Yes, I'm still working on 'Infected', don't worry.
This is something I want to fill along the way, because I really like this idea.
This is a fill for a prompt at the ROTG kink meme, search for:
(Bunnymund/Jack Frost) Jack is a Tribute (Noncon).
( FF somehow refuses to let me put in the link to the site, but just ask me if you wanna know!)
Although they were already two other fills from different authors I really wanted to give it a try, and well, here it is.
Please read the prompt before to understand what this story is about, okay?
You'll get a better grip like that on the events.
I hope you'll enjoy reading this first chapter!
Warning: This fill will contain non-con, violence and other questionable stuff, so be warned. Though the non-con will come in chapter 2...
Disclaimer: I do not own ROTG or any characters of it, otherwise I'd already make sure a sequel will come next year.
This story is dedicated to kiki564, who gave birth to this great story idea!
The ground still felt a bit cool under Jack's bare feet while he quietly sneaked under a few bushes and past gnarly tree trunks, but he didn't notice it, careful to not make any traitorous sound. Above him the sunlight shone through the fresh green leafs, golden and warm, while green, short grass sprouted from the ground, announcing spring time. Quickly he jumped to overcome a bigger gap between a few bushes and ducked under the leafs, not caring about the twigs and leafs being caught in his unruly brown hair.
"Where is she?", he murmured, brown eyes looking through the bushes intently. He moved forward, eyes swishing over the ground to look. Maybe she had left some traces there? His eyes spotted something small and bluish on the ground, next to a weak imprint.
"Mmh, what's that?", he said to himself, inching closer.
His toes dug into the earth while his, also non too clean fingers, picked up the small item on the ground, making him grin victoriously.
"Gotcha! You should know you can't escape me", he grinned under his breath, following the weak imprints of shoes which sometimes disappeared completely or were at least not visible enough.
He had to give her credit for that- she had gotten a bit better at hiding her trail. But there was no way she could escape him now. With a grin he popped the blueberry into his mouth and continued to follow the trail his hunting prey had left behind, crouched like a wild animal. He didn't have to sneak much longer- after like fifteen minutes he spotted a suspicious shape. It wasn't really a full shape, but he could see the familiar color of dark red shimmering between green, the tip of a brown shoe peeking through a few gaps.
With a suppressed snicker he sneaked closer until he was close enough, and listened. It was barely audible- but he could hear it, the quiet, slightly uneven breathing of something hiding between those bushes, just behind that big, awry tree trunk. Jack grinned- in the next second he pounced, landing on top of a smaller, wildly struggling and screeching body, pounding with small fists against his chest.
"You are so mean! You cheated, again! You weren't allowed to hide while looking for me!",
Pippa cried indignant and threw a blueberry at him which he easily caught and ate, unable to defend himself properly when she sat on top of him and angrily hit him- he had to laugh too much.
"What? You just said I should come and find you, don't you remember? You didn't say anything about hiding while searching as not allowed", he said and looked at her innocently, snickering when she glared at him.
"This was supposed to be a simple hide and seek! But you cheated again! You won't get any blueberries I collected today!"
With that she stood up and brushed some dirt off her dark red coat before leaning down to grab the basket with blueberries. She glanced down at his feet and shook her head, though she couldn't hide a smile: "And you took off your shoes again! Wait till Mom sees that!"
"Hey, I can hunt so much better that way! It is easier to sneak up on animals like that, plus I prefer to walk around barefooted and-"
"And actually this is so much more healthy and great and all people should walk around barefooted and so on", Pippa interrupted him with a roll of her eyes,
"I've heard that so often that I can already say it by heart big brother!" "So what? You never really tried it yourself! You don't even know what you're missing!",
Jack exclaimed and quickly climbed up a tree to dangle in front of his sister, pulling faces at her until she couldn't stop laughing any longer.
"Oh Jack, you are so stupid!", she giggled, watching how he showed off a few acrobatic exercises before he stopped midway, looking at the sky. Abruptly he let go and landed with a dull sound, grabbing Pippa's hand and pulling her with him.
"Jack, wait! Why are you-" "We're late, we're late! Come on, we gotta hurry up or Mom will get really mad at us! It is already time for dinner, you know how she'll scold us when food's gone cold again! Plus, tomorrow is Easter! We still gotta do a few things!"
His little sister nodded and laughed when he imitated their mother's angry face, giggling before she stopped, remembering something.
"Jack, wait! Where's your bow? And weren't you supposed to hunt for some meat?" "Oops", the brown haired teenager said and hurriedly let go of his sister, running back with her to a tree.
"Why did you even hung up your bow and meat so high anyway?", Pippa asked, watching him agile climb up to snatch his bow and a deer he had shot.
"Well, can't go searching for you with a dead deer on my back, right? Not to mention the bow", Jack replied before he jumped down, grinning at her: "Now, come on! Hurry hurry!"
He grabbed his sister's hand, and together they ran back into their village to their house.
"Hey Mom, we're ba-ack!", Jack sing sang, carrying the dead deer into the larder where he hung it up before jumping back to his mother and sister who was just presenting her collected blueberries.
"Hello my dears", she smiled, stroking her daughter's hair shortly before she turned to look at Jack, a stern expression in her brown eyes: "Jackson Overland Frost, aren't you two a bit late for dinner?" Her son coughed, awkwardly rubbing his neck: "Well, it took us some time, but- look at the deer I shot, doesn't it look-"
"Don't try to distract me Jack. I know your tricks well!", she told him, her eyes wandering down his body: "And you didn't wear any shoes again! Look how dirty they are! How often did I tell you to wear some!"
"I don't like wearing shoes, you know that", Jack replied none too intimidated and snatched another blueberry from the basket, ignoring his sister's indignant cry who tried to swat him away, which their mother did instead.
"Go then into the backyard, you two! Pippa, you'll wash those berries, Jack, you'll wash your hands and feet, I don't want your dirty footprints all over the house again! As punishment you won't get any dessert! And put on some shoes already!",
she ordered, turning back to the soup she had been cooking over the fire.
"What?! But, Mom-"
"I saw that, young man", she said over her shoulder when Jack rolled his eyes at Pippa who giggled, straightening up and giving her his best kicked puppy look.
"Oh, don't look at me like that, you know it doesn't work on me!", she threatened with the soup spoon.
"Oh, come on Mom! Please? I love blueberries!", he begged, "I brought meat just like I was supposed to! And not that less! Pleaseee!"
His mother stared at him, trying to hold her frown, but when Jack stuck up his lower lip to look even more miserable she wasn't able to look angry any longer. With a sigh she shook her head. "Oh, fine then! But, just one foot print and you'll get no food tonight at all!"
Jack smiled broadly, then he danced over to her, giving her a quick, but fond kiss on the cheek. "Yes Maam !", he saluted exaggerated, adding "You're the best Mom!" before he ran outside with Pippa to do as they were told, she watched them disappear through the door, smiling fondly.
She was so happy to have such great children, children who tried their best to help her with the household and everything else. They were only three, after her husband had died, and it had been hard at first, even with the help from the village. But it had worked, Jack and Pippa doing their best. Oh, how grown up they both were now! Jack was eighteen now and Pippa fourteen, loving each other deeply, which wasn't always the case with siblings- but the brown haired siblings really loved each other, Jack would probably to anything for her.
