Gargoyles do not belong to me. All Hail the mouse! *giggles and raises a clawed hand to wave* This is based on my favorite couple, odd as it seems. Enjoy and maybe drop me a line? *hinthint*
This is an answer to Christine Morgan's moue old contest (the contest itself dates back to the fall of 1997. That was four whole years ago!). The contest is called a Party On Avalon. The basic gist is that there has to be a party, on Avalon (gee, who would have guessed ^_~ ?), that's BYOM, Bring Your Own Mortal. So my inspiration demons decided to rewrite this fic so that it still fit into my universe and met the criteria for the contest.
This has been a merry little romp and I'd love to know what everyone thought of it.
Chapter One --
The young, female, fey sighed as she looked around the grand hall. She idly buffed the tips of her coral colored claws and sighed once again. This was not what she had hoped for when she had been called back to the gathering. The parties were grand and all but they lacked the fun mortals added to everything. Her brother sat next to her and sighed as well.
"Well, what shall we do tonight, sis," he smirked lazily at her as he adjusted himself so he was floating upside down in his seat.
"The same thing we do every night, trickster," she cuffed him soundly and watched in satisfaction as he fell to the floor, "Try and sneak back to the mortal world!"
Their lighthearted laughter was lost to the din of the room. It was very hard to get an immortal drunk, but they had been going at it for nearly two weeks. Banshee was actually trying to teach the three a dance move that was over a hundred years old, but new to Phoebe, Selene, and Luna. Odin was flirting with the pale fey woman and she was coyly returning his gestures. Now that her iron gag was off Banshee had become quiet the little seductress, Odin being her favorite target. Anubis and Bastet were doing Hades wave shots with their various jewelry put up as the prize for the winner. Anansi was trumping everyone at twister. Raven ran by chasing one of the delicate air nymph. Eros sat in a corner looking smug and innocent at the same time. The love god's quiver sat at his side and was full of arrows. The brother and sister, twins in sin, exchanged glances and giggled.
"I've got a pint of mead resting on the fact Raven hangs Eros from a tree by his wings when that potion wears off," the girl chuckled as she ran her dark blue finger through hair of seaweed green.
"Ooh, I can't wait to see that. It'll be the first bit of fun I've had in a week," he yipped and then thoughtfully frowned, "There's a really great party happening in the mortal world in about an hour. I bet we could sneak off and nobody would notice we were gone. What say you, sis?"
"I'm game, sibling from our mother's womb, but if we get in trouble the blame falls squarely on you," she grinned as she took one last sip of a bright pink concoction. Raven walked by with the nymph slung over his shoulder, "But let's try to be back in time to see Eros get it."
The white washed frat house was crowded, beyond crowded, with college kids celebrating the summer vacation and end of finals. Young men and women full of the promise of freedom ran throughout the large building in little more than bed sheets that passed as togas. The wine, or in this case cheap beer, flowed in amber rivers. Loud music blared from all directions.
The first floor served as a dance floor and it was the first sight that greeted the young woman as she entered. She had sun kissed bronze skin that was as delicate as fresh spun silk. Her hair was a mass of short ebony locks. Eyes that held an old warmth scanned the room. Her features were accentuated by the spotless white linen she had draped around her lithe frame.
A slightly younger woman in a sky blue sheet flanked her right. Her Californian blonde hair shown luminously as she quickly spotted her boyfriend and took off running. Their other companion, a vibrant brunette in a pink sheet, rolled her eyes and exchanged giggles with the woman in white.
"Hey, Mackie, hey Maza," a male voice called through the crowd. He pushed his way through a surge of bodies. As he approached the woman in white inwardly laughed at how much her friend looked like a young, Indian, David Xanatos, "Did you guys just get here?"
The woman in pink, known to the whole campus as Mackie, due to an incident involving smacking mackerel right out of a stream like a bear during an ecology camp out, nodded to her boyfriend. His red toga matched her pink perfectly as they embraced.
"So, Eagle, have we missed anything good," Mackie said between kisses as the football player swung her around.
"Ah, some kid from off campus showed up and challenged the Delta house to a drinking contest. They were doing tequila shots and he still managed to drink um all under the table. Mr. Cool Rider's out on the dance floor now," he shrugged as he began to lead his girlfriend towards the kitchen in hopes that she wouldn't seek the mystery man out.
Beth Maza, twenty-one, senior, and single sighed reproachfully as she watched her friends dance and drink with their boyfriends. She stared balefully at the dance floor where lighthearted Victoria was dancing with her dark skinned boyfriend, Adam. In the kitchen the ever playful Mackie was engrossed in a game of whipped cream fight with Eagle. All around her couples played, danced, sang, and cuddled in the noisy hall. In the three floors above her she knew much the same was happening as well as a deeper love, and some lust, pervading the upper atmosphere.
