Prologue Book One
Simeon awoke from a deep slumber and sat up. The demon blinked his eyes, then stared at the rock-hewn walls. Walking to a nearby countertop, he grabbed up a piece of bird carcass and probed it with a forked tongue from his snake-like mouth. Simeon finished the animal, bones and all, in two quick snap-like movements of his long curved neck. Picking up a long cylindrical rock, he sharpened his thick claws to a razor’s edge with a few swift strokes.
With a wave of his hand a rock doorway rolled aside, revealing a corridor. Simeon left his room and hobbled down the wide hallway a few hundred feet, occasionally passing a demon or two, and eventually entered an enormous natural rock cavern. Taking a long hard look at the entrance of the cavern several hundred yards away, Simeon stared at the daylight as it fell in upon the ramp that led to the desert floor. He turned and followed a worn pathway down to the large magical portal that encompassed nearly the whole back wall of the cavern. Of course it had been inactive for several years now, and looked like two giant carved stone pillars about a hundred feet apart. It was also where Simeon reported every morning, to be grilled, tormented, and humiliated by his master, the full demon Drathus. Thus the life of a chin’ee.
‘Drathus passed the Jakarute ritual, but only because I let that hardheaded moronic drek win.’ Simeon thought. ‘My orders to follow the book of Morgus wherever it went, required me to do so. In retrospect, it may have been the only contest that really mattered. I knew Drathus wanted the book and I knew he would steal it from his mother, Cruix. The shale does not fall far from the mountain. Cruix, the self-proclaimed Queen of the third parcel, and that imbecile Drathus’s mother, is only a bit smarter. She could not tell that her favorite chin’ee was working as a spy right under her nose, and now I do the same with Drathus. Unjustly, because of my failure to win the Jakarute, I must do it as his slave, and this is by far the worst hell I have ever endured’.
Drathus shouted a few commands at another chin’ee as Simeon approached. He then opened a large scroll and began to study it thoroughly. “And what is your progress?” Drathus said snidely without looking at Simeon.
“Massstersss. I’sss needsss moresss.” Simeon replied.
“What is your progress?” Drathus shouted, staring intently at the snake-headed demon.
Simeon slithered his head back and forth in disgust, and put his hands together in front of him with palms facing upward. Closing his hands into fists, he reopened them and a scroll materialized. Simeon offered it to Drathus who snatched it from him greedily.
“I’sss much clossser nowsss” Simeon hisssed. “I’sss needsss moresss.”
“You need more? How much more?” Drathus replied, studying the calculations Simeon gave him.
“Allsss your notesss massstersss.” Simeon said. “The finalsss computationsss requiresss moresss.”
Drathus stood nearly twenty feet tall, and seemed to revel in looking down upon his hunchbacked slave. “Are you sure you can do it? Can you locate the home world of the Great One?”
“Ifsss I’sss have moresss.” Simeon responded with his best poker face.
Drathus sighed. “Very well, take all of my notes, but get me results!” The demon spat. “And put on some more musk powder before your stench makes me go blind!” Drathus added sharply, as he waved his hand, a pile of scrolls magically appeared on the stone table beside him.
“Yesss massstersss.” Simeon replied, and picked up the scrolls.
Shuffling along, Simeon headed for his lab. This would be much easier if that fool had not lost the book of Morgus to begin with. Drathus had lost it in the ruins of the city called Muret in his haste to retreat from the onslaught of the seven wizards who protected this world. Now all he had to go by was his master’s handwritten scratch that he had copied down nearly a thousand years ago. The book revealed the home world of the Great One, the one who was prophesized to destroy all demons, but did not give enough information to open a gate to that world. It was like searching for a stone scale-pruner in a pile of hyukduk dung.
‘If it were not for me that idiot would have never gotten this close. I discovered that the Asundering curse that Drathus wrote down could be used to track magical signatures. And assuming my calculations are correct, it may be possible to perform the curse and bring the Great One here without opening a gate, at least part of him’. Of course Simeon had figured this out years ago, and had cross-referenced his findings with the map of known galactic dimensional portals.
