The Gargoyle that carried Glyph swooped down through the darkness for several hair-raising seconds until Glyph felt that decelerating elevator feeling as the Gargoyle quickly slowed their descents. A moment later Glyph was placed on level ground. He attempted to turn around, but the creature still held fast to his left shoulder, its iron grip keeping him from moving. Suddenly a shower of sparks moved vertically down the wall beside him as the gargoyle swept its left wing tip along a groove in the rock, igniting a nearby torch. The gargoyle released its hold and tapped Glyph twice to get his attention, then pointed back and down. The torchlight could not penetrate the darkness enough to see how far it was to the bottom, nor could it illuminate the far wall of what he assumed to be an enormous cavern. Without thinking, Glyph took several steps away from the edge that the gargoyle had indicated. Turning back, Glyph could now see that he stood in front of a deep hollow that extended into the rock and ended in a darkened passageway. A second later the gargoyle carrying Drayden placed him beside Glyph and landed a few feet away, followed by the one that held Ishea.
“Thank you my friends.” Drayden said graciously to the Gargoyles, and bumped his forearms against the forearms of the one who had carried him. Then Drayden signaled for the one carrying Ishea to follow them. “This way, Glyph.” Drayden directed by grabbing his arm and leading him forward into the dark cave.
Glyph’s eyes began to slowly adjust to a phosphorescent moss that was growing on the cave walls. Drayden led him to a place to sit, Glyph ran his hands over the stone chair and cautiously sat down as the Gargoyle laid Ishea down on a slab of smooth rock jutting out from the wall. As the Gargoyle exited the room, Drayden made a gesture, and torches hanging along the walls lit up around them.
“Welcome, Great One,” Drayden said, swinging his arm around, “to my humble abode!”
Glyph briefly shielded his eyes from the light; he was seated at a small table. Drayden donned a robe he snatched off a nearby stone peg, and sat down opposite him.
“Alright, what the fuck is going on here?” Glyph demanded.
“Relax, relax. We have much to discuss, you and I. As I have told you, my name is Drayden, and as you have already deduced, I am one of The Seven sorcerers of the world of M’atra.” Drayden explained.
Just then Ishea moaned, and began to stir. Glyph got up and went to her side; Drayden followed behind him. He unzipped her jacket enough to check her wounds. They were much improved, but deep purplish scars crisscrossed the length of her back. The sight reminded him acutely of his own wounds, which he was sure looked worse than hers. He noticed that the seat of her pants had been cut through horizontally. As he leaned closer to investigate, Ishea rolled slightly, opening the cut wider, and Glyph could see the circular pattern of a brand that had been freshly burned into the side of her right buttock.
“They branded her?” Glyph said out loud, feeling the rage burning. “They fucking branded her! What kind of…” He paused; he knew full well what kind of sicko Cruix was. Choking back several other swear words, he punched the wall and immediately regretted it.
“I have one as well. We all do.” Drayden said, tying back his long stringy hair. He knelt down beside her, and began to whisper. “Ishea?” Drayden spoke. “Ishea.”
Ishea’s eyes fluttered for a moment, and then opened, slowly coming into focus on Drayden’s face. Her face contorted slightly as if something were wrong, then she screamed. She slid as far back to the wall as she could, and clasped her hand over her gaping mouth.
“It is alright Ishea, relax, you are safe.” Drayden informed her, a wide smile growing on his face. “I cannot tell you how glad I am to see you again.”
Ishea’s eyes grew wide. “Drayden?” Ishea could barely ask.
“Yes Ishea, it is Drayden. I am alive and well. Living here.”
“Here?” She said, choking up.
“The whole time, I am afraid.” Drayden said, a wince of pain crossing his wrinkled face.
Ishea slowly sat up, and when she was upright, screamed “Drayden!” and flung her arms around him in a deep embrace. Tears rolled down her cheeks in rivers as she sobbed hysterically.
Glyph wasn’t sure whether to feel jealous or happy. In one respect Drayden had stolen what should have been his moment with Ishea. On the other hand, she was freaking out on someone else for a change. Deciding the two cancelled each other out, he was content to stand back and watch the happy reunion.
