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Thread: Rite of Passage

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    Rite of Passage

    Rite of Passage

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The following story is the cullmination of two years of hard work (yes, I type rediculously slow) research, writing and innumerable rewrites. This was my first serious attempt at writing; and while it was a nightmare, it was one of my most rewarding experiences. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.
    __________________________________________________ ____________

    Chapter 1: The anticipation of Alison
    
    It was nearly spring, and I was rapidly approaching my 16th birthday. I was growing more and more anxious as the day approached. Not only would it be my sweet 16, but I would have finally come of age and be eligible for marriage... almost. Only one thing stood in the way, my Rite of passage.

    The Rite was a law and a religious decree, "No girl may be considered eligible to marry unless she has undergone the Rite of passage and been sanctified into womanhood within the first fortnight of her sixteenth year". The nature of the Rite however is a closely guarded secret; girls who have gone through it are given explicit instructions to discuss it with NO ONE who has not already undergone it. The penalties for breaking this silence, I am told, are quite severe. My best friend Laura went through her rite about six months before. When I asked her for details, all she would say was, "It hurt! That's all I can tell you, and I probably shouldn't have even told you that, so you never heard that, ok?!" Disappointed and nervous, I dropped the subject.

    A year ago, my mother dropped the bombshell on me that she had arranged for me to marry my grade-school sweetheart Micah. I had known that this was coming (It is custom after all) but I was still furious about not having a choice in the matter. Eventually I realized that she made the choice that I myself would have made. Micah; I had always been enamored with Micah. Mom couldn't have chosen better so I quickly got over being mad.

    Micah and I used to spend all our time together before we hit 7th grade. After that he was transferred to the boys schools, while I and all the other girls were sent to the girls schools. Since then we hadn't seen each other as much as I would have liked.

    Once we found out we were betrothed, we officially began our courtship, and renewed our love for each other. All our dates however, were VERY closely chaperoned by my parents, or his, or both.

    Though I loved Micah dearly, the thought of spending the rest of my life with him was terrifying. I'd heard about the things that husbands and wives did together and I just didn't think that I could bring myself to DO those sorts of things; not even with Micah.

    Mom had harped on me for years about protecting my innocence. When I was nine she presented me with a "virginity ring" and told me that I had best never have reason to take it off until I was a woman.

    In the weeks before my birthday mom was a flurry of activity. Since it was her responsibility to arrange the marriage, it was also her responsibility to make most of the arrangements for the Rite. She had me memorize my part in a couple of ceremonies, and was making a special dress for me. She set the date for the event to be on my birthday; the wedding was set for two weeks after. One afternoon, about a week and a half before my birthday, mom came into my room and sat down on the bed.

    "It's time to pick your aunts." She said.

    O.K., I was confused. "Aunts?" I asked.

    "Aunts." She replied. "The aunts are wives who participate in the ceremony with you since it would be inappropriate for me to do so. They are called aunts because in ancient times your mothers sister, or sisters, would have taken you through it. The participation of relatives fell out of use thousands of years ago, and the position and title were passed to non related wives who were friends of both mother and daughter. The Rite calls for seven of them and they have three main responsibilities."

    "One; they select the one who will perform the Rite. Two; they are your guides through this event. If you do precisely as they tell you to, you will greatly enjoy this experience. If you don't, you won't. Three: they are your witnesses to the world that the Rite has been completed.

    As I said, the Rite calls for seven aunts, you may choose three of them. A few simple rules first though. One, the ladies you choose must not be related to you nor may any of them be related to each other. Two, they must have already gone through the rite themselves. Three, they must be married or be within a month of getting married; married is preferable. Four, they may not be someone who is in a position of direct authority over you, which means you can't ask any of the school staff, nor your boss or supervisors at work. Five, the aunts you choose must be someone that I know. As your mother I have final say as to the fitness of your choices.

    Think on it a little and let me know by this evening so that I can contact them."

    I thought for a moment and realized that I already knew. "Laura." I said. "I want Laura there; Bethany and Tammy as well."

    "Very good." Mom said. "Good choices. I'll let them know."

    "Mom; what exactly happens during the Rite?" I asked as she got up to go. Mom paused for a moment with a thoughtful expression on her face. "All things in their proper time and place my dear. Some things in life should not be known until their proper time. Your aunts will explain what will happen when it is appropriate for them to do so. You are about to experience the wonder and mystery of becoming a woman; enjoy the moment." She touched my face, smiled and said, "I'm sorry, I know that doesn't quite satisfy your curiosity, but your question will be answered soon enough. I'm afraid that's all I can tell for now."

    "Umm, mom." I said. "I have a few more questions, things that have been bugging me."

    Mom looked back at me with an almost irritated look in her eyes, "I told you dear, I just can't tell you any more about it!"

    "No." I said. "Not about the Rite; about Micah and I."

    "Oh, forgive me dear, go ahead." She replied, lightening up considerably.

    I gave her my best worried look and said, "The wedding's less than four weeks away and Micah and I haven't even discussed where we are going to live, how we'll support ourselves; How will, or for that matter 'will', we be able to finish school?"

    Moms jaw hit the floor and she gave me an utterly horrified look. "Holy Mother!" She said. "Your Father and I have been so busy getting everything arranged that We've neglected to sit you down and talk about your future. In the name of the Mother and the Father, I am So Sorry dear." She sat back. "Let's see, where to begin?

    After your honeymoon, you each will return to your respective homes. You will be husband and wife in name and deed, but not in practice. Not yet. The two of you will spend the remainder of this school term going to your current school. You two will spend your weekends alternating between here and his parents house. At the beginning of the next grade cycle, the two of you will be moving into the couples dorms at Simone Perry High School over by your uncle Joseph's house or at Gildamar High across town. There you will spend the next two years finishing high school and learning to create a working relationship. You will be taking nearly all your classes together, and most of them will focus on actual life skills, not just academics. Consider it kind of like a marriage internship program."

    We talked for maybe another hour about what the next couple of years were going to be like. It sounded exciting, though the concept of only being able to play married on weekends was rather disgruntling. Finally she got up and left to go about her business, and I turned my attention back to the math homework I had been working on (Ick!).

    The next day at school I was ambushed at my locker by Laura, Bethany and Tammy who were all nearly hysterical.

    "Holycrapwegettobeyouraunts!" Tammy blurted; "Thisisgonnabesocool!"

    Laura rubbed her hands together doing her best witches cackle. "You're in our evil clutches now little girl." She crooned. "What shall we do with her now ladies, hmm; now that her fate is in our hands?"

    "Calm down." I laughed. "My mom just told me about the whole 'Aunts' thing last night. I picked you three because you're my closest friends and you fit the requirements. I still have no idea what the heck is supposed to happen, so lets go down to the coffee shop at lunch and you can tell me all about it."

    "Not even." Said Tammy. "You'll find out when the time is right and not before. Besides, I am SO not getting into that kind of trouble. Sorry girl, not happening. No, no, no."

    "Ok. you two." Bethany piped in. "Remember, we are supposed to be the adults in this conversation, helping to guide our young friend through her Rite of Passage... Remember!? Actually Allison, you'll be talking about your future even before lunch. Mrs. Kaila's been looking for you. I ran into her about ten minutes ago down in the lunch wing."

    "Oh no, what does she want?" I groaned. Mrs. Kaila was my guidance councilor and the last person I wanted to have to deal with at the moment. She was sweet but could become a real pest at the drop of a hat... any hat.

    "Oh, I don't know," Laura said. "Probably something to do with the fact that you're about to get married and how that will affect you academically. Trust me; we all had the same conversation with her just before our weddings. It's nothing to worry about, but it will however give you something to think about. Things are going to change for all of us next year."

    "And how!" I replied. "Well, one nice thing about changing schools next year is no more damned perky Mrs... Kaila; Hi, how are you!" I'd turned and closed my locker door as I was speaking to find her standing right behind it. She didn't look amused.

    "Miss Murrow," She said with a slight glare in her eyes; "Please come to my office. There are some things we need to talk about. I have already sent a slip to your teacher stating you will be absent this period."

    "Yes ma'am." I said, and followed her to her office. Laura, Bethany and Tammy tried not to giggle too loud behind me. I heard one of them whisper 'Busted!'

    Mrs. Kaila's office was small and cramped. Virtually every vertical space was taken up by smiley faces or plaques with "motivational" or "inspirational" quotes on them. Virtually every horizontal space was covered in stacks of books, papers and files. The Gods Themselves could not have found a given item in this office if they were given a year to do it. Mrs. Kaila on the other hand could walk into that same office right after they left and find that same item in under a second. The only window was in the door and it only looked out into the main school office. Mrs. Kaila sat at her desk and I picked my way to the only other chair in the room. I had to move a stack of books off it in order to sit down.

    "So," she began; "Looks like you've got a couple of big days ahead of you in the coming month. Your Rite, your wedding. Are you excited yet?"

    I smiled, nodded and said; "Excited and a bit scared."

    "Good, good." She said.

    "Good?"

    "Yes, good." She replied. "Fear means that you're actually thinking about the future, and you are concerned. You're not just some doe eyed fawn who can't think beyond her wardrobe and her next social. It means that you may actually be ready to grow up and step into the role of an adult. If you weren't at all scared, I would be worried; especially with two events that momentous in a young ladies life happening that close together. Personally, I think I'd be terrified."

    "Well," I said; "I only really worry about the things I can't see coming; which, sadly seems to be just about everything for the next month. The wedding is making me a nervous wreck even though I don't really even have to do anything except show up. The Rite is a complete mystery. About the only thing that I know about it is when and where. That and my mom's been having me memorize these stupid ceremonies that make no sense."

    Mrs. Kaila arched her brow behind her thin framed glasses. "Those ceremonies aren't stupid young lady. Most of those ceremonies date back to the dawn of mankind, and they carry with them great weight and meaning. The ceremonies will begin to make sense as you perform them, or shortly after. You have to take them in context with the rest of what is happening during the Rite."

    "What is going to happen?" I asked innocently.

    "Nope, nope, nope. Not on a bet young miss." She said with a smile. "This is not the proper time or place for that information. What, do you think you're the first girl to try and pull that one on me? I've been doing this for more than twenty years. Trust me; there is nothing new under the sun."

    I tried to look guilty and ashamed; I didn't pull it off very well.

    "At any rate Alison," she said; "the reason I called you in here was to discuss your future. Do you know which school you will be transferring to after this cycle?"

    "Not yet." I said "I don't think our parents have agreed on the school yet."

    She reached into a stack of papers and came back with a document which she handed me. "Academically, you have done very well indeed. You are done with almost all of your academic requirements. This is a list of the classes which you will be taking next year, regardless of which school you go to, and a book list to go with it. Give that to your parents so that they can pick them up for you."

    I looked at the list and gasped. It read like college course list:

    Language arts, year 3

    Language arts, year 4

    Geometry

    Physics

    Chemistry

    World history 3

    Advanced Physical Education

    Advanced Health

    Advanced Home Economics

    Advanced Home Economics 2

    Psychology

    Child Psychology

    Early Childhood Education and Development

    Work Skills

    Interpersonal Communications

    Ethics and philosophy

    Time Management

    Critical Thinking

    Stress Management and Meditation

    Marital Counseling

    The list went on for a few more lines, but my head was swimming by that point, these classes were crazy.

    "You will note that most of those classes ultimately amount to life skills." Said Mrs. Kaila. "You and your husband will be taking nearly all those classes together, so you get to spend your first couple of years together, learning together."

    With that, she got up and picked her way through the minefield that was her office and opened the door.

    "Good luck Alison and bless you. As far as your comment in the hall... It's forgiven. As I said, I've been doing this for more than twenty years and I've seen and heard it all. I know what the girls say about me and it doesn't matter. I choose to be happy all the time. Happiness is a choice. You're attitude about any given thing is a choice. You'll find as you go through life Miss Murrow that life is ninety-nine percent what happens to us, and one percent how we chose to respond to it. It's not always about what we want, but about acceptance of circumstance and willingness to find joy in all things. Good day Alison." And she ushered me out of her office.

    Time slowed to a crawl for the next week and a half as my apprehension increased. I was having a hard time concentrating on schoolwork. All I could think about it seemed, was my impending Rite and my impending marriage. Mom finished my dress though in truth it seemed like more of a chemise. It was pure white linen and it seemed like it was made to come off easily. I asked her about it and she said that it was supposed to be loose fitting.

    The night before my birthday I came home to a surprise party. My parents had arranged everything and all of my friends were there. I came home from the store and was startled out of ten years life by the big shout of SURPRISE when I opened the door! GOD it was so cool. We danced most of the night away. A little before everyone left at about midnight, I was able to get Laura, Bethany and Tammy alone.

    "O.K., tomorrow's my big day." I said. "So tell me already."

    "You know we can't do that." Said Bethany. "You'll just have to trust that your aunts know what they're doing and tomorrow what will happen will happen."

    I whined a little. "But you're my best friends, you've gotta give me a clue."

    "But we're under restriction NOT to. We're also your aunts and we will reveal all at the appropriate time." Said Laura.

    "But..."

    "No!" Said Bethany, "What will happen is a wonder and a mystery and it will remain that way until tomorrow. We can't tell you till then, alright?"

    I pouted. "O.k." And we rejoined the party.

    The next day dawned bright and clear. Mom let me sleep in till 8:30. I got up and took a shower. Just before I got in, mom told me to just make it a quick one because I would be getting a bath at the temple.

    I thought "Bath at the Temple??" Blink...

    So I took a quick shower, dried off and went to go get dressed. After having seen the dress mom made for me, I couldn't imagine wearing that thing out in public. It would fall off in the slightest breeze. When I got to my room, mom was sitting on my bed smiling.

    "Good morning dear." She said. "Come; let me help you get ready."

    I asked. "Mom, are you sure that the ceremonial dress is made right? It just seems too loose. If I get caught in a breeze on my way to temple in that thing, I'll be left standing in the middle of the street in nothing but my bra and panties."

    Mom laughed and hugged me. "Now there's an image for you." She laughed a little more. "You don't have to worry about that dear. I should tell you two things now. One; the dress only gets put on at the temple, and your aunts and others will help you into it."

    "But what am I going to wear to the temple then?" I asked, kind of surprised. In response, mom simply motioned to the side of the bed where I saw my best dress already laid out for me.

    She smiled again and continued. "Two; you won't have to worry about getting caught in nothing but your underwear, because you won't be wearing any."

    "?!?"

    She helped me into my dress, brushed my hair and told me that anything more that needed to be done would be done there at the temple. Then she handed me what looked like a small white handkerchief and said, "This is for the blood."

    "You said what?" I asked, shocked.

    "Don't worry about it darling, just give it to the aunts and they will know what to do with it. Now come downstairs and get some breakfast."

    So we went and ate breakfast, but I was having a difficult time concentrating on food. Blood; I couldn't get it out of my mind. Whose blood and what were they going to do with it?

    At 10:00 we got in the car and drove to the temple. As we pulled into the parking lot, I could see a group of ladies waiting by the door. Seven of them were dressed in red robes and one, a girl my age was standing there in something that looked almost exactly like the ceremonial dress mom had made for me. Another car was ahead of us and it pulled up to the group. A man and woman (her parents apparently) got out and walked up to her, took her into their arms and gave her a HUGE hug. The girl seemed to be beaming with pride. What appeared to be the oldest of the ladies in red walked smiling up to the mother and handed her what appeared to be a small folded white cloth. She embraced the girls' mother and then all of the ladies embraced the girl. As they were getting into the car I noticed that the girl seemed to be walking a little funny, though I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

    Dad parked the car and got out. I started toward the temple but I noticed that mom and dad had come around to the back of the car but no further. "Aren't you coming?" I asked.

    Dad said, "No sweetheart. On this day, this is as far as we go with you, and this is far as you go without other guidance." I looked back at him in confusion. He continued, "The next twenty-four hours will be your first steps into womanhood. You must take those steps without us. Wait here a moment and your aunts will come and collect you."

    "Remember dear;" said mom "listen to everything they say, and do exactly as they tell you."

    Just then, two other cars pulled in and parked next to us. Out of each one stepped another girl and her parents. I recognized one of the other girls as Jill, one of my classmates. The other I had seen at school but I didn't know her. They both looked as nervous as I felt.

    I looked at Jill and asked, "Are you ready for this?" She laughed nervously and said, "About as ready as you look." She turned her head to the other girl and said, "How 'bout you? You ready?"

    The other girl grinned kind of sheepishly and replied, "About as ready as I can be given that I have absolutely NO idea what's about to happen, and the only clues I've been given seem to be deliberately calculated to make me nervous."

    Jill and I both concurred.

    Shortly, a bell chimed somewhere and the door of the temple opened. A line of twenty-one red robed ladies came out walking in-step. They split into three groups of seven and approached us. As they got closer I recognized Laura, Tammy and Bethany in back of the line headed toward me. Then I recognized moms' friends Terry Ellen, Amber Rodriguez, Mariah Thompson and Tanya Dupuis.

    I looked back and mom smiled at me and said, "I'll see you tomorrow sweetheart." My aunts stopped a few paces away and Amber who was in front of the line smiled brightly and said, "Good morning Alison and welcome. I greet you as a teacher, but when we part tomorrow, we will part as friends and equals. Now kiss your parents goodbye and wish them well, for when we walk through those doors they will never see their young child again. When you come out through those doors tomorrow, you will be a grown woman."

