Return to Prisoner of the Night Clan Prologue

Prisoner of the Night Clan

Author: Renegade
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: I (me) do not own these characters herein (except for the ones that you've never heard of before, because they came out of my head like Athena, just less messier) ME, Joss Whedon and whoever else can own them (just wish they'd treated them better) but I own nothin' except one very pregnant cat...

"'Is it a choice Mistress?" The young woman asked of Goddess Quinlan before her accession.

The Goddess merely smiled at the young girl, laid her hand upon her head and announced to all of those assembled.

"Hear this all of you. It is your choice whether you submit to me or not. It is your own decision whether you give over your body and mind over. There cannot be force in trust. There cannot be coercion in love. There is only choice. If you choose to love me - I shall bless you three times over. If you choose to keep your freedom - I shall still love you. Remember this."

- The Chronicles of Quinlan

Willow woke to, what felt like, a drum and fife brigade marching through her head. Groaning she lifted her hand to her forehead and massaged it gently.

"Hey, good for you! You finally woke up."

"Sssh! Quiet time now." Willow hissed as she continued to try and massage the pain away.

"Sorry," Came the whispered apology. "It's just that judging from the marks on your neck, you were subject to an Assassin's hold. Those things are bitches to wake up from, trust me."

The redhead waved off the comment as she sat up slowly. "Don't worry, I believe you."

Gingerly, she opened her eyes and took in her surroundings. She was in a dungeon of sorts. The walls stone and the gate of her cell were made of thick metal bars. A torch burned directly across the walkway in front of her cell, sending orange light and dancing shadows into her confined space.

The cell its self was rather large about the size of a room at an Inn. There was the bed in which she laid on and on the other side was a trench about two hands wide and about three hands deep which ran the length of her cell and then disappeared into a wall, through it flowed water.

Must be a prison for the wealthy. They have running toilets. Lucky me. Willow thought sarcastically as she looked at the plumbing that was a good fifty years out of date. The redhead continued her examination of the cell. There were a few etchings in the wall from past prisoners; the only thing Willow did not see was...

"Hey, where are you?" Willow asked aloud not seeing the person who had been talking to her a moment before.

"I'm right here," Came the answer. The voice was right next to Willow's ear. The redhead jumped and looked at the empty space next to her.

"That's not funny," Willow replied in a shaky voice. To her disbelief, she watched as a form began to appear on her bed. First the legs, then the hips and torso followed by the head.

"No, being dead isn't funny. I have to agree with you on that one Love." The ghost spoke. He looked down and noticed that his feet had not materialized. "Damn it! I can never get those to show up!" He cursed pumping his leg as though he was stomping his foot.

Willow stared with her mouth agape. She was looking at what was left of a blonde haired man who was dressed in a style that was at least as old as the plumbing.

"W-who are you?" Willow managed trying to control her knee jerk reaction of fright.

"My name is William," He offered with a smile that faltered quickly. "But everyone calls me Spike."

"Spike? Why Spike?" Willow asked calming down a bit, as she realized the ghost was not going to harm her.

"Because that's how I died, Love. Back about sixty or so years ago, I jumped over the wall because I wanted to see the women of the Night Clan. Well, I saw them. They were taking a bath in the natural hot springs they got here. Anyhow, I tried to get a kiss from one of them but when I touched her, the guards were all over me. Seems I'd touched one of the higher Mistress' slaves and that landed me in here for a week and then walking a plank into a pit full of spikes the next." Spike finished miserably.

Willow stared at the specter wide eyed. "That's barbaric!"

"Yeah, things were a bit rougher back then. However, that was when there was a bitch of a Night Mistress. She was all about the blood and gore. Her subs and slaves had worse than I did. It was a bad time back then..." Spike trailed off and looked at Willow, who was pale with horror. "What?" he prompted.

"W-what are you talking about?" Willow asked. Spike looked perplexed.

"What do you mean?"

"subs and slaves?"

"Where are you from?" Spike asked slowly.

"Galen," Willow replied.

Spike nodded knowingly. "That explains it."

"Explains what?" Willow demanded. Spike was making her feel naive and stupid. Two things that Willow did not like to feel.

