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Second Chances

Chapter 49

The day before the solstice dawned to a flurry of activity. A small band of mercenaries had invaded Nidavellir and their king, Eitri, had requested aid in ridding them. Odin had charged Thor with taking care of the problem and he in turn had chosen Loki, Sif and The Warriors Three, along with one battalion of warriors. On hearing the news Sigyn made a decision. She wanted to be useful and if she didn’t ask she would never get the opportunity. She raced to Thor’s quarters in her leather pants and tunic and armed, knowing he would be going through the final preparations for the battle. She banged on his door and in moments he answered. He was fastening on his greaves and looked her over before shaking his head.
‘Thor, please.’ She argued as she followed him back into the room. ‘You know I can do this.’
‘I know if anything happens to you both our fathers will kill me, not to mention what Mother will do.’
‘Please, give me this chance.’ She continued, walking around to face him. ‘I am a capable sorcerer and swordsman. One more soldier at your side.’
‘You are not a soldier, you are a lady of this court, my mother’s favourite, and you have never entered a true battle before.’
‘But how am I to gain the experience if you never give me the opportunity?’
He reached out and Mjölnir came to his hand. ‘I would rather you had neither one. We will be home before you even realise, little fighter.’
‘This is ridiculous!’ She stated. ‘At least against mercenaries it will not be as an army! Give me a chance to dip my toes, Thor, and I promise, if I fail, or fall, or struggle in anyway I will never again ask to go with you, but the opportunity, just one, is all I ask.’
He sighed and looked at the determination on her face. ‘You take my orders, unquestioningly.’ He said eventually and she fought not to smile. ‘The first sign of trouble that you cannot handle you run. Understood?’
‘Perfectly. Thank you.’ She touched his arm.
‘Don’t thank me yet, you still have to convince Loki of the idea.’
Loki looked at Sigyn in alarm when she approached the bifrost beside Thor. ‘Please do not tell me this fool has recruited you?’ He said in dismay.
‘Voluntary. You knew this day was coming.’ She gave him a knowing look.
‘I hoped no one would be stupid enough to give you the opportunity.’ He fell into step beside her as Fandral swept in a bow to her as he always did.
‘Ah, good Lady Sigyn. You are finally going to join our merry band!’
‘It would seem so.’ She bowed her head to him.
‘About time the girl got a shot.’ Volstagg commented as they reached the observatory.
‘I think she will be splendid.’ Sif smiled warmly.
‘I think,’ Heimdall said as they approached him, ‘if her father knew she would not be here.’
‘I am commanding this troop, and I have chosen my warriors.’ Thor stated. ‘Open the bifrost so we may begin our task.’
‘I did not say I disagree with your decision, young prince, but disclosure is not always best left until after the fact.’ Heimdall explained as he inserted his sword and the observatory began to move.
‘Thank you for your support, Heimdall.’ Sigyn lowered her head to him respectfully.
‘Make us proud, Lady Sigyn. Make yourself a name for more than embroidery.’ His voice held the knowledge that he knew just how bad her embroidery was and she laughed.
‘I cannot very well do worse.’
Without another word they stepped through the portal to Nidavellir. They appeared on the outskirts of a village, the sounds from which told a story of marauders causing havoc, and Thor led the charge to aid the good people.
‘Stay by me, Sig.’ Loki called to her as they approached and she gave a small nod of acknowledgement before the first mercenaries rushed at them.
Sigyn felt a swift rush of adrenaline at the sudden engagement in a true battle, and her realisation of how much she had been pulling her strokes during practice was a hard but quickly learnt one. There was no place for gentleness or fear on the battlefield and the brutal attacks by the mercenaries soon had her worrying less about harm and more about survival.
To Loki’s amazement she held the conviction of her training in the field too. She was efficient and practical, dispatching foes equally with sword and magic, and what few blows they caught her with barely threw her off her stroke. After some time they were separated but neither had the chance to worry. There were more bandits than they had been led to believe and this was more of a baptism of fire than they had hoped for her. After dispatching two foes and wiping a line of blood from her temple, Sigyn looked around for the next attack, but instead found Thor, fighting with three men, as a fourth began to step up behind him, axe raised. She didn’t even think, just acted, as she sprinted towards the prince, throwing barbs of power into the back of the mercenary’s armour enough to make him turn, and as he did so she pushed off a nearby overturned crate with one foot, giving herself a height advantage as she brought her sword down and through the man’s chest before he could re-aim his blow to her. He fell with her above him, her momentum forcing him down as the life left him, but also forcing the blade to sheer from the pommel, leaving her weaponless. She rolled over her shoulder as she hit the ground, bringing her leg up and kicking out the kneecap of another of Thor’s assailants as he brought Mjölnir up on another, knocking him down before the third thought better of his life choices and turned to run, only to be struck down by Hogun as he passed. Thor swung and finished off the one who was screaming about his knee as Sigyn got to her feet, putting her back to Thor’s automatically to check what remained. Other than chaos and some minor destruction, all the bandits were gone; dispatched or fled, and the troops began to round up what they could.
