Disclaimer: All Gargoyles characters are not mine and I do not claim to own them nor do I post this for financial gain. Please don't sue me; I'm poor. All other characters not in the original series are mine.
Summary: When Brooklyn is taken over by the demon Kl-Torach, not even the Fae can stand against his evil designs. Can Brooklyn be freed?
A young man dressed in black gazed out of his apartment window, watching the ebb and flow of humanity as it passed beneath him. Cars whizzed by while overhead a green dragon with golden wings flew lazily over the crowds. There was nothing outwardly striking about the young man, though most females would have considered him attractive with his long black hair and European countenance. However, his various...hobbies ensured him a small, and very short lived span of female friends. Not that it bothers me, he thought. A practicing sorcerer can always find other ways to amuse himself. Setting aside such thoughts he turned his attention back on the masses below. A small smile formed on his face, as he recollected the various incidents that he and his small circle of friends had been embroiled in only a matter of weeks ago. He smirked as a thought came, unbidden in his mind.
We saved the entire friggin' planet and everyone on it, and none of them know it! Not to mention bring back the dragons, unicorns, griffins, and every other mythical creature! Here and there he could pick out the pointed ears of a former human turned elf. Not only that, we turned about a third of the world's population into fey! He let his mind drift back in time to those months before all that had happened. Back before he and his friends had destroyed the magical island of Avalon. Back before he had ever encountered that evil gargoyle sorcerer...
The phone jangled, jolting him awake like a splash of cold water in the face. Groggily, he picked up the receiver and placed it against his head. "Whoizzit?"
"It's Damion, man!" the voice on the other end exclaimed. "What the hell are you doin' in bed?!"
"You try casting a Minor Divination at midnight and we'll see how early you get up." Gary Faldora grumbled softly. "Spell-casting isn't something you do in five minutes, you know."
"Yeah, man, whatever!" Damion replied. "Just don't forget you got classes to go to. You may be a senior in college, but you ain't graduated yet!" Damion chuckled.
Gary swore, glancing at his clock radio, the glowing red numbers reading 12:05. Damn thing was supposed to get me up at 11! Fuming, he wondered if there was a spell that could make clock radio alarms actually work when they were supposed to. Aww, hell. No point in going to my 11:30 now. Damion suddenly interrupted his thoughts.
"So, you gonna get up sometime today or what?"
"Yeah, yeah! Just shut up and give me enough time to make myself presentable to the rest of the world!" Gary grumbled.
"Right!" Damion chuckled, "You gotta cover up them fangs and glowing red eyes, right?"
Har, har! Gary thought to himself. Tell people you're a spell-caster and they figure you're either a vampire or a werewolf in disguise, or somthin'! "Get off the phone before I make your hair fall out!" he retorted in reply, smirking to himself.
"Your will, oh great master of the Arcane!" As Damion hung up on him, Gary could almost see the smirk on his friend's face. Gonna have to do something about him, Gary smiled to himself as he dressed. Maybe I WILL make his hair fall out after all...
David Xanatos looked up from the financial reports he had been perusing and fixed his gaze on his personal assistant, Owen Burnett, as the man walked into the room.
"The delivery is here, Mr. Xanatos." Owen reported, in his usual monotone.
"Good. I'll come down to retrieve it now." Xanatos replied.
As Xanatos followed his major-domo out of his office and into the elevator, his mind began to wonder if the ancient amulet he had purchased would finally grant him the immortality he so badly desired. Xanatos had first learned of the Amulet of Kl-Torach in one of the ancient texts in his library. According to the tome, the amulet would grant him incredible magical power, equal to that of the fabled Eye of Odin. If the amulet truly had that kind of power, Xanatos thought, he could not risk passing up the chance of acquiring it. After months of searching the globe, Xanatos had discovered that the amulet had been held in a particular museum in Rome. The museum curator he had spoken to personally had told him the artifact was not for sale, but, several million dollars later, the man mysteriously changed his stance on the matter and sold the artifact to Xanatos. As the elevator bell chimed, the doors opened into the main lobby. Xanatos and Owen walked through the lobby, down a hall, and into the delivery bay where a man in a brown uniform awaited them, a package wrapped in brown paper under his arm. Owen paid the courier, and taking the package from the man, he and Xanatos walked back into the building. A few minutes later in Xanatos' private office, Owen opened the package to reveal a golden egg-shaped amulet encrusted with various precious stones and a gold chain connected to it. Inscribed on the object were various sigils and runes. Xanatos picked it up and smiled as he held the object in his hands. The key to immortality, literally within my grasp! He turned to Owen and smirked.
"Let's test this puppy out, shall we?"...
Gary sat in his apartment studying his textbook. Psychology wasn't the easiest course to learn, but he felt that a working knowledge of the mind was indispensable in everyday life, not to mention his...other interests. Suddenly he felt a slight tug in the back of his mind, as if some thought were nagging him to bring it to the surface. But before he could do so, the pull vanished, as mysteriously as it had come. He frowned, considering the implications of what had happened. For most people, a nag in the back of the mind was not something you would overly concern yourself with, but if you happened to be a sorcerer, one of the important rules of the trade was 'always trust your instincts'.
Unable to find a reason for the nag, Gary returned to studying, but he was to find it more difficult than earlier...
The Eyrie Building
The faint blue aura faded, leaving the talisman looking the same as it had the last dozen times. Xanatos, with Owen's assistance, had attempted to activate the amulet using the runes engraved on it, but beyond creating the aura, nothing had happened. While the aura had looked rather attractive, Xanatos had thought cynically, it wasn't the reaction he had hoped for.
"I wonder if there's something we're over looking..." Xanatos mused as he turned to his assistant. "Any thoughts, Owen?"
"None, Mr. Xanatos." replied Owen stoically. "Though it is entirely possible that the amulet was only made to be used by sorcerers or perhaps a particular sorcerer. If that is the case, then there is little hope of ever activating it."
Xanatos grimaced at the possibility. "I don't suppose Puck could use it?"
"Certainly not, sir." replied Owen sternly. "I could not attempt it without violating Oberon's decree."
The bearded man nodded. He had already known the answer, but he had hoped...
"Perhaps we need to find a sorcerer, then." Xanatos smiled.
Owen uncharacteristically raised an eyebrow at this suggestion. "At the moment the only spell-casters we are aware of is Demona, sir. I seriously doubt you wish to place the talisman in her hands." Xanatos grimaced at the thought, recalling the night she had turned everyone in the city to stone, including Fox and Owen, using a spell of mass transmutation stolen from the Grimorum Arcanorum.
"In any event sir, most sorcerers would not openly admit to spell-casting. Those who do are usually charlatans of one sort or another." Xanatos nodded.
"Then I suppose the only thing to do is wait" Xanatos sighed. "Place it in one of the display cases." Owen nodded, and picking up the talisman, left the room, leaving Xanatos to his private thoughts...
The Eyrie Building
The night filled with deafening roars as the Eyrie Building's night dwellers broke free from their stone prisons. Goliath brushed the last few fragments of stone skin from his hair and swooped down to the lower parapets where the other clan members had gathered. Landing with a 'thump' onto the stone floor he began to direct the clan's patrol schedule. Since it was obvious to Goliath, and the rest of the clan, that Hudson had not done much patrolling recently, he was elected to join with Lexington while Brooklyn would remain behind to guard the castle. This arrangement suited Brooklyn fine, as he privately felt he needed a night off. As the clan took to the air, Brooklyn found himself wandering into the castle with Bronx and through various corridors. After about 15 minutes of aimlessly wandering the halls, losing Bronx in the process, he entered one of the rooms along side the hallway at random. At first glance, the room appeared to be one of Xanatos's private collections of ancient knick-knacks and various brick-a-brack.
Glass cases filled the room, some containing a number of artifacts clustered together, while others had their own special case all to themselves. Brooklyn wandered among the cases, looking at the various pieces
Who needs to visit a museum? I got a free pass to one right here! Brooklyn thought to himself. Though why he wanted all this junk is beyond me! Brooklyn turned to leave when one of the artifacts caught his attention. As he walked over to the object's display case, his hazel eyes widened at the sight of the jewel-encrusted amulet.
That one must have set him back a couple million! Brooklyn thought in amazement. Brooklyn looked down at the little plaque attached to the case. "Amulet of Kl-Torach, huh?" the gargoyle mused. "Sounds like something from a bad fantasy novel." Brooklyn chuckled at the thought and left the room, never noticing the amulet had begun to glow with a soft blue light...
Gary Faldora's Apartment
Gary was beginning to get annoyed and a bit concerned. Never mind the fact that his History professor had berated him for missing class that morning, but the nagging feeling in the back of his mind refused to go away. It seemed to happen off and on all day, as if someone had been casting a bunch of minor spells in the next room. Gary had even checked up on his neighbor to see if anything out of the ordinary was happening, but that had turned up nothing. What was worse, the young sorcerer had never been able to pinpoint the source of the castings, which irritated him even further. Through his training as a mage, he had been able to sense when someone - or perhaps something - was draining energy from the planet's magical field to power spells of any sort and size. He even prided himself on being a sort of 'magical bloodhound'. But this time, the drain was so faint could not find the source. That in itself bothered him, but the fact that someone was using that much magic at one time concerned him even more. Over the past four years or so, he had felt others working magic throughout the city at one time or another. And then there was that time he had lost a whole night, somehow falling asleep early one evening and not waking until the next morning, the taint of Fey magic in the air. But since each of those happenings had been spaced apart by a matter of months, he had assumed they were simply dabblers or other spell-casters trying out the odd simple cantrip. But this...
