All the characters appearing in Gargoyles and Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles are copyright Buena Vista Television/The Walt Disney Company.
No infringement of these copyrights is intended, and is not authorized by the copyright holder.
All original characters are the property of Storyseeker.

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One Week Later; Destine Manor:

Lana kept glancing back and forth, making sure that no one was around to see her take the bottle. When she was sure that no one was close by, she reached in and took the other bottle of whiskey from its cupboard and hid it under her wing.

After taking another look to be sure, she sneaked out of the kitchen and made her way back up the stairs to her.

As she neared the door to her room, she was just about to open it when…

"Lana?"

Lana gasped and spun around with her hand to her heart. "Jeeesus mom, can't you give anyone a little warning before you go give them a heart attack?"

Darlene rolled her eyes. "Sorry, but what exactly are you doing?"

Lana kept her wings cloaked around her, concealing the bottle beneath them. "Just went to get a coke."

"A coke?" Darlene remarked. "But you only just woke half an hour ago."

"So?" Lana defended herself. "I can have a coke whenever I want, can't I?"

Darlene blinked and then finally sighed and shrugged. "Alright, it's your body so you can do what you want. Just don't come crying to me when all your teeth fall out."

"Don't worry, I won't," Lana replied and shut the door behind her.

Darlene stared at the closed door for a few moments, before shaking her head and walked away.

Inside, Lana instantly grabbed the cork of the bottle, twisting it until it came out. She had had the same dream again, always the same where Thailog appeared with his face deformed, because of her, and had her chained and was raping her and telling her how she loved it and so.

Lana moaned, feeling her stomach churn as she could still taste Thailog from when he kissed her. She frantically worked the cork out of the bottle and took a long deep drink from it. The whiskey burned her insides, but she could already feel its extra strong alcohol coursing through her, numbing her senses.

So she drank more of it.

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Gabriel swooped down and landed gracefully down on the roof of Destine Manor. He had been put on extra patrol for the last couple of nights, as Goliath had become obsessed with protecting the city from the Venes. Fortunately, Gabriel had finally managed to get some free time off and was allowed to go visit his angel love.

Gabriel winced a little, as life at the castle had become hard and cold. Arthur and Griff had taken up temporarily residence at the Eyrie with them, but Goliath practically ignored Arthur. He still did not approve of Arthur for not allowing them to use Excalibur to fight the Venes, but Arthur was adamant. He refused to use the sword to attack three children, even if they were as evil as they said they were.

Needless to say, Goliath was not happy.

Goliath was becoming so obsessed at defeating the Venes that he was even ignoring his so-called beloved Elisa. Just over a week ago, those two had been closer than anything and more in love than Romeo and Juliet, but now… Now they were so distant that they barely spent any time together anymore.

Goliath was always out on patrol or arranging them with the rest of the clan. He even had Hudson constantly out patrolling and although Hudson had at first welcomed the chance to do more protecting, even he had his limits and Goliath was pushing him beyond them. He barely had any time to sit down anymore, as Goliath was always telling him to patrol another part of the city where there had been some disturbances.

Everyone had tried talking to him, explaining to him that Hudson was no longer young and could only do so much, but nothing would persuade him. Since the deaths of the people, who had died from the Midgard Serpent that the Venes had summoned, Goliath had been mortified and vowed to save his city from their evil. Nothing was to get in his way, not even a weak old Gargoyle who, even now, was having trouble with getting up from his seat.

It had been two nights now since he had last seen his beloved Lana and right now he had mixed feelings about seeing her again. Part of him couldn't wait to hold her in his arms again, whereas at the same time he also feared what he would find when he saw her. He knew she had been drinking, as he could smell it on her breath, the pain of Thailog's rape was talking its toll on her.

Thailog! Every time that Gabriel heard or thought that name, he felt an overwhelming desire to crush something in his bare claws, preferably Thailog's head. He had ruined Lana, taking a beautiful young girl and robbing her of her innocence, cursing her with his constant presence in her dreams and making it hard for her to cope.

Gabriel couldn't help, but smile bitterly, as fate had a cruel humour. When he had lost hope of a mate on his home on Avalon, he had longed for someone special who could win his heart and he hers. He had thought it impossible, but when he met Lana he thought all his dreams had come true, only for them to be dashed when Thailog came and took her away from him on the same night that they met.

Gabriel knew, with a sinking heart, Lana was not coping well at all. In the past few days, he had watched her condition slowly degenerate, the drink and the dreams all eating away at her like a cancer. Her family seemingly did not notice, as Lana had taken care to ensure that whenever she met with her family, she was in a presentable style.

Gabriel moved to the balcony door of the Destine mansion, but before he even had a chance to knock it, the door opened and Demona was there once more glaring at him. Since about a week ago, Demona had accepted Gabriel and Lana's relationship, but that didn't mean that she was happy with it.

Demona glared at him. "Back for another visit, are we?"

Gabriel didn't respond to her glare and just simply replied, "Yes, I would have come sooner but Goliath has had us all out on extra patrols this week."

Demona muttered something under her breath, but allowed him to enter. "Very well, Lana is in her room… again. If she's sleeping then I expect you to leave promptly, understand?"

Gabriel nodded and walked in the direction of Lana's quarters. As he did so, he walked straight into Darlene's path and she smiled warmly at him.

"Hello Gabriel," she greeted him. "It's nice to see you again. I'm sure Lana will be glad to know you're here."

Gabriel smiled, grateful for the warm hospitality that he at least received from Lana's mother. He often wondered how it was possible that a cold blooded Gargess like Demona could have such warm and caring lovely women like Darlene and Angela for daughters.

'They must get it from their fathers,' Gabriel thought, though at the moment he was having doubts about Goliath's caring nature.

"Thank you Mrs Anderson," he began, but stopped at her raised hand.

"Uh uh," she said. "It's pronounced Dar-lene, remember?"

