Silver
by SupMario

Chapter 1

I was awakened by my alarm clock blaring at me, shattering the great dream I was having as I rolled out of bed and staggered into the bathroom. After taking care of my morning rituals I got dressed and headed into the kitchen for some breakfast, hurrying so I wouldn't be late for school.

As usual, my mom was already at work. She works the day shift at the county hospital as a nurse and works harder than she should have to. After my dad left us four years ago, Mom's had to work hard to keep up the house payments and everything else. She had left me a note telling me she wouldn't be home until real late, so I should fix myself something for supper tonight.

Well, that sounds like Mom all right. She puts all of her energy into her job and doesn't spend too much time worrying about me. Of course, she doesn't have to, because I'm quite capable of caring for myself. I've always been like that, and I like it that way.

I get into my car and drive to school, hoping it doesn't brake down again. It's about ten years old and doesn't run very well, and has about 3 million miles on it, but at least I don't have to walk everywhere.

I pull up in the parking lot and walk to class, getting there just in time. I'm a freshman in my local college and get good grades, and don't have to try very hard. I don't have that many friends, mostly 'cause I'm eternally shy. I have a few buddies I talk too sometimes, but I don't know any of them very well, my mother and I have move around a lot.

She has a very nasty temper and has gotten fired many times in the past, or has simply quit because of bad relations at work. She's good at what she does, its just that temper of hers. Believe me, I've experienced it first hand quite often in the 19 years since I was born into this world.

School was boring as usual and I got home only to find my mom on the sofa crying her eyes out. I closed the door and went over to her, concerned. My mother is a very strong, stubborn lady, and she NEVER cries unless a earth-shattering event has taken place in her life, like dad leaving us for example. That was one of the only times I've EVER seen her cry. "Mom, are you okay? What's wrong?" I sat down beside her and tried to comfort her as best I could. She fell into my arms and hugged me, burying her head in my shoulder and continued sobbing hysterically.

After a while, she calmed down enough to talk to me. "Oh, Paul. Sarah died in a car accident a few hours ago. I was in the hospital working when I got the call from your Uncle. It was a drunk driver. <sob> Get a suitcase packed, we're moving in with your Uncle until we get things settled." She shooed me off to my room and continued sobbing as I left for my room.

I couldn't believe it. Aunt Sarah dead. She was my mom's twin sister. They had been identical twins since birth and were both very alike. They even sounded almost exactly like each other. I remember times when Aunt Sarah had came and visited us that I'd called home thinking Mom had answered only to turn out to be Aunt Sarah.

So we were going to move in with Uncle Jack. They have a daughter about my age, her name is Diane. Diane and I had never really hit it off, although we didn't really dislike each other. I got my suitcase out of the closet and began mechanically packing clothes and personal items while thinking of my Aunt Sarah. She had always been the quieter, shy one, while my Mom was the stubborn, adventurous twin.

We got everything in order. Mom quit work and made plans with school so that I could transfer to the local college in Uncle Jack's town. Yeah, town not city. Uncle Jack and Aunt Sarah lived in Maine, on a farm way out in the middle of nowhere. The nearest town was about ten miles away, and it was extremely boring the few times we had visited them there. I had never really been into the whole 'outdoors' thing, although I do admit I've had had very little exposure to it here in Chicago.

So we traveled to Bangore, Maine by bus and arrived there on Thursday morning. Uncle Jack was waiting for us and we got in his pickup and rode off through the countryside. I sat in the back of the truck while Mom sat up front and talked with Uncle Jack, catching up on family affairs and both of them trying not to burst into tears in front of each other as we drove home.

As we drove through the countryside, I enjoyed the countryside around me. I realized that nature has its own appeal to it. We pulled off onto a dirt road and drove down it for a while until we pulled up to the house. We had arrived. The place looked basically the same as the last time I had seen it.

It was a two-story house with a big porch and lots of windows. We went inside and Diane hugged my Mom, crying into her shoulder. She was obviously very shaken up. I felt really bad for her, thinking how broken up I'd be if it had been Mom instead of her twin.

We sat and talked some, about Mom and me coming to help out around the house, since Aunt Sarah wasn't around any more to do it. Apparently Mom and Aunt Sarah had made some kind of pact to take care of each other's kids if one of them died before their children were fully grown. Some of it went right over my head, as I was still trying to adjust to my new surroundings.

Uncle Jack made a bundle writing books, and so Mom didn't have to work at all, just take care of the house and us two kids. She was all for that, since she had been working almost nonstop for a few years.

Diane was a junior in high school and would be graduating next year. Mom shooed me and Diane off so she could talk privately with Uncle Jack so we left the house and Diane led me back behind the house toward the west of the house where a thick forest awaited us.

"Where are we going, Diane?"

She didn't answer me, just walked off purposely toward the edge of the wood, while I followed her. We began walking through the trees on a trail that I could barely make out. There was a lot less sunlight now because of the thick expanse of trees overhead. We walked for a while and finally came upon a clearing where a stream babbled into a small lake. It was quite impressive.

"Wow, this place is great."

Diane sat on a nearby rock and looked up at me. "You like it? I come here to think sometimes when I'm depressed." I sat down beside her and looked out onto the lake. The whole place was very calm, very relaxing. "I can see why you'd like this place. It's pretty cool."

We talked a bit and found out that we had more in common than we had thought. It turns out that she's as much of a computer nut as I am. After a while, we went back to the house and up to her room and showed me her computer. It was a lot nicer than mine, that's for sure. My room was going to be next door to hers, as it turned out, and my computer was packed up in some boxes with the rest of my stuff, so we began unpacking my things and got my room set up.

She was pretty good company and we became fast friends, taking a liking to each other after really getting to know one another. The funny thing was, she was a girl, and I didn't have trouble talking to her at all. Imagine that. Of course, my mind rationalized, it's probably because we're related to each other. Yeah, that's probably it.

As the days passed, we began getting back to normal, and me and Mom took well to our new surroundings. Mom was happy simply running the house, and she actually had some free time of her own for once, so she took up her childhood hobby of painting. Mom had been a very talented painter before marrying Dad and moving to Chicago with him.

She was really talented. I think we were all really impressed with the paintings that she would leave to dry on the back porch. They were all landscapes of the countryside around us, and she had even done one of Uncle Jack and Diane which turned out great. She was glad that me and Diane were getting along so well with each other, and Diane and I could see how well Uncle Jack and Mom were getting along.

Maybe I should explain about that. You see, the farm used to belong to Mom and Aunt Sarah's parents. Uncle Jack lived down the road from them with their neighbors until his parents had died and he came to live with the two twins and their parents. They never formerly 'adopted' him but he lived with them just the same. Well as they grew up, you can imagine what must have happened when twin girls and a boy hit puberty. Filled with curiosity, they started exploring each other's bodies and one thing led to another. Okay, they were humping like bunnies. All three of them.

Jack was in love with both of them, but he knew he would have to pick one of them. The choice was easy when my Mom fell in love with my Dad, leaving Jack and Sarah to be together. Once my Dad married my Mom and took her to Chicago, Uncle Jack and Aunt Sarah stayed at the farm and Jack took it over when their parents passed away. They stayed there ever since. Of course, once Jack became a successful author, they quit farming and simply lived off the money Jack made from his writing.

Well, it was really no surprise when Mom and Uncle Jack started feeling strongly about one another. Heck, they were falling in love, and me and Diane didn't see anything wrong with that. Mom looked and sounded exactly like her twin, and Jack was a really great guy whom she'd known since she was a toddler almost.

Well, the funeral went smoothly and Aunt Sarah was buried and the summer went by faster than me and Diane would have liked. Before we knew it, it was the middle of august and school was only two weeks away.

As summer came to a close, Diane and I were in the forest clearing casually throwing stones into the lake nearby, enjoying the freedom that was soon to be stolen from us. We had been talking to each other about our goals in life and what we wanted to do with ourselves after graduation. "I'm thinking about becoming a botanist, because I love nature. What about you Paul?" I sat there, looking out onto the lake, lazily skipping a stone across the water. "I don't know. I've never really thought about it much, I suppose. I want... I dunno. I'd like a job that would let me explore places, ya know, roam all over the world meeting new people and cultures. That's what I'd like to do."

"That sounds interesting. Look we better get back, its getting dark." I looked around and noticed she was right. It was early evening already! Where had the time gone? We walked back to the house and sat down to supper, talking about this and that and soon I was in my room, completely bored out of my skull again. I played some computer games then read some, but nothing helped, so I decided to take a walk. It was still light out, this time of year it got dark a lot later in the evenings and there was still enough light to see. I was going to ask Diane to come with me, but she was helping my mother with some sewing or something.

I've learned to get scarce real quick when my mother starts sewing and was glad Diane would be her guinea pig from now on. I walked out into the cool evening air and headed for the trees that seemed to be calling to me.

I walked through the trees, following the trail that lead to the lake, and was surprised to find that I wasn't where I thought I had been. I must have deviated from the trail somewhere along the way and started down a different trail by mistake. I looked around me and it was almost pitch black now. Where had my mind been wondering while the sun went down?

I felt like I had been walking for only a few minutes but look at the dark sky. I was confused and lost, not knowing how far I had walked or what direction home lie in. I sat against a tree and took stock of my situation. I could either stumble blindly in the dark trying to find my way back home, or I could stay right where I was until morning and then have the sunlight to aid me.

Well, as wonderful as sleeping on a bed of dry twigs sounded, I decided to try and find my way home there and then. I tried to backtrack and go the way that I had came, but when I had came here, I had been letting my mind wander, not paying attention to where I was going. Soon I came to a small clearing and was overjoyed when I saw the lake in front of me.

I could see where I was now. I was on the other side of the lake as the other clearing that I was used to and began quickly circling the lake shore, glad I would get home to my bed as I was very tired by then. Suddenly my feet came out from under me and I was falling into darkness. I only fell a small distance, and then hit the ground with a thud, landing on my left leg badly. I screamed in pain and passed out, my last tangible thought being about the strange pit I had fallen into.

Chapter 2

I opened me eyes and found myself in some kind of pit. There were twigs and leaves scattered about everywhere and my leg was throbbing painfully. Suddenly the previous night's events came back to me. I had fallen into this pit last night.

I tried to get up but my leg was hurting pretty badly and I couldn't stand. I looked around me and realized I was pretty helpless unless someone came looking for me.

I yelled for a while, hoping someone would hear me, but my throat got hoarse and I quit after an hour or two. Just then I heard what sounded like a low growl from the top of the pit. I couldn't see anything but I thought I heard footsteps up there.

"Anybody there? My legs hurt, and I can't get up. Is that you Diane?"

I looked up and was face to face with ... a tiger? In Maine? I must be going nuts. Well it would explain the growling and the footsteps that I had hea...A TIGER!?! I did a double take as the great orange beast jumped down into the pit gracefully landing at my feet. I started backing away towards the other end of the pit, but fear kept me immobile.

The beast slowly walked towards me, eyeing me strangely. It was right in front of my face, I couldn't breathe. It raised a mighty paw near my head, and everything went black.

The next thing I knew, I was lying in bed, someone was putting a damp cloth on my forehead, making soothing sounds to me. I figured it was Mom, and I was about to tell her about the weird nightmare I'd just had when I opened my eyes. I was lying on the ground, on my back, and some strange lady was sitting next to me, looking at me worridly.

I looked up at her. She had long black hair that flowed down her back and deep piercing green eyes. She had a small petite figure that was very well muscled. She looked like an athlete. Her breasts were smaller than average, but looked wonderful nonetheless. She was still looking at me as if she was worried about me.

"I, uh..I," I started ut she quickly silenced me and pulled a small vial out of a hidden pouch and put it to my lips. "Drink," she quietly said. I did, and immediately my leg stopped hurting, and I felt wonderful! I don't know what that stuff was, but it had done its stuff.

I smiled at her, and thanked her, and was about to introduce myself when she suddenly leaned forward and kissed me full on the lips. Who was I to protest if she wanted to kiss me, heck she'd just saved my life for all I knew. Our mouths locked together and we kissed deeply as she pressed her body hard against mine, her arms encircling me, drawing me closer into her embrace.

We kissed for what seemed like hours, and when we finally broke for air, she laid her head down on my chest and seemed to simply enjoy being in my embrace. It was a rather nice feeling, holding her in my arms. I heard a funny sound coming from deep within her chest and realized she was purring!

I looked down at her and was shocked at what I saw, or rather what I hadn't seen earlier. She wasn't human. That was for sure. She seemed to be half woman - half tiger! Her face had a soft muzzle like a cats, her ears and nose had feline overtones and she even had tiny whiskers. She was still very beautiful, the feline features being very striking on her feminine face. The eyes that had so enchanted me were the same, but were now closed as she leaned onto me and purred happily.

