One Down, Two to Go

The restorative work in the Divine Hall of the Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Imperium Church had finally come to an end. Embellished with traditional magic and ancient spellcraft it positively glowed with unearthly light to give the most magnificent impression to those that were granted access to this hallowed place. Upon his bejeweled throne Callidus Magna sat placidly with a beaming smile upon his face, holding court for both the secular concerns of the Fourth Imperium and also the concerns of the Holy Imperium Church. It was an around-the-clock duty that Callidus Magna did without rest or meaningful break. He was, after all, placed here for a sacred and perfectly ordained purpose.

The hall was filled with courtiers and representatives from all across Forkanza and lands beyond who wished to seek influence with the Supreme Pontiff. There were constant hushed conversations among those gathered and while they sought to not disturb the Supreme Pontiff, he heard every word that was uttered. The rays of light that beamed in through the carefully placed windows high in the domed roof were focused in such a way to always fall upon Callidus Magna’s throne. At night it was the light of the moon that beamed instead, casting a bluish hue of mystic glow upon the Supreme Pontiff. And at all hours there were dutiful undead servants that came and went with messages from near and far. One of these now approached the throne, bowing low and saying in a low voice, “Oh merciful Callidus Magna! Holy art thou! Holy art thou! Holy art thou! Receive your servant with kindness and mercy!”

Callidus Magna nodded his head at the approaching minion with his smile unchanging. “You have brought me good news, Penderghast. Speak boldly for my ears crave to hear it aloud!”

Still bowed in humble supplication the undead servant said, “I shall leave it to Count Spettro to have the honor of this pleasant task.” With that the servant motioned towards the entrance of the hall. Everyone in attendance fell silent and turned to see who was entering, although the person was clearly just mentioned and surprise should not have been felt by any.

Count Spettro strode into the room with assured strength and a sense of power that few men could enjoy outside of their own homes. Bowing with a flourish, Count Spettro said in a booming voice, “Oh Holy and most Reverend of leaders! I bring you good news from the lands entrusted to your servant the Green King!” Standing straight and looking around the room as he spoke, Count Spettro continued and announced “Father Grattius is dead!”

From unseen rooms behind hidden openings around the hall there came forth a trumpeting fanfare that well covered the gasps of those in the room. Callidus Magna stood up, unnaturally to the trained eye as if he had been hauled up by an invisible rope and used none of his own muscles to do the job. Spreading his arms out wide the Supreme Pontiff shouted, “At long last the blasphemous heretic has been silenced! Let there be rejoicing across all of the peoples in the world of the blessed! The bells of all churches shall ring without ceasing for an hour at midday so that all might hear and know of our victory over the profane! Send word to all corners of the Imperium, and instruct all to be vigilant to future threats to our divine and merciful governance!”

There was tremendous clamor in the hall as many rushed out to pass along the edict of the Supreme Pontiff. Count Spettro and Penderghast remained at the foot of their master’s throne. Callidus Magna sat down as stiffly and woodenly as he had arisen. He leaned forward slightly, his smile never wavering as he spoke to them in a hushed voice. “One down, two to go. Seek out the Queen of Garrotes. I command that she seek an end to that meddlesome paladin. He too must be utterly destroyed and his soul placed beyond the reach of any who tread the planes and claim to harness the wandering souls of those unjustly slain. I care not for the scope of destruction this will involve.”

Penderghast bowed low to the ground and whispered, “As you command, so mote it be, glorious and holy among men!” The creature then scampered out of the hall to do as his lord commanded. Callidus Magna then turned his attention to Count Spettro, and while the other people in the hall continued to talk excitedly amongst themselves, whispered, “I sense that the Haven has grown stronger. The Green King has done exceedingly well, Lord Spettro. Gather together the rest of the Diosian Lodge and rub their faces in his glorious victory. Soon the shroud will be complete! I wish to reward the Green King for his unwavering devotion to my will. I hereby grant him lordship over all equivalent lands in Haven to those he now holds sway over in Partum. And I shall expand his domain to encompass the birthrights of the other Diosians unless they get their wretched tattered selves in order and start following his example! But before you go, tell me how Grattius died.”

Spettro said in a hushed voice, “Agents of the Green King confirm that the old man resurrected a ranger that had perished in battle with the Green King’s minions. The power of the spell aged him, and he was forced to rest until the next day. He then resurrected a necromancer who had also fallen to the Green King’s forces, and this act aged him beyond his allotted years. And those that die of old age cannot be brought back. A delightful twist and one which all of us can savor!”

“Excellent beyond measure.” Said the Supreme Pontiff. He waved his hand and said softly, “Go and put an end to my next misery.”

Count Spettro bowed low, and strode away from the throne. As he did, he began to slowly vanish from view until he was wholly incorporeal. Callidus Magna sat back into his throne and just laughed with unfettered joy. This had all gone so delightfully well.