Servant, 9

Rituals Are Most Useful When They’re Adapted on One’s Needs

The moment we’ve all been waiting for.

Ao3 Link

“You don’t have to do that, Drew,” Hope said, a tone of pleading in his voice.

Drew stopped what he was doing, looking up at Hope with a smile. “Yes, I do. Don’t worry. I want to do it.”

“I know you do,” Lyren said, sitting on the edge of the hole Drew was digging in the back of the inn. He’d uncovered a good chuck of the stone sealing Lyren now. “But you shouldn’t.”

Drew ignored him, continued digging. He’d thought about it for three days. He was ready now. He knew what it meant. He knew the consequences.

“But it’s…”

“I know you want to help,” Drew said to Hope. “But it’s important to me that I do this on my own.” He wanted to be the one to do it. He was the one letting Lyren out, he didn’t want someone else to do the work for him.

That didn’t seem like something a high priest should do.

As Hope sighed, Drew looked up at him. “If you want to help, could you go get me a drink? I’m thirsty.” He’d been working for a while now.

“Sure,” Hope said, clearly relieved to have something to do. He scurried off, disappearing into the inn. He really did want to serve, it was his natural state.

Drew kept digging, panting a little with the exertion. It was chilly but he was hot, and the wind kicked up, throwing clouds of earth into Drew’s face. He coughed, covering his mouth.

“This is a more than big enough hole,” Lyren told him, watching Drew from the edge. “You’ve got more than enough room here to bury a couple of bodies. All you need is enough of the stone for the blood to stain it.”

Drew nodded. Lyren had already told him that. “I know. But I feel like I should uncover the whole thing. It just seems like…”

Lyren was behind him now, hands on Drew’s sides. “If you’re nervous,” he said.

“I’m not.”

“You don’t have to do it,” Lyren continued, ignoring him. “I don’t want you doing this if you aren’t ready.”

“You don’t want me doing it at all,” Drew told him, pausing in his digging.

“That’s true. The world is better off without me in it.”

That made Drew sad, that Lyren thought that. “I don’t think that’s true.” He really didn’t. His life was better with Lyren in it, and he knew everyone else’s would be too.

Lyren made a noise, shifting into a hug. “Well, you’re pretty smart. I’ll trust your judgement.”

“So you’re going to let me unseal you?”

“It was never up to me, Drew.”

Drew started to say something, but was interrupted by a voice. “Boys…” He looked up, heart racing, and saw Magnus standing there with Hope, who was holding a cup of water. “Drew, I’d really rather you asked me before you tore up my courtyard…”

“I’m sorry,” Drew said, trying to seem normal. “But come look at what I found!”

He’d planned this already. This was how he’d planned to lure Magnus out, by pretending he’d found something. But he wasn’t ready, he wasn’t…

“You can still back out, Drew,” Lyren said, tone even.

“Well,” Magnus said, approaching, stepping into the hole. “I’ll be. Never knew something like this was right under my inn.” He moved further in, and Drew moved behind him, Lyren’s hand on his wrist.

“It’s super cool, right?” Drew asked, stomach clenching a little. He hoped the quaver in his voice wasn’t that obvious.

“Yeah…I wonder if it’s a foundation stone from an old building,” Magnus said, kneeling down to get a closer look at the patterns on Lyren’s seal. “They say before Techen’s Stand was here, there was a…”

With a swallowed cry and closed eyes, Drew hit Magnus on the back of the head as hard as he could with the shovel. Silent, Lyren let go of his wrist.

“Oh, my God,” Hope said, rushing forward, cup of water hitting the ground. Drew lowered the shovel, looking down at Magnus. He was breathing. There was some blood in his hair. “Wh-what did you do? Why did you do that? Why, Drew?”

“Because I…” Drew was shaking. “I have to,” he whispered.


“Go inside, Hope.” Drew looked at Lyren, then headed out of the hole, casting the shovel aside. He went to the wall and retrieved the sharp kitchen knife he’d taken yesterday.

“What are you going to do with that?” Hope asked as Drew returned, afraid.

Lyren was just standing there beside Magnus, quiet.

“I’m going to…” Drew dropped to his knees, pressed the knife with shaking hands to Magnus’s throat, holding him by his hair. “I’m going to kill him.”

“But why?” Hope asked, a tear running down his face. He kept looking between Drew and Magnus, and Drew remembered what Lyren had said about ‘why’ being a question that could break an enthrallment. It didn’t matter. “H-he’s nice! He’s a nice man, Drew. You don’t have to…”

“Yes,” Drew said, also crying. “I do.” This was the only way. The only way to free Lyren. Lyren was watching closely.

