The Talisman of Odan
By Vic James
Copyright 2013 by Vic James
All Rights Reserved
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They appeared outside the farmhouse. Erin smiled at Tig, but he could see Tig was very nervous.
"You are a wonderful person, Tig! He will love you."
"Maybe," Tig said.
Nado looked around at Erin's farm. Now that he had a body, he decided he was definitely Nado—to everyone, including himself. Not Odan. He felt like a different person, so he felt it was appropriate.
They walked into the house. His father was in the kitchen.
Erin walked up to his father and hugged him.
"You look happy, and well," Erin said.
"You do, too."
"It's good to see you walking again."
He walked up to Tig.
"I understand I have you to thank for that. Thank you, Tig, for healing my leg." Tig nodded. "I was expecting you to look more like Trellig, but I am pleased to meet you. Triesse speaks highly of you and that is good enough for me."
Lars hugged Tig and Erin smiled when he saw Tig's eyes were watering.
"Father, this is Nado, Galen, and Concenta. They are good friends we met on our honeymoon."
Lars greeted each.
"Where is Triesse?" Nado asked.
"She has gone to visit her friend Gliss. She should be back soon. Erin, we married yesterday."
Erin was delighted.
"Father! I am so happy for you!"
"Thank you. I have no idea why she said `yes' when I asked her, but I am very happy."
"I have more good news. I am pregnant with twins."
"I'm delighted, but why didn't Triesse tell me?"
"She doesn't know."
"She didn't do it?"
"No." Erin wondered whether he should mention Nado.
"I knew a spell that could do it," Nado said.
"Amazing! But magic always is!" Lars said.
Triesse returned. She hugged Lars and told him she loved him.
Then she hugged Erin.
"And the rest of you are welcome, too," Triesse said.
"I missed you, Triesse" Lars told her.
She laughed. "I was only gone for thirty minutes!"
"I'm a newlywed!" Lars exclaimed.
"You are right!"
She took his hand and they walked to their bedroom.
Erin was struck by how much his father obviously loved Triesse. It had only been a few days. If he didn't know Triesse better, he would have suspected a love spell. But his father had been lonely and Triesse was a genuinely good person. Erin decided that his father just realized how lucky he was to have her.
Erin walked around the farm, amazed at the growth of the crops in only a few days. Both Triesse and Trellig had used magic to help them grow, although Trellig only worked on the enormous potato patch. Erin laughed when he saw the size of it. He had never seen four foot-tall potato plants! It had originally been about twenty feet by ten feet. It was in a corner of the vegetable garden. It had spread to be about fifty feet by forty feet, all the way to the house. Each plant was enormous, tall and wide. They would have a lot of potatoes, and Erin knew Tig was happy about that. He remembered what Galen said about goblins creating potatoes.
"Did you know goblins created potatoes?" he asked Tig.
"Oh, yes. We used up most of our magic making them. That is why they are so wonderful. Every goblin child learns once they are old enough to understand. It's part of our heritage."
Later that day, with Lars' permission, Odan erected a house for Galen and himself, and another for Concenta on the side of a hill which was difficult to farm. Concenta wanted to make himself useful, so he announced that he would be happy to do the housework and the cooking for all of them.
Concenta wondered around his odd new house. While it was certainly efficient, it was cold and emotionless. Her people lived very differently—much closer to nature. He heard a knock at his door.
"I wanted to see if you needed anything to get settled."
"The house is nice, but—"
Triesse looked around.
"You seem earthier, Concenta."
"That is exactly the case."
"May I help you decorate it?"
"I would be very grateful. I don't wish to seem ungrateful to Nado, but it is a house that could never be my home."
"Tell me about yourself, first."
They sat and talked for a long time. About Concenta's past lives, about her hopes for the future. By the time Triesse left, the house was absolutely beautiful. Her favorite flowers were growing on part of the living room floor! Tears had fallen from Concenta's eyes when Triesse offered to have a tree growing up out of the center of the house.
"I thought, because of your experiences—"
"Yes, Triesse! Yes!"
"Will rain or cold get into the house?"
"No. I will have the roof meet the trunk. I am going to assume you don't want a ghost tree."
She watched amazed as Triesse took an acorn, planted it, and then proceeded to drench it with her own fairy tears. Then she opened a hole in the roof of the house. Concenta watched with his mouth open as the seed sprouted, and the tree quickly grew. In ten minutes, the tree looked fifty years old. The roof magically sealed around the trunk of the tree.
