Author: Denigoddess2001
Saga: The Hades Wave
Title: Shadows and Light 10.0
Rating: R (violence, sexual content)
Genre: Drama/ Fantasy
Characters: Goliath, Elisa, Wren, Demetrius, Demona/ Dominique, Kurt (Nightcrawler), Xena, Mystique, Ares, Hades, Persephone, Alti

Warning: This story contains heavy BDSM and slash intimations. If this offends you, turn back now. This story contains spoilers for the Xena episodes "Send In The Clones" and "Friend In Need."

Author's Note: This is not my usual style of writing. This is, by far, the darkest story I have ever written. But, this story deals with dark themes. I believe that this is my most challenging work to date and I kindly request that if you read...please review. It matters not whether it's adoring praise or constructive criticism. I welcome it ALL. Thank you!

Disclaimer: I don't own Xena, Alti, or Ares. They belong to Renaissance Pictures. Gargoyles belong to Disney. Mystique and Nightcrawler belong to Marvel Comics. All other characters are property of their deity (ME) Denigoddess2001 and may not be used without permission.

Summary thus far: Wren recently suffered from strange dreams that she thought were a manifestation of mental psychosis. They turned out to be warnings from the Underworld regarding some very deadly mutagens that had been stolen. Elisa Maza, Goliath's late wife, has been allowed through her badge to return to the physical world to aid in their quest.

The duo has enlisted the help of Goliath and Demona to return the mutagens to their proper origin in the Underworld. They also received help from the X-Men. Unable to find a way to physically enter the Underworld, Wren called upon her old friend, Professor Kevyn Xorbo (AKA Hercules) to render help. Elisa grew weak in this realm and possessed Demona's body to stablize her presence in the physical realm.

Obligations prevented him from doing so, so he sent Xena Argos (Xena clone from 'Send In The Clones') to render aid. She led Wren, Demetrius, Wren, Goliath, Elisa, and Demona into the Underworld. To this point, they've crossed the River Styx, fought the Sea Of Souls and battle Hades' Praetorian Guard. They are now in Hades' palace with the rapidly deteriorating mutagens. They hope to find the King of the Underworld and free him.


***********
"Ah, Eugénie, have done with virtues! Among the sacrifices that can be made to those counterfeit divinities, is there one worth an instant of the pleasures one tastes in outraging them?"
-The Marquis De Saad

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known."
-Carton, on his way to the guillotine
"A Tale Of Two Cities"

Wren carried his shivering mate in his arms as the group made their way through the inner doors of Hades' palace. He knew the sun set in their part of the world when he felt the familiar tingling from the middle of his back. Gently he knelt and allowed his transformation to occur. He watched Wren's pallid face as he watched small horns obtrude from her brow. He watched her signature white streak emerge in her hair. He watched honey brown strands darken to a striking brunette. He watched her waning smile reveal delicate canines that resemble small fangs. He checked her side to see if she healed during her transmutation.

"Menaush Kah!" He cursed in the language of the DeMahri. Wren giggled when it translated to a phrase similar to gargoyle byproducts. He felt Wren's skin beneath his talons; it was cold and clammy. He held her tightly to him. "Why has she not healed? At Twilight, the healing always comes upon us!"

"Hades' swords make wounds that don't heal, Warrior." Xena stared at the wound. "Whatever magick is keeping her alive is losing ground fast. We need to find Hades."

Goliath stared down at the young Nightkind resting uneasily in his lieutenant's arms. He laid a comforting hand on Demetrius' shoulder. "We do not let any of our clan perish. We will find a way to help her."

"Words mean nothing if she dies."

They continued their way down the long, dark corridor. Elisa pulled her firearm from its holster and motioned the others to move to the sides of the wall. Xena was ready for battle with sword drawn. Nightcrawler teleported ahead in intervals and scouted for any trouble. The group made it's way to the doors of the throne room without incident. All breathed a collective sigh of relief. The doors to the throne room were tall and gothic in design. The light of torches attached to the walls dimly illuminated gargoyle head knockers.

Then, the heavy blackened doors opened.