    It all sounded very formal and ritualistic but somehow it made me nervous. I turned and ran back to my mom and dad and gave them both a big hug and kiss and said, "Mom, I'm scared."

    She smiled at me and said, "So was I, but it'll be all right. Trust me and trust them. All things change. This is one of those changes, from girl to woman. Farewell daughter, I will miss the child but I am anxious to know the woman I will meet tomorrow morning."

    Dad just smiled at me again and gave me another big hug and said "I Love you sweetheart. I'll see you tomorrow."

    I turned and walked to my waiting aunts and said, "I'm ready."

    "Did your mother give you something for me?" Asked Amber. I reached into my bag and pulled out the small white cloth and handed it to her. She took it from my hand and said, "Then follow." And my aunts turned and I followed them back into the temple.



    Chapter 2: The High Priestess
    
    We entered into the main temple foyer; ahead of us lay the main sanctuary. The main sanctuary was huge; it could seat over a thousand people. In about two weeks I would be married in that very hall, but that's not where we were going today. To the left and right of the great sanctuary doors stood slightly smaller doors which I had never had cause to enter before. The one to the right went to the sub-temple of the God. The left went to the sub-temple of the goddess, and it was through that door that our aunts led us.

    The hall was long and had walls of rose marble. Our footsteps echoed lightly on the marble floor. I could see another set of polished brass doors at the other end of the hall with the rose and the moon, symbols of the goddess, inlayed upon them.

    As we approached the doors we broke into three lines side by side and stopped before them. The Aunts all bowed and I followed suit after a moment of startled hesitation. The doors swung slowly and quietly open. They opened into a large carpeted sanctuary.

    The room was circular and well lit from sunlight alone because of a large dome skylight above the very center of the room. The place could hold a service for about five hundred or so.

    The altar was in the center of the room and we approached it. A bright shaft of sunlight was shining straight down directly behind the altar and in it stood the high priestess of the Goddess. She wore a white robe that seemed to shine like the sun in the light of that beam. I couldn't guess her age, she seemed timeless and wise. We stopped in front of the altar. Laura, who was directly in front of me turned around, took my hand very formally and led me up to the front of the line next to Amber and placed my hand in hers. I noticed that the same thing happened to each of the other two girls.

    The high priestess looked at us and spoke. "The sanctuary of the Goddess, mother of all, is the domain of woman. Children may not enter here unless summoned. Why then do three girls come before the altar?"

    The aunts answered in unison; "They have been summoned. They stand at the doorway of womanhood; will you not let them in?"

    "Not as girls." Responded the High Priestess. "One may not enter Her house while standing at the doorway. One must cross the threshold and become woman."

    "It is to [become] woman for which they have been summoned." The aunts replied together.

    "Then in the Mothers name I welcome you, daughters." Replied the High Priestess. "I bid you enter the Mothers house and prepare to undergo your Rite of Passage. A place has been prepared for each of you. Go then with your aunts and receive instruction from them until you are sent for. And know that while innocence of youth may enter with you, it will not leave with you."

    Then she stepped over to Jills line and asked; "Who comes before me and why do you undergo the Rite?"

    Jill looked kind of meekly at her and said; "I am Jillian Amona Anderson. I am summoned by scripture and by law that I may marry. I am sixteen yesterday."

    "Do your aunts verify your age and your purpose?" Asked the High Priestess.

    "We do." Her Aunts replied in unison.

    She smiled and motioned with her hand down one of the many aisles that radiated out from the center of the room; "Go then to the place that is prepared for you, and learn."

    Jills aunts then turned her and arranged themselves around her, two on either side, two behind and one in front and walked that way down the aisle and through a door at the far end of it. As I watched them disappear, the High Priestess stepped over to the next line and repeated the question to the other girl.

    "I am Angela Marie Scott." The girl replied. I am summoned by scripture and by law and by calling. I am sixteen today."

    "A Calling?" Asked the High Priestess. "You believe you have a vocation?"

    Angela bowed her head and said, "I do Excellency."

    "So you come to undergo the Rite, that you may dedicate your life to HER service?"

    "I do Excellency"

    "And do your aunts verify your age and your purpose?"

    "We do." They answered together.

    Again she smiled and motioned down a different aisle and repeated; "Go then to the place that is prepared for you, and learn." Angelas' aunts formed up around her in the same formation as with Jill, and they walked down the aisle toward the door at the far end. The High Priestess came in front of me.

    "Who comes before me and why do you undergo the Rite?" She asked.

    "I am Alison Jane Murrow." I replied. "I am summoned by scripture and by law that I may marry. I am sixteen today."

    "Do your aunts verify your age and your purpose?"

    "We do." They replied.

    And again the High Priestess motioned down yet another aisle and repeated; "Go then to the place that is prepared for you, and learn."



    Chapter 3: A place that is prepared for you

    Amber turned me and led the way. Laura and Bethany walked behind me, Tammy and Mariah to my left, and Tanya and Terry to my right. Amber led us through the door at the far end of the aisle. It entered candlelit spiral stairway that led down to a lower floor. There was a short hallway at the bottom with a door on both sides and one at the end. She stopped at the end door and knocked twice. I noticed that this door and the first two each had a symbol inlayed into the door with some sort of colored stones. The symbol was of a rose; falling from its left side were two petals, from its right side was a drop of blood.

    The door was opened by a priestess who appeared to be in her early thirty's. She smiled warmly at me and said; "Welcome Alison. This is the place that has been prepared for you. Please enter and make yourself comfortable."

    The room we entered was fairly large with four doorways leading out from it. It had white walls with what appeared to be rose tapestries on silk covering much of the wall space. The same rose pattern was used to upholster the large circular couch in the center of the room. A shaft of sunlight flooded into the center of the room through a domed skylight and lit the place fairly well.

    When my aunts and I were all in the room the priestess turned and said, "Welcome to the Mothers house on this special day Alison. My name is Sister Anya. Please make yourself at home; you will after all be spending most of the next twenty-four hours in here. There will be another ritual or two that I will be performing before the final Rite, but until and between them; Aunts, the room is yours. I charge you to prepare this girl for that which lies ahead of her. For tonight, and for all the nights to come."

    With that, she turned and closed the door behind her leaving me alone with my aunts. Amber motioned to the couch and told me to have a seat.

    "Who would like some tea?" She asked. After a chorus of "I" she went through one of the other doors into what appeared to be a kitchen, and returned with a tray loaded with cups, teapot and muffins.

    As she sat and began to pour tea, Mariah turned to me and said; "So young lady; are you ready for this?"

    "I don't know." I replied. "I still don't know what exactly it is that I am supposed to be ready for."

    "Well;" Said Terry, "That's one of the reasons WE are here, to explain it to you, and to prepare you."

    "Prepare me for what?" I asked.

    "For the Rite of course" She said.

    "But what exactly IS the Rite?" I asked. "The only thing that I've ever heard about it was second hand rumor that it hurts."

    "It can sometimes." She continued. "That's what we're here to explain. The Rite is many things; it is the last major trial of childhood, and your graduation into womanhood. It is a rebirth; the girl that is you shall perish tonight and be reborn a woman."

    "O.k." I said. "Would somebody please start making sense. First I heard hurt; now I hear perish! If you wanted me worried, I'm there!"

    Tammy laughed and said; "Don't worry about it Ali. They did this to us too. I think the whole thing is designed to make us nervous."

    "No." Said Amber. "It's intended to give you the sense of awe that is appropriate for such a profound transition in your life. And yes, a healthy amount of nervousness is appropriate too. You may enjoy this event; you may not. If you relax and listen to us, you stand a much better chance of enjoying it."

    "But what's going to happen?" I asked.

    "You are going to be opened dear." She said. "Your body is going to be opened and you are going to become a woman."

    I blinked for a moment confused and then understanding slowly dawned on me, and as it was doing so I looked up at Laura who was smiling at me and slowly pushing her index finger in and out of the clenched fist of her other hand. The understanding that was slowly dawning on me suddenly smacked me in the forehead like a brick. I looked at her, shocked, and she nodded.

    "You mean I'm gonna..."

    "... Lose your virginity; yes dear." Amber completed. "That's what the scriptures are talking about. A virgin cannot marry. You may not enter into a lifelong relationship knowing nothing of your duties to your partner. You are here to earn that knowledge."

    "But how... WHO?!"

    "The priest dear. The manservant of the Mother. He is from a special sect of the priesthood that has been called by the Father to serve the mother in this regard. They are known for their gentleness and compassion and for the fact that they are sterile. You don't have to worry about getting pregnant. We have chosen one who we hope will make this a memorable experience for you."

    "But... but... but..."

    "But what dear?" She said. "Did you think this was just a set of rituals and you go home? No. The Mother does not allow innocents in her service. There is a difference between saying you are ready to cross the threshold of womanhood and actually doing so. Tonight; ready or not, you will cross that threshold."

    Confusion and fear came over me like a wave and I thought; "I can't believe this is happening to me." I could feel myself blushing clear to my toes and I shyly asked; "So, what do I have to do? What exactly is going to happen?"

    Tanya answered, "You don't have to do a thing. Just relax and listen to what we tell you and try not to panic."

    "Panic?" I asked.

    "Panic." Replied Laura. "Your first time can be very frightening. It can also be painful, though not always."

    I thought; "Oh that's NOT EXACTLY what I wanted to hear right now!!!"

    Amber cut in. "Come now ladies. Let's not scare the poor girl to death."

    A sudden realization dawned on me and it hit me so hard that I started to tremble and then to cry. Amber and Laura suddenly came to me and held me and asked; "What's wrong dear?"

    I wailed and sobbed; "M-M-My mom's going to know that I'm not a virgin any more!!! Everybody's going to know!!"

    "That's the point dear." Said Amber. "Your mom went through this too; and remember, she brought you here."

    "B-B-B-But Micah, h-h-he'll know"

    Laura spoke up; "Oh, I wouldn't worry about that. Micah is next door at the temple of the Father as we speak, undergoing a very similar Rite."

    I looked up shocked. "H-H-Huh?" I asked.

    "Oh yes." She said. "I saw his parents dropping him off about an hour before you arrived; the boys Rites start earlier. What; you didn't realize that the scriptures and laws apply to THEM as well?"

    I was stunned! I had no idea! I mean sure, I hadn't read ALL of the scriptures, but I couldn't believe that I'd missed THAT! I'd never even heard rumor of it. Not that any of this made the knowledge of what was going to happen to me tonight any less frightening, but I suddenly found myself a great deal less horrified by it.

    "It's o.k. to be confused dear." Said Terry. "The versions of the scriptures that you've been allowed to read are somewhat sanitized for younger readers. There are things in this world that should not be known until their proper time and place. The adult texts are a bit more umm... detailed."

    Amber said; "All your life, every effort has been made to preserve your innocence till it was time for you to grow up. Now is that time. This fear of yours is precisely the 'innocence of youth' that the High Priestess spoke of."

    I had regained most of my composure and was thinking again. I said; "You told me that The Mother does not allow innocents into Her service. I'm getting married, not joining the priestesshood."

    "But you are joining her service. By tying your existence to that of another you are doing her will and her work. From this day forward, so long as you are following the scriptures, and your heart is open to Her, you will always be in Her service."

    "Oh."

    The next two hours went by in kind of a haze of disbelief and worry as they explained more of religious aspects of it and explained what many of my responsibilities as a wife would be.

    Finally, Amber looked up at the clock and said; "Ladies, I believe lunch is ready."



    Chapter 4: Purification

    We all filed into the kitchen where a large table sat already prepared for us. Sister Anya and four acolytes had just finished setting it out. I was a little confused; I didn't remember any of them come in, and then I noticed a second door into the kitchen.

    Sister Anya stood at the head of the table and welcomed us all to lunch as the acolytes filed out the other door. We found seats and said our afternoon prayer together. When the prayer was over, Sister Anya stood and said; "The Mother calls you to feast Alison, that you may know the riches of her bounty. Eat hearty and take nourishment for the path which has been laid before you. This shall be your last meal as a child, for after this meal begins the ritual of purification. You shall be taken from here, bathed and dressed in the gown of purity. Then you shall spend an hour of solitary meditation and prayer before you rejoin your aunts. From that time until you are summoned, no drink that is not pure as water may pass your lips. Likewise no food may pass your lips that is not the Mothers fruit."

    Lunch was absolutely amazing. I had never been so stuffed in my life. Every time I thought that I couldn't eat any more, another serving of something irresistible would be placed in front of me. We talked animatedly about everything under the sun and then some. Every time someone would bring up sex, I would immediately get embarrassed and blush.

    Finally, when we all agreed that we were done; I was led back out into the sitting room and through another door. We entered a long candle lit hallway, which led to a large, circular and dome shaped, candlelit chamber. The room was warm from steam, rising from a huge, stone, sunken bathtub in the center of the room.

    There were stairs going down into the circular tub and it looked like it could fit ten or twelve people. I noticed a curious stone bench on the other side and towels and other bathing implements arrayed around the edge. The acolytes had apparently been busy while we were eating, because the tub appeared to have just been filled and they were waiting for us when we arrived.

    Sister Anya stopped in front of us and turned. "So begins the ritual of purification Alison. You will be bathed now so that the sins of youth may be washed away, and your body made ready for womanhood."

    With that, my aunts turned and walked back up the hall, leaving me with Sister Anya and the acolytes, one of which came around behind me and began unlacing my dress.

    "Please take off your shoes dear." Sister Anya told me.

    A chill ran up my spine as I stepped out of my shoes and onto the cold flagstone floor. The dress came off almost faster than I could kick off my shoes. I was shocked. I was standing in my underwear in front of five other people. I had never been less than fully dressed in front of anybody but my mother in my entire life. The steam quickly soaked my bra and panties, leaving them clinging to me uncomfortably. When the acolytes removed them from me, I found myself horribly self-conscious about my body. I felt every little flaw magnified because there were other people there to see them.

    Sister Anya walked around me slowly, with an appraising look on her face and I withered beneath her stare. I tried to cover myself with my hands but she shook her head slightly and said; "There's no need for that anymore Alison. You must set innocence aside."

    She stopped in front of me again and smiled and said, "Your husband is going to be a very lucky man. You have a beautiful mind, a beautiful face and a body that probably isn't going to see a whole lot of sleep for many years to come. You're never going to be able to keep him off of you." I blushed head to toe while she continued, "And by the look of you, you aren't even at the top of your game yet. You still have a little blooming to do. Do not be embarrassed by your body; you won't be able to hide it from your husband, and you won't be able to hide it tonight... or now. So relax, and let us wash you."

    The acolytes, who had undressed during Sister Anyas' "inspection", took me by the wrists and led me down the steps into the bath. When my feet sank into the water, I silently thanked the Mother, because it was blessedly hot. As the water slid up my thighs, I let out a sigh of contentment. If I could have use of this tub every night, I would happily join the priestesshood.

    They held me still as Sister Anya finished undressing and joined us. As she waded toward me she quoted from the holy writs, "And the Mother sent her womanservants unto her daughter and gave them license over her that she may be bathed and her body prepared. For the Mother had summoned her manservant and given license unto him to go unto the daughter that night and to come into her and open her body that she may become woman."

    As she spoke, the acolytes had me kneel down so that the water came up just over my breasts. The hot water made my nipples sting a little and I whimpered slightly in response. When Sister Anya finished her recitation, she waded around behind me and gently took hold of the back of my head.

    "In the name of the Mother, we cleanse this girl of the sins of youth that she may be made ready to take her place within the greater world of the Mothers love."

    Two of the acolytes slowly leaned me backward until all but my face was underwater. I was nervous that they might accidentally drop me and I kept tensing up. Sister Anya leaned down and kissed my forehead. "Don't be afraid Alison." She said. "Just relax and let us do our work."

    They stood me back up and I saw that my skin was bright red. I giggled a little as I looked at myself and said, "Lobster anyone?" They laughed and began soaping me.

    For the next twenty minutes or so I was washed more thoroughly than I had believed possible. I thought that I was prepared for the embarrassment of other people washing me and touching my breasts, but to my utter horror, they washed everywhere and everything. By the time they finished washing, I was redder from blushing than from the hot water. I must have looked like a rose.

    Just when I thought we were finished, they led me over to the small bench I'd noticed earlier. It was leaned back a ways and shaped very much like a body, but with no support on the bottom. As we approached it I noticed that there were two leg-rests just an inch or two above the water. They went out at really wide angles to the side, sort of like a saddle for a very fat horse; a saddle with no center. I was confused and frightened by the implications.

    Two of the acolytes helped lift me into it as the other two climbed out of the tub and held my arms out to my sides. I was mortified. It was the most embarrassing and uncomfortable situation I had ever been in. My legs were spread so wide that my thighs hurt (and I'm a gymnast, so that's saying something), totally exposing my girlhood to them. I whimpered a little in embarrassment and fear as I closed my eyes and chewed my lip.

    I trembled slightly as I felt the hands of the two acolytes in the tub soaping up my legs again. When they were done there was a brief pause and then I felt something gently scrape down my thighs and I realized that they were shaving my legs. I tried desperately to stop trembling for fear that they might cut me but I only succeeded in making myself tremble even harder.

    As they got down to my calves, I opened my eyes long enough to see Sister Anya step up close between my legs with a small pair of scissors and I closed my eyes again in fear. I felt her run her fingers through my pubic hair and then the slight tug and snip of the scissors as she began to trim me, down there.

