Illiom, Daughter of Prophecy (2nd Ed)

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Chapter XXXIII

THE BLOODROBE

Balgor walked through the halls of the palace with the unhurried pace of one who is assured that everything is under total control.

The guards, posted here and there along his route, gazed directly ahead as though he did not exist, but he knew the truth that lay buried in their hearts: they did not want him to see them. They would do anything to avoid being noticed.

This was just as it should be, so he played their little game and did not look upon them, though mark them he did – oh yes, every one of them – and measured the depth of the depravity that each would be capable of, should he demand it ... when he demanded it of them.

He strode into the throne room, to where the swine-king was revelling in the slime he called power.

Balgor always enjoyed the moment King Ollord became aware of his presence. He relished the man’s immediate and obvious discomfort.

Balgor allowed a small smile to creep into the eyes of the face he wore for the King’s benefit.

“Your Majesty,” he said with a disinterested nod.

“Ah, Draca Sconder,” Ollord replied, pretending to have only just noticed him.

Balgor stood before the King for a moment, basking in his discomfiture, before making a slow circumambulation of the throne and the man sitting frozen upon it.

He stopped just behind Ollord‘s right shoulder.

“It is nearly time to roll out your plan, Majesty,” he whispered, so softly that the King had to lean towards him. “Not long now and your new leaders will be fully trained and ready. Are you ready, my Lord?”

Ollord, unable or unwilling to look at his advisor, nodded, eyes staring vacantly ahead.

“Of course I am ready ... so it is almost time?”

Beads of sweat were already forming on the King’s brow and neck. Balgor watched as they gathered into droplets of terror that ran down the King’s waxen skin.

“Almost,” he breathed at length. “You have not ... changed your mind, have you?”

The King turned his head sharply, almost causing himself an injury.

“Of course not!”

His words were a desperate, strangled whimper.

Balgor smiled.

He had never lifted a finger to harm the King, had never been anything but polite and respectful towards him. He had simply let him see and know what he was capable of. The tortured bodies of those dying in Ollord’s dungeons attested to Balgor’s consummate skill in administering pain and subverting any man or woman’s will to his own. Ollord knew what he could do, and that was enough.

“I am so glad to hear it, my liege. Soon now we will deal with those dogs who have been usurping your lands. It is time to reclaim what is yours, my King. You may wish to convene your generals and consolidate your plans; issue your orders.”

Ollord nodded.

“A small start, I know, but that is how an unstoppable avalanche begins.”

With that, Balgor simply walked away from the throne, leaving behind him a terrified silence.

Ollord, he knew, would do his bidding.

Balgor’s control over the man was complete.

The Bloodrobe made his way towards Lodeh’s dungeons, where he would resume in earnest the training of the King’s new commanders.

He had rounded up the scum of Kroen there: the most promising cutthroats, murderers and rapists. They were like wet clay, ready to be moulded by his skilful hands.

They were anticipating his arrival, he was sure, and he would do what he did best: he would tear out whatever light remained in them and replace it with unimaginable darkness.

Balgor smiled. Soon, Ollord would be as frightened of his underlings as he was of Sconder. Soon now, the King’s minions would spread the Bloodrobes’ gifts across these accursed lands.

After training he would commune with his brethren in Igollianath. The blood sacrifice was ready and waiting. He would inform them of his progress. The Adepts’ puppets were already beginning their mission and all the Bloodrobes had to do now was bide their time.

His grin stretched wide across the face he wore.

The puppets would lead them straight to the Adepts and then ... ah, then the Adepts would be flushed from hiding. And when that happened he, Balgor, would be ready to hunt them down and treat them as they deserved.

Ah, what pleasure, what joy, to hold them in his talons at last! To flail, to tear and maim them and then, finally, to feed upon their steaming hearts!

With a shudder of lust, Balgor mastered his hunger, swallowing the drool that filled his mouth.

Soon now ... so soon.



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