Intonations of Evil

Intonations of Evil

As the red glow of twilight begins to fade over the horizon, and night comes once again to Stormpoint, creatures of darkness, both mortal and immortal, begin to stalk the streets. Many are drawn here, to the Raven, where they can feed their appetites, both subtle and gross in nature.

A beast far worse than they can ever imagine already awakens in the clubs attic. Watching them enter one by one though the narrow crack in the ceiling, the demon crouches, an inhumanly large grin playing across his features which are twisted and deformed by the lights shining from below.

~~Kindred spirts~~ He thinks ~~It reminds me so much of being home once more. A celebration is in order for my 'homecoming.' Ahh what a profane noise we shall make this cursed evening. ~~ With a single glance out the skylight above him, the moon, as full as a rotten fruit, begins to bleed into a deep red at the demon's wish.

~~Let all the 'good souls' of the city bar their doors and venture forth not this evening lest death be baying at their very heels as we hunters and slayers proclaim once again the shadows are ours. Now I must set the stage for tonight's revel. Gerere, go announce me. ~~

The purple dragonet, always eager to serve his master, wings from their heavenside lair and lightly sets down upon the stage. Few notice him as they mill around, waiting for the evening to swing into full gear. It does, when Gerere speaks in an unearthly voice that one would think impossible from a creature so small. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I have the honor of announcing a special guest this evening for your musical pleasure ...... the great Giacomo."

As the assembled crowd follows the tiny dragonet's wing towards the ceiling, they gasp as one. Lowering from old church's domed ceiling is Giacomo, his demonic wings spread out around him. Not wanting to believe what they see, many mumble about the great stagework. Some even go so far as to claim to see the wires carrying Giacomo aloft. Giacomo roars, his outstretched hand engulfed in hellfire as he begins to rain fireballs on the stage below him. Instead of exploding on impact, fireballs begin to dance and writhe upon the stage until five beautiful succubae carrying various instruments stand in the flame's place.

As Giacomo's feet first touch the stage the music begins. Guttural, basic, it touches some primal chord among the listeners, the deep metal sound reverberating off the walls. Almost against their will the audience begins to thrash about to the beastial beat. Then Giacomo's voice joins the music, spreading out into the night like a cancer, a deep growling inhuman voice that chills one to the bone.

Dead I am the one, Exterminating son
Slipping through the trees, Strangling the breeze

Dead I am the sky, Watching angels cry
As they slowly turn, Conquering the wurm

Dig through the ditches, Burn through the witches-I slam in the back of my DRAGULA
Dig through the ditches, Burn through the witches-I slam in the back of my DRAGULA

Dead I am the pool, Spreading from the fool
Weak and want you need, Nowhere as you bleed

Dead I am the Rat, Feast upon the Cat
Tender is the fur, Dying as you purr

Dig through the ditches, Burn through the witches-I slam in the back of my DRAGULA
Dig through the ditches, Burn through the witches-I slam in the back of my DRAGULA
Doing it baby, Doing it baby
Doing it baby, Doing it baby
Burn like an animal.

Dead I am the life, Dig into the skin
Knuckle crack the bone, 21 to win

Dead I am the dog, Hound of hell you cry
Devil on your back, I can never die

Dig through the ditches, Burn through the witches-I slam in the back of my DRAGULA
Dig through the ditches, Burn through the witches-I slam in the back of my DRAGULA
Doing it baby, Doing it baby
Doing it baby, Doing it baby
Burn like an animal.

Dig through the ditches, Burn through the witches-I slam in the back of my DRAGULA
Dig through the ditches, Burn through the witches-I slam in the back of my DRAGULA

As the last unholy note fades, Giacomo wraps himself in his wings and bows to the crowd.

"Disguise? Nah who would reconize me?"
Michel Jackson


Muscial credit has to go to Rob Zombie from the song Dragula.

Dig through the ditches, Burn through the witches-I slam in the back of my DRAGULA
Dig through the ditches, Burn through the witches-I slam in the back of my DRAGULA....

The trees at the forest edge quaked in offense and she too scowled, laying her hand on the bark of a massive oak.

"Ach, I know I know. 'Tis not even the evil of the vampires, is it."

The tree seemed to shiver in response.

"Even there evil is part o' the pattern. This is.." Behind her the bushes quivered and a tall, lean mean with close cropped brown hair stepped out, his body clothed in homespun that looked like foliage. Or perhaps it was foliage that looked like homespun.

"A problem, my lady harper?"

"Nay..or aye depending on who you'd ask. I don't think the people in the club in yonder Stormpoint realize 'tis a problem."

"And ye?" he reached out to brush a flick of pixie dust from one of her slightly pointed ears. She didn't move, remained fixed , staring in the direction of the sound that rattled and jarred out of Stormpoint. Such a primal beat, grating and raw and discordant to the ears and to the pattern.

"I think that whoever goes singing that one offends the Sidhe and all who follow the pattern, be they good or evil or chaos or not."

Arms slid around her waist, pulling her back into the man's chest where he held her, voice mellow and deep and strong like the very earth.

"Ye going to see then?" His voice matched hers in its otherworldly inflection.

"Aye Puck. At least into the city."

"Yer staff is set?"

"And me harp as usual."

"Back by a forth night Leanan-Sidhe. There's a raide to lead so we can have our luck for the next month, me harper love."

"Aren't I always here? Tell the Gwragedd to take care of the lake waters. the piskies have been planning on mishcief there."

"And shall the Muryans go with you?"

"The ant folk? They've shrunk so tiny they need a brigade to be of help."

"A kelpie then?"

"Puck," she used the affectionate name instead of his real one, "if I dinnae know better, I would say ye were worried."

The man's somber features and brown eyes darkened noticably. "The fey folk don't worry Leanan-Sidhe."

"They do and ye know it."

"Well aye, y'er the only one who puts up with me tricks!"

"Scamp... ye rule this wood as I know the music. I'll be back. Ye are the Phooka. Ye should know that. The great Bard was the one who named you Puck and ye and I both know that ye have a greater wisdom in ye that matches the mischeif"

"Ye blasted woman.."

"Sidhe...only Sidhe." She kissed him quickly and winked, her auburn hair falling to the side. "I'll return by raide. Ye'll hear the harp and I expect a visit that night."

"Ye'll get it...maybe..." he grinned and was gone.


"Come with the pretty harper..." the voice croaked out from underneath a low hanging branch and she scowled.

"What does the like of the unseelie court want with a trooping harper with allegiance to the Seelie court?" The Bogle tipped his head to the side and regarded her as solemnly as such a loathsome creature could. He scartched his mottled skin and a piece flaked off.

"Unseelie evil. But balance pattern. Seelie good. Trooping wild and free. Unseeilie evil. Balance. Baaallllaaaaannnncce. Song say from more evil. More more more evil. Right. Upset balance and even we know. Know know know...balance important. Pattern important or no more fey."

" are right."

"Bogles come...four."

"Aye come. I may need your distractions after all."

Leanan approached the Raven, her hjapr on her arm, rowan staff in hand, four short, squat and thoroughly ugly bogles dodging in the shadows at her heels.

"Ach... I don't believe in Fairies...
But they're there!" ~ speaker unknown.


Striker stepped out of the guild front, in need fresh air, a change of scenery, or maybe both. He was greeted by the pale glow of the moon which hung heavy in the dark sky, and was puzzled as to how had become night, and how he had missed a chance to sleep once again. Winter had left the city, but its breath still graced the night air with a dying whisper. In Striker's mind, however, thought followed upon thought so quickly that he scarce had time to notice the chill as he rounded the corner of an alley, thick with fog as it rose from the wharf.

One thought which rose above the rest concerned Quaralyn, or rather the plan she had presented for his approval. It was ambitious, perhaps overly so, and Striker had never trusted grandstanders. Still, no matter which angle he examined it from, the plan appeared sound and, if successful, would turn a fair profit for the guild. Its target, however, required the approval of another, and possibly the assistance of an additional source.

He was still pondering the matter when the silence that normally filled the city's evening streets was pierced by a cacophony both hellish and raucous, and though a discernibly swelling rhythm pulsed within the discord, it could hardly be described as music even by a generous ear. Stopping dead in his tracks, Striker forced himself to listen to the din, and quickly determined its direction. The ungodly sound was clearly coming from the Raven.

~Ungodly. Raven. Damn it, that idiot's supposed to be in hiding!~ The fury that burned in his eyes fueled a quickened pace as Striker changed directions and started heading towards the Raven and its not-so-secret guest.

- Striker Kel

Cross me and with blades of darkness, midnight-forged
from the very stuff of my soul, I will send you screaming into the depths.

"Dead I am the one, Exterminating son
Slipping through the trees, Strangling the breeze
Dead I am the sky, Watching angels cry
As they slowly turn, Conquering the wurm"

Triana fought her way back from her deathlike sleep. The mumbling of the club becoming clearer in her head.

"Dig through the ditches, Burn through the witches-I slam in the back of my DRAGULA
Dig through the ditches, Burn through the witches-I slam in the back of my DRAGULA"

Reaching to her left she felt for Nick. But alas once again he had risen at the crack of dusk.

"Dead I am the pool, Spreading from the fool
Weak and want you need, Nowhere as you bleed"

She started to focus on the deeds at hand ... stretching she listened in earnest to the song. Oh good the bands here. The Band? I don't have a band scheduled for tonight!

GIACOMO you little. Her began to rise as she stormed to the closet. I will kill him if its the last thing I do!

"We all dream of the forbidden, but some of us Make those dreams come true."..

Triana Valmont

It was the ninth song of the evening, each more profane than the last. When Giacomo announced that the next song would be the final song of the evening, the debauched crowd sighed sadly as one. This song, a special "dead"iaction to Jaysa, stood out from the rest, slower, almost dirge-like as the last notes and lyrics drifted off on the fetid wind.

'........Create Another Fiend
So Beautiful,
They Make You Kill
Crawl On Me
Sink Into Me
Die For Me
Living Dead Girl
Blood On Her Skin
Dripping With Sin
Do It Again
Living Dead Girl'

Replacing the microphone on the stand, Giacomo bowed out from center stage under a thunderous applause and turned toward the scowling succubae who he had summoned this evening.

"I thank you for your services this evening, my most beautiful cousins. As your reward, I give you your freedom in this plane. Enjoy you own entertainment as you see fit." Without another word, his wings carried him aloft and into his refuge, and the now grinning demonesses began to mingle into the crowd. Countless of the men were quickly taken by their "charms."

As he landed on the attic's floor, Giacomo could feel the lives being extinguished as the succubae drained away their victims' souls, changing them in to their mindless thrall servants. Turning his attention towards his own loft, however, he sensed something else ...... an intruder in his sanctuary.

"Well, look who's here," he began in jest as a grim-faced figure with steel-grey eyes stepped quietly from the shadows, "tall, dark, and no fun. So, what do you want now? A date with one of my lady friends downstairs perhaps?"

"Does not the music sound particularly sweet this eve?"


And thanks once more to Rob Zombie for the song lyrics

She hadn't believed it possible, but the music, if it could be called that, was louder once she stepped inside the Raven. The club was packed with bodies, writhing in rhythm to the dissonance that shook the rafters of the old church, but Quaralyn moved through the throng with ease, for thieves thrive among crowds and distractions where purses are both unguarded and plentiful.

Finally, mercifully, the song ended and the dazed crowd erupted in applause, then screamed for another. Giacomo, for it was the demon who satiated their primal need, rejected their pleas and winged to an unseen floor above. Quaralyn, ever-plagued with curiosity, toyed briefly with the idea of following him. She was busy enough downstairs, however, and for the moment was satisfied with knowing where Giacomo was, for she could always follow him later.

In darkness, find me.

- Quaralyn -

Haphazardly Triana piled her hair up on her head and threw on her signature leather attire. As she approached the windows in her office that overlooked the club she stopped dead. Damn you Giacomo! As she watched he floated up into the unused attic while his little demon wenches started in on the crowd. She was about to follow him when her eye caught a stranger striding unharmed through the crowd. This woman knew who Giacomo was. But how Triana didnt yet know so she opted to wait just a few more moments to see what was unfolding.

"We all dream of the forbidden, but some of us Make those dreams come true."..

Triana Valmont

Turning his attention towards his own loft, however, Giacomo sensed something else ...... an intruder in his sanctuary.

"Well, look who's here," he began in jest as a grim-faced figure with steel-grey eyes stepped quietly from the shadows, "tall, dark, and no fun. So, what do you want now? A date with one of my lady friends downstairs perhaps?"

Striker simply stared at the demon, his expression cold and impenetrable as he allowed his silence to answer. When at last the look of humor faded from Giacomo's face, Striker spoke, his jaw tight with anger and his voice, though low and controlled, tinged with impatience, "So, this is your idea of keeping a low profile?"

As he spoke, he gestured first towards the leathered wings that adorned Giacomo's frame, and then to the still-yearning crowd which thrashed in primal need below. Had he been another, a look of incredulity might have flashed across his aquiline features, but Striker had dealt with fools before, and was rarely surprised by their displays of idiocy.

When Giacomo failed to answer, but instead only stared back in his own silent challenge, Striker continued, his words slow and deliberate, "Do I need to remind you how many people would thrill to see your festering corpse hanging from a gallows in the center of town?" An imperceptible glint of pleasure sparked in his grey eyes as Striker allowed himself to consider the image. "But if that's what you want, I assure you I could have publicized your location just as efficiently . . . and a good deal more quietly."

- Striker Kel

Cross me, and with blades of darkness, midnight-forged
from the very stuff of my soul, I will send you screaming into the depths.

