Angels and ministers of grace defend us.
Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damned,
Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked, or charitable,
Thou com'st in such a questionable shape,
That I will speak to thee."
-William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Author: Denigoddess2001
Date:12/6/01 2:58:09 PM
Saga: The Hades Wave
Title: Unknown 9.0
Rating: PG-13/R (Strong Language and gratuitous gore...a first for me)
Genre: Still working on that. Crossover: Xena/ X-Men/ Gargoyles Action-Adventure/ Supernatural
Characters: Elisa Maza (she's not possessing Demona anymore), Demona/ Dominique, Goliath, Demetrius, Wren Summers-Nightkind, Xena Argos, Kurt Wagner-Darkholme (Nightcrawler)



Hades Wave 9.0

Xena brushed away an errant tendril of bone straight hair from her brow. She turned to see a much smaller woman standing beside her dressed in a red leather bomber jacket and blue jeans. [If Elisa is able to manifest free of a host body, then we're not far from Hades.]

"This place gives me the creeps." Kurt cringed as he looked around and took in his surroundings.

His eyes saw an endless subterranean cavern that rolled with malodorous green smog. It fell heavy around the party's feet and knees and brought a sense of desolate frigidity to him. Kurt's pupiless golden eyes widened when the voices of the dead cried out in anguish around him. He felt the cold touch of death blow past him much like a poltergeist at a haunting. "Mein Gott, we are in Hell."

"Not quite." Xena quipped. "Tartarus and the Elysian fields are for those touched by Magick. Hell is for those who refuse to embrace the magick and mystic of the physical world."

"Then that is why Gargoyles came to this place when they died."

"Give the boy a gold star." Xena patted Kurt heartily on the back. "Skylaris....their goddess never prepared an afterlife for her children. So, she made a deal with Hades and they come here."

"What about me?" Elisa asked. "I believed in God."

"Did you?" Xena asked.

"Well..." Elisa's hands became lodged in her pockets. One foot kicked a rock out of the way. "I went to Mass at Christmas and Easter."

"You were touched by Magick, Elisa. You had to have been, otherwise, you'd gone to Heaven." The Warrior Princess put an arm around her. "Once-Borns like the followers of Eli never see the wonderful gifts in the world. They think they have two choices. Gargoyles, Fae and those few privileged Humans know better. We have Elysium and we have Tartarus. Even then, we have a chance to learn from our mistakes. We get a chance to come back and make it right."

"So, I came here because I was touched by magick?"

"I don't know your background, but I'm guessing that's the case." Xena shrugged. "You tell me."

[Avalon, Children Of Oberon, Aliens, Dragon Goddesses...yeah, I guess you could say I've been touched by Magick. And of course, Goliath.] Elisa remembered the wonderful, fantastic times in her life when she had seen the unbelievable and experienced the impossible. "Yeah, well, maybe. No comment."

"Okay, then." Xena turned her attention to Kurt. "Go on ahead and scout the area. Teleport back here in ten minutes and tell me what you see."

"Ya, Mein Commandant!" He snapped a mimic salute.

"Can it, Fuzzy Elf or I'll twist that tail of yours in a knot." The look Xena gave him was menacing but nothing could hide the warmth in her voice. "Elisa, go with him and I'm going to check out this immediate area."

"Right, meet back here in ten." With that Elisa and Kurt forged ahead on the path to see what they could see.

Kurt and Elisa made their way up the path that was paved with the skulls of the long-dead. Elisa suppressed the urge to cringe as the bones snapped underneath the duo's feet. Bones littered both sides of the path. Kurt kneeled and picked up several of the bones lying at the side and gave them further examination. He found that many had been broken and cracked purposely.

"Many of these have bit marks, Elisa. What does this mean?"

An evocative howl echoed through the vast chasms of the cavern. It resonated off the walls and held strong in their ears for almost a minute before fading into silence. The duo looked at one another in horror but remained silent. Elisa mutely took the femur from Kurt and scrutinized it. "You're right, these are bite marks. There's only one creature down here that can do this kind of damage, but he's chained at the gates. At least he was the last time I knew."

"What do you mean?" Kurt's teeth chattered.

"He's do I put this? He's the Underworld's version of K-9 Patrol." She chuckled darkly. Elisa watched Kurt's indigo face lighten by several hues. "His name is Ceberus. He's like any other friendly, loyal canine. Except he has three heads, the claws of a dragon and the tail of a scorpion."

"Wunderbar!" He let the air seep from his lungs. "This is not what I had in mind."