"Why you don't understand." He replied simply.

"Don't understand what?" Willow demanded standing.

"The way things are here. Tell me, did you go school?" Spike asked as he shifted on the bed stretching out his back and leaning against the wall. Willow idly wondered how it was that he was not falling through the stone.

"I went to school. I went to the Galen Township School of Metaphysical Arts. Finished top of my class." She said proudly.

"Oh, very interesting. Tell me, did they by chance go over the history of Quinlan? Specifically, why there are two townships in the country? Galen and Herisena?"

Willow opened her mouth to shoot a hotty remark back at Spike when she realized that no, her teachers and professors had never discussed the history of the two townships. In fact, they had never really discussed it at all.

"I figured." Spike replied to her silence. He patted the bed next to him. "Take a seat Love and I'll tell you why."

Slowly Willow resumed her seat.

"How much do you know about the teachings of Quinlan?" Spike asked.

"Enough," Willow rolled her eyes. How stupid was this? A ghost who was going to give her a lecture about religion. "I know that the Goddess taught that the world should be run through a series of Mistresses and Servants."

Spike raised an eyebrow. "And how do you define Mistresses and Servants?"

"Just like anything else! There is someone above you and someone above them until you reach the Imperial Mistress. It is like school. First, you are an adept and then a student and then an apprentice... so on, so forth. You just work your way up through the ranks or stop whenever you attain a level that you wanted and then go down your own path in life."

Spike got a sarcastic smile on his face. "Yeah, figures. You're not reciting the teachings of Quinlan - you're reciting the teachings of Galen, her lover."

"Wha-huh?" Willow was confused.

"Alright Love listen. Back about a millennia ago, Quinlan, Goddess of all Life descended to the realms of flesh and took on the form of a woman. Because humans were just floundering about lost and confused. There were wars, struggles for power and if it had continued, we would have eradicated ourselves. Following so far?" Willow nodded.

"So Quinlan came down and ended the war that was occurring by seducing, then dominating both of the leaders into submission. One, Galen she dominated by love and all that nonsense and the other Herisena she dominated by a mixture of willing restraint, pleasurable pain and strict rules."

"As time went by Quinlan taught both her lovers how to keep order. Taking her example, the two leaders began to pass down the teaching. Galen taking a "servant" and Herisena taking a "submissive" and then it just trickled down. Quinlan told both her lovers that you can not force anything upon anyone and those that could not handle the physicality or mental regime could be free or they could indebt themselves as slaves so that they could have the protection of a Guild or Clan."

"The lands were then divided equally into the townships of Herisena and Galen. Quinlan ascended leaving an impartial Imperial Mistress as head of the Quinlan Alliance... She left Galen and Herisena to be the provincial leaders of the townships, but she mainly wanted them to follow her teachings."

"Galen didn't believe so much in discipline and therefore wrote his own version of events. Herisena adhered strictly to how Quinlan had taught her. For that, the township of Herisena expanded and prospered. While Galen became smaller and smaller as more and more of its people came to Herisena. Finally, the Galenian Council decided to effectively isolate themselves from Herisena. They rid themselves of the original teachings of Quinlan and adhered strictly to Galen's version of events."

Spike looked directly at Willow. "That's why you know nothing about the Mistress/sub or slave relationship. That's why you think it's barbaric and that's why you're in trouble."

Willow was defensive. "That's a bunch of lies and how am I in trouble? All I did was try and get away from the Civil Guards-"

"You don't trespass onto other Guild's or Council's property. It is a respect thing. You get permission from the Mistress of the Guild or Clan. In this case, the Night Mistress. Its all about protocol, respect and submission. That is what Herisena is built on. Breaking those things result in severe consequences."

Spike sighed. "Especially, in the Night Clan. The Night Clan holds power by controlling the "flesh" industry. This Clan is the embodiment of Quinlan's teachings. Power through seduction and submission. Being here is like being in a church and the Night Mistress is the high priestess. Everyone that comes here, and trust me everyone that is anyone does, submits ultimately to the Night Mistress. Even the Imperial Mistress herself."

"Long story short, Love. You trespassed on the wrong grounds and to make it worse, you touched one of her personal subs. No one touches her subs. You're buggered, Love." Spike finished.

