Dancing to her dressing table, she took up the whalebone comb and began to run it through her hair, humming to herself absently as she surveyed her form in the polished brass mirror. She was small, but her hips were developing amply. She knew that in time, when in the fullness of her womanhood, she would fully embody the Goddess in form as well as spirit. She stared in admiration at the high symmetry of her cheekbones, the almond shape of her eyes, full lips spreading across her perfect ivory teeth as she laughed.
Nerika came coiling at her foot, hissing insistently and nudging her foot.
“Oh!”, Lilith exclaimed, dropping her comb back onto the table absently.
“I’m so sorry Nerika! I forgot again!”
Rushing across the chamber, she opened a small cabinet recessed into one wall. Within was a small, delicately-wrought cage. Squeaks of alarm greeted her as she picked up the device. The mice within scurried, rattling the small iron latch with their movement.
With a practiced gesture, Lilith reached into the cage through the small trap door in its roof and snagged one of the creatures by the tail. It shrieked and tried to nip her, but her grip was sure.
“Poor thing,” she cooed. “Don’t worry. Some of your brothers have escaped her.”
She had been feeding the creatures to her companion for as long as she could remember, but she always felt a pang of compassion for the small beings, even though the Temple bred them for just this purpose. Nerika never used to fail her strike, but she was getting old; she had been told she may only have a few moultings left. Lilith couldn’t bear the thought of losing her friend, whose egg had hatched in her cradle, so she set the thought aside.
Nerika slithered closer as Lilith crouched down to release the panicking rodent onto the floor. Nerika was fast, her fangs sinking into the creature’s thigh within the blink of an eye. The dizzied prey wriggled feebly while her venom took hold. Lilith watched the slow feeding absently over the next few moments, her head far away from the grisly sight.
A soft tap came at her chamberway.
“Lilith?” came the familiar voice from the hallway beyond, “are you awake?”
Lilith perked up instantly, dropping the small stone she’d been fondling with a clack to the ground. Nerika eyed the object lazily, her gullet half engorged with the body of her last meal.
The heavy curtain which covered the chamberway arch slid to the left, and she entered the room. The High Priestess was a wise woman of years, and grey-silver hair cascaded down her body in tight, even rivulets. Beads and feathers, jewels, silver, gold, and all manner of adornments decorated her mane, which was almost the only thing she wore. Only a modest silken skirt hung upon her ample hips. Her face was proud, as it should be; she was the highest avatar of Inanna in all of the world, a true incarnation of the Goddess in her form as the Mother of All Wisdom. Whatever name was given her at birth was long surrendered; all who came before her simply called her Mother.
Lilith ran to her, embracing her fully. Mother kissed her gently on the forehead and lips, the gentle scent of her familiar lilac perfume giving her deep comfort.
“Good morning, my little one,” Mother purred. “How did you sleep.”
“I couldn’t really, Mother. I feel afraid, even though I know I shouldn’t.”
Lilith cast her eyes down, her skin flushing with shame. Mother chuckled softly in response, then led her to the bed to rest in her embrace.
“Of course you should, my child.”
“I-I should? But I thought this was going to bring me closer to our Goddess? Is it not blasphemy for me to feel fear?”
Mother gazed down at her from the halo of her great mane, her eyes brimming with love.
“Lilith, my sweetest one. You are not my birth daughter, but I have always felt you as the truest, sweetest, and bravest of my daughters. I sense a great destiny in you, little spirit. You will serve the Goddess in ways which none of us can possibly imagine.”
Lilith pulled back a bit to look up at her quizzically.
“I will? I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Did the oracles give you a message about me?”
“No, no, nothing so formal, little spirit. My dreams have been showing me omens . . . but this is a little secret between us, do you understand? Not for the ears of your sisters.”
“Well, ok . . . but I am still confused. Should I not be offering my yoni to the God with joy in my heart, as is said in the hymns? Only then will I be able to receive the Goddess fully within my womb? Is this not true?”
“Well . . . yes. But are you not glad?”
“Yes, but I am still afraid! Will it hurt?”
Mother stroked her hair gently, clucking softly.
“Fear and pain are much of life, dearest one. If you did not feel such things, you would not be human, nor worthy of being Her Priestess. It is fear that makes us brave. The woman who faces her deflowering without fear is a foolish one indeed. Many of our sisters in the greater world have known only suffering when this happens. But you, little spirit, are under Her Protection, and you will ride into your moment of small pain on waves of pleasure.”
Lilith knew well the details of the ritual, but her fears were still not dispelled.
“Is Arophus kind?”
“Arophus is not kind, but they will bring you no harm. To have the Goddess and God within one body is a blessed road full of many challenges. His phallus cannot give you child, nor the ardour of a regular man, but their gentleness will be your gift. They will not enter you until you are moistened and ready.”
Lilith knew this, too, but hearing the words again from her Mother’s lips as she stroked her hair brought her ease.
“Thank you, Mother. I love you.”
NATHAN AMTHOR releases weekly serial fiction episodes centering around themes of science, metaphysics, occultism, spirituality, humor, and more. Catch episodes on Patreon here.