It was the seventh day of the meditation, and still there was no sign of her master. It would soon be over. She looked at Tchar, who smiled, strangely enough this seemed like the first real smile she had ever seen from him. If nothing was done soon he would get his ascension. The beacon was still in her belly, she could feel it, her master would find her. She glanced around, many of the others were tired, they had been at this for days, with little rest in between. Only the promise of ascension kept them going.
At last the silence was broken, in the distance she could hear weapon discharges, it was beginning then. She touched her leg, there, hidden by the robes of the Second Circle, she carried her needle pistol and a knife. She waited for a response which came minutes later. A member of the fourth circle entered the room and Fuelagh stoop up to speak to him, the rest of the assembly remained in meditation. A little later he walked towards Tchar and whispered into his ear, just so the whole Second Circle could hear it: “Master, we are under attack, the fourth is being driven back, we don’t know how many are dead.”
Tchar’s smile disappeared, he then addressed the assembly: “Brothers and Sisters, there is grave news. We have come under attack by unknown forces, jealous of our enlightenment. I fear that our tranquility must be broken to defend ourselves and our temple. You know where your assigned places are. Fight with all you have and you know the eternal rewards of Wisdom. Now go and know that your skills will hold off any foe.
All the cultists rose and left the shrine, only Tchar and the Second Circle remained. Fuelagh bowed and said: “Master, what is your command for us?”
“We must take our most sacred possessions and leave, our wisdom is invaluable and we can rebuild when we have to. There is a secret tunnel not far from here.”
The agent swallowed, they could not be allowed to escape. She had to do something, but alone she would not stand a chance. She would play along for the moment, slowing them down. When she stood up again she let herself fall. Wenisch ran towards her, to pull her back to her feet. She said: “I am sorry. I did not know what happened, my legs suddenly didn’t carry me anymore. It could be because of my wound, or maybe it was the long sitting.”
The gunfire was coming closer and the small group started to run after Tchar. The agent pretended to narrowly keep up. They took several object which were hidden under Tchar’s place, including the mystic bowl and several tomes. Tchar handed a pair of glass candlesticks, which seemed to be hollow and filled with some strange substance, there was a half-burned candle in each one. Tchar then turned away, towards the wall. This would be the moment then.
The agent suddenly threw the candlesticks at Wenisch, they shattered and the woman was coated in the strange substance, she screamed. She drew her pistol in a smooth movement and started shooting. She was almost blinded by a bright flash coming from Tchar, he had some sort of protection then. She stepped forwards, shooting other members of the Second while Tchar started to speak: “Why, Barnach, why do you betray us?”
Two cultists had fallen but Tchar flicked his wrist and the agent was thrown through the room, coming to a crashing halt at the wall, pain flared through her, her right hip was broken. He continued: “I would have loved hearing you out, but I am in a hurry, so you will just die.”
A bolt of pure light emerged from his fingertips, coming right at the agent. She looked at it and started to speak: “O Imperatore, adjuva me!”
These words which had remained unspoken for too long let the agent focus her mind on the light, which was deflected away from her. She was in pain, but she had to continue. Tchar said: “So, you serve the throne then, that won’t help you. I have more power than you and you cannot keep going much longer. But please, first tell me who you work for.”
She raised her hand again, shooting more poisonous needles at the cultists. Wenisch’ screams changed, attracting the agent’s attention. The strange substance was altering her in horrible ways, she had swollen and new limbs were growing from her body. The others were backing away from her but Tchar seemed delighted: “Our sister has been truly blessed, she will no longer be hindered by her once human form, and will certainly enjoy your death. Now, we really must get going now, my children!”
The agent heard the gunfire coming closer and said: “It is too late for you, Tchar, you cannot escape, especially not without my help. You see, I am quite attached to my life, this was dangerous, yes, but not certain death. I can get you to safety, if you spare me. This place is locked down, and they will track you everywhere. There is no escape unless I show you how to evade the attackers.”
“Don’t dare to try to trick me like that. I know that you just want to live, well, that won’t happen, you can’t even walk anymore, Wenisch will put an end to you and cover us.”, Tchar touched a stone in the wall and it swung open.