Glyph awoke in the dark woods, his outstretched arm still grasping Amos’s sleeve. He could hear Amos breathing as the former detective began to move.
“Where are we?” Amos asked as he came to consciousness.
“I don’t know. I was in a bit of a rush when we left.” Glyph replied, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the surrounding darkness.
“You got fucking lucky. We both could have been captured, you know.” Amos said and began to move about, scanning the trees for enemies.
“Well we weren’t, so let’s leave it at that.” Glyph said quickly. He didn’t want to get into an argument over his own carelessness. Amos was right of course. Glyph had been so consumed with his thoughts of protecting Ishea he had forgotten the fact that their bodies would remain on the battlefield, when his hour had come upon them. “They must have thought we were dead. Do you think we’re behind enemy lines?”
“It’s hard to say, but there does seem to be a lack of action around here. Maybe the battle shifted somewhere else.” Amos said. “Either way, let’s get back to our people and find out what’s happened.”
The thought of seeing Albast, so soon after having viewed himself murdering the old wizard, did not sit well. He decided to find Lobrein instead, and teleported them both to her location. As they appeared, Lobrein jumped in surprise and blasted the pair to the ground with a wave of invisible force that nearly knocked the wind out of Glyph.
“What the–?” Lobrein exclaimed as she stood staring down at Glyph and Amos. “By the gods, Glyph! Do not do that again! You are fortunate I did not incinerate both of you.” Then she looked at Amos. “Where have you been? We have been looking for you for…” She began to ask and then trailed off. Lobrein must have started to put it all together. “Do not tell me…” She said questioningly, then stopped and stared at Glyph. “You did not!”
“Oh, he did.” Amos replied, dusting himself off as he and Glyph got to their feet.
“Glyph, why? What reason could you have possibly had to take Amos back to M’atra?” She demanded.
“I’m going to fight Tsach on M’atra, Lobrein. I needed Amos to protect Ishea.” Glyph said.
“More like to keep her from following you into battle.” Amos quipped. “Which ain’t going to work by the way.”
“I know. So what’s going on here?” Glyph asked quickly to avoid yet another chastisement from Lobrein.
She stared at him sternly, and Glyph could tell she was fighting the urge to chew him a new one. “Tsach’s forces began to fall back when the sun started to set. It was touch and go for a while after you left. I am sure they are planning something. What that might be is another question, one we have yet to ascertain.”
“Okay, well, we have some planning of our own to do.” Glyph stated, and swatted at a gnat that was circling his head. “Where are the others?”
“Miatsu is on the North front with Albast. Rokka is there as well. Covat is over on that ridge.” She said and pointed off to the left. “I believe Captain Haddix is there too.”
“What about Prianna?” Amos asked her.
“She is still at base camp. She has not expressed an interest in returning to the battle, and we do not want to rush her. It is still unclear if she is able to perform magic, but we may need her again before this is all over, so the time might come when we have to confront her about it.”
“Pass the word along to the others. I would like to meet at base camp within the hour; providing that everything remains quiet out here.” Glyph told her. “I need to talk with Albast.”
“I’m going with you.” Amos said.
Glyph eyed him up. “Why?” He asked, but already knew the answer.
“This could be our last chance. I want to be there to make sure, if you get my meaning.” Amos replied.
“The last chance for what?” Lobrein asked.
“You don’t want to know.” Amos interjected.
“You are probably correct, Amos.” She said and paused. “You have seen the next prophecy, have you not?”
“Yeah.” Glyph answered.
“And?” Lobrein said questioningly.
“You really don’t want to know.” Glyph said, and tapped Amos on his arm, and a moment later he had teleported them away, leaving Lobrein wondering.
The pair appeared in a small grove of pine. “That wasn’t very nice.” Amos said immediately, and glanced about. “Where’s Albast?”
“He’s over there a ways, and being rude had nothing to do with our leaving her; or did you want to be the one to tell her that I was going to kill her husband?” Glyph asked.
“Ah, no.” Amos replied sharply.
