RICK JOHNSON

RETREIVAL
version 3


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

Return to the Home Page.


*PROLOGUE

I was working on a table for a friend when I was handed the message. It was cryptic and in old Russian that I hadnít read in decades or more and it said simply,


ĎJason Obrien,
Janice of the Caravan has been taken, We need Janice to help us retrieve her!í

and it was signed ĎTears and Starsí.


One of the people who gave it to me said, "I found this in my living room with a gold coin. It took the Russian department at the University three hours to translate the message because no one has spoken or written that form of Russian in 500 years. The coin is from the Ottoman Empire and is 500 years old and when I had it appraised, the dealer offered me $5000 cash, no-questions-asked. What the hell does this mean? How did that message show up in my house without setting off the alarms and what does that coin mean?"

I looked at the message, memories flooding back. "I have to go!" and I stopped what I was doing and entered my house to collect my gear, my work forgotten. Katana and wakazashi, canteens, backpack, trail rations, fire starter, clean socks, Mongolian bow, arrows, knife, all the gear that my friends thought I was crazy for collecting but now, as always, had a use.

They followed me inside demanding answers that I couldnít give. Then I picked the phone up and made a call from memory, one of the very few numbers that I bothered to memorize. "Diane, Tears is in trouble and I need you, can you and Fiona gear up and be here asap? Thank you. Iíll be ready."

"Fiona?" my friend said, "Fiona OíNeill? The actress? And is that Diane Winters, the writer? How do you know them? and you expect people that famous to drop everything and fly out here for some message that doesnít make sense?"

I ignored them because I had more important things to think about. What would Stars say when she saw me now. I had told her what I was and she seemed to have accepted it but being told a thing when you were pregnant and KNOWING that thing were two different matters.

A moment later the phone rang and Carol answered for me, "Obrien residence. Heís busy packing for a... business trip, can I take a message? Yes, I have it, thank you." She hung up and sat down. "That was Fiona OíNeill, sheís cancelled her movie, is chartering a jet and she and Diane will be here within an hour." She looked at me and asked, "How?"

"I donít put qualifications on friendship, you know that, and neither do my friends, Ö my real friends that is. Anyone else is simply an acquaintance." Then I returned to my packing. I didnít need much, a sword and knife and bow, food and water, a blanket and a very few necessities.

They followed me to the bathroom still asking questions as I began to collect some make-up; lipstick, nail polish, mascara and perfume. I considered eye shadow but thought about the weight-volume issue and drummed my fingers as I considered if I could afford that extra weight over something more useful. Then I stopped and realized that I had to stop thinking about this issue and feel about it. I felt like it so tossed it in too. Next came a brush and comb. Then I thought about it and tossed another couple brushes, at the least, they would make nice gifts. Then as I tossed my toothbrush and extras and more toothpaste, I saw something my daughters kept around and tossed a couple boxes of tampons in too.

"What do you need those for?" Carol asked. "Bullet holes," I replied. Then seeing their shocked faces, I relented, "For the girls. Fiona tends to forget things like this until she needs them.

The two women kept pestering me and I was about to toss them out, physically when Leigh said something I couldnít ignore. "Jason, we may not be the kind of friends who will put their lives on hold and spend a fortune to come on a phone call but we do what we can and when your wife left you, we were there for you."

I sat heavily, opened a bottle of wine and poured three glasses. "Tears, Diane, Fiona and I worked together in the Mid-East. Dianeís books are fictional accounts of our travels there. Later, I was in Russia and saved a kidnapped boy whose father was very important in the government. The people I took him from had power too and I served a three year sentence. Thatís when I met Stars. She had been kidnapped by bandits and afterwards, we becameÖ close. Janice is Ö my daughter who I havenít seen since she was born. I killed the ten men who raped Stars and I intend to be no kinder to those who took Janice. You wonít understand the rest."

"You spent three years in a Russian Gulag? And have children other than the ones we know about? My god, Jason, Iíve known you for almost twenty years and I never knew that."

"I told you once that Iíve done things in my past that youíd not like if you knew about them. This is what I am and why I donít tell you."

Carol chimed in, "Iíve heard rumors that you did things when you traveled but I always put them down to just stories, braggado, lies guys tell when they get drunk to impress the women. I thought you were just doing construction work overseas, not being some kind of hero. I suppose that now that youíve told us, you have to kill us?"

"Maybe."

They backed off at that. Then Leigh said, "I know youíre joking but if half the stuff Diane writes is even half-true, youíre one of the worlds greatest adventurers."

"Greatest!" I laughed. "Do you know what makes an adventurer great? Itís surviving! Half of us die our first adventure so by simply surviving, you are automatically promoted to the top 50% of your profession. Half those die their first year so by simply managing to stay alive, you are now in the top 25% and so on. The girls and I are the best for two reasons, we are still alive and we managed to make money." I stood and returned to my gear closet and pulled a box down. It was locked and I hesitated to open it as I hadnít looked inside since I stored it away when my daughter, Janice, was two. Now I didnít know what she looked like or even how old she was. Leaving it on the table, I impulsively returned to my bedroom and took a couple stuffed animals off my shelf and added them to the pile. Then I opened the frig and removed a bottle of pills and placed them next to the locked box.

"Estrogen?" Leah asked, "Whatís this for? Someone going through Ďthe changeí?"

"More than you understand," I commented repressing a laugh. I didnít want to do this and my stomach was churning at the thought but Tears said she needed Janice and Tears rarely let her emotions get in the way of business. If she needed Janice, there was a good reason.

Finally I was ready. I had gathered weapons, food and water, clothing, medical supplies, money, camping gear and even a few toys for the kids so I left for the corral and gathered my tack. I chased three horses into the paddock and saddled each with a light saddle that could carry we three and our packs. I knew that Tears had a herd of her own so sheíd be able to supply her own steeds. Then I led them to the house and was tying the packs to the saddles when a helicopter landed, discharged the girls and left.

Throwing themselves into my arms, they said, "You said ASAP and so here we are! Tell us about the problem," Diane asked. She was always the calmer of the team and we balanced each other well. I was the logic, Tears grounded us, Diane calmed us and Fiona was the impulsive one.

Inside I poured them a glass of wine and showed them the letter, coin and translation but neither even looked at the translation, which impressed Carol and Leah. But then, all they knew about Diane was from a jacket blurb form one of her novels and Fiona was someone you read about in a tabloid while waiting in line at a supermarket. The truth was, as always, far more complex.

"So who is Stars? Another Amazon? And Janice, from the way itís written, it sounds like there are two of them?" Diane asked sipping her wine. Fiona chugged it and asked for more, but then she always did have a problem that way.

"After we rescued Tears and Fiona from Sulieman in Syria, Tears became pregnant, maybe even by Sulieman, you know how Amazons are, she just accepted the baby and forgot the father existed. So she settled down on the Caspian and raised her daughter.

"Years later I got lost on the way to Japan again and ended up in Russia." I ignored their giggles for that was how we had met, me getting olost in Chicago while going to Japan, then getting lost in Turkey. Sometimes they called me Ďwrong-way Obriení. "I was hired to rescue some important kid and did so, but upset the wrong people. More on that later. Then I joined a caravan and killed some bandits and rescued Stars, another Amazon and we became lovers. We settled just outside Amazon lands and joined up with Tears and Gazelle, Iíll explain later, and spent the next months hunting bandits, rescuing kidnapped people and so on. Tears was pregnant and when she gave birth and it was a daughter, they sent me away and thatís all I heard until this letter."

Fiona asked, "You let them separate you from your daughter?" She understood about me, Kore and my divorce since she had lost her own kids in her own divorce. American courts, despite their promise of equality, always sided with the white or the man or the christian.

"I wasnít the biological father, one of those bandits was but you know Amazons, they donít care much about that since we are just sperm donors and I didnít have any to donate. But I was there through the pregnancy and consider it to be mine,"

Fiona held me as Diane poured me another glass. She was always emotional and tried hard to make me Ďfeelí my emotions when Iíd rather repress them. "You always were a softy for kids despite your hard shell. I guess thatís what made you such a good father and husband.

"So who is this ĎJaniceí they say they need? ĎJanice of the Caravan has been takení is an Amazon name and means your daughter, obviously, who was named after you. But Ďwe need Janice to help usí is cryptic. Itís addressed to you so they want you to find Janice. Why call for us instead of her?" Diane asked.

I switched to old Russian, "Can you understand what I am saying?" When Diane and Fiona answered, Ďdaí and Carol and Leah had totally blank looks on their faces, I continued, "This is every embarrassing to me. Iím Janice."

Fiona laughed but Diane looked at me with a shocked expression, "Are you a drag queen? Well that explains your obsession with breasts. Hell, we were married three years and I never knew. And I thought all this make-up belonged to your kids." I couldnít tell if Diane was being serious, sarcastic or having fun at my expense. She also picked up the pills and medicine and commented, "Estrogen, it doesnít seem to be working on you. Maybe we should strip you and see if you still have all your parts?"

"Itís not like that." I continued as Carol and Leah insisted on knowing what we were talking about. Itís not polite to leave someone out of a conversation but this conversation was personal, too personal and already five people knew about it and that was five too many. I waved them off and continued, still in Old Russian. Not the Old Church Slavonic but the mixture of Russian, Turkish and Greek the Amazons used and made it so difficult for the University to translate. Tears had taught us her native tongue as we taught her English. It was something to do during those years in the Mid-East desert.

"Sarmatians ride horses and too much pounding destroys their manhood. So as they age, with their testicles and prostate damaged, they cease to produce testosterone and they begin to change into androgynous women. Itís like being a transsexual only never getting the surgery.

"Some of them pray to some androgynous god or goddess, I never figured out which, and that Russian kid I rescued wasnít kidnapped, he was gay and ran away to the Sarmatian temple and I thought I was rescuing him from the Sarmatians but I really was kidnapping him. The Sarmatian god got pissed off with me for desecrating his or her temple, beating her or his priests or priestesses and changed me into a woman as punishment. Breasts, vagina, the whole bit. Stop laughing! This is embarrassing enough."

"More embarrassing than when you tried to pick up that drag queen in Damascus?" Fiona said between bouts of laughter. "So you had to dress like a woman. How fitting!"

ĎI didnít dress like a woman, I WAS a woman. That god physically changed me into one. You couldnít tell the difference and Stars looked very close. It took me three years before that god was satisfied and changed me back. And now," I picked up the pills, "I have to go back. I donít want to. I like being a guy. I like sex with women. Being a girl is hard! All that make-up and the dresses and guys hitting on you and I wasnít nearly as strong as I am now."

"But there are advantages," Fiona commented. "multiple orgasms, you can play with your own breasts all you want. Of course you would have to pee sitting," and she laughed again. Fiona was the only woman I knew who could actually write her name in the snow like a man. But despite her oh so feminine body, she never let any man do anything better than she, no matter how stupid she thought that was. She could even belch and fart on cue and remain a lady.

"It wasnít worth the loss. But Tears said she wants me as Janice so I have to go back. Just try to support me on this please, itís hard enough as it is." I pleaded.

"Oh no, Jason," Diane emphasized my name as she switched to English. "We intend to enjoy this to the hilt."

I grabbed my box and meds and said, "letís go." I was a bit angry now.

"Jason," Diane sang, "Arenít you forgetting your pillow? It gets lonely and boring in the field, how can we have a pillow fight unless we bring our pillows?"

Fiona chimed in, "And our baby doll pajamas! We shouldnít forget them!"

"Is this going to last long?" I demanded.

Fiona stopped, looked at me and said, "After all that shit you gave me over my drug problem, Yes, this is going to last for a very long time."

Diane broke the tension, "I think we should check him out first. Itíll get lonely and cold on the trail and I want to know if he can still keep meÖ warm."

"Iím fine," I insisted. "Everything is present and working well, though not as often as I would prefer."

"Yes, but we should check anyway. Remember what Tears did to Sulieman after we killed him. I thought she was just angry with the worms he put in her brain but now with her being pregnant, I wonder if she had a different reason for castrating him?"

"I never asked," I said. "And I doubt that sheíd tell me anyway. Diane, Fiona, we donít have time for this. If Janice has been kidnapped, we are wasting time. Itíll take three days to Ö for Janice to arrive and there are people present. Can we check our gear and take off please?"

Fiona put her arms around my neck, looked into my eyes and said, "You know we still love you and we are just giving you shit because we DO love you." Then she kissed me lightly and Diane slapped me on the rear and said, "Letís get that cute ass moving, Tears needs us."

I finished my wine, I wanted more so grabbed a couple more bottles for courage, then made quick call to ensure the place was looked over while I was gone and led everyone out. I tied my box to my horse, slid the pills into my pack and led the horses and girls to the StarGate in the mesquite grove on my property. Building it here took a fortune but was worth it as I no longer had to travel around the world to specific Gates. The Gate itself was a ring made from quartz-encrusted granite and looked like a piece of art. It wasnít much more than a means to warp space and time and that was a lot easier than most people believed and fortunately, none of the Terran governments believed that they could exist so only a few adventurers used them.

"How do we know?" Fiona asked.

"This coin they sent is the key. Oh right, hold on a moment." I rushed back to the house and returned a moment later. Handing two checks to Carol and Leah, I said, "You thought the coin was your pay when itís really the key to their quae, so here is your reimbursement." They argued a bit but I said, "Friendship is important to me. Saving my lovers and my friends and my daughter is worth the five grand you think you are loosing. Cash it or burn it, I donít care because right now I have my daughter to rescue and men to kill." Then I led Diane and Fiona to the StarGate, degaussed the field, flipped the coin through and as the inside of the ring shimmered, we stepped through to another world.


*1

I looked around as did the girls but saw no one. No danger, no people to meet us, nothing but a hill glade and the sun near the western horizon. Anyone with an attention span can easily tell a setting sun from a rising one so we immediately knew the cardinal directions and set out making camp. "Do you know where we are?" Diane asked. "And youíd think Tears would be here to meet us," added Fiona. What could I say, "StarGates are strange. We must be nearby because of the key but a miscalculation in mass or material could have shunted us to a nearby nexus or maybe they had to leave. I recognize this place, over there, that stone Circle is dedicated to Iarillio, the Russian version of our own Cernunnos. I made the mistake of invoking Him by accident andÖ well it took me a week to pee or sit without hurting and a month to wipe the smile off my face."

"Really!" Fiona stared at the Circle while Diane at me. "You! Sex with a man? As homophobic as you are?"

I snapped back, "He was a god! And after what that Sarmatian god did to me, I wasnít about to piss off any god or goddess."

Before it got dark we had a fire going, our horses hobbled and brushed down and fed and watered for any adventurer ensures his horseís comfort before his ownÖ the surviving ones do that is. Then as the dinner was cooking, Fiona said, "Strip and tell us the truth, no evasions."

"Why strip?" I asked.

"Because if you did change, I want to see. If you didnít, I want to see too." Diane handed me a bottle of wine for she knew this was embarrassing. I always was a prude even though I had been lovers with both of these and we had few, if any biological secrets from each other. So I took a drink, removed my clothes and drank again. Fiona began a careful inspection and Diane followed suit. I could feel them running their fingers across the whip marks on my back and when Fiona examined my genitals, I had an immediate erection. "Well, thatís normal," she giggled. When they were done, I asked if I could get dressed and Diane said, "Now spill, and no more evasions."

