TASGENI: WHO SAYS 'NO' TO THE EARTHQUAKE?Scott Grildrig06-Feb-1995Dragons are a nasty lot. They are ill-tempered, ill-mannered, ill-willed, easilyirked and inevitably ill-intentioned. Their hunger is deep and inassuagable.

Their tastes are vile and deplorable. They prefer to dine on young virgins, forreasons never adequately explained, but which fits in nicely with the everexpanding list of `ills' and the whole bad taste thing. Every kingdom everfounded seems to be plagued by a dragon (they have a strong union), which is whythe Knight Rental Service ("You pay by the Knight, not by the day") has posted ahandsome profit for the past five harvests.

The Kingdom of Prattle had a dragon problem. Because of his ferocious appetitesthe roll of available virgins was swiftly dwindling, (a fact noted in theminutes by the sole remaining member of the Virgin Union). Dues were down,eligible bachelors were flocking to the Less-Than-Virgin shop (run by a mannamed Hymen, but that's a tale for another time), and the people were beginningto worry what new culinary direction the draconic appetite would take when thevirgin supply ran dry. It didn't help when the King was caught making plans withthe Duke of Poxbury to turn the Last Remaining Virgin's bed chamber into a gameroom, (snooker and parcheesi, with an open bar). The Princess Tasgeni's reactionwas, itself, described in draconian terms, and the King wisely opted to departupon a protracted hunting trip. All of which serves to explain why there was ashortage of knights, heroes, sidekicks and such when the dragon Bitumen showedup in a peckish mood.

The morning watch spotted the worm soaring down from the cloudless heights, along black plume of smoke trailing back from its nostrils. The watchman soundedthe invasion bells, but the wild clamor, far from inspiring people to hide,instead served to bring most of the castle's inhabitants out to see what all thefuss was about. The Princess Tasgeni, against the piteous cries of her oldnurse, stepped out onto her high tower balcony to see for herself the cause ofthe commotion. Her curiosity was quickly satisfied. The dragon, anticipatingsuch an opportunity, plummeted like a meteor and snatched up the lucklessPrincess in his claws. His beating wings swiftly lifted him upwards from thestunned people, and the wailing cries of Tasgeni faded into the azure sky. Afterthat morals dipped a bit as the employees of the Less-Than-Virgin shop competedfor the now coveted title of Most-Least-Like-A-Virgin.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%Tasgeni screamed her fool head off.

Not that she expected it to improve her situation, but her arms were pinned, andshe was at a loss for anything else to do.

The dragon reeked of brimstone and burnt iron. The strength of its grasp wassavage. The howling down draft from its vast bat-like pinions dislodged herpeaked hat and sent it and her long golden hair snapping and curling about herface. No amount of struggling promised to free her, and the glimpses of farmlandfar below deterred her from trying very hard. Tasgeni was a tough young woman,though. It never occurred to her to faint. So it was that she spotted thedragon's lair almost at the same moment that the beast began its spiralingdescent.

A great black mountain, dome topped, scoured clean of green things, loomed upfrom the rocky plain. Bitumen arrowed down like a hunting falcon, curling hiswings in against his long body. For a moment Tasgeni thought they would smashagainst the stone strewn slope, but at the last moment, she saw a cavern openingdart before them. The dragon twisted and swooped into the orifice; darknessswept away the daytime light, subterranean cold snatched away the daytimewarmth. Tasgeni closed her eyes, there was nothing to see. Suddenly, the clawsreleased her.

With a startled shout she tumbled to the rocky floor. Her noising turned into along "Eeeeeeeewwwwwwwww," as she realized what had cushioned her fall. Thedragon's lair was, much like any bachelor's, a place of ruin, devastation, andunfinished meals.

"Thou art displeased with thy state?" The dragon's voice rumbled like summerthunder, and drooled thick with evil.

"Swine!" shouted Tasgeni.

"Swine?" queried the dragon, and he lifted a six foot long finger, and regardedthe two foot long claw that topped it.

"I hight reptile, a scion of the entrails of Ymir.""Nay! Thou'st the demeanor of a farting rodent!" yelled the Princess.

The dragon frowned, "Certes, thou wast tutored with an unusual bestiary. Nomatter, the thoughts of the prey, howsoever addled, little affect the succulenceof the brain. Hast thou an animal with which to answer that?"Tasgeni just glared at the worm. It's hard to toss back an appropriate, muchless an effective retort at someone (or something) that has just revealed to youyour special seat at the supper board.

"Speechless, little morsel?" simpered Bitumen, and he chuckled evilly. "More'sthe pity, for only through words can thee hope to fend off the moment when weare joined."He reached out with his claws towards the Princess, who yelped and dove aside.

Time and again he dabbed at her, playing her as the mouse, and laughing darklyat his sport. And every time he struck he missed by a diminished distance,leaving Tasgeni no doubt about the nature of his play. But her spirit refused todespair, and she leapt like a hunted doe, evading the dragon's reach. Yet sheknew the end was nigh, and she steeled herself for death, when suddenly thedragon was distracted from her. His great head rose up and up, and held stillfor a moment, as if harkening to a distance voice.

"Behold, little morsel," he growled, "the sun, my mother, descends now intonight. I must rise and pray for her return before I may feast." And his armuncoiled like a striking snake, and caught Tasgeni within his fingers. Shewailed and fought, but the dragon paid her no heed, instead he carried her to aniron door wrought into the wall of his cave, and wrenched it open with a hideoussqualling of hinges. "Thou mayest dwell in her for a time, until I return frommy duty. Then shall we renew our game, or mayhaps I shall just appease myhunger, and be done."And he tossed the Princess into the room, and slammed shut the huge door with athunderous clang!%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%It was very dark in the cave. Very, very dark. A periodic splash of water echoedin the distance. The cave was large. Very, very large. The Princess mulled overher predicament for a moment. Screaming, while satisfying and emotionallycleansing, was not going to get her out of here. Still...

She clenched her hands into fists, took a deep breath, and then she screamed,long, loud and lustily.

The echoes slammed from wall to wall, reverberating and crossing into acacophony of shill panicky noise. She screamed herself breathless. Then,adjusting her clothes and straightening her hat, she went about the moreproductive task of finding something to help; her dignity in no way reduced byher heavy panting from her exertion. The floor was dusty, and the smell of agehad accumulated everywhere. Occasionally she heard the tinkling of coins or gemsscattered by her feet. She climbed shifting piles of loot, and bumped intobarrels and chests, but most of those were sealed or locked, and it was longbefore she found a container that opened. It was an ancient chest. Its lidcreaked ominously as she lifted it, then fell backwards with a loud bang! Butthe Princess' attention was captivated by the golden contents kept within. Eachcoin, each goblet, each delicate chain gave off a rich radiance that spilled outof the chest and into the cavern. Things were illuminated well enough for her tosee something of the size of her prison.