She gazed wistfully once more at the crowded dance floor. In the very middle a young man caught her eyes. Not much older than she was, twenty-two, twenty-three at the most, with short sable hair. He was wearing a white toga much like her own but a large, black leather jacket, was around it. He lifted his head and gave off what could have passed for a howl as he looked past the girl he was dancing with. Their eyes locked briefly and Beth blushed. He had old eyes that could very well bore themselves into her very soul. She flitted like one of Titania's own daughters up the stairs before she could embarrass herself further. The man on the floor, and the young woman he was dancing with, both smiled almost evil little smiles as they watched her go.
"Well," the young woman he'd been dancing with smirked as she watched the fleeing figure, "You've got her attention. I do believe it's time to go after your prey, brother."
"Thank you for your help, Koori," the young man spun Koori around once more as they both laughed. Her long brunette hair trailed behind her as an ocean blue toga swayed gently and threatened to fall off her wispish frame.
"You are most welcomed, Coyote. I think I shall stick around and enjoy the festivities a while longer. They rival even Avalon's own," the water nymph laughed as she shooed Coyote on his way.
"See, I told you so. Just don't let Oberon hear you say that," Coyote gave off a series of yips as he headed up the stairs and in the direction Beth had taken.
The stars shown like a million sharp diamonds in a blanket of velvet black sky. Were she in New York she would expect to see her sister's great husband fly over head. Or perhaps catch the ariel acts of her midnight furred brother and his honey hued mate.
And she couldn't help but think of Coyote. It had been a night much like this one when she first met him. Even if he did wear her father's face she wasn't blind to the fact he was cute. She grinned a little, if her family hadn't been with her she probably would have asked him out.
After meeting him in person he'd become her main focus in her Native Myth class. Most of the three hour course would be wasted doodling on the edge of her notebook. A rather life like drawing of Coyote in full kachina attire was her pride and joy. She couldn't help, as she stared at the endless expanse of black, but recite the tale of the stars. It was that very tale that she'd based her drawing on.
"Long ago the cloud fathers, kachinas, created the world. They filled it with great wonders, planted the flowers and grasses, painted the skies and waters and rocks. They formed the great valleys, high mountains, and deep canyons. And when they were done they created thousands of tiny drops of fragile light. But where would they put them?
'Put them in the mountains' said the bear.
'Hang them from the plants,' said grandmother spider.
'Put them in the water,' suggested rabbit.
Through out the day they fought and went round about where to put the beautiful objects. When night came they retired and left the them in a pile to decide later."
"Then the trickster awoke," a new voice joined her on the balcony. It was that guy! The wonderful dancer from the party, "Clever Coyote chose to sleep while the rest worked. He would then check on what they had done during the day. He came upon the beautiful objects.
'What are these,' Coyote cried as he picked one up, 'You cannot eat them. They are no weapons. What are they good for?'
He tossed it behind him and it stuck in the sky. He picked up another. And soon the pile had dwindled and they filled the desert sky with wonderful specks of silver light. And the kachina rejoiced," he exuberantly gave a jump and a little fairy-like dance, "Their clever cousin had figured out the best thing to do! And that is how Coyote the trickster hung the stars," he bowed and kissed her hand.
"My, my, you are quiet talented, sir. A drinker, a dancer, a," she grinned as she tugged at his jacket, "rebel and a keeper of the old legends. Your girlfriend must wonder where you are."
"Girlfriend? Oh, you mean Koori," his deep, warm laugh touched her soul, "No, that is my sister. Tell me you haven't forgotten me, Beth Maza, daughter of my kachina dancer."
"Gee, I'd hate to see how you dance with girls you aren't related to, Coyote" Beth grinned impishly as he swept her up into a hug, "What are you doing here? I thought all the fey had to go home for some big gathering."
"Regretfully, big daddy Oberon called his wayward tots home. He only lets us out to play for short bursts and only a few at a time," Coyote growled as he sat on the rail and stared wistfully into the desert night. He perked up as a thought crossed his mind, "Want to find out what happens when I'm dancing with a girl I'm_not_related to?"
"I'll think about it," she snuggled into the warm embrace, "But you still haven't told me what you're doing here."
"What? I'm not allowed to visit one of my favorite human clans," she shot him a withering look and he laughed in short yips, "Okay, this party was better than Oberon's. And there's a girl I'm looking for that came here tonight."
"Oh, who is she," Beth asked and tried to swallow the jealousy she felt welling up. She shook her head to clear it. This was Coyote! More than likely he was one of her ancestors, he wore her father's face as a mask. And besides, what she felt for him could be likened to a school girl crushing on her cute young teacher. It was something she could want but not have.
"Oh, yay tall, dark chocolate eyes, sable hair, wearing a killer toga of startling white. She has a great figure and bears the mark of the Coyote on her back," he grinned as he spun her around and pushed her upper half forward. He teasingly traced the gorgeous markings of the coyote carving that marred her skin, "Kind of like yours."
"Oh, you imp," Beth's gasp rang out in the warm night air as she was spun around once again. Plush lips hungrily sought her own. Her startled gasp allowed his experience tongue dart artfully between the parted lips.
