"Icarus" by Moira Russell:
"I still refuse to believe that he ever fell the gold.
Which ran down his bronze shoulders was gold, not wax.
Why else should it be told and told again, how he flew
and be told so often that the story is swallowed in his name,
Icarus and foolish flight the same?
I believe he held calm, unable and unwilling to retrieve
each feather as it fluttered down. Scorning to give dignity
to the ground as it reached up to him. He was pulled, he
never fell, but earth and sun fought and in one swell of
power pulled him out of air but not out of flight.
The instant before earth is hit is still flight."
Disclaimer: I am in no way benefiting from using characters in the series Kindred: The Embraced or the role-playing game on which it was based. I am also not benefiting from mentioning or alluding to famous individuals. The song by Journey was taken from the Album Raised on Radio. --Dear reader, please forgive the intrusion of the lyrics to this song. They seemed to have real meaning for Daedalus and Elaine, and are brief. The song by Enya was taken from the album Shepherd Moons. I?ve taken some liberties with a few characters in this story but I believe their redefined personalities are true to their identities, based solely on my continuing story of Daedalus and Elaine, a.k.a., Steven and Lainey. I hope you will read on and enjoy this story. As you know by now I am in love with the pairing of these two people. Please share in their continuing saga. Thank you. Reesy
Time Out of Time
Life seemed to be too pleasant and too comfortable to last very long. The Kindred of San Francisco had fallen into a false sense of security and Julian Luna was distracted much of the time by his renewed love affair with Lillie.
This became the time for Cameron to strike! He waited patiently and knew his Prince very well. The signs were there and while few seemed to notice, the Brujah Primogen took special note of Julian?s seeming lack of interest in anything not related to his luscious Toreador lover. Sure he still held court, as Cameron would say, at the conclave but he didn?t seem to dominate the clans or their Primogens the way he once did. It was time to make a move and Cameron was not about to miss what could possibly be his only opportunity to overthrow the Prince and take his place.
"Julian, lately I have noted that Cameron is making inroads with some of the other clans, with the exception of mine and a couple of the others, and he is getting dangerously close to making a move toward becoming the first Brujah Prince of San Francisco. While I am pleased to see you finding love again with Lillie, it is a concern to me that perhaps you have lost some of your focus where your Princehood is concerned. It is not my intention to insult or offend you; however, Eddie once sought to wage war with you over the Princehood but your dominance saved us all from that war."
"It was due in large part to you that Eddie and his clan backed down, Daedalus. If you had not stood by me and had maintained your neutral stance he might have advanced to the proverbial battle line drawn in the sand, but they backed down when you and your clan showed your support of me."
"The Nosferatu still support our Prince in all things." Daedalus took Julian?s hand and kissed his ring. This gesture never failed to move the Prince and Daedalus noted the depth of emotion in Julian?s eyes and he changed the subject.
"Julian, Elaine and I have been hatching a plan that we put off after we were first wed but she is becoming a little restless and I have the need to deal with an issue in my past that I have put off far too long. We are thinking of taking what humans would call a honeymoon of sorts. I know we could just get away for a weekend or something but this would not allow for me to take care of ancient family history."
"Daedalus, I have no problem with you and Elaine leaving for a specific period of time as long as I know where you are and how long you will be gone. If I can reach you and engage you on a moment?s notice I see no reason you shouldn?t go, but somehow I get the idea that it?s not that simple."
Daedalus knew he was fast approaching the moment when he must convince Julian to allow their departure and it would not be easy. He and Elaine were not just planning a little two-day excursion. They were planning to go to Greece, specifically Crete. The torment of living below ground and knowing he was repulsive to humans paled in comparison to the torment he lived with daily over the loss of one dearer to him than anyone he knew up until he met Elaine. Would he be able to convince Julian? It was time to find out.
"You may or may not know that I once had a son who served dutifully at my side while I was imprisoned on the Isle of Crete. This was thousands of years ago and yet the moment he fell before me lives as fresh today as it did that fateful day when I saw him fall to his untimely death. I have never spoken of it except to Elaine and now I am telling you because I want you to understand how important this is to me. His death was my fault and I would never ask to take leave of you and go so far away if it were not monumental to me. He was not buried on Crete but I made my way back there from Sicily and constructed a monument of sorts to him and I believe it is still there."
He stopped here and gave Julian time to absorb what he had said. He was by no means finished, but this was a delicate matter and he had to choose his words wisely and know when to say them. He waited for Julian?s initial response.
Sensing that his friend was waiting for a reply Julian ran his fingers through his hair, and after hesitating a moment, he felt a little hysteria rising with the manifestation of a lump in his throat. The revelation of the son he never spoke of and of his death made it harder for Julian to form words that would convey what he was feeling. Julian did not want to trample on his friend?s heart by speaking casually of his lost son so he must be careful. Daedalus was a very private man and to finally speak of this loss thousands of years later meant it must still be close in his consciousness. He finally found the ability to speak.
"I have concerns about you going so far away when you are not only my enforcer but my oldest friend." While Julian had embraced and even outright killed, he never relished it and tried at all cost to avoid it, and again, feeling a pang over his friend?s loss, brought the lump causing every word to sound like they were grating on his throat as they passed his lips. With what sounded like a rasp in his throat he began, "Daedalus, this is hard. If you go so far from San Francisco I can?t come to your aid if you needed my help. At least not immediately. And as your Prince I feel a responsibility to provide succor when it is needed."
"Julian, we will travel by night and only by day when it is necessary. Our contact with humans will be fleeting most of the time so there is really very little chance of danger for us. As far as your providing succor, you have always done that, and for that reason Elaine and I have healed from our mortal wounds and feel we are able to make this journey. You are dearer to us than we are to each other and the only concern we have is that if I am away, Cameron may try to seize the opportunity to usurp your position as Prince, feeling you are vulnerable without your enforcer at your side. I do not wish to leave you in that kind of situation Julian and therein lay my real concern."
"I want to grant you this request Daedalus and if the resolution to an ancient torment is all that you seek, please remain a while longer so that I may re-establish my position with the clans. It will not take long but you are right that I need you by my side to make any would-be assassins stand down."
"This I will do Julian. Elaine understands that we must wait for the right time to leave, but she is Toreador and you know more than most that they are hard to hold, and the time may come when she will not be satisfied with her existence. She may take flight and will be gone from me forever. I lost my son tragically when he took flight, and while his flight led to his death, hers would lead to mine. My complete loyalty lies with you Julian, but my life is in her hands."
"I understand and I will act quickly to restore the respect of the clans. Please, promise me you will allow me this before you take your leave."
Daedalus nodded and again repeated the gesture that reassured his Prince that he was now and forever in his service as his Primogen, enforcer and most important, his friend.
Daedalus had given Julian much to think about and along with the concern over the Princehood, he piqued his curiosity by giving Julian a glimpse into his past. In fact, Julian was more than a little curious now that a son had been mentioned. Perhaps this meant that Daedalus had been married once before as well. Who was Daedalus before he became Kindred? Julian had to find out now. Julian would have normally had someone else do this for him but this was information of a personal, private nature, and for the present was meant for his eyes only.
The San Francisco Library was extensive and he knew his kind was written about in a few of its books, but now he sought ancient Greek history. There were a few books that mentioned the time period Daedalus would have been living in, but Julian found much more information on the computer. That was where he was perched for several hours, not realizing the length of time he was accessing the Internet until one of the Library Assistants kindly reminded him that his time was up and he must allow for others to make use of it.
Julian graciously yielded the computer and printed out what information he thought would help him to understand who Daedalus used to be. The name that kept coming up was Icarus. He had heard that name but never understood that it was anything more than a part of Greek lore. It was fascinating to read of his friend now that he realized he was part of Greek history. Now he was in real awe of Daedalus after reading of his exploits and of his tragedy.
To read of Daedalus and Icarus in Greek folk lore was like a fantasy. He learned of the genius that lives beneath him in the tunnels below his mansion and he read of the way Daedalus was exploited by the King of Crete and kept prisoner there in the Labyrinth below the King?s palace. How ironic that he should choose to live in the tunnels below Julian?s mansion after being imprisoned in much the same kind of dwelling thousands of years ago, and against his will. It seems Icarus was buried on an island that was named for him and the sea he fell to was renamed Ikara, in honor of it?s fallen one.
If Julian respected Daedalus before, he felt truly insignificant next to him now. A man who was practically a god in Crete was living out of sight of humans and shunned by most of them. It made Julian angry and sad at the same time to think of his good friend?s humble existence. This was a man who should be Prince, instead of himself, but Daedalus never made inroads to become Prince and Julian supposed it was because he never had the desire to be the great leader of San Francisco, CA.
Months before speaking to Julian about leaving for Greece, Daedalus and Elaine began talking about what they hoped would be the adventure of their lives, especially for Elaine. She seldom had left California and since her Embrace she had not left San Francisco. This was not allowed and she understood, that but after learning of her husband?s desire to visit Greece she fought hard to think of anything else. Daedalus knew this so he fed her little tidbits of information and news of Greece, specifically Crete, where his death and Embrace occurred.
"Elaine, my heart laid dormant for thousands of years after the death of my only son and my best reason for living. When he died it crushed me and all I wanted then was to die and join him in what I perceived as Heaven. I now know that he is still underneath the ground where I buried him, but I still need to go back and end this torment I have lived with all these years. Finding you has made it easier for me, but I have never spent a day or a night not grieving for him, and knowing that I was ultimately responsible for his untimely death."
A single tear escaped her lashes as Elaine reached out for her mate. This soulful man who inspired awe in most who knew him had within him a heart that broke for the love and loss of one so dear. None knew of this except Elaine and she held his heart like she would hold a delicate bird in her hands, being careful to protect it and cradle it as if it were the most fragile thing in her possession. This display of her devotion and love for him made Daedalus groan inwardly, and as she received him into her arms, he felt sheltered from the pain and at the same time he gave way to his own tears. Tears that had waited all those years to come. Somehow he finally felt relief from allowing himself to give in to this all too human expression of grief.
Daedalus? sorrow finally abated, he fell asleep in Elaine?s arms. He knew she would support him in anything he did and this gave him the courage to expose his jagged heart and tell her his secret. As he did, he gratefully received the comfort he needed and had never dared to receive until now. He had once heard that the measure of a man was the love and support of the woman who stood beside him, and if this was really true, Daedalus measured up better than most.
When he awoke Daedalus felt like the long dark stormy night had passed and he could have almost walked in the bright sunlit day with his drained, exhausted, but healing heart. This feeling had escaped him for millenniums so that he had long forgotten what vigor could come from the pure joy of having released the weight of over three thousand years of grief and sorrow.
Elaine sensed a new countenance in her husband and felt the urge to remind him that he must not go out in the light. Taking his hand, she was about to speak, but his index finger touched her lips softly and he said he knew but it was a strong pull. Then more solemnly Daedalus explained that his son had felt the same pull and it destroyed him. He would not make the same mistake.
"The price is too high, and unlike a boy, I am very aware of the sun?s deadly rays. I will not leave you alone to grieve for me as I have grieved for Icarus. But together you and I will find his monument, honor him and ultimately this tragedy will pass from my life. His memory will be with me forever, but the pain will have flown."