“Here put this on.” Drayden told her and handed her a dark brown robe. Glyph showed her how the zipper of the jacket worked, then he and Drayden turned so she could change.
“So what happened?” Ishea finally managed to say, and locked eyes with Glyph.
Drayden looked somewhat surprised that the question wasn’t directed at him, and that made Glyph feel a little better.
“The Hour, that’s what happened.” Glyph responded as he put his jacket back on.
“Where?” Ishea asked him.
“Earth” Glyph replied. “Why?”
“Was it the same as before?”
“No, it was different, and what makes you ask that?” Glyph responded.
Ishea paused in thought. “The curse. It must be the curse. But it does not make sense.” She said, speaking her thoughts aloud.
“What do you mean?” Glyph asked her
“I mean, you vanished. You were engulfed in white flames and then you disappeared. Originally the curse created another body and allowed your animus to travel between them, but now your entire body moves between worlds.”
“That’s why the demons weren’t waiting for me to return to my body. I thought for sure if I was going to return that I’d have to fight my way free or die trying.” Glyph added.
Drayden, who was turning his head back and forth between Ishea and Glyph, said “Curse?”
Ishea’s eyes suddenly snapped back to Drayden. “And you!” she shouted. “What the hell are you doing here?” Ishea demanded.
“I am sorry, Ishea. There was no other way. There are some things we need to discuss. All of us.” He added, nodding at Glyph.
Glyph was trying to recall a time he had ever heard Ishea swear, and was sure he never had.
“Very well Drayden, you first.” Ishea said glaring at him.
“I always knew this day would come, and I thought of a hundred ways to tell you this, but I guess I should start at the beginning.”
“Shortly after the first war, Albast came upon the Tome of Dark Lore in the ruins of Muret. The book was not of M’atra, but Degruthras. We assumed it was lost in Drathus’s haste to evacuate. He took it to Verto and the monks of Priam, and between them they unlocked some of the book’s secrets.”
“Suffice it to say, they discovered a prophecy written among its pages. Albast called upon Lobrein and me, to ask our opinion of the prophecy he had discovered.”
“Why didn’t he inform anyone else? I mean you’re team Seven, right?” Glyph asked, wishing he’d get to the point.
“Glyph, they were the masters. The rest of us were students, so to speak.” Ishea interjected.
“We were more powerful than the others that came after us. So we took them on as students, and passed on to them all that we could. It would seem that the number of syllables in our names predicted the amount of power we had, and it was evident when Miatsu arrived. Albast decided to teach him, since Albast was the First wizard. Lobrein, being Second, took Prianna, and I third, took Morracor.”
“You know we are all of different worlds, right?” Drayden asked Glyph.
“Yes, I’ve been told.”
“Well we all arrived at different ages, different stages of life. We all remember our home worlds, and our lives there. When Ishea arrived, things changed a bit. Albast found her as a baby, an infant mind you.” his eyes moistened as he gazed at Ishea. “We raised her as our daughter.”
“What’s this got to do with prophecy? And the Book?” Glyph sighed.
“Well, that is just it, you see. There were direct, undeniable references in the prophecy to Ishea being involved in some future event that could save or destroy the world as we know it. After in-depth study, we all agreed that it must be you, and when Lobrein made the correlation between the Great One, and the ‘Man of Light and Darkness’ from the Prophecy of Priam, all the pieces seemed to fall into place.”
Drayden stood and walked to a shelf, grabbed three cups and an earthenware jug and walked back over to the table. He poured a brown liquid into the cups, placed one in front of Ishea, and pushed one towards Glyph.
“Anyway, we decided that certain actions needed to be taken to ensure a proper outcome.”
“You old fool! Albast would be the first to say you cannot force a prophecy!” Ishea scolded.
“He did, as I recall. However, Lobrein and I were both certain that it was up to us to ensure that measures be taken, and Albast finally agreed. It was shortly afterward that he began to grow ill. Before he passed away we had met to discuss our final plans. Albast gave his consent. The next night he passed on, and Lobrein and I placed his body in a tomb we created from the ruins of Muret, and then left for Degruthra to enter the gate between worlds.” Drayden let out a heavy sigh, and sipped from his cup.
