The Starways pulsed with virtual energy.
Traveler cast a curious glance around the higher dimensional space. Even after so long as the equivalent to a deity, much of his former mortal mind tried to comprehend the multiverse in simpler terms. The first time he glimpsed the Starways, they had seemed like a corridor; a tunnel between all worlds. But perhaps a fold between spaces was a better term—if he was to resort to such mortal comparisons.
What interested him weren't the defining characteristics of the Starways, but the way the undulated around the present Creation-Sphere where he waited. It reminded him of a time, in another Sphere far from here, when he had tapped the first threads of divinity, watching the way Higher Beings moved between worlds. There was nothing particularly special about the universe he gazed over. And yet there was a touch of the celestial at work.
Traveler knew his companion was down there. But these were not her doings at work upon this world. There was something more there. Something a lowly god as he could not quite perceive. But he sensed it.
Conduits of potential energy took flight like ribbons around him. They shimmered in rotating washes of the spectrum, rainbows that jittered uncontrollably. A pathway from the Starways opened up into the Sphere below, revealing a deity like unto himself rising up.
South had returned.
She wore her usual costume: simplistic white robes that left her arms and feet bare. She kept her pale white blonde hair straight, flowing around the edges of her shoulders. It was the getup she had settled upon ever since their ascendency. Perhaps a little too influenced by the mortals that had called her an angel in their home Sphere. If such a place as home meant anything anymore.
South wore a grin of self-satisfaction. She also had in tow a pathetic looking mortal. This was certainly a first.
Traveler groaned. "South, what is this?"
She brought herself close to him, as though the two of them stood upon an unending plane of polished pearl glass. Her mortal lay crumpled in a heap upon the glossy surface, seemingly uninterested in the higher plane where he now lay. What surprised Traveler was the tabernacle he wore—he was a living mortal, complete with flesh and bone. Not a spirit she had grabbed in death.
South spared a pitiful glance at the man lying beneath her. "Not what, but who. Show some respect for the poor guy."
Poor guy. Yes, Traveler could see the sorrow and misery woven into the Life Story of this mortal. He didn't waste the time perceiving all of it—only enough to tell that this man had fallen far in the grief of tragedy and war. While he yet lived, the person that remained was little more than a wretch; truly the lowest. And South had brought him here.
"Fine," Traveler murmured. "But forget about him for a moment. Where the hell have you been?" He nodded to the Creation-Sphere glistening beneath them in the eternal void between universes.
South's eyes flashed briefly towards the world below, her face softening as she exhaled. "Taking a break, like you. We haven't missed much, have we Traveler?"
A break. Such a mortal thing to say. As if they were on some sort of gallant quest across the heavens, now weakened and tired from their efforts. And Traveler was weary: a deep ache he had felt in his soul and in every fiber of his undying being. It was a fatigue beyond the taxing of a physical body. It was the weight of a soul stretched thin by the cares of Eternity.
They may have been young gods, but they really hadn't missed much in this grand scheme, had they?
"No," he agreed, "I suppose not. But why were you down there? In that Sphere?"
South turned, folding her arms to gaze down on the limitless worlds scattered in the universe below. Traveler stepped up beside her, allowing his inner eye to glimpse deeper into the reality unfolding. There was always too much for him to see properly. It seemed so limiting to call himself a god and yet not have the omniscience of a god.
What he could see were the places and times where South had sequestered herself. Like a grand number of the Creation-Spheres in all of Eternity, this one bore the similar patterns by the Ones Who Created Before. There was a planet called Earth. There were humans who had experienced the trials and nations of history so close to what Traveler had grown up with.
"It's a colorful place, with plenty to hold my attention," said South. "I made some new friends."
"Hmm…" Traveler scratched at his chin. Yes, there were mortal humans here who had once claimed the Earth as home. Now they had stretched out across a small corner of their galaxy. And they had begun to tinker with the powers of reality itself. "Colorful isn't the word I would use. Especially with the stirrings."
South laughed lightly, nodding in agreement. "That's why I brought him."
Traveler turned with her, looking down on the wretch crumpled at their feet. He was so consumed in his sufferings that he seemed to have missed the whole new environment around him. Mortals were like that; leave their world behind, but hold on to the cares that came with it.
But Traveler sensed the stirrings within this mortal. He was a man much like Traveler had been in ages past. A man with the capacity for divinity. South seemed to think all mortals in all the worlds in all of Eternity held such potential. Traveler didn't know.
What he did know was that this was no ordinary man lying at their feet.
"Well, South, don't leave me in suspense. Who is this prick you decided to pluck out of an inferno?"
South grinned. She knew he had seen it all now. The fiery destruction of the space station, orchestrated by this man in an attempt to bring bloodshed and destruction upon those he called his enemies. A man who would be a villain in every sense of the word: a contemptible person called evil by his foes. Sentenced to death by his own machinations; saved only because a god had taken curiosity in his latent possibilities.
"His name is Dillon," said South. "Though he liked to call himself Axel, once upon a time. He has some Seeds of Eternity within. And we're going to put them to work."