Denigoddess2001@aol.com


Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
--Lao-Tzu
Enrique Iglesias - "Hero"
Would you dance
if I asked you to dance?
Would you run
and never look back?
Would you cry
if you saw me cry?
And would you save my soul, tonight?

Would you tremble
if I touched your lips?
Would you laugh?
Oh please tell me this.
Now would you die
for the one you loved?
Hold me in your arms, tonight.

I can be your hero, baby.
I can kiss away the pain.
I will stand by you forever.
You can take my breath away.

Would you swear
that you'll always be mine?
Or would you lie?
would you run and hide?
Am I in too deep?
Have I lost my mind?
I don't care...
You're here tonight.

I can be your hero, baby.
I can kiss away the pain.
I will stand by you forever.
You can take my breath away.

Oh, I just want to hold you.
I just want to hold you.
Am I in too deep?
Have I lost my mind?
I don't care...
You're here tonight.

I can be your hero, baby.
I can kiss away the pain.
I will stand by your forever.
You can take my breath away.

I can be your hero.
I can kiss away the pain.
And I will stand by you forever.
You can take my breath away.
You can take my breath away.

I can be your hero.
Author: Denigoddess2001
Saga: The Avalon Wars
Title: Luck And War
Rating: PG-13 (Strong language and some mature)
Genre: Crossover: (Gargoyles & Xena/ Hercules) ALTERNATE UNIVERSE!!!!!!
Characters: Wren Summers, Gabriel, Boudicca, Lord Oberon, Lady Titania, Lady Skylaris, and Queen Mab

Disclaimer: I do not own Gargoyles. They belong to Disney/ Buena Vista. I'm writing this only for entertainment and NOT FOR PROFIT. I do not own the particular concept of Ares used in this fiction. That belongs to Renaissance Pictures. Please do not sue.

[Bracketed words indicate thoughts or psionic transmissions]

*************

Wren listened to the song as her headphones blared the music into her ears. She yearned for the song by Enrique Iglesias to blot out the pain and numbness that tainted her existence. The words reminded her so much of Demetrius that she thought the pain would kill her then. She remembered how they had danced in their living room at the Summerlands estate to that song. It had been 'their song." It was a musical manifestation of their love...their bond...their correlation.

Wren stared blankly out the window of the Blackbird jet as the bedraggled heroes returned from Thrace to the States. Wren's body felt frozen and numb with the recent turn of events. Her heart felt nothing...her entire essence became cold to the core. Ares sought her ultimate humiliation by enslaving Demetrius for his own nefarious schemes. She was too anesthetized by betrayal for rage. She was moreover deadened by perfidy and incapable of grief.

Conflicting sentiments combated for dominion within Wren Summers. She remembered how Demetrius debased himself to save the life of love and clan. He had placed himself under Ares' command so that Wren would live and clan would thrive. He willingly gave himself to the war god to be his submissive slave. An inner voice demanded that she salvage her pride and leave Demetrius to his choices. Her conscience hated Demetrius for choosing to sleep with Ares rather than let her die. A part of her considered abandoning her deceptive mate. Pride became wounded as Wren remembered Demetrius dodging her questions regarding his personal preference in lovers. Her heart bled sanguine tears as she sought a plausible explanation for the bizarre turn of events.

She committed to memory that scalding kiss shared between her dark warrior and the god of war. She retained enough lucidity to remember every empathic wave of passion and shame that flooded from Demetrius' mind into her thoughts. She remembered the moan of ecstasy her released even as he held her to him. She recounted the minute she realized that he found love not only with females...but also, with males. She wanted to scream, she wanted to weep. Yet, all that came from her was a tiny, choked moan.

Yet, it came down to one constant always with Demetrius: love. He made a covenant with the war god in exchange for their companion's well-being and for her life. [Now, Demetrius is without aid and probably being debauched by Ares at this moment...who knows? Maybe it's Demtrius ravishing Ares? Hell, they're probably having an orgy!]

Her callous judgment did nothing to ease the anguish churning within her mind. Wren wanted to strike something...someone.... ANYTHING if it would relieve her of the disturbing maelstrom eroding her devotion to Demetrius. She knew that if she left him to Ares' care, Demetrius might never live to see the light of morning.

She looked from the window to Goliath. He had one wing wrapped around Elisa in a loving gesture. His chin rested gently upon her head as he held her close to him. [Five years of death didn't stop their love.]

