The Hour – Chapter 12

Chapter 12

 

Glyph woke up swinging and bolted upright from the cot. He immediately regretted it. Pain shot down his spine and the muscles around the bottom of his right ribs began to spasm. Letting out a long protracted groan, he eased himself back down onto his cot.

“I did not expect you to wake so soon.” Ishea said from across the room. “Your wounds were rather severe…again.”

“I don’t know. My leg feels fine.” Glyph said, and managed to crack a smile when Ishea shot him a stern look.

Suddenly the tent flap opened. “Are you alright, Glyph?” Toban asked as he entered, a look of concern on his face.

“I’ve been better.” Glyph replied, “I am okay, right?” he prodded, looking toward Ishea.

“You will be fine, though you will be sore through tomorrow.” She spoke soothingly, and smiled. “Glyph, before you passed out, you said that Simeon was dead. May I see what has happened?”

“Sure, why not?” Glyph said rubbing his ribs gently. “You do every other time.”

She walked over to his cot and sat down near his feet. Ishea closed her eyes for a few seconds. When she opened them, she blinked in astonishment.

“You killed Simeon!” She said, shaking her head slowly. Reaching over to a side shelf, Ishea picked up Glyph’s sword and admired it. “Well, you can add ‘Demon Slayer’ to your title now.” she said, and then laughed.

“I rather like the sound of that.” Glyph said jokingly. “What do you think, Toban?”

“I like the sound very well.” Toban replied, smiling broadly “May I pass the news to the troops? I am sure it will bolster their spirits to know that King Glyph has just killed Simeon the Torturer.” He said proudly.

Glyph laughed, “Might as well.”

Toban nodded. “We should start moving. I have a wagon waiting outside for you. Also Lady, at your convenience, the Continental Pylons will need to be activated.”

“Of course Toban, I’ll be right there.” Ishea replied.

“Very good, then. Now if you will excuse me…” he said with a slight bow, then pulled the canvas flap shut behind him.

Glyph tried to move again, this time much more slowly.

“You have experienced more in the last few days than most men do in a lifetime. It seems I am always trying to keep up with you.” Ishea said.

“Well you’re doing a fine job.” Glyph chimed in, while propping himself up as he slid toward the edge of the cot. He didn’t want to kill the mood by mentioning the five months prior to the last few days, where he experienced a hundred lifetimes worth of torture. He hoped that by killing Simeon those memories might start to fade, but so far that wasn’t the case. “I can still ride, right?”

“That depends on how you feel, but I would wait until this afternoon. We should set you up in the wagon again, at least until we reach the Great Lake.”

Glyph nodded, and with a great effort managed to stand upright. Ishea waved her hand over the bag and it vanished, then put her arm around Glyph for support as she helped him outside. “So how do you think Simeon entered my world?” Glyph blurted out when he sat down on the back of the wagon.

Ishea motioned for the driver to head out, grabbed the side of the cart and swung herself up beside him. “I have been thinking about that; I believe it may have something to do with the sword and the necklace. When you brought them into your world, they stood out like beacons because there is no magic being used there. Drathus probably found a way to open a portal by focusing in on the only magic on the planet. The introduction of magical items into your environment enabled the Demon Lord to trace your energy signature and send Simeon after you.”

“I’m guessing I shouldn’t take them next time, then?” Glyph asked, feeling quite disappointed.

“I believe that would be for the best. Better to fight off your own kind, than to try and take on another demon.”

Glyph looked down and reluctantly removed the necklace and handed it back to Ishea. “Well that solves that. Now, what’s up with the sword? Why was the blade so hot?”

“It is said that King Kivas once saved Emperor Komei’s life during a hunt. Emperor Komei had his best artisan craft a sword of the finest quality. The artisan, so compelled with pleasing his Master, went above and beyond his duty, and took a piece of his animus, his very life essence and fused it into the blade. Thus, it is said to have gained magical powers. When Komei saw the weapon, he was so pleased that he arranged for the young artisan to wed his youngest daughter, and accepted the talented blacksmith into his family. King Komei presented the sword as a gift to King Kivas in return for saving his life.” Ishea handed the sword to Glyph.

