“We’re sorry to bring you here for such a macabre task Ms. Lancaster but we need the next of kin to identify the body.”
The woman nodded as she stepped up to the cloth draped slab, she waited for a moment then narrowed her eyes at the priest who stood wringing his hands beside her.
“Oh! Oh yes. Sorry. So Sorry.” he muttered as he pulled the shroud back from the body. He fidgeted for a moment then cast a furtive glance at the woman, “So. Is it? I mean… is it.. Your brother?”
The woman turned an icy gaze on the priest, her fingertips drumming heavily on the edge of the slab. The man swallowed thickly, tugged at his forelock and made a hasty retreat from the room, not even bothering with a show of dignity. In his mind there was no doubt as to the identity of the body. Only a Lancaster could make him feel fear within the confines of the Cathedral of Light.
Alone with the corpse, Adeliza allowed her gaze to travel from one end of the body to the other, trying not to focus on his face. His features were frozen in the throes of pain, his lips were blue and the veins stood out against the gray pallor of his flesh.
She leaned forward, as if she would place a sisterly kiss upon her brother’s lips, her brow furrowing as she caught a familiar scent. Pulling the cloth down, she noted that his fingers were curled inward and there was dried blood under his nails. A glance up revealed that the blood was his own, he had clawed at his own throat, as if he could dig the poison from his body.
She gasped, nearly gagging at the stench that arose from the corpse; salt water, seaweed, and death. She stepped back, her gaze finally settling on her brother’s dead eyes as a slow smile lit her features.
“A fitting end for you brother. I always knew this would be your fate. I suppose I should thank the Larethians for taking you from me. One would think that at last I am free.” she sighed heavily, her expression shifting to a bitter scowl. “But of course that isn’t how this ends, is it brother? I must avenge your fate.”
Adaliza turned, taking several steps toward the door before she stopped again, looking over her shoulder at the wretched remains of her brother, “I will see you in the Maw your grace.” and with a flick of her wrist Bishop Lancaster was consumed in holy fire.