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!
I'd like to thank Kellie Fay for her permission to use her character, Aster. And for being kind enough to check my work, and also an extra special thanks for letting me use, and making some changes on one of her scenes from her original fic for my own story! Many thanks!
Downtown, New York; 6 Days Later:
From somewhere in Downtown New York, a couple of homeless men were collecting some old newspapers, magazines, and anything else that would burn, to keep themselves warm.
One of the men rummaged through some garbage in a trashcan; fishing out all the flammable goods he could get, when…
A strange piercing noise sounded throughout the deserted alleys and roads, so loud that the men had to cover their ears.
"Bill, what the hell did you do now?!" one of the men yelled at the other, thinking the worst.
"Nothing, I… " the other man, Bill, protested. He was about to say more, but then…
A large bright light suddenly lit up the whole of Downtown, so bright that the men covered their eyes both from the brightness, and in fear.
When the light finally died down, they blinked the spots out of their eyes, and saw something lying in the middle of the road.
"What the…?" The first man curiously edged his way over to the lying dark shape, and began poking it with a rolled up newspaper that he had just recovered. The shape didn't respond at first, so he continued poking it.
"What is it?" Bill called.
"Haven't a clue. Maybe it's a … " he didn't get to finish, as a long red arm suddenly sprang out and grabbed his own, almost crushing it in the process.
"Get.Away.From.Me!" a tired sounding, but also ferocious, voice growled at him.
The homeless man shrieked, and pulled his arm out of the stranger's grip, scrambling away on all fours to where his friend was waiting.
"What is…" Bill started, but his friend just grabbed his sleeve, yanking on it.
"Shut up and run!" he yelled, dragging his confused companion with him.
As the two of them scampered away as fast as they could, the stranger slowly sat up, his eyes tired and weary, but fuelled with a look of deep hatred, intense focus and desperation.
"Where?" it simply said, hissing its question.
It had been almost a week since Elisa and Demona had returned from their journey into the Dragon Dimension. Demona still refused to openly discuss what had actually happened with Margot Yale. She just said that 'the shrew-faced lawyer' volunteered to remain behind with the big lizard, be its queen, and that was the end of the story.
Elisa and Goliath were both, needless to say, very frustrated with her, but when Demona refused to talk, there was no dissuading her. Not even Darlene and Angela had been able to get anything out of her.
"Shouldn't we try and rescue Miss Yale?" Lexington asked, as he and Brooklyn walked toward the kitchen, Broadway munching on some popcorn behind them.
Brooklyn shook his head. "We couldn't get to the Dragon's home-world before, what makes you think this time will be any different?"
Lex sighed. "I know, but still, don't you think we should at least… " He stopped briefly, looking back on their larger brother. "Broadway, why do you even bother putting your hand in that bag? The way you're going on, you might as well just empty the whole thing into your mouth."
Broadway paused for a moment, seemingly in thought. "You know something…" he started, and then turned the bag upside down, over his mouth, devouring every last popcorn that fill in. "Not a bad idea," he said, his mouth full.
Brooklyn and Lexington stared at him.
"Brooklyn!" Goliath's voice suddenly called out. "Lexington! Broadway!"
The trio looked to the end of the corridor, and saw Goliath coming up. He seemed most anxious about something.
"There's been a disturbance downtown," he told them. "Elisa has just informed us, and wants us to meet her there."
"The Venes again?" Brooklyn asked hotly. Since they had kidnapped Elisa, he along with everyone else had had their incitement to find the Venes renewed.
"We're not sure," Goliath reported, as he walked past them with them following. "But there are reports stating that whatever kind of a disturbance it is, it is not the typical break-in kind. There are rumours that there is some kind of beast attacking people in that district."
"Not another dragon?" Lex asked fearfully.
"No," Goliath said gratefully. "Whatever it is, it's too small to be a Dragon. But it has already scared some locals, so we need to respond immediately."
"Just once, can't we get a night off?" Broadway mumbled, licking the butter off his talons.
Demona sat idly in her living room, by the fire, staring absently into the flames, while Gem cooed curiously on her lap. She had agreed to watch her tonight, while Darlene had gone for a glide with Griff. Though it seemed more like she was actually watching the fire instead of her granddaughter.
Demona looked up, seeing her grandson standing in the doorway. "Yes," she replied. "What is it?"
Jarred shrugged, coming up to her. "Nothing, just wondered what you were up to. You seem to have your mind on something?"
Demona shook her head. "It's nothing, just some problems I'm having at work. I can't decide whether or not I should go ahead with a new business venture, or just stick to the one I already have."
"You'll figure it," Jarred said confidently. "You always do."
Demona smiled shortly down at her grandson. His admiration, and almost hero-worship, of her was evident to everyone. He was constantly asking her for more stories from her century's worth of life, the battles she had been in, and the spells she had learnt… and even what she had done today at Nightstone.
Darlene wasn't too thrilled about the battle stories she told him. She claimed it was because she didn't want him growing up thinking that fighting was the answer to everything. Though Demona suspected it was just because she was worried she would corrupt him with tales of hatred of humanity, something that Goliath would no doubt agree with.
A moment later, Lana came in looking worse for wear. Her eyes were bloodshot, and her hair was a mess (which was enough to get Demona's attention, as Lana never went anywhere without first attending to her appearance).
"Lana?" she enquired curiously. "Is something wrong?"
Lana didn't even look up. "I'm fine," she said quietly.
Demona knew there was something up, but she didn't know how to pry it from her granddaughter. It was much simpler back when Darlene was a youngster, as Demona had usually always been able to get the truth out of her… at least, almost always.
