TITLE: Virgin Unknown
GENRE: Historical fantasy
To be a priestess, the walk had to be flawless -- the smooth heel-to-toe motion beneath the woolen robe that would soon be spattered with blood. Iphi had practiced this walk for two years, knew it was perfect, knew the ceremonial dagger at her waist was not bouncing from the motion. Sheathed at my navel, the center of life. Her slippered feet continued their smooth whisper on the stone floor of the temple, taking her through the darkness to the sunlight that shone through the linteled doorway, where the victims waited outside.
At the doorway itself she paused, heavy stonework on either side, the scents of life and fresh air greeting her. She had no need to blink -- though the veil that hung in front of her eyes was thin and gauze-like, its deep-set purple shielded those same eyes from the sudden change in lighting. Iphi made the pause purposeful, foreboding. Her arms were outstretched, as if to receive the sacrifices lying on the altar before her. She knew the whiteness of her face would sharply contrast against the darkness of her eyes, dimly glimpsed through the veil. If any worshiper had been standing directly in front of her, that supplicant would have seen her framed by darkness. And further on, in the interior of the temple, hints of the image of Artemis herself showed -- a pale statue in the same posture, lit by hungry flames.