The gargoyles that had gathered before the great and powerful flame goddess were at a standstill with her question. Her relation to Xanatos, was that of uncle, but one by marriage and not blood would she refuse to help their friend in need due to an unfortunate relation?
"In truth we must speak. For Xanatos he is her uncle by marriage to her mother's half-sister." Goliath answered. Pele whose hair had the tendency to move and bellow like that of sail in the wind stood still as she thought on this. Her golden red eyes half closed and a thousand miles away in the distance. She blinked once then to life her hair came as it was springing smoke from the island volcanos.
"Then we shall begin." She said this with her nose held up in the air and arms crossed as the others released their held up breaths. "As soon as Xanatos brings me the Star of Arabia."
"What?" Xanatos asked the goddess. A causal flip of the hair and a sweep of the eye towards him was his answer. Her smile widen at the perplexed look upon his face.
"Are hard of hearing now Xanatos? I said we shall begin as soon as you bring me the Star of Arabia." She sounded out the last seven words as one word sentences.
"Why on earth would you want the Star of Arabia? More importantly how do you know about it?"
"Just because I am thousands of years old does not mean that I am not tuned into the modern world. And as to why I want the Star of Arabia, well it's the most valuable ruby in the world. A gem well associated with me and my elemental nature. It's also just a beautiful little bobble that I ask of you instead of your first born. I don't want to be comparable to Oberon right now. More to the point you owe me big time. A gemstone is quite a small thing to ask for in return of your one and only niece." Keep in mind that Pele would have brought back Ilaria without the jewel, but her grudge against Xanatos made her come across as a gangster.
"David go get the Star." Fox ordered her husband. Who did not raise a fuss or protest further and quickly went to get the stone himself to bring to the goddess. Once the stone was in her possession she looked it over to be sure that Xanatos wasn't trying to cheat her. Once satisfied with the authenticity of the stone she placed it into a setting of her necklace. It easily fitted into the soon melted metal which hardened into a beautiful setting for the stone that glimmered and gleamed happily in its new home.
"Perfect." Pele said complimenting the reflection in the mirror staring back at her. "Enough enjoyment of my new treasure. It's now time for business. For this I will have3 to return home for a while. I won't be long." A snap of the fingers sparked the licking flames to consume her form and then disappears from the room. Brooklyn was once more on the floor of being angry that no one seemed to be doing anything to get back Ilaria, he was not the only one feeling this way as Ms. Cornwall was having that issue as well. The feeling of getting nothing in return for what they had just given. Much like those poor families who pay the ransom and their loved ones end up dead. While the villains went off to enjoy the ill-gotten wealth they acquired through sorrow. Injustice of the world that what it is and it strikes all. Not just poor but the rich too can be taken advantage of as well. The only question left was what to do now.
Meanwhile on the island of Avalon the one who desired to be anywhere else but the mystic isle was helping the princess Katherine with the spinning of cloth in the palace.
"That's right Ilaria, don't go too fast or the strands may break."
"You know I never thought I would have to do this." Ilaria said smiling at the princess who returned the smile warmly.
"If you use your talents you would not ever have to resort to such menial labor." Oberon graced the two women with his presence. Though graced is not the word Ilaria would have used in this instance. She would compare him to the way that a warden watches over their captive audience of jail birds.
"Perhaps I have respect for the tasks that are done by hand." Ilaria said not looking in the direction of her new found grandfather.
"By hand? Using magic is about the same as that which is done by hand."
"I have trouble seeing that." Haughty was the reply to her words.
"You have trouble seeing many things O child of my blood. While you are here we shall rectify that. Come with me your lessons are to begin as of now."
"I do not think so." Oberon stopped in his tracks and looked at the youngest of his blood line. He rolled his eyes at mere annoyance. For he saw it as just her human and juvenile side that was acting out in a small time rebellion that would soon be stopped as time would go by and she would accept her rather fantastic fortune.
"We do not have time for such petty deviances. We have far better and greater things to do with our time. Now you shall be respectful and obedient of me your grandfather and come with me." He was expecting the sound of nearing footsteps to come hither. Instead of the screech as the chair scratches the floor and she steps away to the door.