I was beginning to think she had mistaken me for someone, because I surely had never met her before and she was treating me like a long lost friend or something. Not that I minded, mind you. It was then that the light bulb flashed in my head and I realized that if she had gone from human to half tiger, she must have been the tiger in the first place. Well, this both comforted and worried me.

She seemed to sense my change in moods and looked up at me questioningly. "Uh, hi um, My name is Silver, Paul Silver. Thanks for helping me and everything, but... do I know you?" I saw her look deeply into my eyes and her eyes grew wide as she pulled away from me.

For the first time, she spoke. "Silver? You're not he... and yet you are! How can that be?" She looked me over and backed up and rose up before me, her tail swishing nervously.

*****

She walked about the clearing thinking to herself, her tail swishing as she went. This is too much for me to figure out, she thought to herself. But who could she get ... Arianna!! She'd know what to do.

Her mind made up, she knelt before the man and gave him a scroll, telling him to use it once she left, then she quickly trasformed back into a tiger and ran south as fast as she could.

*****

After she'd gave me this piece of paper, she turned into the tiger right in front of me (an impressive sight) and ran away really swiftly. I took a look at the piece of parchment in my hands. It had some strange writing on it, but at the top, it simply read 'invoke me.'

So, being curious, I did. I didn't see any obvious effects, and I didn't feel any different. Just then a small dragonfly buzzed by in front of me and flew on by, not noticing me. But wait a sec, that wasn't a dragonfly, it looked like a tiny person with wings!!

Okay, get a grip. I'm either going nuts or I'm in the twilight zone. Either one is good enough for now, I suppose. I sat down and got a good look at my surroundings for the first time since that tiger lady had woken my up. I when in a dense forest just like the one I'd gotten lost in near my new home at Uncle Jack's place.

And then I saw the lake. It looked just like the lake I had been circling last night when I fell into that pit. Hmmm. It looked different though. The lake was a lot clearer, for one thing. The water was almost crystal clear, I could see all the way to the bottom with all the sun shining down overhead. I looked around some more and noticed a small creature staring at me from a low tree branch where it perched, watching me.

The best way I can describe the thing is that it looked like a little dragon. It was about the size of a house cat, but it had an incredibly long tail that ended in a little stinger or something. It had the teeth, the snout, the wings, reptilian body, it looked like a cat-sized dragon!

It looked like it was studying me as closely as I was studying it. Right then, I saw the tiger reappear with a girl on her back. Weird, riding a tiger. The girl looked glum as they rode into the clearing. The girl got off the tiger and looked around. The tiger stood up as she turned back into her half-tiger form. I noticed that the tiger's white belly turned into the small white gown that the tiger lady wore. She turned to the girl and spoke.

"Thanks for coming Arianna. I found something you need to see. I can't figure it out. I was hoping you'd be able to help." She turned towards me and walked over to me, and spoke something strange to me and suddenly the girl behind her gasped when she saw me. She ran over to me and hugged me tightly, tears coming to her face.

Here we go again.

I got a good look at the girl crying in my arms. She was about 5'2", had honey blonde hair, her ears were pointed, she was incredibly beautiful, and she was crying in my arms. Just holding her in my arms was really wonderful, but guilt kept from enjoying it too long. I mean, whoever she was, she had me mistaken for somebody else just like tiger lady had.

Speaking of which, she came up behind us and tapped Arianna on the shoulder. Arianna looked back at her than up at me and she suddenly recoiled in shock. "Y..y..your not Silver!" She had a very high pitched voice, that was very pretty. She looked back at the tigriss. "Raven, whats going on?"

Raven strode forward, picked up my left hand and turned it over to show my palm to the bewildered Arianna. She pointed out my birthmark to the troubled elf. Yes, even I could tell she was an elf. I mean heck, if there are half-woman-half-tigers roaming around, why not elves too?

The birthmark on my left palm had always been an enigma with me and my family, but it really wasn't that big a deal, its just a dark little diamond shape near my thumb, on the palm of my left hand. But Arianna was looking at it entently, seemingly fascinated.

At last she looked up at me, and I blinked. Suddenly I was sitting under a big tree and I fealt extremely tired. I could hear Arianna and Raven talking quietly somewhere near me.

"... parallel worlds! Its fascinating. So it IS him, just him from a parallel universe. Wow, we've got to get him to Grevlok. He'll know what to do."

"..need to mate, Arianna. You and I both know I'm overdue, and it IS him..."

I caught several fragments of their conversation, but my sudden fatigue kept me from really understanding what I was hearing. I must have fell asleep, because the next thing I knew, Raven was gently shaking me, telling me to wake up. I sat up and she was kneeling on the ground next to me, except now she was naked. Boy, was she naked.

I must have sat there staring at her breasts with a really stupid grin on my face for god kows how long, but I had never seen a girl nude before, at least in person, and I was in awe. She moved over me, until she was sitting in my lap, facing me. She was in her 'girl' form again and she looked right into my eyes.

"Paul?"

"Yeah?"

"I'm in my mating cycle. I've been waiting for months and now that you've shown up, well, would you mind terribly?" She looked hopefully at me.

Here I was, god knows where, with a relative stranger _begging_ to have sex with me. This lovely, mysterious creature was the sexiest thing I'd ever imagined. I shook my head and she proceeded to strip me in less time than it takes to tell about it, and she was backed up a little until her mound hovered over my erection and she slowly impailed herself upon it. I moaned as the sensations washed over me, Raven riding up and down my shaft rythmically, lost in her own world of pleasure.

She leaned forward and a fur covered breast came into my vision. I locked onto the nipple and began sucking eagerly as she moaned in pleasure. I don't know how long this went on, but soon I felt my balls tightening and I knew my release was coming whether I wanted it or not. Raven was lost in exstacy as wave after wave of pleasure assaulted her lust-crazed body. I grabbed her hips and pulled her down hard onto me as I erupted into her, filling her belly with my seed, sending me over the edge with insane pleasure. She never missed a beat and kept moving up and down on my manhood sending me over the edge several times as we rutted together for several hours.

It soon donned on me that she was pretty much oblivious to anything I did on my end. She was there simply for the act itself. For whatever reason, she simply had to have sex. I didn't wonder about it too much, though. Not in the state I was in at the time.

We slowly came back to our senses and she lowered herself on top of me, purring contentedly as she dozed off. I lay there, with this beautiful creature sleeping in my arms, purring no less, and I wondered just who this 'other me' was and what had happened to him. I recalled what I had heard her and Arianna talking about and I wondered how I could get home. I mean sure, it was great visiting lala-land or where ever I was, but I wanted to get home eventually.

Of course, if every girl here wanted to cry in my arms and then screw my brains out... Then I wondered if Raven would get pregnant and have my ... uh, kittens? I chuckled quietly to myself at the thought and went to sleep, still holding Raven in my arms.

Chapter 3

I awoke under the same tree as before and found Raven huddled over a small fire, cooking something. Whatever it was, it smelled wonderful, and it reminded me that it had been a long time since I'd eaten anything. Night had fallen, and there was a chillin the air.

I got up and walked over to her and sat beside her, glad for the warmth of the fire. She smiled at me and offered me some meat which I took gladly. She said it was roast orc, whatever that is. Tasted like chicken.

After our meal, I asked where Arianna had gone, and Raven was quiet for a minute, and then looked up at me with guilty expression on her face. "She has gone to fetch her teacher, the old wizard. He should be able to get you home. Thank you for helping me in my .. ah, need." She looked down at her hands and blushed crimson. "Ever since I got this curse, I have to mate every month or I start getting nasty. The tiger I turn into gets really bloodthirsty if I don't have .. um, well mate. And it can't be with just anybody either. It has to be with my um, well uh..."

She looked over at me and blushed again. "It has to be with someone I'm in love with." She looked down at the ground, embaressed at her revelation. Before I could even *begin* to digest that remark, she continued. "Your other self, um the one from this world was my uh.. husband. He was a sorcerer just like his half-sister Arianna. I'm supposed to take you to her father's keep tomorrow, by the way."

She sat back and looked at me, trying to gauge my reaction to her news. To be honest, I didn't know what to think. I mean wizards and elves and ... My thoughts went back to Raven. She had been married to me. Well, my other self had been. It was kind of confusing.

"Raven, uh about what we did earlier. Um, what if you got pregnant?"

She beamed at me when I mentioned it. "Oh I hope so! That would be grand!! Oh but I guess you wouldn't know, would you? You see, my curse, the lycanthropy, is a special case. I can only be cured by having your baby. Well, his. When we first met, I was a bitter enemy of your other selve's, and ... well that's all you need know right now. But yes, if I concieved, I'd be cured."

She was visibly upset, and refused to talk anymore, as she transformed into the tiger and curled up near the fire and went to sleep. I laid down beside her and fell asleep sooner than I expected. I awoke once during the night, having to relieve myself and when I returned to the fire, she was a girl once again. I curled up to her and fell asleep once again, only to wake up seemingly minutes later when morning arrived.

We set off at a good pace through the forest and in no time flat came out of the forest into a grassy field. I could see what looked like a small castle in the distance, and we headed towards it. As we got nearer to it, I noticed it wasn't a proper castle at all, it looked like the whole thing had grown right out of the ground! The walls of the place were actually trees grown together. The closer we got to it, the more impressive it seemed. It wasn't long before I could see people walking about doing their thing, carrying things or leading animals to and fro. Most of them were elves but I could see lots of different races there as well, some of which I could only guess at what they were.

Raven led me to the gatehouse and we entered the keep with a minimum of fuss once they saw her. She led me through a tangle of corridors where we passed elven guards who were extremely suprised to see me. Or at least they gave me some very weird looks.

Raven was being quiet through this whole trip and I was about to ask her something when we arrived in a large chamber. Two guards bade us enter, and we walked in and walked towards a group of people who were gathered around a great table, talking amongst themselves.

When we arrived at the foot of the table, they stopped and looked at us. Raven nodded her head at the old looking one in the middle and then introduced me. "Lord Everland this is Paul Silver. Paul this is Lord Everland, Overseer of the great forest."

I studied the old elf carefully. He had greying blonde hair, intense blue eyes and a mile-wide grin that assured me he was a friendly sort. They all seemed rather nice and I assure you all those nasty rumours you've heard about elves are complete hogwash.

Raven told them about her finding me in the forest and how she had contacted Arianna and shown me to her. They talked long and hard about it and I answered more questions than I'd care to recall, but they were nice enough about it. We had lunch with them and then they allowed us to depart. We went through a maze of corridors again (this place was a lot bigger than it seemed from the outside) and arrived at a room and entered.

It turned out that Raven had her own room there at the keep because of her relationship with Arianna. She sat me down and explained a little about the surrounding area and its people. This was the heart of elven country. To the east was a dwarven village and to the south was a human settlement. There was a halfling settlement to the north and a silver dragon lived in a big cave to the north-east. I asked her about the dragon. She assured me that it was a kind dragon who mostly slept all the time.

"Raven what happened to my other self?"

She looked up at me and was silent for a few minutes, perhaps collecting her thoughts.

"He had gone on a quest to slay a medusa who was terrorizing a human city far to the east. He was gone for several months with no word from him until one day we revieved a message that simply stated that the medusa had killed him and that we weren't to go anywhere near there or else. Of course, a rescue party was sent but never found anything. Silver was assumed dead, until you showed up."

We talked for a while longer and decided to go to bed, after the hectic day we'd had. She stripped and entered the bed, patting the mattress beside her. I did the same and we fell asleep in each other's arms.

When we awoke in the morning, we went to a long hall fitted with tables that were filled with food and drink. There were people sitting in large groups eating and drinking, laughing all the while. Raven led me over to a empty table and we ate a big breakfast while I told Raven more about myself and where I came from. She seemed very fasdcinated by my tales of cars, computers, and radios.

After a little while, Arianna showed up with an old man walking beside her. He was dressed in a long blue robe and had all sorts of things poking out of the many pockets on the robe. He walked up to me and shook my hand, smiling at me.

"I am Grevlok. I see that you have met Arianna already. I suppose you have many questions, come lets talk. I think you are going to be suprised at some of the things you are about to learn." He grinned wickedly at me and we walked out of the dining hall and walked for a few minutes until we came to a small door set into the wall, which was strange since the elven keep didn't seem to HAVE any doors, just doorways with curtains.

Grevlok rapped his knuckles on the door three times and it opened inward revealing a big study of some kind. We walked in and he closed the door behind us, which vanished once he closed it, weird.

