"Tomorrow we leave at 0600. Kurt, you'll be piloting the Blackbird, correct?"

"Ya, mein commandant." Kurt answered promptly with a mockingly crisp salute. "I live to serve."

"Wonderful. Goliath, remember to have new batteries for your inhibiter collar. We don't want you turning to stone down there."

"Agreed." He nodded curtly.

"Demetrius and Wren, you'll be in charge of the mutagens. Be careful with them."

"We will." Wren promised and crossed her heart.

"Demona/ Elisa, you'll be our resident sorceress and tour guide down in Hades. Make sure you have your spellbook with you." Xena turned her attention to the blue Gargoyle at the end of the table playing footsie with Hank. Xena sent a murderous glance that chimed the clear, but unspoken message 'Quit fucking around.'

Demona pursed her lips, shrugged and did her best to look innocent.

"It will be done." Her voice sounded like that of a little girl. It was a derisive mockery of the Road Warrior Princess.

"As for me? I'm your bodyguard and strong arm on this mission. I've been there and I've done that. This is a dangerous mission. I don't have room for cowards, quitters, or comedians on my team. The world is depending on us to circumvent a catastrophe and I'm counting on you. Are you with me?" Xena sounded half drill-sergeant and half-cheerleader.

Saga: The Hades Wave Seven
Episode: Hanging By A Moment
Rating: PG (still in the works)
Genre: Supernatural/ Sci-fi/ Fantasy/ Crossover (X-Men/ Xena/ Gargoyles)
Characters: Kurt Wagner-Darkholme (Nightcrawler), Elisa Maza, Demona/Dominique, Goliath, Wren Summers-Nightkind (Moirai), Demetrius Nightkind, Xena; Warrior Princess
Time: 0600 hours November 9, 2005
Location: Aboard the X-Men's Lockheed Jet, "Blackbird", somewhere over Northern Macedonia
[Bracketed words indicate thoughts or psionic communication]

"Do not worry. Do not wait or look for this catastrophe. Live in the moment. Attend the petty jealousies and angers that prey upon your heart. Fortify yourself with love and trust, and you need not fear this future. But most of all, fulfill the vows of love you make, for they can surely save you."

-Goliath, "Vows"

"Freulein, flying is easy as breathing." The ebony-furred mutant known as Nightcrawler non-chalantly informed one very frightened, stiff mutant named Wren.

"That's easy for you to say." She growled through clenched teeth. "Been there, done that, used the vomit bag above my seat."

"Ach! You worry too much." He turned to face the young woman sitting beside him in the co-pilot's seat.

"I'm going back where I belong....somewhere where I don't have to see blue skies in front of me."

Wren felt the churning in her stomach demand immediate release. A Gloved hand clamped over her mouth as she hurriedly made her way to the restroom. Her breakfast and all her courage made its way into the porcelain savior as wave after wave of nausea wracked her body. [I'm supposed to be an X-Man. Some see me as a Child of Oberon. I have the ability to translate languages at will and change the course of luck. And here I am getting airsick. Can't have everything.}

Demona/ Elisa turned to her beloved sitting next to her. His tail flicked anxiously as Kurt piloted them above the air turbulence. "Does she always get like this when she flies?"

"Of that I am not sure." Goliath avoided looking out the window beside his seat. He took Elisa's small hand in his. He smiled tenderly at the brown eyes that revealed her innermost soul. Yet, his body strangely responded to the ravishing redhead sitting next to him. It confounded his senses to feel Elisa's spirit and see Demona's presence. It also induced a furious urge within Goliath to soar with this perplexing female in the skies in mating flight.

He saw the bright, shining rays of sunlight dance upon cerulean skin. He watched as the rising sun cause the metamorphosis that made a Gargoyle into a Human being. Demona's eyes shown brown when Elisa retained control over the body. He looked away as skin brightened from blue to bronze. Four talons became five fingers. It was pain beyond imagining knowing that his Beloved Elisa dwelled within his Angel of the Night. The strange convolution tortured his thoughts and tempted his body. Shame and devotion battled one another for supremacy inside the brooding clan leader.

