The Hour Book3 Chapter 15

When Glyph opened his eyes he saw nothing. He was in complete darkness, and after a moment the realization of where he was began to sink in. A ball of blue light instantly leapt from the palm of his hand, illuminating the inside of his underground room. Sizing up the rock wall in front of him, Glyph reached out with his mind, cracked the wall from top to bottom, and with a push of unseen energy from his hand forced the rock wall outward. The stone crumbled as an opening appeared. Fresh air rushed in and began to scrub out the stale smell of the room. Glyph took note and decided if he ever hid this way again he would be sure to make some sort of ventilation.

Stepping through the man-sized opening, Glyph took a second to gain his footing on the steep slope of the mountain. With another touch from his mind he mended the rift in the side of the mountain, pushing the ground down until it was even with the rest of the slope. He could hear the transport vehicles on the roadway above, and the sounds of troops on the march. Glyph teleported to the guard rail at the top of the hill and looked around. He could see a tent had been erected on the far side of the road, and after waiting for another truck to pass, bolted to the other side. He walked over to a small group of soldiers sitting at the overlook picnic table. Two of the men jumped to their feet and had their weapons trained on him within seconds.

“Stand down, soldiers!” A familiar voice rang out. Glyph recognized it as belonging to Captain Haddix. “He’s friendly.”

The soldiers sat back down, as Haddix stood up. Glyph could see their faces clearly now in the fading light as he stepped up and shook the Captain’s extended hand.

“So what’s the good word Captain?” Glyph asked.

“We’re setting up here all along this ridgeline. I imagine we have several miles covered by now. At this rate we should be well fortified by morning.” Haddix replied and adjusted his cap. “Several of your friends arrived a little while ago, and were looking for you. I’m not sure how, but I was placed in charge of waiting for your return. There’s a resort only a few miles away, and it’s been set up as a temporary headquarters. Mr. Albast asked that I escort you there, should you return.” The Captain paused for a moment, making eye contact with Glyph. “And that Mr. Young, is the good word.”

“What luck.” Glyph stated happily thinking about the possibility of another comfortable bed to sleep in. “I’m ready when you are.”

“Let me get the keys.” The Captain said, and walked briskly into the tent.

They rode silently most of the way, Glyph listening to the roar of the engine, and the occasional blast of voices over the short wave radio. It was the only form of reliable long distance communication now. Whatever the demons were using to block satellite signal screwed with the ionosphere as well; as a result there had to be a physical chain of base stations or relays between any two points of contact. He tried not to think about Zarish, or what she may or may not have done, but the thought was there, constantly hovering on the edge of his conscious mind.

“You know, this actually worked out for the best. It would seem that some bureaucratic desk jockey decided to assign me to be your military liaison.” Haddix informed him.

“Well congratulations, Captain, and that desk jockey was the President. I requested you personally.” Glyph said, then smiled and winked at the man.

“Ohh.” The Captain replied and nodded his head. “I know my men and I have sure earned a little rest, and I’m not complaining, mind you. I just want you to promise me we’ll get a chance at some payback.” The Captain half-shouted over the noise of the Humvee.

Glyph looked at him. “Captain, you can bet your life the cakewalk will end as soon as the fighting starts.” He replied.

Haddix smiled back and turned onto a long paved drive leading off through the trees. Glyph could see the outline of a large mansion begin to take shape as they drove closer. The sun was already low behind the trees, and the flickering of lamplight could be seen through the windows as Haddix pulled off into the grass beside a few other vehicles.

“Good luck Mr. Young. I’ll be in touch.” Haddix said as Glyph hopped out.

The sentries around the door and the front yard stood crisply at attention as he walked past. Moving through the door into the lobby, Glyph encountered two soldiers behind the front desk, who indicated the hallway to the left as the best place to find the others.

The ‘others’ turned out to be Albast, Amos, and Miatsu. Amos jumped immediately to his feet when Glyph entered, and looked as if he was about to say something, when Albast held up his hand.

“You gave us a start disappearing like that, Glyph. You should tell someone the next time.” Albast said calmly.

