“Kishiara, the Tower needs men right now.” The Elder was reduced to pleading. Then again, Kishiara was his last option. “You know that.”
“I don’t see why.” The Elder had chosen to talk to Kishiara during combat training; she didn’t take her eyes off her students as she fended off lightning bolts. “The sorceresses are doing fine.”
“Simple biology dictates that we need men as well.”
“Ugh. Can’t someone else do it?”
“Nobody else was… available.” Willing, he meant. Kishiara hissed.
“So it’s me by process of elimination.”
“Or the temple will only last another ten or fifteen years.”
“But I like – stop that, Jegan – like being me.”
“I know. And I apologize. But we all have to sacrifice something for the Temple.”
Kishiara couldn’t argue with that. They all knew what the Elder had sacrificed, decades ago when the need had been different. “Fine. Let me finish this class first.”
The Elder had not expected fast acquiescence. “So soon?”
“If not now, Elder, you will find my mind changed. Now… let me finish this?”
The Elder left, to prepare the ritual. They all had sacrifices to make. He reminded himself of that again and again. The tower would not live without men, and Kishiara was the only one who could provide them with men.
She went into the ritual pool naked, willing, her head held high although her hair had been shaven off as part of the preparation. In order to succeed, the ritual’s notes said, leave as much self as possible outside the pool.
Kishiara’s head went under the water. In due time – an hour that seemed an eternity – seven male heads emerged. The Tower had its sorcerers.
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