Saga: The Hades Wave
Genre: Unknown /(Gargoyles/ X-Men/ Hercules Crossover)
Part V
Title: The Immortal Coil 5.0
Rating: PG
Setting: Alternative Universe (better known as the Deniverse) The Xavier Institute For Higher Learning: Salem Center, New York
Characters: Goliath, Elisa Maza, Jean Gray-Summer (Phoenix), Demona, Professor Xavier, Wren Summers-Nightkind, Demetrius Nightkind, David Xanatos

DISCLAIMER: I DON'T OWN GARGOYLES. THEY BELONG TO DISNEY. I DON'T OWN XENA/ HERCULES OR ANY CHARACTERS THEREIN. THEY BELONG TO RENAISSANCE PICTURES. I DON'T OWN X-MEN. THEY BELONG TO MARVEL. ALL ORIGINAL CHARACTERS BELONG TO THEIR DEITY, DENIGODDESS2001. NONE OF MY ORIGINAL CHARACTERS MAY BE USED WITHOUT PERMISSION.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I DON'T BELIEVE IN ACTORFIC. IT INVADES THE PRIVACY OF THE INDIVIDUAL AND IT'S LAZY WRITING. HOWEVER, IN THE FOURTH SEASON OF HERCULES, KEVIN SORBO PORTRAYED HIMSELF IN THE EPISODE "YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A HERCULES."

I HAVE USED THE FICTIONAL PORTRAYAL OF KEVIN SORBO FROM THAT EPISODE AS THE ARCHTYPE FOR THE "KEVYN XORBO" PORTRAYED IN THIS TALE. I HAVE PURPOSELY CHANGED THE SPELLING OF KEVIN'S NAME TO INDICATE THAT THIS IS BASED UPON THAT FICTIONAL REPRESENTATION. THE KEVYN XORBO IN THIS FIC IS INSPIRED BY THE HERCULES PORTRAYAL, BUT THE CONCEPT HAS BEEN CREATIVELY ALTERED TO FIT NICELY INTO THE DENIVERSE.

[BRACKETED WORDS INDICATE PRIVATE THOUGHTS OR PSIONIC TRANSMISSIONS.]

November 7, 2005
The Grounds of the Xavier Institute For Higher Learning
Shortly before sunrise.

To be or not to be. That is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing, end them. To die -- to sleep
No more. And by a sleep to say we end the
Heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation
To be devoutly wished. To die -- to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to dream; ay there's the rub,
For in this sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off our mortal coil
Must give us pause.

-From Shakespeare's Hamlet



Goliath walked with wings solemnly draped about his shoulders. He walked in contemplative silence through the gardens and orchards of the Xavier Institute. He suffered alone with only solitude for company. He looked to the sky and silently wondered if the answers to his questions lay in the alignment of the stars. He felt his granite resolve slowly crumble and pondered the possibility that there was no reprieve from grief. Goliath's heart beat loudly in his chest. He forced himself to face the inner foes that plagued his thoughts.

Goliath allowed himself to finally mourn for Elisa Maza.

He walked until he found a secluded grove mentioned to him by his friend, Hank McCoy. The blue furry scientist had asked his friend if he wished for company and Goliath refused. He needed to be alone to face the pain repressed within him. He needed to face four years of sorrow, anguish and torment. He made his way past several of the monuments that bore tribute to the fallen heroes of a senseless war. Only codenames were given. Tactfully it had been explained by Hank that it gave the victims' family some privacy. It helped the younger student realized that their predecessors fought for their current generation's right for freedom. Sometimes, the only family the deceased had was the X-Men.

Polaris. Colossus. Banshee. Husk. Captain America. Dazzler. The names meant nothing to the lavender leviathan that made his way through the headstones. Only one name defined his entire existence in one breath: Elisa Maza. Goliath felt her presence more than ever since the beginning of this mission. Returning to the Xavier Institute reawakened old feelings and deep-rooted agony from within his soul. For a Gargoyle, there was never such a thing as closure.