Gabriel grinned. "Of course, thank you… Darlene. I was just on my way to her room to see her."

"Then don't let me stop you," she said and allowed him to pass her. "Just don't do anything that my mother will have to shoot you for," she called after him.

Gabriel blushed fiercely and hurried on.

Darlene chuckled a little at his expense and then noticed her mother's scowl. "Oh really mother, aren't you ever going to give him a chance?"

Demona growled. "Don't misinterpret me, daughter. I have accepted that Gabriel and Lana are now… an item! But that doesn't mean that I have to like him… ever."

Darlene rolled her eyes, sighing, "As you wish, mother."

Meanwhile, Gabriel hurriedly made his way to Lana's room and thankfully made it without bumping into her little brother, Jarred. Jarred was a nice and cheeky sort of hatchling and Gabriel did like him, but he did proof to be rather a nuisance at times.

He knocked on Lana's door. "Lana?"

There was a low gurgling from the other side of the door and Gabriel felt his heart sink. Part of him wanted to run back and get her family, as he wasn't sure of what to do with this drinking problem of hers. Whereas the other part of him was devoted to her totally and wanted to protect her from being found out and disgraced in front of her family.

He knocked the door again and finally, after a minute of waiting, he heard the door being unlocked and Lana's haggard face looked out on him.

"Hey Gab," she greeted drunkenly. "Long time no see, care to join me for a drink?"

Gabriel moaned, as he took in her appearance. She looked like some old drunken whore, her clothes looked worn and were hanging off her, she looked like she hadn't eaten well in days and her eyes, which were the worst, were red and swollen, looking dazed.

"My angel," he said regretfully. "What are you doing to yourself?"

Lana snorted. "Don't go talking to me bout me," she slurred and moved back into the room, allowing Gabriel to enter. "I'm just getting me a little something to start the day… or should I say night." She laughed hoarsely.

Gabriel blinked back the tears that were threatening to spill from his eyes. "Please Lana, I beg of you. Give up this foul drink and seek help from your mother. I will help you… "

"I don't need any friggin help!" she bellowed and took a drink out of the half empty bottle in her hand. "I am perfectly capable of lookin after meself."

"Sure," Gabriel replied, a little angrily. "Look at yourself now, dancing about like a drunken whore and looking like one with a half empty bottle on your hand, slurring your words out like a snake."

Lana looked at him, here eyes flaring red and filled with rage. How dare he speak to her like that! "You miserable, good for nothing… "Not finishing what she was going to say, she rushed at him, her talons hooked for clawing.

Gabriel easily stepped clear of her and grabbed her with his arms, holding her own to her sides.

She screeched and tried head-butting him to get free, but Gabriel kept his face well clear of her.

"LEMME GO! LEMME GO!" she screamed, as she kicked and thrashed about like a mad woman.

Gabriel looked in pity at her, but kept his arms around her.

Eventually, the rest of the household heard Lana's screams and before long Demona and Darlene opened the door.

"What the devil is…?" Darlene began, but stopped when she saw the state her daughter was in. "Lana?"

Demona was in shock too, but it lasted for only a few seconds and her face then melted into what looked like disappointment. "I feared as such," she said.

Darlene whirled around, staring at her mother. "What do you mean? Did you know about this?"

Demona shook her head. "I didn't know for certain, but I had noticed that some bottles of my private stash of alcoholic beverages were missing. I just assumed that I had miscounted them or something, but I… "Demona closed her eyes briefly. "I'm not blind Darlene and you're not either, so don't pretend you haven't noticed Lana's odd behaviour. I didn't want to believe so I… I chose to ignore it."

Darlene didn't know whether to be angry or sad at her mother's revelation. She should be mad, but deep down she knew that her mother was right. She had noticed Lana's strange behaviour and had taken notice of it, but never really considered the full implications of what it might mean.

"Ohh, Lana," she moaned tearfully.

By now, Lana had stopped thrashing around in Gabriel's grip and had looked at her mother and grandmother, at first, in fear and then slowly, she began to cry.

Darlene just stood there staring at her daughter in bitter disappointment and grief while Gabriel held her closer to him, trying to comfort her. After a minute, she walked slowly to her firstborn and stroked the back of her head that was buried in Gabriel's chest.

"Why Lana?" she asked almost desperately. "Why on earth would you steal from your grandmother and turn to drink? You know how strict your father and I were on alcohol."

At the mention of her father, Lana wept a little more, but looked to her mother, still feeling a tad groggy and stammered. ""I'm… I'm sorry. I just… I couldn't stop thinking about… I just wanted the dreams to stop!"

"Dreams?" Darlene said, puzzled.

Lana looked at her, her tear-filled eyes telling her all she needed to know.

"Oh my poor dear," Darlene eyes too began to fill up, as she took Lana from Gabriel's embrace and into one of her own.

"I can't stop, mom!" Lana cried hysterically into her mother's shoulder. "Every time I close my eyes, I keep seeing him. I see the way his eyes glow when he… "She whimpered.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Darlene almost begged, wanting to know why her daughter hadn't trusted her enough to come to her.

Lana sobbed. "I couldn't. I didn't want anyone to know. I thought I could handle it on my own."

"No one should have to go through anything on their own, Lana!" Darlene said firmly and lovingly.

Lana's whole body shuddered. "I just… I just want to sleep… without having to see his face and his… "She whimpered.

Gabriel looked on helplessly, as Darlene comforted her daughter. He felt out of place there at that moment, but more so he was feeling nervous from the angry glare he was receiving from Demona.

True, he hadn't ever really feared Demona up to now. However, he hadn't been hiding the drunken condition of her granddaughter from her before and right now, the look he was getting from her made him want to run screaming.

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Eyrie Building:

"Goliath, please listen to me!" Elisa cried out helplessly. "You're not being reasonable!"

