In the province of Antioch, Turmalis, Endara, Verana and Sinar gathered around the base of the newly completed Temple of Jepok. From a safe distance in the woods a pair of unseen eyes watched as the figures paid their respects to the fallen Judicator.
Turmalis watched Sinar as his temporary, tripod-like mechanical legs — upon which his upper body had been mounted — moved forward and he placed an ancient tome beside Jepok's body. The life support system noisily pumped fluids as Sinar's hydraulic legs whirred and clicked. Turmalis and Endara both placed jeweled sigils of the their respective tribes on the slab. Verana was last, and placed a painting next to the body.
The mourners stepped back as several Zealots lifted the large stone slab carrying Jepok and placed it inside a sarcophagus. The seals connected and locked into place. Attached to a temporary set of railings, the burial coffin was wheeled down a ramp into a large rectangular opening in the floor at the center of the temple. The figures entered, and the doors closed as the private ceremony took place.
The figure watching from afar changed position and waited.
Eventually, the gathering emerged, and the Zealots removed the ramp and the rails and then placed a large rectangular metal floor covering over the hole. With loud clanking sounds the locks moved into place and the Zealots sealed the doors.
Outside, the mourners conversed.
"Where will you go?" Endara asked.
"Priax and his lackeys still hunt us," Sinar growled. "Many have already died in his purge. We will leave Aiur and seek out a new home where we may be free from the edicts of the Conclave." He glared hard at Turmalis, making the Judicator wince and turn away.
"Turmalis and I will help you in any way that we can," Endara said.
Verana put her hand over Sinar's face before he could reply. "We appreciate that, Executor. If you could manage to allow us safe passage into Scion briefly so that we may fulfill a request made to us by Master Jepok we would be in your debt." Sinar removed her hand and scowled.
"It shall be done," Turmalis replied. Verana nodded and followed Sinar as they made their way to a shuttle awaiting them.
Turmalis felt a flicker in his mind that sent an uncomfortable feeling throughout his body. He turned and looked around at the woods surrounding the clearing.
"Turmalis? What is it?" Endara asked.
Turmalis squinted his eyes to block out the sunlight but saw only trees. "Nothing. It is time to leave this place."
Hidden in the trees, the unseen figure watched as the gathering dispersed. The air shimmered with electricity and the figure appeared — pressing a button on a device attached to its arm. On a viewscreen embedded in the device, a face suddenly dialed into sharp focus.
"Khashigal. You have news then?" the face asked.
"Yes, Laurioch. Jepok has been laid to rest. Your prediction has come true," she replied.
Laurioch shook his head in dismay. "Then it is certain that the Prophecy of the Baphomet will also come to pass. Return home. We must make preparations for the future nightmare that is to come."
The Antioch Chronicles™ © 1998, Eric Dieter & Ruben Moreno. All rights reserved. The Antioch Chronicles™ trademark and associated logos are the exclusive property of Eric Dieter & Ruben Moreno. Characters and distinctive likenesses thereof, character names, item names, place names, named events, artwork and all other related material not disclosed herein are protected under the laws of the United States of America and other countries. Any reproduction, retransmission, or unauthorized use herein is prohibited without express written permission.
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