Goliath and Demona's wings unfurled in unison as they saw a grand dais carved of solid jet. Each step was leafed with gold and encrusted with small emeralds. There was a throne made of solid hematite in the middle of the dais inlaid with carnelian and red jasper. A large black jaguar lay on one side of the throne languidly licking its paws. On the other was a Gargbeast resembling a miniature black dragon with warm summer eyes chained to the throne with a muzzle about its maw.

In the throne sat a woman resting her arm on one rest and her legs thrown over the other. She swung her legs around and rose to her feet. She was a stunning figure clad in shiny black patent leather from heal to toe. She wore stiletto heals that looked painful by merely looking at them. From the laces of her black patent corset to the golden set of skeleton keys hanging on her hip, she was carnal wanton wildness incarnate.

"Alti." Xena's lips curled in contempt as she spoke the name. "I should have known."

Nightcrawler noticed a figure stepping from the shadows and joined Alti to the right. Elisa Maza gasped at the sight. Goliath growled and his tail lashed menacingly. Wren eyes widened in amazement as a woman with indigo coloring stepped into the torchlight. Her blue skin stood in violent contrasts to the flaming tresses of red that framed her face. Clad in a white halter, loincloth and thigh high boots, Demetrius could only think of one word to collective describe the two women.

"Domimatrix."

"Mother!" Nightcrawler whispered. "What are you doing here?"

"What are you doing with THEM?" She hissed pointing at the group.

"Oh, it gets better, people." A sexy baritone spoke smugly from Alti's left. A broad-shouldered figure emerged from the shadows. With sinful good looks and dark coloring, he looked scandalously pleasing to Demona.

Demetrius recognized him at once. A roar erupted from his chest as his eyes blazed with lavender fury. His yell bellowed across the throne room and shook the chandelier. "ARES!"
"Oh, Rensumeres' big black buck. What, breeding stables not active this time of year?" He sauntered over to the seething Gargoyle. He looked down at the weakening woman he held in his arms. "You know, I think you and I could work out an arrangement, if you know what I mean. You and me.... And I heal your little whore."

"What do you mean?" Demetrius growled.

"You don't think I haven't been listening?" Ares gave him a wink. "You like boys. I do too on occasion. Come on, Demetrius. You give me some of that sweet black licorice you've been saving for this irritating brunette and I'll make sure she walks out of here alive and healthy."

"Your words are gibberish to me." Demetrius quirked his head perplexed.

"Maybe this will make the meaning clear." Ares said curtly. He grabbed the warrior's head and embedded in those thick white tresses. He pulled Demetrius' lips to his own and met them with unbridled passion. Demetrius went rigid with shock as the War good plundered his lips and tamed him with tongue. Deep and hard the kiss progressed as Ares kissed him with unrepentant fervor.

Demetrius forgot everything in that moment. He knew that his body responded to the strength and fire possessed by this Cimmerian deity. The pure savagery Ares' taste and smell caused the dark warrior's knees to tremble. He felt jolts of desire coursing from his loins to the rest of his body as he lost himself in Ares' onslaught of passion. He leaned forward and his long, smooth pointed tongue danced furiously with the shorter, blunter tongue of the god of war.

Ares' abruptly pulled away. His breathing came in quick, harsh pants. His eyes blazed with denied passion as he stared hard at Demetrius. Demetrius felt his erupting passion instantly become cold, frigid shame. His needs and passions betrayed him to the war god. He had been revealed before his clan leader, his adversary Demona, and most of all before his mate. He looked down and saw her hand clasped over her mouth. She turned away from his lavender gaze when he stared at her.

"So, how about it, Demetrius?" Ares traced his finger leisurely along the swollen lips of the black Gargoyle. "Be my lover for one night and you all get a free ticket out of the Underworld. I'll heal Wren as part of the deal and it's a done deal."

"Burn in hell, war god."

"Think about it, pretty boy. I won't make the offer twice." Ares looked down at Wren. "She's lost a lot of blood and she's not getting any better. Besides, what chance do the seven of you have of getting out of Hades alive? If even one of those mutagens destabilizes, the world suffers untold plagues. Come on, you can't punk with me for one night to save your friends and your world?"