But she didn't fight the seeking hands that warmed her already flushed skin. Something inside of her told her this was right, that they had done this many times before, in many lifetimes before. She moaned as he moved to press air light kisses upon her neck.
"No love, I'm not an imp. I'm a trickster, remember," he grinned as he playfully nipped her neck, "Can I talk you into that dance now?"
"Ummm....ask me when the world stops spinning," she giggled as she grabbed the railing, "Do all fey kiss as well as you do?"
"I haven't had any complaints, Neither have my brothers be they through blood or spirit" he puffed his chest out and struck a macho pose. Beth burst into gales of laughter and allowed herself to be led back down the stairs.
"Beth, this is my sister, Koori," Coyote grinned as he slapped another person on the back, "And this heathen is my brother, Raven. When did you get back from Avalon, brother?"
"Oh, I'm just stopping in for a minute to warn you that Oberon knows you're missing," the trickster who's hair was as dark as his namesake murmured. His coal colored eyes were drinking in all of the sights around them, "I'm only going to stay here for about an hour, then I'm outta here."
"Sample the food, greet the locals," Coyote leered a little to emphasize his point, "And then bolt. Not a bad plan. But aren't you afraid you're going to get in trouble too?"
"No, Titania sent me to warn you guys. You are on her personal court, after all. She does tend to try to defend you guys. Though Oberon's going to have your hides and then some."
"Well, in for a dime, in for a dollar. We might as well enjoy ourselves till we feel like facing our punishment," Coyote grinned.
Raven rolled his eyes and began to play with the cobalt locks of the human sitting in his lap. Her dark gray eyes were wide in amazement as she listened to the tricksters. Raven had changed the color of her toga to match his own ebony silk sheet.
"Lilith, could you be a dear and get me a drink?"
"Sure thing schnooks," the blue haired girl giggled as she bolted up and ran for the kitchen. Raven smiled placidly as he watched her gracefully bound acrossed the room. His reverie was broken by Koori and Coyote as they laughed at him.
"What," Raven grumbled as he pointedly grabbed Beth's arm, "You think you're the only one who's beloved was cast from you during the banishment?! At least you always find her. This is the first time I've seen Lil since our daughters were born all those years ago on Avalon. I've searched the entire gathering for Eve and Angel. I'm starting to think our poor children were as mortal as their mother," Raven released Beth's arm and sighed.
His mind was on a tiny girl with bronze skin and raven wings and a fair skinned child with wings as white as light and light blue hair. Children thought by some to be the end of Avalon, by other to be the trinity bringers. To their parents they were Eve and Angel, the bringers of their greatest joys. The little half fey had been their father's greatest accomplishment.
"Do not worry, my love. The time of Trinity draws near and then all shall be reunited as the children are called home to Avalon," Lilith said cryptically as she handed him a drink. Her eyes had become pools of gray smoke as she stared at Beth, "Beth Maza, you shall be the mother of a great warrior but not of Trinity. Trinity shall be born to another of your sire's bloodline but marry a child born of the queen's. Trinity and her honor guard will all be born on the same day and call each other siblings. Your son shall be the captain of all of Avalon's forces. Go in peace, now, my sister, and know that great things shall befall you."
"Lil's grandmother is the original Oracle. She has a habit of prophesying. She even knew it would be a thousand years before she and I would meet again and since she's a quarter fey I'm taking her back to the gathering with me," Raven shrugged and began talking to Lilith as if nothing had happened.
"Coyote, what's all this about my son? And a trinity child," Beth's head was swimming be it from the alcohol Coyote had been giving her all night or from the presence of three full fey and one quarter. Wait, she could feel it. Their were two fey in the room that were a little more than half.
"Beth, I'll make you a deal. When your sister's first daughter stands against her grandfather's wrath and doesn't falter I will tell you about the prophecy that's been in Avalon since before Oberon was born. But for now," his arms snaked around Beth and Koori's waists as he led them towards the kitchen, "Let's enjoy ourselves! This_is_a party, after all."
Sun light filtered through the grimy windows and lit upon a scene that looked like Animal House meets The Howling. College students lay in heaps, beer bottles and half empty cups marking what had transpired the night before. Togas were flung across furniture in a multitude of colored madness. A few of the hardier frat boys sat transfixed in front of the den's t.v. They were doing an "experiment" on the effects of alcohol on your reaction time while playing Grand Turismo. So far only one of them had even halfway finished the driver's test.
Out of the hundreds of students packed into the trashed Delta house only a dozen or so were up yet. Of that handful only two were female. The one had seaweed green hair and was floating upside down. The other was clearly intoxicated and playing with a golden wedding band. Koori made gagging noises as Lilith and Raven cuddled.
