Castle Roland


by D'Artagnon


Chapter 5

Posted: N/A

Getting Your Goat (and Keeping It!)

Unfortunately, it was two somethings sharp.

Let me back up a bit. Okay, deep breath… better.

Now, we got over to Kenny's house. A nice split-level on a deep sloping hill. Must be a great place to sled down after snow flies. Kenny's Dad has the upstairs bedrooms for his own and so basically, Kenny has the entire downstairs area, aside from the utility room, to himself. It's a large place down there, with his bedroom taking fully half the floor space and the other half set up as a fencing area. Yeah, I know, this family is seriously into swords. Kenny must be training for the Olympics, you'd think. Then again, I know part of his secret for that.

I still have trouble getting around the image in my brain, now. Kenny, his awesome gray eyes done over in Egyptian blacks, like a tattoo of the Eye of Ra, his skin tight chain mail shirt and the leather strips of his armor, bejeweled, glinting of silver. Radiating power and light and his smile, at once cunning and challenging, but at the same time friendly, beguiling, intoxicating.

Oh yeah, I got it bad, alright. And the strangest part of that is that I've apparently had it bad for centuries. And I just met Kenny two days back.

But I'm detracting from my narrative here. You want the back-story, go read the first four chapters!

He had opened my eyes with the Enchanted Stroke, literally ripping me into the world of magic that exists beneath the skin of the banal world we all know and at times despise. It shocked me to the core how he did it, but now, it was sinking into that same core, fusing with it and making a lot of things click. Don't ask me how, you just take things as they come some times and deal with how it affects you later. This was definitely one of those times.

So, down in Kenny's basement room, complete with his own huge couch, we drop my overnight kit and find places to sit. He retreated to the comfort of his own bed, a large wave-less water mattress type, going up to the corner and leaning back against the junction of headboard and wall. I parked my rear on the sofa and drew my legs up to my chest, still not sure what all was going on. My head was still buzzed from the enchantment, and occasionally things from that aspect of what I was coming to think of as reality would leak across my vision.

His room was as much a mishmash of stuff as mine was at home, although in a different way. I had polar bears everywhere, two sports posters and a few pictures I had drawn in art class. My computer desk takes up a good bit of my room and I have tons of paper and books. Kenny's room was more like a trip through a National Geographic editor's office. Aside from the just massive size of the room, he had a big screen TV, a decent stereo set and PS2 on one wall, with a giant beanbag on the floor. The couch was on one wall, opposite the waterbed and a small night table. Much of the space in the room was open. The walls were covered with maps and images of different countries. I mean, literally covered, almost like wall paper, but with tacks and tape. Clearly, Kenny liked to travel.

He also had all manner of fencing gear and posters showing various fencing positions, some of them apparently taken from text books dating back to the Dark Ages. The room was awash in his passion for swords, it seemed. He even had a few on display, some oriental ones, some from Arabia, and quite a collection of them from modern fencing styles and ancient European cultures. I had a momentary flash of some of those weapons from the enchanted point of view and they had gleams and glows and embedded gemstones and wild fly-aways of beautiful craftsmanship, all of it far too wondrous to be real in the world I had grown up in. He also had several different variations on the single sticks we used in Jedi class. Seems he was their builder.

We had been silent most of the way over to the house. Strange. Before he had stabbed me and Enchanted me, Kenny and I were like two wild creatures at play. Loud, boisterous, energetic beasts of boys we were. Now, it was almost as though we were returning from a funeral.

"What're you thinking?" he asked me. This was a side of Kenny I hadn't seen before. He was normally so confident, so talkative. Hell, we had been joking and passing bad accents and movie quotes at each other all day, more or less developing a mutual metaphorical dialect between us. We'd even been more verbal with each other while the two of us were fitting me for a cup, which I was still wearing, strangely enough.

I should pause a moment here to inform anyone with the dirtiest of minds to remember details that the cup was much roomier now, and that it was not home to anything even remotely wood-like at the moment. So much was pouring through my mind that… well, there's this joke about god and how he gave men only enough blood to operate one of their heads at any one time. Obviously it holds true for boys as well, and the brain was on stunned overdrive.

"I'm wondering about how you looked before. If I'll look like that when… when I change."

"I can't tell you that. I know it's not fair, and I shouldn't have jumped the gun like that, but…."

"But you were anxious," I replied, finishing his thoughts. "You had waited a long time and impatience got the better of you." I looked across at him, and for a moment, I could almost see the submerged true form of him shimmering brightly beneath his human shell. God, if I look half as good as he does in the true form as he does, it's not a bad thing. Of course, even his human body was awesome, as far as I was concerned. I shook my head. Here I was, still having passion attacks over Kenny, even though he now was like two people instead of one (there goes the "two heads" theory!).

"So, if I'm really Robyn, what does that make you? Batman?"

"I guess an introduction would help matters some, huh?" he smiled. "You know me in the mortal world as Kenny Tannagord. In the enchanted world I am Kay Neth the Steel-Eyed, an Eshu." He bowed slightly, despite being curled up in the corner and did that Middle Eastern greeting thing where they touch their foreheads, lips, heart and then let their palm drop open towards the ground. It suddenly seemed right for him. He was, after all, the most exotic person I'd met in a long time, especially with his awesome eyes.


"Think of my Kith, the Eshu, as the Indiana Jones' of the enchanted world. We are travelers and story tellers and we can't seem to keep out of trouble. And we are never far from the true path in any situation. That talent is what led me here to you."

"Okay, so what's a Kith?"

"The different races of the Fae." He looked over at me. "I don't want to give away too many secrets right now about that. It might affect how you break your chrysalis."

"You haven't given me a great deal of information to go on so far, Kenny," I said, a lot less surly than it sounds. I wasn't angry with him, at least not anymore, or as much. I was really just confused and scared and worried because a lot of what I was hearing was making all kinds of sense and all of it was on the feelings side of my brain. The thinking side still had a lot of catching up to do.

"I know, Robby. But I have to tell you this. Once you do undergo chrysalis, you will have to do like all changelings in this world do. You will have to live in both worlds. To live only in one will drive you crazy."

"I feel like I'm going crazy already," I replied. "Not because it doesn't make any sense, but because it does." I looked up at him and felt something else click. An emotion. More than just passion attacks, something between us, as ancient as the world, fell back into place. It's weird to suddenly feel so old at 13, yet still feel like eternity spreads out before you. Maybe that's the reason that I wasn't wigging out completely; because it had happened before, and so many times before.

"That oath means more than friendship," I said. I wasn't asking it, but I knew that Kenny would verify it anyways.

"It's far more than what friendship in the mortal world means, yes."