“Sorry, but I needed some time alone to think.” Glyph replied gruffly.

“You do understand that you are not in this alone?” Albast said questioningly.

“Really?” He replied sarcastically.

“We are all obligated to help you to the best of our abilities. When you disappear, we must assume the worst has happened and act accordingly. That includes finding you. It can be time consuming, and some talents are better used elsewhere.” Albast stated.

Glyph glanced around the room and then back at Albast. “Are you seriously chastising me?”

“I apologize. Some habits die hard, especially when they are good ones. I am a teacher at heart.”

Glyph could see Miatsu cracking a smile. Amos just stood there glaring at Glyph with a crazed look on his face; one that Glyph couldn’t help but notice he wore quite often lately.

“So, what about Zarish?” Amos quipped.

“What about her?” Glyph replied.

“Don’t give me that crap, Glyph. You know what I’m talking about.” The former detective stated.

“We are all rather interested in this particular development.” Albast added.

Glyph shook his head. “What’s to tell? I sent her back to Tsach to try and get some information, and that’s exactly what she’s doing.” Glyph told them.

“There was some question as to how she went about doing that.” Albast said calmly.

“Damn it, Albast, she didn’t defect if that’s what you’re all thinking.” Glyph retorted. At least, he didn’t want to believe that anyway.

“No one said that she had, we were just curious as to her status.” Albast said diplomatically.

Glyph stared at the old wizard shrewdly. “She’s fine. Tsach has accepted her back for the time being.”

“And?” Amos questioned.

“And what? What exactly do you want me to tell you? That I fucked up and I shouldn’t have sent her back. Well you’re right, I did fuck up, just like I fuck up everything else I try to do. If you don’t like the way I fuck things up then you do it, Amos. You lead this war, and you can fight Tsach!” Glyph said angrily. He could feel his stomach beginning to knot up, and grow hot. They all stood there in silence. Amos finally looked away, perhaps realizing the stress that Glyph was under, and let the matter drop.

“So how would you like to proceed?” Albast asked Glyph.

Glyph let out a slow deep breath, and tried to clear his mind. He sat down across from Albast and rested his head on the edge of the table. After a moment Glyph sat up. “We need bunkers. I want to make a system of fortified positions within the mountains themselves, with interconnecting tunnels and escape routes that lead off to the east.”

“That is a tall order, Glyph.” Miatsu said.

Glyph looked at him. “I know. They don’t have to be perfect, just functional, and they need to be done before the battle starts, which by the looks of things will be sometime tomorrow.”

“How can you be sure he will strike here? He could try to move his forces around us.” Miatsu inquired.

“Tsach will strike wherever I am. Unlike us, he has no concern for the safety and well-being of his army. He will attack. The number of casualties he may suffer are inconsequential.” Glyph explained.

Miatsu nodded his understanding, and Glyph continued. “When Lobrein and the others arrive we’ll assign sections of the range to each of us. By spreading out along the ridgeline we can help the soldiers to defend each piece of ground. I’ll jump from site to site depending on where I am most needed.” Glyph paused and glanced about. “Where are the others anyway?” He asked.

“Lobrein, Prianna and Morracor will be along shortly. Ishea will be going back through the gate to help protect you in M’atra.” Albast told him.

“I see. Well then, if there are no other questions, we should get to work.” Glyph answered. Amos seemed perturbed, but said nothing. Glyph stood, took one last look around the room, and teleported away. He had no desire to hang around to see if Amos found his voice or not.

Glyph appeared at the scenic overlook, and once again startled the soldiers there. Captain Haddix was just pulling in; his jaw fell open as he stared at Glyph in astonishment. “Didn’t I …?” He asked and pointed back down the road.

“Yes, you did.” Glyph replied and forced a smile. Glyph took a seat at the table and invited the Captain and his men to do the same. Then he informed them of what he intended to do.

“We really don’t need a whole lot of these bunkers, Mr. Young. The days of Iwo Jima have long since passed, at least from a military perspective.” The Captain told him.

