Denigoddess2001@aol.com
Sojourner & Champion 8.0
07/30/01

Message From Heaven
Written by Lawrence Gowan
Lead Vocals by Lawrence Gowan
Once in a future dream
I saw a tale unfold
Not far away
I'd dare to say
There was a world unknown
Torn to a million shreds
Crippled with fear
It would appear
Then came a voice from the stars
And all were listening to
A message from heaven
A message from heaven
For the mighty that fell
And the wise men as well
Came a message from heaven
"Very sorry all;... welcome to hell"
Dark was the barren land
Home to a savage race
What had I missed
Who deserved this?
Then did the masses cry
Cry with an angry rage
Cursing the names
Of who were to blame
And so the truth was revealed
Everyone knew it was
A message from heaven
A message from heaven
For the mighty that fell
And the wise men as well
Came a message from heaven
"Very sorry all;... welcome to hell"
I kept my distance
Wanted no part of this world
The hateful existence
The rot that this fate had unfurl
Get me out of this world
A message from heaven
A message from heaven
For the mighty that fell
And the wise men as well
Came a message from heaven
"Very sorry all;... welcome to hell"
You've blown it all
Welcome to hell
Disclaimer: I don't own Gargoyles or Ares. Gargoyles belong to Disney. This particular concept of the Greek god of war belongs to Renaissance Pictures. Lyrics belong to Styx and above-mentioned author. All other original characters are property of Denigoddess2001. Song used for this Fan fiction belongs to Lawrence Gowan.
[Bracketed words indicate thought or psychic communication.]
**************

Another long, tedious night passed slowly for security staff member, Phyllis Twain. The clock refused to tick or move when Phyllis gazed upon it. She felt boredom raging within her like an unchecked child. Six years at Xanatos Enterprises allowed her time to nurture contempt for her superior, Owen Burnett. Somehow he had appeared mysteriously from nowhere and ingratiated himself to David Xanatos. It had permanently halted her advancement with Xanacorp.

"I was up for that promotion as Xanatos' attaché." She grumbled as she watched the security monitors. "Instead, I'm passed over for that effeminate prick. Now, he lords around here like he's something spectacular. I know Xanatos Enterprises better than any other employee."

[Well, I won't be working here much longer. Ms. Destine has a cushy office job waiting for me. She appreciates my talents and abilities.] Phyllis gave into the satisfying urge of gloating. She smirked as she contemplated the view of her high-rise office. She imagined the six-figure salary she'd collect. Instead of being Burnett's guard dog, she'd be Ms. Destine's personal bodyguard and assistant. Then, she would be at Ms. Destine's side as Nightstone Unlimited brought Xanatos Enterprises crashing down around itself.

Phyllis stole another glance at the wall clock. It read 6:30. She creased her brow in contemplation. [Ms. Destine and her new senior vice president, Mr. Rhys (pronounced Reece) were sure to shortly arrive. The pristine blonde nervously primped at her flawless coif and straightened the hem of her burgundy blazer. She drew her compact from her designer handbag and reapplied the burgundy lip shade that suited her coloring.

A shrill melody of 'Ride Of The Valkyries' cut through the silence of the monitoring room. Phyllis took her phone in hand and answered the call. "Twain here."

"Ms. Twain, we are here." The feminine voice sent chills of trepidation and excitement simultaneously through Phyllis. "Let us in."

"Right away, Ms. Destine." She replied eagerly as she pressed sequences into the computer keyboard before her. With her current security clearance it was unproblematic to bypass the current security codes in place. All of the monitors but one went dead and the doors opened in silent invitation to the two interlopers standing by a side service entrance.

Phyllis studied the couple making their way through the service entrance and through the stairwells. Dominique Destine was a curvaceous redhead with a lithe grace that placed Phyllis on edge. Beneath that facade of beauty lurked a cunning, ruthless combatant. She respected Dominique Destine. The man accompanying her she assumed to be Ayrs Rhys, the new senior vice-president of Nightstone Unlimited who replaced Alexander Thailog.

Ayres Reece was a stunning specimen of virility and vitality. His towering stature and dark good looks added to his enigmatic mystique and charm. He had dark bronzed skin and a thick, wavy mane of black hair. He was every centimeter the powerful charismatic leader in his tailored suit.

Phyllis Twain's heart fluttered beneath her with blouse when she thought of Ayres Rhys.

A quick rap on the door brought Phyllis from her contemplation of Rhys's physical comeliness. Phyllis smoothed back the stray tendrils of her coif and straightened her pants. She took two deep breaths and opened the door.

