The sharp cry of seagulls ripped through the darkness and Viola blinked the sand from her eyes. Sitting up, the young girl brushed sand from her chestnut hair and explored the new world. The surf gently brushed against her feet and Viola turned to see the debris from her father's boating ship washed ashore. Despite how foggy her thoughts were, Viola felt a pang of panic and her thoughts began to race. What had happened? What of Pa, Sebastian, and Antonio?
Father's first rule, should anything happen in the sea and you were still alive, was to stay calm. Viola searching the rocky shoreline for any signs of life and saw that there were only white and black gulls that inhabited the place. Standing shakily, Viola took off the soggy black sweater she was wearing and squeezed the water from it. As she went about nonchalantly, her memories began to sift through the foggy thoughts.
One minute the sun was out, the next the whole of the sky was black as night, and the waves were swallowing the ship. Pa had tried to save the ship, but she overturned and…
Tears welled up in Viola's eyes, but she knew it would do no good to cry. Pa and Sebastian must have survived—they couldn't die. Not on the sea, they knew the waters too well.
The girl snapped to attention and wavered from the quick movement of her head, still hazy from the wreck. She must have hit her head off of something and now she was hearing things. A loud bark suddenly rang through the air.
Viola recognized the far off voice, it was Sebastian. "Sebastian!" Viola called back, letting go of her sweater and running toward the calls. "Sebastian, I'm here!"
"Viola!" Sebastian called back, their dog Antonio barking repeatedly now. "Run to my voice!"
Rushing into the brush, Viola followed the sound as best she could, but she did not make it far. Strewn leaves and old, weather-logged boards gave way beneath her feet and Viola went tumbling down…down…down…
When Sebastian finally got a reply from someone he was ecstatic. He raced after his sister's reply and rounded the bend of the beach, trying to keep up with his big Labrador. Up ahead was Antonio was sniffing black sweater lying on a rock and Sebastian ran to it, snatched it up and prepared to call from Viola again when a shriek came from the woods.
Antonio shot off in the direction of the scream, howling wildly. "Hang on!" Sebastian cried frantically. "I'm coming, Viola!"
His legs aching from running across the sand, Sebastian ran after the sound of Viola's scream and skidded to a stop where Antonio was whimpering. Edging up to his dog, Sebastian saw a chasm and prepared himself for the worst. He had been so close…he couldn't lose her now. Glancing down, Sebastian gasped seeing Viola at the bottom, shaking her head from the fall.
"Viola!" Sebastian called down to her. "Viola, you all right!"
Viola glanced up to see her brother standing there. "I'm all right!" Antonio barked happily when she replied. "Where's Pa?"
Sebastian hesitated, the memory of his father being dragged under the waves flickered by and then the boy replied. "I don't know, couldn't find 'im, you?"
"Only me!" Viola replied. "Help me out of here!"
Antonio barked again, making Sebastian grab him by the collar and pull him back. "Quiet, Tony!" Sebastian looked back down at his sister. "Stay there, I'll find something!"
Sebastian turned around and set about finding a way to help his twin out of the hole while Antonio kept watch over her. Not far from the pit there were vines hanging from the trees, he figured those would work well enough and took out his gutting knife and began to cut some vines free.
Viola watched as Sebastian ran off and she rolled her eyes. "Where am I supposed to go?" She murmured beneath her breath and sighed, knowing she might be stuck down there for some time.
Crossing her arms, she observed her newest find and saw that various little creatures had made this place a home. If the sun was not at midday, she would have been perpetually blind. She turned around and saw that the pit was not just a trap, but it was actually a cave.
Viola gasped and jumped back when something whipped in front of her face. "Grab on and I'll pull you up!"
Antonio paced the perimeter of the hole, panting loudly as he observed the state of things. "Wait, I found something!" Viola replied, searching herself for anything to light her path.
Sebastian was getting restless. "Viola, come on!"