"Arianna, why don't you and Raven go amuse yourselves while I have a talk with our young friend here." He gave Arianna a stern glance and she led Raven out of the room. When they were gone, he indincated for me to sit on a small couch while he sat opposite me in a small recliner.

"Well my boy. So you found your way into our world by accident? Well, I have a revelation for you. I'm from your world as well. There are gateways into this world from Earth, in fact there are a number of them, but most of them are closed off on this side so people don't come waltzing in like tourists. The one you fell through is an unstable one, and isn't there most of the time. What part of the country are you from?"

"Maine."

"Ah yes, I used to live not too far from there myself actually. That would answer that, as it seems. Hmm, well, for one thing as Raven has probably already told you, you had an alternate self that lived in this world, but has been, presumedly, killed. This opened the door, so to speak, for you to enter our world. Now we just have to get you home. As I said, there are a number of gateways that lead to your world, and others that lead to even more worlds even stranger than this, believe it or not. I have one here in my tower that I use occasionally when I want to cross over and visit friends on your world. I see no reason why you couldn't use that one."

I sighed with relief, and he smiled at me and pointed a bony finger at me. "The question, my dear boy, is do you *want* to leave, hmm?"

I thought about that for a second. Sure, it might be excting to stay in this world of elves, wizards, and dragons, but I did want to go home and see his family.

"Well, why can I go home and visit my family then come back?" Grevlok gave me a wink and smiled. "No reason at all, my boy. I can give you instructions on how to get back into this world once you've crossed back over."

I talked to Grevlok for over an hour. He gave me a ring to wear that would allow me through the gateway. He told more about my alternate self. Silver had been Grevlok's apprentice and had become quite a powerful wiard in his own right. His half-sister Arianna was almost as powerful, although she used different types of magic than Silver did, or something to that effect. apparently, Silver and Raven had only been married for a few months when he died. It struck me as odd that they had married, it seems, on the same day that Aunt Sarah had died.

When we were through talking, I went through the doorway and found Raven and Arianna talking quietly. I entered the room and they stood up, smiling at me. Arianna cocked her head at me and grinned. "Well, how'd it go, Paul? Is Grevlok going to get you home?"

"Yeah, I'm leaving within the hour." Raven looked sad when I said this and sat down, looking glum. Arianna knew when to butt out, and left the room quietly, winking at me. She knew I had some cheering up to do. I sat down beside Raven and took her hand in mine. "Raven, would you like to come with me? Your curse won't work on my world. And I'd like you to meet my family. Would you like to go with me?"

She looked at me and smiled, then fell into my arms, hugging me furiously. "Oh, I'd love to, thanks."

So, all preperations in order, me and Raven had Grevlok spell us through the gateway and we found ourselves in the forest by my Uncle's house. We were standing in the pit that I had fell in when I had entered Raven's world. On this side, it was hardly a pit all, just a small dip in the ground. We walked around the lake and found the clearing that me and Diane had gone to lots of times that summer.

We followed the trail and I soon found myself nearing Uncle Jack's house, with Raven walking behind me. I walked in the kitchen door and there was my mom, cutting up vegetables for a salad.

"Where have you been young man? You weren't home at all last night." It was only then that she saw Raven standing behind me. "And who is your friend?"

Oh boy.

Chapter 4

My mother looked at me expectantly, and I tried to think up a plausible excuse. I mean, I can't just waltz in and say 'hi Mom, meet my new girlfriend, she's from an alternate dimension' very well now can I?

"Mom meet Raven." Mom smiled at her and said hello. "She lives near here. I was taking a walk in the forest last night when I got lost. Raven found me and showed me the trails so that I can find my way through the woods more easily."

Mom smiled. "Well, why don't you call your folks so they'll know you're here? If you'd like you can stay for dinner with us."

"Ms. Silver I live on my own, I don't have any family." She looked at me kind of nervously and I jumped in, trying to help. "Maybe she could stay with us? There are a few empty bedrooms." Raven took my hand in hers and squeezed it happily. She liked the idea as well.

"Well, I'll have to discuss it with your Uncle but I don't see why not. Why don't you two go get cleaned up for supper. Diane and Jack are in town, doing some shopping. They'll be back soon though."

She shooed us out of the kitchen and we went up to the bathroom and we washed our hands. She was fascinated by the toilet and shower and I explained their uses. She was ecstatic about trying them out, but I left the shower for later, since she didn't have any extra clothes right now.

We went into my bedroom and talked. "Raven why don't you stay here in my world. While your here your curse doesn't affect you and you can just be yourself. How does that sound?" For an answer, Raven leaned forward and kissed me. She hugged me close and then leaned back; a hungry look in her eyes.

We heard a door close and I realized Uncle Jack must be back with Diane. My mother called for us to come eat. Well, better get this over with. We went downstairs to the dining room and Mom introduced Raven to the others. We sat down and ate supper while Uncle Jack and Mom gave Raven the twenty question routine. Diane was silent the whole time, staring at Raven in a really weird way. With me to back her up though, Raven didn't have any problems.

After dinner was over, Mom told Diane to help Raven get something to wear and had me help her make up the bed in the guest bedroom. Raven gave me a worried glance as Diane led her off to her room, and I went with my Mom to the linen closet.

As we entered the guest bedroom, Mom closed the door behind me and put the sheets down on the bed. "Okay young man, spill it. I know there's more to this than your telling me. This whole thing smells fishy Paul. You know I can tell when your fibbing, so I want the truth this time, okay?" I sighed and looked down at my feet. You wants it, you gots it. I took a deep breath and told her everything. Yeah, everything. I figured I might as well. To prove my story, I showed her the ring that Grevlock gave me, the ring that could get me back to Raven's world.

Mom took it well, better than I thought she would. "You mean to tell me that that girl was married to your other half or whatever?"

"Yeah, apparently. It sounds like they got married the same day Aunt Sarah died. After Silver disappeared, she just wandered around mostly until I showed up. I think she's got me confused with him, I mean me, um you know, my other self."

She nodded her head yes and put her hand on my shoulder. "You have feelings for her don't you." I nodded without looking at her. "My other half knew her all his life and the two of them didn't get together until just recently.

But with me, it was love at first sight, I think. Of course," I grinned at Mom, "my first sight of her was after she'd kissed me. You should of seen her, she was half girl-half tiger. I think what got me the most was when she simply laid there in my arms and purred. She was so happy to see me, it just melted me, you know? I mean sure, she thought I was Silver. But we are the same person. And it seems that she's transfered all the love for him over to me."

I continued. "But you know what, Mom? It occurs to me that on this side, I was only gone for one night, but over there, I was there for almost a week. I wonder how long it would be, let's say, if I stayed over there for a month or a year? Would a few days pass, a week? Time must pass quicker over here than it does over there."

We made the bed and as we were changing the pillow cases, Mom kept the conversation going. "So, now what? Is Raven going to stay here with us permanently?"

"I don't know. I asked her something similar, and she said that it would be hard to stay away from her world, away from her friends and stuff. But I told her we can go visiting there when ever she wants, now that I know how to get over there. I'll bet Diane would get along great with Arianna."

Mom smiled at me. "What's she like?"

"Well, she's Silver's half-sister. As far as I can make out, their father was an elf and their mother (your other self I guess) is human. But she doesn't talk about them much. So, Silver must have been half-elven too. Anyway, Arianna. She has blonde hair, and a really high-pitched little girl type voice. Oh, and she has your eyes too."

Mom sobbed and sat down on the bed, sad all the sudden about something. I went around the side of the bed to her. "Mom whats wrong? Did I upset you?" She looked up at me with tears in her eyes and held her arms out to me. I went to her and she hugged me close.

"Paul, I've never told anyone this, I tried to forget it myself, but your talking about Arianna just brought it all back to the surface. Before I met your Dad, I had been engaged to another man. His name was Harold and we were going to be married but we got in a car accident and he died. I was seven months pregnant at the time a..." she stopped at this point and cried in my shoulder as I held her and tried to comfort her.

After a minute or two, she continued. "When I woke up in the hospital, they told me the baby had died. It was a girl, Paul. They both died that day. I was in terrible pain for months until I met your father. Don't you see, Paul? Arianna is the daughter I should have had." She cried for a while longer but then I had an idea. "Mom, why don't I get Arianna to come visit us? I'm sure she'd be happy to. She looked up at me and smiled, wiping away her tears. "You think she would?"

"Sure, she's very nice. Lemme try this ring out now."

I looked at the ring and wondered how it was supposed to work. I mean, magic wouldn't work on this side, would it? I read the words inscribed on the ring and suddenly found myself in Grevlock's library again. Grevlok looked up from a large book he was reading and grinned. "Well hello again, young man. Back so soon? Where's Raven?"

I explained to him why I'd come.

"Arianna is in her tower. Let me fetch her. He made a few complicated gestures and mumbled something and a glowing orb appeared before him. It vanished and after a minute, Arianna walked through the door, looking like she had been asleep. She yawned and stretched, only then noticing my presence.

"Paul, what brings you back here so soon?" I explained to her about Mom and she liked the idea. "Oh course I'll come. Lemme get fixed up though, I can't go dressed like this." She looked down at herself and suddenly she was wearing a pretty green dress. Her little dragon friend flew through the door and landed on her shoulder, where it curled its long tail around her upper arm. "Sudi you can't come with us this time. We're going to visit Paul's world and Dragons aren't allowed there." Sudi flew off her shoulder and perched on a bookshelf near Grevlok.

"Okay Grevlok, spell us through." Arianna took my hand in hers, and we were back in the guest bedroom again. Mom had sat up on the bed, and looked a little more composed. The moment she saw Arianna, her face lit up like a christmas tree. Arianna walked over to her and sat down in her lap, hugged her and simply said "Mom." Arianna glanced at me, then the door and I got her meaning. I made a hasty exit, so they could be alone together, and I felt so glad that Arianna could help out Mom like this.

I walked down the hall, and paused at Diane's doorway. Raven and Diane were deep in conversation. When they saw me, Raven got up and walked over to me. A tear dropped down my face and Raven saw it, concerned.

I told them about what Mom had told me, and how I'd brought Arianna over here to make Mom feel better. All three of us were crying by the time I finished telling them about it, and it took a minute or two for us to regain our composure. We bade Diane a good night and went to my room, realizing that Arianna and my mother might be in there all night.

We went into my room and closed the door behind us, and all pretenses ended with Raven grabbing me and kissing me passionately. We tugged our clothes off as we kissed and soon our two warm bodies were pressing against each other, our passions rising within us, ready to comsume us at any moment. I led Raven to the bed and she lay back on it with me beside her.

Our hands travelled all over each other's bodies, exploring and caressing. I kissed her lips then travelled across her check and sucked on her ear lobe, which drove her wild. I continued down, kissing her neck and then finding my way to her perfect breasts. Some instinct bade me suckle on them, which I did with eagerness. I caressed them, holding each tender sphere in my hands as I kissed and nipped at each rosy nipple, gently sucking as she softly moaned in pleasure.

She placed her hands on the back of my head, obviously enjoying the attention her bosom was recieving. When she could stand no more, she shoved gently on the top of my head and I took the hint, travelling southward, kissing and licking all the way. I paused at her belly button and gently stuck my tongue as far down it as I could, getting a satisfying squeal of delight from my beautiful lover.

I moved travelled farther southward until I came upon the black tuft of pubic hair that signalled the entrance of her tunnel of love. I licked the hairs and playfully kissed all over the area until continuing my erotic journey and coming face to face with her wet and inviting vagina. She opened her legs wider to give me better access and I looked up at her. She was gazing at me through eyes that were ablaze with lust. She had a permenent grin etched on her face as she gazed down at me. I focused my attention back to the job at hand and looked upon the womanhood before me. Her outer lips were soaked in her juices and I licked the whole length of her slit, gathering the sweet moisture that was uniquely her.

It was sweet and tangy, and as delicious a drink as I had ever tasted. I eagerly dove in and began feasting on her sex, like a starving man. As I licked and sucked, her clitoris came out of its tiny sheath to greet me and I gave it a welcoming lick which made Raven arch her back and cry out in pleasure.

Noticing her reaction, I clamped onto her clit and began sucking on it like my life depended on it, as she writhed about under me, lost in a sea of orgasms with no shore in sight. I climbed up on top of her and my manhood eagerly took its place inside her loins. She locked her legs around my back as I established a slow rythem of pure pleasure that had me drunk with her love.

I pistoned harder and faster into her as I leaned forward and locked lips with her, kissing her as we lost ourselves in one another. Before long, I could feel my climax building within me as I moved within her faster and faster. Suddenly I arched my back and plunged my full length into her as my seed gushed into her womb, filling her belly with my love.

