The Blood Temple. Chapter 1-3 and now 4!

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The Blood Temple. Chapter 1-3 and now 4!

Post by Unit7 on Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:35 pm

I present to you my NaNoWriMo Project for this year! The Blood Temple.
Also if anyone else is taking part in this and are on the NaNo forums, keep an eye out for Mazrath. Very Happy


The flames of candles flickered casting ominous shadows on the walls. Walls adorned with skulls, some of stone and others… others were the trophies of the Order of Blood. In small alcoves skulls sculpted from Onyx hung just above large stone bowls filled almost to the brim with blood. At the front of the large room was a large altar clothed in the finest blood red silk. Behind the altar was a tapestry, blood of the High Priestesses enhanced the image of their Goddess in ecstasy as her nude form was covered in her High Priestess blood, the blood they willingly gave in hopes of finding such bliss.

The Altar Room was not empty; hundreds of chairs were occupied while slaves and males who had not pleased their mistresses stood back happily knowing that they were lucky enough to even be allowed in such a holy place. No whispers or sound at all was heard from the crowed. Only those in the highest favor of a high priestess, or if they were lucky, the Goddess herself, could even utter a word. Males were outright forbidden unless given permission.

Four high priestesses stood before the Altar, each wearing loose fitting robes of crimson. They were holding hands with the two on the outside had their hands up in praise. Their words were spoken in unison creating a singular voice. All those aspiring to High Priestess knew the words by heart, for it was their deepest desire to hear them spoken about them.

“Mother Goddess, we offer today one of our Sisters so that she may know the true wonders of the world.” They said together. “She has served us and you most faithfully even in these dark times. She is willing in mind, flesh, and soul.” With practiced step, the High Priestesses moved towards the altar and as one they pulled its clothing free. It was a test of faith they knew and one they feared to fail. If they couldn’t pull it free it could only mean one thing. Mother Goddess was not merely displeased but outright angry. So as the cloth slid as if it were water falling over rocks and flew into the crowed hovering gently above the heads of the onlookers, pure joy sprung into their hearts. Their Goddess was pleased.

The unclothed altar was large and made of stone, rubies and gems were set in it amongst the skull carvings and ancient runes that no one knew what they truly meant. The High Priestesses often hinted that they knew their secrets but in truth they only knew half of their true meanings. The top of the altar was large enough for a human to lay down comfortably on it with her arms and legs spread out comfortably.

Only two people out of the entire Temple were not attending the holy ritual of sacrifice. They sat in a small chamber behind the Altar. Serena stood before her younger sister Katherine. They had been so young and when their parents had died. They had wandered the streets on their last copper when the Sisters of Blood found them and took them in. They could hear the rehearsed verses of the High Priestess, each time they spoke Serena felt a shiver run down her spine. She felt more powerful and pleasure then she had ever felt before. Her eyes beamed with joy as she looked down at Katherine.

“Can’t you feel it?” Serena whispered, “Oh baby sister I so hope one day you will be chosen.” Her smile faltered as Katherine didn’t share the same joy in the thought. “You are still young…” she caressed her sister’s cheek. “One day you will truly know what it means to be a Sister of Blood.”
Katherine tried to look into her sisters eyes. She had to force herself not to shrink away from the touch. After a moment she did manage a false smile.

“I just don’t know what I would do without you.” Serena’s smile waned for a moment.

“Don’t worry. We will be reunited in the Mother’s Palace. We will sit by her side and spend eternity together. This isn’t goodbye forever.”

The four High Priestesses chants grew louder. Soon other voices were joined into the praise of the Mother. Serena and Katherine could hear them, could feel the power behind those words. Just as fast as the chants had strengthened, they had died away. Katherine looked up at her sister, her real sister, and could feel a stab of pain in her heart. She was absolutely delighted. “Come my Sister it is time.”

Katherine sat there for a moment as Serena walked towards the door. She wondered how long she could sit there before her sister bothered to check. Would she care if she didn’t join in the ritual? The thoughts were fast fleeting, disappearing as if they never existed.

They appeared to have walked right through the stone walls, as if they were specters. In truth it was an illusion that only the most faithful to the Mother could possibly see through let alone walk through. Katherine had to hide her grimace as she passed through. Dots of pain burned around her body, hot and searing. She kept her face straight and even wondered if she could manage a smile. She thanked some God or Goddess she did not know for making the fantasies of staying in the small chamber disappear. She would have been trapped otherwise.

Serena moved in front of the four high priestesses and they encircled her trapping her in a circle. Their chants to the Mother Goddess continued as a small whisper, forcing the audience to strain their hearing. Slowly the chanting, the praises, steadily grew in volume so that no sound could be heard.