“Eventually it was no longer worn by future kings of Kivas, but was put on display in the Great Hall, along with several other relics. A few hundred years ago I came upon the writings of a mad old Hermit. They mentioned the sword, and its magical properties, but nothing too specific. I became interested when I read that the sword would be re-born in the light, so I borrowed the weapon from the display in the Great Hall and began to study it.”

“So what did you find out?” Glyph asked curiously.

“Nothing,” Ishea said plainly. “Nothing at all, at least as far as magical properties go. I had believed the story to be myth until now.”

“Well, it scared the hell out of me; the blade was so hot it almost burned my hands and arms.” Glyph told her.

Ishea shrugged “Such is the nature of magical weapons. Sometimes unleashing too much power, too close, can cause some discomfort for the wielder. Maybe you could wear a pair of gloves.” She smiled, then laughed, and Glyph broke out laughing as well.

The wagon slowed to a stop, and Glyph looked around confused. “What now?” He asked her.

Ishea hopped down. “I will need to activate the Continental Pylon if we are to make it to Muret in time.”

“Oh, right. I wanted to see this.” Glyph said and gingerly lowered himself off the back of the covered wagon. Ishea instructed the driver to pull off to one side of the road and wait. When he moved off, Glyph could see the pylon, and the rank and file of the Kivan army moving in behind them. Glyph turned and limped along behind Ishea as she approached the pylon. It was about fifteen feet tall and had four tapering sides, with a four-sided pyramid at the top. It looked to be made of a strange amalgam of jade and pink quartz. Runes had been carved on each of the four sides from top to bottom. There was one large clear crystal mounted at the pinnacle, and another affixed to the middle of the base of each side.

“What’s this thing do again?” Glyph asked, wincing as a short stabbing pain shot through his ribs as he stood there.

“They act as portals do.  This one will transport us to the next closest pylon, which happens to be just below the Great Lake near Muret.” Ishea said as she placed her hand on one side of the obelisk-shaped pylon. “Activate.” The runes flashed a brilliant orange. “The runes indicate size and direction. ‘Muret’.” Ishea spoke loud and clear. Suddenly the crystal at the top lit up a beautiful sparkling green color, along with the bottom crystal on the side Ishea had placed her hand. There was a slight slurping sound as blue energy poured from the top and bottom, connecting together in the middle. A small transparent sheet had formed between the arc and the pylon, allowing Glyph to see a narrow view of where the portal would send you on the other side. The view shifted and wavered like he was staring across pavement on a hot summer day, and Glyph was completely transfixed by it. Ishea made a tapping motion with her hand, and the arc expanded outward to nearly ten times its original width. “The portal must be at its maximum width in order to march an army through. The pylons are placed on the intersections of force lines so that once they are activated they have enough energy to sustain their operation indefinitely. I will leave them active so that Kahula and his army can use them as well. Without them, it would take several months to reach Priam. As it is now, it will only take us a few days.”

Glyph wanted to ask her what a force line was, but was still in awe of this magical device. Ishea waved toward General Hilen, who had made his way to the front line of soldiers and cantered over to their position.

“Sire.” Hilen said to Glyph and gave a short bow from his horse. “Lady Ishea.” He said and bowed again. “Is everything… ready?” Hilen questioned. Glyph could see a slight uneasiness about the general that he hadn’t noticed before.

“Quite ready, General.” Ishea replied. “You may pass through at your discretion.”

“Thank you my Lady.” Hilen responded, and straightened a bit in his saddle. “Commander Finnicks! You may proceed.” The general called out. A stout bearded man at the front turned and barked the order to march forward. The soldiers who had been lining up in rows all marched forward directly into the portal and out the other side. Glyph just stared in awe. He could still see them marching into the distance when he stared through the portal after them.

