Chapter 1 - "Overture"

The last chords of "Dead Winter Dead" echoed through the packed arena as the thousands of enraptured fans screamed and chanted their homage as a form of worship to the band finishing their third encore.  Zak Stevens, the lead singer of Savatage walked to the edge of the stage, blowing kisses to the crowd, and picked up a bouquet of purple roses thrown at his feet.  He walked over, and with a theatrical bow, handed it to the newest member of the band, the reason the band had found new inspiration in their older songs and the renewed energy to write new ones, the driving force behind the band's new- found popularity among the discriminate fans of rock - their new bass player and lyricist - known by fans of the band as  "Queen Karesia".

The stunning woman in the purple leather catsuit and the stiletto heels swung the electric bass over her lead like a lasso in tribute to her adoring fans chanting "KARESIA!  KARESIA!  KARESIA!"  With a her usual showmanship and flair for the theatrical side of the music, she took the purple roses from Zak, kissed each one and threw them back into the crowd in tribute.  The frenzied mob surged the stage, driven mad by a combination of adoration and lust, intent on making personal contact with their idol. as if her touch would provide some sort of blessing.   As the spectacle reached its zenith, security personnel rushed forward to give the band time to reach the escape of the limos waiting for them just outside the stage door.  Quickly and efficiently, the tour manager herded the band members into the limos for the trip to the hotel, serenaded by the wails of sirens and the flashing beacons of the police, clearing a path for the stretch limos through the adoring throngs of fans, pounding on the smoked glass separating the common man from the gods of rock and roll contained within.

On the right side of the stage, unseen by human eyes, the scene playing out was being observed by immortal eyes, the color of the chocolate produced a short distance away from the concert venue, in Ghirardelli Square.   He had lost her, perhaps this time for good, to the worship of a new sect of believers that he could not control, and his inner being was tortured with the odd combination of remorse and longing that seeing her again, in this, her element, had produced within his soul.  She was more beautiful than ever and her violet eyes shot sparks of light at the crowd as she became one with her bass to the roars of appreciation of the crowd, ever urging her on to virtuosity.  She had found her home on the stage and had fulfilled her wildest dreams by becoming a part of the renaissance of the band that she had followed and loved for years.  Little did she know that the unfortunate accident of the former bass player in the band and the subsequent discovery of her talents by the band's manager had been carefully orchestrated by this immortal as his gift to her.  He could not bear to see her special musical talents go unrecognized and unappreciated when it caused her so much agony and frustration.  So he had done this for her in love, never realizing what a hollow it would cause within himself when she became a part of the band and her fame compelled her to leave him for her new life.  Her absence from his own life left a dark void within him that no amount of beautiful women and casual affairs could fill and he surprised even himself at his longing for her to return.  If only he had her to himself again, that he had never caused this to happen.  If only he had listened to the Fates when they warned him not to interfere and change her destiny, even to make her happy as she obviously was in this new life.  For the first time in his immortal life, Ares was filled with remorse at something that he had moved heaven and earth to make happen. His greatest plan had sadly gone awry in ways that even he could not have anticipated.  She was gone from him, and he would have to break the rules of the gods to correct that.  But the risk of retribution at the hands of the others gods who despised him was far less frightening to the Dark God of War than the prospect of a bleak, never-ending existence without the woman he loved at his side.  He was willing to take the risk to get her back.

Karesia flung herself into the middle of the backseat of the waiting limo and grabbed one of the soft white towels placed there to wipe the sweat from her face.  The adrenaline rush of the performance was coursing through her veins, pushing her senses to overload, as the tires of the limo squealed as it tore away from the stage door.  All at once the concert high reached its peak, flooding her with incredible emotions: intense satisfaction of the appreciation of the hysterically ardent fans, pride in the fact that she knew that she had given them her all, and a rush more potent than any she had ever known before.  But along with all of these, she felt a bit of melancholy, as well - he, whom she loved more than life, was not with her to experience her triumph.  There would be no comforting arms to snuggle up into when she reached the hotel, no one stroking her hair in silent adoration, no one holding her throughout the night if that insecure little girl replaced the confident woman on the stage.  There would be no dark prince to protect her from her own insecurities and demons of the nightworld. She had made her choice when fame called her and she would have to savor her moment of triumph in the loneliness and sterility of just another hotel room -alone in the night.  Little did she know that he was always with her - watching, waiting, protecting her from the evils of her new world, just as he had always done from the beginning.

