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Corina White had agreed to it. When the witches of the Everlight Coven came to her with an offer, telling her that if she agreed to be a sacrifice in their ritual, she would gain powers, Corina had been expecting it. She knew it was going to happen. Her father had told her story after story about the Everlight Coven, about how they worshiped dark Gods, how they had to give a sacrifice every twenty years to appease them.
He told Corina about her mother, and how she gave herself to them to be part of the ritual, and the amazing powers she got from it. And then, how she disappeared one day, and never came back. His stories were meant to prepare her for their arrival, and to warn her that it might not end well. Her grandmother, who told her that it was in her family’s blood to be given to them—the women, that is—would roll her eyes when Corina’s father went off on a tangent about how they were dangerous. When he was done, she would tell Corina that everything would be fine. Her mother was an anomaly, and they couldn’t be sure her disappearance had anything to do with the Everlight Coven, anyway.
So, when a woman from the Coven came to her door, Corina knew what was going to happen. When the woman—Brianne—told her that the process would be quick and simple; a little bit of her blood, a little chanting, and boom! Corina would have powers beyond belief, Corina smiled. Then, she agreed to it.
Now she stands in a forest in the middle of a sigil drawn in the dirt. She isn’t sure what exactly the symbol is, but it has seven points, which seven of the witches stand at. She was given a pretty black dress to wear, and the lace around the collar scratches at her collarbones. It’s cold.
As far as she can tell, the ritual is going smoothly. Her bare feet sink a bit into the slightly damp forest floor as she waits. It’s all very boring. But, going as expected. After a couple more minutes of just standing, Corina thinks that, surely, they have to be reaching the end, right? And then a wave of dizziness washes over her.
That’s normal, right? Side effects from being part of a dark ritual? Corina doesn’t say anything about it.
And then it happens again, this time accompanied by a rush of drowsiness.
Okay. Odd. But it’s probably just because it’s so late.
Everything is going exactly to plan, everything is exactly how her grandmother described. Until it isn’t. Until she feels herself falling backward, the drowsiness taking over her, and then she succumbs to sleep.
Corina opens her eyes to darkness. She blinks a couple times to make sure it’s not a fluke, but still finds pitch black. This definitely isn't part of the plan. She inhales the scent of dirt, and exhales panic. She brings her hands up to feel soft fabric above her, then down to feel smooth wood beside her. She’s underground. She’s in a coffin.
They’ve buried her alive.
She swallows down her panic, and instead feels around. It’s spacious, so ten points for them for considering her comfort, or something. Her fingers dance across something soft. Further feeling in the dark leads her to the conclusion that it’s a coat.
“Ha!” She laughs aloud, just because she can, and partly to calm herself down. “They bury me alive and don’t even bother to give me my own coffin? Wow!”
Minus ten points for that.
Corina is about to put all those movies of people digging out of their coffins to the test when suddenly there’s light. A soft glowing in the middle of the coffin. When she looks over to see who’s beside her, she finds a fully intact woman. Her eyes are still closed—painted with glittery black eye-shadow.
Corina reaches out as best she can to touch the woman’s cheek, maybe wake her up, but before she can her eyes open suddenly. Corina gasps.
“Don’t worry. I’m not going to hurt you.” The woman says, her voice barely above a whisper.
“Uh, that’s good. A very good start.” Corina says, then, “Morning, by the way.”
The woman looks at her curiously. “Are you not scared?”
Corina shakes her head, “I’m a little weirded out, but if this is how I die there’s not much I can do about it.”
Corina had grown up with weird. She'd grown up with all manner of odd stories. Plus, she prides herself on being able to keep her cool in situations most people would be panicking in.
The woman’s brow furrows, Corina imagines she’d be tilting her head in confusion if she could. She asks, “What’s your name?”
“Rydel.” She smiles.
“Interesting name,” Corina says.
“Thank you,” Rydel says, then, “You’re not going to die, by the way.”
“I’m not?” Corina asks, “Cause I thought the whole being buried alive was a pretty good indicator.”
Rydel laughs lightly, “My people will be coming for us soon. Should be here any moment.”
“You’re people?” Corina laughs, “You have people?”
