Previously on Gargoyles…
"Well Ms. Lafayette," he said. "My employee filled me in on the details. Either that was a very well trained owl, or you're exactly what I've been looking for."
"Both, Mr. Xanatos," she said. "I've been aware of your search for a sorcerer for some time…"
"…I brought back the Coyote Diamond," Taz replied, tossing the stone into Xanatos's hand. "I know that the tinker toy needs it to think."
"I appreciate it," Xanatos smile. "Now, go join your teammates."
"Do you mean it?" Taz asked.
"Welcome to the Ultra-Pack," Xanatos grinned.
~~From Fusion By GregX
August 7th, 2000
David Xanatos glanced up from his desk as Owen entered the room. Owen blinked for a moment and then smirked.
"Mr. Xanatos," Owen said, smiling wryly. "Your Three O'Clock is here."
"I don't recall a three o'clock appointment," Xanatos said frowning.
"To be fair," a feminine voice said from behind Xanatos. "It was very last minute."
Xanatos smiled, and turned his chair around to face the speaker.
"Miss Lafayette." Xanatos said. "Always a welcome sight. To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"Business, not pleasure, this time," Morgana said, smirking back at the goateed man.
"Of course, what did you need?"
"I require use of the Ultra-Pack," she said. "I didn't help you forge them for purely altruistic reasons."
"I thought that might be the case," Xanatos said smiling. "I had Coyote 7.0 commissioned and constructed alongside 6.0, if such an occasion arose."
"My aren't we ever prepared?" Morgana chuckled.
"You helped make the Ultra-Pack," Xanatos said. "They're yours whenever you need them."
"Excellent," she smiled wickedly.
The London Clan awakened from stone sleep with a massive cacophony of roars that could be heard throughout the estate. Followed instantly by their protestations and loud groans. It was raining. Again. For the fourth night in a row. The gargoyles all quickly began scampering inside the building through whatever entrance they could find, whether the rooftop terrace doors, or nearby windows. The London Clan were not fans of rain.
Immediately, Sir Griff, King Arthur's First Knight shook himself off and turned, immediately making his way down towards the clan library. Leomaris, better known as Liam to his clan-mates, turned to make his way down to the kitchens, when a familiar figure clamped onto his arm.
"Evening Kelps," Liam said. "Wie gehts?"
"Don't you start speaking German at me, Cuz," Kelpie replied. "E'ry night, Griff, King Arthur, Merlin and Fleur hole themselves up in th' Library and don't come out again until sunrise. The been doing it for o'er a year now. Any clue why?"
"No," Liam said, attempting to break away from the Loch Ness gargoyle at the stairs. She clamped down harder and began pulling him towards the Library.
"Kelpie I'm expected in the kitchens," Liam said frowning.
"Bhors doesn't need you e'ery night, Cousin, and I wanna see what the Camelot Lot are up to in there."
"Bhors doesn't need me," Liam affirmed. "Mandy does! She's helping make Indian food again, and she needs a buffer between her mother and Bhors! If I'm not there…"
"She's a big girl, she can handle herself," Kelpie said. "We've got a mystery!"
"Kelpie!" Liam squeaked, but the poor gargoyle cook lacked the upper body strength that his Loch Ness Cousin did, and she dragged him down the hallway.
"Come on Kelps, this isn't funny," Liam muttered.
Kelpie swung the door to the Clan Library open dramatically and yelled "Ah-HA!"
Griff, Fleur, and Arthur looked up from the conference table in mild surprise. Merlin sat cross-legged in an easy chair in the corner, murmuring under his breath. His eyes never opened.
"Can I go now?" Liam demanded.
Griff cocked an eyebrow ridge at the two young gargoyles.
"She wants to know what you lot are up too," Liam explained. "Because she's nosy."
"More…Curious," Kelpie admitted.
"Nothing wrong with curiosity, milady," Arthur said.
"Your Majesty," Griff interjected.
"We know that none of your clan has anything to do with the Illuminati," Arthur said.
"The super-secret cabal of Immortals trying to take over the world?" Kelpie said excitedly.
"That's the one," Griff said.
"You're planning to take them down!" Kelpie said. "And its probably a lot of work right!? Because they practically built modern civilization!"
"Something like that," Fleur said. "But yes. We are…working on a plan."
"Can we help?" Kelpie asked.
"Can I GO?!" Liam demanded. "Dinner won't cook itself!"
"BLAST!" Merlin said, his eyes snapping open and slamming his fists down on the armrests.
