Author: Denigoddess2001
Addy: Denigoddess2001@aol.com
Fandom: Gargoyles
Story Arc: Angels Amongst Us
Title: Chrysalis Descending
Episode: 20
Rating: R (adult language, violence)

Characters: Lennox Moray MacBeth -A lieutenant of the Linoma Clan, Dominique Destine -a delegate sent to approach the Londonium clan for their aid, Timron Nightkind -A Cleric of Skylaris and a lieutenant of the Linoma clan, Daria Delaney Damson -a Djinni who is trying to make her way in this strange new world, Griff -leader of the Londonium clan, Bast -Leo's daughter and Griff's Second-in-command, Jaidyn -one of Griff's lieutenants.

Summary: The Delegation from the Linoma clan must convince the Londonium clan to render aid. Their help is paramount is stopping the Chrysalis.

Disclaimer: I don't own Gargoyles. They belong to Disney. No infringement intended. All original characters are property of Denigoddess2001. Do not use without permission.

[Bracketed words indicate private thought or psionic transmission]

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

April 19, 2006

Daria decided that her current choice of clothing was unsuitable for the wet, dank weather of Great Britain. With the graceful motion of one hand, gone was the casual clothing she had worn during the flight. She felt drained emotionally and mentally from all that had occurred these past weeks. Timron had found her in a bar fight at the Athenaeum. He had promised to set her free and then reneged on his word. The Crimson cleric had run to Avalon to serve every need and whim of his beloved Titania. No one had known at the time that Titania and Daria were bitter rivals and ancient enemies.

[She's a redhead; she's lithe and graceful. Every time I fall in love, she has to go and ruin it!] Daria's fist stridently punched the back of her airplane seat. The very thought of the redheaded bitch inspired the young Djinni unprecedented depths of rage and fury. [Oh, what I'd give to bind that wench to a pole and light her on fire.]

Titania had forced Oberon to marry her. Their union sealed an alliance between two warring factions of the Fae. The war stopped, Mab abdicated her throne and Titania became queen. However, Daria has spent two thousand years in an amethyst bottle as a Genie serving endless masters. All those masters and mistresses had been descendants of the rioters she had killed. For two millennium, she resigned herself to the fate and simply waited for the end of her existence.
She reconciled herself to an empty existence until a particular red Gargoyle changed her way of life.

She had loved Timron as fiercely as any Gargoyle dame. She had loved him with all she had in her. Their love had been so strong that one of her mithral manacles cracked and parts of her frosted amethyst carafe fractured. Now, he declared his love for her and showed her no proof of his words. The recent turn of events caused the world to be torn asunder. His innocent wish for an eternity of sunrises caused Daria to use her Magick that resulted in disastrous results.

Now Vampires and Werewolves walked around in broad daylight. Luckily, for the Linoma clan, the Preternatural community just hadn't yet figured out that particular tidbit of information. All-Father wanted to rid the world of any sentient creature that wasn't human. Not only did that mean Vampires and Garou, it also meant Fae, Elves, and Gargoyles. The Linoma clan banded together to stop this oncoming genocide and needed help to do it.

Daria had signed on for the crusade. Yet, all didn't seem right in the world. She was a delegate to a clan of strange creatures she had never met. Somehow, she and the others were charged with the responsibility of convincing them to be allies and fight the good fight along with them.

[How the Hell are we supposed to do it?]

Daria just wanted to retreat to the bottle and let the world slip on by. She hadn't counted on saving the planet for evil minions that wanted Human blood. The last thing she had planned on was living with creatures strange and alien to her. She buckled her seatbelt and prepared for landing. She hadn't stepped on British soil in almost five centuries. A part of her wondered how drastic were the changes since Elizabeth's time.

The landing went without incident and the quartet made their way from the jet. They landed under the cover at night. She looked around the private runway and found it to be eerily quiet and deserted.

"Where are they?" She asked quietly. "Where are the Gargoyles that are supposed to meet us?"

"Patience, Daria." MacBeth gently chided her. "They will be here soon enough."

"Good, because I'm about to freeze my ass off." She felt herself shiver as the cold, wet air chilled her lavender skin. Daria rapidly jumped up and down to warm her damp skin.

She heard a familiar soft whoosh in the air and gazed overhead. She looked to MacBeth and he silently nodded. Daria knew that he meant that these were the representatives sent to meet them by the Londonium clan. She saw Timron in the side of her eye subtly move closer to her side. His tail twitched at the very time and his scarlet and platinum wings slightly flared. [God, Gargoyle body language is just TOO obvious. Big bad boy is going into testosterone-laced overprotective mode. Oh, joy.]

Three figures landed outside the sphere of light. The young Djinni squinted her eyes to make out the barely discernable figures standing in the shadows. She saw the silhouettes of their wings and she knew they were Gargoyles. She watched the wings come down and fall around their shoulders. [Uh-uh. This hiding in the darkness is BULLSHIT. Let's shed some light on some of this.]

"And Daria said, 'Let there be light.'" She quipped and snapped her fingers. A faint lavender circle of fairie fire surrounded the group. The three strangers shielded their eyes from the strange light.

"Turn it off." A terse voice cut through the darkness.

"It's enough to see by and not enough to give us away." Daria's annoyed tone called into the blackness around her. "All of you have night vision and I can't see for shit in the dark. So, deal with it and quit hiding in the shadows. I want to see who I'm talking to."

"Daria! Be quiet." Dominique's sharp rebuke hissed in the darkness.

"No, we were told to expect those not of the wing." A soft voice with husky undertones gentled the abrupt exchange. "We shall step into your light and let you see us."

Daria's delicately arched brows rose in concession and surprise. Three shadows stepped into the light and stood before the quartet. They were tall like the Gargoyles Daria knew but they were unlike any Gargoyles she had ever seen. Their wings were bat-like and leathery. These Gargoyles possessed feathered wings.

The first figure to cloak its wings stepped in direct line of Daria. The 'Gargoyle' (If Daria dared call it that) had the head of a Siberian tiger. Star white fur was marked with deep black stripes. The Djinni saw the creature's vivid aquamarine eyes. Long white whiskers came from the creature's upper felinoid lip. White feathered wings cloaked around the creature's shoulders. [Since when do Gargoyles have FUR?!]

Daria leaned forward and brazenly stared at the winged creature. She noticed that it had long, defined canines similar to those of a tiger. Instead of four talons, the beast possessed five fingers with retractable claws. Its haunches were shaped like those of a feline walking upright. A long slender tail extended behind it. This creature looked like a tiger with wings -there was no other eloquent way to describe what she saw. Daria saw that the creature stood well over six feet and was garbed in a black leather skirt and a simple vest.

"Now, you can see me." A cultured British lilt came from the tiger. Was it growl or a purr? She seemed amused by Daria's gauche examination of her. "You can retrieve your jaw from the ground now."

Daria eyes widened more as the second figure stepped into the light. He looked unlike the Tigress standing next to him. The male had human features. Daria saw no strange coloring of skin so common to Gargoyles. He was a Caucasian male with strong British features. He had a regal forehead and a Roman nose. She smiled silently in appreciation at his high cheekbones and strong jaw line. She noted that he had a cleft chin. He was certainly Adonis material. He was tall and blonde. She noticed his feet were also human and he lacked a tail. She found him oddly fascinating. [He is definitely eye-candy.]

Blonde and striking~angel was the word that came to mind. [Where are brow ridges and square, squat features? Does he have talons like the rest of them?]

