Once a Priestess of the great Metalwork Palace, a great engineer and sculptress, Lady Solivante is a wretched, beautiful shadow of who she used to be.
Infected and craving blood-iron, she can only take comfort now in the touch of flesh against her metal as her time runs out.
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“Fascinating read with a unique premise! Well written! I highly recommend this one!”
The Irizinium Priestess
Copyright 2013 Moira Hodgkinson
In a room filled with lace, velvet, glittering jewels, fine draperies and the soft amber glow of her thirteen candles, Lady Solivante prepared herself.
She perfumed and polished herself, glued long lashes to crimson coloured eyes, pinned up the silver and copper tresses of her curling hair and let her aides fasten the laces in the back of her corset. Her gilt-tinged arms were no longer quite flexible enough to do this task herself. She examined her reflection in a gilt edged mirror. The corset would come off again soon enough but she insisted on looking the part.
‘I’m ready.’ She said with no trace of eagerness. Martin and Monrose withdrew. She was still uncertain if they were brothers or lovers but was only grateful and content that they had remained her faithful servants over the long years. After a few moments, her guest walked in, still holding the glass of chilled champagne he had been given on his arrival.
Elegantly long, her bronzed fingernails whispered against layers of satin and taffeta as Lady Solivante hitched her skirts up, giving a hint of promises ahead. Eric looked terrified, his eyes widened and she feared he would crush the glass he held in his single hand.
‘Don’t be scared.’ Lady Solivante whispered. ‘This is what you paid for, after all. To experience my – difference.’
Eric, a remarkably common name for a young man who came, she’d been assured, from a tremendously wealthy and noble family. Certainly his credentials had been deemed in order by her aides. Martin and Monrose were careful and thorough in that respect, she would never think to question their judgement and so far Eric had lived up to her expectations – a perfectly mannered, if perfectly intimidated, young gentleman. Though really, she reflected with a sigh, he was barely out of boyhood.
Lady Solivante let her voluminous skirts fall to the ground to reveal her legs and her young guest made a sound that, though barely audible, she had heard countless times before. She smiled and giggled, raised her eyebrows and cocked her head to one side. Curling a taloned nail towards him, she beckoned.
He looked about to speak but instead, Eric’s mouth opened and closed uselessly. He looked at his glass and Lady Solivante gestured towards a side table. He placed the vessel upon it and after an encouraging nod from her stepped forwards, his keenness on clear display.
She took his hands into her own to guide him to her corset laces and as always in such encounters, when the cold, hard surface of her hands touched the warmth and softness of her guest’s, Lady Solivante closed her eyes for a brief moment to savour the rich texture, his scent, the –
‘Madame?’ His voice was shaking and she opened her eyes again, wondering if she was holding him too tightly; every day it was harder to tell, harder to feel. She was in danger of losing sensation completely.
‘Go ahead, dear one.’ Being a gentlewoman and even now at this late stage of her development still considering herself a Priestess, Lady Solivante always took care to be gracious to her visitors. Especially ones who were paying as highly as this specimen.
‘Once these are free, we shall have the most marvellous and exciting time.’ She ran a hand across the top of her breasts and shivered at the scraping, metallic resonance that ran through the surface of her once soft skin.
After a few moments of fumbling the corset was discarded, revealing Lady Solivante in all her shining glory. Glimmering with pinpricks of light from the candles her skin positively glowed with sparkling reflections. She was, she knew, quite breath-taking to behold. In another world, once and far too long ago, she had been revered as the holiest of the Priestesses but now she was relegated the status of high class prostitute. How she had fallen in her disease!
‘Touch me!’ Lady Solivante whispered, guiding his hands and making him claw at her breasts. She pulled at his clothing, her sharp fingers ripping easily through the cotton ruffles of his shirt and then carefully caressing his skin. ‘So soft.’ She leaned in to smell his odour and regretted the long-ago loss of her own natural scent.
