First Mark: A SHAKKAN Universe Story
The Author’s Cut
Essemoh Teepee© 2011-2018
They had to run. They were of the chosen, selected to compete in the service of the Shepherds. For the past six generations of the People, at every ninth moon there was the race; the perilous run through the forest and open lands to the sea. The Shepherds demanded that the Shaman chose three of the strongest of them, none more than eighty-one moons past their first show of womanhood. Each had been readied in mind and body for the ordeal.
The wind streamed their pale hair behind them in the moonlight. Their scissoring limbs flashed palely as they loped through the thin undergrowth beneath the canopy of Poplar and Aspen and Spruce pine. Whatever happened they must continue to run, their pounding feet eating the distance to the sea, and the Stones.
Lissa looked over at Olwen, admiring the play of the young woman's muscles under her sun bronzed skin; the fluid rhythm of her breasts and buttocks as she ran. The girl’s skin was gleaming in the dappled moonlight with oil from the anointing ceremony and beginning to bead with sweat. All three runners wore nothing apart from simple leather sandals with bindings to their knees.
Olwen had been with her yesterday, before the ceremony of leaving; seeking comfort and reassurance in the face of the ordeal to come. They had shared each other in a quiet forest clearing; thighs entwined moving in sensual friction. Each had cried out in the late afternoon light as together, they caused the Shepherd’s Tribute to flare in each other and they lost themselves in its ecstasy. It made Lissa grow wet to recall it and she felt her thighs get slippery as she ran.
Lissa glanced over her shoulder at Imog running just behind them. Imog had the long pale hair but she was heavier than they were. Her features were not so sharp; her brow was a little too prominent and her green eyes didn't have the same sparkling emerald depth of Olwen’s and hers.
However, Imog was strong in the Shepherds gift. Lissa had seen the young woman being brought to ecstasy, impaled by the Testing Master. Her release had made the Shepherd Stone in the testing hall blaze with violet inner light from her energy. But Imog was different; her look was akin to one of the Old People. Their villages were scattered amongst those of the people, but their numbers were fading through interbreeding and smaller families
Lissa knew the three of them were the strongest this cycle of the chosen of the Shepherds. The responsibility of tribute was a great weight and Lissa wondered as she ran, if she would be adequate to the demands of the coming ordeal.
In the tales of the elders, the great Ice had begun melting only after the coming of the Shepherds. The tide of melt water had left the lands in great rivers to fill the seas which then ate the land. In the dark halls at story time, the Shaman told Lissa and her village that the Shepherds had heard the loud bleating of the people, shivering among the Ice.
Lissa lost herself in the running and recalled hearing the tales of how the Shepherds had arrived in the world and built great fires. The hot flames in the day sky had driven back the eternal white cold and saved the people from perishing. Listening drowsily in front of the night banked fires; Lissa had felt that heat on her skin and in her dreams.
She picked up her pace a little and quickly looked around in the night. The other stories, those that had a real bite also came to mind. How, as the lands changed with the retreat of the ice and the growth of the seas, new creatures came to prey upon the people. Fearful things that took what they wanted in the darkness. Mothers and daughters were filled with the beautiful agony of release to please the frightful creatures. Fathers and brothers were horribly slaughtered if they interfered. Lissa shivered but did not break her rhythm at the thought of what was done in the dark. Even now, generations after the bargain, terrible things still happened. As a little girl, she had once seen a small village left to smolder by rogues; the silent women with staring eyes, their bodies broken and drained. The dark red stains on the hut walls; all that was left of the men.
Lissa lifted her face to the moon through the trees and rant a little harder still. She was to give tribute to the Shepherds and so help protect her people. So the tales went it was after a time of pain and darkness that the Shaman had struck a bargain with the Shepherds. To give them what they desired in return for their protection.
Fair children began appearing among the people, children with bright hair and green eyes, features not seen before. They were the Shepherds work, Lissa had heard the Shaman say, they were chosen. Those women of the chosen with the strongest gift were selected to maintain the bargain and give the Shepherds tribute.
The Shaman told the people that in return for the tribute the Shepherds gave protection to the people from the terrible creatures that had come into the world from elsewhere. The Shepherds would only take of the people the agreed tribute but it must be given by the best of the chosen women.
The Shepherds gave new thoughts to the Shaman, it was said. Knowledge of where to find new growing plants and strange meat animals that would sustain the growing flocks of the people. The stories told of the people being shown ways of making the ground more fruitful. The Shaman said that it was the duty of the people to mate and multiply; grow the flocks. When someone questioned why the rogues still came they were told it was that the tribute was not pure. If they questioned more, they were sent on a quest.