"I bet you've been having dreams again about Gabriel," Jarred sneered at his sister.
Lana looked up sharply at him. "Shut up!" she said warningly, glaring at her little brother.
"That's it!" Jarred giggled. "You've been having kissy dreams again about your big boyfriend!" Jarred made loud kissing noises at her, while hugging himself. "Ohhh, Gabriel, you're such a beast," he teased her. "Kiss me, kiss me all night…!"
"SHUT UP!" Lana suddenly exploded, her eyes flaring bright red.
Jarred stopped immediately, frightened for a moment. His sister had always been a bit high-strung, and had given off the odd moment of anger once or twice, when he had stolen her CD or been messing about in her room, but this… this had been a true bottled pressure of rage, something she had never done before.
Demona also stared at her granddaughter, her eye-ridge cocked. "Lana?" she said enquiring again. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing!" Lana snarled, and fled the room before Demona could ask her anything else.
Demona sighed, and reached over to seize her phone from its stand.
"What bug crawled up her loincloth?" Jarred muttered.
"Hush!" Demona commanded, and dialled the number to her daughter's cellphone. If anyone could figure out what was wrong with Lana, her mother could.
Somewhere Around New York; Near Downtown:
Darlene and Griff were in the middle of playing a Gargoyle version of the game 'Tag', as they swooped down on each other, soaring and diving across the sky in a pattern that would leave anyone astounded.
"You're good at this!" Darlene called to him, laughing.
"Helps when you've spent most of your life dodging German bombers and machine guns!" Griff laughed back.
Darlene chuckled, wishing that Griff had been around during her youth. The only person whom she had had to play Tag with back then had been their mother, and Demona's idea of playing was when she had been teaching Darlene how to avoid human detection, and to gain the upper claw in a fight with them.
She had once played a game similar to Tag with her, but it was actually more of a tactical practice. She had only been a hatchling at the time, and while she had been gliding through the buildings of the city, excitedly looking for her mother, her mother had swooped down on her, crashing her into another building, telling her to never lower her guard.
'Happy times,' she thought bemused.
Just then, her cellphone started beeping. Darlene cursed slightly, hoping it was nothing serious. She and Griff had barely had a single moment alone together since they had gotten 'hooked' up, as Jarred called it.
"Hello?" she said, answering it.
Griff glided up close to her, seeing that she had a call, curious as to what could be the matter.
A few moments later, Darlene sighed. "I'll be right there," she replied. "See you in a little while." She hung up.
"Problem?" Griff asked.
"Afraid so," Darlene sighed sadly.
"Nothing wrong, is there?" he asked seriously.
"Nothing as in demon abductions, or the Venes, if that's what you mean," Darlene said amusedly. "But mother is having a problem with Lana. Seems she's been acting up a bit lately. I've noticed it, too, but I thought it was just because of you and me."
"I thought your daughter had gotten used to the idea of us being together?" he asked worriedly.
"Yes," Darlene frowned. "But usually, nowadays that doesn't mean anything." She looked at his curious expression, and had to smile at his naivety. "One thing you have to learn about teenagers, Griff… is that they can say one thing, and mean totally another. Trust me, Lana's been doing that her whole life, not just since she hit puberty. Sometimes I think she was born to drive me crazy."
Griff looked at her, even more confused than before, but also worried. He had been thrilled when Darlene and he had started spending time together, and even more when she had seemingly declared interest in him. But if it meant that their time together would mean casting a shadow on her family…
"Perhaps we should take a step back for a while?" he suggested. "I mean, if… "
"No," Darlene said firmly. "Lana and I had his talk already. We discussed it, she had her chance to say her piece, and she said she was fine with it. I can understand how she would have problems with me seeing anyone since her dad past away, but she can't expect me to just give up on my life altogether. And she certainly can't expect me to just stop seeing someone after she's given me her blessing."
Griff glided alongside her, looking uncomfortable. "Darlene," he began unsurely. "You know I would love nothing more than to be with you, but I don't want to come between you and your daughter."
"You won't," she promised. "Lana and I have traded insults countless times in the past. This time won't be any different. I remember one time… "
Before she could say anything else though…
Darlene almost jumped out of her skin at the loud roar that echoed through the night, followed by the beeping of car horns, alarms, and panicked cries of the people below.
"So much for a quiet night out," Griff said, as he headed straight down to the commotion, Darlene close behind him.
As they neared the source of the noise, they came face to face with what was undoubtedly the clan's worst fear… a Gargoyle attacking a human.
A young male Gargoyle who, Darlene noticed, bore a striking resemblance to Brooklyn, but had azure coloured skin, like her, and dark hair, was attacking a young woman. The poor woman screamed, as he attempted to rake his claws across her face, hissing and snarling at her.
Griff wasted no time, and roared his challenge as he dove straight at the offending young Gargoyle.
The Gargoyle gave off a loud "Oof!" as Griff crashed into him, sending him hurtling across the road, banging straight into a lamppost.
Darlene landed down beside the young woman, checking her for any injuries. "Are you all right?" she asked urgently.
Meanwhile, Griff continued to struggle with the youngster whom he soon realised may be young, but he was well trained to fight.
"Get off me!" he hissed at Griff.
"So you can attack that woman, I think not," Griff protested, continuing to attempt to gain the upper claw on him.
"No, you fool!" Aster roared. "You've got to stop her from getting away! She's not what you think!"
"Huh?" Griff looked at him weirdly. "Are you barmy or something? There is not a chance on God's earth that I'm letting you get anywhere near… "
"Not even if it's to save your mate!" the stranger countered, anxiously pointing behind the English Gargoyle.
