Chapter 18

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"Let me get this right. You do these dances all day and you only drink mead?" Uriel asked, somewhat incredulous.

"The dances are at specified times," Arhyvhynne answered. "During the intervals, we sing hymns and talk, of course. As for the mead," here she smiled, "it is, shall we say, sufficient sustenance."

"And you do this while you're… naked?"

"Yes." Not surprisingly, the answer was supplied by Eyrmysse, the only one of the Council outside her sister who looked enthused at the prospect of having Uriel join them.

Uriel was somehow forced to look at the black robe. She wore her patented smile and curled a black lock around her finger. The thought of seeing her naked unsettled him. But not as much as the next thing that entered his mind.

According to the Scrolls, the symbol of the Destroyer was a golden pentagram. It was the same as the brand on his chest, a secret Uriel had guarded with his life. It was probably the only thing he had never told Khyrhyelle. The symbol of the five-pointed star was so feared that at some point in time, people began wearing charms of the opposite nature: a silver, inverted pentagram designed to ward off its golden counterpart. It became a standard accoutrement of first wizards and then clerics.

It was immediately obvious to Uriel that if he participated in the festival, the witches would see the brand. There was no way he could conceal or disguise it. He attempted to change the subject somewhat to hide his distress and buy some time to come up with a plausible refusal. "Do they do this all over Khaballe?"

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