Chapter 41

The Diamond of Souls

A long silence, wherein the master studied his minion with a critical eye that bored through flesh and bone to flense the truth from the very soul. After a time, he spoke to the minion. “You are weary.”

The minion nodded her bowed head and replied, “I was compelled to tap into my powers in order to save Oliver Lucas from the guards of Société de la tête de mort. Your pet is most troublesome, master. He, or the women with him, killed three guards and kidnapped a priest of the Société. Unless I am mistaken, he was also responsible for killing the guardian of the Société’s temple, though it has been resurrected by the time I arrived.”

“A bold action.”

“You say bold, master. I ask why we continue to guard this madman. Oliver Lucas may be the single greatest threat to our order in the last hundred years, perhaps longer. Leibniz and Weishaupt presented a far less potent threat in their time and look what you had us do to them.”

“You verge on disrespect. I would appreciate it if you would curb your tone before I fine it necessary to reprimand you.”

The minion raised her head and glared at her master in open rebellion. “Reprimand? Reprimand! I was shot today. I had to reveal my true form. I had to tap into Eternity to heal myself when the bullets ripped through my flesh. If I had not taken the guards by surprise they might have destroyed my incarnate body. I insist that…”

“Allow me to make myself perfectly clear,” the master said, leaning forward to address his minion, like a king pressing forward upon his throne to deliver a pronouncement of doom to a peasant.

“…” the minion attempted to speak, but found that no sound could pass her lips.

“You are still resisting.”

The minion thrashed, clutching at her throat and pressing with all her will to drive out the rebellious words that boiled within her mind. “… …”

“End your defiance and I will restore your freedom of will. Until then, you will listen to me, whether you are receptive to my message or not.”

The minion ceased to struggle. Her hands left her throat and she raised them towards her master, reaching through the void between them in a hopeless effort to strike down the power that gripped her.

The master waited.

After a time the minion ceased to struggle. She fell forward, hands drawn into tight fists and body wracked with mute sobs of resignation.

“Better. You are not incorrect in judging Oliver Lucas a threat. He is a greater threat than you can possibly know. For years he remained beneath our detection, merely another crackpot and thief in a world made increasingly cacophonous with false prophecy and insane misapprehensions. Moreover, he crafted a successful false persona that obscured his true actions from both the governments of men and our network of observers. I am not ashamed to admit, even to such a pitiful, repeatedly failed being as yourself, that our failure to predict, or even notice, Oliver Lucas’s actions was my most significant blunder in tactics and intelligence for over a hundred years.”