I was pissed, really and truly pissed. Not only was I spread-eagled naked on a cold tile floor, the stupid naked men circling me were chanting Latin in a singsong that made my ears itch. Itching, oh great, now I had an itchy nose and no way to scratch it. I concentrated on being pissed because otherwise I was going to have to admit that I was scared right out of my little blonde mind.
Anger was warming. Fear was cold. And right then I needed warm because I wanted my Daddy and I wanted him now. Better yet, I wanted George and Ned to come through that black door with automatic weapons and mow these bastards down to the ground. All of them except Sir Thomas, him I wanted on his back so I could carve out his heart and present it to his Dark God.
Dahok, what kind of a stupid name was that to be chanting over and over?
"Well, my dear, how kind of you to offer yourself as a sacrifice today." His voice came from above me and I looked up to see him standing at the edge of the circle they'd just finished drawing around me. His cock was standing to attention and I shivered at his size. "We haven't had a virgin sacrifice in a hundred years."
"Go to hell, Wenton. I'm not a virgin so why don't you just let me go?"
His chuckle was chilling. "I don't count your rutting with your female companion. Georgie," he drawled her name and I went cold all over. "No, we'll take care of that other virginity before we kill you. Your sacrifice will please Him. Not as much as the welcome sacrifice of young Ned, of course. Still, He should be pleased at the pair of you."
"Ned is safe and you'll never get your hands on him." Oh please, let that be true. Daddy, are you still all right?
That chuckle was even more gloating. "He's on his way as we speak, Nancy. Now that your father is dead he doesn't seem to care what happens to him."
No. I shook deep inside and fought back the urge to scream. He wasn't dead. Dad wouldn't leave me like this. He loves me and he loves Ned and George and Hannah . . .
The chanting ceased and the air hummed around us as if it were alive. I felt ripples on my skin that started at my feet and slid up my body like a slimy caress. But there was nothing in the circle but me. I shook inside and out while it kept crawling up me until it reached my breasts. I almost bit my tongue through but I saved the scream that I wanted to let loose while it stopped, fondled me a bit then kept on going until I'd been slimed all the way to the top of my head.
Little whimpers sounded loudly in the suddenly quiet room and with a shock, I realized they were coming from me. My skin glowed everywhere, the heat rushing into each pore until I felt as if I was on fire. There wasn't enough air to breathe and I found myself panting to try and get in enough oxygen.
"Good . . . good." Sir Thomas was licking his lips and the lustful look in his gaze made me want to throw up. "Rest there, Nancy, while we go and prepare the sacred stones for your deflowering. Think about how good it will feel when all of us come inside your body, preparing the way for Lord Dahok to take your body and your life."
Great . . . just great, I wasn't only going to be raped but gangbanged. My eyes swept the circle of suddenly grinning men and I shuddered at the variety of cocks from small to jumbo size. I really would be dead by the time they got through with me. Somehow I just knew that their god would be bigger than anything I'd seen yet.
Closing my eyes, I tried to still the tremors that racked my body but the heat was getting worse and I could feel my vagina begin to drip with arousal. If it kept up, I'd probably welcome the rape. Breathing slowly, I panted through all the prayers I'd ever heard or prayed in my life. 'Mother, help me.'
I needed a miracle in the worst way.
********* Carson *********
The doctors were adamant that I needed to stay in the hospital for observation and I agreed that it needed to at least look like I was still there. There was no way in hell that I could stay behind while the others raced off to rescue Nancy. The very thought of her in Wenton's hands made my blood boil and there was absolutely no way that Ned was getting anywhere near that bastard without me by his side.
Avery didn't even try to argue, just picked up the phone and called in one of the Inspectors of the local law. His coven boasted several powerful warlocks. A very quiet spell was cast on the room once Ned and George helped me out of it. For a moment, I saw myself in the bed with them on each side of me. When I tested the air at the doorway, a message came through loud and clear.
Everything was fine. I didn't need to go inside.
Interesting but something I'd think about later. My strength was returning slowly and by the time we got to the back entrance of the small hospital, I was walking unassisted. Ned and George were quiet but her hands were trembling. I couldn't tell if it was fear or anger but I well knew how she felt since I felt the same way. Inspector Shiller had brought a windowless white van and we all got inside for the trip.
Once on our way, I reached out and hugged George to me. She was stiff as a board at first but then she melted into my arms and began to cry silently. I rocked her much as I would have a younger Nancy. George's quiet competence had always endeared her to me but once I knew about their relationship, I'd begun looking for other things I'd missed.
