A thick fog had fallen over the town, filling the pathways of cobblestone roads with dread and uncertainty. Church bells rang ominously from the towers, each clang guiding the footsteps of the townspeople as they left their homes to gather in crowds. Heads hung low as they murmured and whispered beneath the preaching of priests, whose voices sang far like beacons to guide the people. These were not prayers of prosperity or gifted wisdom, but a mantra for mercy and permission. The robed disciples traveled alongside armed guards, on route to a select number of households. They would announce themselves outside the doors with dozens of onlookers behind them, and a woman would step outside, surrounded by her family, to be escorted into a horse-drawn carriage. Some came willingly and quietly, while others resisted and made scenes, but all seven maidens were eventually corralled and presented atop a performance deck in the middle of the town.
For one of those maidens, it would be the last time she would see the townspeople or her home. They were offerings, and one among them would be sacrificed to the goddess, cast off into an unknown fate, though one detail was for certain: no one ever returned, ever heard from again once stolen away in the hands of that giant.
Vivian was tragically familiar with the ritual and its history, and that knowledge kept her the most withdrawn of the maidens. She sat wedged into the corner of the carriage, pushed there by the fullness of the other maidens and their sprawling, fanciful dresses. Their appearance was determined and adjusted by the church, designating them each with a separate color. Vivian’s stare was absorbed into the red of her dress, the color drenching her with a sense of blood and carnage. It was the color she had hoped for; unlike the other maidens, she did not cling to the hope of going unchosen, but was instead intent on being selected -- to be whisked away by the goddess, and taken to wherever the others before her had disappeared to.
Beside her, a woman sobbed. She had been in hysterics since the morning, much like she had been in the week leading up to the ritual. The guards had to tear her out of her home when she refused to leave with them. Vivian remembered the woman desperately hugging the door frame as two armored men ripped her away.
Eventually, she was shoved into the carriage and locked in with the others. She wept as the carriage left the town, begging not to go, terrified of what it would mean to be picked by the goddess. Vivian begrudgingly listened to her, haunted by a similar scene from five years ago that played out vividly in her eyes. Burned to memory, she recalled when the sacrifices first began, and when the goddess first bestowed the world with her appearance from the woods.
The countryside had known years of peace in its quiet corner past the rivers and towards the mountains. It was a town without much to mention, other than its location at the edge of the Deep Forest. It began as an outpost to eventually trek around the tall trees, but such a project never came to fruition. The town built itself on that foundation, distant from the heart of the kingdom but in a position to thrive. Politics did not grip the townspeople the same way as the church did, whose priests and disciples took to leading the folk in their general absence. Those ranked in the church were highly regarded within the community, but the most beloved among them was Christin, a priestess known for her charity, and respected especially by her sister, Vivian.
Vivian recalled that final day of peace and how she had squandered it. What began as a petty disagreement between two sisters had unfolded into a heated argument. The two were without parents, and so Christin raised them both with the help of the church, in exchange for working services for the church that often kept her away from Vivian -- too often for Vivian’s approval. Vivian left the home in a huff, immaturely disavowing her sister as she marched somewhere to cool off. Years later, she would still taste the bitterness of her words, as it would end up becoming the last conversation they would share together.
While outside the town, Vivian heard a commotion behind her. Then, a rumbling -- tremors that spanned through the town and beyond. She could not guess what it was to be afraid of, but as she made her return, the source of such power rose into view. Only then could the magnitude of the peril be comprehended, an image looming over the town that was simply unbelievable even as it was witnessed in the moment.
It could only be described as divine intervention: a gigantic woman, bare and naked, was upon the town. She came with nothing but the health of her body; clean blonde hair made waves down to her bountiful breasts, and lean stomach rose from the notable bush at her crotch. Lumbering footsteps cracked like thunder against the ground, shattering the cobblestone roads wherever she tread. There was no second-guessing the immenseness of her weight, as a single footfall was seen to crush a wagon and its supplies flat into the earth. Buildings quivered to their brick bases as she passed by, the inhabitants within cowering away from her shadow whenever it flooded through their windows. Her scale and nudity struck many into stillness, paralyzed by both awe and confusion, but all the same did they flee when she approached too closely.