Griff was not tempted to be fooled with the oldest trick in the book, however fate seemed to be on this stranger's side, as he heard Darlene's surprised gasp behind him, followed by a loud choking sound.
Griff quickly turned his head for a second, and was met with the woman whose life they had been trying to save… strangling Darlene.
Darlene had merely asked the woman if she was all right, and the woman had spared her a look before grasping her throat with her one hand, which now seemed to be growing claws, and cutting off all her air supply.
"You're a pretty one, aren't you," the woman spoke with a deep voice that sounded too deep to be female, and too ancient for the woman's youthful appearance. "Haven't ever seen one of you before. Looks like this world is a bit more original than the rest."
"DARLENE!!!" Griff's anxious voice echoed through the night, ending in a roar louder than all the others put together so far that night.
The woman… or whatever she was, didn't have time to even turn her head, as Griff rammed his shoulder into her, sending her flying over the road… but before she even touched the road surface… she vanished.
"Touched a nerve, did I?" the woman's eerie voice sounded off all around them.
The stranger Gargoyle snarled, as he seemingly sniffed at the air, apparently looking for the creature, but to no avail."You know, Aster," the eerie voice continued. "We've been through this dance before, again and again. You hunt me down, try to stop me, and as always…fail!"
The Gargoyle, apparently called Aster, snarled at the disembodied voice.
"You know the drill, old friend. As before, I'll be off now to do my scouting. Try to stop me if you like. Ta ta!"
Aster roared loudly, and then looked at Griff as he tended to Darlene. "You!" he shouted. "Why'd you stop me?! I nearly had him! If it weren't for you, I could have finally stopped him, but now thanks to you, he's gone, and for all I know he might very well have condemned your world to…!"
"Easy there, old boy," Griff said, trying to hush the newcomer. "I didn't know she, or he, was an enemy. I just saw you trying to attack a young woman, so I… "
"You saw exactly what he wanted you to see!" Aster said bitterly. "He's done it before, countless times… Every time whenever I get this close, he always finds some way t-to… " Aster quietened down, as he stood still, holding his right side. "Ohhhhhhhhhh…"
Aster slumped to the ground, clutching at his side.
Darlene, having recovered from her fright, raced over to him, with Griff right behind her. She inspected him more closely, and found that his right side had been wounded.
"He's been stabbed," she deduced. "It's not deep, but I suspect he's lost a lot of blood. That would account for him feeling faint. We need to get him somewhere safe, and tend to his wounds."
Griff nodded. "The Eyrie," he replied. "It's closer than your home."
"What about the clan?"
As if by magic, no sooner had she spoke these words, Goliath, Brooklyn, Broadway and Lexington were gliding down to them. They had heard all the loud noises from far above, and had soon spotted all the fighting.
"Wow, you're good," Darlene said in amazement.
"What happened?" Goliath asked, looking to Griff.
Griff shrugged, and was about to answer when…
"Goliath, forgive me," Darlene said, as she tried to lift the stranger Gargoyle on her own. "But that will have to wait. He needs treatment soon. We can tell you what we know on the way."
Goliath looked at Darlene, and then at Griff who responded with just a mindful shrug.
"Never argue with a lady, my rookery mum always said," he replied.
Hudson and Darlene dressed the stranger's wounds. Darlene had wanted to use a spell that her mother had taught her that could help speed the healing process, but Hudson openly refused it. He saw no reason to use magic in something that nature could easily heal by itself, after muttering a few things about "Magic, humph!".
The rest of the clan were gathered around in the infirmary, waiting for any news of their new guest, Goliath especially. He had been curiously eyeing the new stranger with an odd sense of familiarity, which wasn't surprising considering the stranger's appearance. He almost looked exactly like Brooklyn, with the exception of his colouring. He briefly wondered if perhaps this Gargoyle had some connection to the Wyvern clan?
"Uhhh," the Gargoyle moaned, as he slowly came to.
Darlene instantly went to hold his head steady, speaking softly and soothingly. "It's all right," she assured him. "You're okay now. We've brought you to the clan's home."
"We're at the Eyrie," the Gargoyle suddenly said. It sounded more of a statement than a question.
"Err, yes," she answered, a little confused on how the Gargoyle had guessed where th clan's home was, considering he had been unconscious when they had brought him there.
The Gargoyle moaned, as he raised his head, and then aimed his sights straight onto the Manhattan clan's leader.
"Goliath!" the stranger suddenly blurted out.
Goliath cocked his eye-ridge at him. "Yes," he said cautiously. "How do you know my name, stranger? Who are you?"
The Gargoyle seemed to loose some of his cool demeanour, like he had mistaken Goliath for someone but soon realised his error.
"I apologise," he finally said. "You're not my Goliath."
The clan all looked at him dumbfounded.
"My name's Aster," he informed them, as he inspected his injuries himself. "Sorry for crashing in on you like this, but… I was tracking… someone."
"That thing we fought downtown?" Darlene asked, applying the last bandage.
The Gargoyle who had now been identified as Aster looked curiously at her, seemingly noticing her finally. "Yeah," he said. "He… Well, he's not exactly a he, not even a she really. I just call him that."
"Why are you hunting him?" Griff demanded. "Who or what is he, and why pray tell did he attack my mate?!"
Darlene turned her head to stare at the British gargoyle in disbelief… Since when was she his mate???
Aster also stared at the new Gargoyle, but his look was more of recognition. "You're Griff, aren't you?"
