are mostly neutral.  Light and dark in this case, is a way of describing their use of magic, which in and of itself is neutral.  The eldar is only one of the names given them by humans.  They call themselves simply 'the People.' 

Not terribly important to the story, but I hope it made things a bit clearer for you.

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 2 ONG 06/17/2014
« Reply #9 on: Wed, Jun 18, 2014, 12:01 PM »
This story is really fascinating, totally different. Please update soon, I'm so curious what happens next.

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 3 ONG 06/19/2014
« Reply #10 on: Thu, Jun 19, 2014, 05:52 AM »
They continued down the forest road, Puck now walking at Alicia’s stirrup.  Sir Carney rode directly behind him, slightly offset from Alicia’s horse.  It would enable him to move more quickly to her side if she required him for any reason.  Or ride the fey down if he became a threat. 

Puck chatted as they went along.  He explained the difference between the greater and lesser fey and named several of the branches of their family trees.  He was himself, one of the family of hearth spirits as humans called the fey of his current incarnation. 

“This incarnation?” Alicia asked for clarification.  Head drooping, Puck sighed. 

“Banished from home until my king gets over his snit.  Sent here to pay for my folly.”  He sighed again.  “They have no sense of humour at all back there.  As bad as these folks.  And so jealous.” 

“So that’s why you were running?”  Carney chimed in.  He had been carefully examining the fey as they walked.  “You’re in trouble again?”  The knight had taken note of the odd sigil carved into the strange little man’s necklace.  He recognised it as a symbol often used by the Viking immigrants that lived far to the north.

Alicia gave him a strange look.  He almost smiled back at her, the corners of his mouth twitching slightly.  Gesturing toward the man at her foot, he clarified, “This one is known for his pranks and tricks, milady.  What have you done now... Loki?”  Alicia wondered at Carney’s change of name for the creature.  And the slight man did not protest it.

“No, no.  No tricks.  I’m just late for a meeting is all.  Supposed to be keeping her stuck-up highness informed of what conspires amongst her courtiers.  She will not be pleased with me.”

He stared straight into Carney’s eyes.  “You need to come with me.  The moon is full tonight.  When it reaches the zenith...”

Carney’s eyes went wide and Alicia would have sworn he paled.  “The Hunt?”  He whispered. 

Loki made a face and nodded.  “I have a good place.  I can keep you safe.  But we should hurry.”

“Why would you assist us?”  The knight sounded very suspicious. 

Loki only grinned and his eyes flashed again.  “Because it will frustrate Maeve.  Deny her Huntsman his quarry.  I’m curious about you and your Lady.  She reminds me of someone back home.”

Unhappy about it, Sir Carney grudgingly agreed to follow Loki.  If the trickster was correct, they didn’t have much time.  The full moon, and it was a hunter’s moon he just remembered, would reach its zenith in only an hour or so. 

Loki trotted along the trail for a few minutes, then veered off to the left onto a much narrower, fainter path. 

“Lefthand path, Loki?”  Carney grumbled.  The other only shrugged; he was not prey to the same superstitions as humans.  The knight scowled and sighed.  Alicia glanced at him, but decided to wait until they stopped to ask why it concerned him.  The knight wasn’t the most strictly religious man she knew, but that could have been his reference.


The path was no longer paved, the horses’ hooves going nearly silent now on the leaf littered winding way.  And the wood was growing misty once again.  Unexpectedly, it opened up and brightened enough for Alicia to see just ahead a short stand-alone tower of pale stone. 

Crenellated on top, it appeared open on each of the four cardinal sides.  Wide open arches gave clear views of the forest beyond each one.  Except as she rode closer, she could see that each opening led to a different wood.  One was in bright, morning sun, another looked snowy, the third similar to the mixed forest they'd been riding through and the last she could not recognise with odd, twisted trees draped with mosses, vines and lichens. 



Sir Carney stopped his horse quickly.  The animal was not pleased by the yank on his reins and protested, throwing up his head with a snort and shaking the lines.  He pawed the ground, his harness creaking and jingling. 

Loki turned back and placed a hand on the beast’s muzzle.  “Ssh, ssh, my friend.  Must be quiet here.  Don’t want to wake the wardens.”  The black stallion immediately stopped fidgeting.

The knight scowled down on the fey.  “You expect us to follow through yon gate?”  His hand crept to his sword hilt, though he had not drawn it yet.  Alicia recognised his posture as anger as well as distress.

Loki simply shrugged.  “Not exactly.  We take a different route.  Come, if you wish to keep her safe.”  He slipped past Carney and to Alicia’s side.  Offering her a hand, he smiled.  “We all walk from here, my Lady.”

Not sure at first, the longer Alicia stared into those too green cat eyes, the calmer she felt.  She smiled down and reached toward Loki.  Sir Carney was overreacting, she was certain of it. 

Until she heard him sharply call her name.  “Alicia!  My Lady!”  She looked up with a little shiver.  “Do not stare into his eyes.  He can enchant you that way.”

“Spoilsport!”  Loki grumbled.  “I only wanted her calm and unafraid.  Now she’ll be as nervous as you.  And nervous humans do not smell pleasantly.”  He stepped back and allowed the knight to lift her down. 