The walls were distant glittering veils, the ceiling was lost in murky darkness,and everywhere were scattered the spoils of the dragon. It was a vast hoard, anda precious one, but she was bent on leaving. Let a knight take the wealth. Offto one side she saw what appeared to be a door, but the light barely grazed it,it was too far away. Kneeling, she ran her fingers through the gold, lifting outsome coins in the hope that she could use them to guide her way. But each objectshe removed guttered and faded, and she soon realized that something, the chestitself or some prize within was responsible for the magical light.

It did not take long for her to locate the charmed object. It was a short pieceof braided gold, crafted into the form of a snake, with ruby eyes and emeraldteeth. It's belly was scaled in silver, and it bent easily within her fingers.

The contents of the chest flickered and faded when she removed the talisman, butonly gold amplified its light, her hand did not shine of its own accord. Yet thesnake, itself, was bright enough to guide her. Holding it overhead like a torch,she began to wend her way to the distant door.

Now at first the charm was cold within her grasp, but it quickly warmed from hertouch. She didn't make any note of it -until it wriggled. With a startled yelpshe tried to hurl the dreadful thing away, but the shining snake curled downaround her hand and began winding its way up her arm. Prying at it with her lefthand proved useless, and she cast about for something to leverage against it.

The magical charm ignored all her efforts to dislodge it, but climbed up pasther elbow and curled itself snugly around her upper arm. Once settled into placeit stiffened into a kind of a bracelet, and its eerie radiance faded, seepingdeep into her arm before disappearing.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%He rose up into the sky, biting and roaring at the winds that vied with him,spreading flame across the clouds to answer the red hues of the settling sun.

Far away eyes, briefly glancing at the grand spectacle, commented on the beautyof the sky, but without ever knowing how it truly came to be.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%Something was wrong.

Of course, when one is trapped blind within the cave of a dragon that means toreturn shortly and eat you, this observation loses some of its value.

The snake charm wrapped about her arm was a dratted nuisance, but seemedfinished with its mischief. Yet she felt sure that something worse was in storefor her. The noise of dripping water had shifted. It seemed lower, though shewas sure she had not ascended higher within the cave. Nor was that the onlymystery, for it seemed that the contents of the cave were themselves changing insome strange way. Her need for light was great. And though it proved difficultto find, she cast about relentlessly until she found what felt to be a drinkingvessel with a soft metal rim. She muttered a silent prayer, and pressed thething against the snake bracelet.

Blessed light flooded the cave again, and Tasgeni began to worry anew.

Everything was smaller. But whether she was expanding, or the cave was shrinkingshe could not tell. The touch of gold seemed to feed the process, and as shewatched the walls closed in upon her, and all the treasure dwindled intotrinkets. She was at war within herself; part of her was appalled by the change,but to separate the gold from the snake would rob her of light. On the otherhand, provided that it was she that was expanded and not the room diminishing,she realized that she would soon be able to treat with the worm on its own vastterms. It was not until her head brushed the ceiling of the chamber that itoccurred to her that there might be another complication.

By now she was a giantess without parallel. The mighty door that the dragon hadopened was reduced to mere ankle-height. The expansive chamber was swiftlybecoming a cramped cubbyhole. She sighed with resignation, the darkness wouldhave to be endured, and she discarded the goblet, itself grown to more thanheroic proportions.

But her growth, though abated, was not ended, and she was forced down onto herknees under the descending weight of the stony roof. What had seemed a solutionto her dilemma was turning into a crisis all its own. Tasgeni crouched down asfar as she could, and her colossal body filled all the corners of the cave. Butstill she grew, and there was no place now for her to go. Mulling over thematter she decided upon the only practical course of action left to her. If itworked, fine and well. If it did not work, well, time enough to dwell upon thatin its own turn. Tasgeni stood up.

The weight of the mountain rested upon her shoulders, but she was grown now to asize sufficient to such loads. Shifting her weight she managed to get one legbeneath herself. Slowly she pressed upward, causing the stone to lift andcompress. She felt the rock groan and buckle, she felt a surge of strengthbrought about by the clear realization of a power able to break the very hills,yet she was barely exerting herself.

Laughing deeply the giant Princess unloosed her full strength.

The top of the mountain cracked like thunder and erupted violently, casting hugefragments of shattered stone in every direction. Rising from the ruin like somegoddess reborn, Tasgeni lifted her arms over her head and crowed with delight.

Stretching and bending, she dismissed the horror of the cave, drawing in hugedraughts of the sweet twilight air. She was free.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%Bitumen completed his dance. The sun was gone, swallowed up into another night.

His dark heart laughed with glee, and he turned back for his mountain. Thebright light of the full moon did not challenge him like the sun, for it wascold, cold as ice. Bending back his head he let trail a long jet of hell-fire,spitting at the stars, scarring the night with his wild display. But hungergnawed at his belly, and evil re-awoke within his heart. His victim, lost indarkness, pursued by fear would now be ripe for the taking. Eager to have her heceased his play, and flew straight and swift to his lair.

He knew something was wrong as soon as he saw his mountain. The dome was higher,irregular, and there was something strangely familiar about its alteredcontours. Tasgeni knew the dragon was back, for he let loose a howl of rage thatlit the night. The mountain still held her in a tight grip from her hips down,and she did not have the leverage to break free. So she twisted to face him.

Bitumen seethed with anger. The more so as his draconic sight spotted themagical talisman wrapped around the giantess' arm. Angling down he beat hiswings, driving himself faster and faster. He drew breath, his slitted eyes drawnto the great golden snake. He drew a last long gasp of air and...

Tasgeni swatted him like a mosquito. His breath blew out in a ball of flame, tootenuous to sear the hand of the Princess. Lights danced in the dragon's eyes ashe arced backwards, falling dangerously close to the ground before regaining hissense and rising back into the sky. His eyes glowed lava red. His tail whippedand snapped as he arrowed at the face of the Princess.

Wham! Tasgeni gave the dragon the back of her hand, sending him spinning assover tea-kettle. His fiery discharge made him look like a runaway pinwheel. Butdragons are tough as stone, and about as quick to take a hint.

