Gargoyles don't belong to me and neither do the original characters, which are Allaines.
Special thanks to Allaine for giving me permission for writing in his own ficverse, and extra thanks to him for beta reading.
Please read Allaine's fic first before this ("Rehabilitation" on The Gargoyles Website)!
The trio were all quiet, as their hovercraft made its way back into New York. The sight of the Eyrie building soon came into view and Gabriel let out a troubled sigh.
Ganesa turned to look at his friend. "Something wrong, Gabriel?"
Gabriel frowned. "Yes actually," he sighed again and rubbed his forehead. "I can't believe you talked me into letting Demona go!"
Macbeth sighed and activated the autopilot so that he could turn to look at his friend. "Gabriel," he began. "There really wasn't any point in us taking her in. You saw for yourself how much she has changed. In a way, she was suffering far worse now than she ever would have done in a prison cell. She has to live with her guilt and inner torment with the rest of her life, which may very well be all eternity."
Gabriel bit his lower lip. "Yes, I know, but… I'm actually more worried about what will be waiting for us when we arrive home."
Ganesa looked at the gargoyle curiously. "How'd you mean?"
Gabriel looked at him troubled. "Ganesa, think! Most of the clan, especially Coldstone and the Xanatoses have all been obsessed with finding Demona and bringing her to justice. We spent years trying to track her down. David Xanatos died cursing her, causing his mate and children to continue the vendetta."
'Not to mention the Mazas and the Mutates,' Macbeth thought. He remembered when he had first found out about detective Maza. He had been reading his morning paper and had learned that her body had literally fallen out of the sky, right outside her own police station where her partner, Matt Bluestone, had found her. He had gone to the funeral to pay his respects and offer his condolences to the detective's family.
He remembered looking into their tear-streaked faces and misty eyes, which forced him to remember when his own son had died from Canmore's sword. It was shortly after that when Xanatos had contacted him, asking him to aid him in locating Demona and bringing her to justice. Macbeth had agreed instantly, little knowing of what strangeness awaited him in the coming years.
"I doubt they will be very pleased with our decision to leave her behind," Macbeth mused.
Gabriel stared at him. "Ya think?" he almost cried. "Coldstone has been adamant in what should be done to Demona and when he learns what we did, we'll be lucky to get out with our throats intact."
'Like father like son,' Macbeth thought amusedly. Although it had never been proven, it was more or less obvious to everyone about who Gabriel's parents were, as Gabriel was the spitting image of Coldstone.
"Well, looks like we'd better get our facts straight then," he said out loud, as the hovercraft descended onto the castle and the three of them noticed nearly the whole clan waiting on the platform, obviously expecting them to bringing Demona with them.
Both Gabriel and Macbeth groaned, as they watched Fox Xanatos hobble up to them with her wooden cane, her faded green eyes set hard as they scanned the ship, hoping to see some sign of their long awaited prisoner.
'Something tells me that we would have been better off staying with Demona,' Ganesa thought.
"YOU DID WHAT?" Fox's shrill voice screeched throughout the room, making everyone's ears ache.
Macbeth sighed miserably, as things were obviously not going well. "I told you," he murmured. "We let her go."
Fox glared at him, her eyes blazing with anger and confusion. "How could you? "She hissed, "How could you, of all people, even think about letting a monster like that escape?" She then looked to Gabriel. "And you! You're holding the very reason what took you from your precious Avalon in the first place. Yet you willingly allowed her to escape, why?"
She was of course referring to the small steel urn that contained Angela's ashes, which Gabriel was now holding in his grasp.
Gabriel looked up to meet Fox's eyes. "There was no point in us bringing her here."
Fox's eyes lit up, so Macbeth hurried in. "We were originally sent out to bring Demona to justice, weren't we?" he said, leaning forward to gaze intently into Fox's eyes. "Yes, the Demona we all knew did deserve to be punished, but the truth is… Demona, the Demona you know, is dead. She has been for over 50 years. The woman we saw was not a monster hell bent on destroying mankind. She was a tired old woman, crippled from years of guilt and grief, one whom I thoroughly believe should be left alone to suffer in peace."
Had she been a gargoyle then Fox's eyes would be blazing red right now, but finally after a few moments of clenching and unclenching her fists, she seemed to calm down.
"Do you realise how many years of searching were put into finding that… that woman? Can you even comprehend the heartache she caused to the families of those she harmed? David put everything he had in his heart and soul to finding her, just so that he could in some small way repay Goliath's clan for saving Alex."
Macbeth looked down for a moment. "I understand your pain, Fox," he called her by her first name, something he rarely did. "Better than you realise, as I felt the same way when Demona caused the loss of my family." He looked back up to her. "But you can't let it consume you, lass. Believe me, I did the same thing and it earned me nothing but misery for centuries."
Fox looked at him, her green eyes hard and unforgiving.
"I don't expect you to forgive Demona, Fox," Macbeth said sympathetically. "She's been dealt with, she's suffering now worse than she ever would have done in a prison cell. There's no reason for you to carry on the hunt now."
Fox stayed sitting where she was, eyes that simply stared on the table in front of her. Finally, she raised her head to look at the assembled trio. "Just go," she simply said.
Macbeth opened his mouth to say more, but the harsh look he received from Xanatos's widow was more than enough to silence him.
"Well," Ganesa said uncertainly, "I'd better be on my way anyway. I've been away from New Olympus for too long."
So silently, the three of them rose and left the room, leaving Fox to sit in the office, alone and quietly dwelling on all that had transpired.
Suddenly, a buzz came from her intercom and Owen's crisp voice sounded out.
Mrs Xanatos, forgive the intrusion, but you've just received a phone call from a Miss Darice Suarez, on the subject of the equal rights association.
Fox sighed mildly in relief. At least this was something she could do. Darice was a woman who was the chairwoman, of many years, for an equal rights movement for homosexuals and lesbians. She had come to her a couple of years ago, asking for donations. David had only just passed away, so Fox had gladly taken up the opportunity to do some good in the world and the two of them had become fast friends.
'David,' she thought of her now long departed husband, and wondered for the millionth time if she had failed him.
The three of them rose and silently left the room, just as a fist slammed through the vision, shattering the mirror from whence it had come.
"They allowed her to escape!" a roar filled voice echoed across the room. "My executioner, my destroyer… They let her escape!" The creature hissed and then slammed his fist against the wall and felt his knuckles break and begin to bleed.
"Traitors," he hissed to his companions. "They're all traitors! I'll make them pay; I'll make them all pay!"
He continued to lash out at the room he was in, breaking the table, shattering the glass and tearing the cloth. After a few minutes of ranting and raving, he finally began to calm down and took deep breaths to still his rushing heart.
'Must keep control,' he thought and then spoke out loud to his clan. "They have all been misled by my former love," he said to them. "They will soon learn the error of her ways. But for now, come! Let us make ready our preparations for our would-be executioner! She thought that she had killed us, but she is soon to be surprised when she sees us all alive and handing her own head to her."
The creature's insane laughter filled the room along with those of his clan, as they prepared for their enemy's demise.
Vancouver; Two Nights Later:
Demona/Dominique leaned over and snuggled into her lover's embrace. In one night, she had felt a huge weight lifted off her shoulders, now that she no longer had to fear being hunted by the clan anymore.
She hoped that Macbeth and Gabriel would be true to their word and keep in contact with the clan, as she would hate for her clan to be excluded from all future clan relations because of the Manhattan clan's hatred for her.
Adrienne sighed peacefully and looked up into Demona's eyes. "Did you sleep well?" she asked her innocently, but with a coy look in her eyes.
Demona smiled. "Yes, very well, thank you. Well… eventually, anyway."
"That's fine." Adrienne's smile fell from her face and suddenly turned into a dark rage-filled look. "Because you're not going to be having any good night's sleep now for quite a while, if ever!"
Before Demona could blink in surprise, Adrienne wrapped her claws around her neck and began throttling her.
"Adr… "Demona tried to gasp out, but Adrienne's grip was too strong.
Adrienne's look chilled Demona to the bones, as they weren't the normal innocent eyes filled with love anymore, but a blaring red, with a cruel harsh vile look of hatred in them.
"You miserable murdering… "Adrienne snarled at her, with her claws wrapped around her throat. Suddenly, Adrienne's features began to seemingly melt and change right in front of Demona's eyes.
She became larger, stronger and her features took on a more male stature, as she pressed down on Demona's skin.
"You wish to redeem yourself?" Adrienne, or the thing that was impersonating her, whispered. "Then die, as you deserve to and speak your apologies to Angela!"
Had Demona the breath to speak, she would be screaming.
She tried to thrash about, hoping to throw Adrienne off of her, but to no avail. While she thrashed, she felt the arms around her, shaking her furiously.
Dominique! A voice called out to her, a voice that started out faint and then grew in volume. DOMINIQUE!
Demona/Dominique finally found the power to breathe and screamed, as she awoke. She found herself in bed with Adrienne, who was sitting up on the bed, with her arms around her, but not her throat, looking down in concern at her.
"Dominique," she asked concernedly. "Are you alright? I just woke up and you were thrashing about so much, I thought we had bed bugs."
Demona didn't answer, but merely threw herself into Adrienne's arms and wept like a hatchling, with Adrienne looking on in concern and confusion.
Two Hours Later:
"So why hasn't she come out yet?" Arnaud asked Adrienne in concern.
Adrienne held up her hands to calm him. "She's just tired, Arnaud. I don't know what kind of a nightmare she must have had, but it must have been pretty bad, as it took me an hour to calm her down. She's resting now, so let's just give her time."
Arnaud sighed and nodded in agreement.
"Arnaud!" a voice cried out to him and he turned to see Victor, an Alaskan male gargoyle, rushing over towards him.
"Victor," Arnaud greeted him, "What is the matter?"
"You'll never believe who just contacted us?" Victor said slightly out of breath, indicating that he had run all the way, rushing to find him.
"What? What is it, brother?" Arnaud looked at him confused.
"We just received a call from the Manhattan clan," Victor said surprised. "They want us to send some representatives to come and discuss some things with them in a week from now!"
"Already?" Arnaud asked, amazed. "But Macbeth and the other two who were with him only left a couple of nights ago."
"I know," Victor breathed, "hence the reason why we were all amazed. But that's not the only thing that's shocking."
"You mean there's more?" Adrienne, who had been listening equally surprised, asked.
"You could say that," Victor replied. "They specifically asked for Demona to come!"
"You mean, Dominique," Adrienne said firmly.
"Yes, I know," Victor assured her. "However, I guess these people all know her best by her old name."
"But why would they want her to come to their home?" Adrienne frowned. "Gabriel made it perfectly clear that she was not welcome with them."
"Isn't it obvious?" Arnaud said disgustedly and at their confused looks he added. "Obviously, when that Macbeth character and the other two went back home and told them what they'd done, they mustn't have been very pleased with their decision. So they've decided to rectify their choice and trick Dominique into coming back so that they can do what the other three were meaning to do in the first place."
Adrienne looked horrified. "But they can't!" she insisted. "They promised that… "
"Macbeth, Gabriel and Ganesa promised," Arnaud growled. "But the rest of their clan didn't. In a way I suppose I can't really blame them, as Macbeth and his companions didn't exactly discuss their decision with the rest of the clan, did they?"
Adrienne shut her mouth, as she didn't have a reply for that one.
"So what do we do?" Victor asked finally.
Arnaud shrugged. "We will accept their invitation and some of us will go to negotiate, as promised. But we will not bring Dominique with us. If they were sincere about her coming then we will just say that she was unable to attend, due to personal affairs. If not then we will know what to expect from them, next time."
Adrienne and Victor both nodded.
"But what about Dominique?" Victor suddenly asked. "Somehow I doubt she's going to be pleased about this."
"And you would be absolutely correct in your assumption," Dominique's voice sounded out from behind them.
Arnaud, Victor and Adrienne both spun around in shock, as Dominique stood in her doorway, staring at the three of them in a way that ranged between anger, pity and disappointment.
