Deep within the frozen darkness, a voice cried out, so sudden and desperate it broke the chill of silence that held in the air.
She did not recognize it immediately, nor did she for one moment believe in it’s existence. The vast string of corridors that rang the length of the many halls within Niflheim always were infested with the feverish cries of the dead, and the only ears that could hear them had long since grown accustomed to their wanton cries.
Waiting, Hela stood still in Eljudnir, her personal Hall and quarters, awaiting yet another echo of that pained cry that had sounded so unlike anything she had heard.. yet felt so familiar. One eyelid blinked, but the other did not, although a shred a muscle still left gleaming on that decayed side did at least try to mimic the healthier, paler half’s movement.
"Speak, now." The Goddess’ voice was a delicate and persistent hum.
Still, she waited for another cry.
It did not come.
High above her, the icicles that lived in the dome of the hall shimmered and creaked, like they had minds and were telling the damned Goddess to let it be.
"Aye.. ‘tis only the storm, it seems."
But of course it was. Niflheim was bathed in perpetual winter. The songs of the bitter, cruel winds and the beatings of the ice and rain often echoed down the Halls. Little wonder, then, that such things could sound much like souls crying out.
Curling the fingers of her hand around a goblet, the skeletal finger of Hela’s other hand stirred the warm contents, a small plume of steam rising up from the glowing, crimson drink. Working her legs into motion, she made the short journey to her sleeping area, holding the goblet at an angle to compensate for the natural limp in her movement. Click. Clack. Click. Clack. One bare foot. One emaciated, fleshless foot. Both equally unaffected by the painful cold of the bare, stone floors.
Setting herself down upon her bed, Hela kept the rim of the goblet close to her expressionless face, the optics of her grey eyes briefly flickering to an emerald green before returning to their natural, empty state.
She stared outward into the vastness of her hall, listening to the grind of her heart, half-beating within the cage of her chest.
And that echoed the most.