Bride

Disclaimer: I am in no way benefiting from using the characters in the series Kindred: The Embraced or the concept of the role-playing game it was based on. The Kindred lore in this story came strictly out of my head and is purely for the reader?s enjoyment. I did add the names of three composers Fabrizio, Morricone, Galbiati. It also seems I was a little premature in calling the previous story the conclusion. I can?t seem to leave this story alone so please read on and enjoy. There may be more coming. Reesy

 

A very high price was paid for this new bride. In ancient times and even in more modern times in far away places a Bride Price is still expected of the prospective groom. It was no different for these Ancients in Twentieth Century San Francisco, CA. The way the price was paid in the case of Daedalus and Elaine was far different from those of other cultures, but he paid it the only way he could. Besides giving Elaine his heart, his love and the promise of a lifetime of caring and devotion, he paid with that which was most precious; he saved her life with his life blood.

The ceremony was vastly different from any other in recent history and certainly was like nothing Elaine had ever witnessed but was just as binding in this secret culture and she was expected to respect the bond between Daedalus and herself. They belonged to each other for life and their life would be eternal.

The initial part of the bond was completed just after Lillie Embraced Elaine when Daedalus exchanged some of his lifeblood with hers while she still lay unconscious. This though was not part of the Bride price.

Elaine was aware when she awoke that she had been Embraced because of the blood in her throat. She knew it was Lillie?s and was grateful to her, but what Daedalus had done was still unknown to her. He hoped she would not resent him for this but knew she loved him and had even consented to letting him Embrace her so that they could spend the rest of their lives together; however, this giving and receiving of her as his bride was not something Elaine had bargained for.

When Elaine had successfully gone through the change from her human body to her Kindred form she would then be told of the pact between her Toreador Primogen and life giver, Lillie, and her loving mate, Daedalus. In the meantime, he carried out his obligation to Lillie by caring for Elaine and helping her safely and as painlessly as he could through this rite of passage.

While her heart was no longer a burden for her, she would still wake up in the night startled by the fact that it no longer beat regularly. Elaine had been spared the pain of the Embrace but the need she had of feeding was not painless. Her blood burned in her veins just as it had for all the others who came before her and Daedalus was her constant source of comfort while he encouraged her to feed from his life source. This was the most unnatural part of her new life, but Daedalus would not take her out of his home to let her feed from anyone else while still in a fragile state.

"I can not let you go out into the world as we know it to nourish yourself until you are able to accept that this is the way for you now. Please let me be the one to fortify you and sustain you." Daedalus pleaded with her.

"You are always here for me and I am grateful for your persistence. I don?t want to die just when I have begun to live, but this is so contrary to my nature." Elaine insisted. "What you ask of me is to accept the life that I have chosen, and I do, but please give me more time."

Her eyes told him she sincerely wanted to yield to his will to be fed from him and he would be patient as long as it took, but she must feed soon or she would not be his for long. He would not force her and she would pass before him again and this time there would be no saving her.

Elaine saw the sadness in his expression and knew it was because he was afraid of losing her again. She knew all of this and yet it offended her sensibilities to imagine drinking his blood. She would try to hold out as long as possible before giving in to pressure from this loving, compassionate, selfless man who only wanted to spend the rest of his days serving her needs and bending to her desires.

How could she refuse him?

How could she be so selfish?

How could she leave him alone, to exist in a loveless void without her?

Elaine would try to give in to his pleadings but she would have to wait until she was desperate. Meantime, she would lay, resting in his arms and try to make him forget, for the moment, that she had not yet fed in the three days since she became Kindred.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lillie came to visit and see for her self how her newest childe was coming along and much to her displeasure found her not feeding and resisting her mate?s efforts. This would not do for the childe of a Primogen. She was more like a daughter to Lillie than she had realized and this pained Lillie to see that Elaine had not yet come to accept this part of her new life.

