The experience of void was… incomprehensible.
Kida drifted through… nothingness, feeling her thoughts run slowly. To the kitsune, it seemed like the space was timeless, existing outside the ordinary flow of history, or something close to it… it was an state of existence that her species was incapable to really understanding, something she was never meant to experience. In here, she would exist in perpetual isolation from such concepts of the word she had grown up in… unable to age, or die, or to make any real change at all to herself. It was utterly… alien, an inescapable nothingness.
This existence was the sacrifice that she had made to seal the Fomorian away… being sealed away with the monster, so the world would be safe.
As if thinking for him made it real, Narghai abruptly appeared before her, suddenly materializing out of the mist. The shockingly quick appearance of his baleful body terrified her… In this altered-reality, she could not experience anything absolute… like death… but that wasn’t much of a comfort. Pain and terrors could wreck her without end here.
Turning, Kida began to sprint through dimensionless space… trying desperately to run and going nowhere at all. Seconds later, the Archfoe was soon upon her. He clutched her tails like an eagle catching a snake. “Congratulations, little fox,” he growled at her. He didn’t seem angry… or at least, no more angry than he had outside. “Your heroics, coupled with those of your sun-haired friend, have managed to seal me away once more. You are to be commended… But at what cost?” Though there were no ground to stand upon, that demon lifted her via those tails, rendering her helpless. “Now you are trapped in here — with me!”
“We stopped you!” the kitsune shouted back, wishing to assert the value of what she had done. “You cannot slay any more!”
Demonic cackling resounded in that hollow, mocking all that she had won. “Do you still not understand? I am timeless. Thousands of your years matters naught to me. Tomorrow or ten thousand years hence, I will be free… and my wrath upon your reality will be manifest. Yet now, I shall at least not be spending this imprisonment in my lonesome. I have the two of you to entertain me with!” he declared.
Kida’s blood froze. “…what?” she whispered.
“Your insolence will be repaid a thousand fold,” Narghai promised. “Already I have begun making my vengeance on your lover.” As if banishing a cloak of shadows, Kida was allowed a vision of the Ward. In the church, he had promised to fuck until she was but a corpse. Now, in here, that seemed accomplished. She was splayed out lifeless and unconscious on the darkness that was their surroundings, covered in thick ropes of creamy sperm and with both of her nether holes gaping. He had already violated impossibly thoroughly… But in here, Marissa couldn’t escape into death. She wouldn’t age… she wouldn’t rest… she wouldn’t even have the comfort of going mad. The Fomorian would be able to rape them as much as he liked without restraints.
“You should have heard her,” he snarled as he glared down at the woman. “She locked herself in here as well. To save you, she said. That no matter what, you would be together.” Narghai’s laugh as cruel and dark and filled with amusement. “Your love has doomed her as well. Now… prepare to beg your Goddess for death!”
Overwhelmed with terror, Kida struggled against the archenemy and was overmastered in seconds as he attacked like a rapacious animal. Knowing that she could do nothing to escape nor nothing to prevent this was soul-rending. She was trapped with the embodiment of nightmares… and now he was going to rape her!
Turning her around in the air as if she was a weightless doll, Narghai forced her down to his crotch. That gigantic and monstrous cock bumped against her face as it hung at eye-level, and witnessing its dark-skinned enormity at such close proximity felt like a wildfire inside her heart. She displayed none of the formidable self-control that her sister had shown when getting raped by this behemoth from pre-history.
Excited to get going, that colossal serpent between his legs began to twitch. It jerked into full on rigidity within seconds, growing harder with each spasm. Kida felt herself be placed under its shadow as it jutted upright, like a mace ready to batter her down. Just seeing its size made her lips quiver and refuse to remain in place. Thoughtless like a prey fleeing for its life, her head was grasped by one overpowering hand.
He intended to rape her orally first.
That bulbous tip lanced between the fluttering aperture in-between her lips. Shoving forward, his dick utterly quashed the strength of her jaws. It was as if she was force-fed something colossal via overwhelming strength. Awed, before she knew it that demon-cock was already shoved up against her throat, her mouth forced impossibly wide until she heard her bones creaking. “Nggghhhi!” Kida squealed, having something impossible big pushing against her throat. Even at this narrowed plunge, her natural tightness was nothing to him. There was no obstacle made by divinity or nature that Narghai could not brute-force his way through — Her snug body parts were just something for him to violate and destroy.
