"A Hikuli!" Abula-Mazki exclaims aloud.
The Hikuli stares at him for a second longer before vanishing. Abula-Mazki instantly understands the significance of such a visit. Only one person on this world commands the Hikuli.
Looking back toward the destruction wrought under his dominion, he realizes there can be only one reason for him to be summoned to the High Temple.
With a thought, he summons one of his acolytes waiting in the adjoining room who immediately opens the door and enters. "A Hikuli has come," he tells the acolyte.
He can see the fear and uncertainty in the man's eyes. The acolyte nods his head in answer and then leaves, closing the door behind him.
Abula-Mazki turns back to the window, contemplating the summons until the door again opens. The acolyte returns with others bearing Abula-Mazki's armor and sword. He remains still as he allows them to put the heavy armor upon him and strap his sword belt around his waist. As his acolytes prepare him for his audience with the High Priest of Dmon-Li, he continues to stare out the window at the destruction.
When the last strap has been secured, they quietly turn and file out the door, leaving him once more alone.
Turning from the window, he walks over to a nearby wall and says "Hirun alib Mugana" and a section disappears, leaving a doorway open into an adjoining room.
No one but Abula-Mazki has ever been within this room, at least none living at this time. Stepping within, he walks to the center where a raised dais lies. Upon the dais is the symbol of the Warrior Priests of Dmon-Li, three dots forming the points of a triangle with connecting lines in between.
Stepping upon the dais, he activates the magic within and suddenly he's standing upon a matching one in the middle of a small, dark room. A solitary candle burns in a nearby wall niche doing its best to keep back the shadows of this grim place. The room is cold, cold to the skin and cold to the soul. A cowled figure stands waiting, and as soon as Abula-Mazki's eyes fall upon him, turns to leave without a word.
Without hesitation, Abula-Mazki steps off the dais and follows the cowled figure out of the room and down a long corridor.
He's passed this way several times before, but never with the dread filling him now. As he walks, more of the Hikuli pop in and out as they see who has come and then go to inform their master. None can walk the halls of Ith-Zirul without gaining their notice.
They finally come to the entrance to the Halls of Despair, the audience chamber of Ozgirath, High Priest of Dmon-Li. The cowled figure that had led him here waits until he passes into the room before he turns around and leaves.
If the rest of Ith-Zirul was cold, this room is absolutely frigid. Across the room from where he enters, lies a seat made entirely out of bones, some human, others not. On either side of the dark throne are two braziers burning with a purplish glow which seen to suck the warmth from Abula-Mazki as he approaches. Seated upon the throne is a dark figure. Glowing eyes, yellow and piercing, stare out at him from the shadows surrounding the throne as he approaches.
When he reaches the requisite distance, he falls to his knees and bows his head. "I have come, great one," he says in reverence to the figure before him.
"Arise," he hears Ozgirath's command, though it isn't so much a voice, as a thought.
Coming to his feet, he stands there in humility, waiting.
"The Star shines again," the voice says.
Gasping, Abula-Mazki lifts his head and looks directly at Ozgirath and says, "The Star of Morcyth?"
"Say not that name here," the voice commands.
"I plead forgiveness master," he says, again bowing his head.
"But, yes," the voice replies, "it again moves across the land."
"I had thought all were destroyed during the great purging," he says.
"No," Ozgirath replies, "they were not. Some escaped and have never been found."
Fear of being chastised for the destruction in his dominion begins to leave him. If he was here for that reason, they would hardly be having this conversation. "What would you have me do, master?" he asks.
"Hunt for the one wearing the Star," he replies.
Abula-Mazki raises his head and stares into the glowing eyes as Ozgirath says, "And bring him to me."
James' adventures continue in:
Warrior Priest of Dmon-Li
Book Three of The Morcyth Saga
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