This new day saw the beginning of their plan to leave San Francisco. Elaine felt as much a need for adventure as she did the need to help Daedalus expunge the sight of his son?s fall from the sky and plunge to his death in the waters below. For this reason she found ways to bring up their plan each day until the day Daedalus finally approached Julian about it. Now she knew it was only a matter of time before their departure. Now events were finally set in motion, but still it did not seem to happen quickly enough, and she found impatience growing within her bosom. Try as she might she could not keep this from Daedalus, hence his conversation with their Prince.
First Things First
The time for a reckoning was upon them. Julian had to admit that he had been lacks in dealing with Cameron. There was a time and a place for everything, and his preoccupation with Lillie could cost him not only the Princehood but his life as well, so it was time to take Daedalus? words to heart.
"The reason I?ve called this meeting is to straighten out a few matters." Julian paused, and then "I see by the bored expression on your face, Cameron, that you think this meeting is a farce and you have greater matters to attend to. You can just cool your heels because things are going to heat up in a moment."
"Oh please! Enlighten me. I sit here waiting with rapt attention and hang on every word coming from my Prince?s mouth."
"That?s enough of you!" Cash was ready to bound over the table and choke Cameron, but Daedalus blocked his path. The two Primogens glared at each other and Cash wisely yielded to him and sat back down sneering at Cameron as he did so.
"Thank you Daedalus. Cash, keep your head. Cameron you will be civil and respectful at my conclave or you will spend some time in the Chamber of Light. Do you understand?"
Cameron just nodded and looked down at the table. He was seething but he kept his mouth shut for the moment. The Chamber of Light was not where he wanted to be.
"Now, I understand that some here believe I have been so preoccupied with my personal affairs that I have not been paying attention to the business of being your Prince."
Cameron started slightly and his eyes met Julian?s dark burning eyes as he realized he was the subject of this meeting. He was not prepared for a confrontation with Julian or the other Primogens at the conclave. He felt the heat rising in his neck and the twitching in his jaw as he flashed a glance at the others. This was uncomfortable for Cameron to be on the hot seat and to not be ready for it.
"So, now do I have your attention Cameron? You interested in this meeting now?" Julian stood, leaning on the table with white knuckles, his eyebrows severe as they jutted out, hovering over intense eyes that looked like steel and his head bowed slightly so that he looked down on Cameron and made him squirm a little. Cameron did not respect Julian per se?, but he commanded that respect with this stance. He just looked down and it was obvious he had stepped out of line and he was being called on it.
"What do you have to say about this Cameron?"
Cameron cleared his throat and said that perhaps certain parties may have been under the mistaken impression that their Prince was infatuated with his Tore--uh a certain lady and otherwise pre-occuppied. That maybe their Prince was not as interested in taking care of Kindred business as he used to be."
"WELL I?M HERE TO TELL YOU THOSE PARTIES ARE DEAD WRONG! IF I EVER HEAR THAT YOU OR ANY OF MY PRIMOGENS ARE SO MISTAKEN AGAIN, I WILL PERSONALLY CORRECT THEIR THINKING!" Julian?s voice was almost a growl as he snapped fiercely at Cameron. None of them had seen Julian this way in a very long time, and he appeared a very menacing specter to any who challenged his hand.
There was silence at the conclave and then a calmer, cooler Julian dismissed the group. Cameron was visibly upset and nearly flew out of the room and out of the mansion. Cash could not help the expression of shock and at the same time mirth as he watched Cameron dash out of the room. One look from Julian told him to hold it until Cameron was out of ear shot.
"I can?t believe what I just saw and heard." Cash blurted the words out before he could stop himself. "Uh, sorry Julian, it?s just that I?ve never seen anyone bring the Brujah to their knees like that before."
Lillie knew this was coming as Julian had informed her earlier in the day that he was going to corner Cameron and get it out of him one way or another so she was not shocked at the disclosure, and she enjoyed watching Cameron make his confession to the whole group. No one had less right to be at that table than Cameron and it was a pleasure to see him suffer that way.
Moving to Julian?s side and encircling her arm in his, Lillie informed Cash that Archon had done it, and now Julian had. Cameron would not challenge Julian?s right to rule again.
"Let?s hope not." Daedalus gave Julian a knowing glance and then took his leave of the group.
Later in their second story suite Lillie found she could not contain herself any longer. She knew of Daedalus? and Elaine?s plan and she saw the look Daedalus gave Julian before he left the conclave tonight. "Are they planning to leave soon?" There was concern in her voice for Julian?s position as Prince but also for Elaine because she had never traveled abroad and these were dangerous times. Her Childe was going around the world, and though she had Daedalus to protect and guide her, it was still a worry for Lillie. Then too, without his enforcer at his side, ready to come to his aid at a moment?s notice, Julian could be vulnerable. He had set matters straight earlier in the evening with Cameron, but just how secure were they if Daedalus was on the other side of the planet and out of touch with their lives?
"If Cameron makes any move my Gangrels will be on him like ants on a honey jar. He won?t stand a chance. I?ve told Cash to keep extra security around the compound while Daedalus is gone. I haven?t told him where Daedalus and Elaine are going but he thinks they are just going on a belated honeymoon that they had put off for personal reasons. Now is their time. I can?t, in good conscience, keep them from leaving and Elaine grows anxious so I asked Daedalus to wait until I ensure the Princehood and he agreed. I promised him I wouldn?t take too long."
"I feel so bad for Daedalus that he has carried this burden for thousands of years. I wonder why he waited so long to right the wrong."
"I believe he hid the pain away much like he did before Elaine came back into his life, and then the happiness they shared turned to real grief for him, instead of just a bad memory. When your heart is open and exposed daily you let the pain come closer to the surface, and he knew Elaine would understand and help him. This will be a good thing for Daedalus to finally lay the tragic death of his son to rest."
"Elaine will have the experience of a lifetime! What wonders they will see in Crete. I remember my travels eons ago and I caught a glimpse of Greece back then. Of course, it?s more commercial now and I?m sure she will want to experience some of the nightlife, but I must warn her to not go too far. The masquerade is the most important thing and sometimes I think she loses sight of that. My darling will learn as time goes on, but she is still impetuous and . . ."
"Well she is your Childe after all so we do have a little work cut out for us." Julian teased.
"Yes she is, and Daedalus thanks me daily for making her so." Now Lillie was teasing. She turned to Julian wearing a new gown and a mystifying look in her eyes that enchanted him and rendered him helpless as she used her Toreador charms to seduce her Prince.
Sleepless nights and long drawn out days of anticipation were making Elaine impatient and giddy. Daedalus knew this, and while she tried to keep it under wraps he still knew, so without her knowledge he asked Julian to book their passage as soon as possible and to leave the return date open. There was no way to know how long they would be gone so why incur more expense and the possibility of drawing attention to themselves by having to change their travel itinerary at the last moment? Julian reluctantly agreed to that last part. It was not that he mistrusted Daedalus, but the uncertainty of their plans and being so far away from his protective hand made him uneasy.
"I have a connection with someone in that part of the world who I will call upon to assist you in any way she can, Daedalus. She is Evelyn?s half sister and she was Embraced a few years after I was by someone of your clan."
This admission by Julian startled Daedalus and though he tried to recover before Julian discovered it, it was too late. "Daedalus, I know this must be a shock to you to find out that I know of the Nosferatu in Greece but I have never had the occasion to mention her before and the fact that she is my, . . ."
"Julian, I am sure it would be no easier for you to talk casually about your wife or her family than it was for me to talk about my son." It was all Daedalus said but they understood one another and Daedalus forgave the omission.
"Lillie has asked that I give Elaine these brochures of Crete. It has undoubtedly changed much since your day and she would like Elaine to see some of the sights while there. I don?t know what your exact plan is Daedalus, but perhaps it wouldn?t hurt to allow her some time to explore and it would give her an adventure she would never forget."
Daedalus graciously received the brochures and asked him to thank Lillie.
Packing had never been so enjoyable for Elaine. In her human life, when she was a child, it meant overnight stays at some hospital or clinic far from her home and family. The details of those trips were less clearly defined now that she had walked away from that life and had taken up her new life in Kindred style. Memories seemed to fade and yet the packing seemed to be one of those unpleasant tasks that she hated, until now.
"Are you sure you packed enough Elaine?" She thought she heard a little bit of teasing in his voice, and without turning to face him she said she didn?t think so but there probably wasn?t enough room in her trunks for anymore so she would pick up anything else she needed on their trip.
Daedalus let out a little groan and in an instant she was in front of him with a pout on her lips, claiming if he really loved her he would let her bring whatever she wanted. This was a side of Elaine he had never seen and he arched his brow just in time for her to throw her head back and laugh openly at his disdain for her supposed vanity. Before he could recover his wits, she pointed out that the other trunk was his and that she had already packed his belongings for him because she supposed he had been off earlier that day taking care of preparations for their trip. As it was, that was exactly what Daedalus had done but how did she know? Lillie wasn?t there to hear their conversation and he came back to her immediately. He ran his fingers over his smooth temple and just shrugged.
"Well you have found me out wife. I was going to surprise you with them later, but I might as well show them to you now. Julian had just handed them to me along with these brochures from your Sire. Lillie thought you would enjoy seeing some of the sights while we are in Crete." He handed them and her ticket to Elaine and she let out a squeal of delight. He watched her as she flipped excitedly through the brochures and then studied the ticket for every detail. She was almost childlike in her enthusiasm and it enchanted him to see her so blissfully happy. He was glad to have been the one to bring her this elation.
"Dear, the date of departure is listed on the ticket but not the date of return. I don?t understand. Are you just taking me to Greece and leaving me?" Elaine looked at Daedalus bewildered. The color in her face began to drain and yet she knew he wouldn?t do that to her. What was the meaning of this? Were they leaving and not coming back? Where was his ticket? So many questions flooded her mind and he read them instantly.
Cupping her lovely face in his hands he asked "Darling, do you think I would take you there and leave you? You are the best part of my life, and if not for you, I would never have taken this step to finally unburden my heart." She saw a sorrowful look in his ancient expression, immediately realizing that there was a perfectly good explanation for this as she gently laid her arms across his strong shoulders and brushed his cheek with her soft fragrant hair. It was enough to soothe Daedalus and he and Elaine came to an understanding. Her questions faded as they made their way to their innermost chamber, whispering to each other about the journey that lay ahead of them, and the adventures they would have.
Daedalus and Elaine talked until the wee hours of the morning and then slept until Noon, shortly before their driver pulled up and their belongings were packed into the trunk. Going over their intinerary with the driver he assured them they would reach the airport before Sundown. This would give them time to feed before boarding the plane at 4:30 PM, which was important because their flight would take the rest of the day plus the next. They were to arrive in Athens at about 11:00 PM the following day. It was their plan to be in the air during both days so they could land in Athens at night and be ready to board the yacht Julian?s sister in law arranged to have ready for them to make their way to Crete. It was the Athena and Daedalus must be well rested to handle the 44? craft himself. There were to be no crew aboard the yacht so that he and Elaine could travel safely and unencumbered as they made their way to Crete.