"I have no interest in what you have to teach me. As a prisoner in this gilded cage I shall be seen as the captured bird is. But I shall never sing for you or anyone of this isle." Oberon again rolled his eyes at her melodramatic words. Summoning a cast of energy he set to work to educate his granddaughter. The magic swarmed around in the form of blue mist that bound her movements similar to a chain and dog. Once she could not take leave of the room she took to the air.
"Now, now Ilaria there is no time for this behavior. Come along. Your lessons shall start with Phoebe, Selene and Luna. They have been rather ecstatic about your education."
"I can tell you one thing that is wrong with what you have just said. Those three barn owls' are not ecstatic about giving me the proper education of magic. They are more likely to find delight in the fact that they may discipline and use magic against me."
"Why must you find ways to make your true family seem evil?"
"I do not make all of them to appear that way. I do not think badly of Grandmother or the Lady of the Lake or even Anubis and a few others. But those three….well they have it out for me." She speaks as they exit the castle and towards the field where the three lay in wait for their student. Behind Oberon and Ilaria there came the queen.
"Ah so our granddaughter is beginning her first lesson." Tatiana released the spell off of her and soon straightened up her appearance. "And yet you do not appear elated about it. Why is that my dear child?"
"Tatiana together we have raised a plethora of children and have gone through the stage at which they all believe to be all knowing and resilient of listening to the sound words of their well-meaning elders." Ilaria could easily have scoffed at his words, but chose the harder path of keeping it in.
"How so does she react?" Tatiana said almost uninterested, almost.
"She replies to me as I tell her of her lesson that she would not care to learn magic, but do things the mortal way, she then proceeded to strike with ire and dared to leave my presence without dismissal and to add further insult to injury she dared to slander her teachers with words of ill contempt for her." The finished words of Oberon lead to the light laughter of his queen before her response was given.
"My husband do not act as if she has betrayed us. She is just a child still and children do need guidance as well as the need for compromise. Perhaps a different set of teachers of magic to aid in her quest of her heritage and all its knowledge to be shared. Perhaps Odin, Grandmother and Coyote as her teachers. Each one holds a talent and skill to bring to the table. All three have the markings of good teachers and their relationship to the student in question is in far better condition. She shall train with them when time permits and by the strengths of your laws that she will train. Does this please you my lord?"
"This arrangement that you suggest seems adequate and quite accommodating I consent to this." Tatiana gave a kiss upon Oberon's cheek.
"Then allow me to bring her to Odin for her first lesson." Oberon would have said to his wife that she did not need to trouble herself with this burden that he would do it, but she already had a hold their granddaughter and were heading off into higher ground where Odin awaited them standing proud as the wind blew forth and caused a stir in his bear cloak. A challenge this teaching was going to be he thought with twinkle in his eye. His student soon arrived not looking too keen. And it didn't help that for his lesson she was worked like a dog. Learning the art of using magic for battle could take a toll upon you. Getting the elements to side with you in their fiercest forms wasn't as easy as summoning a little snow fury. She was a bit battered and bruised after the session and that was not just from refusing to do the lesson at first. To keep the ball rolling she was then transported immediately to Coyote at the shore. Whose brands of teaching were more like pranks of an ill manner. Until a second version of him showed up and blew the cover of the fake coyote. It was Raven.
"Oh come on you really didn't suspect me of doing something like this?" (haha) "You really are something Ilaria."
"And what would that be your personal stooge?"
"The personal part I like. The stooge could use a better title. How about personal Spitfire? Now that has a nice ring to it." He moved in. She looked up at him curiously and not just by her but coyote as well.
"Listen Raven you can waste your time however you please except when I have to do something lord Oberon asks of me. Now scram." The transformed bird said five words before parting from the two.
"I'll see you later Spitfire."
"Ignore him. Right now you have got bigger things to deal with besides him."
"Yeah I have to learn magic while remaining a prisoner here much like my mother who died a lonesome death due to her pig headed, human hating jerk wad…"
"I'm going to help you by stopping that sentence from ending. Look I can understand why you are angry. You have just gone through a lot of crap in the last few days, but you need to focus on what I am about to teach you."
"And what would that be?"
"I am about to teach you how to play hooky. Don't look like you just ate a dung beetle. It's really a simple easy to accomplish lesson. All you do is leave while the teacher is distracted and keep yourself from being caught by the school board. You think you can handle all of that or do you need a partner in crime?"