"Itís embarrassing." I replied.

"Goddess, Jason, we were married, I watched you fuck my best friends in my bed, youíve watched me pee and held my hair when I puked. If you canít be open with us, who can you trust?í

"This is differentÖ.. I didnít realize that that Sarmatian temple was for castrated or transgendered men. Sarmatians are so accepting of this that when they have those problems, they simply put a dress on and marry a guy who likes guys. Who would have thought that theyíd have a temple dedicated to that. Itís like having a secret church that encourages men to rebuild auto engines.

"The kid I rescued was gay and ran away from his father because of that. I was told that the temple had kidnapped him for sacrifice and when I rescued the boy, I beat up a few of their priests who got in the way. Itís not like that, ALL Sarmatian men are warriors and most of their women are too so just because these guys were wearing dresses didnít make them any less dangerous because they all had spent their lives in combat. Tears is an Amazon, remember, and no one dares think of you two as anything other than dangerous.

"Well, I guess I pissed that god off because the next day I started to grow breasts and my genitals shrank. I returned to the temple and was told that to atone for my sacrilege Iíd have to be a woman for three years. It took three days to change completely and when it was done, I was a woman. 5í4", maybe 5í5", 125-130#, 30something-D, strawberry blondeÖ basically a hot chick. A cosmic practical joke to someone who chased women now was damned to be chased by jerky macho guys. One of the lesbian nuns came in and handed me a dress and make-up and taught me the basics but I refused to be the traditional housewife, whore or barmaid. I figured that if you two and Tears could be feminine and adventurers, why couldnít I?

"So I wore the dress, almost got raped a number of times, and lived my life as usual, only with the wrong anatomy.

"Stars was an Amazon who had been kidnapped by bandits who gang-raped her. I rescued her, killed the bandits and became her protector. She hit on me and we became lesbian-lovers. Assuming that what I was counted as being a lesbian. Later I found she was pregnant and accepted it as mine."

"You always were like that," commented Diane.

"When the baby was born, it was a girl so Stars named her after me and sent me away so she could raise it alone. She said that if she allowed me to stay, then in a couple years when I changed back, theyíd drive me out of Amazon territory and it would hurt more so better I left now. I havenít heard anything from her until this morning."

"Did you love her?" Fiona asked the question Diane was afraid to. Despite our divorce in Turkey, we were still desperately in love with each other. We just couldnít live together and were better as friends and lovers than we were as husband and wife.

"I did not. I felt responsible and protective and I loved what she did to my womanís body but I donít think love ever came into consideration for either of us."

Diane suggested that, "If they want you here as a woman, there is a reason. Why not just ask for you to help and not care which shows? Why specifically address the letter to a man but ask for a woman to help? And by the way, how do you intent to do this? Wear a dress and try to pass? Youíd make a really ugly woman if you did!"

"For the first, I donít know. Maybe the rescue requires time in Amazon lands and they donít let men live there. As for the second, The Demons changed my DNA and they lengthened my Y-chromosome and added a 24th pair. Doctors get confused and think I am XX-male instead of XY-male. So all I have to do is take a lot of estrogen and it fools my body into thinking I am a woman and I change. Then I take testosterone and I change back. Simple. I discovered it by accident when I popped some aspirin that turned out to be my daughterís birth control pills."

She held up the estrogen pills and said, "So you take these, and suddenly you are a woman? How convenient."

"It takes a few days to change and some months to settle into the new body before I can change back but basically, yes. If Iím to be Janice, I suppose I should start now." And I reached for the bottle to have it snatched away by Fiona who said, "Tomorrow you can start, tonight is for me. Iím tired of those Hollywood jerk-offs and want a man who likes me for me. Sorry Di, I need this as much as you do."

Fiona was passionate and made up for the last months we had been apart. Neither of us had been particularly celibate and her Hollywood lifestyle encouraged promiscuity but there was something about an old lover who liked her for herself and not an image that was exciting. Plus she was without doubt the best bed-partner that I had ever had and unlike most women, made certain that I enjoyed the experience as much as she. Afterwards, when Diane asked, "Are you done now? Then get some sleep so I can have my turn in the morning," Fiona whispered in my ear, "Can we keep doing this during your change?"

I whispered back, "Unfortunately, we cannot. if I do, the sex makes testosterone and that counters the estrogen pills. Besides, I shrink really fast." She said, "pity" and snuggled into my arms as we fell asleep.

The next morning Diane crawled in and insisted on her fun which was technically inferior to Fiona but the love we shared made it emotionally far better. After we were done, she held my weight on top of her saying, "I miss this."

"You know here I live," I replied.

"As you know where I live. Twelve hours is a long drive for a dinner date. Perhaps you should build one of those StarGates in my yard." It was a definitely good idea.

"I do love you more than you can know," I added.

"More than Kore?" then seeing my expression, added, "Iím sorry. I didnít mean to hurt you. I do love you but Iím not IN love with you. I wonder if my feelings will change when you change?"

I suggested, "Itís not easy in our culture. I have friends who lost their families when they were found to be gay or when they changed genders. Itís the same with we Witches when our friends find out and decide that we arenít what they agreed to. I do know that my feelings and desires donít change. I still like girls and I fantasized a lot about you and Fiona when I jilled myself."

She pushed me up and said, shocked, "You masturbated? You were always so embarrassed when we caught you doing that and now you admit it. Hey Fi! Wake up! Jason masturbates when heís a girl and he thinks abut us."

"Really! Are you a guy or a girl when you do? And more importantly, which are we?"

I got off and started to dress, "Let up girls, Iím embarrassed enough."

"No really, when you are a girl, do you imagine having a dick to shove inside us or do we have one?" they both laughed at this.

"I fantasize about straight lez-sex. We are both women but sometimes have Ö toys."

"Toys! Tell me more? Do they have batteries and knobs and bumps? What color are they and are they anatomically correct?"

"And whose anatomy are they pattered after? I canít imagine me wearing a purple strap-on with spikes and chains, did you?"

I stomped away in anger and embarrassment then returned, took my pills from Fiona and swallowed a handful, washing them down with water. They just sat there, staring.

"What?" I asked.

"Weíre waiting. Is it like the old werewolf movies where they stop the camera, add a little hair, take a picture and so on, slowly fading in? Or like a morph program? Or do you shimmer then suddenly are a woman?" Diane asked.

"Itís like watching grass grow. Nothing for a long time then I notice that I am jiggling or my clothes are too big. My emotions go haywire and I cry a lot at stupid things and Iím horny as hell and masturbate a lot. It takes months to settle in and accept it."

"Sounds like PMS," offered Diane, "Welcome to my world."

"Speaking of which," I reached into my pack and tossed them the tampons. "You can carry these now.

Fiona jumped up to hug me, "You are such a dear! Did you buy these yourself? Just for me?"

"Donít get all excited, I stole them from my daughters."

At that time we heard a halloo and Tears and Stars rode in. Both the girls ran to Tears and had a wonderful reunion while Stars looked around until she focused on me. "Where is Janice?" she asked.

I started to go to her then stopped, "Sheíll be here in a couple days. I missed you. Sit, have breakfast and tell us all about it."

She dismounted and said, "Who are you?" but tied her horse next to ours. Both were Amazons but only Stars was gay.

This wouldnít be easy. "Remember the tavern in Aktau when Tears brought you and Yu to her room and made Janice tell you about me and my changing? This is how I really am. Iím a man but have already started toÖ." She punched me in the belly then screamed as she pounded me about the head and shoulders, "How could you! You promised youíd never speak of this again and here you are.. a man! I hate you IhateyouIhateyou!" until Tears and Diane pulled her off.

Fiona looked at me and said, "Well that went better than I expected."

After calming Stars down, Tears took over. "I seem to be the only one here who knows both Jason and Janice so let me explain a bit. Janice of the Caravan, daughter to Stars in the Sky was captured by four women if incredible fighting skill. They had Mongol eyes but their weapons were more like the katana Jason, Janice carries. These women walked into the village wearing armor that was leather strips tied together with silk laces. They passed a number of houses until they came to Starís where they then grabbed Janice and ran away to this mountain. Any Amazon who stood in their way was cut down. I managed to kill one of them but only because I recognized their fighting style as similar to yours. We mounted and gave chase and caught them at the base of this mountain and shot them from a distance with arrows but one stood behind and used her halberd to deflect every arrow. Her speed and skill was unbelievable. Finally we were able to get an arrow into her leg and as she faltered, we killed her and chased the others here. The other two ran here and vanished through the StarGate, which closed and we were lost.

"We examined the bodies and found this on one." It was a painting of me in a kimono, obviously done from memory but also obviously me. "So we carried the bodies back to the village and decided that they must have taken Janice to draw you, Jason, into a trap. We think that if Jason goes through the StarGate, he will be killed at once and with him, Janice of the Caravan, but if Janice Obrien goes, she will have a chance to rescue her daughter. So I wrote that letter and tossed it to you." She tossed a bundle on the ground and when Fiona opened it, we saw Japanese armor and weapons. None of this explained why the message arrived in Carolís house and not mine.

Stars came to me and said, "Who would hate you so much theyíd steal my daughter? How many enemies have you made to cause me this?"

I tried to hold her and she pushed me away, "I was Janiceís lover, not yours. I will speak to only Janice Obrien."

I couldnít say anything for she had been drawn into my world and so we had to accept this and deal with it. Tears explained her anger, "When you were Janice, life was good. We fought and killed but always came home and none of this touched her or the baby. Now something that you did as a man has stolen her child from her. It isnít your life as a woman that hurt her, itís your life as a man. Sheíll calm down but I donít know if sheíll ever love you again."

I looked over the armor and weapons and commented on the cheapness of the swords. A Samurai would spend a dozen years income on a good sword that was a work of art as well as an efficient killing machine. These weapons were soldier quality. Yet the skills described a Samurai. It didnít make sense. Why would a Samurai enter danger with substandard weapons? Unless they intended to be caught and wished the enemy to underestimate their technology? Or unless these were Ronin or Ninja and could no longer afford decent weapons?

The armor was standard lacquered leather but was brown and plain, not the gaudy stuff I was used to. At this time, Japan was in the Muromachi period of the constant wars. Tokagawa wouldnít rise to power for a hundred years and Japan was in disunity so this could be any of a hundred nations, a thousand clans. But with this armor and weapons, we had a key to their origin and could open the StarGate and pursue the abductors. And despite my being sent away at her birth and her father being a Russian bandit, I still saw Janice as my daughter and intended to rescue her.

Stars was adamant about leaving now but Tears consoled her. "We need Janice to be here and so we must wait."

"But how long?" She asked. "Every day gives them more time to escape."

Diane chimed in, "If this is a trap, as we believe it to be, then they will be certain to treat the child well if only as leverage against us when they loose. They will also be certain that we know who they are and how to find them quickly. I see why you needed ĎJanice.í Jason is too well known and would attract attention for his size and foreign looks. A band of women would not, at least not as much. As I understand, it shouldnít take more than a few days and we can take that time to plan."

I took a handful of estrogen pills with each meal and woke up the next morning with cramps. Fiona was completely unsympathetic but with the exception of Stars who remained alone, all three followed me to the stream and watched eagerly as I stripped to bathe.

"What are you three doing?" I demanded.

"Waiting. Weíve never seen anything like this. So.. are you going to bathe or not?" Fiona asked.

"I think not." I replied and walked back to camp.

"Woo hooo, look at that wiggle. I think we have some hips growing there." Whistled Fiona. Diane just said, "Get him!" and before I could do anything, they had jumped me and stripped me naked with Fiona on my legs and Diane and Tears holding an arm each. I struggled but it was clear that my strength was failing.

"Hairís longer and lighter." "And heís loosing a couple of inches downstairs." "Pity, I really enjoyed that part." "Nipples, see how they are sticking up. It must be cold." And other such comments were made before they let me up. I clutched my clothes to me and said, in a cracking voice, "That was uncalled for."

"Perhaps," Fiona said, "But unlike the boys and girls when I was developing, we are doing it out of love and fun. I was the first girl to need a bra and the boys were hideous about it. Always watching me run in gym and always wanting to slow dance with me and always trying to grab them. And the other girls were the worst because they were jealous and said the most hurtful things."

"Then you should know what Iím feeling and be nicer," I said.

Diane moved in, "Except we all saw how you stared at Fiona. Even when you were doing Tears and were with me, you never stopped staring at her. And how do you think that made me feel, knowing that my lover and husband was staring at my best friend all the time?"

"Iím sorry. I was a pig and now Iím being roasted. What do I do about it?"

"Stand up and drop your clothes!" Tears said. "Weíre curious as to how our former lover is changing into Ö I really donít know what to call you anymore."

So I stood and let my clothes fall to the ground. And turned redder and redder as they made their clinical observations. "Definitely a B-cup going there." "Nice waist." "Pity heís shrinking downstairs so fast." Finally they let me go and as I dressed and left, Diane called, "We still love you, I hope you understand that."

That night as I stood to get something, Fiona said, "Stop!" She then stood next to me and said, "Youíre shorter. I used to look up to you and now I look at you. And look at your clothes, they are baggier, too big for you." Then she grabbed my chest and commented, "Nice rack! Definitely a C-cup. By morning you should be a nice looking chick." I left and sat under the stars, crying. I didnít know why, probably this hormone thing then when Fiona came to me, I said, "I think I can stop the pills, I seem to be changing on my own now."

"Will the pills make you change faster?"

"Probably."

"Then you should continue. Despite what Diane said, we need to move fast. Jason," she looked at me and said, "I know how you feel. Iím not talking about us making fun of you, Iím talking about loosing Janice. I know you loved her. You held her mother as she grew inside and was there when she was born then she was ripped from you. You had that happen before in Ireland when the British killed Kore and your other children. It happened to me when I lost my children during my divorce in Chicago. It hurts and there isnít a fucking thing we can do to ease the pain.

"You are a wonderful man, the ideal husband and an incredible father and thatís why Iíll never give you children and why Stars denied you Janice." I stared at her and she continued.

"You loved her baby but it wasnít yours. It never was and it never will be. For two, maybe three thousand years Amazons have been selectively breeding for this. Any Amazon who loved a man would leave and take those het-marriage genes from the population. Any Amazon who kept her son would leave and again remove those genes. So the ones who could give up their sons or who could send the father away passed down that attitude. She canít help it but be this way any more than you can help loving your children, even those that you donít sire.

"So if Diane or I give you children, youíd love them and raise them and I love that in you but eventually weíd split and the one that lost the kids would die. I couldnít bear to loose any more children so youíd give them to me and that would kill you. Stars sent you away because if she let you remain until you changed back, it would kill you to leave after loving and raising the child.

"So you have a choice, remain a woman and raise a daughter that you never sired or knew and desert the children you know and raised back home, or ignore Starsí daughter and return to your other kids." She kissed me then, gently and said, "Thatís one reason we are teasing you about changing. It takes your mind off your children."

I kissed her again and said, "I do love you and we would have been great together."

"No we wouldnít. You are a jealous and possessive man and would have killed every actor that kissed me. Letís go back."

