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Elesh Norn; The Great Work

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Mar 17th, 2012
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  1. Locked in a cage of spines, gagged by a mask of iron, feet bare as they walk through pools of hissing sickly olive fluid, the captive lets out cries of muffled pain as his soles are bared of their flesh by the liquid. It leaves bared reddened skin.
  2.  
  3. He is pushed along by horrors, his mind too drugged to make greater sense of the captors beyond the combination hard cream and flexing crimson features. His last memory is fighting for his life in the coalescence pits where captives, slaves, and the faithful are thrown together for combat. The victors are granted freedom. The strongest are neurotuned to become weapons. The weak are recycled.
  4.  
  5. Kelin Rendirr was of the first group. A tall, lithe, bronze skinned human mercenary of the Moldavite deserts. He had fought alongside a band of elves as support from the Resistance in the great forests of Kyrr. They were making gains, pushing back the mechanical nightmares which had taken root there. Just when a total victory was in their grasp, they were taken by surprise. Captured by a force of converted Leonins and Loxodons, led by two frightful, ceramic covered obscenities. One whose white plated body was comprised of slick iron coloured cabling, the other, a great, tall, red and regal composed humanoid, singing sanguine psalms which, when perceived by the ear, relaxed his battle fatigued muscles and laid low his companions.
  6.  
  7. For daring to resist the music and fighting on despite his fellows being cowed, they took him to the pits.
  8.  
  9. And there still he bested all that adversity. Slaves who attacked him were butchered with apology, but without hesitation. The strong and powerful, monstrous or human, sidestepped by his dexterity and natural guile. Those who identified themselves as the faithful, marked by the split circle burned into the bloody sinew of their recycled bodies, were hardest.
  10.  
  11. They very nearly killed him.
  12.  
  13. They would have, had the alabaster covered priests not stepped in.
  14.  
  15. They spoke to their slaves with the Phyrexian language. It was a method of communication that was not meant for anything of natural birth to reproduce, and one that caused the brain to recoil in its reception. It is a halting sound, with spat consonants terminated with esophageal gagging, resonating as if through a pipe.
  16.  
  17. Then they took him from the pits.
  18.  
  19. “You are to be praised, and granted early release.” One of them said to him in common that was reproduced with a gurgling hark, “Rejoice.”
  20.  
  21. A sharp glass probe emerged from one of its white fingers, this was then forcefully slid through his solar plexus. His heart was pumped with a solution that left him sluggish in body and senses, but a fully alert mind.
  22.  
  23. They took him through halls ribbed by mucus covered archways, to him more like walking down a throat. Only briefly did he glimpse the translucent membrane of a soot stained window. Outside he saw the billion bleached based but obsidian tubed spires reaching to the sky, and reaching still by way of the ashen plumes that contaminated the air. Though in here the air was bitter and stank of bladder fluid and acid, he understood there was a reason that the non-converted were taken here in sealed pods.
  24.  
  25. The atmosphere outside might turn one into a puddle of boiling fat.
  26.  
  27. Despite his hazy vision, he could see a circular depression far down the organic tapestry of the hall. He assumed it was a door.
  28.  
  29. It was not until they came to a halt within ten feet of it that he could see with better acuity.
  30.  
  31. A pair of opalescent gates, each one twice and again as tall as he was. Taller than his priestly ushers, who themselves made him, an already towering man, low by comparison. His disorientation increased as he looked up at waiting portal.
  32.  
  33. And was startled when he found the gates looking back at him.
  34.  
  35. Cresting the vertebrae that made up its curved door frame, a single eye, wrapped in pulsing muscle. Its stare gave the impression of judgment.
  36.  
  37. A minute passes before any further movement. The eye rolled back until the pupil disappeared, leaving a vein covered pearl.
  38.  
  39. Here, the priests carefully remove Kelin's mask and unbind him from the cage, which folds up into a shape like that of an arachnid, and promptly skitters under and up one of their robes. He recoiled as the priest hosted itself to the device.
  40.  
  41. “You are to be disrobed, so that you may be presented pure.” One of them hocked.
  42.  
  43. The warrior remembered his tongue. “If I am to be released, why have I been brought naked to a-”
  44.  
  45. “It will not speak,” Another said, slapping a damp, red palm across his mouth, then holding it there, “While still committing epidermal heresy.”
  46.  
  47. Kelin struggled, tasting iron and oil, but two of the others moved in and bound his arms with their soft hands.
  48.  