Several floors away Coyote watched over his sleeping beauty. Everything about the young mortal fascinated him. The way she had pulled the sheets over her lithe frame, all the way over her shoulders, in an act of modesty after their love making. How pale rays of morning light played vibrantly acrossed her honeyed features. The way her mouth hung slightly agape as she breathed in a slow, steady rhythm. The very corner of her eye twitched ever so slightly whenever she was dreaming. The way her arm had carelessly wound its way acrossed him as she had cuddled closer in her sleep.
"Morning," she mumbled as she tried to prop herself up and fell back. Her head was still swimming in a sea of amber haze. Sparing a glare at Coyote she finally managed to sit up against the headboard, "Why in the name of Avalon did you let me drink that much?"
"Cause you're a cute drunk," he said innocently as he pulled her into his lap. She shot him the most threatening look a hungover mortal can manage. He sighed and began to knead the tension out of her shoulders, "Would you have believed you were the reincarnation of my wife if you weren't?"
"Probably not," she admitted as she leaned back into the skillful touch, "I also probably would still be a virgin this morning. Not that I regret it," she purred as her worries began to melt away. It was Coyote's turn to tense up and she notice, "Hey, what's wrong?"
"I marked you," the fey's head hung in shame as he stared at a small silver coyote-like tattoo on Beth's neck, "Oberon's going to kill me! Hell, your father's going to take an iron bat to me when he finds out what I've done! I'm so sorry. How can you ever forgive me for this?"
"What do you mean by you marked me?"
"Long ago," both of them looked up as Koori entered the room and sat on the edge of the bed, "Fey and mortals used to date all the time, they'd even marry. But certain fey had a bad habit of trying to seduce other feys' loves away. So we began to mark the mortal we had claimed as our own, kind of like branding cattle but in a more romantic way," Koori laughed as Beth hefted a pillow over her head and brought it down upon Coyote's sable mane.
"The mark would last for five years, twenty for each offspring the mortal gave you, and for those years you were bound to that one mortal. Likewise the mortal was bound to the fey that had marked them. By Avalon's law you were seen as being married. Surprisingly enough this also works with more than one mortal," Beth's shocked look was priceless, "But that's very rare.
So, in essence, Coyote married you last night in the fey way. Feel honored, fey can only mark those they truly love and who love them back. If Oberon finds out what he's done our lord will send the three to fetch you. You'll be officially married in a court ceremony and you'll have to stay on Avalon for the five years you're marked. And, knowing my brothers like I do, you'll give him a bunch of kids and have to stay there as his forever.
The mark seals it so that you can't get out of the arrangement. Hell, it marks your very soul so that you're loyal to one another. It's that very mark that makes Coyote seek you out every time, Dream Weaver," Beth's eyebrow raised in recognition at the name, "That was the name you had the first time Coyote met you all those years ago."
"Well," Beth managed a small smile as she swallowed some offered aspirin. Coyote smiled as she gave him a small kiss, "You were wrong."
"Oh, about what," Lilith giggled as she ran into the room and jumped into the bed that held her roommate, her roommate's boyfriend, and her own boyfriend's sister. Raven quickly followed her and as he pounced on his mate they managed to get tangled up in the sheets. Beth howled in anger as her source of modesty was ripped away and sent over the bed with a sprawling Lilith. Coyote just grinned and wrapped her toga around them.
"You were saying," the trickster's laugh filled the room as Raven and Lilith continued to try to best each other. Koori was chanting a mantra to herself. Something about never trusting her brothers. She could have also been planning her shopping list for as much as Beth could hear.
"Do all of your relatives act like this," Beth sighed.
"For the most part our relatives are a playful lot. Nubie and Oberon are basically the only ones who act dignified at all. And that can change after a few rounds of Hades waves shots," Koori grinned as she was suddenly at her sister in law's side, "I'm sure you'll love it."
"I'm sure I will," Beth numbly wrapped her toga back into place. Her wallet lay on a dressing table. How it had gotten there was beyond her. She was sure she had left it at home. Lilith knocked into the plain brown table and knocked the black leather to the floor.
It opened on a picture that had been taken recently. Her brother, Talon, was swinging his wife, Maggie, around. Goliath held Elisa precariously over one of the indoor swimming pools at Xanadu. She was sitting with Heather and Lucy. The young women were flashing coy smiles at their mutate husbands. The husbands in question were both perched on the ends of opposite diving boards. Fang, being Fang, was flexing. Claw was just shaking his head. The trio had set up a water volleyball game, themselves and Angela versus the Xanatoses, Owen and her father.
Could she really give up this familiarity for a few years with her trickster? To leave behind all she knew on a whim. To believe the words of a trickster that she was someone she'd never even heard of before. Was her heart really that foolish?
She looked from that picture to the man lying next to her. Love and trust were the only things radiating in his eyes as he returned her gaze. She gently touched his mark and he, in response, touched her mark upon him. The wallet was deftly held to her as she made her choice.
"Coyote," she smiled faintly and embraced him as if the others weren't there, "Let's go home."
"As you wish," he grinned like a fool as the winds whipped around them. His howl of elation echoed acrossed every plane of being. His Dream Weaver was coming home.
