Hearts of Stone Chapter One: Origins
Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts, Gargoyles, Hannah Montana, Robin Hood, The Sword in the Stone, Lady and the Tramp, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Jungle Book, Pocahontas or The Chronicles of Narnia, The majority of these properties belong to Disney, except Narnia, which belongs to the late great C.S. Lewis's estate. Other Disclaimers will come as worlds are explored.
Avalonia; London, England, 1940 Anno Domini,
Una awakened from stone sleep with a massive roar. Her eyes flashed red briefly before looking out to London skyline, hoping against hope that Griff was on his way back.
Leo stepped out to the balcony. He placed a talon on Una's shoulder.
"Una," he said softly, his leonine feature soft and mournful. "It's been a week since they left. Griff and Goliath are not coming home."
She shook her head. "I know it doesn't make sense Leo, but my heart tells me that he's not dead."
"You should come down to the shop," Leo said, "It's not safe for you up here. Tintar's got a nice pot of tea on the stove, and there's someone here to see you."
Una smiled softy and slipped into the upstairs window of the shop. Una walked over to a wardrobe and pulled out a long black cloak. She put it on, covering her angelic wings, her pink dress and her horse-like hooves. Leo had already donned his cloak. The pair of British gargoyles headed down the stairs to the main floor of their shop.
Into the Mystic was usually open all night, but since Griff and Goliath had vanished last week, the store had been closed. It wasn't that unusual, with the war on, many shops were closed, but it placed a strain on the gargoyles for whom money was tight. The rest of the clan lived out in the country, on a modest estate, known as Knight's Spur. The Shop, which had been clan property for generations, provided revenue for the gargoyles. It wasn't easy to feed a clan of over a hundred gargoyles.
The clan had always kept it low-key. No more than three gargoyles running the shop at a time Leo, Una, and Griff had been those three. Until a Scottish gargoyle by the name Goliath arrived during the air raids last week. He and Griff had gone out to fight the Nazis, and had not returned.
When Old Pog, the clan leader heard that Griff had vanished, he'd sent Tintar to the shop to help out. Una had not liked that, she'd felt as though they'd given up on Griff.
Tintar was from the same rookery generation as Leo and Una; the clutch that had hatched in 1898. At 42 years old, they were the biological equivalents of 21 year old humans.
Tintar's fur was black, and like most London Gargoyles, he had the appearance of a heraldic beast: a lion. He had a pair of black, feathered wings, currently hidden by his cloak. He wore a pair of black jeans on under his cloak. Gargoyles had no need for shoes and Tintar did not like to wear shirts, though he was required to wear a cloak so that the customers would assume that his lion-like gargoyle face was a mask.
Humans are so dumb sometimes Tintar thought as he looked up at the stairs. Leo had convinced Una to come down, that was good. Una was a beautiful gargoyle, and of course she was Griff's girl. They hadn't mated yet, but it had been considered a matter of time. And then they got the call that Griff was missing in action.
Tintar had always looked up to Griff, and now…it seemed like he was gone forever. He died protecting those he cared about. A gargoyle could not ask for a more honorable death. He glanced back at their human visitor, who simply waited patiently by the counter, standing next to the till.
He watched Una's blank face as she descended. She had the features of a unicorn. A horse-like head, and small horn jutting from her forehead, like a sharp spike. She often decorated it with jewelry. She had snow-white fur and underneath her cloak a pair of elegant, angelic feathered-wings.
Leo by contrast was much less graceful. Like himself, his heraldic form was a lion, but Leo's fur was a golden color, so he looked more like a real lion, even though there was no genetic relationship with lions or unicorns or eagles. It was just one of the features that gargoyles had. It wasn't that strange. Tintar had heard of a creature from Australia that had the look of a duck and a beaver combined.
Una's face brightened when she recognized the man waiting in the shop.
"Jack!" she exclaimed enthusiastically.
"Hello Una," the man said he looked empathetic. "I heard about Griff, I am so sorry. He was a noble gargoyle, he will be missed."
Jack Lewis was one of the few people who knew the secret of Into the Mystic.
He was well trusted among the London clan, as he had a noble soul as well as a keen and open mind.
"We heard your radio broadcast the other day," Leo said smiling. "It was very thought-provoking."
"I'm glad that you enjoyed it," Jack said, "But am here on some urgent business. I saw the closed sign out front. Does this mean that you aren't taking customers at all?"
"We're closing up the shop temporarily," Tintar said. "It's just too dangerous here in the city during the day. We're too vulnerable in our stone sleep. Sooner or later a bomb might land on the shop and then where will we be?"
Jack nodded, "I understand completely, in fact just saw a dear friend, and she's sending her children to stay with Professor Diggory Kirke out in the country. You remember him don't you?"
Una smiled "Yes," she said. "He had that apple tree in the yard behind his house. I always thought that there was something unusual about that tree."
"Well anyway if you're closed then I won't trouble you any longer," Jack said. "I do have other places to be."
"Oh come now Jack," Leo interjected. "You're a friend of the clan. We always have time for you."
"Well," Jack said, "I was passing by an antiquities dealer in Sussex when I spotted this curious item. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a small box and placed it on the counter.