“I didn’t think so.”
“So what are you going to talk to Albast about?” Amos wanted to know.
“Well for starters I need to know if he can change the parameters of my curse or not. There’s also the matter of the prophecy we just saw.” Glyph explained.
“Okay, you don’t feel like killing him or anything, right?”
“No, Amos, I don’t. But I’m sure I can count on you to stop me if I do.” Glyph replied sarcastically. He then began to walk carefully through the woods to where he knew Albast would be. After being slammed to the ground by Lobrein, Glyph decided that teleporting directly to their position might not be the best idea. After a few minutes they found him and Miatsu, peering over a ridge into the deepening darkness.
“Glyph, Amos! I am glad to see you well. We have been trying to contact you for the last hour or so.” Miatsu said to Amos as he stood and greeted his fellow wizards.
“I took him.” Glyph said cutting to the chase.
Miatsu looked surprised, but Albast just nodded. “I see.” The ancient wizard said as acknowledgement, and then cast a sidelong glance at Amos.
“I already know, Albast. I’ve seen the next prophecy, so you can drop the pretense. I’m not going to kill you.” Glyph blurted out.
Again Miatsu looked shocked. “Ah, but are you certain?” Albast asked and turned to face Glyph.
“Yes, god damn it!” Glyph said.
“The evil grows within you.” Albast commented.
“And so does the good. I would sooner die than run you through the middle with my sword.”
Miatsu could contain himself no longer. “What is this about?” He questioned, staring imploringly at Amos. Glyph and Albast ignored him.
“What if I attacked you, forced you to defend yourself?” Albast asked.
“Are you nuts? Do you really want me to kill you? Are you so sure of yourself and these damned prophecies to do that?” Glyph demanded in response.
Albast just stared at Glyph, and for a moment Glyph was truly afraid that the old man would try something. But then he turned his head and looked away. “No, of course not, my friend. I would never go that far.” He said, but the way he said it bothered Glyph, as though he would try to find some other way.
“Master, what is this about? Why would Glyph kill you? I do not understand.” Miatsu questioned frantically.
“Relax Miatsu. Relax. Glyph has seen something in the prophecy he is resolutely opposed to. I was only testing his resolve. There will be no killing.” Albast told him.
“But if he has seen it in the prophecy Master, then, will it not come true?” Miatsu asked.
“The prophecies are very misleading, in many ways. I would not deliberately try to force one to take place.” Albast replied.
“Oh, but you don’t mind helping them happen when it suits you.” Glyph accused.
“Glyph, this is my life we are contemplating. It is the one prophecy I have had serious issues with since the beginning. Maybe you can understand my position better now, Glyph. You see, it was not only Drayden’s and Morracor’s death that I have seen, but my own as well. I honestly believe that you do not have it within you to kill me, therefore I can only deduce that what we have seen is somehow in error. That perhaps either you or I are not who we appear to be in the scene that Amos will witness.” Albast explained.
Glyph and Amos looked at each other. ‘It is plausible,’ Glyph considered, ‘and it does make more sense than me killing Albast.’ he thought.
“King Rokka has informed me of your plan to assassinate Akthule. I believe it is a good decision. It will certainly cause a great deal of confusion amongst them, especially if there is some question as to who should succeed him as leader.” Albast said approvingly.
“So that’s what you’ve been planning.” Amos declared.
“Yes. Zarish is going to get his location and bring it to us.” Glyph said and glanced around. He was still mulling Albast’s words over in his head, but could not discern any subterfuge. It truly sounded as if he believed that somehow one of us was not who we thought he was, and that the prophecy was intentionally misleading us. “Speaking of which, we need to gather everyone together at base camp to hash out the details. I already told Lobrein to pass the word along on her side, could you do the same over here?”
“Of course. Everything has been quiet here for a little while. Akthule has withdrawn for now.” Albast replied.
“Good, let’s say around seven then. I need to go make some preparations of my own. There’s also the matter of changing my curse.” Glyph said.
