Gravity & Glass Productions


We're running hard, desperate with each step the mud sucks at my toes, long having stolen my shoes. Kate is ahead. I can hear her, but I can't look up — my eyes are straining to keep ahead of my feet, searching out a place to put each step.

Every inch of this treacherous swamp is a snare! I think. And then, as if in answer, the Swamp of Sorrows swallows my left foot — hard root against anklebone.

"Golly Gosh Darnit!" I shout, crashing to the earth and forgetting my manners. I try to pull free — Kate's sword sings out as it slides from its scabbard. Looking up, I can see her through the scattered trees, sword in hand, white gown ghostly. In an instant she's beside me. The blade becomes an axe as she brings it down heavy against the offending gnarles. Again and again she pounds until at last my foot comes free. I'm bleeding from somewhere, but the bones are unbroken.

THEN — a lone low howl sounds near us — the ground beneath us seems to quake in fear.

"The G'morg" she whispers.

"It is upon us!" I reply superfluously as we flee — faster than before — faster than ever. Now our bare feet barely touch the brambles. I can't help but look behind. I see nothing but eyes!

"Kate! OMG! I see nothing but eyes!" I scream.

"Computer, freeze visual!"

Mr. Michael Hoch squints at the viewscreen, leaning forward, brow furrowed, sexy black sunglasses squoze to his nose. The room holds its breath — shadowed walls waiting, blood red leather armchair not so much as daring to squeek. On the wall, an ominous old clock counts time: "Trip—tych, Trip—tych, Trip—tych."

"Vector 6F, isolate and enhance."

The computer complies, magnifying a face through the fog — eyes wide, dark hair flying.

"Identify."

«SUBJECT IDENTIFIED: KATE KENNEY»

Between his forefinger and thumb, a shiny silver pillbox: rotating.

"Vector 4H. Identify."

«SUBJECT IDENTIFIED: REYNA DE COURCY»

And now the leather creaks loud as he leans even further. His eyes burn holes in the liquid crystal screen. Could it be? he wonders, peering at a dark thing half—hidden by trees.

Abruptly he stands, long black coat whirling around his heels.

"Vector 5Q." He hesitates... "Identify."

«SUBJECT UNKNOWN»

"The G’morg," he says beneath breath. From the shadows a fat cat hisses and claws the air in defiance. "That’s right, Marzipan. Our allies in the East need our help."

His forefinger clicks open the silver box. A gel—cap red pill. He pops it in his mouth and swallows. And waits. Marzipan lumbers into the light, ears upright.

"Trip—tych. Trip—tych. Trip—tych. Trip—tych."

Then, slowly at first, the mirror to his left begins to bend — like liquid. He stretches out a hand.

Just as his outmost stretched index brushes the surface, the surface shifts. A form appears, straining outward from within, shuddering with effort and then suddenly the mirror membrane erupts, vomiting forth a scrambling creature.

It tumbles to the floor and for a moment seems nothing more than a wriggling tangle of long legs and long neck. Then its head uplifts, towering atop a long slender neck, and two great wide wings spread like the dawn, spraying the walls with slippery silver liquid. His chest balloons as he seems to inhale all the air in the room through his razorous beak.

It is a Crane, feathered all in silver. Having composed himself he turns to address Michael Hoch.

"Greetings Juroujin, Leader of the Legion of the Silver Cranes!" says Michael. "You ask why I have summoned you. It is for this." Michael turns on his heels, indicating the screen. "Behold, our allies to the East in peril! Computer Unfreeze Visual."

The screen fills with the dark fur flashing fangs of the G’morg.

The Crane squawks, his composure disappearing, silver feathers shedding to the floor.

Onscreen, the monster is in a full gallop, flying like the wind between the trees, hot in pursuit of it’s prey: the fleeing heels of Kate and Reyna.

Thinking with one mind, the two women take one final mighty stride and then leap upwards, hands reaching for the branches above. Contracting every muscle, they hoist themselves into the arms of the tree, snatching their bare feet from the snapping jaws of the G’morg.

It halts, seemingly foiled as they continue to climb. But then the beastly creature crouches back on it’s powerful legs and jumps. Its claws tear into treebark and branches snap as it begins to climb…

"This is terrible tidings. News of your dwindling numbers had not reached me. Is there no way to rebuild the mighty legion?"

The Crane becomes still with a stillness that clutches the room. Then slowly he stands upright to his full height, and fixes his silver eyes on Michael.

"The Others" says the Crane.

"The Others!" says Michael.

"Me—ow!" says the cat.

Michael continues "If the others send to us their prayers, wishes, dreams, and hopes — from these we can breed a new army."

"Yes, of Silver Cranes — vast enough to conquer the G'morg and rescue our allies from certain doom!"

TO BE CONTINUED...

