Whumptober day 14, prompt: branding.


"Prove your devotion to me." Saint Catherine said, voice sickeningly sweet. "Brand yourself and prove your love for God, and He shall grant you revelations."

Jeanne, seventeen and at war: she looks up from her spot on the floor, head resting on saint Catherine's lap after a long day. She's alone in her tent, and the saint feels as real as anything.

It's been so long since she's touched another being without the intent to kill, and the saint is a comfortable presence, carding her fingers through Jeanne's short hair.

"Brand myself?" Jeanne echoed, and saint Catherine nodded, gentle curls of dark hair bobbing with the movement of her head. "I don't have a branding iron."

"You have a sword and a fire, don't you?" She said, and Jeanne leaned into the saint's legs, curling herself around them. The saint's fingers pulled at her hair, and Jeanne hissed in pain. "Do it."

"Yes." Jeanne mumbled, scalp tingling, untangling herself from the saint.

At some level, she knew that the saint wasn't a physical presence, and yet - yet she was so warm, her fingers setting every nerve of Jeanne's body on fire with a single touch. Divine power, she supposed, was not something her feeble mind could understand.

It was easy to grab the torch illuminating her world, then to grab her sword from its scabbard, gently tipping it until the tip glowed in a gentle red.

"Your thighs." Saint Catherine suggested, almost flippantly, and her eyes, so full of power, shone with expectation. Jeanne was quick on the uptake, taking off her breeches and gently prodding herself, following her instructions until a crude drawing showed itself in blisters: a pyre.

Saint Catherine leaned in, smiling. Perhaps she was the Devil in disguise, and Jeanne was marching along his hellish instructions. Perhaps she, by freeing France, was actually committing some sort of sin.

"Good girl." Saint Catherine purred, and all thoughts disappeared from Jeanne's head, melting into the praise she received. She leant into saint Catherine's touch, gentle this time. "Do the other leg, too. You're my flesh to sculpt, my lovely maid of Orleans."

Tomorrow, when these blisters would brush against the rough fabric of her clothing, she'd regret them. However, in this moment, all she could feel was the peaceful bliss of Paradise.