He walked past the Tigress and stood before Daria. He smiled knowingly and extended his hand. She saw five tapered fingers that had a superior manicure to hers. One brow rose in surprise.

[I have fingers.] She watched his blonde brows wriggle.

Daria's jaw dropped again in realization. [Shit! This one's a telepath.]

[Yes.] He kept his hand extended.

[You look more like an angel than a Gargoyle.] She managed to find words to communicate. "Why.....hello there."

[I'm a Gargoyle to the core.] He said as he took her lavender hand and clasped it in his larger, warm palm. [You look human yet you've not a drop of Humanity in you. After all, you're the daughter of the Goddess and her consort, Zendrizane.]

"Didn't anyone tell you it's bad manners to poke your nose into other people's minds?" Daria gave the angel a disgusted look.

"I'm sorry." Was his sincere reply. His voice reminded her of warm, sweet dark honey. "But your heart is heavy and troubled. You want peace and you're not finding it. It's my ability to help."

"And your name is?" Daria raised a brow in scrutiny.

"My name is Jaidyn." His warm replied stilled her quickening pulse. A rumbling growl interrupted the exchanged when platinum wings abruptly cloaked over Daria's shoulders. Daria turned to stare at Timron. His misty green eyes glared luminous silver in the darkness. The blonde Adonis said nothing as he simply stood there. He turned his attention to the crimson warrior. "You must be Timron."

"I am." Came the abrupt reply. "Wellmet."

Daria caught the hint of heavy smoke in the air and it emanated from Timron. The smell of fresh baked bread came from the handsome winged warrior standing in front of him. She shrugged and saw the Tigress talking to MacBeth. Dominique stood there with her hand over her mouth to suppress a giggle. Daria mouthed the words to the azure dame, "WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THESE TWO?"

"Later." Dominique mouthed the reply.

The third figure remained apart from the group. Wings finally opened and the creature came into the light. He was a creature with russet fur and deep chocolate hued feathers. He looked more avian than any of the others and was dressed in a leather vest and pants. He had a beak rather than a humanoid face and Daria found him to remind her of a proud Roman eagle.

"Hello, all." His voice was delightfully cheery. "I'm Griff. I'm glad you could make it. We were wondering if you'd ever arrive."

Timron's tail tightened about Daria's waist. She gave him a look of exasperation and blinked. A column of lavender smoke eluded his grasp and floated several feet away from him. It hovered in air for several seconds and settled upon the runway only a few feet from the one she though an angel. The billows of lavender smoke slowly formed into the contours of a humanoid figure. The smoke darkened and solidified until she stood several feet away from the cleric.

"Impressive." Jaidyn remarked at the rarely seen display.

"Just one of my many talents." She flashed him a smile.

"You must be Daria." A jovial base filled the night. Griff stood before her. "So, you're the genie let loose from the bottle. I say, you are a pretty little miss."

Daria felt plum rush to the surface of her skin. [Whatever else he may be, he's certainly a charmer.] "Why, thank you. I appreciate the compliment."

Timron rumbled his protest. The Djinni shot him a stare that abruptly silenced his commentary.

She liked this Gargoyle named Griff. He lacked pomp and arrogance. He seemed like the type of Gargoyle that was accessible and friendly. She cautiously extended her hand and took his in turn. "Yes. It's nice to meet you. I've heard a lot about you."

She watched the others discuss clan business. Daria watched MacBeth and Griff as they spoke. Their heads leaned forward and they're voices were warm and quiet toward one another. She sensed an air of familiarity between the two males. [They must know each other.]

She saw that Timron was busy speaking with the Tigress. Daria felt odd standing alone while the others were engaging in conversation. She walked over to Dominique and Jaidyn where they stood. All of these enigmatic individuals were around her and she felt like the fifth wheel on a tricycle. "Hi."

"Hello." His elegant lilt sent a small shiver through Daria's body. She ruthlessly suppressed it and simply smiled. She nodded in the direction of the Tigress. "So, what's her name?"

"Her name is Bast. She's our Second's daughter." He explained. "Leo had patrol this evening and Griff's other lieutenant, Una, is running the shop. So, he brought Bast and myself to greet you."

"I see." Daria thought his explanation was as clear as mud. "I'm sorry.... I'm just a bit taken back. I never saw Gargoyles until a few months ago...not for a very long time, actually.... and that had been the first time in a very ....uh...long time. I don't mean to seem ignorant, but I've never seen Gargoyles covered in fur."

Jaidyn chuckled. "No worry. It's just the way we are."

"And you're a Gargoyle?"

"Oh, yes." He said adamantly. "My father is Human and he took a Dame as his mate."

"So you're half human. I thought you said you were Gargoyle to the core."

"I embrace the Gargoyle Way." Jaidyn's voice dropped several octaves. "I follow the Great Lady."

"And the rest of your clan?" Daria found her curiosity piqued.

"They choose to follow All-Father." He shook his head. "They have a small chapel located on the top floor of our haven."

"They're...Christian?" She asked slowly for clarification.

"Yes, Anglican, as a matter of fact." Jaidyn laid his hand upon his chest and revealed a small pendent carved in Amethyst. Daria leaned closer for better examination. It was an amethyst dragon mounted on silk cord.

"You do follow the Gargoyle Way. That's rare in this day and age." She looked at him with newfound respect. "I'm impressed."

"My heart is simply what it is." Jaidyn smiled. His blue eyes scanned Daria slowly. "So, what is your role in this?"

"In what?"

"In the Chrysalis." Jaidyn's blue eyes gazed into dark brown.

"Well...." She drawled. She cast a glance over at Timron. "It's a long story. To make it short...Big Red over there found me and received three wishes. He died. I granted his last wish as he died and that was the shit-" Daria saw the Angel's face flush at her crude language. "I'm sorry. It's been a long night. I mean, I granted Timron's wish as he died and that was the deed that started this whole thing -the Illumination, the Chrysalis...and everything along with it."

"You are a being of great power." Jaidyn's deep voice somehow soothed her. He laid a gentle hand on her shoulder. "The legend of Daria is famous even today."

"I thought that your clan was Christian and didn't worship Skylaris." She replied warily. "I was informed of that fact on the plane."

"Skylaris is still an important part of our mythology. One of our clan is an ancient High King. He's living proof that some truth is the basis of all legend. I don't doubt that your mother is a creature that became the seed of legend."

"High King? MacBeth?" She cast a look over at the Professor talking with Griff.

"Oh, no. One of our clan is even older. His name is Arthur."

"Arthur?" [Okay, maybe the boy is just a tad buggy in the hatch.] "I'll bite. Let me guess...Camelot, Excalibur, Lady of the Lake?"

"The one and the same." His cool reply caught Daria's notice. "He's my father."

"So, that explains the human features." She snapped her fingers and the Persian rug floated waist-high beside her. She seated herself and crossed her legs. She offered Jaidyn a spot but he shook his head in refusal. "Hey, I'm sorry. I meant no disrespect. But, to have King Arthur as a father has to be just out of this world."

"It's no different than having a Goddess as a mother."

"To other people she's a Goddess, to me...she's someone that's more like a distant relative."

"She's much more than that, Jaidyn." Daria felt that old defensive streak rise within her. Skylaris was many things, but certainly not a myth! That dragon could turn him into instant crispy critter with just one breath. [She can make the world the she wants it.]

She saw a challenging look in those blue eyes. Daria realized that it was bait to see if she'd rise to the occasion. [You'll have to do better than that. It takes more than a few words about my mother to get me to react.]