    "Try to be still Alison." She said. "I know that this is kind of scary but don't worry, I won't cut you."

    After a few tense moments she took a small bucket from beside me, dipped it into the water, and poured the contents over my mound. I blushed at the feelings of pleasure that this elicited as the water ran down between my forcibly spread legs. I whimpered in shame as I felt her hands soap me up down there. I cried a little as she shaved around my pubic area. The feeling of the razor scraping around my mound and over my lips was terrifying. I could not believe that this was happening.

    She poured another bucket of water over my mound and then rinsed off my legs as well and I managed to stop crying and trembled a sigh of relief. She stepped back a little and said; "You must always keep your hair trimmed like this. It'll light a fire in your lovers loins that will only be able to be put out by yours. O.k., let's get you down from there girl. Trust me; we ALL know how uncomfortable and scary that chair is!"

    I said, "Uh huh."

    They helped me down and led me out of the tub. My thighs were sore from being held open so wide and for so long and I was still a little shaky from crying and fear. We were met at the top of the steps by the other two acolytes who gave towels to the others and then wrapped me in one.

    Having just come out of hot bath, the air now felt cool despite the steam, and to my embarrassment I felt my nipples harden uncomfortably in the chill. The acolytes dried me quite thoroughly and then set about dressing me (if you could call it dressed) in the gown my mom had made me. They instructed me to hold my arms straight up as I felt the smooth fabric slide over my arms and down my body to my ankles.

    They finished lacing up my gown and I still felt like I wasn't wearing anything. Sister Anya called me over to a chair and instructed me to sit. I thought, "Now what?"

    I sat there for about the next half-hour while they brushed out my hair, and manicured my nails. When they were done, Sister Anya said, "You have been bathed and your body prepared; You will now be taken from this place to a place of solitude to spend an hour of prayer and contemplation."

    They led me back up the hall into the sitting room and through yet another door which led into a small stone-walled room. The room was stark and bare, there were no decorations or furnishings of any sort in it. In fact, as I heard the door close, I realized that the only things that WERE in the room were me and a single, lit candle on the cold stone floor.

    I knelt in front of the candle and said a brief prayer. The room was cold and I was barefoot and wearing what amounted to a linen sheet, so I spent the rest of the hour wondering and worrying about what tonight was going to be like and trying to get warm. I was so nervous that I wanted to bite my nails, but my aunts probably would have gotten all sorts of mad at me about it. Finally, Tammy opened the door and I rejoined my aunts who were waiting for me on the couch in the sitting room.

    Terry looked at me as I came out and said, "Relax dear. If you worry yourself into a frenzy you'll make yourself sick; and the more nervous you are, the harder our job is going to be."

    We talked for a very long time about the Rite and a few of the specifics of what was going to be done to me during it. I still got the feeling however, that there were things that they weren't telling me. We went over the last of the ceremonies and made sure that I knew my parts in them. They all talked about when they went through the Rite; how nervous they were, embarrassing goof ups, how they felt afterward. Not one word, however, about what exactly it was like during the Rite itself, so I asked.

    Amber replied, "That's a question that I'm afraid we can't answer in a way that you would understand."

    "How do you mean?" I asked

    "It's a matter of frame of reference. How would you describe the color red to someone who was born blind, or the sensation of wiggling your toes to someone who was born without feet? In a way, you are that blind man, you have no frame of reference from which to understand any description we could give you. You were born a virgin, the only way to understand what sex feels like is to do it. That's what we are here for, to help you do just that."

    At about seven o'clock we went back into the kitchen for dinner. Because of the purification ritual, I was restricted to fruit and water (somebody get me a milkshake please), while the aunts had spaghetti and wine, I was so jealous I could have eaten my liver. Oh well, it was only for one night. I hoped I was going to get something real for breakfast at least.

    We continued the conversation at the table. They told me things that I could do to help "turn on" my lover. I blushed furiously at some of the things that they told me, such as putting his thing in my mouth and sucking on it (What, am I supposed to pretend it's a lollypop?); they even demonstrated it to me with a banana... and had me practice.

    When we went back out into the sitting room they massaged my shoulders and feet as we went over the ceremonies one last time. About nine, as we were talking, the lights suddenly went out for a moment then came back on.

    Amber rose and said; "It is time. You have been summoned for the Rite. Who will walk her back to the sanctuary?"

    Laura stood up and said; "I will."

    "Very well." Amber said. "Remember Alison; be calm, relax and this may be one of the greatest experiences of your life. Panic and it could be the worst."

    I thanked her and smiled in spite of the growing knot of fear in my stomach. One ceremony left and then I would be losing my virginity, ready or not.

    Laura led me out the door and back down the hall and up the stairs. When we got to the top she stopped and did not open the door. I could hear a ceremony going on, on the other side of it. I recognized it and knew that this was almost my place to come into it. Laura motioned for me to turn around. I did so obediently. She started untying the laces of my gown. I was confused for a moment, then she brushed it off my shoulders and the gown hit the floor leaving me totally naked.

    She leaned in a little and whispered in my ear; "For the next several hours you will have no need of clothes and so you shall wear none. You shall wear only that which the High Priestess gives you. Do you understand?"

    I thought; "NAKED!? I've got to walk through the temple NAKED!?" Until my bath earlier, only my Mom had ever seen me naked.

    I nodded and did what I could to choke down the rising panic and concentrate on the ceremony. Laura smiled and gave me a big hug and said; "I can't believe you're finally doing it! There's been so much I've wanted to talk to you about the last few months but haven't been allowed to!" Her smile turned to a wicked grin and she continued; "We've got catching up to do. But first, there's a little matter of your Rite. I'll see you in a little while."

    And with that, she opened the door and gently ushered me out of it, closing it behind me. I was standing totally naked in the sanctuary of the temple!



    Chapter 5: Naked in the temple
    
    The high priestess was standing behind the altar again, though now she was standing in a bright shaft of moonlight. She looked positively ethereal. A little to my left stood Angela, naked as a jaybird and looking even more freaked out than me. To my right was Jill, also naked and looking petrified. All three of us were trying to cover ourselves, and we all had about the same amount of success... zip!

    About that time, I noticed that the four of us were not alone in here and my freak out factor went up a notch or TEN! In addition to the High Priestess there were four other priestesses and about twenty acolytes. What really freaked me out though was that there was a MAN in a Priests robe standing a few paces behind the High Priestess.

    When the prayer began, I knew that it was time for me to start forward. I was supposed to try to time it so that I arrived at the altar just as the acolytes finished praying. I walked down the isle trying desperately to cover myself, but to no avail. I simply couldn't cover everything. I was still naked and I only had two hands to work with and at least three major parts to cover. I looked left and right and noticed that Jill and Angela were also moving forward, and having about the same luck trying to be modest.

    We arrived at what seemed to be the right time (I got the feeling that they would have kept praying until we arrived), and three priestesses came over and led us up onto the dais to the front of the altar. The High Priestess looked at us with very intent eyes.

    "It is written;" she said. "The Mother and Father do not allow innocents into their service. Those who would advance from youth into adulthood and serve must lay down that innocence that they may be born again into maturity. I see the form of women before me, yet I do not see the knowledge of womanhood within your eyes. Why then do you come before me?"

    The three of us (still trying to cover) kind of mumbled together; "To show the mother that I am physically ready. I come that I may lay down my innocence and be made woman (boy did that suddenly take on a whole new meaning)."

    The High Priestess slowly walked up to me, took my hands and gently lifted them away from my breasts and groin. She smiled a very understanding and motherly smile and said; "It is innocence such as this which you must lay down. Be neither shamed nor afraid child. What will happen tonight is meant to be a mystery and a wonder, do not hide yourself from it."

    With this, she turned and nodded to two of the priestesses, who came around the altar and took my hands. They led me to the end of the altar and turned me around. The High Priestess turned to one of the acolytes, who handed her a large silver goblet. She came to me and carefully handed it to me saying; "Drink now of the fruit of the Goddess."

    I put the cup to my lips and drank. It was very sweet, and very strong. I knew I was supposed to finish it but it was a little bit of a challenge. Not only was the drink REALLY strong, the goblet was quite large. By the time I finished it I was beginning to feel a little light-headed.

    The two priestesses then slowly bent me backward over the altar and laid me down on it so that my bottom was just on the edge, and held my arms out. The other two priestesses came around to my feet and gently spread my legs a little. I thought; "Merciful Mother! Here it comes; right here in front of all these people!"

    The High Priestess looked at me again in a very knowing and motherly way and said; "Alison, the Mother calls you now to lay down your innocence and step through the doorway into womanhood that you may serve her and be welcomed as an equal into the greater world. Will you accept Her hand?"

    Again my young mind thought; "Oh God! This is it!" I cringed a little and bit my lip and squeaked; "Yes."

    Another acolyte came up to her with a small flask, which she took and opened. She poured a small amount onto my hair, each of my boobs and my mound.

    She said; "I anoint you with the water of virginity. Untouched; as you are untouched."

    The four priestesses each took a small vial from other acolytes and applied tiny amounts of the contents to my wrists and ankles. "I anoint you with perfumes that the waiting woman may be awakened." The High Priestess continued.

    The priestesses holding my wrists then gently stood me up and turned me to face Jill and Angela. I thought; "What? That wasn't it? Oh no!"

    They told me to kneel down and I obeyed. From another acolyte, the High Priestess took what appeared to be a long white, gossamer veil with a headband. She turned and placed it on my head. It went to my knees.

    As she did so she said; "I place upon you the veil of maidenhood. This is the last garment you shall wear as a girl. It shall remain on until you are sanctified as woman." With that, the two priestesses helped me to my feet and led me around to a spot behind the altar and told me to wait. I was standing right in front of the priest wearing nothing over my butt except an almost nonexistent veil and I was blushing so hard my butt must have glowed.

    The ceremony was repeated for Jill, and she was led over to stand by me, but it was a little different for Angela. The headband on her veil was covered in roses, and the veil itself had rose patterns woven into it in silver and gold. When she was stood up, instead of being led over to us, the High Priestess said; "Angela Marie Scott; You have been called by the Mother to serve directly. As such, you stepped through the door of womanhood when you approached this altar, and it is here upon this altar that you will undergo your Rite of Passage. We shall commence when the moon shines upon the altar itself. Please wait here."

    She turned to us and said; "Follow."

    Jill and I followed her down an isle going straight back from the altar. Before we did so, I noticed Angela's aunts filing into the sanctuary through the door from which she had entered. A number of priestesses and acolytes were entering through other doors and looked like they were finding seats.

    She led us to a large wooden door at the end of the isle. Inlayed in the door was the same rose with falling petals and blood that was on the door to my room down below. She stopped at the door, turned to us and said; "Through here lies the doorway to womanhood. The time has come for you to enter. May the mother wipe away any tears you may shed and may you find great joy this night."

    She motioned us to enter and I opened the door and stepped through. Jill followed close behind. The door opened into a stone hallway that was long, curved, narrow and fairly dark. The hall was lit by torches, and even then, only by a few. Jill reached out and took my hand. She was trembling and I could tell she was as scared as I was about what lay ahead of us. I kept thinking; "Ican'tbelieveImdoingthis!!", over and over again.

    After a minute or two we came to a fork in the hall. An acolyte stood at the juncture smiling. "Which of you is Jill?" She asked. When Jill answered, the acolyte motioned to the left hall and said; "Go that way, always take the left passage. When you come to the doorway, enter. Alison; take the right hall but take only left passages after that. When you come to the doorway, enter."

    I thanked her and hugged Jill (she looked like she needed it and I know I did) and said; "Good luck. I guess I'll see you in the morning." The acolyte looked at us both and said; "Oh, you'll see her before that, but first, you both have an appointment you shouldn't be late for. Hurry on now."

    I took the right-hand passage and it seemed to wind around forever. It forked off three more times but I kept taking the left passage. The hall was quite dark despite the torches and I was feeling very naked, vulnerable and scared. After a bit I realized that I was trembling. I was also feeling a bit more light-headed and giddy. The wine was beginning to kick in. After what seemed like an eternity the hall ended in a door. It also had the rose symbol on it. I was about to knock when I remembered what I had been told.

    This was it. On the other side of this door waited the man who would take my virginity, whether I was ready or not. I couldn't turn back. My mind raced in fear; "Oh shit, I can't believe I'm gonna do this!" I took a deep breath, cringed a little, bit my lip and opened the door.



    Chapter 6: Surrender of innocence
    
    The room within was dark except for a few candles and a little moonlight. There was soft music playing and I could hear quiet voices. I took a frightened step inside and the door closed behind me. I spun around with a start to find Terry and Tanya behind me.

    "Bring her." I heard Amber say from somewhere in the shadows. They took my wrists and gently led me forward. My eyes were beginning to adjust to the dark and I could see that I was in a room almost identical to the one that I had spent the day in. However, there was no couch, and where the coffee table would have stood was what appeared to be some sort of cushion. It was about two feet long or so, and one end was almost a foot taller than the other one. It appeared to be white with rose patterns on it.

    They led me over to the cushion, which was almost directly in the moonbeam coming through the skylight. We stopped and they turned me so that it was behind me. The rest of the aunts stepped out from the shadows and approached me; their bright red robes appearing almost black in this dim light. While Terry and Tanya kept hold of my wrists, Amber stepped up to me and said; "Are you ready?"

    "Do I have a choice?" I squeaked. My head was starting to swim from the wine.

    She smiled at me pleasantly and said, "Not really."

    For some reason this struck me as immensely funny and I giggled for a few seconds and said, "I guess I am then."

    Terry and Tanya took the front of the veil in their hands and carefully flipped it over my head. Amber took my face in her hands then and kissed me deeply on the lips, then she walked around behind me and gently began rubbing my shoulders. The rest of the aunts each stepped in, in turn and gave me a similar kiss. I was confused. I must admit, I was expecting a guy.

    They began to slowly and gently caress my arms and my belly, then my legs. As they were doing so, Amber must have noticed my confusion. She whispered in my ear, "Relax your body girl, no harm can come to you tonight. Though the transition may be painful, it is not always so. Even when it is, the discomfort is usually minor and brief. But no harm can come to you tonight."

    The first time one of them touched my boobs I nearly jumped out of my skin! "Relax Alison." Amber continued. "We are here to help you; to guide you through this experience. This is also how we guarantee that the Rite has indeed been performed and completed. Just relax your body and open yourself up to the sensations coursing through it."

    They began to caress my boobs, and occasionally would cross over my mound as they went from my belly to my legs and back and I flinched a tiny bit every time they did so. They caressed my buttocks and my back. They were caressing nearly everywhere. Occasionally one of them would kiss me on my belly, my face, or my legs. I must have been beginning to relax, because the first time Bethany took my nipple in her mouth, I gasped, but I didn't jump. Then she very gently sucked on it and my gasp turned into a moan. That felt good.

    "Soon," whispered Amber, "your body will begin to tingle gently and you will begin to feel warm. As the warmth increases the tingle will slowly become more intense, especially in your lips and your breasts, but most especially in your nipples."

    Almost as she was saying it, it started happening. I started to get really warm and the tingle got very strong in my nipples and I couldn't help but moan. Then I started to feel a tingle between my legs.

    They leaned me back slightly and Amber supported my weight. Mariah and Tammy each took hold of one of my calves and spread my legs apart a little.

    "The tingle will grow, and soon you will feel it between your legs, in your most secret place." She said. "You may begin to feel yourself become wet there. Don't be alarmed. It's perfectly normal, it's supposed to. You body is simply preparing itself for what's going to happen."

    Mariah and Tammy were kissing their way up my legs and Mariah reached the top first. She planted a kiss right on the bottom of my mound and I tensed up a little.

    "Relax child." Amber whispered "Nothing will happen here tonight that is not supposed to happen. Every woman that you have ever met has gone through this same Rite."

    Tammy kissed me deeply and gently in the same spot, and it felt... intriguing. Intriguing but a little scary. Amber stepped back from me and I was slowly lowered backwards onto the cushion. They laid me with my butt just barely hanging off the edge of the high end. The low end came to just the base of my neck; so that my head hung straight back over the end of it without touching the floor.

    They came down onto their hands and knees and continued caressing and kissing me. Terry and Tanya were still holding my arms straight out to my sides; though now, because of the cushion, they had my arms pulled back a little, until my elbows touched the floor. I was shocked at the feeling of exposure and insecurity when I realized that this pushed my boobs out, offering my chest up to them.

    A sudden panic came over me and I started to cry.

    "You're trembling dear;" whispered Amber, who was lying now at my head, "what's wrong?"

    "I'm afraid." I cried; "And I don't know what to do. You told me what was going to happen to me, some of it anyway. But you didn't tell me what I'm supposed to do or how to do it."

    She kissed me deeply on the mouth for a couple of minutes. As she was doing so, Mariah and Tammy slowly eased my legs apart and spread them fairly wide. I gasped under Ambers' kiss when I felt a hand slide over my mound and down between my legs. It caressed me there for a moment or two and then I felt pressure from the middle finger and the finger slid between my lower lips, and I realized that I was very wet down there. I blushed harder than I had ever done in my life. I wanted to just curl up and die. Amber smiled serenely at me and whispered in my ear again.

    "Don't be afraid. You cannot fail. Most of the details have been hidden from you your whole life. No one expects you to know anything, and all you have to do is relax and surrender yourself to the feelings. You cannot give pleasure until you know how to receive it. That is part of what you are here to learn; how to receive pleasure. Giving will come a little later." And she kissed me again.

