“Master, the Evoker has perished.”
“Perished? Impossible.” The Archbishop wheeled round to face the newcomer, fixing him in his gaze.
“I’m afraid not my lord, her and her forces within Redcrest were dispatched by the adventurers. With the aid of one of the Eight. The Diviner.” The messenger crossed his arms behind his back. Delivering the truth quickly and efficiently was the safest plan.
“The Diviner? Did she discover our—” His master’s eyeline whipped round to inspect a momentary flicker in the far corner of the room.
“No master, they were very careful.”
“One step ahead. As good as their word. Very well – her presence was a preference, not a requirement.” The messenger watched as the Archbishop turned to one of his lieutenants. “Have the ritual arrangements made, we cannot afford to lose any more ground. Our enemies will seek any opportunity to work against us.” The figure bowed, before departing, leaving his master to continue his questioning. The Archbishop’s gaze darted back to the messenger as he arose. “Where are the adventurers now? How many did Nyvae slay? Do they know of our plans?”
“On their vessel, sailing northwards. They know of our intent, but have no means to foil us.” The messenger maintained eye contact, attempting to deflect his master’s line of questioning.
“And how many of them yet live?” The Archbishop had glid forward, his fetid breath hot on the man’s face. Too late.
The messenger looked to the floor, before replying. “All of them.” He winced, as his fears were realized.
“All of them?! Impossible—you lie! Traitorous wretch, you almost had me convinced! Your treacherous tongue cannot be trusted!” His master began to laugh, a great howl that shook his whole body. “Your hubris is amusing—to think you nearly had me assured of your loyalty! No!” The belly laugh ceased as quickly as it began, his master fixing him with narrowed eyes. “Liars always push their luck! I know your game—in league with our enemies, seeking to corrupt us from within, spread our defenses thin, weaken us so that they can swoop in and destroy us—you will learn none of my secrets!” His master towered above him, spittle flying as he bellowed.
“Master, I—” said the messenger, a doomed attempt to plead his loyalty.
“Silence! I will hear no more of your treasonous words!” He was but inches away from the messenger’s face, following as he attempted to back away.
“Master, plea—” cried the messenger, back pressed against the wall, cowering.
There was a fizzling sound followed by a final scream as flesh turned to dust, and a wry smile played on the corner of the Bishop’s mouth.