Talla's Temple Ch. 18byxtorch©
Talla was still going over all of the images that had flown in to her mind when she and Zhair'lo had tried to mesh.
There were images of Natta, both having sex with him and fingering herself while lying next to him. There was Nadine, rubbing her nipples along the length of his shaft. One of the images of Nadine, forcing herself down on him with considerable vigour, was laced with some strange emotion of desperation.
She shook off those thoughts.
If only they'd had time to talk. She had so much to tell him. There was the imminent danger of the double upgrades they were forcing him to do, for one thing. How could she have forgotten that?
She cursed herself.
There had been the more immediate danger of being discovered.
Having let her eyes adjust to the darkness of the Offices, it was time to check on her nightly assignment. She wondered what would be in the slot tonight.
Tina had told her that she should expect to be out Serving tonight, based on the fact that she had Primed the previous night. It was unfair enough, the theory went, that women should have to prepare men for the Rite of Upgrade without getting to have sex with them. The standard procedure, so Tina had said, was to make sure Primers got out the following night to relieve themselves.
So there was that. She would appreciate it very much, even if it wasn't Zhair'lo. She had worked those two guys over pretty hard the previous night. When Tina had come back to Talla's room, Talla had hoped that they would be able to relieve each other.
That was before the disastrous and violent intrusion, which was its own kind of stress.
Then there had been the afternoon run in and almost-sex with Zhair'lo. Gods, the tip of his erection had been right there. She could still feel the place on her lips where it had touched, even now.
She could use some sex right about now.
The other possibility was the Extraordinary upgrade that the Sorceress of Strength had promised her. If it was that urgent, and everyone seemed to agree that it was, she would expect that to take precedence.
She bent over and drew the card out of its slot.
What would it be tonight? Semen sprayed on her chest or pumped in to -
History with someone named Alli'anya. Why not Shanata?
Seventh bell. Exactly as if she was going to Serve.
How about that.
Zhair'lo had a lot of things on his mind. He had managed to get back to the farm in time to not be missed. He was tired, but he was also very young. He would survive, even through the afternoon heat and upgrade he had in the evening.
Just like Talla, he had a pile of images in his head, too, and they weren't just the ones Talla mad meant him to see.
There was an extremely confused jumble of images involving Talla and another girl. Zhair'lo could gather from the cluttered kaleidoscope dancing in his head that Talla and this other girl had been fooling around somehow, but the images were a mess. In one of them, Talla seemed to be able to see her own body, with her breast in the grip of the other girl.
That was a mess that, while erotic, was more of a headache than it was worth to examine.
There were other things that came to him, too. Emotions, mostly. Very, very raw emotions. Fear. A flash of vicarious pain that came without any image of a person but instead an imposing, dark building made of wood. There was anxiety. There was the pain in her chest.
Talla had, accidentally or intentionally, put a lot of stuff in his head.
There was one image with so much anger, so much burning passion attached to it, that it hurt when he thought about it. He could feel his heart pounding and his face warming whenever he conjured that image to the front of his attention.
He just couldn't, however, for the life of him, understand how a picture of a dark-skinned and heavily breasted Sorceress, her hand at the side of her altar, could possibly be related to the level of anger Talla attached to it.
"What are you doing?" Tina asked her roommate.
Y'ris had already discarded her underwear and was slipping out of her knee length skirt.
"Working in Principia Endowment," she responded. "You know the rules."
No underwear - that was one thing upon which the Queen insisted. The other was the trick of curtsying high enough at the sides to prove you weren't wearing underwear while keeping the hem low enough in the front to avoid exposing your genitals.
"This skirt," she said of the one she was folding, "is too tight to pull off a curtsy pleasing to her Highness."
Y'ris, a Neophyte like Tina, hadn't had a chance to get upgrades outside of Endowment. She had absolutely gorgeous nipples. That much Tina knew, even if those pretty tips were currently covered by Y'ris sashes. There was nothing exciting, however, to see below the waist but the same bald lips that Tina had.
Besides, Y'ris wasn't interested in that sort of thing.
"Can you check something for me?"
"Wazzat?" Y'ris asked.
