Glyph stumbled to the right and caught himself on the table as the white light faded from his vision.
“I have been waiting.” He heard Ishea say.
Glyph spun to look at her. “Bogg!” he said wildly. “Where’s Bogg?”
“Why? What has happened?” Ishea replied, sitting up on the pillows that Glyph had used for a bed.
“Where is he?” Glyph demanded, frantically looking around the room, realizing he had no idea where Bogg was.
“Drayden found some rooms in the temple where we have been staying. Bogg is there.” Ishea said, suddenly concerned.
“Where? Take me there! He’s dying!”
“Glyph, nothing has happened here while you were gone—“
Glyph rushed over to where she lay, snatched her arm, and pulled her forcibly to her feet. Light and heat burst from Ishea’s body, sending Glyph staggering back, almost knocking him off his feet. Ishea’s eyes blazed purple, and for an instant Glyph feared she might fry him with lightning.
“Ishea, Bogg was with me in my hour. He’s having a heart attack!” He explained frantically.
Ishea’s eyes returned to normal as she rushed over to him. Placing her hand on his shoulder, they both vanished, and appeared a moment later in Bogg’s room.
“Light!” Glyph called out, as a brilliant orb of red light shot out from his palm and hovered above them. The room was immediately illuminated, and his eyes fell upon Bogg laying on a plush demon-sized bed in the corner. Glyph raced over to him and leapt up onto the bed; one look told him he wasn’t breathing. “Dammit Mother Fucker!” Glyph yelled, placing his hand on Bogg’s chest, willing his heart to beat.
Ishea placed her hands on each side of Bogg’s head and closed her eyes.
A moment later Drayden appeared beside them on the bed and placed his hand over Glyph’s.
“Beat dammit!” Glyph screamed aloud at Bogg’s heart.
With a sudden gasp of air, Bogg’s body arched upward and he began to cough.
“Fucker.” Bogg choked out in a whisper. “Just let me die.”
“Amos,” Drayden said. “Ishea is going to put you to sleep, your heart is in need of repair, and it will take some time to heal the damage.”
Bogg nodded, and drifted off to sleep at Ishea’s touch.
“His condition is stable now, Glyph.” Drayden said, as Lobrein entered through the door.
“What is going on?” she asked Drayden as she willed the wall sconces to flame. The blind wizard shrugged and turned to Glyph.
“Bogg was with me in my hour.” Glyph said flatly, removing his hand from Bogg’s chest and extinguishing the light he had created.
Lobrein looked shocked for a second, then relieved, and finally angry. “Transference. It can occur, especially if you are cursed. I should have seen this coming.” Lobrein stated.
Glyph just stared at her. “How’s that?”
“You transported Amos between worlds; the curse that carries you back and forth now affects him as well.”
Glyph rubbed his head. “So, now he’s cursed. Just like me?” Glyph asked, fearful he already knew the answer.
“Yes, and because of you as well. I understand you brought Amos here to save his life, and that is commendable, but you inadvertently exposed him to your curse. Now he shares your fate.” Lobrein replied.
“I’m sure I’ll be more careful in the future.” Glyph remarked snidely.
“It is not your fault Glyph, it is not as if you wished your fate upon him. You brought Amos here without knowing; and to save his life.” Ishea said, casting a glare in Lobrein’s direction.
Glyph had already thought of the secret wish he had made while standing on the back of the boat, as three people attacked Bogg on the pier. Hearing Ishea say it struck him to the core.
“What happened on Earth?” Lobrein asked, ignoring Ishea’s look. “Did your curse change?”
“You could say that. Possessed people are trying to kill me again, only this time they’re after Bogg too.” Glyph said.
“This does not bode well.” Drayden spoke up, his white eyes searching the room. “If Tsach has altered the curse to affect Glyph, then that change would also apply to Amos, and if Tsach discovers that Amos is moving between worlds as well, he might be able to exercise control over our friend.”
“Damn.” Glyph said softly.
“We should begin to repair Amos’s heart as soon as possible. When he recovers, I will work with him. Maybe there is a mental exercise that would help him to stay out of Tsach’s line of sight.” Drayden said, rubbing his chin. “In the meantime Ishea and I have work to do.”
“Do you need any assistance?” Lobrein asked.
“No. I think we can handle this one.” Drayden replied while turning to examine Amos.
