tagSci-Fi & FantasyPriestesses of the Goddess Pt. 05

Priestesses of the Goddess Pt. 05

byTara_Neale©

Rata woke slowly from the first real sleep she had had in months. She could feel the soft curves and generous breasts of her sisters pressed against. Tears welled up in her eyes, darkening them to a deep royal purple like unto the robes they wore as high priestesses.

They had loved one another well into the night when all of Tavia's three moons shown like giant jade amulets in the dark night sky. They had laughed together. They had cried together. They had talked, sharing secrets like she and Soji when they were mere novices, sneaking up late at night when the others slept to speak of their dreams and hopes.

But the truth was that they were not novices. They were not even simple priestesses. They were the High Priestesses of the goddess...rock, water and air. All of the elements necessary to bring forth her life. And yet in wake of the troubles that were to come, she felt as barren as the womb from which the healing nectar of the goddess flowed so freely. The three most powerful vessels of the goddess's love were powerless to stop that which was to come.

She felt the heat of tears running down her cheeks. Then she felt her sisters turn in her arms, wrap themselves about her as if to protect her from it all with their very lives. But they could not, none of them could. "What are we to do?" she whispered.

Mya laid her head between her breasts as if just the soft pounding of her heart were enough to hold the answer. Soji brushed her hair gently as she had when they were girls, soothing and comforting. Her voice was a mere whisper, "I do not know, sweet sister. But I trust our goddess that there is something that we can do. Must do. She would not give us such forewarning was there not something, some way, that we might..." her voice trailed off.

It was the question in Rata's mind for months. Do what? Survive? Victory seemed unlikely in the utter destruction and havoc of her dreams. The question that she always came back to was...did they want to? Did they really want to survive when the temple and all their friends lay dead or dying about them? What was the purpose of being High Priestesses to a goddess that no one worshipped? A goddess that would allow her temple defiled and her faithful servants slain?

What was the purpose of any of it? For five hundred cycles she and Soji had served the goddess. Little Mya had lost everything, a mother, a father she loved and adored and an other mother. They were forbidden the true love of a man and a woman, though they gave freely of their flesh, weak imitations of that sacred bond. Their wombs were shut as surly as the temples doors were closed and bolted shut each evening. What was the purpose of any of it?

She felt the gentle tug of suckling upon her breast. Looked down to watch as Mya drank that which never was. Rata lifted her hands, entwined her fingers in the long red curls of her sister, held her to her breast, comforted even as she was comforted. She turned her head and smiled up at Soji.

"We will find a way, sister of the waters. I promise you, together we will find a way," she whispered as she lowered her equally dark head to suckle upon the other mound.

Rata felt the power building, felt the sweet communion of their goddess building inside of her as her sisters sucked, toyed and bit lightly at her nipples. Each was so different. Mya suckled softly as she imagined a babe would upon her teat, drawing forth the milk that it needed to live and grow. Soji was bolder, her tugs stronger, more like a man, a lovers.

Rata closed her eyes and imagined it...a mate, a partner, lying next to her, holding her in his strong arms, even as their babe suckled upon her breast. An intimacy unlike any she had ever known or ever would. She gave herself over to the secret desire of her heart, allowed her sisters to minister to her, her mind to drift away in fantasy.

She felt her body thrumming with energy, felt powerful once more, her goddess flowing through her and in her. Waiting just beneath the surface ready to erupt at any moment. Unlike anything she had ever known. Just when she would have blown like a geyser, spewing forth her scalding hot waters for all, she opened her eyes.

It was not Soji's sweet, familiar face that she saw. It was his. "No," she cried out as she felt her sisters withdraw, reach for the coverings and draw them up to cover them, protect themselves from prying eyes.

***

Soji turned with wrath upon the guard that had opened the chamber door, "How dare you? Did not the High Priestess of the water and I tell you that we were not to be disturbed? By anyone? Not until we emerged from our sister's chamber?"

