In my hype for the start of Season II, I wrote a little (but rather long) scene for personal enjoyment.
**"Chronicles of Eden" is the sole property of Alexander Gordon and his imagination. I own nothing. I am just a fan who loves to write.**
Daniel and his family stood there in the grand hall, the sight of what was now a very tense scene.
With the exception of when Apoch & Astreal had pretended to abduct Doku and Clover, as well as an unpleasant wake-up call when Snapper had almost bitten him in a VERY serious spot, Daniel couldn't remember a tenser atmosphere in the caravan he and his girls called home. And the reason for these grim feelings had everything to do with the surprise visitors now standing across the hall near the caravan doors.
Most of the intruders' eyes were on Daniel. None of them looked particularly kind, though not necessarily cruel. The "kindest" of these faces belonged to a naga with long black hair and a long, scaly, sand-colored tail. She held a silver dagger in one hand, the short blade gleaming in the hall's lamplight. For some reason, she reminded Daniel of Luna, the way she fidgeted and twitched with a strained giggle.
Standing beside the naga were three familiar faces. The closest was Tabitha, her katanas held at her sides and watching Daniel with something that resembled annoyance. Perhaps she was still flustered about when he tricked her back in Flairwood. . . . Then there was Saffron, her bag of bomb-rocks slung over her shoulder. She stared dully at Daniel in the exact same way she had when they first met down in those tunnels. From the look on her face, she seemed to be scanning each of Daniel's mates. Perhaps she was curious of Squeak's absence. . . . Even Mika Harollson of all people was there. But this Mika was vastly different from the monster hunter Daniel had met two months ago, and not merely because of the addition of an eye-patch. Her face conveyed a grim stillness as though her very thoughts were weighing her down. If Daniel didn't know any better, he would've thought Mika was quietly suffering.
At the sorceress's side was a centaur, wielding a long, winged spear. Daniel had a good feeling who this was, making him miss and long for Kroanette even more. . . .
At the front of this familiar group was the reptile girl and orc he saw back in Ashwood, as well as the lycan who accompanied them in Eston. And standing at the front, ahead of all these women, was a man, his expression one of utmost seriousness, like a statue sculpted to bear the harshest weather.
Knowing the tension wouldn't subside until something was said or done, Daniel stepped forward, for everyone's sake.
"Daniel!" Triska called out with concern, reaching out to stop him, but halted when her mate held up his hand, looking back at her and the others with a confident smile.
Reluctantly, they watched him walk toward the intruders, seeing all but the lone man tense as Daniel approached, their weapons at the ready. Halfway between the two groups, when he thought he covered enough space, Daniel stopped.
"Hello," he greeted politely. "You must be Daemon Warrick." Daemon neither confirmed nor denied it. His expression was completely unreadable. "My name is —"
"I know what your name is," Daemon said plainly. "Everyone in Eden knows who you are."
Daemon started forward, his bootsteps echoing off the polished marble floor. Their sound filled the massive hall as he approached Daniel before stopping six feet from him. Both men stood at exactly the same height.
"Daniel Sorres," Daemon stated with no inflection. "The man who slayed the Gemini single-handedly. An impressive feat."
Daniel couldn't tell if Daemon was being sarcastic or not. His voice was hard to read and his blue eyes were as cold as his posture. Looking behind Daemon, Daniel saw that the lycan, centaur, and Saffron had dropped their serious gazes and were, for whatever reason, staring a little more gently at him.
"So, Daemon," Daniel said calmly. "What brings you and your mates here to my family's home?"
Sasha and the other girls gave a little start at being addressed as such. Even Scay's quiet giggling ceased, her eyes taking on a questionable blink.
"They are not my mates," Daemon clarified.
"Do you want them to be?" Daniel asked, an eyebrow raised.
An entire five seconds passed in which Daemon said nothing to this, his girls all staring at him with hopeful or worried glances. His gaze hardened. "Never mind that."
"Wow, avoiding a simple question!" Clover called out from across the hall. Her snide tone reached every ear. "Yeah, that's a sign of an affectionate man. Those girls must be SOOOO lucky."
"Clover," Daniel said disapprovingly. "Manners."
"Take that back, elf!" Rulo shouted. Her voice echoed around the hall, causing Cindy and Snapper to cringe and Falla and Luna to duck fearfully behind Triska. The orc gripped her stone hammer and looked ready to charge along with the others. Clover, however, didn't back away. As if! Glaring, she drew back her bow with three arrows primed and ready to hit their mark. Her sharp eyes conveyed her threat clearly: "BRING IT!"
