Stigr sat studying the histories at the end of time. It wasn’t truly the end of time, there was no true end to time, but he called it the end of time because no sentient races were left on the surface of Nevre. Something had happened fast enough that it wasn’t recorded in the great hall of histories. The histories just stopped. He was too worried about what that might mean to go back to that time and see what had happened. In all of his visits, he had never once seen any of the other gods. Not even Gormaliev.
A tome was lying open with a single sentence on the right page and nothing on the left. There was a single sentence. “The Pathfinder, meet me at sundown on the seven-thousandth anniversary of The Fount of the Gods at The Fount.”
Surprised he hadn’t seen the sentence before Stigr thought of the time that the note was for and, finding a path there, jumped backward in time a little more than a month before the meeting time. He wanted to travel in that time period. It was less lonely on the roads then.
– – –
Stigr had been traveling the roads alone, but he still met people. This far north the summer days were long and the nights were extremely short. The dirt never truly revealed itself even at these times. It brought back memories he would rather not have. Memories of his wife made him mourn her.
“Maybe I should’ve traveled in the winter. Wouldn’t worry about remembering the happy times then.”
A dwarf bundled in furs was riding with him for a stretch. “Well, better happy memories that make you cry than the cold that makes your tears freeze before they leave your eyes.”
“Fair, madam dwarf. That does sting quite a lot.” Stigr remembered when he blindly jumped directly into a winter freeze with his eyes watering. “The crystals feel like they’re ripping your eyes out.”
Stroking her sideburns on her otherwise hairless face the dwarf looked thoughtful. “You sound like you’ve lived through that. You said I should be able to guess your name, but these hints you give. They’re terrible.”
“Only time will tell if that’s the case.”
“There you go, being cryptic again.” The dwarf stopped her mule and dismounted. “You keep going. I’ll catch up in a moment.”
Shrugging Stigr drove his horse forward when a parchment fell from the sky. He grabbed it, knowing that it was probably a message to himself. The note read: “Wait for her. If you move on bandits will kill her.”
“Why do I do this to myself? Now I’m imagining things that are probably worse than what happened,” he chided himself under his breath. “I think I’ll stretch my legs a little. The saddle’s starting to make me sore.”
“Alright then. Just don’t come over here.”
Stigr dismounted and went over to the mule. He patted it on the nose and pulled two carrots from his horse’s saddlebag. “Here you go. One each.” He gave one to the mule and one to his horse.
He turned to do some laps around the two animals and felt an arrow pierce through his heart. “Oh, that stings. I forgot how that feels.” He grabbed the shaft and pulled it out then he pulled his sword from its sheath. “Now, where are they.” He looked around for a moment and saw one. “Ok. You first, then I’ll have to go die and deal with the rest of you afterward.”
A few bolts rushed through the air where Stigr was as he jumped two summers ahead, bringing the horse and mule with him. Then he jumped back and dealt with the bandit who had shot him.
“Oh, an elf. What are you doing with a group of bandits?” He knelt next to her, mirroring her position.
Eyes wide the bandit turned to see The Pathfinder next to her. “Wait, you’re no ordinary human.”
“No, you just shot a god through the heart.” He snapped her neck then died. His body turned to smoke and reconstituted next to where he was kneeling, naked. “Oh, that’s cold.” He scooped up his gear and jumped forward to where the horse and mule were. “Don’t mind me, you two. Just getting dressed after dying.”
The horse snorted and pulled some leaves off a nearby brush.
Stigr continued jumping back and forth in time. The other bandits he incapacitated. They hadn’t shot him and mortally wounded him. They would live.
Once he was done with the bandits he brought the horse and the mule back where and when they were, averting his eyes from where he would appear. No use in confusing his subconscious if he didn’t have to.
Before long the female dwarf returned from doing her business to the side of the trail. “So, what’d I miss?”
“A bandit attack. They were a stupid bunch.”
Looking around the dwarf saw four bandits unconscious and one dead in the snow. “Why’s she dead and not the others?”
“Oh, she shot me.”
The dwarf started pulling herbs from the mule’s saddlebags.
“No need. I healed myself. She hit my heart though. She meant to kill. The other’s might’ve too, but she’s the only one who almost succeeded.” Stigr remounted his horse. “Come, you wanted to meet at The Fount of The Gods with me in three days.”
“Oh, you’re The Pathfinder?” She started stuffing the herbs back into the saddlebags. “Why didn’t you just tell me earlier?”
She mounted the mule. “Bull again.”
“I like playing games with people, okay?”
“Good, a truthful god is a good god. Let’s ride.” She urged the mule forward. “I actually need you to see something at The Fount. Maybe you can do something about it.”
“If I can’t I can find someone who can.” Stigr urged his horse to follow.
“That’s why I wrote in that scholar’s book. I knew you could.”