By: Niamhgold at email@example.com
Okay, this is where things start to get sticky. Everyone knows that
Demona is one of the most complex characters of the show and everyone has
their own view on whether she reforms or not. Me? Well, I haven't decided.
But it has become clear to me that there is something about Demona that made
her cold before the massacre. And the Archmage seems to be one of the biggest
factors in this. Demona didn't trust the humans in Long Way 'Til Morning,
or in 994 A.D. Therefore, the object of my story is:
Why does Demona hate humans so much, anyway?
You'll learn some about the Archmage, some about the Magus, and the
younger versions of Hudson, Goliath, and Demona. Not to mention that the
other half of this story is based in present day, with everyone from
our favorite clan and detective to Lingstrum Bailey. You should read pretty
much all of my past fics to fully understand what's going on, or else you
might get lost. Also, if you notice, I used the same enslavement spell that
Demona used on Goliath in "Temptation" in here...
I hope the ending is as touching as I hoped it would be.
DISCLAIMER: Gargoyles ain't mine, never was mine, nor will it ever
be mine. All associated characters and shows are also not mine, and I am
not making any money (lettuce, dinero, dough, cash, greenbacks, moola) off
of this. All other characters are mine and please do not use without my
WARNING: If you read this, you MUST SEND E-MAIL! I didn't get one after
the last story and I would hate to see that you haven't learned from Scott
Mercure! PLEASE respond, whether it's a brief sentence message or a paragraph,
I don't care. Just send something!
Also, Mature Situations
PREVIOUSLY, ON __GARGOYLES__
Archmage: "You must steal the Phoenix Gate from the Princess and bring
it to me!"
Young Demona: "As you wish, Archmage."
Archmage (hitting Demona with magical fire): "I will tell the Prince
that you stole the Gate!"
Young Hudson: "And why would ye suspect this child of stealing anything
from the Prince? And if she had, precisely who would she have been stealing
Archmage: "I will not forget this!"
____*** VOWS ***____
Hakon: "The ancient magic is strongest here."
Captain of the Guard (pointing at the stonework with the glowing
hieroglyphics): "The magic will drain youir life force, and replenish ouirs!"
Hakon: "You've broken the light of power, you fool!"
____*** SHADOWS OF THE PAST ***____
"Anton! Don't fight me!" Demona jumped down from the stairwell above
him, cutting off his escape route. She thrust an ornate pendant in his face.
"Here! A token of my love; accept it, I beg of you!"
She came at him with such desperateness that Sevarius just grabbed the
necklace and stuck it in his pocket.
____*** STEALING MY HEART ***____
Hudson: "Lad, what do ye want?"
Lexington: "Well, last night I logged onto this really cool website
and they were having this contest for this new laptop that comes complete with
a Snappy, modem, stereo hookup, CD Rom, but the best part is that the grand
prize winner also gets to author a weekly column on the site--"
Hudson: "Breathe, lad!"
Lexington: "--Oh, right! I can only win it by designing their new
web page and the deadline is tomorrow."
___*** CROSS OF GOLD ***____
Elisa: "Is that what you think happened with Demona?"
Goliath: "Perhaps, perhaps not. Even back then there were signs of her
hatred toward humanity, her distrust of the Prince and the human guards."
Angela: "I told you that a mate was something I would _chose_, with
time, when I was ready, and that I was not a prize to be won! You two have
learned nothing since Brode!"
Broadway: "But, Angela..."
Angela: "Do not try to win me over again! Last time, this fighting
almost got Elisa killed. This time, _I_ almost got killed. Until you realize
that this clan can only stand together, I will not give either of you the
attention that you think can only be gained by breaking it apart!"
____*** AS THE SUN SETS ***____
"And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming.
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted--nevermore!"
--Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven"
And now I present (It just gets better!)...
"You blasted fool!" she screamed into the phone, her taloned
foot kicking at the base of her bureau. Several long-collected talismans
fell from it. One pinkish bottle of liquid shattered, soaking the carpet.
But Demona didn't care.
"Imbecile! First you steal the damn piece from me, then you lose
it! I swear, for all that pitiful intelligence you harbor, you make up for
it in your lack of common sense!"
*"In all fairness," Sevarius's chiding voice replied. "You gave it to
me on Valentine's..."*
Demona lashed out again, this time her tail dislodging a glass lamp.
"Do not lie to me, Sevarius! I would remember if I gave you the damn necklace."
She tried to make her face feel less hot. "You can only pray that you make
up for your blundering during our next project!!!!!"
*"I...of course. Speaking of which, Mr. B. left a message at the
office, asking if he could have that meeting."*
"Very well." She felt her temper rolling off like a log, and she
straightened her back. "I will contact him as soon as everything is prepared.
But I warn you, doctor, you'd better remember where your loyalty lies."
*"With you, Demona, as always,"* he humored, and she slammed down the
portable phone. The antenna snapped and bounced across the bed.
Her room/office was a mess. Her drawers had been emptied, clothes were
strewn across the room, all in her desperate attempt to find the jeweled amulet
Sevarius had lost. Oh, of course she _knew_ she had accidentally offered it
to Anton, but she was damned if she was going to let _him_ know that!!
Ah, but the Utchat pendent inscribed with Heqt's Frog was just a meager
item, not yet necessary in her plans. And it would be such a waste of her
long-absorbed energy to call it back with a summoning spell. Now that her anger
had died down, Demona figured that the old necklace would show up sooner or later.
After all, she wryly reflected, she had time on her side.
Knowing that the daytime maid would clean up her mess in the morning,
Demona folded in her wings and sauntered down the stairs, where she had left
the television blaring. The blue-skinned gargoyle seated herself in a thirteenth
century throne and opened her laptop. While she was busy inspecting the E-mail
from her soon-to-be new financial partner, the program on ancient Inca artifacts
she'd been watching cut to a news update.
"This is Shawna Coyle with WBCX. Tonight, more on the situation in
Europe. And as for here in Manhattan, we've got some on-the-spot interviews
with witnesses to the Williamsburg Bridge gargoyle attack. Not to mention
that we've got possession of what may be a very controversial videotape of
Manhattan's winged afflictions."
Demona raised an eyeridge at that statement, pushing her laptop out
of the way so that she could see the preview clip. In it was that big oaf
Broadway, the lanky Brooklyn, and...Angela?
"Now back to the WBCX special, The Myth of the Inca."
The immortal gargoyle's eyes blazed red, but only for a moment. She'd
known it, known it from the very beginning, that Goliath's stubbornness to
protect the humans would subject their daughter to this! His mind had been
"By that slut, Elisa Maza!" Demona finished for herself, feeling her
vision go red again. Perhaps, though, Goliath's stubbornness and Maza's human
weakness would work for her. Angela would find out that her father's idiot
patrols did nothing except put her in danger, and that the clan had no true
values, and she would naturally come to seek her _mother's_ help.
She'd tell Angela the truth about the humans. She'd tell Angela that
they were only a virus on this Earth. And this time, she'd be more careful
about it than she had been with Brooklyn.
Castle Wyvern, 970 A.D.
Leader's sword glinted as he brought it to bear against the lavender
gargoyle's chest, and his two eyes sparkled with heathenish merriment.
"There, now, laddie. I believe I've got ye--"
But the lavender gargoyle snapped out his rather thick tail, caught
Leader around the waist with it, and threw him backwards into the castle battlement.
It cracked, and Leader tried to stagger back onto his feet. But with a purplish
blur, the younger gargoyle punched the gray-brown elder in the stomach and
pried the sword away by twisting his arm. The lavender male disdainfully tossed
it aside and proceeded to pin Leader.
They spent a moment looking evenly at each other before the lavender
charge bowed his head and backed off. He retrieved the sword, a generous gift granted from
the Prince to Leader for saving his life, and presented it back to its owner.
The older gargoyle brushed stone fragments from his red beard, which was
streaked with gray. "Good job, ye wee one. Now ye've proved ye're an able
warrior in the physical sense, fer ye're the only one that hasnae tried te use
me sword against me." He paused and looked scoldingly about at the others.
"A true warrior needs te use only himself."
The purple gargoyle flushed. One of the guards, who had gathered along
with Prince Malcolm to watch the sparring practice, whispered, "Look at that
purple one! He's taller than the lot of 'em, and can pin almost everyone like
a gargoyle-born Goliath!"
Prince Malcolm considered this. "Yes," he said, and then he cupped his hands
about his mouth. "Ye've got an able-bodied Goliath there, old friend!" he called
down to Leader. "Just make sure he doesnae meet his David!"
Leader smiled, although he had never read the Bible in his life, and
the gargoyles who had read it started chortling. Cheers rose up from the human
spectators. "Congratulations to the Goliath!"
The lavender Goliath merely blushed again. He stepped aside to escort
the next contender to the circle, a blue-skinned, fiery-haired gargess. He took
her hand and she gave him a shy gaze.
Which only lasted a brief moment before he was swept away by a tide
of celebratory onlookers. An especially gleeful cerulean female, with a cascade
of raven hair, wrapped her arm around him. The red-haired gargoyle scowled.
"Lass, do ye be wantin' youir practice now?" Leader suddenly asked, startling
her. "Ye can put it off for the next few nights..."
He knew, knew she'd been having trouble with her practices. Her mind
had been...elsewhere lately, and her strength was not as advanced as that of
her kin. She looked to her lavender brother and to the rest who were standing
around expectantly. They'd scorn her if she denied this exercise.
"No, Leader. I am ready."
Leader looked like he was having second thoughts, but was prodded into
continuing by his skull-plated mate. He drew his sword and bent. "All right.
Despite the fact that she could not muster nearly enough energy, she
sprinted forward, pistoning one foot in front of her while spreading open her
wings. Unfortunately, the wind caught their pink undersides like sails and
slowed her momentum. Leader used this delay to grab her by the ankle, swinging her
from twelve o'clock to seven o'clock, and release her. She landed on her side,
"Lass, perhaps ye should..."
"NO!" she cried, jumping to her feet again and pouncing at Leader.
After a few moments, he had pinned her. Then again. And again.
Finally, the blue-skinned gargoyle exhausted herself and withdrew.
Tears stung her eyes as the humans either left or laughed.
Her lavender brother came up to her and offered her a hand, but she
swatted it away, pushed herself to her feet, and hastily flew off in retreat.
She left a stunned audience of gargoyles behind.
Her dark-brown, horned brother laughed. "Looks like someone isn't going
to be passing their test!" he whispered aside to the milky brown female with
the butterfly wings. She tried to ignore him, linking her arms instead with
a dusty-blue male.
Leader puffed his chest. "Back te youir studies, all of ye! This ends
the training fer today. When the moon is full, prepare for youir final tests."
* * * * * * * * *
The blue-skinned gargess knelt, knees crossed with arms cradling her head
on top of them. Angry tears slid down her cheeks. She'd taken to the far end
of the rookery; an empty place now because it was the waiting period between the
last hatching and the next laying.
Her hand gripped one of the stalagmites hard, wanting to snap it with
her anger, to prove to herself that she had strength, but it failed to give.
That made her cry further.
She was never going to pass the test! She'd be scorned, hated, mateless
for her entire life. Images of the laughing humans and her rookery kin flitted
through her mind like persistent mosquitoes. And, as with mosquitoes, she tried
unsuccessfully to swat them away.
Crunch, crunch, crack, crumble, and "Blast!"
The blue-skinned gargess pushed back a flaming lick of her tear-moistened
hair and looked up. In the dim light cast by the glowing-algae moss, which
had grown back even after the hatchlings had devoured it as their food, she
could just barely make out a human form walking by the rookery's entrance.
Towards, strangely enough, the labyrinthine maze of the ancient tunnels.
Cautiously, not wanting to have someone discover her here, she tiptoed
out to the entranceway and peered down after the figure. A flash of bright
light, and something impacted the rock at the end of this certain sealed tunnel.
Crunch, crumble, shake, and another "Blast it all!"
The form ran back from whence it had come and the blue-skinned gargess
ducked behind the shadow of a large stalagmite. The human, from this distance,
began running _back_ towards the tunnel's end and yet another blast of light
caused the ceiling to shed rock.
"Why the blast is this not working?" came his frustrated reply. She
heard him kick the stone he'd been so attempting so hard to budge, and then
he stalked out.
Blue Skin watch him depart. It was at this point she saw his hand
rest upon a book cradled in his arm, draw an ethereal green light from it,
and then lash that energy out at a formation of stone. It shattered.
Her eyes widened. Magic! She'd only dreamt it'd be real, but now...
She ran after the fleeing form of the human mage to catch him. This magic could
be the solution to all of her problems!
Whoosh! A dark shadow fell over her as the leader's grayish-green-
blue mate landed before her in a crouch. "Child," she said, in a scolding
manner. "Why did you leave? There is much to be done in the castle...and not
a thing te be done here!"
Blue Skin pointed at the departing mage, ignoring the clan's austere
second-in-command. "Who is that man?" she asked.
Leader's mate looked, cast a glance after him, and made a rude gargoyle
gesture of disapproval by crossing her wing fingers above her head. "He? Some
human of the black magic that, in my opinion, has nae business te be under the
protection of this castle." She narrowed an eye at the young charge. "And
ye'd be good te stay away from him. Now, get back up te the towers and help
youir siblings with the hatchlings."
Blue Skin nodded, but only half listening.
* * * * * * *
The next night,
"Sister, are you all right?" the so-proclaimed Goliath asked, while
she tried to dispose of the hatchlings' waste.
She looked up at him, enthralled that he took such a moment to speak
to her. "Yes." She paused. "Brother, would you like to--" She wanted to ask
him to go gliding, but a band of females and males came walking past and drew
him with them. He barely paused to look back after her.
They flew off, and she yearned desperately to follow, but Leader's mate
had forced her to take on extra duties--because of her "shameful" retreat to
the rookery the night before.
Wistfully, and making sure that Leader's second and mate was not around,
Blue Skin rested her elbows on a battlement. On the parapet below her, a bunch
of bored human guards were gathered. They were throwing the remainder of the
clan's stone encasings into the sea below while discussing the day's events.
Torch lights flickered all about them.
"...That Goliath, I'd be afraid of him! Did ye see how he took down
the two of 'em?" Three of the guards began to act that very scene out,
laughing. "Taller than any of the trees around 'ere, too." Their little
scene moved towards a portly, quiet young guard, who just angrily shrugged
A lithe, blond sentinel crossed his arms and snorted. "Well, if that lad
shows the good of the clan, there's one I know that shows the bad. Did ye all
see that one? Every time, the lass missed the target. They'd better not
put _her_ on the battlefield, or she'd surrender Scotland for us!"
Blue Skin's ears, upon hearing this, flattened against her face and she
growled, repeating the same rude gesture the leader's second had done earlier.
They were speaking of her!
One of the guards heard her and pointed. "Look, fellows! There she
is now! Come te attack us, have ye?" He bowed his knees. "Take yer best
The portlier guard drew his offensive companion back. "Enough, already.
I don't see _ye_ getting promoted by the Prince fer _youir_ strength."