Goliath paced the floor of the private room that Xanatos had given them to use when Elisa wanted to stay in the castle. It had been meant as a room for them to spend quality time together alone, but so far all it had been used for was for Goliath and Elisa to have their constant shouting matches, all about the same thing.

"Reason?" Goliath scoffed. "You talk to me about reason, but what about him? He who holds the one key that might defeat the Veneficus' and he refuses to use it!"

"I'm sure he has his reasons, Goliath," Elisa tried to keep the peace. "I think he just has a thing about using Excalibur to kill children."

"CHILDREN!" he roared. "Those children murdered about 20 innocent humans, cold bloodily without any heart or conscious at all. How can you possibly call those kind of… of vermin, children?"

Elisa sighed. 'We've barely been married a month and already we're facing problems,' she thought bitterly.

"I know what they are, Goliath. You know what they are. We've both had to deal with their massacres, but Arthur hasn't. Try to see it from his point of view and… "Elisa paused for a moment.

"And what?" Goliath asked, giving her a suspicious look.

Elisa sighed and looked into his eyes, here eyes sad. "Goliath, you seem so intent on killing these new enemies. I remember when we were fighting Demona. You kept trying and trying to talk to her, to see if you could save her from herself. It was only until much later when you started leaning towards… "She fidgeted a little.

Goliath stared at her in a way she did not like.

"Are you saying that I am becoming like Demona?" he asked his wife.

Elisa bit her lip and wanted to say no and that he'd never become like she was. However, try as she might, she couldn't say it because the fact was he had been acting almost exactly like her in the past week.

At Elisa's silence, Goliath seemed to stiffen for a few moments before turning around and walking out the room, slamming the door behind him. The door-slam was like a punch to her heart.

"And to think," She said to herself bitterly, "just a week ago, I was the happiest woman alive."

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Goliath strode out his and Elisa's private room, heading straight outside for some much-needed gliding.

He couldn't believe Elisa would think so low of him. He was nothing at all like Demona! Demona was heartless, obsessed with destroying humanity and had cared only to fight and kill. He was…

Suddenly, he stopped and thought about what he had just thought and started to measure himself up to those thoughts. Heartless? No, he had only just committed himself to Elisa and gave her his heart; he was never too busy… It was then that he wondered, just when was the last time that he had held Elisa in his arms?

Goliath felt a cold dread come upon him. It had been almost a week since their battle at the Vene's home and since then he'd been so fuelled up with rage that he hadn't had time to even look at his mate, let alone hold her or even tell her that he loved her.

"Goliath!" Xanatos's voice made Goliath temporarily forget about his marriage problems and turn towards to his more immediate ones.

"What is it, Xanatos?" he responded hotly.

Xanatos merely quirked an eyebrow up at him, but kept his cool demeanour in check. "I was wondering what you were planning to do with our little guest? Only she's been in that cell now for over a week and so far you have yet to get any information from her, which isn't a surprise considering I doubt she can even talk straight yet."

Goliath frowned stubbornly. "I firmly believe she knows where her siblings are, she has to."

"She's only about three," Xanatos said almost exasperated. "I know she comes from a bad family, but even so, one little girl isn't… "

"How do you know Xanatos?" Goliath suddenly snarled angrily. "How do you know if this girl really is a child? For all we know, she might very well be a demon in disguise that the Venes summoned to trick us."

Xanatos sighed. "Perhaps, but if that were true then why didn't she attack you while you were bringing her here to the Eyrie? And why hasn't she tried anything in the whole week that she's been kept prisoner here?"

Goliath frowned. "Maybe she wishes us to let our guard down," he began.

"And maybe you're being stubborn and downright paranoid," Xanatos interjected.

Goliath growled and glared at him viciously, but Xanatos remained as still and hard as a rock, not even flinching.

"Just keep her in her cell," Goliath warned him.

Xanatos resisted the urge to say, 'You think she's secure enough?' because Goliath had had them place the girl in one of their top-level security cells. It was with cameras, electric bars, two feet steel walls followed by a further foot of concrete and automatic gas bombs designed to go off if for any reason the prisoner escaped, or even if the cameras went offline for a mere second. The only thing missing was for her to be in a straight jacket.

Xanatos sighed. "Very well, Goliath. Will you be seeing her now?"

Goliath merely nodded and walked off in the direction of the dungeon, as they called it, leaving Xanatos to wonder about the gargoyle leader's paranoia.

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Goliath strode down the castle hallways until he reached the dungeon where their 'guest' was staying. He slammed the door open and peered in.

The young Vene was sitting in her cell, idly playing with some building block toys that Xanatos or Fox must have given her.

She looked up at him, her face like that of an angel, but her eyes… He couldn't explain it, but the look she gave him, gave him the impression that there was definitely more to her than met the eye. They seemed so old and full of knowledge, like she knew everything about him by gazing into his soul.

Goliath mentally shrugged these feelings away. They maybe true or not, but right now he didn't care, as all he wanted was answers, answers that he was sure she possessed.

"Where are your brothers and sister?" he demanded of her.

The little girl just looked at him curiously before picking up one of the building blocks on the floor and holding it out to him. "Wanna play?" she asked innocently.

Goliath growled. "I have neither the time nor the patience, little one," he moved forward to the bars that separated them. "Now tell me what I want to know! Where is your family?"

The child stared at him. "Sarah," she suddenly said.

"Huh?" Goliath looked at her curiously.

"My name is Sarah, not little one," she pouted.

Goliath sighed, but underneath he was growing evermore tiresome and agitated. "Fine, Sarah… "He hissed. "Where is your family right now?"

Sarah didn't say anything and just went back to playing with her blocks.

Goliath roared and almost slammed into the bars, forgetting that they were electrified and nearly frying himself.

"You will tell me, now!" he demanded, but all he got was a cold look from the child.

