Chapter 19 – Trying To Put Things As Right As Possible
I tried, without success, to contact Odin or Yggdrasil. I could use their help. We had promised not to make edits to this region of seid-space without consulting Frijjo, but the present situation seemed to constitute the dire emergency escape from that promise. What's more, this was an emergency of Frijjo's own making. I couldn't wait for Odin.
"We need to start weaving this branch shut. I hope Odin concurs when he returns. We'll do as much as we can, while leaving space for Odin, and hopefully Boldgog, to fit through the gap. I want a very tight weave. This alternate future needs to be strangled as quickly as possible."
All sprang to action. Those who couldn't weave, guarded those who did. Captain Davies was as adept a weaver as she claimed to be. Aagog followed behind us, wrapping our weave in spider silk for added strength and tightness. We had finished filling as much of the path as was safe if I wanted Boldgog to squeeze past the barrier with us. She and Odin arrived as we were standing a little away from the barrier to admire our work.
"It is as bad as I feared," Odin gasped. "The war between the ancients of my people and the Acromantula was caused by Frijjo. She is responsible for the deaths of many thousands of my people and the near extinction of the Acromantula. The great fire was never supposed to happen. We must stop this. Common decency and the future of my world and the Acromantula demand our action."
"We promised Frijjo that we wouldn't act without consulting her first. She said that there were intricacies here that I wouldn't understand. That's why she wanted you here - to prevent the fighter side of me from doing something irreversibly stupid. She promised there was a month before any action was needed."
"We promised not to act other than in extremis. Genocide is as extreme as it gets. I think Frijjo is desperate to buy enough time for her plan to work and be frozen into history. I'm convinced she would do something devastating, were we to allow her to come here with us. She is devious and far more capable than I credited. We must leave the ribbon and find that meeting. Don't think me blood-thirsty, there is no alternative. They all must die or be imprisoned forever. There is far too much at stake. The great fire and the carnage of the battle surrounding it didn't only destroy the Acromantula. It was a population and environmental catastrophe for the Aesir and the world Asgard. Asgard has never been the same since the fire. The forest was vital to its health. We have no choice but to act decisively and act at once."
"The Frijjo out there - is it the same as our Frijjo in a prior travel? If we kill this Frijjo, do we kill her in our and all of time?"
"I can't possibly answer that question from just the evidence of the moving pictures. That could be Frijjo in body, Frijjo in spirit, or something like the human horcruxes Voldemort created. We call those 'replicates in time'. They are part spirit, part horcrux, part avatar. If that is what this is, and I find this to be the likeliest explanation, then killing it will not kill our Frijjo. Like destroying Voldemort's horcruxes, it will weaken her and perhaps make her merely mortal. If that is what that thing out there is, then it would be unwise to imprison it, even in suspended form as Ve and Vili still exist. Its very existence, even in barely animate form, would still strengthen our Frijjo. That strong a Frijjo is most dangerous. Trust me. I won't ask you to kill. That is my responsibility. I do need the support and help of all of you. This is what we all must do..."
Odin described a difficult trial-and-error of stepping off the ribbon just slightly beyond the point where the pertinent photo was situation and exploring the area in search of Frijjo and the ancient Aesir with whom she met. We must be stealthy so as not to alert our prey. The ravens would search a wide area and we would stay for eight hours. Then, back to the ribbon to eat, drink, rest, and restart our time off ribbon. We would then leave the ribbon just a little closer to the photo and repeat our search. We must do this again, and again, and again, until we found the conspirators.
I didn't expect to find them on the first try. Odin had chosen a point in time sufficiently far in the past that we were extremely unlikely to miss them by beginning our search in too recent a time. The grasslands fronting the forest were waist tall and there was a profusion of scrubby bushes to hide behind. We had to walk across only twenty feet of forest to reach the grass. Aagog and Boldgog tested the air, before we took our first step. They reported no spiders in the immediate vicinity, although they sensed their presence at a distance. Even without nearby spiders, we traveled carefully through the forest. If the conspirators were nearby on the grassland, we didn't want to alert them to our presence. It would be too simple for them to Apparate to safety. We needed to take them by surprise.
As soon as we reached the grassland and either knelt below the height of the grass or behind a convenient bush, Odin and I released our ravens. Then it was sitting upon a section of grass, crushed by our own bodies. Then lying upon the grass. It was a boring wait, especially on this initial sally, when I was quite certain we would find nothing - so certain that I needed to forcefully kick my senses into alertness more often than I care to admit. It wouldn't do for us to lose concentration and become the ones taken by surprise by Frijjo and her gang.
Boldgog thought it most surprising that Frijjo should choose to meet this close to the forest. That, however is what the picture showed. Odd choice or not, we were in the correct location.
