Chapter 15 – The Way Things Really Were
As I felt Yggdrasil coming back to life, I forced myself to move onto the narrow strip of solid ground between it and the water. I pressed my back against its smooth stone surface, sensed the faint vibrations and beginnings of warmth and then reached with my mind to introduce myself. "Hi Yggdrasil, I'm Ginny. You don't know me yet. I'm the Mother of the Future from my time and I guess from my community."
I waited. I waited a full minute, then the almost familiar voice appeared in my head.
I don't know any Ginny. What sort of name is that. It doesn't sound Aesir or Vanir.
"I'm from the future. I don't know how far in the future, but I think a very long time. I'm from what you call, or at least will call in the future, Terra. I came here from Asgard, through seid-space."
It is strange that I don't know you. I can tell that you have a piece of me in your head. If you know of Asgard, Vanaheimr, Terra, and seid-space, then you know a lot. Why are you here and what do you want of me. I have dozed, not by my own choice, since the Aesir Gods departed as uncorporeals. I was ordered to sleep until suitable successors arrived. The remaining Aesir never contacted me. Either they didn't try or they lacked the skill. The Acromantula did find me and make an effort at contact as they climbed down the well and climbing up my sides. The rules allowed me to awaken to a half-dozing state. I have communed with the wisest of the Acromantula, imparting what knowledge they were able to grasp and affording what little protection and guidance I was able to provide.
"My piece of rock is from your off-spring on Terra. I came to Asgard to study how to interpret, weave, and protect history in seid-space and how to repair and build a White Column. Odin and Frijjo were supposed to teach me, but I think Frijjo lured me here to die. And my official full name is Ginevra Weasley Potter. I'd like to figure out when I am, what happened on Asgard to cause the Aesir Gods to leave and to decide that you to sleep, and why an incredibly large Acromantula hangs where Odin and I hung. That suggests that he or she is far more advance in learning seid and magic than I am. I've learned that seid-space is the natural domain of the Acromantula, but we saw or smelled none during our journey here. Aagog did smell them in the forest. Aagog is an immature, but very talented, Acromantula. We do have Acromantula on my world. They were the only ones known to exist in our time. We just brought some of them to Asgard. Odin encouraged us to do this. That was in my time, but I've summoned some of them and hope they will be here soon. I need to get back to my own time. I couldn't make contact with any of the Black Stones, until I brought you out of your doze with the royal pendant of the Vanir. I'd like to talk to you more. In my time, Yggdrasil had a very nice library in which I could visit as a spirit or in my body and talk to it. Can I do that here and now? I'd rather come in my body, because I am afraid to leave my body where it is. I know there are carnivorous fish in this late and I'm also afraid of a starved Acromantula, who doesn't know me.
Fear not, you are with me. I can order the fish not to approach the shore. Baalak is a gentle soul and will not harm you if I label you friend. She would starve first. She is the leader of what Acromantula remain. The Aesir hunt them mercilessly. She is also my source of information from the outside world, but she has been as you see her for more than one of your years. She is a thinker, not a fighter, and seeks a way to save her people. Her people were respected when the Gods ruled Asgard, but now that they are gone, the common folk are removing that which frightens them. I try my best to stop the slaughter, but the Gods forced me into near-sleep and imposed rules. Baalak's spirit wanders and reports back to me. Apart from my children, I have no other source of information. I cannot think properly without a lot of information. You must feed me. Free your spirit form and I will bring you to me.
"I have two friends and a prisoner across the lake. May I message them through you?"
Yes. Tell them them they may join you. I will take them bodily into myself. It's easier if you also keep your body, if, as I sense, your prisoner is in unaware mode. Best that you all be in the same mode. Just tell them to stand in a group on the opposite shore and to all hold hands, even the prisoner.
I conveyed that message and my situation. I told Barb that if she should be able to Apparate Frijjo to the appropriate position across the lake from me. She must tap into the magic now flowing from Yggdrasil. We were soon in Yggdrasil's ancient parlour. It was dimly lit by wall sconces, carpeted in sewn-together brown fur swirled with back, and furnished entirely in crystal furniture with soft cushions. We were seated on small cushions atop the fur carpet, with a short crystal table in front of us. Frijjo lay on the carpet, unconscious and gooped. There was a very large stuffed cushion in the corner of the room farthest from us. I thought I knew its purpose. Yggdrasil confirmed my guess.
Welcome to myself. Baalak's spirit will join us, shortly. I invited her to come in body, but she says she is weak enough that if she wakes her body, it must feed and remain awake. You must wake this Frijjo and free her body, so I may speak with her.
We compromised on talking a little without waking her and then waking Frijjo and uncovering her eyes, but keeping the gloves on and her arms gooped to her sides. This was an excellent precaution. Frijjo was furious.
