Chapter 17: Something Wicked This Way Comes Part III
Author's Notes: Nothing new right now except: be sure to pick up Gargoyles Clan-Building Volumes I & II as well as Gargoyles: Bad Guys—Redemption as the series lives again.
Also:If anyone out there is a good artist (I have no discernable talent) and wants to do some artworks of my characters, please, feel free to e-mail me and let me know. I've been putting pressure on my brother (who is a good artist) to do some character sketches or scenes, but he won't, so now I'm asking the fandom.
4:17 A.M. March 23, 1996; St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
Theodore Quartermain stepped out onto the balcony of his penthouse suite, gently sipping his wine. It was early…almost daylight, but then Quartermain always was a nocturnal sort. The daylight was to bright…to harsh for his tastes, he much preferred the hours of darkness for his activities.
He caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of his eye, and his hunter's instinct kicked in. He turned just in time to see three winged creatures glide by the Orion Estates.
"Gargoyles!" he said in genuine surprise.
"I thought they were extinct!"
"Do we even know where the Thunderbolt is?" Erin asked Thestral urgently. Thestral banked right and landed atop a building.
"Brooke?" he asked looking at the were-wolf.
"I don't know where it is," she said shaking her head. "I knew about the Trident, and the Helm…but I have no idea where the Bolt is…all I know is that it must have arrived recently, in order to cause the harmonic convergence."
"Perfect," Erin snapped sarcastically. "So we've pretty much lost…Borean will claim the Bolt, and will hold the power of Zeus and Hades."
"But not Poseidon," Kama said quietly.
Thestral, Erin, and Brooke looked at Kama in surprise.
"That's it!" Thestral said. "Kama you're brilliant! If Borean wants all three, then he has to come get the Trident from us…we just might be able to use that to our advantage."
Kama paused, and then handed Thestral the Trident. Erin bristled.
"What are you saying?" Brooke asked.
Thestral smiled. "We let Borean collect the Bolt for us, and set a trap for him…"
"Are you nuts?" Brooke gasped in horror.
"Crazy…The last thing we want is for Borean to have the power of Zeus!"
"Trust me," Thestral said. "I have a plan."
5:57 A.M. March 23, 1996; Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. (Danforth Campus)
"Thestral," Erin whispered frowning. "This is a foolish plan…and dawn is so near."
"Have a little faith will you?" Thestral said to her.
"Faith? In whom? God? You?"
"Perhaps both," Thestral muttered to himself. He and Erin were beneath an archway looking out into the quad of Washington University. The archaic architecture of the almost 150-year old college campus seemed to make the four gargoyles feel more at ease with the century.
"This seems an obvious trap," Brooke said walking up to the pair. Kama and Solomon were on the other side of the quad, looking back towards them.
"It is…" Thestral said. "What I'm hoping for…"
The gargoyle did not get the opportunity to finish his thought. Borean shimmered into existence in the center of the quad. He now held a five-foot tall staff with a carved eagle at the top. Freed, looking down at the ground shimmered into being next to him.
"Give it up gargoyles," Borean said. "I now hold the Scepter of Zeus. The power of the Sky is mine to command. The very tempest obeys me. Behold…I can even shift the temporal portal."
The flaming gateway appeared in the center of the quad behind him. As it did, the storm overhead grew darker, swirling around. Leaves and loose debris fluttered about the courtyard.
"Give me the Trident, and I might let you live."
"Unlikely, Borean," Thestral said stepping forward, holding the ancient sea spear. "This ends here and now."
"Yes gargoyle," Borean said smiling wickedly. "One way or another, this ends."
Thestral slammed the butt of the Trident into the ground. The ground began shaking violently.
"The power of the Poseidon the Earthshaker is nothing compared to the power of Hades and Zeus combined."
"One wizard gets his grubby mitts on the sacred relics of two of the three most powerful Greek gods, and suddenly he thinks he's god himself. Well I've got news for you…"
"Silence!" Borean snapped, and a bolt of lightning shot forth from the sky and struck the ground, right where Thestral had been standing a moment before. A huge scorch-mark marred the grass, but Thestral had been prepared for the bolt and had dodged when he had smelled the ozone in the air around him thickening.
Okay Thestral, he thought. It's now or never.
He turned and looked directly at Captain Freed.
"What good is life," Thestral asked. "With no Honor?"
"It is no life," Freed replied. "Being the slave of another man…and there is no honor."
"Are you truly a slave?" Thestral asked. "Who is really keeping you chained? Borean, or yourself?"
Freed looked up and at the gargoyle's face.
"You do not know what you ask of me."
"It is not I who asks it," Thestral said.
Freed's face clouded over. Borean looked at the two of them in confusion. He had no understanding of what had transpired in the brief conversation.
With a swift motion of his sword, Freed had knocked the Thunderbolt loose from Borean's grasp. It tumbled across the grassy square, where Kama quickly snatched it up. The clouds began dissipating.
"You would DARE to betray me?" Borean snarled turning to Freed. "I shall make you a wolf forever!!!!"