((continuing from Losing Balance))

"After her!" Calo had shouted, ordering Eowyn to follow Jaysa from the camp. She ignored him, however, for she knew something that he did not. And so, leaving the camp behind her, Eowyn raced into the darkness that waited beyond, towards the only "person" who could save Jaysa, towards the one "person" she loathed above all others—towards the Raven and Giacomo.

The city flew past her in a blur, and she found herself standing outside the club before she had fully thought through her actions. Music, if indeed that was what it was, blared from the deconsecrated church, and entering the structure, Eowyn was lost in the crowd as it convulsed in beat to the strident rhythm. It didn't take her long to spot Giacomo, as he finished his last song and winged to the floor above, nor did it take her long to discern the nature of his fellow performers.


Away with him who heeds the morrow!
Death, plucking the ear, cries: "Live; I come!"

Virgil, Copa 1. 37

"But if that's what you want, I assure you I could have publicized your location just as efficiently . . . and a good deal more quietly."

"Oh pshaw," Giacomo began, dismissing Striker with a waive of his hand, "I'm hardly at risk. No matter how much they wish to kill me it's quite impossible. It seems that my greatest lament is also my best defense." Plopping down on a small cot, Giacomo continued, more for his own amusement than to quell the anger of the guild second. "A demon must be on his home plane to truly be killed, and that is ever denied me. All they can do to me here is destroy my host. Quite annoying, but hardly fatal."

"But, I can't believe that 'concern' for my well-being brought you to my chambers. Before we get to business, however, allow me to slip into something more comfortable." As he finished, Giacomo smiled wickedly and allowed the body of his present host to retake its original shape---the well-known elven-image he had assumed fading and shifting, until a stunningly beautiful woman lied seductively on the cot, red hair falling over her pale shoulders.

"So is it to be a pleasure visit or business?"

Striker's expression never changed, though his jaw may have become a bit tighter with the demon's response. "Well," Striker began, moving slowly towards the cot, "maybe a bit of both." Grabbing the demon by the shoulders, Striker jerked him from the cot and rammed him into the nearest wall, pinning him against it with his full weight. "Now listen carefully," he began, whispering harshly between clenched teeth, "I've had enough of your parlor tricks. You're going to change back to your ‘normal' form, and we're going to discuss a job. Is that clear?"

Giacomo smiled, finally succeeding in baiting Striker to anger. Returning to the form we all know and love, Giacomo continued to smirk. "Business huh?"

"I am feeling so confused."
Joan of Arc


Triana watched everything unfold from her office. Amidst the chaos, she could sense the presence of a newcomer, hiding in her club. But she had no time for that now. Giacomo was clearly out of control, and it had to stop. Everything she had worked for was beginning to unravel. If she was caught harboring that maniac her life was over here in Stormpoint. Despite trying to protect Nick and Juleana, she didn't think Samantha would see it as an even trade. She sped down the stairs and out into the club proper.

Giacomo's demons were successfully hiding their true form from her pathetic patrons. Luckily, most of those drawn here for his "concert" weren't her regular clientele. Instead, he had succeeded in luring the dregs of Stormpoint into her club. She forcefully made her way through the gyrating throngs to the bar. Hopping over the rail, she grabbed Marcus and Justin by the arms.

"Look at me and hear me."

Her eyes were emerald flames and both men stopped what they were doing immediately at her urgency.

"This is not real. Those woman, that maniac on the stage, they're demons. Don't, under any circumstances, think anything else. If you do you'll die. Do you both understand?"

Both men nodded and began looking around the bar. They were now seeing just what those beauties really were.

"Don't forget, I will be upstairs."

Triana jumped over the bottles and up onto the stage. In the back corner a spiral staircase led to the attic and the demon's hiding place. She grabbed the railing and looked up. In an instant, a feeling came over her . . . the newcomer. The feeling was foreign yet familiar . . . powerful, stronger than Juleana's. She turned and looked out over the crowd . . . no visible sight of anyone. But they were there, and if she was right about who it was, things were on the verge of blowing sky high. Turning her attention back to the stairs, Triana took them two at a time.

"So is it to be a pleasure visit or business?"

She stopped feet from the door, that familiar voice creating more anger than even the concert could have. Bloodscream had tortured and kidnapped her friend, almost destroyed Dominia. If Bloodscream was in there with that monster, one of them would end up dead. But suddenly, a third voice could be heard. Ah, another stranger was here, but the voice didn't belong to the one who's presence she had suspected. Grabbing the doorknob, Triana turned it quickly and burst into the room.

"OK you animal where are you hiding Bloodscream?"

Her eyes blazed and her fangs grew in anger. With a hiss, she turned to face his companion. Dressed in gray and black this stranger looked ready to jump into action. Her emerald eyes locked steadily with his steel gray ones. His hand inches from his dark-edged dagger. Casually resting her hand on her own sabre she addressed him with icy coolness.

"And who, pray tell, are you?"

"We all dream of the forbidden, but some of us Make those dreams come true."..

Triana Valmont

"This is not real. Those woman, that maniac on the stage, they're demons. Don't, under any circumstances, think anything else. If you do you'll die. Do you both understand?"

Well it wasn't really a question of understanding, merely of seeing, Leanan though as she stepped into the doorway and caught Triana's words.

"Think ya four can go cause some distractions and get some o' these people outta 'ere?" The Bogles looked at her and grinned. A tooth fell out of one feral looking mouth and hit the floor with a metallic ping.

She sighed.

"No killin' and no hurtin' anyone. Honor on it? Fairie honor, not seelie nor unseelie."

"Fairie and Bogle honor pretty pretty harper," one of them hissed. It shied away from the base of her rowan staff and melted into the shadows.

The Bogles, she knew, had been sent by the dark queen, to keep the balance as she had decided to do. They'd clear out a few of the more lucid members, scare them out of the club and to more relative safety.

Leanan looked at the stage and saw not the gyrating bodies of beautiful women, but demons, grotesque beneath a complicated cloak of glamours that she was all too used to piercing. Fey or no, a glamour was a glamour.

She moved through the crowd, toward the stage, people inexplicably parting before her, before the staff of sacred white witch wood and the fey magic that cast her skin in a dewy glow. She was magic that these creatures were not and the townfolk sensed that. She was not the darkness they'd come for and instincitvely she was avoided.

Leanan's eyes fell to the two guards that Triana had addressed. She leaned against the stage casually, ignoring the succubi."ya often get these problems?" she grinned an impish grin and rested her harp against her hip.

Slowly fingers began to pluck out a melody, something completely unlike the jarring noise that the demons danced to. The sounds of the harp cut through that, heightened by fairy skill, by elven craft, and by balance and magic.

One of the dancers near her stopped and stared in horror at the stage before turning and bolting out the door.

"Ye see," she explained to the guards, her quiet, insistant song never ceasing, "sometimes ye just gotta make them see what's in front of their own eyes."

Let the demon play his pranks, for now she'd deal with this mess on her own terms.

"Ach... I don't believe in Fairies...
But they're there!"
~ speaker unknown.


Quaralyn watched Triana with detached curiosity as she flew down the stairs from an upper landing and onto the floor of the club. Panic and anger blended in the vampiress' features—panic, anger, and . . . something else. Studying Triana's blanched face, Quaralyn quickly determined that the "something else" was awareness—awareness and perhaps a fragment of recognition.

The revelation disturbed Quaralyn little, however, for she was certain that Triana knew neither who she was, nor the reason for her presence. She therefore continued to watch Triana, surreptitious in her efforts, as the vampiress first spoke with two men at the bar, then raced up another set of stairs leading to the attic above.

She considered again ascending the stairs herself, as the attic appeared to be growing with popularity by the moment, but decided against it when a woman with long auburn hair and distinctly elven heritage entered the club. Her entrance received a raised brow from Quaralyn, for Quaralyn knew this one and was surprised that she had chosen to interfere in the matter presently unfolding within the Raven. She was more surprised still when Leanan began to weave her own magic, plucking deftly at the harp as she cradled it against her small form.

It was a dangerous thing to do—one which, given the present occupants of the club, could quickly result in pandemonium. Nonetheless Quaralyn found herself glad of the harper's efforts, for although she hadn't wanted to act just yet, Giacomo's playmates could not be allowed to continue their game unhampered. Leanan might not be able to stop them, but at the very least, she was providing a sufficient distraction.

In darkness, find me.

- Quaralyn -

Grabbing the doorknob, Triana turned it quickly and burst into the room. "OK you animal where are you hiding Bloodscream?" Her eyes blazed and her fangs grew in anger.

Striker knew instantly that the woman who entered the attic was Triana, and the feral reaction and fangs which marked her as kindred came as no surprise. In a profession that trafficed in information, Striker Kel made it is business to know a little about everyone, and more about those with an impact on guild. Triana was one of the latter, made so by her connection with the demon, and Striker had garnered a fair amount of information about the owner of the Raven.

The rage which she directed at the demon was palpable, prompting Stiker to wonder why one such as she would agree to harbor a creature that she so clearly despised. There was something between the two that he didn't know ..... something that he couldn't control; and Striker didn't like what he couldn't control.

Still, there was little point in raising the ire of one who might prove to be a useful ally against the demon should the opportunity arise. He was considering this possibility when Triana suddenly turned to face him, her voice laced with ice, "And who, pray tell, are you?"

He watched her for a moment before answering, allowing the tension to grow in the lengthening silence. When Triana neither moved nor spoke, Striker guestered towards the guests on the ground floor, the smallest sliver of a smile twisting one corner of his mouth, "Just another soul lost in the darksome streets of Stormpoint. You can call me Creed."

- Striker Kel

Cross me, and with blades of darkness, midnight-forged
from the very stuff of my soul, I will send you screaming into the depths.

Triana searched the stranger's mind as he allowed the silence to linger. Nothing more was evident about the business comments she had overheard, but clearly these two were in cahoots.

"Just another soul lost in the darksome streets of Stormpoint. You can call me Creed."

Triana couldn't control her laughter. It started in her gut and just rose to almost demonic proportions. She crossed the room to the storage area. Ripping open one of the wooden crates, she removed a bottle marked Private Stock and uncorked it. Regaining her composure, she sat atop one of the full crates and drank heavily from the bottle.

"Mr. Creed is it?"

She smiled and looked him square in the eye. "Well, Mr. Creed I can only assume you think I am stupid by association."

Pausing she glanced towards Giacomo then back to Creed.

"You are as much a lost soul as I am human, and since I am having no trouble with this Blood, I must conclude that you Sir are not lost at all." Finishing the bottle Triana rose and looked at Giacomo.

"I gather that demon Bloodscream isn't here is she? Another little game, eh? Well, Demon, the games are over. You place me at risk, and you seal your own fate. I want those little sirens out of my club now. There are people coming, demon. Some are here already."

Turning to Creed she continued.

"I am pretty sure that one of them is a friend of yours, she seemed like you, same attitude. Attractive too. Red hair and green eyes. You're welcome to join me downstairs or in my office. We may have something in common."

"We all dream of the forbidden, but some of us Make those dreams come true."..

Triana Valmont

You're welcome to join me downstairs or in my office. We may have something in common."

Had she been watching Striker more closely, Triana might have noticed that his expression carried no amusement as her humor changed first to supposition, and then to invitation. Indeed, his face remained unchanged throughout her entire monologue, even upon learning of Quaralyn's presence, a fact which took him somewhat by surprise.

Triana's reaction, in contrast, had surprised him little, as it had merely confirmed much of what he already knew about the owner of the Raven—having been betrayed once, she remained ever-vigilant against further deception. It was a strength, to be sure, as was the confidence she displayed, but Striker had experience enough to know that everyone has a weakness. Feeling uncharacteristically charitable, he decided to share with Triana one of hers.

Without a word, Striker crossed to the wooden crate, now broken and splintered by Triana's hand, and removed another of the dark bottles it housed. He opened it without looking down, his steady gaze still fixed on Triana, then raised the bottle to his lips and drank deeply from it. As he finished he drew a dark sleeve slowly across his mouth and handed the bottle to Triana, speaking in a tone both bitter and low, "You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth."*

When she didn't respond, but merely took the bottle from his gloved hand, he added suddenly, as if by explanation, "Supposition is a dangerous thing, you know. Don't be so sure my soul isn't lost."

Those who savor the neverchanging taste of fear know that there lies a distinction, subtle yet sure, between a threat and a warning. Striker's words were spoken in the tone of the latter, and with the assurance that the distinction was one which would not be lost on Triana.

*Ez. 39:18 (RSV)

- Striker Kel

Cross me, and with blades of darkness, midnight-forged
from the very stuff of my soul, I will send you screaming into the depths.

One of the succubi inched foreward, crawling on her...its...belly toward her, a seductive grin curving pouting lips. Leanan grimaced. The glamour gone, the smile revealed only rows of hideous teeth and saliva that dripped into puddles on the stage floor.

"Ach ye donnae know what ye are doin'"

"Prettyyyyy harperrrr....sssstop playing. You'er ruining our ssssong."

The hiss sounded like a whisper to anyone else.

"Some song, ye creature. Ye couldn't hit a pitchful note if the elven folk spent years with ye."

The succubi reached out to touch a lock of long auburn hair. it's fingers twined in, jerking her head toward those leering fangs. One hand still playing, refusing to stop, her other hand brandished the staff and brought it down with a frightful crack over the head of the creature.

The succubi howled in pain, not from the strike, but from the contact of the sacred witch wood on its skin.


"Nay, ye are. Ye upset the balance. I'm here ta change that..."

Her fingers struck the harp more purposefully, calling forth an anciant tune, one of repeated chords and bits of melody. A new phrase of music followed each chorus, growing in intensity, swelling over the thrum of electronic music to reverberate back and create a harmony for itself.

The succubi she had hit clawed at its wounded face and scurried back to the dark rear of the stage the others, still dancing, glared at her, angered but knowing not to touch her or her staff.