Bitumen recovered his wits and soared upwards, slamming his mighty wings againstthe air, driving himself higher and higher. He climbed for a full minute, thenturned, tucked his wings in tight against his scaly body, and fell straight atthe Princess. The wind ripped at his slitted eyes, pulled at his stiffly heldpinions. Faster and faster he fell. Opening his jaws ever so slightly, he letthe wind pour into his body, fanning his fires, filling him with searing flame.

Faster and faster. He saw the land rising up, saw his mountain, saw the giantPrincess. He watched her raise a hand nearly the size of a quarter-acre field.

Too late he tried to pull out, to turn aside or slow his descent.

Tasgeni batted him clear over the horizon.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%Bitumen awoke several hours later.

Now, dragons may be slow to recognize a superior opponent, but those who do notrarely grow to Bitumen's size. On the other claw, dragons are sore losers, andwhen strength fails they never hesitate to resort to base cunning. Bitumen wasnot sure how he was going to do it, but he was going to get that Princess out ofhis mountain.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%Symfrall was a big man.

He stood just under two ells tall, and weighed about twenty-five stone. Hisshoulders were as broad as most people were tall. His muscles were like gnarledtree roots. When angry he was terrifying. When friendly he was terrifying.

He was prime knight material.

His horse was equally monstrous, a chestnut stallion named Domhona. When armoredand mounted Symfrall was unstoppable, unbeatable, invulnerable. In other words aguaranteed 1:1 odds at the local fete.

And to be honest, Symfrall became bored with it all: the countless joustingvictories, the melee victories, the dueling victories. So, seeking a challengemore suitable to his mettle, he took to being a Knight Wanderer, questing foradventure wheresoever it might be cowering.

Bitumen spotted Symfrall from the air, and immediately discerned within him aresolution to his princess problem. Knights tend towards lawful attributes,which makes them predictable in everything save battle. And any knight with aprincess becomes in itself its own story. Right now Bitumen wanted the giantessout of his lair. Retribution for her thwarting of his hunger would come in itsown time. Besides, he was suffering from a splitting headache from his boxing ather hands, and all he really wanted to do was curl up in some gold and sleep fora week. Still, evil deeds awaited, and the dragon glided down to confront theknight.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%"Greetings, thou armored can of soup," jeered the dragon.

The knight's horse reared up, pawing wildly at the air, its voice a shriek ofdefiance. There was a metallic ringing, and the knight's sword glitteredbrightly in the moonlight.

"Get thee gone," snarled the champion. "Thou wilt find no sport here, onlydeath.""Prithee," simpered Bitumen. "The can wields its own dire opener. Mercy, whatever shall become of me." And he spat a ball of fiery vitriol at Symfrall, whostruck it aside with his blade.

"Damn thee to hades," cursed Symfrall. "Either fight or flee, not this coward'sdance.""Egad, look at the time," said the dragon, glancing at his empty wrist. "GuessI'll have to skip the beer run, and just have my meal with a glass of milk. Howdo you like your princess? Well done or medium rare?""Thou fiend," sputtered Symfrall. "What damsel suffers from thy benighteddevilry?""A blonde I think," mused Bitumen. "Ah, but they all look the same when theycome off the barbee. Must dash. Drop by sometime, and I'll have you for lunch."And with a wicked chortle the dragon spun about and flew off.

The taunts struck home. With a fierce cry Symfrall snapped the reigns of Domhona,and the war-stead answered in kind and sped off after the fleeing dragon.

Bitumen had been concerned that he might have to dawdle in a convincing manner,to give the outraged knight opportunity to keep him in sight. But Domhona was alightening bolt with legs, leaping every ravine, crashing unhindered throughbush and sapling. So all it took was a little more verbal abuse, and a lot ofguiding, and within two hours the dragon had brought his unknowing helper withinsight of the mountains where the Princess still stood. Shrieking flame ladencurses, the dragon warned the knight away from the upcoming range, then liftedinto the sky to let pride and anger do their work.

Symfrall stared at the dwindling dragon, confused by his sudden departure.

Waving his sword a little he glanced around as if seeking something to chop,then, calming a little, decided instead to sheath the glittering blade. The moonshone down brightly upon the blasted wasteland that was the keep about thedragon's mountainous abode. Symfrall held the reigns loosely, letting Domhonacarefully pick his way amongst the jagged rocks. A slight movement in thevicinity of the nearest peak caused him to believe that the dragon was nowseeking refuge within its dark lair. So, satisfied that things were working outabout normal, Symfrall guided his stallion closer towards the nearby mountain.

Moonlight and darkness mocked his sight, so that the landscape, or moreparticularly the mountain, seemed to waver of its own accord. And once he heardthe wind sigh with what sounded like a woman's voice. Deeming it some witchcraftof the dragon's devising, he averted his gaze, and pressed onward, until he camewithin sight of what seemed to be an opening into the side of the mountain.

Symfrall had a prepared speech that he had learned by rote. Raising his sword onhigh (which tried valiantly to lend majesty to the occasion by humming somethingby the minstrel Manilow), Symfrall shouted with a great voice: "Here is Symfrall,Knight Wanderer, slayer of beasts, who comes to this foul lair to rescueinnocence from the haggard clutches of evil. Come forth dread demon. Come forthand meet thy doom. Come forth damned dragon. Come forth and... "Eeeeek!"That last word was not a part of Symfrall's speech. But the Princess, hearingthe proud words of challenge spoken by her rescuer (or to be more accurate,having discerned a kind of squeaky hauteur going on behind her back) had turnedaround to better see him. And Symfrall, upon beholding a portion of the mountainmove and resolve itself into a beautiful, if colossal woman, had selected "Eeeek"as the best way to express his alarm. Alas, the Princess might not have beensmiling so prettily, if she had known that her knight in shining armor wasentertaining thoughts of galloping away. In the meantime Valorja was humming aditty Rod Serling would have approved of, and Symfrall finally had to sheath hissword to shut the dratted thing up.

"Sir knight, hast thou come to rescue me?" Symfrall's jaw gaped, for though thegiantess' voice was feminine in timber, yet it was vast as the sky, and echoedfrom the very hills like summer thunder.

"Ummmmm...yes...yes I have," he replied.

"Sorry?" said the giantess, cocking her head. "Could thou speak a littlelouder?""Yes." yelled Symfrall. The giantess thought a moment, then raised a hand palmup and pulled in her fingers, asking for more volume. "Yes." yelled Symfrall.

