Embrace of the Goddess
Chapter 4: Hunger
“You can’t be serious.”
“Of course I am.” Iriel signed the mandate and passed it to Kasha. The pudgy dwarven woman held it in disbelief.
“All of them?” asked the headmistress.
“All of them.”
“High Priestess, after having three extreme cases of debauchery—”
“They were not extreme.”
Kasha froze, looking up from the mandate, her fingers like trembling sausages. “Your Eminence?
“They were cases of debauchery, but they were not extreme. Who told you they were extreme?”
“I read the reports …”
Iriel sighed, tapping her thick and curving claws into the desk. They were disguised as fingers, but they still gave off the sharp tapping of claws. No one had asked her about the sound except for Orilana, and she dodged that artfully enough.
“They were girls. Girls experiment. You may be asexual, but the more … advanced races have long accepted sexuality as part of life. It’s healthy. Normal.”
“But Azora forbids it. The acolytes take vows of —”
“Azora is the goddess of—’’ One Iriel’s claws stuck in the thick wooden desk. She muttered a curse as she pulled her claw free, and Kasha’s eyes widened. “Azora is the goddess of the setting and rising sun, the face that looks over the planet, the watcher and beholder of all its natural splendor. Are you telling me she closes her divine eyes when we mate?”
Kasha looked down at the mandate in her hand. “No, Your Eminence.”
“Does she look away when the birds flirt and sing, romancing each other?”
“No, Your Eminence.”
“Is a mare in heat disgusting to our goddess? Does she frown when beauty multiplies itself and spreads from generation to generation?”
“No, Your Eminence.”
“And when her children, her beloved children, are in the throes of passion and lovemaking,” Iriel smirked, “Did you know there’s an idiom. It translates poorly. I know humans call it making love, but in our tongue, we call it making heaven. Did you know that?”
“No, Your Eminence.”
“So when two elves make heaven, do you think Azora looks away in shame and embarrassment?
“No, Your Eminence.”
“No, besides shaming three acolytes have already shamed themselves enough, can you tell me what issue you have with my mandate?”
“The nymphs are pagan creatures.”
Iriel scoffed. “Pagan? I’m not even sure what that means. Pagan.”
“They are untamed. They are outside of the fold of Azora’s—”
“She does not smile on the rivers and trees?!” snapped Iriel. “She doesn’t bless the sky or the seas with her gaze? Please, tell me, Headmistress, tell the High Priestess of Azora what is under the goddess’s purview.”
Kasha trembled, properly chastened, but she did not dare to educate Iriel.
“Besides erroneous understandings of the nymph’s allegiances and origins, what is your true concern with the mandate? Connect the dots for me from nature to debauchery.”
“If they wander around without any dress, they will tempt our acolytes into further debauchery,” Kasha spoke in a rush, clenching her body, as though she was squeezing the words out of her chest.
Iriel waited for a long moment, holding Kasha’s gaze until the ugly dwarven woman melted and looked back at the floor of Iriel’s office. Iriel was getting tired of this game. If Kasha were anyone else, if she had a spec of beauty, Iriel would want to corrupt her, to bring her into Maloth’s fold. But not this creature. No one would bed her.
“You hold such a low opinion of our acolytes,” said Iriel to break the silence.
Iriel took one claw and ran it down the center of her robe, drawing a long slit from the collar to her navel. The robe peeled away slightly, revealing the delicate flesh between Iriel’s breasts. “Does this tempt you to lust?” she asked.
“N-N-N-No, Your Eminence.”
Iriel arched an eyebrow. “Then why would it tempt others?”
“They may not be … as …” Kasha trailed off and looked back at the floor.
“No,” said Iriel. “Finish that thought.”
“They may not be as chaste as I am.”
“Or as proud.” Iriel rose to her feet. “I tire of this conversation. You work for me. You serve the goddess, and the goddess has spoken.” Iriel pointed to the mandate in Kasha’s hands. “Your job is to enforce this mandate. If you have a problem obeying that order in your current incarnation, allow me to adjust you.”
