Zinahs, Book 1

Lila Dubois

Chapter 1

The twin moons hung low in the lavender sky. The small moon, Akita, is forever being pursued and protected by her larger mate, Ishlay. So was the natural order, that the male protect and pursue the female. Only here, within these walls, was one of those natural laws reversed.

Her hands slid over the rough stone balustrade, rubbing back and forth, back and forth, the motion reminiscent of a soothing touch to a lover’s shoulders. The stone was abrasive against pampered hands; she craved the roughness of the touch, a small reminder of the dark pleasure of pain. She raised her hands, turning them to examine the reddened palms. In the light of the moons, the lines in her palms were deep, carving the surface of her hands into valleys and gorges. Stretching, she bent her fingers back until the light showed a smooth, white expanse of palm extending into five slim fingers. Slowly she turned her hands inward till the palms faced each other only a breath apart and raised them up, her head falling back in prayer. Her body made a taut line, stretched from the tips of her fingers to her heels. As she raised her voice in the secret words of invocation, the space between her palms began to glow. A ball of white mist began to grow, pushing her palms further apart until they were in line with her shoulders. With a few shouted words, she finished her prayer and the globe of mist burst, shattering into a thousand small points of light. As the light rained down onto her upturned face, shoulders, and breasts, the five watchers drew deep breaths.

From inside the darkened chamber, the figure on the balcony was so remote and comely that they could not imagine her to be anything but the Goddess herself. She was silhouetted by the moons, their light outlining the slim length of her legs and swell of hips and breasts through the thin gown she wore. The light motes had settled onto her upswept hair, haloing a face with almond eyes and smooth cheeks, arched eyebrows and a gently rounded chin. Though it was turned away from them, it was as familiar as their own.

When she felt the last flicker of light settle onto the tip of her eyelashes, she lowered her arms. With one smooth motion, she turned, balanced on the balls of her feet. She advanced towards the opened doors which lead into their chamber. Her step was light, each foot placed gently before the other. Toe, then heel touched the stone of the balcony, worn smooth by centuries of feet. As she entered the dark chamber, her vision failed for a moment while her eyes adjusted to the change in light, but her steps never faltered. Everything was where it should be, where she willed it to be, nothing would dare to be out of the place she had prescribed for it. The five men who knelt in a semicircle before her, their heads bowed, were no exception.

The moment she turned to enter the chamber, they dropped their eyes, none daring to look upon her in this state without her permission. In this moment she was the essence, the embodiment, of her power. She stood before them; they were her protectors, her guardians—her possessions. One man, he who knelt directly in front of her, raised his eyes. In a single glance, a wealth of feeling passed between them; she did not, could not, berate him for his disobedience. Had one of the others seen, she would have had no choice but to inflict torment upon the body which was laid bare before her gaze, but that glance was secret, private.

His heart, against the dictates of his head, demanded that he gaze upon her, that he steal this one moment that would belong to the both of them. It was enough to fortify his heart for what would come.

She held his eyes for only a moment, before breaking their gaze. Her lashes swept down, imprinting the moment in her mind, locking into her memory the feeling of the floor beneath her feet, the touch of the cloth against her body, the smell of the herbs in the air. Most importantly, she mentally imprinted the sight of him, the tilt of his head, the strength of his shoulders, the look in his eyes. She combined that with memories of the way he tasted, the lilt of his voice, the play of his muscles under his skin. And then, with her eyes still closed, she locked away the part of her that would have knelt before him, shedding the trappings of her power, her rank, for the simple pleasure of his touch.

When her eyes opened, they glowed with the power of whom and what she was. Her gaze was hot as it roved over the bodies of her men. Her whispered words were husky and low, her passion-rich voice so erotic that they each felt a small shiver caress their skin.

“Come to me.”

It was a command, one which none of them wished to disobey.

While the natural laws dictated that male be the protector and the pursuer, here the men were not the pursuers; they were the pursued, and they were owned, body and soul.

Chapter 2

A warm, wet touch on the sole of her foot woke the Priestess. With a disgruntled sigh she pushed against the annoying touch with her other foot. For a moment, there was blessed stillness once more under the mound of covers. Sinking back into an exhausted sleep, the Priestess rolled from her side onto her back, letting the silk sheet caress her arm, hip, belly, and breasts as she moved.

The next touch to her foot was more insistent—warm and wet, sensual and playful. Unwilling to give up sleep, she drew her feet up and away. The mattress depressed and shifted as the owner of the touch followed her feet. This time the contact was less gentle, teeth scraped against her sensitive arch before nipping at her ankle. A few halfhearted kicks did nothing to deter her tormentor; instead the heavy weight of male shoulders fell across her thighs and the warm lips and tongue which had been tormenting her feet started in on the sensitive skin of her belly. His teeth pinched the flesh just below her belly button, tugging the skin and sending quick shocks of pleasure-pain through the nerves of her belly to dart into her nipples and sex.

Resigned to the idea that her tormentor would not let up his torture until she dealt with him, the Priestess decided to make the best of what she considered to be a bad situation. Slipping one hand beneath the covers, she caught  hold of a thick hank of hair and used it to guide the talented lips to her left nipple.

“Suck.” The order lacked her usual tone of command, her voice husky and soft with sleep.

Anleeh’s soft reply of, “Yes, Priestess,” was muted against her breast. Then all there was in the world were supple lips, rough teeth, and a wet tongue upon her nipple. Her breasts were soft and loose from sleep, the skin sensitive from the continued rubbing against the sheets. First there were feather light kisses against the areole, these moved to longer, open mouth kisses which pressed his hot wet breath to her skin so that every time his lips lifted the skin was cooled. Before long her nipple had beaded up tight and hard, flushing a deep pink. Over this hard tissue he raked strong white teeth, letting the edge of his teeth bump over every distorted ridge of sensitive flesh. Finally he took the very tip between his lips, tugging gently. When she arched her breast into his face and pulled his hair, Anleeh obeyed her silent command and took the whole nipple into his mouth, drawing on it with hard, strong pulls which drew the blood into her nipple and pressed her flesh against the inflexible corners of his teeth.

With a moan of pleasure, the Priestess threw back the covers so she could watch his dark head hover over her breast. The sight of a man worshiping her body, savoring the taste of her flesh, was familiar but never failed to excite her.

Grabbing another hank of hair, the Priestess pulled his head away from her breast.

Eyes submissively lowered, Anleeh waited, perfectly still, for her next command.

“Why have you woken me, slave?”

She caught a quick flash of green iris when he stole a glance before answering. “This morning it is my pleasure to wake you, Priestess.”

“But it is not my pleasure to be woken.”

“My most humble pardon, Priestess.”

