The Talisman of Odan

By Vic James





Copyright 2013 by Vic James

All Rights Reserved


Please donate to nifty.

Chapter Ten

Sani belched and Driggor laughed.

"How was he?"


They were in a house just outside a small town. Sani's sense of smell had led her there. When they entered the house, the man couldn't tell them what he had done, as he was under Sani's spell. So Driggor tied him up and then Sani left his house. Once he had his wits again, Driggor questioned him. He gave Driggor his name, Eldon. Driggor laughed at the threats Eldon made. The man didn't know Sani was waiting to come back into the house. He refused to tell Driggor anything, though. Driggor called Sani back in the house.

"Why don't you eat his left hand? Then go back outside."

"Yes. That should give him an incentive to confess."

She ate his left hand and went back outside.

The man came back to his senses and screamed.

"How old are you?" Driggor asked him. He guessed he must be just over twenty years old. It was amazing that he could be so evil at such a relatively young age. Eldon didn't answer.

"Your right hand will be next."

Driggor laughed again at the hate and fury in the man's eyes. That seemed to unnerve Eldon. He realized he might very well lose his right hand. He was helpless to prevent it.

"Why do you care?" he screamed.

"It's important that I know why you are so evil."

"Who said I was evil?" the man asked with a grin.

"Everything about you is evil. I'm amazed you can smile at a time like this."

"I'm smiling because I am thinking about what I am going to do to you."

Driggor chuckled, which made Eldon scream again. He cursed and threatened and screeched. Driggor rolled his eyes.

Sani was standing outside. She watched people gathering around the house. The man's victims, she assumed. She walked up to a woman of middle age.

"Can you speak?" Sani asked.


"What did that man do to you?"

"He murdered my husband and me while we slept. Then he robbed us. That was what he did. He killed thirty-three people. He is the son of the constable so he was never suspected. My name is Paella."

"Does the constable know about his son?" Sani thought he might very well be her next meal.

"No. He suspects everyone but his son."

"You will have him soon," Sani said.

"Thank you."

She went back in the house and told Driggor what she had learned. Driggor looked around the house to find what the man had stolen.

"My father will make sure you die for this," he told Driggor.

"I think he will be too shocked to find out his dead son was the murderer."

The man looked stunned at that.

"I am going to tell you something. You are going to die soon. You will suffer for what you did for a long time."

Eldon laughed mirthlessly. "How can I suffer a long time if I am dead soon?"

"You will suffer in the Afterlife. Your victims will ensure it. I understand Paella waits for you along with many others."

"I could take care of her when she was alive. She should fear me."

Driggor laughed again.

"You still don't get it. You don't win. You just get to suffer. You will suffer and they will gloat. Your suffering will last much, much longer. Your victims will have their revenge."

"You are making this up!"

"No. I'm not. Fate waits outside your door. She will eat the rest of you and then give your spirit to your victims."

Driggor nodded at the man's growing horror.

"That's all nonsense! I don't believe it!"

"It doesn't matter whether you believe it. Do you think your beliefs matter? It's what you have done that matters. If you will not tell me where you have hidden what you have stolen, your usefulness has ended."

Driggor walked to the door.

"Wait! If I tell you, will you leave?"

"Yes. Both of us will leave when we have what we need."

"It is hidden under a board under my bed."

"Thank you," Driggor said.

He found his bed and looked for the loot. He found it.

He opened the door and called to Sani. She walked into the house singing. Driggor cringed at the sound. It was off-key and shrill. He wished the fairy who turned Sanit into a Siren had improved her singing abilities. He walked outside. He had no desire to watch Sani eat the man. He caught a motion out of the corner of his eye. He looked around. He could see shapes of people standing around the house. It wasn't clear, and he could only see them when he wasn't looking directly at them. Sani told him about Elgath's victims coming to take him away. He assumed these were Eldon's victims. He tried to count them, but they were very difficult to see.