[Ares won't stop me. You know, of course, that this means WAR.] Wren nodded silently with renewed determination. [I will find you and you will pay for the treachery you've committed towards my mate. If I have to burn in Hell for it, you'll be coming with me.]

She saw Dominique sleeping peacefully in one of the seats of the jet with cerise and azure wings folded about her to keep her warm. The Tome of Malkior rested innocuously on the seat beside her. Wren subtly looked at the others to see their current state. Kurt was piloting the plane and Xena was asleep and loudly snoring. She warily leaned forward and snatched the Tome. [I will find a way to avenge Demetrius. I will have justice served on Ares.]

[But, I don't have the firepower to beat Ares? How can I take him one-on-one? None of us can.]

[I can't do this alone.]

[Skylaris met her match in Ares.]

[She wouldn't want her son in the hands of that leather daddy son-of-a-]

She abruptly cut off the torrent of bitter thoughts as she thumbed through the pages. [One place I know of has what I need to make Ares pay and suffer for what he did tonight. Demetrius, I will make things right.]

As she briefly studied each incantation, a plan formed. Skylaris and Ares were, at best, a stalemate. Wren knew that Hercules might not be an ally in this time of need. [He might even side with his brother. Demetrius entered the agreement of his own accord.]

Hades had told her in their last moments together that if she needed support, she could count on him. Still, he was a new ally and Wren knew he wanted time to reestablish stability to the Underworld. The X-Men couldn't fight gods. There was no one left upon which to rely. [Only a Child Of Oberon might stand a chance.]

Then, the lights of illumination brightened a very dismal prospect. A crafty smile crossed Wren's features as she returned her concentration to the spellbook. Now, the tapestry of justice became a clearer concept in her mind as she had a new application for the Grimoire.
[It seems to hold similar spells as the Grimoire Arcanorum. Let's hope that this is just the travel-size version of the same book.]

One word in her mind chimed like a church bell: Avalon.

She found the spell she sought. She knew she wouldn't involve the others; they had seen too much darkness and despair the past several hours. Her cold, frozen heart warmed with a scorned woman's fury and a Gargoyle's primal rage. Had anyone looked at her, hazel eyes blazed brightly with the Gargoyle fires of rage.

She couldn't erase the heart wrenching remembrance of soulful lavender eyes staring at her. Demetrius silently implored her to understand and to accept his decision. She had FELT the anguish in his soul as he gave himself to Ares. Now, he was Ares' whore and slave. That realization decimated the deadness strangling her psyche. A malevolence more wicked than Ares filled her thoughts. [The Wrath of a Child of Oberon is retribution suitable for his transgression.]

She quietly cleared her throat as her finger landed on the spell she needed. She kept her finger on the page and closed the book. [There's no turning back if I do this...it can't be retracted.]

If what she knew of Avalon was true, then the entire lot of Oberon's children had enough primal power to take down Ares permanently. Owen had once told her that the Seelie Court denied no Child of Oberon aid in a quest if the cause was right and just. It was Oberon's law that Fae abet Fae in times of crisis and war. [Ares isn't expecting every Child Of Oberon to be knocking on his front door.]

[You mess with one, you mess with us all.] Demetrius was half-Gargoyle. He was also Skylaris' biological child. That made him half-Kiari and thus, a member of the Seelie Court. Skylaris was one of Oberon's ancestors and a very powerful Kiari. Kiari were the primogenitors of the Seelie Court. She knew that Oberon would not leave his cousin, Demetrius, in the hands of Ares. Wren's soul darkened with pitiless satisfaction in that one pristine moment of lucidity. Demetrius would be avenged and Ares unseated.

It was heinous what she planned. It was duplicitous. It was the only way to free her beloved from the clutches of the war god. Demetrius had blatantly cast aside his pride for her sake. He gave love without reservation or hesitation. Again, he had flown in wing in the Gargoyle Way and loved her fiercely and well. He put aside his self-esteem and gave himself to the most malevolent of deities. She had wronged him by forsaking her heart's truest and best destiny. She felt ill.

Now, she would repay Ares with equal ferocity.

