I don't own Gargoyles or anything associated with them so don't sue me.

This fic is dedicated to Silverbolt on his birthday!

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Previously on Gargoyles:

Thailog felt like crying as she caressed him like he had done her. She was his! He wanted to shout it out to the world and announce to all that were near. He had won! Now he had everything, Lana, money, power and wealth. It was only a matter of time before he regained control of Nightstone or maybe he would just suspend with all the trouble and make up a new company. As for his face, he would hire Sevarius again and see if he could do something. He couldn't have his angel mated with a demon look alike now could he?

He closed his eyes in contentment and felt her soft hands and talons stroke him. He purred like a lion and rubbed her arms with his hands.

He didn't even notice the rock she had in her hand until she started using it on him.

* * * * * Trapped * * * * *

Aaron shuddered, but then looked back up at the eyes and asked "why did you want me to go talk to this girl anyway? I mean, not that I'm complaining! I'm glad to have helped some people tonight and got someone to get a little over their hatred and bigotry, but… why? What's so important about this girl to have her start liking humans?"

The eyes sighed "because I don't want her to be lonely and if she grows up, hating humans like her mother? Then she'll die miserable and alone and her mother, this world's Demona, will be alone again!"

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The wolf god of war gazed far into the distance, with his godly sight, as Darlene glided home and sighed, "goodbye little one!" He then looked farther beyond her, where he could see this world's alternate Demona, sitting at a chair, reading and gave an even bigger sigh, filled with despair "and goodbye to you too Demona! I wish I could have told you the truth! I don't know how you would have taken it, but… it would have been nice if you had known instead of me having to live a lie?"

He raised a paw to the place where his mouth should have been and made a sign of kissing it "farewell… my darlings!" His eyes, briefly, turning from bright yellow into a brilliant shade of sparkling blue!

The figure, hovering, over the roof suddenly disappeared in a cloud of green smoke, which dissipated until there was nothing left! As though no one or nothing had ever been there!

* * * * * Is She Wrong? * * * * *

The boys shouted, "Okay," and went back to searching for their former babysitter.

Cecile held out the pyramid before her, dangling from its chain and began whispering in a hushed tone. "Formido de praestigiae addo anima meus -a –um cogito –are."

The diamond began to glow pale blue within the centre and as she observed, its light grew brighter. The light stayed that way for a few moments as Cecile concentrated her thoughts on the image she wanted and watched with satisfaction as the light seemed to spill out of the diamond and swarm around in the air before growing into a large growling shape.

Cecile smiled. "Well hello," she greeted her new playmate.

The creature snarled.

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"Abusque prep humanus transformo Lana." She whispered and watched with satisfaction as her features began to melt and change into a new shape and form.

She unlocked the door and tiptoed inside where she found their guest resting in bed with his face all wrapped up in bandages.

"Hello Thailog," Cecile said casually, in Lana's voice.

Thailog's one good red eye peaked out from under all the bandages and managed to croak out, "L… La… Lana."

Cecile smiled and closed the door behind her. "Hello lover," she purred. "We have a lot to discuss," she undid her bra, "and even a lot more to do."

Thailog moaned and held out his hands to her. "My love," he croaked painfully.

Cecile, in Lana's voice and form, smiled and walked forward undoing the rest of her clothing.

* * * * * Dragon Diamond * * * * *

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And now, the continuation:

Somewhere:

Thailog's one good red eye peaked out from under all the bandages and managed to croak out, "L… La… Lana."

Cecile smiled and closed the door behind her. "Hello lover," she purred. "We have a lot to discuss," she undid her bra, "and even a lot more to do."

Thailog moaned and held out his hands to her. "My love," he croaked painfully.

Cecile, in Lana's voice and form, smiled and walked forward undoing the rest of her clothing.

"Lana," Thailog moaned and managed to speak out the name of his beloved again as she came before him, shining like an angel.

"Forgive me," he begged her. "I do not know what I was doing or even what I was thinking of at the time."

He shuddered as she touched his bandages.

"I hurt you," he simply said. "I violated you and hurt you."

Lana moved her hips as she sat down on the bed beside him. "Yes, you did," she replied and caressed his arm. "There is however a way that you can make up for it and redeem yourself in both my eyes and your own… if you're interested?"

Thailog grasped her hand. "Please," he pleaded. "If I could make up for just one of the crimes I committed against you then I would sell my very soul!"

'It may come to that," Cecile/Lana thought. "I'm with some new friends now," she purred into his ear. "Friends who can help restore your face and undo what I did to you. In exchange you must help them with a number of things."

"For you I would do anything," Thailog shed a tear. "You have but to say it and I will do as you desire."

'This is even better than I thought,' Cecile thought gladly. 'The poor fool must have had more than just his face punched in. The guy's so depressed that he'll do anything to make up to his girlfriend."

"Just shush," she purred again, straddling his hips and sitting down on his chest whilst removing her bra. "Let me do all the negotiating."

Thailog moaned at the sight of her naked chest and nuzzled her as she bent closer.

Lana stroked his face and began to undo the bandages around it. Thailog briefly grasped her hands, not wanting her to see his ruined face but she just smiled and touched his lips with her finger saying not to worry.

"You will be fine," she said and continued removing the bandages.

When she was done, it took all of Cecile's inner power not to blanch and throw up when she saw his face.

'Hard to believe he was once as devilishly charming as that Goliath leader,' she thought as she scrutinised him.

Thailog's face had lost some of the small horns that had once stood proudly at his forehead. Not even the stone sleep had helped fix his face.

Much of his skull had been broken and dislodged causing many of them to push through the skin making him look hideous. One bone was pressed right up to his eye and was all swollen so he couldn't see out of that one eye. Some of his fangs were missing also as well as a piece of his tongue and some small parts of his flesh.

"Listen and listen well Thailog," she spoke seriously. "What I am about to tell you is of the most high importance. I said my… friends… could help you to reform your face and restore its beauty, but in return you must swear your loyalty?" She licked his chest and kissed him.

Thailog growled in pleasure. "What will I have to do?"

Lana groped him causing Thailog to moan.

"Does it matter?" Lana asked teasingly. "You will be with me always."

"Always," Thailog looked at her with his one good eye.

"Yes," Lana growled back at him. "Together we will accomplish all that you have ever wanted. Everything you've always dreamed and more and better yet, you'll do it all with me." She reached down with her hand and massaged between his legs.

Thailog didn't know what she was really talking about and he didn't care. His passion was fired and he was with the love of his life.

"Just say yes," Lana moaned, as Thailog removed his loincloth, moved himself under her and started to buck his hips gently against her.

Thailog growled and then said in barely a whisper, "Yes."

Lana smiled at him. "I knew you'd say that." She kissed him passionately, "Swear by this then! Under the light of Hecate's moon, by the power of Oberon and all his children… I Thailog swear to loyally serve the Venes till my death!" She breathed hardly as she rode him and then sat upright with him thrusting up into her and his hands on her breasts.

"I… swear… "Thailog grunted. "Under the light of Hecate's moon, by the power of Oberon and all his children to serve the Venes loyally until my dying breath!" He snarled.

Thailog wondered briefly, just who the hell were the Venes?

Lana snarled as she felt herself moving closer and closer towards climax.

Thailog licked in-between where some of his fangs had once stood with his now half-tongue. "More," he pleaded. "I need you Lana! God I need you!"

Suddenly, Lana began to chant in Latin.

"Décor insincerus -a –um autem recurro. Deformis in gen alescere conformatio denuo!"

Thailog roared as he felt his face burn like fire. He tried to grab his face but Lana held strongly onto him and kept them on her breasts. His face felt like it was being twisted and turned and that needles were being pushed through his gums.

Thailog roared again as he bucked furiously beneath Lana making her screech in pleasure and finally… he past out.

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Short Time Later:

Thailog moaned as he slowly awoke.

He moaned again and suddenly realised something… His face! His face wasn't hurting anymore.

He reached out with his right hand and touched his face… It was healed! His face was completely restored to its former beauty without even a scar or a scratch.

"Lana," he called out in surprise and delight, "have you… "He stopped and stared. There, on the bed, where Lana should have been sleeping, lay a young human girl with brown hair and pale white skin. She was snoozing peacefully on the bed.

Thailog could only gape at her. What was this? He didn't remember seeing this girl before, he had been in bed with Lana, and he remembered her voice and seeing her!

The girl suddenly opened her eyes and smiled at him. "Sleep well darling," she spoke in Lana's voice.

Thailog roared. She had tricked him. "Deceiver," he snarled and leapt at her.

The girl didn't even blink as Thailog leapt at her with his eyes blazing, his nostrils flaring and his fangs barred, looking like a demon straight out of hell. But just as he was about one foot in front of her, he stopped.

Thailog frowned in confusion and tried to take a step forward, but he couldn't even lift his foot. He growled in frustration but nothing he did would allow him to move forward to harm the girl whom had twisted his heart and deceived him.

"Having problems," the girl asked casually while inspecting her nails. Her voice had now also transformed and she was speaking in what must be her real voice. "Oh by the way, my name's Cecile. How do you do Thailog?"

Thailog snarled and tried in vain to move but none of his motor skills seemed to be responding.

"If you're wondering why you're frozen solid," Cecile yawned. "It's because the oath that you took binds you from harming anyone of my kin."

Oath?

"What oath are you talking about witch?" Thailog swore.

Cecile smiled. "Don't tell me you've forgotten already Thailog?" She giggled slightly. "Although I can't say I blame you. I did most of the talking, as you were… with other things." She uncrossed her legs for him and Thailog cringed.

"You Bitch," he swore at her.

Cecile mocked being hurt. "Oh now is that any way to speak to your lady friend?"

"You're no friend of mine!"

Cecile looked at him slyly. "Even after I re-forged your pretty face for you and nursed you back to health."

Thailog froze. "It was you, how?"

Cecile stretched out across the bed. "I know a bit about sorcery and magic… It's a family tradition."

"I'm leaving," Thailog announced and turned to leave.

Cecile shrugged. "Fine, see you later. Be sure to write."

Thailog paused for a second. "Aren't you going to try and stop me," he asked curiously.

Cecile picked up a bottle of nail varnish and started doing her nails. "Why? If you want to leave then far be it for me to stop you."

Thailog stayed routed to the spot for a few more seconds before continuing on his way out.

"Oh," Cecile called after him. "Since you're going then I guess I'll be taking my gift back then."

Gift? "What gift…?"

"Reverto!" She cried out and Thailog felt his face burning with pain.

"AAARRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!" Thailog roared with pain and clutched his face. Pulling back his hands, he felt his flesh peel away with them, the bones in his skull moved about becoming distorted and hideous.

