Chasing the Past

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It was too quiet. Too quiet, Helblindi thought as he wandered down one of the darkened back hallways after yet another conference with his Fylgja and the Court Advisory Council. The Ulfrbarn was not there poking his nose where he did not belong. Neither was Byleistr at his elbow nagging him for a change either... asking those useless questions of his. In fact, I have not seen either of them for the last few days. Helblindi sighed. Getting up to some kind of trouble no doubt... Pausing at the next window and peering out to eye the angry clouds overhead, the Crown Prince of Jotunheim frowned. Trapped in this place with two fools who play at politics for the theory of it... by Helheim, I hate the winter season...

As if summoned by the goddess Hel herself, Byleistr appeared at Helblindi's elbow.

"Ah. There you are," Helblindi eyed his younger brother sourly. "I was wondering when you would come around to inflict yourself upon me. You missed morning council – for the second day in a row. Are you and that creature up to something again?"

"Eh? Oh..." Byleistr glanced at his older brother in surprise. "No. No." Byla added nonchalantly – with a shrug – as the two turned away from the window and continued on their way. "He left the other day."

Helblindi paused mid-step and came to an unsteady halt.

"Gone? Gone where?"

"No need to be apprehensive," Byleistr moved onward – as if he were merely talking about the time of day and not about the fact that the abomination, who could bring about the ruination of Jotunheim if he so chose, had disappeared out from under the careful eye of the King. "He left. Was that not what you wished for?" Byleistr added snidely.

Helblindi paused a moment, considering Byleistr's dark mood, before replying carefully, "Now, that may be true – but it is wiser to escort him to the Doorway of the Paths and ensure his safety for leave-taking in the process."

"'Safety for leave-taking'?" Byleistr's fine eyebrows rose sardonically. "Safe leave taking? That is what we are calling it now?"

"Ai, Byla-"

"Don't 'ai' me," Byla growled and roughly banged their parents' shared parlour door open.

Striding in and ignoring the questioning looks of his parents, the younger Jotunn took Helblindi's usual spot before the fire pointedly, forcing Helblindi to subside with a hard glare to the smaller armchair.

"Byla is in a mood," Helblindi said by way of greeting at Farbauti's puzzled look.

"Well," Farbauti said, amused. "No doubt you said something again, 'Blindi. You should not be so rough with his feelings – one does not poke a wild jarnkottr and expect to come away unscathed."

"Huh."

Ignoring his sulky brother, Helblindi glanced at his Fylgja. Does he know where the Ulfrbarn went off to? Does he even know the Ulfrbarn even left?

"It is hardly my fault if Byla is upset his new 'friend' has decided to leave," Helblindi settled for an air of injury and annoying elderly brother wisdom.

Laughter fell from Farbauti's expression immediately as the words sank in. Silence fell across the room as Laufey and Farbauti shared a glance before looking over at Byla who now brooded over the bright fire. The young Prince picked up the long fire-iron cast to the side of the heart and pensively poked at the blackened logs of silvrelm. The fire crackled and popped in an obscenely cheerful fashion amidst the heavy quiet.

But then, Helblindi thought, Byla is always too sensitive to things when he is in the mood.

"He left, Byleistr?" Laufey asked quietly. "When? Why did you say nothing of this?"

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