Mark of Venus
the dark-haired woman who's just walked into her room. She had a
slightly amused, superior smile Ghet didn't much care for. "Who the
hell are you?"
"Oh, I have many names, but in this time and place, you can call me
Venus. And you, my dear, are Ghetsuhm Riker, bondmate to Galain Alcarin
and lover of Y'Roden D'riel, and right now I know more about you than
Ghet raised an eyebrow, and then sniggered. She hadn't let go of
Galain, but she didn't want to distract him either, so she simply left
a comforting presence and not her whole self. "Let me get this
straight. You're telling me you're a goddess? I don't believe in
goddesses, or gods for that matter. I'm borderline on believing in some
of things I have seen."
The other woman shrugged. "You can not believe in me if it makes you
feel better. And 'goddess' isn't really accurate, but it serves to
simplify matters. But I know why you're here and what you're in the
middle of, and I know you're going to need help. I also know why you
don't want the supper they brought you."
Simple things first. "I'm not hungry."
Ghet laughed. Now she was firmly back in her own comfort zone. This
woman was a nutcase. "I can't get pregnant. I'm barren, I have been
since I was twenty-three. I think maybe you should go."
Venus rolled her eyes. "It's true, then, pregnancy does soften the
brain. Your body is barren, stupid girl, not your
soul. The body you're in functions perfectly, as you and your
delightful husband have discovered. And what's your Galain's defining
characteristic?" She saw the look on Ghet's face, and for a terrifying
moment, both women sniggered, identically. "His other
Ghet's mind was racing. Part of her still rebelled, but it made an
unfortunate amount of sense. The urge to giggle was just shock. She
nodded. "He has far too many children. Oh heck, he has far too many
twins. Not twins. Tell me, not twins."
Ah, finally, they were making headway. "No, not twins. A boy. A lovely
boy, who will serve me well, though he might not know it."
Ghet sat heavily on the bed. There was a thread of hope, and she
grasped it. "But it's not really my baby. He's not my son, he's this
woman's. Livinia's." A whole new layer of consequence hit her. "Oh no."
Venus smiled quietly. "Are you that afraid to be a mother? But yes, by
the time he is born, you'll be finished here." She chuckled. "Vesta is
livid. She's got a hell of a temper, that woman. I think we all know
what she needs. Anyway, we have a plan to deal with that. Just now you
need to take one thing at a time."
Ghet grinned ruefully. "You reckon?" She turned her attention back to
her husband. This was going to be so weird, for both of them. Honey?
When you're finished with the spiders, we have something scary to deal
with. No hurry. It's not going anywhere. Then she raised her
head and met the goddess' eyes. "We need to have a long talk."
had been talking to Venus for some time now. They'd consumed rather a
lot of a rough red wine, to the point that it now seemed like a
velvety-smooth red wine. Ghet's head was spinning, though she liked to
think that wasn't down to the wine. Not just one god, a whole lot of
gods, having little spats, and she and her friends right in the middle
of it. They'd formulated a plan, but she could see a couple of
problems. "Galain's not going to like it."
Venus shook her head. "He'll just have to suck it down, won't he?" She
frowned, and her eyes went distant a moment. "Oh. Oh, well that's torn
it. Now Hades is playing. That's going to complicate things." She
stood, and so did Ghet. "It's time to decide. Do you want my
Ghet's lips twisted. This seemed right, yet it ran contrary to
everything she'd built her life on. No gods, no powers, only her own
will and the immutable laws of science. "And in return?"
The goddess's lovely mouth curled. "My love, you already serve me.
You've put love above all else all your life, even when you thought you
were hiding from it. What more could I ask? And aren't you curious?"
There it was, of course, her weakness. She was dying to know what it
was like, what would happen. She'd have had trouble saying no to a new
experience even if the cost had been terrible and right in front of
Venus smiled, radiantly beautiful. She put down her glass and walked
forward until her body was touching Ghetsuhm's. She kissed her, and
Ghet was conscious of a heavy sweetness, honey and apples... she closed
her eyes and gave in to it, only shifting slightly as she felt the
other woman's hand move between her legs.
And then there was this burning sensation, right at the top of her leg,
not quite pain. She opened her eyes, full of question, but her only
answer was a soft smile, and then slowly, the goddess faded and was
gone, leaving Ghet gasping and shaken. She lifted her dress, and saw,
in the hollow at the top of her left thigh, a dove, outlined in black
on her white flesh.