“Oh yes, I am nearly complete in that task; perhaps only a few more hours of preparation. I was somewhat distracted by the battle taking place, and when we could not find Amos I was forced to drop those endeavors at that time.” Albast said.
“Very well. I will see you all soon.” Glyph said and teleported away. No matter what Albast said, Glyph still felt it prudent to be as far away from the ancient wizard as possible, just in case.
Glyph reappeared on the front porch of the mansion. The hole left by the Humvee had been rudimentarily repaired with some old boards. His stomach growled, and he turned his attention to the mess tent in the front yard. Before he could head that way, the front door opened and Prianna stepped out.
“Oh Glyph!” She exclaimed and threw her arms around him. “It is good to see you have returned. How is Ishea doing on M’atra?” She asked. Glyph didn’t want to worry her, but didn’t want to lie either.
“We’ll be engaging Tsach tomorrow. Other than that, she is fine.” Glyph said a bit glumly.
“I am sure that you will do well, Glyph. You have always done well in the past.” She said.
“Thanks Prianna.” Glyph replied, and quickly averted his eyes from her, as thoughts of the previous night began to return. “How are you feeling?” He asked.
“Everyone keeps asking me, and I tell them I am fine, but they all look at me as if something is wrong.” She replied.
Glyph looked back at her. ‘This is stupid.’ he thought. ‘Either she can, or she can’t, do magic. Why not just have her try it and see, rather than tip-toeing around the subject?’
“They are worried that you may not be able to do magic anymore.” Glyph blurted out.
“Why would they think that? Is that why they do not want me to go and help fight anymore? Not that I mind. I do not like fighting, although I am getting better at it.” She questioned.
“You nearly died, Prianna. You used up your reserve and used most of your life energy to create that forest. There may be nothing left. We were lucky to save your life.” Glyph informed her bluntly.
“Oh.” Prianna said in response. Her brow furrowed momentarily, and then relaxed. “I was going to get some food, would you like to join me?”
Glyph was hungry, but just being around Prianna made him relive his time with her in his mind. Finally his stomach growled loudly enough for Prianna to hear.
“That sounds like a yes to me.” She said and giggled. “Come on, they are having corn and potatoes again. They have something called meatloaf as well, but I do not eat meat. You knew that already though, did you not?”
Glyph nodded his head yes. It was going to be a long meal, he thought as the pair entered the tent and got in line. They sat at a table and ate in silence for several minutes. Glyph was about to make some excuse to leave when he saw Captain Haddix enter the tent. Glyph waved him over almost frantically as he finished going through the line. The Captain was all too eager to join them. “You’ve met Captain Haddix, haven’t you Prianna?”
“Oh yes, he is the poor man who lost his good friends defending the portal against the Imps.” Prianna stated.
Haddix just looked at her, as if he didn’t know how to respond. Suddenly Glyph understood why the man had been asking about her the other night. It was plainly obvious now that he was attracted to her. The Captain cleared his throat. “Yes, and you’re the young lady who created that forest of bamboo yesterday. That was really amazing.” He commented, trying to control his excitement over getting to talk to her again.
“It was, actually, now that I think about it. Of course, it nearly killed me, and now everyone is worried that I can no longer perform magic.” She told him.
Haddix just smiled as he sat down across from her. “When will you know? I mean if you can still do magic?” He asked.
“Well, the thought never occurred to me until Glyph just told me about it. Perhaps I should try to do something when I am done eating. Do you eat meat? I only eat vegetables. Meat is not really necessary to complete your nutritional needs, you know.”
Glyph glanced up as Covat and Lobrein entered the tent. He looked at Haddix. Why he hadn’t noticed how smitten the man was with Prianna before now was beyond him; it was clear that he was in love. Of course Glyph had been a bit busy lately. “If you two will excuse me, I need to talk to King Covat.”
“Yes, of course.” Haddix said politely. He truly could not take his eyes off of her.
Glyph moved off quickly, and once more forced thoughts of his encounter with Prianna far from his mind. He still did not know what to do about it, if anything, but at least for now Haddix could preoccupy her for a while.