    Bethany and Laura were caressing my body and occasionally kissing my breasts. Mariah and Tammy were kissing my inner thighs. Mariah worked her way up my thigh and then kissed me very softly and gently on my lower lips. I moaned softly and she did it again, a little longer this time. She did it two or three more times and I moaned each time. I gasped slightly when, after the last one, I felt her tongue suddenly slide between my lips and find a spot down there that was frighteningly sensitive. I desperately wanted her to do it again and she did. I gasped again but not from shock this time. She continued licking me there, slowly and gently, for a minute or so. Tammy worked her way up my other thigh and Mariah worked her way back down hers as Tammy took her place. Tammy started kissing and licking me there. She licked up and down my girlhood. Oh, My God, it felt soooooooooo goooooooooood! She stuck her tongue a little ways inside me and I closed my eyes and moaned; it felt so unreal. She came to the top again and found that most sensitive spot and ran her tongue over and around it for a while as the tingle there became almost unbearable. She looped her arms under my legs and grabbed my waist.

    When I felt her lips wrap around that sensitive button and she gently began to suck on it; it felt as if I had suddenly lit on fire, but in an unbelievably pleasant way. I began to breathe heavy and writhe in their grasp. I had no control over my body; the sensations flooding through it overrode all mind function, conscious or otherwise. My hips began to buck and shake uncontrollably, under the ministrations of Tammys' mouth.

    There was a spring coiling somewhere inside of me and I didn't know how long it could keep coiling; or what would happen when it got as tight as it could go. I only knew that the feeling was SCAREY intense, and getting stronger by the second. I was beginning to hyperventilate. My moans became higher and higher in pitch as the feeling grew.

    Amber kissed me again and whispered in my ear, "Surrender to the feeling building within you, do not fear it. Step into the abyss, and let go. We will be here to catch you when you fall."

    I opened my eyes and looked up at the full moon shining through the skylight and surrendered to the sensation. I stepped into the abyss, and fell. The spring that had been tightening inside me suddenly came all kinds of undone! The wave of sensation that washed over me was MANY times stronger. Instead of stepping into a river of sensation, I had stepped in front of a tidal wave and I screamed in both pleasure and fear as it overwhelmed me and carried me away. My eyes rolled up into my head and my toes curled so hard they ached. My already arched body went completely rigid, and stayed that way for probably three or four minutes while Tammy continued to take me with her mouth making the tidal wave go on and on, while my breath came in shallow, strangled gasps.

    Tammy finally stopped and the feeling slowly faded away, leaving me a puddle of quivering Jell-O. Absolutely no part of my body worked. I couldn't move my arms or legs. I couldn't roll my head to the side. I couldn't even think!

    I just lay there for a while quivering and trying to remember how to breathe. I could feel their hands still caressing me, and their lips kissing me. It still felt so good that I would have moaned if I had been able to.

    Amber kissed me again and whispered, "That was but a taste of what is to come. Now it is time for the girl to pass away, and for a woman to be born within her. Your passing will feel much like what you just experienced, but much, much more intense."

    I thought, "Theresmore?!"

    I felt Laura and Bethany slowly shift to my legs and help hold them open. As they were doing so, Tanya and Terry kissed their way down my arms to my boobs, keeping my arms pinned.

    Amber whispered in my ear, "And so, it begins."

    I felt a pair of hands, close in on my inner thighs, followed by a pair of lips kissing my girlhood. Bits and pieces of my brain were beginning to revive, and one of those bits noticed a computing error and rechecked the headcount. I was now being kissed by eight pairs of lips. HE was here.

    I gulped.

    I felt him run his tongue up between my lower lips and run up and down the length of them. He took each of them into his mouth and sucked on them gently. The feeling was unreal.

    Amber whispered, "This is how the girl perishes; upon the end of a mans spear, after he has pierced her with it many times. He will shed her virgins' blood with it and she shall perish from the wound. A woman shall be reborn within her and dwell within her ever after."

    With that, she sat up, picked my head up and knelt under it, putting my head on her lap. I looked down between my legs and saw one of the most beautiful faces I had ever seen smiling back at me. He appeared to be in his mid twenties. He had wavy, shoulder length blond hair, the bluest eyes I'd ever heard of, and a smile that made my heart melt.

    He said, "Don't be afraid Alison, I will be very, very gentle."

    I watched as he put his head back down and began licking me down there again. I chewed my lower lip in nervous anticipation despite the feelings he was starting to bring back, down there. His big hands were spreading my legs slightly wider and four of my aunts held them where he put them. He ran a finger down between my lips and around the little button of pleasure that his tongue had just been playing with.

    "He is trying to make you wetter." Amber said to me quietly. It felt like I was already sopping down there.

    "How wet do I need to be?" I thought.

    Between his tongue and his fingers, I was soon moaning and rolling my hips. It was feeling so good, soft yet hard, warm and wet. He slowly trailed his finger down between my lips to my opening. He very slowly and gently slid it inside. It only went in to maybe about the first knuckle and it felt like it was so big that it wouldn't fit.

    I whimpered in fear and discomfort. He held his finger there for a bit as he licked me until I relaxed. When he pulled his finger out I thought, "I hope the rest of him isn't any bigger than that."

    He stopped licking me after a bit and slowly got up onto his knees. I was entranced, watching his body come into view. He had a very athletic, muscular body; well tanned.

    When I saw his thing I totally panicked. It must have been at least eight or ten inches long and thicker than I would have been able to wrap my hand around. The tip of it was even bigger around than that. It was pointing straight out towards me and it looked as hard as a rock. I cried out in fear; if his finger hurt that much, this would probably split me in half. I tried to thrash and escape briefly, but my aunts held me firm.

    He said; "In the name of the Mother and the Father I come into you now Alison, and open your body that you may become woman, and receive your first instruction in the art of lovecraft."

    As he pressed the big head of it against my girlhood I felt my lips stretched wide. I whimpered. I was so wet down there that it slipped in a little bit and I could feel myself being stretched impossibly wide. I cringed and bit my lip.

    Amber said quietly to me, "Relax your body. It will fit inside you, trust me. It will be very difficult, but you must relax your body."

    He pushed in about an inch farther until he came up against my hymen, and I was already in tears from how much it hurt. He held it there for a bit so that I could relax. Amber wiped the tears from my eyes and gently said, "Hush child, relax your body."

    She laid back down and let my head hang over the cushion again. As she took my face in her hands and began kissing me, I felt the pressure at my hymen slowly begin to build. It built so much that I started crying hard again. It hurt so badly that I knew it wasn't going to fit. Amber kept kissing me gently and whispering for me to relax.

    Laura slid a hand between us and ran a finger down between my lips. She caressed around where he was going into me, and then up to that sensitive button, which she made slow, soft circles around, teasing it. I relaxed almost immediately, and the second I did so He pushed a little harder and I felt myself rip as he pushed past my barrier and stretched me out an inch deeper and stopped.

    I shrieked! I cried! He was already splitting me in half and he had just barely gotten the tip in. I struggled briefly but my aunts were still holding me firmly. The struggling only made the pain worse, so after a few moments I just laid still and cried.

    "Oowwiiee;" I bawled, "it's too big, it doesn't fit! Oh God, please Amber, make him stop! Make him take it out! Please!"

    Amber gently kissed my eyes and then my lips and whispered; "Sssshhhh. Dry your eyes. The worst of it will pass shortly. The ripping you felt was just your virgin barrier, nothing more. Relax your body and the pain will pass."

    I felt Lauras' finger start to rub me down there again and I slowly began to relax and stop crying. The pain slowly started to subside but I still felt stretched beyond belief. When I'd relaxed a little He pushed it in a tiny bit farther and my body clamped down on him in terror of more pain and I whimpered. He stopped and waited. The pain came on strong again as I was stretched out more, but nowhere near as bad as his entry had been.

    While Amber kissed me and whispered comfort into my ears, Laura and the rest of the aunts kissed and caressed the rest of my body and slowly managed to get me to start relaxing again. As soon as I relaxed a little, he would stretch me out a little deeper and I would clamp down in terror again. The deeper it got, the scarier it felt, and the higher pitch my whimpers got.

    After several minutes, I finally felt his hairs touch mine and the base of his thing press hard up against me. I couldn't believe it, that whole thing was all the way up inside of me. I felt so stretched out that I thought I might come apart at any second, but the pain was slowly subsiding.

    He held still there for several minutes while I relaxed and attempted to adjust to having him there. My aunts kisses managed to distract me from the pain. Amber was still whispering for me to relax, and with some effort I finally managed to do so. When I finally managed to relax fully, the pain totally disappeared, leaving me feeling unbelievably stretched and full.

    I started to tingle down there again and my body clamped down around his shaft experimentally and relaxed. There was no pain. It did it again and it felt amazing. My body started clamping down on him again and again, causing the tingling to grow stronger and stronger as he held himself still within me. I had no control over what was happening down there, my body was doing this all on its own.

    My breathing became heavy and I began to moan loudly. Amber smiled down at me like an angel and kissed my eyes, my cheeks, down to the hollow of my neck and back to my lips. It was so tender and sweet that my heart ached with it.

    My body was clamping down on him harder and faster and I could feel that spring coiling again. I began to cry softly with joy at how beautiful it felt. He smiled at me with those amazingly blue eyes and said; "Don't be afraid Alison. The hard part is over; there shouldn't be any more pain. Relax and let your body do whatever it wants to do."

    With that, the spring came undone again. My body arched even more. I gasped loudly and clamped down HARD around his shaft and stayed that way as my body shook and convulsed in pleasure.

    As I was convulsing around his shaft, he began to move inside me. He pulled it nearly all the way out and then verry slowly slid it back in. Oh. My. God. The tidal wave that washed over me was TEN times stronger than what Tammy had done to me because this time it was coming from inside of me, and he was making it stronger with each slow thrust.

    I screamed again in fear and pleasure. My aunts still held me firmly; there was nothing I could do but let the wave carry me away, and hope I survived it.

    The wave of sensation crested, and then slowly retreated; and I relaxed back onto the cushion quivering and gasping for air as he continued to slowly thrust in and out of me. Amber lifted my head so that I could look at him. He smiled a beautiful smile at me and laid down over me, wrapping me in the embrace of his powerful arms and kissed me deeply. He was being so gentle that I melted under him. I surrendered myself to him completely and couldn't imagine my first time being more glorious with anyone else (not even Micah).

    I slowly started rocking my hips, meeting his thrusts, and we got into a quiet rhythm together. After a few minutes I wanted him to go faster and he did, before I could even ask him to. He slowly sped up till he was taking me fairly fast and hard.

    The spring was coiling again and I was terrified of just how tight it was winding. He started hitting a spot within me that felt so unbelievably wonderful that it made that spring coil up far, far more than it gone before.

    He took me like this for about another twenty minutes while my aunts continued to hold me for him; meanwhile, my body caught on fire and burned to the ground. My whole body was tingling so hard I couldn't take it anymore. I started to shake and I could feel the tidal wave about to release. I was petrified. This feeling was WAY too big; I wouldn't be able to take it this time. I cried out in fear. I suddenly got a feeling that I had to PEE, and then the spring came uncoiled so hard it broke. The wave that hit me was more overpowering than I could have even dreamed of. I screamed in pleasure so hard it hurt, but my pleasure suddenly turned to horror and shame as I felt a warm gush come out of me and soak us both.

    "Oh God NOOO!" I wailed in humiliation. He looked down at me and smiled like the sun and said; "No child, don't be alarmed, it's not what you think it is. You just experienced an extremely powerful kind of orgasm called a g-spot."

    He kissed me again so gently and deeply that my heart broke. I looked up into those pools of blue and knew nothing but pleasure and trust. I was still being carried away by the unfathomable waves of sensation crashing through me. I let go. My eyes rolled up in my head again and my toes curled. My back arched even more and I shrieked, then my breathing stopped all together. My body clamped down around his shaft so tight I was afraid that I would break it. He moaned loudly at this and started thrusting even harder. After a few thrusts, he thrust himself all the way into me and held himself there, quivering. His thing suddenly got BIGGER inside of me and I gasped. I felt him release inside of me and fill me up with something that was almost scalding hot. It instantly overflowed my already overfull girlhood and ran down my butt.

    We both lay there trembling for a moment and then he got up on his knees and pulled out of me. I could feel the cool air of the room deep down inside of me for a few moments before the hole closed up. Amber handed him the white cloth that my mom had given me and he gently dabbed it and wiped it between my legs. Then he wiped off his shaft with it as if he were cleaning a sword.

    When he was done, he carefully handed it back to Amber who looked at it and seemed to approve of what she saw there. She smiled down at me, folded the cloth up again and stuck it back inside her robe.

    I barely even registered ANY of this as I was busy trying to remember how to make my heart beat again. I was beyond Jell-O; I was liquid. I couldn't even quiver. I just lay there staring at this soft white light directly above me, I couldn't figure out what it was.

    One by one, my aunts slowly stopped kissing and caressing me, and let go of me, and gently closed my legs (owwwwwwwwww!). The priest knelt down beside me and lifted my lifeless form from the cushion. I was as limp as a rag doll and drenched with sweat.

    Shortly I felt myself being ever so gently set down upon a feather soft bed. I don't know how long I laid there, but at some point I quivered once... and it startled me so much I fainted!



    Chapter 7: And a woman shall be born within her...

    I awoke to find soft hands massaging me, coaxing life back into my limbs. My mind slowly began to come alive. The first sensation it experienced in its existence was soreness. The next thing it was aware of was the knowledge of where the soreness was located and how that area came to be sore. The next thing I felt was a pleasant warm glow, seeming to come from everywhere.

    Eventually I managed to open my eyes.

    I was alive!

    It took my aunts massaging me a while before I could really move anything. I was so wrung out that I was still like a rag doll. "So what did you think of your first time?" Asked Laura, who was massaging my temples.

    The only response that my still evolving mind could think of was to giggle stupidly.

    "Liked it that much, did you?' She said. "Good, cause it ain't over yet sister. In fact, it's barely just begun. You'll see the priest again tonight.

    I just groaned in response. I was so sore, I didn't know if I could go through that again. I certainly couldn't survive that orgasm thing again.

    Amber looked down at me and gave me a motherly smile. "You did very well Alison," She said. "I'm very proud of you. As soon as we get some life back into you we'll get you a little to eat and drink. You're going to need all the energy you can get. The priest should be back in about an hour. I don't think that you'll need us for this next part, but we will be here for you just in case."

    I had revived enough to speak. "What's going to happen?" I asked shakily.

    "Instruction." She said. "You have laid down your innocence, and now you will receive basic instruction in the arts of lovecraft. He will take you three more times to teach you some basic positions and techniques."

    She must have seen the look of worry on my face because she smiled again and said, "Don't worry, the hard part is over. You may encounter some soreness at the beginning, but after a moment or two you won't even notice it. There shouldn't be any more pain. And since you've done it before, the experience probably won't be quite as intense."

    They kept massaging me, occasionally turning me over to massage my back side. When they finished with my back, they would turn me back over to massage my front some more. They massaged everywhere and everything. They even massaged my mound and between my legs; after a few minutes of this, not only did the soreness go away quite a bit, but I started to feel kind of turned on. I also noticed another feeling, extreme satisfaction and happiness. I felt like I was positively glowing.

    Eventually the massaging had the desired effect, and I was able to move again. When they were done they sat me up. Bethany brought a tray of grapes and peaches, while Mariah brought a crystal pitcher with something red in it.

    She poured a cup for me and said, "Drink of the wine of womanhood that your thirst may be quenched."

    I took the cup from her and drank it greedily. I didn't care what it was as long as it was liquid, I was desperately thirsty. It was actually rather good. Not nearly as sweet and strong as what I had been given by the High Priestess.

    Bethany held the tray in front of me and said, "Eat of the fruit of the Mother that you may be refreshed for the path ahead."

    It sounded a little corny and I assumed that they were carrying out another ceremony that I was unaware of. I took some of the fruit and ate it slowly. As I did so I could feel strength slowly return to my body.

    I looked around and noticed my surroundings. I was in a small room that appeared to be a bedroom. I had been placed on a large four poster bed with white drapes hanging from it. The Blanket and sheets were of the purest white and the soft white pillows were embroidered with gold. There was an open door in the end of the room through which I could see the couch of the sitting room.

    "Where was I?" I asked. "How far did he have to carry me?"

    "Oh, not far." Said Terry. "The first part of the Rite was held right out there in the sitting room. There's a hidden closet where the couch and table can be stashed. You came in through the secret door in the back wall."

    Amber said, "There is still more that you need to learn. Now that you a woman in deed if not in right, you may someday be called on to be an aunt for someone else. There is much you need to know to be able to do so without harming the poor girl. We will instruct you where and when we can tonight, the rest you will learn from the elder aunts the first time you are called on to be one. Pay close attention to them and you may help make the experience a memorable one for her. For now, relax, you will need the energy. Pay attention to all we do and say, and remember all that we've already said and done."

    I sat with my feet under me and the veil slipped back over my face and Bethany flipped it back over. "So, how was it?" She asked.

    "Wow!" I said. "O.k.; which one of you chose King Kong to pop my cherry?"

    "Actually," Said Tammy with a guilty grin, "We all did."

