Oh, how he gloried in his time communing with Daeva and the other lords of the underworld, Akka, and Sij. Decades earlier, sometime after he’d first turned to them, the three spirits had favored him, intervened for him, in the form of a hex—a glamour—in exchange for a price. They’d required a simple thing really. He had but to take the life of a member of the Select—or to be more precise, of his charge . . .
Yes, and he’d been all too content to comply.
Thereafter, through the underlords’ intervention, he had maintained a generally youthful appearance—at least to those incapable of seeing with more than merely physical eyes. Moreover, the magic provided that one with the power to read thoughts or to discern truth from falsehood, could not see through to his true self. Even so, his body was giving out. But now, with a new mission before him, he dared not appear weak. Hence, once again, he’d turned to the spirits.
The underlords named their price for his latest request. This time they required that he take the life of an Oathtaker who possessed the power to heal, and that he then use that person’s blade to dig his grave. He thought the demand simple enough. He’d heard that the City of Light fairly burst at its seams with the lot of them these days. And once done, his strength would be restored—for a time, at least.
Then of course, there was the matter of his persona. He grimaced with the thought of having to learn how to smile again. Such expressions were foreign to him. But he’d best start practicing them—straight away—as the underlords could do nothing for him in that regard. A grim countenance could add years to his visage—and that, he could ill afford.
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