The Science Of Magic

Chapter 9

Corporal Hanson

"Well, sir, as a temple guard we don't have much experience with field maneuvers. Mostly it was marching, and pike holding-oh the men are quite well versed in pike holding, and the escorting of virgins. All this running about, though, has got them quite confused."

"A few of the men thought the call was taps. They set up camp and went to sleep, right where they were."The corporal shuffled from foot to foot. He was trying to remain a moving target in the face of Captain Dyna's displeasure.

"I tried to tell them a dry stream bed is a bad spot to bivouac, but no one listens to me, Sir. I'm just a Corporal. Since you promoted everyone, I haven't anyone to order about. It isn't bloody fair, Sir."

"To the point, Corporal."glowered the captain.

"Well, ah, there was this beautiful Damsel, sir. Oh, and she was lovely, too. Long fair hair, eyes as blue as rubies,"

"Sapphires, Corporal. Rubies are red."

"Them too, Sir."The Corporal stopped for a moment, as if to think over what he just said. With a nod, (presumably to himself,) he continued. "Well, she said she and her three sisters were traveling by coach. When their wheel broke, the coachman turned out to be a rogue, of low quality."

"Is there any other kind?"said Dyna.

"I suppose not, Sir. Anyway, she and her virgin sisters,"

"Virgins?"Inquired the Captain.

"Aye. Not like the old days, at the temple, mind you;"He and the Captain gazed dreamily into space, "all those anxious virgins."

"Is there any other kind?"said Dyna. He shook his head and lost his dreamy countenance. "The point, Corporal."

"Aye. Well, a few of the men went to rescue the girls."

"A few?"inquired the Captain.

"Fifty-three, Sir."

"And only four girls."

"There are many hopeless romantics in our company, Cap'n."

"What of the others?"Dyna demanded imperiously.

"There was some disagreement there, Captain. Some of the men, mostly led by Elbert Quagmire, said as how it was the call to attack, you was sounding, and they charged off into the forest,"He hooked his thumb toward the Northeast, "That-a-way."

"The rest of them, thought you was sounding Retreat,"He turned his thumb the other direction, "They went that-a-way."

The Captain placed his hand on his forehead. He moved it slowly down the side of his face. He advanced on the Corporal; a tick was developing at Dyna's left eye. He spoke through clenched teeth, "Get them back here, now."

Corporal Hanson, still bobbing and weaving, reached for Dyna's tunic. "Beggin' the Captain's pardon."He carefully removed a small whistle from the Captain's ensemble. He brought the whistle to his lips and blew.


Within seconds, a faint rumbling could be felt through the ground. The bushes began to rattle and crack. Two men on horses emerged from the dark path. Behind them, were several more riders, emerging in pairs from the edge of the gloom.

All at once, we were surrounded.

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10

What's Up Dot? (with apologies to everyone)

"Vat for you look like dis?"Spike twitched a whisker at the Pixie.

"Well, I never saw a rabbit with wings, before."Dot had that look about her, I had seen it before. It was the look of a naughty child about to start trouble. Her face contained a hint of the joy of perversity.

"Technically, I'm not der rabbit,"said the, er, rabbit?, "I'm der Flying Lop, Species; Lep- "

"Don't get carried away."said Dot, "You're kind of snooty for a bunny."Dot folded her arms across her chest and sneered.

"Dat vord ist 'Lop'. I am no verstunken, bunny."Spike's eyes were narrowing, his nose twitching faster. As he got more agitated, his accent thickened.

"You still look like a rabbit, to me."

"Vot rabbits you know mit der vings, like so?"Spike waggled his wings furiously.

"So, you are alleging that you're not a rabbit? "

"Ya, I am not a rabbit."

"Not a bunny?"

"Cheese undt Crackers! NO!"

"But, you have all the signs of being a rabbit; fuzzy tail, long floppy ears, cute wiggly nose. Just like a rabbit."

"Flying Lop."Spike said emphatically.

"I still say rabbit."

Spike was flustered, now. His left back leg was twitching in rhythm with his nose. Eyes narrowed to slits, he said:

"I am not no vercoctah rabbit!"

"Rabbit."said Dot

"Lop."said Spike.

"Rabbit."said Dot, leaning forward and buzzing her wings in a very determined manner.

"Lop."said spike, equally determined.

"No matter what you say, I think you're a rabbit!"Dot put her hands on her hips and stared at Spike.