Alicia glanced at Loki, unable to hide a small smile, though she bit her lip hard trying.  She had to cover her mouth and turn away when he grinned and winked at her.  He was teasing her knight.  She was curious, though.  How did Carney know that?

On the ground for the first time in hours, Alicia groaned softly.  She put her hands on the small of her back and stretched, trying to ease the stiffness.  Loki’s eyes sparkled and he grinned again.  “I could ease that for you, milady.”  When she turned to him, he held out his hands and she inhaled sharply.  They were glowing faintly green.

“You will not touch her!”  Carney snapped.  He pulled Alicia back from the slender fey, a bit more roughly than his usual handling of her. 

Loki sighed.  “She’s in pain.  A little heat and a rub would help.  I don’t suppose you’d care to do the honors?  We still have a ways to go and we don’t want her falling, now do we?”  He stepped closer to the knight.  “Here, let me show you.” 

Carney drew back with a growl and a hand to his sword.  The fey made a face and shook his head.  “So untrusting.  Well, come on then.”  He turned away and walked toward the nearest tower arch. 

“What about the horses?”  Alicia asked, patting her grey and looking at the big destrier. 

“Leave them.  I have friends who will care for them,”  Loki answered over his shoulder.  Taking a deep breath, Alicia wrapped her cloak tighter and followed with Sir Carney on her heels. 

The instant they had both feet inside the tower, their surroundings changed completely.  Everything rippled.  It was disorienting and Alicia would have stumbled if Sir Carney had not held her arm. 

Now they stood at the top of a deep well, a stair winding down around the outer wall.  Alicia leaned over the edge of the waist high inner wall to see multiple arches spiraling down into darkness.  Something glittered at the very bottom.  Much of the stone was mossy and vines draped down the sides giving the faint breath of the well a green, earthy scent.

 


“We’re going down?” she quavered, unsure. 

“Yes, milady.  All the way.  You are sure you are able to make it?”  Loki sounded sincerely concerned.

“If she wearies, I shall carry her,”  Sir Carney growled.  “You...”

“Yes, yes, I know.  I don’t touch her.”  Loki sighed, disgusted.  “I don’t have the plague, you know.”  He gave the knight a bitter, resentful look.  Then he just headed down the curving stair. 

It grew darker the further down they went, the narrow throat of the well causing shadows to fall on the walls rather quickly.  Alicia stumbled once, her guard and Loki both reaching to catch her.  Carney growled at the fey, “If you want to be useful, how about a little light?”

He stood a step above the young woman, his hands on her shoulders.  Alicia could feel the buckles on the front of his armour against her back.  She blushed, for even though the knight was completely covered in steel plate and mail, with padding beneath, those buckles were covering the part of him that made him a man.

Loki smiled at her discomfiture and a dark brow lifted in amusement.  He lifted one hand, and with a snap of his fingers, a ball of bright greenish-yellow witchlight appeared in his cupped hand.  He held it at shoulder height and continued to descend.  The woman looked up at her knight, stunned and even more surprised that he seemed to accept the casual working of magic so calmly. 

Alicia and Carney were both startled when they reached the bottom.  As she had looked over the side on the way down, it appeared as though the very floor was either water or brightly polished stone.  Now that they had arrived, it was leaf littered dirt and half covered in tangled vines.  Loki pulled open a green gate with a screech of unused hinges and stepped out into a wood filled with golden light. 

 
“Oh, my God!”  Alicia cried in amazement, wide eyed.  Even Carney seemed stunned, silently staring at the panorama they now faced.  For where they stood was on the side of a large forested mount facing several buttes with a wide valley between.  Misty waterfalls roared in the near distance, flocks of white birds soared through unfamiliar trees, and their path meandered down the hillside before them.

Loki chuckled, “Oh, He had very little to do with this, my Lady.  This is a much older place.  My home away from home, if you will.”  His words made little sense to the young woman, but she was too tired at the moment to wonder.  How could anything be older than God?  Perhaps later she would ask her knight.  He seemed to know more about this odd person and his ilk than she.

Alicia glanced over at the slender man to see a satisfied smile on his face.  And she blinked, seeing the sun shining on him.  It was bright, if misty midday here.  The sudden realization staggered her and she wobbled on her feet. 

Loki caught her, an arm around her waist.  “Sit for a moment, my Lady.  The view does tend to take one’s breath the first time.”  He lowered her gently and quickly stepped back as Sir Carney turned, a thunderous look on his face. 

Alicia raised her face to her guardian.  “I’m fine, Sir Carney.  Just disoriented for a moment.  Loki has not hurt me.”

The fey backed into the shade of the gate, hands raised.  “I told you I wouldn’t.  I like her.  You need to relax.  I am not your enemy here.”  He scowled too, as the knight continued to frown.  “I did just save your lives, you know.  If you’d remained back there, the Hunt would have claimed you for certain.”

“Hmmph,” Carney snorted.  “If you’d taken a different path, they probably would have never even known we were there.” 

“Oh, they knew.  The minute you stepped onto Maeve’s lands, they knew.”