"So be it," Freed said. "I would rather live the rest of my days as a mangy beast than die now without honor. When I stand before the Throne of Judgment, my conscience will be clear."
Borean seemed utterly at a loss for words. Freed took advantage of his indolence, and lunged again with his sword, Borean barely had a second to murmur "Aoratos" and turn invisible.
"Now!" Thestral roared. Solomon came tearing across the terrace and slammed into the invisible wizard. With a crunching sound, the beast tore the helmet off Borean's head with his jaws.
Borean transformed into his wolf shape and lunged at the garg-beast. The two of them grappled on the ground as the gargoyles and soldier surrounded him.
"Thestral!" Erin yelled. "The portal! It closes!!!"
The wolf-Borean turned and looked towards the flaming vortex. Sure enough, with each rotation the fiery whirlpool shrank a little more. Realizing he was outmatched, the wolf broke free from Solomon and bolted for the time eddy.
He leapt into the vortex just a moment too late, and became stuck. The wolf-legs dangled helplessly from the portal, flailing wildly. Then, there was a sound like a cleaver cutting through meat, and the wolf legs fell to the ground and shuddered, becoming human legs once more.
"That's twice now I've had to watch that man get sliced in half," Brooke said looking disgusted.
"You saw his upper-body come out of the time-portal in 1154?" Erin asked.
Brook said nothing, but nodded grimly.
"I can't believe," Freed said tears streaming down his face. "That after fifteen years…I am finally free…I owe you my life Gargoyle…And I never leave a debt unpaid."
"Call me Thestral," he replied sheepishly.
"And though you may already know it, I was once called Captain Elias Freed," he replied. "I may be called it again sometime soon."
The gargoyles looked around at their newfound prizes and one another.
"What is to become of us now?" Kama asked, looking blankly at the staff in her hands.
"What is this place?" Freed asked, looking around at the castle-like buildings.
"Washington University," Brooke replied. "It's a school…of sorts. Good one too…I was in the graduating classes of 1896, 1943, and 1972…"
The captain looked at her in surprise.
"Immortality," she said shrugging. "It can be a pain."
"Then this school," Thestral said. "This 'Washington University'…we will make this our new protectorate…we will rebuild our lives…our clan…somehow, though this world may be strange and new…hope may fade: but it never dies."
"I'd like to help you," Freed said. "If I may,"
"I was hoping you would." Thestral took the Captain's hand and clasped it in the warrior's handshake.
"And Brooke," Thestral said. "Will you help us prepare for the new dangers that we face in this brave new world."
"Of course," Brooke said smiling. "I waited 842 years for you guys. I wouldn't and couldn't do anything less. Mathias too…when he returns from New York."
"There's a New York?" Freed wondered aloud.
"Dawn approaches," Thestral said. He began scaling the wall and found himself a perch atop one of the old towers. He posed with the Trident. Kama, Erin, and Solomon followed suit.
"I shall guard you as you sleep; friends," Freed said. "May you rest easy."
March 30th, 1996, Delmar Loop: shortly after sunset.
Brook sat patiently at the outdoor patio of Nightstone's Coffee House. She took a casual sip of her Thai Mocha Double Latte. A young middle-eastern girl in Goth clothes casually pulled up a chair and sat down across from her.
1:43 A.M. March 30th, 1996; Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. (Danforth Campus)
"Oh, God," Dot Ellerson muttered to herself as she approached her car. "Why did I stay so late…there's no one else here but me."
She was fairly certain that those two guys were following her. And now they were closing in. Why, oh why did she leave her pepper spray in her dorm.
"Hey there pretty girl," one of the guys said sliding up next to her. "Why don't you come back to my place and we can have a little fun."
"N-no thanks," she said terrified.
"Or better yet," the second guy said sliding up on the other side. "We can have some fun with her here and now."
"P-please, leave me alone," Dot said.
"Shut up bitch," the first guy said. Grabbing her arm and leering at her.
"I believe the lady asked you to leave her alone," a voice said from behind them. The two would-be-rapists turned around to see a figure cloaked in shadow standing behind them. "Best do as she requests…or my ladies might just get rough with you."
"Your ladies?' the first would-be-rapist said incredulously. A pair of magnesium orbs suddenly lit up before them, and Thestral stepped out from the shadows. Both Dot and the rapists gasped. They suddenly heard a low growling from behind them, and the rapists spun around again to see Kama and Erin crouching on top of Dot's car, their eyes glowing red.
"You better run," Thestral said smirking. "The dog has your scent."
The would-be-rapist's turned once again to see Solomon materialize from the shadows, growling lowly. They released Dot's arms and bolted. Solomon immediately gave chase.
"Are you all right?" Thestral asked Dot, helping her to her feet…she had collapsed to her knees when the rapists had run off.
"Y-yes…W-who…W-what are you?"
"Campus security ma'am," Thestral said smiling. "Just doing our jobs. Have a nice evening."
Then, with no warning, he leapt to the top of her car, and glided off into the night…she noticed the other 'creatures' had vanished. And as she looked around, Dot vaguely wondered if she had just imagined the entire thing. Until she noticed claw marks in the parking-lot floor.
Never The End…