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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

3Origins 2

 She was so beautiful. That was the first thing that the knight noticed about the woman who stood on the other side of the bars. Her luminous eyes, full lips and smug smile made his heart pound in his chest in a way that he was certain that the priests who had been camped around his cell for the past few weeks could hear as clearly as they could smell sin.

            The woman’s delicate hands were folded neatly across the front of her plain nun’s habit, and even though her hair was hidden beneath her traditional cowl, a single dark strand had escaped and hung over her smooth brow. A cross was conspicuously absent from around her neck, and she had not come armed with a bible like the other inquisitors. Instead, she just stared at him through the bars with a look of pity that illuminated her like the Virgin Mary herself.

            “What is your name, my child?” she asked gently, her voice heavily flavored with a Saxon accent.

            The priest to her left cleared his throat; “This was Sir Trystram le Maingre Chevalier, one of the King’s knights, before he was claimed by Satan.”

            Chevalier let his chin drop, shame making his face flush red. He had been chained by the wrists to the ground in a forced kneeling position for the past two days, and it was only that morning that the lead inquisitor had removed what he had gleefully called ‘the Heretic Fork.’ The fork was a double-ended metal spike whose prongs had been embedded in the flesh at the base of his throat and under his chin, forcing his head back and his jaw shut. He had only had the water that spilled from his own eyes to lap up awkwardly, when his tongue wasn’t questing around the thin metal spines that stuck up from thin skin beneath it.

            The vertebrae in his neck cracked loudly when he moved, and the nun gave the priest a disapproving scowl, “The heretic needs to answer in his own voice, Father.”

            The priest gave her a cold look, “The heretic may no longer be able, Sister. God has seen fit for us to administer his judgment with great vigor upon this beast for the past week.”

            Chevalier opened his mouth and said softly around the blood that had been collecting there, “I can still speak.”

            The nun looked back at him quickly and a small smile crossed her lips, “Excellent. I am from the order of the Carmelites. I am here to get your confession.”

            “That is impossible,” the knight gasped. He lifted his head slightly, “You are far too beautiful to be a nun.”

            The nun’s mouth pulled harder into a frown, but something in her eyes flashed and a sudden rush of color flooded into her cheeks. She examined the prisoner sharply, noticed the torn flesh on his lean but muscular chest and the mane of black hair that hung over his face, which had been bruised and blackened by the holy fists of the inquisitors.

She looked at the priests standing beside her and said softly, “Leave me with the prisoner.”

            “Sister,” the head priest hissed, his hand hitching itself into the bend of her elbow like a talon, “This is improprietous. The soul inside that pathetic creature is one of pure evil, destined for hell. He has caused the ruin of more than one virtuous woman, and we are certain that his soul has been claimed by an incubus.”

            The nun nodded, “I understand, Father. I will take care, but I believe that it is God’s will that I hear his confession. A heavy hand has been tried, perhaps it is time to exercise the mercy of the Lord instead.”

            The woman’s small hand slid over his and tightened as their eyes locked. Chevalier watched as some strange, silent battle raged between the two of them before the old man’s will broke and he let his hand drop. He had never seen the lead Inquisitor back down for any reason before, and his pain-muddled brain struggled to understand what he was seeing.

There was a long, hard silence and finally the old man hissed, “What are you called?”

            “I am Sister Erzsébet.”

             “I will speak to the head of the order about your willfulness, Sister Patience.” he looked at the other priests and grunted, “We will return in a few moments to resume the Lord’s work. Be quick, but more importantly, be prudent.” The other priests gave him silent looks that oozed confusion and disapproval, but they followed him out the door nonetheless.

            Once the door slammed, Sister Erzsébet carefully picked up the heavy keys that lay on the low wooden table and turned to stare at Chevalier evenly. He lifted his head more and opened his mouth to spit out some of the blood that had pooled their, his eyes leveled at her the whole time. She opened the cell and took a short step inside, a strange smile spreading across her lips.

            She knelt down on the filthy stone floor and stared into his green eyes, which where almost obscured by his bruised cheeks, “Tell me what you stand accused of, Heretic.”

            Chevalier’s gaze dropped to the floor and he struggled to keep from collapsing onto the floor, “Debauchery, witchcraft, seduction and communion with Satan.”