She desperately missed his scent, the pervasive scent of musk intermingled with the faint remnants of the cologne he wore just to please her -Polo.  He knew it drove her to distraction when she slept against his hard chest after they were both satiated for the moment.  She knew the effort he put into pleasing her wild desire in their moments of passion.  Never before had this god cared about anything or anyone other than his own pleasure.  But he derived more pleasure from the act of pleasing her than from his own usual selfish satisfaction.  Never before had either of them been driven to such extremes of emotion by any other being.  They were both complex and passionate, unwilling to completely surrender their usual emotional control to another - until they had come together with a combination of passion and deep feeling that both frightened and astonished them.   They had been destined to be together for all time and they were now apart, like recently separated conjoined twins still feeling the other's anguish, searching the world desperately for their missing mirror half.

He missed her softness and warmth, curled around him like the blanket of unconditional love that she was to him.  Bringing to the forefront of his mind that there was something in him worthy of her pure love.  His time with her had wiped out all those years of feeling unloved and abandoned by his unresponsive parents - a pervasive feeling of unworthiness and vulnerability rooted in his unhappy childhood and covered in adulthood by a thin veneer of ruthless and callous behavior. But she had seen through that veneer and had discovered the man beneath the godhood and had nurtured the ability to love in him.   His world had changed because of the joy she had given him and he wanted her to experience pure and unadulterated joy in return in the pursuit of her dream.  But never had he anticipated that by giving her this gift, he would change the nature of the relationship between them as cruel payment for his interference in the realm of the Fates.

Chapter 2 - "Crescendo"

Karesia stood on the balcony of the hotel suite, looking out over the twinkling lights of the city below, letting her senses soak in the warm salt breeze ruffling her hair and the sounds of the city life beneath.  Tonight in her triumph, she was the queen of all she surveyed, the ruler of her own realm.  Her adoring fans lovingly referred to her as "The Queen of the Known World", but in spite of all the love and adoration that was bestowed on her by the masses, she felt more alone than she ever had in her life.  No amount of glowing concert reviews or ardent fans could fill the emptiness within her soul.   Only Ares could do that - reclaim that part of her that had been missing since they parted.

The ocean breeze caressing her body began to intensify in strength and Karesia could smell the rain that it was bringing to the land.  She watch for a few minutes as dark, ominous thunderheads began to pile up and block the light of the moon and stars - a storm was brewing and there were flashes of approaching lightning. ** Damn!  I hate storms when I'm alone.  Maybe I can get to sleep before it starts,** she thought to herself.  With a last look around her domain, she stepped back into the suite and pulled the French doors closed behind her.  The interior was dark, illuminated only by the flames from the scented candles she had lighted to help her relax.  With a grin, she popped the wrapped chocolate on the pillow of the bed into her mouth and snuggled between the satin sheets and coverlet.  Within minutes, sleep overcame her racing mind and dreams overtook her.

His presence undetected by design, Ares stood just inside the glass doors to the balcony, watching the storm outside turn the sky into a lightshow.  The rain beat in sheets against the glass and the  skyfire cast a supernatural glow into the room, painting blue flashes on the walls.  Spectacular bursts of light were followed by intense peals of angry thunder.  **Zeus and Hera must be having one hell of a fight tonight,** he mused to himself with a smile.  He knew that Karesia hated storms, but as he turned to look at her, he was struck by the peaceful beauty with which she slept, the flashes of light showcasing her creamy skin and auburn hair.  He stood for the longest time, unable to move or tear his eyes away from her sleeping form.

As the energy of the storm outside increased, it must have connected to some primordial fear within her for she began to toss and jerk in response to the booms of thunder so close to this sanitary.  Ares quickly strode over to the bed where she lay, and sat down beside her, enveloping her small hand in his large one to quiet her.  He never intended to show himself to her, as had been his bargain with the Fates, to stay on the periphery of her life only, never letting her know that he remained with her.  At the instant of his touch, that promise was broken.  Just as Karesia opened her eyes to behold him, a huge blast of blue lightning ripped across the balcony, striking a potted tree on the far side of the terrace.  The blast flung open the balcony doors like an explosion, shattering the glass panes with the force.  Still half in the netherworld of dreams, a terrified Karesia sat bolt upright in the bed, screaming his name into the chaos.."ARES!"