"I Primed a couple upgrades last night," she said, casual as could be. "They were the first two on the docket. Can you see if they worked out?"
Y'ris paused, half way in to her skirt, and looked up at Tina.
"Any reason to think they wouldn't?" Y'ris asked. "That sort of thing is right in your slot, isn't it?"
That metaphor could mean either of two slots. Y'ris, straight laced as she was, meant the one with the coins in it.
"Yeah," Tina shrugged. "Just got a funny vibe off an Officer today. Don't have time to check myself."
Y'ris pulled her pleated white skirt the rest of the way up to her waist.
"Sure," she said, somewhat distracted. "First two?"
Y'ris eyed herself in the mirror. Facing sideways to Tina, she lifted the sides of her skirt up to her waist.
"You see enough from there?" she asked her roommate.
"Yep," Tina said after examining the bare length of tanned thigh.
"Good. See ya later."
"Later," Tina confirmed.
She only hoped that Y'ris would remember to check the docket. Tina hadn't wanted to put too much stress on the request. The less attention, the better. She and Talla had agreed to keep whatever the hell was going on between the two of them. That was why she was getting Y'ris to do it in the first place.
Talla walked past the women in their finery, all headed out to Serve the hundreds of men to whom they'd been assigned.
Not for her, that pleasure. She would be enjoying a history lesson.
History was knowledge. If there was one thing she needed more of, it was knowledge.
So History was good. It just wasn't "erect penis" good, and that's all there was to it.
She turned at her name.
"I'm Alli'anya," the woman introduced herself.
Her clothing left Talla guessing at her rank. Her skirt was yellow, although nowhere near the regulations regarding style and length. It was also laid in with embroidered patterns and jewels. Her top was very much a blouse. But the best anyone in the yellow ranks could ever wear was a pair of sashes.
Talla deduced that the woman was an Adept II, the highest of the yellow ranks, based on what she was getting away with.
"Are you Serving tonight, Mistress?" Talla asked.
It was the polite mode of address, appropriate if this was her teacher.
"Just call me Alli'anya," she said dryly. "And no, I'm not Serving. I'm doing an upgrade when we're done, though, and I won't have time to go back to my room."
That was unfortunate. Talla had hoped, if only for a moment, that her lesson was cancelled. That might give her leave to at least take care of herself, a need that had recently been increasing in urgency.
At least if Alli'anya had an upgrade to do, she might be quick with the history lesson.
"Shall we begin?"
Talla nodded, following her superior in some discomfort. The warming between her legs was growing.
As they walked, Alli'anya began to speak.
"What do you remember of your previous lesson?" she asked Talla.
Thinking on her feet, with the thoughts currently bouncing around inside her head, was not going to be easy.
"Before the Temples," Talla stammered, trying to clear her head. "There was a lot of fighting. Chaos. The men were in charge and they treated women terribly. They subdued women, treated them like, like – things - used them to make children."
But Zhair'lo wouldn't have been like that, she told herself. Of course not.
"The gods came," Talla said. "They gave us the Nine Perfections and gave the Goddesses dominion over the Temples, over the women and the men. There was peace and order. People were healthier and happier."
"Precise and simple," she observed. "An excellent summary."
"Thank you," Talla said.
She made to walk toward the room that she and Shanata had used for her previous lesson, but stumbled when she realized that Alli'anya wasn't headed that way.
"We'll walk a bit," her superior said as she indicated the doors that led to the Tranquil courtyard.
"Okay," Talla shrugged.
Maybe the cool night air could quell the sensations stirring under her skirt.
Talla was nearby.
Zhair'lo could tell. He hadn't really lost touch with her the entire afternoon since they'd met. He'd been able to feel the connection between them growing during his walk in from the farm.
He thought about her as he looked at Zo'kar across from him. He was in again, too, having passed the test that confirmed him as a Seal Breaker.
The two of them were sitting in the waiting room with a small group of older men. For once, in all the time he'd spent hopping from one vocation to another throughout his youth, Zhair'lo actually felt like an old hand.
"Who do you think is first tonight?" Zo'kar asked.
Zo'kar was still a bit nervous, but far better off than he had been the first time they'd met.
