Author: Denigoddess2001
Address:
Date: April 26, 2001
Saga: Angels Amongst Us
Title: Set Free 19.0
Episode: 20
Rating: R -for mentioned violence and adult situations.
Characters: Daria DeLaney Damson, Timron Nightkind, Lennox Moray MacBeth, and Dominique Denise Destine

Summary: Love is steadfast and devotion endures longer than the mountain stone. Covetousness is not its mettle nor is pompous vaunting its way. Pride has no place in love. A true spirit knows only honor and compassion. Wrath is inconsequential of its pathos. No iniquity abscesses within the innermost heart. Love does not delight in atrocity but celebrates verity. It embraces absolution and extends amnesty. It eternally protects, continually keeps faith, always inspires credence, steadfastly abides. That is a Gargoyle's Heart. That is Gargoyle devotion. ~Skylaris.

Disclaimer: I do not own Gargoyles. They belong to Disney. No infringement intended. All original characters are property of Denigoddess2001.

Author's Note: I've been asked to elaborate on the brief introduction of Daria in AAU11.0: Ardor In Amethyst. This is my attempt to satisfy a reader's curiosity. Here ya go, Joe. I dedicate this story to Dragel...because he has helped me be set free.


Much of my inspiration for my tales comes from a variety of sources such as Gnosticism, Babylonian and Sumerian myth. I have taken great creative license with such mythos for entertainment purposes. If any reader is interested in finding out more, please go to your local library or do an online search. To answer the question of the week: yes, Skylaris is entirely my own creation. Tiamat is not -she is the goddess of Chaos from Babylonian mythos. Read fiercely, wisely and well.

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

April 19, 2006

Daria looked at the Xanatos corporate jet looming like a leviathan on the runway at the airport. She neither understood nor cared for the for air travel via machine. It appeared far simpler simply to teleport oneself to a desired destination. She volunteered many occasions to simply "blink" the delegation to London. MacBeth had kindly declined. Dominique seemed markedly fascinated by the thought that Daria might send her across the world with little more than a thought. Timron had gently chastised the young Djinni for not conserving her abilities. Her powers had waned somewhat since their first meeting. Daria attributed it to the dissolution of Titania's spell over her.

Daria quickly joined the others on Xanatos' private corporate jet. She thought it odd that she kept company with a Human immortal, a Nightkind and a Gargoyle. She remembered the days of silken veils and velvet slippers. The young Djinni partially languished for days of old when she had worn the sacred robes of her goddess and stood before her Mother's altar in Babylon. Daria remembered how the flowing emerald robes felt soft and sleek against her skin. [But that was another time and another place and those days are long gone. I'm in the here-and -now. I need to make the best of whatever uncertain future lies before me.]

With that thought dancing inside her mind, she cast an uncertain glance toward the vermilion warrior sitting beside her. Daria studied carefully the contemplative figure. Black hair fell well past his shoulders. His chiropteran wings cloaked about him like a flowing mantle of mystique and dignity. Daria noticed that the back of his wings matched the hue of his hair. The struts of the wings on the front were, indeed, as crimson as the rest of him. Yet, the velvety folds between those struts glistened brilliant platinum. His wings cloaked over gently sloping shoulders. For a Gargoyle, his legs were incredibly long and sleek.

Daria unconsciously licked her lips as she observed the crimson Gargoyle. He dressed differently than the other Gargoyles she had encountered (Demetrius was strange as it was.) Timron had a passion for ordering unique items off the Internet. His wild curiosity of Humanity's world led him to order what he called an Utili-kilt. The young Djinni tried desperately not to think of the garment as a skirt. Rather, she wanted to see what was hiding beneath the tartan folds.

[Timron is one of the few clerics of Skylaris left on the planet. If he only knew who sat beside him.] She smirked.

Things had been difficult for them as of late. Even with his reappearance into the world of men, things had not been the same between them since before his departure to Avalon. Timron had treated her minor affection and aloofness since his return. The unexpected display of affection in the War Room the previous day had been a pleasant surprise for Daria. Now, she sat beside him doing her best to maintain a cool, professional facade.
[Damn it.] Annoyed, she wiped her palms against the soft denim of her indigo jeans. [I can keep the best poker face in the world. But, when I'm next to Timron, my palms decide to get drenched.]

