Exhumed

The coffin lid was pried loose and Atima burst forth coughing desperate for air and light. She was helped out by the large hands of a tall man in simple monks robes. His face was oddly familiar, long with a strong broad nose and high forehead. His eyes were sad but he radiated hope and joy and he clasped Atima to his chest.

"Thanks be to the lord. Thanks be to you for coming. The need is so great. Welcome to the past."

"Thank you father. What evil plagues you that you would call me across the ages? How can I help?"

"They have turned against me. They had lost their way but the Lord warned me. And protected me. The High Speaker and the four princes are dead. The king and his brother war across the land and they blamed me! Me! How could they blame me!"

He shook her, blubbering clutching, mad eyes wide.

The truth came clear to Atima and made her blood run cold. This was Orando the Betrayer. This was the day of his triumph. And his death. The Abbott had been tricked and she was now thrust into history. Too late.

At this point the Cathedral would be surrounded by the Hunters and all inside declared heretic. The attack was immanent and if no Renivaunt met them they would fall into the betrayers trap. She had to stop them. To save their souls.

She looked up into the face of the man who nearly destroyed the Thornmire Order.

"You fool. It is you that will bear the name Betrayer. Unhand me."

She pushed him but he clutched her arms,

"NO! THIS CANNOT BE! You are supposed to name me Speaker! I am supposed to RULE! THE LORD DECREED!"

"You are mad. Unhand me or I will kill you. I must prepare. Neither of us will survive this night and you don't matter anymore."

The man was no warrior and he shrank back horrified.

"No no no no. . No please no! Oh Lord be my guide in the darkness a and bless. . . "

Atima turned away from the Mad Abbott and gathered her weapons from the coffin. The flagstones of the apse lay about the rough hole he had left digging Atima up.

As she turned back from the coffin her amulet warns her of Orando the Betrayer heaving a large pick at her head in a desperate overhead swing. A neat side step puts her next to her attacker and the viper fast counterpunch with the pommel of her rapire sends Orando spinning back spewing teeth. Atima slowly removes the sheath from the weapon advancing over the crumpled bloody man. Without breaking stride a thrust twist and sweeping flourish leaves Orando gurgling his life onto the floor of the Cathedral in Atima's wake.

"Fool."

Striding out of the apse toward the alter Atima was struck by the sight of pews full of poisoned worshipers. She had forgotten that part of the sad tale of Orando the Betrayer. She didn't let the dead faces staring at her deter her progress and lept up to the main alter knowing the silver Martyrs Deathmask was enshrined inside. She prayed for bravery in her upcoming sacrifice as she removed the relic from its wrappings.

Across the full length of the huge room, past the lolling staring corpses of the congregation, a hollow boom from the main doors raises Atima's eyes. Splintered at the first blow of the Hunters ram she knew she had mere seconds to become The Renivaunt. The Renivaunt that refused the Hunters who had been ordered to take the crypt. The Renivaunt that held them back from the horror that Orando brought there. If the Hunters had made it to the crypt and fed the void mine the soul it needed the entire district would have been sucked into the nether realm. Un-fed the dark magic would be locked in the crypt kept separate, safe, Thornmire's dirty secret.

Atima tied the Deathmask to her face and faced the doors as they buckle in a splintering crash. There was only one way to stop the Hunters from setting off the void mine. She had to kill them.

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