Goliath finally had enough and inputted the security code to the cell, opening the barred cell and storming right in.

"Tell me, now!" he snarled and grabbed the girl by the shoulders, nearly crushing them in the process.

"GOLIATH!" a voice that he barely heard, called out to him. When he didn't immediately respond, he felt old rough hands grab his arms and forced them to drop the girl.

He turned and found Hudson staring at him with a look that looked to be a mixture of shock, anger and disappointment.

"Lad," Hudson said unbelieving. "What in blazes do ye think yuir doin?"

Goliath wanted to shout, yell and scream his innocence because after all, wasn't what he was doing for the good of all mankind and theirs? The Venes were the greatest menace that ever walked the earth and unless they were stopped, they would forever be a constant threat on this planet.

However, as Goliath looked around, he saw his reflection in the steel wall and what he saw terrified him. It showed him doing what no gargoyle, not even Demona, had ever done… which was hurting a child.

Sarah did nothing however and just looked at him with her big brown eyes, her face slightly wincing from the pain in her shoulders.

Goliath released her with a hurry, staring at her in horror. The sleeves of her T-shirt had been torn from his claws and... was that blood oozing up from her skin? Goliath felt ill.

"Lad," Hudson was looking at Goliath in a way that he hadn't in centuries, a harsh disappointed look, which he had given when he was a hatchling when he had done something terribly wrong.

"Come with me," Hudson said quietly and led the way out of the dungeon with Goliath close at his heels.

Goliath did not notice the cold glare that Sarah threw at his back, as he left the room, his tails and wings drooping low.

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"What in Hell did ye think ye were doin?" Hudson bellowed in rage.

Goliath suppressed the urge to wince and tried to look his former leader in the eye. "I was trying to get information from her about her kin and… I guess I must have… overreacted."

"OVERREACTED?" Hudson snarled unbelieving. "If I hadn't arrived, who knows what you would have done to that little girl?"

Goliath glared a little at his mentor. "That little girl is… "

"Is still a little girl no matter what you say or do, Goliath!" Hudson interrupted him. "Yes, she is a Vene and who knows, maybe she does know something more than she's letting on. But that doesn't excuse what you were doing, lad. You had that small lass by the shoulders and were clutching her so hard that if I hadn't had intervened, she'd probably be armless by now."

Goliath had to use all of his self-control and discipline not to cower in shame before his old mentor.

"I thought ye knew better than that, Goliath," Hudson looked at him sympathetically. "Look at what this vendetta of yuirs is doing to ye. Ye ave barely spent any time with yuir newly wedded mate, yuir treatin the rest of us like dirt, and yuir still no closer to finding the Venes."

Goliath felt his shame burning through his soul, realising the truth of Hudson's words, but still feeling the burning drive for him to find the Venes and stopping them from hurting anybody else.

"The Venes have to be stopped," he said adamantly. "You saw how little they cared for life, how they sent that beast through the streets of Manhattan, killing all those people."

Hudson looked in sympathy at his former pupil. "Lad, I know yuir feeling frustrated and ye want to stop them, but threatening young ones and making demands of yuir own clan isn't going to help. Ye need to stop, Goliath. Otherwise, ye might end up loosing all that you are trying to protect in the first place, starting with Elisa."

With that, Hudson turned around and went back into the dungeon where the young girl still was, leaving Goliath alone to his thoughts.

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Bedford Hotel; Broadway:

Cecile paced the floor of the hotel room they were staying in while Thailog merely sat down on the bed and watched her amusedly.

"If you keep on like that, you'll wear a hole in the floor," he casually said to her.

Cecile took no notice however, as she continued her pace, which only made Thailog angry. If there was one thing he hated most besides Goliath and now Cecile, it was being ignored.

"Must you do that?" he said irritated.

Cecile just shrugged. "It helps me to think," she said and finally sat down… right on Thailog's lap.

Thailog moaned a little, as she sat right down on his manhood, wriggling about a bit, making him feel really uncomfortable.

"Tell me, Thailog," Cecile said casually, "what do you think of Pan?"

"Huh?"

"Pan, as in Pan the god of joy," Cecile grinned. "I bet that if I were to let him loose in the city, he'd cause the clan some problems."

Thailog gave her a blank look. "Umm, I suppose so, but… "He didn't know whether he should be encouraging her, but out of all the creatures he had been expecting her to summon up to attack the clan… A half-goat was not one of them.

As if hearing his thoughts, she looked down at him smiling that devil's smile. "Oh, don't misinterpret me, Thailog. I do intend to cause some real proper damage soon enough. However, my dad always taught me that you shouldn't use so much magic in the one place one too many times. My ancestors once made that mistake in Salem and it ended up nearly wiping out the whole family."

'Promises, promises, always promises,' Thailog thought, but kept quiet.

"Although the god of joy hasn't exactly been a god of destruction or anything," Cecile went on, "Pan's power for bringing out the beasts in people has remarkably caused a lot of damage. You'd be amazed at the level of damage that a wild party can cause."

"Sounds swell," Thailog simply said, not really paying any attention.

A knock suddenly sounded at their door. Cecile looked up for a moment, frowned… and then frowned again harder. "Come in," she called out, not bothering to disguise Thailog or anything and stood up.

"Bout time too," Nathan Vene exclaimed and walked into his sister's private quarters, followed by his brother.

"What kept you?" Cecile asked snidely.

Damien glared at her. "How about the fact that you teleported us all the way to Detroit? "he shouted at her. "We had to hitchhike all the way back and then use a locating spell to find you!"

"Ah," Cecile simply said and then, "So, did you find the place okay?"

Both twins looked as though they were about to throttle her. Something that Thailog constantly prayed for.

"Have you found Sarah?" Damien asked his sister, after a moment of trying to calm him down.

Cecile shook her head. "No need, as it's pretty clear where she is. The clan must have taken her either as prisoner, bait or for interrogation. So she must be in the castle."