"Good morning, Big Guy." A quiet alto spoke softly in his ear. He felt the chaste kiss of warm lips upon his cheek. "I never thought that we'd get to share another sunrise."

He looked away to keep secret the anguish that besieged him. Goliath closed his eyes and decreed silently that tears not fall in his Beloved's presence. The yen to roar in frustration taunted him to lose all restraint. Four talons clenched tightly into lavender skin. Warm scarlet droplets of his life-force formed in his hand.

"Goliath, what's wrong?" Demona/ Elisa laid a hand on his shoulder. Another hand slowly turned his gaze to meet hers. Closed eyes met her. Scalding tears fell upon lavender cheeks. His beloved felt the moist warmth on her fingers as she wiped each away. "Oh, Goliath. Don't cry. I can't take it....please."

"Elisa.." His baritone came out a hushed, broken whisper. "What shall become of you when we return to the Underworld? You can not stay inside Demona. Death has taken you once from me. I ache for you to remain with me. Life is dull and empty without you by my side. What cruel fate will separate us twice?"

"Goliath, I wish that I had the perfect words to take away your pain." Demona/ Elisa pressed a kiss against his injured palm. "Do you remember when you, Fox and Xanatos traveled back in time with the Phoenix Gate?"

"How can I not?" His head raised back in surprise. "But how do you know of this?"

"Demona and I have had a lot of time to get to know each other." She chuckled. "For some reason, you spoke some very powerful words to her. They've stuck with her all these years. I know she can't talk, but she wants me to repeat them to you. She thinks that you might find solace in them. A long time ago, they did the same for her. She says, 'Do not worry. Do not wait or look for this catastrophe. Live in the moment. Attend the petty jealousies and angers that prey upon your heart. Fortify yourself with love and trust, and you need not fear this future. But most of all, fulfill the vows of love you make, for they can surely save you.'

"I remember." It had been so long, another time and place that touched his heart. Brown eyes met his. He drew Demona/ Elisa to his chest. He inhaled the scent of Highland heather and jasmine as they mingled. In his arms were the best and both of two worlds: his Angel of the night and his Beloved Elisa.

"We've been through worse, Goliath." Demona/ Elisa reassured him. "I'm just happy that we've had this time together. I've treasured every moment. If I had to do it all again, I would in a heartbeat. And if I have to spend the rest of eternity in Elysium, then at least I the memories of these days with me."

"I do not want to lose you again."

"Goliath, I'm already here on borrowed time."

Kurt invoked V.T.O.L (vertical take off landing) and set the plane down gently on a plateau near Mount Kel. "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your pilot, Nightcrawler, speaking. Please fasten your seatbelt and make certain that all your belongings are under your seats. Thank you for flying X-Men Airlines."

"Everybody's a comedian." Xena muttered.

Wren found her way to her seat. She adjusted the dark brown scarf draped around her head and shoulders. She wrapped the sepia cloak around her. While it wasn't the bright spandex donned by the others, the mantle allowed her protection from heat, cold and most energy attacks. At one side hung the Annulus that became the extension of her will. For the first time in almost four years, she donned her old X-Men regalia.

It didn't make her braver or more courageous. It only reminded her of past failures and future aspirations. She knew the mutagens needed to be returned to their Underworld sources. Wren trembled as she realized that five deadly mutagens held the ability to bring about the Apocalypse.

"All right, people, listen up." Xena bellowed over the roar of the jet engines. An avalanche covers the Tomb of the Scrolls. Demetrius and Goliath, you're with me to remove those rocks. Kurt, I want you and ...Elisa to scout the area for an alternative entrance. Wren, I want you to do your conjuration and give us some good luck."

"Should I go with the others?" She asked.

"No, I need you close by in case we need some good fortune."

"Oh." Disappointment filled Wren. She knew that Xena thought her inept as both warrior and resource because of her airsickness. Wren wanted to protest but thought better of it. There was a time and place for dissidence. [This isn't it.]

The party ascended from the jet and made their way up the craggy mountainside. Wren's stomach fluttered as she new they approached the hidden entrance to the Tomb Of The Scrolls. The land around the party was craggy and barren with only a few shrubs and mountain goats for company. Wren felt an itching in her palms and a mild burning. She looked down and saw that her hands were glowing. Perplexed she held her palm before her eyes and watched as the emerald aura about her hand grew brighter.