Glyph talked with Covat at some length before the others arrived, and was saddened by the losses that the King of Torlea had shared with him. Torlea had lost a third of their men and the Delturans nearly half.
When Greem and Aroth entered the tent, nearly everyone there stiffened. The M’atrans were human enough to be accepted, but apparently no one was quite used to the imposing size and shape of the Hexzu. Glyph went to greet them immediately and quickly caught up on their situation as well. A few minutes later Rokka and Albast arrived and Glyph started the meeting.
Glyph spelled out the generalities of their attack plan, and then opened the floor to any ideas. King Covat suggested that the initial assassination team be comprised of representatives of all the allied races. The others agreed, but decided that the final number of people who would take part in the attack should be decided after Zarish returned with the information on Akthule’s defenses.
“I would like to add that this mission will be strictly voluntary. It is likely not all of us will return from this endeavor.” Glyph added as the meeting began to wrap up. He made his way over to where Albast, Lobrein, Amos and Miatsu were seated, and cleared his throat. The others looked up at him. “I would like three of you to remain behind to defend the camp. Tsach has beaten us to the punch before and I don’t want it happening again.” He told them. They all just stared at him. “Okay, well I think it’s a good idea if Albast stayed behind. I would rather that you worked on changing the curse than fighting anywhere near me.”
“That is a sound decision.” Lobrein stated matter-of-factly. “I too would like to sit this one out.” She said and looked gravely at Albast. Glyph could tell that she had obviously been filled in on the latest prophecy and wasn’t too happy about what she had heard. Albast was strangely silent. Glyph then looked to Miatsu and Amos.
“I’ll go.” Amos spoke up.
“Good, then that’s settled. All we can do now is sit back and wait for Zarish.”
“Glyph I know I’ve said it before, but are you sure we can trust her? I mean, I like her too, but you’ve just given her the opportunity to lead us right into a trap.” Amos said.
“I know.” Glyph said and paused.
“You know!?” Amos quipped.
“Look, there has to be some level of trust in the universe, Amos. Without it I don’t believe the balance between good and evil can be reset. We have to know one way or the other; more importantly, I have to know. It’s the main reason I requested this mission be on a volunteer basis. If I’m wrong then most of us will probably be killed.” Glyph told them.
“Oh, and that’s the best way you could come up with?” Amos replied snidely.
“I saw the opportunity and I took it. It’s not like I can sit around for the next couple of years thinking up ways to prove Zarish’s loyalty.” Glyph said.
Amos just shook his head and got that ‘I hope you’re right’ look on his face. Glyph turned to face Albast, who sat staring off into the corner of the tent. “Albast, changing this curse is perhaps the most important thing we have to do right now, and the sooner we can do it the better.”
“Yes, yes, I understand. I will be ready to perform the spell as soon as you are finished with the ambush on Akthule. I may be able to do it sooner, but it sounds as if you had better be here for this one, in case as you say, things do not go as planned.” Albast replied.
Glyph felt relieved. It was as if Albast finally understood what he and Amos have been trying to tell him about the prophecies. It seemed as though the thought of losing his own life had made him reconsider his position on the matter. “Thanks Albast. I know you will be ready when the time comes.”
There was a short silence before Albast spoke up again. “Glyph?”
“What is it?” he responded.
“I understand you will be confronting Tsach when you return to M’atra.” The ancient wizard said.
“That’s the plan.” Glyph replied.
“You will do fine.” Albast said.
“Okay. What are you getting at?” Glyph wanted to know.
“Just that. You needn’t worry about the outcome of things.”
Glyph just stared at the old man. “And that’s it, I shouldn’t worry about my fight with Tsach? The battle that apparently decides the fate of the entire universe? That’s what you really wanted to tell me?” Glyph questioned him.
Albast scratched his head and a pained expression crossed his face. “Glyph, I will send you to M’atra as you have requested, and you will engage Tsach. I just want you to know that there is hope. Do not despair as your time with Tsach grows near; you are at least as powerful as Tsach, if not more so. You simply have not come to that realization. When you do, you will understand that what you ask of me will no longer be necessary anyway, in that you will have the power to do whatever you want.”
