A Transdimensional
              Portal HUZZAH!

  by Van © 2021

Chapter 12



Mac and Una were soaring through the skies, impossibly high above Sliabh Baile.  The grasslands on the mountain's western base were like a kidney-shaped, light green rug.  The surrounding forests stretched to the horizon and were a much darker green, broken here and there by meandering rivers and cleared areas.  Dragon and Rider were too high to see more than a hint of the windbreaks of trees and tall shrubs that defined the nearest farmers' fields and ranchers' pastures, and the closest cities and towns looked like clusters of tiny model buildings, far too small and fragile for a child to play with without breaking.  A generous part of the inland sea was visible, as were the three mountain ranges that defined the Boghadubha, Cudhaioin, and Lochlannachthe borders of the Dearg nation.

The sky directly overhead not lost in the glare of the noonday sun was ultramarine, and the brightest of the stars were visible.  Ultramarine... which shifted to cerulean blue closer to the horizons, which were visibly curved on all sides.  Curved!

Impossibly high.  Dragon and Rider should be frozen and unable to breathe.  But they were not, and they could, and it was glorious!  As well as impossible.

Mac opened her eyes.  Directly overhead was a domed ceiling of cleverly interlocking but randomly shaped rocks and boulders.  Flickering fires provided light and heat... a lot of heat... and it felt good

She was surrounded by more than a dozen beautiful women, all older that herself, and all were naked and glistening with sweat.  They were also fit, strong, poised, beautiful, covered with freckles, and with glorious manes of ginger hair and green eyes that flashed in the firelight.  They were Dearg.

Mac was also naked, and her limp, tired body was draped across several of the lounging women, limbs akimbo.  And her living couch included Queen Epona!  In fact, Her Majesty was cradling Mac's head, and she wasn't wearing her golden crown/headband.

"W-where?" Mac croaked.  One of the women held a wooden cup to her lips.  She took a careful sip of gloriously cool, clear water... licked her lips... and tried again.  "Where am I?"

Epona leaned close and kissed Mac's lips.  "You are in Rider's Home," she answered.

"Still on the mountain?" Mac asked.

"Still on the mountain," Epona confirmed.

Again, the cup was held to Mac's lips and again she drank.  She surmised she was in the beehive building she'd seen earlier, before... the dragons.  She rather belatedly realized some of the women were bathing her body with wet cloths they replenished in shallow bowls of water.  Also, her hair was being brushed (by a queen!), and it felt good.  All of her felt good.  However, sitting up or otherwise changing her sprawled, utterly relaxed pose was far too ambitious a goal for the immediate future.  Mac had never felt so tired... and happy.

Mac could feel Una in her mind.  Her Companion was close, but not inside the building.  Mac could tell.  She could also feel Mæn, and realized they both were just outside, cuddled together and asleep.  Mac couldn't remember being able to do this before, meaning being able to sense the near-presence of dragons without the dragons sending her their thoughts.  Not even Una.  But now she could.

"The dragons have two different sets of saliva glands," Epona said.

Mac frowned.  "What?"

The other women smiled, and a few giggled.

"You're as bad as Danu," Epona purred.  "I am cursed with daughters who won't listen when I try to explain important things"

Mac smiled (weakly).  "I'm sorry.  You were explaining the importance of dragon spit?"

The women chuckled and Epona rolled her eyes.  "Dragons have two different sets of saliva glands.  The Healers say the lower set are vestigial poison sacs.  They are the source of dragon-metal fluxing liquid."

"The saliva used to temper steel?" Mac asked.

Epona nodded.  "The smaller, upper sacs are their normal saliva," she continued.  "Tonight, they used them to anoint your body.  Their normal saliva."

"It is an ancient ceremony," one of the women said.

"The dragons come to know all new riders," another Rider added, "at least ten, but more if they are available."

Mac realized that all the naked women pampering her naked, exhausted body were Riders.  She knew it, even without knowing them personally.  And as with the near-presence of Mæn and Una, she had no idea how she knew.  Also, Mac was finding it increasingly difficult to stay awake and absorb new information.

