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CONVERSION


by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
Tucson, Az.
85717
RikJohnson@juno.com


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*0

I’m beginning to think that I’ll never make it back to Japan.

I mean, think of this for a moment. I lived there in the mid 20th century when my father was stationed overseas for a few years on business and even learned to speak the language. I fell in love with the country and planned to return often. When stationed in Saigon during the Vietnam War (yes even we Irish fought in that war, a fact that the Americans prefer to ignore) I would take leave to attend the All Japan Kendo Federation International Invitationals. I possess Black Belts in karate and Kendo and am also an expert Fencer and Archer. Martial Arts helps people in my profession.

I returned there to the late 15th century via accidental StarGate and enjoyed myself tremendously, especially winning a national kendo match in Edo. A few years later I managed to return to win another match by defeating Sato Kitagawa who swore vengeance. I wasn’t worried about that as many had made that vow and I’m still around but they aren’t.

Then it was at the Inn of the Pink Cherry Blossoms on the Tokaido Road a month later where we met again and he challenged me, and lost, before his students. But since he couldn’t defeat me with a sword, he did so with other weapons. The Shogun was a distant Clansman and was convinced to put a warrant on my head. After a dozen attempts on my life, I found it safer to leave and at Nagasaki, I took a Junk to the Philippines and crossed the Pacific by whatever means I could.

I’ve been trying to go back ever since to clear my name and something always screwed up. One time I ended up in Chicago, 20th Century and when I tried to go on from there, Diane and Fiona (two American Witches I met) crossed with me and their added mass diverted us to 15th century Turkey where we met a Russian Amazon, Slezi Luni or ‘Tears of the Moon’ as that Amazon tribe named their daughters. So there I was, in a kimono with two hippie chicks from Chicago and an Amazon from Russia and five thousand miles from Edo. So we settled in and adventured together for a few years until we split up.

And here I am, trying to reach Japan again, mainly to watch the cherry trees blossom over the Pacific. So I gathered my clothes and weapons and money and…


*I

Well you get the idea. Now I tried again and I’m somewhere I don’t recognize wearing a kimono which is a Kisode and hakama and carrying my new Daisho which is a light katana and wakizashi and tanto (over my preferred heavier blades) and staring down the bow of someone that looks like a Tarter. Assuming I knew what a Tarter looked like. Had I some distance, I could deflect and dodge the arrows but at this distance, they’d go right through me before I could react so I smiled and said “hello”.

They stared at me and I stared at them and finally one said something I didn’t recognize so I tried Chinese, then Arabic and Latin. Then I tried more distant languages; Turkish, Greek, Japanese… every human language I knew and had learned in my years of adventuring. I ignored the alien languages I learned when I was abducted by Demons as a teenager. Demons! Well, we’ll get to them later but they wanted to see if humans could be engineered to work in their starships. So they changed me. They did it a bit at a time and they fixed what they thought was wrong and added a few things they thought would be useful and voila! I’m no longer completely as they found me.

Well, I still look basically human with a few changes. Like they decided that my Y-chromosome was defective so they lengthened it and added a few genes that were missing which is nice at times. So, unlike my father, I’ll never be bald because the baldness gene is on the X-chromosome and needs another missing gene on the shortened Y to counter baldness. That’s why women don’t get bald but men do, they have that gene on both their X-chromosomes to counter baldness. Now I had a fully lengthened Y-chromosome with all the missing genes so I was no longer subject to all the sex-linked problems that plague normal men. It not only confuses the doctors when they do a DNA test (which means that they think that I am a genotype female but a phenotype male with an extra chromosome. Not an extra pair but an extra single chromosome that is inert until activated. Then it replicates and the 24th pair makes even more changes in my body) but it also screwed me up in other ways I didn’t know about, but you’ll see that too later on. Though I do admit that the changes accelerate my healing, enhance my ability to survive and the regeneration returns me to youth and perfect health when I am physically stressed such as falling off a building or being shot or electrocuted. If I can survive the initial damage, I’ll heal quickly and fully. I’m not immortal but close enough. So there are advantages to the stuff they did to me though it wasn’t for me but to make a better tech-slave for them. Demons are very selfish that way. They don’t want their slaves dieing off before they are used up.

They also taught me about the StarGate System. The Demons didn’t call them ‘StarGates’ and I can’t pronounce their word (how do you speak a language that has 32 different ‘S’ sounds?). Scientists call them ‘Schrödinger Wormholes’ but I used to call them ‘Portals’ or ‘Gates’ until that movie hit the theaters and somehow the word ‘StarGate’ fit even though few go to other stars. What they are, are mostly rends in the fabric of the universe. You see, Euclid was wrong when he said the world was flat, it just looked like that from his perspective. Newton was wrong when he said the world was round and the universe was flat, it just looked like that from his perspective. And Einstein was wrong when he said the world was a geoid and the universe was saddle-shaped, it just looked like that from his perspective. The Demon view is different, and they’ve been around for 50 million years so I tend to believe them over a former patent-clerk who couldn’t remember how to balance his checkbook or tie his own shoelaces.

The universe, according to the Demons, is like a tangled ball of string. It loops around and twists and turns or maybe it is like a series of marbles in a hose which coils around itself like a fractal. Regardless of what it looks like, sometimes, when two parts of the string touch, they ‘rub’ and a ‘worm-hole’ appears. You can sometimes step through these ‘holes’ and cross through space and time to anywhere, anywhen. Some go to different planets, some to different times and some just go nowhere. Most are natural but some are manufactured.

Sometimes you can ‘anchor’ them so they take you to the same time/place… mostly. And sometimes they move around. So usually it’s a crap-shoot which is why I keep getting diverted and miss Japan. But then, I’m Irish and love a journey as much as the destination so don’t mind much. I meet new people, see new places and enjoy new experiences.. until someone tries to kill me like now.

I’m not even certain if this StarGate that I use to travel to the 15th century (about 1488 or so) even goes to my own past or to a parallel universe. But the opportunities are interesting for someone who has the travel bug under his skin.

But I digress, a bad habit that is in my Irish genes, digression that is. We start out telling a simple story and end up all over the library. Or we intend to travel to a nearby village and end up visiting Africa, Asia and any other place completely not on the road. That really irritates non-Celts and sometimes even my own people but I can no more change that than I can my hair colour. Ok, as you will see, I did change my hair colour so maybe I can keep this story on track as well?

So where was I? Oh, right! These four guys with really wicked bows are staring me down and I’m dressed like a samurai from an Akira Kurosawa film. Finally one of them dismounted and walked over to me, his bow undrawn which I took to be a friendly gesture and said to me in barely passable Arabic, “Who and what are you? And why are you in our country?”

Arabic. There are certain universal languages and if you learn these, you can go almost anywhere. Latin in Europe, Mandarin in Asia, Polynesian in the Pacific and Arabic from Eastern Europe to near the Indian Ocean and north Africa. I don’t know about the Americas and my limited experience in sub-Saharan Africa didn’t tell me much. So I replied in Arabic which I learned as a pirate after escaping form Iraqi slavers. It’s a long story and my back still carries the scars of their whips. “I am Jason Obrien, Lord Innis from the Island of Hibernia far to the west beyond the boundaries of the ancient Roman Empire. I was traveling to the island of Nippon far to the East beyond the boundaries of the Mongols when I got lost.”

At this the four burst out laughing and relaxed. “You are lost? You plan to travel thousands of leagues and get lost! And this is the famous warrior who was sent to help us? Can you, at least, ride a horse, O noble warrior of Innis who wears women’s skirts?” he asked.

Sarcasm, right? I’ve heard it before. It seems that my life is filled with me getting into trouble by accident and then surviving by following the flow. An oak tree will break under a storm but a Willow will bend and bounce back. The Japanese have a word for that, ‘Ronin’ which means roughly ‘wave man’ or someone who is to be pitied because without service to a lord or the protection of a clan, he is cast about society like a leaf upon the waves of the ocean, forced wherever the wind blows. The reality is that pitying a Ronin for being outcast is like pitying a rabid dog for being released in a schoolyard full of children. This allegory is important right now for once they lower their bows (range about 380 meters) and come within killing distance (about a meter or two) they are, to me, little more than walking corpses. And I am an expert with not only the sword but also bow. I can put six arrows in the center of a target at 200 meters within ten seconds, so give me a chance to get them within blade reach and the opportunity to take one of their bows and I’ll get away easily. It’s one of the advantages of being almost 200 years old, you get a lot of time to practice what you need to survive and even the slowest learner can become an expert if you give him a few centuries of eternal youth to practice. Unfortunately, they were too close or too far. Besides, a hakama isn’t a skirt, it is pleated pants with very large and loose legs designed to hide your footwork so you don’t telegraph your move to your enemy. It just looks like a skirt to someone who never saw one. Plus, Japanese clothing is often decorated with flowers, trees and bright colours that most macho men see as effeminate.

Regardless, I knew the safest way to go was to agree so I replied, “I can, a little. I prefer other means though.” I didn’t mention that I had ridden a stolen Arabian from Baghdad across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan (meeting and defeating a Russian tank during that invasion), then Pakistan, India and finally rode it half-way up Mt Everest before we both came down with oxygen starvation and pneumonia.

They gave me an extra horse and we set out across the steppes. When I wasn’t pulling cod from the North Atlantic on my grandmother’s fishing fleet or working on my family farm in Ireland, I was riding the line on a friend’s ranch in Arizona near the Superstition Mountain StarGate that was linked to Barsoom so I learned early on to hate horses. They bite, rub my thighs raw, bruise my arse and upset my stomach so really I prefer a buggy or an automobile. But one makes do with what one has and I easily managed to keep up with the four. I didn’t impress them much though they tried with me by doing all those tricks you see in the circus but frankly, one mistake and you have a thousand pounds horse flesh with steel hooves trampling you into hamburger. I saw that as stupid so I never tried that and focused on simply staying in the saddle.

The ride took about an hour though I hadn’t a watch so it could have been minutes or hours when we reached a domed tent on the edge of some trees. I hadn’t ridden for a few years so was stiff when I dismounted which, of course, caused my captors tremendous hilarity and they showed off by jumping around like Cossacks. Idiots! I used to dance like that but then, I also used to remove my door from its frame and Clog on it back home until I wised up and stopped breaking my doors and spilling good whiskey.

Mongols? Or maybe all the steppes people lived in yurts which was a lattice-frame in a circle with a spoke roof then all covered with felt or hide. A yurt could be assembled in a half-hour or carried on a wagon pre-assembled. But they were all dark and smelly inside.

Finally we entered the hut which was dark and dank. Did no peasant understand the value of windows and ventilation? No wonder they were half-blind and sick from respiratory ailments. Sitting on the floor was an old woman who was being attended by a middle-aged woman, then I looked closer. It was a guy in a dress. That’s who these people were. Sarmatians! Slezi, my former Amazon lover and mercenary partner, had told me about them when we were in Turkey. They were the People of the Steppes who lived by herding horses and raiding their neighbors. When the grass was gone, they packed their yurts and moved on. As warriors, they were barely adequate swordsmen but excellent horse archers and using the Mongol Bow, they would circle their enemy at a gallop and fill them with arrows. They would occasionally raid the Amazon lands for female slaves until the Amazons hired Mongols to exterminate the Sarmatian tribes that caused them trouble. Amazons were excellent riders and archers but found hiring men to kill other men to be preferable to dying themselves. So I was somewhere in Eastern Europe to Western Asia from the looks of these people.

The problem with a horse people is that the constant pounding of the saddle eventually destroyed their prostate and testicles and so they ‘changed’. Once testosterone production ceased, they lost the ability to maintain an erection, ceased to grow beards and lost muscle mass as the body’s absence of testosterone caused it to try to revert to a woman, leaving them in an androgynous state of neither. So the older Sarmatian men would wear dresses, marry a man who likes anal sex and live the rest of their lives as a woman. This reduction in the numbers of male warriors forced the Sarmatians to allow women to fight and so unlike most other nations, Sarmatian women had a measure of equality. But only a measure for so long as a man is far stronger than a woman, she will be submissive to him.

Slezi and the other Amazons thought they were a joke and laughed at the Sarmatians who visited their nation. The Sarmatian she-males never understood why the Amazons treated them like low-class men but the Rus treated them like freaks. Also, the Amazons made them the center of their often obscene jokes but hell, they had learned to live with a problem they couldn’t solve so who was I to judge Although I was uncomfortable with the looks s/he was giving me, for aside from a stint as a galley slave where I was forced by the Persian sailors into doing things I hated, I really do prefer women, especially those who are built like women with all the proper parts above and below. I preferred my lovers to be female, adult and curvy with amplitude between their arms.

The older woman was obviously a sorceress of sorts. Who else would have herbs hanging from the ceiling and animal parts scattered around. It looked like my Aunt Kathryn’s home in Ireland, only with no books and fewer windows. Aunt Kathryn was a Babd, a Witch, who had taught me a few things so I knew what was happening here. The woman took a bag, reached in and tossed some bones on the floor and stared at them intently as her companion watched with interest. My captors also watched but they with awe for although everyone is uncomfortable around a magickian, most people are sensible enough to recognize their value and smart enough to not piss them off. Never upset a Noble who can have you flogged or a Witch who can make your genitals shrivel. Finally she looked up and said in Arabic (as I mentioned, I find that if you can speak Latin, Arabic and Chinese, there aren’t many places in Eurasia you can’t communicate) “So you are the great hero that was foretold.” It was a statement, not a question.

“Hero, perhaps. Great depends on the bard telling the tale. I’m a successful hero since I am still alive. I tend to disbelieve prophecies though as too vague.” In Ireland a Hero is simply someone who does great and stupid things consistently. For risking his life on foolish quests, he gets the pick of dinner and women. Or so it’s supposed to work. Me? I just got more and more dangerous jobs to do and none of the female companionship that was promised. One king made it a point to have large-breasted women in low gowns around as a promise when he gave me a job, a promise he never kept. I like women, they don’t seem to prefer me. At least they seem to like me until the money and Title cease.

“And those who oppose you? Are they still alive?”

“Some, not many. You breed horses for strength by culling the herds of the weak. I like to think I do the same with humanity. I make the race smarter by removing those stupid enough to face me.”

She laughed at this then said, “We have need of you. We will pay you what we can if you will do a task for us.” I find that people who leave the price unstated often cheat their employees so you have to be very careful when dealing thus.

The others grumbled and argued, “We don’t need any outsider.” “If they come, we will retreat to the steppes as always until they leave.” “We should send his head back as a warning.” And so on. I gathered that these people were facing an invasion and they thought I could stop it. I’m good, but not that good. And I am mainly a guerrilla fighter. I led my people against the Brits by avoiding open combat and fighting from ambush. It’s a talent I have and I’m smart enough to not exceed my abilities and sacrifice my men by leading them in some foolish and suicidal charge against superior numbers. Patton could do that but I’m not Georgie and saw the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War to be an excellent example of stupidity and suicide.

The sorceress then said to me, “We have a problem and cannot solve it for reasons you see here.” She motioned to the four. I understood, typical cop-attitude. When you are told that you are the best and everyone else is pond scum, you tend to believe that you can solve anything by single-handed violence. Sometimes a simple discussion is beyond the abilities of these people who often start wars because of their attitude of wearing their dicks on their forehead for all to see.

“Once we roamed the steppes and went where we wished when we wished and no one stopped us. The grasslands were limitless and we were free. But the Mongols are expanding in the east and already we have lost half the steppes. The Turks are expanding their empire in the south-west and the Rus are pushing south. We fight and run for that is our way of war but what good is that when we can no longer run? Soon we must make peace with people with whom we have fought for generations or we will be crushed. Some like these (she motioned to my escort), wish to die fighting but they don’t remember that it will be their wives raped by the enemy, their daughters sold into slavery, their sons bleeding their life on the grass as our people become extinct.

“Now the Rus claim that their prince was kidnapped by one of our temples to be sacrificed to our god. If we do not return him to them, the Rus and their Mongol allies will take him by force and crush our temples and burn our yurts to ashes.

“These,” she continued, “believe that we should thumb our asses at the Rus but what can we do really? In the old days we’d take what we wanted and if they retaliated, we’d shoot them from afar until they were gone. Or if they were too powerful, we’d run away and loose them in the steppes.

“But now we cannot run. If we ran south, we’d meet the Ottomans with their expanding empire and their horsemen are near as good as are ours. To the east are the Mongols who are also as good as we are. And to the west are the forests where a horse cannot go. Our success has forced our enemies to adopt our tactics and their numbers are greater than are ours.

“The old ways are dying and we must decide if we are to die with them or change to meet new times.”

“We wish you to go to the Rus and talk to them. Find a common ground that will prevent war and death.”

I laughed at this. “I am a poor diplomat. I never was able to master the ways of telling a lie behind a smile. You choose the wrong person for this task. Why not just give the kid back?”

She tossed the bones again, conferred with her assistant and then, “The spirits are clear, they say that you will solve the problem and prevent war.”

“Do the spirits say HOW I am to do this?” I can do tarot and dowsing but runes and bones are beyond my skills.

“No, they simply tell us to trust you.”

“Then my mind is clear, return the kid to his father and the problem is solved. What could be simpler than that?”

“It’s not that easy. Unlike other people who are trapped in cities, each of our tribes follows only their own khan. We have no kings to unite us as do the Rus and Turks and Mongols. Each tribe is jealous of the other. We raid each other for horses as we raid our neighbors so it is difficult to get us to agree on anything. Thus, you are a test. The main chiefs have agreed to listen and watch and see what happens. If you succeed, it brings us one step closer to peace and a united people. If you fail, we continue to war and die.

“The temple that has the prince swears allegiance to no chief and only to their own god. Among your people are the temples ruled by the king or do the priests rule the people?”

“It depends,” I answered. “In my country, the Church has much power and so the king passes laws to accommodate the Church. And we give half our wealth and half our children to the Church. Other countries claim to be different but still the churches often choose the kings who pass laws for that church. In most cases, though, the church must follow the law and many nations will often imprison a priest who violates the law.”

She thought about this, looked at the bones and said, “Here, those who commune with the spirits like me and those who listen to the gods like the temple are beyond the law. No khan gives them orders and the khans listen to our advice. If the prince is to be returned, you must convince the temple that it is in their best interest to do so.”

She tossed me a bag that clunked heavily. “Here is your pay. Either convince the Rus to let the boy go or convince the temple to let the boy go, so long as war is averted, you will have done your task.”

The bag was heavy and I could feel round coins inside. Gold or silver hopefully, but possibly copper or bronze! Probably looted from caravan and town but still spendable. From the weight it was easily two pounds, almost three dozen coins and worth about $10,000 standard if gold, far less if copper. Poor pay for risking my life but I’ve fought in Africa for a hundredth of this so I agreed. The alternative being walking across a couple thousand kilometers of grassland with angry Sarmatian and Mongols at every rise. “Agreed, with one provision. A horse and provisions, free passage across your lands and hospitality as I ride.” It would be easier to cross the steppes with room and board along the way and no fear of running from a hoard.

Nodding in agreement, she continued, “These men will take you to the Rus and you can do what you must. The horse and saddle are yours also.” Then she collected her bones and the others left the yurt, expecting me to follow.

I was a bit nervous as I was being sent to a job under the demands of a spirit that talked through an animal’s body parts. Personally, I prefer the gods to write their messages in fiery letters in the sky. Much less confusion there, especially if they have a lawyer telling them how to say it. But I was paid and there was the possibility that if I refused, I’d not make it more than a few feet from this point.

The trip north took two days and twice I forced my companions to stop so I could pad my saddle. My calluses were gone and I was developing saddle sores. They laughed at me each time until we stopped for the night and one said something I just didn’t like. Maybe it was may aching arse and thighs, maybe it was frustration with not reaching Japan and maybe I was just tired of being the butt of their jokes so when they tossed me some jerky and deliberately threw it short to land in the dirt I exploded. “You idiot! I’ve taken from you all I can and now you kneel and apologize or defend your actions!” I also tossed in some prime Arabic and Russian insults until they stood in anger and drew their tulwars.

Not a problem. I lay my katana on the ground and pulled my wakazashi, still scabbarded, and went on guard. They were as stupid as they were arrogant and I love to fight arrogant bastards. They think that they are so good that they always make mistakes. The one behind me made the first by swinging at my head thinking I’d not see him. I didn’t have to, I knew one of them would be there so I thrust behind as I stepped inside his kill zone and he went down as I drove the sheath into his belly. Then I turned and snapped against the fingers of the man to my left and he dropped his blade screaming. I deflected the next blow and wrapped my arm around his and tossed him to the ground, punching his throat as he fell. Now the last, the most cautious and so most dangerous. I had dropped his three companions within seconds and now he was scared. He did what a nervous man does, he thrusted to keep me as far away as he could. I simply turned and as his scimitar passed by, I stepped in and back-fisted his temple and he thus went down.

Next step was to disarm the fools and then I sat and ate while they recovered. Finally they were all together staring at me in anger and a lot of respect. “It appears that the spirits knew what they were doing when they chose me.” I casually mentioned. “Perhaps you should listen to them,” then I kicked their weapons to them and ignored them as I finished my meal.


*II

Late the next day we reached the Russian city and my companions left me to finish my task alone. I was frankly glad to see them go.

Entering the city was simple, entering the castle was not. I wasn’t dressed as they, which made them suspicious but my confidence kept them back until I approached the castle walls. The place was wood with wood towers and huts around the stockade. They must have denuded the local forest for the timber for this place but like all frontier forts, this was slapped together until they could replace it with stone and that they wouldn’t do until they were certain the land was worth keeping. Plus they’d need to over-tax the locals a few years until they could save enough money to pay for the work.

Strazvietieya” I said though my pronunciation was as bad as my Russian. I had learned the language from Natasha, the Russian woman I had bought from some Chinese pirates and from Slezi when she was on her pregnancy search from the Amazon nation but Natasha’s Russian was 21st Century and Clezi’s dialect was Caspian and heavily influenced by Turk and Greek so these might not recognize my words or accent. Spaseeba means ‘thank you. Zhe added after a pause means ‘very much’ so spaceba-zhe means ‘thank you very much. But alone, zhe means ‘you asshole’ so spacebazhe means ‘thanks you asshole. Unfortunately, other Russian dialects are the reverse.

The guards looked at me, both wearing scale-armour and carrying their tear-drop shields and spears. I deliberately remained mounted for a man on horseback impresses the common folk. “Take me to your leader!” I requested, knowing that to them it was an order not a request. I was, after all, a Noble of Ireland and these were common peasant soldiers.

The two talked together and then one ran inside to return a moment later with a captain. These guards didn’t want to be responsible for making a mistake so they kicked the decision upstairs.

“I am Jason Obrien, Boyer of Innis. I have news about your prince taken by the Sarmatian Mongols. Let me speak to his father and we will settle matters easily.”

The captain looked me over and deliberately used the singular tui (instead of the more polite and plural vui) to insult me, “You? You want to speak with the Tsar? Give me your message and then return to whatever place spawned you.”

Arrogance, I hate that in a man. Give an arrogant man a weapon and you have something too stupid to realize how dangerous I was. But his arrogance also made him a proper soldier. He wore light-weight leather-scale armor, his helmet strap was buckled and he had left his shield behind for officers don’t fight, they carry swords for show only. So I judged his total weight and made my decision.

I’d have to do this fast and only have one chance. I reached down, grabbed the nasal of his helmet and lifted him from the ground, limbs flailing and neck about to snap. “I don’t talk to peasants! Fetch me your master!” Then I threw him against the onrushing guards. It was more of a drop because another half-second and I’d have let go.

But the man’s arrogance and fear made him do exactly what the gate guards did, he kicked the problem upstairs and sent a messenger to the local tsar while he tried to walk away with some dignity.

I sat there waiting, looking at the village and casually noticing the archers on the walls. But these were poor wood bows when compared to the Sarmatian, Turk or Mongol bows and I could probably dodge them if there weren’t too many fired.

Eventually a runner arrived and said that the Prince would see me. So I followed him then handed a servant the reins of my horse and preceded the messenger for a noble follows no one. Thus with me increasing my stride to stay ahead of the messenger and the messenger trying to get ahead of me (and at five foot ten inches, I was much taller than him) we were almost running when I stopped and motioned to the door. He opened it panting and I strode through and stopped a dozen feet before his throne.

The Tsar or Prince depending on what they called themselves this day for tsar is Russian for ‘Caesar’ a title of emperor in the late Roman Empire, was waiting and breathing a bit heavily for the day. I suppose that he had rushed into his princely clothes for unless he was in a big city, he was probably working next to his men in common clothing and needed to change for the audience.

“My men tell me that you arrived on a Sarmatian horse yet you aren’t dressed or armed as they are. You tossed my captain as if he were a child and exposed yourself to my archers without fear or care. You are a dangerous man and I’d kill you now save you have words about my son.”

Great! Another macho jerk. Give me a civilization any time where you can ignore people like these. Unfortunately, civilization breeds these fools.

I bowed to the man for he WAS a Prince and I just a Noble then said, “I have been asked by the Sarmatian chiefs to resolve this problem without war. What can I do to make you happy?”

“Return to me my son and the heads of those who took him!” he demanded. Ok, this was the father talking, now I had to speak to the king.

“Your Grace,” I began, “I understand your feelings and anger for many are the times when I wished the same. But as a Noble of Ireland, sometimes I must put my own desires aside for the good of my people. I doubt that were the situation reversed, you would execute your own priests so please let us find a compromise that will make everyone unhappy but prevent a war that will drain both sides and make each easy prey to Turk or Mongol.”

He thought for a moment, looked around and said, “Return to me my son and have the Sarmatians pay restitution and I will be content.”

“My Lord, I can get your son back, but I am not certain of the rest. I can but try.”

He tossed me a purse and said, “Try hard!” Obviously the Sarmatian restitution was for his self-respect alone. .

Hmmm, I’m getting paid by both sides which is profitable indeed. “I need to know all that you do about where he is, the temple and its design.”

“Tonight you may remain here as my guest and we will tell you what you wish. Tomorrow you will leave with a guide.”

His messenger took me to a side room that wasn’t large but it was better than the ground outside and so I asked for hot water to wash and thought about my next step as the messenger left aghast. Washing! No Rus washed unless they had to. Only Turks washed and then only before eating.

Dinner had the Swede influences for the Rus were descended from Swedish Vikings intermixed with Mongol conquerors and native Slavs. The food was greasy and over-cooked which was a sure sign of rotten meat. Many cooks believed that you hung a freshly killed bird from the roof by the neck and when the neck rotted through enough to allow the bird to fall to the ground, it was ready to eat. Had I a pound of pepper to cover the smell and taste, I would be rich here.

The Russians were more concerned with eating than talking, tossing bones aside for the dogs to fight over and wiping their fingers on bread or clothing with equal abandon. I tried to eat with some decorum but the absence of flatware made that difficult, I had brought only hashi, and eventually I got the story.

“My son was an effeminate boy. I tried hard to turn him into a man so he could rule after me. Then one day, that Sarmatian dog of a priest visited him and stole him from the palace. We searched for days but their temple was hidden so we are preparing to sweep the land clean of their kind. Find the temple, return him to me and I’ll forgo war.

This is getting interesting. I almost felt sorry for the boy as my father felt the same way about me. It took a year on an Arab galley in chains to get me strong enough to fight well. So both sides agreed that the Sarmatian temple had kidnapped the boy. The Rus didn’t know where the temple was so I’d have to depend on my Sarmatian guides to find it for me. Then the hard part would be to get in, get the kid and get out. I doubted that the Sarmatians would pay restitution and temples are notorious for keeping their donated wealth for themselves. So the best I could do was to free the boy and hope daddy would be satisfied with that. The rest about sweeping the land was empty braggado for we all knew that was impossible. If need be, I’d give him the purse the Sarmatians had paid me and pretend it was from them to allow the Rus Boyer to save face.

The next morning I arose early, had breakfast, saddled my horse and led my new guides from the castle. A few leagues from the town we met my Sarmatian guides and there was some rough looks and saber rattling until I demanded, “Settle down. We are both here to prevent war and our only job is to find the boy. If a fight breaks out, I will personally kill both people who are involved regardless of who started it. Now shut up and work together or answer to me.” There was grumbling but no actual fighting though occasionally someone would get close to blows. At that time I would conspicuously ready my katana and wait. I really would kill them both and all knew it so as close as they came, no actual blows fell.

Eventually the Sarmatians stopped and said that they’d proceed no further onto sacred land with the Rus so I told the Russians to wait here until we returned. Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that none of the Sarmatians knew exactly were the temple was either.

Wonderful! It was up to me. I asked the Sarmatians where the offerings were left and they took me to a large grove but refused to remain so I told them to wait for me in the open and I entered the forest alone. Now, if I were a temple, where would I be? Fresh water would be important so I wandered around until I found a stream and followed it to the source. Bingo! A wall ahead with the stream exiting a small wooden pipe. It was too small to crawl into so I circumnavigated the wall until I found the entrance. There was also a road leading off towards the east. I had simply entered the forest from the wrong side. Bummer.

I hobbled the horse to let it graze and entered the temple. As temples go, it wasn’t fancy, just a rough stone wall and a wood roof that covered the statue of a god. I stared at it for awhile and couldn’t decide if it was a god or goddess though two priests in robes were so busy praying that they didn’t see me. So I moved around seeking the prince who I was certain would be near the sacrificial altar. Problem is that the altar before the god/dess had flowers and fruits on it. Humble donations indeed for a blood-thirsty god who wished the lives of young boys.

I checked the rooms and in some were priests praying but most were empty. Well, even monasteries grow their own food so most of the priests probably were farming outside. Good for me.

One priest looked up and backed off with a start. The signs were unmistakable, this priest was a Sarmatian she-male. S/He started to rise but I smiled and said “hello,” which gave him pause. I suppose he was used to people barging in with drawn steel, hacking away like an idiot. “What do you here?” is probably what he asked though he did so in his native language.

I kept my hands from my weapons for as effeminate he may be now, a few years ago he was a cavalryman feared by everyone around and I doubted that he had forgotten how to fight. “I seek the Russian boy. His father is worried about him.” I spoke to him in Russian.

The priest laughed so hard two others arrived, both the same she-male. I was beginning to see a pattern here and it didn’t look good. “The stranger seeks to rescue Alexii from the clutches of the evil priesthood” and they all laughed at this.

“The boy you seek tends the garden to the north. Find him there if you will.” Said one.

Well, this was going well. Strange but well. I could probably handle this without bloodshed. I find that you can rob a temple so long as no blood is shed. Most people resented tithing to a temple that had more gold on the altar than most families made in a lifetime so they secretly enjoyed tales of temple-thieves. But kill a priest and the entire nation rises in anger.

So I left the temple, watched by the giggling priest/esses(?) and made my way to the north where I saw a dozen more, all the same save a couple women who worked next to the she-men. “Which one of you is Prince Alexii?” I cried out.

One boy stood and cried, “I am.” But he wasn’t the child I expected. He was easily 16 and obviously not a prisoner.

“Your father wishes you well and home. Come with me please and let no one stand in my way.”

“No!” he said and stood his ground.

Brainwashed? Bespelled? Drugged? Any were possible so I strode to him and said, “Be reasonable. Your father wants you home. He misses you and is prepared for war to get you back.” The boy wasn’t listening so to shorten the discussion, I punched him out and tossing him over my shoulder as I made a break for my horse. Two of the priests tried to stop me but they were unarmed so I used my sheathed katana as a club and beat my way through them. Then I ran as best I could with my burden and managed to get him to my horse before the rest of the priesthood appeared. None had bows or swords but they did have an impressive array of shovels, rakes, hoes and pitchforks. So I waded in and laid as many out as I could then ran for the horse, pulled the hobble free and left by the road. With any luck, they’d not have horses and I would easily escape before they finished tending their injured.

Outside the forest I circled it to gather my Sarmatian guides who laughed and asked “Did you find the temple to your liking?”

“What’s the point of that place?” I asked.

“It is where some of us go to... be ourselves when we age. You will learn soon enough the rest,” one said and the rest laughed at his wit.

A few hours later we reached the Russians and they took over to guide me back to the city. Our Sarmatian guides simply sat there laughing as we left.

“This is definitely weird,” I thought, “but it was easy money.” The kid awoke and struggled so I had to tie him up and then gag him to stop his curses. He was demanding that not only the Sarmatian god of the temple strike me down but that christ and all the Russian and Greek saints do the same. Right! I’ve had both my catholic priest uncles, islamic inman and many other priests of many religions curse me and one thing I learned is that if a priest curses you to death and damnation, you can easily die of old age waiting for his god to listen and act. Rather I should fear my aunts, the nuns, for they grew mean as they vainly awaited their honeymoon night with their god-husband.


*III

That evening we reached the castle and I turned the boy over to his father who simply had him taken to his room. Somehow I expected a warmer reception so I followed the Tsar to his throne room and listened as he made arrangement for his son’s wedding to a neighboring princess.

Arraigned marriages. Required for a royalty who must put nation before self and sometimes I was glad that I was low enough on the ladder to be able to marry for love. My grandparents had their marriage arraigned and I never saw them hug or say ‘I love you’. I suspected that my own parents had their marriage arraigned as well. So to kill time before I left for the east, I decided to visit the prince and see if his spell had worn off yet.

The kid was pacing back and forth and more angry than anything else. That was a good sign for spelled and brainwashed people rarely have any real emotions.

“Tell me about it?” I asked.

“Tell you what? You serve my father! What can I say that you will believe.”

I laughed and said, “Look at my clothes and weapons. I serve no one but myself. I am simply trying to make enough money to get to Nippon and prevent a war along the way.”

He stared then sat, “My father hates me. I am little more than marriage material. But I love her not! I won’t marry that woman!” It was the way he spat ‘woman’ that gave me the clue.

“You like boys!” I said.

He turned to deny but fell silent.

“Tell me about the temple? I saw the priests. They were Sarmatian warriors whose manhood had been destroyed by too many years in the saddle. The statue within, I couldn’t tell if it was a god or goddess. And now you, a lover of men. You weren’t kidnapped were you?”

“No,” he looked at the floor. “I prefer men and when my father arraigned this marriage I had to leave. I couldn’t marry a person I didn’t love, how could we have children? At the temple, my kind are accepted so I sought the freedom of my own kind.”

I walked over to the window and said, “By accident or design, you are prince and your duty lies with your nation. No one cares if you love your wife, they only care that you father heirs and defend the country.”

“But how do I do that? I have no desire for her or for women at all. I cannot fight. War abhors me, I’ll lead my country to ruin. Let me leave and father will adopt an heir to make himself proud.”