Katherine could feel the power, the magical force they were trying to seduce. It pricked and tingled at her skin, her heart ached. It had once filled her with warmth, of pleasure she couldn’t begin to comprehend. Now it was as if someone was taking a needle and poking it in her heart all the while laughing. She couldn’t let on to the pain, the confusion. She was, after all, supposed to be one of the youngest to reach the position of High Priestess.

Serena limbs went limp, her eyes rolling back into their sockets as her head lulling. With a simple movement she shrugged off the loose robes, exposing her entire body to all to see. Katherine adverted her eyes and studied at a red candle.

The four high priestesses released the circle and led her to the altar. Katherine, now looking, could see she needed no prompting. There was no hesitance in her steps or actions. There never was. Once more the room fell silent.

Mordana, the lead High Priestess, took a long jagged dagger from the folds of her robe and like Serena moved her robes exposing her body to everyone. Candle light glinted off the cruel blade. It’s reflections of its surroundings showing as crystal clear as if it were a mirror. The blades edge reflected Katherine for a moment. She was stunned to see the tears slowly coming. She quickly turned her head hoping no one else had seen. Would they understand? Laying on that altar was not just a sister sworn in blood and oath. They had shared the same parents, had grown up together, and had survived on the streets together. But she knew none of this mattered. Her sister Serena was being honored above all else. They would just look down on her in disgust.

She inhaled deeply. The smell of the scented candles and the sweat that dripped from the audience’s body was oddly intoxicating. Primal urges and instincts bloomed within Katherine’s heart and soul. Fighting these feelings only brought turmoil to her. She had been raised on giving into them. She had been taught that feeling this way during such rituals was not only expected but encouraged to give into such urges.

“Mother Goddess,” Mordana said, “Sister Serena is willing to give herself to you in every way possible. Her flesh shall be of yours and she is eager to feel your flesh with hers. Her mind will be as one and your wills and desires will be one in the same. Her soul where her love and desire to please you comes from will mingle and entwine itself within your essence so that she may better serve you.” Mordana raised the dagger with one hand and in the other she held up Serena’s exposed forearm. Katherine blinked the tears away before they ever came. She knew her sister would be bled out and not killed with a swift thrust to the heart.

As the blade easily slid down Serena’s wrist, she took up a chant of a language none of those attended knew. These words were not rehearsed, were not even a conscious thought. Katherine had been told it was a private language shared between the Mother and the Sister being sacrificed.

Mordana took the blade and moved towards the other arm. After repeating the process she moved in front of the tapestry and wiped the blade clean onto it. Turning back to Serena, she slowly caressed her cheek as her chants had ended. They gazed into each other’s eyes and suddenly Katherine felt weak at the knees. She hadn’t made High Priestess and couldn’t be with her sister in her final moments. As much as she hated this, as much as she wanted to scream her denial, she had been well trained. She couldn’t get her legs to move across the barrier. Silence and ultimate behavior was needed as the sacrificed Sister dies. To do otherwise would mean execution. No exception and that sister would roam the underworlds devoid of everything. So as Serena quietly and peacefully left the world to join their Goddess, their Mother, Katherine could only watch.
Mordana looked for a pulse and when she found none she stretched out her arms and shouted her praise to their goddess. Thanking her. Katherine had to hold her tongue now. It was wrong. It had to be.

This was the part of the ceremony she hated above all else. Mordana removed a golden goblet from behind the altar and swirled its contents. She smiled down into it and took a long sip from it. Silence was not necessary for this part and whispers of their praise for their Mother was encouraged, but it seemed to Katherine that no one ever spoke. Perhaps it was the part of them that was caught between revulsion and awe. Looking around though, the greedy eyes that beamed back at Mordana she knew the truth. They were jealous.

Mordana moved the goblet from her mouth and a small trickle of blood fell from the corner of her mouth. With one sweep of her finger she cleaned it up and sucked on it. She passed the goblet to the next person. Each of them took a sip and then they moved from the stage, away from Serena and moved in front of Katherine.

“Drink so you may know her strength,” Mordana whispered, “drink so you may know her wisdom and her joy.” She held the goblet out towards Katherine. She froze for a long moment. She knew all eyes were on her. This wasn’t a normal part of the ritual. Only the High Priestess may drink the blood of another High Priestess.

“I… I can’t,” Katherine mumbled her voice soft. She knew she was playing a dangerous game. She had spoken the truth, but which truth would they think she meant? Instead of finding out she explained. “I can’t I am not a High Priestess.” Mordana seemed to relax a bit.

