Page two of the unfortunately continuing saga Picture

Since I have yet to be booed off the stage, I'm continuing my experiment in what I would like to call "Illustrated Fiction." I would like to call it that but Deviantart has no such category, nor anything that seems to come close. Therefore I must post this under a completely unrelated category, since books with pictures obviously haven't been invented yet. Comment are most welcome, especially the negative ones, because those might discourage me from making a complete ass out of myself..... Yeah, right--who am I kidding?

Gitchell awoke like something had bit him, and opened his eyes to find himself alone in his chambers with only the caged human. By the look on it's face, it was

logical to assume he'd done something metaphysical and weird in his sleep, but nothing in the room seemed amiss, so he'd probably just transfigured himself again.

Pretty much everyone in Zamargados was biokinetic, which resulted in people looking the way they felt. Every time Gitch fell asleep in his home world he wound up

being astrally projected into his human body on Earth, and Earthlings always tended to feel quite horrible. "Abreq Ad Haber Ah," Gitch murmured, calling for a mirror

to be apported to him from the dressing chamber down the hall. It only confirmed his suspicions that his human features had changed and now looked even more

disparagingly humanoid, and he struggled to recall how much time he'd spent across the void this time. One could live a lifetime over there in the blink of an eye when

it came to dreams, had he been there a week? a month? Only a day? The Earth time was all that mattered, once his human half had been there for 39 years, the spell

would be broken and he couldn't return. It was imperative that he return the human before that day arrived or it would be trapped here until Justin learned enough

magick to be able to cross over himself--true cambions who could live in both worlds were rare, and just because Justin would one day be able to go back to Earth, did

not mean he would be willing to do it. Gitchell often regretted his own decision to act as a liason to the other realm--technically he was more of a spy, since the

humans would know a liason was there. It wasn't that Gitch made a secret of what he was, it's just that humans couldn't wrap their minds around the concept, and when

humans cannot understand something they tend to lash out in waves of raging cruelty. It was better not to push the point, if only for the sake of self preservation.

What the hell ARE you?

The thought scampered across the audio centers of Gitchell's brain and was translated into an almost audible voice. His eyes fastened quickly on the human in a glare

of undisguised annoyance. "If you can hear every word I say in there, what in the hell makes you think I can't hear you? If you have something to say, I'd prefer you

say it OUT LOUD! Every time I read your mind I find something new that pisses me off."

"Uh, Sorry about that, I guess," the human replied in a voice that reaffirmed, somewhat, the suspicions that it was male. "You are still him then? The mermaid man that

brought me here?"

"Yes, I am, though I seem to have pulled an 'Aunt Clara' and shapeshifted a little." Gitch's annoyance grew as the human's befuddled expression showed no signs of

recognizing the reference, "Never mind, we have more important things to deal with right now." He groaned, reaching for his trident and hauling himself out of bed. He

envied other Zamargodians who never had to wake up feeling human, like their brain had been ripped apart, lubricated, and slapped back together too quickly for all the

connections to match up. Gravity was balking him, and trying to stand upright on his tail was like trying to balance on top of a slinky in a sock full of mud. If it

weren't for the human houseguest, he wouldn't have increased the gravity levels to what earthlings were accoustomed to--nor would he be concerned about appearances in

his own home. Humans tended to be snotty and judgemental about any percieved weaknesses, regardless of which trailer park they had crawled out of. "Excarpay Haycomah,"

he muttered, altering the density of the air around him to provide more bouyancy. He required coffee, an addiction he had acquired in their miserable little world, and

more than that he wanted to get out of the human thing's sight. He was starting to feel dirty just looking at it. The pneumatic air pressure in the room had adjusted

itself to the point where he was floating a little, as if half submerged in water, and he told himself he was even managing some grace as he slithered out of the room,

and dropped down in the hallway, where the gravity was set to a normal level for Zamargados.

Sister Coriandra saw the Heritor from the kitchen and glided towards him with a stein full of old, cold coffee that could have been used to peel paint off the walls.

Gitchell's eyes were red--the irises usually were, but it had spread to the veins in the whites of his eyes and the rest of him looked tired as well. 'Tired' was the

nicest word she could think of to describe it. Zamargodians usually tended to meet each other at the best possible moments of life, but this Prince Heritor's exploits

in the human world often left him a bit shabbier than his naturally occurring biokinetic abilities could compensate for. She was used to seeing him looking positively

mortal, but still..... It didn't take much empathy to see how much his latest foray into the land of the jerks had drained him. "My liege!" she cried, showing a bit

more concern than was technically polite,"Your coffee is ready, I brewed three pots of it last night and it's begun to reek like boiled socks. I only hope it's strong

enough this morning..."