"Something weird is going on." He muttered to himself.
The Minor Divination he had attempted the night before had been rather vague, but it warned of an impending catastrophe possibly affecting the whole planet. And it was all due to magic...
3 weeks later
The Eyrie Building
Brooklyn had returned to the room with the amulet, as he had done almost every night for the past few weeks. For some strange reason the amulet had held an odd sort of attraction from the moment he had first set eyes on it. At first it had seemed simply a bauble to admire, something to look at if he felt the need to take in some culture.
But recently it had become more then that.
Now he went to the room every night, staring at it as if it held all the knowledge of the universe inside it, waiting for him to unlock its secrets. At times, Brooklyn admitted to himself, he could almost feel it pulling him. Whispering to him. Many times he had wanted to open the case and hold it in his hands, but each time he had been able to stop himself...
(You're not mine to take!) Brooklyn thought.
Hold me and unlimited power can be yours!
(I don't want unlimited power!)
Everyone wants unlimited power. Take me. Just for a moment, the amulet seemed to whisper. Just for a moment...
Sweat began to bead on Brooklyn's forehead. This can't be happening, he thought. But...maybe just once...just to prove to myself it's all nonsense...
As Brooklyn cut a hole in the glass case with a talon, he swore he heard the voice...chuckle!
Just for a moment...just for a moment...
As soon as the lank gargoyle had finished cutting the circular hole in the glass, he had reached inside and grabbed hold of the amulet. In the back of his mind, he wondered why no alarms had gone off, but it didn't seem to matter. All that mattered was that he had the amulet in his grasp. Noticing the chain connected to the amulet, he placed the talisman around his neck.
Suddenly a rush of power flowed into him like a surge of adrenaline!
Brooklyn's body arched as the magical power of the amulet flowed through his veins, electrifying his entire being. Eyes blazing like beacons, he roared a shout, which seemed to echo throughout the cosmos.
Gary sat in his room, typing a term paper for a class when suddenly he felt a wave of power surge through him.
What the Hell?!...
He shot to his feet, scanning wildly.
Whatever is going on, it must be BIG! You don't get a surge like that every day! He hurried out of the lab and ran outside.
Please don't tell me Damion and Mark are trying to do another Major Summoning! Once, Gary had caught two of his friends in his room attempting to summon a demon using one of his spell books. Fortunately he had been able to stop them before they completed the final incantation. They had sworn never to try sorcery again without his permission, but with friends like them, promises could be conveniently forgotten. However, that particular fear appeared to be unwarranted. As he swiveled his body in order to locate the direction of the power surge, the source seemed not to come from the college, but towards the downtown area.
Damn! It's even bigger then I thought! What the hell are they doing?? Trying to summon up Satan?! Without further thought he raced towards the parking lot...
Owen sat at his desk composing an e-mail when suddenly his mind felt as if it were being ripped apart. Falling to the floor, clutching his head, he managed to block out the worst of the pain.
The amulet! Someone's activated it! Owen staggered out of the room, hunting for his employer...
POWER! The thought echoed through Brooklyn's mind.
MORE POWER THEN I EVER DREAMED!! WITH THIS MUCH POWER, I CAN DO ANYTHING! Suddenly Brooklyn felt his body expand and grow. As he watched, his body began to grow in height and muscular bulk.
I'll be as powerful as Goliath if this keeps up!
His guess wasn't very far from the mark.
When the transformation ended, Brooklyn found himself a good foot and a half-taller then before, and a build that rivaled Goliath's own. Brooklyn flexed his arms, feeling the new, more powerful muscles bulge underneath his skin. Suddenly, the amulet's glow faded to nothing. Brooklyn stared at the amulet for a moment before the door to the exhibit room burst open to reveal Puck floating in the doorway along with Xanatos in his red exosuit. Two pairs of eyes widened, seeing the amulet around the new and improved Brooklyn's neck. Brooklyn smirked at the two.
"That 'surprised face' looks good on you, Xanatos." Brooklyn jeered.
Xanatos quickly recovered his composure. "Might I ask what you're doing with my amulet?" the billionaire asked.
"Wearing it," Brooklyn smirked. "What else?"
Puck floated over towards Brooklyn. "You've must tell me the name of your fitness trainer, Brooky!" Puck chuckled. "But first, you mind taking off that little trinket?"
Brooklyn's eyes narrowed at the trickster. "I don't think so." the gargoyle growled quietly. "In fact, I think I'll be keeping it from now on."
"I'm afraid I can't let you do that." Xanatos replied levelly. "That amulet belongs to me."
An evil smile formed on Brooklyn's face. "Not anymore."
Suddenly Brooklyn's hand shot out and grabbed hold of Puck's tunic. Rearing back, the gargoyle threw the Fey into an unsuspecting Xanatos, knocking them both to the floor.
Brooklyn let loose with a contemptuous laugh and the amulet glowed once more. As blue energy engulfed him, he made a cockeyed salute to the pair and vanished.
"I think we might have a problem." Puck commented as the two untangled themselves.
Xanatos merely frowned at the understatement...
Gary sped towards downtown Manhattan, weaving in and out of traffic as if he were in a stock car race. Irate drivers blared horns and shouted curses, but the young man paid them no heed as he raced towards the Eyrie Building. The strength of the surge had been strong enough that once he gotten the general direction, finding the source had been child's play. A few minutes later, Gary's car screeched to a halt in front of the massive office building. He raced into the lobby towards the main elevators, only to be stopped by the security guard stationed near the door.
"Sorry pal. You can't go up without authorization from Mr. Xanatos or Mr. Burnett."
Gary grimaced at this impediment.
"I have to get up there right away! It's an emergency!" said Gary, as he attempted to push his way past the guard.
The man grabbed Gary by the collar. "I told you! No one goes up there without authorization!"
Goliath and the others returned from patrol to find Xanatos and Owen waiting for them. From the expression on their faces, Goliath knew immediately something was wrong.
"What is it, Xanatos?" Goliath rumbled.
"We seem to have small problem regarding Brooklyn." Xanatos explained. "He took one of the items in my private collection. It was rumored to have magical properties. That rumor has apparently become reality."
As the rest of the clan murmured to themselves uneasily, Goliath growled unhappily to himself. After all that had happened in his life regarding magic, he was increasingly distrustful of it. If Brooklyn had begun using sorcery...
"Where is Brooklyn now?" Goliath asked the two humans.
"Right here." replied a voice from one of the parapets.
Goliath and the rest of the clan looked up to see Brooklyn standing on one of the perches on the wall, the amulet glowing with blue light.
"Glad you showed up Goliath!" continued Brooklyn, sneering. "There's something I wanted to...dispute with you."
Goliath's eyes narrowed at Brooklyn's tone. "And what would that be?"
"Your leadership of the clan!" Brooklyn replied with a snarl and glided down to the ground in front of Goliath.
"What?!" Goliath growled.
Brooklyn stared spitefully at Goliath, his eyes glowing white. "I challenge your right to lead this clan!"
Hudson stepped forward.
"These be serious charges, lad. Do ye know what you're sayin'?"
Brooklyn gave Hudson a narrow glance.
"I know exactly what I'm saying. Clan law states that the two disputers must do battle in order to decide this. A battle to the death, if I'm not mistaken."
Hudson stared at Brooklyn, aghast. While it had been clan law for as long as he could remember, the stipulation of a death match was hardly ever invoked, the contestants usually being satisfied with besting their opponents and sparing their lives to show that they had mercy as well as fighting prowess. If Brooklyn truly meant what he said...
Hudson looked over at Goliath, his expression grim. "He be within his rights, lad."
Hudson then turned to Brooklyn.
"Are ye sure ye want this ta' be a fight to the death? Bestin' the opponent is usually good enough to..." Brooklyn cut him off.
"I said a fight to the death, old one, and I meant it!" Brooklyn snarled. "Now let's get on with it!"
This be not th' Brooklyn I know! Hudson thought grimly. That bauble around his neck must have sumpthin' to do with this! Hmm...
"Verra well, lad." replied Hudson. "Ye'll get your fight. But accordin' ta' clan law, the elder must oversee the battle as well as set up the rules. Ye know that."
Brooklyn grimaced at this, but nodded...
Gary glared at the guard restraining him. I don't have time for this, you idiot!, snarled Gary silently. He raised his hand to the guard's face and pulling in power from the earth's energy field, spoke a command in Latin.
A green aura glowed around Gary's hand for a moment and the guard slumped to the floor, unconscious.
Gary allowed himself a private smile. Sleep spells. Gotta love 'em!
Unhindered, Gary ran into the elevator and pressed the button for the top floor...
The clan stood in the courtyard of the castle and off to the side, along with Xanatos and Owen, who had also elected to stay for the contest. Goliath and Brooklyn stood in the middle of the courtyard facing each other with Hudson just off to the side, speaking to the combatants, yet loud enough so that his voice rang across the yard.
"The contest between th' two combatants shall be to the death! No one gathered here may interfere at any time for any reason unless I choose otherwise! No wounds shall be delivered by anything beyond the combatants' own body!"
At this point Hudson turned to Brooklyn.