"Why don't ye just turn te stone on me, then, _nameless_? Ye and yer
blasted 'I don't needs a name', gargoyle-lovin' attitude. Hmmph."
Blue Skin finished her task, her confidence balloon more deflated now then
ever. As she turned to attend her other numerous duties, her careless form
collided with another. A human. A mage.
"Foolish beast!" he cursed, bending down only long enough to gather
up the things he had dropped. One of them was a very old-looking book.
"You!" she whispered, standing up. She watched him scurry down a flight
of stairs. "Wait!" She ran after him, tail and fiery hair streaming out
behind her, and wound up following him into a very medieval room.
It was dark except for a select few candles burning atop human skulls.
Tattered scrolls lay scattered about the place, old stones in wooden bowls
glowed with light. Numerous copies of one single map were fanned out along the
floor, each in a different medium. It was with these with which the older
human was preoccupied. His hand glowed, illuminating a certain portion of
"It must be here!" he was reasoned to himself, pacing. "It must!"
Blue Skin leaned over to get a closer look and her eyes showed the
faintest recognition at the location he'd illuminated. Wanting to get a
closer look, she leaned over a table of talismans. Unfortunately, her weight
toppled it, and the gargoyle fell face-down.
When she looked up, she found a very angry brown-robed human bearing
a palmful of sizzling green magic. "What are you doing here?!" he demanded
in an accent that was a combination of British and Scottish.
She got to her feet and pointed to the map. "I...I am interested in
what you do. I want..." she tried not to look so meek. "I want to know magic."
He laughed. "I do not teach magic to monsters!"
"I'm not a monster!" she stated defensively, but he just returned to his
map and the scrolls. Blue Skin walked over to them and inspected one, not about to
be forgotten that easily. "You...took this etching from the cavern?" She
touched a scroll of Celtic inscriptions, some sort of hieroglyphics taken
from a pillar.
"What did you say?"
She backed up as he eyed her wildly and hopefully. "I...I've seen those
in the cavern. You've been down there, too?"
The mage pointed to the section of the map he'd been inspecting, drawing
her down to see it. "That. Does that look familiar to you?"
"Yes, except this," she fingered a location on the scroll where the
tunnel was depicted as a fork, "Is wrong. This says you take the northern
passage, but you are to take the western, to where it's caved in."
"Blast, I should have known it! The ancients are good for nothing!
Could you take me there?"
The intensity and desperateness of his gaze bit into her like ice. Blue
Skin shakily replied, "Yes." An almost uncharacteristic, wicked idea came into
her mind. "But only if you teach me magic."
"Why not? I'll be most powerful soon enough!" He clutched the book
to his chest. "I wonder, why does a gargoyle need to know magic in the first
She thought for a moment and then smiled, flashing fangs. Her imagination
spun a tale of fancy, in which she'd be held in awe and respect by her brothers
and sisters, and in fear by the humans. "I want to be a warrior."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The next night,
Leader looked at the group with great pride, sheathing his sword. The
clan's children sported bloody lips, bruised limbs, sore wings, and even some hefty
gashes, but none of them had broken spirits. No, all stood indulgently in a
circle about this tower, congratulating each other on passing the warrior
rites. It had been ten years since the last hatching, and so now it was
time for the clan's second generation to take their place as adults.
And perhaps the miracle of the evening was standing awkwardly near the
middle of the circle, surrounded by brothers and sisters that patted her on
the back and looked upon her with great respect. The sky blue gargess merely
held a tiny, smug little smile and crossed her arms. Leader was proud that
she had passed, proud that everyone in this progeny had passed.
"Ye've all to swear fealty to this castle and clan, te protect it in times
of good and bad, in times of anger and contentment, to live peacefully with our
human friends and honor the name of the gargoyle," he recited, patting the
indigo watch dog at his side.
A chorus of voices arose from the younger generation. "We swear fealty
to this castle and clan, to protect it in times of good and bad, in times of
anger and contentment, to live peacefully with our human friends and honor the
name of the gargoyle."
The fussy, eager hatchlings, being held at bay by the eldest progeny
around the outside of the ring, all added their toddler-like remarks. Leader
chuckled. "Then be ye all now warriors, and drink of the honor that is yours."
Leader's mate passed around a stone bowl filled with a purplish-pink
substance. Goliath sipped from it, almost unable to hold the primitive cup
in his large hands without breaking it, and passed it to his blue-skinned
rookery sister. She it gulped it slowly, feeling it cascade down her throat
like molten cider. She looked up into the lavender gargoyle's kindly eyes.
"You surprised us all tonight, sister." The "Goliath" looked to where
the gargoyles were dispersing to the Great Hall for a celebration with the
humans. "Are you coming?"
She reveled in the jealous glares she received from the other females,
especially the deep scowl of the cerulean gargess. "Yes, I will. Thank you."
He nodded and folded his dark wings to duck through the doorway. She
caped hers to do the same, but a firm hand clamped down on her arm.
"Child." It was Leader's mate. "Ye did well tonight."
"Thank you," the younger gargoyle said indifferently. She cared not for
this elder, for the Leader's second gave her more trouble than she thought she
deserved. Blue Skin turned to leave, but once again she was drawn back.
"But I was wondering," the Second prodded, "How someone, who was
doing so poorly the night before, suddenly become a warrior almost as powerful
as ouir very own Goliath?"
Blue Skin broke away this time, scowling. "I don't think I know what
you're getting at, elder," she said, and ran to join the others.
Leader's mate stood there and crossed her arms, only moving when a wet
snout nudged her hock. She looked down to regard the blue watchdog that usually
indicated her mate's presence. "Love," her beloved's kindly voice said, "Don't
be so hard on the lass. 'Tis her night te be happy."
She leaned stiffly into his embrace. "I know. But I can't help
thinking that there is something...going on with that one."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A few nights later,
The rookery tunnels
"So you are the Prince's Archmage," Blue Skin was saying as she, with
a torch in her hand, led the human mage down into the depths of the ancient
labyrinth. They walked past the rookery, down the corridor opposite where the
Archmage had been trying to blast through a few days before.
The blue-skinned gargoyle had been right; this tunnel ended abruptly
in where it had undoubtedly caved in. Large pieces of granite and cave rock
lay strewn about, mingled with the skulls and treasures of a Viking party
which had spent its last nights within the treacherous walls. It had
been a story passed down from the lavender ex-leader of the clan before she had
died. The tale told of how a band of powerful Goths had tried to steal from
the rookery eggs and destroy the castle. And of how the attempt had been thwarted
by clan Wyvern.
The Archmage, flowing in brown-and-black robes and still clutching
his spell book, ran up to the scattered rocks and began to dig his way through
them. Blue Skin stood there to watch his weak form try unsuccessfully to move
the debris, before she finally stepped in and used her newly-endowed strength
to push aside the larger rocks.
The Archmage looked up at her, half-scowling, half appreciatively.
"You'd make a good apprentice, you know."
Her eyes lit up. "Really?"
But the gray-haired human was already crawling on his hands and knees
through the passageway she had created.
Blue Skin chuckled. "Why are humans always in such a hurry?" she asked
herself, before knocking out some more stones so she could walk comfortably
upright through the tunnel. As she did this, something golden caught her eye.
It was a tiara, resting upon one of the human skeletons, and crafted quite
delicately. She picked it up, and with little thought, donned it.
The gargess followed the Archmage into a wider, taller cavern, through
which he ran like a hatchling on his first flight. He touched writings that
were carved into the wall even as he approached a skull-like formation at the
end of the hollow. So foolish, was he, that he almost slipped into a large
crevice, but Blue Skin plucked him away just in time. He looked down into
the depths of the cliff just long enough to pale, then shook it off.
"Take me over there!" he demanded, pointing at the skull entrance. She
braced her legs and jumped the chasm, landing before the foreboding tunnel.
"Now, put me down!"
The Archmage jumped onto the ground, groaning at the impact to his
aging bones, and ran up to caress an inscription by the carved passage. As he
did so, a line of energy formed from the wall, to his hand, across his chest and
to the spellbook, which he cuddled.
"Yes!" he said to himself. "The map from the Grimorum was right!" He
motioned for her to follow him down the damp passage. As they edged along a
very narrow trail, he babbled on excitedly. "The old Celtic sorcerers and
the deities trapped on Avalon created a place where they could make an exchange
of power. The sorcerers would offer what their life-force and knowledge of
this world to strengthen the gods, and in return they would receive the most
potent magic of all. Not to mention the understanding needed to use it."
After several precarious moments on these cliffs, they came upon another
skull-marked passage with a ledge. The Archmage ran through it and they once
again emerged in a huge cavern adorned with stalactites and stalagmites. But
the greatest thing was erected in the center.
"By the Heavens," Blue Skin was barely able to whisper as she beheld
the massive structure in the middle of the cave. It had four pillars, looked
like something out of the Roman legends, but had a very Celtic quality to it.
On each inch of the ancient stone were the intricate hieroglyphics of a language
The Archmage ran up the stairs, panted, and leaned lovingly against one
of its thick, four-edged pillars. "After so much time, I've finally found it!
I'd never been able to harness power for long periods of time, so when a dying
druid offered me the Grimorum and the map he'd drawn in it, I was ecstatic.
Here is where he said the light of power would give me magic--" he threw open
the Grimorum, "--if I stood within this stonework and recited this spell!"
He blurted out a mess of words in a strange tongue. Blue Skin backed up,
catching the Grimorum as it was flung from the Archmage's grasp. The inscriptions
on the pillars glimmered alternately like fireflies, making an ethereal noise, while
a whirlwind of light and sparks circled the scene. Then, a huge beam of uncolored,
but noticeable, light shot down from the cave's ceiling and pierced the human
through the chest. Blue Skin saw a wisp of something leave the Archmage's body.
The entity twisted and writhed, disappearing into the whirlwind "light of
power." Another bright flash, a blood-curdling scream, and the mage fell like
a limp rag doll.
The red-haired gargess, still clutching the Grimorum, approached the
twittering mess that was the Archmage. His face was pale, his hair now shocked
white, instead of the gray it had once been. His ears had elongated to an odd
point, taking on a slightly elfin quality.
While she debated on staying or abandoning him here, the Archmage
groaned and unsteadily got to his feet. He swayed as she put her arm around to
steady him. He thrust her away and eyed the Grimorum suspiciously.
"What are you doing with that?" he demanded, grabbing it from her. The
robed warlock flipped through the pages, as if checking to see if anything
"Your chest..." she started, pointing at the hole left in his mantle,
and the nastily round blister just beneath.
"Never mind that now! I can feel the power within me!" He raised one
finger and it seemed to gather energy from the pillars, the rock, the Grimorum,
everything else, and then with a swipe of his hand he unleashed it at a cluster
of stalagmites. They quickly changed shape, and converted to a silvery liquid.
He clicked his heels together. "Bah to Alchemy!" Blast, and one of the walls
turned to gold. "Ha, black magic!" Zap, and rocks became skulls. "For a mere
piece of me, I have received this magic! All I would need are the appropriate
fey conduits--the Eye of Odin and the Phoenix Gate, and I already have the
Throughout this display, the red-haired gargess had been backing up,
but now her wings snapped open in realization. "You...you've sold your soul!
The Archmage, now interrupted, rushed to her when he saw her dubious
expression. An uncharacteristic change in demeanor came over him suddenly,
like the sea. "Are you having second thoughts, little gargoyle? You _wanted_
to learn magic, didn't you?"
She responded with a nod.
"You mustn't tell anyone, then; not the Prince nor your gargoyle friends.
For, you see, I'll need to come down here from time to time to rebuild my
energy, and they'd try to stop me. Without this knowledge, I cannot effectively
teach you to become a sorceress. You need to help me protect this place, as
"Keep this from my clan?..."
His expression changed again, and the sincerity was gone. He grasped
her roughly by the shoulders. "Yes! You must! And if you persist to tell
them..." He reached inside his tattered robes and pulled out a chain. On the
end of it dangled a glass bottle, with two drops of red inside it. "I have
the blood you offered me to cast the warrior's spell upon. You see now how
the human guards and the clan love you, when they scorned you for being weak
before. I can just as easily remove the spell from your blood and you'd revert,
and once again be laughed at. Knowing this, then, you will keep the secret?"
With really no choice, the gargess nodded. Her headful of red, thick
hair obscured from the Archmage's cruel glare a dark form watching from the
The courtyard was a merry sight, with flowers strewn about and wreaths
of heather adorning the women. Prince Malcolm sat at the center of the Solstice
celebration, watching happily as the humans, and a few curious gargoyles, partook
of the tradition. Goliath was one of them, with his newly-taken mate. She
stroked his jaw in a preening matter while he tagged along by Leader and his
Leader turned to Goliath and whispered, "'Twas good of ye te come tonight,
lad. The Prince loves us, 'tis true, but the others dwelling here need te
know that we can live in peace."
Goliath nodded, making sure to hold his stature as did the leader.
Blue Skin smiled to herself; her lavender mate had the one quality she'd been
seeking, and that was the aspiration to reach greater heights. There was
only one thing she could think of that would require her presence elsewhere,
and that was hopefully...
A tall, white haired figure on a tower overlooking the festival suddenly
caught her attention with a sardonic wave of his hand. One of his claw-like
fingers pointed over in the direction of the caves. The fiery haired gargess
blew the air out from between her lips, feeling her whole mood deflate. She
broke free of Goliath's possessive embrace.
"My love," she whispered in quick explanation. "I must...attend to
those three hatchlings. I promised them a story." She needed to speak no
further; her mate knew of the "inseparable" trio of males: a plump aquamarine
one, one with a beak and sanguine skin, and an olive webwing.
Goliath merely nodded and patted her on the head like a child. He was
too busy, too concerned with shadowing his mentor to let anything interrupt
him. Perhaps, also, too naive.
"Leader, Second," she acknowledged before pushing through the crowd.
Leader, like Goliath, just smiled and waved and led his mate to peruse
the festival. As he paused to point out a particularly peculiar custom of the
Solstice to his charge, his skull-plated mate gave a sharp look toward the
towers, at the silhouette of a departing gargoyle with a human on its back.
* * * * * *
Blue Skin heeded the Archmage's command and rested herself cross-legged
at the bottom of the monolithic temple-structure. The gargess closed her eyes.
She began to hum, repeating one single mantra in her head over and over again.
She felt an essence tingling in her fingertips even as the Archmage, busy with his
own project, recited the Transfer Spell. It seemed that his ability to trade
a part of his soul to the gods in exchange for magical knowledge only lasted
so long, and every once in a while he was forced to come back and "recharge" his
After a brief period of the telltale crackling-sizzling sound that
accompanied the light of power, the Archmage dragged himself down the stairs
of the Celtic stonework and stood arrogantly in front of her. She hoped he
was not planning...other things.
"How far have you progressed, gargoyle?" he snapped instead. His accumulation
of knowledge always left him somewhat crabby and intolerant, sometimes even
She kept her eyes closed, repeated the spell she'd read from the book
in rapid Latin. Thanks to the mage's constant tutoring in that language, she
could translate in her head exactly what she was saying. It included the
phrase "To cast upon like ice," and as she said that sentence in the ancient
language she touched her fingertips to the floor. A thin sheet of a frost spread
from her fingers and across the room. Only when the gargess opened her eyes did
its progress halt.