"Ms. Destine, Mr. Rhys, everything is going as planned. Security systems have been disabled. We're free to move about freely without detection." She hoped that a handsome reward resulted from her clever thinking.

"Good, take us to the infirmary." Dominique purred. She gave a knowing glance to Ayres. Phyllis nodded in compliance and brought her tasor into her grasp. She slowly opened the door again to the security and gave a quick glance both directions of the corridor.

"All is clear and my relief won't be here until 7:00. Let's move." She whispered.

Phyllis, Dominique, and Ayres made their way stealthily through the corridor until they came to the elevator. The security guard motioned the two executives to move beyond a corner. She pushed the buttons for the elevator while she fretfully glanced in either direction of the corridor. The door finally opened and she motioned for the couple to move quickly into the elevator.

"Have you told Thailog of our ...proposition?" Ayres asked Phyllis.

She looked into those eyes of dark obsidian. He smelled of musk and leather. He exuded raw, primal male sensuality. Her throat became a desert as she drank in his beauty. Her tongue became heavy and numb as his silky voice enthralled her. He gave that sexy smile and she knew that she was lost in his web.

"Twain, Mr. Rhys asked you a question." The sharp shill shriek abruptly cut off the effects of Ayres' allure.

"Yes, Ma'am." Phyllis stuttered. "He agreed on certain conditions that he wishes to discuss with you upon your arrival."

"Understood." Dominique sniped. She purred in satisfaction as she snuggled against the enchanting male between them.

"Wait here, please." Phyllis gripped the tasor firmly in her grasp. "Nurse Hanson is on Duty in the infirmary until 7:00. She doesn't need to be a witness to this."

"Be quick about it, we have little time before sunset." Came the short reply from the ravishing redhead.

Phyllis made her way from the elevator and casually strode toward the nurse's desk. There she saw Nurse Christina Hanson with head buried in paperwork. Phyllis abhorred the thought of this compassionate woman becoming a victim in her advancement but it was necessary. The blonde knocked playfully on the desk.

"Oh, hello!" Nurse Hansen exclaimed in pleasant surprise as she saw her college buddy Phyllis looking down at her. "How are you tonight?"

"I'm just about ready to call it a night." Phyllis crossed her fingers behind her back. "I'm here to check on the injured Gargoyle."

"Thailog?" Nurse Hansen motioned in his direction. "He's a difficult patient. He won't eat anything we serve and five orderlies have to hold him down just so we administer his IV. We have him safely secured."

"I need to see him for myself, Christina." Phyllis gently pressed the issue. "Let me into the infirmary so I can make visual confirmation of his current status."

"Phyllis, I'm sorry, I can't." The perky nurse shrugged. "Mr. Xanatos told me that no one is allowed in there except him or Mr. Burnett."

"I'm on orders from Mr. Xanatos to check on Thailog." Phyllis found difficulty in hiding her growing impatience from her old friend. "He's in conference and I have to file a report before I leave."

"All right." Nurse Hansen shook her head in wary approval. "But, be careful! Thailog is dangerous. He broke one of the nurse's arms yesterday before the orderlies could restore his restraints."

"I understand." [Damn it, Christina. HURRY UP!!]

Nurse Hansen stepped from behind her desk. She placed her hand on the scanning pad beside the door and stood still for the retinal scan. Phyllis pulled the tasor from her side. She placed her hand on the pad and waited.

"That's odd." She cocked her head to the side. "It didn't scan my hand. It must be a malfunction."

Phyllis said nothing as held the tasor to the small of Nurse Hansen's back. Seventy-Five Thousand Volts of electricity coursed through her. She let forth a small scream that caught in her throat as the current paralyzed her. Phyllis watched mutely as Christina shuttered and convulsed before her. She stepped back and let the nurse fall into a limp heap at her feet.

"Sorry, Dear." She murmured and she scooped the Nurse into her arms. She went to the broom closet behind the Nurse's desk. She opened the door to the closet and carefully placed Nurse Hansen into a sitting position. "I just didn't want you to become a casualty. Cleaning staff will find you tonight or you break out once you become conscience. By then, I'll be long gone and no harm to you."

Phyllis locked the door. She motioned for Dominique and Ayres to hurry. Together, they used their strength to pry open the door to the infirmary. Two orderlies were surprised to see the two unauthorized intruders with Phyllis Twain. Twenty seconds later, they lay on the ground unconscious with two perfect burn marks on each of their necks from tasor burns.

"I was wondering when you'd get here." Thailog chuckled. "I thought I'd have to endure another night of hospital food."

