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“That time is already upon us,” the Master stated, rising to his feet. “Many nights now, my gaze has been turned to the stars. The constellations Heroi and Retsu are aligning for the first time in two and a half millennia. Prophecies connote these coming years as the last of mankind. This is the opportunity I have been waiting for. I must not fail!”
His eyes glowed with the passion his words expressed, and murmurs of agreement echoed through the room.
“Our toils have been rewarding and our preparation has been long,” the Master went on. “Yet we must not deceive ourselves into thinking that our position is secure.”
The murmurs fell to silence. The Master had never spoken so freely of such things before. The most this council had ever discussed were the brief updates concerning the progress of each respective country and its assets. There was the occasional new order from The Master, but such a thing was rare, and was always followed by a long, tedious discussion concerning the politics of the task, and thus was never interesting.
“It has been predicted that there is one who has the potential to stand in my way; one who may have the power to end my supreme rule before it has begun.”
“My lord, who could possess the power to rival you?” Valamette asked, bewildered.
The Master lifted his gaze to glare at Valamette from beneath the shadow of his hood. “You of all people should know.”
Understanding dawned on Valamette. He nodded slowly. Bellator glimpsed the other figures, looking to find a shred of understanding among them. But they too turned to look at Valamette, hoping to glean what they could from his bearing.
“The boy, my lord?” he asked.
“Yes,” the Master replied. “The boy.”
Bellator was intrigued. When had a boy ever entered their conversation?
“But my lord, how could he be a problem? Didn’t we do away with him as an infant? How is it possible that he still draws breath?”
“Does it matter how?” the Master snapped. “What matters is that he lives and that he will pose a threat if we aren’t careful to hone his abilities to our favour.”
“I can do it.” Valamette took a breath. “I can kill him, if you wish it. I will not fail you.”
“No!” The Master’s fist slammed on the altar. “If I wanted him dead, I would have let him die! I wouldn’t have kept him safe all this time.”