4 - "The Big Day"
Originally Written: February 9th, 2000

January 22nd, 2000
Saturday, 4:00 in the afternoon. Five hours before the wedding. The sun's golden glow
moved across the western sky, and would soon retreat beyond the reaches of man's ever
extending sight. Elisa Maza drifted through the mist of peaceful slumber, on the tender
embrace of a king-sized mattress, sheltered beneath the cover of a protective, wooden
canopy. She had elected to stay in the castle that night so, as soon as she awoke, she
could immediately prepare for her impending nuptials. The grand chamber was a
sparsely furnished guest room that she had periodically used when she stayed over with
Goliath. The thick quilts, grand in their detailed, tailored designs with the most intricate
of needlework, disguised the slender woman underneath, encased in a warmth that would
bring even the most practiced of novelists to a silent pause.

Far from the waking world, the ghostly creak of the bedroom door went unnoticed. A
small figure crept through, into the quiescent sunlight, barely seeping through the blinds.
She tip-toed up to the edge of the bed and peered over the sleeping detective. A devilish
smile crafted itself on her supple lips, as she cupped her hands to her mouth...

"ELISA!!!!!"

Elisa shot up like a rocket, her eyes flared to the burning light of day. Turning her head,
she gazed into the face of her younger sister Beth. "What the hell is wrong with you?!!"
she yelled, her incensed outcry a tremor upon the stone walls.

"Just making sure you didn't oversleep, big sis. We wouldn't want to disappoint Goliath
now, would we?" she said, a very large grin appearing on her youthful face.

"Ugh, whatever..." Elisa grumbled, as she wiped the sleep from her eyes. She climbed
from the bed and stood precariously next to her sister, on the partial edge of sleep's
gentle abyss. 'Damned day people.' she thought. Throwing on her robe, she headed for
the shower as Beth jumped into the bed's inviting folds of the finest cloth and made
herself comfortable.

"So this is what it's like living in a castle. I gotta get me a rich man, or a gargoyle."

****************************************

Ten minutes later, Elisa emerged wearing a towel and found her parents sitting on the
bed engaged in a lively conversation with her sister. As soon she entered her mother's
field of view, her copper hand was snatched from the towel's soft cotton surface by her
mother's grasp, and she was silently led away. Another room was awaiting her presence,
where she would transform herself into the manifestation of one gargoyle's every hope
and dream. Her sister followed like a lost puppy, envious of the attention. Peter Maza
just shook his head, staring out the large bay window.

****************************************

The castle stirred with the frantic intensity of a bee's nest. With Diane helping her
daughter, Fox was left to command the workers setting up for the approaching ceremony,
and loving every minute. The caterers had taken over the castle's kitchen, using their
immense stolen domain to bring forth a lavish meal, fit for the best of royalty. The band
readied their instruments, tuning guitars, drums, oboes, flutes and the grand piano to be
used in the ceremony and the reception, the latter intended to last until the morning
hours. The final touches were being added to the two grand halls, as months of steady
preparation were to come to a spectacular close. The participants in the wedding,
whether they be ushers, cooks, waiters or part of the band, were informed beforehand of
the groom and his family. Most of them had no grief with gargoyles, and the fact that
each were receiving a very modest paycheque, helped to seal even the loosest of lips.
Money spoke volumes, even if it paid for surreptitious silence.

Through the midst of the commotion, Fox made out a black robed individual strolling
through the room, marveling at the grandness of it all. It was Judge Roblyn, in his finest
raven garments. He was here to marry Goliath and Elisa, but was a little apprehensive, as
the last time he was involved in a wedding at castle Wyvern, the bride and groom
disappeared in an immense flamed orb.

"Judge Roblyn, it's good to see you again." Fox yelled out, waving to him from across
the room.

"Hello Fox. I'm a little early, but I wanted to see how the castle was coming along. You
and David have outdone yourself." he exclaimed as he approached her, extending his
hand in a friendly greeting.

"Well, the wedding party are very special to us."

"Yes. Uh, I don't want to sound condescending, but...are there going to be
any...unexpected surprises this time?" the older man asked, a small look of fear growing
on his face.

"Well..." Fox rolled her eyes, trying to think of something to say to reassure the judge yet
knowing that almost anything could happen considering those involved.

"Wait, wait, please don't tell me. I'll just pray to God." Roblyn replied as he watched
Fox try to smother another smile and turn her attention back to the ensuing chaos.

