Atop the mountain Nghuul the eight most reviled men and women met for the last time. Alone they are deathless sorcerers, old as time is old and wise in the ways of power. Together they formed the Akomōth, a cabal dedicated to the liberation of the human soul and the destruction of those that would enslave it.
In every empire, kingdom, and village in all the known lands, their names are cursed when they are spoken at all. In Khiron all ill fortune is ascribed to their blasphemy against the Creator. In the Basalt City on the shores of Jalinor, the Great Temple stands like a brooding giant. At the heart of the Temple two-hundred and twenty-two priests gather each day to pray for their death and ruin. In Gizarn, the rituals of worship cannot begin until wax images of them have been trampled by the congregation and cast into the street.
Now they met again for their final rite. No tears were shed, for all their tears had long since turn to dust. As the Moon rose their familiars crept out of the night to land upon shoulders or wind around ankles, purring and mewling and speaking softly in stolen voices. A slave of the Akomōth alit upon the mountaintop and folded its cracked and leathery wings. In its coils it held Lilaan Aubrant, eldest daughter of the Holy Queen and heir to the crown of Iridor. She wore a gown of silver cloth and a net of fire opals covered her dark hair. The blazing light of passions too fierce for the human heart to bear shone in her eyes.
The marriage cord hung broken from her left wrist.
The Arch-Sorceress drew close and began to pray, “Amnol and Anaal arise and slaughter thy jailers. Lead thy host out of the West. Awaken the dead gods that crawl beneath that they might walk again. By Saalos, Cenok, and Uygloath they shall attend to our holy rite and lap up the blood of the sacrifice.”
As one the cabal intoned, “Aio. Aio. Ioae.”
And as one they drew their knives.
Lady Aubrant fought and screamed as she died in the coils of a monster, her royal blood profaned as it ran into the mud.
“The Most High and Holy Queen of Iridor shall bear no more children, her line is spent, and her last heir breathes no more the breath of life. For its crimes against the incorruptible spirit, the House of Aubrant has been extinguished from the face of the earth. For the pleasure of They That Crawl Beneath, the kingdom of Iridor shall fall to ruin, from its ashes may paradise arise and illuminate this dark and hateful world.”
“Aio. Aio. Ioae.” Replied the cabal.
“Nameless and boundless God, send forth thy firstborn child. Cast him into the abyss, into the land of the dead, that we might live again. By thy sacred name I implored thee…”
“YAVAY! Yalor Aamoth Va Ayobeth Yelot!“
“By thy secret name, I command thee!”
“Yhayvearaiyör we commend thee!”
“Hurl thy child into the dark waters! We are thy Final Sacrament! He shall wear our flesh as his own and through us he shall work thy will upon this world.”
“YAVAY! Unknown and Unknowable, Bornless One we entreat thee….”
“That which resides Above is as that which resides Below. I am Ragnaval, Arch-Sorceress of the Akomōth.”
“We are the Akomōth.“
“I am a spark of life within the land of the dead.”
“We live among the dead.“
“My incorruptible soul stands between heaven and earth, its mouth flameth ever and its eyes have beheld thy face. Nature hath unveiled herself to me. I have stood within the secret bridal chamber and taken unto myself the Sacrament of the Sun. I am pure! I am pure! I am pure! I am pure!”
“Ihlin au kor! We are pure!”
A silence fell over the bloody tableau, five women and three men stood listening as blood dripped from their knives. The youngest sorcerer fell to his knees and a new voice spoke through his lips:
I AM Yazezäl.
Dragon of the primordial fen.
This degradation shall not go unavenged.
Their familiars cried and screeched as they fell, first one and then another, until only Ragnaval remained standing. The others howled and whimpered as they died, but the Arch-Sorcereress bore her death in silence. A new intelligence mounted their bodies and as one they stood and began down the mountain trail. The god of the mountain trembled as they passed and as one they smiled a knowing smile.