"Dominique," Adrienne gulped and made an attempt to reach out her claw to her, but pulled it back, unsure of what mood her lover was in. "How long have you been standing there?" she asked quietly.
Dominique gave her a snide look and answered, "How long do you think I have been standing here?" confirming Adrienne's worst fear at that precise moment.
"Dominique," Arnaud began. "We only just received news form the clan, we thought… "
"I know what you were thinking," Dominique said tiredly, "and it certainly wasn't about informing me, your leader, about something that I should be informed of."
"But Dominique," Adrienne started desperately. "We were only… "
"Adrienne, please," Dominique held up her hand to forestall her. "I know what you were all planning to do. I understand your feelings and I appreciate what you were trying to do, but hiding is not my way, not anymore." She looked at them with a tired worn look in her eyes. "If the clan has truly decided to vote against Macbeth and bring me in anyway, then I shall not hide from them and will go, as they have asked."
"Dominique, please," Arnaud begged. "Don't do this again. We almost lost you once; please don't make us go through it all over again!"
Dominique looked at him sadly. "There's a chance that maybe all this is nothing more than what it shows," she tried to comfort them. "Maybe the clan do not want anything more than to speak with me about setting up negotiations between both our clans."
"Or they want to chain you up in iron and lock you up in a cell as a prisoner for the rest of your life?" Victor retorted.
Dominique gave him a hard look, but didn't say anything.
Adrienne meanwhile had kept deathly silent, not even looking at anyone else. Dominique finally noticed that walked up to her.
"Adrienne," she whispered and tried to touch her, but before her claw even got an inch of her face, Adrienne brushed her hand away and ran into their private quarters, tears streaming down her face.
Dominique didn't wait and instantly ran after her mate, ignoring Arnaud and Victor as she fled.
Victor watched her go. "So," he said turning to his second. "What are we to do now?"
Arnaud sighed. "Not a lot we can do. If Dominique chooses to go then we have no choice, but to let her. She won't let it be any other way."
Victor looked down for a moment, but sighed and nodded his head sadly in confirmation.
Meanwhile, Demona raced after Adrienne into their room where she found her mate sitting on the bed with her face buried in her claws.
"Adrienne?" she reached for her, but pulled back when Adrienne held up her claw, motioning for her to stay away.
"I don't know if I can go through this again, Dominique," she whispered tearfully. "When I first thought I was going to lose you, I nearly died. It literally torn my heart in two and now, I find that I'm going to have to go through the whole thing again! How fair is that?"
"It's not," Demona agreed and sat down beside her. "I'm sorry, Adrienne." Demona said regretfully. "I never meant to put you in the middle of all this."
Adrienne wiped her eyes and leaned over to Demona's side. "I know," she sobbed. "And I also know that eventually, you'll do what you have to do, whether any of us like it or not."
Demona bit her lower lip. She could tell from the quiver in Adrienne's voice that she was holding onto some frail strand of hope that Demona would tell her otherwise. She would say that she wouldn't go and stay with her, but hope as she may, Demona knew she couldn't lie to her one true love.
"You are right," Demona simply said and held onto Adrienne tightly as her sobs wrenched through her body.
One Week Later:
Demona had arranged for transportation for her, Victor and Adrienne to go to New York. Arnaud had wanted to come, but Demona had told him firmly to stay there and lead the clan. After all, was not a second's duty to remain and lead the clan when the leader was unavailable?
Adrienne and Victor had both absolutely insisted on coming with her. Victor, because if things turned ugly then he would be more than a match for any of them, whereas Adrienne didn't need a reason and Demona knew better than to try and dissuade her from her decision.
Although many of the clan still suspected that the Manhattan clan was planning to have Demona incarcerated once she arrived, Demona still planned to go ahead with what she was doing and tried to reassure them.
"If they truly planned to imprison me, then why didn't they send a hovercraft to fetch us to ensure that I would make it?" she had said and a few of the clan had to admit that that made sense, but many of them still believed the worst.
"Maybe they really do wish to only talk?" she had said to herself. "After all, Goliath's clan would never have risked me escaping… "
'Except these aren't Goliath's clan,' she thought miserably and had to bit her lower lip to keep herself from crying again.
She had arranged for a private jet to take them to New York that should arrive there within the hour. When they arrived at the airport, more than a few passengers and staff had looked at them curiously, but said nothing.
'At least they aren't throwing rocks at us and calling us demons,' Demona thought amusedly.
The flight only lasted an hour, but for Demona it seemed to take an eternity to pass, as she was eager for this to be over. If they were going to imprison her after all that Macbeth had said, then she wanted to get it over and done with.
The plane touched down in New York and Demona wondered if the people of New York would be any different from Vancouver. If they were then she was going to have a hell of a time trying to leave the airport without anyone noticing her and her comrades.
Thankfully though, her fears proved to be unfounded, as the most that they got was a lot of stares.
One little boy stared up, up and up at Victor, as he towered over all the people at the airport that at first they thought he was a walking tree. Victor noticed the boy staring at him and gave him a friendly smile.
The boy clung onto his mother, but never stopped staring in awe at the gargoyle giant.
Victor chuckled and followed his leader and Adrienne out of the airport.
"Scale up the wall," Demona instructed and began to do as such, with the others following.
Many of the public stopped to stare at them, as the gargoyles climbed up the wall and launched themselves into the night sky.
"The Eyrie building is not far," Demona told them. "Just follow my lead."
Adrienne and Victor followed their leader, marvelling along the way at all the tall skyscrapers, high building and the greenery of Central Park.
'If everything turns out as we expect,' Adrienne thought in constant fear, "then we, or at least Dominique, will have all our lives to get to know this place."
They soon noticed the Eyrie building, what with it still being the tallest building in Manhattan, as they continued gliding through the air.
'Amazing that it hasn't changed much,' Demona thought to herself, as she observed the town. From up there in the air, everything looked the same now as it did over 50 years ago.
They soon reached the Eyrie and touched down in the middle of the courtyard. They stood waiting there or a few minutes, expecting someone to come out and welcome them at the least.
"So where are they?" Adrienne asked out-loud. "What are we…? " She never got to finish her sentence though, as suddenly something big and aqua green with flashing parts of metal engraved on it flew through the air and smashed right into Demona.
"Dominique!" Adrienne cried in shock and fright and raced to help her mate, but Victor was quicker.
Victor snarled and launched himself at the abomination that dared to attack his leader and mentor. But before he even got halfway, something also crashed into him, something made entirely out of gold with burning red eyes that almost shattered his nose and threw him across the courtyard.
Adrienne gasped at the sight of the two… things that had attacked them. They looked like something out of a bad science fiction show. They reminded her of that old film called 'Robocop.'
She continued to race towards Demona, but she soon was apprehended. She spun her head around and saw, to some of her relief, not another cyborg, but Macbeth who was glaring at her and more so at Demona.
Demona looked up in shock at the twisted cyborg, Coldstone, who had held her in his grip, his eyes one burning white and the other red, looking like a savage that wanted to rip her to shreds.
"YOU DARE TO COME BACK HERE!" Coldstone roared at her. "AFTER MACBETH AND GABRIEL FOOLISHLY ALLOWED YOU TO ESCAPE THE FIRST TIME!"
Demona choked, as Coldstone was crushing her windpipe. She stared up at him in shock and fear. She had never once seen her rookery brother so full of rage.
"Damn it, Demona!" Macbeth growled under his breath, but loud enough for everyone to hear. "I told ye that ye weren't to come anywhere near New York. Why couldn't ye listen?"
"What do you mean?" Adrienne yelled, as she furiously beat around in Macbeth's steel grip. "You invited us here! So why shouldn't we have come?"
Macbeth lost his glare and stared in surprise at the young gargoyle in his arms. "Invite you?" he said amazed. "Lass, we haven't even contacted you since me, Gabriel and Ganesa left a week ago."
Adrienne felt confusion fill her mind. "But… we received a call from you, a few nights ago, saying that you wanted Demona to come and discuss some things about meeting with the clan and the others that she knows."
Macbeth frowned. It certainly sounded like someone had set Demona up, but then again it could be another one of her tricks. Despite learning what he did when he was at her home, he still felt this nagging part of him that refused to believe she had truly redeemed. But there was also one other thing, even if she hadn't really redeemed then why did she come so poorly prepared. He knew Demona to be many things, but never unprepared for a battle.
"Stop him!" Adrienne cried. "He's killing her!"
She was of course referring to Demona, though Macbeth didn't need anyone to tell him that, as he could feel Coldstone's grip around her neck as though he was having his throat crushed.
"Coldstone," he managed to breathe out, as he released Adrienne and walked up to the part metal gargoyle. "Forgive me, but would you mind taking a little more care when handling Demona, as I don't very much like the motion of having my windpipes crushed."
Coldstone snarled at him, but lessened his grip on his rookery sister's throat.
"Get off her!" Adrienne cried and tried to pounce on him, but was stopped by Macbeth's restraining arm.
"Coldstone," Macbeth said wearily. "Please release her. Nothing here is what it seems, apparently, and we're not going to get anywhere with you choking the life out of both her and me."
Coldstone growled, but moved up to his feet, pulling Demona with him, but didn't release his hold on her.
The golden thing that had attacked Victor was of course Coldfire, Coldstone's mate, who had now knocked Victor off of his feet, rendering him unconscious. She picked herself up from the ground to look at her former sister in the eyes.
If her face wasn't expressionless, then Adrienne could almost swear that she was looking at Dominique sadly.
Soon, there was the sound of what sounded like thunder coming towards them. It was in fact all the other gargoyles, who had heard the commotion and were rushing all the way outside to see what was happening.
Adrienne went over to see to Victor, as it became clear that this Coldstone character was not about to let Demona go. She past by Coldfire cautiously, her eyes looking for any sign of attack, but Coldfire didn't even seem to notice her, as she was too intent on her sister.
Pretty soon, there was a whoosh, as the main doors to the great hall in the castle swung open and out filled at least 30 gargoyles, who at first looked surprised at Demona's arrival, followed by a look of complete and utter rage.
Adrienne felt nervous.
There was a mixture of hissed whispers saying things like "it's her," and "the traitor is back,' among other things that made Adrienne's own eyes flare red.
Suddenly, the whole crowd parted and Mrs Fox Xanatos came hobbling out on her wooden cane. Her hair was now grey and her skin wrinkled, but she still possessed that same fire that Demona knew Xanatos had fallen in love with. She glared at Demona with a fiery hatred in her eyes and everywhere that Demona turned, she saw the same look in everyone else's except Macbeth who just confused.
"Demona," she hissed under her breath.
"Fox," Demona simply replied.
"I must say this is a surprise," Fox continued and then turned her glare to Macbeth. "Considering that not one, but three of my so-called trusted friends let you loose," she kept her eyes fixed on Macbeth for almost a full minute before going back to Demona.
"You murdered 8 of the bravest and most noble beings this world could have ever asked for and avoided justice for it for over 50 years, justice for murder, including that of your own daughter!"
Fox's words pierced Demona's heart so deep that it was like having a sword shoved through it. The old Demona in her wanted to scream out that it wasn't her fault, to deny her guilt and even blame it on the humans like she had always done, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't do it because she knew the truth.
"Yes," she said hoarsely, her voice almost choking with grief.
"Yes," Fox said in disgust. "Is that all you can say, yes?"
"What more is there to be said?" Demona asked tonelessly.
"I don't know," Fox replied and then looked at her with a glint in her eye. "But you'd better come up with something better than that, my dear. Macbeth, Gabriel and Ganesa may have been fooled by your so-called innocence, but not me and certainly not the rest of this clan. Even if Macbeth and the others may have been correct in assuming your innocence, they had no right to just let you go without at least consulting it with the rest of the clan. And let me tell you, we have no intention of letting you go without at least a trial!"
"So," Victor spat out, as Adrienne helped him unsteadily to his feet. "That's why you tricked us into coming here. Just so that you could hold your little trial after all and toss her tail into jail!"
Fox looked at him curiously. "I don't know what you mean, stranger. Until Demona showed up here, we've had no contact with her nor any of your clan since Macbeth returned home from seeing you."