"NO!" He cried and rushed to a nearby mirror, but sure enough… His face had once more reverted back to his true misshapen face, twisted and ugly, Lana's parting gift.

"NO!" He cried again and ran to Cecile but couldn't move any closer to her than at the foot of her bed. "Please change me back!" He begged. "I beg of you, don't let me remain this way!"

Cecile tapped her fingers on her lip. "And what's in it for me?"

Thailog howled in realisation and defeat. "Please… Have you no mercy?"

Cecile smirked at him. "You mean like the kind of mercy you showed that Lana girl when you had her naked and strapped to your floor and later on the grounds of Central Park where you mercifully showed her how much you loved her?"

Thailog wept.

Cecile finished painting her nails and smoothed back a curtain of her brown hair. "I assume I don't need to tell you what my conditions are for the return of your face?"

Thailog didn't look up, but just nodded in defeat.

Cecile smiled and whispered some words under her breath. Soon, Thailog's face was once more engulfed in fiery pain and he felt his bone structures all shift back into place and his scars vanish. Within moments, his face was its old self once more.

Cecile got up and walked towards him and then circled him like a vulture. "Very nice," she purred. "When I first saw you, I thought God what a hideous looking devil! But it's amazing what you can do with a little magic nowadays."

Thailog didn't respond as she circled him, gently touching and prodding him with her bony fingers.

"Awww," Cecile mocked. "Not happy to see me?" Then she smirked and recited, "Transformo Lana!"

It was like watching a Barbie doll being melted on a hot radiator, as her skin seemed to slide and shifts into a new form. Her colouring changed from pale white human skin to a beautiful pale blue and her hair shone a brilliant white-blonde like the sun.

Thailog soon found himself staring at the love of his life, Lana. Thailog moaned softly, which made Cecile grin all the more.

"You like this don't you," she twirled around giving him a fair view of her illusion.

"It's not real," he growled but she could see from the view of his loincloth that he liked what he saw.

"Maybe not," she admitted. "But it's the next best thing." She lay back down on the bed. "After all, you said it yourself… You hurt her and violated her, remember?"

Thailog shuddered.

"Do you really think she'll want you back after that?" Cecile actually laughed making Thailog cringe.

Thailog felt torn. This creature was not his Lana as he knew for certain, but he could not help but be aroused by the sight of her. Every part of what he saw was exactly like the real Lana, even her scent.

'Will she ever even look at me again," he thought and felt like weeping. "Doubtful."

Goliath and his clan must surely be after him by now. Demona knew most of his hiding places and resources. Although he still had a few tricks up his sleeve, he doubted that he would be able to stay clear of her for long.

What would happen to him if and when they caught him? Would they kill him? He wouldn't be surprised if Demona did, but as for Goliath… He might spare his life but he definitely would not let him go free. If lucky, he'd be doomed to spend the rest of his life, if you could call it a life, in a prison cell like the one Demona had been in the Labyrinth. God, he would just hate it! Having to spend years with those false gargoyles watching him and maybe even his own clones that he had created to serve him but now served them and would probably mock him as a sort of revenge.

Thailog had images of the clones standing in front of him throwing peanuts like children at a zoo, saying things like 'look at the great master! Our magnificent creator locked in a cage. We once served you like animals but now you will serve us for our amusement. You live in a cage, so shall you live as our pet. Here monkey! Have a peanut!'

Thailog didn't know whether the clones were that intelligent yet, but he didn't want to take the risk. The thought of spending life imprisoned was unacceptable to him.

Cecile moaned as she placed her hand between her legs and started to masturbate, making low moaning sounds directed at him.

Thailog felt himself feeling aroused and swore angrily to himself, "…!"

Cecile licked her lips and blew him a kiss. "You can stay or you can go Thailog. Either leave or live the rest of your life as a freak with a face to match and being hunted down for the rest of your life, eventually getting caught and spending life in a cage like a monkey at the zoo… "

Thailog gasped at that. Did this girl read his mind?

"OR… "She smiled. "You can remain here with me, with your truly beautiful face and even more gorgeous body and serve my family in defeating Goliath's clan and maybe even reclaim your company Nightstone."

She lifted her foot and rubbed it against his crotch. Thailog didn't respond for about two minutes as he just stood there looking lost and angry. Finally, "What will I have to do?" He simply replied.

Cecile gave a big grin and beckoned him closer to which he quickly obeyed.

"Well… This is a good start!" She gasped as she felt him move on top of her, "A verrrry good start!"

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Eyrie Building:

Lana gently patted Gabriel's leg and back, where he had been slashed with the dragon's claws, with the medicine that Owen had given her. He was busy treating Goliath and the others, as he thought that she would want to tend to him personally.

She felt a little nervous at patting on his upper thigh like she was in front of everyone, but his need was great. The dragon had really done a number on him. Plus, he seemed to be fairly relaxed now since she started.

Gabriel turned his head slightly to the left and looked at her. "Why were you coming here?"

Lana blinked and started nervously, "I… umm… I came to… see you actually."

Gabriel never took his eyes off her. "Why?"

'Shoot,' she swore mentally. 'He's really gonna make me say it.'

"I came to apologise, alright?"

Gabriel smiled and started to move up ignoring the tremendous pain that the movement was giving him.

Lana hissed. "What are you doing?" She tried to make him stop.

Gabriel groaned as he painfully sat up. "Well, I can't kiss you lying on my front now can I?" He said as he held out his arms ready for an embrace.

Lana smiled and happily complied, kissing him full on the mouth moaning in pleasure.

"Hey!" A bemused voice cried out behind them and they whirled around to see Brooklyn half grinning at them. "Don't you think you might save that stuff until later?"

Lana and Gabriel both blushed.

"Enough," Goliath said and stood up to face them all. "Owen, you must think. Is there anything at all that you can tell us about our foes?"

Owen sighed. "I'm sorry Goliath but I have already told you all that I know of about the Veneficus's. They have managed to keep themselves in seclusion through their magic and no one had ever been able to match their power."

"Then how are we supposed to take on an enemy that can melt us in a split second?" Brooklyn growled in frustration.

Goliath sighed. "I do not know," he whispered. "But we must not give up! Every warrior has a weakness and I'm certain the Veneficus's have one as such as well. We just have to find it!"

The clan slowly nodded their heads, but the looks on their faces were troubles.

"GOLIATH!"

Goliath along with the rest of the clan turned to see Elisa rushing out of the castle toward them frantically.

"Yes Elisa," Goliath frowned. "What is wrong?"

"Goliath," Elisa puffed. "I just got a phone call from Matt, you are never going to believe what's trampling downtown?"

Goliath blinked and swallowed nervously.

"It's not a dragon is it?" Lexington asked more than nervously.

Elisa gave him a strange look. "Actually, it's a sea serpent… "The whole clan gave off a loud moan of despair.

"Why us?"

"This is what we get for staying in for once!"

"Blast it all!"

"WHOA!" Elisa yelled causing everyone to shut up and look at her. "Now, would someone mind telling me what the hell's going on?"

"Oh nothing much," Brooklyn sighed. "Just that we had a dragon flew by here recently to invite us to a barbecue… with us as the main course."

"A… dragon," Elisa blinked.

"Not a real one," Goliath said whilst embracing his mate, "but an effective one to be sure."

"Ah, right," Elisa said unsure. "Anyway, we've had calls coming from downtown reporting that some giant lizard or something has been terrorising the locals, trampling a few cars and… "Elisa cringed, "…Possibly eaten some people."

The clan was silent for a few moments as they slowly digested what Elisa had just said.

"How many," Goliath asked fearfully.

Elisa sighed. "We can't be sure but… At least twenty-three have been reported missing tonight who were in that district. Twelve men, four women and… " Elisa sighed again. "… Seven children."

The clan all growled in anger while Lana and Angela both gasped and covered their mouths in shock. Their partners instantly moved over to comfort them.

Lana hugged Gabriel, her face buried in his masculine chest. 'Children,' she thought, 'Seven children!' Another terrible thought suddenly came to her, 'What if one of them had been Jarred or Gem?'

Lana tore herself from Gabriel's comforting embrace and ran inside the castle shouting, "I've got to call home!"

Gabriel quickly followed after her, leaving the others to decide their next course of action.

"We have to go face this monster!" Goliath declared fiercely.

"Goliath," Elisa said a little exasperated. "It's practically dawn now, there's nothing you can do. Not without turning into stone and falling to the ground at a hundred feet in the air and shattering into a million pieces."

Goliath roared with frustration at seeing that she was right, as the sun was only just beginning to peak over the horizon.

"NO!" Goliath roared as the sun's rays bathed his body, all at once turning it into stone.

The rest of the clan also stood petrified in stone, looking at their leader with worry etched on their faces.

Elisa sighed. She could understand Goliath's frustration as she herself was more or less powerless to do anything either.

Owen adjusted his glasses and walked away after a silent and polite bow to Elisa.

Suddenly, her communicator went off and she heard Matt's frantic voice at the end.

"Matt," she answered. "What's up? You sound… "

Elisa! Matt's breathless voice sounded at the end. You are not gonna believe what just happened!

Elisa walked to the elevator with the phone in her hand; passing by the petrified figures of Gabriel as he had his arms round Lana who was holding a phone in her hand. Elisa could hear the dial tone coming out of it.

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Downtown; Just A Few Minutes Ago:

The Midgard Serpent walked and slithered across the concrete roads, its fork tongue licking the sides of its mouth from its previous meal.

The screams of a hundred people echoed around him as civilians ran in all directions trying in vain to escape the monster's rampage. If it were possible then the beast would be smirking in delight.

A small boy ran across the road only to trip right in front of the creature's path. The child looked up in fear as the monster came to a halt right in front of him and lowered its head to him.

The boy shivered in uncontrollable fear as the monster opened its mouth and the boy found himself unable to look away. Inside the creature's gaping mouth, he saw bits and piece of what could only be blood, what with its red sticky texture. There were also lots of white pieces of sticks stuck in-between its teeth that he did not know were actually bones.

The monster roared and licked the sharp edges of its teeth and the boy wailed as it started to descend its head upon him.

Suddenly, it stopped. The boy looked up wondering why it hadn't devoured him yet and saw the creature as though it was frozen.

The monster suddenly roared again one more time and then in the blink of an eye, it was gone.

It hadn't simply disappeared or anything. It was as though it had just been there one second and then gone the next.

The boy looked around in bewilderment until he heard a familiar and welcome cry call to him.

Danny! Danny!

The boy cried out in joy, "MOM!" and ran to his mother who stood by the sidewalk, her eyes lit up with equal joy in seeing her son.

"Danny," she held out her arms and embraced her child lovingly. She stroked his smooth hair and kissed him many times. "Oh Danny! Where have you been? I've been worried sick!"