“She was more of a Sister to you than anyone else.” Mordana took Katherine’s hand and forced it to clasp the goblet. “This isn’t normal I know. But I saw it in a vision. Mother showed me that you of all people needed Serena’s strength.” Her voice was soft, loving, and almost motherly. But would a mother, any mother, want this? Katherine asked herself. Katherine looked down into the goblet and felt nauseous. She saw the room spin around, her legs swayed dangerously. But just as it began it stopped with Mordana’s next words. A halting realization of what she was. “I could understand if this was your first time.” Her voice was a whisper, “But you have done this before.” Mordana’s motherly tone was gone now. It was a cold dagger poised to Katherines throat. She looked away from the truth and brought the goblet towards her lips.


xXx

So what do you think of it so far?


Last edited by Unit7 on Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:33 pm; edited 4 times in total

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Sometimes, late at night, I sit here and I wonder. The things I wonder vary from night to night. Sometimes I wonder about the stars and other nights I wonder about what tomorrow will be like. But recently I have been wondering what my life would have been like without you...-Samantha Greene
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Re: The Blood Temple. Chapter 1-3 and now 4!

Post by Unit7 on Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:53 pm

Was it really that bad? Sad

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Sometimes, late at night, I sit here and I wonder. The things I wonder vary from night to night. Sometimes I wonder about the stars and other nights I wonder about what tomorrow will be like. But recently I have been wondering what my life would have been like without you...-Samantha Greene
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Re: The Blood Temple. Chapter 1-3 and now 4!

Post by Unit7 on Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:25 pm

The rim of the goblet was cool on her lips. Closing her eyes, she tilted it back. A thought of throwing the goblet away crossed her mind but it was quickly dismissed. Her eyes darted back towards the jealous eyes of the audience. How quickly would they raise their weapons and prepare their spells at her blasphemous act? The thought and strength was quickly gone and forgotten. Very much what her life would be. She then focused her eyes back on the contents of the goblet. The blood was dark, and where the light reflected off it made it almost enticing.

It was Serena’s blood. She would be drinking of her. Her eyes now darted to her sister’s body, already growing cold by now, and she downed the goblets contents. She would have done anything if it meant being close to her one last time. A long moment passed, no one daring to make a sound. The High Priestesses, particularly Mordana eyes were wide with joy.

“You are now a High Priestess.” Mordana took the empty goblet from Katherine’s trembling hands. “I know your studies are not yet complete but I know this is the will of Mother.” Mordana’s fingers moved across Katherine’s lips and sucked on it as if it were the blood of Mother herself. Katherine watched as it happened. She couldn’t be.

“I am honored,” Katherine said trying to smile, “can I be excused?” Mordana nodded. In truth she no longer had the full capacity to control her. Not if what she said was true. She was a High Priestess now and only truly answered to Mother. With one glance back towards Serena, her body was now being dressed in the finest ceremonial robes, she ran down the aisle and into a dark corridor.

She could feel her stomach rejecting the blood. Could it have been poisoned? Could it have been an elaborate plot to kill her? She had made certain that no one knew of her disloyalties to Mother. She went about her prayers and her tasks like she always did. Perhaps she was betrayed by Mother? The corridors were empty, not even the guards at the entrance to the temple were there. For who would be so stupid to attack during such a powerful ceremony? She glanced around and wished they were under attack. She wished she could then join the attackers and kill her sister’s murderer. Mordana’s head on a plate would be a wonderful sight!

At the thought a sharp pain shot through her body. Her limbs grew heavy as she stumbled down the corridor. Each step brought another explosion, another jab in her heart and head. She threw open the door to her room and fell on her bed. She leaned over the bed and retched. The blood, that hadn’t been digested, covered the contents. A cold crept through her body. She curled into a ball and wrapped her arms around herself. Trembling uncontrollably she knew she would be finding her sister soon. She knew that she would be watching as Mother punished all those who turned their back on Her.

Galwin leaned back against an old oak tree. His sword and battered shield lay casually to the side. It had been days since he had seen any trouble. He should have been worried, should have been on constant guard. But the day, the sun high in the sky with few clouds blocking out the blue sky, was to perfect. He closed his eyes listening to the birds and how the wind rolled through the lone oak tree on top of the hill.

His country was engaged in a war to the death he knew. He also knew the small country had no real challenge to the larger country. He had spent the first few nights during the war wondering what would prompt the two peaceful kingdoms to wage war. Perhaps King Charles had accidentally insulted King Lotor, the king of the enemy country. Galwin didn’t care. If his country was burned to the ground, he would simply move into the victor’s country. If his country was victorious, he wouldn’t have to change a thing in his life style. Galwin, who had yet to reach his twentieth summer, couldn’t care less who won. As long as at the end of the day he could continue on with life.

