The Science Of Magic

Chapter 7

Hanna and Arianna

Tiela was curled up on a pillow, with her head in Hanna's lap. She alternated snoring (a cute snore, of course) and flittering her wings. Like this:

Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z, pause, flap, flap, flap.

On occasion, she would gently and ever so slightly, rise from the ground.

"We seem to come from the same template. " After so many years, of course the characteristics have become divergent, but," Arianna reached out and gently turned Hanna's face, "we do look much alike." Hanna smiled. Arianna did not remove her hand.

"It's sort of like looking at yourself." She purred, distantly. "I wonder what it would be like..."

There was a moment of unspoken communication, the flashing by fire light of two gentle smiles, two kindred souls.

With Hanna's cheek in the palm of her hand, Arianna leaned forward ever so slightly, "I'm not a ghost, you know."

She looked into Hanna's eyes. Hanna nodded slightly; they kissed, softly.

Tiela slitted one eye but said nothing. With what could only be described as a cutely sad expression, she closed her eye.

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8

The trouble with Pixies, part 2

"It's no good, I'm not even going half speed; she's still falling behind. We're going to have to get her on board."

"Rosie, you know that butt-munch fairy..."

"Pixie." I corrected.

"Whatever, she can't be talked into anything; we'll have to bully or coerce her," Said Herbert, thoughtfully. "If I had my way we'd be calling her Bossy now."

"I'd like to re-open our discussion of the hotfoot..."

"No, that's out of the question. Give her a break guys, she means well." I turned around to look for her.

"No she doesn't. She's a bite in the ass on purpose."

While Herbert was commenting, I saw Dot crumple and fall from the sky. As she dwindled toward the ground, I screamed,

"Rosie she's falling!"

"Hang on," she replied!

The big dragon didn't waste any time. She whipped around, in a tight loop and dove for the descending pixie. Herbert and I had to clutch at her neck to keep our seats.

As we neared Dot's limp form, Rosie opened her jaws and aimed for her. As the great pink mouth engulfed her I shouted, "Rosie!"

As she swooped back up and away from the ground, the dragon's mouth closed gently around Dot. When Rosie was flying level again she craned her long neck around and deposited the limp Dot in my lap. She leveled an accusing gaze at me.

"What am I supposed to do with her?" I asked of no one in particular.

"Over the side, gets my vote," offered Herbert.

What I did was; put her head in the crook of my arm and hold her safely, while she slept. I knew I would pay for this act of kindness, in the long run.

She would make sure of it.

Her eyes flickered briefly as she moved into sleep from unconsciousness. She grabbed my thumb and forefinger and pulled my other arm around her.


"Hmmm?" came his non-committal reply.

"What do you suppose is wrong with her?"

"Why, nothing lad, she works perfectly fine."

"No," He knew perfectly well, what I meant. "I mean, why does she act like that?"

"She's a bitch?" he suggested with a shrug.

"I mean what happened to her, to make her that way, you know, so bitter?"

Herbert squinted at me. I felt as if I was one of his bugs, being examined under a magnifier.

"There's more to you than meets the eye, master Nod." I bowed slightly, in mock salute. Herbert returned the bow before continuing.

"For some, you just have to accept who they are; the way they act. She probably doesn't think anything is wrong with her; and who are you to say there is?"

Before I could protest, Herbert raised his hand, "The best you can do is accept it."

"For others that sort of behavior is a defense mechanism. Like armor, it protects them from being hurt. In the case of the Pixie, I'd say she was embarrassed, or humiliated. She may have been abused or emotionally hurt in a way that might seem minor to someone else. To her it was profoundly painful."

I nodded my head and tried to look thoughtful, "What do you think it was?"

"On the other hand," It was Herbert's turn to look thoughtful, "she might be just a bitch."

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8

Arianna explains

Arianna told them, "You will meet four travelers, give them these." She offered them a box. Inside, were three silver rings set with rubies and a necklace with a lengthy chain, also set with a ruby. "They will join you in your quest, to find the scepter, and restore it to its rightful place in the Westkeep..."

"How do you know all this?" Tiela flitted to the top of a dusty table.

"You could say it is a matter of history." Arianna replied.

In addition to the jewelry they kept, Arianna gave them each a ruby ring, and a chain and ruby pendant for the rabbit.

"The rubies are attuned to each other. Through them, you can communicate with each other. There is much more to their magic that I cannot fathom while in projection.

"Where did you find them?" Tiela asked, innocently.

"They are a part of your world. I found them right here in the Keep. They belong here. When you are done with them, you will return them here." Before Tiela could utter the question she was so obviously about to raise, (or she had to go potty,)  Arianna interrupted. "You'll know when it's time and you won't need them by then."

"Hanna, your brooch is the Cairn al na Rog. It's a good luck charm and more. It will strengthen and enhance your power over the living wood, as well as the forest proper."