"Guys....I think you should come over here." She called quickly to the others. Xena was the first to be by the mutant's side.

"What's going on, Wren?"

"My hand is glowing of it's own accord." Wren held out her palm to Xena. "My powers don't just activate on their own...that's not the way they work. But, I'm getting the strongest feeling that we're close; very close."

The Warrior Princess stared down at the young woman that barely came to her nose. Ice blue eyes hid a smirk as they contemplated the scene before them. Wren cared little for the silent scrutiny being imposed upon her by her hero. "All right, people. Let's start here. Wren has a lead and let's see if she's right."

Demetrius and Goliath took on the task of removing many of the large boulders. Even in human form, Demetrius' strength nearly rivaled Goliath's. Wren watched the two worked side by side in the morning sun divesting the immediate area of the granite debris. Wren observed the twosome as they worked as one fluid unit. Envy rose within Wren's heart as the ancient camaraderie between the two rookery brothers tinted the air.

[What was it like to live back in Scotland in 994? I've heard the tales. What was it like for Demetrius to be one of Goliath's lieutenants and guard the castle? What must it have been like for him? To live in such a glorious time in history....lucky him.]

[Milady, envy me not, I beseech you.] A faint Scottish lilt filled her mind. She saw Demetrius working diligently alongside Goliath. His eyes met with hers briefly, but the thoughts flowed freely between them. He continued the breakneck of rock removal as he let his thoughts flow across their empathic link. [I had the love and solidarity of my clan, yet neither had I name nor purpose. I felt adrift in a world that did not accept me. Humans stared at our kind and thought us beast. Many gazed upon me, Lass, and thought me a demon because of my dark skin and batlike wings.]

[It couldn't have been all-bad.] She berated herself for forgetting the sinister aspects of Demetrius' time. Princess Katherine considered the clan little more that talking brutes barely worthy of acknowledgement. The village folk that dwelled within Wyvern's walls feared the clan. She remembered the horrid tales of how Goliath had returned to the castle after Sunset in 994 and found the clan pulverized into rubble.

An eruption of dust erupted beneath Wren's feet. The deafening roar of an avalanche echoed above the group as they saw a massive landslide of mud and granite cascading down the hill. She felt the mountainside tremble beneath her feet. Goliath grabbed Elisa and leapt from the mountainside. Xena let forth her war cry and moved Demetrius out of harm's way. Hazel eyes locked with lavender as the rock gave way and Wren found herself falling.

Rocks showered around her hitting her hands and stunning her senseless. She screamed Demetrius' name and no answer came. She fell with a sickening thud upon a ledge beneath her. How long she lay stunned and beaten she wasn't certain. She stared upwards and saw the sun shining through the opening above. [That must be at least a forty-foot drop I just experienced. My body feels like I've been thrown around too many times in the gym.]

Wren cautiously sat upright. Her head spun from the sudden head rush. She checked her limbs for breaks and injuries. She checked her ribs and found nothing to be broken. It hurt to breathe and it hurt to move. [No broken bones, just a battered body.]

"Wren, are you all right?" Xena's voice carried through the cavern.

"Fine, no broken bones!"

"We're sending Nightcrawler down to teleport you out of there."

Wren felt a shuddering beneath her. She saw that the conjuncture of the ledge and the cavern wall were cracking. "Don't do that. The ledge is giving way. It won't support the weight of two people whatsoever. I'm going to have to find another way out of here."

"We'll throw you a rope."

"I'm hurting too much and I don't have the upper body strength." She called back to the Warrior Princess. "The ledges is going to give away any second."

She felt the small precipice lean beneath her wake. [Man, if it were sundown, I'd just climb out of here.]

"Goliath is on his way. He's coming down to get you."

[It's the only alternative.]

The ledge fell toward the wall. Wren's scream of terror echoed hauntingly through the large cavern. She managed to grab on to two sturdy stalagmites. She knew that she'd fall into the dark abyss long before the clan leader would rescue her. "Tell him to go back. He won't make it in time."