“Remarkable, is it not?” Hilen questioned when he saw the look on Glyph’s face. “It is only the second time I have ever witnessed the pylon’s activation. I must say it has not lost the ability to impress, and though perfectly safe, instills a pang of discomfort in me that I shall feel much better about once I am on the far side. If you will excuse me.” Giving another short bow, Hilen moved in beside his Commander and passed through.

Moving around the pylon, Glyph positioned himself to see the back of the portal just to make sure it wasn’t some type of illusion. The back of the portal looked similar to the front. Glyph could plainly see the soldiers marching toward him, but when they entered the portal they vanished in layers, peeling away vertical strips of their bodies as they moved forward. Glyph could see internal organs and bones flash from view as they stepped inside, and quickly decided he liked the front view better. After the novelty had worn off, Glyph walked back to his wagon and climbed in. His ribs were aching badly, and he maneuvered himself into a position that caused him the least amount of pain. Ishea joined him a few minutes later.

“If it is alright with you, we will let the army pass through first. It will likely take a few hours, and will give your injuries a chance to rest without being jostled back and forth.” Ishea asked.

“Yeah, sure.” Glyph told her. He had almost forgotten why she had asked for his permission in the first place. He seriously doubted that he would ever get used to being a King. Deciding it would be best to take full advantage of their wait, Glyph pulled a blanket over himself and drifted off to sleep to the sounds of soft clinks and clanks of armor and swords on the soldiers marching through the portal.

 

Glyph was running through the woods; the thumping sound was getting louder. He stopped behind a tree, and the pounding got louder until it felt as if the beating was from his own chest. The tree shook with the sound, then all was quiet. Glyph grabbed the shotgun and leaped out to face his attacker. It was Simeon. The demon stood there staring at Glyph, then its mouth stretched into an evil grin. “sssMaliktae.”

“What’s that? What’s that supposed to mean?” Glyph demanded, brandishing the shotgun in front of him.

“sssMaliktae.” Simeon spoke again, this time reaching out toward Glyph.

“What do you want? What the hell does that mean?” Glyph yelled at the demon.

“sssMaliktae.” Simeon said a third time and began to laugh.

Glyph lost all patience and pulled the trigger of the gun, but nothing happened. Glyph looked at the shotgun, but all he carried in his hands was a dead branch. Glyph reached for his pistol, but it wasn’t there, neither was his knife.

Simeon shook with his sinister hiss-like laughter.

“Shut up!” Glyph screamed, and swung at Simeon with the branch, but the demon had vanished, then the trees, then the ground. Within a few seconds Glyph was tumbling through space, going somewhere, everywhere, nowhere…

 

Glyph felt a sudden jerk, and his eyes flew open. He felt groggy and chilled. “What did he say?” Glyph mumbled as he tried to sit up.

“I trust you slept well.” Ishea said to him.

He hadn’t realized anyone else was there and glanced over at her with a start. “What’s happening?” Glyph asked.

“We are moving toward the portal. When the wagon lurched forward, it jostled you awake. I apologize.” Ishea replied. “So, what did who say?” she asked.

“Hmm. Oh, it was nothing. Just a dream I suppose.” Glyph said, now feeling hot. He wondered if he might be getting sick. “How long before we pass through?”

“Any moment now. There will be a quick flash of light as we enter, and then we will emerge on the other side. It is really quite easy.” Ishea told him, looking concerned once more. “Are you worried about it?”

“No. I just wanted to kno–.” Glyph replied, but was cut off by the bright flash of light. A moment later Glyph glanced around the inside of the wagon, but something was wrong.

“See, now we have traveled to the lake. It will take a half day’s journey to reach the other side of it.” He heard Ishea say.

When he looked at her, he pushed back against the side of the canvas and gasped. Her face was elongated and twisted, fangs sprouted from her mouth, and horns grew from the top and sides of her head.

