What the heck is a paladin prophecy?
The short answer: we have no clue.
The long answer is a little more complicated. In the secret image Will uncovers from dead kid Ronnie Murso, he sees the bad guys with a silver case inscribed PALADIN PROPHECY MCMXC IV.
Let's break this down, shall we?
First, what's a Paladin? It's not just a powerhouse class in World of Warcraft. In this world, the paladins are the Knights of Charlemagne. In medieval legends, those are Charlemagne's best knights, who help the king re-conquer Spain from the Umayyad Empire in the 8th century.
In this book, they're a shadowy cult that pulls all sorts of strings from the behind the scenes. They're like the Illuminati, but with demons from another dimension instead of alien lizard people. Also like the Illuminati, Will and pals have no idea who the Knights actually are. It's a secret society, remember? So we'll have to wait until later for them to be unmasked.
Second, what's a prophecy? If you don't know what a prophecy is, you need to study up on Cassandra, the mythological figure who made predictions that no one believed. Someone give that girl a hug. If that's too depressing for you, check out Buffy or Harry Potter. Prophecies are a dime a dozen in the fantasy genre.
Finally, look at all those Roman numerals. Watching the Super Bowl every year has taught us that MCMXC stands for 1990, the year that Will and his roommates were born. IV isn't four, however. Will notices that there is no line across the top and bottom of these two characters, so it isn't a Roman numeral. It's an abbreviation. Will believes it stands for "in vitro" (46.126) because he suspects that he and his roommates are all test-tube babies genetically engineered to have special powers.
But why? We're not sure yet. We imagine the answer is inside the case itself. Until then, we're left screaming, "What's in the case?!"—as if it were the glowing briefcase from Pulp Fiction.
There better be something inside this thing.