Sure, Jack was a bit of a wild child, often doing mischief and tricks on others- not to mention his strange insist on never wearing shoes. But he was also a a caring brother, a patient, good hunter and knew how to behave well, even if he didn't always felt like doing it- he was a fine young man now, practically an adult now. She didn't know how she would have managed to pull through if he hadn't been there and willing to help. Well, there were also their grandparents- North and Toothiana, but since they were traveling merchants, also offering medical aid with their third company Sandy- a quiet, sleepy looking, but really great doctor- they couldn't help very often.
But, by now the time had arrived again that they should come, too. It was spring now, and the time for one of their biggest and most important celebrations. She halted, frowning slightly, a bad feeling creeping over her back which irritated. Why did she suddenly feel so strange? Now was not the time to be in foul mood, it was the time of spring, when everything bloomed anew, when their big traditional celebration was.
Everyone in the village had already been preparing for weeks, baking sweet bread and candies, preparing meat, crafting beautiful decoration. It was Easter, the time to be merry because new life was blooming, happiness under the now warmer sun- she froze, her hands stopping to cut the carrots she had been adding to the soup.
Easter...a shudder ran through her, making her feel chilly, but she quickly shook the feeling off, trying to concentrate on the food. She didn't have to be worried. That...event had been long ago, it couldn't happen to her again, she wasn't suited for it anymore, being too old and having children now. But then...why was she still feeling so uneasy?
She only knew something bad was about to happen. But...what?
"Get a grasp on yourself Sarah", she scolded herself, "It's not the time to be worried over nothing!"
Stepping outside she saw how her children were fooling around again, splashing each other with water- but there, in a corner stood the basket with washed berries, and Jack's feet looked much cleaner- though they wouldn't for long, if he continued to run around in the dirt.
That untamable boy. She had to smile, leaning against the door frame to watch them play a bit longer, the water splashing getting rougher until they were both rolling on the ground, trying to tickle each other to death.
"Hey you two wildcats! How about you stop cleaning the ground with yourself and get me some eggs to paint for after dinner, all together? It's Easter tomorrow, haven't you forgotten?"
"How could we?", Jack answered, sound muffled due being pressed face forward into the ground with Pippa sitting on his back, arching up in a fit of giggling when she tickled him again.
"Ooh, come on Jack! Let's get the eggs! I have so many ideas how to paint the eggs this year!" "Oh, as if you could beat me in that! Remember, I already beat you last year in the 'most-creative-eggs' competition!"
"You didn't beat me! You were only one place ahead of me!", Pippa huffed and stood up, "And you're four years older than me! You paint like a three years old!"
"I didn't put any effort into it at all, you dummy, wanted to prove to you I could beat you without effort anyway!"
Jack grinned, dodging a rib jab of her elbow before both siblings disappeared into the chicken house to collect eggs. After eating the soup with vegetables and some chicken they sat at the dining table and soon were engaged in eager egg painting, the two siblings passionately discussing which pattern may look great or what colors could be used. Their mother could only laugh at their bickering, adding a few playful- motherly jabs at them just for fun, telling them about the sweet bread she intended to bake at night and what hair style Pippa wanted for the festivity tomorrow.
They were so preoccupied with their egg painting that they first didn't notice that someone was knocking on their door, only hearing it after the third time.
"Jack, could you go and open to see who it is? I think it is Mrs. Woodenscales, she wanted to give me a recipe for sweet pudding to make some more for tomorrow-"
"Already on!", Jack exclaimed and ran to open the door.
But it wasn't their neighbor- a nice, red haired women with an equally red haired giant of a man, with the two most wild twins Jack had ever seen. In place of her there stood the village's herald or messenger, a medium sized, light brown haired man who always wore the expression of being exhausted and mild suffering.
He was responsible for announcing important things like meetings in the village hall, upcoming marriages, incoming merchants and all that stuff. And of course he knew everyone in the whole village by his or her name, from the tiniest, new born baby to the oldest couple.
"Good day, Jack", he said, looking like he wanted nothing more but to fall onto his bed and sleep.
"Hello !", Jack politely replied, looking at him curious,
"What brings you to our house?"
"I'm here to announce you tha- oh, shouldn't your mother be the one to receive this first?"
Jack rolled his eyes and grabbed the surprised messenger at his arm to drag him inside- not like he hadn't been inside before- towards his mother and sister.
"Oh, hello Mr. Doroby!", his mother immediately greeted him politely with a smile, "What brings you here today? Hopefully not something bad?"
The man sighed, wiping his forehead while he longingly peeked at the bowl of blueberries, saying: "Well, that depends. First, message reached us that your dear grandparents will arrive here at evening on this day-"
"North and Toothiana will come?! Oh, that's awesome!", Jack exclaimed, jumping up excitedly while Pippa beamed, fidgeting on her chair, next to her their mother laughed in joy, smiling:
"Oh, what wonderful news! You two must help me prepare the guestroom, okay? Oh, and Jack, you gotta check the food, if there's still enough flour for supper left, otherwise you'll have to go buy some-", she interrupted herself, noticing that Mr. Doroby still wanted to say something. "Oh, I'm sorry to have interrupted you, please go on".
" It was no problem, Mrs. Overland. So, second...about that, I'm not the one to tell you what exactly- I'm just supposed to tell everyone we have an urgent meeting at the hall..."
"Oh, I see", Jack's mother said surprised, frowning a little before she looked back at the herald.
"Is that all? If yes, thank you. I guess we will see each other soon? At the meeting?"
"Oh, yes, of course", Mr. Doroby replied, twitching surprised when Jack handed him a few blueberries with a knowing grin, smiling lightly in return before he turned and trudged out to continue calling everyone to their meeting.
"Hey Pip, how about we already go to get a good place, hm?", he teased his sister, knowing exactly she didn't like being called like that.
"Don't call me that, it's a baby name! I'm already fourteen years old you dimwit!", she replied huffing, but stood up anyway, both looking at their mother who was staring at the egg she had been painting.
"Mom? You wanna come too? Or do you still need to do something else?"
"What? Oh, no. No, I'll go with you now. Though I doubt we will get good places, we're one of the last houses."
"Ah, damn-", "Jack, language!"
"I mean, what a pity. Shall I take you on my shoulders then Pippa?", Jack grinned at his sister, snickering when she jabbed him annoyed, but also with a grin.
"You jerk, don't you dare! I'm too old and heavy to be carried on your shoulders like a little kid!"
Laughing they walked outside, followed by their mother until they reached the meeting hall. It wasn't as big as you thought at the word 'hall', but it was big enough for at least half of the village to fit in. Actually it wasn't even one, single building, but the house of their mayor, an older, but still quite fit man with silver gray hair.
"Dear people of the village! I'm happy to see everyone has followed my call to meet here, since it is about a very important matter." He stopped to smooth out his beard a little, continuing:
"As you know, tomorrow is Easter, one of the most important celebrations- I could say practically the most important. We celebrate the begin of spring, the begin of new life and pray for a good year full with plenty of harvest, healthy children and a growing population of cattle. All in the name of him, the god of fertility, bringer of spring- Aster.