“I have an idea,” I said. “You must have heirs. You must marry the princess. You must defend the realm. But there is a way to do all and this may even be a good idea for all.

“Marry her. But explain to her that this is a marriage of convenience. Allow her a lover so long as she is discrete and no one knows. If you are lucky, your children will look like their mother. If not, close your eyes and think of your boyfriend. Heirs are guaranteed.

“Study warfare but hire trusted advisors to actually run the campaigns. Watch them to ensure that they do not take over but listen to their advice for why have a trusted advisor if you won’t trust their advice.

“Take your own lovers but be desecrate for to be otherwise will break the nation and cause civil war.

“And, most importantly, be at peace with the Sarmatians. You have been in their temples. You know that they are not the monsters your father believes. So find a common ground and make peace. If you do, you won’t have to go to war.”

He looked at me with wide eyes. “You think this could work? I could rule to make my father happy and grasp at happiness myself?” He threw himself at me and hugged me and then kissed me. Now I cringed a bit for as I said my former experiences with men were violent and unpleasant but sometimes you have to suffer for peace and if he was willing to follow my advice for the good of his nation, I should be willing to let him hug me. But I did slap his hand away from my arse.

I left him then and went to my room for I was unaccountably tired.


*IV

The next morning I awoke and saw the changes. My hair, normally short and brown, was now lighter and touching my ears. When I walked, my chest ‘jiggled’. I can’t explain it any other way so I stripped and looked and somehow my nipples were no longer flat. My chest was rounder! Then I touched my genitals and they were smaller, shrinking. Oh oh! This boded ill.

I dressed in a hurry then ran for the stable, my hips beginning to sway as my center of gravity shifted downward. After saddling, I mounted and rode for the temple glade, almost killing the horse in the process, my Sarmatian guides following at a distance as they saved their own mounts.

When I entered the chamber I saw the first sorceress there talking to a priest and I got very angry. “What the hell is going on!” I demanded, my voice cracking. I wanted to pull my swords and kill them all but restrained myself, barely.

The head priest asked, “Are you having problems, my dear?” I wanted to slap his face off.

Instead I grabbed him by the throat and looked up to his eyes and demanded, “You know what’s happening. Tell me or I’ll butcher every priest in this building!” Up? I was almost six feet tall and he was inches shorter than I so how was I looking up?

“It’s easy to see,” interrupted the sorceress. “We are a people who cross the genders so we worship a god who is also a goddess. You angered the Androgynous god and s/he is angry at you for desecrating her temple and injuring his priests. So s/he is punishing you for this act.” She was speaking Russian and used sometimes neuter endings, sometimes masculine and sometimes feminine.

I was angry and scared and when torn between the desire to kill and to beg for mercy, I chose the latter. Taking a deep breath, I pulled my purses and offered them to the altar saying, “I apologize for my actions. I was only doing what I felt was best by preventing a war and reuniting a son and father. Please accept this money as a token of my sincere apologies.” I didn’t even believe in this god but it was clear that this god believed in me. Far too much for my tastes. Also I didn’t want the priests announcing open season on me after I left.

The sorceress cast her bones before the statue then said, “The god accepts your apologies and gifts and forgives you.” I breathed a sigh of relief, “But,” she continued, “You must still atone for your crimes.”

Another cast and the priest said, “The goddess is happy with how you treated Alexii last night. And this concern for his welfare will mitigate your atonement.”

Another cast and they both fell to the floor laughing. “Three years. You must spend three years as a woman to understand. Then you may become a man again.”

“What?!” I yelled, my voice cracking. “I have to be a woman for three years? Why? How? What can I do to change this?”

“You cannot.” He said. “When we change, we pretend not to be men for we know that we are not. Yet neither are we women, we remain in-between, the twilight between the sexes. If you strive to act as a man, you will be trapped as are we. But if you accept the change, be fully a woman, then when your time is up, you will return to being fully a man. I don’t know how the God can change you fully but not us but that is not for me to understand.”

She continued, “Accept your fate. You may remain here until the change is complete then you must leave.”

I was weak in the knees and sat on the temple floor. As a pirate, I had sacked a mosque in Arabia and Allah had ignored the cries of his people. In Kosovo I had threatened to crucify a priest on his own altar and burn his church around his body and God did nothing. So why was this unknown god so powerful? And why didn’t s/he change his/her own people back to men or fully women? Damn! That was it! When the Demons lengthened my Y-chromosome, they gave this god that opportunity to change my phenotype to match my presumed genotype. Had I normal genetics, this would be impossible but as plastic as I am, … my stomach rolled at the thought.

Finally one of the priestesses (I think she was a lesbian) led me to a room where I fell to the bed and began to cry. Another sign of my curse for I never cry. My father would beat me when I did yelling “men don’t cry! Be a man, not a girl!”

***

When they called me for dinner, I was too embarrassed to leave the room so one of them brought me a plate and a mirror that I could watch the changes. I ate, then ate another plate, then a third until I was full as my body was demanding energy and matter for my change. Then I closed the door and stripped to see what was happening. Yes, there were definitely breasts growing there. My penis was only a few inches long now and my testicles were tight and aching as if they were trying to pull into my body. When I held my katana, it seemed bigger, longer, heavier as if I were shrinking and my hair was growing at an alarming rate and lightening too. I tried to think back to my family and remembered that I had been born a blonde but darkened with age and my eldest daughter was platinum blonde but my other kids and sisters were all redheads. And most of my female family were well endowed upstairs which could be a blessing or a curse. The Curse! Periods! Yeech. Was I going to have to endure a monthly period? My hips were widening and my waist narrowing which threw me off balance when I walked. “Damn!” Then I laughed, I WAS damned!

Well, what’s the use of visualization and magick if I couldn’t use it. So I sat there and visualized a few things that my aunt Kathryn, the Witch of Innis, tried to teach me. She and her Aunt knew that I was cursed with greatness so did her best to teach me things she felt I would someday need. I sat there all day and night through the aches and pains as bones and muscles and skin shifted into new patterns and every time I woke up, I’d visualize again. Finally morning came and with it another meal, this time carried by a crew. It seemed every priest and priestess in the temple was watching. I couldn’t tell if they were jealous or just curious but one of the priestesses left a basket of make-up and another a dress. I kept my kimono loose and on my body and now I understood why my daughters wore loose clothes as they developed. They were embarrassed at the changes they were undergoing. I was embarrassed too and I was doing in days what they took years to accomplish.

My children! I couldn’t go home now. “Kids, come here, your father is now your mother.” My ex-wife would laugh her head off and tell everyone. No, for the next few years I was stuck here five hundred years in the past and five thousand miles away.

I refused to leave my room and there was always a priest or priestess waiting outside. On the second morning I definitely had breasts. Large, firm, pointed and attractive breasts. I wanted to play with them but was afraid to. My penis was almost gone and my testicles had vanished. My hair was almost to my shoulders and my waist was narrow as my hips were wide. I didn’t look at the clothing I was given but continued to spend my time visualizing and focusing my attention on myself. If I had to endure this, I’d do it right. All the good and none of the bad. Who was that Greek? Tiresias? Who saw two snakes copulating and struck them with a stick. In revenge Hera, for Hera loves sexuality in all forms, turned him into a woman until years later he saw the same snakes again copulating and left them alone to be forgiven by Hera who changed him back into a man. He was a Tiresian Polymorph and now, so was I. So, if I did what the Sarmatian god wanted, I could be changed back in three years. Now what did s/he want of me?

I ate a lot. I guess the changes were burning up a lot of energy that needed to be replaced. Finally on day three it was done, maybe day four if you count the ride here. I don’t know how I knew, it was just that knowledge. My hair was a light strawberry blonde, I had high cheekbones, large firm breasts, narrow waist, flat belly, shapely legs and no hair on my legs, face or armpits. I figured that if I was going to have to be a girl, I may as well be a hot-chick! So I spent my time visualizing my male ideal of the perfect woman. The kind I wanted to marry but never did. I also managed to void out leg and armpit hair to avoid shaving and hopefully, menstruation.

I still had some scars on my back from the lash and here and there from various battles but all in all, looking at myself naked before the mirror I decided that I’d do myself. I’d even pay to do myself. So I turned and stared from various angles until some giggling informed me that the priests had silently opened the door and were watching me.

I grabbed my kimono and held it before me as I screamed in a much higher voice, “Get out!”

All left save one woman who sat on my bed and said, “Being a woman is more than breasts and a baby-maker. It’s an attitude and that attitude goes with the clothes and look. You are a woman now. Dress and act like one!” I didn’t argue, I just wanted this over and she knew the rules better than I did.

Then she held up the dress and explained the undergarments then began to dress me. “The dress goes over your head and down, this part in front. Pull it low to show your breasts and it will hang well. Now the vest. This supports and binds your breasts. Put it on, lace it loosely then bend over thus. Your breasts will fall forward and you can lace the vest then pack your breasts in for comfort. It is easier for women like me but yours are grossly huge and won’t fit well.” (huge? Nice sized but not huge I thought, though she was almost flat chested to my eyes)

“Shoes are simple, it’s walking in the heels that take practice. In the cities, some women and men wear heels that are many inches high and pointed but here those would sink into the ground. So these heels are but a few inches high and wide enough to keep you level.

“Your hair can be combed then tied back or fly loose or braided but tie it back when you are working or it’ll get in the way. Wear an apron when you work to protect your dress and a cap to protect your hair.”

Some of what she taught me that day was easy, some hard but I had only a day to learn what normal women learned in a lifetime. The shoes were easy, cowboy boots are almost as high though I hated those and left mine on a fence when I left that ranch. And wearing and sitting in a dress was not much different from the kilt I occasionally wore in Ireland though now I could cross my legs without crushing anything. Sitting straight with my chest forward was also based on karate lessons so also simple. The hardest thing was learning to pee all over. Normally I’d just hold my penis, aim, and let go. Now I had to sit every time and rock my hips to angle the flow and keep my legs wide apart to avoid peeing all over myself. It took some tries before I could without washing my legs afterwards. I was laughing as I did so thinking of a woman I knew who paid her rent by selling photos and videos of her peeing into a wine glass then selling the liquid to desperate men with no dignity. She must have had a lot of practice to get it right.

Then she said, “You walk like a man.” To which I almost said, “I AM a…” then stopped and listened. She drew a line in the floor and sad, “Watch! See how I place one foot before the other? See how my back is straight and my breasts precede me.” So I followed and she complimented my walk. “Simple, in karate lessons I had to walk a balance beam. The secret is to never look down and stare at the wall directly ahead. I also used to watch my sisters do this all the time.” So she placed a chamber pot on my head and said, “Do it again,” which took longer to accomplish though my sisters practiced with a book. Spilling a book would be nicer than a chamber-pot so I worked very hard at the walk.

“Now for make-up. Wealthy nobles wear a lot of this but it takes too long to put on and you can learn that later. Here is the lip-color. Apply it like this very thick. Then press your lips together on a clean cloth to take some off, then cover with this to slow the color’s loss. Now eyes, this will darken your eyebrows and lashes and this, your eyelids. This will line your eyes and make them seem darker and more exotic. That should do for now. You should practice to be good at this.” I looked in the mirror and if I looked good before, now I was sexy!

She showed me how to curtsey and it occurred to me that I had watched a hundred women curtsey to me and I never saw how they did it. My attention was focused on their chest and so now I had to do this simple but necessary act. I tried but my breasts were too heavy and I fell over. When straight, they were a pleasant weight, bending over they were an accident. Finally she showed me how to use my broadened hips to counter-balance my chest and I was able to go low, not as low as my ex but hopefully acceptable.

“Finally sex, men enjoy a woman who entices him…” “Stop!” I demanded. “The dress I can handle, the heels I like and I can even tolerate the make-up because it makes me look nice but sex with guys is… creepy. I understand why you are a lesbian because I still find women attractive. I have no desire to bed a guy. I didn’t willingly do it when I was a man and I have no intention of doing it as a girl. And since your god has no problems with gays, I figure that het-sex isn’t a requirement for this atonement.”

She stared then, she said, “You may leave. I told you all I can save for one thing. You must eat and the only ways a woman can live is by marriage to a man, living as a nun or priestess in a temple or by whoring. We have few other options so decide which you will do and two of those requires you to spread your legs for a man.”

“Is this why you are here?” I asked, “You didn’t like the sex part?”

She stared through me and said, “I was raped at 12 and married to a man who beat me at 14. I had four children, two died and every day I wished I could die too. I hated that man and what he did to me. Sex was more pain than pleasure so when I could, I ran here. This is what you will suffer unless you are very lucky.”

I laughed at that. “When I was a boy of 16, I was captured by slavers and gang-raped often. I was flogged for not working hard enough. I cannot imagine a woman’s life being as bad as that of a galley slave. And two cheating wives didn’t make me hate women any more than those slavers made me hate the priests here so … Besides, I have a plan.”

“A plan? What to be queen?” she was sarcastic. The fact that I had healed from my repeated gang-rapes and she had not from her single rape and marriage bothered her.

“No, to do what I did as a man. When I was a guy, I occasionally traveled with women and they proved to be as good a soldier as was I when you compensated for their physical weakness. Instead of heavy armor, they wore lighter plate and relied on speed and agility to survive. Instead of a heavy long sword, they used a lighter blade. I found that women can be as capable as a man once they realized their limitations and compensated for them. And somehow, carrying a sword never made them less attractive or feminine. Fiona and Diane were still beautiful and sexy despite their occupation as adventurer-warriors and neither was Slezi who was an Amazon. So I figure that het-sex may not be a requirement, neither is marriage or whoredom. So long as I live and dress and act as a woman, I can still be myself. My people call it a loophole.”

The woman looked at me in jealousy then handed me a cloth saying, “You have lipstick on your teeth. Reapply and don’t chew your lips.” Then she left, hopefully to think over my words. Every day both men and women are raped and beaten and abused and few hate all of that gender for the crimes of a few. Those that do are weak-willed and I didn’t intend to be weak. After the rapes and abuse by my slave-owners, I traveled and adventured with George, an American homosexual and learned that not all gays are bad. Same with women. A few bad do not condemn the rest. And being anally raped by Persian Sailors and befriended by an American homosexual never made me gay or even bi. I remained staunchly heterosexual. Only now I appeared to be a lesbian.

I wiped my teeth but still smudged the color so tried to wipe the mess off and succeeded only in smearing it over my face. Damn, I looked like a whore after a passionate embrace. I cleaned it all off and tried to replace it and failed. Clean and reapply and it took me four tries to get something that looked even halfway as nice as what she did to me. But I was tired of trying. How the hell could my ex spend hours doing this in the bathroom? We were never on time anywhere and I went broke buying her make-up. But I now understood why my daughters and their friends spent hours playing at dress-up. It took that time to learn how to do this. I resolved to not wear more than I had on now and probably less. True, I always found red to be sexy but there was a point where the look was too expensive and one had to settle. Perhaps that is why women cut their sexy long-hair to a man’s shorter fashion, to save time and effort?

I looked at myself in the mirror and damn! I looked good. The dress hid my legs but the vest did nice things for my waist and chest. I’d have to rig up some kind of bra. And these bloomers had to go! I turned to see if my hips and ass looked fat and decided that they were acceptable. Tight cheeks, curvy hips, nice body! Then it struck me. This wasn’t just a nice-looking woman I was hoping to impress in a bar, this was me! I actually looked like this. It took me a long time to accept it.

While I was admiring myself, the head priest and sorceress entered and said, “Good Luck, We’ll see you in three years.” And left a package with food, a change of underwear and a canteen. I tossed the make-up and my kimono in too and after grabbing my swords, left and didn’t look back. I was afraid of what I’d say to the god and anything I did say would probably get me another decade tacked onto my sentence.


****************************************************

THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

Strangely enough I feel the need to write these words for what I was and what I am are polar opposites. Why I use such words I know not yet somehow, I am comforted by the floral over the overt.

Perhaps it is the difference between pornography and erotica for men become bored if the girl is not upon her knees with willing mouth in the first five minutes while the woman prefers chapters of romance to lead to the act of love.

Is this too, a part of my curse?

I recall many things as I changed, but am unable to tell which were uppermost in my mind. I remember that I was terrified at loosing my strength for a woman is only three-quarters as strong as a man. As a man I was stronger than most because I worked hard at that, exercising constantly to give me an athlete’s strength over the steroid-induced body of the weight-lifter.

I recall the ache as my testicles crawled inside to become ovaries, my penis shrinking to become a clitoris and the space between these and my anus retreating to create a vagina. The loss of my manhood was the greatest fear for without a penis, what was I? I also remember my fingers touching, tenderly, to explore then pulling away in fear, for I had slid my own into many a woman’s cavity but the memories that accompanied my own explorations were of those Iraqi sailors penetrating me against my will. Or of being shot or stabbed and feeling my open, gaping wound. These memories caused me to fear my explorations for a new hole caused memories of another wound to sew shut before I bled to death.

I recall touching, fondling my growing breasts and the feelings upon my skin and the almost unbearable sensations of my nipples. This must be why my wives would ask me to caress their entire breast and avoid the nipples until they were excited, the skin was sensitive and enjoyed my stroke. As they grew would the nerves spread thus reducing the sensation or would I grow new nerves to fill the spaces?

I focused my visualizations on preventing hair growth on my arms, legs, armpits and face for my ex spent much of her time bleaching and plucking and shaving.

Menstruation terrified me. Too many years killing and being wounded and seeing the blood of myself and others flow convinced me that were I to bleed… down there… I would die. And like most men I saw menstruation as basically disgusting.

PMS! My ex and one of my daughters suffered that though privately I felt that they were pretending out of laziness for PMS seemed too convenient an excuse for them expressing bad manners and failing to control their moods as I was expected to do. And my experiences in the Third World, and many First and Second World nations, convinced me that PMS is a uniquely American excuse. I resolved to never allow my moods to control me.

I hated peeing. Half the time it ran down my legs, the rest of the time it sprayed all over, missing the chamber-pot. At first it was easy. I unfastened my pants, pulled my penis out, held that beloved member to aim and drew pictures or wrote novels with the stream. But as my penis shrank, that procedure became more and more difficult until I could no longer grasp the member. So I learned to sit upon my chamber pot as I would when I shat. Unfortunately, as I arched my hips forward to more easily place my anus over the opening, my urine was aimed forward and would miss the pot, spraying the room before me. So I would then arch back to pee into the pot and then defeciate over the rear edge. And if I didn’t spread my legs properly, I would soak my thighs. I tried to use my fingers to force my tissues to the proper angle with no luck other than my new vaginal lips, both inner and outer, would soak. Thus the chamber pot required a constant see-saw motion to keep all of my waste contained. There must be a solution. Well, I had three years to find one though just as I learned to pee, I’d probably change back. Plus I had to remember to wipe fore to rear to prevent soiling my genitals with feces. That too was no problem as a man but now the new folds and moisture would contain and breed molds and fungus and my ex and daughters would spend too much time with a UTI based on improper wiping.

I hated the need to pee or shit!

So many fears and conflicting desires. Men feel that were we ever to become a woman, we’d enter the bedroom with a box of batteries and never leave.

We also laugh at British Television with their obsession over ugly men in drag though the one time I met with a transvestite in Turkey, I didn’t know until I forced her hands away and felt… more than a woman should have. My companions, Diane, Fiona and Slezi laughed at that for months.

I cried and cursed as my emotions shifted from fear to terror to anger to desire to … some that were unexplainable. And so I beat my pillow cursing then suddenly would straddle that same pillow with my thighs, riding it in sexual frustration for though the pleasure of the caress was there, I reached no climax and would pound my inanimate lover in anger or frustration as if it here the fault of my pillow and not my new body.

And through it all, I fought the urge to curse the god who cursed me, fearing his wrath and what else he could do.

**********************************************************


*V

My horse was saddled and fed so I mounted, got my hem caught in the stirrup, had to pull it free and when mounted, adjusted my dress a couple times until it was out of the way (to the amusement of the priests and priestesses) and headed down the path. I had ridden horses in Ireland wearing a kilt so this was just a few extra feet of length, I thought. Unfortunately the bouncing caused my breasts to ache despite the vest and the linen caused my nipples to harden and ache even more. I definitely needed a bra! If only to stop the constant bouncing and rubbing. So I adjusted my stance and discovered that if I swung my hips forward and back, it acted as a spring and my chest remained fairly secure. I had never needed to do that as a man. Unfortunately the rocking reminded me of sex and I noticed that every time I rocked, my… clit (? I had a clit?!) rubbed the saddle through my clothing and gave a nice feeling. Also unfortunately, there were branches along the way and I had to keep my attention on pushing them aside lest they catch in my hair so I couldn’t enjoy the ride. Japanese straw hats are made for shade, not security and kept being brushed off.

Finally I reached the end of the grove and let the horse go where it would as I enjoyed the sensations. I had always been a sexual being, enjoying sex whenever I could get it, which wasn’t often enough, and playing solo the rest of the time. But that was simple, ‘look at the boobs on that chick’ get hard, try to get her and if so, great, if not, dig out the hand lotion. But this was different. Totally different sensations in totally new parts of my body. An erection was simply anatomy until it was stroked. But now I began to feel a really strong tingling down there and found myself squeezing and rubbing my breasts through the dress. Is this what my partners felt as I groped through their clothing? I had the urge to moan so I did. The low vibrations through my throat felt good too so I did it again. Normally I am a quiet lover and I always thought women moaned because I wanted them to as a sign that I was a good lover. Now I was realizing that they moaned because it added to the sensation. I never realized fully how many sensations a woman feels during sex. I recall my then-wife telling me that a woman has a finite amount of skin and likes to be kissed in every square inch. Now I understood what she meant. The rubbing of my inner thighs, the moving of my breasts, the vibrations of my voice, and the rubbing of my clit against the saddle all added to my pleasure. I almost wished I could slide my fingers inside but that was impossible.

So I let go and explored whatever felt nice. The rubbing made me scream as I ran my fingers through my hair (which also felt nice) and very quickly I climaxed, my first as a woman, scaring the horse with my screams. Again and again I orgasm’d until I was exhausted and had to pad my wet crotch with folds of my dress to put something between me and the saddle. Goddess! If all women felt like this why the fuck did any of them ever leave the bedroom? I was fluffing out my hair to dry the sweat (no glow, men and horses sweated, women glowed or so I was told by my mother) when I became aware that I was being observed. Two of my Sarmatian guides were waiting for me and they were staring at my chest. I looked down and noticed that I had pulled my dress below my breasts to have better access and these were staring ahead so I adjusted my dress to cover them which caused the Sarmatians to respond, “Don’t do that, we’ll just have to uncover them again.” No sag at all a part of me noticed, I’d not be able to store a pencil underneath. Another part wasn’t embarassed at the exposure because I still didn’t see these breasts as being a part of me. And still another part felt ashamed as if I were a young boy caught by his parents as he dressed in his sisters clothing.

“I’m still that guy who beat the crap out of you a few days ago. So let me pass or suffer the consequences.” I snapped in a far too high voice. Great, my first day as a chick and I have an earth-shattering climax followed by a gang-rape.

One of them grabbed my reins and pulled the horse to a stop. The other began to fondle my hair which was now below shoulder-length and seemed to have stopped growing. “You aren’t going to let me go are you?” I asked, dreading the answer. The Iraqis had raped me anally but I figured that these would do me vaginally and frankly, I didn’t want either. Especially from them.

“Maybe, later, IF you please us,” said one and both laughed.

I sighed. “Ok, let’s get this over with so I can continue on. Nippon awaits.” Then I drew my wakazashi and removed the hand of the one touching my hair followed by a slash across his throat. As he went down I kicked and my horse reared and broke free so I turned and pretended to run hoping the other would grab for me. He did so and I drove my blade into his chin and upwards into his brain.

It was over that quickly. I was just tired of being used. Feeling a weight hanging from my hair, I swung it around and untangled my hair from the severed hand. “Damn, now I have to wash my hair and dress,” and tossed the member away. Both horses had run off a ways but one stopped and was grazing nearby so I dismounted, hobbled my own horse and stripped the bodies.

A couple swords I couldn’t use but could probably sell, some knives I kept, their boots which were too big for my now smaller feet but I could use their clothing so I stripped them naked, staring at their genitals. I moved the flaccid penis of one around with my new knife looking it over. Uncircumcised, unlike my former member which had a small foreskin and much longer, I wondered how big it would have been hard and if it would hurt going in. My ex seemed to like larger ones when she was cheating but then as the passion waned to require more foreplay, she liked them smaller. Strange. I started to cut it off but felt that would be too perverted so I left him alone and went through their purses.

The money was mostly copper with some silver and nowhere near the fortune I had left on the temple altar. I wondered if it would pay for even one night’s sleep in an inn. There were also a few items that could be religious which I left and then I removed their jewelry, noting that it was silver and gold. The earrings of one I liked. Simple hoops around a half-inch in diameter so I kept those separate. I’d probably have to pierce my ears soon so I could wear them. Plus there were bracelets that I liked. All would have to be washed before I touched them though, so I packed everything away and unhobbleing my horse, I chased down the mounts of the dead.

Then I led my new mounts back into the grove searching for that stream that led to the temple. Once finding it, I stripped and washed the blood from my dress and hair, the water far too cold for my tastes and I noticed that my nipples ached and were very hard and erect. I tried rubbing them but that made matters worse so I just covered them with my palms until they warmed up a bit, then I continued washing the jewelry and their clothes. Having no soap I used sand to scrub them as clean as I could and noticed that the water downstream was dirty and vermin were crawling from their clothes. Yech! This would not do at all.

So I built a fire with a striker and flint from their saddlebag and soon had a cheery fire going. I added wet brush and lay the clothes over the fire to let the smoke kill the vermin and the heat dry my dress. Then I took a bow from their case and tried to pull it. Nothing. Maybe an inch. These guys had arms of steel from a lifetime of pulling these things and I was now only 2/3 as strong as a man. That sucks! Then I tried something I had learned from Slezi. I held the string against my chest remembering to keep my breast clear then pushed the bow away. Much better. I almost had a full draw though I couldn’t hold it for more than a few seconds. I’d need to trade these bows for a boy’s or woman’s bow that I could draw but I had a bow now and when everyone is bigger and stronger than you, distance is your allay.

I also used the heat and smoke from the fire to drive away any vermin in the blankets as I had no intention of waking up with lice. By then it was getting dark and I dressed and looked around searching for company. Finding none I lay my blankets out and pulling my dress up to my waist, I propped the mirror against a rock so I could see and checked my new genitalia over carefully. Nice job. No dangly inner lips or bruised discolorations like porn stars. Hairy but that was normal. I considered shaving but the only reason would be appearance (Americans seemed to love the ‘Hitler’ look down there while we Europeans preferred a lush natural bush) and I doubted anyone would be that close for a long while.

Then I spread my outer lips and saw my inner lips. Pulling these away I found my clit and touched it. Nice! I wet my finger with saliva and rubbed it a bit, moaning as I did so. Goddess that felt good! Then I inspected my vagina. I spread the opening and slid my finger inside until I felt an obstruction. My maidenhead! I was a virgin again? Did this mean that when I became a man again, I’d have a bigger foreskin? And if I tore this, would I be circumcised when I returned to being male? Since the foreskin WAS the maidenhead, and I had mine partially removed at birth, where did this come from? One thing I remembered was that women in my family not only had large breasts, they also had thick hymens making their first experience very painful. My sister tore hers on a bike and had to have it surgically removed to stop the bleeding. I was NOT looking forward to that. One accident on a saddle and I’d be hurting for… weeks?

I had some dinner of cheese and jerky as I considered my next move, I had to leave here, but where to go? If memory served, I was probably northeast of the Black Sea, possibly northwest or north of the Caspian. The Amazon nation would be on the NW shore of the Caspian but the Ottoman Empire very close to that. I’m looking at 5,000, maybe 6,000 miles to Japan, all through the harsh Mongol and Chinese Empires. Impossible! Maybe 1300 miles to Kosovo, again through the Ottoman Empire. North maybe 50 to 1,000 miles would be Moscow. South an equal distance is Iran. And my latitude is probably equal to Newfoundland. Of all the places to find myself, this was one of the worst.

South and west would be Turkey and Syria, my old stomping grounds with Diane and Fiona. Now those were nice memories. Thinking of Diane gave me a peculiar feeling between my legs so I investigated and found my vagina wet. I thought of her some more, her blonde hair, her breasts and how they felt in my hands, how she rode my erection… I slid my finger partly inside and getting it wet, rubbed my clit. The more I thought of Diane, the wetter I got and the more I rubbed. I tried rubbing all along my outer lips and found that sensation to be nice too, not as intense but very pleasant. So I tried to do all at once. I explored and found that I could run my index and ring fingers along my outer lips as my middle finger slid from vagina to clit. No it slid into my pussy and got my clit wet and hard. I pinched my nipples and tried to suck them but they were too firm so I satisfied myself rubbing and pinching them as I jilled myself to orgasm after orgasm. Finally I was exhausted and the moon was high. Could I have been doing this for hours? I smelled my musk from my fingers, licked and sucked them clean, remembering the smell and taste of Diane then wrapping myself in my blanket, I fell asleep having dreams of riding horses and Diane between my legs.

I awoke cold and saw lipstick on my fingers and arm and almost looked around for Diane until I realized that this was my own make-up. I’d have to be certain to remove it before sleep. I checked my mirror and almost fainted at the sight! I looked horrible! My mascara was all over my eyes, my lipstick all over my mouth, I looked like a clown raccoon. So I built the fire up and washed my face until I was clean. I was still attractive but remembering the words of the temple, I had to go all the way or else and the ‘or else’ terrified me. I had images of a man turning into a wolf then returning but being stuck halfway as a ‘wolfman’ like in the American Horror Cinema. What would I look like were I trapped half-way between male and female? Some ugly man pretending to be a woman and the laughing stock of all who see him? Something androgynous and fit only for a late-night comedian’s skit? So I propped the mirror in a crook of a tree and tried to do my eyes. I failed miserably. I just couldn’t get them to look like they did yesterday. So I finally settled on doing my lashes and brows then I started on my lips. These were easier but it still took three tries to get them close to right.

By then my breakfast was warm so I ate my meal and saw how the jerky was covered with lipstick. Gross! Right, I forgot the sealer and I needed to learn to eat with my lips curled away from the food as I bit. Or cut my meal into small parts that I could pop into my mouth. I tried both and found the cutting to be a better method and when done, I checked my mouth again and saw another clown-face. Fuck! How do women do this? I wiped and reapplied and sealed and this time it was easier so I tried mascara again. Better but too thick. I’d need to practice thinner lines. I considered removing it and trying again but decided that no one would see me so I would live with it and try again later.

My ex could do a perfect lip without looking and in one try. She’d glance in a mirror and do her eyes so why was I having so much trouble? Practice? Or some make-up gene on the X-chromosome I’m missing? Outside I may be a woman but inside I still feel like a man. I enjoy swords and am sexually attracted to women. I want to remain an adventurer and have no desire for more kids or cleaning house. So, must I pretend for three years? Shit! I need to get laid. Now there is a man’s answer to a problem. Sex.

Then nature called and I moved to a rock and pulled my dress up. Shit! I was missing that piece of anatomy that allowed me to aim. So I hiked it up more, squatted and tried to pee only to soak my legs and hem which wasn’t as out-of-the-way as I thought. So, I wiped my legs and crotch dry then removed my dress and rinsed the hem in the stream again and hung it to dry.

Then I realized that my legs were no longer hairy. I had tits and a pussy but … I raised my arms ad saw the absence of hair on my armpits. And I had no beard. This required some thought.. no stubble either.. anywhere. So, one of two possibilities had occurred; First my visualizations had worked for I hated that stubble on a woman’s legs or face. Or Second, that fecking god/dess had decided to punish me by making me a sex-pot to be chased by men as I had chased women. Regardless, I was smooth and enjoyed the sensation of caressing my hairless thighs which led to my fingers moving up and… more orgasms with fantasies about wrapping my legs around… the need or desire to feel something rubbing my inner thighs… Was that why women wrapped their legs around my hips? Or was it to get a different angle? I was curious but not enough to try a man and see. The thought of a man between my legs made me suddenly dry and nauseous.

Normally as a man I usually wore only one gold pantacle necklace though when married I did wear my wedding ring and never wore a watch but looking at the jewelry from my would-be rapists, I started to put it on. The rings were too large but I liked the way they looked. The bracelets felt nice on my wrists and I added another necklace. I’d have to trade these for something a bit more feminine later. Looking in the mirror, I simply liked the way I looked. That was very strange as I am not a superficial man. I never wore clothing for anything other than coverings and kept my hair short because it was easy to care for. And although I was attracted to women for their looks as would be any man, when I became close to them it was always because of their mind and personality and so would reject a beautiful foolish woman for a plain intelligent one because beauty was superficial. And now I was dressing for no other reason than I looked good. I am never like that.

I saddled the horses and packed way the gear and by then I was getting warm. I was also feeling strange and so heated a leather-work needle I had until I was certain it was sterile, then put a piece of tuber from my meal behind my ear-lobe I tried to pierce my ear as I had seen my mother do to my sisters. I tried and tried and couldn’t do it. I guess I was afraid of the pain so then said, “Fuck it!” and jammed the needle home.

“SHITSHITSHITSHIT!!!!” I screamed. That hurt! How did women do this? And if an ear hurt that much, I couldn’t imagine doing a nipple or clit. I washed the hole then forced the earring through gritting my teeth all the while. But finally I had it in and closed and the blood washed off. My ear ached horribly but when I looked at myself in the mirror, I looked good so I put the tuber behind my other ear and tried in one poke but it didn’t completely penetrate and hurt like a motherfucker! Finally I braced the tuber against the tree, held the needle in one hand and struck the needle with my knife hilt. “FUCKFUCKSHITFUCKINSHIT!!!!!!” This one hurt more than the last. I was afraid to pull the needle out but I had to and when it was done, I had two really aching earlobes and two golden rings hanging from them. They looked good and detracted from my mess of my eyes so I tied my hair back and mounted my horse and rode on. My ears hurt so much I didn’t even notice the motion of the horse.

Once free of the grove, I was cold and bundled up until the sun had risen enough to warm me up. That settled the question. Winter was on the way and I wanted to be warm. My ears hurt, my nipples ached from the cold and I really wanted a hot bath. I shoved some cloth into my dress to add padding for my nipples and that helped a bit. But every time I moved my head, my earrings swung and another sharp pain shot through my lobe. I was glad I chose the small hoops and not some heavy dangly ones.