She followed the others' leads and fastened her seat belt for take-off. Daria watched Timron simply stare out the window. As they ascended, the sharp tilt of their angle pushed Daria back into her seat. Two white-knuckled hands tensely gripped the arms of the chair. Yet, she found an exhilarating anticipation spread through her as they achieved altitude. Timron leaned over to the window and Daria immediately noticed the wide grin on his face. She had never flown and wondered what he found so captivating.

"So, what's catching your eye?"

"Look at the view!" He exclaimed. He tugged on her stiff arm to draw her closer to the glass. One crimson talon tapped on the window. "The sky is alive and the clouds . . . they're surrounding us. No Gargoyle has ever flown this high."

She sighed and leaned over him to get a limited view of the heavens around them. [He's right. It's quite the view.]

Daria knew only one experience compared to air flight. She remembered the feel of the crisp wind flowing through curly black ringlets and cooling the silky fabric of her veils. Sitting proudly while soaring through Anatolian skies on the way to Babylon held so many ancient, fond memories for the Djinn.

"What was that movie that we watched the other night?" She asked in a low purr in the Gargoyle's ear. "You know, the one with Drew Barrymore."

"Do you mean the Wedding Singer?" Timron cocked one ridge brow in question.

"That's the one." Daria interlaced his talons with her slender figures. She looked into misty green eyes and watched them soften and burn with affection and unspoken passion. [Oh, yeah, Timron. Let me show you a new world.] "Remember when her character's girlfriend took the window seat and he'd flown numerous times?"

"While she had never flown and seen the city of Las Vegas." Timron finished for her.

"Exactly." Daria cast another glance over to the window.

"Do you wish to have this seat?" Timron asked quietly. "I'd be happy to move."

"No. I'm going to give you something better than the window seat." A slow, seductive smile crept across Daria's full lips. "Just a little something to show you a new perspective."

One forearm crossed over another and the ancient Persian words flowed from her burgundy lips. A low, resonating hum filled the cabin of the corporate jet. Timron had just enough time to see Dominique and MacBeth look at them in question. The next minute, frigid air blew rapidly past him lifting the hem of his tartaned utili-kilt up to his waist. The force of the gale almost knocked him backwards as he leaned into Daria. She said nothing but merely blinked and the gust of wind softened. Timron found himself able to sit upright and noticed that he was no longer in the airplane.

"By the Dragon, where am I?" He wildly looked around. Soft fabric caressed the back of his thighs. He slowly looked down to see a rich tapestry of woven scarlet and heliotrope wool beneath him. His widened eyes darted to the Djinni beside him. She sat placidly beside him cross-legged, garbed in her traditional violet harem pants, little velvet jacket and her lavender silken veils. Twinkling brown eyes stared at him and he knew that mischievous smile well.

"Daria?" Timron growled. "Where in Avalon are we?"

"One of life's little lessons that I learned from the Wedding Singer is always to offer the window seat." Daria glibly patted Timron's knee. The violent thrashing of his tail informed her that her beloved mate and protector was NOT amused. She held up her hands to ward off his growing anger. "In simple words, the movie taught me that love gives to others . . . and doesn't take for itself. I wanted to give you the window seat. I wanted to give you more than the window seat . . . so, I just gave you the entire sky."

He noticed the fringe caught on one of his talons. He slowly looked over his shoulder. Timron realized that they were riding on currents of wind. They were neither flying nor gliding: they were on a large Persian carpet almost the size of the cabin of the private jet. The words resonated inside his ears. "I'm on a magic flying carpet."

"Daria . . . " He was at a loss of words. The Gargoyle noticed that the mysterious twinkle in her eyes dimmed to be replaced by lucid anxiety. She was a creature loyal to her nature. All Djinn inherently wished to please their masters. It was a part of their curse.

"Please, Timron, don't be mad." Her bubbly laugh was no longer evident as her voice quieted to a soft whisper. "I just wanted to give you a corner of the sky. The window seat just didn't seem enough to me to give you."

"Love . . . I don't know what to say." His large taloned hands gently framed her face.