He is the one who grants our wishes and presents us with what we need to live- and for that he demands something in return. You all know this old tradition we have since our ancestors first arrived here- this rule that we must follow to not incur the wrath of Aster upon us, for that our harvest, cattle, the whole village will be punished with misery and suffering.
During all this years here it has only happened once to another village which refused to give what Aster demanded. You all know that this village has been wiped out without mercy, not a single soul survived his wrath. You know what our god of fertility demands. This celebration is for him, we celebrate him and his power, his mercy to grant us what we need for life, what keeps us alive and well- and it pleases him, but he also wants something else.
The annual tributes. This year, it is our turn to offer one."
At this words the whole crowd, which had been chattering quietly amongst each other, grew completely silent. The aura of anticipation and excitement was erased, replaced by seriousness and a subliminal hint of nervousness- and fear. Jack, next to his sister, froze, the joy of knowing their grandparents where about to come washed away by an icy feeling inside his chest. The tributes. Of course he knew what that meant.
Everyone knew what it meant to be a tribute in the village- parents told their children about this very early, when they were ready to go to school. And later, when they were old enough to get seriously educated about what exactly happened in the night of a freshly married couple, the duty a woman and man had...
That was the time when they got taught about the tributes in every detail- who got chosen, what had to be done- like the ritual washing, the decorating of the tribute before she was sent into the woods. Or the thoroughly, complete physical examination a tribute had to go through, to make sure she was pure in every sense, that she was beautiful and without any flaw which could possibly anger their god.
The examination was always carried out by the priest and village elders, the oldest women and men who also served as a council for the mayor. And what exactly happened in that night the tribute went to their god Aster- to give herself to him, completely and without any resistance. To offer her body to their god of fertility. Of course Jack knew about this- but it had been so long ago since the last time their village had to bring a tribute.
He had almost forgotten about it, too absorbed in helping his mother, playing with his sister and doing whatever he could to make sure they had a good life as only three people, without their father, his mother's husband who had died early. There had been so many other things which had occupied his head, that and that he somehow had thought it still be a long time until they were the village to do the duty next.
He knew being a tribute made you highly sought after- all young men would immediately start courting that girl with both eagerness and heat, passionate and wild to get her hand. Marrying- and sleeping with a tribute brought lots of wealth, not only to the man she would marry later and their families, but also a bit to the village- the fertility was increased, there would be much more harvest, fat cattle and healthy children be born.
The economy, the trading with other villages or even one of the big cities- if they had the right trade routes- would also increase and make them richer. It was some kind of strange, ancient magic he didn't understand, that a part of the god's fertility got conveyed onto his tribute as some kind of pay off. As far as he knew no girl which had been chosen had ever refused to go- only twice.
One time, a girl had resisted heavily, not wanting to set one foot into the woods because of what she would have to do. She had been brutally punished at the village square, whipped until the skin on her back had burst and heavily bleeding, her being long unconscious at that time, having screamed in sheer pain the whole time.
The other time, the whole village had refused to choose one girl among them to be offered- resulting in their entire place being wiped out, every living soul being killed with no mercy. No one had survived the wrath of Aster- neither the people nor their cattle. That alone was reason enough to not refuse if you had to go- even if it meant you had to spread your legs for a god who didn't even have the form of a human but that of a giant rabbit.
But Jack was pretty sure that, even if no one had ever refused again after those two times, some girls had been still forced to go, since it was seen as a disgrace to the village if you didn't want to go. Feeling numb he slowly looked at his mother, flinching when he saw the way she looked. She was completely pale under her healthy skin color, trembling almost invisibly, tightly holding her hands, her eyes flickering over to Pippa who had taken her mother's hand, looking frightened.
Oh god, Pippa. But, she was still too young to be chosen as a candidate for the final selection of who would be the tribute- right? He desperately tried to remember at what age a girl could become a candidate and maybe a tribute, but he wasn't able to, the memory too vague. No, she wouldn't be even among the names, he was sure of that. Before he was able to think any longer the mayor carried on, looking serious:
" We were chosen this time to do this duty, this thing we owe our god Aster. This time it is our turn to offer him a tribute- a young, virgin maiden, completely pure and untouched. For this, all young maiden's names will be written on papers and put into a box and mixed to guarantee a completely unaffected choice tomorrow afternoon.
I will start with listing all girl's names who are suitable to become a tribute this year: Abby Lansyon. Sione Morrane. Katherine Straffler. Mary Locket. Debby Mclayne. Hannah Brown.
Juliana Brickfold. Elaine Woodsmith. Evangeline Sinclair. Christine Verone. Valery Hallbor. Pippa Overland." No. Jack turned and looked at his sister who had her eyes wide open, trembling and pale before he quickly ran over to her, taking her hand to squeeze it tight. He could hear and see how the families of the candidates reacted, some looked surprised, but tired like they saw it as a unpleasant thing which you did the sooner the better. Others looked even proud, giving their daughters encouraging pats and hugs.
Some families though looked just like Jack felt- shocked and unbelieving, but with still hope in their faces. After all, it were twelve girls, and anyone, really anyone could become the tribute. The girls mostly reacted similar like their families- but he could still see it in the eyes of every girl. Fear. There was a reason no one who had been a tribute liked to talk about that night when they gave themselves to their god. No one came back...unchanged.
"So, now that everyone knows about the candidates...The tribute will be chosen tomorrow in the afternoon, at the end of our Easter celebration. So...hereby, I declare this meeting to be finished, you can all go home now and prepare for tomorrow."
The crowd slowly dissolved, everyone heading to their homes while quietly talking to each other or completely silent- like Jack and his mother and sister. They quietly walked back to their house, simply holding hands, minds deep in thoughts- only to be surprised by a loud, booming voice.
"Oi, there they are! What took you so long, we've been waiting 'ere for thirty minutes now!"
It was no one else then North, their grandfather, a big, still incredible strong man with a long white beard and hair with an quite intimidating aura if you weren't used to him. Next to him his wife, Toothiana, looking incredible small- like she was a tiny doll- stood, looking at them with a smile, her feather ornaments shimmering in her dark brown and silver hair.
"Oh, it is so wonderful to see you all again!", she exclaimed and immediately hugged them lovingly, stroking Pippa's hair while North slapped Jack's back, making him stumble and almost fall over.
"Indeed it is", the big man added to his wife's sentences, tousling Jack's hair who, despite not feeling all too happy, couldn't help but laugh. He slapped his grandfather's hand away, shaking it instead manly, just like North appreciated. Toothiana meanwhile had hugged her stepdaughter, asking curiously:
"So, how have you three been? Has anything interesting happened in the months we were away?"
The two siblings and their mother exchanged looks, his mother looking down exhausted and Jack already wanted to tell them when North came in between:
"I forgot, we have another one who forgot to greet! Sandy! 'ey, Sandy, wake up!" he yelled, standing in front of their carriage pulled by two horses- which was, as always, full to the top with many fascinating things. But North was more focused on another one they all hadn't seen immediately, a body which was soundly asleep in a pile of strange stuff.
