Long ago in a magical place far far away there was born into the world of Mythangia, a Guardian.  His name was Cerberalious and he was among the most feared and revered of the enormous Guardian creatures.  He was a beast like none other, forged into the shape of a hound with seven snapping heads filled with razor sharp teeth.  His body was sleek and muscular, with a tail that could sunder a mountain should it give an agitated whip.  Cerberalious was a marvel of a teeth, claws, muscle, bone and raw power.  It was no wonder that he was tasked with guarding the various portals to the Nether Region.

However, while Cerberalious was a frightening beast, he was also a lonely man.  Spirits would claim as they boarded ships to ferry them to the Other Side, they could see a towering man of some twenty or more feet high, standing nude upon the shore.  He sported seven heads upon broad muscular ashen gray shoulders.  Each one was as different to the next as it was to the first.  

It was true.  Just like many of the Guardians, Cerberalious was not a mindless beast.  He could morph into a more human form, though that form for him was as unusual as the seven headed beast he normally padded around as.  He was a giant man with seven mismatched heads that chattered amongst themselves.  Each had its own personality and opinions, but they were all just part of his one unique and alone in the world, mind.

“That ship was really full,” Growled one of the beast’s smaller heads.  Cerberalious turned his largest head, the one that sat in the center and to the front of his shoulders, so it could look to the one that had spoken.  “It was wasn’t it?  I should head to the borderlands and investigate.  Could it be that the humans are making war again?”  A long black lion’s tail gave a thrash and a tiny head that sat far back on his left shoulder let out a pathetic doggy whine.  “Oh how ghastly!  All those poor people.”

“Quiet!  All of you…”  A grumpy-sounding head to the right lifted upon a long neck and began to sniff.  “Stop sniveling and use your senses!  Do you not smell that?!”  All the heads stopped talking and lifted their noses, nostrils flaring and deep breaths filling Cerberalious’ ashen chest with the air of his surroundings.  All went silent for a moment until the sound of a child crying caused the gentle giant to bolt away.

Rounding a large rock-facing he knelt down, peering to the spirit of a tiny girl child clutching a doll.  The Guardian stalled, wondering if his visage would frighten the child, but when she looked up and spotted the seven-headed giant it was awe that struck her instead.  “Wha-what are you!?”  She called out at him.  At first he didn’t know what to say.  Few people ever spoke to Cerberalious and none of his heads was certain how to respond.  Finally, the largest and most prominent managed to clear his throat and offer a clawed hand larger than her entire body.  “I am Cerberalious, the Guardian of the Nether Regions.  Please, climb onto my hand and I will help you to the Other Side.”

The girl sniffled, rubbing at her eyes before scrambling forward.  She hesitated only a moment before stepping up into his large near-black palm.  “I thought Cerberalious was a doggy!”  A rumbling chuckle vibrated from the Guardian.  “Only sometimes.”   

He moved to stand upright, walking towards the water’s edge.  The boat had not gotten far; he could easily lean over and deposit the child upon it.  “Why are you naked?”  Cerberalious leaned forward over the water towards ghostly human arms reaching for the girl.  All seven of his heads grinned, “They don’t make clothes in my size.”

The Guardian released the child as she flew into a fit of giggles.  Several of the souls on the ship appeared frightened, but he ignored their stares.  It was the girl’s bright eyes that he focused upon.  If only all humans would look at him with such happy tenderness, perhaps he would not constantly feel as if there was a hole in his heart.  Shaking out of his thoughts, the Guardian left the shipping docks and returned to the surface.  He returned to ward over his hunting grounds and to keep evil doers from attempting to raise the dead.  It was his duty and his reason for living.

Of course there was one other tiny reason he had on sunny days…

“Today is the day!”  His blond head with crystal green eyes, proclaimed excitedly.  “We should bring Zyndanthia a gift!”  His gruff, white haired head with the scar over one black eye swiveled around.  “A gift!?  What sort of gift do you give to the Guardian of the Seas!?”  The tiny head with his purple hair and mismatched gold and purple eyes let out a child-like squeal.  “We should bring him flowers!”  All the rest of the heads growled in unison.  “Flowers!?  You do not bring a dragon flowers!”  His tiny head’s eyes momentarily filled with tears before one foot stomped so hard it caused a crack to form in the ground beneath him.  “I want to bring him flowers!”

