It always started with pleasure. That was how they got to you. They gave you everything you ever dreamed of so you would beg the moment never end, and then they would take everything you ever had, steal everything you ever were.
Jory’s groans turned to screams. Once they had what they wanted, the rest of you didn’t matter. If anything, the terror made their job that much easier. A terrified soul begged for release. A terrified soul would accept any price.
They didn’t even give Morgan the pleasure of a moment’s paradise. Before he could even reach the door, they were on him like a pack of wild animals. Mireille turned away, memories of Jory’s fate still fresh in his mind. With a stomach-churning squelch, something landed by his foot, splashing a streak of red across the floor.
Naked bodies dripping wet with water and blood both, the seven sisters pulled themselves out of the pool and began scrubbing each other clean. Mireille, caught somewhere between arousal and disgust, turned on the pool decontamination system, then returned to business elsewhere.
The Matriarch held aloft the crystal and studied it with a frown. “Interesting,” she said. “This is not our design.” Her eyes snapped towards her remaining trio of subjects, to Mireille, praying she would not notice the power sleeping beneath his shirt. “I would hope no more of you are involved in this affair. Refining Jory Pryce’s successor is distraction enough.”
Mireille fell to his knees. He had never seen such beauty, not even in dreams. “I am yours to command,” he said, forehead touching the cold floor, so unworthy was he of her attention. “I beg of you, whatever you desire, I shall grant. My life is your life. My soul is your soul.”
“Love eludes your desperate grasp,” said the woman, her voice with a strength beyond power, a majesty to challenge even the Matriarch herself. Mireille dared to look up, but the moment he caught sight of her toes, of the tendrils of cobalt hair swaying in the unseen waters, he had to avert his eyes for fear the sight might burn them out. “Swear then oath unto my name,” she continued. “Maiden’s heart be your reward .”
“Ketos?” The Matriarch cocked her head. “Is that its name?”
“And what has this Ketos offered you?” asked the Sultan. “Power? Kudos?” He laughed. “Perhaps a woman?”
“What does it matter?” replied Mireille. “If you want to overthrow the Oracle, you will need my help.”
“And what do you propose?”
Still on his knees, Mireille replied, “I shall bring her to you, and you can claim her as your own.”
“And you think that will work?” asked the Sultan.
“I have watched her. She values her friends.”
The crystal shattered into a thousand fragments of grey dust. “How dare you suggest such a thing! This sanctum is scared. I will not have you defile it with some wrench of a maedan. I would rather see her dead, and the plans of this Ketos in ruins.”
“Well,” said the Sultan, “it seems the twins were not as persuasive as I hoped. Very well, Jonas, I will grant your wish.” He sat back in his chair, chuckled to himself, then slammed his hand on the table. “You are dismissed from your duty, Jonas Mireille! Go rot in the streets of Bolventor where you came from.” With a smile, he added, “Just let me known when you want to be ‘arrested’.”
Mireille bowed his head. “As you wish.”
I’m sure you can figure it all out.