"Save your glib remarks." Destine retorted. Her agile fingers attempted to undo the restraints. "They're solid metal. I don't have the strength in this form to rid you of them."

"Allow me." Ayres gallantly bowed. He stepped forward and placed his fingers under the metal cuffs. With a grunt and a yank the first restraint of Thailog's wrist ripped free from the hospital bed. Thailog smiled in grudging approval at the human male's strength. His talons joined Ayres' on the second restraint. It came free as though it were tissue paper being torn. Thailog sat up and proceeded to remove the restraints from his waist, thighs, and ankles.

"Ahhhh..." He rose to his feet. His dark wings unfurled to their full length knocking over the side stand. He stretched to exorcise the cramps and muscle aches from his massive form. His roar rattled the windows of the infirmary. "Much better."

"Quiet, fool!" Dominique hissed. "There are still security personnel that can hear you. We have to get out of here now!!"

"Not until we retrieve the final shard of the praying Gargoyle." He growled. "The human female called Wren Summers has it. I don't combine forces with you until we come to terms of agreement."

"You want the shard. We want the Praying Gargoyle as well. It's of no use to any of us until the shards are reunited into one piece of sculpture. Only a god can do that and Ayres is that god." Dominique motioned in the direction of the door. "Ayres needs the praying Gargoyle to deal with some god. Then, he can use it to establish his foothold here. It won't be of any use to him after that. I will use the Praying Gargoyle to protect all of our kind as I recast the Clean Slate spell to rid the world of Humans. You then get to use it to claim your immortality. But, it won't matter if WE DON'T GO NOW."

"How do I know that you'll keep your word?" Thailog was no one's fool. Demona was notorious for double-crosses. This Ayres Rhys was an unknown factor. God or not, he was not to be trusted. The Dark Gargoyle remembered some of his genetically enhanced education compliments of David Xanatos.

"I give you my word." Ayres gave Thailog a look of utter sincerity.

"Then swear it by the river Styx that you will not double-cross me or allow Demona to double-cross me." Thailog knew he struck a nerve when he watched Ayres' Adam's apple move as he gulped.

"Swear..b-b-by the River Styx?"

"Do it or no deal."

[By the nine bowels of Hades, this throws a wrench into everything.] Ayres fumed at the Gargoyle's cleverness. [He's studied his Greek gods well, I'll give him that. If I swear and break the oath, the other gods will hunt me down and kill me. Then again, there are no gods here, so I might as well.]

"Sure." He extended his hand to the Gargoyle. "I swear by the River Styx that neither I nor Demona will double-cross you."

They shook on it.

"Now, can we go?!" Dominique's impatience reached the final limits of endurance. "It's 6:55 and we have to avoid security."

"Move, people." Ayres commanded. "Phyllis, get us out of here."

"Gladly." She led them down the hall to the cyberbyotics lab. She pried open the closed doors with little effort. She led them to several robots standing motionless near a wall. "These guys are tickets to freedom?"

"Steel clan?" Dominique shrieked. "They're worthless hunks of tin against the current robots produced by Xanatos."

"Not these." Phyllis drawled. "Voice command authorization: Twain, Phyllis. Security Clearance level: Alpha. Code number 68521. Steel clan, activate."

Four pairs of robotic eyes concurrently glowed and the four Xanatos automatons came to life. They turned to face Phyllis and silently awaited her next command.

"Security overrides in place. Only recognize the commands of Phyllis Twain."

"Affirmative." The first robotic Gargoyle replied.

"They talk?" Ayres was fascinated by this world's technology. He silently contemplated an entire army of these robotic warriors under his command. Mere humans stood little chance against superior armor and firepower. He saw the potential for these metal golems.

"State-of-the-art artificial intelligence chips." Phyllis explained. "They possess the best positronic circuitry known to science."

She turned her attention to the leader of the Steel Clan. "Take us to Nightstone unlimited."

"We will comply." The Steel clan leader scooped Phyllis into his hard, strong embrace and the others did the same. The leader held out his arm. A particle beam rose from within his wrist plating. He aimed it at the sidewall and fired. A burst of plasma energy blazed a trail across the room and impacted with the wall of the lab. Alarms sounded and smoke billowed from the hole made by the plasma sphere.

"Let's go!" Phyllis exclaimed. One by one, the steel clan took their passengers through the hole in the wall. Their fuel jets activated and they became streaking comets against the violet and cerise dusk of the Manhattan skyline.