‘That was foolish, little fighter.’ Thor frowned down at her as she threw the useless pommel to the ground.
‘Which part?’ She looked at him in confusion as others from their band approached.
‘Indeed, Thor, which part?’ Volstagg asked jovially. ‘The part where she saved your life or the part where she survived her first battle?’
‘Entering into an established skirmish. I could have hurt you.’
She shrugged. ‘I stayed low enough to barely be in your eye line. And you were a little taken by the others you fought. I apologise if I, stole your thunder, shall we say?’
Thor tried to stay mad with her, it was obvious it was just out of worry, especially given how she bled from a cut on her hairline, but a smile broke over his face. ‘Very well done.’ He clapped her on the shoulder as Loki approached from the far side, relieved to see everyone, particularly Sigyn, standing and apparently well.
‘Thank you.’
‘Loki,’ Thor called over her head, ‘take Lady Sigyn and patch her up. We will clear up here.’
‘Patch her up?’ He frowned and as she turned he saw the blood streaked down her face where she had wiped at it. ‘Holy Valhalla, Sig. Can you not stay out of trouble?’ He teased as he took her arm and led her away.
‘I learnt it from a certain mischief maker so I am quite certain the answer is no.’ She smiled at him as he straightened the crate she had just leapt from and seated her on it, crouching before her.
He shook his head, rubbing his thumb over her wound with an edge of power, sealing it, before taking a piece of cloth from his pocket and cleaning her up. ‘Has this experience at least given you a purpose?’
‘I feel more useful than I do with a needle in my hand.’ She closed her eye nearest where he was wiping as the cloth kept touching her lashes.
‘You never were one for feminine pursuits.’ He smiled. ‘Remember when Mother tried to teach you to ride sidesaddle?’
She laughed. ‘I remember. I’m sure I still feel the bruise whenever I am in the saddle.’
He looked at her curiously as he lowered the cloth, and she blinked her eye open again. ‘Did they try and teach you while you were gone?’
‘I learnt to bluff that skill too.’ She said proudly.
‘Is there anything you cannot bluff?’
She leant into him. ‘I am still a terrible dancer.’
‘Really?’ He asked in amusement.
‘No, that too was a bluff.’
‘I would still like proof of that.’
‘Perhaps some time.’ She looked up although she couldn’t see her wound. ‘Am I done?’
‘Nothing a good wash would not take care of.’ He started to get up but moved forward, pressing a kiss to her forehead on impulse. ‘You should be proud, Sig. You fought well.’ And he straightened fully, tucking the cloth in his pocket as he walked away, leaving her with a tingling sensation where his lips had touched her skin.
‘Are you going to tell me the fool still did not ask you to the solstice feast as his guest?’ Sif came up from the side, speaking quietly as she bent and wiped her blade on the grass before sheathing it.
‘I will be there anyway, Sif. It really does not matter.’ She said as she got to her feet.
‘The rose to your cheek says it does. It says that you care what he thinks and does, where you are concerned.’
‘You know that to be true, so why mention it again?’ Sigyn got to her feet, frustrated by Sif’s comments.
‘Because you and he dance around the fact like it is a ball. Everyone can see it, at least those of us close to you.’ She leant on the smaller woman’s shoulder with her elbow. ‘Just think of the beautiful children you would have. His green eyes, your red hair. Stunning.’
‘Stop!’ Sigyn begged as her cheeks flamed again. ‘Surely we must have something better to do than discuss…this?’
‘Indeed we have. Thor has asked you and I return to Asgard and report to the Allfather that all is well.’
‘Is this some ruse to get me off the battlefield?’
‘The princes are both impressed with your skill, as you knew before you came here.’ She started them walking towards the edge of the bifrost site where they would call for Heimdall. ‘And I believe by sending the two women from the field it will make the point that you are as capable as I and that they cannot stop you being a warrior in your own right.’
‘I suppose that would make sense.’ Sigyn agreed with a sigh.
‘And, it will give us a chance to discuss just how we are going to tempt our reluctant prince to do something about his feeling for you.’
Sigyn shook her head. Sif was relentless sometimes.
A month later Loki had presented Sigyn with a new sword, crafted especially for her by the finest smith in the kingdom to replace the one she had broken. It didn’t escape anyone’s notice that the hilt held a bright green stone.



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