Damien's nostrils flared. "Then let's go and get her then. Why are you still here?"

Cecile regarded her brother coolly. "Because, my dear idiot sibling, I don't wish to risk going up against the guy with the mystical sword that could obliterate us all, that's why."

Damien hissed at Cecile, whereas Nathan kept quiet and merely looked at her with his thin cold eyes.

"Who was that guy by the way?" Damien asked. "And just how the hell did he break down all of our mystic barriers without breaking a sweat?"

Cecile smiled. "Would you believe…King Arthur, from the Knights of the Round Table?"

Damien looked at her, as if she had grown a second head. "King Arthur?... Are you serious?"

Cecile nodded and Damien blinked.

"Wow!" Nathan breathed out. "That means that sword he had was none other than…"

"Excalibur," Cecile finished for him. "As for the reason why it tore through our magic so easily, as far as we know, the magic that's inside Excalibur has existed for over 1500 years if not longer. We don't know where its power originated from and we don't know what spawned it. For all we know, it might very well be the magic of heaven itself, hence the reason how it did what it did."

Both Damien and Nathan stayed silent for a while before they both breathed out, "Whoa."

Cecile rolled her eyes. "Your rooms are at the other end of the hallway," she said, pointing to the door. "I arranged for them as soon as Thailog and I arrived here, as for the clan and Arthur and Excalibur…Don't worry about them. I've already made plans."

The twins looked as though they wanted to stay and ask more questions, but another hard look from their sister shut them right up and they left without another word.

"Now then," Cecile spoke again, as she turned back to Thailog and resumed her seat on his lap. "Where were we?"

"I believe you were just going on about how you were going to attack the clan," Thailog said quietly and without any true enthusiasm.

Cecile cocked her head at him and regarded him curiously for one second before saying, "Oh yes, I was thinking about using Pan, wasn't I? I still think it's a good idea, but on the other hand, I could just maybe have your face turned back to its old self and have you scare the living night-lights out of everyone?"

Thailog jumped a little at her words, which only fuelled Cecile's amusement and made her laugh her musical laughter.

"You really are spineless aren't you, my little Hercules," she cooed at him, making his blood boil with barely contained rage.

"What about your so called goddess?" Thailog sneered. "Didn't she say she would be able to help?"

If Cecile minded him, then she paid him no mind and just shrugged. "She'll help, make no mistake about that. If it's anything that Kauket likes, it's trouble, no matter what kind." She leaned back into him. "However, I'm saving her and her resources for bigger things. In the meantime, I just wanna show those gargoyles a thing or two… weaken their strength so to speak, until the real battle emerges."

"And when might that be?" Thailog asked coyly.

Cecile smiled. "When we've gotten hold of Excalibur and bled it dry of all its powers, that's when."

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Somewhere Above Manhattan:

Darlene swooped and dived through the air, trying to clear her head as all the night's events took its toll on her.

Lana had cried into her shoulder for over an hour, her mother had been giving Gabriel the look of death all night, and to top it all off, Jarred had blown up the living room yet again with another failed spell.

Needless to say it had been a stressful night.

Lana had wept for over an hour, tiring herself out, so Darlene put her to bed to rest for a while. Gabriel had insisted on staying, but Demona made it perfectly clear that he was not welcome in their home.

Darlene had to admit that she was rather mad at Gabriel too for keeping her daughter's problem a secret from then, but she could understand why he did it. She knew first hand how convincing Lana was and that he was merely protecting her.

Thankfully, Darlene managed to get Gabriel to leave with the promise that she would call him the instant should they need him, or more importantly, if Lana needed him.

With Lana resting and her mother seeing to Jarred and Gem, Darlene took it upon herself to catch up with her gliding. She found that the cool air and star-filled sky helped to clear her mind.

"Oh, Paul," she whispered lonesome, "What am I going to do?"

"Darlene?" a voice called out to her. Darlene looked up in surprise and saw the gargoyle Griff approaching her.

'Ohhh no,' she thought. Actually she was in fact happy to see him, as he had been the best thing that had happened to her all week, but… Unfortunately, that was the problem.

"Hello Griff!" she yelled back, as he glided over to where she was.

Griff grinned. "Fancy meeting you here," he said happily. "Out for a glide are you?"

Darlene resisted rolling her eyes and simply said, "Yes."

"Looks like you picked a glorious night for it," Griff turned about in the air. "Nice cool night, not too cold, no attackers, strong wind... and good company."

Darlene blushed, but smiled anyway at him. "Thank you, it's nice to see you too, Griff," she said quietly. She had meant to at least attempt to sound cheerful, but her voice came out sounding like she hadn't slept for a week.

Griff looked at her concerned. "I say old girl, are you feeling alright?"

Darlene took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. "To be all honest," she replied, "not really."

Griff immediately took her claw and glided with her down to the nearest rooftop.

"What's happened?" he asked concernedly. "Is there anything I can do to help?"

Darlene couldn't help but give a half-smile. "Not unless you've experience of raising teenagers, you can't."

Griff looked at her confused for a moment, but then his face lit up. "Oh, you mean Lana? You're having problems with her?"

Darlene nodded and walked over to the side of the building, looking down at all the passing lights. "I knew that getting over… what happened to her… wasn't going to be easy, but I never imagined this."

"Beg pardon?" Griff looked at her confused and Darlene suddenly realised.

"Oh that's right," she sighed. "You wouldn't know anything about what happened to Lana. Fine, I'll tell you." She sat down on the building's edge and looked at him with tired eyes. "Not so long ago, my daughter was kidnapped by some lovesick and twisted gargoyle named Thailog. Thailog isn't your average gargoyle and before you start asking me why, I suggest you ask Goliath as he's the best person to talk to about Thailog."

Griff cocked his head at her, but nodded and asked her to go on.