The body stirred, sleepy golden eyes opened and closed before fully opening, their owner yawned and stretched a little.
"Sandy!", Pippa called out, distracted from the terrible thing which had happened.
The man smiled warmly at her, his blonde hair as spiky and unruly as always, just like his lightly crinkled shirt and the brown coat with dozens of medical stuff. Sandy climbed off the carriage, slightly unbalanced, but he came down unharmed, walking over to them before shaking hands with them before pushing up his little glasses.
"So, now that our sleepyhead is awake we should move inside and drink some tea, no?",
North laughed, grabbing the horse's reins to bring them behind the house with the carriage, Jack following him quietly to help with taking the horses off their reins and putting them into the small paddock they had. After that both males went back inside, joining Toothiana, Sandy, Pippa and Jack's mother who were already at the dining table, tea in cups steaming on the wooden table.
"So, now that we're all together, tell us, what has happened so far? Since North interrupted you so roughly before I wanted to ask again", Toothiana smiled, rolling her eyes at North's indignant exclaim:
"But, honey! I just wanted Sandy to wake up!" before she looked at them expectant.
Jack looked up from his cup of tea, staring at his little family. But his mother just shook her head, wearing a tired and depressed expression while Pippa kept her mouth closed tight, looking down at her lap. Toothiana frowned, her strange purple colored eyes staring at their faces, her worry visible increasing.
"What has happened? Why are you all looking like that? Tell me!"
"Right, why are you all pulling faces like that? You are looking like someone of you will die! Tomorrow is Easter, so shouldn't you be all merry and happy? Is nice celebration, I remember last time we were there-"
"That's not it", Jack quietly said, making his grandparents immediately shut up and looking at him, Sandy who had been listening the whole time straightened up a bit, his golden eyes fixing the younger male.
Jack looked down, staring into his cup, his eyes following the slight swirling and sloshing of the hot liquid inside before he started to talk.
" We had a meeting of the whole village today, it was about tomorrow's Easter. We...the village...got chosen to offer a tribute to Aster this year. And Pippa is one of the candidates."
His words hit like a bomb, North reeled back, blue eyes wide, Toothiana put a hand in front of her mouth while Sandy nearly spilled his hot tea he was about to drink. For a moment no one said a word, too overwhelmed by what they had just heard, then Toothiana sighed, putting a hand onto Pippa's shoulder, making her look up.
"You don't have to be afraid sweetie", she said soothingly, smiling. "I don't think you will get chosen. There are still many other girls, and older, too, it is more likely one of them will get chosen."
She looked at Jack, eyes calm:
"How many were chosen?"
"Twelve", the young male slowly replied, realizing what she said was true. There were twelve girls, the chance for Pippa to be chosen wasn't that big with eleven others being there, too. Hope rose inside him and he calmed down a bit, even managing a smile while looking at Pippa who smiled back tentative, her brown eyes not as scared as before. Even his mother looked a bit calmer now, smiling gratefully at Toothiana who warmly smiled back, the aura around them visibly calmer and happier before. They all spent the rest of the evening together, Jack's mother baking sweet bread and pudding with Toothiana while Jack and Pippa listened, captivated, from North's stories about what they had experienced during their traveling and what it was like to trade in one of the big cities.
Sandy also 'told' them stories- he didn't really speak, but he could draw very good and conjured beautiful little pictures on paper, of what he had seen with North and Toothiana, or, later about the sickness and wounds he had treated as a doctor. Some of these pictures he drew were so explicitly gruesome that Jack and Pippa both gaped in appalled fascination, making Toothiana whenever she looked what they were doing angrily scold Sandy how he could show things like that to kids.
But the halfway happy night went over all too soon, and the next day came, the day of the Easter celebration had arrived. Everyone was up and awake, busily running around to put everything in place for the big feast later under several big tent pavilions in the colors of spring. The smell of fresh bread, sweet or normal, was everywhere, just like that of spring candies, sugared pieces of berries and similar things.
But, even with all the people being busy and the village looking so beautifully colorful you could still feel it- the slight tenseness underneath it, that nervousness vibrating in the air. Because today one of them would be offered to their god Aster. Jack experienced the day in an almost trance like state, everything seemed to flow past him in colorful splotches- and yet he saw everything, like it was in slow motion, running past him like dogged honey. The Easter day usually started with a short song, a sort of wake up song.
Next was then the presenting of the food offerings each family had made, in big, handwoven baskets, all put up on a field in the shape of a flower. This was followed by a one three hour walk over each field the village people possessed, their priest pacing in front of them, followed by the youngest children who strew water and salt and the village people, all singing a prayer for fertility again and again. After that was over it would already be past the usual dinner time.
The thing next was the ritual dances, dancers, wrapped in robes of fertility colors, would dance in front of an altar, every step they made accompanied by the sound of the bells ringing on their ankles and wrists. Jack had always liked the dancing the most- there was something magic about watching it, the strong, yet graceful movements of the dancers.
The way they would slowly go faster until the sweat was pouring off them, another offering for their fertility god, going faster, faster, faster till they were spent, with the sound of drums, pipes and singing. It was a hypnotic show, his eyes followed every move, every twitch with a deep longing, wishing he could join. It hadn't been like he wasn't old enough, but he had never found the time to sign up- the dances had to be practiced for months, and he was always busy with helping out at home. Though now he didn't know if he were even be able to dance properly, with knowing that Pippa was one of the candidates.
Next was a bit more gruesome- the sacrifice of a young bull and a cow. The priest cut through their throats while singing another prayer for fertility, accompanied by the village people, and collected the fresh, hot blood running down their throats. The priest himself took the first gulp before walking over to the people.
He carried the bowl to them, marking them with the symbol of fertility, the symbol of Aster on their foreheads before they were allowed to take a gulp as well. The meat of the dead cow and bull would be later roasted over the huge Easter fire, when they all sat down to feast together under the tent pavilions.
But before that came, first a singing contest took place, the winner was allowed to sing the fertility prayer they had before the big feast, followed by the 'most-creative-eggs' competition which was more for the younger ones, a kind of compensation since they had to stay away when the cow sacrifice had taken place, only being sent back after to receive their marking and a gulp.
Despite having said so, Pippa didn't take part like she had so wanted, and he knew why- she didn't wanted to be more in the center of attention like all the other candidates. His heart ached for her, but he still kept that hope inside him alight- there were eleven other girls after all. During the feast he had gotten more and more nervous, not knowing if he should wish for the feast to be over as quick as possible- or to have it never end at all.
He hadn't even been able to eat a lot- despite the really delicious looking and smelling food displayed in front of him. And then, it was time. The time for drawing the name of the girl had come- the name of the girl who would become the virgin tribute in this night. The whole village had now assembled in front of the big hall, standing there, the air was now completely quiet and tense- you could have cut with a knife through it.
The priest now stood in front of them on the stairs, which lead up to the small platform in front of the big hall, looking down at them.
"All candidates, please come up and stand in front of the stairs. It is time to see which one of you will be chosen as the tribute..."