"That's what I've been saying, lass," Macbeth joined in. "They claim that they received a call from someone here at the Eyrie, inviting them all, including Demona, to visit and discuss clan proceedings."
Fox frowned. "How are we supposed to know that this isn't some trick of yours again, Demona?"
"Why would Dominique plan her own capture?" Adrienne cried out despairingly.
"Never underestimate what that harpy can do," a voice hissed out from the shadows, silencing everyone.
Demona felt her blood freeze and her heart stop pumping. 'It can't be,' she thought desperately, recognising the voice slightly. 'It's another nightmare that I'm having, that's all. It can't be.'
But try as she might, she couldn't stop herself from looking over to where everyone was now staring at. Hidden beneath a clock of shadows, the darkness concealing his features, a huge imposing figure with eyes that flared white silver, stood unmoving.
"I did, more than once," the voice continued, "and it cost me… everything!"
The dark figure stepped out from the shadows and everyone's breath was soon caught in their throats.
"My God," Macbeth breathed, as he stared at the mutilated and horribly scarred, but still recognisable, being in front of him.
Demona alas could do nothing, but stare at the gargoyle that even now held her eyes with a burning white flare, his eyes even more rage filled and murderous than Coldstone's had been.
"Goliath," she breathed.
It certainly looked like the noble warrior, to some extent, if you were able to look past all the multiple scars that covered his entire body. His face and most of his body looked as though it had all been pulled apart and then stitched back together, wrongly.
"Demona," Goliath, if that was who he truly was, rasped at the black-haired gargess. "I see you've had a make-over. How interesting, makes you look like one of those mourning widows."
Demona could only stand there with her mouth gaping open in shock, staring at her former lover, leader and enemy. "How?" she could only gasp out.
Coldstone had now released her and also was staring in numb shock at his rookery brother. Goliath looked like something similar to him, except that Goliath had no machinery or anything attached to him, only scars.
Goliath's face twisted into a sneer, something that made all the gargoyles nearby shudder, as the sneer rippled the twisted parts of his body, almost as though they would fall apart.
"I suppose you could say that fate played a part in that," Goliath said hoarsely. His voice sounding like it was filled with dust and broken glass. "I seemed to have friends in high places. They were kind enough to rescue me… or what was left of me from Sevarius and somehow bring me back to life." He grimaced. "Needless to say, the result was not quite up to standard."
Demona stood there still for a few more moments, before she finally worked up the nerve and took one hesitant step forward. "Goliath, I… "But before she could even say another word, a loud roar filled the air and Demona felt herself get slammed back, past Coldstone and onto the wall behind her.
Demona struggled to breathe, but could not. She looked around, but saw no one restraining her. It was as though the very air itself had attacked her.
"Rule one," Goliath spat out. "Don't… ever, try to speak to me!"
Adrienne cried out and tried to run to her leader, but Macbeth's restraining hand stopped her. He knew there was even more here than met the eye and he doubt that he would like the answers.
Coldfire, if she could have been able to, stared in shock at her brother and confusion at her sister. "Brother," she said quietly, "What… what's happened to you?"
Goliath gave her a cold humourless smile. "I made a mistake," he said simply. "A mistake that cost me everything I held dear." He made his way closer to Demona. "After months of fighting Demona, we had finally captured her, or so we thought. She had always called me a sentimental fool and she was right. I was sentimental in letting her live. Oh, I knew she couldn't die, but I knew there was some way to at least contain her, other than the Labyrinth." Goliath's eyes burned white. "I was so foolish in giving her to the Labyrinth. I should have realised the instant we caught her that she had been too easy to capture, but like a fool, I did not."
He reached Demona and then held out his claw that looked as though it had been through a shredder, and softly stroked her cheek.
"Even back then, I still retained some stupid hope that perhaps someday, my angel of the night would return and be as she once was." He suddenly gripped Demona's cheek fiercely, making her cry out in pain as his talons dug deep into her flesh. "As you said, Demona…" he snarled, "I was a sentimental fool!"
"Goliath!" Coldstone tried to touch his brother and ease his grip off Demona, but before his claw was even an inch from him…
Coldstone's roar of pain echoed through the castle, as Goliath grabbed his arm and a charge of what seemed like yellow lightning, poured through Coldstone's circuits.
"My love!" Coldfire screamed and ran to her mate. Fortunately, it only looked as though his circuits were fried and nothing else.
Macbeth's eyes widened in terror, as he stared at the once proud warrior that he had once admired so. "Goliath," he breathed out. "What in God's name have you done? He's your brother for crying out loud!"
"Yes," Goliath scowled and glared at his fallen brother. "One whom I once trusted and then who later betrayed me, like all the rest!"
The feeling of unease in Macbeth's stomach had now grown unimaginably strong. He recognised the look in Goliath's eyes, for it was the same look he had once seen in another gargoyle long ago, one whom had lost everything and went insane for revenge, Demona.
"Goliath, no," Macbeth tried to reason with him. "Don't go down this path. Demona herself did and look what it got her, nothing but pain and misery for 1000 years."
Goliath suddenly broke out into hysterical laughter. "Don't bother telling me all that crap, Macbeth! You spent 1000 years hunting her, so don't go lecturing me about hatred and vengeance."
He turned back to his choking sister. "I will have revenge, Demona. Because my clan wishes it so and I must not disappoint them."
"The clan?" Demona managed to get out weakly.
Just then, Victor's roar that rivalled even Goliath's, sounded out and before Goliath even could blink, Victor slammed his fist into Goliath's already ruined face.
Demona sagged to the ground, the pressure off her throat, as she gasped for breath and Adrienne hurried over to her.
"You miserable interfering pest!" Goliath snarled and grabbed Victor's head and slammed it down on his knee, listening in delight to the sound of cracking bones.
"Hope you have the name of a good dentist," Goliath chuckled and then threw him up against the wall, giving him a high kick in the torso.
The rest of the clan had finally woken up from their stupor and raced in to help the Canadian gargoyle.
Goliath backhanded many of them, filling the night with the sounds of bones cracking, disgruntled groans and screams of pain. It was like facing a force of nature.
"NO!" Demona shouted. "Leave them be, Goliath!"
Adrienne resisted the urge to open her own mouth in astonishment, as she had never seen her Dominique so masterful before. She had always been quite quiet and content, but full of sadness.
"It's me you want," Demona nearly pleaded with the deranged gargoyle. "I know you hate me, but these are innocent gargoyles, ones who are our clan's children."
Goliath laughed. "Funny, I once said a similar thing to you when I was on Avalon." He flicked his talon at her and a yellow flash struck her, sending her flying back into another wall. "And that," he continued, "was pretty much the same reaction that I got from you."
Adrienne howled and without thinking, flung herself onto the male gargoyle. Goliath grunted, as Adrienne struck him in the face and chest, constantly striking him with her fists, until he finally got the upper claw and withheld her hands above her hand.
"As my clone once said," Goliath murmured. "Aren't you spunky?"
Meanwhile, all the other clan members were getting back to their feet and the sounds of more approaching gargoyles neared them.
Goliath turned to glare at his former angel. "It looks like our reckoning will have to wait a while, dear demon," he snarled once more and then threw Adrienne onto the ground and charged over the battlements.
"Stop him!" Coldfire cried and ran over to the edge of the building, but by then he had already disappeared.
"That can't have been… "Coldfire whispered quietly to herself.
"Adrienne?" Demona painfully forced herself to move over to where her lover lay.
Adrienne moaned, as she came to. "Dominique," she said hoarsely. "Remind me never to meet one of your ex's again."
Demona didn't answer and just grasped onto Adrienne as though her life depended on it.
'He came back,' she whispered into her mind.
A figure that was sitting on a pile of rags, idly twiddled the bandages that covered his thumbs, waiting for his jailer to return.
The door to his cell suddenly sprang and Goliath marched in looking very unhappy.
"Do I take it that your mission was not a success?" the prisoner asked quietly and without humour.
Goliath didn't answer and merely struck the prisoner on the side of the head.
"Watch your tongue, feeble one!" Goliath hissed. "Unless of course, you want to end up like your companions?"
The prisoner whimpered slightly, as he remembered the first two who had died at the hands of the one who was standing before him.
Goliath sneered. "How pathetic!" he said mockingly. "Look at you! You, who once had the respect of everyone who saw him, now reduced to a pathetic whimpering child. You have no strength, no power, barely even a body anymore. Tell me, do you still think you can regain what's yours?"
The prisoner raised his head and stared at him, neither with anger or sadness, just a blank look upon his face. "I have no chance now, but perhaps that was always meant to be my fate? All things happen for a reason, Goliath. We don't know what the reason is and we probably never will, but each and every thing that occurs, happens with a specific purpose in life. Even your own rage and torment must hold some purpose."
Goliath roared and struck the feeble prisoner again. "TORMENT!" he snarled. "What do you know of torment? You can't even compromise what I went through with your pretty words and fancy thoughts!" He backhanded him. "I watched my whole family die not once but twice, along with the one perfect woman in this entire world! Then we were all given a chance to start anew, only I came back wrong, as a twisted deformed freak of nature!"
The prisoner merely sat there and listened, as the poor demented gargoyle that had once been Goliath, ranted and raved. A sound caught both of their attention and Goliath ceased his ravings to look and then he smiled.
"My clan," he greeted his friends warmly and raised his mauled claws to embrace them.
The prisoner observed, as his jailer made to embrace those that he called his clan.
"How can this be?" Coldfire cried out in bewilderment and then turned to Demona who was sitting with Adrienne, nursing her still aching arm. "Tell me the truth, sister. Did you truly kill Goliath and his clan? Or did you do something else to them?"
Demona visibly cringed and shuffled a bit into Adrienne's embrace.
"Yes, I killed them," she simply said. "Then I gave their corpses to Sevarius to do with as he pleased."
The clan all shuddered with anger and more than one of them wanted to raise their fists at that moment against Demona.
"What did he do to them?" Victor mumbled through the bandaged over his face and the swelling of his mouth after Goliath had knocked some of his teeth out. He didn't want to ask the question, as he was sure that no one did, but they had to know.
Demona stayed silent for almost a full minute, before answering. "I don't really know," she admitted. "I wasn't really bothered with what Sevarius did with them, as I was more concerned with… "She paused again, her eyes brimming with tears, "… with Angela."
Macbeth sighed. "I think it's a fair assessment that given Goliath's, is that truly was him, his general appearance. It is most likely due to his time spent with Sevarius. No doubt the wretched man wanted to find out all he could about gargoyle species by… "He couldn't finish the sentence.
"By cutting them open and dissecting them, like other humans do with frogs," Demona finished for him.
The clan all cringed with disgust.
"He must have been the one who invited us here," Adrienne deduced. "So that you would come and he could have his revenge."
Demona nodded. "Yes," she confirmed, "I would have done the same thing myself... and probably still would."
"Don't say that!" Adrienne said strongly. "You're not that same gargoyle you once were. That old you is dead."
Demona looked around at all the distrusting faces that surrounded her, eyes filled with contempt and hatred, eager for revenge. It wasn't as strong as Goliath's had been, but it was there nonetheless.
"Somehow," Demona sighed, "I don't think there are many people here who agree with you on that statement, Adrienne."
"Regardless of what you or any of us may or may not have done," Macbeth said. "We still have to figure out exactly how it is that Goliath has returned to the land of the living."
"Could he be a clone?" Victor said with his claw on his nose.
"Or perhaps a robot?" another gargoyle said. "Those energy flashes we saw could have been electrically generated and a robot would have no trouble doing that."
"Pretty life looking robot," another gargoyle said. "Did you see his skin and all the scars? Nothing could ever be that life like!"
"Yeah and that's another thing. If this gargoyle was a clone or some robot, then why did they cover it with all those scars?"
"It was him!" Demona suddenly burst out, making everyone stop and stare at her.