‘Are you always this cold?’ He asked as he found confidence in his excitement.
‘Eric, I am cold eternally but still my flesh will yield to you.’
Lady Solivante let him paw at her, his moist lips giving her metallic skin a thrill of pure pleasure at every point of contact, his warmth lending itself to her, seeping into her gradually. So slowly he would not notice it. At least, not yet.
‘It won’t be enough.’ She regretted. It would never be enough.
And perhaps it was time for her to stop trying to make it be enough. The touch of human flesh upon her own was the only sensation she could still feel completely but it did them no good, her mortal lovers, as her form leeched away at their very life-force.
Her body was almost completed taken over by the living metal spores of the forge where once she had wielded tools and built great sculptures and jewels and buildings and machinery and engines of gold, copper, steel, iron, brass and bronze and silver and titanium, palladium and gelstanium and irizinium. Ah! Sweet irizinium. That living, breathing, flexible metal of her once-home. Wretched to her, now, that vile substance. What once had been her sole reason for living – oh!, the thrill it had given her to be Priestess of that magnificent palace where all engineers had held the highest ranks – was now her downfall and would soon be her death.
The young man moaned and she stirred into action, caressing him, returning his touches and clasping him to her as they kissed, smothering one another with fiery passion. She urged him on and the irizinium spores, the now-hated living spores that infected her, parted between her legs and let him enter. An instinctive part of her wanted to close up, not to allow this abomination to happen. If she fed on his metal it would leave the man sickly for weeks, perhaps even pass the irizinium infection onto him – it had happened before and killed her guest instantly – but he knew the risk he was taking. Did that make it right? She wondered.
No, Lady Solivante thought that did not make it right and with this thought her decision was made.
She would not feed off the living energy of this warm-blooded, warm-hearted young man who was paying to experience the wonder of the living metal woman. She would let the irizinium spores take over her completely – already they had claimed her legs, her internal organs, chest and arms, even her hair and her eyes and her power to resist it was waning. Let it have me, she thought. I have had enough. Let it finish.
Two hundred and seventy years of life the infection had given her, a good two hundred more than she had any right to claim. She had roamed the galaxies and hunted for a counter-measure and managed only to slow the rate of infection.
‘I shall not feed on you.’ She said as he pounded at her in a fevered and frantic rhythm. She wrapped tightly around him, gripping and crying out against the impulse to seize him in that bloody embrace, fighting the metal-spore urge to sink her nails into his skin, tear it open and drink his iron-rich blood in great long draughts.
‘I shall not!’
Grunting and panting and coming to his sweet climax, he said nothing, focused only on this moment of rapture and with every remaining fibre of her natural body she fought that urge to taste the iron of his vital fluid!
‘Let it take me!’ Lady Solivante cried out. ‘Let it end!’
But still she found the taste of his blood in her mouth and the infectious spores of her once-loved metal, so easy to shape and pleasing to mould, had won out over her humanity again.
The boy, spent and wretched, withdrew himself from her and reeled as he tried to stand, dizzy and heady with blood loss, his climax and the loss of his energy.
With copper tears oozing from sulphuric red eyes, Lady Solivante reached to her bedside stand and chimed a bell to summon her aides.
Martin and Monrose entered and led the bleeding, injured, satisfied and dizzy young man out of the room and away from their mistress.
Faithful. They would see him home and she knew instinctively that he would not suffer any lasting illness from having his blood taken – she had tasted him and she knew he would survive and thrive.
Lady Solivante rose from her bed, covered with lace, velvet, satin, fur and feathers, luxurious textures that now she could not feel, and she picked up her looking glass and gazed at her image.
She drew a finger across her neckline, following the curving line of metallic skin where it had crept up to meet her own skin underneath her chin and the Priestess in her sensed she didn’t have long.
She could no longer rely on the iron of blood to keep at bay the monster of her living metal disease. What would she become in the days and weeks and years to follow?
