Talla's Temple Ch. 10byxtorch©
He faced a walk home that seemed longer than it ever had.
Zhair'lo knew that there was no reason for them to let him sleep in the Temple this time around. They had returned his clothes in the exit room. No doctor had examined him. A guard had quietly escorted him out through the funny tunnel-road that served to transport men back and forth between Endowment's small gate and it's Augmentation Chamber.
So he stood outside the thick Temple wall and considered his options.
Talla was, last he had seen her, inside the Temple. She probably couldn't get out.
Would that he could have communicated with her somehow, but the way they had of speaking inside one another's heads had so far only worked when they were having sex or in very close proximity to each other.
He had only been able to look at her and she back at him. And with their eyes they could speak to each other of longing. That was as far as it went.
He turned to look at the gate that had closed behind him. The guard who had escorted him was gone. Another guard, who stood atop the wall, had let the metal trellis slide back in place. The wall itself was smooth and tall. Insurmountable, it stood between Talla and him. There was nothing to be done about it. He thought about waiting by the gate, hoping that she might happen by, but there was that guard and it was her job to be suspicious.
So he began to walk home, trudging along the Temple wall, his mind blank.
As he passed by the main gate, it occurred to him that all was not lost. Sure, something had gone wrong this night. Both he and Talla had assumed that her assignment and his Summons would bring them back together. Neither had considered that they could miss each other in such a way. The town was a big place and so was the Temple. It was possible that there were people who lived here that he would never meet.
Gern was big. He'd never thought about it that way before, but walking along the monolithic beige of the exterior Temple wall, he realized how truly large the city was. How wise was it to expect chance to put Talla near him again?
But this wasn't some random search for a needle in a haystack. He was looking for a particular girl in a short white skirt and he knew exactly where she went every day. At least he hoped so. How often did women change their assignments? She should be at the same dorm every day, shouldn't she?
His pace quickened as he thought about it.
There would be more heat bells. They were getting in to the worst part of summer. He could find her again, if he were willing to make that run in to town. And he was more than willing to race every day for such a prize.
He was passing by another gate, a small one with a square at the top of its arch. The circle was from Talla's Division. Which one was the square? He had more questions than answers. Whom should he ask?
Talla decided to watch one more upgrade, just to let her stomach calm. An Adept who appeared to be from one of the Discplines of Form -- if Talla were to guess based on the shocking crimson shades in her hair -- was getting an Abundance upgrade. She found it really odd to see a woman several years older than herself with such a small chest.
She realized that such an assumption was just her own bias. In the few days that she had been in the Temple, she had become so accustomed to seeing women with large breasts that she had to force herself to remember that there were places in the Temple where other features reigned supreme.
The crimson haired woman had, if she were indeed a devotee of Facial, five upgrades to her facial structure. She had coaxed five different men -- six if you counted her Initiation -- to spray her face and hair with semen. She was beautiful, and elegantly so. There was a certain class and presence that came with those upgrades. It was expressed in the way she pursed her lips and the way she gently stroked her Conduit. There was no urgency here; no desperation; no demand. None of that. What she wanted from this man, she brought about with understated skill and grace and a flash of long eyelashes.
Talla watched, trying to understand how this woman could be so smooth. Could a man really ejaculate when stimulated so gently? Her first experience with boys had been her Initiation and so she had only ever thought of it as a race; a thing to be done quickly and so harshly as to be nearly violent.
Would this technique work for this man? And he was a man. She kept trying to tell herself that she was a woman now, but she still took herself for a girl and males of Zhair'lo's age for boys. This Conduit, this man, was larger in every way than every boy she'd ever touched. Someday, she'd be a woman like the red haired woman on the altar below her. And someday, she would give Service to men like this.
What the woman wanted, she received. Holding her man in sway with her eyes, she forced his seed out of him, spraying across her chest. She smiled only slightly, knowing that this tiny change in her expression was all the gratitude that her Conduit needed as he emptied himself over her flesh. Smoothly, without interrupting anything else, she suffused semen and Synergist in to her chest.
Did her lips move? Did she say, "thank you", in some quiet voice? Even squinting Talla couldn't be sure. But the red-haired woman didn't really have to say anything, did she?