Daedalus had not been airborne much since that fateful day his son died thousands of years ago and a gnawing pain kept creeping into his brain reminding him of the tragic death he had caused. Elaine knew by now how it happened, and over and over she would try to persuade Daedalus that it was not his fault and that the folly of youth caused it, but he would only shake his head and look away as if to hide his torment. He told her today that it was his ambition while still a human that caused his son?s death. If he had not aspired to be the greatest craftsman and architect of that ancient world, his son would have lived much longer and perhaps died a natural death. Instead Icarus spent much of his youth locked away in the caves of King Minos of Crete, and when freedom was offered he flew away only to come too close to the sun and then plunge to his death in the sea below.
If Minos had been fair and kept his word they would have never been locked away in that prison but he was a selfish, arrogant bastard who lied to Daedalus about their agreement. Daedalus had held up his end and created that elaborate labyrinth beneath Minos? castle. Was it his fault Minos could not keep his idiot wife in line? Was it his fault that she made it with a beast of the field? The Minotaur was not his doings and yet he and his son were held captive until they made their daring escape. If only Icarus had not flown too close to the sun. If only he had listened to his father and had stayed on an even plane between the sun and the sea he would have survived.
These thoughts began to nag at Daedalus to the point that he was talking under his breath so that Elaine heard part of the dialog he carried on with himself. She leaned into him and put her arms around his waist and her head on his chest, and began to hum a tune he recognized but did not immediately remember the name of it. It was just something she remembered from an Enya CD they listened to and it eventually came to him that it was entitled, "Marbled Halls." A beautiful melody about a maiden who had many suitors, but only one who had won her heart. She had enchanted dreams of this lone suitor and as Elaine started to sing a few lyrics Daedalus tightened his grip on her and kissed her crown.
"You are a delight to one so ancient. I was adrift in my own misery and you found the way to bring me out of my reverie." A bittersweet smile crossed his lips as he gazed gratefully into her eyes.
"Daedalus, I hope I will always be able to bring you the happiness you deserve. No one more than you has suffered so great a loss and yet you have held on all these years. If you had not, we would never have met and married. Then my life would not be complete and happy. I owe you so much. My endless life, my happiness, my--" A kiss, gentle and grateful finished her sentence.
No more words were uttered. They had many hours to go and the door between the cabin and the cockpit were locked from the inside of the cabin so their privacy would be uninterrupted. The shutters were drawn, refreshments were handy and they had no need of assistance from the Kindred flight crew. Their world consisted of only two, so unlike the night before, they found conversation to be a waste of time. Closing the world out of their minds they found their rhythm along with that of the plane, and before long any thoughts of the reason for their journey were gone. The only thing of importance now was satisfying the needs of their mate (in an airplane, this being a first for both and probably would be for most who had ever flown.) Once again Daedalus and Elaine took a liberty on Julian?s property and it would have felt almost wicked if not for the feeling of family between them and Julian. What was his was theirs, and vice versa. No two people had a greater friend than their beloved Prince and he would have been delighted to know that they did not hold back now.
The flight was calm enough and though neither Elaine nor Daedalus had flown in an airplane before, they handled the few slight bouts of turbulence just fine, although they were more than ready to step off the plane and meet Evelyn Luna?s half sister, Evadne. Like Daedalus, she too would be in disguise so as not to draw attention to her freakish form. Despite the wigs and artificial glasses, they both instantly knew one another and an embrace ensued. Julian had filled Evadne in on the reason for the meeting although he had not spoken of the death of Icarus. He felt it might make for strained relations so he merely told her they were there for a long overdue honeymoon. This with Daedalus? knowledge. He wasn?t the sort to deceive, but he went along with it in order to make the meeting go smoother.
The Athena was a beautiful yacht with several amenities. Daedalus and Elaine thanked Evadne several times and admitted that it was really much bigger than they had anticipated. Elaine even began to wonder if her husband would be able to man the craft himself. The notion quickly fled however as she recalled other times in their marriage and even before when he exhibited extraordinary strength and ability. He was an amazing man and she felt in awe of him much of the time and she also felt most fortunate to have him in her life, something that would not be if she had rejected him a second time.
Having said goodbye to Evadne, the two honeymooners set sail in the beautiful Athena. Now this was a most exquisite yacht and Elaine really felt like royalty aboard her. Little did she know this was Julian?s private yacht, spruced up especially for their comfort and use. As Daedalus reacquainted himself with the islands they would pass on their way to Crete, Elaine couldn?t help wandering from room to room feeling so amazed by the size and grandeur of the Athena. She found the wine and goblets along with other delicacies specifically ordered by Julian for their enjoyment. Authentic Greek fare was far different from anything Elaine had ever partaken of so this was already turning into an adventure for her.
"Daedalus, why don?t you have some wine with me?" Elaine tempted him while he was at the controls. "I bet this yacht could sail herself if you put in the precise coordinates."
"I would be most delighted to share some wine with you in a little while, but first I must make sure of our bearing. These islands are closer together than they appear and this yacht moves faster through the water than the crafts I used to sail here. Just give me a little more time and I will join you for some refreshment."
This gave Elaine time to present a pleasing arrangement of Greek pastry, luscious olives, and a tantalizing array of fruit and cheeses along with the wine. When he finally joined her in the dining room his eyes were met with a wondrous sight. His wife was a true artist. She did not know that he had been feeling pangs due to traveling the very sea in which his son had died yet she again made him forget his pain. How did she do it? No matter how, she just did and he felt blessed to have this rare beauty in his life.
"Elaine, I was feeling like a wretch again tonight and you made me feel loved and made me feel that my life is worth living. Your support makes this whole trip worthwhile to me and I will always be grateful to you for--" His sentence was finished with a soft kiss that already tasted of wine. With mellow, sleepy eyes she gazed up into his eyes and offered him some of the delicious Spanakopita Evadne had made from scratch earlier that evening and had kept warm for a late dinner.
A sensation wafted through Daedalus that he had not felt since the days that his wife would make this divine entree?. For a moment he was transported back in time, and in the next he was again in the present with an adoring new wife who had no idea of what she had just done. He savored the mouthful before washing it down with the wine. He told her she had better have some herself or she might miss out completely. This had always been a favorite of his and while he seldom ate while at home other than to feed every few days, this pastry could turn him to a glutton if she were not careful to salt some of it away for herself. She gave him a wink and then displayed a dish with some in it just in case he had any thoughts of pigging out.
"I do believe I will save some for tomorrow but tonight I am too exhausted to eat much, so if you will promise to leave my portion alone I will leave it in plain sight." She raised an eyebrow at him with a mock scold and saw a grin float across his lips while pretending to reach for the dish. Elaine quickly whisked it away and put it in a little compartment to keep it cool until the next day and informed him that he could do as he liked but she was going to try and sleep for a few hours.
It had been a very long flight and both were feeling the jet lag but being the "Captain of the ship," as it were, he had responsibilities to attend to so he started to go back to the control room. As he did, he thanked her for the wonderful dinner but she had not heard him. She was sitting at the table with her head resting on her hands and was already asleep. The sight of her sleeping this way tugged at his heart. He went to her and carefully lifted her in his arms and took her to their cabin to lay her on the bed. Daedalus had wished he could stay with her now, but if they were to reach Crete before morning and feed before Sunup, he must get back to the controls. So with great effort he left her and returned to his duty.
The hours went by fast and as the horizon began to look gray Daedalus knew they would not reach Crete before Sunup. As it was they were just coming up on Peloponese on the right so really they were only about half way to their destination. This was somewhat disappointing but it could not be avoided. They must stop on one of the tiny islands to the left before Sunrise. Paros was closest, but Daedalus knew that Delos, being further away was a somewhat deserted island so on to Delos then. As they were pulling around to one end of the island, Elaine emerged from their cabin to find her husband, looking less than happy but resigned to be making this stop.
"This tiny island can?t be Crete, can it?"
"No, this is Delos. We are only half way to Crete so my calculations were somewhat off. Perhaps all the years away have changed my perception of this area, but we can pull in here and not be bothered by anyone for the day. Of this much I am certain; we will not be disturbed. It is still a few hours before daylight and I would like to enjoy the solitude in the tepid Turquoise waters of this bay."
Daedalus gave Elaine a glance that said he had unfinished business to attend to from the night before. In truth, she did not remember going to the cabin last night and she suspected he had carried her there, so this admission came as no surprise to her. She came to him willing and ready.
Daedalus first, then Elaine came up from the surface of the warm water feeling exhilarated and playful. His body floating effortlessly on the surface was something Daedalus had not experienced for thousands of years and yet he remembered the sensation of his body being lifted and held as if suspended and simply floating. He spent a moment longer reveling in the buoyancy mode when without warning Elaine put her arm across his chest and down they hurdled into the deep part of the water. With no need of air they began to explore the reef along with the exotic marine life hidden beneath the surface.
What a wondrous view! Brightly colored fish and unusual looking creatures Elaine had never seen before, and she saw them for the first time with Daedalus looking on and enjoying her rapture. This was too much for him. He swam to her and pulled her to him as they rolled around and around in the current, answering a call brought on by their weightlessness, they?re being in love and being in a new and different land. So many firsts for this couple who defied all odds and were still finding new pleasures with each new experience.
Elaine felt like she was speeding through the water as Daedalus carefully helped her to glide on her back. It was a position of extreme trusting as she closed her eyes and let him maneuver them past the reef and out into the open waters. Her arms were dangling at her sides and his hands under her back gently controlling her so she did not careen off toward any object under the water. As fish swam in the opposite direction Elaine felt them brush passed her, tiny ones touching her as they went. She wanted to open her eyes but the feeling of the water washing over their entwined bodies and speeding through the water was like a fantasy and she didn?t want it to end.
Finally Elaine couldn?t help herself and she opened her eyes wide to see Daedalus smiling down at her and she smiled back up at him signaling to him that she wanted him then. The motion as well as the newness of their surroundings and her yearning for him was too much for her and he did not disappoint. They dove deeper and leveled off near the bottom, finding a safe place on the soft sandy floor that was as perfect and as cushioned as their own bed at home.
This was like an emotional release for Daedalus because of the anxiety he had felt for the loss of his beloved son and for the intense love he felt for his wife. This opportunity would never come again and now was the time to resolve the wrong that was done to him and his son and then move on. He felt blessed to have a loving, supportive wife at his side every step of the way and he would not selfishly deny her this pleasure by thinking of his own needs at this very special moment. Under the water, at the opposite end of the earth from their family, Daedalus found the way to express the love he felt for his wife. This she realized as she shuddered with her release.
As they floated toward the surface they encountered dolphins that had been attracted to their movements. For Elaine, this was beyond her wildest fantasies and she couldn?t help but swim toward them in anticipation of playing with them. The creatures were docile and were indeed very playful so Daedalus indulged her a while until looking up he saw a gray light above. They had spent more time than they meant to so they must be cautious as they emerged from the water. The sun was perhaps an hour yet from coming up but they would still have to be quick and get inside the yacht before any daylight found them. The yacht had been anchored behind a little cliff on the shady side, so fortunately for them, the gray light wasn?t quite over the top of the cliff yet and they were able to slip aboard the Athena and dash into their cabin.
The couple slept for the greater part of the day, and when the sky was almost the same shade of gray that it was when they climbed aboard the Athena, Elaine rose to go find the wine and the rest of her Spinach Pastry from the night before. Daedalus was still asleep so she tiptoed past him and down the hallway to the dining room.