‘If Drathus only knew that the Great One’s world was already known to us, that demons had already visited this planet a millennia ago, that a gate already existed to his world from one we conquered eons ago, …’ Simeon’s lip curled into a sneer, ‘but he never will. I will see to that.’
The curse was enough. It would slow Drathus down, and by bringing it to his master’s attention now, enable Simeon to get his hands on the last of that imbecile’s notes.
The orders from the home world were clear, and signed by the demon Usurper Tsach. Follow the book, get all information about it and report any findings on the Great One. It appeared as if Drathus were not the only one interested in this mythical being.
Simeon entered his lab and sat down at his cold stone work desk. Pouring over the last of Drathus’s notes from the book of Morgus, he copied down everything of interest. It would soon be time for Drathus to activate the gate to Degruthras and report back to Cruix.
‘The last several such occasions he has sent me in his place, unwilling to bear the wrath of his mother, who has still not forgiven him for stealing the book from her, and worse yet, for losing it on an alien world. I would have thought she would have been angrier at his failure to defeat the alien wizards and conquer this new world, but what do I know? Drathus will want to give her some good news, and is desperate for his obsession with finding and enslaving the Great One to pay off. If all goes well he will have his good news for Cruix, and I will have my report for Tsach.’
Simeon could not wait to get back to Degruthras; it was one of the few times he could feel the sunlight on his scaly skin. This alien world rained acid, forcing them to work underground and ultimately created more problems than it was worth. Soon, he thought, soon it would all change, Drathus would be killed and he would take his rightful place under Tsach and his new dynasty.
Finishing the last of Drathus’s scrolls, Simeon pulled out the one that contained the curse. He made a few last minute adjustments to it based on his latest information, rolled it up and tucked it under his arm. He shuffled out of his lab, and went to find Drathus.
“What do you need now, you pathetic excuse for a demon?” Drathus berated, as he saw Simeon headed towards him.
“Nothingsss, my massstersss.” Simeon replied.
“Nothing? Now that is unusual for you. If you want nothing then why are you here breathing my air?” Drathus demanded.
“To givesss you thisss.” Simeon replied and handed him the scroll.
Suddenly Drathus’s eyes lit up. “Is this it?” he asked.
“Yesss massstersss.” Simeon hissed.
Drathus unrolled the scroll and studied it intently. “A curse? Do you really think it will work?”
“Yesss massstersss, a sssecond body will be created heresss and his ssoulsss will passs betweensss themsss.” Simeon explained.
“What about the time differentials?” Drathus questioned.
“They appearsss to be ssimilarsss to thisss worldsss, but I’sss believesss the curssse will ssynchronize themsss.”
“The curse creates continuity of time between worlds for the one who is cursed? That is astounding.”
“Gather your things. You will take this information to Cruix. Tell her to send me the reinforcements I asked for. I will soon be ready to start the invasion of this world.” Drathus told him.
“The ssecondsss invasssionsss?” Simeon asked, blank-faced.
“Watch your tongue, chin’ee, before I rip it out of your head. Now be gone! You leave first thing in the morning.” Drathus bellowed.
“Yesss massstersss.” Simeon said and lurched away.
Simeon smiled as he entered his quarters; he was pleased he would soon feel the hot suns of Degruthras, and more than that, to get his report back to the home world. This was the beginning of the end for Drathus, and Simeon reveled in the part he had played. The time differential between this world and Degruthras would mean he would be gone two weeks, but a little over a year will have passed on this world. A year he would not have to spend under the thumb of Drathus. He gathered his usual travel gear together and placed them in a stout leather bag beside the door to his quarters. Sitting on his slab of rock, he re-read his report to Tsach one final time, then tucked it under his belt and layed down to sleep.
The next morning, he awoke to the sound of his door sliding open. “Get up, you spineless drek! We have work to do.” Drathus’s voice boomed.
Simeon sat up, the indignation of Drathus’s intrusion painted clearly upon his face. “What isss it nowsss?” Simeon asked as he stood in front of his master.
“Meet me in your lab in five minutes!” Drathus yelled at him and left, leaving the door to his room open.
‘What could it possibly be now?’ Simeon wondered, as he grabbed his bag and set out through the door toward the lab. ‘What is so important that I can not even eat my morning meal?’ A few minutes later, a still grumbling Simeon entered the lab. Drathus was there waiting for him. Simeon could tell the demon had been busy; all manner of scrolls and herbs lay strewn across his workbenches. The nature of the items gave him pause.