*******
Wren slowly sat upright in her bed. Acclimating herself once again to mobility was a difficult task indeed. Her recent combat with Thailog left Wren aching and bruised. A week in a hospital bed did little for her flexibility. She moved slowly because of the lingering pain's left by Thailog's Herculean blows to her body.

[We need to get home.] She admitted to herself. [This isn't our world. Ares is running mad and unchained back home and God only knows what havoc he's wreaking in our home dimension. Skylaris put her life on the line to keep us safe and it's wrong of us to hid here with our heads in the sand.]

[I haven't had time to get used to this new world.] She sighed. She forced herself out of bed and onto her feet. Injuries did little to stop Wren from bringing some kind of routine in her life. In turbulent times like that moment, she knew that routine gave her a focus and a center. She languidly made her way to the bathroom with the single intention of spending a large block of her evening in a hot shower.

An hour later, Wren emerged wrinkled and relaxed. She chose to wear her a pair of jeans given to her by Elisa and a Burgundy shirt donated by Fox. Habit forced her to hook the Annulus on the one of the side belt-loops. She made her way to the tower to patiently wait for the sun to fall beneath the urban horizon. She realized that if she and Demetrius were to spend any time here she required an opportunity to make ends meet.

She saw the head of the Praying Gargoyle setting on her bureau. She picked it up in her hands and thoroughly studied the piece. It was carved from smooth, gray granite. She let the pads of her fingers gently trace the Gargoyle's facial features. She searched for any clue as to why Thailog wanted the shards so desperately. [What would a Gargoyle want with a broken statue?]

"When in doubt, use the public library." She cheerily said aloud. She hoped that the layout of the castle was the same as the one in her home dimension. Resolve and determination were her best allies at the moment. She knew her natural proclivity for research guaranteed results. The Gargoyle head seemed to grow warmer to her touch as she neared the library.

"What secrets do you hold, little Gargoyle?" She mused. She made her way to the athenaeum. As she walked in, it felt as though she were the prodigal daughter retuning home. Many nights in her three years at Xanatos Enterprises had been spent with her head buried in a book.

She looked and saw a display case against one of the walls of the library. Under the glass she recognized one large dusty, leather-bound tome. It was the Grimorum Acanorum. She knew that well. Owen and Mr. Xanatos never let it out of their sight. Her Xanatos kept it under lock and key in his private office. She felt a burning sensation against her palm. She stared down to see the head of the Praying Gargoyle radiant with a familiar emerald aura.

"Saints preserve me!" She smiled with the revelation. "This little guy is something else. Okay, do you just detect magick or can you do something more specific?"

The dim halo of emerald transmuted from green to blue. The cerulean crown of light brightened as she asked the rhetorical question. It surged and pulsed with light and a faint hum resembling a Gregorian chant fill the library. She sat it quickly upon the display case and glanced quickly around the room. Standing before her was the last thing she expected to see.

No more than six feet away from Wren stood a very tall, blue gargoyle.

A pellucid Gargoyle with wings unfurled, dark indigo skin, and argent white hair. She knew that hair well. Only one other Gargoyle had that hair. The realization of that made Wren's breath catch in her throat. Her voice froze leaving her unable to utter the meekest sound. Her hand slowly reached for the Annulus that hung from her belt.

His lips moved and spoke a language that wasn't English. He extended his arms in what seemed a gesture of peace. His expression appeared one of concern and patience. [Okay, Wren... calm down. Focus! Your powers always falter when you're under stress. What did he say?]

She forced herself to take several deep breaths. She fought to find that inner center and focus that she never seemed to have when she need it. She knew that Demetrius had it at a moment's notice. She knew Goliath and Xanatos never lost their internal center. Why couldn't she find hers now? She tried to remember the one time when she felt content and peaceful.

Demetrius. He came to mind. Her Saint with the looks of a fallen angel. Her Cimmerian Cavalier always completed her in times of need. What would he do in this situation?

[He wouldn't run, that was for sure.]

She again turned her attention to the indigo Gargoyle standing before her with arms extended. She felt serenity seep into her mind. She felt Demetrius' strength fortify her while he remained in stone sleep. Even in slumber, they shared one heart, one mind, and one soul. She commanded her powers of observation to take in the image before her. The Gargoyle was of warrior class with his height and breath. Broad shoulders and large wings indicated an excellent hatching year. His garb was unusual for a Gargoyle. He wore white and blue robes of Roman design. She had seen depictions of Roman Senators and this Gargoyle's garments were similar.

