|Femme Fatale of History 10|
Femme Fatale of History 10 is one of a series of books describing powerful women in Asmodian history. There are two other volumes nearby.
Femme Fatales of History
Book 10: Female Oracle Agren
The Convent of Marchutan bears a single blemish throughout the annals of time, and that blemish is Agren. She brought shame to the Convent of Marchutan, and was the sole reason for the abolishment of the old oracular structure.For an individual who created such a stir, Agren came from an inauspicious background, a humble beginning that held no portent of her troubled future. She grew up on a farm in Beluslan, and did not even come to the convent as a oracle. In fact, she began as a servant for a priest who followed Empyrean Lord Marchutan.
Years passed, and Agren continued her life as a servant. Then one day, the priest in whose home she had served called for her appointment as an oracle within the Convent of Marchutan.
The priest believed the convent was in desperate need of another oracle, and saw Agren as diligent enough to seek out what needed to be done, and responsible enough to finish what she started.Dozens raised doubts about Agren, wondering how a simple farm girl could hope to ascend to the post of oracle. But when pressed, the priest stated he had given an earnest girl a chance to rise above her heritage.
Those who knew Agren as a young oracle often remember her as an unremarkable girl. She was blessed with neither exquisite beauty, nor a glut of intelligence. But Agren had a relaxed personality and got along well with others.
Though Agren came from an unrefined background, she endeavored to learn how to dance and engage in the activities of cultured folk. She learned etiquette, developed formal speech, and read philosophical works from cover to cover.
And as the priest had testified, Agren bore universal passion for all her efforts. Some said her ambition was so intense that she often took other's work without their permission, but many in the convent dismissed this as anxiety and Agren's desire to make a favorable impression.Indeed, the testimonies of misconduct seemed to originate from other oracles who felt threatened by Agren's ambition. On all fronts, Agren appeared responsible.
Seldom drawing notice at the convent, it was not until one incident that Agren started to receive attention.
Following a long and arduous battle, the Empyrean Lord Marchutan returned to the convent to celebrate a victory for Asmodae. The oracles prepared a banquet and a dance of praise in honor of Lord Marchutan. But when the dance was set to begin, one of the adolescent oracles became nauseous and passed out, leaving the others struggling to find a replacement.
Agren raised her hand. "I can perform the dance," she said.The other oracles were puzzled, wondering when and where Agren had learned a dance known only to the most prominent oracles of the convent. But there was not time for questions, and the dance began.
Agren's grace and finesse were astounding, While the other oracles danced, her performance drew all the attention.
Empyrean Lord Marchutan sat in silence, then as the dance finished, he spoke.
"I thank you for the performance you oracle. You must have been practicing for a long time."
"While it is not often, I believe sometimes fate withholds the answer we seek. There is great power in one's strength of will, and perhaps your will is strong enough to tempt fate to provide a different answer."While none knew it, in that moment Lord Marchutan had divined Agren's future. Why then, knowing her fate, did he not take precautions to prevent it? The motives of the Empyrean Lords are beyond our comprehension, but perhaps he wished to provide Agren the chance to resist fate.
As she aged, Agren grew talented at encouraging others to confide in here. Here background made her seem innocent, trustworthy and loyal.
Agren's modest appearance and humble demeanor left her outside the fierce competition in the convent. In fact, most of the older oracles thought of her as obedient and reliable. She used this to her advantage, learning about important tasks earlier than other oracles her age, and as the years passes she became a candidate for the post of head oracle.Every bit of confidential information handled by oracles of high ranking officials of the convent passed through Agren at one point or another, and she used the information to further her station, or eliminate her competition.
While Agren's motives were clear, her wickedness did not become apparent until she god rid of the future head oracle, Imevere. Imevere was gorgeous, kind, and possessed a pure heart. But it was the purity of her heart that did not allow her to see Agren's true intentions. Imevere and Agren spend a great deal of time together, and days before Imevere was to be appointed the head oracle, Agren poisoned her food. Imevere never made it to the ceremony. The night before she fell ill, then died in her sleep. Even now, no one knows how Agren got the poison, and at the time, no one suspected she put it in Imevere's food.Following the incident, Imevere was buried, and all in attendance wept, including Agren.
It was not until the appointment ceremony of the head oracle that Agren revealed her true self.
Donations, flowers, and letters of congratulations poured in from all corners of Asmodae, most from Daeva of high status. The entire convent was surprised at the network of connections Agren had created in secret--well-renowned priests, legion brigade generals, famous scholars, and thousands of supporters attended the ceremony.Agren strode into the ceremony hall bearing flowers, and dressed in the regalia of the head oracle. She was no longer Agren, the quiet, humble and obedient girl from an underprivileged background.
Upon here appointment as head oracle, Agren wielded absolute power at the Convent of Marchutan, and took tremendous steps to secure her power.
The priest under whom at one time she had served became her staunchest supporter. If any oracle expressed even the slightest displeasure with Agren, they found themselves accused of violating their oath and were removed from the convent.Those of high status who visited the convent were befriended by Agren and come to respect her caring personality and cultured manner. In turn, Agren attended informal meetings of Daeva, and was encouraged to present her opinion.
In time, Agren had infiltrated the Daevic hierarchy at all levels. She received information from her contacts, and used it to slake her lust for power.The information available to her often extended outside the convent, and some of it involved important decisions of the council. Using this information, Agren could have whatever she desired. She intervened in council decisions, and ensured her chosen candidates were appointed to vital positions. Those she supported rose to power regardless of their capabilities, and those she opposed were ousted.
When her power swelled to colossal proportions, Agren began to hunger for wealth. She violated the code of the oracles, choosing to were luxurious robes and decorate her home with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and other precious gems.
Agren threw hundreds of parties in secret where drinking and debauchery took place, and even demanded food and drink reserved for the Empyrean Lords.But as her life became more extravagant, word of her corruption began to spread. And for the first time, hundreds came forward in unison and stated Agren had violated her oath.
Agren's supporters grew skittish, and many abandoned her. Agren was furious, and her fury drove her to further treachery and destruction. She tore the convent apart, purging all those who spoke against her. Then she threatened the Daeva who had supported her with misconduct.
But the immortal Daeva knew the hazards of power, and recognized it was the end for Agren.Was Agren's fate sealed from the moment she stepped into the convent? Or was her rise and fall based on the choices she made? The answer might never be clear. But Agren's legacy ended with a few words from Empyrean Lord Marchutan.
The Emyprean Lord slipped into the convent unnoticed, and found Agren in her chambers, weeping amidst the exorbitant comforts she had purchased with her corruption. Marchutan put his hand on Agren, and spoke softly.
"I sought to test fate, and it seems I have failed. But you have a choice, you've always had a choice, my child."
Empyrean Lord Marchutan immediately sentenced Agren and expelled her from the convent, then did the same to her staunchest supporters.No one knows where Agren wound up, but some suspect she suffered the same fate as her birthplace in Beluslan--which disappeared entirely....