Demona stared back at them, but continued speaking. "Believe me, I wish it wasn't, but… I'd know Goliath anywhere, no matter what his form, and that was Goliath. I could see it in his eyes, hear it in his voice and even feel it in the warmth of his claw. I don't know how he survived all these years, but that was him."
"All the more reason for us to find him now," another gargoyle perked up.
"Enough!" Fox shouted and then added. "Coldfire, how is Coldstone?"
Coldfire looked at her with her never changing face. "Some of his circuits were burnt out and he's having some trouble trying to control his motor functions, but other than that he seems to be fine. The doctors said that they should be able to fix him soon."
Fox nodded. "Good. Now, does anyone know where Gabriel is? He should be here at this meeting."
Coldfire shook her head. "He left earlier tonight, a few hours before Demona arrived. He said he was just going for a glide to clear his head and no one's seen him since. His feelings were still low after what happened a week ago with Demona."
Fox turned and glared at Demona. "I don't suppose you know anything about that, do you, Demona?"
Demona merely stared back at her. "My group and I weren't even here in New York a few hours, when Gabriel disappeared. If you wish then you could check with the airline reports and the flight schedule of the jet we arrived on. They will all say where we were."
Fox kept that steel-eyed glare of hers on the immortal gargoyle for a few moments longer, as if daring her to try something, but after a few moments she turned back to the rest of the clan.
"We had best prepare in case of another assault," Fox declared. "Despite what Demona says, I will not jump to conclusions until I know for absolutely sure that that gargoyle was indeed Goliath. Ophelia, have security send some extra guards up to the Eyrie. Damon, check out the scanners and CCTV cameras, make sure they're all functioning properly. I want to know how that gargoyle managed to get in here without us knowing about it!"
Each of the clan went about their duties, but not before sparing Demona one final snarl in her direction, then they left.
"And you!" Fox turned to Demona. "You, come with me and bring your… friend, with you." She turned and hobbled through the door into the castle, with two other gargoyles beside her, who remained to ensure that Demona would follow, each of them armed with a laser of some sort.
Victor left with some other gargoyles to go to the castle infirmary. They didn't seem particularly keen of him, considering he was with Demona, but they surely weren't going to make it clear, considering his size and all.
Macbeth followed behind Demona with the two gargoyle guards, who watched Demona like a hawk. His thoughts were also on the familiar gargoyle that had shown up tonight. It had certainly resembled Goliath, but… The way he acted, the rage and insanity in his eyes had been even worse than what Demona had once been.
Macbeth was finding it more difficult to grasp that that creature and the noble Goliath were on of the same. If it was then who knows what kind of devastation this might have on the clan.
They neared the end of the hall and entered what had once been Xanatos's main office, but now Fox's.
"Alright!" Fox demanded. "Tell me everything you know and I do mean everything, Demona!"
"It's Dominique now, actually," she replied.
Fox slammed her hands down on the desk angrily. "I don't care what you change your name to!" she snarled. "You could call yourself Florence Nightingale for all I care, it doesn't matter! To me and to everyone else, you will always be Demona, hater of humanity and murderer of both the Wyvern and Manhattan clans!"
Demona winced and Adrienne clutched her claw affectionately.
"Fox," Macbeth said wearily and then added almost pleadingly, "Please."
Fox's eyes still burned, but she sat down and seemingly calmed. "So, do you know anything else that might help us?" she asked Demona again.
Demona shook her head. "I told you all everything that I knew of back then. I gave the clan's corpses to Sevarius to do with as he pleased. After that, I spent most of my time with Angela until she… "The words got caught in her throat and she visibly shuddered.
"Can the sensors find any trace of him?" Macbeth asked suddenly.
Fox shrugged. "No. It's as though he just vanished into thin air, but we have detected some odd readings."
"What kind of readings?" Adrienne asked curiously.
Fox gave her a cold look, but answered her nonetheless. "Some kind of strange electrical pattern surrounding the area in which Goliath previously occupied, up to where he departed."
"Could we follow this pattern?"
Fox shook her head. "No, it fades away fast. It's practically gone now. We were lucky to be able to find some still left where he was."
Demona frowned. "Did any of your sensors tell you specifically what the energy was?"
Fox waited a few seconds before she finally answered. "As I said, all they could say was that it was some kind of electrical pattern that followed him wherever he went, suggesting that he must have had some kind of shock equipment on his person."
"Shock equipment?" Adrienne queried.
Demona leaned over to whisper into her ear. "A crude, but effective word to describe devices that are used for shooting short blasts of electricity."
Adrienne's eyes widened a little.
"But what makes you think that those shocks were simply electricity?" Demona asked Fox. "They could very well have been magic."
"We have no way of telling if they were or weren't," Fox retorted.
"What do you mean?" Demona said puzzled. "What about your mother, Titania?"
Fox shook her head. "Mother hasn't been in contact with me for quite some time," she said almost regretfully. "Ever since the big hurricane about 45 years ago, both the Fey and us mortals have been trying to rebuild what the storm destroyed."
"Storm?" Demona asked in confusion. At the astonished looks she was getting, she quickly reminded them. "Recall that I spent the first few years, after Angela's death, in seclusion on a mountain in the wilderness."
Macbeth nodded. "Indeed," he explained. "Well, it all started with a detective named Cole, who was some kind of sorcerer that dealt with elemental spirits that… "
"An elementalist?" Demona asked with her eye-ridges raised.
"Err, yes," Macbeth said slightly taken back. "You know of them?"
Demona shrugged. "I've read up on them a few times, but I've never actually met one of them. As I recall, there are spirits that live in every element from the earth to the fire, water and air."
"Correct," Macbeth confirmed. "This Cole was a master of air, but he was also a detective who used his air spirits, the Sylphs, to aid him in any and all of his cases. As a result, he became quite the famous and successful detective."
"So what happened?"
Macbeth sighed and looked at Fox, as she had known Detective Cole slightly better than he had.
Fox grunted, but complied. "David and I met Cole through Matt Bluestone. After Matt… lost, his partner," She said coldly before continuing, "Matt was assigned a new partner, who was of course Cole. After they got to know one another, Cole eventually revealed to Matt about what he really was. Shortly after, Cole went to Avalon to face Oberon… "
"He did WHAT?" Demona almost cried out in astonishment.
Fox smiled the first genuine smile she had given since Demona had seen her. "Yes," she explained. "Apparently one of the Fey, the Banshee, wasn't a Fey at all, but some kind of super Sylph whose mind Oberon had enslaved centuries ago. Cole freed her, thus proving his might as an air master and that was that. He and Matt become quite the detective duo for a few years. They still have the longest list of solved crimes at their precinct."
"So what happened then?" Demona asked again.
Fox frowned and sat twiddling her thumbs for a minute. She then looked up into Demona's eyes and asked, "How much do you know of Sylphs, Demona?"
Demona shrugged. "Not much," she admitted. "I know they're a part of the air and they're considered quite powerful… "
"I mean," Fox interjected, "do you know anything about the Sylphs, as in their personalities and such?"
Demona blinked. "Well, I've never known a Sylph personally so I couldn't really say."
Fox half smirked. "Count your blessings then," she muttered, ignoring Demona's confused look. "The Sylphs, although they are ancient creatures and quite powerful as you just said, mentally speaking however, they are no more than mere children. They're like little girls, with their air master as the father figure, who cram around him always bothering him and such. At first, Cole learned to live with it and joked about it often, saying he wasn't a father and yet he had over a million little girls."
Fox paused another moment. "But as the years went by, Cole began to sink lower and lower into depression. It was even worse when Rhiannon and Qiu ju disappeared."
Fox shrugged. "Long story," she said. "It's not important right now. What was important was that the Sylphs, including one in particular, never ceased to leave him alone. He was literally almost constantly without privacy. He couldn't even get a life of his own outside his job because every time when he tried to go out or when he got a date, one of the Sylphs would always end up ruining it for him. He even admitted once that he wished he had never become an air master."
Fox got up from her chair and looked to the window behind her, gazing out over the city landscape. "Years past, 5 to be precise, and with every passing day he sunk even more into his depression, until finally, one day he… decided to end it all."
Demona's eyes widened. "You mean, he… "
Fox nodded and went silent.
Macbeth coughed. "He was a good man, brave and dedicated to his job to help protect and serve the people. But as good as he was; he was only human. No one could have foreseen what was to occur… and when the Sylphs learned of his death, they mourned him, as anyone would do. The only problem was… "
"Sylphs are literally part of the air," Demona finished for him. "When they're happy, you've got clear calm skies. But when they're sad or angry, you have a storm that's worse than Hurricane Irene, on your hands."
Macbeth nodded. "Hence the storm," he said regretfully, "which nearly destroyed most of New York." He sighed.
"Whatever became of the Sylphs?" Adrienne asked.
Macbeth shrugged. "Well, obviously they're still around, as from what I hear, it's quite impossible to kill a Sylph. But since they have no air master, then I guess they have no reason for revealing themselves to mortals. They'll just remain invisible until their next master comes along I suppose."
Fox sat back down at her desk. "While this was going on, one of the Fey had disappeared from Avalon. Apparently he must have got tired of Oberon's rule and ran off or something and Oberon wasn't at all happy with that, so he sent off a number of his 'children' to retrieve him. Last thing I heard was that they were still searching for him, guy sure seems to know how to hide himself. Then when the Sylphs were finished tearing up the city, my mother managed to convince Oberon to allow some of the Fey to help out the mortals who were rebuilding their homes. My mother has even helped at times and they're still busy with it even today."
They remained quiet for a few moments after that, until there was a knock on the door.
"Enter!" Fox crisply called and watched, as Ophelia entered the room. "Ophelia, has there been any word on Gabriel?"
Ophelia shook her head. "None, Fox. And I'm getting worried, for he's never out this long without contacting us."
"What about Coldstone? Is he repaired yet?"
Ophelia nodded. "They were just reconnecting his neuron-pathways, as I was leaving."
"Have him and Coldfire organise a search party, as soon as he's well enough to fly," she ordered.
"What about Goliath?" Adrienne asked. "What are we to do with him?"
"Perhaps we should just let him come and get me," Demona whispered faintly, making everyone turn and look at her in shock.
"My love," Adrienne said in aghast. "You can't mean that, surely… "
"I killed his clan, Adrienne!" Demona persisted, ignoring Fox's steel glare at Adrienne for calling Demona 'her love'. "I betrayed the clan and his love, tricked and slaughtered each one of them like cattle right in front of his eyes, which drove my daughter insane and led to her ultimate demise. If anyone deserves vengeance, then it's certainly him!"
"Demona," Macbeth tried to calm her. "Although I don't doubt your word, we still don't know for sure that this was truly Goliath. Try and keep an open mind, lass."
Demona growled a little in frustration, but kept her mouth shut.
"Don't you have technology that could maybe scan for the residual energy of what Go… That gargoyle was using?" Adrienne asked.
Fox frowned. "We've been trying, but so far we haven't had a nibble."
"Well, couldn't that mean that he's simply gone underground or something?" Adrienne wondered.
Fox sighed. "Yes, it could but we still don't know where he could be. He might be in the sewers or perhaps just under a warehouse. And we can't take our equipment down with us, as the scanner is too large."
Macbeth's face suddenly lit up. "Wait a minute! There might be a way for us to locate the devil."
"How?" Demona cocked her head at him.
Macbeth instead turned to Fox. "What about that old Coyote robot that you and Xanatos once commissioned? Doesn't that lump of metal have some kind of heat sensors or anything we could use?"
Fox paused still for a moment, chewing on her lower lip. "Hmmm," she thought out loud. "Yes, David did mention that C.Y.O.T.I did have some sensors installed on it." Fox then frowned. "But it hasn't been out of storage in years. David had a new one built just after Goliath destroyed the last one in Arizona, but when the clan saved Alex, he never bothered to activate it. It's been sitting in one of the company's warehouses now for over 50 years. There's no way to tell if its systems are still operational."
"Well," Macbeth mused, "I'd say there's no better time to find out than now, wouldn't you say, lass?"
Fox sighed and reached over for her phone.
"Owen," she spoke into the receiver.