"What was the count?" Epona asked.

"One hundred and three dragons," a Rider from the edge of the crowd answered.

"That many?" Epona purred.

Laughter rippled through the group.  "Are you kidding?" another Rider chuckled.  "A Rider from another world?  A Royal Companion?  Mæn probably had to order her flock to stay away by the thousands."

"Otherwise, they would have licked poor M
æve clean away," someone quipped, "like a farmer's salt-block."  The Riders laughed.

"Anyway," Epona chuckled, "dragon saliva has very mild intoxicating properties."

"Euphoric," said one of the Riders.

"Hallucinogenic," added another.

"It seeps in through the pores," Epona continued, "and I'm afraid it will take you a few hours to fully recover.  She kissed Mac's forehead.  "One hundred and three.  My poor daughter."

Mac's eyes were closed.  "It... tickled," she said in a near whisper.

The surrounding naked Riders all smiled and delicately shivered, no doubt remembering their own initiations.

"It does at that," Epona chuckled.  She continued brushing Mac's hair.  "Would you like something to eat?  M

Mac didn't answer.  She was asleep.

"Such a beauty," one of the Riders sighed.

"Indeed," Epona agreed.

The Riders resumed gently washing Mac's glistening skin, cooling her body as her sweat glands helped eliminate the residual dragon saliva.

Outside, Mæn and her daughter slept between a pair of bonfires, with Una still sheltered under one of her mother's gigantic folded wings.

Riders tended the fires, bundled in furs against the high altitude cold.  Others, also dressed in furs, stood watch, armed with spears and shields. 
Fearsome predators stalk the slopes of the mountain at night, but the close proximity of the dragons, even asleep, meant such vigilance wasn't really necessary.  That said, posting a standing watch until dawn was a tradition.  A New Rider was recovering inside Rider's Home.  She would be safe from all threats.

 Chapter 12

The Honorable Georgetta Congreve was feeling very pleased with herself, and this was for three reasons:


For more than a month, George had been pressuring the Dearg Guild Leaders to meet with her so she could elucidate the many and diverse differences between Grand Alliance Science and what she perceived as the narrow, parochial, and vocational concerns of the individual Guilds.  Granted, there were Naturalists among the Healers and Farmers, Geologists among the Masons (since the Masons were also miners), Physicists and Chemists among the Artisans, and Mathematicians among all the recognized Guilds; however, there was no formal recognition of the interdisciplinary and philosophical underpinning of all knowledge that was Science!

To George's great delight, what Bonnie openly mocked as "George's Philosophy of Science Book Report" was finally delivered, but in the form of a dinner party, rather than the scholarly lecture George had envisioned.  (Bonnie begged off attending, explaining she'd been putting off various very important tasks... like darning her socks.)  "Whatever," George huffed.  Anyway, the dinner happened, the food was delicious, and afterwards, to George's delight, the gathering became a classic salon or intellectual forum.  All the Guild Leaders participated, and to George's further gratification, her axiom was largely accepted, that the basic Guild organization was impeding progress in fields of knowledge not directly related to agriculture, manufacturing, and commerce.  Even better, the Dearg themselves developed what George was convinced would be a viable solution to the problem!

In addition to the recognized Guilds, Dearg society supports a number of recognized "Rings," groups of individuals devoted full time to cultural endeavors like the visual, literary, performing, and culinary arts.  Most Dearg pay dues to maintain membership in one of the recognized Guilds, but they also subscribe to one or more of the Rings.  A farmer joins the Farm Guild to enjoy professional benefits, like access to the Guild seed banks and crop insurance, but might also pay tithes to a Music Ring because he or she enjoys playing the lyre.  A smith would join the Artisans to be privy to metallurgical Guild Secrets, but might also tithe to the Drama Ring because he or she enjoys attending plays.