The young acolyte stood cowering in the door way. Soji would have almost felt sorry for him had she not known that he had interrupted something special, something important. Something that might well have held the key of salvation...for all of them.

She was not sure what it was. She had caught only the briefest of glimpses before they were interrupted. A man, she did not recognize him. Unlike any she had ever seen. Huge, shoulders far wider than she had ever seen, his hair darker than the night sky, his skin a rusty bronze. He knelt at her feet. That in itself was not unusual, she was after all the High Priestess of the rock, men knelt before her all the time, worshipped the goddess at her feet.

No, she was what was different. In the vision, her stomach was round, like she was with child. Though she knew it was not possible. She had the distinct feeling that they shared that intimate bond. That the man worshipped not just the goddess through her, but her. As a woman...and she dare not even think it...a mother. It was their babe that grew inside of her. Though she did not know how that was possible.

She felt the frustration of being close, so close to an answer, only to have it snatched away. She channeled that anger now at the young man, "Why? What do you want? What is so important that you countermand the direct orders of your High Priestesses?"

The guard dropped his head, stepped back a bit as the other man pushed his way through the door. His eyes scanned the scene, took in her naked sisters, twinkled in some cruel and lust crazed way that made Soji's stomach turn. She was glad that they had not yet eaten this rising or she feared she would have vomited. She pushed her sisters back, pulled the covers about her naked breasts and rose up to greet the man. A man whom had once been her lover.

"Versil. What do you want? You of all people should know that when the High Priestesses are indisposed they are not available. To anyone," Soji was shocked at how strong her voice sounded. Just a few risings ago, this man held her enthralled in his spell, words woven together of a new age, treaties with old enemies, a life together.

But now that all seemed a dream, no, a nightmare. Looking at him now, she wondered how she had not seen it before. If Tsu was immature, unworthy of the responsibilities of his office, but greedy for its power, then this man was more so. It disgusted her. He disgusted her. The way that his eye strained to catch even a brief glance of her sisters' naked bodies. She could almost read his thoughts, his mind filled with lust that defiled something which had always been precious to them.

Just when she would have unleashed her growing fury on the man, another stepped forward. His dark hair sprinkled with the golden threads of age and wisdom. Soji nodded to the one man that held all their respect.

***

Her breath caught in Mya's throat. She almost choked on the very air which had always been her life's blood. It was if her vision had materialized right in front of her eyes.

She had never felt more vulnerable. Since that first day in the garden, she had never been aware of her nakedness. Been ashamed to parade her soft, round curves that were a blessing of her goddess, before any and all who came to worship.

Certainly she had always stood in awe of him, they all did to one degree or another. He was after all the senior Councilor. But never had she felt like this... She sought some description, but frowned at the only one that seemed to come to mind.

Felt like a naughty little girl. Felt like she had when she had escaped her father's watchful eye, spent too long frolicking in the woods, worried him. Felt like she had disappointed someone that she loved very much.

Then again, nothing made sense anymore. Maybe it never really had. Maybe it was just that when Lano was alive, when she had the wise counsel of her other mother, the uncertainty, the questions of faith that always seemed to blow upon her winds, were buffered. Her wisdom able to quiet their rage somehow.

But she was not here any longer. And this man was perhaps the one other person who missed her as deeply as she did. Oh sure, she knew that Soji and Rata missed Lano too, but not the way that they did. It was their secret, their sin. While she held the office of his counselor, the one to whom he should come to seek communion with the goddess, wisdom and insight, he never touched her. Not like that. Not as a man would touch a woman.

And that was her darkest secret, the one that not even her sisters knew...she was the untouched vessel. The High Priestess that had never lain with a man. Never known true communion with the goddess.

Oh sure, she released her energies, regularly in fact. Not to do so would be an affront to the goddess, unnatural. She enjoyed times like these with her sisters. She even took comfort on occasion in the arms of her primary. But the man that she had chosen for that office was more beloved brother, advisor and protector than lover. And this man, the one who had more claim to her body and her gifts than all others...never sought it.