Arguing amongst his heads ensued until finally Cerberalious lifted his hands and the head in the center called out.  “Wait!  Wait!  I have an idea that I think we can all live with.  What if, we all gather a gift that we think is appropriate and we take all of the gifts to him?”  There was a soft murmur and then his brown haired head with soft kind brown eyes nodded.  “Seven gifts, from the seven-headed Cerberalious.  It seems only fitting.”

And with that in mind, the Guardian set out to gather objects from far and wide to lie before the most beautiful creature he had ever known.

Mythangia had many Guardians.  There were Guardians of the Fields, Guardians of the Trees, Guardians of the Skies, but the one Guardian that Cerberalious had always fancied, was Zyndanthia, the Guardian of the Seas.  Zyndanthia was a flying serpent that spent most of his days souring over the oceans making sure that humans did not fish too much in certain areas.  He was one of the most renowned and worshiped of the Guardians.  There were great temples and statues built in his honor.  He was a beautiful creature, with teal scales that glittered in the sunlight, great blue leathery wings that could cause tsunamis, and a crystal green mane that flowed down near the entire length of his smooth serpent-like body.

Though traveling on land was not his forte, Zyndanthia had small centipede-like legs on the sides of his body.  There were eight of them that allowed him to scuttle along the ground, were he ever to land.  Of course, such landings were few and far between.  Zyndanthia kept mostly to sea and the air, doing great loops through the skies before diving down into the water and whipping his tail to propel him through the ocean.  He was a free spirit in every sense of the word.

“Can’t believe you brought flowers,” Grumbled out one voice which was immediately countered with an exasperated squeak.  “They’re special flowers!  I know he’ll like them…I-I just know it!”  The smallest and most unsure head stammered.  

“Stop quarreling.”  The head in the center demanded as he jumped over a large piece of driftwood and stood on the beach in plain sight.  The enormous red sun was setting and in its glow was the object of his affection.  Zyndanthia was dancing in the skies, dipping down near the surf and spewing salt spray in every direction.  The seven-headed beast gulped seven separate times before stepping further towards the water and dumping a large mass onto the sand.

“Z-Zyndanthia!  G-Guardian of the Seas!  I am Cerberalious!  Guardian of the Nether Regions!  I-I seek an audience with you!  Please!  Won’t you come down from the skies!?”  A large dragon head jerked in his direction and Cerberlious felt very small.  Two gem-like green eyes with slit pupils narrowed at the beast and he bent at the waist in a bow, all seven heads lowering respectfully.

Wind kicked up all around him, blowing the hair of every head and the shaggy black mane at his back around.  Then there was the sound of footsteps upon the sand, moving in his direction.  Swallowing hard, Cerberalious dared to look up.  What he saw made his knees weak.  A tall slender nude figure with bluish glittering skin was making its way down the beach.  Long green tresses drug the ground behind him and served like a make-shift robe around the androgynous lean body.  Six arms crossed over the slender chest, and those cat-like green eyes were trained upon Cerberalious.

“Cerberalious, to what do I owe this visit?”  Zyndanthia’s voice was like wind chimes.  Cerberalious closed the eyes of all seven heads and let the beauty of that voice tickle at his ears.  “Mmm, even your voice is beautiful.”  Choking he jerked to attention and motioned to the gathering of things at his feet.  “Ah!  Oh!  Umm, please forgive me.  I umm…I brought you gifts!”

Zyndanthia stopped, arching a brow as he peered down to the gathering of items on the beach.  “I’m afraid I do not understand.  Why would…oh my, do I smell Death Lilies?”  The Sea Guardian rounded Cerberalious and snatched the bouquet of flowers out of the hand that was hiding them behind his back.  His tiniest head gasped, looking at the Guardian apologetically.  “F-Forgive me!  I was afraid, that bringing you flowers might be…stupid.”