“I need some sleep.” Glyph said. “Is there an empty room around here for me, by any chance?”
“There are two to the left.” Lobrein said as she left the room.
Glyph turned to look at Ishea. She was placing her hands on Bogg’s head as she had a few moments ago. Before she closed her eyes she shot Glyph a stare that made him a bit weak in the knees. ‘She was waiting for me. She wanted to have sex with me.’ He thought, as if he was just coming to this conclusion for the first time.
“I’m gonna go.” He said, his voice trailing off as he realized they were already working on Bogg.
Turning, Glyph walked out of the room and turned left in the hallway. There he saw a door adjacent to Bogg’s, and one across the hall. He picked the one next to Bogg, and wearily pushed back the dark purple drapery covering the opening. Glyph walked the length of the room to the demon-sized bed in the corner, climbed up, and sat down. His hour seemed to take more and more out of him each time.
As soon as his head hit the pillow, a voice rang out from the hall.
It was a gargoyle; Glyph could tell by the accent. Damn. Sitting up, Glyph spoke the word ‘light’ and torches along the length of the room lit afire.
“What?” Glyph shouted, more than a little annoyed.
“I have a message for you from Greem.” The gargoyle replied.
Glyph scratched his head and pulled his hand down across his face. “Enter.” Glyph finally called out.
The gargoyle pushed the curtain aside and strode up to Glyph. “Great One. My name is Aroth. Greem requests your presence in the temple dungeon.”
“The dungeon? What?” Glyph questioned, unsure if he heard Aroth correctly.
“Yes. He wishes me to take you there now.” Aroth replied.
“What’s this all about?”
“I know only that Greem has discovered something in the dungeon, and that I am to escort you there.”
“Alright, fine.” Glyph conceded, grabbed his sword off the bed, and strapped it on.
Glyph followed the gargoyle out into the hall, down several corridors and two flights of stairs before exiting into the main hallway. Glyph recognized it as being near the giant room where Cruix had held court with Ishea and him earlier. They passed the huge main doors and continued to the spiral stairs leading down.
As they entered the dungeon, Glyph could see three Hexzu around the base of the first pillar. Something was attached to it. He suddenly realized that it was the female demon he had seen tied to the pillar when they had first re-entered the temple to fight Cruix.
“What the hell is going on?” Glyph said, feeling strangely annoyed. He circled the column, and stared up at the naked female demon.
Greem stepped up and drew him aside. “Great One, the demon professes to know you. I had my doubts, but she insisted that she be able to speak with you. She claims to have a message for you. I felt I should inform you; I apologize if I have erred in that judgment.”
“No Greem, that’s alright. I’m just a bit tired; I didn’t mean to snap at you.” Glyph replied.
He turned back to the demon, which still looked unconscious. “Well, I’m here! What do you have to tell me?” Glyph shouted.
The demon’s head rolled upward to the left, and its eyes popped open and stared piercingly at Glyph. “Great One, I implore you to listen to me. Save me! I will do whatever you want, just do not let him kill me!” She gasped out in a hoarse whisper.
“What did you do to her?” Glyph asked glancing at Greem and Aroth.
“We have done nothing but question her, Great One.” Greem replied.
“The Hexzu will not harm you—.” Glyph began to say.
“Tsach!” The demon gasped again. “As soon as he realizes you are here I will be dead. I can help you, I know things; I was a spy for Tsach.”
“And what do you want me to do?” Glyph asked for clarification.
“Do not let him kill me! I beg you!” A wave of sheer terror spread over her. The demon locked its wild eyes on Glyph. “He is coming!”
“Who? Tsach?” Glyph questioned her. The demon’s head suddenly dropped and she passed out. Glyph and Greem exchanged looks.
“Greem, I gotta get some sleep. Let me know if she says anything else, and see if you can find something to cover her up with.” Glyph said as he started towards the stairs.
“Your misguided morality sickens me!” a deep voice boomed out.
Glyph looked back at the hanging demon. The voice was different; this was the voice he had heard on the Bridge of Bones, the voice of Tsach; and it was coming from the female demon.
As Glyph turned around, the demon laughed hideously, and spat on one of the gargoyles that had gotten too close.
Drawing forth his sword, he marched straight toward the creature, and held the point of the fiery-blue blade at its chest.