Hearing her cry out for him in the darkness, beseeching him to come to her drove through him like the warhead on an iron tipped spear.  Suddenly all the rules set forth in his deal with the Fates, all the promises he had made never to interfere in her new life were tossed aside and broken like the shards of the window panes of the French doors.  His only thought was of making her feel safe and protected as he had always done and he pulled her to him.  At once, he became visible to her as he had promised he never would again.  Those promises didn't matter at all to him now as he cradled her trembling body against the warm hardness of his chest.  She clung desperately to him, not caring how or why he had suddenly come to her, just grateful for his comfort. His hands stroked her silky hair as he murmured to her, kissing her forehead, her eyelids, and her cheeks, using his tongue to lap away her tears.  She didn't care if this was an illusion placed in her mind in a cruel dream or if it was real, all that mattered was that he was here with her.  The past longing for him melted away as the heat between them increased.  He continued to kiss every inch of her face until he found the familiarity of her sweet mouth and she greedily sought the tongue that he slipped between her soft, lush lips, probing, penetrating and filling them both with that old familiar passion that rose once again.  Her hands tangled in the curls of his midnight black hair, drawing him ever deeper into her mouth, filling him with her sweet eagerness.  Her lips were aflame with his kisses and the heat they generated spread down her body as he gently nipped her sensitive earlobes and followed the path of the heat of her body down the hollow of her throat.  As his tongue did its magic as he nipped and sucked, her hands released the silver-studded leather vest from his broad shoulders and she traced the outlines of his massively muscled arms by raking them with her long scarlet fingernails.  Her probing hands ran through the dark mat of hair on his hard chest and he growled as she bent to run her tongue over his breastbone and in circles over his nipples.  His hands sought the fullness of her breasts and finding the obstacle of her nightgown in his path, he ripped away the black lace with a feral growl.  As she circled his nipples with her scorching tongue, his own tongue mimicked her actions on her rosy nipples.  She inhaled his sweet scent, ever more aroused and astonished to find that he still wore the Polo that drove her wild.  The scent drove her to new heights of desire and she clawed and sucked his nipples even more ferociously as he sweetly tortured her with the heat of his own passion, her own nipples now erect and as engorged as the fierce erection that strained against his leather pants, begging for her touch.

She forcefully pushed him back on the bed, squeezing his hard nipples with the tips of her fingers, letting her sharp nails rake down the trail of dark hair that disappeared into the top of his pants.  The sight of her long scarlet nails clawing his flesh, raising small scratches on his skin nearly drove him over the edge and he stiffened his back and thrust his hips upward, screaming with the sensations of pleasure and pain that drove him nearly mad with intensity.  She slipped her hand inside his pants and took his hard cock in her hand.  With her free hand, she quickly unlaced the crotch of the leathers and freed his erection as he moaned and writhed uncontrollably in pleasure. In all their times together, she never tired of the sight of his magnificent erect cock, glistening at the swollen tip, engorged and calling to her for the relief that only she could provide.  His erect maleness called to her like a beacon in the darkness and the flashes of lightning bouncing off the walls merely served to illuminate the size of his shaft.  She no longer was afraid of the storm, the flashes of light and the ozone-charged air only served as a backdrop to heighten the intensity of their passion -a simile for the pent up passion within them, released with as much energy as the storm that raged outside.

Impatient with Karesia's deliberate teasing, Ares dematerialized his constricting pants.  His hands guided Karesia insistently to his swollen cock, imploring her by touch to take him into her mouth.  She needed no encouragement as she wanted nothing more than to feel him inside her - to taste the spicy salt of his essence, to explore the white heat of his cock with her circling tongue, to bury her nose in the unique musk of his heavy balls.  As he plunged into her mouth with as much as she could manage, given his size, he began to thrust involuntarily, his hips arched forward, his head thrown back in cries of ecstasy, his eyes aware of any sight but her.  Slowly, deliberately she used her skilled tongue and fingers to play on his passion like the talent given to her by the gods to wring wondrous music from her bass.  In the same way that her passionate nature had manifested itself in her music, her passion for Ares drove Karesia to bring him the pleasure that had been lacking in his life since her departure.

In the throes of his rapture, Ares' hand sought the place within Karesia that was his alone, the wet sweet portal to her soul.  Pushing aside the lace panties that she wore, his fingers stroked the hot wetness, moving in slow circles upon her engorged clitoris, rolling the pink nub between his sword- callused fingers until she writhed in pleasure at his touch.  Her guttural moans nearly caused him to lose control and seek his release as she called his name, begging him not to stop.  Regaining control at the last minute, he heard her whimper in disappointment as he brought her to the edge of orgasm, only to bring her back down from the edge again.  "No, my love….I want to come inside you this first time."  He whispered in that voice, deepened even more than usual by his ardor.

