Glyph awoke with a start. Ishea stood over him concentrating, her hands glowing bluish white as she attempted to heal his numerous wounds. It appeared the bleeding had stopped, but there was still a great deal of pain. As she finished with his leg and moved to his forearm, Glyph glanced down to see the blue light sinking into his wounds. The muscle began to knit itself together, and the punctures filled up. It was a truly bizarre feeling, and itched like hell.
Ishea finished with his shoulder several minutes later and sunk back down into the chair beside the bed. Glyph allowed himself a few more moments to soak in his surroundings; it was so calm and peaceful here in his chamber. Soon the spirit of peace began to give way to the tortured soul beneath.
“Dammit.” Glyph growled under his breath, and tried to sit up.
Ishea attempted to help him, but she too was rather worn out from her healing administrations. They both struggled for a moment until Glyph was finally propped up onto several cushions.
“What happened, Glyph?” Ishea questioned. “It was all I could do to try to keep up with your wounds.”
“That fucking bastard is messing with the animals now! I mean, what the fuck is wrong with that sick fucker, sending a bunch of dogs? They were pets for crying out loud! He must have gathered them from peoples’ homes in the valley.” Glyph said, disgusted. The turmoil began to boil in Glyph’s blood again.
“It is a most unhealthy possession. Animals are innocent; they do what they are made to do. To subvert them for an evil purpose…” Ishea faded off, shaking her head. “It is indeed troubling.”
“It’s fucking sick is what it is, and I’m going to make damn sure he pays for it. All of it!” Glyph grabbed a small empty tray and flung it across the room. Swinging his legs off the bed, he pulled himself to a sitting position. The pain of the movement made him cry out. “Fucker!”
Ishea made to help him, but he waved her away. Glyph forced himself to calm down; as he did he began to inspect his healed wounds. He made a gesture toward his leg and arm, “How did you know…?” Glyph asked, looking confused.
“Purely by chance. I had lost the clasp to my traveling cloak. Since I had worn it this morning when I came for breakfast, I returned to see if it had fallen off in here. That is when I noticed the wounds appearing on your arm.” Ishea sighed heavily and leaned forward in her chair. “I tried to heal your wounds, but the magic that places your body into stasis is very resistant. What may have normally taken me a minute or so to repair, took nearly a quarter hour. I hoped that I would be able to heal your wounds, and have that healing transfer to your world, but your healing was delayed. Everything I had done to heal your body in stasis took effect immediately upon your return.”
“So, you can’t heal me while I’m on Earth?” Glyph asked.
“Well, yes, just very slowly. Perhaps if you sustained injuries in the first few minutes of your hour, and I attempted to heal the wound on your body here… well I am not certain, but you might experience some improvement before your hour came to an end. I now see I will have to monitor your body closely during your hour.” Ishea explained patiently.
“Son of a bitch.” Glyph said, rubbed his arm, and laid back. “I guess now that I’m the king I get the royal treatment during my hour. Where were you yesterday when my back was in knots?”
“I had not realized it bothered you so. Had you said something about your pain I would have given you something for it.” Ishea said, concerned.
Glyph started to laugh, “I guess I just like to bitch.” He sat up again, this time much more fluidly, and surprisingly less painfully too. “Damn I’m glad that’s over.” He reached down and absently probed the bandage around his thigh. “Wow, I hardly feel a thing.”
“Your wounds will heal most rapidly, I have seen to that.” Ishea said standing up. “And the healing I performed while you were in stasis was not in vain. Once you returned it all took effect instantly, which allowed me to finish rather quickly.”
Glyph stood up and stretched, amazed at how fast the pain was vanishing. Then he stopped and turned quickly toward the tapestry. Walking slowly toward it he began to notice more changes. Now there were more soldiers in different forms of dress, all on the side of men. There were even large war machines in the distance. The leader of the men now held a sword in his hand.
“What gives with this thing, is it being replaced every time I’m asleep?” Glyph asked, touching the woven material.
“No. Has it changed?” Ishea replied, her eyes getting wider.
“Every day since I first saw it. At first I thought I just hadn’t noticed, but now there are definite changes.”
Ishea barely contained her excitement. She placed her hand to the material, closed her eyes, and whispered to it. Suddenly it flashed a brilliant blue then green color and faded back to normal. Ishea stepped back, astonished. “It is a living tapestry.” she said almost giddy. “It was thought that the last living tapestry hung in a museum in Muret.” She said again, rubbing her hand across the fabric.
