“There is no cure,” the baker said as she peered into the mage’s eyes.
Around the table with them sat the renowned warrior and the titan merchant. Everyone at the table, the mage included, were trying not to appear as awed as they felt in the warrior’s presence. And everyone at the table was trying not to make it obvious that the titan’s four well-muscled arms were taking up all the space. He shifted his right upper arm, the one that the mage noted was tattooed with the mark of the merchant’s guild, and knocked over an empty pint of mead. The warrior wordlessly righted the mug.
The mage glanced at them all in turn. The giant brown eye had led him to them. But it had led him to many others before them, many others whom he had failed to convince.
“It is true that I do not have a cure in hand,” he said. “And it is true that I cannot assure it beyond all doubt. But it is also true that after ten years of searching—and even though it is too late for me—I have finally found some real hope. If I could obtain the cure myself and bring it to you, I would. But I need help. We will not need to travel far. But there may be dangers.”
The warrior crossed his battle-scarred arms. “I feel you are not speaking of beasts in the wild.”
“I’m afraid not.”
“What is the cost?” the titan asked.
“There is always a price to pay for taking something from someone.”
“Ah yes, the cost is the same as it is for anything of worth in this world. Blood, sweat, and tears. You have already paid the cost of tears. Sweat will be paid on our journey.”
“That leaves blood.”
“That price, we will pay when we reach our first destination,” the mage said.
“I will listen to your story,” the baker said. “Only because I believe that you have lost someone, as I—as we—are soon to lose someone.”
The mage nodded in gratitude as the others settled back in their chairs.
A four-armed merchant. A beloved warrior. A wandering mage. And a humble baker.
It would not be the strangest party that the mage had tried to gather. But he hoped it would be the last. He was growing weary. But he had to tell them the truth of what they might face. Each of them said they were willing to face death to save the ones they loved, the ones who were stricken with a disease that the mage himself had created. They did not believe him. No one believed he had made the illness. It was too terrible a thing to have been made.
“First, we will need a sword. A singular sword that is the only thing that can cut into the chamber that I am certain contains the cure. That chamber is otherwise impenetrable, even if it were not protected by ancient spells, which it is. It is made from the skull of a giant, and not just any giant…”
The skull belonged to a giant wizard who lived and thrived in the world that was, long before humans walked the earth. He amassed so much knowledge and wisdom that even long-lived as he was, he did not have the time to pass it on to his disciples and to the peoples who came after, both descended from the same line that produced the giants, humans and titans.
One of his disciples, a wicked and greedy giant, who believed he had the right to all of his master’s knowledge tried to take it. Knowing that his master was coming to the end of his days, and that the knowledge and wisdom inside him would vanish into the ether and be wasted, the disciple forged a sword. The sword would split open the skull of the wizard, and as it did, would absorb his knowledge and wisdom and channel it into a diamond at the hilt.
But when the betrayer crept into his teacher’s chambers and tried to strike his skull, the sword sunk only a few inches into the bone. It was enough for the sword’s magic to begin working and absorbing knowledge—histories, languages, enchantments, and more. The giant wizard woke and rose from his bed. He saw his disciple standing there and he felt the sword in his skull. The wizard frowned, and in anger, he summoned up his powers. The sword shattered, and the diamond holding some of the wizard’s knowledge and spells fell to the ground intact.
“If I let you take that,” the giant wizard asked, his voice even and thunderous, “what will you do with it?”
The disciple was confused. He was certain that his master would kill him or at best, imprison him forever. He begged forgiveness and said that if his master let him take the diamond, filled with immeasurable knowledge, though it contained but a drop of what still swirled within the giant’s mind, he would humbly offer it back to his master.
The giant wizard peered at him, then he held out his hand. The disciple knelt down and picked up the diamond. He looked up at his master, and began to extend his arm. But then, he hesitated. Perhaps he thought that since he would be punished anyway, he would dare another moment of defiance. Or perhaps he saw something in his master’s eyes that made him wonder.
“Master, what if I did not offer this back to you?” he asked. “Could you take it from me?”
The giant wizard said nothing, gave away nothing in his expression. He merely held out his hand. There was a furrow in his skull where the sword had struck. It was not bleeding. But nor was it healing or vanishing as most of the wizard’s wounds did. It may have been because the wound was so small that the wizard did not feel it and would tend to it later. But it made the disciple grow bolder. He grasped the diamond tighter in his hand, feeling it pulse with power unmatched. He sensed that he had taken some of his master’s best. He backed away a step, then another.