"It's just that it seemed as though Frijjo was trying to cause our deaths," I asserted to back-up nods from my companions. "This was meant to be a simple initial training exercise in mounting and re-mounting the traveling ribbon of time. We weren't warned that we needed to pack for a multi-day ordeal. We were marched here at night, so we couldn't see the path we were taking and then chucked off the ribbon into a dark forest. We deduced that we were in the forest near the well. My raven confirmed the nearness of the well. As I said, Aagog smelled the presence of many spiders. I'm convinced they were about to kill us. When we escaped back to the ribbon, also to re-group and to re-start our twenty-four hour period of easiest re-mount, we found Frijjo was still there - six hours after we left the ribbon. She said she was there to protect us, but we didn't believe her so we used a curse to temporarily turn off her mind. I'll feel far more comfortable if you can tell us when we are, before we wake her up. That will put us on a more even footing.
I should tell you that we didn't come here by the well, although Barb, Aagog and I have been that route in the future. We came by way of a section of ribbon, which had recently been woven shut. The weave was treated to make it look very old, but it was pink inside the knots. We came to another loose barrier, with a warning sign that basically said 'Danger! A powerful God sleeps inside." The path ended in a phony stone wall, which we had to scrape away with my Mother and Keeper rings. That's how we got here.
I fear that if Frijjo wanted to kill us, then the most dangerous time to bring us would be the day when the Aesir burned the great forest to kill all of the Acromantula. Since Aagog smelled them in the forest, and you have one, we probably haven't come to that day yet. It also could have been when the Aesir Gods left Asgard, or when Odin or his predecessor found you, but I think you've eliminated those possibilities. . I think it must be the fire. We have to warn the spiders!"
You terrify me. I am sending a warning to Baalak and the other Acromantula. I understand that Baalak listens and has heard all. The fire you describe has not happened yet, but the Aesir have acted strangely since their Gods assumed spirit form and left them. They think that without their Gods, that they are helpless and that the spiders will kill them. Baalak's spirit will be here very soon. The other spiders are trying to either escape from the forest or seek refuge beside my lake. This is most serious and I am now wide awake. I have yet to meet Odin or the one you call his predecessor. The Gods departed only five years ago. The Aesir and Acromantula have fought a low intensity war since then, with the Acromantula not permitted to enter the prairie or farm land.
I thanked Yggdrasil. We then honored our side of the bargain and awakened Frijjo.
"Where am I and why did you attack me. I was teaching you."
We removed her blindfold, but the goop and gloves stayed on. She fought her bonds in frustration.
"You were leading us into a trap in ancient times. As to where and when you are: you are inside Yggdrasil, in whichever time you led us to."
"We must leave at once. I took us to the night before the Aesir burned the forest to kill the last of the spiders."
I received a strong mental blast from Baalak, whose spirit had joined us. My people are being killed and you didn't warn them. You wanted them to die. I must try to save them.
"It is dangerous to change history. I admit I don't want your kind ruling our worlds. Legend says that the fires began just after noon. What time is it."
As you should know, it is just coming up noon. I have told my people they must fight to create a path for others to flee. They are surrounded. They already smell smoke. They will break out. They won't spare the Aesir murderers. I've told those too weak to run that they must shelter in the well. Our fighters fight and die. I go to assist in spirit.
"What can we do?" I asked her.
Very little. You are only three and my people would slay you as Aesir. Don't let this one loose. I sense she has more treachery planned. Bring my body inside Yggdrasil. It should be safe there. If not, take yourselves and my body to a safe place. I carry two last eggs. You must use them to save my people. I think that is what you have already done, if you have some of my people with you.
Reinforcements arrived. There were two giant spiders, Aagog, Hermione, Cissy, Odin, and Captain Davies. I explained the problem. We left Yggdrasil to recover Baalak's body. The two adult spiders freed the body. Hermione and I Apparated it inside Yggdrasil. We barely made it. The cavern was filled floor-to-ceiling with smoke from the forest fire and the smoke was becoming thicker and thicker. The fire was spreading incredibly fast. This must be something akin to Fiendfyre. No natural forest fire could move that fast. All of our spiders called out for any fellow Acromantula inside the cavern. There was no answer. The adult male insisted upon climbing the well. I promised to await his return. He motioned us back into Yggdrasil. This was his personal responsibility to the spider King. I asked his name. He told me Boldgog. I wished him well, as he was already climbing the well.
Yggdrasil told me that he was sending magical energy to Boldgog, so that he barely needed to breathe. I Apparated back to Yggdrasil's parlour. Frijjo was still raging at my companions, but turned against me as soon as she noticed my return.
"You tamper with history. That is a terrible crime."
"Which you do every day you are in seid-space," I reminded her.
"I am a Goddess, who knows what I am doing. You are a foolish and scared little Witch who thinks she understands far more than she actually does. This was all a part of the lesson you must learn. You must be able to find a way out of danger. You must learn you can't save everyone. This already happened long before any of us was born. All I did was bring you here to witness it. The Acromantula had to die"
"That was not the lesson I told you to teach the Questers," Odin thundered. "That was VERY far from what I intended and what you agreed to do. That would have been a very challenging lesson in the dark in a safe place. You sent them where my ancestors were too frightened to go with any weapons, supplies, and preparations they wished. You just dropped them there without warning."
Boldgog returns with two survivors. I will draw them to me.