I collapsed beside her and we laid in each other's arms, perfectly content. I knew then that I was hopelessly in love with her, and told her so before falling asleep.

"Raven, I love you with all my heart and soul." I whispered in her ear.

She replied, "I love you, too." and we fell asleep.

Chapter 5

When I awoke the next morning, I reflected on the events of the previous evening and my sleeping lover, lying beside me, sleeping soundly. The sun shone through the bay window and shown down upon me, prompting me to get out of bed and start the day.

I shook Raven gently and she slowly opened her eyes and smiled up at me. "Mmm, good morning, Paul Silver. I love you." She rose up into a sitting position and we kissed, sending shivers down my spine.

"Now I get to show you the shower. I think you'll like it. Let's go to the bathroom and we'll shower together. "

I dug through my closet until I'd found two robes and we put them on, then headed for the bathroom. It was occupied of course. We waited a few minutes and Diane stepped out, staring at us oddly, and then headed back to her room. We went in the bathroom and took turns taking care of business and then we both stepped into the shower stall.

I turned on the water and adjusted the temperature, and Raven loved it. "It's just like standing underneath a waterfall! We both took bars of soap and scrubbed each other down, paying extra attention to all the right spots, until we were both squeaky clean and horny as hell. I got behind her and entered her from behind and she braced herself against the shower wall as we rutted against one another, letting out the sexual energy our bathing had produced.

When we finished, we toweled off and slipped our robes back on and headed downstairs to breakfast. Mom, Diane and Arianna were all three eating in the dining room and Raven and I made our greetings and sat down opposite them and began eating.

"So lovebirds, how are you two feeling this morning?" Arianna asked playfully.

Much to their amusement, Raven and I both blushed at the same time. "We're feeling just great. So are you staying long?" Arianna drained her glass of orange juice before answering me. "Well, I don't see why not. A few days won't hurt my studies too much."

Later that morning, Mom went off to paint and so the four of us decided to go to the lake and take a swim. It was a perfect day for it, and Diane wanted to hear more about Raven and Arianna's world.

As we walked through the forest, I whistled tunelessly, the three girls talking and giggling with each other, oblivious to anything or anyone around them. We arrived at the clearing near the lake and we all sat down to rest and enjoy the view.

Diane glanced over at Arianna and asked: "Arianna, we know about Paul, but what about me? Is my other half in your world? Have you ever met her?" Diane looked down at her lap, seemingly flustered at her question. Arianna looked at Diane seriously, and then gave her a sweet smile. It was neat having a sister.

"Yes, I've met your other half before. We are cousins, remember. I don't see your family that much, though. I spend most of my time with my studies, becoming a wizard isn't easy you know." Arianna leaned back and looked over at me, grinning at me. I smiled back, Raven resting her head on my shoulder, simply enjoying the afternoon.

Arianna looked over at me and grinned. "Why don't I take all of you over to our world for a visit? Paul you and Diane could meet Silver's family. Diane would get to meet her other half, and then we could maybe do a little sight-seeing. What do you say? With the time difference between our worlds, we could spend several weeks over there and still be back here before nightfall."

I grinned at Diane and we nodded to each other. We got up and held hands, and I made to use my ring, but Arianna stopped me. "I'll handle this." She made a small sign with her hands, mumbled something, and suddenly we were standing in a small forest clearing.

Arianna looked around and shrugged. "Oops, way off target." She giggled to herself, then gestured again and we were in Grevlok's study again. He wasn't there, however.

"Well here we are. Weird that Grevlok isn't here. He's always reading this time of day. Well, follow me, everyone." Raven and I had seen this before, but we were still awed by the place. Grevlok had taken the stone tower and turned it into a beautiful place. Statues, paintings, and all sorts of things were littered about the place, giving it a festive, if strange, atmosphere. Diane was loving every bit of it.

We climbed a flight of stairs and walked into a large room filled with tables filled with books and journals. "This is my laboratory, where I study and practice. This way." Before we could get a really good look at the place, Arianna led us out another door into a small bedroom, which was taken up almost exclusively with a huge king-sized bed. Off to one side of the bed was a small bookshelf stuffed with heavy volumes that looked to me like a set of encyclopedias. Arianna made a sweeping gesture around the room with her hand. "This is my bedroom."

She led us out into the corridor and turned to face us. "Now that you've had a guided tour, let's try and find Grevlok. I'd like to let him know that I'm back. Raven would you be so kind as to show Diane the library, I'm sure she'll love it." Raven looked at her, nodded, and led Diane back down the steps.

"What was that all about?" I asked.

"Something doesn't feel right. Let's check the lab."

We walked further up the circular stairway which led further up into the tower and came once more to a landing, a doorway beckoning us. We went inside and found the place wrecked. The tables were upturned, books were strewn about, chairs smashed. The walls were scorched black, looking like a tremendous fire had burned the place. It looked like all hell had broken loose in the place.

Arianna stood is shock for a few moments, then stiffened. She closed her eyes and seemed to be concentrating on something. After a few minutes like this, she relaxed a little and opened her eyes.

"Grevlok has been taken by someone. It looked like a lich! Oh, this is bad. If..." She trailed off, lost in thought. She jerked back to reality after a second. "We've got to get to Horkshire at once. The council of wizards must be informed. We have work to do."

We left the lab and went down to the library where Diane was, indeed, going ape over the large collection of books Grevlok had collected over the years. "Well kiddies, we've got a problem. Grevlok has been taken by some creature and I've got to goto the Council of Wizards and inform them. If you'd like, I could spell the three of you back to Paul's world, but I have to get going."

Raven and Diane both got up and came over to us, looked at each other and nodded their heads.

Raven looked at me then Arianna. "I think we'd like to help if we can, Arianna."

Arianna looked at me questioningly. I nodded my head yes. "Same here." Diane simply said "sure."

Arianna looked around at us and said: "Ok then, let's get moving." We left the tower and found ourselves on a low hill overlooking a great forest. Is this whole world one big forest? I began to wonder. We set off heading east, following a well-used road. We were walking at a fairly brisk pace, but enjoying the wondrous countryside around us. We passed many creatures on our way, some friendlier than others, but no one bothered us.

I quickened my pace and caught up with Arianna, who had been walking a bit ahead of us, lost in thought when she wasn't mumbling to herself. I walked up abreast of her and smiled at her. "Hi, sis. Not to complain or anything, but why don't you just zap us there instantly? Wouldn't that speed things up tremendously?" I was indeed puzzled by this.

Arianna smiled back, pleased I had called her sister, then frowned at my question. "The council of Wizards put up a magic barrier around the city so no one can just waltz in and out like that in their city. Too many important artifacts and such. So we have to hoof it I'm afraid. We can't make it the whole way today. We'll be about half way there once we reach Ralache. Its just a little farmer's village really, but it has a rather nice inn that we can stay in tonight."

I nodded my head in agreement and we continued our trek. After a few hours, the sun started going down and it became steadily darker. After another half hour, however, we arrived at the village. Arianna hadn't been jesting, it was pretty small. There was a big stone structure on the side of the road that was most probably the inn. We headed right for it, and as we got closer, I could read the sign that hung over the big oak door. It read 'Griffon's Head Inn.' We walked inside and the place was warm and friendly in appearance.

In fact, this place was *really* friendly. There were people huddled in groups drinking, dancing and singing, looking like they were have a blast. We sat down at a table in the back of the place and the barmaid soon came over to us and took our order. We ordered some food and wine and she left to get our wine. "Well this place seems friendly enough." Diane said, looking around.

Arianna explained. "Yes, the innkeeper knows me and Grevlok live near here, so we get free food and drink and rooms because we've helped him from time to time. I expect he'll be out here with our drinks himself in a few minutes, once Sherry tells him I'm here." Diane and I gave her questioning looks. "Oh, she's the barmaid who just took our order. She's his wife. He does the brewing and cooking and she does the rest. Their both great friends. They knew Silver quite well, too. He and Grevlok sat down some spells on this place that keeps out most of the worst types."

Just as Arianna had predicted, a large middle-aged muscular man came out of the kitchen with a large serving tray full of food and drink. He headed over to our table and set down the heavy load while greeting Arianna merrily.

"Ah Arianna, greetings dear child! It's good to see you. And what's this? Silver returned at last! Greetings old friend!!" He sat goblets down in front of each of us and poured the wine himself, filling them happily. He nodded to Raven. "And greetings to you as well, tigriss."

He smiled at Diane, "and you dear lady I haven't had the pleasure. I'm Olaf, owner of this fair tavern. I am at your service."

He nodded at Arianna and me and then left for the kitchen, carrying the serving tray back with him after serving our food. I looked across at Arianna and grinned. "He seems friendly enough. Odd that he accepted me as Silver without a second glance. That might come in handy someday."

Arianna nodded, grinning back at me, raising her goblet for a toast. "A toast to good friends!" We proceeded to drink way too much and next thing I knew, I was stumbling into a small room with Raven, dropping onto the bed like a lead weight. Sleep was the only thing on my mind at that moment, but Raven had different ideas. It seems the alcohol affected her differently then it had me. She attacked me with a vengeance, tearing away my clothes and kissing me savagely. She was half-tiger again, embracing me with strong arms, her fingers ending in sharp claws that dug into my flesh as she led me down, passionately fucking me to oblivion.

I was beyond reasoning, beyond pain, experiencing only the pleasure my groin was sending to my alcohol-hazed brain. At some point, I lost consciousness.

When next I awoke, my head was aching terribly, but to my surprise my body ached just as equally.

I opened my eyes to find Arianna leaning on the bed, sobbing softly into my chest. "Arianna... what's going on?" I tried to sit up but my muscles weren't responding. Arianna looked up at me, looking amazed and relieved at the same time, as she blinked away tears. "Your alive? Of thank the goddess!! We thought we'd lost you. How do you feel?"

I looked around me, as I tried to gather my wits. I was no longer in the small tavern room, that was for sure. I was in some kind of large chamber full of beds, weird statues and stain glass windows. In short, I had no unearthly idea where I was.

"Um, I ache all over and I can't move, other than that I'm fine, I suppose." I grinned a little, trying to reassure her. "Where are we?"

She looked down at me. "We're in Horkshire, at the temple. You've been on the brink of death for over two weeks. The priests did all they could, but it was a close thing. We thought we'd lost you last night. I'm so glad your all right. I couldn't handle losing you twice!" She buried her head in my chest and sobbed again, and I quickly tried to comfort her. "Hey I'm alright. Why can't I move by the way?"

"Oh its just to keep you from thrashing about too much. I'll have a priest come take a look at you. Don't go away." She chuckled as she hurriedly walked away. Well at least I'd made her laugh. Now I just wish my head would stop pounding like a jackhammer.

After a indeterminable amount of time, a long-robed tall fellow came over to the bed with Arianna not far behind. He came over to me and placed one hand on my forehead and the other he stretched toward the ceiling. He looked extremely strange and I was about to ask him what he was doing when I felt the aches in my head and body slowly drain away, leaving me tired, but feeling fine. He took away his hand and faced Arianna. "He will be fine now. He should sleep for a few more hours, but after that he may leave. Good day."

He left, and Arianna crossed over to the side of the bed and smiled down at me. "I know you have a billion questions right now, but try to get some sleep. Just say my name four times in a row when you wake up, and I'll come get you."

I could hardly argue, as I was very tired and falling asleep already. I slept for six hours and when I woke up I did what Arianna had suggested and said her name four times. I sat up in the bed and found myself nude under the sheets. Arianna showed up and brought with her some clothes for me to wear. "They belonged to Silver. This was one of his favorite outfits. I'm sure it'll fit you perfectly." She turned around, giving me some privacy and I stared at the clothes she had brought. There was a blue shirt, black pants, black belt, silver gloves, knee-high black leather boots, and a long silver cape. I put them on and indeed they fit like they had been custom made, which I suppose, they had.

I cleared my throat and she turned around, and her eyes went wide. "Wow, its uncanny. You like just like him dressed like that. Now let's get out of here and get you some food. I'm sure your starved." I nodded my head as we walked down the corridor and out of the temple altogether. We were in a vast city filled with creatures and people of all kinds. We walked several minutes until we came to what looked like a little tea shop and walked in. It turned out to be another tavern. We ate a light meal while Arianna explained a bit more about my illness.

"That night in the tavern all four of us had drank way too much and apparently Raven took the alcohol rather badly and most of her senses and inhibitions were dulled, leaving her animal side to deal with you. It seems that even though she was really just intending to make love with you, she accidentally hurt you rather badly. In the morning when she awoke, you were bleeding profusely, half-dead. She came and got us, then ran off, crying hysterically. Luckily there was a traveling priest staying in the inn that night that healed you enough so that we could get you here and to the priests in the temple. We almost lost you."