The bogles had chased several more out and the music was working. The people were slowly moving away from the stage as the sacred song, anciant and complex and yet simple, like the pattern, began to wear away the succubi glamour.

... I don't believe in Fairies...
But they're there!"
~ speaker unknown.


"Supposition is a dangerous thing, you know. Don't be so sure my soul isn't lost."

His words were not lost on Triana this man could be either a valuable ally or a dangerous enemy. But non the less she suddenly realized he had misread her comment entirely. "Mr.Creed, I supposed nothing I merely commented that your being in this room at this time was not an accident by a lost soul but the deliberate action of someone with a purpose."

Wiping the mouth of the bottle with her hand she in turn drank. Holding the bottle out to either one of them she smiled again.

"The condition of your mortal soul my dear Mr.Creed matters little to me, that's between you and whomever you will answer to in the end. But this is my club and what happens here does matter to me. So why are you here?"

"We all dream of the forbidden, but some of us Make those dreams come true."..

Triana Valmont

In the time it took Gerere to creep around upon this fey creature, her strange servants and music had done most of its work. Most of those whose souls were still theirs had fled, and only a handful remained among the succubi's thralls. Springing suddenly, the dragonet threw his body into the harp, tearing it from Leanan's grip. It flew from her hands, coming to rest unharmed on the dance floor, and Gerere himself landed upon it, casting a menacing look to all who approached.

The succubi's inhuman beauty returned as the harp fell silent, and they trained their attention on the harpist. Emboldened by Gerere's action, but still leery of that cursed staff, the succubi slowly closed in on Leanan, their black-eyed soulless thralls forming a line between them and the glowing staff. As they neared, their voices formed an unpleasant chorus "Sister why? You are like us? Yes, you're reputation proceeds you. We are of a common mind." They danced tauntingly behind their slaves. "The hunting ground was rich. We could have shared. But no, you do not want to share. And, why is that sister? Oh, I know. She is of fey blood. Thinks that makes her better. Even though we do the same things. Ahh yes, her 'Highness" sitting there putting on airs and all." They each take turns to bow mockingly to her. "Your hindendness. Your majesty. Fairy lover, she calls herself. Fairy whore, more rightly. Skogsfru. Dark seductress. 'La belle dame sans merci cry' the death-pale warriors. Has she forgotten them? Know what I think sisters? That we should put her in her place? Teach her highness a lesson? Show her who is better? Yes, I do believe we are of a common mind on this matter." They all nod in unison. One drapes her arms on the shoulders of one of the thralls "Gentlemen, if you would be so kind as to 'escort' this snotty little fairy harlot to the door we would be, oh so 'appreciative'." The suggestion made, the order given, the thralls drew their various weapons and began to edge closer.

"I get by with a little help from my fiends."


"Gentlemen, if you would be so kind as to 'escort' this snotty little fairy harlot to the door we would be, oh so 'appreciative'."

The harp lay several feet away, the purple lizard perched on it. Leanan didn't have much love for that one. No matter. He'd soon find out what happened when any but fey hands touched that instrument.

No sooner had the thought finished flitting through her mind than the strings vibrated of their own accord, setting the gilt frame trembling with energy and light, glowing an eerie gold that began to burn the dragon's scaled paws, smoking and sizzling.

"Foolish beast. Ye should know enough not to try and damage sacred instruments. It's got a mind of it's own."

Ignoring the succubi for a moment, she got up, swung the staff at the dragon's head and snatched the harp from beneath his smoldering feet. She missed the head, got the harp and was satisfied.

"Now...sisters are ye?" she snorted. "Don't know what legends ye are talking about, but apparntly we've got a different poet in mind. Harper am I, and fairie through and through. Lover to some who are willing and then again entrancing enough to some who aren't."

She paused, looking between the thralls who are advancing.

"Ach, in Erynne's name." She looked at the succubi. "Funny how ye get so jealous over a harper me ladies..." A flirtatious wink, a swing of the staff and she disarmed the nearest man of his sword. The rowan wood glowed blue in her hands.

Her other hand, clutching the harp, plucked out the simple melody of earlier, the spell winding it's way back into existance as she balanced the staff to defend herself. Her voice began to sing a sweet harmony to strengthen the song. Funny how the words don't seem to match the situation, seem more like a call to revel and follow the luck raide for the trooping fairie.

"Bonfires dot the rolling hillsides, figures dance around and around. To drums that pulse out echoes of darkness, moving to the pagan sound. Somewhere in the hidden memory, images float before my eyes, of fragrant nights of straw and of ondired, and dancing till the next sunrise..."

The fairie harper is still smiling as her staff blocks the metal of a sword swinging at her.


Over the hills, in the darkness, the woods seemed to come alive. Sprites poked their heads out of shadowed nooks, dryads hung from the branches of trees. By the river, the kelpies snorted wildly, black hooves pawing at the marshy banks. The Pooka stood at the edge of the wood, looking toward where Lea's voice drifted on the wind. She was singing the raide song when the moon was not ready.

"Who's coming?"

Silent as if they trode on fairie feet, magic feet, a troop of the trooping fey, left the wood and headed toward the Raven.

The harper, after all, was as sacred as the instrument and the wood she wielded, and she fought this night for the pattern they all, to the very last one, followed.

"Ach... I don't believe in Fairies...
But they're there!"
~ speaker unknown.


Juleana's arms encircled Calo's waist as the horse sped towards the Raven. Rangers ahead and behind followed in stride. She couldn't get the one Ranger's face out of her thoughts, and she knew it took all of Calo's strength to leave him behind with Soren and his most trusted men. They would keep him safe. But was safe enough? Would he live? She wiped the memories from her mind as the Raven loomed closer. Taking mental note, she reviewed her only weapons. There were the stones Calo had given her so long ago. They wouldn't stop Giacomo, but even a distraction could be helpful. And her asthame--it was consecrated, blessed by the Goddess. It had helped her before, could it help her now?

They paused 50 feet from the club, and Juleana whispered, "Calo, something is wrong, something is very wrong. Can you feel it?"

Calo's eyes narrowed as he viewed the club and he nodded. Raising a hand he pointed toward the club. With a series of simple gestures he conveyed his orders, sending the Rangers around to the front. Quietly, Juleana led him to the rear. Through a secret panel, they entered what used to be the back of the stage. As the Rangers threw open the doors of the club, Juleana and Calo arrived on the stage. A chill ran down Juleana's back, as she could feel the demon. But worst of all, she could feel Triana's pain. Her Mistress was covered in blood, poised like a cat ready to strike. Triana's eyes met hers as a single blood red tear escaped down her cheek. Tearing her gaze away, Juleana could feel Eowyn's full power for the first time, the dying succubi proof enough. And standing by Juleana's side, Calo watched Eowyn intently, knowing that she was the key to everything.

Let the hidden be revealed, all that was and will be.
From my mind and my heart, let me see the unseen.

Lady Juleana St. Clair

" I don't want the world to see me..., Cause I don't think that they'd understand.
When everything's made to be broken,... I just want you to know who I am......"
The Goo Goo Dolls

On the stage, Giacomo reveled in the chaos he had created. Panic held an icy grip on the souls of those who had but moments before danced to the music of the demon, the nature of his constructs now revealed by the art of the fay harper. Though she had attacked his creations, Giacomo took no action against Leanan, for while he was no longer insane, he was not above the seduction of his own ego, and he took the harper's presence as a compliment to his talent. The harper's strings had fallen silent, however, for Gerere had ripped the harp from her nimble fingers and winged first to the stage, and then to the attic, glaring down at the harper and seeking praise from his master.

Giacomo glanced upward at his pet, his creation, and offered a quick and twisted smile of approval before turning to survey the rest of those assembled, pleased at the group that had formed to meet him. Striker, he knew, had gone, a fact for which Giacomo was grateful, but he thought he had caught a glimpse of Quaralyn before the panic erupted. Eowyn had appeared from nowhere, and it troubled him that he hadn't seen or sensed her before. Calo, Juleana, and the rangers arrived soon thereafter, the high justice's elite corps taking up arms against those held in the succubae's sway.

Looking back to the floor, Giacomo noted two smoldering piles of ash and realized that two of his summoned had fallen in the fray--Eowyn's handiwork. It scarcely bothered him, however. They were expendable and easily replaced, just as his previous host. He was still adjusting to his new host when Triana, having raced down the stairs from above, landed on the stage a few feet away. Giacomo turned to face her, an evil grin and glint rising in the fragile features that once belonged to Phoenix, and he finally chose to speak. "What do you think, Triana dear? I do so hate getting clothes off the rack. But she does wear well. Don't you agree?"

Triana's eyes burned into the demon, heat rising from every vein as Bloodscream's blood coursed through her. Possessing now some of her victim's abilities, Triana barely heard the demon's words as she tried to understand what she was seeing, certain that her eyes were playing tricks on her. There was light emanating from everywhere. Juleana was bathed in a pure white light, Calo and Eowyn in blue. Then her eyes locked on Phoenix. The surrounding colors were fading from the woman, and the light seemed to fold into her, leaving only a cold, dark glow. The sight terrified Triana, and somewhere in the back of her mind a long-forgotten rhyme emerged, ~Darker than midnight, darker than pitch, darker than the foulest witch.~ Hearing Giacomo's words for the first time, Triana suddenly realized what was happening, and with that realization a guttural cry escaped her lips and she bared her fangs like a caged animal... "YOU CAN'T HAVE HER! I WILL KILL YOU!!"

A nasty laugh, viscous and condescending, rose from within the creature. "You can try. Oh, wait is this what you want?" he asked, feigning sudden fear, "Oh no, Triana, please spare me." Twisting the corner of his mouth in a mocking smile, he dropped the charade and resumed his prior demeanor. "Better?" Past the point of rage, Triana sprang across the stage with new found speed, her hands reaching for the demon's throat. "LET HER GO!"

Heat rose at an alarming rate within Triana's hands as they wrapped around the demon's neck, and soon those on the stage were assaulted with the smell of burning flesh. Triana knew that she should stop, that she was only hurting Phoenix, but she couldn't, and the heat grew until Giacomo reacted to protect his new host, countering Triana's power with his own. The resulting force sent the two flying apart, flinging Triana back several feet and throwing the demon to the floor.

The demon wasn't done, however, for he had far more potent weapons in his arsenal. Lying prone upon the stage floor, the aura surrounding Phoenix's body returned to normal as Giacomo let slip his control. Looking up at Triana, Phoenix saw her through Giacomo's eyes--the sins of the woman she once idolized now laid bare. Phoenix saw Triana's original dealing with the demon, her subsequent use of Calo, and her unwitting aid in the creature's return.

Finally, she saw Triana's diablerie, the only crime recognized by the kindred. Pained disillusion rose within Phoenix's eyes, piercing Triana to the core; and as her friend's aura again began to fade once more from red to black, an aching whisper escaped Triana's lips. "You'd never understand."

As all that was Phoenix faded in that moment, Triana closed her eyes, trying to block out the fear and accusation that mingled in the woman's mind as she slipped away into the madness of the demon. It was then that she felt Eowyn's gaze hard upon her, and she turned to face the elven woman. Noting at once the look of scorn worn by the other, Triana answered in kind~~Don’t think you know everything, because you dont.~~

Eowyn didn't respond, and the vitriol that burned in her eyes never faded as they remained locked on Triana and the demon, leaving Triana to wonder if she had even heard her. Blue flame enveloped Eowyn's fingers as she considered attacking them both--the demon and the one she believed responsible for his prior escape, the one that was harboring him now. Only the unexplained rift between the two stayed her hand, and she instead answered only in thought~~Perhaps not, but I've seen little to speak in your defense.~~

Giacomo, taking advantage of the distraction Eowyn was creating, savagely retook control of Phoenix, this time reforming her body into his prior image. Scarcely pausing to enjoy his more familiar form, the demon sent a bolt of energy reeling into Triana, sending her flying from the stage, and stunning them both a second time. Seeing opportunity in the demon's sudden weakness, Calo leapt atop the stage and raced towards his hated foe, his sword making a single cut, clean and deep, through the demon's midsection. Against another, the blow would have bisected its victim, but the hell-spawn was immune to the effects of steel, and the wound sealed as soon as the blade passed, leaving the demon unhurt, but not unangered. Rising from the stage floor, Giacomo struck back against Calo, catching the off-balance warrior by the throat and lifting him into the air with spiteful glee.

Her hand stayed no longer, Eowyn sent twin bolts of flame racing towards the demon. She knew that they would have little effect, but she hoped to provide Giacomo with another target. Giacomo didn't release Calo, however, and Eowyn continued her assault, crying the demon's name as she closed the distance between them. Intent upon reaching the creature, Eowyn didn't notice that the three succubae had slithered up behind her, seeking revenge for their fallen sisters. They struck with swiftness and strength granted to them by the demon's power, and Eowyn, weakened from her encounter with Jaysa, was unable to repel them. Screeching with vengeance, the three soon overpowered their distracted victim, rending and tearing with inhuman claws as they pulled the elven woman to the ground.

On the stage, Giacomo simply shrugged off the fiery bolts, leisurely turning his attention to their source. He smiled, but kept his hold on Calo's neck, delighting in the irony of the situation. Seeing the succubae swarm about Eowyn, however, all trace of amusement drained from the demon's face, and he dropped Calo to the ground without a second thought. Crossing the stage in long strides, his features uncharacteristically serious, Giacomo leapt down to the floor and grabbed an unsuspecting succubus from behind, hurling her through the air and into a wall. She hit with a crushing thud and fell limp to the floor just as Giacomo reached for the remaining two. They were dispatched before they could react, and the club fell into a sudden and eerie silence as the thralls held in their sway collapsed in lifeless heaps where they stood.