The great halls of Avalon were silenced as Coyote the trickster reappeared before his brethren. It was a scandal that would last them all a good long time, the trickster showing up in Oberon and Titania's presence wearing nothing but a smile. And to top it off he had brought home a young human who looked just slightly better than he did. Oh Avalon would be talking about this all the way till the next gathering..........
The silence was deafening, the kind of black, empty, air that chilled a mortal to the bone. The great hall reverberated with this silence. It echoed off of all present. It slunk eerily through the ramparts and oozed from every stone. It took on a life of it's own as everyone went silent in a mix of horror, amusement, and awe.
Then it was broken it a swirl of living confusion. Minuscule fairies darted about their heads chattering amongst themselves. Pixies giggled and began to play and sing like they always did for new guest. Fey of all kinds surged forward to greet them. The men oogling Beth as she stepped closer to Coyote, the women whistling appreciatively at Coyote. The last time the trickster had been seen naked in public he had been skinny dipping with Raven and the Puck in Oberon's prized fountain. The three of them had earned a year of stable duty for that but they had claimed it had been well worth.
Coyote's eyes turned luminous as he stared at the girl he'd brought with him. Dust and a dessert wind began to madly whip around them, temporarily blinding the room. When the debris settled they were clothed once again. Various disappointed groans filled the room.
Beth couldn't help but giggle at the reaction her reclothing had gotten. She was now dressed as a kachina dancer. Tight blue leggings clung to her like second skin. Her doe skin skirt was marked with an array of beads and embroidery that spelled out that she was one with the Coyote. Her low cut blouse, also made of a soft, fringed doe skin, bore the mark of the Coyote on the back, a mirror image of her tattoo and his mark upon her. Tiny, delicate, desert roses were woven into her hair, as if someone had taken a painstakingly long time to do it. Shoes of soft leather and matching arm bands that wound around her bared arms completed the look.
Coyote's impassioned growl drew her back to the world of reality, or what her reality had become. The deep, guttural sound being drawn somewhere from within was directed at those that had stepped too close to his beloved. Most fey took one look at him and backed away. The pointed ears they had not seen since they all had been banished from Avalon, the fangs he had hidden, the glowering red eyes that spoke depths of what was in his soul. Love and jealousy began to transduce from his very being as he put an arm around his love.
Beth couldn't help but notice the differences between them as the room fell once again to the macabre silence. His eyes continued to glow as he bristled, a look that told he would do away with any who dared to touch his mate. His chosen clothing looked so out of place among the formal wear all others possessed. Wind strewn hair matched his atramentous leather jacket. It was pulled loosely over a white beater and tight black jeans.
"Enough," Oberon's bellow shook the rafters and calmed even Coyote, "What is the meaning of this, Coyote! Why do you dare to go against our decree that we shall not intervene in human affairs!"
"No, milord," the trickster drew his chosen closer and silently wished that he had wings so that he could shelter her from the gaze of the assembly, "But she is special."
"We care not for what the little harridan means to you. She is a mortal and there for must be banished from Avalon. This gathering is for the children of Oberon alone," the lord of Avalon spoke in an eerily calm voice.
"Please, milord, reconsider," a whimper had come to his light hearted voice.
"You dare to defy us again, Coyote! She will go now or she shall stay on Avalon as lifeless as a sleeping Gargoyle," the calm anger in his voice was felt by the entire room. Many thanked whatever higher power they reported to that they were not Coyote nor his mistress, "And do not think you or Koori shall escape your punishments for fleeing from the gathering to tarry in the mortal world. Our wrath shall be upon you for your insolence."
"I knew that girl would be the death of us," Raven whispered to Koori. The water nymph shook her head and sighed. Lilith clutched her husband's arm in fear.
"By your own law I cannot let her leave these hallowed grounds," Coyote looked at the ground with a mix of shame and personal satisfaction, "I have marked her and she is one with the Coyote. By your own decree my Dream Weaver is once again a daughter of Avalon."
"Our laws are ours to interoperate, trickster. You are still to be punished for your blatant disregard of Oberon's law. And, if you tell no falsehood and she truly is Dream Weaver, she shall be punished as well," the blue skinned deity rose and glowered at Beth, "Dream Weaver, wife of the Coyote, mother of Desert Rose and Painted Wind, child of Oberon, you were called to the Gathering and you disobeyed. You have disrupted our revelries. Would any speak on behalf of these who would disobey Oberon?"
"I would, my lord," a sweet feminine voice broke the hushed murmurs in the room. The queen of Avalon shimmered into being next to her husband. "I have come to beseech a request upon you. I wish their fates to be mine to decide."
"Speak, fair Titania, and it shall be done as you say," Oberon mellowed and momentarily forgot the shaking mortal and her fey lover that stood in the middle of his court.