Galwin peaked open his eyes and saw the marching soldiers down on the road. He had heard them, could almost feel them, long before he ever saw the proof. The white and gold armor told him that this was a company of Nithdra Soldiers. He looked down at his battered shield and sword and not for the first time wondered if he should have joined the army instead of fleeing when the soldiers came to his village to draft or find volunteers. But Galwin saw through the lie. There were no such things as volunteers, and if there was, why would someone volunteer their life for someone else? When and if he fought, it was for himself. A small smile found its way on Galwin’s face. The Nithdra’s armor was some of the finest in the realm and Galwin had no doubt he would look good and fearsome in it.

After standing up and stretching his limbs, he buckled his weapon belt and strapped his shield across his back. It wasn’t the white and gold armor of Nithdra, but it was just as good. He considered following the soldiers, they had maybe a mile on him. But then he looked towards the east, back in the direction of his village. Standing on the hill he could see easily in every direction. But in truth, only the north and south seemed open to him. To the west he would eventually find the border to Dransik and that would lead fighting against odds he wasn’t comfortable with. He faced south and without a second thought he started to run down the hill.

King Lotor’s appearances were deceiving. Those who met him thought he hadn’t raised a sword outside ceremonies when such actions were called for. Never would they have guessed when he was a Prince he had led the charge of many battles.

King Lotor leaned against the table. His eyes focused on the detailed map of Kithdra. Two different colored markers were on top of the large map; the black indicating his own troops and white to mark Kithdra’s last known positions. Kithdra was a small country and a weak country by all appearances and yet he couldn’t conquer the country. He nodded towards the General, the only other person in the room. Normally he would have his advisers and other general

“Our soldiers will lay siege to the city by tomorrow.” General John pointed to a walled city called Tarthgos near the border between the two countries.

“Do they know?” King Lotor said. His eyes narrowed on that map. Picturing if this would be the last step in his conquest before it was over. Was it there?

“Our spies had informed us that no one had knowledge of its whereabouts.” General John looked up at his king for a moment. King Lotor didn’t pay attention to his general. “The truth is they just might. We conquered Tethoes and the mayor insisted that they knew nothing and that it Tarthgos that held the answer.” King Lotor leaned back into his chair digesting the news. Would he have to conquer all of Kithdra? He dismissed the general. He sat there for a moment considering his options. A knock at the door disturbed his thoughts. A young boy stood there in ragged clothing. To anyone he would look like an innocent boy that could give you a puppy eyed look that would get you to do anything.

“Well if it isn’t may favorite little theif.” King Lotor said smiling. The young boy just shrugged and walked through the door and sat casually in the seat Lotor was sitting in. “So what brings you here?”

“A bit of this and a bit of that.” Andy shrugged. “I was told by General Dagnar that he has found the fourth one.”

“Where?” Lotor said running up to the boy and grabbing him by the collar. “Where is it?” Andy gave him a bored look.

“Payment?” Andy asked casually. Lotor glared at him and gave him a quick shake. “Alright! But you won’t like it. It’s in the heart of the Narrow Wood Forest.” Lotor’s face drained of color, his anger washed away with fear. Lotor dropped the boy and stumbled backwards, going limp in the chair General John had been sitting in.

“He is sure of this?” Lotor asked. Almost wishing it was some trick of the boy.

“Sure as anyone can be. But on the bright side, at least you are one step closer to completing it.” Andy said. Lotor just stared at him. He had known the kid longer then he could dare try and remember. He knew that the boy’s payment was not nearly as rewarding as watching him suffer on this task.

King Lotor dismissed the boy and went to a tall shelf full of maps of various regions. From simple villages of his own kingdom to regions of distant places he had never been to before. He pulled out a map of his kingdom and studied it for a moment. The Narrow Wood Forest was at the southern edge of his country. There was nothing remarkable about them, except old legends of werewolves haunting the area. It was the fact that the heart of the forest was in his damned kingdom. How many more would he find?

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Sometimes, late at night, I sit here and I wonder. The things I wonder vary from night to night. Sometimes I wonder about the stars and other nights I wonder about what tomorrow will be like. But recently I have been wondering what my life would have been like without you...-Samantha Greene
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Re: The Blood Temple. Chapter 1-3 and now 4!

Post by Unit7 on Sat Nov 06, 2010 5:44 pm

For the rest of the day, and much of the night, Katherine remained in her room. She stared up at the stone ceiling, picturing the moon high in the sky. She always loved the moon and the stars on a clear night. She felt powerful and her body tingled with magic. The illness that swept her body that afternoon after the ritual wasn’t poison. With the little magic she still possessed, she had casted the Mother given spells of healing on herself. She was aware that her healing spell may not have worked.