“Is the purpose of your existence not to please me in all things?” She put steel into her words, reminding him that he had reason to fear displeasing her.

“As always, Priestess, it is my greatest desire to please you at all times, in all things.” Smiling to herself, the Priestess untangled her fist from his hair.

“Out of my bed, present yourself to me for inspection.”

Slowly the naked male specimen emerged from beneath the covers, hopping lightly from the edge of the raised bed.

“Face the wall; I want to see your ass.”

Anleeh obediently turned his face to the far wall of her chamber. He positioned himself with legs spread wide, shoulders back, arms raised with fingers linked behind his head. The position displayed and flexed the muscles of his thighs and back.

The Priestess turned on her side, enjoying the view. He was a pale cream, the skin a darker bronze on his shoulders and arms where his armor left his flesh exposed. His legs were tightly muscled with nice, thick thighs leading up into a high, tight ass.

She could see the base of the anal plug she made him wear at night protruding from the cheeks of his ass. “Clench your ass. I don’t want to see the base of the plug.”

His ass flexed powerfully as he obeyed, a small groan escaping his lips as he forced the plug deeper inside himself, the edges of the base biting into the cheeks. “Tighter, tighter. Good boy.”

With a satisfied smile at his obedience, the Priestess pulled the covers over her head and prepared to go back to sleep.

Less than a minute later, long bronze arms reached under the covers, hooking under her back and knees and unceremoniously dragging her out.

“Agh! Damn you, put me down.”

This time Anleeh did nothing to hide his smile or his laugh.

“I beg forgiveness, Priestess, but as much as I would love to please you in all things, you do need to get up.”

She halfheartedly smacked his shoulder as he began striding through the chamber with her held securely in his arms. Glaring into his smiling face, she resigned herself to being awake.

“How nice of you to have pretended obedience for a few moments.”

“Priestess, how you wound me; I am always your most obedient slave.”

“No, Moregon is my most obedient slave, you are the most irritating.”

His laugh vibrated through her body as he carried her, his step sure and quick. They had left the Priestess’s private quarters and were headed down the concealed hallway which led to the slave quarters.

“I’ll have you flogged for laughing at me.”

“Never at you, Priestess, and though it would be my pleasure to have you flay the skin from my bones, I hope that you do see the irony of the fact that the most powerful woman in the world’s greatest weakness is that she is so grumpy in the morning.”

Finally beginning to truly wake up, the Priestess laughed with him, the sound like bells.

“Put me down, I can walk from here.”

Reluctantly, Anleeh released her, letting her body slide down his as he lowered her to the floor. Bowing from the waist, he waited until she had started forward before he submissively fell in step behind her. From this angle he was able to watch the tight jiggle of her firm ass, her long hair kissing the tops of the cheeks.

She was grace personified, sensual and playful with an unbending core of power. Only twenty-one, the spiritual wellbeing of their world rested on her shoulders; it was a heavy load for her to bear, and though he and the other Zinahs tried to take some of the burden from her, in the end, it was she alone who brought the grace of the Goddess into their world.

Anleeh followed her through the rune-covered archway which led into the Zinah’s quarters. The slave quarters were sumptuous, floors and walls covered in the finest fabrics and furs, but there were clear signs everywhere that this was not simply a sleeping area; indeed, most bedchambers did not have a wall lined with cuffs, whips, floggers, and anal plugs, among other things.

“Good morning, Zinahs.”

At her greeting, a large mound of blankets moved, one by one the coverings thrown to the floor in a tangle of color and texture around the gigantic circular cushion which served as a bed for all five Zinahs.

A mesh of limbs, from the palest cream to gold to black separated out into four men. One by one they stood, stretching briefly before dipping into low bows before the Priestess.

“Present yourselves to me.”

At the familiar command, the four newly risen Zinahs moved obediently across the room, Anleeh leaving his position at her back to join them. They had been together for five years and every morning of those five years they performed the same ritual. They were the Zinahs, the chosen protectors of the Priestess. They alone were the most trusted men of the Temple and the only people to ever touch the sacred body of the Priestess, but they paid for that privilege with their freedom.

While in the old language, Zinah meant slave, it had come to be a title of respect equal to that of lord or general, for while they were slaves to the Priestess, outside these chambers they were the most feared warriors in the world.

The presentation bar was nestled in a large alcove on the far side of the chamber. Positioned waist high off the floor, the bar was nearly twenty feet long and as thick around as a young sapling. With practiced ease, each man positioned himself, bent over the bar at the waist, hands against the floor on one side, feet touching the floor, legs spread, on the other.

They lined up along the bar in order of rank, each one settling quietly into the submissive presentation position. Spread as they were, some of the softest parts of their bodies were open and vulnerable to the Priestess’s touch. From the mounds of their asses and soft inner thighs to their cocks and sacs pressed backwards between their legs by the curve of the bar, they were vulnerable to inspection and torment.

Moving to the south end of the bar, the Priestess began her morning ritual inspection. Moregon, her bull, was by far the largest of her Zinahs. He alone was of the same race as her. Tanned and blonde, standing erect he towered over her by a full head. In the beautiful irony that was life, he was the gentlest and the quietest. When it was his turn to sleep by her and then wake her, he always crawled beneath the covers and rubbed her feet, sometimes for an hour, without making a sound. Though she still woke up grumpy, it was usually markedly less so than when faced with the wicked wit of the others. He was a careful man, and an amazing farmer. It was for this reason that he had been chosen to serve as the Priest of agriculture, the fifth of the Zinahs. During his training he had spent hours poring over religious tomes relating to agriculture. He had set up several small gardens around the Temple where he patiently experimented with different types of seeds in different soils. He would ask, in his soft, deep voice, for her to please apply a certain spell to a bed of experimental crop, always taking notes in a simple, precise hand.

She rubbed his left ass cheek, squeezing the flesh between her fingers before firmly grasping the base of the plug which protruded from his ass. Moregon gasped as she tugged on it.

“What duties do you intend to perform today, Moregon?”

“If it pleases you, Priestess, I will continue to work on my experiments with a heartier strain of barley in the morn, while this afternoon I will head to the fields in the south land to aid the turning of soil for the fields which were burned.”

The Priestess sighed; the King had been angry with her and, as punishment, had burned the fields belonging to a small village beyond the Great City. “My thanks to you for the aid you give them.”

“There are no thanks needed, Priestess; it is my duty, honor, and pleasure to serve you in all things.” When he spoke those words, willingly reaffirming his slavery, the air shivered; it was old magic, the willing sacrifice of freedom for a greater cause. With his slavery reconfirmed by his own pledge, the Priestess began to slowly extract the plug which had filled him through the night, reminding him of his submission.

