Thanks @zakludick for his update on Part 66. I know the posting has been a little wonky, but hopefully it'll be alright now. I hope you all enjoy this update!
The followers of the Head Priest stealthily made their way to where the two boys were being kept. They knew what they had to do, but it didn’t sit well with them. Ever since Darian had had his run-in with Adiran, he had started acting strongly, and they were sure something was deeply wrong with the man. However, they were unable to ignore what he wanted of them.
The two men stalked the hallway to the prince’s room, almost shocked that they were empty. They put aside paranoid thoughts and chalked up the absence of guards to the gathering of warriors outside the castle gates.
“This is too easy.” Muttered the younger of the two men.
The second, older and wiser, decided it was best that he not answer. Not only was this too easy, but it was also wrong. Sacrifice? Their order hadn’t sacrificed in centuries, to call upon such a barbaric act now was despicable. He longed for a way out of this situation, but his vows kept him moving one foot ahead of the other.
It didn’t take long for them to reach the room. The younger of the two pulled a pouch from his side and opened it. This was supposed to paralyze the reptilic beast within, so it wouldn’t be able to stop them as they completed their mission.
“Resorting to sorcery.” Muttered the older of the two under his breath. “Disgusting!”
“But it must be done!” said the younger. “You heard Darian.”
“Why has Christoff not been looped in on this plan? He is after all the high mage, surely, he must have some say in this.”
“I don’t bow to a mage. I obey the true leader.” The younger one spat.
“The true leader?”
“Mary isn’t fit to rule if she allows the undead to invade the palace. No. Lord Darian knowns what’s best for us.”
“Blasphemous! She is your queen!”
The younger spun to glare at the older priest and harshly whispered, “Do as you were ordered, or you’ll find yourself standing at the funeral prier yourself!”
As soon as those words left his mouth, something within the room grabbed him and he disappeared into the darkness. The older priest, without thinking, stormed into the room to see one of the guards that had accompanied Lucien from the banquet. The guard had a set of four long claws wrapped around the throat of the terrified priest. The pouch of powder lay open at their feet. At first, the older priest thought the guard was paralyzed, but then he saw the claws tighten and the younger priest squealed in pain.
“That filthy magic only works on those who have the need of breathing, my people don’t.” came a voice from behind him as the door to the room slammed.
The older priest jumped and spun round with fright, only to be met with Lucien grinning at him. The teeth of what he could only describe as a shark were starting to form in the man’s mouth, and he was terrified.
“You…you were meant to be down…”
“Blah, blah, blah.” Lucien used one hand to mimic speech while the other grabbed at the priest. “I think the more important issue here is what you’re meant to be doing. It sure as hell isn’t protecting the prince and his family as your order swore they would.”
“There are no buts! If you are in service to someone, then you are in service to them, not to some order master.” Lucien grabbed the priest, “We will be having a little chat with the queen about this.”
“You’ll get nothing from us!” screamed the thin priest. “We are loyal to the one true…”
The guard’s claws tightened a little more, cutting off anything the priest wanted to say.
“Don’t kill him.” Drawled Lucien lazily, “He will be useful in the end. However, this one can be useful now.”
Lucien made the priest look him in the eye, “Have you ever wondered why it’s so difficult to lie to the queen?”
“N-n-no.” quivered the man.
“I’d like to think she takes after my side of the family, but I’m sure her birth mother will beg to differ.” Lucien chuckled, “You will come tell the truth, and your friend there will help the others return. Magnus, have they arrived safely at the other side?”
“Good. Contact Adiran and tell him his stupid idea is just that, stupid, and to take the gift I offer.”
The older priest watched in shock as the creature and his companion simply shimmered out of existence and he was left alone with the life feeder.
“Well now little mouse, what do you say to a snack before we have a chat with your queen? I am thinking there is so much more you can tell me about what this plan was about.”
“You don’t have as much time as you think you have.” Came a voice from the hallway.
Everyone turned to see a shadow knight appear dragging a hapless priest after him.
“Oh great, I thought I smelled your kind.” Said the wraith as she reached for her shield.
“I am not here to train milady, I am here for Adiran.” The knight grinned and raised the priest to him.
Adiran stepped forward, confused by the interaction, but also wary of the undead circling them. The shadow knight screeched twice at the shambling creatures, and they seemed to back off for a few seconds before shambling forward.
“They are hungry, and you are standing on their meal. Kindly move.” Said the knight as he waved the priest in the air, “We must talk.”
“What must we talk about?” demanded Adiran as he came forward, “And why do you have a living priest here?”
“This is your fault!” said the wraith as she poked Mortis’s chest, “You being here allows the living to come to my realm. We had a deal brother!”
“It wasn’t my intent to break the deal, I am very much here against my will. Please…”
“Remove your damn helm so I may see what you have had to suffer!”
“Enough you two!” roared Adiran as he pushed between the two, “Your sibling rivalry can wait, I have to start the ritual.”
“Ritual? What ritual?” demanded Magna.
Adiran stopped and sighed heavily, “The one that will allow your brother’s soul to become one again. I am running out of time to do it.”
“And how do you intend to do that in the realm of the dead with the only close family he has is his twin?” asked the wraith.
A wicked grin then crossed her face, “Oh, I see! There needs to be a male on the throne, so the girl is expendable. Am I right?”
The only sound to echo through the hall was the undead tearing into the giant carcass behind them.
“Is that true?” asked Magna, “Were you going to sacrifice me so Adrian may live?”
Adiran remained silent as he stared at the floor.
“The world truly hasn’t moved on since we were children brother.” Said the wraith, “The wheel will turn again. Perhaps our duty is finally done, and these young ones can take our place.”
“No!” roared Adiran as his hands balled into fists, “No more sacrificing one twin for another! No! I am using my soul to bind the two pieces together.”
More silence before Magna and Adrian ran to hug their uncle, screaming at him that there had to be another way. That they wouldn’t allow it. But Adiran wouldn’t look at them. He knew this was the only way. The texts had said lifeblood was needed. Only he could step up for this challenge.
The guard watched this exchange before he cleared his throat. It was loud enough to get everyone who was bickering to stop and look at him. Once the attention was on him, he drove a single claw into the priest’s neck and dropped him to the floor. He wasn’t dead, but he would be soon. He would be alive long enough to complete this ritual.
“You’ll find that the ancients weren’t much for correct grammar back in the day. It’s life, blood, and death. Not lifeblood and death. You don’t have much time. Use Lucien’s gift and hurry to the castle. We need you.”
Alright @zakludick up to you now!
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