Quickened by the death of the fallen, a dark glow lit the daemon's face as he reached down a hand to help Eowyn from the floor. "My sincere apologies. Good help is so hard to find, but to attack my sister? That simply cannot be tolerated."

"Sweet is the scene where genial friendship plays the pleasing game of interchanging praise."*
The United Nations

Giacomo, Triana Valmont, Eowyn

*Quote by O.W. Holmes "An After-Dinner Poem" 1848

Leanan didn't actually care.

The Succubi were under control and she looked sadly at the dead bodies around the floor and shook her head.

"Ach... pattern will never be the same here."

"No it won't..."

She nodded slowly to the Pooka who had come through the door. A batallion of Sprites fluttered about one shoulder, A kelpie stamped in the doorway, the brownies made little grumbling noises from around her toes. An Owl alighted on her Rowan staff and gazed knowingly at her.

She didn't need to look in the shadows to know that some of the darker fey hid there. Gathering her harp, ignoring the chaos for she had done what she had come to do, she followed the Forest Lord out of the Raven.

Deep in the night, the forest rang with the sounds of her voice and the sacred harp, a lament for those destroyed and ravaged by a demon who rent the delicate weave of the pattern and veil with ominous intention.

Leanan frankly hoped that it would stop soon.

"Ach... I don't believe in Fairies...
But they're there!"
~ speaker unknown.


Giacomo looked away from Eowyn just long enough to see the harper flee with her fairy entourage in tow. Mocking his former insanity, Giacomo sputtered in affront, "What cheek, leaving without so much as an introduction. Even her cousin succubi had better manners. Ah, well, the Fay are fickle." Looking back down to Eowyn he extended his hand once more and hastily added with a conspiratorial wink, "No offense."

"What I love most about my guests are their manners."
Jerry Springer


"What do you think, Triana dear? I do so hate getting clothes off the rack. But she does wear well. Don't you agree?"

Juleana grabbed Calo's arm. She had known that Triana was planning on training Phoenix to take her place at the club. Triana had saved her from an alley, much like she herself had been saved. Juleana knew that Triana hadn't heard the words, and this worried her. Instead, her friend was simply looking from one person to another, confusion written on her features. Suddenly, Juleana realized that Triana was seeing their auras, but she didn't know how.

A rhyme turning over in Juleana's mind, however, explained it all.

~Darker than midnight, darker than pitch, darker than the foulest witch.~

Juleana turned for a second to face Calo, and as she did, Triana exploded. The events that followed happened almost too fast to see--the attack the taunting, but nothing prepared Juleana for the hurt in her Mistress's face when she realized, as did everyone, the depths that the demon had gone to hurt her. Lost for a moment in pain and anger, Triana stood stone still, her only movement to turn toward Eowyn.

It was then that the demon chose to strike again, and as his bolts of energy hit Triana, knocking her off the stage, Juleana ran to the aid of her friend. Trying to raise Triana back to her feet, Juleana didn't see Calo lunge for the demon. She turned quickly, however, when Triana's eyes went wide, and saw Giacomo holding Calo aloft by the throat. Scrambling, the two women climbed back atop the stage, thinking to distract the demon if nothing else.

"NO! Please Don't!" was all Juleana got out before Eowyn started her own barrage against the demon. Triana tried to hold Juleana back when she started moving toward the demon, but found it impossible to stop her and so was pulled along behind, unaware, for the moment, that the demon's attention had suddenly shifted toward Eowyn. Seeing the succubi converge on her, Giacomo, to everyone's surprise, released Calo as if forgetting the both the high justice and the reason he held him. Luckily, Juleana and Triana were able to catch him as he fell, and kept him from suffering further damage. Almost without thinking, Juleana reached into her pouch and removed a flat black stone. Cradling Calo's head in her lap, she held the stone to his bruised throat. At once the stone became energized drawing all negative energies from his body. "My love you'll be all right. Lie still." Juleana whispered as she held him, keeping one eye on Triana.

Fearing the demon's returned attention, Triana placed herself between her two loved ones and Giacomo, watching in frozen disbelief as the demon killed his summoned creatures one by one. He was actually saving Eowyn. Distrust flared in Triana's eyes.

Quickened by the death of the fallen, a dark glow lit the daemon's face as he reached down a hand to help Eowyn from the floor. "My sincere apologies. Good help is so hard to find, but to attack my sister? That simply cannot be tolerated."

The silence which followed was louder then any gasp could have been. Triana turned over her shoulder and looked at Juleana and the disbelief which formed on her features.

~Deception~ Juleana thought to her friend, but Triana wasn't hearing her.

Turning slowly to face Eowyn, Triana almost spat, "How dare you ever question me!! His sister!" Sensing that Calo was coming around, she turned towards him and added, "Well, Calo, did you know your sainted friend was his sister!"

" I don't want the world to see me..., Cause I don't think that they'd understand.
When everything's made to be broken,... I just want you to know who I am......"

The Goo Goo Dolls

Lady Juleana St Clair

Quickened by the death of the fallen, a dark glow lit the daemon's face as he reached down a hand to help Eowyn from the floor. "My sincere apologies. Good help is so hard to find, but to attack my sister? That simply cannot be tolerated."

~Sister?~ She nearly spat the word back at him, but the sheer weight of her anger left her speechless and sickened. Bile burned in the pit of her stomach and her eyes literally clouded over with rage. Unable to move from the floor, unable even to speak, she was only dimly aware of, yet thankful for, Leanan's departure, for it distracted the daemon long enough to allow her to regain some small measure of composure. Her blood still burned in anger, but her sight had returned, allowing her to see both proffered hand of the daemon and an unhoped for opportunity. If Giacomo believed them to be either kith or kin, so be it, for if it fostered within him even the smallest bit of trust, it could be used against him.

"How dare you ever question me!!" Triana screeched in rage, "His sister! Well, Calo, did you know your sainted friend was his sister!"

Eowyn turned her head briefly in Triana's direction, and looked through the woman, as if finding her to be utterly insignificant. She didn't look again, and she was careful to keep her face from Calo as she turned her attention back to Giacomo and the proffered hand. Steeling herself, she reached upward, finding the experience somehow surreal as she saw her own pale hand reach towards his, noting with a certain detachment the similar characteristics caused by her elven blood and his elven appearance.

At contact, however, the dispassion fled and her skin crawled as it met the flesh of the daemon, though whether it was due to the pure evil that pulsed within his grip, or a sense of kinship that began to play within the recesses of her own mind, she couldn't say. He pulled her effortlessly from the floor, and she strained to conceal the feeling of revulsion that flooded through her frame as she stood suddenly before him. His ice blue eyes, cold and unblinking, gazed hard upon her, and she knew he was waiting for her to speak. Sure of only her uncertainty and the danger before them, she said the only thing she could, "Sister?"


Away with him who heeds the morrow!
Death, plucking the ear, cries: "Live; I come!"

Virgil, Copa 1. 37

With Marcus at death's door, Soren chasing the Ravenclaws, and now Calo down, Sherrill found herself in the very place she didn't want to be--in charge. The fight had ended as quickly as it began, and more than a few stood dumfounded as Giacomo dispatched the demonesses he had summoned, taking with them their mindless victims and prompting the fey retreat. A quick look around revealed that while the Rangers had not lost a member, quite a few were injured--some badly. Sherrill was taking measure of the numbers when the demon's words reached her ear.

" attack my sister? That simply cannot be tolerated."

The word sister caught her by surprise. While she had never met Eowyn before, she had been told that she was a friend and ally of Calo's. She was pondering the matter when another voice broke through the tense silence.

"How dare you ever question me!! His sister! Well, Calo, did you know your sainted friend was his sister!"

Triana's explosion went unnoticed by Giacomo, who seemed to be exchanging pleasantries with Eowyn. Triana's actions did, however, prompt some of the Rangers to draw their weapons and advance towards the demon. All information they had on the creature spoke against the wisdom of such an advance, and Sherrill didn't think that even at their peak the Rangers could kill the demon. But now after a battle, unprepared and with wounded . . . there was no doubt of the outcome. Moreover, the demon had been known to be civil on occasion, and when employing such a demeanor, he responded violently to any acts of aggression. The gypsies had learned this the hard way, and Sherrill was determined that the Rangers would benefit from that lesson.

Whistling sharply, she drew the Rangers' attention, then sheathed her own sword, making a single motion for them to stand down and see to the injured. As they complied, Sherrill herself stayed in place a listened as the first word Eowyn spoke echoed her very thoughts. "Sister?"

Sherrill Erynnan

The oblivion of unconsciousness broke as suddenly as it had come, and Calo groggily opened his eyes and realized that he was laying down and that Juleana was cradling him. Closing his eyes again, he heard Juleana whispering. "My love you'll be all right. Lie still." He tried to answer, but his throat wouldn't work, and only a harsh wheeze escaped his lips.

Unable to speak, he weakly ran his hand against Juleana's cheek, trying to reassure her. The relative silence in the Raven told Calo that the battle was over--one way or the other. Any hope he might have harbored that the demon had been destroyed was quickly dashed as he heard Giacomo's voice a few yards away. He couldn't make out the words however, and was about to try to ask Juleana what he had said when suddenly Triana began screaming.

"How dare you ever question me!! His sister! Well, Calo, did you know your sainted friend was his sister!"

Confused, Calo turned to Juleana, forcing the words hoarsely past his rapidly healing vocal cords. "What is she talking about?" Raising his head slightly, he could just see Eowyn standing in front of Giacomo, her hand resting in his. He was about to speak again when Eowyn gave voice to his question.


Calo Digerian

Unnoticed, Gerere slipped back into the Raven through the attic, carrying a sack--the spoils of his evening hunt. Small, muffled sounds echoed within the bag as the dragonet perched on a nearby rafter and watched while Giacomo dropped a warrior he held aloft like a rag doll. ~~Oh goody~~ he thought, watching two women race to catch the limp figure as he fell to the ground ~~dinner theater~~ Easing his hold on the top of the sack, Gerere continued to watch as Giacomo launched into the succubi.

So intent was Gerere's attention as he focused on his master that he almost didn't notice a small sprite wiggling from the sack. Almost. Lightening quick, Gerere's head whipped round towards the poor fay, and his jaws snapped closed. In two gulps the sprite was devoured and Gerere was reaching into the sack for another morsel. He was starting on a third treat when Giacomo announced to all that Eowyn was his "sister," prompting Gerere to spit out his helpless victim in surprise, allowing the tiny sylph to escape. ~~Well, so much for that secret. The cat is definitely outta the bag now.~~

"Hast thou slain the Jabberwock?"


Lea frowned as the sprite hovering by the Kelpie's ears curled into a tiny irridescent ball and plummeted downward. She reached out and caught the tiny, frail body and looked into her hand.

The sprite's light was waneing in the dusk, wings becoming thick and moth-like instead of the usual shimmering gauze they usually were.

"Wha' 'tis it, wee one?"

The sprite merely curled up in angony and let out a small shivered moan. The Pooka frowned as he rode next to the harper and both kelpies stopped, silent and still for once. Around them the little piskies and sprites and sylphs hovered anxiously, drawing together into a shining globe.

"Oddness indeed, Harper. The littlest fey don't hurt unless one of their kind is injured, one close to them at that."

"Who would injur a-"

Leanan's eyes blazed to life, recalling the darkness they had left that had no regard for court or raide or luck or balance or the pattern. The fay folk did not die. Did not become fodder for the chaotic blackness that loomed over the city. They were magic eternal, tied to the land and it tied to them, tied to the moon, to the sea, to the sky. They were fairie and their courts had stood for millenium that even the demon could not comprehend.

The kelpie reared suddenly, the sidhe harper keeping her balance as fay horse and rider's eyes matched a blazing forest green.

The harp is unslung from it's case in half a second, the strings thrumming to life. The stars seemed to wheel over-head, the moon light flared to brilliant silver. Her voice rose with it, eerie and powerful so that even the sky and the earth seemed to listen to harp and voice and the rising wind.

"Ride on, through the night, ride on, ride on through the night, ride on."

Out of the forest, the trees stirred, fairie pouring forth in droves, both seelie and unseelie. Kelpies and the smaller but no less wild fairie horses of the Tuatha de' Dannan, goblins and brownies dressed in warrior garb, elven folk and the short working gnomes and dwarves with swords that even the mortals valued.

Leanan-sidhe continues to sing.

"There are visions, there are memories, there are echoes of thundering hooves, there are fires, there is laughter, there's the sound of a thousand doves."

The harp called the luck, her voice called something different. The fairie folk had not heard it's call in ages upon ages. And yet now they came, drawing together in light and dark to go to battle against the one the harper had learned to loathe.

They came to the call of war.

"In the velvet, of the darkness, by the silhouette of silent trees, they are watching, they are waiting, they are witnessing life's mysteries."

The Pooka watched this with a glimmer in his eyes. He hated the battle as much as Leanan did. But the lines were drawn, the fey were hurt, and he would not stand by for it.

"Cascading stars on the slumbering hills, they are dancing as far as the sea, riding o'er the land, you can feel it's gentle hand, leading on to its destiny,"

Behind him two Tuatha De' Dannan appeared, the legendary courtesians and warriors who had slumbered for decades. He nodded to them out of respect and greeting. The Harper was oblivious to all, eyes blazing green, hair whirling about her frame, kicked by the winds, and glorious and radiant in the power she held.

The Kelpie she rode turned suddenly and galloped toward the distant city. The troupe behind her moved with her, seelie with unseelie.

"Take me with you on this journey, where the boundaries of time are now tossed, in cathedrals of the forest, in the words of the tongues now lost. Find the answers, ask the questions, find the roots of the ancient tree, take me dancing, take me singing, I'll ride on till the moon meets the sea."