    Amber got a wicked gleam in her eye as she arched her brow. She cut in, '... And you should be glad of our choice too, young woman. Of the three who were available for today's service, he was the least well endowed."

    I said a brief silent prayer for the souls of Angela and Jill, may they rest in piece. "Well," I continued with a slight smile, "thanks to you, I don't think I'm going to be able to close my legs under my own power ever again. That HURT! But other than that... wOw!

    They all sat on the bed and told me stories about what it had been like for them when they went through the Rite. Some had enjoyed the experience, some had not. Ambers experience had been horrible; her aunts had been cold and heartless. They hadn't cared whether she enjoyed the experience or not, and she had sworn to never let that happen to a girl who was under her care.

    There was a knock at the door and we all turned to see the priest standing at the door. He was still beautiful, and I found him a whole lot less frightening with his robes on; I didn't have to sit there and stare in fear at the monster that he was going to try to squeeze inside me again.

    "Alison," Said Amber. "I believe you may remember Father Andrew, though it is possible that the details of the whole event may have been a bit hazy. The wine that the High Priestess gave you was very strong."

    The priest spoke up. "Actually Alison, please just call me Andrew for the remainder of the evening. You will find it a bit less, awkward. You did very well earlier, so I think that you will enjoy what is to come."

    My aunts got off the bed and stood in a circle around it. Laura left the room for a moment and came back with candles for all of them and a lighter. She closed the door, lit a candle and turned out the light.

    As she was passing out the rest of the candles, Andrew explained, "The Rite calls for you to be taken a total of four times. Ideally, after your deflowering, you would be ready to learn some of the basics. Some few girls cannot get over their panic however and must still be held so that the Rite can be completed. That is why the aunts are still here. They must also witness that the Rite has been completed in full."

    I nodded my understanding. If I panicked, my aunts would hold me open again while he took me three more times.

    He continued. "So how are you feeling? Do you think you're ready to continue? I can give you a little longer if you wish, but only a few minutes."

    I bit my lip nervously. I was afraid of having that thing inside me again, but I didn't have a choice. It was going to happen one way or another, so I decided to relax and try and learn, instead of the alternative. I did, however, still have a couple of doubts.

    "I think I'm ready." I said.

    He smiled and said, "Then let us begin."
    Chapter 8: Alisons' education
    
    Andrew came over to the bed took off his robe and sat down next to me. It was very difficult to think of him as Andrew, and not Father Andrew. I was a bit unnerved when I saw his thing again. He must have noticed me chewing on my lower lip because he gently pulled my chin up a little to look me in the eye.

    "You look a bit nervous." He said. I nodded back at him.

    "I'm still a little scared." I said. "And I'm still not entirely sure what I'm supposed to do."

    He gave me a very sympathetic smile. "Don't be afraid. I am still going to be very gentle. I have no desire in this world to hurt you, you must believe that. While I must be honest and tell you that there are no guarantees; if you relax and surrender yourself to my will and my instruction, you will probably enjoy the experience as much as you did earlier. As for what to do, just do as I tell you, beyond that, just relax and enjoy the ride. If at some point your body feels like doing something, with or without your consent, let it. Whatever it does will be the right thing, trust me."

    With that he kissed me lightly on the lips, then deeply. He kissed me again, deeper. As he was kissing me he turned and put his hands under my legs and behind my back. He picked me up as if I were a feather (WOW, this guy was strong) and set me across his lap.

    "Your first lesson is just in kissing. The fires of love are sparked by the softness of a kiss. I want you to kiss me Alison, give me your best kiss."

    I reached up tentatively and gave him a light kiss on the mouth.

    "That was a wonderful kiss Alison." He said. "But it could use a little bit more trust and self confidence in it."

    I looked into his beautiful face and got lost in those unbelievably blue eyes again. I knew that I trusted him and I melted into him with my next kiss. It must have been the right kiss because he started returning it. He was being exceptionally slow and gentle and he made me feel safe. My heart ached with it so much that I wanted him to take me again.

    I felt his hand slowly work its way up my leg and then down to cup my buttocks and it caused a slight thrill to run through me. I placed my hand against his chest and felt his muscles ripple slightly. I gained a little courage and ran my hand over it. It was smooth and warm and firm. It felt amazing.

    He sucked on my lower lip a little and I melted even more. He paused for a moment and ran his finger lightly over my lip and said, "When you suck gently on the lower lip it can inspire passion in your lover. Do not be afraid to do this or to have it done to you."

    His hands began to slowly roam everywhere. When he cupped my free breast he started kissing down my chin and my throat, slowly turning me and leaning me back so that I was lying on the bed again. I lay there kissing him for a while with my head resting on one of his arms as his free hand slowly found every inch of me.

    I was becoming more and more turned on by the minute. His hands felt so good that soon I was moaning softly. He stopped for a moment and reached behind him. He came back with a slice of peach, which he gently fed to me. As he put the last piece in my mouth he leaned down and kissed me deeply, taking a small bite of the fruit from between my teeth as he did so. It was so romantic I sighed.

    Andrew began kissing me again and slowly working his way down my cheeks, my neck and lower. I gasped slightly when I felt his tongue very lightly run a circle around my nipple. His free hand was roaming again and soon found mine. He gently took my hand in his and brought it to his mouth and kissed my fingers. I was getting lost on a sea of sensations; sensations of wonder and discovery.

    He returned to my mouth and placed my hand against the middle of his chest and then slowly began to slide it down. I was amazed at the feel of his body under my hand. It was so warm and smooth that I kind of got lost in the feel of it until he picked my hand up and gently wrapped it around his thing.

    It was a strange mixture of hard and soft and I recoiled for a moment, in terror of the size of it. My earlier estimate must have been born out of fear because his thing wasn't nearly as big as I had remembered it. I could close my hand around it with a little to spare (not that the size of what I now held in my hand terrified me any less, especially remembering how it felt earlier). He held my hand against it and said, "Don't be afraid or ashamed of it. Just as I shall give pleasure to you; you can give pleasure to your lover in much the same way."

    "Move your hand like this." He said as he slowly began to slide my hand up and down his shaft. "By doing this, you can arouse and stimulate your lover. You can stimulate your lover all the way over the edge if you do it long enough. The more pressure you exert on it as you do so, the more intense his pleasure will be. If you use less pressure, you can prolong the pleasure for as long as you desire."

    As he was speaking, my doubts returned almost full force. His thing was already frighteningly and painfully large, and almost as hard as a rock. It started to get bigger, and harder; MUCH BIGGER AND HARDER! O.K., maybe it hadn't been just fear!!

    He held my hand against it and said, "Don't be afraid. It fit inside of you before, it will fit inside of you again; and this time, it should be much more pleasant than before."

    I looked at him with quite a bit of trepidation and he kissed me deeply, pulling my hand back to his chest. I got so lost in the kiss that I didn't notice him pull his hand away from mine, and slide it down my body. I trembled a little when I felt his hand slide over my mound. He paused for a moment until I relaxed, then slid them between my legs and gently stroked my womanhood. It felt wonderful (and a little scary at the same time, knowing what was coming). I relaxed and allowed myself to melt again as his fingers found that sensitive button and began to tease it.

    I moaned softly from the feelings he was creating down there and I totally melted onto the bed and surrendered to him. He was driving me out of my mind with pleasure and I could feel that spring slowly begin to coil again. Just when I thought that I couldn't take it anymore he slowly began to kiss his way down my body.

    The feeling was unreal. I still couldn't quite wrap my mind around the fact that this was happening to me, but at the same time I didn't want it to end... ever. If he had stopped at that moment, I probably would have shot him.

    He kissed his way over my breasts hovering briefly at my nipples, teasing them. In pleasant desperation I grabbed his hair, trying to hold his head to my breasts, but he continued his downward trek. I moaned in unexpected pleasure when he stuck his tongue in my belly button, and then continued downward.

    When I felt his hot tongue slide into my womanhood and over that oh, so sensitive spot, that spring came undone again. It wasn't nearly as strong as the previous times but it was still enough to be scary wonderful. I gasped loudly and arched my body into him as the wave of sensation washed over me.

    My body shuddered in pleasure as he continued to lave me with his tongue. I felt so beautiful; if this was what womanhood was like, I was all about it. I was still aware of what was coming and was still afraid of it, but if it ended up feeling like this, I would gladly go through it all again.

    I kept shuddering even after he stopped licking me and slowly began kissing his way back up my body. As he made his way up to my breasts, my fear slowly started come back and I trembled a little, though I was still kind of off in lala land from what he had just done to me (not to mention what he was doing to me now). Andrew kissed his way over my nipples, up my neck, my ears, my cheeks, and my eyes.

    "Are you ready for this?" He asked. I bit my lip and nodded.

    He kissed me deeply for a few moments as I melted again. I felt his weight sink slowly between my legs as he spread my thighs wide with his. I began trembling again when I felt the head of his thing butt up against my womanhood and spread my lips so wide they ached. It still felt like it couldn't possibly fit.

    Andrew must have seen the fear and want in my eyes because he paused for a little while and said, "Don't be afraid Alison. Remember, I will be very gentle. Just relax your body, and surrender to the sensations, and let your body do whatever it wants to do."

    He kissed me deeply and twined his tongue with mine. It was so wonderful that I wanted to just melt under him, but I knew that this was going to hurt, so I couldn't totally relax.

    I felt him slowly begin to push against me and I panicked a little as it began to stretch me unbelievably wide. I broke the kiss and began to whimper again, rising higher and higher as he stretched me deeper and deeper. It didn't quite hurt this time, but it was extremely uncomfortable for a while; and again, the deeper it got, the scarier the feeling got. I was gripping his chest hard, biting my lip and pleading with my eyes for him to go slow.

    He was wonderfully gentle and slow, and after a few minutes of biting my lip and whimpering I felt his pelvis press up against mine. He was all the way inside of me again, and I felt stretched beyond belief. It was incredible, and it hadn't really hurt.

    As he held himself still inside me for a few moments I tried to slow down my breathing and relax. The fear I had felt was nothing more than a fading memory. He kissed me again and I greedily returned it, twining his tongue with mine. I wanted him. I wanted him badly.

    When the discomfort had faded completely I again clamped down around his shaft. I could feel every vein, ridge and bump on his organ pressing hard against my insides and it was so hot that I was amazed that it didn't burn. I relaxed and clamped down around him again and he moaned loudly.

    As I clamped down on him a third time he slowly pulled his thing out until just the tip was left inside me and just as slowly, he pushed it all the way back in. I gasped at the feeling of being stretched again, it was wooonderful. He paused for a moment and did it again and I completely melted under him. As he began squeezing in and out of me I started whimpering and gasping in pleasure. I wrapped my legs around his and he spread my legs even wider with his and managed to go in a little deeper.

    "Rock your hips up to meet mine." He whispered. As I did so he started to hit that sensitive spot on the outside as well as the one on the inside.

    The world dissolved around me as my body began to tingle and then caught on fire. Andrew plundered my body like this for ten minutes or so as he whispered to me how beautiful I was. My heart was sailing on the wings of angels as the spring coiled tighter and tighter.

    All I was able to do was surrender to the moment as the feeling built and built with each gentle but powerful thrust. Soon it built so much that I knew that the coil was about to come undone again, but just then he slowed down a little and seemed to keep me there hovering right on the razors edge of explosion.

    I lost all sense of the world around me. The universe condensed to just my body and what was being done to it, and it stayed that way for what seemed almost like forever. It was way too much, it wasn't nearly enough. The day after eternity, I felt the pleasure suddenly build out of control.

    I thrashed around and grasped at the sheets looking for something to anchor me to the earth, and then the wave hit. I clenched up around him and screamed so hard that I cried as the universe exploded. I cried for how wonderful it felt and I cried for terror of the power of the feeling that had just washed me away.

    Andrew took me for a few moments longer, until the feeling had passed and left me wrung out and quivering on the bed. When he finally stopped, he lay there for a long while, still on me and in me. He supported himself on his elbows and covered me with kisses, kissing away my tears, leaving me just a puddle of glowing, quivering, (and very happy) pudding on the sheets.

    After a while he rolled off of me and lay on his side smiling warmly at me. He reached around behind himself and came back with a piece of apricot, which he gently rubbed over my nipples before feeding it to me. As I ate it he trailed kisses down my neck and breasts until he licked the juice off. I gasped in pleasure and then laughed as it began to tickle.

    "I trust that you enjoyed yourself?" He said.

    "Uh huh." I replied dreamily.

    "That was known as the clasping position." He said. "It is the most intimate and loving of positions and is the most commonly used, especially amongst new lovers. There are many, many others, and we shall explore two more of them together after you have had a moment to rest and catch your breath. How are you feeling?"

    "I feel like Jell-O." I giggled. "Nothing seems to want to work."

    "That's a fairly common effect." He said "In fact, it's more or less the desired effect."

    "I'm really sore too. I don't know if I'm going to be able to walk for a while." I complained.

    "That too is a fairly common effect for your first few times." He said. "Don't worry about the soreness; it will pass within a day or two. I'm proud of you; you did very well. I think you will enjoy the rest of it."

    Andrew turned over again and grabbed something from the bedside table and came back with two glasses of wine. I was desperately thirsty, so when he proffered one to me, I drank it greedily. Then I just laid there and glowed for a while. I could feel my body beginning to regain some semblance of control of its extremities, but at the time, I couldn't have cared less...

    After a few minutes Andrew began to gently caress my arm, and then my thigh.

    "This next part is called the Embrace of the Hawk." He said; "It's a less physically demanding, more relaxing position. If you are blessed with children this position is also useful for maintaining intimacy with your husband while you are with child."

    Andrew began kissing me again. Then he rolled up close alongside me and then rolled me onto my side so that we were spooning. H kissed his way down my neck to my shoulder. I could feel his hand caressing my belly and then up to my chest. I was beginning to breathe heavy again. Andrew pulled my right leg back, and over his right leg so that I was leaning back against him. He spoke as his hands continued to roam everywhere.

    "This position is even more erotic for your lover," He continued; "because his hands have free reign over the front of your body; he can stimulate you in multiple ways simultaneously from here. Like this..."

    Just then I felt his hand slide over my womanhood as he kissed me deeply. I melted into him; a moment later his other hand found my left breast and began gently teasing my nipple. I was still sore but I could feel myself aching to have him inside me again, like emptiness.

    Andrew slid one of his large fingers between my lower lips and found that oh so sensitive button. He gently drew circles around it for a few moments as I turned into putty in his hands. I whimpered a little when he drew his hand away from there and slid it up my belly to my other breast for a moment or two, and then back down.

    He was right, he had access to EVERYTHING and I wouldn't even think about stopping him. Andrew slid his arm under my right leg and pulled it up. I could feel my lips stretch apart as he guided his thing up to my opening and I tensed up a little. Would this be as intense and uncomfortable as last time?

    Andrew paused and just kissed me for a while. He placed his hand over mine again and gently slid my hand down my belly and over my mound. For a moment I was mortified, he was having me touch myself. But then he slid my hand all the way down and around the shaft of his thing and I could feel it sticking into me. It was still frighteningly huge and was still slippery from the last time. I squeezed it and it was as hard as a rock. I kissed him deeply out of nervous anticipation. He returned the kiss even deeper.

    Just at that moment he clamped his arm around my waist, flexed his body and squeezed into me. It was just as intense and uncomfortable as last time and I clamped my hand around his shaft to slow him down, but it was too slippery and it slid through my hands and into my body as I whimpered.

    Andrew had buried himself inside me somewhat faster than before filling me completely and then some; and it drove the air out of me and left me gasping. He paused again and took my hand once more. Again he guided it down over my mound and slid my own finger between my lips. Gently he guided my finger around that button as he slowly began to thrust in and out of me.

    His hands were everywhere as the spring began to coil once again and every inch of skin that he touched only made it coil a little tighter. Every time he slid them over my breasts or nipples or caressed my womanhood it was like and electric shock and the spring coiled tighter. And each thrust coiled it tighter still.

    I was on fire and sweating. Every part of me was over stimulated. My belly was getting sore from fluttering, and I could hardly breath (mind you, I wasn't complaining about it). The feeling growing inside me was still scary, though somewhat less so now. The room was spinning, my mind was reeling and I was in heaven. Andrew slowly picked up the pace then slid his hand over my mound and around that sensitive spot and began to rub it very gently, very fast.

    I came undone. The world just exploded and my body tried to wrap itself around his hand. It felt like I was dying and I screamed, though I couldn't say whether it was from fear or from the pleasure. I clamped down around him so hard I was afraid I would hurt him and then the world went dark.

    I came to, to the feeling of the head of his thing popping out of me, and the universe almost exploded again. I lay there for a while just breathing. Breathing and glowing. My mind was slowly beginning to work again and I thought 'Mother help me, I've gotta do that at least once more?!' Andrew's beautiful eyes looked down at me and I thought "ok; no problem', I smiled dazedly back up at him.

    "I take it you enjoyed that?" He said. All I could say in response was "wOw".

    I still couldn't quite wrap my brain around it, here was the kind of guy that all the girls talked about, read about, dreamed about and drooled about. The kind of guy that they would have given their spleens to get a smile or even a glance from, and this is the guy I get to perform my Rite of Passage. This HAS to be just a naughty dream. I'm gonna wake up in a little while and my parents are going to take me to the temple and the whole Rite thing is just going to be a bunch of boring ceremonies. This will have all been a dream. Has to be, nothing that feels this good could possibly happen to me while I'm awake.