"Next question, please." Daria pointedly turned to Dominique. "Why did I smell smoke and burning fire?"

"You don't know?" Dominique asked in disbelief.

"Know what?" Daria pressed. "What are you not telling me?"

The azure dame turned to Jaidyn. "She truly doesn't know, does she?"

"I don't think so." The blonde Adonis slowly shook his head. Long thick tresses of flaxen fell past his back and to his waist. Daria made the quick assumption that he should tie it back to keep it from being mussed in the wind during flight. "How much do you know about Gargoyle customs?"

"Almost nothing." She admitted sheepishly. "I know NADA."

"Timron was posturing." The Dame giggled. "That scent of burning wood and smoke is the scent Gargoyle Sires give off when they feel a potential suitor is creeping in on their territory. Timron seems to think Jaidyn was trying to put the moves on you."

"Right...." Daria remained skeptical. "Timron doesn't have a jealous bone in his body."

"Oh, yes he does." Dominique winked. "The wings wrapped around you and so did the tail. That's Gargspeak for 'She's mine and back off."

"I'm not his mate."

"He thinks you are."

"He doesn't act like it." Daria scoffed.

"Has he marked you?"

"Marked me?" The Djinni seemed at a loss for understanding. "What do you mean?"

"Has he placed his scent upon you?" Dominique leaned forward and sniffed. She inhaled deeply and shook her head. "No, he hasn't. Yet, he was acting like a male that had experienced the Reckoning."

"What is the Reckoning?"

The Dame rolled her eyes and blew a bubble. "Okay, Gargoyle Biology 101. The Reckoning is a completely mind-blowing experience. It doesn't happen to every Gargoyle, but when it does! Watch out."

"What is it?" Daria pressed. "Get to the point."

"Every once in a while, two Gargoyles meet and they just know that they were meant for each other." Dominique cloaked her wings. Her hands seemed to do as much talking as they gestured. "When that happens, the two become mates. But sometimes.... something happens and messes up the connection. It seems that some things can weaken it. You know, like disagreements or other males that might have a soul just like yours."

"Well, I had an experience like that not too long ago....now, I'm not so sure."

"Well, anything's possible." The Dame shrugged. "Maybe you two aren't mated after all."

"Who knows?' Daria replied sadly. "Anyway, I also smelled fresh baked bread."

She saw crimson flush stain Jaidyn's cheeks. Daria gave a silent, triumphant smile. Let the angle squirm just a bit -it served him right for trying to bait her. In feminine satisfaction, Daria folded her arms and raised one brow in question. A sheepish grin crossed his features and his blue eyes quickly diverted to the ground.

"We'll talk about it later." Dominique whispered. "This isn't the time."

Daria heard MacBeth loudly clear his throat. "Everyone, Griff has suggested that we reconvene at his clan's haven. We can talk of things there more, but sunrise fast approaches."

"Agreed." Griff nodded. "MacBeth, you'll glide with me. Daria, who will be carrying you?"

"Actually, I can get there on my own." She smiled. "I'm a Genie...it's not difficult."

"I'll carry you." Timron declared and strode toward her. "Come, Love. Let me."

Her heart felt heavy. His aloofness as of late had burdened her heart so that she wanted some distance. When Daria had given him the magic carpet ride, he had spoke of things that had caused her to doubt his devotion. He spoke of Titania and his longing for Avalon. His distant behavior caused Daria enough pain that she simply chose to retreat into herself and put space between them while she decided what she wanted to do about the enigmatic crimson warrior that had so easily captured her heart.

"I can get there on my own." A simple wave of the hand caused a small flash fire before her. The wonderful Persian rug reappeared and floated a few feet away from her. "Besides, my rug gets great gas mileage."

"As you wish." Timron's voice was abrupt. He turned on his heal and took to the air. Daria watch Griff scoop MacBeth into his arms and do the same. Dominique and Bast followed suit and Jaidyn turned away. He looked over his shoulder and motioned for her to follow.

Daria crawled onto the carpet and directed it to follow the path of the Gargoyles. She watched the winged warriors as they glided in London's dark, cloudy night sky. [I bet if anyone actually bothered to look up, they'd have the fright of their lives. Five Gargoyles, an Immortal and a Genie on a flying carpet. I'll just chuck it up to the group dynamic.]

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

April 20, 2006

Daria was rather disappointed that the others chose to sleep during the day once they arrived at the Clan's haven in London. She spent the early part of the morning browsing through the numerous rows of books at the quaint little shop ran by the clan called "Into the Mystic." Volumes of books appealed to her and she immersed herself in committing a few to memory.

The afternoon was a day of discovery for her. The Djinni spent the day flying over London taking in the sites of Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and other famous monuments. She marveled how much Britain had changed in half a millennium. And all the while she wondered what to do about the growing problem of the Preternatuals in Linoma. She dwelled upon how to convince the Londonium clan to join them in their crusade to protect the human. But, within her heart of hearts, she worried about the growing distance developing between her and Timron.

She'd deal and burn with that London Bridge when she came to it.

***************
Una woke from the rooftop of the shop to find strangers standing before her. The young dame standing before her had chiropteran wings that indicated she was Scottish stock. [So, the clan from North America has finally arrived.]

"Sweetheart," Griff's voice beckoned to his mate. "We need to gather the rest of the clan together soon. We need to sit and figure out what we're going to do."

"Is this the time and place to talk about it?" Una brushed back a stray tendril of her white mane from her brow.

"Yes, Love, it is." He said firmly. He turned to the delegates. "Una, this is Dominique, she's from Linoma. From what I hear, she has connections with Goliath."

"I see." Una studied the younger Dame with unhidden scrutiny. The Dame was young, barely more than a hatchling. [She can't be a day over forty. She seems to young to be involved in this.]

"Wellmet, Dominique."

"It's a pleasure to meet you." She spoke quietly in return.

"MacBeth is also a member of the Linoma clan."

"A HUMAN?" She found it strange that he was so readily accepted. Maybe the Yanks did things differently.

"No different that Arthur being a member of our clan." Griff gently reminded his mate. "Remember, Arthur is a mated to one of our own."

"But those are separate circumstances." Came the squawking protest.

"M'lady, I am honored to make your acquaintance." MacBeth subtly bowed his head to Una. He knew he'd have to use every pound of charm he possessed to convince the equine Gargoyle of his sincerest intentions.

"Indeed."

"The strapping young lad over there is Timron. He's from the Avalon clan. He's also a holy man for their goddess." Griff nodded in the Crimson Gargoyle's direction.

"Do you mean they worship in the old religion? They aren't Christian?"

"No, Madame, I'm not." The harsh note in Timron's voice did nothing to conceal his offense. "I've been a Cleric of the Great Lady for almost 30 years."

"I see." Una's voice held a cold dignity in it that Timron found unsettling.

Griff's tail lashed in automatic response to the tension between Una and the group. He stared at the timepiece on his wrist. "Where is that girl? I told Daria to be back by sunset. We need her here before we convene."

"Here I am." A voice echoed from above and a rectangular silhouette sailed over them. The Gargoyles crouched in a defensive posture as the shadow darkened the area around them. Daria's carpet landed on the flat area of the roof and she joined them. She shrugged helplessly. "I got lost."

"Is she always like this?" He asked quietly of Timron.

A small, affection smile crossed the crimson Gargoyle's features. "Yes, Griff. You get used to it after awhile."