The trio of gargoyles looked closely at the box. It was decorated with what looked like Norse runes. Around the keyhole on the box was a small symbol. It appeared to be a small circle with two smaller circles attached at the top.
"What is it?" Tintar asked.
"For the life of me I do not know," Jack said. "But I knew it was something special. It has a magical feel about it. I was certain that you'd be able to find the answer."
"Have you opened it?" Una asked.
"Sadly no," Jack relied. "I don't have the key."
Una slipped into the back room and shuffled around for about five minutes before returning with a small key.
"The Alohamora Key is said to be able to fit any lock." She said fitting the small key into the lock.
The key turned easily, and Una opened the box. There were two items inside. A small parchment and a glowing green crystal. Una lifted out the parchment and cautiously unfolded it.
She gasped in shock.
"What?" Jack said looking distressed. "What's wrong Una?"
She turned the parchment towards the men. In faded ink there was an image of a
shield, possibly a coat of arms. The image on the shield was a griffin in a sitting position, with one talon raised.
"This is the emblem of the Griffin's Gate," Una said. "Sister Talisman of the Phoenix Gate."
Jack frowned. "The Phoenix Gate? That's the time travel talisman right?"
"Yes," she said. "This talisman," she pointed to the image on the parchment. "The Griffon's Gate was said to be a doorway through worlds."
"Worlds?" Tintar asked.
"See," Una said. "Sorcerers have known for some time now that there is not just one universe, one world, but many. These different worlds have different rules and people and kinds of creatures. Each one is unique. The Griffin's Gate was said to be a sort of way to travel between these worlds: one of the many chinks or chasms between them. There used to be many of these sorts of doorways, but they've grown rare lately. Most of them are discovered accidentally, the Griffin's Gate was forged specifically to use these gates."
"So this gate would let one travel to say, Mars?" Tintar asked.
"No of course not," Jack said looking at Tintar oddly. "Mars is a part if our world and you really could get there if you traveled far enough. The worlds the Griffins Gate takes you to are beyond anything that anyone in our work could possibly get to with science."
Tintar blushed, although you couldn't really tell, gargoyle faces aren't human faces, sometimes the expressions are harder to tell.
"The Griffin's Gate was lost centuries ago anyway." Una said. "One of the Oberon's Children, a trickster named Bes, one of the Netjer, took it and used it. He has never returned to our world. So the gate is forever out of reach. I've just never seen its image anywhere before. Whoever made this must have seen the gate before Bes took it."
"But basically this box is a dead end yes?" Jack asked.
"An interesting historical treasure yes," Una said, "but not the actual Griffin's Gate no."
"All right," Jack said. "Well, I really must be going, not all of us are nocturnal you know, and you can't really tell when those Nazis will attack again."
Jack ducked out into the street and headed towards his home. As if in response to his earlier words the air raid alarms went off. Tintar watched the humans out in the street start running towards the shelters.
The gargoyles had no choice but to go about their usual business. They could not go to a bomb shelter like the humans. They were however attempting to gather up items that they felt were too valuable to leave behind when they left the shop. They were going to try for their estate the next night. Una was not happy about this but she went along with it.
As they were gathering up antiques and other knick-knacks, Tintar noticed the green crystal in the box Jack had brought in. He walked over and picked it up. It dangled from a necklace, with a small note attached to the string. Tintar read the note: Atlantis Crystal wasscrawled in bad handwriting on the note.
The gargoyle furrowed his brow and flipped the paper over. There was something written in Latin on the other side.
"Una," he said called out, as his companions were not in the main shop. He stepped towards the valuable display case where the rarest and most expensive magical items were kept.
A large hammer, reputed to be Thor's hammer Mjolnir, began to glow. Lightning arced from the hammer into the crystal. There was a bright flash of light, and a bright green glow enveloped Tintar.
The light vanished and with it the black feline gargoyle was gone. The light from Mjolnir faded. Leo walked into the room and looked around.
The Wood between Worlds
Tintar gasped for breath as he came splashing out of the pool. He looked around. He was standing in a forest. There were trees and pools of water every ten feet or so. The sky was dark and lightning flashed in the distance. A guinea pig shuffled along the ground at his feet. Tintar swallowed and glanced at the Atlantis Crystal. It was black now, like a burnt out light bulb.
"No sense in standing around here," he said out loud to no one in particular. He removed his cloak and climbed a tree. He glanced around when he reached the top of the tree. The storm seemed to swirl in a spiral pattern. He peered at the eye of this storm. He was certain he saw electric lights, signs of a town. He attempted to glide towards the town, but there wasn't enough wind. He fell about fifty feet and splashed in the pool he'd first arrived in.
"Walking it is." He muttered as he began moving towards the town, which was probably two or three miles away.
The woods never changed. Nothing changed, except that the storm grew darker as he pushed further. Tintar began to worry. Rain never fell, and yet the sky seemed about to burst it occurred to Tintar that this was not a natural storm. He wondered if he should seek shelter.
He was not a brave gargoyle like Griff had been, nor was he strong like Leo. He had an interest in magic, but Una had told him that he lacked any real talent in the arts of sorcery.