Priests and Priestesses alike got their strength and power from their deity. But she had almost fully rejected hers and was left almost powerless. Once she was perhaps the finest mages within the Temple. Now, as Katherine lay in bed wondering what the moon looked like tonight, she found it difficult to cast any spells beyond a novice could.
She knew now what had caused the illness. Her body rejected the blood of a High Priestess. She had never heard of such a thing occurring within the history of the Order of Blood.

Katherine pulled the blankets tight around her body as her body wracked with chills. It felt as if she was in the arctic tundra with a fierce wind, the breath of some arctic god maybe, blowing at her. Tears sprung to her eyes and not wanting anyone to know, she pulled the blanket further over her head. It was warm, but deep inside she could still feel the cold and the biting wind in her heart. Every once and awhile, she would peek out from her cocoon only to retch some more. It would be a long night for Katherine, one she hoped she would survive.

Katherine woke up the next morning. She was splayed out across her bed. Her blankets were hanging off the foot of the bed. She felt better, felt alive for the first time since before Serena had been chosen. She could picture the chirping birds playing their sweet melody as the morning sun began its ascent into the sky. But as quickly as she pictured it, a smell assaulted her nose. She crinkled it up, in a manner that Serena would tease her about. She looked over the edge of bed and remembered. Fighting back the urge to throw up again, she would have to get someone to clean it up for her. No longer would she have to do such trivial things. She was a High Priestess. The thought struck something within her; it was caught in her throat. She grasped at her heart, wondering if it was still beating. Thump, thump, thump. She sighed.

She got out of bed and threw her covers back on the bed. She thought of her sister scolding her for not making it. But she was gone. Gone. The word hung over her like a carrion eater, waiting for the moment she would rejoin her sister. She waved her hand over her head trying to shoo the creatures away.

She turned back to the vomit and went about cleaning it up. No. She would not bask in the glory of her new found position. She would never lord it over people. As she scrubbed it away, as she avoided touching the blood, she would knew then and there she would never be them. She would become a true Sister of Blood only in title.

Galwin could see the camp from his perch in the tree. There was no mistaking it, they were Dransik soldiers. He had seen the camp at sunset, the black and red armor and the flag with the Lotor emblem was hard to miss. It had been two days since he decided to go south and had come into little trouble. But now he was faced with an obstacle. He could circumvent the whole camp, he doubted any of them knew the terrain as well as he did, but a part of him wondered what kind of loot he would come across. He would also be doing his country a great service in picking off a few of them.
Galwin dropped from the tree branch with but a whisper. A twig snapped, and he wondered if the sentries had heard it. His senses were on full alert, and although he knew they couldn’t as they were half a mile away, the snapping twig sounded like thunder to him.

Galwin picked his way carefully towards the camp. He figured that there were maybe thirty soldiers at the most. They were probably simple fodder to the Dransik Army. What would it matter to a King with such a giant army if they lost a hundred men?

He ducked low behind a boulder as a sentry came past. The sentry stopped and stared at the boulder. Had he heard him? Galwin knew it would only take one shout to alert the whole camp. He knew that if he was caught he was dead. He held his breath and when he heard the Sentry move on he let it out. Galwin knew he was facing death, defying the king of all mortals. As he moved from the boulder and into the shadows of a tent, he couldn’t help but feel the excitement that tingled throughout his body, the wicked smile that was safely hidden in the shadows.

He pulled a small dagger from his belt and with a quick jab he poked it through the cloth. He brought his eye up and looked through it. Several small cots were spread comfortably enough around the tent. All of them were empty except for one. A man, a few years older than Galwin, was snoring softly. He could see the hilt of his sword just under him, with his hand lazily dangling before it.

Galwin pulled away. It would have been easy for him to kill the sleeping soldier. He could be in and out of the tent before anyone ever knew it. Galwin let out a low sigh. He was a lot of things; a cowardly assassin was not one of them.

He could now hear the sentry, his footsteps were all too obvious to Galwin, and he fell to the ground silently. He watched as the sentry walked forward. His torch was held aloft. But then the man sneezed and the torch revealed Galwin. They shared a silent moment, both wide eyed. When the moment broke Galwin pushed off from the ground and sprinted towards the sentry. He suddenly wished he had brought his shield and sword as he raised the dagger and pointed it towards the man’s chest.

The sentry unsheathed his sword, and to Galwins surprise, he didn’t call out. Didn’t raise any alarms. They thought he was some hillbilly drunk on to much mead and out for an adventure. Maybe, Galwin didn’t really know what they thought. But it didn’t matter, for whatever reason luck was on his side.