"Ladies," Daemon said, not sounding the least bit insulted. They all calmed at once, lowering their blades, claws, and explosives. Clover raised an eyebrow at the level of control this man's one word commanded. She lowered her bow, but kept her arrows set. "As for your first question," Daemon went on to Daniel, "I am here because you have something of mine."
"Oh?" Daniel replied, sounding genuinely puzzled. "Like what?"
"Don't play dumb, twig!" Rulo barked. Again, her gruff voice echoed off the caravan’s grand interior, sending fright into Cindy and Snapper. "We know it's here, and we're not leaving without it!"
"Give my master what he demands, human!" Sasha ordered, gripping her greatsword and ready to strike the human who gazed calmly back at her.
"Pardon me, you two," Daniel said calmly, "but there's no need to shout. This hall, as you both can see, is quite wide. We can all hear each other just fine."
"You trying to tell us what to do?" Rulo challenged, again in her loud, abrasive voice.
"Not at all, Miss," Daniel said with superb patience. "I'm simply asking if we could all speak with inside voices. You see, my daughter and one of my mates doesn't like it when people are loud, so, please, keep the volume steady." He smiled kindly. "Instead of shouting, let's all talk sensibly, like fellow beings of Eden."
Rulo blinked at this request. She looked as though nobody had ever spoken this reasonably to her before. Sasha, too, stared in surprise at this man's politeness.
"Now, as you were saying," Daniel said to Daemon, "I believe your 'friend,'" he glanced over to Sasha, "the one who called you 'master' demanded that I 'give you what you demand.' Well, Daemon, what do I have in my possession that belongs to you?"
"The fragment," Daemon answered. "The one you're keeping in this . . ." he gazed curiously around the enormous living space, "...caravan."
The two men stared at each other. Nobody spoke; Nobody breathed. There came no sound except from two sources: one, the elegant ticking of a grandfather clock; the other, the soft clicking of a curious youngling.
"Is that a baby swarm in that butterfly's arms?" Hollia asked Mika, both eyeing the small child with bewilderment. Snapper's golden eyes roamed over the newcomers, her brown antenna fidgeting slightly as though she could sense the conflict in the air. The baby then looked up to Falla, who brought Snapper closer to her chest as though afraid Hollia's and Mika's staring might hurt the little one.
"Well?" Daemon asked, a slight edge to his voice.
Daniel raised his eyebrows. "I'm sorry, but what is it you expect to happen?"
"Give me the fragment."
"No," said Daniel.
Sasha and the others glowered.
"Impudent fool," Forrus scorned.
Scay giggled madly. "Stab?"
"Not yet, Scay," said Tabitha, shaking her head.
"Aww, but I want to!" Scay pouted, before giving off a manic giggle.
"You won't hand over the fragment?" Daemon asked.
"I’m afraid," Daniel said steadily, "that I see no reason to comply with your demand."
"Then I'll MAKE you give it to me," he warned, gripping the handle of his sword. "Although, I would rather you comply willingly. From what I've heard about you, you go out of your way to prevent conflicts."
"You are correct, Daemon," Daniel nodded, again treating the man as though he weren't a threat. "As a human wishing to bring peace to humans and monsters, I openly despise violence and would rather nobody fight. However," Daniel stepped forward an inch and suddenly looked defiant, "I WILL fight if need be, whether with swords or seasoned debate. Seeing as you and your 'followers' — for want of a better word — are determined and brash enough to barge into someone's home without so much as a simple knock, you will hopefully understand why I cannot simply agree to your demand. You see, Daemon, breaking and entering is a not good way to make a first impression."
Daemon said nothing to this, but Daniel saw his brow furrow at the way he was being lectured, so he went on,
"However, you and these girls don't seem like Darker Ones to me, so I will permit you the benefit of the doubt. Would you kindly provide credible reason as to why I should give you the fragment? Could you, please, explain yourself and your reasons?"
Daemon continued to stare at Daniel, his poise absolutely still. He wasn't sure whether this man was making fun of him or being utterly serious in his request. He had never spoken to anyone who was this reasonable sounding yet also slightly challenging, like a stubborn but kind school teacher asking a shy student to contribute to class.
Deciding to humor him, Daemon replied, "Very well. I will provide you with a reason. Mika," he called out. All eyes turned to the sorceress, who stepped forward. She looked at Daniel with a neutral gaze.