"We're going to have a jolly good time with her around, shan't we?"

Timron merely nodded.

"Now that everyone is here and accounted for, let's get down to business."

*********

The meeting lasted well into the night. Much of the Londonium clan was of like mind: let the humans deal with their own problems and let the Gargoyles stay out of it. A few of the younger warriors longed to hone their skills in battle by fighting the Preternaturals. Daria watched eyes glow, tails lash and wings flare as voice rose and tempers exploded. She made no pretense about understanding Gargoyle culture.

In the end, the Londonium clan agreed that 'human problems often found their way into Gargoyle lives." Griff and Una refused to send half their warriors halfway across the world to fight in a battle that didn't darken their doorstep. Instead they asked for volunteers. Daria halfway expected three or four hands to rise. There were none. Neither talon nor tail twitched as the air hung silent around the group.

"I don't fucking believe this!" She finally screeched in anger. Her harsh voice broke the silence. "Don't any of you have the balls to do the right thing? Or are you going to be a bunch of damned cowards hiding in your little haven? What the HELL are you going to do the day that the Order of Helios shows up on your doorstep and pulverizes you to dust? What then?"

"Daria, it's their right." Timron's quiet voice did nothing to sooth the seething temper simmering within the Djinni. "We knew there was a chance they'd say no."

"They don't get it!" She knocked his hands away. She turned back to the group of thirty and stared at them. "I've served Skylaris for 3.000 years. You people want to write her off as some fairy tale -but she nothing like you've ever imagined. She is combating a deity far more powerful than anything you can possibly know. He wants to destroy us ~not just Gargoyles but also Immortals, elves, dwarves, Nephilim, Vampires, Garou, the Djinni All-Father wants to purge Earth of anything on it that is intelligent, magickal and NOT HUMAN. You fit the bill. "

"All-Father will protect us." Una clutched her black book closer.

"Only if you're Human." Daria shook her head in dismay. "His plan doesn't include us. Skylaris though is as powerful as He in Her own realm. She's prepared a place for us. We need only protect the innocent until it is our time to leave. Then, she will take us to our ancestral home and we will have a good life there."

"All-Father promised the same thing, Child. Do you know All-Father as your personal savior?" Una asked.

"I know Yeshua well and he's a good savior. But don't confuse Him for a moment with a Sumerian Wind Deity pretending to be good and loving. All-Father is not Yeshua. His heart belongs to Simians ~not children of the Dragon. But, we have allies! Skylaris' mother Barbello and her brother Yeshua have agreed to aid us in our quest. They will help us leave the planet and find our home. But, we must not allow the Preternatural community to run amok and attack innocent Humans. That would just give All-Father the excuse he needs to wipe us out."

"All-Father has promised to take care of us...whoever believes in him shan't perish."

"Only if you're HUMAN." Daria wanted to take the equine Gargoyle by the mane and give her a good shake for being so obstinate. "WAKE UP AND SMELL THE FREAKIN' JAVA! You don't qualify, Una. None of us do! Skylaris is opening her haven to those of good heart. You don't even have to believe in Her as long as you hold to the ways of Honor and Love. But, we need your help. If the Preternaturals attack Humans it'll be a blood bath. Please help us."

Daria remembered how she pled with a group that hardened its heart against her. She remembered how she had pleaded and begged with the Humans to spare her father from sacrifice. Now, the group before her painted themselves as enlightened souls that spurned her mother's treasures and gifts. [I can't believe that these Gargoyles can just walk away from the One that loves them.]

"MacBeth, do something." Dominique tapped the warrior's shoulder with the edge of her tail. "Daria's about ready to blow."

"I know." He replied tersely. [What will she do when angered?]

"Young woman." Leo broke in through her impassioned reverie. The leonine Gargoyle gave to shakes of his golden mane that was heavily streaked with silver. "We understand that your clan chooses to walk a pagan path of the Old Religion-"

"Pagan!?" Daria's brown eyes became vibrant violet. They would have made any Gargoyle proud. "My mother is not some mythical deity out of some ruined temple. She is flesh and blood. She lives on Avalon for Christ's sake. You can still have your faith in Barbello's son . In fact, we embrace Yeshua...the Brightchild has been a friend to the Gargoyles since his days in Galilee."

"Exactly, young lady...Christ." Leo's stern words reminded Daria of one irrevocable fact: The Londonium clan was Christian. "We agreed to hear your case and your clan has made it's argument. However, the elders of this clan have decided not to aid you in your cause. This passionate display does nothing to aid your cause. Now, if you will not respect our wishes, we will ask you and your clan to leave immediately."

"May Skylaris have mercy on your soul." Daria's shoulders sagged in resignation. "When the Vampires or the Order of Helios crush you, she might still welcome you into the Summerlands.... 'Cause I sure as hell wouldn't."

The young Djinni turned on one heel and walked out the chamber door. Timron rushed after her. "Daria, wait!"

"Why?" She turned around. "Why didn't you say something?"

"I couldn't get a word in edgewise."

"Bullshit, Timron! You supposedly are her chosen one. You need to speak up."

"Becoming angry doesn't get the point across, Daria."

"No, it doesn't. But, with your personality, you could have convinced them far better than me." She felt like pummeling the Crimson cleric for his lack of fire. He seemed more interested in watching than doing.

"Daria...I've been doing some thinking lately." He said as misty green eyes fell to the ground.

"About what?"

"About us....this....all of it." His voice faded into a faint whisper.

'What's there to think about? I love you and you love me. You serve the Goddess and I'm her daughter. You told me that I'm supposed to help you. I'm trying to do that. What more is there?"

"Daria....I realized tonight that I was...wrong. " The crimson warrior cloaked his wings. "When we took the ride on the magic carpet, the truth came to me. I realized that I love you, but you're not my soulmate."

"What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? This isn't just about us...this is about saving lives." Daria's mouth fell. The air in her lungs hissed from her body in one shocked gasped. "I thought you loved me."

"I realized that there is only one for me." He closed his eyes. "She is the part that completes me. Today, I realized that when you encountered Jaidyn."

"Jaidyn is another Gargoyle." Daria said desperately. "That's all."

"The smell of fresh baked bread implied his interest." Timron reminded her. "He wouldn't have been interested if the bond between soulmates truly existed between you and me."

Daria fell to her knees. The harsh cobblestones of the London street ripped through the fabric of her jeans. She failed to notice the harsh sting of the stones scraping her knees. Painful stinging rushed to her eyes. She found herself staring at a stranger in her midst. This wasn't the Gargoyle to whom she'd given her heart. He was a creature hidden in the mists of dreams and uncertainty.

"Daria, I'm sorry that I've been such an ass...I'm sorry that I've been such a fool. I've been wrong...wrong about a lot of things. I'm no longer effective...as a cleric of Skylaris...or as a mate and protector."

"Why are you saying this now!?" She sobbed. "You came back from Avalon just to do Skylaris' will and then back out. She's your goddess. She loves you. If you turn your back on her...where will that put you?"

"I want you to know that I will never be with Titania either-" He began as though he hadn't heard her.

"So, that's what it's all about, isn't it?" Daria wondered if the night could get any worse. "You're in love with her STILL? Are you an idiot? She's USING you, Timron."

"It would never work out with Titania either." He repeated. "I'm sorry."

"Sorry?" Tears flowed freely down the Djinni's face. "You come into my life and promise to have me set free. Then, you run off to Avalon behind some weak facade of honor. I try to piece my heart back together and then you come back and say that you're serving Skylaris and that I'm supposed to be at your side."