Danny smiled. "I was fighting the dragon mom!"

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Vene Penthouse:

Thailog lay on the bed staring at the ceiling with an unreadable expression on his face while Cecile, still in the guise of Lana, snuggled up to him.

"Where are you?" She asked and added. "When are you coming back?"

Thailog knew the meaning of her questions and turned away. "I'm in a world of illusion and darkness, one where you put me and where I shall probably never return."

Cecile pouted and ran her finger over his broad masculine chest. "So much bitterness," she enquired. "You didn't have these feelings for me a little while ago."

Thailog gritted his fangs together and swore silently.

"Tsk tsk, such language," Cecile said, smiling. "Perhaps this will make you feel better?" She swung her legs around and straddled his hips, sitting down on him.

Thailog smiled. "If you're planning on having your way with me Miss Cecile… Then I suggest you make it fast as the sun is about to rise."

Cecile never lost her smile. "Ohh I don't intend to make love to a statue," she said as she reached around her neck and took a small black stone that she had been wearing. "Here, take this as a token of my friendship."

Thailog took the stone and cocked an eye-ridge at her. "I don't wear jewellery," he said as he prepared to throw it away.

"Ah, ah, ahh," Cecile shook her finger at him, taking the stone and tying it around his own neck. Thailog growled and was about to pry her fingers off him and take the stone off, but those glassy eyes of hers made him stop.

"Trust me," she whispered and then stood up to walk toward the closed curtains. "You're going to love this surprise Thailog." She waited a few moments and then pulled the drapes of the curtains, filling the room with sunshine.

Thailog sprang up in shock, blinked and shielded his eyes from the bright sunshine.

Cecile giggled. "How's that for a surprise?"

Thailog eyes hurt from the bright light, his eyes being used to the dark of the night, and found that he couldn't even pry them open. Not without seriously damaging them.

Cecile went over to her dressing table, opened a drawer and tossed Thailog a pair of sunglasses. "These should help make it a little more bearable. I didn't think about how those eyes of yours would react to sunlight. I'd forgotten that you gargoyles were a strictly night dwelling race and had never seen the light of day, literally."

Thailog put the shades on, glaring at the obnoxious young woman but stopped when he saw the bright light streaming into the room from the window. He slowly walked up to the glass and touched it. His hand came back as the glass was warm from the sun.

Cecile grinned and pulled back some more of the curtains, which soon had Thailog's whole body bathed in its glorious light.

Thailog stood where he was transfixed, memorised by the beauty of the sun and its golden warm touch. He sighed as he felt his body glow. His skin colour looked more bright, thanks to the sun, and the sun's rays felt like warm hands caressing his skin.

"Makes a change from all that creatures of the night crap huh?"

Thailog stifled an irritated growl. If only she weren't here then this would be a perfect moment for him. "How?"

Cecile walked over naked to her wardrobe and pulled on a robe. "The pendant you're wearing is a little something that my brother recently… acquired."

"Your… brother," Thailog asked inquisitively.

Cecile nodded. "I have three brothers, two younger ones who you can meet now if you like? The other one is my older brother Andrew, he's with my father in Egypt digging up old holes at the Sphinx. He was in Guatemala a few years ago touring the Amazon jungle when he came across this clan of gargoyles nesting in some old temple in the rainforest."

Thailog felt a little restless. "What happened?"

Cecile shrugged casually. "The temple had a load of goodies packed into it. Loads of treasures and such, the opportunity was too good for my brother to pass up so he took it."

"He took the treasure," Thailog asked. "Didn't the gargoyles mind?" The moment he asked, he wished that he had kept his mouth shut.

Cecile smiled an eerie unpleasant smile. "Let's just say… Andrew found a way to negotiate with them."

Thailog swallowed. "But how does that explain this," he said as he pointed to himself and the window where the sun streamed in still.

Cecile shrugged. "As I said, Andrew found many treasures within the temple, both treasures of wealth and… treasures of magic." She reached back into her drawer and took out a small photo. "This was one of them," she said as she handed the picture to him.

Thailog looked at the small photo in his hand. It was a picture of some kind of sun ornament that appeared to be made of pure gold encrusted with jewels, which formed a strange face upon it.

"The Mayan sun amulet," Cecile explained. "From what we have found out, the amulet was made over a thousand years ago by some Mayans who lived in the same place where we found those gargoyles. Apparently, some big time sorcerer used the amulet to create a bunch of pendants that would prevent gargoyles from turning to stone."

"So you used this amulet to make this for me," Thailog asked, touching the pendant around his neck.

Cecile shrugged. "Actually, we didn't know whether we would ever have a gargoyle in our service, but we've always believe in being prepared. We researched the amulet, learnt all of its secrets and created one little pendant for a bargaining tool should the opportunity ever rise."

Thailog nodded, "And the sun amulet?"

"After we made your pendant, we discovered that the process could easily be duplicated from a few other rituals and spells that our family acquired long ago, so we had no further use for it and donated it to a museum."

Cecile frowned. "Unfortunately, the stupid thing got stole just under a year ago," she smiled. "Apparently, it was that cyborg woman Hyena who used to be a part of that silly kids show 'The Pack.' I know of her and I also know that whenever she of her brother commits a crime, Xanatos's gargoyles aren't too far behind."

Thailog understood what she was saying. "You believe Hyena was stealing the amulet and the clan stopped her?"

Cecile shrugged again. "Maybe, however that doesn't explain why the amulet still went missing. The police caught Hyena so obviously she didn't have it and her brother was not even in New York with her at that time and they do everything together apparently." Cecile poured herself a drink at her table. "Either way, it doesn't matter. Like I said, the amulet's magic wasn't unique and could be easily copied, so we're not really bothered where it is now."

She offered him a glass of gin, which he happily accepted, anything to lighten the mood and ease his inner turmoil.

"So how long has your family been into the occult," Thailog asked, interested.

Cecile sighed thoughtfully. "Who knows? My family has been touring the world over and over again many times, learning all the magical who-ha that we could muster. The earliest account of our family is back in the times when the Pharaohs were still about. Course, back then we was only a simply family whose members consisted of a couple of priests who knew sorcery, so we weren't fairly well known back then."

Thailog was about to ask another question when Cecile's door banged open.

"Ha ha," a young boy's voice rang out. "I hope you had fun sis because once dad hears about last night, you are sooo dead meat!"

Cecile frowned and glared at the child. "Haven't you got anything better to do like tormenting your tutors? Speaking of which, have you fed them yet?"

The boy shook his head. "We've run out of pellets."

"Well then go buy some more then dumbo," Cecile hissed, hoping that he'd get the message.

"Whoa!" The boy looked over at Thailog and grinned. "Well this is certainly a pretty picture. Always knew you had weird taste in men Cecile, but I never imagined you'd go this far!"

Thailog cocked his eye-ridge at the young youth. "I don't believe we've had the pleasure," he said politely.

"Ooh and a gentleman to boot," the boy grinned. "But I imagine that's not what you like best about him huh sis?"

As Thailog observed the sibling rivalry, he noticed Cecile's eyes start to glow a fiery red like Demona's. The sight made him feel uneasy again, but then that was nothing new as he hadn't felt safe since meeting these strangers.

"Thailog," Cecile hissed. "This annoying little brat is my brother Nathan. I wish I could offer you the opportunity to tear him to shred but somehow, I doubt you'd manage to make it before he does to you what he did to his Physics tutor."

Thailog smiled nervously and extended his claw, "Pleased to meet you."

Nathan didn't take his hand and Thailog retracted it slowly.

"Trust me," Cecile muttered. "That'll change before long. Where's your brother Damien, Nathan?"

Nathan replied, "Tryin to get the answers for Monday's maths exam from Sarah."

Cecile swore. "Well go help him by taking notes then or something."

"Fine, I'm going," Nathan waved and ran off.

Cecile sighed. "Kids! Can't live with them, can't kill them."

"Damien?" Thailog asked curiously.

"That was Nathan and Damien is his twin brother. Don't worry though. They'll leave you alone as long as I'm around." She hooked her arm with his. "Why don't we go out onto the terrace and have a little sun bathe? I'm sure you've never done anything like that."

Thailog sighed, but then remembered. "Who's Sarah then?"

Cecile just tossed her hair back. "My sister… She helps out sometimes by telling us things like where things are gonna happen and where things are and all that. Come on! The sun's waiting."

"Hmm, oh yes. Splendid," Thailog thought about the un-introduced human and wondered if there was some way that she could help him.

0000000000

Eyrie Building; Sunset:

The sun sank below the towers of iron and steel and from way up above, on top of the tallest building in New York, on the highest tower; tiny cracks began to form in seven statues.

Goliath roared as he broke out of his stone shell, fragments flying everywhere. Around him, his daughter, her mate, his second in command, mentor, friend and even their watchdog all awoke and roar to the heavens to announce their awakening.

All at once, Goliath spun around to seek his newly wedded beloved mate and sure enough, there she was waiting for him.

"Elisa," he cried and rushed to her. "The serpent of what you spoke of the night before, is it still at large?"

Elisa shook her head. "No, apparently the damn thing just vanished into thin air at about the same time you went to sleep."

"What?" The clan cried in unison.

"You mean just like the dragon," Lexington asked.

Elisa nodded. "I guess so. I wasn't there personally so I didn't see either of these things disappear. The only thing I know is from what you guys have told me and what the witnesses claim they saw, though they were all pretty hysterical at the time. Apparently the beast was there one second and gone the next. No one saw where it had got to."

"I guess the Vene's were done with it," Lexington grumbled.

Angela however wasn't so sure. "But they had already sent the dragon to deal with us? Why send another monster?"

Brooklyn sighed and threw his hands up, exclaiming helplessly, "Who knows with the Veneficus's, they might have just been bored or had a craving to do some damage?"

Goliath ignored him and looked at his mate in slight fear and apprehension. "Were there anymore casualties?"

Elisa shook her head. "Thankfully no, but those twenty-three people we lost caused enough grief for everyone, especially the children."

The clan all bowed their heads respectfully for the loss of lives except for Angela who started to cry.

"Oh Angela," Broadway instantly went to his mate in an attempt to comfort her.

"Those poor children," Angela wept, "Why couldn't we have done something more? Why did they send that monster to kill all those people? They already had us fighting a dragon, what more did they need us to do?"

"Who knows what these… things think of," Broadway swore. "But don't worry Angela, we'll find them."

"Finding them won't be a problem," Owen said, as he appeared out of nowhere, making them jump slightly. "They apparently are not taking any precautions to cover their tracks."

Goliath moved forward instantly, a look of determination upon his face and snarled, "Where are they?"