“I’m glad you think so. Everyone seems to feel that I have this whole battle with Tsach all wrapped up, but I’m not so sure. He nearly killed me once already, Let’s just say I plan on giving it my best shot.” Glyph said candidly. The end was drawing close, he could feel it in the fiber of his being.
Lobrein smiled. “That is all any of us can ask, Glyph. We have faith in you. You are a part of this family, whether you choose to believe it or not.” With that, she stood and gave Glyph a hug. “You have erased the lies that have bound us for thousands of years, and brought us closer than we have ever been before. You have saved the Hexzu from extinction, despite their losses here, and gave them a fighting chance. You have saved the people of M’atra twice, and are doing the same for the people of Earth. You have even managed to change our perceptions of the demons that have been our sworn enemies. You are not alone, Glyph. As long as any of us are alive, we will be here for you.”
Glyph thanked them for their support, but he really wasn’t all that interested in what he had done. The only thing on his mind now was Tsach, and making sure Ishea was safe. Albast excused himself and went to make his final preparations. Glyph decided he needed some air and left the tent as well. He was walking toward the large grove of Oak trees that resided nearby when he heard the distinct sound of someone crying. He moved closer to the sound and finally saw the light of a lantern through the trees. As he got nearer, he could see that it was Prianna and Captain Haddix.
“It’s okay Prianna, it’ll come back to you in time. Don’t worry.” Haddix was consoling her.
“No, I do not think it will, Jon.” He heard her say between sobs. “The plants no longer hear me when I speak to them.”
“They will, it just might take awhile.” Jon Haddix spoke. Glyph realized he had never asked the man his first name. The scene tore at Glyph’s heart. Prianna had obviously tried to use her magic and failed, but Haddix was resolute, he refused to give up on her.
“Oh Jon, what will I do? The others will not know what to do with me if I cannot help them.” Prianna cried.
“I don’t believe that for a second, Prianna. They love you for who you are, not what you can do for them.”
“But they are concerned. They worry that I can no longer do magic, and they are right. I can not. What good am I if I can not do magic?” She said and sobbed some more.
“Prianna, no one on my world can do magic, and we get by. There are more important things in life than what we can or can’t do. Don’t be so hard on yourself, we’ll work on it together, and you’ll see, your magic will return.” Jon told her.
He was persistent in that, Glyph thought. It was plain that her grief struck Haddix to the core, and Glyph was sure he would tell her anything to ease her pain. Without thinking, Glyph stepped from the shadows and walked straight at the pair. Haddix saw him first.
“Glyph, she fell and bruised her leg a bit, but she’ll be alright.” Haddix stammered.
Prianna looked up at Haddix, as if seeing him for the first time. She then wiped her eyes. “Yes, I will be fine.” She choked out.
Haddix was trying to cover for her, and she realized what he was doing and went along with it. It was so very touching that Glyph began to tear up as well, and walked over to her and knelt down beside the pair. “What he says is true, Prianna. We will love you the same even if you can never do magic again.” Glyph spoke, and without saying another word he took her hand and laid it on top of Jon’s. He really didn’t even know what he was doing, it just sort of happened. Then he pressed their hands toward the Earth and touched a small flower there. There was a bright flash of light and the flower bloomed instantly at their touch. Then he smiled and stood up.
“Glyph, I do not understand. Why?” Prianna stated somewhat confused, and then she too smiled. “I can hear them. I can hear them!” She squealed in delight. Standing up, Prianna spun around quickly in a circle with her arms stretched outward. Suddenly everything within the light of the lantern bloomed as well. The plants and trees began to grow, and arched curiously toward the sorceress.
“Oh Glyph! How can I ever thank you!” She exclaimed.
