Author: Denigoddess2001@aol.com
Date: 01/02/02 ...finished 1/7/02 5:16:26 AM
Saga: The Avalon Wars
Episode: The Methods Of Her Madness
Rating: R (Violence and sexual content) Not for sensitive readers, underaged or those of sound mind. PLEASE READ RESPONSIBLY!!!!

Disclaimer: I don't own Gargoyles. They belong to Disney. I don't own Hercules: The Legendary Journeys or Xena: Warrior Princess. They belong to Renaissance Pictures. There are spoilers for Ambrosia mentioned in this tale. If you wish for further explanation of Hind's blood, Ambrosia or any other concept in this tale, please feel free to contact me with your questions.

You can send your adoring praise, constructive comments, and flames to Denigoddess2001@aol.com.

Summary: The Avalon Wars take an unexpected turn as victory comes about in the most misshapen rendering of justice.

Author's Note: In no way do I wish anyone to think that I am making light of mental illness. It is used as a plot device and not to be considered an accurate portrayal of any person. I also do not believe violence is a way to exact justice. This is JUST A STORY.

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


"There is no great genius free from some tincture of madness."
-Lucius Annaeus Seneca


Wren felt her stomach leap into her mouth as the Gargoyle mount galloped forward through the dimensional aperture. She realized that riding a Gargoyle beast was quite different from riding a horse. She looked over to find Titania watching with barely concealed mirth. Wren silently prayed to the Powers-That-Be that she didn't fall off her mount and on her backside in front of five thousand elves and Fae. [That would be just my luck to fall flat on my ass.]

She found that the portal led to a grassy section of the city. Wren stopped her mount and stared at the city in awe. Olympus rose majestically on the horizon. Built on hills and plateaus, it was an architectural miracle she beheld. She noted that the buildings were grand in design with towering columns and ornate design. The hues of the divine metropolis were vivid and resolute. The sky seemed brighter and the clouds so near. The air held the pleasing redolence of honeysuckle, jasmine and fresh morning rain. She heard a thunderous roaring to her left. Wren looked over her shoulder, gasping in wonder when she saw the crashing waterfalls from high cliffs. Many of the hills were covered in lush orchards of apple trees and other fine fruits. Never before had Wren seen anything so resembling Utopia.

She noticed that she and five thousand others stood upon a verdant plateau. The sun shone brightly from the east, yet the Gargoyles remained flesh. Taken aback by this, Wren realized that this was, indeed, a turn of good luck. She summoned her lieutenant over to her side. "Can you help me down, please?"

Timron stared at her with disbelief. "Milady, can't you dismount?"

"I'm quite likely to fall flat on my face." She muttered in hushed tones. "I never learned how to ride a mount very well. Please, help me down?"

He nodded eagerly. He came to her side and stood beside the gargantuan beast. "Milady, keep your left foot in the stirrup. Keep both hands on the saddle horn. Then, I want you to swing your right leg over Bridget's back. I shall grab your waist and lower you to the ground."

"All right, let's give this a shot." Wren gave a mock salute. [Yeah, I can understand every language, control luck and I am a lousy rider. Well, I can't do everything, now can I?]

Thanks to Timron's tutelage, she managed to alight from her mount without much difficulty. Bridget, ever trained for war, stood stock-still as her rider dismounted. Wren gave the Gargoyle Beast a solid pat on the flank and gave the reins to Timron. "Can I kiss the ground now?"

"Is that a custom among your people?" He chuckled.

"Let's put it this way. I don't fly and I don't ride anything that's alive." She gave him a shaky smile. "Let's just say that I suffer from a lot of motion sickness."

"I'll take you at your word." Timron surveyed the surroundings. "Luck seems to be with us today. It appears that we've arrived in a glen surrounded by foliage and it's masking our presence."

"Agreed." Wren studied the immediate surroundings. Trees surrounded the army on every side. She also noticed she didn't have a clear view of the city once she was at ground level. "We need to send a scouting party into the city. We need to find out the layout of Olympus. We need to know how many gods and other strange creatures are running about. We need to find a headquarters and formulate battle plans."

"Understood." Timron motioned three Gargoyles to him. "We shall do so at once."

"Hang on, Cowboy." She stayed him by grabbing his shoulder. "Gargoyles running around Olympus in broad daylight are going to attract attention. We'd be better off with a Fae or Elvin scouting party. First, let's find camp, preferably on this plateau."

Within the hour, a suitable headquarters was found. It was the main mansion for that particular plateau. It reminded Wren more of an antebellum mansion with intricate columns and large front porch than a Greek temple. Two Elvin scouts explored the place and found it to be deserted. Wren conversed with Titania and Oberon to find out their thoughts on the matter. Both agreed that it was a remarkable vantage point.

Wren went and spoke with the Elvin generals. They were quick-witted and quite clever. She had two of their people form a scouting party to search the house. "Whatever booty you find, take to Avalon. When we have the mansion secured for occupation, I'd like a full, detailed report on what you've found."

It didn't take long for the Elvin scouting party to secure the area and set up base. Wren, Oberon and Titania immediately established base within the ornate mansion. Wren marveled at the intricate, brightly painted murals that adorned each wall in the house. Sometimes, she was forced to ask the Lord and Lady to repeat their words because she was so taken with the house's art. When she noticed Lord Oberon drumming his fingers, Wren forced herself to focus solely upon his words.

"Sir, I plead with you...give me but a moment with the Elvin General, Erinydd." She cast Oberon her most soulful glance. The Fae lord sighed heavily in exasperation and nodded curtly.

Erinydd drew the young woman aside. He produced an iridescent sparkling mass. It was a mass of gelatinous quivering berries. They glistened in the morning sun. The berries shone brightly in hues of amber, apricot and tangerine. They carried the redolence of nectar and citrus. Curiously, she sniffed the exotic berries. They carried the scent of the finest fruit. Wren opened her mouth to sample the luscious berries. A hand soundly slapped them from her hand.

