He hath need of his wits who wanders wide
The towering black statue of Baal-Zebub loomed in the inner recesses of the temple, its many-faceted eyes glittering in the flickering glow of the flames that rose perpetually from two enormous bronze braziers that stood on either side of the great stone altar at the idol’s feet.
Hairless blue-skinned priests clad only in loincloths of gold tended the fires night and day, feeding them coals and a rank concoction of foul substances that produced a pungent incense.
The High Priest, robed in black, stood before the altar, his arms spread wide, chanting in an ancient tongue no longer spoken by anyone but priests. In his right hand he held a ceremonial dagger with a gold gem-studded handle and an obsidian blade.
Upon the altar lay a naked slave-boy with wrists and ankles bound, his eyes wide with terror.
The High Priest raised the dagger aloft as his chanting rose to a crescendo; with his left hand he turned the boy’s face toward the statue, so that the fearsome idol would be the last thing he would see.