****************************************************

THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

I left the Temple which is the origin of my curse and met my former guides, both Sarmatian horsemen, both waiting astride their steeds and both leering at me. Had they been Western Europeans, I would be the butt of their jokes, something to be laughed at, humiliated, scorned as a freak. Yet these two saw in me little more than a means to slake their sexual thirst. No, not thirst for being what they were, they had probably shared each others bedroll the last few nights, driving themselves into the other’s various openings without care what that opening was or what it was attached to. No, it was obvious that lacking any real desire for me, they were more curious than anything else. Plus there was the power of rape. Before, they had been ordered to escort me to the Russians, to obey my orders, to be my servants. Now with that unpleasant duty done, they felt that they were free to take their revenge, to force me to serve them, to somehow recover their imagined self respect through rape.

Perhaps had I met them dressed fully and in control, things may have been different. But I had lost control and riding my horse, my clit rubbing against the saddle with each movement of my gelding I found myself stripping to my waist, clutching, massaging, man.. no woman-handling my breasts as I climaxed with the motion of the horse. That is how they found me, screaming in orgasm, my hands fondling my naked breasts and totally oblivious to everything save the leather between my thighs.

I tried to dress but the first told me that they’d just have to strip me again so why bother? Why indeed? But I pulled my dress up anyway, embarrassed to reveal my nakedness to these men who but a few days before had seen me wash in a stream. Why? They are only meat and skin, no different from their own save round where theirs were flat. So why was I embarrassed and ashamed to be before them half naked? Was it that same shame that a boy feels when caught masturbating by his parents? Or that embarrassment a developing girl feels when boys stare and make rude jokes?

One touched my hair, fondling the strawberry tresses and, angry at this familiarity, I drew and cut, severing his hand at the elbow. Then as he screamed and bled, I thrust and killed the other, then returned to finish the first, totally unconcerned with my murders. His hand, still entangled in my hair I removed as if it were a leaf or cobweb through which I had passed. They were not human to my eyes.

But destitute, for I had given all my hard-earned wealth to the Temple in the hopes of buying off their God and easing my curse, I stripped the bodies seeking any wealth I could find.

It wasn’t much. A few copper coins, some bones and rocks and other things of value only to their possessor and some jewelry stolen from former victims and their weapons. I tried to pull their bow, one I could easily do but days before but was now beyond my abilities. Clutching the string to my chin, laying the cord across my breast I pushed the bow from me and almost had a full draw but was unable to hold before it snapped back, leaving a welt across my arm that ached for hours. For the first time I realized what had happened to me, what I had become, what I had lost.

I was a weak-bodied woman with no real strength, damned to wearing a dress and spending hours on cosmetics and hair. I was just meat to the men who I met. Something to use, abuse then cast aside when they were done. I didn’t kill those two out of fear for my own safety, I killed them because I was angry. But at them? No. At the God who cursed me? Perhaps. But definitely at myself for getting into this mess. Whatever happened to me would be my fault. These men I had just murdered were slaves to a culture that saw rape and slavery as normal and so were guiltless. But I had killed them just the same because I was angry with myself and took it out on them.

I stripped their bodies, searching for anything of value for that Nun was right, my only means of employment lay between my legs unless I could learn to fight as a woman. No! Learn to fight despite being a woman.

Naked they were, I glanced then stared at their penisus. Peni? Penuses? I had seen hundreds in my life, admired the art of both the excessively huge Shunga prints of Japan to the inadequacies of American porn, to the art of the Greek and embarrassed, snuck a peek at Michaelangelo’s David, even felt a number shoved up my ass as a galley slave but I never actually looked at any, fearing the terms for one who stared. Nor did I even know the plural.

Here, they were shrunken in death, yellow with urine as their bladder voided. Curious, I touched one with a dagger taken from the dead, not wanting to touch them with my fingers. I poked, them moved it around, examining that member which I feared and hated, yet somehow desired. Neither were circumcised for that was seen to be a Jewish custom.

Intellectually I knew that men varied in size and recalled hearing that there was more variation in the shape of the human penis than in the shape of the human face. I knew about the glans, the three rods of erectile tissue that allow for tumenescence, the testes and how the sperm travel well into the body before returning to ejaculate. I also knew that the skin of the penis was the softest on the human body and I felt the desire to feel it upon my cheek, then when hard, stroking my nipples with their members to reach my own erection.

Embarassed I stopped and angry with myself I almost severed the member though as a trophy or toy I still can not remember. Then I called to their horses and packing what I felt was valuable, left for the warmer south.


THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

My first real night I lay a mirror upon a tree and reflected upon my recent life. As much as I wished, I could not examine myself closely before and during my change for the Temple was infested with men who had been unmanned by a lifetime in the saddle and by women failing in their gender obligations. And they all sought me out in curiosity for my curse made me one of them, yet apart for I achieved that for which they all prayed.

Why? I had lived a lifetime in the attire of a man and now wore that of a woman. I had been taught that there was no difference save what society demanded and male and female remained, essentially the same. But .. still…

I stared at myself, imagining myself with short hair and called, “You prick! Now see what you’ve done to me!” and the words felt proper, acceptable, even complimentary as if my self image was determined by that which hung between my legs.

Men have a penis, women a vagina. One active and aggressive, the other passive and inviting. Perhaps that is the key for those two who I killed this morning for their attempted rape could easily have forced their dicks into my pussy, yet had our positions been revered, could I have forced myself to engulf their manhood to enforce my dominance?

Penis. Vagina. Such sterile words suitable for the clinic or textbook. Words to teach to my children. Yet, when I rode my gelding, myself rubbing against the saddle, such words became somehow foolish and dick and pussy came to mind. Yes, today I possess a vagina yet, but a few hours ago I had a pussy that begged for a dick, a hard cock to drive itself past my lips to tear my maidenhood asunder, to force itself deep within myself.

Pussy! Dick! Somehow the first seems acceptable after a fashion for before when a woman commented that I was a prick, even as an insult, I accepted such a term with calm pride. So I stared at myself in the mirror and called out, ‘you pussy” and I felt, somehow, emasculated? Un-womaned? What is the term?

I imagined myself as man in males clothes and called out “You dick, you prick” and I felt complimented, enhanced and proud for I was screaming out my manhood for all to see,.

Yet when I used the feminine, “You pussy,” I felt somehow inadequate. As if I were missing that which made me complete. Yet, I possessed a vagina,. A pussy for which men would pay gold and make promises to even see, much less touch. So why was that term inadequate.

I spread my legs and examined myself. Hidden by a layer of sparse hair, I saw two mounds separating my womanness. My female member peeking from under her hood. Strange how I refer to her as if she were a separate individual, hiding from the world when she gave me so much pleasure I can no longer imagine life apart.

I moistened my finger and stroked the bud, encouraging her to appear and so she did, rising to the occasion. I couldn’t help but compare her to a cock, growing to gigantic size with a single thought, red and aggressive in its manner.

Its manner! As if the penis had become a separate and independent individual with its growth. A penis is flaccid, soft and small, useless for nothing other than to void the bladder, yet when hard and erect it becomes a cock! Mighty and terrifying in its strength. No longer at the whim of its master but controlling that to which it is forced to be attached. Would a cock free itself seeking any moist home if it could?

Hard and erect, it is no longer a penis but a cock! Seeking penetration, willing or not! Aggressive, promising pleasure but often failing for all too soon the cock erupts and returns to a penis, again useless to a woman.

So I examined myself in the mirror, my lips, twin and yet apart, the outer hairy and sensitive for the lady of the hood bifurcates and hides just beneath that forested skin awaiting a soft caress.

Licking my finger I stroke her as if she were somehow separate from my self and she grows to seek my touch. She reveals herself to the world with her growth and strives for my touch. Then revealed, begging for more. I stroke my outer lips and feel the existence of her hidden limbs, each surrounding my cunt, begging for sensation.

Cunt! Curious. I know that if I were to search the phone book I would find pages of Cunninghams, Cunnys, Cuntliffs and many more, all names derived from and named after my feminine area. And yet, when I refer to myself as a ‘Cunt’ I am insulted. Why is that when in the throws of passion upon my horse, my clit rubbing my saddle with the sexual motions of the horse, I begged for a cock to drive itself into my desperate cunt? Then the word had no derisive meaning but was totally proper. But now, that same term is perjorative.

Stroking my lips I wish for a cock to penetrate my pussy. I wish a hard cock to fuck my cunt until I scream for mercy yet, as much as my wet and thirsty vagina begs for a cock, my cunt needs a hard cock shoved, no raped past my lips, forced inside. And still somehow being referred to as a cunt is perjorative. As if my genetalia were a separate person from the rest of my body. Why is a man’s pleasure so intimately associated with his body and mine so separate? Why cannot I relax and experience the trill of violent pleasure? Why must I deny that I am a sexual being, pretending that seduction is required when I wish to say to another, “I find you disturbingly desirable, would you please slide your penis into my lubricated vagina until I scream with pleasure and beg for more?” No, that sounds ludicrous even to me. Better “Hey! Your ass gets me wet, come here and fuck me!”

Why do I wish a hard cock in my cunt but resist being referred to as my genitals when a man glorifies in the exact same referral?

The German Kute, the Basque Kun, the Romans had Cunnus and even the Egyptians used Qefent; yet, when I use that word I am separating myself from that which gives such pleasure.

I have no problem with stating, “My cunny desires your manliness” but to say, ”I want your cock in my cunt” is somehow dirty. I can call a man a ‘prick’ or a ‘cock sucker’ and he finds encouragement in such insults but when called a ‘cunt’ I am insulted, made less than a person.

Are my genitals a separate individual, seeking pleasure on their own and somehow evil while a man’s, though acting apart from societal desires, welcome?

A man derives pleasure from his dick, his cock as a woman from her clit. But why can I not accept being referred to as a ‘clit’? Why must I find ‘cunt’ to be insulting when a man derives pleasure form being called a “dick”? And why do women not understand that what we use as an insult, they find a compliment? Are men and woman as different as men say? Is all this sexual equality for which the female gender strives but an illusion?

Later,
My throat is sore from screaming out my multiple climaxes. I experimented with fingers and even grasped my dagger hoping to drive the phallic handle into myself as I once drove the blade into an attacker. Yet I hesitated. The hard edges of the pommel, the cording around the handle promised such thrills but logic arose. My virgin’s blood would cake the wrapping and render the weapon near useless until I had dismantled and cleaned the tool. Fuck logic. I wanted to feel penetration. To experience the pain of defloration as I climaxed. And still I hesitated, returning to fingers, somehow managing to press one single and slender finger past my maidenhood without damage for women in my family are cursed with large breasts and a very thick hymen that often requires surgery to remove or repair the night of our honeymoons.

That one small finger, promising so much, hurt as it slipped into my wet interior and I found that stroking my inner walls to be infinitely more pleasurable than all the pleasure upon my clit. Am I one of the 20% of women who find vaginal orgasms to be more pleasurable? Asia Carerra, the pseudonym of the famous porn star claimed to be vaginally orgasmic and perhaps that is why she was so popular? Not because of her acting abilities that appeared to be as limited as any other who strips and fucks for a limited wealth and popularity, but because like many others I loved watching her climax on screen as she is penetrated, knowing that these were not faked but real climaxes, repeated and wishing a woman would be thus with me.

Had I the courage, I would carve a phallus from wood or bone and experiment.

But then, what size? Is there such a thing as too big?

Studies say that the average penis is six inches long and one and a half inches in diameter. I try to form that diameter with thumb and finger and somehow it seems inadequate, yet frightening. I try to measure that length on a stick, then tie many together to form that size and still cannot grasp the concept.

John Holmes is supposed to have been twelve inches long and two inches in diameter. Yet in all his films, he looked far smaller than my measurements indicate. Is this an optical illusion similar to the one where the rising Moon looks larger then that same body overhead or exaggeration to encourage viewers to see the sexual freak who no woman could handle?

And what IS really average?

If you are told all your life that six inches is ‘average’, then will you be hesitant to show up for measurement if you are only five inches or less? And if you are seven, will you not willingly be measured to gain bragging rights? Thus, would the statistics of male measurements not be skewed to the larger, thus condemning the normal-sized male to a life of feeling inadequate?

And what is average for a woman? Not her breasts for mine are larger than normal and very sensitive to the touch and even walking, they rub against my shirt, becoming hard and erect and I find myself fondling them without conscious thought. But down there, between my legs, how deep is average? Is my vagina smaller or larger than ‘average’?

Tantra refers to women as internally like a hare or mare and other such animals though this translates into ‘small’, ‘medium’ and ‘large’ so the East Indians have obviously put more effort into this study than Westerners who fear to measure a woman or a man with any accuracy. Thus though a man may derive some comfort in knowing that he is ‘average’, a woman is told simply, ‘you are elastic and will fit anything’ which is no comfort at all for a woman stretched by childbirth, rarely returns to a size that is comfortable to her lover.

HARE BULL STALLION
DOE ideal match acceptabl;e bad match
MARE acceptable ideal match acceptable
COW-ELEPHANT> bad match acceptable ideal match

I recall many women stating to a man that they prefer smaller for larger hurts.

Yet in every case, during that initial passion when neither party needs or desires foreplay, those same women claim to prefer larger, desiring the sensation of being almost torn apart. It is only when passion fades that they demand the foreplay that they ignored earlier. And this lack of passion encourages a woman to choose smaller men for their pleasure… until they meet another and passion again demands the stallion.

So why do women lie to themselves? They lie to men to avoid insecurity for a woman who derides the size of a man’s cock opens herself to attacks about her hips and ass which somehow define our sexuality far more than our sexual abilities. Will I lie? Will I prefer the sensation of being stretched to the maximum, yet tell my lover that “it’s ok, I prefer them smaller” to salve his ego then fall asleep unfulfilled? Will I care more for the size of my hips than the firmness of my breasts? Fearing that men will call me ‘fat’ because my hips are larger than desired? Then, when thus humiliated, will I respond not with a comment about their belly extending past their dick but instead attack their penile size as if I were defined by my hips but they by their genitals? I find that I fear the thought that my hips are too large. Why?

I need to experiment. A woman with a lifetime of lovers will delude herself as much as she deludes her men but I don’t have that choice. Today I am a virgin, never penetrated vaginally (though often raped anally as a teen) and have but three years to experience all that makes me a woman. Should I force myself to take lovers or should I purchase a collection of phalli (I refuse the ugly term ‘dildo’) of various sizes and shapes? How pleasant or clinical would be my exploration of my insides?


THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

I washed the earrings of the men I had killed and looked at them. Simple gold hoops, so unlike the gaudy jewels so beloved by the barbarian. Their necklaces and bracelets were heavy, massive, masculine but these I hold were fit for a woman. Sarmatian men, like Mongols, Scythians and the American Plains Indian would eventually destroy their testicles with the constant pounding of the saddle. What I saw as a pleasure, riding the steed with matched motion, they saw as a fight, something to be conquered so that motion which gave me so much pleasure would eventually injure and destroy the men, forcing them into the androgynous state of a sexual nightmare. Did he wear these simple loops as a sign of his future life?

For some reason, I wanted to wear rings in my own ears. I had never suffered this desire before and saw those men who did so as effeminate and the women with more than one earring as being shocking(?), yet here was I wishing my own ears were pierced and not knowing how. Memories surfaced of how my mother operated on my sister with a needle and a potato. So I rolled some leather and taking a leather-work needle that was designed for repairing their leather jerkins, I heated it to sterility braced my ear and jabbed.

FUCK!!! THAT HURT!!!

I couldn’t imagine anything hurting more than that pain unless it was the pain of forcing the jewelry through the hole. When done, I was crying in agony and had to wash my earlobe in cold water to ease the ache.

Then, looking at myself, did the other to match and that hurt even more. I had one lover who had pierced her nipples! . Another who had pierced her labia. And a friend who had pierced her clit, seeking the almost constant orgasm of the bus ride. I could not imagine anyone wishing that much pain for as sensitive as my ear was to pierce, my nipple would be a hundred times worse and my clit, unimaginable. Those bitches must get off on pain. Do they climax with a beating? Is that why so many women marry abusive men? Because the pain of the beatings reminds them of being pierced and they love the pain?


THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

I had to pee and that was a problem in and of itself. Men have it so easy. Pull your clothes aside, pull your dick out, aim and write your name in the snow. Shake and pack it away.

With me, I have to pull a floor length dress to my hips along with the accompanying undergarments. Then pull my under-pants off or down, then squat and pee and hope that I’m not spraying the back hem of my dress or my legs.

Then I have to wipe (remember front to back) and readjust all my clothing again, ignoring the wrinkles and the fact that my hem probably fell into the chamber-pot as I was standing.

Plus, all a man has inside himself is intestine and bladder. I have those plus must also pack in a vagina, womb, ovaries and all this in a smaller package. No wonder my bladder is so small I have to pee a dozen times a day.

I tried to pee standing but soaked my dress. So as it was drying from my washing in the stream, I stood there, naked from the waist down and spread my legs, squatted in a Horse-Stance and tried to pee out and away.

I soaked my legs.

Ok, wash and try this again. Fingers along my clitoral hood, press and pull, arch my hips forward and spray. Better but still, I wish I had a hose attached to keep the stream away from myself. Eventually I think I may learn to press and aim but can I do that holding my skirts around my waist? If I can, it will keep the bugs from climbing up my twat as I pee.

There is an old joke about how the Gods called the first man and first women to offer each a gift. They first offered the ability to pee standing up which caused the man to become very excited and so he begged to have that gift. The first woman gave in to stop his begging and whining then after the man was given the external penis so he could pee standing, the Gods looked into their bag and said, “I guess that means that woman gets Multiple Orgasms!” After fighting with my clothes in the dark and cold, after soaking my dress, and legs, after having to find leaves to wipe myself, I begin to wonder if woman received such a good deal after all.


THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

Cosmetics, though required, are more of a problem than they are worth.

First of all I love the feel of my hair against my neck and shoulders. There is something sensual about the caresses of my tresses. Funny how that rhymes. So I placed my mirror overhead and lay back, observing my hair cascade about the blanket like a strawberry-blonde pillow. I tried to imagine how I would look to someone staring down at me but found myself wishing I could be that one.

Lipstick required some time to get right. I loved how slutty I looked in bright red, how cool and tingly my lips feel as the wind blows across their moistness.

But eating… that is another problem for no matter how I try, my colour keeps getting on my food and glass and that just looks cheap and reminds me of an aged whore at closing time. My only option is to cut my food into small bites and grimace as I eat. In my mirror I look like a troll. Somehow there must be a safe medium, to wear lip-colour and enjoy the look and feel but keep it on my lips and not my food.

Curious, I applied, blotted then when I felt I was safe, I kissed the back of my hand lightly. Then I imagined pressing my lips against another and found a red smear on my hand. My mirror revealed that I now looked like a clown.

After a dozen times washing, re-applying and experimenting I believe I have found the solution. Starve!

I’ve found that if I apply my colour and rub it in then apply more overly-thick then blot it to near gone, then I get the desired look with few problems. But that takes much time.

Mascara is worse. I am always getting it into my eyes which stings like a mother-fucker. I can almost understand the LD-50 tests where cosmetic companies would slather mascara into the eyes of hundreds of bunnies until half died from the agony. They would then calculate how much mascara killed that last rabbit, how much that bunny weighed then extrapolate how much a woman of my size and weight would put into her own eyes and then declare the cosmetic to be ‘safe’.

After hours of experimentation, I still had too thick of a line. No matter what size brush I use, my hand is too heavy.


THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

I tried pancake but hated the feel of claustrophobia though I admit that I looked as if I were a fairy princess, my skin is so clear and translucent.

Finally I decided to settle for lips and eyes only. Those plus the effort of brushing my shoulder-length hair every day was taking far too much time from my day. How the hell could my ex spend so much time in the bathroom? She spent more time and money on make-up than she did on food and we were never anywhere on time.

***

I love my dress, the feel of the cloth as it washes against my legs, the surprise of the occasional cold breeze that flows up to my thighs. Even the knowledge that the folds are swaying with the movements of my hips is erotic, sensual.

My vest is a major difficulty. Lacking a bra, I must wear my shift then dress, then my vest which is laced loosely. Then I bend over until my breasts are near in my face to finish the lacing. Finally I can stand and adjust my breasts to be more comfortable and then I can forget them. But I do not, for their weight and motion is a constant reminder, an invitation to caress. How long will it take for me to learn to ignore them as so other women? I pray that time never arrives.

Of course, their weight does sometimes throw me off and when I curtsey, I must remember to throw my arse to the rear as a counterbalance. Before, I never noticed how a woman curtseyed to me, I only noticed how far down her dress I could see as she did so. And when I fence, they are in the way, forcing me to adjust my stance and thrusts to accommodate their presence. As I said, women in my family are cursed with large breasts. Blessed, the men would say but they don’t have fifteen pounds of dead weight hanging from their chest.

However, when I loose my vest to allow freedom, I find their movement under my shift to be pleasant. Their movements against the cloth hardens my nipples to an ache and I find that I must moisten my fingers with saliva to rub their aches away. Soon I am rubbing and pinching and clutching both nipple and breast until I climax. Goddess! Am I naught but a 162 cm clitoris? IS there no part of me that does not climax with a simple caress?

How do normal women deal with this? Or are they so accustomed to their presence that they no longer think of them? Is the sensuality of their movement against their clothes no different from living near a boat-dock? At first the smell assaults you constantly then you become accustomed to the stink until you no longer smell the fish? Will I eventually cease to marvel at the sensitive nature of my skin, my body and then see it as just meat? Woe that day and pray it never arrives for the pleasure that I derive make all the problems worthwhile.

With a man, his dick is just there. Mostly small enough to be ignored until it rises to the hunt. Then the man becomes embarrassed with the bulge that cannot be hidden, the independent head seeking mouth or cunt or even hand or sheep. Most are small, barely a couple inches of flaccid tissue useful only to pee without wetting their legs. It is only when aroused that the organ manifests itself it independence and is noticed.

I do wonder, though, what if a woman were to awaken with a dick between her legs? Men who invite the surgeon to transform them into a woman wish not only the superficial appearance of a woman but breasts and vagina as well. Most return within a year requesting a larger pussy to accommodate a larger cock. Women who become men are different. Once their breasts and womb are removed, they sever their relations with their surgeon, never wearing the fake dick they are given to encourage the deception of masculinity. Men wish to become fully a woman with all the benefits. Women care for nothing more than a weightless chest and an absence of menstruation.

So, were a woman to awaken with a snake between her legs, would she scream in terror, demanding a knife to remove the offending member? Then when she realized that her dick has a mind of its own would she name it as do many men? Awakening would she discover unwanted tumenescence as ‘mr happy’ wishes to play? Would she be as embarrassed at an unconscious erection at the most inappropriate of times for the penis changes to cock at its own whim.

Or would she rush to the shower to experiment, disappointed with the trade of her multiple orgasms for one single climax? Somehow, loosing the ability to pee standing is almost acceptable when I achieve hours of climaxes astride the saddle of my gelding.

How I pity those women who never or rarely climax. When I commented on this, they replied “You don’t miss what you never had.” I assume that they enjoy the tactile sensations as much as do I but really, most women say that they’d gladly give up sex if they could replace it with kissing, Kissing is fun but it’s like smelling food and never eating. What’s the point? I jill myself often and were I to quit before climax, I’d scream in frustration.

I don’t understand women.

***********************************************


*VI

I headed south and near night, found a Sarmatian camp where I asked for hospitality. I was able to sell the extra horses and trade the bows and swords for a smaller woman’s bow by dealing with one of their female warriors. Sarmatians loose so many men to war and riding castration that they need women to fight and so most of their tribes have virtually full sexual equality. The woman offered me a corner of her yurt and when she noticed my fiddling with my earrings, she looked them over and laughed, “You did these yourself? It shows. Let me get you something for the pain. And she collected some moss and smeared some moldy bread on it then applied it to my lobes and said, “The pain will vanish soon and this will prevent infection. You really should have had someone who knows how do it for you.”

“I was a fool. I wanted to wear the earrings and so did it myself. Strange, as I usually am so careful. It’s not like me to be that impulsive.” But the pain stopped shortly and she removed the rings saying, “Let them heal a few days and I’ll re-pierce them for you. When I do, you must turn the rings often to prevent the lobes from sealing them in.” And she gave me more of the moldy moss for later. Then we sat outside her yurt with a bottle of airag, fermented mares milk, terrible stuff really that tasted like beer mixed with sour milk, and we drank and talked about our past though I allowed her to think I was always female but only recently trying to look like one.

“Janice,” she asked for I had told her my name was Janice Obrien. “Be careful going south. There is a chief there who glories in his harem. He takes women as most of us take horses and he will find you particularly desirable. So take care.” I promised I would then tried to stand and fell over. I suppose the drink made me forget about the weight hanging from my chest. So I lay there, laughing as I rolled over and called, “My tits hurt! I think I broke them!” then nothing.

***

I awoke next to my host, naked and wondering if she had taken advantage of me when I was drunk. If she did, I wished I remembered, but then, she was much older than I prefer and heavier and quite manish in appearance so maybe I didn’t want to know. Once again I looked at my face and once again I was a clown raccoon. I have GOT to get into the habit of remembering to remove my make-up. So I washed and tried again and my host watched then gave me some pointers that helped. “As you stroke, start firm then slowly lift up the brush and you will have a finer line.” She held my hand and guided me through it. Neat, maybe this is why my sisters had so many pajama parties. Guys never did but we never had to learn how to do make-up. She offered to braid my hair but I refused, liking it loose and wind-blown and caressing the back of my neck. But I did notice she had nail polish and asked her where she got it.

“It’s very expensive but the trader over by the paddock has some I believe.”

I just had to have some so I walked over, and had to remind myself to hold my hem out of the mud to keep my dress clean. Many of the women here wore men’s clothes to indicate their status of warrior but then, some of the older men wore dresses too. A complex society. I was one of the few women who wore a long dress and I attracted stares because of it.

When I found the proper tent, I entered and saw the usual stuff, pots, pans, knives, swords, jewelry and so on but when I asked for some nail polish, he quoted a price that was outlandish. Not even my wife would pay that much for polish and that woman spent more on a tube of lipstick than I spent on underwear for a year. I looked at it and dreamed of how my nails would look and realized that I was becoming a woman after all. Damn!

One of the Sarmatians came up to me and sliding his arm around my waist, offered to help me buy the bottle IF I went with him around the tent. “Your arm, remove it or loose it!” I demanded but somehow I sounded less intimidating than when I was a taller guy.

The jerk then tried to kiss me which I fought off without much success. The guy was strong and I wasn’t used to being so easily held down. So I managed to get my hands loose and jabbed my thumbs in to his upper ribs, which made him let go, and I actually ran away like a frightened girl. I felt his hand on my shoulder and then reflexes took over and I grabbed, pulled, threw my hip out and tossed him to the ground, following up with a punch to the throat. Years of Karate lessons and unarmed combat plus the Kumate in Malaysia came to my rescue.

His friend moved in and I went into a ready stance then turned and side-kicked his knee followed by a hammer blow to his nose as he dropped lower. Moving like this wasn’t easy so I hiked my skirt into my belt to give me more room to move and when the first recovered and struck, I grabbed and twisted and threw him down with a wrist-lock. His friend came up again so I had to release my prisoner but took enough time to punch him behind his ear and went to ready again. This time he was more cautious and kept back feinting at me until his friend got up and together, they separated, one in front and one in back..

I was only carrying my wakazashi and I hesitated killing these men so I left it hanging at my side. I did keep turning to keep both of them in sight. Damn this weak woman’s body. Normally I’d have had them both unconscious or dead by now but was lucky to be able to cause pain. Finally one managed to grab me, but I looped my arm around his and pushed his elbow the wrong way, then side kicked his kneecap so he went down screaming which left me free to duck and punch his friend in the crotch with a double fist as hard as I could. He screamed like a girl, grabbed his genitals and slowly collapsed to his knees then to his side where he vomited up an impressive amount of airag. I went to ready again but there were no other challenges and my host came to me, hugged me and said, “No one will touch you now. You defeated the biggest we have.”

I adjusted my dress and she led me back to the merchant tent and plunked some money down demanding his best red polish. “I can’t afford this,” I complained.

“Yes you can,” she replied. “I made a few bets over your fight. Here is your half.” And she gave me a very heavy purse. “If you will fight professionally, we can get rich!”

“I thought you Sarmatians counted wealth in horses?” I said, eyeing the money.

“We do, but sometimes it’s easier to buy horses than to steal them.”

I was tempted but I remembered when I fought the Kumate in Malaysia, I wasn’t considered a particularly big or strong man. Then when a woman who was a professional kick-boxer entered the ring, I stepped in, grabbed her by the throat, picked her up and slammed her to the mat to win. I didn’t want that to happen to me.

“I’m tempted but no thanks. I appreciate the cash though.” I tried to do the math. A week ago I was a nearly six foot, one hundred-seventy-five pound man. Now I think I was a five-four or five-five, one hundred-twenty-five or one-thirty pound woman if that. These Sarmatian men had incredible upper body strength from drawing their bows but terrible lower body from riding a horse all day. Still the odds were against me and the only reason I did the kumate back then was because I was angry and hurt over Lujan leaving me. Had I been in my right mind then, I’d have refused to fight for sport and today I was in my right mind and wanted my mind to remain inside my head. Perhaps had my beating those two men been easier, I would have agreed but I had to work hard to just survive and that sobered me a lot.

I left a few days later, my ears freshly pierced and my host amazed at how fast my butchering of myself had healed, and still not knowing if she had taken advantage of me when I was drunk and somehow not wanting to know. I liked women and I was really anxious to try this body out and feel what a tongue between my legs and on my breasts would feel like but she was too mannish for my tastes. But I had plenty of supplies and enough money to last me a week easy in town, more if I didn’t mind sleeping under the stars.

I did take her advice and tried to go around the territory of the Khan she had warned me about. I still didn’t know what I was going to do but I had vague thoughts of sailing a boat around Asia to Japan and that meant money to buy one or pay for passage and it meant reaching the Persian Gulf or Red Sea. I think I was considering my options and admiring my red polish a little too much that caused the problem.


****************************************************

THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

Rape is such an ugly word. So is fuck but somehow the latter is appropriate at times but the former only when qualified with the word ‘fantasy’. I am told that all women entertain a rape-fantasy as all men entertain a gay-fantasy. Those who do not are the abnormal ones. But there is a big difference between the fantasy and the reality.

When I guested at that Sarmatian camp, slept naked and passed out from too much airag in her yurt and awoke with my host spooning me, her hand on my breast, I wondered if she had taken advantage of me, fingered me, tongued me as I lay unconscious. If so, what pleasure would she have received for I was in no condition to reciprocate. Was I then raped by a woman as I lay helpless? My hymen was intact, I found later, but that means nothing for there are many methods of sex and few require penetration of the vagina. Goddess! I fingered my own clit a dozen times a day so could she have? Did she take my fingers and use them as I slept to stroke her own pearl? Force me to jill her to climax as I lay asleep and unknowing?

To this day I don’t know if that was my first lesbian experience or if we shared her furs platonically.


THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

In that Sarmatian camp, heady with the fermented mare’s milk they call airag, my female nature took over and I visited a trader, lusting after a single pot of nail polish. I wanted to see it upon my fingernails, to catch a glimpse of the scarlet colour at odd moments but the price was far too high.

So leaving in depression, I was accosted by a Sarmatian male. He took my arm, forced his lips to mine and sought to rape my mouth as he wished to rape my loins. And I was helpless to push him away! Struggle as I would, I was a child to his strength. The really sad thing is that although I wanted to vomit at the experience, somehow I liked it, wanted to feel him throw me down and drive himself into me. His strength, power, passion, confidence and even lust for my physical body not caring for who I am was intoxicating. I know that is wrong and the fantasy turns my stomach even now but my body was reacting even as my mind and soul retched. A part of me kept saying, ‘give in, it’s no shame if you are forced’ and I almost did but too many years of Martial Arts took over and I managed to break away.

From then it was like a tournament where I had my wakazashi hidden in my skirts but knew that if I killed them with my sword, the entire camp would drag me to death behind a horse or two. So I fought empty-handed. I used every trick I knew from wrist-locks to punches to throws and kicks and my best punches were almost useless. I saw the movies where a 125# woman punches out a 210# man but that didn’t happen. I can, or could in the past, break a board with a punch and still I barely survived that fight. Hollywood!

He was joined by a friend and I had to defend myself against both, knowing that if I lost I’d be beaten half to death and raped but now I just wanted to survive long enough to run away like a terrified girl.

Eventually I calmed down and reacted and soon enough though it seemed like years, I was exhausted and aching in every bone and muscle but my opponents were on the ground unconscious or retching.

I won! I actually won! Somehow that one fight validated me as a person. I had killed before but that was taking my enemy by surprise and here I defeated two big men by myself. True I felt physically like I had lost but the fact was that I survived and won and for the first time I knew I could get out of Russia and survive! That’s a good feeling.

************************************************


*VII

My first inkling of trouble was when a man rode next to me and smiled through rotten teeth. Then I heard another on my other side and looking around, I saw that I was surrounded by a dozen of them. I was lighter than they so might be able to outrun them on open ground but they had been born to the saddle whereas I was but an occasional visitor.

My bow was in its case and I probably couldn’t get to it before they jumped me and half of them were out of sword range so I had to play along and hope that they were friendly. “Good afternoon,” I said in Arabic. This close to the Ottoman borders I figured that they were Mongol-Sarmatians and spoke Arabic or Turkish and I knew almost no Sarmatian or Mongol.

“Good Morning, what’s a Russian woman doing out here all alone.” He looked around nervously as if he expected to find that I was a trap and half the Ottoman Empire was waiting nearby for the Rus bought freedom from the Empire by selling the Ottoman their best women.

“I’m going south to the sea.” I answered. I chose to not correct his thoughts or ease his feelings.

“It will be dark soon, may I offer you the hospitality of our camp?” he was just a little too big, a lot too fat, far too hairy and his words just didn’t ring true. And I didn’t like the way he talked to my chest. I was a bit nervous and berating myself for I had told my daughters to always be aware of your surroundings and here I was so superficial that I walked into an ambush.

“No thank you,” I replied. “I’m fine out here, my friends are nearby and I prefer the solitude that I may be alone with my thoughts.”

He looked around and I heard someone say something from far behind so he leered and said, “I insist!”