Willow was pacing by this time. "Yeah, okay, yeah - but they can't do that! I'm a Free Agent from Galen. I don't submit to their rules."

Spike smirked and sat up. "Did you miss that part when you tried to knock the Mistress' sub out?"

"How did you know about that?" Willow demanded.

"I'm a ghost. I'm trapped here. I see everything. Besides, you gave up all your rights when you sat foot on their grounds. It's in the Alliance Laws. You can not set foot on private grounds without permission or you give up all your rights and become property of whatever Guild or Clan you trespassed on."

The redhead opened and shut her mouth a few times and then looked at Spike with fear in her eyes.

"Tell me you're kidding! Please!" She pleaded.

"Sorry, Love, I'm not. Besides..." he paused and listened. Footsteps came down the corridor. "Looks like you're about to meet your new Mistress."

"No! Hey, wait!" Willow shouted but Spike gave a short salute and dissolved into nothingness.

The redhead turned as the footsteps neared. She squared her shoulders and tried to stand taller. If this place was about submitting - there was no way she was going to.

The feeling of soft caresses over tender flesh was what brought Loki out of her deep slumber. The shorthaired woman reveled in the caress. She'd never been one to show pleasure in tenderness but secretly she loved the feeling of Faith's cool fingertips over the welts that her Mistress would inflict upon her.

Loki pretended to be asleep even though it was becoming harder not to let a moan escape her full lips as the fingertips continued to caress the angry strips of flesh down her back. The fingers moved up to her multiply pierced ear. They traced down the outside, rising over and dipping down between the silver rings.

The Assassin shivered pleasurably and a small smile tugged at the corner of her mouth.

"You like that?" Her Mistress' seductive voice whispered into the ear she was playing with, her warm breath causing more shivers in Loki. The Assassin was surprised but not disappointed that it was her Mistress that was pressed into her back and not Faith. Though, Loki cursed herself for not being able to sense her Mistress.

"Did you sleep well?" Tara purred into Loki's ear, nipping gently at the lobe.

"Aye, Mistress," She replied.

The Blonde gave a contented moan. "Roll over onto your stomach."

Loki did as she was told. Out of the corner of her eye she saw her Mistress, clothed only in her naked beauty, climb on top of her and straddle her firm ass. Loki bit back a groan as she felt the warm, moist heat from her Mistress' center. Tara began to rub and rock herself on the firm flesh. The Blonde sighed lustfully as a fire began to build within her core.

Tara ran her smooth hands up Loki's sculpted back and to the woman's stubbled head. Luxuriating in the contrasted feel Tara began to grind harder.

"So, pet..." Tara asked in a husky voice as she felt Loki rock back against every thrust of her Mistress' hips. "Are you needed anywhere today?"

"No, mi'lady." Loki managed back. The pressure of Tara's body, combined with her own thrusts was driving the Assassin wild.

"Good. I have, ah - oh goddess - a job for you." Tara moaned the last part as Loki began to clench her buttock muscles - giving Tara's engorged clit more friction.

The Blonde quit speaking as her climax approached.

"Goddess!!" She screamed as she came, pushing Loki's head down roughing with one hand and raking her nails across the sub's back.

Loki wanted to come as she felt Tara's sweet essence ejaculated on her back, but her Mistress had not given her permission to do so. The Assassin bit her own sculpted shoulder in exquisite agony as Tara collapsed on top of her.

Loki smiled a bit as she waited for her Mistress' breathing to return to normal.

"Mmm," Tara moaned as she began to tenderly kiss Loki's shoulder, running her hands up the sub's toned arms until their hands were interlaced, palm to back. "Thank you," she whispered into the Assassins ear.

"My pleasure mi'lady," Loki replied frustrated but content to feel Tara's body and soft words.

"Would you like to come," her Mistress asked huskily, running her tongue over Loki's shaved head.

"If it pleases you," Loki grunted trying hard not to resume the flexing of her hips.

"It would, but I think I'll make you wait. I have to see about the trespasser." Tara whispered. "Then, tonight - if you behave - I'll reward you." She promised with an erotic bite to Loki's sculpted shoulder.