The Fomorian lunged, charging half his cock down her throat. Instantly, she gagged and groaned, feeling that entire orifice to be woefully outstretched. With her windpipe burning from the pain of tearing, he humped incessantly, using a series of hard jabs that brought it rapidly all the way down, buried so deep in her she could feel it’s pulse against her heart. Though she choked badly, she was only too grimly aware that asphyxiation was no threat… just an agony. She couldn’t die anyway. She didn’t need to breathe… so why did its lack hurt so much?
When at last the kitsune’s head rested against his pelvis, Kida already felt ruined on the first thrust… he had accomplished the abhorred feat of forcing her to swallow his entire prong. Through the brutal insertion, her malachite eyes bulged and poured forth salty tears down her face. This was not even something that Kida could identify as sex… it was simply destruction with a cock as the weapon, but that sadistic behemoth wanted it badly. Before she knew it, her snugly hugging lips were touching against the base of his toughened manhood, interconnecting victim and violator fully. The discomfort going on inside her beleaguered body was limitless and defied imagination, much less description.
“This is what I did to your sister,” he stated. “This is what I made her suffer through.”
Having impaled her, he could now think of nothing but fucking that squeezing and contracting orifice. He began moving her head back-and-forward, making her battered body clench on his cock as it stroked in and out. She couldn’t suck… hell, even if she had the air, her lungs didn’t have the capacity to suck this monstrous thing… but he didn’t seem to care, relishing the tight destruction of her body instead. For the imprisoned fox, it felt as if her skull was about to explode any second now from internal pressure. It seemed unreal that something within her wouldn’t just purely pop and end this massacre… but despite this incomprehensible fit and desecration of her mouth and neck and chest, the Fomorian continued to indulge in his unthinkable pleasure, doing everything possible to please the lustful rage of his cock.
Were this in reality, then Kida would have blacked out several times over. Her breathing tube was completely blocked, it’s delicate membrane chaffed mercilessly by that aggressively-rutting dong. The torment grew so all-consuming that she lost track of any progress that could be made… all she experienced were his hips rutting against her forehead, muscle slaps so powerfully that it rattled the brain inside her skull. Like their existence inside this prison, it seemed endless. But to Narghai, this seemed a multitudinous and boundless joy, a single-minded want for rape fulfilled.
When he finally came, it was as a violent deluge. Thick spunk shot down her deeply-penetrated throat, compelling Kida to gulp all of that chunky liquid down. Stuffed with cock-meat as she was, she couldn’t produce any flexing motions to swallow, but it didn’t matter… he was cumming directly into her stomach anyway, his inhuman seed sluicing down her tube with just the force of his ejection. This horrid cum would be her only meal for their entire stay within this timeless hellhole, she realized… there was nothing else to eat here. Consuming such slimy glop seemed worse to her than living without anything at all.
“Uuggh! Uuuaah!” she retched as the prodigious hard-on finally slipped from her mouth, regurgitating bundles of dumpy white seed.
The hate-fueled fusillade into her body seemed to have satisfied him not one bit… his cock still precisely as hard as it had been before. “Learn to love that desecrating feeling,” his stentorian voice stated. “The number of times that you will experience it is legion. The first, or the last, it will be indiscernible to you.”
Swiftly, Kida was switched around and pushed onto all fours. The Archfoe squatted while grasping onto her multitude of billowy tails. It didn’t take long for that now well-lathered cockhead to bump against the kitsune’s pussy. Feeling its size down at that intimate hole gave her such a chill that her lower-body felt like a glacier, and she closed her eyes. No man had ever…
“The kitsune… perpetual virgins,” Narghai laughed. “This hymen will be ruptured an untold amount of times.” And then he bashed against that prim pink hole.
The scream she let out was one of pure terror as her pussy was hit with a member that simply wasn’t supposed to fit her. A primal instinct in her that cared not at all for logic screamed to be heard… warning that if that thing went inside her, then she would be split apart. No matter her supernatural durability, no woman her size could survive this! It would be her demise!
“NNNNOOOOO!” she shrieked, squirming and wiggling, unable to focus on anything but the stupidly big cock attempting to enter via her womanhood. Her lips were extended widely, growing oblong then rounded and finally distorting so broadly that they could no longer be described as maintaining a circular shape! His power was simply unstoppable and able to perform whatever feat of ruination that he designed. As the painful hyper-extension of her sex finally reached such a width as to be able to house him, Kida was bleeding on to that dick and so wrecked with trauma and anguish that death would have been a welcome friend. “AAAGHHH! INARI! BRIGHID! LET ME DIEEE! AAAAAOOOOOHH!” the brown-haired kitsune blared at the top of her lungs. The hellacious impalement was so horrifying that it brought out all the primal emotions of agony and terror out of her system and into her voice. She was no longer even able to focus on how she had got here. Kida’s past itself felt erased. All she knew was the torment of being hate-fucked into oblivion by Narghai!