They followed the power of her song, luck pouring down on them from the rays of the moon, lighting their way back, the sylphs and piskies following the calls of their own folk, leading them all back to the doors of the Raven.


The door slammed open, one hinge giving way and Leanan-sidhe stood there, radiating light, power, luck and song. The harp was in one hand, the rowan staff, bolts of blue witch light dancing up and down it, was in the other.

She pointed the staff upward, a bolt searing the beam at the purple dragon's feet.

Words in anciant tongue spilled from her lips and the fairie came in behind her until the room was half full of angry fey warriors. A kelpie reared and neighed a challenge, his eyes the same blistering green of Leanan's.

And instead of challenging the demon at this moment, Leanan merely smiled to him, a smile as cold as the waters of the forest brook in winter. The staff remained pointed at the dragon. She spoke in a voice that left no room for argument, but reminded that they would fight if needs be.

"I want him. Scaled on a platter or just plain dead. Now. He's harmed my people, demon. And for that...oh for that he shall pay dearly."

((author's note: the above song in italics is entitled "night ride through the caucaus" music and lyrics by Loreena McKennit, from her album The Book of Secrets. 1997 Quinlan Road limited))

"Ach... I don't believe in Fairies...
But they're there!"
~ speaker unknown.


(Author's note: takes place while Leanan Sidhe was en route to the Raven)

"How dare you ever question me!! His sister! Well, Calo, did you know your sainted friend was his sister!"

Giacomo ignored Triana's outburst as best he could. It was rude, and even the Rangers had the civility to know when to behave, but he took into account her emotional distress and let her comment pass, turning his full attention back to Eowyn. The confusion on her face was priceless as she asked, "Sister?"

In a motion too fast to prevent, Giacomo leaned towards her and placed his head beside hers, his voice and breath a harsh whisper in her delicately pointed ears, "Yes. Sister. You may keep your fey ruse for the rest, but I know you now." To his chagrin, she looked horrified as he backed away, as did the rest of those standing or lying in various states of injury about the floor of the Raven. Noting their faces and the morbid curiosity they contained, Giacomo decided to assume a charade of his former insanity, and resort to more private means of communication.

He smiled, an unnerving gesture that well-suited his purposes, and continued for all to hear. "I am sorry. This evening got off on the wrong 'note' it seems. Please allow me to make it up to you. Dinner and dancing perhaps?"

Eowyn shook her head slightly, as if uncertain she had heard him properly before responding in a clipped tone. "No, thank you, but if you really want to make it up to me, there is something you can do."

He shook his head, still smiling. "No, I am afraid I cannot get lost even if I tried. And I am afraid I really must insist . . ." As his voice trailed off, he followed it with a mental call, seeking to get her attention more directly and privately.


The sound of his voice ringing through her mind sickened Eowyn, and she struggled to keep from turning away in disgust. She had come too far to turn back, however, and knew that she would not be given another opportunity. And so, ignoring the mental call, she managed a faint smile and answered, "I wasn't going to suggest that. I had something else in mind.

Giacomo's smile wavered slightly when she ignored the silent call, and a spark of anger rose in his eyes. "Oh really? And what pray tell is that?"

Again the mental call sounded. ~~Eowyn, if you don't answer you won't learn anything.~~

The call was louder this time, and the promise intriguing, but she still ignored him, calling upon more strength than she could presently afford to shut the daemon out. "You could take the power back from Jaysa."

"And why would I want to do that?" he chuckled in response, then added suddenly as if changing his mind. "Very well, I'll take it back as soon as it runs its course. Happy now?" The call echoed a third time, the annoyance clear in its tone.

~~Eowyn, last chance. Do not make me force the issue.~~

"Not quite," she answered. It was getting harder to maintain the smile, and harder to ignore the calls, "You see, I'd rather have her intact, and if you wait for it to run its course . . . well, I hardly need to tell you what will happen."

"Ah, then let's talk deal shall we?" He turned to give a half-bow and motioned towards a table which suddenly righted itself in response.

~~Very well, if it's the hard way you want . . .~~

A surge of telepathic power backed his call this time, and Eowyn's barriers crumbled against a foe much more practiced at this art then she. For a moment every nerve in her body felt as if it were on fire and she winced from the sudden pain before stumbling forward, on course towards the ground.

Giacomo caught her as she fell, and placed her in a chair by the table. As he took a seat on the other side, the pain faded into a dull ache, and she was left with the knowledge that her thoughts were no longer completely her own.

Catching the attention of a nearby Ranger, Giacomo, fully pleased with himself once more, called out, "You there! Yes, you. Get a bottle of wine and two glasses. Be quick about it." The Ranger glanced quietly towards the woman who seemed to be in charge, and scrambled to comply when he received a nod in response, leaving the items on the table and quickly backing away. Pouring from the bottle, Giacomo prattled on, allowing Eowyn a chance to recover before they continued in earnest, "I hate it that women swoon when I pay them the least amount of attention. But, I suppose it's the price I pay to be me."

He smiled, feeling Eowyn's anger begin to rise and knowing that they would soon be able to proceed. "Here," he offered, handing her one of the goblets, "this should help." ~~Now, with that nonsense aside, we can talk in private.~~ "Now Eow........." Giacomo winced at being interrupted as the door to the Raven suddenly slammed open.

"A night out on the town, a beautiful woman by my side, and tickets to the opera. Who could ask for more?"
Erik the Phantom


The door hit the wall with such force that one hinge gave way, and in its opening stood Leanan Sidhe, radiating light, power, luck, and song. The harp was in one hand, the rowan staff, bolts of blue witch light dancing up and down it, in the other. Instead of challenging the demon at this moment, Leanan merely smiled to him, a smile as cold as the waters of the forest brook in winter, and pointed her staff at the small dragonet. She spoke in a voice that left no room for argument, but reminded that they would fight if needs be. "I want him. Scaled on a platter or just plain dead. Now. He's harmed my people, demon. And for that...oh for that he shall pay dearly."

Giacomo could barely contain his rage at this unwanted intrusion, and hellfire erupted from his eyes as he looked from Eowyn to Leanan and back again. Reaching a decision at last, the uncontrolled fury on his face melted into a congenial smile towards Eowyn, causing more than a few cold shivers down her spine. "Just give me a moment to deal with this slight problem. And, don't go running off anywhere now. I would be 'cross' if I had to chase you." The threat in his words was clear as he rose from the table and turned to face the assembled fey 'army'.

Holding out his arm in the manner of a falconer, Giacomo called to his creation, "Gerere, come here now!" Quick to obey his master's command, Gerere glided down from his rafter perch and came to rest on Giacomo's outstretched arm. Meekly, Gerere surrendered the sack and its remaining contents to his master. "Now how many times do I have to tell you?" Giacomo began, shaking a long and pointed finger at the dragonet, "No sentients between meals. You know how that ruins your appetite."

Scolded, Gerere hopped from Giacomo's arm to a safer perch atop his shoulder and began to sulk. Shaking his head and sighing heavily, Giacomo upturned the sack, emptying the fay unceremoniously on the cold stone floor. As the last of the captured flitted away, Giacomo looked back towards Leanan and matched her stern stare with one of his own.

"There you go oh, 'fay mistress'. What is left of your creatures is returned to you. As to you other 'request' I am afraid that I must decline to surrender Gerere to thee. He is my charge to protect, and you know how pets can be about hunting sometimes." With that, he gave a nod towards the darker of the assembled fay, and then stood defiantly, awaiting the harper's response.

"Oh look, an unexpected guest. Please come and chat with me."


There you go oh, 'fay mistress'. What is left of your creatures is returned to you. As to you other 'request' I am afraid that I must decline to surrender Gerere to thee. He is my charge to protect, and you know how pets can be about hunting sometimes."

"Pets? Ye don't know yer 'ead from yer 'arse do ye? The fey have no pets, creature and I want yours to be suitable punished for his crimes."

She cocked her head to the side, twirling the head of the rowan staff a moment and sending a blue bolt whizzing past Gerere's head, singeing a single scale.

She smiled.

"And no one ever accused me of not being fickle, oh demon jester. Fey mistress and harper I am and don't forget it, so stop trying to insult me with things that don't insult. We walk the boundaries of realms and back again, can even get into the one ye came from if we like. Nae that we do..."

A few of the brownies hurled minature spears at Gerere, aim true though even the sharpness of their weapons only bounced off Gerere's scales. Leanan held up a hand to them, the air stilled. The harp strings thrummed to fill the silence.

"Pets should be controlled demon. Since this one is self-proclaimed not a true dragon,"' thank the piskies for that information, "I suggest you keep him with you at all times. I mean all. If'n we see him without ye, we'll slay him. Fairie don't have much mercy for those who kill their own kin. So that's the compromise. The dragon, as ye call him, though he is no dragon, stays with ye always." She grinned. "Mayhaps ye'll find him just as ...enjoyable... as the rest of us when he's with ye from sunrise to sunset and beyond."

A flick of her wrist, the fairie troop gathered together and stepped back into the street. There they remained, for all could sense that something would change soon. So very soon.

"Ach... I don't believe in Fairies...
But they're there!"
~ speaker unknown.


"Since this one is self-proclaimed not a true dragon...................So that's the compromise. The dragon, as ye call him, though he is no dragon, stays with ye always." She grinned. "Mayhaps ye'll find him just as ...enjoyable... as the rest of us when he's with ye from sunrise to sunset and beyond."

Gerere, unfazed by the petty assaults and confident in his master's protection, answered back. "I am a true dragon. Truer then most who travel this city I tell you. I'll prove it and then you will see." His defense spoken, Gerere stuck his forked tongue out mockingly at the harper as she turned to leave the Raven yet again.

Cat-quick, Giacomo's hand caught Gerere's mouth and shut it forcefully causing the DRAGONET to bite his own tongue painfully as Giacomo waived the harper away with his free hand, eager to return to more important matters. "Silence, my friend. Let them leave. We can deal with them another time. Right now, you have caused me a dangerous distraction that I can ill afford. Now go, hide yourself, and behave.

If you cause me another interruption I will hand you over to the Harper to deal with as she sees fit. Are we clear?" The small dragon nodded, his head still trapped in Giacomo's pinch. Upon his release, Gerere immediately took wing and disappeared into the rafters overhead, escaping his master's wrath.

His charge scolded, Giacomo returned his attention to Eowyn, silently cursing the fay for giving her time to think, recompose, and breathe. Retaking his seat at the table, he smiled sweetly across at her. "Now, my dear where were we?"

"Will you stop poking me!!!!"


The pain was searing, a white heat that first pierced her mind then tore through every nerve and sinew. She didn't remember falling, and didn't understand how she came to be in the arms of the daemon. As he placed her in a chair by a suddenly-righted table, however, she was certain of one thing: her thoughts were no longer entirely her own.

She struggled to suppress the waves of revulsion that washed through her, but it was a hopeless undertaking. She was lost in sea of horror and repugnance, and the only way to shore laid in the form of the daemon's hand, reaching, beckoning her to a supposed safety. Struck by the sudden metaphor, a single laugh, barely audible, escaped her lips; and in that moment she chose to remain in that deep blue sea of disgust. Though it sickened her, the strength of its feelings concealed a multitude of thoughts within its depths, keeping them safe, for the moment, from the prying eyes of the daemon.

She wouldn't be able to hide for long, however, for though her age and experience had taught her many a trick, the daemon was far older and would eventually find what he wanted. For the second time that evening then, Eowyn found herself grateful for the sudden interruption of the sidhe harper. Perhaps it was their shared blood that prompted the woman's fortuitous appearances, or perhaps again the gypsy curse was blessing her path with serendipity. Whatever the reason, however, the harper's outrage and Giacomo's resulting distraction gave Eowyn the opportunity she needed, and she began to push the daemon from her mind. She worked slowly, quietly, sealing off one path, one thought, one memory at a time, locking the daemon from those he would find most useful. She had nearly finished when the harper, her threat given, turned and prepared to leave. She caught the woman's eye as she passed, and nodded imperceptibly.

Giacomo remained standing for a few moments after her departure, quietly scolding his small scaled charge. When the dragonet took wing, his master turned on a single heel and strode back towards the table and retook his seat across from Eowyn, smiling "sweetly" as he spoke, "Now, my dear where were we?"

She smiled weakly in return, the effects of the pain still lingering in her eyes, and answered,~~We were talking about Jaysa.~~


Away with him who heeds the morrow!
Death, plucking the ear, cries: "Live; I come!"

Virgil, Copa 1. 37

Giacomo's smile wavered, surprised that Eowyn was now willing engaged him in mental conversation. Something had changed in those few minutes he was gone. Something was different. ~~Ahh yes Jaysa. A lovely child. What of her?~~~ "Why so silent milady? Does the proverbial cat have you tongue? Perhaps some wine?"

Giacomo's fevered mind raced to catch what had changed in the equation, what it was that so troubled his sixth sense. And then, like music drifting in the air, the cold realization of how much danger HE was now in crept into his mind's eye.

The fey distraction had cost Giacomo dearly, for he was no longer in control of the situation. His concentration was spread too thinly between the Rangers, the Fey, Calo, Juleana, and Triana; and his hold on Eowyn was failing. Somehow she was able to close herself off to him part by part, and his continued inane banter at the table was insufficient to shake her new found control, or to lessen the unspoken threat of the Rangers surrounding him should they realize his predicament. So focused was he on regaining his hold on the situation, and more importantly on Eowyn, that he failed to notice the fallen figure on the stage rise to his feet, gather his weapons, and draw a bead on his back.

