Counsel On Baidealach Bagradh

 

The seed that was planted has grown. Sharpen the scythe.”

 

The crooked creature clung to the listener's frame, eager to relay its chilling, disjointed pattern of gutteral clicks and croaks. It's unblinking inky orbs working all the while, watching, flitting, peering, penetrating depths far below the surface calm.

Even the Great One's generals avoided their intrusive glare. Now they waited. Assembled atop the promontory of the high tower of His granite fortress, hewn from the very living rock of Baidealach Bagradh, the chosen four knelt in silence before their Dark lord.

Icy blasts buffeted the heavy battle-mail cloak, twisting the black feathers of it's trim this way and that. Before it, the mighty oaken staff seemed to stand of it's own accord, rooted to the barren rock. It's gnarled and sinuous limb rising to the great spherical knot, it's ever-shifting ridges and grooves whispering slow and ancient secrets to time itself.

These four alone had looked upon the Great One, though not one now knew what they had seen. All that remained was the deep-seated dread of the unknown and the misremembered. He wore the cloak. He held the staff. The bird clung to his frame... and yet he was not before them. He seemed on all sides at once and inside their minds but they could see by his cloak where he surely stood – and by the faintest trick of the light, as heat rising from the scorched earth, with a great effort the keenest eye might think it marked his figure.

But the bird made sure none gazed long enough. It had done with it's counsel now and from one to the next it's hungry eyes fed from the servants' stares with such a keen appetite that in turn each bowed their head for fear of being devoured completely. Sated, Noble stretched her mighty taloned wings and loosed a blood-curdling call that clung to every cliff-top, crag and peak until its clamour filled the air... and in that moment of crescendo, three words settled in the minds of the four.

 

Sharpen the scythe”

 

As the great sky-seer launched skyward once more, the generals of the Consortium rose to their feet to find the Great One gone; cloak, staff and all... but each of them already knew their task as though the plan had been their own – and three of the four believed it had.

 

 

The End

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