The Golden Ball of Usan Maragek, Creator of the Infinite and Supreme God of the Land Between the Rivers, was settling slowly into the western sky. Soon Ensa Hagek, the night goddess, would shine her brilliant white eye, almost fully open at this time of the month, down onto the world.
For me it was a wonderful time. I was the thirteenth son, out of seventeen total children, of the great and mighty King Garurek-Shesh, master of the mortal realm that lay between the rivers Tarsee and Eraskee. I could look forward to a life of privilege. I would fight along side the men of the kingdom against our enemies. I would marry a comely girl. I would have many children and a palace of my own.
The gods, however, had other ideas.
My father had ordered me into his presence just as the sun began to set. I seldom was in the same room as him, and was pleased that I'd be able to see him again. I wondered what was going on, and why he wanted to see me. I was still young. Only thirteen years of age. I hadn't done anything important yet. Why would he want to see me?
When I got to the Throne Room a eunuch went in to announce my arrival. As the doors opened, I dropped down and crawled into the room, throwing myself completely flat onto the ground when I reached the throne itself.
"Great King Garurek-Shesh. Mighty ruler Garurek-Shesh. Great master of the land Garurek-Shesh. I, your humble, worthless son, am here as you bid."
"Arise, Kolisharu, and gaze unto the face of your father," came the great rumbling voice.
I stood and looked upon my father. He was a strong, powerful man of some fifty years. His hair was going to grey and he had a bit of a squint, but I still knew he was stronger than any other man in the kingdom. How could it be otherwise, when the gods placed him on the throne?
Standing near my father was Tolakhos, the aged high priest. He'd served my father loyally for years. It wasn't totally unusual to see them together, but I did wonder why he was here.
"My son," my father began. "You are aware of the drought."
"Yes, great king," I replied. For the last two years the annual inundations of the rivers hadn't been what they normally were. To make matters worse, the rains that usually soaked our land had been less than a third of their normal volume. Crops were failing and we were having to spend more and more of our wealth to bring food in from other kingdoms.
"This is not a satisfactory situation," my father continued. "I have instructed Tolakhos to work night and day in an attempt to intercede with the gods on our behalf. After working, talking, praying and sacrificing he has not yet produced the water we so desperately need."
"My failure does not reflect on the wisdom of the king," Tolakhos put in quickly. "But rather on myself for my lack of piety."
"Indeed," Garurek-Shesh said with a nod. There could be no other reason, after all. "At any rate, Tolakhos has suggested one final idea. One last way for us to contact the gods and beg them for what we need. A way that involves you."
My chest swelling with pride, I said, "I live only to serve you and the kingdom, sire. Please tell me what I might do to help in this dark time."
"Tolakhos has determined that it is necessary to send an emissary to the gods. Someone of the royal blood. I have decided that you will be my agent in this. You will, the dawn after the next, go to the top of the Great Ziggurat and be sent into the next world that you might speak with Ensa Husapeki, appealing to her as the goddess of agriculture to help us in our time of need."
I dropped to my knees, overwhelmed by the honor my father was suggesting. "You... my lord... my king... my father... you would do me the honor of sending me to the gods?"
I darted forward and kissed my father's toes. "Oh, Great King! Oh, Wise King! I am a mere insect under your sandal and not deserving of such a great honor as this!"
My father rose and put his hand under my chin, lifting my face up to look at him. He smiled down at me. "You are, my son. You have not yet killed a man. You have not yet fought in any battles. You have not yet made your First Tribute to Usa Haragri. You have not yet done anything worthy of a great poem. But you shall. You shall in this turn your name into one that shall live forever." He slammed his staff onto the floor. "So I, King Garurek-Shesh command!"
"Thank you, father. Thank you," I whispered, feeling tears pour from my eyes. "I will not let you down. I WILL NOT. I will speak with the gods. I will get us the water we need."
"Thank you, my son." He put his hand on the top of my head. "You shall take with you into the next life your sister, Parathaea. She has much of her mother in her and will be of great assistance to you in the land of the gods."
"Thank you, my father. My king. My lord."
"Now go with Tolakhos, that he might inform you of everything you need to know before your journey to see the gods."
"Yes, father. Thank you, father." Tolakhos helped me to my feet and we made our way out of the Throne Room and into the hall.
"You are greatly honored, Kolisharu," Tolakhos said.
"I know this. My father... I cannot believe he will allow me to be the one!"
Tolakhos smiled. "He has great faith in you."
As we walked through the palace, Tolakhos explained to me what would happen in the next couple days.
