At last, the army gathers on the edge of Virien’s lands. At last, the time draws near when High Priest S’Rak will remember what he is. As the influence of the Lord of Madness spreads, things start to turn against Chancellor Virien. S’Rak and Captain Jisten stand to gain much, assuming they both survive the coming storm intact. But can love survive when it’s tested to the breaking point and beyond?
Trey observed the pair on the dais as they made love, oblivious to the audience of the full great hall. Virien, sitting at the high table, looked faintly annoyed that they’d switched from pure dominance and submission to this mutual loving and caring. But Trey was pleased. Their conjoined hymns, the one to Zotien and the other to Si’Yeni would bear fruit sooner rather than later. He eased his own magic in, changing a few things, making open the path for their respective deities to fix what was broken.
As They will. If They will. Trey smiled as he watched his subjects, for they were his in every way that counted.
A commotion turned his gaze from the pair. The roasted chickens were running across the long tables on their stumpy drumsticks, frantic to escape the knives and forks aimed at them. Some side effects are unavoidable, Trey remembered. The longer he dwelt in any one place, the more likely they became, and using his powers made side effects a certainty. The ruckus was spreading as people reacted to the risen, escape-driven fowl, some were screaming, a useless, if loud, response. Others were calling for the sun priest to slay the demons.
Two plump ex-hens jumped off the tables and scurried across the floor, heading for him as the source of the power that had raised them, however unintentional that had been. Virien’s hounds weren’t nearly as superstitious as his men, however, and both roasted birds met their second end by being crunched between the powerful jaws of a hound.
The other birds turned and ran the other way. Trey raised his eyebrows, wondering where they sought to go now. Oh, of course. He’s a Thezi. The roast chickens were leaping off the tables and dashing for the supposed shelter of Rak’s wings. Both slaves had come out of Sura’s drug-induced visions now, and Rak reacted to the onslaught of undead roast fowl by grabbing one and starting to eat. Trey wasn’t surprised—he knew how close to starving Rak was.
Avontos was chanting now and waving his arms about uselessly, so Trey concentrated on dampening his power once more, and the eerie squawking died away as the roasted runners fell back onto their platters and moved no more. The sun priest looked pleased, and he bowed to Virien as if he’d accomplished the feat. Trey was content that the fool should take the credit. He wanted no eyes turned his way, even Gods could be banished if their presence were known.