Zyndanthia’s eyes slid closed as he shoved the black and white speckled flowers to his face and drank in the fragrance.  “Flowers, from the Sea of the Dead; the only ocean in this world that I cannot frequent.  I have not smelled this beautiful flower since I was child, but you must have known that.  You are the Guardian of the Nether Regions after all.  You know precisely who comes and goes to that ocean.  It pains me to be cut off from any ocean.  I listen to it, fret for it…but know that you are there, should it need me; you would call.”  

Cerberalious swallowed hard, fidgeting where he stood.  By now Zyndanthia was pacing around him like a predator sizing up its prey.  “Y-yes of course I would.  And yes, I knew you have not visited in a long while.  I thought perhaps, at any rate…I have brought you gifts from far and wide.  Anything and everything that I could think of…”  He motioned to the sands at his feet again, drawing Zyndathia’s attention away from him momentarily.

The Sea Guardian dropped to one knee, reaching out to run a hand along the carcass of a large tusked beast with black and silver skin.  “A Walruusk from the North.  It is even still cold.  Quite the catch.  A bushel of Thangorian Life Apples to compliment the beast, I shall have a good feast this evening.  Hmm, a circlet from the treasure of Alture?”  He plucked a little silver and blue tiara from the pile and inspected it, watching the way the gems glittered in the dying light.  “Oh my, a pouch of fae wishing dust, a celestial time stopping orb, and last but not least…a bottle of sand, from the red beach of Nanaduwain.  Hmm, if my mind serves me, seven gifts?”

Cerberalious nodded, rubbing his hands back and forth together.  His palms were sweaty and his stomach felt queasy.  “Yes, seven gifts for each of my seven heads.  I’m afraid I could not come to a decision of one singular gift to give you and so each of my heads had a thought and we collected every gift.”

Zyndanthia nodded, moving to sit on his knees as he inspected the treasure laid before him.  “I see.  How lucky for me that you are of one body, but several minds.  However, I am still not sure why I am receiving such wondrous tributes from a fellow Guardian.”

Cerberalious drew in a breath from each of his heads, causing his chest to bulge out before he growled forcefully in an attempt to speak what was on his mind.  “Please, great and beautiful Zyndathia, won’t you allow me to court you!?”

The Sea Guardian nearly fell over, both from shock and also from the sheer force of Cerberalious’ barking tone.  Cat-like green eyes were wide, all six hands going up to his blue cheeks in shock.  “Oh!  Oh my…”  Without thinking about what he was doing, those eyes shifted to what dangled between Cerberalious’ thighs.  The Nether Guardian was nude as always, and what his body offered was also displayed.  Zyndathia had been given a good idea as to how each of Cerberalious’ heads regarded the world from each gift that was laid at his feet.  There was no harm in seeing what ‘other’ goodies Cerberalious had to offer, and goodness were they many and of substantial girth. 

“I see.”  Zyndanthia said, getting to his feet and crossing all six arms over his chest.  “Cerberalious, do you know why no other Guardian has ever sought my hand?”

Poor Cerberalious was on pins and needles.  He thought for certain his hopes and dreams were about to be dashed, but at the question he tilted all seven heads, letting out confused puppy sounds.  “What?  No one?  I do not understand.  You are the most beautiful, enchanting, intelligent, and terrifying of all the Guardians.  Why would no one wish to be by your side for all time?  It doesn’t make any sense.”

Zyndanthia smiled, reaching up to touch one cheek, and then another, and then another.  With each tiny touch Cerberalious’ foot began to twitch, and then tap, until it was practically pounding the sand.  “Dear Cerberalious, the other Guardians fear me.  I am hot tempered, over-bearing, arrogant…and yes, terrifying.  Why would anyone want to be with someone that is frightening to them?”

The thumping of Cerberalious’ foot stopped and all the eyes of all seven heads seemed sad.  “Why do you think no one fancies me?”