She had meant to spend a few quiet moments reliving the delicious memories from earlier in the day when she heard an unfamiliar voice calling to them from another craft. Daedalus heard it too and in less than a minute he appeared on deck fully dressed and with wig and colored glasses. He had not spoken Greek to anyone since he learned to speak English and now this would be a test of his memory. He would call upon his power to dominate this fellow?s thoughts if he were not successful so he was not too concerned, but Elaine must have been startled, and at this moment all he could think of was her frame of mind.
Daedalus invited the man and his companion aboard to share in their repast. The men happily consented because they had not had a decent meal in two days. They had eaten, but sparingly due to the fact that they were detained by the storm that had cut through their region two days before, and now they were invited to dine on a local favorite and drink fine wine with their kind hosts.
There was more on their minds however than just eating and drinking. When the fishermen saw Elaine one thought passed between them and as always Daedalus and Elaine read that thought. It had also been a couple of days since he and Elaine had fed so it would seem the timing was perfect. The two strangers sat down to eat and engage Daedalus in conversation while Elaine slipped out to retreat to their cabin and lie in wait. When the men had finished their food and wine Daedalus led them back down the hallway to the room he and Elaine shared. The men weren?t sure at first what was about to happen but they were pretty sure they knew who was in that room, and with heightened anticipation they allowed their host to guide them back to this dark cabin.
When Elaine heard them from the other side of the door she started softly singing a tune that let them know they were right. She was in there and it would seem that her husband or companion had something in mind for them that they couldn?t refuse. Maybe he was a voyeur, or maybe . . .
Daedalus reached between the two men and turned the knob on the door so it opened a jar to let them see Elaine in a pretty robe. "Please do come in gentlemen and let me make you more comfortable." The words slid off her tongue like water over smooth rocks. They didn?t understand English, but they understood her language. Their eyes became wider still as she began to untie her sash. That was the last thing they saw.
The next morning they were aboard their own vessel again and feeling dazed but otherwise fine. What had happened to them? It was a mystery to them but they had more important things to worry about. They had been delayed now 3 days and they had fish to bring home that were beginning to stink so on to home and try to explain their delay to their families.
"You were sinful this morning."
"I was sinful?" "What about you?"
"I only did what I had to so we could feed."
"And that?s what I did."
"Yes, but you seemed so natural. It was almost as if you had done this sort of thing before."
"The opportunity has never presented itself to me before, but being an artist it came naturally to me. My sire would have been proud of me. Would you rather I went back to the way I was before we wed and you had to beg me to feed?"
"No. That was painful for me and I am grateful that you are able to feed on your own now, but I was stunned at the way you lured those two into our cabin."
"You seemed to know what I would do. You opened the door for them and allowed them to enter so I only played my part as perfectly as I could."
Daedalus caught "the look" and knew he was going to pay. He had let those men walk right into their cabin and knew they would see his wife and would be expecting to have their way with her. He had felt something hard in the coat pocket of one of the men as he reached between them to open the door and he assumed the man meant to cause him harm so that his wife would be defenseless. They had only boarded the yacht expecting to make off with valuables but having their way with Elaine would be an added bonus. So Daedalus had to own up to it. He was really proud of his wife and knew she took a chance allowing the men to enter their private cabin so that they could feed. It was sort of clandestine but it worked and the men were none the wiser.
Daedalus glanced over at Elaine and found her a breathtaking vision. How unfair it was to tease those men with such a sight and not allow them the pleasure of all her delights. His Toreador bride was at times more than he could handle and he had the strength of 10 men but when she engaged him he gave himself over to her completely. Sometimes he held on to his life by a thread, until she gave him the sustenance he needed to live another day. It was the way of the Toreador and her Nosferatu husband, and he would have it no other way.
The Athena had merely been moved to the other side of the island because it was daylight, and although it was gray over Delos because of volcanic smoke clouding out the sun, it was still light out. They would have to spend another day there and wait until dusk to move onto Crete. Given this, Daedalus approached his wife carefully, knowing he had started a discussion with her and she was going to finish it. He had only meant to chide her a little and do what other men have done down through the ages, re-establish that they are the man of the house. Daedalus was never bent on having his way with Elaine, but somehow being in his homeland, and possibly the fact that his closest friend was a take charge kind of guy, maybe some of that boorish attitude rubbed off on him. It?s a little game women put up with to later get their way but his wife was so different from most women. She was a sentient creature and knew immediately what he was about and would have none of it. Too late he realized this and now he would spend the rest of the day placating her.
"What is it that I can do for you my darling?"
"I don?t recall asking for anything."
"No, but I am here to do your bidding just the same."
"It is what I live for. Without you I am nothing and I can only hope to achieve some kind of peace with you for having stepped all over your feelings moments ago." Putting his hands on her shoulders he turned her to look at him and turned her face up to look into his eyes. A loving and longing for her in them almost made her lose her resolve to dominate him moments later. He never saw her waver and as the yacht started to rock a little from the tide she led him into their cabin and closed and locked the door to the world outside. Daedalus was a humble man and he was true to his words, loving and living only for Elaine.
When dusk settled in they emerged from the cabin ready to start out again for Crete. This time Elaine sat beside her husband and watched with rapt attention as he read dials and commanded the vessel like he had done it all his life. How would he have known what controls to turn and how to read the dials? Her curiosity overcame her.
"I must say when we boarded the Athena that first night I wondered fleetingly how you knew about so modern a craft but I put it out of my mind, maybe because I was so tired, but watching you tonight I confess I?m surprised. How do you know about such things?"
"I am a personal friend of the owner of this yacht and he went over every detail with me. He knew I would know the islands so he did not have to give me much instruction. It was really very simple once I studied the ship?s log last night and followed the map."
If Elaine was surprised before, now she was astonished!"
"The yacht belongs to Julian, and Evadne was the half sister to his dearly departed wife Evelyn. I never knew of her half sister or that she had been sired by one of my clan. He told me before we left San Francisco. That was also when he instructed me on how to read the instrument panels and now you know that I am not a genius or naturally adept at such things."
It did not matter to Elaine. She felt safe and secure and that was all that mattered. Not wanting to divert his attention to his task at hand she slipped away and busied herself with more mundane things, like calling Lillie and Julian to tell them they had arrived in Greece and were safely heading for Crete tonight.
"Hello darling!" Lillie responded. "Where are you?"
"We?re leaving the island of Delos and are on our way to Crete. We had a stay over here because it is too far from Athens to Crete to make after dark and the sun wasn?t shining here today like it usually does because of the volcanic smoke. We also spent some time swimming with the dolphins. What an incredible experience! I will never forget it."
"Are you comfortable on the yacht?"
"Oh Lillie, please tell Julian we thank him from the bottom of our hearts. I didn?t know it was his until Daedalus told me a few minutes ago. It?s truly magnificent and it has everything we need. Evadne made the most wonderful Spinach pastry and the wine and other delicacies are just amazing! We are so grateful to both of them for looking out for us and making this a trip to remember."
"I will certainly share that with him. At the moment he is in a business meeting. You know Julian. All business! He really has to be as long as Daedalus is away but he will return to his sweet self when you both return. So you have not yet taken care of the business you set out to do?"
"No, that will wait until we reach Crete."
"What do you do with your time? You poor thing. You must be bored to death!"
"No, boredom is not something I have suffered from. Daedalus saw to that."
"Oh?!! And what delicious way did he find to take your mind off your long voyage?"
"If I told you, you would be so jealous! I will tell you one thing though, the sea bed is as soft and giving as our own."
Elaine heard a squeal of delight at the other end. "Oh please! You have to tell me a little more."
Giving only a general description Elaine told her all she dared. She never shared the most intimate details of her life with Daedalus, but Lillie knew because her Childe was Toreador just as she was and there is an unabashed sensuality about them.
"So you two went skinny dipping and just happened to find yourselves on the sea bed and had nothing better to do? I can see how that would happen."
The sound of laughter reached Daedalus and his curiosity pulled him back into the cabin finding Elaine on the phone.
"Talking to Lillie?"
"Somehow I knew that was the reason for the commotion in here." Teasing was something that Daedalus learned from living with a Toreador wife. She was a good teacher and he a good student. It came naturally to him now and he gratefully shared many happy times with her.
"Please give her my best, and Julian too."
"Daedalus sends his best to you and Julian."
"Tell him thank you and I will tell Julian when he is home. He will be so sorry to have missed your call. I?m sure he?s very interested in knowing your progress. I?ll tell him what you said."
"Well no need to share it all!" Elaine was suddenly not sure Daedalus would want Julian to know all she had told Lillie.
"Oh I think he would be most interested but I will be discreet."
Daedalus had started out the door when this new conversation started up and he sensed that his wife had spilled some beans. "What are you talking about?"
"Nothing much dear." Came Elaine?s lame reply and sheepish grin.
Daedalus rolled his eyes and looked Heavenward. He tried to act like he was upset but Elaine saw a glint in his deep black eyes that was something akin to mirth and told Lillie she had better hang up now and settle down the beast in the cabin with her. They said their good-byes and hung up.
"I said before that you are sinful and now here is the proof!" Before she could object he was on her in a flash. The lips that were trying to explain away his doubts were suddenly pinned beneath his and she could not speak. No need to. He knew she had not told it all but just enough to satisfy her Sire?s need to enjoy some of the experience with her, so he finally rolled over on the bed with her laying on top of him. He grinned up at Elaine and said that if she were not careful he would give her more swimming lessons on their way back to Athens. Then with a wink he was out the door again and back to the controls making sure they were still on course.
Far away from the bustling city of San Francisco, Daedalus and Elaine were finally pulling into a harbor in Crete. There was no quiet, out of the way nook, to come into so they found a spot that was farthest away from the other yachts.
"We will have to hurry to find the apartments Julian booked us into. At least they knew we weren?t going to make it last night so they will have kept our suite for us."
"I?m ready and the doors and windows are all locked so hopefully the Athena will be safe and secure." Elaine hurried after Daedalus who was already on the peer waiting impatiently for her. It wasn?t that he was irritated with her, but the sun would be up in an hour and it promised to be a bright day, so they must find their accommodations or at least a shelter soon.
The apartment was near the beach so their search was over almost as soon as it started. Fortunately, there was a tour guide making his way to his own craft and stopped to ask if they needed assistance. His name was Stefano and he was quite helpful. There was a note on the door scribbled in Greek but Daedalus was still able to make it out. The Greek he knew centuries earlier was not this Greek but he had brushed up in anticipation of this trip.
"It says the keys are in a little alcove down the alley."
He walked down the alley about 25 feet and found the alcove. There was a lattice work trellis with vines growing up the side of the building, and as Daedalus followed the vine up the wall he saw the keys which would not be visible to the human eye, but would be seen clearly by the Nosferatu looking for them. He gave Elaine the signal that he had found the keys and came back to open the door.
It was already warming up outside and the apartment was cool and dark with the scent of the ocean breeze drifting through it?s rooms. What a welcome sight. They hardly remembered what they did or said once they had showered and fell into bed.