So, why not... "Philosophical Rings?"  The Guilds themselves could collectively support the work of individuals dedicated to what the Guilds agreed were relevant "pure" or theoretical specialties (like mathematics, chemistry, and biology).  The new Rings would support scholarship and research that would be freely shared for the benefit to all!  A solemn pledge was made by all present to urge their Guilds to provide the resources (cash) to make it happen.  As a first step, several Guild Leaders knew of members who were devoted to math, and agreed to get them together on a regular basis and to formally recognize a Mathematics Ring.  There was no doubt that other Rings would soon follow.

It was a definite start, and George considered it a Personal Triumph!  And she wasn't behaving like a self-satisfied, gloating little twerp going around bragging about being the Founder of Dearg Science or anything.  Even Bonnie and Mac agreed that wasn't the case.  (And George was sure they weren't being sarcastic).


Formal permission for The Spirit of Sky Woman to depart had finally been granted!

George continued to be disappointed and amazed by the horrible informality that surrounded the Dearg Crown.  Queen Epona and the Guild Leaders, who seemed to double as the Dearg equivalent of Government Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries, were far too casual in their deliberations and decision-making (in George's humble opinion).

"Pomp and Circumstance serve a purpose!" she lectured Bonnie and George.  "Without them—"

"Things get done?" Bonnie interrupted.

"You save a ton of money?" Mac suggested.

George dismissed her partners as "hopeless gits."

Anyway, one day Queen Epona casually dropped by the Sky Woman work camp and casually inquired if they'd settled on a tentative date for their departure.

George was amazed... and pleased.

Her Majesty explained that her counselors had finally reached the consensus that George and Bonnie's dimension wasn't a threat.  Granted, Grand Alliance weapons technology was more advanced than the Dearg's, but they'd need the total cooperation of all (or most) of the Dearg dragons to be able to invade.  Also, with Mac "defecting to the gingers," as Bonnie liked to tease their Chief Engineer, it was only a matter of time until the Dearg closed the technological gap.  The idea of gunpowder firearms was already out, and the current ongoing development of Dearg crossbow tactics would soon be giving way to the development of gunpowder firearm tactics.  The days of the shield wall were severely numbered.


The Healers Guild had been George's sponsors (or some might say custodians) since her arrival (capture).  At one point, Dierdre divulged that she'd been charged by Epona and the other Guild Leaders to determine if George was actually human, while the First Legion had been charged with evaluating Bonnie as a warrior and assessing whether a possible army of this new race of brown-hairs was a military threat.

Anyway, the Healers' Guild wanted to wish George—their "special brown-haired friend,"—a special farewell.  A nice dinner would be wonderful, as far as George was concerned, but Dierdre insisted on a full day of pampering in the "Heart of the Mountain," the Guild's spa-cavern.  George didn't even know the Guild had a sauna cavern (or what a "spa-cavern" might entail).

As it turned out, the Heart of the Mountain was an exquisitely beautiful cavern, famous throughout Dearg.  Hanging lanterns with blown glass shades of a dozen different colors provided subdued lighting.  Stalactites and stalagmites covered the cavern walls, swirling and dripping like the wax of enormous candles.  There were also numerous elaborately decorated cast iron stoves tucked among the natural features with ornate iron stovepipes snaking away to what George assumed were exhaust ports.  There were piles of porous igneous rocks atop the stoves, and attendants wearing nothing but gray loincloths regularly doused the rocks with water, sending clouds of steam into the stiflingly hot air.  The humidity had to at or near 100%.

It was a steam room, and it had been subtly and carefully modified by expert stonemasons to provide adequate ventilation while maintaining a natural (and spectacularly beautiful) appearance.  There were also massage tables, elaborately carved wooden cabinets containing who knew what, and barrels of water, all richly decorated to complement the setting.  It was clear why the cavern was famous.

They entered through an antechamber that, while beautiful, was neither hot, humid, nor lit by multi-colored lanterns.  George and Deirdre disrobed, passed under a waterfall of cool, clear water, and were scrubbed down by smiling attendants.  Then, they passed through a pair of thick drapes held open by more attendants, and entered the main cavern.

George was impressed... even amazed.