"I must ask ye to relinquish your bauble, lad. No magic be allowed in this contest."
Brooklyn gripped the amulet in his fist, snarling at Hudson in defiance.
Hudson glared sharply in response.
"If ye do not hand over the amulet and abide by th' rules I've set down, this contest be over!"
Brooklyn grumbled, but grudgingly handed over the amulet. Hudson took the talisman and set it on one of the stones near where the others had gathered, then returned to the combatants.
"Do th' two of ye understand these rules and swear to abide by them?" Hudson asked each of them.
Goliath nodded grimly. "I swear."
Brooklyn smirked. "I swear to uphold the letter of the law, elder."
Hudson frowned at this, but nodded, satisfied.
"Verra well, then. Prepare!" Hudson exclaimed.
Goliath and Brooklyn took a few steps back from each other and assumed fighting positions.
"Begin!" shouted Hudson...
The bell chimed as the elevator doors opened. Gary exited the elevator and began to psychically probe the energy field around him for the push he knew would lead him to the source of the surge. Suprisingly, he found the entire castle to be dotted with small pulses of magical energy. Xanatos must have fifty million magical artifacts in this place! He thought, amazed. Who is this guy, some kind of Master Magus?! Frowning, he probed even more delicately, attempting to find the specific energy "feel" of the item.
Found it! Upstairs! Gary ran towards the nearest flight of stairs and began to climb...
Goliath grunted in pain as Brooklyn's fist smashed into his face. He felt blood run from his nose, but he paid it no heed. Both Goliath and Brooklyn already bore scars and bruises from the various blows and clawing they had received from each other but amazingly, Brooklyn appeared to be gaining the upper hand. Goliath and Brooklyn had sparred in the past as part of a warrior's training and Goliath knew Brooklyn had never thrown punches this powerful before. The amulet has made him stronger and more powerful! He thought fleetingly. I wonder how else it has aided him. But he had no time to reflect on the thought, as Brooklyn came at him with a roundhouse kick, talons extended. Goliath managed to dodge out of the way before the gargoyle's powerful claws would have torn into his side. Goliath charged Brooklyn, body slamming him. The blow threw Brooklyn back ten feet, landing him on his back. Before Brooklyn could rise, Goliath leaped into the air, intending to flatten Brooklyn with his huge mass. Brooklyn rolled out of the way of the incoming behemoth an instant before Goliath hit and scrambled to his feet.
"Time to die, weakling!" Brooklyn shouted, raking his talons across Goliath's face.
Goliath roared in pain as Brooklyn tore into his leader's face.
Goliath staggered back, clutching his massive hands to his face, blood streaming from between his fingers.
The clan looked on in horror.
Brooklyn's torn out Goliath's eyes! Lex realized in terror, squeezing his own eyes shut, blotting out the scene.
As Goliath knelt on the ground, weeping blood onto the stones, Brooklyn lashed out with a kick to the side of Goliath's head. The force of the blow sent Goliath sprawling to the ground, three bloody gashes torn into the side of his head. As Goliath attempted to regain his footing, Brooklyn walked up to the crippled gargoyle and grabbed Goliath by his massive throat, lifting him off the ground. A quiet gurgling sound emanated from Goliath's throat as Brooklyn threw Goliath into a nearby stone wall, forming cracks in the ancient brickwork and dropping Goliath like a stone. For a moment Brooklyn stood with his arms folded, observing his opponent and the reactions of his clan mates. Lex and the others watched Brooklyn, terrified. Brooklyn smirked as he watched the horror on their faces. As he stood there, he noticed a faint glimmer of hope enter their eyes. They're hoping that I've changed my mind at the last second and that I'm going to spare him! Brooklyn chuckled to himself. Wrong! And with that, Brooklyn walked over to the prone gargoyle. Turning the unconscious clan leader on his back, Brooklyn reared back and with a sickening squelch thrust his taloned hand into Goliath's chest! Brooklyn grinned wickedly and jerked his hand out of Goliath's ribcage, holding Goliath's still beating heart in his hand! The clan stared, dismay and loathing etched into their faces. Brooklyn, basking in their horror, roared a cry of triumph, crushing the bloody organ in his fist with a loud SQUELCH!
"Goliath is dead!" cried Brooklyn. "And I have won!"
The others stood there in shocked silence, rooted to the ground as if they were stone, unable to grasp the enormity of what had occurred.
A brief thought of dismay flashed through Xanatos' mind. It's finally happened! I never thought I'd see the day...
Hudson was the first to break the silence.
"Goliath...has lost," he said, in a husky voice of grief, "Brooklyn is the new leader of the clan."
As Brooklyn retrieved the amulet from its stone, Gary ran through one of the archways into the courtyard. The rest of the clan turned to face this newcomer as the new clan leader gazed at him in interest.
Gary stood stock still for a moment, amazed at what he was seeing. He had heard rumors of gargoyles in the city ever since the beginning, but he had never put much stock in it. Looks like I'm gonna have to change my position on that! Gary thought wonderingly. As Gary took in the scene, he noticed Goliath's bloody corpse lying off to the side. What in the hell...No! I don't want to know! Looking around, he spotted the amulet around Brooklyn's neck. That's got to be it! I recognize it from somewhere! One of my tomes...
"What are you doing here?" Xanatos asked, interrupting Gary's train of thought.
Gary started at the sudden question. "Me? Umm..."
I can't tell him I'm here because of that amulet! "I'd heard there were gargoyles here." Gary lied quickly. "I've always been interested in the rumors so I decided to see if they were true or not."
Xanatos frowned. He could tell the young man was lying through his teeth. The question was, why? What was he really after?
Brooklyn gazed at the young man in front of him. The amulet allowed him to see a green aura surrounding the man, which meant that the young man was versed in the magical arts. The question was, why would a sorcerer come here? The answer, to Brooklyn, was obvious.
"Have you come for my amulet, sorcerer?" asked Brooklyn.
Gary started at Brooklyn's accusation. How does he know...Of course! The amulet must allow him to see the residual energy around me. He's got a kind of mage sight!
"I simply came to see what was going on." Gary retorted. "That power surge you sent out earlier almost knocked my out of my seat in my apartment. Was I to do nothing?" Gary challenged.
"It might have been the better choice for you, my friend." stated Brooklyn as the amulet began to glow once more.
Damn! He's getting ready to cast! If that amulet's as powerful as I think it is...
Gary began to draw power from the universal energy field.
Brooklyn shot a beam of blue energy from his hands that arched towards Gary.
"Contego!" Gary shouted, his body becoming enshrouded in a green energy field.
The blue ray slammed into Gary's protective shield, knocking him back several feet and fizzling out his energy field.
"Telum!" cried Gary, pointing at Brooklyn. A bolt of green energy shot from his own hand and shot towards Brooklyn.
Brooklyn stood there, smirking. At his mental command, a round field of energy appeared in front of him. Gary's energy bolt slammed into the shield and dissipated. Brooklyn stood there, not even looking concerned. In fact, he looked unnervingly amused.
"Is that the best you can do?" Brooklyn asked arrogantly.
Suddenly, Brooklyn's fingertips began to glow with pink energy. As he gestured towards Gary, the energy shot from his fingertips, becoming bands of energy. Before Gary could react, the magical ropes had wrapped themselves around his arms and body, immobilizing him.
Damnit! This guy's too good! Gotta pull out now while I can!
Brooklyn strolled up to Gary, smirking.
"Say bye-bye!" grinned Brooklyn, getting up in Gary's face.
Gary stared at him grim-faced.
"Lux Lucis!" Shouted Gary, squeezing his eyes shut as he opened his hands, palms upward towards Brooklyn's face.
Suddenly beams of blinding light erupted from Gary's hands, hitting Brooklyn full in the face.
Brooklyn cried out in pain, staggering back. Blinded and unable to hold his concentration, the bands around Gary vanished.
Gary allowed himself a quick grin at Brooklyn's expense. Gotcha, you bastard! Right between the eyes!
Before Brooklyn could recover his sight, Gary placed an image of his apartment room in his mind.
Time to check outta here! Gary told himself.
"Exuro muri et tractus!" He cried. An aura of energy surrounded him with a flash, and when the light disappeared, Gary had vanished...
Damion's muscular bulk was stretched out on the couch in Gary's apartment, reading a book. Every so often a wisp of long blonde hair would fall into his blue eyes, and he would move it away. Though not as studious as his friend, the young man knew such things were necessary from time to time, though he preferred working out and partying to reading dull textbooks. As he turned another page, he let out a bored sigh, wishing something would happen. Suddenly, as Gary appeared in a flash of green light, Damion fell off the couch with a 'thud' onto the floor.
"Jesus, man! Don't do that! What are ya tryin' to do, give me a heart attack?!"
"Shut up Damion." Gary ordered shortly, catching his breath.
Damion had by this time noticed that Gary was slightly out of breath.
"What'd you do bud? Run a marathon or somethin'?"
Gary grimaced at his friend's weak attempt at humor.
"Try fighting in a magical duel."
Damion stared at his friend. "You're kidding, right?"
Gary's cold stare spoke volumes.
"Okay, you're not kidding." Damion murmured. "So who'd you take on anyway?"
"A gargoyle warrior with a really powerful magical amulet." Replied Gary. "If I didn't know better, I'd say that thing used Fey magic!"