“And you told no one! You let us think you went off to die from grief over Albast’s death?”
“Had any of the others known, they would have told you, Ishea, and if you had known, you may not have fulfilled your part in this. You may have made different choices. We were worried enough about our own interference.” Drayden tried to explain.
Suddenly Ishea’s eyes popped. “You and Lobrein! You mean Lobrein is here? She is alive too?”
“I normally receive word from her every four months; it has been six since I last heard anything. I am beginning to worry a bit.” Drayden replied, scratching his neck.
“I do not know whether to kiss you or throw you off the nearest cliff.” Ishea railed.
“I understand. As much as I longed for the day I would see you again, I dreaded having to explain myself.”
There was a slight pause, and Ishea began to take in her surroundings. “So where is this place?” She asked. “I cannot remember anything after they dragged me back to the dungeon for more torture.”
“These are the caves of the Hexzu. Most everyone refers to them by their conquered name, Gargoyles. They, like the Grull, are an enslaved race. The Hexzu however, are native to this world.”
“Wait, wait, let’s not get too sidetracked here. So why exactly are you here?” Glyph interjected.
“I, like Lobrein, am here to facilitate the prophecies we interpreted from the Tome of Dark Lore. I allowed myself to get captured. I was thrown in the dungeon, tortured for information I would not give, and eventually left to rot. Hence the eyes.” He said pointing at his face. “They are beyond repair I am afraid.”
Ishea’s expression began to turn toward pity as she listened to him speak.
“It has been about thirty three years now. I eventually learned how to bypass the shackles that suppress our magical ability, and figured out how to use my magic without destroying my hearing as well. I am sure you are aware of the psychic ‘noise’ that it generates, and that it can be heard by those who are sensitive to magic.”
Glyph found himself nodding his head, remembering the deafening sound Ishea let loose when she had used magic to defend them earlier. He found it rather interesting that the red magic he used in the dungeon had not made the same noise.
“So I took to wandering the temple, the city, and the hills beyond. As long as I stayed out of sight, I had free rein; sometimes years would go by before they even checked my cell. Anyway, it was there I came upon some gargoyles hiding out among the rocks. I allowed them to capture me and take me before their Chieftain, Grot. I learned of yet a different prophecy, and I believe that it too is soon to be fulfilled.”
“Thirty-three years? Drayden, you do realize nearly a thousand years have passed on M’atra since you left?” Ishea said, a blank expression on her face.
“The time differential is quite drastic between the two worlds; I must admit you have arrived much sooner than I expected.” Drayden replied.
Ishea shook her head and bit down on the corner of her lip. Glyph was sure she was about to explode in some sort of emotional tirade.
“We have to go back to get the Tome.” Glyph said, eyeing Ishea. He hoped to change the subject as it made him think of his own years in captivity.
“We will need the Divinare crystal too.” Ishea added, maintaining her control.
“And who better to lead us than the Great One.” Drayden bellowed dramatically.
“He cannot use his magic, Drayden.” Ishea said.
“I do not understand, I saw him use magic to kill a ghoul in the dungeon. That is what got my attention in the first place; it is how I found you.” Drayden responded.
Ishea stared at Glyph.
“It’s true. I was able to use the red magic.” Said Glyph.
“Red only?” Ishea asked.
“It must be Drathus’s curse. It is the only explanation.” Ishea declared again, and then explained to Drayden how Glyph’s hour came to be, his disappearance in The Pass, and their eventual capture.
“It sounds as if, when Drathus died, the curse he placed on Glyph ended but the alteration of the curse, which you performed to bring him into M’atra, stayed with him somehow. Almost as if it went dormant, and then reactivated when Glyph gave Cruix her blood sacrifice.” Drayden said offering up an explanation.
“That could be, but that alone should not have been enough to reactivate it.” Ishea said staring out into the cave entrance.
“At any rate, the chief here, Grot, wants to speak with you, Glyph. I believe he thinks you are here to lead his people into open rebellion against Cruix and her kind.” Drayden suggested.
“Let me guess, it’s in the prophecy right?” Glyph said sarcastically.