"Neither did I, but from the looks of these bones...something isn't right. And that howl didn't come from the gates." Elisa looked around warily. She reached inside her bomber jacket and pulled out her sidearm. She released the safety and backed up so that her back was against Kurt's. "Stay close and keep that tail around me. At the first sign of trouble, we teleport back to Xena."


The duo agreed to keep to the path and they used all stealth to move on with their mission. He noticed that green goo oozed from the very cavern walls. It had a phosphorus luminescence that reminded him of glow-in-the-dark plastic He reached out to examine its texture. Elisa sharply slapped his hand and moved between him and the wall.

"Are you crazy, Kurt? That's ectoplasm." She barked harshly. "Touch that and you'll bring back stuff from the dead that you don't want to think about. It'll also burn you if you're not careful."

"What do you's just goo."

"It's more than that." She reposted. "Ectoplasm is the very essence of ghosts and other creatures that go bump in the night. It's the conduit between the physical and spiritual world that allows them travel. If so much as a drop gets back on you that means you've probably have two or three ghosts traveling with you. Don't touch."

"Okay, okay! You've made your point." He held his hands up to signal his defeat. "I'll take your word for it."

"We'd better return to the others. If Rover's on the loose, then we don't want to run into without back-up." Elisa packed her piece back in it's holster. She wrapped her arms around indigo mutant. "Can you get us back to ground zero...or in this case, Ground Xena?"

"Naturlich!" He winked. He deftly wrapped his tail about her slender waist. "Buckle up and thanking you for riding the Nightcrawler express."

BAMF!! A blackness surrounded them. The smell of sulphur and brimstone filled her nostrils and the murky smoke surrounded them. She felt it's heat against her skin. There was a brilliant flash of crimson light and then a sudden gust of cold air assaulted her. The next thing Elisa realized was that she was standing on rocky ground near the bank she and Xena had parted company.

"What did you find?" Xena sheathed her sword.

"We think that Cerebus is on the loose." Elisa reported. "We came back for the rest of you. There's safety in numbers. And tell the party not to touch any goo oozing from the walls."



The six adventurers later gathered and made their way down the Road of Bones farther into Hades. They made their way down the passageway and the darkness grew around them. Between the crunching of bones and the freezing sting of cobwebs, Kurt thought that natural bodily functions surely would humiliate him before his friends. Xena used her sword to clear away the irksome mesh while Wren used her Annulus. She also held it high in the air and charged it with luckmagick to make a suitable torch.

"I didn't know that your powers worked that way." Kurt noted as he applauded her insightful use of her abilities. "What happens if you overcharge the Annulus?"

"I can't. I simply reabsorb the ability." She gave him a quick smile. "That's how I used it at the casinos to decide whether or not to bet another hand. It improves my instincts."

"Like Danger Sense."

"In a very primitive fashion, yes." Wren agreed. She wiped away some cobwebs missed by Xena and ducked out of the way of some stalactites. "But, I don't receive premonitions of future events...some usually distracts me and that keeps me out of Harm's way."

Another howl akin to a wolf bellowed in the distance and echoed throughout the Underworld. This time it sounded much closer. Elisa stumbled forward and fell face first on the ground. She let forth a string of expletives that caused more than one person to be amazed at her proficiency in profanity. She pushed herself into a sitting position and held a large metal collar adorned with long, heavy spikes in her hands.

The collar was one of three attached to a chain. Each collar was broken in two.

"Houston, we have a problem." She quipped staring at the broken collar that she held in her hand. "It's been confirmed folks, Cerebus is on the loose."

"And we're here." Xena added pointed to the arch in front of them.

The arch looked gothic in structure. There were elongated, featureless bodies of ivory entwined with another. Between the faceless bodies were effigies of angels blowing trumpets and winged demons of with electric guitars. The pun wasn't lost on any of the party. As they group approached, they heard a voice beneath them quip. "Watch where you're stepping!"

"Mein Gott!" Kurt exclaimed as two bony hands grabbed his ankles.

"Jalapenia!" Elisa cried in unisons as they saw the necks and heads of damned souls protruding from the ground in an endless sea of eternal suffering.

Wren felt tugging on her cloak and felt herself being drawn into the bog of desolation by the souls desperately using her as a ladder to climb out of their eternal despair. She fought frantically to free herself but their strength overwhelmed her. She reached out to her lover and screamed his name. Goliath's tail snapped around her ribcage and pulled her free of the ghouls that longed for freedom from their eternal punishment.