Iriel extended her right hand, and from that came a thick cloud of black smoke. Kasha stumbled backward, trying to escape it, but she stumbled over a chair. She muttered something about abominations, but Iriel didn’t care to decipher it. With her free hand, she locked the door to her office. In another moment, she had muffled the sounds of the room. Kasha could scream and scratch, but no help was coming.
To her credit, no one put up quite the effort as Kasha. When her fingernails broke against the thick wood of the door, she smashed at it with her hands. She screamed at the top of her lungs. She flailed and thrashed, and if she were capable of magic, she would have brought thunder and lightning against anything between her and escaping the cloud. But she had nothing, and soon the cloud wrapped around her, sliding under fingernails, into her eyes and ears, and finally down her throat, filling her with darkness, emptying her out.
Iriel moaned a bit. The process always thrilled her. She was learning to control the outcomes of Maloth’s transformations. She wasn’t making something new, but each person was the raw material for rearranging. She was editing. Kasha had too much will, she took that out. Kasha had too much pride, that had to go. She was stubborn, much too stubborn. She peeled away the layers and inverted the personality until Kasha was only stubborn about Iriel getting her way. She was only proud of Iriel and the accomplishments of the High Priestess of Maloth. She was only willful when it came to executing Maloth’s will in the world. All she was for Azora she would be for Maloth and Iriel.
When the smoke faded, Kasha shook, and a cloud of ash flaked off her skin. The dwarf was more of a golem now, cracked and rotting, flaky and craggy, sharp and hunched, huddled, and hairless. She looked up at Iriel and smiled. Her eyes were wide with adoration.
“High Mistresssss,” she whispered. Her voice was awful, thick and gravely, like two pieces of granite sliding over each other. She had a kind of lisp, probably from a thickened and more useless tongue.
“How do you feel Kasha?”
“Good enough to fulfill the mandate?”
“Oh, yes, Mistress.”
“Good. Go and do so. I’ll be down shortly to begin the conversion of each nymph.”
“Oh, and before you go.” Iriel waved her hands through the air like she was washing Kasha off. The creature assumed her former appearance: one of a fat and ugly dwarven woman. “Best not to scare everyone shitless.”
Kasha laughed. It was her nasally but original voice. “Yes, Mistress.”
“And call me High Priestess in front of the others. Forget, and I’ll kill you.”
Kasha laughed again. “As you wish, High Priestess.”
“Do you know what we’re guarding?” asked Prim. She looked over at Lei. The human girl was staring straight ahead, her brow furrowed.
She didn’t look over at Prim when she said, “The goddess’s chapel.”
“Yes, but why guard a chapel? Why two of us?”
“It’s a sacred sight.”
“More important than our High Priestess? More important than the acolytes? Actual people get one guard, but an abandoned cathedral gets two?”
“We don’t just protect the location. We protect what they do here. We protect the rituals of —”
Prim laughed. Dear Maloth, this girl reminded herself of when she was younger. All fire and fervor.
“Something funny?” asked Lei.
“Listen, Orilana sent me here to train you, right?”
“I don’t presume to know why the Commander gives her orders,” said Lei. Still serious. Still looking dead ahead. Still inspecting for any traps or awful monsters coming down the corridor to go pray at a church.
Prim rolled her eyes. “Listen, rookie, you need to relax.”
“I’m keeping watch.”
“You’re watching a hallway, and you’ll be doing it for eight hours. Pace yourself.”
“If I slacken, I could miss something.”
“You have no idea what you’re missing,” muttered Prim.
“What was that?”
“Don’t worry about it.” Prim’s stomach rumbled. By Maloth, she was starving. Iriel had bound her to an oath not to feed in the Abbey, afraid of drawing attention to what they were up to, but it took a lot of time to go into town and devour some little farm girl. In the meantime, she’d been resorting to rats, and they didn’t satisfy her. Not one bit.
“Listen, kid, you’re going to hurt yourself.”
“From standing?” asked Lei.