"Hello, Mika," he greeted. "It's been a while. How have you and your sisters been?"
"Not good," she replied grimly. She turned her eye back to Daemon.
"Give this man our answer," he instructed.
Mika nodded, understanding exactly what her Sire wanted done. She raised her free hand, the one not holding her claymore, and snapped her fingers.
In the blink of an eye, a small flash of light appeared and Hollia vanished into thin air. Daniel, along with Triska and the others in his harem, stared in amazement at Mika's action, not sure at first what had happened. A second later. . . .
"Daniel!" Specca cried. She and the others gasped as Hollia reappeared right next to the two men. She was holding her spear in both hands and pointing its blade two inches from Daniel's throat.
"Surrender the fragment, human!" Hollia ordered. "Gemini slayer or not, I shall not allow a fool like you to mock my knight!"
"Hollia, please calm yourself," Daemon said, his eyes still set on Daniel. To his curiosity, though, Daniel craned his neck and looked at the centaur with a warm smile.
"So," he said, "YOU are Hollia. It's an honor to finally meet you."
Hollia squinted at this remark. "You know of me, human?"
"We've never met," Daniel answered, turning to face her and looking remarkably unafraid despite the spear tip now resting an inch from his chin. "But Kroanette has told me about you."
Hollia's fierce gaze faltered. "Kroanette?" Startled, but only for a second, she then demanded, "How do you know my sister?!"
"She's my mate." Glancing to his family, Daniel added, "Well, ONE of them, that is. But I assure you, me and the rest of us all love her completely, head to hoof."
For a single, stunned moment, Hollia's eyes were wide and motionless at this alarming statement. Her loosened grip nearly caused her spear to slip towards Daniel before she caught it. The next instant, her expression changed to one of great anger.
"How dare you insult me!" she snapped, her spear now a centimeter from Daniel's face. "Kroanette would NEVER choose a straggly commoner like yourself to pass on her noble lineage!"
"Straggly?!" Alyssa shouted in anger, her eyes glowing purple.
"Watch your tongue, Hollia, or I'll shoot it off!" Clover threatened, her arrows now pointed at the centaur, seriously disregarding that this was Kroanette's sister.
"Kroanette IS our mate! Leave Daniel alone, you big fat dumb liar!" Cindy called, sticking her tongue out.
"My sister," Hollia declared, "would never mate with you lowlifes!" Breathing heatedly, she glared at Daniel and went on, "How dare you speak of my sister with such lies! She is not a toy for you to selfishly play -"
"Uh, Hollia?" Mika spoke up. "Daniel's telling the truth."
All eyes turned to her. Hollia looked at her friend in disbelief.
"I met Daniel and his . . . mates before," she said, looking at the monsters who glared back at her, not forgetting their last encounter with Mika and her sisters. "Kroanette was among them. She has dark brown fur and black hair with a green ribbon, and carried a bullwhip. She also had two golden bracelets around her upper arms."
Hollia looked struck dumb.
"G-Golden bracelets?" Hollia remembered them. The day before her sister left Ruhelia, their mother had bestowed those magic repelling bracelets to her middle daughter. Hollia had watched with Maria as they were placed on Kroanette before she sprinted out of the palace, the sun's gleam off the golden gift being the last thing Hollia saw of Kroanette before she ran out of sight.
Speechless, she stared back at Daniel, not knowing how to react as he reached out and patted her hand still holding the spear to his head.
"It's an honor to meet you, sister-in-law," Daniel said gently.
Hollia gaped. "S-Sister-in-law?"
"I'm sorry Kroanette isn't here to see you. We've come to this part of Eden in search of her. If you'd like, me and my family will happily explain —"
"Enough!" Daemon's voice rang clear throughout the caravan. "Hollia, lower your spear." She did as her knight commanded, then trotted backwards to her comrades, not knowing what to think of the man who claimed to be mates with his sister, nor how she should feel about it.
Daemon stepped forth until only two feet separated him from Daniel. "You are exhausting my patience. I don't care if Hollia is your sister-in-law or what your relation is to her sister. I don't even care to learn how you managed to kill the Gemini on your own."
With a hard tug, he pulled out the Archlight's Blade. The white sword's steel rang throughout the hall; its runes glowed blue, the same blue that matched Daemon's cold stare.
