The Hour – Chapter 19

Chapter 19

 

Ishea knelt over Lukret’s body, serenely applying her healing powers to his chest. The Demon pounded the blue-tinged domed shield she had placed above them repeatedly with his enormous hammer, each strike exploding in a shower of blue sparks as it hit. Running at the Demon, Glyph reached out with his mind, and as if an invisible fist had connected, the Demon’s head flew hard to one side as several teeth exited its mouth. Ishea glanced up for a moment, then returned to her work. The Demon spun and hurled a fireball at Glyph and his companions. Glyph raised his sword and stood his ground, squinting his eyes slightly as the fire was sucked into the sword like a vacuum, shooting glowing, sparkling, embers in every direction. The Demon was momentarily taken aback as he stared at the scene.

“I see you like fire, how about ice?” Glyph yelled at the towering creature of evil.

Ice began to form instantaneously around the Demon’s feet, locking them in place up to its knees. The surrounding Grull appeared stunned and then began to fall back, as they weren’t used to seeing their demon masters challenged. Toban ran toward Ishea and Lukret. The Demon screamed and swung its hammer, missing Glyph by a few inches. Glyph felt the breeze fly past him, but knew he was out of range for the moment. Glyph watched in fascination as steam boiled out from around the demon’s legs. The ice appeared to do more than just hold the demon in place, it was also burning the creature like acid.

“Osirus, give me your staff!” Glyph said, sheathing his sword.

Looking baffled, Osirus surrendered his staff to Glyph. As the staff entered into Glyph’s grasp it bent and morphed into a long bow. Quickly pulling back on the string, an ice arrow appeared in the bow and Glyph let it loose, guiding the arrow into the face of the Demon. The creature howled as the ice arrow struck and began to melt a hole in its cheek. The Demon hit the ice that enclosed its legs with the war hammer, causing a huge chunk to break away and slide quickly into Glyph, knocking him to the ground.

Wrenching one of its legs loose from the broken ice, the Demon pulled its free arm back, then pushed it forward and launched a bolt of lightning at Glyph. Osirus, who had narrowly missed the ice chunk, anticipated the demon’s attack and flung his body into the path of the bolt. The monk was promptly fried into a smoldering heap of blackened flesh that fell at Glyph’s feet.

“Damn You!” Glyph shouted, regaining his feet. He was exhausted, but the sight of Osirus’ lifeless body made him boil with anger and hatred. Glyph felt the darkness growing exponentially within him, feeding his strength.

The Demon swung its hammer at the steaming ice surrounding its left leg, sending another enormous piece of ice Glyph’s way. Glyph flipped the bow onto his shoulder, and magically diverted the ice chunk away with a wave of his hand. Unsheathing his sword, Glyph approached the Demon as it pulled its leg free of the ice pile.

“You just fucked with the wrong man!” Glyph screamed.

The Demon laughed, and pulled the fuming ice arrow from its cheek. Then it swung the hammer straight down towards Glyph’s head.

“Bounce!” Glyph yelled, as he waved his hand and cringed. The demon’s giant hammer hit the energy shield that appeared above Glyph’s body and bounced back with double the force toward the demon, impacting with its right horn and breaking it off at the base. The Demon roared with rage as it staggered backwards. Rushing forward, Glyph hacked the demon off at the knees, and watched gleefully as the writhing torso dropped onto, and crushed, several Grull. Glyph charged toward the head of the fallen creature.

“This is less than you deserve.” Glyph bent and spoke into its ear. Grasping its remaining horn, Glyph concentrated for a moment. A bluish light covered his hand and with a firm twist he snapped the horn off at the base. The demon screamed in anguish, tried to grab at Glyph, and was rewarded with a severed hand. Glyph flipped the horn point down, and stabbed it into the howling creature’s neck. Then he drove it home, pushing the horn deeper with his own body weight. Black blood spewed out onto Glyph’s face, as he grinned and gleefully twisted the horn back and forth. Taking a step back, he licked the demon’s blood off his lips, then kicked it in the face repeatedly. As the Demon died, Glyph noticed Toban and several other Legionnaires lift Lukret onto a stretcher and move him back from the front line. A few monks popped up to protect Glyph as he stood there, enraged, wild, and dripping with blood. Then he saw Ishea staring at him about five meters away. Her hair was mussed, and her face was stained with dirt and blood splatter. They locked eyes, and he heard her voice call his name within his own mind, and he slowly began to calm down. He could read the worry on her face, as she walked closer to him.