"Tiela, your pendant is Fregk al na Rog; which means 'fire of the earth'. It is also imbued with a protective spell and amplifies your control over fire and air, a good and natural choice for you. Be cautious with your will-o-the-wisp."

"As for the rings you chose; I know little of them, except that they are, what you would call magic. Initiation, control, even the nature of their magic is hidden from me. Once you learn to use the others, these will come."

"Use your magic sparingly, subtly; every invocation sends out a signal to any who are interested. And many are interested."

"The Dwarves will only relinquish the Scepter in exchange for the Mage's Stone, called Gonzo in the Dwarfish speech. They prize this above all else; the stone is precious to them. It is in the hands of an evil witch, who has the village of Merryvale under her control."

"Such tidings as I could contrive have been sent out. You may find help in unlikely places. Be careful!"

"Time is of the essence, but I can give you no clear idea of how long you have to bring the Scepter back to the Keep."

"Tiela," Arianna held out her hands and Tiela moved a little closer, "whose eyes are busy even in sleep,"

Tiela hesitated, feeling oddly guilty.

"I feel I owe you this." Arianna gently picked up the little fairy and kissed her, quite well.

Tiela blinked her eyes and exclaimed, "Wow! You‘re not a ghost."

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8

Kidnapped (with apologies to R.L.S.)

It was dark and I woke up alone. People had this practice of abandoning me in my sleep. It was getting rather disconcerting. I could hear faint sounds of a struggle, although exactly what made me think it was a struggle, I couldn't say. I really didn't want to get up, but I thought I should.

I stumbled from my sleeping gear, and up the rock, practically naked. The enclosure was only twenty-five or thirty feet to the top. The cold, thin breeze began to burrow into my bones.

Much of the scenery was darkened by shadow; the moon was bright on the horizon. Illuminated in silver were three men, tussling with a sack of something rather excitable.

Thirty feet upwind, even muffled by the sack, I could make out that voice. It had a sort of post-nasal twang, (Herbert called it a 'new yock' accent,) I would recognize anywhere.

The wind seemed to get chillier.

I envisioned myself, silhouetted against the lonely moon, surveying the empty vista. I thought, then, that I understood why wolves howl like they do. The wind stirred my hair and moved me to action. By sliding carefully (I had no shoes, just skivvies and my cloak) down a wash in the northeast face, I calculated I would come up just before their position, perfect for an ambush. I procured a stout branch on the way down that would have to suffice for a weapon, time was running out. My feet were tender from the rocks. I waited in the quiet dark, listening to the course conversation a few feet away. They had stopped moving.

Drat! What could I do, ask them nicely to come over here to be ambushed? I would have to wait them out. I got as quiet as I could. Some of the conversation drifted toward me.

"Gol Blimey! There she's gone and kicked me again; and right in the family heirlooms this time."

"Aye, and she's torn my tunic. I'll be thinking she's more trouble than she's worth. No matter what the old witch says." said a second voice.

"Geoffrey! Ya sh'na be speakin a' the boss lady tha' way," scolded the third Elf.

"I don't give that," there was a sound like a finger snapping, "fer the old witch. Like as not someone will take her place shortly."

"I hear she's enlisting human troops."

"Makes no mind to me, long as someone foots the bill. The rape and pillage stay the same. Speaking of rape..." The squealing from the bag got louder as he raised it to eye level.

"You can't rape a fairy, you ninny, they're too bloody small."

"Hoy, and who are you calling a ninny, you great lout."

"Lout, yerself."

As they continued interrupting each other, their voices got louder. The rhythm of the words got faster, until they were all talking at once.

I had enough. I was freezing and I couldn't wait forever, for these morons. Screwing up my courage as best I could, I crept quietly around the corner of the rock.

They were Elves, damn it. Three burly looking males, were leaning inward, and shouting in each other‘s faces. One held a very squirmy sack in one hand, shaking it occasionally to emphasize a point. Around them, lay the beginnings of a camp. I freely admit I had second thoughts, but they were quickly gone.

I crept up behind them and assumed a fighter's stance.

They ignored me.

There was a fleeting moment when I considered backing away and going back to sleep. Instead, I shouted, "Face your doom!" It came out sounding rather thin and shrill. Standing in the moonlight, wearing nothing but my underwear and a cape, I felt sort of lonely and small. I wondered, not for the first or last time, just what in the Hells I thought I was doing.

They continued to ignore me.

"Ahem," I cleared my throat.

Still, they ignored me. Their swords were drawn, but at each other. Dot squirmed in her sack, temporarily forgotten.

I tapped the nearest fellow (a smelly brute with a black leather vest and a 'born to raise hell' tattoo on his shoulder) with my makeshift staff.

Without turning, He held up one finger and said, "'arf a mo, gov."

I tapped him again, harder this time. As He turned, I poked him in the eye with my staff. When he began to yowl, I poked the next one in the nether regions. He bent over double; I kneed him in the face.

One long stride took me to the third elf. I broke the staff over his head.