By the time Triesse left, the house was the most amazing place Concenta had ever seen. The furniture that Nado had put into it was useful, but not particularly attractive. Triesse improved everything. Concenta walked outside and looked at the house and tree. He smiled as he watched two birds fly into his tree. Triesse had flowers growing all around the house, as well. And not in rows. It looked like the house sprung up in a field of wildflowers.
"Are you planning to look for a spouse?" Tig asked Concenta one afternoon. Concenta was washing dishes.
"To be honest, I am not certain I want to remain a man. I may ask Nado to change me to a female. I am not going to do anything until I am certain what sex I wish to be."
A month after their return, Triesse went to visit her friend Tizelle. She had been in such a hurry the last time she saw her. They had a nice chat.
"You know, there is something unpleasant going on west of here."
"Is there, Tizelle?"
"Yes. Reslit told me she had to move. The air became quite unpleasant. Tense, and foreboding. Triesse, you are the brave one. You always have been fearless. When we were young, I always wanted to be like you. You should investigate it."
"Oh, Tizelle. You are a fine person. I remember what you did when all the crops failed in Daplin. You saved the lives of dozens, maybe hundreds of humans, and weakened yourself in the process. You don't need to change!"
Triesse thought for a moment.
"Reslit always has had more imagination than she needed."
"Yes. I suppose she has." Tizelle looked thoughtful. "On the other hand, aura seems to be dimmer in that direction than in the past. See for yourself."
Triesse went into a trance and viewed all the aura in that area. It appeared as light. The light did seem noticeably dimmer in that direction, and it grew dimmer all the way to the sea. As a matter of fact, there was no aura at all visible along the coast. Normally, only deserts appeared that way, due to the scarcity of life. That was extremely odd.
"Perhaps there was a severe drought, and people have moved."
"Maybe. That would account for it." Tizelle sighed. "I hope that is all it is."
It was getting dark when Triesse left. She hugged her old friend.
When Erin began to put on weight from his pregnancy, Nado decided he was ready for his own.
"Are you sure you want a child, Galen?"
"Nado, I came back to Earth for it and I would have told you if I changed my mind. Yes. I want a child with you."
They got into bed. Galen lay on top of Nado and they kissed.
"Do you know how to get someone pregnant?" Nado asked.
Galen laughed. "How about if I just fuck you and we hope for the best, plus magic, of course."
"Thank you for bringing me back, my love," Galen said to his lover.
"I needed you, Galen."
"You never needed anyone before. But I can't help but feel it is an improvement.
"Do you know what the Overseers meant by assistance, yet?"
"No. Not yet. I am certain we will learn. We are close by. I am watching, constantly."
He pushed Nado's legs up. He placed his prick into position and slid inside his lover.
"I can't wait to watch you breastfeed, Nado."
"I can't wait to watch you and Tig breastfeed!"
"Oh, no!" Galen laughed.
"Yes. It was a special request by Erin. I figured you wouldn't want to be left out of our little breastfeeding group."
"Oh, no! I want in!"
They made slow love. An hour later, their daughter was conceived.
Concenta appeared at Nado and Galen's door.
"Hello, Nado. I have decided. Being a male is just too limiting. Would you mind changing me to a female?"
"I would be happy to do it, but what do you mean by limiting?"
"Well, for one thing, you can't have many orgasms. I could have ten a day, if I wanted, as a female. I don't seem to be able to manage three a day as a man! And believe me, I've tried!"
Galen chuckled. "That is true."
"Plus, I think I will marry and have children. It is just a lot easier to do that as a female."
"Do you want to look the way you looked before?"
Nado spoke a spell and Concenta changed into a short, dark-haired woman. She looked down and saw her breasts again.
"You are quite welcome. Clothes?"
"Will you get the images from my mind?"
Nado took her hands and did so. He produced the clothes she imagined. Nado placed a dress on her.
"Thank you, again. There is a dance in the village tomorrow. I plan to do a lot of dancing."
She smiled and then spun in a circle.
"Do you want to go, Nado?" Galen asked.
"I don't know how to dance! Could you imagine me learning how to dance during my earlier life?"
Galen chuckled. "No. I can cast a spell on you."
"You know a dancing spell?"
"Sure. Like the transfer spell I told you about, it is great at parties."
Nado grinned. "I see now, I should have attended more parties."