Followed by murmurs, the girls started to move, one by one to stand in front of the stair. Just then Jack felt something brush his hands and looked around, only to stare into big brown eyes so similar to his own.
"Jack! Jack! I'm scared...", Pippa whispered, her eyes huge with both nervousness and fear, her smaller hand warm and tight in his. Jack's mind reeled, gears grinding while he hectically tried to think of something to cheer her up a bit.
"Hey, don't be afraid, okay? It's gonna be alright, so...just- just think about it: there are eleven other girls who could be chosen, right? Just repeat that in your mind, over and over again, and everything's gonna be alright!"
The brown haired girl looked at him, still afraid but not as much as before, trying to smile at him which made him smile back weakly, he softly brushed her cheek with his hand, whispering:
"And if they choose you...I'll save you. Somehow. I'll find a way. Okay? Now go".
Pippa reluctantly let go of his hand, smiling a tiny smile before she turned around and walked through the crowd, joining the other girls who were standing with their back towards the crowd. He could feel how three other people came closer to him, his mother, arm in arm with Toothiana, next to them North who looked up at the platform with a dark expression.
Together they watched how the last girl joined the others, all standing perfectly still- everyone was now looking up to the priest who nodded to his helpers. Two came forward, one was carrying the black, round urn where all the names were inside, the other one had a black piece of cloth in his hand- a blindfold. Bowing his head, the priest let his helper put the cloth around his eyes before standing still, hands demanding the urn.
The other helper came closer, placing the urn in front of the man before withdrawing respectfully. All eyes were now on the priest who slowly opened the closed urn, waiting for a short moment before letting one of his hands dive into it's inside to pull out one single, folded piece of paper.
It was so silent that Jack could practically hear his own, frantic heartbeat, pounding in his ears while he stared at the older man. He watched how he slowly took off the blindfold and handed it over to his helper, hands on the paper the man slowly opened it, his eyes wandering over the name written on it. In the next moment he looked up and spoke:
"Pippa Overland." The crowd sighed out in one breath before everyone started to murmur hectically and fast- but Jack could only stand there, frozen, feeling his heart pounding loud in his ears, fast and loud, too loud. No. that couldn't be. No. Not her. Not Pippa. Not his little sister.
He opened his mouth to scream, but all that came out was air. He could feel his mother starting to shake next to him, only supported by Toothiana holding her, while all he could do was to numbly stare how two of the men came down to get Pippa, who was trembling slightly, letting herself get pulled up the stairs, towards the big hall.
Just before they reached the door she turned her head one last time, eyes locking with Jack's, a silent help me screaming through them before the doors were shut behind them.
Jack had finally found his voice again, pushing through the crowd which got him a few irritated and angry looks, but he didn't pause, hearing how North called:
"Jack, wait! What are you doing? Wait!"
The brown haired teenager stormed up the stairs in hurried steps, wild determination burning in his heart. No, he wouldn't let his sister experience that. He didn't know what exactly happened in that night, what would all happen- but he knew he didn't wanted to let his sister go. Because she would break. And he wouldn't let that happen, never.
Over his dead body.
He slammed the door open, staring into a round of surprised faces, the village eldest and the priest who had a hand on Pippa's shoulder. Behind him he heard three more foot steps, but didn't turn around- he knew who it was- instead he stared at the others, face hard and determined.
The priest was the first to recover from the surprise and shock, snapping:
"Jack, what are you doing here? You are not allowed to come in here- not any longer after the choice! You know that we have to prepare her for tonight's offering-"
"No, not Pippa!", he exclaimed and straightened up, not avoiding the priest's angry glare.
"You can't go against it, it has been decided! Pippa shall be this annual tribute to Aster!"
"She is too young for this- this thing to happen to her!", Jack heatedly replied.
"You know very well how many girls have already been married at this age. This is not an argument I could let count."
"No! I won't let you take her away as a tribute! I refuse to let this happen!"
"We have no other choice, Jack! We have to bring this sacrifice, this offering to him, if not we'll incur his wrath! How can you dare to think you could take her away from her being chosen as a tribute? Do you think, that, just because she is your little sister she can be the expectation?
She was chosen, she is a young, pure maiden, a virgin, just like Aster desires it to be. It is a honor to be chosen as his tribute and brings wealth to your family, your sister can see herself as lucky to be chosen! Don't you know that? There is nothing you can change about it, so go now. Leave this place, you weren't allowed here anyway. And take your family with you. We have to prepare her for tonight."
With that, the priest turned around, still having Pippa's shoulder in his grip while guiding her to the examination room.
Jack yelled, thoughts racing in his head while desperately tried to come up with something to save Pippa from experiencing this. Of course he didn't want his village to get destroyed. But he also didn't want Pippa to go as a tribute. Not his precious little sister, who looked still so young in her sleep, who listened to his fairytales while huddling under the blanket.
Who giggled with the other girls at her age over the boys acting all silly- and having a small crush on one of them, a boy with honey colored hair and freckles who's father was a blacksmith. His Pippa, who was just starting to grasp, starting to realize, to slowly experience what love exactly was. He'll be damned if he let her be offered as a tribute.
His mind came to a hold, suddenly perfectly calm and in beat, a cool, icy determination in his eyes. There was only one thing he could do. He stepped forward, eyes fixed on the retreating priest before he took a deep breath and yelled:
"Then take me!"
Both the elders and the priest froze, turning around in surprise.
"What did you say?", the older man wanted to know, staring at him.
"I said, take me", the brown eyed male repeated slowly, staring back firmly.
"Take me instead of her. All you need is a virgin tribute, right? So, take me in her place."
His words were met with a shocked silence, everyone was staring at him with wide open mouths. The priest first recovered from the shock, slowly saying unbelieving:
"You are offering yourself instead of your sister? Voluntarily? To be a virgin tribute?"
"Yes", the teenager flatly replied, ignoring the quiet groan of horror made by his mother.
One of the elders, an older male, came closer, snapping:
"How can you even dare to think you could simply replace your sister? This was chosen by fate! Not to mention that you're a boy, a male! There has never been a male tribute before, and there won't be now! Why should our god Aster even want you?!"
The priest lifted his hand to silence the man's ranting, letting go of Pippa he slowly walked closer until he stood right in front of Jack, staring down at him with an intensive look. The younger male stared back firmly, never avoiding eye contact. The older man was silent for a few seconds before slowly asking:
"Do you know what this means? If you take your sister's place? It is not only that you are a boy- normally it is forbidden to change anything after the tribute has been chosen and can get you heavy punishment. It is normal that the tribute gets heavily courted after coming back, because of the piece of fertility magic being conveyed, the others would feel cheated and dishonored if you'd be the one who went."
He turned, staring at Pippa who's eyes flickered back between Jack, her mother and the priest, looking afraid and in panic.
"Your sister", he spoke,
"Would you give her away to one of the courting men or boys, if one of the proposals come from someone you'd like as her husband? After she comes back from her tribute night, in the following weeks or months?"
He snarled, biting a sharp reply:
"No. My mother and me- and my grandparents surely even less- would never force her to marry someone against her will. She should be the one to decide whom she wants to marry, fertility magic or not."