With that, his strong arms lifted her onto him until she straddled him.  With a swift and deliberate movement that excited and intensified her desire for him even more, he ripped away the red velvet bows holding the black lace panties that she wore.  Slowly he lowered her onto him, never taking his eyes away from her lovely, radiant face as he watched the play of her emotions there.  Her wet heat surrounded him as he thrust upward into her, bridging the gap that had separated their souls for so long.  As he held her hips against him, setting the rhythm, she leaned forward, flicking his nipples with her tongue, running her nails down his flat stomach, tracing the grooves there, and moving in slow strokes down the base of his shaft, along the bulging surface veins, to rake his balls as he moved in her.  She ground her mound into him seeking the full measure of pleasure from each deep stroke that he gave her.  His movements caused her nearly unbearable pleasure and sweet torture at the same time, and she urged him on to a faster pace with her own thrusts.  The music playing between their two hearts reached a crescendo just when neither of them thought it possible to bear anymore without release.  In one graceful yet powerful movement,  Ares pulled her forward onto his chest and enveloped her in his muscular arms, rolling her onto her back.  She clung to him desperately, afraid that he would stop, but as he resumed his powerful thrusting, she squeezed his muscular back muscles with her hands in time to his rhythm.  Her long supple legs wound around his slim waist, drawing him ever deeper inside her.  As he thrust deeper into her, his tongue once again found her mouth.  He balanced his weight on his elbows to avoid pinning her beneath him and giving her the freedom to match his thrusts for maximum pleasure.  Her hands were again drawn to the mass of black curls hanging in his eyes and she used her fingers to push the mussed strands out of his eyes and to guide his tongue to the most sensitive spots in her mouth.

Together they climaxed, riding wave upon wave of orgasm, more intense than either had ever known, centering them both on their shared pleasure.  Each screamed in unison as the first waves broke over them - "ARES!!  I love you…." "KARESIA!!! I need you..don't ever leave me…"  And so that hollow spot within each of them was filled with their love for each other, rediscovered in the storm raging beyond the doors.

Chapter 3 - "Coda"

The storm had spent its energy and the pouring rain and howling winds had calmed to a gentle pattering of droplets against the pools of water that had collected on the terrace.  The lightening paled to a few left over flashes in the distance as the shattered patio doors swung back and forth on their creaking hinges and the felled potted tree lay smoking on the remains of its crockery urn.  They lay together in the aftermath of the storm, still uncertain of what damage the dawn's light would shed on their relationship. They clung to each other, never wanting the sun to rise or this stolen time together to end.  The calm after the storm enveloped them fully, cocooned against the reality invading back into their lives in this moment of complete fulfillment and utter bliss.  Neither spoke or tried to rationalize what had occurred or what consequences it would inevitably bring.  It was enough just to hold each other.  Karesia's head was pillowed against Ares' chest as she listened to the familiar beat of his heart and reassured herself that this was indeed not a dream and that he was actually here with her.  Ares held her close, afraid to let her leave the sanctuary of his arms, afraid that somehow would break the spell and she would be gone once again.  Dawn began to break over the horizon outside, sending the first pink rays of the approaching day into the room.  Ares lifted her face to his, brushing an errant strand of her hair from her eyes.  She looked into his soul through his chocolate brown eyes and simply said "What now?"

Gently he laid his finger on her full lips and whispered in his deep voice "Shhhh!  Right now there is only you and only this moment.  That may have to do for us.  I can't ask you to give up your life to be with me, even though I would drop to my knees to beg you to do just that if I could have you beside me once again.  Your fans in your world call you "The Queen of the Known World", but you will always be the Empress of my Heart, no matter what world you chose to exist in." A tear welled in his eye and rolled down his cheek.

Suddenly Karesia's eyes lighted with a violet fire and she sat up.  "Ares….We can have it all!  We can be together without me giving up my life.  I've lived in your world…now come and live in mine.  The band begins a world tour tomorrow.  Come with me and experience this world of mine.  Let me live out my fantasies without losing you again.  Give us this time together and when the tour is over, we can make a more permanent decision about whose world we'll live in.  It doesn't matter to me as long as we are together.  Please Ares…come with me."

The Dark God raised his eyebrow in amusement and chuckled softly as he drew her to him in a soft kiss.  "Just one question, my love…. Where do I get a pair of those tight black jeans?"

The End......or is it just the beginning?