“It’s more complicated than that, Fen.” The exhaustion in Hel’s words, as if Fenrir was the one being obstinate, made the wolf prickle with anger.
“Is it? Because it sounds remarkably simple. I am being refused a seat at the table and my freedom, once again.” His voice sounded husky, more suited to leave the maw of a wolf than the smooth umber jaw of a man.
“The High Council thinks you need more time to integrate into how things work here…” There was exasperation in his sister's voice and yet he was undeterred in his spite. Throwing his hands up with the bright ringing jingle of chains.
“The High Council can kiss my furry ass..” He growled, standing from the couch he lounged across with his boots propped on the arm, throwing them to the marble flooring and standing with a guttural sound, befitting an animal.
“See there…that’s kind of part of the problem, Brother, you have forgotten how to be…stately. You forget your manners.” Hel kept her words measured and her frustrations contained as she spoke to the younger immortal.
“Forgotten?” He hissed lowly, in his human form he did not reach his sisters height, even if in his natural form he would tower over her. Now as he stalked closer to the Goddess of Death he was forced to look up at her, green emeralds holding the brilliant fiery amber of their mothers.
Despite his vitriol his chest clinched with a pointless ache. His mother would have never allowed them to treat him like this. She had mourned his imprisonment.
“I have forgotten nothing. I recall all the lessons and rules the Old Gods taught me. I memorized every one of them. Recited them into stone in my mind. It did nothing to stop them from locking me away, Sister.” The word denoting their familial blood was spat like an insult. A challenge. They had never had much of a bond before his imprisonment. And she had certainly never visited as his mother and father had. Even his elder brother, Jormungandr had visited once before his own confinement.
“I don’t suspect learning the New Gods list of self placating rules will lead me to any new opportunity and it’s wholly laughable you suggest as much.”
Hel, her beauty fierce and pointed, did not shrink to her brother's sharp words or sharper teeth.
“Calm yourself brother. Or else I lose my own patience.” She hissed back, her deep cobalt skin darkened in a flush and for a moment the two immortals held eyes before Fenrir turned to stalk over to his desk.
His apartment was small, hidden away in the depths of the archives he himself stayed tucked away in- far from the prying eyes of the New Gods or the citizens of New Olympus.
Perhaps it was so many years spent locked away on the island Lyngvi, in the middle of the lake
Ámsvartnir named the pitch black for the rich ichor of darkness surrounding it. He found the darkness a comfort and the shining city above made every bone in the shifter's body ache with disdain for a world forsaken him.
“I am as calm as is deserved.” But he directed his growled words to the scrolls on his desk rather than the goddess behind him, who tried to keep her softened words from sounding forced.
“You are not speaking any falsehood. I recognize that Fen. But I have argued your case, you can trust that, and I can not sacrifice my standing on the Council simply for your desire to join the table. You must earn it.”
This caused the wolf eared man to whip around, dark curls cutting his emerald gaze as his pink scarred lips twisted into a snarl.
“What have the last five hundred years been if not me earning my keep? I have been your messenger, your warrior, dedicated to the High Council and yet you keep me bound.”
Hel’s practiced reserve fell and her face twisted in horror.
“No, brother, not mine. Not I. None of these tasks were mine for the choosing. None of your rules or theirs. You mistaken, the New Gods may see me and the other Gods of Death for our value more than the Old Gods had. But they see us as part of a balance. I can not overstep my bounds either. And your assumptions-that I have the power to grant you the freedom you desire- are misplaced. I would have given it to you long ago pup. Please…. Understand.”
“Do not call me that.” He had not aged on Lyngvi, even for their kind he was considered young in his physical age, but he resented the belittling. Long fingers, those of their fathers, found the thick black curls of his hair, his eyes far from his sister now as he turned back towards his desk, haunching over it a moment before sinking low into the chair and pulling out a golden case of cigarettes, rich with the smell of many herbs the most prevalent a sweet lavender which filled the air as the wolf breathed fire to its tip and brought the opposing end to his ripped lips for a long draw.
“I am sorry. Fenrir. If I could bargain more for you I would. For now we must buy our time with favor.”
“Leave me. Hel. Please. Just go. I will answer the damned summons. Just leave me.”
For a moment the room only held a thick silence and the ragged angry breath of the wolf.
“You serve your kingdom well, Fenrir. I am sorry it can’t do the same for you.”
Her words made him ache, somewhere deep inside in a way which made him feel a rush of embarrassment. But before he could bark her another word of dismissal she was gone. A skitted of shadows and darkness back the way she had come, down the long halls of the Great Library Archive and back towards the gold plated halls of the High Councils Main Chambers.
He turned and watched after her with galactic green eyes, narrowed angrily before he shifted, the soft pad of paws leading him to his bed as he left the smoking herbal blend perched on the golden ashtray on his desk.
He had said he would answer the Summons. He would run whatever errand the New Gods gave him like the good dog he was. But for the moment he sunk into the comfort and warmth of his loneliness, burying the heavy scarred snout beneath his own fur and closing his eyes. Sinking into something like sleep, a meditative dissonance he had taught himself in confinement.