“Yeah but look at the way you’re standing.” Prim gestured for Lei to look, but her partner didn’t move. Lei was tall for a human woman, over six feet in height, but she wouldn’t impress an Aasimar or angel. She reminded Prim of her sisters, but her skin was dark, almost black as midnight, and her hair was curly and kinky, bound up in a bun underneath her helmet. She was lithe but strong, like most of the other warriors and paladins in the Abbey, but she had one thing the others didn’t: curves. Training constantly punishes plump breasts and hips first of all, but somehow Lei had kept them. The other paladins even teased her that she needed a custom breastplate for her bust.
Prim licked her lips. Just imagining all that flesh meant there was blood and meat underneath it. Some of the girls in this Abbey were little better than rats or gaunt sheep, but not Lei. She’d be a prize. Not a fattened heifer like Kasha or some of the chubbier clerics, but among the paladins? Lei was a walking slice of bacon.
“You’re not going to get me to look away from the corridor,” said Prim.
Prim rolled her eyes and sighed. “You’re too tight.”
“I’m prepared to strike. I’m a coiled spring.”
“You’re going to pull something.”
“Yes. You can’t clench your ass like that for eight hours.”
“No, because I’m your commanding officer, and this is stupid.”
“Orilana is my commanding officer.”
“Orilana’s not here!” Prim snarled. Lei gasped and looked over. Prim’s fangs had descended against her will, but in the darkness of the corridor, Prim hoped her partner couldn’t see them.
Prim took a deep breath and relaxed. “Sorry,” she said, trying to sound contrite. “I just think—and I really believe this—that you need to slow down. This job is a marathon, not a sprint. Hell, even a watch like this—eight hours?—that’s a marathon. You need to lighten up a bit. A bit. Not all the way. But you can talk. You can smile or laugh. And hell, even if you won’t do that, stop clenching. You’re seriously going to pull a muscle. I can smell it.”
“Smell it?” asked Lei, finally relaxing her stance and cocking her head.
“Tell it. Whatever,” said Prim, huffing. “You know what I mean.”
“Sure,” said Lei. “Sure.”
“Sorry,” said Prim. “I guess I should relax too.”
Both women laughed. “Yeah,” said Lei. “Me too.”
A silence descended on them. Prim’s stomach rumbled again. She closed her eyes and tried not to imagine pinning Lei against the wall, sinking her teeth into her throat, and ripping away wildly, letting the sweet gore and viscera flow freely, painting the wall with the rookie’s blood. Maloth, that sounded sweet. She’d lick the blood from the corridor walls like a wild animal. She didn’t give a shit.
“So,” said Lei. “Why do you think we’re guarding a chapel?”
Prim smiled. Bait taken. “I think the chapel is just a cover.”
“Yeah, for something else, for something more … dangerous.”
“Isn’t it built on the tomb of the goddess?”
“So you know?” asked Prim.
“Am I not supposed to?”
Prim shrugged. She shook off the tight pose of watch and moved around a little, relaxing. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Lei doing the same. Good girl.
“I think if there was a goddess as good and powerful as Azora, she’d have enemies.”
“Well she did,” said Lei. “The … the … um …”
“The dark one,” said Prim. “Maloth.” She purred the name of her goddess, vibrations washing over her body.
“Um … right.” Lei went back to looking down the hallway. She shifted her weight again, getting back onto the balls of her feet.
She was scared.
Good. Prim licked her lips.
“What do you think is going to come down those steps and attack the chapel?” asked Prim.
“When you keep watch. What are you watching for? What are you defending the Chapel of Azora against?”
“Who is attacking?”
“I … I don’t know.”
Prim rolled her eyes. “In your mind, when you imagine us being attacked and you saving my life and becoming a hero and getting all the accolades you so badly want and think you so deeply deserve, in that little fantasy, what do you imagine attacking us?”
“I don’t ... “Lei fell silent then whispered, “Demons.”
“Demons storming down the corridor?”
Lei’s chest heaved. Prim smelled it. There was the sweet sweet smell of fear. It was like steak, like fresh-cut meat, seared but still bleeding. It was salty and thick but there was still a sweetness to it, like butter and a cream sauce. Prim licked her lips.