"Those you seek to punish are among my personal honor guard, my husband. I would be very displeased should anything happen to Koori. And even more so should fate befall Coyote and Beth on the eve of their nuptials, my lord," Titania's even, icy tone made clear who would suffer if her honor guard suffered. A small smile played on her lips as a thought came to her.
"By Avalon's law they are to be wed by the light of the moon tomorrow nigh. All of Avalon are required to be present to celebrate with their brother. But Dream Weaver is a daughter of Earth and stone. None of her brethren will be there to celebrate her union. I propose the children of Oberon each bring with them a child of Gaea. Many miss their mortal companions and it would doubly bless the union. If you would allow it, my lord, I would make it a requirement for each child to have a mortal guest for tomorrow night's wedding and tonight's banquet."
"If it pleases you, my queen, all of Avalon shall honor the joining of your guards. Tonight we feast in the name of my lady Titania's maiden, Beth, and her betrothed, Coyote. Upon the setting of tomorrow's sun we shall witness their eternal joining. Now go, my children, for the morning hours grow short and we must prepare for this evening's banquet. You all have our permission to go to the mortal world and collect your guest. All shall be back, with a mortal, by tonight's sunset. So says Oberon and so it shall be," the lord of Avalon said in a clamor that quickly cleared the hall of all save Titania, Koori, Coyote, and Beth.
"Thank you, my queen," both Koori and Coyote dropped to their knees to kiss their lady's hand in gratitude.
"Think nothing of it, my children. I want nothing more than to see you happy. Tomorrow night's wedding will rival even the one my lord and I had oh so long ago, "Titania sighed wistfully and hugged the bride to be, "Such a pretty young thing. I would have expected you to be older by now, Dream Weaver. A thousand years ravages most mortals."
"I have lived many life times, my queen, since first we met. By luck and by line of succession I have managed to keep the form my love first met me in, and stay within the family I belong to. It is good to finally come home to be with my husband," Beth's eyes glowed an erie silver as she spoke to the fey queen.
"We must take leave of you now, milady. There is much to do between now and tomorrow. If it pleases you we would wish to invite my love's family, and your own, to our nuptials," Coyote made a sweeping bow in respect to the lady of the fair isle.
"Go, Coyote, take your bride and retrieve the mortals you seek. Be back before the setting of tonight's sun or even I shall be unable to protect you from my lord's wrath."
The Mazas were a hard to phase bunch. They had stood together during Derek's mutation, Elisa's world tour, and Beth's various bouts of depression. They had two winged in-laws, three if you counted Angela as Elisa's step daughter. But even they were worried about Beth's disappearance.
"Um....hi, is this Elisa's residence," an almost light, if it hadn't sounded so worried, voice whispered.
"Vicky! I haven't seen you in ages. How's Mackie? And your boyfriends? Has my sister been causing you any trouble since school's out?"
"Um... It's great to hear you too, Lis. Mackie, is, well, Mackie. Both of our boyfriends are great. As for Beth.....," Victoria gulped. She didn't want to be the one to tell strong willed Elisa Maza that her kid sister was missing.
"Is there something wrong with Beth?!"
"Well,......that depends on your definition of wrong."
"VICTORIA! You have to tell me what's wrong with Beth. If you're really her friend you'll worry more about her safety than whether or not she'll be mad at you."
She's missing, Lis! We went to a part...and.....Mackie and I....We...we weren't watching what she was up to.....and this guy....they were doing hairy buffalo shots.....and she followed him around.....and we heard them get up in the morning.......but nobody saw them leave the house...but they're gone! They're gone! And nobody's seen them for the last two days," the sobbing girl finally screamed into the phone, "We didn't mean to loose her. It just happened."
"Don't worry, Vic," Elisa spoke with a confidence she didn't feel, "This is Beth we're talking about. She'll turn up."
But she hadn't. It had been three days since Beth's complete and utter disappearance into thin air. Everyone's nerves were frayed to the very edges. Talon and Maggie had gotten into a fight and shot electric bolts at each other and the other mutates. Her parents were arguing over who's fault it was. Even good natured Goliath bore the burden as Elisa lashed out at him.
The entire extended Maza clan loafed worriedly around Elisa's apartment. Fox, Maggie, and Diane were sitting on the couch, group crocheting baby blankets for the expectant mothers in the Labyrinth. Derek, Claw, and the rehabilitated Fang were practicing ariel maneuvers on the rooftop. The trio had taken Angela to see a movie. Peter and David had resorted to vegging out in front of the t.v. with Hudson and Bronx. The Puck was busy trying to entertain Alex and play cards with Goliath and Elisa at the same time. The latter was an interesting sight considering Alex thought levitating Puck's cards so that the other players could see was horrendously amusing.
A faint knock was barely heard by those of fey and gargoyle blood. A slightly louder one alerted those of human blood of their guest. Suddenly a spark bursts forth and a flurry of knocks and rings scattered acrossed the apartment like shot. Elisa gave her guest a withering look as she headed for the door.