The Archmage placed his hand on the ice, knocked against it a few times,
and commanded it to melt. A small puddle formed around the two. He frowned,
the closest he ever came to approval nowadays.
"Good. Now try your telekinesis."
She did, mentally conjuring a picture in her mind, transferring that
thought into magical energy. It gathered in her palms and she unleashed it,
feeling suddenly drained as it flew from her. A blast of green light hit
the wall. It left a scar noticeably darker than the others, which had been
results of numerous other practice sessions.
She smiled up at him and he put an arm around her. As always, it made
her feel like something slimy was slithering over her body, and his fingers
even went as far as to dance lightly over her bosom. "Not particularly
impressive, but your spells are satisfactory. I must, however, insist that
you practice on live subjects."
The gargess dropped the Grimorum. "_Living_ subjects? I cannot--"
His eyes flashed ice and anger, a devilish mix. "Do not be weak,
gargoyle!" The word spat out, as if it tasted foul. "A sorcerer is not weak!
You must practice your powers. _They_ might not understand this, but you should.
Unless you want to forfeit what you've learned?!"
Her red curls bouncing, she shook her head.
He walked around her. "I knew you'd not fail me." A private look of
inner glee touched him, suddenly. "Perhaps I could recommend the Prince as
She gasped. "The Prince?!"
He raised his hands, aggravated at her unwillingness. "Fine, you
blundering misfit! Then teach the blasted _guards_ a lesson! You know they
deserve it, after how they've treated you!"
* * * * * *
There were only scattered remains of leaves from the heather crowns
and a stale smell of Scottish food when the tiara-wearing gargess returned
to her castle. Already, she could see that her brothers and sisters were posed,
ready for the morning to claim them. It was only a small while until daybreak.
At the same moment she had tucked a spell sheet into her loincloth belt,
something put pressure on her tail. She turned to regard a small group of
ugly guards; one blonde, one bald, and the other on the verge of going gray.
Two of them smelled distinctly of hard liquor. The pressure she'd felt on her
tail turned out to be the tip of the blonde's spear.
"Where do ye think ye're goin', gah-goyle? We've got somethin' te
talk about with ye!"
She leaned down, her eyes flaring crimson in disgust. She reeled in
her tail. "You! The same ones that pester me every day because of my
'weaknesses!' Why do you persist to hound me?"
The bald man, and probably the drunkest, leaned toward her in what
could probably be considered a leer. "Because ye keep company with the Archmage,
the thief!" As he stumbled forward, his graying pal held him steady and continued.
"Everyone knows he stole the Grimorum Arcanorum from a dying wizard!"
"He said it was _given_ to him!" the gargess finally voiced, and she
regretted it after she received three sharp looks.
"I _told_ ye she was in league with the rogue!"
The blonde hazarded to shove her hard against the wall. "Tell me,
she-devil, are ye plotting with Archmage? Are ye sinning with 'im?" His tone
held sarcasm, his eyes, contempt.
How _dare_ they treat her like this? With a shriek that sounded like
a dying mountain lion, she threw that dirty guard back into his comrades,
knocking them all down like bowling pins.
But they did not stay down easily. The vivacious blonde one bobbed
back up, waving his spear wildly. He'd been waiting for a moment like this.
"She'll be a traitor to the crown! She'll destroy the castle and try to turn
her kind against us!" The tip of his weapon sparkled in the fading moonlight,
as if some sort of omen.
Four well-practiced words flew out of her mouth on instinct. She lashed
out again, but this time it was with kinetic energy as opposed to the strength
she'd displayed before. With an air-crackling, popping hiss, several beacons
of white light exploded from her fingertips, hit the two men in the front,
and drove one over the side of the parapet. Luckily for him, his two comrades
caught his flailing arms and pulled him up. With one giving her a dark look,
they slowly backed away. The spell sheet she'd tucked away felt strangely
A fourth guard, patrolling the battlement, happened to stumble upon the
scene of the fleeing sentinels. His gaze fell upon the gargess, then up to the
battlements. The youngest of the guards scratched his neck as she gave him a
"Ye'd best be gettin' up te youir mate," he whispered, tossing one of
his comrade's forgotten spears over the castle ledge. "Ye've taught those
fools a better lesson than I could 'ave ever hoped."
She narrowed her eyes, looking like she might just zap him, too, but
somehow felt assured that he was not going to speak of this with anyone. Her
blue form clawed up the side of the tower, before she finally came to rest
on her daily post. Her love, Goliath, gave her a questioning look just as the
sun rose above the horizon.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
"We're telling ye, youir Majesty, the gah-goyles tried te attack us!
The Archmage has them working fer 'im, and they will surely assassinate ye!
We must take action te defend ourselves!"
Prince Malcolm, sitting alone on his throne in the Great Hall, rested
his chin on his folded hands. He glared down at the young blonde, who showed
no signs of being beaten but showed all the signs of being pleasantly intoxicated.
"You say one used magic on you, Jeremiah?" he repeated, with an eyebrow raised.
"Yes, youir majesty!" The other supplemented, still trying to hold the
most drunken of the trio on his feet.
"Perhaps, my guards, if ye had kept te youir duties, ye would not have
gotten youirselves into this situation in the first place. My advice is that
ye stay clear of the gargoyles for awhile, and maybe you will be spared their wrath."
The Prince couldn't help but let a trace of a smile turn his face.
"This is an outrage!...Er, youir majesty, if such a gargoyle uses
strength and magic against us, we cannot protect ourselves. The Archmage--"
"--I've heard enough of the Archmage. I don't particularly like him
myself. But I owed him for helping against an attack a few years ago, and an
old fellow like himself had nowhere else to go...but enough of this. If it would
so please the cowards in my court," he waved a hand at all three, "I will
scout the situation."
* * * * * * * * * * *
The Archmage spun, seething, looking like he was ready to breathe
fire. He knocked the Grimorum from her hands and nearly wrung off her wrist
in the process.
"You blind, stupid fool!" He grasped two ends of his lengthy white
hair and tugged, displaying his odd-shaped ears. "You used the power on the
guards, and then let them escape?!"
She nodded meekly as he circled like a vulture.
The Archmage poked a rather unkempt fingernail into her collarbone, and
it sent a small magical jolt into her. She shuddered, but didn't dare say
a word. "Now they will surely tell the Prince. Blasted fool! Don't you see?"
Gray eyes accused her of great sins. "Malcolm will steal my Grimorum away!
I will never be able to complete my plan to rule all of...to rule all of this
*power*. You should have killed them before they had a chance to flee. You'd
best remember that in the future!"
The blue gargoyle sorceress nodded again, too stunned to react. It
was the Archmage's approval she sought the most, and did not want to forfeit her
newly-acquired position amongst the gargoyles. "I _wanted_ to destroy one of
That seemed to bring some relief into his eyes. "Next time, then,
commit the act. For if you let sniveling dolts like that escape, it will no
doubt spell the end of your clan." He began to pace furiously, and she
wondered how deep of a tread he was going to wear into the stone. The glowing
inscriptions on the Celtic pillars within this cave gave his scheming expression
a malicious hue. "I hope, for my sake, that the fool Prince has not expired
his homage to me. I need to complete my plans!"
He looked up. "Never mind that now!" He shoved a page from the Grimorum
back in her arms, the same one she'd had last night. "Take this and practice
She folded the paper up and wadded it up in one palm, making sure to
keep it well concealed. She quietly headed for the wide mouth of the cave.
"And if those three guards approach you again, let the spell kill them
this time!" he called back. The echo bounced off the castle walls, and instead
of wincing, Blue Skin actually displayed a faint smile.
When she finally navigated her way through the winding, tiny passages
of the ancient caverns, she emerged near the cliffs. It seemed that every time
she left, the labyrinth exited in a different spot. First, it had been
the rookery, then, the forest, and now, the ocean cliffs. The red-haired gargoyle
paused to look at the calm seas. The air was fresh, the sky clear.
A weak breeze blew from behind her. It was followed by a light whump.
"I had more faith in ye, lassie, then te be a traitor te the name of the gargoyle."
The tone was somewhere between mockery, anger, and displeasure. Blue Skin
turned to regard Leader's gray-green, skull-plated mate, who had her arms
"Second! I...I don't know what you're speaking of!"
The stony demeanor did not leave, but a muscle in the elder's left
cheek twitched irritably. "The Prince told me of what ye did te the humans
this morn." She extended an arm and a finger. "Thank the stars he didnae
tell anyone else, especially me love! It could destroy the peace ouir kind
has long sought!"
"Second, I am sorry..." Though she truly was not.
"Sayin' sorry te me is not goin' te fix the wound. Ye will apologize
te the humans, and perhaps they will not hold this offense against youir clan!"
The gargoyle female took a step forward, her wings flaring again.
And the younger child's eyes narrowed as her mouth opened wide. "I
will not apologize to those guards! They approached me first, and they deserved
everything they received!" The gears chinked in her mind and she came up with
the words the Archmage had told her earlier. "I taught the blasted fools a
lesson! If they had not seen my power, they would have destroyed me!"
"Insolent child!" The elder retorted, her own eyes flashing white.
"I've seen ye with that black sorcerer! I told ye not te get involved with
the likes of him; he's poisoned youir mind!"
"You _followed me_!" Blue Skin deflected.
"Aye, and glad I am that I did!" The clan's Second-in-command grabbed
the adolescent gargoyle by the wrist and extracted a crumpled sheet of paper
from it. She looked at it angrily, then tore it to shreds. "Spells! Proof
that ye've turned sorceress!"
The other winged female gathered the fallen pieces and looked at her
mentor with bright, youthful anger. "Why do you always insist on trying to
ruin what I have?! Ever since I was a hatchling you've tried to stop me from
becoming what I am today! It is you, you who have tried to poison my mind, by
following and punishing me while the others are left to play!!"
"I have tried te mold you in the shape of a traditional gargoyle!"
"You have tried to mold _me_ so I would not outshine _you_!" the blue-
skinned gargess ignored all respect for the older clansmember and assumed a
sparring pose. "You were jealous from the day I proved myself to be a warrior,
and jealous of the fine mate I took. You're a bitter, old crow who's envious
because _I_ will be able to bear an egg for _my_ beloved! You could never do
Pain shot up from the second's eyes. "Harlot! Ye're not a warrior,
ye're a lie!!!!"
The younger gargess shrieked like a cougar pouncing on its prey. With
reflexes that properly displayed her irrationale, she threw herself at the older
warrior. But the elder had many battles under her belt, and raked her claws
across Blue Skin's arm. Latin words, suddenly so familiar, blew through the
sorceress's mind so rapidly that one phrase became reality. By some invisible
explosion, Leader's mate was knocked back and she rolled in a tangle of brown hair.
But as with all true defenders, she got back onto her wobbly feet. The elder
was unharmed, but shaken, and stood braced at the edge of the sea cliffs.
"Enough of this," Leader's mate whispered hoarsely. "We will go back
te the castle and explain this all te the Prince. That Archmage will have no
more power here, and neither will ye."
"No! Please do not!" Blue Skin yelled even before she saw Leader's
eyes widen at some unknown surprise.
And a bolt of lightning, or at least the ethereal equivalent of it,
struck down between the two gargoyles. Its impact tossed the blue youth to
the ground, while the Second-in-Command was thrown backwards, over the bluff.
In the split-second that followed, a full-throated howl severed the serenity
of the night. A splash. And then, merciful silence.
Scraping her hands and knee spurs on the rock, still bleeding from her
earlier wounds, the young, red-haired sorceress scrambled to the edge of
the cliff and looked down. There was a suspiciously inanimate heap among the
jagged rocks at the bottom. Small ripples from the ocean lapped against the
dead body, which the adolescent realized hadn't even survived the fall. The
elder's wings must have been injured by the blast, the rocks had crushed her,
and she was dead. Not even dawn could save a dead gargoyle. Blue Skin suddenly
found that it was very difficult to breathe.
Had _she_ done this?
The crunch of footsteps behind her almost made _her_ fall off the bluff.
The gargess looked up sadly as the brown-garbed Archmage approached. His
face was contorted into a look of disgust and...relief?
The warlock yanked her up by a three-fingered wing. He looked around,
and, seeing there had been no onlookers, hissed, "Quickly! We must not be
seen together here! The Prince knew she was coming, and will realize when she
She let him drag her numb body away, but only for a certain distance.
Because then her senses finally kicked in. Blue Skin writhed from his
grip, standing back to look him unevenly in the eye. "Was it you, you that
The Archmage twisted his mouth. "Me?" he jibed innocently. "I was
not even near. It _must_ have been you. All I did was catch the act."
She gaped, not knowing whether to cry or rip his heart out or believe
him or not. "You...you wanted me to do it!"
"Yes, but I never actually _made_ you." He ruffled her hair. "It is
good ridden, though. She would have told the Prince about me...us, I mean."
Tears coursed down her face even as hot blood coursed through her veins.
"You, and your evil magic! _I_ will tell the Prince what you have in store
for him, though she will never be able to!!!"
The hand that had been so dotingly ruffling her hair suddenly grabbed
a piece of it and yanked hard. The she-gargoyle stumbled forward, almost right
into his chest. The Archmage slapped her thrice across the face. "Beast!!
Be a traitor to me and I will ruin you! Your knowledge, your power, your strength;
I will take it all away and leave you for the guards!" He touched the bulge in
his robes created by the pendant that held her blood. "I am sure that they
can be easily convinced that you plan to assassinate Malcolm. How will your
clan react when I tell them you killed one of your own? Because, believe me,
I can come up with undeniable evidence!"
That comment, plus the shock of the murder, reduced her to nothing more
than a whimpering heap of sorrow. "No..."
With a kick into her shins and a zap of magic, the sorcerer encouraged
his gargoyle apprentice to her feet. "Good! Now, we'd best leave this place.
You will tell the others that you were out looking for berries, or something
moronic like that. You did _not_ find the body, and you did not see me. Do
She nodded and followed, rubbing her bruised cheek.
"I'll go back to the castle and act as if nothing has happened. Thank
goodness it was _only_ that gargoyle wench that suspected us of anything..."
The Archmage ran a story by her a couple of times, and all she could
do was numbly nod her head. Once he made sure of her fidelity, he let her go
while he entered the castle from another direction. That way, they could not
be pinned together.
Blue Skin took her time while she gathered the berries she'd use as
her alibi. She went over what had happened over and over again in her head,
each time manipulating the event to become less and less her fault. True, she
had killed the elder, and attacked the guards, but they had all asked for it.
After all, the Second had threatened her, and the guards at the castle had
provoked her, and she had only been defending herself. Right?
But as she discreetly landed in the castle courtyard to tell the others
where she'd been, she heard Leader's stark cry echo from the cliffs, no doubt
after having found his mate dashed by the thorny rocks. This had been her
first kill as a warrior, a feat that was usually congratulated and justified
by the clan. But, although she tried, the young Demona could find no
justification for celebration.