"I have way to many things to do to rest now!"
Rip Van Winkle


Though the elven woman she smiled, Juleana could see the pain lingering in Eowyn's eyes as she stared levelly across the table at the demon. And though Calo had oft said that Eowyn could take care of herself, Juleana feared for this woman who she now felt to be her friend. But Calo, crushed by the demon's hand, was Juleana's more immediate concern, and she continued to cradle him, using the healing power of the Jet stone until he began to stir. Though she urged him to be still, he stubbornly refused her pleas and quietly rose to his knees. Stiff and sore, he shook the fog from his head and directed his attention towards Giacomo and Eowyn when his vision cleared.

Giacomo was the first to speak, and he smiled an unsettling smile as he leaned closer to the woman he had called his "sister," "Now, my dear where were we?" Eowyn didn't answer, but simply stared into the other's eyes, a reaction which caused a small expression of disquiet to dance across the demon's features. "Why so silent, milady? Does the proverbial cat have you tongue? Perhaps some wine?" When Eowyn failed to respond again and Giacomo fell silent as well, Juleana realized that their conversation had taken a different turn. Placing the Jet stone back into her pouch, Juleana felt for the rough surface of the small piece of pumice she carried, pulling it from the leather bag when it scraped against her fingers.

She heard a small stirring beside her and turned to see the rage on Triana's face, fueled anew by the silent interchange between the two figures at the table--her accuser and betrayer. She could sense that Triana was about to leave, and so, grasping the stone with one hand, and Triana's wrist with the other, Juleana spoke to her friend, ~Triana, wait, please.~

The vampiress tried to dislodge herself from Juleana's grip, but Juleana was insistent, and her voice pleading. Despite her seething anger, Triana therefore remained, turning her furious gaze back to the two at the table. Slowly, the silent conversation became clear as Triana began to hear the voices through Juleana.

~~Don't tell me that after going to such lengths to get my attention you don't want to "talk."~~

~~Of course I want to talk. After all I am man, so to speak, with a beautiful woman, enjoying a night on the town. I was really hoping we could discuss something other than Jaysa. If that's what you want, however, fine. Jaysa, it is. A lovely child. What of her?~~

~~Release her.~~ When the demon only smirked in response, Eowyn continued in a blistering tone. ~~You did ask what you could do to amends, or don't you remember?~~

~~Of course I remember. I remember everything I offer someone. If it is within my power.~~

~~Oh? And is it not within your power to release the girl?~~

~~She will be free soon enough~~ he answered, smiling again and leaning even closer, ~~Wouldn't you really rather talk about something else? Like how your eyes sparkle in the moonlight?~~

She ignored his last statement, pushing back the renewed feeling of revulsion, and continued to press the issue of the Queen's niece.~~Yes, she'll be free soon enough, but as I said before you left, I'd prefer to have her intact.~~

~~And why so picky, my raven-haired lovely?~~ Giacomo continued, undaunted by Eowyn's rejection.

~~Don't you know? I thought you knew me . . . "brother."~~

Despite Eowyn's obvious sarcasm, Triana's skin started to prickle with the last word, and she looked to Juleana who sat on the floor, her eyes closed. Her knuckles were bone white from holding the stone, and small particles of sand fell from her clenched fist as the stone crumbled beneath the force of the demon's energy.

Unaware of the silent conversation between his friend and his nemesis, Calo rose silently to his feet and fitted a blessed bolt into a handheld crossbow. Taking careful aim so as not to hit Eowyn, and warning the rangers that the shot was his, he waited for the right moment to strike.

~~Indeed, I do know you, "sister." Perhaps better than you know yourself. And you must know that for what you ask, there is a price to be paid.~~

~~Oh, now you want to barter and bargain? I believe this was your offer, a way to make amends.~~

~~You're asking for an item of great value--far too great for a simple amends. But as a token of faith, and amends, I am willing to let it go for a song.~~

Her eyes narrowed with his statement, uncertain of his desire, but sure of the need to separate Jaysa from the power she held. ~~All right then, what is this "song" you seek?~~

~~A pittance, really, a trifle. A bargain for what you ask. What I want, Milady, is your hand.~~

Juleana's eyes flew open with the statement, and Triana gasped out loud. Eowyn, however, appeared nonplused, only the dark glow of her eyes revealing her anger. Without a word, she pushed her chair back from the table, the loud scraping as it slid across the floor breaking the silence which had gripped the Raven and its onlookers. Holding Giacomo's gaze, Eowyn slowly rose to her feet and spoke for the first time.

"If it's my hand you want, you shall have it!" she answered, slapping the demon full across the face with a hand enveloped in flame.

Giacomo, for his part, was caught entirely off guard by her response. He recovered quickly, however, and rose to stand before her, a rakish grin spreading across his face as he rubbed his smoldering cheek. "You're right, my love. We should leave. Triana has private rooms downstairs for just this sort of thing."

The dark glow in Eowyn's eyes flared with her sudden rage, but before she could respond the stone in Juleana's hand burst with a loud pop, unable to withstand the force of the demon any longer, and sending tiny fragments of sand and stone falling to the floor about Juleana's feet. Juleana's eyes rose from the mess on the floor to the demon, hoping he wouldn't understand what she was sure Eowyn already knew. Fearing for her ward, Triana wrenched her hand free of Juleana and stepped before her, ready to shield her from any attack.

"Which is worse? To live in dark ingorance?
Or to steal the knowledge and suffer under its burden?"


"I don't want the world to see me..., Cause I don't think that they'd understand.
When everything's made to be broken,... I just want you to know who I am......"
The Goo Goo Dolls

Lady Juleana St Clair

Calo cursed as the stone burst with a loud pop and the demon spun round, turning a killing shot into a mere wounding one as Calo's bolt pierced the demon's side just below his heart. Giacomo screamed in pain as the blessed bolt burnt into his flesh, and though he grabbed and pulled at the bolt, it only seared his hand as the tried to wrench it free from his newly acquired host.

As the demon screamed, Calo drew another sword, but unlike the first, this one glowed with a faint bluish light, and lightning flashed from its tip, racing towards the demon and sending him reeling to the floor in greater pain. Their quarry downed, Calo shouted a cry, and those rangers who were still able began their own assault against the creature, firing both arrow and spell into the demon. Giacomo struggled beneath their onslaught unable to rise as Calo leapt from the stage and coldly begins toward the fallen jester. "This time there is no return, no escape, 'Old Friend'."

Eowyn stopped him, however, stepping into his path and holding an outstretched hand before her friend, "Calo, don't."

He paused at her request, but his eyes never left the creature as he asked with confusion in his voice, "Why?"

Eowyn moved closer, slowing closing the distance between them, "I can't explain. You have to trust me."

Calo's mind raced with her words, every fiber of his being wanting to fly at the downed creature, especially now as the thought of the demon controlling someone so close to him crept painfully into his mind. "What has he done to you?" he nearly shouted in concern and dismay, "Think. We have him. We could end this here and now."

She pressed further, but gave no explanation for her actions. "I am thinking, and you have to stop. Call them off."

Surprised by her actions, Calo turned from the demon to look Eowyn dead in the eyes, unable to believe what she was saying. "Are you mad?"

She didn't answer him, but her voice took on a tone of urgency and resolve that he had not heard her use before, at least, not against him. "Stop them or I will!"

Unable to respond, unable to fathom his friend's behavior, Calo searched her eyes for any sign of control, influence, or anything to suggest what was prompting her actions. Why? Why was she now protecting what she should despise? He had known her for so long, trusted her with so much, but this . . . how could he let Giacomo go when he finally had him, when the creature was trapped before him? What she asked, it was . . . .

She must have seen the struggle burning within his eyes, for as she reached him she stared at him with pained understanding and placed a gentle hand on his wrist. She spoke only one word, a soft, but urgent, "Please."

It was enough. Calo's eyes never left hers, and he gave Eowyn a simple nod as he resheathed the still-glowing sword, but before he could signal the rangers to stop..............

"My violin has two pals who eat my very marrow.
Love and Hunger they're called and accompany me, a Vistani."

Calo Digerian

Ding-dong. Demon calling?

The back stage entrance was a piece of memory from the very, very minimal section of brain not infested--it seemed the images and relations to the Theatre in the old days still remained quite vibrant. Alas, who the hell cares..

Lights were flickering. Candles maybe? The stage itself was void of others, but voices rose and seethed, familiar and unfamiliar. Slow, deliberate steps brought the ghostly child with vacant eyes to stand roughly center. A new shrill acoustic swelled behind her, a unison screaming, something akin to that of tortured banshees. But what of it? She noticed not if anyone turned to see her, rather watched in silence as Giacomo took his Fall and the other raging man took his advance.

The empty, but piercing gaze locked like a physical vise grip to the writhing demon within his host. Good? Bad? Laugh? Cry?

She didn't see the woman hold back the stranger, whom, by this point, was in near-hysterics. Instead, she drew herself away from the exaggerated entrance, pacing the flight of short stairs from the stage, and bringing herself to stand over the demon.

Their eyes met briefly, his struggling and hers struggling just the same, while the frighteningly placid girl lowered herself to one knee. What a dreadfully sad little scene! The Jaysa in Jaysa clenched a fist while the Other in Jaysa flashed images through the recesses before her mind's ocular vision, and through a scratchy voice full of entirely too-calm rage that wasn't all her own, she whispered down to him..

The alley was pitch black, her bootsteps were the only registered sound.. "..lonely night, and she out of sight.." Whispers.. silence, then more giggling little sounds.. her name.. suddenly before her, a creature her knowledge wouldn't identify.. threatened, she tensed.. intrigued, she listened.. "..where from the dark, came a silly little man with voice of lark.."

He grinned at her.. sharp teeth and evil in his eyes.. there was another quiet, but it was filled with the surging energies of either entity.. the crackling was nearly audible..

"Let's play a game said he with a flourish and grin, and challenged with ambition she smirked and nodded to him.." Great rewards to the winner...

The remnants of the game she didn't bother remembering for the moment, but they might need to be brought up sometime later, so the wretch inside of her skipped right to the good part.

Exquisite pain! Delightful, a transfer of power, a rush to the head, then throughout the entire body, quite to the point of death. Left the body lying there and danced away like an escape from the asylum.. he felt the tears, the cries laden the girl.. and he cackled, didn't he? That was his voice, wasn't it? Was that blood, that crimson pool? "Damn you.."

Jaysa's teeth glinted in the shimmering light as they grit and beared, the somewhat feral cry burning within her throat rousing her foot to rear back.. and then shovel its steeltoed way into the host's already injured body.

*crack* went the ribs, la dee da..

Ah ah, darling.. think of the possibilities.. or rather, let me do the thinking since you're no more than a walking vegetable. Giacomo and I are quite alike even when we are not the same...

The creature peered again towards Giacomo.

Slowly, Jaysa bent towards his broken figure and took him by the arm.. pulled him up slowly, and something began to happen. A black light, almost flourescent enveloped the pale hand gripped about his bicep, and Giacomo began to shake. Violently, at best. Jaysa trembled, her eyes suddenly fixed upon the vexing arrow lodged into his torso. In a moment, that troublesome little thing was taken care of, and the two of them were standing side by side.

Jaysa's skin was darkening, her eyes the same and her fangs gently overlapped her lower lip. The more she clenched to the demon the more she changed.. and finally, from the floor, she brought her gaze up to the people standing at random before them..

I'm baaa-aack...


The rangers' assault on the demon stopped as suddenly as it had begun, due either to their leader's inexplicable halt or the sudden appearance of the strange girl who had wandered untouched through the barrage of spells and arrows that rained like hail upon the fallen creature. Whether she was friend of foe, few of the rangers knew, but the elation they felt when she sent the steel toe of her boot reeling into the demon's side fell quickly into despair when the she knelt beside the broken and bloodied figure, and lifted him from the floor.

The demon leaned heavily against the small frame of the girl, seeming to draw strength from her touch, and looked into the eyes of his attackers with the palpable hate of a caged animal. So strong was their connection that the girl might have destroyed them all as his rage burned through her, but Giacomo stopped her with a stern glance and a mad grin. ~Keep them confused~ he thought, with his recently acquired clarity. ~Yes, confused.~ And so the grin grew wider, impossibly so, and remained fixed on his features as he snapped broken and disjointed bones back into place.

It was time to leave, he knew, but whatever else he was, whatever else he had become through his long line of discarded hosts, Giacomo, the name he had chosen to keep, was not one to "go gentle into that good night."* No. Some of those who stood in silence, watching him as he recovered, had provided him with ample amusement this evening, and he wouldn't leave them without a parting word.

He looked first at Triana, a facade of his former lunacy glowing in his eyes, "Oh, Tri my dear," he purred with mock affection, "what a lovely soiree, but I really must be going. My, will you look at the time? Way past the doll girl's bed time. Gotta run kids on the stove. But thanks for this new host. I'm sure I'll enjoy it."

Triana hissed in response, baring her fangs and curling her lip, but she wisely chose not to attack. Though the demon appeared weakened, she knew that it was only his host and not his essence which was injured, and now that some part of her rage had passed, she struggled to control that which was left.

Giacomo, elegant as ever, stuck out his tongue by way of reply and continued moving forward, depending upon Jaysa's strength and form to support him as he stumbled along beside her. The two crept haltingly across the floor, and all moved from their path, allowing Giacomo to stand before Calo and taunt him with a wry and knowing smile. Juleana, afraid for her love, stood behind Calo and whispered into his ear with a worried look. She could sense the anger that coursed through him as she placed a gentle, but restraining hand on his arm, and in the strained silence of the moment she was unsure if the anger was directed at Giacomo or at Eowyn, for preventing the deathstroke that Calo so longed to deliver to the demon.

Giacomo didn't see her, however, focusing only on Calo as his eyes burned with a mirthful and malicious glee. "And Calo.........." He stopped and sighed as Calo narrowed his eyes in disgust but otherwise kept his temper in check. "Well, you'll find out soon enough."

