Exactly one cyclan ago a mysterious shockwave had rippled across the face of Baltrath. No intelligent living creature had remained unaffected in its wake.
The most prolific changes had been in those of the Kithians. An avid nation of death-worshiping fanatics had somehow had the scales covering their eyes removed. A consciousness that everything that exists had been saved from some terrible fate prevailed. The sky seemed bluer; grass greener; even the air smelled sweeter. A strange euphoria permeated all.
Of course, there was also the awareness of a great death, but that death had somehow brought new hope to all, and with it a wondrous lust for living.
Just how long would this sense of well-being be sustained? Like most other things in life – only time would tell.
“You have performed a miracle!” exclaimed Maggoth to Karta Kithlid as they gazed down onto the moonlit Tar Ta Rus. “With simple sweat and determination you have managed to repair and rebuild your magnificent city. Not a trace of her former destruction remains.”
“Only the damage caused by the falling rocks in front of the entrance to the burial chambers,” sighed the emperor. “But that we shall keep as a constant reminder of how gullible we were to allow our foolish pride to cost us almost…everything.”
“There is no dishonour in remembering your dead,” said Selestia. “Is this not the very reason you have summoned us here today?”
As if in answer to Selestia’s query, the chief of the shammar appeared on the balcony.
“Yes?” asked Karta Kithlid.
“We are ready for you my liege,” answered Mallaki. “All the preparations are in order. The high priestess and the honoured guests await your revered presence at the temple.”
The ceremony was lengthy and grand. Friends and family of the fallen hero had been invited from all corners of Kith and beyond. Most were impressed with the new addition to the temple.
Beneath the enormous dome of the recently restored Temple of Dakur stood an enormous effigy of an armour-clad skeletal warrior. It had been carved from stone, its raised sword reaching up into the hollow of the dome.
“The Royal Kithian Council has meant well in her honouring of a great warrior,” said Maggoth watching the crowd exit the temple.
“But?” asked Karta Kithlid noticing the Dark Wizard’s perturbed countenance.
“You have done a noble thing here today, but why do you keep the memory of your great heroes hidden in temples and burial chambers where none but a chosen few may enter to witness their grandeur?”
“Also,” said Selestia stepping forward, “Although that is a most impressive monument that you have constructed, its likeness is more that of your great god, Dakur.”
Leeja Fay was about to say something but Turpane interrupted.
“Exactly!” said the Valacian loudly as she pointed to the large base on which the stone figure stood. “Should there not be some sort of engraving announcing his great deed?”
“Even more,” added Selestia. “You have carved it from common stone. With time it will crumble to mere dust.”
The Royal Kithian Council looked at each other dumbfounded.
“What did you expect us to do?” asked Bel Shedor. “Fashion it from gold?”
The emperor shrugged his shoulders. “We would have made an image in his likeness but, to be honest, none of us remembered his features from when he was still a Kithian.”
“Still a Kithian?” said Maggoth failing to hide the rising irritation in his tone. “Let me tell you something!” The sorcerer pointed up at the enormous statue. “He was born a Kithian and he died a Kithian! In fact, he was more Kithian than anyone I have ever met!”
“Maggoth, please!” pleaded Selestia. “Enough! You have stated your argument. The Royal Council has meant well. Let us not spoil this joyous occasion.”
“No!” retorted Maggoth. “I propose to improve it. I made a promise and I intend to keep it.” He raised his hands towards the enormous effigy. “Fortunately I have not forgotten this great warrior’s features!”
Blue crackling energy leapt from the Dark Wizards fingertips. Starting at the top by the point of the carved stone sword, Maggoth began to coat the figure in a layer of anakhenium. When he reached the head, instead of just placing a layer of the indestructible metal over the stone-carved skull he began to add the detail of the facial features.
When he was finally finished, a statue bearing a notable likeness to a fully attired Groad stood before them all.”
“Amazing!” exclaimed Turpane. “What a remarkable resemblance! It is exactly as I remember him!”
“Not gold,” said Selestia. “Anakhenium! Far rarer and much more precious than any metal upon Baltrath.”
“Stronger too,” said Maggoth. “It can never be damaged. It will never corrode or wear away. Even after your great Chaxer Ran mountain range has been washed away to the sea, this monument will continue to stand.”
“But not here in this dark corner of your temple,” said Selestia raising her cypherlette. “I know of a far more appropriate location.”
An instant later, the giant sculpture vanished.
In truth, for a Kithian, Groad’s stature had been small, but that little fact would never again be called to mind.
As the wakening crowd cautiously moved forward to inspect the new addition to the circular stone area of Gu Kazor Dee, the statue began to sharpen into silhouette against the red rising sun.
The shadow of Kith’s greatest warrior fell across the awestruck assembly.
The enormous figure was both fearsome and magnificent.
On the large base was a newly acquired plaque made from the rarest metal upon the face of Baltrath. The words on the indestructible tablet were not many, yet they spoke volumes.
Groad of Bryntha – Saviour of all creation.
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