The day came when I was ready. I was bursting with need for revenge, but I knew I should take my time. I wanted to succeed this time, but I also wanted to savor the fear I would engender. Is it not delicious? Why rush?
I did not return to the palace or the mage’s hall. Instead, I honed my skills in the darkness of the forests. Soon many evil witches and wizards took note of me and became my followers. I began my plot by instigating Rustem’s son, Mihr, to evil. Mihr, being the son of a sorcerer and a sorceress by the name of Anahita, held hereditary power, but it was as yet undeveloped.
One day, as he played by the edge of a stream, I spied him whittling a figurine of a cow. He intended to give it to his sister. I entered the figurine and his fingers paused. He returned to cutting on the wood and I cried out as if in pain. He dropped the cow and saw that blood dripped from it. His hands were covered with blood. I spoke the words of the Holy Avesta that his father had taught him only that morning. The verse was called “the Complaint of the Cow.” It accused someone of hurting its vital breath. Mihr turned and ran crying to his father.
When the sorcerer-mage came to see what had scared his son, all he found was a great pool of blood. He caught the scent of sorcery, but I had covered my tracks well. I could now smell his fear. I was able to get to him through his children. It made me throw back my head and laugh heartily. Now I knew one weakness.
Next I attacked his daughter, the sorceress-to-be, Spenta. She was quite young. She asked her mother for a basket to collect flowers and left for the nearby woods. I possessed the bodies of countless cockroaches so that she saw them as colorful, gay flowers. Skipping home with her basket brimming with the vile insects, she saw her parents sitting together. In her pride, she spilled out the enchanted “flowers,” which now took their real forms as large cockroaches. This is when I realized that Rustem was mortally afraid of insects and other xrafstars. The terror on his face was comical. He hopped in a frenzied dance of horror as they raced to hide themselves in the corners of the house. Into their bedding and clothing they ran, until the sorceress Anahita struck them down dead with a spell. Rustem refused to help in the task of retrieving the bodies, and for days afterwards, he would screech if he found one of the dead things.
Rustem now knew that someone was threatening the children of his family. He began thinking about fleeing the palace, despite his love for King Cyrus the Great and for his position as head sorcerer-mage.