Soldiers positioned themselves for defense, but no wall they made was any obstacle to the giant. She easily stepped over lines of guards, casting horror onto those that the sole of her foot flew above. Farther into the city, more soldiers adjoined themselves with a mob armed with pitchforks and fire. Their combined efforts were hoped to be enough to chase the monster away, but their presence did more harm than good. They charged at her ankles and attacked where they could, but her counterattack instantly overwhelmed them -- a kick into a nearby building, its collapse barreling into the men and women posed against her. When she knelt down in front of the fallen, drilling their spirits with an unabashed smile, their will to fight evaporated. The town’s defenses were null against a singular naked woman whose size made playthings out of soldiers and weapons.
Rioting crowds rushed to evacuate the town, but Vivian pushed against their flow, like trudging against the current of a river. Though she feared the explosive power of the giant like anyone else did, she could not yet run away. The naked terror was encroaching onto the heart of the town -- the church, whose bells rang worriedly as the tremors reached their towers. Vivian pleaded under her gasping breaths that her sister was safe somewhere, but she would not foolishly believe so until she had Christin back in her own arms.
Bounding up a set of stairs, Vivian turned a corner and glanced at the giant with a new perspective, an angle that saw rays of sunlight seeping past her humongous form. Despair chilled Vivian’s skin when she saw the giant ahead, crouched at the church’s walls with eyes peering through the windows. A hand broke through the roof as though it were stale bread, snapping inside and feeling around -- then, finding what she sought, she retrieved her prize. Vivian ran closer, but was stunned by what she saw: a handful of church women, tightly enwrapped by unforgiving fingers. They kicked and shrieked, but nothing could overpower the giant’s grasp, even their efforts put together.
One at a time, the church women were lifted by the other hand towards the giant’s face. Vivian could only infer what happened based on the titan’s reaction; a giggle, a glare of roused curiosity, and a shimmer of interest in her eyes. She rolled the woman around in her palm, entertained by how she grappled her fingers and crawled to the edges, vainly searching for a way down. Each of the women in their own time would realize how hopeless it was, but then, they would be dismissed -- plucked plainly by the fingers again, and set aside without comment. These fortunate few would immediately dash away to shelter, until only one priestess was left behind in the giant’s possession.
Vivian approached until she was no longer allowed; a ring of guards formed a barrier around the giant’s location, a perimeter that kept evacuees from nearing too close to the danger. Vivian, stubborn as she was, tried to squeeze past two such soldiers, but they refused to let her slip through. She could only gaze down the length of the street up to the church, down to where the giant sat in the middle of a crossroads.
A fire burned in Vivian’s eyes as she saw a flip of long black hair, just like her own, unfold over a finger. From afar, she was able to recognize the woman with just a glimpse of her face. Vivian began to weep, calling out to her sister, “Christin!!”
The giant was evidently infatuated with the priestess, prodding at her with a fingertip. Try as she might, Christin could not direct the digit away, even with both hands firmly pushed against it. It made no difference to the giant, who maneuvered around the resistance and pinched at the woman’s black robes. This spurred a second wind of strength from Christin, but all the same was she unable to defend herself. The giant’s curiosity could not be halted; it continued as she whimmed, taking the skirt of the robe and lifting it up to expose the priestess’s legs. Christin kicked and spun, but regardless, the giant took what she wanted -- rrrip! The skirt was torn away, turning the dress into tatters. A pantsless woman lay helpless in her hand, coiled into herself and on the verge of tears.
The finger curled around Christin again; she flinched from its touch, but it was tender and careful this time around. It stroked her, from the shoulder down to her hip, sending shivers over her body. Christin begged between sobs, praying that she be released and allowed to see her younger sister again. The only divinity to hear her was the giant herself, and her response was to stand and lift Christin higher, farther away from where she wished to go. The giant’s smile persisted, slowly widening with pleasure as she stood there at her full height. She was seemingly in a trance, casting a long stare around the town while Christin quaked in her palm.
Christin was sealed away, encapsulated by both hands. She yelled and pried at the digits for freedom, but without comment, the giant pivoted and left the church’s grounds. Following the trail of destruction she had made, the naked behemoth thundered off back to where she came.
The nightmare she witnessed cast Vivian into silence, but not into inaction. When the guards were dulled by the giant’s sudden leave, Vivian sprinted out of their hold, too fast to be recaptured. She ran with tears blotching her vision, chasing after the tremors, reaching desperately for her sister and the giant that stole her.
But her speed was no match for the length of the giant’s strides. As spontaneously as she had arrived into town, so too did she depart swiftly. Vivian ran to the end of town, then kept running, continuing after the sounds of huge footfalls crashing through the terrain. Powering through exhaustion, she marched up the hills towards the old temple grounds, a plateau that peeked into the Deep Forest, but she was too late. By the time she had reached that precipice, fallen to her knees with both arms stretched forward, the tremors were no more. The giant had disappeared into the trees as tall as she was, and Christin was gone along with her.