When we returned to the fire Diane stood and said, Heís not jiggling any more, heís bouncing! I think itís bra-time. Flash them baby!"

"Forget the tits, I want to see the pussy. Drop them girl!" Fiona emphasized the word Ďgirlí.

"OK, have your fun if you must," and I dropped my pants and stood there naked from the waist down.

"Looks decent. Sit and spread Jason, or should we start calling you Janice?"

"If you donít get this over with, you know what Iíll be calling you!" I snapped.

"Oooh, a little bitchy today are we. Does our little girl-friend have her period or does she just need to get laid?"

I snapped, my voice no longer cracking, "Iíd love to get laid but donít have the anatomy anymore."

"Then show us! Youíve examined our bodies often enough."

I sat and spread my legs, embarrassed and wished I didnít have to see but they brought a torch over and examined me carefully. "Thatís either the worlds largest clit or the worldís smallest prick."

"No, dear, that Gladiator in Syria was the worlds smallest prick!"

"But that fool in Constantinople who tried to buy you was the worlds largest dick-head."

"After I finished his head was the only dick on his body."

"Look, she has a pussy already. Small and dry but showing promise. Our lover will make some man very happy someday."

I got up, "Ok, enough. Iím going to bed."

Diane asked, "Can I sleep with you tonight?"

"As you saw, I donít have the anatomy anymore."

"I can still cuddle with you. Besides, itís cold out here."

We settled down and as I was about to fall asleep, I felt Diane playing with my breasts. "Stop that, Iím trying to sleep here."

"Turnabout, my love, is fair play. I canít remember how many times you played with mine when I wanted to sleep. Also I canít count the number of times I gave in just so youíd roll over and let me sleep."

"Well, youíd better stop because Iím getting horny as hell and donít have any way to relieve myself."

She wouldnít stop so I pulled my shirt off and rolled over onto her, my breasts hanging in her face and said, "You started this, now finish!" I must admit for a straight woman, Diane did know how to suck and lick titties. I climaxed easily and almost suffocated her as I pressed them harder seeking another orgasm until she pushed me away. "Enough," she cried, "You win!"

"Not yet, and I lifted her legs and lay on them as when we pounded hard. I held her hands to the ground and eventually managed to rub my clit or penis, I didnít know which, against her genitals until I came. By then she was climaxing too and then I let her go. "Well?" I asked.

"That wasÖ interesting. Can I sleep now? Tears and Fiona probably would like to sleep too." I glanced over and they were watching, wide-eyed. So I turned red again and lay down on my belly to hide.

The next morning I awoke late, my cramps were gone and I felt pretty good for once. So I sat, stretched the girls stared and said, "My god, You can poke an eye out with those."

"What? Oh, I think Iím done. I donít feel any more changes. I guess I can get dressed and we can leave." I reached for my box and unlocked it as Diane stared at my ass. "You have a pussy now, a real pussy, I can see it when you bend over. Stand up so we can get a good look at you."

I wasnít embarrassed any more so I stood, naked and let them look. "Canít you make those things sag a bit, itís humiliating that they are bigger than mine and are perfect." I had to admit that although I was far smaller than Fiona who was admirably endowed, I was also far larger than Tears or Stars and about the same as Diane for the Obrien women are cursed with large breasts and thick maidenheads.

"Sit and spread please, pretend you are in an ob-gyn office."

"If you keep touching me there like that, youíd better put your tongue where your finger is." I suggested. "Ouch! What was that?"

Diane said, "Thereís something blocking your vagina, like a flap of skinÖ oh my god, youíre a virgin!"

"What!" I cried, "Not again! Last time it took the Horned God to break that and now I have to do it all over again? This sucks!"

"Whether you like it or not, you are a virgin, complete with a maidenhead. And at your age. Iím sorry for you."

Shit! Not again. I opened my box and practically threw the lock off the mountain in anger. Then forced myself to relax and breathe deep. By now Stars had returned and was willing to look at me as I dressed. Underpants first, then bra and dress then I put the vest on and laced it up.

Next jewelry, rings and bracelets and necklace then earringsÖ they wouldnít go in. "I canít find the holes! Someone help me."

"Thatís not the first time Iíve heard Jason say that." Fiona said as she looked me over. "You donít have any holes, in your ears I mean. No piercings, never been pierced that I can see."

"No? I did them myself last time."

"Well, like your state of innocence, they re-grew. Here, Diane and I have done enough piercings in our time. Let me see your earrings and weíll fix the problem.

"Hey, be careful. Last time I did that it.. FUCK! What did you do to me?"

"Baby! I just pierced your ear. You are such a wouss. How did you ever become a martial artist with such a low threshold of pain? Here itís in. How does that feel?"

"Like you rammed a railroad spike through my ear! SHIT! What the fuck did you do again?"

Diane said, "You were unbalanced. I had to match your ears now donít move so I can put your earring in or itíll tear. That looks nice. In a few weeks, weíll try something sexier than those hoops. Now for the nipples."

I jumped back, holding my breasts, "Over my dead body you will!"

"Oh grow up, weíre only joking. Here, stand up and let us look at you. Not bad though how you can fight in that dress Iíll never know. We should find something more appropriate for you to wear."

I put my boots on and tried to keep them in sight as I laced them but my chest kept getting in the way. I had to relearn how to move with those weights hanging from my ribcage.

Then I opened my make-up and both Diane and Fiona stared. "JasonÖ Janice you wear make-up! I donít believe it!"

"Itís a habit I got into when I had to live as a woman. At least I donít take all morning to do my face like Fiona does or my ex did."

"Itís also apparent that you apply like a man. If you didnít have a big chest, youíd never attract attention. Here, wipe that crap off and weíll start over. You need colors that compliment your skin tone and hair. I know you like slut-red, youíve told us often enough, but you donít have the coloration to carry it off. Here, try a lighter shade, maybe pink. See, much better. Unless you want to attract the kind of guy that pays two dollars for a blow-job in an alley. Your light hair makes your skin look pale and then the red glares. A softer color darkens your skin and compliments your hair. See, we match your lips to your hair and you look very nice."

"But Diane wears red and sheís a blonde." I protested.

"Diane is a different blonde than you are with darker skin. She can wear red and get away with it. You canít." Fiona explained.

It was all so strange to me. I wore red for three years before with no problem, though I did notice that scuzzy guys kept hitting on me. "Stars, what do you think?"

"I was your lover because I admired you, not your appearance." She said. "But if I must judge, listen to her. She seems to know what she is talking about." Few Amazons wore cosmetics or dresses even though few were gay. Personally I had never seen Tears or Stars wear any make-up in all the years I had known them.

I think we had a party then, Diane, Fiona and myself being made-up and Tears and Stars abstaining. Then we packed our gear and I said, "It would help if some of us wore the Japanese armor. Fiona and I cannot because of our chests so that means you should. Maybe Diane can fit into a set. Let me go first, then Iíll attract any arrows and enemies so you can follow and flank them. Stars, Iíll bring Janice back. Nothing will stop me from this. Iíll see you at your home when we are done."

"MY Daughter has been taken! I am an Amazon! I may not be a warrior like you three but I can still use a bow and sword. If you are fetching my daughter, I go with you!" And she picked up a chisa-katana and armor and started to put it on.

Tears said to me, "Help her. It isnít right for an Amazon mother to remain behind like this and, like all Amazons, she was trained to the sword and bow."

"Ok," I said, "but if so, I want you in the best armor here. If we are attacked, just focus on defense until one of us can kill your assailant. Remember, if you die, I will raise our daughter and that will be at my home, not Amazon lands so live for her."

When I was satisfied that she was as safe as could be, I activated the StarGate and we stepped through to medieval Japan during the Muromachi Period. Specifically during the Century of Wars where the central government broke down until Nobunaga could reunify the country. It would be another half-century before the first Europeans would reach Japan so we would be as strange as was I years ago when I first visited.


*II

The sky was overcast and threatened rain which would probably be hard this close to the Black Current. So, memorizing the area of the StarGate and making notes in our journal, we crossed the hills and found a nearby road. Once upon the road, Tears asked, "Which way?" I couldnít decide so looked at Diane who said, "North" and so we went, five women searching for a stolen child. The rain hit soon after and we continued on wet, cold and miserable. A fine first day in Japan, the land of the Rising Sun.

No one felt like talking until we saw a building in the distance, a broken Tori showed this to be a temple of sorts but the place was in ruins. Fortunately, it was situated on a rise and the roof and three walls were intact, so we entered and looked around. There wasnít much to see because even when built, the temple was a simple two room building with the larger, main part devoted to worship and prayer and the smaller rear part for living or storage. Someone had brought in a large pile of sand and placed it between the pillars that still supported the roof so they could build a fire without burning the place down. There was also a pile of wood and sticks in a corner so Stars used my fire starter and quickly had a cheery fire going as we led the horses into the rear room, removed their tack and wiped them down as best we could. Then we fed them, and by then the fire was going and Stars had strung lines all over and was hanging her clothing to dry.

We all followed and in a very short time, we were passing a bottle of wine around in our underwear, Stars and Tears wearing no bra which hadnít been invented yet and it was apparent that nursing had taken their toll. And so as we warmed up, our mood lightened. We each stripped our packs and lay the gear out to be certain it was dry (most of it was) and we then made the best we could of the situation as we ate and drank and listened to the rain on the roof and watched it through the damaged wall. I broke out my extra brushes and we combed each otherís hair dry and we chatted until Diane commented, "Jason, I mean Janice, you must be in heaven. Five naked girls playing at slumber-party. If we had a pillow fight, youíd think this was perfect."

"I have to admit that I am hot and so wet Iím soaking my panties." I said. Then to break the tension I caused, "It looks like someone took refuge in here and their pursuers broke through the wall to get them. That act of violence probably caused the Kami to abandon this place,"

"Kami?" Tears asked.

"Spirits. Shinto is the original religion of Nippon and builds shrines like this to honor the gods and spirits of nature. Kami can be a spiritual place or a supernatural creature or a god. The Japanese do ceremonies and prayers to honor and placate the Kami." I explained.

"Janice," interrupted Tears with a little concern, "Considering your recent interactions with various gods, should we worry about this place? Thatís how you became cursed in the first place."

Fiona added, "Yes, remember when you led us into that crypt to avoid the Bedouins and it was filled with zombies?"

"You are right, why take chances. Anyone have a bowl?" I asked. When I received one I went to the door, still in bra and panties, and raised them both to the rain and said in Japanese, "Oh Kami of this place, we are but poor travelers who have sought refuge in your shrine from the rain. Please take pity on suffering women and accept this offering in gratitude for your hospitality and protection." Then I lay the bowl outside the door in a dry area and poured it full of wine.

"There," I said as I returned. "That should placate the Kami. Theyíve been ignored for so long they probably love the attention. My hairís wet again, someone comb it dry again please." As Stars moved to do that I commented, "I never used to be like this. Now I find being pampered veryÖ sensual."

Fiona tuned the small harp she carried and began a song and those who knew it chimed in and so we spent the time until sleep took us in wine, dance and song.

***

I awoke as Tears nudged me. "Shh," she whispered in my ear, "we have company."

I carefully slid away from Stars and a part of me noticed that I hadnít noticed when she had joined me after sleep. I woke Diane as Tears woke Fiona and I looked out the hole in the wall to see shadows moving around the tree-line. The fire had burned down to coals so it was very dark inside which gave us an advantage so I motioned to Diane and Fiona to check the horses and watched as Diane slung her bow, Fiona drew her sword and after making certain that Diane was covering her, she entered with Diane searching the rafters with drawn bow from outside. Good girls! Hollywood hadnít dulled their training. I could see why Fi wasnít popular with action directors for she was a professional and they wanted fake action on the screen.

Stars had woken, strung her bow and moved to one window, and staying well away from the opening, she looked around, then moved away and to the other side avoiding the window to repeat her investigation. Satisfied that no one was by the window with waiting blade, she leaned the naginata against the wall and looked out, bow at ready. I was concerned, as the Stars with whom I had lived had shown no interest in war but then, all Amazons were trained in war regardless of their personal desires.

Tears checked the other window and then Diane and Fiona returned to whisper, "Horses are nervous but safe, room is secure. Weíll hear if anyone breaks in."

I motioned all together and said, "I donít know if these are bandits, Ronin, Samurai, travelers or those we seek. Letís let them be aggressive and try to take some for questioning if they attack. If they do, kill with arrows first and avoid sword-play." Then all returned to their positions and waited.

Finally, maybe seconds, maybe minutes I got impatient and put my vest on. "Iím going outside to pee. Maybe they will want to talk, if not weíll know their intentions." And as I left in vest and panties, Tears handed me the wine bottle and said, "The bowl is empty, if the Kami drank it, we could use their luck." I agreed though in reality it was probably a fox that emptied the wine. But I traded my bow for the bottle, slid my swords through my belt and left the room lacing my vest and adjusting my breasts as I did to appear unaware of their presence. I knelt, poured another libation and setting the bottle down, wandered towards a likely looking bush. Alcohol was a diuretic and I did need to pee.

I knew that I was being covered so felt completely safe until one of the men stood out with drawn spear. He made no threatening move other than to be on guard so I knew he was a distraction. As soon as he flinched, I ducked, reached up to grab the butt of the spear being thrust at my head (good, they wanted us alive) and pulled him off balance then kicked him in the balls as he fell forward. Then I blocked the swung spear from the first man and we started a staff fight with spears until I heard a scream and a number of the shadows simply vanished. There was fighting in the trees and my opponent looked around in terror then turned and ran, to be dragged down by something short and mean and not at all human. The thing killed him quickly, looked at me, bowed then moved back into the trees to vanish.

Diane was there then and said, "I guess the Kami liked our offering," as she saw the carnage. No shit Sherlock!

"This one is still alive, letís drag him inside." We dragged the unconscious man to the shrine, stripped him to his loincloth then dragged him inside and tied him to the post as the other women left and searched the trees for survivors. Tears and Stars had both shot someone from the windows, the rest had been killed by the Kami. The girls made a number of trips bringing armor and weapons into the temple but no bodies then Tears asked, "Arenít you going to search his clothing for a knife? You always told us to hide a small knife where it could be ignored by a casual search."

I glared at her as she said, "You might find something you like." And laughed.

"You like men," I suggested.

"But you were one so you know the difference between a knife and a Ďswordí." She laughed again. Dammit! I started to reach into his fundoshi but snickers from the girls stopped me so I pulled my knife and cut his loincloth free and pulled it away. "There, nothing. Happy?"

Fiona suggested, "He may be hiding one in his ass. I think you should do a full-cavity search!" and all laughed at that.

"If he has a knife up his ass, he can have it. Iím not going up there." I stated.

"Why not?" Diane asked. "You always wanted to shove something up my ass."

Why were they taunting me like this? Was it because I was the new-girl and had to prove myself to them? "How did the search go?" I asked to change the subject.

"I found their picket. The horses had broken and ran in panic. Eight dead, no survivors that I can see. Two died near the building. Iím glad Tears insisted on placating the local spirits. At least none of us had to sleep with them for protection."

As the adrenaline faded, the others again sought their blankets and I approached Stars who rebuffed me. "Why? I want you. And you crawled in with me."

