A Harem Fantasy Ch. 08bymadam_noe©
The relationship between a priestess and the goddess was special. I knew her, knew her wishes, and she granted each and every one of us some measure of her power. Hers was to nurture, to heal, and for the first time I found myself wishing I had that same connection to her husband, the god of strength and protection.
"This cannot be," I said to Marxim.
"It can, and it is, and most of all, it is a challenge and a message."
I turned from the open wounds on the exhausted men to meet his striking eyes. "Challenge?"
"You are to heal us alone. To do this much requires sex, an homage to the goddess, and we are the four men you are forbidden to touch. Do so and you and the man you touch will die in the morning."
My heart fluttered. "And if I don't heal everyone?"
His eyes fell. "The queen will renounce you and cast you out."
Rage filled me then, and though I was that woman's servant I knew her in that moment to be my mortal enemy. "She thinks she has me so easily, does she? Marxim, lay down next to the others."
"Must I remind you that I outrank you? Do as I say, now, Marxim."
His jaw protruded but he moved to do as bidden. I rolled the sleeves of my robe up and began to meditate, calling forth every favor I thought the goddess might owe.
I placed my hands on the worst man first, and I felt the sacred energy flow through me. Where our skin touched it burned with heat, and sparks flew brighter than the flames in the sconces on Marxim's room.
It took long moments of tense sweating concentration, but he was healed. Noticeably weaker, I moved to Cassipe who was the next worst. I repeated the process drawing an anguished moan from him, but then he was healed.
I stepped to the third of the "stock" and my left leg faltered. I caught myself barely and took a steadying breath.
"Go slowly, Virtal," Marxim said. "I will call to the god as I wait to help you."
"Thank you." I touched the third man and knew I had barely enough power to heal him.
I tried not to think of it as I worked, but my brain strayed. I would simply leave Marxim as he was, and take my banishment. I would not expose any man in there to death at the queen's hand-
A burst of energy shot between us as my concentration broke, eliciting a strangled scream. "I'm sorry," I said softly and the man nodded, eyes clenched tight against tears.
I dredged up the last of my energy and returned to the meditation. The power flowed from the goddess into his body through me like a great wind, and the heat and sparks flew.
When it ended it sucked the last of my energy with it and I fell to the ground. The healing had put the three "stock" into a slumber, only Marxim moved as I hit the stone floor.
"Virtal!" He picked me up into his arms and walked me to his chair, settling down with me draped over his arms and lap. "Virtal, are you all right?"
I tried to slow my breaths. "Yes. Sorry, it was just...difficult."
"Virtal, perhaps we can sneak someone in here to heal me, or-"
"No one else could do the same as I and the queen would know. I must simply rest and call upon the goddess."
Where our skin touched, my hands to his arms, there was a burning energy. I began to feel hope. Perhaps the secret was not in the sex, so much as in the touch, the joining of the god and goddess in human incarnation. But my connection to the goddess was weak, if he could call to her...that was the only hope I saw. "I may be able to heal you, Marxim, but you must meditate on the goddess with me."
"Virtal," he said softly as he tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. "There is an option we could try."
For a moment I thought he meant sharing our bodies and I feared the worst. "No, Marxim, no."
"The power raised between male and female is spiritual, nothing more. If you would listen and follow me, we may be able to raise the power without resorting to...illegal acts."
I was tired, angry, weak, and disgusted by the blood and violence. It was my nature to question and argue but the fight had bled out of me with the last of the goddess' magic. "All right, show me."
For a moment he looked at me and I saw the true beauty of him, a heroic fight to keep me here. A growing suspicion told me someone needed to stop the queen, and with the way things were done...I was simply unsure I was up to the task.
I pushed that fear aside as he clasped my face and urged me to do the same. I was so weak it was arduous, and he let me rest my elbows on his forearms for support.
"Feel my chest rise and fall with my breaths, deep breaths. Do you feel it, Virtal?"
I nodded. "Yes."
"When I breathe in, you breathe out. Deep breaths, make sure you feel it in your belly, not just your chest. Good, now in, out, in, out. Good."
My eyes fluttered closed, and I concentrated on the breaths, the breathing, until I noticed the pattern we made. It was like a dance, but more intimate, the give and take like darker pleasures of the flesh.