"Wren, eat not of that fruit!" Oberon bellowed. "It is not for the Fae."

"What do you mean? It's just a bunch of berries that look like jell-o. What's the big deal?" Her stomach growled and her mouth watered for just one bite of those succulent berries lying on the ground. She wanted just one more bite.

"That is ambrosia, food of the gods."

"Ambrosia?" Wren stared at the berries lying on the ground. She had watched several episodes of her favorite demigod and warrior princess. She had worked at the Museum with Professor Xorbo and had seen several powerful relics. She had heard the legends of this magical fruit but had doubted its existence.

"Give me a refresher course." She never took her eyes from the fruit. "Just what exactly does Ambrosia do?"

"You know well it's abilities, Wren Summers." Oberon took the berries from the floor. "It gives the gods eternal life and perpetuates their powers. It gives mortals the lifespan and abilities of the Hellenistic gods. This intoxicating fruit is bane to the Fae. It will give you that which I've described; it shall rob you of your goodness and make you evil to the core. You would become like those who dwell in the deepest caverns of this world."

"Dark elves?" She whispered. "You mean those who prey upon mortals?"

"And prey upon their bright brethren and their Fae counterparts." Oberon held the berries out to her. "Take, and eat of this fruit if your desire the power to kill Ares. It will give you such abilities that rival those of the war god. But, you're bright soul will darken beyond the hue of your mate's skin. Your eyes will never again be able to stand sunlight. You'll seek solace in the bowels of the earth away from all you once cherished in the surface world. You will be a dark elf... you will become Duende."

"Duende?" Wren stumbled over the word.

"Drow... evil, wicked, malevolent." Oberon supplied her with further explanation. "With your mixed blood, you might be spared. But, I wish not to see you changed into such a pitiful wraith of your true self."

"I've already taken a bit." She trembled as she spoke the words.

The Fairy Lord tightly grabbed her shoulders and shook her. "How much?"

"One little berry the size of a pencil eraser was caught in my teeth." She chattered while being jostled. "I worked it out with my tongue and swallowed it. That's all."

"Let us hope your mortal blood counteracts its nocuous effects. We shall know before the rising of the moon." Oberon laid a hand on her shoulder. "If you transmute...what would you have us do?"

"Is there a cure?"

"None is known for our kind." He gave her a small smile. "You may persevere, Wren Summers. It does not affect mortal blood in the same fashion. You may be saved from the curse."

"Or not."

"Or not." He confirmed.

"You said that it doesn't affect mortal blood in the same fashion. Just what can Ambrosia do?"

"It is said to bestow godhood upon mortals. It sustains the Hellenistic deities in these times when their worshipers are few. Ambrosia is said that it has enlivening properties when placed in the mouth of the dead."

"Can you translate that into plain English?" Wren quipped. "In not so many words, it resurrects the dead."

"Yes." He nodded slowly. "But the corpse must not be more than three days dead otherwise, Ambrosia's effects are lost."

She took the berries from his hand and studied them. "They are tempting."

"Wren, think of what you say! Is your quest to best Ares so obsessed that you'd sacrifice your soul?"

"No." She took the berries and reached for a pouch hanging from Oberon's side. She opened the soft blue velvet and placed the glisten tangerine-hued berries in its soft folds. She pulled the cinch tight and replaced it on his belt. He gave her a look that was somewhere between bewilderment and scorn. "Lord Oberon, keep these on you. We're going to have need of these."

"What conspiring chicanery is forming in your thoughts, Wren?" Oberon asked in a quiet voice. "Puck has that very same look when he devises one of his cunning machinations."

"Oh, it's far better than that. Think of it as a stratagem and not a machination." She gave the Fairy lord a sly wink. "The law that can not be broken can surely be bent. In this case, there is no law presiding over this particular situation, so I'm going to give Ares my own brand of justice, but I'll need your help."

The Elvin scouting party returned within the hour and provided Wren with the much-anticipated report. One of them explained to Wren that he thought it to be the former residence of the goddess Athena. Wren didn't ask why and instructed others to sequester it for the purpose of war. She called the others to her in the main dining hall. Over the next hour, reconnaissance parties were sent out on intelligence gathering missions. She explained that with teleporting capabilities, Fae covered much more territory more quickly. Elves were excellent at subterfuge, so she directed them to learn about the denizens of Olympus.

She gathered Titania and Oberon around her. "Once we have our information, then we can formulate the best plan of attack."

"Attack?" Oberon drawled. "You would have us lay waste to this wonderful city?"

"If necessary, yes." Wren unrolled a map procured from one of the libraries in the mansion. She pointed to a particular "x" that caught her attention. "We are here. Those orchards surrounding the grounds obscure our presence. What I want to know is how many inhabitants are dwelling here and what are their capabilities. Secondly, I have a re-con team out with Boudicca tracking Demetrius' scent. Once we know what we're dealing with, then we'll launch a strike."

"I thought you wanted a war to end all wars." Oberon folded his arms and stared at her with a hard gaze. "Do you not wish for vengeance upon the war god who has wronged you so horribly?"

"That's a very understated way of describing his heinous actions and intrinsic evil." She returned the Fae's relentless scrutiny. "But, I'm much more concerned with Demetrius. I'm concerned for the safety of our troops. I think launching a surgical strike would be much more effective. I don't know if the Faes' Magick can equal that of Olympian gods. I don't want to put anyone in the way of that kind of firepower."

"Perhaps you overestimate them."

"Never underestimate the enemy." Wren tapped another spot on the map. "This is Ares' residence. It's all the way across the city. I think the best thing to do is to initiate an aerial strike with twenty Gargoyles. We have ten Fae on each side of the building ready with whatever they can throw at him. We're going to go in, get Demetrius, and get out."

"Hmmm... intriguing. I thought you to be a scorned woman hell-bent on retribution." He rubbed his chin in contemplation.