"Ginny already knew a lot - more than you realize. What she NEEDED to learn was to get over her childish sentimentality and desire to save everyone. The fate of the Acromantula was decided very long ago. Ginny's job was to learn when and where she was and then return home. Her job was to protect and save her team. She wasted time and risked her own life trying vainly to save the Acromantula."
I decided that a bluff was called for, if I was to learn the whole truth: "I saw your edits in seid-space. You were at that point of time. You could have saved them. You at least could have saved many of them. You chose not to do that."
"It is not like there are no Acromantula left. You have them on your world. Odin stupidly allowed you to bring them to Asgard and seid-space. That is foolish misplaced guilt on his part. Those giant spiders are dangerous. Odin did what he did in part so that I can't linger in most parts of seid-space. He wants to strip me of my strongest tool. You are his new favorite. He has cast me aside."
"I have not abandoned you. I gave you gold and silver to help your cause on Vanaheimr. I sent Ginny and her Questers to repair magic on Vanaheimr. I..."
"You do not order them to fight for me. I need to fight my way to the throne. I have many opponents.
"You could have saved my people and you did not. You did not even warn them. You brought your student to watch them die."
"Yes. I won't apologize for that."
Boldgog bit her. He bit her very hard. He moved too fast for me to stop him. Odin was much closer to Frijjo, but made no move to stop Boldgog.
Boldgog staggered away from Frijjo. Three thoughts flashed in my mind as surprising realizations. The Acromantula didn't actually speak English. I hadn't learned their language from the Light Guardian, because they didn't have a language. They communicated telepathically. I also realized that Boldgog was dying. He had exposed himself to too much heat and smoke. We would try to save him, but I wasn't at all sure that we could. Finally, I realized that while Odin was unable to bring himself to act strongly egainst or to harm Frijjo, he was perfectly willing to allow another to kill her. He hadn't tried to stop Boldgog. He wasn't rushing to tend to her or to rush back to his laboratory for the potion which might save her. She was correct that he had abandoned her, but I was convinced that the moment of abandonment had come in the last five minutes.
Trying to save Frijo would fall to Hermione and me. Of course Hermione had save some of the potion Frijjo had brewed when Aagog bit her in what seemed another lifetime ago. Hermione handed me the bottle and went to help Boldgog.
Frijjo was just conscious enough to drink from the bottle I pressed to her lips. I flowed some magical energy into her. Yggdrasil encouraged me to do this.
I prefer that as many as possible live. I don't want any to die until I at least understand what is happening and whether anyone is too evil to live, rather than just too foolish and resentful to be a good citizen at the moment. I am also helping Hermione. This space is the best charging oval you could find. I apologize, reading your mind became a necessity.
"Now you're actually trying to save me," Frijjo's hoarse whisper was too flat to convey what must have been a combination of astonishment and bafflement at my continuing sentimentality. "Release my arms so I can at least die in relative comfort."
"Not a chance. I don't trust what you will do."
I continued to pour magic into Frijjo. Before Boldgog bit her, I had reached the decision that I could not help her rule Vanaheimr. I also could not just let her die. After a few minutes I realized that Odin was helping me. I left Frijjo to Odin and walked across the room to help Cissy tend to the female spider whom Boldgog had guided to safety. She was in amazingly good condition. The male was beyond saving. I used the same pain-blocking spell we had used on Fang. This brave spider apparently had used his body to shield the female from the worst of the heat. Not knowing how to treat a female Acromantula, I took my best guess and used the potion and lotion we had used on Fang. Hermione had brought that in her carry-all bag. I simply did an 'Accio' to retrieve them. I knew, without ever being told, that they would be there. I still had some water left and I urged the spider to drink some. I used a cooling spell. I poured magical energy into her. I think this all helped.
Baalak's spirit had returned to her body. She thanked both Boldgog and the male spider for saving the female. She learned that the male spider's name was Brrrlo. "You will be remembered in the annals of our people among our greatest heroes. You sacrificed yourself to save an egg-carrying female, so that our people may survive. I show you proof that our people survive on another future world. He urged Aagog and the other adult spider, Analog, to come forward and thank Brrrlo for their and their people's existence. Again, thank you Brrrlo. Your name will be remembered. It's time for you to go." Turning to me she said "I sense that you have a curse, which will relieve Brrrlo of his suffering. I will try to guide his spirit to freedom, then you must act for Brrrlo's own good. It is good that you stopped his pain."
Baalak hovered over Brrrlo's body for hours. We all wished to maintain a respectful near-silence. We continued to attempt to heal Boldgog and the injured female. Aagog and Analog spun a strong cloth of fine spider silk, with which to wrap the rescued female spider. We still didn't know her name.
Baalak tapped me on my left shoulder, with one of her legs. "It is time for Brrrlo to die. I have freed his spirit. It will live on the road of time. Do what you must. Please. Do it in kindness.
"Off! 'Avada Kedavral.
I led a Light Guardian service for the dead. Not just for Brrrlo, but for all of the Acromantula, and also Aesir, who died on this day. I sensed the presence of the spirit of Brrro and added a service for the freed spirit.