By Brenna Lyons
Before Karliss Furia, Magmon's Vessel, was presented to his Ician, he had to be trained to seduce a skittish virgin.
Rostana Renald was gods-crafted for such pursuits. Rostana came to the temple in Magmalen, hoping to be trained by the priests in lovemaking, but when Zaden is less than pleased about her pursuits, she finds herself in the arms of Zaden's father, Councilor Gabel Tiben. He's a man nearly three times her age, but he's fire between the sheets.
While Rostana is sure society will prevent such a match, Gabel will not be denied. After knowing the touch of a god, Rostana responds to him. What more proof does anyone need that she is destined for him?
79 pages - 27500 words
Lady Rostana Renald stood at the side door to the temple, her heart beating wildly. She reached for the bell rope, touched it, and retreated.
Surely, this was a joke. But she didn’t walk away. The question was whether her hope that it was true was enough to overcome her terror that it wasn’t.
She touched the rope, not quite forcing her fingers closed around it. Rostana could learn if it was a joke or not by pulling it.
If it is, the embarrassment would be more than I can bear.
If it is not, I may yet have Zaden as my own.
On that thought, she squeezed her eyes shut, yanked the bell rope, and released it with a wince at the too-loud jangling.
The few moments between that move and the sound of someone behind the door were enough to trigger the need to run. Dragon’s Breath, how would she explain her presence here?
Just as Shara told me to. She gave me the words to use.
The door swung open, leaving Rostana face-to-face with a bare-chested man in red trousers. Was he a servant in the temple or a priest?
He assessed her for a moment, then bowed his head. “Welcome, mi’lady. How may I serve you?”
Rostana didn’t want him to serve her. She wanted Zaden. Magmon sear his frustrating hide!
It is the only way. But I must speak the words, as Shara spoke them. “I...come from the wastes with the gods’ own hunger.”
He quirked up an eyebrow. Her heart sank, and she started to turn, muttering an apology for wasting his time.
“Come. Please. If you hunger, you have come to a place of satiation.”
Her heart skittered in surprise and excitement. It was the response Shara had told her to expect. Rostana nodded and followed him through the corridors. He stopped at a red drape, drawing it back and waving her through.
Terror rose up in her, and she froze. That was the whole of it? Shara had led her to believe there was more to it than the passing of words and the man bedding—–
“Mi’lady?” His voice was soothing. “There are formalities to be met.”
Formalities? He wasn’t rushing her to a bed. Rostana nodded and slid through the doorway, sighing in relief at the very mundane office beyond. Trembling in the release of tension, she took the outside chair and folded her hands in her lap.
He took the other. For a moment, she feared he’d reach for parchment. If he did, she would leave. It would be mortifying to know he’d recorded this conversation.
“Why have you come to Magmon’s temple, mi’lady? What...hunger vexes you?”
She knew the words she had to speak, but forcing them out was impossible. Her face burned in conflicting emotions.
“I see.” His look was all too knowing. “Wait here, if you please.”
The priest left the room, and Rostana chanced a look at his narrow waist and tanned back, at the firm backside inside tight trousers.
She considered leaving. Magmon sear Shara’s soul! This is a sick joke. Why her cousin would choose to play such a prank on her was immaterial. It was unlikely that Magmon’s priests were in the business of deflowering young noblewomen.
The drape moved again, and a most shocking sight appeared. There was little question that the woman was a priestess, but she was like no priestess Rostana had seen before. She was bare-breasted, dressed in a waist wrap even shorter than the ones the native men wore.
Rostana nearly bolted at her approach, but something in her smile was disarming. The priestess offered her hand, and Rostana took it, trying not to stare at the other woman’s nudity.
“My name is Alina Senior,” she offered. “And you, mi’lady?”
“Renald.” High priestess or not, she was a cleric and wasn’t someone Rostana would share her given name with.
The priestess tipped her head and moved to the chair the priest had abandoned, folding herself into it. “Lady Renald.” Her voice was silken, a comfort to Rostana’s jangled nerves.
They stared at each other for long enough to send protestations of a mistake up her throat. They stuck there, forced down by the need to appease Zaden.
“You came here in search of Magmon’s touch?” Alina Senior inquired.
That was what Shara had called it, what she’d said Rostana would have to ask for. “Does it exist?” she asked, forcing the words out.
“Oh, it does indeed,” she purred in a voice that made Rostana’s heart stutter. It so closely mirrored the way Shara had spoken of the experience, it was eerie.
The priestess launched on into a new question. “Have you known men, Lady Renald?”
Flames the likes of the volcanic ring licked up her face.
“If you wish to experience Magmon’s touch, you must be honest with me,” she warned.
Rostana swallowed hard, reminding herself that there was a price for every service, and she’d pay nearly any price they asked for this one. “I have...touched, Alina Senior.”
“Have you tasted?” she asked bluntly.
“Only of a man’s mouth and he of mine.”
The priestess arched a fine brow at that. “A man’s cock has breached none of you?”
She shook her head slowly, praying the priestess wasn’t playing along with Shara’s prank.
“Has a man touched you?”
A roll of pleasure at the memory settled in her belly. “Yes.”
“Beneath your dress?”
“Yes, Alina Senior.” Dragon God, but the phantom memories of that touch had her sweating.
“Inside your body?”
“No.” Rostana had shied at that.
“Have you been tasted? Beneath your dress?”
“No, Alina Senior, I have not.” But she ached for it.
“You seem saddened, Lady Renald. Tell me what drives you here.”
“A man,” she whispered.
“The one you touched with?” she guessed.
“Tell me why you hunger, if you have such a man.”
“He prefers knowing women, ones he can enjoy without the games of induction.”
“And so you wish to return to him such a woman?”
Rostana managed not to wince by a narrow margin. “Yes, Alina Senior.”
“You wish a man to teach you, to seduce you by Magmon’s fire?”
She didn’t hesitate. “Yes, Alina Senior. I do.”
The priestess seemed to consider that. “Very well. I will show you to your rooms.”
“And then?” Rostana asked nervously.
“Go about your devotions. Never forget, Magmon hears all.”