The Eyrie Building and Castle Wyvern
The wind rustled across the tops of the battlements, ever warm and
carrying on it the scent of not only of the city, but of a light mist that
smelled faintly of Avalon. She didn't know if it was because of her
imagination, or if it was real, so the gargess chose to ignore it and opened
the pages of one leather-bound book. She sighed, her breath also reminiscent
of that Avalonian breeze...
__ "Rhett, do you really--is it to protect me
that you--" __
__ "Yes, my dear, it is my much advertised
chivalry that makes me protect you." The
mocking light began to dance in his black eyes
and all signs of earnestness fled from his
face. "And why? For my deep love of you,
Mrs. Kennedy. Yes, I have silently hungered
and thirsted for you from afar; but being an
honorable man, like Mr. Ashley Wilkes, I have
concealed it from you. You are, alas, Frank's
wife and honor has forbidden my telling this
to you. But even as Mr. Wilkes' honor cracks
occasionally, so mine is cracking now and I
reveal my secret passion and my--" __
__ "Oh, for God's sake, hush!" interrupted Scarlet,
annoyed as usual when he made her look like a
conceited fool, and not caring to have Ashley and
his honor become the subject of further conversation.
"What was the other thing you wanted to tell me?" __
__ "What! You change the subject when I am baring
a loving but lacerated heart? Well, the other thing
is this--" __
"Angela?" a male asked from behind her and the lavender she-gargoyle
instantly slammed her novel shut. She shook out her head to clear the scene
from her mind, did the same with her hormones, and then looked coolly into the
eyes of both Brooklyn and Broadway...together.
Angela still hadn't forgiven the two for the night when their detestable
arguing had jeopardized her and the clan at the Williamsburg Bridge (and so
annoyingly like the Dracon-Brode incident). So, her reply was a mere, "What did
you two want?"
Broadway shuffled nervously and Brooklyn managed, for one of the first
few times in his life, to look humbled. "We saw you run off after sunset and,
well, we were kind of worried..."
"Like," Brooklyn continued, "That you were still really mad at us."
"Maybe I am," she retorted bitterly, looking away from them and towards
the city. A piece of her sable hair got tangled near the tip of her ear.
"We're really sorry, Angela..."
"You said sorry the last time this happened, but you just repeated
your mistake. Is that what you're gonna do this time?"
Brooklyn drew in a deep breath, wondering whether he should bother to
demean himself this way or just leave. It was starting to look like a pretty
pointless conversation. But, nevertheless, he stayed.
"Look, Angela," Broadway piped up, trying to be very diplomatic. "We
know we've been bad lately, but you taught us our lesson. Don't you notice
that we haven't hardly been arguing at all?" He improvised and threw his arm
around Brooklyn, who just went with it and smiled sheepishly.
"And that we haven't been calling you 'Angie?'" he threw in for good
"Look." The aquamarine gargoyle fished around in the belt of his
loincloth and finally pulled out a wrinkled piece of paper. He unfolded it
and handed it towards Angela. "We even made you a card!"
"Well, at least, we _tried_ to make you a card," Brooklyn chuckled.
After a few moments of waving it directly in Angela's face, she gave an
exaggerated sigh and snatched it from them. After a few seconds of detachedly
examining it, the lavender female laid it at her side. She crossed her arms
and finally stared at them.
"Don't you two have something to fight about?"
"Awe, Angela, come on--!" Brooklyn started, throwing out his arms,
but was interrupted when Lexington came bursting out of the tower stairwell.
Lex did a cartwheel in the air and landed in a laughing pile on the
ground. He had a computer printout clutched in one clawed hand. Goliath,
Hudson, and Elisa emerged after Lexington, although with a great deal more
"I won, I won, I won!!!" the olive-green webwing was ranting. He
thumped the ground enthusiastically. "I WON!"
Angela completely ignored the gawking Brooklyn and Broadway, pushed
by them, and went to stand with Hudson and Goliath as they stared at Lex. Elisa
tried really hard not to laugh at the display.
"What the hell did you win, already, Lex?" Brooklyn finally asked.
Broadway, whose mind had been so set on the "Angela" topic of conversation
and now found it hard to shift gears, didn't say a word.
"My contest!" The webwing turned to Hudson. "You remember--I was
supposed to design a really good web page and the designer they pick win's
all this free computer stuff!" Hudson nodded to a surprised Goliath, who had
assumed that no one had known the nature of Lexington's two-week secret project.
"But, Lex, can't you just get all of this stuff from Xanatos?"
Angela asked in a sweet voice which both Broadway and Brooklyn regretted had
not been spent on them.
"But that's the best part!" the computer-wizard of a gargoyle continued.
"Because not only does the winning page get displayed on the site _forever_,
but the winner gets to write a weekly advice column on the page for every
week of the year!"
"Are you sure this is a wise idea?" Goliath rumbled into the conversation.
"If anyone were to--"
"Don't worry. I'll just use an alias!"
"But you don't know anything about human life," Broadway finally said.
"How are you going to give them good advice?"
"Humans and gargoyles aren't too different in their psychology," Elisa
interjected. "All he has to be careful of is when it comes to cultural
differences. But then, you can just go to me, or Matt, or Xanatos." She paused.
"Wait, scratch that. He and Owen _really_ don't count."
Goliath looked almost pleased, and no one in the clan could believe
that he already hadn't opposed the idea. Hudson knew what had mellowed him,
of course, and the others were a little bit suspicious, but...
"It sounds like an interesting idea, Lexington," the large clan leader
said. "It could get us on equal relations with the humans, their way of thinking
about us. You could also help them realize the truth. Just make sure that
you are very careful--you hold something special in your hands."
"Yeah," Brooklyn snickered. "Don't give out our address or anything."
Lexington was still bouncing from one toe to another. He grabbed
Brooklyn and Broadway by the forearms, babbling, "Come on, you guys! Come on
and see! Aww, Brooklyn, you're gonna love this! People ask the current author
the weirdest questions..."
"Why not?" he grumbled out of Goliath's earshot. "With Angela acting
as cold as Demona, what else do I have to do?" Broadway pried his eyes away
from where they'd been glued to the cover of Angela's splayed book and quietly
"The lad's excited, sure enough," Hudson said to Angela, Goliath, and
Elisa. He stretched and mumbled something about catching a movie; the
lavender clan leader frowned and decided to follow. Before Elisa could go off
with him, Angela whispered something that made her hang back. Goliath exchanged
a look with his dark-complexioned detective before she waved him off. He
retreated with Hudson.
"What is it, Angela?"
The lavender she-gargoyle backed up to a battlement and seated herself
upon it. She crossed her arms over her knees and stared at the cobblestones.
Elisa looked at the book next to her.
"Well, it's good to see you're reading 'Gone With the Wind,' hmmm? One
of my old favorites..."
"Elisa," Goliath's daughter finally and miserably said. "I don't know
what to do about Brooklyn or Broadway!"
"Oh, so _that's_ it," the detective surmised and made a seat next to
the teenage gargoyle, who politely scooted over. "Didn't I just give you advice
on this a short while ago? You know, the whole deal on letting them know you're
your own girl?"
"That is not the problem. A couple of weeks ago, they--"
Elisa raised her hands and offered her characteristically knowing
smile. "I know all about it, Angela. Your father told me. And, yes, I think
they deserve everything you're giving them...but remember, they're also only
doing this by trial and error. I mean," Elisa lowered her voice a notch. "The
only true example they've gotten of a pairing was Goliath and Demona, and, well--"
"Yes, I understand." Angela sat in silence for a while. Elisa shifted
her view and found a piece of paper smudged with finger paint and scribbly
marker. The handwriting was, she suspected, of Angela's two awkward-clawed
"They sure are trying hard enough, aren't they?" The lavender female
nodded at her friend's comment and then Elisa sighed, "So maybe it's a good
thing you showed them you can take control. And even better, since you've proved
it twice." She grinned and gently placed the card in Angela's hand. "But now
that you know they really _can_ get along with each other, it may be time for
you to become all good friends again. There's no reason to feel like you have
to choose just one of them. The best things come from just friendship."
Elisa's eyes twinkled, and it was probably due to a thought about
Goliath. The detective eventually shook the thought off and, straightening
out her dark hair and bomber jacket, she patted Angela on the shoulder.
Elisa strolled down the tower stairs, disappearing from Angela's sight. And at
the bottom was Goliath, waiting patiently with his ears curiously perked and
his arms on his hips. He snapped into less of a spying position when he
saw her enter.
"A little nosy, are we?" Elisa teased, placing her arm through his and
squeezing his hand. Goliath responded a little uneasily at first--their
relationship was a fairly new thing--but then closed his wings contentedly
around his shoulders.
"Are Broadway and Brooklyn still bothering her?" he deeply asked instead.
"More like the other way around. Come on; let's go inside. I've got
shift in a few and I think I'd really like some of Broadway's pancakes."
They left Angela sitting, curled up between one of the battlements
and a tower wall. She toyed with _Gone With the Wind_, restlessly flipped through
the pages, but then finally dropped it and again read her card. Without even
realizing it, the lavender gargess cracked a smile at how Broadway had misspelled
one word: APPOLOGIE.
Scotland, Castle Wyvern
975 A.D., after Prince Malcolm's wedding and Xanatos's honeymoon
Angel peered around the corner of the inside tower and discerned that
the coast was clear. She needed to retrieve an item of hers from the
Archmage's lair, but did not wish to meet up with him. Thankfully, he was
unaware that she still had a half of the Phoenix Gate.
As always, going down into the secret halls of this particular
turret sent chills down her spine. The only feeling worse was that produced
when she thought of how Goliath would react if he knew she was an apprentice
to the sorcerer. He hated magic, and the fact that they had just recently
exchanged tokens of their love made what she was doing even more important.
She had to steal back the small bottle of her blood that the Archmage kept
and rid herself of the seal that bound her as his charge. She could work
with him no longer.
The door to his study creaked open, and the only source of light came
from one of his odd skull candles. Everything was either covered in dust and
cobwebs, or decaying.
She started searching for it quietly at first, but as she kept coming
up empty-handed, Angel started throwing objects around in a dizzying whirl.
Her wings wrapped tight around herself.
"Where did he put it?!" she demanded, out loud.
"Where did he put it, indeed," a new voice boomed. She spun to see
the Archmage, standing in the doorway with a torch, which illuminated her
in orange. She nearly fell back over a table.
"I have come for what is rightfully mine!" she yelled, straightening
her back. But knowing that he wasn't as readily scared off as the other
humans, she let the waver in her voice show.
"And you destroyed what was _mine_! Now the castle suspects me, when
it was you!" Of course, he was talking of the Phoenix Gate.
The Archmage grabbed her wrist and her body writhed as he emitted a
charge of magic. "You ordered me to commit the crime!" she persisted, trying
to slap him away with her tail.
He bashed the Grimorum against her skull, so that the world lurched
and spun and she crashed to her knees. Even as she tried to get back up,
he bellowed out a mass of dangerous-sounding Latin incantations and she was
shocked flat to the floor. Her vision shimmered as three archmages hovered over
"The Gate was the fey talisman I needed to gather control of Scotland!"
His hands gripped her throat tightly. Angel's stomach pitted when she realized
no one knew where she was, and that Leader was not around to interrupt this
"You're a black sorcerer!" she managed to gasp.
"But a very good one." His view shifted, looking over her sprawled
body. He gave her a foreboding grin. "I wonder if you are truly so brave."
His free hand suddenly began moving over her, to places she'd never
dream of letting a human ever touch. A seed of pure revulsion blossomed in
her stomach, but even so the magic he'd blasted her with earlier had left her
weak and pasted to the floor. The warlock's gnarly, roving fingers slid up
underneath her halter to feel her breasts, and she growled out a whimper,
unable to do anything. He knew how much of a punishment this was to her, and
was relishing it. His other hand retracted from her throat and pulled aside
his brown robe so she could see just how much this sadistic treatment was
_not_ pleasing him. The Archmage's impotence had arisen as a result of the
Transfer spell, which not only stole part of his soul but part of his physical
capabilities, as well. He'd had Angel try to revive his stiffness on various
occasions, through variously demeaning methods, but this time it was for
his own revenge.
But his sick intention would never be fulfilled, because, as the white-
haired sorcerer untwined the sash of his mantel, a slim gold chain with a
glass-blown bottle on the end swayed from around his neck. Inside was a red
liquid. Her blood--and the source of his blackmail.
The cool press of it as it bonked her on the nose was enough to bring
her back to reality, away from that detached paradise created by disbelief.
So, while he released his two-pronged grip on her to inspect the place where
her thighs were clenched, Angel reached out and yanked on the glass pendant.
He gurgled as the force of her action nearly severed his neck, but the
chain snapped free just seconds before. The Archmage paused, a look of utter
shock on his face that Angel found _she_ relished. Then he suddenly jolted
for the Grimorum.
She saw what he was doing and was on her feet in a second. She kicked
the old book out of his reach and watched the Archmage stumble and fall short
of it. He grunted and waved his hands at her, while closing his robe, but
Angel ducked the magical blast. Then, in a fit of angry tears and with the
bottle of blood still clutched in one hand, Angel fled the room, not caring
that she was only half-decent.
The Archmage's threats and laughing parting remarks echoed from
behind her, but the blue-skinned sorceress did not heed them. He could not,
would not, have any more power over her!
She bumped into the walls of the secret castle passage that served as the
only entrance to the Archmage's laboratory. Finally, she crashed through the
small, hidden doorway, laced with cobwebs, and landed sobbing on the other
side. A group of guards were there, and they stood at her entrance.
Of course, one had to be the sardonic blond one, Jeremiah. He eyed her
curiously, a chunk of boar falling from his mouth as he burst out in laughter.
Angel became suddenly and hotly aware of her appearance, so she fixed her
loincloth and wiped away her tears.
"See, I told you gargoyles were filthy beasts!" he bragged to his friends.
They all scoffed.
Goliath's Angel of the Night growled and jumped him, suspending him
in the air by her tail and threatening to cut off his air supply. His Adam's
apple bobbed up and down moronically while he helplessly thrashed.
"I am not the beast! We are not the beasts! But you humans
are pigs! Disgusting, murderous pigs!" While still clutching him with her
tail, she regarded the container of her blood in her sky-blue palm. She recited
some Latin words and the bottle sparked, burst into a brief flame, and it was
incinerated. "I will not be subject to this treatment anymore!"
Finally, she dropped him and he scrambled up alongside his cohorts, and
Jeremiah clutched the place where her tail had been lynched around him. His
loyal comrades drew their swords and approached her cautiously, even though
she had broken down to her hands and knees and was sobbing. Thankfully, a
new player came into the game--the long haired guard, it was, who she remembered
as sticking up for her once before.
"What are ye all doin' here?" he growled. He was growing to be
a favorite of the Prince, and it was rumored that he would be the next Captain
of the Guard.
They grumbled their response, pointing to the gargess weeping on the
floor. The guard laughed.