Rather than have him grab my reins and possibly tie me up, I agreed and followed him as he kept up a meaningless banter about how powerful he was, how many horses he had and how many wives he owned. Goddess! Are all men like this? And women buy into this crap!

I considered my options and they didn’t look good. I was surrounded by a dozen Sarmatians well-armed and was effectively a prisoner. I was being taken against my will to their camp where I would be surrounded by a hundred more. Any one of these would be physically stronger than I was and none would see rape as wrong. My bow and quiver were packed away as was my katana, wrapped against rain and dew and neither were accessible.

On the plus side, I was untied and held my own reins. My wakazashi was hanging from my belt and I had managed to conceal it in the folds of my skirt so they probably thought I was armed only with a knife. They knew nothing of my martial arts skills and this macho jerk thought of me as nothing more than a pair of tits and pussy so would ignore my intelligence (which considering how easily they had taken me wasn’t much to brag about) and be careless.

Some time later we reached their camp, which was in a hollow surrounded by low rolling hills. Any escape would be upward which would be a slow and hard run. To the east was a forest and there was a few hundred feet of open space between the camp and the tree-line. Horsemen generally avoided forests, especially older forests where a horse would sink to his belly in the loam and the branches would knock you from your saddle as the roots snapped fragile equine legs.. THIS was a plus and an escape route but probably one that was well watched. To the west and north and south were the open steppes where a girl would be run down within seconds. The camp was a few dozen yurts with the biggest to the west instead of in the center. THAT was also an advantage plus the paddock was near the larger yurt and the horses grazed along that incline. If I was to be kept, it would be in the chief’s yurt which would be more convenient to escape.

The downside was that if it were possible to escape that way, why did they have any slaves at all? I was missing something.

When we entered, he dismounted at the paddock and a slave removed his saddle and bridle for him. His warriors, though, had to do that job themselves. I tried to unsaddle my horse and get my katana but he took me by the arm and said, “I have slaves to do that for you.” Then he led me away. I did manage to see where they put my tack and I was glad that they never bothered to strip my weapons from my saddle. Another advantage.

Sitting me in front of his yurt, he started to play with my hair so I interrupted with, “You promised me dinner. I’m weak from hunger and need my energy replenished.”

He grumbled but clapped his hands and slaves brought food and drink. I was hoping that he’d get really drunk because a little alcohol reduces inhibitions but too much inhibits ability and when he started to drink, he drank a lot. Then he said, “You wonder why my slaves are unchained? With the steppes all around, we’d run them down in minutes and beat them for their first attempt. The second attempt I cut their feet off.” And he laughed at this joke. “As for the forest… Wolves! The forest is infested with wolves and we must protect our horses at night but no slave that makes it to the forest survives the night.”

Still, I thought, wolves are little more than stupid dogs and I am a dog person, having raised Wolfhounds as I grew up. Besides, being eaten by wolves would be preferable to being raped by this guy. I just had to time it right.

“Drink!” he commanded and shoved a bowl of airag to me. His speech was beginning to slur and he was switching from Arabic to Sarmatian so I sipped and encouraged him to drink more. I always was a cheap drunk and now being smaller and weaker, I was probably a really cheap drunk. Finally though, it was dark, people were beginning to leave and I had eaten as much as I could then before I could stop him, he snatched my knife from my hand, “You won’t be needing this. I have a sword for you tonight!” and he laughed as if I hadn’t heard that one before. What an asshole! But he was an asshole that could have me raped and tortured to death if I got him angry.

Then before I could react, he grabbed me, pulled me close and kissed me hard.

I almost threw up. The guy hadn’t brushed his teeth in decades and probably hadn’t taken a bath since the last time he got caught in the rain. I tried to push him off to no avail, “I like them fighting, the wilder the mare, the better the ride!” and he dragged me into his yurt as his men laughed.

Inside he tossed me to the bed and so I punched him. It didn’t do much other than make him angry and he slapped me so hard I near lost consciousness. He easily held me down with one hand and cut my vest laces with my own tanto then slit my dress from neck to near feet exposing me to the world. I tried to fight but he just laughed. The guy was well over six feet tall and weighed far more than twice my weight and was so strong I was a child to him. He then ripped my underpants off and stood up to undress.

I immediately covered myself with a sleeping fur and reached down for my wakazashi still hanging from my belt and laying on the ground but couldn’t reach it. By the time I found the thing, he was naked and Goddess! How the hell did he fuck anyone with that belly? He had an erection but it wasn’t large and was hidden by his beer-belly. He was covered with hair and much of it was matted and dirty. I almost vomited then had I not been terrified. I would have to stop him somehow.

He then threw me back and I lost my fragile grip on my blade then he landed on me and began to kiss and fondle, groping my breast as he tried to enter me. Obviously he had drunk enough to inhibit his coordination but not enough to render him impotent or unconscious and it would only be moments before he got tired of probing and took matters in hand to help out his ‘baby sword.’

Well, the Chinese said that “when rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.” So I tried to relax, I tried to focus on pleasure and tried to NOT think of this pig ripping my maidenhead as he did my dress. I closed my eyes and tried to think of an old girlfriend but his breath and hair and sweat and such wouldn’t let me so I finally managed to wrap my fingers into his long hair and twisted as hard as I could as I felt him probing for my opening.

SNAP! I guess my terror added enough adrenaline to my muscles plus his inebriation relaxed his neck muscles to do the job and he exhaled like a punctured balloon and went limp, all over, staring at the ceiling. Unfortunately, he was still laying on me and I was trapped under that mound of flesh. Dead weight… literally. I started to laugh then stopped as I felt warm liquid flow over my belly and down my legs.

“FUCKINSHIT!” When he died his muscles spasmed and then relaxed so I was being covered with his semen and urine, and a moment later I smelled his feces as his colon let flow. His last act of defiance was to orgasm and piss all over the woman who killed him. What a final act of revenge. Now I laughed, hysterically. In an hour or so his men would enter the tent to take me away and find me still here, trapped under the dead body of their chief. Maybe the wolves would enter and eat enough of him to free me? Maybe the blue fairy would wave her magic wand and turn me back into a man? Maybe I’d better stop screaming like a girl, shut up and try to get out of this mess!

Screaming? I was screaming! Maybe that would work to my advantage. The guards think I am being raped and they would interpret my screams as just that.

I forced myself to stop screaming and be quiet. I couldn’t reach my wakazashi which may be good as I was thinking of dismembering him until he was light enough to toss off. Finally, I started to wiggle around and slowly I was able to get him to the side enough so he fell off me, off the bed and onto the floor with a thud. I lay there exhausted then sat up and looked for something to wipe his goo off myself when a man entered and froze at the sight. His Khan was laying on his back, naked on the floor but his face was pressed into the rug. The woman he was raping was naked, covered with cum, piss and shit and no one moved for a moment. It was like a kabuki play where the actors freeze at a climatic moment to emphasize the importance of the scene. Then he shouted and ran in pulling his scimitar. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that I was in trouble. So I rolled off the bed an instant before his blade clove me, grabbed my wakazashi and drew and cut. The guard stood there, another moment frozen in time, then his guts fell onto the floor. I grabbed my ruined clothes and used my blade to cut a hole in the side of the yurt as two more men entered. I paused only long enough to kill them both then forced my body through the felt and lattice and ran for the forest.

Given a head start, a man in good shape can easily outrun a horse hindered by a rider and I had a head start and incentive to run fast! Fortunately the chief was in such a hurry he never removed my boots or maybe he had a foot fetish? I was getting hysterical again! So I ran! I didn’t care what I was stepping in, I only cared about the tree line and I discovered something interesting. I was probably still hysterical but I realized that my breasts weren’t made for jogging! Their bouncing was beginning to hurt so I shoved my arm and clothes under them for support and kept on.

One of the Sarmatians managed to cut me off. I guess he had been herding the horses into the paddock and was near enough to catch me. The fool! I was in no mood to discuss the ERA so I cut him down and never even slowed. I could hear hooves close behind but every teen girl in every horror flick who looked behind to see how close the monster was to her ALWAYS tripped and got killed. So long as the horses were behind me, I was ok. I didn’t care if they were a foot behind or a mile behind, I just wanted them behind me.

Finally the trees were around me and I heard a scream as one of the horses tripped over a branch or stepped into a hole or whatever caused it to fall. I hoped its rider broke his neck too but I never stopped to look. Finally when it was too dark to see well, I chucked my torn clothes and started to hunt. I was naked and covered in filth but I needed to be safe before I could clean up. None of the Sarmatians entered the forest very far and I could see them there and there near the edge calling out to me in their own language. Although I couldn’t understand their words, I knew their meanings, “come out little girl, we won’t hurt you” “the wolves are coming, you need us to protect you” “please come out and surrender, we forgive you”. Idiots!

It was clear that they weren’t coming in after me, possibly fear of the wolves, possibly my deeds killing their chief and three of their companions while naked scared them. So I returned to my clothes and searched for some water to wash up in. I couldn’t find any so I took leaves and scrubbed myself as much as I could to get his filth off my body. I didn’t feel any pain downstairs so I figured that he hadn’t had a chance to enter so I was still a virgin and, more importantly, NOT pregnant. I don’t know why the virgin part was so important to me since my main goal as a boy was to NOT be a virgin, but it was and I didn’t ask why. I must have used a hundred leaves scrubbing my belly and legs until I was raw and I still didn’t feel clean. Then I fell to the ground holding my ruined dress before me and cried. I couldn’t stop myself. I just sat there holding my clothes and cried until I ran out of tears. Maybe it was the estrogen that I hadn’t time to get used to, maybe it was this feeling of helplessness that brought back memories of when I was a kid, I don’t know, I just cried myself almost to sleep.

Finally, I dressed, wrapping my dress around as best I could, considering that it was cut from neck to knee and I had nothing to sew it with. I tore strips from my hem and tried to lace the dress shut as I wrapped it around me and then put my vest on to hold it in place and tried to use the remains of my laces to tie it together. It would hold but not well and I’d need to replace it soon. When I stood, I could feel the cold air blowing through my snatch so I pulled my back hem between my legs, tucked the front unto that pouch and tied my hem to my waist to provide a sort of pantaloons. Then I smeared mud and loam on my arms and legs, tied my hair back and moved to the north of the forest.

I could see the Sarmatians in small groups, carrying mostly spears and shields so I guess they were afraid of the wolves because they had stopped calling for me and were mainly watching the trees. These people are cavalry so they wouldn’t know much about infantry or terrorist tactics so I moved just north of the last group where there was a shallow ravine, then I tossed a rock to distract them and when they all turned and moved to investigate, I hit the ravine running low. My own soldiers in Ireland would never fall for such a simple trick but these had not the advantage of centuries of guerrilla warfare against the superior British Army.

All the horse patrols were far out so I was able to get close to the camp then, in the darkness, enter unseen. One man saw me as I was near a yurt but a slash across the throat kept him quiet. I dragged the body into the darkness, replaced my knife from his belt and removed his purse and whatever jewelry I could find. Then I made my way to the corral killing and robbing two more on the way, one a woman warrior.

I checked my saddle and tack and all was as I left it. I guess they were waiting to see what happened before they divided up my belongings. I then spent a few minutes slashing belts and harnesses. It wouldn’t stop them, but it may slow them down a bit. Then I found some grain and rubbed it in my armpits to impregnate the seed with my sweat and smell. No cowboy breaks a bronc. That only happens on theTelly. On the farm we would spend days or weeks taming a horse with kindness and patience and I had continued that with my gelding here. I moved my saddle to the corral then raised the grain to the horses and blew across the grain. With a fair wind and luck, my gelding would smell my scent and grain and investigate which is exactly what happened.

I fed him the grain and softly explained, “We are going to that tree-line up there. I’ll give you your head but you need to enter fast and careful and keep going in until we loose the Sarmatians.” I knew he didn’t understand but it made me feel better talking to him.

Then I saddled him, added extra arrows and food and water, all that I could find, readied my bow and katana and led him to the west gate. The other horses were nervous and milling around and I hoped that the wranglers would think they smelled wolves. Then I opened the gate, mounted and leaning low, let the herd into the grassland. I used an arrow as a crop to get some of them ahead and kept low enough so I hoped that I’d be unseen in the darkness.

I could hear the men yelling, probably “the horses are loose” as they ran to recapture the herd. One man came close to me and received my first arrow in his throat as I continued on. Horses are herd animals and so long as I kept my gelding to the west, many of the others would follow. I wasn’t far from the trees when the herd began to be turned by the guards who had abandoned my search for the more valuable horses so I made my break. I shot the first, nocked another arrow and killed the second then the third as I passed him, then I was into the forest where I released the reins and urged my horse on. He was almost blind so he moved slowly and carefully picking his way among the trees and my only fear now was that we were so slow we’d be captured.

Then I heard the wolves and my horse snorted and wanted to run. I turned him to the north and kept him just within the trees where I could leave if attacked and eventually we circled the forest and left the wolves behind. They were used to attacking the camp for foals and I stank of man’s urine so they avoided me.

It was almost dawn when I stopped by a stream and I let my horse drink. I figured I was safe so I removed his saddle, brushed him down and hobbled him for any grunt cares for his feet first, stomach second and sleep third and my horse was my feet. Then I bathed in the cold water and didn’t care that I was freezing, I just scrubbed with sand and then, laying my clothes to dry, wrapped myself in my blanket and napped. Not a bad evenings work. Almost got raped, almost got killed, did kill a bunch of men, caused a riot, possibly a war of succession, lost my tanto, ruined my dress… What could be better. I was laughing as I fell asleep from exhaustion.

I woke up a few hours later according to the sun and after checking on the horse (my father said ‘Always care for your horse then yourself’) I pulled my katana and did nude kata in the warm sunshine. Of course I had to make adjustments now. My handle and blade seemed inches longer than before so I had to get used to the new length and weight and I was glad I chose the lighter Chen katana over my heavier Antique. And my hips gave me a lower center of gravity than I was used to with my breasts occasionally getting in the way and their weight throwing me off but I adjusted and after a dozen reps, I was sweating and tired and I felt good.

According to memory, if I continued south I would either hit the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea or pass between and strike the Caucasus Mts. If the Caspian, I could circle the western shore and meet up with the Amazon Nation which had settled there after being driven from Turkey where they had settled after being driven from the Aegean where they had settled after being driven from Greece. Goddess, for a race of warrior women, they sure got pushed around a lot. Maybe I’d meet Slezi again. Now wouldn’t that be a trip to meet a former lover and introduce myself, “Hey lover, I’m the guy you tried to get pregnant by, only now I have boobs too!”

Once I found out where I was, I could decide where to go next.


****************************************************

THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

Days later I was captured by some Sarmatian-Mongols whose Khan, a really fat slob who never brushed his teeth or bathed decided to enjoy my favours. Not that I could do anything for I was smaller and weaker than any one of his men and even his leg outweighed me. Of course, his belly was so huge I don’t really think he could have fucked me unless I worked really hard and got on top, neither of which I intended. But the Chinese say that ‘when rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it’ so I tried. My only option was to fight and get the shit beat out of me and then raped with my teeth and ribs broken then be passed over to every other man in the camp.

I was stupid. All that polish I bought after the fight, my would be lesbian-molester had bet heavily on me and gave me a part of her winnings as a bribe, I wore and spent too much time admiring instead of looking around. So this fat slob rode next to me and I couldn’t do anything because I was surrounded. I feel like a total selfish fool. No different from some slut who picks a guy in a bar based on his clothes and finds she is pregnant by some arsehole whose name she can’t remember. Or someone who spends hours in the bathroom doing her make-up and redoes it a dozen times a day. I hate women like that. Now am I becoming one?

In his camp, he easily disarmed me (damn this weak woman’s body) and fed me airig until I choked on the shit. So, figuring that the drunker he and his men were, the better off I’d be, I insisted that all drink, serving them and showing cleavage as I did to encourage them to drink more. It worked to a point but too soon he dragged me into his yurt, held me down with one hand and cut my dress off with the other. I tried and tried to fight and was totally helpless but this time, I wasn’t even partially turned on. I was scared, terrified shitless! The only good thing was that when he was naked, he was so hairy and his belly so huge I couldn’t see his dick.

Then, weight! A whale on me, crushing me, preventing me from breathing as I fought to no avail. Helpless again, just like when I was a prisoner, to be abused as they would. I hated being helpless and hoped he would get it over with and let me go but he couldn’t. I don’t know if it was because he was too drunk to get hard or too fat because I never even felt anything but his belly on mine and his legs forcing mine apart and I wasn’t going to help him at all.

Then all those feelings of helplessness, being beaten at the mast, raped over the rail, chained in the bilge came up and I snapped his neck. How I don’t know but there are stories of mothers lifting autos from the bodies of their trapped children so somehow the strength was there.

Then he collapsed like a balloon as his muscles released. Not only was I buried under the ton of his fat but his bladder and colon relaxed and I felt his shit and piss flow all over me. A part realized that he had also climaxed in death (that’s why we always tied the pant-legs of the men we hanged) and his piss and shit and cum were mixing together and flowing down and into my pussy.

I went mad for a moment. Trapped and pregnant by a dead whale of a man. Would my baby be born covered in shit as I frantically carved at my maidenhood to free the bastard?

So I forced myself to stop screaming and laughing and think. Trapped! Before as a galley slave I was imprisoned by chains, now by fat. But any prison had a way out. I had escaped from the Persians by making nunchaku and pretending that they were a musical instrument then using them to kill anyone between me and freedom. For a moment my insanity forced me to consider cutting him into pieces and I stopped that thought only because I couldn’t reach my wakazashi which was still hidden in my ruined dress.

Why was this time so different? Three attempted rapes in as many weeks. The first I killed out of anger, the second I wanted but fought off and now this? The Khan had more power and strength than those I beat further north so why? Was it because he was physically repugnant to me? No, all men are. They are hairy as a dog and as clean and only resist drinking from the chamber-pot because their women keep a canteen nearby.

There was something else, some other reason why rape by those two provoked desire but this disgust.

My train of thought was ended when I managed to roll him off then his guard entered, doubtless to watch my violation but instead to see his Khan laying on the floor, his fat belly facing the roof, his fat face the floor and me covered in shit, piss and cum.

I must have still been mad for I don’t remember my wakazashi in my hand. I have vague memories of seeing him enter then he was next to the bed that separated us, dropping his tulwar and frantically trying to catch his intestines that were falling from his belly, my own steel bloody in my hand.

But I ran, cutting my way through his yurt, smashing the lattice frame and running through a horse-field naked, holding my ruined clothes and short sword and wishing my breasts were smaller because they really hurt as they bounced. Curious how my thoughts were not of flight or cleaning the filth but of the ache of my tits and wanting them smaller. If they were, would I enjoy them as much? Are smaller breasts more sensitive to the touch? Would I still be firm if I reached the trees alive or would I find my chest to be at waist level? Such were my thoughts as I ran for freedom. Stupid they were but then, I was mad with terror, insane.

And it took weeks of scrubbing my skin raw before I began to feel clean again.

**********************************************


*VIII

The next few days were relaxing. I traveled east along the forest in case I had to run for cover (I’m avoiding saying ‘hide’) but saw no one at all. I jilled every morning and evening and had some really nice fantasies. Not the girl-fantasies of candles and romance, but guy ones of raw sex with beautiful women I had known carrying various toys that are made for guys for use on women, though I found that for some unknown reason I imagined them to be not so anatomically correct but of different shapes, sizes and colors. And the motion of the horse often sent me into orgasmic fits that he finally got used to though my screaming and striking the saddle still scared him. I did learn that I could add some extra padding between me and the seat to make things less exciting for when I needed to focus on the trip.

It was while cutting a piece of fruit into slices for dinner that I thought about my lost Tanto.

I recall reading something from the Borderlands Journal, that British magazine about the odd and unusual from flying saucers to African dinosaurs to Bigfoot of Canada. Scientists laugh at the Borderlands but they forget that both Galileo and Copernicus were Astrologers who studied Astronomy to improve their Astrological abilities, that Dr Van Allen discovered the Van Allen belts around the Earth by observing Flying Saucers and that Astrologers discovered Pluto and Chiron long before Astronomers did. But I digress, a habit of we Irish who love a story with hours of irrelevant details. It seems that some American Paleontologists had dug up a Triceratops skull with a round hole in the forehead. One of the diggers had been a big-game hunter and claimed that the hole resembled the bullet-holes found in Cape Buffalo and Elephants. Exploring further, he found the remains of some lead and iron ore inside the skull that he felt might have been the remains of a steel-jacketed bullet after 65 million years. He believed that some hunter had gone into the past to shoot the ceratopsin and of course, that single statement ruined his career in paleontology.

They compared it to the joker who had, while the crew slept, drilled a hole through the matrix of a dinosaur, dropped a penny into the hole then filled the hole with the dirt he had dug out mixed with water which had dried and merged with the original matrix by the time they found the penny.

So I wondered, that if the Sarmatians were to bury their dead Kahn with my tanto. What would some archeologist 500 years from now think of a Russian burial that included a Japanese knife made in China from a British railroad track? Would they recognize the rayskin covering the handle under the leather wrapping? Or the buffalo horn that mouthed the sheath, neither animal being native to the Russian steppes. Would the discoverer hide his discovery or risk all for the truth?

Somehow, despite or perhaps in spite of the attempted rapes, the curse, the sexual frustration, my new mood swings and my total inability to decide what to do with my new life, thinking about that future archaeologist digging up that grave made me laugh.

Then I would read his paper, visit his lecture and politely listen to his colleagues cut him to ribbons then stand, approach and call out; “Excuse me Doctor but that is my knife. I lost it five hundred years ago when that Khan tried to kidnap and rape me. By the way, the man was not some hero, he was grossly fat and his breath smelled like vomit-mouth.”

Planning that speech made me roll on the grass laughing so hard I startled my gelding who probably thought I was totally mad. And maybe I was! A few weeks ago I was an almost normal guy and now I was a really hot chick with no idea of how to deal with the situation! I would be crazy if I remained sane after all this.

But then, I had attended a lecture on the megalodon with my daughters (both shark fanatics) and after the inevitable discussion about the possibility or impossibility of that prehistoric shark still living, I handed the Paleontologist a fresh meg-tooth I had dug from the hull of my sailboat off the coast of Australia. The shark was fifty feet long (it had scraped the ama on my trimaran so I had a good reference and had molested my boat from below, leaving sperm on the rudder and teeth in the hull.

And my own existence her, half a millennia in the past and with changed gender proved that Ted Sturgeon is right, the Universe is not only stranger than we imagine it is stranger than we CAN imagine.

My dress was a mess and I regretted not stealing some clothes while I was at the last camp so I took to wearing my kimono again until I could find another outfit. I did find that I loved the feel of the silk against my bare breasts though after an hour they ached so good I had to go topless to ease the sensation, and so I began to experiment with making bras from the remains of my vest and dress. But I’d need a seamstress to do a decent job. At least I had an idea of the structure of the thing, which I never paid much attention to in my attempts to get them off my lovers.

Finally I topped a rise and saw a caravan heading south. There must have been a hundred camels with attendants and guards and wagons. An African camel is single humped and can carry 800 pounds of cargo. The Asian Bactian camel is double humped and is as strong if not stronger so because these are Asian, I must have reached the Silk Road. Slezi, Diana, Fiona and I had been caravan guards a couple times in the Mid-East so I understood a lot now and was considering joining it when one of the flankers saw me and after signaling to his mates, he rode to see me.

I loosened my bow in its case, slid my katana through my sash and waited. As he got closer, I raised my hands, empty, to show peaceful intentions and he slowed, rode around me giving me a good lookover and then moved on past in case I was the vanguard for an attack. The city of Petra in Jordan was built because the local raiders found taxing the caravans to be more profitable than raiding them but many of the Tartars and Sarmatians still felt that raiding was more manly.

I turned sideways to keep both caravan and guard in sight as two more rode up. Then the first returned and spoke in what I felt was Mongolian so I replied in Chinese, “I am Janice Obrien, Lady Innis traveling to the isles of Nippon and I seek travel with your caravan either as a guard or as a guest.”

The Mongol stared at my breasts which were partly exposed by my loose kimono and sneered, “We have no need of another whore, seek….” He never saw my katana sheath slam against his head to knock him from his saddle. Proper Mongol and Chinese women cover their entire body.

“I am LADY Innis, Warrior and Noble and Scholar. You will show me the proper respect or the next time it will not be my sheath that strikes you down!”

The Mongol struggled to his feet and waved down his friends who arrived at a gallop with drawn bows. “My apologies Lady Innis for my unforgivable lack of manners. Please allow me to escort you to the caravan master.” He said this from a bow then stood, remounted and turned to lead me down the hill. His companions followed taking stations beside and behind me until about halfway there the other Mongol rode up and asked, “Your pardon, Lady Innis, but you look like a Westerner but dress like a Samurai from Nippon. Might this humble person ask why?”

I smiled at him and said, “I am from the island of Hibernia which is far to the west and as far as you can go before land ends and you fall into the ocean. This is why I look as I do with my skin and hair and eyes. When I was a child, my father took me to the islands of Nippon, which is as far east as you can go before land ends and you fall into the ocean. I loved the islands of Nippon and always wanted to return so I am! Unfortunately, my traveling clothes were destroyed by the Sarmatians and I am forced to wear these until I find suitable replacement. And unfortunately, my original travel arrangements fell apart and I am doing the best I can under the circumstances.”

“Thank you Lady Innis for enlightening this humble person,” and he returned to his position where he could keep me in sight.

We reached the caravan very quickly and the master left his wagon to talk to us as the caravan passed by. Stopping such a long train would be difficult and expensive so it was easier to leave, talk and then catch up later.

I explained that I was traveling to Nippon and was thinking of going south then by sea unless an east-bearing caravan could be found. I also asked about prices to accompany the caravan and if he needed another sword as a guard.

The master was Chinese but not Mandarin so was relaxed enough to speak to me and said, “Lady Innis, I have no need for another guard this close to Aktau. Perhaps had you arrived a week or two earlier things would be different. If you can pay, I will gladly allow you to accompany us there. We are about three days out and the price will be…” he made some calculations and gave a price that was high but affordable.

“Caravan Master, does this also include food and drink for me and my horse? And what of a tent?”

“Meals for both are included as will be the picket for your steed. I have no tents to spare but can offer you canvas and poles and you may set your own as you wish.”

“If we are attacked and I am expected to fight, as I will, I would expect to be paid for my efforts.” I suggested. He bowed in agreement and I paid him for the remainder of the journey ending with, “I hope someone here plays Chess or Go, it has been some time since I had a match.” Then I simply rode along with the train.

As I said, the effort of starting and stopping was such effort, it was rarely done. Breakfast was eaten early and once the train was started, it continued until evening when it was halted, camp set up and dinner served. Lunch and snacks were eaten in the saddle or wagon and toilet stops were simply someone leaving the train, doing their business out-of-sight, then running to catch up.

That evening we stopped and the guards set up patrols as their companions raised tents and cooked meals. For the rest of the evening, guards would leave to relieve those on patrol who would return to the caravan, eat then sleep until their next tour of duty. I approached the Caravan Master and asked about my tent and was directed to a supply camel which was being unloaded. The boys were brushing the beast down and leading it to the picket where it was fed and watered for they had crossed a river a few days ago and there was water to spare. I was handed some heavy cloth and a few poles that had once been a tent before a wind storm had torn it apart but I found enough good canvas to make a small but decent tent for me and my gear and set it up nearby. Of course my Mongol ‘friends’ came by to offer to help and I allowed them to do the majority of the work. Maybe there were advantages to this female thing. I had set many a tent and repaired many a home in the vain hope of getting lucky and now I had men doing that for me with the same empty hopes.

I tossed my saddle into the tent with most of my goods and no fear of theft. I kept my money and jewelry with me but if anyone touched my bow or saddle, the Master would have the caravan turned out to find it and the thief would be fined, flogged and banished from the caravan. Then I walked around to stretch my legs and work out the kinks and see who and what was here.

Some of the Chinese were nervous at my presence for Japanese pirates had been harassing the coasts of China and Korea ever since the failed Mongol Invasions of Japan some hundred and fifty years ago. But I smiled at each and refused to bow for that would be a lowering of my status as a Noble. Here was a Chinese family seeking a new life in the west, there a merchant seeking to sell silk to a people who had already stolen the secret and were making cheaper silk in Florence, and there a seller of tea and pepper. Of the hundred and more camels, there were maybe thirty separate merchants, some with one camel or wagon seeking to make a profit on a dying train, others with a dozen camels and wagons who had not yet realized that sea travel was killing the caravan and within a few decades, the Silk Road would be gone.

In most cases, the merchants showed me their wares and tried to make a sale though after I put one soldier in a wrist-lock and made him squeal “I’m a snotty piglet, please someone cook me in chestnut sauce” at the top of his voice, I got no more indecent propositions. There was a wagon of whores that were more than ready to service the men all night so I suppose that they just wanted me as an exotic and fresh meat.

Then I saw a tent with a couple women handing a soldier some clothing in exchange for a few coins. “Excuse me,” I asked, “But are you by chance a seamstress?”

The woman bowed and said, “Yes My Lady, we are. We repair the clothing of the soldiers and drivers in return for our travel expenses. How may we be of use to your noble personage?”

“First please show me your work if you would. I am Janice Obrien, Lady Innis, a Noble of Erie by the way.”

They followed me into their tent where they removed clothing from their bundles and showed me the seams and embroidery as if I knew what all this talk meant but I could see the regular stitches and the details sewn onto the cloth and so I explained to them, “Unlike you Chinese, I have large breasts that sometimes need support. Can you make me such a support that will cup my breasts?” I demonstrated by supporting my breasts then raising them up a bit. They didn’t need support but sometimes the bouncing made them sore. “And also stop them from bouncing and swinging. Something soft and yet strong with straps over my shoulders here! Also some underwear for my nether regions.”

“I understand, My Lady. We occasionally receive such a commission and if your noble personage would allow one such as myself to see and take measurements, I am certain that we can fill your needs properly.”

I immediately dropped my kimono top to reveal my naked breasts and the two gasped then looked away for Chinese never are so immodest. When they did look, I could see their eyes widen for most Chinese and Japanese bind their chests from shame of having nursed so long. The fact that I had a chest much larger than almost any that they had seen and one that showed no sag at all was a wonder to them. One of the things I was trying to prevent was future sagging by taking some of the load off my chest and transferring it to my shoulders. Also I found bras to be sexy. Why else would Fredericks and Victoria be so successful? So the two women measured and probed a bit and I held them to where I wanted and they measured more and I insisted on a front closure as I wasn’t certain that I was as flexible as a woman who had been unfastening her bra since 14. Plus I purchased some socks and underwear to keep the sand out of my vagina.

Finally they were done and I dressed and was about to leave when one asked, “My Lady, would you care to see some of our other clothing items?” Hmm, I usually hated clothes shopping because unlike women, I hated trying on clothes over and over. But why not? I was supposed to act like a woman and shopping was a woman’s thing so I tried. Besides, my Kimono was getting thin with being worn constantly and rarely washed.

The women would unwrap a bundle, talk to each other then retie it or pull out a dress. All were Chinese patterns and covered with embroidery and so I rejected them all. “Have you something in a Western style? With bright colors?” I asked.

They talked and then brought out a dress that took my breath away. I immediately stripped naked, leaning my swords against a bundle and turned so they could dress me. I looked incredible! It was even loose enough for my ample chest and had a cut that showed my cleavage to good effect. “This is totally inappropriate for the trail… How much?” When they told me, I handed the money over without a thought. Now I needed a place to wear it.

In the end I also bought a traveling dress that was durable but attractive and showed my breasts and ass to good effect and another for semi-formal wear plus a couple hats. But I wore my favorite with my newly cleaned shoes out. They promised to take my other dresses to my tent and I walked around to continue my tour carrying my katana instead of wearing it. I looked the princess that my ancestors were and people noticed and bowed to me as I passed. Then a boy approached and prostrated himself in the dirt saying, “A thousand pardons Noble Lady but my master, the lord of this caravan begs the boon of your company for dinner.”


****************************************************

THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

Rock peed today as I was washing in the stream, my vest open, my dress to my waist and my breasts exposed as I laved them to hardness with the cold water.

His cock was gigantic, reaching to almost brush the ground. Black and white, as mottled as his pelt. I stared in fascination as gallons of urine flowed forth. I had heard of shows where women, long past childbirth and worn out would allow themselves to be mounted by a donkey to the entertainment of the men and women in the audience. One woman I knew abused the men around as perverts for seeking out that show then, in private, she described in intimate detail the act and how it fascinated her. Her private desires conflicting with her public image.

I found myself in that same position. I fondled my breasts seeking climax as I watched his gigantic cock and wondered how it would feel? Would it fit even an inch inside my virgin twat? Then, embarrassed for my thoughts and desires, I looked around fearing observers who would know my thoughts. Were I certain I were alone, would I reach out to touch, to fondle? To hold his member between my breasts? Would his cum be as amazing in quantity as his urine?

I had grown up on a farm, watched sheep, pigs and horses mate. Seen a stallion drive his feet of length into the bowels of a willing mare. I had seen an army of Toms fight over a Queen, each taking their turn as their spiny dicks tore the Queen apart and induced ovulation. Seen roosters service every hen over and over. All manner of animal mateings had I witnessed and even those perverse as when a hare sought to mate with a cat, a hog with a sheep, a stallion upon a cow for to nature, anything that is possible is attempted. Yet never did I do more than watch casually and now I find myself wishing to experiment.

Would a dog to my own bitch be as bad as the rabbit mounting my cat?

I climaxed with the thought and then, ashamed at my thoughts, my secret desires, laved my face with cold stream water until the heat left and I was shivering in the cold. Still….

************************************************


*IX

I was wondering how Master Yu was planning to feed me according to our deal so followed the boy to his tent. There were silks hanging against the tent walls, rugs on the ground and a real table with real chairs in the center. This man knew how to travel. I looked around a moment and wondered at the wealth this man had and he still led his caravan personally. The cynic in me rose up to suggest that these were trade goods appropriated by him to impress me. Then a part of me was flattered by this bit of larceny. I had warring feelings and moods within. I was physically a girl but mentally a guy and these halves fought with each other and sometimes the girl would win. I didn’t like it but couldn’t figure a way out so I let the feelings flow.

The master entered, bowed low with his servants and apologized for the delay, “But, My Lady, matters of a caravan require most of my time.”

