"Have a care, wizard."
Kalek reflexively channeled energy from the air into his hands to form a Hexstorm in his hands. He looked around for whoever had threatened him, but no one was in sight, not even to his special mage's vision.
"Up here," came the voice. It was soft and feminine. Kalek looked up the tree he was standing next to, perched in the low branches was a foxtaur. She had soft brown fur and a tawny undercoat with a black tail tip, a Swift Foxtaur. "What are you doing up there Lady?" asked the wizard.
"Surviving," she replied, as she jumped from branch to branch, finally landing with all four feet on the ground. Now Kalek could get a good look at her. Her humanoid torso was tall and slender, as was her vulpine body. She was buxom as well, but only just enough that you could, tell she was a female from a distance. He could see the russet color where her fur ended and formed an auburn band of fur that ran along her hindquarters. "How did you get here, Lady?" asked Kalek.
"A storm blew me in here," explained the foxtaur. She told Kalek that her name was Rub'al Khali, that her father was a Swift Foxtaur mage, and her Mother was a Fennic Foxtaur priestess. "You'd think with all that magic running through their blood," she said, "That I would at least get a little, no such luck, it all went into my little brother. He's only seven, and he can summon air elementals to play with him and can conjure all the sweets he wants. I'm sixteen, and I don't even have the sight you magickers use to find the energy you do that with. Plus with all my mother can do with her healing talents and father with his magic, it's like being a little brown sparrow that's been adopted by a family of firebirds."
"Rub'al Khali?" said Kalek, "That's desert language for the empty place, isn't it?" The Foxtaur nodded. "Mother's nickname for me," she said, "I used to get depressed after my brother was born, so I would eat a lot." She smiled. "My friends call me, Kali, none the less."
"So," she continued "I figured that what I needed was a little more training, so I set out for the Academy of the Nine Winds. I figured there, if I couldn't learn magic, I could learn alchemy, or something like that, make healing potions or something of the like. Anything, so I could fit in with my family."
"I have an idea as to what you were going through," said Kalek, "My little sister is the same way, not only doesn't she have any magic, but she looks like the little brown mouse she thinks she is, but she the best alchemist that father has ever taught."
"I guess boys have a death grip on all the magic in the world," said Kali, laying her head on her hands."
"In magic though," Kalek continued, "Where as I am a firebird, as you said, my older sister is a phoenix. She blazes to a magician's sight, and can get many of the more complex spells going with just a thought. So women get their fair share of the magic too. However back to my original question, how did you get here?"
"Two days after I left home," continued Kali, "A big storm blew up and lifted me up off my paws, and dropped me here. Felt like something had grabbed me around my barrel, and dropped me here. That was two weeks ago."
"You can't leave," asked Kalek. Kali shook her head. "This island is in the middle of a tar pit the size of a lake. You can't walk out, the stuff won't hold you, and a boat would get stuck fast." Kali's stomach growled. "And there's not much to eat here either." Kalek dug some cheese out of his pack for her to eat. Kali took it from his hands and kissed his cheek out of gratitude. "But what were you doing in that tree?" asked Kalek.
"I told you, surviving," said Kali, "I'm not the only creature living here. There's a..." A loud crash and a hiss announced the presence of a creature Kalek had never seen before. It was an enormous lizard with body as thick as a draft horse was tall. It was covered with flat hexagonal scales that reminded Kalek of a lizard he had seen once. The beast's legs short skinny legs reinforced the memory. The lizard had large triangular shaped head, with two large flat horns just behind the creature's ears, which curved back towards the back. "Good grief," thought Kalek, "A giant Grynig lizard." Kalek called up the Hexstorm again and loosed it towards the big lizard. All of a sudden the big lizard was having the best and worst luck ever at the same time.