            “And what are your true crimes, my child?”

            He cleared his throat, “The daughter of the lord to whom I am a vassal…we…I loved her. I loved her, and together we conceived a daughter. She was taken during childbirth, and her father discovered our indiscretion.”

            Erzsébet reached out a hand, and before he realized what he was doing, the knight flinched away from her, his heart pounding hard at the thought of more torture. Instead, her palm slid over his cheek and cupped it, her skin strangely cool and alluring.

            She moved closer to him and whispered, “What have they done to you? Tell me what punishments that God has seen fit to inflict?”

            Chevalier’s eyes opened wide as how close she moved, and he murmured, “They started with lashes, and then they starved me, burned me, hit me with heavy stones, and cut pieces of my flesh off.” The nun reached under his arm and put her hand on the flat of his shoulder blade. He gasped in anguish when she brushed the long strips of bloody gore that used to be his skin, his entire back a giant checker board of cuts, welts and blisters.

            Her fingers slid over his wounds, and suddenly the pain transformed into a full-body shudder that started at the base of his spine and moved in explosive tremors through his nerves, the torment crossing over into a sublime bliss. His mouth opened in surprise, a long gasp escaping his bruised lips.

            Erzsébet brought her face close to his, her eyes suddenly burning impossibly bright like wheels of fire. She brought her lips so close to his that he could feel her cold breath and could nearly taste her skin.

            “Do you want to pain to stop?” she whispered. Her fingers slid up his neck and twined in his hair, pulling his head so sharply that his back arched.

            His eyes rolled back and he moaned, “I want the pain…I want the pain forever if you are the one to cause it.”

            The nun blinked in surprise, and then she bared long, curved fangs in a terrible smile, “Then swear yourself to me for all time. Swear that you will be mine to command.” she untangled one hand and let it run up his chest, her nails digging four long, bleeding gashes before they stopped at his throat.

            “I…” his eyes finally closed in ecstasy and he breathed, “I swear.”

            Chevalier didn’t even fell Erzsébet’s fangs at first: they slid into the skin of his throat so easily that it took a few seconds for his brain to realize that she was drinking his blood. He struggled for a split second, his heart pumping so fast that it felt like it was trying to tear itself free from his chest, but the nun’s grip was iron, and he had more chance of shattering the metal chains.

            She fed from him until he slid to the ground, his skin as pale as a phantom’s. She let him go and shuddered, her eyes blazing from her head like torches, her hands sliding over her chest and hips with convulsive pleasure, “Your blood…you taste so strong, so full of life!” she looked over at him and grinned through lips stained red with blood, “You will be a powerful servant.”

            The knight’s hands curled upwards, straining weakly against the chains and he struggled to breathe, his life leaking away from the punctures in his throat.

            Erzsébet pulled the wimple off of her head, and her beautiful black hair spilled out in brilliant waves. She tore the collar of her dress open, revealing the luminous curve of her pale collarbone, skin as ghastly pale as her victim’s. With a knife-sharp nail, she drew a line across her flesh, and her blood trickled from the gash down onto her habit. She knelt and seized Chevalier by the shoulders, pulling him onto her lap in a pose not dissimilar to the Pieta, her mouth glistening and twisted.

            The knight’s eyes opened wider at the sight of her wound, but Erzsébet cradled him against her clavicle, and the sweet, earthy stench of her blood made every cell in his body buzz, his lips closing around the gasp before he fully knew what he was doing. His mouth filled with the dark, forbidden liquid, and he swallowed greedily, a strange, burning arousal shooting through him.

            He drank more than he knew he was able, and by the time that the ghastly woman pushed him away, his mind exploded with dark, terrible energy. His body was racked with spasms, both blissful and terrible, and finally his heart gave a final shudder and stopped.

            Erzsébet knelt over him, her mouth still curled into a feline smile, “Wake up, my knight.”

            Chevalier’s eyes shot open, their green depths brilliant and unnaturally bright. He sat up slowly and lifted both hands, surprised at the strength that suddenly filled him. He pulled his hands foreword and the chains snapped free from his wrists with as much resistance as cobwebs.

            The nun leaved foreword and whispered gleefully, “Now, let’s pay a visit to our holy friends.”

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