    Andrew bent down and kissed me lightly on the cheek and said, "Let's take a short break before we begin again." With that, he got out of the bed and excused himself from the room.

    Amber set down her candle and came to the bed smiling. "How do you feel dear?" She asked. I sighed for a moment and said "Happy but sore, very, very sore; that thing feels like a fence-post!"

    "Would you like to freshen up a bit?" She asked. When I nodded, she and Laura helped me up. I was so sore and my legs so wobbly that I could hardly stand on my own. They showed me to a small attached restroom and I availed myself of its use. I was so sore that the toilet-tissue felt like sand-paper and I could hardly bring myself to wipe. When I was finished Laura helped me back to the bed. Father Andrew was already waiting for me there.

    "Are you ready to continue?" He asked.

    "I think so." I replied, chewing my lip nervously.

    "We're almost done." He said. "Just one more time to go and then you can rest."

    Andrew took a glass of wine from the bedside table, drank from it, and then offered it to me. I nearly drained the glass then handed it back to him and he polished it off.

    'O.k.' I thought, 'I'm ready for this.' He picked me up and set me on the bed, then kissed me gently.

    "Now it is time to learn to give pleasure to your partner." He said, as he kneeled in the center of the bed. "This last position is known as the messenger of love. Here, you have control over how fast and how deep. It is wonderfully intimate in that is a face to face position, though it is somewhat more physically demanding."

    "What do I do?" I asked nervously. He smiled, gave me his hand and led me over so that I was kneeling in front of him. Then pulling me closer, had me straddle his knees. Andrew wrapped his arms around me and kissed me gently but deeply. I melted into his embrace and returned the kiss just as tenderly. We stayed like that for a while just going slow, kissing, being tender. It felt so beautiful that I didn't want it to end.

    I slowly started to get very warm and the tingles began again as he started to trail kisses over my cheek and down my neck. As he kissed his way down my chest, he leaned forward and I fell back into his arms offering myself up to him. The whole time, I could feel his organ between us becoming very hard again. Andrew kissed one of my nipples ever so gently, and with a feathers touch, ran his tongue around it. I almost wanted to cry it felt so wonderful.

    He slowly kissed his way over to my other nipple and repeated the process. Between his tongue and his hot breath on my nipple I was already breathing heavily; but I gasped in pleasure when he took my nipple between his teeth and bit down ever so gently as he sucked on it.

    Andrew kissed his way back up my body and neck, slowly pulling me back up to him as he went. We kissed a little longer then he cupped his hands under my buttocks and lifted me up and in until I was squatting over his thing.

    "Take it in your hand and guide it in." He said. Slowly I reached down and wrapped my hand around that frighteningly large thing once again. It pulsed in my hand as I guided it to the opening of my womanhood. He relaxed his arms, setting me down on top of his shaft and I held myself there afraid to relax my legs.

    "Take your time." He said. "Go at your own pace. It's all in your hands now, but don't rush it. Take the time to enjoy it yourself."

    I chewed my lip for a moment then wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him deeply. As he returned my kisses my body yielded and I sank ever so slowly down on to him. I sighed as he stretched me to the limit from inside and crushed me in his embrace from the outside. I buried him in kisses and held on for dear life as my body accustomed itself to his rigid length once again. He still felt like he would split me in half, but despite the discomfort it still felt amazing and beautiful.

    After a minute or two my body started clamping down around his shaft, squeezing it. Andrew moaned in response. I rocked my hips experimentally, feeling how it moved him inside me and moaned myself. Slowly I began to rock back and forth on his lap, moving him within me. At the same time I clamped down around Andrew again and watched as he closed his eyes and smiled.

    "Very good." He whispered, as he opened his eyes. "You pick some things up intuitively. You are the best pupil I have had in a long time, and quite beautiful to go along with it."

    That was exactly what I need to hear. My heart went soaring, and my body took off with it. I picked up the pace and my body began to tremble from the pleasure coursing through it. Very soon the tingling built to a roaring fire and I had to struggle not to go completely up in flames. Still, somehow I felt that there could be something more to this.

    As if in answer to my thought, Andrew cupped my bottom again and lifted me a little. That was exactly the thing. I lifted myself up his shaft a bit as I rolled my hips back, then sank back down around him as I rolled them forward. He moaned and kissed me deeply. I did it again, but this time I clamped down around him as I took him in and I knew I had it now.

    Andrew began to sweat and breath heavy as I rode him with longer, deeper strokes. As I clamped down on him for each downward stroke I could see his face contort with pleasure and realized that I was doing that to him. I was making him feel the amazing things I was feeling, and that realization sent me soaring even higher.

    I took him like this for about fifteen or twenty minutes until my body could hardly process the sensations coursing through it anymore. Andrew was trembling and moaning louder and louder and I couldn't hold myself back any longer. I broke for the finish line and began taking him with long, fast, hard strokes.

    It didn't take much of that. After just a few fast strokes, he started thrusting his hips up to meet mine. That was all it took, my body and soul exploded in ecstasy as I screamed. My legs came completely out from under him and wrapped themselves around his waist. The rest of me totally curled around his body and just held on for dear life as he continued to thrust up into me, lifting me higher and faster.

    Finally with one earth shattering thrust he held himself quivering deep inside me. I clamped down around his shaft as hard as I could and he exploded inside me. Like last time, it was scalding hot but felt sooo good. Getting my feet back under me I rode his length for a few more strokes, squeezing his shaft as hard as I could as I did so. He released inside of me again and again till I thought he would never stop.

    It felt like a hot hose going off inside of me and it overfilled me instantly running down my thighs and down him, but I didn't care. We fell together in a shuddering heap on the bed and just lay there gasping for a while.

    I was glowing again, and not just from the after effect of what had just happened, but also from the knowledge that I had just given him the same kind of feelings that he had given me. That knowledge was power. If I could do that to him I could do that and more to Micah, and I didn't intend to leave Micah in a state to even speak the morning after our wedding.

    "You have done very, very well Alison." Said Andrew, propping himself up next to me. "Sadly, as much as I would enjoy instructing you further, my part in this is over for the time being and I must take my leave. I think you are going to have a very long and fulfilling love life. May the Mother smile upon your union and bless it with great joy and love." He smiled like the sun again and kissed me one last time then climbed off the bed. "Ladies, may The Mother bless you for the work you have done here today." He said to my aunts as he put his robe back on. "With The Mothers love Alison, I leave you once again to the care and further instruction of your aunts. I shall see you one last time at the consecration ceremony. For now, fare you well. It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to serve you tonight." With that, he kissed my hand, bowed and left the room leaving me alone with my aunts once again.

    When Andrew had gone, I flopped back down on the bed and heaved a huge sigh. WOW! My heart was still going a mile a minute; my body had turned to jelly and I must have been glowing brighter than a light bulb (whether that was from feeling good or from blushing I couldn't tell you). On the down-side however, I was so sore I felt like I'd been beaten up on the inside. Closing my legs... nope, not happening, not today. I could still feel him leaking out of me (a very strange sensation) and realized that I should probably freshen up again.

    As I tried to move my aunts appeared at the side of the bed. Amber smiled down at me saying "Well done young lady, we're all very proud of you. Just lie still for a bit and let us tend to your needs." With that, she bent down and kissed me. They each passed by and gave me one in turn.

    Last to come were Tammy, Bethany and Laura. As Tammy bent down, she kissed me, held her candle before me and said formally; "This candle represents your childhood, which is now passed away." With that, she gently blew out the candle.

    Next, Bethany bent down, kissed me and holding forth her candle said, "This candle represents your innocence, now passed away." She blew the candle out.

    Laura knelt down and kissed me. Presenting me her candle and a wicked grin she said, "This candle represents your virginity..."

    I looked up at her with an equally wicked grin... and blew out the candle.



    Chapter 9: Final lessons
    
    Laura, Tammy and Bethany turned and walked off into the dark. Amber, Terry, Mariah and Tanya still stood around the bed with their candles, giving what little illumination there was.

    "What do the other four candles stand for?" I asked.

    "This candle represents The Mother and Father." Said Mariah. "Trust in their divine light to guide you down the paths you travel in life."

    "This candle represents love." Said Tanya. "Love is the very heart of creation, just as creation is one of the ultimate acts of love. This is why such elaborate measures have been taken to preserve your innocence until now."

    Terry continued, "This candle represents rebirth and change. It is a reminder that nothing ever truly dies, but merely changes; is reborn into something new, just as you were reborn tonight as a woman."

    "And this candle," said Amber, "is in loving memory of the young girl we once knew."

    Bethany returned a moment later with a couple of towels. Handing them off to Mariah and Terry, she curtsied to Amber and left again. I must have hallucinated that part, that's it! Since; by the feel of it; more than half my brain had dribbled out onto the bed, I must be seeing things. Bethany curtsied?!

    Terry and Mariah set their candles on the table and began to gently pat my body down, and I realized that I was positively drenched with sweat (not to mention something else). About that time Tammy returned with a small glass full of what looked like ice chips. She handed it to Tanya, turned to Amber and said; "I'll get the tea started. The bath should be ready in just a couple of minutes." Then she curtsied and left. Could I have hallucinated the same thing twice? Laura was the prim and proper type, not Tammy and Bethany.

    Tanya reached down and put an ice chip in my mouth. It was like manna from heaven. I hadn't even realized that my mouth and throat were parched. I sighed in contentment as the ice melted in my mouth, watering the desert. As they continued to pat me dry, slowly I began to feel something vaguely resembling life flowing back into my body.

    "Was I seeing things a minute ago?" I asked, looking up at amber. "Did Bethany and Tammy actually curtsy to you?"

    "Yes."

    "I don't understand. I've known them since we were in the third grade. I didn't know they even knew how."

    Amber looked down at me and said sarcastically; "Yeah, it's amazing what a little rank will get you." Terry, Mariah and Tanya all chuckled at this.

    "Rank?" I asked, puzzled.

    "Yes, rank." She continued, looking serious. "Well, station would probably be a better word for it. This is as formal an event as your wedding and on such formal occasions it is proper to show deference to people of a higher social station than yourself."

    "But I thought the whole social class and the caste system died out ages ago?" I said, even more puzzled.

    She laughed and said; "Not quite the kind of social station I was talking about dear. What I mean to say is that the four of us are all mothers. Mothers have a higher social standing than newlyweds. We have more experience in matters of love and lovemaking, and we have had children; which specifically is the reason we are here."

    "Normally a girl is allowed to choose three older friends to take her through this so that she will have the reassurance of that familiarity. Her mom will then choose four mothers to lead the experience, and to impress upon the girl the seriousness of what she has just gone through."

    "You see; while the act you have just experienced is an extremely pleasurable and profound means of expressing your love, it must never be undertaken lightly or carelessly, but with the greatest reverence and diligence. With the exception of this ceremony, it must never be done outside the bonds of marriage. The reason that mothers are the greater number here is to impress upon you graphically that the primary purpose of this act is to create life, which is something which must never be done by the unready. Bearing children is your duty to society, your family and your husband, it must not however, be done before both of you are ready for the responsibility and the burden. This, as was stated earlier, is why such elaborate measures have been taken to preserve your innocence until this moment. Having children too young can utterly ruin your lives. Worse yet, it can ruin the child's life, and that would be a tragedy, a sin and a crime. Not to mention the fact that childbirth is painful and potentially dangerous for the mother; so not only can it ruin a girl's life if she's too young, but end it as well."

    Something about what she said concerned me, so I asked. "But how do we prevent pregnancy until we're ready; and for that matter, how will we know when we are ready?"

    Tanya sat down next to me gave me another chip of ice and said; "We will show you how to prevent pregnancy; as for being ready, that won't happen until after you finish school at the very earliest. Your marital councilors and the church will help you determine when the two of you are ready. In most respects they will merely be guides in this decision, however; their judgment will carry the weight of law as far as determining the earliest time that you might be considered ready. Before that time, every effort will be taken to ensure that the unwanted doesn't happen. After that, it will be between you and your husband."

    "But what if I decide that I don't want children?" I asked, still trying to absorb everything I was being told.

    Mariah fielded this one. "As has already been said dear, it is your duty. For most women this may be an option; however, you are an only child as were both your mother and father. You have no siblings or cousins to carry on your bloodline. Now, Micah comes from a large family so his line is secure, but you have a moral obligation to continue yours. This doesn't mean that you need to jump right into bed and make a baby the second that you're declared ready, but you have a duty to do so at some point while you are biologically capable. The longer you wait, the harder on your body pregnancy and childbirth will be. Besides, I know your mother would be happier to have a grandchild sooner than later."

    Terry and Mariah finished patting me dry, set aside their towels and helped me sit up. Amber looked at me, grinned and said; "You look positively frightful dear. Ladies, I believe this young woman needs a bath."

    The four of them helped me stand, and then with Amber and Terry holding my hands, they led me slowly out of the room. They led me out through the sitting room and I noticed that the couch had been put back. I followed with some difficulty back down the stone hallway to the bath. Walking was uncomfortable at best and I found that I was walking kind of bowlegged.

    The bath chamber was steamy with a light scent of roses carried on the mist. As we came into the chamber I saw Bethany laying out towels and Laura already undressed and in the tub, spreading out rose petals on the surface of the water. I glanced nervously at the bench on the far side and prayed fervently that I wouldn't be asked to get on it again.

    "You look like a train wreck," Giggled Laura as she looked up at me from the water. "I'll bet you feel like one too. Don't worry; the legs'll start working right in a day or three." I giggled kind of sheepishly, remembering the girl I'd seen leaving as I arrived, understanding dawning on me.

    "Am I going to look like that when I walk out of here?" I thought to myself. "Is some girl going to think back on me like this tomorrow night? What if she's someone I know?" In spite of what I'd just been through I found myself blushing to the tips of my toes at the thought of it.

    Amber stopped in front of me, turned and asked me to kneel. Doing so, I thought how curious it was that the air could be so warm and the floor so cold. I felt a pair of hands on the sides of my head and the veil was lifted from me.

    "There you go dear." Said Terry from behind me. "I'll just put this away for a bit so it doesn't get ruined in this damp air. Give me your right hand dear." When I held my hand up for her she gently slid my virginity ring off my finger and passed it to someone behind me. I heard steps retreating back up the hallway. "O.k., Climb on into the tub now."

    Bethany had undressed and helped me get up and to the tub. The water was blessedly hot still, and as I walked down the stairs into it I longed to be clean and warm again. But when the water reached the juncture of my thighs, I felt a sudden, powerful rush of pleasure followed by a wave of nausea. Bethany gave me an empathetic smile and asked; "Feeling a little sick?" I nodded. "It happened to me too." She continued. "It's just the hot water hitting areas that are pretty sensitive at the moment. Just keep coming, the feeling will pass in a few moments."

    She was right, after a few moments in the water the nausea passed and I felt much better. Bethany led me to the center of the bath where her and Laura began soaking me with sponges. I turned to see that Amber, Terry, Mariah and Tanya had all finished undressing and were coming down into the tub themselves.

    As they came towards us Tanya stepped forward and said; "Alison, through her clerics the Mother bathed you and purified you with her own hand before sending you to be reborn as a woman. Now it is the task of the midwives who tended your rebirthing to bathe you once again as a newborn woman and prepare you, in part, for the life ahead of you. In the name of the Mother, I welcome you to the world Alison." Then she took my head in her hands and kissed me lightly on the forehead and stepped around me. Mariah then stepped up to me and said; "In the name of the Mother, I welcome you as a friend Alison." She too kissed me on the forehead and moved on. Next came Terry. "In the name of the Mother," She said, "I welcome you as a sister Alison."

    Finally came Amber who stopped and smiled at me for a moment. "Alison Jane Murrow, In the name of the Mother I welcome you to a new life." As she kissed me on the forehead, the others began to soap me up and wash me.

    There was a slight noise and I looked up to see Tammy coming down the hall with a tray. From my vantage point I could see two small teapots and several cups. She put the tray down next to the edge, undressed and joined us in the tub.

    They took their time and bathed me thoroughly, and thankfully, the subject of the bench never came up. As they bathed me my thoughts drifted and I realized that this experience had changed how I viewed certain things. I suddenly saw my relationship with Micah in a different light; my parents relationship too (gawd, what a horrible image). I realized that this could, and would color my perception on a whole host of things. It struck me that this sudden revelation fundamentally changed me as a being; so much so, that I literally was not the same person I was when I woke up this morning. I was someone... new.

    When they'd finished with me they separated a bit and bathed themselves briefly, then they led me to the edge of the tub by the tray. Tammy picked up one of the teapots, poured four cups and handed them out to Amber, Terry, Mariah and Tanya. She poured four more cups from the other pot and handed them out to the rest of us. When she handed me a cup I noticed that it had an odd scent to it, so I held it to my nose for closer inspection... GASP! It was horrible, it smelled like someone had boiled a root fresh out of the ground, dirt and all.

    "It's called Blue Caliphi dear;" Said Amber as she saw the puzzled and moderately disgusted look on my face. "It's rather an acquired taste; but I'm afraid to say that it's a taste you're going to have to start acquiring as of right now. You'll be drinking a cup of it every morning, and I mean EVERY morning for at least the next two and a half years. Go ahead, drink up."

    The tea was as black as coffee and was every bit as ghastly as the smell promised, it tasted... earthy... like boiled potting soil. It was everything I could do to bring myself to take a second sip.