Except in the vision. It had taken her by total surprise. As she suckled upon Rata's breast, she floated through time and space, found herself in the clouds it seemed. Her own breasts were bare, and she gazed upon the sweet face of a tiny babe, sucking from her tit. That in itself was shocking enough, but the protective and caring embrace that seemed to envelop her whole being was unlike anything she had felt. Not since she was a little girl and crawled up into her daddy's lap for a bedtime story had she felt that safe, that loved.

And when she had found the courage to tear her eyes away from the one thing she wanted more than her next breath, more than life-giving air itself. It was his face that she saw. And shock was evident in her whispered words, when finally she managed to force them past the stagnant air in her tight throat, "Aved?"

***

Rata paced the room, her gowns flowing about her legs as her waters flowed over its beaches. She heard what the others were discussing. It registered in her brain, but each word stirred the troubled waters of her spirit. She fought against the tide, sought some way to the surface, struggled not to drown in the darkness as her own waters pulled her deeper. But it was no use. She felt them closing in over her head, drawing her down, drowning in the very waters that had always given her such peace and comfort. Doomed...they were all doomed.

"The Morians will be arriving this evening," Versil smiled. His eyes caught hers, held the gaze in triumph as if challenging her. But it was no use. What could she do? What could she say when not even her own sister, her beloved, saw the man for what he was?

"I have invited them to join us for a special celebration." Rata fought back the rising tide of panic, knowing the words that would come next, the fulfillment of the threat he had made that rising.

"A tribunal," the look of utter victory that shown upon his dark face turned her stomach. She looked about the room at the shocked faces of the others. How could they not all see the dark cloud of evil that hung over the man?

Aved was the first to speak, "I do not think that wise, Versil." The man stepped forward, placing himself between Versil and his counselor, shielding her little sister from his lustful stares. "What do you know of the Morians?"

Versil shrugged casually as he drew Soji into his embrace. "I know that they have technology, science, medicine, far beyond anything we have ever known, can hope to achieve in ten lifetimes. I know that this alliance will give us access to that technology, leap us forward into the stars where we belong."

Mij shook his head at the youngest Councilor's words. "Do you know what that technology has brought them? Do you know anything of their home world? Of their culture? Of the barrenness of their planet and their souls?"

Rata stopped just behind the man that was her charge. She frowned at his words. As High Priestess, she knew virtually nothing of life outside Tavia, life outside the walls of the temple even. She listened intently.

"Their world is depleted, polluted. Their air barely breathable. Their waters filled with chemicals that they stripped from the bellies of their planet. They have used up virtually every resource upon it. Abused their stewardship as they abuse their women," Rata saw the concern on the man's face, felt it echoed and amplified in her spirit.

Softly, she placed her hand upon his arm, not to hold him back, but to offer what feeble comfort she might to the lover who had once shared her bed, sought her counsel, communed with the goddess through her body. Had she let him down somehow? Had her coldness turned him away as it had Tsu? Was this disaster of her making? A reflection of the coldness of her waters?

***

Soji watched her sisters. She saw the depth of concern mirrored on their faces in the other men. She realized too late that she had failed them all. She knew nothing of the Morians. Nothing of this race with whom her lover, her charge, sought to make such a binding alliance. Yet she had laid in his arms, encouraged his reckless greed. Encouraged his lust for power...and even for her sisters. She had fed it all in an attempt to keep his interest. Keep something for herself.

And now it was upon them. This destruction that her failings had wrought. And she was powerless to stop. She realized too late the folly of her own greed. Not as her lover felt it...not for power, or wealth, or position. Not even for sex, of which she always had plenty.

But for love. For a real connection to man. Any man. And that was what Versil was...any man. Just another man that had shared her chamber, her bed. She had fallen so easily for him, his lies. Not even because he was a master of them, no, the others had all seen so easily through him.

No, she fell for them because she wanted to. Because he offered what no other had that extra attention, that ray of hope that she was something more than just a means to an end, more than just a priestess to be used for his communion, more than a barren High Priestess even. Why had she ever thought she was anything more to him?