“Kill her, Glyyph! Go ahead, take her life if it makes you feel any better.” Tsach’s voice bellowed from the female demon.
“What the frak do you want from me?” Glyph demanded.
“Surely you know by now, Glyyph.” Tsach replied smugly.
“Why don’t you enlighten me?” Glyph replied, already growing annoyed at how the demon slurred the pronunciation of his name.
“Your soul, you ignorant hyukduk! And before I rip it out of you, I will make you lap at my chitin!”
“Great One, kill it now. Conversing with it like this could be dangerous, for all of us.” Greem called out.
“Yes, kill me you pathetic shit! Take her life or I will do it for you. I can see you for what you are now, a weak minded peasant, unworthy of wiping a Grull’s ass!” Tsach spat at him.
“He can’t hurt us, Greem, the demon has those anti-magic restraints on its wrists.” Glyph said.
“Yet he has possessed her form, is that not magic?” Greem replied.
Tsach’s laughter boomed, and echoed through the dungeon.
“Leave her, Tsaach!” Glyph yelled, slurring the demon’s name in spite.
“Or what? I have no further use for this bitch. She has served her purpose, but she is mine, and I will see her dead. There is no further use in talking to –.”
Glyph teleported in front of the demon’s face, and while hovering, reached out and grabbed its head and yelled “Awake!”
The demon’s eyes fluttered and rolled back in to its head. Suddenly the female demon came into consciousness, and Glyph lowered himself back to the floor.
“You…you broke the connection…how is that possible?” She stammered.
“It won’t be for long. How can I save you from him? I could sense he was about to snuff you out.” Glyph asked.
“I do not know. I do not think there is a way.” She replied.
“A blood oath sacrifice.” Greem said quietly.
Glyph turned to look at him then back at the demon. “Would that work?”
The demon stared at Greem. “It might.”
“Then do it!”
Greem stepped forward and placed the handle of his vorka into her chained hand. The female demon flipped it around adeptly and placed the blade to her other arm.
She paused and looked around the room as if trying to find another way.
“What’s the holdup? If you don’t do this fast, he’ll come back and kill you!” Glyph said, growing impatient.
“She is weighing her odds Great One; her blood sacrifice binds her to you for life, until you set her free. As I understand it, she becomes your slave.” Greem stated smiling slightly.
“So it’s me or death. Which is it going to be?”
The demon’s eyes went wide with fear again, and quickly slid the flint-knapped edge across her forearm. As the blood poured forth, she began to chant. “To you my life belongs, to you this I decree, until the time you set me free, forever I am property.”
“Now what?” Glyph asked.
“Take the blood…” The female said weakly.
Glyph reached over and caught her drizzling blood in his hands.
“You place it on your face like this.” Greem said, obviously having witnessed the ritual before. “And this.” Making a striping motion across his cheeks and chin. Glyph did as he was shown. “Great One, Tsach will take this as a personal challenge, and a grievous insult. If he wanted you dead before, he will definitely want your head up a Turmur’s ass now.” Greem cautioned.
“Good. Now what?” Glyph asked the demon but she had already passed out.
Her head rolled up, and her eyes popped open, staring at Glyph.
“What!” Tsach screamed from her mouth, eyeing the ritualistic blood pattern on Glyph’s face.
“Leave her Tsach! She’s mine now!” Glyph shouted.
Tsach let out a scream of sheer hatred. “When next we meet, I will see you dead, and if you run I will hunt you wherever you go, wherever you hide, and I will make you pay dearly!” he hissed.
“Leave!” Glyph shouted with his mind as well, and the demon immediately slumped to one side.
The room grew eerily silent. Sweat rolled off Glyph’s forehead, falling to the ground below. The blue aura of the sword faded away, and he slowly lowered the blade.
“That went pretty well. Don’t you think?” Glyph asked, sheathing his weapon.
Greem shook his head. “The power you wield is amazing Great One, but more so the cunning of your mind.”
“Thank you Greem, but don’t forget the luck. I’d have been dead along time ago without it.”
Greem nodded his assent.
“Take her down, and see if you can find her some clothes.” Glyph said gesturing to the demon. “I’m going to get some sleep, and Greem, make sure those anti-magic bindings are secure, just in case.” Glyph started for the stairs, and as an afterthought turned back to Greem and said, “A Turmur’s ass?”