"First," he began. "You and your sister Parathaea will be married tomorrow at dawn. After the ceremony you shall go to the Marriage Room, lay her down on the Blessed Sheet of the fertility goddess, Ensa Ilahumek, and make your First Tribute to our fertility god, Usa Haragir. Your sister in turn shall make her First Tribute to Ensa Ilahumek."
"Alright," I said with a nod.
"When your Soldier has breached her Gate for the time," he continued, "there shall be blood. That blood shall stain the sheet. After you are finished with your First Tribute, you shall bring the sheet out to the balcony, that it may be shown to all so that they may seen that the Tributes are done."
I said nothing, but merely nodded again. I wondered what the First Tribute would be like. Everyone said making Tributes to the god and goddess was a wonderful, amazing thing. I couldn't wait to experience it!
Tolakhos and I turned a corner and kept walking. "After that is done, you two shall remain sequestered in the Marriage Room for the remainder of the day. You will probably spend most of this time in Tribute to the Deities. Then when the Eye of Ensa Hagek has reached its highest point in the sky, you shall use a knife to send your sister-wife into the next world."
I nodded again, uncertain what to say to that.
"I know it sounds difficult, but it really isn't," Tolakhos said. "All you do is take the knife and plunge it hard into her chest. Right in the middle." He placed his hand on my own bare chest. Like most every boy in the Kingdom, I was nude more often than not. "Right here. Drive it in as hard as you can and you can send her into the next world with little pain."
"Is that how you'll be sending me?" I asked.
Tolakhos shook his head. "We do it differently in your case. We shall place you on the altar on the top of the Great Ziggurat. Then I remove your heart and your essence goes to the gods."
"I can't wait," I said with a smile.
Tolakhos smiled in return. "To be an emissary to the gods is a great honor." He continued to walk and talk. "After you have sent your sister ahead, you must inform me. I shall be waiting outside the door. Then some time later, I shall have you make one last Tribute with her. Your essence being left in her body at that point shall make sure that, rather than simply going to the next life, she accompanies you on your mission to the gods."
"Now!" Tolakhos said, clapping his hands together. "Let's go to the Temple and get you ready for tomorrow."
* * *
The marriage ceremony was long and dull. Frankly, it threatened to put me to sleep. If it weren't for the fact that I knew I'd be among the gods soon, it would have. I sneaked a quick glance towards my soon-to-be bride.
Parathaea was glad in a small white kilt that exposed her breasts, such as they were. The blessings of Ensa Ilahumek had not yet began to firmly take hold. Her chest was just slightly puffed out, but not fully grown yet.
Likewise, I stood wearing a similar kilt that showed what little body development I'd gone through. I'd started to get the blessings of Usa Haragir, so I'd developed a small amount of hair where there'd been none before and at night, when I pleasured myself, the essence of Usa Haragir, that which would join with the essence of Ensa Ilahumek in order to make a child, had began to flow.
We stood there while Tolakhos performed the ceremony. There weren't many people around. Only our parents, some of the dignitaries of the government and the priests. Always there were priests.
The ceremony went on for more than an hour. Mostly it consisted of Tolakhos asking each individual god to give his or her blessings upon our union. I thought it was pretty boring, but given that in about a day I'd be with these gods, I guessed it was probably acceptable.
"Finally," Tolakhos droned, "I call upon Rash-Hataar, the Fire God left to us by the Kammerians, to give his blessing upon this union and make it good in the eyes of our lords."
As a group we all turned towards the fire that was burning on the altar. We'd fought a great war with the Kammerians a century ago. As part of the peace, we'd given them our fire god, Ensa Garaguk, and received their fire god, Rash-Hataar. No one knew what the gods thought of this, but since we were all still alive, they probably approved.
The fire, which had been burning low, flared up into life, and it seemed that a face appeared in the flames. A great mouth opened, and in our heads the words echoed forth.
:IT IS SO!:
And the fire died completely.
Tolakhos bowed with great respect towards the last wisps of smoke, and then turned towards my father.
"With the final blessing of the King, I shall confirm this union."
King Garurek-Shesh slammed his spear upon the ground and said, "My will be done!"
"Then I hereby pronounce you husband and wife, brother and sister, children of the King and emissaries to the gods. May it be good."
"May it be good!" echoed the crowed.
My sister and I turned towards each other. We hadn't seen much of each other during the last year or so. Normally when the fertility deities start to grant their blessings, boys and girls are separated. She smiled shyly at me, and I leaned forward to kiss her as I was meant to. A great cheer went up from the assembled mass.