"Yes! Yes! YES!" The giantess smiled and nodded her head. "I am Symfrall,"shrieked Symfrall. "Knight wanderer and...gak." he held his throat with bothhands, as if trying to keep it from exploding.

The giantess waited a moment, to be sure the knight was done with hisintroduction, and seeing he was in no condition to question her answered inturn. "Greetings, Sir Symfrall. I hight Princess Tasgeni, Nodwood's daughter ofKingdom Prattle. Thou hast my eternal gratitude for thy arrival in my moment ofneed. My father, the King, will surely shower thee with wealth for this dayswork."Symfrall tried to show his own thanks with some gestures, made awkward by hisinsistence of keeping one hand always on his aching throat.

"Pray, good sir knight? Wouldst our words together be made easier if I were todescend to thy level?" Symfrall thought about this, and tried to indicate hisuncertainty by raising his hand and scratching his head. Unfortunately, toTasgeni it looked like he was waving for her to come down. "Bide a moment," sheanswered, and reaching out laid her hands upon the slopes of the nearby hills.

Then, with the strength and grace of youth, augmented by her gigantic stature,she vaulted herself up from out of the confining maw of the mountain. Symfralllooked up and up and up as his damsel-in-distress floated skyward like somemagical tower, her long dark shadow dropping over him blotting out the sky. Herdescent was no less spectacular, and when she landed three things happened: theearth shook as though a thing gone mad, the stars, moon and landscape vanishedbehind a cliff of fabric, and Domhona, Symfrall's horse, fainted away deaderthan dirt.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%Tasgeni had a fretful moment when she realized that her rescuer was nowhere tobe seen. Visions of his body turned into something flatter than a kipper madeher lip tremble and her eyes begin to tear. But then she heard a faint sound, asof a woman screaming, and it occurred to her that her hero was not only alive,but perhaps not quite so much of a hero. Bundling up her dress in her fingers,she bent forward a little, enough to peer down between her feet. There she sawher knight in shining armor trying to quell the yipping shrieks of hismagnificent stallion. All attempts to shush the beast did naught but to wind himup even further, and when Symfrall realized that the Princess held him under herscrutiny, he threw his mighty fist, and sent Domhona back to kissing dirt. Nevertaking her eyes off her hero, Tasgeni shuffled backwards until horse and manemerged from beneath the voluminous swells of her dress. Then, curling her legsbeneath herself, she sat down and considered more closely her diminutivechampion.

"Who should be rescuing who here?" Tasgeni finally asked.

"What?" yelped Symfrall with indignation. "I came here in pursuit of that thricedamned worm, expecting to come to the aid of some royal maiden, notsome...some...aaaaa" Tasgeni's countenance was bland, but her fingers weredrumming incessantly upon her knee. "Aaaaaaaa... soooo, what evil magic broughtthee to this plight?" He finished quickly.

Tasgeni frowned and harumphed. "Yon dragon cast me within his treasure vault.

There I chanced upon this potent talisman," and she touched the snake with herfingers. "It has been a mixed blessing. Without this change I would now bebloating the belly of the worm. But these are not the proportions of a lady ofthe court. I would return to my original size.""Hast thou attempted the removal of the charm?" asked Symfrall.

"Of course," snapped Tasgeni.

"I could hack at it with Valorja," suggested Symfrall.

"I would like to consider other options first.""Are thee up to some travelling?""To where?" asked Tasgeni.

"Nogcunmanodin's vale," said Symfrall.

"Gesundheit.""What? Nonononono. The wizard, Nogcunmanodin. He who forged my sword Valorja. Mymentor. The wisest man west of the Kallera Mountains.""You know," mused the Princess. "At my current size the Kallera really aren'tthat far..." It was a measure of Symfrall's doughtiness that he was able tosilence the giantess with a glare and a frown. An effect that was quicklydemolished, however, as Tasgeni giggled at her little knight. "Apologies, sirchampion," she sighed. "Let us test the knowledge of thy teacher. I'll notmalign him again. When shall we start?""Now would be best," said Symfrall. "Lest the dragon return with a more diremode of attack." He glanced at the brown lump that was his magnificent warstallion. "There is a problem, though.""Nay," answered Tasgeni. "Not if pride can bend to the moment."%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%Bitumen plotted.

This is something that dragons are really, really good at. They own the cunning,the evil and the patience to pull together some supremely inspired ideas.

Unfortunately for the cause of darkness, Bitumen's head was still ringing frombeing thwacked! over the horizon, and he wasn't able to dream up anything morewicked than to try and get a rival kingdom to wage war against the Princess'realm. A quick reference to his political map listed Draxis as the neighboringpower with the resources and the mettle to carry out such a plan. And the lordof the land, Hablrod, was listed in the Naddle Yark Times' Top Ten most evilmonarchs. Such a man would be capable of anything. It was a better piece of luckthan such scanty and disingenuous planning deserved. But dragons are alsoopportunists. Bitumen filled an old canvas bag with ice, strapped it to histhrobbing head, and launched himself in the general direction of Draxis.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%It was an unusual mode of travel.

Tasgeni cradled the unconscious Domhona in her arm, whilst Symfrall rode uponher bare shoulder with a strand of her golden hair wrapped twice around hiswaist. This position was doubly fortuitous since it offered Symfrall anunparalleled view of the land, and removed the necessity of prolonged bouts ofshouting. By his reckoning, the Princess at a comfortable stride made speed atnearly three times the haste of a horse at full gallop. Nor was she defeated byrivers, chasms or dense thickets. Symfrall was more than a little daunted bysuch a casual display of prowess, but to his surprise, he found himself enjoyingthe lesson; certainly no one else had ever been able to overtop him as did thisgentle giantess.

For her part, Tasgeni's attention was divided between watching where she wasgoing, and trying not to dislodge her passengers with any sudden shifts ormovements. When Symfrall was very still she could barely detect him upon hershoulder, but denied herself the luxury of a glance, lest her chin send theknight tumbling from his perch. Instead she contented herself with questionsabout the path, and if Symfrall wondered at the frequency of her inquiries, henever mentioned it.

All in all it was a swift and uneventful journey, with only two exceptions ofany note.

The first came when they passed through the borough of Eltavera. The county'svillage was nestled between the steep ridges of the southern most extent of theKallera, and Symfrall was insistent that they take this route. Thus the goodcitizens were the first in Prattle to see the giant Princess, and they dealtwith the visit like they might any invasion or plague.

"Where are my people?" asked Tasgeni.

