Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: flashback: the ritual
It is late evening, and Kithran finds herself naked and panting, lounging in Davena's bed. The spark that Kith kindled by making that first move quickly grew into a serious flame, and after only a few days, the former prisoner has found herself relocated from her "guest accommodations" to sharing the High Priestess' personal suite, where she has lived for the past two weeks.
Certainly, there is the odd punishment still, but these have been almost entirely of the very minor variety. Kithran has displayed such a willing attitude that the priestess has found little in need of correction.
In addition, the rogue is no longer viewed as a prisoner. She is free to wander the compound as she sees fit, free to take communal meals (or take them alone with Davena). She wears a standard issue simple dark dress, though Aranwen's sword is always worn on her belt as a symbol of Davena's favor. Indeed, most of the church treat Kithran with respect and deference; all in all, the life is relatively pleasant.
Davena's quarters are hardly lavish, but the furniture is sturdy and comfortable, and the bed - which she openly shares with the priestess - is both large and remarkably soft. All in all, Kithran finds that she now leads a fairly pleasant life.
The beautiful blonde priestess, in a similar state of flushed nakedness, grins her crooked grin. As she has done for the last few nights, Davena removes the pendant from around her own neck, then holds the stone just below Kithran's navel. Each day, the stone has grown warmer, glowed brighter; tonight, it shines like the largest star in a perfectly dark night. A look of joy touches Davena's eyes as her smile spreads.
"Darling," she speaks in a breathy voice, her tone full of emotion, "your time has arrived. You are fertile again."
Kithran smiles wide at the excitement in Davena's voice, "Oh? It very nearly slipped my mind," she chuckled, "I will admit that even after all of our talk on this, I am still a bit . . . nervous. Is that okay?"
Davena nods. "Of course, darling... of course. This is a momentous occasion... if you were not nervous, I would doubt your fitness."
She takes a breath. "It is time to prepare for the Ritual, dear one. Your destiny is at hand; you will receive the gift." Tenderly, the priestess stokes Kithran's hair and face. "I will be here with you for the entire journey."
Kith turns her face into Davena's hand and kisses her palm, "That makes me feel better. When will we begin?"
Davena smiles. "It will be best to do so right away; this gives your body the greatest chance to accept the gift during this cycle. It was one thing to put it off for a month in order for you to learn to accept your role, but I see no reason to dally further. If you are amenable, we should perform the Ritual tonight. Are you ready?"
The rogue bit her lip but nodded, "I am ready, Mistress."
The priestess draws Kithran in for a protective embrace. "I am certain that you have doubts or fears still." Releasing the young woman, Davena continues.
"You may wonder why I am so certain that you are, in fact, the chosen one." She pauses for a moment. "Have you ever heard of hybrid vigor?"
"I am fairly certain we may have just finished some hybrid vigor." Kithran's grin returns faintly through her hesitation. She would do anything for this woman. That Kith would see this ritual through to the end, she had no doubt. It was just those ghouls. She had tried and tried, but the fear they instilled in her, she just could not shake.
The blonde woman chuckles before continuing. "Quite. It is a term normally associated with plants or livestock, but it applies to people, as well. The idea is that, more often than not, hybrid offspring possess resilience not found in either parent species."
Her finger softly traces the point of Kithran's ear. "You, darling, are both human and Sylvari."
She frowns. "Humans seem to all too often burn out when trying to carry or nurse one of the Dark Lord's offspring. And Sylvari have such a deep connection to life that they cannot carry such a babe to term; their bodies reject the death aspect of the child." She pauses thoughtfully. "One night, after prayer, it occurred to me that a hybrid would be the ideal solution. I met you, saw how incredibly strong you were, consulted an oracle... and there was my answer." She smiles fondly.
"I suppose then that I have one thing to be grateful to my mother for," she pushed away the thought of the first one to leave her and smiled sweetly back at her beautiful priestess, "She put me in your way."
"That she did," Davena replies. The priestess rises and begins to dress. "I have preparation to do. I will fetch the ceremonial vestments for you; I trust that you will not pour out the chalice or strike me this time?" Her tone is firm, but her mouth wears that endearing, crooked grin.
Kithran groans and rolls onto her back, scrunching her face up at the memory before looking back up at the priestess sheepishly, "I shall try my very best to control myself this time."
"I appreciate your efforts," Davena replies the grin never leaving her face. She then frowns slightly. "Your part is rather simple. I will cast certain enchantments upon you to help aid in the process. When the time comes, you will simply lie back with your hips elevated to help facilitate the process, and accept the undead father of your unborn child."
Kith's face scrunched again, "Is there really no better way to phrase that?"
The priestess sees the look on Kithran's face, hears her tone, and takes the younger woman's hand in her own. "I understand that this part seems frightening, but I swear to you - the creature will not harm you. I understand that the idea is... unpleasant, that the creature will seek to sate its own desires alone. But truly, my dear... is that so much worse than men you have surely endured in the past, yourself?" Her face holds a bit of dark humor.
Kithran grins at the thought, "It was often the other way around, Davena," she tugs lightly at the hand holding hers, playfully trying to pull her back down to her, "I have since changed my ways. If you've forgotten already I'd be happy to remind you."
The priestess smiles widely. "You are incorrigible! Normally, the ghoul would bite or scratch to inflict paralysis long enough for the Ritual to be completed. I don't think that will be necessary in your case, do you? Besides, I was thinking..." she pauses meaningfully, allowing her hands to stray across Kithran's body, "my mother often taught prospective mothers that impregnation was easier if the women were fully aroused... and that if the woman achieved climax after the consummation, that the chance of pregnancy increased again. And these were the case, perhaps it would help you to focus on subjects besides the sire, yes?"
