The Origin of Mighty Maiden

Part One – The Unlikely Host

One day Chloe Masters was your average twenty something woman from New York City who was just a little too thin, and a little too shy for her own good, Chloe was also a student of archeology and while she did not know it then, she was on a collision course with destiny. On that particular day she sat alone, looking over a desk length of books, cataloging artifacts while praising herself over yet again avoiding a day out under the hot Egyptian sun by organizing the finds of the rest of the student team and sorting them bureaucratically to be sent to the appropriate historical preserves. Chloe didn’t look like your ordinary archeologist, in fact, she didn’t look like anybody suited for the outdoors at all. She was incredibly thin, fair skinned, with long blonde hair and a pair of completely, desperately, necessary spectacles over her sky blue eyes. She had little to no muscle mass and despite her seeming choice of profession, she did not like the outdoors. Not one bit.

The truth was that Chloe didn’t even want to be an archeologist at all, that was her father’s dream for her. A famous man himself, Stephen Masters was renowned in the field, having personally overseen several important discoveries, it was just expected by the field that Chloe make due following in his footsteps… so now she spent her days boiling hot under the desert sun, or else escaping into the slightly cooler but still over warm expedition tents to catalog the things that other people found.

Chloe didn’t mind this part of her duties as luck would have it, she was fascinated to see some of the relics that came up, many pieces were beautiful, many were strange, many were broken, but near all of them were interesting in one way or another and while it was only her task to catalog and organize them, her position gave her opportunities to see more pieces than the rest of the student team. This was her space, and it was all she wanted. Chloe did not want to dig, she did not care about names of temples and ancient figures, Chloe appeared unexceptional, she was disinterested in being exceptional, and she liked her calm, quiet, world exactly how it was. Uncomplicated.

That was all about to change, for that day even as she was overlooking a particularly beautiful golden urn that was a strong indication the team was digging very near an important reliquary, the ground suddenly shook.

“What in the…” Chloe remarked, concern spread across her features, which soon turned to alarm as the urn fell off the edge of the table and shattered. Chloe shouted, “NO!” and made only a halfhearted attempt to stop the relic falling, much too late to have done anything about it. “Oh darn!” Chloe huffed and stood up. She was going to have to report this, and that meant going outside to find the professor and let him know.

Chloe put on her sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat before venturing out. “Stupid earthquake,” she muttered darkly as the sun beat down on her, the heat like a heavy cloth but for once she found something to take her mind off it. There was a great deal of activity outside and everybody was moving toward the dig site so Chloe hurried along after them. When she got there she was spotted by Professor Diggle, who waved her over, “Chloe!” he said when she came near, “I want you to drop what you’re doing and follow Jeremy down into the antechamber…”

“Oh but I was just cataloging…” Chloe tried to put up as defense but the Professor cut her off.

“Nothing seems serious Chloe, but that rumble almost certainly means either a collapse down in the antechamber, or that something has been opened! We need a few people down there to check things out and ensure the students inside are safe. I know you like to hide away in the tents but every now and then even the ladies have to do some digging. Now get going,” he swatted her bottom, earning a bark of surprise and a wounded stare from Chloe who realized she had no choice in this.

She followed Jeremy down through the opening into the ruin. He was a handsome enough young man, and one of the few who didn’t treat Chloe poorly, so she counted herself lucky. She didn’t care about this kind of work, and no amount of prodding would make her care what rooms she was passing through, but this was where her father wanted her. She worried that Professor Diggle might be passing him status updates on her, as his recent letters seemed to all be recounting the excitement of the dig!

“He keeps doing that,” Jeremy noted, interrupting her thoughts, as they walked, “Slapping your bu… bottom… b-buttuck? I mean… you like that?”

“Well… no” Chloe answered sheepishly, “but there’s not a lot I can do about it if I want him to keep letting me catalog your finds.”