He didn't say anything. He blinked, made his fists into balls, and glared at me.

I examined the broken end of the staff. "Uh-oh." I thought.

The second elf was holding his bloody nose in one hand, his groin in the other,

"Dow you'b gone and made hib mad." He tsk -ed through his teeth.

I was contemplating how best to grab the sack of Pixie and run like hell, when the sky exploded above us.


In the fading glare, I could make out Rosie, pursuing what appeared to be the flying rabbit I hallucinated, a couple of nights ago.

Or a cloud doing a very good imitation.

From a fictional basket, on the back of the hallucinatory rabbit, came tiny, imaginary screams. Rosie, hot in pursuit, stopped in mid-air. She seemed to backstroke while sucking in an enormous quantity of air. The rabbit stalled in the turbulence, eliciting a new round of tiny screams from the basket.

"WAA AA ZOO !" sneezed Rosie, in one of her most magnificent displays. A great orange and red fireball, bigger than the moon, engulfed everything around her.

"Haannnnaaaaa!" wailed the imaginary basket.

The fireball singed the imaginary bunny's tail and blew hot wind over the basket. One of the imaginary figures in the imaginary basket leapt out and threw something over the imaginary bunny's burning bottom. The other figure was shouting little epithets and shaking her finger. (I thought I heard, "Naughty Dragon," but discounted it as being unutterably silly.)

Rosie noticed me and my little stand-off. She bellowed, "Hey, Nod; What'cha doing?" She swooped toward us, grinning.

As I have explained before, even the kindest expression, on a dragon, can be rather frightening. Rosie's broad, pink grin was coming at top speed.

With a sound like leaves in the wind, the three Elves ran off, followed closely by Rosie. They left behind their swords and loot, including a certain squirming, swearing sack of Pixie.

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8

Elves disagree with Dragons

Rosie helped me by carrying all the loot back to camp. I wasn't sure if it was reluctance or revenge, but I thought about leaving the pissed-off Pixie in the sack, until we made camp.

Instead, I told Rosie, "Better let us off over on the left there," indicating an outcropping on the lee side of the hill. "We'll be down in a couple of minutes."

"U-rr-p!" She replied. "Sorry, Elves give me the winds."

I hitched up my skivvies, and shouldered the sack.

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8


"No. I saved your life, now you owe me." Without a trace of a smirk, I poised my hands on my hips. Realizing I was wearing only my underclothes, I changed my stance.

"You are a pervert!"

"No, I want you to do me a favor."

"What favor?" She eyed my skivvies, suspiciously.

"I want you to act decently when we get back, stop insulting people. I want you to be polite to everyone, eat with utensils, act civilized. If you can't be civil, just go away. Don't make me sorry I rescued you, back there."

I could tell this wasn't working. She was as closed and defensive as I had ever seen her.

"You're so-o-o dramatic. You did all this just to change me into something more to your liking. What if I don't want to be a fake."

"Not a fake. Just stop being rude. Stop being a bitch, I'm tired of defending you."

"You always trash me when I don't act the way you want me to."

"You could be right about that, but you sort of trash yourself." I felt very sad. If I was being punished for liking this person, she was doing the punishing.

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8

Imagination, part 2

"I don't know," said Rosie, "they were just there. They scared the hell out of me, too. I've never seen a flying bunny."

"You mean imaginary flying bunny, Rosie," I looked at Herbert accusingly. "Hallucinations indeed." I would have harrumphed, had I known how.

Herbert hefted the Elven blade, turning it over in his hand and effectively changing the subject.

"It's crude work, but not shabby." He plinked the pointed tip of the three-sided blade with his finger. It rang with a clear tone (no, not his finger.)

"The blade is sturdy. The blade and guard are of much better workmanship, finer detail, and and- "He paused for a moment, obviously in thought

"Tell me Nod, have you ever heard of case-hardened steel?"

"Herbert, I didn't steal anything, these became mine when they abandoned them in battle." I was hurt at the implication.

"No, no, I mean I think the handle was reworked by the Elves, the blade is much older; perhaps it was a family heirloom. Perhaps the armourer was pressed for time."

"In any case we have something they didn't." Herbert hefted the sword, again, making fencing motions. Swinging the sword above his head, he accidentally skewered a passing pigeon. Herbert seemed put out, I assumed, not as put out as the pigeon.

"Lunch," called Rosie.

Herbert smiled, "Dragon fire."

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8

The sword spell

"In order for this to work properly we'll have to work together and concentrate."Herbert clutched his book of spells ('Book of Hells' he would call it when he was discouraged, or after a powerful lightening strike,) open to the swords section. "Especially you, Rosie, you don't want to incinerate Nod." He patted me on the shoulder.

"Ah, Herbert?" I said, experiencing a profound desire to postpone the experiment.

"Yes, Nod."

"I thought the book said the incantor was supposed to hold the sword." I was slightly uncomfortable with the whole concept.