I felt energy flow from him into me, male energy, energy of the god, and it spread outward to my limbs. A tingling began between my legs, and at my hip I felt him harden. My breath nearly hitched but I felt the energy flow weaken and so I caught myself in time.
Strength flowed into me; healing flowed out. A give and take, so male, so female, that it grew and burned and gathered like a tempest inside until we broke, crying out. A swift peak claimed us, letting loose sparks of pure magic, and it felt as if the top of my head had blown clear.
Instead the light show died down and Marxim's handsome face grinned back at me, his visible skin healed. "Did it work?" With renewed strength I scrambled off of him and walked around the chair to see his back whole and unblemished.
"You're healed. We did it!" I felt tears burn and then the weakness claimed me once more. I was crumbling to the blood-soaked ground, but I was so relieved I cared not for my own health.
He moved faster than I could see and caught me. "Virtal, thank you. I cannot thank you enough."
I smiled weakly up at him as he cradled me in his arms. "Just take me back to Lucius, I need...rest."
He smiled down at me. "I must warn you, the queen will not be pleased you passed her test, escaped her trap. You must control and measure your power and defiance around her, Virtal, or next time..."
I smiled at him. "Next time no one will survive."
Lucius held me, the first time I had shared a bed with another. It was not unpleasant, he was warm and comforting, and deep in exhaustion I slept like a stone, unmoving.
I awoke to his warmth and his smell, his sea green eyes smiling down at me. "Are you all right?"
I stretched and gave as big a smile as I could, which wasn't much. "I feel much better." It was only a small lie, I thought.
He sat up to lean over me and smoothed my hair back. "Marxim told me what happened. Will you be able to help call the moon, and heal Marxim tonight?"
I heard the unspoken words there, that the queen was waiting for me to fail, and then... "Well," I purred and slid my hand into his hair, "there is one sure fire way to build up the magic, but I'll need my consort."
Concern vanished in a wake of lust. "Mmm, I suppose you do."
When he kissed me, my concerns faded away as well.
This time was gentle. He made me lay on my back, draping his large, hard body over mine like a blanket. I was held tight in his arms, and I lost all conscious thought to his kiss. It was magic, pure, simple, human magic that was Lucius.
His large thigh parted my legs to lay heavily at my sex, and a trill of pleasure sang through my body. I arched my hips and clung to his broad shoulders, sliding along the hard muscle of his leg.
The pleasure was slow, drugging. He moved his leg now, and in surrender I ran my hands though his thick hair. I was left gasping as his mouth moved on a slow journey to my neck, sucking sharply, leaving the impression of teeth as he went.
I wanted more, but I was too weak in my struggles. He knew what my body demanded, and those teasing nips moved down to the tip of a breast. He sucked deeply at the same time his thigh ground into me and pleasure burst like sunshine throughout my body.
Strength returned, not in full, but enough that when I pushed at him, Lucius relented and let me roll him to his back so I was astride.
"Thank you," I said with a smile.
He merely pulled my head down until our lips met, and when his tongue thrust inside me, so did his cock. And for hours, we built the strength of our respective gods.
We were all nervous for the ceremony. The queen wore a dress, not her robes, and her "stock" joined the upper level of the harem to watch. The three men glanced at me with fond smiles, Cassipe's wistful, but their gazes did not linger. I understood, the Queen gave off the aura of a jungle predator.
She gave me a look that normally passed from butcher to market cow and turned to the steps. Ascending, she spoke to the crowd gathered below.
"Tonight, I would like to formally announce my future successor has been chosen."
Marxim grabbed my hand, jerking me forward, and gave me a reassuring smile as he led me to the stairs and made sure I stopped at the base. "Be strong," he whispered cryptically.
"I present to you Virtal the Just!"
She stuck a hand to me and I took it, jerked up the stairs to stand awkwardly next to her in my thin white robe. We were ten stories above the open courtyard where the rich and titled gathered below us. So many, so very many. Thousands, and the sheer number began to eat at my confidence.
Cheers rose up and my poor addled brain scrambled to catch up with the title I'd just been given. The roar was deafening and my heart was pounding as I looked at the sea gathered below.
The queen gripped my hand tightly and raised her other, quieting the crowd as there were scuffled steps behind us. "And tonight Virtal the Just has claimed her consort, Lucius Harvinger!"