She was much more intelligent than any of Nancy's other girlfriends, with a sardonic sense of humor and good skills as a conversationalist. This trip had opened my eyes to other traits, too. She moved like a sleek jungle cat, often smelled of a subtle musk, wore her clothing with flare and looked like a dark-haired Princess Grace. Once or twice I'd come very close to an illicit fantasy about her.
Ned had just laughed when I confessed that to him and teased me by spinning a tale that involved all three of us. Scheherazade had nothing on my lover when it came to bedtime stories. But right now, she was just a frightened girl who needed our reassurance that everything would come out all right. Heaven knew that I was in need of that, too.
"Listen up, everyone." Inspector Shiller called over his shoulder. "We're going to a place very near the stones where we'll meet the others and get ready for the coming confrontation. Nothing will happen until they bring Nancy to the circle. She is safe, right this minute and will continue to be safe until she's introduced to the stones."
"Believe us when we say that she's probably uncomfortable but not hurt." Avery assured us and I felt George slowly pull away. "I don't know any other way to ask this, Carson. Is she a virgin?"
I looked at George and watched her nod. "We've been partners since we were fifteen. We've . . . played around a bit but only with other girls."
He nodded. "Then they're expecting to deflower her before offering her to their dark god. That changes the dynamics a bit because they probably know by now that Ned isn't a virgin. But he has the Wenton blood markers so he'll fulfill a different need for Sir Thomas."
A surge of anger almost escaped me but I held it back with difficulty. Ned seemed to know without even looking what I was feeling and I felt his hand slide into mine. I held on hard while trying to calm myself. I wouldn't be any good to Nancy or him if I let myself go to pieces. My vision blurred for a moment and I swayed into Ned then into George. They both took hold while I shook my head to clear the mist.
"Here, Carson, drink some more of this. It's a good counteragent to the potion that Wenton fed you." Avery unscrewed a thermos cup and poured out some of the fragrant tea that Ned and I had drunk earlier.
I drank it down quickly even though it was still very hot. Its fragrance cleared my sinuses and the heat raced through my body. I welcomed the warmth and opened my eyes to watch Avery pour some for everyone.
"Is this why the potion didn't kill me?" I had to ask even though my blunt words made Ned shiver.
"Quite right, Carson. The herbs provided enough defense that I was able to get there in time to stop it completely. We'll need its strength in the next few hours." Avery nodded. "This will be a test of all of us if we're to keep their dark lord out of this physical plain. I expect that Sir Thomas has two plans working. One, he needs to ensure his primacy in Britain's magical circles and gather in the power that comes from sacrificing one of his blood to his god. Second . . ." he paused.
"Well, I hate to say it but he may be tempted to continue his line using Nancy as his consort and mother of his children. It's unfortunate but Sabrina is sterile and can't continue his legacy."
"There is no way in hell that he'll use my daughter that way." I said through gritted teeth. "Nancy won't stand for that."
"She wouldn't have a choice, Carson. The power raised tonight would quite effectively wipe her memory clean and leave Sir Thomas a blank slate to write his will upon." Avery gently shook his head. "But that won't happen if we can possibly stop it."
We would stop that, I told myself silently. The old gods would not be so cruel as to take my beautiful daughter and my shining lover. If a sacrifice had to be made then let it be mine. I gritted my teeth and sent forth a prayer to any gods listening that they take me instead. 'Save my beautiful girl and the man who holds my heart. Take me in their place.'
And something surged through me, heat that sought and found my heart. It beat wildly for a moment and I pressed a hand to my chest, wondering if it could take the strain. But it slowed to a normal beat while the tension left my limbs, leaving me feeling better than I ever had.
Dost thou accept my presence, my son?
It sounded like my dead father's voice for a moment and I cast my gaze around the van, already knowing that none of the others had spoken. If the old gods truly existed then I needed their help.
I accept. Please help my children.
********* Ned *********
I'd gone beyond scared to numb. They had Nancy, my lover's daughter and one of my best friends. I wasn't scared for me anymore but for her and Carson. This whole situation had gone beyond cops and normal law. Avery was still talking about Druidic customs and ritual sacrifice when I felt Carson start and press his hand to his chest.
Oh god, no . . . not a heart attack for real. I looked into his eyes anxiously and watched them change from blue to liquid silver. Blinking, I suddenly knew that I wasn't looking at Carson anymore. His lips curved upward and his warm hand cupped my chin while a voice sounded in my head even though his lips didn't move.
Will thee allow another to share thy body for this battle, my brother?
Share my body with what . . . or who? I licked my lips and nodded, Carson wasn't going to be alone for . . . whatever this was. For a moment nothing happened then warmth started creeping up my legs until I felt flushed all over. Someone else was there in my brain, whispering magic while power seeped out of every pore until I was shining with it.
