Chapter 16 Part 9 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book 1
A few paces ahead, Temmin had fallen in step with Anda. "I don't know if I can do this," he muttered.
"You'll be all right," she said. "I survived it. You will, too."
"Be truthful with me. Do They scare you?"
"They're Gods, of course they scare me--did Senik tell you about the time 500 years ago? If he weren't so pretty, I'd kill that man," scowled Anda. "You'll be with Neya anyway. I don't think She's fucked anyone to death, ever. I hope if it ever happens it's Senik, but he'd probably die happy."
"Maybe She hasn't done it before, but there's always a first time," he muttered.
"You're a very quick study, Tem, but you're not going to inspire that level of passion your first time out," said Anda.
The two mounted the dais and joined the Most Highs; Ansella was nowhere to be seen. Before he could ask after her, High Beloved Malla said, "And how is your first Spectacle, Temmin Supplicant?"
"Where's my mother?"
Malla laughed. "I find it odd to discuss a man's mother on a night like this, my dear. The Queen felt that she'd done her duty, and went home. Not a surprise, considering her advisor. Now, watch."
The crowds had fallen to their knees as the Gods moved among them, stopping to give a kiss or caress a bowed head, favors that often led to the recipient fainting dead away or smothering under a pile of onlookers anxious to share the blessing. Neya and Nerr ascended the dais, and the murmured prayers of the multitude ceased. Temmin searched for even a shred of Allis and Issak as They approached, but there was none; the calm professionalism usually on their faces had been replaced with a radiance that gave off both light and heat, as if the Gods truly burned inside them. He feared that if his eyes met Theirs he might burn to ash and blow away. He dropped his gaze to the ground.
"You have brought us a gift?" They called out together.
"Temmin Supplicant," responded the Most Highs.
No turning back. Temmin rose on shaking legs, eyes still down; he cast a glance at the stairs leading downward and out into the night, to whatever else there might be for him in this life, turned and faced the Gods. Something compelled him to look into Neya's borrowed eyes. In their green depths, figures moved, coupling and uncoupling and recoupling with others, an endless dance of love and pleasure that expanded to encompass him and then the world, enveloping it all in the rose light that shone from Her. "Would you serve Us?"
"Yes," he said hoarsely.
"Would you learn from Us?" said Nerr.
"Yes," he replied, his voice strengthening.
"Would you share that knowledge with the world?"
"Yes," he said.
Neya kissed him then, filling him with a euphoric languor, an erotic pulse flowing from Her lips down his body and back up in a neverending coil, a joined spiral. He was completely alive, completely at home in his body, and afraid of nothing; whatever doubts he may have had dissolved. In that moment, whatever she asked of him he would have done. The elation stayed with him even when She stepped back, even when Nerr tore his shirt from his back and kissed him so hard he wondered in the back of his mind if his lips were pulped. Fingers at his waist untied the red linen trousers; they caught on his arousal, but he shifted and they fell to the floor, leaving him naked before the crowd of worshippers.
"We accept your supplication, Temmin," said Neya. They led him off the dais into the Gods' Chambers and shut the doors behind them.