The Talisman of Odan
By Vic James
Copyright 2013 by Vic James
All Rights Reserved
Please donate to nifty.
Odan was suddenly underneath a thrusting Tig. He had been in bed with Galen.
That told Odan he was in Erin's body. Which explained why Tig was continuing to fuck him.
"Tig, stop please."
"Is something wrong?"
Odan began laughing. It was so absurd!
"What is it, Erin?"
"For one thing, I am not Erin. I somehow found myself in his body."
Tig looked at him blankly. Odan sighed. He supposed he was going to need to explain everything in order to make Tig understand.
"Tig, as attractive as you are—and I take full credit for that—I would like you to pull out of me."
Tig was entirely mystified. He pulled out and fell onto the bed.
"You are aware of Nado."
"Yes, of course."
"Well, that is me. I assume Erin is in my body. We got switched." Odan rubbed his face. "Which means that he is in bed with my lover right now."
"What?" Tig asked, alarmed.
"Yes, I know. I am certain Erin is more worried right now than we are."
He took a deep breath.
"My true name is Odan. I am a wizard. Centuries ago, my body had aged to the point that it was about to give out. I devised a method of moving my spirit into a diamond. My body died, but my mind lived on in the diamond."
He could see Tig thought he had lost his mind. He sighed.
"That diamond became the Talisman of Odan."
Odan could see Tig had heard of it. That was good.
"The Talisman was possessed by many people. It conferred great power."
"It is evil," Tig said.
Odan shook his head. "No. It is not evil, any more than I am. The problem was, it kept getting possessed by evil men. They would rob, murder, do practically anything to possess me. The more evil they were, the more they were willing to do just to get it. Once they did, I was forced to do their will. The Talisman was a magical object, in addition to being my home. As a magical object, it did what its owners commanded. Do you understand the distinction?"
"Yes, I suppose."
"My last owner was Elgath. He was the most horrible of all. The Talisman protects its owner so well that the owner cannot be killed, while he wears it. Can you imagine a worse person to be protected that way?" Tig shook his head. "Nor, me. I tried everything in my power to try to get him to get rid of me, but I was unsuccessful. Fortunately, Triesse managed to deal with Elgath. I was sick of belonging to—of helping—evil people. Elerra the sprite found me in Elgath's camp. The Talisman can only belong to a human, so I was of no use to her. The Talisman extends human life. She became ill merely from holding it. She took it—took me—to Triesse. I spoke with her and expressed my desire to be owned by a good man—"
"Yes. Triesse already wanted to extend Erin's life."
Tig closed his eyes. He wanted that very badly, too.
"Yes, Tig. We all know you will outlive Erin and that will make both of you unhappy. I told Triesse I could extend Erin's life even further if I could restore my aura. People like Elgath had drained it. Do you understand so far?"
"Erin wanted to help people. I knew that by helping him do it, I could make him live longer. The more aura I have, the more powerful the Talisman is, and the longer I can keep Erin alive. That is why I encouraged him to help others, although it was something he already wanted to do."
"Yes. I understand."
"Triesse placed the Talisman inside Erin's body. Actually, it is in his...rear end. In the cheek."
Tig stared at him like he was insane. Odan chuckled.
"Both Triesse and I were aware that if Erin was heard speaking of Odan, eventually the wrong person would overhear. We decided to let him use my name in reverse to summon me."
"Correct. That was for his own safety. With the Talisman safely out of sight, and only Triesse, Elerra, and myself knowing where it was, we felt Erin would be in no danger."
Tig nodded. "Is Erin protected from being killed when it is inside him?"
"Oh, yes. If someone were to try to stab him or cut him, their blade would break. If they pushed him off a cliff, he would float gently down. He is very well protected."
Tig smiled. "That is a very good thing."
"Maybe not. If you die, he may prefer to join you. However, when the two of you are together, I can protect you. The Talisman can't do for you what it does for Erin, but I can relocate you to somewhere safer, I can deflect spells cast upon you, and so on. The Talisman protects Erin and I can protect you.
