Tangled Skein
by Akasha

Disclaimer: Erik, Xavier, and the X-Men belong to Marvel and are used without permission. Rhiannon, Eithne, and Shalidar belong to me. Oberon and Titania belong to the ages. I am not making any money from this, so it would be a huge waste of effort to sue me.

Author's Note: Let me just say up front, that I have serious reservations about posting this. The idea has hounded me for weeks; that I need to lay down some kind of foundation for the Eithne storyline. Erik and Rhiannon seemed like the perfect place to start; hence this little tale. The problem is that I'm not sure that I like it myself! At times I think that I hate it. And then, there are times when it really speaks to me. So, I am going out on a limb, and risking the wrath of my fellow writers. I suppose that makes me a glutton for punishment! But hey, the iguana seemed to like it. Again, this take place in a reality of my own creation. Continuity wise, it takes place sometime prior to Eithne's tragic demise.

Feedback, as always, is welcomed and thrived upon at akasha@mlec.net.

Sunrise. Arguably the most beautiful time of day in Shalidar; wouldn't you agree? I have always held a fondness for the newly dawning day. Everything is new again; like there is no past. My father always told me that the dawn has no memory; no past, no future. What I would give to be like the dawn; have no memory. I am sure that you, of all people, can understand that desire.

Titania has always preferred sunset; the dying of the day. She often stands here at this window; fascinated by the dwindling light. She, unlike me, has never feared death in any form. Has at times, held a morbid curiosity for it. Not me; not ever. Death has no place here; I will not allow it again.

Eithne has always prefered the night; always been a child of the moon. I think that it appeals to the secretive side of her. She gets it from her mother. Rhiannon loved the night. She would stand there in the courtyard below for hours, staring up at the moon. Twirling in large, lazy circles; her arms outstretched. Not me; not the night. It is too dark; too lonely.

As I said, I have always prefered the dawn. The light triumphant over the inky blackness. The pale pink light of the new day chasing away the shadows. And there are so many shadows now..... But that is not why you have come here, is it? Oh, I know why you are here; I don't have to be a mind-reader to know your motives. You have come seeking truth; the truth about who Eithne is; who her mother was. Odd that you should come here, when you could have gone to him; gone to the source. You were like brothers once, no? Ah, but that is the past. And this is now. And you have only me to tell that tale. Very well.

It was a long time ago; you must remember that. Or perhaps it was not so long ago as it seems. There are times when it seems like only yesterday that she was here. And then, there are times when it seems centuries have passed since I gazed upon her face. I know how long it has been; you do not have to remind me of the facts. She was my child, and I know the tally of every day that has crept by without her. But that is not the point, is it? You must forgive me if I ramble, the memories are so scattered; intertwined with the memories of a life so richly lived.

Now, as I said, it was a long time ago. Rhiannon was restless, unhappy. She was always restless; always felt confined by the boundaries of Shalidar. She wanted to see the world; see what life was like for mortals. Perhaps I felt for her; hated to see her unhappy. She was always my downfall. I was always prepared to give her the world. So, I had let her go. I knew that she would come back home; I refused to believe otherwise.

Shortly after her arrival in your world; she met Erik. She fell in love in the span of a heartbeat. He was so beautiful; so charming. That is what she told me. They spent three short months together. Three months. The blink of an eye, when you have a lifespan like ours; on that spans centuries. But she had never been happier; not in all the years that she had lived. He made her life complete; made her whole. He showed her a world that she had only dreamed about. And she loved him for that; would have given her soul to be with him always. Trust me when I say that it was a hard truth to swallow. That she, who had lived here, surrounded by beauty, should find such happiness there. But as I said, I would have given her anything; and I rejoiced in her happiness.

Then, as you now know, she discovered that she was pregnant. She was devastated. Not because she was carrying his child; but because she didn't know how to tell him the truth. The truth about who and what she was. You must understand, she had no idea about what he was. No knowledge of mutants. No way to know that he would have understood. He had kept the truth from her, perhaps to protect her; perhaps out of fear that it would drive her away. In the end, it was the lie that sealed her fate; and his. She took the only course of action that she thought she had. She came home; disappeared from his life, and your world.

We counted the days, Titania and I, until the children would arrive. We knew almost immediately that there would be twins; one boy and one girl. I chose the name Eithne myself. It means fiery. Very fitting wouldn't you agree? And Rhiannon, she was so happy. She would have a piece of him with her always. She was right about that. Gage looks just like his father; I know that now. Yes, I have met him. In recent months, when the truth was revealed to all of them. Eithne was the one who found him, sought him out; wanted to know him. The one willing to see him as something other than the monster, something other than Magneto. She was the one willing to see him as a man; not as a mutant, not as a villain. Something that even you seem unable to do as of late.

Yes, I have come to know him well; and to respect him. He often comes here, sits in that very chair; watches the sunrise with me. It is this place, it reminds him of her. I know that, because I feel the same. I can feel her here, and so can he. He loves her still; longs to see her face just one more time. She was the part of him that lived in the light; that turned away from the darkness within. He would give his soul to have her back; give his life for hers. Yes, he told me that; and I choose to believe him. He is my friend, and I have faith in his word.

He too prefers the dawn; yearns for the light. I think that he too longs to live like the dawn; with no memory. Longs to forget all that has transpired in his long life. We understand each other, understand the journey that each of us has taken to get here. But more than that, it is Rhiannon that binds us. She is the thread that binds all of us together in this web of life. Even in death, she holds our hearts in her hands. In each other, we have found a way to keep her memory alive. It is all that we have left of her; and we are unwilling to let it go. I sense in him a kindred spirit; and his presence here is welcomed always.

Well, that is that. The truth which you came here to find. No, that is not really the end of the story. But you will forgive me if I chose not to relive the death of my only daughter. She died, that is all you need to know. She died, and her children where raised by Taryn in the mortal world. Taryn? She is the love of Brishen, my only son. Odd that both of my children should fall in love with mortals. Yes, I realize that. But Brishen came back; and he lives. And Taryn stays there; although her place here is guaranteed. The children never knew the truth growing up. We chose to spare them that pain. Perhaps, in hindsight, it was the wrong choice. But a choice that we would make again, without hesitation.

That is all there is to tell, really. Perhaps now, you have a better understanding of Eithne. Perhaps now you understand that she is neither savior nor traitor. Not angel, not devil. Just a little girl lost, a young woman living by her own rules. A child of the moon, dancing in the night. The perfect balance of fairy and mortal; mother and father. Take care of her Charles, I can not bear another death.

Now, if you don't mind; I would prefer to be alone. This is my favorite part of the day, when for one fleeting moment I can live like the dawn; with no memory. No past, no future. The moment when the last of the shadows are banished by the light. So many shadows now......

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