She heard Demetrius cursing in Gaelic. She heard the tenseness in Xena's strong alto voice. [Is this how I'm going to die?]

She brushed against the stone cavern wall as she scrambled desperately for a foothold. She heard the clink of metal against stone. A stalagmite had caught on her Annulus. [Holy Guacamole! All I have to do is use my Annulus and I'll just go to another place in time. I'll be fine!! Duh!]

Then she realized she have to let loose one of the stalagmites to grip the Annulus. Wren didn't know how far she was from the cavern floor. [Going splat verses time travel? Easy pick. I'll take my chances.]

She heard the crumbling of rock as the ledge broke away from the cavern wall. She looked upwards. "I love you, Demetrius."

"WREN!" Came the bellowing howl as she felt herself plummet into the blackness.

Her hand went on her Annulus and she recited the Latin phrase she'd first seen engraved upon the weapon. Her lips moved faster than she thought humanly possible.

"Aperito adjunio regnum umbra
orbis lamnia voto foris mei manus
Per solvo navitas magus
Patefacio ostium per temporis." (See translation at the bottom)

Wren felt the ancient aura surround her being as it had times before that moment. She knew that the incantation was long and the process slow for the doorway to open. She hoped that she'd be taken away from the catastrophe long before she made a rather large dent in the cavern floor. It seemed that her descent slowed to a gentle fall and that the desperate cries of her comrades above her grew silent.

Wren's mind became lost in a swirl of color as her hazel eyes locked with the liquid lavender gaze of her betrothed. The sounds of the Macedonian wind faded away into nothingness. Replaced by it were the sounds of horse hooves upon cobblestones and the loud mulling of people. Wren looked around to find the scene of Mount Kel gone and instead found herself in Castle Wyvern. Gone was the flawless landscaping put in by David Xanatos. Instead, the smells of manure, boiling laundry, horse sweat and fresh baking bread met her nostrils.

Wren's hand immediately drew her cloak about her and her traveled to the Annulus hanging on her sash. She glanced down and saw that the verdant stones were glowing with a faint luminescence. Trepidation welled within her. The smells and sounds were far too vibrant to be the result of a mental vision into her lover's memories.

"Oh, no." She whispered aloud. Wren returned her gaze to the glowing Annulus. [By engaging in the link, we've activated the time travel properties of the Annulus.] "Where am I, or better yet, WHEN am I?"

She looked around and found livestock mulling around freely in the courtyard. People dressed in dowdy, dirty clothing milled about conducting business and trade. Strange language met her ears and she recognized some of it to be Gaelic. Other dialects she thought she recognized as an Anglo-Saxon dialect of Early English. She walked through the peasants and various soldiers. She cast her eyes upon the late afternoon sun.

[The last place on my mind was Castle Wyvern in Demetrius' time. I guess that's where the Annulus took me. Oh, great. Well, while I'm here, I might as well take in the scenery. I'll leave in a few minutes and no one will be the wiser. I want to see what the Gargoyles looked like back then...or is it back when?]

Wren prayed that the cloak hid the halo surrounding the Annulus of Avalon. She hoped no one noticed her as she made her way through the main dining hall to the tower stares. Most seemed to ignore her and for that she was thankful. She found the thick wood door that led to the tower stairs. With stealth, Wren eyed both ways in the dining hall and found no one watching her. She carefully opened the door and quickly moved inside to the stairwell. She quietly shut the door and cringed when a loud squeak escaped the iron hinges.

She noticed that the stone stairs were far less worn. The edges of each stair were sharper and without cracks, fissures or chips. She skipped two stairs at a time as she sprinted towards the highest tower. It didn't take her long to make her way to the top. She looked behind her and saw that no one followed. Wren cautiously opened the door that led to the parapets.

She stepped outside and felt in awe of the sight before her. She saw guards walking their patrols. She also saw several dozen statues lining the parapet walls. She decided that she wanted a better look but didn't wish to have a confrontation with the guards.

"You, there!" A guard bellowed and startled Wren. "Nobody but the guards is supposed to be up here."