“What is wrong?” It asked in a deep scratchy voice. It reached for him, and Glyph promptly smacked its arm away from him. Grabbing his sword, he shifted and rolled toward the back of the wagon. “Glyph? Glyph, are you alright?” The creature spat at him. Flinging himself through the back flap, Glyph hit the dirt with a thud and pain shot from his hip to his right foot. He scrambled to his feet. Fear and panic were taking hold of him. The creature that was Ishea thrust its head through the flap and hissed loudly. Glyph pulled his sword from the sheath and waved it at her.

Just then two creatures rushed him from behind; blood poured from their hollow eyeless sockets. Glyph swung at the first and nearly cleaved the creature’s head from its body. It dropped to the ground. The second one tried to grab Glyph and with a quick flick of his arm, he managed to lop the thing’s hairy clawed appendage off at the elbow. The twisted-looking zombie howled and leapt away from him. Glyph spun in time to see the vampire witch that was Ishea fly from the back of the wagon straight for him. He dove for cover under another wagon, rolled quickly underneath it, and stood up on the other side. Every cell in his body screamed ‘run’ and, spying some trees in the distance, Glyph sprinted toward them, hoping he could get away.

Behind him there were shouts and wails of anguish rising from the bizarre group of creatures. He ran for his life. He didn’t know what they were or where they came from, and he didn’t want to know, either. He just wanted to get away. The trees were getting closer when an enormous gray-mottled, mange-ridden beast ran into him, knocking Glyph to the ground. Glyph rolled and jumped back to his feet. Its claws dug at the dirt, and Glyph could see a grotesque hunchbacked rider on its back.

“Easy now!” It shrieked at him. “We do not want to harm you!” The rider wailed, and gnashed its teeth.

“Get the fuck away from me!” Glyph screamed in a panic, and made to circumvent the beast, but it moved to block his path again. Glyph pulled back the sword to swing and the beast jumped backward out of range. “Let me go!” Glyph yelled in desperation, but now there were two beasts with riders there. Stealing a look behind him, he could see a number of the creatures moving toward him, all led by the vampire witch. His fear doubled inside, and with a loud scream he turned and charged one of the beasts, driving his sword through its neck and side. Both beast and rider cried out as the beast fell before him. Glyph leapt over the beast and hacked off the rider’s leg as it tried to scramble to its feet. Then Glyph ran for the tree line as if the apocalypse was bearing down on him from behind.

As Glyph entered the woods he was in a full-blown panic. His heart was beating out of his chest, and he was fighting for every breath. He didn’t dare stop to rest. He had to get away from whatever those things were. Just as he thought he may have left the zombies behind, a patch of fog formed on the ground ahead of him. In an instant, the vampire witch was there, cackling at him. Glyph’s hand shook as he slid to a stop and pointed his sword at her.

“You must remain calm, Glyph!” It yelled at him. A constant stream of worms crawled from its nose and back into its ears as it stood there. Pieces of rotted flesh fell from its bones as it raised an arm toward him.

“Noooooo!” Glyph wailed and lunged to one side, headlong through a bramble bush. Suddenly more of the zombies surrounded him, their swords and spears at the ready. Glyph ripped himself free of the bush and thrust his sword into the nearest creature. Before he could take another step, lights burst and popped all around, blinding him. Glyph swung the sword wildly and charged ahead. He made contact with something a few more times before the creatures tackled him to the ground. Glyph struggled for all he was worth, cursing and swearing, but there were too many of them. They held him to the ground and pried his fingers loose from the hilt of his sword.

The horror and panic rose inside him as his blindness began to fade and he could see the despicable things that held him to the ground. Then the vampire witch stood over him as the others held him tight. Glyph knew it was the end, but something inside him made him continue to fight, to try and get away. He almost got one arm free, even though four of the creatures pinned it down. “Hold him!” The witch yelled at them. The witch pushed one long finger towards his head. He tried to turn away but one of the creatures held his head as well.

