They drag my body towards the pit.
I don’t want to go. I knew, when I made the decision, what they would do to me if I failed, and it was the strongest reason to turn back: the pain, the terror, my body forming into something bestial and wrong - despite my convictions, if I knew it would come to this, I would have fled.
I’m standing over the pit now, if it can truly be called “standing” when my body is so held by others, as it is now. The liquid rolls over upon itself like layers of oily sludge; a sour, putrid scent, shifting up from it.
The clerics are beginning their chant, now: gathering the energies I know will soon violently warp my body and mind.
First, will be the pain. Then, far worse, will be the changes: my body will sprout many hairy legs; my face, grotesque mandibles; my body, rough, hoydenish skin, and yet more Haagenti-damned hair. Then, last of all, almost a mercy: my mind will fade. Perhaps, into something still sentient; perhaps, into a mere bestial husk of whatever may have existed before. Then, at last, I will cease to be: in my stead, a depraved monster to remind my family of my mistake, and to serve at the feet of those whom I opposed.
Now, though, my time to imagine my horrid fate has come to an end. The guards holding me aloft release me, and without their strength holding me up, I tip near-immediately into the pit below. The last sounds I hear: the rising voices of the clerics, spelling my ruin.
The pain is immediate, and immense. I would black out and cease to be, but the ritual prevents it, forcing my consciousness wide alive to experience the torture.
For a few short seconds, I can nearly convince myself that the ritual isn’t working, that something is wrong, and my body is refusing to change. Then, as sudden as the initial pain, my body begins to shift.
The pain is worse, now, but worse than the pain itself is the pure sensation of my flesh: warping, changing against my will. My skin squirms across my body, like worms beneath thin cloth; my bones, shifting horribly, as I can feel my face, arms, legs changing.
My legs, first, elongate and split, each one turning to two, then four long, monstrous appendages. I can feel my arms elongate as well, the skin growing thinner.
Then, the hair, like daggers, begins to sprout from my slowly-hardening legs. I would scream, but my mouth no longer moves as I expect it to, and my lungs are unusable, still reforming.
I can barely move my limbs, but I thrash as hard as I can. Maybe, if I squirm hard enough, scream loud enough, they might, just, take pity on me, and kill me instead. My panicking mind pleads to any god I know of to please just end it already!
As my limbs tire, my throat tightening from the strain, I feel unsure:
The hair feels different than I expected: longer, sparser, thinner, and only on my lower body. My upper half, as it begins to take shape, is narrower, softer than I had thought it would be. My face is still changing, but no mandibles form. No harshness; no savageness enters its shape.
As my body solidifies, I gasp, inhaling more of the harsh fluid. My legs are long and feminine; my chest: soft and plush; my face: longer than before, but yet also softer, now free of the hair I had once become so used to trimming away. As I finally take form, my upper body is far more that of a woman than that of a man; my arachnid lower half resembling the much larger form of the female.
My mind begins drifting now, my consciousness slowly fading for the last time. As I sink further, I feel as though a weight that had once been on me my whole life has finally lifted, and my heart is finally free. Despite the painful, wretched, wrong transformation, my body feels far more mine, more right than it ever has before.
My mind sinks into the liquid, as my body drifts upward.
Whoever wakes in my stead, I hope she appreciates this gift as much as I do.