"Then, don't say anything." She pressed a kiss into his scarlet palm. "Just enjoy the ride and live in the moment. Let me give you this one special thing that no one else ever can or will."

The Persian carpet kept precise time with the jet as they flew underneath the monstrous machine. Yet, the world seemed entirely their own as they held each other. The vivid blues of the ocean beneath them met with the vibrant Spring hues of the North Atlantic sky. A feeling of joy and peace settled over the Gargoyle as everything, at that moment, seemed right in the world that day. Not every day did a Gargoyle get to fly around the world on a magic carpet.

*********

Dominique shifted in her seat as she vainly attempted finishing the crossword puzzle. Her excitement was too much for her to contain. [We're traveling to London. We're going to save the world and we're meeting other Gargoyles. Oh, this is just too cool!]

MacBeth sat beside her with his nose buried in the daily copy of the newspaper. She shook her head in exasperation. [How can he be so calm about all of this? The world is on the precipice of an unholy war and he's reading the flaming want ads!]

Dominique knew exactly how dire was the situation. It was imperative that the quartet convince the Londonium clan to join them in their fight to protect the humans. Preternatural attacks had already claimed six lives in Linoma Bluffs in the last week alone. Night after night, the clan patrolled and stopped vampires from having late midnight snacks. Two they had found shortly after sunrise on Star City University campus lurking near Luv Library. The two newly made bloodsuckers were waiting for ex-girlfriends to make their way across campus. Two stakes later, MacBeth and Dominique made their way to class.

The young woman took no great joy in killing vampires. She found little happiness in stopping brawls amongst Garou and the Endless1. Yet, there was a certain satisfaction when the news came on and the news commentator called the mysterious "winged defenders of the night", "the angels amongst us." But, the clan's numbers were too few to truly be effective. [Seven people can't save Linoma. We need dozens, maybe hundreds. What are we going to do?]

MacBeth felt panic prick the back of his mind. He subtly glanced over the top of his newspaper and found his sweetheart wringing her hands. He immediately folded his newspaper and tucked it into the seat beside him. He laid a warm, comforting hand on the young woman's shoulder. "Domi2, what's troubling you?"

"How are we going to win?" She shrugged helplessly. "There are just so many of those . . . THINGS . . . out there and there are only a few of us. There is no way in Hell we can stop thousands of vampires, MacBeth. I just don't see how we can do it."

"Patience, Dominique." The baritone brogue brought some comfort to her agitated mind. "We have a goddess on our side and we have each other. And sometimes, that is just enough to get the job done."

She laid her head against his shoulder. "I'm worried. What if the Londonium clan tells us to go jump in the Thames?"

"Then, we return home and send the bloodsucking ruffians packing." MacBeth bellowed with more bravery.

"So says you." Dominique laughed darkly. The traces of cynicism in her chuckle caused MacBeth to take note. The laugh reminded him all-too-much of the long-forgotten Demona. "It will take more than sinew and science to stop them. We need sorcery."

"Armand will be arriving at Summerlands within the week." MacBeth attempted to soothe the woman beside him. "Wren says he's excellent."

"Who was he again?" She turned to ask. "I don't remember."

"Armand DeVoe is the former owner of Summerlands and an old friend of Wren's." MacBeth chose to not include the fact that he was also Puck's former lover and a wily child of Oberon. "He is one of the premiere sorcerers in North America. He'll figure out a way to combat the vampires walking around in daylight."

"I hope so." She closed her eyes to block out the visions of the two young men-turned-vampires. Dominique heard one's muffled gasp as she plunged the stake through the sternum of his ribs. Tears flowed in currents for hours as she reconciled herself to the fact that she had to kill or be killed. She found little comfort in that knowledge. The one she killed seemed so young and innocent: just about her age. There was difficulty in believing that someone only twenty could become such a cold-blooded killer.

Yet, she had a feeling that anyone could be that way.

***********

Daria and Timron found themselves back inside the cabin of the jet. The Djinni pursed her lips and stifled a giggle as she watched Timron's wind-tossed black locks refuse to lie down for him. Even in daylight, his green eyes glowed silver when he growled in warning for his girlfriend not to let loose a single giggle. She took three steps away and shook her head in exasperation. "I gave him the bike of his dreams. I gave him my heart. I send him around the world on a magic carpet and he still worries about his hair."

