A/N This is my first submission to lit. I am by no means a professional writer but have been writing for some years since my advanced English classes in high school. I am looking for any and all feedback on my current story, and based on the outcome of that I may or may not continue this tale.
All characters are over 18 years of age and all are a creation of my own imagination. And similarities to any persons or places real or imaginary are purely coincidental and are not intended.
This is a copyrighted story by VariableDark
I woke from a drugged stupor in what appeared to be a large round room, almost 15 feet across with no apparent doors or exit of any kind. Looking around to find my bearings I noticed three others in the same room with me, only one of which was standing. It was that damnable woman that blew the powdered drug in my face before I fell into the blackness of unconsciousness. The remaining two were men looking no more than 24 years old such as myself. The three of us were bound so as not to be able to move from our prone positions and possibly attack our female captor.
The woman must have heard me awaken for she turned suddenly and scowled at me with such hatred that I almost cringed. Men here are not looked upon as anything more than reproductive necessities in life, the women of this world taking after their beloved Goddess in believing any being not female inferior. Their deity long ago killing or banishing all other Gods and Goddesses to claim rule for herself had instilled in the women of this world such hatred of men so that they started viewing us as no more than cattle for their needs.
Suddenly the room lurched and started a downward movement. Taking this to mean we were on a lift instead of in a stationary room lead me to believe I was soon to learn my fate with this menacing woman. As we seemingly came closer to the end of our lift journey, the woman before me appeared to revel in some untold dark amusement. She turned and smiled the most disturbingly sinister smile at the three of us prone males before her as she started to laugh and exclaim with maniacal glee.
"You three will be part of our offering to the Goddess today. All of you will die in forced combat with our training fighters," then she added almost sadly, "unfortunately none will be by my hand. I am the best fighter ever to be trained in the ways of the Goddess and never has there been one to rise up through the others to face me. Not that a man would have any chance of that anyway."
I thought to myself 'Is this woman so conceded to believe there is no man who could have the skill to rise through the challenges put forth and defeat her. There is always one who is going to be better than you are and someday you will see this for yourself. Hmmm.... I do believe today she will see the error of her ways.'
As I finished my thought, the lift stopped at an open walkway with five more women waiting to secure us men and usher us along until we reached a room with another 12 men and no less than 20 more women. We were pushed to the other men and the women went to seat themselves with the others of their sex. As all were finally seated and quiet, an older woman appeared and began to speak in such a raspy and gruff tone that I almost could not hear her.
"As you ladies know this is to be our great presentation to the Goddess. For her great wisdom and generosity has granted us the rule of the land and all present, we offer her blood with the men you have brought here today. None of us here remember the time before the great Goddess lifted the curse of man from us but we all live to prove ourselves worthy of that gift she bestowed upon us. Today we put your training as warriors to test against these 15 men. Some of you know you will not see the battle today but you are still here as required. This is good, for you will see your fellow sisters in battle and be able to help them increase their abilities with their blade from your scrutiny and appraisal of their fights. Now we will begin with the lowest member of our group and move up from there if and when needed."
Before anything else could be heard one man looked around and said, "Damn longwinded for an old crone!"
"You have just volunteered to be the first sacrifice," the old woman said. "Know this though man... If you defeat her, you will face the next in line until you fall. And you will fall, but if by some gracious miracle of the Goddess one of you survives all the trials of the gathered warriors then you shall be set free."
'I am certain that even if one of these men were to make it through the trials before us there is no way these women would let us leave here alive.' I grimly thought to myself. As the loud-mouthed man was led to the center of a clearing made between all the people gathered, one young woman stood in front of him with two knives drawn. Both knives seemed to be the same in shape and size and reminded me of a butcher's knife. When the fighting area was cleared of all but the two combatants, the small woman cut the mans bindings and tossed one of the knives at his feet.
While he bent down to recover the knife I heard him grumble under his breath, "There is no way I am going to let this tiny woman defeat me."
Apparently, I was not the only one to hear him because before he could even lift his head to meet the eyes of his challenger she flew past him with such speed that it almost looked as if she were a blur. As she stopped some feet past him she did not turn nor did she need to, for the mans neck was slit cleanly through and he fell bleeding out on the ground.
"Very well done Sara," the old woman praised. "The men will now go in order of which they were captured and our next ranking sister will show her worth. When we reach the last man, Sara you will be given the opportunity to finish him as well."
The remaining men all blanched pure white at having witnessed the ferocity and quickness at which the fallen man died, and some even visibly soiled themselves at the thought of receiving the same end. The next man thought he would simply not recover the knife thrown at his feet in order to show that he would not fight but was soon dispatched without mercy at the sign of his cowardice. What followed shortly after was a quick release of the blood of the remaining men until I was the only breathing man left.