“Why do you want to…”

“I don’t. But I have to.”


“Go inside, Hope,” Drew whispered. “I don’t want you out here. I don’t want you to watch.” Watch while he killed Magnus, cut his throat. His hand shook.

“I’m not leaving you alone.”

“I’m never alone.” Drew didn’t look at Lyren. He couldn’t. He couldn’t move.

“Drew, please…”

“Go inside!” Drew shouted, squeezing his eyes shut again. He had to do it, he had to do it now before he couldn’t. But he couldn’t with Hope watching. “I don’t want you here, you idiot! You’re so stupid, I don’t, I don’t even…like you…” Shaking all over, Drew crumbled, dropped Magnus’s head and ducked his own, sobbing. “I can’t,” he cried. “I can’t do it, I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Lyren said, hand on Drew’s shoulder. “It’s okay, Drew. You’re good. You’re a good person.”

“Drew…” Hope was right beside him, arm around Drew, holding him. “It’s okay,” he said, coaxing the knife out of Drew’s hand. “It’s okay. You’re okay. You don’t have to do it.”

“I’m sorry,” Drew whispered, sick, to Hope, to Magnus, to Lyren. He’d failed, he couldn’t do it. He was useless. What was even the point of him? The most important thing in his life and he couldn’t do it. “I’m sorry…”

“It doesn’t matter,” Lyren told him softly. “I told you, you’re too good. Too special. Too perfect for something ugly like this.”

“It’s okay,” Hope said, taking the knife away. He let Drew go, reached out for Magnus.

“But he’s not.”

“I’ll do it for you.”

“What?” Drew asked, looking up. Hope was holding Magnus’s head, pressing the knife to his throat.

“So you don’t have to.”

“Hope, don’t!” This wasn’t what Drew wanted, it wasn’t…

“I’m sorry,” Hope said to Magnus, as Drew tried to pull his arm away. Why was he so strong? “Drew needs me to do it.”


And as Drew screamed, Hope scraped the knife across Magnus’s throat, opening it up, blood pouring everywhere as he cut Magnus’s veins and arteries. He cried the whole time.

“Hope…” Drew said, unable to say anything else as blood pooled into the patterns on the seal, converging in the centre.

The ground shook. Cracks spread through the stone. Lyren was gone.

Drew lurched to his feet, grabbed Hope. “We have to move,” he said, pulling him away from the body.

“Did I…did I do good?” Hope asked, distant, as Drew tugged him away. A crack opened under Magnus’s body, swallowing him. The air was full of dust. “Are you happy, Drew? I just wanted…”

Whatever he’d wanted was drowned out as the sealstone crumbled all at once, a loud crash filling the air and dust filling their nostrils and mouths.

Even as Drew coughed, the smoke cleared in a gust of wind and there, in a field of rubble and bones, stood Lyren. He looked exactly the same but completely different, beautiful and terrible and unreal and so, so present. Drew couldn’t take his eyes away.

“Oh, my God…” Hope whispered, clinging to Drew.

“Yes,” Drew agreed, squeezing Hope’s arm, “he is.”

Lyren took a step, walking over the broken ground as if it were flat, approaching them.

He smiled. “Kneel.”

Behind Drew, Hope did, instantly dropping to his knees into the dirt. Watching Lyren, Drew did the same, wanting nothing more than to…

Lyren reached them, put his hand on Drew’s chin. “Not you, Drew. Never you.” He pulled Drew up, to his feet, smiling warmly. And Drew felt safe. Lyren slowly knelt himself, holding Drew’s hand. “Masters don’t kneel before their servants.”

“No,” Drew whispered, shaking his head. “No, Lyren, I’m not.” He pulled Lyren to his feet, so they were both standing.

Lyren kissed him on the mouth, the gentlest thing Drew had ever felt. “You’re my high priest, aren’t you?”

“I…you don’t want me,” Drew said, sure of that. A high priest was someone important. Someone…

“Yes, I do,” Lyren said, interrupting Drew’s thoughts. “You’re the only one I want, Drew, you know that. You’re…”

“Special,” Drew finished. He…he knew that. He knew he was special.

Lyren nodded, pleased. “Being high priest is a lot of responsibility. And a lot of power. Do you believe you deserve that, Drew?”

“Yes,” Drew said, a tear running down his cheek. “I do.”

“Good. I do too.” Lyren smiled, patted Drew’s cheek. “I’ll give it to you. Bet there are rules I can’t break.”

“Gods have rules?” Drew asked, confused, overwhelmed. He could still hear the cracking of the stone in his head. Surely Lyren could do whatever he wanted.