And we’re running through the rotten leaves and twisted trees with the bottomless mud grasping our ankles. I can hear Reyna’s breath in the preternatural silence keeping time with my own.

Misty pockets rise from the surrounding gloom with a ghastly cold inside them. At times all I can see of Reyna is the white of her gown, ethereal in the desolation.

The Swamp of Sorrows stretches out in front of us with no end in sight.

All of a sudden, Reyna cries out. I turn backwards to see her heaving at her left leg, caught amongst the gnarled remnants of a tree’s roots.

My sword sings as it swings into the air and down into the thick wood. Again and again and again. Reyna’s toes appear as she wrenches herself free, and I lean upon the enemy tree, exhausted from my efforts.

And then, a lone howl sounds near us. Reyna is instantly alert as my skin turns to ice.

"The G’morg," I stammer.

"It’s upon us," she whispers.

Even as we flee we can hear the growls closer than before. My breath is forced and sharp in my lungs, and Reyna screams that she saw a flash of his eyes behind...

"Computer! Freeze visual!"

Mr. Michael Hoch stares at the image on the floor–to–ceiling screen. The black glasses that rest upon his face reflect the sight before him––two figures frozen in mid–stride, long dark hair flying, swords flashing in the gloom.

The room is silent save for the soft "Trip–tych, trip–tych, trip–tych” of the lone clock.

"Vector 6F, isolate and enhance.”

The computer zooms into a face pale and determined.

"Identify."

«SUBJECT IDENTIFIED: KATE KENNEY»

Michael exhales sharply and leans forward in his large wing–backed red leather chair. His right forefinger slowly spins a shiny silver box enclosed in his left hand.

"Vector 4H, isolate and enhance."

A face contorted with defiance appears.

«SUBJECT IDENTIFIED: REYNA DE COURCY»

Michael begins to pace back and forth in front of the screen, his floor–length black coat flapping behind him.

"Vector 5Q...identify."

A snarl of teeth and fur leaping amongst the tangled branches hangs in the shadows.

«SUBJECT UNKNOWN»

With a curse Michael stops, his face illuminated by the sickly glow from the screen.

"The G’morg" he mutters. Marzipan the cat catches the sudden tense atmosphere and leaps from her perch to join her master, who is staring up at the gleaming yellowed eye of the creature on the screen before him.

"That's right, Marzipan. Our allies in the East need our help."

From out of the box comes a red pill, and he hesitates only a moment before he seizes it and swallows it down.

"Trip–tych. Trip–tych. Trip–tych." Time stretches on.

Of a sudden, the mirror beside him starts to bend and twist, mercurial as smoke...

Michael steps closer, reaching out a hand towards the quivering mirror. From within a stirring appears, a large form taking shape. He steps closer still. An object starts to reach through the mirror, straining against the forces holding it in. A drop of luminescent liquid falls to the floor as the object lunges through in a sudden push, hovering in the air in front of Michael's face. His outstretched hand grasps it, and he pulls it towards him — a single silver feather.

And now the mirror begins to tremble, undulating still more violently. The form within thrusts against the restraining tension — rolling, heaving — until with a burst the mirror shatters into millions of tiny shimmering drops. A large Crane emerges from the spray and spreads his magnificent wings, shaking the glistening liquid into the far reaches of the room.

"Greetings, Juroujin, Leader of the Legion of the Silver Cranes! You ask why I have summoned you. It is for this." Michael spins around, his black coat swirling behind him.

"Behold our allies to the East in peril." He takes a deep breath.

"Computer! Unfreeze visual!"

The snarling fangs of the G'morg fill the screen, saliva oozing from his jaws. Juroujin squawks in alarm and agitatedly runs about the room on his spindly legs, silver feathers flying about.

The visual onscreen follows the G'morg as it races over ground covered by two sets of fleeing footprints. its swiftness is terrifying, so too its howls. Suddenly, Reyna and Kate fill the screen again, hands reaching for the branches above their heads. They pull themselves into the nook of a large tree, their feet scrambling to stay above the gnashing jaws of the G'morg, which has come to a halt just beneath them. They struggle to climb still higher, as the G'morg crouches back, and then lurches forward, springing onto the first branch...

"This is terrible tidings. News of your dwindling numbers had not reached me." Michael sighs and turns away. "Is there no way to rebuild the mighty Legion?"

Juroujin raises himself up to his full height, heads taller than the man before him. A solemnity enters his countenance, and the entire room hushes to hear his next words:

"The Others" says the Crane.

"The Others!" says Michael.

"Me–ow" says the cat.

Michael stands transfixed. Slowly, the full weight of this statement comes across him, and he stammers out "If the Others send to us their prayers, wishes, dreams, and hopes––from these we can breed a new army,"

"Yes, of Silver Cranes — vast enough to conquer the G'morg and rescue our allies from certain doom!"

TO BE CONTINUED...