"Can't say I could guess," Zhair'lo said, laying back and relaxing.
If there was one certainty in the world, it was that he was more than ready for this. He'd been so close to penetrating Talla, the tip of his erection right at her lips, when they'd been torn apart.
He imagined that there would be a surprising amount of semen for some unsuspecting Virgin.
That thought made him smile.
He'd been assigned another Point upgrade tonight. That should be fun. The last time he'd done one, for Nadine, the Sorceress who'd passed the magic to him had had such a beautiful pair of nipples.
"Do you remember the first time you menstruated?"
Talla was befuddled. That wasn't Temple Language. It was clearly Common.
"Menstru-what?" she asked, turning to face Alli'anya.
"When blood comes from your vagina," Alli'anya clarified. "Menstruate."
Talla probed her memory. Yes, she did vaguely remember.
"I was in the children's dorm," she replied, peering not at things in the darkness of the courtyard around her, but in to her past. "I was almost twelve, I think. My stomach started hurting and then I found red spots in my underwear."
"Then what happened?"
"I'm not sure," Talla replied slowly. "One of the teachers gave me some tea to drink. It tasted really strong. I think it made me sleep. When I woke up, I was in the adolescent dorm in a new bed."
"The tea contained two herbs," Alli'anya explained. "Aloysia Castus and Aloysia Divinus. One of which you can taste, the other you cannot."
"What are they for?"
"They prevent, among other things, menstruation," Alli'anya explained.
"Prevent it?" Talla asked.
"Without it, you would bleed in that manner every 28 days," Alli'anya said.
Talla's eyes widened in shock.
"And you would continue to bleed anywhere from three to ten days afterwards."
"Yes, the gods agreed," Alli'anya said.
Talla was sufficiently stunned by this revelation that it stymied her arousal for a moment. Alli'anya waved her to a spot on the grass and the two of them sat.
"You see, Talla," she went on. "One of the things the gods realized was that our ability to bear children, while it should be a strength, was a weakness men used against us. If someone could force us to bear children, we would become slaves, dependant for sustenance."
Talla nodded, sitting cross legged to better cool the lower part of her body.
"Once pregnant, we had children. Loyalty to those children kept us in thrall. Men could force us to bear more. Seeing this, the gods gave us Aloysia Divinus and taught us how to cultivate it. It's in almost all of the food we eat, in sufficient quantities to keep us even from menstruating, never mind getting pregnant. You've been eating and drinking it since you were twelve – since that first cup of tea."
Alli'anya stopped speaking, letting the lesson sink in. Talla considered this revelation.
"So this is how we decide when to have babies?" she asked.
She'd known that it was a choice that was made, a necessity in passing upwards in rank. She hadn't known the logistics of it.
Alli'anya nodded, seeming to know that this was not the time to say anything.
"How hard is it to get pregnant without the herb?"
"At the rates we Serve, keeping the men in line, we would all be pregnant almost constantly."
Talla's eyebrows twitched. She did a quick calculation. A baby per year per woman from age 18 to age ... what?
"Wow," she murmured in awe. "That's a lot of babies."
"Too many," Alli'anya agreed. "We would outstrip our resources. That's why the gods gave us Aloysia Divinus. It freed us from the slavery of continuous child bearing, allowed us to control our bodies while maintaining peace with the men in the way we had chosen, and let us control the growth of our population."
Talla nodded. That was eye opening, at least as much as her last lesson.
When she'd entered the Temple, she'd thought of it as a homogenous triangle of sandstone. It now seemed a vastly more complicated place. There was a lot more going on than she had imag-
Suddenly, she let out a whimper as a wave of emotion came over her.
Zhair'lo was pleased.
Renia was there. Renia, who had once, first among all women, lowered her nipples in to his mouth. She was with some other girl he'd never seen before. The two of them had dropped their miniscule clothing and set upon him with the enthusiasm he'd come to expect in this room.
"Already so hard," Renia had complimented him when she'd taken his shorts.
If only he could tell her why. Instead, he slid his hand up her body to cup her slim breast in his hand, gently squeezing her nipple between thumb and forefinger.