She was also naked and wet, like Deirdre, but while George was not suddenly immune to her chronic embarrassment with regard to publicly nudity, and despite her recent experiences as a prisoner of the Dearg (who seemed to insist on placing their captives' naked bodies on unrestricted display), she wasn't at all distressed.  This was a setting in which nudity was socially acceptable and functionally necessary, even back home.  The Grand Alliance had its share of steam rooms and public baths, and Scandian saunas were becoming increasingly popular in the homes of the more progressive and sophisticated aristocracy.  Did George blush?  Yes, of course, but the heat and humidity provided a ready excuse.  George was flushed, not embarrassed... much.

First came full-body massages.  George and Deirdre reclined on a pair of side-by-side massage tables and received deep, prolonged, expert massages by highly skilled and experienced attendants.

Propriety be damned! George mused.  This feels gooood!  The stretching and manipulation of her muscles continued.  She turned her head and smiled at Deirdre, who smiled back.  The hot, humid air opened George's pores, and she began to sweat... a lot.  As did Deirdre.  As did their attendants.

George closed her eyes.  The massage continued.  All of her limbs received attention... as did both sides of her body.  She was lifted and turned several times.  Finally... George drifted off to sleep.


George dreamed her attendants were continuing to gently caress her body... while other attendants were painting her legs with some sort of cool, gooey, fragrant paste, obviously of botanical origin. They started at her ankles and sloooowly worked their way up to her upper-thighs.  Then, the same thing happened from her wrists to her upper arms.  Next... attendants began gently (but firmly) covering the goo with damp linen bandages in overlapping (and tight) layers.

"Wh-what's happening?" George inquired.  Someone held a cup brimming with cool water to her lips, and she drank.  "Thank you," she sighed.  There was a pleasant, herbal aftertaste to the water.

The goo had an agreeable odor, pungent and pleasant.  Earthy.  Like rich compost mixed with dried flower petals.  Pleasant.  And George's goo and bandage-covered skin was tingling... just a little... which also felt good.  Her lips and tongue were also tingling... just a little... from the herb infused water.

And then, George was lifted off the massage table by several attendants and carefully, gently transferred to some sort of... horizontal frame?  It was padded, comfortable, and supported her entire body, including her arms and legs, which were flung wide.  Her pose was very... vitruvian, like the famous illustration by Leonard of Vinci.  Or as if she was bound in a full spreadeagle... only she wasn't.

The attendants continued massaging her torso... and it felt sooooo... gooood.  And now they were wrapping more bandages around her limbs... and the padded frame... in tight, overlapping layers.  This did not feel good, but on the other hand, it made sure she couldn't fall off the frame, so...


"Wait!  Hey!"  George's eyes were now open, wide open!  "What are you—?"

"Hush, darling," Deirdre smiled.  She was sitting or kneeling beside George's head and holding the water cup to George's lips.  She was still naked and shining with sweat, but not encumbered by goo or bandages.  She was also smiling, of course.  Dierdre was always smiling.  "Drink.  We don't want you to become dehydrated."



The cup tipped and George drank.  The water was deliciously cool and refreshing (with that same herbal aftertaste), and was admittedly welcome.  However, being bandage-bound to a horizontal vitruvian frame was not!  George tugged on her bandage-bonds, or tried to, anyway.  She was completely immobilized, discounting her fluttering fingers, flopping hands, twisting ankles, and wiggling toes!  George revised her initial estimate.  Actually, she was approximately 97% immobilized.  She was, however, completely helpless, and her limbs were still tingling from the mysterious goo... and she realized her head felt... funny.  That was distressing, of course.  George hated being imprecise, and "funny" was hardly descriptive.  Was she tipsy or intoxicated?  No... she was... insouciant.

And then there was the issue of her hostess' motivation.  "Why—?"

Still smiling, Deirdre placed her finger against George's lips.  "You'll be leaving in a few days, Georgetta, and the senior students begged me for an opportunity to give you a proper Healing Guild send off."  She heaved a deep sigh.  "I could hardly refuse.  They were most insistent, and marshaled many compelling arguments."

