purposeful_glory: (n ~ adopted)
Loki learns to become a bird.

She can be only one sort of bird, a swift, bad at takeoff from the ground but tireless and quick in the air - and who needs to take off from the ground when the transformation leaves one six feet in the air from a standing start? It would be nearly as hard to add another creature to this spell's arsenal as it was to manage the swift in the first place. She is satisfied with the bird for now; she slips out of the palace and flies, invisible, for hours, and lets Thor tease her about the assignations that must have kept her up late and left her tired in the morning.

(She sometimes has assignations too, but fewer with the first blush of hormonal need worn away. Sometimes Sigyn, sometimes whoever else. Mostly: flying.)

A few months after she has begun to spend time as a bird (and picked up the idea of teleportation, which will be desperately difficult but not, she thinks, outside her reach) there is a parade. They have these every few decades, on the bicentennial or centennial anniversaries of things. The queen, the king, the princesses, a lot of neatly marching warriors, decorative performers with competent dance steps and pleasing voices and desperately incompetent illusions, all winding around in a slow trek around the capital city to be looked at and wave.

It is somehow even duller to sit in a parade and wave and smile when she could be being a bird.

But she can't, not really, so she sits, smiles, tries to remember without checking her notes what this is the twenty-seventh centennial of exactly, waves her hand at the crowd.

And then there's a crackling burst of light and Frigg, the king, her father, has collapsed from their vehicle to the street.

The smoking staff of power aimed at them is just barely visible in the distance among the crowd. Thor has already seized her hammer; Thor will handle that -

Loki leaps after her father, to duck another blast, to see the extent of the injury. "HEALER!" she cries. "IS THERE A HEALER?"
purposeful_glory: (f ~ sorcery)
Sigyn goes on hanging around the Three and Thor and Loki. Fandral, charmed in spite of her vocal disgruntlement, doesn't go so far as to kick him out of bed for her embarrassment, let alone insist on kicking him out of their practices; Hogun is too quiet to bother objecting if she harbors negative opinions; Volstagg is put off but not enough to throw her weight behind her objections. Thor considers his fighting respectable enough, and Loki doesn't mind the addition at all.

Loki wants to be queen one day and has not neglected learning to talk to people, learning the names of important sorts - but she has neglected assembling close friends (why should she do such a thing when she can tell them so little about herself?), and piggybacks on Thor's. So she is invited along when Thor decides she wants to go hunting for giant aurochs and thereby enjoy the supposedly superior flavor of fresh-killed beef one has personally killed.

And when Sigyn asks if he can come, well, nobody contradicts Thor when she says "Very well," even though this follows a longish pause.

Aurochs, come out, come out, wherever you are.
purposeful_glory: (Default)
Loki is more celebrated for killing the wyvern than she has ever been for anything else in her life. This was completely predictable, if... exasperating. At least it is a thing she legitimately did if you ignore the long-ago cheating to be able to even learn to pick up a glaive.

She has the wyvern's tail barb fashioned into a dagger; it will produce no new poison on its own, and much of what it had leaked out when she cut it off the beast, but it remains particularly dangerous and will do for the first few times she uses it, and it's possible she will be able to refill it along the grooves through which natural wyvern-venom would have flowed if she finds a kind of poison she'd like to use.

Her mother honors her both with the gift of a new weapon, Lævateinn, and with the opportunity to name her peculiar eight-legged foal that she intends to ride into battle when he is older.

She calls the horse Sleipnir (he's a very cute foal, if... leggy...) and she's thrilled with Lævateinn. It's a glaive... and an axe and a scythe and a spear and a staff and a pitchfork and any other longish melee weapon she can think of; it will change in her hands, its length and blade and weight, as she likes. It is old - well, it's indestructible, and never needs sharpening; it has had every opportunity to become old - and now it is hers. She loves it.

Being an official adult is pleasant in many ways; in others it changes little; and in a few it is wearing and irksome.

But she doesn't mind being able to go along when the frost giants make incursions into territory on Midgard. Odin does not much care about Midgard for its own sake, as far as Loki can tell; she only wants the giants confined to Jotunheim. Loki's motives are different (and would not much matter even if they contradicted outright: princesses are supposed to show up on campaigns of war).