Her name was engraved upon a simple monument separate from the others. He watched how the bright beams of moonlight illuminated the simple script carved into the stark white marble of the headstone. Goliath's eyes locked upon that sacred name. A simple rectangle read Elisa Diane Maza. Born November 11, 1968. Died May 28, 2001. Beloved mate, wife, and heroine.

A rush of raw emotion flowed into his memories. Goliath remembered the simple joy of holding her as they flew above New York. He remembered the stunned excitement of their very first kiss after stopping the Hunter. His heart twisted in bittersweet bliss as she consented to being his mate ...his wife. He remembered the times she completed his existence when in his arms. She had been beloved to his heart and sweet mother to their son. So many special moments filled his mind and his senses.

"Elisa..." His voice barely came out more than a harsh whisper. "I need you."

Goliath turned his head away from the monument as if to deny the charge of memories upon his mind. His massive fist clenched tightly. His tortured heart overshadowed the pain of his talons digging deeply into his flesh. He was oblivious to the sanguine that flowed from the punctures caused by those sharp talons deeply imbedded in lavender flesh. Tears welled in onyx eyes and flowed freely down rugged checks in an unabashed tribute to his mate. The gravity of the emotions weighed heavily upon the warrior. He sank to his knees before the gravestone.

Dark wings abruptly snapped and unfurled to their full expanse. Goliath's head reared back as he no longer fought to keep the sadness at bay. A Thunderous roar resounded from his chest as Elisa's name fell from his lips. The strident bellow echoed was heard for several miles. Exhausted and spent, he fell upon the grave set apart from the others. Upon the resting place of Elisa Maza, a broken warrior sobbed as he freely grieved for his mate. His heart fell into a thousand pieces atop her grave.

He laid there until the silver moon became dusky gold in the western horizon. His stomach churned and his throat ached, Goliath wept until his soul felt empty of the desolation that indwelled within him for half a decade. His talons dug eight small trenches in the grassy shroud that covered Elisa's final resting place. Two of his talons caught on something shallowly covered by fallen leaves and dead grass. Goliath carefully clasped his hand around the unseen obstacle. It felt warm against the cool, dry skin of his hand.

He pushed himself into a sitting position atop Elisa's grave. He pulled the unseen object from the tangled grass and brushed off the brambles. It was a small wallet made of brown leather. It was a wallet that sent a scorching awareness through his being. The dark brown wallet became eerily familiar to him. A choked whisper laden with utter incredulity escaped the large giant. "Jalapenia."

Ebony eyes widened in amazement at what he held in his hand. Neither time nor the elements had taken their toll on the wallet. With trembling talons, Goliath slowly opened the front flap of the brown wallet. The identification that met his eyes caused the wallet to fall from his paralyzed limb. Dark of amber and coffee met his. Bronze skin complimented the dark coloring of the woman's straight black tresses. Full lips curved subtly in a smile.

"By the dragon! How can this be?" Came the hoarse reply of the clan leader.

He read the distinct script that identified the subject of the identification.

Elisa D. Maza
Detective 1st Class
Meta Precinct Sapien Task Force
23rd
NYPD

Her first job as head of the MSTF had been attending the Mutant Securities Seminar at the Xavier Institute. Dr. Anton Sevarius and Nathaniel Essex violated the most sacred order of creation and stole Elisa's life from her very cells. They murdered her by taking her very essence from her body. They extracted numerous DNA samples from her and level her cellular integrity compromised and unstable. Goliath had not known what became of her badge for it hadn't been in her personal effects.

The autumn chill around Goliath felt warm and welcoming. The stillness of the night ceased as a gentle gale rustled the fallen leaves settled about the Gargoyle on the ground. A lingering fragrance of jasmine hung in the night air. He thought he almost tasted Elisa's distinctive tang of cinnamon and coffee on his lips as though they had just kissed. For the first time in half a decade, Goliath didn't feel alone in his maddening grief.

"Hello, Big Guy." A calm velvety voice spoke in his ear. "It's been a long time. I've missed you."