Their suite was luxurious and very stylish, much like something Julian and Lillie would have chosen for themselves. The first leg of their journey was over and they gratefully allowed slumber to overtake them.
It almost seemed like they had been asleep for days when they finally came to and discerned that it had only been the daylight hours they had missed. It must have been a good miss because they felt refreshed and rejuvenated. There were more delectable goodies in the refrigerator that they shared out on the veranda of their own private villa. It seemed so foreign to them at first, and then later it seemed hard to believe they had ever lived any other way. Even Daedalus admitted to Elaine that he felt like a jet setter here and if they weren?t careful he might get used to this way of life.
"Julian has been so wonderful to have made our travels so grand. I have never spent so much time just finding new things to experience and enjoy. I know what you mean about getting used to this. We must find something exquisite to take back to him as a token of our gratitude."
"You have read my mind my love and I promise you we will. First of all though we must take care of the business of finding my son?s tomb and making things right with him. He will not know a thing but at least this will allow me to pour out my heart to him, and you will see a new Daedalus from that moment on."
He looked at her as if to say he knew this to be true. A new Daedalus? What would be new or different about him? For the first time since they were reunited, before she was sired, real uncertainty fell over Elaine. She knew and loved the man before her. She was not sure she wanted him to change. Elaine had found him again. Was it only to lose him again? A terrible and unexplainable fear gripped her as she came to him and rested her arms and her head on his chest.
In almost a whisper she said solemnly "I suppose unloading a monumental burden like the one you?ve carried around with you all these years could bring about some changes. Please, promise me you won?t change too much, and you will always be mine so that I won?t have to spend an eternity with a stranger."
Daedalus put one arm around her shoulder and with his other hand he lifted her face to his and saw the trace of one bloody tear that had stained her face. The anguish in her face tore him apart. He saw pain that he had felt thousands of years ago when he was left behind to go on alone after the death of his son. Daedalus pulled her in close to his bosom and cradled her head, stroking her hair. As he did he heard her sobs and felt the quaking in her heart for the fear she felt over possibly losing the man she loved and returning home with someone she didn?t know.
These two had become an integral part of each other?s lives. This was the reason they had married. She felt like he had run a spear through her heart. A heart that seemed to beat for him whether or not she had fed. Some women would have run from their man accusing him of trying to hurt them, but Elaine stayed with the only one who could comfort her. She knew he wouldn?t do this to her intentionally, but she was in a fragile state suddenly, and this was the only outlet for insecurities that she had not felt since before she had been Embraced.
Daedalus tried to speak and calm her, but when he tried, he felt what Julian had felt a few weeks ago when he found it difficult to form words that would express his pain after learning of his friend?s loss. Some people handle the death and suffering of others alright but Julian wasn?t one of them. Despite his being Ventrue, he could not bare to see the suffering of others, but especially those who were closest to him. He never talked about it, but he always felt like his heart was constricting over his sorrow for the pain they felt. Daedalus had seen this side of Julian once before when Lillie nearly died by draining her last ounce of blood to so save Daedalus? life. His voice sounded like his vocal cords were in shreds, rasping and causing great physical torment. This was the way Daedalus felt now. Try as he might, he could not even control his voice to sooth Elaine so he just held her and let her tears drench his tunic.
Elaine?s tears finally abated and she found herself in her husband?s arms and he was still with her, just holding her, waiting for her to realize he would never become someone she could not love. She pulled away just enough to see the stained shirt he wore and knew that her face must be a mess. It was something she would be concerned about but he wouldn?t; still, she felt the need to freshen up a bit knowing now that she could leave him for a few minutes and he would not disappear on her or worse.
He reluctantly released her with no words spoken between them. There was only the look of a shattered heart that would eventually heal, no blame laid, but the pang of guilt over having caused that tender heart to ache with such intensity that it brought forth a sea of bloody tears the like of which Daedalus had never seen. Even his own tearful night in her arms had not wrung so many tears from him. Now he knew his own power over her. On the one hand it made his own heart swell to realize how much she loved and needed him. On the other hand he felt like a brute for hurting her. He must be very careful to choose his words better in the future. She had brought out this carelessness by her playful nature but there was still an innocence in her that may now forever be lost. Now she might not trust him. She might be more guarded with her heart. What had he done? Only time would tell.
This was the first time he had blurted out what was in his heart with no regard for what was in hers and she was the one who was paying for it. Daedalus knew there would be no placating her or allowing her to dominate him in their private chamber. This was very different. He had wounded her and only time could heal her now.
Elaine emerged from the lieu with a clean face and washed hair. She still felt like she had butterflies in her stomach but she knew she had to shake that off and get back to the business of being a wife and supporting Daedalus in his effort to start a new life. She didn?t want to be artificial by finding things to talk about, so unless there was something to talk about, silence was all she could offer him. There was the occasional half smile, or an attempt to laugh at something between them, but none of that seemed to relieve the heaviness in her heart. As foolish as it seemed to Elaine, she couldn?t help the feeling of losing her world, or that it was going to crash around her. Maybe the next day would bring with it some healing and lighten her heart a little. She could hope.
A couple of days later:
"I regret ever bringing her here now Julian. I cannot tell you how much pain I have caused her."
"I know she will recover from this, but for now, she is a very long way from her only home and feeling like I have injured her."
"Elaine was sleeping when I called you. I am out on the veranda so she will not hear us."
"No Julian. You did not see the pain in her eyes. I knew it to be the same pain I felt when I lost my son. It was unmistakable. I have hurt her more than if I had never found her again. It would have been easier for me not to have had a son than to have had him and then lost him. This is how she feels about me now."
"Of course I would not change the way I feel about her and on some level I believe she knows that, but this has really torn her apart and it is my fault. I have to make sure she is ready to go on before I throw myself into this plan."
"Perhaps it would help. If she talked to Lillie she might feel a sense of family and perhaps that would ease her mind a little. On the other hand, it might make her homesick. This is the first time she has been so far from her home and hearing a voice from home might make her worse. I just do not know Julian, but one thing is certain, I could not go on without her. All I meant when I said I would be a new man was that my pain would eventually leave and I would be free to open myself up to the happier side of life. I would have told her this but I found I could not even talk. It was like the words were caught in my throat and I felt such a heaviness in my chest that I could not even speak."
"Thank you, Julian. I believe you do know how I feel. I have seen that side of you and it in no way diminishes you in my eyes. Your strength and your prowess as my Prince are only enhanced by this ability you have to feel for others when they are in pain."
"Yes, I will call you again later. I want to go back in and check on her now and see if I can bring her anything to brighten her day."
"I will tell her. Thank you again for your patience, and your friendship."
As he hung up the phone Daedalus heard the sliding door open to the veranda which faced the sea where he supposed he was talking in private. He turned around surprised to see a rested looking Elaine with a smile, which replaced tears and a far away look. Something had changed but he wasn?t sure until she came to him with outstretched arms and a certain mystery about her.
"I can not tell you how happy I am to get a genuine smile from you and I have done nothing to deserve it. Do you forgive me for my thoughtlessness? Will you keep me, and not throw me off the nearest cliff for being such a heartless fool?"
"There is nothing to forgive. I realized finally that I hadn?t allowed you to fully express yourself and that my old insecurities were rearing their ugly head. I know you too well and yet I?m not sure I knew the old Daedalus who lived here thousands of years ago. He must have been a wonderful man to mourn his son?s death all this time, but I only know the man standing before me now."
Loving eyes that were now somehow much older and wiser from feeling the same pain her ancient husband had known for what seemed like forever, peered up into his and saw past all the centuries and into the present. "I know in my heart you will always be the same man I married but you will have shed the shackles that have held your heart in prison for so long. I am here to help you begin your new life and I am ready and willing to start now if you will allow it."
Barely believing the change in Elaine, Daedalus? felt he had already started a new life. To have her back from her self imposed silence and grief was a blessing he felt he did not deserve, but she did, and it was enough that she should be happy. This was a lesson he learned well and he never trampled on her heart again.
The next day they spent indoors packing what they would need. They planned their route on a little map that was discreetly placed inside the suite by a local clan that had been tipped off by Evadne?s Prince. Now Daedalus would not have to rely on memory in a changed land or have to ask for directions, thus calling some attention to them.
Once Sunset occurred they set out with provisions to get them through if they had need of physical food, but probably the only thing they would need to do was feed. There was plenty of nightlife on Crete and it would not be too difficult to get a couple of people to join them in a secluded spot. There seemed to be a party going on nearby. They wandered in that direction and Daedalus spotted Stefano, the young man who helped them with directions the morning they arrived.
Going out of character was something Daedalus had learned to do since he married Elaine, so he approached the young man and picked up the acquaintance with him asking if this was a private party. It was all he had to ask. Stefano at once invited them to join in the festivities and they were immediately handed cocktails and ushered to the buffet table. So much for needing provisions."
It didn?t take long as the wine and mixed drinks were flowing freely, and by this time there were enough people who could be easily led from the group into a secluded spot and they would not be missed for quite some time. This time Daedalus and Elaine talked out their plan ahead of time.
"You look like such a nice couple. When did you arrive? We never noticed you before tonight."
"We arrived a couple of days ago after a very long flight and then another even longer boat ride from the main island, so we spent the last couple of days catching up on some sleep and enjoying the balmy evening breezes." Elaine was very much at home sharing this information with strangers as these seemed to be the ones who would provide them with the needed nourishment in a very short while.
"You must be Americans from your accent, or should I say, lack of one. We see so many visitors here, and we ourselves come from the Isle of Man. It?s so nice to meet folks who speak something other than Greek, not that we object to the local dialect you see, but we need to polish up on our Greek better before we come here again."
"Dear, I was noticing there is an interesting shrine around here. Do you folks know anything about it?" Daedalus was setting the stage for their departure.
"I was hoping to visit it but it seems our days are going to be filled and this is about the only time we have open to take a peek at it." Elaine was playing along.
"We have been to this shrine numerous times and it?s one of our favorite spots to show our friends when they come with us. Since you only have this evening open why don?t we take a walk over there and at least you will be able to see it from the outside. It won?t be as nice as if you were able to go inside, but it is closed now. At least you can take some post cards home to show your friends or family how beautiful it is."
"Are you sure you want to leave the party? It sounds like it is just heating up." Daedalus hoped they would not back out but he had to say something to show he didn?t want to intrude on their good time, and in actuality, end up ingratiating them to he and Elaine.
"Oh we can come back in a few minutes. There are some monuments that explain what the shrine is all about so you can take a few minutes to look those over. Really, it?s fine."
"Thank you so much for offering. This may be the only time we have on this trip so it?s awfully nice of you."
The woman, who was about 50ish, gave Elaine?s shoulder a little squeeze like she thought of her as a friend of her daughter or something. It was quite nice to spend some time talking to people who could understand her and she almost hated to end it, but they were on a mission and this they could not put off any longer.
Daedalus allowed the couple to show them the shrine and point out some interesting things when his powers of dominating their minds went into action. He took them off into a spot that was dense with foliage and trees. It was dark now and no one would see he and Elaine feed. As soon as they finished they helped the couple to come back out to the front area of the shrine.