Even as she watched, over the course of an hour, the bronzing of her skin increased and crept unshakably across her face. She could feel it rippling over her white warm skin to leave a cold and hard metal in its place and as the infection took over her cheeks, her brow, her scalp so too it wormed inside her head and in a moment of last movement, she dropped the mirror and rose. And became still and silent.
And trapped. Trapped inside the metal encasement of her diseased body, no longer possessing the will or power to move, only to think.
How much longer will it give me if it no longer receives the bloody offerings of my paying guests? She pondered, how many more hundreds of years am I to endure this fate, sealed within?
A beautiful structure, a refined sculpture in the shape of an elegant woman, carved in a bronze coloured metal with glittering red eyes and coils of silver and iron and copper in her hair. Standing tall and proud in a pose of strength and grace, one hand held out as if to greet a friend.
Encased in a prison of glass and iron, displayed in museums across planets and time with a single snippet of information for the visitors who now would look upon her and stare in wonder at:
Lady Solivante – The Living Priestess of Irizinium – Graceful to the End of Her Days.
Wild Women – a modern tale of ordinary women who are witches
Half Past Nine – a novel by Moira Hodgkinson only available as an ebook at Smashwords
Sam Glass steps off a bus at half past nine one Saturday morning to find himself walking down a street lined with dead bodies, crashed cars and an eerie silence. Life has changed dramatically and he literally has the world at his finger tips but Sam quickly discovers that surviving on the remnants of humanity is not as easy as it first seems.
With his band of odd-ball survivors and a dog named Dave, Sam has to face up to the grim reality of life in a world now filled with silence, darkness, strange disappearances and a series of startling events that leaves him feeling more terrified than he has ever been in his life.
The Witching Path – Non-fiction – A guide to Witchcraft by Moira Hodgkinson.
Spells, charms, magic and incantations! Witchcraft explained in simple terms with sections on the Elements of witchery, the tools of the witch, invocations, circle casting and the God and Goddess of the Wiccan path. This book discusses some of the most fundamental teachings behind the religion and shows how you can develop your own ways of working the craft of the wise for the Esbats and Sabbats of witchcraft.
Published by Capall Bann under the author’s previous name of Moira Stirland. ISBN: 978-1861632753 Email me for signed copies
The Witch’s Journey – a comprehensive to witchcraft going beyond the foundations set out in The Witching Path, taking a look at different deities, healing therapies, divination techniques and deep journey work. There is a guide to the Sabbats of the witch’s year with ideas for recipes and rituals and there are chapters dedicated to solar magic and lunar magic as well as rites of passage for coming of age, parenthood and deep rituals for meaningful occasions. The Witch’s Journey is a look at what lies past the beginner books found in everyday magical books and explores where the path can take you.
Published by Thoth Publications, Nov 2017 ISBN978-1-870450-76-8
About the Author
Moira Hodgkinson is a leading feature writer for Witchcraft & Wicca Magazine and her work has appeared in Kindred Spirit, Prediction and her debut novel, Wild Women is now out @witchshop.org. Wild Women – a modern tale of ordinary women who witches in the real world. Sal Howard despairs of her family – all she wants is an easy life. But when her estranged mother comes home to roost there is trouble on the cards. This is real magic, and real magic doesn’t always work the way you want it to!
Moira has been a practicing witch for thirty years both as an independent witch, as the Priestess of two eclectic covens and more recently a wiccan initiate. She has written extensively for Witchcraft & Wicca magazine, Kindred Spirit, Prediction and wrote a spoof astrology column for the NFAS magazine. Her non-fiction witchcraft guides are:
The Witching Path – an introduction to modern witchcraft with elemental magic, spell craft, circle casting, energy work, the cone of power and more.
The Witch’s Journey – travel deeper into witchcraft with the Sabbats, the God and Goddess, divination, lunar and solar magic, healing therapies, journey work and more.
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