“There are more demons to fight!” He shouted.

“Look around you, Glyph.” she pronounced.

Glyph began to take in the scene of utter destruction around him, bodies piled on top of bodies, man and beast alike. He could hear the sounds of dying men, and the eerie bleating cries of wounded and dying Grull.

“The Grull are retreating into The Pass. The sun is growing low in the sky. The fight is done, at least for now.”

“But the Demons…” Glyph said confused “I only took out three.”

“And I killed two.” Ishea replied. “Without the Demons to drive them, the ranks of Grull collapsed and we sent them running.”

He turned and watched several Barjon soldiers, still on horseback, riding down the Grull as they fled. “But there were seven, where are the other two?”

“If there are two left, they have either been slain, or are still on the other side of The Pass.”

“They’re running?”

“Yes Glyph.” Ishea said looking concerned again.

Glyph sheathed his sword, and they began to limp back across the field, when his eyes suddenly widened, and his body stiffened.

“Rokka! We have to warn Rokka!” he barked at Ishea, and began to run as fast as his weary body could go.

Glyph hadn’t gone far when he came across a lone horse milling about on the battlefield. As he got closer his hope was confirmed; it was O’dista. He climbed up onto the stallion, galloped back a little ways, swung Ishea up and behind him in the saddle, and made for the encampment.

Upon entering his tent, Glyph sat at the small table and Ishea withdrew the Divinare crystal and sat it on the table. Glyph wasted no time as he placed his hands upon it, and began to search out Rokka. It was difficult at first. His mind was jumbled with thoughts and recent memories of the battle. The anger and resentment he felt toward the enemy also affected the crystal’s operation. As his frustration deepened, Ishea physically pulled his hands from the crystal.

“You must relax. The crystal does not respond to strong emotions or conflict. Try to take some deep breaths.” Ishea told him.

Glyph huffed and puffed several times. “It isn’t working. I can’t calm down, Rokka and his men are in danger. I have to warn him!”

Ishea took his hand in hers, then placed her other hand across Glyph’s forehead, and in an eerie voice whispered, “RELAX”. Instantly, Glyph could feel the tension in his muscles relax and his worries fade. When his breathing became slow and even, she released her hold on him. He felt surprisingly calm and collected, and he knew what he had to do as he scooted closer to the table.

He reached out and placed his hands to the Divinare once more. Glyph found himself peering down on the wastelands near the mountains. As he got closer, he saw a fierce battle between the Delturan soldiers and several legions of Grull. He moved in closer and saw flashes of lightning crisscrossing the desert. He managed to locate Rokka as the King fought alongside several of his soldiers. They were outnumbered, and Glyph had a suspicion that the lightning was coming from his missing two demons.

Glyph appeared about ten feet from Rokka, startling both factions momentarily. Rokka was the first to react, braining a stunned Grull, and lopping the head off another. His soldiers quickly followed suit, attacking while the herd-minded Grull decided whether Glyph was a threat.

“Grull are bad enough.” Rokka said, parrying a blow while kicking another beast in the gut. “You did not say anything about demons!” Rokka belied while slicing a Grull across the chest.

“What happened?” Glyph asked, as he moved amongst the attacking Grull like an apparition. His insubstantial image caused some of them to panic and flee.

“We attacked several hours ago. At first, we slaughtered them like butchers, and took out an outpost near the mountains.” Rokka spun and rammed his blade through the middle of the nearest Grull. “When we got closer to The Pass, we were met with heavy resistance, and now we are retreating, without much luck I might add.”

“And the demons?” Glyph asked, his blue form shimmering.

“I have seen only two. The old man killed one; I guess he must be doing something right.” Rokka ducked and quickly parried another blow. “He is keeping the other one occupied now.”

“Old man? What old man?”

“We found him wandering in the desert. He said his name was Miatsu. I let him tag along, but it was not until I saw him in action …” Rokka dodged an axe swing, and kicked the leg out from under his attacker. “… that I realized who he was.” He finished.

“Miatsu?” Glyph repeated.