First, its whole body begins to itch, so it rolls in the dirt, and into a shallow ravine. As it lands in the ravine, on of the creature's horns breaks open the nest of a developing insect, food for the beast. Bad news is it's a pupating Laroscha, a solitary mantid-wasp, about the size of a leopard. Laroschas lay one egg in a nest chamber and then guard it until the young larva hatches as an adult, and the parents are not happy. The Laroschas buzz and dive at the enormous lizard, backing it into a corner. The wasps' short stings cannot penetrate the lizard's thick scales. Their mantis like claws however, can pull the scales off and expose the tender flesh that is more vulnerable. Their venom, however, is nothing more than a mild annoyance to the enormous beast. To the Grynig, however, an adult Laroscha is as much of a meal as a larva. It snaps its head back and crunches down on one of the giant insects, only to open another nest chamber with it's curved back horns. Another pair of Laroschas appear from nowhere to buzz and harass the enormous beast. The cycle repeats itself, as the Grynig snaps up another of the mantid wasps and open's another nest chamber. Finally there are so many Laroscha's pulling scales, and stinging, that all the Grynig wanted to do was leave. As it shambled down the ravine, it was very careful about how it held its head.
"That was amazing," said Kali. Kalek shook his head, "Any mage can do it," he said. "But how do you deal with that monster every day."
"It gets cold here at night," explained Kali, "They don't like the cold and they all sleep down by the tar, where it's warm."
"They?" queried Kalek.
"There are at least nine more of those things," replied Kali. Kalek loosed a gust of breath at this news. "We've got to get you out of here," he said.
"Okay, you're a magicker," said Kali, "Teleport me off of this place." Kalek shook his head no. "Uh-uh, not a good idea," he said.
"But my parents would teleport me to my grandmother's house," said Kali.
"Rule One of Teleporting," explained Kalek, "Only teleport yourself or those of your own blood. Teleporting those of no direct relation to you, can have some rather nasty results. How about I just transform you into a bird or something else that can fly." Kali shook her head. "No, that won't work," she replied, "My father put the nix on that a couple of years back."
"What happened?" asked Kalek.
"My little brother Cirrocco happened," replied Kali, "When he was five, he turned me into a harpy, not the ugly kind. The pretty, humanoid birds, with the blue, red, and yellow wings?"
"Oh those," said Kalek, "They're called the Brione."
"Yeah well, Little brother saw there was something wrong, and changed me into one," she continued, " I guess he thought that giving me the ability to fly would make me feel better. Father found out about it before I even got a chance to take off and fly any. He changed me back in an instant and slapped a binding ward around me so Cirrocco couldn't transform me again."
"Hmmm, I can't break a binding ward," said Kalek, "And you're too heavy for me to levitate. I'll have to go back home and try to find a spell to help, but I am not to sure of what will work with that binding ward in place."
"Well, hurry back," said Kali, "Every time one of these lizards corners me in a tree, they think of a new way to try and dump me on the ground. Like I said, there's not much to eat here, and they want me for their main course."
"I will hurry, Lady," said Kalek. As he said this, the magical energies surrounding him formed a helix and spiraled around him. Then in a shower of greenish sparks, he was gone.
"Ummm, bindings bindings," Kalek muttered as he hovered in the middle of his father's library of crystals. Each book was stored inside an immense crystal of quartz, any time the taken down and illusion of the pages appeared and showed everything the book contained, what ever the reader wanted to see.
Right now Kalek wasn't having much luck. "Let's see: Mystic Circles, Spells of Protection, Arcanum Sphere's " Kalek muttered to himself. "Oh maybe it's in another book. I just hope I can find it before-"
Kalek spun around to come nose to nose with his little sister Gemmy. "You startled me Gemmy," said Kalek, "What are you doing sneaking around." Gemmy tilted her head. "Mother said that you were going for Lamacha Seeds," she said, "I need some for a potion I am making and was wondering if you had any left over."
"Oh Gemmy," said Kalek, "I didn't get a chance to get any." Gemmy's eyes widened. "Why not?" she cried. Kalek told Gemmy about the foxtaur and the situation she was in, how his magic couldn't affect her as it was, because of the binding ward. Gemmy put her hands to her chin and thought for a moment.
"Okay, so she's protected from transformation magic by a ward, huh," said the girl mostly to herself, "But it's good only against trasformation magic, so I think I know how you can do this. I'll need to make a potion." Kalek saw a look in his little sister's eyes that he recognized. It was the look Gemmy always got when she mixed one of her fun potions. Kalek followed her to her room, where she had a work bench, a mortar and pestle, and several brightly colored potions lined up against the back of the bench.
