"Yet, ye are blind to how your own actions proclaim the truth of my Mission.
"It is not for God's servants to test His Messenger but I shall, in my Mercy, offer you a chance to redeem your pitiful existence.
"I shall submit to whatever Test of Holiness you can devise.
"If I meet the Test, you shall admit the Truth of my Cause.
"I will await your appearance at the hill of mourners."
There was profound silence...
Then, nervous stirrings...
Then, the Priests felt a tremor from the mountain...
Seuljas stood, with weak knees but a straight spine, and said:
"We will invoke the Ancient Forces! We will Conjure the end of this Pretender!!"
Vesion, the Head Priest of Lessus, stood and said:
"Seuljas, you ask us to invoke the Dark Forces---imperil our souls?"
"I ask for nothing but what this evil creature deserves. Let us unlock the scrolls in the Tomb of Secrets and prepare to defeat Beluian with Creatures of the Realm he has risen from !"
There was much fevered consultation...
There was a Decision.
Beluian was sitting on the hill of mourners in conversation with Szalas, Seuljas' chief acolyte.
They had been talking for the past hour, ever since Szalas had arrived with word of the Priests' Challenge.
Sazlas was in tears...
Beluian, in the kindest tone, said:
"Sazlas, have no fear. Your belief in my Cause has given you new Life."
"Beluian, they will arrive soon and unleash the most terrible of creatures against you---and, I shall be killed---I can in no wise go back on my realization of Your Truth..."
"We shall be together in My Highest Realms. Surely this can give you joy?"
Sazlas wiped his eyes, his face beaming with an effulgent smile.
The Priests were approaching the hill.
Sazlas walked down to meet them.
When he stood in front of them, he said:
"I greet you in the Name of Beluian. I adjure you to save your souls---from conjuring evil beasts as well as defiance against your Manifest Lord!"
The Priest, Seuljas, grabbed Sazlas by the neck and strangled him to death.
The other Priests took note that Sazlas gave no struggle...
Seuljas rallied the other Priests to their Task---each kneeling and intoning the Curses from the Ancient Scrolls...
Beluian stood on the hill with a smile---the smile of a father watching his children at play.
The Priests continued their chantings until two black clouds began to appear, one on each side of the hill.
One cloud began to resolve itself into the form of a giant ant which began to spit acid at Beluian...
The other cloud turned into a horned beast that charged up the hill and gored Beluian...
Beluian's skin was blistering and His side was spouting blood, yet He still stood and spoke in a thundering voice:
"Wurm! Come forth from your abode and slay these manifest Phantoms!"
The ground shook and a wind arose, soon followed by Wurm, beating his wings and breathing fire toward the hill.
Beluian still stood, untouched by the fire...
The giant ant released a stream of acid at Wurm.
Wurm's wings began to blister and he landed on the hill.
The horned beast charged Wurm, slashing his belly.
As the dragon bled out his life, he consumed the creatures with his flaming breath.
With his last bit of strength, he wobbled up to Beluian.
Beluian bathed in the dragon's blood, which healed the blisters from the ant and closed the wound from the beast.
Suddenly, Wurm disappeared with a blinding flash.
The Priests were running away in frenzied fear.
Beluian walked down the hill to Sazlas' lifeless body.
He kneeled and took up the body with exquisite tenderness.
He walked back up the hill; laid Sazlas' body on the ground; and, with His bare hands, dug a shallow grave.
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"...mysterious and fantastical story telling with an amazing and often thought provoking twist." ~~ Author, Jane D. Watson ~~ "I have to applaud an author that can make me consider the human condition while presenting me with dragons and spirits and...