"Don't get me wrong, I want Ares deposed." Wren walked to the window and gazed at those on the grounds. "But there are five thousand individuals that require my attention first. I'm not going to let anyone die for his or her beliefs and loyalties. I'm going to have Ares suffer for his actions."

"Do you have a plan?" Oberon leaned forward and stared down at the map. "How can you, little Wren Summers, best a god?"

She gave him her best sly smile. "I have something in mind, Lord Oberon. However, I'm always open to suggestions, especially from one with your wisdom and experience."

[That ought to puff your ego. Let's see what you've got. All right, Obi, the ball's in your court. I don't want to wound your pride. Now, here's your chance to look big and powerful in front of the gods and everybody. Let's see if you can come up with something better.] Wren raised an inquiring brow as she observed Lord Oberon. Wren had learned immediately never to draw power and authority away from the Fae Lord. Fae politics were duplicitous and reeking subterfuge. She knew to be flattering of Mab and deferent to Lord Oberon.

"I truly am flattered by your kind words, Wren." He spoke slowly and gave her a knowing smile. "However, I think I will leave this 'mission' of yours in your capable hands."

"Thank you, My Lord." Wren almost choked on the words. She needed his backing and his firepower. She went on and explained her plan to Oberon and Titania. There were expletives from both of the sovereigns heard outside the room. Gargoyles looked at one another when they heard the Fairy Queen cry, "You must surely jest. What you propose is dangerous and demented."

"Exactly, and yet, if it works then everybody gets what they want. Ares will be alive and well, but out of the way."

"You think it will work as you plan?" Titania pressed Wren.

"I'm positive." She nodded. "Trust me."

"Puck said that once and I had to pacify a tribe of irate centaurs that wanted his head." Oberon scoffed. "I'll trust your wiliness only once. I must be insane to think that it might actually work."

"Trust me, My Lord." Wren said with more bravado than she felt. "This is the substance of which legends are made. If it doesn't work, then Ares and I will both be dead."

Wren without delay turned her attention to the most important matters pressing her. The re-con groups returned within a few hours and confirmed the information. She nodded and turned to her lieutenants. "This is what we're going to do. Timron, I want you to take a wing of ten Gargoyles and come from the south. I want another wing of ten to come from the north. The northern Gargoyles will provide the distraction. Puck are you here?"

"Indeed?"

"I want you to take ten of your craftiest Fae and teleport to the gardens inside the outer wall. I need Coyote to take ten of his best Fae and appear in the great dining hall. Can I count on Odin taking Thor, Sig, Balder and the others to the upper stories where the bed chamber's located?"

"Definitely." He rubbed his hands together in gleeful anticipation. "Oh, you are sly."

"No, let's hope we're lucky." Wren stared at her grandfather. "Don't get cocky. Ares is a power with which to be reckoned. I don't know how he compares to the Fae."

"I always did like a challenge." He cooed.

"Get a grip." Wren turned to Oberon and Titania. "You are the most powerful of them all."

The young warrior did her best to assume a humble demeanor. Charm was needed to assure the Lord and Lady's compliance. "Will you come with me to Ares' bed chamber and assist me?"

"We shall go with you." Titania's face seemed a stone mask. "Are you sure this is what you truly wish to do?"

"Yes." Wren never felt more resolute in all her days. "We're going to knock out his guards and then you're all getting out of there with Demetrius."

"What about you?" The note of concern in Titania's voice rang as sincere. Wren studied the Fairy Queen with great scrutiny. There was nothing in her manner that implied artificial apprehension. Wren truly felt as if this gracious woman was concerned for her safety. The young warrior felt almost guilty for the subtle manipulations she had employed upon the Lady to guarantee her aid.

"It's going to be between Ares and me." Wren's cryptic reply brought a furrow to Titania's brow. "It's always been between him and me. But, I'll be careful."

"I wish you well." Titania came forward and embraced the younger Fae. "Be wise and be careful."

"I promise, Lady Titania." Wren crossed her fingers with those words.

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

Demetrius awoke to find that he was in need of a chamber pot and liquid refreshment. He noticed that he was alone upon rumpled satin sheets in Ares' bedchamber. Dazed and bewildered, he frantically searched his mind for the recollection of the previous nights' events. He remembered bronze skin brushing excitedly against ebony. He recalled the rugged masculine scent of want and needs urging him on to take Ares in frenzied coupling. The acrid metallic tang of passion still lingered upon his lips. Demetrius tingled with anguish and ecstasy as he remembered how he mounted Ares, tamed his wanton desires, and cruelly drove the war god mad with passion and ardor.

The crestfallen Gargoyle hung his head in his hands and sobbed. His heart become overwhelmed with disgrace as Ares' words of truth echoed in his mind. "You are just a war god's whore."

[Whore.]

[Slave.]

[I have betrayed all that I hold dear by allowing the craven aspects of character free reign. I am a lecherous harlot that craves brutal coupling for a conqueror. Oh, Wren.... forgive me.]

Demetrius slowly brought taloned hands to the platinum collar around his neck. He knew it to be solidly locked around him and securely bolted to the wall. Gargoyle strength was unable to rip free his shackles or break his bonds. [Perchance, Ares shall free me now that we have kept our agreement.]

Yet, Demetrius shivered at the memory that danced on the edges of his thoughts. The war god had cuddled the Gargoyle after their third furious union. He had run his fingers through argent locks and pressed a possessive kiss upon the Gargoyle's neck. He had traced sensuous patterns at the apex where wing and shoulder met. Ares spoke Demetrius' name as though it were a sacred prayer. Muscled, masculine arms wrapped around the Gargoyle's waist. He chilled Demetrius to the soul when he told him, "Please stay with me. I love you."

"The god of war cannot love." Demetrius hissed with contempt. "You know only ruthless bloodshed and carnage. You conquer and you devour all that lies in your path for power's sake. You slay the innocent and contaminate the pure. You slaughter harmless thousands. What do you know of love?"