"Likely in their wine cellars," chuckled Symfrall. "And if they be as normal asthey are kind-hearted, may they at least grant us one blessing amidst theircomforts. Now, hasten as ye may, but not in lieu of caution."Then Tasgeni moved through the streets of the tiny burg, stepping as carefullyas she might, her skirts raised so that she might better follow the motions ofher feet. It took several minutes to navigate the winding carriage-ways, andonce she had to step over a row of homes to avoid a long detour, but the townescaped any more serious damage than a single flattened wain to mark herpassage. Still, for long the people sat in their cellars and tested the wines,and waited until the earth ceased to rumble, and the dust stopped sifting fromthe ceiling, before they emerged to gossip over the amazing visitation.

The second event was not nearly as perilous, but quite a shock nonetheless; fora few miles later Domhona woke up. Tasgeni felt the stallion stir and twitch,and she began to say something to Symfrall when the horse went berserk. Stoopingdown she let the animal tumble down her skirts to the ground, and tried tocorral him within the expanse of her arms. Symfrall didn't realize there wastrouble until Tasgeni's shoulder dropped out from under him like the hangman'strap. He quickly saw the problem, though, and unsheathing Valorja liberatedhimself from Tasgeni's single strand of hair.

Resheathing the humming sword he dove forward, intending to clear the Princess'bodice and follow his stallion's path to the ground. Misfortune seized themoment, his aim proved inadequate to the task, and he disappeared feet firstinto Tasgeni's ample cleavage with a muffled oath.

The Princess, for her part, squeaked in surprise, and nearly lost track ofDomhona. She debated grabbing the horse and then fishing out her champion turnedpeeping Tom, but she distrusted her strength, and instead leaned forward,thinking that a wise Symfrall would not linger in his current predicament.

In fact, Symfrall was at a momentary loss, for until she bowed down Tasgeni'sbreasts held him in an exceedingly warm, soft and inescapable prison. And he,with his arms raised over his head, had no way to gain purchase or wriggle free.

But when she bent her body he was able to slide to the material of her dress,and using his fingers crawled up and out of that intimate embrace. With a finalpull Symfrall tumbled down Tasgeni's dress into the ring made of her arms. Aquick glance at her lovely face convinced him that he should marshal his bestanswer whilst attending to calming Domhona.

It was his good luck that Domhona took a great deal of cajoling and soothingbefore he suffered to stand still. It was better luck that Tasgeni was herselfpermitted to calm a little, being perhaps somewhat mollified by Symfrall'sobvious concern for his steed. Being a Princess, however, means never having toforgive anyone, and when Domhona was quiescent enough to graze, she drew away alittle and motioned to her champion to follow.

"Now, sirrah," she whispered. "Your horse I can pardon, but what of thy ownmisadventures?""Your forgiveness, Princess," said Symfrall. "In my haste to see to the needs ofmy charger I mistook my fall and dishonored thee. There is nothing for it butfor thou to take whatever punishment thee deem fitting. But I would beg of theethat ye postpone thy judgement until I can absolve my prior duty to thee, anddeliver thee to the wisdom of wizard Nogcunmanodin."Tasgeni's eyes glittered, and she stifled a smile, for the words were proper inform, though maybe a bit too proud. Still, there was within her no intention ofharming Symfrall. But the promise of his absolution offered in words near to anoath, intrigued her, and she thought a moment. "Very well, sir Champion. I willrestrain my judgment, but thy penitence is in my hands, and we will speak ofthis at some later time of my own choosing.""So be it," said Symfrall. And for that time nothing more was said of it.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%Nogcunmanodin cast the bones. They rattled and tumbled and fell into a pile, andhe stared at them long.

"'Big things'," he mumbled. "Dratted things," he said gathering them up into hishand. "Can't be any more specific, huh? Why do you think scrying's so damnedpopular. None of these half answers. Now, deliver, or I'll get a goat." And hetossed the bones. "Lessee, lessee," muttered the wizard. "`Don't look now, butthere is a giant princess'...huh?"For at that very moment a shadow passed over the sun, as though blocked by acloud of prodigious depth. Nogcunmanodin held out a hand and looked up. Straightinto the inquiring face of Tasgeni.

"Whoa," said the wizard. "Look at this, look at this," He cried, pointing fromthe bones to the giantess. "A mountain shows up on my doorstep and all you cansay are `big things'? Fah! dratted dragon bones have a mind of their own." Andhe tossed them away. A moment later, as if remembering his company, his pointedup an accusing finger and yelled, "I hope you're not standing on my azaleas!"Tasgeni glanced down, started a bit guiltily, and moved a step to the left. Shehesitated a moment, as though listening to some voice, raised her hands to hershoulder, then lowered them to a space a few yards in front of the wizard.

Opening them she released Symfrall, who stumbled off her fingers, and stopped tobrush the dust from his armor.

"Symfrall Sanderson," growled Nogcunmanodin. "Don't you know it's dangerous tolead an interesting life?""Teacher, the interesting things seek me out, not I them.""Yah, `tis always been like that with you. Well, come on, come on, spin thistale for me, only make it quick, I haven't had breakfast yet."%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%Nogcunmanodin stared up at Tasgeni, mulling over the things that had been toldto him. "Alright, lass," he finally called. "Boost me up so that I may moreclosely examine this charm about you."Tasgeni frowned at the familiarity, but lowered her hand for the wizard toembark upon, and lifted him up next to her arm. Nogcunmanodin stepped forwardand tapped the magical snake with his fist. Pulling out a short wand he mutteredsomething over it and pressed it against the golden scales. Nothing happened.

Examining the wand the wizard invoked a stronger spell, his voice rising involume and authority, and this time he struck the snake with all his might. Thegold shimmered a moment, then faded.

"Strong stuff," said Nogcunmanodin, and stepping off Tasgeni's open palm hedrifted back down to the entrance of his cave. "Bide a moment while I mustermore potent artillery," he called, and vanished into the darkness.

Tasgeni glanced down at Symfrall. "Are thou sure he can help?" she asked.

Symfrall held out his hands in a gesture of resignation. "I know of nonebetter," he answered. "And even if he cannot loose the spell of his own power, Iwould be amazed if he could not at least instruct us in some other way todislodge it."At that moment the wizard emerged from his cave, dragging a silver staff ofgrand proportions. "Holla! Princess, could you grant me another lift to yonderconundrum?" A moment later he was puffing from exertion as he tried to lift thestaff into an upright posture. Stopping to regain his composure, Nogcunmanodinbegan to chant, and as he chanted the staff grew lighter or he stronger, and heraised it high with one hand. The golden snake began to glow, pulsing in rhythmwith the voice of the wizard, its emanations throbbing faster and faster, untilwith a terrific whack! he brought the staff down upon the snake. Thunder soundedin the distance and the head of the snake rose from its place and hissedvenomously at Nogcunmanodin. He struck it several times, but the charm stayedput, its jewel encrusted tongue stabbing at the air. Finally the wizard droppedhis arm, his chant guttered away into silence, but the snake was stillenlivened, and still hissed softly, now and again.