Demetrius looked back at the others.

"Don't do it." Xena exclaimed. "He's lying. He won't keep his word. He'll use you and destroy the world anyway."

"Why would I want to destroy a world that I am destined to rule?" Ares gave her a stern gaze. "Stay out of this Xena, you had your chance. Demetrius, you and I could be great together. With you at my side, we could restore this world to its former glory. I'd even let you keep your little songbird and let your friends live."

Demetrius stared again at his companions.

He looked at the dying woman he held in his arms.

He looked inward for his goddess.

He looked again into the passion-filled eyes of the war god.

"Swear by the River Styx that you will let my friends and I go free from the Underworld, that you will restore and heal Wren to her former health, and that you will NOT release the Mutagens on Earth...and I will be your lover for the night."

"By the river Styx, I swear that I'll do everything you've asked." Ares seemed visibly shaken by Demetrius' turnabout. He held out his hand to the Gargoyle.

"Heal Wren now or no deal."

"You're not in any position to be making demands." Ares snorted.

"You wanted a Gargoyle's passion? Then, heal her and you shall know passion fiercely and well this night."

Ares stared relentlessly into lavender depths. He stepped forward and laid his hand upon Wren's clammy brow. A faint crimson glow surrounded her being as she lay limp and lifeless in her mate's arms. Her eyes slowly flickered and opened. Hazel eyes focused upon lavender and tears welled. Slowly, color returned to her ashen complexion. The congealed wound in her side grew smaller. The stain receded and then completely vanished.

"Put me down, Demetrius." She said as coldness gripped her heart. "What have you done?"

"You live." He pressed a kiss to her lips. She remained rigid and unresponsive to his affections. Demetrius slowly pulled away and saw green ice staring back at him. "Milady?"

"Go to your lover. It would have been better if you had let me die." Wren turned away. "I loved you."

"Wren...." He reached out to her. "I beg you....please understand."

"Go now with him. And leave us."

Demetrius walked to the war god. Ares grinned triumphantly. "Kneel, slave."

"Yes, milord." Demetrius answered meekly.

A glimmer of light appeared in the war god's hand and was replaced by a platinum collar attached to a thick and sturdy chain. The collar was studded with amethyst and was finely wrought. He said nothing as he removed the betrothal torc that hung around the dark warrior's neck. It skipped down the stairs of the dais and landed at Wren's feet.

"I've waited to defeat you for centuries, Rensumeres. Enjoy it." Ares derided her. "You just don't have what it takes to keep your little garg buck happy."

Wren said nothing but retrieved the torc. She placed it around her neck. At the same time, Ares fastened the submission collar firmly around the Gargoyle's neck and gave the chain a firm yank. Demetrius' eyes fell to the floor. Ares grabbed the front of the Gargoyle's sarong and give a firm, possessive squeeze. He turned to the others and waved merrily.

"Sorry, guys! It's been fun, really! But, I gotta go. I've got other plans. Alti, I leave them to you. I got what I wanted. By the way, Ren, better luck next time." With those words, a crimson halo surrounded the war god and his love slave. Wren felt her heart break a thousand times as the god of war disappeared with Demetrius enchained.

Alti slowly brought her hands together and clapped once, twice, and then several times. "Oh, this is too good. The little girl betrayed by her lover. Better than the soaps."

Wren's eyes locked Goliath's. He watched as her hand slowly made it's way to her Annulus. He nodded. Her eyes turned to Xena. Wren raised her brows in silent question and glanced at the chakrum hanging by the warrior's side. Xena's sword returned to its sheath. Demona's eyes gleamed crimson.

Xena turned her attention back to Alti. "Enlighten us. What do you get out of this?"

Alti walked down the dais and stood only inches away from the Warrior Princess. "Ares made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Help Mystique steal water from the rivers of Hades and set them loose on the world. I get to be his queen and she would be his top commander. Mutants would have a special place of honor and prestige in his regime. I didn't anticipate you being involved. You're not the real Xena, but I'm going to enjoy making you suffer all the same."