"Funny you should ask that." Ares sat up and stared down at the warrior gracing his bed. "I've been in love once. She made me think and do things that I'd never normally do. She brought me to my knees with just a glance. I would have walked away from all of this: Olympus, godhood, power, and immortality just for her heart. I would have given up everything if she would have been my wife."
"And she didn't return your warped affections?" Demetrius sniped. "Smart woman."

"Maybe." Ares' eyes remained hooded in the shifting shadows of the moonlight. "She was dark and beautiful. She had a passion and fury that left men either dead or breathless. She held a sword like no warrior I've seen. She was intelligent and strong. You should have seen her in battle, she was a hellion with a blade."

"She touched your heart the way no other woman could?" Demetrius stared into dark eyes. "She had an inexplicable grasp on your heart. Her particular ways brought out that which you thought not a part of you?"
"Yeah, she did." Regret filled the war god's voice.

"She inspired you. She gave you strength and filled an emptiness that dwelled within you?"

"Yeah, I guess so." Ares flopped beside Demetrius and propped up on one arm. "You a mind reader?"

"Nay, war god." Sharp canines gleamed in the moonlight. "I know of that which you speak. It brings you the most exalted pinnacles of joy or drops you into the darkest abyss of anguish. It's anguish not to have her love. It's torment to see her suffer."

"Damn, you're good." Ares chuckled darkly. "You ARE reading my mind."

"I also know such love." Demetrius turned to the deity lying upon satin sheets. He studied the chiseled cheekbones and strong jaw of the god's face. Wavy curls of jet hair framed Ares' face in a crown of primal glory. The Gargoyle's loins burned for release, yet his heart broke as he spoke. "She is bright as the morning sun and lovely as a lily in spring. She possesses fortitude and such optimism that leave many people better for knowing her. She gives selflessly of herself and extends herself beyond her limits. She stills the chaos within my soul and causes my emptiness to brim over with joy and contentment."

"You're talking about that damned irritating brunette, Rensumares." Ares spat. "She isn't what you need, Demetrius. When you first fought Mongo in the ring when you tried to get into Draco's army, you battled with ferocity and precision I haven't seen in a warrior since X- her. I watched you fight against warlord after warlord and turn combat into an art form. Since those days in Draco's army, I've wanted you."

"You talk of lust and a desire for possession." Demetrius' eyes narrowed.

"It's more than that. Demetrius, you have an inferno of fury and a zest for life that draws me. Join me and be at my side. I'll give you everything you've ever wanted. I'll be your slave if you will just say that you'll always be with me."

"I cannot and I will not." Demetrius turned away from the war god. "My heart belongs to another."

"But, for the night your body belongs to me. If you go back to ...HER, will she be able to make you come like you did for me? Will she pleasure you in the way you need? She's a woman, Demetrius. A woman will rip your heart from your chest. She'll shred it and then make a feast of it."

"She is a woman of kindness and inner goodness. Her mere presence brightens me in such a way that is beyond words. She quells the brutal Vein and the ruthless Miscreant within me."

"What, she gives good head or what?" Ares shook his head in disbelief and let loose a harsh laugh. "A woman's only good for what's between her legs. You let her near your heart and she'll destroy you. A male would never do that to you. I won't do that to you."

"You lie. You have destroyed me." The Gargoyle's eyes brightened with lavender fire. "You exacted a price for her life that obliterated the sacred trust she held in me. I gave her my heart and my fidelity. Now, you've taken from her the only thing that I could give her."

"What, she some angel? Is she going to save you soul?" Ares gave the dark warrior a scathing gaze. "What is it with you? Xena had her Gabrielle. Now, you're whipped by some drab, plain wallflower."


"She has saved my soul and you now have condemned it." Demetrius growled with growing rage.

"But you won't forget what I've done to you . . . with you . . . for you . . . " Each phrase was punctuated with a kiss across Demetrius' broad back. The war god rose to his knees and cupped the dark warrior's masculinity in his palm. Slender ebony hips bucked violently as passion came alive with Ares' touch. "You're still mine for the night. Maybe I'll change your mind."

"For the night, I'm yours." The Gargoyle acquiesced grimly. "For the night, do with me what you will. Albeit come first light," The Gargoyle motioned to them and the bed. "All of this ends and I am free of you."

"Then, we need to make need of the time we have." He chuckled wickedly. "You've ridden me like chariot. Now, I'm going to see how smooth of a ride you can give me. On your knees, Demetrius...."

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

On the other side of the wall remained a figure unknown and unseen by the weeping warrior. For on the opposite side of the wall was a war god with fists clenched in anguish. His head rested against the wall and he fought to block out the sounds of the Gargoyle's cries. Ares' eyes clenched shut with determination not to allow tears of heartbreak to fall.

The war god had again lost his heart. He had hoped one night of fulfilling the dark warrior's innermost longings would bring him to his sides. Still, Ares lost Demetrius to Rensumares. The emptiness within his soul became an endless chasm in the lucidity of that one moment. The mortal woman bested him in plans, in battle, and now in love. He cursed the day the bitch had been born. The war god knew he remained alone.

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

Wren secured her Annulus to her hand. She felt the reassuring caress of the Mithral shirt beneath her leather uniform. Power surged through her with great speed. The enchanted air of the celestial city filled her lungs and invigorated her being. She spotted a fountain in the side of the room that brought water into the house. Thirst burned her throat and she needed relief. She greedily drank from the wellspring.

There was a quiet rapping on her door. She curtly yelled toward it, "Enter."

The Crimson Gargoyle stepped into the room. He bowed respectfully toward her. "Lady Wren, it is time. Oberon and Titania await your presence in the courtyard."

"Understood." Wren wished that she knew how to better use a sword or had more firepower. She half-wished to meet Ares on the field of battle and defeat him. The other part of her wished to humiliate him beyond all measure. The wicked, suppressed depths of her rage longed for his death by her hand. "Let's move."