“A figure of speech.” Greem scowled happily, and pointed at the other two Hexzu in the room, who immediately set to work.
Glyph smiled, shook his head, and started the long trek up the staircase; he was almost to the top when the thought of teleporting finally crossed his mind. Silently cursing his stupidity, he closed his eyes and pictured his room in the temple. A moment later Glyph was walking towards the demon-sized bed.
Glyph felt like the weight of the universe had taken residence on his shoulders. Every time he turned around someone was tossing another crisis at him. It was getting to be too much, solving everyone else’s problems when he had so many of his own.
He heaved himself up, and sat down on the edge of the enormous bed to take his boots off. Laying the King’s Sword beside him on the bed, Glyph slid out of his shoulder holster and dropped it on the floor beneath his feet.
Glyph looked at his watch and realized he was only going to get a few hours sleep before daybreak, and something told him Lobrein would come to give her lesson shortly thereafter.
He plopped back onto the pillow, and wished he could have a nice hot shower. Glyph could remember the five-minute showers he used to take those many months ago in the apartment. Closing his eyes, he remembered Simeon, and the horrific torture Glyph had been forced to endure by his hand. That memory faded and was replaced by an image of dismembering Simeon up in the mountains.
A faint smile crossed his lips, but quickly faded, as the thought of Srokus came to mind. ‘Those last words… did Srokus really rape Ishea, or was he trying to mess with me?’ Glyph wondered, slowly drifting off to sleep.
“Glyph.” Ishea whispered from beside the bed.
The sound of her voice startled him awake. “Holy shit! You just scared the life out of me!” Glyph said, now breathing heavily.
“I just wanted to tell you that Amos has been healed.” She explained, and winked at him. “I knew you wanted to discuss some things…” She paused, as she climbed up onto the bed next to him. “So here I am.” She said innocently, while pressing herself up against him.
“Look I just want to let you know, if you ever want to talk about what happened with Cruix, I’m here for you.” Glyph said, deciding to go ahead and fish around for some answers.
“Oh how sweet.” Ishea said, her demeanor shifting south. “You are here for me. Do you think talking with you about it will make me feel any better?” She said sarcastically.
“No. That’s not what I meant.”
“What did you mean Glyph?” Ishea shot back, and shifted as to kneel beside him.
“I just meant if you have the need to talk about it with someone, I would be willing to do that.” Glyph replied.
“What do you want Glyph? Do you want me to tell you about all the sordid details? Is that what you want?” Ishea said, her eyes taking on a faint purple glow.
“No, no, I mean… I just…” He stammered at her.
As Glyph began to sit up, Ishea pounced on top of him pushing him back onto the bed and putting her face just inches from his own.
“Just shut up.” Ishea whispered to him, and pressed her lips full against his own.
He thought about resisting for a second, before giving in to Ishea’s obsession with him since she had emerged from Cruix’s chambers.
Glyph reached up with both hands and gently caressed them. They were perfect. Ishea undid his pants releasing his manhood. Grabbing his cock with one hand, she began to pump, simultaneously undoing the lacing of her leather pants.
When her pants fell to the floor, she mounted Glyph, and began to ride him like a stallion. Glyph reached around to hold Ishea’s cheeks with both hands, squeezing hard as her smooth wetness slid rhythmically along his hard shaft. Ishea began to growl, now grunting with every pelvic thrust. Glyph ran his hands up and down her back massaging as he went.
Shifting, Glyph rolled Ishea onto her side. Ishea pulled her leg high into the air, spreading her pink lips further. Glyph immediately re-inserted, and pounded her vigorously for several minutes while Ishea gasped repeatedly in ecstasy.
Moving again, Glyph slid over top of her, suckling her nipples as he continued to thrust faster and faster.
“Take me, Glyph! Gods take me!” Ishea yelled, as her eyes blazed purple.
With one final deep thrust, Glyph ground his crotch to hers, unleashing his seed deep inside her. Ishea was quivering all over, convulsing her body for several seconds before finally relaxing.
Glyph reached up with both hands and gently caressed them. They were perfect. Ishea undid his pants while simultaneously untied the lacing of her leather pants.
