Chapter 12

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The moons were plainly visible in the crystal clear night sky. The cloaks of the witches billowed with the force of the winds. The Witches of the Moons had emerged from the Towers in pairs, chanting dirges as they walked to the Sacred Grove behind the fortress. They encircled the pond in the Grove, each holding a torch. In the center of the pond was a small islet and upon the islet was the pyre for the High Witch. It was here that the Last Rites for Khyrhyelle would take place.

Uriel was allowed to attend the solemn event. Though he was accompanied by Ghemella, it no longer bothered him. Ghemella's attitude toward Uriel had undergone a complete turnaround. She tried to be accommodating whenever possible, bending rules without breaking them.

He was flanked on the opposite side by Arhyvhynne. She had not revealed so much as a hint as to what her decision was. The young white robe was rigid and displayed no emotion. It was if she burned the remnants of her feelings as they would soon burn the physical remains of Khyrhyelle.

Uriel tried to locate the other members of the Council. Eyrmysse was the first one he spotted. Though, like her sister, she betrayed no emotion, a change had come over the black robe. Apart from her sorrow, one could sense that the power she so desperately sought would soon be within her grasp. If she emerged from the Trials as the new High Witch.

Next, he found Lhynette. The white robe was visibly nervous. She often times looked in Arhyvhynne's direction, hoping for some sign that would indicate her decision to accept candidacy. But no sign was forthcoming. Uriel took it to mean that if Arhyvhynne did not step forward, Lhynette would in fact go through the Trials.

He could not find Dhynelle or Qelharre, though he was sure they were there somewhere, together. Wyxotte, presiding over the service, stood upon the small bridge which linked the Grove to the islet.

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