With renewed purpose, Wren squared her shoulders and straightened her back. She strode with grace toward the other Elves and Fae that waited in the courtyard. She took her place alongside the Fae Lord and his Lady. "Are you ready?"

"Indeed. Is the course of action you truly wish to take?" Titania asked Wren.

"It is the only course open to me." Wren pulled her cloak about her. "We shall appear directly in the bedchamber and take things from there. If we're lucky, he'll be there and we'll catch Ares off guard."

"So mote it be." Titania took Wren's hand and her husband's.

A golden resplendence enveloped the three Fae as they concentrated upon the image a chamber fit for the god of war. The rustling of wind filled the room along with the ringing of chimes. The scent of roses lingered in the air. The remaining individuals witnessed a bright pulse of light that blinded them. When they regained their sight, Wren and the Lord and Lady had vanished.

Wren clung tightly to the Queen's hand. Gingerly, she opened one eye and glanced around. Walls of scarlet and heliotrope greeted her sight. Warily, she opened the other and dared to glance around the room. A suit of armor stood in one corner while battle-axes adorned the opposite wall. She looked upwards and found her reflection staring back at her.

[How cheesy, he has a mirrored ceiling.]

The scent of musk and sex filled the room with a stench stronger than Wren's constitution. She coughed when she inhaled the strong scent of sweat and virility. She saw black leather armor scattered in a path along the floor toward the bed. At the end of the bed lie a white kilt that Wren instantly recognized. She went forward with Annulus in hand and ripped away the stained satin sheets that lay crumpled on the bed.

She froze as the image of a chained and shackle Gargoyle met her eyes. Broad shoulders bore crimson lashes from a riding crop that lay on the pillow next to him. She saw that his lips were swollen and bruised. His wrists were chafed from the tight platinum and adamantium shackles that bound the dark warrior. He moaned softly in slumber and rolled onto his stomach. Wren saw that certain areas of his anatomy were red and inflamed. Her hand clamped over her mouth to silence her gasp of distress at the sight. Her mate lie beaten, bruised and manacled in Ares' bed. He had been ravaged for carnal pleasure and permanently scarred by the war god's sadomasochistic tastes.

"Not like this. I swear, Demetrius. You will know justice." Her Mithral Annulus clashed against adamantium chain. Sparks flew as the clang of metal reverberated in the room. She drew back her bladed circlet and hacked again at the chain. The slash was clean and the chain severed in two. With a fluid grace, her blade sliced away at the shackles on her mate's wrists. The shackles fell softly upon the satin sheets.

He sat upright startled and disoriented. Eyes wide with humiliation locked with hazel eyes brimming with rage and fury. Demetrius scrambled for the satin sheet that lay at the side of the bed and he covered his injured body with it. "Milady, you have come for me."

"Oh, Demetrius!" Tears flowed freely and the Annulus found it's way to her hip. Her arms embraced the demoralized Gargoyle. "I'm so sorry. I tried to get here as soon as I could. How long it been for you ...like this?"

"It has only been one night." He whispered with his Gaelic lilt flavoring his words. He heard her stifled sob. He lifted her chin and saw her eyes crying for him. A dark talon swept away her tears and brought them to his lips. "Tears, for me, Love?"

She nodded ardently. "Forgive me, Demetrius."

"Do not weep, Milady. I know joy again now that you are with me." His voice trembled with raw emotion. "I beg you, forgive me."

"Love forgives everything." She promised him. She pressed to fingers to his swollen lips. "We'll worry about everything later. Where's Ares?"

"Right behind you." A voice answered her. "Come to battle the big bad war god?" He motioned her with a cocky beckoning motion. "C'mon, bitch, take your best shot."

"Not at all, Ares." She ran a finger along her lips. "Actually, I was hoping to get some of the action. Half the time I'm hating you, but I find that I also want you."

"You are crazy." He scoffed.

"Haven't you ever wondered what Demetrius sees in me?"

"I don't really give a damn." He thought she was just insane. "You don't have anything that I want."

"I wouldn't be so sure." Wren closed her hazel eyes and reached along her bond with Demetrius. However, she sensed another presence. She climbed along the slender silver skeins of psionic connection and felt a dark, animalistic hunger faintly reaching out to her. A small smile graced her lips and she let her mind mingle with the bestial longing that craved release ...and completion.

Her eyes snapped open and she watched Ares' convulse as she made the connection. His jaw went slack as he stared at her. "I can feel you inside me. You're inside my head."

"Yes and no." She took a step forward. She watched as an orb of violet energy formed in his palm. "Oh, put that away, Ares. What you're experiencing is what Demetrius and I share. It's a rare gift that we're able to join like that. Can't you feel the fissions of delight dance along your skin? Don't you like the heated anticipation your cock feels when it thinks about sinking deeply inside of me?"

"You talk like a whore."

Demetrius stared stunned at the Wren turned Vixen before him. "Milady, what has addled your mind? You wish to bed this monster?"

"Shut up, Demetrius." She said harshly. "I want to know what it feels like to be in his arms. Now, Ares, where were we?"
"I -I think I said you talk..L-like a whore." He shivered as he watched Wren lick her lips as though she were a hungry wolf stalking fresh prey.

"I fuck like one too, and I know your mind now." Wren grinned in victory. "I can see inside your mind. You like being taken and tamed. Give me the chance and I'll ruin you for anyone else."

"W-w-well," Ares stammered as she let her gaze explore his body. He felt as though she were branding him with her gaze. He hadn't felt so hot for a woman since Xe-her. "Don't make promises you can't keep, little girl."

"Don't ask for anything you can't handle, Lover." Wren pursed her lips as she stared at his masculinity. "So, how I wonder if you feel as huge as you look."

He gulped and nodded. "I do." He turned and nodded to Demetrius. "He told me that I was the hugest he'd ever had. You'd like it if you had it. I'm good."

