Prophecy Story Index
This I Prophesy
(revised July 1997)
At the same time that the encircled sword was being bestowed on its first giver, somewhere in the palace in the capital city of Darcabé in the country of Bornath, an old man, a seer, lay dying, having only one last prophecy to proclaim before he joined his ancestors on the other side of eternity.
Quintilian shifted slightly in his chair, throwing a look at the old man lying in bed as he did so. The man, very sick and weak with fever and delirium, didn't even glance in his direction. In fact, Quin didn't even think his mentor knows he was there at all, or that he had been there for the past several days.
Sulien had been sickening slowly over the past few months, but had held on for as long as he could. He was, after all, King Eseth's favorite seer, probably because his prophecies were always so correct and always so positive for the kingdom. Eseth had not wanted to keep Sulien as Court Sorcerer since he had served the previous king, the one he'd displaced, and his father before that.
However, the position of Court Sorcerer was one that cannot be overturned by the changing of kings. It was separate from the royalty, but accorded all the benefits of being nobility. This was something that Quin had begun to appreciate even more as he had studied Bornathian history for the past several hundred years and discovered that the ruling families never stayed in power for more than two or three generations before being overthrown and replaced.
And over the past 17 years, Eseth, now 45, quickly learned that Sulien was probably the best sorcerer that Bornath ever had and ever would have. And now that sorcerer was dying.
Quin looked back down at the heavy tome in his hands, not really reading the words, just staring at them and thinking. At 28, he was nearly half Eseth's age, but he considered himself to be very much wiser in some regards. And he was Sulien's hand-picked successor, which must say something about the maturity of his years. The old man was hard to get along with sometimes, but in general, was a good teacher, though perhaps a bit intolerant of those who couldn't keep up with him.
Of all the students Sulien had ever had, he had said that Quin was the only one worth his time to train and groom for the post of Court Sorcerer. Quin felt a bit awed and maybe overwhelmed by such a responsibility, but realized that Sulien must see in him something that he did not himself see. He only hoped that Sulien's faith was not misplaced when he went against the advice of the Council and chose Quin as his eventual replacement.
Across from him, Sulien stirred awake and opened his eyes, gasping out hoarsely, "Water."
Quin hurriedly poured a small cup of water and helped Sulien to drink, then let his head back down to rest against the pillows. Sulien's frail hands moved on the covers restlessly as he started to speak, his voice rasping. "Quin, I must tell you ...."
His voice gave out and Quin shushed him. "No, you must rest, Sulien. Get your strength back, then we will talk."
Sulien swallowed once and began again sharply. "No! It must be now. There is no time left to me. You must listen to me and you must write what I say down. It is important."
Quin nodded and picked up his stylus and dipping it in ink, preparing to scribe whatever words Sulien had to say down. Dying prophecies could be the most powerful and the most important of any ever given. His studies with Sulien had shown him that. But most often they were just incoherent ramblings left by the dying that no one ever made sense of, however Quin would humor his teacher one last time, if that was what he wanted. And since Sulien was who he was, what he said might actually be important.
Sulien's eyes closed, and for a moment, Quin thought that he had gone back to sleep, but then the old man began to speak slowly. "This I, Sulien, Court Sorcerer to three consecutive kings of Bornath, prophesy ...."
Quin did not lift his eyes from the parchment as he wrote down the words Sulien said, not taking the time to decipher them, just going into 'scribe' mode as he called it, getting down the intonations and pronunciations perfectly correct.
After the three lines of text, Sulien's voice halted with a shuddering exhale of breath. Quin looked up from the parchment to see Sulien's eyes wide open, his lips parted from his final words. He was dead. Quin laid aside his stylus and leaned across the bed to close Sulien's eyelids. "Be at peace, my mentor, be at peace."
Then Quintilian, the new Court Sorcerer to the king of Bornath, looked down at the words Sulien had given him. It was a prophecy, that much was obvious. But it was a disturbing prophecy, one that did not have the positive feel that Eseth was so used to reading. No, he would not like it. He would like it even less when Quin had to tell him that he had no idea what the prophecy meant.
Quin stood and pulled the sheet over Sulien's body, then stepped out into the hallway, announcing that Sulien was dead to the nearest honor guard, asking that the arrangements be made for the court funeral. He then went back to his own rooms to study this new prophecy. Sulien's dying voice echoed again in his ears:
Three shall there be that bring Fate and Destiny to Bornath:
A king's treasure stolen, a hidden jewel found, a royal sword bespelled;
I have seen and I have spoken. Be ye warned and prepared, for truth it shall be.
And so it began.
- The End -
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