“Are they armed?”
“I don’t —”
“In your mind. In your imagination. Are the demons armed?”
“No,” whispered Lei.
“Just fang and claw?”
Prim stepped closer, abandoning her post, but Lei didn’t move. The rookie was staring down the corridor, staring down her inevitable attackers. Her chest still heaved, and Prim took a deep breath, letting the wonderful aroma of fear—fear almost like lust—fill her nostrils.
“In your mind, what do they look like? These demons?”
“Black and scaly?”
“Hoofed and horned?”
Prim took another step closer. The little human girl smelled like the best meal you’d ever had mixed with all that nostalgia, all that narrative around it. No one’s grandmother makes the best anything, but right now, with the fear thick in the air, Lei smelled like a fresh bled human, just like grandma used to make.
“Charging to tear apart the chapel stone by stone?”
“To desecrate a holy sight. To befoul our goddess and her final resting place?”
Prim took a step closer. “What if I told you they didn’t look like monsters? What if I told you that they looked like me?” Lei turned and gasped, Prim laughed. After a moment, Lei joined her, laughing nervously. But she didn’t relax. Her pulse was still pounding. Prim could feel it more than hear it. There was one vein, thick and quivering, underneath the skin that Prim could make out, even in this gloom.
“Goddess, rookie,” said Prim, taking another step closer. “You scare too easily.”
Lei blushed with embarrassment and -
“What’s that?” hissed Prim, turning to look up the corridor.
“What?” asked Lei. She stepped closer, reaching for her sword but not unsheathing it. “I didn’t —”
Prim snarled and moved in a blur, one hand grabbed Lei’s shoulder, and the other grabbed the soft meat of the neck. She squeezed tight, puncturing the skin, and letting the blood squirt and burst. She squeezed hard, making sure Prim’s cry for help choked on blood. With the other hand, she pressed down on the shoulder, keeping the neck exposed. With all her weight, she charged forward, pushing Lei into the wall of the corridor. Prim tried to struggle, but with one final roar, Prim latched down onto Lei’s neck, her fangs extended, and drank deep of the sweet girl’s blood.
Lei didn’t fight it. None of her training had prepared her for what Prim was. None of her drills and procedures were for betrayal. Instead, as the blood oozed out of Lei, she pressed back against Prim, letting out a moan as she experienced for the first time a woman’s lips on her neck. Her blood pumped away from the heart and down Prim’s eager throat. Prim lifted Lei into the air against the wall, and Lei’s feet kicked as they dangled. She whimpered as the blood drained out of her, a smile appearing along her lips as her face paled. Her arms pressed against Prim, almost as though she were a lover bringing Prim closer to her, bringing the fangs deeper into her neck.
As Prim fed, another hunger burned inside her. The same hunger that a cavern full of rats could never satisfy. The same hunger that Iriel wouldn’t let her satisfy. One could not drink eagerly of another’s flesh and not want all of them. One couldn’t taste the blood and not want the skin, the lips, the sweet nectars of the body. Lei was a potpourri of flavors, of textures, of fluids. Why would Prim stop at the blood? Why would one only eat the filling of the pie? Why not the crust? Why not more?
Prim took both hands away from Lei’s neck. With her jaw still latched to the girl, Lei moaned in ecstasy. One of her last breaths was of pleasure as she lay dying in Prim’s arms. But Prim wasn’t done with her yet. There was still more for her to give the vampire, and Prim intended to take each drop of pleasure from this meal.
With her hands free, Prim tore away at Lei’s armor. She unbuckled the straps and ripped at the leather padding, at the linen undergarments. She couldn’t get the breastplate off, but the pants ripped away, and Prim’s bloody hand groped at Lei’s pussy. The human girl gurgled something, trying to form words of adoration, but only flecks of blood flew out over Prim’s face. The vampire licked her lips, the flame of her lust stoked by the beautiful death of her prey. She didn’t want Lei to lie limply. She was going to fuck her dinner, not rape it.