Galwin parried the sword and wishing to test his luck he tackled the man to the floor. He slid the dagger towards the man’s chest, but his chainmail, didn’t yield. The sentry gave a low groan and punched out with the hilt of his sword. Galwin ducked and lifted the dagger again and struck at the same spot. Another groan and only the very tip of Galwin’s dagger was stained with blood. They struggled, neither of them managing to do any damage to the other. Then on the fifth plunge, the dagger struck home. Deep it went into the sentry’s heart. They shared one last look, both of them were wide eyed and then the sentry was dead.

Galwin pulled his dagger out and wiped it off the tunic of the man he had slain. He stood up shaking. He had killed before. But staring into the eyes of a man as they died was something different. He was used to quick battles where you never had the option. You killed the person or thing in front of you and moved to the next. All as swift as you could manage.
There was a rustling sound from the tent he had peaked in. Had the sleeping man found him? Galwin sheathed his dagger and moved out of the camp. He considered looting the body. Surely he had a few coins on him, maybe something else valuable, but he shook his head. He doubted fodder would have anything of value. Just as quietly as he had entered he had left back to the trees. He ran towards the east for several miles and when he figured he was safe and escaped cleanly he continued his path south. He should have rested and waited for morning. The adrenaline wouldn’t allow it. He just ran south.

_________________


Sometimes, late at night, I sit here and I wonder. The things I wonder vary from night to night. Sometimes I wonder about the stars and other nights I wonder about what tomorrow will be like. But recently I have been wondering what my life would have been like without you...-Samantha Greene
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Re: The Blood Temple. Chapter 1-3 and now 4!

Post by Unit7 on Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:03 pm

Katherine led the funeral march through the twisting tunnels leading to the crypt. She was wearing a white dress, with her blonde hair tied into a tight bun. She held a bouquet of flowers, all of Serena’s favorite, as she led them. It was customary for the one closest to the deceased to lead the procession with the deceased favorite things in life. More times than not it would be money or powerful artifacts. Rarely was it something as flowers, but Katherine felt that this is how she would want it be done. When they were younger her mother had a garden and she could remember how Serena loved to play in it. This was the funeral Katherine had put off since their parent’s demise. The true death and funeral of Serena.

Katherine stopped at a large metal door engraved in runes only a High Priestess could read. She had been to several funerals after sacrifices and had always wondered what they read. Wondering if it told the true side of the Sister’s of Blood. She read them now.

“Here lie the remains of the Immortals of the Sister of Blood. Who shall forever be at the Mother Goddess’s side,” Katherine whispered under her breath. She took a deep breath and pushed open the metal doors. She expected them to be heavy but found that with only the slightest of pushes would have worked.

The funeral ceremony was held in the crypt deep below the Blood Temple. It was a holy place that no males could attend to the funeral. They would hold their own ceremony elsewhere in the temple. Serena’s body would forever rest with the other High Priestesses of the past. The chamber was large with stone shelves built into the walls of the crypt. On the shelves were the bones of other Priestesses, those lost in battle, to sacrifice. None of them were the results of old age. It wasn’t an unheard of practice to eliminate fellow High Priestesses. Those who were honored above all else were in red marble tombs.

Katherine moved past the tombs to the large statue of the Mother Goddess. Her hands were stretched out before her. She had wondered if it was depicting her giving some gift or if she was expecting a gift. Now as Katherine moved to stand before it and going to her knees she knew the truth. She whispered the appropriate prayer and then added so only she could hear. “Please keep her safe.” She stood up and watched as the rest of those attending filled the room. She looked over the tears that fell that fell from those closest to her. How many of you actually care? Katherine wanted to shout.

The last to enter were carrying Serena’s body. She looked beautiful lying like that as if she were merely sleeping. The Sisters made a clear walkway through allowing Serena’s body to be laid before Katherine’s feet.

“My Sister was wonderful to me as a child. After our parents-“ She paused for a second realizing what she had done. “After our false parents died she cared for me as best she could. She was the one to bring me to my real family. She brought me to all my beloved Sisters and Brothers.” She tried to sound sincere, tried to hide the truth. She continued on with her sister’s eulogy, a hollow thing compared to the truth of what Serena was.
When she finished she turned to the statue of Mother and raised her hands out to the side. She couldn’t fail with the next part, couldn’t let them see how far she had fallen. The words to the spell were only a whisper and gradually they became as loud as thunder. The candles and even the torches seemed to flicker. Katherine waited hoping her call would be heard by the Mother. No one spoke, no one accused her. She was simply left up there showing all those attending how she was no longer loyal to their damned goddess. Katherine’s breath became heavy, as if she couldn’t get enough air. She felt the drain of energy, felt the magic tingle within her and she knew it would have worked.

Katherine felt a hand on her shoulder and not wanting to give up she began the spell over again. She felt weak as the spell took its toll on her body and she fought back furiously to try and subdue the tears. Then she felt a hand on her shoulder. It was warm and comforting.