****************************************

"Are you ready father?" Angela asked, a large smirk appearing as she glanced at her
father, and received a heavy sigh from the lavender giant. Shortly after sunset, she and
the rest of the clan awakened to the night, and watched as her father descended upon
them. She was looking forward to the wedding with a passionate joy. Before even
Goliath and Elisa knew, she had been suspect of their growing love and waited for the
day the mismatched couple would finally be mated. Anticipation rang high as her
intended role as a bridesmaid was foremost on her mind. Elisa had chosen her three
gargoyle friends to be her maids, to hail the coming of the maid of honor, most
presumably Beth. The three females had been fitted for their dresses and Angela wanted
to get ready. "Come my sisters, we have to get prepared." She motioned towards Sata
and Desdemona.

As the three maids moved into the castle, Goliath turned to the others. They circled him,
all giving him the oddest smiles. Frowning, Goliath crossed his arms. "And what are the
rest of you looking at?"

"Oh nothing. Except the fact that you're positively glowing." Brooklyn chimed, batting
his eyelashes.

"Oh, shut up. We all have to get ready. We have and hour and a half before the
wedding, and I'm sure the guests will be arriving soon." Goliath led the others into the
castle, all well aware of their prominent duty for the night. Hudson was chosen as
Goliath's best man, to stand at his side during the mating ceremony. Brooklyn,
Broadway and Othello were the groomsmen, escorts for the maids. Lexington was
manning the cameras, getting the chance to use some of the most sophisticated filming
equipment ever made, and the twins were the official ring bearers. As they headed down
the main hall, the group broke up into specific rooms to dress. Using Elisa's friendship
as a substantial leverage, Fox and Diane had persuaded them to wear tuxedos for the
ceremony, and they all had been fitted along with the females.

Goliath entered 'his' room and found a garment bag hanging on the closet door next to a
full length mirror, intentionally left by Fox in plain sight. Nimble talons tugged at the
zipper and he pulled the contents from within. In his hand, a black tuxedo shimmered
slightly in the light. Pinned to the lapel was a detailed list of instructions. Sighing and
shaking his head, he started to get dressed.

****************************************

Diane Maza fiddled with the veil as it hung down from Elisa's lush hair, framing her
ebony locks in a wash of ivory lace. Elisa was almost ready now, having started much
earlier than the gargoyles. The three sided mirror cast back to her, crystal reflections of
her mother's wedding dress, though thirty years old, and yet, still shining as bright as the
day it was made. White as the freshly fallen snow, like a scene out of a wooded
landscape from a childhood storybook, it became a second skin from the waist up. The
tight, lace-trimmed bodice came to just above her breasts and up over her shoulders.
From a silken puffing to the top of her biceps, the sleeves fit tight to the wrists. The skirt
fell in layers of satin, flowing to the ground with a trail of lace behind her, obscuring
from view, white garters and three inch, high heeled shoes. She had chosen to wear her
hair down. Goliath always preferred it that way.

"Man, sis, you look fantastic." Beth remarked, as she came out from behind a dressing
screen in her bridesmaid dress, a simplified version of Elisa's. Her older sister, too
wrapped up in her gaze into the mirror, never answered. She looked over at her mother,
who returned her glare with a smile, knowing full well Elisa was in a world of her own.
Beth scowled slightly as a knocking could be heard on the door.

It was Angela, she entered wearing a duplicate dress as Beth, although tailored for her
wings and tail. "Hi Beth, you look very pretty. You'll make a wonderful maid of honor."

"Thanks, same to you, step-niece."

Angela smiled at Beth's compliment and turned to the mirrors, and a very familiar friend
within the enclosure of the reflective surfaces. "Oh Elisa, you're absolutely beautiful!"
Her cheerful cry tore the human from the mirror. Angela quickly strode up beside her,
and marveled at the satin folds of the gown.

Watching her young friend stroke the dress, Elisa glanced over at her sister and mother.
Both of them nodded slowly as she placed a hand on the gargess' shoulder. Feeling her
hand, Angela rose up and looked Elisa in the eyes. An infinite time passed between them
before Elisa could manage the words she had been so desperately looking for. "Angela, I
just want you to know how much you mean to me. How I've come to look upon you
more than just my best friend, but also as...a daughter. Beth and I talked about a week
ago about just who should be my maid of honor and we came to a decision. I want that
person to be you."

"What? Me?" Angela was stunned, she stepped back once and tried to collect herself.
"Oh yes, Elisa, I would love to!!" Angela threw herself forward and embraced the bride
to be, while behind her, the rest of the Maza clan watched with an unexpected sense of
pride at the newest member of their family.