Slowly and surely she applied pressure, pulling back, bracing herself with a hand on his ass. She twisted the plug as she pulled, watching shivers race up and down Moregon’s spine. The utter helplessness to control their reaction to the plugs is what had steered the Priestess’s decision to force them to sleep with them in each night.

When the tight ring of muscle finally gave under the pressure and the plug slipped out with a small groan from Moregon, the Priestess slipped the plug into a box to be cleaned and, with a final pat to Moregon’s upturned ass, moved down the line.

Sesah, the next in line, and the Priest of conduct, would be working all day in the outer courts of the Temple initiating new men and women into the Temple life, teaching everything from proper dress to table manners. In addition to educating the general populace about Temple customs, he was also a skilled warrior who helped with the training of the new soldiers. He had a lethal grace, unique to him; not as heavily muscled as the others, he was poised in the extreme. Black hair was folded into the ritual knot of his people on the top of his head. His eyes, equally dark, were intense, glittering with fierce intelligence. He had been known to break men with merely his presence and a glance from those disquieting eyes.

“Sesah, what duties do you intend to perform?”

While he detailed a day of training and instruction to a new group of people who had come seeking sanctuary, the Priestess reached beneath him and stroked his flaccid cock, pressing it between her hand and the wood, working it roughly until it hardened. The strain became apparent in his voice, his words now coming in short, stilted sentences. When he finally finished his list of duties, she moved her hand from his cock to his balls, cupping them while gripping the base of his plug with her other hand; that was all the signal he needed. With a deep breath, he repeated the ritual words, “It is my duty, honor, and pleasure to serve you in all things.”

One sharp, hard tug removed the plug, a cry escaping his lips, his cock twitching against the beam, nearly coming. With a squeeze to his balls, she left him to regain his breath.

Anleeh, that morning’s alarm clock, would be hearing cases all morning. As the Priest of law, he spent most of the day sitting and listening to people from every walk of life air their grievances. In the past year, his job had been especially trying as complaints poured in over the injustices and violations perpetrated on the people by the King. Once he had stated his schedule and repeated the ritual pledge of service, she tormented him by using the plug to fuck him once she pulled the widest part from behind his tight ring of muscle. It was a sweet punishment for waking her up. Within a minute his cock was hard, his hips moving against the beam helplessly as she manipulated him nearly to orgasm with the anal plug. When he was near climax, she removed the plug and moved on, leaving him gasping.

Rohaj, the Priest of military training for beginning and intermediary soldiers was a statuesque man with ebony skin. He was completely hairless from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. The beautiful contrast of his dark skin against her pale flesh was enough to send shivers through her. Today he would be working with a group of brand new soldiers, teaching them ‘which side of the sword to hold’ as he jokingly put it. Ruby studs glittered in his ears and nose, while a small gold ring graced each nipple. He was the only one with any piercings, and she loved to torment him with the small bits of jewelry. His voice was deep and as dark as his skin. When he was angry, it deepened to the growl of a hell-bound beast. It was enough to make her shiver and possibly run and hide if she wasn’t so sure that he would die before hurting her.

His plug was larger than the others’, deliberately so. When he first came to the Temple, he had hated her, hated this life, and hated his slavery. It had been a hard fight, an uphill battle to make him understand what it truly meant to be a Zinah. For that reason, she continually used more tools, more symbols of bondage and slavery on him than on the others. Though she now trusted him implicitly, it was a reminder of what they had gone through to bring him understanding. The larger plug and the piercings were her symbols upon his body. When his ass was also free of its nightly invader, she moved to the last and highest ranked of her Zinahs.


The first to come to her, he knew her better than any other living being. They had met when they were only sixteen, bound by fate at that tender age. He was tall, not as tall as Moregon, but a half head higher than her, his body long and lean with sleek muscles barely concealed by his golden skin. Fiery and passionate, his red hair matched his personality, while his quick and clever mind was hidden behind a pair of lavender eyes. Those eyes were his most captivating feature, so unique that it had taken months for her to get used to the feel of the violet gaze on her.

With a deep breath she pressed her fingers to his hip, her eyes fluttering closed for a moment before she spoke.

“Good morning, Ahgarah.”

* * * *

At the first touch of her hand against his hip, magic shot between them. Tamlohn heard her indrawn breath even as his own breath left his lungs in a rush. The first touch after they had been parted for long hours was always powerful, almost overwhelming.

Her magic skittered and danced under his skin. He knew she could feel him; more surely than the hand on his hip felt his skin, her magic touched his soul.

His arousal, the most prominent of his emotions, danced from his body into hers, carrying with it other feelings, some of them so faint that they existed as no more than a breath of wind in his mind. Anger and jealously were there, faint but present. Joy at her touch, at her presence, overlaid these darker emotions. But it was his love for her, a deep, true love, which was a constant thrum inside him. If emotions had colors, his love would have been an overarching tint which distorted and heightened everything else he felt for her.

He could feel her deep pleasure, almost contentment, as she touched his love-tinted soul. His love was a touchstone for her, a place of perfect peace in a world that could be mad. In repayment for this great gift he gave her, she responded in the only way possible: an equally deep and true love. Every muscle in his body went limp as he felt her love sweep though him, riding her magic, to touch his soul.

He was the Prima Zinah, first bodyguard to the Priestess and General of her Army. The most powerful man in the Temple, his word was second only to hers. A warrior of unsurpassed skill, he was the leader of the private Temple army and trainer to the advanced soldiers. Only he had pledged first to the Goddess and then to the Priestess herself. This meant that in times of strife, he alone could overrule the Priestess, usually when it came to keeping her safe.

He had been the first to come to her, and only his death would take him from her.

He spoke, drawing in breath as best as possible from his bent over position. “Good morrow to you, Ahgarah. Today I plan to continue training of the advanced soldiers…”

* * * *

She let his words flow over her, not really listening, instead taking this moment to relax in his presence. Careful to cut herself off from the other Zinahs, she let her magic pour into the man she loved. What they had between them was forbidden. She never would and never could marry and he, as the Prima, had pledged to serve her until his death while the others could opt to retire if suitable replacements were ever found.

When his silence penetrated her wandering mind, she hastily reached for the plug securely lodged within him, and then waited for him to repeat the ritual words.

“It is my duty, honor, and pleasure to serve you in all things, Ahgarah.”

Ahgarah, it meant beloved in the old tongue and no one but they two knew it. When he addressed her as Ahgarah, and she responded the same way, they were misleading the others, letting them think it was one of the privileges between Priestess and Prima that they address each other that way, a lie they were both willing to tell, a spoken reminder of what they felt for each other. He said it with the same respect and honor for her station that he used when he called her Priestess.