Owen remained inactive. "They are currently residing in a penthouse at the Plaza hotel."

Goliath nodded and turned to his clan. "Let's go," he ordered.

"Goliath," Owen started. "I must warn you that Puck was not exaggerating the Venes's power. You've saw last night how strong they were and if you do this then you'll encountering them on their own turf and with who knows how many magical talismans they'll have at their disposal."

"I am well aware of the risks," Goliath snarled, making even Owen step back and Elisa look on him nervously.

Goliath didn't however take his eyes off his clan and despite their nervous and worried looks, he ordered, "Move out!"

The clan sighed and followed their leader as he dove off the battlements and soared across the sky with his clan following him.

Elisa stood where she was. She had seen the look in her newly wedded husband's eyes just now and she had seen that same look in his eyes before. It had been in the time when the hunters had nearly killed Angela and Goliath had sworn revenge against them. His vendetta had almost killed them all.

Elisa would never forget the look in his eyes when she woke up after Jason had drugged her and the clan had found her unconscious in her apartment.

The white flame in his eyes at finding out what Jason had done to her fuelled his already burning hatred of them. She would never admit it, but that was the only time when she had found herself truly scared of Goliath. The hunger for vengeance in his eyes reminded her all too well of Demona and it frightened her.

'God Goliath,' she thought. 'Please don't go down the same path she did, not again.'

0000000000

Plaza Penthouse:

Thailog had spent the day sleeping like a human, basking in the delicious sunlight and feeling its warm touch all around his body. He had imagined that it was Lana who was really caressing him, but all he could do now was dream of her.

From in the other room, the boys Damien and Nathan were playing with their *pets* while Cecile was reading the latest reports of her company's finances.

Suddenly, a small ring tone came from the other room. Cecile got up immediately and went in.

"What is it Sarah?"

The figure by the fire slowly raised her head. "Trouble's coming," she replied.

Cecile narrowed her eyes. "What kind of trouble?"

Sarah looked at her sister in pity. "Do you really have to ask?" She pointed to the flames and Cecile watched as the flames took on a scene and she found herself staring at the approaching clan.

Cecile sighed. "These guys don't know the meaning of the words invincible or hopeless do they sis?"

Sarah didn't answer, only continued staring at the flame figures.

0000000000

"Goliath," Brooklyn said worriedly. "Do you think this is right? I mean, you've seen how powerful these kids are right?"

"Yes," Goliath hissed. "And it's because of that power that twenty-three innocent people lost their lives last night for no apparent reason, save to serve the amusement of three demon children!"

Brooklyn chewed on his tongue for a bit in thought.

"Goliath is right," Hudson joined in. "If we let these brats get away with murder then they'll be no stopping them!"

Angela and Broadway both agreed with his assessment, but Lexington looked worried. Brooklyn couldn't blame him considering what had happened the last time that they tangled with the brats from hell.

They began to see sight of the Plaza hotel. Brooklyn decided to put aside his worry for the time being and try to get through tonight first and worry later.

"There," Goliath pointed to a tall window at the top of the hotel where the light was shining through. "We'll enter there."

"But Goliath," Brooklyn pointed out. "They'll surely hear us!"

"No, we should take them by surprise," Goliath countered. "They won't be expecting us to enter by the window."

Brooklyn swore under his breath. Goliath was taking a foolish risk in leading an offensive against these Venes. They may only be children but they were certainly not defenceless.

The clan slammed into the sides of the building, gripping the stone walls with their talons and silently creeping up to the window.

Just as Goliath reached the window, he prepared to pull his hand back and break it down when suddenly, he stopped. He pressed his finger against the glass and watched as it swung open. He looked down to his waiting clan and spoke, not bothering to whisper, "They know we're here."

With the element of their surprise attack lost, if it had ever existed, they quickly climbed into the penthouse.

"Too quiet," Lexington breathed.

"Yup," Brooklyn agreed. "I'd say they are most likely expecting us, wouldn't you?"

Suddenly, the window banged shut and a panel closed down along all the windows ceiling them in.

"Check that," Brooklyn amended. "I'd say they're definitely expecting us!"

Multiple sounds of growls and snarls suddenly sounded out of the darkness.

"I don't like the sound of that!"

From out of the darkness, a number of hideous creatures began walking, crawling and slithering out. The gargoyle's first instinct was actually telling them to run for it was obvious that these creatures were not natural.

One was crawling on all fours with skin that was silver and scaly like a fish, but it had the face of a wild boar with huge tusks and lions paws. It didn't seem able to run, but it could leap.

A couple of the others, for one moment Goliath swore that they might be of the Guatemalan clan as they strongly resembled Zafiro, but a closer look at them soon dispensed that idea. They looked like Zafiro except they were pale blue in colour with tendrils of snakes that seemed to sprout up from every part of their body. Parts of their flesh were even missing or handing off their skeletons decomposing. They hissed at the clan and slowly slithered closer.

A high pitched laugh sounded all around the room. "Welcome honoured guests," Cecile's mocking voice spoke. "I hope you'll all enjoy your stay with us. To see to you, I've sent some of my families… servants to take care of you. Please excuse their appearances, as they were the products of a failed experiment of one of my ancestors. Make no rash judgements though, for what they lack in public appearance, they can more than make up for in their fighting skills as you're about to see."

Brooklyn looked helplessly at the slowly approaching monstrosities. "Still think this was such a good idea Goliath?"

Goliath didn't answer him, but took on a battle stance. "Defend yourselves and do not underestimate your opponents! Something tells me that Cecile was not lying when she spoke of these abominations."

The clan each took on their own battle stances and roared as the first creature sprang forward, its jaws wide open and snarling at them.

0000000000

Central Park:

From somewhere in Central Park, a late night jogger jogged down his usual path regardless of the constant warnings from police about thugs and muggers.

Nathan Parker had heard from his colleague at work that while he had been walking his dog, he had come across one of those gargoyle things that everyone was talking about. He had never believed in them and thought the whole thing was nothing but a hoax to entice the tourists. Still, his friend Peter Hancock had never lied before, but then again he was known to be a bit of a prankster.

Nathan was so caught up in his own thoughts that he failed to see whoever it was that had walked into his path until he ran straight into him.

"OOF!" Nathan swore most diligently. "Can't you watch where… where… whe…? "His breath got caught in his throat.

A tall green, beaked creature with feathered wings looked down on him, rubbing his side where the jogger had banged into him.

"Terribly sorry about that old chum," the thing said, "Didn't see you coming. Here, let me help you up?" He reached down his four-fingered hand with nasty looking talons to grab Nathan.

Nathan screamed like a girl, jumped up by himself and ran in the direction from whence he came, promising himself that he would never jog at night again.

The English gargoyle stared at the frantically running human and shook his head, muttering something under his breath.

A moment later, a strange man dressed in shining armour and unusual garments with a large shining sword at his side came walking out of a nearby bush.

"Griff," the man asked, "what was that noise? Did you encounter any trouble?"

The gargoyle shrugged and answered, "Nothing that a look from my face apparently couldn't handle your majesty."

The once and future king Arthur Pendragon blinked at him a few times and then just shook his head. "Any clue as to where we are?"

Griff smiled. "Sure do, I recognised the place instantly, Seems as if we're back in the good old U, S of A your majesty."

"I beg your pardon?"

Griff smiled inwardly. "I mean we're back in Manhattan Arthur. I recognise the greenery around here."

Arthur nodded. "At least we'll have safe haven for a time with Goliath and his clan. Would you be so kind as to carry me to the clock tower Griff?"

"Your wish is my command your majesty," Griff bowed elegantly, making Arthur smile. He could always rely on Griff and his boyish nature to cheer his spirits.

Arthur climbed onto Griff's back and held on as he scaled up a tree and took off.

They had only just started heading in the direction of the clock tower from where they had last been in Manhattan, when all of a sudden, a bright flash came out from a nearby building followed by an angry roar.

Griff recognised the roar immediately from his one night dodging bullets with him back in 1940. "Goliath," he said and changed direction.

0000000000

Vene's Penthouse:

Goliath roared as the Boar faced demon spat at him, only his spit seemed to be composed of pure lightning and burned a hole in the wall.

The others were not doing so good either, as Angela had already been slashed multiple times and was now bleeding fiercely. Broadway was a little luckier, but not much as his belly had a deep red graze over it.

Lexington had yet to receive an injury as because of his size, he was able to out manoeuvre the beasts and stay one step ahead of them.

Brooklyn and Hudson were both facing four of the demons and were surprisingly holding up rather well. Hudson's years of training made him a worthy opponent and Brooklyn covered his back excellently, as they fought back to back.

Alas, not even they could withhold against unfair odds for so long. One of the snake-like creatures attacked and sunk its fangs into Brooklyn's arm. Brooklyn screamed in pain as its fangs were burning hot.

From one of the other rooms, Cecile watched with glee as the gargoyles started falling one by one. "A pity,' she thought, 'I was just beginning to have fun.'

Lexington, at hearing his brother's cry, tried to leap over the monsters to go and save Brooklyn. Unfortunately, one of the snake creature's tendrils wrapped themselves around his lower leg, halting him in mid-jump and forcing him to crash onto the floor.

The boar-faced demon sprang on Lexington once he was down, pinning him to the floor with its lion paws. Lexington gazed up at it in fear as it lowered its tusks down to his face and opened its mouth…

[CRASH]

A loud crash surprised the demon just long enough for Lexington to kick it off him. He spun around just in time to see Griff, the English gargoyle, land on the floor with Arthur on his back.

"Griff," Lexington cried out in surprise and relief. "I don't know what you're doing here, but man, am I ever glad you are!"

Griff grinned at him but kept focused as the demons, having quickly recovered from Griff's surprise entrance, had already regrouped and was preparing another offence.

Arthur had dismounted from Griff's back and had shed Excalibur from its sheath. "By Merlin's beard," he swore silently. "What in the name of God are these loathsome creatures?"

"Someone's idea of a practical joke," Brooklyn cried as he used his one arm to knock off another of the boar-faced ones, "Only it didn't turn out the way they hoped it would."

Arthur spared him a cocked eyebrow before one of the snake things attacked him. Arthur responded by bringing his sword up and slicing the creature neatly in half. The creature hissed and snarled before it went limp and melted right before his eyes.

Arthur stared at the puddle mess that had once been his enemy before bringing Excalibur up and heading towards the next monster to be sliced.

From one of the other rooms, Cecile stroked Thailog's chest and was about to kiss him when…

"Urgh!" Cecile screeched and grabbed her sides in momentarily pain.

Thailog didn't know whether to be concerned or to start praising the lord for getting him out of another kissing session with Cecile.

