The Avatar and The Dragon

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The people hoped Wurm was still asleep but they could feel the mountain tremble from his movements---do dragons dream?

The people feared his waking and interrupting over a thousand years of peace...

They all knew Wurm was dangerous---legends told of his fire-breathing, not to mention what one swipe of his tail could do...

None had dared enter his lair in the mountain's bowels.

Still, there were more recent tales of his stirring but not waking, so folks began to ignore the tremors; also, they had something else to occupy their worries---that damned, purported Avatar...

He had declared his Mission last year but who could believe that Beluian, son of Beluis, common citizen known to all, was a religious Avatar?

Certainly there were some who followed Him, lowly folk---those said to lack a soul by the Priests of Adion.

The Head Priest, Seuljas, had called a general Council and was seated in the Temple speaking to his acolytes:

"The Priests from Zelvan and Lessus will be arriving any time, be swift with your duties and well prepared to offer them obeisance!"

Szalas, the most devoted of Seuljas' acolytes, braved a comment:

"There have been recent converts in the merchant class to Beluian's evil cause. Should we prepare the boiling oil?"

"Excellent, Szalas! A demonstration of our holy protection of the Faith of Adion will aid in securing the allegiance of the visiting Priests."

~~~

The Council had finished its first meeting and adjourned to the central square of the city to watch the immolation of the infidels.

The cloth merchant, Heson, the seed merchant Kesun, and the shipping merchant, Guliaz, were being led to the metal-lined pit which sputtered and fumed with its bubbling oil.

They all showed signs of torture---holy torture designed to save their souls and give them the chance to recant their belief in Beluian.

Obviously, none had recanted and Szalas shared his joy with the other clustered acolytes:

"They were doomed when they first accepted belief in Beluian's accursed ravings! Their souls were already dead or they would have recanted. God will bless us for consigning their bodies to---"

His last words were swallowed by the cheering of the people gathered for the holy event.

Some noticed that none of the merchants screamed as they were thrown into the boiling oil...

~~~

The second session of the Council had begun and Seuljas was presenting his plan for the eradication of the remainder of Beluian's followers:

"This false prophet is gaining too much ground, and swiftly. His lies are entrancing more of the upper class---even the senator, Mulophius, has succumbed."

His speech was interrupted by the arrival of a messenger---with a missive from Beluian.

Seuljas bade him read:

"Oh, Priests of Adion, Zelvan, and Lessus.

"This is a summons from your Lord and the Lord of your ancestors.

"I have come as your prophecies foretold and as you must witness.

"It is said in the Most Ancient Tablets---'He shall arise from among you and you shall kill His Friends with an evil heat'.

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