I was shocked at first, then concerned. "Where is Raven now?" She frowned, looking away for a moment. "We don't know, Paul. She's gone off somewhere. I'm afraid she might think she killed you. If you want to see her again," and she put quite a bit of emphasis on the IF part, "you'd better find her pretty quick."

I could see she blamed Raven for the whole thing. "Arianna, it wasn't her fault. She must not have known what the wine would do to her. If it weren't for her lycanthropy nothing would have happened to me!!"

She looked at me, her face a mask of emotions. "Oh I know that. We both know that. But Raven probably doesn't see it that way. Grevlok and I tried to locate her, but we think only you will be able to find her, since your in love with her. Oh that's right, you wouldn't know about Grevlok would you? I went on an expedition to a dungeon with a group sent by the council of wizards and we rescued him and killed the lich. It was rather exciting, I'll tell you more about it sometime." She took a drink of her ale and sat quietly for a few minutes.

"What about Diane? Where is she?"

"Oh she went home while you were recovering in the temple. She'd had enough of this world, I think. Once I told her you'd be fine she had send her home."

"Well what now?" I was still thinking about Raven. Would I ever see her again?

"I suggest we go back to the tower and consult Grevlok. He has something in mind that might help you find Raven. And besides, I need to get back to my studies."

We walked to a large circular building and went inside. A stout, old fellow teleported us to Grevlok's tower after Arianna showed him some kind of medallion. She pointed towards the study and stormed off deep into the tower. I walked into the study and found Grevlok waiting for me. "Ah good to see your feeling well again, young man. I can see you have many questions for me. Pull up a chair and I'll do my best to answer them for you." He smiled and put his book down, lighting his pipe. He began puffing on it as I sat down across from him, ready to ask him about Raven and Arianna.

Chapter 6

I pulled up a chair and sat down across from Grevlok and he continued puffing on his pipe, waiting for me to ask my questions.

"Arianna tells me that you may have a way for me to find Raven, is that true?"

"Why yes, dear boy, it is. I am going to help you create a homing amulet which will lead you straight to her. You must be the one who actually makes it, however, because you love her, and that love is what will lead you to her. To do this, I must teach you some fundamentals about magic."

I let that sink in and then thought of Arianna. "What about Arianna? She was acting strangely."

Grevlok looked beyond me, as if he were thinking of something. "She blames Raven for almost killing you. And while its true that she did indeed gravely injure you, she did not do it with malice. We both know this. Arianna is a dear, dear child. She loved her brother dearly and grieved terribly when we learned of his death. Arianna and Silver were quite intimate before Raven came into the picture. They had a very unorthodox relationship, to say the least. Arianna was ever jealous of Raven when she stole Silver's heart away from her. And now, when Raven almost killed you... Well, Arianna didn't want to deal with losing you a second time."

"Ah, okay. Well what about the magic? You say you'll teach me?"

He puffed away, studying me for a few minutes before chuckling a little and answering me. "Yes, Paul. I'll teach you some basic magic that you'll need on your quest to find Raven. I'm afraid you'll be going it alone on this, I dare say Arianna will not be going with you on such a quest of love. Go up the stairs and the door one flight up from Arianna's room is yours. Your room is there and everything of Silver's is in that room. You may find some useful things in there. Get some rest and I will join you there in a few hours to begin your lessons."

With that, he bade me leave and I went up the stairs thinking of everything he'd told me. My quest to find Raven. Arianna and Silver's relationship. Things were starting to become clearer. That was why Arianna didn't want to help me find Raven. I stopped at Arianna's door and knocked. I got no answer so I continued up the stairs until I came to the nest landing and found the door Grevlok had told me of. I opened it and walked inside.

I was in a small study with bookshelves lining the walls and comfortable chairs and low tables finishing the place. A small glowing sphere hung from the ceiling giving off a soft light, enough to read by I see. I looked about the place and then headed through the opposite doorway and found myself in a small laboratory like Arianna's, except mine had little vials and bottles with eerie liquids in them on the long table along with a variety of large books, about the size of dictionaries.

I picked up one of the large books and it was titled `Potions and Elixirs for the Practical Sorcerer.'

Okay, whatever.

I put that down and picked up another. It was titled simply `Ghastly Deaths and Other Things.' That one sounded interesting. I went through the opposite doorway and found the bedroom. There was a small bed on one side of the room, and a large walk-in closet next to it. There was a small bookshelf next to the head of the bed and the books there looked much more delicate and personal than the big ones in the lab.

I spotted a large wooden chest at the foot of the bed and a closed door that just begged to be opened, so I opened it and peered inside. To my total amazement, it was a bathroom. Toilet, sink, shower, the whole works.

Weird.

>From Raven's reaction when she had visited my home, I had thought. well, anyway it was a surprise. A pleasant surprise! I used the facilities with relish and took a long, hot bath that felt marvelous

After the wonderful bath, I dried off and headed for the closet, determined to find something suitable to wear. I found a silver and blue robe that looked similar to the ones Grevlok wore and put it on. It was a lot more comfortable than it looked, and I added the black boots. I flopped down onto the bed and looked at the bookshelf where I found a small diary-type book on top. I took it and thumbed through it.

It was filled with archaic symbols and strange writing. It looked to be in a different language or something. It looked fairly organized, but he couldn't make anything out of it. He heard a knock on his door and went to the study and opened the door. Arianna was outside the door, with a hopeful look on her face. "Can I come in? I'd like to talk to you."

I let her in and closed the door, then bad her sit down so we could talk. "So what's on your mind, Arianna?" I sat down in an easy chair and got comfortable.

"Well, I'd like to apologize for my attitude towards Raven. I know how much she means to you. If you'd like, I'll help you look for her; she's my friend too."

"Thanks. I would appreciate your help. Grevlok tells me that he's going to teach me some basic magic. It sounds great. I found what I think is Silver's spellbook in the bedroom but I can't read a word of it."

She looked surprised at this. "You found it? Show me!!" She snapped up out of the chair and headed for the bedroom where the book was. I followed her in and showed her the small volume resting on the side of the bed where I had left it. Arianna opened the book and leaf through he pages, her eyes growing wide.

"He was supposed to have kept this with him. This is his private spellbook. Wizards always carry a small one like this with them containing just the spells they think they're going to need for the trip. This is the one he made before going on that quest. I don't get it! There's no reason for him to have left this here. He would have been at a distinct disadvantage without a spellbook. Even the greatest of wizards can't memorize all the spells he or she'd need, so we keep small spellbooks with us." She continued flipping through the pages, noting which spells he had copied into it.

I had an inspiration. "Maybe he brought along a different spellbook?" She answered without looking up from the spellbook. "Well, maybe. See if you can find any more books shaped about like this one in the bookshelf there." I bent down and began hunting and sure enough I found two more small spellbooks. I showed them to Arianna and she went white. "He only had three! And the larger volumes are right there on the bookshelf! He left without a spellbook! No wonder he perished! The fool! No offense."

"None taken. But I was wondering. It'll still be a few hours before Grevlok comes up here to give me those magic lessons. Do you think you could teach me the language these spellbooks are written in? I'd love to be able to read them."

She looked up at me and grinned. "They're written in Elvish. Silver and I were taught to read and write elvish as kids even before we even learned the common tongue. That's why you can't read any of them, I forgot." She giggled to herself for a minute or two and then nodded her head. "Yes, I'll teach you. It shouldn't take long. In fact, there's a spell here somewhere just for this purpose. It'll teach you Elvish in a flash. She flipped through the big book on the bottom shelf, found the spell she wanted then put the big book away.

She raised up and placed a hand on my head and gestured with her other hand over my head and mumbled something and then took away her hand, opened her eyes and grinned. "Try it now." She handed me the small spellbook and I could read its contents! The book was divided into sections like offense, defense, controlling weather, healing, and supernatural. I thumbed through the `defense' section and found a spell called `shield from missiles.' That might be useful.

Each spell was sorted into two sections: symbols and chanting. You just had to make some kind of symbol in the air and say the right thing and presto. Sounded way too easy. Of course, I was wrong about that. It took quite a bit of concentration to make anything happen even if you said the right things and made the right gestures, you still had to visualize the exact affect your spell was supposed to have, and concentrate on making it happen.

Arianna gave me some good advice and some pointers and I was glad she was here to help me. I didn't want to seem like a neanderthal when Grevlok came up here.

After an hour or two, Arianna bade me good night and left. Grevlok came after a few minutes and he seemed pleased that I had gotten Arianna to help me read Elvish. We went into the laboratory and he proceeded to give me my first real lesson in magic. I shall not write of it here, for it would be disrespectful of me to do so, so let me just say that he taught me the fundamentals that I would need to study and learn more and newer spells.

As he put it, I had to walk along the road myself, he had simply shown me the correct path to take.

I studied almost all that night, learning more about the weird system of magic that they practiced. It wasn't easy. I was beginning to see why Arianna was always `studying' now. It took a long time to get to a level where you could actually cast these things easily. Some of the easiest spells were easy to memorize because they were simplistic, like 'light.'

I went to bed exhausted and awoke the next morning to find Arianna waiting for me in my study, breakfast waiting for me. "Good morning, I brought some breakfast for the two of us. Hope you don't mind."

"Not at all, that's very nice of you. Thanks, sis." I smiled my best toothy grin at her and she smiled back, pleased that I appreciated her efforts.

"So how did your lessons go last night?" She asked as she munched on a roll.

"Great. I didn't realize how hard it is, but I'm getting the hang of it. Now I know why your always wanting to study." I sat down and began eating with her, aware, maybe for the first time, of her splendid figure. She was wearing a simple silk robe that looked more like lingerie than a robe. It showed her body off magnificently however. She is your half-sister, dammit! Stop thinking these kind of things. I was mad at myself for even thinking about having sex with her. But then I remembered about Silver's relationship with her and suddenly it occurred to me that she may just be trying to get my mind off Raven.

"I can't wait to find out more about this amulet that Grevlok is going to help me build so I can find Raven. It sounds intriguing." She looked up at me and smiled curtly. "Yes, amulet making takes patience but it can be very rewarding."

We finished breakfast and I got dressed, ready to face the day. Arianna showed me a few tricks that helped my studies a bit and left to do her studies. I studied for a while and quickly started to become a tad bored.

Sure, it was exciting to learn magic, but it was like getting a video game for Christmas and then being told you can't touch it. Frustrating. I went down to see if Grevlok was in the mood for a chat. I was impatient to do whatever it took to find Raven. Grevlok was in his study reading, as usual. I was beginning to wonder if he ever did anything else?

When I entered the room he looked up and smiled warmly. "Good morning. Arianna told me how fetching you look in Silver's robe. She's right, you look exactly like him like that. I see you are ready for the amulet-making. Yes, you want to find Raven, I know this. You don't need to tell me, dear boy. I was a young man once too, you know." He grinned mischievously and bade me follow him into his laboratory.

He led me to a large table in the back of the room that had strange tools and books lying on it. He picked up a small ruby and held it up to the light for me to look at it. It was shaped like a sphere and the size of a gumball and looked extremely expensive.

"That must be worth a fortune! Can you just conjure those out of thin air?" What a neat trick that would be!

Grevlok put the ruby back onto the table, chuckling. "Oh no, dear boy. It doesn't quite work like that. Yes, I can conjure up a handful of gems, its an easy spell, but it only lasts an hour and then POOF they disappear back into the void where they came from. No dear boy, for working this type of magic you need the real thing. Luckily I have quite a number of connections that keep me in stock. Mind you, I'm not rolling in them, but I have a few for spell-casting. Now where was I? Oh yes, yes. Now you see, the ruby is for love. Now Arianna provided the second ingredient which we need, and that's a lock of Raven's hair. She recently brushed her hair so she had it. If it weren't for her quick hair brush, you'd be stuck. Now just wrap the hair around the gem and I'll tell you what to do after that."

I took the few strands of black hair and wrapped them around the gem as tightly as I could and then tied them around it securely. I looked up at Grevlok, ready for part two.

"All right, now you need to add a drop of your blood to the gem. Just prick your finger with that dagger there and drop two drops of blood onto the gem."

After I did that, he had me set the gem down onto a small crystal stand and showed me the spell I had to cast. It was a complicated one. I stumbled through as best I could, and Grevlok helped me with the pronunciation of some of the spell.