"So he shall, lad. You shall be the incantor."

"I don't know any magic."

"We shall see, what we shall see."

"Gmpf!" Snorted Dot.

"I wonder how you'd look with horns?" Herbert rolled his sleeves, and moved toward her, "Say 'moo' for me."

Dot disappeared with a popping sound.

I was really nervous. Seventeen-foot, fire-breathing dragons can have that effect on me, even Rosie. Particularly when she was about to breathe fire right at me.

I held the sword at a rattling arm's length, squeezed my eyes shut and cringed.

"You hab to hode id sdill," snarfed Rosie. It enhances the effect, if the dragon in question has a nasty cold.

"I'm holding it as still as I can." I countered.

"There, there. Nothing to worry about. Just relax and say the words we rehearsed. It'll all be over in a few minutes."

I didn't like the way he said that. I didn't like much about the current situation. I would say the incantation (from Herbert's Book of Hells), while holding the sword. Rosie would imbue the sword, with whatever magic can be had from Dragon fire. Herbert was supposed to cast a truing spell. I remember His other spells; they didn't work: none of them. And mostly, they didn't work with violent enthusiasm.

As I thought about it I realized, Herbert's spells never worked. The spells and incantations he tried were unilateral disasters. Even the conjuring, didn't quite work properly.

Here I was in the middle of the fireworks again.

"Three, Two, One, begin." Herbert mumbled his spell and Rosie wheezed up a jet of flame, while I trembled and tried to remember my lines.

As I began to recite, the words took on a life of their own. A picture formed in my head of this brilliant, perfect blade. I heard the clash of thunder and the sizzle of lightning. I could feel the intense flames from Rosie. I opened my eyes.

The sword was glowing and changing. It was becoming the perfect sword I had envisioned. A fine filigree showed on the blade, traced with blue light. A bolt of lightning ripped through the sky and split in two, as it encountered Rosie's flame. The first part struck the sword, causing it to ring like a bell. The light was blinding. The tone was becoming so loud my teeth were vibrating with the harmonics.

The second bolt raced to Herbert, where it exploded with a blinding flash and a bang.

Everything stopped simultaneously, except the bell tone, which faded slowly.

Herbert stumbled toward us. His clothing was blackened and singed, in tatters. Thin wisps of smoke rose from the remnants of the hat, clutched in his hands. He was covered, head to toe in black soot. His voice cracked when he asked, "Did it work?" Then he fell on his bottom.

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8


I slipped out of camp, hoping to get some time alone to think. There was a lot to think about, and for once, I was up before the sun. A brightening glow in the East told me it wasn't by much.

Creeping quietly out of camp, I went in search of solitude. First, however, I went in search of a bush on which to relieve myself. While I answered the call, the sounds of laughter drifted to me.

I peered through the bushes, hoping to find the source of the noise. I stumbled on a Catalpa grove that surrounded a clear, bright pool. A merry waterfall tripped over some rocks and branches, playing a tune. By the pool two chattering figures, were entwined.

I had seen these two before. It was the Buxom Fairy and her very beautiful friend.

"You vouldn't be thinking dings about der little vones?"

I whirled to see a gigantic rabbit, looming over me.

"Not zo nice dings, no?" The rabbit moved closer, it glanced briefly at my open breaches. His eyes were pink and surprisingly fierce-looking. His front teeth were the size of my head.

"NO!" I squeaked, "I mean, yes. Well, I'm not sure what I mean, just go ahead and eat me, Master Rabbit." I think, I really meant it.

"Rabbits don't eat der peoples, no. Rabbits eat only der vegetables." He sort of smiled at me, which is something I didn't know rabbits could do.

"That's a relief." I sighed.

"But, I am not der Rabbit."

I took a step back.

"Not to worry, liebling, I vont eat you." I sighed again, and the Rabbit smiled, "Yet."

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8

Nod and Hanna

"Oh, I'm really completely harmless, not an aggressive bone in my body." I was trying to sound sincere but I couldn't take my eyes off the tall one. She was even lovelier up close. She practically glowed.

"My name is Noderick McDonough," I blushed a little, as I reached for her hand. "You can call me Nod."

"I'm Hanna," she blushed back.

"It's a genuine pleasure to meet you."

"The pleasure is mine." I held her hand a good deal longer than necessary.


"Oh!" Hanna was startled, from my gaze. "This is Tiela," indicating her smaller counterpart.

"What do you want?" She said to me, with one eye closed.

"Tiela! Be nice to Mr. Nod."

I didn't understand the little fairy's vehemence, but it was annoying. It broke the spell. I was beginning to wonder if the Færy were prone to attitudes.

"We, that is, my companions and I, were just about to break our fast and I noticed that you hadn't set up camp yet; so I thought you might like to, you know," I waved my hand, by way of explanation. "We're just up the trail a way." I was breathless.