"I have exhausted every reason I could find to get her to feed Lillie. I am at my wits end and I am asking for your help. What do I do to get her to accept my offering?" Daedalus was hurt and exhausted with worry for his Bride and at last appealed to the one who gave him back his life three days ago.

Lillie could see immediately what needed to be done. She, being Toreador, understood what it would take to get another Toreador to feed. Their will to live was far greater than any other because while the other clans wanted to go on, the Toreador didn?t just exist, they lived for the pleasures they could extract from life. It wasn?t just a selfish desire to be satisfied at any and all cost, it was more that their needs were met through sensual pleasures more so than the others. They found excitement where others simply found a means of survival.

Lillie instructed Daedalus while Elaine slept and when she left he knew exactly what must be done. It wasn?t something he was unprepared to do but it had not occurred to him because his first and only concern was to preserve her life. Now he knew how to do that. She was his bride and he would show her tonight what being Toreador would mean for her.

Daedalus didn?t hear Lillie leave. It was just as it was the first night at the Haven when she slipped out of Elaine?s dressing room without their notice. They were the only two people in their little world and he would now succeed in helping her to find real delight in sustaining herself.

With candles lit and the beautiful strains of Fabrizio, Morricone, Galbiati and the like, he went to her and--

"My dear one you are not going to sleep another moment this night." Daedalus softly whispered in her ear. He gently held her hands, and as she opened her sleepy eyes, with a tender smile on his lips he lifted her in his arms and began to slowly, delicately bring her to that familiar threshold, as if she were lifted above all heights. Elaine felt as if she were weightless and floating from the sensation of the slight pressure of his lingering caresses. She had felt this elation before, but for the first time in her life, she wanted more than to submit to his will, as if looking down from the heights she was reaching she was going to be in control.

"Ah, at last you are going to have the mastery over me." Daedalus, enjoying the command she had over him for the first time, flashed an exciting, wild eyed look that said he would brace himself for whatever she would bring on as he would be the one to submit to her will this night.

This was so new to Elaine but she instinctively knew what it meant to be Toreador, to have all her needs and desires satisfied to her extreme pleasure. To have Daedalus do things to her that would have made her blush in her human life, yet now gave her gratification that made her come unhinged to the point of filling their home with the echoes of their passion, awakened in Elaine the need to go on and there was only one way. The rigors of hours of expending every ounce of energy she possessed culminated in her the need to satiate herself. For the first time, she pleaded with Daedalus let her feed from him.

At first she hesitated, expecting to be repulsed, and then the urge was too great to resist any longer. The comfort and satisfaction of receiving this from Daedalus first, before any others overwhelmed her, sensing for the first time that it was not just Lillie?s blood she tasted after her Embrace, and as he gently lowered her back onto their bed the red liquid slowly trickled down the front of her leaving it?s stain on their bedding. It was the first time for Daedalus as well to have the life force that ran through his veins give sustenance and pleasure to one he loved more dearly than his own life. As she lay breathing and feeling her heart beat again he gingerly dabbed away the blood from her pale skin before it dried, ever careful not to press too hard with her body experiencing the flushes of life and blood running through her veins for the first time since she was Embraced.

"Now, truly, I am yours and you are mine. Your Sire, Lillie, gave you to me after she Embraced you and tonight you made us one." Daedalus revealed to Elaine. "You are of the Toreador Clan my Bride and you proved tonight that you are pure Toreador." He said with sheer pride in his voice and rapture in his eyes. Elaine had never seen such pleasure on her lover?s face and it brought tears to her eyes. The heart that had waned and almost stopped before her Embrace nearly leapt out of her breast as he fell into her arms and this time, tenderly, gently they lost themselves in the love they felt for each other whispering "I love you?s" and other sincere and endearing expressions.

Daedalus and Elaine were not aware of the time but as they finally drifted off in the gray hours of dawn and the candles burning so low they were going out, others, sent away by Lillie, were returning from their night out and the house became filled with a sweet silence as each inmate found their repose in an inner chamber hidden from the light of day.