"We were very close in our former lives. We were… lovers?" I said, the word feeling unnatural coming out of my mouth. I mean, despite all this supernatural mumbo-jumbo, I was talking about a boy. Hell, I'd never even thought of any girl as a lover, yet. Oh, there were jerk off fantasies involving girls. Boys, too, for that matter. But no one was special enough for me to think of as a lover, at least not in the sense of someone to love, or make love with.

It's a funny word, lover. Sounds like so much more than it ought to be for such a small word. Guess you never think about words or their meanings until you feel yourself in the power of the word.

Kenny dropped a shy smile that was half embarrassed, half ironic, and half happy (three halves?). I guess the best word that fits his face then would be bashful, although not really ashamed. "Yes, that we were. Um, I know you aren't fully back yet but… I couldn't help it."

"The Enchantment?"

"Yeah. I was feeling the loneliness." He hugged his knees against his chest in the corner. "I apologize, milord. It wasn't fair."

"Okay, time out! What's with all this milord business?" I said. I know that before we had been acting British and dropping accents at each other, all in fun. This seemed something more though.

"You are considered a minor noble among changelings," he answered, levelly. "A knight, in fact."

"A knight?"

"There is a social structure among those of our kind. Until you get your legs under you… " He paused for a moment, a sudden look like he'd said too much coming across his face. But it was already said. He swallowed and continued, but later I would realize exactly how close to giving things away that was. "Think of it as a feudal system, with lords and dukes and knights and such. You were knighted a few dozen centuries back, but I can't tell you why."

"Because it might affect my change?"


"What will the change be like?"

He thought about it for a minute, in an expression that at once was familiar and somehow set my heart to thumping. See, he wasn't even trying to turn me on and something about how he just looked thoughtful was making me get anxious. I understood why he had to Enchant me. Had the situations been reverse, I'd probably have Enchanted him and then jumped his bones. I was beginning to feel that some aspects of my personality were clicking more… part of my Fae self emerging, making its presence felt? Probably. Could be I was just a little horn dog geek that thought intelligence and good looks was a damn sexy combination.

"It will probably come on you suddenly. Like a flash of lightning. You'll feel it and know it. It will surge through you and your body will actually change You'll feel different, like you are in two places at once."

"Will it hurt?"

"Usually it doesn't. Actually, it's usually pretty awesome. When I went through chrysalis this last time… I kinda made a mess of my underwear, you know… up front."

"Oh," I said. I musta been grinning like an idiot, because he grinned back. "I'm having really dirty thoughts about you," I admitted.

"That sounds fairly familiar."

"You aren't shocked, I guess. You must remember things that I'm only feeling the hints of."

"Well, strangely enough, every incarnation since we met, we've been together."

"I'll bet. Is it always like this though?"

"What do you mean?" he returned, uncoiling his legs and leaning forward.

"Do you always… um, chrysalis first?"

"No, but I usually wind up finding you, never the other way around."


"Yeah," he said, his voice getting husky and low. God, he's got a voice that just grabs you and holds on tight. Like his eyes, there's just so much about Kenny that draws you in and drowns you and then mixes you in with him.

Did I say passion attacks? I was practically breaking through the cup from the inside!

"Can I… can I touch you?"

"Oh, god, I wish you would," he said, "but we should probably wait. You might go into chrysalis if we start doing… well, you know. And I don't know if I can withstand that much Glamour as well as your skin. It's enough as it is for me to just hug you sometimes. It…"

"Makes you feel like you're finally whole?" I finished for him. He nodded and moved to the end of the bed, towards me. "What was that you just said? It almost made sense to me."

"Glamour?" This time I nodded, and I sat forwards on the couch, leaning forward towards him. I could make out the scent of him now, breathing deeply. If I hadn't been excited before, that was enough to push me closer to the edge. He nodded back and took a deep breath.

"Glamour," he continued, "is literally the stuff of dreams. Call it Magic or Luck or, heheheh, based on Dad's class, the Force. Whatever you call it, it's the building blocks of raw creativity. It's what we changelings draw our life and our powers from."


"Yeah. We have abilities called Arts that allow us to influence the real world. Some are just for fun, some are deadly serious in a fight, some are, well, just for us."

"Like how?"

"Okay," he said, rising to his feet. "Um, hold out your hand." I did as instructed. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a quarter, and laid it in my palm, the tales or eagle side up. "Keep your eyes on the coin," he said backing away from me. He must have taken about three steps back and then he coughed, loudly, although it sounded like he had also said "Bullshit!" through the cough.

And the coin, no word of a lie, jumped out of my hand, smacked the ceiling of his room and embedded itself there. My eyes opened in awe. Well, what would you have done?

"Fuck me!" I said, probably a little too loudly.

Kenny giggled as he came back over and sat on the couch. "Is that a command or a request, milord Robyn?"

"How'd you do that?"

"It's one of the cantrips of an Art called Wayfare. What you just saw was a demonstration of Hopscotch."

"Oh, I get it. A cantrip is like a magic spell. You made the coin jump."

"Precisely," he said and he leaned forward, pressing his chest against my side. I know that I sighed loudly at his touch and I put an arm around his back. We just lay there, hanging on to each other lazily, for god knows how long. It was comfortable again. And you know what, although I was raging to do more, to feel his skin pressed tightly to mine, to rub my less public parts all over him and have him do the same to me, we just lay there. We didn't need anymore, at least not at that moment in time. I was later to figure out why we both didn't need anymore. Glamour, let's just say, can be a good thing between changelings. Not as good as sex or a long soak in a tub, but it ranks up there.

"This I like," I whispered as he lay against me. "Does it get better after chrysalis? I mean, um…"

"Yes," he answered sleepily. We were both feasting off my own Glamour, I realized. My sense of wonderment and imagination as Kenny displayed his power had unlocked raw dreamstuff and it flowed through both of us just then, linking us.

Let me describe what Glamour does to us, to changelings that is. Imagine being on a boat. Not a ship where there is an engine to propel you across the water, but a sail boat. Powered only by wind and storm and sun and moon and tides. Imagine that boat pulling about 60 knots over calm seas, a slight breeze kicking up into your face, sea spray, sunlight dappling off the waves, the white bow wake churning with foam and the occasional dolphin riding the ripples of your passing over the ocean. Imagine the thrill of speed, of the power harnessed by some simple ropes, a thick sheet and timbers artfully laid and crafted. Imagine the blur of the landscape off the port beam, the snap and surge of pennants on the rigging, the glint of solar fire on chrome, the scent of brine and canvas and shoe leather.