'Owen?' Demona thought. Although she knew who Owen Burnett really was, it was nonetheless still surprising to find out that he was still there, working for the Xanatoses.
'Yes, Mrs Xanatos.' The small crowd within the late founder's office heard.
"When you have the time," Fox replied with a smirk, "could you arrange to have something delivered to me?"
Sewers; One Hour Later:
"My love," Goliath spoke. "Do not fear, for we shall all soon have our vengeance. The demon is near and once we have the opportunity, I will slice her into little pieces and scatter her body through0out the four corners of the globe!"
Goliath's prisoner merely sat in still silence, listening to the simple water drops from the pipes and the scuttling of the sewer rats.
He didn't bother to plead with the mad gargoyle and his 'clan,' as he had long since learnt that there was no reasoning with him.
"The clan will come for you, you know," he said simply. "You attacked one of their own, an act they will surely not forgive."
Goliath snarled at him. "Do not interrupt me, creature! My love and I have more important matters to attend to." Goliath turned back around, cupping his loves face in his great claws, kissing her passionately. "Ohhhh, Elisa!"
A sudden noise pricked up his ears.
"Hmmm," Goliath frowned. "It appears we have visitors?"
The prisoner's head bobbed up with hope.
"Typical," Adrienne complained. "I spent all that time getting ready, only to find that I'm spending this evening down in a sewer."
Demona didn't respond, as her thoughts were elsewhere. Finally, she worked up enough nerve to ask Macbeth something that had been plaguing her since she had heard that they were coming down into the sewers.
"Macbeth?" she called to him.
Macbeth turned his head slightly, from the robot Coyote that was prowling ahead of them, its infrared scanners detecting any lingering remnants of the energy pattern.
"Aye?" he asked.
Demona sighed. "Does… the Labyrinth still exist down here?"
Macbeth paused for a moment, before hurrying up to catch up to the robot with the twisted half-face of Xanatos himself on its screen.
"Aye," he responded, "but not the Labyrinth you remember, lass."
"How do you mean?"
Macbeth sighed. "When… Talon didn't return home. Maggie, Talon's mate, convinced herself that he was alive and that he would return to her. He was the one thing that kept her going; as she had never fully adjusted to her mutate form. When… Elisa's body was found; it didn't take a genius to figure out what had happened to the rest of them."
No, it didn't take a genius to figure out what had happened, just as it didn't take one to learn what had happened to the lone mutate female.
"She committed suicide," she said simply, without asking what had happened.
Macbeth nodded. "Not right away, as even after Elisa was found, she still clung onto the fruitless hope that Talon was alive. Then one day, Claw found her in the bathroom with her wrists cut."
Demona frowned. "Claw was the tiger mutate, wasn't he?"
Again, Macbeth nodded. "Aye, and with both Maggie and Talon gone, he too began to sink into depression, just like poor Cole. I think that even at that time, he probably would have welcomed even that wretched fool Fang's company for a while."
Macbeth then smiled. "Thankfully, though, he never gave in to suicide like Maggie and Cole. It took a long time and I doubt he ever fully got over it, but he learned to live again, and eventually even made friends with Xanatos of all people, who funded the Labyrinth, supplying them with medicines, blankets and such."
"Is he still around?" Demona asked.
Macbeth shook his head. "Nay, he passed away a few years before Xanatos, but his wife and kids are still around."
"He had a mate?" Demona said, slightly startled.
Macbeth grinned. "Not every human is a complete bigot, Demona. One of the Labyrinth girls took a liking to the lad and the two of them were married a year later. They had 4 kids, all with stripes like their father, but with their mother's compassion and blue eyes. They now run the Labyrinth together."
Demona half-smiled for a minute, but then grew solemn. "And do they hate me and wish for my death, as much as everyone else?" she asked.
Macbeth gave her a pitying look. "I think that goes without saying, don't you, Demona?"
Demona sighed. "Yes, I suppose so."
"Actually though," Macbeth said encouragingly. "They're not as bad as the others. Don't get me wrong, as Claw hated you as much as anyone for what you'd done. But…violence was never in his spirit. Claw was a good man, but a fighter he was anything but. He helped out whenever he could, but all in all he preferred to keep out of the fighting, and he taught his children to do the same. None of them are happy with you, Demona, but they are not ones who are obsessed with revenge."
"That's something, I guess," Demona said quietly.
"By the way," Macbeth said curiously. "Whatever happened to that idiot, Fang?"
Demona looked uncomfortable. "He remained with me and Thailog for a while, but in the end as it turned out, we both couldn't stand him… "
Macbeth sighed. "Do I take it then that we won't ever be hearing from Fang anytime?"
Demona didn't answer.
"Didn't think so," Macbeth concluded. "Don't worry about that though, Demona. It's not as if there were many people here, who actually liked the blackguard. I never met him, but apparently he was a scoundrel and a betrayer, and an even bigger fool, especially when it came to jokes."
Demona couldn't help, but smirk at that. She recalled all too well the agonising nights that she and Thailog had suffered from the constant talking and bad puns of that stupid mutate.
"We're nearing the source," Coyote reported. "My sensors indicate that the energy trail ends somewhere up ahead."
Macbeth fell silent and removed his gun from his belt.
There were five of them there, Demona, Macbeth, Adrienne, Ophelia and of course the robot Coyote.
Fox was obviously too old to accompany them, two of her children were overseas, and her other daughter, who was the detective, was at work and didn't even know that Demona was there.
Gabriel was also still missing and Demona could tell from the looks of everyone that they were getting worried.
Macbeth went ahead of the robot, as he made less noise and indicated for them all to follow, while the robot remained behind with its defences alert.
Macbeth rounded a corner and discovered a small doorway, leading into a room.
He signalled the others and made his way inside.
The prisoner gazed up, as Macbeth entered and Macbeth did his best not to gasp and stagger back, for the face looked like something right out of a Boris Karloff movie. It was that of an Egyptian mummy, with bandages and the works wrapped around its sunken face. Its body looked impossibly frail and seemed as though it could break at any time with just a simple snap. It was chained up with large iron chains and bolts that seemed to drain the essence right out of him.
The others came in behind him and their eyes widened in equal surprise.
"What in the…?" Demona said.
"Demona?" the bandaged man asked curiously. "So you're the demon that he's been after all these years."
"Demon?" Adrienne asked.
The being shrugged slowly. "Goliath's nickname for you, Demona," he said.
"So Goliath's been here?" Adrienne asked suddenly, forgetting for one moment that she was talking to a mummy.
The mummy nodded. "Yes," it croaked.
Macbeth stared at the mummy in shock. "Forgive me for asking the obvious," he said slowly, "but just what the hell are you?"
The mummy suddenly began laughing a low crooked laugh. "Why, can't you tell?" it said almost amused. "I'm a mummy! Once, I was a mummy with some power, getting ready to face his traitorous son and then the next, I'm just a plain old mummy that happens to walk and talk and nothing else."
Macbeth blinked. "Okaaaay," he said unsurely. "How's about we start at the beginning, like who are you?"
The mummy bowed its head lowly. "Forgive me. I've not had much experience with guests in more than a few millenniums." The mummy shuffled on the floor, but seemingly took care as not to break itself. "First of all, allow me to introduce myself… I am Amon-Re."
"Amon-Re?" Macbeth said confused. "Like the Amon-Re from Egyptian mythology?"
The mummy nodded. "I suppose I should start from the beginning, but I fear there is not enough time, and there really is no point in telling my tale."
"What do you mean?" Ophelia asked.
Amon-re sighed. "To make a long story short, I am what you would probably call… a spirit of the world. I was conceived at the same time as the world was and have forever since watched over it and all its inhabitants. I guided humanity from simple savages into civilised scholars and they in turn worshipped me as their god." Amon-Re paused. "I miss those good old days," he sighed miserably.
"What happened?" Demona asked curious.
The mummy's face darkened. "I was betrayed. When I began being worshipped as a god, I decided to take a wife and bear children with her. Among my children were Anubis and Ma'at, but I also had another child before them, one whom I had created, literally from scratch."
Amon-Re paused again and seemed to shudder. "That son was known back then as Set, but you know him better by his modern name, Oberon."
All four of the task team's eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets, as they stared in shock at the fallen and weakened god.
"Oberon!" Demona shrieked. "Oberon, the lord of the third race, is your son?"
Amon-Re chuckled bitterly. "Yes, I gave him life and he in turn gave me eternal banishment and stripped me of nearly all of my power and saw to it that no one would free me."
"So how are you here then?" Adrienne asked in rapt fascination.
Amon-Re sighed again. "I don't know the full details but, from what I know Set or Oberon as he calls himself now, made the gnomes angry, so they attempted to get their own back on him by releasing me." He chuckled bitterly. "It must have been a real big disappointment to them when I wasn't even able to face him. I have been out of my prison for over 50 years and Oberon has yet to even notice that I'm gone. This is a good thing, as I have barely enough power to keep myself together, let alone go up against my all-powerful son"
"Oberon stole all your power?" Adrienne asked.
Amon-Re shook his head. "Not all of it. He could only drain me of so much and so left me in that blasted hole in the ground along with my faithful gargoyle, Bast, who was imprisoned with me."
"Another gargoyle?" Ophelia asked interested. "Is she still here?"
Amon-Re shook his head sadly. "No, she died a long while ago, along with my son, Anubis."
"Anubis is dead?" Macbeth said in shock.
Amon-re held a withered hand to his face and Demona thought for a moment if he was crying.
'Anubis must have been the Fey that disappeared,' Demona thought, remembering when Fox told her about the Fey that left Avalon, never to be seen again.
"When the gnomes released me," he continued. "I managed to get a signal out to my son, Anubis, who came and answered my call. I knew that we would be unable to reach my son's new home, Avalon, without being dedicated, even with Anubis's help. I also knew we would need a warrior, someone who could defy Oberon and help bring him down. Anubis said he knew just the one to do the job, but… "
"It was Goliath." Demona said without question. "You were going to use Goliath as your champion, but by the time you found him… "
"He was already dead," Amon-Re said sorrowfully. "He was our best hope for me to regain my power and bring Oberon to justice. So I ordered Anubis to do the one thing that I had banned him from ever doing since the moment of his conception… I made him bring Goliath back to life."
"You resurrected Goliath?" Macbeth said in shock and disgust. "As that what we just saw? He looked like something out of a bad horror movie."
Amon-Re shuddered. "The spell to bring someone back from the underworld is not so simple. I merged what was left of my powers with Anubis's, but it wasn't enough. We successfully brought Goliath back to life, but his body… we were unable to heal it completely and as a result… Well, I imagine you'd already seen him."
There was silence in the room for a few minutes, as everyone slowly took this in, before Demona finally asked, "What happened then?"
Amon-Re looked down. "A catastrophe is what happened. We tried to reason with Goliath, appeal to his better nature, but… "Amon-re made a sound like a sob, but no one could tell for sure. "What he had been through, the deaths of his clan, his own, and then being brought back into such a hideous form. It ruined him, totally shattered his mind and sanity, until all that was left was a demented maniac obsessed with revenge."
Demona kept her mouth shut and closed her eyes briefly, remembering the pain she had caused him and what that pain had led to.
"He went mad," Amon-Re continued. "Driven completely insane from grief and lashed out at me, my son and my faithful companion. Goliath managed to find some iron that was on him and used it to attack my son." Amon-re then did shed a tear that was visible to all. "He drove the iron straight into my son's head, he died instantly. Bast tried to stop him, but she was no match for his incredible strength, she was dead before the battle had even begun."
"Couldn't you have stopped him?" Ophelia said aghast. "I mean, you had the power to resurrect the dead, surely you could have prevented the death of your family?"
Amon-Re laughed bitterly. "I can bring the mortals back to live, but whereas members of my own race are concerned… I'm afraid that once one of us is gone, we've never been able to bring them back. We do not know why, maybe we immortals are just not meant to return, but either way, we never have done. As for stopping him, I had more or less wasted all of my power in resurrecting him, now I have nothing. And worse, once Goliath killed the others, he took me prisoner and drained me of whatever magic I had left, using it for his own purposes. I now have literally no power left at all."