She realized Demetrius would have never thought twice. He was a warrior of honor. He would defend his protectorate, his clan and his mate to the death. Nothing was too great of sacrifice for her Dark Warrior. She sighed with resolution knowing what needed doing. She reopened the book and quickly scanned the incantation. She watched the words as they swirled around the page. They moving black script reminded Wren of tadpoles darting around in water. The flowing script reformed upon the paper and became English before her eyes.

It was time.

"I, Child Of Oberon, do take my place
And long to see the sweetest face
Of my dear Queen and of my Lord
Take me now to my birthright's reward.

As one of the Fae I now call upon
The intrinsic magicks of Avalon
Grant me passage to my homeland isle
Before the Seelie Court in view of Oberon's Eyes."

*************

Wren watched a gentle white mist fill the cabin of the jet. No one stirred as the vaporous haze languorously drifted around her. She tucked the spellbook in the inside pocket of her cloak and waited for the magick to manifest. The others became blurry visions as the cabin vanished from sight. For a moment, Wren felt weightless and free in the midnight skies over the Atlantic. The air felt much warmer than the frigid autumn chill she knew in Linoma. She saw rich, lush orchards of apple trees below her. She saw the bonfires blazing that she knew belonged to the Gargoyles that lived on the isle.

She found herself softly descending to Avalon. The features of the Gargoyles became clearer to her as they grew closer. Within a few seconds, Wren felt the soft padding of white sand beneath the heels of her boots. She pulled the cowl of her cloak around her and began her ascent up the path that led to the palace of Lord Oberon and Lady Titania. With each step her plan became more apparent and organized in her mind.

She felt the gust of warm air from the sea as she made her way. A barking grew louder as she made her way to the palace. Soon a large draconic beast charged toward her with zeal and enthusiasm. She found herself tackled and licked by a very excited creature that showered her with unchecked affection.

"Boudicca." A stern voice called from the darkness. Wren's hand went to the Annulus hanging on her hip. She watched the large green beast turn in the direction of the baritone that called her. "Come."

She studied the beast as it ran to it's ..master. It was broad-shouldered with faceplates not unlike that of a reptile. Rather than the spaded tail she saw on Bronx, she saw that this gargbeast possessed a spaded tail. It howled and wined liked a dog and it's eyes glowed with argent fire. [It must be some kind of gargbeast. It's definitely better looking than Bronx.]

Wren sat up and used tried to see into the darkness. The voice that came to her ears sounded rather familiar. She heard footsteps making their way from the top of the path toward her. Those particular clicks against the gravel told her those weren't shoes making that sound; they were talons. In that moment, she breathed a bit easier.

A broad-shouldered Sire stepped into the light and petted Boudicca. He was tall for a male, about seven feet with peridot skin and golden blonde hair. She saw the excrescences of horn on his chin and brow. He wore a gray tunic of the finest rabbit fur and matching gloves that covered most of his forearms. His wings were folded about him and that signaled that he wasn't in full combat mode. His eyes widened slightly when he saw the caped figure on the ground.

Wren slowly pushed back her hood so that he could see her face fully in the moonlight. She realized that it might be somewhat of a shock to see a human with pointed ears and small horns akin to a succubus protruding from her brow. She gave the Sire a smile as she pulled herself to her feet and brushed the dust and gravel from her cloak. She knew enough of Gargoyle etiquette to offer immediate greeting.

"Well met!" She called loudly to the advancing Gargoyle. She held her arms open wide to indicate her peaceful intentions. "Is this Avalon?"

"Well met and yes, you have reached Avalon." He returned merrily. He came closer and stopped about ten feet away. "I have not seen you before on the island."

His voice rang with a cheerfulness and sincerity that caused Wren to recognize him. [It's the same Gargoyle that watched over me shortly before Armand's trial before Oberon. It's Gabriel. He hasn't aged a day!]

"G-good." She stammered as a wave of vertigo jeopardized her balance and equilibrium.

"Gabriel, you may not remember me." She did the mental math in her head. "I am Wren Summers, friend of Armand and descendant of Puck."

"Step closer so that I can see you in the light." He beckoned her forward with an open hand. He caught her as her knees buckled from her magickal journey around the world.

She pushed back the edges of her cloak so that he could see her more clearly. His eyes caught the glint of moonlight refracted by the Annulus of Avalon. He nodded in acknowledgment when he saw the weapon at Wren's side. He studied her with great curiosity as he took in her horns, ears and the small pointed canines that replaced blunt human teeth.