That is what a Glamour high is like. Relaxed yet strong and tight, floating yet solid and weighty, warm yet with the thrill of chill air. And movement, fast, free and pure, like flying in a dream or chasing clouds from the deck of a fast boat, or… or just dancing through the din of clashing lightsabers. All of this and the emotions that ride under and around it, and the feeling of skin hungry for skin. That's a Glamour high. No wonder we changelings guard our Glamour sources so greedily. Also no wonder we can turn into such moody cusses when the Glamour is low. Imagine the same boat without a wind to catch, stranded in the doldrums, rigging hanging slack, sail loose and despondent, no motion, no joy, no surge of wave or tide. That would be a Glamour low, and one almost intense enough that many a changeling experiencing it has chosen the cowards way out.

Mind you, I hadn't gone through chrysalis yet. These were my impressions as a watered down mortal. What we Fae feel during a Glamour high is more akin to godlike transcendence and full body, full sensory orgasm as your feeble mortal minds can grasp. And saying that isn't me trying to be superior or bragging. It's just true. Hard to say it without a smile or without feeling sorry for the rest of you. No words I have can do it justice.

And now I understood why Kenny didn't want us to get down and nasty until after I had come through my chrysalis. A sex high and a Glamour high at the same time… probably would have driven me insane, right then and there.

And as it was, I didn't have long to wait. The final bit clicked, I guess. The Glamour and the touch of his body, the power of our oath, the sense of reality over lapping fantasy, it all hit me like a sledgehammer made of pillow fluff. And as soon as that hammer struck and fell away, I felt the world take a new turn.

It was a subtle thing at first. All the fantasy elements of the room shone through their fa├žades. There was a glimmer of light that rang out from around my skin and traced the edges of my body, starting slowly at first, but then racing around my skin, searching, seeking and burning with a fire that at once scorched and then flowed like ice water in the wake of its own passing. I know that the convulsions shook me to every nerve ending, every wisp of breath entering and leaving me, every hair on my head from follicle to ends.

And in that moment, there suddenly came an almost physical silence. As if silence were something you could reach out and grasp, wrap your fingers about and stretch like taffy. All sensation left me then. No sight, no touch (Kenny! I could almost feel my body screaming for his contact again), no odor, no sound. Not even a sense of my own flesh, its temperature, the pulse beat in my wrists, thighs and throat, or the shuddering of my skinny ribs as my heart played drum solos from the inside out.

BANG! The world returned to me with startling clarity and power. Worlds, I should say, because at that moment, I could fully perceive the enchanted world and the realm of static reality at the same time. They co-existed, each reaching for the other but held back by forces that have neither wit nor concern for that aching need to merge. All of my senses blazed at once. I am quite certain that had this happened while Kenny and I were testing out certain biological equipment, I'd probably have had a heart attack and died right there. But what a happy death it would have been!

I don't know how long I was in the throes of the chrysalis, or for that matter when the baby unicorn came back into the room. All I can remember is that nothing was the same, even though none of it had changed. Only I had changed. I had become what I was/am/always will be. In that instant, I knew that while I was still Robby French, a kid going into 8th grade, who loved computers, his small family, his hometown, the scent of December snow, the kiss of late spring sunshine and the scent of apples and leaves come the fall, that while all these things helped define me, that I was someone else as well.

That I was Robyn the Blue, son of a thousand years, a knight errant given title and duty, a warrior born, a creature of infinite compassion and will, skilled in the arts of war and Fae magic. I was Kay Neth's oath partner, sworn to allegiance and love for more lifetimes than mortals can commit to memory. I was the keeper of a treasure beyond any conscious comprehension and the sole protector of a legacy that charts its history not in terms of mere years, but of eons, of planes of existence, of the whole of reality and the universe itself.

I saw before me the pageant of my many previous lives. Not surprisingly, Kenny was there with me through most of it. What was surprising to me was the number of times that we were subtly different. There were periods when we were of different sexes, when we were both males or both females. There were times of great danger and peril, and moments of deepest tragedy, usually when one of us fell in battle, heroically. I could easily see how my sword skills were not just a product of my fevered imagination, but the force of generations of practical use in the martial traditions. I saw the rise and fall of nobles, the struggles of common Fae and the rights of passage of those becoming changelings themselves. I felt the horror of deepest evil, the respect and honor of those who had given the ultimate sacrifice and the love of Kenny/ Kay Neth through it all.

Remember the passage about Glamour highs above? That was a fraction of a percentage of a crumb from the table of the Glamour high that rocked me then. I know that I passed out from it, after convulsing like an octopus struck by an electric eel. I remember coming back to consciousness like a dreamer awakening from a deep sleep, the feel of my body coming to me like swimming in molasses, thick and clingy strands of slumber itself pulling against me with tacit resistance, as though knowing they couldn't impede my will, yet hoping to cling to me a moment more and not having the strength to do so or to even prevent itself from trying to do so.

And if that image isn't clear to you, don't be freaked. It took me a while to come up with it myself and I still don't think it is right. It's just the best I can do right now, I guess.

I was lying on the floor, my shoulders and head supported in Kenny's lap. My body below was in a semi fetal position, with my legs thrown over to the right side. My right arm was outstretched, spilling off Kenny's lap and onto the carpeted floor. My left hand was up on my chest, just where the big muscle there gives way to the rib cage. Kenny or rather Kay was stroking my face and hair and… my horns. He was actually letting his fingers bump into these two projections of horn on my forehead.

I opened my eyes and felt the world of light reenter my senses. The room was cast in pastel shades, even the more vivid hues seemed to have a water-color blending to them. The baby unicorn was there, contentedly laying on the beanbag chair, its liquid eyes staring at me with sparkling amusement. Posters on the wall that showed ancient Europeans training with weapons became animated and went through their lessons, the barest hint of the clash of steel evident. I looked up and saw Kay's gray eyes looking down into mine, saw his expression of utter bliss and knew that he was in the midst of the Glamour high as well.

"Happy Birthday, my lord," he said, leaning forward to kiss between my horns. His skin was like wild horses running under my flesh as he kissed me. The contact alone made me feel my temperature rising.

"Good morning," I returned. My left hand slid languidly down my chest and over my skin, giving me minor electric thrills all my own, down to my hip and my back for a comfortable scratch on the left cheek. That's when I discovered the hair.

Well, hair isn't the right word for it after all. More like fur. Soft and luxuriant to the touch, a hint of oiliness, yet still that dry feeling. Two layers deep, like on a big dog or wolf, with fluffy guard hairs near the outside to ward off the weather and a layer of denser, coarser and shorter fur beneath to keep my skin warm. I looked down and saw the fur covering my legs, which was another shock to my system, since I now had the legs of an animal. Gone were the five toes and splayed feet of my mortal seeming, replaced now with thick hooves on springy dog legs. I stared at them in wild wonder, at the soft fur that so mimicked my hair color, and I felt the legs twitch. They felt strong, stronger than my entire mortal body it seemed.