"Did we disturb you teacher?" Arthur asked.
"What?" Merlin asked. "Oh. No. I was Astral Projecting. Hoping that I could find my stolen magicks on the Astral Plane, but in my current state, I simply lack the range truly necessary to find my power."
"Why don't you use the Circle of Standing Stones to boost your power?" Liam asked.
Merlin blinked. "The what?"
"Our clan didn't chose this location by chance," Griff said. "We built Knight's Spur here because our ancestors found the ruins of an old Henge and decided to build our rookery near it."
"The stones serve as magical capacitors, storing magical energy. We use it to train each generation of Clan Sorcerers. Helps them focus, as well as boost their power when necessary. I'm fairly sure that Una is training Lunette and Nix out there right now," Liam added.
"In this storm?" Fleur asked looking out the window.
"Una's not known to cancel Magic Lessons just because of weather," Griff commented. "Old Pog trained her in the rain."
"The weather might actually boost certain forms of Magic," Merlin said. "Might I…"
"I'll take you to the circle," Liam said rolling his eyes. "Mandy is gonna eat me alive for this."
Liam, Kelpie, and Merlin exited the Library.
Fleur, Griff, and Arthur remained quiet for a moment.
"I think I'll just," Griff said, standing up.
"Keep an eye on Merlin?" Fleur asked amusedly. "You're rather transparent Griff. You've not gotten along since…"
"Since he went mad at Camelot," Griff said. "I know that was a spell…But…"
He glanced after the wizard and the younger gargoyles. Then he glanced at Arthur.
Arthur sighed. "It is my wish that you both would put aside your differences. But I am resigned to the fact that…"
"Some people just don't gell?" Fleur suggested.
Griff turned and shot down the hall after Liam, Kelpie, and Merlin.
Arthur fidgeted with a mechanical pencil on the table for a moment, before snapping it in half.
"This is ridiculous," he said.
"Both Merlin and Griff did swear loyalty to you, Arthur," Fleur commented. "You are their King. By choice, rather than Fate this time. I think that perhaps…"
"That I should be more decisive?" Arthur said.
"I don't presume to advise," Fleur said. "That is supposed to be Merlin's job. But from what I've observed, you don't wish to upset either Merlin or Griff, and so you are remaining out their personal conflict. But…it is only escalating. I do not believe that inaction is the correct course here."
Arthur rubbed his temples. He sighed heavily and then got up. Fleur smiled.
"Fulminos Venite!" Lunette yelled.
She stood in the center of a circle of standing stones, none more than a foot high in size. There were sixteen stones total, and the ring was about 30 feet in diameter. The stones glowed blue and energy arched from them into Lunette's horn. She held her right talon up and a ball of electricity formed above her finger. She pointed at a nearby tree and lighting arced out from the ball and struck the tree, crackling wildly in the rain.
"Excellent shot Miss Lunette," Merlin commented.
Lunette squeaked in surprise.
"Master Merlin," She said, bowing respectfully.
"Master?" Merlin cocked an eyebrow ridge.
"Old Pog insists that we address all accomplished sorcerers as 'Master'," Lunette said.
"Ah…Well, I wouldn't particularly consider myself accomplished at the moment, since I lack most of my magic," Merlin replied.
"You are still accomplished, Master," Lunette said. "Even if you are currently incapacitated."
"Fair enough," Merlin said. "I was wondering if I might borrow your training circle. Where is your teacher?"
Lunette rolled her eyes. "Nix hates the rain, and went and hid after we woke up. Una's inside trying to find her."
"Your clan has made good use of these stones," Merlin said, bending down and placing a hand on the largest stone in the circle. It glowed slightly to his touch. "You've been training in them for centuries I'd imagine."
"For as long as I can remember," Griff said, swooping down and landing next to Lunette. Merlin scowled at the gargoyle knight.
"Our clan's first rookery was supposedly just beneath the stones," Griff said. "If the clan stories are true."
"Oh clever," Merlin said. "Charge the stones up with New Life energy. These could definitely boost the range of my scrying."
Lunette shrugged. "I don't object to taking a break."
She walked over to a cooler between two of the stones, and pulled out a bottle of tea with the Nightstone's Logo on it. She offered one to King Arthur as he joined the group, holding an umbrella over the young gargoyle.
Griff placed a talon on Lunette's shoulder. "Merlin was right by the way, your technique was excellent. You're a better shot than Una was at your age."
Lunette beamed brightly.
"Great!" Liam said. "I'm going inside now!"