“I guess…” Jeremy replied uncertainly. The tall, somewhat handsome, dark haired man scratched his hair nervously, “you know it isn’t all bad down here. I think you’d like it more than you realize…”

“Well it iss cooler at least,” Chloe agreed reluctantly, noting that she liked how it wasn’t as hot underground. She glanced around and also noticed there was actually a lot of gold in the wall. Engravings and stories. Her ancient Egyptian was rough, but she could probably have put together a little bit of the writings if she tried. This was clearly a very important find… she reminded herself that she was supposed to count herself lucky to even be here. They passed a huge statue of Anubis a moment later and she felt obliged to say, “So… I guess this is actually a pretty important ruin?”

“Are you kidding me!?” Jeremy gaped at her, “Yeah it is… it’s a temple, we think, maybe a tomb as well, in worship to a goddess that we can’t even identify, because she doesn’t… belong in the books as far as we can tell.”

“Is she the one you guys keep referring to as just ‘Her?’” Chloe’s interest piqued up. Even secluded as she was, she couldn’t help hearing some of the excited whisperings of what her fellow students were up to.

“Yes,” Jeremy nodded, “and that’s because as close as we can translate her name, she is just ‘Her’ It’s exciting stuff. The writings… the etchings and scrolls we’ve found…”

“I don’t get any of those?” Chloe told him.

“Well you wouldn’t,” Jeremy winked at her, “You catalog artifacts, scrolls, writings and engravings go to people who specialize in that sort of thing,” Chloe’s ears turned red, Jeremy spared her further embarrassment though, “anyway, the way she’s written about, it reads less like Mythology and more like… reality… it’s all so exciting.”

“What like… she was a real person?” Chloe raised an eyebrow, she couldn’t help feel a little disbelief, “This goddess lady?”

“No… well… yes,” Jeremy nodded, “I mean some things read more like mythology obviously. They seemed to worship her as goddess of women, but also strength and courage, and of purity. She favored woman to tend her temples, elevated many. There’s evidence that Nefertiti herself visited to elevate herself in the eyes of this woman. She was like… the first feminist! You really should go talk to some of the guys looking over this stuff. It’s really interesting, and Diggle hates her.”

“A ‘Goddess’ of woman?” Chloe frowned, Jeremy was just about the only person she could have this sort of discussion with, yet she couldn’t help her disbelief, “Yeah and Ra was master of the sun wasn’t he,” the young woman shook her head, “I mean don’t get me wrong, she sounds like a real nice woman… for a fairy tale.” It was a nice idea though, Chloe had to admit, and maybe that was the point for these old Egyptian women? Chloe could appreciate the appeal of some all powerful woman making life easier for the other women of the era, particularly in an era where women were barely anything more than property. Chloe also bet that in the stories, no man ever dared slap ‘Her’ on the but! Chloe sighed, “like all of the rest, she was a fairy tale Jeremy.”

Shouting from ahead interrupted her thoughts, Jeremy and Chloe shared a glance before hurrying forward into an area of the ruin that she assumed by the jagged stone in the entryway, had only just fallen in. A respectable hallway lead toward a smallish room where their fellow students were waiting. The shouts, luckily, turned out to be whooping laughter up close, emanating almost disappointingly from a few celebrating students.

“Jeremy!” one of them called as they entered a clear reliquary, Chloe had to admit it beautifully adorned. The walls were pure gold, with ancient egyptian hieroglyphics etched from floor to ceiling, they were accompanied by images of a fire haired woman in white performing incredible acts of heroism and strength. Unlit torches were mounted to the walls, at the center of the room was a raised pedestal and on the pedestal a single urn. “Jeremy!” the student called out again excitably, “We found it! This has to be it!” he held his arm out toward the urn, “This has to be HER!”

“So much for divinity,” Chloe murmured quietly and nudged Jeremy’s arm pointedly, but her cataloging mind was already ticking away at the urn. It did not, however, seem to be a burial urn to her at first glance. “Or maybe not…” She took a step forward.

“What do you mean?” Jeremy, who had seemed a little disappointed by the excited student’s claim that ‘Her’ remains were in the urn, perked back up.