Catching the look on Simeon’s face Drathus said, “We are going to perform the curse.”
Simeon stared at him. “Whatsss about Cruix, massstersss?”
“I am sending Godakath instead. His tour here is over, and he will be returning to Parcel three in a few days. Besides, I can not wait a year for your return. Your talents are needed here.” Drathus explained.
“Heresss?” Simeon seethed.
“Yes, according to the document you handed me yesterday, the power of the curse must reside in the progenitor, and one other being or thing. You will be the other being. I decided it was best if we were both involved, in case this was some elaborate way you have designed to kill me.”
“Itsss will notsss kill you, massstersss.” Simeon choked out.
“Regardless, I have chosen you to hold part of the curse. Shall we get started?” Drathus asked.
Simeon nearly shook with rage, but managed to answer calmly. “Yesss, my massstersss.”
It was all Simeon could do to hold himself together while they spent the early morning hours preparing and performing the Asundering curse. As Drathus read the last of the scroll out loud the room was suddenly shrouded in darkness. A wind from nowhere blasted around them and then in a flash of bright light a body appeared on the table before them.
Simeon quickly grabbed some straps and tied the being down. Silver shackles, made to prevent the use of magic, were cuffed around his wrists. “He’ssss like the othersss heresss.” Simeon commented.
“Yes, he is remarkably similar to the wizards of this world. But is he the Great One?” Drathus asked.
“Ssshould be, my massstersss. Butsss I will findsss out for ssscertainsss.” Simeon replied and rolled out a cart full of tools and instruments. The exhilaration of standing before the Great One almost made Simeon forget that Drathus had destroyed all his carefully laid plans. There would still be time, he thought. He would show patience. He had waited this long, and an opportunity would undoubtedly present itself.
Drathus also stared at the humanoid body, as a bit of mucus slid from his gaping mouth to the floor. “How long will he be here?”
“Twenty-three hoursss each daysss.” Simeon replied, reaching for a bit of yellowish powder.
“I see. When will you have all of him?”
“Allsss of him, Massstersss?” Simeon questioned.
“Yes, all of him! I can not present half of the Great One before Arch-demon Mrodin now, can I?” Drathus replied.
“Masssteresss, I do notsss knowsss if the bodiesss cansss be combined heresss.”
Drathus’s eyes flashed red, as the demon snatched Simeon up by his neck and squeezed. “I have waited too long for this, you miserable letch. You will find a way to make it happen, or I will split your body in two!” The demon lord spat, and shoved Simeon into the rock wall of his lab.
Simeon grabbed at his neck and inhaled violently. “I will triesss, Massstersss.” Simeon choked out and coughed.
“You will what?” Drathus demanded as he leaned closer to Simeon, baring his razor sharp teeth.
“I will sssucceedsss, Masstersss.” Simeon replied, casting his eyes toward the floor.
“Then I will leave you to do what you do best. I look forward to your report.” Drathus said and left the room.
Simeon nodded, and sprinkled some of the powder over the being’s face. Suddenly the man’s eyes popped open and then he began to shriek. Grabbing some bluish liquid, Simeon let a few drops fall into his subject’s mouth, and the man began to calm down, but was still highly agitated.
“Thisss will helpsss you to undersstandsss.” Simeon said to him, and pulled a small white crystal from his pocket.
“What? Where am I? Am I dreaming? What are you?” The man asked, his eyes wide with fear.
Simeon tapped the crystal two times, and held it above the human’s face. The crystal began to glow instantly and within seconds a long energy trail spiraled down and vanished into the being’s cranium. Tapping it once more, the energy spiral appeared again and wound its way back into the crystal.
“What isss your namesss?” Simeon asked.
“What?” The man replied shaking his head violently to one side.
Simeon waited a few moments, and then asked again. “What isss your namesss?”
“My name? My name is Glyph Young. Who… What the fuck are you!” Glyph demanded.
“Goodsss, Goodsss. Welcomesss Glyphsss, My namesss isss Sssimeon, Simeon the torturersss.”