Damion shot a questioning look at Gary. Damion didn't understand half of the magical jargon Gary used, but it was cool to listen to.
"Fey. You know, elves. The Third Race."
Damion nodded. He knew vaguely what an elf was, only he called them 'the tall thin dudes with the pointy ears'.
"So these elf guys do magic too, huh?"
"Are you kidding? They have power that makes my spells look like parlor tricks!" Gary exclaimed. "These guys are pure magic! They can do practically anything they want!"
Damion grinned. "Cool! So these guys are, like, super wizards or something, right?"
Gary sighed in exasperation. "Yeah, something like that," he muttered tiredly.
Damion smiled. "So, tell me about this garg guy."
Gary rolled his eyes and began to talk...
Brooklyn watched as the clan picked up their former leader's body and escorted it inside. Brooklyn privately wished the thing had just been tossed over the wall. He smiled as he envisioned the satisfying splat that it would make as it hit the ground. And if it managed to flatten someone underneath it, well...Brooklyn chuckled quietly at the thought.
Lex looked over his shoulder, watching Brooklyn chuckle. He's totally lost it! Lex thought. That amulet drove him nuts and now Goliath is gone! I wonder what he's going to do to the rest of us! Lex shuddered at the thought.
Xanatos stepped forward to address the others.
"If you wish I can have Goliath's body restructured and prepared." Xanatos offered. "That way you will at least be able to give him the proper rites."
Broadway spoke first. "It's the least we can do," he reasoned.
Lex nodded in agreement with his rookery brother.
Hudson finally spoke. "Verra well Xanatos. We'd be appreciating ana'thing you could do to help."
Xanatos nodded and reached into his coat pocket, and taking out a cellular phone, dialed a three-digit number.
"Owen? I need the medical team to bring up a gurney right away."
Xanatos replaced the phone in his pocket.
"The medical staff should be here in a moment. I'll have them do the...alterations...in one of the labs." Xanatos paused for a moment. "In the interest of holding up morale, I'd suggest you not view the process."
The clan nodded in understanding. None of them had any desire to watch their leader be stapled together like a piece of cloth.
The medical team soon arrived and took possession of Goliath's body, and covering it with a white plastic sheet, wheeled it away.
The clan walked towards their living space provided for them by Xanatos and began to mechanically engage in various activities. Lex logged onto the Internet and began looking at web pages. Hudson walked over to his recliner and sat down heavily in it. Turning on the television, he turned to a channel at random and stared at the screen without really watching it. Broadway and Angela tried to find comfort in books, while Bronx lay by Hudson's recliner, a sad look on his face, his webbed ears drooping.
All heads turned as Brooklyn walked into the room, and the temperature seemed to drop ten degrees.
Brooklyn looked around him, noting all the hostile faces.
Something tells me this motley crew won't follow my orders willingly. Perhaps I should forego the niceties and subvert them now. Still...no harm in trying. Let's see if the rational approach works...
Brooklyn folded his wings around himself, his previously hard face softening into the face the old Brooklyn had used.
"Umm...look everyone. I know you don't agree with what I did and I don't blame you." said Brooklyn, in an ashamed tone of voice. "I know my battle rage got the better of me and I can't expect you to forgive me for that, but I felt that, in the end, this was for the best as far as the clan was concerned."
Hudson glared at Brooklyn. "I dinna agree! He was the best leader this clan ever had!"
Brooklyn nodded in a seemingly shameful way.
"Hudson, your right. He was a great leader. In his own time. But this is the 20th Century. We need a leader that's more...progressive. Someone better able to adapt to the changes of this century. Goliath just wasn't willing to change." Brooklyn shrugged.
"So ye killed him just because he dinna change fast enough for ye!" The scorn was plain in the elder's voice.
Brooklyn sighed. "It was an honorable match, Hudson. You know that. Goliath could just have easily killed me and stayed leader." Brooklyn grimaced. "And I've got the scars to prove he wasn't pulling his punches." Of course, with the amulet feeding me strength and resistance to pain, there's no way he could have won anyway, but... In his mind Brooklyn chuckled. He refocused his attention on the clan.
"I won't assign patrols for a few nights. We all need some time to mourn his passing. But never forget that he died honorably. All I ask is that you guys treat me with the same respect you did Goliath." After passing a meaningful glance at each member of the clan, Brooklyn exited the room and walked down the corridor.
A very nice line of bullshit if I do say so myself! Brooklyn thought, chuckling to himself. If that doesn't turn them loyal to me...well there's always subversion. Brooklyn continued walking down the hall, a small, confident smile on his face...
"And that's what happened." concluded Gary.
Damion shook his head in amazement.
"And you think that this gargoyle wizard is the one who's going to make that prophecy of yours come true?"
"It's not my prophecy, but yeah, pretty much." admitted Gary, a grim look on his face.
"Okay then," Damion replied. "All you have to do is kill this guy and that prophecy goes out the window."
Gary glared at his friend. "Didn't you hear what I told you? This gargoyle has more magic in his little finger then I have in my whole body! He'd kill me in an instant if he wanted!"
Damion smiled. "So don't use magic. Like you're always quoting that assassin you read about in those books, no matter how powerful the wizard, a knife between his shoulder blades will seriously cramp his style."
Gary smiled at his friend. "You know, there are times when you're actually good for something."
Damion grinned at the friendly jibe. "See? I'm not so useless after all."
2 weeks later
Brooklyn watched as the rest of the clan left on their patrol assignments. Brooklyn himself had stayed behind, as usual, to guard the castle. The gargoyle frowned to himself.
They're getting more uncooperative everyday. Apparently my little explanation didn't help. So...looks like we do it the hard way. Brooklyn walked back into the castle, running the last few weeks events through his mind. Goliath's funeral had gone off without a hitch. Xanatos's staff had restored Goliath's body to its previous good looks, covering up the hole Brooklyn's hand had made.
He chuckled as that scene came to the surface, replaying in his head. Damn, but I was horrific! That was my finest hour! And the look on their faces!...
Continuing his replay of the last few week's events, he recalled that throughout the entire ceremony, whenever one of the clan had stepped forward to speak of Goliath, their gaze always turned towards him in an icy stare. Not that it concerned him. Within a night or two the clan would be completely under his control and he would be able to put the next stage of his plans into action...
The phone on Xanatos' desk rang for attention. The billionaire looked up from his papers and picked up the receiver.
"My name is Gary." The voice on the other line stated. "I'd like to apologize for starting that magical duel in your castle the other night."
Xanatos suddenly recalled the young man who had fought Brooklyn that night.
"Apology accepted. But something tells me that's not your only reason for calling." Xanatos replied.
"Yes...Something tells me that gargoyle with the amulet is becoming a rather bothersome guest."
"Something like that," replied Xanatos drily.
"If you will allow me to visit your castle again, say tomorrow night, I might be able to...'evict' him for you."
Xanatos raised an intrigued eyebrow at the implication.
"Even if you could do such a thing, which I doubt, what's stopping me from simply smashing him during the day?"
On the other end Gary smiled to himself.
"You obviously tried that already and failed, I presume. The amulet formed some sort of protective shield around him, perhaps?"
Xanatos grimaced at this. Gary had been right, of course. Neither him nor Owen had managed to damage Brooklyn during the day or even remove the amulet from around his neck. Even Puck had tried once and failed, getting his hair singed in the process. But there was no reason to tell Gary about his failure.
"Very well...Gary. I'll meet you in the lobby tomorrow night and we can discuss the...finer points of the deal."
"Tomorrow night then. Have a good night." The phone clicked.
Xanatos replaced the receiver and swiveled his chair around, pensively gazing at the Manhattan skyline.
The clan glided back into the courtyard and filed into the living area. Brooklyn watched, unseen, from a side corridor. A slight smile curved formed on his beaked face as he watched them file in.
As Lex turned the corner, Brooklyn emerged from the corridor and placed his hand on Lex's shoulder, causing the small gargoyle to nearly jump out of his skin.
"Easy, Lex. I just need to talk to you for a minute." Brooklyn told him in a soothing tone of voice.
Lex eyed Brooklyn suspiciously but followed his rookery brother down the hall and into an adjacent room. Brooklyn closed the door of the small sitting room behind Lex and motioned him into one of the chairs. Lex took his place in one of the chairs and Brooklyn sat opposite, facing him. Brooklyn appeared to be collecting his thoughts, when he suddenly looked up at Lex a haunted look in his eyes.
"What do you think of me?" Brooklyn asked him.
Lex started slightly at this.
"Umm...I'm not sure what you..." stammered Lex.
"I'm not going to rip your head off, bro. I swear. I want your honest opinion."
Lexington swallowed nervously.
"I don't know Brooklyn." Lex replied unhappily. "I just don't understand what's happened to you! I-It's like..."
Brooklyn gazed at him. "Yeah?"
Lex swallowed hard. "It's like you've turned into...some kind of...monster." Lex squeezed his eyes shut in fear.
Brooklyn face clenched in exertion. "It's the amulet!" he whispered.
Lex opened his eyes in surprise. "What?"
"It's the damn amulet!" whispered Brooklyn hoarsely, fighting for control. "It's like the Eye of Odin! I put it on...and it...changed me! Can't...control it! Made me kill...Goliath!" Tears began to run down Brooklyn's ruddy cheeks.
Lex walked over to him.
"Let me get the others! We can get it off you!"