    They all laughed at my attempts to choke the stuff down; Laura leaned over and said to me, "Trust me, there is absolutely nothing that can be done about the flavor. I've tried everything, sugar, honey, creamer; everything. Nothing works! In fact, most things actually tend to make it worse! On the upside, it tends to have an energizing effect, like coffee and you will start to get used to the stuff after a while; that, and the fact that you won't have to suffer through it alone. Micah will have to drink it too, and for just as long."

    "Why," I asked. "What does it do?"

    Terry fielded this one. "Blue Caliphi, when it is taken on a regular basis, will shut down your reproductive system. It works in both women and men. In women, it causes you to stop ovulating. You will still have your monthly cycle, but no egg will be released. While you will still get your cycle, the timing of it will fluctuate for a while. If at some point after your wedding night you notice that your period is late, and you've been taking your tea religiously, then don't be alarmed. If, however, you've missed your tea even once and that happens, go see a doctor."

    "And speaking of your wedding night dear," Tanya picked up. "The effects of the tea aren't immediate. It generally takes nearly a month for it to really work its way into your system. Since your wedding is only two weeks away we have to accelerate the schedule a bit. For the next two weeks, until your wedding, you will need to drink two cups a day. Your mother will make sure you remember to take it between now and then. When you go to school next term the school will give it to you in the cafeteria every morning. Until then, you can get it here at the temple for free; the church's gardens and farms actually grow most of the worlds supply. It is supplied free of charge to all couples within their first three years of marriage. After you and Micah are deemed fit; if you still choose to take it, you can purchase it in any ********."

    "So, is this how the priests are able to perform their duty?" I asked with a sudden bit of insight.

    "And the priestesses too." Amber replied. "It only requires that one of you be drinking it to have one-hundred percent effectiveness. Requiring both members of a young couple to do so however is fairer. This puts the responsibility squarely on both of your shoulders and cuts accidents down to almost zero. Let's face it, people make mistakes, forget things; but with both of you on the tea, the chances of both of you missing it on the same day are far more remote."

    They showed me an underwater bench on the side of the tub and we all took a seat and relaxed as I choked down the rest of my tea. "So, do you think the church would mind if Micah and I took up residence here?" I asked facetiously. "I want this tub, and the apartment's pretty nice too."

    Bethany laughed at this and said, "Oh, I think they might have a thing or two to say about it. Besides, you wouldn't want the water and heating bill to fill this thing on a nightly or even a weekly basis. Not to mention the fact that you'd have company every night or two borrowing your living room and your bed. It's one thing to be called as an aunt, but would you want to go through that every night?"

    "Nah, I suppose not. I guess if you've heard one girl crying you've heard them all."

    "Not at all." Amber said. "Between the four of us elders we've taken part in more of these ceremonies than we can count over the years. Just between Terry and I we've been aunts at more than fifty rites; starting with your own mother. If there's one thing that we can tell you it's that every girls experience is different. Even if you do everything the same way every time, every experience is unique. There are so many different things to factor in that there are no guarantees that the experience will go well for the girl. We do have to work with a couple of unknown quantities. But experience also tells us that if we can get a young lady to be calm, relax and accept these strange new things; then she stands a far better chance of having a night of beauty, joy and wonder to be cherished and remembered."

    "Did I hear you say that you two were aunts for my mother?" I asked.

    "Yes." She replied. "And she was an aunt for both of our daughters. Your mother, Terry and I were as inseparable back in school as you four are today. Her Rite was held in this very apartment; point in fact; on the very same altar that you were opened on just a few hours ago. It was the first time Terry and I had been called and it was my first time in the church."

    "But how can that be if you have to have already gone through the rite..." I asked

    "What, do you think everybody in the world goes to church?" Asked Terry.

    I paused for a second, "Well, no, I guess not."

    "The Rite is both a religious and a secular law." Amber continued. "There is nothing under secular law that states that it must be performed by the church; and outside the church the Rite is performed a little differently. The young lady is taken to a government official similar to a justice of the peace. She is generally informed of the exact nature of what she is there for only minutes before the act is performed on her and her aunts take no active role in the event beyond holding her down. The man is generally under pressure because he may have as many as four or five girls lined up behind her out in the lobby."

    "No consideration what so ever is given to what the experience is like for the girl. By their very nature those Rites tend to wind up being a waking nightmare of fear, pain and blood; an experience which must be suffered through and endured, not celebrated. Neither secular nor temple law requires that the youth enjoy the Rite, only that it be performed upon them."

    "The church however, sets a moral obligation on us as aunts to do everything in our power to make this day special for you; a positive and hopefully profound experience. While it may not always work, at least the Mother cares enough to make the attempt an obligation. Also, the training phase, which you just completed, is only done by the church; a fact for which I am profoundly grateful. The judges would make a far worse hell out of an already potentially hellish experience."

    Tanya spoke up and said; "Sadly, even with the best effort the church still puts out its fair share of traumatic experiences. We were afraid that you were going to be one of them as soon as we saw the priests available for tonight. I truly feel for those other two young girls out there; odds are that at least one of them is going home in tears."

    "So how do you go about choosing the priest?" I asked. "Do they have a line-up here at the temple or something?"

    Bethany started giggling at this and we all looked to her to explain the joke. "A line up eh? I can just see it now; 'are you sure this is him ma'am, take a close look.' 'Oh, I didn't see his face officer but I definitely remember that monstrous thing." I laughed so hard I cried.

    When Amber recovered from her own laughing fit she smiled and said; "No Alison, there's no line up. There is a chapter house of their order a block from here. We make an appointment to interview the available priests. During the interview we take into account their experience, personality, 'equipment' and appearance; in that order."

    "You mean you actually get to inspect his... thing?! I asked, suddenly shocked.

    "It's called a penis dear," laughed Tanya; "or if you prefer, his manhood. And yes, we do get to inspect it. While an older lady like myself might enjoy an overbearingly hung hunk like you got; when dealing with frightened young virgins, bigger is usually not better. Mind you, you also don't necessarily want to pick someone who is particularly under endowed either. Ideally you want to find someone who ranks as about average in size."

    "But what constitutes average?" I asked. "I've seen Father Andrews' manhood, so that makes all of one that I've seen. My wedding night will make two. How the heck do I know what average is."

    Laura spoke up; "Do you remember how big Father Andrews' was?"

    I shot her a dirty look and said; "Do you think I'll ever be able to forget that telephone pole? I thought he was going to kill me with that thing."

    She gave me a sympathetic smile and said; "Now you see why bigger is not better under these circumstances. At any rate, average is about half that size."

    "Half!?" I asked, stunned. So, it hadn't been just my imagination and better yet, he hadn't been 'average'. I suddenly felt even better about my upcoming wedding night.

    "A little less than half actually." Said Amber. "The good father would frighten me at my age, and I've been married for nineteen years. And, as I've said, he was the least well endowed of the three priests available for tonight's services. This is why we participated to the extent that we did at the beginning."

    "I take it then that you don't do that for everyone?" I asked.

    "Heavens no." She said. "In most cases, it is sufficient merely to hold the girl down upon the altar, soothe her fears and explain to her what she is going through. There are exceptions however, and your case was one of them. If the priest is particularly well endowed or lacking in experience, or the girl is particularly petite; we are empowered to use any means at our disposal to make this experience better for you. In this case, it was at the suggestion of Father Andrew himself. He knew that the more relaxed we could get you before he even entered the picture; the better chance you had of getting through this experience without being traumatized. I agreed."

    "There are those aunts who don't hold with that; who believe that if a girl comes out of here scarred from the experience that it is either merely luck of the draw or the Mothers divine will. They clearly don't read the scriptures very thoroughly. The act of introducing the maiden to pleasure has been an honored and sanctioned practice since the dawn of time. In fact The Mothers own handmaids performed the act on Celeste, the first mortal girl, when the Rite was created. They did so because the Mothers manservant was, according to scripture, 'Manlier than mortal ken'. You can imagine for yourself exactly what that means."

    "In the end, however, it is the decision of the Aunt Matron; that would be me. As an aunt, if the Aunt Matron says 'do it', you do it, out of love, friendship and duty to your charge. If she says no, then you don't; but depending on what you have to work with, you could be in for a rough night."

    "But why is the rite even necessary?" I asked.

    "Off hand, I'd say fairness." said Bethany.

    "Well done Bethany." Said Mariah. "I see you've been studying. Fairness is the very thing. Alison, would it be fair if we turned you and Micah loose on each other with absolutely no idea what to do with each other and no idea how to do it and told you two to start making babies?"

    I could envision Micah and I, totally clueless, fumbling around with each other. I could see the embarrassment this could cause, unnecessary pain and discomfort as well. With absolute horror I envisioned having to call my mom on my wedding night, in tears, to ask her what I was supposed to do.

    Mariah saw the look on my face and continued; "Would it be fair to require that one party be experienced or even to allow it, but require the other party to remain innocent until their wedding night?

    No. The Father and The Mother, in their infinite wisdom decided that it could only be fair if both the man and the woman went into an adult relationship knowing what was expected of them and having some idea of how to go about it."

    "There is and added benefit as well. Not everyone gets wedded at sixteen. Some don't marry until eighteen or twenty, sometimes later. But generally about your age, most teens are extremely curious about sex and most would let their hormones get the better of their judgement and start experimenting with it, leading to disastrous consequences. The Rite takes care of that curiosity in a safe, controlled, guided manner."

    "Some people never marry at all, but the Father and Mother say that no one should go through life never having experienced the power that exists in the physical union of a man and a woman. So, even if someone goes the rest of their life without ever experiencing physical love again; at least they have experienced it this once."

    About that time footsteps echoed down the hall and we all looked up to see sister Anya enter the room. "Good morning ladies." She said brightly. "And how was the blessed event?"

    "It was touch and go there for a while," Said Amber with a smile; "but I don't think she's going to run screaming the first time her husband undresses. She came through it very well indeed."

    "Excellent, wonderful;" Said Sister Anya, "then my services will no longer be needed tonight. I just came by to see if I was needed and to tell you that you have one hour. May the Mother hold you each in her hand and bring you joy. May she keep you safe always and guide your feet upon the paths you must walk. In Her name I bless you all and bid you goodnight."

    With that, she smiled at us, turned and walked back up the hall. When she had gone, we all got up to get out of the tub. Terry turned to me and said; "Why don't you sit back down and relax until we get ourselves ready then we'll call for you. This is your day after all."

    So I did as I was instructed and spent the last few minutes in that great glorious tub just luxuriating in it. I don't know; maybe the nightly visitors would be worth it...

    After a few minutes I was called out of the tub and was met at the top of the stairs by a drying frenzy. After I was dried quite thoroughly, my hair was brushed out again and braided and the veil was placed back on my head. Finally we went back up the hall. My legs felt much better now though I was still quite sore and walking a little bowlegged, but I made it entirely under my own power.

    When we got back up to the siting room we all found places around the couch. Amber folded her hands in her lap and said; "There is one more thing which we need to tell you Alison. It is a matter of great consequence so listen and heed."

    "Children have the gods given right to remain children and to remain innocent of adult concerns; until the time is appropriate for them to lay aside their childhood and their innocence. This is why the nature of the Rite is such a secret. You now know that secret, and you must keep it; forever. You may not speak of the details of the Rite with anyone whom you do not know for a fact has already gone through it themselves. This silence is enforced by both church and secular authorities, and the penalties for breaking it are quite severe. They tend to include excommunication and prison time. Believe me young lady, they mean it. Do you understand what I have just told you?"

    I nodded my head and said; "Yes ma'am.

    The remainder of the hour went by rather quickly. They showed me the hidden closet behind one of the tapestries where the opening altar, candles and incense were stored and where the couch got stashed during the Rite. They told me that all the rooms are identical, so that if you've been here once they can plop you in any room and you'd be able to find anything you need at the drop of a hat.

    My aunts tidied the room a bit and told me to just be still a while and relax. So, I just pulled my legs up under me and relaxed, and thought. I tried to sort out how I felt about all of this. A veritable flood of confusing emotions was racing around in my head and I couldn't sort them all out. I felt everything from elation to embarrassment; and the more I thought about it, the more confusing the feelings became.

    Finally, as I was lost in thought, the light blinked out for a moment. As we assembled at the door Amber looked back at me and said; "Now for the tricky part. When we walk into the sanctuary, you need to remain relaxed. Let no hint of shyness show on your face or in your movement. Try to carry yourself with pride and grace, as if nothing out of the ordinary were happening. If it helps, try to either imagine that you are dressed, or that everyone else you see is naked. That may sound strange but believe me, when you're just one in a crowd it's far easier to relax and be yourself."

    I smiled and thanked her, but I honestly didn't think that either of those options was going to be of much help. Back up the stairs we went, and waited just outside the door at the top. Again we could hear the sisters singing and had to wait until our time came to enter. Amber turned briefly and did a quick head count, then she fiddled with my veil a little till it met her satisfaction.

    She gave me a very motherly look and said; "Remember; calm, graceful, reverent."

    With that, she turned, opened the door and walked serenely out into the temple as the rest of us followed in her wake.



    Chapter 10: Consecration

    There were no lights or candles lit within the sanctuary yet there was light. False dawn filtered faintly down from the great skylight above the altar and gave me just enough light to see that far. My aunts formed themselves up around me in the same manner as when we had left this chamber together almost twenty hours ago.

    To my left, Angela and her aunts were taking their places. To my right, Jill and her aunts stood ready. I could hear the priestesses and acolytes singing somewhere off in the darkness beyond the altar but I couldn't see any of them. The High Priestess stood just in front of the altar and even in this near darkness she seemed almost to glow. Behind her, on the far side of the altar stood three priestesses, and three more just in the shadows behind them.

    Mariah and Tanya turned to me; each took one of my arms in their hands and held them out to my sides. At that moment, as if on cue, everyone started forward at a measured pace. As our aisles drew closer together I could see that Jill and Angela were walking about as wobbly and bowlegged as I was; Jill's aunts seeming almost to have to support her. I did my best to act normal, serene and mature about being here like this, but I still couldn't help blushing to my toes. My glow probably lit the way for us. I wondered how Jill and Angela were coping with it all.

    Before the High Priestess were three small cushions, and it is to these which the three of us were led by our aunts and made to kneel. Stealing nervous glances to my left and right I could see that Angela looked about how I felt. Jill, on the other hand, looked as if she had spent most of the night crying. Her eyes were red and puffy and had what I can only describe as a haunted look to them. It hadn't been my imagination; her aunts were supporting her to some degree. As she kneeled down on the cushion she appeared to still be in a great deal of discomfort.

    A moment after we kneeled down the hymn stopped and the sanctuary fell silent. I honestly hadn't realized how beautiful it had sounded until just that moment. Amber took a step to the left, as did the other two aunt matrons and the High Priestess looked at each of us intently for a moment.

    "A few hours ago you came before this altar as children," she said; "children who wore the form of women. Lie was given to that form by the innocence in your eyes, and you were sent forth from here to lay down that innocence and step across the threshold and become woman. Why then are you brought back before me?"

    In unison we answered; "To show the mother that I have become. Through sacrifice and instruction I have set aside childhood and childish things. Through the guidance of elders I have stepped across the threshold and become. I come before you to ask The Mother that I be allowed now, to take my place within the greater world which has been revealed to me."

    "And so you shall." She replied.

    The High Priestess came before Jill and said; "Who witnesses for Jillian Amona Anderson?" Jill's aunt matron; a rather severe looking woman, answered in a clear voice; "We, her aunts witness for Jillian. Through our guidance and instruction she has undergone the Rite of Passage and stepped across the threshold into womanhood."

    At that, a deep, mans voice came from close by in the shadows and said; "I also witness for Jillian."

    In the slowly growing light I could see that the three priestesses standing just off in the shadows were actually three priests; and the one who had spoken now stepped forward into the circle of light around the altar. He was fairly tall, about six feet with black hair and appeared to be in his early forties. He continued; "By my hand and through my instruction she has laid down her innocence and stepped across the threshold and become woman."

    "Is there proof upon the cloth that the Rite of Passage has been completed?" Asked the High Priestess.

    "There is;" The aunt matron replied. With that she reached into her robe and withdrew a small folded cloth and handed it to the High Priestess. I could tell that the cloth had once been white, but as the high priestess unfolded and examined it I could see that it was now almost completely stained with blood.

    The High Priestess examined the cloth for a moment and gave Jill a look of profound sympathy. She turned and stepped to the altar, laying the cloth across one end of it. Turning back to Jill she said; "The Mother concurs. Jillian has indeed completed her Rite and crossed the threshold."

    Turning, she stepped over to me. "Who witnesses for Alison Jane Murrow?" She asked.

    Amber gave me a quick smile and responded; "We, her aunts witness for Alison. Through our guidance and instruction she has undergone the Rite of Passage and stepped across the threshold into womanhood."

    From the shadows a familiar voice said; "I also witness for Alison;" and Father Andrew stepped into the light. "By my hand and through my instruction she has laid down her innocence and stepped across the threshold and become woman."

    Turning to Amber, the High Priestess asked; "Is there proof upon the cloth that the Rite of Passage has been completed?"

    Amber answered; "There is." Reaching into her robe, she produced the small folded cloth which my mother had given to me. She handed it to the High Priestess who unfolded and examined it. She seemed to approve of what she saw there because she smiled and nodded at me, then turned, stepped to the altar and draped the cloth across the center. Turning back to me she said; "The mother concurs, Alison has indeed completed her Rite of Passage and crossed the threshold."