Her free hand flew back and jerked him up as well. We both leaned forward, puzzled panicked gazes meeting, shrugs matching, if only in our eyes. The crowd cheered once more and the queen leaned forward as well, her icy smile chilling Lucius and I to the bone.
She raised her hands up again, now clasping both of ours. "And tonight they shall call the moon!"
My stomach dropped out. Sex...with Lucius...in front of almost everyone I knew, and thousands of strangers...mastering magic I had yet to learn...and I had to prove to our people I could. Beads of sweat began to form on my brow.
The queen stepped back and turned to me, dropping our hands. "Let's see you call the goddess, awaken her from slumber, and keep our world running smoothly, little one."
That she had to tip her head up to say that to my face cheered me but a little.
"Marxim, assist Lucius," she ordered and strode to a throne-like chair where her "stock" now sat like pets. I seethed with rage to see Cassipe reduced to this, but that injustice had to wait while I battled stark terror.
"I will watch you. Breathe slowly and breath against Lucius, like last night," Marxim whispered as he took Lucius' belt. "The power will flow, I promise, breathe as you have been taught."
He backed away glancing at the queen and took the rest of Lucius' clothes off his body. Naked my consort was glorious, and despite the nerves my body fired. He was all lean muscle, his skin as golden as the sun, his sympathetic eyes swimming like the sea I had always dreamed of seeing.
Years of training had taught him to harden by sheer will, but his erection was flagging until he removed my robes, sliding the soft material down to reveal my naked body. Seeing his cock surge, I knew he wanted me for me, not merely for the ceremony.
And everything else in the world dropped away.
The altar was tall, tall enough to be seen over the balcony in full view of the world below. He laid on the cool stone, hands at his side like a virgin sacrifice, and for a moment I thought of my own virginal sacrifice.
I stole a look at Cassipe and saw his expression was fond, proud, encouraging.
I strode to the altar and looked down at Lucius. The queen raised her lust with blood, but that was not for me. When the Queen took Marxim, it was a definite taking, he was not to move. I did not know if this was the true way, but it was not my way.
I climbed up and straddled him, thinking fondly of our afternoon. Settling down onto his cock, I pressed it flat against his taut belly.
"You are amazing," I whispered, and this won me a soft smile. In his eyes was a reflection of the nerves I myself possessed. "Breathe with me."
I stroked my hands over him, enjoying the play of muscle. As he breathed in, I breathed out, and so forth. I stroked his incredibly broad shoulders, the hard bunched muscles of his arms, the fabulous hills and valleys of his torso.
The breathing and the touching wove a spell over us. Lucius and I had never taken it this slowly, lust always claimed us swiftly. For the moment, however, the building of pleasure was all we craved.
A sound of impatience escaped the queen but I ignored it. Below us the crowd was strained, hushed, and a small corner of my soul said expectant. I shoved away distractions, and pulled Lucius' hand in mine.
Gasps rang out all around us as I guided it to a breast, made him cup the weight there. I moaned at the feel of his rough, callused hand on the soft skin.
My eyes closed, something the Queen's never did. I cared not, for the sheer beauty of Lucius could steal the very pleasure from my soul. I began to move against him, in time to our breaths. The wetness was immense, his hardness incredible, and shortly I drew to the knife edge of orgasm, but I held off.
My pleasure, that night, was for the goddess alone.
"Lucius, are you ready?" I asked softly, without opening my eyes.
"Please." His voice was hoarse, I had not realized he too was on the edge.
I could only hope this boded well.
Rising up I at last opened my eyes. The sun had set, the moon had not yet come. I saw the rim of her, the blood we called it, and in that moment, I understood the magic.
With a smile I sank down onto his hard cock, impaling myself. It felt deeper than I had ever felt, and Lucius fought a bowing of his body. I felt the power sizzle between us, the god and goddess possessed us now. By mutual agreement, discussion only in our eyes, we gave our bodies to them.
It was difficult to estimate the goddess, I had never felt her so strongly. She filled me, a small vessel, with the sheer immenseness of her being. It was a complete immolation of the soul, a possession of my body. My mind expanded and crashed in on itself, even as my body moved faster and faster.