"I recognize you to be Wren Summers, a Child of Oberon. Yet, I do not remember you looking like a ...."

"Gargoyle?" She answered. He nodded silently. She removed one of her gloves to show him five slender talons. He gasped as he took her hand in his and turned it over several times. She brought her slender, prehensile tail into view and playfully poked him in the chest.

"This is Puck's doing." She explained. [No need to go into the lengthy description that it was a Puck from an Alternate dimension. Besides, I don't think tall, Green, and Gargoyle would understand about the magical scrambling of my DNA with Demetrius' to make us the same unique species known as Nightkind. I don't think Gabriel's ready for that little revelation.]

"By the Dragon!" He whispered in wonder. "But where are your wings?"

"I don't have any. I think those were overlooked. Besides, I don't look good in wings." She smiled. Then, she remembered the reason for her visit. The relaxed smile quickly vanished from her face. "Gabriel, the reason that I've returned to Avalon is because I must speak with Lord Oberon and Lady Titania at once regarding a matter of great urgency. Can you take me to them?"

"I can lead you to the palace, but only they can grant you an audience."

"Understood." She nodded. "Just out of curiosity, Gabriel, how long has it been since I've been gone. In the outside world it's almost ten years for me since I was last here."

"You've been away from Avalon, Lady Wrens, approximate eight...almost nine months." He offered. "Milady, the path is steep and rocky and will take long to walk. With your permission, I'll fly you to the palace and we'll save time."

"That will be wonderful."

The warm gentle breeze blew in her hair as he caught the updrafts on the next cliff. She guessed the Sire to be approximately a few years younger than Demetrius. She knew none of the Avalon clan were her mate's children. She looked again at the Sire gliding with her toward the palace. He reminded her so much of Othello and Desdemona, two members of the Caledon clan. He certainly looked like both of them.

"What has happened to you these past few ....years?" He asked pleasantly. She remembered that he had been considerate and decorous while Armand faced trial before Lord Oberon.

She briefly told him that she had become a mate of a Gargoyle named Demetrius. She told him of the resurrection of the Wyvern clan and how they thrived on an island not far from Avalon. She saw that Gabriel become hushed with amazement as the words revealed their true meaning to him.

"Wyvern... all of them... alive?" He choked.

"All but four." She told him. "The ones that were DeMahri are still dead. The one called Orion was not resurrected."

"I don't recognize that name."

"I didn't think you would." She replied darkly. [I wonder if Orion....I....had any children here on Avalon? That would be a severe twist.]

She told him of the discovery of the Tomb of Tacitus and how Adrienne Westfall resurrected the murdered clan. Gabriel shared with Wren that Adrienne was on the island and quite ill. Wren stiffened automatically.

"Adrienne is on Avalon?"

"Indeed. She returned to us not long ago. She is one of Titania's attendants."

[NOT GOOD.]

"Is Skylaris on Avalon?"

"Aye, the Goddess communes with us often." He smiled widely. "She teaches us of the outside world so that we might rejoin other Gargoyles in the near future."

"Really?" [Tonight is just full of surprises.] Wren pursed her lips in contemplation.

"It had always been the wish of Princess Katherine and the Magus that the clan be reunited once they had learned of Goliath and a few others surviving the massacre." A pensive look crossed the young Sire's features. "I am sorry that the Magus did not live to hear the news of the Wyvern clan's resurrection."

"I never met the Magus, but I've heard of him." Wren cocked her head. "When did he pass on?"

"Just a few months ago. For you, it might have been years."

"Most likely." She acquiesced.

They arrived at the highest point on Avalon. They were above the bonfires and landed on the palace wall beyond the celebration of the Gargoyles. [Here we go... another castle, another great dining hall, and another throne dais. I should be used to this by now.] "Milady, you need only walk down the corridor and take the first stairs on your right. Lord Oberon and Lady Titania are dining with Mab and Skylaris in the main dining hall."

"They probably already know that I'm here." Wren assured him. "Much doesn't get past that crowd."

He nodded in appreciation. They clasped wrists in a warrior's greeting and farewell. "Gabriel, I thank you for hastening my arrival. Perhaps, we'll get a chance to talk again before I leave here."

"I would like that, Wren Summers." He patted her heartily on the back. "Our clan has much to learn from you."

