A Warrior's Redemption (The Warrior Kind) (Chapter Four - Temptations Lane, page 1 of 17)

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I was led back out of the citadel and into the city. Larc had been drug off into the inner depths of the citadel kicking and screaming. Anger coursed through me hotly, but I kept it from showing and passively followed wherever my captors led me biding my time until a chance to escape presented itself.

About an hour later found me climbing the stairs of the temple of pleasures, as they were often called throughout the Zoarinian Empire and neighboring lands. My steps, the steps of an unwilling man were far different than those of the eager steps of the frequent visitors of this place. The sounds of drunken revelry spilled out of the temple balconies and polluted the evening air. I had no desire to see what I would inside. In short these temples of pleasure were an abomination.

They were populated with the fair youth of the empire. It was considered a great honor throughout the land of the Zoarinians to be selected as a temple girl or boy. The position brought wealth to their families, who sold them all too willingly to the temple magistrates. The boys and girls were raised to attend to the carnal and ceremonial needs of the temple consortium and its body of believers.

A believer was anyone who could pay enough to the temple magistrates to buy their way into the door to enjoy the forbidden pleasures that lay within. The temples were viewed with favor by mostly all Zoarinians, as they brought entertainment and diversion from the stresses of everyday life to the general populace, and wealth to those in positions of power.

It was the desire of almost every Zoarinian to at least see and participate in what lay beyond the gilded doors at least once in their lives. Those who had visited once felt the desire to return even greater and labored their lives away to fund the continued attainment of the ultimate in self gratification. The depravity didn't stop there, however.

The children, who resulted from the frequent liaisons of the temple priestesses, were sacrificed to the gods of the Zoarinian Empire upon birth. It was believed that these acts of innocent human sacrifice in homage to the gods of the land renewed the land by keeping the land fertile and the people healthy. It was a custom that was observed by many outside the temple grounds and throughout the Zoarinian Empire. In their way of thinking more sacrifices could only be a good thing in terms of having continued prosperity. Not to mention freeing the parents from the need of caring for unwanted offspring.

Thinking over all I knew of the customs of these people, as I was led up the stairs I shook my head in denial of their lunacy. I thought of my own mother and tried to picture her offering me and my brother up as sacrifices and I just couldn't. My parents had something in them that had set them apart from these people and they had been hated by them for it. With the Creator's help I'd become just like my parents had been. That is if I survived long enough to.

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