"I've asked you not to call me that, Sister, Heritors haven't used titles in more centuries than even I can remember. The term 'Heritor' itself only means one who

would one day have a title--be placed in charge of something, but there are no other titles and nobody gets to be in charge of anything. Our elders rid our government

of such station because power corrupts--it always corrupts! And with my human half I am probably more corruptable than most." Gitch punctuated his gruff and cranky

tirade by sucking down the entire flagon of raunchy coffee in on draught.

"My apologies, Gitchael, Lilinite Sisters have always addressed the Heritors that way, it is a difficult habit to break." Her flawless face gazed down at her

tentacles, signifying remorse. "And while Heritors are not uncommon and virtually anyone can achieve the title, you are the only Cambion Heritor. Your power to move

into the first world is entirely unique."

"It won't be for long, provided you and your sisters do as I have asked of you." Gitch's eyes widened slightly as his mug refilled itself, "The young man I sent to you

for instruction..."

"Justin? But Gitchael, he is nowhere near bright enough..." Coriandra cut herself off quickly. Gitch's red eyes had begun to glow, and it probably wasn't just from the

caffiene--she had said something that he did NOT like.

"He transcended consciously, sister--Dare not forget that! Even if I did not now the lad personally, the fact that he moved between the realms once already WITHOUT

dying proves that his intellect is NOT deficient." Gitch gulped down more coffee before going on. His neural pathways were starting to clear and his synaptic responses

were beginning to normalize--also his voice was beginning to get loud. The sister was, above all else, an empath. He needed to reign in his emotions before going on or

he was going to hurt her, and she didn't deserve that. "I'm sorry, so sorry... Please try to understand, sister, he was born and raised over there. He was stuck there

for more than twenty years! Tailoring your lessons to suit is needs is indeed the most taxing challenge you and your sisters could ever face in this realm, but you

must remember, it is not his fault that his mind works so differently from ours."

Coriandra blinked the beginnings of tears from her eyes. The waves of emotion that Gitch was struggling to control had revealed only the slightest bit of anger, but

also pain and sorrow--Justin's mind wasn't the only one that operated differently from all others in this plane--the heritor had to have been born over there as well.

In spite of the advantages of being an adult in Zamargados, he would have been a child on Earth, enduring an almost normal life among the humans. His powers in that

realm had to be kept secret, and from what he'd told her they sucked by comparison to what they took for granted here. "Of course, Gitchael... It seems I have been

quite humanoid in my prejudice and intolerance, and for that I must apologize. There must be some way in which we can better understand the halfling.. We've tried

scanning his mind of course, but it is so irrational and confusing! Flashes of images, surges of emotion, words that ring out without forming intelligible

sentences.... Often we find him envisioning us with body parts unlike anything we actually possess......."

Coffee erupted from Gitchell's mouth and nose accompanied by a harsh bleating sound that evolved into laughter. The confused look on Coriandra's face only served to

amuse him even more. "Perhaps we ought to homeschool the boy, My pretty? You've been helping me here in the castle since before my human half was born, so some of

those human thought processes must have seeped into your brain over the decades. We also have a purebred human in the castle now, for you to try and understand. It

seems to me that of all the lovely Lilin sisters in all of Zamargados, you alone are uniquely qualified to tutor Justin...."

Coriandra's eyes widened in sudden epiphany, "You are absolutely right, My--I mean, Gitchael. If I were to refuse this calling, it could be a pandemic error--there's

no telling how much suffering could be avoided by providing Justin with the best possible education. If I am the best possible educator for him, then I must undertake

that responsiblity. Can you spare me some time with the purebred human? I should learn all I can from him."

"I'm not sure how much time we have before my gateway to their reality closes--my human half is well into it's thirty-eighth year." Gitch's brow furrowed as his eyes

gazed introspectively at nothing, "Justin should be here soon. I think I shall take over his education for the day and let you spend some time with the human. If we

can get the little Hobgoblin on the right path, perhaps we can trust him to return the human to earth after my time runs out. If you keep the coffee coming, that will

buy us some time as well--as long as I do not fall asleep in this realm, my human half will remain in stasis and time ovwer there will not progress more than four to

six hours." Gitch shoved himself away from the wall he had been leaning against and lurched forward, clumsily. Evidently he was not yet awake enough to defy what few

guidelines of physics Zamargados still tried to enforce. Anyone who saw him clumsily lurching about like this would never imagine he had earned the title Prince

Heritor, so he and Justin would be able to go anywhere they wished without anyone coming to him for help with their little magick screwups--perhaps he could stretch

the boys educational foray out into a little vacation for himself and let the other heritors handle the metaphysical mishaps for a while. If something actually

required him specifically to intercede, the universe would twist his fate to make sure he didn't miss it. He met Justin in the main foyer, just as the lad was entering

through an open window--out of politeness he chose one near the front door, out of convenience he didn't bother to land until he was inside.