“Your grief is to strong…” Mordana whispered, “no one expects you to fulfill the last rite. No one can fault you. Our grief for the loss of Sister Serena is feeble compared to yours. Rest and I will finish it.” Katherine turned her head towards Mordana and was surprised to see the honesty in her eyes. Katherine blinked away the tears and slowly nodded. She lowered her hands and turned to walk away but she found herself kneeling next to her sister. She bowed over and kissed her on the brow. Silently she whispered a prayer. She didn’t know to what god or goddess or if it was heard. Keep her safe.

Mordana executed the final rite flawlessly. Serena’s body lifted off the ground and a red marble tomb appeared a few feet away. The body lazily drifted over towards, it was as if time had stopped for Katherine. She watched as the body lowered into the new tomb and without realizing it she was standing over it. She held the bouquet again and folded Serena’s hands around them so that she would forever hold them. She backed off as the lid appeared out of nowhere, forever sealing the tomb.

Katherine was the first to enter and she was the first to leave. She couldn’t stand that place any longer. She passed a few males as she ran through the twisting corridors. Most of them were drunk. Just like a male. She thought venomously. She ran until her legs couldn’t carry her, her lungs begging for air. She slumped against a wall panting. Burying her face in her hands, she cried. She cried for her mother and father, for Serena, for all the cruel twists and turns that led Katherine here.

“Maybe you should take a walk through the forest?” Mordana said, “Serena loved the forest. Loved the flowers that grew in a small grove… we spent a lot of good time there.” Katherine looked up. Her vision was blurry from the tears, but there was no mistaking it. Mordana was offering her a hand to help her up. Reluctantly Katherine took it.

“But I can’t leave the Temple…” Katherine whispered. She wanted to leave this place. Wanted to leave and never return. Perhaps she would go to the port city of River Circle. She shook the fantasies away and looked at Mordana helpless. She was surprised to see her smiling.

“You can leave.” Mordana wrapped a hand around Katherine’s waist. “Your apprentice ship to be High Priestess has ended. You are free to come and go as you please.” They walked in silence for a moment and for the first time in almost five years Katherine felt truly happy. Priestesses who wanted to rise to High Priestess were forbidden from leaving the Temple. The closest they could go was on the very edge of the door. Mordana led her out of the temple and she was immediately overwhelmed. The bright sun stung her eyes, the smells of the forest, the sounds of the birds and squirrels, all crashed into her sucking her into them. She remembered sitting at the door looking out. Wishing she could go to the small town on the edge of the forest. She would look on jealousy as the males, high priestesses, and other priestesses who had yet to enter their apprenticeship walked freely from the Temple. She remembered how Serena would sometimes sit with her and tell how it wasn’t all that great.

“As much as I love the Temple, the outside world can be truly beautiful.” Mordana’s voice slipped. It had been confident, understanding, and motherly. Now, Katherine can hear something else. Sorrow? “The forest won’t be the same without her though…” Mordana disappeared within the Temple just as fast as she had arrived to lead her out.

Katherine stood their amazed. She was almost free. She could leave the Temple whenever she wanted. She wandered around the forest for awhile. Not going anywhere in particular. For the first time since Serena had been chosen, her thoughts were her own. When she thought of her future it wasn’t grim or even connected to the Temple. She had heard of High Priestesses who had left the Temple for a time to explore the world to see for themselves what the world held. They always came back though as if everything they had been taught was true about the world. But under the trees, with the world in her grasp she didn’t see herself returning, not ever, to the temple. But as the sun dipped low in the sky, as the monsters of the forest stirred for a night of hunting the fantasies evaporated. Only those who have been a high priestess for years could achieve that sort of freedom.

The moon was high, a full moon that paled in comparison to the countless stars above, was quickly rising in the sky. She turned around and quickly realized she was further from her home then she had thought. On the edge of the horizon she could see a city in the dark. Guards with torches were patrolling the perimeter of the forest. She felt torn then. Should she go back to the Temple or should she continue on and find an Inn for the night. Why should she return so soon? She thought smiling.

She started off walking towards the guards, hoping they wouldn’t ask too many questions. She was a female, in a white dress, coming out of the forest. She knew enough of the world, mostly through her experiences as a kid to know that being female made her somehow less. If there was one thing she was thankful for the Sisters of Blood it was that they proved that they were equal, if not superior to males.

She was almost at the edge of the forest when she heard it. A vicious snarl came from behind her, the sound of a creature stalking its prey. A dozen spells came to her lips, but they were given to her by Mother. She thought back to her feeble attempts to cast basic spells and knew she couldn’t combat a creature that resided in the forest. She ran towards the guards trying to shout through the lump in her throat, trying to fight the fear. But the creature was faster. It came in on four legs looking like a giant wolf. Katherine relaxed. A werewolf! She smiled to herself and dug out a gold medallion from under her dress. She dangled it in front of her.