In the far corner of her room, she had a set of tall shelves where she stored all of Her books and her ingredients. Taking a large, leather bound volume down from one of the low shelves; Gemmy began to thumb through the pages. "Now let's see," Gemmy said out loud, "I need Garra Root, Juma'qui Stalks, skin from a Blue Drake "
"Where'd you get Drake's skin?" asked Kalek. Gemmy gave him one of those looks, like I know something you don't know. "The bridgekeeper of Thanat's Hill found a Drake hatchling fallen from it's nest," explained Gemmy, "It shed its skin last week, and I just happened to be there when it did." Gemmy reached over to the back of her workbench and picked up a flask of a bright fuchsia colored potion. She then took a sip of the stuff and shivered as it's magic began to take effect.
Normally, Gemmy is about five feet tall, with brown hair and eyes, and she dresses very plainly. Kalek watched as his sister suddenly shrank to about half her normal size, Gemmy's hair shimmered as it turned from field mouse brown to bright red. Gemmy placed her hand on a ring that Kalek had seen their mother giver to her, and rubbed the inset stone, this caused her very plain brown dress, to change into a bright pink dress, with a short skirt, and no back. As Gemmy turned to face him, Kalek asked: "What did you do all that for?" Suddenly a bright sparkling shimmered behind Gemmy as a pair of butterfly wings grew from her shoulders.
"I keep a lot of those ingredients on the top shelves," explained Gemmy, "and this is the fastest way I have to get them." Gemmy's new wings blurred as she shot up into the air and grabbed pinches of this and snatches of that, until she had everything she needed. As she dropped the components into her mortar, she told Kalek what she was doing. "The interesting thing about binding wards," explained Gemmy, "Is they only work on a certain type of magic. So what this spell is supposed to do is keep this, what was her name again?"
"The spell is supposed to keep Kali in the form of a foxtaur," continued Gemmy, "So all we have to do now, is just alter her form just enough that we can get her off of the island, with out changing it so much that it triggers the ward."
"What did you have in mind," asked Kalek.
The moon shone brightly through the trees. Kali crept through the branches with the utmost care. A Shanda, a feathered lizard, had made a nest in the tree she was hiding in. Now if she could just get to it without waking it up
Two sudden flares of bright light, one pink and one green, ignited at the base of her tree. The Shanda bolted awake, and scurried up a branch, and then hissed at Kali. Kali dropped to the ground, as the light died away, revealing Kalek, and a small fairy like creature, holding a huge decanter.
"All the lizards asleep?" asked Kalek. Kali scowled at him. "All but one," she griped pointing at the high branches, "Your sudden appearance scared away my dinner." She then looked at the fairy. "Who's this?" she asked.
"This is my little sister Gemmy," replied Kalek with a bit of flourish, "And with her she brings your salvation to this island."
Kali stared at the little girl for a moment. "I thought you said she looked like a little brown mouse," she said. The little girl returned Kali's look with a smile. "Only when I want to," she said, "With all the potions I can make, I can become almost anything. And speaking of potions " Gemmy hefted the bottle that was almost as tall as she was now. "I had to make a whole bunch of this because you're so big," she said, "First, drink all of this down at once."
Kali picked up the decanter and brought it to her lips. With deep swallows the foxtaur emptied the bottle in almost an instant. "How long before this takes effect," asked Kali.
"It should take effect in a couple of minutes," replied the pixie-girl, "See it's just now starting." Kali looked at her arms as she felt a bubbly sensation beneath her skin. It felt like she had just jumped into a pool and stirred up a whole bunch of bubbles, only the bubbles were inside her. Her fur began to look puffy, like a milk fed pup that still had it's milk teeth. Kali's belly began to billow forth like a sail filling with wind, as her barrel grew round as a wine keg. Then all of a sudden the bubbling stopped.
"Good," said Gemmy, "It worked just like it was supposed to."
"Like it was supposed to?" replied an incensed Kali, "All you've done is make me fat." Gemmy raised her hand to calm the foxtaur. "This is just the first stage of the effects," she explained, "The full effects of the potion will happen at sunrise. Then you will be able to leave the island." Kalek saw that look of mischief on Gemmy's face, and realized what was going to happen.
"Oh good grief," said Kalek, "I just realized what you gave her. It's that potion you used on the Dukes niece when she said she would like to go flying." Gemmy nodded and then her smile broadened. "I don't suppose you remember how much trouble you got, when Mother and Father found out what you did?" asked Kalek.