He spoke again in a language other than what she knew. She closed her eyes and converged her concentration on the timber of his voice. It was deep. It came to her ears like ambrosia nectar and dark, warm honey. He articulated his words slowly and clearly. Wren listened mindfully for inflection and intonation. A modulation appeared in his words. They gradually formed patterns that she recognized as accidence and syntax. Her eyes fell upon his lips and she watched them move. It was if she were lending an ear to a film not quite synchronized with its soundtrack. Each word fell into place like pieces of a puzzle coming together to form an audible wall of sound.

The Gargoyle ghost spoke Latin.

[YES!!] Wren pulled her fist close to her as she congratulated herself on her focus and fine detective work. She returned her attention to the modulation of his resonant delivery. She translated each word as it came to her.

"DO NOT BE AFRAID. I MEAN YOU NO HARM."

Wren cleared her throat and nodded to the apparition in front of her. He recognized her understand and showed it with a look of exulted happiness. He brought his hand to his chest and spoke. "I AM ......Tacitus Caeruleus of the Clan Septimus.

The words flowed from him and sounded less like Latin and more like English. That part of her hyper linguistics always fascinated Wren. It amazed her that words melded into one another and became like common speech to her ears. She ultimately found her voice and spoke. "Tacitus Ceruleus, sworn protector to the Heirs of The House Of David?"

"You know of me!?" He seemed perplexed that she knew of him.

"I have read your Tome and have studied your writings." Wren stepped forward. "Are you a ...ghost?"

"I am a servant in the service of the Dragon." He bowed.

"Question, you swore to protect the heirs of the House of David. You began the tradition of circumcision for Gargoyles. You prayed in the temples like a good Jew and now you serve Skylaris? How can that be that you serve to gods?" Wren pressed the issue.

"Open your mind to me, mortal and let me know your heart." Tacitus stepped forward.

"Not so fast, Casper." She backed away. "No body climbs inside my mind without my consent."

"Forgive me." He bowed his head contritely. "I meant you no harm."

"Then answer my question." Wren continued her line-of-questioning.

"I am the Servant of the Son who loved me and I adore the Goddess that made me." Tacitus smiled at her. "No man or Gargoyle can serve to masters but we can all love more than one being. The goddess has little interaction with humans and the Son is the Son of Man. The Goddess is my mother."

"Skylaris." Wren sought clarification. "Dragon Goddess of the Gargoyles?"

"Indeed." Some instinct told Wren that this particular gargoyle truly stood surprised that a human knew of his goddess and her name. He stepped closer and scrutinized her. "You bear her golden kiss upon her brow. She has blessed you. You are very dear to her, Daughter of Gaea."

"Let's just say that I ...appreciate her kindness." Wren replied cryptically. She had been raised a nice Catholic girl that wasn't supposed to dabble in Magick or foreign faiths. Yet, it threw her entire belief system on its ear when she saw a living goddess make miracles right before her eyes.

"What is your name?" The question seemed innocuous when it came from the specter before her.

"I am Wren Summers." She extended her hand.

Wren witnessed the impossible as the indigo complexion of the gargoyle became ashen. " Ren-she-merr-rees?"

"Do you mean, Rensumeres (Ren-sue-merr-reez?)" She became wary at his dismayed display at her name.

"Rensumeres, the captain who served in the army of Draco and fought Ares at Mount Kel in Macedonia?" Tacitus' excitement worried the young mutant.

"I have been called Rensumeres and I currently have a problem with Ares." She slowly replied to his question. "My ...mate and I recently returned from Ancient Greece to our own time."

"The Rensumeres I knew battled against Ares and helped bring about the his imprisonment at Mt. Kel."

"Imprisonment?" Wren shook her head. "Not even close. In my home dimension's past, Ares kicked my ass from there to Athens and back again. Demetrius and I barely left with our lives in tact."

"Let me touch your mind, Rensumeres. I do not understand the wild things of which you speak." He reached forward with his dark blue talons. Wren nodded silently in consent and closed her eyes.

He gleaned her story from her thoughts and memories. He knew of her home dimension, the annulus, her adventures and her most recent encounter with Ares. He closed his eyes and nodded in satisfaction. A thousand images sped across her mind's eyes as he gently probed her mind.

"You have known much this past year." His voice cut through her mental travels. "You have come to this world to flee Ares. Yet, I sense his presence near."

"Impossible!!" Wren shook her head in denial. "Skylaris held him off when we came here. He's no match for her."

"Alas, Rensumeres, you speak wrongly." The Indigo Gargoyle shook his head. "I sense him within the walls of the castle."

"I'm not too worried." She shrugged. "You probably just picked up on some bad vibes."