"What, that one?" He crossed his arms. "The Prince is preparing
for a band of Vikings which are rumored to come this way in a day. You'd be
better practicing for an assault than here attacking a defenseless she-
Jeremiah sheathed his sword but held his finger up to Angel. "Ye're lucky
that ye have this excuse, gargess!" He turned to the long-haired, altruistic
guard. "And when she spells youir grave, my son and I will only dance on
The sentinel watched him leave with a mixed expression. He cast a glance
to the she-gargoyle, who he knew as the Goliath's recent mate. He reached over
to give her a hand up, but she was already on her feet.
"There is no further need for you here," she whispered, spreading her
He sighed. "That didnae seem to be the case a few moments ago. What
"I do not need sympathy from you, or anyone else, for that matter!
Just everyone leave me be!" Angel clawed at the tears on her face. She would
cry no more for the humans! "Go and defend your pitiful race!"
He sighed, persisting. "I am not like most humans. My parents, traveling
in a caravan from a distant part of Scotland, were murdered. It was only
because of the intervention of this clan that I lived. They raised me from
a child, even when the real humans had no need for an orphan. So, ye see?
My views are nae like theirs."
The blue-skinned she-gargess just gaped as she watched him leave.
He turned and smiled.
"Are you going to tell...my mate?"
"Goliath? No." The guard patted his thigh. "He's much too busy preparing
for an attack te be worried with matters like this."
Manhattan, Present Day
As usual, huge arrangements of exotic and rural flowers, from Baby's
Breath to the Australian Firewheel, adorned nearly every surface across
the room. The tables were decked in silky white cloths trimmed with blue crushed
velvet. The waiter that escorted Dominique to her table offered her a caviar
hors d'oeuvre and spread a napkin across her lap. She just fixed him with
a cold scowl as he uncorked a champagne bottle on ice--but, despite the fact
that she did not wish for the human's service, she poured herself a glass of
Her companion was late, of course. What could she expect of a human
businessman who'd lived off his rich uncle? But, tardiness aside, the thing
that bothered Demona the most was that she had been seated in an area devoid
of windows. Granted, there were plenty of frivolous decorations to make up for
the difference, but she would have to depend on her watch to determine the
time of sunset. As it was, she'd picked a reservation dangerously close to
night. Her keen eyes located the bathroom and a few other exits, just in case...
"Miss Destine," came a thick Texan accent.
She pushed aside her scarlet hair and let Lingstrum Bailey squeeze her
hand. He pressed it to his lips in a thankfully Platonic manner, then suavely
took his seat. He easily found the cooling bottle of champagne and helped
himself to three cups, before he was ready to continue.
"Lingstrum, how good of you to come," she purred, touching the briefcase
at her side for reassurance. Dominique was willing to pull out all the stops
to get a reliable business partner that could cover Nightstone at night. And
since Sevarius's loyalty was undependably nomadic, she had turned to Mr.
"How could I not come? Ya offered to pay for reservations to one of the
snazziest places in town and my old pal Sevarius recommended you as a five-
Her green eyes sparkled. "Hmmm. Yes, well, Sevarius has very ample
opinions. And as for dinner, I thought we'd get down to business first..."
Bailey's nose, however, was already in the menu. "Delicious. Cracked
lobster. Haven't had that since last year. I'm ready to order, aren't you?"
"Lingstrum," Demona tried again. "I thought I made it clear that I
wanted to discuss your aid at my corporation."
"Never before dinner, darlin'. I need a full stomach in order ta
make a decision!"
Ms. Destine sighed with exasperation and stared at her own menu. She
had two hours until sunset, not to mention the fact that cracked lobster was
not something she was very fond of. But for the sake of Nightstone, she
could afford to wait.
That was, however, until the door to the room suddenly exploded inward
and a long-range flame-thrower caught a nearby wall hanging on fire. Three
leather-clad, despicably masked humans jumped into the room with powerful
rifles drawn. One of them locked the doors and signaled for all any window
shades to be drawn.
A third stepped forward and said, "Folks, sit still and take out
your valuables. This is a going to last a little longer than a holdup."
* * * * * *
A pair of black-gloved hands slid open a compact laptop and immediately
a simulated laser grid appeared on the screen. The beams, replicating the
very security system concealed beneath the skylight, were simple and quite
easy to disarm. The black-dressed burglar punched a code into the modem,
which delivered a signal which would scramble the laser frequency for twenty
And that left him plenty of time to open the window, jump down into the
main hallway, and seal it behind him. He slid his bag of tools off his shoulder
with a relieved sigh and picked up only a crowbar. He gasped once, when
he knocked against a very ferocious-looking statue, and cleared his head.
"Should have brought my Benadryl," he commented at the sight of the dust-
covered relics in the room. And then, although he knew nothing about the inside of
Destine Manor, he picked a room and started there.
"He's threatened this castle for the last time!" the guard yelled,
slamming his fist into his palm. He turned towards a fiery-haired gargess.
"We must be rid of him. I know ye know of his evils...what can ye tell
"I know nothing!" she persisted, baring fangs and then spinning away.
Ever since the incident with the Phoenix Gate, she'd done everything to avoid
the Archmage. She had Goliath to think about. She had the future breeding
season to worry about.
"Ye do, too!" the Captain, her friend, repeated. "The only way te end
his treachery and save the Prince is te get proof of his black ways. Besides,
de ye want that poor lad of 'is to fall into the same path?!"
"I said, 'no!' And I don't care about the stupid boy!" Angel stalked out
of the room, but not before her fist connected with the doorway. It left a
very sizable dent. And Goliath, who had been just trotting by, turned and
looked at her.
"My love?" he stated, staring at her expression of discontent.
Her eyes widened in that split second before her defenses kicked back
in and shielded her with icy coolness. Grabbing Goliath's waist, she effectively
steered him clear of the Great Hall annex. "Come, Goliath. We shouldn't be
"But the Prince wanted to--"
"--The Prince can wait a few minutes," she interrupted sternly, and
eased Goliath out of the door.
The young Captain of the Guard just stared after the two and shook his
head. He exited through a different doorway just in time to notice the
Archmage, aided by an ivory-haired youth, carrying a rolled tarp down the hall.
His eyes narrowed and he stepped into the warlock's path. The Captain's
hand fell to his waist.
"And how are ye this evenin', Archmage?" he asked brusquely, not for the
politeness, but out of suspicion.
The white-haired sorcerer abruptly spun and eyed the guard, lending the
full weight of the tarp to the young boy, who stumbled. Extending one
wrinkled hand from the mess of scrolls he was carrying in his other hand, the
Archmage said, "Quite well, thank you. How is the Prince these days?"
"Well," the guard replied, not at all softened. Behind them both, the
boy just shuffled uncomfortably.
The Archmage scowled and turned to leave, signaling his charge to follow.
He was stopped this time not by a question, but by a hand on his shoulder.
"I think you've tired the lad quite enough for today. I saw you drilling
him on the battlements." The Captain turned and motioned to the spent child.
"If you expect him to become...as _able_ a sorcerer as yourself, you'd best
be giving 'im some rest."
"That's all quite kind of you, Captain," the wizard sarcastically commented,
"But how would you suggest I carry all this to my cave?" His magically-pointed
ears wiggled almost humorously.
"Ye wouldn't have te worry about carrying this waste if ye didnae hide
youirself in that cave all the time. What secrets would ye be hidin' from
The Archmage's tone dropped to equal the Captain's and they stood nose
to nose. "There are no secrets from the _Prince_. It's just a necessary
place to practice where I won't be constantly disturbed by the likes of you."
The Captain of the Guard backed off and the gears in his mind began to
spin. He rubbed his chin for a minute, smiled slyly, and spoke. "Very well
then, Archmage. I'll let you get back te youir studies--"
"How very kind of you."
"--And since I know that ye need youir help gettin' this trash there,
I'll even employ the aide of my two strongest and quickest guards." He
was pleased at how much the warlock's face went slack.
"That will not be necessary," the Archmage started, shifting the books
in his hand. "The boy will--"
"--The boy will take his rest. Go on, boy, drop what you've got and
go get somethin' te eat." The youth did as he was told.
The Archmage puffed out his chest, looking like he might just say something,
but then he just retrieved his carrying end of the rolled tarp and began to
drag it further down the hall. Turning back, he said, "Tell whoever you're
going to send to meet me at the gates. I have a few more items I need brought."
Then he quietly departed.
Two men came up behind the Captain of the Guard; one blond and aging,
one bald, though with a beard. The blonde coughed into the Captain's ear.
"I heard what you said," Jeremiah whispered. "And I'd like to volunteer.
I could take that wizard and his gargoyle consort out without blinkin'."
"Aye," his comrade exchanged.
"Don't get youir hopes up, Jeremiah," the Captain replied, not even
looking back at them. "I just want ye te do what he asks." After their rumbles
of discontent quieted, he also added, "But the first sign of anything treacherous,
and ye have the right te bring him here for judging."
"Finally," Jeremiah, the blonde, whispered. He and his buddy passed
a primitive form of the handshake.
This time, though, the Captain turned. "But don't get the gargoyle
female involved, because she is not a part of it. Besides, if ye've forgotten,
she is the Goliath's mate, and anythin' ye do te her will surely be on youir
* * * * * * * * * *
"This definitely passes as suspicious, te me," Jeremiah put in behind
the large load of magical items he carried. He and his comrade were following
the Archmage as he led them further down into the depths of a labyrinth, and
they'd passed his promised destination, which had been the rookery, ten minutes
"Hey, fellow!" The bald guard called to the white-haired sorcerer.
"Where're we goin'?"
"We're nearly there, incompetent!" was the call back.
Jeremiah exchanged a glance with his companion and both of their eyes
narrowed. "If he doesnae do something soon, I'm just gonna drop this and
peg him anyway!" he threatened.
The party of three approached a rather foreboding structure; a skeleton-
marked doorway. And while the two guards stood there and gawked at that,
the wizard removed a spellbook from under his arm and began chanting.
"How's that for suspicious?!" the bald guard called to Jeremiah, wide
eyed. The two immediately dropped their armfuls with a clatter and drew
their well-sharpened swords.
"Finally, we can have due justice with ye, warlock of the black magic!
I've been waiting for this ever since me wife died! 'Twas you that caused
the sickness that killed her!"
"For the Dragon's sake, I never summoned the plague! Although that I
could have come up with something much better!"
The two guards circled the Archmage, though refusing to advance any
further because he was brandishing two handfuls of strange, white light. The
sorcerer, looking more pointy-eared than they'd ever bothered to notice, just
smiled. He raised an arm and used his magic to pluck the bald guard from the
ground. After a moment of suspension, he flung him into a wall.
"I'm going to require both your help in procuring a vital ingredient
from the Prince!..."
"Argh!" Jeremiah charged, sword raised, only to be thrown back next
to his companion. His sword clattered to his side.
"...Which will, ultimately, gain me all the knowledge and power I'll
need to get the Eye of Odin and rule this land!"
"Never, you bastard!"
"Bastard as I might be," the Archmage bitterly reflected back on his
father's account of his mother, a miserable female druid who had no drive after
her powers had diminished except the coitus, "You will be the true felons.
You will cut out the Prince's heart for me, so that I might use his pure blood
to spawn my omnipotency!"
And then the Archmage opened the Grimorum and recited the spell of
From behind a rock, two ruby eyes narrowed to dagger slits and a blue
form backed away.
************** *************** **************
"Now, see there, my precious Katherine?" Prince Malcolm pulled his
daughter up into his arms so that she could peer over the battlements. He
pointed to a front of gargoyles by the sea, where they were sparring. "Those
are the gargoyles that frighten off all the bad men. They hunt them down, and
kill them for us." He was satisfied by the naive expression of fear on her face.
"No, father!" Katherine looked up at him with wide, sea-green eyes.
"Is it true? Are they monsters? Would they come after _me_?"
"Youir majesty?" one of the servants called from the doorway. Malcolm
immediately straightened himself out and dotingly set his child to the ground.
She crossed her arms and pouted, like a true princess.
The servant reached behind her and yanked aside a pale youth, who had
all the makings of a rogue, and had apparently been caught with his hand in
the cookie jar.
"You remember this one?" she asked, looking sternly down at the boy.
"Well, your Captain of the Guard sent 'im te the kitchen because he needed
some fattening up. But he's proved 'imself te be more of a hassle than
he's worth. He's attracted nothing but trouble an' takes what he wants! If
ye ask me, everythin' about the Archmage has rubbed off on 'im!" She huffed.
Malcolm, trying not notice that Katherine had begun inspecting the boy,
nor that they were also very close in age, clapped a hand on the servant's back.
"Thank you very much. I'll take him off youir hands."
And with that, she left, taking great care to offer the boy one last
reprimanding whap with a wooden spoon. Katherine had now moved on to
poking at the child's unique white hair.
"Katherine, stop being impolite to the boy. Why do you not go down
to the rookery and talk with the gargoyles?"
Katherine made a horridly afraid face at the notion of mingling with the
"monsters" and headed to the library instead. Malcolm ignored her reaction.
Instead, he kneeled down next to the boy, who had been a little unnerved by
being in the presence of a royal decked in robes and gold and a crown. But
the Prince erased that fear by smiling warmly.
"So ye're the Archmage's apprentice," Malcolm stated. "It's a wonder
why he chooses te hide ye away like some pet."
The boy didn't speak, only nodded and shifted his view.
"What's youir name, lad?"
"I don't know, Your Majesty."
Malcolm stroked his beard. "So, you _do_ speak, and quite like a nobleman.
But how is it that you do not know youir name? Come to think of it, how did
ye even come te be in the Archmage's care?"
The boy sighed, as if he'd told this story dozens of times before. "I
was a prisoner of Vikings for a long time. My mother and I were traded as
slaves. The Archmage chose me and brought me here, but my mother was taken
by a leader they call Hakon. I...I don't know what happened to her."
"And your father?"
"He...I never knew him," the youth lied, upholding the promise he had made to
his mother just before they'd been separated. He must, as she had pleaded,
keep the identity of his sire a secret; the Archmage had gotten the closest
to unraveling it, but to no avail.
Malcolm's voice had softened. "Do ye know a trade, then?"
"Yes, sir. I know magic."
The Prince's eyes widened and he stood to face the horizon. "White,
"Yes. But I do not know a lot. The Archmage has helped me practice."
He wavered, and the Prince couldn't help reflect on how a hard life had
fashioned the lad into such an adult.
"And does the Archmage treat you well? I hate to have a slaveholder in
my kingdom, let alone a slave boy who is being treated poorly."
The white-haired youth fingered his white robes, crudely fashioned by
his master, and closed his eyes. "I...he does his best. But I worry, for his
magic does not look very White to me." Then he clamped his mouth shut and said
An hour later:
From the cliff's side, the Captain of the Guard, Leader, and Goliath
broke away from the clan's training in order to watch three figures trek the
expanse from the caves to the castle. To Goliath it was unremarkable, but to
Hudson and the Captain, it caused their faces to crinkle.
"I thought ye sent--" Hudson began.
"Yes, I did," the Captain interrupted, scratching his jaw. His eyes
narrowed. "Perhaps they managed te apprehend him and are leading him back. I
would doubt they'd allow themselves te be taken."