With one smooth motion she removed the plug from his ass, stroking his thigh as his body clenched. Stepping back from him, she surveyed them, their submissively upturned asses bringing her arousal to the surface. Carefully battering down her forbidden feelings for Tamlohn, she opened herself to all of them, letting her magic flow through them and her arousal with it.

“Rise, pets.”

Gracefully unfolding, her five slaves stood. As rich in color and texture as the chamber around them, each was a sensual delight in his own right, but together they were ecstasy made flesh. They stood attentively, eyes on her, waiting to see if she would delight them all with play or if today they would immediately dress and disperse to their different tasks.

“Come, let us play.”

Rohaj, Anleeh, and Tamlohn grinned. Sesah simply inclined his head and Moregon ducked, pink tinting his cheeks.

The Priestess turned and led the way through an arch into another large alcove off the main room. The room was heavily carpeted in large mats and pillows. There was a single piece of furniture, a wide blue chaise, raised at one end so that one could recline partially sitting up. Without a word, the Priestess stretched herself out upon the couch, completely at ease with her nudity. Leaning back comfortably, she tossed a hand over her head and bent one knee, displaying her body to perfection. One by one her slaves knelt on the soft cushions around the chaise; all five cocks were now at least semi-hard merely at the promise of play.

Semi-hard was not what she wanted; she wanted them full and aching, near weeping with desire for her, and what the Priestess wanted, she got.

“Link hands.”

Each man gripped the one next to him, but rather than clasping hands, grasped the forearm of his neighbor so they formed a secure circle around the chaise. The Priestess reached out to Sesah who knelt at her right near her head and placed her hand over his heart. With a cry, his body bowed back, the other men’s grips the only thing holding him up. Her desire rode a punch of power into his body, filling every molecule of his being; for a moment she let him suffer it, watched her power dance behind his skin so that he glowed from within, his cock standing up painfully hard against his belly, before condensing the power into a globe behind Sesah’s breastbone and then moving it into his shoulder and then down his arm where it fed into Rohaj through his hand. She held it inside Rohaj for a moment, causing him to hunch forward and gasp for breath, his body glowing with a dark light, like the moonlight through a canopy of leaves. Once his cock had risen to stand awaiting her pleasure, she once again condensed the power before guiding the globe into Anleeh.

She held the power inside each one of them long enough to bring his body to painful arousal. Opening herself to their feelings, her body arched as their cravings flowed into her. Desire crawled under their skin, rippling in waves; she could see herself through their eyes, her body long and lean with full breasts and hips, her nipples hard, standing proudly from her breasts, a deep pink. Against the blue brocade of the chaise, her body glowed like gold. She shifted her legs, lowering her raised knee and parting her legs. Around the circle, they reacted to the smell of her sex, some gasping, moaning, others hunching forward as their desire was magnified. Closing her eyes, she looked at herself through their eyes while their desire wavered on the knife-edge of painful, their minds near madness.

Slowly and deliberately, she raised her hands and placed them on her own breasts, feeling the supple skin, her nipples like diamonds, small and hard. She pinched them, hard, her body arching up into her own hands. Trailing her hands from her breasts to her belly, she brought them together over her belly button headed towards her mons. The only sound in the room was rapid breathing, broken by moans of desire. She could see in their minds what they wanted.

They wanted her long slender fingers to slide into her sex, parting the petals for them to see the deep riches within, wanted her to hold herself open, invite their tongues, fingers and cocks in. Slowly, slowly her fingers moved, the tips just ruffling the blond hairs, petting them softly. The anticipation was at a fever pitch, all of them waiting for her hands to reach her soft, vulnerable sex.

“I can’t!”

With a broken cry, Moregon lunged towards her. Anleeh and Tamlohn, on either side of him, struggled to hold him still, their fingers gripping his arms so hard that they stood out white against his flesh.

Turning to her left, she looked at him where he knelt, struggling against the hold of the other Zinahs.

“Moregon, look at me, look into my eyes.” As always, he obeyed.

She held his gaze, her eyes glowing with power; the desire still raged through his body, beyond his conscious control, but she held him, with her gaze alone, she held him.

“Sesah,” She spoke without taking her eyes off Moregon. “Five collars, a stand, clamps, a bowl, and a flogger.”

She felt, rather than saw, him move from the room.

“Moregon, tell me why I am going to punish you.”

“Because I lost control.”

“And why did you lose control?”

For a moment he was silent, looking into her eyes. He was no novice to submission; he had lived with her for five years. “Because it was your will that I do so, Priestess.”

She smiled at him. “That is true. So is there any shame in your loss of control?”

“No, Priestess.”

“But will I whip you for it?”

For a moment he smiled, though his breath was still labored, his body shaking with desire. “If it pleases you to, Priestess, and I suspect it does.”

She threw back her head and laughed, “You are right, it does please me.” At that moment Sesah re-entered the room, his arms full of equipment.

“Tamlohn, collars on everyone. Sesah, set up the stand. Everyone else, hands on your heads.”

Tamlohn took the collars from Sesah and, one by one, fastened the brown leather collars around each man’s neck. A single ring sat in the center of each collar. Tamlohn knelt by her side and obediently fastened the collar around his own neck.

Sesah had secured the four-foot metal post into a slot in the floor two feet from the edge of the chaise. A pair of leather cuffs with buckles were attached to the top of the pole—called the stand, because when fastened into those manacles, you were forced to stand up, for as long as the Priestess wanted.

“Moregon!” Her voice was sharp, causing him to jump. “Stand up, position yourself to be strapped in.” Immediately he rose, standing with his back to the pole, holding his arms behind him while Sesah fastened him securely.

“Spread your legs, wider, wider still.” His legs were now three feet apart, his arms drawn up behind him. Her arousal grew at seeing him displayed and bound so submissively for her pleasure. Taking the flogger in hand, she remained reclining on the chaise. With a casual flick of her wrist, she brought twenty lengths of leather thudding against his right thigh. He grunted and shifted just in time for the next blow to fall on his left thigh. She gave him five on each leg, his thighs blushing pink.

The others were kneeling, their hands behind their heads, watching his punishment with hungry eyes. The fire of arousal, banked by the preparation for Moregon’s punishment, was back in full force.

The Priestess herself was nearing her limit; her sex was so slick and wet that every movement of her legs caused her pussy lips to rub against each other. She wanted them, all of them, craved their touch. Most mornings one or two would get the pleasure of actually touching her, while the others were brought to orgasm when she linked to them at the point of climax, but today she wanted more.

Sitting up, she motioned to Rohaj. “Come, up on the chaise.” She stood briefly while he rose and then positioned himself on his back on the chaise.

“Hands above your head, Rohaj. Tamlohn, help me.”