Her hands went to work, and Lei responded to Prim’s touch quickly, eagerly. She tried to moan, but more blood bubbled over her lips and down her chin. “Don’t die,” whispered Prim. “Not yet. We’re going to have a bit of fun before you go.” Lei closed her eyes, but when her hips ground against Prim’s hand, the pale vampire laughed. “Like that?” she said. “Not a bad way to die is it?”
Lei tried to say something, but only the choked sound of drowning came out.
Prim leaned in closer and kissed her prey, enjoying the taste of Lei’s blood-coated lips. “What’s that, love?”
Lei gargled her own blood again.
“Hmmm, can’t understand you.” Prim laughed. “Shame. Maybe you could have been quite the conversationalist.”
Worshipers, hissed a voice. Prim stopped and looked around the corridor for the source, but there was nothing. They were alone.
Bring me worshipers, said the voice. More worshipers.
The voice washed over Prim, stilling her, extinguishing the flame of her lust, the desperation of her hunger. “Yes, goddess,” she said, bowing her head. Disobeying Iriel was one thing, but Prim had no plans to betray Maloth.
“Sounds like your lucky day,” said Prim. She pushed Lei to the rocky ground and began to unbuckle her armor. “But I think Maloth would appreciate it if I could fuck you and convert you all at once.”
Mmmmm, purred the voice. The vibrations teased Prim’s body. Her skin rose and tingled. Everything was alive with pleasure, Prim felt for the first time—though not the last time—the pleasure of her goddess in her cruelty, in her selfishness, in her aggression.
Prim peeled off her pants and ripped away her undergarments. “Goddess wants you to join us,” said Prim. “You should feel honored.” She grabbed a dagger from her belt and cut a thin line over her pussy, letting the blood flow down between the folds. “Even if you don’t, I’m sure you don’t want to die.”
Prim kicked Lei, and the body flopped harmlessly to the side. There was no resistance and little life left in the future corpse. Prim stepped over the body, her pussy right above Lei’s face. “You have to drink if you want to live,” said Prim. “I drank you, now you drink me. Then you won’t die. Get it?”
New life seemed to take over Lei as she used the last of her strength to sit up and bury her face in Prim’s pussy, licking eagerly for each drop of blood.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” Prim squatted, pressing Lei’s head back to the cavern floor, and slowly brought her knees to either side of Lei’s head, queening the rookie. She grabbed a fistful of Lei’s hair and lifted up, bringing the woman’s blood-soaked lips deep into her pussy. “Drink,” commanded Prim.
All at once, Lei stopped. She didn’t lick. She didn’t drink. Prim held her prey’s head close to her pussy, but Lei didn’t respond. “Stupid bitch,” muttered Prim. “Fucking dying on me.” She reached inside herself, into the well of magic she wielded as a paladin. Weeks ago, she would have felt the warm embrace of Azora protecting her and invigorating her. Then she would have channeled that energy and power into her will, into the task at hand. But there was no warmth now. There was a sticky cold, a chilling doom. There was only Maloth.
But the power still responded. Prim glowed with a rich purple, and she found her strength bubbling up. “Drink,” she commanded, and Maloth made her will manifest. The limp body of Lei obeyed, and she drank, licking at Prim’s pussy, eagerly trying to get each drop. The spell didn’t specify if Lei were to drink blood or the slick juices flowing from Prim, but it didn’t matter. Lei drank both. She drank eagerly, unable to stop until she fulfilled the commands of the spell, even if she was a corpse for now.
Prim moaned and rocked back and forth. Lei’s tongue was clumsy, and the wound stung, but it was still better than her time with Iriel. She’d fucked a farm girl in town, but this was better still. She found she preferred to be on top, to be the one doing the fucking, the riding, the owning. This was something Iriel would never permit her, but it was how she served Maloth, and her dark goddess delighted in Prim’s temper, in her hunger, in her lack of self-control, in her greedy desire to subjugate.
Prim rocked back and forth, putting her weight on Lei’s face, grinding her pussy deeper into Lei. If it were making love, Prim would care about Lei’s pleasure. If it were sex, she’d care if was crushing Lei with her weight and rocking. But it was neither of those. It was fucking, and as such, Lei’s preferences were forfeit. Only Maloth’s desires mattered now.
