"Adorjan was a magus at Duos Flumen, where I grew up and spent my apprenticeship, first with Mikhail and then with my mater, Grus. Shortly after my Arts were Opened, I am told, Adorjan offered to teach me Magic Theory, in exchange for my assistance with his laboratory. He was what could be described as a harsh master, in that he firmly believed in mistakes should be punished. I was not the best of students, through no fault of his, and I felt the switch on my back on many occasion. I still bear those marks, not just from that first season but from later years.
"That entire spring, it felt to me that he would go out of his way to belittle me, to insult my abilities while at the same time commenting on how intelligent and gifted I was. I bit my tongue, out of respect for the magus, but he still seemed to provoke me at every turn until I could take no more and I started to yell back. That seemed to please him, and for the next couple of months, every time that I lost my temper, whether with him or with anyone else, he praised me. At the end of my lessons, he took me aside after swearing me to secrecy, told me that he could tell that I was destined to greatness, that I had gifts such as he had never seen before, and felt that by strictly adhering to the Code that I would someday swear, that I would only fetter myself. He said that he knew of a way that I would be able to garner more power than I would through Hermetic study alone. I believed what he told me, felt what he said to be true, and told him that I would do what it took to become as powerful as he knew I would be. He then took me to a hidden chamber in the woods near Duos Flumen, again swore me to secrecy, and explained that by swearing my allegiance to the Princes of Hell, at the proper time, they would aid me in my studies and my quest for power. He told me that I had earned the grace of Satan, and that I should bear his mark. He them Mutoed a length of iron into a branding iron, and graced my body with the sigil of Satan." Cygna's hand rises to her breast.
"It was a few years before he asked for my assistance in the laboratory, although I did speak with him often, after dinner or when I was given some time to myself outside of my studies. I stole away, and we...Adorjan and I...spoke of my progress, my future, what he described as "my destiny." And, when we were alone, we would steal away and speak of the other paths to knowledge and power. A few months after the Gathering of Twelve Years of 1203,I became Grus's apprentice. I was not adjusting to the arrangement as well as I should have, I'm afraid. Grus was happily married, with three beautiful children. I freely admit that I was jealous of what she had. I was fourteen, and wanted something like that for myself. That winter, we worked on the wand that cast Ball of Abysmal Flame, and we often discussed my feelings toward Grus and David, of my jealousy of their happiness, and how I longed for something like that for myself. When we had finished, and it was time for me to return to my dominae, we once more withdrew to his hidden sanctum. He explained that Leviathan had found me pleasing and acceptable, and Adorjan placed the mark of Leviathan upon my body." Cygna's hand moves to her gut, then she folds her hands in her lap again.
"A couple of years later, he invoked his right as Bonisagus to take me, and I assisted him in the invention of his Longevity Ritual. During the course of my working with him, he started to ask me questions of a...personal nature." Cygna blushes, but continues, obviously deeply embarrassed. "He learned that I was yet a virgin, but that I had feelings for...certain boys in the covenant. He...encouraged my interest in them, and even offered assistance should I wish to pursue my amorous intent." She heaves a deep sigh of regret.
"He offered to speak with them on my behalf (they were both of an age that they were no longer bothered by Adorjan's gift), and arranged a place for us to rendezvous for our illicit pursuits. I accepted his offer, and gave my body freely to them...and, over the next several years, to anybody who wanted me." Cygna looks down at the hands in her lap.
"When my time in his laboratory was done, he again took me to his hidden sanctum, told me that my actions had greatly pleased Asmodeus, and placed his sigil on my body.
"It was only a few months later that he invoked his right of Bonisagus again, this time to work on a device for the covenant's defence. He praised me at every opportunity, told me how impressed he was with the progress I had made since our first season together, and convinced me that I had more to offer Duos Flumen and the Order as a whole than anybody he knew. It was not long before I started to believe him, and my head swelled with pride and my own self-importance. Once more, he told me that I had been pleasing to one of the Princes of Hell, this time to Lucifer, and asked if I dedicated myself to his cause as I had the other Princes before him. I affirmed that I did, and was branded with the sigil of Lucifer.
"I did not assist or study under Adorjan for any length of time after that, but I did often steal away to speak with him, to discuss things and to learn what I could in what little time I was able to spend with him. In the winter of 1212, a few weeks before the Spring Equinox, he sent for me and said that it was time for me to prove myself once and for all. He did not tell me what he meant by that, but said that I must come with him. I did so, without hesitation, and he led me to a wood, about a day away from Duos Flumen, that had been one of our sources of Vis. When we draw near, he told me that we were to perform a ritual that would transform the Vis, give it an Infernal taint. I wondered what purpose that would serve, but said nothing. When we arrived...Bethany ex Mercere was there, cold, naked, shivering, shackled to a stone altar, one that had not been there before." Cygna starts to cry, but forces herself to continue her testimony, one that she is convinced will damn her as surely as she did Adorjan.
"Adorjan told me to enchant Bethany, to make her docile for her part in the ritual." She shakes her head as the tears pour down her cheeks.
"I should have realized what he intended, should have stopped him. But I didn't. I did as he asked, and he chained her, ankle and wrist, to the stone and drew a knife. That was when I realized what he intended to do, and that is when I finally realized.... I yelled at him, begged, pleaded for him to stop, to not kill Bethany. But he refused, said that she had to die for what she had done, had to die to complete the ritual. He raised the knife. I ran at him, knocked the knife from his hand. He started to yell at me, to curse me. He pushed me aside, grabbed the knife, and started to come at me.
"I panicked. I ran, pulled off my robes, took my heartbeast and flew home as soon as I could. As I started to run...I heard him chanting behind me...and then I heard thunks. Over and over and over." Cygna stops, and draws in on herself, crying uncontrollably and repeating "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, please, God, forgive me." for several minutes.