Darlene sighed miserably. "Things hadn't been going so well. My husband had died, I couldn't work to get money, and we were about to loose our house and to top it all off, the spell I had cast was starting to wear off…"

"Huh?" Griff exclaimed startled.

Darlene stared at him in surprise, as she thought that someone in the clan would have told him already about her and her past.

"Ohh, I guess then I'd better start completely from the beginning," she cleared her throat. "Well then, my mother Demona and I were the only gargoyles in New York. My father died before I was hatched and I grew up with no friends or anything, but my mother. She was a fine mother, but… When I grew up, I knew I wanted more, but there didn't seem to be any way…"

Griff sat down beside her and waited for her to continue.

"Then one night I met and gradually fell in love with a handsome human called Paul. I knew I was in love with him and wanted to be with him, everything would have been perfect except for one minor thing… "

"Your mother?" Griff guessed.

Darlene nodded "Even as a hatchling, I knew how much she loathed humans and was terrified of what she would do if she ever found out I was even seeing one, let alone wanted to mate with one." Darlene shuddered as she remembered how she frightened she had been. "I didn't know what to do, so I finally decided that the only safe way for me and Paul to be together was if we were to run away together."

"You were planning to elope?" Griff asked with a grin.

Darlene laughed a little. "When you put it like that, it sounds so romantic, but the fact is… Every one of our days and nights were filled with fear."

Griff nodded in understanding, as he had felt the same way every night when he had awoken and heard the sirens and then went to sleep each day, wondering if he and his siblings would ever awake the next night.

He suddenly realised something, 'Days and nights?'

"I knew my mother would never rest until she found me," Darlene continued. "So I decided that the only way to be truly free of her was to fake my own death and go into hiding. I went through most of her magic books until I found a spell that could change me into a human."

Griff gasped and remembered Darlene's words to him when they had first met at Destine Mansion, how she had been evasive about her mate and Lana and her age. He was beginning to understand.

"Your children are half human," he asked understanding.

Darlene nodded. "They were born after I was turned into a human," she explained. "I faked my death, mother thought I was gone and never thought to look for me. Paul took me to Los Angeles with him where we were married and had the kids." She paused for a moment, leaning back slightly on the stone edge. "It was a good life," she said sadly. "The best that anyone could hope for, but sadly… My mother always told me that all good things come to an end some day and in my case, she was correct."

Griff looked n sympathy at her and squeezed her hand. Darlene looked up and half-smiled at him. They remained like that for a few moments until Darlene went on with her story.

"Then, Paul was killed in a car accident about a year ago," she blinked back a few of the tears that her eyes were threatening to spill. "Because I hadn't been born a human, I had no identification or a green card or anything, so I couldn't get any work. Without work, I soon ran out of money and the bank threatened to take away my house and even social services were keeping an eye on me."

Darlene snarled a little, as she remembered how outraged she had been at the social services for them even thinking that she was an unfit mother. "Times were tough… and to top it all off, I found out that the spell I had cast to make me human was… wearing off."

'Good news for all of us male gargoyles,' Griff thought and then shied him for thinking such a thing.

"I knew right then that I had to tell my kids the truth about who and what I really was," Darlene moaned. "I remember how terrified I was at facing them, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I didn't think they would believe me though and with all that had happened, I didn't want them thinking their mother had gone mad, so I decided that the only way was if I break the spell completely and they saw me change."

"But let me guess," Griff summarised. "It didn't work out the way you expected it to?"

Darlene smiled. "You could say that, because when I changed, my kids changed with me. They still retained some of their human blood, as you can tell from their five fingers and toes and such. But other than that, they're almost complete full-blooded gargoyles."

Griff winced. "Not the best way for them to find out," he admitted. "And I take it that once the spell was broken, you couldn't recast it?"

Darlene nodded. "Right and I don't think Lana has ever forgiven me for taking away her humanity. Oh, she seems to be enjoying it a bit more now that she's living in a big mansion and having Gabriel as a boyfriend, but deep down, I know she really misses her human life. She was always a very popular girl and she misses her friends and everything."

"What about Jarred and Gem?" Griff asked.

Darlene shrugged. "Gem's only a baby so she'll never know the difference, and as for Jarred..." Darlene smirked. "As soon as he learned that he wouldn't be able to go to school ever again and that he could glide, he fell absolutely in love with being a gargoyle and so far he hasn't regretted my action. He's also nuts about his grandmother and gets on well with her. He wants to be a sorcerer like her someday. "

Griff grinned. "So everything turned out well in the end."

Darlene lost her smile and looked down. "If only," she whispered and Griff knew he had stuck his foot in his mouth again.

"As I said," Darlene went on, "I'm certain Lana has and probably never will forgive me for taking her life away from her. The death of her father, loosing our house and then her humanity was too much for her to take and then when I found a way for us to be human again… "Darlene paused and then sighed. "My mother told me that I wasn't being true to myself, and she was right. I had lived with the delusion that I was a human for too long. I am a gargoyle, plain and simple and nothing else. I decided to remain as such and that my children should too until they were old enough to decide whether or not they wanted to be made human again."

"And Lana wasn't too happy with your decision?" Griff guessed.

"Happy," Darlene smirked again. "She went ballistic. She stormed out of our home and we didn't see her for hours." She went quiet again. "We didn't learn until nights later that she had met someone while she was out. That someone turned out to be an enemy of my mother who used Lana as a way to lure us all into a trap. He's a gargoyle named Thailog. If you want to learn more about him then I suggest asking Goliath, as he's the best guy to answer your questions about him."

She spoke of this Thailog character with so much venom in her voice that Griff began to truly seethe resemblance between her and her legendary infamous mother.

"Lana never got over when she was used by Thailog. He… made her feel special." There seemed to be more to it than that, but Darlene didn't appear to want to share that bit of knowledge, so Griff remained silent.