The Sea Guardian gasped, drawing a hand back and clutching it to his thin chest.  Looking down to the pile of gifts again, Zyndanthia considered how much time, effort and love went into each one of them.  Slowly he smiled and nodded.  “In three days, return to this spot at sundown.  Bring with you a beast that you have slain with your own teeth and claws.  It must be large enough for both of us to feast upon to the point of being engorged and fat.”  Green cat eyes swung back to Cerberalious.  “Impress me, Cerberalious and I shall be yours for all time.”  With that, the Sea Guardian jumped into the air, shifting back into the enormous dragon.  It wrapped its body around the gifts left on the sand, gathering them up before rising into the air and taking flight.

Cerberalious was left alone on the beach, staring up at the night sky in shock.  After what seemed like an eternity one of his heads piped up.  “What sort of single beast can possibly be large enough to satiate the both of us in a meal?!  This is an impossible request.  We shall never win the heart of Zyndanthia.”  Several heads started to whine, but it was the smallest that barked to the rest.  “Nether Whales!  A Nether Whale is the largest beast in all the regions combined.  A single Nether Whale would be more than enough to fill our bellies.”

Cerberalious went stiff before the center head glanced left and right to the rest of his six combined minds.  “That’s right.  The only hope I have is to best a Nether Whale in three days.  We cannot be divided in this effort.  There cannot be any doubt or arguing amongst ourselves.  Is everyone in agreement that nothing is more important than this venture?”  Eyes narrowed and fuzzy black ears flicked forward, once every single head had nodded, the Guardian turned on his heels and bounded up the beach.  It was time to go on the biggest and most important hunt of his long life.

Nether Whales lived far below the depths of the Dead Ocean and gathered up bits of scattered spiritual energies to feed upon.  They were strong and fearsome creatures that would gobble up lost souls if someone managed to fall off a boat on the way to the Other Side.  Needless to say, it was not a smart thing to go swimming too far from the shore of the Dead Ocean.  They were enormous, swift creatures, and their black skin kept them hidden from sight within the depths of the near-black waters.

Cerberalious’ first needed bait to lure a whale closer to the surface.  He dared not swim too far into the depths in order to tangle with one.  Using his own body to tempt the creature might end up tempting more than one and then the Guardian could become overwhelmed.  Instead, he swam about in the shallows, using an ethereal net fashioned out of some of the hair from his mane.  He gathered up copious amounts of left-over spirit energies until he had a thick ball of glowing blue.

Once the ball of energy was gathered, he tied it to his tail and swam out as far as he dared.  He dangled his tail down into the water like a fishing line, wagging it back and forth before tugging it up and swimming in a circle.  The Guardian knew it would take a while to call upon the creature from the deep, so he steeled himself to tread water for all three days if he must.  Thankfully, it only required him to swim about in a circle for about seven hours before he could feel the water near his paws shifting and then something lifting his body.

Cerberalious let out a roar as the sea parted and he realized he was standing on the back of a whale at least four if not five or six times his size.  A wave of fear shot through his furry chest and before he could react, jaws clamped round the ‘bait’ and with it the tip of his tail.  All seven heads howled and the whale rolled in the water, dragging the Guardian under.

A tug-of-war ensued with the Guardian’s tail as the ‘rope.’  Underwater Cerberalious was at a disadvantage against the beast and it showed in the way each time he gained ground, it was taken away with swift swimming motions from his opponent.  The whale was intent upon eating him and after near twelve hours of tugging, fighting, swimming, punching and swiping at the thing’s tight jaws, the Guardian wondered if there was any hope against not being swallowed.

Using all his strength, Cerberalious pumped his furry limbs until he broke the top of the water so he could take a breath.  From the split second above water he clearly saw movement coming fast in his direction.  The struggle had drawn other Nether Whales and soon he would be completely overwhelmed.  If he was to defeat the creature it had to be now, but he was not certain of what to do.

A sharp tug on his poor tail jerked him back under and he was momentarily blinded from the blackness of the deep.  When his eyes adjusted, he was staring at that enormous mouth and all its teeth.  The creature was daring to open just a bit in an attempt to take a bigger bite.  He could now quickly dart away, but another thought occurred to the Guardian.  

