She put down her food and wiped her mouth and hands with a napkin as she eyed the vial. “Will it hurt?”
“The apothecary said probably.” he sighed, “it's your choice, you want to take the chance that you've got a whelp growing in you, then you'll have a child. There is no shame in that, most of us are mishaps and bastards here. The child will be part of the family. You should know that I don't approve of the selling of children, nor infanticide. So if you want to get rid of whatever any patron left in your belly, this is your option. Keep the vial and make your choice when you are ready.”
Novalee took the vial, the liquid was watery and purple. She needed this, it would break her from The Temple forever. She remembered the last time she was had. It was during the ceremony of the Day of Death. The Day of Death commemorated the great escape of Asmodeus from the Vintner. The Vintner was the god of the vineyard. The story was that Asmodeus snuck into the vineyard with the purpose to destroy it but the Vintner over powered him and imprisoned him. Asmodeus escaped by wooing and violating the vintner's daughter. It was celebrated by a reenactment of the deed, followed by a great feast which generally turned into an orgy.
Generally Novalee looked forward to the celebration, it was one of three nights during the year that she could eat as much as she wanted, then with everyone occupied she would go to the library to read the tales of great heroes and adventurers. But this year She had been chosen to stand in for the Vintner's daughter.
That would have been bad enough but this year was very special. An avatar of Asmodeus came to the temple to participate. He played the part of the demon lord. The avatar was mostly human, and for days after the event Novalee was in so much pain that she could hardly leave her pallet in her cell.
Then there was the fasting. It was customary for the girl used as the sacrifice to fast, just like the vintner's daughter did.
Novalee squeezed the vial in her hand. It was very unlikely that she was with child. She was so thin, it was hard to believe she might be healthy enough to have a child. But then again in the last five years four of the girls who played the part ended up being with child. Those children were always slain on the altar at the Feast of the Longest Night.
But now she was free, if she had a child it was her's. What could they say? She didn't want to be a mom right now, but... Novalee chewed her lip, she had been unwanted too. She didn't know why her mother hadn't wanted her. She didn't want to do that. She started to put the vial down. Then a stray thought entered her mind. It would be the avatar's child too. He'll find me and take it away. Before she could change her mind she brought the vial to her mouth and drank.
Mag was surprised, “You didn't...”
“Asmodeus has no clam to me now,” she said then the pain started. She bent over curling into a ball. Mag gently took her in his arms and carried her upstairs to her room. There he placed her in the bed and called for Felicia to care for her.
Felicia sat by Novalee's side for the whole thing. She even took care of the bloody mess that came when the drugs had done their job.
“It's done.” Felicia said as she dabbed away the sweat on Novalee's brow.
“Was there...?” she was too weak to finish the statement
Felicia shrugged, “It's hard to tell. If there was it wasn't very far along. You should sleep now.”
Novalee felt tired, “I'm really not Jade anymore,” she said her eyes were heavy with sleep, “am I.”
“Shshshsh.” Said Felicia, “Sleep.” she blew out the candle, and left.