We Live Again
Ep. 14: Crosscurrent
By Cosmic Inspiration
Disclaimer: The Gargoyles animated series, including the Goliath Chronicles, is the property of the Walt Disney Company and its affiliate Buena Vista. The characters of The Gargoyles Saga series such as Emrys Hawkins (aka Merlin), Mary Sefton, Aurora, and the Brooklyn family are the creations of the collaborated TGS staff with permission to use their characters with term of acknowledgement. No copyright infringement is intended here nor authorized by the copyholders, this fan fiction author only writes for fun and entertainment. All original characters are the property of the author Cosmic Inspiration.
Author's Note: In the Gargoyles Saga version of the series Pendragon 4th season episode 'Black and White', Arthur and his friends are traveling the world in search of the Holy Grail to cure Emrys Hawkins, a.k.a. Merlin, of an incurable and virulent poison created by a bitter and vengeful Morgana Le Fay. In this story they have traveled to Antarctica and meet with the gargoyle clan there, which was first mentioned in TGS: The Council three parter. King Arthur mentions to the clan leader, Cole that he and his friends have recently been to Manhattan and met the Antarctica Clan member Aurora there. Other than these mentions in the story, there are no other details as to why they were there or what had happened while Arthur and company were in Manhattan. This is my story of what may have happened, and takes place just before my WLA stories 15. Justice and 16. Virtue and Vice at the end of February and into early March 2000, and if I wrote it right there should be very few continuity errors.
****JFK International Airport, New York City, before sunset
A distinguished and wooden faced man with sharp angled features, a long sharp nose and sharp chin, cold ice blue eyes framed by wide rimmed glasses, closely trimmed bleach blond hair, and wearing a crisp pressed suit stood nearly as still as a statue with his ever stiff wooden demeanor as he watched a private international airline flight from Cairo, Egypt to New York City, New York, USA landed on the runway. He gave no indication he was expecting the flight, nor any other sign of emotion as it was rarely within his very nature to do so, though it soon became clear he was the welcoming party of the arriving passengers of the flight.
The plane slowed gradually as it pulled up to a rolled out red carpet often used for welcoming important visiting international diplomats and dignitaries, or wealthy CEOs and worldly businessmen of the upper crust, and soon stopped to open its hatch door and allowed its passengers to disembark, its roaring engines steadily lowered to a whining hum. As the hatch door opened, the first to come into view was a noble looking and well built man in his mid to late forties with long dark brown hair and a slightly scruffy beard highlighted by deep graying at his chin and strong jaw line, wearing modern denim jeans, a red flannel shirt beneath a heavy leather winter jacket, and worn hiking boots, clothing he seemed to fit into well enough yet somehow misplaced on his character. He momentarily viewed the scene before him with piercing dignified blue eyes which slightly betrayed an aura of seeing much conflict but never lost his inherent nobility as befitting a warrior and leader.
"Will wonders never cease," he said to himself with a strong hint of an Old English accent as he slowly descended the steps to the dark asphalt ground, steadily helping the next passengers down the ramp, one of whom appeared greatly weakened and worn from the last time the stiff blond man had seen him.
After the human passengers were clear of the ramp, two brawny men dressed in private security commando gear rushed up to inside the plane to then carry down an unusual stone statue resembling a mythical griffin a short time later to then put it in the back of an unmarked black van next to a sleek black limousine to await departure.
"Welcome back to New York, Mr. Pendragon," the stiff blond man, Owen Burnett greeted in his signature wooden monotone voice.
"I thank you for your kind greeting, Mr. Burnett, correct?" the former High King of Britain said, Owen giving only a small nod.
"May I ask as to whom your companions are?" the majordomo inquired, though he was already well familiar with one.
"I believe you are already well acquainted with Merlin here, or as Emrys Hawkins I believe. The fine young maiden with us is Mary Sefton, currently my ward and squire."
"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Burrnet," the chestnut brown haired young woman said.
Owen just gave a stiff and cold but courteous nod as he opened the back limo door for the new arrivals.