When her pants fell to the floor, she slipped beneath the sheet on top of Glyph. Ishea’s body began to undulate rhythmically, and she started to growl, then grunted with every pulsing motion. Glyph ran his hands up and down her back massaging as he went.
They shifted positions as Glyph rolled Ishea onto her side. He ravaged her for several minutes while Ishea gasped repeatedly in ecstasy. Moving again, Glyph slid over top of her, suckling her nipples as he continued to engage her sumptuous flesh.
“Take me, Glyph! Gods take me!” Ishea yelled, as her eyes blazed purple.
With one final push, Glyph arched his back. He could feel Ishea quivering all over, occasionally convulsing her body for several seconds before finally relaxing.
Ishea looked into his eyes and smiled; Glyph smiled back. Slumping to one side, he collapsed beside her, and as she ran her fingers through his hair, Glyph finally succumbed to exhaustion and fell asleep.
Glyph found himself wandering the halls of Toleth’Va. After a short while he came upon some steps, and decided to take them. The steps seemed to grow in length with every step, but eventually he reached the top. He expected to see the large terrace, with monks addling about, the raised daises and sunken koi ponds. Instead he found himself in a mountain forest. Following a deer path nearby, he discovered a wide river and approached its banks. He knelt down to take a drink of the inviting water, and noticed his reflection was not his own. It was that of an old man with gray hair and beard.
“You are the man from Toleth’Va. I have to tell you something.” Glyph said. “I have chosen.”
The old man stared back at him “You have a truthful insight, a gift of the gods. Use it wisely.”
“What do I do now?” Glyph asked the old man.
Suddenly, the reflection was gone, replaced by the image of a mountain and clouds. Glyph looked upwards and realized he stood in a valley between two mountains. The one to the right side of the river suddenly caught the first rays of light from the sun as it crested the ridgeline….
“It is time.” A loud voice rang out.
Glyph’s eyes popped open, the lanterns on the walls were lit. He had to think about where he was. Then his eyes focused on the source of the voice, and there stood Lobrein a few feet from the end of his bed.
“What the fuck? Don’t you people knock?” Glyph screamed, bolting upright in bed. “I finally get a chance to sleep in a real bed, and you have to ruin that!”
“Glyph, it is well past sunrise. If we do not begin now, we will not be able to finish before the Hexzu are ready to leave.” Lobrein stated calmly.
Glyph let out a huge sigh. “Fine. Can I at least get dressed in private?”
Lobrein turned and left the room. Glyph found his clothes, and stuck the blood stained articles back onto his body. The stench was getting out of hand, and Lobrein noticed as soon as he entered the hall.
“You do know that you smell, right?” Lobrein asked, waving her hand under her nose.
“Yes, and I would clean up if I had enough water and some soap.” Glyph shot back at her.
“Why not create some?”
“I can make ice, but it disappears after awhile.” Glyph replied as they walked into Lobrein’s room down the hall.
“Water is not that much different, and you are correct. All elemental magic is finite in nature. If you create water with magic and drink it, it tastes good, and quenches your thirst, but when it disappears, it also vanishes from your stomach. You therefore cannot benefit from it in that way, however you can use water as a tool. Create the water and use it to wash away the dirt, when the water vanishes you are still clean.”
Glyph had to admit she did make sense. “Mind if I give that a whirl?”
“Not at all.” Lobrein replied wrinkling her nose. “There is a room at the end of the hall that is suitable. Leave your clothes by the door and I will take care of them for you.”
Glyph sauntered down the hall and into a room with no furniture. He took off his clothes and left them where Lobrein could take them. After a few short tries he got it to work. Creating water was a rather exhausting process, especially trying to get the temperature just right. Glyph discovered that by super-heating the rock wall he could dry himself off. As the water on the floor began to disappear, it left a fine layer of sediment.
He found his clothes where he had left them, completely free of dirt and blood stains. ‘Now that’s a good trick.’ Glyph thought. After getting dressed he walked back to Lobrein’s room.
Lobrein was sitting cross-legged on a massive carpet. “That is much better.” Levitating a few feet off the floor she added, “Shall we begin?”
“Alright, what do you want me to do?” Glyph asked.
“Hop.” Lobrein said strangely.
Glyph felt strange again, his leg began to bounce, and suddenly he was hopping around, back and forth. He tried to stop and found that he couldn’t.
