Chapter 1



Mariel was very enthusiastic partner when it came to sex. Our first night after our marriage was a voyage of discovery, for the both of us. I wondered if the Gods had a hand in that.

Ever read or hear of someone saying... 'kissing their partner was an electric experience'? Or you 'got a jolt of lightning' or experienced a shock of some sort? I thought I had that with Darla, but no...

Kissing Mariel was a bolt of pure bliss. It also led to her first time having sex. Yes, she was a virgin when we married. After the initial first time, which was a little uncomfortable for Mariel, she turned into a very eager and willing student.

Salvadi had offered us a very nice hunting lodge in the mountains in his kingdom. At Vostich's urging, I took him up on it, and was glad I had. It made a perfect honeymoon spot.

Mirwanna surprised Mariel and me with a new set of apartments in the palace after we returned from our honeymoon. I had gotten to know my young bride better on our getaway. She was a shy person with new people, but once you got to know her, she blossomed. She had a very sweet personality, and was very intelligent. Young Trayla came along as her 'lady' in waiting.

Besides teaching Mariel, um, sex, I continued her magical education. She was very good and caught on very quickly to the things I taught her. What did surprise me, was that Trayla had the ability to do magic, also.

Oh, she was not a powerful magic user, but she was becoming competent with the basic spells and low-level magics. When I taught her a couple of spells I would term mid-level, she struggled. It took everything she had, to do just one, and she was exhausted after casting it.

Trayla's problem was her connection to the magic field was very weak. I had decided that when I returned to Landkur, I would make a collector that she could use. That would allow her to cast bigger spells, and the power would be provided by the storage device.

With the storage device, she could cast a couple mid-level spells before it had to recharge, or she could do endless basic spells which would hardly drain the device at all. I could make it so it continuously drew in and stored power from the magic field. There would be a cut off point where it would collect only so much, because it was full.

It was late summer, now. I was still leery of going to the temple. The Gods having returned just now, worried me. From what I understood, they had been asked to leave and stay away physically by the Creator Of All. Now it seemed they were allowed back. I got a chill that ran up and down my spine, particularly at the back of my neck.

Since it was a warm, clear day, I asked Mariel what she thought of having a picnic. There was a spot out by a part of the lake, that I knew would not be crowded with people. I had seen it as I overflew the area, while practicing flying in my dragon form.

She was agreeable. Of course, the little minx (Trayla) had to come along, also. So we gathered the picnic supplies and when we were ready, I teleported us to the spot I wanted. Perfect! It was a little cove that had a nice sand beach, and was hard to get to from landward.

Trees populated the area, but did not crowd it. All in all, it was a great place for a picnic. I had brought a blow up beach ball with me. [Hey, it was included in the supplies Vivian bought. Don't ask me.]

I blew it up, and we had fun playing 'keep it off the ground' while trying to get the other party to drop it. Trayla was very adept at the game, and did her best to double team against me, with my wife.

We finally got hungry, and got the food out. It was good! Fried chicken, ham, bread. I had brought cold sodas along, and they went well with everything. I had made potato salad, again. Everyone who ate it seemed to love it!

I leaned back against a little hill, and watched my wife and Trayla walking along the shore, dipping there feet, and running back from waves, laughing. I smiled. It was a beautiful day, and life was good.

I saw the girls look my way, then they took a look out to sea. Finally, they started to take off their clothes!

"Hey! Someone might see you! I know you didn't bring swimsuits!" I shouted to them.

"You said it yourself. No one comes here. I think, with one exception, only a dragon could see us. And you don't count, you're my husband," Mariel said, still removing her clothes.

"Well, what about young Trayla? Won't she be embarrassed about me seeing her without clothes?" I asked, as they got closer to me, each with an armful of outer clothing.

"I trust you. Besides, it's not like I have anything to look at, yet," Trayla said, pulling off what passed for an undershirt in this land. That was followed by her pants, which were like old-fashioned 1800's bloomers on that other earth.

I looked away from Trayla, and watched my wife strip her clothing. Yes, she had a nice little body. As her breasts were exposed, her nipples hardened. Nicely red in color, they topped off small breasts that were a comfortable handful. I looked at Trayla. She had a slightly rounded chest with little pink nipples.

What was I doing comparing these two girls breasts? Was I being a pervert? I thought about it. No. I just had two girls in front of me, and I was comparing. There was nothing sexual in it, that I could feel. I breathed a sigh of relief. It was just a normal 'guy thing'. In a situation of having more than one female to look at, guys look. It's what guys do.

Mariel removed her pants, and was now as naked as Trayla. Her mound was lightly topped with light brown hair. She was a very white color all over her body except her face hands and neck. Both of them were. Trayla was hairless down there. Well, she was a young girl, after all.

"Well, are you going to join us or not?" Mariel said archly.

I thought for a moment as these two naked girls looked at me. Correction. One naked girl, one naked woman. What the hell.

"Sure, give me a minute, and I'll be ready," I told them.