The giant wizard narrowed his eyes, but he said nothing.
The disciple backed away to the chamber door, then dashed out through it. All the while, he expected the walls to crumble and bury him, or for daggers, thrown by the will of the wizard, to chase him down the hall. He expected his master to raise an alarm.
But none of that happened. He had dared to seize power, instead of waiting to earn or inherit it, and he had succeeded.
What the bold disciple thought was that his master could not seize the power back by himself. That his might had been sufficiently diminished by whatever had been drained out of him into that diamond. What he did not know was that his master could have seized that power back, but chose not to.
Perhaps if the giant wizard had chosen differently, the land would not have suffered as it did. The giant wizard truly believed it would have suffered more. For if he seized back the power contained in that diamond, even if he had been its original keeper, he would have been corrupted by the deed. And he would have wrought even more ruin than his disciple did in the years and decades to follow.
The disciple—the thief—was mesmerized by the power of the diamond, so mesmerized that he tapped its powers often. At first, he was able to learn and to control what he learned, but soon the power flowed out too quickly and fiercely for him to manage. What was once at the margins of his earthly senses, overcame his senses, and he fell into stupors. He wanted the power so he could understand and do more than his master, who only ruminated on a high mountain over dry volumes while the world bloomed beneath him.
But the former disciple’s eagerness became zealousness. He went into the northern forest and tested his powers, manifesting things that were unnatural, things that were as impatient and hungry as he was. The tree trunks began to sprout eyes, like the eyes of a cat. Flowers grew that would whisper wicked things during the night to any traveler who dared to camp. Worms that crawled under the earth would bore through the foot of any who walked the forest paths.
Natural beings learned to avoid that forest. It became his workshop. He fashioned new and unseemly creatures. He tore tiny rifts into other worlds just so that he might see, and when he let those rifts lie open, they would flutter out of the forest, and into the path or some unsuspecting traveler, who would fall in and never be seen again. It could not be proven, all that he did, for he was given a wide berth. And he did not harm anyone himself, until one day under the light of the mid-winter sun, he went to the middle of a barren land to once again test his powers and the powers of the diamond. He lost control and destroyed every living thing save for himself for several leagues around him. Ten villages were lost.
The people at last went to the giant wizard, though he had shut himself off from the world so he could live his last years in peace. They begged him to stop his former disciple. He said that he would not, for the very reason that he would do worse than his disciple if he were to take back the power by force, but he would help to forge a weapon that another could wield.
He had gathered the shards of the sword his disciple had used to strike him. He encased them within the metal of another sword. In the cross-guard of the hilt, he set his own eye. The giant wizard had one brown eye and one blue. He set his blue eye in the hilt. Upon his death, his brown eye would go into the keeping of his loyal and good disciples. If the one who now wielded the sword failed to stop his betrayer, the loyal disciples would use the brown eye to find other worthy people to wield the sword.
The sword was made for one purpose only, to cut through what was otherwise impenetrable. It bore the only blade in the world that could cut through the enchanted diamond and release all the power contained within. The power would disperse back into the world and the wizard’s former disciple would be left with nothing but glittering dust.
The warrior who was chosen to find the diamond and strike it had been warned not to use the sword against any living thing, for if he did, its power would fail. But he wondered, and perhaps rightfully so, why the wizard had not forged a hammer, if its purpose was simply to destroy the diamond. If it was forged as a sword, it was surely meant to go into battle. The warrior believed that the giant wizard could not stomach even saying that his former disciple should be struck down. But he believed that this was the wizard’s unspoken decree.
So the warrior, chosen for his prowess and honor and nobility, hunted down the wizard’s former disciple. The warrior was encased in enchanted armor. He was given potions and spells to counter those of the wizard’s former disciple. But as they fought, he lost his own sword. In desperation, he unsheathed the sword of the giant’s eye, and with it, he wounded the disciple.
As he did so, and as the disciple’s blood stained the blade, the sword grew so heavy with the weight of the blood, the warrior could not bear it, and it fell from his hands. He tried to lift it again, but could not. In moments, the warrior was killed by the former disciple, who then tried to claim the sword, but he too was unable to lift it. Knowing it was the only thing that could destroy his power, he buried the sword, and he destroyed the surrounding lands, turning them into desert. He swallowed the diamond so that he would never be separated from its powers.
