Talla's Fallen Temple Ch. 13byxtorch©
"How's the vision?"
Maksa couldn't see a gods damned thing, really, and that was more unnerving than she could have ever imagined. Anywhere she had ever been, in her entire life, there had always been the knowledge that light was close at hand. Even in the dead of night, torches were kept lit in hallways and alleys. A woman only had to step outside her room to find the comfort of a clear, if somewhat dim, view.
Her eyesight had been reduced to a faint and fuzzy blur and it had been that way for more than a bell now, since her Facial upgrade. The Second of Pussy had shown up and whisked her out of the examination room as quickly and oddly as was possible. The woman had refused to answer any questions and instead brought Maksa home in silence.
Well, not "home" precisely, but back to her Mistress.
Maksa's eyesight might be useless, but her sense of direction and hearing were still working. She was in Principia Pussy and the woman who had spoken was her Sorceress.
"Terrible, Mistress," she replied. "There's a burning sensation, too."
Maksa felt the echoes in the room change; she experienced a vague feeling that something was quite close to her face. Her vision dimmed, as if light was being blocked.
"The dilation is extreme, Mistress."
So it was Dol'ya, leaning over her. She had some medical training, in addition to being a genealogist and the Second of Pussy.
"They've kept their promise, then," the Sorceress remarked.
"It would appear so."
There was a pause in conversation. Maksa opened her mouth to speak, but her Mistress was already talking.
"You got to her before she even had a chance to bathe, Dol'ya?" Pussy chided.
"Yes, they were going to examine her first," the Second replied. "I had no choice."
"Use my shower, then," Pussy told her assistant. "We can talk after you get the semen out of her hair."
"Or while shes gets this mess out of my hair," Maksa protested, her voice cracking in panic. "I'd really like to know what's going on."
Her voice had come out hastier than she'd meant it to. She hadn't realized how much being blind had affected her. There had been an expectation on her part of a quarter bell's worth of impaired vision, but this had gone on much longer and been much worse than the briefing had implied.
Pussy let out a sigh of sympathy.
"Very well, dear," the Sorceress agreed. "Get up now and let Dol'ya walk you over."
Maksa obeyed, clinging to the taller woman's arm as they stood up together.
"Come around the table," Dol'ya warned, pushing a bit on Maksa's stomach so she would miss the corner of the piece of furniture. "Here, have a seat."
Maksa found herself being seated on a cloth chair with a back so reclined that she was almost lying down. She imagined that the chair might be upholstered in some shade of green, but it was only a picture in her mind. All she knew was darkness and a few faint blurs of light splashed here and there from the fire in the centre of the room.
"Close your eyes."
It wasn't as if she'd been using them for anything.
A lever creaked and warm water splashed over her forehead and back into her hair. That was comforting. The water stopped and she felt a liquid soap being poured over her head. Dol'ya massaged it into her scalp.
Maksa inhaled deeply, trying to calm herself.
"How long until my vision returns, Mistress?"
"Tomorrow morning," Pussy replied. "Noon at the latest. It might be imperfect for a few bells thereafter, but it should be fine by fall of night."
With a heavy sigh, the Sorceress sat next to her.
"We made an arrangement on your behalf," Pussy began. "It wasn't easy, you see -"
"On my behalf?" Maksa asked. "Without telling me?"
"Think about that, dear."
As Dol'ya scrubbed, Maksa thought.
What if she had been told that they were planning on doing something special for her upgrade? How would she have acted? Would the enforcers of Form, with their legendary intuitions, have wondered at her anxiety?
"You didn't trust me to keep a straight face," Maksa admitted, thinking back to when H'reena had seen through her guilt. "And you're probably right."
"Indeed," Pussy said. "No slight was intended. You simply aren't -- or weren't -- a match for them in that regard."
"But now you can tell me?"
"Oh, quite," the Sorceress said. "We arranged with H'reena and her Mistress for you to receive a double upgrade."
Maksa might have guessed as much, based on the blindness and pain.
"And you arranged for Dol'ya to be waiting there, pretending an emergency?"
Her tongue traced around her lips, as if tasting the words that had come out of her mouth and finding the flavour unfamiliar.