The three girls had been running for hours now and the forest was thinning, the patches of moonlight on the leaf soft floor growing and merging as the clearings became larger. Soon they would run into the open lands and then the sand dunes before finally reaching the sea.
Lissa and Olwen kept time and pace together, sweating freely. Rivulets ran along their shining, pumping limbs to fly free in sparkling moonlit droplets. Imog had fallen further behind and was beginning to labour, her pace growing heavy and ponderous. The two could hear her breathing, harsh and raw behind them. They could not slow for her; the Shepherds demanded they race hard to prove their fitness for the ordeal of the tribute. To stop and help would forfeit their chance to serve, render the tribute impure; so they ran harder. Lissa reached out and briefly she and Olwen held hands as they ran, drawing comfort for what was to come.
The two girls burst from the canopy of trees into open country, still running with an easy action under the moon. Imog was several lengths behind them and they could hear her growing distress in every rasping breath. The open grassland undulated in front of them to the horizon but they could smell the sea. Lissa looked all around in the moonlight, anytime now they could expect the rogues.
The three fittest and most mature girls with the gift were selected each cycle from the chosen. Their strength and stamina were proven in games, personal combat and races. The strength of their gift was determined in the testing hall. The Shaman brought them to ecstasy in the presence of the Shepherds Stone; the intensity of its glow measuring their capacity to give.
The successful girls then had to submit to the Shaman triumvirate for the ceremony of blessing. Lissa could not reconcile this participation of the most high priests with the needs of the Shepherds. She suspected the old men of far baser motives for their involvement.
The three had been taken to the Shaman's lodge for the blessing at sunset, on the day before the race. They were required to kneel before the triumvirate of elders and bow their heads in supplication.
At the point in the ceremony marked by a bamboo chime, the three girls lifted the woven loin coverings as they had been instructed and kissed the flaccid, wrinkled organs beneath. The ceremony demanded taking the elders into their mouths, to bring them to ecstasy and drink their seed. Lissa had hated the feel of the old man's grisly member on her tongue. She had worked at his shriveled flesh with her lips and hot mouth as the Testing Master had instructed. She tried to bring him quickly to a release, but his blood was slow to heat and it was hard work.
Imog had received her blessing well before Olwen, Lissa was last of all. When the elder's sperm eventually dribbled forth Lissa swallowed it down, as was prescribed. But it was a thin and watery gruel, nothing like her Callum's hot, thick sperm. His semen coated her mouth and filled her throat with its satisfyingly salty potency when they were together in lust.
The grassland was becoming sparse, with gritty sand under their pounding feet showing through the threadbare green carpet, black in the moonlight. They would soon be running through the dunes and there was still no sign of any assault. The two had slowed; just a little to allow Imog to close the gap but the heavier girl still struggled noisily some way behind them.
Callum was of Lissa's brood, a son of her mother; neither knew who their sire was but that was common among the people. They had known each other since they were both toddlers playing together in the Great Hall.
As they grew they had turned to each other to answer their secret questions and explore each other's physical nature. Both were green eyed and fair of hair and therefore of the chosen, forbidden to give themselves to others unless so directed by the Shepherds speaking through the Great Shaman.
In the small community of the people it was frustrating as they grew towards maturity; Callum's aching need overpowering the admonitions of the elders. Lissa's desire to ease her sibling's emotional pain as well as satisfy her own strong stirrings, lead them to seek physical release in each other.
Never did Callum try to broach her; even in the sweating heat of slippery mutual lust, their couplings were measured, controlled. Their passions restricted to fingers, Lissa's throat, second passage and the dry friction of their bodies, writhing against each other until spasm overtook them. Lissa had not been a maiden since her first Testing and deeply desired to take Callum fully into herself, wanting to have his thick sweet sperm flow hot within her womb. But they both knew the Shepherds would demand a heavy price of the people if their designs were flouted.
Callum and the other young men of age had escorted the three young women to the start of the run and helped with the ceremony of anointing.
Lissa recalled the sensual feel of Callum's strong, hard fingers applying the warm oil to her thighs and buttocks; lightly inserting his slick fingertips into both her entrances. It was the custom for the three runners to stand among the press of young men, accepting their attentions. The anointing was traditionally complete when the runners received the blessing of seed. The young men, stimulated by the sensuality of the anointing gave the women their own, more personal gifts of essence.
Callum had stood before her, knees and back arched. His hand stroked the thickness she loved until he gushed, emptying himself over her belly and thighs; adding to the ropes of semen already there. Lissa had coated a finger tip and then delicately sucked to taste his seed one more time before she ran.