Two servants led me to my chair and assisted me to sit. That was a strange feeling and I had mixed feelings of being treated as a cripple from pity and of being treated like a woman from respect, though I had done exactly the same for my dates. My host bowed then sat across the table and clapped his hands to which a servant placed a porcelain cup before me and then filled it with rice-wine.

I raised and examined the cup. Ming! Of course, the Mings are in power after expelling the Mongol Khans a couple centuries ago. They will soon close the Silk Road from paranoia and loss of profits to sea trade. In my time, this cup would pay for a school education, here it is simply a shot glass. I sipped and the atmosphere crept up my sinuses to sting as the alcohol worked its way down my throat. Much better than the Sarmatian airag I had been drinking in the Khanates and far more dangerous to my chastity. Chastity! I had to laugh at this. As a man I spent much of my time seeking a bedmate. Now I spent that same energy avoiding the same thing. It wasn’t that I enjoyed celibacy, Goddess I wanted to get laid! It was just that I couldn’t stomach men and couldn’t find a woman I liked and who liked me.

“Is something amusing, My Lady?” the Master asked.

“I was just thinking of matters of a personal nature. This is Shaoxing rice wine, is it not?” I asked to cover my embarrassment.

“My Lady as a fine palate to identify this humble vintage. I am pleased that you are enjoying my gifts.”

I really couldn’t tell Chinese shaoxing from Japanese saki but I knew that rice wine was first brewed in Shaoxing Province and spread from there, with the origin’s name often being applied to the product so I guessed that all rice wine in China would be called Shaoxing. I sipped more and glanced at the cup to be certain that my lipstick remained on my lips. As a man I hated seeing my date’s make-up on the dishes, glasses, flatware and food so I made an effort to keep my cosmetics on my face where they belonged.

“Are you enjoying your first day with my humble caravan? I see that you have been shopping. I must compliment you on your purchases, you look every bit a princess.”

I gave a slight nod in thanks, my new hair combs keeping my tresses from my face and replied, “It was an impulse buy. I never did that … before.” I sipped again, “Unfortunately, I find that my impulses have lightened my purse considerably and will soon have to seek employment if I am to avoid starvation.” All the wealth I had been paid to rescue Alexii and prevent a war between the Rus and the Sarmatians of the Khanate had been donated to the temple that cursed me. So all I had was what I had robbed from the men who sought to rape me outside that forest, the winnings from my fight and what I was able to loot from the men I killed during my recent escape. Much of that went to the Caravan, more to my seamstress and I had little idea of what was left so I was willing to endure this meal to save money. A part of me wondered how many women accepted an unwanted invitation from desperation for a decent meal.

“Perhaps then, you will be interested in a legend held by those of Circassia which is our final destination. They say that in the nearby mountains is an ancient temple built by the Verangians in the service of the old Byzantine Empire. These Verangians came south from the land of the Rus and built this temple to honor their god of lust and depravity who I believe was called Iarillio. It is said that within this temple are a hundred golden phalli of all shapes and sizes upon which they would sacrifice the virginity of their captive slaves before they took them to their own beds, for the Verangians feared a maidens first bleeding. It is said that whomever finds this temple will become rich beyond their wildest dreams for many of the Khans and Emperors wish to purchase these phalli for it is believed that possession of but one of these devices ensures a long and potent love life.”

He smiled and continued, “Do I shock My Lady’s sensibilities? I apologize, for among Chinese women such talk is disrespectful but I perceive that you are a lady of the world and so are more open to such ideas than are my own people.”

“Shocked,” I laughed. “Hardly, I am not some innocent child to blush at the sight of a little bare skin though among my own people I am considered to be somewhat prudish. But I wonder why these hundred golden phalli remain untouched when they are so valuable? The Verangians are distant relatives of mine, coming from Sweden as did my father’s people from the neighboring Denmark and these were far from afraid of any blood, virgin or victim. Plus the Swedes pray to Odin and Thor, who are gods of war and not of sex.”

He replied, “I know not My Lady. I can only relate what I have heard. It is said also that the Amazons of that area protect the temple and kill any man who seeks the treasure. Amazons remove their left breast the better to draw a bow and use these golden phalli to ensure children without the need for congress with men whom they consider beneath their dignity.”

I laughed at that. “As you can see from your frequent glances, I retain both of my breasts and they are somewhat larger than the average woman’s yet never have I had difficulty drawing a bow as certain Sarmatians of the Golden Khanate will testify could they speak.

“And years ago, I took an Amazon as a lover and she did have both of her breasts. No, master Yu, Amazons may guard the temple if you say so for I know nothing of that, but they pray to Turkish Aphrodite and Greek Artemis and when they wish children, they leave their lands and seek men of other lands to give them babies. And they do that in the normal manner, though they give their sons to the fathers and keep only their daughters.

“However, Master Yu, your story is interesting and I will see if I can examine it further when we arrive.” Dinner then arrived and it was excellent considering that this close to the end of the trail, they were probably scraping the mold off the rice for lack of fresh food. This man was going all out to seduce me. I sipped more wine and felt it go to my head.

Eating with chopsticks, or Hashi as they are called in Japan, was easy for me and I preferred that as this forced the cook to cut the food into bite-sizes which I could easily eat without smearing my lipstick. I found myself obsessing over that for some reason. I told myself that it was because I had never enjoyed the sight of a woman who had spent two hours making herself up then leaving her makeup on her dishes, food, me and my pillow. If I was to live a woman’s body, I would improve on the situation.

Conversation then ranged across the world as he explained that this may be his last caravan as many of the caravan stopovers had been abandoned and swallowed by the Taklimakan Desert. And many merchants were shipping their goods by sea because a single freighter could carry 80 tons of grain and only pay for a crew of ten where a caravan carrying the same would require 200 camels with each camel needing a driver and attendant plus the necessary army to guard the caravan. “No,” he said, “Long distance caravans are no longer feasible and are now reserved for shorter inland journeys. I plan to sell my camels and wagons and perhaps buy a ship to carry my new cargo home. Perhaps My Lady would wish to travel with us since you say you are going to Zipingu?” Zipingu being the Chinese name for Japan.

“Perhaps I may,” I offered. When he asked me of news of my journeys, I talked on knowing that he was listening only for bits that would be useful to him and the pretense of caring what a woman said as he planned his seduction.

“The Rus are moving south into the Sarmatian lands of the Khanates. The Ottomans are moving north into those same lands, your own Chinese Empire is pushing the dead Mongol Empires into the Steppes and the Sarmatians are caught in the middle with no place to go. Some are seeking peace, some wishing to die fighting and none of these empires see the truth of their actions.”

“And what truth is that, My Lady?” he asked.

“The Greek philosopher Diogenes said ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ Consider that if I invade to conquer my neighbor, I must send an army of my own people to do the fighting. Many of those will die and many must remain to hold the new lands for people will ever wish to be ruled by their own kings.

“So, consider that now many of my men are dead and gone. Their mothers and fathers are angry with me for they no longer have a son to care for them in their age. The wives are angry for they are now starving widows. Their children are angry for they are homeless orphans and so for every man I draft and send to war, I have a score more angry with me for what I have done. Then when I conquer another nation, these numbers grow and always I have the conquered fighting and killing my people as they seek their freedom form my conquests. Eventually this anger will explode.”

“But, My Lady, is that not the lot of the common people, to serve their divinely inspired king? What better than to die in the service of their nation? Is it not the duty of the civilized to enlighten the heathen?”

“My people were conquered by Britain who felt the same way. But we felt we were better off free and fought for centuries to free ourselves from the British yoke. The truth is that every empire has followed the same path, they conquer, expand, then they cannot hold their conquests for they have no more citizens to throw against the rebelling nations that they took by force. Then their own people rise up in anger and Peasant Revolts are often successful and the first to die are the kings. The empire then must pull their soldiers in to fight their own brothers and the conquered take this opportunity to rise up and exterminate those left behind. And the empire shrinks and fades away. Alexander ignored this lesson, Rome ignored this lesson, Britain ignored this lesson, the Mongols ignored this lesson and now the Ottoman and Chinese will learn this lesson to their dismay for they seem to be unwilling to listen to the past.”

“A philosopher, a warrior and a noble,” he mused, “I would imagine that you would make a great Queen of a small nation.”

I laughed and replied, “When I ruled, I promised to not invade my neighbors if they would do the same and I kept my promise. Those who saw this as a weakness and invaded soon found that I had hired the Assassin’s Guild to kill the king and family of the invader. And the new king had a choice, he could retreat and live or continue and die or live his life as a prisoner in his own castle, fearing the poison or dirk of my killers, never knowing if his own sons would live out the day. I had no dreams of empire for fighting to free my country taught me that men should be ruled by kings of their own choosing.”

“A radical philosophy, My Lady. And one that I shall consider if I ever aspire to the throne. But fortunately, I am but a humble merchant seeking only to pay my bills and so politics are useful only as they impose taxes upon my goods. I see you are finished with your meal, may I accompany you on a stroll around my caravan?”

I agreed, partially to walk off the wine I had drunk and partially to see the caravan first hand, and together with my holding my hem off the ground with one hand and carrying my katana with the other, we strolled to be certain that all was well. Having to hold my hem allowed me to not hold his arm as he wished and followed by his servants, we saw everything. He questioned every one of his team leaders, every merchant who had bought passage and took reports from the guards who constantly patrolled. As a leader he was exceptional and listened to the comments the caravan people made. No wonder this man was rapidly becoming wealthy. I suspected that he also had a harem at home and wished to add me to his property.

Finally we reached my tent and I bade him good night so he bowed, disappointed that I chose to sleep in such a hovel when I could share his tent but left anyway.

Inside I found my clothes bundled and safe and a basin so I stripped by lamplight, washed with a cloth and basin for Chinese are a clean people, then carefully packed my gown and unwrapped my traveling dress. Then because the night was cold, I wrapped a blanket around my naked body and went outside to watch the stars for a bit. I was still a bit dizzy from the wine and wished to breathe the fresh air (as much as possible considering the number of camels and horses in the caravan and the enormous amount of dung they dumped every day which must have made the Silk Road the most fertile stretch of land in the world). I noticed that the guards made a point of passing close, to check on my safety they said, but I believed with good reason they wished to see if I slept alone.

After my lips ceased to be numb, I returned to bed, laying a knife under my pillow where it could be found and a naked wakazashi under my blanket just in case and fell asleep.

The next morning I removed my gear as Yu sent a servant to strike and pack my tent and load it on a wagon. I tossed my purchases on the wagon to lighten my horse’s load and wearing my traveling dress, visited the seamstress’ who had my bra ready. It didn’t fit quite right and they listened to my suggestions of a scalloped front, wider side straps and softer cotton lining then I left with their promise to be done by noon.

I approached Master Yu’s tent, which was being stuck, and he invited me to eat at his table which was in the open so I readily agreed and had re-heated leftovers from last night but no wine despite his insistence. I did ask for a bundle for a noon-snack and thanking him, returned to saddle my horse and climb astride. Yu had offered me a ride on his wagon and I told him I would consider it later on but for now I wanted to see the caravan in action and could do that better from horseback.

With a caravan, there is one safe place, exactly in the center next to the biggest wagon. But with all the dust kicked up, there are only two clean places, in the lead or upwind flank so as soon as the dust rose, I moved to the front upwind position and had a very dull morning. I gave my horse his head and he followed the caravan with no prompting allowing me the freedom of my thoughts.

Intellectually, I found Master Yu to be interesting and attractive but that was logic speaking. Emotionally, I disliked his constant seduction attempts and the thought of sex with him, or any man, made my stomach turn. I had heard that most men are straight but most women were bi and I had been straight as a man but seemed gay as a woman. But could I really be called gay when I liked women as a man and my preferences hadn’t changed with my body?

Occasionally the guards would ride out to check on some herder or rider then return to signal ‘all is well’ for even leaving the Golden Khanate, the threat of Sarmatian raiders was a possibility but nothing untoward occurred. By noon I returned to my seamstress and found my bra ready, so completely oblivious to the stares of those around, I dropped my dress top and tried it on. I had to adjust my aching breasts a bit until they were comfortable but I liked the support and the embroidery and lacing was nice so I dressed again and paid the women for their work and ordered a second.


*X

The next few days were dull as compared to my previous week but that was good. I didn’t feel like fighting anyone and just wanted a hot bath and soft bed. I would have breakfast and dinner with Yu and he even had a chess game though he called it Xiangqi and the rules were different from what I was used to but I learned quickly and lost every game, though after a few days he had to earn his victories. I also hung with the guards and gambled at dice and other things, sometimes winning and sometimes loosing, laughing at their dirty jokes and telling filthy stories of my own until they began to accept me as no longer a woman but as another warrior. Though the fact that I was dressed better, a woman and a Noble and armed never ceased to amaze them or master Yu. I suppose my insistence that they treat me as a Noble Lady, yet my willingness to consort with the peasantry was a constant talk of the caravan.

Once I saw two guards fencing and watched them until one, laughing, asked me for a match. So with wooden swords, I hiked my skirt up and faced off. He was adequate but not excellent and I had little trouble defeating him despite his different style which resembled a primitive Kung-Fu.

After that I had a line of guards seeking to try me out and so I decided to use my skills to make money. I lay my hat on a table asking for contributions to a show then I placed some fruits on the heads of about three guards in a triangle about me. I told each to not move an inch then I blindfolded myself and relaxing, I drew and cut and within seconds each fruit was halved and the men unharmed. I removed my blindfold, curtseyed and passed my hat which became a bit heavy with the coins they added, mostly copper but some silver. And that gave me an idea.

At the next evening stop I hired a couple kids to walk around the caravan with drums announcing a show at my tent. In my years of adventuring, I learned that if you can fight, gamble and entertain, you can survive almost anywhere. If you are willing to add theft, murder and sex, you definitely can survive anywhere.

I also collected some fruit that was past eating, some small sticks for the fires when they weren’t burning dried horse and camel dung and bought some old fur and made a very skimpy leather-and-fur bikini that looked like what a barbarian would wear, providing the observer was city-bred who thought barbarians were ‘noble savages’ and had never seen one in person.

As the crowd gathered, I did my Kendo Kata and was on the tenth rep when I judged the crowd large enough. “Honored Guests,” I cried. “I am Janice Obrien, Lady Innis, a noble of the nation of Erie on the island of Hibernia. You may think of me as barbarian and perhaps I am for my ways are different from yours, but if so, I was born to the sword and even Julius Caesar, the great General and Emperor of the Roman Empire wrote that ‘not an entire Legion of Rome could stand against a Celt if his wife took up a sword and stood by his side.’ I am such a Celt for I was born to the blade. You may think that sword fighting is simple hacking away at each other but steel,” I drew my katana, “is noble and properly made and in the hands of an expert, the blade is a work of art. But art need not only hang on a wall or stand on a pedestal, art can also be the grace of motion, the beauty of song so let me entertain you with the song and dance of steel. And if you are entertained, please fill my bags with coin to show your joy.” Caravans were boreing with only a very rare attack to break the tedium so these people were starved for entertainment.

The kids I hired wandered around with bags but few were the coins tendered. I sheathed my katana and took three pieces of fruit and tossed them into the air. As they fell, I drew and with one move, sliced each in half then re-sheathed before the first touched the ground. The crowd gave applause and a few more coins were tendered then I drew and reaching out, picked a fruit from the table with the blade. I balanced the fruit on the flat then rotated the blade to balance the fruit on the back. Rocking the blade, I rolled it from guard to tip a few times and said, “Among my people you can tell the name of your future spouse in the peeled skin of a fruit IF you can peel it in one piece. Let us attempt to see into the future.” Then I rolled the fruit to the tip, snapped the sword over and balanced the fruit on the edge to the applause of the crowd. Another snap and I cut into the fruit but before it could fully cut through, I rolled and slid and peeled the fruit with my sword edge. Finally I gave one last snap and the skin fell to the ground as I sliced the fruit into four pieces. It was a good trick and took me nearly a hundred years to learn it.

The crowd broke into applause, tossed coins and crowded forward to see what the skin said and many were the whispered comments for people see what they wish to see.

Then I cleaned and re-sheathed and balanced a longer stick on its end so it stood up. With a leap, I was standing on the stick balancing as an acrobat. When the crowd grew silent, I pulled a handful of sticks from a pouch and tossed then into the air then twisted and turned on the balance stick I cut and sliced each as they fell around me. I then curtseyed while still on the larger and waited for the crowd to stop donating and applauding.

I then bent down and tapping the stick upon which I stood, knocked it into the air and cut it into three pieces before I touched ground.

After the crowd calmed down, I called for three volunteers then chose one of the whores with an impressive bosom and a very low cut dress as the fourth. I placed them around me, stuck a fruit on the head of one, under the chin of another, between the legs of the third “Fear not, for if I miss, your wife will finally get some sleep at night” and the fourth I wedged into the whore’s cleavage.

Then I blindfolded myself knelt in a souza position, stretched a moment to entertain the men and jumped up, drawing and with one planned move, side slashed the throat-held fruit, reversed and uppercut the crotch-held fruit then down-snapped the cleavage-fruit ending with a cut on the head-balanced one. All four volunteers fell back in terror but unharmed and as I removed my blindfold I curtseyed to the crown and announced, “I hope my little demonstration has entertained you and shown that a sword is more than an instrument of death but a piece of art. And art, in whatever form, is to be admired. Thank you and please be generous.”

The kids collected coin as I carefully cleaned my blade and examined it for damage as I tried to relax from the adrenaline rush of my show. I forced myself to breath with my ribs and not my belly to give the men a view of heaving breasts though the air I took in wasn’t as much as I could were I to belly breathe. Then as the crowd dispersed, I took my bags from each child, kissed each being careful to leave a well-defined lipstick mark on their cheeks and gave each child some copper coins and a bag of sweets. Then I tossed the bags into my tent intending to count them later as I wrapped my cloak around me for the night was chill and without exertion or proper clothing, my sweaty exposed skin, of which there was a lot, was freezing.

Master Yu approached and bowing, said, “A marvelous show. You Westerners are a strange people indeed. I know of no Chinese, Japanese or Mongol who would dress as you do or entertain as would a commoner.”

“Master Yu, in my country we are reminded that no one is above hard work and shame is what you make of it. I needed money and absent killing, this was an honest way to make it. No one was hurt, no one robbed or suffered, and all left enjoying the moment. What could be nobler than this?”

“Again, Lady Innis, I am humbled by your wisdom. Perhaps I should retire from the merchant and sit at your feet to learn wisdom?”

I couldn’t tell if he was serious, joking or seducing so I laughed and said, “I am no wiser than anyone else, I just ask questions of things that others are too self-centered to ask. But please, allow me to dress properly and we can dine.” He bowed and left saying “Every heartbeat I must wait will be an eternity of agony in my soul.” What a sweet thing to say. Had I his gift for bullshit I would have been laid far more often when I was a man.

I washed down, wiping sweat from my body and noticed a couple of the guards watching me through the tent opening. I was about to get angry at this spying but I saw that they weren’t looking so much at my naked body but at me! So as I dried off and dressed, I asked their business.

“Lady Innis, We are impressed with your display this night and before both with sword and fist and we beg you to take us on as students.” Then they all bowed very low.

I adjusted my clothing then exited wearing my swords and smiled at them. “I fear that what I know would take a lifetime to teach and we have but days. But I will do what I can. Allow me to dine and consider this to be your first lesson. The sword is but an extension of your arm, your mind and your soul. If you think of it as a weapon, you have lost before you draw. Meditate on this for awhile.” Then I walked off with my newly-earned wealth in hand. I’d have to exchange the smaller coins for larger when I saw Master Yu.


*XI

The next morning I set the guards to kata and told them to repeat until the blades flowed as an extension and to think of water. Then I saddled my horse, strapped bow and quiver to my back, slung my swords and led the horse to Yu as my tent was being struck and packed.

“Ah, Lady Innis, even the beasts of the steppes follow to worship at your feet. Allow me to call for breakfast.”

“Thank you Master Yu. Are you aware that we are being watched from the east?”

“So that is why you carry your bow strung and ready. Yes I am, there are eight to ten of them but when I send a scout, they run so I don’t know if these are bandits or scouts or simply curious. But we will delay our departure until someone signals their intention.”

“Perhaps I should talk to our visitors? May I have this to go please?” the latter to his servant.

“Lady, I would fear for your safety. Although I recognize your incomparable skills with a sword and would not hesitate to send you against any of my men, these are armed with bows and if they are Sarmatian raiders, they will kill you long before you can reach them. So I cannot condone such an empty gesture.”

“First, Master Yu, I don’t intend to be shot, if you send one or two men, they will be killed, if you send enough to win a battle, you leave the caravan open to attack. If I go, a lone woman, even armed, they will have no fear for they know that they are stronger than I am and they outnumber me easily. So they will turn their minds to rape or slavery and to do this they must dismount and approach on foot. When they do, they are dead!

“Besides,” I said as I mounted with my breakfast, “I am not doing an empty gesture, I am being paid what we originally agreed to. Remember, I paid for room and board and you promised to pay me if I had to fight. Let us see if these wish to fight you or talk to one non-threatening girl.” And I smiled at him as I rode to the east. I ate my meal and rode slowly to conserve my gelding’s strength in case we had to run. Lighter and unarmored, I could easily outrun downhill a heavier man in armor so I only had to worry about being shot in the back. So I fluffed my breasts, pulled my dress down a bit to expose more of my chest and headed towards the men on the hill.

On the way up I finished my meal and considered my options. I had done all I could to ensure that they knew I was a girl and so not much of a threat. If they were Sarmatians, they would recognize that women could be warriors, but Sarmatian women wore men’s clothing, not a cumbersome dress, and even then the best Sarmatian women was still only 2/3 as strong as a man and so few of them feared a fight with their own women, much less a small foreign girl.

It they were Mongols, they would have no fear at all for Mongols kept their women caged as did the Greeks and Arabs.

If I could get them dismounted, I could easily kill them. On horseback in sword range, I could probably do the same and within a hundred yards, my bow was as deadly as theirs. I just would have to see.

They waited for me on the rise, eight in all. That meant that they knew I was a woman and had not the slightest fear for my military prowess. Well, every man I had killed and defeated this adventure had that same attitude and I always used it to my advantage.

“Hello!” I said in Chinese then Arabic.

They said nothing but turned and rode off slowly. Their attitude spoke of a plan, probably to get me out of sight of the caravan. I rode to the top of the hill and looked around. No army, just these eight and one other holding the arm of a bound girl. She looked tired and beaten down so these weren’t interested in the caravan, they were hoping to kidnap women for themselves or for sale.

I rode to the girl and her captor let her go then stepped away. It was an invitation to rescue the girl but once I did, they’d catch me too. If I dismounted, they would and take me by mass of bodies. If I tried to toss her over my saddle, they’d run me down. They had the advantage either way so I told the girl in Arabic, “Walk to the rocks behind you. I will follow. Courage,” as I pointed to the rocks.

She did as told with no interference for these men knew she couldn’t run far, bound as she was. They also knew that I’d have to dismount to get her and they knew this area better than I did. But that wasn’t my plan. I rode into the rocks as far as I could with them following. Then I dismounted, hung my bow and quiver from my saddle and walked after the girl who had begun to run in panic. This would help. If they thought that I thought that they were releasing the girl, I’d not think to defend myself and they’d have an easy capture.

I could hear them dismounting too for it would be too dangerous to ride a horse into these rocks so holding my hem off the ground then stuffing it into my belt to raise it to calf height, I followed at a quick pace. I could see four of them flanking us, two to a side but they all kept their scimitars sheathed out of contempt for my sword which I held in my belt and not hanging from it. To them this indicated that I carried it for show. None had seen a Samurai in action, a man who could draw and cut and kill with one move.

I yelled, “Run!” then broke into a run myself. The men broke into a run to chase us and I heard them stumbling over rocks until the girl fell. Good, I ran to her and pretended to help her then let her go, turned, drew and with one cut killed the three men in front. I was between them before they hit the ground and a thrust and cut killed another two. I killed the sixth as I ran towards the two flanking on the right and they stopped and pulled their scimitars to face me. This is why the Japanese switched from the long Tachi hung from their obi to the shorter katana thrust through the sash. It was simply a faster draw and led immediately to a guard position. The scimitar hanging from a belt had to be caught with the left hand and directed to the seeking right hand. Then you drew and went on guard, all taking vital seconds that let me kill the first one quickly. The second raised for a downward slash. I let him, then deflected, not blocked as he expected and killed him with a thrust to the belly, which was an easy target. I twisted and yanked my sword free then turned to the remaining two who turned and ran for their horses.

I pulled my skirt up higher and ran for my horse whistling as I did so to bring him to me. I had deliberately chosen an easy path for me and a hard one for the flankers so I reached my horse a moment before they reached theirs. They wasted valuable time mounting whereas I simply dropped my katana drew my strung bow from its case with one hand, two arrows with the other and killed them both before they could escape.

I quickly strung a third arrow and turned to seek the hidden attacker that always sneaks up in the movies but aside from the girl who was sitting up and watching me wild-eyed, only me, the terrified girl and my new herd of horses were alive.

I walked over to her, cut her free and she immediately began to kick the bodies screaming “sobak!” Russian. She was a Rus. “Are you injured badly?”

She looked at me and said, “I don’t recognize you. What tribe are you from?” A remarkable recovery I would say. In America women spend days in the hospital and weeks or months in therapy after a single rape. That this one had strength to be so strong after multiple attacks over days showed the courage in herself.

“I am an Irish Celt from Hibernia, far to the west. How did you come to be so far from the Moskva Principality?”

She snapped, “I’m not Rus, I’m Amazon. These dogs,” she spat and kicked them again, “Captured me when I was seeking cloth to buy from yon caravan. I’ve never heard of Celts or Hibernia. Are you a warrior race?”

“Some think so. Mostly now we just fight with each other. Come, let us enrich our purses and take their horses. The ravens can have their eyes.” And we stripped the bodies of anything valuable then caught their horses and led them to the caravan. I didn’t want to ask about their treatment of her for fear she’d break down.

“By the way, I am Janice Obrien, Lady Innis. A noble of Erie. Who are you?”

“My name is Zvezdi v Nebe (Stars In the Sky). You have great skill with a sword despite your womanish ways. You are welcome in my village for any who defend an Amazon is a friend to Amazon.”

“Thank you, I once was close to Slezi Luni (Tears of the Moon), perhaps you know of her?”

“No, but we are scattered across a dozen villages so she may live far away. Do you serve the Caravan-master?”

“No, I am a customer who travels under their protection.”

“Protection?” she laughed. “Better they travel under your protection. Have you water, I’m dying of thirst.”

Halfway down the hill we met the guards who asked what happened. “Nothing much,” I said. “There were only ten seeking to steal women from the caravan. The vultures are happy.” Two of them rode past to see what happened, the rest accompanied us to see Yu.

“Master Yu, this is Zvezdi v Nebe, an Amazon who was seeking to trade with you when she was captured by yonder dead. Give her passage under the same deal as you gave me and I’ll consider this battle even.” I knew he’d agree for a merchant hates giving up money.

“Done and Done!” he cried. “I was worried for your safety and had sent a troop to assist but I see that you are as good in battle as you are on the stage. All!” he shouted, “we leave immediately. Get the camels up and wagons moving.” Once again the master took over and he was all business.

Zvezdi then asked, “Have you some padding and clean water? My nethers are torn sore and I’d like to care for them before we travel far.


*XII

Zvezdi shared my tent for the next couple days and it wasn’t easy sleeping next to her. Unlike Slezi, she was taller than I and more boyish and looked near thirty but still attractive. But I had no idea how she’d react to my clumsy attempts at seduction and I was getting desperate enough to seek company even in this woman. She was still fresh from gang rape, and although she dealt with it better than I had or would, any rape was a traumatic experience and the wrong gesture could trigger a flashback. So we slept together as sisters and one morning I awoke to find her spooning me, her hand on my breast which excited me to a frenzy. I felt my nipple grow hard under her hand and I wanted to press her hand tighter but didn’t. I was breathing hard and deep and slowly I reached down and stroked myself to a rapid climax and had to bite my lips to keep from screaming. Then as I was trying to return to sleep, she whispered in my ear, “I would have done that for you had you asked.”

I rolled over and kissed her softly when I wanted to rape her mouth. She kissed back exactly as a woman does but my only experience with kissing was as a man so I was lost here. “I’ve been with women in my time but no woman or man has ever been with me.” I explained as cryptically as I could as my hand crept down her side seeking her pubic area.

She grabbed my hand and said, “Don’t! I’m still sore there. Let me make you feel good.” And she kissed my hand and placed it on her own small breast. It felt nice, fondling her breast but when she touched mine, stars exploded. I gasped and pushed my chest forward trying to bury it into her palm as she kissed me. She then began to kiss along my neck and nibbled my ear and I felt a moan come forth. “Shhh, they’ll hear you,” she whispered as she held my earlobe in her teeth.

Later when I couldn’t stand it any longer, she moved her mouth to my breasts, sucking and nibbling until I climaxed which shocked her. “I’ve never known a woman to do that!” she said to me. “What else can you do?” and her tongue slid down my belly…

I thought the horse was good but this! She stopped only long enough to shove something into my mouth with the words, “Bite on this” and immediately returned to giving me climax after climax.

I must have passed out because I awoke in her arms with the sun and noise of breaking camp. She as smiling and said, “Good morning, you overslept.”

“Somehow, I was exhausted earlier.” I stretched and could still feel her lips on mine. “We’d better get dressed and pack. Master Yu lost time worrying about your abductors and wants to make it up. We should hurry or we’ll miss breakfast.”

I dressed quickly and had to apply my make-up outside as the servants were anxious to strike my tent. As I was doing so, Zvezdi asked, “Why do you do that? You don’t need to attract men.”

“I was cursed by a god to live as a woman. So I dress as a woman. Fortunately there was no rule about not loving women,” so I kissed her then had to wipe my lipstick from her mouth and fix mine.

Then I took her to Master Yu who was having breakfast outside as his tent was being struck. Unlike former times, he rose but didn’t invite us to dine so I simply sat at my usual chair and tried to make conversation. Yu was grumpy and it occurred to me that I was exactly the same when a woman in whom I was interested chose another man. He was jealous but for no reason for I had made it clear that I preferred women.

“Master Yu, Zvezdi here is an Amazon merchant. She is looking to purchase cloth and silk and may be your way to opening trade with the Amazon nation. Coins lit in his eyes and I was forgiven at once. I then took my lunch from his servant and excused myself to saddle my horse and left them talking business.

When I returned, my students were there so I had them do a kata and stopped them. “No! Like this!” and I stood behind one man and pressed close, my breasts crushed against his back and my loins to his buttocks as I pulled him to me. “Balance is all. Balance in body, balance in mind and balance in spirit.” I slid my hands down his belly and felt him suck air in as I passed his crotch (I didn’t need to touch him to know he was erect) and pressing my hands on his inner thighs, pulled his legs apart and kicked his feet apart to a horse stance. Then I pushed his stomach in and used my hips to force his hips forward. “Be at ease and balanced.” Then I slid my hands up to his and held him and his sword as I swayed around, leading him in a dance as I performed a simple kata with him in tow.

Finally I let him go and had an impulse to tell him to change his pants but said instead, “Be balanced and all flows.” One of the men was laughing so I went into a horse stance and called, “Strike me!” He hesitated and so I continued, “Touch me with that stick and you may bed me.” Instantly he was alert and went to a clumsy ready then struck. I easily stepped aside, took hold of his hands and pulled. He came off his feet and fell into the dirt to the laughter of his friends. “Balance is all. Were you balanced, I would be on my back under you now with my legs spread! Work on this.”

Zvezdi was watching and asked, “What was that about?” I could tell she was jealous and the old joke, ‘What do lesbians do on their second date? Move in together!’ now had meaning. I didn’t love her. I didn’t even have lust for her. But I LOVED what she did to my body!

“Warrior training. I can show you how.”

She looked at me and said, “Not all Amazons are warriors just as not all Amazons are lovers of women.” Then she walked away in a huff.

Along the march I thought about Slezi. She and Zvezdi were completely different. Slezi took care with her appearance and dressed well and was a warrior but had no desire for cosmetics or women though both were readily available with Diane and Fiona. Zvezdi dressed asexually, had no desire for the military and preferred to love girls. And the two who served me in Kosovo were lesbian archers who dressed as men. I began to realize that I had been judging all Amazons by the three who I knew. “Zvezdi,” I called out. “Please tell me about your people. I want to know more about you and your people.”

She slowed and began to talk, and talk, and talk. I wanted to shove her face between my legs to have five blessed minutes of silence. But I learned a lot and eventually I needed a nap. She had tired me out more than I knew so I excused myself and rode up to the wagon of my seamstress and asked if I could nap in their wagon. I then tied my horse to the rear, crawled in and fell asleep on their bundles of clothing.

Sometime later I awoke, yawned and looked around to see Zvezdi some distance back talking to the silk merchant. So I straightened my dress, remounted my horse and rode up to talk to Yu. I had managed in a couple of hours to piss off my new lover and my part-time boss and I didn’t like that at all. I think that Zvezdi had forgiven me but I also wanted to make certain about Yu.

“Master Yu,” I called to him. “May I ride with you for a while? I could use a break from the saddle.

He casually waved me in and moved over so I repeated my dismount and sat with the man. “I missed our chess game last night.”

“You had other things on your… mind,” he said. Shit! He was still angry.

“I told you I preferred the loving of girls. It is your own fault for thinking I would respond to your entreaties. I like you as a friend and I admire you as a person but I cannot think of you as a lover. I’m sorry about this but it is how the Gods made me.”

Yu took a deep breath and smiled, a forced smile but it was something. “Yes, Lady Innis, you are right. You were wise to tell me from the beginning and I was a fool to think I could impress you enough to change. Come, the road is smooth so let us play.”

The game was vicious. He played to destroy me and I played to the best of my ability but eventually he won and that win put him into a better mood. “Your game improves. Had we another month, I do believe that you would be winning most of the games. I shall miss our talks and gaming Lady Innis. Would that the Gods had willed otherwise for I would have gladly married you.”

I laughed at that, “My dear Master Yu, we are friends but could you imagine us married. Sure, I am certain that congress with you would leave me panting with exhaustion but would we not always fight over who ruled the house?”

He sighed and said, “You are right as always, Lady Innis. But please permit me my fantasies.” He leaned close and asked, “Would you be angry if I thought of you when I am with my wife?”

I whispered back, “I would be the one who is honored.” I removed and handed him a bracelet and continued, “When you give this to your wife and see it in her bed, you may see her as me, BUT, take care to not cry my name lest she remove your jade member and feed it to the ducks.” I leaned forward to kiss him then at the last moment, turned his head and kissed him on the cheek.

