Chapter 24

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If the news of the SoulSlayers had cast a pall over the fourth day of MidSummer, then the final day was truly to be somber. Upon the request of the King, the Ministry met early on the last morning of the MidSummer celebration to discuss their options where the Slayers were concerned.

Five of the seven Ministers along with the King and Prince were present and seated around a large table in the castle's Hall of the Ministry. Tomhylhen, High Priest of the Star and Minister of Theocracy, was one absentee. As he resided with his clerics at Mhykord'ah, he only attended general meetings. Athar, as was the custom, acted as his spokesperson. Valdhon's seat as Minister of Internal Affairs had been vacant since his murder but by Nherycyn's request, Dhonlaa was allowed to take his place until an inquiry, report and formal ratification could take place. The old King had decided there was no use in putting off the inevitable and, though this would not placate Dhonlaa, there were members of the Ministry who would look favorably upon the gesture.

Discussion of the Slayers had gone on for over an hour with little progress made when there was a knock at the door to the Hall. The attendant at the door informed Athar that one of his wizards was waiting in the hallway with a matter of great urgency. The King's Advisor rose with a scowl, excused himself and left.

Moments later, Athar returned, the color of his skin almost matching that of his flowing white beard. He seated himself without a word but the King noticed his unusual mien and interrupted the ongoing conversation by clearing his throat. "Athar? Is there something you would share with us?"

The wizard sighed, placed his hands on the table and pushed himself up. "I am afraid there is, Your Majesty." He paused, let his eyes pass over each member in the group, then let them rest on the Prince. "It is with great difficulty that I must inform you that the Rune of Destruction has been absconded from the Towers of the Moons."

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