Saints of the Night Part One
This takes place a few months after the end of "X & The Single Gargoyle" Part VII. This is a tale from the Saga of Clan Caledon.
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN GARGOYLES. THEY BELONG TO DISNEY. I OWN ADRIENNE WESTFALL, GREER WYVERN, AND THE ELDER. I AM WRITING THIS FOR LOVE, NOT MONEY. PLEASE, DO NOT SUE.
When In Caledon
Saints Of The Night
Goliath Wyvern spread his dark wings wide to greet the night. He nonchalantly shook the clinging shards of stone skin away from his person. He let loose a loud yawn (most humans would have called it a roar) and leapt from his perch to find his beloved wife, Adrienne.
Adrienne Westfall -Wyvern, Goliath's wife and mate, was heavy with their first child. He knew that her time was soon and he wanted to be there for everything. He closed his eyes and reveled in their link, that sweet intimacy that neither presence or body conveyed. He felt something amiss with her tonight.
Cold, hard droplets of torrential rain pelted his tough hide. He watched dark, black storm clouds loom above him. They shrouded the sky in a darkness that covered the moon. He hated nights like these. By the sweet, heavy smell in the air, Goliath knew that something was amiss. Magick was afoot in Cair Ex Cathedra (roughly translated from Latin 'the Castle which is the seat of Authority). Lightning illuminated the dark, stormy sky. Shadows silhouetted across Goliath's chiseled features casting him in a sinister play of light and shadow.
He felt a strange sensation build behind his ribs. It felt at first as though Brooklyn's cooking disagreed with him. Then it intensified to a strong sense of discomfort. It deepened into a concentrated bolt of pain. The agony that burned through him caused the mighty gargoyle to fall to his knees with eyes aglow in horrible anguish.
"Jalapena! Adrienne!" He growled. He knew that the pain belonged to his beloved mate. He knew something was dreadfully wrong. He never before had felt such burning in his stomach as this gnawing agony. He felt their arc rip open with every wave of anguish that claimed him.
"Lad?" Hudson rushed to his leader's side clearly alarmed. "What is it? What's wrong?"
"Adrienne is in pain-" he gasped as another contraction tore through him. "I ... must get....to HHEEEEEEEEEEEER!" He roared as it gripped the proud gargoyle in it's insidious grip.
Angela rushed forward and kneeled beside her father. "Fox is with Adrienne, she's in labor and she's asking for you."
"I know..." He said raggedly. "I was hit with the most incredible wall of pain."
"Come, Father." Angela gently urged him. "Adrienne needs you."
Goliath bellowed in pain as another surge of agony as he attempted to rise to his feet. "Is it like this for you when you are with egg?"
"Not nearly so much." Angela reassured him. "A slight discomfort."
"She's so tiny compared our kind." He responded. "It must be tearing her apart."
He made his way through the replica of castle Wyvern supplied by David Xanatos. Goliath staggered as another wave of pain dropped him quickly to the stone floor. He heard a shrill scream in the room at the end of the hall.
He reached a taloned hand in the direction of the room. "Adrienne..."
"Father, you can't let her see you like this. You must compose yourself." Angela warned him. "She needs your strength."
"By the Dragon! It HURTS." He bellowed as he clutched his midsection. The mighty gargoyle leaned against the wall. His mighty talons penetrated the hard stone of the castle wall. His roar echoed along the sharp contours of the corridor.
A dark green Gargoyle came from the room. Like Goliath the had four small brow horns. She assumed the position of Elder within the clan. Her flawlessly coifed hair seemed rather disheveled. Her dark onyx eyes gleamed faintly. More than once, Adrienne had brought the observation to Goliath's attention of their almost identical resemblance.
"Sons and daughters belong to the entire clan." He told her.
"You told that to Angela once." She retorted. "Now, she calls you 'father.' You have a son named Darius who lives with the Mazas and is almost ready for Kindergarten. He calls you 'Daddy.' I think that old rules no longer apply."
"I will not give special treatment to members of my clan nor do I expect any." He said with a menacing growl.
"It's not special treatment to acknowledge members of your family." Adrienne retorted. "Clan, family...it's all the same. Blood is blood, Goliath. You promised to be my husband and to be father to our unborn child. I think that child has a right to some grandparents I can't give our child that. I came from a mad scientist's laboratory."
"Our clan is your family." Goliath soothed his agitated mate. "You are of our clan."
"Goliath, that is one of the greatest gifts you have given me." She framed his chiseled features in her hands. "Give that to our unborn child. There is no crime in giving that gift to yourself. Find out if the green Gargoyle is your mother."
"I will give it due consideration." He had promised her three months prior.