They seemed disoriented like they had no idea what they had been talking about. Elaine said she hoped they were alright and that maybe it was the wine. Maybe they should go back to the party and have something to eat so they would not experience the lightheadedness again. The couple asked if they were going to rejoin the party again and they said they had an early morning and were just out for a walk when they heard the happy crowd. They must get back to their apartment so they could get up early in the morning. It was enough to satisfy these folks and both couples went off in different directions.
According to the map they only needed to go about a mile and a half but it would be on foot and since it was at night this might be a problem so they had flashlights and each used a stick to help guide their way. The terrain was not exactly rough but in a wooded area with not much light they needed to be careful. It almost seemed silly to go this way, but they must act like humans in case any crossed their path, so they used conventional means to find their way.
At first it looked like it could rain because it was overcast, but then the moon finally came out and provided a perfect light for their footsteps. This was such a great help that they put their flashlights away and Daedalus found the tomb from memory. It wasn?t as big as he had remembered, but no doubt it had been beaten down by the weather after all these centuries. It didn?t matter. All that mattered was that he unburden his heavy heart to his son and then leave him in peace.
This was going to be harder than he thought. He did not speak for a long time, but rather knelt down on his knees and just stared at the tomb with his hands folded in front of him. Then he looked up at Elaine and asked her to join him. He spread a throw for her to kneel on and she knelt down beside him. Not knowing exactly what would happen next she just waited in silence, but not for long.
"Son, this is my new wife, Elaine. She has accompanied me here from a new world that I have lived in for thousands of years. If you can hear any of this then there is no need to explain because you already know that I am Kindred. If I could have spared you your death and brought you with me into this nation apart from the world, I would have. I am so sorry you passed so young." Daedalus found the words coming like they were caught in his throat again and paused for a few minutes, then, "It is my hope that you will forgive an ancient man who was too ambitious when you were young and because of that you were imprisoned along with me on this rock. I thought my heart had died when I saw you fall in to the sea and die. If I could go back and change things I would, but it is not possible. Please my son, please forgive a grieving father and let me go in peace now to put the fragments of my weary heart back together. I will never forget you and the sacrifice you made of your youth."
Daedalus paused a long time and wasn?t really sure what else to say when Elaine broke the silence.
"Icarus. What a wonderful name. Did you know the sea you fell to was renamed for you? We are sitting at your tomb now, but we traveled that sea in search of you, and we will again when we depart." Elaine reached for Daedalus? hand and continued. "Please do not grieve for your father because he will leave in a day from now, but be happy for him. We will find a way each year on this date to honor your memory. I feel as though you are my son too. I feel the pain your father feels and I am very grateful that he has found room in his life for me. Now he has joined me to you and we are a family."
Elaine turned to Daedalus and tenderly kissed his tear stained cheek. Hearing such words uttered out of love for him and his son evoked more emotion from him than speaking to his son directly. Somehow his grief began to fade, and as he rose, he offered her his hand and helped her to her feet. Daedalus turned to Elaine and told her, right in front of the tomb, that his son would be very grateful to have her for a stepmother and she had made it so this night. Then Daedalus did the most extraordinary thing.
Standing in the moonlight in the grove of trees where the tomb stood he spoke in Greek, the old Greek language he knew and that his son would know. "This is the new mother of my son Icarus. My Bride has accepted him as her son, and my life is made new with the family I now have." Then he looked down at her and said in English, "My dear you have made me a new man tonight by adopting my son into your heart." There was real gratitude in his voice, and the two embraced for a long moment and then turned around to leave.
"I never thought I could return to this place and then leave without wanting to die. If you had not been with me I might have ended it all here tonight Elaine. I told Julian yesterday that I was beginning to think I had made a mistake in bringing you because of the way I wounded you, but . . ."
"Y-you heard?" This disclosure made Daedalus a little nervous but he had to know.
"Yes, I heard, and I believed. And now I can see I was right to believe. I will never again fear or doubt your reasons for whatever you do."
"So, you are alright now? I mean, truly alright?"
A sincere smile and glistening happy eyes were his answer. He gathered her to himself again and gratefully held her as close as he could, kissed the top of her head and rested his cheek on it a moment, and then with some reluctance said they really ought to start back to their apartment. With a little sigh she agreed so they started back.
Daedalus? mood on their way back to their apartment was different than it was when they came and Elaine almost had trouble keeping up with him. It was wonderful seeing him almost bounding ahead, but if not for her sure footing, she might have slipped a couple of times and gone down. He suddenly realized that she was not right behind him and turned to look back over his shoulder seeing her struggling to keep up.
"Thank you for waiting for me. If I were still human I would have been out of breath by now."
"I do not know what has come over me. I have not walked at this pace since before I became Kindred. I am sorry that I have made it difficult for you to keep up." Daedalus handed her some water and she drank from his bottle. She didn?t know whether to be irritated with him for charging full speed ahead, or to be overjoyed at the obvious change in his spirits. To see him smiling and being so energetic was indeed new, but not unwelcome. She was just caught off guard by it.
"I?m fine and I can keep up with an old man like you any day." She laughed and raced past him almost knocking him backwards.
"I will take that challenge and beat you home."
They were only about 100 yards from the apartment now and she nearly did beat him but he turned on the after burners and appeared, wild-eyed at their door just ahead of her.
"Well, what has gotten into you? You are positively wild now that you?ve made your peace with ?our? son." She stood in front of him with her hands on her hips and tapping her foot pretending to be waiting for an answer.
He grabbed a hold of her hand and dashed through the doorway, then up the stairs to their bedroom loft. He put his hands on her waist and lifted her over his head, looking up at her like he could swallow her whole. Her anticipation was heightened by his still wild-eyed expression. Something had really gotten a hold of him and he was turning into a maniac. Yes he was different, but it was his frenzied appetite for her that set her on edge as her legs went around his waist and she threw off the sweater that had suddenly made her so warm she felt like she would go up in flames.
It took only a second for him to come crashing down on her on their massive wall to wall bed. This was a man Elaine had never seen before and she felt electrified by his advances.
From the first time she had taken control of their intimate lives she had been the one to dominate him, but the release he felt being freed from the burden he had carried for years brought out the great lover in him. Daedalus was neither gentle nor rough; he was quick and ravenous, not ravaging his wife, but responding to every moan and whimper coming from her. His unbridled craving for her turned into Elaine?s desire to let him have his way with her. It was a pleasure beyond her wildest dreams allowing him to do as he wished and what he wanted/needed was to let go of the three thousand pound weight that he had carried, and by night?s end, he had.
The next day:
"Hello Julian. How are you?"
"I?m happy to hear your voice Elaine. It?s been a while and Lillie and I are missing both of you."
"Please give her a kiss for me. I miss her so much and I can?t wait to see her again."
"Oh you know I love you both! I just miss her contact."
"I know. I was just teasing. How is that ancient man holding up now that he?s been freed of his burden?"
"He seems anything but ancient Julian. This has been what he?s needed. I wish he could have done this years ago. He is like a young man again."
"No teasing when you talk to him. Ok? He has been transformed, and while I was fearful at first, now I?m thrilled at the change."
"Alright, I won?t tease him, but I am very curious now to see the new and improved Daedalus. When do you think you?ll be heading home?"
"I think we?re leaving tomorrow but I?ll put him on the phone and let him tell you. Good bye Julian."
"Dear, Julian is on the phone. Can you talk to him?"
Julian noted excitement in his friend?s voice. Elaine was right.
"I?m glad to hear from you, and your wife sounds glowing. You did make the right choice in bringing her with you."
"I did at that."
"Lillie has been pacing and wanting to know when you?re bringing her darling home to her."
"Ha! I ought to keep her here forever. This place is like a tonic to us."
"You mean to you, don?t you?"
"What do you mean?"
"You sound different Daedalus. Are you feeling alright?"
"I have never felt better Julian. If there were less sun and more darkness I would almost consider it, but I know where we belong. We need to get back to San Francisco soon. That reminds me. How are things going with Cameron?"
"He minds his "P?s and Q?s" and hasn?t given me a moment?s trouble."
"That is a relief."
"Somehow I doubt you?ve been sweating that Daedalus."
There was a little jest in his tone suggesting that Daedalus and Elaine have been lost in their own little world and haven?t given Julian?s troubles a second thought.
"I was before we left and if you will recall, I was the one to bring it up to you."
"Ah, you?re right. I have kept a very close eye on him since you left and I?m not even sure he knows you aren?t here."
"He need never know as far as I am concerned. When we get back things will be as though we had never left and he may never be the wiser."
"So, when do you plan to leave for home?"
"I mentioned to Elaine that I thought we should leave tomorrow evening and I will start to pack the yacht tonight for our return trip. I learned the hard way that it may take two nights for us to cross to reach Athens, and now if you will please arrange for us to fly home in four days we would appreciate it."
"It was your idea Julian."
"Mine? How do you figure?"
"Was it not you who suggested that we take some time to explore a little?"
"Oh! Is that all? Sure, I understand. Yes, I will make those arrangements. Are you sure you only want four days? I can extend the trip for you for another day if you think it would be nice for Elaine."
"No, I think she is ready to come home. She has been missing her Sire and has many things to tell her. Four days will be about right."
"Four days it is then."
"Thank you Julian. We are both indebted to you."
"Not at all Daedalus. I am happy to have been able to help you in any way that I could."
"Alright then, we will see you in about a week. Good bye."
"Good bye my friend."
"Lainey, come look at this."
"Lainey? Who is Lainey? Your other woman?"
"It is my new name for you. I think it sounds soft and sweet, like you."
Elaine was puzzled but she didn?t object to the name. Was this part of the new man? "I suppose I should come up with a new name for you. Think up a play on your name." She poked her chin out at him a little and elicited a grin from her husband. He was so handsome when he wore the wig and the colored glasses. She was reminded of the second time she met him and she thought he looked sexy. Of course he only wore them in public, but she liked the look and told him so.
"You like me this way?"
"I could get used to it but I?m afraid other women would like you this way too. Remember that night a couple of years ago when those two women back stage were hitting on you? I could totally see why. It was a real turn on."
Daedalus shook his head a little. "I do not see why but it must be a look women like. I did not know it or I might have found a different look, but it is too late now."
"You sort of look like a celeb, no-a rock star! Yes that?s it! Why didn?t I see it before."
"Oh now you are exaggerating. Me? Look like a rock icon?"
"Excu-use me! I didn?t say icon, but now that you mention it, I have heard him referred to that way. The man drives women wild and I just bet that?s who those two women thought you were. That guy struts and shrieks like a mad man and the women just go wild!"
"I can not believe what I am hearing."
"That?s it! I?m going to call you Steven from now on."
"Steven???" Daedalus was confused. "That is not a play on my name."
"No, but it?s his name." She grinned wide and ran off toward the yacht."
Daedalus caught up with her and said "You may call me whatever your heart desires. I will come to you no matter what you call me."
Looking around he continued, "I believe we are ready to board the yacht. All of our belongings are packed away on it so we can lock up the apartment and I will return the keys to the alcove."
They were aboard the Athena for a few hours when Elaine found some CD?s and decided to find out if the CD player worked. She put one in and heard the rich sound of Journey singing "Happy to Give." Daedalus heard it too and memorized it, hearing it only once. As they sailed toward their secret island of Delos in anticipation of recapturing one last time the fantasy they experienced earlier there, the moon was high in the sky, and to Elaine?s unspeakable joy he put the CD in again and began to sing it to her.