“Do you know who I am?” Katherine said as courage flowed into her. Werewolves were one of the few creatures that the Sisters of Blood controlled. Not too many were left within the forest, but those that did were valuable guards and escorts through the forest. “I am Katherine, High Priestess of Mother Goddess!” The werewolf stood on its hind legs and walked. It locked its yellow eyes onto hers and sniffed. Then it came down on all fours and began snarling. This can’t be! Katherine stepped backwards and fell to the forest floor and a stick tore into the side of her flesh drawing blood. The spilled blood only made the werewolf seem hungrier as it advanced. She screamed for the first time she could ever remember. She felt weak, felt foolish for leaving the Temple. All she wanted now was to curl into a ball in her room. She wanted Serena to tell her why she couldn’t control the werewolf. She closed her eyes expecting to see Serena and Mother and Father waiting for her.

She heard the shouts of the guards, heard them battle the werewolf. Curled into a ball she loathed herself. She hated feeling weak. She hated that males were rescuing her. She heard the dying groans of one man as he fell to the great beast and after awhile, too long she thought, he heard the final snarl from the werewolf.

“It’s not safe in the woods at night,” A guard said helping her up, “especially on a full moon.” Katherine followed her gaze to the sky. She knew enough about werewolves to know that they were at their most primal and dangerous during the full moon. She scolded herself. She should have known that. She should have realized it was the full moon. But how could she know she wondered as the guards led her into their city. She hadn’t seen the moon in almost a year now after she stopped torturing herself at the door.

The guards didn’t ask questions and probably just assumed she lived in the city. This was fine; let them believe what they want she thought. She was led to a guard post on the inside of the walled city. A healer, an elderly woman, came to check on her. The guards were concerned about the gash on her side. The healer had confirmed it wasn’t a bite and had promptly put a salve that was freezing on her skin. With that, the guards let her leave without any question and only the warning not to be in the forest at night.
Most of the city was already sleeping or had turned to the shadows for business deals. She walked aimlessly. She felt as if she had been there before, but couldn’t remember. She found a small tavern offering rooms. It was then, as she was about to pay, did she realize she hadn’t any money.

“If you want I can pay for your night,” A large gruff man said winking, “for certain favors of course…” Katherine spun on her heals and slapped the man across the face. “Hey a simple no would have been just fine.” He said walking towards a table where a group of men were laughing.

“Tell ye what. I can give ye the night if you work it off. A little house cleaning, nuffing more.” The inn keeper said smiling and revealing several missing teeth. Katherine nodded and was told the room at the end of the upstairs corridor was vacant. She moved past the man at the bar and found her room. She closed the door and locked it behind her. The man’s offer had uncovered memories she had thought left to rot in the bottom of her mind.

She pulled the dress off and examined the ripped fabric. It wasn’t too bad she decided and only needed a good mending. She let her blonde hair down and crept into the bed.

_________________


Sometimes, late at night, I sit here and I wonder. The things I wonder vary from night to night. Sometimes I wonder about the stars and other nights I wonder about what tomorrow will be like. But recently I have been wondering what my life would have been like without you...-Samantha Greene
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Re: The Blood Temple. Chapter 1-3 and now 4!

Post by Unit7 on Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:35 pm

To those reading... is there anyone actually reading? What are your opinions about Katherine? Is she just to damn annoying or...?


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Sometimes, late at night, I sit here and I wonder. The things I wonder vary from night to night. Sometimes I wonder about the stars and other nights I wonder about what tomorrow will be like. But recently I have been wondering what my life would have been like without you...-Samantha Greene
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Re: The Blood Temple. Chapter 1-3 and now 4!

Post by x_mia_x on Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:17 pm

Wow Unit! I really like it.
I'm only done with the first two chapters, but I don't find Katherine to be too annoying at all. Back to reading. Smile
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Re: The Blood Temple. Chapter 1-3 and now 4!

Post by Unit7 on Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:10 am

x_mia_x wrote:Wow Unit! I really like it.
I'm only done with the first two chapters, but I don't find Katherine to be too annoying at all. Back to reading. Smile

Come back to me when you have read further. I fear that I may have written one of those characters where the reader finds them so annoying that they just want to throttle them. lol


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Sometimes, late at night, I sit here and I wonder. The things I wonder vary from night to night. Sometimes I wonder about the stars and other nights I wonder about what tomorrow will be like. But recently I have been wondering what my life would have been like without you...-Samantha Greene
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Re: The Blood Temple. Chapter 1-3 and now 4!

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