He looked at the verdant gargoyle and said nothing. He remembered his promise to Adrienne. He had yet to keep it. He had considered the options of determining whether or not this Elder Dame was indeed his... mother.
"Goliath," she offered him her arm and assisted him to his feet. "You feel your wife's contractions strongly?"
"Aye." He applied. "We are linked as one thought, one heart, one soul and being.....AHHHH!!!" He thundered as his talons gripped into the Dame's shoulder. His head fell back and his eyes closed as if attempting to block the pain.
"Can you block the link?" She asked.
"Indeed." He panted heavily. "But, I will not leave my wife alone in this. I promised her that I would be with her always. Take me to her."
"As you wish." The Elder used her strength to balance the lavender gargoyle. Goliath cloaked his wings around him in a black velvet cape. He wiped the sheen of perspiration from his brow. He breathed deeply to regain his center and then he nodded to her.
"I must tell you, Goliath, that it has not been an easy birth." She told him. "I have seen many human births as midwife to the Scottish court. She is birthing a babe neither wee nor gentle. I'll not have you raising her ire. We've already had one Dame run from the room screaming in sheer terror because your mate projected her terror. Fox is trying to work with her now."
"Where is the doctor?" Goliath growled. "Dr. Reyez is her physician. She should be here by now."
"Broke her leg on the journey here and she is unable to attend." The elder replied. "We are left with the hand of providence, a gargoyle midwife a millennium old and a rich man's wife who knows little of such things."
"I wish to be with her." Goliath grimaced as a wave of pain traveled through him. "Now."
"So mote it be." They entered the room. There upon the large four poster bed was Adrienne drenched in sweat. Fox held her hand as she told Adrienne to push.
Adrienne felt that resolve and inner strength flow through her. She turned to Goliath and in between pants she smiled. "You 're here. Thank God. I waited as long as I could."
"Take my hand, My Raven." He urged her. She gladly did so.
"I want to push." She said through gritted teeth. "It hurts..."
"PUSH." The Elder Gargoyle urged. Adrienne bore down with all her strength. A scream erupted from her as she attempted to eject the youngling from her cramping womb.
The pain coursed through her yet seemed almost bearable this time. She looked at Goliath and he sensed that his proximity seemed to relieve her distress. He opened the bond between them to it's full intensity. The gentle vortex of swirling hues danced around them as they traveled beyond space and time to that special place known only to them.
They stood atop the Xanatos building in New York City. The night sky gently glowed with the illumination of the neon night. Goliath stood before his wife and offered his embrace to her. Adrienne said nothing but walked forward and wrapped her arms around him. She felt his tail seductively slink around her waist as his wings protected her from the pain of the outside world.
"Do you remember, My Love?" He whispered deeply next to her ear. "It was, but, a year ago when I took you to this place. We spoke our heart's true feelings for one another for the first time."
"I do." She said brightly. "I remember it was the night I played that cheesy Ricky Martin song for you, 'Nobody Wants To Be Lonely.' I had no idea what was going to happen next."
"Now, we are here as mates and spouses." He purred. "One, always and forever."
'.....push...." The Dame's voice echoed faintly in the distance. "Just one more, Adrienne...."
Abruptly, the peace and serenity of the penthouse garden was replaced by the gray castle walls. As one mind, Goliath and Adrienne let for a roar in unison as she gave that final needed push. Goliath's blazed their golden light as Adrienne's flared in a similar fashion with lavender fire. She fell back against the sheets of the bed and Goliath fell to his knees beside her.
A loud wail filled the room. There was no mistaking the sound. It was a baby's cry. Adrienne found new strength and bolted upright. "Boy or girl?"
"A bonnie wee lassie." The elder replied merrily. She handed the wrapped babe to the new mother.
Adrienne closed her eyes. [What will my baby look like? Gargoyle...or human?]
She slowly opened her eyes to look at the little girl squirming and crying loudly. Her skin was the color of her mother's. Her eyes opened and were darker than Adrienne's. They were the same onyx gaze shared by Goliath. Adrienne quickly counted fingers and toes... ten of each. Ten with tiny talon-like claws on her fingers. She saw no wings or tail. Yet, the baby's eyes took on a fiery lavender glow. Four almost invisible brow horns crowned her forehead. The hair on her head was full, black, and curly.
"She seems to be the best of both." The Elder surmised. "She is clearly more human that Gargoyle."
The baby blinked once then twice. It looked not like a newborn babe helpless and vulnerable. While similar in size, this child looked closed to that of a two or three years old. She cocked her head at her mother and reached out to touch her brow. Goliath felt a strong pull into the slipstream of the empathic plane.