"`Tis no use," proclaimed the wizard. "This spell was cast in earnest andnothing may dissuade it, but to see it to fruition. Giants of the north wroughtthis charm in the ancient past, and imbued it with the strength of Midgard'sserpent. Now, though their days be long passed, still this magic has potencybeyond the manna I can command.""What then," asked Tasgeni softly, "is needed to complete the spell?""Let us find out," said Nogcunmanodin, and pointing the staff at the head of thesnake, he spoke a word of command. For a moment the snake paused, then slowly itbegan to reach its head towards the wizard. For a moment Tasgeni was of a mindto catch the snake within her fingers and try to unravel it. But Nogcunmanodin,reading her intentions, raised a hand of warning against her, and waited whilethe mouth of the snake came near to the side of his head. For a long moment thesnake and the wizard stood thus, the forked tongue flickering into view as thesnake spoke words of instruction into the ear of the wizard. Nogcunmanodinstiffened, and his face grew strained as he took in the words. Finally, thesnake withdrew, and returned to its abode about the arm of the Princess, and allsemblance of life departed from it. But the wizard seemed in some kind of shock,and at a loss for words gestured his will be returned to the ground. Tasgenicomplied, and she and Symfrall watched the wizard walk stiff-legged into hiscave. A moment later unrestrained laughter roared from the entrance, loud andwild. Tasgeni turned a frown of displeasure upon Symfrall, who shrugged inconfusion, but wisely said nothing. And after a long while the peal of merrimentdiminished into silence, and Nogcunmanodin stepped back into the sunshine.

"I've learned how to break the spell," he declared. "But you may not like it."Nogcunmanodin spoke quickly, detailing the instructions of the snake, outliningthe course of the spell, and the only way that it could be broken. "There's nohope for it," said the wizard. "The afflicted must couple in love for the spellto unwind to completion.""Surely, thou jest," said Symfrall.

"Nay, student, I am in deadly ernest.""What of my oath of celibacy?""Did you swear thus before a holy man?""Nay, I was alone, under the stars.""Then though it be a thing of worth, it pales before the greater demands of yourduty to this lady. If she asks it of you, you must set it aside.""But the size of her. `Twould be like attending to the desires of anearthquake.""Aye," said Nogcunmanodin. "But what I have seen she already holds you in moreesteem than you deserve, and thoughts that you deem un-maidenly already occur toher.""Is it the affect of the charm?""I could not tell you," said the wizard. "But Tasgeni means to have you, and whosays `no' to the earthquake when she decides to dance? Not thee, I think.""Are you enjoying this?" asked Symfrall.

The wizard's face broke into a wide grin and he nodded. "Quite."Tasgeni listened carefully to the explanations of the wizard, and showed neithersurprise, nor concern, nor abhorrence. Instead, she turned her considerableattention upon Symfrall. "I claim the price of judgment for thy earlieruninvited visitation upon my person," Tasgeni commanded. "Thou shall set asidethis lesser oath of thy celibacy and lay with me, so that I may rid myself ofthis irksome size.""But what of thy father's wishes?""The king is not, himself, larger than a castle.""Is there no Prince for you?""None now court me, I am uninitiated in the motions of love.""What? Am I expected to carry battle to your maidenhead? For of a certainty,naught less than a battering ram could suffice against thy current proportions.""Nay," said Tasgeni, her eyes glittering dangerously. "My proof was broken ofits own accord a number of years ago. I'll not trouble thee will the details.

But thou shall find no impediment betwixt me and thee.""Drat," muttered Symfrall. "I mean: fine, fine, upon what earth shall the, uh,happy event transpire?"Tasgeni's reached down and caught up her little lover-to-be, "I know of just theplace."%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%It was an achingly beautiful spot. The Clearmoor was born here, leaping like adeer from the hills into a wide deep basin of blue water. Soft meads, and wideflowing meadows surrounded the lake, and were themselves contained within thearms of a forest of tall evergreens. Tasgeni carefully picked her way amongstthe trees, bemoaning every crunch! and snap! of another trunk trodden flat withno more moment than a daisy. But with the minimum of damage, she made her way tothe edge of the lake, and there knelt down within her dress.

"`Tis a gentle view," shouted Symfrall.

"Aye," smiled the Princess, "I came here often as a child. Twas deemed safer tolet me sport here, than near to the other places where enemies might chance.""I can almost imagine that," said Symfrall, who took a measure of the sun andwondered if six more hours of small talk could save him from a truly uniqueexperience.

A half hour later, the Princess began to suspect his strategy.

"Enough," chided Tasgeni, "I'll not be getting any smaller with all of this longtalk. Now then, who shall divest themselves first, thee or me?"Symfrall dug his toe into her palm and tried to look thoughtful.

Tasgeni's eyes flashed. "Very well," she said, and she set Symfrall down uponthe grassy earth, before standing up to her full mountain height, "Let it beme."And Symfrall watched as she reached behind her neck and unclasped some buttons.

Pulling the dress down a little, she followed the line of buttons down her leftshoulder, then slowly eased the fabric down passed her bodice. More buttons onher left had to be parted before she was able to clear her waist and step out ofthe heavy material. A careless kick of her foot sent the enormous pile sailingseveral hundred feet away, right to the verges of the evergreen forest. ButSymfrall's eyes never strayed from his colossal Princess. She now began toremove the other accoutrements: girdle, bodice and corset, that certainly noother man had ever seen. There was, however, no hint of modesty or chastitywithin the glance of the Princess, and she continued to rid herself of all herclothing, even kicking off her shoes, leaving her clad only in her powder bluestockings. Then, reaching up she undid the pins that held her hat, cast thataside, and let her long blonde tresses cascade down to the small of her back.

Symfrall was enchanted. His giant Princess towered over him with her arms setlightly upon her wide hips. Her stockinged feet were sunk into the soft earth,and spread wide enough to taunt his gaze, which traveled slowly up theimpossibly long length of her legs. His eyes locked a moment with the beautifulsight of her womanhood, nestled within a triangular forest of lush auburn locks.