When the giant wizard died, his disciples did as he had instructed them to do. They burned his body and when they did, they found that all his bones also burned away into ash, except the bones of his skull. A furrow still marked where the wizard’s former disciple had struck it, and within the skull remained the giant wizard’s spells, knowledge, and wisdom. The skull’s weight was too great to be moved, laden as it was with immeasurable knowledge. The disciples built a temple around it. They studied the inscriptions that had been carved into the skull by the wizard himself, to keep its strength and power contained.
Among those inscriptions was instruction and explanation concerning the sword that the giant wizard had forged. It alone could penetrate the giant skull and reach the knowledge contained within in the same way that his former disciple had done. The desired knowledge would seep from the blade to the gem set in the hilt, and from the gem to any whom the sword’s keeper chose to share it with.
With the sword lost, and with any who sought to find it being thwarted by the wizard’s former disciple, the knowledge in the giant wizard’s skull languished over generations.
But there came a time where no one had seen or heard from the wizard’s former disciple, the betrayer, and the thief in a while. That while became a long while, and people waited with bated breath. Then the long while became decades, a generation, two generations.
Whether he died, vanished into a rift he created, or perhaps traveled to a distant land, none knew. There were only rumors. And while many feared his return in the generations that had seen him walk through their village squares, the fear abated as those generations grew old and passed on. New people were born who never learned his name, knowing him only in the story of the great giant wizard, as the “former disciple” or the “betrayer.”
So at last, the sword could be sought. But few tried, for it had changed from history to legend. It was said to have once been found, by a king who had made it his life’s quest to find it. But none could lift it, and so it was reburied.
There were no tales of any seeking wisdom at the giant wizard’s skull. A small number of disciples still tended the skull and tried to study what they could of the wizard’s teachings. They were thought to have no great wisdom to share. But the mage visited them first.
The mage sought the sword and he sought the skull because he needed to do great penance. He was responsible for unleashing a crippling disease in his efforts to cheat death on behalf of someone he loved and who he lost anyway. His lover’s dying wish was for him to spend his life doing good deeds to offset the ill. But he took that to mean that he must undo what he had done, find a cure to end the disease known as the bleeding fever.
The bleeding fever was thought to have arisen naturally, so whenever the mage declared he was the one who forged it, he was not believed. He was only a mage, after all, and one known to be of middling talent as evidenced from the meager number of gold bands and bracelets upon his arms.
When his lover grew ill, they had just been talking about starting a family. He tried everything he could, everything within and even outside of his means. And he studied better than ever he had before. Then he found the answer. The knowledge contained in the still-standing skull of the giant wizard. Within that skull, surely, was the cure to the illness, and perhaps even more wonders.
The mage visited the temple, which was still tended by a handful of disciples, titans descended from those who had once studied with the wizard. He visited the skull, awed by its immensity, and sensing the power within. Knowledge and power that lay dormant and ready. The disciples knew how to reach the knowledge and power. The sword that the giant wizard had forged. It was the only thing that could pierce the skull and tap the knowledge through the blade into the gem that was set in the hilt. That was the reason why the giant had crafted a sword and not a hammer.
But the sword was lost to the disciples. Even if they found it as it lay buried somewhere in the deserts to the west, even if they broke all the spells of guarding that the thieving former disciple had set upon it, the sword could not be lifted.
But the mage had studied the arcane inscriptions on the giant skull, and he believed he knew how it could be done.
“The disciples lent me the giant’s brown eye,” the mage said. “And it led me to you.”
“I wonder, why us,” the titan said.
“And I wonder why the disciples haven’t use this brown eye themselves to find people to wield this sword,” the baker said.
“At first it was fear, of that diamond thief, then perhaps it became tradition to keep the eye where it was, lest it be lost like the other one. Who knows?” the mage said. “You can ask them yourself when we visit the skull before embarking.”
“You’ve learned a great deal for one who calls himself a ‘middling’ mage,” the warrior said. “I know the legends and the history of the tale you told. But I have never heard some of the particulars you spoke of.”
“It is astounding what even an average mind can accomplish when it applies itself,” the mage said. “And when it is moved by urgency and necessity.”
The warrior lowered his eyes. “Indeed.”
“So we need the sword to open the skull,” the baker said. “How will we get the sword?”