“EEEYYYYAAAAHHHH! AAAA-AAAA-AAAAUUUUUHHH! OOOHH GOOODDDEEESSSS NOOOOO!” she screamed like a dying woman, shrieking at the top of her lungs as if she was convinced that her death-cries could penetrate the membrane between dimensions.
Brutally penetrated, that monster tore straight through her cervix and into her womb. As it’s cockhead pushed against the endpoint of her sacred uterus as if wishing to disdent even further, Kida shrieked so loud that the blood vessels on her foreheads bulged so thoroughly that they appeared ready to pop. Death was the one thing this dimension wouldn’t grant her, though. Without anything to alleviate her agony, that antemundane beast began to pound her. “I think I will enjoy this banishment!” Narghai declared. “With the two you to fuck!” Utilizing unearthly muscle-power, he pounded into the writhing girl, utterly unmerciful in how he pummeled this tightly gripping hole. These ruthless thrusts shook the fox-girl’s entire body. This was rape so wicked the Gods would not have allowed it to transpire within their domain… it felt like it would have shaken the very foundations of the Earth. In here, however, he could do it as long as he possible wanted to.
The nine-tailer screamed at the top of her lungs, her vocal-cords unable to burst or give out. Every thrust into her was a bone-crushing smash, and were they on solid ground she would have long since been fucked into the dirt, creating a crater underneath their rut. He was simply insatiable, an incarnation of all those loathsome instincts to see bodies undone and sexually defiled.
But at least, he wasn’t on Earth…
That was not a triumph which Kida could console herself with. She had already turned maniacal, forgotten all about her real world. All she knew was that she was locked in here with him, with her beloved Marissa doomed to be the beast’s second fuck-slave. Thrashing around, her entire world was those individual hip-plunges that sent his cock deep into her womanhood. They all constituted an individual lifetime, one explosion of pain which was erased and forgotten when the subsequent one arrived. His fury mastered her entirely. She was his fuck-doll, his entertainment in this void. Kida the Guardian of the Alpine Clan was condemned to an existence being raped like this for possessing the heroic gall to have stopped him.
And it would go on forever…
Syllana stood by the circle of black-scorched ash that had been burnt into the floor where the Fomorian once stood, eyes narrowed in in her annoyance. All her work over the last three centuries, gone in a stroke of misfortune. That bitch-deity’s servants had managed to capture the Beast once again. She had been bested by a cub and a human!
Great, billowing plumes of smoke still rose from her person. The sorceress had barely managed to raise a shield around her before the fireball ripped across the church and the town, blasting away all its path. The town of Garginion was now a crater, nearly twenty feet deep and nearly a mile around and coated in ash, a desolation amid the alps. It had killed all the cultists, certainly. The cage-held kitsune, on the other hand, had been spared… the purifying flame of Brighid had washed over them and left them untouched. Their cages had not been so fortunate, and every one of them had still been shoved away with the force of a hurricane, their skins scattered across the forest where they would doubtless be a pain to recover.
She could have recaptured them all… but what was the point of that? She had no master free to entertain with them, no cultist army to keep occupied. They were every bit as worthless to her now as they had been with Narghai’s cum leaking from their ravaged holes.
All but two of them.
By pure happenstance, when she had been sprinting towards the Descendant, she had been taken to just where the two twins knelt in submission. Her protective barrier had encompassed them as well. Tossing her gaze in their direction, she smirked upon seeing the pair of blue-furred foxes remain kneeling in terror of her presence. Their thralldom would be a pleasant luxury for her.
The smirk couldn’t hold as she returned her gaze towards that burned-out holocaust of her plans, however. A rare sensation of frustration and disappointment gripped her gut. Though she had not seen creation itself spring into existence like the Fomorian, Syllana had still lived for an unfathomable number of years. Such a multitude of experience had left her inured to many strong emotions linked to failure, as if she had forgotten that they could be pronounced. This, though… left the black-furred fox deeply aggravated.
So many years… gone to waste. She could feel the prison, pulsing in the air, growling through the earth beneath her feet… far, far stronger than the last one. Both the prophet and her traitorous apprentice had fed themselves into it along with Narghai, strengthening it from inside and out. It had taken her years to build up the strength to free him the first time, but no one had known to stop her then. The second time, this time, it had taken her nearly three centuries to gather enough power to shatter that prison. To do so a third time would takes orders of magnitude more power now, with the two interlopers still within, still providing it strength.
Syllana inhaled heavily.