"Yes, I did." She heard the tremor in his quiet baritone.

"Now, you back out on your Goddess and then you back out on me. Where are your balls, Timron? Where is your fucking precious honor? You are beyond understanding."

"Daria, my heart isn't here." He shrugged helplessly.

"I loved you with everything I had in me." Daria screamed between sobs. "I love you with everything I am. And you've managed to abandon me...break my heart twice. Is it some game for you...shattering me into a thousand tiny pieces? What about Skylaris?"

"Daria, you can love again...I know you can." He took her hands in his. "Skylaris knows I am not her chosen one. I was wrong."

"That doesn't matter SQUAT to me. You're the only one that I love." She hissed.

"I'm sorry. But, we can't be together."

"So, you've made your decision and you've left me hanging? Now what?"

"I'm returning to Avalon."

"Back to Titania."

"Daria, no...it isn't like that." Timron started.

"No, I suppose it isn't." She said with false sweetness. "Call it by any name you like, you're still leaving me for that red-headed slut that broke your heart the first time. You're turning on my mother-YOUR GODDESS- because you're thinking with your dick instead of your mind. Go to her. You two deserve each other."

"She isn't-"

"No, but, if you don't realize that she'll hurt you again...then you two deserve each other. I love you but I won't let my life become a monument to a lover unworthy of my time."

"I wish you well, Daria." He said softly.

"I wish you Hell, Timron." Her eyes flared. He stepped back in fear. "May you never know the prison I have or the sentence I bear. Now go."

He said nothing as he began climbing the wall of "In the Mystic."

As he flew into the night, Daria remained stunned by the strange, unexpected turn of events. She had been certain that MacBeth would secure the Londonium clan's support. Daria thought it odd that she lost her temper and recalled old memories long dead and long absolved. She couldn't explain the bizarre behavior exhibited by Timron or herself just now.

It was Chaos.

CHAOS.

Daria's soul darkened a few shades in that moment. [There is something at work here. This is just too much like the Twilight zone to be real.]

Daria knew what was afoot. She knew the Magick lingering in the air wasn't Fae. It certainly wasn't like any Magick she to which she was accustomed.

It was Draconic. It was dank. It was cold and smelled of malodorous sea.

Fear filled Daria's heart as she rose to her feet and walked inside the shop. The heavy influence of Magick hung in the air but wasn't so strong. She walked by through the shop and into the haven. MacBeth and Dominique were still conversing with Griff, Leo and Una. When they saw Daria, muddy and scraped, they said nothing.

"Timron is gone."

"What?" Dominique's widened eyes were matched by the disbelief in her noise.

"Timron suddenly decided that he wanted to return to Avalon without much explanation." Daria shrugged. "I think that there's Magick at work that is trying to sabotage our best intentions. I think that's why I've been feeling so out of sorts today."

"What do you think it could be?" Dominique whispered.

"Tiamat."

"Wow."

"Yeah, exactly." Daria felt sheer horror rise in her bowels. While she had never met her evil sister, she knew that the Dragon was one of pure malevolence. She cradled her face in her hands. "We're in a bad situation, Dominique. The Londonium clan isn't going to help us and we've lost one warrior."

"Aye, Lass." A voice came from behind them. The Professor wrapped one arm around the azure Dame. "You're right. I think our business here is done. There's no need to stay."

"MacBeth, we needed their help. Next to Ishimura, they're the strongest clan." Daria fought the urge to sob. "We're screwed."

"Not all is lost." A quiet voice came from behind them.

"Tim-" Daria stopped short as she spun around. The voice sounded like the quiet melodious baritone her heart craved. Instead, it was a crisp lilt of British clip. "Jaidyn."

"I'd like to come with you." His simple words brought a bit of brightness to Daria's dim heart.

"So would I." A sultry purr came from the darkness. From the shadows stepped the Tigress that had captivated Daria's attention. "Do you have room for one more?"

"Bast," MacBeth heartily shook her hand. "We always have room for one more."

"I know the difference a clan can make in a Human world." She smiled. "I know that Humans make a difference in a Gargoyle clan. We need each other."

"Too true, Lass." MacBeth checked at his watch. "Have you told the others?"

"No. They'd only try to stop me." Bast closed her eyes slowly. "They wouldn't understand."

"How many others will be joining us?" Daria just had to ask.

"We're all that we know of." Bast replied. She extended her hand to the petite Djinni. "Daughter of the Great Lady, tell me what you want us to do."

All eyes were upon Daria. The silence hung in the air. They waited anxiously for words.

"What? I'm not her golden messiah...that was Timron's job. I don't get visions or personal emails from her? I'm just her daughter."

"You were once her mouthpiece." MacBeth reminded her. "What would she have you say now?"

"I haven't the foggiest." Daria threw up her hands. "I'm not making the same mistake twice. I'm not presuming anything on her behalf."

"Let me rephrase the question." Bast cut in. "What do YOU think the Goddess would have us do?"

"I can't speak on her behalf." The Djinni reiterated. "But, if you're asking my opinion-"

"And we are, Daria." MacBeth laid a hand on her shoulder.

"Then...." She paused to gather her thoughts. She closed her eyes and brought her hands together in silent meditation for several seconds. [What would she have us do?]

Unity.... the Gargoyle Way. Timron had read to her the Tome Of Tacitus. It had been written long after her imprisonment in the bottle. Yet, the book held wisdom that had not been available to Daria during her time in Sardis and Babylon. The Way of her Mother had evolved beyond good deeds and tenets of faith. It had become a philosophy and a way of heart. She remembered one particular passage from the Tome that she had committed to memory. It summed up everything that her mother represented in the world.

A Gargoyle is the epitome of courage.
A Gargoyle's heart embraces valor
In the face of adversity.

Fear shall tempt us
Yet, never shall the Gargoyle heart succumb
To the taste of cowardice.

When defeat looms and shadows battle,
It is the Gargoyle Way to take up the cause
And protect that which is right and good.

A Gargoyle's essence comprises integrity.
Talons protect the innocent.
A Gargoyle watches vigilantly for truthfulness.

Let Gargoyle Eyes see only good faith in others.
Be one of honor and virtue.
The Gargoyle Way succumbs to the heart's calling for righteousness.

Embrace all those in the clan
And those who touch the clan's heart.
Turn away none who seek and share the Gargoyle Way.

Love is the truest strength of the Gargoyle Heart.
A true warrior denies surrender to the temptations of self.
Life becomes corrupt, meaningless and empty when we deny our natures.

A Gargoyle abhors mercilessness
And stands ready as guardian and sentinel
For those without protectors or champions.

Gargoyle valor defends the frail and fragile.
A Gargoyle heart loves fiercely and well.
Gargoyle loyalty is without question.

It matters not to the Gargoyle heart that her charges
May be without wing or talon and know the light of the sun.
A Gargoyle's nature is to protect. It is our heritage.

Let your words articulate simple verity without distraction.
Let Gargoyle fury quash cruelty.
A Gargoyle's roar brings justice.

Justice knows no death
And let our hearts crumble to dust
Lest we betray our nature.

It is our way to protect.
It is our nature to serve.
It is our heritage to love fiercely and well.

The Gargoyle Way eternally shines
When the Heart burns brightest with the Fire of Love
And the Valor of Honor.

That is the Gargoyle Way. So mote it be.
As it is above, so shall it be below.
Let these words endure longer than the mountain stone.


