The High Priestess was slumped over in a high tower of the palace after she had fallen the day before and broken three of her ribs. Soon the word of it was all about the City.
For decades she had been an unquestioned bastion of the Revolution of Light and Togetherness clad in shining robes as she expelled the intolerant and the enemies of Humanity.
But now, an Evil Emperor had usurped the throne and with every day tried to summon more demons to aid him.
The High Priestess’ very life force kept away the demons of the rift and no matter how stooped her frame she lived on to protect her people against the forces of sin and destruction.
As the sun sank beneath the horizon tonight, a sense of trepidation settled over the City. In the splendid cathedral, the faithful clad all in white assembled in tight rows murmuring their prayers. Priests strode down the aisles swinging censers of incense, perfuming the entire sanctuary wrought in ponderous marble domes with purifying resinous fronds of smoke.
One woman with a long, severe face, tight white bonnet and resplendent robe came forward, spread her arms and closed her eyes. Her lips were stretched tight in anticipation of holy delivery. A priest took a heavy steel mallet and with a single sharp blow struck her in the ribs. She crumpled to the ground, squealing in pain as much as fractured bones next to her lungs would allow her. Her friends and family stepped forth to carry her away.
As the night wore on, the rituals grew more solemn. Finally a woman came forth saying she had volunteered her ribs for the High Priestess. The crowd hushed altogether and only the sputtering of braziers could be heard as she stepped forward, even purer than the rest with a perfect rectangle of fabric cut away along her torso.
She lay back on the altar and somehow stayed still as a priest began to saw through her flesh. Her lungs were exposed and everyone could see them pumping like a bellows. She was abruptly carried away from the blood-spattered altar before the congregation could fully grasp the horror of it.
Her rib bones were burned in a pyre of incadescent heat that burned pure white in offering to the Priestess.
Finally, a woman volunteered every part of her body for the preservation of the High Priestess, but as the knife was about to descend, she screamed, wailed, and struggled away from danger.
Now everyone rose in a clamor, shouting at the unfaithful woman who had promised everything and delivered nothing. She tried to argue back, shout, and insult, kicking out indignantly with her white high heels as they tried to grab her.
They had only to make it through the long night to defeat the Evil Emperor and establish the faith of Eternal Progress forever.
It was five minutes until daybreak when the death bells began to toll and the ceremonial candles all sputtered out at once. The high priestess was dead. With a concerted wail the mass pummeled the unfaithful woman with every solid object at hand until she was reduced to a spasmodically twitching pulp.
She had died just in time not to hear the laughter of the chaos lords as the rift ripped open and legions of demons poured through. The sun would now never come and the lights of the stars went out one-by-one as they fell from the sky in despairing showers.
In complete darkness, the faithful felt mercilessly sharp claws tear into them as glowing eyes drew near, a mercy as the world already descended in the eternal chill of deep space.