Well… her work had not been entirely undone. She conjured her blue fire, let it coat her arm as she stared into it. Her link between Narghai and her fire was still as strong as ever. He was still providing her with power to keep her flame burning, since without a skin she could not replenish it any other way… and that meant that she could feed more power back to him. And, in their stupidity, the last descendant of Kitra and the last descendant of Amalissa had bound themselves into the prison. Next time, there would be no one left to stop her.
It had taken three hundred years to gather enough power to free her patron before, and this time would require much more… but last time, she had done it alone. How much quicker might dozens, or hundreds, of foxes gather souls for the Fomorian?
She would do what she always did… exactly what she had to. No one else would do what was necessary for this world to survive. This world deserved better gods that it had… and she would give it them.
Syllana finally allowed herself to grin again. “Well,” she said, amusement back in her voice as she looked down on the traumatized twins. “It appears I have an opening for a new apprentice… or two.” The dark fox chuckled to herself as she looked around, a smirk solidly back on her prideful face once more. “Now, where have your skins got off to…”
Kida felt like a plate dropped from a great height, shattered into a thousand pieces as she lay on the nothingness that made up her prison. She had been a virgin when she was thrown into here… now she couldn’t actually count how many times the Incarnation of Destruction had raped her. Ten? A hundred? A thousand? She couldn’t even tell how long it had been… the only thing at all to mark the passage of time was cumshots into her body, and each thrust of his cock into her felt like it contained a million years of agony. Kida could feel seed dripping out of her ravaged holes, and tried to count to the rhythm of filth oozing out of her. One drip. Two. Three.
It was easier than paying attention to the woman she loved being raped just feet away.
There was one rule of her existence now, one truth that she lived by here – Narghai’s cock was always in one of them. The gaps between were so short and tiny that they seemed irrelevant to mention. When Kida was too overwhelmed and broken down to fuck, the Fomorian would focused on Marissa instead. When Marissa gave in and lost herself, it would be Kida’s turn again.
Drip. Drip. Drip. One drip, one second. Sixty seconds in a minute. Sixty minutes in an hour. This should be easy… but each drip seemed to contain either a dozen or a thousand thrusts of his cock into Marissa’s battered asshole… defying the passage of time. Kida could have been here for day, a week, or a thousand years… each seemed equally likely to her. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut, unwilling to watch any longer… too exhausted to move a muscle to even make a vain attempt to save her. Marissa couldn’t even scream anymore… her voice had given out towards the beginning of this newest rape. That meant that he would probably be done with her soon and it would be Kida’s turn. Good… maybe she would last longer this time. The only mercy she could give to the other woman who had been unlucky enough to be trapped in here with her was to suffer as long as she could… prolonging the time between Marissa’s rapes.
Something touched her hand.
Kida’s eyes popped open, and she stared up to find Marissa looking at her face. Her hand in hers. They looked at each other… and Marissa squeezed her hand as tightly as she could.
Marissa hadn’t been blind to what she had done, locking herself in here with her. She knew what would happen… and she had done it anyway. Unwilling to leave Kida alone. Unwilling to abandon her to her fate and save herself. Whatever happened… they would face it together.
Until the end.
Kida squeezed back. This was not how their story ended.
Syllana, Cassandra, and Sophitia’s story continues in Chosen One.
Marissa and Kida will return?
2 thoughts on “Sacred – Epilogue”
Well…bet you didn’t expect to see this here, did you?
I am incredibly grateful for you explaining the relevant plot points, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt that there might be stuff referred to later by other stories, little details that would become important later, and that I might not get those from your summary. Acting on that though, I blitzed this story, forcing myself to go straight from the end of one chapter to the beginning of the next non-stop until i hit the end.
So…let’s do this thing.
This is still my least favorite Outfoxed story, not by a massive margin (Lone Fox is pretty upsetting), but by a noticeable one. I highly suspect that at least part of that is due to its placement in the series. This is a prequel, and for all intents and purposes this is the Revenge of the Sith of the Outfoxed universe. The villain is not completely victorious, but they’ve removed a lot of the obstacles in their path, the characters I like tend to be dead, tortured or generally in a much worse state than they started the story, and there’s a heavy focus on how every chapter gets worse than the one before it.
Also children are murdered, and the word “younglings” is used to refer to them. Weird coincidence.
There are some story points I want to hit, in what may be legitimate problems with the execution of the narrative (though I’m not sure), but I will also be touching on and endeavoring to explain my own emotional reactions, so some repetition is inevitable.