Her hand lashed out and grabbed Xena forcefully by the throat. Her eyes were wild with madness. She effortlessly lifted Xena from the ground. "With your Gargoyle empathy gone, there's nothing that can stop me now. How does it feel to hurt again, Xena? Do you remember your crucifixion? Do you remember how the Samurai beheaded you and left your decapitated body hanging for the ravens? Do you miss your sweet little Gabrielle?"

Xena's eyes filled with visions of the Amazon afterlife. Then, flashes of nails being hammered into her wrists blinded her mind. The agonizing jolts of pain as the nails embedded deeper into her forearms caused her untold pain. She remembered the last day in Japan where she fought an army of Samurai. She saw the glint of a bushido sword in the late afternoon sun and then a burst of crimson...and then nothing. Xena recalled the sadness as she and Gabrielle watched the sun set. It set and marked the end of a life and love greater than what Xena had ever known. The tears, the passion, the pain, the loss came crashing around her.

"NOW!" Wren screamed and her Annulus went flying. It sliced through the air with all the unleashed fury and rage of its possessor. A halo of emerald surrounded the flying blade as it found it mark. It slashed cleanly through bone, marrow, and muscle as it severed Alti's wrist from her hand.

"Sheeeeeeeeeee-ah!" Xena used a stumbling Alti as stairs. She walked up the front of Alti and flipped backwards. She found herself free of the shaman's grasp. Xena leaped upwards and planted to resounding front-snap kicks to her midsection.

Goliath turned his attention to Mystique. The indigo mutant shivered and shimmered like a mirage in the middle of a heated desert. Wings sprouted from her back and five digits melded into four talons. She appeared very similar to Demona but darker in hue. She rushed Goliath with a charge that sent the both of them head over heels down the dais. Masculine roar mingled with feminine snarl as the two combatants clawed and punched at one another.

Alti's hand crawled back to her as Xena made ready for her next attack. Wren watched in horror as the severed digit made its way to Alti's bleeding stump. She shrugged innocently, wriggled her brows at Wren and picked up the hand. She simply reattached it to her wrist.
"That sweet little blade doesn't work on me. Ares wanted to make an example of you and I'll get a lot of compensation for bringing your head to him on a platter."

"No, you won't." Xena came in with a roundhouse kick and caught Alti in the midsection she stumbled backwards. She leapt to her feet and came into a handstand. Her calves locked firmly around Xena's neck and were steadfast. End over end the two women tumbled.

"Nightcrawler." Wren whispered to him. He came over to her and helped her to her feet. "Go back to the courtyard and get one of those swords held by those Death Nights. I have an idea."

"I understand." With that, he was nothing more than a slender blue column of indigo smoke and a flash of golden light. Wren hoped that Mystique and Alti failed to noticed the linger stench of sulpher and brimstone.

Wren watched passively as Demona and Goliath had their hands full with a deadly Mystique-turned-Gargoyle. She gave them a challenge that neither had faced in several years. She possessed Goliath's amazing strength and Demona's shrewd cunning. Xena and Alti circled each other waiting for the other to strike. Wren knew she'd only be a detriment to her comrades if she involved herself directly in battle.

Then, she saw the keys dangling on Alti's hip.

[Now's my chance.] She watched the shaman and the Warrior Princess engage in another blurry series of blows and parries. When Alti's hip with the keys faced Wren, the young mutant charged her Annulus with luckmagick. She let her bladed circlet fly once more at Alti. The whoosh sound it made distracted her foe enough for Xena to strike a decisive blow against Alti's jaw. The Annulus flew past Alti and never touched her skin.

Xena went flying across the room as Alti landed a blow of her own squarely at Xena's chest. She turned her attention to the obtrusive Nightkind standing only a few yards from her. "You really are annoying. I'm going to take care of you now. You're so inept that you missed. No wonder you're friends are losing the battle."

Alti advanced toward Wren. Wren's tail twitched in nervous anticipation. Talons curved ready for battle and she hissed. [I have to keep her talking.] "We both know that I won't live to see the end of this battle. So, humor me, where's Hades?"