One of them, a man waved his hands at Driggor. When Driggor looked directly at him, he couldn't see him. He turned his head slightly and could see the man was saying something. His mouth was moving, anyway, but Driggor could hear nothing. It was frustrating to both of them. The man pointed at a woman. Driggor shrugged. He pointed at another woman. Driggor wiped his face. It was very frustrating. He kept looking at the man, which made him disappear! He wanted to help, but how could he if he couldn't communicate with them? He knew Sani could speak to them. He wished he could.

"The Siren. You must tell the Siren," Driggor said. "I can't hear you and I don't understand what you are trying to tell me. She can."

The man nodded and left him.

Driggor looked around. He guessed there were at least twenty spirits around the house.

Now Eldon was just a smear of blood on the floor. His victims had led his spirit away.

She looked over at Driggor. There was a pile of loot on a table.

"How are we going to return it, Driggor? We don't know who owned what."

Driggor looked at her. "I was just thinking that. Do you think we should give it to his father, the constable?"

She shook her head. "I have trouble trusting the man. Evidently he accused everybody of the murders except his son. Maybe we should give it to the poor. The people who owned it don't need it. I still can't believe he killed every person he ever robbed. Paella told me that. That is just dumb!"

"I guess he enjoyed killing."

Sani nodded. "He was tasty." She looked around the room. It was bare. "I don't think he spent any of what he stole. Maybe the murder was the part he loved.

"One of the spirits was trying to get my attention. He was waving his arms and his mouth was moving like he was trying to talk to me. Did he speak to you? I could barely see him and I couldn't hear him."

"A man said `Find the woman.' He didn't say anything else. I don't know what he meant."

"He pointed at two women."

"The spirits?"

"Yes. Maybe he wants us to find their bodies."

"I don't know how we can do that. That really isn't our job," Sani said. "My sense of smell won't help."

"No. I have no knowledge of this area. We could wander around looking for a while," Driggor said.

"Meanwhile, other murderers could be busy. I don't want to search for their bodies. The families can do that."

"You are the boss!"

Sani smiled. She was growing fond of Driggor. Sanit hadn't liked him much, but Sani was beginning to think Sanit was an idiot.

They put all the loot in a curtain and headed to the nearest town. Sani attracted a crowd. Wings will do that, Driggor thought. Sani enjoyed the attention. They were told where to find the constable, whose name was Pilbet. When they found him, he was eating.


Triesse sighed when her aura suddenly increased. She quickly turned two small rocks to gold to rid herself of it. She had too much already. It offended her to waste aura on wealth. No one she cared about needed money. She wanted to think of a better use of it. Then she smiled. Odan could use it! The more aura Odan had, the longer Erin would live.


"I am Sani and this is Driggor."

"What are you?" the middle-aged man asked.

"I am a Siren. She lifted the bundle of loot and put it on his table. This is what was stolen from the murder victims."

Several in the crowd following her, gasped.

"Where did you get it?"

"It was in your son's house." There were more gasps and muttering from the crowd.

"I told you it was Eldon!" a man said.

The constable stood up. His chair fell backwards.

"You lie!" he said to Sani. "Eldon is a good man! He saved the lives of two people five years ago!"

She laughed, which unnerved him.

"What possible motive could I have for lying? I don't know you, your son, or any of the victims. What I can tell you is that I can speak to the dead, and Paella told me your son killed her and the others."

The crowd was growing angrier.

"Sing," Driggor whispered to her.


"They've never heard singing so horrible."

She laughed. "It's not my fault I can't sing."

The constable glared at Driggor. "I've never seen you before. You are the murderer!"

Sani laughed, again. "Eldon's victims said you accused everyone but the murderer."

"It's true," a man called out. "Eldon was probably working for his father."

"What?" the constable shouted.

"What are you going to do about it, Pilbet? Accuse me again? Arrest Harold again?" a man called out.

"Eldon is evil and you know it!" a woman said.

"I think Pilbet was the mastermind. His son murdered at Pilbet's command," another said.

The constable shook his head.

"Why are you saying this?" he asked Sani.

"The truth? Are you asking me why I am telling you the truth? I don't understand."

"We will get Eldon and hear what he has to say!" someone called out.

"You can't do that. I ate him," Sani said.