"No!" Brooklyn cried. "C-can't...won't let you!...too strong!" He stared at Lex, with horror in his eyes. "Get out of here! Get the clan out of...!" Suddenly Brooklyn's body convulsed and his face became calm again.
Lex had begun to back away from his possessed brother when Brooklyn suddenly looked up at him.
"It's okay Lex." Brooklyn smiled chillingly. "I'm okay now. You can sit down, I'm not going to hurt you."
As Lex backed away from Brooklyn, he leaped from the chair and grabbed Lex by the shoulders.
"Look at me!" Brooklyn commanded.
Unable to break free from his brother's vice-like grip, Lexington squeezed his eyes shut and turned his head to the side.
Brooklyn grabbed the sides of Lex's head and forced it to face him.
"LOOK AT ME!" Brooklyn shouted.
Lex cracked his eyelids, tears streaming down his face in fear.
Brooklyn's eyes began to glow white, then suddenly, they changed to an electric blue.
"Look at me." Brooklyn intoned.
Lex's eyes slowly opened wider.
"You will obey me," continued Brooklyn, in monotone. "You will absorb my will. You will be consumed with my purpose!"
"Yes..." Lexington whispered.
Suddenly, Lexington's eyes began to glow with the same unearthly light as Brooklyn's.
"You will obey me in all things and obey no other but me. Do you understand?" asked Brooklyn softly.
Brooklyn smiled. "The Latin word for lord and master, how very apt." Soon everyone will call me by that title, Brooklyn told himself.
The glow in Lex's eyes faded to be replaced with his normal pupils.
"Retrieve Broadway. He shall be the next to be subverted." Ordered Brooklyn.
Lexington bowed to him. "As you command, Dominus."
Lexington left, closing the door behind him.
Brooklyn smiled to himself. Perfect. Just the right amount of control. Slaved to me, but able to make small decisions on his own. And he keeps his personality. The ruddy gargoyle chuckled, congratulating himself on his ingenuity.
A few minutes later, Lexington stuck his head around the door. "Broadway is here."
"Send him in."
Gary and Damion sat in the apartment finalizing what Damion had loosely called a plan. Gary had considered bringing his other two friends, Mark and Anne in on it, but decided that, at the moment, it would be best to keep this between himself and Damion; the fewer people who knew about it, the better. Damion leaned back in his chair and reviewed the plan for the last time.
"So, basically you're gonna meet Xanatos in the lobby, he's gonna take you up to the castle, you're gonna sneak around and when you find the gargoyle, stab him in the back. Right?"
Gary nodded. "That's basically the idea."
Damion shook his head. "This is nuts."
Gary grimaced. "I know, but it's the best I could come up with on short notice. And considering I won't be able to use magic..."
Damion suddenly grinned. "Just think. If nothing else, you'll get to meet David Xanatos again!" Damion chuckled. "I can see him inviting you over for tea on weekend, picking you up in his limo!"
Gary rolled his eyes. "Yeah, right. And you might grow a rudimentary brain in the process."
Damion just grinned. "One day, maybe."
Gary glanced at his watch. "I guess I'd better get going. No sense in putting it off any longer."
Damion clapped him on the shoulder. "Good luck, man." He said gravely.
Gary nodded and walked out the door, leaving Damion to his worries...
The clan erupted from their stone shells, letting out an animalistic roar of fury. But instead of going off in various directions as they had done for almost four years, they instead followed Brooklyn inside. The others followed Brooklyn into the living space and took their seats, facing him.
"You all know what I expect of you?" Asked Brooklyn. As he turned his gaze on each member of the clan, each responded with a nod and the same response.
Brooklyn nodded, satisfied.
"Good. Tonight I will put the second stage into operation. You will aid me in any way I require, regardless of what it is."
"Yes, Dominus!" The clan cried with one voice...
Gary entered the lobby of the Eyrie building. This time the guard let him pass without a word, eyeing Gary nervously. As Gary walked towards the elevator doors, one of them opened and Xanatos stepped out.
"Good evening Mr. Faldora." Smiled Xanatos, walking up to him and shaking his hand.
Gary shook Xanatos's hand but looked at it as if it were a serpent.
"Umm...how did you know my last name?"
Xanatos smiled. "Phone tracers are wonderful devices, aren't they?" He asked in a conversational tone of voice.
Gary smiled at this. "Shall we get down to business?"
Xanatos nodded. "Certainly. Come with me." The two men entered the elevator from which Xanatos had emerged. As the doors closed behind them, Xanatos directed his attention on Gary.
"You have everything you need?" Xanatos asked.
Gary nodded. "I haven't practiced any magic since the fight, so there shouldn't be any residual energy around me for him to sense. Nor is the knife enchanted in any way."
"You realize you have very little chance of succeeding in this?"
Gary nodded slightly.
"I know. But it's the only chance we've got. I don't suppose you can provide some backup for me in case I run into a snag?"
A thoughtful look crossed Xanatos's face for a moment.
"I do have one or two things...but Brooklyn would make short work of them. You'd have only a few moments to get out."
"A few moments are all I'd need."
With that, the doors opened and the two men stepped out into the reception area. Xanatos reached into his pocket for his phone and dialed Owen's private number.
"Owen? I need some of the units brought on line and ready to act on my command... About five or six should do." Xanatos shut off the phone and replaced it in his pocket.
"Units?" Gary asked him questioningly.
Xanatos smiled. "I call them the Steel Clan. You might meet them later, depending on how this works out."
Gary nodded absently, scanning for the magical emanations from Brooklyn's amulet.
His eyes narrowed.
"Found him." Gary pointed towards one of the doors. "That way."
"I'll join you in a few minutes after I change into something more...appropriate." And with that, walked through one of the adjoining doorways.
Fine time to change clothes! Gary thought grumpily, as he made his way towards the other doorway.
Brooklyn walked down one of the castle's corridors immersed in thought. Iron. Iron is the key. He glanced down at the amulet, frowning. Unfortunately this thing can't summon, create, or have anything to do with iron since the structural makeup of iron disrupts and blocks the energy wavelengths of fey magic. So I need to carry it around with me...a dagger or spike perhaps... A pair of eyes watched Brooklyn walk down the corridor, a black knife clutched in his hand. As he prepared to rush Brooklyn, a small figure jumped from a side corridor and grabbed Gary's arms, holding his wrists behind him. Brooklyn spun around at the disturbance behind him. As he stared at the intruder, the amulet glowed brightly and his eye ridges suddenly raised in recognition.
"You! What are you doing here?!" Brooklyn cried.
Gary smiled uneasily.
"Uhh...would you believe Xanatos invited me over for tea?" he grinned.
Brooklyn growled quietly at the remark. "Not in the slightest."
Gary's face fell. "Didn't think so. Oh, well. Worth a try I suppose," the sorcerer remarked, shifting his stance a bit.
Brooklyn turned his back to Gary and rubbed a horn.
"Now the question becomes, what do we do with you? And don't try using that light spell on me again. Or any other spell for that matter. I've placed a field of disruption around you. You can't draw enough power to light a match."
Gary knew he didn't have to check. He knew the gargoyle was too smart to bluff about something like that.
Gary licked his dry lips. "Well, I don't know what you're going to do with me, but I'm sure it won't be-"
Suddenly Gary smashed his boot heel down on Lex's foot, causing the smaller gargoyle to cry out in pain and his grip to loosen just enough for Gary to break free. As Brooklyn turned, Gary reached back and threw the knife towards Brooklyn. Brooklyn ducked at the last second, the blade embedding itself into his left shoulder. Brooklyn roared and jerked the bloody knife out of his body, throwing it onto the ground.
"You're dead sorcerer!" He yelled, holding his hand to his wounded shoulder. "Dead!"
Suddenly a beam of red light shot through the air, catching Brooklyn in the thigh.
The wounded gargoyle dropped to one knee as the amulet created an energy shield around him. Gary and Lex both turned to see five large gargoyle-like robots standing in the corridor, laser weapons extended from their forearms. Before Lex could react, one of the other robots fired at him, hitting the diminutive gargoyle in the chest, knocking him to the ground, unconscious, as the others began firing at Brooklyn. Xanatos emerged from behind the robots encased in his own red exosuit.
Gary stood up. "Nice outfit."
Xanatos simply smiled. "I only wear it on special occasions."
An inhuman roar issued from behind Gary. As he turned to face Brooklyn, one of the Steel Clan erupted into an explosion of fire and debris. Gary had encased himself and Xanatos within a force field of his own when he realized the disruption field had vanished
Gotta work on that concentration, Brook ol' boy. Gary smiled to himself.
Gary and Xanatos made their way around the robots, while Gary attempted to hold his shield in place while moving as quickly as possible. As soon as they rounded a corner, Gary allowed his shield to dissipate. Xanatos turned to him.
"I think it would be best if you left," he told Gary.
"Maybe I can help you..." protested Gary.
Xanatos shook his head.
"You won't get another chance to hurt him. He's too strong. Get out of here while you can!" Xanatos ordered.
Gary nodded and, with a moment's concentration, teleported out. Xanatos stood there for a moment, composing himself, then rushed off to find Owen.
Brooklyn stood over the remains of the five robots he had dismembered. As his battle rage left him, his right leg and left shoulder began to throb in pain. The wounded gargoyle grimaced and concentrated, attempting to block out the worst of it.