Griff looked surprised. "How… "
"We've never met, but I did hear a lot of you from my clan while I was growing up."
"And who is your clan?" Goliath enquired suspiciously. This stranger apparently knew a lot about them, far more than he was at ease with.
Aster looked at Goliath, and gave him a long smirk. "Believe it or not," he finally said. "You are."
The clan all stared at him.
"Nice try, pal," Brooklyn said, almost laughing. "But I think we'd all remember if we had another clan-member here."
"He's not one of your rookery siblings back on Avalon, is he?" Broadway whispered to Angela, to which she simply shook her head, but there was something at the back of her mind that was telling her that she knew this Gargoyle from somewhere.
Aster sighed. "here we go again," he muttered under his breath, but just loud enough for everyone to hear and to wonder what he was talking about. "Okay, listen up," he added more loudly. "My name's Aster. And I know this is going to be hard for you to grasp, but…. Believe it or not, I am a member of your clan… I'm just not from this particular clan."
Everyone just looked at him with a blank expression on all of their faces.
"Okay, first of all, know that I am not from the future or anything like that, but… " Aster paused for a moment, seemingly thinking about what would best describe what he was about to say. "I'm actually from a parallel universe."
If the clan weren't looking blankly at him before, they sure were now.
"Okay, awkward," Aster shrugged.
"Say what?" someone asked.
Aster sighed. "Like I told you, I am a member of your clan, but I'm just not from this reality. I come from a parallel earth, one that is… that was very similar to yours, but where certain events in time took an entirely different route. Don't go asking me any technical questions, because I'm no scientist, okay? But apparently, with every decision that is made in each universe, there are countless other versions in other worlds where the consequences of each decision takes an entirely route."
"Ooooookay," Brooklyn said, giving Lex an odd look, to which he just shrugged.
Aster sighed again. "Okay, next big newsflash. Now I know this is gonna shock you, as it's done a number of times with your other selves before… As I told you, my name is Aster, and I… I am the son of Brooklyn and Angela in another universe."
The silence was so eerie, you could have heard a pin being dropped on the other side of the building.
"Well, that went well," Aster muttered.
"Are ye daft?!"
"Brooklyn, you jerk!"
"Spoke too soon," Aster said, as chaos emitted all around the room.
"ENOUGH!" Goliath's voice roared. He glared at them all into silence, while giving Aster a hard look that demanded a better explanation for his claim than just simply… he was from another dimension. "Explain!"
Aster groaned. "It never gets any better, no matter how many times I have to go through this…" he shuffled around on the bed, getting comfortable. "Okay, first, my parents, Brooklyn and Angela, weren't lovers if that's what you're worried about, Broadway. In my world, my Broadway had some sort of accident leaving him unable to bear a hatchling with Angela. She wanted kids, so she decided to have one with Brooklyn instead, though they were never actually together."
Angela looked nervously at Brooklyn, who met her gaze just as nervously, while Broadway just glared at him with seemingly murderous intent.
"In my world," Aster continued. "My clan was just like this one…" He paused briefly, eyeing Darlene. "Well, except for you. I can't recall ever meeting you in either mine or any other world I've been to before. Mind if I ask who you are?"
Darlene smiled warmly. "I'm Darlene," she cocked her head. "Since your clan is like mine, I'm guessing you also have a Demona in your world, too?"
Aster frowned then, looking angry for a few seconds. "Unfortunately," he admitted, making Darlene look at him curiously, but she chose to ignore it.
"I'm her daughter," she added at his surprised look, "at least in this world. Obviously, since you don't know who I am, I mustn't have come into existence on your world."
Aster looked at her intensely. "A shame then for my world," he said, grinning.
"A-hem," Goliath coughed loudly.
"Oh, yeah," Aster carried on. "My clan was almost exactly like this one, with the exception that my world, for what reason I don't know, was seemingly set sometime in the future. I don't know if it's because my world's timeline worked a little faster than yours, or if it was simply fate. Either way, in my world my reality's Demona hurt my Elisa Maza, and I was chosen to go after her and bring her to justice… "
Aster paused, as a bad memory seemed to have worked its way to the top.
"Aster?" Darlene asked concerned.
"But things didn't go according to play," Aster said bitterly.
Aster's Dimension; 4 Years Ago:
Aster swore, as he fought with Demona. If only he could put the bracelet on! He wished he could. But then a quick plan came to him. It might not work, but if it didn't then he'd be no worse off then he was now.
"You think killing me will stop them? After me another will come, and another and another. You'll never win, Demona. For the rest of your long and miserable life, someone will be hunting you down." He lowered his chin to his chest.
Demona laughed. "Oh really?" She repositioned the gun.
Which was exactly what Aster was hoping she'd do. With a flick of his head, he
hooked the gun with his horn and sent it flying out of her hand. Then he kicked her.
She went flying, and frantically Aster moved to pull the bracelet out of its pouch, jab it on his arm, and run for his life.
He didn't get very far. Demona had re-armed and pushed him into a wall, ramming the barrel of the gun to his temple. "No more tricks, boy! It ends now!" Aster shut his eyes and Demona pulled the trigger.
Demona pulled the trigger again, and again, but all he heard was a click.
Aster opened his eyes. Why hadn't the gun gone off? Why was he still alive?
You are right, Demona. It ends. But it ends with you.
Aster turned to the sound of the voice. Well, it wasn't a voice exactly. Aster could
hear this voice resonate through his entire body. And yet it felt like a voice, and he knew in which direction it had come.
There, to his right, holding Demona's hand with the gun was a transparent young adult Gargoyle.