Pilbet fainted.

"He doesn't smell evil, but he acts evil," Sani said to Driggor.

A very beautiful young woman touched Sani, and asked her if she could smell evil.

"Yes. Evil men smell delicious to me. I was put here to rid the world of evil men."

The crowd grew silent. Then someone cheered followed by another. Soon several people were cheering.

Sani leaned over and smelled the young woman. She smelled very odd. She didn't smell delicious; she smelled like rot. Like a corpse.

"What do you do for a living?" Sani asked her. She thought she might be an undertaker.


"What do you do for a living?"

The woman frowned. She turned to leave. The woman clapped her hands, gasped, and did it again. She looked around wildly.

"That woman has a very interesting smell," Sani said to the crowd.

"Let me go!" she said, as a man held her.

"She spends a lot of time with Eldon," a man said.

"She smells like death. Is she an undertaker?"

Everyone turned to look at the young woman. She snarled at them and struggled to get out of the man's grasp. She clapped her hands again.

"Do you think Eldon could have had an accomplice?" she whispered to Driggor.

"I don't know. It is certainly possible."

"Triesse? Triesse?" Sani shouted.

Triesse appeared in front of her. She appeared first in flight, as a blue fairy. Then she changed into her human form.

"What is it, Sani?"

Triesse turned around and hissed at the young woman.

"That one is pure evil!" Triesse said to the man holding her.

"We will take care of her. Paella was my mother," the man holding her said.

Sani stood and spoke to the man. "Paella is fine. I spoke to her for quite a while. Be at peace. You will see her when you die."

Triesse turned to Sani. She was shocked. Be at peace? A Siren shouldn't care!

"That woman smelled very strange to me but I was afraid to accuse her unfairly."

"She is definitely evil."

Triesse looked at Sani. Sani smiled at her. Triesse shook her head.

"You have changed a great deal, Sani."

"You changed me!"

"No. I made you into a Siren. You are becoming more than that." Triesse frowned. "And so quickly!"

"Really? It must be because of Driggor. He is a good influence. He wants to atone for some of the things he has done, and I realized I need to do that, too. I need to atone much more than he does." She smiled.

"Are you hungry?" she asked Sani.

"Not particularly. Eldon was delicious, though."

Triesse looked at Driggor and smiled. She was starting to understand why her own aura was increasing so much. Creating Sani was a curse, which consumed aura. But Sani was using the curse to do good, to help people. Sani ought to be eternally hungry, but she wasn't. She was motivated by a desire to help, not by hunger. Triesse figured there would be a lot more aura in her own future. The harder Sani worked at helping people, the more aura both Sani and she would collect. Well, Odan would be pleased, and she would be helping Erin—which would give her more aura! She almost laughed.

She smiled at Sani. "You amaze me, Sani. I am very, very pleased. But that isn't important. What you are doing is important. And why you are doing it is even more important. Before I changed you, you had no aura. You were almost as rotten as Elgath. Once you reach that stage, it is impossible to recover—or so I thought. You have lifted yourself. You now have aura. If you continue the way you are going, you will more than make up for all the suffering you caused as Sanit. After all, you have many, many years ahead of you. I made you immortal as a curse. You were going to suffer hunger pains eternally. I am going to give you another gift."

She took Sani's hands in hers. She said directly to her mind, "If you ever wish to die, I expect the Afterlife will not be a bad place for you—if you keep on your present path. If you are ready to die, say your wish three times, and it will happen. It won't kill you, but your immortality will end and you will age rapidly and die of natural causes. It is up to you. You may wish to be immortal. On the other hand, after many thousands of years, you may tire of it. I expect you will find love, and you may wish to join your love at some point."

Sani nodded.

Triesse spoke a spell and it was done.

"Thank you. Do you know if all evil women will smell the way this one does?"

"I suspect they will. I expect that soon you will be able to tell with certainty. You are new at this."

Triesse thought for a moment. Sani wanted to be able to identify evil women, and that was a good thing.

