by Tenchan

The flight of stairs was long, steep and looming over the gathered small group of men and women. The two figures that ascended seemed lost against the dark stone of green hue and the clouded storm sky. The taller of the two stopped the climb at the two gigantic pillars that marked the middle of the stairs, and only the boy moved on, shedding his simple robe on his way to the altar on top, and with it, his life as a boy. When he reached the end of his climb, standing before the broad stone surface that was stained by dark lines, his supple body nude to the night and the raging elements, he had become a man in the eyes of those watching below. There was no return for him.

The young man shivered, as he bent his knees to lower himself onto the altar. Not from the rain and icy winds beating his smooth skin, nor from fear at the thunder seeming to shake the world with its might, but from excitement. Many years had he prepared for this, had honed his body to a flawless form, and trained his mind to endure what would break normal men. As a child he had heard the call for the first time and given himself to the guidance of those that were now waiting for him to finish his long journey. Days he had spent in a trance, opening his mind for what was to come, listening to the seductive whispers that accompanied him day and night to this very moment. Tonight, here and now, he was finally going to give the greatest gift of all to his Master. Himself.

At the foot of the stone monument, the priests whispered words of anticipation and devotion, waiting for Him to accept the offer. Then a gasp went through the robed figures as a single bolt of lightning split the massive clouds and seemingly struck the four pillars surrounding the altar. The clouds pulled tighter, gaining a life of their own, forming a cluster over the nude figure of the young man, lowering themselves upon him slowly. Common men and women would have doubted their mind at the sight of something writhing and shifting inside the cloud formation, like tendrils of something utterly unholy. Then the man's body vanished under the descending obscenity.

He had dreamed of Him, had heard his whispers and felt his touch on his mind. The priests had described how He preferred to show himself many times, in hushed whispers of reverence. And yet, when He finally appeared, the young man's eyes widened and he quivered at the power and darkness of His presence. He was cold, colder than ice, and the first touch of His on the young man's skin seemed to drain his own warmth. Then He was around him, and all was silent. The thunder and storm were but a memory, and even the whispers were gone. For a moment, the young man was confused, expecting his Master to talk to him, deny or accept him, anything... then he felt, more than he saw, the strangely massless tendrils slide over his skin. One touched his eyes and he closed them, remembering what he had learned and trained for so long. He opened his mind, and the tendrils that snaked over him stilled for a moment, then tightened their hold on his body, pulsing and writhing over the dark skin. With every movement they made, the man felt as if they were hugging him tighter, firmer, brushing over him, into him. Invading his flesh, his mind, his very soul. He was still cold, but no longer did he miss his warmth. The coldness filled him and remade him into the vessel his Master craved, left him open and defenseless to the darkness that followed it. Then His twisting extremities touched the young man's mind, and once more he could hear the whispers. And this time, they spoke no more words of seduction, but of triumph and possession.


It was only moments that the priests waited and watched, then the twitching, coiling clouds dissipated, leaving a body behind on the altar that was still frozen in an ecstatic curve for a moment. It relaxed and fell back onto the stone at the same instant the priests' voices rose in a prayer of praise, and its owner parted dry lips to whisper into the suddenly clear night sky with a shuddering gasp.


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