“It just… um… doesn’t look like a burial urn to me,” Chloe answered.

“Oh what do you know girl!?” The student folded his arms, “all you do is…”

“Chloe catalogs all the stuff you find Brian,” Jeremy interrupted him before he could finish. Brian winced and unfolded his arms, “She’s probably seen a dozen burial urns. She knows what she’s talking about”

“Thanks,” Chloe smiled at Jeremy before she bent over the urn to examine it more closely. A very interesting piece, the urn was made of some sort of hard white opalescent stone she had never seen in an Egyptian tomb, an animal’s bone from another country perhaps or else a mineral, polished and shining, held closed by golden bands with writing etched along them. She was no expert but she could sort of make out the writing, “It says something like ‘Herein’ she waits…” well crap, she thought, “I guess that sounds kind of like a burial urn…”

“Sure does!” Brian laughed out loud. Chloe didn’t realize this, but where she stood leaning over the urn, her bottom was jutting outward for the boys to see, and though Jeremy remained respectful, it proved to tempting a target for Brian who gave her rump a good hard swat.

“HEY!” Chloe snapped straight and hopped sideways away from the stinging slap.

“That’s for doubting darling,” Brian sniggered. Chole folded her arms and turned away from him… what a jerk! she thought, but she didn’t say it out loud. She didn’t want to argue.

“Brian what the he…” Jeremy was saying just as the room shuddered alarmingly. The ground shook, and the walls groaned. Chole’s eyes went as wide as they could go and she glanced sharply around. I should never have come down here! Chloe always knew she was going to die in some deep dark tomb collapse! Oh she just hoped her tombstone read ‘I told you so’ for her father to read! Just as suddenly however, the shaking halted.

“What was that?” Chloe asked, not quite able to keep the fear out of her voice, “We can still get out right!?”

“Relax,” Jeremy promised her, “It would have been louder than that if something caved in… I think… it almost sounded like…”

“something was opening?” Brian provided quizzically, “There was something like that just before the wall to this room collapsed.”

“Ancient doorways don’t just open,” Chloe sighed. The superstition in the room was getting just a little bit much even for her, and with her heart rate still thumping from the excitement she did have the energy to argue… just a little bit, “Any mechanics would just be too old… this room was walled off?”

“Yeah no door or anything, just bricked. Well we’d better go take a look around the main antechambers just to be su…” Brian was already walking back toward the reliquaries entrance but he froze in his step and shrieked, “Wh… wha… WHAT IS THAT!” Chloe watched as his eyes went wide and teared over. The room went cold as ice, it put the hairs on the back of her neck up. She followed his gaze toward the doorway and screamed.

Not fifteen feet away a cloth wrapped corpse stumbled their way. The wrappings were tattered and brown covering visible bits of decayed flesh beneath. It’s head, wrapped as the rest of the body, was thin and shriveled, defined like that of a skull while a flesh spattered skeletal jaw moved up and down, as though speaking, soundlessly.

Chloe’s reaction remained less quiet. She shrieked at the top of her lungs. So did Brian, and as others turned toward the doorway, they screamed also. The group of eight or nine students all seemed rooted in place, Chloe’s mind worked to try and make sense of things. Her second instinct after screaming was to assume this was a cruel joke… but as the thing drew closer it was just so decayed and rotten to look at she could actually define the beams of floodlight blaring through the wrappings at its midsection from the antechamber.

Noticed by all, the mummified remains opened its mouth wide and it’s shoulders shook while it uttered a monstrous howl. Chole felt warmth spread down her pant leg, she’d peed herself, but even that realization was so far down her list of concerns as to be laughable. She stumbled backwards away from the shout just as Jeremy and Brian’s own legs turned to run backward. Brian’s shoulder shunted her sideways toward the pedestal, Chloe’s arms flung out desperately to balance herself. She felt something hard, yet incredibly fragile shatter against her forearm. She had only a split second to glance and see that it was the urn she was striking before she pitched over passed the pedestal toward the floor, but not before something much much sturdier that she could not see seemed to lock around her wrist.

