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Prologue: A City Dying
From my terrace at the private quarters of the temple, naked save for the exquisite jewels that cover little, I sip the liquid from my bejewelled chalice and take in the spectacle below. The clamour of battle and the screams of the dying were more beautiful to me in that moment than any song composed by the lute or pipe. Idly I watched with fascination as the savages tore down buildings, slew the men and violated the women. The once proud capital of an empire was in its death throes.
As the statue of Inanna was pulled down I clapped in delight, knowing that it meant the huluppu tree was Hers again. Truly I had succeeded.
Some of the citizens sought refuge at my temple, only to find the mighty doors closed to them. They soon fell to the invaders, who began hammering and clambering for a way into the building.
It is time.
I finished the milky fluid, careful not to spill a drop of the precious contents, the taste enflaming me anew, and cast the chalice away. The gold and jewels meant little to me now, I tore them away and cast them over the balcony. I made my way to the main area of worship, empty save for my most loyal handmaidens, who had stripped themselves of all clothing for what was to come. I seated myself upon the throne of the High Priestess, the chambers echoing with the thunderous sounds of the doors, shaking on their hinges from the force of the horde outside.
With a simple gesture, I order my handmaidens to open the doors. I was well aware that I had fallen to the madness inherent with worshipping my goddess. But I cared not. The thought of giving myself to all those bloodthirsty men thrilled me to the core. At last I could cast it all aside and be who I am, who we all are.
The doors barely opened when they all swarmed in, screaming in their battle fury. Some set to on my handmaidens, who screamed with savage glee as they were overwhelmed, but most charged straight toward me. With a smile, I spread my legs invitingly to them, revealing everything. I eagerly awaited the brutal raping I would receive before my inevitable death. Sex and death have ever been intertwined, a truth I would enact that bloody night.
Except it did not happen.
As soon as I offered myself to them freely they halt as one and simply stare at me, fixated. I become wet with anticipation, I had assumed they stopped momentarily, confused that I was so willing. Their eyes roving my body only increased my excitement. No doubt the women beyond the temple had been less than enthusiastic, so this must have appeared suspicious to them. But this was not the case at all.
I laughed hysterically, both delighted and disappointed, when they all begin to kneel and prostrate themselves before me, murmuring the name of my goddess.
At that moment, I could not help but reminisce how a simple slave nu-gig like me came to be an object of devotion and worship.
The Broken One
Ludari regarded the beautiful harlot seated upon the furs opposite him, shamelessly naked and alluring to the eye. She was the epitome of the desert whose outskirts he lived on, hot, merciless, savage and beautiful. Could she be the one?
He had to hold himself back. He knew he could have her, he need only toss a single worthless coin and she would give herself to him. But that was not why he had been raised here in this harsh wilderness, it was forbidden for him to partake of those who were drawn by the call. To do so would be to risk his deity’s ire, which could prove fatal. Besides, those cursed women were dangerous, walking the path of insanity only to fall into the abyss. Ludari did not care to be dragged down with them.
One of his wives entered and poured the wine, a lovely young thing men would kill for. Yet when compared to the woman seated before him she was a mundane thing indeed. Ludari sighed, for generations his family had resided here, making a fortune guiding merchants and the like around the arid terrain. As the deity had promised his so many greats grandfather, he and his descendants would want for nothing so long as they stayed here to host and cater to the cursed ones before they attempt the pilgrimage. That was what his father had taught him, but apparently such women came rarely, generations could go by before it occurred. Ludari was content with his luxurious life so felt no desire to leave, he never believed one of these women would appear in his lifetime.
“You say your name is Silili. After the goddess of horses, you come from a family who reared horses perhaps?” Ludari wondered if Silili could see the vague lump in his robes, brought on by the erection she inspired.
Silili shrugged and accepted the glass from Ludari’s wife, “No, they started calling me that when a bored and wealthy devotee offered the temple a large sum if one of their nu-gigs pleasured his horse.”
Ludari felt his jaw drop, “You accepted?”