Back in the empathic realm floated the three of them. The daughter of the Wvyerns cradled securely in her mother's arms and protected by the shielding cloak of her father's wings. Goliath looked perplexed at this newfound connection he had both with wife and daughter.
"She's bonding with us as we have with each other." Adrienne explained. "She's an empath."
"Amazing." Goliath barely dared to breathed. "She's beautiful like her mother."
"What shall we name her?" Adrienne asked. "With all that's been going on, we never did discuss names."
"She is a blessing we thought never to have." Goliath rubbed his chin in contemplation. "I never thought that we'd have a child of our own to love."
"Same." Adrienne gently touched the nose of their daughter. "She is a unique and wonderful child."
"She should have an equally befitting name." Goliath mused .
"I think you should pick her first name, Goliath." Adrienne looked lovingly at her child. "I know that it's not a Gargoyle custom to name hatchlings, but, I think we can make an exception."
"I have been reading some of Angela's baby name books." Goliath brushed back a curly tendril from his daughter's brow.
"Then you should have the honors of selecting the first name.
"I agree." Goliath nodded. "So let it be that she shall be called Greer. "It means 'vigilant.'" His tone of voice indicated that he felt great contentment at that moment.
Greer Westfall-Wvyern." Adrienne sounded out the name slowly. "It's a long and lengthy name that some Romance author would saddle on her heroine. But, I have to admit I like it.
Should she not also have a middle name?" Goliath asked of his mate.
"That's usually the custom...but, it's not required."
"What shall her middle name be, My Raven?" Goliath noticed that his wife looked quite flushed from her ordeal.
"I think the name Justine is a fine one." She smiled stroking the baby's cheek.
"She shall have as many names as we can give her." Goliath promised. "I give you my word that she shall have heritage of family and clan behind her."
"Greer Justine Westfall-Wyvern." Adrienne recited it clearly and loudly. "It suits her. She is both vigilant and righteous."
For those few moments Goliath, Adrienne, and Greer basked in the love of their family. It was an experience that humbled the mighty Gargoyle. Now, he understood why humans bonded in this way. It was a connection that had a different flavor than that of clan ties.
"Will she walk soon?" Adrienne asked. "The Elder informed me that Hatchlings come into this world more advanced than human babes. Greer is the size of a newborn, but, she looks to be about two."
"Only time will tell, My Love." Goliath's deep voice caught as he saw mother and daughter looking at one another. "Will she turn to stone at Sunrise?"
"I don't know." Adrienne looked at the sky alive and vibrant with stars. "Will you hold her if she does."
"She will rest safely in my arms, Beloved, I promise you." He vowed.
The clan waited anxiously pacing about Cair Ex Cathedra. Their tails lashed, their wings twitched, they eyes glowed in anxiety as they waited for news of the newest addition to the clan. Hudson seemed the only one unaffected by the commotion commencing within the castle.
Finally, The verdant Elder approached several of them. She beckoned them closer to make the announcement. She waited patiently for them to be silent. "Rookery brothers and sisters, it is my pleasure to announce that at 9:59PM on April 14, Goliath and Adrienne welcome into this world a beautiful baby girl. They have named her Justice Greer Westfall-Wvyern.
"Why must she have so many names?" A young Gargoyle with blue skin and blonde hair asked the Elder. "Why is she considered part of the clan? She was born not hatched. It's not like she's a Gargoyle you know."
"That is enough of that." The Elder chided him severely. "This child is both of Goliath and Adrienne. Adrienne is a member of this clan. Their child is a member of this clan. It is a custom amongst human to identify one another with very specific forms of address because it marks their uniqueness in the world."
"We're unique." He countered. "Why don't we have names?"
"We don't need them." The Elder replied. "It is the human way."
"Elder, even elves have names." He countered. "We're unique. We've been raised from the dead. Why can't we mark our uniqueness and have names of our own?"
"You speak out of turn, lad." She said with glowing eyes and subtle growl. The young blue warrior stepped back once at her unspoken warning. "Still, you have struck upon truth; we are not the Gargoyles of old. It is no longer a world ruled by superstition and the sword. It is a world rule by a sorcery called technology."
She folded her hands together as she considered his words. She turned to him. "It is your task to gather sources on names, lad. You must pick one for yourself. Then you must share it with the clan and tell us why you chose that name. Hence you will be called as such thereafter."
"Yes, Elder!" He exclaimed excitedly. "I'll begin my project at once!"
The young blue Gargoyle rushed and hugged the Elder. She watched satisfied as she watched him scamper off into the night. She knew that his rebellious energy simply needed the right channel and project to demand it's attention. Choosing a name for himself provided him with an ample opportunity to harness that enthusiasm.