"I don't believe this," Ophelia said in denial. "This can't be the same Goliath that rescued us from the Archmage, it just can't!"
"It is and it isn't, child," Amon-Re said regretfully. "Anubis told me what a great and noble warrior he once was. But as great as he was, he was nevertheless mortal like all of us really are. And as a mortal, he too suffered loss and despair and considering all that he went through, it's really no wonder what's happened to him. There is only so much that each of us can stand after a time."
Macbeth nodded sullenly, remembering Cole.
"But still," Ophelia said still unbelieving, "Goliath?"
Demona said nothing and just continued to stare ahead, her thoughts a mystery. Adrienne took her hand and squeezed it gently, but Demona made no reply.
Macbeth?" a voice startled the Scottish immortal from his thoughts.
"Aye," Macbeth called out of the room. "What is it, Coyote?"
"I have detected a single life-sign in motion at precisely 150 meters ahead of us." The emotionless robot replied.
"We'll be right there!" Macbeth said urgently and made to quickly remove Amon-Re's shackles.
"Thank you," Amon-Re said gratefully and stretched his thin limbs. "It's been so long."
"We'll come back for you," Macbeth promised.
"Don't bother," Amon-Re replied sadly. "Fate has already chosen my destination, so now I must learn to live with it."
"What do you mean?" Demona asked.
Amon-Re looked at her, his large baleful eyes searching through her soul, before answering her. "I was once god of an entire world, to which I brought peace and guided its inhabitants. Then, in one fail swoop, it was all taken away from me and I slept through many countless centuries, while my son ruled in my place." He paused for a moment and sighed. "Perhaps my son, Oberon, did the right thing for the wrong reason. Had I remained as ruler, it's likely that perhaps your kind would still be the same devoted and utterly dependent beings that your ancestors once were."
"What's so wrong about that?" Ophelia asked in confusion.
"Perhaps nothing," Amon-Re thought out loud, "Or maybe everything. For if I had remained in rule then your kind might never have evolved into the independent species you are today. When I first awoke, I was planning to take back my power from Oberon and basically pick up where I left off, in guiding your young races. However…"a pang of regret crossed his race. "However, because of Goliath, I now have no power to institute such a mission, so even if by some miracle if I were to defeat Oberon in battle, I would never have the strength to drain the magic from him back into me. And even if I could, I have noticed from my 5 decades in this world that the world has changed too much for me."
Amon-Re slowly got up to his feet. "My time as god of this world has long since past. Neither of your races has any need for me, even if I was at full strength. If I were to try such a thing then I might as well just be sending you back into the dark ages."
"So where will you go?" Adrienne asked.
Amon-Re stood still and quiet for about a minute. Slowly, he raised his head to look at the young gargoyle. "I don't know, young one," he said simply. "I really don't know." With that, he took slow but determined steps and walked out of the room and down deeper into the sewers.
The four of them watched him leave for a few seconds, before…
"Ahem!" Coyote made a slight coughing side that had been programmed into his databanks long ago. "Forgive the intrusion, but the subject in question is now 180 meters ahead of us and increasing."
"Come on," Macbeth urged them. "We've got to go after him!"
Macbeth took off in the direction that Coyote had indicated, followed by the others, except for Demona who watched the former god drift into the darkness before running to catch up with the others.
"Do you see anything?" Adrienne hissed quietly.
Macbeth frowned, as he tapped a few buttons on the device in his hand. "Coyote, do you still detect anything on your radar?"
The crisp voice of Xanatos came through the communicator. "Affirmative. Life signs are just as strong as ever. He should be close to where you are now."
"Well I can't see a blasted thing in this damn sewer!" Macbeth snarled into his walkie-talkie.
Demona gave him a look of pity. "Those human eyes of yours really limit you, don't they?" she said casually.
Macbeth glared at her. "Not all species are born night creatures with good eyesight, Demona."
"First of all," Demona replied calmly, "Gargoyles are hatched, not born. Secondly, our eyesight is more than just plain good, its superior."
Macbeth thinned his eyes at her. "I guess you can't expect miracles," he murmured, referring to Demona's redemption.
Demona didn't answer, but scouted on ahead checking for any signs that anyone had been there.
"Over here!" she suddenly called. "Some of the sludge on this wall has been smeared, indicating that someone past by here recently."
Adrienne and Ophelia both cringed their noses at the substance on the wall and said simultaneously, "We'll take your word for it."
Sparing them a look, Demona crouched down to further inspect the wall and the ground.
"Strange," she mused.
"What is?" Macbeth asked.
Demona pointed to the ground where she was looking. "Well, the trail just seems to stop here. The trail comes up to this wall and then it just stops."
Macbeth frowned. "Coyote," he spoke into his communicator. "Are you still picking up Goliath's signature?"
Ophelia stiffened up a bit, as like most of the clan she still didn't want to believe that the deranged monstrosity that had attacked them was their once beloved leader.
"Affirmative, life signs are still detected where they were previously. You should be seeing him right in front of you."
Demona grumbled. "Rusty bucket of bolts has been sitting in that warehouse for one too many decades. There's nothing… "
Before Demona could utter another word, a gnarled claw shot right of the wall behind her and grasped around her throat.
"Never judge by appearances, Demona," Goliath's voice hissed in her ear. "Oh, but then I forgot whom I'm talking to, as you're the queen of deception."
Goliath's once handsome face slowly oozed out of the wall, revealing its now many scars upon its misshapen head.
Macbeth drew his weapon, holding his own throat in reflex, and took aim. "Release her, Goliath!" he ordered. "I know how badly you must want this, but… Goliath, you once said to me, 'death is never the answer… life is!'"
Goliath laughed loudly and Demona shuddered, for it was the same laughter that she had heard Thailog use many times.
"Life?" Goliath scoffed. "Life hasn't exactly done me many favours, has it?" He indicated to himself. "I lost my clan a thousand years ago, I was denied my vengeance and as reward for rescuing the humans I was cursed to wake up as a stranger in a strange land. Then, once what was left of my clan and I settled here, we found new allies and, dare I say it, a woman whom I felt strongly for and even loved."
"The detective," Demona gasped, trying to breathe.
Goliath snarled and tightened his grip on her. "Don't even dare to speak her name, demon! Whatever you were to me once long ago, she is many times the female you ever were!"
'Is?' she thought, confused.
Adrienne looked on helplessly, as her lover's life was once more threatened. She knew that Demona couldn't be killed by anyone, save Macbeth, but that didn't mean she couldn't feel pain.
"Please," Adrienne pleaded with him, with the gargoyle that Dominique had told her about often. "Please, Goliath. You don't know me, but I know what you've been through. I know that nothing Dominique can and will do, will ever make up for what happened all those years ago. But the gargoyle you knew as Demona is gone. She died a long time ago and she suffers now far worse than… "
"SILENCE!" Goliath bellowed. "You have no right to speak at all, demon whore!" He sneered at her. "I couldn't care less whether Demona, or Dominique as she calls herself now, is truly sorry or not. She destroyed my life and I intend to pay her back well and truly!"
Macbeth looked on in dismay and disappointment. "Then you've turned out just as bad as Demona once was, lad," Macbeth said regretfully.
Goliath looked at him with wild eyes. Any trace of sanity in them was lost. "Maybe I have, maybe I haven't," he shouted.
For one moment, Macbeth thought he saw the old Goliath shine through in his eyes, as he saw them mist up when Goliath spoke.
"Perhaps I have turned out worse than Demona," Goliath admitted. "Perhaps not, but either way… Nothing will detain me from serving justice. My clan demands it!"
"Clan?" Macbeth voiced Demona's question.
"Yes," Goliath sighed, "my clan." He pointed his hand back at the wall that he had come through and all at once it started to shimmer and fade, revealing another secret room.
The room looked to be, at first, a simple remake of the old clock tower where the clan had once nested. Goliath had even included some of the old furniture, which he must have found still there. No one had touched a thing at the tower since the clan's disappearance and once their fate was discovered, no one had been there ever since.
The room would almost be considered homely, if not for its occupants.
The first one they noticed was not so bad, as it was just a mere girl mannequin that had been painted dark lavender like Goliath or, more importantly, Angela's colouring and had a pair of black kites strapped to its back. It was standing over by what was obviously supposed to be the kitchen, right next… to a gargoyle skeleton!
Demona's eyes were literally bulging out of her skull from the lack of breath, though some could say it was from the shock of seeing Goliath's new family room.
The skeleton's bones were big and from the shape of its skull and jaw-line, she guessed that it must be Broadway's remains. It had been placed near what was the kitchen area; the obvious place to find Broadway, where it was hunched over the cooking stove with the lavender mannequin's arms around it.
"Broadway and Angela…" Goliath spoke, never ceasing his grip on Demona, "… my dear beloved daughter, Angela. I knew the two of them would someday end up as mates. They didn't know it yet, but I could see it in their eyes, the way they looked at one another, night after night. They didn't have a chance to declare their love, but now they do, I saw to that."
Another gargoyle skeleton that was clearly Brooklyn, because of its beak, stood by the wall, slack against it, with two fake eyes inserted inside its sockets, staring out over the scene and at them.
All of the skeletons appeared to have fake eyes in them, as well as wigs and body bags that clothed them. They were also painted in the same colours that their flesh had once worn, to give the illusion that they were still living.
"Brooklyn," Goliath declared, "my loyal friend and the clan's dedicated second in command. Always he watches over us, trying his best to prove himself worthy in my eyes, even though I constantly tell him there's no need to." Goliath dragged Demona with him and moved over to the beaked skeleton and patted the bony shoulder of the long since departed Brooklyn.
Another, much smaller, skeleton was seated on the floor, next to a pile of dissembled machines. The thing was made to look as if it was working on the parts, as Lexington was always seen doing in life.
"Lexington," Goliath sighed, shaking his head, chuckling. "Lexington, all the brains of the clan rolled into one. Never was there ever a gargoyle as clever as he was. Whenever any of us had a problem, he would find some way to use that scientific brain of his to help solve it."
Goliath then walked over to where there was a huge armchair set right next to a television set. In the seat and beside it were two other gargoyle-remains; one was that of an ordinary gargoyle with a multi-horned skull and tusk-like fangs, whereas the other resembled a dog-like creature.
"Hudson and Bronx," Goliath concluded. "My dear old mentor, eternal friend and constant advisor. Never did he let me down with his advice, as certain as he was almost constantly side by side with our loveable and forever loyal watch-beast, Bronx."
"Dear God," Macbeth said, aghast.
Goliath turned back to his former bride, his eyes once more blazing. "You stole everything from me, Demona," he snarled and then spat in her face. "But I got it back, I got it all back, my clan, my daughter and even, yes, my love!"
Demona's eyes went confused for a second and then lit up with realisation.
Goliath smirked and dragged her over to the wall on the far end of the room, ignoring Macbeth and the others who were all still aghast at the shocking display. Goliath reached out and touched the wall, which shimmered, just as the first one had done.
'Another illusion,' Demona thought absently.
The wall faded away, revealing another room with a double bed, with silk and linen sheets and pillows. There seemed to be somebody lying in the bed.
Everyone held their breath, silently praying that it wasn't what they thought it was.
"My love," Goliath addressed the figure in the bed. "Forgive me for interrupting your sleep, but look who's finally decided to pay us a visit." Goliath waved a hand and a bright light illuminated the room, revealing the bed-ridden figure.
Even Demona had to bite her tongue to hold back the scream that was bubbling in her throat. She heard Adrienne squeal in fright, while the others looked on in further shock.
The figure was obviously Elisa Maza. It had to have been. The years her corpse had spent underground had not been kind. Her hair had been replaced with a long thick black wig, but that wasn't enough to cover the hideously dried withered yellow skin, grinning teeth and even some maggots that rolled about in her once soft living flesh.
Her eyes, now sunken hollows, gazed out at nothing, yet seemed to be staring at them all, especially Demona.
