“What in Hayel are all of you still doing here?” Minis bellowed at them. “With dart guns? What will you dart? That?” He flung a hand out and the spectre and all its bits recoiled from the Seals.
“We’re here to protect You and Yours, Imperator,” First Ilesias said quietly, stepping between Minis and the uncanny happenings in the hallway, his boots crunching on the salt but carefully not stepping over the line on the marble. “We might not be Old Mahid,” he flung that viciously at the ghost. “But we are New Mahid!”
There was an ugly blot of smoke coiling and uncoiling, vaguely forming hands and feet and hair and eyes, pressed against the salt barrier, apparently enthralled by the Seals on Minis’s hands. “Fine. Excellent. You have proved that you can stand in the face of fear. Get out of here and let me deal with this dead Mahid who would have made himself my father in spirit!”
As Minis spoke a wild scream poured out of the end of the hallway a howl full of all the screams restrained in life. It would have torn a living throat and it drove everyone back a step. “YOU!”
Minis turned to the thing in the hall and raise his hands, palms towards himself, to display the Seals. “I am, by the grace of Muunas and the Nine, Ascended to the Crystal Throne, Imperator of the Empire of Arko and all territories and tributary lands. Minis Kurkas Joras Amitzas Aan.”
The howl this time made everyone flinch and throw their hands over their ears, but was wordless. “You are required to go on, Mahid. You have succeeded in your last charge!” Minis stepped forward, over the line, staring straight into the mist before him as if staring into 2nd Amitzas’s eyes.
There was a huge silence broken only by the drip of liquid in the dark, shards of glass falling randomly as they overbalanced from where they hung. “I... succeeded. Minis Aan? Imperator?” The broken, rasping voice was that of the man who Minis had spoken to in the torture chamber before his death. The uncanny howl faded to mortal tones. “I? Imperator? I am Mahid, I am but a reflection of the Imperator. No thoughts but those willed by the Imperator. I am Mahid.” The seething, raging ball of black coalesced. “Failed! I failed.”
“No.” The Fenjitzas, his robe hiked up still from his run, stepped into the mess behind Minis, put a hand on his shoulder, holding up his globe of office in his other hand. “You are a Mahid soul, faithful unto death and beyond.”
“F...f....f enjit.... noOOOOOOOOOOOO! I will not goOOOOOOOO.” The spectre thinned, towering up to the ceiling, staring down with eyes that wavered from rage though terror and then merely to a senile confusion.
“2nd Amitzas Mahid, your duty is done.”
Minis and Radas stepped forward, holding the Seals and the Orb up to the ghost that suddenly began thrashing side to side as if it wanted to run but needed to stay. Minis called out. “Whoever had that room, get your stuff out. NOW!” He and Radas pressed the spectre back from the door and Melifee and Emilie darted in behind them, hurled their armour and cases, the sodden rug, soaked books, boxes, everything of theirs out of the room; their things were caught by willing hands and hustled hand to hand out of the way.
“CLEAR, Imperator!” Emilie yelled and Minis addressed the ghost.
“Will you go, as you must?”
“NO NO NOoooooooooo!” The black column hovered over Minis’s head threateningly and he reached up with the hand bearing the Seal sacred to the connection with the Ten, hooked it into the darkness, and dragged it down and hurled it through the door, drew a line across the threshold sealing 2nd Amitzas’s spirit and any others he had enslaved, inside.
“Then you must stay. This was your chamber, the place where you tormented so many at the Imperator’s command. Stay here forever if you must.” He glanced at the Fenjitzas, who must have squeezed his shoulder, before turning back to the black door. “Should you choose to go to the Ten, then you are free to do so. Until then you are here held harmless to any living soul, unable to touch the mortal world, break nothing, possess no creature nor any object that may be carried out of that room, out of this hall, or out of the Marble Palace. Muunas, My Father, Selinae My Mother, Ten Gods of Arko cage you in this Hayel of your own making, until the day comes where you let go the world.” There was a burst of light as he slammed the door, and locked it.
In the ringing silence he reached up to touch Radas’s glove. “Thank you, Most Holy.” He turned to look at the faces all in various stages of gape, the New Mahid, the General, Matthas, even some of the Assemblymen who had followed from the Highest office. “First Ilesisas, I leave the sealing of this door and cleaning up this mess to you, hmmm? General, I understand there is an emergency that requires my attention? Let us repair to the Scarlett Rosary Room to hear your report. Scholar Matthas, attend with your note board. Send a Page to have Perisalas Shefenkas attend on us. Sers.” He raised his voice to address the Assemblymen. “I’m afraid I cannot honour your appointments until I know what the Honourable General has to report. Please address your concerns to my welcomist who is at her desk at the Highest Office.”