An hour into the open lands the rogues appeared, six of them falling upon the three women from the night sky. The creatures were smaller than they expected, half the women's size but strong. They had powerful paws, whipping and snaking tentacles, probing limbs and muscular curling abdomen with slimy stings protruding wetly from their tips; the rogues were hungry and wanted to feed.
Lissa and Olwen turned to search for Imog in the moonlight but she had fallen too far behind for them to reach her in time. The exhausted girl would have to take her chances; protect herself as best she could. The two girls locked arms, back to back; pressing their spines and rumps against each other to guard their vulnerability.
The two cells of creatures had split up; three rogues circled Olwen and Lissa; pawing and lashing at them. With their free hands the trembling girls punched and struck out to beat them off. The second cell surrounded the slower girl, covering Imog with their leathery wings as she screamed and screamed in her terror.
Lissa had no time to feel pity for the beleaguered girl, she and Olwen were battling for their own survival.
Lissa stared into the horror of the creature that wanted her and saw its strangeness. As she flailed at the things circling the two of them she knew the full horror of what would be their fate if she failed. Unbidden her lessons and training flooded back.
The Shepherd race was divided into many clans and sub races, not all were subject to the rule of the Shepherds Council of Nine and some did not honour the bargain. Lissa had been taught by the Shaman, that it was since the time of the Ice the rogues had appeared. They also spoke of the first opening of the portal to the Shepherds realm by the eldest Shaman. Some of the people had whispered that no one had known these new perils until the time of the portal.
Lissa had learned that the hunger of the Shepherd races was not for flesh and blood, though they sometimes utterly consumed their prey. It was the gift in women that they craved; the power in ecstasy that fed them.
"The hunger for the gift of life leads the Shepherd kind to seek out the strongest women of the people, those fortunates with the greatest capacity for ecstasy," the Shaman had said to Lissa and the others in her group.
It was said that the Shepherds lurked incorporeal, unseen, feeding from the mundane couplings of the people. Some said that this had always been the way before the opening of the portal. In whispers in the dark after the Shaman had gone, some said that there had been an earlier portal. A hero had driven the rogues back and sealed the portal before the coming of the Ice. While unseen in those first times, the Shaman had told them, the Shepherds had closely observed the people in all they did. Thus the Shepherds had learnt the intimate acts that brought about ecstasy and released the gift. The people, their human flocks, provided sustenance of great value which the Shepherds ever sought to improve.
The Shaman taught that others of the Shepherd race had blended themselves with many creatures from the realm of the people. They had done so to assume more physical forms. These mingled creatures were not content to feed passively. They preferred to interact directly with the people, to feed by bringing forth the women’s gift at their demand.
Lissa and Olwen were tiring. They had fought the battering rogues, allowing them no purchase or entry, but the probing tendrils drew ever closer to their tender vulnerable flesh.
Imog had stopped screaming and the two panting women had seen her attackers blaze brightly twice already. They had clearly overpowered and penetrated her, bringing her to ecstasy with their plunging, thrusting forms.
Each time Imog climaxed the rogues attacking Lissa and Olwen were distracted, as though wanting to break away from their assault and bask in the energy of poor Imog's release. The two girls flailed at their tormentors preventing them from achieving any entry. They fought paws slipping between their legs, struggled against bony probing fingers and beat off tendrils and tails seeking intimate contact.
Lissa grasped one of the attacking creatures' limbs, pulling it from her breast and twisting it hard, trying to dislocate its many joints. Olwen, high kicking, connected hard with the neck of another. The jabbing edge of her foot crunched into the creature. Its bony triple eyed head snapped back; the shock causing it to flap away on powerful leathery wings.
Her fighting move opened and exposed her vulnerable moist sex. The third attacker took the opportunity with a quickly uncoiling tendril; Olwen's scream was terrible to hear. Lissa swiftly grasped and dragged its twisting throbbing length from within her shuddering, moaning companion.
Lissa could see a bright light from the corner of her eye. She knew that Imog was being brought to continuous orgasm now. The attacking rogues, flaring brightly with a violet light, were feeding upon her, draining her life force with every release. Then the pair free of the things. Their assailants lost focus, streaking to the more accessible food source of the overwhelmed girl. All the creatures’ auras burned brightly with Imog’s gift of orgone energy.
Olwen stood bent over, hands on trembling thighs breathing with great sobbing heaves of her diaphragm. Lissa was no better. They locked eyes, in unspoken agreement they turned and ran hard for the sea. Imog could not be saved; her tormentors would continue to violate her. In writhing, arching ecstasy her life would be drained by the feeding frenzy of the six rogues. Nearing exhaustion themselves, Lissa and Olwen ran on, the sound of distant surf faint in their ears.