"I think I can manage. Is that the Weird Sisters coming this way?" Coyote turned around to view behind his shoulder. He could see the tiny glimmer of someone coming towards them. It wasn't the weird sisters, but the Lady and Lord of the Isle of Avalon.
"Kid you need to learn to identify others better than th..at?" There was no one there. Not even a foot trail of where she could have gone was in the sand. "That little overachiever. She even had the foresight to rid her trail without my telling her so."
"Where is your student, Coyote? Hiding in the sand?" Oberon asked.
"Naw she split right before you guys came over."
"She left. She's gone. She flew the coop. Any of these helping you?"
"Don't act smart with me coyote explain to me why you have not gone after her?!"
"It's simple. She's doing what I told her to do."
Ilaria did flee the beach for a mountain spring. Alone and far from the others at least that is what she believed until they showed up.
"Well, well look who is here sisters?"
"Quite a disinteresting sight, isn't it Phoebe?"
"Rather true indeed my sisters Luna and Selene."
"She doesn't seem to have any proper etiquette does she? After all she squanders what little talent she has by refusing lessons and now she dares to wander the Isle without permission." Sneered Selene in agreement the sisters nodded together.
"I wasn't aware that I would need permission to take a walk. To think you have nothing better to do than be a bunch of whinny snitches. Go ahead and tell Oberon that I was being a bad girl for taking a walk. We'll see just how impressed he is with that." The words were heavily dipped in sarcasm. The three paid little heed to her words and began to circle her.
"Now that coyote has proven to be a rather disappointing teacher. You will be put under our tutelage." Continued Phoebe.
"And we will make you bleed with what we have to teach you."
"I'll bet you will. I also bet that you will make it look like an accident if I were to actually bleed." Wicked smiles painted their faces whilst their energies gather themselves together to attack Ilaria. Out of anger and frustration Ilaria summoned not the power of her mother's magic but the power of her father's line.
"Is your human blood coming forth dear daughter of our beloved sister?" Selene asks her first strike of wind that blew about like foul tempest. The sticks caught in it cut at her cheeks and arms, but did not pose a serious threat beyond that.
"Closing your eyes won't lessen the pain to come. In truth it has allowed our fury to rise and strike you down far into the ground." Fissures formed with in the ground grinding out of the ground to entrap the still closed eyed girl. Luna halted her sister's spell lon enough for her to ask this question.
"What are your last words before we tell of your fate?"
"I have no regrets of what it is that I am about to do. My aunts you are foolish women." In disgust they looked at her with burning hate and that was their misfortune. With the opening of Ilaria's eyes so was released the power of Medusa upon them. "May you rest well inside the stone shells that match your stone hearts."
Ilaria left them and went on her way but not before placing the serum over them to turn them back, of course that would take some time. Time that Ilaria was willing to use to enjoy her solace. But it didn't take long for another to come over towards her.
"I see that you embrace your father's past but not your mother's. Why is that child?"
"Grandmother I would like to be alone for a few minutes. I promise to come to my lesson but I just want to have some time to myself for once on this stupid island."
"My child I cannot grant your request. We need to talk before the bitter seed within you grows into an unrelenting weed." Ilaria turned her attention away from the kindly woman. "Your refusing to speak to me of such matters will not dissuade me from my path. Child your mother would not have wanted you to feel such resentment for your grandfather. The fault of her death…"
"I'm not angry about that. I supposed I should be, but I'm not. I'm angry that he's not going to let me go home where I am needed. I don't belong here. I belong in the human world."
"That is what you think for now Ilaria. You do belong in the world of humans, but you also have a sense to belong here. Your blood calls for the bond that has long been severed."
"If it has been severed then why be foolish to believe that it can be mended back? The severing of bonds are signs of things that are not meant to be."
"With cases they may be as you say those bonds which no amount of effort can be mended, but in this case there could be a chance. A chance that will heal the wounds inflicted by past transgressions and bring together a long parted family."
"I am not sure of this case being one of those. But I will at least make an attempt for your benefit. But be warned I do still believe that I do belong elsewhere."