"But as I was saying, something happened, and my aura suddenly increased. I was in bed with my lover and Erin was in bed with you."
"You have a lover inside a diamond in Erin's butt?"
"No. My lover is dead. He is in the Afterlife. I can visit him there. I don't actually have a body. It died."
"Then how where you in bed?"
"In the Afterlife, it is a simple matter. You will just have to take my word for it."
Tig closed his eyes when he realized where Erin was. In the Afterlife.
"Erin isn't dead. If he was, I think we would both be in the Afterlife. We just got switched. I need to figure out how to switch us back."
"For what it is worth, Erin is probably having a much better time than we are."
"I hope not."
Odan frowned and then laughed.
"I didn't mean in bed. Galen is not like that. Fortunately he is blind enough to love only me. I meant in the Afterlife. It is a wonderful place. He can visit friends and family. He can watch Elgath get what he earned. I went to see that, and I felt better after I saw him. So please, try not to worry. I just need to figure out how to switch us back."
Tig heard Concenta squeak. He got up to check on her. She was sitting up. He put his hand down and she jumped onto it.
"Did you hear?" he asked her.
She nodded her head.
He put her on the bedside table.
"Triesse!" Odan called.
She popped into the room and then changed into her human form. Tig jumped back in bed and pulled a blanket over the two of them.
Triesse looked at Erin in shock. "What on Earth happened?"
"I am Odan. Somehow Erin and I got switched about three minutes ago."
"Oh, dear. I am afraid I am responsible."
"My aura suddenly increased," Odan said.
"Sani, my siren has been out helping people. I never expected that; I expected to lose a little aura. I cursed her, after all. But because she is building aura and I created her, I have been receiving aura as a result. I knew you needed it, so I cast a spell to have some of mine automatically transfer to you. Evidently she just did something that benefited a great many people. I was already full of aura, so it transferred to you. She was really a horrible individual as Sanit. I really don't understand what made her want to help people, unless it is the influence of her companion."
Triesse thought for a moment. That must be it, she thought. Sani is trying to change so that he will love her. She must be in love with Driggor. She shook her head.
"But that doesn't help you. So is Erin in the diamond?"
"No. I was in the Afterlife. He must be there."
Triesse frowned at Odan.
"I hope you know what to do, because I have no idea how to get him back from there. A necromancer?"
"No. No. Nothing like that. He hasn't died. We need a spell. A reversal spell or a transfer spell."
"Did you cast a spell to switch with him? I didn't," Triesse said. "I wouldn't know what to reverse."
"I need to give this some thought. Thank you, Triesse. I will call if I need help."
"Are you sure Erin is all right?" she asked.
"His body is fine. I come and go from the Afterlife all the time. I am certain he is fine. As I told Tig, Erin is probably having a good time. It is a very nice place."
"He is probably speaking to his grandmother," Tig said. "I know he misses her."
"I miss her, too. Eskella was a good friend.
"Should I not transfer any more aura to you?" Triesse asked.
"No. I can deal with it. I just didn't know any was coming and I wasn't paying attention. I knew Erin was busy with Tig, so I got—busy."
She nodded. "Let me know if I can help."
"Tig, I know you are worried. Would you like to sleep until I get Erin back?"
"I'm too scared to sleep."
"I can put a sleeping spell on you."
Tig wasn't sure. He didn't think there was anything he could do, except worry, but he felt sleeping while Erin was in trouble was an awful idea. He couldn't do it.
"I would rather stay awake."
"As you wish."
Odan thought about transfer spells. He used one when he went into the diamond. That was a one way journey, though.
Odan produced a table covered with food and drink for Tig and went back into studying the problem.
"Tig, I am going to appear to go to sleep. I need to go look at some scrolls in my castle, which is inside the diamond. I will return soon."
Tig sighed and nodded.
Erin's head fell onto a pillow. Tig took a beer from the table Odan produced and drank it. He offered Concenta a piece of food and she took it from him.
"Are you ready to go see Elgath?" Galen asked Erin.
"Simply wish you could see him, and I will do the same."