Goliath leapt to his feet in a crouched position. He fell to all fours in a defensive stance. Strutted wings of black and lavender flared to their full expanse and his tail twitched in anticipation of his unseen enemy. A low growl rumbled within his broad chest and talons curled ready for battle. The badge fell from his hand to the soft grass beneath him. "Where are you? Show yourself!"

"I can't unless you pick up the badge, Goliath." The soothing voice replied. "You can't see me unless you have the badge in your hand."

He knew that sweet alto as it lilted through the darkness. It sounded faint as though it were across a field and far away from him. He dared to voice his unspoken hopes and fears in one word. "Elisa?"

"Yeah, Big Guy, it's me." Goliath stared at the badge lying only a few inches from his hand. [I surely have lost my mind.]

His heart suspended all rationale as he delved into the realm of the fantastic. Goliath's hand slowly covered the wallet. Carefully, his talons wrapped around the metal and leather. His eyes focused on the four digits of Elisa's badge number. The warmth of the metal pulsed in his palm as he held it. He thought he felt two hands clasping his and he dared to look forward. Dark eyes of gentle affection gazed at him. Those two eyes knew the very recesses of his innermost heart and most secret soul. Two eyes Goliath didn't think he would see until Death claimed him.

She was lucent before him. Moonlight and starlight shimmered through her. Goliath realized that Elisa was much the same in death as in life. He smiled in that knowledge as he saw her garbed in that familiar red leather bomber jacket, black jeans, and work boots. He mentally reminisced the few times she had worn something other than her standard ensemble.

A part of the clan leader longed to believe that the spirit him was indeed the soul of his mate, Elisa. Yet, the warrior within warned him that this might well be a malevolent manifestation masquerading as his wife. Hints of jasmine lingered in the air. He knew that magick often deluded the senses. It was a cruel deception played upon him if that was, indeed, the circumstances. His eyes narrowed in suspicion at the wraith standing before him.

"How do I know that you are as you appear?" The low tone in his voice chilled the ardor brimming within the warrior's heart. "You may well be some demon wishing to torment me. You might well be some Fey or doppelganger sent to retrieve that which would harm this world."

"What proof can I offer?" She shrugged.

"When did we first kiss?" He rose to his feet and stared down at the apparition before him. He folded his arms in a challenging stance that almost screamed Prove me right.

"Our first kiss was the last night of Hunter's moon." The spirit put her hands on her hips in a defiant posture. She leaned forward much the way Elisa often did when she was alive. Goliath realized that familiar attitude. It was a familiar way for his beloved mate to challenge him during a disagreement. "It was right before sunrise. Xanatos had just reinstated you to the castle and I came up to see you."

"What did we talk about?" He felt his resolve weaken and he berated himself for his failing.

"You told me that things had come full circle." She whispered. "I asked you, 'you know how I feel about you, right?' You replied, 'how we both feel, yes.' I remember that moment like it was just a moment ago. I jumped up and wrapped my arms around you and planted one on you. When you turned to stone you had this huge cheese-eating grin on your face."

Elisa had described that moment just like that on many occasions. She never failed to call it a "cheese-eating grin." No one had known about that moment except he and his mate. His pulse raced within his wrists. His blood surged triumphantly in his veins. His heartbeat is ecstatic hopefulness as he reflected on her words. Yet, he had seen Elisa magickally amalgamated by Puck with the dying body of Jaye Morgan, Logan's wife. [Were not the souls of Elisa and Jaye also merged into one gestalt?]

He stared down at the diaphanous hand on his wrist. On the fourth finger was a simple platinum band that embodied the fierce, eternal bond between them. Even in the Shadowlands, Elisa and Goliath's love manifested itself in appearance of that simple argent band. In that one lucid and pristine moment, Goliath's heart decided his fate without letting logic taint the truth.

"Elisa!" He sobbed happily as he watched the ethereal apparition appear before him. "I-I don't understand. How can this be? Are you alive? Have you returned to me, My Love? What-"

"Goliath, I don't have much time." The urgency in her voice cut off Goliath's torrent of questions. "I've been trying to get through to you for months and you haven't heard me. Something or someone kept you from sensing me."

