LK Rigel lives in California with her cat, Coleridge. She wrote songs for the 90's band The Elements, scored the independent science fantasy karate movie Lucid Dreams, and was a reporter for the Sacramento Rock 'N Roll News. Rigel received her BA in humanities from CSU, Sacramento. Her work has appeared in Literary Mama and Tattoo Highway. Her short story "Slurp" will appear in Anne Frasier's 2011 Halloween anthology published by Nodin Press. Her novel Hero Material (Space Junque) was edited by USA Today bestselling author Anne Frasier/Theresa Weir.
“The Triune Contract is sacred.”
Mal glanced sideways at Nin then looked at the floor to keep from laughing. They were unable to see the witnesses, but Nin had noticed it too – the low rumble of male voices among them. It sounded good.
The next step, the sister behind her took the crown from her head and dropped it onto the sash on the floor. The sisters and the witnesses, chanted:
“Daughter of heaven, bearer of the world
You are the fig tree the gods did not curse
Conduit and chalice, how glad are your lovers
You open the gate forged by mankind’s error”
The third step, the sister took away her lovely pearl choker and draped it over the crown. Mal chanted:
“Where is my beloved? I wait in the meadow
I am waiting in the meadow, untouched by human error
Where is my beloved? He is beautiful in my eyes
He is like the rainfall, like the great bull of heaven”
The fourth step, the sister took the staff of ash and tossed it to the floor near the crown and pearls. Mal chanted:
“I lie among the roses, in a bed of lovely petals
I lie in heat for love, my furrow ready for love’s seed”
The fifth step, the sister took her gold bracelet. Mal knew she’d get it back later; but she’d worn it for so long that it felt wrong to let it go.
“I am the rose of heaven, and I am the rose of desire
I am the red rose, and the white rose
I am desire, I am satisfaction”
The sixth step, she kicked out of her slippers, which the sister took away.
“I will bear the fruit of the world
I am the tree of life uncursed
I am the furrow that will be sown
By my lover’s worthy plow”
The seventh step, she dropped her robe, her sole remaining garment, to expose her naked body and the circle of red roses on her arm. The witnesses burst into applause. The sisters spoke in unison.
“My sister, I have taken your ego so that you may serve unhindered.”
The five dropped to their knees.
“Thank you, my sister, for your service to me this day.”
They crawled across the stage to the princes who would help complete the ritual. Mal laid her hands on a prince’s bare feet while the witnesses chanted:
“The Triune Contract is sacred”
She rose to her knees and put her hands on his thighs. He was as naked as she was, and quite ready for her.
“Your curse is your blessing”
He knelt down and she placed her hands on his chest. This was no effeminate, sterile proof. It was a real man from the real world, well-fed and well-trained, with smooth skin over powerful muscles.
It was Edmund.
“Your service is your deliverance”
He put his hands on her breasts.
“The Triune Contract is sacred”
She put her hands on his shoulders, and they kissed. He embraced her and eased her to the floor. He kissed her ears, her throat, and her breasts. His warm mouth covered a nipple. As he sucked, electric delight surged through her body. She opened herself to him, and he took her hands in his and spread her arms wide as he entered her.
She should be praying for world fertility but, great Asherah, it was all she could do to keep her body temperature stable. A man in reality was better than a man in theory! She focused on the honey bee tattoo over his left clavicle. She found his rhythm and let her body go with it. Asherah, yes!
Nothing. Nothing in her training had prepared her for this. Her mind said keep control. Her body said let go. Let go. Don’t stop. Never stop. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and flowed with his movement. She wanted to moan, it felt so good – but Durga would hear of it, and Mal wouldn’t give her the satisfaction.
The thought of Durga helped her to maintain control.
Control over her voice, anyway. Edmund held her tighter and plunged deeper inside her. Heat and pleasure and delightful desperate urges coursed through her. The world disappeared, and the only thing that existed was the one being they made together. The edges of her soul were blending into his. She had to stop this.
“Ah!” Roh did it. Roh cried out in flagrante delicto and saved Mal from disaster.
Back from the brink. The world was real again. Mal and Edmund were in their own bodies. They separated, as did the other ritual lovers, accompanied by tremendous applause in the auditorium. She avoided looking at him.
Two sisters put gold slippers on her feet and dressed her in a gold sari embroidered with poppy-red primroses. Someone handed her a flute of champagne.
And that was it. She was a chalice. She could make a contract tomorrow or start a proof of service pregnancy tonight. The house lights came on. The other fifteen new chalices joined Prime Hub on the stage, all dressed in gold and red saris, and the women of Red City descended upon them all with congratulations.