“So it’s alive?”
“In a way, yes. A living tapestry will move and change to depict scenes from the past, present, or future, but it only reveals itself to its owner or creator. Even still, the power you must hold is great in order to see the change. You are indeed remarkable, Glyph, for no ordinary man can see it, even if it is in his possession. It has been here all this time and I have never realized it.” Ishea replied
“You mean you don’t realize it’s different then it was?”
“To me it looks the same as it always has.” she said staring at it in awe. “This is a wondrous thing. You must pay attention to it very closely, for it may show you things of the future that you may be able to use now. My master, Albast, had one in his study, and he used it to help defeat Drathus in the first war.”
“Was he one of the Seven?” Glyph asked.
Ishea was momentarily taken aback, and she looked at Glyph shrewdly “Albast was the first of the Seven. He was a great man, and a patient teacher.” Ishea drifted off as though caught up in some memory of him.
Glyph thought for a minute, then reached over and buckled on his sword. As an afterthought he picked up his crown and put it on. “We need to talk to Toban immediately. There are things that need to be done right away, and I have a few more questions to ask. Let’s go back to the library. I feel more comfortable there for some reason.”
With that, Ishea turned and led the way out of the room, stopping momentarily to have a servant summon Toban to meet them there. Shortly the three of them were seated around the table in the library, with a large map spread out before them.
“Okay, first of all, what is the status of our military?” Glyph asked Toban.
“Our army stands ready to march, Glyph.” Toban replied
“And what of the other kingdoms?”
“We sent messages by bird on the day of your arrival in Kivas apprising them of the situation. We have since received word from Deltur, Barjon, and Torlea. They have agreed to meet with us on the topic. We have had no word yet from Priam, but their kingdom is the furthest away.” Toban reported
Glyph looked at Ishea. “I have a feeling this is going to happen a lot sooner than anyone has predicted. Is there anyway we can have them come with their armies?”
“The other kingdoms will want to be informed fully and discuss alternatives before they order their armies to march.” Ishea said thoughtfully.
“What about Drathus, do we have any idea how he might launch his attack?”
“I believe he will mass his minions to the north of The Pass, and then move forward into Priam.” Toban said stoically.
“What about the sea? Couldn’t he sail down the coast and come through Deltur?” Glyph suggested.
“The strategy is sound, however most of what we know about the demons indicates they avoid water if at all possible. Some scholars have hypothesized that they may even be afraid of it. That aside, there is no evidence that the demons have any ship building capabilities or resources. Degruthra is a barren wasteland.” Ishea spoke as if she knew for certain.
“Time is of the essence here. If we can get our combined forces to Priam before Drathus enters the pass, we may be able to ambush him before he begins his attack.” Glyph said, becoming suddenly passionate.
“I do not believe there will be time, Glyph. Such an act would take months of logistical work, and that is only if you can get the other kings to agree to your plan.” Toban said, though the way his eyes brightened, Glyph could tell he was rather fond of a preemptive strike.
“Okay. Priam is already there, which means we only need to mobilize the other three. What are their strengths?” Glyph questioned.
“Well, the Barjons are a bit primitive, but they are the most ferocious warriors in the world.” Toban said, tapping his forefinger on the edge of the table. “Torleans are stout and strong, mostly farmers by trade, but every man is required to devote two years of his life in the king’s military service. I would say they have the most organized and well trained military. Delturans are seafarers. They are generally not too bright, but make up for it in brute strength. They stand by their word and are, for the most part, honorable.”
“What if we got the Delturans to sail up the coast, land in Degruthra, and come at them from behind as Drathus attempts to move his forces through The Pass? They could effectively block The Pass from retreat, while the rest of us pounded on them from the front.” Glyph suggested.
“Your plan is intriguing, but again, we would need to move now, and as it is we have not even met with the kings of the other nations to gain their support.” Toban said soberly.
“Then we shall lead by example.” Glyph said, grinning. “Toban, I want you to mobilize the troops. I want them on the march this afternoon.”
“But Glyph, the other kings are on their way here to…” Toban started.
“Then we will meet them on the way there. Send word to the Delturan king and advise him of our plan. Tell him to begin preparations at once, and that I will personally hold him responsible if he fails to do as I ask.” Glyph interrupted. “Oh, and make sure you tell him that the kings of Barjon and Torlea have already agreed to follow my banner. It probably wouldn’t hurt to mention the honor and glory of eradicating Drathus and his brood from the world.”