A Sacred Rite

Elaine was now ready to meet her Prince for the first time and vow to him and to her Sire that her life would be spent bringing untold joy and love to her husband and that she would receive from him the same with pleasure.

Lillie and Sasha had neither one of them gone through this except to be introduced to their Prince after their Embrace. This wedding was ceremonial and as such Elaine would be adorned a in priceless gown the color of Chianti with Champagne colored lace and Azure robes made of precious materials as if she were being presented to a Deity or a King. One thing she would be allowed to wear of her own choosing, and the one piece of jewelry that she treasured above all others was the antique necklace with the cobalt blue stone. A loving gift from a hopeful Daedalus the first time they spoke. Now never out of her sight and never from around her neck, she gratefully wore it and vowed to him she would never remove it.

The rest of the fine jewelry and garb was provided by Lillie who knew the sacredness of this presentation and ceremony and it?s import to the Toreador and Nosferatu Clans. They had made peace with one another long ago and now were united in an even stronger bond thanks to the pact made by the two Primogens. Lillie would give Elaine to Daedalus this day in a ritualistic, yet romantic ceremony and Daedalus would accept her this day and throughout all eternity as his cherished Bride.

Elaine understood now what had happened immediately after her Embrace and would acknowledge it to Julian, Lillie and more importantly, to Daedalus. Like most Brides, Elaine was a little jittery before the ceremony, but when Lillie brought her before her floor length mirror to view the ethereal sight the others would behold, Elaine was astonished to see herself transformed from the plain little thing that she was, into the radiant woman who was about to take the next step to becoming the wife of the leader of a great people.

Sasha wore an enchanting gown of emerald silk and antique lace that complimented her beautifully. She had looked at herself in the mirror moments ago and was happy with the vision before her, but when she gazed upon Elaine now she was filled with emotion for her Kindred sister and her heart swelled imagining what Daedalus would feel when he saw her. Elaine seeing Sasha?s expression squeezed her hand. Neither said anything, but both knew the joy of the moment as Lillie joined their reverie. The three most beautiful Kindred women in San Francisco standing before Lillie?s mirror, holding one another?s hand and sharing a few silent seconds before they would begin their accent to the Grand Hall.

"Come now darling, tears will not do on this day. You must hold your head up high and know that when Daedalus sees you for the first time since the early morning hours that he will know you have come to make his life complete and that you accept and love him as no other and without end," said Lillie, herself with tears very close to the surface and almost floating over her lower lashes. "He is the most deserving man I know and today he will receive his due reward."

"Somehow I?m not sure I deserve the same reward he does. Lillie you alone know the torment I went through for months and why. At times I still feel so undeserving of his love and devotion to me. Honestly, it humbles me when he comes to me and expresses his love for me." Elaine gulped back the tears of joy and humiliation.

"This is because your love is honest and pure. Elaine, I once told Daedalus that no heart is pure but I believe that you have traversed the sea of human failings and have come through on the other side seeking only his happiness and are determined to never bring him pain again. This is why, as your Sire, I am giving you away today and placing you in the hands of the most trustworthy man I know. You see Elaine, I have had the pleasure of his friendship for many years and I have never met another man more loyal than Daedalus. I knew without him telling me that he would love and cherish you forever, and when I Embraced you I then gave you to him as his Bride. The taste in your throat that you awoke to was not entirely mine, but his was mingled with it. He yielded to me as you breathed your last. He had not wanted you to become Kindred if he could keep you alive and he was not even certain that this was what you wanted but I persuaded him, so if this was a mistaken idea I am the one to blame." Lillie confessed all to Elaine.

"I thought it was your blood I tasted when I woke up but when I first fed last night I remembered it and knew it was also Daedalus?. I have no regrets Lillie. I am prepared to go before Julian and you and make my oath to Daedalus."