She was a deep blood red, and she had a wild mane of jet-black hair. She had wings much like his, with a single finger at the tip, and her eyes... Aster was sure he had seen those gentle eyes before, but he wasn't sure where. In fact he was positive he should know her.
Would you truly do this, Demona? Destroy my grandchild and yours? He is the product of our two bloodlines. What has skipped your child and mine will bloom full in him.
Aster didn't pretend to understand what the spirit was saying. All he heard was her first words, My grandchild and yours? Demona was Angela's mother… he knew that, but her!!
He knew her now, he had seen her in his dreams talking to him, comforting him when he was lonely, treating him as if he were her own child. As he grew older, he had thought he had conjured her to replace Brooklyn's neglect, but now he knew. She, Brooklyn's mother, was making up for it.
Demona looked at the Ghost in horror. "No… You're dead!! I remember. I saw you die!!"
And you swore that you would not share my fate, I know. I only wish I had not denied myself so that I could guide you, but I did not. You could have sought guidance from others, and you did not. And this is the result. Your talent has been wasted, and has caused nothing but grief. It is time to end it! the spirit said.
"NO!" Demona shouted. She broke free of the ghost's grasp and began to run.
"No!" Aster echoed after Demona. "I can't let her get away!" He made a move to follow, but the red Gargoyle placed a gentle hand on Asters shoulders.
She will not escape, Aster. Behold.
Aster looked. Demona was on her knees surrounded by dozens of Gargoyles. Some of them looked vaguely familiar, but he couldn't place them. Demona was staring at them intensely. Suddenly Aster's eyes fell on a face that he knew without a doubt… Hudson.
"How… " he began to say, but before he could finish… Demona started to laugh.
"Got you!" she suddenly cried, and before Aster could even blink, she shot out both of her hand-claws, pointing them at the dozens of transparent Gargoyles, including Aster's Grandmother and Hudson.
"BINDUNG!" she cried out. Aster briefly recognised the word as something German, but couldn't understand it.
As he watched, Aster saw a bright bolt of lightning shoot out from each of Demona's claws, engulfing all of the surrounding Gargoyles. The clan did nothing at first, but just looked at the strange light in question, but then their looks changed from mildly curious… to outright terror.
They began thrashing about, as though in pain, trying to escape the binding light that had overwhelmed them, but were unable to do so. It was as though the light was acting as a sort of rope or chain, trapping them where they stood.
"It's about time!" Demona announced. "I was starting to think you guys would never show up."
Aster looked at Demona in shock, but he soon channelled it. He didn't know how, but Demona had somehow entrapped the clan, giving her the chance to escape, something he could not allow.
"I won't let you get away, Demona!" Aster threw himself at her…
Demona just looked at him, as he soared through the air to grab her. Then, with one blink of her eyes, she zapped him.
It was as though electricity had come pouring out of her eyes, channelling right through to him. Aster cried out in pain, as he fell to the ground, his body twitching uncontrollably from the electric shock.
"If I thought for one moment you were of any threat to me, I wouldn't have let you live for so long," Demona told him. The second that she said that, Aster knew there was something really, really wrong here.
It wasn't what she said that confused him, but the way she said it. Demona had always spoken with a tongue of pride, arrogance, and often rage and hatred, but this… the way she had spoken just now… it hadn't been with any of those emotions. She had said it so casually, emotionless, and not only that, but her accent seemed to have changed slightly as well.
How are you doing this?! Aster's grandmother demanded, as she struggled against the lightning bars surrounding her. This is impossible! Nothing can hold us!
Demona chuckled. "Typical ghost arrogance," she said, as she looked at them all. "Do you really think just because you're dead that you're invulnerable, and that it gives you the right to walk in this world? This world is meant for the living, and the living alone. When you die, your spirit is meant to cross over to the next plane of existence. The dead have no right to be here, no matter what your excuse, and if you are foolish enough to stay here…then 'anyone' is welcome to your soul!"
She walked casually around the still-struggling Gargoyles, peering at them uncaringly. "As for the spell I just used," she explained. "That was just a little bit of ancient German magic that I picked up, oh about a thousand years ago. It has served me well for many centuries."
The ruby-coloured Gargoyle glared at Demona venomously, her eyes now showing nothing but true hatred for what had once been her rookery daughter. But Hudson, he said nothing and just stared at Demona.
"You truly have no soul," she said bitterly, "to do this to your own clan!"
Demona laughed. "Oh, don't tell me. You thought that by showing me these visions of the past, it would make me face my guilt, make me lower my guard so that young Aster here could defeat me? Not a bad plan… in fact, it was downright excellent. There was just one little problem that you didn't think of… "
Demona stared at the Gargoyle, which Aster subconsciously named Ruby, for her skin-tone. As she stared at her, Aster managed to raise his head to look at his dark grandmother, and blanched as he saw her face seemingly begin to melt, shift and twist… It was like watching a mould of wet clay on a wheel.
Demona's once lovely face lost its azure colouring, as it turned black and sprout out in horrifying lesions. Her flaming red hair looked as if it were actually on fire, as it singed into her scalp, leaving nothing. Her wings turned to mist, dispensing in the air, and her eyes… Her eyes were the worst change of all. Demona has always had a rage-full look in her eyes, which made many people look in terror at her, but these eyes… they had no look in them at all. They were just two dark opals, no irises or pupils, just complete blackness.
It was then when Aster finally figured that this creature, whatever or whoever it was, was not Demona at all…
"Who are you?" Hudson demanded, having ceased in his struggle against his prison. It was quite clear that he and the others were not going anywhere.