"Then it was a joke," replied Gemmy "This time it's a rescue. I just happen to enjoy the irony of the situation." Instantly her wings became a blur, and she shot up into the air and began circling around the area. Suddenly Gemmy stopped and hovered above where her brother and the foxtaur were. "There's a clearing about a half a mile from where you are," she called "It's perfect for what we need."
As they walked to the clearing, Kali asked about what was happening to her. "It's Gemmy's take on a flying potion," Kalek explained, "But for a person to fly, truly fly, they have to be able to use magic. Basically what the potion is doing is it will make you light enough to float in through the air. The reason Gemmy likes to use this potion for her jokes is, well, lets just say it has some embarrassing side effects, and leave it at that.
Kali wondered what the mage meant by that, as the two of them walked towards the clearing. She pondered many things about what was going to happen to her when they took her from this island. For starters, the fact that she was fuller of figure and softer of body, but none the heavier. In fact when she took a step, she actually felt lighter. What had that little girl given her to drink, and what the heck was it going to do to her body.
As Kalek led the way to the clearing, Kali began to feel her paws getting heavy, she needed some sleep, but she was equally curious to see what was going to happen to her body. As the two of them met Gemmy in the center of the clearing, Kali bunched her paws under her barrel and began to settle down for a nap. "Would you please wake me before the sun rises," she asked Kalek. The mage nodded as the foxtaur settled in for her nap.
Kali dreamed of a soft summer morning with the mists just rising off the stream that ran beside her home in the forest. "Wow," she thought, "I never woke up this early before. The sunrise is beautiful." Slowly the sun rose over the trees. As it's first rays fell on her fur, Kali felt a strange warmth that she didn't recognize. It was tingly like her whole body had fallen asleep, but she could still move. She stood up on her paws and wandered over to the stream for a drink. The cool water trickled down her throat and made her shiver slightly.
As she turned to go back to her parents' house, the wind suddenly picked up. Not a stiff wind though, not like a storm was brewing though. Just a gentle breeze, like the kind that is welcome on a hot summer day. Kali closed her eyes and let the wind rustle through her fur. She gave a sigh of contentment and then opened her eyes. With a start, she saw that she was moving. Somehow, something had made her so light that this gentle breeze was buffeting her along and lifting her up. Well, at least it wasn't like the storm that blew her onto the island. With the warm sun on her face, the whole experience was quite pleasant. As Kali rose over the trees of the forest, her toes brushed against the tops of some of the tallest trees, the soft needles of the pine trees tickling her feet and causing her to giggle. Kali loosed another sigh, as she began to pass through a few of the lower clouds. They were soft, like cotton, and she could hug them to her body and become contented further.
The voice pierced through the veil of dreams and caught her attention. "Kali?" it repeated, "It's just about sunrise." The vision in Kali's dream began to blur around the edges and slowly it vanished like morning mist in the sunlight.
"Mmmm," Kali murmured as she slowly rose to life. "You asked me to wake you up at sunrise," said Kalek, "I figured that this was as good a time as any." Kali opened her eyes to view the first light of the dawn. Kali sighed deeply as the light of the false dawn faded away and darkened into night once more. "It won't be long now," said Gemmy.
Half an hour later the first light of the true dawn began to glow over the horizon. Slowly, the whole sky began to glow a pale peach color, while the clouds burned bright orange, and then the sun began to peer over the horizon.
"It's just as beautiful as my dream was," said Kali.
"What dream was this?" asked Kalek. Kali told the young mage of the dream she had while the other two were waiting for sunrise. "It was wonderful," sighed Kali.
Gemmy giggled as the sunlight crept through the shadows towards the unsuspecting foxtaur. "Kali, you should get ready," giggled Gemmy, "Cause your dream is about to come true." And as a look of confusion passed over the foxtaur's face, the light of the rising sun fell on Kali.
As the warm sun streamed through Kali's fur, she felt her skin begin to tingle. It wasn't unpleasant, but she wondered how this was going to get her off the island. The tingling began to feel more like a caress, it even tickled a little bit. As she giggled , Kali put her hands on her belly, and received a rude shock. Her belly was growing. It was definitely growing, her humanoid portion looked as though it were six months pregnant, her barrel
Her barrel was growing as well, it was twice as big as it was normally was, and her flanks were swelling too. She watched as her bottom swelled bigger and biggerlike rapidly ripening fruit. Kali's barrel began to brush against the ground. As she turned her head to look behind her, her chin brushed against something. Her breasts, they were huge. They had grown to the size of young pumpkins.