To start with, I think this story may have actually pushed Syllana to about even with the Petrovs in terms of my emotional reaction to the character. In Black Fur, Black Heart, I remember thinking she was very mysterious and intimidating, and initially she is very cool here, ominous in her reveal scene releasing Narghai, pretty cool during the fight with Kida and Kitina…even her nuking the Clan-home with witchfire and then idly strolling through, curbstomping anyone who tried to stop her, was actually pretty badass. She gets less and less fun as things go along, though, and in terms of sheer moral revulsion, I don’t know if any other character has anything that tops how witchfire operates in terms of inherent evil.
What I mean by that is Syllana explains that witchfire is power granted by Narghai in exchange for souls. Witchfire is “recharged” by pulling someone’s soul out, at which point the soul is presumably transferred to Narghai. Narghai is anti-creation, so while souls are almost indestructible, he might be able to do it, and even if he doesn’t, the souls Syllana pours into the prison in the beginning to crack it are screaming in torment as it’s done, implying that souls sent to him are, at bare minimum tortured constantly. That means that the abbot Syllana used as a demonstration for Kida, along with anyone else in Garginion (fingers crossed she just killed Sebastian normally), have in the best case scenario spent the last 1,000 years in constant, shrieking agony.
Syllana basically recharges her magic by, best case, sending people to Hell, no matter who they were or what they did in life. Robbing someone of what they deserve after death is the most morally horrible and, for me, one of the most immediately upsetting things there is (we discussed this via email about AAF and in Outfoxed regarding Nami), so that would have done it immediately, even without the murdered toddlers, what she does to the twins and what she does to the town.
The Petrovs are doing something similar to create Vulpan and raping an angel, so she’s not passing them, but she’s pulled even (and I think we both know Syllana would absolutely torture an angel if she got the chance, maybe because angels are divine servants or maybe because she was bored).
Speaking of “bored”, while you’ve mentioned Levi Petrov in the past as “an almost pure psychopath”, Syllana ticks off a lot of the boxes for sociopathy here. It’s hard to tell if she has flat affect (muted emotions), but she displays the thrill-seeking behavior common to sociopaths, and in particular sadism as a form of thrill-seeking, inventing ever worse tortures and atrocities like a serial killer escalating, and it’s pretty clear both from here and from her treatment of Mai in BFBH that Syllana views everyone, including her “apprentices”, as a means to an end, tools to use and to discard when they cease to amuse or serve her (recall Mai having to justify how useful she is to Syllana).
Narghai has pluses and minuses for me. On the minus side, I think he’s limited somewhat by the fact that this is a rape fetish story. Since he has to provide rape scenes, the eldritch horror element of this character is something that can be talked about but not really shown. What I mean by that is that entities like this are generally somehow beyond our normal experience in terms of threat, and while that is spoken of, the only threat we can really see is the very familiar threat of rape, just…you know…with a bigger dick.
Having said that, like I said there ARE pluses. When he’s not raping someone, the threat of what he’ll do if/when he reaches the rest of the world can be dwelt upon somewhat more, and I really enjoyed the bit where he talks to Marissa in Chapter 9, since he’s outlining his philosophy and his alien viewpoint. I love the idea that he views physical beings as bizarre because we’re all descended from something else, which as a completely unique creature he finds abhorrent. That’s a really cool idea. 🙂
Kida is a protagonist I struggle with. To be honest if I could pick Kida or Kitina, I’d go with the older sister, but by the end of the story (around Chapter 8 or so) I did begin to appreciate Kida more. I think this is where we’re going to have to go into the stuff that made this such an unpleasant story for me. We’ve already discussed some of this in a more emotional manner, but I’m going to endeavor to again look at this in a somewhat more intellectual, composed manner.
So first…yeah, if you thought this review wasn’t circling back to Sebastian, you clearly don’t know me. 😉
I have an unfortunate tendency to become attached to throwaway characters in these stories, such as Flint in Constellation and Sebastian here. These characters are intended, no doubt, to have enough characterization that their horrible fates are somewhat sad, but the audience, it seems, isn’t really meant to feel for them too much, and is likely intended to have forgotten about them by the end of the story. You have unfortunately been cursed with me as a reader, someone who remembers all the small characters, and who somehow shares character traits and experiences with the throwaway characters. Don’t ask me how this happens; it’s a mystery. 😕
The prank Kida plays is no doubt meant to show her as mischievous and somewhat irresponsible, but also to be funny; the way the scene is written and Sebastian is described (“foaming at the mouth”), we’re probably meant to laugh at him. However, having experienced a similar prank, I understand how bad it feels when your emotions are used for someone else’s amusement, and so was immediately on his side rather than Kida’s. Had he vanished from the story there, this probably would have just been one unpleasant scene and I would likely have forgotten about it by the end of the story, but Sebastian’s story is like a side-plot, something we never see again but that’s constantly running parallel to the main story. Evidently, after being made to walk back to the monastery in the nude, Sebastian was ejected from the order, and what happened to him became the centerpiece of the town gossip. This would have made life difficult for him, given that, as I’ve mentioned, in the middle ages the majority of jobs involved physical labor, while Sebastian’s joining the monastery suggests intellectual inclinations, and of course that reputation of his was in danger of following him around.