"What in blazes!" Cecile howled in anger, her eyes showing disbelief. "This can't be!"

"What is it?" Thailog asked her questioningly.

Cecile looked at him. "One of the demons has been annihilated."

Thailog snorted. "So? Surely you expected that at least one of the clan would have managed to get one lucky shot at them."

"No!" Cecile roared. "The demons were all created by my ancestor to be unbeatable! There's no magic greater than ours that can kill them so easily is. Not even Odin himself would have been able to do so."

She grabbed her robe and rushed out of the room, the sounds of the battle coming from the end of the hall. Cecile ran to the door, but on the way she experienced more pain like what she had felt before, only it was sometimes in her sides, head, leg or even her heart. She finally reached the door and sprang it open, her eyes wild.

When she looked in, she gasped. Her demons were all dead, their bodies decomposing rapidly, leaving behind seven very unhappy looking gargoyles including one she hadn't recalled seeing before. She was even more surprised when she spotted a human among them wearing medieval armour and a very authentic looking sword.

"How…" She started briefly, shocked beyond words, but did not have the time to continue as Goliath, upon seeing her, flared his eyes and roared after her.

Cecile slammed the door shut and practically screamed, "SIGNO-ARE!" The door glowed green and, try as he might, Goliath found that he was unable to batter the door down.

"Let me try," Arthur said and brought Excalibur down to shatter the door. The door quivered slightly, but after a few more hits it finally began to crack.

Meanwhile, Cecile had run back to her room where Thailog was waiting anxiously. "What has happened?"

"Those gargoyles appear to have some kind of secret weapon," Cecile breathed out and threw on a jumper and some jeans. "We have to get out of here right now! Damien, Nathan!"

A duo of grumbles came from the next room. "What is it?"

"Gather your things," Cecile yelped, as she heard the recently magically sealed door begin to give way. "We have to leave now!"

Cecile quickly began shoving what materials she could find into a small knapsack and grabbed Thailog around his arm. "Come! It would appear that this hotel has served its purpose for the time being."

Damien and Nathan were quick to obey and soon they were in her room with their Pyjamas and rucksacks with some of their things in them. All Venes had been trained to prepare for the worst, ever since the time of the Salem witch trails when their family had nearly all been wiped out.

"What about Sarah?" Nathan asked.

"Forget her!" His brother replied. "Why the hell are we running? We've never run before!"

Cecile frowned, "I know but… I don't know what, but I'm sensing an extraordinary source of power close by. It wasn't here a few moments ago."

"So," Damien countered. "Just summon up a binding spell or a large sea monster or something."

Cecile half growled at her brother. "I cannot! Believe me, if I could then I would have done it already. However, the power source I'm feeling is strong as I've already stated. I may be able to summon up some magic to help us, but for this kind of power I'm feeling, I would need a lot of juice and you know how long those damn invoking rituals take and frankly, we just don't have the time!"

No sooner had she said this, the door holding back the clan and the newcomers had splintered and crumbled, allowing a horde of raging gargoyles and a strangely dressed human to enter.

"Time to go I'd say," Nathan murmured.

Cecile cursed that she had been too preoccupied with Thailog to prepare another transporting spell like the one she had used at Xanatos's place. Her father had always told her to store some extra energy in case of a way out! Her family had once made the mistake of not heeding that warning and it had nearly destroyed them.

"Winds from the ends of the earth," she started, "come to my aid. Michabo, god of the east wind, carry me to safety… "

The door to her room was suddenly shattered open. Goliath glared at her, his eyes flaring for murder.

"You… "Goliath started but stopped when he saw Thailog with them. He paused and stared at him. "Thailog? You are in league with these monster makers!"

'Define league,' Thailog thought but kept his mouth shut and attacked.

Goliath roared as Thailog slammed himself into him and clawed at him to release him. "You will not win," he stammered in anger. "I won't let you get away… this time!"

All through this, Cecile never stopped chanting. The others tried to get in and make a pass at her, but Thailog and Goliath kept getting in their way.

"Annnd Goliath's got Thailog in a neck grip! Oh no! Now, he's free… He's giving him some real pay back… "Damien was talking like a wrestling presenter thus annoying the hell out of his siblings.

"You think you could save the wisecracks until later?" His brother asked him through clenched teeth. "We still have to get Sarah!"

"Never mind her," Damien retorted. "We can come back for her later."

Finally, Cecile's chants came to an end. "DEPORTO!"

The same blue mist that had appeared at the Eyrie had once more returned and once it had dissipated, Cecile, her brothers and even Thailog whom Goliath had only just recently held in his grip, were gone.

Goliath roared furiously and grabbed the dressing table, raising it above his head preparing to bring it down in a fit of rage and destruction.

"Father," Angela cried and grabbed his wrist, hoping to clam him. "Please, that's not going to help!"

Goliath snarled at his daughter, making her shudder until Hudson took up her rear.

"Lad," Hudson said calmly. "They're right. Do ye really think destroying a wee table is gonna help us find the blackheads?"

Goliath swore and snarled one more time before dropping the table and rubbed his face. "We must find another way of tracking them," he said at once. "Owen or Puck must have some way of being able to track the Venes and if not then Xanatos must have resources who can tell us of where they might be staying… "

"Lad," Hudson started again. "We'll see to it as soon as we get back home. Let's go now, there's no point in us staying here any longer than is necessary."

Goliath swore again, but relented and allowed his mentor to guide him out of the room.

"Why do I get the feeling that this is the start of a loooong story," Griff asked his liege.

"Something tells me that we've just stumbled onto something big," Arthur replied and looked worriedly at Goliath. "I never saw Goliath so fired up before. I have met gargoyles many times before so I know what tempers they've got, but… The way Goliath just acted. It was enough to scare the living daylights out of me."

Griff nodded and said, "Reminds me of my dear old mum, God rest her soul."

"Let's search this place first," Goliath ordered. "They may have left something behind that could be of some importance to us."

There was a collective sigh around the clan, but they nodded their heads in confirmation and started to scout the room.

"What exactly do you look for in a sorcerer's home," Broadway said while scratching his baldhead.

Lexington shrugged. "A piece of parchment, some small statues like Demona had of Lilith, or maybe… "He stopped as he opened the door to a room and blinked his wide open eyes at what he saw.

"What?" Broadway asked and looked in. "Goliath!" He shouted, "You'd better come and take a look at this!"

"What is it?" Goliath said eagerly, hoping that they had learned something of their new enemy. "Have you found something?"

"More like someone," Broadway said and pointed his thumb over his shoulder back into the room where Lexington was slowly approaching something that was sitting in a chair by the fireplace.

"Lexington," Goliath called. "Don't! It might be dangerous!"

Lex looked back at him with an almost snide look on his face. "Somehow, I don't think this is gonna give us too much trouble Goliath?"

Goliath frowned and came forward to get a better look at whatever it was that there.

He soon got a shock as he found himself staring at a little girl, no more than two or three years old with blonde hair, brown eyes. She stared at him with the same cold expression that Cecile had stared at him with and Goliath found himself feeling that same shudder again.

"Take her back with us, Owen and Xanatos should be able to get something out of her and be able to contain her for the time being."

"What?" Arthur shouted in shock and anger at Goliath's heartlessness. "She's merely a child Goliath! How can you stand there and have her carried off like a prisoner!"

"Because she is," Goliath said simply. "Forgive me old friend, but the other three Venes whom we encountered were not all that much older… and they gave us more than enough trouble to last us a lifetime. We cannot take such risks again, no matter how small or helpless they may appear."

Arthur looked ready to argue, but Goliath just held his hand up to forego any further discussion. "My orders are not open for discussion Arthur... Brooklyn?"

Brooklyn obediently came forward and walked up to the young child, crouching down so as not to frighten her, if she was capable of such an emotion. He gathered her up in his arms and carried her gently out of the room.

Lexington just stared at his leader as he went back to searching the penthouse apartment, but said nothing.

Arthur just looked despairingly at the little girl as Brooklyn carried her out, but was thankful to see Brooklyn holding her with more care than he suspected Goliath would have shown.

0000000000

As the clan quickly left the penthouse and glided away back to the Eyrie, Lexington and Brooklyn filled Arthur and Griff in what had been going since they had last been in Manhattan while Brooklyn carried the little Vene in his arms.

Griff was carrying Arthur on his back while Broadway was helping Angela to glide as the slashes she had received from the Vene's demons had really done a number on her skin, making it hard for her to glide.

Goliath and Hudson were carrying a large chest between them that they had found in Cecile's room. They had been unable to open the chest, even with Goliath's strength, so they decided that it must be magically protected and thought to bring it back to the Eyrie with them to let Owen/Puck have a go at it.

Arthur was sad to hear about the destruction of their old home, the clock tower, but was relieved to hear that the clan had reclaimed their ancestral home, the castle. However, that wasn't the most important thing on his mind right at that moment…

"The Veneficus's," he breathed in wonder.

Brooklyn stared at him. "You know them?"

"Only by reputation," Arthur frowned as he tried to remember the stories that his beloved teacher Marlin had taught him. "Merlin would often tell me tales of the Veneficus's, of how great their power was supposed to be and how long they had been around. Merlin had never met any of them because he preferred to keep to himself and away from other sorcerers."

"They've really been around that long," Lexington started in wonder.

Arthur shrugged as he held onto Griff's back, "Apparently so."

As the clan glided to the castle, they past over Destine Manor when suddenly…

[BANG]

Brooklyn cried, "Oh God, now what?" and swooped down towards the manor window where smoke was billowing out of.

The clan and two outsiders were quick to follow and traced after him as he opened a window, not wanting to get on Demona's bad side, and entered the mansion.

"Lana [cough]," Brooklyn coughed violently from all the smoke filling his nostrils and lungs. "Where [cough] are you? Darlene [cough] Jarred… "

"Over here," a young boy's voice yelled what could only be young Jarred. The sound of a fire extinguisher was soon heard.

"For the love of the dragon, will somebody get those blasted windows open!" Demona's screeching voice snarled.

Angela coughed and opened a few of the windows as instructed. The smoke soon filtered out and Angela saw her mother carrying a fire extinguisher and glaring daggers at Jarred.

Jarred gulped and waved at his grandmother. "Ummm, I love you grandma."

Demona slammed the extinguisher down on a table and marched up to him. "What…" she began, barely holding her temper together, "…happened?"

Jarred gulped again and nervously stuttered, "Well, I tried to cast that summoning spell again, the one I got wrong. I thought fur sure that I had got it right this time, but I… I guess I got one or two words mixed up."

"One or two word…" Demona hissed. "Just look at my living room! It looks like Lana's room!"

"Demona," Arthur breathed in surprise and looked to Goliath for an explanation. Goliath just held up his hand and motioned to him not to bother understanding, it would take too long.