"I'm sure you are and I hope that I find out." Wren saw the cuts on Demetrius' lips and she remembered the slashes across his back. Love surrendered to a wicked malevolence that descended upon her. She turned to see a gloriously masculine and nude god of war standing before her.

"Wren, my love, I beseech you!" Demetrius rushed toward them. That violet orb nonchalantly left Ares' palm and struck him. There was a snap and sizzle. Yet, Demetrius found himself frozen in place rather than struck down by the bolt. He noticed that Ares' dark gaze never left the curves of Wren's body. "Stop this madness!"

"You want me, don't you?" His question hung in the air between them. Both Ares and Wren ignored Demetrius' entreaty. Wren paused and her breath caught in her throat. She stared at Demetrius for a second. His eyes silently pleaded with her. She shook her head and a hint of sadness tainted her features. She swallowed hard and forced herself to meet the war god's gaze.

"Actually, yes." She purred. She lowered her hood and looked at the war god through veiled lashes. "I never knew you looked so ...delicious."

"Whoa!" Ares stepped back as she took a decisive step toward him. "You think I'm delicious. I thought you were here to kick my ass."

"Actually, I was hoping you saved some of your sweet ...and generous endowments" she cast a wanton gaze down at his hardening member "for me. When you had Demetrius, didn't you know that we share an empathic bond? I felt EVERYTHING as if it were happening to me. I'm lost in the haze of longing that you've cast upon him, Ares. Now, I want you. And you've linked with him... so, you'll want me. I promise you."

"Hey, you're not my type."

"You body says otherwise, Ares. You're getting an erection even now as we speak" Wren licked her lips and prowled toward him. She stood only inches away from him. She assertively placed her knee between his legs and rubbed her sleek thigh against his throbbing manhood. Gloved hand coursed a path up his chest and her fingers entangled in thick black hair. "Am I ugly?"

She looked at the two Fae that had subtly teleported behind Ares. He was so distracted by Wren's display of wanton behavior that he failed to notice Oberon and Titania had left his sight. She cast them a quick glance and they nodded in understanding. Wren's hands glowed subtly as her fingers ran through his hair and stroked his temples. He closed his eyes as her teeth caught his lower lips and bit gently.

[Ugly? By Zeus, no!] Ares felt as though he were drowning in a sea of confusion. His biggest annoyance suddenly became his biggest turn-on as battle-hardened curves of femininity molded themselves against his corded body. Throughout the night he had experienced visions of honey brown hair and hazel eyes whenever he exploded within Demetrius. Now, he knew that Demetrius had empathically linked with the war god. He wrapped his fingers in tresses of gold and chestnut and roughly pulled back her head so that Wren was forced to meet his obsidian gaze.

Oberon began making intricate motions with his hand. His eyes glimmered faintly with golden light. Lady Titania brought forth some dust from a pouch at her side and held it in the palm of her hand. She soundlessly blew the glittering powder so that it danced around Wren and Ares like a sparkling silver cloud. Titania smirked as Wren nestled enticingly against Ares virility.

"Damn it, woman. How do you do it? You knew this would happen, didn't you? You knew that Demetrius was an empathy and that's how you found us?" Ares felt an undeniable need for the irritating brunette surge in his loins. He inhaled deeply of her feminine scent. It was honeysuckle and fresh soap. The smell of new leather from her uniform and the aroma of her arousal urged him to draw him to her.

She pouted prettily and nodded. "And now, you want me because of that same empathic link. Think of it, Ares. You can have him inside you and me around you as we both love you senseless? How about it, Sweet cheeks?"

"Why the sudden change, Rensumares?" He muttered through gritted teeth as she drew his lips to hers. Her tongue danced with his in an ancient melee of want and hunger. Her kiss was neither sweet nor gentle as he imagined. Instead, she kissed him with the viciousness of a conquering warlord ravishing a helpless virgin.

"My name in Wren, like the song bird." She suckled one hard masculine nipple. She flicked it with her the tip of her moist pink tongue. Ares trembled and knew his resolve was quickly fading. "Say my name... not the Greek version."

"Wren." He moaned as the Fae pressed kisses along his chest and captured his other nipple in her lips.

She pulled away and sharply bit his neck. "Perhaps the reason we hate each other so much is that we truly want each other. Don't tell me that haven't thought about it at least once."

"Yeah, maybe once or twice. But, you were always so annoying with your goody-goody act. You were always so thin and so plain. Now, you have tits like Aphrodite and a body like a concubine. What happened?"

"Perception is relative." Wren's words came out a seductive, breathless whisper. "Do you hunger for me?"

"Yes... damn it." The humming his skull intensified as she rode the arc of the empathic link they shared. He felt himself weaken...he never knew desire could be so consuming.

"Tell me." She let her fingers wrap around him. "I need to hear you tell me."

"I want you, Wren." He growled as his hands cupped her breasts. "Join me...you will have Demetrius and so will I. You and I will be able to satisfy one another. You'll have my power. Then, you'll use your unique talents to help me bring about a new world order. And we'll both be able to love Demetrius."

"You love Demetrius?" She asked as her fingers clenched his muscled buttocks. "Really?"

"Oh, yeah, Baby, I do." He gasped as her lips planted kisses just at his navel. "What are you doing to me? I've never felt like this. Last night, Demetrius made my body come alive...how do you do it when I detest you?"

One hand let loose his hard shaft and grasped cool metal hanging at her hip. Her other hand glowed faintly as it passed over his chest. Her warm, moist lips set Ares' on the edge of his self-control as she urged him to widen his stance. She let her fingers trace a path from his virility to his most forbidden place.

"The empathic link augments everything." She told him in a singsong voice. "It magnifies lust to maddening ecstasy. It takes an orgasm and makes it a soul-shattering experience. It will disorient you to the point of delirium if you're not used to it."