  49. A third stepped forward, its ruby coloured silk robe parting to reveal an abdomen whose ribs were made of razor thin steel blades. Wires stretched between them that looked like they were meant to slice.
  50.  
  51. It held its arms wide as if to accept Kelin in an embrace. He started to scream, but his cries were muffled.
  52.  
  53. But before they could begin, they were stopped. The door had parted open in the time the priests busied themselves with the warrior, but so bright was the light within that he could not see.
  54.  
  55. He heard a voice from within, speaking what might have been the same language as they. However, where from the priests it seemed like strangulated choking, this new voice was like shards of glass rustling through a field of taught harp chords punctuated by hisses of steam.
  56.  
  57. His captors immediately stood back. Even those who had bound his arms. He was free. His mind made to run, and in fact, already was gone somewhere else, somewhere back down the sticky hall.
  58.  
  59. But his feet remained planted. His body denied the commands of the mind.
  60.  
  61. “Enter.”
  62.  
  63. He stepped into a great round room with walls of glistening ichor that fell from the apex in great waves, pooling in a broiling six inch wide moat that encircled a central dais. One single thick cable, a nacreous thing filmed by a webbed substance that glued it into the vaulted walls and ceiling, bisected the room evenly.
  64.  
  65. His feet, before burning by the acids that covered the halls, now tread on something soft. His eyes focused on the floor to find himself walking on a layer of parametrical muscle. It was like walking on velvet.
  66.  
  67. The mind recoiled at everything it saw here. He did not even notice the two pale armoured apostles flanking the chair in the room's center, holding a colossal ruby canvas that threatened to blanket the entire room.
  68.  
  69. The smell of oil here overpowered everything else. It gave him a high the likes of which he had never before experienced, this from a man who had sampled the liberating psychotropes distilled from mycoid growths harvested by elven shepherds.
  70.  
  71. The chair was occupied. In it sat no doubt the one who had summoned him here. His eyes saw supple white features framing the limber, curved flush of softly arching muscle fiber. They roamed down from the rouge, flat, pinched waistline to the thin series of white waist plates, angled such that they might draw a man's eyes with the promise of effeminate features which might be glimpsed between lithe legs, though he was not sure if he saw any there.
  72.  
  73. Kelin's eyes would be drawn back up to the ghostly carapace that gave shapely suggestion to a pair of perk breasts, encased in a material that he knew from experience was not as frail as it seemed at first glance.
  74.  
  75. Two of his guard remained behind him, while the others moved forward, each step making them slide into a reverent crouch at the chair. Two of them were busy kissing the slender, bone encased fingers of the chaired figure. Despite not having any mouths, they did this by pressing their polished beige face plates against the hard carpals they delicately held. Two others bowed at the front and adored those long plated legs and thighs with wet scarlet cloths.
  76.  
  77. It rose.
  78.  
  79. And he understood why the door was so great.
  80.  
  81. He had to look up, that his eyes might not leave the immense eyeless mask that sat above its wide, dark red lips.
  82.  
  83. The ruby scions behind him pushed him forward. At first he hesitated, but by a combination of their insistence, and a gentle, inviting curve of its mouth, he came forward.
  84.  
  85. He managed to find his speech again.
  86.  
  87. “I had thought as much... The only freedom I bought with battle is to be tuned.” He growled.
  88.  
  89. The head, and the great echelon shaped mask attached to it, tilted a little. It was a look of amusement.
  90.  
  91. “Such a simple expectation.” It observed. He was forced to come closer until it was towering over him, head canted to look down on him from above, as a god to a potential convert. “You are overdressed... You shall be disrobed.” It said, looking upon his naked body. Then it sang something to the seers around them.
  92.  
  93. “I... wh-?”
  94.  
  95. They moved out of his peripheral vision. It was all he saw at that moment. Kelin refused to look anywhere else, not because the effeminate creature held any beauty he wished to be lost in, but because some primal instinct long forgotten in his blood was awakened to the very real, very dangerous presence in front of him.
  96.  
  97. He was feeling vertigo to look up at it. Several attendants bowed their heads and began to fill the air with glottal sursurrations. So deep were these prayers, so powerful, that the very air vibrated with their granulating communions. It shook Kelin to the very core of his being. Every fiber screamed of wrongness. His skin crawled with revulsion. When his legs could no longer bare his weight, somehow sapped of their strength, or perhaps simply shaken into submission, he bent, then dropped. His knees sank a little in the soft, fleshy floor below him. It reddened where it was touched, and writhed against his skin in a manner which held provocative suggestion, but his mind loathed to perceive.
