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Harvesting the Black Lotus 
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Blasphemer and Heretic
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Here's a little story that I penned while waiting for a meeting to begin at work. It's not about the my Black Lotus Brigade or for any particular reason or background - just for fun. Comment welcome. Hope you like it.

------------------------------------------

The pool was as black as the huge flowers that rose above its glassy surface. Their musky scent mingled with the stink of stagnant mud. Trickles of blood from the altar swirled and faded like wisps of smoke in the dark waters. Maibd Khaela fought to keep her balance in the slime as she waded waist deep toward the stalks and leaves of the huge black lotus.

"They are beautiful, are they not?" Hag Lheta inquired from the altar. The statue of Khaine loomed behind her ominously. The fires beneath the cauldron silhouetted her in a flickering glow. “Beautiful and quite deadly. You could learn much from these flowers, young Maibd.”

Khaela couldn’t think of a clever response. She was too preoccupied with keeping her balance in the bitterly cold water. If she so much as slipped, the few drops of water that got into her mouth and eyes would kill her slowly and horribly. The flowers protected themselves very well. She couldn’t even imagine what was going through the mind of the first Bride of Khaine that waded out into an icy pool of these lethal flowers. Suicide? The rage and anguish from the exile after the Sundering must have driven her to sheer suicidal folly. She must have arrived in Naggaroth and dove into a lotus pool to end her life.

But it didn’t matter now. She had to do this. It was her rite of passage that every Maibd undertook. Hag Lheta would coat her blade with the sap of the plant. But more importantly, the Temple Priestess watched over her acolyte as she risked her life for the vital ingredient to the ultimate sacrament, the holy wine of Khaine – Witchbrew.

“You must select the ones on which the petal tips are turning purple. Only then is the root ripe for brewing. Beware the thorns. Their small size and frailty is a deception.” Hag Lheta admonished. “You swim in the waters of our Lord now, young Sister. Choose your blossom.”

Khaela knew she could not stall. The order had been given and she would be killed outright if she delayed. She selected a purple tipped blossom that was the size of a dinner plate and knelt carefully before it. The surface rippled as the flesh hooks in her hair dipped into the water.

The lotus flower bobbed up and down in front of her hypnotically. Perhaps that first bride of Khaine was drawn in by the unearthly beauty of the flower, Khaela thought. Charmed like a snake charms its prey.

She stuck her hands down into the water and the mud beneath. The shock of the cold on her bare chest sent chills over her. Her fingers groped over old bones and skulls. The past victims of the altar had served as fertilizer for the venomous garden. She knew they included the bones of other Maibds that had failed in the Harvest ritual. Her face was now perilously close to the water. One drop on her lips….

Finally she found the bulbous root of the huge lotus. She tugged hard twice, risking a splash. The lotus refused to relinquish its grip in the mud. But a third try snapped the anchor roots and the huge flower came free, trailing giant lily pad leaves.

Khaela stood up, dripping. She looked at the knot of a root that was the size of her head. Green stalks stuck out like the necks of a hydra. The pungent smell of the sap welling out from the broken roots overpowered the stink of the mud. She waded over to the foundation of the altar. Carefully avoiding the spines on the hanging leaves, she placed the root on the stone and climbed out of the pool. She knelt before the statue of Khaine and bowed her head to signal the end of the ritual. The giant flower swayed on its stem beside her.

“Glory to Khaine, Father of life and death, to whom all blood belongs.” Hag Lheta chanted the litany to end the ritual. “Arise, Maibd.” As Khaela stood, the Priestess drew her sword and deftly cut a tiny piece off the root. She speared the sliver with the point and lifted it to Khaela. “Eat. Chew Slowly.” She said with a malicious grin.

Khaela went pale. Her Sisters had told her that there was a surprise at the end of the ritual, but they didn’t tell her what it was. They only smiled the same smile that the Hag now wore on her face.

It was only the size of a coin. She took it from the blade and cautiously sniffed the acrid scent. Hag Lheta’s blade did not lower - a clear indication of the seriousness of the situation. Khaela put it in her mouth and bit down. It tasted bitter and felt rubbery as she chewed. Her mouth began to tingle.

She raised her hand and stared at her fist as she clenched it open and closed. The tendons tensed like steel cables. She suddenly pictured herself thrusting her hand through someone’s ribcage and pulling out their beating heart. Her head lolled back and she looked up at her god. For the first time since she joined the coven she truly understood the litanies and chants with all her heart and soul. Blood was life. All blood belonged to Khaine. Blood was her gift to give, her duty to take. She opened her mouth and moaned.

A noise from behind her snapped her out of her trance. She whipped out both knives and screamed as she whirled to kill whatever it was that made the mistake of having a beating heart. Hag Lheta parried a dozen blows before the assault slowed. Khaela breathed heavily and snarled at her Priestess. “There are slaves in the foyer that need your attention.” Lheta informed her calmly.

Khaela bared her teeth and hissed. Flecks of foam dotted her perfect ruby lips. Her black curls spilled over her beautiful face with poisonous hooks tangled into the tips. Khaela screamed at the sky as she turned and ran from the altar, knocking over a candle sconce in her frenzied haste.

