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Rule of One

By Bronnen All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Action

Prologue

Prophecies are a hard thing to take seriously. On the one hand they will always come true, but not in the way anyone can anticipate. On the other hand, will always come true, just not at any specific time. For the most part, prophecies should be ignored, for there are very few that come with an expiration date. Those that do however, alter the fabric of our world and shatter the foundations of our society.

- James of Whitewater

- on the subject of prophetic messages in our world

Prologue

The witch stood over her well, gazing into the clear waters, smoke spewing forth from torches made from human flesh. Karl Madrigan paced impatiently at her side, the axe hanging from his belt swaying with every footstep.

The Karl was a bandit king, first among the tribes of the lost woods and his mission on this day was more important than he wanted to admit.

“Witch, I grow tired of this waiting.’ Madrigan’s voice belied his physical appearance. He was tall, almost seven feet from the bottom of his feet to the point of his head. His face, once handsome was marred by a trio of scars that travel from his left eye, all the way to his jaw. His eyes, once a pair brilliant yellow orbs, were now a mismatched abomination. His left eye was milky white, while his right had faded away to become almost urine coloured. The Karl had grown a large beard and mustache in order to cover the majority of his scar, and it was a wild and untamed thing. Among the tribes of the lost woods, a groomed appearance was considered a show of power and might, for only the richest and most powerful of the bandit lords could afford being washed all the time, but not the Karl. He believed that a groomed appearance stand of weakness, and refused to abide by those unspoken rules.

“Patience Karl, patience. Scrying is not as easy as you would have it be. It requires concentration beyond the ability of most mortal men. Now if you wish a vague answer to your question, continue with your interruptions and pacing, but if you want detailed results, I highly suggest you take a seat.”

Her voice was not loud, but it was filled with strength that did not allow room for arguments. The Karl bit his tongue and swallowed his response while taking the chair she pointed out. He waited while the witch continued her ritual, staring into the well with a singular devotion that would rival that of the famed Undying Monks.

She whispered words from a language that men should never hear, and the Karl marveled at her ability to speak the demonic tongue. The harsh sounds should be impossible to recreate with a human voice, but if he closed his eyes he could imagine one of the tall fiends standing just before him, heat rolling off its body.

After long minutes of this, the witch stopped suddenly, and he opened his eyes to see her staring at him. The old decrepit woman was hunched over a walking stick, and it seemed as if all strength had left her body.

“The child you seek will be born tonight. You must kill it in order to achieve your own goals. But you must be warned, if you fail on this night, the prophecy will come true, and you will need to wait for another twenty years to try again.”

The Karl smiled and ran towards the witch, crushing her in a bear like hug. “Have no fear Wild woman, I will succeed this night.”

He ran off without another word, planning in his head the assassination that would follow.

The witch took the chair he had recently vacated and looked down at her own hands.

“Tomorrow is the beginning of the twelfth cycle, and the first Dragon moon of the new year. One way or another, this world is ending, and we must all be ready.

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