Chapter 12

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"My sister."

Arhyvhynne's answer caused a look of dismay on Uriel's face. "That's terrible—putting the both of you against one another, especially under these circumstances." He could only hope Arhyvhynne read his reaction as a concern for the sisters as opposed to his dread of Eyrmysse. "Then what? Is there a vote or something?"

"Were it that simple. Each candidate must undergo the Rites of Trial."

"The Rites of Trial?"

Arhyvhynne stood up and began to pace. "The Rites of Trial were, in theory, created thousands of years ago by grey robes who belonged to the Ahfham. The Ahfham are thought to be the original settlers of Khaballe. Whoever they were and wherever they came from, they created incredibly powerful and intuitive magics which, in the case of the Trials, are designed to test the candidates."

"Test them how?" Uriel sounded suspicious.

"The morning after the Last Rites for the High Witch have been performed, the candidates are led to the sixth level beneath the Towers. At the sixth level are three tunnels, the right for the white robe, the left for the black. Spells are cast into each tunnel which in turn activate the dormant Rites of Trial. Then the candidates enter the respective tunnels. The first one to emerge from the middle tunnel is the new High Witch."

Uriel was confused. "I don't understand. A race? What kind of test is that?"

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