"Oh, you're back." Dominique exclaimed. "We were wondering what happened to you!"

"I just took Timmy out for a joy ride." Daria winked.

'It's TIMRON."

"Oh, fine." She said with tritely. "I took Timron out for a joy ride."

"How?" MacBeth looked out the window. "We're several thousand feet in the air."

"I am a Genie after all." She shrugged and made her way to her seat.

"So, tell us about it." Dominique stole Timron's seat and placed herself beside Daria. A crimson tail thumped impatiently against the floor. Dominique seemed oblivious to the obvious displeasure of her clan mate. "What's your story?"

"My story?" Daria was lost.

"Your life story?" The young redhead leaned forward in excitement. "You're older than any of us. What's your life story?"

"Mine?" Daria felt as though she had been subjected to severe scrutiny. Three pairs of eyes looked upon her. "What you see is what you get."

"And what we DON'T see will get us in the end." Dominique finished Daria's popular quote. "Come on, It's not like we're asking for every single gory detail. Just share with us the basics. You're the oldest of us all and you're the most mysterious. Besides, we still have ten hours before we arrive in London and Tall, Red and Grumpy is going to be a hand full. So, you might as well entertain us with your life story."

"There's really not much to tell." Daria assured her.

"Let me be the judge of that." Dominique grinned. "Where were you born?"

"I was born in the Persian province of Lydia in the city of Sardis." Daria blinked an ancient scroll appeared before them. "Sardis was in Anatolia. Now, it's modern day Turkey."

"When?"

"When?" Daria felt like a butterfly pinned to an examining board. "Dominique, time wasn't measured the same way then as it now. I can't give you a very precise date."

"What's your best guess?"

"Well.... give me a minute." Daria closed her eyes and began chanting in Persian. A low, resonating hum filled the cabin. Timron instinctively sat himself in the seat behind Dominique and prayed that he wouldn't receive another magic carpet ride. Daria opened her eyes. "As close as I can tell, I was born in the Autumn of 800 B.C.E. ~give or take a year or two."

"So, you're almost three THOUSAND years old???" The realization caused Dominique's voice to become quite shrill.

"Pretty much."

"How can you be so casual about it?" Dominique squeaked. "You've seen the rise and fall of empires."

"Not true." Daria quickly amended. "Time doesn't pass for me inside my bottle. Five minutes in there can be five days, five months or five years. It just depends I wasn't omnipotently aware of the Romans, the Celts, the French or the Nazis. I knew about the passage of time when I was asleep. But, most of it I learned in my time outside the bottle. I have more History books than I care to count. Each visit outside my bottle is always a challenge for me because I have to acclimate myself to a new time period."

"That has to SERIOUSLY suck." Dominique stuck out her tongue.

"You got that right, babe." The young Djinni remembered some of her kinder masters and mistresses. They had given her love and been something of family to her in times when she was alone. Her abilities allowed her to adapt quickly to better serve her master's wishes. Yet, Daria never knew how to combat the utter loneliness and isolation she felt within her prison. [That's the understatement of the millennium. So, I deal with it, get over it and move on.]

"So, were you always a Genie?" The titian minx continued her personal line of questioning.

Timron's attention turned to the woman sitting beside him. [I don't know much about her past.]

"No." Daria gave Dominique a small smile. "I was born about the time the Chaldeans invaded from the South in the lower part of Babylon. My mother is a dragon and my father is a Duende. I don't have a drop of human blood in me."

"But you look Human."

"To a point." The Djinni held her hand to silence further questions. "Whatever avatar my mother assumes during childbirth determines the appearance of each child. When I was conceived, she was in human form. Had she been a dragon..I would have been nicknamed Barney."

"So, what are you exactly?"

"I am Daria and leave it at that." Daria cast a warning glance at the inquisitive woman. "Next question, please."

"Were you always like this?" The young redhead leaned forward in eager fascination. "Did you have a childhood?"