Elaine reached for Lillie?s hand and in an unexpected gesture, placed it over her beating heart and then kissed her hand in gratitude and love for her Sire. For the first time Lillie felt like a parent getting ready to give her daughter?s hand in marriage. She reached for a handkerchief and wiped away the tears that were threatening to emerge a few minutes earlier and kissed the face of her childe.

Lillie herself was decked out beautifully, although she would not outshine her lovely Childe today. As the three women emerged from the long corridor to the Grand Hall decorated festively for this sacred occasion; a captivating vision opened up before all present. Sasha came first as Elaine?s attendant and as Elaine entered behind her, a gasp was heard from the gathered guests. They all whispered how there had never been a more beautiful Bride and it was true because as the normally cool headed and calm Daedalus watched her approach he almost went into a swoon. Julian as his Prince and his best friend steadied him and teasingly reminded him he would have to stay on his feet for this ceremony.

Julian could not see Lillie as she came behind Elaine but as she entered the room, light fell softly upon Lillie allowing her lovely dark tresses to pick up highlights he had never seen before. She wore a very fine silk gown with lace edging at the top that fairly blended with her skin giving the illusion that the dress and she were one. Julian could not take his eyes off of her and while he had to keep his concentration, the unexpected excitement he felt when he saw Lillie made his occupation more difficult. He had not thought of Lillie for a very long time and while they shared his mansion, his affections had turned to Caitlin. Today Caitlin was not present and Lillie, while not intending to capture his attention this way, sensed a change in Julian?s perception of her. Since that night in his study when she ran from him in tears Lillie was no longer the seductress trying to lure Caitlin into trouble and Julian into her bed.

Lillie had found a new interest which preoccupied most of her time, trying to get Daedalus and Elaine together and then later, finding a way to keep them together forever. Julian saw a very different, self-sacrificing woman in Lillie. One with pure intentions. While he still saw Caitlin, Lillie seemed to float across his conscious thoughts more and more.

Sasha stood up with Elaine while Lillie presented her to her Prince. There was a look on Sasha?s face that was bittersweet for she loved Elaine and looked up to Lillie and they both felt such affection for her. Still, she had never experienced marriage and the wedding and the engagement that led up to a moment like this. She was vaguely aware of the words being spoken as Lillie stepped up to present Elaine to Julian and Elaine kissing his hand. She was fully Kindred now and any thoughts she had of her human existence faded as Cash and Daedalus approached them to begin the wedding. Julian was not an ordained minister but this was not a human wedding so it was not necessary.

The first part of the ceremony took place immediately after Lillie Embraced Elaine when Daedalus shared his life force with her. She was not, at that time, conscious of this but knew now that this led up to what really made them partners for life and this ceremony today would be the symbolic representation of their union. The first two events being too intimate to share with the others. The third, today, gave them the opportunity to share their happiness with those who were closest to them and most loved. Not so many that it was not intimate in itself but not so small that it would not include those closest to Daedalus in his clan.

The other Primogens were there although the only one not taking part in the ceremony was Cameron. This was perhaps not as much of a slight as it was because of his unfriendly relations with the others. He did participate in his own way. Even he knew what a sacred event this was and would not spoil it by showing disregard for the participants. Cameron provided whatever was necessary for the provisions and decor, at Lillie?s request.

Cameron felt honored that Lillie requested his assistance in the mundane matter of providing the marriage feast and decorations. It wasn?t that he personally did this but he did oversee the entire arrangement. He was a businessman and knew that this would be good for business. Thus, the Brujah were regally represented at this happy occasion.

It was now time for the ceremony to begin. Lillie took Elaine?s left hand and Julian took Daedalus? right hand and they joined the two as Daedalus spoke first. These words were not the traditional wedding vows. At that moment his heart was so happy that it felt as if it filled the entire room and his words came spontaneously from that feeling.

