Heart beating to the rhythm of an invisible waltz, she steps forwards.
Wax on, wax off, wax poetic, wax a car, whatever, just don't fucking die.
The man she assumes to be Haven is waiting there, just at the end of the dais. He's fingering a knife and staring straight at her.
Don't fucking die now, no, that knife isn't meant for you, you will not be slaughtered like some pig.
She walks forwards a bit more, dress brushing against her ankles and making her jump ever so slightly. Haven has started to hum tunelessly, a chant more than a song.
That fire is for warmth, humans are not cooked, humans are not meant for sacrifice, and what are you if you're not human?
The smoke from a rather large fire is spiraling up high into the air, rising to the top of the cold stone Cathedral and filtering out through a small grate. She's started to slow now, and Haven notices. He beckons her forward, a cruel smirk lighting up his pale face, shining light on her and forcing her to be a deer in headlights.
Now onetwothree, onetwothree. Keep walking, keep shining, keep smiling, but don't fucking run, can't run now because he's watching. Keep on keeping on, keep hanging on.
She reaches him, finally. Haven grabs her chin and pulls it up, marveling at the length of her neck, the definition of her neckbones…she's a fine specimen. Dia loves fine specimens, and somewhere above She is praising Haven, shining Her light on him. He can feel Her warm embrace now, and he steps back from the girl, outstretching his arms and shivering.
You are not a sacrifice, you are a human. You are a human. Only human, nothing more, nothing less, nothing to be slaughtered, nothing to be burnt, not some god's plaything. Human.
Haven regains control of himself, and asks the girl, in the tongue of the gods, what her name is. She doesn't understand. He scolds himself out loud for thinking she was a smart one, and asks her again in plain and common English.
Yes, you have a name. You have a name. He can't sacrifice you now that you have a name to him. You're safe, but not trapped in a safe again, no, safe.
She says that her name is Ember, if it pleases him. Obviously she was raised a common, treating even priests as her betters. Like she should. But Haven likes the ones who just don't give a fuck, and he knows Dia does too, because She rewards him the most for those. Haven begins to play with his knife again, contemplating where to cut.
She has such a pretty neck, it would be a shame to ruin it so. He'll stab her clean through the heart. It will hurt her more, but Dia enjoys the screams. This is one thing that all the other priests taught Haven, so he knows it to be true.
Sharp knife, hunting knife, stabbing knife, sacrificial knife. Too pretty to be used in a knife fight, just pretty enough to be used in a ceremony. Now you're a ceremony. Should have run and kept running, girl, you stupid pretty fucking fool, should have run. Should have stayed home.
He runs a hand down the back of her head, all the way down to the base of her spine. It makes her shiver. She looks scared now, her eyes are widening and her lips are opening as if in a scream.
She has lovely lips.
When he stabs her the blood runs over her lips, staining them a lovely dark deep red. She looks even more beautiful dead than she did alive.
Dia will be so pleased with Haven.
He doesn't put her in the fire, just waits. Dia will pass judgment. If She likes the girl, the girl goes with Her. If She doesn't like the girl, the girl is burnt.
It's quite simple.
He waits with Ember, rubbing his hands together to warm them. And then there's a sound like whispered last words, and he feels Her holy presence behind him.
"My Lady," he says in the gods' tongue, turning and kneeling.
She smiles at him, and that fills his body with a warmth greater than an entire bar full of alcohol ever could.
Today She has drawn focus to Her eyes, they're a clear blue that's more beautiful than any gem in creation.
She kneels next to the girl, whose name Haven has already forgotten, he's lost it in the eyes of his goddess.
"She will suffice," Dia says, her voice playing in intricate harmonies. "I will take her."
"Thank you, My Lady," Haven says, staring at the tiles of the Cathedral.
He was expecting a bit more, but this will do.
Dia disappears in a flash of purple light, and he's left shaking. She is his addiction, his only pleasure, his fantasy, his one true love, and he can never get enough of Her.
That's what She counts on. She counts on the priests falling deeply in love with Her and doing whatever they can to see Her again.
She is perfect.
This, Haven knows.
She will never love him.
This is another thing Haven knows.
But he doesn't care. He is Romeo and She is his unattainable Juliet.
Haven will wait below the balcony until his dying day.
A/N: Feedback is appreciated.