A/N: Greetings and good day to all of you lovely readers! I have, due to certain threats and pleas, deigned to update once again. Yes! You are reading right! I have updated.

This chapter is relatively useless once you get past the beginning. Just another filler chapter really. However, more fun plot-type stuff is coming up in the next chapter! And this one does hold a certain sort of purpose.

Please forgive me, though. I'm afraid I put all the characters very much Out Of Character. I'm not particularly pleased about this, but…there it is.

I'm actually taking a poll right now. I was re-reading my earlier chapters and thinking over the reviews I got. I realized that: Wow! My chapters REALLY suck! And that the Jewel ranks for my characters are completely unbelievable. I remember someone reviewing to tell me just that, and I wanted to say thank you for that. It made me think more realistically about Bishop's characters and the fact that black jewels are extremely rare. I think I got just a bit black-happy, ne? ^.~

Anyway, about the poll. I'm re-doing the previous chapters to change a few things. Jewel ranks, attitudes, and small stuff like that to make the characters more…believable, I guess you could say. I was just wondering when you think I should do this. Now, while the inspiration is still fresh on my mind, or after I finish the fic? Review and let me know, okay?

Thanks for sticking with me so long, all you loyals out there! It really means a lot!

Oh! And Daughter of Night?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! (Otanjoubiomedetougozaimas!!) ^.^

Everyone say thank you to Daughter of Night. If she hadn't told me it was her birthday, I wouldn't have even started writing this chapter yet!

And now…what you've been waiting for…



Chapter 14


"My daughter..."

Tori turned quickly, focusing on her father standing before her. This was no ordinary dream, she knew. This wasn't a memory or torment from the past. The man before her was her father, or a part of him. He'd invaded her dream.

"What are you doing here?" She demanded with more confidence than she felt.

The man walked up to her, smiling tenderly and reaching out to touch her cheek. Tori jerked back, avoiding the contact, and flung up an Ebon-Gray shield.

"Come now," he chuckled, reaching out and shattering the shield. "Show me your true strength, daughter of mine."

Tori glared at him. "I am no part of you," she growled.

He laughed again. "Of course not," he agreed amiably.

"What do you want?" She asked, not trusting how agreeing he was being.

He spread his hands, smiling gently. "A reunion, dearest daughter. I've missed you and your sister Talia so. To say nothing of that whorish wife of mine. I thought you might want to help me arrange a meeting time."

"Help you?" Tori spat.

"Yes, help me. Is that so hard? Daughter normally jump at the chance to help their fathers. Good daughters, anyway." He watched her, smiling kindly. "Are you a good daughter, Tori? Don't you want to please your father?"

Tori hesitated, her heart shaking with the fear he still managed to instill in her. "...Yes," she said softly. "I want to please my father." She smiled wryly at the man in front of her, who looked a little shocked by this admission. "I've put him through so much grief when he really never deserved it."

The man started forward again, an eerie light shining in his eyes. "Yes! Daughter-mine! Come back to me, and all will be forgiven!"

Tori gave him a weird look. "What are you talking about? I'm not talking about you. I speak of the father of my choosing. Saetan Daemon SaDiablo, High Lord of Hell. My mother's husband."

The man took a step back in shock. "Wh-What? But, I..."

Tori glared at him. "You are my enemy. You are the General. You are a man who does not have the decency to stay dead."

The General's face darkened. "You bitch!"

Tori smirked. "Only by preference. Now..." She gathered her Jeweled strength, reaching deep into her Ebony. "Get out!"

She unleashed the force against her enemy, the man that was once her father, and had the satisfaction of feeling his presence give way beneath it.

"I still want that reunion, Daughter of mine!" He screeched, just before she completely erased him from her dreamscape.

Tori stood panting slightly in the now-barren darkness. "We'll be waiting," she said softly.


Tori sat up in bed with a sigh. "Asleep, awake, unconscious from exhaustion. When will that man leave me be?"

*Your father?* Kaelin asked.

Tori snorted. "Who else who have the balls to break into my dreams?"

Kaelin shot her a look. *Are you asking who has the balls for it, or who has the Jewels for it?*

Tori ducked her head to hide a grin. "Point taken," she agreed, thinking of certain other boyos who more than had the balls for it, if push came to shove.

*You look better,* Kaelin ventured.

Tori stopped as she walked across the floor for the bathroom. "I…feel a little better."

