Looking back unto the past of the city, of the wars, and the fate of the swords Glimmer and Gleam.
A History in Glass
A haze of smoke and sanded dust billowed through streets that shuddered. Stones jitter jumped across the expanse littered with splintered timber and tumbled columns. Grit burned into eyes as Tamuz sought the sky, spying out only a fog roiling across from the deserts. A few feet here and there offered any path through the wreckage of his beloved city.
Few cries reached his ears here, only the thunder of cannons, whine of defense matrices, and the resounding quake as buildings fell from the onslaught. Nothing of the living or dying could punctuate the roar of this war. He only realized then as he fell against the heavy cracked festival bell laying on its side that he screamed himself hoarse, the echo of it caught in the rounded chamber of metal.
No one answered.
Azure flashes turned the world greenish and bright through the constant waves of sand, forms moving too fast to perceive from his vantage immediately booming with the breaking of cloud and wind. Everything held for a moment in stillness, cascaded hard to the right as the force of that sky fight finally reached him. Thrown through a cracked wall, smashing through paper walls, Tamuz shifted by instinct into a fleet-footed squirrel of the deep forests. Limbs pushing off, claws catching, heart strung taunt as a bow as he darted through the whirlwind of tornadoes kicked up by the battle, reaching finally that bell again. Hiding within.
No one lived.
Heart beats resounded hollowly in the heavy bowl of metal as Tamuz sought to calm, catching what rest he could. Only then the memories striking home. The fine morning torn through by gunfire, split bodies falling, so much crimson dusting the road as atomized particles caught in the angered god’s eye. Where were the defenses? Domes unresponsive, sentries caught unaware, leaders silenced. Those that attacked held to a perfect itinerary, as if they knew the timeline of every footfall and glance to slip between with a devastating force.
One called out.
He moved with a squad, ferreting out any with the blood and soul to answer. Tamuz left his fractured solitude, taking again the form of flesh, in answer to the king. Tri’Khan of air, land, and sea, Master Leovir stood in bloodied armors of orichalcum and banded white jade, one arm raised to press back the whirling dusted sand to give them respite. A single glass sword hummed in his hand, Gleam, its sister sheathed across his back.
“Are you able to move, we have scant moments before the patrols reach this area.” He gave a single nod, all those small pains reaching his conscious thought, the ache of his journey no longer dulled but vibrant across Tamuz’ nerves.
“I can, whatever you need, Tri’Khan.” Others took his arms, keeping the citizen of court surrounded by their armor and weapons. The elite guard mixed with a couple city watch and one mercenary. The remaining defense of the city and court.
The memory caught, flickered across his face for a moment as he stared into the eyes of Juniper. The last time he saw the fine general alive. One moment vital and concerned, the next wild and lost, in both moments drenched in blood. How long ago he followed, chiding himself over weakness and a life spent in frivolous desires.
What seemed hours passed in minutes, time stretched and thin as the general picked through tunnels born of rubble. A cache of weapons, a hovel of injured, a swath of magical fallout from blasted artifacts, every block revealed something new to Tamuz. Faintly he caught conversation and orders as he tended those mortals they found or carried supplies as requested, of the network broken and docks locked in siege.
The city burned.
A wail of split air careened into the center as men in jade and grey metal erupted forth, blades seeking organs between ribs. So many cut down, in the first moment, few in the second. Panic should have bore him away, but something changed in Tamuz. Flesh to fur, hands to lion-like claws, hair unto a crown of long serpentine horns, and eyes seeing farther around. Lithe and quick, the deadly claws leapt then gripped into chests and shoulders, horns buried into necks to jet blood in gouts. Yet for such fierce speed, the opposition burned through the few until Tamuz shifted in panic as a mouse and sought safety in debris.
It would not end, not go away, this scene of terror as he watched feet shift, weapons fall, blood splash. Until his small eyes met those of the Tri’khan. He laid in a widening pool of scarlet, drank by the sands of their home. Hand reached out, pleading to the tiny Lunar. Gleam offered by the hilt as those lips of his formed words. Syllables lost in the din of war, yet the meaning clear.
Save this piece, do not let them have it.
Nothing of judgement for his cowardice was given, nothing of demand was spoken. Only this one request. Take and live. One paw reached forth, digits laid to glass as motes of essence wrapped around the hilt of the blade. With a poof, it disappeared beyond, as did Tamuz. Scampering away as quickly as Luna’s blessing allowed. He vowed the pair would be rejoined when the soul of the true and first Tri’khan reached forth his hand.
Tears of sorrow and pain, of hope against this conquest, dampened his fur. And for ages had Tamuz held the name, title, and place towards the future.
Until a shining soul of a Solar offer across the hilt of the sister blade. Offering to hold it for a moment. Her eyes…his eyes… “Glimmer and Gleam,” he spoke in reverence and memory that pierced the heart, calling forth Gleam to his hand. The glass shone as when first crafted, clasped, and raised. “Never shall they be parted again.”
Both hilts he offered across. To his Tri’Khan. To his king made manifest…again.