"I was born a believer, played the fool-lonely dreamer, left to choose.
I don?t know where the love is, there?s a promise undone . . . Someone?s cryin? in a room all alone, shadows fall after the hurt is gone. Through it all we love and we lose."
"Where is the one someone who?s happy (happy to give) happy to give you love?"
"A song for the singer, one book of dreams-take this heart ache away from me. A page in a story-romance untold, sharing secrets we call our own . . .Shadows fall after the hurt is gone. Through it all we love and we lose."
"Where is the one someone who?s happy (happy to give) happy to give you love?"
"It?s where you belong-with someone who?s happy (happy to give) happy to give you love. Someone?s happy to give you love."
Elaine didn?t listen to the words so much as she did his voice. It was like a prayer, deep and loving. Daedalus started out softly and lifted her with a crescendo and then softly he finished. This was poetic and beautiful. She had never heard him sing this way. He would hum a little under his breath once in a while and she liked that, but to hear his voice resonate over the water this way overwhelmed her.
Elaine curled herself in his embrace, like her body was one with his and the world outside of theirs disappeared. It was safe and quiet out on the sea with Daedalus. It was the perfect night for lovers so these two stood very quietly peering into each other?s eyes a long time, seeing years of pain, doubt and fear pass for the last time.
Daedalus pulled the yacht into the backside of Delos with the horizon just beginning to turn gray. "Do we dare take this plunge now? We fly home in three days and if we wait until tonight we will not see as much and we will get to Athens while it is daylight. That would not do, so what do you say?"
"I agree with you. We may have a couple of hours before the sun starts to come up so let?s go for it." Elaine was giddy with the prospect of reliving what she had experienced last time.
Without another word they both dove into the water and found the sea full of enchanting creatures. The most striking array of tropical fish greeted them as though they were waiting for them to return and the dolphins were back. This again proved to be too much for Elaine and this time Daedalus joined her in swimming and playing with them. Several times the dolphins surfaced but Daedalus and Elaine were careful to fall away when they did, and in time the dolphins caught on, and instead of surfacing with them, they began to dive with them on their backs or holding onto their flippers.
The time spent under water was like a dream and like all dreams the time came to wake up. They needed to make it back to the yacht before the sun came up so back to the spot where they left the Athena. They timed it just about right with the first rays barely peaking through the clouds, making them dash to their cabin. It had been a whole day and a half since they had fed so this was no time to be taking foolish chances.
"It seems hard to believe we spent two hours playing with those dolphins but it was worth it."
"Still, we have had the adventure of a lifetime and now would be a terrible time to lose each other because we let time slip away. Icarus came too close to the sun and I lost him. I cannot lose you the same way. I have lived for thousands of years and yet last night began a new life for me. I feel like a young man again, it is because of you Lainey."
"Well young man, I feel like a young woman this morning and I?m not ready to sleep yet."
It was all she had to say and Daedalus responded like a young man, full of romance and vigor.
"We have just a few hours left before we board the plane Lainey. If we are going to find a gift for Julian we had better make it quick."
Daedalus meant to make a grimace but the ends of his lips curled up a little too far and gave him away. He kind of liked the idea of Elaine comparing him to a rock icon but he wanted to keep that to himself. It wasn?t working.
"I saw that." Elaine giggled, seeing her ancient, almost always serious husband who had hidden himself away for centuries come to life in this foreign land and rejoin the living.
The half grimace half grin turned into a full grin with teeth showing and everything. Their life was just beginning now that he had lain to rest thousands of years of torment and it was such a joy to be walking by his side, sharing each new moment with him.
They looked in quaint antique shops until most of them had closed when they found the most beautiful, and for a moment, tender reminder of their trip. Someone had actually created a statue of Daedalus? beloved son and they found a painting of the statue. It was a beautiful representation of the youth that had once flown off the island of Crete and it almost made him stagger to see it.
Daedalus and Elaine looked at each other and had the same thought. The frame was very old and ornate with gold overlay. It was matted and would fit perfectly in one of Julian?s rooms. It seemed the perfect gift and would always serve as a reminder of the love he had shown in allowing Daedalus and Elaine the opportunity to right the wrong of thousands of years.
Daedalus gave the shop keeper Julian?s address and paid him up front for the shipping. His heart swelled to imagine that someone he didn?t know had honored his son?s death this way. Some day he hoped to find the actual statue.
"It is time to get on the plane Lainey. It will be good to get back to San Francisco in a couple of days so I hope you have had your fill of Greece. I am afraid it will be a very long time until you see it again."
"I will miss the beautiful sights I?ve seen at sunset, and as long as I live I will never forget swimming with the dolphins. Thank you for indulging me."
"Indulging you is one of my sweetest pleasures."
The sun was a long time in coming up so they flew with the sun shields up on the plane and looked out at the sea and the islands below. Daedalus had thought he would feel sad leaving Crete but he felt just the opposite. He couldn?t wait to get back and see Julian and Lillie and get back to the business of living.
Just as the flight over had taken a day and a half, the flight home took as long, maybe longer. Why was Daedalus so antsy coming home? He was not afraid to fly and the plane was being piloted by Kindred so they were not in any danger as he saw it, so this sensation was new to him, and he felt mystified by the fact that Elaine could just read or sleep and not be anxious.
They had been in the air for about 18 hours and Elaine started to notice his restlessness and offered to read to him.
"No thank you, dear. I guess I do not enjoy just sitting and doing nothing for hours. Hearing you read would be lovely but I feel like my mind is reeling and I would not be able to concentrate."
"You could sing to me again." She really hoped that he would.
"I have many songs in me to sing but I do not think this is the time for one of them."
Elaine felt perplexed. What was bothering him? Maybe nothing was bothering him but he was fidgety and it was hard traveling with someone who exhibited that condition for as long as he had.
"Do you want to talk about something? I can tell you need a distraction. If you could open the Exit door you would fly right out of here and I won?t allow that, so start talking."
Daedalus gave her a sideways glance and narrowed his eyes at her insistence. She knew him too well and he might as well give in but where would he begin?
"Begin with the last thought you had before I bullied you into talking. We can go from there."
She did it again. He smiled at her and told her she really must quit invading his thoughts that way. It was spooky how she knew what he was thinking.
"I am not sure exactly what that thought was. It was more of a feeling. One of agitation but I do not know why. Can you tell me why I feel this way? Our trip was a success in every way and yet I feel important matters need attending to while we are stuck in this airplane for a day and a half."
"You are right. There are many things we need to do now, but since it?s not possible from this plane, we can do the mental work now and carry it out when we land. I know you loved that painting and would like to find the statue. I would too. There is a laptop computer on the plane. Perhaps we could find something about it on the Internet. I?m game to look if you are."
"Alright, if you would like to. I have never used a computer myself but perhaps it would be a good experience for me."
Elaine was pleased that he agreed to this. From her own experience she knew a person could be on the Internet for hours and not even realize how much time had gone by. So she hauled out the laptop computer from the overhead compartment and went to it. It wasn?t long before she found many sites about Icarus and Daedalus. This she found astonishing! She had no idea what a great man her husband was in ancient Crete.
"So who was this Naucrate I see mentioned here?" Her eyebrow arched as she waited for Daedalus? response.
"She was a mistress-slave of King Minos. She was the mother of Icarus. Yes, she was beautiful, but today she would pale in comparison to you Lainey."
"I think it?s interesting that you never mentioned her to me. Did you think I would be jealous?"
"I have never mentioned her by name because I was ashamed that I never returned to her after our son died. She was my wife but my life was not worth anything after my son and I escaped the Labyrinth because Minos came after me and wanted me dead. I felt at the time that a dead son was enough torment for her. A dead husband would have been even harder. She was still alone but she remained in the king?s castle and was provided for so she was better off without me."
"That?s just like a man. If any of you ever thought from a woman?s perspective for once you would know that we couldn?t live without the men we love for very long. I know I couldn?t live without you."
"I suppose I deserve that, but Lainey I can not go back and undo that any more than I could undo what happened to my son, so it is a moot point now. Please, let it drop. I want to find that statue if possible. Please?"
"Very well, Steven."
Again, the grin. He knew he had won that one, albeit a small one.
"There are so many different styles of sculptures and paintings of you two. This is fun finding out about you on the Internet. I think you?ve been holding out on me all this time. You were a hero in Greek lore and yet you never let on."
Her frown didn?t bother Daedalus. "Right there! I believe that was the name that was on the back of that painting. I would like to see what is on that site."
Elaine clicked on it. The name was the right one. There was a picture of the sculpture. How beautiful it was. She looked at Daedalus but he could not take his eyes off of it. She handed the laptop to him and he just gazed at the picture for several minutes. She didn?t want to intrude on his reverie but she was afraid they would lose the connection and have to look for the site all over again. She asked if she could just save the site and they could go back to it in a second whenever they wanted to. Daedalus handed it back to her and it was done.
"You really know your way around that thing. I am grateful that you found that site."
"I scanned the writing and I believe it said the sculpture is currently in Michigan. When we get home we can find a way to contact the people who own it. I think it would be wonderful to own it but they must never know he was your son."
"They would not believe it anyway. We can talk to Julian about it and see how such transactions are carried out."
"That sounds like a good plan. You see? We talked about this now and we have a plan to carry out when we land." She was happy with herself because she was right, but also because they had spent several hours perusing the Net and he hadn?t noticed that they only had a few hours before they land.
They closed up the computer and settled in quietly in each other?s arms, just thinking and finally dozing just as the plane was going over Nevada. The pilot came on the intercom and notified them that they would be landing in about 45 minutes at LAX Airport and the skies were clear so there should be no delays.
This was good news. Daedalus started to feel anxious again but for a different reason. He was happy to be so near their home and wondered if the painting arrived before them. Probably it hadn?t but he didn?t know how quickly FedEx would work. The shopkeeper assured him it would arrive quickly so if it weren?t there yet, it would be shortly.
Again the pilot came on and said it was time to buckle their seat belts, as they would be landing in 10 minutes. Elaine saw the anticipation in Daedalus? eyes and reached over and put her hand in his. She understood him and that made the time more bearable.
Julian?s limousine was at the airport waiting for Daedalus and Elaine when they got off the plane. It was a welcome sight, and being well covered, they hurried to it with the sun setting.
The drive home gave them time to relax and snooze a while before arriving at Julian?s mansion and meeting their friends. Daedalus was finally calm, knowing they were going to be where they ought to be in a few hours. Elaine wasn?t sure that he would wish to remain below ground when they returned to their lives and their daily routine. She would mention it to Lillie after they were home.
Before they knew it they were approaching the long driveway leading to the mansion and both felt the urge to jump out of the limo and run to the arms waiting for them. A happy homecoming was awaiting them but they only guessed it was a welcome home. Daedalus and Elaine did not know there was a treasure waiting for them since shortly before they left Greece.
"I?m so glad you arrived after dark so we can enjoy your homecoming in Julian?s garden. It?s so peaceful and beautiful out there." Lillie was setting the stage for the moment Daedalus would see the gift from she and Julian.
