12 - "The Song Of Souls"
Originally Written: March 5th, 2000

May 26th, 2000
Beneath the layers of metal and concrete, and the network of pipes and conduits feeding
water, power, and heat to the dwellings of Manhattan island, lay her home, the Labyrinth,
the only home she had known since her creation five years ago. Yet within the warm
Spring currents of the desolate sky, in which she coasted the ocean winds, lessened in
ferocity as it buffeted upon the barrier of the skyscrapers near the coastline, is where she
knew she belonged. Her wings granted her the greatest gift of all, the gift of flight. But a
tinge of sadness marked her features as she thought of where her beautiful wings had
come from.

Out of the two individuals Delilah was created from, only one had truly accepted her.
With what little contact she had with Demona, often her infrequent words would be
traced with an anger buried deep within the immortal's tormented soul. Delilah
wondered if she would ever be deserving of the life given to her, to be worthy in
Demona's eyes would surely be a wondrous gesture. Months ago, during the wonderful
dances and spirited banter and the grand feast of Elisa and Goliath's wedding, she would
shy away at every opportunity, never gathering enough courage to face her.

Yet a trivial matter in the eyes of those who accepted her for what she was. She had
Elisa's love, and Goliath's, and that was more than enough. An adopted lineage to be
proud of.

Her train of thought was instantly broken when she spotted the castle far below her level,
she had unintentionally flown too high. A hurried change of position brought her wings
in close, and she quickly descended. Her eyes met with the curved lines of the
battlements, and followed upon the transcending towers to the main courtyard. She had
been spending most of her free time here lately, ever since her 'mother' got married, but
now, a new reason had caught her affection...

A seven foot tall, white-haired, handsome reason.

Delilah touched down on the stones, and settled her wings to rest around her shoulders.
Her surroundings were emptied of what she thought would be a flurry of activity by the
ever occupied clan. Possibly she had arrived just after their nightly patrols, or their
escape to the world below to indulge in it's offering of delectation and festivity.

She thought perhaps she would check in on Annika. She had grown fond of the new
arrival. They were so alike. Both learning about the world for the first time, though the
blush pink gargoyle had gained an advantage early on, receiving a full education in her
hatchling years from her mother. Math, history, science, reading, concepts that Delilah
had just begun to comprehend. She had struggled so to master the books in the Labyrinth
library, often spending hours alone forcing her way through written volumes ranging
from children's stories to masterful works penned hundreds of years ago.

She kept to herself mostly, removed from the others, unwilling to accept their numerous
offers of help. She desired to be independent, she wanted to be strong, she needed to
prove herself to the others of just how valuable she was. But sometimes, catching sight
of Derek and Maggie, or Goliath and Elisa, she just wanted sometime to be close to,
someone to talk with...someone who would understand.

One dominant difference between her and Annika, she had Todd always alongside, a
willing teacher of the modern world, and a trusting friend who cared for her more than
Delilah believed he even knew.

She walked slowly around the castle's exterior, and after confirming she was alone,
decided to head inside. But what she thought was the wail of a passing siren grew into a
soft, high-pitched tone, carried on the wind and echoing off the ancient stones. She
allowed herself to be led by the unusual sound, increasing in intensity as she neared the
rear of the castle. Upon turning a corner, she had identified the sound's source, it was
coming from Shadow's tower.

She hurriedly albeit silently climbed the steep stairs leading up to the small turret. A
large door appeared before her, thick stained hardwood held by two straps of heavy iron,
the entrance to Shadow's quarters within. She steadily raised her hand with the intent to
knock on the wooden barrier, yet paused. Her bashfulness had restrained her. She
quickly turned to leave when the sound changed pitch and flowed into a melody that held
her in place. Never had she heard such elegance sustained within an unearthly lament.

Her curiosity had taken over, and she placed her ear against the door, her sensitive
hearing straining to locate where the sound was coming from. Nothing from the
chamber, yet the music still played. She lifted her gaze to the edge of the turret's peak,
and climbed gingerly to the top, peering over the cornice brim, careful not to draw
attention to herself. She gasped as she caught sight of the origin of the music, it was
Shadow himself.

He balanced his massive, muscular body on the cornice, facing the city and holding a
long, thin, golden instrument to his lips. His large fingers moved nimbly along the shaft,
changing pitch with every simple gesture. A cool breeze passed around his motionless
body, catching his long braided tail in the childlike playfulness of the wind.