Her fingers made him surrender to her touch as she brought him closer to that ultimate pinnacle. Deeper she probed into his secrets while tasting his mouth. She ground her teeth into his kiss-swollen flesh and tasted the metallic tang of blood. He groaned as waves of ecstasy threatened to consume him. Mithral left her hip and slowly made it's way between the slender space between their bodies.

Ares' passion exploded her hand. His eyes locked with Wren's. His mind became caught in a turbulent maelstrom of color, sensation, light, and emotion. Bliss seared him to the core as a violent storm of pleasure possessed his being. He trembled while standing on his feet. His hands clasped Wren's shoulders until his knuckles were white. He called out her name in a god's divine adoration.

Cool metal found its mark. Mithral made slick with passion and Hind's blood slashed into Ares' skin. She watched the war god's face become ashen and his eyes widen in shock. A hoarse wail escaped his throat as she stepped back and observed his downfall and his defeat. Scarlet warmth mingled with golden Hind's blood and pearly masculine essence. Ares' fell to his knees as the blissful psionic connection was abruptly severed between him and Wren. He was alone.

"You b-bitch." He reached for her as he cupped himself. "You lying, heartless bitch."

"You got that right." She gloated. "You almost destroyed billions with your damned mutagens. I've seen your work firsthand in Thrace when you commanded warlords to rape women and children. What was the saying, 'to the victor go the spoils?' You attacked a goddess, who is dear to me, blackmailed my mate into sexual slavery, and had the audacity to think you love him."

He felt the weakness spread through his body. Ares summoned his natural abilities of divine regeneration and found that they failed him. "What have you done to me?"

"You don't have long, Ares." Wren gave him a sweet smile. "You're dying."

"How?" He fell to the ground.

"Figure it out for yourself, what kills a god?"

Ares glanced and saw the golden truth on his hands. "Hind's blood."

"Bravo." She wiped her bladed circlet upon his poisoned skin. "Die like the dog you are. May God have mercy upon your wretched soul, Ares."

He shuddered as he drew several shallow breaths. His dark eyes looked at her. "You know, perspective is relative, Wren. I could have loved you if I'd know you were this strong."

Dark eyes glazed over as death overtook the war god. One last, hollow gasp escaped him. His head fell to the side and his eyes fell to the side. She turned to see Demetrius look stricken. "By the Dragon, what have you done?"

"I have achieved justice." She retorted.

"You've committed murder." He whispered.

"That too." She gave Ares a good kick in the ribs. "Stiff as a board within a few hours, I think."

A brilliant column of brilliant light and the crashing of thunder cut her jubilant celebration short. Wren turned to see a flaxen-haired god standing with arms folded and garbed in brown leather. His blue eyes flashed with rage as he beheld the still body of his slain brother upon the ground. Without a word, Hercules walked to where Ares lay in his pool of blood. He stared at Wren harshly.

"Did you do this?"

"I did." She confirmed his worst fears. "Is he dead?"

Hercules placed his fingers to the corpse' neck. He glared at her and said in a low voice. "He's dead. You've killed a god. Congratulations. I hope it was worth it."

Wren considered his words. She saw Demetrius staring at her with eyes bright with mortification. Hercules glowered and appeared ready to strike her dead. She walked to him and looked up at the golden Adonis standing before her. "I don't think so."

"You don't THINK so?" He roared with rage. His fists clenched with fury. "I know Ares had done horrible things to you, but did that give you the right to murder him in cold blood?"

"I can fix it... I think." She mumbled. But, I want every god to know what he has done. I want every living Greek god on Earth and everywhere else to know EXACTLY what he has done to the Fae, to the world, and to me and Demetrius. Can you make it so that they are here?"

"Have you gone mad!? Why should I summon them here? Do you want to kill the rest of them?"

"Just the opposite, Hercules. I want them to see true justice. Come on, you know me well enough to know that I keep my word. No harm will come to your gods if they will simply hear my tale."

"And you can undo this atrocity?" He motioned toward the cooling body of the war god.

"I think so."

***********

In an age where few gods survived, there were those who gathered in Ares' courtyard in Olympus as the sun set. Oberon and Titania remained taciturn and dour. Erinydd and his Elvin troops were mortified by the turn of events. The other Fae watched Wren with a mixture of macabre fascination and disdained disgust. Her lover rocked stood defeated and broken amidst the other Gargoyles who had been ready for the attack.

Gathered there were the last of the ancient gods: Aphrodite, Persephone, Hades, Fortuna, Nike and a few minor water and wind spirits. Wren knew that they feared for their lives and felt hatred toward her as she walked around Ares' still body. She told them that she wanted them to know what she had done and why she had brought Ares to death.

Wren told her story and let Titania and Oberon use their magick to show the vivid images of what had occurred in the Underworld. She recounted to them how he had attacked Skylaris and had extorted slavery from Demetrius. She showed them the deep lashes on his back and the tears in the membranes of his wings. She held up his wrists to show the chafing caused by the shackles. She showed them the previous encounters she had with the war god and how he had almost killed in her in Thrace and again in another dimension.

"Now, I've brought him justice. I have demanded his life as retribution for the transgressions he's committed against other gods, the Fae, my lover and myself. Look at him, lying dead because of his stupidity. He lies dead from his own baser passions getting the better of him. Let it be known that if he remains this way, he'll never hurt another being or take another life. He'll never endanger another innocent or commit heinous crimes against any populace."

"You killed him in cold blood."

"Damn straight I did!" Wren retorted. "It's no less than what he deserved. He humiliated everyone I know and love. Now, I wanted his peers to see him bested and deposed. Let him forever live with the memory that the god of war was struck down by the Mistress of Mayhem and the Darling of Delirium."

"She must be stopped. How can he live if you've killed him?" Someone in the crowd bellowed. So the disturbance in the crowd became the ranting of an enraged mob. Wren held up her hand to still their protests.

"I'll bring him back on the condition that you people police him and keep him away from Earth, Humanity, the Fae and any other group or individuals that he might choose to harm or disrupt for personal gain."