"We couldn't allow you to be examined in front of someone of Iron or Tight," Pussy said. "They were upset enough about your sudden promotion and transfer of Disciplines. That sort of thing tears them at the seams. I would advise you, for the next little while, to avoid any Iron or Tight upgrades."
The lever creaked again and warm water poured over her head, washing away semen, soap and Synergist, relieving her of the illicit burden so recently deposited.
"Why did Facial go along with it?"
Pussy grunted in uncertainty. It sounded as if she might have shrugged, but Maksa would never know.
"One never knows with that lot," she told her Disciple. "Spite directed at Iron and Tight, perhaps? A gift to you? Some hope of future consideration from our quarter? We made the request, through channels I will not discuss, because we knew it would be some time before you could put anything through Form again. Why they accepted ... you would have to ask them."
Dol'ya took a moment to towel Maksa's hair dry before helping her to sit up.
"Now let's have a look at you, shall we?" Pussy said.
"The hair is going black already," Dol'ya pointed out helpfully.
"And the eyes," her Mistress added, "have already shifted to a faint blue ... or perhaps grey. Only sunlight will say."
Maksa felt a surge of excitement at this news. Upgrades had been rare in her life until recently, and the changes this one would bring to her body were looking to be quite substantial.
"Grey eyes?" she asked.
"Perhaps," Pussy replied. "Best you get some rest. We've made up a bed here for you, lest some snooping person spot you wandering around and doubt the authenticity of our emergency."
"Or find her bumping into things and wonder why her eyesight is so bad," Dol'ya added drily.
"Indeed, Second of Mine," Pussy said. "Get her off to bed."
It became clear, then, to Maksa, why Dol'ya was doing all of the work that would normally be assigned to some Virgin or Initiate. No others were to see Maksa in this condition.
"Let's get inside," V'shika said.
She was trembling, Zhair'lo noticed, and it wasn't from the cold.
"Before someone catches us," she added, nervously scanning the dark clearing.
"Sure, sure," Zhair'lo reassured her.
She was already on her feet, her clothing falling back into place. Zhair'lo only felt the need yank his shorts back up and loosely tie up the laces so he could lead her, without too much awkwardness, to the largest of the tents in this clearing.
The tent, reserved for a Hunt leader perhaps, was a palace compared to his usual sleeping quarters. The peak of the canvas roof was tall enough for him to stand under and his blanket covered barely half the area of the grass floor. He lit a stick-mounted candle and staked it into the ground a safe distance from the sloping walls of the triangular tent.
V'shika took a moment, while he did this, to lace the flaps of the tent closed.
She turned to face him.
"That's better," she whispered.
Biting both her lips, she walked over to him, put her arms around his waist and put her head to his bare chest.
Not quite sure what was going on, but desperately needing to get off his feet, Zhair'lo bent down to scoop up her legs and bring them both to the floor with her in his lap. For her part, V'shika was nearly limp; only her arms seemed capable of anything and they had moved to encircle his neck.
With her head still bowed low, her eyes never meeting his, her body began to jerk.
Zhair'lo realized she was crying.
"What -- what's wrong?"
She shook her head, not in denial that anything was wrong, but rather a gesture meaning she couldn't speak and he would have to wait.
What was there to do? He simply held her, tightly as he figured was appropriate, and waited for her body to stop shaking. The time was best spent trying to understand what was going on. Some of the girls he'd been with had broken down in fits of laughter after an orgasm, after all, so anything was possible.
Hadn't Yua cried, too? He seemed to remember that happening, but it hadn't been like this. V'shika was a very special case and she made him feel distinctly uncomfortable. The words he spoke to her -- past, present and future -- could very well affect whether she took her own life or not. He'd never felt such a burden as the one that she'd lain on him.
It occurred to him once again that if he had known during the upgrade how much was riding on his abilities, he might have faltered.
Why? Why did she have to do this to him?
If there was one thing that a life ruled by the Temple had given him, it was not having to worry about things like this. A man simply had to know what his vocation was and what the Master of that vocation expected of him. Decisions -- the serious kind -- were left to those with a great breadth of experience.
But here was Zhair'lo, decidedly not experienced, being expected to make Decisions -- lots of them -- in the course of the next few minutes.