Spike was turning red under his mottled fur. His back leg was dancing, making thumping sounds.

"Rabbit."Dot sneered.

"Lop!"Spike shouted.


"Lop!"Spikes leg was going full time, now.

"Lop!"Shouted Dot.

"Rabbit! I'm a rabbit!"A screaming rabbit is a truly macabre sight.

"That's what I said in the first place,"she turned her back and started away. "Nice talking to you, Thumper."

Spike was (literally) hopping mad. He jumped away from the clearing and took to the air.

"I saw that one coming."Herbert whispered to me. He chuckled softly. "Bugs Bunny does it better, but she's no slouch,"

"What?"Though I was completely lost, I tried to look as if I knew what he was talking about.

"Skip it, I wonder how she knew his real name was Thumper?"He looked at me as if  I could supply an answer.

"His real name is Thumper?"

"Well, his given name is Fluffy. He was nicknamed Thumper, because- -"

"of that nervous twitch in his back leg. When he gets excited, his leg thumps the ground."I finished for Herbert.

"Although that's a dandy theory, his nickname relates to his sexual technique."

He bent back to his book and I watched Dot walk away. She looked pleased with herself.

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10


Herbert was sitting cross-legged on the ground, intent on his lore book. He was holding a page between his thumb and forefinger.

 "What'cha doing, Herbert?"I spoke aloud as I approached, so as not to startle him.

 "I am sitting cross-legged on the ground, intent on my Lore Book. Also, I am holding a page between my thumb and forefinger."His tone was distant, he was obviously preoccupied. I thought he might not want to be disturbed. I disturbed him anyway.

 "What are you thinking about?"I felt a bit lonely and wanted to talk.

 'I'm studying a sleep-spell for our toy soldiers."

 "You're going to put them to sleep?"It wasn't as much a question as a statement of disbelief. "For how long?"

 "Oh just for tonight, so we can check them out a little."

 "Check them out?"Herbert used many undecipherable phrases, some of which I've taken to use, myself. Check them out was a new one.

 "Go through their papers and belongings, to find out if they're telling the truth. We need to keep our telepathic tricks to ourselves, too. Dyna and his men don't need to know, would you make make it your job to explain it to everyone?"

 "Herbert!"I was appalled.

 "Nod!"Herbert mimicked my tone. "Think about it, Nod. If I told you Dyna would come over to our side would you have believed me? It all seems a little too convenient for me."

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10

Last resort

"Those fifty-three men are missing or..."The Captain gave a wordless shrug to finish, "We really should see to them."

"You'll need our help, Captain."Herbert looked as serious as I'd ever seen him. Assuming his best posture he continued, "I'm sure your men met with foul play."Herbert nodded sagaciously* "Someone arranged for your men to be missing or..."Herbert shrugged, mimicking Dyna.

"Ah. Treachery is afoot!"Dyna pontificated.

Herbert scrunched up his face for a second, then glanced down at his feet.

"Just making sure."He said to me, under his breath. I found myself looking at my own feet for a moment.

"Correct, Captain. I think I know who and why,"He looked sure of himself. "I'm not so sure about how, though."He said to me, quietly.

"Uh, Herbert?"I had this bad feeling.

"Yes, lad?"

"What are you about to get us into, Herbert? Are we going to need magic, again?"He cringed at the way I said magic.

"I hope not."He said emphatically, "I'm running out of hats."

 Herbert put on quite a show, casting a spell to muster the Captain's troops. It was malarkey. I had witnessed some brilliant charlatan's in my time; Herbert was not one of them. To me, it was the posturings of an eight year old, playing magician, with a blanket tied round his neck

Dyna did not seem to notice, nor did his men. The missing men of Isis' Guard (defunct), straggled in over the course of the next few hours. All fifty-three reported the same account. They followed the beautiful blonde virgin to the carriage, but there was no broken wheel in evidence.

"The Coachman must have repaired it, I guess I had him all wrong."Claimed the virgin. After which she offered them some cookies and they had a merry picnic.

None of them could quite recall the moment they all fell asleep simultaneously. They did not attribute any strangeness or magic to it. They did not attribute their simultaneous nap to the Virgin.

They awakened as quickly and mysteriously as they had fallen asleep. The coach, cookies and virgin were nowhere to be found.

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10


I was, by this time, not impressed with Herbert's spells. It is true that he managed the appearances of conjuring a spell; a vague shimmering in the air before him, a nervous tingle on the back of my neck, splinters of prismatic light.