"We'd love to...," said Hanna-

"Thanks but no..." -and Tiela, at the same time. Tiela buzzed her wings and stamped her foot.

I gazed into Hanna's green eyes; there were whorls of copper and gold, where the light danced.

She nodded her head, slightly, and I was elated.

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8


"Hanna, look! Isn't she pretty?" Tiela flitted up to the big pink dragon and clasped her little hands together.

"Aren't you pretty, what's your name?" Her insidious cuteness was sure to win anyone's heart; except Dot. That miserable Pixie leered and aimed her finger down her throat.

"Who's the Barbie Doll?"

Rosie ignored her; she was pleased to be admired. "My name is Garostherealafinkle. Around here, everybody calls me Rosie."

"Well, Garostherealafinkle," Tiela pronounced it perfectly (I think) "I am very pleased to meet you." She offered a little mid-air courtesy,

"I am Tielinaraunella, Tiela, and this is my very dear friend, Hanna."

Hanna bowed regally.

Rosie bowed, very deeply indeed, all seventeen feet of her. Then she sat up on her haunches and said, "May I present my companions, Herbert the Wizard;"

"Charmed," offered Herbert with a bow.

"Noderick McDonogh, an entrepreneur;"

"The pleasure is mine." I smiled.

"And Peridot. A Pixie of undetermined origin and occupation."

The look on Dot's face seemed to transpose, as if she was caught up short. About to utter some caustic remark at the use of her given name, she was taken a-back by the introduction. She looked at the dragon, unsure if she had been rebuked.

Hanna stepped forward a bit, "This is our friend and transportation, Spike."

"Spike!?" We all said together.

"Spike," affirmed the bunny.

Ah, well.

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8

Herbert Explains

"After Sydney J. Foley who proved that any two n- dimensional points are contiguous. Any two contiguous points could be brought to unity, thus; you can be any place you choose, in no time. Theoretically." Herbert appeared pleased and surprised that he got it all right.

"What did he say?" Tiela, squinted her eyes and scrunched her nose.

"Two and two aren't four anymore." Replied Hanna.

Tiela started giggling uncontrollably. Hanna tried to hush her a few times before she succumbed, and began giggling herself.

Herbert got quiet.

Rosie was next and I, well, I couldn't help it. Before long everyone was laughing. We let it decrescendo, until we were quiet.

"But she did say, Synchronotic projection*?" Herbert finally broke the silence.

"Arianna also mentioned being in two places at the same time." Tiela, being cute and nervous, reached for Hanna's hand.

"Oh my Gods! Would you look at those two." Dot said, then louder, "Hey! You two wanna be socially deviant on your own time?"

Tiela turned about, without letting go of Hanna's hand, and stuck out her tongue. In combination with her number three squinty-nasty face, it was devastating.

It was wasted on Dot, who slapped her forehead with the palm of her hand and sat down. "Oh, grow up." She said, without much force.

Herbert shot an evil look at Dot. "Do you prefer Bossy or Buttercup?" Dot became furiously quiet.

"What did she say about the Scepter?" prodded Herbert.

"Arianna said the midgets had the Scepter," offered Tiela. "But we have to give the midgets the witch's rock."

"That's Dwarfs, Tiela. And the Mage's Stone."

"Oh yeah, that's what she said." Tiela giggled, Hanna smiled and tousled her hair.

"Oh my God." Dot muttered.

"I think they're sweet." I rushed to defend the adorable fairies.

"You would, you're hopeless." She shook her head and walked away.

I indulged myself of a sigh so profound, that it made me shiver involuntarily. I would have credited my next idea to a raving lunatic, if I hadn't thought of it myself. I don't know what the hell I was thinking.

"Herbert? Can you conjure up some ale for us?"

He hung his jaw open and stared at me. I had captured his undivided attention with my request. Herbert had never known me to drink much; maybe a bit of ale when I was sore and tired and then, mainly at home.

"It has been a long day." He said, fingering his scraggly beard, "and it's been a long time for me." He rose from the ground and spread his arms.

"But let us dispense with this talk of ale! I know where I can get ..."

There was no flash of light; no sound, smoke, or fury. It just appeared.

"... Margaritas!" Herbert pointed at the object he had conjured. It appeared to be made of silver. It vibrated and hummed. It made a loud click, and we all jumped back from it.

Not Herbert, he made a grand gesture and conjured a tray with glassware. Filling each glass in turn, he handed them out.

Rosie didn't get or ask for one.

"SDC." She said in response to my questioning glances. Rosie's tone left no doubt, as to the accuracy of her information.

"Huh ?" I just didn't know what she meant.

"Spontaneous Draconic Combustion. It's not a pretty sight, not much fun for your neighbors, either." Rosie shifted her tail.

"You see, dragons are filled with hot air-"

"Like the NEA back home" Herbert added helpfully

"If you say so, anyway, because of the volatile nature of our chemistry, we need to expel, these gasses."

"An exhaust vent." Herbert prompted.