Tamlohn stood with her next to the chaise, a question on his face. Quickly, for she was impatient now, she knelt astride Rohaj’s legs, facing his feet. Tamlohn’s eyes widened as he realized what she wanted; moving closer, he held out an arm for her to brace herself against.

Reaching beneath her spread thighs, she grasped Rohaj’s thick cock and guided it to her waiting pussy; slowly she sank on it, just a few inches, coating the tip with her cream. Lifting, she pulled his cock from her pussy and, angling her body, positioned the head of his cock at the tight entrance to her ass. She heard Rohaj suck in his breath. It was always a great privilege for their cocks to be allowed inside her body in any way, let alone in this dark entrance.

With a low, throaty moan, the Priestess began to lower herself onto Rohaj’s cock. It was so thick that the pleasure danced with pain. She gripped Tamlohn’s forearm with one hand, the other behind her braced against Rohaj’s chest.

Rohaj’s breath was coming hard and fast. “Priestess, please, I must, I must move.”

“Move and I will have your cock in a vice for a week.” With her, this was no idle threat. “Tamlohn, give him five across the chest to calm him down.”

Immediately Tamlohn picked up the flogger and landed five brutal blows, carefully avoiding her hand, each one punctuated by a guttural grunt. The Priestess continued to use his cock as her personal toy, sinking down until she was sitting on his thighs.

“Ah, yes, it has been too long since I have had one of you in here,” She wiggled back and forth slightly, a strangled sound coming from between Rohaj’s clenched teeth.

“Sesah, Anleeh, to me.”

They both rose, coming eagerly to the couch.

Without any discussion, she hooked a finger in each man’s collar and pulled their heads to her breasts; immediately each nipple was engulfed by a warm mouth. Sesah was more apt to use teeth to bite, the lovely sting just what she was in the mood for. “Anleeh, more teeth.”

Immediately she felt teeth dig into her left nipple, the pain darting down into her still empty sex. Hands hooked into the collars of the men on her breasts, she looked at Tamlohn. They both knew where she wanted his cock. Rarely would she let any but him into her sex.

“Come to me.”

The Priestess watched him approach, crawling up from the bottom of the chaise. She shifted her legs apart, bracing them on the shoulders of the men kneeling on the ground. When he was close enough, she pulled him to her, making him brace his hands on either side of her, against Rohaj’s chest, his chest brushing the backs of the heads of the men at her breasts.

“Now, my pretty slaves, none of you may come until I do and until I give you permission. Anleeh and Sesah, if your lips leave my nipples for even one moment, your cocks will feel my displeasure. Rohaj, you will not move. Tamlohn, come closer. Bring your cock all the way into me, carefully, and then brace yourself against Rohaj; you are not allowed to move after that.”

Tamlohn moved forward and, after carefully placing the head of his cock at the entrance to her sex, inched his cock into her. She was unbearably full; neither of them were small and the cock in her ass made it hard for him to get his cock into her tight sex.

Inch by inch he slid in, making a place for himself inside of her; when he was at last snugly inside, he stilled, his arms braced against Rohaj, holding himself up to give the men at her breasts room to work her with lips, teeth, and tongue.

Tilting her head back, she lay fully against Rohaj, reveling for a moment in her own power. These five dominant beings utterly under her power, hers to torture and torment.

She could feel their arousal, their need for her, only her.

The mouths at her nipples were relentless: sucking, biting, nibbling, and lapping. The constant pleasure/pain from her nipples only made the fullness in her pussy that much more delightful. She loved the feeling of two cocks inside of her, pressing into every part of her, so full it was as if they three were one, fused at their sexes.

Using her legs as leverage where they were braced against the men’s shoulders, she slowly began to ride the cocks, fucking herself on both of them. Low moans escaped both men as her tight body rode up and down, but they held still as she had ordered, their will, their need, completely subservient to her own.

She rocked her hips, back and forth, up and down, just enough movement to please her. Turning, she looked at Moregon, bound and displayed for her only a foot away, his face a study in misery as he watched the others pleasure her.

Increasing the tempo of her rocking, the Priestess felt herself close to an orgasm. The muscles low in her belly had pulled tight, her pussy now continually clenching around Tamlohn’s cock, the muscles in her ass spasming as she fucked herself on Rohaj.

Once, twice, three times she slammed herself down upon her slaves’ cocks. Her body exploded, her magic swelling beneath her skin. It was perfect pleasure, every part of her attended to. Like a black diamond in its brilliance, perfect submission and obedience made flesh in the five Zinahs, power and earth taking form in her.

Tamlohn closed his eyes. As she came, her body glowed with a golden light so bright it hurt to look upon, her pussy fluttering and clenching around his cock. He gritted his teeth, using every ounce of will not to come; she had not given him permission.

The men at her breasts had taken her nipples between their teeth and were sucking hard, keeping the orgasm dancing at its pinnacle.

Her voice was power and magic laced when she spoke, echoing slightly within the room as her magic tinted the syllables, “Anleeh, fetch the bowl.”

As Anleeh moved away from the couch she could see his cock standing up hard against his belly, glistening with pre-cum.

With Sesah still sucking one nipple, the Priestess picked up the flogger. “Anleeh, go to Moregon.” Obediently, Anleeh knelt at the bound man’s feet.

Whoosh, smack, using one arm the Priestess brought the flogger against Moregon’s belly, the muscles in his chest rippling in reaction.

Whoosh, smack, “Now, my pretty Zinah, I will give you eight more.” Smack, smack, the flogger hit his already reddened thighs. “The tenth blow will be directly on your cock; at that time you will come. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Priestess, when you flog my cock, I am to come.”

Smack, smack, “The rest of you watch Moregon as I bring him. Remember that everything you feel, pleasure and pain, is my will, the flogger is an extension of me, the flogger connects him to me.” Blows seven, eight, and nine fell on his belly and inner thighs, inches away from the final target.

Drawing her arm back the Priestess delivered the tenth blow to his vulnerable cock, the lashes wrapping themselves around the shaft, a few kissing his sac where it hung defenseless between his thighs. On a guttural cry he came, Anleeh holding the bowl to catch his seed as it spurted from him.

The Priestess came again at the sight, an orgasm clenching her body around the cocks still inside her. Wrapping her arms around Tamlohn’s shoulders, she slowly lifted herself off Rohaj, his cock slipping from her ass. Rohaj slipped from the couch, anticipating her wishes.

“On your back so I can ride you.” Tamlohn turned them both, taking Rohaj’s place on his back on the chaise, his cock still firmly inside her.

“Anleeh, you’re next; would you like me to bring you with the flogger or stroke yourself with your hand?”

He bowed his head, “As the Priestess pleases.”