"I have an entire junket of information." [Teaching Gargoyles is my specialty and my job description.] "I think we could learn from one another."

"Good fortune be with you." He waved and took flight to join his clan.

"And also with you." Wren called after him.

She made her way down the long stone corridor of the palace. She found the first stairwell on her right and stopped. She focused her mind on the task at hand. She forced herself to inhale slowly and find inner balance. She said a little prayer to a particular Hebrew deity that captured her heart long ago. Now, she knew that the time had come to see to Demetrius' freedom.

***************

She heard laughing and merriment as she reached the bottom of the stairwell. She needed only to open the door to enter into the dining hall. Wren carefully pressed her ear to the cumbersome oaken door. She heard the strums of harps and the plucking of the lute. The melodic refrains of a recorder blended with the symphony of other instruments. The smells of freshly baked bread met her nostrils. The strong aroma of roasted meat and cooked vegetable tempted her stomach into growling.

[Partyfest.] She mused and let her hand fall to the latch. Wren carefully pushed open the heavy door. She peaked through the small crack and saw a marvelous sight. There were many Children Of Oberon gathered at great lengthy dining tables imbibing spirits and feasting upon roast meat. Jesters and jugglers danced along the tops of those tables and Gargoyles intermingled freely with the Fay. Dancers and acrobats tumbled across the cobblestone floor. Wren looked down and saw that her hands were gleaming with a faint emerald radiance.

[Great, the closer I am to Avalon, the brighter I glow. Wonderful.] She remembered how she had been a walking light bulb during Armand's trial. She found resilience within her to act upon the courage mounting within her. She pushed opened the tower door and stepped slowly into the Grand dining hall. Wren hurriedly scanned the enormous chamber for familiar faces. To her dismay, the room was swarming with Oberon's Children. No face looked familiar to her.

"I might as well get this over with." Wren pulled her hood about her face. "There's no time like the present."

She stepped into the great dining hall and made her way along the stone walls. The brush of ornate velvet tapestries along her back felt cool and soothing to her frazzled nerves. She slowly made her way along the perimeter of the room and headed towards what she thought was the dais. She wasn't disappointed as she spotted two very familiar faces greeting courtiers and drinking wine. A small smile crept across her worried features as she spotted the one that she needed to see.

The gracious Lady of the Fae sat regally upon her throne clad in rich deep forest velvet. Her flaxen hair fell about her shoulders. [I thought that Elves always dressed in sheer fabrics and pastel. I can't get used to the fact that rich tones and textured fabrics are the norm. I wished I looked that good. I hope Titania's in a good mood. Otherwise, I'm lost.]

She saw the Lady's eyes turn from the Fae to whom she was speaking. Eyes of aquamarine stared directly into a hazel gaze. She gave a warm smile and gracefully motioned for others to step aside. She rose from her throne and made her way down the stairs of the dais. Wren's confidence level dropped into her stomach as the Oberon's Lady strolled towards her. Wren remained still and riveted by Titania's commanding presence. She remained still as a stone effigy as the Queen made her way to her.

"Wren Summers, you are welcome in our court." The regal alto voice soothed Wren's fluttering stomach.

[Ettiquette is everything! Don't look like a fool, Summers. Do something] The young mutant stared mutely at the Fairy Queen. Wren pondered what Demetrius would do in such a formal situation. Inspiration came to her as she remembered how he had greeted her on their first meeting. Wren bowed deeply. "My Lady Titania, I beg you to forgive my intrusion on your gathering."

"All Children Of Oberon are welcome at the Seelie Court." A delicate cerulean hand landed on her forearm. "We are pleased that you have joined us this night."

"I ..." Wren searched desperately for the Eloquence Goliath and Demetrius possessed. [Just once, I like to seem as comfortable in social situations as they do.] "Thank you, Gracious Lady for your kind words. However, I am not here on a social matter."

"How did you get here, Wren?" Titania raised an inquiring brow.

Wren felt her face redden with embarrassment. "My Lady Titania, I sequestered a tome and used the contents herein to journey here."

"And is it still on your person?" The playful catch in Titania's voice made Wren feel like she had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

[Busted!]

"Yes, Lady Titania." She admitted grudgingly. "The tome is on my person."

"You know that no magic may enter the isle, save Avalon's own."

That had been the first lesson that Wren had learned from Titania when she had studied under the Fairy Queen. [I'm not doing this well. I'm in deep trouble.]