Based on the actions he would take in the next bell or two, a girl might decide -
Suddenly, the shaking subsided and V'shika took a breath in preparation to speak.
Then she sighed, pathetically, and took another breath.
"There's just no point," she said.
He let that sit a moment, in case she wanted to be more specific. When it became apparent that she wouldn't be following up, he stepped in.
"No point in what?"
"Any of it," she said and added, as if to clarify, "Living."
"The sex can't have been that bad," he said, which he meant to be light and humorous but, in retrospect, was probably not the brightest thing to say.
"Oh," she sighed, still looking down and hiding her face. "The sex was good. Great, really."
"So tomorrow, I go back to the Temple," she said. "And I learn some stuff, like the other girls -- women -- and so what?"
That was easy. They taught that one to children when the girls and boys were still together.
"So you become a better person," Zhair'lo said.
"So they can use me up?" she asked. "I go from being useless and cast aside to being useful until I'm used up and I die."
"There's some good stuff in between now and death, I think."
He wasn't sure why he felt the need to advocate on behalf of life. Who had assigned him that duty? Was he qualified to make the argument? Shouldn't there be some woman, well read and educated, to take this stand?
Besides which, did living really need an advocate? It was rather universally preferred over the alternative, wasn't it?
Well. Maybe not universally.
"Oh, probably," V'shika admitted. "Some passion. Some huge number of meshes and orgasms. A couple of babies, I'd imagine."
Zhair'lo had never thought of children.
"And then what?" V'shika asked. "The Temple takes my babies and raises them to have a life just like mine, just to keep itself going. What's the point?"
That was the sort of thing that Zhair'lo wanted to hear, if he was enough of a fool to pay attention only to the words she was saying. This attitude was exactly what he and Talla were looking for.
On the other hand, there was something really wrong with V'shika, an instability of personality that left him well out of his element. Who was she, really? Could she be trusted from one day to the next? Nine hells, could she be trusted from one bell to the next? She'd been happy and passionate only moments ago.
But girls could change very quickly, before and after an orgasm. He'd seen that loads of times. Twisting his lips a bit, he decided to wait her out.
"I don't know," Zhair'lo said. "Most people are happy, I guess. Don't you think your babies will grow up to be happy?"
She appeared to be considering this. At least the shuddering had stopped. It occurred to him that in comforting her he was working against his own intentions towards the Temple. Shouldn't he be encouraging her in her seditious thoughts?
V'shika pulled herself into a ball, which alarmed Zhair'lo at first, but she was only doing this so she could turn her body to face him and wrap her legs around his waist.
Her eyes were brimming with tears but there was a desperate, clinging hope in the way she stared up at him.
"You really think so?" she asked. "You think I could have children that wouldn't feel as bad as I do?"
"Why not?" Zhair'lo asked in return. "If most people are happy, any babies you have will probably grow up happy, too."
"That's what they say, isn't it?" V'shika said and shrank. "That's what they tell us, but it's just the same thing, generation after stupid generation."
Zhair'lo eyed her curiously. She seemed energized now, but by what he couldn't say. If he was being honest with himself, he had to admit that he really didn't know enough women to say what was normal and abnormal behaviour after sex. There was always something new to see and learn, wasn't there? And this being V'shika's first time, possibly this was her way of dealing with it.
"Maybe there's a way to change things," he volunteered.
She perked up at this.
"Change things," she repeated. "Change the Temple? The Temples have been here for centuries. Temples don't change."
"Then we change the Temple," Zhair'lo said. "Or we change and leave the Temple behind."
V'shika looked at him doubtfully.
"Have you ever been anywhere besides Gern?" she asked. "Whichever way you go, it's just more Temples."
That couldn't be true, though, could it? If that was so, why did Fighters have to exist?
"There has to be a way," he told her, gathering up all the confidence he could in his voice. "There are people who want to change it -- to end it, if we need to -- to make things better for everyone."
V'shika's eyes went cold and narrow with -- with what, exactly? It took Zhair'lo a moment to figure out what was in her eyes.
It was a complete and utterly rapturous glee.
"End it?" she asked.
She pushed him on his back quite suddenly and towered over him as she straddled his chest.
"End the Temple?"
