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Trickster's Law: Loki's Origin Story (Not So...Evil Book): PNR Dark Fantasy by Sofia Aves ➱ Release Tour with Giveaway
So...Evil Book 4
Paranormal Romance, Dark Fantasy
child isn't born evil...is he?
silver tongue, trickster… Mayhem follows Loki throughout the nine
realms, earning him a reputation as a bringer of chaos. But there is
more to Loki than mortals see, and life is boring for an immortal
when no one really gets him.
little mischief is harmless in the hands of a god, right?
to Odin and Thor but shunned by the Norse gods of the Ӕsir, Loki
still seeks their acceptance. No matter how many times he saves their
supreme backsides, his every effort ends with a death threat casually
tossed in his direction.
his attempts to impress the Ӕsir, Loki tires of their constant
disdain despite his successes in their impossible challenges. So, he
turns to what he does best: chaos.
the trickster god Loki through the perfectly normal life of a
disillusioned god, and find out what makes him NOT SO...EVIL.
book is a stand-alone read, a chronicle of Loki's mischief and love
in this collection of NOT SO...EVIL origin stories.
I held my dress against my swollen belly, pressing my hands against its shape. The baby inside moved, my skin stretching to accommodate it.
“You know they want to kill you.”
“Since when has that been news?” I tossed a crumpled robe at Thor. “When does the Æsir not want to dispose of me in some terrible fashion? It’s a little harsh, isn’t it? After all, don’t they think this punishment is sufficient?” I poked my belly. “Must you watch me dress? It’s rather...creepy, you know.”
“It’s a fun hobby,” he grinned over his ever-present horn of mead, “besides, you make a stunning lady… albeit a well-rounded one.”
“I bet you say that to all the girls.” I batted my eyelids, then clutched my back. “Pregnancy isn’t meant to be this difficult. Even this late into my term. ”
It shouldn't have felt so odd, but this pregnancy was different to my earth-bound ones. I supposed a horse’s offspring might take a different form. Alongside my family — long passed now — on Midgard, I had two other sons: Fenrir, the great wolf, and Jogunmandr, the world snake. A female shape had seemed most appropriate to keep during my term.
“Well, you’d know.” Thor’s eyes twinkled at me across the room.
“Tone down the charm, would you? It’s positively incestuous.”
“We’re not related,” he reminded me.
“May as well be.” I gripped the end of the day bed Freya had been kind enough to lend me. “God’s balls. The other eight weren’t this difficult.”
“Is it coming?” Thor tossed his horn aside, its dregs coating the glass window that overlooked the city. Asgard had expanded past what anyone had expected, developing into a nation in its own right in the few short months since the giant’s defeat.
“That eager to become an uncle? Cousin— oh, whatever,” I groaned, leaning over the blue velour and hoped I wouldn’t ruin it with birthing fluids.
“Frigg!” Thor bellowed, leaning out the doorway. His voice echoed throughout the palace, finding it’s victim, as always. Footsteps echoed along the long hall outside my rooms. I cringed.
“Keep it down, please,” I begged as another contraction curled me into a ball, stealing my words and breath along with it.
“Stop your whinging, woman,” Thor ground out, tapping his foot impatiently.
“Can— can I help?” A soft voice stilled the panic in the room. Not chaos; because that was my strength. No, this was simply panic, mostly from the untried god in the room. And she calmed it.
Another contraction wracked me. I grabbed Thor’s hand, forgetting the voice.
“You- you’re going to have to do this.” I collapsed on my back, my sweat-soaked robes hanging between my bent knees.
“What? Oh, Hel,” Thor crouched, lifting the hem of my dress. He frowned.
“Oh for pity’s sake, this isn’t a time to be fragile,” I snapped, huffing between contractions, “you’re married to a beautiful woman. Surely you know what a- oh, fu-”
Thor rocked back on his heels. “It’s not that, Loki. It’s just, um…”
“The head comes first.”
“No, it’s not that.”
“Then the butt. Or the feet, perhaps.”
“No, it’s not that, either.” The god peered up my dress.