Instead of moving, he remained still, feigning having lost his strength.  The large creature drew in water from all around, causing it to rush towards it's mouth and dragging Cerberalious with it.  Jaws clamped tightly down around his midsection and shoulder, driving pain to the very core of his being.  Shutting all the eyes of all his heads tight, he willed himself not to move, so that the creature would open its jaws and suck him in further.

Without further chomping, Cerberalious was deposited on a massive black tongue.  He shifted until he could roll to his feet, wobbling from the left over waves of agony.  Once he was able to stand, he dug his feet into the squishy muscle and waited.  He watched as the creature’s throat flexed for a swallow and in that instant he shot his body forward like a bullet.  With teeth and claws at the ready, Cerberalious went tearing through the creature’s innards, starting at his throat and on down through the stomach.  He did not stop as acid singed his body but kept throwing his body through the squishy insides, covering his lovely fur in blood and gore until he literally exploded out the other side, leaving the creature to roll and float belly up.

The Guardian, though tired and hurt, was victorious.

Getting the creature to shore was no easy task either.  Cerberalious climbed atop the floating dead whale and tiredly used his paws to paddle.  It took hours and he was beyond exhaustion by the time he was hefting the enormous creature back across the gates of the Nether Regions to the world above.
Bating the creature, battling it, defeating it, dragging it home to his sleeping cave, securing it, cleaning his wounds and then resting took over two and a half days.  He was still rather tired when he realized it was nearly time for him to meet Zyndanthia again.  The Guardian managed to roll in a crystal pool, cleaning his body before he hefted the tail of the mighty beast against his shoulder and started to drag it towards the beach.

While Cerberalious had been busy wrestling a beast for the past three days, the other Guardians of Mythangia were busy flapping their tongues.  A rumor had spread, indicating Cerberalious and Zyndanthia were engaged in courtship.  This received many reactions, from vague indifference to all-out disgust.  Few guardians had much interaction with either Cerberalious or Zyndanthia so many saw it as none of their business, however, there were a few that were outraged by the coupling.

One such individual was Shanzhan, the Guardian of the Skies.  Shanzhan often watched the beautiful Zyndanthia dance and twist about in the air above the sea.  He considered the dragon as beautiful and captivating.  The idea that Zyndanthia would give himself over to a creature such as Cerberalious was ghastly as far as Shanzhan was concerned.  After all, why would a beauty want such a brute, when he could have an equally graceful beauty of the skies instead?

Cerberalious was panting heavily and drenched in a fine sheen of sweat by the time he reached the beach where he was to meet Zyndanthia.  With a growling grunt he tossed the Nether Whale onto the sands, making the area shudder from its massive weight.  The scent of blood and ambergris was carried out to sea by the wind.

With one arm Cerberalious reached up to mop at the sweat which licked at the brow of more than one of his heads.  His musk swirled around the area, adding to the brutal smell of his kill.  “Disgusting!  You even smell like a beast.  And just like a beast, you drag a dead animal up to the doorstep of your intended.  Of course, I should expect no less of you…even with seven heads I suppose there is naught a brain between them.”

Cerberalious startled, spinning on his heels.  A large black raven was sitting upon a puffy grey cloud that hovered several feet off the ground.  After a moment the raven shed its feathers and stood up into a man some ten feet tall with blue black hair that kissed at his knees in length.  His eyes were pearl black gems and his skin was pale fresh snow.  He was built lean and strong, but not overly thus.  His body covered in black feathered bits of sparkling armor.

“Shanzhan?  To what do I owe the pleasure of your appearance?”  Cerberalious swallowed hard.  The only thing that rivaled Shanzhan’s vanity was the shear magnanimity of his black eyed stare.
The bird Guardian snorted and shook his head.  “It has come to my attention that you seek to court the beautiful Zyndanthia.”  

Cerberalious swallowed hard, opening his mouth to speak, but it was Zyndanthia’s voice that filled the space between.  “That is correct.  Though I hardly see why it is any of your business, Shanzhan.” 