Silili gave a smile set Ludari’s heart racing. It promised such delights and depravities that he was tempted to surrender everything he had to have her, only the memories of bahis firmaları his grandfather’s dire warnings kept him in check. Silili answered with the husky voice of a seductress, “They certainly did not start calling me that because I declined. Besides, I find the taste of horse semen rather agreeable.”
Excited and terrified, Ludari sought to steer the conversation away from her lurid acts, “So what is your real name? The name your father gave you?”
“What my father gave me…” Silili’s expression appeared haunted for a while, as if seeing days long buried. She shook her head and chuckled, “I know not. That name no longer exists because that woman never did. I am Silili the harlot.” With well-practiced grace she shifted on the furs and coyly opened her legs to Ludari, proudly displaying her excited sex to him, “There was only ever Silili the harlot.”
Ludari realised that if he continued the conversation much longer he would lose control and bring to ruin everything his family had been blessed with. He had to leave, fuck one of his wives, though he doubted it would grant him much reprieve from his yearning for this woman. With a shaking hand he raised his glass, “To your pilgrimage tomorrow, may you succeed where others had failed.”
Silili shrugged again but raised her glass in turn, “In truth, I care not what happens either way.”
They drank and Ludari bid a hasty goodnight, wondering which of his servants Silili would no doubt seduce and toy with for the night, if not several of them. Ludari would have to find out and release them from his service, they would only suffer his jealousy for the rest of his life otherwise.
As he swiftly made his way to his chambers he felt his heart wrench as he realised she would likely die. None of those who had been drawn by the call had ever survived the pilgrimage. Not for centuries had the ardat-lili walked this world. Ludari was both relieved at not having to be tortured by such a temptress again, and saddened at the loss of such a rare and free creature.
They say I am broken.
I stumble on, the parched soil burning my soles with their baking heat.
They say I am wretched.
My skin chafes and cracks, the sun’s relentless in its searing rays.
They say I am perverse.
My tongue swells and sticks to the roof of my mouth, the very air robs my lungs of moisture.
They say I am cursed.
My legs rebel and refuse to obey me any longer. I fall to the earth, sending up a cloud of dust that sets me coughing, an agony for my raw throat.
I am all these things. I am what I am. I cannot deny my nature any more than a lion can deny its urge to hunt. A sensible woman would have turned back long ago, realising the foolhardiness of walking naked to the heart of the desert. But there was no turning back for me, either I would find my answers here or die in the attempt. Gritting my teeth, I dig my nails into the sand and drag myself onwards, bit by torturous bit. Onwards I go until I feel my strength, consciousness, and life ebb away. Oblivion takes me.
I recall the days in the city before I fled. Of Aya screaming at me not to do this. Sweet Aya, she was, perhaps, the only true friend I ever had. A naditu, that is, a cleric of the temple, she was the only one who was not repulsed by my whims. I was something of a thorn for the temple of Inanna, nu-gigs were expected to whore themselves but it was an act of devotion to the goddess, a part of their chores along with worship. I, on the other hand, turned that act of devotion into something obscene. I inspired and performed things for my devotees that horrified the others. Were I not so lucrative they would have been rid of me long ago.
But why was I like this? Or rather, why was I the only one who was not shackled with the nonsense labelled morals like the rest? After years of searching for an answer, I knew only one other way.
I had asked the reason for my nature to all the deities and received no answer, save one. There was one deity that had been chased into the wilderness by the goddess Inanna back in the age of the gods. There she reigns over the lilim and is catered to by her ardat-lili, the demons that dwell there, the demons that steal the seed of men and kill infants in their cribs or the womb. A deity that hated the servants of the other gods and wished us only ill. All knew this, hearing the many dark tales of the monstrous things the entities commit upon good folk as they grew up. I was no exception. As such all had learned a healthy fear of the wilderness and accepted the city as a safe haven from them.
Only I seemed to see the city for what it is, a cage with every citizen chained with its ludicrous rules and traditions.
With Aya’s reluctant help, I obtained permission from the high priestess to travel from Akkad to Uruk to worship and learn from the priestesses there. A litter had been prepared with a few guards, they did not wish to risk losing one of their most profitable slaves. For a slave is what I was. Ignoring Aya’s cries I enter the litter, then when out of the city I instruct kaçak iddaa the guard to carry me north, convincing the captain I am actually on a secret errand. With my lips around his phallus it was hard for him to argue.