  98.  
  99. Worse still... he could swear his soul was rattling around inside his stomach.
  100.  
  101. As this happened, his host's gaze, if it could be said to see, never wavered. He might have called that look one of fondness, were it not for the twisted sinew that made up the features not covered by that porcelain carapace.
  102.  
  103. Gods, this demon was so close... he could smell it. It was... sweet, acrid, and above all, intoxicating. It did nothing to placate his terrified mind, and everything to assuage any desires by his body to resist. The intoxicating smell... it was something he had known once before, but what was it?
  104.  
  105. Then it placed a palm on his face. The long, slender fingers curled around his head, and he felt fingertips lightly trace their way down his back and around his shoulders. A thumb slid down his front. Past his chest, past his stomach, to his loins. The white was cold. So cold... Yet when her redness touched his flesh, instead of cold, he felt warmth. Burning. Pain. He wanted to scream. He was screaming. His mind was... Or was his body as well? He didn't know if his mouth was.
  106.  
  107. Something was screaming, and he could not control it.
  108.  
  109. He had just enough freedom with his head to look down.
  110.  
  111. Its fingertips had sank under his flesh. There were bulges where they had gone, with raised root-shaped formations sliding right beneath the epidermal layer.
  112.  
  113. He remembered his voice then, for all the good it did him.
  114.  
  115. Still, a tender smile was all that he earned from his cries.
  116.  
  117. “You won't be needing this anymore.”
  118.  
  119. Its fingers spread apart, leaving great tears in his flesh, which came off in meaty, uneven strips. They were carefully collected and disposed of by the attendants. He could not move, try as he might. Something pinned him there. Perhaps it was the tall one, perhaps it was one of its priests.
  120.  
  121. This initial rending over, he started falling backwards. The other hand caught him, and as he was held held in one arm, the thing crouching slightly to better watch itself work, the other hand was busy. It took great care to remove his skin. Every so often he would see those fingertips, tooled with many tiny razors and monofilament tendrils that made short work of all that was not muscle.
  122.  
  123. The air was misted red now, or was that his own blood coating his eyes?
  124.  
  125. The grisly work continued regardless of how he struggled – he was struggling, was he not? - the fingers lightly slicing, shaving, and pruning the organic film that had contained his body. Its head deftly tilted in the other direction now, like a woman savoring the peeling of a rare, ripe fruit. That was, in fact, how one could describe the towering creature's treatment of his skull. Peeling. For his legs, it was as if it plucked away long winter stockings. For his stomach, chest, and pelvis, a soft but sticky blanket, sliding off as if it had never been a part of him.
  126.  
  127. “All is at it should be. You are now on the path to unification, granted by your first step to perfection.”
  128.  
  129. He started heaving, his jaws wide. To say the pain was excruciating would be an understatement, to say it was brutal would be misleading, to say it was torture would be a lie.
  130.  
  131. “By the go-” He began to gasp, whether from agony or pleasure, he did not know. He was never granted the courtesy of exclaiming in shock to his gods. It gagged him by clutching his bare larynx with thumb and index finger. “There's only one god here.” The creature murmured ardently.
  132.  
  133. All that he was, and was starting to once be, roared in defiance of this violation. Why was he not dead? What had it done to him?
  134.  
  135. He saw its fingertips glistening pink with his blood and lymph. It reached away to something one of the priests had been holding.
  136.  
  137. The smell, the creature's smell, was stronger... it twisted the receptors in his nose in a pleasant way, yet he still could not identify it.
  138.  
  139. “Look upon your beauty, once hidden, now unsheathed.”
  140.  
  141. A mirror framed in darksteel was held in front of him. He did not see Kelin Rendirr. What he saw made all the terror he had before felt like little more than a tiny goose bump in comparison. He wailed at the abomination before him.
  142.  
  143. It was all gone. Every scrap. Every shred. There was no beige anymore. No pink. Not even rose. No cartilage, no fat, no gristle. Just tendons and sinew and ribbons of deep, dark, blushing, bloody red.
  144.  
  145. The ligaments linking his lower and upper jaw together, already hanging wide before, stretched further. The red skull looking back at him screeched, his arms scrambling to cover lidless eyes to protect what was left of his sanity from the abhorrent living corpse that had looked back at him.
