Copyright 2012 Thom Whalen
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction, either in whole or in part, in any form. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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Prologue: Ascension of a Priestess
Smoke and dust swirled through the air, muting the candlelight to a diffuse orange glow. The pulse of a drum filled the room with a slow beat like a powerful heart. Four pairs of bare feet stamped in cadence, flexing the rough-hewn floorboards.
The old man with smoke-white hair and charcoal-dark skin was possessed by an ancient spirit. He bobbed and weaved, chanting in a long lost language. His thin, ethereal keen reverberated against the walls.
The four dancing women wailed an undulating, wordless continuo in harmony with the priest.
Slowly, the beat of the drum accelerated, driving the women to dance faster and faster.
The ceremony reached its crescendo at exactly midnight.