"Hades?" Alti laughed as she flipped from the dais and sailed through the air. She landed only inches in front of Wren. Wren cast a quick glance at an unconscious Warrior Princess lying unconscious on the obsidian floor.

"Yeah, so if you're so great and mighty, where'd you hide him?" Wren dodged a grasp that Alti made at her throat.

She wrapped her agile tail around the Shaman's ankles and yanked. She watched with great mirth as the deadly witch landed soundly on her backside. Alti found an inhuman strength and kicked Wren soundly in the jaw with the pointed heel of her stiletto boot. The young mutant's head snapped and blood and tooth went flying. Alti wrapped Wren's hair around her fist and drug the young mutant back to the dais.

"Oh, what the hell? I'll tell you. I've locked Hades in the dungeon of his own palace. Just go three levels down. The trapdoor beneath Hades' throne leads straight to his cell. He's wrapped in the chains of Hephaestus. Nothing can cut through those."

BAMF!

Kurt returned with long sword in hand in the midst of the battle. A whoosh sliced by him and a jingle landed at his feet. He looked down to see a ring of gold skeleton keys lying on the floor. With a knowing grin, he retrieved them. His mother never noticed his return as she frenziedly fought for her light against to of the greatest warriors alive. Alti never heard Kurt's return as he BAMFED again behind her as she drew back her hand to deliver Wren's deathblow.

The Annulus flew past him and Alti and found it's way into Wren's hand. She gave Alti a bloody smile while Kurt's tail wrapped solidly around Alti's wrist and yanked it backwards. She fell down the stairs and she watched as Kurt's expertise with a sword came to light. Alti and he danced around one another for a few rounds. Wren struggled to regain her wits from the stunning kick delivered to her jaw.

A strangled gasp of surprise escaped the Shaman when she looked down and saw the blade of a Death Knight's sword stuck in her chest. She fell to her knees and stared at the indigo swashbuckler with a mixture of amazement and grudging respect. She fell to the ground in a crumpled heap.

"She's dead." Kurt said quietly.

"No, she's not." Elisa's voice answered as she helped Xena to her feet. She helped the Warrior Princess over to where he stood. Goliath and a wounded Demona brought over the unconscious body of Kurt's mother. "As long as the sword stays in her, she's incapacitated. She's already dead and can't be killed."

"Point taken." He agreed.

"I know where they're keeping Hades." Wren piped up in the conversation. She stumbled over to the hematite throne and felt around the perimeter. She noticed one of the arms pulled upwards. She heard the sliding of hematite against obsidian and an entrance was exposed. "If we follow this down, we'll find Hades chained and imprisoned in his own dungeon."

"Wunderbar!" Kurt exclaimed.

"I'll stay with Alti. Goliath and Demona...?"

"We'll watch the shapeshifter." Demona purred as she gave Mystique's rump a sound pat. "She won't be going anywhere anytime soon."

"I will go and retrieve Hades."

"I'm coming with you!" Wren exclaimed.

"You're in no condition-"

"Wren, think for a moment." Elisa laid a hand on her shoulder to stop the mutant. "You're in no condition to be moving. You need time to recover. Let Kurt and I get Hades and we'll be back. We'll find Demetrius, I promise."

"All right." She slumped against the side of the throne. "Goliath, look after her please."

"We will." He went to Elisa and wrapped his arms around her. "Good Fortune to you, My Elisa."

"Don't worry, Big Guy." She planted a quick kiss to his lavender chiseled cheek. "This part is a cakewalk."

****************
Within the hour, the god of the Underworld stood with the bedraggled group of heroes and villains. He was a striking icon of godhood with jet hair and warm brown eyes. They showed a gentleness and compassion that Wren thought so unlike the other gods she'd met with the exception of Hercules. Garbed in dark armor and a purple cloak, he truly was ruler of the dark realm around them.

"Elisa, again you've proved yourself an outstanding lieutenant. You've accomplished the impossible." He gave the young woman a thankful embrace. "Persephone and I are in your debt."