  146.  
  147. Despite the noise he was making, most of it was drowned out by the hymns of her priests. They never stopped. Not for a single moment. No rest for the religious servitors.
  148.  
  149. It ran one of its white fingers down his crimson skull, “It is always a jarring experience, particularly for those whom are not neurotuned in preparation... But the path of acceptance is preferable over assimilation. You will come to love yourself as you should be over what you never were.”
  150.  
  151. The voice, speaking in common, still with that quality of glass, yet with a soft crystal-like tone, carried with it an effeminate quality. He could not bear to think of it as having a gender, and yet to be toyed with like a mouse in a cat's paws by something so alien... For the sake of his sanity, he had to attach some element of familiarity to this angelic monster. It gave him hope that he might be able to overpower it.
  152.  
  153. His arms strained to try and push his host away. She was too strong, or was he now weak?.. Or did he not wish to resist? Something shouted at him from inside his fractured mind. This was not right. Fight her.
  154.  
  155. There was a wet smack as he grappled with her fingers suddenly, shoving her hand off. To resist was torment. A wave of pain washed through his entire body, starting with the muscles he called upon to use against her, that he might free himself, ending with those touched by her abhorrent body.
  156.  
  157. Yes! His brain rejoiced. Yet when he would will his legs to leave...
  158.  
  159. “You are a survivor.” The laugh she made was something his ears, what was left of them, refused to interpret. “Consider yourself fortunate to have been plucked from the pits... for us. Ours is always the enjoyment of the strong and able bodied... But such pain you must be in. Here. Let us imbibe on your suffering, that it might not be wasted...”
  160.  
  161. The hard, spiderlike, lithe arm that held him slowly tightened, and agonized the sacrospinal tissue layering the small of his back. She bowed her head down to his. In his mind, he was shaking his head violently to try and stave off whatever it was she intended to do, but his strength was barely enough to grant him a gentle sideways cant. Without eyelids, he watched as her head closed the feet, then inches, of air separating them.
  162.  
  163. Suddenly, her attendants sang with a tenor that bordered on the thunderous.
  164.  
  165. Their lips touched.
  166.  
  167. The embrace was held.
  168.  
  169. His labium sizzled in the hydrochloric kiss. Her lips were made of endometrical tissue that both softened and stiffened to his resistant acquiescence, moistening the longer it held. Her tongue felt like liquid metal covered by a film of slippery tallow whose consistency and fluidic hardness made denial an impossibility for his mouth. His teeth parted and there was an exchange of viscous substances. He felt his lips boil away so that only gums and teeth remained.
  170.  
  171. His nasal cavity burned with her scent, now stronger than ever. Blood, iron, oil, acid, and... strongest of all... He knew what that sweet smell was. It was madness to find that smell here... On her. Why would it be on her?..
  172.  
  173. It was a smell like varnish.
  174.  
  175. The voice of reason, that speaker who normally banged the gavel of common sense, was now locked away in a flesh-wrapped cage guarded by a darksteel padlock. When she withdrew, there was a pang of misery that threatened to overtake him. A salty tear burned its way down his cheek.
  176.  
  177. “Do not cry... too much. It is a waste of good suffering.”
  178.  
  179. She wiped it away with her pinky, then suckled the digit. Lips always curled, now slightly more as succulent bliss overcame her for a moment.
  180.  
  181. She placed him on the soft, squishy carpet layering the floor. It looked like it was sweating now.
  182.  
  183. He somehow found the strength to stand, and looked at her. Like the floor, the sinuous crimson tissue that was without porcelain armour on her body seemed to glisten with an oily film. He swore he could see her breathing now, whereas before she seemed more like an animate statue.
  184.  
  185. She seemed to be pondering something. He sensed she was looking at him.
  186.  
  187. It was a great test of will, but he managed a single backstep.
  188.  
  189. “You still only see the abominable, do you?.. Then, you shall have your mind split, and opened to new experiences.”
  190.  
  191. He started as her arms moved with what he thought sinister intent, but instead, sitting on the white throne in the room's center, her arms spread as if with invitation.
  192.  
  193. “Pleasure and pain await you. So much more might be gifted than a simple osculation... You need only step forward and accept.”
  194.  
  195. As she said this, her sharp, spider like fingers curled inwards, all but her right index, which flexed as if to summon him.
  196.  