In retrospect, it was probably the awakening of my true form that allowed me to compete so evenly with a trained athlete like Kenny. My mortal self is a geek, about as mighty as your average kitten. Satyrs like myself, I later learned, have an almost unrivaled stamina, and that birthright comes through into our mortal seemings as well. You just have to have it activate.

I sat up, reluctantly relinquishing the subtle joys of being in Kay's arms, and walked to the bedroom mirror. I had to see it, all of it, for myself. The view was breathtaking. All your life you know what you yourself look like. The mirror doesn't lie. I stood and gazed at myself in the mirror and saw, distinctly, how the change had affected me.

First off, my body itself hadn't really changed. Robby still looked like Robby. It was just past Robby that Robyn emerged, sort of hiding inside, yet there and just as real. My height hadn't changed, although the pair of horns popping up from over my eyebrows was a bit of a surprise. My, er, Robyn's chest was bare, taut and firm, some ripples showing where the superman abs would one day sculpt themselves. Centered at my throat, just at the collar bone and suspended on a silver chain, was a crystal teardrop of faceted blue about as long as my little pinky finger. My legs were strong and the feeling of riding on them as I walked and stood in front of the mirror was of powerful leaps and kicks. I wore only a loincloth of soft white suede, belted around the middle by a thicker leather belt, but the suede was still overlapping it in places. The fur of my legs matched the hair on my head, which was subtly longer than I normally keep it, and tied back in what I only know of as a "I Dream of Jeannie" top knot pony tail. It wasn't a big pony tail, but it made me look taller.

I looked over to Kay, and saw at once a look of utter love, lust and Glamour contentment on his face, and suddenly I felt my own love pangs sharpen for him. Not just the raging lust that was making my new cup suddenly very uncomfortable, but love. He had waited for me and now we were together again, almost.

Despite going through the chrysalis and emerging as my Fae self at last, I knew that it would take time before Sir Robyn was fully back. But I was patient. We had time. And besides, Satyrs are known for more than just their love of life, great athletic prowess, notoriously potent wine skins and musical talents. We're also the most randy of the kith. And I was feeling fully ready to experience that with my Kay.

"I can feel… I can feel how you must have felt waiting, Kay. Sorry I took so long this time, my love."

"No words, Robyn. Never needed them between us, never will."

"No words," I smiled back, realizing that was his way of saying "I love you."

I strode over to him, feeling the power in my thighs and looking down to see my Fae mien and my mortal seeming both at the same time. I was in two places at once and completely aware of both. My senses were alive with colors, vibrant and watered down, sounds sharp and muted, scents strong, delicate and faint alike, and feelings that boiled over my heart, soul and mind, consuming me in a fire that not only coursed under my skin, but seeped out through it.

"Hiya," I said, typical New England accent. I let my hand reach out to trace the curve of his face, the full cheek swelling of his smile muscles. "If this is a dream, let me never wake. If I am awake, then let my dreams be as true as this," I said. In the distance, a rumble of thunder peeled across the sky, signaling the power of my words. I didn't know it yet, but that was a minor oath unto the Dreaming itself, and that fairly sealed the deal about my task among the changelings. Although, that would unfold as a duty later, for just that moment, it was all for Kay.

"Beloved," he said, his voice getting that exotic sense, low and powerful, even though neither of us was squeaking as we spoke yet. He moved into me, his arms sliding up behind my shoulders to tug my chest to his. I held him tightly, just letting my chin rest on his thin, muscular shoulder caps. The fierceness of it caught me off guard at first. I thought I might hurt him with my strength, but he too was made of stronger stuff than at first we might imagine. Far stronger.

"Has it ever been so long?" I asked.

"I was afraid you'd never be at the right place," he whispered in my ear. "I questioned the Dreaming, fearing that you had been Undone."

"The gulf of time cannot separate us, Kay. Nothing can." I leaned back and took full initiative.

I'd never kissed anyone before, well, aside from family. That is, Robby never did. But I knew almost at once exactly how it was done, how Kay liked it and how much we both needed it. Satyrs are creatures of primal instincts, and I let mine take the drivers seat. Come to think of it, perhaps that driver's seat was always taken with the Satyr's passion curse. My autopilot seemed to know exactly the right thing to do, at any rate.

And while I'll tell you that we crashed into a long session of first groping, then serious making out, dry humping, petting, jacking each other off and finally a long session of us actually getting into position and making seriously nasty noises with each other, I'm not gonna describe it for you here. Not this time. This was our first time back together, our honeymoon, you might say, and it's not for mortal ears or eyes to understand how two changelings make love anyways. Maybe later I'll give you the gory, gruesome and very steamy details, but for now, let your imagination run wild. Chances are, if you can think it up, we did it, at least twice apiece.

Don't fret though. I'm the sort that'll tell you the nasty bits later. But for this first time again… well, that was just for us.

Gottah love that Glamour and sex high, though. After about six hours of horsing around, we finally let each other drift off into a very exhausted sleep. We woke up still in each others arms, one of his hands actually wrapped around the small snubby tail I suddenly realized I had, even as one of my hands was still wrapped around his semi-erect cock. Did we do anything just then? Nope, he was still dreaming, still sighing in contentment and the hand on his sleeping boyhood was all pins and needles, trapped between my body and the bed. It had fallen asleep more fully than I had.

Okay, I'll admit it. I really like sex. More so than the average 13 year old goat boy, I guess. Then again, I hadn't seen any other goat boys hanging around, so I had no one to compare notes with. But I love the heat of after sex. When it's just your body and another body lying together, so still, so hot, so sticky with sweat and other fluids, so fluid yourself, like warm silly putty. My tingles had long since faded to memories of intense orgasms punctuated with oaths of love, but I really like the total body relaxed feeling of after sex. It's almost better than the main event. Okay, I said almost!

He opened his eyes and for the first time I noticed that they glowed, slightly. No wonder I was so taken by his gaze. It was like cold fire, the essence of starlight made flesh and poured into and around and across his soul. I was humbled into submission by that look. Even half awake, he was the most incredible being in the world to me. Even the baby unicorn was just about as mundane as an ugly, one-horned mule to me.

"Sleep well," I asked, seeing his intelligence flare behind his eyes.

"Better than I can remember in centuries. What brought all that on, not that I'm complaining," he giggled.

"I just felt the loneliness fly off and couldn't hold back any longer, Kay. I needed to be part of you again."