"I will give you one more gift." Triesse had plenty of aura to work with. She held Sani's hands. She spoke an incantation. It was long. Sani was eager to know what the gift was. When Triesse finished, she said, "Touch a woman you think is evil and say, `Confess'. She will tell you what she has done. Be careful though. If you are not certain she is evil, you should not accuse her. Many people have a dark deed in their past."

Sani nodded.

"Excuse me. I hope you don't mind, but the spirits were trying to speak to me, and I couldn't see them well or hear them at all. Since I am helping Sani, could you possibly—"

"Yes, Driggor," Triesse said. She licked her finger and brushed both his eyelids. She licked it again and wiped it on his ears.

"That should do it."

"Thank you very much."

Triesse smiled and disappeared.

Sani smiled and walked over to the woman who was being held. The woman struggled to get away. She touched her. "Confess."

Triesse returned to the farm. She cast a spell to transfer some of her aura to Odan. She cast another to automatically transfer aura to Odan when she had as much as she needed.


Odan created a little home for Concenta. Erin placed her in it and stepped back smiling. Tig put his arm around him.

"I may want a mouse for a pet, after this," Erin said.

"I am afraid real mice are not as cooperative."

"That's true."

"And I am absolutely positive that they won't use that little magical toilet Nado made for her."

They both chuckled.

"I wonder where the mouse poop goes."

They laughed again.

They got undressed and got into bed together.

"Are you tired?" Erin asked Tig.

"Yes, but not too tired for sex, if you want it."

Erin thought for a moment.

"You aren't sure?"

Erin chuckled. "No, I was thinking that farming is going to be awfully dull after this."

"Well, you will be farming with magic. That's bound to be interesting."

Erin grinned. "You are right!"

He hugged his husband.

Tig took Erin's head in his hands and kissed him. Erin sucked on Tig's tongue while Tig ran a hand over Erin's soft skin. Erin felt for Tig's erection, found it, and began stroking it. Tig reached behind Erin and pushed a finger into his husband. Erin pulled away from their kiss.

"I need you inside me."

"It's where I want to be, my beloved."

Erin smiled at Tig.

Tig moved between Erin's legs. He pushed them up in the air and pressed his mouth to Erin's hole. Tig stroked Erin while he soaked his hole.


Pilbet listened horrified as he listened to Lurinda's tale. She had taught his son to love killing. She corrupted him deliberately and she enjoyed doing it. She was proud of how well she succeeded. She also said it was the most fun she ever had. She began her criminal life by killing her own parents and accusing a wealthy uncle of it. He was executed and she got his wealth. But wealth wasn't nearly as exciting to her as killing. Wealth was boring. She used a large portion of her uncle's money to purchase two spells. An invisibility spell and a longevity spell, for long life. Suddenly, she could murder whoever she wished, without being seen. She began performing public murders. At first she slit throats. Then she discovered she enjoyed gutting people. She loved watching the amazement on bystanders faces when someone's guts spilled magically out of their abdomens. She tired of that after a while. Then she began looking for newlyweds. She murdered one of them and stuck around to enjoy the suffering of the other. If the man was attractive, after she killed the wife, she had sex with the man the next time he slept. Thanks to her longevity spell, she was over four hundred years old. She had travelled widely and killed—well, she really had no idea how many. She stopped counting centuries earlier. She stole from many of her victims and she used some of the money to buy a beauty spell. She met Eldon and was fascinated by his apparent goodness. He was enchanted by her beauty, but she told him she would only be his for an hour after each person he murdered. He stared at her in shock when she told him that and left. She didn't let him forger her, though. She made sure he saw her several times a day. Eventually, his lust grew until he did it. They had wild, passionate sex after each murder while he described it to her. When Eldon drowned a little boy in the nearby river, she told Eldon she would marry him. Now her invisibility spell had stopped working. She had no idea why, but she wondered if it was because she had touched the siren. She felt something strange when she touched her.

Pilbet began crying. The crowd was shocked. Sani and Driggor were both happy that they played a part in stopping her.

The inn was full, and Sani was unsure how many of them were spirits. She had no doubt that Lurinda's victims waited for her.