The clean up procedure went on as it had before and Talla let her mind wander. Was that what it was to be a woman? To be mature? Would she learn to be as smooth and graceful as that? Maybe not. Maybe it was just the nature of the women of Form, a way barred to her for many years.
What a disappointing thought that was.
There was only one way to go, if her goal was to be like this woman. That way was to proceed as quickly through the ranks as she could. She already had the benefit of her accidental upgrade. The rest was just a matter of Serving the Temple, in whatever capacity they required of her, as often and quickly as she could. She supposed that she would start Serving soon. She ought to be in the schedule by now, shouldn't she? So far it was a history lesson and this night of Priming. Wasn't it time for her to see some real action? She felt ready for it.
Which brought up another problem. Between her anticipation at seeing Zhair'lo, her duties as Primer, her disappointment at missing him, her anger at what they'd done to him and finally her relief at watching him ejaculate without incident -- she had some issues of her own.
"I'm gonna go," she said to Tina, now that the Chamber had cleared of upgrade participants.
"You sure?" Tina asked. She eyed Talla closely, "You okay?"
Talla shrugged and stood up to leave.
"Alright," Tina said. "I'll come with you."
Another shrug. Talla really would have preferred some time alone.
As she exited, Tina in tow, she nearly bumped in to a girl in a long skirt.
"Sorry," the girl said.
"Oh! You're Nadine," Talla said, surprised
"I'm Talla," she introduced herself. Here was a girl that had just been with Zhair'lo. What should she say?
"How was it?"
"It worked," Nadine replied with a weary kind of happiness. "Finally. Three times I've waited to feel it."
"So you feel, uh, good?" Do you feel what I felt? Did he make you feel the way he made me feel?"
"Yeah. It still burns a bit."
Behind Nadine, Tina held two fingers up in the air and rolled her eyes in childish mockery.
Possibly Nadine wasn't yet aware of what had been done to her.
"Girls," the door guard said. "Either find a seat or be on your way. The next upgrade will start soon."
That stiff admonishment galvanized all three of them in to action.
"Yes, Mistress," Nadine said, speaking first. "I'm going to watch."
"We're, um -" Talla started.
Tina cut her off. "We're headed out, Mistress. Nice meeting you, Nadine."
Upon which Tina jovially took Talla by the arm and led her out. Talla was glad for that. She'd had enough of upgrades for the time being. Was it possible to catch Zhair'lo? She should have thought of that before. It was probably too late, even if she knew which way he had gone ...
"How do the men get in?" she asked Tina.
"From the small gate," Tina replied, still hooking her arm and dragging her along. They had reached the ground floor of the Offices already. "There's a guarded road that takes them to the back of the Augmentation Chamber."
Must be quite a secret road, Talla thought. She'd gone all around the Augmentation Chamber on her first day in Endowment and not found it.
The Offices were quiet and scarcely lit. Having just come from the thundering drums of an upgrade, there was a distinct shift toward silence here. A single guard eyed them curiously.
"Girls," she nodded politely.
"Mistress," they chimed back as they padded across the marble floor.
The courtyard they called Tranquillity was quiet and dark. Stars were visible.
"I've never seen it this empty," Talla remarked.
"They wouldn't be back from Serving yet," Tina explained. "Even after that, most want to socialize, not be alone."
They passed through the courtyard and in to Endowment Hall.
"Feel like a drink?" Tina asked.
Talla thought about that. There were a lot of things in her head. A lot of things that made her frustrated and angry -- and disappointed. She did not feel like hanging around with crowds of women.
"Not really," she replied with a frown.
Tina read something in that frown and didn't bother arguing.
Talla took a look around Endowment Hall as they entered. It was still mostly empty. A few women were milling around at one of the bars while a pair of girls in white waited for drink orders. Fires had been lit. The Hall was warm. It just wasn't what Talla wanted right then.
"Come on," Tina said, never having relinquished her arm. "We'll go for a walk."
Kurran was still up when Zhair'lo got back to the farm. More importantly, he was alone and held a flagon of some type of ale in his hand.
"Something on your mind, Zhai-zhai?"
How to begin?
"What do you know about the Temple?" Zhair'lo asked.
Kurran hummed and looked around the room idly. It was clearly not his first flagon.