"Likely they are equally afraid of their plot being discovered by the Aesir public. The spiders were feared, but the forest was sacred," Odin informed us. "The Aesir community would never approve the destruction of the forest. In addition to the spiders, the forest sheltered many animals the Aesir relied upon for food. They ate far more meat back in that day. They also built largely of wood. I've sent my raven high and wide. You'll get a far better idea of the true forest when she returns. It is far larger than you imagine. Remember the true history we saw. The Aesir planned to send the Acromantula to another world - not nice, but far different from killing all of them."
I received a sense of disgust from Boldgog, as Odin said that as well as the words: This is our home, also.
Time was up. We blew our whistles and collected our birds. Odin placed his raven upon my left shoulder. She had flown high. The forest I could see was immense and it extended beyond the horizon in every direction the bird had looked. I was astounded. I was angry that Frijjo would dare to destroy all of this.
As if sensing my reaction, Odin gave me a geography lesson: "Asgard has but one continent, surrounded on all sides by ocean. Asgard is more continent than ocean. That forest covers half of the continent, all interconnected, without a break. In your time, less than a quarter of the forest has regrown. Frijjo killed a thinking people and drastically changed an entire world, forever. Now do you understand the immensity of her crime?"
We returned to the ribbon. We ate, we rested, we slept. We awoke, breakfasted, and left the ribbon again, in search of Frijjo. We didn't find her.
We repeated this procedure again, and again, and yet again, with no success. We did a little weaving during down times. Eventually, we left Captain Davies and Boldgog behind to weave. We had been searching for over two days. Odin did not allow us to give up. If anyone's resolve showed signs of flagging, Odin shouted "this is important! Do I need to explain, yet again."? Boldgog supported Odin.
We found them on our eleventh try. We hadn't even left the forest when Aagog declared "I smell Frijjo!"
Odin stopped us to explain "we must be very stealthy. Spread out. It is not good to be bunched together like this. We must sneak toward them and fire curses at the first sign they suspect we are present." He then looked at me and asked, "Do you have your broom?"
I quickly transfigured my hat back into a broom. Odin instructed me to fly through the forest and be prepared to come at Frijjo's party from the side. We launched our ravens from within the forest. They sat hidden on the tallest branches of the trees nearest the grass. Our Elves went into full invisibility mode. Odin ordered them to get behind Frijjo's group. Odin pointed at my pocket watch, telling me "we attack in exactly fifteen minutes, whether they have sensed our presence or not. Come hard and come fast. This is not the time for pacifist thinking. You may use 'Off!' but use it as if your whole personal force is behind every curse. Don't get lost in your thoughts. Don't crash into a tree but watch them often enough that you can attack as soon as they notice us or as soon as we begin our attack. I may not be able to wait the full fifteen minutes, which starts NOW!"
I had already mounted my broom and was hovering beside him. With his emphatic whispered 'NOW!' and a wave of his hand, he sent me cruising through the forest. I was perhaps four rows of trees from the edge of the forest. I thought the trees shielded any possible sight of me, but still stayed low enough that the tall grass and bushes of the grassland also obscured me. I quickly found that this also meant that I could catch no more than a quick, flashing glimpse of Frijjo's party. I flew slowly and very carefully, keeping half of my concentration on the trees in front of me, and other half maintaining a sense of elapsed time, the sounds from the forest and grassland, and any motion from the circle of my enemies standing in the grass.
I saw one of the conspirators turning toward the forest, where Odin and the rest of his party hid. I manoeuvred my way through the four rows of trees and zoomed just at the level of the grass towards Frijjo. I had my wand in my left hand and Frijjo's own anti-Apparition device in my right. My thighs and ankles gripped my broom tightly as I crouched forward along it, so low that only the nose-upward portion of my face were above the ripening grain heads, which kept slapping against my face as I zoomed forward. I was already pointing my wand and firing "Off!" curses. I saw Odin appear in front of Frijjo and her gang. I thumbed the switch of that anti-Apparition device to on and hurled it as far forward as I could. I saw Aesir dropping, then Frijjo fell. It had all happened so fast.
I landed beside Odin, warning our team "don't Apparate. I threw Frijjo's device somewhere in this area."
"That wasn't part of the plan. You could have killed one of us." He complained.
"I didn't turn it on until I saw you had already Apparated," I defensively defended myself. I had been very careful, and I had just warned one and all not to Apparate. I quickly realised why Odin had knocked me back upon my emotional heels, as I saw him pointing his index finger at Frijjo's head.
"Sorry, I know how much you hated it when Frijjo did this. I know it may have been you who dropped her. This must be done, and I must take full responsibility."
Whatever this 'Frijjo' had been, she or it was now dead.
Odin quickly snapped out of that mood, ordering us "we're not finished. These Aesir can live, but they must be Confunded, Imperiused, and disappeared for a time. We must take them back with us and dump them in the grassland a month in the future. There may or may not be a smaller fire; history says there will be, but we can dump them in a space they won't die."
That's what we did. We left them in an "Off!" state. They would come around in about twenty hours. They had no knowledge of Frijjo and a desire to preserve the peace and avoid the death of spiders. Boldgog expressed his satisfaction.