The usual stuff.

Generally, the spell would manifest itself quite normally, right up until the clouds and thunder bit, then all hells would break loose.

So it was with some trepidation that I watched the final mumblings of Herbert's spell. I kept a watchful eye on the expanding of the globe of light, he was conjuring. Rosie and Tiela were to my right, Captain Dyna and a handful of soldiers observed from my left. Everyone was intent on Herbert.

I was watching the sky for thunder clouds, when Tiela flitted up beside me.

"You're missing all the good stuff, Nod."

"I'm looking for the bad stuff, Tiela."I whispered back.

Mumbling from the soldiers, brought my attention back to Herbert. The soldiers believed it to be a spell of protection, to keep us from being found by the Witch or her Elves. They were eager to help.

Herbert's spell was manifest as a 10 ft. diameter, glittering globe of energy. It was shot through with streaks of yellow sparks and rainbow splashes. It expanded slowly, becoming brighter as it got larger. It began to hum. It was quite pleasant, actually.

I was carried away with Herbert's apparent success, watching the pretty lights. Mutterings of "congratulations"and "good show!"oscillated through the group of soldiers. Tiela squealed and Rosie used her forelegs to applaud.

That's when I noticed the shadows swirling across the ground. Shadows of big fluffy somethings, racing toward us from all directions.

I reached out for Tiela and thought "Uh-oh!"Looking at the dark clouds swirling above us, I backed away from Herbert's spell. Tiela followed me and soon all the soldiers were moving back across the grassy plain.

Lightening crackled across the clouds and even Herbert looked up this time. Some of the lightening discharged into the silvery globe. Once more it expanded, engulfing Herbert.

The clouds melted into one big one, which hung directly above Herbert, swirling in the air. As he looked up, mouth open, a terrific jolt of lightening streaked to the cloud and toasted him.

As the clouds dissipated, we all straggled toward Herbert, who lay prostrate on the ground, charred and smoking.

Tiela reached him first, "Hey, Nod. He's asleep"Tiela giggled and rocked Herbert's shoulder but he didn't move.

I felt wide awake, and so much for Herbert's sleeping spell.

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10


I should take a moment to clarify some things, here.

Unlike Nod's cottage, most cottages were built from peat. Now peat comes from bogs, nasty mucky places filled with worms and scum and nasty smells. These cottages were padded with great clods of this muck, and my god did they stink.

I was the only one who seemed to notice.

The people were filthy, as a rule, and they stunk. Bathing in water was considered unhealthy, and well it should have been. People didn't even drink the stuff. Anywhere you found people, you found pollution. Not the "modern"industrial pollution, this was the real thing. Dipping into any water flowing from civilization, could mean your death from cholera, ecoli, salmonella, staph, -you name it. Out-houses were considered advanced technology. The remnants of an ancient sewage system decayed, while people defecated in their front yards. It is my opinion, that this is the reason up-river property is more valuable, to this day.

It was disgusting. To all those who revere and romanticize, that era; Two hours with the real thing, will shatter your illusions.

Children were treated as chattel and women fared slightly better. Children who lived, about 1 out of 5, were married off at puberty, sometimes before. By twenty they were middle-aged, 45 would be considered a ripe old age. Unmarriageable children, were often sold as chattel and nobody owned anything, except the royalty.

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10

X marks the spot

Herbert worked furiously at nothing, as far as I could see. He completely ignored our questions. His frenetic gesturing and crazed mumblings drove us all to the brink of insanity. I was pacing.

Captain Dyna was pacing oppositely from me. At one point in our tracks we faced each other, then passed, the Captain on my left.

"For Heaven's sake! Would you two please sit down."The Captain and I stopped walking. "That's better. I'll only be a few minutes more, then I'll explain."

I sat on a convenient rock, the Captain stood at parade rest. (How would I know what parade rest is,  you may ask?) I watched Herbert as he counted his steps and scratched an X in the dirt.

"Oh! He's making a map. Wonderful."Dot sneered.

"Hush!"Growled Herbert.

There was a vague shimmer in the air above the X. It extended to the wall, from floor to ceiling. Herbert stood back to look at his handiwork.

"Nothing I can do about the light show, intra-dimensional gates are hard enough to keep open. I guess it won't hurt anything on this side.  Might give it away on the other, though; well, it can't be helped."