Delilah watched with amazement as the dark warrior continued playing his instrument, a
flood of emotion upon every note. She struggled for the name of the pipe in his hand, as
she had seen it before, in one of her books.

Through her pensiveness, she unconsciously tore a piece of granite loose from it's stead,
careening to the ground below in a quiet yet noticeable clatter.

Shadow suddenly stopped and turned.

Delilah immediately hopped to the ground and huddled near the door, protected by the
eclipsing obscurity of the turret's slight overhang. She held her breath and lay folded
within the cover of her ivory wings until the music started again.

With a sigh of relief, she leaned against the soft wood of the imposing door, allowing the
melody to flow around her. It was so beautiful, she had rarely heard a sound so majestic,
so pure. She listened for what seemed like hours, the strange songs flowing into each
other in a long, unending aria.

Then rather abruptly, the song changed dramatically into something she did recognize. It
was a theme from a movie she had watched with Todd and Annika. So familiar, and so
much more memorable than the actual soundtrack. She soon found herself humming
along to the rhythm, and eventually singing, her angelic voice adding to the eerie
resonance.

She became so involved in her own sound, that she never noticed the instrument had
stopped. She kept singing, oblivious to the fact her voice was the only thing being cast to
the stars, until at the last moment, she trailed off and heard nothing but silence. Her eyes
grew wide, and she wondered if she had been discovered. She slowly looked up.

Over the tower's edge, emerged the dark warrior, gazing down on her with the abyss of
mahogany eyes. He smiled and reached downwards with his massive hand.

Delilah hesitated, but soon found her body standing to attention on it's own volition and
accepting. She was easily pulled to his level and placed on the stones beside him. She
blushed slightly and looked away, twisting her white hair within her fingers.

"You have a lovely voice." Shadow broke the awkward silence.

"Thank you..." Delilah answered, unsure if she could actually look him in the eye ever
again. "I've never heard anything like that, what is it?"

"It's a flute."

Delilah rolled her eyes at the name that had eluded her, and slapped herself for not being
able to think of it.

Shadow smiled and held it up. "It has been in my family for generations. I was taught to
play by my grandfather."

"You rarely speak about him. Do you miss him?"

"With every night that passes. When I play this flute, I am reminded of the time spent
with him. He passed on to me ancient hymns from my country's heritage."

"They're beautiful."

"Thank you. You seem to be fond of one in particular. It's one I've added recently."

"Yes, it's from one of my favorite movies." Delilah smiled at him, and for a moment
their eyes met, before she turned away once again. "I should go. You probably want to
be alone."

"Music is for all to enjoy my lady. I would be honored if you stayed." He reached for
her face and pulled a veil of frosted locks away, uncovering a glimmering pool of
chocolate brown.

She nodded silently and edged closer. He placed the flute to his lips and soon the air was
filled with it's euphonic intonation a second time. Delilah watched on, eventually
closing her eyes and feeling the music caress her virtuous soul.

Yet, as the music played on, it grew cold in spirit and solemn in tune as Shadow's once
beautiful hymn became a somber requiem. Upon reopening her eyes, she studied his
dark features. expressing a saddened emotion, something she had never been witness to.
He played to the end, and looked to Delilah as he finished.

"Wow..." The young gargoyle was almost on the verge of tears.

"I'm sorry to ruin the mood."

"No, it's just...that last one sounded so much more sad than the others."

"It is a dirge dedicated to the deceased, usually played at funerals. It is said the song
guides the spirits to the other side."

"Does it have a name?"

"The Song of Souls. It is the very same song I played when my grandfather died."
Shadow looked away, breathing quietly, and feeling the wind on his face.

'I'm sorry." Delilah placed her bronze hand on his dark one.

"As am I. It was his dying wish that I find others of my kind. And now I have, but he
will never know."

"I think in a way, he does." Delilah assured the dark warrior, as he smiled slightly.

The night's eternal shade would eventually diminish it's power to the light of day, a
transformation of colors from a murky violet to a deep reddish orange, silhouetting the
gargoyles on the small turret. Shadow played on with the young clone listening to every
note. Dawn would freeze them in place, with Delilah drawn to him by a powerful feeling
she could not readily ignore.