I left then and as I remounted my horse, I called to him, “Master Yu, you are intelligent, attractive and charming. If I desired men, you would be the one I’d bed first. Perhaps in another month you would have worn me down.”

“Then, Lady Innis,” he cried as I rode away, “please reconsider my offer to share my boat to Cathay.”

On the way back, I thought about him. He was charming and always said the right thing. I enjoyed being with him and would het-sex be so bad? I tried to think of him and I in bed and then reached under my dress. Dry! Damn! So it was only friendship after all! But every experiment needed a control so I thought of Diane and Fiona and my finger came back wet. There came that feeling again. I wanted Zvezdi now. I wanted to drag her into the bushes and do her fast… but looking around she wasn’t in sight and there were no bushes so I rode to the flank and leaning forward, allowed the motion to bring me to climax. Goddess I was a perv! Jilling in full sight of the caravan. Maybe I should charge for that show too.

One of the flankers rode up, hopefully oblivious to my actions and asked, “Your pardon Lady Innis. What you did on the hill is on everyone’s lips. Alone you killed ten bandits before we who followed could top the hill. I cannot imagine anyone as good as you. Might I say that I am proud to ride with you and will tell my grandchildren that I knew you.”

“Thank you,” I said. “And I hope that you have many children and mostly that you live in a time and place where people like us need not be fighters.” He bowed in his saddle then rode back to duty.


****************************************************

THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

Meeting this caravan from Cathay was a blessing in so many ways. It gave me company, the chance to buy a decent bra and employment of a sort. Master Yu wanted me as a mistress, I insisted on being a fighter, a guard and so we argued, he seeing the tits and I the sword and neither understanding the other but I prevailed only, I think, because it would keep me close and unlike most Chinese, my employer was fascinated by my Japanese clothes on a strawberry-blonde white-skinned woman who advertised her breasts instead of hiding them like any decent Chinese or Japanese. Or maybe my refusal to follow traditional female occupations intrigued him.

Master Yu, the caravan master, never ceased to try to seduce me and at first I found his futile attempts to be comical. I preferred women. Men were disgusting in their hairy mass. Yet, with each refusal of his attentions, I found myself more and more curious. The man was polite, unfailingly polite. And always sought my comfort even though he knew that I knew it was a ruse to convince me to bed him. Still, it was working. I still climaxed when riding my gelding and still fantasized about a woman’s face between my legs, her fingers sliding inside, stroking my inner walls (damn, writing this is making me wet again) but occasionally I would try to visualize Yu doing that and the fantasy was not… unpleasant. Why? I had seen enough porn to know the actions and positions and movements so once, when I arched my hips to allow my clit to rub against the leather of my saddle with nothing but a layer of cotton between, I thought of myself on my back, Yu on top, thrusting into my wetness, I immediately shuddered and stopped, the mood broken. I wasn’t able to masturbate for days after, that image kept appearing. I liked Yu, admired him and occasionally wondered what it would be like to fuck him yet when I actually visualized the act, I panicked and dried up instantly. The pleasure turning to an uncomfortable roughness. Is sex so mental that my mind and desires can override my bodies need for orgasm? They say the largest sexual organ on a woman is her brain. Is that actually true?

Fortunately, I was saved by the rescue of Stars in the Sky, an Amazon merchant who had been captured by a dozen Russian bandits. I killed them easily, mainly because they had no experience with Kenjitsu and underestimated me as a woman and by the time they realized their mistake, most were dead the rest shot in the back by my Sarmatian bow as they fled.


THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

Even today I wonder, would I have submitted to Yu had Tears not arrived? Would I be married to a Chinese merchant, bearing his brats and desperately awaiting his cock that he would share with his other wives? Smelling their cum as I took him into my mouth?

But Tears was a merchant, come from Aktau to meet the caravan and buy the best before he sold to the bigger houses. And that is how she was taken, robbed, repeatedly gang raped of her virginity and wealth. So rescuing her, I proved to Yu that I was worth the money he paid me as a caravan guard. But impoverished, she had no place to stay so I loaned her my tent until better arrangements could be made.

That third night, I awoke, she wrapped around me, her hand on my breast, feeling her palm making my nipple hard, hearing her breathe in her sleep into my ear getting me so wet I couldn’t stop. I stroked myself to climax as I fantasized her fingers there. Then when done, biting my pillow to stop my moans, she whispered into my ear, “I would have done that for you had you asked.” So few words that inflamed my heart and soul and quickened my breathing. I didn’t know what to do so I tried to kiss her and reached down to her as I had before with myself but she pushed my hand away, “No. I’m still sore from my abuse” and she taught me how to kiss. There was no raping of my lips and mouth that I wanted, but a gentle teasing that inflamed my loins, made my lips tingle and I had to force myself to not attack her as I wished she would me.

What she did to me taught me things that I never experienced before. Were all Amazons this good? I suppose living with only women, never enduring the roughness and rapid lust of a man they could take time to explore. I wanted her to ravish me hard, fast, plunge into my pussy and make me climax with her strength.

Instead I got hours of kisses, licking, nibbles and touches that brought me to climax again and again until the stars themselves must have been shaken by my screams, screams that announced to the world that I was enjoying myself, screams that left my throat sore and raw the next morning.

And so the joke is true. What do lesbians do on their second date? Move in together! For Stars never left my tent. She rarely climaxed and never seemed to mind though she enjoyed my touch, my caress though she always said “slow down, you are too rough, too fast.” I was the opposite, “Faster, harder, take me rough” and sometimes she would, leaving me sore from her attack but mostly she would tease me to an eternity of pleasure.

Did I love her? I thought I did. But then, I’m Irish and we fear the social stigma of sex without love so convince ourselves that what we feel is real to appease the Gods with the pretense of justifying our sins.

But I did love what she did to my woman’s body. Nightly, and occasionally she would ride out to me while I was on guard, comment “I think I saw something over that rise” and when we investigated, she’d pull me from my horse, throw my dress over my head and ravish my pussy with her tongue or fingers to give me a rapid orgasm and a promise of more to come. Damn the sex was good!

And for some reason, she respected my maidenhood, servicing me yet leaving me intact. She would occasionally slide a small finger inside to bring me to climax beyond anything done to my clit but refused to break that one barrier no matter how I begged. Nor would she explain why she respected that one obstruction to my sexual fulfillment. She’d just change the subject by licking or kissing someplace to inflame my lust once again and by the time I was finished, I had forgotten my request.

Many a time I was tempted to thrust some branch or dagger handle into myself, breaking that obstruction to allow Tears to fuck my cunt as I wished, but on the rare occasion I tried, it hurt too much and I stopped. Then, later was glad for I wished my defloration to be… special.


THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

One of the Cows was in heat so the herders decided to breed her. A cow is a female camel, the male a bull. Here they made the cow to kneel as they brought up the bull, a magnificent specimen of the two-humped camel of Asia. Or so I was told for I could tell cattle and horse and even sheep and swine but camels we had not on our farms in Ireland.

The helpers held the bull back as the keeper took the bull’s engorged penis in his hands, a tree held by a child, and slowly guided it into her waiting quim.

Once fully taken, the keeper released the bull and allowed nature to proceed.

I called the keeper over and asked, “Why did you assist the bull so?”

“Because, My Lady, without my aid, congress would not happen.”

“Then how do they mate in the wild?” I asked.

He had no answer for that, believing that camels required human assistance to mate. By then I was engrossed in the act, watching the bull moan as he generated foam with his thrusting, his tongue hanging halfway down his neck. Was I so foolish looking when I was a man?

Eventually I noticed that the herders were no longer watching the camels but staring at me. Forcing my eyes from the pair, I realized that I was rubbing my thighs together, breathing hard from my own desires so forced my hands to my sides, taking up my Katana and seeking tears whom I raped unmercifully as I held her hands and then face between my legs.

********************************************************


*XIII

It was another week before we reached the Caucasus Mountains that formed a wall between the Caspian and Black seas. Aktau was our final destination and this was on the border of the Amazon lands. Each night Zvezdi did to me incredible things. Often I would pass out from exhaustion after her stints and finally on the last day she allowed me to reciprocate. I did my best and she obviously enjoyed my actions but she received nowhere near what she had given and I felt inadequate. As a man I could braid three cherry stems with my tongue and rarely failed to leave my partners screaming in pleasure and I felt that I had lost that talent as a woman. She tried to comfort me, “Dear Djenec, don’t feel bad, I am simply one of those women who don’t climax often. But I do enjoy your attentions and you are very good so please don’t worry about me. I receive my pleasure from making you scream.” And she kissed me, not caring that she smeared my lipstick or not.

What a wonderful lover. I was sorry I didn’t love her when she left with one of Yu’s people and a camel loaded with goods for her people. Yu would be here for a week or two selling his goods and camels and making arrangements to cross over to Georgia and take a boat to China. So I took the time to ask around about the temple of the golden phalli and received a hundred different stories, mostly contradictory but the information that was common was that it was on a mountain just within Amazon lands and so protected by Amazons. Any man who entered was killed by the Amazons. The temple was built by Russian Verangians to some Russian god named Iarillio who was a Horned God of sex and other things. A number of catholic priests and Mohamadan inmen had tried to exorcise the area and all had failed to return.

What the hell! I was a woman and so should be safe from the Amazons and I was pagan so feared neither catholic or moslem. And I had a history of adventuring and treasure hunting (which is pretty-speak for killing and grave-robbery) so I loaded my horse and left for the northeast.

The trip took only a couple days and the mountain was easy to find. I heard it was easy to find so it was something else that killed people.

Finally I located an old path that wound back and forth and ended in a glen on the hilltop. As the Full Moon rose, I saw the temple. So I ran my horse into a natural corral and blocked the way with some branches and let him graze or sleep as he would and investigated the place. As the moon crossed the open area, I saw that the giant phalli were simple stones. Some as tall as I, most shorter, all in a circle. A Circle! This was a stone circle no different from Lissyviggean where my Aunt Katherine would take me or Rollright or Merry Maidens in England or any of the three thousand Stone Circles in Great Britain and Ireland. I drew my katana and wandered just within the perimeter, leading the way with drawn sword and caressing the stones as I passed them. I must have blacked out or self-hypnotized for around my hundredth circumnavigation, I heard the wind whisper, “WHY HAVE YOU CALLED ME!”

I stopped and looked around. Nothing. The moon was overhead and I was alone inside the stone circle. “Who are you?” I called.

“YOU KNOW WHO I AM,” the wind whispered through the trees. I saw the leaves of a tree move. When I looked away they appeared to be a face but when I stared at them, the image vanished. “FROM IRELAND… I KNEW YOUR AUNT AND OFTEN WOULD SHE CALL TO ME ON THE MOORS.”

The face separated and I saw a tree walk to me, covered in green. As it crossed the circle boundary it shed the leaves and I recognized the image. I had seen HIM on the Gunderstrap Cauldron, the stones in India, Belize, Germany, the Cave of Three Brothers in France. Striding towards me was The Horned God! I knelt and lay my sword at HIS feet or hooves or some combination of both.

“LOOK AT ME,” the voice commanded and I looked up, seeing his cloven feet, hairy legs, an impressively gigantic erection and hairy chest surmounted by a face hard as it was attractive. Bearded and antlered, HE asked again, “WHY HAVE YOU SUMMONED ME!”

“My Lord, I didn’t call upon you. I had heard there was a temple and I ..”

“AND YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD LOOT MY TEMPLE AS HAVE TRIED A HUNDRED BEFORE YOU?”

“My Lord, I didn’t know it was…”

“AND YET YOU CAME. DID YOU LEARN NOTHING UP NORTH?”

North? The Sarmatian temple. Fuck, now I was in trouble. Anything I said would make it worse.

“YOU CAME FOR THE GOLDEN PHALLUS AND SO SHALL YOU RECEIVE. RISE.”

I did so and saw HIS erection glowing in the moonlight. Glowing a golden color. Oh oh, this means what I think it means? HE touched me and my dress fell from my body, leaving me naked. I was afraid to move as HE lifted my chin to HIS eyes. HE leaned down to kiss me, hard, HIS smell musky and HIS tongue filling my mouth until I gagged. It was obvious that HE wanted to bed me and I was terrified. Not of rape for HE was my God and if the God I prayed to wanted my cherry, it was HIS to take. No, I was afraid of the pain and being torn apart. HIS erection was the size of my forearm and fist or larger. I was a virgin and there was no way that would fit inside. What if I was bad? I couldn’t even satisfy Zvezdi and she was mortal. Didn’t Gods have higher expectations? I had bedded only women and didn’t know what to do with a man. And if a god I didn’t believe in could change me from a guy to a girl for just kidnapping a kid from its temple, what could a God I believed in do to me? I didn’t even dare think of a girlfriend to get wet for fear HE would read my mind and become angry. HE thought that I had called HIM and maybe the circling the stones, touching them until I was in an alpha state of mind had done it. I had called HIM up by accident and now I had to live with my actions. Again. Shit! When would I learn! A part of me said, “why couldn’t you call up The Goddess?” but I quickly quashed that thought.

“Yes My Lord, As you wish, so shall I obey.”

“NOT MY WISH, YOU CALLED ME UP TO SERVICE YOUR NEEDS. YOU ARE TO LIVE AS A WOMAN, NOW YOU WILL BE A WOMAN!” and HE kissed me again. I tried to respond. I kissed HIM back to the best of my ability but my man’s mind in my woman’s body wouldn’t respond. I was scared and had flashbacks of those Arab slavers shoving their cocks into my virgin teen ass over and over again, tearing me, hurting me and… “Still Your Mind! Relax. That Was Then And This Is Now. Your Body Knows What To Do, Your Body Knows What It Wants. Give It Fully.” I didn’t know if that was me or HIM speaking. So I took a deep breath let it out and remembered that this was my God. I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed HIM back. Softly at first then harder as his erection pressed between my breasts. I decided to… wanted to… give to HIM everything that I had ever wanted from my women and never received.

I moved my mouth to HIS neck and ears (higher then expected) as I reached down (not too far) and stroked HIM as I used to stroke myself when alone. Then I kneeled and tried to give HIM as much pleasure as I could. I tried to do for HIM everything I wished a woman had done for me but wouldn’t. HE was too big so I contented myself with licking and kissing and HIS musk took effect so I lay down and begged, I actually begged HIM, “Please My Lord, I offer to YOU my maiden’s blood. Please take me and find pleasure in my body as I will in YOURS.” I actually was begging for HIS touch. I wanted HIM, I needed HIM. I spread my legs and reached for him to guide HIM into myself..

It hurt! It hurt like hell! But even the pain of HIS entry, HIS tearing my hymen to bits caused me to climax. Pain and pleasure, and the pleasure took over. I didn’t have wave after wave of orgasms, I had one climax that started as HE ripped HIS way into me, deep into me. I could feel HIM in my throat HE was so huge and I never stopped cumming.

***
*********
***

Later, I lay there, on the grass, naked, exhausted. The moon had long set and the sun was peeking over the trees. I ached. My pussy felt like it was on fire it hurt so much. Was this normal? Did my sisters and daughters and lovers suffer so their first time? I started to roll over but as soon as I moved my legs, I climaxed again. It was incredible. My clit was on fire and any touch released another orgasm. I touched my breasts, nipples sore from HIS mouth and climaxed again. My throat was sore from screaming out HIS Secret Name and I was laying in a wet spot that seemed to be inches deep. I carefully reached down and touched my thighs. Pleasure from wrapping around HIS hips flooded the inner skin. I caressed the raw skin and climaxed again. I looked at my hands, covered with my virgins blood and HIS seed. I tried to sit but my orgasm caused me to moan and fall back, arching my back and lifting my hips off the ground to the sky, the suns rays bathing my vagina and filling my pussy until…

***

I awoke again with the sun high in the sky.

I lifted my hands and saw my blood and HIS seed dried on my palms. I smelled it and almost climaxed again. Extending my tongue, I tasted and then licked my palms clean, sucking each finger as my excitement rose. I reached down and stroked my pussy feeling more of HIS cum still inside me. I couldn’t take HIM deep throat as I wanted but somehow I took him inside and I slid my fingers inside (another climax) and licked HIM from my fingers again. I didn’t have to jill, I just crossed my legs and by the time I stopped screaming in orgasmic fury, the sun was overhead. A part of my thoughts counted time. HE fucked me for six hours last night without a break and when HE left, a part of HIM continued to give me pleasure for another six hours.

Iarillio? I laughed and remembered a Slavic friend of mine who said that the pagan Russians worshipped a Horned God of sex, fertility and hunting called Iarillio. Yes I had come looking for HIM, I just didn’t realize it at the time. I rolled over off the wet spot and looked down. He must have pumped pints of HIS seed into me last night. I touched the spot, already drying in the noon sun then rubbed the last of the wetness onto my nipples, my tongue, my clit and climaxed again.

I fell asleep.

***

It was dark when I awoke but I was able to sit up. It hurt, for women in my family have very thick maidenheads, but I managed. I struggled to stand and climaxed again, collapsing to my hands and knees. Had I been taken in this position too? I spread my knees far apart and crawled to my dress. I couldn’t get my legs together long enough to put my underpants on so I dropped them and managed to put my bra on (another climax) then my dress. I left it loose and found my katana, I used it as a cane and carrying my panties staggered to my horse (every step a climax, HIS seed running down my legs).

I managed to release him from his make-shift corral but when I tried to mount, the orgasms caused me to collapse. I waited until they subsided then staggered to my feet. I took the ribbon that barely hung from my hair and tied it to a nearby tree. Then I kissed it (my makeup is gone. Rubbed or kissed off?) and staggered down the road, climaxing every few steps.

At the bottom of the hill I was able to lean against a rock (it still hurt too much to sit) and eat some rations. I drank to soothe my sore throat and then took the reins and began again the long walk to town.

I walked through the night and rested. Even sitting hurt and when I peed, I climaxed again and again. It hurt to pee but I wanted that orgasm again as I emptied my bladder. Around noon a wagon approached and stopped.

Yu and Zvezdi jumped down and grabbed me as I collapsed, moaning. They lay me in the wagon, saw the blood on my legs and dress and knew I was no longer a virgin. I didn’t tell them how or who. How could they believe me? So they tied my horse to the wagon and took me to town. Yu kept holding my hand and stroking my forehead with damp cloths not understanding that I was moaning and screaming from pleasure of the wagon’s motion. “My dear, we’ll find you a healer. You will be ok. Try to sleep and ignore the pain.” This last as I arched and screamed in climax, a climax he saw as pain.

I woke up in a bed in an inn with Yu by my side. He was such a dear. I would have rewarded him had I not hurt so much. And he misunderstood everything. He thought I had been beaten and raped by an army. An army not even I could defeat. “How many did you kill before they forced you?” he asked. “None.” I replied.

Finally three women entered and sent Yu away. One handed me something and said, “Suck this for awhile.”

“Will it make me feel better?” I asked.

“No, it’s a ‘lemon’ and will help wipe that smile off your face.”

“You met HIM,” another said.

“I called HIM.” I tried to explain. “It was an accident, or maybe something Freudian? I don’t know. The moon was full, I was walking the circle, caressing the stones, relaxing my mind. And HE came.”

“It happens sometimes. I called to HIM many times and never did HE come. I’m very jealous.”

“What now?” I asked.

“You go on. If you are pregnant, we need to know so the child can be raised properly. If not, enjoy life and honor HIS blessings.”

Pregnant? By a God? I touched my belly, pressing in but felt nothing but pleasure as the pressure reached my clit. The terrified man inside calculated time. Three years as a woman, a few months already gone. Nine months of pregnancy, probably closer to eleven as I was a long pregnancy as was my mother. Almost two years of nursing then you change back and are a single father again and what do you tell people about the mother? The woman outside me simply accepted the possibility.

“How long before your menses?” asked one.

“I don’t know. I’ve never had any.”

They conferred and finally said, “Yu says he will leave for the Black Sea in a week. He plans to take you with him. He’s a good man and you should consider his proposal.”

I realized that they had no idea of who or what I was. To these I was just a warrior woman who got lucky with a god. I decided to not enlighten them and asked, “Do you know Slezi Luni? I’d like to see her if possible. We rode together with Diane and Fiona.” I knew it was a mistake but I was acting on impulse again. They agreed to seek her out and as they left, Zvezdi entered and sat by me.

“So, now you know what a man is like. I hope your experience was more pleasant than mine.”

I kissed her and said, “No, now I know what a God is like. I’ve still not experienced a man.”


****************************************************

THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

I recall in Ireland there was a Stone Circle called, I think, Lissyviggean where my aunt Katherine and her coven would occasionally celebrate the Solstices and Equinoxes. I was too young to join in but remembered occasionally how she would drag herself home around dawn, smiling and pass out for a day or so. I never understood why or how but she said to me, “one day you will.” Did she know that I would someday be cursed thus? Or did she think I would follow and service the women of the coven in just such a Circle?

In the Amazon Lands near the Caspian Sea but between the Volga Delta and the Caspian Mountains lies a solitary mountain of respectable height among the hills. On this hill is the Secret of the Amazons, or so foreigners thought for how could a nation of women breed baby amazons unless they would visit a secret temple where they would impale themselves upon a ring of Golden Phalli in a mass orgy of masturbation which climaxed with their pregnancies. These Golden Phalli, it is said will give the possessor unlimited sexual potency and the ability to seduce any woman. Obviously they were well-sought for men are ever in need of assistance in that area. The Japanese wear penis-extensions and use large dildos, the Chinese murder the Tiger and Rhino by the thousands for horn and penis to strengthen a flagging virility, the Spanish murder dozens of young girls by feeding them ground-up Blister Beetles which others call ‘spanish fly’ and in America the little blue pill, originally developed to increase blood pressure succeeded only in one localized place, give men hours long erections but then, how many men have a lower-back capable of that exercise? And do they climax once at the end of a three-hour pump-fest leaving their partner sore and rubbed raw? Or sometime earlier but retain their hardness not careing but afraid to stop pounding? Do their backs give out then they must lay there, aching and begging their partner to climb aboard and finish them both?

Most men, I find really do care about their partner’s satisfaction despite the claims of the women. It is just that men see sex as physical and women as emotional and until each recognizes the difference in the genders, neither will be happy.

I had to see what these were for again, I was broke and lacking employment, resorted to treasure-hunting which is a polite way of saying grave-robbing.

Legend has it that hundreds of men would visit that mountain seeking the phalli but none would return, though most agreed that any man on that mountain was hunted and killed by the Amazons. Amazons, incidentally, make babies in the same way as everyone else, they find a man, lay down and most enjoy the experience as well as any woman, possibly more so as they have little opportunity for regular male companionship.

So what really was there? A simple stone circle similar to the thousands built in Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland and even Kenya, Brazil and many other lands where the People worship the Sun with Horns. This was no different. Simple stones ranging from half my height to a little taller, not nearly as impressive as even Rollright in England. Still, evidence that the Herne worshipped by my Aunt in Ireland existed here in Russia for why not? Herne in Ireland was Cerne in England who was Cernunnos in Rome who was Pashupati in India and was Iarillo in Russia and the Verangians who built this Circle were the Rus, Swedish Vikings in service to Byzantium. Though why would a race that prayed to the war gods of Odin and Thor build a temple to a Fertility God like Iarillo I had no idea.

Still, I drew my sword and walked about the circle, under the Full Moon, caressing the stones as I did so, remembering the Stones on Ireland. I must have become half-asleep, that hypnogogic state where the mind slows into meditation and magick and religion can be perceived.

It worked. Unfortunately. Or maybe fortunately. The Gods do talk to mankind but we are so busy talking ourselves, we cannot hear. We must slow our minds through meditations of many sorts to allow our souls to hear the God’s whisperings.

And that is what must have happened for I ‘heard’ deep within my soul a voice as loud as the beating of the Earth. HE asked why I summoned HIM and what could I say? Terrified, for my luck with Gods is not something about which to brag, I tried to find an excuse as HE appeared from the trees, vegetation HIMSELF as the Green Man. Then as HE approached, the leaves fell and HIS horns and erection appeared over cloven hoofs. HE knew me from Ireland though we had never formally met. HE commented on being called by my Aunt for HIS and her pleasures.

Then HE said that which terrified me to my bones, “YOU CAME FOR THE GOLDEN PHALLUS AND SO SHALL YOU RECEIVE. RISE.”

I couldn’t move. Frozen by terror, HE touched me and my clothing fell to the ground. Naked, embarrassed beyond all ken for HE was staring at my body as if I were meat. And more. When HE kissed me, forcing his tongue into my mouth, gagging me with HIS scent and the size of the organ, I awoke. I could have fought, ran, done a hundred things to save myself but all I could think of was what that Sarmatian God had done to an unbeliever. What could this God do to one who actually prayed to HIM? My terror was for myself alone. Women in my family are cursed with thick hymens, often requiring the surgeon the morning after our wedding for the pain and blood is enough to resemble the slaughterhouse no matter how patient and gentle the lover.

And HIS phallus, for to call such a member a penis insults the God, was the length and size of a mace. The head alone larger than a melon, the shaft longer than my forearm. How could I take such a magnificent and frightening member? Recalling the tales of my mother and sister, I knew that I would die. I would be torn asunder, my hip bones split in two, my heart pushed aside as he choked me from inside. Sex didn’t terrify me, nor did death for I was a warrior and faced death a dozen times a day. No, it was the manner of my extinction for sliding even one small finger past my maidenly obstruction hurt like hell. This monster….

I resolved to do two things. First, men talk. They also complain about what they wished their lovers would do but refused. I decided that if I could extend foreplay, keep HIM occupied, it would delay my own penetration and extinction. Second, Life and Death were different sides of the same coin for to live, something else must die. So HE, being the Lord of Life, sex, lust, fertility, was also the Lord of Death. And once dead, my soul would be in HIS hands so I had better make him regret my death. Perhaps they’d make a story about me like the Greeks did about all those women stupid enough to screw Zeus or the rest of the bunch.

This I resolved to encourage foreplay and to make HIM as happy as possible by doing for HIM and to HIM everything I had ever heard any man desire. And maybe, I could exhaust him by masturbation.

But how does one deep throat a phallus which is thicker than my fist? I tried to kiss HIM but my desires for a soft woman interfered and as heady as was HIS musk, HE scratched with HIS beard. I could feel HIS erection between my breasts as we kissed, spreading them apart as the head sought my chin. Then I relaxed. Zen combat teaches “accept that you are already dead and focus on the perfection of the move.” So I relaxed, knew that I would die as HE entered, hoping only that it be quick and once accepting of my fate, was able to focus on pleasing my divine partner. And so, with lips and tongue and fingers, I did what I could to give as much pleasure as I could. Die I will under HIS body but HE would remember me forever.

Neck, ears, I kissed every part that I knew was sensual, licked and bit lightly, my own passion rising somehow in the perfume of HIS animal musk. Then I could take no longer and lay down and begged HIM to take me. I was ready to die, anticipated death, wanting only to give my God pleasure as I expired.

I spread, then spread more as HE knelt and sought to guide that monstrous serpent home.

It hurt! I knew the pain would kill me but then, as HE tore through my maidenhood, I climaxed! I could feel the blood run, my insides stretch to an impossible size and still I felt HIM enter. Every climax Stars had given me combined into one could not match what I felt as HE entered my virgin territory. And they never ended. With each thrust, I rose higher in ecstasy.

Somehow I survived.

How, I never learned. Maybe I died and my Horned Lord returned me to my exhausted body, repaired the damage? Or maybe even a God could control HIMSELF? Control size and power to the absolute limit a woman can take? I never understood. I only awoke in a pool of red and white fluids that a part of me knew were our promises to each other. I wondered, were we married now or was I just another concubine? Then I laughed and the motion brought on another wave of orgasms as I lay in the sun.

Every movement brought about a wave of orgasms the like of which my lover would mot approach, yet were so far less than the nights that I wanted to beg HIM to return. My face was raw from HIS beard, my thighs raw from HIS hairy legs, my pussy swollen and sore from HIS cock. No, Phallus. For a God has a phallus, men have cocks. Then another wave and I knew that phallus was too soft a word for HIS member.

I touched our fluids and rubbed them over the sore spots for I had no water and with the touch, climaxed again.

I awoke again, the sun high, climaxed for eternity as the Sun-God stroked my body with HIS rays and passed out again.

Darkness. I had been here a day or more and my only thoughts the last half of that were how much more could anyone stand. Not able to clothe myself in my bra and panties, I settled for a loose dress then, seeking my gelding, I found that I was totally unable to mount. Riding gave me a climax in the most normal of times, now….

I used my sword as a cane and holding myself up with Rock’s bridle we managed to leave the mountain. I tried to think. But couldn’t. Was I still gay? Would I find any pleasure in the arms of Stars? The only reason I didn’t run back to the Circle and beg for more was because I was too exhausted and sore. With each step I felt HIM running down my thighs and then I cried over my loss. How could I contain what HE had given me?

It hurt to pee. It hurt to sit. It hurt to walk. And I did them all because of the incredible climaxes I had with every step, every motion.

Finally I was rescued. Both Yu and Stars were there in a wagon. The dear thought I had been gang-raped by an army and asked how many there were and how many I killed before my assault. I could feel their stares when I said ‘there was only one’.

Finally, three women came into my room, watched me moan, saw the bruises and one offered me a fruit. “Suck on this” she said.

I asked what it was and if it would make me feel better but she said, “No, it’s a lemon, It’ll help remove that smile”.

They asked questions I couldn’t answer. Questions about my past, my people, my menses that I never had.

I could barely think but knew that the Full Moon, my attitude, motions had awakened the God and …

My menses? Why? Terrified again. They said that if I was pregnant they needed to know. It’s hard enough raising a normal child. I couldn’t understand how some women had the strength to raise one retarded or crippled and these expected me to raise a GOD? I think I became hysterical again but they calmed me and lifting my covers, touched me then backed away as I arched in another climax.

They talked and then told me that Yu would leave in a week and he wanted to take me with him and I should consider his proposal. I knew that were I pregnant with HIM, they would never let me leave. Or if I did, they would hunt me down and bring our baby back. For a moment I laughed at the thought that the only male allowed to live in Amazon lands would be a God. Then Stars came to me, concerned and kissed me. I climaxed a little then kissed her back, enjoying the sensation of her soft lips, remembering HIS hard ones. And decided. Without thought. Without regret. “I’ll stay here for a time.”

Still, I wondered, would a human male be a disappointment? I was in no hurry to learn.

I never explained to my lover about that night. She thought it was an accident and I was forced as was she by those Russian bandits. But then, when the Moon is full, I look up and listen to the trees and know that I had called HIM by intent. A part of me inside wanted this, needed this, and so that part put the rational aside and did what I desired. I wished that I could invoke HIM again.

And sometimes when I look up, knowing that the Lady of the Moon is not a jealous or possessive Consort, I wish I had invoked HER instead.

************************************************


*XIV

The next day I could stand and walk without climaxing… finally. A part of me never wanted another orgasm, another part wanted to run back to that mountain. I was still sore but could sit and pee easily again but not ride a horse yet. I found a mirror and looked at myself. I hadn’t realized that I was smiling. I tried to stop but couldn’t. My neck as bruised where He had kissed me, my first hickey, and my inner thighs were a bit sensitive from when I had wrapped my legs around His hairy hips. I took a deep breath and sat, spread my legs and looked at my reflection. Normal women had pink labia. Porn stars were black as if all that pounding had turned them permanently black-and-blue. I was still pink so He had been gentle with me. I spread my outer lips and couldn’t find my hymen which had been so prominent before but that was to be expected. I slid my finger inside easily, I wasn’t as tight as before and hoped I’d return to normal and the stretching would fade away. I had been present for the birth of my children and knew that their mothers had never been the same afterwards. One woman I knew, but didn’t date, insisted that having three kids had stretched her so much she couldn’t enjoy normal men anymore and sought pleasure only with men of a giant endowment. I didn’t want to be that way and resolved to practice my Kegels again. They helped as a man and Fiona was incredible with hers. I only wished to be smaller than a cow.

I think that the problem is that the vagina is not a tube but a tube folded into an ‘H’ shape. Menstruation or a finger slides into the loose part that corresponds to the horizontal bar in the ‘H’. As the penis is larger and thicker, the horizontal bar relaxes and spreads to accept the greater girth. Childbirth or in my case, a God, turns that ‘H’ into am ‘O’ which is painful as the kegal muscles need to relax and stretch to allow passage. But like any muscle, that relaxation and stretching takes time and effort and having a baby fighting to exit or a God ramming inside doesn’t give the necessary time. Thus the pain.

Unfortunately, to get back to normal size, the woman needs to practice her kegels or she will remain stretched forever, thus forcing her male lover to ‘bang it against the wall’ to feel anything. Lazy or fat women don’t do those and so become ‘size-queens’ in search of the super-sized male seeking that satisfaction that they refuse to find through laziness.

I slid my fingers inside again, too easily, and imagined that I was peeing and needed to stop and squeezed those muscles. Better. I’d practice my kegel exercises as often as I could and eventually return to normal. Another friend, a belly dancer, had such strong kegels that not only was her husband the happiest man on earth, when she was nine months pregnant she didn’t look pregnant at all. When the doctor told her to push, she bounced the baby off his chest. Then when the doctor told her six weeks before she’d feel like sex, she asked to be alone with her husband and proved him wrong the day she gave birth. Somehow, that thought made me want to be the same, to milk a god with only those muscles. To be admired by men with whom I chose to not mate.

I was obsessing with my vagina and I had no idea of why. The man inside insisted on being tight, the lesbian outside didn’t see what was so important. But all my muscles were tight and aching so I did my kata, slow and without tension as if I were doing Tai Chi and not karate and slowly I relaxed as my mind calmed and my body followed.

Zvezdi and Yu entered and saw me exercising, naked and Yu understood for he had seen Kung Fu in action in China but Zvezdi thought I had gone insane. So when I finished that rep, I stopped and put my dress on saying to Yu, “I hope you enjoyed the sight. I was worried that my body had been permanently damaged.”

He bowed and replied, “Lady Innis, if your body was damaged, I am glad I never saw it perfect for even the gods wouldn’t be able to compare to you.” The man was so sweet and I was glad to have him as a friend. I only wish I could accept him as a lover too for all his kindness.

Dressed now in bra, panties and dress, I returned to the mirror and did my make-up. I wasn’t interested in doing so but with my recent experience, I felt that I’d better keep to the directions the Sarmatian priestess’ had given me or I would be stuck this way forever. Life was so much easier when I was an atheist and knew that the gods didn’t exist.