"I'm gonna be really mad when I find out which one of you ordered pizza, AGAIN," she put so much emphasis on the word that it hurt as she flung open the door. Everyone looked past the angry Maza with wide, startled, happy, and strangely suspicious eyes.
"Ummm...hi, sis? Miss me," Beth Maza weakly chuckled as she stood in the doorway. Her kachina costume had been converted to an almost wedding like dress. Elisa Maza took one look at her sister, and who her sister was with, and greeted the floor.
"So let me get this straight. My daughter is the reincarnation of a spirit that's over a thousand years old. In every lifetime you've claimed her as a bride but since you couldn't get Avalon to recognize the union she would get old, die, and the cycle would repeat. Now that Avalon is willing to recognize the marriage, because you marked her, she'll be able to live with you forever in Avalon," Peter Maza rubbed his temples as he shot dirty looks at the trickster. Coyote balefully yipped and nuzzled Beth.
"That's the gist of it," the fey nodded as he held his once and future wife close. He grinned wickedly at Peter, "Hey, my father barely acknowledged me when I was a pup. Can I call you dad?"
"Trust me, if I had some iron nearby it would be aimed at you."
"Why do I have a feeling there's something you two aren't telling us," Elisa sighed as she leaned into her own husband's protective grasp.
"Hey, don't look at me," Beth's hands shot up defensively, "I don't know anything. He has yet to even tell me about our destiny and, according to the geas the gods of the dead set on me, I can't remember past lives unless told about them by Coyote."
"But you love me anyway," Coyote smirked as his fiancee kissed him.
Everyone stared, blatantly stared, at the scene before them. Puck was making kissy faces and grinning. Coyote responded by pointing out someone in the room and making kissy faces back at Puck. Both tricksters exchanged wicked grins. The Mazas were upset, to say the least, that Beth appeared to be turning into a fey. David and Fox were too busy teasing Puck to care what the youngest of the Maza brood was doing.
"Well, there goes our last shot for normal grandchildren," Peter mumbled under his breath.
"My love, please, I wish to remember what we mean to each other. Surely you can spare such a paltry request for your bride?"
"Anything for you, my lady," Coyote growled sweetly as he shifted her so she was tucked just so against him, "It started so long ago......"
Long ago four young tricksters were born on Avalon's shores. The trickster of the sky, Raven, was the most serious of the four. The trickster of Avalon, Puck, was the most light hearted...
"Tell them something they don't know."
Hush brother and let me tell my story. The trickster of water, and the only female of the great tricksters, Koori, was a beautiful seductress. And then there was the trickster of the Earth, a young pup they called Coyote. They were known as the four corners of power, for love; merriment; and laughter are strong powers indeed.
Oh but the wee ones were thorns in Oberon's side! Koori had a bad habit of turning the water in the palace fountains to blood. Raven would perch outside of the king's window and collect juicy tidbits for the palace gossip. Puck, the most trusted of the group in their youth, gave Oberon no limit to the amount of troubles he caused at parties. Even Coyote had his personal vendetta when it came to mischief. Swift winds would whip up and carry a distinct howl through out all of the isle. These winds usually were used to blow up the skirts of the already immodest girls.
But, like all of Oberon's children do if you give them a couple of thousand years, they finally grew up enough to be greeted to the royal court. Sweet, seductive, sensuous Koori quickly became the queen's top maiden. Like wise Oberon became enamored with the Puck's skill and the Avalon trickster became the king's top servant. Raven and Coyote were given spots on Oberon and Titania's courts respectively.
And oh what fun the siblings had! With their appointments to the court they had access to even better gossip, even higher parties, even more lenient punishment. They were given the freedom to roam in the mortal world as it pleased them. Puck and Koori, whom at the time were lovers....
"Why haven't I heard this story before," David looked almost hurt.
"I shall tell you everything later, Davie," Puck grinned and blew a kiss. Coyote rolled his eyes.
Anyway, Koori and Puck decided to spend most of their time on Avalon. Being Titania and Oberon's favorites, as well as their adopted children, was a pretty good deal to them. Raven liked mortals but he liked being in charge of them. Considering a lineage of mortals was formed to put a stop to that....Well let's just say Raven doesn't like playing with mortals as much as he did at first. That left Coyote, wild, untamed, handsome, troublesome....
"Darling, we could go on about your many attributes for the rest of our time on Earth. Please continue with the story," Beth half purred as she cuddled with him.
Yes, dear. As I was saying, that left Coyote, who's trickster domain was Earth to begin with, to roam the mortal world. Sure, he stayed on Avalon for a good deal of time...until that fateful day on the island of never ending summer.
They may not have been children anymore but the four corners of power were still very young by fey standards. No more than older teenagers maybe young twenty somethings if you pushed it. They were full of the mischief only youth possess. And youth has a bad habit of needing a good swift kick to the arse.
There was a fountain in the middle of the gardens. It was Oberon's prized possession and not even Koori dared to mess with it. During one hotter than hot day, after too much ambrosia, the male tricksters dared each other to strip and skinny dip in the fountain.