"Adrienne." Came the low reply through gritted teeth. His heart wrenched a thousand times with the saying of that name. Love, pain, betrayal, joy, bitterness, confusion, bliss. It carried all those connotations. Even with Elisa in his presence, his love for Adrienne still burned within his soul.

"Yeah, probably." Elisa's terse expression did nothing to alleviate Goliath's growing dread. "Wren's been my only link to the physical world and she's wearing thin from all the psychic activity."

"She spoke of seeing you in her dreams." He longed to reach out and embrace the phantasm to his chest. "Elisa, you needn't worry! We've recovered the five mutagens. They're in Hank's lab as we speak and ready for further study. He will figure out how to neutralize them and then, they will be destroyed."

"I'm sorry, Big Guy." Dark eyes became shadowed with dismay. "It doesn't work that way. Those mutagens were stolen from the five rivers of Hades. Just because they haven't been unleashed doesn't make them any less dangerous."

"They will not fall into dangerous hands." He vowed diligently to the Love of his life. "I won't let them."

"There are forces at work that I don't understand." Elisa warned him. "All I know is I'm able to warn you. I don't know everything, but I know that those mutagens have to be returned to the five rivers or Hell's literally going to break loose. Hades has been imprisoned in his palace and he's lost control over the domain of Tartarus. If he isn't freed, then all the souls of the dead will find their way to the land of the living. Goliath, they have to be stopped! Some are already out there raising cain! Some of those souls are nasty and want revenge. There's nothing more powerful than souls from the pits of Tartarus wrecking havoc on Earth."

"I don't understand how these mutagens will perpetuate their coming." Goliath shrugged helplessly.

"Separately, they cause plagues of catastrophic proportion. If those mutagens are combined, not only will they contaminate the world's water, air, and land: they will cause several apertures to establish themselves. There are those in Tartarus that want vengeance on the world for their imprisonment. Goliath, this can't be allowed to happen."

"Chasms allowing the fury of damnation loose upon the planet?" He sighed heavily. He felt his heart plummet and shatter like fine china. [So much for a joyous reunion.] "What must I do?"

"You have to return the five mutagens to their proper origins in the underworld. Hades' soul has been imprisoned in his palace and he's chained in the dungeon and guarded by Tiamet. You have to free him so that he can stop the flow of souls from going through the apertures and finding their way to the land of the living."

"Who's behind all of this?" Goliath growled. His tail lashed in trepidation as her request took on mythical proportions.

"I know it was a Mutant named Mystique who entered the underworld and collected the samples." Elisa's clenched fist pounded into her palm. "We don't know exactly who's the mastermind behind it all. We thought it was Ares, but he swore by the river Styx he had no knowledge or involvement in this disaster."

"You spoke with the god of War?" Goliath asked in astonishment. He remembered Demetrius' descriptive recounts of his encounters with Ares. He was a force of great power and treacherous nature. "So, his oath exonerates him from wrongdoing?"

"Yeah, it does." Elisa stuck her hands in the pockets of her coat. "When I first got on this case, he was the first god I interrogated. When a Greek god swears by the river Styx, they can't lie or they'll be destroyed. The powers of the universe see to that."

"Where are you, Elisa?" Goliath watched in alarm as the vision of his wife diminished and rematerialized before. "What's happening?"

"I'm caught here between here and the Elysian Fields." She pointed to the looming golden orb hanging low in the west. "When the sun rises, I have to return to the Fields. When the moon's high, Big Guy, I can be here with you."

"What must I do to have you with me always?" He beseeched her fading form. "I will gladly return these mutagens to Hell if only you will be by my side once more."

"Keep my badge with you. It's my connection to you." She looked down at the shield in his hand. She attempted to cover his large hand with her wraithlike one. "If it's destroyed, I lose my ability to visit you, Goliath."

"No harm will come to it, My Love." His vehement response started the phantom of his late wife.