Cerberalious felt smooth cool arms around his sweaty nude midsection and the fragrance of sea and flowers flooded his senses.  Zyndanthia’s hair was everywhere and the silk calmed his twitching nerves.

“Dearest Zyndanthia, you are as beautiful and graceful as ever.  I shudder to think what this brute has forced upon you.  Come; let me show you what a true courtship can be like.  You and I together is the only joining that makes sense.  You watch over the sea and I the skies.  We bring beauty and magnificence to everything we touch.”  Shanzhan held out a hand, his nails glistening black talons.

Cerberalious stiffened, his heart feeling as if it might shatter to pieces at any moment.  Surely Zyndanthia would rather be with this beautiful and well-spoken creature than a seven headed dog.  However, the Sea Guardian began to laugh.  “You?  Go with you?  Oh Shanzhan your humor has not been lost over the years.”

There came a faint squawking sound from the Sky Guardian and he tilted his head confusedly.  “I beg your pardon?  I am serious Zyndanthia.  Let us away from this ugly seven headed beast before it infects you with its filth.  We are creatures of beauty and grace, we should be together.”

Zyndanthia snorted and shook his head.  “You are a creature of ignorance and vanity.  I am a creature of brutality and blood.  Cerberalious is a creature of gentleness and compassion.  It is you and I who are ugly, Shanzhan…Cerberalious is the most beautiful Guardian that was ever born and I am very lucky that he chose me.  Besides, Cerberalious does not hide himself behind puffery and…clothing.”  Zyndanthia boldly turned his head to look down at the sex swinging between Cerberalious’ legs.  “I can clearly see what he has to offer me.  They are plentiful and surely cannot compete.”

The feathers on Shanzhan’s armor fluffed out, as if a bird had become angry and territorial.  “Why you perverse whore!  How dare you speak to me in that fashion!”

Cerberalious had been looking down at himself, regarding the seven wonders of below as they corresponded to his seven heads.  Was that really something to be proud of?  

Then, Shanzhan spoke ill of Zyndanthia and fur fluffed across the Nether Guardian’s body, his visage shifting out and stretching, seven heads turning to snapping jaws filled with razor sharp teeth.  On all fours he pawed at the ground, long lion’s tail whipping behind him angrily.  He barked, foam collecting against every muzzle.  “How dare you!  If I ever hear you speak such words against Zyndanthia again, I will break your wings.  I swear it!  Leave before I bite!  This is no courtship to be taken lightly!  I love Zyndanthia with all my heart and soul.  Fly back to the skies and make sure all your gossiping friends know that I will not be trifled with!”

Shanzhan squawked again, stumbling back on his floating cloud before shifting into a bird and taking to the skies.

All was silent save for Cerberalious’ lingering growls until finally Zyndanthia turned, dropping to his knees to wrap several arms around the Nether Guardian’s furry body.  His face shoved into the soft musky fur and he nuzzled tenderly.  “You are truly a wonder, Cerberalious.  Thank you for standing up for my honor.”

Cerberalious stopped growling and let out a gulp.  His body shifted back to that of a seven-headed man and his arms slipped around Zyndanthia.  “Thank you for sticking up for me.  No one has ever done something like that for me.  I…well, thank you.”

The two smiled at each other, seven heads to one, glimmering with hope and tenderness for what seemed like an eternity.  Finally, Zyndanthia stood up, drawing away to saunter over to the enormous beast strewn across the sandy beach.  “A Nether Whale.  I am impressed, Cerberalious.”  There was a coy sound to Zyndanthia’s voice, and he fluttered his lashes towards the other Guardian.

Cerberalious went to stand and almost tripped.  “Y-You’re impressed?  Does that mean…Does that mean you’ll be mine?”

Zyndanthia’s head fell back in a laugh that sounded like wind chimes swinging in a summer breeze.  “Yes.  Yes my beloved Cerberalious.  I am yours.  From this day forward, I am yours and you are mine.”  Without warning Cerberalious raced forward wrapping his arms around Zyndanthia’s waist and spinning the other around and around.  They both laughed a chorus of laughter before tumbling onto the fresh catch.  “Then let us dine and get fat.”