After we were through, I was holding a small ruby that could lead me to Raven, at least in theory. Grevlok explained. "The gem is set to operate like a compass. It'll show you what direction to follow by glowing when your facing the right direction. Its primitive, but it should work. Now, we just need to get you ready for your journey."

He led me upstairs to my bedroom and helped me pack for the journey. He gave me a small sack of gold coins for money and took an ornate silver dagger that I could use to defend myself if I needed to. He left, telling me to go through Silver's main spellbook, now mine, and make a traveling spellbook with the spells I might need. I asked him what kind of spells I should choose, and he told me to trust my instincts.

That didn't answer my question, though. I took out the huge volume from t he beside shelf and thumbed through it, hoping to find some kind of index. And sure enough, there was a rather nice index in the back of the book! It took two hours just to go through the entire thing, writing down the page numbers of spells that I thought I might need and by lunch time I had serviceable spellbook prepared. I had even found a spell that protected me from other wizards, a sort of anti-magic field that would surround me and keep spells out. A magic umbrella, I thought to myself, grinning.

Once I was relatively certain I was ready, I walked down the steps and found Arianna talking with Grevlok. Arianna asked me of I was ready. "Yeah, I suppose so." I was still uncertain as to exactly how I would be traveling.

"Well, have you ever ridden a horse?" I said no, I hadn't. They both frowned at me. Grevlok muttered "well that blows that idea" under his breath and then Arianna grinned. "Guess you'll just have to hoof it." I grinned and said walking was fine. With the ruby to guide me, I wasn't too concerned.

I set out immediately wanting to get a good start on things, and walked around in a circle, getting a bearing with the ruby and headed off in a southerly direction. I found the road and began following it, whistling a happy tune as I traveled, enjoying the afternoon despite the seriousness of my quest. It just felt good to get out of that tower and get fresh air.

I don't know how Arianna and Grevlok can stand being cooped up like a bird in a cage.

I passed a group of elvish children playing in a nearby field and they seemed to recognize me, waving and yelling greetings in the elven tongue, which thanks to Arianna, I could understand now. I called back a friendly hello as I walked past and soon found myself at a fork in the road. I checked the ruby and headed down the right fork, wondering how far Raven had traveled.

I walked down the wide dirt road for several hours before coming upon a small village that seemed to be populated mostly by dwarves, although I did see and elf or two here or there. Since it was going on evening, I stopped for the night at a inn I saw a little ways off the road. I walked inside and the place was crowded. There was an open dining hall where dwarves and elves alike were drinking and laughing and doing some other things which surprised me.

You just don't walk into restaurants and find couples screwing! At least not on my world. I usually sat at the back of these types of places, but that was where the copulating couples were, so I sat near the entrance, feeling uneasy in the place. Shortly, a barmaid appeared and smiled at me, and winked. She looked me up and down and her smile grew wider. "It's great to see you. You haven't been here in a while, you want the usual?"

Perplexed, I agreed. Hey what the heck, I thought to myself, go with the flow. She left and came back with a large mug of some kind of alcohol and gave it to me and left. I took a tentative sip and it tasted good actually.

I sat back and drank slowly and presently the barmaid came back carrying a bowl of what smelled like chili. She sat it down in front of me and warned me it was hot.

After I had eaten, she came back and told me to follow her. We went up a flight of steps and inside a small chamber that was filled with young woman of all shapes and sizes. She told me to pick which ever two I wanted. I was confused by this. I thought she was going to show me to a room where I could rest for the night. I thought I'd better humor her, because this world undoubtedly had strange customs I wasn't aware of yet. Most of the woman were elvish ladies that looked like they were in their mid-twenties.

I picked the two youngest looking ones, a short brunette and a busty redhead. They were both extremely pretty, but I wasn't sure what I was picking them for. Boy, was I thick-headed. The barmaid led me to a room where I could sleep and left me there without as mush as an explanation and two elves looking at me expectedly.

I asked them their names and they both smiled and uttered not a single word. They slowly started undressing and I just sat on the edge of the bed, shocked. They were both very beautiful, but I'm a one woman guy. I'm on this journey to find Raven, not to screw every female that opens her legs for me!

The young elven ladies, now stripped nude, stood before me proudly displaying their ample wares. It was time to bring this little game to a halt, but how to do it? Well here goes the direct approach.

"Ladies I must say you are both extremely lovely, and I appreciate you keeping me company tonight, but I have a confession to make. I didn't realize the nature of this place until we got here and you started undressing. I really came here for dinner and rest, not much else I'm afraid. Would it offend the two of you very much if we just slept? I'll pay whatever is customaryg, for I do appreciate the company. How does that sound?" That sounded so corny, I thought, as they looked at each other and grinned.

I was prepared to simply go to sleep, but the two young ladies had other ideas. They lay down together and began kissing passionately, seemingly not bothered by my presence. The brunette began kissing her way down her partner's body, paying ample attention to the large breasts that seemingly begged for her attention until she found her way down to the awaiting vagina of her ecstatic lover. She turned herself around, until her own sex was presented to the impassioned red-head. Soon they were eagerly feasting on each other's cunt and I was thoroughly enjoying the show unfolding right in front of me.

My hormones got the better of me and soon I had my cock out, masturbating furiously. This had been my sole means of sexual release until coming to this world, and found it ironic that I felt I couldn't indulge in any hanky panky just because Raven had claimed me as her own. Now however, my lust had overcame my senses and I wasn't thinking about anything beyond the two beautiful creatures happily making love to each other right in front of me.

The two ladies were moaning and thrashing about as their orgasms took hold of their bodies, and they slowly came back to their senses. The red-head noticed my frantic masturbation, smiled lewdly, and reached over and engulfed my erection into her mouth, sucking happily. The brunette didn't sit there however, she laid down beside me and she plunged her tongue into my mouth, kissing me with enthusiasm.

I couldn't take much of the red-head's furious sucking and my climax burst from me like a volcano erupting, my semen being swallowed as quickly as it escaped my body. The brunette kept kissing me through the whole ordeal and the next thing I knew, my cock was buried in a warm tightness that I had never felt before, and I broke the kiss to look down my body and the red-head was pouncing on my cock, facing away from me, her back arched and her head thrown back as waves of pleasure assaulted her senses.

The brunette climbed on top of me and presented her dripping cunt to my idle tongue. I clamped onto her protruding clit and eagerly sucked on it, making the brunette crazy as orgasm after orgasm rocked her body. I came violently, pumping my seed into the voluptuous red-head's sopping pussy.

She laid down beside me, sated, and the brunette took my wilting cock into her mouth, coaxing life back into it. After my erection was standing proudly again, the brunette impailed herself upon it, pistoning herself up and down for a few minutes and then she curiously stopped, and she slowly impailed my cock into her butt, whimpering a bit as it entered her fully,

She sat there, with my cock fully buried in her bottom for a full minute, and then began slowly moving up and down the length of my cock, giving me some of the most pleasurable sensations yet! Her butt was much tighter than any cunt I had fucked so far, and it felt unbelievable! I couldn't take much of this and quickly climaxed, sending my seed deep into her belly. We collapsed together and fell asleep, all three of us totally sated. In the morning I paid them both double their normal fee and left the brothel, for that's what it was, for the open road and a new day's adventure.

It all sounded glorious at first, and indeed the going was swift and a pleasant experience, until it started raining. Boy, did it start raining. It was raining buckets and here I was in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road without so much as an umbrella. I huddled my cloak around me and walked swiftly down the road hoping to come upon the next town or village or even a farm or something. Anything to get out of this downpour.

The funny thing was, I distinctly remember reading my large dictionary-sized spellbook and seeing a whole section on weather-affecting spells. Silly me didn't think I'd need any of them, so I hadn't bothered writing any down into my small spellbook I had with me. Good thing it was water-proof! I checked the ruby and it pointed to a spot deep in the woods, off of the road. I shrugged and entered the woods and mistakenly thought the woods would provide some protection from the rain, but nope, it didn't.

In fact, it seemed worse, with the leaves of the trees dripping on me as well as the rain coming through the branches. I went in the general direction that the ruby indicated and the terrain became rougher and rougher. It seemed pretty obvious that Raven had, at this point, assumed her tiger form because of the increasingly difficult path she was taking, if you could call it a path, that is.

The woods soon gave way to a low hill and I could make out a cave that looked inviting. I didn't even mind if I had to share it with a beast as long as I could get out of this god forsaken rain. I walked swiftly towards it and was glad when I stepped inside.

The cave was much bigger than it had looked. In fact, it looked like the entrance to some mine or something. I walked further into the cave and found myself in a large chamber with tunnels leading off in all directions. I did indeed look like a mine of some kind. I saw various digging tools scattered about on the ground.

I looked about and heard something coming down one of the tunnels. I flipped quickly through my spellbook and made myself invisible. It was an odd sensation, looking down and not seeing myself, but before I could really appreciate it, a small furry fellow came charging through one of the tunnels, looking tired and scared out of his mind.

He stopped as he neared my general location and sniffed around, as if he smelled me.

"W-who's there? Please help me! The witch is after me!" At that very moment, a leather-clad female came charging up the tunnel the disheveled guy had come from. She was dressed head to toe in form fitting black leather. In fact, the parts of her that showed was her face and mid section. She spied the little guy and screamed triumphantly, raising the whip she was carrying. She didn't see me either, of course. I braced myself and caught the end of the whip when it came down and yanked it hard. She fell hard onto the ground, emitting a "oomph" on her way down. That was the good news, the bad news was my invisibility ended the second I touched the whip.

Before she could recover, I helped the dwarf up onto his feet and introduced myself to the two of them.

"My name is Silver, I don't know what the story is, but I just wanted out of the rain when I came upon this little fellow. He seems to think you mean him harm. Do you?" I directed my questions to the lady, who was getting to her feet and dusting herself off.

She answered me directly. "I am Fyre, and this is my dungeon. All who enter this place must pay my price. Those who don't pay get whatever fate I see fit to deal them." I was still uncertain as to whether she was really a spell-caster of some sort as the dwarf had hinted at. I decided not to take any chances and cast the magic barrier that I had memorized.

As soon as I started casting the spell however, she zapped me and the dwarf with some kind of wand and the world went black.

Chapter 7

I woke up in a small cold cell that smelled bad. I was wearing nothing but my trousers and boots, and some kind of strange collar was around my neck. It was some kind of leather and I couldn't remove it. Okay, first things first. The cell door was locked and I knew just how to fix that. My flame arrow spell should fix that offending door nicely.

I stood back and cast the spell at the door but nothing happened. I tried again and each time I did, the leather collar vibrated slightly. It was keeping me from doing any magic, damn!

Things could be worse, I suppose. I couldn't give any particular examples right then, but I was reasonably sure of it. As I sat there feeling particularly sorry for myself, the cell door slowly opened and a small goblin-like creature stepped its head in the cell, pointing a sharp-looking spear at me.

"You come now, Mistress see you now." It grunted towards the corridor, and I stood up and walked in the direction it indicated. Time to have a little heart to heart with that witch lady and find out why she had taken me captive. I just wanted to resume my journey to find Raven.

The little goblin led me through a maze of passages and I saw many other humans, elves, and dwarves being led in groups or pairs down other passages. Before I could really get a good look at any of them however, we arrived at what can only be described as a throne room for some really demented person. There were statues all over the place giving the place an eerie feeling.

The creepy thing about the statues was that most of them had horribly frightened looks on their faces, as if they were warding off some terrible curse, or something. At the other end of the room was a raised dais which stood a tall black throne.

Sitting there was Fyre, as she had called herself. She was still dressed head to toe in black leather, but now wore my silver cloak around her. She sat there flipping through my spellbook looking bored as I approached. As I neared her, the little goblin came up beside me and grunted something I didn't catch and she dismissed it with a flick of her wrist. It quickly vanished into the shadows and I was alone with her.

"Looking good handsome, interesting reading material you've got here." She waved my spellbook at me, grinning sweetly.

"Why am I being held against my will? I only wanted shelter from the rain.

What you do in your own home is your business. I'm on a quest and want to get back to it."

She gestured at me. "Do tell. I suppose your searching for your one true love, right?"

"Well actually, to be honest, yes. That's exactly it. How did you know?"

She rolled her eyes at me and frowned. "I was being sarcastic."

"I wasn't," I said with a serious expression.

Her eyes grew wide for a moment, then she paused in thought. "Your serious?"

I nodded my head.

"Well whatever," She pulled the homing ruby out of a pocket and held it up to the light to examine it. "But please explain what this little bauble is for, it radiates enchantment, but I've been unable to ascertain its function."

"It's a homing gem. That's how I'm tracking Rav... um, my love. I was on my way to finding her when the rain started pouring and I simply sought shelter from the rain. Now will you please give me back my property and let me depart?"