"I'll show you our Christmas pictures from a few years ago and you can tell me if that was the basic gist," Fox giggled at the blushing Puck.
Never give up, do you brother?
"Go to Hell, Coyote!"
As if you haven't already guessed the boys went through with it. The party was bigger than the gathering, one of Titania's top maidens had just gotten married. People from all corners of the universe were running around nude, as often happens at Avalon parties. A mortal would go streaking by with a centaur fast on her heels. A God and goddess would find a secluded alcove and couple. And standing in the middle of this mess were three drunken, teenagers with too much power for their own good.
(Coyote raised his arm and the air above the table shimmered and was replaced with a picture of a very young Puck, Raven and Coyote)
"Hey, I'm not doing it if you don't do it," Raven quipped as he drank deeply from his goblet. Puck smirked and dropped all of their shed clothing in the fountain.
"Now will you do it," the impish young sprite grinned as he perched on the lip of the giant basin.
"Why don't you do it first," Coyote nearly slurred his howl as he splashed his trickster siblings with water from the fountain.
"No way, you two are chickens. You'll leave me to do it all by myself," Puck grinned as he teetered near the brim.
"Fine! I'll show you who's chicken," a naked Coyote howled his challenges as all through Avalon the sound of him jumping into the water could be heard. Twin splashes followed soon afterwards. The young tricksters laughed and splashed anyone who got too close.
"What is the meaning of this!"
(Coyote swirled the image so that it was no more)
Needless to say the boys got in trouble. Do you know how many stables there are on Avalon?
"And we had to clean them all. We all needed long breaks from Oberon after that one"
"Poor, Pucky wucky," David teased as he good naturedly cuffed Puck on the arm.
If you two are quiet done flirting I'd like to finish this story before we have to go home and Oberon tans my hide. I don't care if it is the eve of my wedding he'll still punish me.
I walked amongst the mortals for a good many years after that incident. I may have been Titania's ward but not even she could protect me from his wrath that time. None of the girls on Avalon had ever caught my eye so imagine my surprise when a young woman they called Dream Weaver grabbed my attention.
Our lives were simple and happy. Two became one as destiny was shared. A handsome young son soon joined our family. Dream Weaver called him Painted Wind. Soon afterwards his sister, Desert Rose, was born. The four of us roamed the hills of Avalon. Painted Wind fell for a fey and married the young sprite in a ceremony much like what we'll have. Desert Rose traveled to the mortal world and had a family of her own.
Back in the early days of Avalon they had a decree that any human we chose to bring back to Avalon as a mate would become immortal, like us. But the catch was that they had to stay on Avalon for it to work. When Oberon banished us my Dream Weaver returned to being human, she grew old, and died.
But I was friends with the gods and goddesses of death. They arranged for my precious Dream Weaver to come back to me until Avalon called us home again. So generation after generation of Maza, the family my Dream Weaver had come from, saw her spirit reborn.
"But weren't you afraid my spirit would get passed on to your granddaughter?"
No, Desert Rose's get did not belong to the family Maza. The only other time my Dream Weaver has ever been pregnant was thirty years ago. A young Bethany Maza, the younger sister of Peter Maza, had inherited the spirit this form round. She died giving birth to our son. He died with her.
Now she lives again as the Beth Maza you know. And since Avalon has called us home once again I won't have to worry about losing my beloved.
"Unless Big Daddy Oberon decides to send you out into the world once more," Puck pointed out helpfully as he stared at Beth, "Such a shame too. I do believe this is her loveliest incarnation so far."
"I'd say it's about tied to the beauty of her original form," Coyote nuzzled his mates neck, "She even has my mark in the same spot."
"Beth, honey, are you sure you want to go through with this? Leaving your family for an unstable life as the mate of a trickster? And on the shores of Avalon, no doubt," Diane Maza worriedly took her daughter's hand.
Oh, Mom, you know I love you and daddy. And that I love my brother and sister. You guys are the world to me. But I have to do this, my very soul craves it and I know Coyote loves me. As much as I'll miss you I'll miss him more. I'd die from heartbreak if we were to be separated again," the faint silver glow had returned to Beth's eyes as she hugged her mother.
"Why do her eyes glow like that," Elisa ran a curious hand through her sister's hair.
"Long ago there were Gargoyles in North America. They interbred with one of the local tribes and a race of swift half human warriors were born. But an evil Gargoyle and a hunter destroyed nearly all of them. Only one lived through the battle. Her descendants became more human through out the years and by the time I'd met Dream Weaver her family's Gargoyle trait almost didn't exists. All that remained of her Gargoyle heritage were glowing eyes, incredible strength, and the need to protect."
"So the Mazas are....part Gargoyle," Goliath's surprise was evident as he studied his own mate. Coyote gave a curt nod and looked at the clock.
"We really have to get back to Avalon. The reason we came was to invite all of you to our wedding," Beth admitted sheepishly, "So will you come with us?"...........
To be continued ...