"We can't fight them for long." Xena began skipping on the heads like cobblestones in a rushing stream. "Come on! We have to make it to the Gate."

Goliath scooped Wren into his arms and made a mighty leap from where he stood. He soared through the air with her securely in his arms. His landing was flawless as he came to rest in front of the Gates of the Underworld. Elisa found herself snared in Kurt's tail. With a wink and a prayer and a BAMF, the twosome found themselves alongside Goliath and Wren.

"I-yi- I-yi- I-yi- I-yi- I-yi- I-yi-I-yah!" Came the high pitched War Cry that was so signature of the Warrior Princess. She vaulted from head to head in a furious flurry of tumbling. Hand over foot, end over end she cleared a path from where she stood to the door. She turned to see that Demetrius had been snared by three sets of hands and was up to his waist in damned souls.

"Demetrius!" Wren exclaimed. Xena withdrew her chakrum. Wren gripped her Annulus. With syncopation that defied convention, the two warriors moved in fluid continuity. Xena's chakrum split into one of light and one of darkness flying high and low towards the snares that held Demetrius. The Annulus of Avalon flew straight and true charged with the Verdant luckmagick of it's possessor. It flew between and parallel to the two chakrums. The top chakrum sliced through two sets of hands that had hold of Demetrius by the shoulders. The Annulus in the Middle went right into Demetrius' grip. He looked bewildered at this state of events as he caught the bladed circlet. The second chakrum dismembered one hand and several fingers.

The two chakrums shot like rockets above him and reunited as one unit. He felt the odd tugging in his hands that was stronger than he. He felt himself pulled at incredible speed and force by the Annulus from the Sea of Despair. His bellow of surprise amused the party as he found himself drug back to them by the Annulus of Avalon. The Annulus returned to Wren's grasp and he gave her a dazed smile.


"The Annulus ALWAYS returns to the hands of the person to whom it's bloodbound." Wren reminded him. "You caught it and you didn't let go."


"Every time." She smiled. "Are you all right, Love?"

He saw the flash of concern and worry burning brightly in hazel eyes. He nodded, but failed to tell her of the cold that touched his soul. He stared once again into jade and amber depths and looked for any remnant of his long-lost mate, Orion. The blankness he found there disheartened him, but he chose to ignore it. He gave her the best smile he mustered, "I am well, Milady. I owe you and Xena many thanks for my swift reprieve from that abyss."

"Where is Demona?" Goliath looked around in alarm. He heard a snarl behind them and turned to see the redheaded human fighting for her life against the endless onslaught of souls longing to clamber from their pool of torment. Her eyes flashed crimson as she slashed valiantly at the limbs longing to draw her into their depths. "DEMONAAAAA!"

"Goliath! Help me!" She let forth another snarl as she frantically fought to free herself from the tormented spirits that held her. Goliath ran toward her and caught a stale current of air. He swooped over the lake deftly avoiding the grasping hands of the spiteful spirits beneath him. He soared over the spot where Demona had succumbed and sank. With a fury that proved him to be all things Gargoyle, Goliath dove into the sea of souls.

"My God!" Elisa whispered. "What has he done?"

A moment passed, then two. Silence filled the cavern as the party watched and waited. Wren's hand covered her mouth as she turned into Demetrius' embrace. Five minutes passed before Xena's voice cut through the tension. "We've lost them."

"No, we can't." Elisa sobbed. "We've come so far...not for this, not now."

"I'm sorry, but we have to keep going." Xena said curtly. "We have a greater good to fulfill by returning those mutagens to their proper sources."

"You Bitch." Elisa turned to the warrior. "Goliath just died to save Demona."

A roar filled the chasm at that moment. It was faint and muffled and then broke free as a large winged figure burst from the abyss of heads and limbs. Eyes blazed with unholy argent fire as Goliath soared upwards with Demona in his arms. He glided back to the rest of them. He was covered in goo and remnants of tattered clothing. Dismembered fingers clung to him. He nonchalantly shook them from his body and set Demona on her feet.

"Today is NOT a good day to die." He pressed a kiss to her forehead.

"All right, people. Let's move." Xena told the lot. She received many cold stares from the rest of the party but nothing more was said. There was a large feeling of discontent amongst the lot of the callousness of Xena's leadership.


"We're off to the see the wizard." Nightcrawler muttered under his breath.

"Cute." Xena shook her head at his caustic comment.