Daedalus spoke slowly, and while his voice was softer than usual, it?s tone carried throughout the Grand Hall filled with such love and humility for this woman who inspired him to follow his heart over a year ago and was now standing before him promising to stay at his side for the rest of their lives.

"Thank you Elaine, for your trust and faith in me. For believing in our love and making my life complete. I, for my part, will cherish you and will never allow a dark moment to enter your life again as long as we live." Suddenly, with deep emotion, Daedalus put his left hand on her cheek and said, "You have given me back my life that I forsook thousands of years ago and today I begin to live again."

Shaken by the tremor in his voice and feeling Cash?s hand at his elbow, Daedalus found he was unable to go on.

Looking up into eyes black as night it seemed to Elaine she was seeing into his mind and his heart. He was thanking her for allowing him to love her. How was it possible for her to receive such unconditional love from this man whose heart she had pierced once long ago? She looked deep into these eyes and finally understood, once and for all time, he felt no more pain from that morning and she was free to love him without guilt. She need never look back again with regret, but would from this day on, look to their future together. For this she was overcome with gratitude and from this feeling she spoke her vow.

"Daedalus, it is your face I live to see each new day and your heart that I am privileged to hold, so it is with deepest respect that I treasure your loving guidance in life now and for all our lives. You alone have taught me grace and humility and I will forever, gratefully, give you my unconditional love and support as I accept yours."

She too was dealing with the emotion of expressing their love and devotion to each other in the presence of their friends and loved ones so was not able to go on. It had been enough and all present heard and knew this was a marriage that would be filled with love and would endure with happiness any trials ahead of them.

As in human wedding ceremonies, there was a ring to be given to the Bride. Elaine handed the lovely white Calla Lilies she held to Sasha as Cash handed the ring to Daedalus who gently slid it up the index finger of Elaine?s left hand. It was a gold band that signified their unending bond. Again, Julian and Lillie put their hands together with Daedalus and Elaine?s as Julian gave them his blessing and Lillie followed his lead.

For a single moment Daedalus and Elaine were alone again in their little world of two when Daedalus felt a gentle nudge from his Best Man and they heard Julian tell him it would be a good time to kiss his Bride. The nudge from Cash brought Daedalus back to reality and he turned his head slightly to see the waiting, almost teasing, expression in Julian?s eyes. With the corner of his lips turned up slightly in almost a sheepish grin, Daedalus realized they had stood there lost in the moment and had kept everyone waiting for them to complete the ceremony in the customary way.

The real kiss might have come later but when Daedalus turned back to Elaine, he saw the longing and the loving in her eyes. Moved by the powerful emotion he felt coming from the strong heart of his Toreador Bride, he was overcome by it and gathered her into his arms for their first kiss as a united couple. They had already shared with their friends and family what was in their hearts so this impassioned display of their love was fitting as Julian announced that they were husband and wife.

The Marriage Feast

Usually the Director of the Feast would be the groom?s best friend but this time it was someone who had been more of an adversary to Daedalus. On this day, Cameron knew he must not step out of line and he did not. While he was not as merry as the others were, he kept a civil, if not friendly decorum and carried off the marriage feast without a hitch. It was a great responsibility and he was up for the task. He also had a reputation to uphold. If there was any unpleasantness or if unfriendly words were spoken between his clan and any other, it would be a terrible blot on his career as Primogen so he took special precautions to make sure everyone was well taken care of and that the wine never stopped flowing.

While everyone dined, toasts were made to the Bride and Groom and as the feast was drawing to a close, Daedalus stood to extend their thanks to Julian and Lillie for their part in the ceremony and for their long time friendship. It was something he treasured as much as he did his Bride and they would be eternally grateful to Lillie for her selfless acts and great affection for them.

He next thanked Cash and Sasha for helping to support them both when they might have otherwise faltered in the ceremony, a comment that brought at first a little chuckle from their friends and eventually brought great laughter, knowing Daedalus and Elaine had both been caught up in the moment and forgot for a few seconds that there were others looking on. A moment that would come back to amuse Elaine and Daedalus many times over the years and that would come up in conversations as one of the highlights of the occasion.