“I’m not so sure about that. I just want to be sure there’s a safe place to fight from. This battle is going to be ugly, and I want our guys to have the best protection they can get. If nothing else, a place to bring the wounded for treatment.” Glyph replied.

“Fair enough.” Haddix said. Glyph worked closely with the group of marines to ferret out the best locations for fortifications. It was slow and tedious work, and the darkness didn’t help any. Glyph spent the next several hours using his magic to carve out tunnels and bunkers, from the base of the twelve hundred foot mountain to the top. Near one a.m., Glyph was about to start another set of connecting tunnels when Captain Haddix caught up with him.

“Mr. Young, I sent my men to get some rest, I will suggest that you do the same. There won’t be any time for it once this shit hits the fan.” Haddix told him.

Glyph glanced about, and then decided the Captain was correct. “You’re right, Captain.” Glyph agreed, “I just hope it’s enough.”

The Captain chuckled. “What you’ve done here is nothing short of miraculous. I don’t know that it will make much of a difference, but it’s always good for morale when the higher-ups show some real concern for the well-being of their troops.”

Glyph smiled, “Every bit counts, Captain. I’ll be heading back to HQ now. Keep an eye on the horizon, Tsach may not wait till daybreak to attack.”

“We will sir.” The Captain said and saluted crisply.

Glyph saluted back, and teleported away. He found most of the other wizards had already retired for the evening, and was glad that a room had been set aside for him. He took off his sword and sat down, unlacing his boots. He wasn’t sure what the morning would hold for him, only that it would lead to more death and destruction.

‘Too many people have died for this; for me.’ he thought.

He didn’t want to face Tsach on the battlefield, but it was inevitable. Glyph had trained for two years to face Tsach, and when he did come face to face, the arch-demon nearly killed him. It had almost seemed a waste of time, thinking back. He could have relaxed and enjoyed himself. He could have gone fishing with Toban, and spent more time with Ishea. He could have done absolutely nothing for the last few years and he would still be in the same position. Glyph had even studied the Valdeffor, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not enter the state by choice, and now it appeared to be his only hope of defeating Tsach. It seemed as though no matter what he did, Tsach was still more powerful, and much more deadly, than he could ever hope to be. He rolled over onto his side and stared out the window at the starry sky and slowly drifted off to sleep.

 

Awaking to the sounds of trucks and soldier’s barking orders, Glyph tried to shake the foggy images of death that plagued his dreams. He checked his Rolex; it was ten after eight. Jimmy really did have good taste in watches. The sun had been up for over an hour. Glyph dressed, strapped on the king’s sword, and made his way outside.

There were soldiers everywhere he looked, coming and going. Several of them passed by with trays of food. That was when he noticed the giant mess tent that had been erected outside on the front lawn sometime during the night. Wiping the grit from his eyes, he walked around the side and found a line of soldiers entering the tent. Glyph casually fell in line behind them and made his way inside. The food was plain; bread or biscuit, piece of cheese, dried meat and a cup of soup, and made him realize how drastically different this world had become since he was last here, since before Tsach. Within four months, Tsach had decimated the world economy, destroyed or cut off access to natural resources and had killed and enslaved millions. By the time he found a spot outside to eat, the thought of Tsach had nearly made him lose his appetite. But Glyph forced it down out of respect for those who had labored so hard to make it. The soldiers’ faces bore no expression as they passed; some of their uniforms still bore the stains of battles fought weeks or months ago. They marched by in loose formations, seemingly numb to the world around them as they trudged through their morning routines. Glyph returned his tray to a pile forming near the back door. Several men and women were scrubbing the trays, using large barrels of water as makeshift sinks.

“Ah, there you are.” Glyph heard Amos’s voice calling out to him.

Glyph turned and saw Amos making his way toward him from the lodge. “Now what?” Glyph snapped, fully expecting another verbal attack from the former detective. Amos’s wild eyes had softened some since last night, and the man truly looked concerned about something.

“Glyph, we really need to talk.” Amos said, ignoring Glyph’s snappy answer.

Glyph sighed. “Okay, how about over there.” He said indicating a nearby grove of oak trees.