Vivian sunk into depression, but the townsfolk were grateful that the violence stopped where it had. The harm caused by the naked giant could be healed or repaired, everything except for Christin. In the days that followed, guards and volunteers from the church combed the outskirts of the Deep Forest, searching for the kidnapped priestess -- or any signs left behind by the giant. Unfortunately, no such evidence was found, and so the people were left with their confusion and sorrow. A procession was held in honor of Christin, and the church would continue to house her younger sister, but the unanswered questions were an incurable plague of suspense; when would the giant appear, and what was her purpose for coming at all to their humble territory?
No one dwelled on the mystery more deeply than Vivian. The passing of seasons was able to remedy the worry for most, but she could not move on so easily after having lost her beloved sister. Every night, she would travel to the edge of the Deep Woods, creeping through the darkness in hopes she might stumble upon Christin, or even just a clue of her whereabouts. She prayed as she did so, a ward to keep the giant at bay; the trees lurking overhead would frighten her with their reminiscence of her hugeness, their branches like a sprawl of fingers reaching for her. Yet everyday, Vivian would send herself into that darkness.
Before she had realized it, a year had passed. Vivian awoke that day from a slumber she had in the woods, nestled into the thick roots of two trees. Daylight prodded her through the canopy, gently stirring her awake -- until a tremor unsettled her, a mighty quake that made her flinch and gasp. Leaves shivered down from the trees and the native animals scurried to shelter. Then, another quake, more violent than before, a rumble that paralyzed Vivian where she stood.
Vivian lurked away from where she had slumbered, and gawked at what swept in front of her vision. She fell backwards into a bush, marveling at the height of what passed her: a long, powerful leg whose stride snapped and tore through the canopies. The flat of a foot crushed down anything in its path, catching branches and debris between its toes. As suddenly as it had stomped into view, so too did it continue out of the forest, leaving Vivian staring at the heels as they bounded away as a pair.
The giant had returned. The very same woman, exactly as nude as she was before. A blonde titan that sidestepped defenses and pushed mobs of guards aside with her presence alone. Vivian followed after her crashing footfalls, hurrying as much as she could to return to town and do something to get Christin back.
But the giant reached the town much faster than her, casually strolling through the uproar that mirrored her original arrival, and she appeared set on a goal. She peered over crowds with a keen eye, broke into lodges and halls for exact purposes. She was looking for something, like she had before, but was wasting no time in retrieving that prize.
There was a scream, and the giant smiled. Caught in her hand like an animal, a woman in white attire jerked and flailed in what little ways she could. She was a bride to be wed that noon, dressed wonderfully in a gorgeous gown, but the giant had overtaken her destiny, stealing the bride in an unforgiving fist that easily carried her away. Guards fought to keep her, piling on top of the titan’s feet and stabbing at her ankles, but their diminutive attacks were no match. They were kicked to the wayside as the giant marched away, seemingly more preoccupied with fawning over her capture than to be concerned with any of the people.
By the time Vivian had left the Deep Forest, the giant had retreated into its walls of trees. Once again did the townspeople sweep the forest, but just as the year before, there were no signs of where the giant had disappeared to. Her and the bride were gone, but a new dread engulfed the citizens; this was no longer an unexplainable happenstance, but a ritual -- this gargantuan figure, so impossible that her existence could only be defined as divine, was claiming sacrifices.
So began a new age for the townspeople. A myth perpetuated by the church dominated their lives now. The giant was deemed not to be a monster, but an icon of a goddess, an avatar for the bountiful season that followed her yearly visits. Having discovered a pattern, the church organized a ruthless ritual in her honor, to keep her content and ward her from devastating their home. As the goddess had claimed two of the most beautiful women in the land, it was decided that every year, they would offer her a selection to choose from, presented to her at the old temple facing the Deep Forest.
As they had expected, when the season came and the tremors announced the regular arrival of the giant, she stood before what was brought to her. That third year, seven women were arranged for presentation; their struggles against this oppressive ritual were punished with bindings that trapped them to stone plates, and armed guards ensured no offering could escape too far. The goddess studied this development, her faraway expression difficult to judge, until a hand swept from her side down onto one particular woman. Her choice was made. The townspeople heard screams from the sacrifice, begging her neighbors to help her and to prevent her being taken away, but the giant left in peace, just as they had all prayed for.