The forest suddenly burst into a large clearing, or rather, a town in the clearing. There was a sign with two arrows. One pointed back at the forest that the gargoyle had just left.
This sign said: Woods Between Worlds. The second sign read: Traverse Town and pointed to the village that stood before him.
Tintar bit his lower lip, then cloaked his wings and entered the town. He began moving down the quiet street. Creatures watched him from the shadows. Tintar's gargoyle senses told him that he was being watched, but he wasn't certain by who…or what.
He turned a corner onto a busier street. It was busier only because there was a young girl playing a guitar in front of a tavern. The tavern's name hung in faded letters above the girl, who couldn't have been more than 14. The sign read Transit Tavern Tintar walked cautiously towards the tavern.
As he drew closer he heard the girl singing. She had an amazing voice.
"I still miss you," She sang. "I miss your smile, and I still shed a tear every once in a while, and even though we're different now, you're still here somehow, my heart won't let you and just need you to know, I still miss you. Sha la la la la la la la la, I still miss you."
A fox, standing on two legs and wearing green tights accompanied by a bear in similar garb came around the corner and entered the bar. The fox dropped a small bag of coins into the guitar case lying next to the girl.
"God bless you," she said, she sounded so forlorn, so hurt.
Tintar walked by the girl, but couldn't resist tossing half a pound into the girl's case.
"God bless you," she said smiling at him. Tintar felt odd. She clearly didn't have any problem with the fact that he was a gargoyle. He wasn't used to being treated as an equal by a human.
He entered the bar, it was warm inside, and instantly Tintar felt guilty about the young girl singing outside in the cold dark street. He glanced around the bar and wasn't quite sure what to think.
The fox and the bear sat at the bar drinking mugs of beer. Further down, an old man in a blue robe, with a long white beard sat drinking a glass of wine. In the corner a cocker spaniel and a mutt appeared to be dining on spaghetti.
A hunchback in green, kept to himself in the corner, and a large python lay coiled up next to the fire. A raccoon sitting at the bar snacked on a biscuit, with a small pile of biscuits yet to be eaten.
"What'll it be?" the barkeep asked Tintar. The Barkeeper didn't seem to care that
Tintar was a gargoyle; not surprising considering that his patrons weren't all human.
"Er…uh," Tintar muttered. "Do you accept British currency?"
"What'd ya think loser?" The Bartender said. "This is Traverse Town, we gots travelers from all parts coming up in here. We take all money!"
"Er…I'll just have a root beer," Tintar said nervously as he placed a few British half-pence on the counter. The barkeep muttered something about new arrivals and brought him a sarsaparilla.
"Ah a gargoyle after my own heart," The man in blue said he slid up next to Tintar.
"You are a gargoyle right?" the man asked.
"Yes," Tintar said tentatively, "My name is Tintar."
"Merlin," the wizard replied, "Don't mind Tom, he's just cranky. We all are."
"Why?" Tintar asked.
Merlin looked surprised. "Why because of the Heartless of course."
"The who?" He asked surprised.
"Aren't you one of the survivors? Wasn't your world devoured?" Merlin asked sounding a little surprised. "Then you honestly do not know?"
"Well…" Tintar started, and then he realized that he didn't know what to say.
"Come my Gargate friend," The bearded man said gesturing him towards the corner of the tavern. "We have much to discuss."
"This is an unusual turn of events," a dark man, with a red parrot on his shoulder said. He held a long golden cobra shaped staff.
"The gargoyle's presence changes nothing," a second man said. He had a short trimmed beard, and wore a grey cloak. On his chest was a golden shield with an emblem of a phoenix on it. His head was covered by a purple skull cap and a blue jewel wrapped in gold was centered in his forehead. "We continue as planned."
"Aslan drew him out of his world," A tall dark figure said. His head was a vulture head, and he had four arms. "If Aslan is involved then he's a threat."
"Arrg!" a mustached man in bright red with a hook for a hand said. "Let me at the slimy bilge rat. Five minutes with me and he won't a threat any more!"
"Look," a duck dressed in orange and red with a black mask, exclaimed. "A crocodile!"
"Where?" The pirate yelped in panic. The duck burst out laughing, wildly and maniacally.
"You'd think after six times you'd stop falling for that," he chuckled. "And yet it never seems to get old."
The others ignored their companion.
"Nevertheless," a deep voice said. "His presence does present a problem. It means that Aslan is aware of us; we're not off the map. I think we should move forward with the next phase."
This suggestion came from a rather chunky woman with grey skin, and black tentacles coming from her lower body.
"I have always maintained that Aslan was always aware of what we were doing," The vulture-headed being said. "Do not underestimate that Lion! You do and our whole plan goes right to Bism."
"SILENCE!" Came a commanding voice, a shadowy figure stepped forward, a raven perched atop her staff. A pair of horns was the most prominent feature on her head.
"We knew this moment would come," she said cautiously, "We prepared for when the forces of good became aware of us. We move on to phase three. And sooner or later that gargoyle will find his way into one of our worlds. When he arrives, kill him."