"I didn't think of it at the time, Lady Titania." Wren bit her lip and decided to simply tell the truth. "I don't have the means to enter Avalon. My powers, at best, are severely limited. I used the only means available to get here. I ask you not to judge me harshly once I tell you my reason for being here."

"I am listening."

"I need to speak with you and Lord Oberon as well as Skylaris." Wren whispered urgently. "It regards a matter that I don't wish to speak of publicly."

"It must be dire, indeed." There was a twinkle of amusement in aquamarine eyes.

"It is very dire, My Lady." Wren assured her. "I humbly insist upon an audience with you, Lord Oberon and Lady Skylaris as soon as can be arranged."

"You truly are distraught, aren't you, child?" Titania gently lifted Wren's chin to study her more intently. "Very distraught. For you to break Oberon's laws twice, you must be experiencing great misfortune."

"Not me, My Lady." Wren whispered. "Demetrius has been taken by Ares, god of war."

"WHAT!?" Titania's voice cut through the raucous noise made by the merrymakers.

"My Lady, please! I beg you to keep this matter discreet." Wren hushed her.

"Come with me." Titania turned and made her way towards her throne. She walked past her husband and cast him a stern glance. Her eyes locked with Oberon's for a few seconds and then she walked past him. He nodded in silent response and walked across the room to a statuesque Nubian Amazon speaking to .....

"PUCK!" Wren exclaimed aloud. She barely suppressed the urge to rush to him and embrace him. He seemed equally taken aback that his granddaughter yelled his name across the great room. Skylaris also turned and appeared pleasantly astonished to see Wren on Avalon.

Wren watched Oberon speak with the duo briefly and Titania joined them. They motioned to Wren to follow them. She watched them step through the stone bricks of the sidewall. Wren followed them until she reached the wall. She let her fingers trace a path alone the mortar lines and stone. [Great, they walk through walls. They seem to forget I'm not trueblood. I'm just a mireblood that does really well with gambling and ancient languages.]

Puck stuck his head half through the wall. Wren let forth a startled shriek and almost fell on her backside. "Are you coming? We're waiting."

"Hey, I can't do parlor tricks like you." She nodded to the wall. She rapped on one of the stones. "Solid Rock. I'm mortal, remember?"

"You always thought in terms of 'I can't' rather than 'I can.'" He tisked his tongue in disappointment. "Are you sure you're my grand-"

"I know that I can't walk through a stone wall." She riposted. She placed her hand against the stone. "Unless you help me."

"That, my dear, is your problem." He shook his head. "I'll tell you this: mortals don't get into Avalon without an invitation. You can come and go as you please, Wren."

"I stole a spellbook and used a spell."

"The means matter not." He chuckled. "You're here, aren't you? Avalon's magick stops all mortals unless their here to fulfill Oberon's will."

"Okay, so what do I need to do?"

"Walk through the wall, Wren." He stepped out so that he stood beside her. He knocked on her forehead. "Hello! Is anyone in there?"

She quickly batted his hand away. "Oh, come on, Puck! Just be honest and straightforward with me for once! Demetrius' life is on the line and you want to be a comedian?"

"Demetrius?" Puck's tone became somber as he spoke the name. "What's wrong?"

"Get me through this accursed wall and I'll tell you." Wren fought hard not to lose her patience.

"Oh, you always take the fun out of everything." He lamented. "You have to quit thinking like a mortal. You aren't one and you know it. You are a Child of Oberon and you have all the powers thereof. You can teleport, you can become invisible. You have the ability, Wren, to cast intrinsic magick and bend reality to your whim. You can manipulate the very magickal ley lines of Earth itself if only you have faith in your abilities. Don't limit yourself to such excuses as ...'I'm a mortal' or 'I'm a Mutant.' You are a Child of Oberon and my Granddaughter. Now, act like it!"

"Puck." A gentle alto lilted around them. "She is young and her abilities are still limited. She has to learn how to do small things before she can accomplish great things."

"Yes, My Lady." He walked again through the wall.

"Wren," Titania's voice surrounded her. "He is right. You limit yourself by your mindset. You ARE a Child Of Oberon. You ARE Fae. Now, embrace your destiny. Do you see the wall?"

"Yes." Wren felt like a fool for talking to thin air.