"Hmm...", the priest regarded him thoughtfully, eyes wandering up and down his body before returning to his face, staying there.
"Are you serious with this?"
"And you are aware of what that means for you? I couldn't let anyone know this, the village would make a turmoil- which means you and your family would have to stay absolutely silent over this. Tributes may be often married off rather quickly, but everyone knows that can also take place several years later if deemed right from the family."
He came closer to Jack, until their noses were almost touching, before the priest slowly spoke:
"If you take your sister's place and become the tribute...That means you have to go through everything a normal tribute would have to go through, too. Everything. No expectation, no mercy. Do you still agree?"
Jack didn't hesitate even for a second, immediately answering:
"Then it is decided. Jackson Overland Frost, I declare you as the new tribute, in place of your sister Pippa Overland. Come, follow me, we have to start with the test and preparations."
The brown haired teenager nodded, stiffly following the man towards the room where the test takes places.
"Wait, Jack!" His mother's voice made him freeze shortly, turning his head he looked at her. She was standing between North and Toothiana, Pippa being held by her, her light brown eyes fixed at Jack with a look mixed with fear and horror and something else he didn't understand.
She opened her mouth, but was unable to say anything, eyes never leaving Jack. And suddenly, he knew. He knew why she had been that pale, knew why she had acted strange yesterday- but it was too late to say anything. So all he could do was to smile one last time at his family before he was pulled into the test room.
The door closed with dull sound behind him, lock closing, making him swallow. But nevertheless he kept his head high, refusing to crumble under the looks of the elders and the priest who were all staring at him now intensely.
No one said anything for a while, until the priest broke the silence, saying clipped:
Jack stared at him, not sure if he had heard right.
"You heard me right. You are a tribute now, and to make sure you are really suited we have to examine your body."
The brown haired teenager swallowed, suddenly feeling like he had been trapped in a corner, about to get swallowed. He wasn't shy about his body- not that he ran around naked or anything, but to completely strip in front of the elders and the priest...But- he had no other choice. Nodding stiffly he started to open the strings which kept his shirt shut, taking off his vest before he pulled the shirt over his head.
Next were his pants. His fingers slid over his belt, quickly ripping it open to loosen his pants around his hips. They fell down and pooled around his ankles before he quickly kicked them off, grabbing his underwear to pull it down with one quick movement, stepping out of them to put them onto the pile of clothes next to him.
Now he was completely naked, bared to their eyes- and he could feel them, how they slowly wandered up and down his body, burning on his skin. He resisted the urge to curl up and hide his nakedness, nor did he cross his arms in front of his chest. Instead he concentrated on breathing slowly and even, to keep himself calm, lifting his chin in defense at their look.
One of the older man, a soft looking guy with a small beard was the first to speak:
"Well...I can't really say that he is less appealing or attractive than a female tribute. He doesn't look ugly in the least. He has...something which makes him stand out in a certain way, makes him...attractive and very...desirable. Don't you agree?"
One of the women nodded, eying Jack slowly, her eyes a grayish green:
"I agree with you. He might not be a girl- but the male body has his charms, too. He is still so young, and as far as I can see he has no visible flaw. He looks absolutely beautiful".
She stood up from her seat, walking closer to Jack, staring at his skin. The others followed, eying him from head to toe, but no one touched him- that was the priest's duty.
"Come here Jack", the older, gray haired man ordered him, waiting till he had stiffly walked to where the man had shown him to go. He was now standing right in front of the examination table, made of dark stone which had been worked on until it was as smooth as marble, shimmering dully.
"Lay down", he heard the man say and slowly did as he was told, his blood pounding in his ears as he laid down, shivering unwillingly at the coolness of the stone on his naked skin.
Breath. In. Out. In. Out.
He didn't want to loose control and instead focused on looking at the ceiling, seeing from the corners of his eyes how the priest had come closer until he now stood next to the table. Although he had mentally steeled himself for it he couldn't suppress the feeling of his skin crawling at the first touch of hands on his stomach, gritting his teeth. He was no stranger to his body, having explored it again and again with the curiosity of first a young child, then later that of a teenager, wanting to know how everything felt, moved, smelt.
He had touched himself, slowly, purposely, hidden in the woods, not only because it felt good and was kind of forbidden. But also because he had wanted to feel it, the way his skin would grow warmer with pleasure, the way his breath would go faster, the increasing pulse of his blood under his skin. But no one, no one had ever touched him. Somehow, this whole, secret checking out of the girls had rushed past him.
Sure, he had found a few to be pretty, hot even- but he had never tried to get closer to one of them. He had, secretly dreamed of this thing, called true love his mother had told him about. Painting himself daydreams in his mind where he spent time with the one he had found true love with. The only one he would let touch his body like this.
And now, a part of this small dream broke, disappearing with the priest's hands on him, testing, prodding and kneading him.
"Skin: a healthy, nice color, smooth to the touch expect his hands and feet. No scars", the priest listed, hand sliding along his arms, stomach, legs.
"Body is lean, but well muscled due his work, not too thin or too fat- just right. His body has no abnormity anywhere. His manhood is healthy looking, too, growth of pubic hair, but not too much- that can be shaved later."
Hands pressed against his manhood, and he almost, almost recoiled but forced himself to stay still. He wanted nothing more then to push those hands away which were now touching his most private parts. They wrapped around his cock, fondling his balls carefully in search for any abnormity and even pulled on his foreskin, making him hiss under his breath. But he stayed still, just letting his fists clench until his knuckles turned white at the disgust, fear and humiliation he felt.
"Nipples are normal, too, slightly rosy and appealing...".
The hands disappeared from his body, instead now touching his face.
"The hair is smooth and with a nice, virile color. Head shape is good, too. A straight nose, not too small, well formed cheekbones, forehead in right proportion...a firm, but not too big chin. Eyes are brown, like the hair, and not too far away from each other. Bigger then normal, but that looks good on him. The mouth..."
The hands now touched his mouth, urging him to open it, and despite the urge to simply bite into those fingers he didn't resist, opening his mouth willingly. The fingers slipped inside, making him almost choke, but he suppressed it, feeling how they touched his teeth and gum, pulling the lips down to get a better look.
"Teeth and gum look good, too, no cavity or anything. The lips...are perfectly balanced and not too thin, just full enough."
The hands pressed against his side and he obeyed, rolling until he was laying on his stomach, pressing his face against the cold stone. The hands now slid over his back, up and down, pressing down to see the way his muscles tensed in response before. They kneaded his shoulders before gliding over his neck, making him shudder slightly before they went lower and palmed his ass.
Jack stiffened slightly, taking in a deep breath before he forced himself to relax. He could feel how the hands traced the form of his ass, gripping it slightly to squeeze it before running down his thighs and calves.
"Back is strong and smooth like his front, no flaw. His behind is just perfectly shaped and firm, also very smooth and appealing...".
Finally the hands disappeared from his body and he let out a silent sigh of relief.
"Stand up now, Jack".
Breathing in shortly the brown haired climbed off the desk, already wanting to walk over to his clothes and put them back, but the priest's voice stopped him.
"We are not finished."
"What else?", he asked, staring at the older man, doing his best to suppress his anger and humiliation he felt.