“I am starving! Is there a place to eat around here? And more importantly, can I afford to eat?”

They took me to an inn and the people stared at me as I sat at a table. This place was mostly men but there were Amazons trolling for potential fathers and a few of the caravan guards too. Whispers spread and occasionally I’d hear fragments, “she killed 10 bandits within seconds alone!” “she killed half the Crimean Khanate to protect her virginity!” “I heard she found the temple of the golden phalli and gave herself to each one!” “She’s a Celt and you know how THOSE women are!” “Stay away, the last man who touched her lost his arm and manhood!” “She is the best fighter ever!” “Unarmed, she can defeat the greatest swordsman!” “See that sword, she took it from the Shogun of Nippon in a duel!” “You’d be wasting your time, she is a lover of women!” and so on.

The barmaid was used to warrior women here, being so close to Amazon territory and she placed a tankard of the usual fermented mares milk before us, only here they called it Koumiss and it was every bit as bitter as the Russian Kumys and the Sarmatian/Mongol Airag. Yu sipped some, made a bad face and pushed it away though Zvezdi drank it with relish. “It takes some getting used to,” I offered.

“Then the Buddha grant that I not remain here long enough to acquire the taste. Have they anything else?”

The waitress brought him some wine from Greece which was expensive but preferred by us both and finally he asked, “Lady Innis, what of the temple? Did you find it?” His greed was overcoming his concern and being male, he wanted to keep one of the phalli for himself for use in his old age.

“Yes, Master Yu, I did.” Strange after all we had been through, we were still so formal. “I found the temple and the phalli (the room went silent) but like all legends the reality wasn’t as interesting as the truth. The temple was not a building but a Circle of large stones as you find in the West where my ancestors worshipped the old Gods. Each stone ranged from my height to half my height and all were tall so I suppose that the stones could look like phalli in the dark. The Circle was a temple to the Horned God who impregnates the Mother Goddess at the Spring Equinox and is celebrated with rites of sex so I suppose all these things together were combined and embellished to create the modern legend. But there was no gold, no wealth, just a circle of stones in the moonlight.”

Zvezdi handed me another ‘lemon’, “Here, suck on this, you are smiling again.” I leaned over and whispered, “At least I didn’t climax this time with the thought.” But that just made both of them upset so I apologized. I had been with a GOD! HE had used my body as a temple. I experienced something that every priest and priestess dreams about and never receives and I couldn’t make them understand… I started laughing.

“What is so funny, if I may ask,” Yu suggested.

“I was just thinking that back in Ireland, we are so poor that we must send half our children to the catholic church as priests and nuns so they, at least, will have employment and a home. I have uncles who wear the black of the priesthood and aunts who marry the dead christ to be nuns. All these years my aunts are becoming crankier and meaner waiting in vain for their honeymoon night with their god-husband and I, a pagan, had it! I am beginning to think that the gods are using us in some cosmic joke.”

“So you are now married to your Horned God of the Stone Member?”

I leaned forward and said, “My dear Yu, I am not HIS bride, just one of many concubines with the freedom to bed others. I now know why it is the Gods who seek human women and not the Goddesses who seek human men. After that experience, how could a Goddess find adequate pleasure in a human man?” Then I kissed him. Not on the cheek but on the lips and somehow found the experience pleasant.

“SACRILEGE! WHORE OF BABYLON! YOU ARE DAMNED TO THE DEEPEST REACHES OF HELL FOR YOUR BLASPHEMY!” oh great, a missionary. Despite my catholic families attempt to bring me up in the church, I felt more comfortable with my Aunt Kathryn, the Witch of Innis who once told me, ‘missionaries should be killed and eaten, attractive missionaries should be eaten then killed’.

The Protestant Reformation was going full swing in the West and both catholic and protestant burned each other with the same joy they derived when they burned Witches. So I couldn’t tell which of the hundreds of christian churches that were springing up, each with its own different bible that they claimed to be the one true book, this nut belonged to. But I could tell he was possibly the stupidest man in the world, for his arrogance didn’t let him see that there were more Ottoman muslims in this room than catholic christians. And most of the women here were armed and worshipped the Amazon versions of Turkish Aphrodite (who was different from the Greek) and Greek Athena. Or Mongols who followed anything from Buddhism to islam to paganism, usually all rolled into one really strange bundle. Eventually, sooner I hoped, someone would take him outside and beat the shit out of him. But he’d like it. Missionaries have martyr syndrome and in my time, people like that would simply hire a Dominatrix to beat them for pay, here they caused a riot to get their jollies.

He then made the mistake of ranting about women being submissive to men and even Zvezdi got up at that. “Aren’t you going to help your lover?” Yu asked.

“I see no need, if he touches her I’d have to fight my way through every Amazon in this city to get a piece of the arsehole. She’s safer here than with me and your entire caravan army.” And I took another drink of my wine calling for the barmaid to bring more mutton, “and this time toss some rice and vegetables on it if you would.”

I ignored the screaming and laughter for even the Turks knew to never anger an Amazon when she isn’t alone. “Who was that idiot?” I asked the maid when my meal arrived.

“He is some missionary who came here a few days ago to convert the moslems and pagans. He rants against women and drink and sex and anything that is fun. But strange thing is that he has a demon in a cage to prove his words.”

“A Demon?” I asked, “where?” I remembered the Demons who had abducted me all those years ago and if this were one, we could expect a Demon swarm and their Mon and Weir allies and servants to sterilize this world, one nation at a time. I needed to see it and free the alien and get it off-word fast.

“He has a tent by the river. Go there and turn right.”

“Can I have this to go please.” I asked digging some money from my purse. I looked up and saw a crowd following the Amazons as they dragged the fool to his well-deserved doom. I hoped that they’d just hurt him otherwise his church would make him a saint.

Yu asked, “Demons are not something to see. We should leave this place quickly.”

I couldn’t explain that Demons were aliens from another planet any more than I could explain that I had been a man before he met me. Some things people just don’t want to know. “I can’t explain, but I MUST see this demon.” And Yu followed me because he cared for me. I knew that Zvezdi was here only for the sex and gratitude but Yu actually liked me and probably loved me too. So he’d do as I wished when Zvezdi would argue.

Finding the tent was easy, getting in past the guards wasn’t. So I kneed one and punched the other in the throat and we dragged them into the tent where I saw a cloth draped over a cage in the center. I started to pull the cloth off when Yu touched my arm and said, “Please reconsider this.” He was afraid for me and had I been in his place, I’d do the same but I had to know. One yank and it came away easily.

It wasn’t a Demon, fortunately for Earth’s existence, but it was an alien. As large as a rhino and mostly shaped like one it sat there. Hopeless. Yu stared and never really saw the fingers on the forelimbs or the look of despair in its eyes. I stepped forward, holding the bars and said, “Who are you?” No answer so I switched to Spanglic, then Demon and a couple other alien dialects I remembered.

It looked at me and said in a passable Greek, “Are you here to torment me more?” Its words were hard to understand as its mouth and vocal cords were not made for human speech but I could make it out. I replied in that language, “I am Janice, Where are you from and please speak slowly and clearly.”

“My name is ******. I come from a place where all are like me and none are like you. I had heard of a cave that led to another place and wanted to see it. My parents told me to stay away but parents always say that.”

“Janice,” Yu whispered. I drew my scabbarded katana and thrust behind fast and hard without looking. There was a jar, a satisfying jar, an ‘ooff’ then a thud. I continued to listen.

It looked at me and came forward to touch my fingers for it couldn’t get them through the bars. As it reared up I saw its tiny nipples, six of them and enlightenment struck. “How old are you?” It, she, said a number that was meaningless so I asked “I need a reference. I see you are a mammal so you go through stages, weaning, adolescence, maturity, breeding, age… give me something I can understand.”

After she as done I was so angry I wanted to kill every christian in this city. “I’ll be back to free you somehow. I swear this by my life’s blood,” and I cut my arm with my knife to seal the promise. Then I turned and kicked the gasping man behind me. I kicked him again and again as I felt ribs snap beneath my boot and Yu dragged me off. There were three of them at the tent entrance, all armed and waiting and Yu screamed as I waded into them, “Please don’t kill them!”

I didn’t but they probably wished that I did when I was finished.

I strode off angry, kicking rocks and yelling, “Yu, she’s a girl, younger than I was when those slavers took me and gang raped me! Those .. things treat her like some monster but she’s only a young girl. I need to set her free.” I turned on him and said, “Help me or stay out of my way. But this I MUST do.”

He looked into my eyes and said, “Of course I’ll help you. But sometimes a merchant can do things a warrior cannot. Please give me time to see if we can buy her.”

We returned to the tavern and I proceed to try to get drunk on the remains of the one bottle of wine. Zvezdi was there talking to a couple other Amazons and very happy after her violent episode so she placed her arms around me and whispered something obscene and normally interesting but I was angry. Zvezdi was persistent though and Yu said, “Janice, you need to calm down, go with her and I will ask around.”

The man in me saw the wisdom of his words and I needed to divert my mind and allow him to do a job at which he was better than me so I stood, kissed him (again, pleasant) and left with my arm around Zvezdi. She was gentle, which I needed as I was still sore and it took her very little time and effort to get me to the screaming stage which she liked. Some long time later I was relaxed and laying in her arms playing with her breasts and could think again when Zvezdi asked, “Are you thinking about him?”

“Him? Who him?”

“Master Yu. You kissed him when we left. You kissed him twice today. Are you thinking of bedding him?”

I answered immediately, “Not at all! I still like girls. Yu is a friend only. I was thinking of that demon the christians have caged. It’s not a monster, just a frightened little girl that I promised to free and return to her family.”

“Then why do you call him ‘Yu’?”

I rose up and looked at her, “What do you mean. I always called him Yu. That’s his name.”

“No, Djenec, you always called him ‘Master Yu’. Now you call him ‘Yu’. And now you kiss him on the lips, not his cheek. If you want him, I’ll understand. After your episode on the mountain, I’d be surprised if you didn’t change. But please don’t leave me for him.”

What a strange conversation. I tried to think of me and Yu in bed and my brain shut down. “No, Zvezdi, I find that I have no sexual desire for the man. He is a friend, a close friend and it as he who told me to go with you so he has accepted that we will only be friends.” She reached for me but I stopped her, “I’m still a little sore, let me heal please.”

As we were getting dressed she said, “I’m pregnant.”

I dropped my vest then and the man in me panicked. “How!? I can’t …”

“Not you, silly.” She kissed me. “Those men on the trail. I guess one of them did the job. I don’t know who it was for there were ten of them but no matter, they are dead and Amazons don’t marry so… It’s not how we prefer to do this but my duty is to bear daughters for my nation, and, I suppose that had I not been forced, I’d never have children.”

I didn’t know what to do or say. She was my lover but not my love. I couldn’t imagine being married to her and I was too old to start to raise kids again. The Irish in me insisted that I remain and be with her, help her and ignore my own needs out of duty. The man in me said that if I stayed, in three years I’d be a man and so driven from the Amazon lands leaving me decimated at the loss of another child I would learn to love. The woman wondered if I were pregnant too and what I would do if I were by a God. I was lost. Totally lost.

“Think, Djenec, if you’re pregnant by your God, then would our daughters will be sisters.” I panicked at the thought of being pregnant and she misread my mood.

I was silent the walk back to the tavern and she didn’t mention it again. I thought she was giving me time to get used to the idea and remembered how my wives were when they found out. Kore made me a big dinner and ‘told’ me during dessert and nested. Jean just punched me before she even was certain and complained about having to work. Zvezdi just accepted the matter as she had accepted her repeated gang rapes. I admired her for that but wondered if she were repressing. The woman wanted to talk and plan, the man wanted to avoid it and hope it would go away.


****************************************************

THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

It was a few days of weeks later that I learned that Stars was pregnant. I didn’t know what to do or say. She was my lover and here was tangible evidence that she had been screwing men! She told me that it was one of the bandits who had forced her and that before that, she was a virgin. She was so complacent about it. I had a hard time understanding how she could just ignore what had been done to her and accept the baby. Wouldn’t looking at it every day remind her of how she had been held down, used and abused over and over? Wouldn’t she have flashbacks to that violent act whenever she held the baby?

All she said was, “Had they not forced me I’d never give daughter’s to my tribe” as if the way she became pregnant wasn’t important.

Had it been me, I’d be force-feeding myself pennyroyal to induce an abortion to flush the memory of the conception from body and mind. But she didn’t care. I knew girlfriends who hated men for years after one single act of rape or a man who seduced and abandoned them. And Stars didn’t care, even making love to me a few nights after she was violated. When I told her, she laughed and said, “Because I am an Amazon and prefer women in my bed doesn’t mean I hate men. They are ok as friends and companions, I just wouldn’t want to marry one.”

How could she be so casual? Did she enjoy them forcing into her? Did she like it? Was she driven mad by the experience? All she did was laugh, not understanding why I would be so upset. Men rape women, Amazons seek strangers to bed. Had that happened in Aktau or within Amazon lands, they would have hunted the attackers down, castrated them and dragged their dying bodies behind their horses and an example but I had saved her Tribe that task.

But she did comment always on her daughter. “What if it is a son?” I asked.

She shrugged and said, “In the old days we’d leave them for the wolves but now we leave them in town and someone adopts the boy. With the wars and the Ottomans, Rus and Mongols expanding, the local families need more and more sons to replace those killed in battle.”

Again, she was so casual about abandoning a life that was growing within her. When my children died in Ireland, I went mad and cried for years, hunting Brits in revenge. Even now I cry when I think of finding their burned bodies in the ruins of my house. Even having two more who lived and were now grown never eased the pain of my first and knowing that I was doomed to not see my living children for another three years hurt so much I sometimes think I will die. And Stars can so casually toss her son aside as if it were a used cloth for her menses.


THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

Stars commented on me being pregnant too. First those women as I recovered from the Temple, now Stars. Did they see something I didn’t?

Thinking about that terrified me. I wanted somehow to menstruate to prove that I wasn’t yet… when I lay my hand upon my belly, I imagined… I felt as Kore must have when she would drift off, feeling our baby move.

I had mixed emotions and without menses, it would be months before I knew and that only if I had morning sickness and swelled and even then, that would be no clue for I suffered both in sympathy with Kore.

What am I to do if I am pregnant? The thought of birthing a baby terrifies me. The knowledge that my baby would be a God terrifies me even more.

Yet, were I pregnant and took steps to abort, would the father damn me to an eternity of rebirths into snails with memories of my human existence?

I see no solution and that helplessness terrifies me too. I need to get drunk and pass out but if I do, I know I’ll tell the truth during that stage where I speak too freely as my lack of common sense loosens my tongue.

I’m scared. Women are born to this, raised to this, praying for this and I am …. Aunt Kathryn, please tell me what to do!

*****************************************************


*XV

At the tavern I had a surprise of mixed emotions. Slezi was there! I ran to her, hugged her and greeted her as a lost lover would but she pushed me away yelling, “Who the hell are you!” Taken aback, I was lost and didn’t know what to do until I remembered. “Tears of the Moon, I am … Janice Obrien, Lady Innis. I was told to look you up by Jason.”

She looked me over then said, “I see the resemblance. Are you his sister? How is Jason? And Diane and Fiona? Sit and tell me everything.”

I tried to avoid the first question for Slezi and I had been lovers years ago until she discovered that I couldn’t get her pregnant. Then she simply ended that part of the relationship and remained my friend as she sought another man to father her children. Diane took over then and we became lovers and spouses until that unfortunate situation with Fiona. “Fiona is a singer and dancer and actress in her home country. She occasionally adventures but mostly she entertains. Diane writes about her past and lectures and she and Fiona remain best of friends. Jason, well, you know him, always getting into trouble of some sort. I need to tell you something, a message from Jason to be given in private. Can we go to my room and talk?”

She looked with that look that she gave when she was trying to solve a problem. She had that same look in Petra when we were trapped by the zombies. “My room would be better. It’s upstairs.” And she led the way. I followed and saw that she had put on weight, a lot of weight. She used to be so tiny I was sometimes afraid I’d break her but now, she could loose some 20-30 pounds. In her room I saw why. She dismissed the barmaid and picked up the baby, then opened her blouse and began to nurse as she looked at me and said, “What is this secret message?”

Well, she wanted children and I suppose she finally found a father. I found myself, jealous, which was foolish because we were just friends and to her, I was a sperm donor who didn’t donate. I knew it would be useless to ask about the father because like Zvezdi, she wouldn’t care and may not even know. I paced a bit, took a deep breath, then paced some more. Slezi slid her sword closer for she was always excitable and short tempered.

“You may wish to put the baby down. You may drop her when you hear.” I knew the baby was a girl for had it been a boy, Slezi would have given it to the father or one of the neighboring villages for Amazons never keep their sons.

“Is this message so dangerous that I must need both hands to listen?”

“No Tears, ok, here it is. I’m not Janice, I’m Jason! A month or so ago I was hired to rescue a Russian boy from a Sarmatian temple. I did so and was cursed to live as a woman for three years. And here I am.” I tried to smile at her then she burst out laughing!

“What fool do you take me for. Jason was much taller than you and a man. I can easily see that you are far too small to be him and besides, those (she pointed at my chest) are real, not padding. And although you carry the same kind of sword Jason did, it’s not his sword. Get out before I throw you out.”

“Tears, try to listen. I was cursed and that god changed me! Inside I’m still Jason, it’s only the skin that has changed. I missed you and wanted to see you again because we meant so much at one time.”

“Fool, I’m not that stupid. What do you really want or are you simply insane.”

“You never will change! You used me to get pregnant and when you found that wouldn’t happen you accused ME of lying to you! And in Petra you blamed me for getting you trapped in the Treasury while those Bedouins took pot-shots at the carving you hid behind. And then it wasn’t me who got caught by Sulieman and had that worm shoved in her skull and it wasn’t my fault. So don’t accuse ME of being stupid or insane!”

“Why not! You are always doing something stupid. You talk all the time about thinking before you act and then you go and hide in a crypt with a bunch of zombies! You brag about how we need to be careful and then you lead us into a next of vampires! You… oh Goddess Aphrodite! It is you! I never fought like this with anyone but you! What happened?”

I sat down and reached for the baby. I needed something to do to work of my nervousness. She handed it over saying, “You always did pretend to hate babies but they always loved you. I can see why you were a good father.. or mother.”

I set the baby on my knee and played horsie with her as I supported her a bit. She could have been six months old which means that she got pregnant by Sulieman? Or by one of his hashishins or Saxon Orc mercs. I wasn’t going to ask. It seemed that everyone I knew was getting knocked up by accident or rape. So I explained to her what had happened and when I was finished, she laughed her head off!

“You idiot! It was only a matter of time before you pissed off the wrong god. I must say that the quality of the enemies you are making has improved. When we adventured together, you only came across bandits and living dead. Then you graduated to Sulieman and kings, now you anger gods! What’s next? Will the sun or moon fall from the sky and seek to smash you flat?”

I looked down, “It’s already happened. The Horned God, the Sun God kinda… ravished me in that Stone Circle on the mountain. It’s not funny Tears, It hurt and I’m scared about Him getting me pregnant and I don’t know what to do and you’re my only friend I can trust and … stop laughing at me!”

“You, screwed over by one God then you go fuck another God! And you used to panic when a man would hug you. Now you’re screwing men! What a change! That god changed more than your body Jason! Or should I start calling you LADY Jason!” And she fell back again. Had I not been holding the baby, I would have jumped her. I almost did anyway since we had been lovers before how would she like it if I molested her as a girl?

“I didn’t screw a man, it was a god who took me. (I couldn’t say the ‘f-word’ to describe what had happened to me) And yes, I begged HIM to take me. Don’t you think that embarrassed me and I’m ashamed of what I felt? HE made me cum for days and I enjoyed it and my pussy is still sore from HIM! This being a woman is HARD! I can’t pee half the time without it running down my leg. Make-up is a pain to wear decently! Half the men I meet want to seduce me and the other half try to rape me and the women expect me to marry and make babies like they do and get angry when I live my own life. I can’t get a decent job as a fighter! And if I AM pregnant by the Horned God, I don’t know what to do about it! In a couple years I’ll be a man again and then what? I suppose you’re going to tell everyone, ‘hey look, the great Jason Obrien, master adventurer and man about town grew tits!’ I’d like a little support here.”

She managed to stop laughing long enough to take her daughter back and handed me a rag, “Your eyes are running, better clean up. You always used to hate that in a woman and now…” she began to giggle again and even the baby laughed.

“Fuck this shit!” I wiped my eyes and her snickering told me I made it worse. So I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and centered. Then I took a look in the mirror she handed me and started laughing myself. “I don’t know how you women do this all the time!” as I cleaned and reapplied.

“I don’t. I never did wear cosmetics as you may recall.” She said. “As for Diane and Fiona, they were born to cosmetics and that was as natural to them as fighting was to you. I guess you get used to it after a few years.” She set the baby down, took my hands and looked into my eyes, “I can see Jason in your eyes. You are strong. You may panic now but I’ve noticed that once the pressure starts, the old Irish King you were takes over and you always win. It’s like there are two of you in your head, the insecure Jason Obrien who is always afraid of failing and the capable Lord Innis who cannot fail, and neither can co-exist with the other so they take turns. This is your chance to try to unite them. Use your new female feelings to make peace between your selves. Have a three-some like you always tried to do with me and Diane. Only when you do, merge into one person.

“Do the others know?” she continued. “Your lovers I mean, the Chinese and the Amazon?”

“Yu isn’t my lover, he’s a friend. I took passage on his caravan and yes he tried to seduce me the entire trip. But when I came off that mountain, it was Yu who came looking for me. He wouldn’t have done that if I was only a potential piece of ass. Zvezdi is a lover. I rescued her from some slaver-bandits and she’s my physical lover out of gratitude but she’s not my love. I don’t feel for her like I felt for you or Diane. And no, neither of them know and I’d like to keep it that way.”

“So, again you are divided. Your lover you cannot bed and your bed-mate you will not love. And despite your talk of honesty, you lie to them both. Jason, you need to tell them. Remember that woman in Damascus you were ga-ga over. Then when you learned she was a man in a dress, you got angry and yelled about how dishonest he was and he should have told you at first and how you wanted to kill him? How do you feel Yu and Zvezdi will feel knowing that you lied to them? If they are your friends, they will still be there for you. I remained your friend after I found that you were sterile and I’m still your friend now that you are a woman. And if they leave, then good riddance!”

I looked down, “It’s not that easy. I’m embarrassed enough as it is. This is humiliating to me and you make friends easily. I don’t. Most of those who said they loved me left when things got rough. Even you and Diane and Fiona left me.”

“But we came back, Jason. I’ll be there with you.”

“I can’t do it in public.”

“Wait here with the baby. We’ll be back.”

As she left I yelled out, “What’s her name?” but she was gone so I played with the baby for awhile doing all the stuff I did when my own children were babies. Was it so long ago? I looked in Slezis’ mirror and saw a woman of twenty but knew I was ten times that old so….. I redid my face and played with the baby some more until..

Slezi returned with Yu and Zvezdi and bade them sit. She closed the door then took my katana and knife and her own sword and knife and placed then in the farthest corner then said, “Go on.” Neither Yu nor Zvezdi were armed.

“Slezi,” I began then she snapped, “Grow some balls man! You always avoided saying anything that would cause trouble but once you did, it wasn’t as hard as you thought.”

She was right. That insecure Jason was up front so I had to push it back and bring the Irish Ri forward, the man who fought the Brits to a standstill. It shouldn’t be that hard. What can they do, kill me? After the last months, death would be a relief.

“Yu, Zvezdi, I have something very embarrassing to say. It’s not easy for me so please try to understand. (I felt a nudge from Slezi) I was born as I told you only my name was Jason Obrien. A few months or so ago I was a man and I rescued a Rus from a Sarmatian temple and in revenge their god cursed me to be a woman for three years. Inside I’m still a man and will be one outside again in a few years. I was ashamed to tell you.” Zvezdi stood, slapped me hard and let out a string of obscenities that even now I cannot remember. Then she hit me again and stalked out. Yu just sat there, shocked. “Yu, say something please. I’ll understand.”

He gave me that fake smile that he used when he realized that Zvezdi and I were lovers then said, “A person’s fate is often strange. We should talk about the demon now.”

“That’s it! After all we’ve been through you simply avoid an unpleasant situation and change the subject?” I cried.

Slezi said calmly, “Sounds very much like you, doesn’t it?”

I sat heavily and slumped over. Yu then said, “Fortunately you never bedded me under a false impression.”

I felt like he had stabbed me in the gut and twisted the knife. “You’re right. I was wrong. I was horribly wrong to deceive her like that. But she made the first move and…” Slezi nudged me again, “Yes, I was wrong. There can be no justification for my deceit. Thank you Yu for setting me straight. So why are you still here?” I dreaded the answer.

“Because Janice, we all change. I am not the boy I once was and eventually I will change and be an old man. Once I was poor and now I am wealthy. Change is Buddha’s Law. If Buddha made you a boy, it is His will. If Buddha decided that you should be a woman, again it is His will. Most people must do this over different lifetimes, you have the wonder to experience both genders in one. Besides, as you said on the trail, you never promised me romance, just friendship and friendship knows no boundaries of race, nation or gender. I was your friend then and I will remain so as long as you need me.”

I loved this man, oh not in that way, so I leaned over to kiss him and stopped, embarassed… He smiled, leaned forward and kissed me instead. On my lips and somehow, I didn’t mind. “If your friend and former lover here can accept your change with good grace, can I do worse?’

“Come,” he said. “I am hungry and we need to plan the rescue of your green friend.”

“Green friend,” asked Slezi. I explained on the way downstairs.


****************************************************

THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

Today I met Tears of the Moon, an Amazon lover whom I had met in Turkey long years ago. We had traveled together as she sought a father for her own daughters then she went on as I again sought Japan. Later she had been captured by the Old Man of the Mountain whose followers, the hashshashins, named after the original Hassan i-Sabbah, built an empire of fanatical Moslems that never really died. Sulieman, the current Old Man, had captured Tears simply because she was a blonde and he needed blonde slave-girls to populate his Paradise to convince his followers that he was the Chosen by Allah.

Seeing her with a baby on her hip made me wonder about the father. Did she find a willing man after we separated? Or was the father one of Sulieman’s Arab or Saxon followers? Unfortunately, though Tears was straight and enjoyed the attentions of a man as Stars did a woman, both shared the same casual disinterest in the identity of the fathers of their children so neither felt the man worth remembering.

Telling her about my curse was hard. I could see she thought me mad and was near to killing me with her sashqua to protect her child but I convinced her of who I was. It is hard enough to accept my new form and I’ve lived with it for months. Hell! I have grandchildren and today I look in my mid-20s with neither gray hair, wrinkles or sagging boobs. Damn good for someone older than anyone alive today. I tried to explain that when that Sarmatian God cursed me, he made me young again. Tears finally laughed and commented that it was to show me what it was like to be chased by stupid men who only wanted what was between my legs. She looked me over and commented that I wasn’t nearly as beautiful as were Diane or Fiona but still attractive enough, though few men would notice my eye colour with the way I kept exposing my ample chest.

I commented back that I always was a breast-lover and she snapped about my affair with Fiona who was more endowed than myself and Tears put together.

We fought, but then, Tears and I fought a lot. Maybe it was that fighting and the fact that we remained friends that made our relationship so special. Regardless, she forced me to tell Stars and Yu the truth which I didn’t want to do. Then she brought up honesty and integrity and I was stuck.

Sometimes I hate that woman. She knows just how to prick my ego. So I had to tell the others and that was even harder than telling Tears. Tears and I had been lovers and was there when I married Diane. She and I had been war-buddies for years in the mid-East and that is a bond that no one outside a war could understand. But she was right and with a lot of kicks from the Amazon, I got the story out and then Stars hit me, insulted me and later threatened me.

But the make-up sex was great!

I never understood how she could be that way then figured that she was in denial. She was given a fact that she disliked and so simply forgot it as being unimportant to her current life. BUT, like all women, that info was filed away for use during a future fight.

*******************************************


*XVI

Over dinner I imagined everyone staring at me. Sarmatians took gender change in stride, Turks, Rus and others did not and had words for Transsexuals, transvestites and homosexuals. Words that were not as pleasant as the Tiresian Polymorph term I had coined. I had a difficult time concentrating on Yu for every time I heard a whisper or saw someone glance at me, I reddened.

“It’s not that bad,” Slezi said nursing her baby again. “They are talking about you but not that way. They admire you for killing that Sarmatian Khan that had been raiding us, or how you single handedly killed ten bandits. They are talking about the Jason I knew despite the clothes he now wears.”

Slezi was excitable but when needed, she grounded me. I could see she was enjoying herself at my expense. So I tried to focus on Yu who explained that he had tried to purchase the alien (he called her a demon) to no avail and so chose another path, one that I, a warrior, would never consider. “We go to the magistrate and file a complaint!”

I didn’t know if it would work but agreed to try and Slezi suggested that we two with some of her Amazon friends would be glad to help rescue a young foreign girl from some evil oppressive men if need be.

So we walked over to the magistrate and I filed a complaint against the missionaries. “Your honor, I’ve talked to the prisoner. She is a young girl of very young age who was taken from her family and caged like an animal and beaten, tortured, stripped naked. I ask that she be freed and her captors punished.”

The magistrate explained that slavery was legal and the christians could do whatever they wished with their slaves to which I explained that the missionaries who were at this moment disrupting the peace of this town with their constant verbal attacks did not consider her a slave and so that law failed to protect the girl. We argued, politely and he agreed to an investigation upon the morrow but did agree to an injunction to prevent them from moving her until he was satisfied as to her status. It was the best they could do and I wasn’t happy but Yu said he wasn’t finished. “A merchant makes money by selling cheap goods for a high price. We do this by convincing the buyer that the goods are worth more than the price. Now I convince the christians that the price is more than the goods are worth.” And he left to talk to the missionaries.

Slezi left her baby with the barmaid, strapped her sword on and together we escorted Yu to the mission tent. Along the way we somehow acquired a troop of armed Amazon warriors who loitered near and around the tent and looked very menacing. Amazons have the reputation of castrating their male enemies and Slezi never told me if it was true or not but so long as the missionaries thought it was true, it didn’t matter.

Yu cautioned us to remain alert but not to start trouble for we were here to protect him, not free the girl. So we loitered and glared and the missionaries got real nervous for they wanted to die for their faith but not in the manner the Amazons would enjoy.

I could hear parts of conversation between Yu and the christian leader who kept trying to get Yu to enter the tent and Yu who refused. “It would be unfortunate if the demon were to be harmed or removed for then I could not control the Amazons who see in her a young girl in peril.” “I am certain that the magistrates will see the complaint our way if for no other reason than you have made a nuisance around here.” “Sometimes the best path is to run away.” “I cannot be responsible for anything that the Amazons do to anyone in the dark for they are local and you and I are simple visitors with no one to help us.” And so on. Then Yu bowed and walked away with the christians glowering.

That night we all sat in the tavern drinking and the Amazons would occasionally raise their voices to suggest that the world would be better off if certain loud-mouthed preachers were skinned alive and if they somehow appeared in Amazon lands, no one would care how they got there or what happened to them when they were caught.

Slezi, Yu and I spent the night in the same room to ensure safety and the next morning we visited the christian site to find the tent gone but the cage and alien remaining behind. There had been Amazons around to ensure that the girl remained but they didn’t interfere with the missionaries other than to whet their knives and comment on the best way to skin sheep.

Yu rushed back with the magistrate to complain that the christians had escaped in fear of their guilt and since they left the cage behind, they must agree with his complaint. So the magistrate immediately ruled in our favor and we broke the lock and freed the girl. Even the Amazons stepped back but the girl lowered her head and nudged me, knocking me off my feet. I explained that this was her way of thanking us and we found some clothing for her in a box. Once she dressed in some very skimpy clothing that resembled a cape and shoulder pads, the rest of us relaxed and began to try to see her as a person and no longer an animal.

We returned to the tavern to celebrate, Yu bought a round and after questioning the girl we ordered food she could eat (all vegetables and grasses) and someone said “She is so big and clumsy, we should call her Gazelle!” and the name struck.

Some hours later Zvezdi entered, came to me and demanded, “Where were you all night? I waited in our room for you and was sick to death.” I started to say something when Slezi nudged me and said, “shut up stupid!” so I said, “We were planning the rescue of Gazelle and were afraid to separate until it was over.”

“So you left me alone to be killed! How dare you!” and she turned and stalked off in anger.

Slezi hit me and said, “Follow her you idiot. This is the closest you will get so apologize for not coming home, buy her a gift and pretend this didn’t happen.”

I never did understand women so I ran after her, grabbed some flowers from a vendor yelling, “Slezi will pay” and handed them to her with an apology for being out all night.

She smelled the flowers and turned and returned to our room so I followed. At the door she turned, raised her hand to stop me from entering and said, “I don’t know if anything can be the same with us. I’ll raise my daughter alone with my sisters and you will leave as is our way. I will try to forget what you told me but I don’t know if I can ever touch you again.”

“I understand. I was wrong and….” She shussed me, “Shut up you idiot. I can well believe that you are a man because you always say exactly the wrong thing. Now come here.” And she pulled me inside, yanked my dress down and up to expose my breasts and genitals and threw me on the bed easily for she was taller than myself. She then spent an inordinate amount of time exploring my breasts as if to find concealed padding (they were all mine) and after my third climax, she moved down and examined my woman’s nature in great detail touching and kissing and asking, “Is this good? How does this feel? You look normal, you must be mistaken.” Until I was too weak to go on. Then she stood up, said, “I’m hungry, buy me dinner” and left the room. She had never loosened her own clothing and I was weak and sweaty and my dress was a mess. But I followed pulling my bra on and dress up in the hall.

I found her in the street returning to the tavern and caught up with her as she entered. She simply sat down at our table, motioned me, Yu and Slezi together and whispered, “We will say nothing of this unfortunate matter or I will have my tribe hunt each one of you down like dogs. I will NOT be humiliated again. Your make-up needs fixing Djenec.”

Women, I never did understand them but I gathered that I had survived an important battle.


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THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

I don’t understand women. But the truth is that I enjoyed the attention, a desire I had never known before save rarely. Now I could walk across camp and have a dozen men stare and that desire for my body made me feel powerful. I had something they wanted, needed and the knowledge that they could never have made me feel even more powerful, in control of my life and theirs. And so I would practice walking, swinging my hips and hair and occasionally giving a coy smile as if I entertained the thought of acceptance of their desires.