“As a matter of fact, it is.” Drayden finished his cup of mead. “I may have had a little to do with it. Listen, even the prophecies of our world hinted at the fact that you would return to us from another world, and here it is, and here you are. We have surmised correctly thus far. I have discovered these people, and I have helped them to prepare for this day. They are ready to strike at the moment of your arrival. Plans have already been made. The only thing missing until now, was you.”
“Look, I’m here to get Ishea and get back to M’atra. Nothing else. You can take your rebellion, and do what you want, but leave me out of this.” Glyph said forcefully.
“But you need the book and the crystal, right?” interjected Drayden
“Yeah…” Glyph replied, feeling irritated.
“We will need a diversion to draw Cruix away from her chambers. It would have to be something important to gain her attention. What better to serve your purpose than open warfare between the Gargoyles and the Demons?” Drayden implied.
Glyph said nothing, and glanced over at Ishea, who sat there quietly listening.
“At least meet with Grot, and hear what he has to say. There is no harm in that, right?” Drayden persuaded Glyph.
“Okay fine, since you have this all set up, I’ll listen to him.” Glyph said reluctantly.
“Fantastic! I will let him know you are ready to see him.” He spoke as he got up and headed out the cave entrance.
Glyph turned to Ishea. “Do you believe him?”
“Of course I believe him, but I am concerned that he and Lobrein have sacrificed so much, trying to force prophecy. It may be that their interference has already changed the outcome.”
“Yeah, but what outcome? What does the prophecy say is going to happen?” Glyph asked.
“I do not know, Glyph. I have not seen the prophecy of which Drayden speaks.”
“I thought it was in the Tome?”
Ishea shrugged, and was about to say something when Drayden entered the room. A large impressive Gargoyle stepped in behind him. The creature stood nearly nine feet tall and wore black leather armor. Its angular facial lines were etched into a permanent scowl.
Before Drayden could introduce Glyph, Grot strode past him.
“My name is Grot. I am the High Chief of all free Hexzu. Are you the Great One?”
“I am.” Glyph said, before he could think of something better.
“Then you are here to fulfill prophecy?”
“Yes, among other things.” Glyph commented, and then realized his opportunity. “I need to see the prophecy.”
Drayden shifted uncomfortably.
“You do not know what it says?” Grot asked Glyph pointedly.
“Of course I know what it says! Every prophecy carries a hidden set of instructions that can be seen only by me, hence the name.” Glyph lied, explaining it offhandedly, as if everyone should know this.
“I apologize if my questioning has offended you, but I will require proof.” Grot said.
“And I require my instructions! Do you want me here, or don’t you?” Glyph barked. “Bring me a map of the city as well, I assume you have one of those?”
Grot nodded, and waved his arm. Glyph caught a slight bit of motion at the entrance to the room, as if someone in the shadows had left.
“Please gentlemen, let us have a drink and sit down.” Drayden suggested and indicated the table and chairs.
Glyph sat back in his chair and immediately regretted it. The weeping gashes across his back now felt as if they were on fire. “What kind of proof are you after?”
“I mean no disrespect.” Grot explained.
Just then another Gargoyle entered the room and handed Grot a rolled parchment, and a leather scroll. Grot laid them on the table in front of Glyph, who instinctively reached for the leather scroll first.
Leaning forward he unwrapped the scroll, which appeared to be one long piece of prose carved into the leather and inlaid with ink. He felt as if he were holding some relic of an ancient time as he pulled it out to its full length, and began to read.
Hearts of rock and flame,
Burning sorrow knows our shame.
Conquered race are we.
Life fades before us,
Born to serve, die in service,
In duty to our Master’s be.
The Master’s hear behind their wall,
Freedom is the Hexzu’s call,
To rise against the Master’s throne,
And take it back for our own.
The Great One knows our world’s song,
And rights to us its grievous wrong.
The Great One knows the battle’s won,
Chains of oppression come undone.
The sword and staff shall reunite,
Call the trodden to the fight.
Mystic crystal, Tome of lore,
Darkened soul of Light once more.
A people now without a home,
Their masters forced to death by stone.
The debt we owe our savior’s grace,
Is paid in full in battles faced.
