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In a universe controlled by women, the GRAND FAHD reigns supreme over her HIGH PRIESTESSES, whose bellies display the red hourglass of the black widow spider. Each High Priestess reigns over her clan for a specified period during which time they mate within a cycle to produce a child - for what woman can be the mother to her clan if she is not a mother to a child. Fahdian women can only conceive if they take a capsule of Essence, which simultaneously seduces their partner. Once they conceive, they can remain a High Priestess, but if they remain virgins or fail to conceive, they are removed from their obligations to the Sisterhood & another takes their place. Males are groomed as studs & bring a dowry. Only the most skilled & wise can evade the fangs of a High Priestess & live on as her beloved Consort - even then more protection is desirable.
SHE, the Grand Fahd’s right hand High Priestess, is a virgin at the end of her reigning cycle. She has promised her younger sister, VASHTI, the next mating choice, but the Grand Fahd forbids it, planning to mate her own son, cocky ARKOS, whose sperm only produces highly prized females, to She. But Arkos is injured & instead She will mate with JOX. Fortunately the mating goes awry. Cat burglar NIRVANA, hired by Vashti who can succeed She as High Priestess only if She remains barren, steals Jox’s dowry of diamonds. Vashti is secretly in league with other High Priestesses who need her deciding vote for war against the CONFEDERATION OF QUEENS. The Grand Fahd learns of the scheme & prefers subterfuge to confrontation, especially when Nirvana ultimately answers to the Grand Fahd. She’s passion turns to rage when Jox deflects her question about the dowry. Jox is fanged & dies. She looks forward to the next phase of her life: retirement as a High Priestess, able to explore the galaxy & no longer answer to the Grand Fahd, though she wonders about the missed sexual delights. The Grand Fahd has other plans & encourages the recovered Arkos to explore the Forbidden Zone, where he can choose to mate with a High Priestess, if pursued. Arkos is confident that he will not be fanged; he has his FATHER’S Anti-Essence & his father still lives!