Rydel nods. This encounter is already way too strange for Corina, but at the same time very intriguing. She wasn't expecting this, but she'll definitely see where it goes. Rydel is a twist Corina is very invested in.
Corina shakes her head, “Who are you?”
“I’m the God the Everlight Coven we're praying to. And you’re my sacrifice.”
In all of her wondering about what kind of dark God the Everlight Coven worshiped, Corina never imagined this. Rydel. Corina was speechless after the revelation—something that is very out of the ordinary for her—so they just sat in silence until Rydel’s disciples started digging them up. And then the coffin was opened, and Corina looked around at an unfamiliar place. A world that looked normal enough, but felt unlike her own. Rydel had offered her hand, and helped Corina out of the coffin, and then she was led to a castle-like home.
Now she stands on a large balcony. She’s still reeling from everything, but now she has time to get her thoughts in order.
- She had agreed to be part of a dark ritual in order to gain powers and appease a God.
- The Everlight Coven buried her underground.
- The God she was trying to help appease was underground with her.
- What else does she know? She was offered up as a sacrifice. Rydel is the God she was sacrificed to. Now she’s here, in what Corina can only assume is a different world or dimension or plane of existence.
The moon is blood red against a black sky.
Corina can see a swirl of stars and constellations from here. Some of the stars—or maybe they’re planets?—are different colors. Blue, red, purple, yellow, it’s a whole rainbow color up in the sky. It’s too pretty for a death dimension, Corina decides.
“Miss?” Someone interrupts her. “Dinner is ready.”
Corina nods, takes one last look at the sky, and follows the lady inside.
When she first got into the castle she was left to explore on her own.
“Nothing is off-limits.” Rydel said, and Corina wanted to laugh and make a Beauty and the Beast joke, but she was too disoriented to do so. It didn’t take long for her to find the balcony, and she didn’t feel like exploring much after she did. Now, still in her black dress that smells of earth and smoke, she walks through the castle. The interior is black and sharp—parts of the walls jut out with sharp ends. There’s hardly a smooth space, and Corina makes a mental note to stay away from the walls. The floor is a smooth red marble, and it feels a bit wrong to be walking on it barefoot.
There’s all manner of decoration around; art Corina has never seen, plants, portraits, bells, jewels. The whole place looks like the perfect mark for a thief. The lady Corina follows opens up tall dark doors, and inside Rydel is sitting at a table filled with all sorts of foods. She smiles when Corina walks in, and gestures for her to sit, so she does. A thanks to the lady, and then they’re left alone.
“I’m sure you have many questions,” Rydel starts.
Corina nods, “Uh. Just a few, I guess. The first being, where are we?”
“Edelya. My home. A sort of, what you would call, hell dimension.”
"And you're the God of what?" She picks up her glass of what looks like wine, sniffs it, then thinks better of it, and puts the glass down.
"Some say I'm the God of death. Others say power," She shrugs, takes a bite of her food.
"Which one would you agree with?" Corina asks with a smirk.
"Those who say I'm the God of death," Rydel says, shooting back a smile.
“So, you're a death God, and I'm...”
“My sacrifice,” She says pleasantly.
“Which means, what, exactly?” Corina questions.
“Which means you will remain here, with me,” Rydel says.
“You know this counts as kidnapping, right?” She stage whispers it, sort of joking, and leans back in her chair.
Rydel has dark red hair and dull yellow eyes. She has an almost grey skin tone, a round face, and full eyebrows. Corina doesn't think she could stay here indefinitely, she'd like to go back home, but a little exploration while she's here wouldn't hurt too much...
A look of confusion crosses Rydel's face, so Corina clarifies, “You took me from my home, and are keeping me here against my will.”
Rydel frowns, “Well, I suppose we could split it up then. I can give you six months to be back in your dimension, to see your friends and family. The other six you will be here.”
Corina smirks, “That only applies if I eat the pomegranate seeds, right?”
“I’m sorry?” Corina wants to laugh at how confused she is. It’s kind of cute. If dark Gods can be cute.
“Hades and Persephone? You know, she ate the seeds, and had to stay six months of every year?” Corina supplies.