"We need to return to Linoma and report to Demetrius immediately." Daria said with growing confidence. "In fact, we need to call him now and relay the bad news. Then, we await his further instruction."

"That is wise." MacBeth nodded. "Jaidyn, Bast, you'll be joining us?"

They nodded.

Dominique drew out her cell phone. "I'll make the call."

"Good."

"I'll be right back."

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


Dominique found a quiet corner of the store and made the call. Her talons shook as they dialed Demetrius and Wren's home number. She had a raw, churning feeling lurking within her stomach. The young Dame felt something was afoot ~something sinister and heinous that hid from her in the shadows. It was just beyond the realm of the conscious mind. Daria had sensed it as well.

The phone rang once.

Daria wasn't human. She wasn't Gargoyle. She was Draconic and Duende. Both races were dangerous...and powerful. Titania might have turned her into a Djinni...but it did nothing to affect the young woman's raw, untapped Magick and innate power. Dominique felt it coursing through the young woman's body like a river raging through a canyon.

The phone rang twice.

Dominique knew that there were things on the edge of her mind that she couldn't quite remember. While talking to Dominique about Tiamat, the young Dame had the oddest feeling that there was a way to combat these preternatural creatures. There had to be some spell or incantation that would allow one of them to cast the enchantment to turn the tide in their favor.

[It couldn't be that difficult!] She racked her brain. It danced on the corners of her mind. There was a book that came to mind. It was a large book. She had seen it her dreams. Dominique knew that she had held it in her hands on countless occasions. She had never seen it.... none of the others spoke of it in her presence. [It exists and I know it has what we...what I need to aid our cause.]

The phone rang three times.

She saw the two dragons entwined on the front cover as the image flashed across her mind's eyes. Green eyes glowed brilliant white as frustration competed with concentration for Dominique's attention. It wasn't a Tome like the Tome of Tacitus. Tacitus's book was Magick, History, Language, Philosophy, and Science..
No, the book in her memories was a book purely of Magick...what was the word for it

Book...volume...tome....manual...

[GRIMOIRE]

It was a Grimoire. It was a book that was ancient and Gargoyles used it often.

The forth ring echoed in the small metaphysical store.

[Damn it. I know it's a Grimoire something-or-other.] Dominique felt the word was just beyond her reach. [It started with an "A." Ancient....antique...antiquity...antediluvian....arcane]

[Grimoire Arcane.]

No, that wasn't it. Dominique's innermost heart told her she was very close. Instinct screamed that the Grimoire held the spells needed to combat the Preternaturals and protect the Humans. Ancient, powerful incantations awaited the reader who delved into its ancient text. It wasn't simply a Grimoire Arcane.

"Grimoirum Arcanorum." A deep, sultry voice spoke aloud. It wasn't the voice of a young college student or dame in love with her professor. It wasn't the young lady sent to make an important phone call. It was the voice of a thousand-year-old Gargoyle who knew well the ways of Magick and sorcery. The words fell from lips that knew ancient incantations that defied time and space.

"Hello?" Wren's quiet voice answered the phone.

"Wren, this is Demona." The rich alto came across the telephone. "I remember. I remember it all. The Londonium clan isn't going to help us. We're on our own."

There was a silent pause on the other end of the line.

"Oh, God."

"Not quite, Darling." Demona's talons gently caress the cell phone. "I know of a way to combat some of those bloodsucking pariahs. We need the Grimoirum Arcanorum. You need a sorceress and I volunteer."

"Dominique-what happened? When did the memories return?"

"I'm not quite sure." Her reply was genuine. "But, it's been eating at me for some time. Don't worry, I'm still with the clan. I gave you my word. You've done your best and kept your promises. But even Lethe's waters (see authors' note) can't keep me away for long, Dear."

"You had peace."

"Yes, I did. Now, I have a responsibility. I never thought that I'd want to save the Humans. But, the only thing that I like less than humans are creatures that are think they're superior to Humans. Give me a few minutes and I will have everything we need."

Demona heard a voice in the background that sounded much like Tina's..."RUN"

"What's going on?" The Azure Dame asked.

"It's bad." Wren gasped. "It's begun."

"What's began?" Demona asked not quite understanding.

"This is Demetrius." A resonant baritone came over the line. "Get home immediately. Forty-six deaths reported in the last three hours. Vampires are walking in broad daylight and attacking anyone they see. Garou are attacking them in the streets. The police are everywhere...there are firefights. Mutants are doing their best...but how can you fight the undead when they can walk in sunlight? Get the Grimoire and get home. Tell Daria we need her Magick NOW."

"I agree." Demona added grimly.

"We can't stay here." Demetrius rushed. "Tina just told us that there are vampires en route to Summerlands. We're going to head to join the Garou in battle. If we don't make it, know that you were clan. I want the rest of you to join another clan and-"

NOTHING.

The line went dead.

A deep horror consumed the young Dame. This was far worse that she imagined. She clicked the phone and replaced in the pouch hanging from her belt. With a new determination. She walked through the store until she saw the white equine dame concluding business with a customer.

"We need to talk. NOW." Demona hissed.

"I have customers." Una replied coldly.

Demona's talon dug into Una's arm. "Listen to me, Old One. I have clan in Linoma that require assistance. You are going to help me or I will cheerfully rip you to shreds. You can hide in your little store until the end of time. But, you will help me."

Verdant eyes gleamed Crimson as she stared at the older dame. "We need to get the Grimoire Arcanorum. Do you have it?"

"No." Una stepped back from the fearsome warrior. "Goliath and his clan have it. But...I have a copied transcript in my personal archive."

"I want it."

"No. I've heard about you. You helped decimate the Wyvern clan. That's why I didn't want to help you in the first place. You are a danger to all you are near."

"And you're very close." Demona growled. "Give it to me intact and we'll leave immediately."

"And you will leave my clan out of your preposterous crusade?"

"You have my word." The response was quiet.

The two dames stared at one another for what seemed countless moments. Una quickly turned away. "Wait here."

Several minutes passes as Demona waited in the lobby of In the Mystic. Talons clicked impatiently on the counter and her tail twitched as edginess increased within her. Finally, the curtains behind the counter parted and Una returned carrying a Blue Tome in her hands.

"This is the copy I have. The Magus of Wyvern made it while he was an apprentice for the Archmage. If you use it wrongly, you will bring harm to all around you."

Demona snatched it from Una's grasp. "Oh, trust me. I know the Grimoirum from cover to cover. You just have saved countless lives and for that I thank you. I will also spare yours. Goodbye."

Demona cloaked her wings and made her way to the roof. She saw the others standing there. MacBeth rushed to her. "Domi, what took you so long?"

"I'm back, MacBeth." Was the reply. "Your sweet, innocent Dominique is taking a hiatus."

"Demona..." His brows furrowed. "If you.."

"I haven't been doing anything." She snapped. "It has been a while in coming...but my memories have been returning piece by piece. I didn't understand until I was accidentally called Demona earlier. The Chrysalis has begun in Linoma. We need to get there immediately."


"There is no way the clan can stand with just the few."

"Demetrius and the others have joined the battle." Demona informed him. She flipped through the pages until she the pages suddenly stopped. "We need an army of Gargoyles to aid them. I know just the spell to get us the help we need."

Daria walked over to MacBeth. "You look tense."

"Demona is back amongst us." He said gravely.

"Demona?" Daria asked.