He looked up at her carefully before answering. There was a violent hatred in her eyes and he was quite certain it was directed not at him for his sedition, but at the Temple for its contribution to her misery.
"Yes," he replied, watching her reaction.
Her eyes widened and she inhaled deeply with excitement. He watched her eyes dart all about the walls and floor of the tent as a impenetrable flood of ever changing emotions washed over her face.
Panting with excitement, she turned the gaze of her pale brown eyes upon him again.
"I would meet with these people," she demanded.
"I need to know I can trust you," he warned. "Before I give you any names."
"Mesh with me again," he said. "So I can feel what you feel."
Her eyes lit up.
"For you? And the end of the Temple?"
V'shika batted her long eyelashes at him.
"As. You. Wish."
With sudden determination, she lifted her body off his chest and moved to his right side. From there, she unlaced his shorts and yanked them down his legs.
"Not quite ready yet," she observed with the air of a woman who would not be stopped by anything so trifling as a lack of rigidness.
Still at his side, she went down with her forearms on his thighs and, without a moment of hesitation, began applying her tongue to the length of his semi-erect penis. Zhair'lo imagined that there was a lesson the Temple gave to all its girls before sending them out on their first night, because they all seemed to do this particular thing in very similar ways.
Even for all of that, she would have a tough go. The best thing for him to do was not think too hard about it. Instead, he looked over her body, neatly in profile for his viewing pleasure. The scant white top; the thin waist; the long, white skirt now getting scuffed at the knees.
He could reach that skirt -- reach the lace that held it fast to her waist. When he touched the fabric, she shifted her body closer to make it easier for him, but otherwise devoted her attention to her work down below.
The lace was undone and she skirt came free, flowing over her cheeks and thighs into a small pile on the floor. He traced a hand over her bare flesh, from the ankle to knee, over the back of her thigh until he cupped one cheek in his hand.
V'shika, meanwhile, had taken his penis in hand and was busy swirling her tongue around its swelling head. As his hand moved up and down her leg, she moved her body even closer to his, so that her knees were against his side. This motion he took for an invitation, and slid his fingers between her legs to caress the narrow slit that split her mound.
She let out a low moan, after which followed a pause as she broke away from his ever rising member.
The only warning Zhair'lo got was a sudden inhalation of breath. A moment later, she took the entirety of his manhood into her mouth, her hand now gently juggling his testicles.
It was his turn to moan and his eyes closed involuntarily as he experienced the sensation of her long tongue slurping greedily down to the base of his shaft.
His fingers, still between her legs, felt the presence of her fingers. He tilted his head so that he could see what she was doing, and found that she was spreading her lips, revealing her inner pinkness and the little tunnel that was waiting for him.
Zhair'lo began running one finger around the rim of her vagina, eliciting ever more enthusiastic tongue work even as her hips pushed back against his finger. Was that what she wanted? It appeared so. He pushed his index finger into her opening and watched as she pushed back, enveloping it in her warmth.
Her hand -- the one between her legs - reached back to grab him by the wrist, insuring that he would not retreat as her mouth came off his erection and she sat up. His finger was inside her, well past the knuckle and her eyes were half lidded with pleasure.
"Two fingers," she whispered.
If that's what she wanted ...
He carefully slid his middle finger into her, alongside the index.
"Three," she begged.
In went the third finger.
"Just like at home," she said in a low voice.
Zhair'lo almost wanted to ask what sort of things she did 'at home'. Was it more arousing to imagine her masturbating? Or doing this with some other girl ... taking turns ...
"Now for the real thing," she said and gently lifted herself off his fingers.
Zhair'lo nodded. He was ready now, no denying that.
"Then you'll tell me?"
"Then I'll tell you," he promised.
She threw a leg over him and lined herself up.
"You'd better," she charged.
And slid down ...
It was the same mess as before. A sloppy slog through a muddy field. But this time there was a solid path of interlocking stone bricks. Wet though those bricks were, V'shika was taking his hand and pulling him through with a certainty borne of expertise and the surefootedness of a feral cat. As frightened as he was of the chaos in her mind, it was clear that she was determined to see him to the other side.
She'd come down all the way by then, and held him entirely inside herself.