"Why should we trust you?"

"What choice do you have? I've already proven I can kill a god." She gave them an ominous look. "So, what's it going to be?"

"Wren, we'll keep Ares occupied and contained if you bring him back." He looked down at his brother. "This was a cruel way to die."

"It was a heartless thing he did to Demetrius and to me." She retorted. "Swear it by the river Styx."

"I swear by the River Styx that all Greek gods will prevent Ares from walking the Earth, exacting his schemes, or harming anyone. If, in return, you promise never to return to Olympus."

"I also swear by Avalon's Magick and the by Skylaris' flame." She crossed her heart. "It's a deal."

He nodded. "Now, do as you promised."

She turned to Oberon. "My Lord, may I have the pouch at your side?"

He reached for the blue velvet pouch and tossed it to Wren. She withdrew the glistening ambrosia from it's holding space and broke a portion of the berries from the larger section. She let her luckmagick flow into the berries as she tentatively placed them upon Ares' dry tongue.
She closed his mouth and hoped that they melted with time. She watched him anxiously for several seconds.

He remained still and ashen at her feet. His blood surrounded him in a halo of darkened sanguine. She knew that the gods wouldn't hold much longer. The Elves restlessly went for their bows while the Fae began muttering incantations meant for war. Her foot glowed a verdant green. She kicked Ares' soundly on his backside. "Come on! Wake up, damn it."

He shuddered and seemed captured by seizures. He swallowed the contents in his mouth and began choking and gasping. His eyes snapped opened and he clutched his chest. He abruptly bolted upright and wretched to the side. Wren breathed a sigh of relief as she saw the damned war god alive and well.

"Welcome back, Ares." She knelt beside him.

"What did you do to me?" His voice came out little more than a harsh gasp.

"You just had the best orgasm of your life." Wren pressed her fingers to his lips. "Zap me."

"What?"

"Come on, zap me." She taunted him. "You know, fire up the fireball and zap me."

"My pleasure." He crooned. He held his palm and channeled his concentration into a very large orb of energy.

It snapped, it crackled. The orb popped. Then, it fizzled and vanished.

"What?"

"I was right." She cried triumphantly. "You've gained your life and lost your powers. Ambrosia restores the dead to life, but it can't restore power to a slain god. If my guess is right, you're mortal."

"What?" He shook his head at her strange words. "What are you talking about?"

"I'll let Hercules tell you all about it." She murmured as she patted him condescendingly on the head. "But, you used my boyfriend for your perverse sexual needs. You beat him. You ravished him. You humiliated him and me. Now, I've given you a dose of your own medicine. Enjoy the aftertaste. Have a nice life."

She watched as Hercules gathered his brother to him and spoke to him in hushed tones. She turned to Demetrius and saw empty eyes staring at her. "He's alive. I never would have done what I did if I thought I couldn't undo it."

"My Wren, I have lost you." He spoke brokenly.

"I think so." She sadly agreed. "But, I've gained something I never had. I gained confidence. I realized the depths of my abilities and the extent of my potential. Never again will I tolerate the pain and sorrow he inflicted upon so many. Let him live with his condition now. Let's go home."

She turned to Titania and Oberon. They nodded their silent permission for her to open the dimensional aperture between Avalon and Olympus. The Annulus flew straight and true from Wren's hand and brought the gateway alive with golden fire. It took several minutes as the Elves returned to Avalon followed by the Fae. Demetrius and Wren were astride Bridget as they made their way through the portal.

As the duo passed through the threshold to Avalon, a scream of fury and wrath called to her.

"RENSUMARES!"

Wren gently urged the Gargoyle beast to return to Avalon. A scorned woman had ultimately bested Ares. She had played him for the fool with his baser passions. She had outwitted him with manipulation. She had defeated him with chicanery rather than combat. She had ensured his permanent mortal condition with a wild and unpredictable whim. She had guaranteed his exile from Earth through Manipulation of the Olympian gods. She was rather proud of herself.

Demetrius held his mate close to him. What had become of his beloved Wren? She was no longer the sweet, compassionate mutant that he loved. In her place was a true Fae; delightful and dangerous. Was she dangerous or merely deluded? He feared for her heart and her soul as they returned to the realm of the Fae. She had won and it had cost her. The ebony warrior feared the price exacted had been her soul and her sanity.

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


Epilogue

Mab sipped her apple wine as Puck served her a slice of cheese. She raised her goblet and toasted Puck. "Your little Wren is quite the maverick. She seemed so meek and timid. Yet, she came out of this the talk of Avalon. She is far more cunning and formidable than I thought. Kudos to you for being right, as usual."

"She's not the most powerful, Queen Mab." Puck popped a slice of apple into his mouth. "But, she's worth sponsoring. Oberon and Titania now hold her with regard. She will be one to have on our side in times of war. When the Duende launch their attack, Wren will be one of our best leading the attack."

"The swallowing of the Ambrosia is what I think did the most for her." Mab's hoarse voice cackled with glee. "It worked far better than the scorn she felt. I didn't think she'd actually kill him. Bringing Ares back to life was an unexpected twist."

"Always expect poetic justice from a trickster. Wren has a method to her madness. She has a strong code of justice. But, I do feel just a tad guilty that she's fallen over the edge." Puck moped. "I did like her so much better when she had just a bit of innocence."

"Innocence doesn't win wars, my boy." She urged him to pour her another glass of wine. "We need pragmatism when the Duende strike Avalon. All the powers of the Seelie court will be tried and tested if the enemy attacks. We need those like Wren to plot, scheme, and find out imperative knowledge from them. She's akin to them now, so she'll give us something of their mindset."

"Too true." Puck's heart felt heavy for what had become of Wren and Demetrius. His conscience rebuked him for his tentative and subversive alliance with Mab. He wanted to set things right, but that was another time. A trickster always appreciated intrigue, irony, and artifice.

-Fini