“With the help of the disciples, I have learned all the ways to break the spells guarding the sword. We’ll use our arms, backs, and shovels to dig. All of that will be easy. The true test will be when we try to lift it.”
The baker frowned. “Yes, how will we manage that when legend says there is no way to lift it?”
“Not to mention that it was built to fit the hands of giants,” the warrior added.
“The sword is enchanted,” the mage said, “It will fit the hand of the one who is worthy to wield it. If we try to lift it together and if the blood we give the blade is blood willingly spilt, then we may succeed.”
The warrior rubbed his chin. “Does it irk anyone that the sword we must use was first forged by a murderer?”
The mage’s eyes widened and he glanced at each of them. “Does this mean you agree to come with me?”
The titan, the baker, and the warrior did indeed agree to the mage’s quest. They visited the giant’s skull first to bear witness and to receive the blessings of the head disciple. She met with them each alone and answered their many questions.
On their way to the western desert where the sword was buried, the company traveled through many towns and villages where the bleeding fever raged. So many were afflicted that no town or village bothered to restrict travelers any longer. The baker found easy lodging for them, for she was skilled in baking herbed loaves that were used for both sustenance and soothing of the agonies that ailed the ill. Pains of the stomach, burning of the skin, seizing of the muscles, and the constant seeping of blood from places where blood should not seep.
The four did not themselves grow ill. There were some who resisted the illness, and they seemed among those. They did not speak of their reasons for coming on the journey. Some unspoken superstition among them kept them from even speaking the names of their ill kin.The titan kept their spirits up with tales of his merchanting adventures. He had four arms, two on each side, though his bottom left arm had been cut off from the elbow down. He claimed it was during a skirmish with one of the poison-spitting red lizards of the south. The poison fell on his hand and would have spread quickly up his arm and through his body, had a companion not had the sense to chop off the arm at the elbow. As custom decreed, they had burned the cut off part of the arm and spread the ashes upon their skin to guard them from further harm on their journey, and as it was, they met no further harm.
The merchant tried to goad the warrior into telling of how he had gained all the slashing scars along his arms, but the warrior would refuse and ask for another tale of trade gone awry or of how the baker prepared cherry almond cakes. He seemed most at peace when the baker bashfully spoke of humble days spent kneading, mixing, and feeding her village.
All the while, the mage seemed expectant.
At last, they reached the borders of the western desert and a few days later, the mage declared that they had reached the site where the sword lay. They uncovered it as he had said with much digging and spell-breaking. The titan, the baker, and the warrior were wary and watchful for some attack. But the mage was confident that the betrayer disciple was long gone.
At last, they uncovered the sword, or part of it, the left side of the hilt, with the gem that was once the eye of a giant wizard just peeking through layers of sand. It was indeed giant, but as they dug around it, it seemed to shrink until it was man-sized. The titan grasped it with his three remaining hands and tried to lift it, to no avail. Two parallel cuts appeared on the inside wrist of his lower right arm, just below the hand that had directly gripped the sword hilt. The cuts did not bleed, but even as they began to close, they appeared raw and red. After that, the baker and warrior did not attempt to lift the sword alone. They all followed the mage’s instructions and grasped the sword blade with their chosen hands all at once. They grasped tightly and began to lift. They held the sword aloft and upright.
Five hands grasped the sword of the giant’s eye. For the titan grasped it with both of his right hands. They grasped tightly until each one’s blood poured down the length of the blade and over the hands of the others, and the bluish-violet cast of the vertical oval gem set in the middle of the cross-guard warmed to a reddish-purple. While the blood flowed down, it also flowed into the sword, and through the sword, flowed into each of the holders, searing the sword’s power and its unspoken oath into their very beings.
They held on in silence for a moment. Then the titan spoke.
“Who will wield it?”
“Any of us can, so long as all of us will it,” the mage said.
“You,” the mage said, looking at the baker.
She raised her brows and glanced at the warrior. He nodded and so did the titan. The others released the blade, and with a start the baker held the blade in her right hand. She wrapped her left hand around the sword’s grip. Their wounds and the blood on their hands remained, but the blood on the blade vanished as if it had soaked into the metal.
The baker hesitated, then she pointed the blade at the mage’s throat.
“Do it,” the warrior said. “Be rid of him.”
“What are you doing?” the titan asked, startled.
“It’s him,” the baker said. She peered at the mage. “It’s the betrayer.”