Zara pulled her black and sticky hands out of the pool and turned to Iriel, nodding. “It is done, Mistressss,” she hissed.
“Well done,” said Iriel. She turned to the crowd of acolytes and servants that had started to cluster around the waterfall at the center of the Abbey. They watched in fascination and horror as a dozen naiads rose from the dark waters, no longer blue and translucent, but now black and inky like Zara. From here, they were going to go to the gardens and turn the dryads as well. All the nymphs of the Abbey would be transformed like Zara, brought into the service of Maloth, the service of Iriel.
“Don’t be afraid,” shouted Iriel. Only some of the onlookers turned their attention from the abominations rising from the water to their High Priestess. “This is a transcendence for the nymphs,” she continued, using magic to raise and project her voice to the corridors all around them. Almost the entire Abbey could hear her now, and those that couldn’t would be reading the mandate shortly.
“Zara and I have discovered a new form for the nymphs, not one based on nature, not based on the pagan and heathen practices of old religion, of shamanism and nature-worship. These forms are their spiritual selves. Yes, they are strange to behold, as the spirit is formless and nebulous. But they have relinquished their connection to the world, and they have devoted themselves to the goddess, as we at the Abbey have pledged ourselves to do. They rise today, no longer our servants, but now our sisters in redeeming the world, in spreading the goddess’s light to each corner of creation.”
There was some mixed muttering throughout the crowd, but they didn’t appear relaxed. Iriel sighed. One of the naiads rose out of the pool and oozed like a snail through the crowd. Two human acolytes both shrieked as the nymph approached and scrambled away. The rest of the crowd made a clear path, giving the nymph plenty of distance as it moved past them and on to its duties in the Abbey.
“Are you not acolytes of Azora?” rebuked Iriel. “Are you not all charged with the love of all living things in your heart?” She summoned a spell to her fingertips. It couldn’t be powerful, or they would notice. It would have to be subtle. Not control, just a way to help them relax. A way to make them more receptive to this confusing reality.
“Este,” she whispered, and thin lines of light shot from her to everyone around her. They were no more than grey-ish silver blues, almost invisible to the eye, but as they struck each acolyte, they instantly relaxed, releasing their muscles, losing their looks of horror and confusion, as the nymphs made their way through the crowd.
“These are our sisters,” she said, again projecting her voice via magic. “All they seek is to join us in worship. Perhaps they do not have the beauty of the angels, but they are lower beings. You fault them for their impurity? Look to your own hearts first.” Iriel’s voice sharpened as a mother disappointed in her daughters. “You will not judge them so low and yourself so high. You ought to look to our goddess to … to …”
A strange thought struck Iriel. More, hissed Maloth in her mind. Bring me more.
“Yes,” whispered Iriel to herself. “Yes.”
She looked up and summoned one of the captains of her guard. “Tell Orilana to double the guard at the Chapel in the coming days.”
“Yes, Your Eminence,” said the Aasimar woman.
“Now,” snapped Iriel.
“As you wish, Your Eminence.” The woman charged off through the crowd to find Orilana.
Iriel spread her arms and the light of the cavern dimmed. A pale silver light bloomed around her, washing over the acolytes and the nymphs, over the paladins and the servants. “I have a message from the goddess,” she shouted, her voice enraptured. A dash more of magic, and there was a faint choir of angels singing around her. They mingled with the gasps of those watching her, and she felt all eyes on her.
“You have betrayed the virtues of the goddess,” boomed Iriel. Her voice changed, layered with the voice of Maloth, but instead of the cruel hissing and grating, Maloth’s voice was sweet and melodious as Azora’s. “You have traded vanity for community. You have traded pride for fellowship. As such, you must all spend time in repentance. Each acolyte must spend an hour in the chapel in the coming week, alone. There will be no exceptions.” The final words of the message rang around the corridor, echoing over and over until it was a whisper lingering in the ears of each observer. When her reverie was over, Iriel collapsed, her chest heaving as though she’d gone through a great ordeal. Dozens of acolytes flocked to her, checking to see if she was alright. She held up a hand, keeping them back, and spoke again to the crowd.