I took my sister's hand and guided her towards the marriage suite, where she would spend the rest of her mortal life and I would spend most of the rest of mine. The guests of the wedding followed after us, cheering, laughing and shouting advice to us. Once we were inside the room, I drew back the heavy curtain, closing us off from everyone outside, and then stood there, looking around.
It was a lavishly furnished room. There were two comfortable looking benches with furs covering them, a large fire pit, a selection of food on a table, and a very large bed. According to tradition it would be stuffed with straw from the most recent harvest. Much more comfortable than a stone slab with a blanket covering it.
And on the bed, laying there for Parathaea and I to see, was a big, pure white, sheet.
I looked at she who was my sister and was now also my wife. "Well..." I swallowed a little, feeling nervous about making my first Tribute. "Let's get started."
"Alright," Parathaea said as she removed her kilt and climbed up onto the bed. "Have you made Tribute before, Kolisharu?"
"Nor have I. I hear it's pretty easy, though."
"It should be," I said as I tossed my kilt aside. "Tolakhos gave me some advice on how best to do it."
Following said advice, I got between my sister's legs and looked at what was splayed out before me. I'd never seen the Gates of Ensa Ilahumek up close before. She still had no hair down there, which I knew girls got once the goddess had blessed them. Still, it was enough to make my warrior stand at attention. There was a small jar of oil next to the bed. I dipped my fingers into it and rubbed it all over my Soldier of Usa Haragir. Then I took some more and rubbed it into my sister's Gate. The feeling of her skin around my finger as I did so was wonderful! I couldn't wait to be inside her.
I wiped my fingers on the edge of the sheet and positioned myself over my sister, touching my Soldier to her Gate. I looked into her eyes.
"Are you ready?"
She closed her eyes and nodded.
I pressed the helmet of my warrior up to the entrance to Parathaea's gate. When I was certain that I was in the right place, I gave a little push and was rewarded with a wonderful sensation as the first part of me entered her.
Then I hit the Gate itself, the blockage that I knew to expect. Like any good commander I knew that the only way to take down a locked gate was with a good battering ram, so I pulled back, took a deep breath, and pushed forward with all my might. Parathaea let out a quiet scream as I broke into her passage.
I gave a couple more pushes to make sure that I was completely embedded within her. As I felt my body contact her I knew that my thirteen-year-old penis was buried inside my sister's twelve-year-old vagina. I was inside her. We were united. There was no turning back now.
Ignoring the little whimpers of discomfort that were coming from my sister, I started thrusting, sliding my Soldier around inside her Gate like I was meant to. I had never known such pleasure, such bliss! It was no wonder that making Tribute was supposed to be one of the best things in the world! A true gift from the gods. I'd have to make sure to thank them when I met them tomorrow.
As I continued to make Tribute with my sister, her moans of pain began to turn more into sounds of pleasure. This was good. After all, a gift like this from the gods was meant to be enjoyed by men and women both.
Finally my thrusting reached its crescendo. I pushed harder and faster into my little sister's body, feeling the best sensations of my life. Then I started to grunt and moan as deep within her my Soldier completed his duty, spurting out my Essence of Usa Haragir. When I was emptied, I laid on top of her, breathing hard.
I'd entered my sister's body as a boy. But now as I pulled out of her, I was a man.
Looking down I could see some blood between her legs. I smiled. My Soldier, like any good warrior, had been bloodied in combat. Thankfully some of it got onto the white sheet. I got to my feet, my sister along with me, and took it to the balcony. I pulled the curtain aside and my sister and I stood there, gloriously nude, blood still dripping down her leg. I unfurled the sheet and the crowd bellow let out a loud cheer. We'd done our jobs well.
From the other side of the curtain, I heard the sound of Tolakhos calling me. I walked over to there, bringing the sheet with me.
"You have done well, Kolisharu," the old priest said.
"Thank you." I passed him the bloodied sheet. He handed me a new one and a very sharp knife.
"Us the knife when the Eye of Ensa Hagek shines through the portal above."
"I will. Thank you."
"Enjoy the rest of your night with your sister-wife."
I closed the curtain there and the one at the balcony and walked to where Parathaea was sitting. She was down on the floor, an old bit of cloth held between her legs.
"Has the blood stopped?"
I crouched down next to her. "I'm sorry it had to hurt."
She shrugged. "It's what Ensa Ilahumek, in her wisdom, has decreed." A little fire flashed in my sister's eyes. "Remind me to ask her about that when we see her."
I laughed. "I shall. Now bring me something to drink and something to eat."
"Yes, my husband."