"Close your eyes and imagine that you are stepping into a den." Titania spoke softly in her ear. "Imagine the rich deep colors of the tapestries and focus upon a hearth full with a warm fire. Do you see the fire?"

"Yes, My Lady." Wren let her mind's eye envision a castle hearth with a warm flickering fire crackling and sparking.

"Walk to the fire, Wren. You will see us waiting by the hearth."

The vision of Lady Titania beckoning her came to mind. She saw Lord Oberon with arms folded and waiting impatiently. She noticed that in her vision, Skylaris sat in a chair by the fire with a troubled expression marring her flawless beauty. Titania called to her again. "We await you."

Wren breathed deeply and opened her eyes. She kept sight of the hearth in her mind's eye. She saw stone and stepped forward. She felt coolness as a wall of gray immediately blocked her vision. It was as if someone had draped gray silk across her eyes. She continued forward and the veil lifted. She found herself in a room decorated ornately in dark mahogany. Candles illuminated the room in a soft golden light.

Wren looked behind her and saw a stone wall only a few feet away from her. She turned to see the other four watching her. Oberon gave her one silent nod. Skylaris smiled and nodded silent congratulations. Puck beamed and applauded her success. Titania motioned her to them.

"Well done."

"Child's play." Puck chimed.

"You must remember that Wren is a child to us." Titania reminded the trickster. "She will have many centuries to learn her ways with magick."

"Wren, you said that you came here on an urgent matter." Skylaris rose and laid a gentle hand on her shoulder. "How is Demetrius?"

"Demetrius is in the hands of Ares." Wren spat.

"WHAT?"

"We were in the Underworld returning some mutagens to the five rivers of Hades." She began. "We battled some of Hades' Death Knights that were being controlled by a dead shamaness hell-bent on ruling the world and bringing about the apocalypse."

"Oh, a typical day's work." Puck chuckled.

"Hardly." Wren shot him a withering glance. She returned her attention to Skylaris. "I was ran through with a sword and I lay dying in Demetrius' arms. We faced a great evil, a Child of Oberon and the god of War. We wouldn't have survived the battle."

"WHICH Child of Oberon?" Titania asked pointedly.

"Mystique." Wren turned to the great Lady. "She was assisting Alti by causing schisms to open in the physical world and allowing creatures from the underworld to escape. She also stole the mutagens from the five rivers of the Underworld. She placed them aboard the space shuttle and intended for it to crash. Then the five waters would have contaminated the earth and-"

"I get the idea." Titania stopped Wren's lengthy oration.

"She shall be dealt with ...severely." Oberon, at last, spoke. "Continue, Wren."

"Thank you, My Lord." She bowed quickly to him. "Ares propositioned Demetrius."

"How does a god proposition my son?" Skylaris asked.

"He told Demetrius he'd heal me and let our group go if Demetrius became his lover for the night." Wren hated every word as she spoke them. "Demetrius went to buy us some time."

"Did he go of his own free will?" Oberon rubbed his chin in contemplation.

"Yes, he did." Was the sad reply. "Lord Oberon, Ares has mettled in the affairs of mortals one to many times. He has violated the sacred domain of Skylaris more than once. He's beaten me to a bloody pulp on more than one occasion and now he's coerced Demetrius. As we speak, he's probably cheerfully stuffing his genitalia into my mate's lower intestine."

"What?" Oberon seemed lost at her words.

"....Riding his bum....traveling the Hershey Highway....sticking his hot dog between two buns..." Puck took great pleasure as his explanation made Oberon visibly awkward.

Oberon raised a hand to stop him. "I comprehend her meaning. She seems to share your trait for unique and descriptive narration."

"She's my girl!" He wrapped around Wren. "We just get her to loosen up a bit and-"

"What about my son?" Skylaris' lavender eyes gleamed brightly as her skin shimmered. The dark Nubian beauty swirled and sparkled as deep green scales imposed themselves over dark skin. "Ares has been one to almost destroy the world more than once. He has attacked my worshippers and now he has kidnapped my child. I want him dealt with immediately."

"The Hellenic Ones are not Children of Oberon and not subject to our laws." Oberon reminded his distraught Aunt. "Wren has told us that Demetrius went of his own accord."