On contact with the second object she felt something like an electric shock pass through her body and finally Chloe struck the ground where she curled up and shivered in terror, awaiting her fate, to be killed by a vicious mummy! A real live mummy! It was worse than a cave in! So so much worse in fact that she couldn’t even get away with an ‘I told you so’ on her tombstone! There was a horrible silence next, and after what felt like an eternity, Chloe began to wonder if perhaps she had died already and was only slowly coming to terms with it!

“You are not dying frightened one,” Chloe heard a strong but clearly female voice ring out through the small room, “nor are you in immediate dire peril, yet should you lay there forever you may soon be.”

“Who’s there!” Chloe gasped, pushing herself out of her curled up fetal position to stare around the room frantically… only to find it entirely empty. There was no mummy, but nor were there students or even a woman to whom the voice might belong.

“It is I of course,” the voice stated simply, “Tell me young lady, what ailment has befallen you that you are reduced to this… urine soaked trembling mass? It is neither dignified nor right. I would see the cause stopped for you and the injury redressed if I am able. Point me to the man responsible and I shall see him punished.”

“What?” Chloe sat up all the way and looked around the more carefully, but still she could find no one, in fact even the entry doorway seemed to be gone. She blinked back her confusion and asked, “Who are you? Where am I?”

“Who am I!?” the voice boomed, offended, “I am Femina of course, and you are acting rudely for a host to ask such questions!”

“Host?” Chloe’s adrenaline was coming down, as was her state of terror yet still she seemed only capable of short pointed questions. The entire situation had an air of unreality that didn’t sit well with her.

“Yes, my host, you have chosen to be my host haven’t you? Is that not the Bracelet of Ascension upon your wrist?”

Chloe looked down at her wrist where she saw that wrapped around the thin appendage was a circular golden band with an emerald inlaid at the center, “Whoa!” Chloe gaped, “Where did that come from?”

“From the temple obviously!” the voice sounded very put off now, “in the urn? Is any of this penetrating that skull?”

The urn! Chloe had a vague recollection of… “Oh?” Chloe’s eyes widened, “I was knocked over, I think I… oh no I broke the urn! It was an accident though…” she dropped her head into her hands, “oh my professor is going to kill me… what am I thinking,” she slapped her forehead, “that Mummy is going to kill me first!”

There was a degree of silence in response to this before the disembodied voice announced, “I… see. So am I to take it then, that you… accidentally acquired the Bracelet of Ascension?”

“Is that what this is?” Chloe held up her wrist questioningly.

“I’ll take that to mean, yes,” the voice answered flatly.

“Hey where are you?” Chloe stood up off the ground and began to search the room. It appeared much like the reliquary chamber she had just come from, only as she had noted before there were no actual doors, just walls, and there was absolutely no one in the room with her, that was clear “am I going crazy? Did I die?”

“Relax, you haven’t died,” the voice offered soothingly, the annoyance gone, “and I am right here, looking at you, you cannot see me because this is not a physical place, but rather a place in your mind. You must concentrate on me and on who I am, I will take form once you do this.”

“Alright,” Chloe thought she might still be going insane, but it wouldn’t hurt to try something, “Just focus on you and on who you are…” she nodded, “right so… so who are you?”

“Oh dear,” the voice sighed, “You really do not know? We haven’t much time… the world is slowed in this space, it is not stopped, yet I see no way to avoid it. Please sit.” Chloe dropped down onto the ground and leaned back against the stone walls. “I am Femina. I am what your people would call a Goddess.”

“A Goddess?” Chloe’s suspicious face expressed just how much she believed that, “Like an Egyptian Goddess?”

“I am not Egyptian,” Femina assured her, “though my previous host, and her predecessors were, I am much older than Egypt, and I have nothing to do with their pantheon of animals, if it even exists. I cannot provide you with all the answer’s young lady… uh… what did you say your name was again?”

