Tidbit: Liessa post-ritual

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Writing today is not going too well. Here is a tidbit from when I was writing in last years’ NaNoWriMo.

—————-

A rolling thunder shook the clammy air.

Mikabwe stood and closed the window over Liessa’s bed as the first fat raindrops fell on Farthing, preceeding what was to be a violent thunderstorm. He watched the rivulets run down the world warped by window glass and thought of the Marianne. She’d better be well tied and covered or he’d be without a ship.

The soft sound of movement indicated Liessa’s rousing. The thunder had woken her. She’d sat up in the bed, blinking, staring blearily at Mikabwe. He watched her in the window reflection- A smear of dried blood lingered on one of her plump cheeks, and her curls on the left side of her head were tousled and knotted.

“Sleeping beauty wakes.” He greeted her warmly, turning slowly. Blood witches were often easily startled after waking from a trance, usually with violent tendencies. Liessa just stared at him with barely-there comprehension. “How are you feeling?”

“Thirsty.” She rasped, lifting a slender, pale hand to her slender, pale throat and wincing.

Mikabwe loped over to the bed stand and poured her a tall glass of water, handing it to her gently, and taking back his place in the chair beside the bed. A wide metal bowl rung as he tapped it with his spikes. Liessa paled as she noticed its contents- water, cloudy with blood. Mikabwe had cleaned her.

He smiled calmly as she opened her mouth to say something and tapped her chin. “No need to explain, Little Boss. I do not hold you responsible for what happened.” A quick movement and he’d taken the flannelette cloth and dipped it in the water, taking to scrubbing Liessa’s face in between her swallows of water. She made a quiet disgruntled sound, but let him clean her.

When he’d finished, she curled up beneath the blanket, uncomfortably aware of how naked she was. “I didn’t want to do it.” She sighed. “I don’t like doing it. The slaves at the temples were still people. I might not be able to stop once I start but I can always hear them, and feel them, and… And…”

A shiver ran down her spine, raising goosebumps on her skin, and she pulled the blanket closer around her. “I did it in front of all those people. All those people… Tishka and Raudsparr think I’m a monster now, don’t they…”

“They think no such thing, Little Boss. If anything they have more respect for you. The dwarf-queen will not be asking you for information for a long while, I think.” Mikabwe moved about the room, cleaning lightly as he went, carrying the bloody water bowl in his right hand as he scrubbed and wiped and organised. “Tishka is sad for you. I do not believe she knew quite what the cat priestesses are trained to do.”

The rain pelted the room as he opened the window to tip the water into the gutter below. Liessa yelped at the cold and hid beneath the blankets. Mikabwe, for a moment, didn’t notice.

“Rain is a purifying thing. It removes the grime from the limestone.” He watched the streets below. “I wonder how much rain it would take to clean the city?”

“That’s all well and good, Captain,” Liessa yelled, muffled beneath the blanket, “But could you please leave the purifying wet outside the room?”

Mikabwe twisted to peer over his shoulder, distractedly swinging the windows closed. “Sure Little Boss.”

Liessa peeked over the top of the blanket, and when she was satisfied that she would no longer be pelted with freezing rain, she let the blanket slip to her collarbones and wrapped her arms beneath her breasts.

“I can still feel her inside me, Mikabwe. She was there, riding me like I was riding him. She was filled with such.. sick pleasure.” She shivered again. “She was so wrong. What am I doing? Being hers? Why does she need so much death, and violence, and- and horrible things!”

Mikabwe leaned on the edge of the bed and wrapped her in an embrace, burying his weathered face in her hair. “Because she’s your goddess. You don’t always like what they tell you to do, Little Boss. You do what you need. She chose you because she needs you.”

She shuddered.

“I feel like my bones are oily.” She murmured after a moment.

“’Fraid I can’t scrub those clean.” He admitted, chuckling. “I can run you a hot bath, though.”

Liessa nuzzled his shoulder for a little while, breathing in the herb-and-smoke scent she’d always thought suited the word ‘fatherly’ and sighed.

“That would be wonderful.”

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