"Yes, for now you are needed at the waterfall for our first lesson to begin." Grandmother playfully pushed the child in the direction of the waterfall. A quiet serene place where nature breathed in harmony amidst the sounds of water, earth and air. It was indeed a fitting location for the lesson of deep thinking. Grandmother sat by the bank with Ilaria following suit. In the voice that matches the scenery she spoke to her pupil.
"Look into the sky and tell me what you see in terms of what is there." Ilaria looked up from her sitting position directly into the swallowing abyss above.
"Well I can see the stars. I can recognize a few constellations, some named from the figures of my ancestor's birth place. I see the moon in its crescent form." She sighed for a second and then went on. "I can see these things clearly amongst the indigo sky that surrounds us all at night. I think I can see a sliver of a cloud passing over the moon creating an eclipsing moment for the bright side of the moon."
"Is there anything else you can see up there?"
"No, not anything that can be seen by another." She said sadly. Grandmother took note and then went on.
"Now what is it that you see in the water before you?" For a better view Ilaria rose up to peer over more of the water.
"I see ripples from the flow the waterfall. I see fish beneath the surface swimming about possibly looking for food or just passing the time. I see plants moving in tune to the push and pull of the water creating the food for these fish as well as homes." A slight pause of her surprise came in light as a feather. "I also see myself, but I'm different. I look alien to myself."
"How so? Describe and clarify. Create a picture with words painted upon a canvas. You could even write a poem if you so desire."
"I think I will just talk about it. I don't exactly have a pen or paper, so writing it could be a little problematic. And don't point out that I could summon a piece of paper and pen if I used my powers. I haven't gotten to that exact lesson yet." To this Grandmother chuckled.
"Very well then speak the words of what you see."
"I see that my skin is no longer the shade it had once been known to me. No longer a light tan of my human flesh or a dark green of snake skin. It is the color of a fresh ripen peach. My hair dark in compliment to my skin now takes the hue of a purple so light. My eyes once dark on hinges of gold are too many colors to name. A kaleidoscope of wonder exists within each iris. A reflection of iridescent light escaping a crystal form. Then my clothes a long sleeve shirt of yellow and a pair of blue jeans of everyone's buy is what I came here wearing and now I wear something for the fairytale books. A dress made of cream silk and lace not in a puffy sort of ball gown. Thankfully But an empire waist with off the shoulder sleeves that go all the way to my wrist and over my hand in the form of a V. I feel that this is going to be a stupid question but I also feel the need to ask this. Is everything in Avalon, as in the air and water?"
"This isle is the home of magics and the land obeys those magics. It is possible for such surface that the things could have a small sense of magic in them. Do you believe this form is an image of magic?"
"I think that it's something like an image of myself and yet isn't myself. Much like the images I saw above."
"Child, in detail go over what it was that you had seen above in the sky that you had claimed no other could see. Do not be afraid of revealing these images. Nothing said between us will go past us. I made sure of that when we came here." Grandmother said knowing that at least two sets of prying eyes were trying to intrude upon this private lesson. One of them will be more vocal about being denied than the other. But she could handle both of them when that time comes.
"What I saw was… I saw someone up there. Someone I didn't recognize. She was smiling and then she just disappeared. She was really beautiful like some sort of water goddess."
"Water goddess you say?" The amused Grandmother asks.
"Yes, she had this long flowing that was sea foam in color and blue skin similar to clear water. She also seemed to have a wispy form in favor of a moving stream." Grandmother said nothing but looked up at the sky herself. "Do you know who it is that I saw up there?"
"I do child. Someone close to your heart. Your mother is the woman you saw and now that I know all that you have seen. I am ready to tell you why have seen it. The question is are you ready to hear why you have seen it." Ilaria nods her head and sits down to hear what it was that Grandmother had to say.
"The sky above is vast and not as well-known as the land we travel. The sky is what you are seeing as your past colliding with the present. The image of your mother a figure of your past is resurfacing as the image of conflict for your time here. The conflict between your mother's choices is represented by the stars and the moon is your desire to leave this island. Sadly the vast indigo color is the resentment you are feeling, but with the amount of stars out tonight show it to not be as powerful as I had feared. The cloud that went by, granted small in size, shows the willingness you have to subside this resent for the good. This is why you saw your mother smiling down at you. She believes that you will be one of peace."
"What like Star Wars with bringing balance to the force thing?"