Goliath, Adrienne, Angela, Shani and Greer settled into a pleasant routine. Their evening began when Goliath, Adrienne and Shani would awaken from their stone sleep. They normal greeted each other and caught up on the recent happenings of the clan. Afterwards, they partook of Mahsma, the word Tacitus described as "first meal." They would study with others in the clan of their history from the Tome Of Tacitus.
They learned the word for themselves in their lost ancient tongue was DeMahri. Soon, they called themselves as such and referred to their language as DeMahr. They learned the written expression of this language and many of it's basic words. It was difficult for Adrienne because much of the book was written in Latin as well as Kiari. It was Goliath that translated much of what she read to him.
When they concluded their studies, the Wvyerns went for a nightly flight. They concluded chores and other business by midnight. By this time, Greer and Adrienne were usually exhausted and needed to rest. Greer often slept until morning while her mother napped for a few hours. Near sunrise, she and Goliath would discuss the clan's short-term goals and progress.
Days became weeks and the clan acclimated itself to the new world on the isolated haven of Caledon Isle. Xanatos visited regularly to see the progress the clan made in learning about the new world.
"I think that it's time that we brought in a young woman with a gift for languages." He suggested to Goliath.
"Why should we do that?" Goliath asked.
"Adrienne has her hands full with the baby and needs to recover from the exhaustion."
"Adrienne can rely upon the clan to help care for Shani and Greer." Goliath reminded him. "We all involve ourselves in their upbringing."
"Goliath, haven't you noticed that she's lost weight and that she has horrible circles under her eyes?" David couldn't believe that the Gargoyle missed such obvious signs of fatigue.
"I have seen no such thing." Goliath shook his head. "I only see Adrienne at night. She is usually preoccupied with teaching the others about this new world or seeing to Greer or taking care of Shani-" Goliath stopped as the list of his wife's activities grew. "You are right. She is overtaxed with too many responsibilities. What do you suggest?"
"I have a young woman working for me that is an expert in Linguistics and multi-cultural relations. Right now, she's wasting away in my research and development department. Owen found her by looking through employee resumes. She has quite the ear for learning languages and she's good with people."
"How would she take to seeing Gargoyles?" Goliath asked warily. "And we must consider how the clan will react to seeing strange humans."
"I think Greer is a very astute young lady that will charm the talons off of every Gargoyle here, even the Elder." Xanatos gave him a smile. At that remark, Goliath no longer resisted the urge to chuckle. It was well known that the Elder was a tad stodgy but whose heart had more gold than Fort Knox.
"What is this woman's name?"
"Her name is Wren Summers. She's a graduate of Star City University from the Linoma Bluffs Metroxplex in the Nebraska/ Iowa region. She carries a Bachelor of Science degree in Linguistics and carries a minor in Multi-Cultural Relations. It is also rumored that she attended summer classes at a certain elite school also attended by your wife."
"I will speak with the Elders and take this under consideration." Goliath nodded.
"You shall have my answer on the morrow." He promised Xanatos.
Wren Summers had worked at Xanatos Enterprises for almost three years as a glorified librarian and research for the multi-national company. Part of her job included some of the more 'unusual' researches she did for Owen Burnett. Recently, she had done research on archaic Blood Magick. Wren admitted that she reveled in her work. Not many places gave an opportunity such as this to the average researcher.
She had been approached by Mr. Xanatos himself a few days prior with a lucrative offer to transfer to his Scotland office. With her boyfriend recently killed in a motorcycle accident, Wren was ready for a change.
She recalled the conversation that she had with the charismatic CEO of XE (Xanatos Enterprises.) He had informed her that her fellow co-workers would be somewhat unorthodox.
"Have you ever encountered a Gargoyle, Ms. Summers?"
"No, I can't say that I have."
"Yet, you've come across references to them in your research for our company."
"Yes, Sir, on several occasions." She admitted. "I've also found that there are also some references made with them in context to one Warrior Scribe of Legend; Tacitus Septimus. Are you still interested in the Gargoyle Scrolls found beneath the ruins of Qumran?"
"Perhaps, but, that's for another time." David leaned back in his chair and folded his hands behind his head . "You realize of course, Ms. Summers, that this particular assignment requires the utmost confidentiality and discretion?"
His scrutinizing stare let it be known to the young woman that there would be Hell to pay if she were to ever speak of this to anyone outside the office. Those brown eyes seems to cut away at her without difficulty. Yet, she was tired of being everyone's lackey; everyone's gopher. So, she did something very uncharacteristic of herself. Wren leaned forward on Xanatos' desk and returned his gaze.
"Mr. Xanatos, if my integrity and reliability were in question, you never would have bothered conducting this interview in the first place."