To Loki's immense convenience, the Asgardians outnumber the giants by nearly ten to one and no one she cares about in the least is lethally injured such that she'd feel obliged to mysteriously heal them. The giants are driven away and it is made clear that they are to stop harassing the short-lived people of Midgard.

Loki finds herself charmed by the humans. They're technologically primitive - the Asgardians like a low-tech aesthetic, are rather dominated by this preference, but that's not the same thing. They live and die in, not an eyeblink exactly, but a medium-sized period of time. They keep their souls outside of their bodies and shaped like animals, and the children's can change, which is peculiar but endearing.

The campaign is over in less than a week, and that long only because the frost giants are dug into the mountains. Loki's new toy gets plenty of exercise. She finds it useful to spear it into targets and change it before hauling it out of them, as long as she's not surrounded by many opponents; when she is, she does well to curve her blade for tripping. Her fallback is the favored glaive shape, but Lævateinn's ability to get longer is invaluable against such - well - giant enemies.

They win, the giants leave, the Asgardians prepare to go -

"Mother?" dares Loki. "By your leave I would stay here - no more than a few years. To explore. I am curious about the ways of the mortals and about their world."
purposeful_glory: (h ~ bookish)
Loki is working on illusions.

With the healing spells all done to her satisfaction she spent a good deal of time trying to figure out what the best unison of simplicity (in spell construction), subtlety (in varying likely degrees of company) and versatility (in use) might be. Turning into a bird would be great fun, but useful only in a handful of situations; she thinks it might take as long as a millennium to work out how to teleport with all the safeties she'd like; and either one would be worthless unless she could cover her escape or saved it only for unlikely last resorts -

But illusions? If she can get general-purpose illusions working, in at least vision and sound if not touch or smell, she will be able to do anything else she likes and cover it up in front of anyone who looks. Either the doing or that it's her - she could look like a boy if she liked, go out among strangers, use her healing spells. (There are other healing spells but she thinks that building her own from the very tiniest building blocks all the way up must get better results; she is not comparatively impressed with the results of the others.) It will be useful against any wild monster she fights (without witnesses) that tracks by sight or hearing; she will be able to render herself invisible by the same principles, make it look like she's elsewhere while she nimbly relocates.

It will be disastrously complicated, if not as bad as teleporting, but - unlike things like the grace spell, which had to be cast exactly once and entire, or the healing spells, which she completed without ever needing them badly enough to take the risk, the illusions could be useful even in their most basic components. She can use pieces she invented for the healing spells to build in a concept of what living things are like and how they move for the illusion spell and she won't have to animate illusory doubles or decoys walking and turning their heads correctly on the fly in her head. (Although she will have to work out how to incorporate clothes before that will be suitable for use among people.) Invisibility should be fairly straightforward, too. And once she has all that she'll fill in the gaps until she can make anything look like anything from thin air to a scale model of the entire World Tree.

She plots out the course of her work and starts.

It's not long before she can change her face enough that - given that she's still a slip of a girl with no telltale development, anyway - she will be mistaken for an unremarkable (and, on a whim, redheaded) boy, not a princess, if she goes out.

She is then distracted for several months while she sneaks into every single lecture in a particular series about magic theory. It's interesting, or she'd stop going, but she tears herself away from excursions to the school when the series is over rather than picking up another one. She has been nearly missed at home once or twice and cannot explain. The way everyone who was not educated in ecstatic atomized summary by the Tesseract performs magic is not enough like her own methods for her to take their concepts wholesale.

(But by this time she's very keen on how it feels to go out and be seen as a boy. She doesn't so much want to be called "you there, young man" as she wants the legitimization of a hidden fraction of herself that comes with it. She'd certainly be tired of "you there, young man" if that were all she ever heard - but centuries of what is and is not womanly being made crushingly relevant to her make it a welcome distraction. So she still changes herself and she still disappears into the city around the palace, just when she wants to go for walks.

She turns outright invisible, once she can, when she wants to go into a hospital and repair the sick and hurt.)

