One Slip is all it Took

The Divine Hall of the Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Imperium Church was abuzz with hushed conversations. All through the vast, grotesquely ornate room whispers of conspiracy and rumors flowed freely. At the focal point of it all sat Callidus Magna upon his throne and his eerie, almost mechanical physical mannerisms. A hush fell upon the crowd as an expected visitor entered through the massive doors at the far end of the hall and began to make his way forward towards the seated Supreme Pontiff and Imperator of the Dominion waited patiently.

Before the visitor could be properly announced, Callidus Magna leaned forward and said boldly, “And here comes the Patriarch of Fate now. What divinations have you to reveal to us now? Perhaps a plot to destroy the Green King?”

The Patriarch of Fate didn’t even miss a beat, but he did cast a glance in the direction of Archbishop Abattoir who as was his custom lurking among the courtiers near to the throne of the Supreme Pontiff. Bowing gracefully as he approached the Patriarch of Fate said in a clear, emotionless voice typical of liches, “Yes, my omniscient Master and Lord. But I also bring good news far more significant to your Holiness.”

Callidus Magna sat back in his throne and said with a hint of curiosity in his voice, “What glad tidings have you for us? Speak it clearly to affirm for all the unquestionable might and wisdom of my reign!”

The Patriarch of Fate did as he was told and turning back and forth as he spoke to make sure that everyone in the hall could hear him clearly, he declared, “The three accursed relics the doomsday prophecy foretold as being integral to your downfall have been destroyed!” Pausing for effect the priestly lich stood while the entire assemblage gasped and began murmuring in earnest. Facing the Supreme Pontiff once more, he bowed again and said, “Although the Green King is endangered, it may please the court of your most excellent Pontiff and Imperator that your divine rule is guaranteed forever more!”

While this was certainly an embellishment the effect it had was exactly as desired. The crowd went wild with adulations for their great leader, and Callidus Magna stood to receive their praises. Nodding to the Patriarch of Fate to signal he was free to leave, the Supreme Pontiff and Imperator of the Dominion smiled at his adoring vassals.

The Patriarch of Fate bowed again and made a point to glare at Archbishop Abattoir as he exited the hall. There would be a visit from Callidus Magna soon enough in his thoughts, and the Patriarch of Fate was determined to not be surrounded by these howling zealots when that time came. He would no doubt want to know more details about how the three relics had been destroyed, and these were answers that the Patriarch of Fate didn’t yet have. The only thing he was certain of was that the powerful divine magics in the three items had suddenly been extinguished. A closer look at the items would be needed to confirm his suspicions and the Patriarch of Fate didn’t have time for that right now. Besides, this was a problem for the Green King. Assuming he got around to it before he was destroyed, that is.

Once the Patriarch of Fate had left the hall, Callidus Magna quieted the crowd and sat back down. He leaned slightly to his right and said to his closest minion, “Penderghast, go and alert the Dread Admiral that the time has come to accelerate our plans. With this threat removed we may now embark on our divinely imparted plans. I will reach out to our neighbors and ask them to consider joining us in this crusade.” After a suitable pause to allow the words to sink in on Penderghast, Callidus Magna continued, “At long last Partum will have its vengeance on those filthy heathen Torkans. By this time next year, we shall be at war with a most deserving foe!”

Penderghast skittered off to carry out the whims of his master. Undoubtedly the Dread Admiral would receive the news and then dispatch Penderghast to take word to the city lords of the major ports to increase their output. Time was running out to have the invasion fleet ready for the conquest being planned. And while liches had plenty of time to plot and ponder, they had precious little time in which to strike before their mortal followers lost interest and looked for somebody else to lead them to victory.