"Touché." He nodded. If nothing else, this plain slip of a girl had spirit. Where she was going, she'd need it.
"All right then." She relaxed in her chair. "Let's get down to brass tacks. What is my true job assignment? What are my job duties?"
"Your assignment will be to be an executive assistant to Adrienne and Goliath Wyvern. They've recently welcomed another member to their clan and that requires most of their attention. Ms. Wyvern has graciously transcribed the Tome of Tacitus by hand so that mere mortals can read it."
"Mere mortals?" Wren said genuinely surprised by Xanatos' choice of words.
"The majority of your comrades are anything but human, Ms. Summers." David seemed to take satisfaction in her amazement. "You'll be dealing with mutants and Gargoyles. If you're uncomfortable with that, I completely understand. It wouldn't hurt your standing here at XE if you wished to remain in the R and D department-"
"No! I'm fascinated. Please continue."
"Are you sure that you can work with Mutants and Gargoyles?"
"If you didn't think I could, I wouldn't be sitting here with you, now would I ?" She counted.
"You are brazen, Ms. Summers, when you choose to be."
"No, I simply despise doublespeak and cryptic rhetoric." She answered. "You already think I can do the job. It's sounds like a wonderful opportunity. I'm your person for it."
"Hungry too." He surmised. She wasn't the plain little wallflower that Owen described to him. Straight medium brown hair that fell in a fashionable straight style just above her shoulders. Gold rimmed glasses framed hazel eyes. Clear skin, balanced features; pretty but nothing outstanding. Dressed in creme blouse and brown skirt, she seemed neither frumpy nor trendy... she was just there like a wall fixture of a piece of furniture.
Yet behind those wired frames and hazel eyes come a young woman with unexpected fire. She was somewhat abrupt. Yet, he liked that. He liked her loyalty even better. Most of all, Xanatos thought she'd be perfect for the job. She had spent one year of study after college at Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. Supposedly she had earned the rest of her minor in "Multi-cultural relations.' More likely, it was because she was born with a particular gene apparent only in less than one percent of the U.S. population of Two Hundred Seventy Million people.
"Mutants and Gargoyles, you were saying Sir?" That demure, reserved demeanor slipped effortlessly in place.
"You would be instructing them from the transcripts supplied by Ms. Wyvern." David explained. "Their culture, language and history have been lost for almost 2000 years. Tacitus Caeruleus wrote down everything for posterity. Now, it's time to reacquaint the Gargoyles... the DeMahri, as they are called in the Tome, with their ancestral traditions and roots."
"I see." She said trying to bring about a clearer image of this unusual job description.
"Learn the transcripts, become familiar with Gargoyle Psychology, and teach them about their lost heritage. That is the job, Ms. Summers." He leaned forward and studied her. "Owen says you love a challenges and that you are very good with people. The DeMahri aren't trustful of humans. So, I thought that a woman of your particular academic and genetic background might be useful."
"What do you mean?" Her eyes narrowed at his phrase 'genetic background.'
"You attended Xavier's Institute for Higher Learning for one year. I know Scott Summers well. I know what the school is about."
"Sir, first of all, I did attend the school. Secondly, while Scott is a senior faculty member, you must have made the assumption that he and I are related when, in fact, you couldn't be further from the truth. We share the same last name. And what do you mean by my 'genetic background?'"
"You are an Alpha class mutant, Ms. Summers." He revealed. "Your mutant talents lie in the areas of Hyper-Linguistics and Probability Manipulation. It is well known that you can speak with animals and they with you in return. It is common knowledge that you've were part of a team that created a national language called Gengnois for the inhabitants of Genosha. I also know based upon your transcripts that you have the ability to transfer your understanding of a language to anyone else."
"And that's why you think I'm perfect for the job." She shook her head. "This has nothing to do with my job performance."
"This has everything to do with your job performance." David corrected her. "Owen has assured me that you are quick, diligent, and efficient. Your work ethic is determined and your integrity is flawless. Scott has also reassured me that you keep a level head about you and your trustworthiness is impeccable. I've seen your work. While not carrying a 4.0 GPA, 3.79 is very respectable. I think you'll fit this job perfectly."
"That's all well and good." She was enraged the Institute had let loose private, perhaps, life-threatening information to a stranger. "But, I don't like everybody and their dog knowing about who I am and what I can do. I prefer to keep a low profile."
"Thus, the probability manipulation, better known as luck control." David smiled at the agitated young woman sitting across from him. She remained perfectly composed in her prim and modest persona. Her hands were neatly folded in her lap and her legs were crossed. Her face remained impassive. Yet, there was no denying the fire and the passion barely constrained beneath her unspectacular attire.