The Assassin groaned. It was going to be a long day.

"Faith is watching the show room today. So, it's just you and me. Get dressed and then we'll see what is to be done about that trespasser." Her Mistress said climbing off of her sub and heading towards her own Chambers, which was adjacent to Faith and Loki's.

Loki reached for a bathing cloth but was stopped by her Mistress.

"Oh and don't bathe - I want to be able to smell myself on you all day."

The Assassin smiled, "Yes, Lady Tara."

Tara gave a half grin and padded off towards her chambers.

Tara walked from her dressing chambers, dressed in a long, sheer black skirt with a slit that came up to the top half of her left thigh. A red silk piece of cloth draped down her chest, the material barely covered her full breasts and tied in the back by a thin string.

Her hair was pulled up and back but long strands hung loose from the silver clasp. With a glamour spell, Tara had made the strands hanging down a deep raven black, while the rest remained Blonde.

To complete the ensemble, she put on her tailored calf high black boots that magically reflected the light.

The Mistress of the Nigh Clan smiled as she saw Loki waiting patiently by the doors, remembering all that Loki had done for her. Her life would have been very different if it hadn't been for the beautiful Assassin.

"How do I look Loki?" she asked turning once to show off her figure.

The woman smiled slyly, "Ravishing."

Tara giggled and swatted her sub on the ass, loving the sound her hand made when it contacted the leather.

"You better watch yourself," she growled. Loki cocked an eyebrow.

"Or... what?" She asked cheekily

Tara growled and grabbed the taller woman by the shirt pulling her down slightly so she was eye level with her. Blue met gray.

"You know what," she said before give Loki a quick, searing kiss and then pulling away roughly. "Let's go."

Willow stood, hands clenched into fists as she heard the sound of footsteps. She tried to look as defiant and strong as she could, even though her stomach was turning somersaults.

The redhead saw the woman called Loki first. Loki looked into the cell, her face an unreadable mask.

"You slept well?" Loki asked as she reached down and unlocked the door.

"What does it matter to you?" Willow snapped as she watched the woman pull open the door. Quickly, Willow ran through options to escape but decided that without her magicks she wasn't much of a fight against the visibly stronger woman.

Loki held Willow's eye and shook her head. "It's going to be bad for you if you don't learn how to control that tongue."

"Yeah, well, what are you going to do about it?" The redhead mage challenged. A bemused smile crossed over Loki's face as she produced a leather strap the length of Willow's forearm.

Willow's eyes widened as she realized what exactly Loki intended on doing. Before the red head could react the woman had grabbed her, spun her to the ground and had her knee on the back of Willow's neck.

"Really, you think people would learn," Loki sighed as she gagged Willow roughly. Yanking Willow up by the back of the shirt - Loki pulled the redhead who was struggling uselessly to the back wall and fastened her shackles that Willow hadn't noticed before.

Stepping back, Loki surveyed her handy work and then tilted Willow's chin up.

"Now there are a few rules here. The first one being that you are going to meet the Mistress of this house. You do not speak to her unless she asks something of you." The woman smiled without humor.

"I know you might have a little problem with that, that's why there is a gag in your mouth. Two, if my Mistress deems it and she allows you to be unrestrained and you should, by some random whim, try and touch her or hurt her - I will personally cut off both your hands before you realize what's going on and the third rule is this - you will treat her with the utmost respect because she's the one that decides what happens to you, if you catch my meaning."

Loki rubbed her thumb over Willow's chin. The redhead put as much hatred as she could into her eyes as she stared at the woman. "Do you understand?"

Willow yanked her head away from Loki's grasp.

"I'll take that as a yes," she smirked and walked back to the cell door. She stepped outside and to the side. "She's ready, Mistress."

Mistress, my ass!! Willow screamed in her mind. She's probably some gross old crone who... Oh Goddess.

If Willow's mouth hadn't been gagged, it would have fallen open at the vision that stepped into the cell.

A woman, whom she could only describe as breath taking, stepped into view. Willow's eyes traveled up and down the woman's form. From the sculpted legs to the intricate Dragon tattoo, to the full breasts that were barely covered to the angelic face with striking blue eyes.

