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Oct 28th, 2013
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  1. Currently untitled (Felinid!CelestinexCanonness)
  2. by Edinbro
  3.  
  4. Aina faltered, too ashamed to respond. She merely hung her head in silence and knelt before her superior.
  5.  
  6. “This is about yesterday's incident, isn't it?”
  7.  
  8. The Celestian nodded silently, still overcome with shame, trying desperately to make herself smaller. To disappear into the floor. To escape to anywhere but here... all in vain. She could find no way to escape what tormented her.
  9.  
  10. Canoness Sara knelt in front of her guard and lifted her chin, staring into the young woman's eyes. What she saw was pitiable: a warrior of faith forged in adversity and inborn skill tempered in battle, brought low by something over which she had no control. The misfortune from which Sister Aina still suffered was that of her birth. For to be born on the world of Carlos McConnell left an indelible mark, one which was plainly visible for all to see.
  11.  
  12. “Remove your armor, Sister,” the Canoness ordered. “Leave it by the shrine and report to my quarters in fifteen minutes.”
  13.  
  14. And then, she left. “Sister Aina, what exactly are you doing?”
  15.  
  16. The Celestian's head snapped up as her body turned and rose into a low crouch, and she found herself gazing up at Canoness Sara: her immediate superior and the woman she had been charged with guarding. She quickly tucked her knife into the sheath on her back, but she had been too slow to do so. The Canoness had eyes more suited to a bird of prey than a human, and was far too keen to have missed such a detail.
  17.  
  18. “Nothing, ma'am,” she lied, hoping to at least maintain the facade long enough for Sister Sara to lose interest in the subject. Why was she even visiting the shrine at this time of night, anyway?
  19.  
  20. The Sister gave Aina a warm smile, and the Celestian knew what would come next. Those eyes still pierced her, sharp and cold like two spikes of ice that drove straight through her armor and froze her heart. The Canoness was bidding Aina to speak in confidence, but simultaneously warning her that further lies would be a waste of effort before the surgical precision with which she could dissect her words.
  21.  
  22. “Then what were you about to do with your knife? You can talk to me, Aina,” Sara insisted.
  23.  
  24. Aina faltered, too ashamed to respond. She merely hung her head in silence and knelt before her superior.
  25.  
  26. “This is about yesterday's incident, isn't it?”
  27.  
  28. The Celestian nodded silently, still overcome with shame, trying desperately to make herself smaller. To disappear into the floor. To escape to anywhere but here... all in vain. She could find no way to escape what tormented her.
  29.  
  30. Canoness Sara knelt in front of her guard and lifted her chin, staring into the young woman's eyes. What she saw was pitiable: a warrior of faith forged in adversity and inborn skill tempered in battle, brought low by something over which she had no control. The misfortune from which Sister Aina still suffered was that of her birth. For to be born on the world of Carlos McConnell left an indelible mark, one which was plainly visible for all to see.
  31.  
  32. “Remove your armor, Sister,” the Canoness ordered. “Leave it by the shrine and report to my quarters in fifteen minutes.”
  33.  
  34. And then, she left.
  35.  
  36. Alone with her thoughts, Aina knelt before the small statue of Silvana and pondered what her superior intended for her. With a resigned sigh, she concluded that she had no way of knowing, and began the process of stripping away her power armor. The silver gauntlets came off first, allowing her fingertips to more easily find the releases elsewhere. Next came the buttons and snaps that affixed the white robes to her armor, which she folded nearly and placed next to the gauntlets. Then she removed her curaiss, exposing herself to the cold air in the shrine with a shudder. Once the curaiss had been lain carefully atop the robes, the felinid quickly removed the armor from her legs and feet.
  37.  
  38. The marble floor was frigid, so she stole quietly from the room and padded down the hallway to retrieve her airy white robes from her quarters. These did little to guard her from the persistent chill aboard the cruiser, but they at least preserved some of her modesty. They also, incidentally, gave her a place to hide her long, feline tail.
  39.  
  40. After fourteen minutes and thirty seconds, Aina found herself standing in front of the door to Canoness Sara's quarters. With some degree of trepidation, she rapped her knuckles against the metal.
  41.  
  42. “It's open,” came the Canoness' voice from within. Sister Aina cautiously rotated the deep-set handle, and popped the hatch open.
  43.  
  44. Inside the room the air was warmer, and the whole space felt far more inviting than the areas of the ship she'd seen before. Sara rose from behind her desk to face her guest as she shut the hatch, her eyes much softer than before. “Please stand at attention,” she asked, somewhere between an order and a request. Aina silently obeyed, standing straight with her feet together.
  45.  
  46. With a single motion, the Canoness lifted her silken robes from her shoulders and allowed them to fall to the floor. Aina tried to stifle a little gasp when she realized that her superior was wearing nothing underneath. She felt her eyes drift momentarily downward before she forced her gaze back up to Sara's face and held it there resolutely.
  47.  
  48. “What do you see when you look at me, Sister?”
  49.  
  50. Aina allowed her gaze to dip again, briefly admiring what she saw: toned muscles, appropriate to a woman who had spent most of her life in combat or in training, marred by a plasma burn on her side and a series of slash-marks along her arms and one on her thigh. Like the scar across her eye that the Celestian had always been able to see, they did little to detract from Sara's stunning appearance. Her ebony hair stood in stark contrast to her skin: once dusky, now paled somewhat from having been encased so long beneath layers of cloth and ceramite, far from the alien suns that would have otherwise darkened it over the years.
  51.  
  52. After having lost herself in the details, Aina was suddenly aware of strong hands against her own flesh. They slid firmly up from just above her modest breasts, then along the length of her shoulders. The felinid sighed, savoring the reassuring physical presence offered by her superior's touch.
  53.  
  54. “When I first looked at you,” Sara began as she laid her Celestian's body bare, “I saw a warrior who represented what Silvana herself held most dear. Many thought you less than human, impure, and unworthy: even within our Order. And yet your faith and your deeds won them over.”
  55.  
  56. Tears began to well up in Aina's eyes as the Canoness held her close to her chest. “The guardsmen said such cruel things to me... even after we saved their lives,” she said, barely louder than a whisper. “I don't understand it. It was all I could do to try and ignore them.”
  57.  
  58. “They were fools,” Sara reassured her, running her fingertips lightly through Aina's hair. “Their faith was shallow if they thought you any less than the rest of us. You're a Celestian, the handpicked elite of the Adepta Sororitas: that alone should inspire confidence. Our presence brings hope and determination where Faith in the Emperor alone is not enough.”
  59.  
  60. Then, the Canoness led Aina to her bed, sitting her down on the edge. She kissed the felinid on the cheek before allowed the young Celestian to lay her head in her lap. “Mutilating yourself is not the answer to your problem, kitten.”
  61.  
  62. “Then what is?” Aina asked from below, sounding more tired now than upset. “I thought I was past having to prove myself.”
  63.  
  64. “Learn to have faith in yourself, as the rest of us have faith in you,” Sara offered, scratching her feline ears gently. “You saw how quickly the others came to your defense.”
  65.  
  66. “And don't cut off your tail, for Throne's sake,” she continued with genuine smile as she leaned back onto the bed. “I think it's rather cute.”
  67.  
  68. “... thank you, Sara.”
  69.  
  70. The Canoness placed her hands firmly on Aina's shoulders, maneuvering her into position. “If you want to thank me,” she purred, holding the felinid's chin to meet her eyes, “then do it properly.”
  71.  
  72. (WIP)
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