Pain shot across me, ripping me from breast to arsehole, a great tearing that would surely split me. The world went white and I forgot to breathe.
Small hands gripped mine and a dark head I didn't recognise for a moment bent over mine. She pressed a cool hand to my forehead, stroking the hair from my eyes. I held hers, a magnificent translucent amethyst would with the gold thread of fate itself. I wondered, yet again, how many times I would fall in love in this world.
My mind whispered her name, though my lips forgot to say it. Or maybe I just wanted to keep it to myself. A secret, between just us for that moment.
My stomach contracted again. I lay back, panting. Her hand started on my arm, and I was able to breathe.
One breath. That was all I got.
Movement struggled, pushing into my spine, then nothing.
I panted, blinding white coming into focus as my gaze fixed on a scalloped section of ceiling above my head. The room was void of sound, and my heart hitched.
“It’s alive? What is it? Is it alive?” I craned forward but my ruined muscles refused to allow it. “Thor?”
“It’s alive.” His voice was thick, dull.
“What’s wrong with it?” Hel above, I really was becoming a snarking woman. “Tell me.”
“He’s beautiful.” I took the awe in her voice as a positive, her fine features at this close range, even as I strained to see my son.
“Well, its, uh…” He dropped a bundle of cloth into my arms, sharp points sticking out at all angles.
I frowned, trying to unwrap it but the cloth got tangled. Folds knotted with slippery fluids wrapped around tiny limbs. Increasingly frustrated but also desperate to see my baby, I tore gently at the cloth with shaking hands. Adrenaline coursed through me, bringing the point of panic closer.
When I thought my heart would erupt in my chest, the cloth finally parted to show me a slimy face, delicate and new. Tiny eyes barely opened stared back at me as I cradled the creature to my breast.
“You’re perfect,” I cooed, snuggling the tiny baby in my arms, echoing Sigyn’s earlier comment. Fur plastered with birthing fluids, it nuzzled my skin. Swiping the gunk from its face, pale fur emerged. I stroked it in the right direction, marvelling at its beauty.
“Sleipnir,” I murmured. The tiny horse nuzzled, a choking whinny rumbling inside its fragile neck. “I think you need to stand, little one.”
“Stand?” Thor’s strangled voice brought me back. “How will it stand?”
“As you would, I imagine, if you would get off my legs,” I snapped.
Sigyn silently collected the filthy rags and towels, dropping a kiss first on my forehead, and then my child’s.
“Congratulations,” she whispered, vacating the room in silence. I couldn’t even hear her footsteps leaving the hall, this time.
Thor removed himself from my lower limbs, circulation returning in a rush. Pins and needles shocked my system but I ignored it, staring at my baby.
“Time for you to get up, little one.” I murmured.
“But Loki,” he whispered, “it has eight legs.”
“Very observant,” I growled, not letting a small thing like four extra appendages ruin my post-birth experience.
I changed back to myself, glad to let my stomach muscles return to their usual state, though the exhaustion remained. Then I remembered I had to feed the small beast and returned to my feminine form. Fortunately, the changes remained. Shape shifting only covered so many bases; I still had to deal with the strain on my body as well as the mental fall out.
The peace of a completed birth not yet set in, I craved contact. Looking over to Thor, I shook my head, wishing with a sudden, deep-seated need, that Sigyn hadn’t left the room.
I placed the tiny stallion on the floor. Quivering beneath his own weight, he stood on two legs, the rest a tangled mass beneath him.
Reaching into the mess of bones and slop, I began to straighten them out. Each limb was slippery as a kraken’s tentacles, and sorting them into order was too much of a challenge for my fatigued mind. I got four in a row, all lined up, but one slipped and they collapsed, tangling in on themselves.
“Help me,” I gasped hoarsely, “please.”
Thor’s hands shook as much as the poor creature but after a few minutes, the legs were where they were meant to be.
“Is that right?” Thor crawled around to the other side, peering between a cluster of hooves.
“I think so,” I sat back, studying my offspring critically. I’d only birthed human babies before, and they were much easier to work out. “First time for everything,” I muttered to myself.