So they took me to Ludari’s estate, where they await my return.
They shall be waiting a long time.
I hear a flutter. I open my eyes ajar to espy one of those little owls typical to the desert. It regarded me quizzically, a few paces away. Many considered the creatures adorable, I liked them for a different reason. The way they moved and reacted, I fancied they saw and knew more than most realised. It gave a weak hoot and hopped further away before stopping and looking back at me. “You want me to follow?” That is what I tried to say, but the effort only caused my lips to crack and air to wheeze out uselessly.
The owl impatiently hopped closer to me, then away again. Did it want me to follow? Or was it wondering if I’m edible? Mustering what little reserves I had left, and they were little indeed, I crawled after the little animal. It hooted in, what I think was, approval, and continued hopping away, stopping only to let me catch up.
The further we went the more convinced I was it was leading me somewhere, but I was also aware that I would not be able to go much further. Just when I thought I would die and be yet another set of bleached bones hidden under the dunes, a cave loomed before me. Camouflaged as it was against the dunes I did not notice it until I was before it. All around the mouth were dozens of the owls gazing down, the one that guided me flapped up to join its family and watched me. Eagerly I crawled into the welcome shade the cave offered. I went as deep in as I could go and wept with happiness when I heard a splash and felt cool wetness under my hands. I fell into the pool and drank my fill.
Once I had done so I lay exhausted against one of the many stalagmites and took in my surroundings. Light from the distant mouth of the cave gave some vision, revealing a pool surrounded by stalagmites and tites. But it was the relief carved into the cave wall above the water that struck me, it depicted a woman standing on two lions with owls to either side of her. I gasped in wonder, she stood naked and shameless upon the beasts, wearing a crown and bearing liberating wings. I knew then this depicted a deity that championed my own lusts. I gazed, captivated, at the image for a long time, until the sun began to set and stole the means by which to admire her. Before the last rays died and stole the sight from me I whispered her beautiful and forbidden name, “Lillake?”
As if responding I began to hear whispers, it was in a language that I did not understand yet excited me in a manner that I never thoughts words could do. At first they came from the owls at the entrance, then from the darker recesses of the cave, then all around me. Overwhelmed I put my hands to my ears, but it did nothing to stop me hearing them. I looked around to see the sources of the whispers but could see no one.
Eventually I look down into the pool, now still after my disturbance, to see a face not my own in the reflection, smiling at me. I shudder as I feel myself orgasm, then collapse.
I am back at the cave entrance again, when did I get there? I had no recollection of rising. There was the sound of laughter and giggling behind me.
I looked to find numerous women as naked as myself strolling over the sands toward the cave. They were of all ages and chatted excitedly to one another as they made their way. Some held hands. I called to them but they ignored me, walked around me. None seemed to notice I was there. I would have reached out for one of them but their expressions gave me pause. They had the look of fear and excitement on their faces. The way they swayed their hips, shamelessly displayed their breasts. I could tell they were all entrapped with lustful yearning, whilst at the same time terrified.
I watched, curious, as they all halted, lay back upon the arid soil and opened their legs in the direction of the cave opening. They became silent, waiting with bated breath for something to come. I alone remained standing, lost in the face of the madness unfurling before me. Was I witnessing some kind of ancient ritual? I had heard of such things being done amongst tribes before the first cities were built, but such practices had died out long ago.
Nothing happened at first, only the expectant pants of the women around me broke the silence.
Then a loud chime resounded across the sun blasted landscape. With that I saw a flood of…things, emerge from the cave. The screeches they made as they swarmed towards us chilled me to the bone. I cannot begin to describe what those monsters looked like, so numerous and different they were. They were creatures straight from the land of nightmare. As soon as they reached the women they set upon them. Like those women the monsters seemed not to see me, flocking around me and setting upon the women as if I was not there.
The women screamed in horror and pleasure as things were done to them that kaçak bahis even the most depraved man would never be able to imagine. It was like an orgy and a battlefield at the same time. They were threshed over and over by the creatures in a variety of ways. Some of the younger maidens struggled whilst the more experienced devoted themselves to the chaos. What was I seeing?