“No! No! Nooooooo!” Glyph yelled, but there was nothing he could do as the half-rotten finger pressed into his skull. His mind lit up on fire, and he screamed like Simeon had skewered him for the hundredth time.

Then it was over. There was silence.

“Is it over, my Lady?” He heard someone ask.

“I think so.” It was Ishea’s voice.

Glyph opened his eyes and stared at the people holding him down. There were several soldiers on top of him, along with Toban, and Ishea stood directly over him where the witch had been. The fear and panic had left him, but he was still very confused.

“What?—What the hell?” Glyph asked staring up at them.

Ishea let out a long breath. “You may release him.” She ordered. “Toban stay here with Glyph, I must tend to the others quickly.”

“Toban, what just happened?” Glyph asked. The other ten soldiers stood tensely, and stared at Glyph with a mixture of hate and sadness painted across their faces. They looked relieved as Toban motioned for them to return to the main group. Toban sat back,  leaned against a tree, and rubbed the side of his face with his hand, but said nothing.

“Toban, what’s going on?” Glyph said again, a bit more forcefully. “Where are those—those things?”

“There are no things, Glyph. Everything is fine.” Toban replied, forcing a smile.

“You don’t look like you think everything is fine. I was being attacked by…by something. What gives?” Glyph questioned, looking around for the strange evil-looking creatures.

Toban sighed heavily. “Ishea believes that Simeon placed a hex on you before you killed him. I am sure she could explain this better. From what I understand, passing through the portal activated the hex, which…” He paused. “Which made you see things that were not real.”

Glyph almost laughed. He was uniquely qualified in understanding things you see, but aren’t real. “So you mean–.” Glyph cut himself short. “If they weren’t real, then–” Glyph stopped again. “What did Ishea mean by ‘the others’?” Glyph asked in seriousness.

Toban looked uncomfortable, but continued. “There were some injuries.”

“I was hacking and slashing my way through those things, Toban. If they weren’t real, then what were they?” Glyph demanded.

A pained expression crossed Toban’s face. “They were our people, Glyph.”

“What?” Glyph said and started to get to his feet.

Toban stood quickly, blocking his way. When Glyph took a step to the right Toban moved with him. “You do not want to see that, right now. We should wait for Ishea to return.”

“Dammit Toban! What did I do? I have to know!” Glyph shouted angrily. Reluctantly, Toban stepped aside. Glyph moved forward and saw several wounded men being bandaged near where the tree-line ended and the grassy plains began. Glyph strode determinedly from the grove of trees past the wounded men and across the field. He stopped when he saw the dead horse. Several men nearby were being carted away on stretchers. Glyph turned on Toban, who had been following behind him. “This was me? I did this?”

“Yes. But you were under the power of Simeon’s hex. This is not your fault.” Toban tried to explain.

Glyph spun and marched back toward the line of wagons. As he rounded the first one, he found Ishea hovering over the body of a scullery boy. She covered the boy’s face with his shirt and motioned for some soldiers to take him away. Then she saw Glyph.

“I had hoped to spare you this.” Ishea spoke calmly.

“How many?” Glyph breathed.

“Three dead, six wounded, and the horse. This incident was tragic, but you are not to blame. Simeon is responsible for this.” Ishea told him.

“Simeon’s dead.” Glyph spat, and stormed past her. When he reached his wagon he jumped inside and pulled the flap shut. He lay there staring up at the canvas roof and tried desperately not to think. He had never been so terrified in his life, not even when he had been tortured by Simeon had he been as afraid as he had felt just a few minutes ago. He still wanted to run away, to get away from all this crazy bullshit. Just when he thought he had it figured out, that maybe he wasn’t losing his mind, this happens. He heard Ishea calling his name from outside the wagon, but he said nothing in response, and to his great relief she went away. The wagon started to move again a few moments later, as Glyph fought the images of those foul creatures over and over in his mind.