“When was that, Loki?”  Alicia wanted to know.

He gave her a disbelieving glance.  “Why, when you saw her castle’s reflection, of course.”  He turned back to Carney.  “Did you know she has the Sight?”

The knight only shook his head.  “She’s from the South.  How could I know?” 

“Ah.  I understand.  Still, there’s some wild blood in her somewhere.”  Loki stared speculatively at the seated girl.

“Wild blood?”  Alicia gasped.  “What does he mean?”  She looked up at Carney, having paled.  Her blood was not tainted as far as she was aware.

Offline Montgomery Burns 13

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 3 ONG 06/19/2014
« Reply #11 on: Thu, Jun 19, 2014, 06:34 AM »
Quote
“Lefthand path, Loki?”  Carney grumbled.  The other only shrugged; he was not prey to the same superstitions as humans.

I'm afraid I have no idea what are you referring to here.

Quote
“Wild blood?”  Alicia gasped.  “What does he mean?”

I was wondering the same.  Can't wait to find out.

But won't Loki get into trouble for helping them?  He'll be late for his meeting with Maeve, right?

Love the chapter.


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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 3 ONG 06/19/2014
« Reply #12 on: Thu, Jun 19, 2014, 10:06 AM »
The Lefthand Path refers to how magic is used.  In ancient times, left or 'sinister' meant the dark, evil way.  (From the Latin, sinister means left)
Left-handed people were often thought to be in league with the devil. 

'Wild blood' means faerie blood.  Imbued with magic and dangerous.

As for him really caring if he's late; don't make me laugh. 

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 3 ONG 06/19/2014
« Reply #13 on: Thu, Jun 19, 2014, 11:38 AM »

Thanks for the clarification, ban side!

As for him really caring if he's late; don't make me laugh.

Well, I had the impression that, even though Loki doesn't really care for Maeve, he doesn't want to face the consequences of being late.  At least in Chapter 1 he seems to worry about the consequences his being too late may have:

Quote
“Late again, late again!  How do I get in these situations?  You are a fool, my man.  One day, you will linger too long and that bitch will have your head.  Have to hurry now before she sets her hounds loose.  That would never do.”


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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 3 ONG 06/19/2014
« Reply #14 on: Fri, Jun 20, 2014, 10:05 AM »
Great chapter! Please update soon!

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 4 ONG 06/20/2014
« Reply #15 on: Fri, Jun 20, 2014, 05:24 PM »
Her father was a Lord, his familial lands right on the coast near the channel to the mainland.  His family had all lived there for generations.  Her mother’s people were city folk, blue bloods and related to the royals.  Not landed like her father, they were still important, all involved in governing the realm.  Not a drop of common blood among them, let alone ‘wild’.

The knight frowned, trying to find a delicate way of putting it to the sweet soul he’d come to admire during their weeks of travel.  Alicia was a lady in every sense; gentle, kind, loving and yet stronger than most people would see.  Still, he had no desire to upset her. 

Loki solved the problem for him by just blurting it out.  “One of your ancestors fucked a fey, my sweet.”  Then he shrugged, “Or got fucked by one, more likely.”

Alicia blushed fiercely as his meaning penetrated.  Her eyes and mouth went round together.  The thought that one of her female relatives had most likely been raped by one of the elder race was... unsettling.  Especially as she was finding it difficult to even believe they really existed, the evidence in front of her or no.

She looked down, plucking a leaf or two and thinking.  Were there any rumours of strange talents in the family?  Any women that married quickly or had questions raised about a child?  Not that she remembered immediately. 

Loki came closer and crouched down before her.  “Any of your relatives sickly?  Couldn’t take the city air?  Needed to recuperate in the country or by the sea?”  He cocked his head to the side, “No females got the ‘vapours’ if overexcited?”  He made little quotation marks with his fingers. 

Alicia  frowned, a little puzzled seeming wrinkle appearing between her golden brows.  “I did have a great uncle who was unwell most of his life.  I only met him once.  On a vacation to the family summer home.”  She looked up at Carney.  “It’s near Dover, on the coast.” 

Loki shook his head, “Unlikely.  Anyone exceptionally lucky?”  He leaned in closer and whispered, “Or considered insane?”

Sir Carney growled and the fey looked up.  “Well, it could mean fey blood,” he snapped.  “Many of our abilities are seen as ‘sicknesses’ of the mind by humans.  Especially in mixed bloods raised amongst your kind. They’re not trained properly; don’t understand what they can do.”

“It matters not at the moment,” the knight waved the questions away.  “Milady is weary and needs rest and refreshment.  Do you know of a place where we make take refuge?”

“Oh, I can do better than that,” Loki smiled.  “If you can follow for a little longer?”

“We can,” Sir Carney answered shortly for both of them.  Loki nodded and stood, backing away to let the knight lift Alicia to her feet.  No point in irritating him further.  He led them down the hill and into the misty woods. 

Their path twisted and wound up and down, becoming rocky steps that sometimes appeared carved and sometimes natural stone.  In and out of patches of sun, then back into the mists.  The greenery grew dense and exotic to Alicia’s eyes.  Once they clambered along the side of a cliff, with only a wooden rail to protect the climbers from the drop.