'So this is the infamous Demona,' Griff thought. 'Not a bad looker if anything. It's a shame that Una isn't here, as I'm sure she and this lovely creature could spend hours conversing about magic.'

"Mother," a silky voice called out. "What's going on?"

Griff turned and stared as a beautiful female gargoyle walked into the room. "Allo!" He said out loud without meaning and earned quite a few strange looks from everyone. "Err, I mean… how do you do? I'm Griff," Griff strode forward and held out his hand as an offer of good will and friendship.

The female smiled and Griff found his body temperature rise a few degrees. "Hello," she said, "I am Darlene." She shook his hand in a warrior grasp and Griff in turn kissed hers.

Darlene laughed and looked at the boy hatchling. "You see Jarred! Now why can't you ever have good manners like this nice man here?"

"Because you wouldn't let me wear a black leather jacket, that's why," he said, pointing to Griff's leather outfit.

Darlene sighed, but didn't loose her smile. "It's a pleasure to have you in our… "Suddenly she gasped and looked at the state her sister's clan were all in. "My word, what on earth happened to you lots?"

Demona also finally noticed her younger daughter's condition and snarled. "Angela, what happened?"

Angela groaned as her mother took to examine her wounds. "It's alright mother. It's nothing that a little stone sleep can't handle."

"What happened?" Demona repeated and then shouted for Lana.

Angela sighed, but Goliath was the one to answer.

"We recently acquired a new enemy and went to face them on their own turf. However, we were… less than ready to do battle with them."

"Whom the devil were you fighting?" Demona snarled just as Lana and Gabriel came in who Demona gave another little snarl to when she saw him.

"Would you believe three kids," Brooklyn said snidely and Demona noticed the little girl he was carrying in his arms.

"Who's that?"

"Dunno," Brooklyn replied, holding in his temper, "we figure she must be one of the Veneficus's."

Demona froze. "The Veneficus's," she whispered, "they're here?"

Brooklyn rolled his eyes. "Don't tell me," He said, "you know them too?"

Demona nodded.

"Wonderful," Brooklyn moaned. "I wonder how many other people know about these Venes besides us."

"Venes?" Demona looked up in surprise.

"Yeah, the Veneficus's prefer the name Vene now." Brooklyn said. "I guess it sounds better than a name that sounds like the kind of name you'd give a verucca."

"Demona," Goliath said hotly, "how do you know our enemies?"

Demona shrugged. "During the centuries, I've run into their family a couple of times. I even tried forging an alliance with them, but they said no. Apparently, I had nothing to offer them and so they weren't interested."

Jarred, having been momentarily forgotten by his grandma, had noticed the stranger, Arthur, and went up to him. "Hiya," he said cheerfully.

Arthur looked down at the young boy and smiled warmly. "Hello young sir, what be your name then?"

"Jarred," he replied. "Hey, cool sword! Is it real?"

Arthur chuckled. "Yes, quite real."

Jarred looked at him and immediately asked another question. "Can I hold it?"

Arthur shook his head. "I'm afraid not. Only I and I alone may wield the sword Excalibur."

Jarred laughed, "Who are you supposed to be, King Arthur."

Arthur never stopped smiling. "As a matter of fact, I am."

Jarred laughed all the more, but when he didn't hear anyone else laughing, he stopped and looked curiously around him at the rest of the clan. "He is kidding, right?"

Demona, Darlene and Lana all looked in surprise at the human while the rest of the clan all covered their faces with their hands, hiding their barely concealed smirks.

Jarred looked up at Arthur again, this time with his face full of awe and breathed "Wow, awesome."

"Burgah," a little burbling sound made its way to everyone's ears and they all looked to the doorway where they saw Gem standing on her two feet looking in curiosity at everyone.

Darlene smiled down at her youngest daughter and knelt down beside her. "And what are YOU still doing up? You're supposed to be taking a nap."

Gem giggled and ran forward on all fours heading straight for Hudson and his beard.

"Och no," Hudson groaned. "Not again! It took me nearly an hour to get all the baby spit out of me beard the last time. Darlene, pleaseeeee control your hatchling?"

Fortunately, Griff stepped in at the last minute and picked little Gem up before she could get to him. "Whoa there spitfire," Griff said laughing.

Gem struggled a little at first, but then she began to get sleepy and before long she was all snoozing, cuddled up into Griff's leather jacket and gentle embrace.

Darlene came forward. "Thanks," she said. "She usually doesn't take that quickly to people, unless of course they have a juice beard for her to chew on." She glanced jokingly at Hudson who grumbled and self-consciously grabbed his beard.

Darlene tried to take Gem away from Griff, to take her back upstairs to bed, but Gem did not want to loose her new sleeping place so soon, as all the clan's ears would soon hear.

Darlene tried to gently take Gem away from Griff, but the moment that Gem felt Griff shift, she began screaming and bawling until everyone's ears hurt.

"If you don't mind," Darlene said through the baby screams, "maybe Gem could stay with you until she's fallen asleep?"

"No problem," Griff agreed and moved over to a couch where he sat down and fussed over the little hatchling until she calmed down and snuggled back to sleep again in his arms.

Gabriel helped Broadway with his mate and his rookery sister Angela while Lana had gone to fetch the medical kit. When she returned, Demona began dabbing Angela's injuries with a soothing antiseptic and bandaging them up.

"Demona," Goliath continued, "do you know absolutely anything that could help us in our fight against the Veneficus's?"

Demona shrugged. "Maybe, I do know some spells that might prove useful."

"I seriously doubt that there is any spell or magic that the Veneficus's do not know about or have found a counter spell for," Arthur said.

"What about your sword?" Broadway suddenly asked. "We were giving those monsters all we could give and yet it was like we were hitting a steel wall with a stuffed toy."

Arthur nodded. "As I said," he continued, "I doubt there is any magic in the world that the Veneficus's know about, assuming that the legends about them are true of course. However, Excalibur's power is not of this world, nor the next. No one knows for sure where Excalibur came from, but its power has long since been a mystery and no magic has ever been able to stand up to it before."

Goliath's eyes lit up, not literally. "Then we have a weapon for attacking the Venes!" He declared.

Arthur looked sternly at Goliath. "Goliath, Excalibur helps protect the innocent and should the need ever arise then it will protect us like it did against those demons. But it will not however be used to attack and kill unarmed children whether they be evil or not."

Goliath growled. "These… children as you so call them, summoned two other creatures in the same night. One attacked my clan and me, nearly killing us whereas the other did kill people, around twenty of them! Some of which were children!"

Arthur looked shocked at this and Darlene shut her eyes, Lana had called her earlier and told her about the deaths. Her eyes filled with tears as she thought of what the parents of the missing children must be going through and how'd she feel if it was one of her own instead.

"Nevertheless," Arthur said quietly. "I couldn't give you Excalibur even if I wished it. Excalibur serves the once and future king alone and it will not serve to kill, only as a last resort."

"So you'll just let these abominations get away with it," Goliath was all but snarling at his one time friend and ally. "After all I have told you, all the lives they've destroyed, you're still unwilling to help us?"

"I didn't say that," Arthur argued. "I only said that Excalibur will not take the life of someone young and defenceless!"

"Then you might as well be unwilling then," Goliath roared. "The Venes are anything but defenceless and they would kill you, or worse, in a heartbeat!"

"If you're not going to listen to reason then why don't you just go?" Arthur shouted.

"Gladly," Goliath countered and turned to leave.

"ENOUGHHHH!"

Goliath turned back to stare at Angela who had shouted. Looking at her grief and rage stricken face, she stared back at him furiously.

"Neither of you is behaving responsibly," she said hotly. "Father, what Arthur said is true and even if it wasn't then it would still be wrong to attack children, corrupt as they are." She looked to Arthur. "And you Arthur, once and future king of all Britain, how can you be king when you so easily loose your temper against an ally who helped free you from your enchanted sleep?"

Goliath didn't look any calmer, but Arthur had at least lost his angry look and looked guilty at his friend. "You speak the truth lass," he admitted and walked up to Goliath. "Goliath, I apologise for loosing my temper. I did not mean to loose control of my emotions with you. I just… I take my code of honour really seriously and as evil as these Venes are… I still find it hard to believe that the children we faced tonight are they."

Arthur held out his hand for Goliath to take… and kept it there because Goliath did not make one move to take it.

"Father," Angela hissed desperately.

"Goliath," Brooklyn whispered.

"Lad," Hudson looked shocked along with the rest of the clan.

Finally, much to everyone's relief, Goliath took Arthur's hand, just as he was about to retract it, and shook it to accept his apology. However, Goliath didn't say a word and so, he didn't admit his fault and apologise. He simply shook Arthur's wrist in a warrior grip and then turned to leave without saying a word.

"Well," Brooklyn heaved a deep breath, "that could have gone worse."

0000000000

Broadway winced a bit, as Gabriel helped apply some of the antiseptic onto the painful looking grace across his he belly. The antiseptic stung at first but it quickly past and the lotion helped soothe away some of the pain.

Angela however needed more than just simply lotion, as Demona took personal charge of her daughter's injuries, bathing and bandaging them securely.

"You'll have to stay here for the day," Demona declared. "You might not make it home and if you do then it might reopen some, if not all of the wounds."

Broadway was about to protest in letting his mate stay here, but Darlene was quick to the punch.

"Broadway will have to stay here too obviously, as I'm sure Angela will want her mate by her side."

Angela nodded her head weakly. The loss of blood having taken its toll on her by making her feel woozy, not to mention the sight of her own blood.

Broadway looked at the condition of his mate and nodded his head.

He then looked up to say hello to Lana who was helping Demona by handing her the medical things she needed. In all the time since they had got here, he hadn't had a chance to say hello to her.

He took one look at her usually pretty face and stopped. Her face looked so different that it was almost as if he were looking at another person instead of his mate's niece. Her eyes were red, but not from flaring, and were all puffed up and watery. It was like she hadn't slept for a week, which was very unheard of for a gargoyle considering their stone sleep.

She also wasn't smiling, or moaning in Lana's case as that was what she usually did, but now… She wasn't doing either. Her face looked blankly ahead as she did what her grandmother told her to do and nothing else.

Broadway looked at Gabriel who was casting glances at his lover and saw in him a worried expression. Something was obviously up.

"So what are you doing here Gab," Broadway asked him finally.

Gabriel shrugged as he tended to his friend's injury. "Lana had to return home, so I went with her."

Broadway considered asking him if he knew about anything about why Lana looked so down, but decided to wait and ask him later when they were alone.