“It wasn’t me, Prianna.” Glyph told her, as he helped Jon Haddix to his feet. “It was the good Captain’s love for you that made it work.” He stated. He glanced over at Haddix who was now blushing. Glyph wasn’t sure what exactly had taken place, but figured it was a good bet to let Captain Haddix take the credit. It had obviously involved him somehow.
“Your love, for me?” She turned and asked Haddix.
“I uh…” Haddix stammered and looked at Glyph. Glyph nodded yes slowly and raised his eyebrows. “Well, I guess it was.” The Captain choked out. “I mean, my love for you, yes. I mean I do love you, Prianna.”
Prianna was positively beaming as she leapt up and embraced him, kissing him deeply. Glyph walked away, having felt as though he did his good deed for the day. He was rather pleased that the act had also appeased the guilt he had been carrying since his encounter with Prianna. More than that, he did not think of it again.
Glyph went back to his room and tried to sleep, but had little success. The thought of the battle with Akthule, and ultimately Tsach, kept creeping into his thoughts. After an hour or so of tossing and turning, Glyph realized there was a flaw in their plan to assassinate the Demon Lord. No one had asked how they were going to infiltrate the demon encampment, or how long it would take them to get there. Maybe the Hexzu could fly them there, but that too would be risky. He was considering the problem when a familiar voice entered his mind.
“Glyph, I have returned with the location of Akthule.” Zarish spoke telepathically.
“I’ll be right there.” Glyph replied, concentrated on her and quickly blinked away. He was standing on the front porch again when Zarish, disguised in her human form stepped out from the long shadows cast by the lanterns at the front of the mess tent.
“I have done as you asked.” Zarish stated.
“Good. So what happened? Why did Akthule pull his forces back?” Glyph asked her.
“Tsach ordered him to do so. At least that is what he claimed. There are more reinforcements crossing the large river to the west, it is my guess that Akthule is waiting for them.”
“The portal Tsach opened in the desert did not close just because the war had started. They have been coming through this whole time.” Zarish informed him.
“Damn it!” Glyph said between clenched teeth. The thought had never crossed his mind. He had hoped that when they had defeated Tsach’s forces here that it would be over. It was evident now that his battle with Tsach would be the only way to save the people of Earth. Glyph sent word telepathically that everyone should meet at the mess tent in fifteen minutes. There was no point in delaying this any longer.
“Glyph, I would like you to meet someone.” Zarish said.
“Who?” Glyph asked, snapping him out of his train of thought.
“This is Karatchic.” The female demon said and waved her arm. A human male stepped forward from the shadows. “He is one of the few that is sympathetic to our cause. Karatchic, this is the Great One.”
Before Glyph could say hello, the man pulled a dagger from his belt and slid it across his forearm and prostrated himself before Glyph. “To you my life belongs, to you this I decree, until the time you set me free, forever —-.”
“STOP!” Glyph commanded, and the demon froze. Glyph shot a look at Zarish, who also looked taken aback by her friend’s behavior. He stepped over to the man and waved his hand, freeing him from the word of command. He pulled the demon to his feet. “I do not want a slave, and I am not your master, nor will I ever be.” Glyph told him and touched his arm, healing the cut instantly.
Karatchic’s eyes bulged wildly as he glanced back and forth between Zarish and Glyph. “Have I displeased you Mast—?”
“Ah-ah.” Glyph said cutting him off once more. Not again, he thought. He remembered how glad he had been when Zarish finally stopped calling him that. “You may refer to me as Great One, and no, you have not displeased me. You are an individual now, you are free to think and do as you please, Karatchic. There are only a few rules to follow which Zarish can explain later. So let’s start over.” Glyph said and put his hand into the demon’s hand and shook it once. “Good to meet you Karatchic.”
“Yes.” Karatchic said, still visibly shaken by the encounter.
Glyph signaled to Zarish and the two stepped off a ways from Karatchic. “You brought them here now?” Glyph asked somewhat surprised.
“I had to. Once the attack on Akthule begins they will know they have been betrayed, and I will be the first one they suspect of treachery.”
Glyph understood her reasoning, but now wasn’t the best time for dealing with this. “How many?”