Daedalus paused for a brief moment and in that moment there was a little uneasiness because some felt he had forgotten something too important to omit at a time like this. He had not. He poured more wine in his and his wife?s glasses and turned to Cameron as a hush came over the guests.

"I have waited for this till the last because I especially wish to thank you Cameron for your great generosity and your tireless work that lead up to this day. Without you, this day still would have been special, but because of your sacrifices and diligence this evening as the Director of the Feast, this day was made more special. My Bride and I wish you to know that when we speak of these events, from this day forward, your name and your great contribution will be spoken of warmly and with much appreciation."

Daedalus and Elaine stood together and raised their glasses to Cameron, as did the others. It was not at all what Cameron expected. He supposed they would either slight him or merely mention him in passing. It had not mattered because he was only doing his part in making sure the wedding went off well. He had his own selfish reasons and if he performed this service well, they would owe him a debt of gratitude.

This grateful pronouncement from Daedalus and his Bride was so unexpected that he found all eyes on him and not knowing exactly how to deal with the situation. He was used to the rest looking down their noses at him but this praise and honor from Daedalus threw him. He quickly regained his composure and all waited for him to speak. He was smooth and did not have to collect his thoughts. He spoke glibly and politely.

"I am honored that I was asked to provide this feast for the benefit of these guests and to make your day, as you say, more special. I will certainly extend your thanks to my staff, with your consent that is."

Daedalus nodded and again, raised his glass to Cameron in a gesture of appreciation.

Then came the time to depart. There was no tossing of the Bridal bouquet or of rice as the newly joined couple left the company of their guests. These Kindred had left such rituals behind long ago as unnecessary trappings to a day that was already filled with ceremony and only kept those traditions that meant something to their world. The throwing of rice for fertility had no place in their world and the Bridal bouquet was the Grooms gift to his betrothed and as such she would never part with it at the wedding feast.

Kindred weddings so seldom took place and yet when they were observed, they were held in highest regard as a most sacred event so these details were not left to chance. Only the most dignified and respectable traditions were allowed. This was never more evident than today as a gracious Daedalus and Elaine solemnly held up their respect for this sacred union as a model for all others to follow.

A Wife

The Bride had been prepared for her husband and this night would be the start of a new beginning for them. She had been adorned in precious jewels and clad in luxurious materials and yet the most beautiful part of Elaine was her heart and mind. In these there lived the desire and will to bring unending happiness to her partner in life. Since she had found what it meant to be Toreador, she also found what it meant to bring Daedalus the greatest gift. She had been instructed by her Primogen in their ways and because Lillie?s blood ran through her veins, Elaine knew in her mind, and instinctively, how to repay his first gift to her.

He had also been instructed by Lillie and had given Elaine what she needed to go on in this Kindred life and now Daedalus would be repaid in such a way even he never dreamed possible. Again, this last part of their union was too intimate to share with the others but would complete the ritual that would bind them forever to each other.

After they departed, the sounds of their guests became less noticeable and more like a hum. It was good that they left everyone in such a festive mood and they themselves, feeling the glow from the wine, were anticipating their next step.

They did not walk together to their home beneath Julian?s mansion as they did the day Daedalus brought Elaine to see where he lived. Tonight he felt as though he had the strength of a Hundred men and effortlessly picked up Elaine and carried her in his arms to their home, whereupon opening the ancient door and latching it behind them, he still carried her down the stairs and to a private chamber that had been prepared for her. She would not want to mar the lovely gown and robes she had worn this day and the jewels that were as precious in value as her own necklace. This little chamber was meant for her transformation from the Bride to the Wife, who would of her own initiative, unite the two for all time.

Lillie was the mistress of feminine allure and charms and all she knew she passed on to her new Childe. This preparation of Elaine gave her the confidence and appeal she needed to arouse her husband to the point of taking back from her what he gave her the night before.