"Well, we did do that, didn't we?"

"Might have to do it again, soon," I smiled. His cock was hardening in my grasp, lengthening.

"Maybe," he agreed. God, what that smile of his does to me. I could have shot goo all over him again right there had I been any more awake and aroused.

But even in the heights of sexual and other fantasies, reality will have it's say. This time, though, it choose Mitch's voice as it's mouthpiece. Fortunately he had the sense and grace to knock before calling to us.

"Boys, when you have a moment, I'd like to talk to the both of you, up in the Hall, Kay."

"Yes, Father," he replied. We exchanged looks for a second, me wondering if he'd heard us grunting about. I also noticed something about how Mitch's voice also sounded different to me. Deeper, if possible, more self confident without being overbearingly so.

"Mitch is one of us too, huh?"

"He is a Troll. I am Eshu, you are Satyr, he is Trollish."

"I'm about to find out what that means, right?"

"We should get dressed first," Kay giggled. The air still felt enormously charged and I felt myself drinking in that energy. My skin was fit to burst with it (in some places, noticeably so!). As Kay clambered out of bed, I felt my hand drift up to the crystal at my neck, toying with it, letting my fingers become reacquainted with its every facet and face, the points and the flats that caught and shattered and scattered the light that came anywhere near it.

Questions were forming in my head, but I knew that it would take some time before they could all make themselves into words. I still had a lot to learn about my re-awakening to reality, and much of it wouldn't be easy to take. At least Kenny and I were together. With that security blanket, I could face any monster coming out of the night, any torment of pain, any peril or danger.

Reluctantly, I got off the bed and started to dress, this time opting to leave the cup off. It was great protection, but we were only going up to talk to Mitch, a fellow changeling. I doubted that we were going into any dangerous situation where I'd need to have my most important armor in place. Besides, while the new cup had plenty of room in it for me now, I didn't want to be constrained or to have an extra layer to peel off later when Kenny and I got into some more horizontal aerobics!

I wondered, briefly, if Mitch was angry at us. We had made a fair amount of noise down here, and I felt certain that in our reckless abandon we had probably been loud enough to make the walls rattle upstairs. A sudden dread filtered through me. What if he was angry with us? I mean, here he had invited me to his house, no, to his home, as an act of kindness and friendship, and I had spent the last several hours raping his son. I felt suddenly very frightened. Too many emotions at once flooded me, even as I felt Kay's hand brush through my bangs whilst I sat on the edge of the bed, my pants in my hands.

"You can't rape the willing, Robby," he said, planting a dry kiss between my horns. It's eerily disturbing how easily he can read my expressions, almost as though he can read my mind. I looked up to him and tried to smile, but it felt wrong somehow and I had to look away. "Look, he's changeling too. He understands how things are with you and I, Robby. He just wants to talk."

"You sure he's not gonna pound me flat with one hit?"

His arms drifted around my shoulders as he sat beside me, drawing my head to that sweet curve of neck and shoulder he has. "He'd sooner die in your service than lay a finger against you, Robyn." Okay, that was a shocking revelation. Things still were about as clear as jello made from mud, but I was riding out the little shocks a lot easier now than plain old Robby would have. At least now, since I was Robyn, too, the shocks were spread over twice as much ground, diluted.

"But we've been pretty much taking each other for… for…" I glanced around the room quickly and located his alarm clock. "The better part of seven hours. Jeeze, it's almost 10 o'clock!"

"Robby, he knows about us. He knows about our past together. He's always known." That didn't make me feel any better, but it helped calm me down some. If he knew before I did and had no reservations asking me over for the night, knowing fully what might go on…..oh, it was all just so confusing. I didn't know what to make of this situation.

"So why does he want to talk to us?"

"Chances are he has two things on his mind. First would be about you taking real fencing lessons and going the sport fencing competition route with me. He's really impressed with your mortal seeming's skill. The other bit, well, I have ideas, but no real answers. I think he just wants to meet you again, Robyn."

"Again?" I queried, backing up from his shoulder, but keeping my hands around his waist. He kept his hands on my shoulder and face, and that was as much a comfort to me as being in his arms.

"You'll see," he smiled, and this time, my return smile was genuine. Kenny was not concerned, or at least he could hide his concern well enough that I couldn't see it. Either way, it relaxed me immensely. I almost went back into a Glamour high just from the energy still floating in the room and being relaxed in it. I'll admit it, I'm a Glamour addict! Sue me!

We finished dressing, in both sides of reality, and went up to the main floor of the house. My human seeming wore the clothes I had worn over, but I also had to dress in my Fae mien as well. I, as Robyn, had on my loin cloth and belt, a set of soft leather leggings that protected my ankles and a vest of some animal's pelt, although it smelled more of apples and cinnamon than of fur. My own sweat smell mixed with Kenny/Kay's I realized. And I have to admit, in that fur vest, I looked good! The crystal at my neck sparkled with an inner fire as I leapt across the room from the mirror to the stairs, following Kenny up.

Mitch was standing, looking at a series of pictures on the wall, most of them showing Kenny as a little boy, doing things that parents do with their young sons. One shot in particular caught me a little off guard. It was a picture at a local ski hill, with winter snows drifting around. Kenny, at what I guessed must be about age 9 or 10 was standing on the hill, no poles but in skis, and looking at the camera, giggling. But in the background, just barely in focus, I could see myself, also on skis but with no poles, sidestepping. We had been so close at one point that we had been in the same photograph and never even knew it!

As we approached, I looked at Mitch for the first time since enchantment, and I mean looked really hard, to see his changeling essence as well as his mortal shell. And there it was, his true form. He stood nearly ten feet tall, shoulders now wide enough to lay brick on. He had muscles that made Schwarzenegger look like Winnie the Pooh, bulging out of his body enough to make me terrified. His skin was an even blue tone that highlighted the deep set nature of his dark eyes, and his hair was a mane of white that draped a quarter the way down his back, and he also had a pair of horns drifting up from above his eyebrows, although his were more like horny projections under skin while my horns were like goat horns (see, that's why I'm always so horny!).

At his hip, mounted on a wide leather belt, intricately inscribed with leather working skill that was at once manly and beautiful, he wore a huge war hammer of glistening silver, bound with a leather thong wrapped tightly down the haft length. Across his back he wore a sword that was practically my height. I nearly felt my legs buckle at the sight of him. Mitch, or whatever his Fae name was, was a walking engine of destruction, yet he had been nothing but kind and gentle with me. That kind of obvious power masked with that kind of control and respect made me glad that he was on my side. To face him in a fight (shudder!)… I didn't even want to think about getting this tower of strength and resiliency angry at me.