The faces of all the women were smiling and almost feral in nature, though I knew better than to let their visages disturb or deter me at all. I knew that if I were to get out of this I was not going to be able to kill any of these women but that I still had to disable them to the point they could no longer fight me. Over the hour and a half it took to kill all the other males in the room with me, I sat and watched the fighting women to study their movements and actions. I knew how I could stop most of these ladies but there were 10 who had not fought and I was at a loss for how to deal with them when the time came.
Sara was again up and waiting for her chance to show her Goddess she was ready to fight as one of her warriors. Again, she threw her extra knife to my feet after I was unbound, and rubbing my wrists as I knelt to pick it up I did not take my eyes from hers. This seemed to infuriate her that a man would dare to stare her in the eye that she did not see me hold the blade up against my arm so as not to use it to hurt her. She rushed me in the same fashion she had the loud-mouthed man earlier to finish me off quickly but I merely side stepped her move and left my foot out to catch hers. She was caught off guard and fell heavily to the ground and barley managed to catch herself before she hit her face on the hard ground. Leaping up with more fury than she had from my staring at her, she rushed me again only this time she met my palm as I held it up to her sternum knocking the breath out of her and sending her to the ground yet again.
"Enough Sara!" the old woman broke into the fight. "It seems you have much to learn in order to be one of the Goddess' warriors. This man defeated you and will go on now to face Megan."
The following 45 minutes were spent with me dodging and ducking a flurry of stabs and slashes from the first 15 women, all of whom I dispatched without a single scratch to them or myself. It was obvious that the longer I fought these women the remaining ladies looked on with hunger to taste a battle they had yet to see.
As I stood catching my breath from the last bout I had, the next woman stood and introduced herself to me. "I am Nora and you fought well man. For that I will grant you a quick death and deny my sisters the pleasure of torturing you."
Nora took her stance and I recognized it immediately as the same that Sara had used to try to kill me quickly. I figured that Nora was faster than her sister was and believed she would kill me in the manner that Sara had failed. When she dashed forward at me I realized too late that it was just a ploy to get me to open my defenses to allow her true strike. Unfortunately for her I had raised my palm to deflect her blow and instead landed a solid strike to her nose effectively dropping her to the ground unconscious. At this, everyone gasped and openly shook with rage save the one woman I recognized as my captor and initial tormentor in this place.
Calmly she stood and asked, "Grandmother I would like to make a request."
"You may proceed." the old woman replied.
"I would like to challenge this male to the rites of mating."
"You are our best warrior and as such are allowed to make such a request. I only ask that you think this through carefully. You know the rules regarding the rites of mating and know what would happen if you were to lose?" the old woman seemed concerned.
"That I do and still I leave my challenge open. I, Lillith, herby make my formal claim to challenge this male for rites of mating."
'Well,' I thought 'At least I finally have a name to go along with that beautiful, ill-tempered woman.' I could hold my tongue no longer and had to make myself heard. "I might have something to say about this..."
"Shut up male! Your betters are talking!" was quickly yelled at me by one of the few females that I had not fought. She also seemed like she wanted to strike me with that statement but a with look from Lillith and the old woman she backed off and let the two women return to their conversation.
"You have no say in this male for this is a woman's right to make such a claim on a man. Now, Lillith, why is it you want to break tradition to make this claim of mating?"
She replied, "I have never seen a man with the ability to withstand so many fighters in one setting, and I have no doubt that the daughters that I would be able to gain from him would be superior to any others that I would possibly gain from any other man."
"I agree that this male is a unique specimen, but I'm not sure if this is wise. There are still 8 of your sisters that have yet to fight this male." the old woman stated.
"I know this but seeing him move I recognize that none of the others have the skill to best this man, and I do not wish to have a fight that is lessened because he has tired with previous fights." Lillith said without feeling for how her sisters would take the comment.
The elder woman looked at all the gathered ladies and saw the looks of shock and defeat on their faces before nodding to Lillith. "You have my blessings in this matter Lillith. I, Meredith, grandmother of the Warrior Sisters of the Goddess, hereby recognize Lillith and her challenge of the rite of mating to this male. As is custom for the rite, both combatants will fight bare of all armaments and fight with the ceremonial knives of our ancestors. Keepers of the Blades come forth!"
Two women appeared covered from head to toe in silk wrappings which barely showed that they were female. In between them, they carried a wooden box with gold and silver inlayed designs of unknown origin that was held closed with two locks on opposite ends near the two carriers. As they entered the center of the clearing between Lillith and myself, they carefully and reverently set the box on the ground and unlocked the locks on their respective sides. Pulling the lid off to reveal a deep red cloth of silk, covering what had to be the ceremonial knives that Meredith spoke of, the Keepers started chanting in a long dead language blessing the use of their sacred charge.