Tasgeni `tched' her tongue and Symfrall guiltily resumed his visual ascent,admiring the flatness of her belly, and the unexpected expression of muscles.

The lady was strong at any size, but lady she was as evidenced by the prodigiousswell of her breasts. Again Symfrall found his eyes engaged with somethingbeyond his keen, and Tasgeni mesmerized him by slowly twisting from side toside, affording her little lover a view of her every least curve. Her nipplesbespoke clearly of her arousal at being thus surveyed by her small knight, butanother click of her tongue brought Symfrall's gaze up into the ocean bluedepths of her own.

She smiled down at the tiny man, "It's thy turn, sir knight." And she kneltdown, and bent forward until her lovely face was hardly a score of feet away, sothat she might be the best possible audience for Symfrall's disclosure. Symfrallwas nervous about this. An oath of celibacy is a wonderful thing when you'refighting monsters, because it encourages you to channel energy into your swordarm. This isn't a sexual thing, though it is hormonal, if you want to take onsome demon, you'd better have everything in order, and you better not bedistracted by thoughts about your lover. Conversely, while Symfrall hadcertainly given thought to the fairer sex, this thought had usually cast him inthe roll of champion, or rescuer, not in the roll of mouse. Standing now underTasgeni's frank and open appraisal, he was self-conscious as all hell, and in nogood position to do anything about it. So, brave man that he was, he removed hisarmor and his clothing, and prepared himself for the worst.

The Princess did not laugh, though it would be unfair to report that some cruelthoughts didn't run through her mind. Thankfully, lust won out over wit, for onedoes not demean ones lover, no matter how small.

"Good sir knight," she whispered. "Come grant me a kiss." And she lowered herhead yet further.

Symfrall sighed, though with relief or resignation, even he could not have told,and stepped forward to do as bid. The breath of his lady washed over him like asweet gale of summer. Her lips were more plush than an Arabians pillows, warmand pliant to the touch. When Tasgeni's hand pressed up behind him, he started,but could do nothing more. She pinned him against her heady kiss, smothering himgently with her vast attentions. When finally she raised her head, Symfrall wasgasping for air, while she just smiled down at him possessively. His armssnapped out for purchase, when the giantess rose to her feet, but she held himsecure as she stepped into the lake, and sank into it, sending a sudden wall ofwater crashing out into Clearmoor river.

The lake was marvelously deep, yet with the lady sitting it barely reached theline made by her nipples. With a mischievous grin Tasgeni lowered Symfrall intothe chilly waters, and left him to fend for himself. He swam well, and she madesport with him, twisting her shoulders and poking at him with her nipples;sometimes dunking him, and sometimes lifting him from the water. He took it ingood stride, and dove deep to elude her, but even his mighty lungs could notcarry him far beyond her reach, and she gleefully caught him each time andreturned him close to her ample bosom. Nor was Symfrall completely the victim,for a lady's charms, no matter how magnified, remain a thing of desire for anyman. And no one was more delighted than Tasgeni when she spotted the proof ofher lover's ardor, as his lifted himself on the generous swell of his Princess'breast. Unwilling to prolong the sweet agony any further, Tasgeni picked upSymfrall and carefully deposited him upon the grassy meadow.

"Bide a moment, dear heart," she said. "Whilst I finish with my dunking." AndSymfrall watched in amazement as the Princess leaned forward and submergedherself beneath the lake, only for a moment, as the position was awkward.

Sputtering and laughing she sprang back up, flinging her long hair out of thewaters, casting a veritable cloudburst over the forest behind her. Then, like amountain marching on the horizon, Tasgeni rose up out of the lake to her greatheight, and the level of the lake now reached scarcely to her knees. Watercrashed down from her nude body, but she paid it no heed as she twisted herhair, coaxing yet more thunderous rain from its silken strands. The sunglistened upon her as she smiled down at Symfrall, who was now completelyenthralled by his towering mistress. That fascination was still measured incaution, though, and when she waded towards him, churning the lake into frothwith her motions, he backed up what seemed to him a considerable distance. Itwasn't even a full stride on Tasgeni's scale, and stepping out of the waters sheslowly kneeled forward, bracketing Symfrall between her folded legs, setting herwomanhood almost directly over him. That in itself was a sight that took somegetting used to. Symfrall's gaze wandered from the prodigious thighs of thePrincess, to her cunt, up to the vast swell of her breasts, back to her cunt, upto her smiling face, and finally back to her cunt.

"My love," he said. "Meaning no disrespect, but thy charms scare me," hefinished, pointing at the conjunction of her thighs.

Tasgeni flashed her teeth at her diminutive lover. "Well it should sir knight,for she shall have to embrace thee most intimately if I am to overthrow thespell and resume more delicate proportions."Symfrall stared for a moment at the auburn framed flower of his Princess, thenslapped his hands together, as if in preparation for some heroic effort, andstated, "So be it. But if ye could accommodate me in some less inaccessibleposition, I would see this work to fruition.""Nay," smiled the Princess. "Though ye are small, and I am enamored of thee, itwould be unwise for me to invest myself around thee yet. My passions must befanned still hotter until my flows are sufficiently generous to let me take theeeasily.""I see," said Symfrall, who clearly did not, and who was beginning to realizethat he was in for something rather more strenuous than a quick investigation ofhis giant lady's nethers. "Ummmm, sooooo?"Tasgeni moved around Symfrall, an action not unlike a mountain doing a pirouettearound a mouse, but which positioned the knight between his lady and the lake.

Laying prone upon the warm earth, the Princess brought her face down close toher lover. "Let us commence with another kiss," she suggested huskily.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%Making love is rather like dancing. If even one of the participants is lackingin skills, injuries can occur, more often to the sensibilities than to the body.

Both Tasgeni and Symfrall had ardor to spare, and threw themselves into theirpassions with a frenzy. However, neither had much experience, a matter somewhatexacerbated by their difference in size. Symfrall found himself frustrated bybeing unable to apply caresses using anything other than his full strength,while Tasgeni struggled constantly to keep her unimaginable size and strength incheck, lest Symfrall be broken by her in a careless moment. Thus is was thatTasgeni pinned and threatened to smother Symfrall more than once with an openedmouthed kiss, while the relatively tiny man found himself assailing his lovewith strength normally reserved for berserker attacks. After about an hour,Tasgeni was horny enough to fuck a tree, and Symfrall felt like he'd run themarathon.

"We...we...we need...need...need a plan," gasped Symfrall.

