“They have moved in, Maiden. The shrine will be sighted three minutes from now. No signs of the guards.”
“The old shrines do not have human guards. Tell the girls to be careful,” the Maiden stood behind the woman at the console, who relayed her orders dutifully. Despite all expectations, the Maiden expected the mission to fail miserably. She would count it a success if anyone in the field made it out alive at all.
For a little while, it was all quiet. The silence was broken by one of the squad units informing them that they had sighted the shrine, followed by one short scream. There was a burst of static, and then they picked up the sound of raspy breathing from one of the headsets. The squad were moving on to their target in silence. They would not stop till they achieved their target, even at the cost of their souls. Neither would they make a single sound, in case anyone was listening.
After twenty minutes, one of the squad members reported in.
“We have secured the amphora. There are only three members left.” When the Maiden said nothing, the woman at the console told her to proceed as planned.
“That worked out better than I expected,” the Maiden said once the girls had acknowledged the instructions. “I shall return to my chambers now. The report should be on my desk by tomorrow morning.”
“I understand, Maiden.”
The Maiden stepped out of the rose petal bath.
The scent of roses hung heavily in the air, perfuming the Maiden’s moist and supple skin. As she slipped into the robe, the silk clung to her like a second skin, outlining her full figure. Although she was a Maiden, she had been blessed with her mother’s full figure and her father’s exotic looks. Her eyes were large and grey; the colour itself marked her as a oddity and destined to serve in the Great Temple. Silky long black hair often fell forward, framing her heart-shaped face. Ruby-red lips, falling open ever so slightly, invited people to kiss them, especially to take away her cute pout. She had the long, supple limbs of a dancer and the full figure of a mother.
Although she served in the Temple, she did not serve the Priests as the other Maidens did. From the time she had been brought into the Temple, the God had claimed her as his own, marking her with his Seal on her sternum. The location of her mark informed the Priesthood and everyone else that she stood high in his favour. None had tried to make a pass at her, fearing their God’s wrath more than their desire for her. Their desires though, kept building as the years passed, for she grew in beauty and intelligence, the latter which she made sure to hide from the Priests so that they would not plot her demise. She remained as demure and obedient as she had from the day she arrived.
Tonight was the night that she had been Marked for. All Maidens lost their virginity to the God, though this was traditionally done in a ritual which had the Priests invoking the God and having the God possess one of the Priests to take the Maiden. Before the Maiden could be taken though, she would be given the chance to oversee a mission undertaken by the agents under the God, so that she would know leadership and what it meant to submit to the will of the God. The ritual often took place between the hours before dawn and sunrise, so as to symbolise the dying of the old self and the beginning of the new.
For hers though, the God himself had appeared and would not brook any to touch her save him. He had actually appeared, as the personification of a veteran general with a few scars. All but the High Priest had scattered when the God had appeared in the Inner Sanctum in the morning. The High Priest had merely bowed before the God silently. The God was pleased, and shrinking himself down to height of the Priest, he had made his desires known. Many of them were of a military and charity nature; the God often took a close and personal interest in the doings of his people, but the one about her had made even the High Priest start.
She had been sent to monitor a suicide mission. Although that had been a last minute item, the God had been pleased with the way she had handled herself. That had been the easy part. The rest of the night was the challenge. Spending the night in bed with a God may have been the dream of some of the women, but it was not hers, especially after hearing the horror stories from several other Maidens.
“Be gentle, my lord,” she whispered softly as the servants prepared her for the rest of the night.