I quickly undressed and we all ran splashing into the water. We splashed each other, dunked each other, and swam. We had a great time. We got out, but none of us had thought to bring towels. We lay out in the sun, drying the old fashioned way. All in all, it was a very good day.

We finally dried off enough to get dressed. We sat and talked about nothing, really. Trayla was curious about learning more magic. I had her practice a couple small spells. She got them down very quickly.

One involved a small levitation spell, and another was a defensive shield. You couldn't go wrong with a defensive shield. After she had it in place, I cast a few spells at her, watching her shield as I hit it with them.

Her shield would fluctuate a little. That was due to her uncertainty, which was why I was being careful with my spells. I didn't want to overwhelm her. She needed to build confidence in her abilities, and me crashing her shield right away, wouldn't do that.

Mariel helped out by cheering each time Trayla staved off one of my attacks. Trayla had a big grin on her face. She looked so pleased to have managed to hold me off. I finally stopped and nodded. Then I advised her on ways to keep her shield stronger and more firm.

Trayla and I took turns casting at Mariel. Trayla was very enthusiastic, but could not breech Mariel's shield. I cast more powerful spells, and finally decided to stop before I actually got through. She had a very good shield; but I knew, after the second or third spell, that I could have breeched it. It would have taken a big spell, but it would have gone down.

A shadow went over us. I looked up. A dragon and rider was circling. I reached out and contacted the dragon.

(Am I needed back in Landkur?) I asked it silently.

(Nay, Lord. I am the guard assigned to ensure you and your family's safety, as commanded by Fithian, ) answered the dragon.

Great. Now I couldn't take care of myself. I sighed. Ok, I understood. Still, it was aggravating to me.

"Well. We have been tracked down. Shall we return to the city? It just isn't the same with a guardian flying overhead," I said sighing.

"You mean you only just now noticed the dragon" Mariel asked me.

"Yes, why?" I asked her.

"Didn't you hear me say with the exception of a dragon, none could see us? I was talking about the dragon that was above us since about 20 minutes after we got here," Mariel said with exasperation.

"Oh," I replied eloquently.

The girls laughed at me. Great. Here I was, 'the big important magic user', 'the man with a connection to the Goddess Ishla', and I wasn't aware of a dragon overhead. I snorted at myself. I really had to learn to pay better attention to my surroundings.

Swimming always made me hungry. Since we had gone through all the food already, I told them I was ready to head back. With only a little grumbling from Mariel (and a loud protest from Trayla), we gathered our picnic remains. I deflated the beach ball, and we packed everything for the teleport back to the palace.

After we got back to the palace, Mariel and Trayla went their separate ways, most likely to their apartments. I was intercepted and with a most politely worded command. I was asked to make myself available for Mirwanna.

I brushed off my clothes, and made my way to her waiting room. As I entered, I saw that a priestess of Ishla was already seated there. She rose, and nodded to me. I nodded back politely.

I did not know how to treat someone who was a representative of an actual Goddess. She smiled and reseated herself. I took a seat opposite her. I wondered what this did to her world view.I was a direct descendant of the Goddess she served. Did that make me something special, or something to worry about?

Shortly, the both of us were summoned into Mirwanna's office. She had coffee and coco set up. I raised an eyebrow. This was definitely from my stash! Mirwanna just grinned, and asked the priestess if she wanted something.

I helped myself to a cup of coffee and saw a bowl of refined sugar. More of my dwindling supplies seemed to have migrated to Mirwanna's office for her use. I poured a cup of coco for the priestess and asked her if she wanted sugar added. She declined, and sipped her drink daintily.

"Now, then. I asked the priestess of Ishla to come and explain the God's return to the land. I have not heard an explanation yet, and I know you haven't either, Paul," Mirwanna said simply.

The priestess sighed, and put down her cup.

"Hundreds of years ago, the great Creator Of All had asked the Gods to step aside and remove themselves from direct contact with us, the children. We are all considered children to the Creator, as well as to the Gods.

"While they could come in spirit form, or take on the body of an avatar, direct psychical manifestation of their bodies was denied to them. They, themselves, denied this. The Creator is allowing them back for a serious reason. Someone has opened a gateway to a realm of demons," the priestess said.

Mirwanna gasped. I took that to mean demons were very dangerous.

"Demons? Uh, just how powerful is a demon?" I asked.

"The Gods can handle them quite easily. The demi-Gods can handle several at a time if necessary. Your grandfather, Fithian can go one on one with a demon, and win. With you and the princess... well, it is a toss up. Training will help," the priestess said.

"I thought demons were very powerful, um, evil beings?" I asked, not really knowing and damning myself for not knowing.

The priestess gave me a curious look. "No. Some demons are very minor beings who have hardly any power. Then there are the ones who are powerful. The demons run to different power abilities, as we do.

"As for being evil... well, some are. The gate that was opened, was opened to a universe that definitely has beings of considerable power. That is why the Creator allowed the Gods to come back. They are needed to offset the demons and defend this world," the priestess finished with a sigh.