"It's a long story. I'll tell you later." The Azure Dame opened the book. "Daria, I'll need your help in casting the spell. Can you amplify its effects?"

"My Magick is almost drained." She sighed. "All I have left is my own innate ability."

"What about the draconic Magick in your blood?"

"I won't tap that. It's more than what I can handle."

"Demetrius, Wren and the others are under attack at Summerlands."

"NO!"

"Yes." Demona held the Grimoirum in front of her. "We need an army. Amplify the spell and we shall have one."

"It doesn't involve more undead, does it?" Daria asked in a small voice.

"Oh, no." Came the sultry purr. "The Undead are going to meet their end at the hands of the living."

[Goddess, what do I do?] Daria called to her mother for the first time in a thousand years.


...When defeat looms and shadows battle,
It is the Gargoyle Way to take up the cause
And protect that which is right and good...

The Verse from the Gargoyle Way resonated inside Daria's mind. She knew the voice well. She had heard it millennium ago. It was a rich, deep alto that soothed and comforted her troubled heart. No more came to her mind, but Daria knew the voice well. Lavender eyes came to mind as the words echoed in her thoughts. Daria brought her hands together and nodded. As if in prayer, she closed her eyes and nodded.

"All right, Demona. I'll do it."

"Good."

Daria opened her eyes and gone were the velvet brown eyes that all knew. In their place, lavender fire blazed brightly in her gaze. Her voice became a sonorous chant that seemed melodic and bestial at the same time. A low thrumming hummed in the roof below the group as Daria chanted long-forbidden words. The language wasn't Persian. It wasn't Latin or English.

It was the Mother Tongue of the Goddess. It was Draconic.

"Le-heh' ail menoch sambor baKAH meh dom
Rwrroch saback Toach MahTei laba sobach
ChaDOH ChaDOH ChaDOH zohaho mochhach."

An arch of violet flame swept over them in a curve and surrounded the group in a ring of purple fire. Demona looked into Daria's eyes and saw the elliptical eyes of a creature far from human. Damson scales formed where lavender skin adorned the Djinni. Demona smiled. [Oh, Daria, there is so much more to you than what you've told us. Who knew that you were a demigoddess of ancient Babylonian myth.]

Demona returned her attention to the Blue Grimoirum. She cleared her throat and focused her gaze upon the ancient Latin words. Then, the letters before her swam upon the page and her eyes widened in amazement. Lavender flame burned upon the page. Demona threw the book upon the ground and used her tail to extinguish the flame.

There was no heat from the flame. It was cold. She looked at Daria in wonder.

"Cast your spell, Demona." A forked tongue flickered as she spoke. "It's okay...really. It's all good. Trust me."

There was no malevolence in the creature's voice. It still sounded almost like Daria...but far from human or Djinni. The Dame cautiously knelt to the ground and retrieved the volume engulfed in purple fire. The words weren't Latin. They were in a script that Demona had never seen and yet knew she understood.

DRACONIC.

[Any spell cast in Draconic is much more powerful.] She surmised.

"Children of a distant Sky
From a distant haven hear my cry
Bring forth your clans and come as one
And know not of stone while in the sun.
Bring forth talon, wing and tail
And travel forth on solar sail
Legions of Gargoyles hear my plea
Come to the aid of those in need."

Crimson streaks danced across the sky. Black, heavy clouds swirled over the London skyline. Lightning crashed and danced on the Western horizon. The gentle breeze roared to life and became a violent gust of wind. The still earth beneath them shouted in protest and rumbled. It came alive and quaked violently. The violet flames shot skywards in a column that vanished well into the heavens.

Demona felt the raw, unchecked power course through her. She was the new Sybil of Skylaris. She was the vessel for the goddess' will. She recognized that Daria was the shrine for the goddess' power, fury, and love. Together, they would bring forth their clan to safety and protect the humans at the same time.

The flames died.

The column vanished.

The earth stilled.

The skies cleared.

The arcs of fire extinguished.

All was quiet.

Jaidyn stood there dumbfounded. Bast growled. MacBeth mouthed the words, "oh my God." Daria stood still and brown eyes stared into the green. The dame looked at the Djinni and merely smiled. They understood one another.

"We need to return to Linoma." Demona clapped the Grimoirum shut.

"That's it?" Bast asked. "It was a pretty pyrotechnic show, but where is the army you supposedly summoned?"

"They are here." The Dame replied. "We simply have to meet them."

"Where are they, Demona?" MacBeth asked.

"Linoma."

"It'll take us hours."

"We don't need the jet anymore." Daria held up her arms. "Look at my wrist."

The second mithral manacle was cracked. Without ceremony, Daria grasped the torn metal and easily removed it from her grasp. "I have been set free. Anothers wishes can't keep me down. I can take us anywhere. Have Genie will travel."

"Incredible." Whispered MacBeth.

"Everyone stand together." Daria motioned them closer. "Hold hands."

Jaidyn was the first to step forward and clasp Demona's hand. MacBeth took hers in kind and offered his to Bast. The Tigress grasped it firmly and extended her hand to Daria. The Djinni took hold of it and held Jaidyn's hand. She bowed her head and chanted in Persian the ancient words for a traveling spell. The ancient incantation had been a gift from the Goddess for a trip made from Sardis to Babylon. It felt good to Daria to feel free and attuned to her Mother's ways.

There was a flash of light. A colorful vortex of flashing color and light surrounded them. It was thrilling for Daria to travel through the dimensions that reminded her of a tube slide. It seemed as though a giant cleave appeared in time and space and swallowed them alive. The rush of unleashing her powers coursed through Daria's primed body. She heard the others' screams of sheer panic and smiled. [Hey, they're getting a cheap thrill. They'll get used to it.]

The aperture opened and they group found themselves standing in the driveway at Summerlands. They noticed that the last rays of gold painted the western horizon. The glimmering flickers of neon and halogen danced along the western Linoma skyline. She smiled as she surveyed the grounds of the mountain estate. [Home.]

Screams erupted from within the mansion. There were a series of loud explosions that sent the group to the ground. MacBeth pulled a laser sidearm from within his gray trench coat. "To arms, warrior. To me!"

Daria felt the blood thrum in her veins. Was this what if felt like to be in the heat of battle? She wanted nothing more than to charge the mansion and rid the home of the vermin she knew crawled within. She turned and saw Demona's wings flare and talons curl. Emerald eyes burned with crimson fire and her tail lashed violently in lusty anticipation of the forthcoming battle. Jaidyn's eyes gleamed a blue akin to the neon of the Linoma skyline. Bast let forth a roar that could be heard above the uproar within the mansion.

She watched the Gargoyles take to the air leaving her and MacBeth on the ground. Demona scooped him up as easily as carrying a small child. Jaidyn hoisted Daria into his strong embrace. Startled by the sudden change in altitude, she let forth a shriek of fright that was met with by a rich, robust laugh from the angelic Gargoyle. There was a hole in the roof where all sailed into the house.

For the next hour, she watched Vampire battle Gargoyle. As each vampire advanced, they met with quick incineration from MacBeth's side arm or became a pile of ash as Daria set every undead fiend ablaze. Jaidyn's uncanny strength bested more than one unliving abomination in mêlée. Bast's curved talons made fast work of several vampires. Daria's mind ceased thinking as her Magick and her raw rage took it's toll upon the undead invaders.