"Thou hast my fullest attention," said Tasgeni, as she idly prodded Symfrall'sproud cock with an enormous finger tip.

"Bide a moment," panted Symfrall, slapping at her finger.

Tasgeni growled loudly, pushed the tiny man onto his back with a flick, and benther head over him, opening her mouth to give him a kiss that would melt hisbones.

"Nay! Nay!" shouted Symfrall, scuttling out from under Tasgeni like a crab. "Imean, not yet," he amended upon seeing her eyes narrow. "Please, my lady. Thissport spends me, and satisfies thee not. I would rethink our notions, and tryagain.""Something needs to be done," sighed the Princess. Symfrall watched as she satup and probed her cunt. "I am still not ready to take thee into myself."Symfrall mentally girded his loins, and started walking towards the colossal `V'made of Tasgeni's legs. Tasgeni watched him, then noted that she was halfself-consciously covering herself with her hand. Biting lightly upon her lowerlip she removed her hand. The sudden unveiling made Symfrall hesitate, and hestopped just within the line of Tasgeni's knees. He felt so incredibly small andvulnerable, the Princess loomed over him like a soft curving cliff. Her enormousbreasts rose and fell to the rhythm of her breath. Her blue eyes watched himclosely. Sensing his change of heart, Tasgeni reached out, gently placing herfingers behind Symfrall's back, and with soft but insistent strength pressed himforwards towards the awesome presence of her cunt. It was a colossus of form,lush with auburn hairs framing the lofty rise of her lips, themselves distendedand out of place, revealing to Symfrall something of what lay within. Tasgenipushed him to within inches of her huge cunt, then withdrew her hand. Despiteher concern, Symfrall saw that there was moisture upon the lips of her vulva.

The scent of her from this close was heady and potent. He was daunted, andlooked up at Tasgeni.

"Open me," she commanded.

Symfrall whistled softly and squared his shoulders. Reaching out he stroked hergreat labia, feeling their silkiness. Overhead Tasgeni sighed as she felt histouch. Emboldened by her response Symfrall placed his hands somewhat within thespace between the lips, and plying his strength, parted them. It was heavy work,and the flesh was slick so that he was afeared of losing his grip, but heshifted the Princess's labia by a good inch, and peered inside. Her lips peeledopen from the outside, but stuck together further in. And, having never seen theintimates of a woman, Symfrall was at a loss as to whether he was seeinganything new at all. Tasgeni was able to feel something of the results ofSymfrall's labor, and sensed that he had not the stature to unveil her innermostcharms.

"Step back, my love," she warned Symfrall. Who jumped aside, and watched inamazement as the giantess reached down and effortlessly peeled herself open withher fingers. It was quite a revelation. Symfrall spotted the great puckering ofTasgeni's vagina, and quailed at the sense of tightness that it conveyed.

However, the purpose of the smaller orifice above it eluded him. Nor was thefunction of the swollen, hooded nub above both of them made clear at a glance.

Tasgeni was more than happy to enlighten him.

"This is the way drink passes from my body," she instructed him, pointing to herurethra. "This methinks thou recognizes as the chamber thou must explore tobreak the spell. It is deep and when wet will admit all of thee with ease." Andas if to comfort him she pressed a finger into herself, lolling it about.

Symfrall was not comforted. "While there is pleasure in being filled," shecontinued. "This is the truer seat of passion." And she stroked her clitoriswith her fingertip. Symfrall was still daunted.

"Art there any other gates into thy ardor?" he asked, hopefully.

"Yes, dear heart," answered Tasgeni, a little teasingly. "Same as any bawdyballad might have instructed thee." She reached down and grasped Symfrall gentlywith her fingers and laid back down, holding him up high above her stretched outbody. "Explore me all," she commanded. "Be comfortable with me. I'll not havethee shrieking in terror when thou are thrust whole and living into myself." Andshe set him down in the valley between her breasts.

Symfrall began to realize that Tasgeni not only dominated him, but she seemed tobe taking great pleasure in it. That put things more in the perspective of achallenge. Something Symfrall thought he could handle. The skin of the Princesswas warm beneath his feet, and gave slightly. An unusual sensation. He glancedat the hill-like breasts that bracketed him, then raced down the Princessesthroat, and sprang lightly into the air, up onto her chin. Moving carefully hestepped across her closed lips onto her cheek, and looked down into her righteye. Tasgeni was hard put to focus on her miniature lover, but she managed andwas not shy about studying Symfrall's manhood. Symfrall stared back at her,mesmerized by the beauty of her eye. The blue was revealed to contain minuteflecks of green and brown. It glistened in a lively fashion, and winked at himslowly. Bending to his knees he reached out slowly, and Tasgeni shut her lids sohe could touch them. Her lashes were black as coal, and thick. When the eyesnapped open again he started. Her pupil was dilated, and looked vast enough toengulf him, but it quickly shrank from the light.

Stepping back, Symfrall stroked her nose, feeling it shift against his hand intime to each great draught of air that passed through her. Crossing her lipsagain, Symfrall sat down within the hollow above her chin, his legs danglingupon either side of her jaw. Reaching out his lightly caressed her lips. Tasgenigroaned and bit at her lower lip with her teeth.

"Thou'st tickles me," she whispered. Symfrall murmured an apology and leanedforward upon her lips, spreading his arms wide. Tasgeni lightly kissedSymfrall's chest, then playfully poked at him with her tongue. The knight pushedhimself up and batted at the fleshy thing, which darted back into its nook.

Symfrall struck Tasgeni's lips with mock blows, then clenching her jaw with histhighs and pushing upon her upper lip with his arms, tried to gain access.

Tasgeni complied by opening her mouth, and nearly scared Symfrall to death. Hadit not been for the strength of his legs, he might have tumbled forward intothat warm, wet chasm. Tasgeni's breath roared over him, hot and sweet. AndSymfrall, disdaining his terror, peered inside. He would make hardly a morselfor this giantess, and thrice thanked heaven for her gentle disposition. Herthroat was a distant cavern, her tongue a magical floor, that unpredictablyshifted and undulated. Tasgeni's teeth were white and straight, and Symfralldaringly took hold of the two closest to him and felt their smooth flats, andthe terrible roughness of their edges. From that day on, whenever he watchedTasgeni eat, he remembered this moment and marveled that within every woman werethings of such dreadful splendor. His brief musings were interrupted by thesudden return of Tasgeni's formidable tongue. Sputtering and flailing his arms,Symfrall wrestled with the thing, before getting the upper hand (or being