Toban’s face went from one of shock, to a broad grin from ear to ear. “Yes, Glyph, I will see to it right away.” He said, bowing. “My Lady.” he said to Ishea and left them alone.
Ishea looked stunned. “How do you know king Rokka will listen to you?” she asked Glyph.
“Does he have a choice? He obviously knows what I represent, and if he thinks that the rest of the world is going to duke it out with Drathus, he’s going to want in on it.” Glyph replied, smiling at her. “Now all we have to do is get Torlea and Barjon to commit. Priam isn’t going to refuse help in what they must see as defense of their kingdom. If only there was a way to meet with them in person today, on the off chance that Rokka decides to check things out first.”
“Perhaps there is a way,” Ishea said standing up from the table. “Follow me.”
She led him back to her quarters. It was obvious to Glyph when they got there that this was her permanent residence when she was at Kivas. Papers and books were stacked everywhere and more strange devices like the ones in her cabin were piled in the corners. She dug through some piles, and finally pulled out a large crystal set in an ornately carved silver base. Placing it on the table, she motioned for Glyph to sit down.
“I may be able to help you send a message to each of them. It will have to be brief.” Ishea said, moving to stand behind Glyph.
Glyph stared at the grapefruit-sized crystal. “With that?” He questioned.
“Yes Glyph, with that.”
Knowing Ishea’s temperament of late, he decided to just roll with it. “Who should we contact first?” Glyph asked.
“I think King Kahula of Barjon would be a good first choice.” She said, closing her eyes and placing her hands on Glyph’s shoulders.
“Any advice on how to approach him?” Glyph asked, feeling a knot growing in the pit of his stomach. “I’ve never been much for using the phone.” he joked. “I’ve always preferred to talk face to face.” Glyph said apprehensively.
“Your assessment of king Rokka was correct, however you will not gain Kahula’s commitment the same way. I suggest you ask.” Ishea said concentrating. “Now place both hands on the crystal.”
“Sounds good. How long do I have?” He asked, following Ishea’s instruction.
“You will have a few minutes at most; do not waste time admiring the scenery.”
“Admiring the wha…”
A sudden flash of white light filled the room, and Glyph found himself standing on an old stone road in front of a small caravan of travelers. The lead wagon slowed to a stop in front of him, and the driver and passenger, obviously soldiers, stared at Glyph in awe.
Glyph stared back with the same expression; then, remembering what he was supposed to do, he cleared his throat. “I am King Glyph of Kivastor. I need to speak with King Kahula.” He said trying to sound important.
The soldiers jumped down from their perch and began yelling towards the rest of the group. Then they each took a stance on either side of the wagon, never taking their eyes off of Glyph.
Catching a glimpse of his own arm, Glyph became entranced with the bluish-green cast that it, and the rest of his body, was emanating. He felt solid enough, but when he stooped to run his hand through the tall grass it passed through the vegetation. Amazed at his transparency, he tried to pick up a rock with the same result. A slight commotion in front of him snapped him out of it.
A few moments later King Kahula, flanked by four more soldiers, made his way to the front and eyed Glyph up from head to toe. He was dressed in soldier’s armor that was reminiscent of an ancient Samurai, though it was black and inlaid with gold and silver.
“I am Kahula.” He said resonantly, still trying to discern if Glyph was real or not.
“King Kahula, I am King Glyph of Kivastor. My time here is brief, so I will get to the point. The time of Reckoning is upon us, much sooner than we had anticipated. I would like to strike at Drathus before he is ready to attack. To do this I will need the support of Your Majesty and the strength of your mighty warriors as soon as possible. The armies of Deltur make preparations as we speak, and my own military is preparing to march this very day.”
“Hmm. Very interesting. I will consider it, King Glyph of Kivastor. Your words bear the air of truth.” Kahula said in a gravely voice. “This form you take is most unusual. You are not really here, but you are.”
“Forgive my means of communication, it was borne of necessity. If there was more time I would not have interfered with the boundaries of protocol. I march toward the Plains of Torlea near Muret; there we hope to combine our forces with the Torlean legions. Will you lend us your support, and meet us there?” Glyph humbly asked, for some reason feeling compelled to speak the truth.