She looked me over and grinned lopsidedly at me. "I see the truth in your statements. However, no one enters my dungeon and leaves without paying a price. Would you be willing to give up the gem for your freedom?"

"You know very well that I need that! I had with me a small pouch of gold on my belt. I'll give you that if you give me my freedom."

"Very well, you may go, but never again return to my domain, Someday I will extract a price greater than a gem or gold."

She took a small bag out from somewhere and returned all my things to me, including my spellbook and homing gem.

"What about this collar?"

"It will disappear once you leave. It's just to make sure you stay sociable until you leave." She grinned and led me down the passages until we were at the entrance to her cave. Just as she promised, the collar evaporated as I stepped out into the sunny forest.

I turned to say farewell but she was already gone. I looked at the gem and it pointed me to the right so I headed around the face of the hill and began traveling through the forest, glad to be underway once more.

Really, I'd successfully found a warm place to sleep for the night and I wasn't any worse for ware. Sure I was penniless now, but at least I could cast spells again.

I used the gem and followed its directions, and gradually, over the days that passed, I got closer to Raven and the gem glowed brighter and brighter. I had just entered a small clearing when the gem grew so bright that it momentarily blinded me in its intensity, and then an instant later, the gem crumbled to dust.

Great, now what? Did that mean Raven was right here somewhere? I looked around and found myself in a small clearing. A small stone stairway led right into the ground and several stone statues huddled around the top of the stairs. They were really weird statues too. Not your typical artistic poses, but horribly frightened creatures seemingly attempting to flee from some horrible fate. They looked very similar to the statues I'd seen in Fyre's 'throne room.'

Wonderful imagery, since I had to go down there anyway. I took one more look at the grotesque statues and headed down the stairs into the unknown darkness awaiting me. I walked down the steps for several minutes as the light grew dimmer and dimmer and soon found myself in near darkness. I quickly cast a light spell and it brightened the place considerably.

I took a look around. I stood in a large stone chamber relatively cubic, and corridors led off to the left and right. All over the place, more of the statues littered the place, some with frightened expressions on their faces, some with sad ones. One in particular that stood out from the rest was a huge statue of a dragon. It looked like it was ready to pounce on something, and I was sure glad it was just a statue!

Which way to go? Left or right. Well, I didn't have a coin to flip, so I just headed down the right tunnel looking at the statues as I walked along. Whoever lived must like statues, or perhaps was a sculptor. That would make sense. As I walked further, I began to get a prickly feeling on the back of my neck, and I felt like I was being watched. I looked around quickly but saw nothing.

I walked several more yards before coming to a small jewel-studded door that was imbedded in the north end of the corridor. Common sense told me it would probably be better if I didn't go in there, but my curiosity got the better of me and I reached out and turned the door knob, the door swinging inward slowly. Inside was a small study of some sort. Book shelves lined the walls, and a wooden desk sat in one corner with a recliner stuffed in another.

That wasn't what caught my attention.

A computer, of all things, was sitting on top of the desk, looking extremely out of place.

But that wasn't what caught my attention either.

A hooded dark figure sat in front of the computer, grinning evilly at me. I couldn't see much under the hood except the feminine lips grinning at me. It was a witch or sorceress or something of the sort, and it looked like she meant mischief.

And as intriguing as she was, that wasn't what grabbed my attention either.

There stood Raven, huddling in the far corner, looking frightened out of her wits. But it was a stone statue. And suddenly a horrible realization hit me.

Silver had died supposedly by a Medusa.

Stone statues *everywhere*.

Oh shit!

I quickly backed out of the door and slammed the door shut behind me, fumbling with my spellbook, looking for that 'protection from gazes' spell. I found it and cast it just as the woman flung open the door and kicked me in the stomach, sending me flying back against the opposite wall, momentarily stunned as the air rushed out of me.

She came up to me, leaned down in front of me and took off the hood, exposing her face to me. Even though I had cast the spell protecting me from that deadly gaze of hers, I was still apprehensive about looking into her eyes but when I did I was taken aback. She was beautiful. Oh sure, she was evil, her head of hair was really snakes and she most probably wanted me dead, but still she really was beautiful. She had bright green eyes that went with her green hair (the snakes) quite nicely.

My studious examining of her facial features instead of me turning instantly to stone must have really pissed her off, because she frowned after a minute or two and cast some kind of spell of her own. Then, her spell completed, she spoke for the first time.

"You've managed to protect yourself from my gaze, but you'll cast no other magic while your in my home. Now come with me, we need to talk. I see no reason we can't be civilized about this." She stood up and reached a gloved hand out to me, wanting me to walk with her. Oh sure, deadly enemy one minute, dinner date the next. Right. This was one messed up lady, I'll tell you that. Still, without my magic I was pretty helpless, so I might as well play along until I find a way out of this mess.

I took her offered hand and stood up, bowing slightly. "Paul Silver at your service."

---------

Arianna and I had shared a room that night at the inn and when we heard Paul screaming we ran into his room and found Paul in his bed covered in blood. Raven was curled up in one corner of the bed, a look of horror and disbelief on her face as she looked at the damage she'd done to Paul. She started crying and ran out of the room and we let her go, too worried about Paul to notice her leaving.

Lucky for us, Arianna found a healer or something and he gave this world's equivalent of an ambulance ride to some temple thing which, by the way Arianna explained it, sounded like a hospital to me. While the two of them were doing their magic thing I went out of the room and found Raven in our room, on one of the beds, sobbing and shouting at herself.

I went in and tried to calm her down, wanting to know what had happened. I managed to get the basic idea of what had happened. Apparently the part of her that's a tiger had been uninhibited by all the alcohol she'd drank. She said she didn't know it would affect her like that. But after I'd gotten that much our of her she ran out of the room and ran out of the inn.

Before I could even think of following her, Arianna came and got me and we went to this temple place with the healer guy.

We got there and Paul was rushed off somewhere and Arianna paid them some huge amount of some kind of money and they assured us he'd be fine. Well, I'd had it with this world and told Arianna that I wanted to go back to my world. She did something with her hands and suddenly I was standing in my bedroom. Wow, great aim. I went downstairs and told Aunt Sophie that I was back. I looked at my watch, it was almost suppertime.

I walked in the kitchen and found her about to fix dinner. I told her Paul and Raven had decided to visit with Arianna for a while and that they wouldn't be back in time for supper. We talked as I helped her fix supper for the two of us and Dad and I told her about our trip to Raven and Arianna's world minus the part about Paul getting hurt. Arianna had assured me he'd be fine so I trusted her and decided Aunt Sophie didn't need to hear about it. After supper I went up to my room and checked my email on my computer and found an email waiting for from Jackie. Jackie lived several miles over and we were the best of friends. I called her and we talked for a while.

She said her folks were going on a trip and she had some free time to come visit if I wanted her to. It sounded great so replied to her email and told her to head on over as soon as possible. It was settled, she'd be over tomorrow by mid-morning. I began wondering about the difference in time between our world and the fantasy one. Obviously time went by quicker in the fantasy world, because you can spend a week or two over there and only a few minutes will have gone by here. But the maddening thing about it was that the same should hold true for the other way around.

A couple hours over here should logically correspond to a few months over there at the very least, but Paul and Arianna had already proved that to be wrong. I put all thoughts of the fantasy world out of my mind and got out my diary and wrote of today's events in it. I pulled out the ring Grevlok gave me in case I wanted to get back to visit Arianna and Paul. Maybe I'd tell Jackie about all this. I bet she'd love it over there. She'd finally be able to use all those muscles for something other than lifting weights.

I could just see her stomping around in a leotard squashing monsters left and right. I giggled hysterically at the mental image I'd evoked. I *could* see her doing that, it made it that much funnier.

I went to bed still chuckling at the thought and had an incredibly weird dream revolving around Jackie and Arianna and woke up with Jackie sitting on the edge of the bed, smiling at me.

"Good morning, Di." She leaned forward and kissed me tenderly. "Wow, good morning! When did you get here?" I sat up in bed, the sheets falling away from my body exposing my small breasts to Jackie.

"Just now, your Mom and Dad are out painting or something so we have the place all to ourselves." She dove down onto my chest and locked her lips over my left nipple, sucking gently as she carressed my upper body. I let out a contented sigh and lay my head back, completely surrendering to her loving attentions.

Jackie and I had been lovers for years, although our parents knew none of it. We didn't think our parents knew, but neither of us dated boys since we were completely content with each other. We were planning on moving in with each other after high school and attending the same college together.

Suddenly my thought process came to shuddering halt as my body exploded in orgasm. Jackie had moved her attentions to my nether regions and she was feasting on my sex like a starved woman.

I writhed on the bed and moaned as she continued her assault on my senses. I was in heaven. Soon however, I couldn't take any more, and I pulled her up onto me and kissed her savagely, my tongue dwelving deeply into hers. She had been lifting weights since she was ten and had more muscles than I could count bulging everywhere.

She was a goddess and I felt so lucky that she loved me as much as I loved her. She lay beside me and we cuddled and kissed some more while I came back to reality.

"Diane, do you have some cousin visiting? There was some blonde girl on the porch with your Mom and Dad when I got here. Who is she?" Jackie mentioning my Mom made something inside me snap and before I could answer, I was sobbing in her arms. It was several minutes before she calmed me down enough to get anything out of me. Finally I managed to pull myself together and explained about Mom dying and Aunt Sophie coming to live with us along with Paul.

I also explained, in detail, about Arianna's world and her.

"Let's get dressed and go down and talk to her. I'll introduce you. She's an elf you know!"

As we were getting dressed, Jackie looked at me questioningly. "Elf?"

"Ya, you know, pointy ears and all that." We went downstairs and found the three of them on the front porch, Aunt Sophie painting Dad while Arianna sat and watched. Aunt Sophie greeted us without looking up from her painting and Dad looked over and smiled at us. Arianna motioned us over and we walked out onto the grass of the front lawn and sat down beside her. "Good morning Diane. Who's your friend here?"

I introduced Arianna to Jackie and they greeted each other warmly, obviously pleased with each other.

Arianna leaned me over a bit and whispered to me, "Does she know about you know what? I have some news..." I told her I'd told Jackie everything and that she could trust her. She smiled and sat back up. "Good, well Paul's gone to look for Raven and Grevlok helped him make a homing gem so Paul could find her. He's been gone now for over two months and we haven't had any news from him and we were worried when Grevlok and I couldn't get a good fix on him. Our tracking spell hasn't been able to get anything but static so far. That could mean trouble."

Just then we heard a thud behind us and we looked around to see Aunt Sophie standing behind us. "What are you saying? Paul's in trouble? Why didn't you tell me!" She sat down beside us and said "continue." Arianna did. "We have a way to track Paul down, but it'll take someone directly related to him for it to work. Sophie I was going to ask Diane to help, but quite frankly we'd get the job done a lot quicker if you were the one to actually use the talisman, you being his mother and all. Its dangerous enough that Grevlok is going with us. Perhaps with you and Diane both there, it will work even faster. We can but try."

Aunt Sophie looked at me and stood up. "Let me explain this to your father and then we'll go, all right? Wait just a minute." She walked up the steps and consulted Dad who had been watching us intently. After she was done, Dad stood up and walked over to us. "No way I'm missing out on this." He said with a crooked grin. We stood in a circle and held hands while Arianna spelled us over into her world.

Chapter 8

Arianna, Jackie, Aunt Sophie, Dad and I were all in Grevlok's tower, in his lab. We were sitting around talking, waiting for Grevlok to join us. Arianna was telling us about the culture and society in her world, Dad seemed especially interested in it, when Grevlok came in and introduced himself to the adults.

"Ah, good we're all assembled here." He bowed gracefully to Aunt Sophie and smiled. "You, dear lady, are Paul's mother I presume?" She nodded her head.

"Well let me first bring all of you up to date then. Paul's lady friend Raven ran off in tears when she had unintentionally injured him. He wasn't gravely injured and he was healed quickly, but poor Raven must think she killed him or some such. So she ran off and Paul, being the gallant hero, went off to find her. I helped him make a device with which he could track her, and he went on his way."

"Arianna and I knew he had a great talent for magic since his alternate self was a wizard just like us. In fact I taught Silver myself, so I knew Paul had the ability. So the two of us trained Paul in the ways of magic and he did indeed take it up quickly. We weren't going to let him go out on such a journey with no means to defend himself."