"Hang about," Kelpie said, still locked onto Liam's arm, preventing the gargoyle from going anywhere. "Don't you want to see this?"
Merlin walked to the center of the circle and sat down, cross-legged, resting his staff on his lap. The circle of standing stones began to glow blue.
"What I want," Liam said. "Is to not get yelled at by Mandy or Bhors for not being down in the kitchens, Please Kelpie."
"You need to improve your sense of adventure you know," Kelpie said.
"I don't need-," Liam started to say, but then the words died on his tongue. The stones had suddenly turned red.
"Oh that's not good," Lunette said.
Merlin's eyes suddenly snapped open and he gasped for breath. Arcs of red lightning suddenly formed a dome around the circle, trapping Merlin, Lunette, Arthur, Griff, Liam and Kelpie inside the dome.
"Crap we got to-," Kelpie scrambled to get out of the circle.
"Stop!" Lunette, Griff, and Liam yelled at the same time.
"Don't cross the lines of power," Liam said yanking Kelpie back. "Unless you want to explode.'
"What about the cooler?" Kelpie asked, pointing at the small container, which was halfway in, halfway out of the dome.
"Oh that's not good," Lunette repeated.
"Teacher, what happened?" Arthur demanded of the wizard, who was laying on the ground, gasping for breath.
"I found my magic, but there was some kind of…trap," Merlin wheezed. The stones began to glow brighter.
"What kind of Trap?" Griff demanded. Suddenly, the arcs of lightning glowed so brightly that none of those within the dome could see out of it, and then abruptly, the lightning dome vanished.
Instantly water caved in on the dome slamming onto everyone within it. Kelpie and Liam had enough instinct to suck in a deep breath just as the water crashed down on them. Kelpie surged forward, more at ease in the water than any of them, and grabbed Lunette, helping the young gargoyle towards the surface of the water.
Liam had grabbed a hold of Arthur and Griff, and was guiding them towards the surface as well. Merlin's eyes glowed blue and he transformed into a massive blue salmon, swimming after them.
The group breached the surface, noticing right away that something was wrong. Obviously they were no longer in the forest behind Knight's Spur but this was definitely a shock. They appeared to be in the middle of a large lake. The sky was overcast, but very bright, brighter than Griff had ever seen it before.
"Is that what I think it is," Griff said pointing at a glowing ball behind one of the clouds.
"Oh bugger," Lunette said. There was a sound like grinding gravel, and Arthur could only watch in horror as Griff, Liam, Lunette, and Kelpie's faces turned gray and sank beneath the waves.
Arthur looked around wildly for Merlin, but couldn't see the wizard. The only thing he spotted was half of the cooler floating nearby.
Taking a deep breath, Arthur began swimming for the nearest shore as fast as he could. It took him almost fifteen minutes, but he managed to drag himself out of the water and onto the shores of a park.
A moment later a large blue salmon surfaced next to him, its eyes glowed and he transformed back into Merlin.
Griff, Liam, Lunette, and Kelpie swam staggered onto the same lakeshore park that Arthur and Merlin had six hours later. Lunette and Griff still coughing and sputtering out water from their lungs.
Griff noticed Arthur and Merlin approaching them. His eyes glowed and he approached Merlin accusingly.
"What did you DO, wizard?" Griff demanded.
Merlin looked down ashamed. "I was careless. I triggered a magical trap. Designed to trigger should anyone attempt to scry for my magic."
"That doesn't make it his fault, Griff," Lunette said quietly. "It just makes him as much a victim as any of us."
"Where ARE we?" Griff said. "I assume we shifted time zones."
"We are in a town called Mandeville, Louisiana in the United States," Arthur said. "The lake we fell in is called Ponchartrain."
"Wait…" Liam said. "Lake…Ponchartrain. Really?"
"How exactly did we get here?" Griff asked.
"I'm not really sure," Merlin admitted. "When the trap triggered it attempted to kill me by creating a magical feedback loop. My only option was to channel the magic into the standing stones, which triggered some sort of transportation spell. It moved us to another circle of standing stones underneath the lake."
"Logically though," Lunette said. "Since you were scrying for your powers…We might actually be close to your powers."
"I…That actually hadn't occurred to me," Merlin said in surprise.
"Does Una know where we are?" Griff asked.
"Yes," Arthur said. "I contacted her as soon as I was able. I'm afraid that the lakewater destroyed my LexPhone. I was forced to use a payphone."