"My childhood was normal for someone of my class and rank at that time." A chuckle filled the cabin. "I was taken from my mother's arms at birth and given to the High Priest for him to raise me. From the time I was born, I was trained in religion of Skylaris. I was trained as both oracle and Magi in the ways of Chaldean Magick, astronomy and astrology. I can read the stars, cast a spell, and I know everything you wanted to know about Sumerian and Babylonian religion."

"Why?" Dominique was confused. "I thought that women back then were little more than slaves."

"In most cases they were little more than temple whores." Daria snarled. "But not with my mother. The Great Lady Skylaris forbade human sacrifice, temple slavery and the practice of priestesses extending sexual favors to the faithful. She was seen as the most radical deity of the pantheon."

"Wow. What was it like, being a priestess, I mean?"

"It was...." Daria remembered the feelings well. "Intoxicating....I was the daughter of a goddess. I was her will incarnate...or so the masses thought. I never spoke to my mother except in ritual prayer or magick. I saw her avatar four times in my entire life. But, the people and her followers considered me her mouthpiece. Skylaris decided that I was suitable for that purpose and so she made me her first Sybil."

"Like Tacitus?" Dominique squeaked.

"Yes, like Tacitus. Sardis had an oracle and I was it. She'd send me visions of her will and I wrote them down. She wanted deeds done in her name and I did them. She wanted her precious philosophy spouted and I did it."

"You sound bitter, Lass." MacBeth noted.

"I was young and vain." The young Djinni replied. "I grew drunk with power. As my mother's power increased, so did mine. A dragon has immense supernatural and magickal ability. Duende are naturally magickal creatures. An offspring of such a union is a potential time-bomb."

"But, you seem so nice." Dominique shrugged helplessly. "What could you have done that was so horrible?"

"Now, I seem nice." Daria found she couldn't look her young fan in the eye. "Let's just say that by today's standards, some of my actions were considered.... horrific."

"You are an oracle of the goddess." Timron finally found his voice. "It was still a great honor."

She turned to him. "Yes, Timron. Believe it or not, I was one of her very first priestesses. I preformed rites and blessing upon her faithful. But, I don't long for those days of antiquity."

"Are you still a High Priestess?" Dominique's fascination came through in the exited note of her voice.

"Technically, yeah." The Djinni nodded. "But, things have changed since that time. Skylaris doesn't require blood sacrifices of lambs and goats anymore. Worshippers don't need to make offerings to the temple. But, back then, most of her worshippers were Human and not Gargoyle. She tends to take a different approach with her winged supporters."

"When did Gargoyles become her followers?"

"When some human followers of Skylaris decided that Zendrizane wasn't her consort, but a demon defiling her temple. A few clans were in the area and were being hassled by Mardok's followers. Guards from every holy temple in Sardis hounded them. In sheer desperation, they knocked on the temple doors at Midnight with an angry mob right on their tails."

"I've never heard this tale." Timron's eyes widened in amazement.

"It's true, she brought the DeMahri with her from Avalahaun. She was their patron goddess. Their descendents became Gargoyles. But, not every Gargoyle followed her and most didn't even know about Skylaris. She lost touch with them over time because humans needed something much more to believe in and Skylaris was all for that. It increased her power base. She'd forgotten about her lost children. Gee, imagine that."

"As you felt she had forgotten about you?" The crimson Gargoyle probed gently.

"Give the boy a gold star." The Djinni scoffed. "She's never going to win an award for being mom-of-the-year."

"So what happened?" Dominique asked excitedly pounding clenched fists on the arms of her airline seat. "The Gargoyles were pounding on her door followed by an angry mob and then what?"

"Zendrizane opened the doors and let them in. He told the mob to go home."

"That's it?" Dominique's disappointment was evident.

"Oh, no." Daria said with a saucy tone. "Not by any means. They grabbed him and attacked him for harboring the creatures they considered to be demons."

"Oh no..." a collective gasp ran through the plane. The young redhead dared to speak.

"They killed him."

"Bingo." Daria growled. "So, I used my newly-found power and resurrected him. After all, I was the daughter of a goddess and it wasn't beyond my ability. Then..." She coughed.

"Then WHAT?"

"You don't want to know." The Djinni clamped a firm hand over her mouth. "Drop it."

"But..." The young Dame pulled Daria's hand away and gasped for breath. "You can't stop now."

"Trust me. You don't want to know the rest."