Watching it all, I felt something flicker within me, a nostalgia of something I had lost long ago. Strangely, I wanted to be part of this incredible yet horrifying spectacle, to be one of the women satiating the endless horde. I tried reaching for them but they grew distant, as if in a dream, I tried doing as the women had done earlier, lying back and opening my legs in offering, but still I was ignored. Agitated, I made my way to the cave, the creatures parting before me like water around a rock.
It was dark in that cave, I walked a ways and had to trail my fingers against the wall to keep from stumbling. My thirst and hunger was forgotten now. A growing excitement was building in me, an excitement more palpable for the fear intermingled with it. I rounded a bend to enter a cavern and felt my heart skip a beat. Gone was the pool and relief, the interior had changed remarkably.
I knew not how large the cavern I entered was, for it was utterly dark save for a shaft of silver moonlight breaking through the ceiling. It fell as though purposely to alight an onyx throne at the far end. I noted the owl I followed perched upon it, gazing at me expectantly. As masterful as this throne was, it was but a poor shadow to the beauty sat naked upon it. I felt myself drawn to her, I could hear hissing in the shadows and knew there were horrors lurking in the darkness, watching me hungrily. Despite this I was compelled to make my way and present myself to this alabaster sovereign. The closer I got the more I wanted her, more than existence itself. I knew then I had been serving the wrong goddess. If Inanna is the goddess of love and war I beheld the goddess of lust and ruin, and was intoxicated by the sight. I immediately fell back on the floor before her and opened my legs in offering, mimicking the others outside, my lust for those creatures lost for desire of her.
Statue still she regarded me, she did not even seem to breathe. Her malachite eyes regarded me coldly, with disinterest, perhaps with boredom. I was dismayed, I sensed that she noted my offering and was unimpressed. I sat up and raised my hands to her imploringly, begging her to accept me.
Something leapt out the darkness and loomed over me, blocking my view of the sovereign. I quivered at the sight of the thing, all teeth and claws. I saw its enormous phallus and knew at once what it intended, I also knew what something that large would do to me. I made to get up and run, then paused.
It was a test. Was this not what I sought? Did I not venture into the dark places seeking such beasts in men? Did I not dream of being ravaged in such a manner? Or was it all just fantasy? Shivering with terror, I gave myself over to the thing.
It needed no encouraging. It thrust in me like thunder and threshed me savagely, its long teeth dripping saliva over my body. Did it hurt? Of course. But how I loved it! There was pleasure too, again enhanced from the fear. I felt something in my mind open (or was it break?), felt my body burn with want, and realised I would never be the same after this night. The creature ejaculated into me and relaxed. It leaned and brought its hideous face close to mine, its maw gaped wide open. I stared down its incisor filled gullet and wondered how many had this last sight before their end. It was going to eat me, I realised. The horror had satiated its lust with me, now it would satiate its hunger. I should have screamed and thrashed, but instead I found myself laughing hysterically. All my life I had spent contenting men, it seemed only fitting I met my end in a similar manner, albeit with a beast.
The thing paused, and drew back. I laughed harder at its confusion. How many had cried, screamed, struggled in its clutches? Well, that was not for me. To my amusement it leapt back, did I detect fear in that thing? Before I could try and work out its expression it fled back into the shadows. I looked to the sovereign and fancied I saw a momentary glimmer in her eyes. If so it was soon gone, replaced by the same stony glare. Still, the sight of her renewed my desire and I reached for her once more.
As if with some invisible signal the other things lurking in the shadows rushed out and swarmed over me. Before I could react they overwhelmed and entered every hole of me. They were different to the creature before. Humanoid but black as night, with no visible features, their phalluses were as hard as jet but as cold as ice. These were the lilu spirits I had heard so many stories of. As they entered me I felt my body begin to lose the spark that had been ignited in me. I felt myself grow colder. None of them seemed to tire, they would pull one another away to get at me but none of them gained release. On and on it went without end. Cold and weary my body was reaching its breaking point, I knew I would expire soon. I glanced to the sovereign woman between the figures, still watching me with disinterest, and realised what I was doing wrong.
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