Griff suddenly reached into his jacket and pulled out his own LexPhone. He groaned loudly. "Staggers just sent us those."
"Yes," Arthur agree. "I feel miserable that we've already ruined his gift after only a few days."
"But we're really at Lake Ponchartrain?" Liam asked.
"Yes," Arthur said, frowning. "Why?"
"Because if this is Lake Ponchartrain," Liam said, and pointed out over the lake to a city lit up across the way. "Then that's New Orleans. I've always dreamed of visiting New Orleans…The food, the culture, the food. I know I said food twice but you don't understand, the food of that city…it's what inspires me in the kitchen. It's…"
"Liam," Griff said, frowning. "You can't exactly walk into a restaurant. I'm sorry but even if that is New Orleans, there's no point in you…"
Merlin cleared his throat. Griff paused and glanced over at the wizard.
"This is my fault. The least I can do is try and make up for it," Merlin said. He reached into the pouch at his side and pulled out three jewels, one amber, one topaz, and one opal, all strung on chords.
"Una made me make glamour charms to prevent my skills from rusting," Merlin said. "I hated every moment of it…But…"
Liam looked at Griff pleadingly.
"You don't have any money!" Griff said. "They're not just going to give you food, you know."
Arthur reached into his pocket and pulled out a small debit card. "He can purchase food with this. Merlin and I used it a few hours ago for our own dinners. It's connected to my Swiss bank account that Fleur set up for me."
Griff sighed in defeat. "All right. But be careful!"
"YES!" Liam yelped.
"I regret this already," Griff said.
"I've got three glamour charms," Merlin said.
"Dibs!" Kelpie said, snatching up the topaz charm.
"Lunette…please keep an eye on those two," he said. Lunette side-eyed Kelpie and Liam, and then nodded, taking the opal charm from Merlin.
"We'll meet in the French Quarter," Liam said, "An hour before sunrise, okay?"
"That's fine," Griff said absently.
The three gargoyles quickly climbed up a nearby lighthouse and began gliding towards the city.
"Now," Griff said turning back towards Arthur. "About getting home?"
"I contacted Macbeth," Arthur said. "Unfortunately he's not in a position to come get us. On his book tour, and he can't break that commitment. Goliath's clan is willing to take us in until Macbeth's book tour ends, but that still leaves the matter of actually getting to New York. It's quite a distance from here."
"There's also another matter," Merlin said.
"What's that?" Griff asked.
"I just did a low impact scry," Merlin said. "So as to not trigger that trap again. Lunette was right. My power. My magic. It's somewhere in that city."
Griff glanced over at the city, then looked at Arthur, who nodded.
"Then I guess we're just going to have to find it," Griff said.
"And quite likely, with it, Nimue herself," Arthur said.
Madam Serena sat at her table, examining her Tarot decks. She didn't look up when she heard the sound of the door opening.
"Sorry," Madam Serena said. "All readings are by appointment only."
"How far in advance does one have to make an appointment, dear Nimue?" Morgana asked mockingly.
Madame Serena's eyes widened as she looked up to see Morgana leaning against the doorframe.
Instantly she bolted, attempting to run for the back exit, only to be stopped by a giant black and gold robot blocking her rear entrance.
"Ah-ah-ah," Coyote said. "We may not have an appointment, but you're not going to skip out on us just for that."
Madam Serena glanced back at the robot, and then towards Morgana.
"Morgana le Fay," she said. "What you brings you to the Crescent City?"
"Oh I think you know, dear sweet Nimue," Morgana said. "Your lover is awakened and escaped."
Serena paled. "No he's not."
"Really?" Morgana said, casually looking at her fingernails. "Then he couldn't possibly have triggered my trap at Camelot, designed specifically to drive him mad."
"T-trap?" Serena said.
"And he couldn't possibly have triggered the spell I placed on you," Morgana said. "Designed to activate when he was physically close to you location…As he is now."
"He's not interested in me," Nimue said. "He just wants his powers back."
"Oh I'm sure he's still interested in you, my dear," Morgana said, walking over to the table and picking up the Tarot deck with the icon of a falcon on the back of it. "But either way…I have my bait."
Without warning, Serena snapped the top card off of the tarot deck. It glowed and surrounded her with blue light. A split second later a kestrel was standing where Serena was and shot past her out through the open door.
"Should we pursue?" Coyote asked.
"No it's fine, dear," Morgana said looking at the rest of the deck. "He's close. I can sense it. He'll come for his magic. Why hunt the rabbit, when we can make him come to us?"
To be continued…