The room was tall, her footsteps echoing off the imposing walls made of dark black stone, shimmering as if lathered with sweat. She had learned as a young girl that the tower was made by her ancestors of days long ago, when they began to develop their cruel civilization from the roots of prison planet it had once been. Goulish faces scowled and snarled at her from every which way, statues of the demon Gods the Zahurn worshiped appeared to jump at her through the walls.

 "Xrissa," came the harsh voice of her father, ringing throughout the hall. He raised his hand, contorted with the appearance of those of a bird, scaley soot-grey with inky talons which could easily rip out the neck of any victim he pleased. His face had a eerily glow in the half-light, long and pale with a nose like a beak set between two beady eyes. His luxious cloaks vieled his most of his body, as if he was hiding something. A large crown perched a top his head; Xrissa many days thought the heaviness of it would snap his neck eventually. "You know the Night of the Sacrifice comes briskly, the moons of Saur and Gheldym will move into place in the following days."

She shuddered, remembering ten years ago when she witnessed the horrific sight as a child. Slaves and captives were brought in a great procession into this very room. The Council of Priests masked in the faces of the strange Gods held their twisted swords, carving the Sacrifices bit by bit until naught remained and the tortured howls of the victims ceased. Rivers of crimpson blood pooled the room, eternally staining the place with the stench of gore and death. Goblets were filled with the blood, handed to all as a drink. The remains and entrails were burned in a great fire. The Sacrifices were to the great Gods, done every ten years,  to bestow blessings upon the Zahurn and their planet. What Gods would wish for such a Sacrifice in their name, and what God's would bestow blessings on such a tryrannical people? Ever since Xrissa had questioned the gross religion, though did not speak of her thoughts. It would be instant death to her.  

"What of it?" she replied, keeping her voice smooth.

"You are to assist in it this year. Your past experience, you were too young to participate. I expect you do not remember half of it," her Father said. With a lazy wave of his hand he said, "Now, be off. I expect you to be well prepared for this event."

Xrissa turned and walked away, fury and fright filled her as her heart-rate quickened. Somehow, someway, she had to get away from the Sacrifice, and attempt to help those who were to be sacrificed. How?

The End

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