Suddenly Erin was amongst a group of people. Then Galen joined him.
"Were you a victim?" a young girl asked him.
"Yes, but I escaped."
She smiled. "I hadn't realized anyone escaped. I am happy for you."
"I am sorry you didn't escape."
"I can tell you would have helped me, if you could," she told him.
Erin was sure he would have, but he wondered how she knew.
"That demon belongs to Elgath," she explained. She pointed. Erin could only see the back of his head. "Elgath's acts earned him a demon of his very own. The demon's name is Vinstil. He followed Elgath for many years on Earth, waiting for his death. Vinstil is tormenting Elgath and will continue to do so. It is all the demon does—all it wants to do."
Erin looked around. People appeared and others disappeared while he watched.
"Excuse us," the girl said, as she pushed through the people surrounding Elgath. "A victim wants to see Elgath. It is his first visit."
The people around Erin smiled at him. Erin burst into tears. At the same instant a man screamed. Erin looked around. They were all so young! He put his face in his hands. The girl patted his shoulder.
"Every time someone mourns us, Elgath suffers intensely," she told him.
"I made him scream?"
"No. Your sorrow hurt him, because he caused it. He is responsible for his actions."
Erin thought that made sense, in a horrific way. Of course it was only horrific because Elgath was.
They walked up to a pit about fifteen feet across and four feet deep. Inside the pit was the demon and Elgath. Elgath was trying to balance himself on round, hot rocks. The rocks glowed red with heat. Elgath's hands were missing, and raw flesh showed in his crotch. His penis and balls were gone. He was naked, unlike the rest of them. Even the demon was clothed. Erin could see smoke rising from the bottom of Elgath's feet. He saw the flesh on one foot catch on fire. The demon spat at the burning foot and Elgath screamed again. While he watched, the demon turned to him. Erin looked down, quickly. Vinstil was horrible looking. It had empty eye sockets and the lips and skin around its mouth was missing, so that its teeth always showed. Erin shivered and stepped back.
"Think of him as Vinstil," the girl next to him said. "Not as a tormenter or a demon."
Erin did that and the demon suddenly had eyes and a normal mouth. He looked like a normal man.
"That's better!" Erin said.
The girl nodded.
"Which is his true appearance?"
"Possibly neither. Demons can look like anything they want."
"Another victim," the demon said. "How wonderful."
Vinstil reached out and touched Erin's leg. It was right where Elgath had placed the first cut. It was a shallow one and Elgath had licked the blood off Erin's leg. He was horrified as he remembered being in Elgath's tent. Far from being painful, the demon's touch was actually pleasant. Erin watched as the demon took a knife that appeared in mid-air and cut Elgath's leg in the same spot. Blood dripped down Elgath's leg. It steamed as it touched the hot rocks. It also made the hot rocks slippery. Elgath fell screaming onto the rocks. His skin burnt where it touched a rock. Elgath ended up face down on the rocks. He tried to lift himself up. Elgath touched the stump at his wrist to a hot rock and screamed again.
"Your screams make me feel so alive!" Vinstil said to Elgath, as he stepped on his back and pressed him to the rocks.
"That is what Elgath said to many of us when we screamed," a young man near Erin said.
Erin shook his head. Elgath was the monster, not the demon. That was very odd.
The demon turned to Erin.
Erin trembled and Galen put his arm around him.
"Requests for what?"
"Torment," Vinstil responded. "Or would you like for him to beg you for mercy? His victims all begged. It is only right that he do so."
"No. If you don't mind my asking, how long will his torment go on?" Erin asked Vinstil.
"That is up to him. If you ask me, millennia at the very least."
A young man spoke to Erin. "Once he feels worse about what he did to us than he does about his own suffering, he will be released to wander this sphere. I asked around and that was what another demon told me."
A different girl spoke. "A woman who was visiting this sphere told me that once their torment ends, if they struggle to be better, they can move to the next sphere. Some people spend all their time on this sphere trying to convince them to do that, but so far, no one has."