Glyph looked around, “where are they?”
“They are a few leagues south of here. Not all of them are capable of shifting shape, and I thought it best that they remain hidden for now.” Zarish explained.
“Good, keep them there and make sure they stay out of sight. I’ll inform the others that they are there, just in case.”
Zarish sent Karatchic back to the other demons who had defected, along with a set of instructions. Then she and Glyph entered the tent to await the rest of his group. Once everyone had reassembled, Glyph started. “I think five from each of our groups should suffice. We’re only there to get Akthule and get out, not to kill everything that moves.” Each group picked their five to go along. Greem hand-picked his group, where those from Earth and M’atra drew lots. When everyone had been chosen, Glyph turned the floor over to Zarish.
“Akthule is in a large black tent near the center of the northern encampment. He is very shrewd, and may have some form of magical protection about him. The demon Lord has a personal guard comprised of Ghouls and Imps, and they are not in the habit of asking questions before they cut you open, nor do they take prisoners. Consider every battle you face there to be to the death. They will show you no mercy, be sure to repay them in kind.” Zarish told them.
“I will take Akthule, the rest of you are to keep the others from interfering, or taking pot shots at me while my back is turned.” Glyph added. “Timing is everything here, so grab your gear and meet on the lawn in five minutes.”
As everyone began to file out, Amos came over to Glyph. “Are we marching there or what?” He asked smartly.
“No, we’re not.” Glyph replied as he too made his way toward the exit. As soon as he stepped outside he could hear Aroth complaining loudly to Greem.
“You should not go, my cousin. You are too important. Should you be lost–” Aroth was saying.
Greem held up his hand. “A leader leads, Aroth. I cannot ask my warriors to do anything that I am unwilling to do myself.”
“But the Earthers do it this way, Greem. It only makes sense.” Aroth continued.
“No Aroth, the leaders here are not warriors. They are not expected to fight, but we are Hexzu, and it is our duty to defend these people. The Great One has so commanded it, and we are in his debt. If he is triumphant in his battle with evil, he shall restore to us our home. This is our purpose in the Great War, and we shall be rewarded for our loyalty. So it is written in the prophecy of our ancestors. You are Ruktan now, and every member of the Ruktan has sworn an oath to uphold that prophecy.” Greem explained to him.
“You are right of course, Chieftain Greem.” Aroth said stiffly and bumped his forearm against that of his Chief.
Glyph walked by some distance away, but Greem’s words kept repeating in his mind. ‘Is that what they think? Obviously it is, but how can I restore their world to them if I can’t even restore my own. I hope Greem isn’t too disappointed.’
“So how do you propose we get there?” Amos asked from behind as he hurried to catch up.
“Everyone form a circle. Pair up and stand back to back.” Glyph ordered. He noted some familiar faces among the group: Captain Jon Haddix was among those from Earth. King Rokka from M’atra, and of course Greem and Aroth. “Weapons at the ready!” Glyph commanded.
“Glyph, what are you doing? How is this going to help us get to Akthule?” Amos asked as Glyph made his way to the center of the circle. There were twenty of them, twenty-three including Amos, Zarish, and himself, ten facing in towards Glyph and ten facing outward.
“We’re going to teleport.” Glyph explained calmly as he closed his eyes and laid his hand across Zarish’s forehead. He scanned her thoughts, and instantly knew where the Demon Lord was located. It was the only thought Glyph could find. There should have been others, but there weren’t, so he pulled his hand away. If this foray was a trap there was only one way to find out.
“Teleport? Glyph that fucker’s miles away.” Amos said incredulously, glancing around as the rest of them formed in a tight circle. “There’s over twenty of us.”
“Prepare to fight!” Glyph called out, then looked at Amos. “So?”
“So you can’t teleport this many people, it’s not possible, and especially that far away.” Amos argued.
“I guess we’ll find out.” Glyph said and closed his eyes once more. He could see the tent and then he could see inside. Spreading his aura outward, it engulfed the group, and a moment later they were gone.