The rest of the clan hurried in a moment later as Lex was regaining consciousness.
Angela walked up to him and placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Are you alright, Dominus?" She asked concerned.
"Do I look alright?" Brooklyn snarled in response. "That damn wizard tried to knife me!" He turned to Lex, his eyes glowing in fury. "You were all but useless! If it hadn't been for my reflexes, I'd probably be dead by now!" White light shot from Brooklyn's eyes and into Lex's own. The small green gargoyle howled in pain as the energy flowed through him, setting his nerve endings on fire. Lex collapsed onto the floor, his body jerking in pain. As Brooklyn passed a glowing hand over his wounds, they began to heal themselves.
"Let this be a lesson to all of you!" Brooklyn stared balefully at the others, his eyes glowing white-hot.
The clan members lowered their heads in shame.
Brooklyn pointed to Lex's prone body.
"Pick him up and take him to the living quarters. He's no use to us like this."
Angela and Broadway bowed their heads in acquiescence and, picking up Lexington's body removed it from the corridor. A few minutes later they returned and bowed to Brooklyn.
"Lexington is secure, Dominus." Reported Angela.
Brooklyn nodded his wounds now completely healed. He turned to address the others.
"We move on Xanatos now!"
Gary appeared in his room, this time only slightly suprising Damion.
"Well? Did it work?" Damion asked eagerly.
Gary shook his head tiredly.
"I didn't count on his reflexes being so fast. I only got him in the shoulder."
Damion grimaced and placed a hand on Gary's shoulder.
"Hey, man. You did your best."
"But it wasn't enough!" retorted Gary, brushing away his friend's hand. "I wasn't able to halt the prophecy! The world as we know it could come to an end because I failed tonight!"
"Maybe Xanatos can stop him. I mean, the guy's got money coming out of his ass! He could just buy an A-bomb and blow up the sucker or something."
"That's assuming he lives through the night." Gary replied. "His robots helped me get away from Brooklyn tonight. And Brooklyn isn't the kind of guy to let that slide. He's probably going after Xanatos right now..."
The doors to the large gym exploded inwards in a shower of wood and glass. Brooklyn strode into the large vaulted room with the clan following behind.
"XANATOS!" Brooklyn roared. "WHERE ARE YOU?!"
"Right here!" Replied Xanatos from on top of one of the rafters.
Suddenly an annoyingly chipper voice rang out.
"Don't forget about me, Brooky!" Puck shouted from another rafter, floating in mid-air in a crossed-legged position.
Brooklyn growled deep in his throat.
"You've made fun of me for the last time, trickster!"
Puck smirked at the irate gargoyle.
"Ohh, look at me! I'm shaking in my boots!" Puck teased.
Brooklyn snarled loudly and fired a bolt of blue energy from his fist at the annoying Fey.
Suddenly Puck vanished, the bolt splitting the rafter beyond.
"Is that the best you can do, Brooky?" came Puck's voice from the opposite end of the room.
Brooklyn snarled and turned to the clan.
"Take down Xanatos, but don't kill him! I want him alive!"
"Yes Dominus!" Angela replied and began scaling the walls, the rest of the clan following her.
Suddenly a bolt of magical energy shot from the rafters towards Brooklyn, who deflected it easily with his own shield. He turned to smirk at Puck.
"Is that the best you can do, Pucky?" Brooklyn jabbed.
Puck frowned slightly at this.
"You brought this on yourself, Brooky!" cried Puck, who began throwing a shower of energy balls at Brooklyn. But Brooklyn's protective shield managed to block them, as he ran towards the opposite wall and began to scale it. Puck simply smiled at this as he gestured. Suddenly the wall which Brooklyn was climbing became as slick as oil. Brooklyn lost his finger holds in the wall and crashed to the floor, allowing Puck a laugh at his expense.
Meanwhile, the clan had scaled the opposite wall and began traversing the rafters in an attempt to subdue Xanatos. The industrialist watched each of them for a moment, calculating, then pointed his wrist cannon at the nearest gargoyle-Angela-and fired, hitting her in the leg. The lavender gargoyle cried out in pain as her leg collapsed beneath her, taking her down on one knee. Xanatos fixed a vicious stare on the others.
"Come any closer and the same thing will happen to you!" he warned.
Broadway narrowed his eyes at the statement. He glanced over at Hudson and nodded. The elder gargoyle returned the nod and both stood ready. Xanatos looked at the two of them, Broadway facing him at 1:00 and Hudson at 5:00. Suddenly Hudson bellowed a war cry, and with his sword upraised, charged Xanatos. Xanatos spun to meet Hudson's attack when suddenly a massive body slammed into him from the side, knocking him out of the rafters.
Broadway! Ahgh! I was a fool! Xanatos scolded himself, just before he landed on the gym mat below...
Brooklyn glared up at Puck.
"Laugh while you can trickster! You won't get another chance!" Brooklyn shouted.
Puck yawned dramatically at this statement. "Yeah, yeah. Whatever...Brooky!" The Fey smirked at him again, enraging the gargoyle even further.
I might as well end this now before he actually gets an original idea! Puck snorted arrogantly to himself.
"Powerful gargoyle, heed my say! May your body now turn to stone, I pray!" Puck chanted. A powerful wave of energy shot from Puck's outstretched hands and flew towards Brooklyn. Brooklyn watched the wave approaching, and raising a hand, spoke a single word.
The magical wave suddenly shuddered and flew apart. Brooklyn lowered his hand and smirked at Puck.
Sweat began to form on Puck's brow. Ohh...boy! Maybe I shouldn't have called him Brooky that last time...
Xanatos struggled to stand. Unfortunately, the exosuit was extremely bulky and heavy. Never mind the fact that he had just fallen at least thirty feet from the rafters to the floor
I'm lucky I didn't snap my neck. Xanatos thought sourly. As he got up on one knee, Hudson and Broadway dived from the rafters towards him.
Oh, this is going to be unpleasant! Xanatos thought sardonically as the two gargoyles slammed on top of him, knocking him unconscious...
Gary was looking out the window of his apartment, a grim look on his face. Damion walked over to him.
"You okay, man?" He asked.
"It's started. They're throwing enough magical power around in there to do ten Major Summonings at once."
Damion whistled. He knew roughly how much power it took to do one of those summonings. If these guys were throwing around ten times that much...
"You could light up Manhattan for a year with that much power!" Damion exclaimed.
Gary nodded grimly.
"I just wonder if there's going to be anything left standing at the end of all this..."
Puck was not having a good day. Practically every spell he had attempted to cast on Brooklyn, the gargoyle had dissipated with relative ease. Puck was now beginning to get a bit desperate, having resorted to dropping heavy summoned objects on Brooklyn, including a Holstein cow and an anvil. Both of which Brooklyn had managed to dodge. By this time, the room was a wreck; the walls being covered with scorch marks from energy bolts and the floorboards warped and smashed from the various objects Puck had summoned.
At least Brooklyn hasn't managed to lay a finger on me yet! Puck thought to himself, clutching at straws. While Brooklyn had thrown his share of energy bolts and various flying weapons, Puck had managed to dodge them all fairly easily. The brace of homing knives had been a bit of a problem, though...
Brooklyn gritted his teeth at the annoying Fey. Even with the amulet feeding him strength and power, all this casting and jumping around was starting to make him tired.
If I get too tired, I'll start getting sloppy! And I can't afford that! I need an edge somehow...Ah! Brooklyn grinned to himself, then looked up at the flying elf above him.
"You stay here! I'll be back in a minute!" Brooklyn shouted to him, and vanished in a flash of light.
Puck grimaced. I'd better follow him to make sure he doesn't make any more trouble! Puck magically scanned the castle and picked up Brooklyn's amulet in a room down the hall. Muttering a quick incantation, he teleported.
Brooklyn materialized in one of Xanatos's display rooms. Ancient weapons of various sorts lined the walls and occupied glass cases. Looking around at various weapons, Brooklyn smiled to himself.
Almost all of these weapons are made of steel or iron. Perfect! Brooklyn walked over to a cache of iron-tipped spears and selected one. Reminds me of the old days in Scotland, when I was...
Suddenly Brooklyn's body shuddered. Memories of an earlier time came to him.
I didn't have the amulet back then...Back then I wasn't a horrible monster...
Tears welled up in Brooklyn's eyes.
RELEASE ME! Let me go! he cried.
(Oh no, Brooklyn) came a soothing, crooning voice from within. (We have much more to do...)
Let me go, damnit! Or I'll...
(You'll what?) asked the voice mockingly. (Use the amulet on yourself? I think not. I am the amulet Brooklyn. Or rather, what is within the amulet...)
Suddenly Puck appeared in the room with a flash. Puck quickly located Brooklyn standing near one of the spear racks, leaning on one of the spears.
That fight must have tired him out! Puck thought. One good hit...
Suddenly an aura of white energy surrounded Brooklyn as his eyes flared like small suns.
"MEDDLING FEY! YOU SHALL NOT INTERFERE!" Cried a roaring inhuman voice from Brooklyn's mouth.
Puck jumped back at this outburst. That wasn't Brooklyn! Puck realized. Of course! I was a fool not to remember!...
Brooklyn fired a huge twin blast of energy from his fists towards the fey. Puck teleported out and reappeared on Brooklyn's left about 20 feet away, as the energy bolts incinerated glass cases and smashed through one of the stone walls.