Defeated is our common foe,
Reap the reward of which we sow,
The Great War we may now portend,
To have a purpose in the end.
“Interesting.” Glyph said, ceasing to read. “I’ll need to study this further, but I can plainly see already that I am where I’m supposed to be. Now, what is your force here?” Glyph asked, getting right to the point.
“My what?” Grot replied, still unhappy at Glyph’s maneuvering of the situation.
“How many Hexzu do you have for this battle?”
Grot glanced at Drayden, who appeared to hang on Glyph’s every word. It was obvious this was not going how Drayden had said it would, and Grot was having trouble adapting to Glyph’s unusual manner.
“Eight thousand.” Grot answered reluctantly.
“How many full Demons in the city?”
“Ten full, about thirty lesser.”
“Do you already have battle plans drawn?”
“We have agreed on several. We sought your advice as to which one might be best.” Drayden explained, looking nervous.
Glyph, not wanting to push too many buttons, asked to see the plans, and thanked Grot for his hospitality.
“I will answer your questions of proof in good time, Chief. Please be patient with me. I will not let you down.” Glyph said nodding at Grot, with a slight bow. “I must confer with my counsel, Chieftain Grot. I will be in contact with you later.”
With that, Grot turned hesitantly and left the room, unsure if he had just been dismissed.
Glyph stood up and slammed the table with his fist. “What the hell are you thinking Drayden? You might at least cue me in on what it is you’re trying to do here!”
“I apologize, Glyph. I should have briefed you to a fuller extent.”
“How many damn prophecies am I in? What’s next, the ice planet? I’ve always wanted to go to the ice planet. Wonder what I’ll have to do there; melt a continent? Do you even know how insane that sounds?”
“Glyph—.” Drayden started.
“No. I don’t want to hear it. You manipulated these people, told them I would save them just like their prophecy says, all for your own selfish beliefs, and I’m left holding the bag.”
Glyph began unfolding the parchment onto the table. A Gargoyle arrived and left several more scrolls. Glyph said nothing, but continued to examine the battle plans, and looked each over in turn, noting one was much more official in appearance than the other two. After a bit, Glyph rubbed his eyes, sat back in his chair, and grimaced painfully.
“Damn it!” He shouted. “Could either of you do something about these?” Glyph asked pointedly as he stood and attempted to take off his sleeveless jacket. Drayden moved closer to help when he saw that many of the bloody wounds had soaked through his shirt, and now that they were starting to dry had bonded to the fabric. After a few painful moments the shirt was removed. Drayden immediately began to heal the flayed flesh caused by the Ghoul’s whip.
“I apologize, Glyph.” Drayden said, and it looked to Glyph as if he might say something more but stopped. A slight frown crossed over his face and the old wizard glanced at Ishea before continuing his work. Glyph put his mind back to work and focused on the last of the plans Grot had supplied.
“You plan on taking the city in a frontal assault?” Glyph finally asked Drayden.
“Yes, it has the greatest chance of success.”
“Your casualties will be too high.” Glyph began to argue.
“But we will take the city of Okrune, and destroy Cruix and her brood!”
“But you won’t have enough Hexzu left to defend it!” Glyph countered. “This is the Third Parcel right? I assume there’s at least two other ‘Parcels’ out there, and I bet they’ll come in force when they find out what’s happened. Their armies will walk in here and wipe you out.” Glyph paused “Surely you weren’t just going to leave them on their own, after making preparations for thirty some years.”
There was another silence. Glyph turned to watch Ishea staring off into the distance with a look of concentration on her face.
“You’ve been awfully quiet.” He said to her.
Ishea seemed to focus a bit, and turned her head toward Glyph, as if she just realized he was there. “Just thinking.”
“Thinking what?” Glyph asked, noting Drayden rifling through the plans he and Grot had come up with.
“If the blood sacrifice reinstated your hour, which obviously it did, then there should have been a ‘Point of Contact.’” Her eyes met Glyph’s. “Did you experience anything unusual before our capture? Experience any magic of any kind?” Ishea’s bright lavender eyes stared through him.
“I did see a flash of light when I touched the Book.” Glyph said, thinking back.
“You touched the Tome!” Ishea gasped.