"I was cold, and Iím more than a means to slake your lusts. Rescue my daughter and Iíll reward you thus." And she caressed my crotch which made me moan. Goddess I was horny and tried to kiss her. She pushed me off and said, "Seek anotherís bed if you need it that badly. Iím going to sleep."

I was angry and desperately in need of sex. "Ok girls, changing like this has screwed up my hormones and as I said, for the first month or so Iím like a nympho-goat in heat. So unless you want to watch me self-pleasure, someone help me."

Fiona said, "Personally, Iíd like a show. Could be fun to watch. And Iím not going to piss off Stars."

Fuck! Ok, I was so wet and desperate that I didnít care so in the light of the fire, I began to caress myself and remove my limited clothing, bringing myself to climax with amazing speed. Knowing I was being watched by my former lovers simply inspired me so, on stage, I went all out and had a dozen orgasms as the girls watched. Finally, with one last that caused me to arch to the sky, I collapsed exhausted and I lay there, spent until Tears said, "Our prisoner is awake."

"How can you tell?" Diane asked, never taking her eyes off me, her expression strange.

"Because," Tears continued, "Heís had an erection since Janice started and he managed to cum without being touched."

We all ran over to see and saw him slowly shrinking and a line of semen trailing a couple feet ahead of him. "Wow! Good distance. Pity heís so small." Diane commented.

I lifted his face and looked into his eyes that never managed to leave my naked breasts so I said, "Gag him and weíll question him in the morning. Iím tired." Curious. Japanese hate breasts but love necks which they see as sensual. How did he climax and why stare at my boobs and not my neck?

***

I awoke relaxed and naked and alone so washed in the water we had collected during the rain as someone had placed barrels at the drain points of the roof and we had more than enough clean water. Then I dressed and did my make-up and joined the rest for breakfast. We generally ignored our prisoner other than to make rude comments at his expense. Japanese tend to be smaller than Europeans which with the male obsession with penis size causes their porn to show then as possessing a three foot long by ten inch diameter phallus capable of breaking walls down and they often used dildos and penis extensions. Modern porn includes tentacles and they have always been obsessed with rape. However, older Japanese saw no problem with male homosexuality and they hated breasts but loved long necks so he must have been staring at mine in disgust and not admiration last night.

Finally, I approached and saw he was hard again, or still, and as I was the only one who spoke Japanese I asked him his name and mission. Our prisoner refused to answer and prepared himself for torture. I noticed that Diane, Fiona and Tears were wearing the Translator Amulets that we had bought in Syria so many years ago. It would help them learn the language within days or weeks but I hoped to be finished here long before they were fluent.

"I am Buraian no Janiisu-hime. The Kami killed your friends last night when you attacked us for we are under their protection. You live only because I rendered you unconscious and so they missed you in the massacre. See that woman over there? Her daughter was kidnapped from her home a few days ago and we have traveled here to rescue her. Now that woman was gang raped by a dozen men and with her daughter gone, she is in no mood to be nice to any male so you can talk to me or you can scream for her. And she doesnít care what she does to you but will enjoy it far more than will you." Then I left to examine his weapons.

Their work was decent but not superior. I guessed that they were standard soldier grade that had been mass-produced for an army and so were a bit better than those used by the kidnappers. The armor was standard lacquered-leather laced with silk and was plain brown. Some had solid leather breastplates, most had the usual banded do. All wore the thigh and crotch guards but only a couple wore shoulder plates and none wore arm guards and there were three helmets of simple jingasa design but the rest wore simple grass sun hats.

"What did you tell him that scared him so much his dick shrank and hid." Fiona asked.

"I told him who I was and why we were here, that we were under the protection of the Kami who killed his friends and if he didnít answer my questions, Iíd turn him over to the mother of the child he kidnapped."

Diane remarked, "Iíd be scared myself after that speech. So what do we do with him?"

"We pack up and then we ask questions then we let him go or kill him or leave him for the Kami."

"Janice, you have a mean streak that I never saw when you were a man." Fiona said.

"My hormones are going crazy. I donít know if I should cry or kill. Goddess I can use some Godiva chocolate and a real good fucking right now." I responded.

"We all feel like that sometimes." She responded.

"But Iím like that always. Youíve had years to get used to being a woman when you hit puberty. I had days. Youíve been a woman all your life and youíve settled into it, your body has accepted breasts and vagina and estrogen everything that goes along with being a woman so you feel bad at most a few days a month. Iíve been like this for a day. Think of what you would be like if you took everything from the time you first started to develop to today, every period, every cycle, every sexual desire and every mood swing... then pack those into a couple days. Itís not a roller coaster for me, itís rockets then a crash then another rocket with no in between. I could jill off 24-7 and not be satisfied and Iím miserable because of this. Itís taking all my strength to not rape the shit out of that guy and hack him into dog meat while I fuck him. I Ö" I trailed off.

She took me by the hand and said, "Follow me," then after asking Diane to pack the horses, we went outside where she found a grassy place near an overgrown garden and kissed me. "Youíve been there for me, I can at least help you." Then she kissed me again. "Slow down, youíre moving too fast." She said.

"No, Fiona, youíre moving too slow. I donít want to be made love to, I need to be fucked." I begged.

She looked at me then she raped my mouth with her tongue, "Like this?"

"Harder! Make me a woman, force me!" I begged.

So she raped me. She bit my nipples as she sucked until I climaxed a dozen times. She fingered me another dozen climaxes and she tied my wrists to a tree and ate my pussy until I begged her to stop. My only complaint was she didnít have anything to ram into me. Finally I said, "Thank you, my love. I feel more relaxed.. .for now. You can untie me now."

We returned, my hair and make-up a mess and Stars giving me a dirty look but frankly, I didnít care. "Where did you learn that?" I asked.

"College. My roommate and I experimented a bit. I found I preferred boys, she preferred girls but I figured that I could remember some of what we did."

I washed up, re-applied and brushed the grass from my hair and by then the horses were packed and ready to go. Tears and Stars were wearing some of the armor and Diane had found that if she padded everything and bound her chest, she could barely fit into the breastplate but neither Fiona nor myself could since we were both so well-endowed. So we tied the rest of the armor to the horses, divided the weapons among ourselves and then as we were ready to go, decided to interrogate the prisoner.

I knelt to him and said, "Iím in a good mood now, thanks to Fiona but Stars, the mother of the child is, obviously, more angry than before. You will tell me everything and what I do not ask, you will offer or we will leave you with her and let her catch up with us when she is done."

I motioned for Stars to come forward and he instantly started to talk. He talked about everything from the weather to the structure of the castle he served to the numbers of Samurai to the average rice cultivation in the fields. When he slowed down, she took another step forward and that unleashed another speech. Eventually when he was repeating himself for the third time I said, "Enough. Stars, he is yours but whatever you do, do it fast and outside. I donít want to desecrate another temple. It looks like rain and Iíd like to reach that village he mentioned before then."

I then poured the remaining wine to the Kami and thanked them for their protection. Tears dragged him out the side hole then returned a moment later, came out, mounted and we left without a word or looking around. None of us were innocent. I had lost my wife and children when the British burned my house down with my family inside. Fiona had had her children taken away by the courts that disapproved of her religion and a few years later her kids and ex vanished with his new wife. Tears had been raped to pregnancy as was Stars and Diane had lost her husband in Vietnam and their child by miscarriage. Our baggage was not only on the horses but within our souls and none of us much cared about the man she had just killed.

I smiled at her and patted her hand and received a smile in return then as we left the shrine, I thought about we five. Two were Amazons who saw men as little more than an occasional sperm donor. Two were normal women, one divorced, the other widowed, who adventured by accident and then there was me.

Why me? Rather, why Janice? Iíd rather have come as a man but Tears had a reason and asking her wouldnít do much good. As a woman I was more impulsive because of my wild hormones but I was also more cautious because of my lowered strength. Stars had no desire to allow me to return to her and since I didnít love her, that wasnít an issue. Diane and Fiona would have preferred me as a man and Tears probably didnít care since I was sterile so what advantage was there for insisting on Janice over Jason?

I put the thoughts aside and tried to kill time by explaining Japan to my companions. I used Japanese words then their Russian equivalents whenever possible for their Amulets.
*Japan was a series of 3000 islands, about a third of them inhabited. The four main islands were a chain from NE to SW and were mountainous, volcanic and covered with forests and rice fields but only about one fifth of the land was capable of being farmed and so wars tended to be fought over farmland. Rice here was planted in water to drown the bugs that ate the crops but as there was more than enough water in Japan, this wasnít a problem.
*The Emperor had ruled in unbroken succession since his first Ancestor was descended from Amateratsu, the Sun Goddess. But for most of Japanís history, he was little more than a figurehead and the country was ruled by local kings until the Shogun would unite Japan in another century or so.
*Society was feudal and caste centered with Samurai at the top, followed by priests then peasants then merchants who would eventually buy their way into power. And Samurai had the right to kill any peasant who had offended him. The current Muromachi Era was noted by a laxity of dress away from the Chinese influenced Hein robes and towards the looser peasant hunting garb and the rise of the Samurai as a power.
*The Ten Year War had ended but the Century of Warfare was beginning and peasant revolts and armies were forcing the kings to consider making the Samurai a separate class and to disarm the peasantry. No Europeans had yet come to Japan as Diaz had only just rounded Africa and neither Europe nor Japan had the ship-building technology to make the trip to the otherís shores so goods were passed by caravan via the Silk Road.
*Women were rapidly losing their rights here as were peasants but rice was still the staple of the economy and the standard currency was the amount of rice that would feed a family for a year.
*We were in northern Honshu, away from Imperial politics so the locals were more concerned with consolidating their own power and fighting off Chinese and Korean pirates, holding off the Hairy Ainu and defending themselves from their neighboring Japanese kings. In short, we were in a nation in turmoil the likes of which no one could imagine.

The one thing I couldnít figure out was why this whole situation had happened. My only real enemy here was a kendo teacher who had a distant relative in the Shogun who had put a price on my head, but that was only to appease his cousin and not for any personal reason. And how did they learn that Janice was Jason when only a few people knew that secret and most were dead or five thousand miles away? And then, how did they know Iíd care about Janice and how did they learn about her and the StarGates? There were far too many questions here and no possible answers.

I found a place to eat and we dismounted and tied our horses to the building since we couldnít find a corral or hitching post. For the life of me, I couldnít remember how I did that before. Then we entered and sat on the floor and I ordered saki and food. The owner was terrified and ran to serve us, not knowing if we should bow to him because we were women or he should bow to us because we were Samurai. In the end, survival encouraged him to be polite to us.

To ease his distress, I laid a golden coin from Georgia on the mat and it suddenly vanished into his sleeve. "Sir," I suggested, "I am Buraian no Janiisu-hime (the Lady Janice Obrien in archaic Japanese), and that gold is for food, lodging andÖ (I leaned forward) information."

He backed off a bit, probably torn between those in power who would kill him tomorrow and those in his business who would kill him today.

"This," I motioned to Stars, "is Stars in the Sky (I deliberately used the masculine honorifics Ďsamaí to show how important we were, translating her name into Japanese) whose daughter was kidnapped a few days ago by four women Samurai wearing this armor. Two were killed, the others we tracked this far. Last night their accomplices attacked us and were killed by us and the Kami under whose protection we were. The mother is, understandably upset at the loss of her daughter and we intend to rescue the child and kill anyone and everyone who hinders our task. Now," I leaned towards him, showing my smile but tapping my katana, "what we need is Nipponese kimono, a place to stay and a place to seek the child so we can leave your village as soon as possible. Otherwise we will remain here asking a lot of embarrassing questions until the local lord becomes dismayed with the hospitality you give us. Please, kind sir, take pity on a bereaved mother and her humble friends." Then I held my bowl out for more saki.

Stars was anxious about how calmly I sat there and talked to the cook but Diane said to her in Russian, "Donít let this calm exterior fool you. She is simply preparing for an act of destructive violence that will give nightmares to those few who survive. She cut her way through a dozen Saxon orcs and Arab assassins to kill Sulieman and rescue Tears. She cut her way through an Ottoman army to free me and Fiona from the arena. And she cut her way through an army of vampires and ghouls to save us in Petra. You asked her to be here so now accept that choice and believe that weíll get your daughter back and punish those who took her."

The man shoved his face almost through the floor in fear and cried, "Noble Lady, please, I cannot say what I do not know."

I emptied my saki bowl and placed a number of foreign gold and silver coins inside it. Then I kept adding until it overflowed. "Silver and gold are spendable no matter what king mints the coin. I will pay well for information for even a small piece of the puzzle will lead to the whole. Someone here knows something useful, please put the word out that those with even a little information can claim their reward. Now will you please send for a seamstress that we may purchase local clothing. And send also for someone who will care for our horses until we can leave, hopefully before the sweat dries from their backs, if not, before they die of age." The two other patrons quickly left after eyeing my bowl that I casually ignored as I ate.

Diane and Tears left with a couple of the villagers to care for the horses and reported a rice storeroom that had been converted to a stable for us as the villagers were too poor to own any horses themselves. I paid the owner of the warehouse and ensured that heíd care for and feed the horses and guard our tack with his life. I commented, "you mean you will guard our tack with your childrenís lives?" He paled and agreed them immediately ran off and I imagine he slept not a wink the entire time we were there. I wouldnít have harmed the children but better he thought I would.

The seamstress arrived, showed us some kimonos that were beautiful so we finished our meal and followed her to her shop where we purchased some long kimonos for noble women and a few shorter ones for peasant women. We were also offered the Hakama pants that were going out of fashion for women which only the Amazonís took. The shorter ones, kimono and hakama, were to wear and fight in and left our legs bare, the longer ones simply because they were beautiful. Both Diane and Fiona loved the style and colours until I commented, "You need to bind your chest and pad your waist to make it flow properly.

"Why ever for?"

"Women here donít have much of a womanís body as we see it and they design their clothes for lines not curves. Our breasts, waist and hips break the lines so weíre expected to pad and bind to look like a boy."

"Screw that!" Fiona said. "I put too much work into keeping this body looking good and Iím not going to hide it no matter what the fashion." Well, she tried and finally found something that would look decent and still show her figure. I admit that I found her as sexy as before despite the horror of the seamstress.

I made certain that I bought one with long sleeves and legs in a dark blue color for night work. We also bought decorated combs for our hair though neither Amazon cared much for these and jewelry was almost totally unheard of here. Such beautiful fabrics and no way to show a figure and no jewelry to wear. And so, wearing our dress kimonos over the working ones, wearing swords (Russian, Arab and Japanese), and carrying parasols to avoid the rain, we toured our new home. It wasnít much. We had the best rooms in the village and insisted on the seamstress making us pillows for I never could get used to sleeping on a block of padded wood.

That evening our first informant arrived. It wasnít much to learn. A week ago four Samurai women passed through the village from the north road. They appeared to have gone a long way and were in a hurry. They were not seen to return. I paid the man a silver coin that would feed his family for a month.

"Why so much for so little information," Tears asked.

"Because, my dear, now we know that whomever hired them lives a fair distance north of here. Thus we no longer have to search south or west or even in the immediate vicinity." I explained. "Itís a puzzle, every piece is important not only to answer a question, but to eliminate the wrong questions."