Kay took the initiative "Father, Lord Robyn the Blue has returned to us." The smile in his voice was masked by the formal expression on his face.

"Indeed?" the troll said, turning to face us fully.

"Robyn, this is my mortal father Mitch and my Fae guardian Caspian."

"An honor to meet you," I said, keeping with the dignified and friendly formal air of the room. The Dreaming aspects of the living room shone through, showing this to be almost a Viking mead hall.

"I am honored to be with you again, milord," Caspian said, bowing deeply. The sense I got from him was that there was a past here. Something deep and meaningful. Then again, Trolls tend to be formal around nobility, having filled that role in the past themselves. But that's a different story.

"I felt the Glamour rush of your return, milord. I kept the unsavory creatures that would have tried to feast on your awakening at bay. We are safe here."

"Thank you," I said, autopilot. I'm not sure what that meant, but the sound of it wasn't too terribly pleasant. I noticed he had a bandage wrapped tight around his left calf, and that it seemed to be seeping blue. He'd been injured fighting to protect me?!

"Would milord care to sit? We have matters to discuss."

Just as we were sitting down, there was a knock on the door, loud and strong. I looked to my companions and saw that they passed a look between themselves as a second knocking occurred. I also noticed that the ceilings up on the second floor were much higher than down in the Kenny's level, and that the doors up here were very high indeed.

Kenny pulled out his… er, um, short spear weapon. I don't know exactly what it's called, I just know he's lethal with it when he has to be. Caspian put his hand to his hammer and loosened it. I glanced at Kenny as a third powerful knocking sounded, my eyes going wild and desperate. I didn't have a weapon, but they were obviously getting ready for a fight.

"Form your blade!" Kay hissed at me. "There's enough Glamour around, just pull the blade of your Dreams from the Glamour itself!" Now as odd a request (request hell, he demanded it) as that sounds, and as weird as everything to this point had been, I didn't even hesitate. I closed my eyes, even as I felt Caspian moving to the stairs and the front door, felt Kay putting his hand on my chest while his eyes stayed focused on his father. I felt the energy in the room and I called to it, I mean all of it and pulled it into me, calling on a blade that I felt growing in the depths of my imagination.

The handle appeared to me at first, a semi-transparent rod of smooth, rounded crystal, flowing like water, like a growing vine. It took shape, thickened and hardened in my grip and seemed to mold itself to my fingers. I let my hands rest on it and drew it to me. The blade began to form next, also seemingly of crystal, for I could see it's edges, but not it's solidity. It was made of the same blue crystal, perhaps, I thought, and kept drawing energy into it. The room seemed to spin and I narrowed my eyes, keeping my focus on the blade, letting everything else in my senses swim away, even the sweet torment of Kay's hand against my chest.

I know that at some point I cried out in anguish and pain as the energy coursed through me and into my creation. I heard Kenny and Mitch both calling my name as I was in the grip of animating this weapon I was building with Glamour and my own will alone. And then, suddenly, it was over.

The door opened and I heard Mitch having harsh words with someone. Kenny relaxed slightly, his arm slacking against me a bit. I could feel his stance straighten up and his weapon arm ease down. Whatever the danger might have been, it had passed or at least been delayed. I let my arms lower, my new blade clutched tightly in my right hand. My free hand went out to grasp at the left side of Kenny's neck, briefly squeezing so he'd know I was okay. He was still watching Mitch's back.

Mitch turned and walked up the stairs, his hands not on his hammer anymore. Kenny seemed to relax even more from that until the person who followed Mitch up the half flight of stairs came into view.

A woman, I thought at first, until I saw her flowing robes, her elegant stance, the haughty arch of her eyebrows and the almost surreal beauty of her. Her gown was stained with water color opalescence that fluttered and flower around her, changing the colors as the light moved from her and around her. But the cut of the gown was such that she had total freedom of movement, and her movements were as graceful as any dancer's. She wore a simple short sword for a weapon, but that was done in such a way as the metals of it would glint even in darkest night under a gravestone. Light seemed to play about in her golden fall of straight hair, and eyes were like pools of hardened sapphire, dark and deep, yet as flat on the surface as tempered glass.

"You are commanded to appear," she said in a clear voice, as pure as a glass bell tone sounded on Christmas morning. Her eyes bore in at me, and I met her gaze with as much rancor as I could summon. Her eyes shifted briefly to my weapon and then she looked back at me, no challenge, just the quiet assuredness of authority reached me from her. "Sir Robyn the Blue," she said, as if repeating that her orders were to summon me.

"I am his herald," Kay said, switching her eyes from mine to his. "Sir Robyn will attend court this night. Go back to your master and inform that we will arrive shortly. No escort is required."

She glanced at Kenny, then at me, then at Mitch, who only nodded. Apparently satisfied, she turned and glided down the stairs. The door closed and I visibly saw Mitch/Caspian's shoulders sag in relief.

"Who was that?"

"A Sidhe," Caspian said.

"I know it was a she, but which she? Half the planet are women."

"No, he means a Sidhe," Kenny explained. "S I D H E," he spelled out, "pronounced shee. They are the noble born among the Fae. Our rulers, for lack of a better term."

"I'm confused again."

"It doesn't matter. We can explain that to you later, milord. The fact is that we have been commanded to appear at court this night. So that is what we shall do. Are you ready for… " and his eyes seemed to look down to my right arm, where my new sword was.

Kenny looked around as well and his eyes went wide. I glanced back and forth between them for a moment and then looked down, wondering if I'd done it right.

The blade was no longer made of glass. Or crystal, or anything else that might have let light through it. It wasn't made of steel either, or stone or metal or anything remotely solid.

The blade was cast of bright, white centered blue light. It hummed faintly as I raised it to look at it better. Even my wondering eyes couldn't believe it From out of the Glamour of my own chrysalis, I had formed a lightsaber!

"Did I do that?" I asked in awe, bringing the humming blade up to my face and then swinging it around to hear the hum, watch the blade leave trailing after images.

"Can you extinguish the blade, or is it permanent?" Kenny asked, his voice faltering in awe.

"Idunno. Let's find out." I searched the handle for some kind of switch, or button or even some crystal that might need to be rubbed or touched. Actually, I wasn't sure what I was searching for, just that something on the handle might be what I was looking for. "Doesn't seem to be an off switch," I said, looking back at Kenny, grinning. "I musta done something wrong."

"Try imposing your will, milord," Mitch suggested.

"Oh, right." I thought about the blade, how cool it looked, how awesome (all the little changelings will want one for Christmas, hehehehehe). And then I thought about the blade going inside the handle, waiting for when I needed its deadly edge. As if on cue, the handle seemed to suck the blade in, the light vanishing inside the handle and glowing there, slowly dimming to a gentle pulse of light, like a blue lightning bug in a very elaborate bottle.