Before the titan, who had grown fond of the mage, stepped between the blade and his friend, the warrior quickly explained that the one they had been traveling with, the common young mage who only wanted to right a wrong he thought he had committed was the very same betrayer who had buried the sword generations past, when giants still walked the earth. When one giant in particular took a disciple who betrayed him and stole his power, and used it to wreak horror and havoc in the world.
The baker and the warrior had noted the signs. The mage’s skin would gleam, even at night. The baker had watched a lizard bite that skin and make no mark, for it was hard, like diamond. The mage had been so confident that the giant wizard’s former disciple, his betrayer, the diamond thief, was dead and gone. Of course, he could have simply been a swindler, a bard who made up all that he had spoken, just to be cruel. But the head of the new disciples had given them their biggest clue. The mage knew more than he should about the sword, the skull, and the story of betrayal, more than the disciples themselves knew. They had lost much knowledge, but they still held on to more than any common mage could know, even if he studied with them and studied the markings on the skull.
The mage himself had all but told them when they first met, when he admitted that he had made the disease. For the mage they knew could not have done so, but the betrayer wielding a portion of the giant wizard’s powers had the will, the reckless indifference to his fellows, and the unwholesome vision to make such a thing as the bleeding fever.
The mage stood expressionless and still. “If I withdraw my will for you to have the sword, it will fall,” the mage said.
“It might do,” the baker said. “It might not. It’s strange. I believed you had lost someone. I believed you were seeking penance.”
“I was. I am. I left everything behind. The sword. The skull. I could not undo what I had done. I could only start anew and try to learn anew. And hope that I could one day attain the wisdom that my master had attained. Perhaps one day, I could learn to undo. To heal. To repair. To restore.”
“There is no penance for all that you have done,” the warrior said. “You were wise not to will the sword to me. You would already be dead.”
“We are bound by that sword now. If I die, you all die. And I too cannot harm you with it.”
“But you can harm us in other ways,” the baker said. “Countless other ways.”
“He’s lying,” the warrior said. “We won’t die if we strike him down. Even if we do, so be it. We will save many lives with our deaths.”
“What about the fever?” the mage said. “What about your dear ones? If we all die here, they too will die.”
“You still intend to keep your word to us?” the baker asked.
The mage nodded.
“Then take us back to the giant’s skull.”
With the ruse discovered, the mage had no need for pretense. He used his power to join and fold places together, and in an instant, he brought them to the temple of the giant’s skull.
The skull loomed above them. Its eyes were like the mouths of caverns, wide open but forbidding. One could enter through those eyes and walk along the inside of the skull and see only the bones of a long-dead people. The baker had done so when the head disciple granted her request. There were no spells or knowledge, for those could only be gained by using the sword, the key. From below, the baker saw the beginning of the furrow along the top arc of the skull, the wound made by the the man standing before her, the man who had once been a giant, a disciple.
“We cannot let you keep your power,” the baker said.
“Then you have no choice but the strike me down,” the mage said. “I had hoped to do penance for the rest of my life, which has been long and would be longer still. But perhaps the brown eye led me to you so you could put a true end to my wrongdoing. We are linked by the sword, and so you may die. But maybe you won’t. Especially here in this place.”
The baker shook her head and again refused to spill his blood.
“There may be another way,” she said. She turned the sword toward the skull and plunged it through the side of the jaw. With a rumbling and a swirling of energies that were colored the hues of a starlit night, the top of the skull tilted back and the mouth opened.
“Surrender your power to your master, as you should have done when you first had the chance.”
“What if he takes all the power instead?” the warrior said.
The head disciple stepped forward. “He cannot. Not without some way to channel it.”
The baker held aloft the sword. “If you are sincere, you will go. If not, you will oppose my will and the sword will fall to our feet. And I suppose we will all be at your mercy.”
The mage climbed up and into the skull, and he vanished. The skull’s mouth closed and it began to change. The carvings seemed to rub away, overlaid with new carvings. The disciples gasped, for they found they could easily read and understand the writing, where they had struggled before. The chamber swirled with unseen energies, weighty and forceful energies. The disciples believed that the mage, the once-betrayer, the former disciple, had indeed surrendered his portion of the power he had taken. But in doing so, he had perished.
The baker pulled the sword out of the skull. The warrior, the baker, and the titan felt a snapping along their spines and the sword grew heavier in the baker’s hands. And they knew that what the disciples believed was true.
