Olgath stood in his chambers, fuming. He had been outwitted yet again. both targets had vanished. The only difference was that the cities once housed the forbidden still stood where they had been built. The White ring, on the other hand, had vanished along with their cities. The city of the prophets still remained, from all accounts. He would send the Inquisition there. After all, it was the prophets who’d started it all with their prophecy. They would have to be the ones to pay for their arrogance.
Otherwise, should that city also vanish, he would be left with no other recourse but to loose the Inquisition upon the Dark Ring. And he would. Someone had to pay for the affront. He would make sure of it.
He grinned a wrathful grin. Damned prophets. Their prophecies had been the bane of the Renge. They had foretold the fall of the gods. They had foretold of the numerous raids. And now, they had foretold of his death and replacement.
Their allies were now gone, having fled to avoid death at the hands of the Inquisition. They were alone. Without help. Beyond saving.
He liked the sound. Yes, he would send the Inquisition after the prophets. Their time had come. It was time for them to pass into the annals of history.
He strode to his divining fountain. It was time to call Golmagug. A deal had to be struck. He sat upon the bench next to it and gazed in, uttering the contact spell. Golmagug’s visage appeared upon the water, staring at him.
~Yes, Father?~ The demi-mage’s disembodied voice asked, slightly annoyed.
“I have a task for you,” Olgath began.
“I need you to destroy the city of Prophets,” Olgath stated, “as retribution for the prophecy that has been made.”
~Consider it done.~
His son’s image vanished from the surface of the fountain’s surface. He felt his rage abating. He had begun calming. He was to be avenged.
Toulor had foreseen the Master’s plans. He had called together his fellow prophets and they had held council. It had been decided that they would disappear from the face of the Renge. No more would they make prophecies for the four lands.
At the appointed time, all the prophets chanted the same spell. The intonation built to a crescendo as the power began coursing through them and the city began to lift into the air, surrounded by and invisible bubble. At its height, the floating city simply vanished before the eyes of the approaching army sent by Golmagug to destroy it. In disbelief, they stood and watched.
They would have to find a way to tell it to their master. But, for the moment, they would say nothing. They feared risking death to relate these events. None of them wanted death, at least not for something like this. Execution within the Inquisition was horrible and filled with pain. Prolonged to enhance the oblivion that followed.
Hadrax stood at the window of his pleasure palace, waiting for his lover. Of his three wives, she was his favorite. His concubines, though pleasurable, meant little to him. they were simply toys in his eyes, much as his two other wives. As the bard’s son, he would have been next in line to be the bard but he had rejected that life. He wanted more. Power. Prestige. Notoriety.
He wanted to live the life that his nobilis blood offered. Opulence. Decadence. Beautiful oblivion.
Unlike his father, he didn’t want to tell tales of former glories. He wanted to taste that glory. He wanted to be that hero. He wanted to fight wars, win medals, and show valiance.
He wanted to overthrow the emperor and take the throne of power. Yes, he wanted it all. Even the drug that the nobilis now lost themselves in. Oh, the sweet herb, that golden lotus. How he longed to lose himself.
Tonight would be special. The moon was waxing full, the stars showed brightly, and the mood was right. Even more, Thranicia was ready and willing. He was going to enjoy this night.
He smiled. He was finally rising above his calling. He had married into the nobilis so that he could rise from obscurity. His blood was calling to him. all he needed to do was to deaden the bard’s blood.
The riever ferried the Cyrtians across the Big Muddy under the cover of darkness. All had paid fare and the deal had been struck. It was a lucrative business, smuggling. Gems, gold, silver—it all would sit until he could exchange it for something worth more to him…food and clothing. Perhaps he would get his sword sharpened the next time he went into Yndarr. Right now, he ferried a small clan of Cyrtians across the river.
From there, they would disappear into the darkness. Silent as shades, they would make their way to their new home. This far north, they would never be noticed. Once at their destination, they would still go unnoticed until it was too late. He smiled. He loved angering Olgath.
The old mage was losing his grip. His line was nearing an end. Soon, the Dark Ring would face dangers as they had never seen before, but that mattered not to the riever. As long as he was never caught by the nobilis, the Inquisition, or the Master of the Ring he would be fine. As long as he remained free, he would be happy.
He took a deep breath. Silence, at this point, was golden. One sound would alert guards on the other bank, up on the ramparts of the walls of Chrydis. As long as they could slip by unnoticed, they would all be home free. If they were caught, they were all good as dead—unless the mages had a few tricks up their sleeves.
He smiled. The mages were keeping their mounts quieter than usual. Had they used a muzzling spell? Or had they cast a spell so that the barge was not seen?