“I got some food out of the pack one night, and it fell out, I picked it up and put it back in.” Glyph quickly lied, remembering that Ishea hadn’t known about the whole incident. “Why? What would that have to do with anything?” he trailed off, immediately regretting posing the question.
“The Tome is evil, Glyph! How many times do I need to say it? It is dark magic, it may have created a catalyst that enabled the blood sacrifice to reinstate the mutated curse.” Ishea finished.
Glyph turned away and said, “Okay. I’ll buy that, now what?” Drayden still pondered his oversight and scratched his head.
“I do not know ‘now what’!” Ishea barked at him. “I am not sure what you have gotten yourself into, and I do not know how to get you out.” She turned her head at an angle again, and her gaze bored a hole through his skull. Then she asked, “How was it different?”
“What do you mean?” Glyph asked in reply.
“Earlier, when I asked you if your hour was different, you said yes. So, how was it different?” Ishea asked as if she already knew the answer.
“Well no one was trying to kill me, for one thing!” Glyph said, suddenly feeling defensive. “That was different enough for me.”
“Did you kill anyone?”
“Yeah, why?” Glyph said, feeling cocky.
“Did you enjoy it?” She asked, watching him intently.
“What…I …what kind of question is that?” Glyph said trying to recover. He did not want anyone to know how he had felt; the thought of it sickened him. “No! I did not enjoy it!” Glyph said emphatically.
“It is nice to know anybody can irritate you. Now I know it is not just all for my benefit.” Drayden said from the table. “I hate to admit this, but you are right. The Hexzu will not be able to defend the city from a subsequent attack.” Drayden paused, and pushed the scrolls into a pile. “The problem is I do not see any other way to do this with much success.”
“Ah, my dear Drayden.” Glyph said happy to change the subject. “That is why I am here.” Glyph responded, and immediately launched into a short history lesson on guerilla warfare, to which Drayden was amazed. He did not understand the honor in such a fight, until he was reminded of the honor in fighting for justice, and the survival of the Hexzu.
A bell rang out. Glyph and Ishea tensed up, but Drayden motioned them to relax. “Noon meal!” he declared. Several Gargoyles entered the room, as Drayden hurried to clear the table. Three trays were laid out in front of them. The largest held a pile of black encrusted tube worms, only they were several feet long and at least four inches thick. The smell reminded Glyph of cement mix. The tray to his left held what might have been some kind of mutation between an ant and a wasp, about six inches in length, deep fried and served with some yellowish sauce. On the last tray was a bowl with tiny bird embryos floating around, like someone had cracked open a dozen ripe ostrich eggs.
Drayden grabbed a tube worm, peeled back the charred gritty skin, and took a bite of the very raw looking interior. “It is called a Turmur. They live off the silicate in the rock around here. Quite a nasty little creature, boring holes everywhere.”
“Somehow knowing doesn’t make it any easier to eat.” Glyph said, taking a bite of Turmur. It had the texture of greasy tuna in his mouth, but it tasted like dirt wrapped in whale blubber. Food was food at this point, he was sure he couldn’t have gone too much longer without some kind of real sustenance. He did, however, decline to listen to Drayden’s explanation of the other two dishes.
Several hours later, Glyph had outlined the plan of attack against Okrune. By placing as many Gargoyles on the inside of the city as were unnoticeable, he hoped to be able to take on the ten demons separately, but at the same moment. The chaos would act as a diversion, as well as keeping the demons from combining their powers during the battle. The rest would hide outside the walls until the signal, then fly over and take out as many lesser demons and Grull they could get their hands on.
“I’m exhausted,” Glyph finally proclaimed. “I have to get some shut-eye before my hour returns. Tell Grot I’ll give him all the proof he needs tomorrow. Express my apologies, brief him on the plan, and we’ll all meet to go over it at daybreak.” Drayden gave him a quick look and then nodded. “I want to be able to launch our attack the following morning. The faster we move, the less likely they’ll find out about it.”
Drayden stood and walked towards the cave entrance. He turned and gave Glyph a hard look. “I think you care more than you let on. It is funny how such a perceived weakness has become your greatest strength. Until tomorrow then.” He said to Glyph, hugged Ishea and left.