"I know." She smiled sadly. The first rays of the morning peaked through the trees. "I love you, Goliath."

"And I love you, Elisa." He murmured. His next words were a brazen entreaty. "Come to me this evening. I wish to be with you again."

"I will. You have my number." She grinned and eyed the badge. She watched him kneel on one knee atop her grave. One forearm rested across his sleek, muscular thigh. His other arm was a strong column that supported his chin. Gabardine chiropteran wings unfurled their entire wingspan. Gridelin flesh transmuted into grisaille granite. Elisa felt a guilty pleasure as she watched her Gargoyle assume his classic "thinker' pose.

A melancholy grin crossed her features as she vanished from the grove when the first bright rays bathed her in their light.



The gold and rose sunset fell below the western horizon, deep fractures spread throughout the gray stone of the winged statue. Light escaped from beneath the fissures and shot beams of brilliant light in the growing twilight. A roar emanated from the icon as fragments exploded forth that landed in a shower around Elisa's grave. Goliath rose to his feet and stretched as he found freedom from his stone shroud.

He immediately looked at the badge and wallet still in his hand. He didn't know how to summon his Beloved. [Do I rub it as Aladdin did with his lamp to bring forth the Genie?]

Uncertain of how to proceed, he studied the badge in the dimming light. Finally, he took the most direct course of action. He held it tightly in his hand. He called out to the night in a reverent whisper. "Elisa?"

"Yeah, I'm here, Goliath." Came the sweet reply he longed for so desperately. "Rise and shine, Big Guy."

He turned to see a shimmering form standing only a few feet from him. He studied Elisa carefully. She seemed more vivid and vibrant. The colors of her clothing seemed brighter. Her formed appeared almost corporeal. He long to reach out and touch her just once. Longing drove him to extend his hand. He wanted to feel her warmth in his arms and her dark smooth tresses falling through his talons. Yet, his hand passed through her as though she were nothing more than a gust of air.

His dull roar of anguish and frustration resounded from the grove to the mansion. A clenched fist came crashing down on the alabaster marble of the monument. "It's torture to see you and not be able to touch you."

"At least we can be together like this." He thought he saw the glimmer of unshed tears in her eyes. "It tears me apart Goliath that I can't touch you. I can't feel you."

"That will change, My Love."

"We'll see." [Can't reverse death, Goliath.] Sadness filled Elisa's thoughts.

"We need to tell the others of this latest development." Goliath turned to face his mate. "We don't have the luxury of time."

"You're right. Let's move."



Within the hour, a meeting was called and convened in the sub-levels of the Institute. Several people sat around the conference table in the War Room. Goliath observed that he felt oddly comfortable with this uncanny group of X-Men. He saw Professor Xavier speaking quietly with Jean Gray-Summers. Demona sat stoically with a very cross expression upon her face. Wren and Demetrius sat next to one another staring at one another without speaking. Goliath realized the duo was engaged in telepathic tête-à-tête. Xanatos returned also to the Institute when Xavier notified him that there had been a significant development in the Hades Wave situation.

"And you can see Elisa Maza at this moment?" Professor Xavier question Goliath. The lavender Gargoyle studied the man that posed the query. He was an imposing figure of regal and distinguished carriage. Though wheelchair-bound, the man was an icon of strength and leadership to the clan leader. He appeared relatively harmless: he was a bald man dressed conservatively in suit and tie. Yet, his wisdom and ardent ideals captured unfathomable respect from Goliath.

"She is standing beside me."

"Wren, can you see her?" The Professor asked the young woman with dark russet hair and gold-rimmed spectacles.

"No, I can only see her when I'm asleep." She replied wistfully.

"Jean?"

"I'm sensing something telepathically." Jean turned in the direction of Goliath. "I perceive feelings of worry and anxiety. There are also feelings of love and loyalty coming strongly from Goliath's area."

"Are you seeing anything astrally?"

"No, Professor, I'm not.'

"Elisa says that she's not strong enough to project herself that much her in the physical world." Goliath explained. "Only I can see her until she gathers more strength."