Vivian was in the audience of that sacrifice, unflinching as she watched the goddess return and pick out a woman to steal. While the townspeople celebrated their safety and rushed to free the remaining women, Vivian continued to stare into the Deep Forest’s entrance, a hand held over her heavy heart. As rain encroached to wash away the darkness of that day, she swore she would learn of her sister’s whereabouts, to solve the mystery of the missing women. Without an attachment to this world, she decided then she would become a sacrifice and learn the truth for only herself -- she would reunite with her sister in whatever plane of existence she had ascended to.
Crows cawed in chorus with one another as the carriage was pulled up a pathway of stone bricks. They watched from the aged remains of the old temple’s architecture, their noises like laughter towards the women that had been chosen. The fog was heavier towards the Deep Forest, and a drizzle had begun to shower the scene, just as guards began unloading the women one at a time. Vivian was in the middle of the group, and though she complied with every order, all the same was she snatched by a priest and pulled forward along with the others. An audience of townspeople followed them only so far before guards ushered them back, allowing the ritual to be concluded in peace.
Vivian’s hand again clenched at her heart, twisting her cloak by the collar as her eyes glazed over the familiar surroundings. The stage had been set: atop the plateau that pointed into the Deep Forest, seven circles of stone were prepared, heavy bed-sized tablets that were propped at an upwards angle with wooden supports dug underneath them. Strategically designed slots allowed for wrists and ankles to be tied down, and priests were at the ready with chains for that very purpose. Any sympathy for the women they were about to strap down was veiled by the plain white masks they wore, their humanity disguised as mere tools for the goddess.
The women were directed to the tablets, one designated for each of them. Vivian watched as the first of the offerings was held down, how the guards overpowered her futile efforts of resistance long enough for the priests to bind her. As she watched, a guard pushed her from behind, tripping her to the ground; she was brutally picked up and tossed onto a plate, despite showing no resistance. Even as her arms and legs were spread apart to be tied down, a guard pinned her by the throat, preventing any last-minute possibilities of escape. But Vivian closed her eyes and breathed, her worry molded into a dark and steady calm.
As the others were bound in similarly rough fashions, an audience built up behind them, recognized for their murmuring over the event about to unfold. A priest stood in front of them all, at the very precipice of the cliff, his arms spread wide in the air as he declared the offerings to be suitable for the goddess. He ranted according to script, dipping in and out of prayers, but Vivian was dulled to what she had listened to in the years past. She thought only of her mission, emotions spiralling around that persistent worry: What if I’m not chosen…?
Then, in an instant, that concern was dispelled. All thoughts were blown away like dust in the wind when the first sign of the goddess’s approach was felt. It shushed the restless crowds, a movement that traveled fast through the ground. The trees of the forest rustled with activity, shaking just as much as the mortals awaiting her entrance. Tremors grew louder and more powerful, an impact for every suspenseful second that counted by, a different series of cracks and breaks echoing from the labyrinthian growth of trees. The most panicked of the offerings began to scream and worm about in her bindings, even as two guards wrestled with her to submit; those adjacent to her caught the same bug of fear, piping up with their own wails, but Vivian bit her tongue. Her heart froze over, only to thaw when she saw the first glimpse of movement far within the border of the Deep Forest.
She had arrived. Graceful movements like a dance wove her through the many trees, her footfalls flattening whatever hurdles would otherwise obstruct a mortal’s path. She circumvented it all, a naked body that appeared as natural as the terrain itself, something that could not be questioned by human logic. Branches broke against that bareness, decorating her fields of skin with sap and leaves that meant nothing to her. A face pierced through the canopy, highlighted with blonde hair that bounced to her movements, an expression that was undeterminable until it rose from its hunchward angle. Soft lips lay flat with neutrality, and warm eyes narrowed onto the jet of earth that the old temple was established on, a stage that rose only as high as her waist.
The priests were the first to bow, followed by the guards and then the audience of townspeople. They cheered for her -- the arrival of the goddess.
But from Vivian’s throat was a croak of a gasp. As those demanding footfalls thundered up to a standstill, Vivian felt lighter and smaller, her anxious body wanting to coil up and hide, if it was able to. Bound as she was like the other offerings, Vivian could only struggle to move her arms and legs, her stomach sick with regret for letting herself come to this. It suddenly became apparent to her that there was no guarantee any of this would function as planned -- beneath this behemoth of a woman, Vivian lost sight of everything, her ambitions eclipsed by the significance of the goddess.