As a result of this, when Kida explained how altruistic she’d been in “giving him a push” and Marissa agreed, I obviously did not. As it stands, I can’t actually tell how Kida would know he privately regretted not having thought through his vow of chastity, and given how she acts, both in the prank scene and in later ones like when she’s enjoying the gossip, I think her initial explanation (that she enjoyed the guile of it, and the attention) is likely completely true. She might have thought she needed to help him, but her choice not to speak with him, but instead to make this a joke at his expense, fits very well with the idea that she enjoyed tricking him, and that she enjoyed both his attention and the attention it brought from the townspeople. This is hardly the first time she’s pranked the locals, after all.
And then, of course, Syllana very slowly tortures him to death, offers to end it faster if he tells her where this all started, and then continues very slowly torturing him to death afterward. Also, like some sort of bitter punchline, this all started when Kida decided to “liberate” Sebastian from his vow of chastity, and given the timeline he pretty definitely died a virgin, which is one of the less bad things to happen to him in this story but is kind of the cherry on top.
I think the worst thing about this is how ancillary to everything Sebastian is. He’s not out there in the woods trying to track down rumors of the mysterious fox nymphs or holding some priceless magical artifact Syllana needs at the monastery or something. He was just walking home one day and the universe decided to fuck with him.
The one and only thing I can sort of read into this that’s positive is that Syllana killed him instead of inducting him into her cult, which implies that Sebastian was unwilling to kill anyone for her. But then she might have been torturing people well before “tryouts” began, so even that may not be true.
He just…he deserves a nice afterlife. After the nonstop cavalcade of humiliation and pain, I really feel like he deserves to catch a break now.
That actually leads nicely into the next thing that upset me but I’m not sure was really meant to, at least not to this extent: this story has easily the highest level of people completely unrelated to the plot who suffer and die horribly for essentially no reason. We have Sebastian, of course, but beyond that is the initial massacre at Garginion, all the women gang-raped in front of their families, the survivors murdering each other to join the cult, the abbot used as a food source by Syllana and the toddlers executed by her cultists. The kitsune are all spared by Brighid at the end, but all surviving humans are turned to ash (evidently Brighid takes a hard stance on brainwashing, and Sophitia and Cassandra are very lucky they were inside Syllana’s magical shield).
At any rate, I know I’m supposed to be upset by what happens to the kitsune, but I’m not sure how much I’m meant to care about the humans. This is kind of the theme of my reaction to the story: I know how I feel, but I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel.
Speaking of the humans, this brings us to the part in this jumbo-sized review where we discuss religion. I had a more emotional talk with you before, and I think that was necessary for me to discuss it now. In order to try and view this through the lens of story and theme, I had to vent somewhat, and hopefully I didn’t make you uncomfortable.
Christianity is a large element in this story, popping up again and again throughout. From what I’ve read (i.e. without reading Garnet and the Fox) it’s one of three religions that have been shown in Outfoxed so far, the others being Brighid worship here and Buddhism in Lone Fox. I know, I was kind of surprised too, but shockingly, in spite of us being up to our eyeballs in kitsune and Inari being mentioned a ton, we haven’t actually seen any human Shinto practitioners. In addition, several of the kitsune we’ve met, including Yuki, seem to have met Inari personally, so she’s more like a leader than a deity, and faith means something different to them. I think, given what you’ve told me, that angels, appropriately enough, are the only beings who experience religious faith the same way humans do, where they are separated from the White God in a meaningful way, and thus may feel many of the same things a human would.
Going back to what we have seen, Buddhism isn’t discussed in detail, but doesn’t come across badly. I realize that may sound a bit odd, given that (spoilers for LF1) a Buddhist priest tries to have Seo-yun killed, but he’s clearly aware of how the world works in-universe, knowing what kitsune are, what gumiho are, the difference between them and how a fox marble works. his mistake is just assuming that Seo-yun had been killing the whole time, which is the kind of mistake anyone could make.