It had been days since she'd vented her tears on Deamonar, and she'd ventured not far from her room since then. Still, the overwhelming depression had faded, and she found herself able to move past it.

As a matter of fact…

Tori called in two small black velvet cases. One held Kontar's ring, thoughtfully retrieved for her by Lucia. The other held the new Head of Guard ring that she was to give to the next one. The former she looped a thin silver chain through and tied around her neck, so she would always remember him and the sacrifice he made for her.

The latter, however….Tori made a subtle mental sweep, searching for Lucifer's location. Perfect, she smiled. He was on his way back to his room now. She lifted the box, took a deep breath, sent a prayer to Mother Night, and the box to rest on the man's bed. She would have her answer within a few minutes.

In the meantime, she decided, there were other changes she would mull over. First and foremost on her mind being Daemonar's strange behavior lately. Tori stood and began to pace as she thought, a frown pulling at her lips.

"That man…" she murmured irritably.

If it had been any other man, Tori would have thought he was flirting with her, and summarily decked him so hard he'd be eating through…parts best left unmentioned. But it was Daemonar, so the subject was touché.

On the one hand, Tori desperately wanted to believe that he was acting like other men. That is, that he was actually flirting with her. Flirting entailed a general liking, right? It meant that, on some level, Daemonar found her attractive. Tori's heart skipped a beat each time she thought of that, and she felt herself blushing slightly.

She shook her head. But, then, on the other hand…Flirting meant liking, which meant sex. Sex meant being naked with a man. In bed. Alone. Doing…things. Tori paled, fear gripping her as she thought of that. Even with Daemonar, it was a scary image.

Thanks to you, Father, Tori glared at the wall. It was all his fault. Darkness take the bastard.

And, of course, Tori had developed this annoying and embarrassing habit of blushing at all of Daemonar's come-ons. Naturally.

"Ugh!" Tori flopped down in a chair disgustedly. "Why don't I just Craft a giant sign that says 'I like you!'?"

Tori was suddenly stopped from saying anything else about herself as a soft shock trilled up her spine, down her right arm, and coil around her middle finger. She flushed, grinning with pleasure as she looked down at the black band. It seemed as though Lucifer had accepted her offer. Joy lit her heart for a moment, bright and clear, before settling down in the pit of her stomach, giving her a floaty feeling.

Tori grinned, glancing at the small clock she had beside her work table, and jumped up in shock.

"Hell's Fire!" She hissed, panicked. "Mother and Talia are waiting!"

Racing out the door and down the hall, Tori smiled. Just as her little sister had hoped, Tori and their mother had grown closer. They'd never be the best of friends, granted, but Tori found her hatred for the woman who'd abandoned her growing less and less with each passing day.

It was nice, having an older woman to talk to about personal things. Things Talia wasn't yet ready to hear about. And Tori suspected her mother thought along the same lines. For, while Tori may have been quite a bit younger, she was often subjected to her mother's woes and worries about her relationship with Saetan. Especially of late.

Tori panted to a halt outside of Saetan's personal study before knocking briefly. The door opened and she went in to find just what she expected. Her mother and sister sitting together on the couch, pouring over a particular Craft book.

"Still on the outs with Saetan, Mother?" Tori asked innocently.

Lyra looked up, scowling at her elder daughter. "You're late, Toriana."

"I lost track of time," she answer, unperturbed by the whip-snap in the woman's voice. "And I'll take that as a 'No, dear. Saetan and I are still having a little bit of a problem.'"

Lyra huffed. "It's not my fault the man's a completely unreasonable…male!"

Tori smothered a giggle and took Lyra's other side. "Of course not, Mother. Now, about our Craft lesson…"

As Lyra taught them, Tori let her mind drift back to what had happened yesterday morning, when the whole mess between Saetan and her mother had begun. She, of course, had heard it later from her mother what happened, so it was a little biased. But the gist of it was, apparently, Saetan had suggested that Lyra started getting out more. He suggested, in all innocence, that she take up training with the other ladies, or walks with the Kindred.

Of course, her mother had not been in that good of a mood lately, and had rounded on Saetan with accusations. Did he think she needed exercise? Well, yes, he'd so foolishly answered, sealing his fate. So he thought she was getting fat? Her mother had snapped back. Or was it that she'd already grown so largos that he couldn't stand the sight of her fat body anymore?