"It is illegal interference, if you ask me," Vinstil said. "It should be the resident's idea to better himself. That is rule three. But do the watchers do anything about it? No. Just as they ignore our requests for another sphere. There are three spheres for good persons and only two spheres for bad ones. Is that fair?"
While he spoke, the demon picked up stones and placed them on Elgath's prone body. Elgath screamed louder. The skin under the stones burst into flame. "But I am happy to know I will have Elgath a very long time. He has a long, long, painful journey ahead of him."
"What will you do when he finally repents?"
"I don't know that he ever will. He may not be the type. If he does and he leaves me, I will sorrow deeply until find a new lover." The demon shook his head. "He won't be as wonderful as Elgath, of course. Elgath has few peers. Not with the way that he specialized in raping and killing the innocent."
"Do you stay here with him all the time?" Erin asked the girl.
"Oh, no! I stop by for visits. My father is here. He died recently. I spend time with him and my grandmother. We all just stop by for visits. Who wants to spend all their time thinking about Elgath? Contrary to his own opinion of himself, he isn't particularly important."
Erin had seen enough. Then a thought occurred to him. Odan had told him that a person who killed using magic turned into a demon. Vinstil looked human. He wondered if he had been.
"Vinstil, were you once human?"
"No. I am a high demon. A being who becomes a demon through their actions is a lessor demon. They normally are not tormentors. They don't take lovers. They also can't change their appearance. They inhabit this sphere as residents. You can visit any of them, any time you wish. They appreciate company."
Vinstil bowed to him. Erin thought it was very eerie! He looked so horrible, but his touch was pleasant and he was very polite—even helpful.
He wished he was back at the lake by Galen's house. Galen joined him a moment later.
Erin watched the swans swim serenely across the still water. He sighed and smiled.
"Are you all right, Erin?"
"I know it was pretty awful. Anything involving the man, is going to be."
Erin nodded. That was the truth.
"Seeing Elgath helped Odan a great deal. You spent only a very short time with Elgath. Odan was with him for years."
Erin felt terribly sorry for Odan. To have to watch what the man did, and be unable to stop it... It was torture. That is what it was. Then he realized Elgath was suffering because he just thought that. He couldn't help that. It was terrible. He wondered what Odan said when the demon asked if he had any requests. He didn't really want to know, though. Whatever was done to Elgath, he deserved it.
"Did you know anyone who became a demon?" Erin asked.
"No. I never met anyone who wanted to become a demon. Odan told me that an elf tried to kill Elgath."
"Odan said that had he succeeded, the elf would have become a demon. That seemed terribly unfair to me. Someone should have killed Elgath! They would have saved lives by doing it!"
"Yes. It is using magic to kill that makes it so terrible a crime. This is what I was told. The creator gave magic to some of its creation to assist it with creation itself. The creator did the big things and left other things, like trees, flowers, and small animals to those it gave magic. Trolls and dwarves molded the land. Tree nymphs created trees. Sprites created insects, fairies created flowers and some animals, goblins created grasses—and potatoes, of all things! Every being with magical power was supposed to use it to enhance creation. Some folk used up almost all their magic with their creations. Trolls, dwarves, and merfolk are good examples of that. After creating oceans and seas, merfolk had very little magic left. Dwarves used almost all of their magic building mountains. To use the creator's gift to kill is a perversion of the gift. If the elf killed Elgath without magic, he would not have endangered himself. Still, I doubt the elf would have fared too badly. Some lesser demons are allowed on sphere two and parts of it are fairly pleasant."
Erin was relieved.
Odan walked into his library. He picked up a scroll off a table and another off a shelf. He wished for a chair, and then sat in it. After he finished reading them, he had an idea how to proceed. But he needed to get Erin out of the Afterlife and into the diamond. Then he could reverse them. He travelled to the Afterlife.
Tig had been lying next to his husband watching Erin's chest rise and fall as he slept. Suddenly it stopped. He placed his ear on Erin's chest and heard nothing. He shook him.
There was no response. He was frantic. He had no idea what to do. He shook Erin again.