Taking the fine silk off the Blades showed two of the most well crafted knives I had ever seen. Ten inches long with engraved designs matching that of the case they were enclosed in with evenly balanced handles wrapped in leather strips for grip. Both Blades were raised just as reverently as the case was laid down and then held out for all present to see.
"Both the fighters will now bare themselves for the match." Meredith proclaimed.
I suppose that I hesitated too long since five of the ladies surrounded me and began shredding my clothing off me. It wasn't as if I had much on to begin with since I was only allowed to wear tattered trousers and a shirt. Lillith apparently did not have the same problems with her nudity as I did (she was surrounded by women she had known her entire life while I knew no one and was the only living male in the room) and had already dropped her last article of clothing on the ground.
When I was finally stripped of my last shred of clothing the two Keepers presented us the Blades, bowed to us then slowly backed away from the center of the arena. Lillith then turned to regard me with cold calculating eyes that seemed to glow with unseen malice. She held up her Blade then beckoned me to her with her free hand and stood her ground. This tactic was something completely different from what all her other sisters displayed and I hesitated for a moment to try and read her actions. Of course, my nudity in front of all the women did not help my steadiness and I believe this was part of Lillith's strategy.
I stood still watching her and finally shook my head in the negative showing her that I would not be the first to initiate our duel. Lillith smirked then lunged at me from a position that I didn't think she would have been able to properly execute and I barely had the time to move out of the way before her Blade would have caught my knife arm. When she turned to look at me after her move it was clearly visible in her eyes that she did not believe me capable of moving as fast as I did to dodge her attack. She steeled herself and attacked again, only this time I was ready and instead of dodging her attack I simply grabbed her knife hand and using her weight and momentum, pushed her past me with fluid like grace.
Quite clearly agitated with the events leading to this moment, Lillith spun and slashed with her Blade, catching me off guard this time, and scored a small slash on my right cheek. Bouncing back from the graze I lifted my hand to the cut then drew away from my face to see the small amount of blood on my fingers.
Lillith smiled widely now at the sight and was about to start her victory yell when I suddenly smirked at her for the first time causing her to stop and look curiously at me. I simply showed her the blood on my fingers then turned my wounded cheek to her and all her sisters. To their astonished gasps and blank looks, the small cut on my cheek closed before their eyes.
"W-what are you," Lillith stuttered.
"What is the meaning of all this!" came a new voice over the startled cries in the room. This voice was different though, it held an eerie quality to almost as if it were two voices in one. One voice seemed dominate and feminine while the secondary voice bled through the first with and echo-like power that seemed to permeate everyone in the room.
Meredith clearly shook and immediately dropped to her knees and stammered, "G-Goddess... t-this male was challenged to rite of mating b-by Lillith."
At her words, all the sisters turned and followed Meredith's lead by dropping to a knee in front of their Goddess. I seemed to be the only one left standing in the room and looking about to make sure there were no surprise attacks waiting for me when I deferred my attention to the newcomer to the room.
Apparently, feeling that I did not deserve recognition, the Goddess turned past me to look at Lillith and asked, "You challenged this male to rite mating and have not claimed him yet? Are you truly worthy to be called a Warrior of the Goddess, or has your challenge not been met?"
Lillith seemed at a loss for words in front of her Goddess and simply stared for a moment before she got the nerve to speak. "No Goddess I was in the middle of challenge when you appeared."
"Then why is this male still standing! Not only standing but defiantly looking at me no less!" the Goddess exclaimed.
Frightened Lillith replied, "M-my Goddess... I s-struck him on the cheek... b-but his wound healed b-before our eyes."
That was when I first saw the eyes of their Goddess on me. Smokey orbs of red and black that seemed to want to reach into ones soul and tear out any sense of defiance. I did not look away for I knew those eyes. I had seen them many times in my dreams and knew they were of a being of great power and held great malice, yet still I held my ground waiting and biding my time. The Goddess was about to turn and speak to Meredith to learn the truth of Lillith's words when she seemed to recognize something in me.
"Speak male, who are you?" the Goddess commanded of me.
I smirked and took a defiant step toward her, "Oh come now. After all this time, you of all do not recognize me? For it is you who I have to thank for my existence and prowess in life."
At my step forward, the Goddess unknowingly seemed to take the same step back. Her confused gaze still on me and showing her irritation even more after realizing that she took that step backwards. 'And to a mortal male!' she fumed in her head.
"Enough of this male! You know who I am and of what I am capable! Tell me who you are or suffer gravely for your insolence!" the Goddess was getting more and more irate as I simply looked at her.
My calm reply was to simply chuckle under my breath at her, then I said "Seriously, 500 years and you have forgotten all about me. I am almost hurt. One would think your memory is starting to go in your old age... Mother."