The conversation had only gone downhill from there. Truthfully, Tori pitied Saetan. In touché subjects like a woman's weight, age, or looks, nothing a man said would get him out of trouble.

And, really, if Saetan had just taken Lyra's outburst without saying anything, everything would be fine by now. Lyra would have sought out her lover later that very day and apologized. But…alas…Saetan had gotten angry. He'd yelled back, at first defending himself, and saying that he thought she looked beautiful. Then, when that didn't seem to do any good, he'd made the fatal mistake. His temper frayed to the breaking point, he said the only thing left open to him. From a male's point of view. He'd agreed with her.

Tori had sat up late that night, thinking over their problem. Normally, she would have just left it to them to sort it out on their own. But Saetan seemed to have gotten himself well and truly stuck, and not even Jaenelle could explain why to him. It was like she'd said. Males and females speak different languages.

Fortunately for them, Tori happened to be a bit fluent in male. She had thought long and hard about it, and had finally come up with a reasonably accurate example. Now all she had to do was track down Saetan, and find a volunteer. Preferably an Eyrien.

After being dismissed from their lessons and promising to meet for lunch, Tori and Talia left the study, each with their own agenda. Talia, Tori knew, was going out to play with the Kindred. Tori was a little disappointed that it wasn't just the two of them anymore, but she was far more happy that Talia had friends she trusted now. And they still spent quality time together, mostly out in the gardens or in Tori's room.

"Good luck with Uncle Saetan," Talia said as they reached the end of their walk together.

"Thanks," Tori groaned. She gave a theatrical sigh. "How I get myself into these messes, I'll never know…"

"Messes, Lady Tori?" Daemonar purred, appearing around the corner, fresh from the training fields. His bare chest shone and his hair, limp and damp clung to his face and shoulders. Golden eyes sparkled playfully.

Tori looked away, clearing her throat nervously as she willed away another blush. Taking a deep breath, she steeled herself, and looked back up at him, flashing him a smile.

"Daemonar!" She cried happily. "Just the male I was hoping to run into."

Daemonar blinked, taken by surprise. "I…am?"

"Oh, most definitely," Tori nodded. "I need your help."

Daemonar fell back a step, clearly not trusting her smile. "…What?" Mother Night, damn his blasted Eyrien courage!

"I'll tell you about it while we find Saetan," Tori hedged. She winked at Talia, who winked back. Daemonar resisted the urge to panic.

"Have fun, Sister!" Talia laughed.

"Take care!" Tori called back, linking arms with Daemonar and drawing him away.

They walked in silence for a little while, each enjoying the other's company. Tori waited for Daemonar to break the silence, as she knew he would. Until then, she was content to feel his warmth pressed along her side.

"An interesting necklace you have," he commented warily, as though he wasn't quite sure he should mention it."

Tori gave a small sigh, reluctantly withdrawing her arm from his to finger the chain. "I wanted to remember him," she said quietly.

"We heard about Lucifer's new position," Daemonar commented.

Tori grinned up at him. "I'm really relieved he accepted."

Daemonar cocked an eyebrow at her. "Was there ever a doubt?"

"Yes and no," Tori confessed. At Daemonar's looked she shoved her hands in her pockets with a sigh. "I was sure he'd take the ring. I mean, I trust him with my life, and more. But…I wouldn't have blamed him one bit if he'd turned it down, either. Seeing as how his predecessor hadn't lived that long after joining up with me…"

Daemonar slipped an arm around her shoulders comfortingly. "It's different now," he assured her. "There hasn't even been a hint of a stir from the General in days." His eyes narrowed at the brief flash of guilt that crossed his Queen's face. "Right?" He stressed.

Tori smiled weakly up at him. "Of course," she replied, avoiding his gaze. "Now, about what I need your help with," she said, changing the subject quickly.

Daemonar glared at her, clearly suspicious, but willing to let it go just then. "It's about Uncle Saetan and Lyra's fight, isn't it?"

Tori blinked up at him. "You know about that?"

Daemonar chuckled. "Lovely, everyone knows about their fight. We can't understand why she's still mad, and the ladies can't explain it to us reasonably."

"I'm sure they explained it perfectly reasonably," Tori defended her Sisters loyally. "However, I doubt that they explained it in male. That's why I'm here. I spent hours last night trying to think of a male view of this, and finally came up with a very vague example."

"And you need me because…?" Daemonar asked, not liking this even more.