"In polite company one doesn't use the V word."

"I beg your pardon, no offense was intended, your Rose-ness."

"None was inferred, just a point of clarification, your Wizard-ship."

"What can I get you, Rosie," Asked Herbert?

"Some sour goat's milk and two pounds of ripe Adder berries."

The collective groan was joined by all.

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8


Jenny leaned on the machine for a minute to catch her breath. She had more strenuous nights, but this one felt tougher. She stretched. Whenever she did this, most of the males, and a few females, got very quiet. She had no idea she had this effect on anyone.

Mostly, they looked out of admiration. Jenny had a finely proportioned body. She bordered on voluptuous without showing a gram of fat. Her hair was swept up behind her ears and fell to her shoulders. It framed her pretty face, her smile was her most alarming quality.

When you first looked at her, you felt as if you were seeing a lady for the first time; or maybe she was the queen of the fairies. Whatever, she seemed the most beautiful woman in the world.

(Fact is, she really was part Færy and how she eventually found out is another story that really hasn't happened yet. As of now, I mean; to her.)

The most beautiful woman in the world fell flat on her perfect keister. Her look of shock and surprise was echoed by the dozen or so faces watching her. It looked better on her.

Her skirt slid up a bit further, than she would have liked.

The boss didn't notice her legs (well he did, no mere mortal could escape her enchantment, but not for long) as he ran up, near apoplectic, "What did you do to the margarita freezer!?" He shouted.

The bemused Jenny, and most of the equally bemused patrons, just gaped at him.

"What margarita freezer?" asked Jenny, for clearly, there was no margarita freezer in evidence.

She scrutinized the empty spot were the margarita machine used to be. The plug and about six inches of cord were still attached to the wall. The severed end of the cord was gray, no frayed wires showing. She reached for it, hesitated, then touched the end of the cord; it was cold.

Strangely cold.

Her puzzled smile was finer than the laughter of all the angels, on God's birthday.

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8

Tiela Explains

"Arianna said we would meet four fellow travelers, that's you, I suppose, and we should give you these-" Tiela held up the case containing the Jewels, but didn't stop talking. She was telling us the interminable story, apparently in one breath, of her visit to the Keep.

"... said the rings would help us communicate over long distances, but that we'd have to practice with each other first; at least until we learned each other's essence, whatever that is, that we'd have to be synchronized with the jewels and each other for them to work, but she didn't know much else about them, but she seemed to know lot about us"

"Tiela," Hanna interrupted.

"Yes, Hanna?" She dragged her toe through the dirt, and made a cute little pouty-face (number 36, I think.)

"Take a breath," Hanna stroked her hair, "A long breath."

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8


Abandoning our libations for a time, we sat in a circle. The sun glowered on the horizon, setting the clouds aflame with crimson. Some of the light split in the trees, rebounding and dazzling into the clearing around us.

Rosie had her big snout pushed in next to us, (after a good dose of Herbert's elixir,)  beside her was Herbert. In between Herbert and me, sat Dot, back to normal (well, normal for Dot). She was being unnervingly quiet.

On the other side of Rosie squatted Spike; next to him, Tiela and Hanna.

Each of us held our Rubies. They glowed in the fiery light.

"Clear your minds of everything, don't think." said Tiela.

"Should be easy for you." murmured Dot.

I gave her a dirty look and she looked back, all hurt and innocence. Herbert cleared his throat in an annoyed way.

"Just clear your minds and put on the jewels," Hanna continued.

The air was vibrating with a faint humming, not so much heard as felt. The last rays of the sun strangled in the trees, but still the rubies glowed.

A torrent of unrelated thoughts flooded my brain. The murmuring babble made me dizzy at first but I began to separate strings of thought from the jumble.

Herbert was doing the same as me, the flicker of his smile acknowledged that, and I moved on.

Rosie was showing amused amazement, "I didn't know you humans had such powerful minds. Pity you don't use more of them, more often." She thought at me. Her voice, in thought, was different than her speaking voice, but clearly hers.

She thought at me and I understood! This was marvelous. I sent Rosie a warm hug of a thought and she hugged me back. I wanted to giggle.

Spike had two major thoughts, which seemed to overshadow his other thoughts. First was sex; with anything, including a certain big pink dragon.

"Especially dat big pink dragon," Spike thought at me.

The second was food.

I turned to 'the girls' and immediately this wave of warm affection rolled over and through me. I projected it to all three of them. They sent it right back. It was a wonderful feeling.

Hanna stood and walked to the center of the clearing, she beckoned me to her.

I met her in the center and she smiled at me. No words were exchanged, but I knew what she meant. She took my face in her hands and kissed me, soft and sweet, for the longest time.

Tiela fluttered over and kissed me in turn, not long but sweetly. Then, they went to Herbert and kissed him, ignoring his protests. She returned to the center and joined hands with Hanna and, a bit sheepishly with me. They turned to face Dot, and without uttering a word, coaxed her to join us. Tiela was ecstatic, and wanted to kiss everyone all over again. Dot was having none of it.

