We're at 74% on Imperial Blood
as of this morning! We have 6 days left, and really need to make some progress over the weekend to make goal, so if you've been putting it off, now would be a great time.
There is still one pony slot left. Get your very own goth fairy pony in your preferred color, as well as the other perks that come with the package! Y'all saw what the last set of ponies wound up like.
These will be just as cool!
Here's another excerpt!
Excerpt from Chapter 10
Acrisius loomed like an armored shadow, the jagged curls of his epaulets and black breastplate like claws in the air. His face floated above, white and godlike, so perfect and so still in every line, unknowable. He looked at her, and she twitched with the sensation that he truly looked on her for the first time. That he saw her whole and real, not a figure who might as well be stone and voiceless fear.
Come throw us a dollar or two!
"Do you know how many brides I have taken?" he said, and his voice was almost gentle.
"Six," she said, her voice small and weighted down.
He shook his head, silver white hair uncoiling. "One, before. Only one. The rest of them. . . they did not survive to become true brides. I never touched them, not even once." He paused, as if about to speak, or waiting for her to speak, but she remained silent.
"To become a true bride, you must become like me," he said, looking down at her. "To survive my touch, to feel the caress of my hands, you must die and let another life in. But it is no easy thing to make one such as myself. Of all the lords of the Kathari - all the nine of us - only I remain. It must be done so carefully, so very carefully." He held out his hand, as though to touch her face, but he did not. She felt the hunger in his flesh like daggers in the air.
"I must make you into a creature like Narcissa, or my Nightguard," he said, gesturing to them. "Fed upon my blood, and thus my slave. You will be so, and it will change you, make you into something more than mere flesh. But I learned, to my regret, that to simply give my blood to a mortal begins to burn that mortal away from within. They cannot endure forever upon such a poison as I bleed. They burn, and wither, and die."
He looked at her again, then beckoned. "Hold out a strand of your hair," he said.
Slowly, feeling as if she dreamed, Sibylla teased from her unruly hair a single strand. She plucked it from her head and held it out, almost invisible in the darkness, a slender thread of red-gold drifting from her hand.
Acrisius reached out a hand and hooked it with his finger, and she saw it crumble away in an instant, flutter into dust as the end of it stung her fingers. She snatched her hand back and looked at him, remembering the man in the throne hall, the blackened dust that had been a living body. Now she shivered and believed - he would kill her with a touch, no matter how the blood in her neck and her back beat for him, pulled her toward him.
"To survive, you must first be given a small taste of my blood, in the ink which marks your skin. Some it smokes and burns like true embers, sears its way out and marks the skin with scars. That small mark upon your neck has killed three of those who would be my empress. Just that." He watched as she touched the back of her neck, dispassionate and still. But there was something behind his eyes, yes there was.
"Yes," he said to her look. "Just that killed three of them. One died at the second marking, her heart stopped like a stone. One, only one since the very first survived to this moment."
Sibylla was silent, but her eyes flicked around at the room. She wondered what screams the walls had endured. She wondered where the girls lay buried. Had they been younger than she, or older? Had they been afraid, as she was?
"I could mark you again, and again, seeking a clear sign," he said. "But no girl in a thousand years had taken the marks so well, so strongly. They grow upon your flesh, my blood making new marks, new paths upon you." He breathed out a cold breath like winter's dying. "You are ready."
She swallowed, suddenly turned to stone with terror or pleasure, she did not know which. Sibylla remembered to breathe, swallowed again past a locked throat. "Ready?"
Acrisius moved, brought his left hand into view, and she went utterly still and cold when she saw the sheathed sword in his fist. It was a long blade with a long hilt bound in black skin. The pommel bore a red stone like a sleepy eye, and the guard was coiled and curled in a strange style. All of it was dark and gleaming as black ice.
Slow, he set his right hand to the hilt and drew the blade forth. It was dark, like dusk when the sun has just closed its eye. A long, two-edged blade marked with sigils and words she could not guess. Long as her body, he held it up easily. The blade did not reflect any of the room's cold lights, seemed a part of something other.
"This is my sword," he said, his face set and hard. "In elder times they called it Soulbreaker, and it was feared as few things are feared. Do you know its power?"
Sibylla wanted to run, never feeling more naked than she did now, unclothed before that deathly blade. She shook her head, lowered her eyes to the floor and curled her hands into fists, rigid with the terror of blood and pain that seemed to seep from the weapon like mist.
"Well, I shall show you." He lowered the sword, and she saw the shadow pass over her, and then it touched her on the back, the slightest whisper of the edge on her skin and her world flew apart into screams. Pain, such pain as she had never imagined could exist in her body. It slashed through her like the snap of a pennon and she fell facedown on the floor, breathing harsh and deeply, gasping and shaking as if run without pause for a day and a night.
"That is the power of the sword," he said, his voice flat and contemplative. "It draws pain as other blades draw blood. Though it draws blood as well. It draws blood."
She looked up at him from the floor, terrified he would cut her with that sword, but he did not look at her. He extended his left arm and Narcissa came to him, took the sheath from his hand and laid it aside. He did not look at her as she undid the fastenings of his gauntlet with quick, sure hands. She drew the armor from his hand and left him bare to the elbow, his ancient skin so white it seemed to glow.
Narcissa set the gauntlet aside and then knelt on the floor, sinuous and graceful. Sibylla watched, transfixed, as Acrisius set the edge of his sword against his wrist and cut his flesh ever so slightly. Just a small touch, and red welled up, so dark it was almost black. He turned his hand and a droplet flowed over his palm to his finger. He held it over Narcissa's head, and she arched back with her mouth open, her tongue extended in obscene hunger.
Sibylla watched that dark drop grow heavy, swell, and then fall into the white woman's mouth. Narcissa went still, almost rigid, and then her face colored and she shivered all over. When she opened her eyes, they were filmed with red, and she closed her mouth, savoring him, shuddering and grunting like a beast.
Acrisius turned to Sibylla, gestured. "Up," he said, and she crawled back up onto the altar, red velvet sliding under her hands and knees. "They will hold you," he said, and she was seized by strong, bare hands. She looked, and saw the guards were naked, their bodies so covered with tattoos that even their faces were unreadable, unseeable, unknown. They gripped tight to her arms and legs, curled strong arms around her waist and her belly. A hand gripped her hair and pulled her head back until she looked straight up, unable to move, trembling.
The tip of Soulbreaker loomed into her view and she made a small sound, a weak sound. A drop of his blood ran down the edge and gathered at the tip, hung there for a moment, suspended. It looked like a black jewel, an agate or a carnelian, more precious than any stone. His blood, unmixed, and pure.
Before they made her, she opened her mouth willingly. She feared to miss it, and so she put out her tongue like an animal begging for scraps. She saw the drop grow heavy, and then it dropped free. Sibylla closed her eyes and lived a moment of forever in silence. Then blood touched her tongue, like a kiss of fire.
Our thanks to everyone who has supported us so far. We thank you from the bottoms of our pornographic hearts. Thank you for your help, and thank you for your patience.
Etrigan is at my feet, purring. I can feel it through my toes, which are digging into his ribs. Smooch is grooming himself somewhere behind the loveseat, making mudcrab noises with his fucked-up little mouth. They would thank you, too, if they could.