She smiled, “This time I give you true free choice, what would you like?”

“Then I will opt to bring myself, if it pleases you.”

She inclined her head, “It does. The rest of you will also come the same way.”

Obediently, each of the three kneeling men took their cocks in hand, fists squeezing, working themselves. Each was already so close, only years of training had prevented them from coming when she did.

She loved to watch them working their own cocks, each one’s stroke very different. Sesah preferred long hand strokes to the very end, Anleeh would pump himself like a man crazed, while Rohaj always started slow—only when he gave himself over would he pump quickly, the muscles of his arm straining, his face contorted.

As her slaves worked themselves, she began rocking on Tamlohn’s cock. Switching her gaze to the man beneath her, she locked eyes with him.

In the moment lavender eyes met bright blue, a world of communication passed between them. With their eyes they asked and answered all the questions their lips could not speak. Good morning. I missed you. How are you? You look beautiful, handsome, wonderful… Do I please you? Do you still love me? Can you still love me? Yes, yes, yes in this world and the next. Yes, yes, yes, my own, my love.

Power spiked in the room as their emotions flared. The three on the floor cried out as her power pushed into their cocks, filling them and surrounding them at the same time. Moregon cried out piteously as his cock rose again. With a mental flick, the Priestess undid his cuffs, allowing him to drop on unsteady legs and kneel beside the others.

Tamlohn’s hands came up, his fingers rolling her nipples, feeling the tightness in her sex and knowing that they were approaching a place they could only go when they, all six, were together. Riding his cock now, faster and faster, rolling her hips and then alternating by rising up and slamming herself down once more, the Priestess’s breath grew shallow. The hands on Tamlohn’s chest flexed, nails digging like claws into the smooth flesh and muscle there.

“I am close, my Zinahs. When I come, you come with me. Let us go to a place beyond here.”

Lifting herself for the final thrusts, she raised her hands over her head, the palms mirroring each other, offering up what they six did as a sacrifice of emotion, sex, and seed to the Goddess.

Once, twice, three times she brought her body down on the stone hard shaft of the Zinah beneath her. With a high cry, like a bird taking flight, she came, her power gathering first in her body and then bleeding to them so they were encompassed in a circle of light, a piece of the sun made earthbound by magic. For a moment they hovered there, bodies straining in the throes of orgasm, the men’s hands tight on their cocks. Tamlohn’s cock fed her body with its seed, buried deep inside her, his hands digging into her hips to hold their groins tight together. The golden glow of the Priestess’s power showed on the men where they had touched her, as if their skin had been inked by contact with hers. Rohaj’s dark cock looked dipped in gold while his chest shimmered from the contact with her back. Anleeh’s and Sesah’s mouths and chins were painted gold as if they had kissed the sun. Moregon’s thighs, belly, and cock were traced with lines of gold, the whip having served as her touch on his body.

For a perfect, endless moment, they existed in the power, they were the power, Goddess touched; for a moment they were divine.

The circle exploded, thrown outwards from their bodies like the ripples of a pebble in a pond, but a thousand times faster, streaking through the room and into the Temple, an invisible ring of power. Most in the Temple were sensitive enough to feel it as it rushed through their bodies. It would be a good day for all who felt it; to be touched by the power of the Goddess was a rare and beautiful thing.

Moaning, they who had manifested the power collapsed; only Tamlohn, who was already reclining, did not. Instead, he opened his arms to the Priestess as she slid forward onto his chest.

With her lying there against his chest, piles of blond hair hiding their faces, he turned and pressed a forbidden kiss against her lips.

Chapter 3

The Priestess knelt before the altar, lips moving as she silently repeated the ritual prayer. Tonight was the new moons, and there was a special prayer said on each day of the moons’ four phases. Her hands moved slowly before her, circling and twining, shaping the air into the form of two glowing blue orbs.

She drew on the natural power that existed in all things. The stone floor of the Temple room glowed slightly while the trees in the atrium directly behind the altar swayed in a breeze that did not exist. She could feel the steady thrum of the Zinahs in her mind. They were there, in her head and heart, quietly waiting. Though they went about their daily tasks whenever she performed rituals, they made sure to stay especially attuned to her.

Sesah attended her today; he knelt on a small cushion to her right. His legs were spread wide while his arms were folded behind his back stretching his chest. His cock dangled harmlessly between his thighs, but she knew he was fighting to keep it soft. The free-flowing magic that bounced through the altar room was a mild aphrodisiac. Had she so much as glanced at him, her power-brightened eyes would have brought him instantly to full arousal.

The glowing orbs, replicas of the moons, were now fully formed, a pale blue that was darkening and deepening with each second that she poured power into them. The smaller, female moon, Akita, started spinning on its own. Whirring like a top, it danced in the air in front of her face. She extended her left hand, letting the larger, male moon, Ishlay, rest there. With her right hand, she guided the female moon towards her lips. For a moment, as she brought it to her face, her field of vision was filled with a glowing blue so dark it was black before the globe of magic entered her body through her lips.

Accustomed as she was to the sparkling sensation of magic moving under her skin, it still never failed to delight her. Lights danced inside her closed eyes and sparkled in the skin of her face. Her lips felt full and swollen; she kept them parted and breathed deliberately through her mouth, letting her breath caress them. Slowly the magic descended through the slim column of her throat, skirting behind her collarbone, before splitting to flow into each breast, lighting them from within. The feeling was undeniably sensual—the nerves in her nipples sent shots of pleasure down into her pussy—but it was more. The magic made her feel her breasts not just as sexual objects, but as symbols of Woman. These breasts, her breasts, nurtured and fed all of humanity—she was the sustenance for all the world.

The tingling in her nipples faded as the magic reunited behind her breast bone before swirling through her belly and, slowly, teasingly, coming to rest in her sex. The magic swelled her sex, filling every plump petal and deep hollow. She felt that deep thrum of sensual need more sharply now; her clit began to pulse in time with her heartbeat. But, as with her breasts, her sex was more than just an organ of pleasure. She was the giver of life, Woman, the earth itself. She was the High Priestess, the Goddess’s mouthpiece and servant upon the earth. She was more powerful, more beautiful, and more alive than words could describe. In one part of her mind, she could feel the increasing arousal of the Zinahs as they felt her body humming with need, and their confusion at the other things she was feeling. They never would, never could understand the true power of Woman. Reveling in the power—knowing it was a form of reaffirmation and thanks from the Goddess—she let the light that filled her sex help to banish the shadows in her mind, the worries that rested upon her heart.

Cupping her hand over her sex, the ball of magic emerged from her skin now embedded with the essence of Woman. With a sigh, she cast her hand up, throwing the mini Akita into the air where it hung suspended and still above her head.