Glyph walked over to a stone bench sticking out from the wall. He had noticed blankets underneath earlier, when he was at the table. Pulling them out, he made up a bed on the smooth rock and laid down.
“Will you…uh.” Glyph tried to say, and then paused, not knowing how best to phrase the question.
“Wake you, like before?” Ishea filled in.
“Yeah, it helps.” Glyph said, as he saw Ishea preparing her bed on a slab a few feet away. Reaching up he clenched his hand and whispered “Extinguish” to himself. Nothing happened. Glyph glanced from torch to torch around the room, they should have gone out. ‘I did it like I always do, and nothing.’ Glyph tried to extinguish the torches again, and failed. It was gone, the power he had earlier was no longer there. Glyph feigned sleep until Ishea dowsed the torches manually. He stared at the dark ceiling, and a sinking feeling began gnawing at the pit of his stomach. ‘What do I do now? I wish I had my Living Tapestry.’ he thought. It was going to be a long night. Eventually Glyph slipped off into a deep sleep.
Ishea woke him gently, the sight of her nearly erasing the horrific dreams of disaster lingering near the edge of his consciousness. Sweat soaked the sheet around him.
He looked into her eyes, and felt the tears welling up inside him. He fought back the emotional discomfort and sat up, looking away from her as he did.
“Are you well?” Ishea asked him.
He felt like screaming. He wanted nothing more than to feel the blade of his sword running through something, anything, as long as it was alive.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just a bad dream is all.”
“Sometimes our dreams try to tell us things we cannot tell ourselves.” Ishea stated calmly.
“Really.” Glyph said putting his uniform shirt on. That was the last thing he had wanted to hear right now.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“No. It was just a dream. Sometimes dreams can be just that.” he snapped without wanting to.
He realized she was dressed in some sort of animal leather tunic. Ishea caught his gaze.
“Drayden had it made for me.” She paused. “Glyph, I never thanked you for coming back for me. I was not sure if I would ever see you again. The thought made me want to give up hope.”
“You would have done the same for me.” Glyph responded quickly, feeling somewhat uncomfortable. He wasn’t sure why, it was just a thank you, but somehow she had meant more than she said.
“Sometimes, we have to do things we do not want to do. We rationalize them to assuage our guilt, but we do them just the same.”
Glyph thought she must have been talking about fulfilling the prophecy of the Gargoyles. “I can’t leave them to their fate, as much as I would like to walk away, I just can’t. You needn’t worry about it Ishea. Everything will work out fine.” He said and buckled the holster of his gun. He grabbed the sleeveless leather jacket he had given Ishea and put it on, stashing the Tazer and tranq gun inside.
“When I get back, I want to have a talk with Drayden. It’s time he fills us in on this hidden prophecy. I want to know exactly word for word what it says about you, and me too for that matter. I’m tired of all this dicking around; he’s not telling us everything.”
“I understand.” Ishea said, then paused as if she weren’t sure if she should continue. “Glyph, the red magic is evil; the evil creatures of this world use it. We need to find a way for you to regain your blue aura. I am afraid you will embark upon the wrong path if we do not.”
Glyph stared at her, not knowing what to say. Finally he just said it. “I don’t have the red magic anymore, I tried to use it before I laid down last night. It didn’t work.”
“It is gone?” Ishea said with that concerned look etched across her brow.
“I thought you’d be happy about it.”
“No. It is actually more disturbing. A Sorcerer’s power should not come and go, it is a dark sign that something more ominous is at work here. Perhaps something may be revealed to us when we see the hidden prophecy.”
“Let’s hope.” Glyph replied. He could sense a slight change of air pressure, and knew it would not be long before the hour was upon him.
“Good luck Glyph–.” Ishea said reaching out and squeezing his hand; sadness in her eyes.
Glyph could tell she wanted to say more. He wanted to say more. He wanted to tell her that he still loved her, that the thought of her was all that had kept him alive in prison. But the words would not come out. He squeezed her hand back and let go, just as the wind picked up in the still cave taking his breath. The darkness enveloped him once more as he blinked out of existence in a flash of white light, leaving Ishea staring into nothingness.