Crimson letters glistened across the thin sheet of parchment. The white-cloaked figure dipped his quill into the basin of blood and inscribed the final letters across the page. Closing the massive book, a sigh escaped his lips, for its completion was only the beginning.
As his finger caressed the name engraved upon the ornate cover the echo of his father’s words whispered through his mind. Are you certain you understand the consequences? Yes, he had answered. Yet even now, he heard the strain in his father’s voice. And you understand the sacrifice? She is worth it.
He pressed his fingertips to his lips and then against her name.
Rising from the alabaster bench, he withdrew from the walled garden, then wound his way through the royal gardens before crossing the palace courtyard.
The palace doors swung open and he strode through the vast columned chamber. The shimmering emblem engraved in the center of the floor cast a golden glow upon his ageless features. A tiered dais lay at the far end of the room, its first level was the alabaster of the columned room; the second encompassed an array of white stones ablaze with an incessant flame; and the third held a gold throne and the one who sat upon it.
He walked through the midst of the fire, unburned by its flames, and bowed low in front of the throne. With much solemnity, he presented the King with the book.