Abigail crawled out from behind the farthest shelf of the library, clutching seven heavy and very dusty history books. Their pages were barely used and smelled of must and time. They were happy to be rescued from the farthest and least frequented corners of the library. She set them down creating a cloud of dust in front of her friend Eden.
“Still trying to prove that ridiculous theory?” Eden asked. She waved the dust away from her face. “It could prevent you from graduating.”
“They don’t care if your doctorate thesis is right, just if it is well researched and done properly,” Abigail replied. Eden had been her best friend since kindergarten. They had enjoyed youth and fought through life’s problems together. But she had never understood Abigail’s obsession with the so-called “Immortal.” She thought it to be a crazy old crackpots attempt at fame. Abigail wasn’t so sure.
“You have spent a long time working on your PhD for history, it should have at least a shred of truth to it,” Eden replied.
“But history is all about uncovering the hidden,” Abigail began. “So much history has been shrouded and purposely distorted. It is our job as future historians to uncover the truth behind the text.”
“But an immortal man that fell from the sky almost four thousand years ago?” Eden asked. “It sounds like something from one of your brother’s novels. People generally agree that aliens are not real and we have short a lifespan. “I just can’t get over how all of it comes together,” Abigail retorted. They had had this argument many times before. “The same man is described by dozens of different cultures all across the globe from all different time periods. It has only been in the last hundred years or so that he has fallen off of the radar so to speak.”
“There is no changing your mind on this is there?” Eden asked. She looked her friend squarely in the eyes. Abigail had always been stubborn. That coupled with her incredible drive made her impossible to stop. She did have to admit that Abigail had convincing arguments. “The data seems to be all there, but how could it be possible?” she asked herself. It just defied the laws of the universe.
“I haven’t spent this long at university to change that now,” Abigail replied.
“Then good luck,” Eden said. “If there is anyone that can prove this it is you.”
“Thank you,” Abigail smiled and squeezed her friend’s hand. Eden had always been there for her. Even now when she could tell that Eden thought she was crazy. She had dragged Eden through more than one adventure. Eden was the one that always managed to get her safely home.
“What are you going to do if they fail you?” Eden said as the moment of understanding passed. “You know more about history than anyone else I know. You will unravel things that have plagued historians for hundreds of years. I just hope you won’t throw away your promising career on this.”
“But this is what I want,” Abigail replied.
“I know,” Eden said gently. “It just would have been safer to have done something less controversial. You could have graduated with honours. Then once you have settled into a steady job you can continue your research into the Immortal in you spare time.”
Abigail wondered if her friend was right. Eden always seemed to be able catch a glimpse of the best possible future. “I will never understand how you do that,” she said.
“Do what?” Eden asked innocently. A large smile broke out on her face. “Now if you will excuse me, I have a date.”
“Not Jason again?” Abigail whined.
“What is wrong with Jason?” Eden fired back. “He is handsome, stable, smart, loyal and he even speaks well of you.”
“There is no adventure with him,” Abigail retorted.
“It doesn’t always have to be an adventure,” Eden replied. “I don’t think that there is a man adventurous enough for you.”
“There is,” Abigail said. “I just have to find him.”
Eden just rolled her eyes and waved good-bye. A few guys had tried to tame the wild Abigail, but all failed miserably. Their problem was that they had tried to tame her. It wasn’t possible to control her, only direct her. Abigail’s parents told her of the wild things Abigail had gotten into when she hadn’t even been able to walk yet. She was indomitable. It only got worse as she got older. Her parents made every effort to take her to exotic locations to fulfill her desire of adventure, but they only expanded them. Her father, in exasperation, went to the library and brought back books of all sorts in hopes of finding her a hobby. She disregarded all others and got lost in the history book. She found her adventures in pouring through historical records, imagining herself being there. She developed theories on every unexplained thing and devoured the mundane.
Abigail waved good-bye to Eden as she left for her date. Eden’s words held her mind for a few moments before her thirst for knowledge drew her back to her research.
The first book produced little. Abigail was always looking for the story that was out of the ordinary. They were harder to find as they were often suppressed and omitted from recent publishing. Older books tended to have better information for Abigail’s purposes. The Internet was often of little use or help. It took so long to actually find relevant and real data that it was easier to hunt through libraries and collector’s collections.
Abigail finally found what she was looking for. It had only taken seven books. It was the same description. A man, about six foot two, short black hair and piercing green eyes. He was thick with muscles and his skin was described as being darkened from the sun, but the story had come from Nepal. His face emanated strength and his voice commanded any and all. The story had been told to a missionary in the early 1900’s. The people of the area had never seen a white person, not until a missionary had found their village nestled high in the Himalayan mountains. They thought that he was the great hero returning to them. It took them several months to be able to understand each other enough to communicate. The missionary had studied the many local languages in Kathmandu, but these people had little contact with the outside world and spoke in an obscure dialect. He spent the next several months telling them that he wasn’t who they thought he was. They showed him the place where their great hero had slain a dozen dragons. Bewildered at their tales he asked them when it had happened. They told him that it had been nearly twenty generations, roughly eight hundred years the missionary guessed, since he had been seen, yet the story persisted. This hero seemed to hear their cry for help and came swiftly. His giant sword ripped through the dragon’s armoured hide effortlessly. He would not take any payment or praise. He simply left once all were safe. He wore little, save what could only be described as a loincloth despite the fact that it was wintertime. The missionary left a year later, feeling called elsewhere. The tribe seemed to think that this legendary warrior was a manifestation of their gods.
Abigail put the other books back and kept the one. Once back in her dorm, she put another checkmark in her tally of how many different cultures had had an appearance of this man. “Thirty seven,” she said aloud. “Thirty seven different cultures across twenty nine different time periods. How can it not be true?”