         


Several times along the way, Alicia needed her knight’s arm to help her up the steps.  As many times as she had wished to walk throughout much of her journey, she now wanted her horse back.  She knew the animals were not good with stairs, but her legs throbbed leadenly and she was growing short of breath. 

Loki seemed to note it, for he looked at Sir Carney and tucked his chin, lifted his brows and cocked his head toward her.  A silent reminder to the big man that he said he would carry Alicia if necessary.  The fey thought that time had come.  Alicia was too tired to protest when her knight turned and scooped her into his arms.  And Loki?  He never seemed to tire at all.

Finally, the exhausted girl thought she could glimpse white buildings through the haze.  Climbing up the steep hill, interspersed with heavy timber and draped with greenery, it was hard to be sure.  One more turn and the stair became a covered walk. 

A filigreed rail now edged the open sided hall and carved columns held up the roof.  They walked toward a delicate, white walled aerie atop greyish ramparts.  Sir Carney lowered Alicia to her feet and all three paused to look at the elegant structure.  “It’s beautiful,”  Alicia murmured.  “Doesn’t look real.”

 

   
“I assure you, it is, milady,” Loki preened.  “Come, let’s get you both settled, fed and rested.”  He led them into the structure.

A curved gate wall and small courtyard framed the entrance.  Planted with flowering shrubs and small fruit trees, there were espaliered roses climbing the wall to each side of the main door.  Which stood wide open, a warm, welcoming light spilling out from the hall. 

Loki led them through the ornately decorated main hall, past a long steeply spiralled staircase, into another, smaller, cooler, blue room with a huge organ.  Again, they passed right through and also the formal dining room with its statuary, sideboards, columns and decorative arrases lining the walls. 

Down a less ornate, darker hall, they finally entered the castle’s kitchen.  A smaller, warmer, much friendlier seeming room, there were serving dishes set out on the work table.  Even a baked fish on one platter, as if someone had been in the middle of preparing a meal and vanished with the coming of the lord of the manor and his guests.

All the castle pictures are from Colleen Moore’s fairytale castle.. a real dollhouse on display in a Chicago museum.  Many of the furnishings are real antiques and it took 7 years to build. To learn more follow this link: http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here/exhibits/fairycastle/history-of-the-fairy-castle/
 


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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (G) Chapter 4 ONG 06/20/2014
« Reply #16 on: Sat, Jun 21, 2014, 02:15 AM »
Love the fairytale castle. Thank you for posting the link! It's pretty fascinating; not just the pictures, but also the accompanying text.

Quote
Loki solved the problem for him by just blurting it out.  “One of your ancestors fucked a fey, my sweet.”  Then he shrugged, “Or got fucked by one, more likely.”

Hehe, for once he's telling the truth. :giggle

More please...

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 4 ONG 06/20/2014
« Reply #17 on: Sat, Jun 21, 2014, 05:37 AM »
It is pretty cool, isn't it?  I was amazed when I saw the pic of someone doing maintenance on it... it's about 8 feet tall!

Rating changed for you, too.

Loki always tells the truth... when it suits his needs.

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 4 ONG 06/20/2014
« Reply #18 on: Sat, Jun 21, 2014, 12:28 PM »
Love it! I can't wait to find out what Loki is planning.

And truly cool pictures.

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 5 ONG 06/22/2014
« Reply #19 on: Sun, Jun 22, 2014, 12:22 PM »
“Do you live here alone, Loki?”  Alicia asked, curiously, as she craned her neck to try and see into every corner. 

Chuckling, he replied, “Oh, no.  Of course not.  This place is far too complex for one person alone to maintain.  I’m ashamed to say my servants are a wee bit shy of strangers, however.  They tend to hide from anyone but me.”

Pulling out a chair, he bowed and waved her to a seat.  “I thought you would not mind if we ate here.  It’s warmer and... well, frankly, friendlier than the dining room.”  He turned to Carney,  “Sir knight?”  He motioned to a second chair. 

While Carney settled Alicia and himself after removing his gauntlets and the heavy leather gloves beneath, Loki busied himself rustling up something for them all to eat.  Alicia followed his movements around the room, wondering as foodstuffs seemed to magically appear in his hands or on plates that he held.  And several times she could have sworn she heard him murmur thanks to some invisible helper.

She shook her head, smiling at Carney’s frown and beginning to feel like she was in a strange dream.  Loki came to the table several times, setting out bread, cheeses, butter, honey.  Found them silverware  and cups.  “Just a moment, I’ll be right back,” he chirped as he vanished through a narrow door. 

Carney growled, but before the knight could rise and see where he’d gone, he was back.  He carried a dusty bottle and a covered tankard.  “Wasn’t sure if you’d prefer wine or ale, so I brought both,” he said.  Setting the tankard in front of Carney, Loki wiped off the bottle on his shirttail, popped the cork and poured himself and Alicia a glass of a sweet, honey-coloured wine. 

“If that is not acceptable, milady, I have cider, water or milk?”  Loki seemed an anxious to please host.  “I can toast the bread and cheese if you prefer, as well?”