"We have examined your body now and have deemed it as definitely worthy and appealing to be a tribute. But we haven't confirmed the most crucial part of being a tribute."
It took the younger male a moment to grasp what he was talking about before he almost flushed.
"I...I never had any...intimate encounters with girls, never. I never had...sex...".
He could still feel a light blush on his cheeks, making them just a hint redder then normally, but he still didn't avoid the eye contact with the priest.
"We know that", the gray haired man replied shortly,
"I could confirm this when I was examining your manhood and through your reactions. But I have to examine something else with you being a male tribute, so...Bend over."
"What?", Jack answered, staring at the older man in disbelief.
"You heard me right. You made your choice to go instead of your sister, so bend over now. You can use the table as a support."
"But...what do you need to...examine on me to make sure I'm a virgin?",
the teenager asked, stiffly standing there, noticing how the elders looked at each other, some slightly disgusted, others curious and interested, some others like they didn't care at all- and some even like they enjoyed it, watching him being treated like that. It made his skin crawl, even worse then during the first test.
" You are not stupid, you should have heard of this. It is basically the same with a girl. The only difference is that a male has only one opening which can be used like that. Now, bend over. We still have to bring you to the ritual washing and cleaning."
Jack wasn't stupid. Of course he knew what the priest was talking about. He had overheard sometimes how a groups of males talked about this, when a man wasn't particular interested in a woman. The giggling of two girls who whispered about how they had seen two men standing suspiciously close in a way that wasn't normal.
For one second he really thought about running away, but- no. he couldn't. He had made his choice. He was doing this for Pippa. The brown haired teenager took a deep breath before walking over to the table, bending over like he was told to. He buried his face into his arms, resisting the urge to bite into them when he felt the body of the priest behind, close enough to feel his body heat on his naked skin.
"Hand me that bottle." He closed his eyes, wanting nothing more then to shut anything out, diving into the comforting darkness. His only comfort was that he had spared Pippa from experiencing this.
" Spread your legs".
He did as he was told, opening his legs wide while fighting against the terrible feeling of total exposure. The sound of a bottle being opened, the click of a lid popping off- in the next moment two hands grabbed his ass cheeks to spread them apart. He was completely exposed now to the looks of the others, and it felt even worse then when he first had to strip his clothes. To know that all eyes were on this part of his body, a part he himself hadn't even ever seen closely...
His head throbbed, burning with heat, shame and utter humiliation, making him feel lightheaded and sick. One hand let go of his right ass cheek, fingers which felt unpleasant cool and slick slid down the cleft of his ass until they were right over his anus, his untouched opening. When the fingers touched it, pressing against it he couldn't help but react to it, his body immediately tensing up like a bow string.
"Relax, or it will hurt Jack", the priest's voice told him, sounding serious.
And although every cell in Jack's body rebelled against it- he forced himself to relax. He slowly breathed in and out, only concentrating on the tempo of his breath, the steady fill and deflate of his lungs, trying to not think about the hands on his most private parts. He actually managed to relax, feeling that his body had gone softer, not as tense as before and heard a distant "Good".
And that was the only warning he got before he felt something- the fingers- plunge into him.
/ NO! / He inwardly cried out, his eyes widening at the sensation. Immediately his body tensed up, legs wanting to close in reflex while his muscles fought against the intruder in such a private place. It burnt, to have something invading that place and he gasped into his arms, back arching up although he didn't wanted to. But although his body fought against this intrusion, the fingers didn't stop and continued to push deeper into him, spreading his insides with unrelenting violence.
At that moment he was glad to have hidden his face, because he couldn't keep his face from twisting in shame and pain, feeling his eyes sting with hot, angry tears. It hurt. It hurt, to be opened up like that, even if the fingers had been slicked before it barely helped, even when he tried to relax- it hurt. The feeling of them being inside him, forcing themselves deeper nearly made him cry out because it felt so wrong and painful.
But he didn't want to show it, how much it hurt him and how much he was fighting to not make a sound while his body fought against it. Instead he focused on his pulse, trying to count the single beats of his heart which was picking up it's pace. He could do this. He was strong.
He could endure th- arching up he almost bit in his arms, suppressing a hiss when the fingers forced themselves deeper, almost slipping in to the knuckles, trying to breath even. He could feel them inside him, moving around, feeling him from the inside, pushing, pressing against his inner walls. The brown haired male counted inside his head, one, two, threefourfivesixseveneightni neteneleventwelvethirteenfou rteensixteen-
In the next moment the fingers were pulled out in one move, slipping out of him. Jack almost hissed again, feeling his ass clench immediately after it before he managed to relax. Propping himself up he could hear how the priest said, towards the others:
"He is untouched- a virgin. We must now send him to his tribute preparations."
Without a further word the priest threw a cloth over Jack's shoulders and, grabbing his shoulder, guided him to the next room, followed by four helpers of him. The younger male followed without resistance, the feeling of humiliation and shame still inside him- because what else could he do? He had made his decision. The next room was down in the basement of the building, with black, smooth polished stone as the floor and an equal stone basin embedded into the floor.
A fire had already been lit, throwing flickering shadows onto the dark walls, a big caldron with water steaming inside it, another helper tending to it. Along the walls were several small shelves with different items put on them, cloths for drying, bottles with oils, dried herbs, petals and razors. The brown eyed teenager could only take a swift look before he was pulled towards the basin, watching how two helpers carried the heavy caldron to the basin.
Hot water sloshed into the basin, filling it rather quickly, then the two men walked over to the shelves and picked up several bottles of herbs and oils. The herbs were thrown into the water, accompanied by a few drops of oil, coloring the water in a light green while their smell filled the air. It was a strange smell, not one Jack had noticed before, of...life- he couldn't describe it any different- however only very, very light, barely noticeable. The cloth was taken off him and then he was put into the water, hands lowering him into it slowly.
At the first contact he hissed, it was hot, almost to the point of burning, but he sat down nevertheless, getting a bucket of it poured all over him. Coughing slightly he blinked through his wet hair and saw how the two men now knelt left and right from him, one saying:
"We will now begin with the ritual washing and cleaning of your body as a tribute."
With that they started, washing him slowly and thoroughly from head to toe, not sparing one part. Jack was barely able to stand it, how he was touched everywhere, not even allowed to wash himself. But he kept quiet and endured it, thinking of how he was doing it for Pippa.
Rather him then her.
But he still twitched back, caught of guard when he felt fingers once again prodding against his ass and already wanted to jump out. Having seemingly expected this, one man had gripped his arms carefully while the other patiently explained:
"We have to clean you here as well, so please don't fight."
Closing his eyes in defeat he gritted his teeth when he felt fingers entering him once again, not deeper then the priest who had done his examination. Though they were at least gentler then the priest himself who was standing in the corner of the room, watching silently, it was still humiliating to feel them cleaning him...inside there as well.
The washing took probably about a hour, then he was completely washed and clean, his pubic hair carefully shaved off. All this had happened with him slightly dazed, the hot water having numbed his mind a bit- but never enough to not forget the eyes watching him, seeing every part of him. As soon as his feet were on the ground he immediately got dried of any water before he was wrapped into another cloth and guided to the next room.