****************************************

With expectations of an unpleasant wear, Goliath ran his hands over the dark material of
his tuxedo, but it seemed quite comfortable. The suit was a pure ebon glimmer of soft
material, similar to his loincloth, complete with a white banded dress shirt. The pants,
though big for human standards, were pressed tight against his muscular legs and had a
piece purposely cut out for the tail. A strip of a somewhat lighter color traveled from
pocket to ankle, stopping where the cuff wrapped around his foot. A black cummerbund
sat just above his waist, straining at the behest of his abdominals. The sleeveless shirt
with it's tight collar, held in by a black bowtie, adhered to his massive chest, and with the
very low backline, allowed his wings to flow free. Goliath admired himself in the wall
mounted mirror. He never wore anything but his traditional loincloth, as he never needed
the warmth or the fashion statement human clothing provided.

"Careful, Goliath, you might start to like wearing clothes." Peter Maza walked in behind
him, wearing a similar suit. He passed where Goliath's large jacket was hanging and
handed it to the lavender warrior as he neared.

"Thank you, Peter. I must admit, I am glad Fox talked me into this. It looks...very
good." He turned his back towards the mirror and took the jacket from Peter's hand.

"What's this 'Peter' stuff, Goliath. Since you're marrying my daughter, you can call me
dad."

Goliath froze, and cocked and eyebrow, looking at Peter's smiling face. He knew this
particular custom well, after reading up on the human wedding ceremonies and
traditions. Inlaws, if he remembered correctly. He wouldn't mind this custom if for one
glaring fact. He would be proud to call the Mazas his parents, yet that would mean Beth
would be his sister-in-law. He shivered, just imagining the fun Beth would have at his
expense. 'The annoying Maza' was becoming Goliath's favorite nickname for her. He
smiled as he put on the large black jacket, allowing his wings to poke through the
openings specially prepared for them. It fell over his wide shoulders as he slipped in. It
came to a perfect fit, hanging just beneath his waist, and behind him two large tails fell
on either side of his own flesh and blood appendage. He looked back at the mirror and
discovered Peter Maza standing behind him.

"Lookin' good, Big Guy. Almost as good as me at my own wedding."

"Peter, may I ask you something?" Goliath inquired as he turned around. "Were you
nervous on the day you married Diane?"

"I was shaking like a leaf."

"Why? You two were in love, and wanted to spend the rest of your lives together. Why
would there be any reason to feel nervous?"

"I have no idea. I guess it was because I realized that this was it, there was no turning
back. This woman standing in front of me would be waking up to me every morning and
would be there for me when I came home. She would go through everything I went
through, good or bad. It's perfectly natural to...feel...apprehen...Goliath, are you
nervous?" It suddenly dawned on him that Goliath's massive hands were trembling
slightly.

"A little, especially after your...well chosen words. But what you described is the very
reason I want Elisa by my side, always."

"You understand marriage better than I thought. Well, we have twenty minutes before
the ceremony, I'm going to check in with the guests. See you soon, son." Peter opened
the door and stepped into the hall, leaving Goliath alone to again admire himself in the
mirror.

****************************************

The great hall was filling quickly, as the guests arrived, and the castle overflowed with a
chorus of voices and laughter. The mutates, with the clones in tow, entered through the
delicate wooden archway, covered in a menagerie of white flowers. They purposely
avoided the Xanatoses and instead began to mingle with other invitees. Talon left his
wife with the others and went to get changed, as he was chosen to escort his younger
sister Beth.

The room was abuzz with the conversations of beings of every description. MacBeth, in
his simple navy suit, was caught in a dialogue with Jeffrey Robbins, as the immortal
Scotsman verbalized his adventures so eloquently, it seemed as if the blind author was
actually there, inspiring him to write a sequel to his best seller. Soon they were joined by
Arthur and Emrys, sharing a thousand stories that went back a thousand years.

Griff, Leo, Una, Caspian and Lucy, all the way from the clouded ashen mists of London,
were engaged with Katherine and Tom of Oberon's island, all the while watching
Gabriel, Ophelia and the other Avalon gargoyles revel at the castle's extravagant
decorations.

Using magic, a source of power that existed beyond the lifetime of most races, the clans
from across the world were able to come together for this most celebrated event. The
Avalonians had come via Puck's mirror, and Queen Titania's fantastic sorcery. Emrys,
having regained most of his powers, had transported the British gargoyles to New York,
with the others sending their wishes yet choosing to remain behind to protect the city.