“Thank you,Loki.  This will be just fine,”  Alicia sighed.  “I could eat just about anything right now and this all looks and smells delicious.”  Both men passed platters to the lady for her to choose what she wished first, then helped themselves. 

After a curious and slightly suspicious sniff, Carney sampled the ale and proclaimed it drinkable.  Alicia laughed, putting a hand on Loki’s arm and leaned close to loudly whisper, “You should be gratified.  That’s about as close to a compliment as he gets.”  She bit her lip to stifle a smile and tried not to giggle.

Loki grinned back and snickered.  “I shall take the compliment from whence it comes then, milady.  I do appreciate the warning.  Would you care for a second glass?”  Loki lifted the bottle of golden wine.  Alicia nodded consent and he poured for both of them a second time. 

By the time the meal was ended, they had finished the bottle and Sir Carney had drained several tankards.  Both humans were feeling quite giddy, not only from the alcohol, but also because it had been consumed at the end of a long, strange day and they were very tired.  When the young woman began to yawn as often as she laughed, Loki decided it was time to send her to rest. 

Sir Carney wanted to carry her up that spiral stair, but his host convinced him he was going to have enough trouble just getting himself up it.  What with his armour and all making him slightly clumsy.  The knight protested, but Alicia insisted she would be fine with an arm.  And sashayed over to her host to lean on him.  Carney looked daggers at Loki, who lifted his free hand and his eyebrows in innocence.  So he led her up with the knight following.

“Ooh,” Alicia sighed, when led into the room she was to occupy for the night.  Pale peach walls decorated with painted scroll work, a pink and pale blue mosaic floor, beautiful stained glass windows and a canopied sleigh bed were featured.  A harp sat near one window and a tea service sat on a small ivory table with two blue chairs across from the bed.  Several small song birds twittered in a white cage hung from a hook on the wall.

“I hope you will be comfortable here, milady,” Loki bowed her into the airy suite.  There is a dressing room through the far door.  Anything you might require, just use the bellpull.  I wish you pleasant dreams.”  He turned away to face Carney.  “And now for you, Sir knight.  Right this way,”  Loki waved down the hall.

The room he led the knight to was very blue, floor, walls and ceiling.  His room had a large, round, filigreed window in the painted ceiling and a small balcony looking over an inner courtyard.  A huge white bearskin spread over the center of the floor, with a low chest at the foot of the wide bed and a chair stood beside it.  The warm pink light from the sunset shone through the ceiling making the room seem not so cold.

 
 

Sir Carney gruffly thanked the fey and Loki left him to undress and relax by himself.  Come morning, the knight would hopefully have lost some of his suspiciousness and Loki could discover more about his guests.  If Alicia was who he thought she might be, Queen Maeve would do almost anything to get her hands on the sweet child. 

Which meant he had to make a choice.  Continue to protect the humans and find some way to sneak them past her guardians, or see that she was delivered safely into the queen’s hands.  Neither prospect particularly appealed to him. 

On the one hand, if he rescued the girl he risked the queen’s wrath and she could be vicious if thwarted.  On the other, if he turned Alicia over to Maeve, his king would not be pleased.  The god’s fondness for humans was well known to Loki.  He might just leave him here forever.

Frustrated, the god turned fey did what soothed him most.  He flitted down the servant stair to the castle’s lowest floor and made his way to his workroom.  Fiddling with potions and philters, conjuring and designing new spells always calmed him, helped him think.  Hopefully, he would discover a solution to his little problem that would make everyone happy.  Or at least keep them off his neck. And his head where it belonged.
 

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 5 ONG 06/22/2014
« Reply #20 on: Sun, Jun 22, 2014, 01:10 PM »
So this is Loki's place? I was wondering whose place it was, but I wouldn't have thought it belonged to him. Nice! And he even has servants? Actually I thought, as he was sent there as a punishment, he'd just have a small room at Maeve's palace...

Quote
Hopefully, he would discover a solution to his little problem that would make everyone happy.  Or at least keep them off his neck. And his head where it belonged.

Knowing Loki, I'm sure he'll find a solution. Probably not one that makes everyone happy, but at least one that'll help him over the next days. :ggrin

Love the update.

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 5 ONG 06/22/2014
« Reply #21 on: Mon, Jun 23, 2014, 05:48 AM »
absolutely magical <3 Loki certainly does not learn well but he sure does have some great adventures in the processes haha xD
WiLdE n free & will always be <3 =^.~=


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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 5 ONG 06/22/2014
« Reply #22 on: Mon, Jun 23, 2014, 05:50 AM »
numb~butt, deep forests, Black Stallion, and wilde Blood.... oops Wild* =~.^= I am Loving this story immensely Bani
WiLdE n free & will always be <3 =^.~=


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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 5 ONG 06/22/2014
« Reply #23 on: Mon, Jun 23, 2014, 10:21 AM »
Cool chapter, please update soon!

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 6 ONG 06/24/2014
« Reply #24 on: Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 05:56 AM »
Maeve strode back and forth on the lawn before her throne.  She was annoyed and impatient.  Her Hunt master had not yet returned and the night was growing old.  Puck was missing, too.  He was long overdue to report. 