The baker glanced up and saw that the furrow on the giant skull had closed.
“What are we to make of him?” the titan said. “I liked him, and he was good while we knew him, but if he was the one who corrupted the northern forest with poisons, and sewed together natural creatures into unnatural ones, then…”
The warrior bowed his head. “Perhaps the tales are exaggerated.”
“Are the tales of your deeds exaggerated?” the baker asked and there was the beginning of a smile on her face.
“Indeed, they are. No doubt some bard or troubadour will tell a far more heroic and bloody tale about our ‘defeat’ of the betrayer, using this legendary sword.”
“It doesn’t matter,” the baker said. “I only want what we were promised, a cure to the bleeding fever.”
The disciples said they would study the skull now that they could read it more easily. They would do their best to tap the knowledge that they needed to develop a cure for the bleeding fever and after that as many other ailments as they could learn how to treat or cure.
The head disciple said it might take a while for them to sort through the guide symbols along the skull’s surface. She bid the three travelers return to their homes and tend to their loved ones and all the others in their village who suffered. She would send word if and when she found the cure.
When the baker tried to give them the sword, however, the disciples refused. The head disciple explained that the sword was not for them. It was for the people to keep. And for the time being, that meant the three who had spilt their own blood to raise it. When the spell was found, it would be the baker, the warrior, and the titan who must wield the sword and tap the knowledge as one would tap a tree, in moderation, and without great harm.
The head disciple was true to her word. She found what she believed was a catalog of cures. When the three travelers returned and tapped the knowledge from the skull, it was an intricate spell, one that could kill if not properly cast. And one that might not work on all who were afflicted.
The disciples learned the spell, taught it to the healers of the village, and they tried it on the sickest. Those who were stricken began to recover. At the very threshold of death they were halted, and from a state of decay, they were revived. The spell vanquished the disease, but it did not undo the damage that was already done. Some had lost limbs, lost senses, lost their will for life. For those maladies, other spells might be found, in the knowledge of the healers, or the knowledge in the giant skull.
The warrior’s daughter recovered with no ill effects. The baker’s husband had grown weak and might never regain his full strength. But he lived. And the titan’s twin brothers lived, though they, like their elder brother, had each lost a limb to the disease. Only those whose bodies were ravaged beyond repair could not be recovered.
The titan, the warrior, and the mage saw their village come back to life and marveled at the power of the spell, only one of countless spells that must have been swirling in the giant wizard’s skull.
They spoke of it as they gathered around a table in the bakery. They were four again, only this time, the titan, the warrior, and the baker, were joined by the head disciple.
“If power can only be wielded justly when shared, then how was the giant wizard able to contain such great power and not be ruined by it, as his disciple was?” the titan asked.
“Perhaps he too shared his powers in ways the stories do not speak of,” the head disciple said, “because they are mysterious.”
“Now will you take back the sword?” the baker asked the disciple. By agreement among its three keepers, it was wrapped in cloth and placed in a safe corner of the baker’s bedchamber.
The disciple sipped at her mead and said nothing.
“I have no use for it,” the warrior said. “It can’t spill the blood of the unwilling.”
“And I have no use for it,” the titan said. “Because it’s not something I can sell or trade.”
The baker sighed and declared that she would mount it on the high wall of her bakery, where the giant’s eye could watch them and watch over them, where all could marvel and guess at how the baker had acquired it, and where those bards and troubadours could see it and be inspired to tell grand tales.
“You need not worry about thieves,” the disciple said. “None but you three can wield it, and even then, only if all agree.”
“It’s gotten heavier,” the baker said.
“From the loss of one keeper,” the head disciple explained. “It will grow heavier still if any more of you should perish.”
“What will become of the sword after we all die?”
The head disciple shook her head. “I do not know. The master may have that knowledge locked away in his skull. But until we find out, we should make sure that it always has keepers. That way, when one dies, the other keepers can look after it, presuming all do not die at once.” The disciple reached into the sleeve of her robe and pulled out a gem much like the one that set in the hilt of the sword, only the gem from her sleeve was a deep brown. It was the giant wizard’s other eye, the brown eye that the mage had claimed had led him to the humble baker, the renowned warrior, and the titan merchant. The head disciple held it out to them.
“Find others to help you bear the burden.”
Copyright © 2017. Story by Nila L. Patel. Artwork: “Sword of the Giant Wizard” by Sanjay Patel.