When all was done, she leaned against a wall and slowly sank to the bloodstained floor. The horrors of what she had seen finally sank into her psyche. The ache and anguish of losing Timron flooded her mind. She buried her face in her hands and cried. Tears of loss, cries of betrayal, and sobs of heartbreak poured from her. Daria wept as her heart bled and more for her crimson warrior and for the atrocities she saw and committed in battle.

"Daria..." A gentle lilt called to her. Tear-stained eyes gazed up to see the hulking silhouetted of the Dark Warrior she began to call leader and friend. Lacerations adorned his ebony chest and bit marks left jagged rips in his flesh. There was no mistaking the battle fatigue in those lavender eyes. Yet, heaviness vanished from her as she realized that her clan leader was alive and well.

"Oh, Demetrius! You're all right." She longed for the energy to jump up and hug him, but the clash with the vampires left her physically fatigued. The extensive use of her Magick drained Daria of all her energy. The crying simply left her empty. The massive warrior knelt on his haunches and lifted her chin so that velvet brown eyes met lavender. She looked around. "Where's Wren?"

"She is resting. She suffered serious injury from a vampire's bite." Demetrius' brow furrowed. "It will take her some time to recoup her energies."

"Maybe I can speed up the process." Daria forced her weary body to its feet. "Where is she?"

"You are not of body and mind to aid her."

"Try me." She challenged her leader. "Healing is a cakewalk after this."

"Rest, dear friend." He gently commanded her. "Wren will keep until morning. When the sun rises, she will heal with the first dawn."

Daria envied her quiet second-in-command. Wren possessed the abilities of regeneration that Daria's Magick denied the Djinni. She had seen the others of her clan take blow after blow and know gash and bite while she had simply stared upon the enemy. She blinked and chanted them into oblivion. [I can't fight my way out of a wet paper bag. Hell, I can't even get out of my own bottle without help some days.]

"I can't." Daria's voice sounded hoarse to her. "I won't give up and I won't give in, Demetrius. I can sleep when I'm dead."

"Considering you are an Immortal, those words have no truth." Came the wry chuckle.

"Yeah, well...you know what I mean. Let me do what I can." Daria wanted to feel needed. Her desire to help and to please overpowered her body's need for rest. "Please, Demetrius."

"Come with me." He led her down the ransacked corridors of the top floor of Summerlands. In the chamber at the far right of the hall, the door was closed. Quietly, he opened the door and Daria saw Wren lying pale and still upon a large mahogany four-post bed. The young Djinni rushed over and saw the pallid complexion of Demetrius' mate. Her neck bore the wounds of a vampire's attempt to rip out her throat. Bloodied bandages stilled the flow of bleeding. She hesitantly pulled back the covers and saw Wren shiver violently. Wounds covered her entire being. Daria's hand came over mouth and a ragged gasp escaped her.

"Oh my God, Demetrius!" She looked sternly at him. "This is hardly what I call merely serious. These wounds are downright critical."

"MacBeth advised me not to tax your energies further."

"Fuck MacBeth." She snapped. "He doesn't know shit about what I can do....not yet anyway."

Daria knelt beside the bed. She was tired. so tired. Her reserved were challenged beyond their limit. Yet, there was no way that Wren would survive. She turned to the ebony clan leader. "Are there more vampires coming?"

"Aye." His eyes were veiled by the shadows. "They will be here soon."

"She can't wait until sunrise. You know that."

"I know."

Daria closed her eyes and took Wren's limp hand in hers. She felt the ancient energies of the Dragon Goddess course through her. Rather than using her depleted Magick to aid the injured second-in-command, Daria sent up an ancient ritual prayer to her Mother. The ancient cant of Persian fell from her lips like a familiar song. Her entreaties ceased being human and became an endless flow of long-forgotten entreaties sent to the one she served.

The pain of tapping into such force caused cramps to form in all her extremities. The sheer pounding of a violent headache assaulted Daria's temples. Shortness of breath caused her to gasp for air. She forced herself to continue the mantra to Skylaris. The High Priestess of the Dragon continued her pleas for healing. A faint lavender glow surrounded Wren's still form. It became a warm haze that enveloped the two women. Demetrius' eyes widened as a cascade of golden rain fell upon his wounded mate. The wounds deep and bloody began shrinking, closing, and becoming pink. The stained bandages ceased being drenched in red. The crimson stains upon the strips lessoned in color and intensity until the bindings appeared white and new.

Daria felt tightness in her chest and a burning in her lungs. Her hands tingled as if asleep and a sharp pain cut through her on her left side. Her eyes felt heavy with weariness and she slumped over the still form. The ebony clan leader hurriedly swept Daria into his arms and stared into her eyes. A heavy sheen of sweat glisten on her forehead. Plum patches adorned her cheeks. He checked and found her heart pounding and pulse racing.

"MacBeth!" He bellowed down the hall.

The Scottish king rushed into the room and saw an unconscious Djinni lying in Demetrius' arms. He cast a harsh glance toward the strapping warrior. "She needs rest, Lennox. See to it that Daria is safe."

MacBeth nodded curtly. He took Daria's cataleptic form and carried her from the room. Demetrius returned his attention to the form lying on the bed.

"Hey, stranger." Came the soft murmur.

"Well met, Milady Songbird." He reached forward and tenderly drew her to him. He buried his face in the straight honey-gold locks of hair. "I thought you were lost to me, Love. Thank the Dragon that you are well."

"The battle- did we win?"

"We have but held the creatures at bay." He said grimly. "MacBeth and the others arrived when all hope seemed lost. We cannot remain here, Wren. Time is our enemy."

"Lad, I think you might want to be looking at what is outside our window." MacBeth's voice called to them.

"I told you to look after Daria." Demetrius barked.

"Aye, and she's resting peacefully in the next room." He riposted. "But I think that Demona's spell for aid has just come true and then some."

"What addled words speak thee?" The Highland lilt of the Gargoyle came through moreso than usual.

"Just look out the window." MacBeth motioned Wren and Demetrius to the window.

"By the Dragon....." Demetrius' voice failed him.

Above the twilight skyline of Linoma hovered fourteen silver spheres. Above Summerlands hovered a craft easily twice the size of the mansion. Upon its hull was emblazoned the representation of a shield. In the midst of the shield was something winged and wondrous. The blue and gold symbol struck an ancient chord within the clan leader. "What is it?"

"My dear, that's a picture of the Phoenix Gate." Demona's voice told him as she entered the room. "And it's on a space ship."

"But...how?"

"Allow me to introduce you to someone I think you shall want to meet, Demetrius." Demona motioned to someone in the hall to step into the bedchamber.

Demetrius' mouth fell agape as the massive figure blocked sight of the doorway. The creature stood a good head taller than Demetrius at seven feet. The beast had skin the hue of slate and scales forming a natural jet breastplate extended the length and width of the creature's chest. He stood there garbed in a sarong around his waist the color of deep forest. Wings were cloaked around broad shoulders. Green folds glistened with almost a metallic element. Demetrius' lavender eyes looked into the jade elliptical eyes of the creature before him.

The beast was primal and far larger than any Gargoyle he had ever seen. Yet, there was no mistaking this creature for anyone else other than a Gargoyle. He seemed closer to being Kin of the Goddess than any of the Children of Stone. Demetrius again found himself at a deficit for language.

"I am Iantalius, commander of the DeMahri Fleet and captain of the ship El-Lehaimu." The booming voice was quiet and filled every inch of the room. "On behalf of the Council of Avalahaun, I represent the DeMahri Alliance. I am here to find the lost children of the Dragon. I have found you and I come to take you home."

TO BE CONTINUED...