"Excuse me?"  George lifted her head and stared at the attendants.  She realized they'd been coming and going, no doubt leaving the cave to cool off while others took their place; but now, as she looked from smiling, young, freckled, green-eyed face to smiling, young, freckled, green-eyed face... she realized she knew many of them.  They were, indeed, all older Healing Guild students, those with only months to go before they became fully qualified Healers.  Also...  George swallowed nervously.  None of them were wearing loincloths.  They were all naked... and glistening with sweat.

"It was decided the Welcoming Ritual was the appropriate framework," Deirdre explained, then held the cup to George's lips, again.  "That's the ceremony that marks a student's transition from the general to the advanced curriculum.  We adapted it to bid you a safe journey home."  Her smile widened.  "I'll be watching, of course.  To make sure things don't get out of hand."


Deirdre had thrust a soft cleave gag in George's mouth.  It was thick and surprisingly soft.  George believed it was made by tying a series of running knots in a folded strip of conditioned linen.


"Hush," Deirdre cooed as she tied a tight knot at the nape of George's neck, under her tousled, wet hair.  "It's better this way.  Shouting in caves causes annoying echoes."  Her smile never wavered.

George was amazed and alarmed!  She locked eyes with Deirdre, then—"MMMrrrf!"—she suddenly had other, far more pressing concerns!

The attendants/senior students (all in their very late teens or early twenties) had surrounded George and the vitruvian frame and were using their lips, tongues, and fingers to suck, lick, and/or tickle George's toes, the soles of her feet, her ribs, and her armpits!


It was horrible!  Simply horrible!  And it went on and on and on!  And George's vigorous efforts to evade the scholarly lips, tongues, and fingers were only approximately three-percent effective!


The students were well-trained.  Not only were they experts in human anatomy, but therapeutic massage as well.  It was part of the curriculum, and not only had the students practiced on each other in class, but also back in their dormitory cavern, after the lights were out.  It was inevitable that they would discover those elements of deep tissue and muscle manipulation that trigger orgasmogenesis, and they practiced that as well.  Extensively.

Deirdre was gently holding George's head against the frame's padded headrest.  She leaned close and kissed George's sweaty forehead.  Student-on-student erotic massage went way back and was, in fact, a school tradition.  One might posit that Deirdre was remembering the days of her own academic hanky-panky.  Unfortunately, no dragon was available to read her thoughts.

And then—"MRRRFH!"—a student positioned herself between George's splayed legs and began licking and sucking her glistening lady bits!  And two additional naked students were squeezing, teasing, and... doing things to her breasts and nipples!  Yet another was using her tongue to probe George's umbilicus (bellybutton)!

Unladylike sweating!  Tickling!  Teasing!  Diddling!  All while George was stark naked!  While everybody was stark naked!  It was memorable—she meant horrible!  Memorably horrible!
The Farewell Ceremony lasted for the rest of the day... with rest breaks.  Afterwards, there was a Farewell Feast at the Healing Guild Cavern.  George ate very little.  She spent most of the evening more or less semiconscious and cradled in Deirdre's arms, nibbling on tidbits, sipping fruit cider, and drifting in and out.  Obviously, she was suffering what might be diagnosed as an advanced case of orgasmic overload.  Luckily, she was in the best possible place to receive medical attention.

Also, the entire Healer's Guild agreed that the quirky, goofy little smile curling their brunette guest's lips was absolutely adorable!

 Chapter 12

In typical Dearg fashion, the departure of The Spirit of Sky Woman was a decidedly informal affair, sort of like a street party combined with the routine departure of a commercial airship.  There were no speeches or ceremony.  The Guild Leaders, as well as Brigadier Caradoc and most of the First Legion, were present, as was virtually the entire population of Sliabh Baile, dragon and human.  The humans filled every park, square, and flat rooftop of the Outer City (the buildings on the plateau hugging the mountain), as well as spilling out onto the plateau road and lounging on the grassy slopes above and below.  The street vendors were having a field day, including one enterprising entrepreneur who was selling quarters of roasted aurochs and bison to the dragons as light snacks.