The gray-bearded leader gripped his sword. "If ye need me te help,
friend..." A ready look showed Goliath was eager to help as leader's second-
Captain lifted his hand. "Nae. Ye keep youir clan here and practice.
I think I can handle this. After all, It's not like he'd get past the castle
gates if those two didnae give the word."
And so the graying form of the Captain blended away onto the equally
gray, winter plains of Scotland as he walked back to the castle. Worry did not
hinder him, not when he entered the castle and could find the three nowhere, nor
when the hairs on the back of his neck arose with the force of some unseen energy.
No, worry only touched him when a familiar blue skinned gargoyle landed in
front of him. For her to come seeking _him_ was to be sure that something
She was slightly out of breath, but with enough pride to look only
mildly put out. "Captain," she said, "I'm not doing this because of what you
said, but because the Archmage has enslaved your two guards with a spell and
is plotting to kill the Prince."
"What?!" The Captain drew his sword from his sheath with a very
guttural sound and looked to her. "Has the Prince retired?"
"I think so..."
He nodded curtly, shifted to leave as she did the same, then paused.
He turned and grabbed her by the forearm. Her gold bracelet slid down and
bonked his fingers.
"What?" she hissed, though caught by surprise.
"Ye do know about him and his spell book. If he has done something
to them, I'll need youir help."
Angel removed her arm from his grip and pushed her bracelet back up.
"I admit to knowing nothing."
He sheathed his sword in a manner that said he was not at all prepared
to let her off that easily. "Ye do know the spell, and there's no use lyin'
about it. I've seen ye use magic before!"
This time, she didn't protest. She just averted her eyes. "Perhaps
I would just not like to get involved."
"Very well. Gargoyles are not supposed te be cowards, though."
Her eyes flashed red, and the light reflected off of her golden tiara.
"I am NOT a coward!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A handful of stars that were sprinkled across the night sky glittered
down through the master tower windows and onto the quilted bed of Prince Malcolm.
Under the blankets arranged by Malcolm's estranged wife, his body gently rose
and sank with each breath he took, his dark hair tickling his nose. In the next
room, Katherine would be sleeping just as peacefully.
Two shapes, short and tall, momentarily blocked out the light from the
windows as the oak chamber door creaked open and then closed. Four points
of green shone from what were normally white human eyes. The taller form
shifted and drew a spindly dagger, which sparkled magnificently in the lights
from the astral constellations, while the other drew back the Prince's great
quilt. His majesty was lying on his back, chest exposed.
The dagger was lifted, pointed downward at the sternum, when the oak
door was kicked off its hinges and the orange light of torches illuminated
The dagger's descent halted as its blonde brandisher flashed his green-
glowing eyes upwards. The other dropped to a battle stance, the quilt falling
from his hands. The two at the bed and the two standing in the doorway shared
a moment of silence.
Then, "Youir majesty!"
The Prince's eyelids flew open and he looked up into the aging face
of a golden-haired guard, whose eyes were a blank emerald color, thanks to
the enslavement spell. Malcolm's gaze fell to the dagger seconds before he
grabbed the quilt and rolled out of the way. The knife harmlessly tore through
Goliath's Angel, without hardly an effort, jumped over the bed and
landed on Jeremiah. The blonde used the dagger and tried to slash through
her arm, but it harmlessly clanged against her golden bracelet. She smiled
and kicked her foot against his cheek, watching blood as it dribbled down his
The other, the bald one, had possession of a crossbow and was firing
off arrows as quickly as he could pull them from his back. One skimmed the
Prince, who had tried to tackle him. The Captain of the Guard was trying old
fashioned swordplay, but was no match for the device.
"Cannae ye do something?!" he yelled over to Blue Skin. "Reverse the
spell?!" He pulled the Prince from an arrow, almost getting hit in the back.
No one had noticed that Katherine had appeared in the doorway.
Angel kicked again, this time effectively knocking the Jeremiah unconscious.
"No!" she finally replied. "We need the Grimorum. _He_ has it!"
The bald guard also hadn't noticed Katherine, and so, even though
the terms of his enslavement had ordered him only to kill the Prince, in his
daze he aimed one shaft at her. Thankfully, Malcolm butted the guard in the
stomach and knocked the shot amiss. Like magic, the mysterious white-haired
boy showed up behind Katherine and drew her away from the commotion.
The spell-driven bald guard used the end of his crossbow to smack the
back of Malcolm's neck. When the Prince rolled to his side and gagged, the
guard drew back for a fatal hit.
But, seconds before, the Captain's sword found its mark straight through
the guard's abdomen and passed with a sickening sound through his chest. The
bald man slumped, lifeless, to his knees, only supported upright by the sword.
Blood drizzled from the tip and dribbled next to Malcolm's unharmed face.
The Captain pistoned his foot on the man's back and used the leverage
to remove his sword from its human, bloody sheath. The dead sentry collapsed.
Goliath's Angel looked at the Captain in satisfaction. She dropped Jeremiah,
who was merely unconscious, onto the bed.
"I know where we can find him," she announced.
* * * * * * * * * *
Two gnarly, claw-like hands used the mortar to grind the long, thin
plates of a decomposed skull. Added to that was a bottle of murky water, a
red leaf, and something squirming. Those two hands patted against each other
to wipe off the film of grime and white sleeves, which had been gathered up
by his elbows, sagged back down to a pair of bony wrists.
There was a knock at the secret door at the top of the stairs.
Archmage smoothed back his hair to reveal his magically-enhanced,
odd-shaped ears. He smiled, knowing and expecting who would be there. "Come
But instead of the two guards he'd enslaved, there was...
"Well, well, well, Archmage," was the Captain's voice, his mustached
and thick face featured by the candles. "Here youir little game ends."
"Game?" The words came from his mouth as he backed to the wall,
instinctively clutching the Grimorum Arcanorum to his chest. "What game?"
A blue gargoyle flanked the Captain. "Your innocent ploys have no more
value. I told them you've wanted to kill the Prince, and the boy supports the
The Archmage could see the shadow of the Prince waiting at the top
of the stairs. He backed up further, mentally conjuring, though he couldn't
believe it had all fallen apart this soon.
"I've never tried to kill him," he lied. The Captain and gargoyle
were on him, now, so he did the only other thing he could. He pointed at the
blue-skinned female and accused, "It was her! She killed the leader's mate,
and I saw her! She put the guards up to it, the--"
"He tells no truth!" she howled, wings spread and looking as demonic
as ever. "_He_ killed her! He runs this farce!"
The Captain of the Guard paused to think about if the Archmage _had_
killed Leader's mate, there would be no salvation for him. The white-haired
warlock used the Captain's lapse and threw himself between the two approachers,
so that Malcolm was in clear view. He collected death-magic in his hands and
directed it all at the Prince.
"I will have your heart!" he screamed in his madness.
But Angel thought quickly, snatched up her tiara, and threw it in front
of the blast. The base iron that was mixed within the gold deflected the Avalon-
transferred magic back into the Archmage's hand and the Grimorum. The book
was discarded as the sorcerer grasped his seared hands. The Captain jumped,
pinned the Archmage by the waist, while the she-devil gargess retrieved the book.
"Don't touch that, you insolent, murderous!--"
She just smiled up at him, fangs and all, let him see the page she opened
to, and then tore it to shreds. He gasped.
"The Transfer spell!" he yelled, feeling all the power from the druidic
stonework drain from him. His ears and white hair retained their qualities,
but his strength subsided. "I can never renew my powers! They will fade
away and I'll have to depend on the book!" He struggled again.
"So be it."
The Prince came sweeping down the stairs. When he stood up in front
of the Archmage, he raised the dagger which the enslaved Jeremiah had tried to
cut out his heart with.
"You've tried to commit treason, Archmage. I took you into the castle,
gave you a rightful position, but you return it all with contempt. I have no
need for hate in my kingdom, and so no need for you. But rather then there be
blood on my hands..." Malcolm opened his arms for the Grimorum and Angel
obliged, as soon as she had memorized the counterspell to the enslavement
incantation. The Prince thrust it heavily against the black sorcerer's chest.
"You are banished. I care not where you go, nor what you do, as long as it
rids me of you and these evil spells. If you return, we will kill you on sight."
He leered closer. "And the gargoyle leader will have first choice."
The Archmage whimpered as the Captain lugged him toward the door.
"You will pay for this one day, Malcolm! All of Scotland will pay, and you
_will_ die! The gargoyles _will_ die!"
Lespinasse Restaurant, New York
"Excuse me. I've got to use the Lady's Room," she said evenly, sliding
calmly from the velvet-cushioned booth and standing. Dominique folded her
napkin and placed it on the table as the sight of one of the rifles swung around
"Hold it and sit down," the black terrorist growled, pressing the
barrel against her arm sharply.
"Not an option," Dominique flared, flicking the gun away. There was
a series of collective gasps from around the room and Margot and Brendan Yale,
along with D.A. Guild all huddled together. Demona just snorted. "I must
go to the Lady's Room!"
"Ms. Destine, please sit down," Lingstrum ordered. Dominique flashed
him a burning gaze.
"Truly, ma'am, you've got no authority here," the terrorist sarcastically
put in, stealing a sip of champagne from her table and then spitting it out.
"If you want, you can piss in this shit. Then it would probably taste better."
Dominique did as she was told and dejectedly sat, slumping and
angrily checked her watch for what was, by Lingstrum Bailey's count, the eightieth
time since the holdup. She made a growling sound in her throat.
"I must get out of here, Bailey," she hissed when she noticed him
smugly staring at her. "To...warn the police. Can you make a distraction?"
"What?" Lingstrum folded his hands and peered over at her. "I will
do no such thing, darlin'! Those fellas have rifles and I don't need them
turnin' me into Swiss cheese. Why don't we just sit here and wait it out?
What about your offer? This is as good as anytime to discuss it." He baited
his words with awful temptation, playing on her desire to make the deal.
Dominique sighed, popped open her briefcase, and thrust papers over
to him. Truly, she'd had a smoother, more dainty plan in mind, but now she
could care less. Because, within the next fifteen minutes, every human in the
restaurant would find out who she truly was. Sunset was a mere quarter hour
away, and her potential business partner was not going to get her out. She
wasn't afraid of the rifles--they couldn't hurt here, but she was afraid
of what the humans would do with that knowledge.
Demona busied herself with little things--loosing her hair, her clothes,
removing her shoes--to help her if she had to bolt and transform. The red
haired executive tapped her fingers on the briefcase as Lingstrum slowly
skimmed the contract.
Thirteen more minutes.
* * * * * * * * *
On the roof, a few wisps of smoke flared up from behind the stairwell
door, followed by a hacking cough. In the darkness, a red dot slowly glowed
like an ember. A dark-dressed man cupped his hands around the cigarette,
taking a few more greedy sips of the smoke.
It was quiet on the roof, so quiet that he knew they'd stuck him as lookout
because he wasn't as gung-ho as the rest. It was quiet and uneventful, and
the perfect place to get in a few puffs. His nerves just weren't what they'd
Something thudded off to his right, dark shapes mingling into the
red-orange of sunset. His muscles tensed as voices seeped from around the corner;
he dropped his butt quickly and stomped it out, then hefted his rifle to his
shoulder. More thuds, and he aimed forwards. Only the voices were really
behind him, and so when the man fired into nothingness, one pounced and knocked
him down and out without barely a struggle. A pair of tan hands slapped a
pair of handcuffs around his wrists, then a cop in a trench coat threw him into
a utility shed. Matt patted his hands and turned to his partner.
"Well, we're up here. What next?"
Elisa cocked an eyebrow at him, he shrugged, and they both sidled
up to the massive skylight. She leaned on him for support while they stayed
out of sight. Below, the restaurant was still as five or so terrorists milled
about, guns hoisted, pointing them at patrons when things got a little unruly.
Matt tapped her on the shoulder and whispered, "They've got laser
rifles. I say we hold off on SWAT and wait 'til the guys get here."
"You're right, though I hate to think that they'd put themselves in
danger for who's down there." Elisa maneuvered closer to the skylight and
frowned towards the cowering forms of Yale and Guild. "I wonder why they
picked tonight to do this..."
"Well, just look down there!" Matt whispered with a smile. "I mean,
the Yales, the D.A., a few movie stars, Lingstrum Bailey--"
"--Dominique Destine," Elisa finished dryly. Her frowned creased further.
Matt did a double take and gave her a pale look.
"Awww, why--!" he said with realization, remembering what Elisa had told him
after the Saint Damien's Cathedral incident. "What's Demona doing down there?"
"Trying very hard to ditch those guys." Elisa looked at the horizon,
where the sun was rapidly sinking. "She's going to change into a gargoyle
in just a few minutes."
"This screws the idea of waiting for the others."
Matt's partner curved her lips into a vulturous smile. "I'm wondering
what she'd do if we just let her transform. Let her deal with the consequences
of her own actions, for once. Who'd get to her first? Yale, Guild..."
"Elisa, cut it out. You seriously want to cause more gargoyle hysteria?
I mean, 'cause I'm the one who has to deal with the paperwork."
"I know, I know," Elisa scooted towards the slope of the roof on her
knees and rolled down to the power main. Behind her, Matt hunched himself
down and used his walkie-talkie to communicate with the squad cars below.
The dying light of the sun illuminated Elisa as she cut the electrical
wires, and all went dark.
* * * * * * * * * * *
The lights flickered, flashed back on, and then shuddered off. A few
seconds of panic reined, as the terrorists and the humans blinked to adjust
to the darkness, and all of the gunmen collected in a group to discuss
It was during that moment that Dominique, a dark and unnoticed shadow
present in the curtained room, bolted out of her seat and to the memorized
area near the restrooms. She left a mere flutter of papers behind. Lingstrum
Bailey, her escape to him unbeknownst, idly sat and mumbled to her. He barely
had gone a minute before he realized her absence in the muddle of voices
"Hey!" he yelled as loudly as possible. His vision moved and muddled
and he gripped his head in pain, but still managed to yell, "Ms. Destine,
where have you gone?!"
As the terrorists were heard scuffling about at the announcement,
Lingstrum felt every table in the room quake and he gripped his head once
* * * * * * *
Dominique counted how close the sun was to completely setting as, second
by second, the time between each twitch in her muscles became closer and
closer and she could barely run. Somehow, though, despite the sound of voices
behind her, she managed to plow into a large storage room. Demona skidded
across the tiled floor, coming to a halt next to a pair of towering crates. The first spasm hit her.
Her insides changed first, twisting, ripping, probably killing her
twice over as her heart grew an extra chamber. Then her bones went from
delicate to thick and large and they extended beyond her elbows and knees
and fingers and brow. Her skin expanded to accommodate the change; the color
darkened to sky blue. She bit hard on her now her hand as one finger painfully
retracted into her hand, and she held in a scream. When her fangs grew sharp,
they pierced through her skin.
In a few moments of twittering as she waited for the terrorists, Demona
determined that they were not coming. She stood, finding that the abrasion
from the rifle barrel had disappeared from her arm, and stretched her wings.
The only thing to do now was find a way out without being seen by the
terrorists, the police, or Lingstrum Bailey.