I was completely perplexed at this display of affection and I guess it showed on my face.

Rosie twisted her neck about, to stare at me from differing positions. A very gentle thought, intruded on my puzzlement.

"It's because you glow."

"I beg your pardon?" I thought at Rosie.

"Your soul, your mind, whatever you want to call it, your aura, glows with the light of Færy."

Though I was shocked by this revelation from Rosie, after all I had never seen my own aura, or anyone else's, for that matter.) I couldn't help but notice, through their auras, that all three girls had magnificent posteriors. A momentary flash of vision, just a one second fantasy, that's all it took.

The three girls turned as one: Tiela, with an expression of surprise and amusement; Hanna, with a look of interest and amusement; Dot was not amused at all. Something was making her thoughts less than transparent to me. Parts of her thoughts were veiled or shadowed; it's difficult to describe.

I could only blush and shake my head, while staring at my shoes.

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8

Jeanne-Pierre and Natali

"I don't like the dragon," Natali pursed her lip, petulantly, "it means trouble."

Jeanne-Pierre did not say, what he was thinking. There was already dissention, so early in the mission. "We don't know for sure the dragon is associated with them. If it is, it might not be in league with them. We don't know for sure it is a dragon. Cheer up, mon choux." A broad grin split his face.

"I'm not your shoe,"

"It's French for cabbage."

"Cabbage?" It wasn't quite a question, more a threat. "Of course the dragon is with them. Only, I thought it had two heads. I don't remember it being pink, either."

"You see? It was different dragon, entirely."

"Which could mean they have more than one dragon in their service." She said haughtily. "We should make contact, and ask for instructions."

"And tell them what? Several mythical creatures are keeping us at bay. Send instruction manual for magic spells, repeat; magic spells." He waved the notion away, with a motion of his hand. "They'd order us in for psych evaluation."

She offered no answer because she had none. He was right and that was that. If they were recalled, they'd never find a way to break the spell.

"What am I saying!?" she thought, "there's no such thing as magic, is there?" As if in answer, she realized that tonight would be a full moon. She would have her answer then.

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8

Nod and Hanna, reprise

I was wobbling through the trees, looking for a place to pee. I was supporting Hanna, who also had to go. We were both finding it hilarious.

There was a poignancy and comradery to our inane mumblings that was generally lacking from sober conversations. Every once in a while, I would call out, "Get out of the way, she's gotta pee," to a bush or stone in our path. We found this especially hilarious.

We were still giggling on the way back to camp. Hanna got a bit squirmy, and I enjoyed it.

"My, but your holding me close." Hanna slurred during a more or less, laugh-free moment.

I blushed, "Oh, uh, I'm sorry. I hope I didn't. . ."

She blocked my attempt to move my hand from her breast, and halted our forward movement.

"I didn't say I minded." She pulled me a little closer. "I think I kind of like it." She said dreamily.

I was having the same dream. She turned to face me, rolling her fine, lithe body across mine. I could feel her erect nipples under her tunic. Her face was flushed, her breathing shallow, as she lifted her face to mine.

I have never been kissed with such intensity and concentration. We pressed our bodies closer. Her scent was overwhelming. Her touch was electric.

The world disappeared; there was only Hanna and I, riding a wave of intimate, slowly building, sexual tension.

"Well, found yourself a new guide, I see. Wait until he starts pushing you in the river and thwacking your bottom with wet towels." Dot was perched on a tree limb, sporting a severe smirk. Her smirk was tinged with anger and jealousy.

I understood enough to know that I was about to have some difficulty. I understood that I had a desirable and desiring beauty in my arms. I understood that miserable Pixie was screwing up a good thing.

The sound of her voice had taken the wind out of my sails, so to speak. Even now, Hanna was examining my trousers, staring at my drooping main mast and cooing, "Ah, poor little fellow."

"What in the world do you want?" I asked Dot, rather appropriate, I thought, under the circumstances.

"Don't get snippy; I wasn't caught in flagrante."

"I wasn't in anything at all." I countered.

"Almost." said Hanna, wistfully.

Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8


After a few Margaritas, the Pixie was pixilated. I was nursing my own Margarita, sitting with Tiela and Herbert. Dot was telling convoluted and incomprehensible anecdotes, which she found side-splittingly funny. She was over-reacting; laughing too loud, trying too hard to have fun.

Hanna returned with fresh drinks, just as I was draining mine. Setting the drinks on a flat rock, she swung her slender legs around and dropped in my lap. After some very enjoyable squirming, she settled with her arms around my neck. Pulling my head toward her, she planted a big kiss on my cheek.

"You're so cute, isn't he cute Tiela?" She said with a broad wink. Then she stuck her tongue in my ear.