His smile broadened as a hint of curiosity crept into the other's features, a curiosity that Giacomo longed to cultivate for his own use, but that would come later.

He turned with some difficulty, still leaning upon his young apprentice, and looked at last towards Eowyn, his smile growing dark. He knew that she didn't understand, that she didn't want to understand; but she couldn't deny what she was forever, and when she was finally ready to admit to her nature, he would be there--waiting. There was much to tell her, much she would need to know, and he parted his lips to share a small kernel of that knowledge, but she spoke first, her voice ringing with undisguised hate, "Leave while you still can, but remember, our discussion is far from over."

He closed his eyes and nodded in agreement. "Eowyn fair, to the point as always. Yes, far from over. As you can see, I have my part of the bargain," he inclined his head quickly in Jaysa's direction, then returned his gaze towards Eowyn, his eyes traveling slowly over her frame in silent appraisal before meeting hers once more with a raised brow and a lecherous grin, "And I can see you have yours. We'll have to work out an exchange as per our arrangement, or should I say engagement?"

*Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Dylan Thomas (1952)


The door swung shut on the Raven and this evenings fantastical entertainment with a decisive *click*. Even though the Rangers' attack did no permanent damage they did unfortunetaly drain the now-limited strength of Giacomo's reserves. The demon still leaned heavily on the small vampire girl.

"Jaysa, my dear child, could you be so kind as to see to our transport to a safer place? The lighthouse on the bluff."

His companion offered a vacant nod and again hoisted the heavy host up for the support she was aware he needed. The plague was becoming curious and excitable now of Giacomo and his motives, and through Jaysa its eyes glittered with a blue shade to match the demon's. "What's there?"

"A hiding place. To rest, and recover well away from the prying eyes of those who would do us harm." At that, Giacomo's flying fiend of a dragonet landed in their path before them, hopping about nervously.

~They come soon, masters. We should not stay. Must go, and go fast!~

(to be continued in another thread yet to be named. Co-written with Calo Diger.)

They ran, they tripped
They fell, they slipped
But at least they
Weren't the ones
Running anymore.


Calo's rage faded slowly as the demon left, and as it did, reason returned and he began to assess the damage wrought by the creature. His inspection was short-lived, however, for his eyes fell on Juleana and moved no further. Though she put forth a staunch face, her eyes ill-concealed the feelings that dwelt behind them and Calo could tell that she had been deeply shaken. She was covered with a fine dusting of sand and stone--the result of her attempt to hear the silent exchange between Eowyn and the demon. He didn't know if this was what caused the look that pleaded from her fair blue eyes, or if was one of the hundred of other fears and worries associated with the demon, and, not knowing, he did the only thing he could think of to do, which was to pull her close to him and wrap his arms about her.

It helped, he thought, for she seemed to strengthen with his touch and he with hers. For a moment, it seemed that everything would be all right, but such moments, though sweet to savor, are always short-lived, and he soon felt Juleana pull away. She was looking at something over his left shoulder and instinctively he started to turn to see whatever it was she saw behind him. She reached out a hand to stop him, such a small hand, but enough, more than enough, hold him where he stood, and she looked back at him tearful eyes.

"Eowyn's leaving," she said in a quiet tone that bespoke a greater concern than she held for herself. "Don't let her go. I heard Giacomo, in her mind, speaking to her. It was . . ." she trailed off, unable to finish her sentence as she drew a trembling hand to her mouth and backed slowly away, shaking her head as she looked wide-eyed from Calo to the shadow that was Eowyn. "Stop her."

"My violin has two pals who eat my very marrow.
Love and Hunger they're called and accompany me, a Vistani."

Calo Digerian

Calo didn't know what caused the look that pleaded from her fair blue eyes, and, not knowing, he did the only thing he could think of to do, which was to pull her close to him and wrap his arms about her.

Juleana took strength from his touch, resting her head on his shoulder and holding him tighter. She stiffened, however, as the last of the conversation between the demon and Eowyn flashed anew before her eyes, pulling her back from that brief moment of peace even as she pulled away from Calo, her eyes locking with his.

"Eowyn's leaving."

As she spoke, her hand slowly slid from behind his waist, grazing the handle of the crystal dagger he kept hidden there. A momentary flicker, something important. She released the sheath and took the dagger, hiding it behind her hand as she looked from Calo to Eowyn, sensing the concern in the former even as she felt the rage burning within the latter.

She found herself backing away. She had never been able to read Eowyn before. The woman's mind had always remained tightly closed. But now she was sensing the emotions that vied for prominence behind the dark eyes of her new friend--anger, confusion, fear, and others she couldn't name. The combined result was terrifying, and she struggled to contain her tears as she pleaded with a hissing whisper,

"Don't let her was......Calo, please stop her."

He stood frozen despite her pleas, and the indecision written across his features was quickly read by Triana.

She still didn't trust Eowyn, but she believed Juleana and would see to her safety. Stepping forward, she grasped Juleana's elbow and looked to Calo. "GO!"

It was only one word, but she knew he would understand that she would protect Juleana.

" I don't want the world to see me..., Cause I don't think that they'd understand.
When everything's made to be broken,... I just want you to know who I am......"
The Goo Goo Dolls

Lady Juleana St Clair

As the daemon left the Raven, resting his weight on the frame of the doll-like vampire he had claimed as his own, the tension in the room seemed to lift--that is, for everyone except Eowyn. For her, the daemon's voice and his claim rang clarion through the quiet both within and without, ever calling and never changing. She closed her eyes tightly and pressed the fingers of one hand against her lids as if to thereby push back the pain and silence the echoes that drifted like shadows, cold and insubstantial, through the parts of her mind that she dared not touch. But the voice would not be so easily ignored and it called to her, beckoning her onward, or perhaps inward with its mocking cries. She tried to corner it, to silence it, and still it taunted her, lying quiet for just so long as to spark a tender light of hope that it had gone before resuming its call from another dark and unfamiliar part of herself that she feared to claim.

She would have called it maddening had she had the faculties to describe it, but it tore at her senses and jeered at her with the daemon's own grin so that she could give it no name even as she moved towards it with faltering step. A part of her told her to flee, and another part told her that no matter where she went the voice would be there--waiting for her. No, she couldn't leave the voice behind, but she could at least leave before those assembled looked up from their collective wounds and turned to her, looking for answers she couldn't give them. Better to leave, yes; better to avoid the heavy stares of eyes full of question and doubt. Her "decision" made, she pulled her cloak tight about her lithe frame, finding it wholly insufficient against the sudden chill, and stepped quietly towards the door.

She was only dimly aware that Juleana was speaking, for her voice was a pale whisper behind the echoing call of the daemon.

"Don't let her go. I heard Giacomo, in her mind, speaking to her. It was . . ."

~What?~ she wondered, still unable to give it a name herself. ~Baneful? Horrific? Soul-rending?~ They all fell pitifully short, and still the voice was there, beginning with its endless calls to provide an answer, a sickening answer, of its own.



Away with him who heeds the morrow!
Death, plucking the ear, cries: "Live; I come!"

Virgil, Copa 1. 37

Calo, for his part, didn't know what Juleana had seen or heard, but the expression that burned in her eyes convinced him more certainly than any spoken plea. Knowing that Triana would watch over his intended, he turned in time to see Eowyn reach for the door with an unsteady hand and was for once glad of his darker abilities. Glancing back only once, he moved with an inhuman swiftness to stand between Eowyn and the door, blocking her path even as her fingers stretched to reach the handle. The worry on his face was clear and the concern in his voice palpable as he looked for her eyes and called her name. "Eowyn?"

He knew her as well as any, he imagined, and though his knowledge was far from complete it was enough to tell him that whatever had passed between her and the daemon had struck her more heavily than she would admit. It was her wont, at such times, to shroud herself in a dark shadow of solitude that neither word nor glance could penetrate, and her current mannerisms told Calo that the ritual he loathed to see and had never understood had once again begun.

She stopped before him and drew her hand back to her side, not knowing why. She didn't look up at him though, unable to meet his eyes, and she shifted uncomfortably beneath his gaze as she tried to move around him. Her speed was no match for his, and her anger swelled as he countered her step. But there were other ways around--ways she would never use, ways she had never used--and in her frustration they began to percolate, each offering itself as a better choice and each receiving the grim blessing of the voice.

She was deciding on a choice when Calo caught her shoulder with an ice cold grip, holding her firmly in place even as he tried to offer some small amount of comfort against the pain she wouldn't admit. He knew that there were many things that she had never told him. Much of her past was still unknown to him. He had first suspected that she simply held the secretive traits possessed by many elves, distrusting any but their own kind. Over time, however, as their friendship grew, his suspicions changed and he now felt that there was much that she herself did not know. Though he couldn't be sure, it seemed likely to him that the daemon had capitalized on her self-ignorance, and was playing on her fears.

"Eowyn, listen to me. Whatever he said to you, it doesn't matter. You can talk to me."

written with Eowyn

"My violin has two pals who eat my very marrow.
Love and Hunger they're called and accompany me, a Vistani."

Calo Digerian

"Eowyn, listen to me. Whatever he said to you, it doesn't matter. You can talk to me."

Talk. It was the last thing she wanted to do. Scream, yell, run, anything but talk. Talk wouldn't make the voice go away and it would only lead to questions she couldn't answer and to answers she didn't want to know. Part of her still told her that Calo meant well and that he was trying to help her. But another part of her, a growing part, saw him only as an obstacle to be eliminated. She struggled with the two even as the daemon's voice continued to echo between them, and she kept her head bowed and her expression hidden beneath the hood of her cloak.

He bent closer, trying to peer beneath the shadows of her cloak and into the eyes which he knew must lie within. But he saw only what she wanted him to see, which was nothing; and only her voice cut through the shadows of the cowl as she spoke.

"Stand aside and let me pass."

Much lies hidden from the eyes, human or otherwise, in the velvety folds of darkness, but as with all things even darkness is bound by limitation, and in the end it obscures only one of the senses, leaving the others unaffected or even heightened in its absence. And so, though her face lay hidden in shadow, Calo could hear the trembling in her voice. Others might have missed it, or mistaken it for something else, but Calo latched on to the tone, ignoring the words and gripping her shoulder tighter as he pleaded with increasing urgency, "No. You're not alone anymore, no matter what you think. Let me help you. Please."

She lifted her head to meet his gaze and he saw for the first time that her face was twisted in rage and her dark eyes burned in both fury and an ill-concealed pain. He didn't know what to do and was standing in frozen indecision, his hand still holding her fast, when she spoke again, enunciating each word with stinging precision and barely restrained anger.

"If I want the company and counsel of a corpse, I'll visit the graveyard. So take your cold, dead hand off my shoulder and let me pass."

It was a voice Calo had never heard her use before, and in the wake of the daemon's departure, it frightened him.

written with Calo Digerian


Away with him who heeds the morrow!
Death, plucking the ear, cries: "Live; I come!"

Virgil, Copa 1. 37

As the last word ended, cold and clipped, he lifted his hand and staggered backwards into the wall beside the door as if struck. If it was possible, one would say that in the empty silence that followed, Calo grew suddenly paler, and he stared at her with a pained expression, feeling for all the world that she had driven a stake through his heart. If she saw the pain and shock that mingled in his eyes, Eowyn didn't care. Having succeeded in removing the only obstacle to her departure, she left without another word, without remorse, and without looking back.

Calo was still leaning against the wall in shocked silence after she had gone, and he closed his eyes against the pain that stabbed at his unbeating heart. He couldn't believe that she would say what she had, especially since she knew that he had finally come to see his state for the curse that it was, and he was deeply hurt. Had another said it, he would not have cared, but from her? He had known her for a long time, for so very long, and the unexpected blows from those held closest always draw the most pain, catching their victims off-guard and oftentimes leaving them with no one to turn to for needed solace. Still, they are the most often forgiven, for their motives are often discernible, and Calo soon realized that her "attack" was not meant in cruelty and that she had simply lashed out in anger, anger and more than a little fear.

Pushing from the wall with his realization, he cursed himself for giving in so quickly to his own pain and falling victim to her distraction. His composure regained, he rushed to follow her, hoping that it wasn't too late.

"Eowyn!!" he called out, scanning the empty street for a sign, any sign of her. He caught a glimpse of a shadow, darker than the rest, and shouted again, "Wyn? Wyn come back!"

If it was her, she didn't answer, and he chased the shadow through the night-wrapped city until it, like its owner, faded into the darkness.

"Wyn!!" Anger, concern, confusion, and a host of other emotions coursed through his body as he stood at the darksome crossroads of the town center and shouted her name into the night.

written with Eowyn

Calo's actions will continue in Secret Rituals.
Eowyn's actions will continue in Crossroads.

"My violin has two pals who eat my very marrow.
Love and Hunger they're called and accompany me, a Vistani."

Calo Digerian

Triana held Juleana close, unaware of the dagger hidden behind her back. She knew Juleana couldn't hear the exchange between Calo and Eowyn but she could.

"If I want the company and counsel of a corpse, I'll visit the graveyard. So take your cold, dead hand off my shoulder and let me pass."

They both saw Calo back away and let Eowyn pass. Juleana started to move towards him but Triana stopped her. In a second he was gone into the night chasing her. Sighing both woman turned to the tasks at hand.

Surveying the club, Triana cringed. It would take hours to discard all the trash and return it to normal. But she would see that it was. That demon was not going to get the better of her. He had crossed her for the last time. Marcus and Justin had begun sweeping trash from the stage and behind the bar. Justin stopped as the two woman approached.

"Justin, please, can you and Marcus gather a few men at sunrise. Anyone who is willing to work and who can keep their mouths shut. I am sure Lord Calo would prefer to keep this quiet."

Juleana smiled wearily and continued toward the stairs. She listened carefully to be sure Triana was still a step or two behind.