"Great Gwion Gitchell! You look like you've seen better days....."

Glancing at his reflection in a nearby mirror, Gitch was kind of sruprised Justin recognized him at all. "Gitch is in his laboratory, I'm just waiting to ask him for a

good Water-Warming spell..."

"Nice try, Gitch, but you already know the quickest and most effective incantation is "Heycoma Bitohem," Justin could barely hold in his urge to laugh out loud at

Gitchell's failure to trick him. Nobody else in all of Zamargados knew what it felt like to be human, and Gitch was feeling VERY human right now--empathy never lies.

"I must assume life on Earth hasn't improved if you still feel like that after coming home. Feel free to spare me the details; I lived through enough of them in my

first life, thank you."

"It probably wasn't your first life if you could transcend between the worlds. You've done that twice now, first from Earth to Xanthland, and then from there to here."

"A lot of people can travel between worlds, they just can't break through to Earth. That's hardly much of a setback if you ask me." Justin folded his wings tightly

behind his back, concerned of clumsily knocking something over in the heavily decorated entryway. He hadn't figured out how the mutable timestream worked yet, and even

though nobody seemed to mind rewinding it a bit to unbreak some of the things he had already accidentally smashed, it was still very embarrassing. "I just stopped in

to say hello before I went to see the sisters."

"Yeah, about that...." Gitchell let the old English lapse, since Justin was still more accustomed to the lazy vernacular of earthling English," Coriandra and I have

decided that the sisters aren't handling your education so well. "She's going to spend the day with the dude we brought over from Earth and I'm going to hang out with

you today, and if you learn something, that would be awesome, if not, fuck it...." Gitch flopped down into an overstuffed and garish chair of gold painted wood and

bloodred velvet. Somehow he only managed to splatter coffee on himself in the process, but his clumsiness still defied all his efforts to pretend that his human

frailties were hanging on longer than they should be.

"Are you sure you're up to it, Gitch?" Justin wasn't about to judge Gitch for being a bit overcome by his human half, after all, Justin himself was still struggling to

get past his humanity and he had been at it for three years. "I'm not trying to be a dick or anything, but you don't seem like you could zap your way out of a wet

paper bag today..."

"Which is perfect, don't you think? 'Those who cannot do teach.' Isn't that how the saying goes?" Gitch set off a couple of harmless electrostatic sparks, just to show

that a wet paper bag wouldn't balk him. "Besides, as long as I'm not radiating energy, nobody can tell I'm a heritor, so there's going to be fewer interruptions." He

paused for a moment to marvel at how grammatically incorrect his last sentence had been, and wondered if any purebred humans ever did the same--such strange thoughts

danced across his primary cerebellum at the oddest times.....

"Fine, then teach me how to call for a large apport--like a dragon or a pegasus or something. Even at your best you suck at flying and you aren't built for land

travel. Watching aquatic cambions try to squirm across the ground is almost painful."

"You should never try to apport a sentient creature--that's just mean! Imagine being 'conjured' somewhere against your will, like Durwood on Bewitched! Would you be in

any mood to offer somebody a ride after that?" Gitch shifted uncomforably in the ugly old chair--why did castles always come with crappy furniture like this? A better

question is why he hadn't bothered to change it into something more useful, like a beanbag chair.... "Just send out a telepathic request--like shouting with your mind,

a silent scream, but ask politely, of course."

Justin formed the question in his head, then centered it in his consciousness and opened up his mind, allowing the energy to spiral out like an electric pinwheel

spraying electrons through the sky. Before he even opened his eyes he could feel slight, gusting drafts coming in through the window, indicating that a flying creaure

was on it's way. "Maybe we should wait outside?"

Gitchell wasn't even fully out the door when the Zibataur landed in the shabby courtyard, and Justin was sitting on the window ledge, slightly hesitant. Zibataurs were

rare, only half a dozen of them lived in Zamargados, having migrated from the Xanthian dimension. Justin knew most of them--and was fairly certain he knew this guy as


"You called, Justin?" The young man with the wings of a dragon and hindquarters of a horse clopped forward to greet the demented duo. "Who is your friend?"

"Gitchell Cambion," Gitch answered before Justin might be tempted to fib about his identity--in a world where everyone posesses some degree of telepathy lying was

usually an incredibly stupid mistake, even to a reject from such a newfound dimension.

