Chapter 49: The Might of the Dark Throne
Balaam took a step back as he watched the sorcerer, Dagon, pulled Mariselle to his side next to the bone altar. The green miasma of energy above the ship’s altar spurted and flashed. Within the cloud, Mariselle’s mouth dropped as she gazed into the mist. Balaam looked past her to see a vision display on the altar of the Amorites burning and screaming as explosions tore them apart.
She turned to Dagon. “What would you have me do? I don’t have the power to protect them from this!”
“You won’t protect them. You’ll bring them back! Blood for blood!” Dagon hissed in her ear and slammed a bone dagger into her side. Mariselle gasped as her life force slowly drained and looked to see Dagon cup her blood, sprinkling it on his altar.
“Bareth Dak! Mogz Sakath!” he uttered over it, then turned to her, “Do not be alarmed, my sweet, the dagger both drinks your blood and keeps you from dying. Every drop of your life will bring back a soul.”
Mariselle’s knees crumpled as Dagon hoisted her onto the altar and positioned her so the blood continued to slide slowly down upon it.
Balaam looked on in horror as Dagon moved away, leaving Mariselle whimpering in a fetal position on the altar, bleeding to death. The queen of lies who mocked and destroyed his friends was now reduced to a weeping child, gasping for breath. It would be a fitting end to her, but every sacrifice that’d been made that night would be for nothing if what Dagon said was true. Alex, Egan, King Braeden, perhaps even the boy, would be walking into a trap. Everything good in Gilead was about to be destroyed. And in that moment Balaam’s fear turned to anger.
* * * * * * * *
King Braeden and his last guard raced forward on their horses, past Absalom and Rustag towards the Ambassador’s Square. Their efforts would be rewarded, but he could not ask them to brave another encounter on his behalf. As the king’s vanguard flew down the burning street he saw the burning bodies and lifeless corpses of his enemies scattered on every curb and doorstep. This would be nothing compared to his blade singing death down on those who remained. He guided his men around the flaming rubble littered throughout the cobblestone road, but as they came within sight of the square, he stopped in his tracks.
Burning husks stirred. Charred hands once again grasped their weapons. The flaming dead slowly stood and ambled towards them. Only their black eyes had any sign of humanity. The burning mob screamed in unison as they surrounded the king and his men.
“Draw your blades! And fear no wound, for we are already in hell itself!” the king commanded and unleashed his sword on the clawing masses.