Scotland and Castle Wyvern
"Youir highness!" the Captain protested, emerging from the corner
of the room with his arms crossed. "I cannae stand here any longer and listen
"Ye have a problem?" Princess Katherine stood, flanked by her advisor
the Magus and her personal blond guard, Jeremy. "Do ye wish te be recognized?"
"Aye, I surely do!" He stepped up to the throne and slammed one fist
into the other. The Magus eyed him shrewdly, holding the Grimorum ever more
protectively. "Ye've no right te dismiss the gargoyle's rights like this!
They fought for youir father's life and will fight for yours! He would not
wanted to have them rewarded with contempt!!"
Katherine stared out of the window, right into the spying gaze of
Goliath's Angel of the Night. She swung her mantle around her shoulders
and pointed accusingly at the gargess. "I should reward _that_ with something
other?! That beast was company to the Archmage and spies on us as we speak!"
Angel jumped down from the window ledge and into the room. The blue
skin of her abdomen stretched taut by new egg, the gargess approached the
Princess, and had the satisfaction at watching her majesty step back.
The Captain of the Guard continued. "She is being considerate of her
clan. They have need of the castle as we do, and have the right of being part
of the decisions here!!"
Katherine snapped her jaw open to speak. "The castle is under _my_
rule, as you remember, and I will decide what rights the gargoyles have!!"
Angel growled and all eyes fell to her. Magus opened the Grimorum
and his fingers itched in anticipation. "A crown does not amplify you humans
in our eyes!" she snarled, touching the tiara at her temples. "See, I have
a crown as well, but it does not make me a princess. Perhaps I should be,
considering that I've been here longer than you--"
"Treason te speak like that!" the Princess yelled.
"Indeed," the Magus affirmed, and Jeremy, son of the deceased Jeremiah,
raised his spear.
The Captain looked like he wanted to talk but Angel cut him off. "Treason?!
My clan needs this castle and, pitifully, the humans, for the next laying.
You cannot refuse us the right to live in our own home!"
"I won't deny you the laying, gargoyle. You will just be segregated.
You will no longer eat in the dining hall, but outside; you will no longer--"
Angel's eyes flashed bright red and she bared her fangs. The Magus
jumped in front of Katherine, his hand glowing as he brandished it in threat,
causing the blue skinned gargess to cradle her thick stomach and back up.
"--You will no longer advise me in the tactics of war. You will not
be allowed at the festivals unless cleared with me first, and there will be
no more magic practiced by gargoyles." Her eyes narrowed suggestively at
The Captain put his hands on the gargess's shoulders, though she
just angrily shrugged them off. "Why is this necessary? There is no reason
that they cannot be part of our kingdom."
"Because they are unnatural creatures and are, as you can see," Katherine
pointed at the still-growling Angel, "Quite unpredictable."
"It would be as easy for them to betray us as help us," the Magus
put in, and the Princess gave him a grateful glance.
The blue-skinned gargoyle clenched her jaw and spat, "Very well,
Princess! Don't expect any more from my clan, then, if you will not treat
them equally! We will no longer protect you, and you can see how meager your
defenses are under a Viking raid!!!"
"Is that a threat?" Jeremy asked.
"No, it is not."
Everyone turned around to see the source of the deep voice, and none
were much too surprised to see Goliath standing ominously in the doorway. He
approached his mate, with eyes still glowing scarlet, and soothingly ran his
hand along her bulging stomach and shoulders.
"There is no threat," he repeated, looking at his Angel of the Night
sternly. "We will continue to protect you as we have. Gargoyles protect."
"My love, can't you see that they are slowly destroying us?! They've
taken away all we have; they are selfish!"
Goliath looked at the Captain of the Guard, who whispered something,
and the great gargoyle leader nodded. He swept up his wings into a bow and
said, "Princess, I understand the fear among your people, but I assure you
there is nothing to worry about. Our clan is as strong and as dedicated as
it's ever been. We are all sorry about the Prince..."
She waved her hand at him, eliciting another snarl from Angel. "My
father's death has nothing te do with this."
"Like the Dragon it doesn't," the Captain stage-whispered to Angel.
"Malcolm died savin' a gargoyle. Don't tell me she doesn't rue that!"
"I understand," Goliath rumbled again. "I will uphold this castle,
anyway, Princess. But we could require some supplies for the rookery--"
"Done," Katherine said with a frown. "I'll have te find some guards
te bring them te ye, since no one else in this castle wishes to."
Goliath bowed again, ahemmed at his mate to do the same, and then
gripped her arm and led her towards the door.
"Goliath!" she hissed as they departed. "How can you just accept it
like that? Everything we deserve...that our children deserve...are being taken
away! They treat us like animals, when _they_ are the beasts!"
"Have patience, my love," he replied. "The Princess is grieving for
Malcolm. We can not expect her to easily rebound. By the time of the laying,
my love, I promise all will be well."
Katherine glowered at the departing backs of the gargoyles and watched
as the Captain started to do the same. "Where are ye going? Ye are not
"I am going to help prepare the rookery," he retorted without turning.
"The Princess just said that no humans are allowed to be with the
beasts!" The Magus supplemented, running after the Captain.
The graying swordsman looked back, finally, as he turned to the door.
"Perhaps, youir highness and advisor, I am trying to figure out who the beasts
Demona's Mansion, Manhattan
The hallway was a menagerie of items, all arranged in a give-away
trail. Clothing and boxes were dumped and strewn at the base of the stairs,
bottles and small packets of magical what-nots were spilling over each subsequent
step, and the last of the trinkets dotted a line to Dominique's master
bedroom/office. The radiating glow of a blaring television basked the room
in a monotone glow, illuminating a figure fumbling over a wooden chest.
After a few moments of trying unsuccessfully to pick the lock and make
a clean heist, the burglar stretched, dug into his pocket, and pulled out a pen-shaped
item. When he twisted the tip, it sparked and a white-hot laser flared. The
beam penetrated the dungeon-like lock of the chest, and it moments it had melted
away into a mercurial puddle on the floor. The lid of the chest creaked up
with barely another effort; a great relief from the computerized locks and codes
that seemed to dominate the rest of the mansion.
A thousand years worth of musty stink hit his nose and he crinkled it
at the offending scent. A leather-gloved hand brushed off at least a hundred
years worth of dust from worn out glass containers and books. He sifted through
them with barely an effort.
Spells. Wizard journals. Ingredients for potions, glass and stone made
especially to contain the potency of sorcery. And probably a hundred other
things he could never in his life imagine.
Many could be useful weapons, but none were what he had come here for.
The television screen flashed a brighter green, then red and blue
during the news update.
"I'm Shawna Coyle here with WBCX news," a brunette was saying as she
motioned to a display of police cars and HBT members behind her. "And I'm
out in front of the ritzy restaurant, the Lespinasse. In one of the classiest
sections of Manhattan, you'd expect security issues to be nonexistent, but
tonight that is not the story. Because, as I've been informed, two hours ago
seven terrorists took the restaurant hostage. Positive IDs on some of the hostages
within have been issued as Lingstrum Bailey, Claire Danes, Gwyneth Paltrow,
Dominique Destine, and Christopher Guild. As night falls, the HBT and New York's
finest are hurrying to get control of the situation. The only concerning
disturbance was a black out that happened minutes ago, most likely a police
strategy of some kind..."
"Shit," he whispered out loud; Dominique had made it out quicker than
he had been promised. That cut his time down severely, and if he didn't find
what he was looking for soon...
He smacked the bottom of the chest to vent his anger--and his fist
broke straight through to another hollow. He blinked twice, curved his lips
into a smile, and cursed that Demona for being so sneaky.
His dark form peeled away the rotting boards that separated the hidden
compartment and pulled out something wrapped carefully in velvet. Pulling away
the material, he dumped the object into his palm and stared at it. The gold chain
to which it was attached was neatly shined, indicating that it had been recently
There, twinkling ethereally in the blue-and-gold dust within the corked
glass bottle he held, was what he was truly after.
* * * * * * *
Meanwhile, at the Lespinasse Restaurant:
Lingstrum's vision was still swimming in a sea of dazed red and yellow
as one of the terrorists jammed a pistol barrel into his neck and growled,
"Where'd she go?"
The flaxen Texan gurgled a reply, when his voice slowly cracked and hit
a higher pitch. Meanwhile, though he couldn't see past the red in his eyes,
Lingstrum could hear a restless, windy rain hammering against the curtained
windows, and it struck him odd that there was a storm, all of a sudden.
"I wouldn't know, you _idiot_!" he heard himself reply, reaching out
to smack the man with his hand. Lingstrum didn't feel it make contact, but
the terrorist stumbled nevertheless. "She left when the goddamn lights went
out. Find her ya'self!"
The tables in the room all shuddered one last time. Then the rain
slowly died down, the throbbing in his head subsided and his eyesight cleared.
Bailey rubbed his face tiredly, looking into the darkness of the restaurant.
He made a mental note to himself to up the dosage of his migraine medication,
and, seeing all the disarray even in the dark room, said as idly as possible,
"What's all the commotion about?"
The terrorist lying on the floor in front of him looked up weakly and
passed out. One of his comrades took over his post.
* * * * * *
Brooklyn wrung out his sodden, white hair as the clan shook out their
wings. Goliath was helping Elisa to her feet, from where a sudden gale in
the sudden thunder squall had surprised her, while Matt just continued pointing
out strategic areas for the clan to enter.
"Somebody should have issued a hurricane warning," Broadway chuckled,
hoping to get a better reaction from Angela than he and Brooklyn had gotten
earlier. No dice, for she was busy talking with Lexington.
Elisa patted out her jacket and thanked Goliath, and anyone looking
at them together would have sworn the Sioux had blushed.
"Guess I won't be needing my shower," Matt commented.
"Hmmm. That wouldn't be a first," Lexington put in as a joke.
"Come on, you guys! We've got a serious problem on our hands. After
all, I haven't seen Demona make her great escape yet." Elisa put her hands
on her hips, like she had with Matt.
Goliath's expression immediately soured. "Demona? You did not
mention she was here." Without waiting for a reply, he slowly walked over
and knelt by the skylight, very much not wanting to be involved in another of
his ex-lover's predicaments. His keen eyes examined the room below, and he
frowned again. "She is not in there."
"Pretty apparent, Goliath," Matt said. "We'd have a _much_ bigger problem
if she had transformed."
Angela was already leaning over a railing to see if she could catch a
glimpse of her mother. She wrung her hands in an odd mixture of worry, guilt,
and extreme apprehension.
Brooklyn looked at her, and said with decision to the clan, "How
about we get this over with, huh?"
"Well, guys, since this is a pretty solid holdup, we'd better take
different exits and work our way in. They haven't figured out how to turn on
the lights and they only have about seven people."
"Good," Goliath responded. "We have the element of surprise. Lexington
and I will go through the skylight, Brooklyn _and_ Broadway can go through the side,
and..." he paused, counted the clan he had left, and then said, "I do not
want Elisa or Matt having to deal with Demona. Angela, if you also do not--"
"I'm fine, father," the lavender gargoyle piped up, spreading her wings
and jumping up on the ledge. "I'll take this fire escape."
Her sire just scowled another moment, debating whether or not to forbid
the action, then decided not to as his daughter's wings unruffled to catch
the wind. Angela descended to the fire escape and Goliath turned back to the
matter on hand.
"Let's try to keep the damage to a minimum, okay guys?" Matt asked.
Lexington, Elisa, and Bluestone watched as Goliath mightily gripped the
steel frame of the skylight, peeled it--along with any security alarms--off,
and creaked it open. The large gargoyle paused a moment to watch as Elisa
pulled out her gun, knowing she was planning to follow his front, then spoke
in a low voice--
--Before he jumped down into the room. The group on the roof waited
a brief moment for the commotion; when it resounded and Matt cracked a
joke, Elisa waved her hands angrily at him and the remaining three jumped in.
Angel sighed with relief, drew up a delicate mound of straw around
the belabored egg, and stroked her hand lovingly along its shell. The purple
blotches were not mottled, and so the young one was healthy. One strong,
beautiful male or female it would turn out to be! The blue-skinned gargoyle
let herself indulge on the thought of her and Goliath's child, then slowly
succumbed to the clan mentality that the eggs were collectively parented. Not
wanting to bother the other females and generous humans who were still working
on the laying, she left the rookery to get some fresh air.
Goliath would be so happy! One perfectly good egg, one of the first
laid, and without any complications. For the first time in too very long, she
"Ahem," a royally cool voice coughed behind her, and the red-haired
gargoyle spun to see the Princess. Immediately, her light-hearted and content
mood was replaced by an utter feeling of loathing and defense.
"You have two of our midwives in your rookery," Katherine stated coldly,
still crossing her arms. "And I have specifically deemed this a gargoyle
The sky-blue gargess just stuck up her head and snorted, "Well, they
came of their own accord, and I cannot stop the humans from doing whatever
they feel." She flashed the Princess a look of true hatred.
"Yes, well, they are unaware of the new truth that has been discovered.
It seems the Magus has heard that certain gargoyle eggs cause disease."
"Nonsense!" Angel said at the same time the Captain, who came running
down the hall, said it.
"Gargoyle eggs do not cause disease," the Captain continued, immediately
coming to his friend's defense. "And the midwives will help prevent anything
"Our eggs are much cleaner than a human's filthy baby," Angel added
angrily, though fatigue was slowing her movements. "Which will grow up to
be as contemptuous as the rest!"
The Princess looked between the two bristling compatriots, one the
Captain and one a gargoyle, with an expression of utter superiority and distrust.
"Very well. Then those who wish to help with the laying may, but they will be
quarantined for some time as not to spread the disease."
"So why do you not do the same to me?" the Captain challenged. "Heaven
knows I spend a lot of time with them."
"De not tempt me," the Princess replied. "For it is a thought to test
youir loyalty." She lifted her skirts and headed through a doorway, where one
of her guards was waiting. "Ye will never see me caring for gargoyle eggs!"
When she was well out of range, Jeremy the guard whispered, "And ye'd
best be sure that those bairns de not cause a plague, for the Magus says the only
cure is te destroy the malicious ones." He drew his finger in a horizontal
motion across his throat, made a slicing sound, and Angel's eyes widened.
The Captain snarled to himself and promised the gargess that he'd show that
one a lesson. She just stood there in anger and tried to compose herself,
although the thought of anyone destroying the egg she'd laid was despicable!
She managed to calm her nerves just when she heard the buffeting of Goliath's
dark wings. Although her claws were digging into her palms as she tried so.
He immediately took her in his arms and his eyes sparkled as he asked,
"It is done?" The clan leader was asking about their egg.
"It is certainly most nearly done," Angel whispered in reply, though she
was _not_ speaking of her child.
Present Day, Lespinasse Restaurant
The hallway passage was indeed dark, but it didn't take long for
Demona's eyesight to adjust to the murkiness. She could only hope that those
idiot terrorists were too stupid to figure out how to get the lights back on.
They'd capitally managed to ruin her business meeting and it would be a miracle
if she hadn't already lost Lingstrum Bailey. Demona satisfied her anger by
promising herself that she'd instantly snap any of those human's neck who tried
to disrupt her evening any further.