"Pay them well. I need this place ready at sundown. I won't be closed by that mad thing. I will spend the day with Juleana at Mansion Digerian if you need me or if Nick returns."

Not turning around, Juleana slid the crystal dagger she had stolen from Calo during his embrace out of her sleeve, carefully placing it in her pouch. She hoped he wouldn't need it before she had a chance to work her Magic.

"Of course, Mistress, it will be perfect when you return." Justin bowed slightly and continued his work, pausing only to fill Marcus in on the job at hand.

Triana reached behind the bar, grabbed a bottle of her house wine, and followed Juleana across the cluttered floor upstairs to the office. Neither woman spoke until they had reached the inner sanctum of Triana's rooms. As Triana stopped in front of her mirrored closet she gasped for the first time, seeing her blood covered shirt and disheveled hair. Swigging the wine, she just stared at her image. She looked like one of those rogues hunting in Le Innocence cemetery at the turn of the century.

Juleana's soft voice broke the silence first. "Triana, I know where Giacomo was hiding. But don't worry I am pretty sure no one else knows for sure."

Triana couldn't meet her gaze. "How did you know?"

"When he said good bye to you something he must have thought about sent it my way. And he crossed you after promising not to harm me, didn't he?"

All Triana could do was nod, thinking of poor Phoenix trapped with that demon.

Triana pulled off the bloody clothes and dressed quickly. The box on the closet shelf caught her attention. The crystal sphere was where she had left it almost a year ago. It had safely brought her and Juleana to Stormpoint. Her friend had asked her to join her in her new domain. She felt the moon's pull. It would be only a few hours till sunrise, but if she hurried she could make it work. Grabbing the box and stuffing only a few necessities, which wasn't much for a vampire, into a bag, she slung it across her chest and grabbed her cloak. "Lets get out of here, I assume you rode Absinthe?"

Juleana nodded. "Yes, and I am sure the Rangers have your horse ready as well."

As they left Marcus and Justin had things well in hand. Outside, Triana could tell there were only a few hours till dawn. She mounted Vayne and purred in his ear. Together with Juleana's ever-present guard they sped toward her home.

"We all dream of the forbidden, but some of us Make those dreams come true."..

Triana Valmont

"A hiding place. To rest, and recover well away from the prying eyes of those who would do us harm."

The answer sufficed enough the interest of Jaysa and her "inner being", and so they began off, with Gerere taking to Giacomo's shoulder, twittering and flittering anxiously with countless glances behind him. It wasn't the longest of journeys, and soon they were there, with Giacomo enable enough to limp on his own, though he chose the route of sloth and remained slouched upon the child-kindred. Jaysa peered up to him. "You'll have to lead from here. I don't know this place."

The decrepit door hung loosely on rusted hinges that screamed whenever the wind was strong enough to force movement. The rampant weed growth bespoke many years of disuse and neglect. Giacomo, however, led the Jaysa inside the lighthouse without so much as a worried glance about.

Within the crumbling structure, the first floor was even in more disarray. Cobwebs hung everywhere and strange rust-brown stains covered the wall by the base of the stairs as if a dark liquid had been splattered across it. Parts of the southern floor had given way completely, revealing a dark opening beneath it, beckoning visitors with the horrible secrets it held within the dark depths that light had not touch in countless unhallowed years. The girl's eyes adjusted quickly and followed the demon as he strode toward the clearly rotten wooden stairwell leading upward into what could only be the decayed heart of the old building.

Suddenly a ghostly woman emerged forcefully from the stained wall. She wore simple attire except for the white bodice which seemed to be partially dyed a vivid red and her head set at an odd angle. She moved in complete silence, even her lips moved as if she spoke but not a sound escaped them. The odd unnatural angle of her head drew Jaysa's attention in morbid fascination and a horrible smile lit her features with the sickening realization that the woman's neck was not wholly attached to the rest of her.

The woman blocked Giacomo's path as if pleading for him to go not further, but he ignored the apparition completely and continued forward. He was halfway up the stairs when a roar broke the deafening silence. Wind with no discernible source and so cold that even Jaysa's undead bones ached with chill announced the presence of another transparent figure atop the stairs. This one was male and his clothes suggested that he was once the caretaker of the toppling lighthouse. His face, if it could be called so was a feral mask of rage and hate. Sockets alit with a cold blackfire burning where eyes should be, pausing the vampire's tracks with curiosity and an all-too-human rush of adrenaline. Now, this truly wasn't fair. The creature within her had chosen such a time to rest itself? To leave her with the human emotions, while this haunted place of decay could offer nothing but terror? Tsk, tsk..

Her gaze focused sharply on the being before them both. As if in warning or victory this man/thing roared again, a sound that tore and reverberated through the doll girl's very soul, as he lifted an all-too-real cleaver. (Here her hand gripped the banister of the stairwell) A thick black icor fell in heavy drops from the weapon, a remembrance of the foul deed it had committed so many years ago.

Rushing down the stairs and fixed on Giacomo the figure raised the cleaver over his head as if to strike the demon down. Giacomo, however, ignored this figure as well and didn't even turn aside as the cleaver and man/thing passed harmlessly through him. Undaunted, the apparition turned and lowered its hateful gaze upon the demon's companion, and once again raised the icor-covered cleaver in preparation to charge while the wraithlike woman continued her mute pleadings.

"Illusions, Jaysa," The demon explained, "simply illusions. Designed to keep the locals away. Come now there is much to plan," he finished as he disappeared in to the upper reaches, while the girl offered a confused, but undestanding expression and nodded. Their steps fell like echoing ghosts themselves in the ancient and unamiable building.

Following him past the raging illusionary ghosts, something else snagged Jaysa's attention. None of her basic senses, but something beyond that as is wont to happen with the kindred. Her head cocked imperceptibly to the side, her eyes following the movement. Almost a chuckle seemed to escaped the dark pit by the south wall. A shock of mortality slammed her, much like the kick in the ribs she's presented to Giacomo, and delivered a heart-shudder of fear. The hairs rose on the back of her neck as fear of something more real than illusions hurried her steps up the stairs. (This was utterably ridiculous now, she was fleeing from something she could not see? The least the demon could do was leave her with some amount of dignity for the gods' sakes.) Almost leaping through the trapdoor atop the landing she spun suddenly and closed the door with a quick hand and fast breath, in dire hopes of shutting out whatever lurked below. Feeling a bit safer (another inconceivable human illusion, that of security) with the door firmly closed, Jaysa glanced about, noting without much registration of the note in her head that much of this level had been restored. Everything was clean, tidy and new. Why, all one would need do was place a candle within the crystalline light dominating the center of this tower to bring the old lighthouse back from the.. well, back from the dead.

"Find yourself a place to rest. We will talk more at nightfall, but right now rest is what is required." Giacomo commanded as the blood red moon he conjured up slow sat on his evening of evil.

A place to rest? A rat's nest would be as good as anything at this point, the exhaustion overwhelming her body forcing her down into a small corner mostly void of light filtering in through an open window. A breeze accompanied through the open hole, the small lacy curtains rustling and waving with the movement. Everything in this place was much like a ghost. The Jaysa in Jaysa prayed momentarily, before the demon snuffed her out again, that that idea wasn't a foretelling one.

Giacomo peered at the girl once she closed her eyes, tired tired eyes, and made a sort of twisted little grin on his face. Lucky him, for she hadn't attacked his host like she very well could and should have. Now she was his accomplice, how delicious! A partner in crime, and tomorrow they would have very much to do and say and terrorize. With her power Giacomo could do anything, be anything. The best part was she didn't even know it yet. Ah, but he did. The power in one hand could wipe out half of Stormpoint, or at least annoy everyone there, and just think; this girl has two hands.

Jaysa and Giacomo

Stormpoint's old lighthouse had long been abandoned, but it still stood strong on its high perch against the crash and call of the waves and the relentless marching of the years. Within the once great edifice, three figures stirred in the city's hushed predawn.

Giacomo leaned forward against the rail of the old structure, his eyes closed and his head tilted back as he allowed the first color-filled rays of dawn to fall gently across his face. In the soft light and sea mist his expression was almost peaceful, but as was the case with so many things that dwelt within the borders of Stormpoint, outer appearances were often deceiving.

Beside him, a purple scaled dragonet sat perched on the rail, looking not out towards the sea or the rising sun, but always towards the demon. The dragonet waited patiently for his master to open his eyes and for that evil glint he had to which he had grown so accustomed to play across his features once more. He had waited through the darkness of the predawn hours, and waited until the sun completely cleared the horizon and shone full upon sea and the strange city called Stormpoint. Still, his master never stirred.

As the gulls began to call, starting their morning search for food, caution finally gave way to concern and Gerere timidly interrupted his master's thoughts. ~~Thinking of her again?~~

Giacomo opened his eyes lazily, reluctantly, and turned with eerie calmness to stare into the multifaceted eyes of his small companion, giving a simple nod by way of answer. Companion. The word bounced, spun, and twisted through the demon's unusually clear mind. This small, servile creature had become something he had not known since his exile--an ally, a servant, and perhaps even a friend. Friend? He closed his eyes and shook his head, clearing such thoughts from his mind before turning back to watch the sun ripple across the water. ~~ I have been too long trapped among these pathetic mortals. Even my thoughts begin to mirror their own.~~ He thought quietly to himself as a wave of revulsion washed over him and lingered longer than it should. ~~But, soon, Eowyn will change that and I will return home in triumph.~~

The concern in Gerere's expression deepened into worry, and he dared to interrupt once again. ~~She is dangerous master. We should kill her and be done with it. She will not honor her part of the bargain. Already she plots against you, seeking your death. Remember the truthseeker.~~

Giacomo turned with a half-smile and scratched the dragonet's head reassuringly. "Of course she's dangerous. Would she be fitting for me were she not? And as for plotting against me, I see you know little of demons. Of course she plots against me." He paused and looked out over the water again before continuing. "Following the tradition of our kind, I have taken something she may want and have bargained with her in good faith. Now, she must move against me, testing my ability and worthiness. I must survive until the day of our joining." A slow grin spread across his features as he fell silent for a moment. "And I will."

"And you" he began again, leaning down until his eyes were on level with those of the dragonet, "you're dealing with the truthseeker quite efficiently so far. I doubt she will be of much help to Eowyn now. But," he straightened and continued, "I have to attend to her new ally and quite an old foe of mine. While I am gone, you are to see that Jaysa is entertained and kept from trouble."

The dragonet's eyes swirled with concern and more than a little fear at having to watch the unpredictable vampire doll who sat a few feet away playing with magical jacks that floated in the air around her. "Shhhh," Giacomo began, quieting his concern. "Don't worry. Remember the trick I showed you?" Gerere nodded in response. "Very good. Then use it and there will be little you need fear." Gerere closed his eyes and furrowed his scaled brow in concentration. After a few moments, he began to shimmer, his dark purple scales shifting and becoming ones of pure sapphire blue. A second more, and Skye Fire's perfect double sat in Gerere's place.

"Very good, my pet. Now go and play. I will return soon." Gerere leapt down at Giacomo's command and hopped off to entertain Jaysa. Giacomo lingered a moment longer before teleporting once more into the city.

"What now?"


The mournful sun had just been rising as Giacomo had left her, and with a shimmer of disappointment she watched as he vanished into thin air. She pouted slightly, kicking one of the jacks across the room and ignoring how it sat in the air, bouncing about here and there gently as if a very tiny ship in a very large sea.

But the rays of the sun began to heat her skin, and the demon within well enough knew that she had to seek cover, else it would be of necessity to find a new host, and the only other beings there were a strange little retpilian thing, and a few insects.

Neither would compensate.

So, Jaysa layed down to rest, but didn't sleep much despite the heavy feeling pulling on her eyelids. The darkness seeped in all around her, sweet sweet darkness, release from the bright lights. Where she was she didn't know, but by the dank smell of it, and the skeletal figure resting peacefully next to her, it could have been a catacombs.

Luscious death, too. She inhaled it deeply, as if some feral yearning had enveloped her. And she realized it had.

She was hungry.

But finally the sleep took her and her companion inside, who really was the one who had let her come this far with no meal in between bouts of insanity. Her stomach growled.

* * * *

Something hit the ground with a comical squeak, and Jaysa's eyes popped open. It was pitch black for a few moments, until her pupils dilated to their vampiric proportions and she could make out the seperate niches quite easily--and the small thing that had rolled off of its own perch.

The bright blue dragonet blinked up at her with crystal eyes, ignoring the embarassment he felt briefly for toppling off the ledge he'd been dozing on, and instead swallowing now that the doll-girl had risen.

Jaysa stretched, pulling the sleep from her bones and muscles and the mind of her captor. She peered silently at the tiny beast while he coughed a bit and excused himself. She arched an irritable eyebrow.

"Who are you?" came the rasp from within her throat.

The blue thing blinked. ~Who am I??~ it thought, rather shocked. ~What should I say?! Oh, Master, do come back quickly!!~

~ Well... ~ he swallowed, picking his words carefully. ~Um.. me Skye. You Jaysa. Bond to Jaysa, me. Yeah. Uh.. me friend you. Get it?~ Gerere switched his tail and crouched, quite agitated. ~Look, I'm your friend here, okay? We play-- ~ --Keep you busy, let Master deal with you when he gets back.~

"Skye" looked up through a severely high vent (more of a small hole in the great tower that led aaaall the way down to the dim cellar) where the nighttime sky sparkled with flecks of white, and chirupped hopefully; though it came out rather pathetic and soft.

Jaysa looked doubtful.

"Sure," her voice like it'd been through a blender. "Whatever you say. Be a pal and go find me some food then."

Me and who else
Would it be?


© 1999 Stormpoint Writers Guild
All rights reserved