Her courtiers watched, cringing as she moved closer to each one, sighing silently and relaxing as she moved further away.  The dark faerie queen was never so beautiful as when she was angry... and never so dangerous.  Unpredictable, she might lash out at any one of them as fancy struck, or not, as her mood changed.

And she was growing angrier; thunder rolled through the night and lightning flashed in the distance.  A servant, a brownie, crept close carefully, slinking up behind the throne.  She quietly replaced the fireflies in the lanterns with fresh, taking the tired insects back to be fed and rested.  Maeve hissed at the brighter glow and the poor brownie scuttled away as quickly as she could. 


 


Things did not bode well for anyone approaching with unhappy news. 

Heads at the edge of the court began to turn at the faint sound of horns and hooves on pavement.  The Hunt was returning at last.  Maeve stopped pacing, leaning against a huge bole and waited for her champion.

    
 
      
The black elf came striding up the walk, one hand tightly gripping his sword hilt, never a good sign.  The whispers and murmurs among the beautiful company died away to a pregnant silence.  He bowed to his Queen, still hooded and gloved, so he had come quickly up the walk from outside the castle.   The Hunt never entered the court; they had their own lodging nearby in the darker wood. 
     
 


“What news?”  The flame-haired fey whispered, her emerald eyes flashing. 

“Nothing you will be pleased to hear, my Queen,” he answered.  His speech was a cracked, harsh growl, deep and rough, as though he had spent many hours screaming and it had broken his voice.  He had.

It had also made him nearly immune to the fear her pique caused in the others.  So when she turned to face him and hissed her rage, he merely blinked rather than cowering back and hiding his face like the rest.  The master of the Hunt feared very little anymore. 

“The lady and her knight are still missing.  They left the trail and took a lefthand path.  With someone on foot leading them, I believe.  They might be anywhere by now.”  The black elf continued quietly.

“Why did you not pursue them further?”  Maeve slunk closer, glaring fire at her knight.  “Have you missed the pleasures of my dungeons so soon?” 

He straightened, but did not back off.  “Dawn approaches, my Queen.  The Hunt must not be caught out when the sun rises.  We know where they headed.  We shall continue our search tomorrow night.” 

“You’d best bring them to me soon, my sweet.  I do miss... playing with you.”  Maeve ran one hand up the elf’s armoured chest and slipped it around his neck inside his hood.  Her face was close enough to his to kiss, but she only smiled into his eyes.  Now he did look afraid, paling slightly and a shudder ran through him.

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 6 ONG 06/24/2014
« Reply #25 on: Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 06:34 AM »
poor guy xD boy Loki sure has a lot on his plate, once again
WiLdE n free & will always be <3 =^.~=


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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 6 ONG 06/24/2014
« Reply #26 on: Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 06:55 AM »
Love the pic of the black elf.

Quote
His speech was a cracked, harsh growl, deep and rough, as though he had spent many hours screaming and it had broken his voice.  He had.

Looks like queen Maeve is not a nice person.


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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 6 ONG 06/24/2014
« Reply #27 on: Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 08:17 AM »
No, she is not.

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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 6 ONG 06/24/2014
« Reply #28 on: Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 12:24 PM »
She seems very dangerous …


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Re: [Loki] Lost in Otherwhere (PG-13) Chapter 7 ONG 06/26/2014
« Reply #29 on: Thu, Jun 26, 2014, 06:14 AM »
Dawn was fast approaching by the time Loki took to his bed.  He would catch a short nap before rising to face the humans with some delicate questions.  He knew it would go much easier if he could separate Alicia from her watchdog, but that he could not think of a way to accomplish just yet.  So he would hold them here under the pretense of keeping the lady safe while he continued to ponder his own dilemma.

Sir Carney rose with the coming of the first light.  Used to rising early, he found much of his morning ritual already done.  His clothes had been cleaned and even mended, including his small clothes.  His armour was polished and laid out ready for him. 

He faced the dawn from his smaller window and sighed.  Normally, he would pray at this time before breaking his fast, but it somehow seemed out of place here.  Bowing his head, he crossed himself with a quick wish for his soul’s safety and decided to make up for his lack later. 

So he dressed, though he wore only his arming doublet and breeches with a surcoat thrown over the top.  His armour was noisy and hopefully not needed here inside.  He tiptoed down the hall and checked on his charge, but she was still sleeping.  The poor child is no doubt exhausted, Carney thought after quickly peeking into Alicia’s room.  He would go and search out breakfast before attempting to wake her.  And try to find their odd host.

For on this day the knight was somewhat anxious.  Carney was doing his best to remember all the old tales and warnings about dealing with the fey.  He knew they were in Loki’s debt already and did not want to add any more to it.  God only knew, (no, I should say ‘gods’, in his case), what the fey would demand as payment.  For Carney had heard what his host had only vaguely mentioned.  He was not truly fey, but something else and the knight was unsure if the same rules applied.