The beleaguered party ventured onward beaten and bruised from their encounter with the Sea Of Souls. Demona appeared the worst of the lot with her disheveled appearance. Elisa noticed the hunched shoulders and the lowered head as she shuffled along as if she were ancient. Elisa quietly made her way to the front of the party so that she walked alongside the ravishing redhead.

"Are you going to be okay?" Elisa quietly asked the woman beside her.

Demona sent Elisa a glare that made the Detective want to cringe. "What concern is it of yours?"

"We're all in this together." Elisa's brows furrowed.

"You're in this for yourself." Demona shivered as if the cold of the Underworld frosted her bones. "You have orchestrated this farce from the very beginning. You can't let go of Goliath even in death."

"Whoah!" Elisa stopped in her tracks. Her hands went on her hips in a defiant gesture. "I just wanted to see if you were all right. Sorry I asked."

The bedraggled woman's voice heightened to a shrill shriek. "Even in death you can't leave him alone. He isn't meant for you, Human. He is a Gargoyle and belongs with one of his kind. He is free of that abomination that bore him a freak child and now you've chosen to return. Were it not for you, Elisa Maza, he and I could have reunited and healed the final schisms in the clan. Why will you simply not stay DEAD?"

"Forget it." There was no fire or defiance in Elisa's defeated response. "Forget I even gave a damn."

Wren heard the exchanged between the two women and knew better than to get in the middle of it. She thought it better to keep her counsel until she heard the quiet sob that escaped Elisa. Wren thought that this Elisa seemed so like her dimensional counterpart that she once encountered. The young mutant hoped that Elisa would find some source of comfort.

Demetrius made his way to a very disheartened Elisa and put an arm about her. Her head fell on shoulder and together they walked that way for the next several minutes. Wren heard only the soothing murmur of her lover's voice as he comforted the hurt young woman. Wren knew that Demona had most certainly earned her name. [It suits her well. Somebody should have named her Cu-]

"We're here." Xena's calm voice brought everyone's attention to the forefront. The group was standing approximately twenty paces from the very steep drop of a deep chasm. "Stay on the bridges and don't look down. Hades' palace is on the other side and that's where we'll find him."

"But we have to return the mutagens." Elisa protested.

"We'll let Hades do that...that's his specialty." The Warrior Princess studied the bridge that joined the palace to the rest of the underworld. It was a narrow path of stone that looked as though it would crumble to dust under the slightest weight. She nodded to the others and marched forward with great determination.

Wren didn't find any reprieve from her fear of heights as she made her way across the bridge. She kept her eyes firmly planted on the warrior leading the rest of them. She focused her gaze on the spiraling towers of polished obsidian looming over the expanse of the cavern. They reminded her more of spun glass than blocks of stone. There was a looming ambiance of finality that hung over the group as they approached. Wren knew that something was strongly amiss.

Closer proximity to Hades' palace revealed much of its nature to the group. The entire citadel stood as a proud tribute to the underworld. The towers gleamed with the reflection of the endless chasm beneath them. The walls surrounding the palace were black chiseled marble bearing the effigies of great warriors. Wren noticed that there was no pillar to support the palace in the midst of the chasm. The entire structure floated. She noticed that the entire expanse of the palace gently illuminated the cavern with a subdued scarlet radiance.

A lilting melody filled the chilled, dank air of the underground cavern while the smell of sulpher mingled with it to form an acrid aroma. The howling of the wind harmonized to bring forth a forlornness that brought great sadness to Wren's soul. Wren's heart painfully contracted as they reached the other side of the bridge and found the gates to Hades' palace open. As the party stepped within the gates, the howling wind ceased roaring and only the low, resonant melody remained.

[It's like a Gregorian chant done by basses or monks.] Wren noted as the melody sifted past her ears and into her thoughts. It was eerily striking and quite pleasing to her ear in a macabre fashion. It brought dread to her heart as it's spectral threnody brought the young mutant to a frozen position.

There were several series of hisses that flew past the party at great speed. Wren turned behind her to see several arrows perfectly aligned on each side of the group. She looked in the direction to see nine warriors rallying for battle with their death chant. Three held bows while the others had drawn exceedingly lengthy blades Wren recognized to be long swords.
Dressed in black breastplates and ornate helmets adorned with scarlet plumes, Wren thought they resembled a mini-regiment of elite Roman soldiers. Wren also noticed that each warrior possessed ebony skin and gleaming blue eyes.