"I'm afraid further pleasantries will have to wait, as Mr. Xanatos is expecting you and it was indicated from your message it was of the utmost urgency."
Owen held the door open for the new arrivals as they all quickly gathered inside the now obviously luxurious limo, the wooden faced majordomo driving them to their destination, the Eyrie Building and Castle Wyvern high atop, with the unmarked black van in close pursuit.
Within the limousine the thick silence made an Egyptian mummy's tomb seem like a wild rave in comparison, as the travelers were wary from the long flight and their driver simply due to his very nature and current occupation, though a more flamboyant side to him knew there was more than meets the eye to these travelers. What miniscule magic he was allowed in this form could strongly sense a despairing aura from them, but it radiated strongest from the blond haired adolescent he knew as Emerys Hawkins from whom he also sensed a sinister coldness as though his very spirit had become gravely burdened and his physical body was suffering from the symptoms and after affects.
Owen Burnett allowed his metaphysical senses to linger on Emrys Hawkins for a moment longer, for he suspected he was a strong reason for their coming to Manhattan, if not the only reason.
His psychic senses then subtly shifted to the young adolescent woman whom was introduced as Mary Sefton, and what Owen could detect from her greatly intrigued him. Even on a small level he could sense she had a strong touch of magic to her, though she had to be 100% human. However, unlike any other form of Third Race magic he had sensed before in the past, he caught a whiff of wildness to this kind of magic permeating from her aura which spoke of nights in the forest on a wild hunt that would make Cernnunos proud.
Indeed Owen will keep a close watch on this one, yet he still wondered.
His magic senses then shifted to the dark brown haired man whom he knew needed no introduction, for he radiated the strongest sense of Third Race magic about his presence, though it was not because he was one of their kind in any way, though it ran strong in his blood and he had the scent of being among Avalon's magic for the longest time.
He was a man out of time and displaced from all he once knew, a veritable stranger in a strange land, a kind of person Owen had long become accustomed to.
They all rode in grim tomb silence for an eternity to the Eyrie Building, no one saying a word though the newly arrived passengers exchanged wearied glances every now and then, as though something weighed heavily on their minds and it made them unsure if it could even be solved or lightened with outside help. It weighed so heavily upon them they hardly noticed the awe inspiring and overwhelming scenery and energy which always overtook any new visitor to the Big Apple.
Owen keep his own silence as he drove through the darkening streets of ever active and bustling Manhattan, an island of towers, glass, and stone with sparse mixings of natural beauty to remind its inhabitants of the continuous tenacity of life, the twilight of the setting Sun bringing dark velvet feel of magentas and red gold vermillion to deep blues and violets before finally allowing the pure darkness of night. However a new world came into being that would not surrender to the night, the continuous pseudo-daylight came to life with the glow of neon and streetlights that defined the megalopolis of New York City as 'The city that never sleeps,' and it often made an out-of-towner wonder how anyone could sleep anyway with such bright lights and constant loud noises.
The black limo and unmarked black van finally arrived at their destination, a skyscraper that easily dwarfed all the others of city, even the world famous twin towers of the World Trade Center slightly. Then driving into the deep underground garage to a private area with even more reserved elevators will take them to the very top of the Eyrie Building and into Castle Wyvern.
The Great Hall had come alive with activity as the clan, the Xanatos family, and their other guests had gathered to welcome yet more guests to their home, visitors from across the Pond and continents away; three of who had not set foot in Manhattan for some time and two who were first time visitors and gave off the typical feel of first time tourists to the Big Apple, for among the companions of Arthur Pendragon was another gargoyle; a young female with deep ice blue coloring and snow white hair.
As the stiff and proper majordomo he has always been, Owen escorted the new guests from the express elevator to them stand between them and the gathered crowd.
"Everyone," he announced in his nasally monotone voice, "May I present Arthur Pendragon, former High King of Britain and I believe many of you are well acquainted with, Sir Griff of the London Clan whom several of you are also well acquainted with, as well as Master Emrys Hawkins, otherwise known as Merlin. We now also have the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Miss Mary Sefton, Master Arthur's young protégé and squire, and finally the acquaintance of Miss Aurora of the Antarctica Clan."