"But," she argued, "they didnít return."

"Not so!" I said, "They were not Ďseení to have returned. They may have passed through in the dark or bypassed the village or such. We still need information. It is pity that those who sought our lives at the shrine didnít know who hired them."

That night I paid two more silver and a kick to the third informant. The silver went to a woman who said a female Samurai stole a nanny goat from her a few days ago. Nanny goats mean milk and why would a people who are lactose intolerant need a milk-goat if not to feed a child not-yet weaned? The other silver went to a man who heard that a certain castle up north was hiring Ronin of any sex and station. Kings here avoided hiring female Samurai so one that did was worthy of notice. The kick was a man who wanted us to kill his neighbor and concocted a scheme to blame him for the kidnapping.

That night as we bedded down we discussed what we knew and believed. A castle in the north was hiring female Samurai. Four female Samurai came from the north and went to the south. One female Samurai stole a nanny-goat a few days later. I believed that this castle was the place to look. Stars insisted that we leave immediately but I wanted more information. There were too many questions to ask and I hated entering a trap unless I knew how to trip it first.

As the lights went out, Stars came to me and within minutes I was screaming in pleasure. After an eternity of this, I was horse and she simply said, "Save my daughter and you may have this every day and night." Then she left.

She didnít have to bribe me for I had already committed my time, fortune and life to this rescue. But my screwed up body needed the sex and I wasnít going to refuse her. Goddess I was a cheap slut.

The next day I took the girls to the Ďstableí and taught them as much kendo as I could in a short time. I was an expert with a sword and good with a staff but the naginata confused me. The angular sweeping moves required something I didnít possess and using staff techniques worked, but barely. During those hours we paid for more information, some copper, most silver and added more pieces to the puzzle. The castle was rumored to be ready to break off and form itís own kingdom. If so, it would need the blessing of the Shogun and I wondered if the shogun would trade that blessing for me? We also knew the location of the castle but nothing about itís defenses. The child was probably already safe in the castle and so we would need stealth over force. Plus we were now on a time schedule. If these villagers knew about the hiring, then so did the Daimyo and heíd probably strike as soon as he could raise his army for every nation that revolted against itís lawful government has refused to allow anyone to revolt against them.

One thing of great interest that earned a gold coin was the information that the lord of said castle had hired a famous fortune-teller. Supposedly this person could see past any illusion and foretell the future and the past.

I gathered my girls and said, "Now we can leave. I believe that the lord of this northern castle is planning to secede from his king and is hiring an army for that purpose. To do so he needs the blessing of the Shogun who wonít give it until after he is successful. So he hires a psychic to help in the tactics and this psychic discovers me and Janice of the Caravan. He passes the info to his employer who makes a deal with the Shogun. He captures me, turns me over to the Shogun, the Shogun gives me to Sato who then gets off the Shogunís ass and in return the Shogun blesses the revolt. He sends the female Samurai to the Amazon lands knowing that theyíd have a better chance of getting in than would men and they use this as bait to get me here. All the pieces fall together.

"Now my only question is, does this mystic know I am Jason or does he think that Jason is the father and knows nothing about Janice?"

Fiona offered, "If the psychic knew about Janice of the Caravan, then wouldnít he know that you arenít the father and be watching for you as Janice?"

"Not necessarily," Diane said. "Have you ever known a psychic that accurate? Even when we divine, we only get trends and symbols. The psychic would know that ĎJasoní and Stars were together during her pregnancy and may assume that he is the father, especially as Jason wants to be the father. If the cards show Janice is Jason, he may simply think he is misinterpreting. Consider that none of us really believed the story until we saw it ourselves. Tears, itís time to tell us why you asked for Janice."

Tears sighed and then explained, "When they took Janice, we went to the Temples of Athena and Aphrodite for advice. Athena told us about Japan and said weíd need a powerful warrior to help. I thought of you but Athena is notorious for not liking men. Aphrodite is more liberal and said that only a woman warrior could succeed here so I decided that if you were a powerful warrior that met both conditions, you would be the one to call. The fact that youíd do anything to save the child simply added to the prophesy."

"So I had to become a girl again to fill the requirements of a couple Amazon Goddesses?" I wasnít too happy about that. But I had to consider that if the castle was waiting and looking for Jason whom their fortune-teller would say was coming, then Janice might sneak right in. "I hope Aphrodite is hiding us from that mystic," I told Stars and Tears.

"I think Aphrodite likes you. She will protect us," Tears said. "Isnít She an aspect of your Moon Goddess whose Consort took you on that hill?"

I though about this and commented, "Itís a good thing my Gods arenít jealous or possessive or Iíd really be in trouble for sleeping with The Horned God." Aphrodite! I recalled that she was a Turkish Goddess of love and sex and freedom, the Maiden Aspect of The Triple Goddess but as her cult spread to Greece, the misogynous Greeks married her to Hephasteus to keep her tied down and in a harem. But Aphrodite was too powerful and free to be controlled by any man and kept revolting and doing what she wished. No, If Aphrodite was the Maiden, then Sheíd not be angry with my sleeping with Her Consort, the Horned God, Sheíd simply ask Him if He enjoyed me.

Now that we had a goal, we needed a plan and we could do that on the road. So we bought supplies, packed away our nicer kimonos and dressed as wandering Ronin so we could seek entry into the castle.

We camped out near the trail and Stars refused my advances, "After my daughter is returned to me" she insisted. So I jilled enough to sleep and the next morning as I was putting my make-up on, Diane watched for awhile then asked, "Why do you do that?"

"Because, as I told you, that god who cursed me insists that I go all the way and look and be a women or be trapped as an androgen, neither man or woman. So I do this to keep the pendulum swinging."

She watched me finish one eye and as I started on the other she commented, "But that god didnít do this to you. You took a handful of pills and changed. Then when you are done, you take another handful and change back."

I stopped, one eye completely done and the other barely started. "Why the fuck couldnít you mention this earlier!" I yelled. "I could have saved so much trouble."

"I thought you just wanted to be a high-maintenance girl." She offered. "You look nice with make-up on though you donít really need it. Maybe some lipstick, possibly a bit less mascara, could useÖ"

"SHIT!" I yelled as I wiped my eyes clean. I mounted my horse and said, "Are you coming?" and rode off leaving them behind laughing at me.

When we stopped for lunch in another village, I went to Diane and Fiona and asked them, "If I donít HAVE to wear all this crap, and I donít NEED it to look decent, what should I do?"

Fiona said, "You donít have to be high-maintenance. I do because I like the look and as an actress I have to or I look like a ghost on screen. You can easily get away with a lighter shade of red or maybe pink lipstick and occasionally some mascara but usually just the lipstick. Look to Di for a guide."

Diane chimed in, "And the dresses donít need to be gowns. Yes they are nice and feel good but in the field, whatís wrong with pants? We wear them and no one has ever confused either of us for a man. Come with us and weíll teach you. Donít forget your purse."

So we went shopping and found a short hakama and kimono that left my arms and legs free but still looked good and showed my figure. "There!" Fiona said, "Still attractive but much more practical."

Diane added, "Save the make-up and gowns for when you date. Itíll make the evening more special."

"Date!" I cried. "I donít plan to date. Iím still a confirmed lesbian."

"You didnít plan to sleep with a God either. Next time," she offered, "get dinner first."

I admit that I liked the new look. The woman wished for the beauty, the man insisted that this was as feminine but more practical.

We were having our hair tied into a tail though ours were shoulder length wheras the Japanese went easily to their waist as Fiona asked, "Iíd have thought weíd have to wear those elaborate hairstyles we see in the movies."

"Itís too soon for those. A couple centuries ago fashion was mainly elaborate and Chinese. With the rise of the Samurai, simplier clothing you can fight in became common. And the Samurai disdained wealth but loved bright colours. In another couple centuries, as the merchants rise to power fashion returns to being elaborate along with white faces, shaved and repainted eyebrows and blackened teeth."

"Blackened teeth?" Diane was shocked. "Why?"

"Same reason Italian women get fat. Why look good when you are already married? So when a woman marries, she shaves her eyebrows and paints black stripes on her forehead and blackens her teeth to look ugly so no one will try to entice her into adultery which is a capital offense for a woman."

This was disgusting to them but they grew up hippies with women painting half their faces blue and the other half in flowers so why be concerned with Japanese beliefs. Most cultures liked their men tall, dark and handsome but their women small, fair and beautifulÖ until they married and realized that few other men believed in fidelity for any woman other than their own wives. So Tahitians hid in dark houses to bleach their skin, Japanese powered their faces and Africans remained in the shade. It was only among the California Americans that women grew dark as a fashion.

Finally, "Now for the armor." Fiona said, "That bra is attractive but frankly, out here you are not a Victoriaís model so try a sports bra." And she handed one of her spares and helped me adjust myself when I put it on. I lost a complete size and Iíd have to breathe harder but my smaller and flatter breasts helped with the armor. We visited an armourer and after explaining that we werenít crazy and we were Samurai (the money we showed helped), he looked us over, cut the chest plates in half, curved them over a fire and re-laced them to form over our breasts and provide protection without that mashing I expected. Now we looked more professional and were far more comfortable.

"Next," Fiona added, "we cover birth control." I gave her a dirty look and ignored her.

We then left the town and headed north seeking my daughter and our destiny.

***

When we reached the town at the base of the castle, Tears looked at it and commented, "All that exposed wood. Give me a half dozen catapults and some tar and Iíll level that place in a half day."

Stars said, "If theyíve harmed Janice, Iíll help you."

We first needed to settle in, scout out the terrain, gather intelligence andÖ fuck it! I had the idea of just walking through the gates and killing anyone who stood in the way. But instead we rented a room at an inn and told the owner that we were foreign Ronin seeking work.

"Now we wait and ask questions." I said. "Pity you donít speak Japanese for it would be easier to learn whatís happening if we all listened."

From gossip I gathered as we gambled and drank with the other hopefuls, we learned that there was a foreign child on site and that the female Samurai who had captured her had been rewarded with the unwelcome attentions of the lord of the castle. Ok, the guy was a perv who would soon turn his soldiers against him. We also learned that he would occasionally enter the town and test the hopefuls and take the winners to the castle. Until then, the castle was sealed so we began the task of seeking a way to scale the walls. Once over the 30í masonry, the rest would be easy. But to get to that masonry weíd have to cross a moat and two smaller walls.

A couple days later the Lord and his retinue entered the town carrying another painting of me as Jason and asking people if they had seen me. He came up to me and shoved the painting in my face and demanded to know if I knew this man. I looked carefully then said no and he walked off without another look despite our obvious foreign looks. Now I understood why Janice had to come here. My female strawberry youth didnít set off alarms when faced with the image of a taller, older brown-haired man though Europeans were unknown here so his passing by was interesting.

"Aphrodite is helping us," Tears commented.

"My lord," I called as he walked away.

He turned and one of his men was about to kill me, or try when I said, "We seek service with you as Samurai."

Both he and his retainers broke out laughing then he said, "Why should I hire you barbarians?"

"Because, my Lord," I said with a low female bow, "we are Turks and have skills your enemies do not possess as the Mongols discovered."

"Such as?" he asked, amused. We five stood there, women in kimonos but wearing swords of foreign and Japanese make.

"Test us, my Lord and see."

He laughed and said, "Noon in the field with the others. If you survive, I will hire you." Then he walked off seeking my alter ego.

The others came to me and asked what had happened. "He didnít recognize me but is showing everyone the painting. So long as he thinks Jason is not here, he wonít bother to guard the child. All we need is entry into the castle and a chance to escape. Iíll give you the latter, at noon we gain the former. Come, we need to plan a bit."

At noon, we saw the Lord watching fighting between hopefuls and as some were defeated, he hired the winners. Then it was our turn. We all wore our armor and led our horses with strung bows in their cases. The Japanese bow is a magnificently huge seven foot weapon but is unwieldy on a horse and was abandoned as a major weapon of war as the Tachi evolved for rapid mobile fighting. Still, now the spear was the king of the battlefield. Our smaller Mongol bows were designed for exactly this use so when he brought out five opponents and declared that if we killed them, weíd be hired, I asked for five more to prove our worth. He laughed and called for five more hopefuls and we five women stood at one end of the field facing ten laughing men armed with swords and spears and halberds. When the Lord waved Ďbeginí, the men started to walk forward then one called out his name, his lineage and bragged about his exploits. I simply called, "NOW!" and instantly we were astride our mounts and galloping towards the men. They saw five thousand pounds of horse-flesh pounding towards them at thirty miles an hour and started to panic. At one hundred yards we drew and loosed and not one man in a thousand could have dodged or blocked those arrows at that range and power. Unlike the light Japanese arrows, our heavier cedar shafts knocked our opponents off their feet when they struck, killing them instantly even through their armour. We then split to the right and left, circled and as we passed each other, killed the remaining five within seconds.

The Japanese had given up mounted warfare a century earlier in favor of the infantry and I felt that this would be a better selling point than the novelty of a woman with a sword. As for the dead, they would have become soldiers and killers so the world was better off without them. Goddess I was a heartless bitch! But I wanted Janice back.

We rode to the Lord, sheathing our bows then as we stopped before him, he a bit nervous because he now knew that his men would be unable to defend him from us, we all bowed from the saddle and I said, "My Lord, we are Turks from Anatolia within the Ottoman Empire. In our country a woman is little more than harem material so we journeyed east seeking our fortune. You have seen how the Sultan has been able to conquer nations a hundred leagues across. I offer to you this power to use against your enemies. And I say, treat us well and we will fight for you. Seek our harm and we will leave." Then I bowed again.

He sighed with relief and came forward to look at our horses. Tears and Stars rode Sarmatian mares, descended from Mongol stock. I and the rest rode Arabians from Iraq with a blood-line longer than most nations, all bred for mounted combat, speed and endurance. I knew that we could easily outrun and outlast any Japanese horse on the island if need be. The Lord looked and admired our steeds then examined our bows and arrows then hired us on the spot. He then left and we winners gathered around one of his Samurai who instructed us to the castle where we would be quartered.


*III

Once settled in, we switched from armor to dress kimono but kept our working clothes on underneath. We also carried our swords and knives with us to discourage any unwanted attention but I cautioned each of the girls stay together and to bow to every man who looked to have a position. We then explored the castle under the guise of wishing to know of our new home. We all spoke Arabic which we used to prevent the seer to pick up on any Russian and blow our cover. But Tears, Stars and I could also speak Chinese so when faced with a Japanese, we would speak to him in that language which confused him but encouraged him to find a translator philosopher. Our goal was to find where the women and children lived and to that end, being female was an advantage for as with the Turks, any man found with the Lords women would be instantly killed but a woman would not. It would seem that Aphrodite was still looking out for us.

It took only a few hours to locate the womanís quarters and a moment later for the girls to do what they did best, make friends. I found this aspect of a womanís life to be dull dull dull and so I left them to their task and checked on the horses to be certain we would have a ready escape. It was while there I saw the sorcerer leave the castle, alone and unguarded. I couldnít let this opportunity pass so I decided to kill a flock with one stone and went shopping to look over our escape route, knowing that so long as the Lordís wife took an interest in the girls as friends, her husband wouldnít touch them until they were alone and the girls were smart enough to prevent that.

