The oracle frowned at the flames. Their incense was making her eyes water. But the pain was the price for her visions. In the purple smoke she saw a man standing tall in cheering crowds. A savoir for men and creature. She saw his smile. His creeping wide smile as those cheers faded. The sky turned red with blood and fire and her people fell silent. Nothing more. She blinked.
She looked again letting the smell of poppies and flesh hitting and smother the back of her throat. In her own sweat she could feel his name being carved out. For he would be the one to save the world. He would save them from the beast so he could come and enslave them to himself.
She continued to inhale in, she needed to see more. There was nothing. She kept trying even when the smoke choked her like his hold on her homeland. There was nothing.
Nothing but him.
She shuddered. The darkness was coming for them all, she had seen it her entire life, her childhood nightmares filled with roaring monsters and blood-filled wails. She had felt the mourning of thousands. But had they been from the monsters to come or from him?
If they were all going to die in the end of days, who was she to condemn them when he could give them their salvation.
The oracle winced and doubled over, the horrid screeches of torture filling the air. Death or slavery? She couldn’t decide. She breathed in again and again. There had to someone else, someone who wasn’t a complete monster who could save her people.
But she just retched on plain smoke. She collapsed forward. As she did spilling the brazier, the coals scattered with a screech like the sound of the misery to come. But when the coals stilled and the smoke settled, the screaming continued. It was her own, echoing about her small stone room in the temple. Her voice suddenly became thousands, warping and bouncing upon her walls. Slowly it morphed into something worse as it sped about the room, the sound shortening until it was laughter. His laughter. She screamed afresh.
“Oracle!” the door scraped open and a priest walked in. All sound faded, rushing out the open door, “are you alright? Have you seen something?”
“No, nothing good anyway.”
If she was to be the decider of their fate, then she’d decide the fate she wanted. And she would rather die than face him again.