"How can she do that?" Wren asked.

"She isn't sure." His shoulders slumped. "She fades from this world with the rising of the sun."

"Demona, what about that travel-sized spell book of yours? Couldn't you zap Elisa into this world?"

Eyes glowed crimson at the question. A snarl escaped the dame at the sheer audacity of the question. "I am a sorceress, not a necromancer."

"If I remember correctly," David drawled. "You didn't think that when we created Coldstone."

"That was a different place and a different time." She growled. "I find it ironic how quickly you are willing for me to exploit my magick when you have such a need of it."

"This is different, Demona." Goliath spoke forcefully to the Dame sitting across from him. "We need Elisa here so that we have her guidance in this matter. This is not for personal gain."

"You merely want here, Goliath, so that you can be reunited with the Human." Her acrid sneer caused Onyx eyes to brighten with argent brilliance. A low reboation filled the room at her derisive remark. "I think your loincloth governs your actions more so than your logic."

"Ahem." The Professor cleared his throat. Two Gargoyles glared at one another ready for combat. "Ladies and Gentlemen, Dames and Sires, let's attend to the matter at hand."

Goliath gave Demona one growl of warning and reluctantly returned his attention to the X-Men's leader. "Elisa has told me that the mutagens must be returned to their place of origin in Hades. Souls from the pits of Tartarus are making their way to the physical world as we speak. If the mutagens are not returned, chasms and apertures will appear and the souls will flow into this world unchecked."

"Demons?" Jean asked.

Goliath turned and looked at the blank space beside him. "Yes, Jean. Elisa is positive demonic creatures and malevolent spirits will enter this world if the mutagens aren't returned immediately."

"Great...Salem Center meets Sunnydale." Xanatos quipped. "Where's a Slayer when you need one?"

"If we need Elisa's guidance, then why not simply have her indwell one of us?" Wren asked.

"Indwell?" Jean asked.

"That's politically correct language for possession." Xanatos turned to Wren. "I knew there was something I liked about you. That is rather Machiavellian of you."

"Not really." She disagreed. "Elisa will be able to communicate with us much more clearly if she has a body to indwell."

"Elisa wishes to know how it is done." Goliath leaned forward. His baritone carried the hint of renewed optimism.

"How would this Young One know of this? Why would you want to do something like that?" Demona slammed her palm on the table. "We don't need Elisa Maza to tell us what to do."

"I'd tell you to go to Hell if you knew how to get us there." Wren retorted with acrid vehemence. "Until you can think of a better solution, SHUT UP."

Demona snarled and rose from her seat. Her wings flared and almost knocked Jean out of her seat. Her eyes gleamed crimson with rage and fury. "You need to respect the wisdom of your elders, Wren Summers."

"I'd like you to validate that statement. I'm looking forward to that opportunity." The Nightkind rose to face the challenged posed to her by the azure Gargoyle. Hazel eyes glowed amber and jade. Ten slender talons curled anticipating an attack. Her prehensile tale curled ready around her Annulus. "If you can."

"Wren, cease and desist." Demetrius' Scotish lilt cut through the tension between the two females. "To me."

"No."

"Milady, I beseech you to rethink this course of action." He placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. "She has proven herself to be a valuable ally in this cause. We shall divide from within if conflicts persist."

"Demona, there's too much at stake for this to continue." David looked at his watch. "We don't have much time. I'll vouch for her. She knows enough about magick and the metaphysical to be trusted. She been an employee of mine for three years and she's worked extensively with Owens for me on projects of this nature. Please, sit down and let's listen to what she has to say."

"You don't know what you're dealing with, Young One. What you suggest is dangerous for both Elisa Maza and her host." The scarlet gleam diminished from the Dame's eyes as she retook her seat.

Wren breathed a subtle sigh of relief and took her place beside Demetrius. "I know this. I can't disagree. But, it would allow easier communication. It would also allow for immediate action on Elisa's part. It would also keep her with us during the day. We need every advantage to accomplish our mission."