“The universe has rules, Drew. Everyone has to obey them.” He smiled. “In order to give you something, I have to take something at the same time.”

The look in Lyren’s eyes, gold flecked with red, was serious, heavy. And Drew knew what he meant. He understood, without Lyren saying anything. Drew understood what this would cost him. He understood. And Drew nodded, swallowing. “Do it. Take it.”

“Are you sure?” Lyren put his hands on Drew’s shoulders. “I can’t ever give it back if you change your mind.”

“I won’t,” Drew swore, sure. “I won’t, Lyren. Take it.”

Lyren nodded, hearing Drew’s conviction, and put his hand on Drew’s chest. His tentacles were out, sliding up Drew’s arms.

“Hope,” Drew said, eyes not leaving Lyren’s. “Go inside.”

“No,” Lyren disagreed, holding his other hand out in Hope’s direction. “Stay.”

“Lyren?” They didn’t need him. He was just going to be in the way. Hope was looking up at the two of them from his knees, obviously unsure who to listen to.

Two of Lyren’s tentacles reaches over for Hope, sliding into his clothes. “A high priest needs lesser priests,” Lyren explained, still looking at Drew and nothing else.

“But…” It was hard to think with Lyren’s hand on him, with Lyren’s tentacles sliding around his torso, down the waistband of his pants. “Does…does he want…”

“I do,” Hope said immediately, trembling under Lyren’s touch. “I do, Drew, please. I w-want…to help you. I want to be with you. That’s why I…please, let me…”

Drew looked down at Hope. He looked so desperate, so needy. So ordinary. So small. He’d killed someone he knew and cared about for Drew. He’d do anything to make Drew happy. All he wanted was for Drew to like him.

It was pathetic. Drew felt bad for him.

So he smiled, reached down and stroked Hope’s cheek. “Okay,” he said, nodding once. “You can stay if that’s what you want.”

Hope’s face just lit right up like Drew had given him a candy. “Thank you,” he wept. “Thank you, so much, Drew. I love you.”

Drew was brought short by that, looking at Hope. He didn’t have an answer to it, but Hope was looking at him expectantly, so he said, “I, I love you too, Hope.” He said it even though it wasn’t true. “I’m sorry for what I said before. I didn’t mean it.”

“Thank you,” Hope said, tears tracking down his cheeks.

“Okay,” Drew told Lyren, looking away from Hope. “I’m ready.”

The tentacles around Drew contracted, constricting him. Lyren smiled. “Okay. It will hurt, but only for a second, I promise.” Before Drew could answer, the tentacles started to draw out pulling, tugging, tearing Drew’s clothes to pieces until they fell away, leaving him naked. Drew felt like he should care but he didn’t, not as every part of him that Lyren was touching tingled and sparked, sending shocks of pleasure through him.

Hope’s clothes had torn away too and he had his eyes shut, panting as the tentacles massaged his skin, one wrapped around his dick and one sliding up inside him. Drew was just mildly jealous, but then he felt himself being probed, stretched by a tentacle, then entered. Lyren’s hand was on his chest still, and the other on Drew’s face as Lyren leaned in and kissed Drew while the tentacle slid inside him, easily despite not being wet. Another wrapped around his dick, slowly stroking him. “Just me,” Lyren told him softly. “Don’t pay attention to him for now, just me.”

Drew nodded, letting out a small noise, focusing on the sensations all over his body, washing over him, flooding him. His body started to burn, to burn away, his every part aflame under Lyren’s touch. At some point a second tentacle penetrated him, filling him so much, stretching Drew farther than he thought possible. But it didn’t hurt like Lyren had said it would, it just felt good, it just felt.

The two tentacles were sliding in and out of Drew, taking turns hitting something inside him that sent pulses of fire through his everything, the tentacle on his dick gripping him firmly, stroking hard, and Drew felt like he might die if Lyren kept going.

Then it stopped, the tentacles leaving him at once. Drew opened his eye, saw Lyren before him. “I’m going to do it now,” Lyren warned. And when Drew nodded, something else slide inside him, smaller and hotter than the tentacles, and it burned, and Lyren’s hand burned and everything burned.

It hurt now, like Lyren had promised it would, not just between Drew’s legs but everywhere, all over his body, all through his body. Lyren was inside every part of him, filling him with a painful fire, ripping Drew open. And Drew screamed, but he didn’t want it to stop, he couldn’t take the hurt but he wanted it, he was going to die but he hoped it never stopped, he hoped, he wanted, he felt…

“Say my name, Drew.”


“My real name.”