Sleipnir took tiny steps, his entire body vibrating, and worked his way around the room.
“Let’s not do this again,” Thor moaned, stretching prostrate on the floor. Birthing fluid coated his arms and chest. I grinned at the sight of the glorified god brought low by such a tiny being.
I shook my head. “Not a chance.”
He turned his head to the side, grinning, and held his fist out, curled into a ball. I stared at it, open mouthed.
“What do you want me to do with that?”
“You hit it.”
I shrugged, preparing to slap his hand to the ground. “Okay.”
“No! Not like that. Like this,” he mimed pressing his fists against each other. “See? You bump them.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Like this? Is there a point to it?”
“You’re the one who told me to spend more time on Midgard.”
“I think you took me far too literally.”
The door creaked open. Several gods peered in on us, taking in Thor and I stretched out on the floor, our chests still rising hard. My skirts dangled limply between my legs, and I remembered far too late that my hoo-haa was on display. I needn't have worried; every eye latched firmly onto my child.
“Loki,” Odin stared at the creature, disgust and his usual dose of disdain warring across his features. “What have you done?”
He expects me to fail. Every time.
Thor stared at me askance, then buried his head face first in the carpet, groaning when birthing fluid slipped down his ear to puddle around his nose.
“Sorry, did I say that out loud?” I made the remark light, though emotion roiled in my chest. I’d never fit in with them, thanks to my birth to a giant mother and a mortal father, not just flashed into existence like the exalted Pillars of the Cosmos. I snorted.
“Maybe just a little.” Thor’s muffled voice rang loud in the strained silence of the room.
Well, I got raped by a stallion saving your broke asses.
Another face appeared amongst the gods, though she wasn’t always counted as one.
Another on the outskirts. Like me.
“Come to join the party, Sif?” I rolled my shoulders back and quirked an eyebrow before I remembered I was wearing a dress. She ignored me, and headed directly for Thor. Sif, goddess of reproduction, was notoriously straight and rather boring.
I followed her across the room with my eyes alone.
“Lady Sif.” Thor scrambled to greet his wife, rising as her hands curled around his shoulders.
“Are you okay, my lord?” she whispered in a meant-to-be husky voice that stirred me, regardless that I wasn’t the one she addressed.
“Of course.” Thor rolled onto his back. She fussed at him, golden hair falling in a curtain between us, shielding him. The ends dangled in the red and purple goop he was covered in. I eyed her golden tresses, wondering if I could find something alike as a gift for Sigyn in thanks.
Sleipnir nudged her elbow. She looked about, then cowered into Thor’s chest while he explained the situation with one, large hand pressed to my baby’s rickety chest. I hoisted myself to my elbows, ready to pounce should anyone attempt to hurt my child.
“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Thor murmured into her hair while I stared on, an island in a room of eyes. “It’s just him, kær, it’s always just him.”
I managed to keep my mouth closed. Even Frigg looked at my horse with a hand over her mouth. My teeth ground together, and I half expected one to shatter with the force.
“Well. I guess that’s done, then.”
And before I could argue, Odin grasped Sleipnir around all eight of his hooves, turned him upside down, and carted him out the door.
I screeched, Frigg’s arms wrapping around me tight, cooing something useless in my ears. But nothing stopped Thor’s bellow following Odin along the halls, booming in its path.
“Do you have any idea how long it took us to put that thing together?”
Svartalfheim was quite a distance to travel. Located deep within the bowels of the earth, it was home to the black eleves, the greatest of master craftsmen. If anyone could make good on my wild promise to Thor, I was in safe hands here.
Of all the clans, I chose Ivaldi’s Sons — known for their talents in crafts requiring fine details. They were also clever, though surprisingly quite trustworthy.
They didn’t speak much. I walked silent halls all busy with trade, but almost in silence. The effect was quite eerie as I placed my order, outlining my preferences in a quiet voice, and not forgetting the key to keeping favour with the elves: always ask what else they might like to do for you. It would cost me, but the future advantages would far outweigh the expense.
Besides, I wasn't as broke as the rest of the Æsir.
