Apparently they were. And realizing they could not grab me, they eventually fled.
I was too tired to follow. They had got what they wanted, which was to hold me back while their master, while their king escaped.
Escaped the star, which was what he was running from. Escaped the land, which asked him to become one with it.
I understood a little more now. Could I give that? Maybe I could.
Not yet, but when it was needed.
When the cycle reached this point again and desperate things were needed. Of course, then it might not be this realm but another that needed such sacrifice.
I crawled, almost literally, back up the mountain.
“Did he get away?” asked Jorun.
“The troops held me off. I’d have yelled for help, but…”
I nodded. “Too narrow, yeah. They ran once he had enough of a head start.”
I stumbled back over to the dead tree and sat down with my back against it.
The star had gone.
I was not sure when it had gone and where. It was not my task to kill him. “I think this is happening because killing Surtur isn’t my job.”
“I’m not just saying that because I couldn’t beat him, you…”
“Dwarf?” she supplied.
“Dwarf,” I agreed. “And no, I can’t beat him.”
“You weakened him.”
“But it was not me he ran from.” I shook my head a bit. It was not, and it felt like a loss, not a victory.
Not even a stalemate. I would never get him back up here now.
Which meant that I knew what I had to do.
Just not yet.
Not until I had…