Wren froze as watched the burly guard point a spear at her chest. [Where did he come from? Oh, cripes! Now, what do I do?]

Wren felt the sharpness of the spear point against her sensitive flesh. Wren removed her hood and shook her tresses free with more bravado than she felt. She gave to the guard what she hoped was a haughtily air of disdain. She knocked the spearhead aside from her chest and cleared her throat.

"Ach! Ye Blackguard, what do ye think ye're doin' pointin' that weapon at me?" She retorted in her best imitation of Demetrius' thick Scottish Highland Brogue. "Ye must be touched in the head or havin' a death wish for threatenin' a lady of noble blood."

"And who might you be?" He sneered.

Wren stepped forward and poked the guard solidly in the chest. She couldn't resist a subtle grin of satisfaction as he stumbled and looked rather taken aback. "I am Lady Wren of Castle Heathmoore and cousin to Princess Katherine. How dare ye be doubtin' my word as a lady, Sirrah. I ought to see my cousin shackle thee in chains or throw ye in the dungeon!"

"M'lady, I apologize!" He bowed deeply before her. "I'm new at my post. I beg you not to do so. I have a wife and six children to feed. I was only trying to do my job."

"Leave me to walk the parapets and I shall speak nothing of this." She laid a hand on his shoulder. "I hear that ye have statues of Gargoyles here, I'd like to see them."

"Filthy beasts!" The guard sputtered. "Why'd you want to look at them?"

"Because I can." She drawled. She quirked an eyebrow as she studied the guard. "Now, go!"

"Yes, M'Lady." He bowed and quickly left her alone.

Wren strolled along the parapets and studied each statue. Each assumed a different pose. She recognized a young Atalanta with her smith's hammer in hand. She smiled when she saw Lexington with wings outstretched. The stone effigy of Goliath's mother, Veda, seemed peaceful and serene as she knelt in prayer to the west. Hudson was posed beside the clan matriarch with sword in hand. [No doubt crafted for him by Atalanta.]

There were several Gargoyle statues in succession that Wren didn't recognize. A few beyond Atalanta caught Wren's curious eye. She walked forward to better examine the stone warriors. Beside Atalanta was a stone effigy of a Gargoyle unknown to Wren. He had curling ram's horns and, unlike most Gargoyles, he wore a goatee. His hair came back in thick, curly ringlets. In one hand he held a staff crowned by a miniature Annulus of Avalon. Within it's center was stone gem. Wren noticed that the creature at the Sire's side wasn't a gargbeast; it was a stone wolf.

[How strange. Normal animals don't turn to stone. I don't remember ever seeing this one in all of the gargoyles I tutored.]

The one standing next to him was much larger in size. His physique and stature rivaled Goliath's. Instead of wearing a kilt or loincloth, that particular Gargoyle wore breeches. Wren studied him and found the design of a Dragon seemingly engraved upon his chest. An audible cry of amazement escaped her when she looked down and noticed that he had no tail! The other thing that stole her voice was the fact that the same Gargoyle had Human feet. She studied the one next to him and found that that the one with the wolf also had human feet and no tail.

"What in the Hell?" She shook her head in disbelief. "What are these creatures?"

She saw a very human-looking statue standing next to the big rock behemoth. Wren studied the next icon and found it to be female. She possessed ram's horns like the other statue, but Wren noticed five digits on each hand and human feet. The Garb appeared different than the others. The neckpiece around her throat appeared like a breastplate often worn by those in the Middle East.

[These aren't like any Gargoyles I've ever seen.] She made a mental note to ask Demetrius about them at her first opportunity. They looked human....and Gargoyle...yet not.

Wren saw others that she knew well; Angus, Brooklyn, Demona and then she stopped abruptly. She knew Goliath normally perched alone atop the highest tower of Wyvern, yet here he rested in his classic Rodin "thinker" pose. She found that odd because he told her once that Clan leaders perched highest so that they were the first to spot trouble. It was the Gargoyle Way.