Herbert was amused, Tiela and Dot were not. I was bemused. Rosie was alternately watching us and eyeing a very nervous rabbit. The rabbit, for his part, was pondering Rosie's intentions, was it lust or lunch? Rosie outweighed him three to one. She picked up her bathtub, which was now filled with sour goat's milk and berry juice, and took a huge slurp.

Hanna reached for a glass and slurped some, herself, after which she put her arm back around me and kissed me for real.

I didn't notice Herbert drifting away toward Rosie and the rabbit. I didn't  notice Tiela and Dot buzzing their wings and disappearing with a flash and a pop, respectively. The only thing I noticed was Hanna's soft, warm body undulating on top of me, where she had pushed me on the ground, her mouth pressed to mine. (Yes, that's a run-on sentence. If it was you, you would have had a run-on, too.)

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morning after

Isolated pockets of groaning could be heard, throughout the clearing. No corpses were evident, as I peered from beneath my painfully swollen eyelids. I wondered, for a moment, if I had been poisoned again.

With the kind of carefree abandon seen in a housewife, sweaty from gardening, who runs a bath; I welcomed death.

There was a body after all; a beautiful fairy slept in my arms. Thick waves of chestnut hair obscured her face. A little mewling groan came from beneath the tresses, as I moved.

I bent forward to brush the hair away and kiss her. The preceding evening came back to me in a rush. All those margaritas, oh my!

The world stopped spinning. As Hanna (Gee, I thought, I hope that's Hanna under all that hair.) stirred and moaned, I spied a pile of filthy rags by the remains of the fire. The pile of rags was snoring. As it turned out, the pile was Herbert.

A bit closer to the wall of rock, stood the empty "machine". It no longer made any noise, (Herbert said someone in the other Dimension had " pulled the plug ", whatever that means) but it's presence was a cruel reminder of the wages of overindulgence.

When it stopped the night before, Tiela and Dot sought out Herbert to complain. He handed them tubes he called, "soda straws" and showed them a basin on top of the machine, where all the margaritas came from. They had climbed aboard, dangled their feet over the liquid, and quaffed deep droughts through the straws.

A painful, squint-eyed glance in that direction revealed that they remained on top of (more like, in the top of) the margarita machine. Various parts of the little fairy anatomies stuck out of the machine, wrapped around two bent straws. I swiveled my head around, but saw nothing of Rosie or Spike. I did see stars, though. Thousands of pinpoints of pain and nausea filled my Universe. I dropped back down to the bedroll.

The motion elicited a squeal from Hanna, who slapped weakly at me and said, "Uhhh!"

Someone at the machine was muttering, "Oh, my gods." over and over, in a very small voice. There was a vague high-pitched buzzing (Uh-oh; but no, it wasn't bees.)

A sadistic sunbeam fell across my face, burning it's way through my eyelids and eyeballs, deep into the bones of my skull. Hanna placed a hand on my face.

"Nod?" she whimpered.

"Ugh." I replied.

She pulled closer to me and buried her face against my chest. With little plaintive sobs she said, "Hi hiss hi her head," awakening the paternal in me. With a sigh, I resigned myself to arising.

"I wish I were dead, too." I said with as much sympathy as I could muster. I stroked her hair gently and got up.

The fire was definitely out. That filthy pile of Herbert was not near the fire ring but, actually in it. He was covered in soot and ashes, in his hand was a sticky-looking, ash-coated, piece of stemware.

On the other side of the ring from Herbert was the margarita "machine". It listed a little to the left. Atop it, in the hopper, were the remnants of Dot and Tiela. I knew they were both there; there were too many arms and legs, for just one.

As I approached, the buzzing got louder. Eventually I could make out hundreds of flies, buzzing around the hopper. A plaintive little voice, high pitched but rasping, repeated, "oh my Gods," softly.

The girls were coated in a sticky patina of margarita mix. Flies were crawling on them, stuck to them in some places. It was disgusting.

I decided there was only one humane course of action.

I held the bucket over the machine. The exertion made my head throb, and my joints ache. The world was a Universe of pain, everything hurt. The bucket was unwieldy to aim, and I didn't want to miss. I was certain I would expire, from the exertion of fetching more water. As I hesitated, Dot parted her eyelids.

Many things happened, right then, and they all happened very quickly.

When Dot realized what I meant to do with the bucket, she screamed.

That hurt Dot's head and woke Tiela.

Dot moaned and cradled her head.

Tiela saw Dot screaming and let forth with a shriek of her own. Dot shrieked back.  When Tiela saw the bucket, she screamed some more, then got her own head in her hands, and began to moan.

Meanwhile; Dot, realizing she was covered by hundreds of flies, screamed a different scream. It was more bloodcurdling; screeching to a high peak, (A above middle C, I think) and finishing with a lonely, gurgling wail. Tiela joined the wailing, when she recognized her coating of blurry, black specks as flies.

They were both immobilized. Until I dumped the bucket on them.


Chapter 6 Contents Chapter 8

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