"Or at least one," Galen said, dryly.
"Let's do it." Then Nado thought for a moment. "We might not make everyone happy. Two males dancing, I mean."
"If it upsets anyone, turn them into insects," Concenta suggested.
Nado laughed. "If they are serving food, the other party-goers may not appreciate it."
"Dead insects," Concenta suggested.
"Oh, no! I would end up a demon! And a pregnant one, at that!"
They all laughed.
Galen stared at his lover. Nado was so very different from Odan. He was full of laughter and joy. He had worried that when Odan left the diamond—and Erin's body, he would resume being the very serious friend he had known before, but he hadn't. Galen would have still loved him. After all, that was the person he fell in love with. But he preferred Nado. Definitely. He was grateful to Erin and Triesse. Galen was certain that Triesse had influenced Erin a great deal. They seemed to think alike.
They tried to convince Erin and Tig to go to the dance, but Erin was noticeably pregnant. He declined.
"I'm not a good dancer when I'm not about to pitch forward," Erin said.
Nado closed his eyes and uttered a spell.
"Good grief! You haven't removed them, have you?" Erin asked. He no longer appeared to be pregnant.
"No, of course not. They are merely hidden. I can unhide them after the dance."
"Let's go, Erin. Please?" Tig asked.
"Tig, I don't want anyone saying anything against you because you are a goblin. It would upset me terribly."
Erin also dreaded any confrontations over the fact that he had a husband, not a wife.
Suddenly Tig had Erin's fantasy man's face.
"No. I want your other fake face!"
Nado changed him back.
"That reminds me. Would you mind being a centaur again? That was wonderful riding on your back."
"I would love that."
"I will change Tig into a centaur tomorrow—but only if you go to the dance," Nado said.
"Very well. I will go."
Once Erin and Tig decided to go, Erin tried to convince his father and Triesse to accompany them.
"No. You go have fun. I have been to many dances. You haven't," Lars said.
"You are sure?"
The five of them went to the dance. Tig got lots of attention, but no hostility. Erin even noticed a few envious glances by one girl. Tig's human-goblin face was attractive. Many of the people in the village knew about Tig by that time. No one seemed bothered by the fact that males were dancing with other males.
Erin and Tig didn't dance much, but they had a good time. Erin was amazed at how good a dancer Nado was. Wizarding and dancing didn't seem to go together, in his mind, anyway.
When Galen and Nado sat out a dance, Erin mentioned it.
"I cast a spell on him," Galen whispered in Erin's ear.
Erin laughed and told Tig.
They watched Concenta dance every dance. She seemed to be popular and she seemed to be having a wonderful time. She wasn't beautiful, but she was attractive.
"It's hard to believe she was a tree when we met her."
"I know. She certainly decided to embrace life. And that man," Tig added, chuckling when she and her partner kissed.
Concenta walked up to them with her partner.
"Hello, Allen," Erin said.
"You know each other?" Concenta asked.
"Oh, yes," Allen said.
"Allen usually helps us at harvest. We help his family."
"Oh. That's nice."
"Allen, this is my husband Tig."
Allen nodded at him.
"I'm pleased to meet you, Tig. Erin, Jimson is anti-goblin, so you two should be cautious around him."
"Is he the only one you know of?"
"Well, that's good. I really expected more—outrage, I guess."
"No. There is too much outrage about what's happened in Eldera," Allen said.
"What happened? I hadn't heard."
"A group of monks were executed. Twenty-eight of them."
"How horrible! Why?"
Allen bent down.
"The rumor is, the new mayor ordered it."
"What! How can that be?"
Allen said, softly,"No one knows. I heard that two women from Dreskin went to speak to him to ask why and no one has seen them since. Plus, I heard the new mayor is a convicted murderer."
Nado overheard. Both he and Galen had noticed weird fluctuations in aura coming from that direction. It was most odd. Combined with these rumors, it was disturbing.
Allen spoke even more softly. "My brother Jeffrey rode over there to try and see what was going on. He said the streets were deserted. Completely. He didn't see a single person. He said he got a terrible feeling, like he was in danger and took off for home, as fast as he could. He headed home from the other side of town and passed a field next to the town. He saw a table covered with human hands."
"Yes. Dozens of them. No one else believes him—they say his mind was playing tricks on him, or he was lying—but I do. He said he saw rings on some of the fingers and there were patterns burned into the skin of the palms. Who would imagine that? Would you? No one would! Jeffrey doesn't make things up. A little further on, he found the bodies. None of them had hands. They were all naked and patterns had been burned into the skin. The bodies were completely covered with the patterns. Even the faces."