It had taken several hours for them to reach Loki’s retreat and half a day before that to make the distance from where Alicia had seen the castle in the water.  He was sure there was some rule about a day in Faerie being much longer than in the human world.  They needed to be on their way back soon.  This was a very dangerous place for mortals and Carney had no wish to become trapped in this strange, if beautiful world. 

The knight remembered the fey did not outright lie, though they could twist words.  One had to listen closely and be alert for hidden meanings and omissions in what they did say.  He decided the best way to learn what he only partially remembered would be to simply ask. 

Perhaps this Loki could tell him, since if he were not truly of this world, he might not be constrained by its rules.  The knight had also gleaned a sense of unease from the strange little man, as if he also wanted away from here and thought the humans could help him gain fulfillment of that desire.  Carney had no objection to that if it meant keeping Alicia safe. 

Wandering through the halls and rooms of the fairy palace, Sir Carney caught quick glimpses of the castle’s other inhabitants from the corner of his eye occasionally.  If he hadn’t been sure he was awake, he might have thought himself dreaming.  None looked very human and they were small, at most knee high on the tall knight. 

They all had long noses and large, pointed, floppy ears, save the one he thought was female.  She’d wisped out of the kitchen as he poked his head in, carrying her broom from where she’d been sweeping the hearth.  And she was the only one not dressed, (barely), in rags.  What they were called he could not remember; house elves? brownies? hobs?  For all he knew, they might not even be all the same ilk.

       
   
Sighing, he asked the air softly, “Could someone please find your master?  And perhaps something to feed this poor mortal?  I am thirsty and famished.  I will wait outside, in the courtyard.  I wish you no harm, little ones.”  He bowed, even though he saw no one.  The knight was certain he was being watched. 

Loki found him there shortly thereafter, patiently waiting.  “Good morning, sir knight.  I trust you slept well?”  Loki grinned at him from the balcony over the main door.  “Breakfast awaits us in the dining hall.  If you would care to head in that direction, I shall meet you inside.” 

Carney glanced up and rose, nodding his agreement and silently repaired to where his host was sitting.  Loki bowed him to a seat, a veritable feast spread before them.  “You will not be displeased if I ask you to help yourself, I hope?”   The table had been set for three. 

Breads, rolls, sweet buns, pastries and oatcakes with various spreads were laid out on trays.  Fruit compotes in silver bowls stood interspersed amongst the rest, with silver spoons for serving standing in them.  Cheeses already sliced on platters shared space with several different types of baked fish and steaming, covered dishes held porridges of oat or barley.   Another platter held sausages, bacon and eggs.  There were flagons of ale, bottles of sweet wine, and crystal pitchers of cider, water and milk, as well. 

Carney stared at all the food, trying to decide on choices.  He shook his head and huffed in surprise. “I am surprised you are so... svelte, Loki.  With a feast like this every day, I should look like a fatted calf before very long.  Tis quite early for so heavy a meal for me.”

The fey/god laughed, greatly amused.  “I don’t have guests very often and I had no idea of your normal diet, nor the lady’s, Sir Carney.  So I simply had my staff prepare a bit of everything.”  He was carrying a plate and making his own choices as he spoke, walking the length of the table opposite where the knight stood. 

Carney noted his host did choose to eat lightly.  He had only a single slice of a dark loaf, a slice of smoked salmon and a scoop of yellow apples preserved with spices and wine when he took his seat.  He poured himself a glass of cider and then waited for the knight to finish his selection. 

Being a much bigger man, the knight did take more, but tried to restrain himself from sampling more than he could comfortably eat.  It was not easy; everything looked and smelled delicious.  A lot of the food displayed was considered a delicacy at home and he had seen but never tasted such.  With a sigh, he took a flagon of ale with him and thanking his host once more, sat near him. 

Loki  adjured him to take one of the stewed fruits, honey, cream or butter to add to his porridge, laughing when he stated he was used to it plain.  “You are not on the road or on campaign now, Sir Carney.  I am certain you will not go straight to whatever Hell you believe in for enjoying your breakfast one time.” 

The knight grimaced, but he did add a bit of pears stewed in sweet brandy to his bowl.  Washing down the bite with a sip of ale, he looked up at Loki.  The fey was watching him as if he anticipated Carney asking questions.  A dark brow lifted and all Loki’s attention focused on the knight.

“You said something yesterday about this... place... not being your true home?”  Loki nodded, silently waiting for the rest.

“Does that mean you do not have to follow strictly the laws governing the rest of... of Faerie?”  Carney wasn’t positive yet, but he was fairly sure that was where he and Lady Alicia had been led.

The knight was not pleased by his host’s reaction.  Loki grinned from ear to ear and then laughed aloud.  “Oh, you are a fit guardian for the lady, Sir Carney.  A very wise man, indeed.  You may even be correct.  I have not truly tested the boundaries of what I am allowed here and what is forbidden.”  He shrugged, “Never had reason to before yesterday.”

“So does that mean we will not be trapped here forever if we fail to leave before this eventide?” 

“Frankly, I don’t know,” Loki shrugged again.  “You do realise a day here is more than the same back in the mortal world?”