Matt Bluestone, in a dark red sportcoat, escorted Sara Jasper into the hall, almost running
into Delilah, who immediately caught them up in a heated discussion between Maggie,
Claw, Sharon, her parents, Dr. Goldblum and his family, and the clones.

Captain Chavez and Morgan arrived shortly after. Stories weaved by Elisa didn't do her
friends honest justice, as the two humans were at the mercy of the creatures from beyond
their wildest imaginations. With trepid steps, the two moved into the hall and decided to
attach to the two most human looking guests they could see. They shuffled up beside
Katherine and Tom, and were soon welcomed into their little circle.

Liz found her way into the hall, in a light yellow dress which fell to the knees, and
located Lexington in the furthest corner, setting up the extensive cameras, and almost
burst out laughing seeing the smaller gargoyle dressed to the nines in a one piece tuxedo
to facilitate his unique wing structure. She was instantly absorbed by the advanced
camera technology and soon the two tech-heads were almost ready to film.

Next came Jason Canmore, wheelchair and all, and was surprised to find Delilah coming
up behind him and introducing herself. A former hunter, now an ally to the clan, and a
friend to those who were once the target of his entire family line. He had faced the
challenges asked of him, and now was free to rebuild a life wasted on vengeance and
destruction.

An immediate silence spread throughout the cavernous hall as the once abundant discord
died to a few hushed tones between guests, as Demona appeared through the arch, with
her human friend Andrea. Most of the gathered throng never realized the immortal was
even invited, and the sheer sight of the cerulean skinned gargoyle brought even the most
boisterous of the guests to an instant silence. Demona had replaced her loincloth and top
with a simple white dress. Plain, dignified, careful not to draw attention. Her
mannerisms, her uneasy body language, the very look on her face told those around her
she wasn't comfortable being here, yet she wanted to put forth an effort.

Acting on Angela's advice, Princess Katherine moved to greet her. An explosion of
tempers, the expected response from those who knew about these two powerful women's
ancient association. They held their breath. Yet, nothing but a handshake and a
mumbled greeting befell the princess as Demona accepted her humblest apologies and
her hand in friendship. She allowed herself to be introduced to her lost children, one by
one, with Andrea behind her, smiling all the way.

The real shock came from those hired for the wedding. A furtive glance at an indistinct
moment would they steal, filling their gaze with the creatures once thought of as rare
figments of a father's bedtime story. The band, setting up on their elevated platform, or
the caterers, often peering through the kitchen doors would catch either a tiger-skinned
mutate passing them by or a group of gargoyles conversing with human guests. At least
they were being paid well.

****************************************

Elisa was left to herself in the spacious room, with Diane having left to join her husband
and Beth wanting to check up on the 'furball'. She was finally ready, her dress and
makeup polished to a pristine perfection, an angelic specter within the confines of a love
laden garment, vestiges of copper skin glowing against the frosted glossy silk. She was
seated at the dresser, looking into the smaller mirror and catching her image staring back
at her. A blissful peace draped upon her, as she listened to the sound of her own tightly
drawn breath, unaware of her left hand tapping incessantly on the hard wood. She never
noticed the door opening behind her and Hudson stepping through.

"Ach lass, ye look gorgeous. As pretty as me mate on our mating night."

"Oh, Hudson. Thank you." Elisa whirled around and watched as the older gargoyle
came toward her, a weary gait in his step. "You're looking pretty dapper yourself, old
soldier."

A traditionalist at heart, Hudson had elected to stay in his usual tenth century clothing.
Yet, a conservative Scottish cloak caped around his shoulders and leather raiments,
bringing an courtly countenance to the aging warrior. He approached her, placing his
taloned hand on her arm, being mindful of the delicate lace pattern adorning the sleeve.
"I meant that lass, I've ne'er seen a more beautiful bride."

The wistfulness in his voice caused Elisa some concern, suspecting the ceremony was
bringing old, and tortuous memories to the surface, especially about his mate. She gave
his hand a reassuring squeeze. Feeling her warm skin on his own, Hudson's stout facial
cast grew somber, as he looked away. "What is it, Hudson?" Elisa asked, her own
expression growing worried.

"Just old thoughts, lass. I...ne'er knew me own child, b'cause o' th' gargoyle way of
raisin' th' hatchlings. But if I did, I be hopin' he 'r she would be just like you. Beautiful,
honest, caring and trustworthy. O'er th' years, I've come to consider you as me own
flesh and blood. Ye have proven yuirself to be of true courage, with the heart of a
gargoyle and th' soul of an angel."