Introductions then followed for those who had not formerly met before, however a few among the Manhattan Clan, including Goliath and Elisa, could sense this was not going to be merely a pleasant visit from old friends.
For some who were meeting for the first time a slight uncertainty and awkwardness hung in the air for some moments, but it gradually passed as some attempted to break the ice, the first one to try to welcome one of their new guests was Lexington as he nervously but eagerly went up to an apprehensive looking Aurora.
"Hello, Aurora," he said with his best gentlemanly bow and a nervous smile as he stood up straight instead of crouching down as usual, somehow looking more mature while still seeming like an awkward teenager, "Welcome to Manhattan, it's uh, nice to see you again. H-how was your flight?"
She seemed momentarily taken aback by his approach, but something softened in her posture as she saw a familiar face among a large crowd of mostly strangers.
"Hello, Lexington of the Manhattan clan," she said politely, "It was…a bit more tolerable than the first time I traveled in a metal bird. It's also still strange, if not as disconcerting to find myself in a different and strange land again. I was still surprised by the change in twilight to daylight as I turned to stone unexpectedly while it was flying and even more so to suddenly wake up in a moving cave with two unknown humans and a strange Gargoyle."
"Oh," Lex breathed low in empathy, "I don't travel that much either, but I remember the jet lag after arriving in Ishimura for the meeting a few months ago. Still I know what it's like to suddenly wake up in a new and strange place, too, but I got used to it after a while. Manhattan's pretty great, though, and I'll show you around to the best places and stuff."
Again Aurora seemed unsure of this, but wanting to be more polite than the last time they met she gave a polite half smile as she said,
"Thank you, Lexington, that's very generous of you."
He blushed at this as he asked, "So, uh, this is a pleasant surprise and we weren't expecting another gargoyle, but what brings you to town?"
Aurora looked unsure for a moment but composed herself as she answered, "The uh, message on the metal bird's machines, they were affected by the cold and ice of my home because we barely used it. My clan didn't check on it very often, but one day Cole went to check on it and he saw a red light flashing. It took a bit of time for my clan to make it work right, but the human inside it came to life at last and 're-paired' himself and showed us the message you left on it, telling of your clan's need for a healer because your leader's lifemate is going to have a hatchling."
That last part seemed to make her squirm in discomfort a bit, considering how she and many others at the Gargoyles' World Council felt about Goliath's admission to taking a human for a mate.
Lexington rubbed the back of his head this as he chuckled awkwardly, "Oh, yeah, that. Well, uh, we have a new Gargoyle healer already, from the Chinese Clan of all places, and a new human doctor, too. But I think we can use all the help we can get. C'mon, I'll introduce you."
He lead Aurora to some of their other guests to introduce her to Kwan Yin, Li Shen, and Dr. Yoshiba while Arthur got acquainted with Xanatos and his family, the benefactors of Castle Wyvern.
"So I finally have the honor of meeting the famous King Arthur I've heard so much about," Xanatos said as he grasped the Once and Future King's hand with a dignified but genuine honor.
"'Tis a pleasure to finally meet you and your family as well, Baron Xanatos," Arthur said as he returned the honored clasped of hands, "And if you're referring to what you've heard from the legends or the clan, I just wish to say although while all things are true, but very few things are accurate."
"True enough," Xanatos agreed with a bit of a suave shrug, "So what do we call you? Your Majesty? Mr. Pendragon?"
"Please, it's alright to call me Arthur, Baron."
"Would you mind if we called you Artie?" Xanatos asked with a bemused smirk.
"Very well, only if you call me David. So what brings you and your friends to Manhattan, Arthur?"
"I'm afraid it isn't under pleasant circumstances, David," Arthur began with a reserved and morbid tone.
While Arthur got acquainted with Fox and Xanatos, Griff clasped forearms with his old friend, Goliath as he took him and Elisa aside to tell them,
"My brother, Michael told me about your Bonding to each other, and while he may be on the fence about it I wanted to give my congratulations to you both, and it's about bloody time if you ask me."