"The example," Tori stated, as though it should have been obvious. "Eyriens are the best source for this."

Daemonar's eyes narrowed to slits. "Do you mean to say we are most like women?" He asked dangerously.

Tori realized her mistake a moment too late. "No! That's not how I meant it. I meant that you have things that, as an unspoken rule, are never asked between men, right?"

"…Yes…" Daemonar said cautiously, his instincts urging him to get out of this before it was too late.

Tori smiled up at him brilliantly. "I knew it! So, all we have to do is tie your unmentionables in with Mother's, and Saetan should be able to grasp it." She considered this a moment. "That is, unless he's really just that dense."

Daemonar's instincts were now howling, and he backed away. "No," he said flatly.

Tori pouted. "Please, Daemonar? I don't want to ask one of the others." She gasped her courage in a strong hold and touched his arm lightly, gazing up at him hopefully. "Just this once. For me."

Daemonar stared down at her and felt his resistance vanish faster than his father when Jaenelle cooked. He sighed, hanging his head. A sudden, devious idea hit him, making him lift his head and smile at her slyly.

"Alright," he purred. "I'll help you however you want me to."

Tori narrowed her eyes on him, always on guard against his sudden acquiescence. It usually meant he was thinking of something sneaky. "On what condition?" She demanded.

Daemonar's smile grew. "Nothing too important," he said flippantly. "Just a kiss."

Tori turned scarlet. "Wh-what?!"

Daemonar held up his hands defenselessly. "All I want is a little kiss for helping you. It's not unreasonable, is it?"

"N-no," Tori murmured, staring at the floor and praying Daemonar couldn't hear how loud her heart was beating.

"Of course, you could always find one of the other boys to help you with Uncle Saetan," Daemonar mentioned.

Tori was silent for a long moment, looking firmly at the smoothly tiled floor. "Okay," she whispered.

Daemonar looked at her, surprised. Was she actually accepting his deal? "Pardon?" He asked, leaning closer.

"I said 'okay'," she snapped, glaring at him. Tori poked a finger into his chest. "But you'd better do whatever I say. And answer whatever questions I have."

"As long as it pertains to Uncle Saetan and Lady Lyra's relationship," he countered, not liking the idea of her having the freedom to make him answer any question she had. Which she did. But Tori didn't need to know that.

"Oh, alright," she sighed, plan thwarted.

"Shall we go, then?" Daemonar asked eagerly. He flashed her a wolfish smile. "I'm looking forward to my reward."

Tori turned crimson again, and ducked her head to hide it as they continued to seek out Saetan. Mother Night….How was she going to get out of this one?

They found Saetan hiding in his son Daemon's study, pouring over paperwork without seeing a word of it.

"Sit down, Saetan," Tori ordered, waltzing in and sending the man a firm glare. "With any luck, this won't take too awfully long."

Saetan seemed surprised by her brusque tone, something he hadn't heard in a while. "Lady Tori," he greeted her cautiously, falling back on Protocol. "To what do I owe this…visit?"

Tori glared at him from across the dark cherry wood desk, Daemonar leaning comfortably against the wall behind her.

"You know," she began calmly, the glare smoothing out into a pleasant smile. "I normally don't bother myself with other people's relationships because, to be blunt, they are not my problems."

"Okay." Saetan nodded, following her.

"And yet…" Tori sighed. "I find myself getting involved in this spectacular mess you've landed yourself in with my mother."

Saetan started to grow defensive, so Tori raised a hand to stall his argument.

"I thought for a long time about how to translate just how big of a mistake you made into male," she continued. "And if, after I finish, you're still not getting it, I'll take it as proof that you never held Mother in that close of regard. If that's the case, I'll assume you were merely playing with her and beat you for a week."

Saetan sat there, stunned at how easily Tori had threatened him. Daemonar coughed, trying not to laugh. Tori sent him a warning look.

"Daemonar's agreed to help," she added, making herself comfortable on the invisible bench in front of the desk, her legs swinging back and forth.

"As you wish," Saetan replied, at a loss.

"Excellent!" Tori smiled at him and looked over her shoulder at Daemonar until he came forward to take the single chair beside her. "Now, Saetan, how well would you say you knew Eyrien mannerisms?"

Saetan watched her warily as he answered. "Fairly well," he allowed.

"Would you say you knew what not to say to them to make them mad?" Tori pushed.

Saetan nodded slowly. "Yes, I would say that."