"Thank you, Hudson." Elisa threw a hug to the gargoyle, sensing his own powerful arms
wrap around her. "I love you too, old soldier. I love you too."

****************************************

It was almost time now, as Goliath paced back and forth on the plush carpet lining his
dressing room. His eyes were fixed in front of him, lost in the expanse of his own
pensiveness, seeing the last six years pass by in a swirl of images. Catching Elisa when
she fell off the castle, the first time they danced on Halloween, her being turned into a
gargoyle and being able to glide on her own, the Avalon trip, their first kiss on the
highest turret of Wyvern, the first time she said she loved him. Goliath's most priceless
memories, a treasured anamnesis engraven in his thoughts, since awakening in man's
new world.

Angela watched her father from the side of the room with an eager intrigue. For years he
had braved the forces thrown against him, fought in battles for his very life, vis-à-vis with
the fiercest of opponents, and now, a simple ceremony waged a winning war for the
lavender giant's oft-unbreakable endurance. With a loud clearing of her throat, Goliath
came to a stop and looked in her direction. "You'll wear a hole in the carpet, father." she
joked.

"Oh, Angela. I was just...thinking." the lavender giant stated softly as he walked towards
his progeny. "You look lovely, my daughter, the dress suits you well."

"If you like this, just wait until you see Elisa." Angela answered as she straightened his
bowtie. "And if I might say, you look extremely handsome yourself."

"Thank you." Goliath had the strangest look on his regal face, staring intensely at his
daughter. He cupped her cheek and curled his lips into a small smile. "I am very proud
of you, my daughter. I am very proud to see the strong woman you have grown into.
Ever since I found you, you have filled a void in my life I never knew existed. You are
more special to me than you could ever imagine." He embraced the gargess, holding her
against his chest, surrounding himself with the essence of her virtuous spirit.

"I love you, father. I hope you and Elisa are very happy for the rest of your days."

"We will be. With each other and our families by our side, we will be."

****************************************

The guests had been seated in the grand hall, and the band was playing a soft concerto to
calm the crowd's growing excitement. Soon the march would begin, bringing the bride
down the aisle. To the side, a door slowly opened and brought forth two shadowed
figures as Goliath, followed by Hudson, emerged and walked to the front. Hushed
whispers passed between those assembled as the large warrior took his place near judge
Roblyn. Hudson stood at his left flank, watching the younger gargoyle swell with pride.

Goliath's eyes scanned the hall, looking at friends and family alike, even those he once
called enemy. Goliath's sensitive ears made out the subdued compliments of the crowd,
praising the warrior's handsome attire. Suddenly, a whistle cried out, like a catcall at a
beautiful woman walking down the street, most obviously from Griff. He smiled as his
gaze caught Demona, seated in the second row with Andrea on one side and, surprisingly,
MacBeth on the other. Another subtle plan by Fox. Their eyes met, Goliath still smiling
and raising his chin. Demona looked quickly away, yet managed a slight grin of her own.

Outside the great hall doors, the four maids were standing with their escorts, making final
adjustments to their clothing. Brooklyn, Broadway, Othello and Talon were wearing
similar black tuxes with a single white rose pinned to the left lapel, a darkened void
being pushed back by a solitary warm glow, an accurate portrayal of their most cherished
human friend. They were quietly mulling amongst themselves, preparing for the
triumphant walk.

The sounds of their voices were suddenly drowned out by the band, whose new tempo
signaled the arrival of the wedding march. A small panic spread through them as they
stared at each other, before briskly lining up in order. Two suited ushers opened the tall
doors before them, to the crowd beyond and the party began it's procession. Couple by
couple, they entered the hall, all the guests turning to watch. Led by Brooklyn and Sata,
followed by Othello and Desdemona, and finally Beth and her big brother Talon, the
maids and their escorts walked down the aisle in measured strides, following the red
carpeted surface, winding it's way towards the decorated effrontery of a wooden
stairway. Goliath watched his clan as, two by two, they marched towards him. He
looked ahead to the maid of honor, Angela, with Broadway holding her arm, followed by
Graeme and Arianna, carrying their precious cargo on velvet pillows of a dark crimson
maroon. As the wedding party settled in their places near the podium, the guests turned
once more to the tall doors, and waited in high expectation for the bride.

****************************************

Elisa stood outside of the entrance, and just beyond the reach of her friends' impatient
gape, grasping her bouquet, and staring at the milky bloom of roses, with the delicate
petals a translucent crystalline, set against the greenish sprigs of lepidium and baby's
breath. The fragile collection of flowers quivered in her shaking hands as she did
everything in her power to keep her hold.