The sparks between Lucius and I became real and visible, gold and silver, sun and moon, god and goddess. The pressure crept up my spine, different than orgasm, but related nonetheless. We began to move like lightning, the sparks growing, and I knew from the gasps the power swam around us.
When I thought my skin would burst, when I thought my mind could take no more, the orgasm came. For a long, blissful, wailing moment, I was one with the goddess, I saw the god in Lucius. Then the moonlight burst over us, and when I collapsed onto my consort, I was stronger and weaker than I'd ever been.
Dead silence greeted us as Lucius and I panted against each other. I felt the mad urge to laugh, and I knew he felt it too, but the silence was eerie.
And then the crowd erupted.
Marxim was there, helping me down, wrapping me in my robe. I grinned up at him, but the smile was not returned, killing mine. I leaned against the altar and watched as he did the same for Lucius, and when my consort was clothed the queen stepped up, her aura palpable ice.
"My successor has proven herself worthy, she is confirmed."
Cheers rang louder, and I blinked. My path, my destiny was locked in, and for a mad moment I thought of a story Cassipe had once told me, about the ancients, and a king named Damocles. He had declared the true meaning of power was a heavy sword dangling over his head by a thin thread.
I caught my teacher's eye and his glance said his thoughts were with mine.
"No!" A voice screamed.
The Queen quieted the crowd and turned back to her house. It was Mystrike who had spoken, her lavender eyes blazing.
"I have been your second for three summers, and by rights I am your successor. By our laws I challenge Virtal to a duel!"
It seemed, for the blink of an eye, that time had stopped.
Turning to my, my queen smiled like a snake. "She may challenge you, but you have the right to refuse. If you refuse, you may kill her. If you accept, you must fight now."
Damn her! She knew just how weak calling the moon left the vessel of the goddess. If I fought Mystrike now, I would be slain.
"I choose neither."
As if echoing the queen's mood, thunder cracked in the distance. The crowd below murmured with worry and the need for safe shelter, even as it warred with the desire to see two powerful members of the harem fight to the death.
"You must choose, Virtal," Antal's voice was pure cold.
"I choose banishment." Cassipe had seen to much of my education, but it had been my times in the old stacks and with Lucius I had learned of the politics of the harem.
"My queen," Marxim stepped forward, and her anger lashed out at him.
"Do not challenge me, consort! Mystrike, you are hereby banished from the harem. You will leave tomorrow. Remove her."
Mystrike had a weapon in hand, but before anyone else could move unseen guards, summoned by the queen, grabbed her. Marxim crossed to help and Markal was already there, removing the sword from her hand.
"No! You can't do this! Antal!"
Gorgent was at her side, tears in her eyes. It was plain to see Mystrike's friend loved her, and it almost hurt my heart to see the naked pain. Almost.
"I will come back, and I will kill you, Virtal."
Something about the brunette's words chilled me, more than the queen's could. As Mystrike shouted, dragged from the room, Antal turned to me. "You have earned your first enemy, and you have let her live. You are heir to the throne, and if you do not learn to dispatch your enemies, you may very well not live much longer in that woe.
"All but the top tier, leave us!"
She clapped her hands and below us I heard the crowd dissipate noisily, the thunder and dark clouds drawing closer. Inside the palace, everyone but Missiply, Annist, Morganna, Antal, Marxim, Lucius, Uloga, and Markal left. Torches flickered in the wind and we were all as still as the marble statues that lined the room.
"Tonight, as my successor, it is time I taste you, Virtal. I suspect you'll bring me great power. You must select one of them to join us."
I knew what a night with the queen meant. I knew I would bleed, possibly even pray for death. She was in a fine froth, and my flesh was to be stripped. I knew this, understood this, accepted it. But now I was being forced to ask someone to share my fate.
I looked into brown eyes, green, amber, blue-grey. I saw strength in character tempered with fear. And I knew I could ask none of them.
"My queen, I would ask my first night with you be between us."
Antal smiled like a demon. "My dear, Lucius and Marxim shall watch, that is a given, and assist in as much as their duties allow. But one person does no entertain me. Be the strong future queen you have been attempting to prove you are and choose."
It was a test, I understood. I looked at them again and only one pair of dark eyes showed the same understanding I held. With my own gaze I begged forgiveness.
From her laughter, I knew I had just signed over my and Uloga's souls.