Kahula thoughtfully turned his head to the side. “What you ask is not unreasonable. We have trained for many centuries in preparation for the demons’ return. I will send word to Komei and have my warriors embark toward Muret. They will be a few days behind you. When I arrive, we will have our meeting there. I will want to know of this attack in greater detail.” He said, squinting his eyes at Glyph.
“Of course, Your Majesty. We will await you there.” Glyph said nodding his head toward Kahula.
“Your Majesty.” Kahula said, nodding in return.
The flash of light returned and dimmed back into the crystal as Glyph removed his hands.
“Holy shit! That was awesome!” Glyph cried out. “What the hell is this thing anyway?” he asked Ishea.
“It is a Divinare crystal. We once used them to communicate with each other. One has not been used such in hundreds of years.” Ishea said almost absently.
Glyph realized she meant The Seven. She always got that look when she was thinking about them. “Okay. That seemed to go rather well. Kahula agreed to meet us at Muret with his warriors. What’s the king of Torlea’s name?” he asked.
“His name is Lukret, and he is very old and wise. I believe he will do as you ask, now that you have gained Kahula’s support.” She said approvingly while placing her hands on his shoulders once more. “Oh, and do not embellish your speech. They are a practical people and embellishment irritates them.” Ishea again closed her eyes and concentrated.
“Let’s do this.” Glyph said and placed his hands on the crystal.
When the blinding light subsided, Glyph found himself at a fork in the road that parted to each side of a huge sea. There were a few tents beside the road, and Glyph made his way toward them. Four short, stocky men with spears came out to see who approached, and seeing the blue-green aura around Glyph, one went back towards another tent.
“I am King Glyph of Kivastor. I need to speak with King Lukret.” Glyph said tactfully.
The other man came back out to rejoin the other three. “I will take you to him.” he said and led Glyph towards the larger tent in the center. He pulled back the flap and announced Glyph, who found the king sitting in a large plain wooden chair, his gray hair cropped close in military fashion.
As Glyph approached, the king looked up from some papers and smiled crookedly. “Ahh, a Divinare crystal. I have always wanted to see someone who was using one. It is even more impressive in person than its description in the ancient texts. Welcome King Glyph. Why, may I ask, are you here?” Lukret spoke in a heavy accent and Glyph could tell he was well beyond the years of most men.
“I am here to seek your aid in the war. I would like to make a preemptive strike against Drathus, before his minions are ready to march. I already have the support of King Rokka and King Kahula. We would request that you allow us to combine our armies with yours at The Plains near Muret.” Glyph said trying to refrain from any extraneous words.
“Indeed.” Lukret said somewhat surprised “Why here?” he asked
“Muret is central to most of our kingdoms, and puts us within striking distance of The Pass in Priam. We hope to ambush Drathus and destroy his forces as they come through the pass.”
“An intriguing plan, King Glyph.” Lukret said. “Drathus has little choice but to come through the pass as I understand it. And I rather like the idea of hitting him before he can move against us. Very well, I will make the necessary preparations concerning the Legions, and will meet you here at Muret.”
“I thank you, King Lukret. I look forward to our meeting in Muret where we may all discuss the plan I have envisioned.”
“Give my regards to Lady Ishea and Steward Toban, King Glyph.” Lukret said, still watching the sparkle of light surrounding Glyph.
“I will, Your Majesty.” Glyph said and the white light blinded him once more.
Glyph turned to look at Ishea who was no longer touching his shoulders, but standing against the back wall of her room.
“I got him.” Glyph said triumphantly. “He sends his regards to you and Toban. I take it you’re friends.”
“Yes, Glyph.” she said with a smile. “You have done well.”
“Yeah, thanks to you.” Glyph said, smiling back.
“All I did was show you the way, you powered the Divinare by yourself.”
“You mean I did that?” Glyph asked curiously.
“Yes, you never cease to amaze me. Only a sorcerer can power the Divinare. You are well on your way.” Ishea replied.
“But how? I-I thought you were doing it.” Glyph stuttered
“You will come into awareness in your own time. Until then you may want to guard your thoughts, or you may have some unexpected things happen. It is this way with all who have come into the power of sorcery.”
Glyph shrugged off the warning as more of Ishea’s mumbo jumbo, but he was getting a real sense that something was happening to him. He could still feel the tips of his fingers tingling, but it was different than a normal tingling sensation, this felt as if a valve had been shut off in each digit. There was a slight pressure present before it finally dissipated, and the feeling vanished.