He drifted in and out of sleep over the next several hours. Hunters with guns, demons, dogs and zombies plagued him while he slept. Thoughts of having killed innocent people filled his mind when he woke, and everything danced around the question of his sanity. The wagon rolled to a stop at about five in the afternoon.

After a bit, the tent flap rose in the back and Ishea crawled in with a plate of food. “Here. You should eat.”

Glyph took the plate, but said nothing. After a few minutes of silence he guessed Ishea wasn’t going to leave, and he couldn’t bring himself to order her to do so, though he doubted she would obey anyway. He picked over his food until Ishea looked satisfied that he had eaten enough.

“We have reached the lake, and traveled several hours along the East side. We are only a few hours march from the capital city, but due to our delayed start this morning we must stop here for the night. Toban informed me that Kahula is gaining on us, and we will all be able to travel to Muret together for your meeting by mid-morning.” Ishea informed him.

Again Glyph didn’t reply. He didn’t know what to say or do, so he did nothing.

“Glyph, I am sorry this happened. It is my fault, I should have been more vigilant. I knew you had done battle with a magical being. I should have scanned your mind for magical maladies as well as physical ones. I was so shocked that you had killed Simeon that I forgot that he may have affected you in other ways. It was only your lack of experience that enabled Simeon to place a hex upon you, and that too is my own fault.” Ishea admitted to him.

Once again Glyph felt at a loss for words. He could appreciate the fact that she was taking the blame, but he was fairly certain it had not been solely her fault. Glyph nodded his head in acknowledgement. Eventually she left; part of him felt better in the understanding, and part felt even worse for allowing Ishea to take all the blame. Toban came an hour later to inform him his tent was ready. His cheerful attitude, whether forced or not, helped Glyph to get up. They walked to his tent, and he was once more greeted with smiles from everyone they passed. By the time they arrived, Toban had persuaded him into another sword lesson. Glyph hesitated at first until he saw that Toban had brought a pair of training swords with him. Glyph really didn’t want to pick up his real sword just yet, and Toban seemed to understand this, though he claimed it was only because it had taken him an hour to sharpen the nicks off his blade from their last session.

The exercise did him a world of good, and helped take his mind off of what had happened earlier that day. Before he knew it they had gone on for almost an hour and Glyph’s arm was wearing out. Ishea had just stepped into the tent as Toban tapped Glyph’s blade to the side and thrust the padded sword tip into Glyph’s chest.

“Damn.” Glyph said, as he stepped back and rubbed his chest. “My arm is getting tired.”

Toban let out a soft chuckle. “That is why we practice, Glyph. You have mastered the basics in only two lessons. Now we must build up your stamina.”

Ishea smiled. “Impressed, Toban?”

“Beyond my dreams! I have never witnessed anyone learn so quickly.” Toban replied as he gathered up his equipment.

“It could be I just have a good teacher.” Glyph commented.

Toban almost blushed. “I would love to take credit for your skill but I am, I fear, too decent a man.”

“And humble too.” Ishea added.

“With that thought, I must take my leave of you. Even humble men need their sleep.” Toban said with a smile. Glyph and Ishea both said goodnight to Toban as he made his exit.

Ishea turned toward Glyph and tossed the King’s sword at him. Glyph caught it just to keep the sword from hitting him in the face, and felt perturbed at Ishea for having done it.

“What?” Glyph snapped at her, and went to place the sword with his things on the far side of the tent.

“You left it in the wagon. Besides, your lesson is not over.” Ishea stated.

“I can barely hold this sword upright. I’m pretty sure I’m done with it for tonight.”

“Have you tried making it lighter?” She asked him.

“Make it lighter?” Glyph said furrowing his brow at the thought. “I can do that?”

“Of course you can. Care to give it a try?”

Glyph hesitated as he stared down at the sheathed sword in his hand.