Drew didn’t, Drew didn’t know Lyren’s real name. But he did, it filled his mind just like Lyren filled his body, until it was all he could think about and he opened his mouth to scream in a broken voice, “Lyren Techen De’Carden!”

“Thank you, Drew,” Lyren said, and with one final push of fire, Drew felt like something was being ripped from him body and he threw back his head and cried out in agony as he came, his voice joining Lyren’s as Lyren came inside him, filling him with more than seed, replacing what he’d taken with a heavy thrum that filled Drew completely.

Spent, panting, no longer hurting, Drew looked up at Lyren. He was beautiful, and Drew smiled at him. “I love you,” he said, and he meant it.

“I love you too, Drew,” Lyren said, touching his cheek. “You did so well. Can you feel it now? Your power?”

Drew nodded, floating on contentment. “Yeah.” It flowed through him, real as his blood. “It’s…nice. It feels like you. I feel like you.”

“You’ll get used to that,” Lyren told him, laughing a little bit. He tilted Drew’s head sideways, angling him towards Hope, still writhing under Lyren’s tentacles. “He doesn’t want me,” Lyren said in Drew’s ear. “He wants you. He wants to be yours, not mine. Will you give him what he wants?”

Drew felt it, the intent behind Lyren’s words, more being communicated than just what Lyren was saying. And he nodded. “I will,” he said.

Lyren nodded, pulled out of Drew, and Drew whimpered at the loss. At the same time, though, Drew could still feel Lyren inside him, and knew he always would. The tentacles still wrapped around Drew moved him, set him down in front of Hope. Hope was leaned back, legs spread, and Lyren withdrew his tentacle from Hope’s hole, leaving it open. Leaving it open for Drew.

Drew slid inside easily, thrusting inexpertly, but that didn’t matter. Hope moaned loudly, a sound of relief and gratitude, and he put his arms around Drew, face a mask of ecstasy as Drew fucked him.

Drew didn’t know how long they went, but he felt himself building, Lyren’s hand on his back, and with a few final hard thrusts, Drew came inside of Hope, letting out another loud cry of pleasure as he filled Hope, feeling some of his power leave him, flow into Hope as he made Hope his, and as Hope happily accepted that, he came too, shooting a mess up between them.

Hope looked up at Drew, obviously happy as he’d ever been, and Drew touched his face like Lyren had touched his. “Are you okay?”

Hope nodded, the look on his face one of utter devotion. “Yeah…I’m so happy, Drew…”

“Me too, Hope,” Drew said, and he kissed Hope. “Me too.” Drew had never been happier, more content, than he was today.

Lyren’s tentacles moved them again, pulling Drew out of Hope and standing them both up. He kissed Drew. “Thank you,” he said, sincerity filling his voice. “I owe you everything, Drew.”

“You don’t owe me anything,” Drew disagreed. “You’ve already given me everything.”

Lyren laughed, hand brushing Drew’s. “You have no idea. I’ll teach you to think bigger, Drew.”

Smiling, Drew ducked his head. Then he looked at himself, at Hope, both naked and cum splattered. And he looked around at the courtyard, destroyed. “We should clean up before someone sees all this.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Lyren said, waving a hand. The courtyard shimmered, and went back to the way it had been, as if nothing had happened. The rubble, the bones, the hole, Magnus, it all disappeared.

“It’s just an illusion,” Drew said, because it was. He knew Lyren’s power now. He knew what it felt like, what it could do. Lyren hadn’t actually expended the power necessary to fix all this.

“Consider it a floorplan,” Lyren said, smiling. He looked at Hope. “Your priest can organize a work crew among the congregation, get them to fix it nicely. Won’t take long.”

“We…don’t have a congregation,” Drew said, looking around. But even as he said it, he understood what Lyren meant.

“Of course we do.” Lyren was looking around as well, but seeing something beyond the walls. “Can’t you feel them?”

Drew closed his eyes, and he could. Beyond the courtyard, lights that he could feel, dim. People. Everyone in Techen’s Stand. Souls.

A flock.

Drew opened his eyes, looking at Lyren. Lyren was still smiling at him. “I put them to sleep when I woke up,” he said. “They’re waiting for you to come wake them up.”

Drew swallowed. “Should we get dressed?” He already knew that answer.

“Why? It’s not for the flock to question its high priest.” Lyren touched Drew’s hand, and Hope’s. “I think this is perfect priestly garb, don’t you?”

“Alright,” Drew giggled. He let Lyren link his hand with Hope’s, smiling at his priest, then at his god in turn. “Let’s go.”

Linked together in more ways than the eye could see, the three of them left the church to go meet their worshippers.

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