The room had the same polished stone floor, but instead of a basin there was a couch to lay on, also with shelves and bottles on them.
"Lay down here", the men ordered him, taking of the cloth and putting it over the couch instead where he laid down.
And again he forced himself still, enduring the alien hands on his body which applied a golden oil everywhere onto his skin before they took out bottles with different colors. He stared at the ceiling, listening to the song of fertility sung by the priest and his helpers while the gray haired man put a brush into the colors, beginning to paint on his skin.
The colors were cool and slightly dogged, getting more liquid with the warmth of his skin. The brush glided over his skin, in graceful curves, first in a dark green and then blue, around his navel and on his loins. They formed a pattern of petals, a symbol of fertility combined with the symbol for virginity. He had to wait half an hour until the color had dried and wouldn't get erased that quickly before he had to roll over onto his stomach, getting similar patterns onto his back till short over his ass.
Another half hour to wait, then he was pulled up and clothed, wrapped into the robes of a virgin tribute. It consisted of loose pants which ended shortly below his knees, showing his caves and ankles . It was followed by a long sleeved, white tunic which had a cut-out running down till his navel, exposing the painting on his loins and being held by a cloth belt in blue.
The clothes were of a precious, smooth cloth he had never worn before, feeling light on his skin. The last thing he got was a coat with a hood, made with a heavier, rougher cloth then the others. It was adorned on the seam with elegant , blue swirls and hold closed on his chest with a silver brooch in form of a sickle moon. They were all completely white, the color of purity and that of a virgin. The only ornaments he got were cloth bands in blue, bound around his wrists, the painting on his lower body and back and a delicate, silver chain with one bell around his left ankle.
"You have been prepared as tribute Jack, we will now guide you to the forest - but only to it's begin. No one else except the tribute is allowed to enter it tonight."
The priest, after one last look up and down Jack's body, placed a painted egg into his hands before stepping back a bit.
"What is this for?", the younger male asked, staring at the thing in his hands. It was smooth and beautifully painted- but he knew it was from no one in the village. He had seen more then enough egg designs to know this pattern- delicate, but strong and vivid- was from someone else.
"This", the priest explained, "This is an egg our god Aster himself has given to us, for his tribute. With this he will find you and know you are the tribute of our village."
The brown haired teenager nodded, a sinking feeling in his stomach, but before he could think any longer about this egg, made by Aster himself he was pulled forward, the priest and his helpers placing him in the middle of their little group. It was already dark now, the only light was the lamp one of the helpers was carrying while they wandered towards the forest on a trail far aside from the village- no one was allowed to watch how the tribute was brought to the forest.
The priest sung a a song for their god Aster, asking him to accept Jack as a tribute and fill the village with life while they walked, until they finally reached the woods. The forest hovered in front of them now, making Jack swallow. He had never been afraid of the forest before, whether it was day or night, but this- this was different. Tonight he wouldn't go for fun or to prove his courage. Tonight he would offer himself to their fertility god.
"From here on you have to go alone", the priest said, eying him for a moment before continuing:
"Walk until you reach the glade in the heart of the forest. Then you'll have to kneel down and wait, with the egg in your hands. He will find you."
He shortly bowed his head, straightening up before he looked at Jack, coming closer:
"It is one night only- but to you it won't seem like that. This one night will be like a whole week to you. I wish you farewell Jackson Overland Frost, may the spring's breath of life flow into you strongly."
He turned around and disappeared into the darkness, followed by his helpers, back to the village. Jack stood still and watched them until he couldn't see the light anymore, the only light he now had was that of the stars and the moon. Throwing one, last look at the village far away he slowly turned around and stared at the forest.
"I won't run away. I won't break. I won't fall", he whispered, before slowly lifting his feet and starting to walk into the forest.
It was even darker inside, shadows of the trees on the ground. The grass was cool and felt like silk under his naked feet which made no sound, except the delicate chiming of the bell on his ankle while he walked further and further. He didn't know how long he had walked, but after a while he finally reached the grade which opened up in front of him, small and silver illuminated by the moonlight. Looking around slowly he walked to the middle of it before he sat down, kneeling like he was told to with the egg in his hands.
He was scared. The blood was pounding in his ears, in his head, making him feel dizzy and vulnerable while he tried to stay calm. But it didn't work. The fear clouded his mind, making him feel small and delicate, nausea filling his stomach while his fingers trembled, barely able to keep themselves from destroying the egg. He was so nervous by now that he felt hypersensitive, twitching at every sound, every movement around him in the forest, his breath going faster with every minute.
He didn't want to be here- he wanted nothing more then to run away, back to the village and hide in his bed. But he couldn't. He couldn't let himself do this- he had made his decision.
/ I won't run away. I won't break. I won't fall /.
His own words echoed through his head, making him grit his teeth before he inwardly slapped himself, lifting his head.
"Pull yourself together Jack", he murmured to himself, "You are strong."
He straightened up a bit, taking a deep breath before he closed his eyes, shortly thinking of his sister. He had to do this, go through this. He could do this. He would do this. He listened to the sound of the forest, the rustling of the leaves, the steps of wild animals wandering through, the wind stroking through it, calming down slowly.
Again and again he whispered these three short sentences to himself like a mantra, eyes closed with the hood over his head, the wind caressing his face softly. He didn't know how long he had been sitting there, body lax and soft, when he heard something.
Jack's whole body went rigid and his blood froze in his veins, his back stiffened but he forced himself to keep his eyes shut. He could feel something, someone, a presence- the presence of a being he had never encountered. His breath got faster unwillingly while his heart, just having calmed down a while ago, picked up it's pace again, pounding in his chest. He suddenly felt very small and...breakable.
The presence of that someone was overwhelming, a heavy pressure which made him want to run immediately, run and hide, scaring him like nothing else had ever before. This was not the present of a normal human or any other living being- this was that of a god. Not only his presence- there was a smell around him that made him feel strange, while it wasn't that forceful he kind of felt...attracted to it. But also scared.
What was wrong with him?! That smell pulsed of life, heavy and yet light, of the forest and it's plants, mixed with a hint of...fur, earth and...blood. Nothing like one of those really expensive perfumes his grandfather had once shown him, the almost sickly sweet smell of flowers- he hadn't really liked them.
And yet, this smell...Slowly with a dry mouth, he lifted his head while kneeling, holding the egg openly, hesitating, feeling how eyes were staring at him. Only then he dared to open his eyes, staring into the shadows in front of him.
His heart hammering in his chest he stared, freezing when he made out the shape of something very big in front of him, a pair of green eyes which directly stared into his.
He was here.
Aster, the god of fertility.
He had come to get his tribute.
So, how did you like it?
Yes, I know, always the same question...
Normally I don't write non-con, and this will be my first try-
but what do you think so far?
Good? Bad? Terrible? Too OOC?
Tell me what you think and if I should continue this along the way while working on 'Infected'.
(And for everyone who's wondering, no, I didn't STEAL this. If you noticed, the beginning is the same as that fill of ink_eyed_stranger789. Well, that's because it's me, I'm the same person).
Your author Kamo-chan