Travel Agency

The Other Half of My Soul, part 09 of 11

“Well, that was a complete waste of time,” Taylor said. “Do you know why the Knowing One used an illusion instead of a transformation when he came to see the portal here in the women’s quarters?”

 

“Um, I thought we’d decided that was because he’s a wuss?”

The Other Half of My Soul, part 08 of 11

We sat up and stretched our arms and wings. “Okay, we’re up,” we said with both mouths, and were sorry when we saw Taylor’s startled, worried look.

The Other Half of My Soul, part 07 of 11

Taylor looked so worried and guilty that I had to give her a hug. “Come on. We can’t do anything until we talk to the Gray One, but for now, you need to relax. How about a game of — Tag! You’re it.”

The Other Half of My Soul, part 06 of 11

I know it’s bad manners to laugh at one’s own jokes, especially hoary old chestnuts like that, but Serenikha’s amusement poured through our link so strongly that I couldn’t suppress my giggles for more than a moment, and then we kept setting each other off.

The Other Half of My Soul, part 05 of 11

“I like being a nagini well enough, just on the physical level, but — well, I don’t know how other people in my country will react.... Even if people are getting used to seeing magical stuff happen, they might stare at me a lot.”

The Other Half of My Soul, part 04 of 11

The guards wouldn’t let the Knowing One in to the women’s quarters, though, until he transformed himself into a woman, or maybe put on an illusion of being a woman; I had a suspicion it was the latter, given how fast the change was effected and the way “she” walked.

The Other Half of My Soul, part 02 of 11

“Shall I go and turn him over to the guard? Or castrate him myself?”

“Take him somewhere else first,” one of the other women pleaded. “I can’t stand the sight of blood.”

The Other Half of My Soul, part 01 of 11

My psychic link with Serenikha had held steady all through high school, growing no stronger but no weaker, ever since my first trip to her world. I still shared dreams with her, and I still had occasional moments of aphasia, where I couldn’t think of a word in English, only in one of Serenikha’s languages. And then, my first semester in college, it suddenly seemed to get a lot weaker — I shared no dreams at all with her, and had much less aphasia than usual.

Travel Agency: The Other Half of My Soul

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This is a sequel to my earlier novella, "The Family that Plays Together." It's set with Morpheus's kind permission in his Travel Agency universe. Thanks to Morpheus for his comments on the rough draft.

Five years after the events of "The Family that Plays Together", Leslie and Taylor return to Serenikha's world. But getting home again might not be as easy...

Travel Agency Q&A

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Here are some excerpts from my correspondence with Morpheus about the Travel Agency universe. Quotes from my own emails are preceded with TS:, quotes from him are preceded with M:.

Note that this is not an official FAQ or story bible or set of “rules” for the universe. It’s just a set of quotes from emails.

The Family that Plays Together, part 10 of 10

“It would give more credence to the rumors if Serenikha shows up and can’t control her tail because it feels like a pair of human legs, or can’t talk sense because she’s still speaking my native language.”

The Family that Plays Together, part 09 of 10

“I am so close,” he said, hissing with frustration. “I could feel Serenikha’s soul returning — but it would not lodge securely in her body, your own was still tethered there.”

The Family that Plays Together, part 08 of 10

But why did my tail feel so weird? I looked down and saw it was split — that’s how it felt at the time. I wasn’t thinking of them as legs, but as something that had gone wrong with my tail. And when I tried to slither forward, my tail impossibly went in two directions at once, and I fell and hit the floor with a painful thud —

The Family that Plays Together, part 07 of 10

“I’d never had wine before. They don’t let kids my age drink it, back home. But when Pientao gave me a cup I thought I’d better drink it to be polite and to stay in character, because for all I know Serenikha drinks it all the time and it would look suspicious if I said I didn’t like it.”

The Family that Plays Together, part 06 of 10

“Lord Ravadh already knows I’m one of the Gray One’s tourists, and it doesn’t matter to him — he thinks I should stay here and pretend to be the princess until she gets back. And he told me to warn you that he’s got his own mage ready to stop the Gray One if he tries getting me out by magic.”

The Family that Plays Together, part 05 of 10

There was no reason I should have to put up with all this nonsense just because I was female; Mom and Taylor never took half this long to get ready, even on fancy occasions. (Mom wore her hair short, I reflected, which might be a factor.)

The Family that Plays Together, part 04 of 10

I leaned way over to get a closer look at my reflection, and suddenly there was a splash of water that blinded me for a moment, and something was grappling my arms and shoulders, pulling me down into the water.

The Family that Plays Together, part 02 of 10

I had breasts — well, they’d warned me I might be a girl of some kind. And it was hard to be sure in the dim light, but I thought my skin was darker than it was in my real body. But the really important thing was that below the waist, I wasn’t human at all.

The Family that Plays Together, part 01 of 10

Mom and Dad had tried to raise me and Taylor without gender stereotypes. They’d given both of us gender-neutral names, and had me wearing her hand-me-downs, skirts as well as pants and shirts, until I was old enough to rebel against them.

Travel Agency: The Family that Plays Together

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This story is set, with Morpheus' permission, in his Travel Agency universe. Thanks to Morpheus for his feedback on the first draft.

I'll be serializing it here over the next few weeks, but if you don't want to wait, the whole novella is available as part of The Weight of Silence and Other Stories, along with thirteen other stories, including several that haven't previously appeared online.

Travel Agency: Scouts, part 6 of 6

Would it not work with her so far from the Gray One’s office? This place must be empty of magic, or the Gray One would have rescued her by now — perhaps the return spell would not work here.

This story is set, with Morpheus' permission, in his Travel Agency universe.

Travel Agency: Scouts, part 5 of 6

Travel Agency: Scouts, part 4 of 6

“If we can recreate this ‘Coke’ from materials to be had in our own world, we will do as much for the happiness of the speaking peoples as if we replicate a steam engine or internal combustion engine.”

This story is set, with Morpheus' permission, in his Travel Agency universe.

Travel Agency: Scouts, part 3 of 6

“Being a woman is nothing,” Natalie said. “I’ve been men and women, male and female dwarves and camel-centaurs and even merfolk. But having to stay in the same shape for six days! I don’t know if I can do it.”

This story is set, with Morpheus' permission, in his Travel Agency universe.

Travel Agency: Scouts, part 2 of 6

“Dear body-borrower,

“I hope you have fun in my body and my world, but not too much fun, if you know what I mean.”

This story is set, with Morpheus' permission, in his Travel Agency universe.

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