I sat back and thought about it. Mirwanna was asking questions that the priestess was unable to answer, or just wouldn't. So, demons had power structures, just like we did. If I understood what she was telling Mirwanna, they also had a rank structure, similar to ours.

"Wait a minute. You just told Mirwanna that the Gods had a rank structure? Does this mean that there are very powerful demons on the other side?" I was grasping at a thought.

"Yes. The higher in rank they are, the more powerful," the priestess replied.

"Then," I said slowly, " it seems reasonable to assume they have a counter to our Gods, doesn't it?" I asked with a chill.

"We have not seen demons of that power as of yet. However, it cannot be ruled out. That the Creator invited the Gods back to help with this problem, is a good indicator that powerful demons have either come through already, or that they are in a position to come through the gateway," the priestess said a bit sadly.

Wonderful. We had just ended a war, and we were still recovering from it, and now this. It was definitely like that old Chinese curse said: 'May you live in interesting times'. Well, 'the times' were getting a bit too 'interesting'. I could do with a nice year, or twenty, of no troubles.

I got more coffee. I looked at the priestess and Mirwanna. They were sitting close together, talking softly about demons. I looked with my other sight at the priestess. She blazed with POWER!

A green glow of power seemed to emanate from her. She had perhaps one of the most powerful aura's I had seen; with the exceptions of Fithian, Vostich, and, of course, the Goddess. She definitely was not someone to mess with.

With the exception of learning that while all demons originated from other realities, not all were evil beings;. it was unfortunate that the masses considered all demons to be evil. The priestess insisted that this was not the case. Unfortunately,, the gate that had been opened, was opened to a land of demons who were evil, for the most part.

We did not know who opened the gate. No spell, precognitive or otherwise, had been able to penetrate the black barrier surrounding the gate. The events and the person or persons that had opened it, were still unknown. I sat there for a while, trying to get some inside information myself. I cast several different informational spells. and failed.

I considered summoning, 'Arch Angel', but thought that I had to put some very potent protections on it. While it was based in the other world, and had very good protections there, I was not certain that someone here could not take it over.

I was quickly lost in figuring out how to program my magical interface, with magical protections. I had originally created, 'Arch Angel', because I was not that good with computers. Oh, I could do basic operations, and even basic programming, but with '"Arc Angel' I just told it what I wanted, and it did it.

I had a sudden thought. Wasn't there a magical school located in my city?

"Mirwanna? Isn't there a school for magic somewhere in the city?" I asked during a lull in her conversation with the priestess.

"Yes. It is actually located a few miles southwest of the city. Why? Do you think they can help with this problem?" Mirwanna asked curiously.

"Indirectly. I am looking into an idea having to do with 'Arch Angel'. I was thinking of setting it to gather information, but I want to protect it from magical attacks," I said distractedly.

"'Arch Angel'?" The priestess asked confused.

So I explained 'Arch Angel' to her. She seemed to disbelieve it at first. So I summoned it, and let her look at it. She was absolutely amazed at its appearance. She'd had no experience with anything like this.

I explained that it was a magical interface with an information gathering system. I wanted to expand that system, to start gathering information here. I watched the priestess looking with fascination at my 'Arch Angel'.

It was something to see, all right. 'Arch Angel' was a being that was magically projected. It was seven feet high in the form of a man. It had wings coming from its back, stretching up to the ceiling, and they even fluttered occasionally. It looked magnificent!

I explained some of its functions, and Mirwanna asked if it could replay television shows. Ok, I fell right into that trap. I said of course, and went on, but Mirwaanna interrupted m., and she asked it to play a TV show she had gotten hooked on back on earth, when I had taken her there.

I rolled my eyes, and explained that 'Arch Angel' would not accept just anyone's orders. I had to give it instructions on who would be granted access to it, and at what level that access would be granted.

The priestess interrupted the both of us.

"Why not take it to the Goddess, and have her look it over. Perhaps She could give it the protections you wish it to have," she said hesitantly.

I stared at her. Now why hadn't I thought of that? Because I was still very uncomfortable with the idea of actual Gods being there to answer questions, question you, and to interact. I sighed.

"Could you make an appointment with Ishla for me?" I asked the priestess.

She grinned at me and said, "You're family. You can come anytime you wish. She has already said she always has time for family," the priestess finished with a friendly smile, and pat on my shoulder.

Great. Familial obligations aside, being related to an actual Goddess still made me nervous. I heard a soundless chuckle coming from... well, everywhere. I looked at Mirwanna and the priestess. They did not appear to have heard the chuckle. I sighed.

I dismissed 'Arch Angel', over Mirwanna's protestations. I really had to do something about this addiction she had to a certain TV show. Having a Goddess look over my magical interface, seemed to be a very good idea. If she could give it the protections it needed, then I could set it to gathering information at a very high rate of speed. We might even get some information about the demons, very quickly indeed.

Edited By TeNderLoin

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