"Agreed."

"We need to form a team to descend into Hades with the five mutagens." Professor Xavier brought the group back to their original focus. "We return each of the mutagens to their proper river of origin. Do we open the canisters and simply pour the contents into the river?"

"Elisa doesn't know." Goliath shook his head. "She says that she only remembers bits and pieces."

"We must also free the god of the underworld, Hades, correct?"

"Yes, Professor. He is imprisioned in his palace in Erebus. By what force he isn't certain, but the imprisonment has robbed him of control of his domain. Even as a soul in the underworld, he still is able to be an able administrator via his wife Persephone. Yet, without his powers, he's vulnerable to attack and she is unable to protect him."

"First things first, we need to find a suitable ...er...host for Elisa." Professor Xavier studied each at the table in turn.

"Elisa would prefer the host to be female, but it isn't an absolute requirement." Goliath offered.

"Wren?" The Professor cocked a brow.

"I'm not a suitable candidate." Wren held her hands off to ward off his suggestion. "My psyche isn't strong enough to maintain my individuality."

"Agreed." The Professor nodded. "However, that seems to be changing."

"Thank you." She spoke softly. "I appreciate your faith in me."

"Jean, you would prove a suitable host."

"I need my full attention focused on my abilities if I'm to be a part of this team. My concentration and potency of my powers would be compromised." The redhead explained.

"That leaves-"

"No!" Demona screeched. "Don't even suggest it. I will not submit to the will of that Human. I will not let her defile my body with her presence."

"Demona is the most suitable candidate." Wren drawled. "You have a natural immunity to empathic suggestion because of your Gargoyle nature. You're Human by day and Gargoyle by night, so Elisa could be with us 24/7. It's not as though it'd be permanent. And look at the bright side, you two could bury the hatchet and learn to get along."

"She'd like to bury the hatchet in my back."

"Elisa thinks that it's a wise choice." Goliath tried his best to hide his mirth at the absurdity of the situation.

"Why should I do this for the woman that stole you away from me?" The Dame shrieked. "You and I should have remained mates. Instead, you deserted me and pledged your loyalty to her. Even now, you are still in the grave lying with her."

Goliath looked away from the ugly truth of Demona's pain. "A thousand years changed us both too much to be what we once were to one another. I hope that someday that we can find our way to friendship. I long for you to rejoin the clan."

"You ask too much!" Demona's eyes gleamed with unshed tears. "You ask for my repentance for past deeds and I gave it in exchange for a truce and forgiveness. Have I not suffered enough for what I've done? Must I endure further humiliation?"

"You said I trusted you once." Goliath reminded her of the words she spoke atop Castle Wyvern shortly after his reawakening. "You said that I loved you once; both are true. I trust you now. I know what we ask is much. Elisa is no more eager of this gestalt than you, Demona. Yet, we need clear, concise communication to succeed. For the love of clan and the world we share, I don't ask this for your humiliation. I ask this because I know you to be one of my best and strongest warriors."

"Will this be my proof of allegiance for my reinstatement of the clan?" She sniffed and wiped her nose with a tissue.

"You have rejoined the clan long ago." Goliath said gently. There was a tender note to his voice. "It simply was for you to take your place amongst us."

The silence fell between them. Green eyes met onyx. There was no hatred or rage ebbing between the two. Something else connected them that had existed for a millennium. It was a bond far more basic than that of former lovers and one-time mates. It was a tie of clan that transcended all the pain they had known. Goliath held his lavender hand out to the azure dame in silent invitation and entreaty.

In a voice barely above the faintest of whispers came her reply. "I'll do it."

He nodded a silent thank-you. He turned to the young woman near him. "Wren, do you know how Elisa should proceed."

"Yes and no." Wren slowly answered. "Elisa must occupy the same space as Demona. Demona has to be receptive of the foreign presence. Elisa then just takes up residence. There are spells for it, but I don't know them. I don't cast them."

"Your luckmagick would make the transition easier." Demona told the young woman. "It has aided me once."

"True."

