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When we left Avalon, we discovered that, in Tom's words, Avalon takes you "where you need to be." We had quite a few adventures before we ended up back in New York, traveling over most of the world and reaching every continent except Antarctica. It was also incredibly awkward at first. I knew Angela was Goliath's daughter, and he knew, but she didn't. I'd agreed to keep quiet at Goliath's request, though I was not entirely happy with it. But considering part of the events of Avalon had involved fighting her own (brainwashed) mother, it definitely wasn't the time. I'd also carefully avoided any particulars about my own history, speaking even less of it than the half-lie we had told Tom, lest we complicate things further. I knew, however, she would eventually have to be told. If Angela was going to come back with us, be a member of the Clan, she deserved to know the truth. I also knew that neither of these issues were things that could be danced around for long.

As usual, matters forced our hand. After traveling first to Wyvern Hill (where we'd done a bit of ghost-busting) and then to Queen Florence Island (where we met two of the Children of Oberon), we'd ended up back in Scotland, near Loch Ness. There, we'd kept Sevarius and Xanatos's goon squad from exploiting the Loch Ness Monsters. Yeah, that's right; they're real. But during that whole adventure, Sevarius had gotten his hands on Angela and had done DNA testing on her. Since he'd previous cloned Goliath to create Thailog, he had a sample to compare and discovered for himself that she was Goliath's daughter. Worse, he revealed this information to her. At the time, we didn't know this, but by the time we were ready to leave, I could tell something was on her mind. Broodiness, apparently, is a family trait.

"Penny for your thoughts, Angela?" I asked when we were underway.

She gave me a curious look. "What's on your mind?" I amended.

She drew in a breath. "That man, Sevarius, he said that Goliath was my father." She looked over at him. "Is this true?"

I looked over at Goliath myself, and though his expression did not change, I could sense the storm cloud of emotions gathering in his thoughts. He, like I, had surely known that this day was coming, but was not prepared for it to have come so soon.

"Biologically speaking," he began, "yes. But you have... had many Rookery Parents. You and all your brothers and sisters are my children."

It was not a lie. And I knew from my earlier conversation with Goliath that it was true to his upbringing and thought processes. I had always known that Goliath and the others were not human, of course, but they were so like us in so many other ways that it made this a stark reminder of just how different Gargoyles could be. That conversation still hung heavily in my mind, as it must have for him as well.

Angela gave this some thought. Even though she had been raised by humans, they had used what knowledge they had to raise her and her Rookery Siblings as Gargoyles as best they could, including the same idea of communal parenting. But finding her father had to be a game-changer. She looked over at me. "I must know though, if Goliath is my father, then, Elisa... you are my mother?"

I'm not an easy woman to surprise, but I think I about fell out of the boat. "What?" I asked, involuntarily.

"You are clearly Goliath's mate," she said, and I felt my cheeks darken, "so it makes sense that..." She looked away. "I am sorry. I presumed too much. I don't know what I was thinking; I knew you were of a different Clan."

"Don't be," I managed. "It was still kind of the logical assumption. But no, I'm not your mother, Angela, not even one of your Rookery Parents. That's just... it's not possible. And Goliath and I aren't mates." Yet. That was something else that we would one day have to talk about. Taking that last final step. Going forward in a whole new way.

I probably could have handled that better. If the poor girl wasn't confused enough already, she really was now. "I don't understand."

"It's a long story," I said.

We'd already spoken some of the history of the Clan, but it had been light on the details. Now, we told her almost everything. For now, and by silent mutual agreement, we did not reveal that Demona had once been Angela's mate, simply saying that Goliath had lost his former mate long ago. True enough, in a Darth Vadery sort of way, and Angela had enough to go through without learning her mother was a Grade-A psychopath. She'd find that out too soon for my tastes anyway.

I also spoke openly of my own history. That I wasn't a born-Gargoyle, and how I had come to be one. It felt... good, in its own way, to come clean about it. The truth would be the start of building bonds with the girl who would one day become my stepdaughter.

"It almost defies belief," Angela said when we'd finished. "You are a most remarkable woman, Elisa, for either a human or a Gargoyle."

"Just stubborn," I insisted.

The issues raised that trip would not lay dormant for long. Angela would, time and time again, attempt to reach out and forge a stronger daughter-father connection with Goliath, trying to get him to truly acknowledge her as such, and he would refuse, saying he could not give her any special treatment. And I was dumb enough to get in the middle of it, once even calling him a stubborn brute who was refusing his own flesh and blood's cries for attention; he even once said that he did not expect a human to understand. He hadn't meant it to hurt, but it had. The two of us didn't and don't always see eye to eye, but this was one of the few times where we'd really been fighting. Not a lot of fun.

Eventually, Goliath relented some when Angela learned that Demona was her mother. That he'd also been working up the nerve to "propose" probably helped matters. We'd fought more than ever before during all of this, but it had also helped us both to realize what we really wanted. And today, Goliath and Angela are quite close. As for me? Well, I think I do a pretty good job as the stepmother.


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Elisa Maza

February 2011

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