"Hey!" Triska shouted in fury. She reached for the Hellfire's Edge and was a second away from unsheathing it before Daniel held up his hand again to stop her. "Daniel, he’s -"
"Triska, no! Just stay back for now, please!"
Her temper boiling, Triska reluctantly obeyed, but kept her fierce glare on Daemon, ready to strike the moment he tried anything. Star, too, bared her claws and teeth, ready to teleport and fight. Clover drew back her arrows again and aimed straight for Daemon, fury building at the nerve this man had to draw his blade on her mate.
"Give - me - the fragment, now," Daemon ordered coldly. "If you don't, I will take it by force."
Daniel's fists tightened. His expression now showed disappointment as well as irritation at Daemon's threat. "Is this really how you go about things, Daemon? Threatening to harm others in order to get what you want?"
"It's not my intention to harm anyone," Daemon said. "I have no grudge against you or your mates, but I have a duty, and I WILL see it carried out. That fragment is dangerous and you're refusing to hand it over peaceful."
"And YOU gave no reason as to why I should!" Daniel retorted. "You provided no explanation. You just had my sister-in-law point her spear in my face!"
From out of the corner, Hollia flinched again at the idea of being anyone's sister-in-law, a term scarcely known when it came to centaurs or, really, ANY monster in Eden.
For a few stressful moments, the two men stood at a stand-still, glaring at each other. It was clear to everyone in the hall that neither was about to back down.
"Daniel," Tabitha called out. Stepping forward, she said, "Just give Daemon what he wants. If you refuse, it's NOT going to end well. We've all seen what Daemon can do."
"Give my Lord what's his, fool!" Forrus said warningly, her sharp claws flexed. "You have no right to claim that fragment as yours!"
"As far as I can see, Miss," Daniel said sternly, not taking his eyes away from Daemon, "neither do any of you. You all have acted no better than bandits, and I will not tolerate such behavior!"
Daemon's glare intensified.
"Daniel, don't be stupid!" Tabitha insisted, her swords raised and ready. "You don't stand a chance against Daemon! You're not even armed!"
"How much gold would you be willing to bet on that, Tabitha?" Daniel asked.
Tabitha raised her eyebrows at this, clearly confused. The look in Daniel's eyes as he said this was dead-serious, and yet the neko could see no weapons anywhere on Daniel's person.
Saffron bared her teeth and pulled a bomb-rock from her bag, ready to set it alight and toss it in Daniel's direction.
"Listen to reason, human," Sasha stated firmly. "You have no idea what that fragment truly is."
"Actually, Miss," Daniel replied, "I do."
This pronouncement did nothing to quell the tension, but it seemed to keep everyone stationed upon their advance.
“I know what that fragment is and what it does," Daniel told Daemon.
"Do you now?" he said skeptically. Lowering his sword, he went on, "Then tell me. What exactly do you think that fragment will bring you? Riches? Power?"
"It's not me who will gain anything, Daemon. It will actually benefit another person. The one who it was made for."
Daemon's eyebrows furrowed.
"It's called the Key of Eden," Daniel went on. "There are eight of them in all." He paused. Then, giving it careful, considerable thought, he plunged on, "They open a seal . . . located two miles beneath a desert in Solhouasta."
For the first time, Daemon looked taken aback, as did Sasha and Rulo. Daniel's words had an earth-shattering impact upon the stoic warrior. The fact that he knew this much was nothing short of disturbing.
Triska stared from Daniel to Daemon. Perhaps it was the cambion part of her, but she could sense something powerful coming from the man standing feet away from her mate, something . . . not human. To her side, she saw Kitten squinting at Daemon as though examining something unseen. Something dreadful. . . .
Daemon's grip on the Archlight's Blade tightened, so hard that his knuckled cracked under his glove.
"I'm going to ask you a question," Daemon said darkly, his eyes holding no trace of calmness anymore. "Depending on your answer, I will either kill you where you stand or I will take the fragment from your broken, bloodied hands."
Daniel's eyebrows arched. His calmness started to wane as he sensed what was about to happen. In his mind, his mates and their stars started to light up.
Then, in the total silence, Daemon's question came. "What do you plan to do with the Key of Eden?"
Daniel and Daemon jerked their heads to the side. Sasha and the other girls whipped around. There, standing at the open doors, holding their staves, were Apoch and Astreal, looking to the intruders and two men with dull expressions.
Simultaneously, the sisters asked, "Will someone please explain why there's a minotaur standing outside?"
Sorry for the length. I hope you all enjoyed reading.