Oh, also, kind of skipped over but apparently BUDDHISTS ARE MAGIC, as that guy was able to do something to the fox marble. Note to self: take zen meditation classes.
First level spells…
The worship of Brighid is a plot point in the story, given that with the exception of the kitsune (the Medieval French Kitsune never quite did stop being weird to me), this whole story is steeped in Celtic mythology, and Brighid’s power (and evidently a cameo at the end) is what seals Narghai. Kida has that sort of “faith in a different way from humans” thing, as she never doubts that the gods and goddesses are real, but rather doubts that they can help, similar to Yuki’s…acrimonious views on Inari.
With regards to Christianity, there is one mistake, which I’ll bring up because it keeps coming up: the words “monk” and “friar” are used interchangeably, and those aren’t the same thing. Benedictine monks (the Franciscan and Dominican orders not existing for about another 200 years) take a vow of stability, meaning they live at a monastery, while a friar is itinerant, moving across a region of territory known as a province, interacting with laypeople and seeing to the needs of the community as he can, spending time at different houses within the province. So far as I can tell, there are no friars in this story.
That bit aside, I would say the portrayal of medieval Christianity here can be described as “accurate so far as it goes”. This takes place in 1019, so we’re a good 500 years from the Reformation and the birth of Protestant denominations, and about 35 years before the schism between the Western Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, so European Christianity at this point is exclusively Catholic and can be described somewhat more easily. I don’t know if they mentioned being Christian as much as they do here, but I wasn’t there in the 11th century, so…benefit of the doubt. 😛
It’s difficult to actually say how the portrayal of the religion here fits into Outfoxed in general due to my own lack of knowledge, but I think to a large extent my discomfort can be attributed not so much to the way it’s portrayed, as to the way it’s portrayed combined with its context in the story. Other religions in this setting are throwing around magic spells: “druidic thaumaturgy” for Brighid and…whatever that Buddhist priest was doing. Christianity is portrayed having about the level of magical power it does in the real world (I mean, I’ve never tried to repel a vampire or anything, so for all I know we can do that, but I don’t think we have any magic powers 😉 ), and as such looks somewhat invalid or false compared to the other religions, especially when placed into the context of humans having “long since forgotten” the goddesses.
I think this is part of why I was interested in a somewhat more nuanced portrayal. The Christian characters are essentially fodder for Syllana and Narghai, spending the vast majority of the story being tortured and killed, and combined with a portrayal of an overly restrictive and false-looking religion, this can kind of look like comeuppance, which I’m pretty sure isn’t what you’re doing.
What I mean when I mention nuance is not that the characters need be portrayed as perfect, but…to give an example that’s very relevant here:
I did some research on Celtic mythology for this story, and Brighid is a goddess, one of the Tuatha De Danann. Due to the fact writing only really took off in Ireland after Christianity arrived in the 5th century (simple memorials written in Ogham date back about 100 years previous), written records of the Tuatha De can generally be traced back to Christian monks, who put a lot of oral stories into written form. This resulted in a lot of the gods being written about as kings and queens instead, due to the monks changing things. These people were described in varying ways, sometimes as fallen angels who had been neutral in the war in Heaven (and thus non-evil fallen angels), or as humans who had left Eden before Adam and Eve’s fall from grace, thus making them humans without Original Sin. Some Christian writers did acknowledge them as gods, it seems, but sticking with the guys who changed things, it’s easy to look at this and describe it as “Christian monks ruined Celtic mythology”, but when you think about it, they wrote this stuff down. It’s easy enough to imagine 5th century Christians deciding that the heathen religions should be eliminated, and deciding to keep the stories as oral tales, and then just make sure that sooner or later, everyone had been converted and nobody told the stories anymore.
Instead, they wanted these stories written down, and the “humans without Original Sin” or “non-evil fallen angels” explanations seem to indicate a desire to imbue these characters with some level of divinity. I can’t know the motivations of the monks, of course, but there doesn’t seem to be any malice behind this. It seems like instead of trying to erase these stories, they wanted to reconcile them with Christian beliefs, ensuring that they were remembered while trying to work within the framework of their worldview, as they felt morally compelled to do.
It’s hardly an optimal attitude from the perspective of anthropology (I too would prefer not to have to use the censored-for-TV version of Celtic mythology), but it’s certainly not a villain move either.