Her father came up behind her, resting his hand on her shoulder, causing her to gasp.
"Are we a little nervous?" he joked.

"I have no idea why. I've been in love with Goliath for more than four years now, and
this is exactly what I wanted, so why do I feel like jumping out of my skin?"

"Every bride is nervous before her wedding. It's completely natural. That's why I'm
here, to keep you from being scared." Peter grabbed her hands in his own and looked
into her eyes. But their moment was broken as the music swelled into a familiar melody.
"Just remember that I'll always love you, and even though you're now a married woman,
you'll always be my little girl."

Elisa gripped his arm, hard enough to make him wince. The entire processional had
taken their places, awaiting the guest of honor. Starting on the right foot, father and
daughter marched slowly down the aisle. The guests stood to attention as chocolate
brown eyes cast upon her friends and family. Humans, gargoyles, fae, kings, and
sorcerers, a group bonded by disaster and triumph, friendship and love.

But when she caught sight of Goliath, standing by the judge's side, waiting for her and
her alone, to start a new life with her, to build a lasting relationship full of laughter and
love with her, she was filled with a feeling of warmth that only he could provide. The
lavender warrior stepped forward and held out his massive hand. Peter kissed his oldest
child on the cheek and placed her hand in Goliath's, and moved to sit with his wife in the
front row. Goliath led Elisa up the steps to stand with him in front of Roblyn, as their
eyes locked, transfixed on each other's.

The elder judge smiled softly as he opened the fragile, leather-bound book held before
him. "My friends," he began, as the crowd's murmured rustling suddenly came to a
standstill, "we are gathered here tonight to witness these two come together as one. From
two very different backgrounds, these two have pledged to spend their life together as
husband and wife, and lifelong mates. The union of these two people in heart, body and
mind is intended by their creator for their mutual joy, for the help and the comfort given
one another in both prosperity and adversity. Marriage, therefore, is not to be entered
into advisedly or lightly, but reverently and deliberately. In this holy union, Goliath and
Elisa now come to be joined." Judge Roblyn looked in front of him at the couple,
holding hands and looking directly at him. "They have chosen to make a commitment to
each other, knowing that there is a bond between them nothing on Heaven and Earth can
destroy." Judge Roblyn turned towards Goliath. "Do you, Goliath, take this woman as
your lawfully wedded wife; to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, through good
times and bad, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?"

Standing before Elisa, Goliath answered as Graeme handed him the ring, "I do." His
voice rumbled gently, as he slipped the golden band on Elisa's third finger.

"Do you, Elisa, take this...er, man to be your lawfully wedded husband; to have and to
hold, to love and to cherish, through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, as
both as you both shall live?"

Turning to face her giant love, Elisa accepted the large ring from Arianna, and placed it
on Goliath's middle finger. "I do, I most definitely do."

"The bride and groom have each written their own vows. If you will Goliath..."

The lavender giant held Elisa's slender hands to his chest. "You were the first human to
guide us through this new world. The first human to offer your friendship to me and my
clan. And you were the first human to ever call me love. You never looked upon me as a
monster, instead choosing to risk your life again and again to protect me and my kind.
Without you, I thought I would never find love again. I affirm the special bond between
us and promise to keep it alive. I promise to love and protect you to the end of my days.
And I promise I'll always be there to face with you, whatever the future holds. You and I
are one, my Elisa...now and forever."

Elisa stared deep into charcoal eyes, trying to keep back the tears as she felt a lump in her
throat. "All of my life, I have been looking for someone like you. Someone to laugh
with or to cry into their shoulder when I'm sad. Someone who would be there to protect
me and keep me safe from harm. I don't know if it was fate or coincidence that brought
us together, but I know that I will always love you, no matter what happens. I promise to
be your confidante, your best friend, and to share in your hopes and dreams. I promise to
always love you...Big Guy."

"The vows have been spoken, the pledges made." Roblyn said, as his voice broke through
the couple's loving reverie. "Is there anyone here who protests this union? Let him
speak now or forever hold their peace."

The guests looked around, most gazes falling on Demona, but she took it with stride. "I
left my mace at home." she quipped. A slight giggling could be heard as Andrea placed
her hand on her friend's leg.

"Then by the power vested in me, by the state of New York, and by God himself, I now
pronounce you husband and wife, and mates for life. You may now kiss the bride."