I know and even then knew the game was dangerous. I could flirt with some ape of a lump who thought I was serious, who believed that a woman who fought enjoyed it rough, and yet, I continued. Even with my hair and clothing rumpled by a session with Stars that left me weak in the knees, I would flirt as if to say, “what lies between, you shall never have so let me tease and taunt you, you foolish child!”

Stars would become angry at that, throw me to the ground, pull my skirts up and give me the violent passion I so desired. Still, I told her that I flirted to make her attack my form in jealousy for I was totally faithful, yet the truth is that I did it to be cruel to the men for reasons I could not fully grasp. Despite my anger, when one slapped my arse as I passed, I near broke his arm as an example but then whispered so none could hear, “thank you for the compliment” and I pretended I could feel the sting on my cheek all the day.

****************************************************


*XVII

Things were never the same between me and Zvezdi after that. She was obsessed with my own sexual pleasure and exhaustion and rarely let me touch her but this could be her pregnancy or my revelation or Gazelle’s entry into our life or my increasing friendship with Yu or the return of Slezi who she knew had been my lover when I was a man, but it probably was all combined. I did give anyone a lot to deal with and not much time to adjust.

Eventually I realized that I wasn’t pregnant. It wasn’t the onset of menstruation that did it for I never bled, at least ‘down there.’ No, as the months passed, I never put on weight or nested or suffered morning sickness or anything and one day, I finished my bath and decided, ‘gee, I must not be pregnant’ and went on relieved. Most women I knew would pretend relief but then shed a tear for the baby they wouldn’t hold. Not me, I was happy with no regrets at all. I’ve had and raised and lost children and had no desire to repeat it at my age. And situation. When I mentioned this to Zvezdi, she had one of her moods and snapped, “How can you be so callous!” and turned away.

I rented a room for Gazelle outside because she was too large to fit into a normal bedroom. And I looked for work, “Someone must help support the baby,” I would say which caused a fight, “You think I cannot support myself or MY baby! You think I am some Turkish whore who needs a man to feed me!” Then she’d throw me down and rape the shit out of me. Slezi said it was the change happening then I understood. Her body was going crazy dealing with the pregnancy and she hadn’t adjusted to it any more than I had to my own change. My hormones were still in an uproar too and I was still sex-crazy after two months and not only enjoyed Zvezdi’ attention but I also jilled often when alone. Plus my moods were too close to the surface and I’d snap or cry at the stupidest things. I was getting better but far from settled as the months passed.

Once I got caught with my hand under my dress which started another fight, “I don’t satisfy you anymore! You prefer your fingers to my tongue! I suppose that you want Yu to ram his dick inside you or you are thinking of Slezi now!” Then she’d attack me and cry afterwards “Don’t touch me, I’m a fat sow.”

The only good thing was that Slezi agreed to remain in town and help out. “She’s just pregnant-crazy. I broke every dish in my home and cursed you a dozen times a day for letting that happen. In another month, she’ll calm down… IF you survive.” That scared me.


*XVIII

Then, thankfully soon, Yu arrived and said, “White Sheep Turks just kidnapped the daughter of the Khan. He will pay a fortune to the person who rescues her unharmed.” I understood what that meant. Moslems considered their daughters to be barter material and so were valuable only if virginal. So I bought some riding clothes, something with a short skirt of calf-length but with separate legs similar to my hakama and Slezi left her baby with Zvezdi, “She’ll be fine, it’ll do her good to practice motherhood,” and Gazelle simply took a heavy spiked club and we three took off to work. “Wait!” cried Zvezdi with the baby in her hand. She handed us each a bag, “Dinner for my lover, dinner for my sister and dinner (a bag of oats) for my friend,” and kissed each of us goodbye.

Well, that was a surprise but Slezi commented that now that she had a baby to care for, her body would focus and she’d be better. So we rode to the southeast following the trail of the Turks. Gazelle, it turned out could run almost as fast as a horse and for a longer time though she ate so much more. It took us two days to catch them and looking from a nearby hill, we saw a dozen Turks a half day from the coast and riding fast.

“They may have a boat waiting and if so we will never catch them. I think we should attack tonight,” Slezi suggested.

“What if they ride through the night?” I asked. This was Slezi’ first adventure since we killed Sulieman and became rich by billing a dozen nations for assassination fees. I hoped she wasn’t too out of shape and those extra baby pounds wouldn’t slow her down much.

“They won’t. Soon they will reach the marshes and have to stop lest they stumble into quicksand in the dark.”

So we hurried and found them at the edge of the marsh setting up camp. I planned, “Gazelle, horses are scared of your scent so as the evening winds flow to the sea, when we are ready, move to allow your scent towards them then approach to terrify their steeds. While they are busy there, Slezi will rescue the girl and I will cover our retreat.”

Slezi and I moved to position and it was nice to work with her again. When we were as close as we felt safe, we gave the signal and Gazelle moved toward the picket and the horses began to panic. Half the Turks moved to calm their steeds and the rest took up positions to fend off an ambush. I heard one say ‘tiger’ in Farsi and they pressed closer with their spears to the ready. I nodded to Slezi and we let loose and killed two instantly with arrows and a moment later another two. The remaining took cover and were safe so we moved closer and took advantage of our position to kill three more as they returned from the horses. Now we had three calming the horses and two under cover and so we began to move around seeking a decent shot.

Finally one got smart and tossed a water bag onto the fire and we were all in darkness. Damn! In the dark we couldn’t shoot accurately so we lowered our bows and moved in with swords. One of the Turks yelled out, “I have the girl. Lower your weapons or I will kill her!”

“If you harm her you will die instantly.”

“If she is harmed, the Khan will kill you slowly. Lower your weapons and come forward.”

I looked at Slezi and we tossed our bows into the camp with our arrows and walked forward slowly. “Stop! Now drop your swords! Ali! Look, we have two new captives. The girl we must not touch but these two will keep us warm all night.” And he laughed at his wit. His friend came forward and pushed us into camp as the first lit a torch. The girl was on the ground, bound and terrified. Then the remaining three returned for the horses had calmed and now they were five and we were two and unarmed. Damn, what now. We needed a distraction so I yelled, “Gazelle!” and as she charged through the camp, she bludgeoned two of them to death instantly as she passed and was gone. Slezi and I grabbed our swords and killed the men closest to us then we both faced the last who turned and ran only to scream a moment later. Gazelle entered dragging his body and asked, “Did I do good?”

“You did wonderful,” I said and hugged her. Slezi cut the girl’s bindings and held her as she cried in happiness. Then I stripped the bodies and Gazelle took them to the swamp where I heard splashes. I rebuilt the fire and we settled down for the night.

In the morning we saddled up and headed back to Aktau with a dozen new horses in tow. Gazelle had to keep downwind and slowly move in to avoid frightening our new herd but by nightfall they had accepted her and she rejoined our group. Finally we reached town and Slezi sent the horses north to her home to add to her herd and wealth. Handing the girl to her father netted us a nice purse which paid my bills and gave me a nice nest egg, half of which I turned over to the bankers for Zvezdi.


****************************************************

THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

One thing that is curious is our manner of dress.

I never knew any lesbians in Ireland and was in America before I knew that they even existed. I heard the stories about which was the ‘husband’ and which the ‘wife’ in the couple as if gays would conform to older societal expectations as to marital role models when they refused to do so in their sexuality. I did have a friend who was a ‘lipstick lesbian’ and dressed ‘femm’ and who loved to visit the topless nightclubs. She lived with a ‘butch’ but preferred feminine women in her bed. I guess she would have loved me today.

Stars dressed as a man and had smallish breasts though as her pregnancy advanced, they grew as her nipples darkened. I wore a dress and some cosmetics and loved the feel of my long strawberry-blonde hair on my neck as I brushed it to a silken texture, the colour and polish on my nails and lips and the flow of my skirt around my legs. Occasionally Stars would comment, “you act like a doxie trolling for customers. Do you want men to throw coins at your feet to do you like a bitch as you bend over?”

I tried to explain how I loved how I looked and felt (occasionally telling her how I could even be beautiful if I would wear more make-up) and wished she would do the same then she’d argue, “I’m not some housewife or bar-maid.” But in truth she was. For although I dressed the woman, I worked as a man. Stars would dress as a man but she cared for my room and belongings as a wife would. Our marital roles were totally reversed which was good for I hated to dust and could not cook while she loved both.

Then there was hair.

Like most Europeans, Stars saw no reason to scar her legs or pits removing that which nature had given and saw my insistence on being smooth as ‘child-like’. The truth being that hairy women bothered me considerably. Possibly a flashback to my time as a galley slave when the sailors who abused me were all half-naked and overly hairy and stinking of sweat and salt. Or maybe it was living in America where all women shaved from puberty on. Either reason, the sight of Stars’ armpit hair matted in sweat was enough to make my stomach turn. And occasionally, well constantly, I would have to stop my actions and pick hair from my teeth as I sought to give my lover pleasure.

So with my asking her to shave and wear dresses and her insisting that I grow hair and wear pants, we would fight then engage in make-up sex which while passionate, wasn’t as emotionally fulfilling a marriage as I would wish.

Still I remained. Why I often ask? And the only real reason I could fathom was that I loved the sex because I enjoyed the conversation, dinner and Chess with Yu far more than with Stars.

Men say that if they had a pussy, clit and tits with the capability of multiple orgasms, they’d never leave the bedroom. I had those and understood, but most women I talked to agreed that sex was more a burden than a pleasure and they’d gladly reduce to a couple times a month. When I laughed “I’d love to expand to a dozen times a day” they would comment, “You don’t have men pounding at your hips before you are relaxed either.”

That makes me wonder. Were I straight, suffering the haste of a male in rut, would I loose interest too? Stars took her time when I begged her to rush and by taking her time, a ‘quickie’ for us was a couple of hours and all-nighters were common, leaving me exhausted from lack of sleep. Would I change my desires were I to have a man thrust into me while I frantically tried to moisten then finish and roll off long before I climaxed? Would that change my thoughts? Arabs liked to castrate their wives, removing her clit to prevent straying into another bed as they felt that a woman who did not enjoy sex would not seek adultery. With my capacity and preference for the vaginal orgasm, lack of my little lady would be only a minor problem. Perhaps Arabs castrate their women for another reason, to stop them from bitching about their men lacking the stamina needed to satisfy a woman under the best of times.

For me, I had stamina… no I had endurance for I climaxed easily, quickly and often compared to Stars’ rare orgasm or Tear’s single one then she’d lose interest after I climaxed inside her.

Yu would visit the local whores occasionally and somehow, I’d get angry, jealous of the attention he lavished on the sluts. It wasn’t that I wanted him, but I did miss the attention he would send my way as she sought to seduce me before he knew the truth. Before Yu would treat me as a potential lover, going all out to seduce me, holding my chair, pouring my wine, complimenting me on my appearance.

Now, he treats me as a friend, a buddy, just one of the boys as he beds the sluts in the town.

Fucking whores! I should hack their cunts out with a dull knife.

**************************************************


*XIX

A week later we had another mission and hunted and killed a band of Georgian bandits and we made even more money when we divided their booty. And after that we played bodyguard to a visiting dignitary who wanted his harem protected but didn’t trust men. All in all we didn’t get rich but we did become very comfortable and our reputation allowed us to command higher rates but also attracted more and more dangerous jobs.

At home, things were the same. Over the months Zvezdi grew round and her hormones settled down though she continued to make me scream nightly. Gazelle used her pay to build a house since she had decided to remain for awhile and explore this world. It was Yu who changed things.

“Janice, it is time for me to leave and go home. I’ve sold my camels and goods, bought more to take home and rented a ship on the Azov sea and will sail it to Egypt where I will cross to the Red Sea and buy a ship to take my cargo to Cathay. The journey will be dangerous and long but safer and cheaper than by land. I’ve delayed as long as I can but I must go. I wish to tell you that I will treasure our friendship forever and when Zvezdi leaves for her home, please consider visiting me in Beijing.”

“When do you leave?” I asked, somehow afraid of the answer.

“Tomorrow morning.”

Crying, I returned to Zvezdi and told her the news, fighting back my tears. Yu had been such a big part of our life the last few months we both were sad to see him leave. “Djenec, you should escort him to Azov to be certain that he arrives safe. I’ll be fine here and will message my family to prepare for my return. Don’t be sad, we both knew this would happen. You would leave me eventually, Yu would leave eventually, Gazelle would leave eventually. Only Slezi and I and our daughters would remain. I’m not sad for this is our way so you should accept it. I’ll pack your gear.”

That night she allowed me to make her happy and we fell asleep with me wrapped around her, holding her belly. I had begun to think of her child as ours and that was a mistake for she’d never let me raise it. That is, unless it was a boy. A girl would be Amazon, a boy exiled.

That morning as I left she handed me and Gazelle our meals and then she leaned down to me and whispered in my ear, “If you want him, do it. Enjoy yourself and I will never ask and you will never tell.” Then she kissed me goodbye and never looked back as she returned to our home.

We caught up with Yu just outside of the city and simply took up our stations without comment. He was using his camels to transport his bought goods and would turn them over to their new owner when we reached the town on the Azov Sea. That night I played chess with Yu and lost as usual though I was getting better and it took him over an hour to beat me. Yu seemed to not mind that I was a much better fighter but he resented me winning at chess and would work hard to win. I, for one never cared, for to me the game was the thing and winning or losing distracted from the pleasure.

Then we sat and drank a couple glasses of wine and watched the stars and pointed out the constellations. I would tell him the Irish names of what I remembered from my time and he would tell me the Chinese constellations. Gazelle watched but couldn’t see them well, thinking that there were less than a dozen stars for her night vision was poor as was her color vision but she enjoyed listening to us. Finally she left to sleep for she spent a great deal of time making up for her day. She stood twice my height and was so massive that she ate almost constantly when awake and slept more than any human would so she went to bed early and woke late. Fortunately, unlike me, she dressed in only her caplet and shoulder-pads and so took seconds to ready when I could spend an hour.

Finally Yu bade me goodnight and entered his tent. I finished my wine and made certain I was drunk enough to want this but sober enough to walk then I entered his tent. “Yu, I seem to have left my tent at home. May I… oh damn it! Yu, I’m scared. When I was a boy I was raped by slavers and that warped me, made me afraid of male affection. I like girls and was happy with that. Then when I became… this, I still liked women and Zvezdi does for me what I like. Men scare me. The thought of kissing a man, bedding a man makes my stomach hurt.”

I started to unlace my vest, “I’m scared. I know I care for you and I know you want me but the thought terrifies me. Be gentle and if I panic and run, please understand.”

My hands were shaking, I was sweating and wanted to vomit. I had too much wine or maybe not enough. Yu came to me in the dark and slowly took me to his bed. When he touched me, I tensed so he turned me away and massaged my shoulders. As I relaxed, he kissed my shoulder and I tensed again. Why couldn’t he just throw me down and fuck me and get it over. He continued massaging and as I relaxed he’d kiss me and I’d tense again. Once as I relaxed, he licked my ears and I gasped and tensed, but this time it was different. I stayed tense and he kissed my neck and I moaned. He massaged me as he kissed my neck and shoulder then he turned my face and kissed me on the lips. I found my tongue seeking his and he was tender with his kiss.

Slowly he undid my dress and I let it slip from my shoulders. He kissed my shoulders and neck and cupped my breasts through my bra, rubbing my nipples with his thumbs. I was beginning to relax and beginning to want him when his hands slid to my belly and I tensed again. I grabbed his hands and forced them to my breasts again, then, I forced myself to unclasp my bra. Letting go of the clasp was hard, too hard. So his hands moved to rub my back. He pushed me to my belly on his bed and began to rub my back, working my muscles to a state of relaxation.

I pulled my bra open, then off so he could rub under the straps. Although I didn’t need the support, I liked it and even then they rubbed at times so his massage felt really good. Zvezdi never did this, she simply made me cum.

Finally I rolled over onto my back and stretched. I reached up and pulled him to me and kissed him. We kissed for awhile, my eyes closed, then he moved down working his way to my nipples where he licked them with his tongue but didn’t suck them. He began to move down my belly but I grabbed his head and pulled him back. “Not yet,” I whispered. “Next time. Please, just get it over with before I run.” I climax quickly, often when having my breasts touched but not now.

“Then, dearest Janice, you are not ready.” And he began to rise.

I wouldn’t let him, I reached down with one hand, holding his hair with the other and felt his erection through his clothing. “Please, I’m scared. I want this, I want you but I’m scared. Please just do it and I’ll …”

He undressed and I couldn’t look. Then he lay his naked body on mine for I had pulled my dress up for him and he entered, slowly, tenderly as was his kiss. I wasn’t wet and he had to work at it but eventually, with my eyes closed and thinking of Zvezdi, he was in and moving. I raised my legs and tried to move with him but he stopped. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Nothing, I want this to last,” he replied as his face floated above mine in the darkness.

“Please don’t.” I begged. “I’m… please finish. Please!”

He continued, holding me as she slid in and out. I was now wet but it was a physical reaction, not a mental one and despite my feelings, my fear, I began to react until I felt him grow harder, thicker, then I felt him empty himself into me as his entire body shuddered.

I lay there, his weight pressing me down until I pushed him off and ran from his tent, holding my dress over my breasts. By the time I reached Gazelle’s tent I had lost the urge to vomit. So I crawled against her and holding my dress against me, tried to cry but couldn’t. And sitting there, feeling her warmth I fell asleep.

By morning I was better. I looked like a raccoon clown again so washed my face, and found a package next to the tent. I opened it and found my bra and panties neatly folded and packed with my katana leaning against the tent. There was also a table with breakfast and drink and so I dressed, smoothed my clothes and, girding my loins, carried my meal to Yu’s tent.

He immediately stood as I approached and so I asked, “I no longer deserve a chair?” to which he clapped his hands and demanded that his lazy servants bring a chair for the Noble Lady Innis. I set my meal on the table, sat down and ate as if this were a normal morning when I realized that I was looking at my meal and not him. I forced myself to look up and with nothing to say, said, “Thank you for last night.”

He bowed and replied, “I fear that all the pleasure was mine, Lady.” It was so awkward that I laughed and that broke my tension so I joked, “If I return sometime, we can try again,” to which he started to say something but for once he was at a loss for words. So we ate silently, sneaking glances and being embarrassed until Gazelle wandered by to eat her meal of oats, grass and fruit. We then mounted and the caravan continued on until I had an impulse to tell Yu, “I think that there is something ahead you should see. Can you find a horse and accompany me?”

“I can. Should we take some more soldiers in case of danger?”

I laughed at this, “I! Need help? Have you lost your faith in my abilities? We shall be fine. I just want you to check something out with me.” So he mounted a horse and I led him ahead at a gallop some couple of miles until I found what I wanted. “Over here Yu,” I called and tied my horse to a tree. He followed suit and I took my cloak from my saddle and said, “Over here.” Then I lay my cloak on the ground and when he asked, “What did you wish me to see?” I pulled my dress off and said, “Me!” then I pushed him down, pulled his pants off and straddled his ready erection. As I lowered myself to engulf him, I kissed him and rode him to climax, mine first, then his. I sat there feeling him grow soft inside me and said, “Thank you, I needed last night to break a barrier and I needed this to prove that I could do it.” Then I stood up, dressed and kissed him again and returned to my horse. By the time he arrived with my cloak, I had redone my make-up and the caravan was approaching so we rode back to find the leader asking what he had seen. “Something that I shall treasure forever, but need not concern you or the caravan.” And I rode to my position and remained there until the evening stop.

Dinner wasn’t as embarrassing as before and that night in his tent I allowed him to enjoy my body as he wished. He was different from Zvezdi. It didn’t last as long and I climaxed only a few times but it was different and in its own way more pleasurable. I wasn’t going to give up women and focus on men but still, I had to admit that a man’s hard lovemaking was sometimes nicer than a woman’s gentle ways.

The next and last night on the trail, I told him to just take me hard and fast and he did, throwing me down and pounding me hard until I screamed in pleasure. Gazelle burst in and pulled him off and threw him against the tent side, almost bringing the tent down as I yelled, “What are you doing?”

“He was hurting you. I heard you scream in agony.”

I laughed and said, “Gazelle, please release him. Have you not heard me with Zvezdi? This is the same. He wasn’t hurting me but giving pleasure. It’s ok, you can return to sleep. I’m fine.” I looked at Yu and said, “More than fine.”

She left after giving him a look that made him step back then he started to dress until I said, “What makes you think I am finished?” So I led him to the bed and worked him to hardness then tried to give him as much pleasure as I could.

We spent two nights in the town on the Azov Sea before he had delivered his camels and loaded his ship, then on the dock he held me and asked, “Please come with me. I love you.”

I laughed, “Love? And will you still love me in two years when you bed a woman at night and awaken with a man? No Yu, this is just friendship with benefits. Now go home and if I can, I will visit you, hopefully with this anatomy but please accept me if I am not as you now see.” I watched him leave as the longboat towed his ship from the harbor and into the sea to sail away. Strange thing is, I didn’t cry at all. Damn!

On the way back to Aktau, Gazelle asked, “What do we do now?”

“Yu has left. We live and work and soon, Slezi and Zvezdi will leave and I will take you to your home and you will leave. After that, I don’t know.”


****************************************************

THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

When I found that Yu was leaving, I want to say that I had mixed feelings. Yu had been a good friend, a loyal supporter and a brilliant conversationalist and masterful chess player. The truth is, and I never told anyone this, not Yu, not Stars, not Tears, not even myself, but the truth is that I didn’t want him to go. As much as I enjoyed our friendship, there was something else that made me sad, something I couldn’t believe. When I was a kid and a merc in Africa, George who had saved me in Arabia and taught me to fight and survive and mostly that not all homosexuals are evil pedophiles, We traveled together for a year or more, finally separating in Cairo, me back to King Solomon’s Mines to rebuild the family fortune, he to wherever he left for. But that was that. He was a close friend but I said ‘bye’ and never looked back.

With Yu it was more like when Diane left. I felt as if a part of me had died inside and I didn’t like that feeling. It made me... vulnerable. And in my profession, being vulnerable means helpless and helpless means dead!

But I stood there, trying to not cry but wanting to then Stars came to me and told me to go and guard Yu on the trip to the Black Sea. Then she whispered that if I wanted him, to do it and never tell her. I suppose this was some Amazon thing where a woman marries another women and knows that either or both must be with a man to have babies but neither want to think about the love of their lives doing that. I remember one Lesbian in America tell me that she hated seeing her girlfriends children because it was a constant reminder that her lover had been with a man.

So Gazelle and I mounted and rode to catch Yu and without thought or discussion, we took our places to ensure no bandits would attack.

I still don’t remember planning what happened next. We talked, played chess, ate as a hundred times before but I kept drinking more and more which wasn’t my habit. Then as he bid me ‘goodnight’, I finished my glass for false courage and followed.

I don’t know why. In the past I had tried to fantasize being with him but always backed out in disgust with myself and the act. Me! With a man! Even one I liked as I did Yu! But I followed, not realizing that I had unlaced my vest and went to him.

I don’t remember much. Maybe I was too drunk to know what I was doing. Maybe I was drunk so I could do what I wanted but I’d never been with a man before and I was terrified. No, not the pain for the Horned God had relieved me of my fleshy chastity belt. I was terrified… I don’t know. I was just scared and names I had heard as a kid kept running through my head and I hated being one of those.

But I begged him. I actually begged Yu to touch me! He was gentle and I froze every time he would do anything like kiss or touch and then I was frigid again. Ice Queen. Not dead but disgusted with myself for my unnatural desires.

Finally he told me that I wasn’t ready and he wouldn’t force me. I refused to let him dress and forced him to take me. Sometime I wonder if his desire did it or fear of angering me but the deed was done and not well. I may not have been a virgin but neither was I ready and his dry entry was as unpleasant as the descriptions I had heard before from other women’s first time.

The man tried to be gentle and stop but I forced him, my eyes closed in horror at what I had become, was doing as I held him to me. Then he was done. I felt him swelling then the flow that so few women can feel.

Briefly I thought of that Khan I had killed as he lay upon me, seeking entry until he voided with a snapped neck but forced that thought away for I wanted not Yu’s neck broken but my own.

So I pushed him off and ran off naked, clutching my clothes before me as I sought a place to retch my disgust as if by vomiting I could clean all my insides.

By the time I reached Gazelle, my alien love whom I loved as a child, I had lost the desire to vomit but as I lay back in her olive warmth, I felt Yu flow from my being and spread my legs to encourage then crossed them to retain what he had given. My dreams were disturbing and disgusting and woke me up often that night but thankfully I couldn’t remember any of them.

When I awoke, I saw a package with my undergarments freshly cleaned and folded and my swords and looking at them made me cry in happiness.

I think facing him that morning was harder than the night before but I have never been one to give in to fear so forced myself to act as if nothing had happened.

It was strange, like when I was 16 and first raped on that Baghla then had to call my attacker ‘sir’ and follow his orders. They made me feel like I was the bad person, that I had invited them and that I was the one who should be punished for being raped.

But I made it through and forced myself to thank him for forcing himself on and into me through clenched teeth and then he said “I fear the pleasure was all mine” and I burst out laughing. So simple to break the mood and it was like old times again.

Later, on guard I knew I had to do something. So many barriers that needed to be broken were I to survive my curse. Make-up. Sex. Learning to fight. Being treated as an object and fighting back to be a person. Now this one. If I didn’t do it, I’d never so I thought about a duel, how if I worried about living, I’d sweat and worry and die but if I went into the match knowing I was already dead, then I could focus on the perfection of form and that would win. Perfection of form, let go of desire. Last night was miserable but somehow I was glad that Yu was my first. My first male lover that is. And it was over. Almost. One thing left to fix.

So I checked my underwear to ensure it was clean and in good shape, adjusted my make-up, applied a hint of scent to my neck and cleavage then called to Yu and led him ahead under a pretense until I found a level field, flowers, grass and birds then dismounted and called him to me.

He asked what I wanted him to see and I pulled my loosened dress off and said, “me!” Then I threw him down and climbed on top and this time, I thought about me, my pleasure as I rode his hardness, already wet and wanting.

And somehow, I began to think about him too so kissed him, touched him, caressed his hard body and continued to ride him to climax, first mine, then his then mine again. Last night was a nightmare but today paradise and it was then that I realized that I loved Yu. Not as a brother or as a friend but loved him in the way I felt I should love Stars. I almost then said, “I’ll go to China with you” but the braying of a camel woke me to my senses and I got off, dressed and returned to my horse.

The next morning I dressed, then halfway to Yu’s tent for breakfast I stopped, returned to my tent and thought, “What would Yu like to see me in?” and I dressed for him. I put my make-up on not because I had to but because I wanted to look good for him. It was as if a switch had been made and now… I can’t explain it, it was just.. important for me to make him happy and look good for him.

Over the nights I fear we kept the caravan up with our passion as I learned to relax with a man, not fear what people would say or think, just to revel in the pleasures and Yu was very good at making me feel good. Maybe it was his having three wives at home, maybe it was the Chinese insistence in giving as well as receiving pleasure. Maybe he actually loved me too and that made him care for my feelings but damn! The sex was good!

Different from Stars who was gentle and slow to Yu’s rough insistence and the act rarely lasted an hour (including foreplay) and always less to Stars’ all-nighters. But in its own way, it was something I wanted and needed.

When he left aboard the ship on the Black Sea, I watched him go. Wishing I could be aboard with him but I knew that was impossible. In a couple years my curse would be over and I’d return to Ireland, different and so would have to leave him then. Better now with pleasant memories to warm my heart and soul.

I didn’t even cry as I turned from the dock but I couldn’t get my mind to focus on anything but him.

One thing I learned though was that as much as I loved what Stars did to me, as much as I preferred a good looking woman, as much as a hairy smelly man disgusted me ensuring my lesbian tendencies, I fucking love cock!

Too bad they are attached to a man.

************************************************


*XX

The return trip home was pleasant and relaxing. There were no bandits to fight, no wolves to scare away, nothing at all. We rode at our own pace, I slept against Gazelle basking in her warmth every night and occasionally jilled myself not caring if Gazelle watched or not. Sometimes I would think of Zvezdi, sometimes Yu and sometimes I would pretend I was a man again thrusting into Slezi or even Zvezdi. Gazelle didn’t understand and I understood that her race went into heat occasionally and only then did they have sex and then only for babies and she was years away from that. The thought of sex as anything other than to get pregnant was alien to her but so was most of what we did and she never seemed to miss her own kind.

When we reached Aktau, I ran to my room and found Zvezdi there packing her bags. “Are you leaving me so soon?” I asked. “I thought I had a few more months.”

She looked at me, her belly large and she said, “I didn’t think you would return.” I looked up at her for even in my heels she was taller than I and kissed her. “You are a fool. How could I leave someone who gives me such pleasure. You know how superficial I am and what I pervert I am turning into.” I kissed her again and pulled her clothes off. She was wearing a dress now to allow her belly to grow and her breasts were swelling and her nipples darkening. I didn’t find this particularly attractive but still enjoyed the experience.

Later, laying together with her on her side for she no longer could lay on her belly, I was struck with the strangeness of our relationship. She was taller than I and mannish which I found unattractive and yet she was more of a home-keeper. But she did things to me in bed that no one ever could. I was smaller, physically feminine and concerned with manly works and rarely gave Zvezdi the pleasure that she gave me. Slezi was smaller and attractive and a soldier like me but though I still desired her, she had none for me being straight herself. So when we had a job, Zvezdi would send us off with a lunch and a kiss as if we were going to an office job and after risking our lives for days, we’d return home and Zvezdi never asked about what we did.

The closest Slezi would come to physical affection was when her breasts overfilled and she couldn’t milk them into the bladder she carried. At those times she would ask me to suckle to relieve the pressure and this I found incredibly sexy and often climaxed while I sucked and drank her milk. Slezi would close her eyes and imagine I was her daughter.

My life was strange. But I was happy for I had friendship with Slezi and Gazelle and sex with Zvezdi and I could pretend I was a parent again thought I knew that wouldn’t last. Finally the time came to leave. We bought a wagon and traveled north to the land of the Amazons for Zvezdi wished to birth in her own country and Slezi missed her family.

We sold everything save our clothing and the wagon was one we had bought from the caravan and was large enough for our few belongings plus allowed Gazelle to ride for once and in the morning, we simply said our good-byes and left.

As we passed the mountain of the Circle temple, I told them I wanted to see it again and we rode up the hill, the path barely large enough for the wagon if Gazelle walked. It didn’t take time to reach and once there, I entered the circle and walked the path, caressing the stones and remembering what had happened so long ago. I obviously wasn’t pregnant by either the Horned God or by Yu and despite my yearnings, HE never showed so I left another hair ribbon and we returned to the trip north.

“Why so sad,” Slezi asked.

“I’m not pregnant. Not by my God, not by Yu.” I couldn’t understand why I was sad.

“Nor could you make me pregnant. Maybe you are barren?”

“I had children by Kore and Jean and …” The memory of my ex-wife still hurt. We had children then she left me for another, leaving me our children and calling out that at least one of my daughters wasn’t mine, maybe both. It didn’t matter for I loved and raised them as mine anyway. But still her leaving hurt.

“Once, I sought your bed to bear your daughters. Now I’m glad I didn’t for I see how loosing your children is killing you.”

Slezi and Zvezdi lived in different villages but these were only a couple miles apart and so I had no trouble keeping close to Slezi. The next couple months were dull. I farmed, herded and did other such chores that made me remember my youth in Ireland and even worked on a fishing boat occasionally pulling sturgeon from the Caspian. It was strange living among women only. About half of them shared a house as lovers though few of these were actual lesbians. Most were simply women who wanted companionship and were willing to love each other to get it. The other half were like Slezi, straight and celibate until they visited a nearby non-Amazon town for fun or to get pregnant or to pick up on the occasional trader who thought selling to Amazons would ensure plenty of sex. He was usually right but rarely returned.

Finally the day came and Zvezdi gave birth. I was present for all my children’s births and saw no reason to break the rule and so was there holding her hand until I was rushed outside. About an hour later I was allowed to return and found Zvezdi laying there, exhausted and holding a newborn girl. “May I hold her?”

“No. Djenec, it’s time for you to go.”

“Why,” I demanded. “Have I been so cruel to you that you’d throw me out so easy?”

“You think this is easy for me? You were always there for me. You saved my life, bedded me, cared for me and in your own way, loved me. Sending you away is killing me but it must be so. I love you and wish you could stay but you must leave now.”

And her family took me outside where my horse was already saddled and ready to go. I tried to return but they were adamant and made me leave. So with Gazelle next to me we traveled to Slezi to say good by to her too.

“She wouldn’t even let me hold the baby,” I cried to my friend.

Slezi said, “And had she done so, would you have fallen in love with the baby? I know you whether you are Jason or Djenec, had she allowed you to hold the child, you would have fallen in love with it and never left. It’s better this way, for with us, the baby belongs to the mother only. Even those of us who love women and marry a woman know this. You would become involved and raised the child. And when you had to leave in two years time, the leaving would have killed you. This way you can pretend the child was stillborn and mourn the loss but live on.

“Goodbye Djenec, I did love you back then and I love you now but I am an Amazon and must be true to my nature as you are with yours.”

As I rode away I thought I heard Slezi call out, “your daughter’s name is Djenec Aftopritsepa (Janice of the Caravan),” but I couldn’t be certain. The entire trip from Amazon lands I cried.

And so I ended my first year as a woman, gaining then loosing two lovers and a daughter, regaining and old friend and making a new friend.


****************************************************

THE JOURNAL OF JANICE OBRIEN

What can I write that will convey my feeling here. I had been with Stars her entire pregnancy, felt the child grow and kick and now, I couldn’t even hold my baby.

Leaving tore me apart.

I felt like when I returned home in Ireland and found the British had burned my house with my spouse and children still inside, murdered to make a point. Dead inside. Betrayed. My lover and baby torn from me once again. Even Yu gone.

I wanted to scream to that Sarmatian God “Why do you make me suffer thus!” but I knew that s/he wouldn’t answer. The Gods rarely did. And when They do, it is never what you want to hear. And this time, the answer would be “to punish you.”

I cried for weeks over my loss, not knowing if Stars grieved as well and not knowing if Stars would even tell my daughter who I was.

************************************************

END



To contact me or to request topics to be covered, send to RikJohnson@juno.com
by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
Tucson, Az.
85717


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