“I… I didn’t,” Chloe hugged herself. She didn’t want to be crazy. She had enough problems in her life already without adding insanity to the top of the list. This was beginning to be very distressing for her, “It’s Chloe.”

“Chloe, hmm, such a strange name,” the voice answered back before continuing her previous thought, “I cannot provide you with all the information Chloe, some of it is forbidden knowledge, some of it you would not understand, as you’ve clearly not been taught of me I shall try to be as clear as I can. I am the Goddess of Woman’s Empowerment.”

Chloe perked up a little bit. Maybe she was crazy… but at least her crazy was making a small sort of sense. “We were digging up a ruin,” she told the voice, “It was some kind of shrine to a goddess they called ‘Her,’ Jeremy said she was the Goddess of Women!”

“Not a shrine, a prison,” Femina told her, “but it is good you have at least some knowledge, it saves us time.” The voice seemed to sigh in resignation after saying this, “My prison is a ruin already. Has Egypt has fallen? How long have I been here?”

“Thousands of years,” Chloe answered. She bit her lip, “Um… I’m sorry… I guess.”

“Do not be, Egypt was a male dominated society that hated the very concept of me save the women I rescued from their indentured servitude,” Chloe could only gap at this brazen statement, she remained silent as Femina pressed on, “Though yes, they heard my name and their ears translated it to be ‘Her’ what did you hear?”

Chloe frowned, what was the goddess asking? “You mean… when you said your name?”

“Yes… I am an ancient species and neither of us speak each others language, but through the Bracelet our voices are passed to each other in words the other can understand. You, for instance, sound like an illiterate barbarian, yet far more eloquent than your predecessors.”

Chloe shook her head, dumbfounded. She decided to stop asking questions for now and to just go with it, “You called yourself ‘Femina.’”

“Oh, that is very close,” Femina sounded pleased, “Yes I am Femina, Goddess of Woman’s empowerment, of courage, and of Purity… among many less important aspects, I think weaving is among them… it doesn’t matter. It is my greatest task, and yours now that you wear the Bracelet, to safeguard and defend the women of this world, to uphold their rights and ensure their rank and privilege in society, and if the men can be helped at all I try not to begrudge them anything… they do make it so hard though.”

Chloe’s eyes widened still further. Femina was sort of like a superheroine of women! It sounded kind of… awesome to her. She very much liked the idea of Femina, even though Chloe was certain she had nothing to offer the Goddess as a Host, and of course there was also the fact she was probably just insane anyway… “Well we should probably get this Bracelet off of me and onto someone who can…”

“It won’t come off.” Femina assured her.

“What?” Chloe stood back up and stared nervously at the air, “what do you mean?”

“Now that you have adorned the Bracelet of Ascension Chloe, I’m afraid that we are bonded for the remainder of your life. There are certain dark rituals that might separate us… but none I dare say that should be beneficial to either our health, That is how it works.”

Chloe gapped at the air, “but… but I’m not capable of… of doing that stuff that you… that you need to do!”

“You are a woman Chloe,” Femina told her simply, “you are capable of anything you set your mind to, but fear not, it shall be I who shoulders the bulk of our task, not you. Please, can you be so kind as to provide me with form so that this conversation can be less… one dimensional?”

“Oh, yes,” Chloe nodded rapidly, “Sorry, I just got… distracted.” she shook her head to clear her thoughts and stared at the air. She focused on an area she figured the voice was near, and on what Femina had told her. She didn’t know what all to do at first, but the idea of Femina took root simply enough. A heroine for women, Chloe thought, She would have to be a Feminist Icon like nothing we’ve ever seen! Like a real life Wonder Woman or Power Girl!

In response to her thoughts, Chloe thought she saw something shimmering in the air before her. It was subtle at first but overtime it became more and more noticeable, “Don’t stop Chloe,” Femina prompted her, “It’s working!”