Glyph was going to ask Rokka who ‘Miatsu’ was, when a large demon came flailing through the air, crushing several Grull and one of Rokka’s men as it landed on its back and slid to where he was standing. It looked up at Glyph and spat at his incandescent image. Glyph instinctively jumped back, as Rokka leapt forward, sticking the fiend in the leg. The demon swatted Rokka to the ground with the back of its enormous hand as it stood up. A lightning bolt flew out of the Demon’s other hand and electrocuted several advancing soldiers. Glyph could see Rokka was starting to get onto his feet, but felt helpless as the demon kicked the Delturan king back to the ground. As the evil creature reared back its fist to deliver a deathblow to Rokka, Glyph drew his sword and ran towards the demon out of shear desperation to save Rokka’s life. As the fist came down, Glyph’s sword changed from the normal incandescent blue of the crystal’s image to red. He threw the blade up to block the swing, and amputated the Demon’s arm just below the elbow. The arm spun lifelessly into the sand. Glyph gazed down at his own arms, realizing they were solid as was the rest of him. He still glowed blue but the shimmering was gone. The Demon howled and scurried backwards away from Glyph, shaking its stumpy limb wildly as black blood splashed everywhere. As it did, an old man with a gnarled staff suddenly appeared. He pulled his hood down behind his head and stared at Glyph in shock. Then, as if suddenly remembering what he was doing, he let loose a storm of lightning upon the Demon. As the Demon shook from the electricity, Glyph lunged forward and sliced through the back of its leg. Unable to regain its balance, the demon teetered and started to fall. Glyph spun and lopped off its head as it fell to the ground. Turning, he ran back to check on Rokka, who was getting to his feet and eyeing Glyph in awe.

“I do not know how…but you saved my life. Thank you.” Rokka said humbly.

“You are indeed great!” The old man called out as he made his way closer. He looked at Glyph in disbelief. “How did you do that through the Divinare? No one has ever been able to interact physically through the crystal.”

“I don’t know, and who are you?” Glyph questioned.

Rokka coughed a few times. “He is one of The Seven, a sorcerer.” Rokka informed Glyph.

“I am Miatsu. It is an honor to meet you. I have come to fulfill my part.” Miatsu told him. When he saw Glyph’s perplexed expression he continued. “I was compelled to wander this desert in wait of an army, nearly a month ago. When these men stumbled upon me I knew I had found my army, but truthfully I was merely relieved that my journey would soon be over.”

“My name is Glyph. I owe you my gratitude for helping these men.” Glyph spoke to Miatsu, and then moved his attention back to Rokka. “Take your soldiers back toward the sea. Try to draw as many of the Grull away from The Pass as you can. If all goes well, we’ll be moving through The Pass in force by tomorrow and can meet up with you then. If things get too hairy, take to the sea.”

“Very well. With the provisions we sacked from the Grull outpost we can return if we must, but we will wait for you as long as we can before we do.” Rokka replied.

“I will see to their safety, Great One.” Miatsu stated.

“I must take my leave of you now.” Glyph said, feeling the draw of the crystal beginning to pull him back. Glyph could tell he was becoming less dense by the second.

“Thank you both.”

Glyph took his hands off the crystal, and felt a wave of exhaustion wash over him.

“Did you say ‘Miatsu’?” Ishea prompted. She was leaning in close to him, an expression of shock on her face.

“Yes, he’s helping Rokka. Our missing demons were there too. Miatsu got one, and I helped finish the last one.”

Ishea was speechless, and her eyes began to tear up. “What–?” She finally choked out. “What did he say?”

“He said he felt compelled to wander the desert and wait for Rokka, in order to help them.” Glyph added.

She wiped a tear off her cheek, and took a long deep breath.

“You said you helped. What did you mean by that?” Ishea asked pointedly. She picked up the crystal and placed it back with her things.

“I mean, I killed the last Demon. De-limbed and decapitated the fuck myself.”

Ishea gasped. “You can not do that. It is not possible!”

Glyph shrugged. “It is now, and it worked rather well too. I saved Rokka’s life.” Glyph stated, while trying to slow his labored breathing.

Ishea’s jaw dropped, “You solidified your image?”

“It was either that, or let Rokka die.” Glyph answered. “What’s the big deal anyway?”

“The big deal is that no one has ever done it, it has been tried and proven to be impossible.” Ishea paused in thought, and her expression softened considerably. “How did Miatsu look? Is he well?” She said, taking Glyph’s hand.

“He looked old, and he was well enough to kill a Demon.” He replied.