  197. The motion caused him to step forwards, his body willed by the muscle memory of the contradictory sensations still running through his nerves. The unholy kiss, and the disrobing, surgical caress of her touch.
  198.  
  199. All that was left was the innate revulsion from being touched by this creature which had desired to meet him. Why? What did it want with him? He was certain it told him what it wanted, yet her speech was confusing, and never clear, never concise, yet it all made perfect sense. She wanted acceptance.
  200.  
  201. And something inside him wanted to be accepted by her.
  202.  
  203. Yet some filament of sanity still vibrating in his mind, what was left of it, hummed like the single surviving note of an abused violin.
  204.  
  205. She tilted her head a little, seeing him hesitate, but other than that, no words were spoken. She seemed amused, and her patience seemed all consuming.
  206.  
  207. The priests continued to sing, their choir did much to cause his resolve to weaken. It was so much louder than the mote of sense still trying to cry out in his mind.
  208.  
  209. He took another step toward her. And again. And again. Each time the chord sang louder, but so too did her servitors, as if sensing that small shard of will in his soul, and wishing to shatter it with the right resonance.
  210.  
  211. The endometrical floor was no longer simply layered with moisture. It was aqueous.
  212.  
  213. Soon he was close enough to smell the manufactured sweetness of her body.
  214.  
  215. He saw now that she too, like the ground upon his skinless feet tread, was wet. Droplets of moisture slid down the porcelain armour. The exposed crimson flesh was soaked with sarcoplasmic fluid, made opalescent by the holy oil that lubricated her fibers.
  216.  
  217. His body, being so near her, registered allurement and attraction. So too, did much of the insanity that had now replaced his mind. His soul had long gone silent, chained by some dark miasma that had infected him from setting foot in this place of nightmarish organic and mechanical piety.
  218.  
  219. He thought he was going to fall to his knees and bow to her, the movement forced by the pain running through him in great waves. Instead, he never hit the ground. She plucked him deftly up, somehow her touch delicate enough not to set off a million pinpricks of agony from his naked muscles.
  220.  
  221. There was a soft clicking noise as the chitinous plates on her legs knocked together, tucking them up sidelong against the seat she shared with him. He pressed his cheek against the sodden fibers of her upper abdominals, right under the bleached, hard shell covering her chest. He heard the alien throb of her reprocessed angel heart – hearts? – and the buzzing ebb and flow of her lungs.
  222.  
  223. She caressed the top of his head with a single finger.
  224.  
  225. He felt shamed by the bliss that now flowed through him, from her by way of the inviting warmth she seemed to be generating. It made his vision blur, the mind letting go and sinking into her.
  226.  
  227. “Such reception, and yet nothing has yet been given. May you be blessed then, with the stimulation of the promise.”
  228.  
  229. Her finger lightly traced its way down the center of his head, towards the back of his skull. Somehow, he did not know how, and he did not think he should know, but her index finger diffused through the thin layer of organic tissue covering his scalp, and through the bone that protected his brain from the air. It was only by virtue of the still functioning tactile senses of the epicranial occipitalis that he felt it at all.
  230.  
  231. He gasped, and twitched, as her finger explored the delicate tissues of his mind. She held him tightly, this creating waves of agony that were put out by the delicate pressures of her digit as it brushed its way through his pathways, searching for something.
  232.  
  233. He saw colours that shouldn't exist as her way was had with his mind.
  234.  
  235. Through clenched, silver teeth, she hissed. Steam flowed from her twisted grin. He took the sound to be a warning, or an advisement. His arms searched around and up her waistline, clutching with nail-less fingertips dug into the midsection of her serratals-inferior, causing her to arch her seraphic back. Oil ran over his fingertips, and like everything else that touched her or was touched by her, fizzled with the sound of simmering fluid.
  236.  
  237. He registered his agonized shock in a long, rising dissenting wail of lament and horror
  238.  
  239. She joined him with a rising moan tinged with ecstasy.
  240.  
  241. Their cries coalesced with the crescendo of the attending priests.
  242.  
  243. Then she found his pituitary gland.
  244.  
  245. Caressing it was the act which clipped the final filament of sanity. The shard of sense crushed by the maddening song of the biomechanical clerics.
  246.  
  247. His horror turned to euphoria. Lament to praise. Revulsion to rapture. The wail did not change in pitch or tone, but its cause was as different as black is to white.
  248.  