Goliath quickly swept Elisa off her feet and planted his lips to hers, as the crowd erupted
in a tumultuous cheer, ringing through the stone walls of Wyvern's inner sanctum.

"Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Mr. and Mrs. Goliath Maza." The hue and cry
barely softened as Goliath released his new wife, only to be embraced by the entire clan.
After congratulating the new couple, they watched as Goliath and Elisa walked down the
aisle, through a shower of white rice thrown heartily by the audience. The couple exited
the hall and stepped outside to the battlements, with the wedding party in tow. Goliath
had wanted at least one gargoyle tradition left intact, the customary mating flight. The
crowd watched as the massive gargoyle lifted Elisa off her feet and cradled her in his
arms.

But with a motion of her hand, he stopped. Elisa leaned closer to his ear, whispering in a
low voice, something that caused him to smile. He turned to the crowd, and pushed
himself from the ledge, into the wind's grasping tendrils, as Elisa threw a coy smile to
her friends, especially the females. Through the darkness of the night, a floral
masterpiece caught the tranquil breeze, and drifted towards the castle. Beyond the
crowd, a lone figure stood, unaware of the approaching garland.

"Heads up, mother."

"What?" Demona looked to the sky. An instinctive reaction to an attack, forged through
a thousand years, resulted in a capture of the silken arrangement in her taloned hands.
Her eyes grew wide as she realized she had caught the wedding bouquet. "Damn you,
Maza..." Demona cursed the detective under her breath as she watched the couple fly
from sight.

With his usual unemotional manner, Owen Burnett interrupted the group, "Excuse me
ladies and gentlemen, but I believe there is another party starting in the other hall. If you
will follow me, we can wait there...until the newlyweds return."

****************************************

Twenty minutes later, the couple swooped in low, and landed on the terrace outside the
hall being used for the reception. Upon entering through the large glass doors, they were
met with a standing ovation. The night was still young and there was a lot to celebrate.
The guests had been shown to their selected places. Round tables, flowing with white
cotton tablecloths gleaming from candles lit upon the surface, surrounded a massive
dance floor. A soft light filled the room from several chandeliers above, providing a
calming atmosphere and enough illumination for the caterers to slip through the
banquette and serve the feast.

The main table, on a raised pedestal at the front of the room, provided a view of the
entire hall. Goliath and Elisa perched themselves in the middle, her slim hand entwined
within a massive assemblage of lavender fingers. To Elisa's side, sat her parents, and on
the side of Goliath, his daughter and Hudson. Throughout the meal, the guests were
drawn back into pleasant conversations, being able to finish their various stories started
before the wedding. Moving through the crowd, Lexington and his video camera
captured well wishers and their comments to the new couple.

After the meal, Broadway emerged from the kitchen with a large trolley, as all eyes were
directed to a five-layered wedding cake growing towards the ceiling. Balanced on the
highest tier, a perfect replica of castle Wyvern, and on the tallest turret, Goliath and
Elisa, together forever in a warm embrace. Goliath guided his new wife's hand as she
cut two slim pieces. The customary feeding of the cake to your partner was baffling to
the lavender warrior, but Elisa seemed to revel in it. He soon found out why she enjoyed
it so when she mashed the piece in his face. Clearing away the icing with a talon, he
wiped it on the edge of her nose.

The band took their places and prepared to play varied hits throughout the night. The
dance floor emerged from the retreating crowd, and through the masses, the bride and
groom were brought together, hand in hand, heart to heart. With all the guests looking
on, Goliath and Elisa danced to the band's rendition of Bryan Adam's hit, 'Everything I
Do, I Do It For You' which eventually faded into 'Beauty and the Beast' from Elisa's
favorite movie. She rested her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes, allowing her
new husband to lead her around the wooden stage. With the next song, the rest of the
group joined in, with every man waiting in line to dance with the new bride, and of
course, every woman waiting for their chance to take to the floor with the groom.

Old friendships were renewed and the new ones made this night. David Xanatos asked
Diane Maza to dance and she gracefully accepted, as Peter grabbed Fox from her table.
Xanatos even offered his hand to Maggie, and was forced to face a stare that bored to his
very soul. Surprisingly, she gave in, with Derek looking on, thinking maybe he had
changed. But he didn't have time as he was pulled on to the dance floor by Fox, who had
just finished with his father.

Between the multitudinous dances, Goliath noticed someone's presence lacking from the
room. Looking to the terrace, he located a darkened shape leaning against the railing,
gazing into the night sky. Excusing himself from his wife, he stepped outside and closed
the door behind him, silencing the party and leaving only the faint sounds of the city.
"Beautiful night." he remarked as he came up beside her.