She turned her head again and wiped off another tear. “I have not heard from him since Master died. I was afraid that he too had gone off somewhere to die.” She began to weep softly, and Glyph pulled her in close and put his arms around her, until she had finished. As they were getting ready to go check on Lukret and the others, Toban met them. His chainmail shirt was sliced in the middle and he was covered in dirt and bloodstains.

“Ishea, you must come at once! It is Lukret, he is dying.” Toban urged.

They quickly followed him back to the Legion encampment. Covat was outside the tent conversing in hushed tones with several of his high-ranking soldiers. He nodded solemnly at Glyph as Toban led them inside. Ishea rushed to his bedside.

“Lukret, may I help?” she asked.

“You have done what you could.” Lukret whispered to her. “It is my time.”

“We will get the monks to heal you.” Ishea said, looking around as if she could find one.

“They were already here, Ishea.” Toban informed her. “They could do nothing.”

Ishea began to cry as she clasped Lukret’s hand between her own.

“My dear, do not cry.” Lukret said, then coughed a few times. “My life has been all that I wanted it to be.” He said, coughed a few more times and gasped for air. “Ishea, you have been a most wonderful companion. You have been my aunt, my sister, and my daughter…so old and yet so full of life.” Lukret let out a long sigh. “Do not despair, but remember me fondly and I will always be with you.” Lukret grabbed at his chest and convulsed in pain.

“Lukret, I will honor your wishes, my dear and treasured friend.” Ishea told him and wiped the tears from her face.

Lukret forced a pained smile on his face and coughed again. “I must speak with Glyph alone now.” Lukret forced out in a winded breath.

Toban put his arm around Ishea and led her out.

“Come closer, my friend.” Lukret said softly to Glyph, who walked over to the bed. “Look after her, Glyph. She may be thousands of years old, but she is still as human as the rest of us, and just as fallible.”

“I will Lukret, I swear it.”

The ancient King gasped a few more times and coughed up some blood. “Read the prophecies, Great One. You are more important than you know.” Lukret spoke in labored breath, then his body began to spasm, and he exhaled his last, staring into Glyph’s face. Reaching up, Glyph closed Lukret’s eyes, and wearily left the tent.

“He is gone.” Glyph announced to all who had gathered there. Covat then entered the tent without a word. Ishea began to cry once more and Toban and Glyph helped her back to her tent to lie down.

“Gather everyone together for a meeting. We need to discuss our plan for tomorrow.” Glyph said to Toban as he turned to leave the tent.

“Glyph?” Ishea said

“Yes Ishea.” He replied

“Do not leave.”

He walked over and pulled a chair up next to her bed and sat down. Then he watched her fall asleep and stayed there until the sun went down, when Toban came for him.

“We are gathering in the mess right now, Glyph.” He spoke softly and glanced over at Ishea, “Should we wake her?”

“No. She’s been through enough today.” Glyph decided.

Toban led the way back to the mess tent. As they entered, he overheard Covat speaking to the assembled group.

“There is a spy. How else would Drathus have known when to attack?”

“There is no spy, Covat. If you seek an outlet for your grief, let it be on the battlefield, not within our own ranks.” Kahula chastised.

They both stopped and looked up at Glyph.

“Kahula’s right, Covat.” Glyph responded. “Now is not the time for accusations. If anyone’s to blame it’s me, for not realizing it sooner. This is all in fulfillment of prophecy. There was never a right way, or a right time; what happened was meant to happen. I could see what Drathus was doing; he could probably see me as well. Whatever this force is that drives us, that drives me, it’s trying to create a balance.” Glyph wasn’t sure if they even understood what he was saying. Everyone present, with the exception of Verto, stared at him as if he was speaking gibberish. He stood up straight and took a deep breath. There was an easier way to explain this. “Look, Drathus attacked when he did, because he knew exactly where I would be at that moment, and he hoped it would cause enough confusion among us that he could gain the upper hand. It didn’t work for him, just like our plan didn’t work for us.”

The room was silent. Toban sat down beside Verto. Glyph looked around the room. They all looked as if they had been to hell and back, except for Verto.

“Where’s Hilen?” Glyph asked, suddenly aware of his General’s absence.

“The General was killed in the battle, Glyph.” Toban told him solemnly. “I apologize. I should have informed you as soon as I found out.”

Glyph hung his head for a moment. ‘Damn it! This is real. If it’s not, I don’t want to know about it.’ He thought. First Osirus, then Lukret, now Hilen, the pain he felt over the death of people he had barely just met was almost too much to bear.