Grevlok sat back in his chair and looked over at Arianna. Arianna spoke up next. "Normally we could have just located Raven by magical means, but for whatever reason, that wasn't working with her, so we had to let Paul track her down personally. Now, we were tracking Paul's journey the whole way, making sure he didn't need our help. The problem was that at one point, when Paul had seemingly neared his destination, we lost him. We couldn't locate him the same way we couldn't locate Raven." She looked back at Grevlok. Neither of them liked giving long speeches so they were dividing it up.

Grevlok pulled a small wand out of his robe and held it up for us to see. "This is a homing wand. I've already set it to find Paul, and we need only for a blood relative to use it." He handed it over to Dad who in turn gave it to Aunt Sophie. She looked at it warily. "How do I use this thing?"

Arianna came over to her and instructed her on its use. It had a small blue gem embedded at one end and it functioned similarly to the one Paul had used, except this one was a lot more sophisticated. Small symbols glowed along the length of the wand which indicated how far Paul was in and in what direction. The only small problem was teaching us to read the symbols which were all Dwarvish runes.

It was going to be embarrassingly easy for Aunt Sophie to track Paul down with the wand, or so they hoped.

I was starting to get claustrophobic in this place and wanted to get going. "So when do we begin?"

Arianna looked at me and grinned. "Right now. Grevlok and I are going with you. We should have gone with Paul in the first place."

We left the tower and stood in the glade while Grevlok went about preparing himself for something. When he saw us all watching him, he grinned and hurried his efforts. "I'm going to try something that will speed up our journey considerably if it works. I'm going to attempt to teleport us to our destination. Most likely we'll have to stop several times to get our bearings but I believe, no I hope that this will work!"

We all gathered together in a tight circle and held hands. Aunt Sophie got the right direction with the wand and Grevlok made a few elaborate gestures and we were suddenly in the middle of a forest. Aunt Sophie got a fix on Paul's direction with the wand again, and Grevlok again magicked us to a new spot. This time we were standing in front of a cave. We checked the wand again and this time we stopped in a forest clearing.

There was a stone staircase leading down and several stone statues standing around. They all had horribly frightened expressions on their face and looked eerie.

Arianna's Pseudodragon Sudi, which was a small dragon about the size of a cat, flew off of its usual perch on her shoulder and landed on one of the statue's shoulders sniffing curiously. Arianna walked over to him. "What is it Sudi?" Arianna and her pet stared at each other oddly for a moment or two. "It's a person turned to stone? Oh my, that is serious! Grevlok come over here."

We all walked over to where Arianna stood and Grevlok pulled out another little wand out of his robes and touched it the statue's nose as Sudi flew over and landed on Arianna's left shoulder.

The statue quickly vanished and its place was a very frightened young woman. "Where am I? Where's the witch?"

Grevlok quickly explained the situation to her and she quickly left, eager to get home. Grevlok and Arianna went about turning the statues in the clearing back into flesh and blood, and as they finished, Arianna sighed loudly. "Well there's no doubting it now. There must be a medusa down there. Did you notice how those poor victims of hers referred to her as a witch? That doesn't sound good."

Grevlok went over to the staircase and peered down into the darkness. "This calls for some preparation."

------

The strange witch led me up some stairs and into a cozy little room with a fireplace and a small couch. She led me over to the couch and bade me sit down. She removed her robe and underneath was a neck to toe red leather jumpsuit that hugged her figure quite nicely. Still, I wanted to know what she'd done to Raven.

"What have you done with Raven?"

She smiled sweetly and looked over at me. "Why do you care about that kitty when you have me?" She ran her fingers over her bosom and grinned at me. What did she expect? That I'd forget the little detail that she'd turned Raven to stone and fall madly in love with her? She must be more messed up than I'd thought.

I got up from the little couch and walked over to the fireplace, gazing at the fire crackling within, trying to think of something I could do to get out of this situation. The witch got up and stood beside me, gazing at my face, studying my expression. "My name by the way, is Sarah." I gave her a questioning look and she giggled playfully. "No, it isn't a coincidence that your Aunt bore the same name. Not at all." She laughed at my confusion and took my hand. "Come, I want to show you something."

We went through several rooms and came up to a closed door. I stood in shock as I realized who I saw in there. It was me, or more precisely it was Silver. He was dressed in a robe similar to Grevlok's but it was silver and blue. He was indeed half-elven. He had pointed ears and his eyes slanted a bit but other than that we were twins practically. He looked up when he heard our footsteps and was just as shocked at my appearance.

She laughed as we looked at each other in total amazement. "Silver meet Paul Silver, your alternate self from the other world." She opened the cell door and threw me in. I landed at Silver's feet and she slammed the door shut, magically locking it once more. "I would stay and chat, but I have some more uninvited guests to attend to. Farewell." She walked away and I looked over at Silver. "We have got to get out of here. She turned Raven to stone! Is it possible to reverse the process magically?"

"Yes, it's possible. I could do it myself if I had my spellbook." I chuckled as I fumbled around in my robe. "That's easy to take care of, here." I handed him the small spellbook.

"This is your spellbook, and besides, it doesn't have the necessary spell in it. You went off looking for a medusa without the stone to flesh spell? What kind of wizard are you?"

"A very incompetent one I'm afraid. Grevlok and Arianna taught me the basics of spell casting, but I'm still learning I'm afraid. At least I had the sense to caste the gaze resistance spell before confronting her, or this would be a very one sided conversation." I said, smiling.

"Yes I suppose so." He sat back down and looked down at the floor.

"She's had me locked up in here for over a year. I always hoped Arianna or Grevlok would come rescue me but no one ever came."

I looked over at him frowning. "Everyone thought you were dead, Raven included."

He frowned at that and looked down at the floor. "I haven't seen her for a long time."

I sat down on the floor of the cell and tried to think of something that would help us get out of the cell. It was then that I remembered that dagger that I'd put in my pack back in Grevlok's tower. I looked in my pack (which the witch had conveniently forgotten about) and took it out and showed it to Silver. "Can you use this to pick the lock?"

He looked up briefly and stared at the dagger. "Nope, the door's been locked magically. Not much we can do until she comes back. Grevlok was originally from your world you know. When he came over here, he learned the ways of magic from a master wizard just like I'm, well we're, doing from him. But the gateways to your world have been closed for years. They became too unstable to use and finally disappeared. I wonder how they became re-opened?"

I looked over at him and wondered the same thing myself. However it happened, I'm certainly glad it did, otherwise I would have never met Rav... what am I thinking? She's Silver's wife! Now I was as depressed as Silver was, albeit for different reasons.

------

After Grevlok and Arianna cast some protective spells, we went down into the gloom, lit only by Grevlok's staff, and were confronted with dozens, if not hundreds, of more statues that held more victims.

I felt bad for all those people, but I was more concerned with finding Paul. We began walking down the sparse corridor and stopped only when Sudi flew off of Arianna's shoulders and flew around to a large statue of a dragon. Sudi seemed upset about something and Arianna quickly went over to him, communicating with him.

She spoke up, "Sudi says its a real dragon, someone he knows, but a dragon couldn't be affected by a medusa's gaze! Its inherent magic resistance would protect it from that, surely. What do you think Grevlok?"

Aunt Sophie looked at me questioningly and I just shrugged. Dad seemed fascinated by the dragon and went over to it with Grevlok.

"Yes, I agree. I don't understand it either.

Grevlok pointed his wand at the dragon and it suddenly came to life, pawing the ground angrily. Sudi flew up to it and the two of them seemed to have a *very* interesting conversation, unfortunately Adrianna failed to translate it for us. The dragon flew off, I guess it was just glad to be free again.

"I propose that we continue on our way." Grevlok stated.

We walked up to the corridor and came to the open doorway that Paul had so recently, unknown to us, met the witch in and peered inside. I was the first to see Raven and I pointed her out and ran over to her with the others right behind me. Grevlok immediately turned her back to normal and she collapsed in my and Jackie's arms.

"Raven are you okay? How did you get here?" I asked, concerned. Before she could say anything, the door shut behind us and a lady in a red leather jumpsuit stood facing us. The witch, I presumed. Raven quickly closed her eyes and cowered in my arms, obviously frightened. I looked more closely at the lady and saw that her hair was really snakes, gross.

"Uninvited guests, how nice." She raised her arms up in the air hurled some spell at us, but it didn't reach us, instead it bounced back straight at her. She was unprepared for this and disappeared in a plume of smoke. Grevlok began laughing hysterically. He had to lean against his staff to keep from falling over. Arianna seemed to share in his mirth but the rest of us were puzzled.

Arianna saw our confusion and let us in on the joke. "She tried to send us to hell, but one of the spells Grevlok cast before we came down here was a 'spell deflection' spell that made her spell bounce right back at her. If she'd been an experienced witch she would have thought of that. That's one of the oldest tricks in the book!!" She and Grevlok chuckled a minute more and then grew serious.

"Well let's go find Paul. He must be here somewhere." Grevlok said while leading us out of the small room. I noticed the computer sitting there and mentioned it to Arianna who seemed interested in it. We walked up a small flight of stairs and found a small room with a fireplace and a couch and another doorway leading somewhere.

-----

Silver and I had been in the cell for about two hours when we finally heard footsteps approaching. It was, well, everyone! Mom? What the heck was she doing here? At least Raven was all right. They came up to the cell door and Arianna had it open in a flash and came in and hugged her brother tightly. "Silver! You're alive!" It was a teary reunion for both of them and I walked out of the cell and approached Raven.

"Well I'm glad your okay. Guess who I found?" I smiled broadly and gestured behind me. She was dumbstruck. She slowly walked over to Silver and looked into his eyes as he untangled himself from his sister and turned toward Raven. "Raven..."

I couldn't stand there and watch it. It hurt too much. Now that Silver was back, Raven would be going back to him. They were, after all, married.

I walked out of the hall and back to the entrance and went outside, sitting down on a rock and cried. I hadn't cried when Aunt Sarah died, hadn't cried when Dad left Mom and me, but I did now. I heard footsteps behind me, and turned around finding Mom there looking concerned.

I walked over to her and buried my head in her shoulders, and cried. Things get a little fuzzy after that. Mom told me later that she had Grevlok spell her and me back home and she held me on my bed until I cried myself to sleep. When I woke up, I was alone in my room and I heard voices outside in the hallway. There was a knock at my door and Raven walked in and closed the door behind her.

"I know you probably don't want to talk right now, but I think we should. Your mother seemed very concerned for you. Paul why did you just assume I'd blindly go back to Silver?" I sat up in the bed and she sat down in my lap, facing me.

"But you're married to him. He has more of a right to you than I do." I couldn't make myself look into her eyes. She took my chin and made me look up at her.

"Paul there's something you ought to know. It turns out the only reason the gateway between our worlds was open was because of that witch opening them. When she was killed, they became unstable again. I'm afraid the gateways have collapsed completely. There was little time to think about it, Grevlok had to send your Uncle, Diane, and her friend back over here before it collapsed and I just had to come back for you. So it looks like your stuck with me, big guy."

She kissed me playfully on the lips and sat back, grinning from ear to ear. "You mean?" She nodded yes and kissed me again. "I love you Paul. Don't you see that? Silver was always so wrapped up in his magic studies that he hardly had time for me, that's why Arianna was so mad that I took him away from her. They were lovers before he met me you know. They're more suited for each other then he ever was for me, you know. Then I found you. You were a dream come true for me. So you are mine now, deal with it!" She kissed me savagely and I eagerly returned the kiss, not believing my good luck. I thanked god for bringing her back to me and put all my attentions on the woman in my lap. Soon we were both nude and she was on top of me, slowly fucking me while we continued kissing.

She arched her back and orgasmed violently, crying out in abandonment. Unnoticed by us, who wouldn't notice if a missile hit the house at that point, Mom opened the door a crack and smiled when she saw us, then closed the door quietly and went back to the living room to find *her* man. She was horny as hell and needed a good fuck as much as Raven had. She found Jack in their bed reading and quickly stripped off her nightgown, standing nude in front of the bed.

Jack looked up from his book and found the beautiful, nude Sophie standing there looking horny.

"Wow, what's the occasion?" He put the book down and grinned over at her, unbuttoning his shirt.

"Raven screwing my son silly, getting me horny as hell. Think you can handle it?" She smiled mischievously and crawled onto the bed, spreading her legs for her lover. Jack entered her easily and both of them sighing contentedly.

Diane and her girlfriend Jackie were similarly occupied, making slow love to each other, both eagerly devouring the others' sex.

Raven and I made love all night practically and slept until noon the next day. Within a week, both Raven and Mom found out they were pregnant and Mom and Uncle Jack got engaged. I proposed to Raven the very next day and we got engaged as well. I don't know what the future will hold for us, but we can face it as long as we're together.

The End?