"It's a movie series. About well a lot things. Point is that one of the main characters Luke Skywalker has to bring balance between the levels of good and evil called the forces by choosing a certain path that ultimately changes the fate of the entire world or universe. So is that what you are talking about?"
"The fate of the world I don't see that as your destiny."
"Well good cause that whole choosing the fate of the world thing sounds like it will be way too much work for me to do. I also think that the world has a better chance right now. But what about the whole change in form?"
"Take a look at your hands." At this point everyone is probably expecting Ilaria to have completely transformed into the image that she had seen in the water, but no dice. Instead she only half transformed. Her skin held the blotches of pale peach and the dress well it looked like Cinderella's dress before the bibbity bobbity boo.
"Your roots are starting to show up. Do not fret in such a way child. It is not as bad as it seems."
"Not as bad as it seems?! I am losing my identity! Who I am! Or at least I am losing the best part of me in favor of some… I can't even finish what I have to say!"
"Calm down Ilaria Look you are going back to the way you have always looked." She was right her whole appearance was going back to the way she had always known it. Relief is too small a word for how she felt at that moment.
"I believe that now is a good time to end this lesson. You need time to rest your powers. Go, but just for now. I expect you to come back later." Ilaria nodded as she kept looking at her hands making sure they were still unchanged.
Walking into the woods at night is normally a bad idea. It can worse idea when there is someone following you and not just anyone but the tricky Raven.
"What do you want Raven?" The trickster was impressed that she knew he was there and he even told her so. "Why should it be that impressive? You've been basically a stalker since I arrived here. The only question worth asking is why are you turning yourself into a stalker?" Raven laughed before answering.
"Do I have to have a reason to have a little fun at your expense?"
"I suppose not, but that also means you don't have much sense. One more thing to add to the growing list of things you don't have much of. Along with charm, looks and personality." Tried to brush him off, but he took her by the hand and pulled her closer.
"I knew there was something about you that I liked." He said taking the back of his fingers and lightly stroking her cheek.
"And there is something about you I don't like."
"Keep talking Sunshine." He said not stopping his light touches.
"I don't like you at all." Pushing him off was easier than she thought he didn't put up a fight. But he did watch her closely as she walked away from him. Something happened that neither of them were expecting. The shaking of the earth. At first both of them brushed it off as a fluke of some kind. But then it got bigger and stronger till the earth was splitting where they stood. The ground it shook and quaked creating crossing lines that the two of them tried to avoid with Raven ability of flight it wasn't that hard, but Ilaria, poor Ilaria was too close to the edge. In his form that he used to trick the gargoyles he reached out his hand to Ilaria to take. Hesitancy to take his hand lead her to overlook the large crack in front of her and in she fell. As if swallowing prey the ground closed over the falling girl leaving no trace that she was there.
Alice had it easy when she fell through the rabbit hole into wonderland. She didn't have to deal with sharp pointy rocks riding across her back and legs as she fell. She just had a bunch of crazy people to deal with. I don't know what I have to deal with here. Or where here is. I have to recap I just fell into a crack created by an earthquake and landed here on a bed of not sharp, but still hard rocks.
"I'm going to need the number of a good chiropractor after this or at the very least some ointment for the cuts."
"I'm not surprised with how far you fell." The familiar voice said to her. Ilaria slowly turned her head to face the fire goddess again. She looked proud for some reason. "Don't just sit there. Get up we have to get you back to New York."
"New York City, where you lived before you were kidnapped by your insane grandfather. We don't have much time before he tries to come after you and we still have work to do to before we take you back. Preventive measures to see that your Grandfather won't find you. Come on." Ilaria slowly got up to her feet. "I said Come On!"
Not needing burns on her already scratched body she followed Pele deeper into the earth. Where Pele had a trunk containing everything she needed to keep Oberon from finding Ilaria at least for as long as they can. Pele first pulled out fabric and then threw it into Ilaria's face.
"Change into that quickly." Ilaria did as she was told and put on the garment. It was a jade shirt and skirt. The shirt is a strapless tube top with circle cuts on the sides. The skirt was similar to a wraparound but had a little bit of a slit on one side and came with a pair of shorts. There were also accessories to wear. A swirl belt, two long bracelets and a leaf like armlet. Pele then saw fit to do my hair. She had a headband braid g through my hair. And finished it off with adding two small white flowers. "There we are almost done." She said but I noticed something had caught her throat.