The two Guardians ate, snatching pieces of the plump whale with their bare hands and tearing.  They did not bother to cook the meat, but rather chomped at it like the wild animals they were at heart.  They rolled in the carcass and snuggled as if they had been together from the moment they were created.  Cerberalious reveled in the feeling of six hands, petting at his heads and pinching lovingly at his cheeks.  It was pure bliss.

“Mmm, is it true that you have loved me since you were young, Cerberalious?”  Zyndanthia spoke while rubbing a hand against his bulging stomach.

Cerberalious licked at his chops.  “Oh yes.  I have watched the roaring seas for as long as I can remember.  For centuries I have fantasized about having the perfect life by your side.  I would dream of bringing you beasts to lie at your feet, and feeling your hands petting at my heads…much in the way that you are doing right now.”

Zyndanthia chuckled and shook his head, letting out a wistful sigh.  “It has been the same with me.  I have been in love with you since the moment I first saw you.  I can remember it like it was yesterday…”

The Nether Guardian sat up with a start, staring at the blue-skinned sea creature in shock.  “Wait what?  What are you saying?”

A smile tugged at Zyndanthia’s lips as he reached up to touch one of Cerberalious’ cheeks with a single hand.  “You were just a puppy, barely a few days old.  Of course, you were large, even then.  You came bounding down my beach and started to roll in the surf.  You were so happy, barking and jumping at the waves.  I watched you from high above.  Then, I was set upon by a ship filled with mortals.  They shot arrows at me and a large harpoon with barbs.  They pierced my flesh and I became enraged.  The seas roiled and a maelstrom grew.”

Seven pairs of eyes blinked in awe before Cerberalious snuggled up against the slender creature with six arms.  “I remember.  You capsized that boat and all the sailors were drowning.”

Six hands began to lovingly pet each of the Guardian’s heads as Zyndanthia continued.  “Yes, I was going to kill all of them for their crimes, but then you swam out into the storm and began gathering bodies into your jaws.  You carried every single one of those humans to the shore.  You saved them from my wrath and then barked at them in warning.  You explained to them the importance of the Guardians and what terrible things might befall them, should they harm he who watches over the sea.  You spoke of dying fish and terrible storms…They fled filled with fear, but also with knowledge.”  Zyndanthia swallowed hard, turning to kiss at the closest brow.  “After that day, the mortals erected newer and grander temples and statues in my honor.  You were regarded with fear and apprehension, even though you were the one that saved their lives.  They honored me and scorned you.  You were not the least bit upset about this, you seemed almost…happy.”

Cerberalious sat up, seven pairs of eyes slightly wide.  “Of course I was happy!  They saw you for the great and wonderful being that you truly are.”

Zyndanthia sighed softly and shook his head.  “Precisely why I love you so much.  You think nothing of yourself.  I am a wrathful being that would have ripped those blasphemers to shreds, but you educated and loved them for their faults.  And then they sang praises to me, who would have killed them.  You are so kind and wise.  You were barely days old and yet you had more wisdom than I who was already centuries old.  After I calmed down and thought about it, if I had killed those men they would have only sent more and learned nothing.  It would have made the seas run red and for what?  My pride?”

The Nether Guardian reached up and cupped Zyndanthia’s cheeks, gently rubbing his thumbs back and forth against the silken flesh.  “Everyone makes mistakes.  They hurt you, after all.  It’s hard to make a sound decision when someone is firing arrows at you.”

Zyndanthia snorted, staring up at all those loving heads.  “You would have.  And that is why I love you.  My beautiful Cerberalious.”

Cerberalious shook the center head, his knees moving to straddle the slender body of Zyndanthia.  “But if you cared for so long, why did you not come to me?  Why the trial for your hand?  Why could you not just tell me?”