Her aura was one of confidence and sensuality and Willow briefly forgot for a moment that she was shackled to the wall.

The woman approached. Hips swaying, allowing the material of her skirt to slip and slide around her voluptuous hips. She sauntered up to Willow and stood mere inches from her. Willow's eyes, involuntarily traveled down to the woman's cleavage - her heart sped up as she took in the full flesh.

NO. BAD WILLOW!! She screamed at herself. This woman is holding you against your will. DO NOT be ogling her... oh, but she's so ogle-able with those gorgeous... focus Rosenberg!

The woman smiled a knowing smile, almost as if she'd heard Willow's thoughts. "Hmm, how interesting..." she said quietly as she examined Willow's face.

Willow's eyes locked onto the blue ones in front of her. She willed herself to look away but she found that she couldn't.

"You know you trespassed onto my property, correct?" The woman asked stepping back from Willow. The redhead almost groaned in frustration, the woman's proximity had been heady and now that she was gone it was almost painful.

All Willow could do was nod. The Mistress took a few steps to the side and looked Willow up and down from a different angle as if sizing up a meal. The redheaded mage shivered pleasurably at this thought - before mentally slapping herself.

"You know what happens to people who trespass?" The Mistress asked as she took a few steps back and looked at Willow from a different angle.

The redhead shook her head in a negative. The Blonde goddess stepped up close to Willow again so that her lips were almost brushing the leather in Willow's mouth.

"They either submit..." She trailed her lips up Willow's jaw to her ear, "Or die." She whispered gently. A rush of warmth flooded Willow's core. The mage struggled desperately within her to get a hold of some sort of rational thought.

She was being held against her will - why was she suddenly aroused? Okay, prisoner bad. Bad. Very Bad. Not a turn on... Ugh.

The Blonde gave Willow a seductive half smile which only served to speed up the redhead's heart more and turned back to the woman called Loki.

"pet, would you release her? She needs to make a decision..." She ran a hand over Loki's stomach. Willow watched Oh, lucky stomach... I wish I was... HEY! FOCUS!

Loki just nodded and released the redhead. With out the help of the shackles, Willow's knees gave out from the flood of arousal and she dropped to the floor. She just stayed there trying to get a grip on herself.

Out from under her eyelids, she saw the woman standing in front of her. Willow didn't move. She couldn't. She felt like a mouse in front of a cat. A very sexy cat, but a cat nonetheless.

"Here's how this works," The Mistress spoke squatting down gracefully in front of Willow, who for some reason she couldn't explain, knew to keep her head down.

"Either you remove all your clothes as a sign that you willing submit to me and this clan's rules. Or, Loki here removes your clothes for you and you are executed in humiliation. You have exactly thirty seconds to decide..."

With that the Mistress stood and took a step back.

Willow's mind was racing. Everything in her mind was screaming that she remain defiant and die than lose her freedom, but some deeper part was telling her that she must stay. Even if she was subject to this beautiful woman. There was something that called to her from this woman and she didn't know if it was the sheer lust she was feeling or something more... . The battle raged in her mind until...

"Well?" The Mistress asked.

Willow looked up finally at the gorgeous woman standing before her. Behind her and off to the side Loki was pulling a knife from her boot readying for Willow's choice.

Silently, Willow straightened and began to remove her clothes.

Willow was about to remove her first article of clothing when -

"Stop." The Mistress ordered firmly. The red headed Mage stopped her arms in mid movement and looked over at the Blonde goddess in front of her. The Mistress had her hands on her luscious hips and her head was cocked to the side.

"As much as I would be tempted to let you continue I don't really want you to take off your clothes off and submit yourself... yet." She walked purposefully over to the redhead and grasping the hem of the shirt in her delicate, yet strong hands pulled the material back down over Willow's midriff. The red headed Mage suppressed a shiver of delight as the back of the Mistress' knuckles lightly grazed Willow's sensitive flanks.

Willow looked uncomprehendingly at the Mistress. The Blonde took a step back and explained: "You see what I just said, submit or die, is an archaic law of the Night Clan - but a law nonetheless. When the Night Clan was first formed it was established that anyone who crossed over our walls without invitation would either submit to the Mistress at the time or be executed."

