Engaged (Part Three)

Another light reverberated across the battlefield. However, it wasn’t destructive. Comforting peace spread, followed by warmth. A figure materialized in the middle of the chaos. Asgard’s lost queen stood with a mother’s stern expression.
The soldiers dropped to one knee as she passed by.
Frigga waved a hand, and the soldier running towards the raging girl flew backwards. “Aura,” the queen called.
The partial fire demon paused at the familiar voice. Could it really be? She pivoted. The fires encompassing her slightly dying.
“Aura, hear my voice. You are a sweet and innocent child. This is not your nature.” She didn’t give the maiden a chance to respond, casting a spell that carefully changed Aura back into her normal form. Her aura radiated light. She turned around. “Unless anyone wants to challenge me, I will tend to my sons.”
Everyone remained quiet. Created a path for the very-alive queen.
Frigga went to Loki first. “Thank you, Profician. I’ve always known he was in good care with you.”
Profician ran a hand through his long, peppered hair. “Even though he constantly scares me with his antics. Though he gets it from you. You know, your entrance wasn’t very subtle.”
She smiled while she removed the rock shard. “Indeed he does. I was going to wait longer and let everyone sort everything out. But when I saw Aura out of control, Loki unconscious, and Thor in tears, I had to reveal myself.” Placing a healing spell on Loki’s forehead, she reached out her other hand to her conscious son. “Thor. Come to me.”
His head lifted. Eyes moist. He managed to pull himself up and go to her side. “Yes, mother?” He turned away. His voice softened as the gravity of his realization sunk in. “Y-you are not my mother, are you?”
“Thor, look at me.” She waited until he faced her again. “I have been your mother since Odin married me. Granted, I would have loved for Gaia to raise you. She was such a kind soul, tending to the Midgardians in their prosperity and death. But that has never stopped me from loving you, or Loki, as my sons. Don’t you see Loki as your brother?”
He looked at the unconscious man on the ground. “Though I now know he is not my blood, I have never stopped seeing him as one.”
Frigga put a hand on the side of his face. “And though you were not born of me, there has never been an instant where you weren’t my son.”
A few tears shed. “Will you teach me of her?”
“Of course. Whatever you wish to know, I will tell you.”
Jormungandr suddenly let out a loud hiss, startling most people. The male fire demon had trapped him in a flaming cage. His crimson eyes found Aura, who was back in her normal form. In turn, this forced him to revert back to his alternate shape. He could feel her fear. She expected someone to kill her. His arms crossed. “Release me.”
Tuy grinned. “You’re not much of a foe to fire, are you?”
His fangs bared. “I said release me.”
“Since you’ve asked so politely.” He extinguished his fires with the wave of his hand.
Jormungandr snarled at him when he passed by. Headed for Aura. Only stopping when Frigga teleported in front of him. He didn’t react to this phenomenon. Hardly anything phased him.
The queen forced him to hands and knees, strolling right up to his face. She smirked as he grimaced at her magic. “I’m very aware of what the Norns have done with you and Aura. However, I want my own insurance.” She placed both hands on his head. Whispered an enchantment. A new rune burned into his skin. Her eyes smoldered. “Any pain you inflict upon my Aura, you will feel tenfold. Understand?”
He solemnly nodded, not liking the feeling of his leathery skin being branded once more.
Thor gazed at the snake man in wonder. He didn’t remember seeing a ten-foot-tall man at the rallying speech. His attention returned to Loki when he groaned. “Brother? How do you fare?”
Loki put a hand to his head. “I feel like I’ve been dropped off a cliff and into the waters of Rikr Sjorfoss.” He suddenly shot up. “Where’s Odin?”
“Dead. That blast…it destroyed him completely.”
His eyes flickered to him. “Thor, I’m sorry. It was either him or everybody else. You know that blast would’ve destroyed everything.”
Thor embraced him. “I know. No one will blame you for what happened. It was the consequence of his own actions. He was determined to take Asgard with him until he perished. He desired to have this Realm, and all Realms, go with him in the afterlife. In a way,” he took a breath, “I am thankful he is gone.”