Clarity dawns on Rydel. “Ah, the Greeks! Silly people with silly stories,” She waves a hand dismissively, “Well, I suppose their Gods are a bit silly as well, so maybe those stories have some merit… You know what Gods were great? The Egyptian’s. Oh! Now, those were some Gods with real power! But, you know who’re my favorite? The Norse. Those guys really know how to party.”
Corina shakes her head with a baffled smile on her face. Then asks, “So what pantheon are you from?”
Rydel waves another hand and shakes her head, “None of them. I and my fellow Gods are more solitary. I spoke to a few mortals some centuries back, and now they’re the Everlight Coven. I keep them safe, and in return they give me sacrifices and gifts.
“You know, Gods die when they’re not worshiped. The Egyptian’s and Greek’s will live on forever, because their worshippers wrote stories about them, but the Gods who didn’t get that have to find others to keep themselves alive.”
“How does one become a God?” Corina asks.
Rydel shrugs, “There are many ways.”
Okay, no bite there.
“Why my family? Why are we the ones used in the ritual?” Do you know what happened to my mom? Were you part of it?
“Oh, ancient, petty God stuff. It’s irrelevant now.” Rydel says, folding her hands together. “You haven’t eaten anything.”
“I’ve read enough stories to know not to eat or drink anything in another dimension,” Corina says. “I’d still like to be able to leave here, you know.”
Rydel tilts her head, like that’s a foreign concept to her, and then she says, “Why would you want to leave?”
“Well, I agreed to be part of a ritual to appease you, to gain some powers for myself, but I never agreed to be prisoner in a God’s dimension. No offense, but I don’t know you, and moving in is a big step,” Corina says.
“You would stay if you knew me better?” Rydel asks.
Corina nods, “I mean, if you don’t turn out to be creepy or weird—if you don’t end up a sadistic person, then yeah. Currently you seem cool, but I have no idea how you’ll seem when we’re living together forever. I’m not a 'buy a U-Haul on the first date' kind of gal.”
“You are so odd,” Rydel smiles.
Corina shrugs, “Well, look, you’re a pretty God, and you live in a castle. That’s wicked cool! Supposedly you’ve given me powers through that ritual, so that’s a great present for a first date. But, I have to live my own life before I settle down. And, also, you haven’t told me what I’d be doing here.”
“You’d live in luxury, your days would be yours,” Rydel says.
“See, that’s not going to work for me. I gotta have something to do. Will I rule beside you as your queen or do you already have one, or a king? Will I be your concubine? Some random girl in your castle? Will I have responsibilities and duties or are you going to leave me to wander around the castle in boredom all day? These are the types of things you have to think about before you kidnap a girl,” Corina explains.
Rydel looks taken aback, “I—I’ve never had to answer these questions before.”
“That’s another thing I wanted to ask! Is this sacrifice thing common? Will there be another woman in a couple months? Or are you going to wait till I die? My grandmother never mentioned anything about this, so I’m assuming your sacrifices don’t always have to be from my family. So does that mean in a couple months I’ll have a sister wife?”
Rydel closes her eyes and lifts a hand, “There won’t be another sacrifice. I—I have to think about these questions more thoroughly.”
“And in the meantime?” Corina asks.
“Eat your food. I will send you home when you’re done.” She says.
Corina White stands in front of a coffin outside of the castle. The same one she climbed out of only hours ago. Rydel stands in front of her, hands interlaced.
“You're really just going to let your sacrifice go home?” Corina jokes.
Rydel nods, “I will come to you when I have something to offer. And then I will court you—I believe that is what you do in your dimension?”
Corina smiles, “Yeah it is.”
Rydel nods. “If I successfully win your heart, we’ll move forward from there.”
Corina holds out her hand and Rydel takes it, doesn’t shake it, but holds it up to her lips to kiss Corina’s knuckles. A smile tugs at the corner of her mouth as her stomach flips.
“Oh, hey,” Corina says as she takes her hand away, “I forgot to ask, what powers did you give me?”
Rydel shrugs, “I don’t know. I gave you a spark of power, whatever comes from it is entirely dependent on you.”
Corina hums, and with that, steps into the coffin. As the door shuts over her, she feels a thrill of excitement run through her.