"Truly he is the one," Caspian breathed out. "My lord!"

"I did tell you so, Father."

"This is the coolest thing that I've ever made in my life… well at least in this one," I added, feeling that things were starting to make sense to me now more than ever. "Now, about this court business?"

"Yes," Mitch sighed, "we should be going. The Sidhe herald that has just left will be arriving soon, especially if she uses Flicker Flash."

"If she uses what?"

"Another cantrip of Wayfare," Kenny interjected. "Think of it like Nightcrawler's teleport ability, only without the smoke."

"Ooooh, I wanna learn that one!"

"One step at a time, milord. We shall endeavor to teach you that which you have not remembered yet, although, judging from your blade's inestimable craft…..I'd say the old powers still love you as much as Kay Neth does."

Okay, I can blush as often as I want to, damnit. Stop snickering at me. But I did love Kay more than life itself, and if fairy Glamour seemed to want me to do things like my blade and other powers, well, who am I to stand in the way of the very stuff of dreams. Better still to flow with the Glamour and craft it to my own needs than to stifle it.

The lightsaber had a ring of crystal at the back end and I slipped this onto a simple hook and catch on the belt around my furry waist. "I think I'll call you Sky Fire," I said patting the crystal hilt. The light inside flared for a second in apparent rapture, and then faded back to its firefly glow.

The trip to a place I was to learn is called a freehold didn't take us long. We traveled in Mitch's SUV. Seems the freehold was actually a place I knew well. Barnie's Burger Barn! Or rather the woods just near the playground there. We stepped into the shadowy woods right about 11 o'clock straight up and the night was moonless. I was tempted to light Sky Fire just to give us some light to see by, but Kenny put his hand over my own as I held the crystal handle up.

"Don't enter a freehold with your weapon out, or you will be viewed as an enemy."

"Okay," I responded, hooking the handle back to my waist. He put his hand on my shoulder and gave me a little squeeze for reassurance.

I stepped through a parting of grasses and woods, and both Kenny and Mitch stopped me from going past a pair of twin white birches. "Give Kay a moment to announce you, milord. You should probably enact the Wyrd as well, and appear as your true self."

I stared up at Mitch, and instead had to stare farther up to Caspian. He had manifested his Fae self fully, not simply letting it peek out of his mortal shell. He was physically a Troll now. And my body guard, it seems. I glanced over to Kenny and saw that Kay at taken his true form as well. I concentrated and let the power of my own Glamour shine for a moment and then I was fully Robyn, with Robby submerged, waiting for when I needed his human, mortal form to protect our immortal soul again.

"Very good, milord," Caspian said, nodding and grinning. I grinned back, but something in me was warning me that I was about to get in over my horny little head, and the be-horned big head, too.

"What will happen inside there?" I asked, watching as Kay stepped between the birches and vanished from view. For once, that didn't phase me. I was too keyed up about the concept that this was a Fae court, that there were enough changelings about in Canterbury to make an entire society, one with its own codes and rules and penalties. Apparently I had a lot of playing catch-up ahead.

"I do not know. Probably just an acknowledgment of your title and your rights within this territory."

"Oh, is that all?" I mumbled out. There was a slight parting of light between the birches, as though someone were pulling a heavy drape to the side. That must be my cue, I thought, stepping forwards, striding easily on my goat legs.

The drape analogy was strikingly on target as I entered the court room. It was a massive hall, with alabaster pillars stretching heavenwards to an open ceiling. The columns were capped in Corinthian style, buttressing the upper gallery of seats. The floor was a polished series of red and black tiles easily a meter wide and squared, touching in a checkerboard fashion. In fact, I'm almost certain that the tiles in the center of that pattern, which were marched off in a sort of gold inlay, would be a perfect checkerboard. On either side of the hall sat various Fae of all the kith. I won't explain them all now, there's too much about to go on with to get sidetracked by. Suffice it so say they were all dressed to the nines in finery, drinking from silver goblets and crystal flutes so pure and well crafted that just touching them with the lips would make them hum pure tones. A band in the corner was playing a lively tune on strings and woodwinds. The music seemed to die down a moment as we entered. Kay stood before a dais staring back at the entrance as Caspian and I entered. At Kay's signal the band became silent, save for a single trumpet that sang out with a clear fanfare. Nothing too fancy, just enough to catch the attention. Caspian dropped a large hand on my shoulder as the fanfare rang out. The message was clear enough; wait here.

Kay began speaking, proclaiming, actually. "My Lords and Ladies, and most especially Your Excellency the Countess Donna Trag, I present to you the returned, reborn knight of a thousand years, the hero of the Sundering, and my eternal companion, re-found in this generation. Robyn the Blue, keeper of the Tear of Cerulean. I also present Thane Caspian, oath-sworn to Robyn the Blue."

A smattering of applause rose about us as we entered, and some of the nobles gasped as they saw me. I didn't know why at the time. I also wasn't certain about the title that Caspian had, thane. I was later to learn that Caspian had sworn allegiance to me, and that oath was still in effect. No wonder he was so protective of me. He was the commoner leader of my own supporting warriors. Apparently I was a big fish in any pond, especially with so many supporters already in the area. Now, whether or not the Countess thought I was worthwhile in her court or even in her domain, well that was another issue. Suddenly I felt really worried. Now this was about to get political, and as a geek, I don't have a great deal of experience in that. Suddenly, I wish I knew how Dad did this sort of thing for a living.

I walked up next to Kay and nodded to him. He turned to the Countess and bowed low, his arm sweeping out graciously. I imitated as best I could, not certain if the bow was sufficient. A shadow passed over me from behind, and I knew that Caspian was bowing as well.

"Arise, Sir Robyn, and approach me that I might ascertain your mind." I glanced sideways at Kay and he motioned for me to go to the dais, using only his eyes and his eyebrows. I took the hint and wandered up to the dais, smiling genuinely. This was the first real look at the Countess. Her dais was five steps up and made of polished marble, white shot through with veins of gold and cream. The entire throne area was lit in candles in colored glass which cast sparkles of yellow and green and velvet-red light around, and the rafters were decorated in long, dark colored scarves, rich silks and deep satins, giving a luxuriant, dark and supple look to the Countess's personal area. There were four handmaidens at the throne itself, but they were veiled and I couldn't make out their kith.