Goliath leaned over and, much to the nausea of everyone who was watching; kissed the corpse on the mouth.
"As beautiful, as the night I first laid eyes on you," Goliath smiled.
"My god, Goliath," Macbeth, despite all the centuries of seeing the worst of battles, was even finding it hard to ease his stomach. "Goliath, I know you miss your clan, but… this…" Macbeth was finding it increasingly hard to talk to this gargoyle, as everyone was clear now of one simple thing, Goliath… was completely insane, even worse than Demona ever was.
"Now," Goliath whispered to the Elisa-corpse. "Now is the time that we've all been waiting for, the night when finally, all our souls can be put to rest." He gripped Demona's neck even tighter and pulled her over to the remains of his beloved.
"Goliath," Demona choked. "Goliath, if I could go back and change things, then I would do so in a heartbeat, but I… "
"Spare me the remorseful dribble, Demon!" Goliath snapped, calling her by the Hunter's nickname for her. "You might fool others, but never me! Look at my Elisa, Demon! Kneel before and look at her, like the spineless coward and worthless murderer you are!"
Adrienne snarled and tried to go forward, but Ophelia's restraint kept her back.
"Goliath," Macbeth tried one final time, "please."
"No, Macbeth!" Goliath forced Demona onto her knees, watching in delight, as she seemed to cower before the corpse in the bed. "I have been waiting much too long for this night, I won't be denied my vengeance as I was the night my clan were shattered in their sleep!"
Macbeth sighed. "As ye said, lad," he said and then took aim and fired his weapon at the warrior.
Goliath roared with pain, but didn't even ease his grip on Demona. He glared daggers at the immortal Scotsmen.
"That…" he breathed hoarsely. "…was not very nice!"
As everyone stood transfixed in horror, Goliath's wound began to slowly close and heal right before their eyes.
"I did not spend all these years draining the magic out of that decrepit old would-be god for nothing!" Goliath hissed. "And for that arrogance, I shall see you all die, but not by my hands!"
Adrienne finally broke free of Ophelia's restraint and raced to help her mate. Goliath roared and belted her across the face with his free arm, but Adrienne's rescue attempt had given Demona the distraction she needed and she too broke free of Goliath's iron grip.
"NO!" Goliath gasped and swiped at her with his claws, but she was too fast for him and jumped clear of his reach.
"My clan!" Goliath bellowed to the empty room. "Come to my aid, your leader needs you!"
'Poor soul,' Demona thought. 'He still doesn't realise they're gone.' A sudden clanging noise stopped her and she turned to the corner of the room, curious.
All the skeletons and even the mannequin that was supposed to be Angela, were all glowing a pale yellow glow and as Demona looked on in wonder, she saw the bones begin to move.
The empty room was suddenly no longer empty.
"Macbeth!" she cried out and Macbeth looked to where she was pointing and blanched in mild fear.
The fleshless bones rose up from the ground, moving on their own accord, their soulless eyes staring at them, with their sharp bony fingers reaching out for them. All except for Elisa Maza's remains, which remained where it was, lying in bed, as if it was the viewing at her wake.
Adrienne moaned, as she came to on the floor, and screamed when she saw the inanimate bodies moving.
"I never even liked the 'Living Dead' movies," she yelled and narrowly avoided getting her foot chopped off by a seemingly hungry Bronx skeleton.
Goliath laughed hysterically. "My clan, my clan, my clan… "
Ophelia stared in amazement and dismay at the mad gargoyle that had once come to her home on Avalon, proud and noble, pledged to rescue her clan and fought single-handedly against the sorcerer Archmage.
So focused she was on her former leader that she failed to notice the remains of Lexington reach out and knock her from her feet.
"Macbeth!" Ophelia screamed in terror, as the grinning teeth of the small gargoyle enclosed over her thigh, ripping flesh.
Macbeth aimed his gun and fired upon the rotting corpse, without a moment's hesitation. Lexington's skull blasted apart upon impact from the laser ray, yet the rest of him remained standing for a few moments longer before it finally fell to the ground.
"NOOO!" Goliath's roar filled the room and probably the rest of the sewers. "MURDERER!" He advanced toward Macbeth. "I knew it! You're not Macbeth, you're one of Xanatos's robots come to trick me again… "
Macbeth narrowly avoided the impact of Goliath's punch, dodging to the side, listening to the deceased clan leader's ranting and raving. Goliath obviously didn't know fantasy from reality and couldn't focus on anything around him.
'And here we thought Demona was deranged,' he thought bitterly.
Goliath made another swipe at him, one which Macbeth dodged yet again, but not without getting a little of his beard trimmed off.
Macbeth no longer tried to reason with the giant, as it was clear he was beyond reasoning… far beyond. He jumped, scaling the gargoyle up his front and kicking him under the chin.
Goliath snarled and spat blood out of his mouth.
Macbeth resisted the urge to quiver in fear. The sight of Goliath in his new form, his horribly scarred and crazed look form, with the blood pouring from his mouth and the white glow from his eyes was enough to scare even the immortal Scottish king.
Goliath growled and backhanded Macbeth. Demona winced from behind him, feeling Macbeth's injury, which Goliath heard and took great joy in.
"You won't escape us this time, Demona," he ranted. "We are a clan, something that you forgot long ago and no matter what, we will all stick together and bring you your long overdue justice."
Demona looked up at him with teary eyes. "I pray that you'll do what you say, Goliath," she choked. "Every day and night, in every waking moment, I see our daughter's face staring at me when she hung herself in her room. Every second I hear the screams of you and the clan, as Thailog and I killed you. I even regret killing your detective friend, Elisa Maza, as well."
Goliath's eyes burned into hers. "So?"
"So, nothing," Demona sobbed. "No length of time and nothing I can ever do will ever make up for what I did all those years ago. None of it will bring Angela back!" She gazed up at him in tears. "So there's really no point in me avoiding punishment any longer. I came close to it, not so long ago when Macbeth, Gabriel and the Olympian came for me, but they let me go. Perhaps you are my true judge and jury?"
Goliath smirked. "I once told you that you had chosen your own fate for yourself, when you turned against your clan." Goliath's eyes then turned away from her. "However, there are worse things besides death, as I can relate to."
Demona blinked in confusion for a moment, and then she gasped when Goliath began to channel a ball of energy in his claws and hurl it at someone else besides her. She spun around and saw, to her distress, who he was planning to attack.
"ADRIENNE!" she screamed.
Adrienne just spotted the energy, as it was about to hit her, in time and jumped out of its path. The energy ball blasted the side of the wall where Adrienne had been standing, leaving a charred hole instead.
"Killing you would bring my great satisfaction, yes," Goliath declared to Demona, as he advanced forward. "It would make me ecstatic beyond belief, but then what?" He looked coldly into her eyes. "I always wanted to kill you, but I knew that I couldn't. Why? Because I'm not like you, Demona."
Goliath formed another ball of energy and flung it at Macbeth, who jumped in to try and prevent him from reaching Adrienne. "I remember all too well you and your vendetta against humanity." He continued. "I knew even back then that if you had ever succeeded in your dream to eradicate the human race, then you would have nothing left to live for. Your rage and obsession for revenge were the only things keeping you alive, giving your pathetic immortal life purpose. Once the humans were gone, then what would you have? No hatred, no rage, no purpose, your whole immortality would be meaningless."
Goliath smirked. "I had once considered maybe completing what you have never succeeded, by making the human race extinct. However, much as I yearned to destroy your life, I knew I couldn't do it. Besides, I eventually found out where you were hiding, long before Macbeth and lot ever did, and I soon learned that humanity's destruction was no longer top of your to-do list anymore. So obliterating them was pointless."
Goliath gestured to the Brooklyn zombie and watched it briefly, as it piled itself on Macbeth's prone body, digging its skeletal claws into Macbeth's back. Goliath listened with glee to the agonised cries of both Macbeth and Demona.
The other zombies were busy fighting Adrienne and Ophelia. Ophelia was backed up against a wall, with the snarling Bronx and Broadway drones after her, their mouths open as though eager for her taste.
Adrienne tried to get through them all to get to Demona, but the Hudson creature was blocking her path. Hudson snarled and twirled its sword like the real Hudson had done in life and advanced on her.
Goliath giggled insanely. "Watch, Demona!" he shouted at his most hated enemy. "Watch how your mate is slowly shred to pieces by my loyal clan! Something you lost long ago!"
Demona looked up from her agony and saw her beloved mate about to get ripped to pieces from the clan she had destroyed years ago.
"NO!" she screamed and despite the pain she was suffering from Macbeth's injuries, she sprang up and raced to her mate. But as she did so, she came face to face with the mannequin modelled after her daughter, Angela.
Goliath laughed. "Are you so heartless to…?" He never got to finish what he was saying because, after Demona spared the oversized doll a mere glance, she reached for her own small Blaster and destroyed the dummy with one shot.
Goliath roared with true pain and anguish. "ANGELA!" he glared at Demona. "YOU MURDERED HER! YOU MURDERED OUR OWN DAUGHTER!"
Demona stared at him, her eyes devoid of any emotion and replied. "Yes, Goliath, I did kill her, but… That was years ago. Angela is, like all the clan, dead as they have been for many years now. You and I are all that's left of the original clan. These things you have attacking us are no more than mere soulless copies. Puppets that you yourself control from your own will. That is all that they are and all that they ever will be. Accept it!" With that, she turned her back on her former mate and ran to her present one, with Goliath staring silently at her back.
Demona sprang in between her lover and the remains of her former mentor. The Hudson zombie growled and struck at her with its sword.
Demona dodged the attack, swinging from left to right, as Hudson came at her again and again. One of its fake eyes popped out of its socket and rolled to a stop at Goliath's feet, who still watched his enemy battle what he thought was his mentor.
Demona snarled and grabbed the sword, twisting it out of the creature's bony claws, twirled it in her own and slicing its head off.
As with Lexington, it remained standing for a few moments before it dropped slowly to the ground and collapsed.
Adrienne stood still, gasping for a few seconds. She gazed into Demona's eyes that were full of concern for her, but at the same time were dark and empty.
Suddenly, Adrienne's eyes sparked. "DOMINIQUE!" she cried, indicating behind Demona.
Demona spun round and came face to face with Goliath, his eyes now completely devoid of any semblance of sanity.
Demona didn't have a chance to blink, as she was slammed into so fast that she was carried off her feet and smashed into the wall so hard that blood coughed up out of her mouth.
Goliath didn't say anything and just continued to pound her face with his inhuman strength, eliciting cries of pain and showers of blood with each punch.
Macbeth screamed, as he felt his face crack from Demona's injuries.
"Goliath, stop!" Ophelia cried. "Please stop it!"
Goliath didn't answer, didn't blink and wasn't even looking at his prey. He just moved as though he was in a dream, his eyes like two dark pits.
Adrienne screeched and threw herself in between Demona and Goliath, grabbing his arm as she did so, hoping to hold him off… It didn't even slow him down, as his fist broke through her strength like her arm wasn't even there and knocked her out.
Demona, despite her now ruined face, saw her mate crumple before her with her mate tossing her aside like a rag-doll. With the little strength she had left, she forced some of her old spirit from the days when rage had been all that she had known… and attacked.
She raked her claws across Goliath's face, hearing his own cries of pain, but did not stop there. She continued fighting back, tears falling from her eyes that mixed together with her blood, as memories of the clan's deaths came to haunt her.
"Don't…" she slammed her fist into his face, "…make me…" she elbowed his ribs, "…hurt you!"
Goliath snarled. "You hurt me long before you killed me!" he growled at her.
Demona tried hard to muster up any of the old hatred that had kept her alive once, but no matter how hard she tried, all she found was bitter grief and despair.
Goliath roared one final time and charged his head forward, his mouth open and his fangs bared.
Demona closed her eyes, waiting for her temporarily death. 'I'm sorry, Adrienne." She thought tearfully. 'I can't kill him, not even to save your life.'
She felt Goliath's breath on her neck and as she waited for his fangs to start ripping into her, she briefly heard the sound of a Blaster gun and felt Goliath's weight crush her against the wall.