As I followed the sorcerer, I measured the open distances we would need to run under heavy fire and checked for cover where I could hide. Then I wandered into town, looking over the gates and guards and planning our escape. The sorcerer, or sorceress, with Japanese magickians you really couldnít tell as they dressed the same, traveled a winding path but was old and slow enough that I always managed to catch up. Finally he entered a hut which I ignored other than to mark itís position in my mind as I turned the corner. I found a place where I could chuck my kimono and wearing only the darker one I had bought for such nefarious deeds, I tied my hair under a scarf which I also wrapped around my face and snuck back. Once the coast was clear, I entered to find the man rapidly getting stoned on opium. A druggie! I stepped outside for a lungful of fresh hair then entered and killed him and every witness. Then I left quickly with one problem solved. Well, back home they say that Ďdrugs can kill youí which caused me to giggle. Gods, I hope that was my hormones talking and not the opium.

Then I snuck back and dressed then looked over town, checking the best roads and alternates to the south, my recent murders forgotten. As a cover I looked into a number of shops, bought a few things here and there and then found a shop with an ivory phallus and ben-wa balls. The balls were simple but the phallus was made from elephant ivory and was carved with designs that made my toes tingle. It was expensive but I paid for it anyway. Then I went crazy. I bought a couple hair combs, a parasol, a half dozen silk fans, a strap-on, some erotic netseke, a couple pillow books, a few more hair combs. None of the shopkeepers understood me at all. I was a foreign barbarian who dressed as a noblewoman yet I carried swords like a man and went ga-ga over sex toys that most ladies would have a servant purchase.

Then one samurai made the mistake of insulting me. I kicked him in the ass as he walked away and he immediately drew and cut to find me up against him with my dagger up his hakama and the point about to sever his family jewels. "You cannot kill me but I can make you wish you were dead." He slowly lowered his sword and I ordered him to re-sheath slowly. He did so as I drew a bit of blood. Then I suggested that he apologize to me and as he stepped back, he bowed and then grabbed for me. Ju-jutsu was the rage in Japan at that time but not Karate which was Okinawan so I back fisted his hand, breaking the bones, stepped in and palm-struck his nose, breaking that too. It wasnít easy with the tight kimono I was wearing but I managed. And a Karate-ka who trained against Judo-ka will always win over a Judo-ka who knew no Karate.

His friend started to step in but I said, "My friends will hunt you down and you had best hope that the Lord finds you first for the loss of his special cavalry would make him far angrier than the loss of a couple of easily replaced foot soldiers." He backed down and helped his friend away.

I then picked up my purchases and returned to the castle marking my escape routes as I did. The guards let me pass as there were few blonde Samurai women in the city and so I was easily recognizable.

Once in my quarters, I showed the girls my purchases and every one was shocked by the sexual ones. Fiona held up the ivory phallus and said, "beautiful, but is it practical?"

I took it back and said, "it will look nice on my shelf."

"It might also feel nice, my dear." Fiona commented as she ran her tongue up itís length. I remembered when she did that to me and shuddered, images and fantasies flooding my mind and body.

Finally, I opened the pillow book and pulled out some rice paper I had purchased and drawn out a diagram of the castle and town. These were illegal to possess but who would look in a porn book for them. My pen and ink were stuffed into the strap-on. "I may have gone a bit perverted crazy but still did my job. What about you girls?"

"There is a room off the womenís quarters which no one talks about. They look scared when it is mentioned. I think that is the best place to search." Instructed Tears. "You canít reach it from inside because the womenís quarters are so well guarded."

"Can I get there from the outside?" I asked.

"Maybe from above."

"Then I try tonight. Iíll rappel down and see. If the child is there, I will bring her out and we escape."

"The gates will be closed at night." Diane said.

"Then ensure that they are opened. Watch the window and when you see a signal, get them ready to open." We planned a bit more then as our door opened, I slid the maps into the book and left it prominently open with the toys alongside. We all rose and bowed to the Lord who glanced at the book and made a comment, "I see you enjoy the more womanly arts."

"My Lord, we have none of these in our country for a woman who is not a virgin is killed on her wedding night. This freedom your country offers is interesting and over the months we hope to experience more of what you offer. But tonight we are tired and wish to dine simply and sleep if we may."

"Yes," he said, "I understand your day was busy. You injured one of my Samurai and your friends spoke at length with my Lady."

"My Lord," I said bowing again. "The man was a boor and my father would have had him publicly flogged and executed for his words. The fact that I was able to harm him so easily proves that he was not as good as should be one of your retainers.

"As for my friends, is it forbidden for us to make friends? We are strangers in a strange land and what better way to learn your ways than by the noble Lady herself who has impressed my friends with her culture and breeding. We hope to become better people for her attention, if My Lord will agree?"

"Perhaps. In the future please consult with me. I wish you ready to demonstrate your skills tomorrow. I will have straw dummies in the field and you will ride and shoot each that we may see your tactics and know how to use them to our best advantage."

"Of course, My Lord. At what time do you wish us ready?" I asked.

He mentioned a time so early we would need to sleep almost immediately to get enough rest and so we promised to be ready and as he left, we readied our armor and weapons.

"That was close," I said. "Now you see why we speak only Turkish. If he has spies listening and we slip, we are dead. Letís get some sleep and Iíll go out when the castle is down for the night." Then I kissed each one and fell asleep wishing I had a chance to try my new toys out.

Fiona woke me and whispered, "Itís late, or early, regardless, everyone seems to be asleep."

"Good, Iíll check the room. If I return with the baby, we go tonight. If not we search again later." Dressing in my dark kimono with Fiona commenting, "You look like a ninja", and leaving my katana but taking my wakazashi and dagger and rope from our gear, I snuck out the door. The halls were empty but as I reached the upper levels, guards were alert and ready so I left the building by a window and climbed to the rafters. I worked my way to the described room and looped the rope around a beam then lowered myself to the window which overlooked a drop that would scare anyone from jumping. I peeked in and saw no one awake so I slipped inside for the night was hot and the windows were open for any cool breeze.

The only people in the room were a nurse and a baby and shussing the child, I held it to the window to see it and saw the light skin and occidental eyes of a three-year old child. A quick look confirmed the gender so I pressed the carotid of the nurse to ensure a long sleep. If I pressed too hard and long, sheíd never wake up so I had to guess and released as soon as she went limp. I then gathered all the baby gear I could find and bundled everything and tied it to my back with the child against my chest. I peeked through the door only to find guards stationed but asleep and almost took that route when a third came by on patrol. He seemed to pass this room by but his alert attitude meant that Iíd not get out that way and so I rappelled down to a lower floor, released my rope and rappelled down to the ground where I made my way to our quarters.

Stars grabbed the baby and I whispered, "I hope I got the right one because getting her back is well nigh impossible."

Stars was crying and holding her baby which made me want to cry too and soon all of us were crying like school girls. Finally I wiped my nose and told everyone we had to leave. I armored myself, slung my bow and swords and we snuck to the stable where we killed a guard and terrified the stable boy who was told, "Noise equates with death." And he buried into the hay but kept silent. Fiona and Diane wore their cloaks to hide their armor and walked to the gate where they greeted the guards in Turkish. The guards were suspicious of them but they kept smiling and playing with their hair to show they were unarmed and as soon as the guards relaxed, I shot them both from my position and Fiona opened the gates as Diane dragged the corpses aside. The Amazons then rode up leading our Arabians and we all mounted and ran for freedom.

Somehow I expected an alarm to ring immediately and force us to fight our way through but we got out of the city with no trouble at all. Once they discovered the dead guards at the next shift change, the alarm would be given. When we and our horses were found to be gone, the question would be if they would chase us immediately or search more first to find the child gone. Regardless, our Mongol and Arab mounts could easily outlast the Japanese horses that had been bred for short open distances on a small island so once we got ahead, we could stay ahead.

We rode all night and part of the day until we were so tired we began to fall asleep in the saddle and then we searched for a place to hide. Diane saw a Tori and we headed for that and found another shrine but with a well-kept temple and when we entered, the priest saw us and almost ran in terror. If he got away heíd give the alarm so I had Tears run him down and bring him back. Then I explained our mission and made a large gold offering to the shrine which ensured our safety for who can resist the story of a mother being reunited with her stolen child? Especially when backed by gold!

I made a saki offering to the Kami and we took turns watching the road and the priest as Stars held her daughter and cried her happiness. I was almost asleep when Stars came to me and kissed me as she used to when we were together. She handed me the child who was asleep with exhaustion and as I looked at Ďmyí daughter for the first time, she said, "Thank you for this. I will always try to make you happy."

"You were right to send me away." I said. "I would have changed back and you wouldnít have been able to touch me as a man. You can barely touch me now. And this incident would have happened anyway when I was away on some job or the other and you would have hated me for not being there when you needed me."

She smiled at me and said, "I really do care for you."

"But," I asked, "do you love me?"

"Does that matter?"

"To me it does. I may enjoy and dream about your touch but a marriage needs more than sex." I saw something then asked, my heart tearing apart, "Is there someone else."

She answered without looking, "Yes. But I will send her away for you."

"Is she a good mother?"

"Yes."

"Then be happy with her and let her raise our child." It took all my strength to hand the child back to Stars for I missed my own daughters being babies again.

Afterwards, Tears came to me, kissed me on the cheek and said, "Janice of the Caravan is very lucky to have three such parents."

I stopped her from leaving and asked, "Why didnít you tell me?"

"You have always been a jealous and possessive person, sometimes even petty. You let your emotions, your love, and your anger rule you too much. I was afraid that if you knew, youíd throw one of your snits and refuse to help, or you would help but as Jason and this would have been more difficult. Iím sorry I hurt you, but I did what I felt was the right thing."

I wanted to hit her then for this but repressed the emotion and forced my logic up. "You probably made the right choice. It just hurts right now and will take some time to heal."

Whatever would have happened or been said was interrupted when Fiona said, "There is something outside. Something not really human."

We all went to the door and looked out then the priest fell to his knees and started to pray. I looked at him wondering why a Shinto priest would start reciting Buddhist mantras when faced by another Kami. Did so few of these priests believe? "Itís a Tengu, a Kami, half man, half bird. They are reputed to have taught the ninja everything they know. It seems to want to talk so hand me a bottle of saki!" Then I thought again that this Kami was part raven and ravens like shiny objects so I put on a dangly bracelet and carried the saki to the Tengu.

It was standing in the deep shade and was human in the way a cartoonist would draw one but it wore a dark kimono had bird wings from itís shoulders, a human head with a beak and itís feet and hands resembled claws so I approached, stopped a distance away and knelt and bowed saying, "Noble Tengu, Please accept this offering that there be peace between us," and I set the saki and bowl before it and backed away.

The Kami took the saki in itís claw then spoke to me in that voice that parrots use when they are imitating human speech but I was able to understand itís words, barely. When it was done, I removed my brightly shining bracelet and set it in the sunbeam saying, "Thank you noble Kami for your assistance and please accept this offering in friendship and honor." The Tengu snatched the bracelet and immediately flew away so I returned to the temple.

"Well?" they all demanded.

"I donít know if Aphrodite is still looking after us or the first Kami spread the word but this one reports that there is a force of Samurai heading this way on the main road. If we return to that road, they may catch us. If we take the back roads, we will be safe but they will be waiting for us at the StarGate. So we have a choice, try to make the StarGate or abandon it and head for the sea and head home the long way. The Tengu thinks we are safe here and will keep watch for us to warn us so I suggest we rest ourselves and our horses then head out later."

Stars interrupted, "Shouldnít we leave now and try to reach the StarGate before they do?"

"Our horses are exhausted. We ran them all night and half the day. They need to sleep and eat before they drop. And we are tired too. You almost dropped the child on the trail a couple times. If we leave now, we wonít make ten kilometers. Tonight or tomorrow at the latest, we and the horses will be fresh and we can then outrun anything on this island." I refused to listen to arguments and curled up in a corner and fell asleep from exhaustion.

It was dark when I awoke and everyone else was asleep too. We were so tired that we never even posted a sentry, which was normally a fatal mistake but somehow we survived it. I would have to leave a big offering to Aphrodite when I got back to the Amazon lands. I checked the horses and they were still asleep or grazing but still were well. I checked them and no trembling, fur seemed good, their mood was well so I thought they were ready to travel. As soon as the rest were awake we could leave but because of the dark, would have to travel slow to avoid a broken leg in the dark.

I was heating up a quick meal as the rest awoke. I questioned the priest as to the back roads then we ate, saddled and left, leaving another offering to the Kami and a bribe for the priest. It was dark on the trail and the back road wasnít as well kept as the main road so we traveled slow. Tears came up and asked if I was still angry with her to which I replied, "No longer. I was at first but now that Iíve had a chance to think it over, Iím ok."

The sun rose soon after and we were able to make decent time for these horses had been bred to run for hours across the steppes and desert and they were doing what they loved. Janice enjoyed the ride and laughed and jabbered incessantly now that she was back with her mother. And so we passed the time until we stopped for lunch and to stretch our legs.

I was working on a map when Diane asked, "Can we outrun them? Or if caught, outfight them?"

"I donít know. We have to go slower than Iíd like because of the child but she is our main concern. We could go faster on the main road but any messenger he sent ahead would prepare them for us and set a trap. Without knowing these back roads, I just donít know."

"What about if they get to the StarGate first?" she continued.

"I killed their sorcerer back in town. It is unlikely that the Samurai know how to open it so they may just sit there and wait for us. If we divert to the sea and take a ship or caravan back to the Caspian, it would be immediately safer but longer and time equals danger in this century. Iíll decide that when we scout the StarGate in a couple days. I figure two, maybe two and a half days to the gate. He left after we did but probably pushed through the night not caring how many men and horses he killed. He probably left a troop at that last village and tomorrow another at the first village with the rest at the Gate."

She looked into my eyes and said, "Janice, we are not porcelain. We wonít break. I love you for your concern and how you work extra hard to make our lives and journey easier, safer and more comfortable but, we wonít break if we sleep on a rock or step on an bug. If you honestly thought that, you would never have allowed us to adventure with you. And Janice isnít just a child, she is an Amazon child. Sheís probably spent more time in the saddle than you have. Push us as hard as you think you should. Weíll keep up or tell you we need to rest. Really, my dear, Iím a lot tougher than you think." Then she hugged me and left to find a bush.

I lay there looking at the clouds and sky thinking, feeling the warmth from the infrequent sun warm my body. Diane was right. When I found them in Chicago, they were hippie chicks who wanted to get away from the city. They turned into adventurers, fought vampires and ghouls in Petra, were forced gladiators in Turkey, caravan guards in Jordan and helped to kill Sulieman and half his army, a man who was thought to be invincible. The Amazons lived free because they were good fighters and had stood up to Sarmatian, Mongol and Turk. I liked to think of Stars as a housewife and mother because that is how she preferred to be but I forgot that she was an Amazon too.