A man walked through the people in the crowd to Sani. It was the man who said, `Find the woman'.

"You found her. Thank you."

"You might have been a little more helpful. `Find the woman' is a little vague!"

"She had a great deal of magic protecting her and we could not see her."

"I understand."

"Would you like me to execute the woman? There is no doubt of her guilt," Sani said.

Pilbet looked at her. "A trial. There should be a trial."

"Are you certain her invisibility spell is completely gone?"

"She's right, Pilbet," a man said. "She could escape and continue killing."

Pilbet nodded. "Yes." He looked around. "Do you all agree?" he asked the crowd. The crowd roared their agreement.

"Please do it."

Sani nodded. She walked up to the struggling woman. She knew many ways of killing people. As Sanit, she had used most of them. She took Lurinda's head in her hands. She saw a demon standing next to her. Sani smiled at the demon and the demon grinned at her. This demon was not quite as horrible looking as the one that took Elgath. Sani twisted, sharply, and Lurinda's spirit stepped out of her body. Her body fell apart into withered skin and bones. The demon touched spirit-Lurenda's eyes and she screamed. Her eyes disappeared. She looked around wildly. Victims began touching her and she screamed at each touch. She continued looking around, panicked. Sani guessed she was blind now, and would never know when her next torment would begin. The demon led her away.


Odan and Erin screamed. Odan had been in Galen's bed. Suddenly he was looking at Tig, who was fucking him. Erin gasped as he found himself in a strange man's bed.

"Who are you?" Erin asked. He looked around. "Where am I?"

Galen stared open-mouthed. "Odan?"

"Who is Odan?"

Galen frowned.

"Are you Erin, by any chance?"

"Yes. Who are you?"

"My name is Galen."

Galen wondered if Erin had died. But if he had, why had he appeared in Galen's bed in Odan's body?

"Odan is my lover."

"Who is Odan?"

"The wizard who gives you your power."


Galen frowned. Nado?

"Nado is Odan in reverse. I suppose he told you that so you would not know his true name. He wished to keep his existence a secret for your sake."

"Why would he not want me to know?"

"Odan is very famous, still, hundreds of years after he—died, I suppose is the word, although he didn't actually die. He was afraid someone would steal the Talisman from you."

"I don't understand."

"I'm sorry Erin. I am sure you are confused. It is a long story."

"Is Odan a good man?"

"Yes, he is. He is a very good man. Odan and I were both wizards—and good friends—long ago. I died, but Odan is much more powerful than I was. He was able to cast longevity spells that kept him alive. That was before he knew the nature of the Afterlife. Eventually, he was too old for the spells to work. He decided to transfer his consciousness into a very large diamond. He had learned he could be immortal inside the diamond. When he succeeded, the diamond became the Talisman of Odan. It possessed a great many powers. One of those was protecting the possessor to the extent that it is impossible to kill him. It also extended the life of the owner, allowed them to travel instantly wherever they wished, and it granted other powers as well."

Erin was able to travel instantly. "Am I the possessor now?"

"Yes. The Talisman was owned by Elgath. When he died, a sprite and a fairy decided you should have it. Up until you, the owners had mostly been thieves and murderers and Odan hated helping them. But when they possessed him, he was forced to help them, although he made life very difficult for Elgath. Whenever Elgath wore him, he made the diamond very hot and he punctured Elgath's skin. Odan wanted to belong to a good person. That was you."

"But I don't have a diamond."

Galen smiled and then chuckled.

"The fairy put it in your butt."

"What?" Erin shouted.

"It's embedded in your cheek. If no one knows about it, no one will try to steal it from you. If you say Nado's name aloud, no one looking for the Talisman of Odan will be suspicious. Just saying Odan would instantly attract the power hungry to you. You must understand that the diamond itself is enormous. It is priceless. When you add the magic it confers to its owner, it is a powerful magnet for those who would do anything at all to obtain it. People like Elgath."

That made sense to Erin. It was safely out of sight. He realized Triesse must really love him to give him something so powerful.

"You said you died?"

Galen nodded. "This is the Afterlife."

"So I'm dead."