Turning her attention to her left hand, she poured more power into Ishlay until it began to spin and swirl as Akita had.

“Sesah, to me,” she said.

Moving his hands from behind his back, he shifted on to all fours and began to crawl towards her. He circled slowly behind her until he approached from her left side. When he was a yard from her, he stopped and pressed his head to the floor. Raising his head, he crawled forward only to stop and again touch his head to the shimmering floor. When he repeated the motion once more and lowered his head to the floor for the last time, the crown was only inches from her knee.

“Well done, Zinah. Rise up now and display yourself for me.”

He knelt up, spreading his knees once more and lacing his fingers behind his head.

Mmmmmm, he looked delectable like this. His long dark hair was folded into the ritual knot of his people on the top of his head. Despite his lethal grace, in this moment there was stillness about him. His dark, silted eyes were black and intense.

He understood better than any of the others that the power of ritual was in the process, not in the end result. In his home culture, ritual was an important part of everyday life, and the patience he had learned from those early years made him a perfect ritual companion, as well as a sensual delight.

“Do you understand what I am going to do, Sesah?”

“Yes Priestess, it is my pleasure to serve you, and the Goddess, in this way.” Leaning towards him, she stroked the side of his face and smiled.

He sucked in his breath, his cock springing to attention. The combination of her touch and the magic that emanated from her was more than his self-control could handle.

She frowned slightly, then sighed. “I am sorry, Sesah; I should not have done that. I do not mean to make it harder on you. Can you get yourself under control?”

Closing his eyes, he mentally ran through a series of fighting moves, trying to use the mental exercise to decrease his erection. However, this merely led to thinking about when he had trained her in the fighting arts of his people, and how graceful and sexual she had been while executing the moves.

With a groan, he shook his head, “No, Priestess, please forgive me.”

“There is no need for forgiveness, I know that you tried.” She reached out and grasped his balls, squeezing them while pinching the nerve just behind. His cock jerked and jumped, at first finding pleasure in her touch. She increased the pressure, crushing the soft sac of his balls and pinching harder on the nerve until his erection deflated.

Through the process, he maintained a stoic silence.

“Rest a moment,” she said, carefully keeping her eyes and hands off him.

The chamber was filled with the sound of his even breathing and the deep thrum of magic. She examined the foliage in the atrium that covered the back third of the altar room. She would have Moregon look at the small flowered bush, it seemed to be drooping…

“Priestess, I am ready.”

She nodded, still not looking at him, and began to speak.

“Today you serve as the embodiment of the Male. You will provide the essence of that which is male to this ball of magic which is a representation of Ishlay. You will accept the magic through your lips. It will travel through your body to reside in your cock. I will withdraw it with my lips. You are to remain flaccid until the magic is inside your body and touches your cock. When you reach orgasm, your body will expel the magic with your seed inside.”

“I understand.”

“Very good. Then we begin. Open your lips.”

His lips obediently parted as her left hand brought the madly swirling ball of magic closer to him. She felt a brief resistance as the globe pressed against his face, but she pushed and the magic slipped inside his skin through his lips.

His face was lit from within. It was both beautiful and horrifying to see the veins and tendons in his face backlit through his skin. His eyes, normally black, were now a brilliant blue. The muscles in his chest and arms fluttered as his body absorbed the feeling of the sparkling magic.

It began to move, first skittering down his throat, then slipping into his chest. It spread to fill every muscle, his nipples glowing brighter than any other part.

His breath was now coming in gasps; his face was expressionless, the air hissing in and out between his clenched teeth.

“Hold it, just a minute more, now, revel in the feeling. Think how good it will be when your cock finally swells to attention.”

The magic rippled under the skin of his chest. Forming once more into a ball, it slipped down to the base of his cock and settled into his balls.

Suddenly she gripped both his nipples, pinching them hard. His cock sprang to attention, the magic swelling his shaft hard and fast. His cock and balls now glowed with magic. Perfect.

“Beautifully done, lie back now, Sesah,” she ordered, giving each nipple one last tweak.

He slipped backwards, keeping his knees spread until he was lying with his legs spread, hands folded beneath his head. She slipped between his legs, gently tapping the inside of his thighs until he spread them wide enough to satisfy her. She knew that his body raged with arousal and, for a moment, her pleasure in the ritual dimmed. He should feel more. He should feel the essence of what it is to be Male; he should feel that his body was the seed that planted the earth, that the strength of the mountains was in his shoulders. If there were a true priest, a High King…

She shook herself; now was not the time. Not when there was such a beautiful plaything here before her.

Smiling once more, she lowered her face to his cock and blew across the tip. She watched his face while she traced the head with her tongue. His eyelids were fluttering, his throat working as he swallowed convulsively. Finally she wrapped one hand around the shaft and gave a gentle tug. His breath left in a whoosh of air and his hips bucked.

With a small chuckle, she settled down to the task that had been erected before her.

Her lips slid over the head, taking it into the hot cavern of her mouth. Her right hand pumped the shaft while the left fondled his balls. She slipped his shaft into her mouth, reveling in the way that it filled her lips. Gently she tested his thickness with her teeth, eliciting a whimper from him. She stroked his belly reassuringly and gentled him with soft licks.

With two inches of cock firmly inside her mouth, she sealed her lips and began to suck. Her tongue laved the thick vein on the underside from within the vacuum of her mouth. She increased the tempo of her pumping hand and began moving her head, bobbing it up and down along his shaft. She could feel his seed gathering in his balls, felt them drawing up closer to his body. Sliding one hand up his smooth belly, she pushed her thumb into his belly button. Pushing hard against the sensitive indented flesh, she set the nerves in his cock and thighs tingling. She increased the pace of her hand and head, jerking and pulling on his cock, her mouth hot and tight as his cock slid in and out.

Suddenly he exploded, his climax roaring through him and into her; a wave of pleasure rippled across her belly, a low-grade orgasm. As he came, her mouth was filled with the magic, now enriched by his seed. She pumped him several additional times, milking him for each last drop.

Pulling back, she could see no sign of a stray sparkling bit of magic beneath his skin. Satisfied that everything had gone right, she gently patted his spent sac and laid his deflating cock across his belly.

Kneeling back, she pursed her lips and started to blow, as if blowing a bubble. Slowly the magic emerged from her mouth, swelling and inflating until a perfectly formed replica of the moon Ishlay hovered before her lips.

With a smile she pushed the ball until it moved up in the air with the other orb. They fell into place, Ishlay slightly above and behind Akita.

She glanced down at Sesah. His eyes were closed, his chest rose and fell in an easy rhythm. With a chuckle, she patted his cock and then rose. He deserved his rest, but there were many more things for her to get done this day.

