I guess it’s time to start getting folks in the mood for MISTRESS OF THE AGES, the rough draft of which is roughly 2/3 done. And remember, the usual rules apply – the tidbits I’ll be posting are, as yet, raw and unedited…and chosen more or less at random.
“You presume too much, Syr-Nagath.”
She favored Ulan-Sulir, the high priest of the Nyur-A’il with a contemptuous look. She knew that he could easily kill her with the power of his mind, choking the life from her body with an act of whim. But he had dishonored himself when the Desh-Ka had arrived to rescue Keel-Tath. He should have challenged Ayan-Dar, but had backed down from the one-eyed priest in scarcely concealed fear. That he had remained here, rather than returning to his temple to consult with the elders of the order, told her that he was afraid to face them. Syr-Nagath knew the measure of Ulan-Sulir now, and found him lacking. He was perfect for her needs.
“You dislike my attire, Ulan-Sulir?” She said, turning in a full circle with the grace of a dancer. She still wore gleaming black ceremonial armor, just as would any warrior in garrison. But her breast plate now bore a cyan rune that had not been seen for millennia: that of the Ka’i-Nur priesthood, which had fallen from grace near the end of the Second Age. Her Collar of Honor bore an oval of living metal inscribed with the same rune, and a black robe with silver piping rippled from her back while she turned.
“You are no priestess!” Ulan-Sulir spat.
Syr-Nagath came to him, her mouth twisted in sudden rage. “Do you, high priest of the Nyur-Ai’l, for one moment doubt that I would be high priestess of the Ka’i-Nur if our Crystal of Souls had not been taken from us?”
Ulan-Sulir’s eyes narrowed. “It was never taken from you.”
“Do not bandy words with me, priest,” she snarled. “If what is yours is placed by another’s hands forever beyond your reach, it has been taken. I wear these adornments by right, and by right I should have the powers of the crystal of the Ka’i-Nur.”
“But you do not,” Ulan-Sulir said, his face twitching up into a thin smile, “and never will.”
“Do not be so sure,” she told him, her opinion of him falling even more. One such as Ayan-Dar would have had my head for speaking in such a fashion, she thought. She knew through Ka’i-Lohr that the old priest was dead, and the thought saddened her. She would have liked to watch him burn alive, turning on a spit over an open fire…