The team of Alta Hensley, Cara Bristol, Jade Cary, Celeste Jones, Sue Lyndon, Renee Rose, and I brought to you Coming to Terms earlier this year. Next year, we’ll bring you a sequel titled Milestones. In my short story, you’ll get to see Karielle and Soris (from Becoming Clissine) before they became a couple. Studious Soris and temper pot Karielle can’t stand each other, but tradition and duty force them to marry and live with each other. In order to perform her duty as Dis (disciplinarian) of the household, Soris must chastise Karielle in order to bring her to rightness with Basti, their deity. Can a loving relationship be formed through pain, or will they remain locked in a loveless marriage?
One powerful muscled leg poised to run, Karielle watched her new Dis lift her hands in supplication to their statue of Basti. The bamboo rod glistened in the reflected light of the cleansing pool, and Karielle shivered underneath the thin scarlet penitent’s robe. Droplets of the holy water fell into the pool, and she held her arms close to her chest.
“Forgive me, Basti, for I have sinned and am unworthy,” she recited. She refused to believe the words she spoke, but her recent promise had been made to the entire Assembly in front of her parents. And Basti. “Punish me,” she whispered, laying her trim athlete’s body across the unforgiving wood of the disciplinary stand.
Soris, Dis of the House of Sor, raised her rod of correction to enforce the primary rule she had been taught since birth: True rightness with Basti must be purchased through tears of repentance and pain.