Concenta saw the problem. She ran over to Tig. She had a ghost tree seed. She kept three. That would prevent his spirit from departing. She left it on Erin's lips.
Tig wondered what it was, then he knew. He pushed the seed into Erin's mouth.
"What happened to Erin?" she cried.
Odan found himself sucked out of the Afterlife, as soon as he arrived.
Tig and Triesse watched Erin gasp and breathe deeply.
Odan opened his eyes. He saw Tig and Triesse.
"Erin died just now."
He closed his eyes and sighed.
"I went into the Afterlife to try something. Evidently, with both of us there, his body died."
Odan could taste the spirit seed. He spit it out.
"That was quick thinking, Concenta!"
Concenta ran back to her home.
"Do you have an idea?" Triesse asked.
"Yes, but I need to get Erin out of the Afterlife and into the diamond. I was going to explain to my lover Galen how to do it." He thought for a moment. "Maybe we should test the spell before we do that. If it works, then I can figure out how to tell Galen what to do. I suppose I can transmit a message to him somehow."
"You can contact a spirit and ask them to tell him," Triesse said.
"That is a good idea. Thank you, Triesse."
"What are you going to try?" Triesse asked.
"I need you casting the same spell as me. Then we will try to switch two others."
"You can use me, if you like. I am used to switching bodies," Tig said.
"Who else?" Odan wondered.
"What about Trellig?" Triesse suggested.
"Will you ask him, Triesse?" Tig asked.
"I was so scared," Tig said.
"I am so sorry, Tig. I had no idea that would happen. This is all new to me. You saved Erin's life. Had you been asleep, his body might have permanently died by the time I tried to return."
Tig let out a breath.
Concenta heard and disagreed. She could have gotten the seed in Erin's mouth. She was a leader of her tribe once. She only looked like a mouse.
Triesse and Trellig appeared.
"What happened to you?" Trellig asked his friend. "You look like a goblin, crossed with a giant and a human!"
Tig looked down. He couldn't remember which body he was in!
"Erin and I have been having fun switching shapes. I like being taller, than he is."
"Most people don't do that on their honeymoons, Tig," Trellig said, grinning.
"I will be so glad when the honeymoon is over!"
Odan tried not to laugh, but he finally did. He laughed so hard, tears ran down his cheeks. He wiped his face.
"That is not Erin. It is someone who got magically transferred into Erin's body."
"You had sex with someone else on your honeymoon with Erin?"
"No! No! Never!" Tig said. Then he realized he had! The switch happened while they were having sex. He groaned and put his face in his hands. "Yes! I did! I wish I was dead."
"Tig, don't make too much out of it. You stopped the instant you knew something was wrong. You did absolutely nothing wrong."
"He's right, Tig. Concentrate on what's important here," Triesse said. "That was unavoidable."
"Trellig, Erin is in trouble—magical trouble—and we want to try temporarily switching you and Tig. You will find yourself in his body and he will be in yours. We will immediately return you to your body."
"What's the danger?" he asked.
"I think you simply won't transfer if it doesn't work. Do you agree Odan?"
"The only other possibility is that we couldn't switch you back. But if that happens, Triesse or I can change you to look like your old self. There is no actual danger. This is white magic."
Odan explained the spell and ritual to Triesse. She went to gather the things they would need while Odan created a piece of chalk and began marking the floor for the ritual. Tig made him put on pants, first, which Odan found amusing. Triesse had watched Erin for his entire life. She had seen him naked an uncountable number of times. He nonetheless complied.
Concenta jumped onto the bed and ran down it onto the floor. Then she climbed back up to the home Odan had made for her. She wished she could help, but she knew she was more likely to get in the way.
Triesse wondered what she would tell Lars about his son. How would he ever understand, if this didn't work? She shook her head. She needed to concentrate.
She needed two large mirrors. She thought about getting them from Lars' farm, but then she realized the inn probably had at least two mirrors. She found all the other rooms were empty, so she was quickly able to locate two. She took them both to Erin and Tig's room.