"We're going to create a diversion, we'll start small but flashy. When Nod and I have her attention, we'll give you a signal. Then our cat burglar can move in. Remember the point of this is to distract her."

"Captain Dyna. Send some of your men to the village. Unlock all the buildings except the Mayor's. Would ten men be enough to guard the Mayor?"

Dyna stoically nodded his affirmation.

"Then, gather the villagers and bring them here. One of us will be waiting to, eh assist you. Hanna and Dot should wait with the rabbit."

"LOP!"Everyone shouted at once.

"Whatever, to guide the Captain's men at the appropriate time. When they get there you can move in."

"Tiela, dear?"

"Yes, Herbert?"She looked cutely serious.

"This is strictly volunteer, you don't have to do this."

"Oh, we'll be O.K."She slipped her hand into Hanna's.

"Dot, after the show starts, you will be our only source of communication, because of all the interference from the gate."He stared at us, one by one, while touching the ruby ring. He wanted to be sure we understood the rubies wouldn't work through the gateway, without revealing their existence to the soldiers.

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10

Paddy O`Donohough

"Hoy, Paddy!"

"Who's as disturbin' my repose?"He answered in as curmudgeonly a way as is possible.

"A bunch of them soldiers are marching into town."

"Aye, and that's a cause for celebration, I suppose?"He made a disgusted cluck with his tongue. "They locked us out of our property and set us on the street. It's a fine thing when a man can't ..."


"Yes, Colin." Colin was sort of the village Hero. There was no valid reason the villagers looked up to him. He just had the loudest voice.

"They've come to unlock the village and ask us to help get rid of the witch, er, Her Ladyship."

"Sure, and I know there'll be a reason for you tellin'' me this."Paddy stood amid the charcoal ruins of his defunct drinking establishment, with his hands on his hips.

"Well, I thought; that is, some of us felt like you might want to join us and,"

"Are you daft? Get along with you now! Such foolishness."

As the strapping lad left, Paddy settled down and reached for a bottle, "I'll be needin' a wee bit of porter to lift my spirits."

The redoubtable Phineas T, in need of a drink, had himself dislocated by one of his staff. He did not know the Merrydale Pub was defunct, last time he was here it was a thriving inn.

"Ah, Porter! I could use a wee bit o' that meself,"He declaimed

"Now it's I'll be hearin' things."Paddy swiveled his head.

"It's alright, Paddy,"claimed Phineas, "I'm just a figment of your imagination. I would like to ask you a question, though."

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10

Genuine Article

Herbert almost had me convinced that magic was a sham; the foolish delusion of a gullible world. It surprised me, then when he told me:

"Our only objective is to get the Mage's stone. We must use extreme caution with this witch. There's no telling what kind of power she might possess. For all we know she may be the genuine article."

The genuine article? If there is real magic in the world, it is ornery and sadistically hateful. At least, it doesn't like Herbert much.

"We have to convince her the use of magic would be dangerous or futile. If she uses real magic we're sunk."

"Well, thanks. Now I feel much better." Dot was echoing my sentiments.

"We have to put on one hell of a show."

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10


The curtain of light brightened in the center. Bands of color rippled toward the perimeter. A blob in the center stretched into three dimensions and grew a head. It was Herbert.

"How many are there?"

"About two hundred, plus Dyna's troops. But half of them are riding there now."

"I hope they don't tip our hand."


"Never mind. How many all together?"


"O.K. I think I can hold it open for that. Have them come through five abreast, tell them not to touch the walls. Wait for my signal. You and Dot come through, now. Don't forget the lights."He didn't say anything else, just pulled his head back through.

"O.K. Stay in touch with Dot."I sounded much braver than I felt.

"The tunnel will hold about thirty men, ten if mounted. Line them up as well as you can and wait for a signal. There is no way to time this thing, we'll have to make it up as we go along. And remember don't eat anything you find there. Good luck Tiela, don't take any chances."I swallowed hard and stepped through the curtain of light.

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10


The Great House was set in a sunny glade near the southern edge of the Gorge. It was magnificent, a classic example of it's kind.

I imagined the misty distance behind it, holding a silhouette of the Keep. I wondered why I was so drawn to this place I'd never seen.

Herbert sat down on a log with a thump and a sigh. "I can't take anymore. I need a reality check."Herbert put his head in his hands.

Dot and I stopped our mental conversation and I moved to Herbert.

"What's the matter?"I asked.