The leading priest turned to the goddess, his arms raised in respect of the unabashed glory looming above. Him and his underlings gestured wide and slow towards the seven plates, presenting them in an appetizing fashion. They could only imagine the goddess’s perspective and hope it would satisfy her; they envisioned the women, squirming under her shadow, dressed in the richest and finest gowns. One among the selection, at least, had to be worthy for the goddess’s choosing, lest the town were to suffer greatly.
Vivian, however, cared nothing about the town or its people. The bonds she had with anyone had burned away to ash, and so too had any concern for their fates melted from her mind. All that mattered was the giant above her and the choice she would make, a decision she dwelled on for some time. Vivian flinched when that massive face leaned close, too intimidated to look back into those piercing eyes or those pillowy lips, but in glimpses did she study the giant, catching sights of her bosom pressed between her arms, blonde flips of hair dropping from her shoulders, the plushness of her cheeks as they reddened with delight. As an offering, she had the most unique and advantageous angle of this amazing creature, yet it was as if she was staring into the sun, blinded by the glow of her holiness.
That great gravity was relieved from Vivian. The goddess had lifted away, risen back to her impressive height with her crotch level with the cliff. Vivian could breathe again, but each heave pushed more panic through her veins. That had been just the first glance of the goddess’s interests, the beginning of her inspection; a lick of her lips spoke down to the townspeople that these selections were appealing.
A hand hovered over the presentation of plates, its shadow scanning the sacrifices once over before settling on the most leftward to grab. The heavy stone that could weigh down any warrior was casually uplifted from the ground, so delicately handled in the goddess’s grip that observers could be convinced it had always been so light. The woman strapped to that plate choked on her scream, forcing herself to be quiet while the huge pair of eyes examined her shivering form. She winced when a finger then reached for her, curling around the plate and stroking her side with just the pad. The goddess tilted the plate, viewing the offering from a few different angles, before setting the choice back down where it had been -- and so, she moved onto the neighboring sacrifice, lifting up their stone just the same as the first.
Suspense froze the crowds, but Vivian and the other sacrifices trembled endlessly in their chains as they awaited their turn to be analyzed individually. When the goddess had someone in her possession, only the underside of the stone could be seen, and only the wails of their reactions could be heard. The slightest grin or raise of her brow threw any observer into wonder of her judgement, everyone trying to predict who she would decide on. Vivian tried to infer for herself how the other maidens fared, but the goddess always seemed to react the same, performing the same tests of touches and stares -- what was she looking for, when choosing which woman to steal away?
Vivian was worrying if she had that mysterious quality the goddess searched for, when the sacrificial plate beside her was drawn up from the earth. There was a terrible screech of a reaction from the woman being plucked, a harsh noise that shook the unexpecting members of the audience -- it did not phase the goddess at all, nor how she struggled so desperately against the chains. Vivian remembered her by the shrill pitch of her voice, the same manic woman that had resisted the ritual all day.
Where the others had thus far been awestruck into stunned silence, this particular maiden screamed in protest the entire time, wildly yelling at the goddess. She begged to be placed down, trying hopelessly to explain the value of her life, why it was important she be left alive. The goddess turned and tilted her just like the others, but there was a glare steepening in her expression. The maiden’s boldness earned a direct response from the goddess: “Shush,” the giant urged, a quiet word that yet pushed down on the maiden with its immenseness.
The crowd was cast into a tense spell, for rarely had a word been spoken by the goddess. They worried what fury the maiden might summon if she continued to resist, and continued she did, her energy barely wounded by the goddess’s hush. She roared at the lengthy finger as it approached her, petting her waist down to her leg while she was powerless to stop it. The goddess giggled, maybe enthused with how she had de-willed the maiden--
“Ah!” the goddess piped suddenly, a wince that made the townspeople gasp and clutch their hearts. Her finger was quickly withdrawn; the maiden had bitten it, taking the chance to do so when the pad of the digit neared her face just close enough. It was an incredible offense, spurring flustered murmuring in the crowds -- some fretted back preemptively, expecting divine retribution to strike them immediately.
But the goddess was still after coiling her finger away. There was silence, not even the cries of the maiden. Then, after a flash of disgust appeared on the goddess’s face, she executed her punishment: a glob of split launched from her lips and slapped the maiden’s entirety. Observers flinched at this standard of justice, but then, there was relief, an exhale of understanding that the town would not have to pay for the one maiden’s crime. It was enough, so it seemed, that her body be drenched in saliva, struck so hard by the viscous fluid that it nearly knocked her unconscious. She was made into an example that would burn into the townspeople’s memories, the image of a beautiful woman sputtering from a blanket of spit, weakly shivering as the warmth rapidly turned cold.