Admittedly this sort of look at a single character’s viewpoint can take time, which is awkward when the characters have small roles as they do here, so usually what writers do is use multiple characters to show a belief system from multiple angles. This certainly fits well enough within the thematic context of the story, as religious faith does seem to be a theme here (I mean, the title of the story is Sacred). Syllana clearly illustrates religion as a negative motivator, leading a murderous cult and causing terrible suffering for something she doesn’t even believe in, faith merely another tool in her arsenal (the story uses the phrase “the yoke of religion” to describe her cult absorbing traumatized survivors, which is about as explicit as it gets). Kida, meanwhile is observing things from the outside, someone who simultaneously believes in the existence of the goddesses but doesn’t necessarily trust them. Kitina is a positive example for the worship of Brighid.
Marissa is hypothetically a good fit for this role for Christianity, given that she’s the only major character in that religion. In a moment I never would have caught had I not read the rest of it…she actually kind of does serve this purpose.
What she feels regarding her faith and the impact of all the new knowledge she’s taking in is never mentioned (you did tell me this yourself; I didn’t forget), but there is a brief bit of exposition about how, on the way up the mountain, Kida and Marissa talked, and Marissa turned out not be a “puritanical bore” at all, so she doesn’t fit into the stereotype. Not only that, but she doesn’t seem to have any problem with the idea of having sex with another woman, which is…pretty impressive by medieval standards.
I said “kinda” though, because — and I was genuinely shocked by this — in spite of Marissa’s importance to the story, she has no PoV segments at all. We have PoV segments by Sebastian, Kida, Syllana and the twins, but we never see the story through Marissa’s eyes. She’s actually out of the story for a significant amount of time, with huge revelations for her happening offscreen (her learning all the important info about Brighid and Inari and her being the descendant of a powerful druid all happens while Kida’s in the dream trance), which unfortunately has another negative effect.
The romance in this story seems to be aiming for the star-crossed lovers angle, with the repeated “perhaps in another lifetime” phrase, either thought or spoken. The ending in particular seems written around the idea that Marissa would rather be raped for an eternity than be separated from her beloved Kida, and that as long as they’re together, all this suffering is worth it.
That…didn’t quite land for me, because, as I just mentioned when discussing faith, we never get inside Marissa’s head, and she drops out of the story for very long periods of time. It’s not that I can’t intellectually agree with what’s happening here, because Kida and Marissa do interact, but the problem is that the interaction is mostly off-page, described in a paragraph or two of exposition. Their only real conversation is as they hike up to the cave (again, off-page), and then when she dons the regalia Kida panics and bolts and then she’s with Syllana for the next few chapters until Marissa is captured. The story does seem aware of the lack of buildup, as it adds this moment during the sex scene where Kida and Marissa bond magically and share an indescribable connection, which justifies the ending within the context of the story; it works for the characters. For me, though while I could understand and accept on an intellectual level that these two were now deeply in love, I didn’t really have the emotional catharsis I think the story wanted.
So now that I’ve written a Sacred discussion roughly the length of Sacred, those are the issues I had. I feel terrible for Sebastian and what happens to him, the romance didn’t produce the emotional impact for me that I think it should, and very often I wasn’t sure if I was reacting properly.
Don’t ever think I went through an Outfoxed story and have nothing good to mention! This section’s easier to explain, but shorter, and I figure after you went through the above, I should really finish on positives.
Remember all the emotion I didn’t get out of the romance? I got all the emotion I wanted when Kida talked to Kitina just before the finale. That felt real, like two family members who have so much they want to say but not enough time to say it, and that Kitina knows it’s time to be a big sister and comfort Kida. The fact that she never once thought Kida had betrayed her actually made me tear up. That was a beautiful little moment.
Oh, also, can we talk about the fact that after I’ve come to hate Syllana so freaking much, there’s a moment where she gets duped twice in a row? Like she has no idea what Kitina’s doing (it’s a distraction, you smug bitch), and then thinks Kida missed when throwing the sword.
The reveal that Marissa had dialed back her use of her druid powers so as to give Narghai a false sense of what she could actually do showed some very nice foresight on her part.
Kitina biting Syllana on the foot, which doesn’t sound awesome, and when I read your outline I thought she shifted back into vixen form and chomped her leg, but no, she bit her IN HUMAN FORM, which somehow makes it cooler. Don’t know if I’ve mentioned Kitina’s my favorite character in this.
Well, sorry, Kida, but I guess you don’t really get your own cool mome-JOROGUMO SILK GARROTE! It’s not often that the torture scene actually sets up something that helps, but that was nicely done!
Well, anyway, I’ve spent an absurd amount of time writing this (working on it on and off for about 12 hours), and it’s probably taking up a third of the page, so let’s see if it posts. I’m really sorry to hit you with something this big, I’ll try never to blitz a story again, and I hope it wasn’t boring or bothersome.
This was AWESOME! I’m glad you got through it. Will type up more responses for you