He lifted his arm slowly, pointing toward the Great House. "That is the matter,"He giggled, then looked surprised at himself.

"What about it?"It seemed quite normal to me. It was built in three sections. The first was cottage-like, nothing unusual; old-fashioned gingerbread walls with white icing, gumdrop door knobs, rock candy windows, candy cane door posts.

The larger section was primarily battlements. Not as fancy as the cottage, it looked a bit like chocolate chip.

"Fairies, Pixies, pink Dragons - Pink!"He clutched my tunic, and drilled his eyes into mine, I must be on drugs, having a bad trip. But I didn't take any drugs."

 He turned to me, "Did you give me any drugs?"

"No, Herbert."

"I'm gonna start to gibber and drool at any moment. That's what always happens; first you lose your mind then you start howling at- Oh my God! I am gibbering."


The evening was deepening as Herbert and I strode up to the door. Dot hovered invisibly in the trees above us. She had been told she would act as liaison, as the gate interfered with the rubies. We wanted to keep an eye on her. Rosie was high above and perfectly capable of relaying messages or watching Dot. Although she wasn't chatty or amiable like Tiela, I remained in contact with her.

The door was chiseled from a chocolate bar. A large, rock-candy garden bordered the doorstep, gingerbread balconies ran to either side.

Herbert knocked, so far everything was going according to plan.

"Who's that nibbling at my house?"inquired a creaky voice from within.

"That was knocking, not nibbling."replied Herbert.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, madam, I'm quite sure. It was most definitely knocking."

"Not even a little gnawing, or nipping?"Asked the hopeful squeak.

"No, Ma'am, not a bit."

"Perhaps a champ, a chomp or a chew."

"Madam! If we could return to the matter at hand?"Herbert said impatiently.

"Very well, ah, let's see; oh yes. Ahem, Who goes there?"

Herbert leaned toward me and whispered, "Hit it!"

He meant it was time for me to operate the doohickey on the black box I was holding. So I did. There was a low throbbing hum. It escalated in pitch and volume, then died to a whisper. Blinding lights flashed in different colors around us, and fountained into the sky.

"Hey watch it, will you!"Thought Dot, from high above.

"I am the Great and powerful Herbert."He said majestically.

"Herbert? The great and powerful Herbert? Is that your real name?"

"My colleague, Nod."He raised his arms.

Thin rays of intense light shot from the trees into the clearing around us. Wherever the beams met they changed angles, seeming to vibrate in the air.

The light framed Herbert and me, gushing in a big fountain behind us. There were two loud explosions and fog crept across the clearing.

"We've come to talk to you."Herbert said menacingly.

In a final, frenzied orgasm of light, a banner appeared over us; it said:


"Got it from a Heavy Metal band."Herbert said aside to me.

I thought all metal was heavy.

"Well, you certainly do make an entrance. Now if you're all through, how about some nice chocolate cake, Hmm?"

"Yes, please."I said enthusiastically. Chocolate cake is my favorite. I hardly got the words out when Herbert kicked me in the ankle.

"We don't want anything to eat, thank you. We've come to parlay the terms of surrender."Herbert looked very grim indeed.

When she first appeared, in the bright light, I thought she was old, stooped and withered. It must have been some trick of the lighting, however, because as she turned to face me, she took my breath away.

"No terms. Just surrender to me now. Save us all a bundle of time and trouble."She moved through a rock-candy French Door and smiled.

She was dressed in a very tight, very short, very low-cut black dress. Her legs went (with many points of interest along the trip) all the way up. A black cape hung rakishly, off one shoulder, long blonde hair floated on the collar.

"NO, no, you silly woman. You surrender, we accept."

She wasn't paying attention. She was fussing with a tray of something or other. She whacked it on the balcony rail.

"Peanut brittle?"She looked over the rail at us.

"Now cut that out!"Herbert's stated emphatically.

"Where was I ..."he muttered.

"You were just surrendering to me."Encouraged the witch.

"Oh, yes."Herbert tried to puff up and look official.

"As duly authorized representatives of the ... What?"Herbert's eyebrows went to work. Jumping and twitching until his whole face was moving. Suddenly, they drooped. His entire body went limp; he un-puffed (it didn't make him look official, anyway) and dropped his hands to his side.

"Here, lad, shut that thing off."He stepped forward, out of the shimmering cage of light, just as it flickered and died.