Viola pulled out a soggy pack of matches used for the oil lamps and groaned. "Do you have one of Pa's lighters?"
"What do you need those for?"
Viola turned and glared up at her brother. "Do you always have to question me?"
"All right, all right," Sebastian sighed, searching his pockets, but he shook his head, "all I have is my knife."
"Give me that!" Viola replied. "I can use reflection from the sun!"
Sebastian folded the knife and tossed it to his sister. Viola brought out of the knife and turned around, finding just the right source of sunlight to illuminate a tiny beam into the cave.
"What is it?" Sebastian asked impatiently as Antonio started barking wildly again. "Viola!"
Viola glanced in front of her and went pale, the shouts from her brother above faded away and she dropped the knife, backing away. The image of the grotesque monster stayed in her mind—those fangs and massive wings—she was not sure of what she had just seen.
Goliath rowed the boat out of Avalon once more as Elisa, Angela, and Bronx had settled as comfortably as they could in the boat. The large, dark purple gargoyle was becoming frustrated with the thick mist that seemed to linger longer than usual. Some time had passed before Goliath saw a light in the distance that was by no means modern. A fire burnt high into the night sky, mixing with the heavy fog. Shapes moved about and soon Goliath could hear shouts from ahead, signaling that they had been spotted.
Angela stood, gazing at the oncoming island as Bronx and Elisa stirred as well. Shadowy figures spread their wings and glided into the night air, heading toward the boat. "Where are we?" Angela inquired. "I thought we left Avalon."
"This isn't Avalon," Elisa stated, standing shakily and rubbing her arms, "it's too chilly."
Goliath maintained a stoic gaze. "We'll find out soon enough."
Once more Duke had to split the feuding siblings, hearing the argument escalate into blaming. "Stop throwing sand in Viola's eyes," Duke commanded, his dark mane falling across his broad shoulders as he glared at Sebastian, and then looking to Viola, "and stop screaming so, you'll wake the dead with that noise."
Viola and Sebastian scowled at each other and then both ran off to continue the games with the gargoyles that were the equivalent of their age. "They're only children," the white colored gargoyle with human-like features, and almond shaped brown eyes appeared when the two ran off, "there's no need to be so stern with them."
Duke raised his thick brow, his horns shifting, and stared at his mate with a critical dark eye. Olivia only stared back, unafraid of the dominant male's gaze. "Just because they're Sinclair's doesn't mean they can't act civil," Duke replied in defense, "who else is here to watch over them? Make sure they grow strong and honorable?"
"We aren't living in the dark ages like our elders, Duke," Olivia replied, "pen and paper have taken over where metal and might once ruled. We must teach them patience, not power-lust."
Duke softened a bit, regarding his wise mate as the bluish-green jewel sparkled between her brows in the moonlight. Moving closer, Olivia chuckled. "I guess I'm just too soft."
"You're right," Duke sighed, putting his arm around his mate, "you always are. They need guidance, not authority. We must guard them as we guard our own eggs."
"Yes," Olivia agreed, lost in memory, "remember when we first found them? They were asleep on the beach with their pet and they were so scared."
"I laughed when the boy attempted to ward us off with a snapping crab," Duke chuckled in reply, "it was the year a cave-in smashed half of our eggs…"
"But we have more now," Olivia reminded with a smile, "and the Sinclair children care for them as if they were their own. These past two years have gone by a flash of lightning; all that's left to remind you is the thunder."
Little Curio, a feathered yellow gargoyle with a beak and lizard-like tail, was knocked out of the air by the force of the hit from Fabian. The game that Sebastian had showed the gargoyles, football, had taken 'flight' amongst the younger gargoyles, Fabian, Andrew, Maria, and Valentine. Toby, who was named the 'referee' now slept on the beach below, oblivious to everything.
"Fabian!" Maria shouted, going to Curio's aid. "That wasn't nice!"