When she saw that she had Glyph’s attention Lobrein went on. “The simpler the word is, the harder it is to break away from. It can only be one word spoken, so words with more meaning have more power and cause greater effect. Words cannot force a person to knowingly inflict harm to oneself.”
Glyph continued hopping; this was going a bit far. How had he done it with Srokus; that was the answer, if he could only remember.
“A Word spell can be dangerous, and even deadly. Therefore it becomes easiest to train the mind to block such spells automatically.”
‘Block the control’ he thought, and set his mind to severing the connection of control Lobrein had placed over him. Glyph was breathing heavy now, and his legs were starting to give out. “I think I get it now, you can stop.”
“Do you? A more complex word such as ‘veritos’ is actually easier to defend against, even though it is potentially more dangerous than, say, ‘hop’. Veritos, or vertigo if you like, requires one to feel fear, and anxiety, while experiencing dizziness, blurred vision, and even physical illness. Block any one of these feelings, and the whole chain crumbles. While ‘hop’ is just the act of jumping up and down. This single simple action creates a stronger connection, and one you are having trouble freeing yourself from. ” Lobrein explained.
“Enough!” Glyph said, and felt a click inside his head as if a switch had turned off. Was it his own doing or had Lobrein released him? He quickly sat down on the ground and began to rub his aching legs.
“It is harder than one would think.” Lobrein said, smiling.
Glyph had been freed, not broken free.
“The real trick to defend yourself is to take a piece of your mind and devote it to that task. The easiest way is to think of a song you like, or remember, and sing it in your mind over and over, until you hear nothing else. Once you have it, continue to play it softer, while doing something else. With practice, you no longer hear the song. For some reason this thought pattern disrupts the magic of the word, and the compulsion to obey is no longer there.”
“And that’s it?” Glyph asked.
“More or less.” Lobrein replied. “Of course this will take practice, Glyph. It is not an easy thing to do, even though it may sound simple. Care to give it another go?” Lobrein questioned.
Glyph nodded. “Something besides hop.” He told her, and sang the song in his mind, concentrating only on the lyrics.
“Crawl.” Lobrein spoke again in that resonating low voice.
Several seconds went by, and he repeated the song again. He looked up at Lobrein who was now raising her eyebrows at him.
“That was very good Glyph, may I see your technique?” She asked, and placed her feet down to the floor and stepped toward him.
Glyph shrugged smugly, “Sure.”
Lobrein placed her hand to his left temple, and removed it a second later. She tilted her head to one side looking confused. “Who is this Pop-eye?” She asked.
Glyph smiled. “It’s a long story.”
“No matter. The technique is sound, yet you still must learn to repress it, unless you want to hear it all the time, or risk being attacked before you can sing the song.” Lobrein turned and walked over to the table and poured some water from a flask there. “Still, for your first lesson it is amazing progress. I worry about you Glyph. I worry that maybe you are becoming too powerful too fast.”
“What? Are you serious? I have to be powerful, Lobrein. In case you don’t remember I’m being hunted by yet another demon. Besides, it’s written in your damn precious prophecy. If I don’t learn this fast I’m dead, and a lot of other people are too. I don’t know how I can do it, but I can, and I will.” Glyph ranted.
“Do you know the principle of addition?” Lobrein asked.
“Do I know how to add? Yes, of course.” Glyph said feeling somewhat incensed.
“What is the sum of three hundred sixty-seven and eight hundred eighty-six?” She questioned him. Before he could answer, Lobrein said, “crawl.”
Falling to his hands and knees Glyph began to crawl around in circles. He quickly began to sing in his mind but he found he could not stop crawling.
“The song is only a defense Glyph, not the cure. That is much harder to come by as it may differ with the word used. What may work to break you free from one word will not necessarily do so for another.” She watched him go around a few more times. “Sometimes concentrating on an object works, sometimes thinking of the word that means the opposite can get results, you could also try invoking strong positive emotions; the negative ones do not help. I will leave you to it for awhile, if you free yourself, your lesson for today is over, if not I will be back in an hour to bring you out of it.” With that Lobrein turned and left the room.
“Fucking bitch.” Glyph grumbled, trying his best now to concentrate on the back of his hand as he crawled around and around in circles.
Thirty minutes later, he broke free of Lobrein’s word of command. Healing his aching knees, Glyph stood and went in search of Greem.