Author’s Note ~
I was struck with the initial spark of inspiration for this wicked bit of dark fantasy flash fiction in a manner that by now has become quite familiar: it hit me as I was frolicking morosely through dark fantasy and Gothic artworks on the web. The picture accompanying this post is not the original one that set the diabolical workings of my mind into fateful motion, but I think it captures the spirit of the story even better. If you’re wondering whether it depicts Aestre or Selah, my answer would be why not both? In any case, I do hope you enjoy!
Caileth served as High Bishop to Lorde Shen for 13 years before being commissioned as Grand Priestess of Kluzh-3 in the year 5444.
Seven years later, in 5451, Caileth’s trusted advisor and beloved mistress, Abbess Morra Selah, tearfully confessed to the High Council that Caileth had broken her Vow of Biological Purity and transgressed the Sacred Law of the Naturalists by having a mechanical heart implanted.
After a hasty investigation, facilitated by Selah herself, the Head of the High Council ordered members of Caileth’s own royal guard to break into her private chambers, whereupon the heart was forcibly removed.
Following Caileth’s grisly demise, rumours circulated that Selah had instigated her downfall by luring her to forsake her Vow of Biological Purity. According to unnamed sources, Selah arranged for the mechanical heart to be smuggled to Kluzh-3 after Caileth fell morbidly ill. The Abbess then purportedly presented the device to Caileth and pleaded with the Grand Priestess to have it surreptitiously implanted, imploring her to extend her life for the sake of their mutual love.
Upon hearing the rumours, Caileth’s brother Ephraim had Selah arrested. After a hasty trial, for which the Head of the High Council served as judge, Selah was exonerated. Shortly thereafter, Ephraim was briefly jailed. Just prior to his release, he recanted his accusations against Selah and penned a lengthy confession naming his sister a traitor.
Selah exchanged vows with the Head of the High Council two months later, at the Feast of Winter’s Veil. She succeeded Caileth as Grand Priestess in 5452.
Later that same year, the High Councillor and Lord Ephraim were both drowned when the Councillor’s new boat, a surprise wedding gift from Selah, mysteriously sank on its maiden voyage. Two days after the tragedy, the boat master was fatally poisoned. His murderer is still at large.