She needed two hearts. She appeared behind the butcher's shop in the village. Fortunately, he had several. She bought two beef hearts and took them to the room. She needed string. She had plenty of it. A great many spells used string or rope. There were a few other minor items: two flowers, two insects of the same type, two needles, and two fairy teardrops. She thought she could give both, but thought drops of two different fairies might be better. She appeared in front of her friend, Tizelle. Tizelle wanted to chat, but she explained why she couldn't stay long. She reappeared in the room with the items.
Odan placed the mirrors upright and facing each other, six feet apart. He drew lines on the floor, connecting them. He took the items Triesse gathered and placed them on the floor, as well. He placed Tig and Trellig each facing a mirror. They weren't right behind each other, which enabled them to see themselves, and each other. Odan created a brazier out of thin air and placed the heart, insects, and flowers inside. They burst into magical flame and were soon ashes. He dipped his finger in ash and wiped it in a circle on Tig's forehead. He did the same on Trellig's forehead. He tied their right hands loosely together with the string. It was loose enough to fall to the floor between them. He gave each a needle.
"We need a drop of your blood. You will prick your finger and then reach out without moving your feet to smear the mirror where the other's face appears to be. You need to rub the drop of blood inside the circle of ash on each other's forehead. It is important that you not move your head while you are smearing the blood on the mirror. Let's try it first without the blood. Reach forward and touch the mirror where the circle is on each other."
They each reached out and both of them moved their heads slightly.
"You both missed because you moved your heads. Try again."
The second time was perfect.
"Good. I think we are ready. Triesse, give me your hands and I will give you the spell."
She did and he spoke the spell in her mind. She repeated it to herself in her mind.
"Do you have it?" Odan asked her.
"Now we will start the spell. Tig and Trellig, when I say the word `inducto', you should smear the blood on the mirror. There is nothing else in the spell that sounds like `inducto', so you should know exactly when we both speak it. Please remember not to move your heads."
They both nodded.
"Go ahead and prick your finger. By the way, to reverse it, we are going to do the exact same thing again, so you can remain in place. It will simplify things. Ready?"
"Prick your fingers, but wait for `inducto' to smear the blood on the mirror."
He and Triesse started reciting the spell simultaneously. Odan spoke slowly, so they were easily able to hear the word `inducto'. They each smeared the mirror. The spell ended.
"Heavens, I am ugly," Trellig said out of Tig's mouth."
"Hey! I like that look!"
"Take it back, please!"
Odan and Triesse chuckled. It was a great relief. He wiped the blood off the mirror.
"Ready to switch back?"
"We do it exactly the same way."
They repeated it and were back in their own bodies.
"You can step away from the mirrors now."
"Trellig, are you ready to go back to the farm?" Triesse asked.
"This is much more exciting, if I'm not in the way."
"No, that is fine, Trellig," Odan said.
"How will your lover Galen obtain the ingredients for this?" Triesse asked.
"I think he can just wish for them. I hope so, anyway."
"How will you tie yourselves together?" Tig asked.
Odan suddenly found himself facing Galen.
"What happened? I'm back in my body with you!"
"I wished to see you," Galen said.
Odan laughed for a long time. When he finally finished, he explained to Galen what they had been trying to do. They both laughed more. A simple wish had done it.
"By the way, Odan. There is a much simpler way to effect a transfer."
"Yes. I must have never discussed the subject with you. Wilmuth told me about it."
Wilmuth was a well-regarded sorcerer who had been a mentor to Galen. He was long dead. Which meant he was a wish away in the Afterlife.
"You point one index finger at one of them, the index finger on your other hand at the other, and say, "Transportatus Reversus."
"Then what?" Odan asked.
"Then you have an ale or come here for more sex. I would prefer the later, of course."
"Have you used it?"
"Many times. It is great fun at parties."
Odan laughed and shook his head.
"And here I thought I was so powerful! When I think of all the trouble I went to transfer into the diamond, I get ill! I could have pointed at it and been done with it!"
"I think so. I'm not sure what would end up in your body. I suppose nothing. By the way, I was going to try it on you if the wish didn't work. I was a little worried about having only one person present."