"Yes. Congratulations, Goliath. I hope you two are very happy." she replied with a
sullen voice he could barely hear.

"Thank you. Are...you not enjoying the party?"

"We both know I don't belong in there."

"You belong with your daughter, and your clan." Goliath argued, eyeing his former mate.

"What I've done in the past cannot be forgiven. When I came upon the younger
generation who were raised on Avalon, all I could see were my brothers and sisters who I
betrayed a thousand years ago."

Goliath sighed. He was unable to argue with reasoning he had justified to repeatedly
battle with her time and time again. He placed his hand on her shoulder but paused just
before reaching her skin. "If you are truly regretful about the things you have done, then
the healing can begin. Your clan is here to help you, but you must take the first step."

Demona whirled around and stared into the hall, watching her daughter dance with Claw.
Her gaze also caught Andrea and Othello. "I don't know, I...want to...but...you have no
idea what I've gone through the last millennium. The endless fighting, the destruction of
gargoyle after gargoyle at human hands..."

"The humans inside that hall are friends. They would never do anything to hurt our kind.
True, a lot of them started out as our enemies: Xanatos, MacBeth, Canmore...but they
have put aside their narrow-minded differences and joined our clan. There is only one
person missing...you."

"Perhaps, one day, but..."

"But, for now," Goliath responded by grabbing her hand and leading her back inside, "we
are friends." He seized her other hand and placed it on his waist. She looked up at his
face with a look of surprise as Goliath guided her into the middle of the floor.

"Wha...what are you doing?" she squeaked.

"Dancing...with my friend." He smiled as he moved with the music, ignoring the stares
from the rest of the crowd.

Demona struggled a bit, uncomfortable with the attention, but soon relaxed as she
allowed herself to be led around by the lavender warrior. Eventually closing her eyes,
she placed her head on Goliath's chest, as tears trickled down her face.

Elisa had watched the entire thing, and added another reason to her mental list why she
loved him. Lexington excused himself from Liz and scrambled for the camera, wanting
to get this particular scene on film.

****************************************

The cloud's leaden fog drained away as the sun's destructive severity erupted into the
evening sky. The celebration had continued into the night and straight on until morning,
with barely a soul noticing the encroaching light. Dancing, eating, laughing, conversing,
the ties of friendship revived through a camaraderie unlike any of that below the clouds
of New York. The gargoyles would soon need to sleep, and the party slowly died out.
The London gargoyles imparted their foremost farewells and allowed Emrys to transport
them home. Katherine, Tom and their 'eggs' congratulated the couple one last time, and
after saying goodbye to the clan, especially Angela and Demona, Alexander called for his
grandmother to bring them home. The mutate and human guests dispersed, as most of
them weren't used to being up this late, leaving only the residents of castle Wyvern.
They exited the hall, undressed quickly, being careful to keep their suits and dresses in
good condition if they ever needed them again, and headed to the battlements.

Elisa followed her husband up the tower, careful not to drag her dress up the steep stairs,
and watched as he took his place. "Are you staying here for the day, Elisa?"

"Yeah. There's no way I'm going home now. I just want to crawl into bed and sleep
until sunset."

"It would be easier if you were to move into the castle, Elisa." Goliath replied, his smile
diminishing a little.

Elisa looked away, avoiding the answer to her love's question. She wanted to spend
every waking minute with Goliath, but felt she still wasn't ready to share a home with a
certain scheming billionaire. "So, Big Guy, any regrets about having a human wedding?"
she responded, quickly changing the subject.

"Only one, my Elisa," Goliath answered coyly, "it ended too soon. I would like to have
been able to watch the sunrise with my new wife."

"I know. Maybe someday. We know it's possible. But for now, I'll just have to settle
for seeing you in my dreams." Elisa came closer to the ledge, studying her new husband
as he settled into his stone roost. "Now get some rest, as we leave tomorrow."

"Yes, a full week at Xanatos' private island. It will be...very nice. Goodnight, my wife."
Goliath bent down and held his wife in his arms, locking his lips to hers.

"Goodnight, my husband." She stepped back as Goliath turned to stone. The rays lit up
the night sky, and Elisa Maza smiled. "Someday, Goliath, someday we'll be together in
the sun." The new bride descended from the tower and went inside, looking forward to
getting some sleep herself. Upon entering her room, she undressed and collapsed into
her bed, immediately falling asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow, dreaming of her
new husband and a new life to savor for the rest of her days.