Abigail turned to her computer and began adding the new information to her thesis. The thought struck her that she should check and see if the missionary was real or not. It didn’t take long but she found him. Charles Smith from Charleston, South Carolina. He spent thirty years in Nepal. Most of his tenure was outside of Katmandu, but took several journeys up into the mountains. There was a link to another site that told of his stranger tales from the mountains.
Abigail stared at the information on the screen. She was so entranced that she didn’t even hear the party starting across the hall. Charles Smith had seventeen different stories from seventeen different villages in varying areas of Nepal all reporting the same man. His deeds ranged anywhere from slaying dragons to healing sick children to stopping an avalanche. The dates, once she did the math ranged from about 1200 to 1400 AD. Whoever the author of the website was, they seemed to have even more information than she did. She clicked on another link that took her to the homepage for the “Immortal.”
“The Immortal,” filled up most of the screen. Abigail scrolled downwards and an artist’s depiction of the man appeared. He was slim but bristled with muscles. His black hair was a little longer than she expected, but eyes were what she expected them to be. They shone with power. Their piercing gaze looked as if they could topple buildings. She was amazed that someone could draw that well. In one hand he held a great sword, in the other he held a severed bear’s head. He wore nothing but a rough animal skin loincloth. She was surprised that there were no scars on him. She figured that after all the things he had done there must be some kind of scarring, but she had never read of any.
Abigail continued to scroll down. She absorbed all she could. The website had a few of the same stories that she did and many others that she didn’t. Some of the stories were vague and unreferenced, so she put those to the side for the time being. The website was arranged in no particular order, but she began to see a pattern. There was evidence that suggested the Immortal to be in a particular area for about three hundred years. She began to make notes of the timeline.
The Immortal first appeared in historical writings in ancient Egypt and northern Africa around 2000BC. After fading from Egypt, he reappeared in the Middle East. A few hundred years later he appeared in India and then China and then he headed to the Islands of South East Asia and the Oceanic. Then the narrative changed. From there he was viewed more as a villain than a hero. In less than a hundred years he was shunned and sent away. He vanished from history for nearly two hundred years before reappearing in roughly 820 BC, as the legendary Hercules in Greece. It was his home for the next eight hundred years according to the text. Hercules’ story had taken him to Mount Olympus to live with the gods, but similar descriptions reappeared shortly thereafter. The legend of Hercules had always been Abigail’s greatest proof. The story of Hercules being Zeus’ son made a perfect cover for the Immortal. It wasn’t difficult for him to create his own legend with great deeds. The people of Greece at that time were fervent in their regard for their gods. Deception would be simple. A poor woman would have gladly accepted the fame and safety that the Immortal could have afforded her. He often appeared in minor or local stories from the lesser-known areas of Greece. But never again was he seen as someone so great as Hercules.
Upon leaving the Greeks, around the time of Christ, the Immortal faded in and out of the North and South American tales. Many were vague and even fewer were actually written down at the time, but the description stayed the same and the deeds were no less great. He was difficult to track for several years until he seemingly reappeared as part of Attila the Hun’s hoard. It was the first time that he had been directly influencing a massive army. He was described as Attila’s closest advisor and fierce warrior who gave no quarter. The Hun’s empire was short lived and the Immortal disappeared for the main narrative again. Stories sprang up from across Europe. They ranged from the Nordic countries down to Spain and across to Russia.
The website stated that the Immortal disappeared from history until around 1200AD when he reappeared in Nepal. Abigail however had much of the missing time figured out. In roughly 800AD King Arthur and his magician Merlin started to come on to the scene. Merlin was always described as an old man, but there were a few times that Merlin was said to have appeared in his true form, a thickly muscled man with short black hair and green eyes. The old man was his disguise. It was from Merlin that King Arthur derived much of his power. Especially since Arthur was a commoner. The Sword in the Stone was said to be a test of one’s heart, only Arthur’s was pure enough to wield it. Merlin was said to have been the one that created the Sword in the Stone. This was the most dramatic mention of the Immortal’s magical powers that weren’t of a healing nature. Most of his deeds were done by strength of arms, not by magic, or at least that is what was recorded.
After the reign of King Arthur and his death, Merlin disappeared. The Immortal however did not leave England until 1000AD. From there he went to the crusades. There were stories from both sides of the conflict about a man of the same description. His participation in the conflict was more of one trying to stop the fighting than encourage it. The final entry Abigail had found in her own research showed the Immortal walking slowly away from the truce signed by Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. The monk that saw him that day recorded his final words, “there is no hope for either side in this conflict.” The monk wrote much more on the subsequent crusades. He mentioned those words and the haunting green eyes of the Immortal many times over.
Ten years later the Immortal was spotted around Eastern Asia and then Africa. South America followed up and then the website finished up. It reported that there had been no official sightings since 1809 in Bolivia. Some stories existed from un-cited sources in the USA. The author surmised the Immortal had grown weary of the world and stopped trying to save it. A co-author suggested that he had completed his task and was finally allowed to die. Another suggested that the incident at Roswell was his ship coming to return him home. The final one said that he simply blended into society and left his godly powers behind.
Abigail stretched out as she realized how long she had been sitting there. A foul smell was emendating form the hallway. She went to investigate. She opened the door to the hallway and nearly threw up, dozens of people were passed out in their own vomit. She looked at her watched and realized that it was nearly five in the morning. It had been a little after ten o’clock when she had entered her room. She wished that she had rented the place with Eden off campus. The new students seemed to get more disgusting every year. Abigail closed the door and sprayed her own room with air freshener. She crawled into bed to a grab a few hours of sleep before the last class of her school career.