"Big triangle," he replied with a shrug. "Tells us what to do; sends us women to fuck. What else is there to know?"
"How is it run?"
Kurran blew out a breath of air.
"Goddess at the top," he said wearily. "Three Queens. Nine Sorceresses. Not something I particularly care about, Zhai-zhai."
It wasn't an unreasonable position to take. If women came with orders - and came back later with sex - what purpose would curiosity serve but to disrupt the flow of rewards?
Zhair'lo plonked himself down on a well-padded chair next to Kurran.
"I just wonder, is all," he said, trying to catch Kurran's diction for the sake of comfort.
"Wondering about the Temple won't do you no good."
Zhair'lo winced. A man's duty was his work, not the idleness of mental wandering.
"I just wanna know why they called me back for another upgrade."
"How could I know?" Kurran replied. "Can't be that bad a burden, can it?"
Well, no, it oughtn't to be a burden. It should be the stuff of dreams, being fawned over by two girls in a shower and then -
No. He had questions. This wasn't the time for daydreams.
"No. It's not that. Just, why me?"
"Because you did it right," Kurran said. "You followed orders. Maybe you do it better than the other little boys."
Because he'd overdone Talla, then? That was a sign of strength? He had to mull that over. Were other boys incapable of doing what he had done to Nadine? He'd thought, briefly, that they were just testing him for damage done by Talla's upgrade. Probably not.
"Do you know the Disciplines? The nine of them?"
Kurran was getting uncomfortable, despite the drink.
"Can't remember the Disciplines, just the Divisions," he said. "All I recall is that the ones with the big tits come out whenever we have to lay out a new building. Endowment, that is. Abundance -- that's a Discipline - are the ones with the biggest racks. The Sweetness girls are the ones who can squeeze you 'til your head pops off. And Form ... well, you wait until you have a girl from Form."
There was a pause then.
"Well. 'nuff said. I'm off to bed."
Without further comment, or even eye contact, Kurran stood up and left the room, swaying only slightly.
Well, that had been odd.
"Come on," Tina said, pulling Talla through the entrance.
"Swimming?" Talla asked doubtfully.
"A bath, then," Tina negotiated. "The place will be mostly empty."
Endowment's pool house was, fair enough, quite empty. It was pretty peaceful and Talla did want a moment or two of quiet to calm herself. That's why she had turned down the Hall in the first place.
Tina turned away from Talla toward the clothing pegs along the wall. She bent over to slide out of her skirt in a smooth motion. Her top -- a pair of crossing sashes fastened to a waistband -- went off over her head. It happened so quickly that Talla hadn't even had a chance to touch her own clothing.
Tina looked over her shoulder and nodded toward the closest sunken basin.
Fine. A bath.
Talla slid her tiny skirt and underwear off in one shot and unfastened her top. Her breasts fell, pulling down on her chest and shoulders. She had to admit that the breasts themselves felt a lot better than they had since the upgrade, but the motion as they walked and the sheer weight of them still caused her pain.
Tina had already stepped down in to the water and was wading across to the far side of the bath. She turned to face Talla and stretched her arms out extravagantly along the edge. The position she took left her nipples just barely exposed at the water line. That couldn't be an accident, but Talla couldn't figure out what she meant by it.
Talla slid down in to the water as gracefully as she could with her twin encumbrances. She adopted the same position as Tina did, letting the waves the two had generated lap at the erect tips of her nipples. It was nice to let her breasts float in the water. It took some of the strain off her chest.
In a moment of relaxation, she wondered at the construction of the pool house. What kind of effort had it taken to hollow out the giant swimming pool? Then these little baths? On top of that, the stone structure that was built over top of it with louvred windows to control the temperature. Underneath, there were fires to keep the baths warm? How did one build a fire pit under something else? The bottom of the bath was stone, after all.
She grimaced and waved off her thoughts. She'd have to have a look under the pool house sometime and see what they'd done. Guessing would serve no further purpose.
She looked across at Tina, still displaying herself.
Are we showing off? she thought.
Tina looked back at her oddly.
Showing their nipples off to each other didn't make any sense. Talla didn't have any upgrades in Point and, as far as she could tell, neither did Tina. So why -?
"No gods damned way you're an Initiate", Tina said, glaring candidly at Talla's breasts before meeting her eyes.