"Ilaria I'm going to have to take your necklace."
"What?! No, I can't let you take it! This was my mother's. I can't just give it to you." I say touching the necklace in question. Pele sighs.
"Ilaria, I know what this necklace means to you. I would not ask you to give it to me unless it was important. But I need it to keep Oberon on a wild goose chase, please Ilaria." I see the serious look in Pele's eyes and know I have to give her the necklace. Reluctantly and quickly I do so, otherwise she would have to burn my hands off to get to it.
"Knowing how much this necklace means to you I swear that I shall keep it safe as long as it is in my possession." Pele then placed it in to a box, carefully I might add. "Now for the second part of what we must do. I apologize in advance this will hurt a bit."
"What do you mean by it will hurt a bit?" Pele clasped her hands together causing sparks to fly. The pressure of her magic weighed down upon me as she came closer to place her hands on my forehead and shoulder. The spark so small in size flashed brighter and hotter than sun as it seared my skin and bone. It travels throughout my body and then leaves as a transformation comes upon me and then it's gone. Pele shows me what she has done and I am left speechless.
"We are ready to leave now."
"Brooklyn, do you mind if I come out here?" I really didn't want to deal with anyone right now. Not even Elisa.
"Last time I checked it was a free country." I snarled.
"Easy there, tiger. I'm your friend remember." She said picking a spot close to me. "You've been staring out at that skyline for three days straight."
"Not much else to stare at around here."
"Yeah, I guess so. But I know that isn't what you are really looking at Brooklyn." I can feel my hair bristle as she speaks. "I know that you are thinking about Ilaria."
"And what I'm not allowed to think about her? Should I just be like the rest of you and give up on any chance of ever getting her back?!" I snap.
"Hey! Don't make yourself seem so self-righteous. For your information all of us are trying to think of a way to bring her back. We are your friends Brooklyn we care about you and Ilaria. If thinking about her makes you feel better than you can think about her all you want, but there is something that you are keeping inside of you that is eating you from the inside out." Staying silent might make her go away. "I'm not leaving till you tell me and you know I will stay here until you do."
"You're in for a long wait then." I tell her before flying off to the park. Couldn't they tell I don't want to talk about it! I just want to be alone with my thoughts, is that too much to ask?! Spotting a garbage can I pick it up and throw it at a tree in frustration denting the can a good deal.
"Is this a bad time?" Oh great it's her! The one who is part of the reason I am damaging trash cans instead of Oberon's smug face.
"You could say that. And just because you showed up empty handed after we gave you what you wanted just made it all the more worse." I pointed an accusatory finger at her and she has the nerve to just roll her eyes at me!
"Calm yourself Brooklyn. Otherwise I might just take my gift back."
"Gift? What gift? Your presence? Bursting your bubble will be a pleasure when I tell you that you're not much of a gift to anyone." Again she rolls her eyes at me.
"That is not the gift I am talking about. But since we are on that subject I will have you know that there are tons of people who would consider even a glimpse of me an honor!" Her hair started to flame up till she dosed herself with a little water calming her down. "All this aside there is someone who would like to see you." She moved out of my line of sight and placed her hand out to someone. From behind a tree a figure wrapped in a cloak came out. The figure looks into my eyes and I look into theirs.
"Brooklyn." The voice spoke a tingle of recognition went through my mind. I needed to hear more from this person. More words have to be spoken. "Brooklyn."
"Is it really…can it be…Ilaria?" An enthusiastic nod was my reply. "Ilaria why are you wearing that cloak? You know what it doesn't matter. Come on we have to take you to see the others. Everyone needs to know…."
"Brooklyn we can't go. At least not yet we… I have to show you something before I can go anywhere."
"What is it?" I ask reaching out to her, but she moves my hand away.
"I've changed a little bit. I had to, if I didn't Oberon would have found me even before we left the cave under the Island and I just wanted to be back home so bad…" I place a claw over her lips, lightly.
"Ilaria, just show me what you have done. I just want you here with me." Ilaria smiles softly as she removes the cloak from her frame revealing a new side to her that I think no one was prepared for.