“The goddess has spoken. See to it that her will is obeyed, that we will repent for how we have judged our sisters. In the meantime, examine your hearts. Befriend the nymphs. Look past their forms to the beauty of their spirits, as the goddess does for each of you.”
She lowered her hands and stopped the booming of her voice. Some of the acolytes hesitated for a moment, waiting to see what else she would do, but then they quickly turned to each other and chattered, whispering about what all this meant and what they were going to do. Iriel stepped away from the crowd and smiled, proud of her clever thinking.
Well done, hissed Maloth. Tonight I will reward you.
“Thank you, goddess,” whispered Iriel.
Bringing them to me won’t be enough, said Maloth. Some will resist.
There are many as devout as her. Not all are as proud or vain as you.
Iriel blushed at the compliment. “I’ll need more power to corrupt them.”
I’ll need more worshipers to gather more power.
Iriel took a deep breath. The ecstasy of pleasing her goddess took the wind out of her more than the charade earlier. She felt hungry and horny. She needed someone to take into her room and fuck stupid. She didn’t even want to convert another. She just wanted to fuck them till they suffocated on her pussy. Surely Maloth would indulge her a little sacrifice for all her hard work.
There is work to do, hissed Maloth. Reward later.
Iriel sighed. Always a High Priestess, and never a Whore. It’s too bad really. The fear in the room? The need to please? It was intoxicating. Nothing turned her on like it. But Maloth was right. Her goddess was always right. There was work to do. She had converted so few. Hundreds of lives still needed to be bent under Maloth’s will. She needed something to speed things up, some deeper magic.
Iriel smirked. She needed Fella.
Iriel spotted the curvy Aasimar talking to another acolyte, seemingly comforting her. Fella was soft and healthy, the ideal woman to be a barmaid or the mother of twelve little children running around her delicious legs. Instead, she had devoted her life to Azora, and few rivaled her for her talent in wielding magic.
“Sister Fella!” shouted Iriel and made her way through the crowd. Her friend looked up and smiled, saying something final to the acolyte she was speaking to and then dismissing her.
“High Priestess,” she said with a smirk and a bow. Her long brown braid swung as she swept her body and arm aside as though speaking to a Duchess or Queen. Iriel laughed. They always found the formalities a bit strange between them, but around other people, their titles prevented rumors of jealousy or favoritism.
“How may I serve you?” she asked, her playful smile still on her lips.
“Remember the issue I’ve been dealing with lately?”
“No. Come.” Iriel grabbed Fella’s shoulder and turned her, walking her friend away from the crowd. “The debauchery,” whispered Iriel when she thought they were far enough away.
“Oh,” Fella’s soft brown eyes hardened and narrowed. Even the coronet around her head dimmed from its rich gold. “Yes.”
“I have an idea on how to fight it.”
“Verily.” Iriel smiled again despite herself. Fella’s language alternated from that of a kindly matron to a royal courtier. She read too many romance novels. “But I need your help and the help of … uh … someone less …”
“Beautiful?” teased Fella.
Fella’s brow furrowed. “You mean less wholesome.”
Fella huffed and crossed her arms. “You know nothing about —”
“I was there when you touched yourself and then fasted for a month after it from —”
Fella grabbed Iriel’s arm and twisted. “Not so loud!” she hissed.
“See?” Iriel smirked. “Squeamish.”
“I’m not virginal,” said Fella. “You should ask Mola what —”
Iriel shook her head. “You don’t need to prove anything.” She put her hands onto Fella’s, calming her friend. She couldn’t use any magic to help smooth things out. Even the slightest incantation would alert Fella. Paladins were easy to manipulate. Clerics with expertise like Fella were something else entirely.
“I have an idea for a spell,” said Iriel. “Well, more of a rune. An artifact really. I need your help creating it, and I need absolute discretion and secrecy.”
“What did you have in mind?”