* * * *

As the Priestess left, she hummed a gentle tune. The altar room was located on the North side of the Temple. As she walked, sunlight from the opened archways which supported the stone roof illuminated her, bits of light clinging to her even when she walked into shadows, as if the sun itself could not bear to be parted from her.

Turning left, she moved deeper into the Temple, entering one of the main interior hallways and kept walking. After so many years, her feet knew every stone, every secret nook and hidden garden.

She was naked, as she was often. Her body, as that of every female, had been crafted in the image of the Goddess, and so was not a thing to be ashamed of, but to be reveled in. Besides, when she did have to leave the Temple, she was swathed in miles of ceremonial garb. Naked was much better.

Finally, she came to her destination, a large set of stone double doors. They were too heavy for any single person to move, but parted with a touch of her hand. She stopped just inside the doorway, letting her eyes adjust to the dark and cool. By touch, she reached into a chest near the door and drew out a simple robe, knowing from experience that the chamber was too cold to remain naked. Blinking against the dark, she reached for a candle stick. Holding the candle with her left hand, she touched the tip of her right index finger to the wick. Immediately, a pure bright flame sprung up. She moved around the circular chamber, lighting the other candles in the same way, revealing the contents in the brightening room. One section of floor was covered with pillows on low benches and chairs. Several small desks were scattered about, and a supply chest sat against one wall. But the main feature of the room was the books. The chamber rose up three stories within the Temple—cutting through other floors—and every inch of those three stories was covered in shelves stuffed with books. They ranged from small diaries, full of handwriting so gnarled that no one in recorded memory had tried to decipher the words, to sets of large tablets that had been bound in leather.

Here was the true wealth and power of the Temple: knowledge. The history, theology, and science of their world were written in these books.

All this knowledge, she though bitterly, and no power to use it.

She settled onto a cushioned bench and drew a much-loved history text onto her lap. There was no need to open the book; she knew its contents by heart. Her fingers caressed the smooth worn leather as her mind drifted.

The original Books, a set of rituals, were said to have been written by the first High King and Priestess after the uniting of the Lands between the Seas. For 100 years, the first High King ruled in tandem with the Priestess who he took to wife. It is said that the bloodline of the first link ruled for 500 years, their daughters and granddaughters sent to the Temple to train and each become Priestess in her time. When there was no female of that bloodline to take the position, or if she was found unworthy, the reigning King would marry the one chosen as Priestess, and so the bond between the high Palace and the Temple was kept strong. For many years, the title of Priestess was synonymous with that of Queen or Princess. The problems began when one of the lesser Kings began to rebel. After being continually defeated by the High King, he decided it was the Priestess who gave the High King his power. Through trickery and deceit, he captured the Priestess Queen, and her successor, her daughter the Princess, and killed them both. The High King, driven mad by the loss of his wife and daughter, walked into the forest never to be heard from again. With the kingdom and Temple in mourning, the usurper was able to take control. He ruled with no regard to the dictates of the Temple and turned his attention to destroying what was left of the Priestess-hood. The last remaining daughter of the King’s bloodline locked herself within the holiest part of the Temple for eight days and nights. Praying for guidance, she penned the second set of rituals, the Second Books, those that detailed the gathering of the Zinahs, outlining their duties. The eldest sons of five of the noblest houses, those that opposed the usurper, came to the Temple to be the first Zinahs and, through their combined power, restored the Temple.

Despite their prayers and military efforts, led by the first Prima, they were not able to take back control of the kingdom. The honest peasants fled, some into the Temple, others to the far-reaching kingdoms. The Great City, seat of the High Palace and the Temple, which stretched to fill the valley between the High Mountains, was laid to waste. From the dubious safety of the Temple the helpless Priestess had watched as the kingdom fell to ruin.

Fifteen generations had passed since then. The power of the Zinahs kept the Temple strong enough that they were able to curb the destruction wrought by the descendants of the usurper. The Temple now functioned as a small city, sheltering families who had lived within the safety of its massive walls since the fall.

Each Priestess kept a journal detailing the plots and schemes that the King had perpetrated upon her in an effort to diminish the power of the Temple. The schemes had ranged from simple assassination attempts to laying siege to the Temple and attempting to starve them out. Many times, the Kings had tried to marry the Priestess and so claim the title of High King, for it was written in the Second Books that while the role of the Priestess was true and right, the King would never be High King until he could call himself the husband or father of the Priestess. Some had sent their daughters to the Temple, but none had been found worthy. And so it was that the title of true King, High King, was left unclaimed, and, in his place, the five Zinahs served in the Temple. The first five Priestesses after the coup, or the Dark War as the people called it, including the last High King’s daughter, wrote guidebooks on how to train and maintain the five Zinahs. The training books explained why power was split among them and why they must be slaves to the Priestess. The terms of the service of the Zinahs protected the Temple from having false Zinahs worm their way in and try to take control.

The King was not entirely without input though. If, by the end of the first year of her term, the Priestess had not found suitable Zinahs from within the people of the Temple or the surrounding area, it was the right of the King to present candidates, and many had tried to send spies. However, the spies were either found out or so changed by the Zinahs training as to be devoted to the Priestess.

But there were subtler, more clever ways to hurt the Temple and the Priestess, and the current King was a very clever man indeed. He brought her Tamlohn after a year of frantic searching had revealed no worthy candidate. Tamlohn had been the perfect candidate: intelligent, gifted, a fearsome fighter. But he had not come willingly; he had been bloodied and chained, taken as a prisoner of war.

She could not refuse to take him as the Prima Zinah, and so the King had forced her to accept his spoils, and, for years afterwards, had proclaimed long and loud that this meant the Temple sanctioned the war. She had tried to counter what he was saying, but she was distracted at the time, fighting her own battle within the Temple walls…

The great irony was that no matter what trick the King tried, no one could take the Priestess’s place. She, and she alone, could channel the Goddess, both to make Her wishes known to the people and to carry their prayers to Her. And the Priestesses paid for the lack of High King, too. For fifteen generations they were nameless, as a sign of remembrance for the times before the Dark War. Queen and Priestess Analisa and Princess and heir to the Priestess Rohmanii were the last recorded names, the names of the murdered. From that point, and continuing until the return of the High King, she and those who came before and after were known only as Priestess.

Opening her eyes, she blinked slowly and wiped away the single tear she had shed for a thousand years of grief. Looking down at her lap where the book rested, she could see her fingers tracing a familiar pattern. Over and over she traced a word against the leather cover of the book, as if she could imprint it there.

‘Cryessa,’ she wrote it again, and then again, the rhythm of her fingers never changing.

My name is Cryessa… I have a name. My name is Cryessa, and I have a name.


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