"Gitch is my tutor, Carrefour," Justin almost winced at his friends contrived, yet chosen name. A winged centaur with a colorful "C" name was such a silly cliche--not

that Justin had any room to judge, since he still kept his human name. "He thinks the world is the best classroom environment for me and I think it's a bit sadistic to

expect him to travel any distance across land MANUALLY, so I was hoping....."

"Of course! Perhaps I could learn something too, in the process. I've been here for a couple decades now, but you can't tell it by my powers. I can fly and make a

little fire, and that's about it..." Carrefour looked a bit embarrassed, and glanced away from Gitch.

"Plenty of Zamargodians get by on lamer tricks than that, my friend, and they have lived here all their lives." Gitch chuckled,"Why do new residents expect so much

from themselves? Nobody is going to ask you to leave just because you cannot rip the moon out of the sky with a wave of your hand--in fact we rather like our moons

where they are and would prefer if you left them alone." Gitch saw the Zibataur brighten at this, and wasn't entirely sure why his words ahd cheered Carrefour up so

much. He was just stating facts of life. " However I would prefer it if you did learn something from me, then it would be worth your while to give me a lift, rather

than just me mooching..."

A flicker of recognition crossed Carrefour's eyes, "You're from that shithole of a planet too? Earth? Nobody in Zamargad knows what 'mooching' is!"

"You are so BUSTED!" Justin laughed,"Evidently I'm a bad influence on you..."

"But you're a Prince Heritor, aren't you? This village only has one Heritor and he's an aquatic who lives HERE." Carrefour's eyes lost a bit of focus as he

empathically scanned Gitch. "You ARE a heritor. I can FEEL it! You would think I would have heard about a reject from Earth making the grade of Heritor..."

"Don't waste your energies on me, Carrefour, I'm not so much a reject from earth as a reject from here." Gitch let his guard down for a moment. "My powers probably

aren't even worthy of being a Heritor, except for one. I have the power to project myself into a human body in the First Dimension. I can move back and forth between

the worlds, but I didn't actually come from there, I merely 'have a summer home in reality.'"

"I'd learn to hate summer." The Zibataur replied, "Why would anyone subject themselves to that?"

"Because the human race is on the fast track to it's own extinction, and we don't know what might happen to the other universes if theirs collapses."Gitch was speaking

more to remind himself than to explain anything. He found that if he reminded himself of the supposed importance of this mission, it made the curse a little tolerable.

"For centuries there has always been at least one cambion Heritor. Lilith the first, Azazel, Moloch, Astaroth, Merlin Ambrosius and Morgana Lafey.... Humans

instinctively hate them. History records them as evil at first, then transfers them to the annals of mythology so that the next cambion to cross over will have nothing

factual to learn from. However we have always interceded whenever the humans come a bit too close to decimating their universe in its entirety. I'm just not sure I can

stop it this time--not in the time I have left over there. All curses must eventually come to and end, and when mine does they will be on their own until another

cambion makes Heritor and crosses over again."

"That's what you're going to teach Justin?" Carrefour stared in a disbeleif that verged on open mockery,"But he's only been here for e few years! He can't possibly

learn that fast!"

"If you're calling me a dumbass, I'm afraid you might be right. I'm even more afraid that I'm learning even slower because I really don't want to go back, but I am


"And he's our ONLY option. Thanks to humans indiscriminate breeding practices and hyperactive reproductive cycles, ALL the cambions are being born in THEIR world.

Those little slutbunnies are threatening to breed ALL of us out of existence, which I'm fairly sure has always been their intention. Justin is the olny cambion child

to return to us of his own free will--he made conscious transcension! His human body is still alive over there. I've seen it. It's operating on auto-pilot at the

moment, it doesn't have his memories or consciousness or any sort of free will, but I don't think any of the humans have noticed. Once he has learned enough here, he

can still go back." Gitchell shook his head sadly,"Having a destiny tends to suck, doesn't it?"

"So I'm dead over there?--Nevermind, I don't want to know.." Carrefour, shook his head resolutely and straightened up a little. "Well, if this world is the best

classroom for Justin, we'd better get moving before the bell rings--Mount up Merman! We're off to teach a wizard!"

Gitch shook out his collapsable trident, and using it to brace himself, swung himself up though the air and onto the zebataur's back, then telekinetically adjusted his

personal center of gravity to allow him to keep his balance. There was a flourish of uneccassary rustling as the twain pairs of wings unfolded and beat the air,

rocketing the unlikely trio into the burning sky. After a few moments of polite ruckus to announce their passage, the aeronauts allowed their wingbeats to fall into

silence as they glided along chasing the winds of fate and whatever dreamscape they might lead to.
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