"You couldn't just stay locked in your amulet and behave like a good little demon, Kl-Torach!" scolded Puck. "Noooo! You had to possess poor Brooklyn here!" Puck's eyes began to glow with unearthly energy. "Release him." Puck ordered the demon. "Now!"
Kl-Torach smirked through Brooklyn's mouth. "AND YOU PLAN ON STOPPING ME, LITTLE FEY?" The demon chuckled. "MY POWER IS GREATER THEN ANYTHING YOU COULD IMAGINE!"
Puck grimaced at this.
"I can imagine a lot, Kl-Torach." Replied Puck. "Now release Brooklyn, or do I have to call big daddy Oberon and the kids like we did the last time you misbehaved? Only this time, we'll stick you and that amulet into an alternate plane, rather then bury it like we did the last time."
Brooklyn/Kl-Torach roared with laughter.
"YOU CANNOT SUMMON OBERON! EVERYTHING THIS PITIFUL GARGOYLE KNOWS, I KNOW! AND SO I KNOW ABOUT YOUR BANISHMENT FROM THE MYSTICAL ISLE!"
Puck snarled to himself. Damn.
"Then I guess I'll have to do it myself!" With that, Puck fired a bolt of energy towards the possessed gargoyle.
Brooklyn just laughed as the energy impacted with his aura and was absorbed.
"THIS FOOL GARGOYLE MERELY THOUGHT I WAS A FEY ARTIFACT LIKE ODIN'S EYE, AND SO HE USED ME THUS! BUT I AM FAR MORE! YOUR PUNY MAGIC CANNOT HARM ME!"
Puck's eyes narrowed. My magic might not do much against him in his true form, but destroy the host body or drive him out and he has to go back to that little bauble of his! Hopefully I can...
Brooklyn interrupted Puck's musings by throwing the iron spear at him with incredible speed, as the aura vanished from around him. Puck barely managed to dodge in time, the spear grazing his tunic as it imbedded itself in a nearby wall.
"Now that wasn't very nice!" Puck pouted, with a slight smirk. "Looks like I gotta teach you some manners!"
Puck gestured and the stones in the floor rose up to become a huge stone hand. The animated stone hand grabbed Brooklyn and began to crush him.
If this doesn't drive Kl-Torach out...Puck thought to himself.
The possessed gargoyle's face contorted in pain as he felt his ribs crack under the pressure. Must...concentrate...Focus!...
Suddenly Brooklyn screamed in pain and rage. Power surged from his body shattering the stone hand and dropping him to the floor. Brooklyn gripped his sides in pain, barely able to breathe, his narrowed eyes blurred with tears.
"You...will pay...for that!" grated Brooklyn raspingly.
Puck smirked. "Umm-hmm. Sure." Puck pointed a finger at Brooklyn. "Begone!"
Brooklyn screamed in agony as Puck's spell attempted to pull Kl-Torach from Brooklyn's body. The red gargoyle collapsed onto the floor, his body convulsing.
Get out of me! Brooklyn screamed mentally.
(Never!) Kl-Torach raged in reply, attempting to fight Puck's spell. (I will see you in the Abyss first!)
Then I guess I'll see you in Hell! Brooklyn mentally shouted.
Kl-Torach laughed cruelly at this. (All in good time...but first...)
As Brooklyn began drawing energy from the amulet, Puck satisfied smile began to fall.
He should have been exorcised by now! He must want Brook awful badly to stay in him like this!
As Puck watched, Brooklyn slowly got to his knees, his face twisted with concentration and pain. As the amulet began to glow, Brooklyn grated out a command.
"Bye the magical power which flows through my hand, let this enchantment end, I command!"
As Puck's spell dissipated, Brooklyn slowly stood and stared at Puck balefully.
Puck swallowed nervously. I think I'm in trouble! Better get while the gettin' good!
Suddenly Brooklyn leaped across the floor and grabbed another of the iron spears. Spinning around to face Puck, Brooklyn fired a bolt of energy towards the fey's right. As Puck dodged, Brooklyn threw the spear through the air, the head ripping into Puck's stomach. The wounded fey collapsed to the ground in pain, his body becoming shriveled and thin. Brooklyn breathed an internal sigh of relief.
Now to put an end to this meddlesome shape shifter!
Brooklyn walked over to the quivering elf, and with an air of finality, began to chant.
"Powers great and powers small, help me make my enemy fall. May he be banished this very day, to a place of total nothingness, I pray. His powers be now stripped, I say, may he not regain them till time passes away. May his banishment now commence, fade away to your eternal rest!"
As Brooklyn ended the chant, Puck vanished, never to return...
Gary sat at the table, pouring through his various tomes and books. Damion sat beside him, scanning similar books.
"What exactly are we looking for anyway?" Damion asked.
"We're looking for a round amulet with jewels in it." Gary replied. "That's the thing Brooklyn wears around his neck. If we can find it in here, maybe we can find its weaknesses."
"Assuming it has weaknesses." Damion muttered to himself, turning a page.
As Gary turned the page, he grinned.
"Found it!" he exclaimed, looking at a diagram.
Damion looked over Gary's shoulder. "What is it?"
"The amulet of Kl-Torach! I knew I'd seen it somewhere before!" Gary smiled.
Damion looked at the picture of the amulet.
"Cool! So that's what it looks like." Damion scanned the colored sketch. "Nice trinket."
Gary nodded. "A damn powerful trinket. This thing has enough power to take on Oberon himself."
"Who the hell is Oberon?" Damion asked.
Gary looked at his friend. "Remember those elves I was telling you about?"
Damion nodded. "Those super wizards with the pointy ears, yeah."
Gary grimaced at the description. "Yes. Anyway, all of them are magic users, but the royal court of the elves is the most powerful of all. They include Puck, their servant, the queen Titania, and the king, Oberon."
Damion's eyes widened at this. "Just how much power does this Oberon guy have?" he asked, incredulously.
Gary grimaced. "He's practically a demi-god. This guy can do almost anything he wants. And he has absolute control over the other fey."
Damion shook his head in wonderment. "Man, I'd hate to see that guy pissed! And you're saying Brooklyn's as powerful as he is?"
Gary shook his head. "Almost. His power is equal to that of Puck, but the amulet can apparently absorb fey magic, since they made it."
Damion let out a large breath. "What else does the book say?"
Gary continued scanning the page.
"According to the text, the amulet was originally made to be a prison for a powerful demon known as Kl-Torach. Apparently the demon wanted to take over the Fey race. And he almost won. According to this, Oberon fought him to a standstill and the other Fey managed to bind him with their magic and encase him within the amulet using Fey wards inscribed into the amulet. After they imprisoned him inside it, they buried it somewhere in the 'mortal realm'. Hoping it would never be found again."
Damion grimaced. "Only it was found. By Xanatos."
"I guess that nagging I kept feeling was him trying to activate the amulet. But apparently it didn't suit Kl-Torach. For some reason, he chose Brooklyn."
Damion frowned. "Why would it matter? A body's a body."
Gary shrugged. "Could be any number of things. Kl-Torach might have an affinity for the gargoyle form or because Brooklyn may have an innate talent for magic..."
"Or maybe Brooklyn just looks demonic enough." Damion smiled. "From the way you described his looks."
Gary scowled at the quip.
His friend quickly changed the subject. "Does the book say anything about weaknesses?"
Gary scanned the page. "Nope. It was only supposed to be used as a prison, not for casting spells, although it could be used that way, apparently.
Damion sighed. "So what do we do now?"
"We wait." Gary replied.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door. Gary got up and walked over to the door and opened it, revealing a slender dark-haired woman dressed in jeans and a red jacket.
Gary raised an eyebrow. "Yes?"
"Mind if I come in?" The woman asked.
Gary frowned. "And you are...?"
"Detective Elisa Maza, NYPD. We need to talk about a mutual friend of ours..."
Brooklyn returned to the living area after banishing Puck. On the way, he grabbed an apple from a nearby table and began munching. As he entered the room, he found Xanatos, divested of his exosuit, and bound to a chair, the clan sitting around him. Brooklyn smirked at this and tossed the apple core aside.
"Looks like Santa Claus came early this year." He chuckled.
Xanatos merely glared. "Where is Puck?"
"You needn't worry about him." Brooklyn replied. "He's taking a permanent vacation in the land of nothingness."
Xanatos sighed to himself.
"I presume you're going to kill me like you killed Goliath." Xanatos replied.
Brooklyn quirked a smile.
"Of course not." he replied. "You're much too valuable for me to do that. Subversion should be sufficient."
"A fate worse then death." Xanatos muttered, looking at the subverted clan.
Brooklyn chuckled quietly.
"Oh, it's not all that bad. The nice thing about my kind of subversion is it makes the one subverted happy to serve me." Brooklyn gestured to the clan. "For them, it's a joy to serve me. It's almost a kind of religious fanaticism."
"Interesting. You could make a fortune in employee morale improvement."
Brooklyn chuckled at this.
"True. But why bother, when soon everyone is going to be my 'employee'?"
Xanatos rolled his eyes at this.
"I think someone's been watching too much 'Pinky and the Brain'." He replied.
Brooklyn smirked and patted Xanatos on the shoulder.
"Never lose your sense of humor. I'd love to keep this up but the night is waning and I still have much to do." Brooklyn stepped up to Xanatos.
Xanatos attempted to remain outwardly calm.