Shaman adepts recounted ancient history to the group of the chosen to which Lissa had belonged. She had sat with the others in the training hall, listening how a block of onyx stone, roughly a cube the length and height of two men, had first been seen by hunters from the people. The thing was far beyond the current shoreline, before the waters rose with the Great Melting. The teachers retold the myth of the first Shaman dragging it, together with the smaller Shepherd Stone from old, old ruins to where they now rested. The great black block was set near the three ordeal stones at the new shoreline. The smaller Shepherds Stone hung in the hall of testing.
Cresting the sand hills, the tired young women saw the surf, pale in the moonlight. At the edge of the moon bright water were the four objects described in the stories. But there were other shapes on the shore, strange inhuman shapes.
Nine Shepherds waited for them by the black stone block. Nine! Lissa did not think she could survive nine giving’s. Looking over at Olwen's horrified face it would seem she shared Lissa's fears. As the girls ran towards the shore, the figures became clearer.
The waiting Shepherds were of different races. Three were winged and sharp featured, like the rogues that attacked them earlier; but twice as large and much more powerful. The second form was familiar to the girls from the images in the training hall. These creatures stood on two compact muscular legs. A short abdomen supported a nest of writhing tendrils with three glowing amber eyes at their centre.
The third race was unknown to Lissa; more manlike in outline with heavily muscled, broad shouldered bodies. What was horrifying to see was their disproportionate mimicry of maleness. Huge sacs with three balls, hung pendulous between their muscular thighs. A single upward curving phallus, the thickness of her forearm tipped by a swelling like a clenched fist rose from between their legs.
Even so it was their heads that frightened Lissa most; sharp muzzled slavering dog’s heads. They looked like the hounds used by Callum to hunt for meat, but with three great orange eyes.
They girls did not resist being lifted into the air by the creatures, who carried them to polished smooth spheres of rock beside the obsidian stone block. Wooden pins had been driven into the balls of stone at several points and the creatures bound the young women's wrists and ankles with rough rope, spreading their limbs widely. Their backs were bent to the cold stone, their sweat slick bodies wrapped around the curving rocks. They were presented; open, trembling and defenseless to the ravening alien predators.
Lissa laid her cheek against the cool stone and looked over at Olwen. Her companion was twisting against her bonds. She was writhing in terror as the Shepherds covered her with grasping paws, beating wings and snaking tentacles. Lissa felt cool touches all over her own skin, still hot from the run. Her blood was pumping from exertion and the adrenaline of fearful anticipation.
She closed her eyes and tried to clear her mind, relax as she had been schooled by the Testing Master. She understood the need to accept what the Shepherds did with her and seek to give of her gift freely.
Unlike many of her chosen sisters, Lissa was eager to enter the Testing hall. Lying with Callum in secret had readied her for much more than they had ever dared. When he was inside her second entry, filling her with his heat; Lissa felt an ache deep in her core. It was a need to be full that she wanted so much to satisfy, yet it was forbidden to take anyone or anything there without the Shepherds blessing.
Her first sight of the Testing Master was not the shock that it was for some, less knowing of the chosen. Callum was very male, magnificent when at his peak. She adored taking his hardness in both hands and stroking him until he groaned. He would fill her throat to choking and her rear would burn for a day after he had been there. But she wanted to feel properly full and the vision of the Testing Master at rest made her breath catch. He sat nude on a stool at the head of the hall. His torso gleamed with oil in the flickering firelight and his massive thighs showed slabs of muscle that told of great strength. However, it was the thick roll of flesh resting between his thighs that drew Lissa on. Even at rest he was bigger than Callum when at his hardest and most ready. She tried to guess what he would be like when compared to Callum and she felt herself melting inside at the thought.
Something muscular snaked between her thighs and another slid between her buttocks, flicking at the plump split and puckered flesh there. It made her shiver and involuntarily clench her body around their worming resilience. Sliding between her breasts, other tentacles coiled; fastening squeezing sucking organs on her distended, burning nipples.
A feather touch on her cheek made her start. She opened her eyes and then wished that she hadn't. A triangle of orange glowing eyes with tiny black pupils floated in front of her face, amidst a halo of coiling tendrils. Trying not to scream, Lissa tremulously spoke the formula she had been taught in the Testing hall,
"Shepherd, I give you my gift, to feed you in token of the bargain between us." as she spoke she thrust her hips up and against the tentacles probing at her groin.