"Child of Gaea, you are obstinate."

"And I vex you thus?" She finished his sentence.

"You speak like my father." He shook his head in amazement. "You must spend much of your time around Gargoyles."

"Not really, just a particular one that's captured my heart." She admitted.

"The one called Demetrius."

"Yes." She returned her line of questioning to her original quest. "What is your connection to the Praying Gargoyle."

"It was crafted by me while I lived in Bethlehem. The goddess commissioned it as a gift for Yeshua's birth celebration. It was a sign of her good faith and loyalty to his family for the kindnesses rendered by them to my clan through the ages."

"Incredible." Wren presented the head to the transparent Gargoyle. "What can the Praying Gargoyle do exactly?"

"It protects all Gargoyles from utter extinction. When used in Magick it is a powerful conduit. It can also grant invulnerability to its possessor. It grants immortality as well."

"So how are you linked to it?" She pressed on.

"You and I met at Mt. Kel in Macedonia." Tacitus explained. "Rather, this world's Rensumeres and I met at Mt. Kel shortly after Ares' imprisonment. Stone from his temple was used in crafting the item. At the time, I thought nothing of using Macedonian granite in my carving the gift for Yeshua."

"That's all?" She asked.

"No, not all." Tacitus motioned for her to sit. She had a feeling that it was going to be a long, lengthy explanation. "I angered the Magi at Yeshua's birth celebration for presenting a gift carved from a pagan god's temple. They cursed my soul to be forever linked to this figurine until my wrong was amended. Upon my death, I did not pass to the Summerlands to meet my Goddess. Instead, I found myself remaining in this world in close proximity to the praying Gargoyle."

"I am sorry to hear that." She said gravely.

"Now, that the figurine is shattered I shall never be able to leave this world and go to the next life." She thought she heard a crack in his voice. She stared into the dark Prussian eyes of the Gargoyle Prophet. She knew he spoke truth.

"Can it be undone this curse?" She asked.

"If the shards are reunited as one statue, then I have a chance to be set free."

"When the shards are reunited, then how do I set you free?" Wren cradled the statue's head delicately in her hands.

"You must recite a spell from the Tome." Tacitus shrugged. "However, the Tome was stolen by a young mage long ago and has never been seen since."

"Is it a black leather-bound volume with a golden lock on the side and two golden dragon-like serpents on the front cover?"

"Yes, yes! That would be it."

"I've seen it in my own dimension. It was found by one of my superiors." Wren contemplated the possibilities. "If I promise to set you free, will you help Demetrius and I with Ares? I know for a fact that we stand no chance against him. I don't want innocent people getting hurt just because I bruised his pride."

"I don't see how I can help you." He shrugged helplessly.

"You wrote the Tome?"

"Yes."

"You made it only so a Kiari Fairy could read it."

"I did."

"Humans can't read it."

"This is true." He agreed.

"You can."

"Yes, I can."

"That means if you used magick to make its writings invisible to Human eyes. You can undo that same magick to make it visible to me. Or, you could read its spells to send Ares to place that will contain him for a very long time." Wren explained.

"You have a clever mind, Rensumeres. You were one of Draco's favorite strategists." Tacitus laid a hand on her shoulder. Surprisingly, it was corporeal. "Your faith in the Dragon is strong and her blessing stays with you."

"I'm dating her son, that helps." She mused.

"We must start work at once." He exclaimed. "We have little time and Ares is near. Make me familiar with what I need to know of this time and the people of this castle."

She felt hope grow inside her for the first time since she first encountered Ares. "Now we just have to find the Tome."

"It has been lost many centuries." Tacitus warned her. "It may be forever lost."

"I don't think so. There are too many parallels between this world and mine for it to be easily dismissed." She reached for the movable step stool next to her. "Where I come from, the Tome was found on a back shelf of the library. Knowing Xanatos and his quest for knowledge and power, I wouldn't be surprised if we find it here in this library."

"You have much faith." He took her smaller hands within his large palms. His cobalt gaze warmed her soul to its furthermost depths.

"I just need a little luck." She wriggled her brows and he drew back in surprise. She focused her mutant abilities into a condensed charge of power. Her hands glowed brilliantly.

She felt the power building and welling within her. Wren let it loose in a burst of energy. It became a luminous orb dancing and darting around her. She snapped her fingers and it whizzed between bookshelves. Then, it vanished.

"That's it?" Tacitus exclaimed. "Pretty lights will help us find a book missing for millennia?"