"What have you done to me wizard," asked the Foxtaur nervously. Gemmy fluttered up and sat on Kali's back. "You're too heavy to carry as you are," explained the fairy/girl, "The potion makes you lighter, because it fills you with something lighter than air. However, because you so big, it takes a lot of this gas to give you a lift. In other words your blowing up like a gas fungus, but unlike a gas fungus you're not going burst when you get full"
That was good to know, Kali peered through her deepening cleavage at her swelling belly. There was one thing it felt good to grow like this. As Kali tried to walk around, she found that her swelling barrel had acually lifted her feet off the ground. The Foxtaur almost lost her balance as she moved, but she quickly regained it. And Kali was growing bigger.
As Kalek watched as Kali's legs began to shrink into her swelling body, Gemmy fluttered up ans watched as Kali's shoulders began to swell. The foxtaur's arms began to bulge and sag upward, as the potion continued it's process. Soon all that could be seen of Kali's legs were her toes that stuck out from her swollen barrel. Kali's arms were in the shape of the biggest hams, Kalek had ever seen at their dinner table, and still they grew. Kali stroked the fur on her breasts to remind herself that this was really happening, that she was really filling out like a gas fungous or a puffer gourd, and soon all that emerged from Kali's bloated mass, were her hands her toes her tail and her head. And she hadn't stopped growing yet.
"Ooooh," moaned Kali as her back began to swell larger and larger, and her flanks swelled larger still. Soon the swelling in her flanks crept up the back of her barrel, and soon met with the small of her humanoid back. As she grew the space between her humanoid and her vulpine portions grew into one huge swollen hum that led to her neck. Slowly Kali felt her body grow tighter. Just as she realized that she was indeed not going to burst, she took stock of the changes that her body had gone through. She had at the very least grown to twelve times her normal size. Her breasts were far larger than any fruit or gourd that had ever grown in the land, and her belly was three times that of one of her breasts. Kali's barrel was wider than most sailing boats, and higher than a small house. The whole effect looked like somebody had dug up a small brown hill, and had transplanted it into the middle of the clearing. Slowly the tightening of her skin began to decrease, and as her head began to shrink into the swelling skin, the swelling stopped.
"Is she done" Kalek asked his sister. Gemmy fluttered around the swollen Foxtaur. "She's done growing,"replied the fairy girl, pressing her hand into Kali's swollen flesh, "She's just not full. She's going to need more potion to get off of this island." Gemmy pulled out another decanter of potion for the foxtaur to drink
Kali resigned herself to slowly sipping the potion, as she did, she relaxed as she felt the tingling in her body build up again. Slowly, but steadily, she felt her tightening barrel lift off of the ground, just as one of the giant Grynigs burst through a large clump of brush. The lizard snaped at Kali's flag of a tail, but came away with nothing. Kalek gave the enormous foxtaur a push up sending her further into the sky
As she felt herself rising higher and higher, Kali began to relax. She snuggled down into her swollen mass and began to feel sleepy. "Hey Gemmy," said Kali, "Do you think you could teach me alchemy like yours?"
"Sure," replied the fairy\girl, "We'll have to wait until the potion wears off before we can do that."
"Oh how long before that happens," asked the Foxtaur. Gemmy rubbed her cheek in thought. "Well, the effects of the potion will go away by sunset," said the fairy\girl, "But they will return the minute you step out into the sunlight. And I can only guess how long the potion will take to wear off though."
"Well then,," said Kali "Guess."
"A week, maybe two."
"A WEEK?" roared Kali.
"It took a lot of potion to get you off of the island," Gemmy explained, "So it's going to take a while for the potion to leave your body. Just stay out of the sun, unless you want to go flying, and everything should be hunky dory."
Kali thought for a moment as she calmed down. Swollen like this for a week. It didn't sound too bad, and at the very least it felt good to grow like this.
"You should be careful," said Kalek floating beside her, "You could wind up bigger than you were, before the sun came up."
"Hmm," Kali thought to herself, before she drifted off to sleep again "Bigger than I was before An interesting prospect."
(Converted to HTML by David Wills with Lotus WordPro, 3/2000)