"Hey, it was all in the line of duty." She looked away. A pretty copper stain tainted her cheeks.

"Goliath, I thank you and your party." He clasped the Gargoyle's wrist in a warrior's welcome. "How can I thank you?"

"You have-" Demona gave him a sharp elbow in the ribs.

"You may never get another chance!" She whispered in a hiss. "Ask now or you will never know the happiness you seek."

"Er...." Goliath nervously cleared his throat. "There is one thing that you could do for me."

"Name it."

"Allow Elisa to return to the physical world with me as flesh and blood. Let her be my wife again."

"Goliath, normally such things are not allowed." There was remorse in Hades' voice.

"Wait a minute!" Wren piped. "You've done it twice before! You did it for Orpheus and Eurydice. You also did it for Hercules and Dainaira."

"They had made deals with me." He countered.

"Oh, come on. We've returned five of the deadliest mutagens to their proper owner. We've defeated those who usurped your throne. We've defeated your enemies and freed you from your dungeon. I think that since you're the god of the Underworld, that you might make an exception. Please....they love each other."

He rubbed his cleft chin in contemplation. He stared at the beloved woman beside him garbed in muslin and flowers woven in her dark hair. His heart quaked at the mere sight of his beloved Persephone. He studied the Gargoyle intently. He knew that a male's love for his mate was a powerful, driving, unstoppable force. He knew a Gargoyle's love for this human woman transcended time, space, dimension, and death. Before this humbled warrior, Hades felt enlightened.

"Elisa, your tie to the world is your badge. Goliath, do you have it with you?"

"I do."

"Give the badge to me." Hades held out his hand. Goliath looked at him in bewilderment but gave him the badge.

Hades waved his hand over the metal shield and watched it sparkle until it became a combination of blue and golden flecks of life. They swirled around in a miniature maelstrom of light and wind in the palm of the god's hand. He slowly moved his hand and unzipped Elisa's bomber jacket. "Pull back your shirt, Elisa."

She looked at Goliath and said nothing, but did as Hades requested. He brought the vortex of azure and argent light to her chest. He laid his palm there for several seconds and his gaze never diverted from Elisa. She hovered a few inches off the ground and was swathed in a sheath of azure brilliance. A smile came over her face as she settled once again on the ground.

She looked at her chest and saw a tiny tattoo of a badge in place over her heart. She gasped in amazement and looked back at Hades. "Now, Elisa, your badge shall always be with you. It is the essence of who you are. You serve and you protect. Now, your badge serves and protects you. You are flesh and blood. Return with your husband to the mortal realm. I hope I don't see you again for several decades."

"Thank you! Oh, Thank you!" She wrapped her arms around her former employer. She then rushed over to her waiting mate. He greeted her with open arms. For the first time in five years, Goliath held his wife in his arms. He loved her in that single moment as much as he had in all the years he had known her. Tail wrapped lovingly about her waist and wings cloaked her in a welcoming shield of love. Their kiss was the kind that marked the 'happily-ever-afters' in fairy tales.

Persephone walked over to Demona standing alone with wings cloaked about her. "I know that you still love Goliath. You gave up much so that he could be with his heart's destiny."

"He wants to be with her." She said without emotion. "It's my only gift that I can give him."

"You freed my husband and saved us all." The goddess replied. She cupped Demona's cheek and gently turned her face to her. "Is there nothing that can be done for you?"

"Let me die. Annihilate my soul so that I don't remember the treachery I've committed the past one thousand years. I'm tired of living with deeds that that I can not undo."

"I can not take your life, Pretty One." Persephone shook her head sadly. "You are immortal. But, I can offer you an alternative."

"What can free me of this pain?" Demona replied with great skepticism.

A goblet of jeweled garnet appeared in Persephone's hands. "This goblet contains water from the River Lethe that surrounds Elysium. Lethe is the river of forgetfulness. Drink of this and you will forget all things in your life. You will no longer know the pain and guilt of the atrocities you've committed."

"What about my daughter? My life? Will I forget them too?"