The small folk waved me away, giving me a gauge of how long to wait by pointing at a crude drawing of a man on the wall. It depicted a man’s life from infancy to adulthood, and beyond to a wizened, elderly man, with long, straggling hair and a hunched back.
To my relief the silent elf pointed to a young child just beyond infancy. I frowned, hoping he meant a human life span, or I could be down here for centuries. The elves gathered in a small knot, then the same one as before tapped the picture of a baby.
I grinned, nodding, but their expressions never changed, their dark, round eyes haunting in the green light cast by their torches. Just a little creeped out, I backed away and found a hall lined with stalls as a means of escape.
Wall sconces held blackened flames, their chartreuse tips just enough light to see by, trinkets sparkling in the stalls and shops that lined every hall.
And there were plenty of those.
I wandered in the dark for some time, eating when I had to, otherwise watching the elves in their ceaseless work. Needing to sleep only as little as me, they crafted into the night, though without a sun or any visible clock or method to observe time, I had no idea how they worked anything out.
I lost a sense of myself as I watched their habits, learning small tidbits of their crafts, their clever ways they folded things to make the large fit into impossibly small places, or knots that unravelled to create spaces bigger than they should have.
The way they harnessed the winds.
It was perhaps greedy of me, but I enjoyed having the time to myself; though I knew Sigyn would have enjoyed the wonders of the Black Elves’ halls.
Regular dinners with dwarf brothers Brokkr and Sindri broke my concentration, but only long enough to marvel with their wares. Their blacksmithy situated beside an Inn carved into the glistening black rock of the halls, holding to the almost mystical feel of the caverns.
I discovered a fabulous pair of flying shoes, red, with tiny wings at the heel, to speed the wearer to wherever they might wish to go. They fit well inside my cloak, and I was pleased with my first purchase.
One stall in particular held my attention. The tabletop was littered with knots of various uses; one for forgetting, one for finding, one as an actual clasp to secure an item — though none but the bearer could untie it.
I found a string that would twist between my fingers, knotting and uncurling as I practiced the movements the craftself demonstrated with speed. The repetitive motion soothed me, and I was happy to pass over the small sum he required.
What interested me most was the large box at the back of the shop.
When the maker lifted the lid, there were nine secret compartments inside. He could remove one without disturbing the rest, and lock them all. I began to work out just how much to offer him, when the creepy elves returned en masse, at my elbow.
With their blank faces lifted to mine, they gestured together, their movements a mirror of each other.
I nodded, pasting a smile on my face, and followed at a respectable distance.
The hall they led me to dwarfed anything I’d experienced before. And as a god, even with a little ‘g’, that was saying something.
Standing inside the apparently roofless cavern, I stared into the darkness that was the pinnacle of their creation. Sconces lit the tall walls as they loomed forever upwards with a faint tinge of green. I wondered if they’d carved a space all the way from the centre of the realm to just beneath the surface.
I wondered if the land dwellers knew what was right beneath their feet.
Silently, the Black Elves made a line that stretched across the vast cavern; had they downed tools and brought every one of their clan to me for their presentation? I swallowed at the realisation this meant far more to them than it did to me.
One stepped toward me, arms extended with a beautiful skein of gold. It flashed green beneath their odd torches, but when the mastercraftsman — elf? — placed the mass of hair in my arms, it was light as air but smooth, flowing with a life of its own where tumbling over my arms.
He held out a small, drawstring bag and the hair poured in, not wasting so much as an inch of space and tied it off neatly. He presented the bag to me with a steady bow. No flourishes for these folk, but then with the mastery of their crafts, it wasn’t necessary. Their art spoke more than any overbearing gesture could.
I nodded my thanks, mentally preparing some inane speech that couldn't possibly compare with their silence, when another took his place. This time, it was an elf with a short stick in his hands. I eyed it warrily; thin lines that looked to have been carved on to the delicate piece with great force, from their depth, lined the thing.
With a quick flick, it extended to a much greater length, just slightly taller than my own height, topped with a very sharp metal point that glinted at me. The craftsman spun it between his fingers, faster than he should ever have been able, wind brushing beneath my ears, caressing my neck before he stilled, then thrust it toward my face.