She closed her eyes and sighed before sinking to her knees to quickly finish washing him. In another moment, her mouth closed around his very erect penis. It wasn't necessary, really. He was more than ready. She wasn't doing it out of necessity but out of some combination of duty and her own arousal.
"Someday," she said between mouthfuls. "Someday they'll send me out to Serve you."
She slid over his manhood again.
He only wished he could reach her breasts in this position.
Talla was sweating and she had just realized why.
Zhair'lo was nearby. Very, very nearby. He was doing an upgrade and she was getting images from him. Hazy though they were, there was enough information to figure that much out.
A nipple squeezed between his fingers. A mouth on his shaft. Hands. Slippery, soapy hands all over his body.
It was too much for her to concentrate on her lesson.
"Are you alright?" Alli'anya asked.
Talla tried to shake off the assault on her senses.
"I, ah – just need a washroom, I think," she begged with what she hoped was a convincingly embarrassed smile.
Alli'anya stifled a laugh.
"In there," she jerked her head toward the Offices. "There's a stairway to the basement behind the desks on the left."
"I'll be right back, sorry," she said as she turned and jogged away.
"No use holding it," Alli'anya said with a shrug. "I'll be here."
Talla stumbled across the marble floor, feeling the throbbing of his manhood as she got closer. At least the lip and tongue action had ceased. They must be preparing to let him out.
She needed privacy. A washroom would do. So would a closet. She couldn't let this happen where people could see. Too many questions. Too much embarrassment.
Down the stairs.
She felt a refreshing blast of cool air, but it wasn't on her body. It was Zhair'lo, stepping out in to the Augmentation Chamber, walking in the torchlight.
She found a small room. It looked like a broom closet. No one would be cleaning in the middle of the night, right? She hoped not and closed the door behind her, sealing herself in the near darkness of the room.
The darkness made it all the more vivid. Without the information from her own eyes, she could see out of his more clearly.
Oh, gods, no.
Zhair'lo faced the Sorceress of Point once again. He'd hoped it would be her doing the Point upgrade. Exotic, he supposed, was the right word. She had the most beautiful, soft skin, and such a rare shade of chocolate brown. He had wondered, when he'd had time to wonder, if there was some upgrade that did that to skin, just the way that it was done to their legs or breasts or the muscles between their legs.
As he turned to face her, though, he felt a pang of fear.
He tasted that fear, finding it both foreign and familiar.
In a moment, he recognized it as being very much like the fear he'd felt the night before. It was Talla's fear. It had something to do with that image – the one of this very Sorceress. There was fear and anger wrapped up in it, all focused on the hand; on the fingers silhouetted against the altar.
He couldn't decipher it. Neither did he have time. There was work to do.
He climbed the altar and straddled the topless woman, as he had before, and prepared to Seize to her Discipline.
Oh, anyone but her!
Talla fell backward to lean the backs of her thighs against a narrow table and rest her shoulders against the wall behind it. Her hands went between her thighs, pushing against her flesh to quiet the burning inside.
What could she do? His arousal was overwhelming. She was in torment, caught between the power of a full day of sexual frustration and her fear of what they were doing to him.
But what way out was there for him? Was it even dangerous? What harm would come to him if she did manage, at this distance, to cause some hindrance to the Rite of Upgrade?
How could she possibly -
A jolt shook her, causing her vision to waver and suddenly crystallize.
He was Seized, absorbing the magic of the Discipline of Point through his erection, sliding between the Sorceress's nipples.
One of her hands twitched, almost out of control, and went up to her breast. It slid under her top to tightly squeeze one of her nipples. The other hand, still between her thighs, starting making circles in her mound, stroking at her clitoris through her underwear where a wet spot was developing.
Gods, Zhair'lo, don't take on too much!
"You're ready," the Sorceress said.
He nodded in agreement, overwhelmed by more than just the upgrade. Something was going on with Talla. She wasn't in the gallery. The magic inside him let him see well enough now that he could confirm her absence. But she was very close. And she was aroused. She was also stressed somehow.
He crossed the floor, willing himself to do his duty.
Talla was happier now, less conflicted, since he had separated himself from the Sorceress. Why did this woman evoke such emotion in Talla?