Because inside she still longed for one thing...to be a woman, a real woman. One that inspired loved, faithfulness. One worth fighting for, dying for. One that gave love as well as life. All of the things that she could never be, never have. Because from birth she was destined for this place, these duties, marked by the color of her hair for this barren life. And her greed for more had brought them all to this point.

"Yes, and that is what we have to offer them in return. Our resources of which we have plenty. And yes, our women. If their gifts, their communion with the goddess hold the keys to the stars and power beyond any we have ever imagined, why should we not share that as well?" Soji closed her eyes against the pain of his words.

There it was, the truth from which she always tried to hide. The words echoed in her head, bounced off the cold, hard face of her rocky mountains. "Whore," she remembered the taunts well. It was the final words that she had heard from her play mate as the guards drug her from the village, from her family, from the only life she had ever known. "Nothing more than a worthless whore."

Now because of her they would all be used once more, used and this time perhaps even abused and truly discarded. She truly had become nothing more than a worthless whore to be used up and discarded as Versil did now.

***

Mya slunk back further into the corner. Her world was well and truly falling apart all about her. As beautiful as the communion had been with her sweet sisters, it seemed another life time ago. She could feel it...and them...slipping through her fingers. She was going to lose it all. Again. Just as she had lost one life. The only man that she could ever count upon to keep her safe, love her. Her father. She was about to lose it all again. The life that she had built to replace it all.

And this time, there would be no Lano, no other mother to comfort her. No Rata and Soji, no sweet sisters to come to her when she was low, when her soul cried for them. She would be alone. Totally and completely alone. As alone as she was each night in her bed. With no one to comfort her, no one to hold her, no one to hear cry, no one to dry her tears, to kiss them away. No one.

"Versil, you should have come to us before this. We are the Council of Three, we make decisions together. If you had sought our advice, our wisdom, you would have learned the truth of the Morians," Aved shook his head at the other man.

"I am sorry but there will be no treaty. No alliance. And most certainly no tribunal. The Morians are primal, violent men. They use and abuse everything that their god placed in their care. They destroyed their planet, their woman. And I will not be party to placing Tavia and its resources in their care, of which they have none. Our women, especially our priestesses, in their control, of which they also have none. I withhold my vote and without it, you have no treaty."

Mya watched as Versil's face turned the deepest scarlet of one of her angriest storm clouds. She felt his wrath a moment before it burst forth like the thunder and lightning which it bore. "How dare you, old man. What do you know of anything beyond this pitiful, putrid place. Beyond weak goddesses and the whores that service her and you. Do you think I don't know the truth? Your secret? You have become half a man. Unfit for your office."

Mya felt his words to her core as surly as any physical blow. Unconsciously she took a single step forward out of the shadows, placed her hand lightly upon his shoulder. The greatest man she had ever known, well perhaps the second greatest. He certainly did not deserve this. Deserve to have her sin, her failings, pronounced as his own. She had failed him. Just as she had failed her father. Her other mother. Her sister. And especially the goddess, whom she was supposed to serve.

He shook his head at her. Smiled weakly at her as he placed his hand over hers, where it rested upon his shoulder. He turned back to face the other man, "It is final, Versil. Say what you will. Stir what trouble you might. I will not back down on this. Without my vote, the treaty will not be valid. So I suggest you think of some way to let your friends down lightly. The Morians are not to be trifled with, but then again if you had thought to discuss this with me or Mij before now, you would have known that."

Aved bowed at the waist to Soji and Rata, "High Priestesses, forgive my rudeness this rising. I seek your leave now to speak with my counselor. Alone."

Mya trembled. Never before had she feared this, their time alone together. Well, perhaps once, that first time when he had sought her out after she became High Priestess of the air. She had been scared then, uncertain what would be expected of her. All other High Priestesses had come to their chambers well versed in their duties. Wise upon the manner in which to minister to their charges.

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