  249. Everything that was his physical form seemed to be burning. He gyrated, twitched, then convulsed for what seemed like forever, would suddenly freeze for an eternity as arctic chills ran through his nerves and froze him in place, then would once again feel as if he were a star burning so hot he would die in a supernova of ecstasy.
  250.  
  251. When endlessness once more became linear, experienced time, he slumped, exhausted, against her. His chest rising and falling in fast, deep inspirations. He thought he could see his own breath when he exhaled.
  252.  
  253. The choir of servitors, once as loud as them, now a series of pious murmurings, exalting the two in the seat with their prayers.
  254.  
  255. Her own breathing was labored as well. There was a noise, like a bone being pulled from a tight wrapping of meat, as she withdrew her finger from his brain. He dared not touch the top of his skull, for fear of what he might find, or find absent.
  256.  
  257. He heard her sucking on the digit, just as she had done before with her small finger.
  258.  
  259. He was dizzy. Unable to shut his eyes, he turned his head forward and pressed his face into her abdominal fibers. There was some give from the sinew, and the layer of slime that coated the red flesh there now filmed his head. He didn't care. He just needed darkness. He needed warmth. To sink.
  260.  
  261. His back shivered. She saw to his need with a soft caress.
  262.  
  263. “You have been consecrated. It is time now, to fulfill the need of unification...”
  264.  
  265. He did not care to know what that meant, and did not bother to look up. His muscles pulled taught as he clutched her tightly, looking for a solace which he could not name.
  266.  
  267. “Do not feign ignorance, nor disinterest. Your flesh tires, and yet... you sense that it still hungers.”
  268.  
  269. He slowly pulled back, his face would register incredulity if it could. Instead, it was sticky with the film of fluid that coated her like sweat. Ropes of the substance bridged the gap between the surfaces of meat which had been touched or pressed.
  270.  
  271. Perhaps it was the palpable thermal radiation her body seemed to be producing. Perhaps it was the lighting of the room, reflecting off the porcelain mask which gave her a radiant beauty that contrasted so well with her crimson grotesquerie. Perhaps it was because he had given into the biochemical conversion. He now saw beauty equal with morbidity.
  272.  
  273. She said something then. It was not a demand, command, or an order, but an invitation.
  274.  
  275. “Meld with me.”
  276.  
  277. His converted mind only felt confusion, yet the flesh recognized an unspoken hunger named, and began roiling impatiently for erotic union. A shiver ran through him as his body was energized, its acceptance of her rendering his whole being beset by eagerness.
  278.  
  279. His hands began to claw at her in a manner like a lover possessed.
  280.  
  281. Though she wore no clothing to be torn off by his greedy hands.
  282.  
  283. As if sensing what was to come, the chair transformed into a macabre parody of a chaise longue; noises of stretching sinew, cracking bone, and snapping tendons sounding its shift. Her attendants bowed or knelt, ensuring that they were never higher than she. As their song picked up once more, Kelin felt it both inside his body and now rippling along the exposed muscle. It seemed stimulating somehow to the act which was to follow.
  284.  
  285. Though it never occurred in the way he thought it.
  286.  
  287. She twisted a little in the throne-turned-long-seat, that they might lay together with greater comfort. She leaned against the raised backrest which flared out from a spine and long ribs webbed with inflated pink lung tissue to support her back. He went with her, and though he was atop her, she still towered over him. His legs straddled her stomach, and he awkwardly administer the smoothly lined sinew of her upper abdominals with lipless kisses. Without a nose, his nasal cavity was exposed to the film that covered her as it was before when he sought solace within her flesh. Her scent was something he could taste on his tongue now. He sought more by running it directly over the tightly corded muscle fibers of her belly.
  288.  
  289. “Good,” She seemed to buzz happily, her voice like that of a quiet hive of wasps, “Drink of the glistening sacrament produced by this form... It will anoint you. Once you have been filled, speak the hymn, that you might be joined to Phyrexian glory in Holy Osmosis.”
  290.  
  291. Adulated by her words, he drank up the simultaneously tart and saccharine film that layered her body. It was like drinking sugared yolk. His stomach would have once recoiled at that, but now it was all he wished for. The euphoria would last only as long as his taste buds would hold out, for they were being slowly seared away by the acidic oil mixed in with her secretions. The craving overwhelmed any sense of ache.
  292.  
  293. The air was starting to stink of iron in a saturation that was much greater than before. He did not notice this.
  294.  