"Thank you, my friend," rumbled Goliath, "There have been so few outside of my clan that were not against our mating, I sometimes fear that they will see it as a reason to further widen the rift between clans, as well as Gargoyles and humans."
Griff just scoffed, "Forget about what the narrow minded gits say, love is love and it's complicated enough. I went through the opposite not long after you brought me forward in time being pushed into finding a mate so soon. But now I feel an agonizing emptiness every moment I'm away from my beautiful Brianna, as noble as our Quest is. Treasure the precious moments you have together, for you don't know when an important mission will crop up out of nowhere and whisk you away from the one you love."
"You couldn't be any more right, Griff," Elisa said as she rubbed her stomach, "especially with a baby on the way."
Griff went wide eyed and slacked beaked, creating a momentary awkwardness.
"A hatchling?!" he squeaked from a held back shout of shock, "Already? Blimey, is that a not a bloomin' miracle, right-o! How-how is this even bloody possible? Oh, who cares, more congratulations are in order then. If only I 'ad me a box o' cigars."
He then leaned down to Elisa's waist level, tickling her stomach as he said with an overly cutsie tone, "'Allo, 'allo in there, l'tle fella, this is yo' Unca Griff, ya 'ear? Be sure ta come and play with me 'atchlings someday soon, eh? And I'll tell ya funny stories 'bout Mum and Dad, eh?"
Though blushing with embarrassment at Griff's cooing display, the expecting parents could only laugh until Arthur scolded him,
"Sir Griff, show some dignity, you're a Knight."
But he couldn't help but smile as he told his old friends, "But my congratulations to you both as well, there's clearly much to celebrate. I just wish it were under more pleasant circumstances."
Before Goliath could ask what Arthur meant, Alex squirmed out of his mother's embrace and ran up excitedly to his old fellow Halfling friend nearly shrieking,
"Hello, Alex," Emrys, aka Merlin said with a small wary smile as he tried to support himself with his cane, "My, you certainly have grown, in size as well as in magic I'm sure."
"Uh-huh," the little red headed boy said with a fast nod as he levitated suddenly into Merlin's arms, almost throwing off the young blonde man's balance.
"Doggie," Alex said with a smile as he noticed Merlin's female companion.
"Oh, uh, this is Mary," Merlin introduced Mary with a bit of a confused smile, "She's Arthur's squire, and my uh…, special friend."
"Hi, Doggie Mary," Alex said with a sudden bout of shyness.
"Actually," Mary tried to say in near nervous whisper, "I'm a werewolf, but it's nice to meet you, too, Alex."
Mary then looked down to see the Gargbeasts, Bronx and Nudnik, sniffing with intense focus at her legs and making her flinch back for a moment, Bronx with his ever instinctive caution that then became perplexed interest, and Nudnik from his ever simple youthful curiosity. Yet both soon realized she was no threat but a new friend.
Alex's excitement then became concern, as he used his magic to sense a dark grayness of fathomless despair washing over Merlin, and now washed over the neonate sorcerer. No one, other than Owen had seemed to notice the deepening fading and graying aura surrounding Merlin.
"What wrong, Emrys?" Alex asked with a tearing sadness, "You feel bad?"
"It's nothing to concern yourself with, Alex," Merlin tried to reassure him with a weak smile, "I'll be alright."
"Nuh-uh," Alex protested, "Don't fib, Emrys, you sick."
Merlin could only give incoherent stammers for a moment before he blurted out, "Did I hear someone's going to have a baby?"
All eyes turned towards Merlin, making the young wizard very uncomfortable suddenly being the object of everyone's attention.
"I am, Emrys," Elisa said with a blush, "A little over two months now, and are you okay? You look pale."
Merlin just feigned a forced toothy grin that showed through his frail demeanor, making him appear as a ghost.
"By Jove," he cheered with fascinated intrigue, "Now I truly have seen it all. And I'll be fine, Miss Maza, just a bit under the weather, perhaps a mite jetlagged."
