The figures arrayed in a circle around Traian were hooded, so that he could not see their faces though he knew each of them well. The effect was unsettling at first, but Traian had been through the ritual many times before. Indeed, there was a comfort in repetition, so much so that what seemed strangest to him was not the hooded figures nor the chanted mantras nor the incense that filled the nostrils and dizzied the head, but the fact that he underwent this consecration for the final time.
“Has the instrument before us proven worthy?” a hooded figure intoned.
“He has,” answered the others.
“Has he faced down heresy? Has he given everything to the service of Truth? Has he sacrificed family, friendship, love, glory, wealth to serve the cause? Has he proved himself to be the arbiter of our will, the weapon of our judgment, a true hand of the Magnuroc?”
“Thus, we take up the ink and mark him with the final thread. The web will be complete. He is ours.”
Despite himself, Traian shuddered.