Goliath rested against her for a moment, then began to slowly slide down her and onto the floor. When she saw his eyes, they were lifeless. She stared at him and the burning hole in his back for a few minutes before looking up, almost expecting to see Adrienne with a gun in her hand. What she saw though surprised her greatly, as it was not Adrienne, but Ophelia instead.
Ophelia stood where she was, staring at the body of the fallen leader, her eyes a mystery, as were her thoughts. She had shot him right through the head, killing him instantly, and exceeding the limit for his healing powers.
With Goliath's death, the other zombies quickly stopped and fell to the ground. Macbeth groaned and rolled the Brooklyn drone off of him, as his injuries slowly began to heal.
"Ophelia," he croaked, as he saw her staring at the corpse that had once been the saviour and hero of her clan.
Ophelia turned to him, her eyes brimming with tears. "I… I couldn't let him… I mean, Demona I can understand… Adrienne wasn't… She didn't do anything… "
Macbeth said nothing, and just forced himself up and walked over to her.
"I know, lass," he said comfortingly, embracing her despite his pain, "I know."
Adrienne moved over to where Demona was standing, still staring at her former mate, leader and father of her late child.
"Are you alright?" she asked her, wondering just how stupid that question sounded.
Demona didn't answer and just continued looking on her fallen mate, who had fallen even lower than she had.
"COYOTE!" Macbeth hollered. "Where the devil in blue blazes are you and why the hell didn't you help us?"
"I am here, Macbeth," Xanatos's immortal voice answered. "I apologise for not coming to your assistance, but for some reason I was unable to proceed any further into the room. I believe Goliath's magic may have been holding me back, but as yet I am uncertain."
Macbeth cursed under his breath and slowly made his way to the former Manhattan leader's body. He stared at it for a moment before saying, "He was a great leader, passionate about his clan, and lived to serve and lead them, even at the end."
"At the cost of others," Adrienne mumbled, but stopped when she saw Demona looking oddly at her.
"I realise why you feel that way, Adrienne," Demona said softly, "but you didn't know the Goliath I knew. He was proud, strong, noble and brave… everything that Macbeth just said and more."
Adrienne briefly looked at the dead gargoyle. "Maybe once, Dominique," she added quietly. "But if anything, the guy I just saw tonight was nothing like your noble warrior."
"Excuse me," Coyote asked. "Shall I send a message to Fox about our status now?"
The four of them stared sullenly at the dead leader.
Eyrie Building; Few Hours Later:
The four of them, including Coyote, descended onto the courtyard where all the clan were awaiting them, many of whom were all glaring at Demona still, but kept silent.
Fox was there, with her cane ever handy. She didn't glare at Demona like she had originally done, but she still eyed her mistrustfully.
"Ophelia!" a loud voice bellowed and a muscled gargoyle ran out through the assembly.
"Gabriel!" Ophelia cried out in relief and ran to him. "Where on earth have you been?"
Gabriel embraced her tightly. "I was still in dismay about what happened with Demona, so I went out for a glide to clear my thoughts. I lost track of time and there were some muggings along the way… It was just one thing after another, I'm sorry. The others told me of what's been happening."
Gabriel glared at Demona fiercely, but said nothing to her. "Tell me," he spoke to Ophelia softly. "Is what the others say true? Has Goliath really risen from the grave?"
Ophelia swallowed and opened her mouth to speak, but Demona beat her to it.
"No!" Demona said firmly. "The being that we faced tonight was not Goliath. It was a mad rogue Gargoyle, nothing more." She gave them all a stern hard look, one that many of them could not disagree with.
"Goliath is dead," Demona said simply. "He died a long time ago, with the rest of his clan. Let him rest."
All of the clan gave her suspicious looks, except Ophelia, Macbeth and Adrienne, who shared the terrible secret of the mad Gargoyle with her. Macbeth knew what Demona was doing. Because she had wronged the clan so much in her life, she felt the least she could do was preserve Goliath's good memory. No one need ever know the truth of what had happened to him. As far as anyone would know, Goliath, the real Goliath who had been a good and noble soul, had died years ago.
"Where is he anyway?" one of the clan asked.
Demona bowed her head respectfully. "We fought him in the sewers and were forced to kill him in self-defence. We tended to his body with respect."
That was true, as the four of them, with Coyote, had taken Goliath's body to the nearby graveyard where Elisa Maza's grave was. They had taken the whole clan's, including Maza's, corpses there to be buried. They had buried Goliath and Elisa together in her grave, as they all knew that was what they would have both wanted.
"So that's it then?" another gargoyle asked. "It's all over?"
Macbeth sighed. "Almost," he said as he turned back to Demona. "Demona, we realise that you were misled into coming here, against the arrangements we made, so we won't hold that against you. However, as soon as your friend Victor has recovered, you and your companions are to leave New York immediately and never return unless instructed to do so, as we originally agreed. Understood?"
Adrienne growled. "How can you say that?" she hissed at him. "She helped you to… "
"Adrienne," Demona said warningly. "That's enough. It was agreed that I was unwelcome here so that I may remain with you and the clan, so we must abide by those terms."
"And what if we don't wish you to leave?" Fox said, hobbling forward.
Macbeth looked at her shocked. "Fox," he said, a little fearfully. "Please, we agreed on this already… "
"You agreed on it," Fox retorted. "Not one of us besides you, Gabriel and Ganesa took part on Demona's trial. We should have all had a right to speak with her and agree on what to do with her!"
"For what purpose?" Macbeth asked. "To deal what had already been dealt with?"
"For justice," Fox declared.
"More like vengeance," Gabriel muttered.
Fox turned around and stared at him in shock. "What did you say?" she gasped in surprise, as Gabriel had never spoken back to her in such a way.
Gabriel looked at her. "I said it's more like vengeance," he said as he walked slowly up to her. "Macbeth was right, Fox. You're not just doing this for justice anymore. Your husband put everything he had into finding Demona and in doing so; he ended up becoming obsessed with it and slowly drew you and your children into it as well."
Fox's eyes flared. "That is NOT true!" she said adamantly.
"Isn't it?" Gabriel said with a slight bitter smile on his face. "I noticed the way that Xanatos almost jumped at any lead he would ever get about Demona, the way he sent every one of his best men and gargoyles to check it out, only to be bitterly disappointed when that lead turned out to be nothing."
Fox's cheeks were red with anger. "He was a great man!" she said affirmed. "He did what he had to do."
"And maybe that was the right thing to do," Gabriel explained, "but either way, the woman that he was searching for is no more. This Demona isn't hell bent on destroying humanity like she once did and she's suffering for her past actions every second of her immortal life. What more do you want?"
Fox clenched her fists into tight balls, so tight that her knuckles were turning white.
"Plus," Macbeth added. "There is the matter of her helping to save us from that… that mad gargoyle that attacked us. Surely she should receive at least some thanks from us for her aid?"
Fox seethed inside, glaring at the two of them, before glaring at Demona. In that moment, she took the first real look that she had taken on Demona for the first time since seeing her. She stared at the immortal's eyes and saw… nothing.
Fox didn't see the same red-eyed, rage-filled gargess that she had met so many years ago. The face was the same, but the eyes… They were so hollow and full of pain that it almost hurt her to even look at them.
Fox swallowed the lump that was in her throat and finally sighed. "Get out," she said simply. "Don't ever let me see you in New York again."
Demona bowed her head slightly and then took Adrienne's arm, heading into the castle to find Victor.
Macbeth looked to Fox to silently thank her, but she had already turned her head away, staring out over the battlements.
Demona made her way down the long corridors of what was once Castle Wyvern, with Adrienne close beside her.
"Are you okay?" Adrienne asked her, concerned.
Demona nodded. "I'm fine," she assured her. "Just a little tired."
"Had a rough night?" Coldfire's voice sounded behind them.
Adrienne gasped in surprise, but Demona didn't even blink. "Hello, sister," Demona greeted her once closest sister and best friend.
Coldfire simply bowed her head in acknowledgement.
"How is Coldstone?" Demona asked.
"He has been repaired and is functioning normally now," Coldfire responded. "The wonders of human technology have advanced even further in the last few decades."
"I can imagine," Demona agreed.
Adrienne gave Coldfire a warm smile. "Dominique tells me that the two of you were close friends as youngsters?" she asked.
Coldfire cocked her metallic head at her rookery sister. "We were…once," she admitted.
"I bet you have some real interesting tales to tell of her back then," Adrienne grinned playfully at her mate, but Demona didn't smile back.
"No more than what she has to say about her life, I'm sure," Coldfire said coldly.
Demona didn't say anything for a moment, but then ushered Adrienne along. "Why don't you go and see how Victor is doing?" she asked. "I'm sure he'll want to know what's been going on."
Adrienne looked ready to protest, but the stern look she got from her mate at that moment told her to think otherwise.
Adrienne hurried off to find Victor in the infirmary, leaving Demona alone with her once most beloved rookery sister.
"Sister… "Demona began.
"Stop right there, Demona," Coldfire held up a warning talon, causing Demona to flinch. This had been the first time ever that Coldfire had referred to her by her old name.
"First of all," Coldfire replied, "before either of us says anything further. Do not…ever call me sister. Understand?" She stared at her icily. "As far as I'm concerned, my sister died one thousand years ago. Maybe there might have been hope for reconciliation once, but that hope died when you murdered the last of us."
Demona winced inside. "If, if I could…" she stammered. "If I could change things, don't you think I would do?"
"Maybe," Coldfire admitted, "but the sad fact is… you can't. No matter how much any of us wish it, no one can change the past. Goliath and all the remaining original clan members, including our beloved mentor, are all gone now, killed by your own claw. How do you expect any of us to ever look past this?"
Demona sighed, a tear sliding down her cheek. "I don't," she said.
They stood there in silence for a few moments more, neither of them saying anything, with Coldfire just staring at her sister with her face lowered to the ground. Finally, she gave a long sigh and said, "Just go, Demona. The clan has agreed to release you, on the conditions that were explained to you the first time, which I'm sure you already know. Leave and never return, unless invited."
Coldfire turned and walked down the corridor to the Robotics division, where Coldstone was waiting for her.
"I wish I could do more," Demona called after her. "I'm sorry… what more can I say or do?"
Coldfire paused for a brief second, but then continued on down the corridor.
"Nothing!" she called back. "That's the problem," she added silently, but not so low that Demona couldn't hear her.
When the immortal was left alone, Demona slid down to the floor and wept bitterly.
"Thank you for giving us a lift back home," Adrienne said gratefully.
Macbeth smiled. "After helping us," he answered, "I thought it was the least we could do, seeing as you came by plane and everything."
Macbeth, Demona, Adrienne and Victor had made their way on board the clan's hovercraft, preparing to leave for home. Victor was more or less fully healed now and eager to return home.
Adrienne stayed close to her mate, Demona/Dominique, who merely sat in her passenger's chair and stared out of the window at the clan that was assorted outside.
Most of the clan were there, waiting for them to depart, not out of respect but just in case Demona would try something. They had all objected to Macbeth for agreeing to take her home by himself, but Macbeth had been adamant.
The clan all kept their never-ending glares on her, as the craft began to ascend into the air.
Victor looked sympathetically at his leader. "Give them time, leader," he said reassuringly. "They'll come around eventually. I'm sure they will."
Demona gave Victor a long sad look. "Maybe some day," she mused. "Maybe someday, after a few generations, the clan will learn to trust me… But for now, I am and always will be their enemy, especially to Coldstone and Coldfire."
Adrienne and Victor shared a pained look between them and they both crept closer to her.
"Maybe so," Adrienne whispered warmly, "but you will always have our trust… "Both she and Victor touched her claws, "and you will always have my love."
Demona smiled at Adrienne. "I know, Adrienne," she said, eyes full of happy tears. "And I'm glad of that, my love… very glad."
The two shared a long passionate kiss, as the hovercraft flew out over the sleepless city, its lights sparkling below them, while Macbeth spared them a glance, but went back to concentrating on his flying, a small smile on his face.