"Times passes. Let it be done." The Dame replied tersely. "Elisa Maza, do what you must."

"Jean, I want you to monitor Demona's mind. If she's receptive, then her resistances will be lowered. Use your telepathy to open her mind to the indwelling. " The Professor directed the telepath. "Demetrius, monitor her emotional condition. Your empathic abilities will calm her and make her more amenable to Elisa's presence."

Once again the War Room came silent as the group watched Demona. She calmly draped her wings about her shoulders She sat into the chair and inhaled deeply. Her breathing gradually slowly until each breath was deep and steady. Green eyes slowly drifted closed. Demona sat in peaceful repose. Jean and Demetrius both signaled that Demona was ready for the transference of Elisa's essence+ into her body. Wren placed her hands carefully on Demona's shoulders.

Instinct told Wren that she should say something to make her luckmagick focused on the complicated and delicate endeavor. [My probability manipulation doesn't work like this. It only improves the odds and it does in unpredictable ways. How can I make it work so that it does EXACTLY as I want it?]

"Demona, this body you no longer control
Make room for the presence of another soul
This body with Elisa Maza you shall share
Remain silent, always cognizant and aware.
Indwell now with ease within this Vessel Gargoyle
Inhabit, wandering wraith, within this immortal coil."

A verdant aura radiated from Wren's hands and surrounded Demona's body in a translucent sheath of light and energy. She remained still for what seemed infinity. Everyone watched anxiously for some change. Then, she abruptly sat upright. Her eyes popped open. Surprise and shock were evident on the Dame's face. There was an audible collective gasp as everyone watched Demona's bright green eyes darken to a dark shade of coffee.

The Dame nodded once to Wren. Wren was at a loss for words or deed. She simply removed her hands from her shoulders. She cast an uncertain glance at Goliath. He leaned forward and stared intently in the deep brown eyes that didn't belong to Demona. One curved talon raised her chin so that her eyes met his. "Elisa?"

"Hi, Big Guy." An easy smile came across her face.

"Is it truly you?" He dared voice his fondest dream.

"In the flesh...er..." The Dame chuckled nervously. "So to speak."

"What of Demona?"

"She's here and she can hear everything."

"Who's in control?" Wren asked.

"Actually, it's strange, but we both are." Elisa reassured her. "We're getting used to the cramped living quarters."

"It is a success." Jean confirmed. "I am detecting two distinct personalities with Elisa's being the dominant one."

"Excellent." The Professor smiled. "The next step is to assemble a team to descend into Hades."

"Elisa, do you know how to get there?" Jean asked.

"I only know my way around there."

"Then, how do we find our way there?"

Wren gave a knowing smile. She remembered a former employer located at the Linoma Bluffs Museum. "Uh, guys. I don't think that's going to be a problem."

"What do you mean?" Goliath cocked one brow ridge.

"Professor Kevyn Xorbo: founder and administrator of the Linoma Bluffs Museum of Ancient History." Wren rummaged through the contents of her purse for her cell phone. "It helps to have friends in really high places."

"How can a Professor know of such things?"

"I worked for him earlier this year and he's just the person I need to talk to about this very thing. If anyone can open the gates of hell, it's him."

Elisa cocked her head in bewilderment. Wren needed to explain. "Professor Xorbo isn't just any ordinary professor. Suffice it for me to say that, he's more than what he appears and let's just leave it at that. I'll be back." She spoke the last sentence in her best Austrian accent. It was a bearable rendition of the Terminator.

Goliath studied the bemusing beauty sitting near him. He remembered the svelte curves of the Dame's body in his arms. Yet, the eyes watching him expressed the passions of his late human mate. The voice carried the melodic tones of Demona, yet carried the unique New York flavor of Elisa Maza. He sat dumbfounded unprepared for the double assault that this creature's body and souls had upon his senses. He knew not whether to call her Angel of the Night or My Elisa.

As the group discussed exactly who would be on the team to return the mutagens to Hades, Goliath felt as though his tail had been twisted in knots.

TO BE CONTINUED