Chapter 12

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The Council could only agree to confine Uriel to his room with Ghemella as his guard. Upon his departure, the witches resumed arguments concerning what approach to use to expose Khyrhyelle's killer and what should ultimately be done with Uriel.

Dhynelle did not conceal her feelings regarding the latter. "We should rid ourselves of this curse. We should have him killed."

The word "killed" seemed to touch something deep in Arhyvhynne, evoking a response. "I have seen enough of death. I do not wish to conspire to be a part of another." She paused and looked at each of the witches in turn, reminiscent of her mother. "Do you forget that it was Uriel that saved my mother and Ghemella both from that incarnation of the abyss! She would have died! They both would have died! He would have achieved the same result without implicating himself. Why would he save her only to kill her hours later?" Though none of the witches responded, their suspicions were not diminished.

After the quiet had become uncomfortable, Wyxotte, as eldest of the Council and interim High Witch, turned the thoughts of the witches to finalizing the details of Khyrhyelle's funeral. In truth, there was little left to be determined. The last rites for a High Witch varied little from that of a Council member or common witch. A pyre would be constructed behind the Towers in the traditional place. All the witches would gather the following night under the moons. Dirges would be sung and rituals performed. The difference in the rites came when the High Witch Khyrhyelle would be cremated. This last event brought with it the question of Khyrhyelle's successor. The two candidates (one white robe, one black) for the exalted position of High Witch of the Moons would be performing the cremation rite.

Wyxotte went through the motions required as she requested a candidate from the black robes. There was no doubt as to who it would be. Dhynelle was usually unable to divorce herself from her personal feelings and Qelharre's moods were known to all. Eyrmysse, though young, commanded respect with her strong abilities and was their choice. Then Wyxotte questioned her own white robes. The dwarf's thoughts went back to the last time she performed these duties. At that time she was not quite so old and still entertained thoughts of becoming High Witch herself. But a young witch, with unusual talent and acumen was chosen as the white robe candidate and eventually High Witch. A tear came to Wyxotte's eye. Ah, Khyrhyelle. I'm so glad it was you. I would have paled in comparison. You were the best one for us. You always did the correct thing. I miss you already.

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