Luckily she'd taken the time to investigate the outside of the building
beforehand, and so the immortal gargoyle knew that there was a fire escape nearby.
If she didn't run into any distractions in the meanwhile...
"Arrgh! Gargoyles!" Gunshots echoed up from the main dining hall, followed
by a large roar, numerous screams, and a victorious silence.
"Drat!" Demona cursed, breaking into a full gallop for the stairs.
"Goliath and his clan _always_ have to intervene!" And in the first time
in very long, worry creased her brow, for she had not prepared for seeing
her daughter...not yet.
Demona rounded the corner and sighed in relief at the sight of the
kitchen doors before her. By all standards, the fire exit was beyond that, and
there was only one terrorist nervously pacing around a group of huddled
chefs and waitresses on the floor. He was speaking into a walkie-talkie.
The blue-skinned gargess smirked at the stupidity of it all and
strode silently through the room, out of sight of the hostages. She could
just make out what the black-dressed man was saying.
"What? What do you mean you can't get ahold of them? Monsters?!" He tugged
at his collar nervously, spun, and suddenly caught sight of the red-haired gargess.
The hostages followed his gaze and gasped. The walkie-talkie slid out of
his hand and fell to the floor.
Demona growled, bristling like a cat as he leveled his laser cannon
at her (which was meager compared to the one she had at home), and was just about
to tear him apart when another form burst through the door. A lavender gargess
had knocked back a terrorist and flung him to the ground. She paused a moment
and her eyes widened when they fell upon Demona.
"Mother?" Angela carefully asked.
Demona ignored her long enough to dodge the laser sent out by the
terrorist's rifle and catapulted herself into him. Angela just gaped in
shock as she watched her mother, who in one swift motion raked her foot against
the terrorist's back, snapped his neck, and threw the body heavily across one
of the oven counters. Then the sky-blue immortal was off, running full tilt
towards the doors at the end.
Demona could not speak to Angela yet! It was too soon for her plan!
But when it was completed, they'd have so much to do together! Those reassuring
thoughts raced through the gargoyle's mind just as fast as she was running on foot.
The gargess executive could hear her daughter yelling after her, but
she put it out of her mind. Instead, Demona concentrated on throwing herself
against the fire exit doors and was relieved to feel the cool press of air
against her cheeks...and was thrust yet another surprise when she ran squarely
into Broadway and Brooklyn.
The two younger gargoyles' eyes immediately burst into white. Brooklyn,
who had been rudely dealing with a nightwatch terrorist, dropped him and launched
himself crazily at her. He'd remembered what she'd tried to do during the
Hunter's Moon. Better yet, he'd remembered what she'd made _him_ once do.
Demona easily pushed the red-beaked gargoyle off of her (although he
had grown remarkably stronger than the last time they'd fought) and shifted
to the left. "Get away from me, you beasts!" she yelled, hearing the click
of a trigger behind them all.
The terrorist that Brooklyn had discarded had regained consciousness
and although she was unsteady, she had her gun on bear. She aimed and planted one
shot just shy of Broadway, who stepped back as the bullet sparked off the
metal. Demona used the bother, shoved the two gargoyles away from her and
into the woman, and glided off. One bullet just grazed her shoulder as she flew
off, but it didn't stop her from melting off towards the horizon.
Broadway cuffed the terrorist with the gun effectively against the shoulder
and she slumped, unconscious, into his arms. He groaned and patted the place
where Demona had bruised him. "Did anyone catch that license plate number?"
"Yeah," Brooklyn replied at the same time Angela emerged, panting,
from the fire escape doors. "And I think it said BITCH."
"Is she gone?" Angela asked, the coldness she'd been dishing them all
week forgotten in the moment, although neither of the two could pinpoint if she
were angry with or worrying about her mother.
"Yeah, Angie--Angela," Broadway quickly corrected, awkwardly holding the
terrorist. "She was in a pretty big hurry."
"Like a bat outta hell," Brooklyn grumbled. His gaze softened and
he said, "Hey, Angela, I'm sorry."
"I know." The lavender, sable-haired she-garg sighed and let the
true emotion show: it was neither worry or anger, but sadness. The two male
gargoyles stood on either side of her in comfort, and she accepted both their
companies, equally, and with gratitude.
* * * * * * * *
"Lex, you'd better get your butt out of here," Matt whispered, pushing
the web-winged gargoyle towards the dingy roof stairwell. "Good job on winning
Lexington grinned from ear to ear on his little olive, bald head and
opened the door to the roof, where Goliath was patiently standing. "Thanks,
Matt! Boy, am I gonna be famous for this one. I wonder what my pen name should
be?" The webwing's tail began to twitch with anticipation.
"Just be careful about those sex problems. Those can be sticklers to
"Matt!" Elisa admonished with a sock in the shoulder, and they both
watched in amusement as Goliath's brow furrowed in confusion and Lexington's
features fell into an expression of consternation and youthful humor. The
door closed shut of its own accord.
Elisa tugged at Matt's trench coat. The two slowly made their way to
the main dining hall, where the FBI were taking statements and the non-uniformed
policemen were slapping cuffs on the terrorists. Captain Chavez, who was arguing
with an unwanted FBI agent, turned on them a look that said they'd be explaining
"Witnesses say Demona killed one of the terrorists on the next floor
up," Matt muttered to his partner. "But Angela was the one they got a description
"Demona to a T," Elisa replied. "Do the deed and leave the blame for
someone else." She looked about the room, especially at the scene of the blond
Texan Lingstrum Bailey trying desperately to get a questioning officer away
from him. "The Quarrymen are going to have a field day with this one."
* * * *
Bailey finally managed to please the policeman with his statement and
hurried to pull out his cellular phone. He quickly dialed an unlisted number,
let the receiving end ring a few times, and when it was answered, he said a
few curt but undeniable words and hung up. Lingstrum waited a few more moments,
changing gears and his mood. He took a deep breath and punched a more newly-
acquired number (courtesy of Sevarius).
The other end clicked and there was an unsure, "Hello?"
"Hey, Destine!" he chirped noisily, moving away from the crowd. "Thought
I'd lost ya there for a minute."
A pause, and the voice was still unsure. Bailey thought he heard
wind in the background, like she was travelling very fast. "Lingstrum?" Dominique
sounded like she was trying to remain calm. "How did you find my private
"A certain favorite scientist of yar's! But, how'd ya manage te escape?
Ya didn't get hurt or anythin', didja?" He put considerable emphasis on that
"Ah...no, of course not. I had training for a terrorist situation, so
I slipped away for help during the blackout." Another pause, and he heard
her usual, thick-sweet tone return. "After all, how did you think the police
were able to find you?"
"Darlin', ya amaze me." He walked slowly down a flight of stairs and
into the "Waiting to be Seated" room of the restaurant, which was brimming with
reporters. "While we're on it, how's about we arrange a real meeting between
y'all and me? Tomorrow night--"
"Tomorrow night, I can't," she quickly interrupted. "I don't work
nights...We'll do it in my office with Sevarius, tomorrow, nine A.M."
Lingstrum sighed, continued pushing the subject, but decided this was
not the place nor the time. "Of course. I'll see ya then."
* * * * * * * * * *
The intruder stared at the phone wordlessly for a few seconds, took in
the message's meaning, and then began to pack everything hurriedly into his
satchel. He'd been in the middle of cleaning up the mess after finding what
he'd come for, but now that he knew Destine was coming back, he was only
grabbing anything that could point the break-in to him.
He carefully placed the glass bottle wrapped in velvet in a Styrofoam-
packed box and placed that in the satchel, too. Finally, the intruder uncorked
a small canister with an aerosol pump. The label displayed its purpose; to
destroy anything of organic residue. It did well, he reflected as he sprayed
the white mist, to destroy evidence of fingerprints, skin cells, and blood.
Packed up as well as possible, the black-clothed man stepped over
the bed (making sure not to leave any treads) and out onto the terrace balcony.
He started up the flitter he'd used to get there, letting the engines warm
up, and fastened his belongings securely on the backseat. After a few moments
of revving the engine, he kicked the vehicle into full speed and flew off to
a secluded area in the park.
Just in time, he noted, for as he landed, a dark gargoyle shadow flew
overhead, in the direction from where he'd just come. He shrugged and maneuvered
so that his cell-phone-like communicator was angled next to his face. The
dark man pulled off his mask and night-vision gargoyles to reveal a complexion
of dark hair and contrasting pale skin.
"Hello?" came the accent he'd heard just minutes before.
"Yes. The task's complete, and if you don't mind, I'd like to make
the trade now. I'm quite tired of committing these petty thefts."
"Quite understandable, Taro. Why don't we say that ya drop off at
my hotel at around six? Ya show that ya've got what we all need, and Ayame
will have her charges dropped. We'll even pay her bond."
Taro snorted. "You didn't need to threaten to keep her in jail to make
me do this--I would have done this anyway. I guess it's just a convenience that
They happened to take me to head quarters and put her in a real squad car?"
"Well, the Society needs its insurance. So, like I said, she's released
on bail and y'all be seeing each other soon enough. With an added bonus,
as well, I suppose."
"Yes. Ayame is a very good fuck. I'm glad her attributes won't go to
waste in a jail cell"
Taro ran a hand through his glossy hair, his Asian eyes closing for a
moment in deep thought.
* * * * * * * ** * * * *
Back at Destine Manor,
Close to Morning
Demona gripped her hands in fists at her sides. She'd just about
destroyed everything that hadn't been overthrown during the break-in in a fit
of anger, and she still hadn't figured out what had been the object of the heist.
The blue-skinned gargess debated about calling the police, an almost eerily
human reaction that immediately made her throw out the idea. Instead, she
settled herself against the doorframe and reflected on the night's events.
Soon, she'd have everything she need. A new business partner,
Sevarius's genius at her fingertips, and, the true gargoyle place
in the world.
Demona sat like that until she felt the sun's rays peak over the horizon,
and all thoughts of the past were expelled as she transformed.
Castle Wyvern, 993 A.D.
"My love, is there something wrong?" Goliath's large palm settled
worriedly on her thick mane of fire, startling her out of her thoughts.
His Angel of the Night turned up to him, expressing a smile she really
didn't think she had in her. She'd been almost all scowls lately. "I...yes.
I am fine, Goliath. Please, just leave me to myself."
He looked at her doubtfully. "Are you sure? You've been...listless."
She patted him on the shoulder and pushed him half-heartedly away,
although with her gargoyle's strength she managed to move him a good few feet.
"Yes. Now stop stalling and go on with our brother!"
Goliath frowned at her harshness and jumped off the battlement, though
she spared his expression no attention. He spread his wings and caught up
with his dusty-blue sibling, riding the wind to the hunting grounds.
As she restlessly watched her love disappear over the horizon, there
was a loud commotion behind her. Two guards, one being Jeremy, the son
of the blond Jeremiah who had always given her grief, tossed a bony brown
gargoyle from the doorway. It landed with a pitiful thud! and spilled a tin
of apples and bread across the cobblestones. Angered beyond belief, Angel
of the Night spun and helped the creature to his feet. She could make out
the form of the Princess, hiding behind her two sentinels.
"Let me never catch you in the pantry again, thief!" Jeremy yelled,
raising his sword.
Goliath's second in command growled menacingly, her eyes flashing red.
"What business have you to treat him like this?!" she demanded with a hiss.
"He was stealing from the kitchen! Youir treacherous kind realize
nothing of the famine that has struck Scotland o'er the winter!" The princess,
waved a finger at the blue-skinned gargoyle. "If ye keep eating from ouir stock,
youir kind will starve the lot of us!"
"Perhaps that is what you all deserve!" the blue, red-headed gargoyle
Katherine, unnerved, just turned her nose up in all regal stature and
fled back into the castle. One sentinel followed her majesty; Jeremy lagged
behind for one moment longer. "Ye'd be good te keep 'im and the others away
from us," he sneered.
Angel lashed out at him with her tail, but he jumped back so far that
she only managed to nick him in the chin. Still, it drew blood, and he ran
back inside in a bit of a huff. No doubt in order to spin some more lies.
The gargoyle they'd thrown out hastily thanked her, gathered up the
rest of the apples he'd managed to get away with, and flew off before she
could get in a word. She leaned over the battlement, hearing an all-too-familiar
voice speak up behind her.
"I'll teach that one a lesson," the Captain of the Guard promised, as he
always had promised, and she knew he was talking about the impertinent young blonde.
"The Princess and her servants 'ave no right te tell youir kind that ye cannae
live in youir own home."
She growled. "Of course they don't. They're human! As long as she's
here, we'll never live as we once did!" She waved a hand at their surroundings.
"Gargoyles lived on this land long before the _humans_!"
He knew too well to disturb the second when her mind was in this foul
mood. He'd defended her and the others as a young guard, and still would. "Very
well. But I 'ave no need for humans. I grew up on me own, away from them,
raised by the charity of this clan. If ye or Goliath e'er need me help..."
He left the comment hanging like that and departed. She was alone
on the tower, with the sea breeze she loved brushing across her skin. Once,
she would have shed tears at this injustice. But the past few years had hardened
and matured her far beyond her brothers and sisters. Angel closed her eyes,
She saw herself, older and angrier. She saw the rubble
of her clan, smelled fire and smoke upon the battlements.
** "This is your future!" her older self ranted. "Destroy all
the humans, rule the gargoyles, rule the world--it's all
within your grasp! You must know I'm right! Can't you see?
I _am_ what you will _become_!" **
** "I will never be like you!" **
Young Angel saw Goliath, trapped in stone, at night, even as
his older form approached her. Tears fell from her cheeks.
** "What do I _do_?" **
** "Do _nothing_. Live in the moment. Attend the petty
jealousies and angers that prey upon your heart. Do not
fear that this future will become your own. But, most of all,
fulfill the vows of love you make, for they can surely save
...Her reverie faded away, although the feel of the tears and the touch
of Goliath's cool stone took a moment to shake.
The present-day Angel of the Night had been recalling that memory
more and more vividly every day, as if it was proof of the rapid deterioration
of human-gargoyle relations under Katherine's rule. The signs that that future
would indeed come to pass were all about her. She was convinced now that
her older self was trying to warn her that it would be the Princess who ordered
the death of her the clan, the Princess who would burn the castle to destroy
them and then desert Wyvern. Angel did not want to see that prophecy fulfilled;
did not want to become cruel and uncaring, did not want to see the humans
smash her kin and freeze her love in stone.
She would not let that happen.
She must get the humans out of the castle, kill them, if necessary,
before the future had a chance to come true. Once Wyvern was empty, her kind
would be safe from it. Perhaps Goliath would...
** "You cannot trust him; he's weak. He cares more for the humans
than he does for our clan." **
No; Goliath was naive, was blind to the fact that things were falling
apart. Once it was done, he'd see her side of things, but she could not tell
him beforehand. He wouldn't understand. He'd try to stop her.
But she could trust the Captain of the Guard.
Demona: "You have my oath."
Goliath: "I had hers once, too."
Like I said, I hope the ending was a good as I hoped
it would be. Do _you_ think so? Well, write and
tell me. Even one sentence is appreciated!