Vivian had her head turned completely to the right side, her eyes wide open to the agony set back beside her. She heard so vividly the coughing of that punished maiden, how she gasped for air writhing in the ooze of spit. It was a painful thought to accept that this humiliation was a mercy compared to what else the goddess could do -- a list of so many possibilities, Vivian imagined, what with the absolute power her size provided her over any mortal.
And then, the shadow was upon her. Vivian held her breath, blinking as the last image in her vision was that of the giant, naked and proud in how she loomed over her. She felt the platform against her back shake as it was gripped into fingers. Following that was the jump off the ground, the stone plate lifted into the air, a sensation of weightlessness as the goddess applied her power in this casual fashion.
Breathing again, Vivian opened her eyes, met with the chilling stare of the goddess’s. There was nothing else to gaze into but that massive face. The townspeople seemingly disappeared, so far below Vivian that she could no longer hear their whispering or shuffling -- no priests chanting, no maidens whimpering. It felt like a different world where only her and the goddess existed; for at least that moment, Vivian understood what it was like to be chosen.
She remembered still that this was just an inspection, and only just the middle of it. Vivian’s body clenched as the plate was rotated in the goddess’s grasp, occasionally tilted in such a way that she was hanging off the stone, held only by the strength of the chains. It was uncomfortable and disorienting, but most dizzying of all were her attempts at reading the goddess’s thoughts. Vivian studied the littlest details in her curious expression, just as every other maiden had, though by then, she was unsure what outcome she was praying for: was it still her desire to be selected, or did she wish to remain in the mortal realm she knew?
The nose, so pointed and big, came close to Vivian -- it prodded her, then sniffed at her, a huff that tugged at the sparse looseness of her red gown and pulled at any loose hairs. It stole her breath as well as her train of thought: she had been smelled by the goddess, for a purpose she did not comprehend. Had the others been tested in such a way? Was there a special quality to her scent, or was it another offense to the goddess?
“Hmm… You…” The goddess spoke in a whisper, a soft tone that danced into Vivian’s hearing. If the townspeople also heard her, Vivian had no way of knowing, so warped into the world of the goddess’s possession. She leaned forward anxiously into the next of the goddess’s words: “You seem… familiar… Almost…”
Vivian mouthed the speech back, desperate to hear more spoken from the goddess, but all that rang afterwards was a giggle. Without further explanation, the goddess was finished with her inspection, and the plate was placed back into the center. Vivian gasped when the stone hit the earth, flat again on the ground; all at once, she felt rocked back into reality, as if woken from blacking out. Once again, the giant loomed high and far above, turning towards the next maiden in the queue.
The rumble of the goddess’s movements rolled like thunder, an ambience that lulled Vivian into a trance. She thought nothing more of the other maidens, just as she had abandoned the townspeople in her mind. The singular idea captivated her as her head replayed those earlier sensations: the goddess truly was supreme in this world. The goddess, gifted with that impossible size, was inarguable. The earth rightfully quivered to her footsteps, and they had all been correct in sacrificing to her whatever and whoever she whimmed for. An all new respect for the goddess had been formed, but that respect was dense and dreadful to bear.
The peak moment had arrived, and with its arrival was a chilling wind. The goddess stepped back and marveled over her choices, her smile bubbling with excitement with a finger curled close to it. The priests gestured for her to bless them with her decision, but she still took her time, leaning low again for another sweep of appraisal.
Vivian shimmied up her sacrificial plate as best she could, positioning herself to gawk at the goddess -- it could very well be her final opportunity to see the holy figure so close, a perspective so few would ever appreciate. Her gaze dove into the features of the giant; how her hand caressed her thigh to support her towering posture, how her bosom hung and swayed with the weight of houses. A nervous sigh escaped Vivian as she shakily laid her head back against the stone, strangled by the goddess’s suspense.
Finally, the goddess rose again, and from that high angle, she reached down into the row of stone plates. A sprawl of fingers claimed a circle, just as it had when inspecting each option, but when her choice was uprooted, it was carried level with her heart, distanced farther as the goddess stepped back from the cliffside -- never to be set down alongside the others again.
The goddess’s farewell was silent, just as it historically had been. Her head turned to the townspeople, her glance flashed at the array of priests, and with no other act, she pivoted towards the Deep Forest. A hymn was conducted for her departure, a ceremonious song that healed the uneasy spirits of the crowds, but was a fading laughter to the maiden carried away from the life she once knew.