"I really don't know Erin. Somehow the two of you switched places, although you are in Odan's body. I am certain Odan is trying to switch you back. He is very fond of you. He told me he is happier than he's ever been, and it is due to you."


"Yes. He speaks proudly of the things you've done."

"He does them."

"He could do nothing without you. Keep in mind, he was forced to do horrible things for his previous owners. Did he commit those crimes? He was forced to commit them."

Erin thought about that. It sounded like Odan couldn't control what he did. He was not responsible for the crimes, which meant he was not responsible for the good things Erin had done. He slowly nodded.

"Do you love Odan?"

"Yes. I love him very much. He is a good man."

"Yes. He seems to want Tig and me to be happy. He also wants to help people. Does he love you?"

Galen smiled. "Yes. Thanks to you. He saw your love for Tig, and I think it affected him. He thinks it is because he lives in your butt, as he says—" Erin laughed. "—but I think we were meant to be together and you opened his eyes."

Erin smiled. "That is so romantic. You became lovers after you died!"

"It's true! The Afterlife is a wonderful place. Odan went to such extremes to keep from dying and now he travels here voluntarily to be with me. I can show you around. I would enjoy that. We can visit your relatives, too, if you want. While Odan is trying to figure out how to switch you back, you might as well enjoy yourself."

"I just hope he can switch me back."

"He is trying. I am sure of that. If he can't do it himself, he will contact your fairy. Between the two of them, they will figure it out. Whatever caused it can probably be reversed, but even if it can't, you will see Tig again."

"When he dies."

Galen nodded. "You can even choose to sleep until he joins you."

"That's good to know."

"It is. It is common for spouses to do that. You won't be aware of any time passing."

Erin smiled. "I feel better."

They got out of bed. They were naked.

"Do you have Odan's clothes?"

"This is the Afterlife. Wish for clothes."

Erin grinned as clothes appeared on him. Galen became dressed, as well.

"I can understand why Odan loves you, but I don't understand why it took him so long to realize it."

"When I knew Odan, he believed he liked women. I was always a man-lover. Odan had lovers—women—but he wasn't very enthusiastic about sex. He just thought it was messy and time-consuming. Both of us now agree that he probably was a man-lover all along, he just didn't realize it."

They walked outside.

Erin stared open-mouthed at the four spheres in the sky.

"What are those?"

"Those are the four other spheres of the Afterlife. There are five, counting this one. Sphere one is horrible and it is for evil people. Demons torment them. It is a very unpleasant place. We can visit it, if you are curious. The demons enjoy putting on shows for visitors. There is no danger." Galen thought for a moment. "You could see what happened to Elgath."

"We could leave whenever we wanted?"

"Oh, yes. Just by wishing."

Erin grinned.

"Sphere two is for people who were bad, but not completely evil. There are lots of thieves there. I suppose they try to rob each other." Galen chuckled.

"We are on sphere three. It is where most people end up. It is nice, as you can see. People of average goodness come here. Sphere four is for very good people, and sphere five is for the very best. The amount of aura determines on which sphere you end up. Odan believes you will end up on sphere four, if you continue your present course of helping people even when you have no reason. We on sphere three can visit spheres one and two, but we can't visit spheres four or five. People on sphere five can visit any sphere. You can go down, but you can't go up.

Erin looked around. Galen's house was in a wooded area. It was lovely. There was a field with wildflowers in front of the house.

"Sphere three is very nice."

"It is. I am not unhappy by any means. Everyone I've met here is happy. Sphere two is not as nice, but it isn't unpleasant. The people who live there sometimes are."

Erin nodded.

He saw something else in the sky. He couldn't quite make out what it was.

"What is that up there?" he asked, pointing.

Galen smiled. "You have good eyes. It is a cluster of five spheres. They appear small because of their distance from us."

"Five other spheres?"

Galen nodded.

"Is there more than one Afterlife?"

"Odan thinks so. He found a way to travel to a different Earth. People are very different there, and magic is almost non-existent. Odan wonders if those people end up there. He believes there is yet another realm and that might imply there is third set of Afterlife spheres."