Just then, Captain Haddix pulled up, and parked his humvee. Spying Glyph and Amos, he waved them down and began to trot towards them. “Mr. Young!” The Captain called out. Glyph and Amos stopped and waited for the man to catch up.

“What is it Captain?” Glyph asked.

“I’m to inform you that the President and General Eddings are on their way, sir. They should arrive within a half hour.”

“Good, I want to meet with them and the other wizards as soon as he arrives, providing Tsach doesn’t attack before then.” Glyph told him.

“I’ll see to it. As far as the enemy goes, we’ve been watching them since daybreak. They’ve stopped their advance about two clicks from the base of the mountain and have been sitting there for hours. It’s like they’re waiting for something.”

Glyph looked at Amos who shrugged in return. “Thank you Captain, I’ll be sure to check in with you soon on the details. The other wizards are still inside the mansion, I think.” Glyph said, and Amos agreed. “Let’s hold the meeting in the backyard. Invite anyone who might benefit from knowing our battle strategy.”

“Right away, Mr. Young.” Haddix said, saluted and trotted off toward the resort.

The two of them walked through the trees until they were nearly out of sight of the bustling compound. Glyph selected a particularly thick oak and sat down on the ground with his back against it. “So what do you want to talk about?” Glyph asked, wondering what Amos had to say now.

“Look, I know we’ve had our differences lately, so please, just hear me out.” Amos started.

“Okay.” Glyph replied, inwardly surprised that Amos would even say the word please.

“I know you’re scared, man. I am too, hell, we all are.” Amos said and quickly held up his hand to stave off Glyph’s response. “I know you don’t want to face Tsach, and I understand why. I’ve seen what he can do, but I’ve seen what you can do, too. You’re not the same man that left Earth two years ago. You’ve got more skills and abilities, and are a lot more disciplined. I can see that you didn’t waste any of the last two years while preparing for what you knew would be coming.” Amos told him. Glyph was about to say something when Amos raised his hand again. “Just listen to me for a minute.”

“You and Tsach aren’t all that different when it comes to power, it just manifests itself differently. I know you, Glyph. I misjudged you in the beginning, and I regret that now. It was just so hard to believe at the time, but I know you have the power to defeat Tsach within you. From what I can gather from Albast it is what you were born to do. Whatever the reason you’ve been chosen to do this, I know in my heart that you have what it takes to win.” Amos paused and shifted his weight to his left leg. “See, we’re all going through the paces, gearing up for the war to end all wars, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing, and we both know that. All that really matters, everything that this war is about boils down to you and Tsach. All the death and pain and suffering we’ll face in this war is meaningless. The straight truth is that none of it has to happen, and only you can stop it. Glyph, I beg you, don’t let it happen. Face Tsach, face your fear, and take him out before thousands more die in this senseless battle. It’s up to you, and only you can do it.”

Glyph sat there for a moment. He felt strangely at peace, considering the last several conversations with Amos had made him want to rip the throat out of the nearest living thing. “You’re right.” Glyph said, without even knowing why.

“I know I’m asking—wait, say what?” Amos said with a double take.

“I said you’re right.”

“Right. Yes, I’m right. Okay.” Amos stated; it was obviously an answer he hadn’t expected Glyph to say. “So what now?” He asked slowly, as if waiting for Glyph to find some way around his sudden agreement.

“I’ll ride out and meet Tsach before everything goes down. And I’ll fight him. There’s no reason these brave men and women should die fighting my battle.” Glyph replied.

Amos grinned from ear to ear, and it was the happiest Glyph had ever seen him. “Alright! Now we’re talking!” Amos whooped, and clapped Glyph on the back as he stood up and dusted off his jeans.

“I will inform everyone of my decision at the meeting. I’m still going to cover the battle plan, just in case I don’t make it.” Glyph told him as they made their way back into the makeshift camp.

“What? You lose? I don’t think so man, you’re gonna mop the floor with his ass.” Amos decreed, and even started bouncing and weaving throwing a mock one-two punch in the air.