Their singing ceased. They remained still as if surveying the invading party led by Xena. The one in the front cocked his head as if confused by the diverse party standing warily before his group Then, Wren watched the leading warrior lend forth a strident battle cry that signaled the others to attack. With bows drawn and swords raised, the nine undead warriors brought deep fear and terror to the young woman's heart.

"To arms!" Xena cried. "Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-ah!"

Wren watched the others around her take strategic positions. She watched Goliath fall to all-fours and begin a counter-charge against the warriors. Elisa pulled out her sidearm and sought cover behind one of the open gates. Wren smelt the wafting stench of sulpher and brimstone as she watched Nightcrawler teleport form his current position to directly behind one of the armor-clad warriors. She saw her beloved mate take cover alongside Elisa behind the safety of the gate. She felt safer when Demona held up her hands and muttered something in Latin that translated to "Come lightning." Xena began a swathing path of tumbling amongst the elite fighters of Hades' Praetorian Guard.

Wren realized that she stood in the path of an oncoming warrior wielding an exceedingly sharp and dangerous sword. His rush toward her seemed to steel the motion from her body. In the distance, she heard Elisa and Demetrius scream for her to hide behind the gate with them. Her eyes locked in a stare with the assaulting warrior. [At least I'll die with honor today.]

The first warrior came at Goliath with sword raised high and ready to strike. Wren cried out as the gleaming blade slashed across the exposed flesh of the Gargoyle's shoulder. The clan leader's roar bellowed inside the palace courtyard as the blade bit his flesh. He brought his body back a one-forth of a turn and his great combat tail snapped swiftly to knock the undead warrior off its feet. It became a pile of armor and flesh sprawled on the ground. Wren knew that Goliath stood good odds against his enemy.

She watched in mute fascination as the lightning bolts came from the cavern ceiling and squarely struck her foe. The bolt locked onto the enemy and caused the warrior to stand motionless only a few feet from Demona. Smoke billowed from beneath its helmet while it simply stood there and shivered. An agonizing cry broke his chant and the dark guard felt to the ground in a heap of burned leather, flaming flesh and heated metal. The sorceress gave a smug little smile and blew the smoke away from her index finger. Wren wryly thought, [smoking gun...figures.]

Wren knew enough to hit the ground when she heard a round of gunshots ringing from behind her. She rolled to the right to avoid the onslaught of the rushing warrior hell-bent on cleaving her in two. His sword came down and a spray of bullets found themselves deep within his chest. He stared in the direction of Elisa and Demetrius and simply stepped over Wren as though she weren't there. Wren regained her senses and her combat training conquered her flight response. She brought her leg in a wide arc low to the ground in a sweeping motion. She felt the firm contact of flesh upon flesh as she kicked the limbs of the soldier and watched him land solidly on his backside. She watched Elisa empty her clip and restock another cartridge in the sidearm.

The soldier moved faster than lightning. Within milliseconds, the death knight arose to his feet with eyes afire with azure fury. He ignored Wren and swiftly advanced toward Elisa and Demetrius. Then, the realization hit the mutant like a deathblow. Elisa wouldn't have enough time to fire off another round before the deadly swordsman reached her. [Not on my watch, ass-wipe!]

Wren's hands came alight in a soft glow of verdant brilliance. She focused the light in the direction of the advancing knight and watched as the aura around her hands became a strong, steady beam. The traveling shaft of light encompassed the enemy in an aura of green luminosity. As he made his way toward Elisa and Demetrius, the knight tripped over his own feet. Again.

[Just his luck.] Wren smirked. [Today isn't such a bad day after all. Things just might work out in our favor after all.]

The towering wraith fell face-flat onto the hard glassy floor of the courtyard. His long sword clattered for several yards along the dark surface. It landed at the feet of her lover and Demetrius quickly retrieved the blade. He held it in his hands for only a few seconds and twirled the sword several times in a figure eight motion. She watched a thousand years of swordsmanship come into play as he adroitly passed the blade from hand to hand. It was a display of prowess and a way to acclimate himself to the weight of the blade. With renewed confidence, Demetrius maneuvered between Elisa and another oncoming warrior intent on attack.

The guard in front of Nightcrawler never knew what hit him. The indigo mutant wrapped his tail around the warrior's neck and "BAMFED." Several seconds passed. Wren knew that her friend's attack was successful when the headless body of a guard fell flat and swiftly to the ground. Kurt appeared a few seconds later not far from his original position with the dead fighter's head in tow...or in tail. He wiped his hands on his uniform in mock cleaning of the warrior's filth from his being.