They went down to the dining hall after Sturim informed them that the afternoon meal was being served. Glyph was famished and ate more than he should have, but some habits die hard. After lunch, they set off to find Toban and check on his progress. Glyph and Ishea walked out to the training fields below the walls of the city. There were several thousand men, some loading carts to haul equipment and supplies, others engaged in drills and training. They found Toban in a pavilion with several other men poring over charts and barking orders.
“Your Majesty.” Toban said when he saw Glyph enter. Glyph had noticed the formal title always reappeared when he was in the presence of others.
“Steward Toban, how goes the progress?” Glyph asked.
“Rather well, Sire. The general and I were just discussing the coming march. Have you met General Hilen?” Toban replied.
“He has, Toban. I met his Majesty at the coronation celebration.” The general answered before Glyph could say anything. “It is an honor to have you here, Sire. The army will be ready to march in a few hours. Do you know as yet where we will be stopping?”
Toban, standing beside Hilen, raised his eyebrows as if to ask if there were other news.
“Yes general Hilen, we are marching to Muret. Once there we will join the Legions of Torlea, and the warriors of Barjon.” Glyph said, then nodded at Toban to let him know it was indeed true. Toban smiled broadly.
General Hilen appeared shocked “You are truly a man of wondrous talents, Your Majesty. I have never known such cooperation among the kingdoms in all my days, and you have been king for but one.”
“The world has known for some time that this event will happen, General. Perhaps that is why our way has been made easy.” Glyph said.
“Indeed sire.” General Hilen said, amazed at his king’s humbleness.
They took their leave and walked back through the fields of soldiers.
“I guess we should pack.” Glyph said to Ishea, and they both went back to the keep to do just that.
Not surprisingly, Sturim had most of Glyph’s wardrobe and armor packed when he returned to his room. Glyph sat on the edge of his bed and studied the Living Tapestry closely. Not much had changed since morning. He told Sturim to have the Tapestry packed as well, and stared at it until the servants came to take it down. Ishea came shortly afterward and informed him they were ready to leave. Glyph went with Ishea down to the stables and there he mounted O’dista. They rode out to the pavilion and met up with Toban and general Hilen and the four of them led the way down the road with the army marching behind. They rode for several leagues and set up camp at the base of a mountain just past the split in the Mother and Sister rivers. Leaving in the late afternoon made for a short ride. It was, as Toban had pointed out, a largely symbolic gesture to show the other kingdoms Kivastor’s commitment. Glyph just felt better knowing they were finally doing something.
He decided he would contact King Rokka in the morning to make sure he had the Delturan’s support. No sense in leaving it up to chance, especially since Ishea had brought the Divinare crystal. Glyph sat in his tent considering the day’s events and the dreaded hour to come, and decided to turn in early. He was glad he finally stopped seeing attacking dogs and bared fangs every time he closed his eyes, and wondered if Ishea had helped with that too.
He slept like a rock, and Ishea had to physically shake him awake in the morning. He was glad she did, it somehow made his hour easier when he had a full stomach. “I may have found something.” She said, smiling as they sat down to eat. Reaching into her robe she withdrew a necklace. It was made of pewter, and had a black uncut stone hanging from it.
Glyph took the necklace and put it on “What’s this supposed to do?” he asked.
“At the least, it is an indicator of evil. At best, it will give some manner of protection against magic. That is, of course, if it transfers with you to your world.” Ishea said, shrugging her shoulders.
“Do you think it will work?” Glyph asked.
“It should, especially now that your wounds are transferring between your bodies. That should open the way for other physical characteristics to transfer as well, such as the necklace.”
Glyph looked at it skeptically, but continued eating. Nothing more was said between them that morning as they ate. He made sure that no one but Ishea was to see him during his hour, and walked back into his tent and lay down on his cot. He picked up his long sword and held it to his chest with one hand, and held on to the black rock of his necklace with the other. He didn’t know why for certain, but he had more of a sense of dread about his coming hour than he had had previously. Perhaps it was because he had almost died in the attack by the dogs, or maybe it was just fear of the unknown. As he lay there listening to the sounds of the camp coming alive around him, a strong wind suddenly blew through the tent, emptying the air around him as it went. Then the darkness fell upon him and he was gone.