She gets better at the illusions. She can do clothes, although the design will tend to be plain unless she has planning time or is copying something she's seen. Once she can do clothes she can cloak herself in the illusion of someone who is not only maler than herself but also taller. (Being "excuse me, sir" is a new thrill on a pattern that's become old and comfortable.) Later she can do free-formed pictures, in three dimensions as long as she's paying attention. There is still work to be done (she could decrease pinpoint size for better image resolution, she would like more of the object permanence to handle itself once she's set up an illusion of a solid, invisibility should automatically extend if she picks something up instead of her having to think about it every time) but the basics are handled.

She locks herself in her bathroom and fills the air with swimming penguins and laughs, because -

Heimdall - never - says - a - word.

She must know. There is no way she doesn't, now; the other spells could have been missed, written off in the vast confusion of the cosmos. This is unmissable, it's been going on for so long, Heimdall has to have seen. Loki has no way to tell without asking if it's tacit approval, or if everyone has culturally taboo habits in private and Heimdall operates under a general policy of quiet, or if she's getting special treatment because she is a princess which somehow doesn't extend to Odin having privileged access to the information, or what. Whatever it is? Heimdall never tells. Heimdall sees and she is silent.

She's gotten a bit older.

She hasn't been neglecting her practice too much, despite intensive research on the illusion spell.

She's at a good stopping place; she can stand to put it down for a while.

It's probably about time she went and killed something menacing to enter adult society, isn't it.
purposeful_glory: (e ~ plotting)
Loki doesn't tell anyone what she's doing. They'd be disappointed; she'd get in trouble. And it's not hard to keep it secret; this is hardly a new habit for her, writing incessantly in incomprehensible ciphers. She still diaries, still processes, still makes her decisions - and now she also spell-weaves.

It is a long, hard, painstaking process. She has to come at it from both ends - peer at possible combinations of her symbols to see what makes sense, and come up with a visualization of her desired end result so she knows what parts she needs to build. She's never done this before, and keeps having to go back and edit things. One of the fourth-tier parts has so many third-tier parts in it that she takes weeks of trying just to hold them all in her mind at the same time and make them snap together into a single object she can keep memorized in its entirety. She spends a stack of notebooks as high as her waist working out another fourth-tier part, only to discover that she's got a key "word" wrong and has to start completely over because it affects everything else.

When she starts, she resigns herself to the possibility that her spell will take an entire year.

This estimate is soon revised.

It takes half a century of stolen time and backtracking and double-checking.

But it will be worth it, she thinks, if her mother will love her unreservedly, if she can keep up with Thor, if she can put her scepter - now a bit short for use as a cane, for a child her size - aside and run and dance. (If she can do magic.)

And once she casts it, it will stay forever.

She has just about built herself from atoms; there are separate bits of this spell for each muscle in her body in its current shape and accounting for its future growth (she's been reading anatomy) and connecting them all to her mind, directly, commanding their obedience.

She assembles the ninth-tier pieces into a single, unified whole, and it shines bright in her mind, and she knows exactly what to do with it, from cube-inspired knowledge stamped as bright in her thoughts as though she'd touched it yesterday.

It's all together now.

She wills it.

She knows the difference at once though there's no visible effect - even in how she holds up her head, how the last page of her notebook feels under her fingers.

She wants to get up, twirl, leap, pick up her scepter and brandish it like a sword, run down the halls whooping and show Thor.

But she doesn't. It wouldn't do to be conspicuous. (Heimdall is watching; she can't read the cipher but she can see the results.)

Loki is going to have to pretend to have outgrown her clumsiness, spend the next ten or fifteen years still tripping occasionally but less and less. Maybe she should get new shoes; maybe she should ask about learning to dance. Some outward excuse. Something less sudden.

She sketches a plan in her non-magical cipher, and sets about enacting it.

(Meanwhile, she contemplates what spell she should build next.)
purposeful_glory: (Default)
It is obvious from the time Loki learns to walk that she is not going to be very good at it. Normal toddlers fall, and often; she does it more, and longer. She has been practicing at walking for years before she can cross a floor smoothly nine times of ten, even if she does not sprawl completely every time she missteps.

She winces when she trips, not so much out of embarrassment or because she's hurt herself, but because the reactions are never good.

Falling is not a princessly thing to do.


purposeful_glory: (Default)
Loki Odinsdottir ↾ "Loki"

November 2015

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