Then Lissa screamed. Two probes simultaneously pierced her with powerful thrusts into her front and rear. She felt as though they were splitting her open, coldly burning inside her. Pushing deeper into her, she felt them forcing her open along her entire length, impaling her to her deepest point.
Bound with broad hide strips to the Testing stone, Lissa tried not to gasp as the Testing Master used his oiled fingers to explore her sex. Her mother had explained about the first blood and she hardly felt the sting as her maidenhead parted. The Master had held his smeared fingers to the flickering torchlight and ponderously nodded his approval. When Lissa saw the Master’s erection just before he covered her with his bulk, she feared that getting her wish to be full might be more than she could survive. She looked over the Master’s bulky shoulder at the Shepherds Stone suspended in a cradle of entwined ropes. As he pushed into her and she screamed with the pleasure and pain, Lissa wondered how bright her orgasms would make the Stone shine.
Lissa cried out in her mind,
"Nine! I will have to sate nine Shepherds and I'm already in agony, I will surely die".
As if her assailant had heard it stopped pushing into her but remained worming, moving, pulsating and throbbing inside her bowels and vagina. Lissa could hear Olwen screaming as though her lungs were bursting and she tried to shout across some words of comfort, but as her mouth opened it was filled by a slick tube of flesh. Sliding between her parted lips, over her tongue and palate, the tentacle lodged at the back of her throat. Panting through her nose, Lissa felt something; a movement in the three intrusions in her body. She could feel a swelling stretching her; the thickening like a bolus, forcibly pushed into her body three ways.
Simultaneous explosions of thick spicy fluid washed down her throat to her stomach, up into her entrails and up against the deep entrance to her womb; an icy, scalding secretion that set her every nerve on fire. The sucking friction of the three probes slithering from within her sent a pulsating wave of ecstasy all through her twisting frame and she cried out as her mouth became free.
A winged Shepherd settled onto her, curling its abdomen between her thighs and extruding a pulsing fleshy tube snaking into her that it used to stroke her to her first blazing orgasm of many. It was replaced by a slavering humanoid, thrusting within her so deeply with its curving member that she felt her cervix must be breached. Lissa arched in ecstatic agony beneath its powerfully moving form, her bonds tightening painfully.
Again and again she was opened, explored and taken by their varied forms, bringing her to climax, pouring forth her fluids and organic energy.
The Shepherds Balm that had been pumped into her body numbed her pain. The alien secretion relaxed Lissa’s tense muscles and intensified her stimulation. Every stretching near tearing thrust became a sensuous, ecstatic agony. Every squeezing, grasping twist of her nipples became cause for a back-arching moaning response. She opened to the creatures like a pink flower to the warming rays of the sun; accepting each of them, engulfing them within her in every way possible.
Lissa achieved a plane of ecstasy, releasing her Gift again and again, many times nine. Her release caused the aliens' aura to blaze with violet light as they milked her of energy with their strange bodies.
Olwen had grown silent some time before the nine were fully sated; broken by their feeding. Lissa survived; bruised and exhausted, sagging against her bindings. A winged Shepherd blocked the early dawn sky from her vision a final time.
A cold sensation at her neck and a sharp, spearing agony between her thighs caused her to cry out in weak protest.
"No more, I have kept to the bargain, fed you all until I am nearly dead, no more, please."
“Be still! We have fed well enough; now return to the flock and rest. You are the fittest this cycle and have been Marked. Our Mark will sustain you and contain the essence you generate. Every moon you will return to us and deliver up what has been collected. You will continue in this task until it is time for you to pass the Mark to a successor of your line. We leave now.”
Lissa was amazed.
She could hear the Shepherd speak in her head. Not even the Shaman could converse directly with Shepherds. Only when they had eaten a fungus and were in the grip of a deadly dangerous trance could they hear the aliens’ words.
The last humanoid Shepherd slashed her bindings, leaving her free but limp, sweating and very sore. It disappeared after the others, merging into the obsidian block of rock just as the red dawn brightened over the oily sea.
Lissa touched her throat to feel the misshapen metal links encircling her neck. Then she reached between her beslimed thighs to carefully explore there. She discovered a hard metal shard piercing her most sensitive flesh.
All her aches and soreness had gone as the sun rose; she did not know what being Marked might mean but she had a feeling it would change her life.
The breeze from the sea was chill on her steaming body as she slid awkwardly off the ball of rock. Shakily she went over to Olwen's quiet form; still bound to the rock, cold and discarded. Lissa's tears dripped, glistening on her hands as she untied the empty body in the early dawn light.