In the place that few knew of, and fewer still could enter, Rembrandt Payne focused his thoughts on recent revelations. It seemed, however, that for every question he found an answer to, three more took its place. And now, to make things even worse, he had an Apostle to worry about. The twelfth and final Apostle.

Seelie’s records—at least those he had access to—said little about Kali Saraswati. Even her name was uncertain. Unlike her peers, she had avoided the wars and had few followers. Those who did pledge her loyalty, however, were perhaps the most fanatical of all, and it was rumoured Kali maintained her influence over them using synthetic, seer-like proxies. Proxies nobody had ever knowingly encountered. Nobody, that was, until Rosencrantz Guirlande.

“Based on that encounter,” he had told Payne the day previous, “and the information Verraden Sepulturero surrendered, I can only conclude Arided one of her vessels. Now, whether I encountered Arided or Kali herself—or some synthesis of the two—I could not say. I am certain, however, that any who realised her true identity paid the price, if not in servitude then in soul.”

“Then, assuming she does not have your servitude or your soul, how did you escape to tell me all this?” Payne had asked.

“Why, I put the fear of the gods into her, of course!”

So many answers, so many more questions. Payne looked at the obelisk and shook his head. “No, I’m not going there,” he said. The risks were too great. Answers would have to wait. He had more immediate concerns. Avalon was a warzone and his Second Class initiates were caught in the middle of it.

As the last of the seven seals opened, returning him to the waking world with all its clutter and noise, Lieutenant Anderson greeted him with a sharp salute. Payne’s felt his stomach sink.

“Is anything wrong?” he asked.

“It’s Prince Dionysus, Sir,” she replied.

“Is he here?”

“No, Sir. He’s dead.”

Episode Six End

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