- (61.62KB, 640x640, alice6.jpg)
[ ] Accept it. Ill would it be to offer insult to ones on high, refusing god-given gift.
Always is a gift from the gods welcome, and ill would it be to refuse the aid from on high, for though gods can be fickle with their favour, their displeasure is always a surer thing. Keep your faith, so were you told only moments ago, and thus you reach out and take the ring from the trickster's hand.
It feels heavy in your hand, heavy with the solid, familiar weight of gold, as well as something else, something you cannot quite place. Perhaps this is what men in ages past called the weight of destiny? The feeling of this item is alike one you have felt before, this you know truly.
"Pyre-prize have you taken," Loki softly tells, his voice suddenly cool and harsh, his expression twisted into a
frown, as if he were recalling an ill memory of old.. "Aye, teasure that ring, for a great price it fetched, only one purchase of mine has yet claimed such a cost."
A fine gift indeed, if even Loki feels the price was high, this you must admit. Yet there is something in this tale that gives you cause for suspicion, or perhaps it is a faint recognition of a tale of old you feel at the edge of your mind, yet for the moment this eludes you. But for the moment this matter can wait, for another one calls your attention.
"Then, O Son of Giants, your business here is done?" You calmly ask the trickster, meeting the fire-red eyes of Laufey's son.
"Indeed, Sigurd Daemonslayer, that it is." He replies, eyes glittering with expectation.
Fire within, this you see in Laufey's Son, his flames fanned, flaming forth, flowing far. Yet no blaze of gods or giants can match the inferno rising from your heart this moment, Muspelheim unbound within your heart, bright like Surtur's sword, warm like Sol's gaze it is, song-smith's passion as he raises his voice and speaks.
"Then listen, son of Fárbauti, for once I shall tell you these words." You calmly say, for this fire of yours all men surely can see, this even one born of fire must know.
"Do as you will, Loki Laufey's son, yet know this. God or giant, son of Rig or Alfheim's child, none in nine worlds may harm sword-swift song-smith's fair friends." Your voice echoes as you tell this final warning to the Trickster God.
"Your wishes, your schemes and plots, be they what they may, but never shall they bring grief, harm or sorrow to his beloved ones. Never, or the fate promised by long dead seeress shall seem slight, serpent's sting swiftly sought succour." The voice born of passion tells, thundering sound though softly spoken.
"Very well, mortal warrior." He replies, smile long gone, laugh left lingering at long-left roadside. Now you see the jovial expression's reflection, the scion of Jötunheim hidden behind the wide-famed wit and lingering laugh, that cold, hard flame flickers in your sight this moment. Slowly he raises his hand in a calming gesture and speaks.
"This I tell you, Sigurd Daemonslayer, aye this I swear, for that you have earned, even though you forget your place; That no wish do I have to harm your friends. Little you tell that Loki did not know before, and already Loki did intend to do no harm to these you would call beloved." The hard and cool voice of Loki replies, though his words and voice are not unfriendly despite their rough edge.
"Then remember these words we have spoken." You answer, though his words calm you sightly, his sworn oath soothing your soul.
"I shall, mortal, of this you can have no doubt." Loki calmly replies, red eyes glittering with hidden fire. "As should you."
For a few moments man and god stand in silence, for little can you think of to say. Still you are unsure whether the trickster is friend, foe or both, but there is little doubt that he shall play a great part in your future fortunes.
Finally it is the God of Fire that breaks the silence accompanied by a shrug of his shoulders.
"If no other boon is sought, then Loki's time shall be spent in other ways." He tells with a smile, his voice warm again. "For many things still need doing, many other matters that call upon Loki's attention, as do your own affairs upon yours, Sigurd Daemonslayer."
To this you have nothing to reply, for while you suspect that the matters thet require Loki's attention are ones of mischief, he is right in that you have more pressing matters than the Liefather to deal with.
Thus you turn around and walk back towards your waiting companions. The old master still seems as calm as ever, yet as honoured in your mind as he is, you can spare little attention upon him.