"Emrys is sick," Alex said bluntly as he slid from the older Halfling's arms, "I help him, I make him better."
"Can he really?" Mary asked with a mix of hope and confusion, "If this kid has magical powers that can heal Merlin, we might not need the Grail after all."
Arthur and Griff gave deep frowns, making them both look a bit older than they both truly were, and as the clan and other guests looked closer at Merlin as he too appeared far older than he actually was, as though a shadow of his once elder incarnation in a youthful body.
Arthur became a bit crestfallen as he said solemnly, "Unfortunately, your young son speaks the truth, David. He's very perceptive for one so young."
"It runs in the family," Xanatos said with a bit of pride, but became serious again as Arthur gave him a hard look.
Merlin looked down in shame as he began to say, "I suppose it was bound to come out sooner or later. It's very unpleasant news, my friends. I've been poisoned, I'm dying. I may only have more or less six months from now."
"Nooo," whined Alex as murmurs of surprise and worry reverberated from the gathered crowd, Alex clinging tightly to Merlin's right leg.
"That's terrible," Angela gasped, "How did it happen? How can we help?"
"Who dared to threaten you with such cowardice?" rumbled Goliath.
"My begrudged, unforgiving half sister, Morgana," Arthur said.
"Morgana?" Angela said with some confusion and a bit of surprise.
"As in Morgana Le Fay?" spoke up Brooklyn as he, Sata, and the twins gave knowing looks to each other.
"I fear so, my friends," Arthur said with pity in his voice, "Having held greatly to her old hatreds for Merlin as well as myself these many centuries, she has now somehow infected Merlin with this virulent plague that threatens my old mentor's life. The four of us have been traveling the world hither and yonder for some months now for the Holy Grail, certain it's only possible cure that will save his life, and thus far in our long sojourns it has been for naught. I fear our Quest may well be in vain, but I vowed never to give up until it is complete and Merlin is saved."
When Arthur spoke of Morgana, Brooklyn mumbled to himself and Sata, "Sounds like someone we know."
This didn't go unheard by Angela as she gave the rusty colored Second a hard look.
"The Holy Grail, you say?" Xanatos said with intrigue, the wheels turning in his head could practically be heard by almost everyone in the Great Hall, "Now that would make a most impressive commodity."
"Xanatos," Goliath almost growled as he gave his clan's host and supposed ally a granite hard look.
Fox smiled in amusement at her husband's ever ambitious streak as he just shrugged and said,
"I know, such an acquisition is never easy to come by, but a guy can dream, can't he?"
"Even if we are able to find it," Arthur said with a serious tone mixed with deepening despair and waning hope, "The Grail can only be achieved by someone of pure hear and noble soul. From the Knights of my old court, only two are known to have succeeded in so great a task. And now the task lies with us."
"And now your Quest brings you to Manhattan," Xanatos said with curiosity, "But why look for the Holy Grail here?"
"For a peculiar reason," Arthur continued, "I had found Excalibur on this isle of towers, glass, and stone, far from its original home in Britainia, so there may yet be a chance of finding it here in the 'New World' as well. Our recent travel to Egypt has lead us to information telling of a wealthy businessman funding an expedition to the ancient land for a scholar only known as the Emir. We had also come across a story about a Scottish nobleman called Henry St. Claire, the Earl of Orkney, who was rumored to be a member of an order called the Knights Templar, which is strangely also said to be some sort of successors to my own Knights of the Round Table. The legend says the nobleman traveled to a distant land that may have been a corner of America and brought treasures and knowledge of his order with him to keep safe, one of which may have been the Holy Grail. There has been no proof of such a treasure being in a distant land, however considering the urgency of the situation, any clues to the Holy Grail's true location can't be dismissed."
"So far, all of the places we've looked turned out to be nothing but wild goose chases or dead ends," Griff said with a frustrated huff, then continued with determined optimism, "But every place just brings us a step closer to achieving our Quest's ultimate goal."
"Not to worry, my friend," Goliath said as he slapped a large hand onto the griffin-like Gargoyle's armored shoulder, "I and my clan will do all we can to help you in any way we can."