"I'm back!" Erin shouted.
"Erin?" Tig asked him.
"What happened, Erin?" Triesse asked.
"Galen decided to try wishing we were switched back! It worked!"
"After all that work!"
"Do you feel all right, Erin?" she asked him.
"Trellig, it is their honeymoon. We should go."
He nodded. She took his hand and they disappeared.
"Odan?" Erin called.
"Don't say that name!" Tig said.
"Nado?" Tig called.
"I am here, Erin," Odan said. "Tig is right. You can never speak my name. Would you mind if I place a spell on you so that you think my name really is Nado? Tig had heard of me and the Talisman. I am sure there are others around here who have, as well."
"If you think that is best, do it. I trust you now."
"Ask Tig if he will let me do the same to him."
"Yes, I would feel safer if no one knew. I might slip and I can't stand the thought of putting your life in danger."
Odan cast the spell. It was a simple one. He left them.
"So you saw the Afterlife," Tig said.
"Yes! It was incredible! It was amazing to see how your choices in life affect your destiny. I will never fear dying again. Galen told me that if we weren't able to switch back, I could simply sleep there until you joined me."
"Did you visit your grandmother?"
"No. I was afraid of losing her a second time. I know now that I will see her again. When we do finally talk, we will have a lot to talk about. Our whole lives!"
Tig smiled. He was very glad that Nado would help Erin live longer. He had been worrying more and more about that. He was prepared to beg Triesse to help find a way to keep him alive longer. He was very glad she had already been working on it.
"What was Galen like?"
"Very nice. Friendly. Nado had told him all about us. He asked about you. Even about Jean and Alain!"
"You didn't..." Tig was sorry he asked. Asking implied he didn't trust Erin. Erin was incredibly trustworthy.
"I did see Elgath."
"Oh. How is he?"
"He is suffering for what he did."
"Oh, that is such a shame!"
"I know! Do you want to hear about it?"
"I would imagine it was horrible," Tig said.
"No. I don't need to hear about it."
He hugged Tig.
"You saved me from Elgath with your wonderful penis—" Tig laughed. "—and gave me a wonderful life, Tig."
"I feel the same about you, Erin. My life was not pleasant before I met you. I never felt like I belonged anywhere. I went through life in a sort of grey fog. I had friends, but I even felt uncomfortable around them. I don't think I was comfortable with being a goblin. Only with you do I feel like I belong."
Erin kissed his beloved. Tig pulled away.
"Erin, there is something I need to tell you."
Erin could see Tig was upset.
"What is it?"
"I—I— I fucked Odan. I didn't know it wasn't you!"
"He didn't tell you?"
"He said, `Stop Tig!' I asked why while I kept thrusting. `Because I'm not Erin.' I thought you were joking! Finally I did stop."
"Tig, you didn't fuck him deliberately! It was confusing! I was there! I know!"
Erin could see Tig was really troubled by it.
"Are you upset because you are afraid you are going to lose me? You aren't! If you had a deliberate affair, I would probably give you a second chance."
"It really doesn't bother you?"
"It would bother me if you believed him and you kept fucking because you wanted to have an orgasm. It doesn't sound like that is what happened."
"Then, no. It doesn't bother me at all. It was my body, after all. You weren't fucking Nado's body. If it appeared under you, you would have stopped immediately."
Tig nodded. Then he sighed.
"I went to the Afterlife. I definitely got the better deal, sex or no sex."
He wondered if Tig was worried about him having sex with Galen.
"We didn't have sex. We were naked in bed together, but it was Nado's body, so Galen had already seen it. It seemed silly to be modest about someone else's body. I didn't worry about that. Just about getting back."
"Were you scared?"
"At first. Galen assured me I wasn't dead. Just switched. He was certain Nado could switch us back, and considering some of the things Nado has done, I believed him."
Tig stroked Erin's head.
"I was terrified. Nado told me you were in the Afterlife, and I wondered if you did come back whether you would be like Nebus."
"Oh. I'm sorry you worried."