"You've done very well for yourself. In Los Vegas last year, you took home over $150,000 dollars in winnings. You've managed to win $25,000 in the New York Lotto in the past two years. You were late for your interview yet the person originally hired for your job suddenly took a more lucrative offer."
"I had nothing to do with that." She denied. "I don't use my pow-...talents to abuse others."
"This, I also know." David reassured her. "I thought that it's a very resourceful use of ...talent."
They discussed pay, benefits, and other options. She knew that this job gave her a chance to exercise her talents and abilities in a very subtle, understated venue. It was a lucrative agreement. She had heard of Adrienne Westfall-Wvyern. She had been a student after she had left. It would be nice to meet someone from Xavier's.
The private helicopter was flown by Xanatos himself. They said little during her flight from Edinburg to Caledon, yet, she felt her excitement brimming within. She looked down at the stormy North sea as they flew to Xanatos' private island. The choppy waters below them crested with whiteheads upon the waves. Lightning lit the sky nearby and the wind howled fiercely.
"Ah, it's good weather tonight." He chuckled to her.
"You must be joking." She muttered. [I hope they have something for sea sickness.]
They flew effortlessly through the storm. Finally, they landed on a landing pad near the coast of the island. When Wren stepped out, she nearly tripped over the stairs because of the sight that was there to greet her.
Owen Burnett led the entourage. She saw a woman with curly black hair she assumed to be Adrienne Westfall. She recognized Fox Xanatos. Then she saw a large lavender giant holding a baby beside the curly-haired woman. [Is that the one they call Goliath?]
She also saw a tall, statuesque woman with intricately braided black hair dressed in blue and green robes standing beside the lavender leviathan. However, what caught her eyes was the arresting individual standing next to her.
He must have been six or seven feet tall. He was broad-shouldered with sculpted muscles and a powerful presence. His thick hair flowed as a silver avalanche down his back. His skin resembled the polished darkness of hematite. It was black like the midnight sky. His Wings unfurled their entire length, monstrous in their batlike appearance. Between the struts, the skin appeared to be a dark plum or silver. He wore two armabands around his biceps. He wore gold arm bracers on his forearms. He wore a loincloth finely sewn and stitched of white material. Around each ankle, there was an anklet. Each pointed ear reminded her of the Mr. Spock. Wren giggled at the analogy. [Star Trek meets Gargoyles... no, it would never happen.]
His ears sported hand-crafted silver hoops. He smiled as their eyes met. His eyes were lavender and they glowed. His face should have belonged to any of the handsome actors gracing the movie screen. However, she couldn't quite acclimate herself to two perfect upward spiraling obsidian-hued horns that came from his forehead. They resembled those a gazelle. When he smiled at her, Wren thought she would faint. In each upper canine was embedded a small amethyst.
He was a gargoyle.
He was uncanny. He was fantastic. He was alien and exotic in a fearsome monstrous fashion. He was a cross between the devil, Michealangelo's David, an angel, and a Playgirl centerfold. [I think it's a safe bet that I'm going to enjoy my job here.]
The ebony incubus stepped forward to catch her as she nearly felt to the concrete beneath them. He gently lifted her to her feet and then he bowed. "Are you well, Milady?"
"I'm fine now." She said softly. "Thank you."
He nodded and returned to his place with the others. She watched as his unfurled wings flexed briefly and then draped themselves around him like a dark velvet gabardine. The Lavender Gargoyle stepped forward and also extended his hand to Wren.
"I am Goliath, clan leader." He motioned to the black haired woman beside him and to the small child at in her arms. "This is my mate Adrienne and our daughter, Greer."
"It is a pleasure to meet you." What else did one say at an event such as this?
He went on to introduce one of the clan Elders, Veda (pronounced Vay-duh) the green gargoyle that looked so much like him. The ebony one had no name as of yet.
"He shall be your escort and attaché while you aid us in our instruction of or rookery brothers and sisters." Goliath told Wren. "If you have any questions, he shall answer them. If you have need of anything, he shall procure it for you. He is your advisor and your protector."
"I'm not at risk am I?" Uncertainty crept through her.
"Not at all." He assured her. The massive gargoyle laid a surprisingly gentle hand on her shoulder. "However, much of the island is unexplored. Part of your job will be to study the topography of Caledon and he is one of my best lieutenants to aid you in your undertaking."
"So what's your name?" Wren asked tall, black, and sinfully gorgeous.
"I haven't a name as of yet." He answered. His voice was a deep, rich smoky voice that had just a slight hint of Scottish brogue. "However, the naming ceremony later this evening shall provide me with one."
"I don't understand." She answered as the group began walking to Cair Ex Cathedra.