Erin was amazed. He looked at the nearby spheres.

"Is there a lot of travel between these spheres?"

"Oh, yes. Frequently spouses will not both end up on the same sphere. If they wish to stay together, the spouse from the higher sphere must stay on the lower sphere. People travel to visit friends and relatives all the time. If you want to meet one, or you want one to carry a message to someone on a higher sphere, you can simply wish to speak to someone from sphere four and you will appear in front of them. Fortunately, people from sphere four are always nice, so they don't mind. Do you want to visit any relatives?"

Erin thought about it. He would love to see his grandmother, but he didn't know if he wanted to lose her a second time. He couldn't decide.

"I cried for two weeks after my grandmother died. My mother died giving birth to me, and Grandmother was basically my mother. If I meet her and then suddenly disappear when Odan fixes this, I'm afraid I will grieve all over again. If it looks like I will be staying, I definitely want to see her."

"I understand."

Odan took Erin to his favorite lake. There were two groups of swans swimming on the lake. They sat on a grassy bank.

"Are those real animals?"

"No one knows how real any of this is, Erin. Are those really trees or are they illusions. I have heard both sides argued by intelligent people. I have no opinion. I don't let it bother me. Some people worry about it. If the trees are an illusion, are their friends and relatives illusions?"

Erin nodded. He looked around. They were completely alone.

"Where is everyone?"

"If you want a crowd, you have to wish to be near one. Everyone has as much privacy as they want. I could live in a city, if I wished, but I like it here. I can travel to the city instantly. I don't need to live in it."

Erin smiled at him.

"This is great! I'm a little glad I got switched. I won't ever worry about death again."

Galen nodded.

"I wish you were in your body, Erin. Why don't you try wishing you were in your body?"

Erin closed his eyes and wished it. He looked down.

"I can't tell. Did it work?"


"Why do you wish I was in my body?"

"So I wouldn't want to kiss you. I know you are happily married, but you look irresistible to me. That's the effect Odan has on me."

Erin grinned. "Try and resist. Tig would not be happy."

"I know."

Erin sighed and watched the swans. He had learned so much during this switch. He no longer had to wonder what Nado was, or whether he was good or not. Although he had mostly stopped wondering that. Someone who always wants to help strangers is not going to be bad.

"It is beautiful here. What are spheres four and five like?"

"I don't really know. Someone said there were a lot of waterfalls. People from sphere four say it's nicer, but they say this sphere is almost as nice. I've never spoken to anyone from sphere five. I think I would feel dirty, if you know what I mean."

"I do. Like you weren't good enough."


"If we visited another sphere, do you think it would hurt? I mean if Odan is trying to switch us back."

"I really doubt it. Both of you can travel to spheres one and two. It shouldn't make a difference."

"Even though they look like they are up there in the sky, you appear instantly on them. I think this is just one big realm."

Erin looked up at the spheres. One was brownish, one was blue and green, one was a beautiful shade of blue-green, and one was brilliant, sparkling green.

"Is the green one sphere one or five?"

"It's sphere five. We think."

"So the brown one is sphere one?"

"Right. There's no water there. Just dry dirt." Galen pointed at another. "That one is sphere two and that one over there is sphere four," Galen said, pointing.

"Has anyone tried to travel to those other spheres? The ones far away?"

"I don't know. Probably, but I've never heard it mentioned. If anyone could do it, Odan could."

Erin hoped Tig wasn't too upset. He felt guilty about it, but he was having fun. Unless..."

"Are you sure I'm not dead?"

"If you were here because you died, you would be in your body, Erin. I am fairly certain you are alive and some magical event has switched the two of you. With Odan actually being in your body, it isn't so farfetched. That was why I immediately wondered if you were Erin."

Erin nodded.

"I think I would like to see Elgath. I would like to know what happened to him after all the death and misery he caused."

"I can certainly understand that. Odan wanted to see him, too. The two of us went to see him. It isn't pleasant, Erin."

"No. He isn't a pleasant person."

"Just remember that he earned his fate, the same way we all do."

Erin nodded.