The Sea Guardian licked his lips, two hands moving down to rest upon those bare thighs, brushing up and down at the hairy flesh.  “You were just a pup when I fell for you.  You could not stay around me.  I am vain and quick to anger.  I knew you had to grow up apart from me.  You needed to walk your own path and become a Guardian that stood on his own paws before I could even think of being your friend, let alone your lover.  Then when you came to me, I was frightened.  I was scared that maybe all you fancied was my outer appearance.  I wanted to believe that you saw me, but I needed to know for sure.  The seven gifts gave me hope, but if you would balk at challenge or bring me something unworthy, I would know that you were not serious.  Watching you spend two days risking your life against a Nether Whale, I knew…I knew your love was true.”

Cerberalious tilted his middle head, little grins appearing on all his heads.  “You watched as I fought the Nether Whale?”

Gem-like eyes blinked in surprise before Zyndanthia glanced away.  “Ah, yes.  I have given myself away.  I watched with baited breath.  It was a frightening and…arousing battle.”  Two hands came to rest against Cerberalious’ chest, rubbing up and down while the other two still worked at his thighs.

The Nether Guardian’s faces held lop-sided grins before he leaned down and licked Zyndanthia’s cheek.  “It scared me too.  I never want to disappoint you.”

Zyndanthia shivered from head to toe before letting out a little shuddering sigh.  “Cerberalious, how do you feel about children?”

Cerberalious sat back on his knees slightly, the center head glancing side to the side at his other heads curiously.  They murmured to one another in confusion before looking back to Zyndanthia.  “Children?  Well, I love children.  Why do you ask?”

A hand tweaked one of Cerberalious’ nipples and Zyndanthia arched, rolling his body beneath the other like a snake.  “I am capable of laying eggs.  We could have children together, if you wanted of course.”

Cerberalious tumbled backwards into the sand, landing on his rear.  He managed to stop his fall with an arm before he ended up on his back, a few confused whines lighting up the air before he growled and then sucked in a breath.  “Babies!  Puppies!  My puppies!?”  His free hand came up to hold the head at the center of his neck.  “O-Oh my.  Z-Zyndanthia, that would be amazing!  But I’ve never…I mean, that is to say; I’ve lived alone a really long time.”

Seven pairs of eyes looked up between his legs, watching the beautiful sea creature slithering towards him.  “Do you trust me?” Questioned that beautiful voice, so much like wind chimes blowing in a sea breeze.

“Of course I trust you.”  The Nether Guardian growled, his thick chest rising and falling with deep nervous pants.

“Then just relax.  If I do anything that upsets you, simply tell me to stop.  Otherwise, let us enjoy one another.  It is the night of mating isn’t it?”  Six hands smoothed their way down the insides of Cerberalious’ thighs, making them tremble.  The only response was a passionate whine as those six hands met the trunk of his body and reached to touch something far more sensitive.

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The two collapsed against one another, panting heavily and trembling.  Neither could speak or move for a few long moments until finally Cerberalious inched backwards to separate the two of them.  Copious amounts of warm sticky trickled down between Zyndanthia’s thighs.  The Nether Guardian swallowed hard, placing a hand tenderly against the other’s sticky stomach.  “Is it…ok?  I didn’t hurt you did I?”

Zyndanthia moaned as Cerberalious slipped free, wriggling a bit before opening his eyes to look up at his lover with a tender smile.  “Not at all.  That was wonderful.  But, I will not know for a few days if your seed has taken root.  We should probably make love several more times between now and a fortnight, just to make sure.”  

Cerberalious blinked in surprise before busting out laughing.  He tumbled into the sand beside Zyndanthia, reaching out to gather the other up and tug the Sea Guardian against his broad chest.  “You are so mischievous my love.  But from now until forever, I am yours.  We shall pepper this world with the beauty and wisdom of our loins.  However many times it takes and however many times after that.  I am yours…and you are mine.”

With a grin, Zyndanthia settled against Cerberalious’ chest.  The two stared out across the dark sea, watching the waves lapping at the sands near their feet.  They were at peace and together.  A more perfect union the world of Mythangia would not see, and just as they planned, their children and children’s children would guard over their world with wisdom, kindness, and a beauty that was beyond skin-deep.


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