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Three Scholars of Eddin have come to the Healer's House with an exciting new experimental device: Highcock's Oscillating Apparatus. Its vibratory motion may cure everything from hearing loss to "female complaints," and two priestesses of Neya the Beloved have been asked to experiment with it.

Postulant Scholar Jep Burrman is supposed to stay quiet and do the scut work for his two superiors. But when the priestesses choose him--and only him--to help them test the Apparatus, life for Jep will never be the same.

Set in the world of "An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom," The Gratification Engine is a stand-alone prequel to Lovers and Beloveds.


Jep's head swam as if he'd been knocked over the head. He was to run the Apparatus without his superiors? Highcock and Peewell had gone on at length about how clever they'd been to think of obtaining Beloveds for test subjects. "It saves us the expense of hiring whores, and think of the erotic sights we might see!" Highcock had chortled. Jep would have Harla to pay when he got back to Eddin's Temple for having seen them alone. When his sight cleared, the plump girl was down to her corset and underthings; suddenly the future seemed much less important.

He hadn't noticed the Embodiment standing beside him until she chuckled, "Never worry, Burrman Postulant, you have only to run your machine there."

"The machine?" he croaked. "Yes, Holy One, the machine." He took up his station again by the machine. "Are you ready, miss?" he said to the girl.

"My name's Anda, dear, and I'm as ready as I suppose I might ever be."

"Oh, let me make introductions, I'm terribly sorry. May I make known to you our current Supplicant, Anda Barrows."

A Supplicant--not a servant or even a simple Beloved, but someone chosen to learn directly from the Embodiments and the Gods Themselves. Oh dear. Jep gulped and opened up the valve. The handgrip, still with the ball attached, rattled in its stand. "Whenever you're ready, miss, just pick it up and put it...wherever," he squeaked.

Anda considered. "I think Burrman Postulant should run the test, don't you, Allis? He's really rather cute behind those specs. Look at those nice strong arms. All that blushing, and the prettiest mouth." He had a pretty mouth?

"Most assuredly," smiled the Embodiment. "The two of us don't know what the machine does, or what it's capable of."

"Holy One, I don't think I should...I mean..."

But she had him by the arm and was propelling him toward the stand. "Show us how you Scholars envision its use."

"Yes, Holy One," he gulped. "Um, Anda, is it? Perhaps you might sit up on the treatment table. You might find it more pleasant. Sometimes the vibration makes it difficult to stand, depending on what you're...uh..." Anda scooted onto the table while he adjusted the handgrip's regulator until it barely shook in his hand. Leave it to Master Scholar Highcock to turn it up all the way. Should he keep the ball attachment on it? It seemed like the best to start with.

Jep looked up from his adjustments to find Anda sitting before him on the table, the two large, soft mounds above the top of her corset almost under his nose. Very large. Very soft. Amma preserve me. "How's this?" she said.

He quickly scooted around to the back of the table. "Let's start with your back." He pressed the quivering ball against the small of her back and moved it up one side of her spine; she let out a long, happy moan. "Does it hurt? Is it too strong?"

Her voice jiggled in time with the ball. "It's delightful! It could be stronger, even--yes, that's good! Oh, Allis, wait till you feel this, it shakes you all over!" she laughed.

Jep rolled it over her shoulders, trying to ignore the shimmying flesh beneath the ball until he found himself looking into her cleavage again, this time from above; he shut his eyes against her quivering breasts and stuffed down a moan of his own. He would never dismiss a fat girl ever again.

He shut off the handgrip and hung it on its stand as quickly as he could. "That's the basic idea," he said, backing away from the table. He wiped his sweaty hands on his trousers.

"I hardly see how that might alleviate 'female complaints,'" said the Holy One.

"Oh, I can," said Anda. "Bring that thing back here, Burrman Postulant."

"I think, miss...oh!" He'd backed up into Allis, who gently herded him toward Anda.

"Now, Burrman Postulant--what's your first name?"

"Jep, Holy One."

"Jep, you may call me Allis for the duration of our time in this room. All right?" She put her little white hand in his, and he nearly swooned. "I am correct in assuming you are quite inexperienced when it comes to women, yes?"

He burned as if he'd swallowed a coal from the boiler, and nodded. ...

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