The others had all more or less escaped the full wrath of the demons and had come out with not much worse than what Broadway had received. Goliath stood by himself in the corner by the window; Brooklyn and Lex were talking amongst themselves and casting worried glances at their leader, as was Hudson. Arthur hadn't received so much as a scratch from the battle, thanks to Excalibur.

'Wonder where I can get a mystical sword,' Broadway thought.

Darlene had meanwhile gone over to where Griff was sitting with Gem in his lap, gently rubbing her belly to soothe her.

"You're real good with her," she said casually as she sat down beside him.

Griff blushed. "Thanks," he said.

"Have you had a lot of experience with babies," she asked.

Griff shook his head. "Sadly no," he replied. "There's only me and my two rookery chums, Leo and Una, back in London. After I… left home for a bit, they mated but so far they have yet to produce a hatchling."

"Oh that's too bad," Darlene said, genuinely sad for the couple. When she and Paul had first got married, she had been worried that they wouldn't be able to bear children. Fortunately, her fears proved to be unfounded as the spell she had used had turned her into a full-blooded human both inside and out, so she was able to have Lana, Jarred and Gem.

'Most people think that three would be plenty for any parent,' she thought. 'But I wanted to have so many more.'

Paul and Darlene had both loved children so much. Darlene because even though she was no longer a gargoyle at the time, she had wanted to bear lots of children as there were so few of her kind left. Paul however had just loved kids, especially after Lana had been born. He had said that he wanted to have at least a dozen kids that were all just like her, though he had been overjoyed when their next baby turned out to be Jarred.

"Still," Griff continued. "They have a couple of more breeders moons left so maybe they'll have one soon."

"I hope so," Darlene said honestly. She would never forget the warm emotions that had swept through her when she first heard Lana cry and held her for the first time. She hoped that this Leo and Una would someday know the joy of those things, but preferably without the agony of childbirth as she had to.

"So," Griff said a bit nervously, which made Darlene roll her eyes. Why did every male she ever talk to have to get nervous about her? It was the same when she was human and she could almost guess what Griff's next question was going to be.

"Are you living here with your mate?"

Score! She was about to say 'yes,' when she suddenly remembered. Paul was dead, so no, she wasn't mated. The thought made her sniff back a tear, a motion that Griff noticed, but she held it in. "No," she simple replied. "My… mate past away about a year ago now."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that," he said sympathetically.

Darlene shrugged. "Not your fault, accidents happen."

Griff nodded. "Like getting pulled out of your own time and cast over fifty years into the future," he half laughed, but stopped at the weird look Darlene was giving him. "Umm, long story."

Darlene blinked. "Err okay."

Griff smiled down at the sleeping Gem. "She's a beautiful baby," he said. "You must be very proud of her."

Darlene smiled and nodded. "I'm only sorry to say she won't ever know who her father was, as he died not too long after she was born."

"Born?" Griff looked up.

"Long story," she simply replied.

Griff blinked and then laughed a little, "Okay, now we're even I suppose."

Darlene smirked.

"So, is she your sister?" He pointed to Lana.

Darlene shook her head. "No, Lana is my first child."

Griff almost gasped. "Forgive me if this sounds like an old pick up line, but… You definitely do NOT look old enough to have a daughter in her early adult years."

"Lana ages well," and she added mentally, 'especially when she didn't use to turn to stone every day.'

"Still," Griff looked utterly surprised. "Having three children and one that is Lana's age, you have most likely surpassed all females everywhere in keeping their youth and beauty."

Darlene laughed. "It's a bit more complicated than that. Remind me to tell you about it some time."

Griff smiled. "I would like that… very much."

Darlene blushed a little at the compliment. 'Sweet, kind, good with children,' she thought. 'Has a sense of humour, quite good looking and…. And what the hell am I thinking about?'

"I think maybe I'll take Gem up to her room now," she said a little more harshly than she intended.

Griff looked disappointed, but handed over her daughter gently to her.

Darlene nodded and abruptly left the room.

Griff watched her go for a few seconds before sighing. 'I would have reallllly loved to have had that talk with you my lady,' he thought to himself.

0000000000

Bedford Hotel; Broadway:

I trust you find your rooms to your satisfaction ma'am?" the bellboy enquired.

"Its fine," she said and thought, 'as well as a three star hotel can be. My God have I fallen this far?'

The bellboy had merely shown them to their rooms as her vale had done all the carrying for her. The bellboy, James, stared at the impressive figure of a man. He was obviously a body builder with layer upon layer of muscle on him, dark tanned skin and white hair, dressed in an expensive looking dark blue suit.

"Here's your tip," she said while flipping a dome at him, "now go!"

James muttered, "cheap-skate," under his breath. Unfortunately, Venes were all very good at hearing and sensing things. Cecile would see to it that this boy would wake up tomorrow with an extra body part or two.

As soon as the door closed, she recited "Reverto," and watched as her impressive man changed from a man to a gargoyle, Thailog.

Thailog inspected his former human fingers and now once again gargoyles talons. "Interesting experience," he said.

Cecile shrugged. "It was either that or pack you into the luggage, which I'm sure is something that neither you nor the bellboy would have appreciated."

She walked over to the window, shut the curtains and angrily threw her purse onto the bed. "God damn it!"

'Here we go,' Thailog thought.

"No one in my entire family has ever been defeated! There has never been a fight, which we've magic ourselves out of or cursed our would-be attackers!" Cecile breathed heavily. "This has been a disgrace to the entire family, when father hears of us then I can kiss goodbye to my inheritance I can tell you!"

She stomped the room back and forth a few times while Thailog sat down on the bed and watched.

"Wait," Cecile suddenly stopped. "Maybe… "

"Maybe what," Thailog asked curiously.

Cecile didn't answer and just grabbed his shoulder, dragging him up from the bed. "Just shut up and get the damn rug up!"

Thailog glared at her, but didn't say anything and just did as she commanded. Pulling up the carpet, he watched as she took a piece of chalk out her purse and drew a circle on the floor along with some strange symbols that looked like Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Cecile knelt down on her knees and began speaking in what he supposed could only be the Egyptian language, but since he had no knowledge of that then he could only guess what she was saying.

She continued speaking the words for a few more minutes before stopping and sitting still. Thailog guessed that she was stopping to take a rest, but then she started again and this time the words she spoke were English.

"Wepawet, Guardian of the underworld and God of openings, hear and answer my plea! Honour us with your presence!"

A dark green smoke appeared above them, which startled Thailog but not Cecile. When the smoke dissipated, it revealed a tall wolf-headed man with no mouth and yellow eyes staring down at them.

Speak, the man thing said, staring at them eerily.

Cecile bowed respectfully before the summoned being. "Great Wepawet, I have summoned you to ask a great favour."

And what favour would this be?

Cecile looked him straight in the eye. "I have made an enemy of the gargoyle clan that resides within this city. They have vowed to bring an end to my family, and me, which is something that must not be permitted. I humbly ask for you to bring the end that they swore to do to us, to happen to them instead."

The being called Wepawet seemed to study Cecile for less than a second before it answered…

No

"Wha… "Cecile started, shocked. She had obviously not been expecting that kind of answer from him.

What you ask is not open for negotiation or even discussion. The clan that resides here is needed, as they aid in the protection of two who are most important to me and who are most important to them.

"Who," Cecile asked. "Whoever they are, I will personally see to it that they are guarded and protected at all times."

The ones I speak of are of the clan whom you want destroyed. Your request has been heard and denied mortal. This audience is at an end.

"No, wait!" Cecile almost shrieked.

And do not bother to seek aid from my fellow gods also. When one makes a decision, we all make a decision. Plus, you would not want to anger the guardian of the underworld now, would you.

"But you have always served and granted my family's requests," Cecile said desperately. "Why do you refuse us now?"

Times have changed. Although it has been but a mere few centuries in this world since your forefathers last asked me for a boon, for me it has been… considerably longer. In that time, I have founded a new religion and a new race in many alternate worlds, all of which I am dedicated to protect and guide. Even the one whom I have sired in this universe, I have also sired her in many other worlds as well.

"But… "

THIS DISCUSSION IS OVER! The wolf god's voice boomed out and shook the walls, as he vanished from sight.

Cecile almost snarled and wrenched the nearby telephone out of its socket and smashed it out the window.

"This hotel bill is going to create quite a hole in your father's credit card bill I should imagine," Thailog said casually while attempting to hide a smirk.

Cecile glared at him. "If that god will not help us," she said as she pulled out her mobile phone and punched in a number, "then to hell with him. MY family do have other resources besides him."

'Surprising that they would even want to keep in touch with you and yours,' Thailog thought bitterly. 'I wonder how many are still with their original form or intact.'

0000000000

Destine Manor:

Darlene slowly lowered Gem into her crib and stroked her soft hair. It had grown quite long and was almost down to her neck in curls. She was going to be really beautiful when she grew up.

'Maybe Brooklyn and Lexington will end up fighting over her as well,' she thought amusedly.

She heard the door creak open and turned around to see her mother standing before her. "Is the clan gone?" she asked. 'Is Griff gone,' she thought and wondered why she had thought that?

Demona nodded. "Goliath took the clan and left along with Arthur and that eagle-faced gargoyle Griff. Angela and Broadway are resting downstairs." Demona looked at her daughter quizzically, "what may I ask is wrong with you?'

Darlene stiffened. "What do you mean? Nothing's wrong."

"Then why did you leave the room in such a huff? Was that griffin wannabe causing you trouble?"

"No," Darlene exasperated. "I just wasn't feeling too well, that's all."

"Since when have you ever not felt well?"

'Since finding out that I was your daughter,' she thought amusedly, but at once banished the thought shamefully.

Demona walked closer to her second born and touched her shoulder. "Darlene," she spoke in one of her rare softer tones. "Please tell me, what's wrong? It's not just about Lana is it?"

"How is Lana by the way?' Darlene suddenly said, hoping to change the subject. "Did she handle all the blood and everything? She's never liked blood."

"Lana is fine," Demona said and then grumbled, "Gabriel insisted on staying with her."

"Well at least that way we can keep an eye on them both," Darlene said, but seemingly, it did not help Demona.

"Don't try and change the subject though," Demona admonished her daughter. "What is wrong? I've noticed that there's something and I'm not just talking about since Lana's rape. I realise that it has been over twenty years since I last saw you, but even so… The way I remember you is being so full of life and radiant. Now, you just seem so… so distant and unhappy. Is it me?"

Darlene looked at her mother, slightly shocked. "No, of course not."

"Then what is it?"

"I'm just… "Darlene began but then she just shrugged it off. "It's nothing mom. I'm fine!"

"Darlene… "

"I said I'm fine!" Darlene stormed out of the room leaving Demona to stare at her daughter's back as she left.