"Then, on the night of Goliath and Elisa's wedding, he tracked her down and… kidnapped her!" Darlene put her hands to her face and rubbed her eyes as though she was in pain. "I remember how crazy we all were with worry. She was missing for hours and when we finally found her, we… "Darlene buried her face completely in her hands. "He'd raped her, my sweet baby… He raped my poor Lana!" Darlene began to weep.

Griff wasted no time and cloaked his wing and arms around her. "I'm sorry," was all he could say at that moment. It seemed so trivial, yet it was all he could do.

Darlene regained some self-control and wiped her eyes. "Thanks, but you know full well it's not your fault. It's Thailogs!" she hissed his name. "He destroyed Lana then. Ever since her rape, she hasn't ever gotten a good day's sleep, as she's been having constant nightmares about him doing things to her. Her only consolation has been Gabriel, who's been with her ever since, but recently… "She broke off again. "We just found out tonight that Lana has been stealing some bottles of alcohol from my mother's private storage and… drinking."

Griff looked shocked at her, as drinking was not exactly heard of among gargoyles. True, some of the elders had been known to have a swing every now and then, but never the youths. Gargoyles tended to be wilder and do more damage than humans do when they were intoxicated.

Darlene sighed. "I just left Lana with my mother. She's asleep now and Gabriel is willing to do anything to help her and I think right now that's what she needs most of all, to be surrounded by people who care about her."

Griff nodded. "It always helps to know that there are those who care about you."

Darlene agreed and then smiled. "Sooo… World War 2, eh?"

Griff looked surprised at her and Darlene laughed.

"Angela and I talked, she told me about you and Goliath bringing you forward in time and everything," she looked at him in interest. "I must say you yourself look remarkably well preserved for a gargoyle in his… what, his early hundreds?"

Griff laughed. "I guess we really are destiny's couple, what with you with three kids and me in my hundreds, and yet we don't look a night over fifty!"

Darlene laughed. "Maybe, but Hudson's beaten us both. He's over 1100 years old, been through countless battles, a scarred eye, not to mention he spends most of his nights in front of the telly… Yet he looks no more than a hundred and twenty!"

The two of them laughed and for once, Darlene felt content in the presence of someone.

0000000000

Bedford Hotel; Broadway:

"Novo –are Adroanzi," Cecile prayed in front of the bathtub, which she had filled.

Thailog sighed. He wondered what creature his 'mistress' was going to summon next?

"Why is it so important for you to have that confounded sword?" he asked out-loud.

Cecile turned to him. "Because it is one of the few magic's that my family knows nothing of, and any type of magic that we do not know, we either merge with our own, or destroy." She went back to her praying and then reached into a small duffel bag around her waist.

'Here we go again,' Thailog thought miserably.

Cecile pulled out something from the bag. Thailog strained his eyes to see and saw to his disgust that it was the head of a snake. The snake's mouth was set hard, with its mouth open and baring its fangs.

Cecile whispered some further words and then tossed the head into the water. "In the name of Adro, god of snakes, the darkness of Adroa… Awaken!"

Thailog watched. Despite hating this human witch and her family, not to mention, dare he say, afraid of her… he was nevertheless fascinated by the wonders of sorcery.

Almost immediately, a bubbling sound reached his sensitive ears and he leaned in to observe the water, where a dark shape swerved beneath the water's surface.

"An Adroanzi," Cecile said smugly and watched, as the dark shape came to the surface and lifted itself out of the water.

Thailog blanched at the sight, for it was the most hideous and frightening snake he had ever seen. It was pure black, eyes like dark opals, spikes running down its scaly hide and long twisted sharp fangs prodding out of its mouth.

"Handy little things for pest control," Cecile smiled. "They're good at concealing themselves and lie in wait for sometimes years at a time, waiting to attack the innocent."

"Perfect for Goliath and his clan," Thailog said through his teeth.

"Indeed," Cecile confirmed and then pulled the plug to the bath. "Now swim along, my little demon snake! Go and find some yummy gargoyles to feast upon!"

The snake thing hissed and shot through the water and down the drain, faster than a lightning bolt.

"Just one question," Thailog frowned. "Don't you think one snake, even if it is as powerful as you say it is, will be enough for the whole clan?"

Cecile grinned. "One of them, no, but the other handy thing about these critters is… they're really fast breeders."

Thailog frowned again and then the colour drained from his face. "Wait! You told the snake to attack any gargoyle!"

Cecile shrugged. "Yeah, so?"

Thailog instinctually grabbed her shoulders and shook her. "You didn't tell it to just go after Goliath's clan! If it just goes on the prowl, looking for any gargoyle, then it might harm… "

"Lana?" Cecile with a sly smile and carefully pricked his talons off her. "A tragic loss, I'm sure, but no war comes without its losses." She turned around to make her way to the bedroom.

Thailog's eyes burned. "If you… dare hurt her, I'll… "

Cecile whirled around, her own eyes now burning, a dark red, even redder than Thailog's or Demona's.

"Don't even think about threatening me, clone!" she warned. "Never forget who owns your soul now, and who could eradicate your very existence in one blink."

Thailog shrunk back ashamedly, his eyes never leaving her eyes, the eyes of a demon. Not even Demona had frightened him so with her dreaded gaze.

"Now!" Cecile exclaimed cheerfully and almost floated over to the bedroom, where she slid onto the satin sheets and lay sprawled across the bed. "I'm tired and I want to sleep, goodnight." She clicked her fingers and the door, which separated their rooms, slammed shut, right into Thailog's face.

0000000000

Destine Manor:

"I fail to see the point of this stupid game," Demona said. "I'm already the CEO of a multi-national corporation and rich beyond any pitiful mortal's dreams. Why would I want to go to university?"

"Because it's in the game, Gran," Jarred begged. "Everyone loves the game of life."

Demona grumbled and moved her stupid plastic car with the pink pin in it, another four spaces.