"It's not my fault he's a runt," Fabian shot back as Andrew and Valentine cackled in reply, "you all right, feather-brain?"
Curio shook the sand from his wings and then brushed himself off as the Sinclair siblings and the beasts arrived. Antonio went about sniffing Curio while Feste, the gargoyle beast, growled at the small gargoyle. "Are you all right, Curio?" Viola asked, getting some excess sand from the young gargoyle's feathers.
"Yeah, I'm okay."
"Nice one, Fabian!" Sebastian shouted. "Mind if I join in?"
"Sure!" Fabian landed nearby, tossing the twenty pound rock in the air and catching it easily. "But the runts with Andrew, okay?"
Valentine landed now. "Hey, who's team am I on?"
"Ladies sit this one out." Andrew said, sticking out his tongue when Valentine glared at him.
Grabbing his tongue, Valentine smirked as Andrew struggled. "Maybe I didn't want to play." Valentine released Andrew's tongue and the blue male shrunk back.
"Come on, Curio," Fabian patted the little gargoyle's shoulder and handed the rock to Sebastian, who nearly dropped it, "you ready for another game?"
"Sure." Curio shrugged.
"Go long!" Sebastian shouted to Fabian, who darted off as Sebastian spun around, his arms out with the rock, and let it fly into the air.
Antonio and Feste raced after the flying Fabian as he caught the rock. Andrew grabbed Curio and threw him into a gust and Andrew followed suit as Fabian flew past, picking up Sebastian. Maria shook her head, looking at Valentine and Viola. "I really wish they'd stop picking on him."
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
Viola frowned at Valentine's comment and spoke up. "Ad do unto others as you should have them do unto you."
Valentine scoffed with the roll of her eyes and took flight to join in again. "How is it that you and I are the only ones with any real sense?" Maria smirked at Viola, who laughed.
"Because," Viola shrugged, "we—"
"Hey!" Curio shouted. "There's a ship out there!"
The game stopped and everyone turned to see a small boat with a lamp on the front headed toward the island. Toby instantly woke now and started to bark orders at the younger gargoyles. "Get the Sinclairs in the cave!" Toby barked. "Someone tell Duke and Olivia!"
"On it!" Andrew glided toward the mates.
Maria grabbed Viola by the shoulders and caught an updraft, following after Fabian, who was taking Sebastian to the cave with the gargoyle eggs. Antonio and Feste ran ahead, barking a signal while Curio followed. Toby stayed behind to help Olivia and Duke.
When Andrew reached the mates, Duke and Olivia already caught wind of the conversation and took flight. "Stay here and protect the island with Toby!" Duke commanded of Andrew. "We'll be back!"
"Aye, Aye, Captain," Andrew grumbled and landed, then saw the elder gargoyle stumbling toward him, "hey, old fart, orders are to stay here."
"Ain't we lucky?" Toby snickered. "Where's bird-brain when we need 'im?"
"He went with the Sinclairs," Andrew informed, "why?"
"We need to pass the time somehow, might as well be makin' fun of 'im."
The little man named Claude Svinsky, carefully knocked on the door to the dark trailer. His client, Malcolm Volio, had made it very clear that he wanted the little island off of Nova Scotia. After a few seconds the door to the trailer swung open, a dark figure in a robe appearing. Claude began to sweat. "A-all the arrangements have been made, Mr. Volio."
Malcolm's light hair lay across his shoulders, his blue eyes centering on his puny lawyer. "Good. Tell the men we leave tomorrow. Work begins once we arrive."
"Yes, Mr. Volio."
"Where others have failed, we shall prevail," Malcolm said matter-of-factly, "Captain Kidd's treasures shan't be forever sealed within their sandy tomb."
With all this talk going over his head, Claude only nodded nervously. "We shall!"
Malcolm scowled at the little man. "Should any problems come about, know that I'll hold you accountable. Now, goodnight to you."
The door slammed and Claude sighed with some relief. Now he only had his career to worry about.