"It can't be that bad."

"Yes," Daria's voice became almost inhuman. Her eyes gleamed amethyst and the young Dame withdrew in abject horror as if Death had touched her soul. "It was. Listen to me, little Dame. I am more than you can imagine. Don't go where you shouldn't be."

Dominique sank into her chair and stifled a sob. Daria saw the horrified faces of her companions staring blankly at her. The repressed nightmares of ages past burned their way through her and reawakened the horror of three thousand years past. The Djinni quickly rose from her seat and ran to the bathroom.

"I didn't mean to upset her." Came a small voice.

"I know, Dominique." MacBeth drew the lady of his heart close to him. He held her for several minutes. "Let me see if Daria is well."

"I should." Timron rose from his seat.

"No!" MacBeth stayed him with a firm grasp of his wrist. The Gargoyle stared at him in question. "Let me. She needs time to regather herself and it'll be easier if someone...not so close to her can get her through."

MacBeth quickly made short time of the distance between him and the Ladies' room. He heard the hollow sobs echoing in the bathroom. He cautiously opened the door and found Daria huddled and sobbing in a corner. She shivered as though the coldness of space had touched her skin.

"Daria....come now. All is well. Forget it." He wrapped a reassuring arm around her shoulder."

"I can't forget it." Her voice dropped to a small whisper. "I had them executed."

"Daria....no."

"Yeah, I did." A cold rage burned in her eyes. "Those sons-of-Tiamat murdered my father on the steps of his mate's temple without hesitation or reservation. So according to the Code of Hammurabi's code, I dispensed swift justice. I had the temple guards round up every last rioter. They were each covered in lamp oil and impaled upon stakes in the courtyard."

MacBeth said nothing as he listened to her ragged confession.

"Oh, it gets better." Daria's cold rage became bright with angry tears. "I had them set afire. They dared to defy a dragon, and then they needed to know a dragon's wrath. I promised the Gargoyles that if they proved to be faithful worshippers of Skylaris and kept her ways, that she would become their beloved mother and protectress."

Daria unashamedly let the tears fall. "But, I had committed so evil of atrocities that the remaining faithful called for my death. My father, resurrected, calmed the priestesses and followers and merely banished me from the temple until my heart was pure."

"And now?" MacBeth asked in a hushed tone.

"Trust me, Lennox, I've had almost twenty-five hundred years to think about it. You'll never read about that in the Tomb of Tacitus. The average Gargoyle will never know that the Daria of legend was actually a heartless killer. I've yet to step foot on holy ground belonging to my mother."

"We all do things through the course of time that we regret." His soft baritone brought little comfort to the Djinni's voice. "I've sent men to their deaths in war."

"But you never murdered them."

"Did you follow the laws of the time?" He asked.

"To the letter according to the Babylonian King." She smiled sadly. "Technically, I was well within my rights. But, I'm sorry that I let power go to my head. I'm sorry that I was arrogant enough to think that I could take away life ~even theirs."

"You're a different person now." He gently squeezed her hand. "You wouldn't do such thing now."

"No, I wouldn't." A small sniffle escaped her.

"Skylaris has always been one of peace and protection....not rage and retribution. I let down my mother. I devastated my father. I became a very noted entity in Sardis and in Babylon for almost a century. Finally, I couldn't live with the guilt anymore and I begged my mother to take my life in penance for the lives I had taken in turn."

"Did she answer you?" MacBeth asked. Daria saw only sincere concern in MacBeth's eyes.

"She did. After nearly a hundred years of estrangement, she answered me." Daria pulled away from the warrior king's strong arms. "She told me that we couldn't undo that which has been done. She told me that it could be retracted. Skylaris also told me that she absolved me of my transgressions and that I could start anew."

"How?" MacBeth knew that she suffered guilt beyond imagining. He knew that a cathartic purge was curative for her essence and essential to the freedom she craved so badly.

"That's the smacker." Daria shook her head. "She told me that I would know greatness again. She made her high priestess in Babylon. And then I would serve the descendents of those slain by my hand. Only when my heart knew true love would I be set free. I had no clue what she meant. So, I began working in her temple by educating women, taking care of the aged and the widowed. We opened the doors to orphans and fought the followers of Tiamat. By 700 B.C.E. I was a hundred and didn't look a day over twenty. I was the High Priestess of Skylaris in Babylon and she was making a major comeback with human followers."