"Just wait, Taz." She held up her hand for him to wait. "Just be patient. Probability manipulation is not an obvious, overt thing. It's subtle to the point of being duplicitous."

"You have the powers of a god. I never knew my Rensumeres to possess such abilities."

"I don't exactly advertise it."

Wren examined each volume with great care. She knew that the book was large, black, and leather-bound. That knowledge was essential in locating the book quickly. None of the books on the shelves fit the particular description she knew of the Tome. [Xanatos always kept oversized books on the bottom shelves."

She scurried from the stepstool and continued her search for the Tome along the bottom shelves. Tacitus looked along the north wall near the display case that contained the Grimorum Arcanorum. She heard a growl that she knew meant to mean triumph.

"You found it." She confirmed.

"I found it." His smile lit the entire library.

"Now, we have a chance." She spoke as she drug the large volume onto a nearby table. She blew the dust away from the tome and stared nervously at Tacitus. She knew that this was a moment eternally engraved in History. She prayed the Tome to give her the knowledge she needed to protect Demetrius and the adopted clan.

She opened the tome.

Wren knew she would find blank pages. She wasn't Kiari so the pages appeared unmarked. She felt her heart sink deep into her stomach. Despair settled over her. Wren turned to Tacitus. He saw the sadness well in her hazel eyes. "I can't read it. My gifts can't circumvent the magick."

"Ask and ye receive...." He used the tip of his prehensile tail to close the volume.

"What are you doing?" Wren inquired not quite sure of the Gargoyle's actions


"Your faith is strong and your heart knows love. You are no warrior, Rensumeres." Tacitus came behind the young woman and cloaked his wings about her. Wren nearly leapt from her skin and as he enfolded her in his winged embrace.

"And that's supposed to make me feel better?" She asked angrily. "I hate being helpless."

"You are not a warrior. You are a guardian." Tacitus touched her brow. "All this time you thought yourself lacking because bravery eluded you. Bravery you lacked, but courage you possess in abundance."

She turned her attention back to the large volume with renewed determination. She knew she was not a brave warrior. She resigned herself to that long ago. Yet, the words "courageous protector" struck a resonating center within her heart. Gargoyles were protectors and then warriors.

"Read now, Daughter of Gaea. It is your gift to know the tongues of all creatures. It is your gift now that will let you see and decipher the words of the Goddess. Use the words wisely." His gentle words touched her heart. "Let this be with you always from the goddess to read her words and know her ways."

"I promise." She vowed.

Vividly penned script came into sight as she studied the pages. They fluid calligraphy formed words and symbols resembling scratches and pen strokes. Wren knew that she was seeing the lost language of the Gargoyles. She knew how to speak it. Now, because of Tacitus, she knew how to read it. The symbols became an intricate tapestry of color and communication as Wren read every word. She knew these words well. She heard them spoken by Goliath's mate under the bright moon at many bonfires.

"Of Stone and egg be they born
of tail and wing, talon and horn
Protectors of night do they ever toil
So mote it be the saga of the Gargoyle."

She turned to face an exuberant Tacitus. She noticed how his wings flared and his tail twitched with joy. "We can beat Ares. Do you have a spell in here that can do that?"

"There is only one spell known to usurp the power of a god. I do not advise to use it lightly. It is only meant to be used if all other courses fail. Do you understand? Once it is cast, it can not be undone."

"I understand." She nodded. She looked at her watch. "Do you know where they are now?"

"They near the roof of this place."

"They?" She gulped. "What do you mean...they?"

"I see Ares, god of war." Tacitus closed his eyes and brought his talons to his brow. His temples seemed to pulse in concentration. "I see a Dame warrior and a dark Gargoyle resembling that whom you called your mate."

"Does he have spiraling horns?"

"Nay, this one wears armor." Tacitus replied.

"Thailog." She spat the name. "We are in trouble. We have to hurry."

"They ride upon Hephestus' avatar. Fire spews from their wings. These unliving giants carry the living in their steely embrace. The trio approaches statues with projectiles of fire erupting from the metal golems' embrace."

"No....." She cried in a small voice. "Ares means to destroy the Gargoyles while they sleep. I can't get there in time."

"Use the Tome, Rensumeres. Let Fortune guide you." He urged her.

She flipped furiously through the pages for any gleam of hope to combat the war god and his unholy minions. She remembered well the tales of Adrienne misusing the Magick of the Tome. Adrienne was an adept of inherent magick. (AUTHOR'S NOTE: LOST???? READ MY "X AND THE SINGLE GARGOYLE" SERIES) Wren almost ripped one of the pages in half when she found a spell that suited her purposes.