  295. His fingers clutched tightly at her body, and his face found his way further up. Eventually, his teeth clacked noisily when they hit her chest, dental enamel touching porcelain armour in a series of hard love taps. He found his body refused to let go of her. Kelin paid no heed to this. He simply gave into it.
  296.  
  297. A single slender digit curled its way under his chin, its sharp tip slicing unhindered through the flesh, before coming to a stop by hooking itself against his jawbone, turning his skull so that he could look up upon her. A small line of blood ran down her chalk finger.
  298.  
  299. His unblinking eyes, cloudy from the bodily incense that filled the air, in pain from a lack of fleshy lids to blink, and tearing not from dryness, but something new altogether, beheld the avatar that he lay against. Despite being on top, the top half of her body, back curled softly against the undulating pink of the backrest, towered still a head and a half above him. Always above.
  300.  
  301. He felt his chin push against her finger, as if his trapezius was itself demanding that he carry out a bow of humility before her grace.
  302.  
  303. The deep crimson lips that were directed at him that moment pulled slowly into a smile that belonged to an angel, but, he decided, was not out of place on her.
  304.  
  305. “Speak the hymn.”
  306.  
  307. His corrugators must have betrayed the confusion that still lingered in him.
  308.  
  309. “You can still recite, despite the lack of lips.”
  310.  
  311. The mind still wrenched with uncertainty despite its eagerness to exalt her in the manner she desired because it had no knowledge of the act, but that was of no consequence. The flesh feels. The flesh perceives. The flesh knows.
  312.  
  313. So the flesh spoke.
  314.  
  315. “All will be one.”
  316.  
  317. She sealed her lips against his teeth when his body found the words his mind could never understand and his lipless mouth could never pronounce. His split throat spoke them, vocalizing the hymn in the Phyrexian language.
  318.  
  319. Her servitors began to sing with higher tones yet again. The air began to vibrate. Heads and torsos still bowed in adulation, hands spread and locked in a circle around the chair, all but the two clutching her great red canvas, who stepped away.
  320.  
  321. His legs and inner thighs were undergoing a numbing, as if someone had struck them so hard and quick with a shock, he had no time to feel any but the deadening effects of the blow. His feet, he realized, could not be moved. Where their bodies touched, the sensation that now flowed through him was equivalent to that of what one would feel during the moment of orgasm, though here it was a constant sensation rather than a bursting moment. He knew not how he could feel this, he had long ago been flayed of his genitals.
  322.  
  323. His mind realized that the case of his body refusing to let go of her was actually a case of it being unable to release her from his grip.
  324.  
  325. He tried to see what was happening, and when he did, by way of a slight cant of his head, he was overcome with a palpable sense of an unknown feeling that combined all the adrenaline created by horror with the knowing elation that comes with sexual sin.
  326.  
  327. His flesh, where it touched her own, was melting. The contact areas manifested distinct silvery fumes as organ and muscle sizzled into her, the biological assimilation registering on his end as a never ending rush of raw, positive limbic energy. He did not resist in mind or body now. The only thing which might have rattled with abhorrence might have been his soul, but he did not feel it.
  328.  
  329. All there was now, all that was wished for, all that was yearned, was oneness with the greater order that she represented.
  330.  
  331. The series of gyrations which followed the final act of this exhibition of skinless flesh were the very movements normally associated with concupiscence of two bodies working to unite in the well known dance of sex.
  332.  
  333. But it was here amplified by an uncountable magnitude by its only alteration from the norm. The two bodies literally become one.
  334.  
  335. As the percentage of his body either joined or melted into it her increased, so to did his never ending climactic sensation swell. Such was its intensity, depth and volume that he felt as a single grain of sand in the Eternal Desert of the afterlife promised by the faith he had once believed in.
  336.  
  337. No.
  338.  
  339. It was greater than even that.
  340.  
  341. His lidless eyes, after having bared witness to the inevitability of his fate, turned back to her. All looking had done for him was to certify his total acceptance of his new doctrine.
  342.  
  343. The world grew less and less distinct until all he saw was her face, eyes drawn to her mouth.
  344.  
  345. A ring of darkness clouded his peripheral vision. It grew, and grew, until the only thing that was left of existence was the soft, dark crimson twist of a serene smile.
  346.  
  347. When that was taken from him, the all consuming abyss was filled with the dark energy of orgasmic revelry.
  348.  
  349. Then, nothing.
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