Several black-clad men armed with blasters led Boren Prax and Vander Cervos through a hidden archway carved into the rock overlooking the bay and into a large, candlelit cathedral beneath the surface. Dozens of hooded, shadowy figures stood perfectly still in the middle of the room, all facing an onyx altar near the far wall.
“Oh, yea,” Vander whispered to Prax, “This doesn’t look weird at all.”
“What is this place, wizard?” Prax called out to Magi Diomedes who walked in front of them.
“A holy sanctuary, one of dozens built across this galaxy,” Diomedes said without turning around. “Where we offer the Dark Source gifts in return for our… abilities.”
“What sort of gifts,” asked Vander.
Two of the black-clad soldiers shoved the men towards the altar as Diomedes revealed an ornate silver dagger.
“Blood offerings, of course.”
The shadowy figures in the middle began to chant something unintelligible as Diomedes cast off his cloak and held out his arm, dragging the sharp tip of the dagger across his bare skin, drawing blood that dripped onto the altar. Suddenly a gust of wind whipped through the room.
“He is here.”
Vander gave Prax a curious glance who returned a shoulder shrug.
“Zealots,” Prax said. “Don’t believe a word of-”
Prax stopped speaking as a dark presence rushed passed him and stood behind Diomedes.