    She turned again and stepped to Angela's line. "Who witnesses for Angela Marie Scott?" She asked.

    Angela's aunt matron answered; "We, her aunts witness for Angela. Through our guidance and instruction she has undergone the Rite of Passage and stepped across the threshold into womanhood."

    Again from the shadows came another male voice saying; "I also witness for Angela." Into the light stepped the priest who I had seen the last time I'd been here. He was a relatively unimposing looking man who appeared to be somewhere in his thirties with mouse brown hair and thin framed glasses. While he may not have been the most handsome of the three, he had a look about him that was quite warm and disarming. If it hadn't been for what I'd been told about 'endowment' I would have almost preferred to have had him last night instead of Father Andrew.

    He continued; "By my hand and through my instruction she has laid down her innocence and stepped across the threshold and become woman."

    The High Priestess smiled down at Angela and spoke warmly; "And I also witness for Angela. Upon this very altar she did lay down her innocence and the altar bears its own witness that she has indeed stepped across the threshold into womanhood."

    "Angela;" She continued. "Your desire do enter into The Mother's service came to you while you were a child; having no knowledge of the world of womanhood. The Mother calls many to her service; few have the courage to answer. Yet more than mere courage is required. You must sacrifice all else. You must exist solely for Her purpose. There can be no other considerations. If there is even one thing in this world which you would rather do, then the priestesshood is not for you. Do not be afraid to decline the call if you are not absolutely sure you have it within you to serve. So I give you this one last chance Angela, to change your mind and turn aside from this path."

    "Angela Marie Scott; knowing now what you may be giving up, or what you may even be called upon to do; will you walk the path that the mother has revealed to you or turn aside. Understand that this is your very last chance to turn aside and walk a different path."

    Angela looked back up at her with an almost far away smile on her face and said; "Excellency, I have heard The Mother's call. I hear it still. My heart is ready and my feet are firmly set upon the path. I could no more change that than I could change the season. I stand ready to answer Her call."

    The High Priestess stepped up close to Angela. Bending down, she took Angela's head in her hands and gave her a gentle kiss on the top of her head. She stood up and stepped back again and said; "It is done then. Angela Marie Scott; I welcome you as a daughter and as a sister and as a pupil. I give you two weeks to say your good-byes and set your affairs in order. You will return to this spot fourteen days hence. From here you shall be conveyed to the seminary school in Kingston. There you shall finish your education and begin your training."

    The High Priestess turned to Angela's aunt matron and said; "There is proof upon the cloth, is there not?"

    "There is." Said the aunt matron as she produced the cloth from her robe and handed it to the High Priestess who unfolded it and laid it on the altar next to the other two.

    She walked around to the back of the altar and took a vial of water from her robe. She said a blessing in ancient Mynithian, sprinkling a small amount of the vials contents on each of the cloths as she did so.

    Setting the vial upon the altar she smiled at us and said; "And so it came to pass that in the spring of her sixteenth year; Celeste, the first mortal daughter was sent unto The Mothers womanservants; the angels Typha, Veliath, Geviana, Tryleste, Eveyala, Mara and Trilithon. And The Mother sent her womanservants unto her daughter and gave them license over her that she may be bathed and her body prepared. For The Mother had summoned her manservant; the angel Malachai, and given license unto him to go unto the daughter that night and to come into her and open her body that she may become woman. And the womanservants were greatly concerned; for Celeste was the very flower of innocence while Malachai had been created the very image of virility."

    "And so it was that The Mother's womanservants bathed Celeste and prepared her body. They instructed her in the ways of womanhood and wrought within her body a great joy and longing, that she may more readily accept the angel Malachai within her. When the manservant had come into her, Celeste wept most bitterly and cried out to The Mother that he had torn her asunder and shed her life's blood."

    "The Mother came unto her then and gave comfort to her daughter saying; 'Be not afraid of these things daughter; only on this first of nights shall there be pain or blood. For by these signs shall your purity and the purity of your daughters and your daughters' daughters unto the end of days, be known. Go you now, once again unto my manservant and learn from him the craft of love; for he of all my servants is most skilled."

    The High Priestess fell silent for a moment; then slowly, and with great ceremony refolded each of the cloths. When she'd finished, she raised her hands and her timeless face to the heavens. "Great Mother, creator of life;" she began. "Before your altar kneel three young women, newborn and pure. They have been guided and instructed in your ways. In your name their innocence has been sacrificed upon the altar of womanhood and they have been instructed by your manservant's in the practices of love. We ask that you wipe away the tears of their trial and that you pour out your blessings upon them. Give them comfort and guide them unfalteringly on the paths which they must walk. Grant them the courage, grace and serenity to face the challenges of the life which lies ahead. In your most holy name I pray."

    When she had finished her prayer the three priestesses standing behind her came forward to the altar. She gave each of them one of the cloths and a small object that I couldn't quite make out. The three priestesses came around the altar and fanned out, each coming to one of our lines.

    "Each of you entered here bearing a ring of some significance." Said the High Priestess. "This ring was a symbol of your innocence; your virginity. You are however no longer virgins so the wearing of such a symbol would no longer be appropriate. Therefore, these rings have been reconcecrated under a new purpose. You see; while virginity is a matter of biology, purity is a matter of choice. What happened here tonight was done at the command of The Mother and by the hands of her servants, you were given no choice so there is no stain on your purity. In the eyes of The Mother and of the world, you leave here as pure as driven snow. Purer even, than when you entered this house yesterday morning; for you find yourselves newborn."

    As she was talking, the choir began singing again, very softly. One of the priestesses came to my line and very formally handed my cloth back to Amber, who placed it back in her robe. Tanya, who was holding my right arm up, motioned for me to hold out my right hand which I did, though my arms were starting to get tired. The priestess took my hand in hers and very gently slid my ring back into its place on my finger.

    "We return unto you these rings," the High Priestess continued; "consecrated anew as a symbol of purity. We instruct you to continue to wear it as you once did, until you are married. Let it always be a reminder to you and a ward against temptation. Be true to your faith. Be true to your parents and their teachings; and be true to yourselves. Wear this ring proudly and let no man give you cause to remove it; save that it be given in exchange for another."

    The priestess then gently removed the veil from my head, turned and walked back to the altar with the other two. They placed the veils with great care upon the altar and then returned to their original places. I heard a very soft sound of cloth and Tanya and Mariah lifted my arms straight up. I looked up just in time to see a loose white dress fall down around my arms and over my body. I thought; "Thank you Mother, clothes at last!!"

    "And so, once again, we clothe you in a gown of purity and prepare at last to send you back out into the world. The Mother recognizes your womanhood. With this pronouncement I declare you consecrated; and I entreat you now to behold with the eyes of a woman; for the first time, the dawning of a new day."

    She raised her hands and face to the sky once again as she spoke; and as she finished her last word the sun broke over the rim of the dome as if she had summoned it. The hymn in the background had been slowly building, and reached an angelically high crescendo at the same instant. A bright shaft of sunlight burst in falling first on the three of us and our aunts for a few seconds before exploding into the rest of the sanctuary, filling it with daylight. It was the most beautiful moment I had ever experienced.

    In that moment, as we bathed in the warmth of that first shaft of light, my feelings crystallized within me. For me, this experience had been one of wonder and terror; magic, mystery and beauty. I found myself left with a profound sense of awe about the care and reverence which this occasion was given. My eyes (and body) had been opened to a wholly new experience, and some part of the path ahead had been revealed to me. There were children in the future for Micah and I; and I had about as much choice in that as I had in what happened last night.

    I accepted that fact; was ok with it. I had always wanted children. Someday my children would come here and go through this same Rite. Hopefully, the experience would be as powerful for them as it was for me.

    The High Priestess looked to us and, smiling brightly, said; "Aunts, the church thanks you for your service this night and reminds you to have your charges sign their age-of-majority affidavits before they leave. In the meantime, your charges look famished; perhaps we should feed them before they waste away. The feast shall begin in the rear dining hall in thirty minutes.



    Chapter 11: A new day

    From the sanctuary, my Aunts led me back downstairs to our apartment where we finished cleaning up and packing our things. Cleaning was an uncomfortable experience for me as I was still rather sore, but we were done in just a few minutes. I took one last look around, remembering the events of the previous evening and sighed. I would miss this place (just the apartment mind you).

    Finally, when we were finished, Amber turned to us and said; "Ladies, I don't know about you, but I'm rather hungry and I'll bet poor Alison here is famished."

    Now that the subject was brought up, I felt as though I could eat a horse. A few pieces of fruit will give you the energy to carry on for a while, but they don't do much for filling your stomach and satisfying an appetite.

    We followed Amber from the room, back up the stairs into the sanctuary and out the main temple door. Once in the main hall, we took a right, through a small door I hadn't noticed on the way in. This led to a long carpeted hallway that followed along the outside of the sanctuary. The hallway opened into a large rectangular room, only slightly smaller than the sanctuary itself. The room was lined with long tables filled with food and people. My senses reeled with the smells of food filling the room and my mouth was watering almost before we came in the door. My aunts led me to a table at the back of the room where Angela and Jill were sitting. Their aunts were sitting together several tables away.

    "This table is reserved for the newly awakened." Amber said as she steered me towards a chair. "Enjoy your breakfast dear, and meet us back at the sanctuary in an hour." With that, my aunts turned and walked away, joining the other aunts.

    I sat down and looked to Angela and Jill. I was just about to say something when a small bell rang at the other end of the room. The entire room turned as one to see the High Priestess standing at the head of her table.

    She held a loaf of bread in one hand and a glass in the other. Holding the two to the heavens she said softly; "Let us pray. Mother, Father, creators of all things. We give thanks this day for the gifts of your bounty. We ask that you bless this food and nourish us in body and spirit that we may continue to walk upon the paths which you have laid before our feet. We ask that you shine your countenance upon the three young women joining us this morning as they begin their adult lives. Though they may hunger of body, let them never hunger of your love. In your divine names we pray."

    I was so 'hungry of body' that I almost couldn't wait for her to finish before I began digging in to the absolutely sumptuous feast laid out before us. This made the lunch feast we had yesterday look meager. Angela finished her prayer looking as ravenous as I felt, but Jill seemed withdrawn and still near to tears.

    Looking to Angela, I asked; "So, how did it go for you?"

    Her eyes got wide and she said; "OWW! I thought he was killing me at first! I could not BELIEVE that it could hurt that much. I thought; how could women keep doing this over the years if it hurt so. After a bit, though, it started to feel really, really good. What really freaked me out though was not just my aunts, but it seemed like ALL the priestesses in the building were there watching. I have never been so embarrassed in my life, I just wanted to fall into a hole in the ground and pull the earth in over me. I don't know about you but I still feel a bit like I've been beaten up on the inside."

    "Yeah, I know what you mean;" I said with a sympathetic smile. "It still hurts a bit to close my legs. They tell me that it will go away in a day or three. I didn't have as big of an audience, but I empathize with you on the rest of it. I thought they were going to have to sew me back together when he was done with me. Thank the Mother that we only have to experience that the first time. How about you Jill, how did you fare?"

    Jill looked up at us and I could tell from her expression that last night had been a waking nightmare.

    "I'd rather not think about it at the moment;" she whispered through the tears beginning to well up in her eyes. "How can you talk about it so calmly? It was horrible; dirty. How can they ask us to DO such things? It hurt so much and it was so disgusting... "

    With that she broke down and started to cry softly. Angela and I both got up and gave her a huge hug and held her through her tears. After a minute or two she stopped crying and was able to talk again.

    "How can you act like you enjoyed it?" She asked in a barely audible whisper.

    "Because that is the general idea;" Angela told her. "The act is supposed to feel good, or the human race would cease to exist. No one would want to reproduce if it wasn't pleasurable. It's only supposed to hurt the first time. What, did you think that sex was only something you did as a duty to your husband and that you weren't allowed to enjoy it?"

    The look on Jills' face told the whole story; that was exactly what she believed.

    "All my life, they told me it was a dirty secret. Don't look at it, don't think about it, and don't touch it. My aunts told me that when I was married, I would only have to suffer through it until I became pregnant; after that he would lose interest. They said that to enjoy it is a sin; and when he put himself in me, it hurt so much that I knew that they were right."

    Angela and I both almost came unglued at hearing this, and swore to her that we would talk to our aunts and to the high priestess about this. It is one thing to keep a person innocent; it is another thing entirely to feed them a load of lies and guilt. This poor girl was probably scarred for life.

    "If it helps at all," I said; "The priest who took you last night was excessively well endowed. My aunts told me that of the three who were available for last nights services, the one I got was the least well endowed; and he was HUGE. What this means, is that in all likelihood, your husband is going to be somewhat smaller and isn't going to hurt you every time that you do it. You have been taught some very wrong things. If you don't believe us then go and ask any priestess, she'll set you straight. So on your wedding night relax. If your husband loves you, he'll go slow and let you learn to enjoy the experience."

    "Thank you;" She said to us, still barely more than a whisper. "I think I'm ok now. Let's eat; I'd really really like to forget last night."

    The remainder of the feast we ate in silence as none of us could really think of anything more to say that would not bring up more bad memories for Jill. The food was magnificent; I thought that I had been stuffed the day before, but by the end of this meal I thought I was going to pop!

    After about an hour the bell rang again. Our aunts and all the priestesses got up and filed out the door to the sanctuary. As we went to follow suit, we noticed the High Priestess stop at the door, turn and come back to us.

    "Please stay a moment longer ladies;" She said. "I couldn't help but notice that young Jillian seemed to be upset. Is there anything I can do to help?"

    Jill just sort of sunk into herself, Angela and I looked at her and told the High Priestess about our conversation at the table. She sighed and gave Jill a sad look.

    "Ms. Anderson, I'm afraid, comes from a very reclusive sect of the church called the Maringians. Sadly, one of their beliefs is that physical union between a man and a woman is done only as a duty to the gods and to take pleasure in it is perverse. I only pray that someday they realize that they cannot pick and choose which sections of the scriptures they are going to follow. It has to be all or none. Jillian; the Scriptures STATE, that the physical union of man and woman is a celebration of life and a joyous confirmation of the gods love. Remember this, and remember your experience here last night when you are called upon someday to be an aunt and take a frightened young girl through this. Do this and you will make the experience memorable. Do this and you will heal your own hurts. Do this and the mothers love will suddenly become a great deal clearer to you."

    She reached out and gently wiped a tear from Jills' eye and kissed her on the forehead. "You three need to catch up with your aunts. May the Mother bless you and keep you. I must go now, we have twenty girls coming in soon and I must prepare."

    With that she turned and walked through the door on the opposite end of the room from where we were going. We started to head out the door when Angela and I noticed that Jill still seemed to be having difficulty walking, and so we took her hands and helped her down the hallway to the sanctuary.

    When we got there, we noticed that all the aunts had formed up into three lines. Approaching mine, Amber looked at me and asked; "What kept you?"

    "The High Priestess wanted a word with us;" I replied. When the rest of my aunts gave me a curious look, I said; "I'll tell you later."

    Before I could say more, a bell chimed somewhere and two priestesses opened the main doors wide. Amber set out first and the rest of us followed in her wake; out the large brass doors and back down the rose marble hallway to the main foyer and finally outside. There were a number of cars waiting out in the parking lot and what looked to be eighteen or nineteen nervous looking young girls standing in line with their parents. I noticed several of them looking at us strangely as we walked a little bowlegged past them.

    "It's ok;" I thought. "By this time tomorrow, they'll understand."

    My parents were waiting just in front of them and my aunts led us over to them. We stopped in front of them and Amber, smiling, reached into her robe and pulled out the blood cloth and handed it to my mom who looked at for a moment and then beamed with what looked like pride. All my aunts came in one by one and gave me a hug and said that they would see me tomorrow. Finally, for the first time as a woman, I embraced my mother.

    __________________________________________________ _______________
    Welcome reader. This story is my first serious attempt at writing. It is a work of fiction, the entire world herein is fictional though vaguely familiar. It is written with in somewhat of a minimalist style to leave some things (such as time period) open to your imigination. I pray you the reader make of it as you will; and enjoy.


    **No virgins were harmed in the making of this story...**

  2. #2
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    Very well Done, I am truely Impressed and Hope to see more from you soon.

  3. #3
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    Two years was worth it. Great stuff. Glad you shared it with us.
    What lies behind us, What lies before us, Are tiny matters, Compared to what lies within us!

  4. #4
    When I first saw this story I didn't think I would like it, but after a few paragraphs I was hooked. Very compelling, thanks

  5. #5
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    :D Now if only I could find an artist or photographer to do an illustrated version (or perhaps a graphic novel... :) )

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    that would definatley be something

  7. #7
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    Yes an illustrated verson would be great. Thanks for posting you're story on Blue. It should have as wide an audience as possible. Hope you put it on the main SSP site if you haven''t. You'll get thousands of views there.
    A Son of the South By the Grace of God! ;om

    Make LOVE Not WAR you egits-;lol;

    ;mods

  8. #8
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    Any takers?? :D

  9. #9
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    wow...i give..i could never write anything to even compare to this..the descriptions, the agonizing details...you felt everything that Alison felt..you saw through her eyes..you winced as she was taken that first time..excellent. fantasticly unique concept...

  10. #10
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    furk me that was fantastic, could have done with being illustrated though, joking FN 2 years well spent.

 

 

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