005 Gemma Overtakes Nyl

“I trust that you enjoyed the feast,” my master began. “The others said loaf-plant was particularly fresh tonight.”

“I am glad that you have enjoyed yourself, Master, but I take little pleasure in this sort of event.” My fingers thrummed into his hand from a non-broken hand. Whenever I thrummed, trouble followed quickly.

“And what do you take pleasure in?”

Gemma overtook my mind. I became an attractive full-blood. My body threw its arms about him and buried its lips in his. The man immediately thrust Gemma away in disgust.

“I take pleasure in you. Am I not beautiful?” she thrummed. “I could not refrain from your embrace. I am powerless in your presence.”

She embedded her fangs in his shoulder to drink his blood and dispense her venom. Pain seared his flesh. Confusion clouded his mind. I lost all contact with my body and floated about in a void while my mistress tormented the man with her advances. Any love he might possibly, maybe, potentially have borne for me evaporated.

My mind crashed into my physical frame without warning. Dizziness drove me to my knees before my new master. My beautiful guise fled.

Very little, I am afraid… Oh, but I do not yet know your name. I resumed our conversation as if Gemma had never interfered.

“I am Faithful.” He cocked his ears at me, askant. He doubted my sanity.

I hope his character matches his name.

I staggered after him dutifully throughout the night as agony assaulted my frail body. Neither of us spoke. Gemma prevented me from telling him what had happened. Only a few more hours and I would be permitted to retire. Sleep rarely visited me and when it did, it brought its dreaded nightmares. Still, I longed to be free from the chaotic auras of the crowd.

As I stumbled along, the drums of Natia announced the entrance of her priestesses. With their approach on my position, the beat's tempo increased to match the pounding of my terrified hearts. I hated Natia more than anything else. In her name, the people of my world committed their atrocities. It was her power that kept so many women in bondage to the basest passions of the other sex.

Because of the great importance of tomorrow's duel, the finest silver statue of Natia condescended leave her temple. Fabric and wings rustled as everyone in the hall, including the royal family bowed to their goddess. The flapping of her priestesses’ many wings made balancing difficult, but I stood in defiance to the great idol before me.

To my surprise, my master also remained erect. I clenched my fists in rage against Natia, then froze when they arrived. Rather than expressing condemnation, the priestesses greeted us exuberantly and thrummed pleasant words into the ground beneath us.

“Greetings Faithful, you who are highly esteemed by Natia. We have come to present the blessings which she has prepared for your enjoyment. Shall we present our gift?”

“I do not serve your Natia.”

They paused briefly, then continued.

“That is well known to Natia. She has elected to show her goodwill toward you and wishes you victory in tomorrow’s dual.”

All she can do is wish it, not cause it? She is obviously a great goddess.

The priestesses formed a semi-circle around Faithful and seized his head. Despite his protests, they drew a dull stone knife across his left cheek. Blood streamed across his face, then dripped slowly to the floor.

A bat-spider lapped up the pooled blood and slowly morphed into the form of a girl. Soon, gentle fingers took the place of the blood that stained his face and poisoned lips hovered above his own waiting to touch. Before the girl’s body had fully formed, Faithful shoved her away as he had done to me. He fled the hall despite his obligation to accept this gift in worship of Natia. I feared the consequences of his action.

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