Wren lost herself in the heat of battle. Her Annulus found it's way through one of the bowstrings of the archers. Demona let forth several fireballs that barbequed the other two archers to a crisp. The entire scenario reminded Wren of the phrase "Crispy Critters." Goliath proved his expertise in battle as talon and tail dismembered another warrior of Hades' Praetorian Guard. She felt as though she was blessed when she watched Xena in a blurring offensive when she battled one of the guards in hand to hand.

A sharp agonizing sensation exploded within Wren's chest. Her breath caught in her throat as the air exploded within her lungs. She looked down and saw the final inches of a blade extending from the right side of her ribcage. She looked over her shoulder to see one of four remaining death knights smiling gleefully as he knew that he had hit his mark. He grinned knowingly as he withdrew his blade from Wren's ribs. She clutched her chest and attempted to strike him but the need for air proved more important than the need for victory.

She felt the warmth of sleep sneak upon her as her vision became blurry. In a final attempt to best her enemy, Wren saw the stalactites above him as he gloated over her passing. [I'll not leave this world without having some justice.]

A single pulse of emerald energy left her palm and slowly floated toward the cavern ceiling. Everything seemed to slow as it languidly made it's way to the awaiting stalactites. She thought she heard Demetrius cry out her name. Somewhere from behind her, she watched a bolt of lightning strike her accursed foe. He felt to his knees beside her as be burned into oblivion. The warmth of sleep became cold as the chills ransacked her body. Wren forced her troubled vision to focus as the emerald orb hit its intended mark. There was a rumble from beneath the ground and the cavern shook and trembled. Someone cried 'earthquake" but Wren was beyond hearing it. She watched the quaking cavern shake loose several stalactites. A smile of satisfaction came to her cold lips as one fell in a rapid projectory toward the sword-bearing warrior. As she hit the ground, she watched the damned warrior be impaled squarely in the chest by a long, prolonged stalactite.

The battle for their lives raged on for an endless amount of time. After much sweat and a few wounds, the besieged group took victory over Hades' Praetorian Guard. The last warriors fell in a heap of segmented armor as Xena's chakrum ricocheted and sliced the dark foe in several places. The next several minutes were used to tend to the wounds of those hurt in battle.


"I've done all that I can do with her." A voice drifted through Wren's mind. "She's at the mercy of the gods now."

"That isn't good enough." A low voice roared with the passion of a lion. "What of your magick, Demona? Is there not a spell that can heal her?"

"Not in this Tome. It's specifically for combat." She lamented. Blurry vision cleared enough that it was obvious that Demona laid a hand on Demetrius' ebony shoulder. "I wish that I could do something."

The dark warrior fell to his knees. His face was buried in taloned hands. Tears flowed in rivers along his chiseled cheeks. Strident sobs came freely from his heaving chest and his wings wilted so that they hung limply. Amethyst eyes shone brightly with anguish as he took Wren's hand and brought it to his lips. "My Sweet, Beloved Wren. Prithee, I beseech thee not to leave me twice. Where you go, I go. Where you are I shall be. Milady...I am nothing without you. Come back to me. Do not let me yet again to be alone. I love you, Wren Elizabeth Summers."

"We need to find Hades." Xena said gently to the weeping warrior. "If there's any hope for Wren, it's lies with him."

"Not so fast." A hoarse voice rasped. "I'm not dead yet."

"WREN!" The Black Gargoyle exclaimed. "You're alive."

"Surprisingly." She muttered. "Though I don't know how."

"You can't die in the Underworld or anywhere else unless it's your time." Elisa offered. "It's probably not her time."

"Bullshit." Wren riposted. "I don't believe in Fate. If I did, then I wouldn't be able to win twenty grand at Blackjack."

"True." Nightcrawler smiled. "Can you sit up?"

"Are you nuts? Kurt, I've been stabbed by a four foot blade." She looked down at the crimson stain concealing beneath her uniform. "I'm lucky to be alive. But, I've got a feeling that whatever's allowing to live is just a short reprieve. We need to find Hades FAST or I'm going to be dead permanently.'

"You think that your. ...reprieve..." Goliath spoke the word slowly. "Is his doing?"

"Either that or Skylaris' blessing is going into over time." Wren tapped her forehead. "When Demetrius and I were in Ainran, she kissed me and placed her blessing upon me. It's saved my life more than once, I'm sure of it. I think that it's her will and magick keeping me alive now...but, I'm not long for the land of the living. I ache like hell and I'm not getting better. So, we need to find Hades."