"I want the collective Power of all Fae and Avalon to help me launch an offensive against Ares and I want him defeated by any means necessary." Wren pounded her fist on the mantle above the fireplace. Her hazel eyes burned with emerald fire. She let forth a roar that would have made Goliath proud. "He has threatened me and my mate for the last time. I want him dead and I want your help to bring him down."

"We do not kill." Oberon said sternly.

"Yes, you do when the need commands it." Wren retorted. "He is a threat to the world. Human problems eventually become Gargoyle problems. That means that he will eventually bring his desire for power to the shores of Avalon. He has attacked three Fae: Demetrius, Skylaris and me. That demands retribution and justice."

"Perhaps, you mean vengeance." Oberon drawled.

"That too, My Lord." Wren declared. She looked at the amused Lord of Avalon.
"Wren, why should the Seelie Court involve our children and Avalon in your private vendetta?" Oberon gazed down at her. "Why should we aid your desire for revenge?"

"The most ancient of all your laws states and I quote, 'FAE SHALL ABET FAE IN TIMES OF WAR AND PREDICAMENT WITHOUT VACILLATION OR CONDITION. WHEN ONE PETITIONS THE COURT IN A JUST AND RIGHTEOUS CALL AGAINST THAT WHOM IS A COMMON FOE OF THE FAE, THEN ALL CHILDREN OF OBERON SHALL UNITE AND ERADICATE THE SAID FOE WITHOUT LENIENCY."

"You have been taught well." He replied with a reluctant admiration. "You truly consider this ....clash with the Hellenic war god one that is of threat to all our people."

"He has attacked one of my own, nephew." Skylaris the dragon now filled the room. Wren stepped to the left to avoid stepping on the matriarch twitching tail. He has chosen to battle me in my domain. He has assaulted Wren in combat and he may be ravaging my son to sate his twisted lustful needs."

"Titania, your thoughts?" Oberon turned to his wife.

The Gracious Lady turned to Wren. "Why do you do this? Do you do as my Lord suggests and pursue Ares for revenge?"

"I do this because Demetrius gave himself to Ares for me...for Goliath, Elisa, and Demona. He gave us our best chance to live. I promised him that I would get him out of this and I will do everything to keep my oath. He would do the same for us and he deserves my love, loyalty and respect. Ares is a menace too dangerous to continue running amok. He must be contained or eliminated. I am not powerful enough to do this alone. I need help to free Demetrius and to bring Down Ares."

"One word why you are truly doing this, Wren Summers." Titania pressed.

"Love. I do this because I love Demetrius. Even if Ares can't be brought down, I must rescue Demetrius."

Lord Oberon steepled his hands. "We have not battled the other primordial forces of this realm for eons. Yet, the young Wren speaks truth. Ares is one to bring his desire for power to Avalon's shores. Wife, how do you vote?"

Titania gave him an open palm. "War."

"My beloved Aunt, how do you vote?"

"WAR." The dragoness growled.

"You did not ask me." A voice rasped behind them. "The court cannot convene a council of war without my presence."

"Oh, no." Wren muttered.

A Woman of pallid complexion stood in the door. With dark kohl surrounding ebony eyes, she reminded Wren of a gothic witch. Garbed in black lace and flowing robes, she reminded Wren of a mixture between Morticia Adams and Stevie Nicks. The dark Kiari beldam floated to the others and ignored Wren.

"One of our own has been attacked. One of our kind has been humiliated. Now, it takes this mireblood to bring us the fire needed? You contemplate it as though you were old hags in a swamp. Ares has attacked Skylaris...then, we bring down our wrath upon him and demand repentance. WAR."

"Mother, call Wren a mireblood again and I shall have you banished back to the Shadowlands." Oberon's stern warning was enough to silence the eldest of the Fae. He looked at the young Child Of Oberon standing before him. "I deduce that your love for Demetrius is indeed motivation. I also know that your hatred of Ares and your desire for revenge also prompt this petition. I reservedly and warily vote....WAR."

"Good."

Oberon clapped his hands and the den vanished. They five stood again upon the dais in the great dining hall. He held up his hands to quiet the raucous of the merriment going on about them. The entire crowd stilled and became silent. "Children of Avalon, the Hellenic god of war has committed extortion upon one of Skylaris' children. He has physically attacked Puck's progeny and has attempted to contaminate the mortal realm with his delusions of power. We, the Seelie Court, find this to be intolerable and deplorable. We are going to war."



TO BE CONTINUED