Glyph shot him a look. “This is only the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life, Amos. You don’t have to be so excited about it.”

“Oh. Right, right. I’m cool.” Amos replied and tried desperately to control his exuberance.

Glyph could hear the sound of helicopters in the distance. “That must be the President. Let’s go meet him.” He suggested and they both made their way toward a clear patch of ground that had been designated as a landing area for aircraft.

The helicopters landed, and Glyph took note of their new look immediately. “What’s with the metal halo, General?” Glyph asked as the president and general Eddings approached.

“I’m rather fond of the design Mr. Young, especially since it saved our asses twice on the way over here.” Eddings replied.

Glyph stared at the ring of tubes and nozzles that had been welded around the top of the craft. “What is it?” He had to ask.

“That’s the solution to our Mandrake problem. It took us a month, but we finally found something they don’t like very much.”

“Oh?”

“Mustard gas. When they get too close we pump it through the lines and the downdraft sprays them from every angle. Works like a charm.” He replied.

They moved to the resort and met up with Captain Haddix who escorted them all into the back yard. Chairs had been set up there, most of them already filled by different personnel from each division, including the five wizards from M’atra. Glyph was also surprised to see King Rokka and King Covat in attendance along with their generals, flanked by Grot, Greem, and a small group of Hexzu.

Glyph escorted the President to the front where he took a seat next to Albast. Checking his watch, he realized it was nearly time, and cleared his throat. He started by thanking everyone for coming, and quickly launched into his plans for defending the mountains.

“We’ve set up along the ridgeline here for about four miles. The mountains curve inward which will allow us to draw Tsach’s forces in, and catch them in a crossfire. The road leading to the bottom of the mountain has been destroyed, I figured there was no point in making the attack any easier for the enemy. We’ve made several bunkers within the rock itself, large enough to defend, and act as a triage for wounded. There are also passages leading through the mountains to the east that will allow us to re-deploy our troops, and remove the wounded. Most of the M’atran forces are stationed at the bottom of the mountains, along with several regiments of U.S. infantry.” Glyph informed them.

“Mr. Young, our military has outgrown the simplicity of trench warfare. Our forces are trained to be highly mobile and multifunctional. What you’re proposing is suicide.” General Eddings spoke out.

“Normally I would agree with you General, but things have changed a great deal in the last four months from what I understand. You have been reduced to a third of the forces and equipment you had when Tsach first invaded, and your highly mobile army has had no success. The Mandrake have wiped out the majority of your air support, and without satellite contact you would be just as likely to hit our own forces as those of the enemy. As we know, even a nuclear strike has been proven ineffective; whatever they have not only blocks our satellite communication, but can detect and shield them from incoming missiles. Our technology has failed us General, and facing a force that easily outnumbers us ten to one, I see no other way.” Glyph stated.

Eddings face grew grim. “What if Tsach splits his army and tries to outflank us?” He asked.

“He won’t. If he does, we’ll deal with it. From atop the ridge we would see it happening long before he could reach us, and in plenty of time to move our forces to where they will be the most effective. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one. I’ve fought the demons before, I know how they operate. They’re going to attack wherever I am.” Glyph said, and caught several wary glances exchanged between the military leaders at the meeting. Glyph fielded a few more questions, and asked that any airships that enter the battle to be mindful of the Hexzu, who will provide most of the aerial support. He also reminded them not to waste ammo on any demon with a shield up, and added that any snipers should make demons without shields their primary targets. “I realize this is a battle scenario that most of you are unfamiliar with. We have a very large force from M’atra who will be engaging in hand to hand combat. The language barrier won’t help things much, but try your best to coordinate attacks through your superiors, and the wizard who will be in charge of your area. We can communicate telepathically, and will be understood by those here on Earth, as well as those from M’atra.” Glyph said, summing things up.

He concluded a few minutes later, and could see that Amos was acting a bit nervous. He was obviously worried that Glyph might back out of his decision, until Glyph finally told them what he was planning to do. Glyph let out a deep breath. “For those of you who don’t know, I am the one Tsach is after. Everything you have endured and suffered through for the last four months was Tsach’s attempt to get at me.” Glyph said, and looked about at the weary faces staring back at him.