Hudson had figured out even before Aster that this was not Demona. Having been the former clan-leader, and one of the many Gargoyles who had raised Demona as a hatchling, and fought with her numerous times, he had noticed the change in her personality immediately.
Aster's breath slowly came out, as his lungs struggled to breathe easily, his body recovering from the shock.
"I have no name," the thing answered. "Nor do I have any true face. My own true form is too far beyond your limited capacity to comprehend. So I just choose multiple alternatives, such as this one. True, it's not exactly a flattering identity, but I like it. I think it beings out my… inner beauty." He said, as she/he gave them all a toothless grin.
"Where is Demona?" Aster asked slowly, partly because he was still having trouble breathing, but also mainly because of his desperation. He refused to accept that he had just spent this whole time hunting for someone that was never there.
The thing just looked at him in contempt. "Hate to be the one to burst your bubble, my young warrior," he replied. "But I'm afraid she's no longer here."
"Where is she?!" Aster demanded, his voice gaining strength.
The thing just shrugged. "I'm afraid I don't know. You see, I needed to take Demona's place in this world, for what reason I'll tell you in a bit, but anyway… I needed to take her place, so obviously I had to get her out of the way."
You can't kill her, Ruby said. I or the others would have sensed it the moment she died.
The thing just smiled. "True, but I could still get her out of the way. I simply… kicked her out so to speak."
"Kicked her out?" Aster regained the strength in his legs, standing up, but still felt very weak.
The thing looked at him in the eye, its face showing no hate or anger… just arrogance, and seemingly even pity for Aster. "For starters, be aware that I am no Fay, sorcerer or any such thing that you have seen in this world of yours, Aster. I am not even from this world… and no, I am not an alien!" It paused for a moment, and then shrugged. "Well, not an alien in the terms of Martians or intergalactic invaders, but close enough. I exist outside that what you call the space/time continuum. Where I come from, time and space have no meaning. I travel to any time, any place that I wish, and to any universe that gets my fancy."
The thing smiled at him. "I can leap between those that you might call alternate worlds, or parallel universes. Think of it, countless earths much like your own. Some which are as different as your race is from the humans, and others so alike that you could easily mistake them for your own. I have been to earths where it was Goliath, not Demona, who betrayed your clan. Another where Demona succeeded in eradicating the entire human race from the planet, and one where the clan and your entire race were nothing more than a fictional story in a cartoon… I grew tired of that boring world quickly."
Aster just stared at the grotesque thing in front of him. "Why are you here? And what have you done with the real Demona?!" he demanded, wanting to know where his quarry was.
The being just shrugged at him again. "Like I said, I don't know. I needed her out of the way, and since I could not kill her, I did the next best thing… I kicked her out of this universe, and into another one."
Aster looked at it, his eyes wide in horror. "Bring her back NOW!" his voice roaring.
The thing just cocked an eye-ridge at him. "Testy, aren't we," it said, but just idly checked its claws. "Even if I wanted to, I can't," it replied. "I wasn't particularly caring of where she ended up, so I just picked a random world and sent her into it. And before you ask, no I don't know where that world was. She could be in any one of an infinite number of counter worlds."
Aster roared, his legs giving way again, as he rammed his claws into the earth, bringing out whole chunks of it… It had all been for nothing. Everything that Aster and his group had been working towards, the endless hours of the hunt, his promise to Goliath and his and Elisa's daughter, their quest to bring Demona to justice… Now, it would never happen.
The thing just looked at him for a while, watching as he unleashed his anger. "Me thinks you've inherited old Granny's temper," it said, smirking.
Aster raised his beak to look at the entity that had dared to interfere, his eyes glaring daggers at him. "I will make you suffer for this!" he hissed, and then, despite the pain still twitching in his body, he leapt at the abomination.
The entity/thing did nothing to stop him, and just stood where it was, as Aster dove straight at it. But as Aster came at him, the entity just seemed to shimmer out of existence, and disappeared. The second Aster landed on the other side, the entity came back.
"Like I said," it explained. "This is not my true form. I am what you would call non-corporal, hence… you can't touch me, numbskull!"
Aster roared, leaping at it again, but the entity just kept shimmering in and out of sight, looking bored. "Must as I enjoy playing tag with an intellectually challenged mortal, I really am pressed for time," it told him, and looked back to his imprisoned souls.
"What are you doing?!" Aster demanded.
The entity didn't even bother to look at him. "What I set out to do in the first place," it simply replied.
Ruby and Hudson looked curiously at the entity, as it raised its claws toward them and the other souls. A moment later, the seemingly same energy came out of its finger-claws, striking the gathered souls, only this time… the energy did not bind them, as the first one had done.
As Aster watched on in horror, he saw Hudson and Ruby's spirit-forms start to shimmer and fade…
Ruby cried out, seemingly in pain (if it was even possible for a ghost to do so), along with Hudson and all the others spirits. Their forms shivered, shook and faded, as though something was draining them.
"STOP IT!" Aster roared, throwing himself at the entity again. But this time, the entity just raised its other claw, and Aster felt himself get thrown back again.
"Sorry, kid," the thing said. "But like I said, I'm a little pressed for time… and I'm hungry."
Aster's eyes widened, as he finally deduced what it was that the entity was planning to do, watching as the spirits' forms shimmered away even more.
"No!" he cried. "No, you can't… STOP!"
But Aster couldn't even move, as he lay anchored to the ground, watching helplessly as the deceased members of his clan seemingly had their every essence drained from them.
