Title: In the Fire Caves
Chapter: Occupation (1/6)
Pairings: Winn/Prophets, Winn/Dukat, Winn/Other
Warnings: References to occupation-era violence and rape. Sexual situations in chapter 4. Also, revisionist theology. For red earrings see your local Pah-wraith cult.
Disclaimer: Belongs to Paramount. I promise I won't sue if anything like this ever shows up in a future episode. Heh.
Notes: Draws heavily on Sabine's essay about Dukat and subsequent discussions, and inspired by the lovely stories of selenak and cruisedirector. All my DS9 ficcing has been made possible by a generous grant from cirdanhavens.
Summary: The tormented relationship between a very flawed woman and her very flawed gods. Set pre- and post-series.
Summary for this chapter: Young Winn Adami prays for the first time.
In the Fire Caves
Chapter 1: Occupation
The first time Winn Adami lit a prayer-fire of her own she was thirteen years old. The fields that had once fed her village had been burned and ploughed under, and there were rocks in them, but the rocks gave her a place to hide. Once hidden she knelt, bowed, and took out one of the candles that the Cardassian officer had given her.
Her body still felt raw from her night with him. In the morning, he had given her three candles, a frying pan, a bar of soap, matches and a small bag of grain. She had no name for him but 'Officer', had no other name for any of them. It was easier that way to do with them what she had to.
A year ago she had decided that she was old enough and approached one of the soldiers who was known to have a fondness for pigtailed girls. There was no point in feeling ashamed, since her family needed the supplies. It had hurt, the first time he lay with her, and sometimes it still did. But it had to be done, so there was no point in thinking too much about it.
Adami clutched her precious candle. Her mother had always kept a prayer-fire burning in the home, no matter what it had cost her. "The Prophets are our only hope," she used to say. "Only the Prophets can save Bajor." Winn Garah had been of the priestly d'jarra, back before the occupation when such things still mattered. The elder Winn had even once thought she could become a Vedek before a Cardassian officer had decided that her talents would be better used in his bed. When he tired of her he passed her on to the garrison, who gave her occasional bread for her services. Still, somehow there was always a candle. "
Sometimes the Prophets speak to us in flame," Garah had told Adami. Garah had prayed to the burning candle, had even seemed to find some hope in it. Adami wanted this. Her hands clenched around the candle. She wanted this more than anything on Bajor.
Adami lit the candle, her hand trembling. She placed it carefully on a rock, bowed again before it, and closed her eyes.
"Prophets," she said.
The Prophets would soon surround her, embrace her with their love. In the face of their greatness nothing would matter, not even the Cardassian fingerprints on her body. "Prophets," she said again. "Prophets. I give myself to you. I belong to you. Take me, and use me for your purposes. Even if you have to kill me, even if you have to destroy me. Only take me, and make me your messenger on Bajor.
" She knew the Prophets would speak to her. She was of the priestly d'jarra, daughter of the great Kais and Vedeks who had spoken the words of the Prophets in ancient times. Surely she was a worthy vessel for their service.
"Let me be nothing before you. Take away everything I am, and make me yours." She felt the flame shake with the passion of her words. "And let me see you." Her voice broke with longing. "Please, let me see you. I'll do anything, be anything. Just let me see you."
Adami thought of her family's ruined fields, of her mother wasting of Cardassian disease. If the Prophets would only show themselves, then she would understand. It might still be terrible, but it would be possible to bear. She would praise the Prophets, even from the ashes of Bajor.
"Please," she begged, "let me see you."
Adami opened her eyes and gazed hopefully at the prayer-fire. She stared at it for a long time. Surely the Prophets loved her. Surely they would answer her. Surely they would accept her offering. She watched, waiting.
The fire showed her nothing. She watched until darkness fell, but no visions came. When she closed her eyes, all she saw was the Cardassian officer, his limbs broken, his skin flayed off his body in great gashes, as he writhed, screaming, twisting in the flames.
Next chapter: In the Fire Caves, Dukat asks Winn a question.