She stopped circling and gave Willow a seductive half smile. "But these days we are a bit more civil. Now, you can choose to submit, or a life of servitude or you can spend your days down here in the dungeon. We don't really kill anyone anymore - but it's a custom that must be upheld - at least until the time comes that it is changed."

Willow let out a relieved inward sigh. At least, she had a few more options. If nothing else she could choose a servants life until she could figure out a way to get of the Clan's stronghold and back to Galen and her own Guild.

"Loki, my pet, be so kind as to remove that gag from her mouth," She glanced over at Willow and gave a secretive smile. "Even though I do so enjoy the sight of it in her mouth. I don't think she's use to it."

The Mistress' attendant She's an attendant right? What else would she be? came forward and gently removed the leather restraint. Willow remembered the woman's earlier threat and despite wanting to curse and lash out, she kept her mouth shut.

The Mistress raised an eyebrow and smiled towards Loki. "She learns well doesn't she?"

"Yes, Lady Tara, she does." Loki replied moving away from Willow. When she had taken up her position back a half step and slightly off to her left, the woman called Tara spoke again.

"Now, Love, what is your name?" She asked gently her blue eyes twinkling in the orange light.

"Willow Ro-" Willow began but was silenced by Tara raising her hand.

"I do not want to know your full name. It would give me too much power over you. If you find this life to be to your liking and you find a Mistress or if you yourself become a Mistress - you would never want anyone to know your full name - unless you are becoming Blood Bound to them." The Mistress chastised, and then she smiled again at Willow, who thought her heart would stop at the sight of that beautiful smile. "Now, what is your name?"

"Willow," The red head said again.

"Willow," The Mistress rolled the name around in her mouth.

The red head held back a smile. She liked the way her name sounded coming from this woman.

"That's a beautiful name. My name is Lady Tara. You may call me Lady Tara or Mi'lady, which ever is easiest for you." The Blonde replied. She paused and looked Willow over again.

The red head couldn't shake the feeling that she was being sized up for a reason.

"I heard that you tried magicks to escape my subs - tell me are you a part of the Mage's Guild?" Lady Tara asked Willow. Lady Tara... I could get use to that... I could get use to her.

The red head nodded, her enthusiasm picking up. "Oh yes, I'm from the Galen Mage's guild. I graduated from the School of Metaphysical Arts and began apprenticeship with the Mage's guild under Master Giles, he's kinda droll though, anyhow-"

"Mistress? Should I return the gag?" Loki asked over Willow's babble. Lady Tara shook her head amused.

"No, I actually find it... cute, in a way."

Willow looked wide eyed at Lady Tara. Oh Goddess, I did a lot more talking than I was suppose too... wait, did she say she found my babbling cute?

"Sorry," Willow apologized sheepishly.

"That's quite all right," Lady Tara squared her shoulders. "So, Willow, what do you choose? Do you choose to be a servant or do you choose to stay in the dungeons?"

"Do I have to choose right now?" Willow squeaked.

Lady Tara did nothing but smile gently at Willow. The red head gulped. Oh, I didn't want to choose so quickly. Couldn't you have a trial period in each option? So you know what each choice is like... wait! What am I talking about? I'm gonna escape anyway...

Tara watched as Willow's emotions played across her face. She wanted nothing more than to let Willow go.

Even if it means I would never see her again - I don't want her to suffer being in a place she doesn't want to... Tara! What are you doing? Are you going soft? She trespassed into your Clan's grounds. It's your sacred duty to protect this place and those inside. Since when did you start feeling compassion for those who break the laws that have been set for a millennia? Get a hold of yourself! The Mistress of the Night Clan does not behave this way. Tara reprimanded herself.

Taking a deep breath, the Blonde seperated herself from the situation and when she next spoke her voice was the cool, focused, sultry yet purposeful that it always was when dealing with people other than her subs. Oh, but how I wish she was my sub... the things I would do...

"Have you made your choice yet?"

"I-I don't know. I'm from Galen, I don't know what each option entails... you're laws are so much different here..." The red head spoke.