"Listen, Lady. The whole town is on their way and your new army is leading the lynch-mob. I was kind of hoping that you would leave before they got here. You're gonna have to give up anyway; why not make it easy on yourself?"

"I still have my magic, you know."She crossed her hands and made an immense cookie jar appear in front of us.

"Your pitiful conjurations won't save you from that angry mob of villagers."She couldn't see him crossing his fingers behind his back.

"If you go now, you can take anything you want, we won't hinder you."

While Herbert spoke, I inched my hand toward the cookie jar. He slapped my hand, when he finished talking. I offered him a hurt look, but he so looked serious, I let it go.

Herbert began a series of florid gestures with his hands, accompanied by a chanted mumble, that might have been an incantation. The witch, who surprised me by being quite attractive, (in a tawdry sort of way), leaned further over the rail to peer at Herbert's machinations.

"What are you doing there, Mister?"

Herbert surreptitiously kicked me in the ankle again.

"Oww! er, Oh. He's incanting a spell."I claimed. I clasped my hands behind my back and tried to look important.

"What's the spell for?"she said sweetly, leaning a little further as she noticed the aim of my gaze.  She moved her leg in a way that made the dress tighter.

"I, ah; I, uh."I'm afraid, I blushed.

"Pay attention, Lad!"Herbert growled through clenched teeth.

"It's a spell to banish you to the fourth Dimension."Her dress was doing marvelous things as she flexed her leg; I found it hard to concentrate on my lines.

"All that just for little old me?"She batted her eyelashes. "How did I come to merit such attention?"She stood up straight and pulled her cloak around her. She looked so innocent and sweet; right then, I found myself thinking that we must be making a mistake.

I jumped when Herbert's spell started to generate sparks of light. Lightening skittered across the ground. Herbert looked as surprised as me.

"Send Dot back to get the troops ready."He whispered to me, "Tell her to wait for the signal."

I didn't ask 'what signal?' I relayed the message.

"You had better stop that now."Her voice had changed, and her bearing. She was more commanding. She seemed taller, not so much sexy as alluring.

"I don't think he's going to stop, Ma'am."I shook my head to reinforce the negation.

"Are you going to stop, Herbert?"

He shook his head and kept on incanting..

"I don't think he's going to stop, Lady."

"You leave me no alternative,"She grinned menacingly. "I shall have to set the wolverines on you."

"You mean the little rodent? Sort of a cross between a weasel and a badger?"I asked, incredulously.


Herbert stopped but the spell didn't. It had momentum. "You've got to be kidding me."

"About what?"

"Wolverines?"He threw his hands up and wagged his eyebrows at her. I began to giggle, I couldn't help it, it just came over me. Quiet at first, my mirth became more exuberant the longer I thought about it.

"Yes, wolverines, hundreds of them."She looked a bit plainer, not quite so regal.

Herbert got caught up in the giggles, as my laughter got more energetic. Our laughter redoubled when we glanced at each other.

"Wolverines!"I managed to choke out.

"They're very fierce."She crossed her arms on her chest.

That cinched it for Herbert and I. We were both helplessly contorted by mirth.

She could have taken us any time.

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10

Hanna & Tiela & Dot

"It's not as if we ever discussed it, Hanna."Tiela was being very concise and serious.

"Truly, Tiela, I never thought the situation would ever come up. I didn't realize I had it in me."Hanna looked contrite.

"When did you realize he had it in you?"Dot had popped in and remained quiet through the preceding discourse. Then, like some anal-retentive child, she couldn't hold it in any longer. "You Lesbian lonely hearts give me a pain in the ass."She hopped from her perch on a rock ledge, "Where in hell is that signal?"Dot moved slowly to the cave entrance and peered out.

"We've got quite a crowd gathering."Dot added, as she notice the troop of villagers climbing the hill.

Tiela and Hanna moved to join her. Tiela fluttered her wings forlornly and asked,

"You don't suppose anything went wrong?"She poised her mouth to form a big kewpie doll 'Oh!' and covered it with one hand.

"I'm gonna be sick."replied Dot.

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10


There were hundreds of the furry little bastards. They were all over the place, arranged helter-skelter, on the path and lawns.

They weren't so much a threat, as a bloody nuisance.

"What in the world are they doing, Herbert?"

"It appears they're rutting."

I examined the scene more closely and, sure enough, that's what they were doing. They were less than discriminating about partners, bouncing round and round, coupling with every one of the opposite sex they could reach (or with the odd rock or tree limb.)