"Yes, there is no half-way with the waters of Lethe."

"Then I will truly be alone."

"No, you won't." A quiet voice said behind them.

Wren stood nearby and limped towards them. "I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but if you need a place.... A home.... I offer you one. We're rather alike. We're both human by day and Gargoyle or Nightkind at night. Demetrius never would have turned his back on clan."

"Demetrius detested me."

"Demetrius was more about clan. I am a member of Wyvern Clan and so are you, Demona." Wren took hold of the Dame's hand. "If you decide to drink, I'll be your clan and you'll be mine. Demetrius did that for me when I was alone. Nothing is worse than having no one to love you."

"You would do this?"

"We will all do this." Goliath answered. "But, you have a clan to come home. You needn't drink from Lethe's waters. There is no condition on our love and acceptance."

Demona stared at Goliath and his mate, Elisa. The heart wrenching agony of their union tore at her heart. The disdain and distrust of Wyvern's other members weighed heavily on her soul. Her own guilt tormented her and taunted her every waking moment. It haunted her in her dreams. There was no release from her immortal coil. She looked at Wren.

"I accept your offer, Wren Summers."

"Then, drink and know peace." Persephone offered the azure Dame the goblet. Demona took it eagerly in hand and drank of the forgetful waters. She stared one last time at Goliath.

"I've never stopped loving you." She whispered.

Her emerald eyes slowly closed as if she were falling asleep. The endless centuries of pain and anguish seemingly melted away as the worry lines on her face faded. Demona's wings folded about her and she seemed to sway in time with an unheard music. All noticed that she was also growing younger by the second. She looked at them blankly and Wren saw that Demona was gone. In her place stood a young dame no more than 40 summers old. Her face held the brightness of youth and the bliss of innocence and purity.

"What-hat happened?" The harsh jaded tone was gone. Instead, it was a bright voice that chimed like crystal. "Where am I?"

"You are with clan." Goliath spoke slowly. "I am ....Goliath."

"Do you remember anything?" Elisa asked.

"No, I'm sorry, I don't." The young dame shook her head. "I don't even remember my name."

"Your name is ...Dominique." Wren offered her hand. "I'm ...a friend. My name is Wren Summers."

"Dominique." The young Dame tried it on for size. "Wren... I like your name."

"Excuse me, Goliath." Hades tapped him on the shoulder. "I need to speak with the Fae."

"Of course." He nodded. He and Elisa offered their hands to Dominique. "There is much we need to tell you. Walk with us."

"Wren, if I can have a moment." The god of the underworld motioned her over to his side. He offered her a seat on the other throne beside his own. "I know that you've lost much these past few years. You risked your life and lost your love to free us. Your mind has been laid waste for this cause and I sincerely apologize."

"It's over now and been laid to rest." She held her hand to stop him from speaking. "It's done."

"What of Demetrius?"

"He gave himself to Ares to take the war god out of the picture. I knew that gaze well that he gave to me. If it weren't for him, we wouldn't have had a chance. There's no way that we could have fought Ares and won. Do you know Demetrius' location?" She asked.

"My guess is that he is with Ares."

"What will become of Alti and Mystique?"

"I have no battle with Mystique. She'll return to the mortal world with her son. Alti has a nice punishment especially suited for her in Tartarus." He couldn't resist just a small smile.

"I see." Sadness filled her voice. "There is one thing you can do for me."

"What? Name it."

"Who was Orion?" She asked softly. "Was I a Gargoyle in a previous life?"

"Yes, Wren....do you want to know all?" He asked. "You may hear things that you'll not be ready to accept."

"I love Demetrius above all else." She said without hesitation. "I need to know."

And Hades spent the next hour telling her about her incarnation as Orion and the love he shared with his mate Demetrius.

Eventually, when all things were settled, Goliath looked at the group and stared at his beloved Elisa, a grieving Wren, and a brave warrior princess. He saw Kurt with his mother slung over his shoulder. It was time to leave the underworld and it's dealings to Hades. He said the welcomest words spoken in several days.

"Come on. Let's go home."

-Fini

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