There was Demona on his right. The Gargoyle on his left stole Wren's breath from her body. With ornate Celtic bracers and shin guards, a kilt, finely wrought armbands and a torc about his neck, a warrior stood with scimitar in hand. He looked every inch the fierce proud granite icon that stole her heart. He was in a defensive crouch with wings unfurled to their full length. His fangs bore to the world. Wren's hand covered her mouth as she took in the sight before her.

"Demetrius." Her voice came out barely more than a breathless murmur. Her fingers reached out to touch the sun-warmed stone. He guarded the castle in the days before the clan's demise. He stood proud and majestic before Wren in the days before he was half-human, but truly Gargoyle.

Wren noticed that the last golden rays of daylight fell beneath the craggy Tors to the west. The smell of the North Sea drifted in on a Scottish gale. Darkness quickly conquered the skies. She heard the familiar roars building within the several statues and saw the fissures and fractures forming within each of them. [I have to get out of here before they see me.]

Granite shards pelted Wren as the Gargoyle in front of her broke free. She recognized Demona's shrill snarl that reminded Wren of a Puma on the prowl. Goliath's roar resounded into the night. Lavender eyes glared with unholy fire as a reverberating roar harmonized with the clan leader's bellow. She turned away to ward off injury from the sharp flecks of stone. She imagined that each of the Gargoyles yawned and roared like this nightly. [What a grand sight to see. I almost wish that I knew what they felt.]

She watched the lot of them turn and hop from their posts. Goliath's eyes widened in surprise when he saw her. He cloaked his wings and made his way toward the young mutant. "Fair lady, it is unusual for humans to be so high in the castle. Are you lost?"

"N-no." Wren stammered. Goliath seemed younger and more vibrant. Much of the tension and strain she knew of him were lacking in his younger counterpart.

"I am Goliath." He cloaked his wings about him and bowed.

"I'm Lady Wren." [Am I supposed to curtsey?] She decided to bow. "It is a pleasure to meet you. I've heard much about you."

"How may we be of service?"

"I was hoping that you might explain, good Sir, about the three particular Gargoyles that I saw down the way from here." She added the 'Sir' for good measure. She remembered her Goliath's comments about how many feared them and showed only contempt. "

She looked at the azure Dame scrutinizing her with barely concealed distaste. "I simply had heard the legends of the Gargoyles here and I wished to witness your wakening for myself. I've never seen Gargoyles without tails or with five digits. I also noticed they had feet akin to humans."

"They are the DeMahri." Goliath turned in their direction. "They are the progeny of our goddess and the Simianites of legend."

[SIMIANITE??] Wren's eyes widened at those words. She knew Simianite meant a remarkably humanoid species brought to Earth by Skylaris and Mab long before Humanity evolved into its current status.

"Are you saying those three are half-human?" Wren couldn't hide her skepticism. "I thought most Simianites were lost in the Great Flood."

"That is precisely what he's saying." Goliath's Second-In-Command reiterated. "What business is it of yours?"

"I am not unknown at the Seelie Court." Wren replied cryptically. She remembered those gathered at Oberon's court during her trial and she had never seen such creatures. "I have never seen such beings."

"You are a Child of Oberon?" The Azure Dame asked skeptically.

"Such blood runs through my veins, yes." Wren studied the Goliath's Second. [Even now, she's dangerous. Have I told her too much?]

"I have been away from the world of men these many years." She drew back her hood and discreetly showed one delicately pointed ear. "What year is it?"

"It is the year of our Lord, 994." Goliath told her.

"And what month and day?" Wren pressed.

"It is March 13." He cocked his head in typical Gargoyle fashion. "I mean no discourtesy, but, you speak of things not normally talk of amongst Humans. Why wish you to know, Milady?"

"Let's just say that I am a friend to your clan." She cut off his question. She turned her attention to the ebony-skinned warrior hopping from his perch. "Who is the fair Dame on your right and the handsome Sire to your left?"

"You know of our proper references for our kind?" Goliath seemed impressed. Wren nodded mutely. "Then you know that our kind have no names."

"Milady, well met to our humble abode." A familiar lilt met Wren's ears. She turned to see a dashing hero with dark wings cloaked about him bow gallantly before her. He took her hand in his large talons and deftly brushed the back of her hand with a gentle pressing of his lips.