Hudson and Ruby screamed, as part of their forms seemed to waste away right before their eyes. And then Ruby looked right at Aster, her eyes filled with tears…
"Forgive us," she visibly shuddered. "Forgive us for not being to help you, my grandson."
Hudson looked as though he wanted to say something, but before he could even get to do so… he faded away.
Every one of the spirit-forms screamed loudly, as they faded away into some sort of mist that hovered above the ground for a moment, and then the electrical field that had been holding them suddenly dispensed, and the mists went flying through the air right to the entity.
The entity seemingly breathed in the mists right through its nose and mouth, and as Aster watched, he saw the entity's features take on a sharper tone; it's body-mass increasing, as though feeding on the spirits energies.
"Mmmm," the entity licked its once withered lips. "Tastes like chicken."
Aster just stayed where he was, trapped by the entity, as he stared at the vacant places where all the souls of his clan had once been.
"Awww," the entity said mockingly. "Upset are we? Well, trust me, kid… there are whole worlds of hurt out there, and this is one of them." It cracked his knuckles, and then stepped around Aster who then fell to the ground, the spell apparently been broken, but still Aster did not move.
The entity ignored him, as it moved a little further away, and then raised its arm. "Well, time to be going," it said. "So many worlds, so much to do, and so little time."
As it spoke, Aster felt a slight shudder run through the ground beneath him. At least, it started out as a slight shudder, and then quickly it grew and escalated into an enormous earthquake. Aster had to dig his claws into the earth again, this time to hold himself steady, as the trees started to fall all around him.
"The end of days, kid," the entity simply replied.
"What do you mean?"
The entity shrugged. "If I had the time, I would bother to explain it to you, but suffice to say, I don't… Your time on this world has past. Enjoy whatever time you have left. See you!"
The Entity raised its claws again, and what seemed like a whirlpool of pure blue water opened up in the air, right in front of the Entity. It paused for a moment, seemingly observing all the earthquakes occurring around it, before finally sparing Aster one final look.
"Adieu," it simply said, saluting him briefly, and then leapt into the portal, disappearing from sight.
Aster stayed where he was, sitting on the ground, his thoughts all a jumble. So many things were going through his mind that he couldn't focus or concentrate… Demona, Ruby, Hudson, the lost souls, the Entity…
The portal remained where it had been, its bright light illuminating the darkness around Aster. The young warrior slowly raised his head, taking a look at all the destruction that was happening all around him. The earthquakes had indeed grown worse. There wasn't a single tree, or building in the far distance that wasn't shaken to the ground, and still they would not stop.
Despite all the raging thoughts and emotions coursing through him, there was one single rational thought that Aster could think about… The Entity had stolen his destiny. Without Demona, there was no way for him to save Elisa, and he had inadvertently helped that abomination devour the souls of several members of his clan. And now, to top it all off, it looked as though he had helped bring upon the end of the world as well.
Aster's eyes fell once more upon the portal that the Entity had escaped through, and as he watched, it seemed to be growing smaller, no doubt meaning that the spell creating it was wearing off.
With little choice, and no point, Aster made his decision… He roared his despair to the heavens above, and leapt straight at the portal.
As he jumped through the portal, he swore he could hear the screams of his friends and clan-mates…
Aster finished his tale with a deep breath, and said nothing more.
"Your world…?" Lex asked shortly.
"Is gone," Aster answered for him. "That was four years ago. I've spent all my time tracking down the Entity that destroyed it. It's been my whole purpose ever since. I swore I would not rest until I had found it, and destroyed it!"
"What makes you think you can destroy it?" Broadway asked curiously.
"I can!" Aster suddenly roared at him, making everyone jump. "I know I can. I have to… I can't fail again."
Everyone was silent for a few moments, each not knowing what to say, until finally Angela asked another question.
"You said that the…Entity, as you call it? You said that it took your Demona, and sent her off into another world somewhere?"
Aster nodded. "Without her, my world's timeline could never hope to be fulfilled, because when she disappeared, I could never capture her, free my Elisa Maza, or anything. Hence the reason why my world fell apart… The time-tremors literally shook the timeline apart, leaving nothing."
"Did you ever find out where she had gone?"
Aster shook his head. "Honestly, I haven't given her a second thought… or even a first one, to be truthful. She was an enemy to my clan who I was sent to capture… and she could be in any one of an infinite number of worlds. Even the Entity said that he wouldn't be able to find her."
"But there's still a chance?"
Aster shrugged. "Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I don't really give a damn. The only reason I ever went off after Demona in the first place was to help my Elisa Maza… Now she's dead, along with everyone else, so there's no longer any point in me finding her."
"She's the last of your clan…?" Angela started to say.
"She was NEVER one of my clan!" Aster snarled.
Angela backed up a little.
Aster calmed down, breathing deeply. "I'm sorry," he said honestly. "But I really don't want to talk anymore about… her, if you don't mind."
The way he said it obviously meant it wasn't a request, but that he had no intention to do so anyway, so Angela nodded.
"The Entity destroyed your world," Lex enquired, curious, "after collecting just a few souls? Why? I mean, what was the point in that? Couldn't he just wait to see if he could get any more souls instead of the few he got from your clan? Why settle for the few he got, and then destroy the whole planet?"
"He didn't have a choice," Aster said lowly.
"What do you mean?"
Aster sighed again. "Goliath, I assume that in this world you once travelled through time, as my Goliath and countless others have done so, with the Phoenix Gate?"
Goliath nodded. "Yes?"
"Then you know that history is meant to be impossible to change?"
"Yes," Goliath looked at him curiously. "Why?"