The darkness that had washed over her face as Davena spoke of the ghouls and their paralyzation quickly gave way to a very enthusiastic nod, "I think that would help quite a bit. Did you have any subjects in mind?"
Davena's smile grows even wider, if such is possible. "Indeed, dear one... I have an idea or two..."
Kithran stands in the main temple itself, dressed in the ceremonial white gown she first found herself in upon waking in this place; the only change is that she wears the fine sword at her hip. She has been bathed, her hair washed and brushed out, and sweet perfume has been applied to her skin. She has drank deeply of the silver chalice; the liquid was cool, sweet, and spicy... not at all unpleasant. The effects are rather intoxicating, in many ways like a fine wine; the rogue feels very relaxed, very at peace, with a slightly odd sensation of being disconnected from her body - yet at times, intensely aware of it. In particular, Kith can feel the warmth throughout her body; Davena made good on her offer of arousal, kissing and teasing and touching and bringing the young woman to a fever pitch just before leading her into the temple.
The room is filled with dark-robed figures, most on the lower ground, standing side by side, facing the dais. There are ghouls present, but they remain behind the ranks of the living. The attendees chant slowly, quietly, in unison.
Kith finds herself brought up upon the dais, led beyond the black stone altar itself. She cannot help but notice the large, strange device here; it is some sort of container fashioned of a crystalline material, with the device of a grinning skull carved skillfully into it. The skull itself is inlaid with silver, with large green gems set into the eye sockets. She is bade to kneel facing the device; soon, she is joined by two others also dressed in white vestments, who kneel on either side of it, facing Kithran.
One is a red-haired, milky-skinned young human woman of perhaps eighteen years of age. She wears a serene expression on her freckled face, meets Kithran's gaze and smiles warmly.
The figure next to her is a dark-haired, tanned man with a few flecks of gray in his hair and beard. He, on the other hand, appears to be completely terrified; his wide eyes dart this way and that, and his breathing comes in shallow pants.
Davena steps to the center of the dais and raises her arms, and the chanting falls to a whisper. "It is a momentous occasion," she speaks clearly, her voice projecting throughout the temple, "when we, the followers of death, have the chance to create life - a life that will allow our Dark Lord entrance into this mortal realm." Murmurs run around the room.
She gestures to Kithran. "Behold, the vessel that will bring our Dark Lord's anchor into this world!" All eyes turn to the rogue, but hers stay on the priestess.
"Of course," she continues, "such creation requires a price to be paid - in blood, both willing and unwilling. In the end, all life is devoured, these lives in particular will bring power to the vessel, will make her strong enough to bear the gift."
Davena draws her broad bladed knife, and another priest steps to her side, a wooden bowl in his hands. She steps toward the two kneeling sacrifices, and asks aloud, "are you prepared to go into that dark night?"
The young woman smiles widely. "Yes, Mistress! I am ready!" she replies, tilting her head back to expose her neck. Davena nods, steps forward, slices the young woman's throat open. Blood spurts from the grievous wound as the light goes out in the girl's eyes while the acolyte collects her lifeblood into his bowl.
Kithran's eyes go wide as the kneeling man screams, but a word from Davena silences him - though the terror in his eyes is plain for anyone to see. The rogue's gut betrays her in its instinct to speak out for the older man, but that happiness in Davena's eyes . . . she could not risk extinguishing that again. She averts her gaze and steels her gut against the sound of his pleas instead.
The acolyte allows the young woman's body to slump to the ground while he takes the bowl to the container, then pours the blood in. As he does so, the skull's gem eyes glow intensely green.
The process is repeated with the kneeling man, though Davena must expose his throat by grabbing his hair and pulling his head back. His eyes plead for mercy, but the pleas are ignored, and soon, his own lifeblood is filling the bowl. This time, when the blood is poured into the skull container, the gemstone eyes somehow glow a disturbing deep purple.
The crowd resumes chanting, with Davena leading it. The very air seems to grow thick and heavy.
Soon the priestess moves to Kithran's side, and takes her by the hand. "It is time," she whispers. "Be not afraid, darling - I am here with you."
Kithran is led to an odd piece of furniture that resembles a curved couch of sorts. Davena helps her to recline upon it; doing so raises her hips higher than her head.
The priestess moves to the skull container, thrusts her hand inside the mouth; when she draws it out, her fingers are coated with a dark, nearly black substance. She returns to Kithran; at a gesture, another priestess helps to hitch Kithran's skirts up beyond her waist. Davena kneels, draws several sigils on Kithran's belly with the blackish paste, then chants anew.
She looks up, makes eye contact with Kith, then nods before she stands. Kithran can see a ghoul following a priest up upon the dais and to her side. Kithran is unable to keep her breathing even as the thing approaches her, and despite her insatiable need to appease Davena, she wants to flee.
The priestess then takes her hand. "Look at me, darling," she whispers and Kithran does, and it helps immensely, "I am here with you."
It takes all she has not to glance back at the creature softly giggling beside her, but Kithran bites her lip as she looks up into Davena's sweet face. Despite her fear, the priestess brings her comfort, as she always had, through all of her pain and confusion and suffering. This would be no different. Davena would be here for her, comfort her, encourage her. The thought warms her, in spite of the cold she felt, and Kithran gently squeezes her hand, whispering, "I love you, Davena."
A look of surprise crosses the beautiful face of the priestess, but in an instant, it is replaced by a broad smile. "I love you, too, darling," Davena responds.
And the ritual continues.
Posted on 2019-12-06 at 09:31:27.