"Like what?" Tori asked, leaning forward in interest.

"Tori!" Daemonar objected.

Tori grinned at him. "Ah, ah! It's for Saetan and Mother."

Daemonar glared at her, but fell silent.

"I don't think that's for ladies to hear," Saetan hedged.

Tori gave him an exasperated look. "Do you want to make up with Mother or not?"

"I do," he replied carefully.

"Then let's hear it."

"Something guaranteed to make an Eyrien mad?" Saetan mulled over it for a moment. "Something pithy and blunt about his wings or balls. Saying something about not being able to get it up with a woman. Ridicule his…ah…anatomy….Why is this of any importance?" He demanded.

Tori sighed. "Well…I suppose I'll just have to work with that." She gave the two men disbelieving looks. "I can't believe men put that much stock in…their stock."

Daemonar flushed and bristled at the same time. Quite an interesting sight, really. "Get on with it already," he grumbled.

"Oh, alright." Tori turned to Daemonar. "So, if Saetan said…something like that to you, in all seriousness, what would you do?"

"Hit him," Daemonar replied instantly.

"Well, yes. Obviously." Tori sighed, feeling a headache coming on. Males. She rolled her eyes. "But, aside from physical violence, what would you do?"

Daemonar stared at her blankly. "Besides violence?" His eyes lit with comprehension. "You mean attacking him with Craft?"

Daemonar's a thug, Tori realized with horror, stifling a groan. "No," she said firmly. "Wouldn't you yell at him? Argue? Express your anger through words?"

"Why do that when fists work better?" Daemonar demanded, genuinely confused.

Tori groaned out loud this time, feeling the headache getting worse. Mother Night, what had she gotten herself into?



*******


Two hours, several highly imaginative displays, and one awful migraine later, Tori was beginning to be hopeful.

"Okay," she said with exaggerated patience. "So, if fists were words, we've determined that Daemonar would most definitely be yelling at you, right, Saetan?"

Saetan nodded, not looking much better than her. "Yes."

"Kind of like my mother was yelling, right?" Tori asked, finally, finally, being able to tie in her mother to this disaster.

Saetan looked floored. "You mean…Lyra took it that seriously?" He asked.

"Yes!" Tori cheered. "Finally, we're getting somewhere. Weight is to women as a good impotency insult is to an Eyriens."

Saetan nodded carefully. "I believe I understand now." He frowned. "A little."

"An Eyrien would never turn around another male's logic on him," Daemonar objected.

Tori regarded him innocently. "It's not our fault if you back yourselves into a corner and provide us ammunition."

Daemonar glared at her. "How do we—"

"We're getting off topic," Tori said hastily. "The point is, you understand that Mother has every right to be offended, and that by agreeing with her only added insult to injury."

Saetan nodded. "But how do I fix it?"

"By telling her that you understand you did the wrong thing and are sorry," Tori said. She took in his shock. "You did say you were sorry, right?" She stressed, worried she'd spent all this time when a simple apology would have done it.

"Naturally," Saetan replied. "However, your mother was rather furious with me and refused to accept my apologies. She said I didn't mean it."

"Well, this should convince her," Tori muttered. "Spending two plus hours trying to wrap your mind around the opposite gender's psyche is not something one does for sport."

"I agree," Saetan said fervently.

Daemonar merely grunted, collapsed in the leather chair with one hand pinching the bridge of his nose. "Are we done yet?" He moaned.

"Yep!" Tori announced, hopping off her Crafted ledge. "The rest is up to you to figure out, Saetan." She paused on her way out the door and glanced back hesitantly. "Good luck."

Saetan smiled at her gently. "Thank you, Tori." For everything, his expression said.

Tori smiled slightly, nodded, and left, Daemonar close behind her. She sighed, collapsing against the wall as she closed her eyes.

"Mother Night, my head hurts," she groaned. "If Mother doesn't take him back, I'll never forgive her."

"I need a drink," Daemonar mumbled.

"I need to go find Talia," Tori thought out loud, starting off for the stables.

Daemonar abruptly lost his pained expression and darted in front of her, spreading his wings to block her escape. "After that, I think I'm more than entitled to my reward, Tori," he purred, smirking at her briefly panicked expression.


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Chapter 15 is already half done. Aren't you so proud of me?! :) I'm starting to get back into the mood of this fic, so maybe there will be more updates. ^.~ Maybe.

Hope you keep coming back.