The breeze of a moment ago returned with full force, assaulting me with its bluster then ceased just as quickly. I peeked through slitted eyes I hadn’t realised I’d closed to find the point of the spear only millimetres from my nose. I slid a finger gingerly between me and it, prodding it away as my brain finally caught up.
“You’ve harnessed the four winds. Very clever. It will never miss, am I correct?”
“Gungnir.” With a short nod, the elf passed the stick to me, demonstrating the movement to extend its length, then reduce it again. He also gave a short bow.
I smiled, insanely pleased with a gift I knew I wouldn’t keep — a weapon of such beauty and craftsmanship deserved a warrior; and that, I would never be.
He backed away only to be replaced by a female elf, brandishing a small envelope. I raised an eyebrow, not willing to guess what it might be. She, alone gave me the vaguest hint of a smile, then gestured me away.
I took a step in the direction she indicated but small hands grasped at my clothes, tugging me backwards. I complied, letting them tow me into a place they were happy with, until we formed a half-ring around the room, the female elf in the centre.
She raised her gift, opening it like one would a newspaper on Midgard. Then another fold opened, and another, white paper flexing and billowing outward until a large sail, filled with wind in a still and silent room sat before us. But even so, it was still dwarfed in such a space, and I knew there was more to come.
At the bottom of the sail she began a complex pattern of folds. Opening and twisting, to reveal something hidden beneath it. When she was finished, her finger on the absolute tip of her work, she turned only her head to me, and smiled.
I couldn't smile back. I couldn't do a damned thing, other than stare at her craft. Master indeed. There was no other word for it. A Master of Masters, creating movement where none existed.
In the centre of the room, completely filling it, stood a magnificent ship, with eight large sails which had captured a wind beneath the earth.
Her single word no more than a breath, the ship responded to it, gliding across the stone floor as though it were the open sea.
I gaped in absolute awe, tears springing to my eyes with the beauty of it. Managing to close my mouth, I turned my attention fully to her and bowed in equal silence, finally understanding why these people, existing beneath the surface but in full control of the realms secrets, rarely spoke.
Their arts — their marvels — were their communication.
The elf held my gaze, twisting her wrists to refold her craft, and placed the small envelope in my open hands. I swallowed, still in awe and bowed low, holding it with respect and gratitude as the little elf moved away.
When I straightened, I was alone, the three marvels clutched in my grasp.
There's a Norse god in my head and his name is...
He's in there, and when you have a trickster god inside your head 12 days before launch day, things get just a little...chaotic.
Writing Trickster's Law may have been one of the most entertaining writes of my life. The pure sass between Loki and Thor had me in hysterics as I wrote...Mr. A even thinks he might read this one! (A minor miracle in itself!).
There was a LOT of research that went into this one. When I was approached by the other authors in the NOT SO EVIL series to write a villain's origin story, my mind immediately went the way of Loki. But I didn't want to write Marvel's version (thought it's totally acceptable to imagine him as Tom Hiddleston).
Why? Because of copyright, for a start. But also because that Loki has been done by some amazing writers already...you know, Stan, to start with...but also because I wanted to show Loki in a light he hadn't been drawn as in popular media. To really show what makes him not so evil.
Research during 2020 took a slightly different turn to my usual interviews and library trawling; I had two different translations of the Poetic Edda open for the entire write, and while there are lots of old legends in there, they certainly took on a life of their own! Plus, there's a fair bit of romance in there because, well, it's me.
To date there have been a lot of laugh out loud moments amongst my team and I made two betas cry. Which made me feel better, because I cried writing that last chapter too - and no, not sharing because...spoilers :)
So I hope you enjoy reading Trickster's Law as Loki will always have a very special place with me.
is a romantic suspense author from Brisbane, Australia. She started
writing romance when she couldn't find the books she wanted on the
shelves in her local bookstore and became addicted to storytelling.
She exists on a diet of coffee and champagne and routinely kills her
collection of tortured orchids.