"Because that is the exact way how the Entity destroyed my world," Aster said bitterly. "Since my world's destruction, I have crossed into many alternate worlds, met numerous versions of myself, and seen endless versions of how things were meant to be in my world. The Entity himself said that there are worlds out there as different to me as Human appearance is to Gargoyles, and others so alike that they're virtually indistinguishable. It was because of that fact that I was able to see the way that my world should have turned out, had not the Entity interfered."
"And how was it meant to turn out?"
Aster stayed silent for a moment, and Goliath could swear he could see a tear form in one of his eyes, but it lasted only for a second before he blinked it away fiercely.
"Pretty much like I always hoped," Aster shrugged. "I went after Demona, defeated her, Ruby and the others helped me in capturing her and bringing her to Avalon where she released the spell on Elisa, everyone was all happy, the end."
"So what happened?" Brooklyn enquired. He was still finding it a little uncomfortable to be around Aster, after learning whose son he was, but no more than Angela and Broadway were, and his story had stirred his curiosity. "I mean, you're right about history being impossible to change, but if what you say is true, then how was the Entity able to do it?"
"The Entity exists outside of space and time," Aster explained. "The rules of time don't apply to him, only to those of us who exist in the timeline, Human, Gargoyle and Fey alike." He paused for another moment before continuing. "Like I said, my world was supposed to turn out much differently, but because of the Entity… it didn't. And when the Entity changed history, it caused something like a tremor all through the timeline, like a giant earthquake throughout the entire cosmos. The tremors literally ripped my world, and my entire universe it was in apart."
Aster looked down on himself. "If I had the chance to do it again," he said truthfully. "I would never gone through that damn portal after the Entity. I would have stayed in my world, and died with the rest of them. You've no idea what it's like to literally be the absolute last one of your kind, with no home to go to!"
The rest of the clan all shuddered at the thought of loosing literally everything, and wondered how the young wandered could have possibly survived?
It didn't take them long to figure out how, as Aster himself had already told them so… Revenge.
"Sooo," Brooklyn started hesitantly. "Do you have a plan to fight this thing?"
Aster shrugged. "I've fought him numerous times, but each time, he has always managed to get away from me. I know he can be hurt, but only as long as he doesn't use his powers to disembody himself or anything."
"Then maybe we can help?" Brooklyn said shortly, looking to the others. "Maybe Puck or Alex can help, maybe bide the thing's powers somehow?"
"Been there, tried that," Aster said uninterested. "It was one of the first things I ever tried. I even managed to convince Oberon to have a go at him once, but the Entity beat him to a pulp. It was quite a blow to Oberon's ego, let me tell you. I didn't even think steam could come out of someone's head, except in cartoons."
"What about using a scientific approach then?" Lex asked.
"I've been to worlds where science was thousands of years ahead of yours. No dice!"
Goliath noticed that Aster seemed to be getting on edge, so he chose that moment to end the conversation. "Perhaps we should continue this tomorrow night?" he suggested. "Allow you the opportunity to rest."
"We haven't the time to rest!" Aster responded hotly. "Haven't you figured out yet what's going to happen next?!"
The clan looked blankly at him.
"The Entity came to my world because it knew that there was going to be a good source of souls for it to feed on," Aster explained. "I don't know the history of your world, or what's going to happen soon, but for all I know… the same similar thing might be about to happen right here, right now! The Entity could be after some souls in this world, and when he gets them, your world shall follow the same fate as mine… total destruction!"
Angela gasped, while the rest of the clan tried not to look worried, and instead concentrated on formulating a plan.
"I had a feeling we should have stayed home tonight," Griff sighed.
"Uh, uh, uhhh…" Cecile moaned, as she rode Thailog's enormous body, while he just lay there with his claws gripping the bedposts, coming close to ripping the wooden posts into splinters .
"Oh god," she breathed. "I'm, I'm… " Suddenly, she stopped.
Thailog, caught up in the moment, continued to buck his hips against hers, until she slapped her hand down on his chest, hissing. The second of which she did, he felt a cold numbness take hold of his heart, and thought for one moment she might be inducing a heart attack or something.
"Stop" she hissed, her ears pricked up as though she was listening for something.
"What?" Thailog breathed heavily.
Cecile looked around the room curiously, seemingly searching for something. "Something's not right," she finally said, and climbed up off of Thailog. "Get your loincloth on, we're going out!" she ordered.
Thailog growled in annoyance, but knew better than to argue, and complied.
The twins, Damien and Nathan, were still asleep in the other room, and Cecile saw no reason to awake them, so she continued without them.
A short time later, they were standing on the roof of the hotel, looking out into the night-sky.
"Mind telling me what we're doing out here?" Thailog grumbled. "I was quite comfy where we were."
"Try telling to someone who actually cares," Cecile muttered back, making Thailog's eyes flare red in response. He longed to return inside, but certainly not for the comfort of his chilly ice maiden here.
Cecile raised her hand to the sky, closing her eyes for a moment…
"From regions of fire to kingdoms of air, send me minions to find me the ones who would do me a scare!"
The moment she said this, a large burst of fire sprouted up on the roof, lasting only for a few seconds before it seemingly doused itself, and in its place there was a tiny orb of bright light in its centre.
"Spirits of fire and light, find me the one or ones that I do seek tonight," Cecile intoned, and the tiny orb whooshed right off into the air before Thailog could even blink.
"Now that?" Thailog sighed.
"It would seem we have visitors," Cecile answered. "But whether these visitors be our friends or foe… has yet to be determined."To Be Continued…