"Brother!" Wren noted the mild note of consternation in the Clan leader's voice regarding his lieutenant's forwardness. "The lady may not be inclined to such familiarity."

"And we don't know her intentions!" The Dame added.

"But I always appreciate good manners." She smiled widely. She studied the handsome face of the dark warrior. It was undoubtedly Demetrius. He seemed so innocent and young. Before he and his clan were-

March 15, 994. The realization of that day was simply more than the Ides of March. On March 15, 994, the Vikings led the attack on Castle Wyvern that destroyed seventy-two Gargoyles. [March 13.... today...that means that the clan might still be saved! But, do I dare change history? Do I dare mess with their lives? Oberon would have my head on a platter if he found out. Still, if I can save them ....I have to try!]

"Goliath, listen to me!" Wren turned abruptly to face the clan leader. "There are Vikings to the west of here. They are going to attack the castle soon. One of your own will plot with them and the clan's safety is at risk. If nothing else, then my being here allows me to warn you. Take your clan and leave this place. Goliath, in another place and time you have been friend and clan to me. Let me repay the favor. If you follow my advice, we may never have to meet! Leave Castle Wyvern...take the others and go."

"Surely you speak in jest." His wings flared.

"No, I don't." Wren reposted. She turned to the azure Dame. "You and the Archmage are a part of it but you can change all that if you wish. Your clan will be smashed to Smithereens two nights from now. But, if you and the others leave, there is an island to the Northeast of's several miles into the sea. It's called Caledon Isle. There is an old monastery there that lies abandoned. The land is good for hunting, gathering, and farming. There aren't humans living there. Go tonight with your clan and your hatchlings and forget Wyvern."

"You speak madness." The Titian-haired day retorted. "My Love, do not listen to this human. She speaks lies and insanity."

"I tell you the truth. You know I speak truth when I show you this!" She held forth the Annulus of Avalon. She watched Demona's eyes narrowing with knowing. "You know what this is, don't you, Second-in-Command? Along with the Grimoire and the Phoenix Gate, this is the final magickal item you've been trying to ascertain. You'll never get it."

"You lie!" Demona's eyes glared crimson.

"I don't!" Wren turned to the dark young lieutenant standing before her. "Listen to me. In two nights, you're going to be dead if you don't listen to me. Talk to your Captain of the Guard ...listen for what he doesn't say. He's going to be in collaboration with Hakon the Viking."

"Milady...your words perplex me!" He stuttered. "I mean thee no offense, but I can not take thy word as canon without proof."

"I know that you're betrothed to the blacksmith of your clan and that you don't love her. You search for a love you think doesn't exist. Thoughts haunt you of a love true and complete so much that it captures your heart, enraptures your soul, enthralls your body and besots your mind."

"How do you know this?" He said in a low voice. "I have spoken of this to no one."

"Convince Goliath to take the clan and leave this place." She took her hand in his. "I might be jeopardizing everything in our future by telling you this. But, you should NEVER, My Love, suffer the pain you experienced in your life when the Vikings smashed your clan to bits."

He pulled his hand away if burned. "Who in the Seven Heavens are you?"

Wren felt the familiar pull on her being taking her from this place in her lover's past. "No! Not now."

She watched as the Gargoyles around her flickered in and out of her vision. Hazel eyes locked on lavender. "I'm the one who loves you, Demetrius. Where you go, I'll go. Where you lead, I'll follow. Where you are, I'll be. What you embrace, so shall I become. Please, leave this place-"

All was a maelstrom of light and hue. Flashes of brilliant light bombarded Wren's sight and sounds of dissonant chords flooded her ears. The sound of rushing water and crashing sea inundated her senses. The striking pain in her head felt worse than any migraine Wren had ever experienced. Her knees buckled as the onslaught of pain and stimuli overwhelmed her.

"Wren." A voice called to her in the distance. "Wren!"

Wren found herself kneeling before Demona/ Elisa, Goliath and Demetrius. Her beloved warrior offered her a dusty hand and helped her to her feet. She bit her lip that her warning had not been heeded. They were all standing before her. "Goliath, March 13, 994."