“Now that you know why we are here, and how the battle will unfold, I would like to add that hopefully none of this will have to take place.”

“What do you mean, Glyph?” The president asked, somewhat confused.

“I mean that I am going to go out and face Tsach on my own. This will either be the beginning or the end of the attack by Tsach’s army. I know what you are all thinking, but as a friend of mine recently pointed out this is really all about me and Tsach. Before I risk thousands of more lives, and eventually millions, I’m going to try to end this war here and now.” Glyph explained.

“Are you certain this is the best course of action, Glyph?” Albast questioned.

Glyph glanced at Amos. “Yes. For better or worse, I was meant to fight Tsach and defeat him, and that is exactly what I intend to do.”

The briefing ended shortly thereafter. Glyph glanced at Grot several times, but his stoic expression showed no sign of the grief he knew the Hexzu must feel over the loss of his son Crowf. The image of the Hexzu’s filleted body was still etched clearly in Glyph’s mind. He was making his way over to speak to the Chieftain, when President Bradley approached.

“Mr. Young, I would just like to say that you are a brave and admirable man. Putting yourself out there to try to spare the lives of these men and women, well, it’s very noble of you.” Bradley stated.

“All in a day’s work, Mr. President.” Glyph said and feigned a smile.

“You may make light of it all you want, Glyph, but I will make certain that every future generation of Americans remembers your name and the sacrifices you have made for them.” The President told him.

Glyph was surprised by the President’s words. There had been a time not that long ago that Glyph felt he would never be welcomed back by his countrymen, and found his eyes tearing up a bit. He hadn’t even realized how much it had meant to him until Glyph heard the President say it.

“Thank you, President Bradley. Let’s just hope I come out on top.” Glyph said, as his voice quivered slightly with held back emotion. He turned to look for Grot, but the Hexzu were gone.

He excused himself from the company of the President and went in search of Captain Haddix; he would need the use of his vehicle to drive out and confront Tsach. Glyph had thought about teleporting there, but decided that it would just be a waste of energy that he would need to fight the Arch-demon. Before he had gotten too far he noticed Albast was walking alongside him. Glyph looked over at him, raising one eyebrow with curiosity. “Something on your mind, Albast?”

“Are you certain you want to do this?” The ancient wizard asked.

“That’s the second time you’ve asked me that. Is there something I should know about?” Glyph said apprehensively.

“No, no, nothing like that. It’s just that these things can play out differently than we intend, and happen in their own time and in their own way.” Albast answered.

“You mean the prophecy?” Glyph asked.

“Yes, that too, but I meant your confrontation with Tsach.” He explained. “You’re sure you are ready?”

“What difference does it make, Albast? I’ll be no better prepared to do it tomorrow or the next day or next week. It won’t matter, so why not do it now before all these people have to die in a meaningless battle.”

Albast laughed slightly. “You are a true hero, Glyph, in every sense of the word. You are always more concerned with everyone else than you are with yourself. This quality makes people want to help you even more, sometimes at the risk of their own lives. You embody all things good and evil, so all people can relate to you, and regardless of your personal feelings, you treat everyone as an equal, even if we pale in the face of the power you possess. You are certainly worthy of the title ‘Great One’, and it has been my honor and privilege to have known you.”

Glyph stopped dead in his tracks and stared at Albast. “I was with you up until that last part. You make it sound as if I’m going to die.”

“On the contrary, I have every expectation that you will succeed. I am not telling you this to inflate your feelings of self-importance, but because it is the truth, and though your father could never tell you these things, I feel they are worth saying, and more importantly, that you need to hear.”

“Wait, my father? What the hell are you talking about?” Glyph asked.

Albast sighed. “There was a time when I had thought your father might be the Great One. There was every indication that the day of reckoning was growing close. I tried to help him, but he was filled with fear and self-loathing, and when he took his own life, I seriously questioned my role in this whole affair.”