Darlene rushed down the hallway and into her own private room. She lay down on the bed there and sighed, deeply trouble. She went over to her dresser and picked up her wedding photo of her and Paul.

'Together forever,' she remembered the words both he and the priest had spoken at their wedding ceremony. She thought for sure they'd grow old and die together, never to be apart. Only to have that dream shattered the night when the police came to her house to inform her of Paul's accident.

Since then, she had dedicated herself to her three children and did her best to take care of them, but with little success. Since she had no proof of her identity or even a green card or anything, she couldn't get a job, she had no family (no human ones that is) not even on Paul's side. It wasn't long before they reached financial ruin and they were close to loosing their house and everything. She knew that they had relied on Paul for pretty much everything, but she had never anticipated how bad things would get without him.

The first few weeks after Paul's death were the worst, but it wasn't as if they had got any better after then. Every morning she would turn over to put her arm around her husband only to remember that he was gone from her life.

A tear swelled up in her eye and rolled down her cheek displaying her misery and… Was it loneliness?

"You miss him don't you?"

Darlene jumped and turned around to see her mother standing in the doorway.

"How the hell do you do that?" Darlene said, both enraged and curious.

Demona shrugged. "Over a thousand years of practise."

Darlene sighed and sat down on her bed. Like Lana, she preferred to have a bed around, as she had grown quite used to the human way of sleeping.

"You do don't you?" Demona pressed on.

Darlene frowned. "Whom do you mean?"

Demona snorted. "Pee-Wee Herman," she said sarcastically, "Who do you think I mean?"

Darlene crossed her arms.

"Your husband, Paul, remember him?"

Darlene flinched but didn't say anything. "I haven't the slightest idea what you're… "

"Oh don't pull that stupid human trick with me Darlene," Demona snarled angrily. "I taught you better than that!"

Darlene's eyes flared a little at her mother, but Demona didn't give her the chance to say anything. "I also know that you're feeling lonely! That's the only thing that can explain why you've been acting so closed up and cold except when with your kids. You wanna know why I know this?"

Darlene remained as stoic as ever.

"Because I went through it too," Demona declared. "What? Do you think that after I lost Goliath, my second clan and your father, that I simply just shrugged and got on with my immortality?"

Darlene looked curious now.

Demona clenched her fists until blood ran down her arms. "When I lost Goliath, I would go back to Wyvern every year on the night of the massacre to visit him while he was stone and to honour those that had perished. When my second clan were all slaughtered, I vowed to hunt the hunters and eradicate them all to avenge them but that did little to comfort me on my lonely nights so I simply prayed for them. And your father…!"

Demona paused and seemed to be breathing heavily, her voice choked. "Your father was the worst. I had long since given up on meeting any other gargoyles, as I thought for sure that I was the only one left. Then I meet him, your father, like a god who came to give life back to me. He taught me how to live again without giving in to our kind's ageless tradition of protect." She said the last part with deep true sarcasm and anger. "And then in a flash, all that was taken away from me and I was alone once more… except for you."

Darlene swallowed and blinked back a few more tears that were threatening to spill. She didn't want to hear the next part as she could guess what it was.

"You were the one thing that kept me from going completely insane," Demona said weakly. "My mate was gone, shot through the head and then burned by my own claw and a part of him forever carried around in my pouch. In less than one night, my house was all empty again save me and I thought for sure I would never make it. Until… I heard a sweet crackling noise and a few moments later. You came into the world."

Demona looked into Darlene's eyes and whispered, "Do you remember what I used to call you before you left?"

Darlene nodded. "You said that before I came into your life, your life was full of nothing but blackness. Then I came and brought light into it, like the moon with the night. You called me your little moon goddess."

Demona nodded. "And then you left… "She whispered faintly and then remained silent.

Darlene bit her lower lip, wanting to leave, wanting to run away and escape the awful truth. The truth that she had always known to be true, but couldn't bear to admit it… She shouldn't have left her mother!

"And now, you've going through the same thing," Demona finally said.

Darlene looked up in shock.

"You lost your mate, as I did," Demona continued. "Your mate whom you pledged your life to, to share your soul and die with… is gone, dead, never to return ever again."

Darlene turned around and shut her eyes tightly. She heard her mother come up behind her.

"You've been without the comfort of another partner for so long now," Demona whispered while stroking her daughter's hair. "It's only natural that you feel the need for companionship."

"I don't… "Darlene choked.

"I saw the way you looked at that eagle-faced Griff," Demona spoke with a slight disapproving tone. "As far as gargoyles go, I suppose he's quite the catch."

"Mother!" Darlene spun around in shock. "Please tell me you are NOT going to try and play matchmaker with me?"

"Daughter," Demona said smugly, "would I, your loving mother, ever do something like that to you?"

"YES!"

Demona smirked. "Okay, maybe you're right."

Darlene chortled in spite of everything. "He is nice, but I… I just can't."

"You feel like you'd be betraying Paul if you did," Demona said. "I felt the same when I met your father. He was the only male gargoyle whom I had had a relationship with since Goliath. Despite the fact that it had been centuries since Goliath had been entrapped in stone, I felt horribly guilty and disloyal by sleeping with another male instead of him. But in the end it all turned out for the best, because then I had you and Goliath and I ended up going our separate ways anyway."

"Yeah, but you didn't have three children to think of did you," Darlene retorted. "Let's just say that if I got together with this Griff guy. Do you think Lana or Jarred will want another new daddy? I dunno about Jarred, but Lana would go ballistic. Remember what happened when she thought I was dating Goliath?"

Demona shrugged. "Possibly, but then she has been preoccupied with Gabriel lately. She may be too wrapped up in her own love life at the moment to care about yours?"

Darlene frowned. There had been something bothering her about Lana as she hadn't been looking well lately. "Even so," she continued. "I have no interest in a relationship now or ever so there's no point to this conversation."

"Isn't there," Demona cocked her head. "As I said, I saw the way you and he looked at each other and I definitely saw a spark or two there between you."

"MOTHER!" Darlene blushed bright, as red as Brooklyn.

Demona chuckled. "But the decision is yours child. If you want to risk spending the rest of your life alone then that's your choice. "

"I won't be alone though," Darlene said defiantly. "I'll always have myself, my children, you and now Angela and the clan."

Demona stopped and half turned her head back to look at her. "I said that too once when I was very young. A few years later, my whole clan was wiped out and all I had was myself for company." She turned her back forward and continued walking out. "Believe me my little moon goddess," she said regretfully. "It's not worth the risk."

Demona shut the door behind her, leaving Darlene to her thoughts.

0000000000

Bedford Hotel; Broadway:

Thailog watched as Cecile furiously wiped out the marking on the hotel room floor and began chalking in a new design. This one was of a star in a circle, no other designs occupied it.

"Kauket, goddess of dark chaos, I call upon thee," Cecile chanted. "A member of your guards dares to question those who have served your kind loyally for many a century. I humbly ask for repentance, seek out my enemies and bring chaos to all who dare oppose me and in so oppose you!"

Another mist rose in the room, swirled into a large column that took the shape of a woman with a snake's head. She hissed down at the due, making Cecile smile and Thailog cringe and backed away in fear.

"Kauket," Cecile whispered to Thailog, "the Egyptian goddess and ruler of dark chaos, sure to bring a little misery in anyone's life."

Thailog swallowed and watched as Cecile spoke.

"Great goddess," she bowed respectfully before the snake woman. "I have summoned you to ask a favour."

To attack and maybe kill that clan of time misbegotten gargoyles who kicked your human behinds tonight? The goddess hissed at her.

Cecile gritted her teeth silently. "They did not actually kick my behind as you so delicately put my goddess, only defeated some of my demons who some were even spawned by your blood."

'And she still wants her help,' Thailog thought, confused.

Wepawet has said that these beings are not to be harmed in anyway. He believes they are most important for the safety and well being of those he owes a debt to.

"Really," Cecile said, amused. "I apologise Dark One, I did not realise you were obliged to Wepawet and do what he told you to do."

The demon snake woman thinned her already thin eyes at Cecile, but she did not even blink.

We know what you are planning child, the goddess said. And as much as we may love to seek torment on the pathetic lives of mortals, the rules are clear. No God may intervene on the life of a mortal if that mortal is owed a debt by one of us who has acknowledged it. Wepawet knows whom he owes a debt to and has acknowledged it; hence there is nothing I can do. The gargoyles shall remain untouched by us gods till Wepawet has fulfilled his debt.

Cecile had a terrifying glare on her face and looked as if she was about to explode. The only reason why she hadn't was because she knew better than to anger one of the most powerful gods in the world, and the cruellest.

However, Kauket smiled. There are some loopholes you might not have thought of yet child?

Cecile lost her glare and looked at her hopefully, asking, "What?"

I said that no god can aid you in your obsession, but I said nothing about the other lower beings of this world.

"I've already tried some of my own demons," Cecile replied. "They failed miserably, thanks to a strangely garbed man who fought side by side with another gargoyle. He carried with him a strange sword whose power source exceeded anything I had ever felt before."

The evil goddess frowned and closed her eyes, seemingly searching for something in her mind. The one you speak of can only be one person, Arthur Pendragon!

"King Arthur," Cecile asked in surprise. "I know of him through stories and my family's own accounts and journals. One of my ancestors encountered him once when she was tutoring his half-sister, the witch Morgana Le Faye."

The goddess nodded. Your family was most instrumental in the training of young Morgana and her powers. Tis a shame that she failed in her quest to overthrow Arthur. True, she destroyed his kingdom but her son Mordred fell by Excalibur's blade so it was all for nothing.

'King Arthur,' Cecile thought wondrously. 'Then that means that sword he had been holding was none other than Excalibur! If legends regarding that overgrown knife are true then it's no wonder my demons were no match for it. Its powers are said to be one of the most mystical and powerful magic known in the world.'

A dark look came across Cecile's face, one that Thailog recognised instantly, as he had seen it often enough in his own mirror, the look of greed.

"Great one," Cecile asked once more. "You said that you cannot help me by directly going after these gargoyles, true?"

The goddess merely crossed her arms and nodded to confirm this.

"Okay, but what about Arthur then? Do they fall under Wepawet's protection too?"

The dark goddess smiled and a fork tongue flickered out of her mouth. As a matter of fact… no, they do not.

Cecile grinned evilly and the goddess too.

Thailog on the other hand trembled as he stared at their shared look and shuddered even more when he heard them laugh.

'Wherever you are Goliath,' he thought. 'I pray that you have the strength and the resources to face these demons, if not for yourselves and your clan… then for my Lana.'

Thailog closed his eyes and made a silent prayer to whoever was listening, that they would stand guard and watch over his precious one. He had a feeling that the fight had only just begun.

The End… For now!