Sharantar Ventinimas, High Priest of Arnitath, stood on the obsidian dais in front of the massive statue of the demon god. His three Warders, second in power only to him, stood on either side of their leader. In front of Ventinimas and his Warders stood the fifteen Elders of Ranwar, all dressed in black robes with gold braid.
The cold gaze of the High Priest pierced each of his Elders. “Let me make this easy for you.” He turned to the Warder on his left and raised his right hand. Red-orange flames engulfed the man. His screams of agony echoed throughout the sanctuary. A few endless moments later the screams stopped. The flames burned on until there was nothing left of the Warder but a pile of ash. The other two Warders stared ahead of them, their faces carefully neutral.
Ventinimas turned back to his Elders. “The one of you who finds the source of that power will be the next Warder. The rest of you will share Warder Hemidar’s fate.”
One of the younger men stepped forward and bowed deeply. “We will leave for Adamnar immediately, Excellency.”
“See that you do, Yuri,” Ventinimas replied. “Now leave me.”
After all the men had filed out, the High Priest walked behind the statue of Arnitath to a small alcove. He placed his hand on the back wall and spoke a single word. A small panel slid open to reveal a scroll. By any standard the rolled piece of parchment was ancient. Ventinimas carefully unrolled the scroll. He didn’t actually have to read it because he had long ago committed every word to memory, but still his eyes scanned the ancient script.
I, the ruler of space and time, shall bring low My servant who believes himself to be mighty and above all others. I shall supplant him with My Heir, who will spread My empire over all of Ranwar. Terin Calderan, My Heir, shall rule over all as Emperor and Priest. My mightiest shall seek him but never see him for he can be seen only with the eyes alone. No magic may scry him, nor priestly power discern him. The armies of My Heir shall lay waste to My enemies and they shall at last kneel before Me or die.
As with every other time he had read the scroll, the High Priest resisted the urge to turn it to ash. He must always keep this as a reminder of what he must do to secure his throne. He re-rolled the parchment and put it back in its hiding place. Terin Calderan and Terin Berinath would both die. He would see to it.