"I fail to see how this game is supposed to be related to real life," she muttered.

"Oh, come on, Gran," Jarred laughed. "Its fun once you get the hang of it. Trust me."

Demona sighed and looked over to check on Gem, who was in her playpen, playing with her dolls and winged teddy bears. Lana was still sleeping in her room.

"Where's Darlene?" she frowned, as it wasn't like her daughter to be gone for so long. Granted that the last time she did so, she was away for over 20 years, but that was beside the point.

Finally, Demona heard the swooping of a gargoyle gliding down to their balcony and Demona sighed in relief, but then she stopped. Did she just hear two swoops?

"Mom's back!" Jarred cried and ran over to the balcony to greet her.

Demona was about to cry out for her grandson to stand back, as she wasn't sure she was alone or who it really was. But her fears soon evaporated when she saw the curtain pull back and her daughter emerged, with a smile on her face.

"Hello, mother," Darlene smiled and walked in, accepting a hug from her son and returning it.

Demona smiled, but stopped when she noticed that her suspicions had been correct in assuming that her daughter wasn't alone.

Griff came in behind Darlene and smiled politely at her. "Evenin' ma'am." he greeted.

Demona cocked an eye-ridge at her second born, but Darlene was busy attending to Gem, who had immediately started crying, wanting her mother.

Griff smiled, as he walked up to the mother and baby. "Now what's all this then?" he cooed at the little infant. "Big girls don't cry, do they?"

Gem stopped crying and looked curiously at Griff, before reaching out her podgy little claws and stroked the English gargoyle's beak.

"I think she remembers you," Darlene laughed and cuddled Gem one more time before placing her back down in her playpen.

"She's a sweet thing," he observed.

"Hey Griff!" Jarred said cheerfully. "Are you staying?"

Darlene shrugged. "You're welcome to stay for a cup of tea if you like?"

Griff grinned. "I'd love to."

"Great!" Jarred exclaimed. "Could you tell me some more stories of when you were fighting the Nazis?"

Griff laughed. "If you insist. Let's take a seat and I'll tell you about the time when I landed straight on a Nazi plane, just as it was about to open fire on an unsuspecting fellow fighter."

Griff took a seat on the couch and Jarred climbed onto his knee, wanting to hear more of the exciting adventures of World War 2.

Demona grimaced a little. 'If only he knew,' she thought, as she all too well remembered both of the world wars. This Griff had fought Nazis and understood the danger they represented, but he obviously hadn't seen the full horror of the wars.

Demona had never got involved with either war, like she had done throughout most of her immortality. She had preferred to stay out of human matters, though there had been some rare cases when she had been forced to get involved.

She had been in France, where she had been living for the past forty years, at the time when it first started and had got trapped inside the country with no way of escape. As a result, she got to see many of the atrocities that even today, people still had nightmares about. She saw the Jews rounded and sent to concentration camps where they were experimented on like lab-rats, most of them eventually winding up dead.

She had had no care for any of the humans, but even back then she had cringed at the sight of defenceless children, as they were ripped away from their parents and forced to watch their families executed right before their eyes.

Demona hoped that Griff would be sure to tell Jarred the truth of the war, not just some of the fancy fighting stories.

In the meantime though, she had other things to worry about, like Lana.

"Darlene," Demona approached her daughter, as she came in with a tray full of teacups.

"Mmm," Darlene said, as she placed the tray down on the coffee table. "How's Lana?"

Demona sighed. "Still sleeping," she said. "She must have worn herself out from crying so much."

Darlene nodded. "Have you gotten rid of all the alcohol in the house?"

Demona nodded.

"Then I guess the only thing we can do is wait until she awakens and then try to deal with her problems," Darlene sighed. "At least she won't be able to get anymore alcohol. The great thing about being a gargoyle now, is that I don't have to worry about any of my kids going off to the local store to buy any cigarettes or stuff."

Demona smirked a little at that. Being a gargoyle, she had never had to worry about any of the hatchlings to go against their elder's wishes and steal things. True, some of her generation had once taken a sip from a barrel of ale, but that had only been a small sip and none of them had ever done it again. Gargoyles weren't commonly thieves, except for when…

Demona shuddered a little at the memories back when Demona and her clan at Moray had been hunted and persecuted by the Hunter, having to steal and forage from the humans.

Demona bit back the memories, refusing to let them consume her and even more so to stop her from believing that she was in anyway responsible for it.

Who… created the Hunter?

Demona didn't know why, but the sound of those words sent chills through her. They also felt strangely familiar to her for some reason.

"I guess," she said.

0000000000

Eyrie Building:

Miles away, in a cell inside the Eyrie Building, little Sarah Vene sat staring at the wall of her cell, smiling.

She had in front of her a set of paints and some paper, which Xanatos must have also given her. Owen refused to go anywhere near the girl, considering what her family was famous for and what they had done to a relative of his.

She painted idly away, her eyes not on the paper, but staring into nothingness.

After a while, she finally stopped painting and looked at what she had made.

It was a crude child's painted picture, where anyone would have to look at least twice to find out what it even resembled, let alone what it was.

The picture however showed the outline of a female Gargoyle that was all pale blue with a mob of yellow hair. Beside the character was a picture of a large dark gargoyle with red eyes and white hair. Between the two of them was a brown blob that had been splashed a little with red, like blood, a rock perhaps.

The female character seemed as though she engaging the other one in some kind of battle, or at least trying to.

Sarah stared at the picture, her eyes not blinking and whispered, "Only when you face your fears, can you find peace." Her eyes suddenly went dark. "A war is emerging, one where none shall find victory. The shining spear shall come down to earth. Those who praise it will find peace, and those who attempt to take it will be burned to ashes.

Sarah's eyes went blank for a second and then she went back to painting some simple childish drawings of a tree, an animal…and a sword.

NOT… The End.