And speaking of presents, Sky Woman's holds were crammed with gifts and mementos for Bonnie and George, the Grand Alliance government, and the Grand Alliance trade unions and professional organizations and institutions that were the closest analogs to the Dearg Guilds.  Bonnie, George, and Mac had helped Epona and the Dearg leadership draft letters to their Grand Alliance counterparts, and had made suggestions regarding the gifts.  Travel and communications between the two worlds would almost certainly be sporadic and severely limited, given the inherent limitations of dimensional translation and the Transdimensional Ansible.  Also, the dragons had decreed that at least three years should pass between visits, and five would be better.  The concentration required to pull or push Sky Woman across the barrier was taxing.  Anyway, the Dearg and Grand Alliance governments might as well try to establish and maintain amicable relations.

Bonnie and Danu had developed a surprisingly warm relationship.  Epona's daughter had accepted her "punishment" of becoming Bonnie's aide with stoic dedication, shadowing the brunette alien during daylight hours and acting as her dragon intermediary, if one was required.  Over the final months of the visit, their relation warmed.  Go figure.  And Bonnie was glad to be there when Danu finally met a young dragon willing to take the queen's daughter as her Rider.  The dragon was a medium-size beauty with pale gray markings and was slender and quick.  Her name was Segnat, and even at her age it was clear she would be an unusually fast flyer when she matured.  Her body was slender and sinuous, except for her powerful wing muscles.   Anyway, Bonnie and Danu (and Segnat) parted on friendly terms the day of the departure... and with neither of the humans naked, bound, or gagged.  Go figure.

Sky Woman was cruising on autopilot in a slow circle seven-thousand feet above the city but at least two miles distant, just in case.  In the event of trouble during the dimensional transfer, and assuming Bonnie and George retained at least minimal control of the airship, the plan was to glide down to a graceful landing (crash) in the grasslands.

Bonnie, George, Epona, Mac, and Una were in Sky Woman's largest cargo hold, standing near the open port-side hatch.  Mæn was flying alongside, near the hatch, matching Sky Woman's slow pace with languid flaps of her great wings.  Bonnie, George, and Mac were having a teary goodbye, especially George and Mac.  None of them knew when or if they'd meet again.

Epona exchanged final warm hugs with Bonnie and George.  Then, George hugged Una (who was surprised and rather flustered to be hugged by a mind-deaf brunette.)  Mac mounted Una's saddle and secured her safety belt, gave a final wave, and Una leaped through the hatch and soared away.  Meanwhile, Epona had tied a simple rope harness through her legs and around her waist,  It was obviously something a trained Rider knew how to do.  The queen then smiled, gave a final wave of her own, and stood in the door.  Mæn swooped even closer to the hatch, Epona stepped into midair, and dropped into Mæn's Rider's saddle.  Her Majesty released the rope, buckled herself in, and Mæn soared away.  Bonnie coiled the rope and stowed it in its proper place, closed and dogged the hatch, then hurried after George to the bridge.

Down below, the crowd noted the departure of Una and Mac, then Mæn and Queen Epona, and watched as Sky Woman climbed to 20,000 feet (to put her above the commercial ceiling of Grand Alliance air traffic).  The dragons (and human Riders) could judge the airship's altitude with uncanny accuracy, and shared that information with the crowd.  Everyone knew the departure of Sky Woman was imminent.

Sure enough, all the dragons lifted their heads and gazed at the cruising airship... and all the watching Dearg heard (in their minds) a rather melodious hum.


And then, there was a brilliant ***FLASH***  that brought a collective gasp to the watching crowd, and The Spirit of Sky Woman vanished from the sky!

About a minute passed... then the Transdimensional Ansible began to flash, sending a simple, prearranged signal, the Dearg runic equivalent of HSH (Home Sweet Home).

Bonnie and George had safely returned to their own dimension.

 Chapter 12


Chapter 11
֍ Epilogue