Chapter 15

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Qelharre cut off Dhynelle before she could start her rebuttal. They had argued the advantages and disadvantages of each candidate no less than six times already. "I do not envy whoever our next High Witch will be. There are many complex issues that will have to be dealt with. And I am afraid the effects will be far reaching. I fear for her as well as ourselves."


Heat lightning flashed through the starless sky and distant rumbles of thunder could be heard though the air was still. The Sacred Grove was populated by the entire coven this night. As with Khyrhyelle's last rites, the cowled witches surrounded the pond and held torches. Upon the islet, six white robes and as many blacks encircled the solitary argentree. Uriel was suspended upside-down from the lowest branch of the massive silver-leafed tree. Dressed in alternating black and white tunic and leggings, he was secured at the left ankle by a rope and his right leg was crossed behind his left. His hands were tied behind his back. A thirteenth witch, a black robe, stood next to Uriel. A flash came from the black robe's hand as she produced a golden dagger that reflected light from the twin moons and the silver in the leaves. She held it high in the air and spoke Words summoning more heat lightning accompanied by the still distant thunder. The black robe then turned to offer the dagger to yet another witch, a white robe kneeling in front of Uriel's hanging body.

As the white robe looked up, her hood fell back revealing large curled raven black hair. Violet eyes that held undisguised turmoil looked first to the black robe, then the dagger. Eyrmysse knew this was a Trial to determine if she understood the white robe's Path. She knew that Uriel's life was forfeit if she did not act. She also knew that she would have to sacrifice her life to preserve his. What she did not know was if this were real. Would she really die in Uriel's place if she chose to replace him on the argentree? A true white robe would undoubtedly make the sacrifice. But she was not a true white robe, she was only playing the part. And playing the part could mean her life.

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