These were very lonely wolverines.

"They do look very fierce."Herbert shouted at the witch. "What do you want to do now?"

"Wait until they're tired, I guess."She claimed with a shrug.

I started to giggle again, but a sharp glance from Herbert sobered me. Besides, it was kind of sad. All those fuzzy buggers thumping and humping like... well, like crazed wolverines.

"I suppose,"announced the witch, "I shouldn't have separated the sexes for such a long time."She tsk -ed politely, "I don't know, what now?"

"You could start by telling us your name,"I suggested.

"Well, I ah,"

"Don't be shy. I'm Nod and this is Herbert,"I bowed slightly.

"The Great and Powerful Herbert, if you please."He whispered to me.

"A thousand pardons."I whispered back.

"Think nothing of it."said Herbert. The witch was still stammering.

"Surely you have a name?"Herbert made it sound like a command.

"Mr-mrm."She murmured.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Merlene!"She shouted it, like an epithet.

"Merlene."I stated, flatly.

"Well, Mamma was short on imagination and she didn't socialize much, outside the coven. She only had sex once, with a country-western singer named Merle."She whirled her cloak aside.

"She turned him into a newt. "She leaned far over the rail, deepening her décolletage.

I refrained from mentioning my passing acquaintance with a newt named Merle.

"We were wondering if you might be able to do something about the breasts, er beasts- the wolverines."They were all over the place, still busily- ah, still busy.

"But they appear to be having such a wonderful time."She wet her lips, parted them and radiated lust at me.

I felt she might be using her powers on me; it didn't make any difference. I was ready to sell my grandmother for her. (Granted, I didn't know precisely who my grandmother was, or if she lived. I viewed these, however as minor technicalities.)

My concern over the boinking fur-balls was short lived. Wearily, the worn-out wolverines wobbled their way homeward. Many were dropping in their paths, victims of their own lust. As the last of the wolverines fell into a stupor, Merle shifted uncomfortably on her balcony;

"You must admit, they were pretty fierce."

"Indeed, they were. Now will you give up this silly charade and come down here. I promise, we mean you no harm."Though his tone was cordial I could tell, Herbert was getting really annoyed.

"Send the signal through to Dot."He said to me.

"What should I send through?"

Herbert bent and captured a wolverine by the leg. The beast was listlessly baring it's fangs, as Herbert held it up. He tossed it, backhand into the shimmering gate.

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10


Natali stood up unexpectedly. Her movement was sudden enough to tighten the chain and collar, that held her to the tree. Her breathing was course and ragged, her eyes were filled with helpless desperation.

She began to glow.

Jeanne-Pierre moved back a few cautious paces, as the transformation began. He had witnessed it twice before; the first time was a surprise. They hadn't believed the old witch could put a curse on anyone, so they laughed it off.

The following full moon, Natali turned into a wild pig.

The animal.

For real.

After that, she became a bobcat. Jeanne-Pierre didn't want to take any chances this time, hence, the collar.

Natali's face was melting into an amorphous blob. Her body slumped and rippled, changing texture and color. The mass seemed to throb and sway, it puffed a few times. Natali's soundless shriek became more enthusiastic.

Her transmogrification slowed, the shimmering lines of her body solidified. Her new form coalesced;

"You're a pelican."  Exclaimed Jeanne-Pierre.

"Awk!"replied Natali.

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10

Kitten Burglar

The underpinnings of the Great-House were made of more sturdy stuff than gingerbread. Tiela had the impression the building had been something quite different, once upon a time.

"Hanna?"she thought.

"Right here, honey."

"I think I'm close, Hanna. But many of these rooms are piled with junk; all kinds of stuff, too. You've never seen such a collection of gimcracks and gewgaws in your whole life. Some of the rooms are so full it's hard to tell there's a room underneath. I swear I've never seen so many..."

"Ah, Tiela?"There's a certain inflection Hanna uses, at times, to call Tiela‘s name. One particular rising tone that catches Tiela's attention, when she's been talking too much. Tiela always replies the same way.

"Yes, Hanna."Even in thought, Hanna could see her hands clasped behind her back, innocent eyelashes fluttering.

"Try to concentrate, find the stone."

"This would be easier if I could use the wisp, you know."

"We don't know what the Stone looks like."

"I know, I'm just nervous. I'll get over - Hanna, look!"