When Elaine stepped forth from the little chamber where she had left her Bride?s clothes she was, to Daedalus, a vision that stopped time and he knew it was he who must wait for her to draw him to her.

This was more like torture to him than seeing her go without feeding for three days; however, this torture was different. This was the anticipation of waiting for a Toreador Bride to invite her husband to visit her and bring her greater delight than she had ever experienced. In bringing her this, he would find his own fulfillment and would be rewarded a thousand fold.

With candlelight softly playing off of her form in the dimly lit room Elaine looked angelic and Daedalus again remembered the ethereal beauty gliding toward him as she came to be presented to her Prince and then to offer up her oath to him. Though he had not fed for hours, his heart seemed to pound in his chest and in his ears. The sound was almost deafening to him so that he thought the entire house must surely hear it. Elaine sensed this and knew her time was fast approaching. She very slowly, very deliberately, walked toward Daedalus knowing he must wait for her to beckon him. This power was intoxicating to her and she used it masterfully the way her guardian intended her to.

Wearing the antique necklace Daedalus had given her she came to him through the glow of candle light dancing off her soft, pale form that had been gently smoothed with the petals of the very bouquet of lilies he had given to her. What Daedalus did not know was that in that little inner chamber where Elaine removed her gown and robes, Lillie was waiting for her and carefully helped her remove each layer of clothing with great care.

"Now," she whispered to her beautiful childe, "now you must feed for you will need extraordinary strength for what lay ahead of you."

This done, Lillie took each petal in the cupped part of her hand and with the slightest pressure very carefully began to work the fine velvety powder and fragrance from her own special flower over Elaine?s unclad body in symbol of the lily?s fragile purity. As she did so she sensed the excitement rising in Elaine as she stood before Lillie unashamed, almost in a trance while she allowed Lillie to prepare her for the man who was waiting, probably impatiently at this point. He would not have to wait much longer. But, he would have to wait for her a little longer.

"No ornamental oils or perfumes needed tonight, just the sweet fragrant lilies from your bouquet will adorn you now. Now you are prepared to go to Daedalus."

She kissed Elaine and cradled her for a moment and said "My darling Childe, although you will go to him wearing nothing more than his beautiful gift, he will see you arrayed as a Queen and you will lift him up higher than he thought possible, and before the day dawns you will know what he needs."

As Lillie discreetly slipped away through a back way only Daedalus thought he knew of she couldn?t resist taking one last look over her shoulder and felt sheer delight for her Childe as she felt Elaine come into her own.

She saw Elaine very slowly and deliberately come toward Daedalus and disappear into the candle light behind her. This time Lillie?s work of art would live on and become more glorious with each breath.

The hours went by as if they were no longer than mere exhalations and yet Elaine made each moment more special than the one before it. This night it was Elaine who brought Daedalus to a threshold he had never reached before and in doing so it brought her more pleasure than she imagined was possible. Each time brought her closer to tears as she realized that with each exclamation from Daedalus, the joy that sprang from her heart wrung tears for her mate.

Finally, as he began to show signs of exhaustion and with the last vestige of life draining out of him he reached for Elaine to hold her, not knowing that Lillie had the foresight to prepare Elaine so she could revive him when the time came. Daedalus knew his life was fleeting at this moment and he could die in her arms. She sensed that he would not be able to go on from lack of strength and knowing it was time, she cut the flesh of her forearm and let him feed.

He did not know how long it had been since he had fed but he would not be able to go on a moment longer if she had not given back to him this life force that he had shared with her the night before. He had saved her life that night as she saved his tonight. They had come full circle. This was the last part of their union and now, at last, they were one flesh. They lay exposed and there was nothing hidden between them.

Their honest, unselfish love brought them together and brought them both life. For this, they would be forever in Lillie?s debt and would find a million ways to repay her.