Five Cultists is Five Too Many

a short story by Lexi Summer Hale

Thorian Thunderheart, paladin first class of the Sacred Temple of Meraya, hefted his massive warhammer. He could hear the heretical jabbering now, invocations to cursed Anur, no doubt. Thorian Thunderheart had sent many men before the Iron Pulpit in his short and violent life; scoundrels, heretics, blasphemers, and witches all had fallen to his hammer, but these cultists had been damnably elusive. Three months had he chased shadows, probing for the bolt-hole of their demonic order, but to no avail.

Until now.

His mistake, of course, was thinking them common heretics, to seclude themselves in the deep of a forgotten mine or the twists and turns of a mighty forest. But these fiends, these cursed slaves of Anur, theirs was a special blasphemy, for they had secreted themselves in the very blessed halls in which Thorian had taken his oaths all those years ago. And here they were, no doubt readying sacrifices to conjure the wretched hosts of Rogam, the vile daemons of the great darkness.

In the Great Temple of Meraya. Meraya the Just, Meraya the Supreme, Meraya the Resolute. The insult to the purity of this place was beyond all belief.

He spoke a brief prayer, begging his lady’s forgiveness for his tardiness, and asking that his aim be true. Then Thorian Thunderheart raised his warhammer, rounded the corner, and charged with a thunderous bellow.

“FOR MERAYA!”

The wedding party turned as one, and screamed.

But it was already too late.