"Clan of stone in my mind's eye
You remain far beyond my reach
Enter now into safety's realm
Beyond all danger's reach.

Find a haven beyond the forces
That demands no sacrifice
Let them allot their proper discourses
While magickal defenses suffice."

Several glimmering columns surrounded her and Tacitus in the Library. She jumped back startled from the sudden bursts of light around her. She watched them glimmer like opals in the sun with their vivid hues dancing quickly before her eyes. They took forms that possessed wings and claws as they formed before her. The sparkling inflections became gray. The gray became granite. She turned to see the statues of Goliath and his clan standing proud within the Library.

"That will buy us some time." She remembered to exhale. Relief streamed through her. "Now, I need to wake these guys up."

She withdrew the seashell necklace from her pocket and placed around her lover's strong neck. "Rise and shine, Dem. I need some help until sunset and you're all that I've got."

The dark ebony stone cracked from the center of his chest into several hundred hyaline fragments. She watched the fissures in the obsidian statue spread throughout his torso and into his limbs. His eyes came alive with brilliant lavender fire. His wings moved within the stone chrysalis. A loud, bellowing roar shook the books to the very top shelves. The shards rained around them as Demetrius stretched and to shake off the last remnants of slumber.

"Milady, you have awakened me early? What ails you?" Worry crept into Demetrius rich timbre.

"Ares is on the prowl. He's here in the castle with Thailog and some Gargoyle Dame named Demona." Her rushed explanation brought Demetrius up to speed. She pointed to the Tome on the table. "They have a Tome of Tacitus here. Look!"

"You can read it?"

"With a little help from my friends."

"What friends?" Demetrius searched the room. "It is only you and me and the clan."

"You don't see Tacitus?" She asked.

"Nay, Milady." He cloaked his wings about him. "Only us."

"Trust me, he's here." She assured him. "We have to wake the others. It's not sunset yet. What harm will come to the clan if we wake them early?"

"Milady, methinks it cannae be done." His Scottish burr came thick and strong. Wren knew Demetrius was experiencing extreme stress when it fell from his lips so strongly. "We may well flee this place."

"No, we can't. That isn't the Gargoyle way." She declared. "We have to stop this here and now. I'm tired of running and I'm tired of looking over my shoulder for big, bad Ares."

"Milady, I beseech ye to reconsider-"

"No, Demetrius. We have the opportunity in our hands to rid this world and our own of Ares. I say we do it."

A long silence filled the room. It came between them as an invisible chasm that was without a bridge. Then, she heard a grudging growl rumble deep within his chest. His eyes flared with argent brilliance. His tail still and fell to the ground. His cloaked wings and folded arms lent much to his grim resignation. "Aye, you speak truth. We make our stand here."

"Understood." She nodded curtly. She searched for an incantation to awaken the clan. She knew that a misspoken word or an incantation wrongly cast exacted a painfully high price of consequence.

"Sleep you now garbed in skin of stone
Never knowing the warmth of the sun
Let Yeshua's gift of granite slumber
Be allowed to come undone.

Heal you now as you would in sleep
Yet remain watchful and awake.
Walk in the brightness of truest day.
Do so in sunrise's wake."

She saw the eyes glow. She watch the cracks spread like webbing through the granite icons surrounding her and Demetrius in a semi-circle. She heard each growl join others in a symphony of roars. Wings unfurled and tails lashed, as each gargoyle broke free from stone sleep and greeted the late afternoon.

"Jalapena." Goliath swore as he looked out the window of the north wall. "The sun is still up."

"I found your sacred writings and decided to put them to good use." Wren explained as she pointed to the Tome lying on the table.

"Is that why you woke us during the day?" Angela asked.

"Yes." Wren told her. "We have a problem. Ares has teamed up with Thailog and Demona. According to my sources, steel giants carry them to the roof of the castle. They were about to shatter you into gravel. Luckily, I found a teleportation spell that brought you here."

"I'm glad for that." Angela seemed to tremble at the thought at how closely they cheated death. "What do we do now?"

"I think you call these things the steel clan." Tacitus offered. No one paid any attention to him. "They can neither see nor hear me."

"That isn't such a bad thing." Wren whispered. She hoped that the spell she read hid them from the Tyrannical trio flying around the top of the castle.

"Shield this room from all eyes
So that we remain unseen.
Let no presence detect us here
Let no knowledge be gleaned."

"We haven't the luxury of time." Goliath sighed. He beckoned everyone around the table. "We must hold a council of war."

TO BE CONTINUED