"Ok girls, gather around." I called. "Iíve decided to take the StarGate to get home. But to do that means we need to be rested and in peak shape so this rushing will only tire us out. The Samurai are split up with detachments in both villages and probably patrolling the forests and hills for us, so they are divided and so easy prey. This is Japan so lets enjoy the sights and view and take our time. By the time we get there, he may have decided that he missed us and go home. Or his people may get tired of camping out and get careless. Regardless, have we ever lost a fight? We have the best horses in the world, the best long-range bows in Japan and I am a far better guerilla fighter than anyone in this part of the world. So letís enjoy ourselves and when we get to the Gate, weíll take whatever action we feel is necessary."

The FAX machine had been invented in 1843 for the telegraph and worked very well. It didnít sell for one reason, life was slow enough so that no one cared if your purchase arrived in a week or a month. Here in the 15th century, life was slower still. My American wife bitched at me if I got home an hour late, Stars didnít start to worry until two weeks had passed. We had been on this job for five days and if we pushed, another two. If we relaxed, add a day or two so we were looking at a weeks time away from our families. Tears saw it as a chance to be single again and let her family care for her daughter. Stars was just happy to be with Janice and neither Fiona, Diane nor myself had any pressing business back home so why not relax?

We rode at a decent clip but not a rush along the back road and near evening, found a small farming community. I left the girls behind and scouted it out but found no Samurai so we all entered boldly and asked to rent a room for the night. The village was too small for an inn so the headman gave us an entire warehouse for our use and as we paid him his fee, he had the place cleaned and tatami mats installed and screens set up for some privacy. I paid him well for his efforts and as we combed our mounts and ensured their care, Janice ran off to play with the local village children.

As always, our hair color, weapons and appearance caused a stir and we were followed by anyone who had any free time so we left our armor behind and enjoyed a hot bath for the Japanese are a very clean people. We were soaking in the tub after bathing outside when a traveling masseur arrived and we all took turns having our bodies poked and prodded and twisted until we collapsed from pleasure.

Diane moaned in pleasure, "This is better than sex!" then I called the headman in and questioned him carefully. No, the nearest village was easily a dayís run away. No, we were the only Samurai they had seen in over a month. The Lord of the province never told them anything, he only demanded rice and taxes. We were welcome to remain as long as we wished (so long as the silver flowed) and so on. We all agreed that he was telling the truth so we enjoyed our hot bath, warm saki, adequate food and blind masseur who was professional enough to not abuse the opportunity to fondle a half dozen women.

"Myamoto Mushashi was the greatest swordsman in Japan winning some sixty duels in his lifetime before he retired and wrote The Book of Five Rings. It was said that after being attacked in a bath once, he never took another in his life." I lectured.

Fiona offered, "The man may have been your hero but forgoing THIS experience made him a fool. I could lay here forever getting out only to be massaged then soaking again until the world ended."

Iím afraid the masseur was exhausted when we were done with him for we were insatiable! But the money I paid him and the tips we gladly handed over made him so happy he promised to remain for as long as we wished. Tears suggested, "Maybe heíd like to come with us? Iím certain heíd get rich doing this back home."

"Offer," I suggested. All he can do is say no."

"Tomorrow. Right now every bone and muscle in my body is loose and I donít want to loose that feeling. Even my saddle-sore ass feels good."

We had dinner, watched the sunset and even ran with the children to catch fireflies until it got late and we drifted off to bed. Stars had long ago put Janice down and I had remembered to give her one of the stuffed animals I had insisted on carrying so as I looked in, I saw them there, Janice asleep holding her stuffed rabbit and Stars laying there holding her child. I sighed as I remembered those days when my own children had been young and we slept before the fireplace and all was well with the world.

Finally I turned in myself, remembering to remove my lipstick, what remained of it and thinking that this is much easier than an entire face. I considered not wearing anything but sunburned lips werenít fun and besides, I liked how it made me feel. I then stripped naked for the night was warm and lay on my bedding looking at my pillow book and admiring my ivory purchase when Stars entered.

She sat next to me, glanced at the pictures and asked, "If Japanese men are built like that, then the man I killed must be inadequate indeed."

"Japanese are built smaller than the norm which is why their porn is so large and graphic. All men suffer feelings of inadequacy when it comes to the size of their male member." I explained.

She turned a page and asked, "You like this? Giant men? This one is breaking a door down with his member. Do you dream of men now when you used to dream of me?"

"This, my dear, is fiction. All fiction is exaggerated from reality. Look at our adventure. When Diane tells this story back home, for she is a storyteller by profession, sheíll add battles and love and passion and make it seem like we five stormed the castle killing hundreds of men to rescue Janice. Real life, like real sex is duller than fantasy and this book is fantasy. I enjoy the pictures but would not like to have this man in my bed.. ever!" I laughed.

"Sex is dull?" she asked. "It is dull when I do this?" I tired to moan Ďnoí but couldnít concentrate. She closed the book, put the light out and then removed her own clothing to join me. Somehow, after an eternity I couldnít control myself and my flailing hands struck the ivory phallus which I took and forced into her hands. "Stars, Iím a virgin again. Be gentle," then I pulled her onto me. It hurt as she penetrated me but not as much as the first time all those years ago. And I climaxed with the pain.

The next morning, I was relaxed and alone and laying in a puddle of dried blood. Shit! But it had been fun so I wrapped a kimono around me and sought the hot bath I had ordered the night before and with Diane and Tears watching, I washed the blood from my thighs and phallus, not caring what they thought. "Donít ask, I enjoyed myself a lot and donít want to loose the feeling."

"We heard! Half the village heard! The men chasing us heard! My daughter in Circassia heard! Stars must have overdone herself last night." Tears said, not without some envy.

I was a bit tender and sore so when clean, I slid into the tub and soaked until breakfast was served.

As I was relaxing Diane said, "You were never that loud with me. I feel so inadequate. Didnít I make you feel good?"

"Very much, my love. But the question isnít if you made me noisy but how could you or any woman NOT scream after feeling like that?" I replied.

She responded, "When your parents are in the next room, you learn to be quiet."

Fiona and Stars arrived soon after for Janice had woken early and had run off to play with her friends again when Tears said, "Iím going to look for an extra horse. If I can find one, Iíll ask the masseur to come with us." And she dressed and left us to our meal.

Unfortunately, she couldnít find one and he couldnít keep up with us so each girl thanked him for the pervious evening and gave him more money which caused him to bow to us over and over. We then packed and prepared to go when Janice ran up and said, "momma, horsies." And pointed across the fields.

"Samurai!" she cried and grabbed the child.

"Remain calm for now. String bows and be ready. Check to see if there are any others." I ordered then strung my bow and checked my arrows and armor cords as I dressed in my do.

The Samurai were approaching, two on horseback and six on foot at a relaxed trot and were tightly grouped which implied that they werenít expecting trouble, so we moved under cover and watched and waited. Stars shushed the child as the villagers ran and hid, those who could not, prostrated themselves as the Samurai passed, not noticing.

The leader called for the headman who immediately prostrated himself and begged for forgiveness for any imagined slight. The Samurai struck him with his spear butt and made some demand that I couldnít hear. I whispered to the girls, "Heís selling us out to buy the lives of his family. Get ready. Stars to the rear, Tears with me, the rest flank." Then Diane and Fiona rode around the buildings to a better position while Tears and I waited their approach from cover.

The Samurai approached our recent dwelling then stopped and yelled, "Surrender. You are outnumbered. Lower your weapons and come out."

Tears and I nocked arrows and moved forward slowly. The other horseman readied his bow and I knew that he was probably a better shot than we were at this range so I kept my arrow loose as we approached and stopped. He could see Stars hiding and I hoped that he would think the others were there too.

"Let us pass and return to our homes please." I called to him.

He laughed at that and ordered us to dismount and prostate ourselves to him. "I am Buraian no Janiisu-hime, HIME Innis and you should prostate yourself to me!" I yelled, more to buy time than in the hopes of obedience.

He looked at us and said, "I saw you in the field but Kitagawa can kill you both before you raise your bows. Surrender."

"I guess we have no choice." I said loudly as two arrows struck the mounted archer from the sides. I immediately killed the other horseman and Tears the man behind, then we proceeded to kill the remaining five foot-soldiers from a safe distance. Within seconds it was over. We were still mounted and alive, the villagers hiding. "At least," Tears commented, "we now have a horse for the masseur." Honor required that we face them on the ground with drawn steel, but frankly, fuck honor! I wanted my girls alive.

I motioned to Diane and Fiona and they took off at a gallop down the road searching for laggards or a support force as Stars circled doing the same, her daughter hiding under a bush. Tears proceeded to chase their horses as I rode to the main street and called to the closed houses, "Come out! I know you told the Samurai about us but you did it to save your families so Iím not angry. Come out now!" I demanded and the headman was near thrown from his place of concealment to grovel before me begging for his life.

"Look up, I hate talking to your bald spot. Let me see your face!" I ordered.

He slowly looked up as I continued, "I know you kill vanquished Samurai and bury their bodies. Most of the fertilizer in Nippon is probably Samurai so I need a few things if we ALL are to survive. Gather us meals to eat on the road and we will leave immediately. Help us strip the bodies and we will take what we wish, then you bury the bodies. Clear our tracks in the town and if others arrive, tell them that you last saw their horses going south. It will be the truth so you will live. Now where is that masseuse?"

When the masseuse was pushed out, I said, "Ichi, Tears of the Moon-sama wishes to talk to you. Come with me please," and I reached down to pull him to my horse only to almost be pulled off by his weight. Damn this womanís body! Last night I would have killed anyone who suggested I give it up, today I missed my former strength and weight. Finally I got him behind me and then had to pry his hands from my breasts and move them to my stomach as I returned to the dead.

I got him off the horse and told Tears, "Make your offer fast. If he accepts, give him the gentler horse and use the other as a pack animal. If he refuses, both are pack." By then Stars had arrived leading her horse and Janice riding and Diane and Fiona were on the way back signaling Ďall clearí. So I bent down and began to strip the bodies. The leader had a good tachi and wakazashi and tanto so I took these for myself. Fiona took the other horsemanís swords and Diane took his bow commenting that sheíd always wanted to learn kyu-do. The rest we wrapped in a bundle and tied to a horse and were doing the same for the best of the armor when the villagers arrived with our meals and shovels and Tears yelled in frustration, "I cannot make him understand. I donít speak enough Japanese and he canít understand Chinese or Russian. Help me."

I dismounted and patiently explained that Tears was offering him a job in another nation where he would probably make a lot of money. If he agreed, weíd take him and Tears would return him to Nippon whenever he wished. He thought about it for a moment then agreed for to be the only masseur in a country meant that heíd be popular and easily make money.

Then Tears spent some minutes trying to get him on a horse. Stars held the reins while she got his foot in the stirrup then pulled and pushed him up only to have him lay cross the saddle on his belly, arms and legs flailing. When she tried to re-seat him, he fell off to the laughter of all. I was glad that they were laughing at someone besides me for a change. Finally she got him mounted and he held the saddle with a death grip as she took his reins.

I mounted and cried, "Youíd better tie him to that saddle unless you want him to fall and break those precious fingers of his."

We rode south at a trot, Janice on a pillow before her mother, Starsí knees holding her legs to the horse and Ichi just terrified as Tears led him on. I motioned for Diane to take point and she rode off keeping within sight but far enough ahead to warn us of trouble.

After a couple hours, Diane rode back to report, "Thereís a nice place just ahead for a break." So when we arrived, we wiped the horses, readjusted their loads and had lunch. Tears and Fiona helped Ichi dismount and he swore heíd never get on another horse as long as he lived. Watching him stagger bow-legged Tears tried to strip him of his pants but he fought her off until I yelled, "Ichi! Calm down, Sheís trying to help you. Let her help or youíll be crippled in fifteen minutes."

Ichi stopped struggling and Tears pulled his hakama to his feet and looked him over, "We got to him in time. Redness but no blisters yet." And she forced him to his belly and rubbed lotion on his ass and inner thighs as she massaged the cramps out. When she let him go, he pulled his pants up but was able to walk normally.

We let Janice run around chasing butterflies as the horses grazed and we ate our snacks. Ichi made his way to me and asked, "Janiisu-hime, you sound tense, may I help?"

"No thank you, Ichi, Iím fineÖ oh yesssssÖ" as he began on my neck. I loosened my shoulder armor so he could do my shoulders and I melted a bit, all the tension fading. When he was finished I said, "Break timeís over. Tears, better tie Ichi to his saddle again and be careful, if his tongue and dick are as talented as his fingers, Iíll steal him from you, give up girls and marry him myself."

As they were struggling to get Ichi mounted again, I yelled, "Whatís the meaning of this? Who tied my phallus to my saddle?" It looked like my saddle had an ivory erection just where I would sit.

The girls laughed and Diane said, "After last night, we thought youíd like an encore. Now if you arenít happy, Iíll be glad to trade horses."

"Keep your hands off Bruno," I snapped.

"Bruno?" Fiona said, "You named your dildo?"

Embarrassed, I explained, "Well, I gave him my maidenhead last night, I figured he deserved a little respect."

Fiona began to sing;


"Janice and Bruno sitting in a tree,
Eff you see kay eye enn gee.
First comes love, then comes marriage,
Then comes Ďwill you shut the hell up already itís three frigging amí!"

"I hope you are enjoying yourself at my expense." I snapped.

"Oh we are," said Diane.

"But not as much as you seem to be having," chimed in Fiona.

Sometimes I hate my life. So I wrapped Bruno in his silk and stowed him into my saddlebags, mounted and led the troop on. "Fiona, take point if you will please."

I slowed a bit to check on Janice who was safely mounted and playing with the reins. The girl was beautiful and looked so much like her mother. I leaned over and blew her a kiss then backed a bit to stop crying. I asked Ichi how he was doing and he said Ďscaredí so I laughed and was about to ride on ahead when he called, "Janiisu-hime, may this worthless person ask a question?"

"Of course, Ichi."

"Your retainers were laughing at you," he said.

I laughed and said, "No Ichi, they arenít laughing at me, they are laughing with me. And they arenít my retainers, they are my friends and lovers. In my homeland I am a Daimyo. Tears-sama is samurai and Stars-sama is a merchant in their land and Diane-sama is a scholar and Fiona-sama is an actress. But we are still friends." It was obvious that he didnít understand so I rode on leaving him to clutch his saddle with another death-grip. "Relax Ichi, weíll want those magic fingers loose and limber tonight."

We stopped again for lunch then shortly after the road turned to the west and near evening, we accidentally entered the first village we had found on the way north. I donít know who was more surprised, the three Samurai who bumped into us or us. We both looked at each other then they drew katanas and we bows then they just as quickly, dropped their swords. Now we had three prisoners. We needed to spend the night there as it was about to rain again but Ö

We led the Samurai to a barn and entered, tied the Samurai up after searching them and then I left to explore the town with Diane. Our first stop was also our luckiest for when we reached the inn where we stayed the first time, we heard Samurai drinking and partying inside. We went to the back and attracted the attention of the serving girl who told us that yesterday a Daimyo passed through, questioned the villagers, brutally and when he found that we had gone north but not south, he left six Samurai behind and continued south with the rest. Three were inside, the rest somewhere in town.

"Good, Diane, fetch Tears and Fiona with bows and be certain that Stars takes no chances. If in doubt, kill the prisoners with arrows. We will station ourselves on the street and I will draw the three out where they surrender or die." She quickly left and I waited and watched. I knew that these people would also betray us if they felt we were loosing so I had to be certain that we did win.