“The trick now is to make sure that the sacrifices we have had dealt to us this day are not in vain. We need to re-organize the troops and get them ready for tomorrow, because when we go through that Pass, we are going to hunt down and kill every last one of those evil fuckers.” Glyph paused trying to control the anger he felt over the loss of these honorable men. “Are we all in agreement?”

They all nodded.

“Do you know how this ends, Great One?” Verto asked in his cool calm voice.

“I was going to ask you the same thing, Verto.” Glyph replied.

“My interference is limited. Suffice it to say, that you have an idea of how it ends, and that you will lead us to that end. It has been written.”

“Thanks, but if you can’t speak coherently then shut up!” Glyph yelled, then kicked over a chair. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that.” He proclaimed, and took several deep breaths to regain control of his temper. “It’s just so damn frustrating. The prophecy says it’s like this whether we want it to be that way, or not. Whether we try to change it or not, and I for one don’t like it. There’s obviously no choice.”

“It is the reason we are here now, and it is the reason we will be here later.” Verto said, unruffled.

Covat sat there stony faced and silent, but his eyes were wet and red-rimmed with the look of a man who grieved for his King.

“We are all tired.” Kahula interjected, “Perhaps we should sleep, so that we may fight again in the morning.”

“Alright everybody, daybreak tomorrow, get your troops ready and wait for me at The Pass. I’ll take the lead.” Glyph said. He could see Verto’s thin mouth curl upward for a moment as if the High Priest took some sort of amusement over the idea. “Any questions?” He paused, waiting for a response. When there was none he continued. “Gentlemen, let’s all get some sleep.” They all began to get up and shuffle wearily out of the tent. Toban and Covat were the last to leave. Toban stopped to say goodnight to Glyph while Covat lingered uncomfortably. Sensing the General might want to speak with Glyph in private, Toban left promptly. Covat began to pace back and forth.

“Is there something I can help you with, Covat?” Glyph asked.

He stopped and stared Glyph in the eyes. “Are you certain there is no spy, Great One?”

“Am I one hundred percent positive? No, I’m not. What you need to understand is that there is more going on here than just a battle between us and Drathus. I am sure Lukret has shared the prophecies about me with you. It was clearly obvious that he knew just as much as Ishea, and maybe even Verto where they are concerned.” Glyph explained.

“Yes, I know of those prophecies.” Covat confirmed.

“I have a Living Tapestry in my tent. I’ve been using it to spy on Drathus, and try to figure out what’s going to happen and what my role in all this might be. I believe that whatever I saw of Drathus he could see too. Neither side was meant to have an advantage here. In fact, if I’m correct, I’m supposed to fight Drathus one-on-one in the Pass tomorrow. I believe he knows that too.” Glyph told him candidly.

Covat stared at him with abstract horror. “You are to fight the Demon Lord, alone?” He questioned as if he wasn’t sure he heard Glyph correctly.

“Yes.” Glyph answered. The thought of that encounter began to make him apprehensive. Covat shook his head slowly, and looked down in resignation. “Covat? Are you alright?”

Covat lifted his head again. “No. They expect me to be King, now…now that…” Covat struggled to keep himself from falling apart mentally, and nearly came to tears. “I am a general. This is all I know. I do not know if I can be a King. If I am ready.”

Glyph was shocked by Covat’s confession. If a General could breakdown over the thought of being a King, there was little wonder why Glyph had such a problem with it. He almost felt as if he was speaking to himself. “I think that any man who can ask that of himself would make a great King, Covat. I didn’t know anything about being a King before I was crowned in Kivas, but I have good people around me to help, and I’m learning. What I’m trying to say is if I can do it, you certainly can.”

Covat clenched his jaw several times as he mulled over the words Glyph had just shared.

“The thing to remember is that ‘Great one’, or ‘High Priest’ or ‘King’, are just titles, and that the people who wear those titles are just ordinary men like ourselves, thrust into a position we didn’t want, but that take up the calling because we are the only ones who can.” Glyph added.

Covat stared at Glyph with a heightened respect. “Thank you, Glyph. Though you may have been ordinary, you are no longer. I too shall take up my calling and perhaps in doing so, I will become as wise as you.”

Glyph smiled and patted Covat on the back. “If you ever need me, Covat, I will do my best to help.”

“And you can count on me, should our situations ever be reversed.” Covat said and a slight smile passed fleetingly across his face. Then the soon to be King nodded curtly and left the tent.