While everyone was chatting, getting acquainted or reacquainted, and listened to Arthur's story about the Quest for the Holy Grail, Alex tried to use his magic to heal Merlin as he chanted low with his arms spread wide out,
"Sickness that hurts my friend,
For him there shall be no end,
Be pure in body and spirit forever more,
And this evil will haunt thee no more,
Be gone this heavy darkness weighing upon your soul,
And once again be happy, healthy, and whole."
Mary could only watch as emerald green light enveloped Alex in an aura as he chanted his improvised spell to then have beams shot forth from his little hands to surround and envelope Merlin as his powers tried to push out and away the dark surrounding grayness only he and partially Owen could see. Mary looked on with awe and hope as it seemed to be working as she saw Merlin slowly begin to look stronger and more like his old self again.
But then little Alex began to strain in using his powers and Merlin staggered as he felt a mystical resistance that put strain on him as well.
The next moment the emerald lights changed back into a deep dark grayness and suddenly shot and repulsed back upon the fledgling sorcerer, knocking him back like a mean school yard bully shoved him down for mean spirited fun. Alex began to wail with pain and hurt, his cry piercing the air in the Great Hall.
Owen had changed literally in a flash to Puck as he scooped his pupil into his arms and tried to comfort him.
"It's okay, Alex, it's going to be okay. I know, it hurts. Shh, calm down, kiddo," he tried to gently sooth his charge, "I'll make it all better." A soft glowing aura of pale cyan light surrounded him and Alex for some moments, Alex finally stopped crying and hugged tightly to Puck.
"There we go, all better," the Fay trickster cooed as he held little Alex, then looked around at the watching and concerned crowd to say, "The little scamp thought he could heal my poor afflicted cousin by himself, and it turns out he couldn't. I would have discouraged him, but you know how stubborn kids are at this age, they just don't listen."
Puck flinched as he sensed Alex's gradually subsiding pain, then continued, "Eesh, that's some nasty and potent stuff coursin' through your system, Cous, not even the Great and Powerful Oz-beron was able to purge it. I could sense darkness and Avalon's magic on all four of them even as Owen. Heh, heh, that Morgana, she always was such a temperamental minx, it's impressive how thorough she was in creating such powerful magic."
The new arrivals and a few members of the Manhattan Clan gave the Fay trickster some dirty looks, the strongest ones from Arthur and Merlin, making Puck smile awkwardly as he defensively said,
"I said it's impressive magic, that doesn't mean I condone it. Sheesh, lighten up, everybody."
The tenseness gradually subsided as Puck handed Alex back to Fox and the silver white haired fun loving Child of Oberon reverted back to Owen and began to escort Merlin and Mary to the castle infirmary.
To be a good host, Xanatos then offered to Arthur, "While Owen tends to your young friends; I'll show you to a guest room, Arthur. In the mean time, you're free to use my library or any other resources you need in your search for the Holy Grail. I admit, I'm intrigued by your story and I wouldn't mind hearing more."
Arthur gave a raised eyebrow to Xanatos, but courteously said, "I thank you for any assistance you can offer, David, as it hasn't been easy to find friends or allies on this journey. All too often to my ire there have been others trying to find it as well with far less then noble reasons, or trying to deter us in one form or another from succeeding in our Quest, but in the end they always fell due to their own over ambitions or arrogance."
Though Xanatos didn't show it, something in him dropped a bit in fear at such a thought.
Meanwhile, Lexington offered to show Aurora to a cornice to perch upon during the day, and while she politely thanked him, her thoughts swirled with much confusion and discomfort at everything she had heard so far making her wonder if she made the right decision in coming to this strange land.
A huge and humble thank you to Todd Jensen for noticing some small errors in his review, which I hopefully corrected post haste. I honestly never thought someone from the original TGS staff would notice my any of my stories, and I am humbled and thrilled he did.
Thank you again, and there are any other errors in this or other stories Todd Jensen notices, please feel free to point them out and I will correct them.