Moments later we were in position and I simply walked into the inn calling for saki, froze when I saw the Samurai then stumbled outside with them in pursuit. Once outside, I stopped and waited and by the time they realized that I wasnít running, we had them in our sights. "Surrender and live, resist and die," I commanded. The three looked at each other then suddenly they drew and charged screaming, each to fall backwards as our arrows hit them.

We dragged the bodies to the barn to find our other prisoners already dead, still bound to the posts. I looked at Stars who dared me to say something so we untied the bodies, cut her arrows free and turned them over to the villagers to bury. The headman was panicking and crying, "We shall all be killed, woe is us," until I grabbed him, raised him and shook him silent. "How many are left? How many passed through?" I demanded.

"Twenty and the Daimyo," he said, crying again.

"Twenty, plus these six plus the eight we killed earlier, plus whatever he left at the other village, only thirty four. I would think he had more respect for us." I joked. "Seven to one is not very flattering."

"Lady Janice, the twenty with the daimyo are all archers. Each of which can shoot the song from a bird at a hundred yards. Woe is us." He started to cry again.

I thought for a minute. "Itís raining now. If we go out, our bowstrings get wet and we loose our military advantage. He looses his archers too then itís sword to sword and we will loose at those odds. The road is wet so horses cannot run. The StarGate is a half day away. I think he will sit there tonight and do nothing until the morning. I suggest we do the same." I turned to the headman and said, "If we kill this lord and all his Samurai, will your village be safe?"

He looked at me as if I were insane. "You, women, kill twenty Samurai. Impossible."

I laughed at this. "So far we have killed forty of his Samurai and Ronin. That is more than his current army. We can do this. All we need is a roof, a comfortable bed and food and your villagers to surround the village and warn us if he arrives so we can prepare for the fight."

He agreed for no other reason than we were alive and armed and the Samurai were dead. Plus unlike the Samurai, we paid well for what we took. So we left the three to the burial groups and made our way to the inn where the keeper prepared us rooms and food. Of course the locals were terrified for no one had ever stood up to Samurai and lived. As Fiona tuned her harp, I told those with the courage to attend us, "a century ago, all Samurai were peasants and all peasants were Samurai. It is only recently that things have changed. Samurai are not unbeatable, we have faced them and always won. Tears and Stars are born to the horse and bow, they can easily kill from a galloping horse on either side. Your Samurai on foot are as good archers as are we but on a horse, they are best shooting to their left. Their bows are too long to easily change sides. And on the ground, I am much better with a sword than they. Plus, I fight dirty!"

So from then, we sang, drank, danced and ate until Janice fell asleep and was put to bed. I followed shortly and my last sight leaving was Tears being massaged by Ichi as Diane danced to Fionaís harp.

I sought my bed and was immediately asleep but woke up with lips on my neck. I knew who it was immediately and kissed her back then felt another set work their way south. Now this was interesting, especially when both fastened to my breasts. I loved that and climaxed easily, then I pulled one face to my lips as the other moved between my legs. Being kissed and licked was incredible then when she used Bruno along with her tongue, I exploded.

I had no idea of who did what and I didnít care. I just lay back and enjoyed it. After they left me, exhausted, I rolled over, satiated and wondered why I had to be in control on the field but hated to be in control in bed. Warring natures I guess. Sex was more fun for me when I was submissive and I didnít care much what was done to me. Yet, I would fight if someone countered my orders in battle. There I had to be in charge and control. I kissed Bruno, hugged him and fell asleep again.

***

In the morning I gave Bruno a good morning piece, then washed and dressed and put on make-up, even doing my eyes. If I was to battle an army today, I wanted them to appreciate who killed them.

As we finished breakfast, one of the villagers rushed in to say that six Samurai were approaching at a casual walk. "Relief for those in town. They wonít be expecting trouble so will be easy to kill. Take your positions, watch cover and fire when I signal."

I love to ambush people. It is my talent in war. Iím not too good in open field tactics where I have to move armies but give me a small force and rugged terrain and Iíll wipe a larger force every time.

Janice was sent to a family where she would be safe, the girls were on roofs with their horses ready behind and I waited on foot at the south end of town for them to enter. I noticed that they were too casual. A century of being on the top of the social and military pyramid had given them contempt for the peasantry. But if this town chose to rise up, they would overwhelm the Samurai even carrying hoes and rice-flails.

I ran up the street signaling Ďbe readyí and then hid and waited. IF my peasants would do their job and run wagons before and behind the Samurai, they would loose the advantage of their horses. I had to be certain to kill enough of them before they could bring their bows to the ready or we would be even and I hate even fights.

When they entered town, they found me holding my bow but kneeling on the ground as if in apology. I suppose I was apologizing, for killing them, but my position made then halt in confusion. "Please, noble Samurai, hear my words before you seek my life," I said, my face still looking down. They looked around and seeing nothing, their leader approached and demanded, "What words?"

I looked at him and said, "Die!" then shot him instantly. His followers brought up their bows but too late and four died an instant later. The last had his bow ready, looked around for a target and finally decided to take me with him. As he drew, five arrows struck him from different directions, knocking him spinning from his horse. I stood and called, "The daimyo now has only sixteen men left. I think we should hunt him now."

Three to one is good odds, especially if we could kill another five before they could react. So we said goodbye to the village and left Ichi and Janice and with our new herd of horses and arsenal and headed south. I had had dummies made and stuffed into the armor and tied to the horses. Diane commented, "Janice, you are shopping too much. Between what you buy and loot, you make the rest of us look bad."

I laughed at this and mentioned that it was now time to flank the road and with me leading the horses and wearing double armor and the girls flanking through the forest on both sides, we headed south to our destiny. I was wearing the armor of the Samurai from the small village we killed over my own, partly for extra protection if I were surprised and also to make the enemy think I was one of their own. And so a couple hours later, we met a trio of sentries riding the road. They called for me and I waved at them but continued on with my fake army in tow. Being overcast, from a long distance we could pass if the observer wanted to see a certain thing. All I had to do was to keep their attention until the girls were in position. This armor was hot and heavy and I wanted to get this over with soon so I could get a bath. Soon enough the patrol realized that something was wrong and so I gave the signal and we killed these three. Thirteen left.

Too soon we reached their camp and I removed my extra armor, cut the horses free and stampeded them to the camp. The Samurai wasted valuable arrows and time and attention trying to kill the attackers until they realized what they were. By then we had slipped behind and begun to shoot them in the back, killing another six before they regrouped and returned fire. At that point we turned and ran hoping to draw them out but no luck. They had established themselves around the StarGate and werenít moving. Nor would we be able to flank or outmaneuver them. It was a stalemate. We couldnít get to them and they couldnít get to us. And there were seven of them to our five and they better archers.

I sat and ate a rice ball and thought. I refused to consider a frontal assault for that would be suicide and only works in movies. We couldnít flank them as their position was excellent. And we couldnít get to the StarGate with them there. Eventually his remaining army would get tired of sitting at the castle and come south and then we would have to run.

"My Lord," I called out. "I offer you peaceful travel back north. We have our child, we only want to return home. We have no quarrel with you or designs on your plans. Let us make peace."

"Where is Jason-dono?" he cried. "He is the one I wish. Give me him and you may leave."

"Lord Innis is gone, maybe forever," I cried back. "I am Lady Innis, Buraian no Janisu-hime. The shogun has no quarrel with me and so I am useless as hostage or bribe. You have nothing to offer the shogun."

"But I have something you want. My men are dead, I am dishonored. Give me yourself that I may execute you before my army and the rest may go. Otherwise I destroy this gateway to your land and you will be trapped here to be hunted at my leisure."

Fuck! And not in a good way. If he destroyed the StarGate, we would have to take our chances towards the coast and find a junk to China, then overland for three months across the desert and steppes, fighting Mandarins, Mongols and Sarmatians the entire way. Or we sail around SE Asia and India, up the Persian Gulf then overland through the Ottoman Empire. Longer and almost as dangerous. Plus Tears hadnít planned on leaving her daughter that long. A week is acceptable, two is tolerable but monthsÖ Her daughter wouldnít recognize her when we returned.

The girls looked at me but said nothing. I may be able to escape from him later but would he keep his promise? Time to call in my ace. As I said, I hate fighting fair. It was an hour to the shrine so I built myself a Tori from the spears of the dead then made an offering to the Kami asking for a distraction to enable me to take my enemies. Only a distraction and a chance. I poured saki and left more shiny jewelry and returned to my position. It started to rain and despite our efforts, our bowstrings got wet and useless. Hopefully theirs would too. Now we had what I needed. If we couldnít shoot them, they couldnít shoot us so it was down to swords. "I donít want you girls hurt. Use spears and surround your victim. Stab him in the back and move on. If need be, run away and reform elsewhere. If we can draw them out and away from the StarGate, we have a chance. Letís go."

We approached carefully in case they had dry strings and we got close before the first arrow hit a tree next to my head. Damn! They had coverings that kept their strings partially dry. I pulled the arrow from the tree easily. No penetration. Their strings were getting wet and stretching but even a weak arrow in the throat would kill. We started to crawl forward as their arrows arched overhead then one screamed. It wasnít a girl scream so I looked up and saw a short spear fall from the sky followed by another. We looked up and saw a flock of Tengu tossing short spears down onto the enemy and pinning them down. One man was dead or dying, six left. Another flight and two more were hit, one mortally then the Tengu left, they simply had no more spears to throw. "Now is time for the last heroic scene." I told Diane.

I stood and called out, "I am Buraian Janiisu-hime, Lady Innis. I have killed ten bandits in as many seconds in the hills of Astrakgan. I killed a khan of the Golden Hoard as he sought to rape me then I killed a half dozen of his best warriors who sought revenge. I killed two more with my wakazashi. I have killed dozens of Mongols, Sarmatians and Turks and I have killed a dozen of your useless Samurai. Send forth a champion that I may add another head to the pikes outside my home."

I waited as they thought this over then they came forward in the rain. My leather armor was lighter than their iron which gave me mobility but not as much protection. Also they were stronger than I and so they saw a quick victory.

This is how the Japanese like to fight a war. My Celtic blood understood. My girls and his men watching as the greatest heroes fought to the death, then more and more until the heroes were gone and the common warriors could fight to add honors to their name.

One came forward, followed by the remaining three. Diane grabbed me and asked, "Janice what the hell are you doing?"

I answered, "We outnumber them but they have the advantage of skill and strength so it had to be this way. Think of it as your final chapter when you write your book. You needed a climactic battle, now you donít have to invent one. Donít worry, Iíve killed better men than these."

"But you were a man and stronger than they. This is different," she pleaded.

"Not as much as you think." I approached not even listening to his braggado and as I cut him down with one thrust up his belly under his do from my knees, I pulled my katana free and walked past his falling body, knowing he was already dead. "If I am not stronger than they," I called over my shoulder, "I must be faster. Next!"

Two came at me from the sides so I charged one and as he went on guard, I spun and killed the one thinking to stab me in the back. Then I turned and blocked, blocked and thrust into the eyes of the first.

"Now, my Lord, your time has come. Your Samurai are dead. I have won and no one will witness your death other than we women who care naught for your honor. You stole my daughter to bribe the shogun. And that I cannot forgive. You may face me and die or run and die but die you will." The girls came forward holding their spears at the ready, surrounding him.

He then did the unexpected. He cut his armor off, dropped his sword and pulled his tanto and was about to fall to his knees when Stars screamed, "No!" and drove her spear through his face before he could commit seppuku. As he fell backwards, she pulled it free and drove it again and again into him until she was exhausted and crying.

"You told me how these would kill themselves to regain their honor. I couldnít allow that to happen." I held her as she sobbed and said, "He died in disgrace, cutting his armor off and dropping his katana like a coward. This is the story we will tell and all will believe he died a coward. This, my love, is your final act of vengeance against the man who stole our daughter."

I took his swords and we returned to the first temple until the rain stopped and there we poured libations to the Kami and got drunk.


*IV

When the sun was above the trees, we awoke with massive hangovers and managed to saddle our horses then rode to the village to report what had happened. Stars reunited with her daughter and told her the trouble was over. We stayed another day to recover and bathe and party with the locals, then we gathered our gear and returned to the StarGate which we activated and entered. It was dark on the other side but Tears insisted on seeing her daughter and so we rode in the dark not to her home but to Starsí house. There we saw an older woman, heavy with child and holding two others. One broke free and ran to Tearsí calling Ďmamaí and Stars ran to the arms of the woman who it seemed, was her wife. I had a twinge of jealousy there, not because I loved Stars, but because I felt rejected.

They invited us to stay and we did for a day, then Tears set Ichi up in Aktau which was on the edge of Amazon lands for even a blind man wasnít allowed to live among the Amazons. We remained a week, celebrating and renewing old friendships but Stars never did come to my bed again and I was hurt because of it. Fiona said one night, "If itís any consolation, you are far sexier than that other woman and any woman, or man, would be proud to have you."

"Then why," I asked, "am I still single?"

"Because women are superficial and men are jerks."

Tears moved into Aktau for a while, rented Ichi a room and bought him a young slave-girl to care for him and teach him Russian and Arabic and after receiving one of the first massages, the girl became absolutely devoted to the blind man.

And I made an offering of thanks to both Athena and Aphrodite though I suspect that Aphrodite had more to do with our success than Athena. But I learned the hard way to never piss off a god,

I spent more time with Bruno that I wanted but managed to become a bit promiscuous as I learned how to pick up women again, with Fionaís help. Unfortunately, only a small part of the Amazon population is truly gay. Some like Tears are straight but fortunately, most are bi, preferring men but settling for women. And among Turks, lesbianism is condemned but male homosexuality accepted. Strangely enough, in Hitlerís Germany the reverse was true.

Then one day, Diane asked, "Is it time to go home yet?"

***

Once through the StarGate, we met my friends who had been visiting every day to watch the place but mostly to see what would happen and they saw us return, loaded down with antiques which we dropped off at my private dojo. Carol said, "Are those real? They look valuable?"

I picked up the Daimyoís sword and thought, "This is over 500 years old. Itís probably worth easily five figures, probably more. The rest are as valuable. Itís a perk with adventuring. Not only do you travel to different times and places, you get to loot and sell your loot for more than it was originally worth. Oh yes, did you cash those checks yet? Here," and I tossed them each a gold coin from the Ottoman Empire. "Jason said to give these to you."

"Where is Jason," they demanded.

Diane and Fiona started to giggle and nudged me so I said, "Jason has some unfinished business. Iím Janice, his twin sister. Heíll be back eventually."

One looked at me and said, "I didnít know he had a twin, especially one that looks half his age."

I laughed, "You didnít know he adventured either or that StarGates existed or time travel was possible or that Dianeís novels were biographical or a dozen other things that we donít talk about. But for me, that hot tub is waiting and I need to get out of this kimono and into a dress. Feel free to join me but be careful for like Jason, I prefer girls and it has been a long dry spell."

As we unpacked the horses and rubbed them down. Fiona mentioned, "Janice, you said once that it took you a few months to settle in. And weíve only known you for a couple weeks, so I thought that if you needed to hang around for awhile, we could have some fun together."

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


Return to the Home Page.

1