“Typically, wizards do not need the physical strength of soldiers or skilled laborers; we have magic for that. A true master might argue that a wizard needs no weapon at all, however even I find them useful from time to time, especially in war.” Ishea told him.

He really didn’t want to look at the sword, let alone handle it right at this moment, but Ishea had intrigued him and he relented. “Alright. Fine, what do I have to do?”

Now Ishea moved toward him. “Pull the blade, and hold it out in front of you.” Glyph did as he was instructed, though his arm felt the weight of it instantly. “Good. Now close your eyes. Do you remember the ball?”

Glyph thought a moment. “Yes.”

“It is similar to the ball. First I want you to think of the sword as an extension of your arm. Let your mind enter the sword through your arm. Because it is your arm, you are in control of it.” She said as she moved in beside him.

A moment later the sword blade turned molten red. “Very good. Now imagine the sword as a thin reed. Push your thoughts of the thin reed through your arm and into the sword.” Ishea watched as the blade began to rise upward with Glyph’s arm. “Excellent. Open your eyes.”

Glyph stared at the sword in awe. “Is this some kind of mind trick?” Glyph asked. “It really does feel lighter.”

“It is magic, Glyph. Your magic.” Ishea informed him.

“This is incredible!” Glyph said as he waved the blade around the tent. “Will I have to do this every time I use it?”

“At first, yes. But considering it took most of us months to learn, and only a few minutes for you, I would have to believe it will be virtually automatic by the third or fourth time you try.” She said, and smiled again. After a few more minutes of swinging it about Glyph sheathed the sword, and was slightly shocked when the full weight of the blade returned as soon as he took his hand from the hilt.

Glyph yawned. “That was awesome.”

“Indeed.” Ishea stated and stifled a yawn of her own. “Unfortunately, wizards need their sleep as well. I will return before your hour, if you still wish it?”

“Yes, please.” Glyph replied. She nodded her understanding, and went to leave. “Ishea?”

She stopped and turned to face him at the tents entrance. “Yes?”

“You said you still use a weapon in times of war. What is it?”

Ishea giggled. “Well, I do use a sword in battle, but this is my best friend.” In a quick flash of motion a dagger flew from her boot and appeared in her hand. “When used with magic…” Ishea said as she tossed the knife into a spin that was so fast it resembled a blurry circle, and hovered beside her in thin air. “…A dagger can be as beautiful…” With a quick thrust of her arm she plucked the spinning handle from the air with her hand in a perfect fighting grip. “…As it is deadly. Take that fly for instance.” She then flipped the knife and launched it toward the insect. Glyph watched as the knife dipped, turned in mid-air, and spun back on itself before pinning the fly point first into the wooden scaffolding of the tent.

“Now that was impressive.” Glyph said, staring at her with awe.

“Thank you.” She replied, and with a flick of her wrist, the knife wiggled itself free from the wood and flew back to her hand. Keeping her eyes locked on Glyph, she dropped it point-first into the hidden sheath on the side of her boot. “Until morning.” She said and shot him a look that made his heart feel as if it would melt in his chest. Then with a quick turn, she stepped through the tent flap into the night.

Glyph placed his sword onto a chair and lay down on his cot. It wasn’t long before visions of the day’s events came to haunt his sleep, and though afraid at first, he eventually succumbed to exhaustion.

Ishea woke him early the next day with breakfast. Glyph found he could talk a bit more about what Simeon’s hex had done to him the previous morning. Ishea was very patient and explained it all clearly. It was hard to believe that what happened hadn’t been his fault when he was the one who had swung the sword. Ishea assured him that she had explained thoroughly to the wounded men that he had been hexed by a demon, and that they held no grudge against him. Believing her when she said that the families of those he had slain would also understand was a bit harder, but did make him feel better.

After they finished eating, Ishea set up her table of healing concoctions, herbs, and such on the table next to his bed, and Glyph lay in wait for what his next hour would hold. Soon the winds swept in, the air vanished, and he disappeared in the descending darkness.

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