"To better adjust to this new world, the council of Elders have encouraged us to pick names for ourselves."
"What have you picked?" She asked.
"Milady, I am at a loss." The ebony gargoyle seemed embarrassed. "I can neither read nor write. I have been unable to select a name from the writings available to the clan."
"But, I thought the gargoyles were being instructed in English." Wren never thought that the Gargoyles would also have to learn to read and write English.
"Aye." He mentioned. "But, too many other matters have captured my attentions until now. The naming ceremony is coming to pass and I am unable to participate because I have yet to choose a name."
They said goodbye to the others She suggested that the ebony gargoyle and she make a sidetrip to the Library. "So what time is the ceremony?"
"It is to be at stroke of midnight."
"That gives us almost three hours to find you a good name." She told him.
"You would help me find a name?" He asked. "You must be tired from your flight?"
"Look, I am, I'll be honest." She liked this Gargoyle's sincere demeanor. "But, this is obviously important to you. I've known you less than half an hour and you're perplexed at not having a name. We'll change that."
"I am most grateful, Milady."
"Don't be yet, I just might name you Elmer."
After searching though several books and other volumes, they both agreed on Demetrius. It meant 'lover of the earth.' Wren thought that it seemed to suit the beast standing beside her. He was a creature of almost mythological proportions so it made sense to give him a mythological name.
He looked at the human female and found her to be both a gifted scholar and a talented scribe. She knew her way around the library the same as he knew the walls and crevices of Cair Ex Cathedra. She single-mindedly pursued the project of his name until it's completion. Her tenacity seemed DeMahri in many respects.
"Lady Summers..." He began quietly. "I am your most humble servant. I am in your debt that I shall have a name before my clan before the end of this night."
"You're very welcome. I was happy to do it. And please, don't call me Lady Summers. My name is Wren."
"Wren?" He said her name slowly as if he were savoring chocolate for the first time. "Is it the same name applied to the songbird."
"Yes, it is." Wren thought she felt heat rising in her cheeks. "It's a family name. It belong to my mother's grandmother."
"It is charming." He smiled that perfect smile at her. "I would consider it an honor if you would stand with me before the elders at the Naming."
"Me?" Wren asked stunned. "You barely know me."
"We will come to know one another well." He assured her. "Already you have assisted me in a way that no other has done."
"I'd be honored." She was truly taken aback. According to Xanatos, Gargoyles were very distrustful of humans. Why should this one be any different? He had been destroyed by Viking hammer over a thousand years ago, and yet, he was asking her to a sacred ceremony only a few hours after their introduction.
"I sense your confusion." He cocked his head quizzically. "You are troubled?"
"No, Demetrius. Just thoroughly confused." Wren shrugged. "I thought your clan was destroyed by humans."
"Aye, milady, we were." He answered.
"I thought your clan had little reason to trust humans." She continued.
"That is true." Demtrious nodded. "However, you nor Adrienne are typical humans. Amongst your kind, are not you also hunted, persecuted, and despised?"
"What do you mean?" She asked. How much did the Gargoyle know?
"You are a Mu-tant?" He said the foreign word slowly to pronounce it correctly. "Are Mu-tants humans with fantastic abilities that cause others to hate and fear them?"
"Not all humans are prejudiced and not all mutants are saints." She told him. "Who told you I was a Mutant?"
"Xanatos told the clan before your arrival. He thought it best that a mutant be amongst our kind. He thought that there would be little unrest if another like Adrienne were amongst us."
"You can't trust all mutants either." She warned Demetrius. "Some are treacherous and evil. There's Magneto, Sabortooth, Sinister...just to name a few."
"But there is also your Charles Xavier, Adrienne Wvyern, and Jean Gray-Summers." He pointed out to her. "We are not beguiled hatchling taken in by soothing words and magnanimous gestures, Wren. We are not fools."
"I never thought you were."
"You see us childlike creatures in need of guidance, and you seek to save us from the known world and all it's evils." He folded his arms. "Yet, you find us bizarre and foreign to you. Give me but time, Wren Summers, and I will demonstrate that we are neither beasts nor monsters. We are not naïve creatures in need of a savior. I hope that as we come to know and understand your world that you will also come to know and understand us."
"I think I've been hoodwinked." Wren looked at the Gargoyle.
"Hoodwinked?" He asked innocently.
"Have you lied to me? Did you really need my help to find you a name or were you just playing along to have fun at my expense?"
"Nay, Lady! I find no pleasure at exploitation of another." He protested. "I wanted to better know your character and I truly was at a loss for a name. I thought it a fine way to better know one another while solving a dilemma."