It is the two magicians, and above all the artful dollmaker that fills your heart this moment. She stands alone, her back turned towards the cause of her present agitation. Likewise the black-white witch seems to be deliberately ignoring the dollmaker, though when she sees you, the forest witch is swift to spring to action, nearly leaping to meet you as you approach.
With a gesture she calls you to halt your stride, and curious about her wish, you comply. Marisa looks up at you, then her gaze darts to the dollmaker, who still is artfully ignoring all others. The black-white returns her eyes to your direction, looks up towards you while biting her lower lip, and thus a moment or two passes until she can find her words.
"Hey, you two make up right now, y'hear?" The black-white witch softly tells you. "An if ya make Alice cry, you'll answer to me, got it?" The forest witch then adds with a wink, only half playful.
"I wish to, O faithful Marisa." You simply reply, for nothing more can you answer, no wit-wise weave of words is yours to call upon in this moment. The black-white gives you a grateful smile and passes you by, walking off towards the hall of the dollmaker. Looking back you see the old master giving you an encouraging nod, then he likewise leaves, leaving you alone with the dear dollmaker, alone so you can speak freely and, you hope, mend this rift between you. Of the Trickster God you see no sign.
"Sigurd." She softly calls to you as you halt your stride, slowly she turns around and meets your gaze, her eyes clear and calm, yet cautious all the same.
"I'm sorry I snapped at you like that." She gently tells without a moment's hesitation. "I understand why you did what you did, and, well, to be honest I think I'd have done the same if I were you."
"Alice," you gently reply "To forgive is not for I, for it is not you who is at fault."
Indeed, you know it in your heart, that little right did you have to do what you did, unwise it was, against Allfather's law and an slight upon the dollmaker's honour to so refuse her heartfelt offer, even though your heart did not allow you any other course of action. But what is done is done, and no man can escape the consequences of his actions.
"Alice, dear dollmaker, I wished only to protect those I hold dear, this you know, no other path my heart gave me to follow." You calmly and carfully say, with willpower you keep the emotion from your voice. "Yet that path was not the noblest one, for on it this tale-weaver strayed from the way he wishes to take through his life."
"Your honour have I tarnished, your heart have I hurt. That blame is mine, and for this it is I who must beg for forgiveness." You then say, the words stinging you like serpents' etter, for true and terrible they are. The only thing now is to await the reply of the crafter of puppets.
"Oh gods, you utter, incorrigible fool. What am I going to do about you?" The dollmaker replies with a sigh and a small shake of her head, tough the tone of her voice is strangely grateful. "I'll forgive you this time, but don't you dare do anything like that again."
For a moment there is silence, calm and comfortable, a brief space for you to breathe easily. Little Shanghai floats over to you and hugs your arm, smiling warmly all the while, and after a moment the lips of her mistress also curl into a warm and kindly smile.
"Thank you, Sigurd." The dollmaker tells, her voice glad and grateful.
"For what?" You reply, both greatly relieved and slightly confused by her comment.
Alice doesn't reply immediately, her slight hesitation only serving to further feed your curiosity. When she finally speaks her voice is soft, though determination shines in her eyes.
"Because you treat me like a regular girl." The dollmaker replies. "I appreciate that. I really do."
"Is there a reason not to, then?" You wonder, for despite her being a witch, you still see no cause for why men would treat her other than any lady of grace and power.
"I am a Youkai." She replies after a moment's hesitation, her expression suddenly far sadder than you have seen so far. "And people have long memories."
"Alice, no matter what, this song-smith shall not stray from your side if you need him." You answer, voice strong and reassuring. "No danger too grave, no foe too foul, not wit-wise word or darkest deed should sunder us, this I wish."
The dollmaker's eyes widen slightly at your words, her melancholy expression fading into another, one you can read only barely. Wariness perhaps, or maybe simple hesitation, along with a hint of curiosity.
"I thought you might say something like that Sigurd." She answers, an enigmatic smile on her lips. "Now I have to know, why do you go so far for my sake? Please tell me."
Her request is plain, simple even. And likewise is your repy, indeed you already know it in your heart.
[ ] For the sake of duty.
[ ] For the sake of friendship.
[ ] For the sake of love.