But the Countess herself was quite obviously Sidhe. The face was exquisite. Her long dark hair was a shimmering river of black, catching colored light from the various candles, giving an almost unreal sense to her own glow. Her dark eyes were of a purple hue that drifted as the colors flickered and darted around her. Her gaze was unveiled, although I had the opinion that I was in the presence of a gypsy queen, dark, exotic and shining with inner power.

"Your Excellency," I said, bowing and going to one knee before her, which isn't easy when you have reverse articulated legs.

"Rise, Robyn, and talk to me a bit." A small roman chair was brought over for me and I sat. I managed to glance back at Kay and Caspian as I sat down and saw them talking with others at court. This was a test for me alone, and I had to pass it without even any advice. Gee, it's been a fun 9 hours since Kenny stabbed me, but they could have talked to me about this possibility.

"I sense the power of Glamour practically flowing off of you still. You've absorbed quite a bit?"

"I am learning how to use that power again," I answered, respectfully. "I still don't remember or understand everything."

"I see. And your prowess with steel is as great as it ever was?"

"I am becoming aware of that talent, although it is still coming back to me."

"I would have a demonstration of that talent. It was once said you were the greatest changeling swordsman of all time."

"Your Excellency flatters me. But time is long and all of it hard to view at once." Did I just say that?

"Just the same, my champion is here and I would have him duel you to first blood. I want to know whether a free knight in my domain will be someone I can call on for a task. Someone capable of handling himself against martial threats to the populace."

"I'd rather not fight an ally, even to first blood. I mean you no disrespect, Your Excellency, but I'd rather make friends than enemies."

"And by pleasing me in this matter, you will make a powerful ally," she smiled, showing a savage glint of teeth. It was a thing of beauty with a hidden darkness to it. I rapidly made the decision that this woman, no matter how powerful an ally she might make, would not be one to trust outright.

"If Your Excellency desires it, then I shall perform," I said, smiling and giving my head a subtle twist in imitation of a bow.

"Splendid!" She rose from her throne, holding her hand out to me. I rose and took her hand as she began to descend the dais. My eyes sought Kay's and almost at once he turned to look at me, with a mixture of suspicion and worry on his face. I nodded briefly and Kay reached back to get Caspian's attention.

"Sir Grahame! Step forth at thy mistress' call!" the Countess said. A tall troll, easily a match for Caspian strode forth, a sword the size of a small dirt bike riding at his hip. The last time I'd seen a weapon of that size was in a video game, and even then it looked vastly out-sized. "I would fain see a duel between two masters of the blade. The reborn Robyn the Blue and my champion, Sir Grahame shall go until first blood. The prize?" she said releasing my hand and reaching into a small purse at her hip. "This silvered coin dross token." The coin shone in my vision, like a beacon before a bounding sea at rocky shorelines. In an instant I could feel the Glamour contained within it. I glanced up at Sir Grahame's face. This was a troll that had seen some battles. He had an eye patch over his left eye and a visible scar across his neck. He looked every bit as tough and as strong as Caspian and I was at once afraid of him. But would I back down? Dream On!

I knew that if he got a single good hit on me, that he'd slay me. That kind of physical power can't be just shrugged off. If he tags me once, I'm likely going down for a while. He saw that realization color my face and grinned down at me. It wasn't a kind grin.

"Sir Robyn? Your reputation spans generations."

"Yeah, I get that a lot. 'S funny, though; I've never heard of you before," I said, letting my tone play a gentle insult. See, that family difficulty with keeping my big mouth shut just keeps getting in the way. The autopilot was in danger of losing his job again.

"Perhaps you will remember my name after our match."

"Your Excellency!" a cry came from the crowd. "Why must we see a match between two known stalwarts. If Sir Robyn is to be tested, let us see him fight against someone who will fight with honor and yet has not overly respect for his skills."

I let my eyes flow to the new speaker and I have to say that I was nearly scared white. The creature that spoke was a kith known as a Redcap. He was short, squat, strongly built, had bloodshot eyes, wide, thin lips and a grin that reminded me more of a shark or the Joker from Batman. His hair was an oily black and his complexion was paler than my normal pasty nerd look. He was dressed in black leathers studded with metals and he had at least three knives scattered around his armor, including a wicked looking axe that looked like a vulture head, complete with feathery spikes. He was a nightmare walking. I hated him at once.

"Sir Korbesh, you have an alternative which would still be an honorable duel to test Sir Robyn's skills?"

"In a word, yes. He might be Sir Robyn reborn, but I doubt his past lives have caught up with him yet. It would be unfair to test him against so mighty an opponent as Sir Grahame. Perhaps he should fight one of my kith? Someone also new to the powers and skills of his Fae heritage? Someone like…." And he turned and looked around his group. "Perhaps Croaker?" he said, his voice dripping honey.

Croaker stood up, a lean and tall version of Korbesh. He had a series of piercing over his left eye, including one that was linked by a chain to his ear piercings. He jumped over a table and leaned in to face me across the vast courtroom floor. If I hated Korbesh at first sight, Croaker made me practically ill tempered and violent, just at the sight of him. And it was a feeling that Croaker apparently shared.

"Your Excellency," Sir Grahame asserted, "I must admit that Sir Korbesh does make a strong case. Croaker and Robyn," oh, now I knew it was war between me and this troll. He just dissed me big time by dropping my title, putting me on the same level as this misanthrope. "Would make a decent match up, I feel," Grahame continued. "And I must admit, I'd like nothing better than to see what this Satyr legend can actually do."

"I will only fight for Your Excellency's pleasure if it is to be the Dragon's Dance," Croaker spoke. "The Scarlet Tip will not give me satisfaction. My opponents will all yield to me, not to a single stroke."

"Will that be sufficient for you, Sir Robyn," the Countess asked, clearly happy that the duel was gathering attention among the others at court.

"If it please Your Excellency, then so be it. And you! Yeah, you, goth-child. Don't sing it, bring it!"

"Your choice of weapons, Goat!"

"Does it matter?" I asked, snarling through a grin.

"Then retire to corners. At the stroke of midnight we shall have a Dragon's Dance this evening!" the Countess practically crowed. She retired to her dais and I was allowed to go talk with Kay and Caspian.

"Okay, what did I just agree to?"

"You've been challenged by Croaker to a Dragon's Dance."

"Yeah, I know that Kay. But what does that mean."

"A battle to submission," Caspian said. "An effective and honorable way to re-establish your title."

"Okay, so what do I need to know about Croaker. Does he fight fair?"

"Robby, look beneath Croaker's Fae soul. Look at his human side." I turned as Kay directed and looked deeply at Croaker. He was lean and supple as Redcaps went, but looking deeper, I saw his mortal shell, submerged. My eyes flew open. I turned back to my Kay and to Caspian.

"That's Juan!"

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