Tara just wanted to melt when she heard the almost girlish confused tone to the Mage's words. The Blonde pursed her lips and then sighed.

"I will do one thing for you. You shall spend the day seeing what the Clan is. You already know what life in the dungeon would be like - so I will show you what a life of a servant would be like also. Then, by sundown, you must make your choice."

Tara looked Willow up and down again. "I can't really take you up there as a trespasser - I'd jeopardize my position. So, just for today - you will see the Clan as paying visitors do. You shall act as though I have given you a personal invitation. If not - I shall have Loki return you to the dungeons and you can live out your days here. Are we understood?"

Willow nodded. "Yes, Lady Tara."

Tara flashed a genuine half grin but caught herself before Willow could catch it. Goddess, I love the way Lady Tara sounds when she says it... Focus Tara!

"Good, now if you'll walk with me, I must make an appearance at the Show Room," With that said Tara turned and a walked out of the cell briskly. A moment passed before she heard Willow's footsteps rushing to catch up with her.

"Sorry, Mi'lady - I didn't catch that you wanted me to walk beside you."

"Of course, if you were a guest, you wouldn't have to walk behind me unless you'd paid to do so... ." Tara replied.

"Um, Lady Tara, can I speak freely?" Willow almost whispered as they started up the stone stairs at the end of the hallway.

A small smile played at the corner of Tara's lips. "For the time being, yes."

"What do you mean - paid?" The red headed mage asked carefully. Tara laughed.

"You really have no idea where you are at, do you?" Willow remained silent.

"The Night Clan is a place of worship - for lack of a better term. When Quinlan departed she said that following what she had done in life was the greatest form of sacrament to her. Quinlan ordained a Clan that was founded based on pleasure and pain. The two basic elements of a human's physical existence. She taught that experiencing all the pleasures and all the pain of the flesh brought you closer to her and made you one with her spirit. Thus, the Night Clan is the only Clan that was founded by the Goddess herself."

The came to the top of the stairs and stopped. Loki, who had been following quietly behind them step forward and opened the large wooden door in front of them.

"Thank you, pet." Tara caressed Loki's cheek as she stepped through the doorway and into a wide hall with vaulted ceilings and blood red tapestries that draped down the walls. Tara heard Willow gasp. She looked at the red head bemused. "Impressive?"

"Impressive?" Lady Tara asked

"Yes." Willow replied. Tara laughed a bit and Willow couldn't help but be entranced by the melodic sound. The Mistress of the Night Clan began down the hall.

On one side were large paintings of men and women in various stages of undress in the throes of pleasure. On the other were paintings of men and women in shackles and other restraining devices - being whipped or tortured and from what Willow could tell - they still looked to be in the throes of pleasure.

"As with any temple, people pay to come and worship. It's homage to those that choose to be in service to Quinlan. This in turn is homage to the Goddess herself. I rarely perform rituals or sacraments anymore unless it is someone of high position or power or someone that has enough coin to warrant my abilities and position."

Willow was confused. "What do you mean?"

"I mean, I'm the High Mistress of the Night Clan, I'm considered the closet thing to representing the true form of the Goddess on this plane of existence. So, unless someone is important enough or wants to pay the price of homage to be "taken" by the Goddess' representative - I do not bother "worshipping" with the lay people. Mostly, I run the day to day orders of the house and I lead the ceremonies on religious days. Or, if need be, I enact the beauty of Quinlan's teachings for a crowd."

The red head was still confused. "So this place is nothing more than a flesh trade?"

Tara stopped and turned her blue eyes narrowed. "No. This is a place of worship, but being from Galen - I don't think you understand that."

With that she turned and continued walking.

Willow swallowed hard. She could tell that she had offended the Mistress, and though usually she'd be proud of herself, somehow it felt horrible to her.

They came upon a set of double doors and again Loki opened them.

In side was a large round chamber - with bowls full of fire set atop pillars lighting the room.

"This is the Show Room," Lady Tara announced her voice unreadable. "If you can not understand our ways here - then you never will..."

Willow took a tentative step into the room and stopped her mouth dropping open. Before her was a sight she'd never would have seen in her wildest dreams.

Continue to Prisoner of the Night Clan Chapter Two

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