"This is my first dance. Let's talk about something happier," Concenta said. She took Allen's arm and led him away.
"I wonder if anything will develop between them," Tig said.
"She has stopped dancing with anyone else. I suppose it might."
"Do you believe what Allen's brother saw?" Tig asked him.
"Not a bit of it. The reason no one believes him is because Jeffrey exaggerates everything. He may not make things up from scratch, but he exaggerates them until they are almost unrecognizable. I remember when he said there was a horde of trolls ready to take over the town. There was one very old, sick troll, he found living in a cave not far from town. Six armed men went to investigate it and found the troll was too weak to even eat. A lot of people got mad about that. Jeffrey created a panic. The troll died a few days later. If he says there was not a soul in town, I would imagine there were not very many. I'm not sure about the hands, but coming from Jeffrey—"
"Maybe only one hand?"
"Right. And a dead pig nearby, possibly scratched up."
"Is Allen like that?"
"No. Not at all. He just loves his brother. They are both nice. Jeffrey just isn't reliable when he is telling a tale."
Erin lay on their bed looking terribly uncomfortable. Tig sat on the bed and held his hand. Erin's stomach was distended to an alarming degree and Tig was scared. He had seen pregnant females all his life, and Erin looked more like more like he was about to explode. He could only guess it was because his body wasn't designed to carry babies. Or they were big babies.
Nado and Galen walked into their bedroom.
"I think it is time," Nado said.
"I'll get Triesse and Lars!" Tig said, but they walked into the room.
"Will it hurt?" Erin asked.
Suddenly two bloody babies appeared on the bed. Then, suddenly they were clean.
"I guess it won't! Thank you!"
"You are very welcome."
Tig picked up the boy and Erin picked up the girl.
There looked like human babies with slightly pointed ears.
"I thought they would look more like goblins," Erin said.
"They will as they grow. Pure goblin babies look similar to human babies. Their skin grows greener once they are about a week old," Tig said, while he smiled at his son. "Although they may not be very green, since they are half-goblin."
Erin looked at her daughter's face. Her eyes were clenched shut. He smiled as he stroked her cheek lightly.
"We have gifts!" Galen said. "My own invention!"
He handed them a bundle of baby cloths.
"You invented cloth!" Erin said, laughing.
"I invented self-cleaning cloth. Shake the cloth and it becomes clean."
"What?" Tig asked.
"When the baby dirties it, take it off and shake it outside. The mess will all slide off completely."
"Wow!" Erin said. "Thank you!"
"You are welcome."
"We only need one for each, then," Tig said.
"Well, you might not want to take the cloth outside immediately. This way, you can change them, and take it out later. And next time, you might want to carry triplets."
Erin groaned and the others laughed.
"Say `Thank you,' to Uncle Galen," Erin said to his daughter.
"Say `I really appreciate this marvelous gift'," Tig said to their son.
"Father?" Erin asked, holding out his daughter to Lars.
Lars took the baby and smiled at her. He looked at Triesse.
"Are you sure you can't—"
Triesse had been considering it, but she decided she could not bear to watch her own children die of old age before her. Triesse shook her head.
"No, Lars. I am almost twenty-three hundred years old. Being a mother is for the young. We have grandkids."
Three months later, Triese visited her friend Tizelle again.
She was shocked and disturbed to find Tizelle extremely upset. Not only that, she seemed much older. A century at the very least.
"What has happened?"
"I do not know! My powers seem to be disappearing. There is no desert to the west! There is some evil growing there. Each time I try to discover what it is, I lose more of my powers."
"What kind of evil?"
"I don't know, but I am afraid to try to learn more. I can no longer fly!"
Triesse nodded. She went into a trance, not to identify the evil, but to check on the locations of old friends. There were several who lived in that area. They were no longer there. She remember Tizelle telling her Reslit had fled the area. She assumed the others had, too. She decided to locate Sani. She was very pleased to discover Sani was heading directly in that direction, which was perfect.
Over the next few weeks, Triesse found her aura increasing. She was pleased to know that Sani was combatting whatever was happening in that area. She was tempted to try to investigate herself, but Tizelle's warning and her desire to remain with Lars, Erin, Tig, and the babies kept her from doing it.