“Okay!” Chloe chirped and stood up from where she sat. It looked like all those years of ‘messing around’ with comic books was finally about to pay off! Chloe straightened her spectacles and thought very hard. The more she considered it the more certain she was that if Femina was telling her the truth, she was going to be a heroine for the ages. Strong, but sexy, the perfect Amazon warrior, someone every little girl could look up to and wish to be… An image took root in Chloe’s mind.

The shimmering before her suddenly flashed bright and from the light stepped out a woman of the likes Chloe had never seen. The girl’s mouth opened in quiet awe. Femina was adorned in a white leotard with matching boots and a pair of gloves beneath golden shoulder length armored bracers that matched a set of ornate shoulder guards. Slipped into Femina’s long brilliant crimson mane of hair was a golden tiara just like wonder woman, and pulled over her leotard a pair of golden panties. Chloe noticed last the modest shield shaped opening near the center of the goddess’s large, improbably buoyant breasts, and finally emblazoned on the leotards material at the midsection the ‘Female’ symbol blared proudly and, Chloe thought, powerfully in gold.

In fact, powerful, was exactly the word Chloe thought of in sight of the goddess. Femina’s outfit looked powerful, but the woman filling the uniform was just the beautiful amazon for the task. Her body appeared strong and athletic, but not at the expense of her feminine form. Femina’s powerful thighs were naked for Chloe to see, her long legs slimmed somewhat down the knee and shins. Her upper torso was only subtly broader than the totality of her hip and thighs, connected to her legs via a gentle hourglass frame, that seemed just deceptively slim enough were it not for the hint of musculature rippling just beneath the fabric of her outfit. Finally, she was utterly, unabashedly beautiful in that ‘exotic supermodel’ sense with high cheekbones a vaguely angular bone structure, with a pair of bright green eyes to offset that beautiful red hair. It put Chloe in mind once again of the engravings of the flame haired woman in white.

“Y-your beautiful…” Chloe all but whispered, “D-did I… I didn’t imagine all of… of this?” She swallowed thickly, “did I?”

The smile that spread across Femina’s features was soft and kind. The goddess walked calmly over to her and set her hands down atop chloe’s shoulders, “this form is a hybrid, much of it is as I was before, my features and physical traits, the rest was you.” She ruffled Chloe’s hair, “You have done well.” Chloe blushed at the praise, “Yet this is still all happening in your mind, and I fear I must asking something of you that many consider frightening.”

“Frightening?” Chloe asked, wilting under the severity in Femina’s gaze, what could Femina ask her that could be frightening?.

The goddess nodded, “You see, in order for this form to enter into your world, I must be allowed temporarily, to take control of you.”

Chloe’s eyes were at first uncomprehending, but slowly widened as what the goddess said began to clarify in her mind and she bleated, “You mean you’re going to possess me!?”

“That is the very term,” Femina nodded, oddly impressed, “You’re kind have made leaps and bounds linguistically since I last…”

“POSSESS ME!?” Chloe interrupted Femina’s digression urgently, “You want me to let you control me? To take my body away from me!”

“It is not ideal I admit,” Femina acknowledged.

“You’re… you’re G-god damn right it’s not!” Chloe threw back at the beautiful creature. It was hard for the girl just to swear at somebody. Chloe wasn’t a fighter by nature, but this was a frightening enough concept to bring out some fight from her, “Why would I ever allow you to do that!?”

“Right this moment,” Femina offered to her bluntly, “because a very bad man, wrapped by enchanted cloth, is very very slowly closing in upon you in the real world, and as you have acquired the Bracelet, he will no doubt seek to tear off your limbs and end your life to reclaim it.”

“Wh-what…” Chloe’s anger petered out and she once again stared like a frightened girl at the stone cold certainty in Femina’s voice.

“I told you before, this conversation is occurring inside your mind, and while reality is slowed in the state we are in, time can never be halted entirely. I also told you that this was not a temple, but a prison.”