“First, who is your most promising pupil?”
Iriel sighed and cocked an eyebrow. “I need someone less squeamish.”
Fella sighed and rolled her eyes. “Fine.” She let go of Iriel’s’ hand. “You’re looking for Farryn.”
“Farryn, she’s an elf that —”
“I know her. You trust her?”
“Not as much as Mola, but —”
“Not Mola. We need expertise in spell crafting.”
Fella paused. She chewed on her bottom lip, thinking to herself, then seemed to come to a conclusion when she released her bottom lip and nodded. “You want Farryn.”
“Send for her. Now.”
Fella nodded, closed her eyes, and began to mutter the incantation. Her throat glowed a tender pink, and then she spoke her message: “Come to me. I’m by the main spring. Come now.”
She opened her eyes and the pink faded from her throat. “Done. Now what is this spell.”
Iriel took a deep breath. “You’ve done hundreds of surgeries, yes?”
Fella froze and arched an eyebrow. “I wouldn’t call that a surgery.”
“What if you were pierced with something that had a rune on it?”
“A spell rune?”
“Yes. You can’t put runes on a body without a tattoo, and those are forbidden by Azora. But piercings aren’t.”
“You want to etch a spell rune onto a piercing and then —”
Fella thought for a second. “It could work,” she admitted. “What spell did you have in mind?”
“Well, we’ll tell people it’s for protection.” Iriel rounded the corner from the spring, out of the sight of the public, and Fella followed.
“We’ll tell them?” asked Fella. “What will it really be for?”
Fella rounded the corner and Iriel pounced on her, pressing her lips harshly against Fella’s and pushing her against the stone wall. As she kissed her friend, darkness wrapped around them, thick and tangible like velvet curtains, shielding them from eyes. To Iriel’s pleasant surprise, Fella didn’t fight the kiss. She sighed into it, parting her lips, and the smoke of Maloth poured into Fella, filling her. It wasn’t enough to transform her as Iriel would never risk that so in the public, but it would bring Fella to her line of thinking. It was a beautiful first step.
Iriel broke the kiss, leaving Fella breathless. Her friend was gasping, her eyes closed, but when she opened them, her cow-like brown eyes were a beautiful shade of purple, dark and lovely.
“It will really be for obedience,” said Iriel. She reached out and stroked Fella’s cheek. Her friend purred and eased her hand into her friend’s touch. “A bit like what you just felt, but much stronger. Less intoxicating,” Fella smiled, “but more potent.”
“It’s possible,” said Fella. “Where do you want the piercing?”
“As close to the heart as possible.” Iriel reached out and groped her friend’s tits. “I was thinking the nipples.”
Fella closed her eyes and hummed. “Sounds yummy. I will —” Her eyes widened. “She’s coming.”
“Disguise your eyes,” snapped Iriel. She turned the corner, stepping into the public eye, as Farryn approached. She was a wood elf with thick and fiery red hair that she attempted to tame with clips and ties, though it refused. She was wiry and lithe, more of a stick like most wood elves are. She lacked the glorious tits and hips that Fella had in plenty, but Iriel supposed she couldn’t fuck every acolyte she bent to her will. Surely someone in this Abbey would find Farryn more than merely pretty, though pretty she was with rich blue eyes and a narrow but kind face.
“Your Eminence,” she said and bowed.
“This is your strongest pupil?” asked Iriel to Fella.
Farryn looked up, her eyes wide from the compliment, but then looked back at the floor, continuing her bow but adding a blush.
“Yes, Your Eminence,” said Fella. She stepped out of the darkness and stood next to Iriel. Each step was slow, her feet made an arcing path as they lifted and glided over the stone. Each step was fluid, seductive, and easy.
Iriel ached to fuck her.
Focus, hissed Maloth.
“This is the most powerful cleric you know?” asked Iriel.
“Other than you.”
“Good. We’ll test the runes on her first.”
Farryn looked up, shocked. “High Priestess?”
Iriel smiled and stepped forward, taking Farryn’s hand in hers. “How would you like to be part of an experiment that could save the Abbey?”