Vivian unthawed. Her heart began to beat again, thumping in her chest, accelerating like a drum. She blinked hard, feeling the wind blow fast around her like never before. There was a constant movement, a rhythm like a ship sailing into waves. With every bounce, her chains shook unforgivingly against her wrists and ankles, her body too heavy to move -- yet, like she experienced earlier, she felt weightless like a feather.
The realization took that long to dawn on Vivian, resonating in her throat as she reckoned with her destiny: the goddess had chosen her. Years of praying for this fate had finally woven her into that wish, a thin thread that she hoped would lead her to her beloved sister. A long, winding thread that stretched into the unknown of the Deep Forest, the shadows slowly consuming her like a manifestation of the truth she sought.
Branches broke against the unstoppable body of the goddess as she carved a path between the countless trees. It was a cacophony of snapping wood and quivering leaves, the debris of which powdered Vivian; she was spared from the worst of it, shielded by the goddess’s other arm held steady in front of her. The hundreds of whipping obstacles did not impede the giant at all as she stomped through the tangled terrain; her smile persisted even to this point, her pace notably faster than when she had debuted. Vivian could assume as much that the goddess, for whatever reasons were ahead, was excited to have claimed her prize.
There was no turning back, a fact that sunk into Vivian’s core. No maiden sacrificed to the goddess had ever returned, never heard from again. The darkest theories popped into her mind like crackles in a fire, the very likely truths that this was a road to death. What else could occur to those picked by this titan, whose size alone is so overpowering that a single step could end a mortal’s life? What could make a mortal so special as to be kept alive? It was obvious, Vivian thought, what destiny her sister was victim to -- and she was foolishly following in those tragic footsteps, having flung herself into that same destiny.
Vivian screamed. “Nooo!! Take me back!! Take me back!!” she yelled, her begging paced between the smashing of footfalls. She stopped and panted, expecting the goddess to respond in some way, but the walking continued without pause. Vivian wailed, “Please! Please, Goddess! Reconsider!! I-I’m not worthy!! I’m not ready…!! Goddess-- Hhaaiiihh!!”
She squealed as she was careened upward, the sudden jolt in movement sentencing her into radical spasms. The goddess’s face dominated what she saw, lifted close to those eyes like she had been before. Vivian squirmed, far less stable now than when the goddess scanned her; she looked not into those pools of eyes, but into that wide entrance that were her lips, which curled at her cheeks with an unabashed amusement.
The goddess inhaled, interrupting a chance for Vivian to shriek again and enthralling the maiden into her upcoming words. “You don’t have to worry,” she promised, her pillowy lips dancing uncannily to form her speech. “You’ll be safe. But I want you to be quiet. No more screaming. I don’t care for it. Understand?”
Vivian blinked and gasped madly, shivering as the breaths of the goddess washed over her with warnings. She had not expected such a command, nor anything to be said by her captor. Rather than reply to her, she started to sob, pulling vainly at her chains. “I-I can’t go…! No, no, not like this…! Sister, no--”
“Please?” the goddess interjected -- sharp enough to make Vivian flinch and look away. “It’s a long walk, so you should save your energy. Screaming won’t help you.”
Vivian shook her head in despair. The goddess’s warning was clear and straightforward, but her heart pulsed with determination. How could she simply roll over and accept this demise? Even if asked to by divinity itself, Vivian growled in retaliation to the order, still tugging at her restraints regardless of how they pinched back at her skin.
The goddess slowed into a halt, her shielding arm leaned against a mighty tree as she stared at her choice. Vivian persisted with her shouts and barks, refusing to be taken quietly. It left the goddess with no other option; with a sigh, she stomped forward as she had been, but with the sacrificial plate nestled into the depths of her breasts. Held steady against her center, the goddess could smile again, only able to hear the most-muffled cries from her newly acquired maiden spouting from her cleavage.
Vivian roared into the flesh that surrounded her, despite her understanding that she would go ignored. Swamped in sweaty skin that pushed in from all directions, she was suffocated by the distinct aroma attached to the goddess, more claimed by her than she had been before. Bound like she was, Vivian could do nothing to suppress the fat from flooding around her, helpless to how the plush masses bobbed relentlessly. It was soon after that her will diminished; no longer did she shout for the goddess, but all the same was she trapped between the breasts, sentenced there for the length of the voyage.