Hag Lheta smiled again. She picked up the root, cut the stalks from it, and sliced it into the bubbling cauldron. It would be a good batch.

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Thu Mar 10, 2005 10:35 pm
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Great story you really captured the atmosphere of menace well.

I never thought about where Black Lotus came from before and thats a very Druchii aproach to gathering it.

from reading the title I thought this would be about what happened with the Black Lotus brigate after Kala's death

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Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:42 am
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Blasphemer and Heretic
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Nah, my Black Lotus Brigade are going on fluff hiatus for a while. And if I do anything else with Kala as a character, it will be pre-BLB.

I'm somewhat fascinated with lotuses. "Black Lotus" seems to be a pretty common theme in the games that I have played over the years. And IRL, the plants are just fascinating. In Asia they are actually harvested for food. When I finally buy a house I'm going to build a lotus pool.

This was one of the ideas that I was turning over for the story competition. I'm pretty pleased with how it came out, so I'll probably do up a few of the others off in the future. Anyway, glad you liked it.

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Fri Mar 11, 2005 2:48 pm
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very very good.

The atmosphere was captured very well.
It was a shame it ended so soon...


Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:07 pm
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I liked it alot. One thing though, its such a drastic change from initiate to Witch Elf...like before the ritual ended, she seemed scared and almost unknowing of what was going to happen when she was initiated. And after she ate the lotus leaf, its like she went crazy, well she is frenzied, but it like destroys the image of her we have before. Why would she need to go frenzied to kill slaves?

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Fri Mar 11, 2005 10:48 pm
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Blasphemer and Heretic
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Quote:
but it like destroys the image of her we have before

Like I said, I pictured it as a rite of passage. She isn't what she was before. If you felt that way, then I succeeded :D

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Why would she need to go frenzied to kill slaves?

She didn't. It was just Hag Lheta's way of making sure that she wasn't the focus of Khaela's first frenzy.

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Fri Mar 11, 2005 11:05 pm
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Very nicely written.

One comment-you might want to describe where the lotus pool is-in a cave, a temple, etc.

Good referance to Witchbrew. Is the root poisionous or just the leaves? Also, you wrote this before a meeting? Wish I could do that....

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Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:56 pm
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great story really. and i think the change in the maibd is perfectly understandable. but i agree with Darenth that it is not very clear where the two of them are. in the end, it seems the lotus pool is in the temple, but it is not mentioned in the beginning, and i first thought they were in some swamp.

this really is some great fluff, for it is not based on any special character, but more like the fluff stories from the army books.

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Sat Mar 12, 2005 4:58 pm
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Blasphemer and Heretic
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Quote:
it is not very clear where the two of them are

I see your point. I built a little piece of terrain for my Caudron of Blood that has it set on a large altar stone surrounded by a lotus pool. Blood trickles from severed heads into the pool. I pictured that little scene, but I supposed I didn't get it across well in the story.

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Is the root poisionous or just the leaves?

The way I imagine it, the whole thing is toxic. Depending on where you take a bite (or coat your weapon) dictates the severity of the effect. I've also always imagined it as a sort of base ingredient or material component for spells. Probably a holdover from my Magic the Gathering phase a few years back.

But alas, it is another ambiguity. I'll modify it if/when I ever ressurect this tale for another purpose.

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you wrote this before a meeting?

Well, like I said, I had an outline left over from the story competition. I just fleshed it out in an hour or so. Explains the little glitches. :D

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Sat Mar 12, 2005 9:25 pm
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Initiation or the the right of passage is supposed to be a life changing event and you have captured it well. The way you have described the ritual was so good I could picture it. As for the pool goes I imagined it was a part of the temple garden, where they would grow their own plants needed in every day affairs.

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Sat Mar 12, 2005 9:53 pm
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yeah this story rocks. very good style, i felt submerged in it as i read like any truly good read should.

to reply to 'why would she need black lotus to kill slaves', she doesn't. i'm sure she can kill them without an ounce of mercy sober as ever. but to MASSACRE an entire group in a drug-crazed brutal way is something entirely different. I see it as the moment she 1st recieved the frenzy ability, if you must be technical.

i know this is OT, but it bears relevance. how can someone just 'learn' something from a drug-induced state and then be able to tap into it while not on the black lotus you may ask? well, the brain is a crazy thing. one time i lost my top and had a bad anxiety/panic attack, thought i was having a heart attack at the time. was the 1st time it ever happened.. but after that moment, i would recieve them every so often if i was pushed into such an anxious or paniced state.

thus, khaela could have 'learned' how to frenzy due to the black lotus causing her to flip out, but after she came to her senses, she would invariably 'fall into' a state of frenzy forever after when her anger reached a certain level, anytime or anywhere.

;)

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Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:48 pm
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very, very nice Kala.

The atmosphere was great and it gives a great insight into the black lotus's role within the temple.

Loved it

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Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:08 pm
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Kala, you're great...


Wed Apr 06, 2005 1:39 pm
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Very good story Kala. As mentioned before, the lack of where it takes place drops the story a little, but not seriously, as you otherwise have caught a great atmosphere. The psychology og the initiate is good, although you could have developed it a bit more. That is not necesary, though, I like it already. Great work! I think it's the first story I've read written by you.


Wed Apr 06, 2005 6:43 pm
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