Carney nearly choked on his bite of sausage, having to swallow quickly, cough and take a drink to clear his throat.  Loki sat quietly watching and solicitously asked if he was alright once he was breathing regularly again.  The knight gasped a few times and when his colour paled back to normal, he growled out, “How long?”

“Oh, I wouldn’t worry yet.  Not long.  No more than a few weeks,”  Loki airily threw out.  He was savouring his apple compote and smiled, humming as he took another bite.

“Weeks!”  They both turned at the shocked squeak from the doorway.  Lady Alicia stood there, looking stunned.  One hand on the doorframe, the other at her throat, she was the colour of milk with all the cream skimmed off. 

Both males leapt to their feet to assist her.  Loki being closer and faster, reached her first.  “Come, milady.  Sit and refresh yourself.  Perhaps a bit of tea?  Something sweet?”  He led her carefully by a hand to where Carney stood, looking unhappy. 

“See, sir knight?  I wish her no harm,”  the fey snipped slightly as he handed the young woman to her guardian, backing away and allowing Carney to seat her.  Carney only shot him a disapproving glance and poured her a glass of iced water.  While she sipped, regaining her equilibrium, Loki brought dishes and the lady made her choices. 

“Are you feeling better, my dear?” he asked after a few minutes and Alicia’s sampling a couple bites of this and that.  “Your colour is better now.  Perhaps you were only faint from hunger.”

“I... am... not ... sure,” she said, slowly.  “You shocked me.  Did you truly mean weeks?”

Loki glanced at Carney before he answered.  The knight raised his brows, but also gave a little nod.  The fey  dropped his head and sighed.  “Possibly, my lady.  Probably.”  Lifting his eyes to her distraught face, he sighed again, “Almost certainly, I’m afraid.” 

Alicia closed her eyes and stifled a sob.  She looked down at her hands twisting her gown in her lap.  When her head came back up, her eyes glistened with unshed tears.

“Oh, Sir Carney!  I have missed my own wedding!  Lord Moncrieffe will be so distressed!  Will he even accept me now, do you think?”  She gasped, “And what of you, sir knight?  He will be so...”  she shook her head, unable to think of a word to express the thain’s rage at his best paladin’s failure. 

Both Loki and Carney spoke at the same time.  Carney taking Alicia's hand and patting it while he assured her he would survive the encounter with his lord.  Loki blurted, “You were on your way to be wed?  To Niall Moncrieffe?  No wonder Maeve sent her Hunt out after you!”

The girl and the knight both turned to stare at their host.  Alicia simply seemed confused, but Carney was angry.  “You knew!” he accused Loki, rising from his seat. 

His hand went to his waist, forgetting his weapons were still upstairs.  He looked down at the table for something sharp.  And realised of a sudden that all the cutlery was silver or pewter, no iron or steel in sight.  He frowned, wondering how his armour had gotten moved and cleaned.  If the fey could not truly tolerate the touch of iron...

Loki seemed to understand his confusion.  “I cleaned it myself.  After you fell asleep.”  He clarified for the knight.  “My servants cannot touch it.  You’ve just now remembered that.”

“So, you are not one of them,”  Carney nodded.  “You truly are Loki, from the Norse realms.”

Loki tucked his head slightly, chin tipped to one side.  An acknowledgement of sorts.  He smiled a tiny bit regretfully it seemed to Carney. 

“I need to ask your lady some personal questions, Sir Carney.  To discover if there is more to Maeve’s reasons than just thwarting Moncrieffe’s alliance with the lords of the South.”

Alicia huffed, “Lords of the South?  I am the King’s niece!” 

Both of Loki’s brows lifted at that and Carney sighed.  “My Lady, you should not be so quick to announce your affiliation with the Crown in these parts.”

She frowned and Loki spoke, quietly.  “Your guardian is correct, milady.  Most here have little love for the Windsors and their kin.  You relatives have ruined much of what was once the Summer Court’s lands.  Even your knight’s lord and his peers do not much care for your uncle and his laws.”

Looking back at the knight, he added firmly, “I, however, need to know everything.  If you wish to continue under my protection.  I do not think either of you would fare well if I released you.” 

He rose from the table and offered Alicia his hand.  “Come, sweet lady.  This discussion will go easier in more pleasant surroundings.  Shall we adjourn to the gardens?” 

Loki turned back to the knight who had also risen.  “If you will give us but a few moments, Sir Carney?   I swear to you as a prince of Asgard and of Jotunheim, I will return her to you unharmed.”  Loki placed one hand over his heart as he spoke. 

The knight was shaking his head, scowling and Alicia lay a hand on his arm.  “I’m sure Loki’s intentions are honorable, Sir Carney.  He has only been kind to us so far.  I shall be quite safe with him for just a few moments.  If his questions are of a personal nature, I think we both would be more comfortable apart, don’t you?” 

Still scowling, his lips now a tight line, the knight sighed in defeat.  Loki smiled and said, ‘“Why don’t you sample a few of the dishes that look appealing?  I noted there were several that caught your eye that you have not tasted.  We shall not be long.”  With that, he tucked Alicia’s hand into the crook of his elbow and escorted her through an as yet untried door.