Wren didn't sense any insincerity in Demetrius' strong voice. She watched his eyes glow faintly with their lavender light. He seemed truly distraught that she though him guilty of subterfuge. She figured out that this towering creature also had a large dose of pride.
"Demetrius, I just had to make sure." She told him. "Just as you had to make sure that I was all that I appeared to be. Let's let bygones be bygones. If the offer is still open, I'd love to attend the naming ceremony with you."
He offered her his arm. "It shall commence shortly. Let us go."
Wren watched in fascination as several Gargoyles stocked the fire. They all were different hues and colors. Some were scarlet while others were blue. Some had hair while others were bald. Some were small and diminutive as the one called Lexington while others loomed over the crowd like Cold Stone and Goliath. The females varied widely.
Wren noticed that most of the females of the clan were also warriors. Jewelry seemed to be abundant between both sexes. Most wore armbands, bracers or bracelets of some sort. A few had anklets and many wore earrings. Only Demetrius seemed to have gems embedded in his top fangs. Some preferred robes while others wore woolen loincloths. Two or three wore togas and several donned kilts. Most of the females seemed to wear their hair exceedingly long. A few wore modified foot coverings and ankle bindings.
[What do I expect? Tribal Drumming? Chanting? Dancing around the bonfire? This is definitely going to be interesting.] Wren mused.
She watched the Hudson, Veda, and an indigo-hued gargoyle named Angus step forward to meet the group of humans and Gargoyles.
Hudson cleared his throat. "Greetings, Rookery Brothers and sisters of Wvyern clan. Through this right of passage of Name , we bring forth our Rookery brother into a new world. With a name we are given new life as we were the night of our resurrection. This is a gift given to us without price.
Through a name, we affirm and uniquely mark our existence in this world. We endear ourselves to one another in close bonds that only names provide.
"Who presents this Gargoyle to be named?"
There was silence amongst the clan when Hudson posed the question. No one said a word or stepped forward to represent the ebony Gargoyle for his own naming ceremony. If they were such a clan, Wren thought wryly, why aren't they helping him now?
"I will present this Gargoyle for naming." She found the words coming from her mouth before she could stop them. There was an audible gasp from them as the stranger stepped forth to be only a few feet from Hudson. "Tell me what to do so that he can be properly named."
"What is yer name, Lass?" Hudson asked gently.
"I'm Wren Summers."
"Wren Summers, bring him forward."
She returned to the Gargoyle's side. He looked down at her and gave her a nod and a subtle smile. "Do you promise to instruct him in the ways of the clan and to guide him to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves? If ye do then answer, I do."
"I do." She promised.
"As a clan, do ye promise to guide and strengthen our rookery brother with love?"
"We do." The group recited in unison.
"Lad, step forward." Hudson motioned to the strapping ebony gargoyle. He stepped forward and bowed his head before him.
"What name have ye chosen?"
"I have chosen the name Demetrius." He said solemnly.
"And it's meaning?"
"It means lover of the earth. It is also the masculine derivative of Demeter who was the Greek Goddess of the Harvest."
"And ye can abide in this?"
"Aye, Hudson, I can." Demetrius replied.
"As Demetrius, will ye nurture yer clan and that by yer teaching and example that they may be guided to follow your example and to protect the castle with brave spirit and fierce heart?"
"Then Demetrius of Clan Wvyern, we rejoice to recognize you as such amongst ourselves. We bid thee welcome with yer new name. With you we renew our promised to you with our hearts, our minds, our talons, and wings, and our love. Demetrius, ye've embraced a new way for a new world. Ye'll be surrounded by adversity yet yer clan will surround you with stead fast love that shall endure as long as the mountain stone. So mote it be that ye shall forever be known as Demetrius."
Hudson laid his hands on the shoulders of the strapping warrior and turned him to face the crowd. There was an unanimous cheer that erupted from them and they were in a mood fore celebration. Demetrius nodded his silent thanks to Wren as several of his rookery brothers and sister carried him away for a night of ale, dancing, gliding and general merry making.
Wren knew that she was in for quite the experience. She was going to enjoy indoctrinating herself in the Culture of the DeMahri. So, Wren chose to join in the wine and song. Because, when in Caledon, Do as the they do. It was going to be a good night.
DeMahr (DEH-Mah-r) The Language of the Children of Stone
DeMahri (DEH-mah-ree) The Children Of Stone
Mahsma (Maws-maw) First Meal
Naming Ceremony: When one of the clan is presented before the Elders and takes a name. It is considered by several in the clan a form of rebirth. Some consider it a right-of-passage from the past to the present. Amongst humans, it is somewhat similar to a baptism.
If you have any questions about the story or any comments, please contact me at Denigoddess2001@aol.com.