Parathaea brought me some beer and some bread. I ate and drank and then shared some of it with her. Then she began to place the new sheet onto the bed. While she did, I looked her nude body over and noticed how beautiful she was. This made my Soldier stand at attention.
"I want to make Tribute again," I announced.
"Alright." Parathaea laid down on the bed and spread her legs once more.
I got on top of my sister and entered her body once more, savoring the warm sensation of her Gate welcoming my Soldier. As I began to thrust, I kissed her on the mouth and on the breasts, both of which she seemed to enjoy. She put her hands onto my hips and then moved them onto my buttocks as I kept moving within her. I was happy I was making her feel good again.
Parathaea and I made Tribute with each other eight times during the next several hours. She showed me what it was like with her on top and with her down on all knees with me entering her from behind. I was happy and content and in no hurry at all to change this happy state of affairs.
But then, late that night, we were both looking up at the hole in the top of the room as the Eye of Ensa Hagek started to shine into the room. I looked at Parathaea.
"It is time, my sister. It is time, my wife."
"Very well." She moved over and laid down on the bed, straw crumpling under her wonderful naked body. "I shall see you in the next world, my brother. I cannot wait to be with you again, my husband."
I moved over towards my sister and stood by the bed. I brushed some hair back from her face and gave her a little kiss. Then I placed the knife between her breasts. I pulled the knife back, whispered a prayer, and with all my strength I stabbed the knife down into Parathaea's body, feeling the skin, the blood, the bones, the muscles, everything moving aside to accommodate my thrusting bit of metal.
I kept my hand on the knife and looked into my sister's eyes. She opened her mouth, turned her head towards me, tired to say something, and then went into the next word. I kept the knife inside her body as I counted to ninety-nine, the sacred number. Then I pulled the blade out, happy to see no real blood flow. That done, I walked over to the curtain and pulled it aside, not surprised to see Tolakhos standing there.
"It is done," I said, handing him the knife.
He came into the room and examined my sister's body. I felt a vague surge of jealous as he probed around, looking for any signs of life. When he saw none, he stood up with a satisfied grunt.
"You will make Tribute with her one last time, just before dawn. Then you shall be taken from here and you will be sent to join her."
I smiled. "I look forward to the honor."
Tolakhos smiled in turn. "Spend the rest of your time in prayer, Kolisharu. I shall fetch you at dawn."
The priest left and I moved to the center of the room. I ate some of the food, drank some of the beer and then sat down to pray to the gods that I would soon be standing along side of. I wondered if my sister had felt any pain when I'd plunged the knife into her. I wondered if I'd feel any pain when Tolakhos cut out my heart. I shrugged. It didn't matter. The pain was temporary. The honor of saving my people would echo for eternity.
Shortly before dawn, I rose and moved towards the bed where I mounted my sister's lifeless body. She felt cold as I entered her. It wasn't a bad sensation, just a little odd. I thrust into her with growing pleasure, certain that I was ensuring her place next to me with the gods. Then, at last, with a gasp of happiness, I released my essence into her.
When I was finished, I walked to the curtain and pulled it aside one last time. Tolakhos was waiting, flanked by three other priests.
"I am ready," I said.
Tolakhos nodded and took me gently by the arm. He led me from the room, out into the rest of the palace and down to the streets. A chariot was waiting with my father inside. I joined him in the chariot and we rode past cheering crowds towards the Great Ziggurat.
When we got there, I joined a great procession to the top. It took quite a while. Once we'd climbed all the stairs my father, Tolakhos and I stood and waved to the cheering masses. They knew my mission and approved.
That done, I went and laid down on the altar, ready to experience the bliss of being with the gods. I stared up at the Golden Ball of Usan Maragek, eager to be in his presence. I thought about the Tributes I'd made with my sister and was happy to know that I'd be able to do more of that soon.
Tolakhos stood over me, knife in hand, the same knife I'd used with my sister, and intoned a series of sacred oaths and prayers. He lifted the knife high and then plunged it down into my body. There was pain. Intense pain. But it didn't seem to matter. I could feel the knife moving within my body, cutting, slicing. Then Tolakhos reached down and pulled out something. He held it on high. My heart.
My vision began to fade. I knew I was passing into the next world, into the realm of the gods. But before my vision went completely dark, I saw clouds, great, powerful clouds, appear in the sky. They swirled and flowed over the Great Ziggurat. Then I felt little spatters of water dropping onto my face and my cut-open body.
From down bellow I heard the cheers of crowds growing fainter and fainter in my ears. My vision faded completely and I closed my eyes, knowing that soon I'd reopen them and stand before my gods, my sister, and my ancestors, having done my duty to my people.