“Y-yeah I think I remember… that,” Chloe nodded. She felt cold, and a nausea threatened to overcome her… except she realized she couldn’t barf because this was not reality… and the chill felt unnatural. Just like the unnatural chill that had swept the room immediately before she noticed the mummy. Timidly she asked, “You are a prisoner?”

“I was a prisoner,” Femina told her, “until you accidentally put on that Bracelet and free’d me. That ‘Mummy’ is my Jailer.

“So threatened were the men of Egypt of the strength in women that I represent, they concocted two mighty spells with which to subdue me. The first was to trap my spirit within the bracelet you now wear. One might say that it is cursed, my physical form was destroyed, but my spirit is eternal and they attempted to lock me away, but the women I had freed from tyranny rescued the amulet and for many generations a chosen woman would take the bracelet as their own and to, in a sense, become one with me. Together these brave women and I fought back against the tyranny of the men who did this to me.” Femina sighed and looked away.

“You… you’re trapped?” Chloe asked, taking a small step toward the goddess, whose shoulders had slumped. “For all this time…”

“Yes,” Femina nodded. She held a palm up to forestall further questions, “I know that you are frightened Chloe, it is not so terrible as it sounds, I promise you. Our consciousness’s shall remain our own, it is your body we shall share and you have my truest word that I would only take your form in dire moments where I am needed, and only ever with your permission.” She finally turned back to look Chloe in the eyes, those brilliant green jewels in Femina’s eyes seemed equal parts sorrowful and hopeful, “You will die if you do not try at least this once. I cannot fathom another thousand years of solitude in this place Chloe… and it would be harder still knowing that in this chance for freedom, my rescuer was slain for her trouble.”

The genuine tone in the goddess’s words halted Chloe’s attempts to somehow worm out of this, “I… I’ll die if I don’t… give up my body?” she asked, tears threatening to burst forth.

“I do not ask you to give it up,” Femina returned to where Chloe stood and put her hands back down on the girl’s shoulders, “only to lend it to me. So that I might save your life,” she kept perfect eye contact, Chloe couldn’t stop staring into her green eyes, “Chloe, that mummy has been my jailer for a thousand years while I was powerless to do anything to stop him. Given form I will decimate him utterly, save your life and the lives of the others he would surely destroy, and all it shall cost you will be a few minutes of control, during which you will know what it feels like to be a goddess, I am told it is not an unpleasant experience.”

Femina made it sound reasonable somehow… like just giving up control was the right thing to do… but then she was a prisoner in this place, and while her words sounded honorable, there was still a nugget of doubt in Chloe she couldn’t shake, “but…” Chloe asked, a fearful tear trickling down her cheek, “H-how do I know I can trust you? Y-you said he’s your Jailer? M-maybe he wants t-to protect me?”

“I’m so sorry that this has befallen you Chloe,” Femina’s features dropped to see so much fear in the girl. Shortly after Chloe felt herself swallowed up into a hug, “I have no way to prove my words to you are true in the state that I am in. Only by action can I do that, but I can offer this in my defense.” Chloe couldn’t help but sink into the goddess’s embrace, for as dangerous as it might be, it was comforting. Her head laid pillowed against Femina’s impressive bust, and the goddess appeared unashamed to allow her to do so, “I am the embodiment of all women’s strength. I exist to protect you, and my power is your power. My beauty, is the beauty of us all entrusted to me. That creature out there is corrupt power, power thrust into a greedy selfish man willing to twist himself into the monster you saw that he could live forever, his sole purpose to suppress me and the power I represent. You must decide which of us to trust. That decision, at least, must be yours.”

Chloe was silent a great while in the wake of Femina’s impassioned plea. This was entirely outside of Chloe’s nature to do, but she was trapped, trapped with no way out but this choice. She took a long deep breath, and took the first extraordinary step she had ever taken, “What must I do?” She asked.

Femina pulled away from the embrace just slightly, tapped Chloe’s nose and said, “There you are Chloe,” she said, “braver than you thought you were? This is what you have to do…”

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