"The garden sounds perfect. After being confined to cramped quarters for two days we are ready to stretch our legs and breath some fresh air." Daedalus was ready to enjoy his friend?s company when out of the corner of his eye he saw an object that was covered with a huge cloth. It faced away from the bay and toward the mansion. He started to walk toward it when Lillie pulled him back and quickly engaged him in conversation about their trip and whether or not they had been able to explore the islands.
Daedalus didn?t suspect a thing and he answered all of Lillie?s questions and told her and Julian how they found the tomb. He told them what they did and said, leaving out no detail, how his wife had adopted Icarus in her heart. It meant so much to him that at that moment he felt his life was beginning all over again. He felt like a new man now.
"I suppose now that you?re a new man you won?t be satisfied living under my mansion anymore." A tease from Julian.
"You may be right Julian. I do not know if I can live in darkness since I have faced the light of a new day. That life in the tunnels seems so far away now but how can I live above ground looking the way I do? I would have to go incognito all the time, and while Lainey likes that look, it might be hard to maintain all the time."
The mention of the name Lainey did not go unnoticed by Julian and Lillie. They could see that he had begun to change. How did Elaine like it? She shone in the moonlight and it was clear that she adored him, and whatever he called her, she was happy. That was all that mattered.
Lillie whispered a question in Elaine?s ear.
"Oh, I call him Steven, but only when I want to tease him."
"You know, as in Steven Tyler?"
"Oh my! I do recall thinking he looked like a rock star with that wig on and now I know which one. You?re absolutely right. And so sexy!" These last words slid through lips that were moistened by Lillie?s tongue.
Elaine gave her a little nudge with her elbow and the two nearly erupted with laughter, but remembering that she was a wife before she was a Childe of Lillie, she kept her composure and just gave Lillie a "you better behave" look. Lillie caught it and gave her a wink that said, "it may still come out some day."
"Daedalus, we would like to share something with you and we hope you will like it as much as we do. If you have no objection, it can remain here in the garden for as long as you want." Julian hoped that it would be enough to keep Daedalus and Elaine there with them and that they would not feel the need to move on.
"Darlings, knowing how difficult this journey was for both of you, especially you Daedalus, Julian found something that he hopes will show you how much we love you, and you Elaine, so without further adieu," . . . Julian walked over to the object Daedalus had seen that was covered and he uncovered it.
Julian and Lillie watched his expression and they weren?t sure whether or not he liked what he saw. Daedalus stood gazing at the statue for a long moment when Elaine broke the silence.
"How is it possible you knew what we wanted?" Not wanting to give it away that they had found a painting of the same statue, she said no more.
Daedalus was filled with awe seeing the statue of his son. At first he was speechless, and then he looked to the sky and said how grateful he was that his friends had brought his son home to him.
"Julian, Lillie, I do not know how I can thank you enough. We knew of the statue?s existence but we did not know how to obtain it."
"Daedalus, we knew. Just today a parcel arrived from Athens and then we really knew it was right. The picture is hanging in the Grand Hall where you and Elaine were wed. Lillie thought it was fitting to put it there. It?s beautiful and we?re grateful to you and Elaine for finding it for us. I guess,". . . The words rasped in his throat again like they always did when he was dealing with pain and love that those closest to his heart were going through.
"Julian, we would be pleased to keep the statue here in the garden. Lainey and I spoke at our son?s tomb and we promised him we would find a way to honor his memory each year on that date and now you have made it possible. My wife and I sincerely hope you will both join us for this annual event."
"That?s a lovely idea and we are the ones honored by your request." Lillie spoke for Julian, knowing he would have said the same but was too emotional to speak.
"Lillie, I had a feeling as we were driving back here from LAX that Daedalus may not be comfortable living below ground much longer and I wanted to talk to you and Julian about it."
"Darling, we wondered about it too. Just hearing his voice over the phone the day before you left Crete, Julian began to get the distinct impression that it might be so. I had an idea and spoke to him about it. He agreed with me and if you and Daedalus, or Steven, would like to move into the mansion and live above ground, it would be splendid."
"There is the problem of his needing to wear a wig while others are here, but he might be more willing to do that, given the fact that he would still be surrounded by his loving family. Do you think Julian would talk to him about it."
"I suspect that is what they are discussing right now. See, they are embracing. I think we will all see a lot more of each other from now on. We?ll give you both your privacy and Julian will arrange for the two rooms next to the Grand Hall to be redecorated into a suite for you two."
"Are you sure he wants to change those two room? They?re beautiful and we could easily live in one of the smaller rooms."
"Not another word Elaine. That was Julian?s idea. I did suggest just redecorating one room, knowing that Daedalus was used to smaller quarters, but he insisted. Besides, the suite will be next to the room with the painting of Icarus in it. I think that would be nice for Daedalus."
"It?s up to him and I do like the idea of a larger living space. When we reached Crete and saw the apartment Julian had reserved for us we both felt overwhelmed. Then later we agreed that we could get used to that style of living."
"It doesn?t take long, does it. Tomorrow we can get going on it. Tonight we?ll let you go back to your own home, but the crew Julian has contracted to remodel the rooms are Kindred, and they will be quick. He has me to redecorate, and I assure you, the larger suite will be beautiful, but tasteful. I don?t think Daedalus has changed that much. It won?t look like my suite above the Haven."
Elaine laughed and thanked Heaven for little favors. She thanked Lillie too. What would her life have been like without these people in it? She guessed but she never wanted to find out for sure.
The Thing Remembered
A year had passed since Steven and Lainey returned from the tomb of Icarus, and as promised, they found a way to honor his memory. The flawless representation of his flight still stands in Julian?s garden waiting for the private, brief and informal, gathering of the family he had been adopted into.
It was now evening so the family gathered out in the garden, each carrying a candle to send their love out to the son they never knew, with the exception of Daedalus. He began with Elaine at his side, holding her hand and told Icarus of the depth of their love for him. New members were gathered there too so he mentioned their names.
"Julian, Lillie, Sasha, Cash, Camilla and Joseph are here with us as well and sharing their heartfelt love. They have each told me they wish to become a part of our family. My son, they are worthy people and are my closest friends. Please accept them as your new Mother and I have."
Julian raised his glass to Icarus and gave an oath that his name would be forever honored and remembered with love and constancy in his new home, and among his new family. The rest raised their glasses and vowed that it was true.
The moment passed with dignity, and a few tears, from the emotion of sharing such a private but honest declaration of their love. Now was the time for some refreshments and some music. The new unit of family members was treated to a performance that bowled them over. Lillie knew so she handed Daedalus a guitar to play. This alone surprised the group, but the real treat lay ahead. He and Elaine would share music that had been locked up in them for months and they were finally able to let it out.
Only Lillie and Julian had known that Daedalus sang to Elaine aboard the Athena, and they had heard the two rehearsing recently, but did not intrude. Now the rest would hear a wonderful blending of their two voices coming together as one. The group sat listening, wondering why they had never heard Daedalus sing before. He had a grand voice that had the quality to move you and engage you. They felt privileged to have this private show, meant only for them.
Sasha and Cash had a different view of things and told Lillie so.
"How can you just keep these two under wraps like this? They are so perfect together that they should take it to the stage." Sasha was so impulsive and said whatever was on her mind. "He goes to the club with her most of the time anyway, so he ought to become part of the act."
"Oh don?t think I haven?t been hatching a plan, but they had to do this in front of a private audience first. I know Elaine would love to do it. She has said as much to me but you know there is still a little bit of the "old man" yet in Daedalus, excuse me, I mean Steven, so let me bring it up a little at a time."
Sasha and Cash liked to call him Steven now that he and Elaine lived above ground in the mansion. It was a modern name, and if human guests heard them call him Daedalus, they wouldn?t understand. They might think it was a nickname, so his new persona was a man with dark brown hair that went to the top of his shoulders (to hide long ears) and contact lenses that were blue (to hide black eyes.)
This new life took some adjusting for Daedalus, but in time he became more accustomed to it and found the lifestyle suited him, as well as his new name. Steven put aside old ways and welcomed the new with Lainey at his side, always guiding him through unfamiliar territory.
Lainey helped him with a transition that he would never have made if not for the death of his son. It seemed ironic to him that the death of Icarus should eventually bring him new freedoms and true happiness at last. It was as ironic as living beneath Julian?s mansion for many years in the tunnels the way he had lived beneath the castle of King Minos. Both were prisons of a sort, and he left them both behind to forge a new life above, not in sunlight, but in the real light.
A brief history/mythology of the story about Daedalus and Icarus:
Ovid, Metamorphoses, VIII,(lines 183 to 235) translated by Frank Justus Miller
...Daedalus, hating Crete and his long exile, and longing to see his native land, was shut in by the sea. "Though he may block escape by land and water," he said, "yet the sky is open, and by that way I will go. Though Minos rules over all, he does not rule the air." So saying, he sets his mind at work upon unknown arts, and changes the laws of nature. For he lays feathers in order, beginning at the smallest, short next to long, so you would think they had grown on a slope. Just so the old-fashioned rustic pan-pipes with their unequal reeds rise one above another. Then he fastened the feathers together with twine and wax at the middle and bottom; and, thus arranged, he bent them with a gentle curve, so that they looked like real birds' wings.
His son, Icarus, was standing by and, little knowing that he was handling his own peril, with gleeful face would now catch at the feathers which some passing breeze had blown about, now mold the yellow wax with his thumb, and by his sport would hinder his father's wonderful task. When now the finishing touches had been put upon the work, the master workman himself balanced his body on two wings and hung poised on the beaten air. He taught his son also and said: "I warn you, Icarus, to fly in a middle course, lest, if you go too low, the water may weight your wings; if you go too high, the fire may burn them. Fly between the two. And I bid you not to shape your course like Bootes or Helice or the drawn sword of Orion, but fly where I shall lead." At the same time he tells him the rules of flight and fits the strange wings on his boy's shoulders. While he works and talks the old man's cheeks are wet with tears, and his fatherly hands tremble. He kisses his son, which he was destined never again to do, and rising on his wings, he flew on ahead, fearing for his companion, just like a bird which has led forth her fledglings from the high nest into the unsubstantial air.
He encourages the boy to follow, instructs him in the fatal art of flight, himself flapping his wings and looking back on his son. Now some fisherman spies them, angling for fish with his flexible rod, or a shepherd, leaning upon his crook, or a plowman, on his plow-handles--spies them and stands stupefied, and believes them to be gods that they could fly through the air. And now Juno's sacred Samos had been passed on the left, and Delos and Paros; Lebinthos was on the right and Calymne, rich in honey, when the boy began to rejoice in his bold flight and, deserting his leader, led by a desire for the open sky, directed his course to a greater height. The scorching rays of the nearer sun softened the fragrant wax which held his wings.
The wax melted; his arms were bare as he beat them up and down, but, lacking wings, they took no hold on the air. His lips, calling to the last upon his father's name, were drowned in the dark blue sea, which took its name from him. But the unhappy father, now no longer father, called: "Icarus, Icarus, where are you? In what place shall I seek you? Icarus," he called again; and then he spied the wings floating on the deep, and cursed his skill. He buried the boy in a tomb, and the land was called for the buried boy. This statue sits atop a sand dune on Lake Michigan. It is owned by Robert Bytwerk and was created by William M. Allen.