“Asgard is yours, now. You’re the rightful heir.”
He shook his head. “Nay. It belongs to Mother.”
“What?” Loki’s eyes widened as Frigga approached them with Aura alongside her. He rose. Then finally smiled. “I really shouldn’t be surprised, should I?”
She laughed. “Where do you think you learned your skills? Besides, did you think a dagger could kill me? Especially when it was the one I crafted for you? You have to be smarter than that if you want me dead.”
Aura was glad the queen was alive. She truly was, but she feared what would happen to her with what she had done. So she hid behind Queen Frigga, refusing to look at anyone.
Loki inspected his love. “Are you alright, Aura? No one hurt you, did they?”
Frigga came to the young maiden’s aid. “There’s no need to fret; all is well. We shouldn’t dwell on the past because the future is uncertain.” Her gaze swept the area. “Many fear the future. I think the two of you should rule together. It would be best, with Thor’s battle knowledge and Loki’s political nature.”
Thor contemplated the suggestion. He didn’t want their mother to be left out. “Why not all three of us? We shall rule as a family. What do you say, Brother?”
Loki breathed deep. “I do support your idea. However, I think it would be better if there were four of us.”
Frigga stepped back, eyes sparkling, as Thor seemed confused.
Removing an item from his pocket, Loki got down on one knee. Took another deep breath. “I’ve promised myself for a while that, as soon as Odin was gone, I would do this.” He held out a green glass ring boasting a petite rose of the same nature. His gaze lifted. “Aura, will you become my bride?”
Aura stood in stunned silence, expression blank. He was asking her to marry him? This was much sooner than she expected. What was she supposed to do? What was the proper thing to say? He really wanted her to marry him? Surely, this wasn’t real? Was it?
Loki searched her frozen form. “And…I broke her.” He sighed. Rubbed his face with his free hand. “Again.” He rose, not at all comforted by her continual staring.
“…Really?” she managed.
“Yes. I love you with all my heart. I’ve wanted to ask you for some time. It just hasn’t been safe until now.”
Her expression hadn’t changed. He truly desired her hand? She had imagined this moment before. Imagined their life together many times. Now it was real. Much more real than she expected.
He sighed again. Glanced at the ring in his hand. Perhaps he had been wrong in what he thought was a mutual desire.
She suddenly threw her arms around him. Buried her head in his chest.
His heartrate increased. “Is that a yes?”
“Yes!” She nodded. “I will become your bride.”
Loki’s face flushed with relief. He wrapped his arms around her. Kissed the top her head. Then held her back so he could have eye contact. He was exhausted, but his expression was of joy. “You have made me the happiest man in the Realms.”
Aura giggled and reddened as he slid the ring on her finger.
Thor threw both fists into the air for triumph. He yelled for everyone to hear. “It took a rock to the knee, but my baby brother has become engaged!”
The soldiers and magicians alike began clapping. Many laughing at Thor’s statement.
Profician conjured a tissue and dabbed both eyes. “Oh, how they grow up so fast. I’ll need to practice my water explosions for the ceremony.”
Frigga put a hand on Loki and Aura’s shoulders. “I have waited for this awhile myself. You do realize I expect grandchildren, correct?”
Aura giggled again, but Loki gave his mother an impassive glance.
The thunder god summoned Mjolnir to his hand. “There shall be a tournament to decide the best man. I shall win, of course.”
Loki’s eyes rolled. “As far as grandchildren go, we’ll see. As for the tournament, we’ll see.”
Thor grabbed them both in a giant hug. “Words cannot express my jubilation.”
He was about to respond when he noticed Aura crying. “Put us down, meat head. You’re hurting her.”
Releasing them, he looked sheepish. “I am sorry.”
Aura wiped away her tears. “I’m not hurt. I’m just really happy, too.”
Loki smiled and kissed her forehead. Pulled her into another embrace. “For that, I am thankful.”

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