but broken when time
first come first served
first begged last earned
hang my head
hang common sense
deliver denial instead
Mature Content Warning
This piece may contain some content that is not appropriate for all readers. I haven't deigned to put it on my NSFW gallery because there's only a little bit, it's not terribly extreme (from my perspective), and this is just the introduction to the story anyway. Further chapters that might be more crude will be relocated to the NSFW gallery.
Look, I didn't intend to start a cult. I know you don't believe me, nobody ever does.
All I wanted was a little place to myself, and have you seen the price of housing around here? It's incredulous to say the least. I mean, law and order can have completely broken down, the land changes lords so often that the town has six different names in three different languages, the people barter instead of using money because the wrong coin on the wrong day of the week will see you in the stocks--or worse, hanged--the house across the way is still smouldering from the last time it was sacked... and the cellar apartment still costs an arm and a leg to let.
So I got myself a ruin.
It had a bit of a pest problem before I moved in. I mean, it still has a pest problem, but enough adventurous types come through here to keep the worst of it to a manageable level.
You'd think they'd cause a ruckus, and they do, but there are so many hidden passages in these old things that most just stride on by without noticing. There are a few that come in with the intent to take everything that isn't nailed down and some things that are, and those do manage to trip over me; but I trade them a good story, some lore, and a bit of rest for not nicking all my stuff.
And ocassionally, someone wants to stick around for a bit.
So what do you do with them? The word on the surface is there's a problem of slavery and deviancy down here.
Of course you want to know about them. Look, we're entirely consensual down here.
If someone wants to be tied up, who am I to say no? Some people like owning people and some people like being owned. The better for the both of them if they find each other instead of getting someone unwilling involved in the mix.
What they get up to in their own stretch of hallway is none of my business, so long as they keep it in their corner and out of mine.
What about your food? Some say theft has been a problem in the area.
Yes, some of our foodstocks are nicked. So what? The water's free and pure, we don't horde the food. You want an apple? Here, take an apple. I would recommend not taking a bite directly because you never know what's gotten into it before you, but we haven't had any significant illnesses down here.
Except for the not getting sunlight.
Well, yeah, but.. look, the food's gotta come from somewhere. We all do our part.
You go topside too?
Not as much as I used to, but yes, I do.
Somebody decided, or a couple of somebodies, I don't know who, that since I was the first, and I generally keep the peace and resolve disputes, and I'm generally considered to be fair... maybe I should be protected.
They look up to me, maybe because I don't judge them for who they are or what they want. I don't care about anybody's bloodline or species. We're all still people; we still share this space, whether it's a mostly abandoned Ayleid ruin or the whole planet. We're in this together.
So that's the cult? A cult of you?
If you want to call it that. I prefer to call it a "cult of kindness," but as much as they look up to me, and perhaps might even worship me (though I try to discourage that) nobody else likes when I say that. Make up your own mind. I don't really care.
you could be so much worse to me,
but as long as you hold the torch
I'll keep coming back to the light,
I'll keep yearning for your touch.
you could keep me forever
and never decide to allow
what I ache for you to take away,
keep me prostrate and follow.
you could torment me with kindness
and I'd contract to be by your side
until I'm broken by your willingness
to offer me what I've hoped to find.
when you take
something hard won and built
something useful and still
something I make...
and let it fall
so many friends
who ask and request
who need a tool
who appreciate the work
who fall into fool
and forget to
did you ask
did you exclaim
did you shout to the heav'ns
did you offer to pay
did you deny what you say
and yet leave it
are you not
while I am definitely