Lugh, I was now the god of light. And I was looking into the eyes of my fellow god, Dagda, the god of earth and our All-Father.
We need two more to raise the power needed to keep the Dark One from breaking free of his ancient bindings.
I nodded and looked at George. She was looking back and forth between us with a look of awe on her beautiful face. Sister, will thou join us to save our world?
George blinked once, searching our eyes before slowly nodding. She closed her eyes and shivered once before stretching all over like a cat. Opening her eyes, they matched ours with shining silver. What of our sister waiting to be sacrificed? Can Brigid reach her through the wards?
Lasair, beloved sister, once we breach the outer wards, our daughter will be able to enter the little one. Carson/Dagda reassured her and I felt the shimmering presence that was the goddess of our sacred flame, just waiting to come through the veil between the worlds.
"Carson?" Avery turned and spoke from the front seat. "Dear God."
"Worry not, Priest, thy circle will have our aid until this threat is vanquished." Carson/Dagda answered him.
"All of you . . . are . . . who?" Avery's voice shook while his eyes darted between us.
Carson/Dagda chuckled. "I am Dagda, Ned hosts Lugh and our sister Lasair fights with us."
"Oh," he blinked while the police inspector beside him gulped and gripped the wheel tightly. I threw out a tendril of energy to keep the van on the road while he came to terms with the appearance of gods from his mythology.
"The Shining Ones," Avery murmured and when I looked at my fellows I could see what he meant.
Human bodies aren't made for housing the power of the gods and we were leaking energy in shimmering cascades of light. We were literally shining through the frail skin of our hosts. That could be a problem since we needed to get inside the sacred circle before revealing ourselves.
Carson/Dagda chuckled again. "We shall cloak ourselves until we are within."
And in my mind I felt him stroke a spot until I saw only tanned flesh clothing me. I stretched a little and decided that this modern lightweight cloth was quite comfortable. The inspector had himself under control again and we sped towards the Well of Power where we'd been worshiped for so many human centuries.
Already I could feel the power flowing all around us. With Lugh's eyes, I saw the bright beam of light that encompassed a hectare of the plains where once we'd played with our children, the mortals of our fair isle. Things had changed but not the Well of All-Power that nourished the gods and other immortals. It had been years since I'd sipped from the Well and after we punished the power-hungry mortals who'd played in things beyond their comprehension, I would enjoy drinking from that never-ending energy.
And perhaps we would take the time to sport on the mortal plain in these fit bodies, I thought to my liege lord and caught a speaking glance from his sparkling eyes. We shall see, beloved brother. This body knows thee well.
And this body knows thee, also. I cast my own look and felt his spark of desire warm me.
My brothers, the little one is under duress almost beyond her capability to withstand. George/Lasair admonished us and when I cast out a tendril of power I found her small flame surrounded by darkness.
Thou hast the right of it, beloved daughter. Brigid, art thou ready? Carson/Dagda cast forth his thought like an arrow of light and an answering arrow from beside the well came back.
The van stopped near a stone that glowed with light from the sinking red ball of our sun. We emerged into a group of mortals who had already raised a small ring of power. Their circle was one we'd helped in the past and it took but a heartbeat to triple the energy that flowed between them. They turned as one to face us and their surprise was complete when they realized who we were.
Carson/Dagda gave them our names with thoughts directly into their minds along with directions of what needed to be done. They were good-hearted mortals and I could sense their determination to rescue the little soul trapped by our outcast brother and his minions. It took but a moment to form them into an unbreakable circle that could deal with the mortals outside the Well.
It was time to confront the greedy ones. We cloaked our true natures and began the walk to the stone circle. My sister and I flanked our father, striding across the tall grasses that covered the plain. So many years had passed since last we'd simply walked upon our Mother the Earth. Taking a form took more energy than we usually cared to use up for such a frivolous purpose.
But it felt good to stretch out long legs and feel the air flow in and out of my lungs. I was looking forward to taking on my bastard brother, Dahok. It had been a while since I'd had a good fight.
And I was looking forward to this one.
End of part 7
Notes: The gods mentioned are all Celtic gods and goddesses.
Dagda is the god of earth and treaties who rules over life and death. He's the leader of the Tuatha De Danann. One of his names means 'All-Father'.
Lugh is the Celtic lord of skill. His animal attribute is the lynx. Fertility magic during his festival ensures the ripening of crops and a good harvest.
Lasair is the Flame, one of three sisters and the goddess of spring budding. She has long black hair and always wears silver. She eventually became a Christian saint.
Brigid, the daughter of Dagda, is a three-fold goddess whose symbol is fire. She forged King Arthur's sword, Excalibur and her festival is Imbolic on February 1st.