It’s a long walk, Vivian recalled the goddess having said so. For that length of time, the goddess’s bosom would be her captivity. Accompanying her would be the noises outside the walls of flesh leaking in, the destruction of nature as a massive body trampled over it; heard just as clearly was the rhythm of a deep heartbeat, reliably beating regardless of the chaos. Vivian meditated on these sounds as she wondered how far this venture would take her -- how far it had taken the others before her.
The snapping of tree branches eventually slowed, then ceased entirely. In its place was the racking of stone and soil, the earth giving way as the goddess’s unyielding feet stormed through hillsides. Vivian concluded that they must have exitted the Deep Forest, if that was even possible. The townspeople were always wary of the depths of the forest, knowing only that somewhere past the expansive growth was a range of low mountains lost in a perpetual fog. Seemingly, the giant’s strides had achieved such a feat, brewing within Vivian more concern of what place this godly figure heralded from.
The movement ended, stirring Vivian from her weariness. Light flowed around her as she was removed from the cleavage and back into the open air; a mist had appeared, dotting Vivian’s vision as she strained herself to scope her surroundings. She gasped when she was plummeting to the ground, lowered there by the goddess to be placed down at her feet. Still trapped by the chains, Vivian whipped into restlessness, calling out to the goddess, “Wh-What’s happening?! What are we doing here?!”
The goddess giggled as she craned away from Vivian, posing before her at full height. Slowly, she brought a finger to her lips: “Hush. Just wait.” The gentleness of her tone was able to soothe Vivian into stillness, but the maiden’s mind yet raced with worry, watching as the giant turned towards something peculiar.
It looked like the tower to a castle or fortress, but its walls were sleek with an impossible amount of steel, propped up by four bladed legs that impaled the rocky mountain ground. At its peak, most unusually, was a bulbous head of a haunting green color, which illuminated when the giant apparently made contact with it. Tall as it might have been, that strange head only went as high as the goddess’s stomach, the scale of some sort of tool or, as Vivian worried, a weapon.
Vivian then detected a buzz in the atmosphere, as if something was rumbling in the sky. The goddess looked at her with a casual expression, implying that this was normal, but that did little to ease Vivian. More questions rushed at her as she watched the goddess commit to other preparations, walking to the other side of the clearing and bending low to retrieve something else. It was scaled to her, a garment of some kind that she unrolled in front of her -- gray and bleak like the rain clouds, it was a full-body suit the goddess stepped into, first kicking in her legs before pulling the sleeves up over her arms. Once zipped, the outfit -- the uniform -- appeared seamless on her body, free of wrinkles and bumps, and tightly warping to her shape for an absolutely perfect fit. Upon the otherwise blank attire was a notable sigil, a circular design foreign to Vivian, but that this divine figure wore proudly above her heart, whatever it meant.
The mysteries that plagued her were left unanswered as the goddess thundered back towards the sacrificial plate. Vivian vocalized her confusion in sputtered, aimless remarks that were too mumbled for the giant to hear, continuing to stammer over herself even as she was picked up again, carried in both hands and cradled in front of the gigantic person. There was a cold calm created by the goddess’s assured grin, that hint of giddiness detected in her attitude.
“Now, what’s about to happen, will happen very quickly,” the goddess announced, glancing at the weird tower that hummed more actively. “It will look like you’re blinking, but it will feel like going through a wall. Just be ready, and don’t panic.”
Vivian quaked. “T-Tell me what’s happening!” she pleaded. “I need to know! Explain!”
The goddess laughed. “You’re the most curious yet,” she whispered, then winked. “I’ll tell you everything on the other side.”
The air buzzed more intensely with that unusual energy, which Vivian could now undeniably source to that giant-sized device. It was responsible for the electric tingle in the air, a sensation that spread to every corner of her body as though being washed in the feeling. The dread of being overwhelmed drained her into submission; no squirming, no screaming, only the long, anxious breaths that were drowned by the increasing volume of that droning noise.
Vivian’s eyes flashed open, her pupils burned by the sudden strike of lightning she witnessed at that very moment. If she had made a noise, it went unheard, either blown away by some incredibly loud crash, or perhaps never spoken at all, disappearing before it could escape her throat.
In that clearing within the mountains, many miles from where civilization had not yet developed, stood only that beacon, taller than the clusters of pine trees. There was no goddess, and there was no maiden. What was left of their presence was a faint glow as the bulb’s light faded, an eerie green streak shot upwards into the sky -- past the clouds, out of the atmosphere, and beyond the orbit of the moon.