"Yes, only now remember?" He asked gently. "That was the day of infamy?"

"Why didn't you heed my advice?" She turned to him. "I know I seemed like a lunatic, but it would have saved the clan?"

"I do not understand."

"Don't you remember the woman who spoke to you two nights before the clan was destroyed?"

"THAT WAS YOU?" He roared. Wings flared reflexively in astonishment.

"History is immutable." Demona cut her off abruptly. Wren realized by the sharp tone of voice that somehow Elisa had lost control of the body. "You know that."

"Not when I can meld fortune to my liking." She turned to the Azure Dame. "Adrienne proved immune when she traveled back in time and returned with Shanni." (Reference to a previous fic **See X and the Single Gargoyle)

"What happened?" Xena asked. She looked down to see the exposed opening. "You've done it."

"I don't know exactly what happened." Wren shook her head in bewilderment. "One moment I was here seeing my hand glow. Then, I was psionically communicating with Demetrius. The next thing I know, I'm falling and then I was in Scotland circa 994."

"We heard you scream when the ledge gave way." Demetrius wrapped Wren tightly within his protective embrace. She felt tears stain her face. "Milady, thank the Dragon for your quick thinking. I could not have lost you and continued to live."

"I'm fine...shaken, but fine." She noticed that the sun was higher in the sky. "How much time has passed?"

"Only a few seconds since you disappeared." Goliath assured her. "You reappeared when we exposed the opening to the Tomb."

"What became of the three DeMahri that were perched nearby?" She asked Goliath.

"When the clan was destroyed...they were pulverized beyond recognition. Because of their exceptional heritage, they crumbled to dust."

"That's why I've never seen them." She nodded in understanding.

"It's just as well." Demona/ Elisa's voice sounded harsh to Wren's ears. "They were creatures not to be trusted. It is said that they practiced arts upon our kind without our knowledge and stole the human's children. Legend has it that they seduced Humans in the dark of night because they found it to be sport."

"They also helped lead us to the Archmage's layer when we had no way of knowing it's location." Goliath countered. "They also gave the us the Tomb of Tacitus thought to be lost for so many centuries. When hunting was scare, the DeMahri brought fresh kill and shared with everyone. They were as much of our clan as any of us."

"Hey, people, can we reminisce another time?" Xena interjected. "We have to get into Hades and out before these Mutagens are unstable. Now, move!"

"We're moving!" Kurt saluted. "We live to serve, O Great One."

"You hope!" Xena made her way inside the opening. Kurt followed the Warrior Princess. Goliath cloaked his wings and followed along behind them. Demona/ Elisa, Wren and Demetrius took the rear.

The corridor was tall and narrow. Wren guessed it to be no wider than a closet door. The sudden darkness did nothing to alleviate her fears. With no light to guide her, she knew that she'd succumb to her claustrophobia. Then, she felt two muscular arms embrace and warm breath tickled her ear.

"Worry not, Milady Wren. I shall not leave you."

Wren's heart beat a bit more slowly at her lover's heartening words. For the next several minutes, she heard the scattering of rock and pebbles beneath their feet. Xena had little trouble navigating through the blackness as they descended deeper into the Earth. The temperature rose dramatically as they descended toward the Tomb of the Scrolls. Beads of sweat formed on Wren's brow from a combination of temperature and anxiety.

She heard two rocks click against each other and the room was filled with light. Wren watched a torch flamed to life near Xena. She followed each torch and clicked the stones together. Somehow, the flint lit each torch she passed. [Nice trick.]

"The Tomb of the Scrolls once was a throne room for Ares." Xena explained. "What we're looking for is the alter that contains the Eye of Hephaestus. It's constructed of the same indestructible metal as the Key of Hades. We find it, put the chakrum in the indentions and turn it clockwise. That will show us the entry to the Underworld."

"You make it sound so simple." Kurt drawled.

"You'll see just how terrifying Hades is to a mortal." Xena warned him. "We don't have much time. Start looking."


Author's Note: The translation for the incantation is:
Advent of the shadow realm
Cast by my hand this weapon made
Unloose the magick, unbolt the gate
To a reflective realm do lead the way. (Make open a gate through time)