"So, how did you become a Genie?" MacBeth was confused. Her response didn't quite match what he knew to be in the Tome Of Tacitus.

"A pilgrim showed up one night on the temple doors." Daria's face softened in the early morning light streaming through the window near her seat. "He showed up and stole my heart."

"A man?" He queried. "You were turned into a Genie by a man?"

"You don't read your Tome Of Tacitus, do you?" Daria clicked her tongue in disapproval. "Not a man...a pilgrim. HE had hair as silver as moonlight and eyes the color of summer sky. His skin was pale as alabaster and he was tall and lithe."

"He besotted you." He gave her an appreciative smile. [A particular redhead does that to me quite well.]

"Completely." Daria grinned. "He was beauty personified. He came to us in the dark of night with a mortal wound. It turned out he had a Phoenician iron spear tip in his stomach and he was bleeding to death. A little magick ala Daria and it was removed. But, I didn't know that the iron had weakened him to the point of death. He spent the next year bedridden recovering from that damned wound. I nursed him back to health and we fell in love."

"What was his name?"

"Oberon."

"You mean like Oberon...as in Lord of the FAE?" Now her tale matched the stories of Tacitus.

"The one and the same. Except, Oberon wasn't Lord of the Fae at the time. At that point in history, Mab still sat on the throne. Like all young males, he wanted to see the world ~so he left her magickal isle. His travels brought him to Persia and thieves attacked him at night. Had it not been for our temple, he would have died. Most temples locked their gates after dark. We didn't because of the promise I had made to the Gargoyles a century before. They were always welcome."

"What happened next?" Lennox MacBeth asked gently.

"We lived and loved." Daria's smile seemed to make her come alive. Her smile just-as-quickly faded with her next words. "Then, Titania came looking for him. You know the rest...it happened just as it said in the Tome of Tacitus."

"They married and ended the feuding between their families." MacBeth supplied for her.

"Correct. He left me and returned to Mab's Isle with his princess and future queen." She let melancholy taint her voice. "And I raised a stink like you wouldn't believe. To make a long story short, I voiced my protest and guess what? I got smacked down for it."

"Lass, what you did is in your past. Let it go."

"What if Timron finds out?" She asked. "I've been through this before. I can't count on him to understand that it was a mistake -granted, a horrible mistake- but, I've atoned for it and I truly am sorry and that I would take it back if I could."

"It is no lie to keep the truth to yourself." He winked. "You've told me. I know. Do you feel better?"

"Actually...." Daria remembered to breathe. A new euphoria filled. "Yes, I do."

"Then, you needn't repeat the experience." MacBeth playfully cuffed her on the chin. "Dry your tears, Daria. Timron has no place in your past. Only what matters is who and what you were from the point you met him. Don't worry about that you can't change."

"You wise for a youngin'." She smirked. "I think that this is the start of a beautiful friendship."

"I have my moments." He helped her to her feet. A quick dab of his handkerchief removed the ugly black streaks of mascara. He tweaked her nose. "You look marvelous."

"Sheesh." She batted him away and hopped to her feet. Daria straightened her clothing. "You know that doesn't take away the stain of what I've done."

"It isn't for Timron to judge. That was the right of your mother and her love proved stronger than her anger. Her forgiveness outshone her wrath. That is the gift of love. And when a person moves beyond anger and rage to peace and compassion. If it were his right to judge, then he would need to learn that lesson. But, it's of no matter. Your mother knew what was best and proved that love is stronger than hate. When you have accepted that lesson unto yourself, Lass, then you truly will have been set free."


EPILOGUEFROM THE TOME OF TACITUS...(as seen in AAU11.0)

8th Century B.C.E.
From the Tome Of Tacitus...

I have walked amongst the Persians of Sardis and have heard their tales of Agathos Daemons. Those are helpful spirits with humanity's best intentions at heart. Yet, upon their tongues fall hushed whispers of a heartfelt tragedy of when Daemons invoke the anger of their rulers. The tale teaches the price exacted for arrogance and vanity.