“You knew my father?” Glyph almost shouted.

“I have watched every male in your family very closely for several generations, ever since I had divined your lineage.” Albast said and paused slightly. “I was so sure of myself, so sure that I knew your father was the one, that I took him and, breaking every rule of prophecy I have ever learned, showed him what I thought to be his destiny. But I was wrong, Glyph. Your father could not accept what I had told him and as a result, he became deeply depressed. I tried desperately to reverse the damage I had caused in trying to prepare him for what lie ahead, but it was too late. The last few years of his life were consumed with doubt and fear, until at last he could stand no more. I was mortified by his death, and realized all too quickly my mistake. It was you, his son that had been destined all along to be the Great One. I vowed then to let you find out however it was meant to be, and to intervene no more. You were only a teenager at the time, and never got to know your father. I am truly sorry for that, Glyph.”

Glyph just stood there feeling numb. “Why? Why are you telling me this?”

“We all make mistakes. Believing your father to be the Great One was mine; I shouldn’t have interfered. I thought if he knew what was coming he could better prepare himself. Even if my intentions were noble, the result was catastrophic. Everything is meant to happen in its own way, and in its own time. You should follow your instincts, and be careful of those around you who would try to influence your decisions.”

Glyph could see the pain clearly on Albast’s face, and could feel his sincerity. It had been nearly twenty years since his father’s death, and Glyph had learned to deal with it over time, but now, to find out that Albast had been responsible tore at his heart. He didn’t know what to do or say. Glyph only knew that he could no longer stand the sight of Albast, and teleported away.

Glyph stood on the side of the mountain, looking down on the vast sea of Tsach’s army that stretched into the horizon. The peacefulness he had felt not that long ago had vanished, and had been replaced with the burning sensation in the pit of his stomach. “Fuck!” Glyph cursed at the sky. “Why now? He could have told me some other time, why tell me that shit now! That’s the last thing I needed to hear.” He said, and started to pace back and forth.

“To whom are you referring to Glyph?” Lobrein said from nearby. She must have teleported to her position and overheard Glyph’s rant.

Glyph whirled to face her, his rage barely under control. “Albast, that cocksucker! He just told me he was the reason my father committed suicide. Why would he do that? How could he possibly think that knowing that would help me?” He screamed at her.

Lobrein winced a little at his onslaught. “Albast has always had a poor sense of timing, Glyph. I’m sure the guilt of what he had done played a part in his confession, but rest assured he does nothing without reason. He was trying to tell you something in his own way, something he felt was very important.” She tried to explain.

“How could that be important?” Glyph yelled at her.

“I do not know, Glyph, as I was not privy to your conversation.” Lobrein said.

Glyph twitched several times and stared at her. The flood of emotions he was experiencing made him want to scream, this was part of his life he had dealt with decades ago, and now it seemed as if it only happened yesterday. Once again, Glyph teleported away, unable and unwilling to take his frustration out on Lobrein. He now found himself at the base of the mountain. The trees here gave way to rolling hills, with fields of wheat and barley beyond, and a nearby farmstead that had been evacuated the night before. Glyph began to walk, slowly at first, then quicker as his mind began to race, re-hashing all the injustices of his life to this point. After fifteen minutes, Glyph heard the sound of a vehicle closing in on him from behind. It was Captain Haddix in the Humvee.

“Need a lift?” The soldier asked.

Glyph couldn’t help but remember Amos saying the same thing to him during his battle with Srokus. “Yes, as a matter of fact I do. Give me the keys Captain, I know the way.” Glyph stated trying to keep his anger from boiling over.

“I can’t do that Mr. Young, you haven’t been certified on this equipment.” He replied with a wink. “Besides, I’ve sort of grown attached to this bucket of bolts.”

Glyph was tired of arguing and swung himself up into the passenger side of the APC. “You know you’re going to die right?” Glyph said coldly.

“That’s my decision, sir. I’m not about to let you face those freaks by yourself.”

Glyph just shook his head. “So be it.” He said as the humvee lurched into motion and began to make its way closer to the looming hordes of Tsach.

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