In her excitement, Tiela forgot to specify a particular image. But Hanna was limited to Tiela's range of sight, so she saw it at once. It was a nearly perfect black sphere, perched atop a bureau. On the sphere's side, two circular ruins were joined.

"That must be it Tiela, grab it and pop in to me."

It was the smallest of noises, but so fierce was Tiela's concentration, she didn't even notice the cat, until it bolted in front of her.

Taut as a watch spring, she flitted at the sudden spurt of sound and movement. When her head met the ceiling the lights went out.

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10


The light-curtain bulged in the center and burst into droplets of light. A ball of fur flew through the center, wailing like a banshee. It rolled up against the far wall of the cave.

The murmuring assemblage of soldiers and villagers beat Hanna to the fur-ball. Hanna was preoccupied. She had lost touch with Tiela, but couldn't let on to the soldiers.

"Look Captain,"exclaimed one of the soldiers, "It's a wee furry beastie."

Captain Dyna responded by approaching and prodding it with his boot.

The fur ball responded by unrolling and clamping a vicious-looking set of teeth in the boot. It squealed and tugged at the boot, furiously embedding it's fangs therein.

Dyna shook his foot and shuffled his boot on the floor of the cave. Then he danced in a circle on one foot, trying to pry the beast loose with his fingers.

When he and the beast were dizzy, he stopped. Plopping down on the floor, he extended the boot with the wolverine, still in evidence.

For it's part, the beast looked around the crowded cave with beady, wolverine eyes. Overcome by exhaustion, confusion and terror, the beast fainted.

Captain Dyna lifted the boot, which now sported a rather limp but persistent wolverine, suspended by it's teeth.

"I believe this is the signal we've been awaiting."

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10

Cat Nap

Things were only slightly blurry. Her head hurt, as though she'd been bopped, but she didn't remember the bopping.

A rough sensation, accompanied by the feeblest of slurping sounds, gnawed at her awareness. At the same time, Hanna's voice gnawed at the back of her mind; repeating her name over and over again.

Tiela fluttered her lashes. What she saw looked very much like a cat. Moreover, it was licking her face in a manner very similar, to that of a cat.

"Wrrrrr-ow?"Queried the feline.

Tiela smiled and thought, "I'm O.K. pussycat, I think."

"Thank the Gods, but I hate it when you call me pussycat."

"No, Hanna. There's a pussycat here."

"How nice. Can you see the Stone."

"Yes, it's right where I left it."

"Hurry now, go grab it. I'm going through the gate, we'll be out of contact for a few minutes. As soon as we resume contact you pop out of there and straight to me."


"Yes, love."

"Can I keep the cat?"

"You're very strange, Tiela."

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10


We were up to our asses in wolverines.

Everywhere I looked there was either one of Dyna's men or a twitching, insatiable fur bag. Some of the wolverines were passed out on the ground. One little bastard with glassy eyes, was humping the air spasmodically; all of them were wearing the same spastic smile.

It was eerie.

Sounds of confusion reigned. Half of the soldiers were standing down from arms, realizing there was nothing to attack. The other half were milling about, weapons drawn, intent on confronting the enemy. No one knew precisely who the enemy was.

The villagers were wandering about tripping over prostrate wolverines, and generally mucking up the works. A few of the dimmer, goofier citizens were snacking on various portions of the witch's abode.

Merle was nowhere to be found. She abandoned her wolverines and relocated, when Dyna came stumbling through the gate, with his foot in his hand.

Hanna came through and met Dot, shortly thereafter. When Dot spotted me, she took to her wings and started toward me.

Hanna appeared to be looking for someone, when Tiela popped into her arms shouting, "I got it! I got it!"

Herbert was trying to go against the flow of the oncoming people. I was following Herbert.

"We've got to catch Merle, find the Mage's Stone."He shouted over his shoulder.

"But Tiela, she's got it-"

"It's not the Mage's Stone- don't ask- that's not it."

The crowd swelled around us and I was not in a position to argue.

I resigned myself to the situation. It wasn't duty or courage that motivated me, it was confusion. I didn't have any better plan, so I followed.

Ah, well.

PREVIOUS Chapter 8 Contents NEXT Chapter 10


Chapters ...1 ...2 ...3 ...4 ...5 ...6 ...7 ...8 ...9 ...10 ...11 ...12 ...13 ...14 ...15 ...16 ...17 ...18 ...19 ...20 ...Contents

XHTML 1.0!