It is said that our beloved Goddess had a daughter during the last days of Babylon. When she walked through the streets of Babylon with her beloved daughter, all who saw the regal deity and her child stared at the young one's luminous eyes and curly ringlets that were her crowning glory. It became the tales of legend that Skylaris' daughter was most beautiful of all the goddess' children.

Her daughter became a woman renowned for her effervescent charm and celestial beauty. When the young woman came of age, she found her heart set upon a young prince named Oberon. Alas, another maiden of the Seelie Court also set her cap for the dashing young monarch. Titania, daughter of Phoebe, and Daria, daughter of Skylaris fought fiercely and well for the love of Mab's son.

Oberon became enchanted with the flaxen beauty of Titania and made her his princess. Upon hearing this news, Daria wept violently for several hours at the Seelie Court. When her mother attempted to comfort her, Daria screamed in vexed protest. "How could he marry that harridan? Her skin is the color of rotting fish and her hair is limper than the water lilies of the Euphrates. Her voice has all the allure of a sandstorm. She is pale and pallid while I have the dark beauty of the Duende."

"Daughter, still your tongue." He beloved mother chided her. "Titania is no longer a rival for your heart's desire, but your queen. For you to speak of her will insure her wrath and bring you nothing but sorrow."

"You speak rightly, Aunt." Titania's voice filled the air. She stood before Daria in a blinding maelstrom of feminine fury. She pointed at the young Fae and her brows furrowed in anger. "You have offended me, Daria, with your bitterness and arrogance. Now, you will pay the price."

"You have Oberon and you are his queen." She retorted. "You have won."

"You captured My Lord's heart for a time and that is something that will never happen again." Titania clicked her tongue. "You've insulted me and you will learn humility."

A great battle ensued between the two strong, powerful Fae. For many days, they blasted the world with orbs of Magick and deadly spells that wreaked havoc in the world. All the Seelie Court watched in terse anticipation of the Outcome. Finally, in desperation, Titania sought the advice of the treacherous dragon named Katoramet (known as Tiamat to the Children of Gaia.) Titania and the dragoness came to an agreement. Katoramet would be given free reign in the Abyss without interference from the Fae in exchange for an irrefutable way to humble and chastise Daria. The dark dragon gave Titania an amethyst flask inscribed with Draconic runes and script, far more ancient than the mother tongue of the Fae.

She taught Titania the profane words that would forever altar Daria's existence. With great satisfaction, Titania took the flask and planned her solution for the vexing Fae that vied for Oberon's heart. The young queen again engaged Daria in battle and when the young Fae was weakened, Titania uttered the profane Draconic incantation. Its words are so horrible that I dare not write them down lest another victim fall prey to Katoramet's malevolent enchantment.

"Of Vanity and conceit are you composed
And vanquished heart it is supposed.

Your words are bitter and full of scorn
Because of your vainglory worn.

You have committed treason against your queen
And her honor you have viciously demeaned.

The price exacted for your vanity's crime
Shall outlast the longest reaches of time.

Within this flask shall you be bound within
No longer Fae but forever Djinn.

Serving the whims of those who are full of conceit
Let you find humility within your defeat.

Let your vanity hold you longer than time
And confine you within the bottle's paradigm.

And be forever bound in your new home
And let love bring you a heart of stone.

When rocks can love and speak of it sweetly
Then will the spell come undone and set you free."

The ancient legend says that whosoever comes across the amethyst flash shall be granted three wishes by the Djinn within the bottle. It is also a hard lesson for those of the Fae who wish not to incur their Queen's wrath. It is whispered amongst the Seelie Court that Oberon dare not speak Daria's name for fear of Titania's ire. Fables tell of Skylaris flying through the lands of Babylon and Persia searching for a way to free her lost daughter. Because of the spell cast, Skylaris forbid her people and follower ever to speak her native tongue. To this day, any who speak Draconic invoke the fury of the Dragon Goddess.


And the private jet flew to the East to meet with the Londonium clan. The day passed in quiet contemplation. And Daria learned a bit about herself that day.

SET FREE.



1Endless -another term for Vampire
2Domi -MacBeth's nickname for Dominique...pronounced "Doe-mee.