Glyph returned to his tent, and took off his armor and clothes. He washed the dried, black blood off his face and neck, and sat down on the edge of the bed to examine The Tapestry. This time it displayed a red desert, and the sun was red, and the rocks were brownish red, and a lone figure walked through the middle leaving a long trail of footprints. The figure carried a staff, and wore a black robe, with long silver hair blowing in an unseen breeze. He realized who the figure was, and he immediately got chills; it was Ishea, but where she was, and where she was going, he could not tell. The whole scene was quite otherworldly. Blowing out the candle, Glyph rolled over and tried to sleep. Soon he succumbed to exhaustion, and drifted off.

The next morning Glyph awoke screaming. It took him almost a minute to orient himself. Meanwhile he had leapt from the bed and stumbled across the floor in the darkness, ultimately tripping and careening into the Tapestry before landing on the ground. At first he thought it was his hour, but shortly remembered where he was. He dreamt that Simeon was torturing him again, and that he tried, but couldn’t escape. Now he was sprawled across the floor panting heavily. Wiping the sweat off his brow, he sat up, then lit some of the torches near the wall by magic, and was rather pleased with himself. Glyph made his way over to his clothes and began to dress.

Two servants entered with his morning meal. Just after they left, Ishea entered. She said nothing, but just sat and nibbled on some bread.

“We’re gathering the troops for a march through The Pass. They’ll be ready by the time my hour is up.” Glyph informed her, as he tried without much success to slow how fast, and how much, he was eating.

She finally looked up at him. “How many more must die?”

“Are you asking me? Because I don’t know. I suspect, I hope, not too many more will die. Damn, it creeps me out to talk about it.” He answered.

There was another long pause before Ishea spoke again. “I find out that a dear old friend is still alive after a thousand years, and one of my dearest friends passes on.” She stated and drank a sip of water. “You would think that seeing people you love die, time and time again, would make you callous, but it does not. If anything it makes it harder. As you get older you want to feel it less, so you pick your friends and family carefully. But then, when they die you feel it even more deeply. I held Lukret in my arms the day he was born, and knew his parents well. Sometimes, it makes you lose hope, and the thought of living forever is not as great as it sounds.” Ishea confessed.

“Never lose hope Ishea. Had it not been for you, I would not be here now. I wouldn’t care what happened to these people, to this world. You helped me to understand what is happening to me, and why I am here. I can’t thank you enough for that. I’ll miss my world, but compared to this one it’s nothing but a nightmare, curse or no curse.” Glyph responded, trying to find the right words.

Ishea smiled wanly. “You are so precious, Glyph, and wise beyond your years.”

Glyph finished eating and stretched. “On Earth they call it being an ‘old soul’. I’ve heard that all my life, I always thought it was because I could learn from other people’s mistakes but maybe there’s more to it than that.” He pushed his chair back from the table and could feel his aches and pains acutely. Though he was bruised up pretty badly in places it was nothing serious. Standing, Glyph turned to look at The Tapestry. It displayed his destiny once more; Drathus and himself locked in mortal combat within The Pass. There was no avoiding it; he knew it would happen, even though the thought of it scared the shit out of him.

“What is it?” Ishea asked.

“It’s the same as always. I am to face Drathus alone in the middle of The Pass.”

“Are you sure?”

“As sure as if it were written in stone.” He said, walking over to his bed. “The fate of the world will be decided today, the day of Reckoning.” The words spilled out of his mouth, but he knew in his heart they were true, one way or the other.

Ishea just stared at him. “I have sent word to Verto, requesting the presence of his healers again. They will be here shortly.”

Lying down on his bed, Glyph wondered about where he would end up when his hour began. He was pretty sure he wasn’t going to enjoy his last hour on Earth. Ishea pulled a chair close to the bed and took up her station. Six monks entered the room, and also gathered around his bed. He closed his eyes and began to think about Osirus, the monk he had met yesterday morning, only to sacrifice himself to save Glyph’s life later that afternoon. He had done so willingly, and without hesitation. Osirus had faith that his sacrifice was for the greater good, and Glyph knew he would do everything in his power to make sure that it was. This hour would be his worst, he was sure of it. There was no telling where his body had been taken; to a hospital, maybe even jail. He felt a strange calm wash over him as the winds blew in, the air rushed out of the tent, and darkness descended like a curtain of black death.

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