If Tina hadn't had a look at her in the shower, she could certainly have a good look now. Was that why she had adopted this pose, thereby inviting Talla to follow? Just so she could examine her?
"That's the rank they told me to take," Talla said. "Then they gave me the skirts to match."
Tina looked doubtful, but did not lower her body in to the water.
"Yet," Tina said, "I'm a Neophyte in Strength and I've worked my ass off to get both of my in-div upgrades in Abundance."
Talla could see where this was going.
"You claim to be an Initiate of Abundance. Therefore, also two upgrades."
Talla didn't know what to say. There was nothing to do but let the inevitable chain of logic conclude.
"And my tits are nowhere near as big as yours."
Which was an oddly crude choice of words. It was so derisive that a chill went through Talla. This sort of thing had happened to her several times already. A lot of girls who heard Talla's story, one way or the other, went very cold on her. Tina seemed like such a nice person. It would be a shame to lose her friendship.
"It makes this very awkward," Tina said, letting out a breath of frustration.
"Awkward?" Talla asked.
"Hello? When they're pointy, it means they're getting cold," Tina said with finality, as if that explained everything.
Talla stared at her, squinting her eyes in confusion.
If Tina was getting cold -- and she clearly was - why not slide under the water?
"How long should I wait?" Tina asked.
This was getting more and more bizarre.
"Wait for what?" Talla asked, completely befuddled. "Look, I really don't know what you're getting at."
Tina let out a heavy sigh.
"Madra Zen," she cursed. "How long have you been in the Temple?"
"About two weeks, honest," Talla stammered. There was some fine point of etiquette she was blowing; something she should know; something that Tina expected her to know
"Two weeks?" Tina goggled. She nodded at Talla's chest. "How'd you get those?"
"I got hit with a quadruple on my first upgrade," she confessed, still distressed.
Tina's eyes came up to meet Talla's. Shock was in those eyes, and some concern.
"Must have hurt like hell," Tina whispered.
Talla nodded, not letting her eyes waver.
"Like all nine of them," she replied in the same quiet tone. "I passed out."
Tina thought about this for a moment. At least her frustration and anger had dissipated. Whatever piece of etiquette or Protocol Talla had failed to satisfy seemed to be waived in light of this new piece of information.
"So you really are an Initiate," Tina said.
"Until I complete my quotas or whatever."
Tina was looking up at the ceiling, some calculation evidently going on behind her eyes.
"Oh, well then," she said finally. "I suppose it's to me."
"What's to you?"
All she could think was: Please, please explain what's going on.
"In this Division, it's usually pretty easy to tell rank, even when two women are naked," Tina explained. "You can see, plain as day, how many Abundance and Point upgrades I have. You can probably take a pretty good guess at the Strength, too."
Talla nodded, trying to figure out where this was going.
"So I look at you," Tina went on, "and having seen you naked, I think you're a rank above me. Never mind that the clothes I saw you in say otherwise."
"You thought I was a Keeper?" Talla tried to find a thread of logic in this discussion.
"Yes," Tina confirmed. "So that makes it your responsibility, after our teamwork in the Priming room, to offer me sisterhood."
Sisterhood? Talla shook her head clear of all of the possibilities she'd been considering. This was about sisterhood?
"So I sit here, in this pool, offering sisterhood the way a junior does to a senior," Tina explained, nodding to her chest, "by keeping them out where you can see them."
"Y'know? Hint, hint?"
Talla's mouth formed an 'o'.
"Yes. Exactly," Tina said. "But it turns out this wasn't some trick. You really are what your clothing says, not what your chest tells me."
"So I'll say it," Tina concluded. "I would like for you and me to be sisters."
Talla, quite speechless, nodded again and, as Tina waded across the bath, she lifted her body a little so that her breasts were clear of the water. It made her chest ache, but she knew it was temporary. Tina planted one kiss on the tips of each of her nipples before rising up out of the water to offer herself in return.
As Tina's breast hove in to alignment with her mouth, Talla was reminded of how Atreya had assumed a very similar position a few nights before. The difference here was that, due to the architecture of the tub, Tina had to kneel on the small, submerged ledge on which Talla was sitting. One of Tina's legs wedged itself between Talla's thighs, pressing them apart.