"No need to hurry on my account. I'm sure you've got plenty of other things to occupy your time."
Brooklyn smiled slightly.
"Nothing as important as this." Brooklyn's eyes began to glow with blue light. "Look into my eyes..." he droned.
Gary sat on the couch, as he listened to the police detective beside him finish her story.
"And that's how I know Xanatos and the gargoyles." She concluded.
Gary sighed quietly. "Detective, this has been very interesting, but how did you find me?"
"I got a call from Owen Burnett, suggesting I should come here and talk to you." Elisa replied. "He also told me you had met with Xanatos earlier." She smiled slightly. "The man actually sounded a bit frantic."
Gary nodded. "He had every right to be."
At that statement Elisa frowned. "Now that I've told you my life story, it's your turn. Why would Xanatos be meeting with a college senior? And please, don't try 'job interview'."
Gary shook his head. "You might not believe me..."
Elisa smiled. "Listen pal, after what I've been through nothing would surprise me."
Gary sighed. "Very well...for one thing, I'm a practicing sorcerer."
Elisa raised an eyebrow at the statement. "So what exactly can you do?"
Gary clasped his hands behind his head. "I can do various spells, such as simple magical attacks, limited teleportation, energy manipulation, that sort of thing. And if I have the time and equipment I can summon other dimensional beings to this plane."
Elisa nodded thoughtfully. "So, can any of that work against Brooklyn?"
Gary looked at her. "What exactly do you know about this situation, anyway?"
Elisa shrugged slightly. "All I know is that Brooklyn found some necklace or other a few weeks ago. He started to look at it a lot. I haven't been able to get over to the castle since. I'm assuming that thing, whatever it is, was more then just attractive to look at."
Gary nodded. "That 'necklace' is actually a magical artifact made by the Fey. You know about them?"
Elisa grimaced. "I've meet them on a couple of occasions."
Gary's eyes widened a bit. "If you ever feel like making introductions, let me know. Anyway, the amulet gave him enough power to take on Puck, and maybe win."
A slightly shocked look appeared on the detective's face.
"What about the clan? Couldn't they do anything about it?"
Gary shook his head. "The first time I went up there I found myself at the tail end of a fight between Brooklyn and one of the clan members. I guess Brooklyn won, considering the shape the body was in." Gary grimaced in disgust.
Damion suddenly noticed that the police detective's hands had begun to tremble slightly. He looked up at Gary. "Which one was it?" he asked grimly.
Gary shrugged. "I don't know. All I know is it was a big sucker with purple skin."
Suddenly Damion's eyes grew larger. "Hey Detective! You okay?"
Gary looked over at Elisa concerned. Her pale complexion and trembling told him that she wasn't well. Gary placed a hand on her shoulder.
"Are you alright? What's wrong?"
"Goliath." Elisa whispered hoarsely.
Gary looked at her in surprise for a moment, and then the realization dawned...
"Oh my god..." Gary whispered. "You knew him, didn't you? Personally."
Elisa nodded, tears welling in her eyes.
Gary closed his eyes sadly...
One month later
Brooklyn rode the elevator down towards one of the Eyrie Building's sub-basements. After converting Xanatos and his family, Brooklyn had managed to subvert everyone in the building, including the Xanacorp corporate guard. Through Xanatos, Brooklyn controlled every aspect of the international corporation; various scientific institutions had been converted into weapons R&D plants, while others had become manufacturers for specific heavy particle beam weapons as well as building Brooklyn's Steel Clan army. According to his specifications, everything produced was to be sheathed in iron. Brooklyn had even created specially made uniforms/battle suits for the Xanacorp troops, the suits being a combination of various durable materials interwoven with iron, including helmets. From that point on Brooklyn had also begun training all of Xanatos's "employees" in various forms of hand to hand combat and the use of a multitude of blunt and edged weapons, not to mention particle beam weapons of various types. As the elevator doors slid open, Brooklyn stepped out, wearing the breastplate/shoulder/wrist guard armor he had begun to don with increasing frequency. As he strode into the large vaulted room, he casted a critical eye over the troops. Most were involved in spars of various types. All were dressed in the gray/blue uniform Brooklyn had made for them, some were dressed in special strength enhancing suits to create the effect of sparring with a gargoyle while others were not. Most, however, seemed to be holding their own against their opponents. Eventually Brooklyn had the clan spar with the best men to improve their fighting skills and with some practice, could for the most part hold their own against a gargoyle.
As the various soldiers spotted Brooklyn, the fighting ceased as they quickly formed ranks. Brooklyn stood before them for a moment in silence.
"Sergeant!" Brooklyn shouted coolly.
Bruno, Brooklyn's troop commander, stepped forward and raised a fist to his heart in salute.
"Have five of the best troops step forward and prepare to do battle with me!"
Bruno saluted once again and scanned the company of men.
As the head commando pointed to various men, each one stepped forward until five of them stood in a line in front of Brooklyn at attention.
"These are the best five?" Brooklyn asked.
Bruno nodded. "Yes Dominus."
Brooklyn nodded, and Bruno stepped to the side. The gargoyle turned to address the five.
"We will do this in two stages. The first stage will be one on one hand to hand combat with me. The second stage with group tactics, you five against me. Understand?"
Each of the men nodded in readiness.
Brooklyn pointed to the first man in line. "You. Step forward."
The commando stepped out of the line and stood before Brooklyn.
"Prepare!" Brooklyn ordered as he dropped into a defensive stance.
The other commando immediately did the same.
Suddenly Brooklyn leaped towards the commando with a roar.
The man collapsed onto his back as Brooklyn leaped, and aimed a kick towards Brooklyn's stomach. As the man's boot connected with Brooklyn's midsection, the gargoyle grunted in pain, veering off course. The commando got to his feet as Brooklyn landed on the floor several feet away. The soldier executed a low dive, his arms outstretched intending to catch Brooklyn in the stomach once again. Brooklyn grabbed the man's helmet and forced his head down as he leaped over the commando. The man hit the floor, sliding several feet on his stomach, but recovered instantly. Getting up, he twisted his body around to face his opponent. For approximately ten minutes the two exchanged blows and counters. While Brooklyn was far stronger and bulkier then the human, the commando had the advantage of speed and maneuverability. Finally Brooklyn commanded him to cease.
"Well done!" Brooklyn smiled.
The commando saluted him. "Thank you, Dominus!"
As the man walked back in line, Brooklyn pointed to the next in line.
"You! Step forward!"
The next commando walked up to Brooklyn and they began again. For the better part of an hour the commandos sparred with Brooklyn one on one and for the most part, held their own. As Brooklyn tested them as a unit it became, for Brooklyn, painfully obvious that he and Bruno had trained them extremely well. After about 15 minutes, Brooklyn stopped the group spar, by now covered with scratches and bruises. Though in some pain, Brooklyn smiled with satisfaction.
If I can get every one of these fools to fight like this, taking over the Fey will be child's play! Brooklyn chuckled to himself, then turned to face Bruno.
"I want every one of these men to fight as good as these five." He instructed.
Bruno nodded. "Yes Dominus. The rest of the men should be able to catch up to them within the month."
Turning on the balls of his feet, Brooklyn walked back towards the elevator doors...
Elisa had returned to Gary's apartment with increasing frequency after the first night she had visited the two. Little by little he had filled her in on who he was and what he knew about Brooklyn's amulet. To Gary it was obvious she was still mourning the death of the gargoyle Goliath. Exactly how deep their friendship had been, Gary knew not, nor did he try to pry. But he knew from experience that the best solution for these things was keeping the mind busy on other projects. Now that Gary had an 'inside', as Damion had put it, into the police department, he suggested Elisa check up on Xanatos and his company. One evening as Gary was studying for an upcoming exam, there was a knock on his door.
"It's Elisa, Gary!" Came a voice from beyond the door.
Gary put down his book and opened the door for the detective. "Good evening Ms. Maza." Gary smiled.
Elisa smiled tiredly at Gary as she walked in, carrying a backpack over her shoulder. "Call me Elisa, hmm?"
Gary nodded in return. "Okay...Elisa. I'd like to think this is purely a social call..."
Elisa shook her head. "Not exactly. I've done some digging on Xanatos' various companies and found something interesting."
Gary raised an eyebrow at this. "And that is...?"
Elisa sat down at the table and placed the pack on top of it. Gary joined her and looked curiously at the black backpack. "You going to night school?" He quipped.
Elisa chuckled. "Nope, these are some papers I wanted to show you." She opened the pack and pulled out several sheets of paper and laid them on the table in front of Gary.
"And what are these?" He asked.
"Invoices, equipment requests, and various other things. All from Xanatos' factories and businesses in and around Manhattan." Elisa replied.
Gary looked at the various lists before him and whistled in surprise. "A lot of this equipment is all high-tech stuff. Specialized energy focus devices, super-alloys, ultra intelligent AI programs...Even the Pentagon doesn't have access to some of this."
Elisa nodded. "Not only that, but a lot of his factories have switched to weapons manufacturing and R&D."
Gary finished reading the lists. "He's got enough stuff here to provide super weapons for a small army."
Elisa nodded. "Maybe that's what he's trying to do: raise an army."
Gary looked puzzled. "Maybe, but why? Why go through all that time and expense to raise an army when he could just take over the city with that amulet?"
"Maybe he's not trying to take over the city." Elisa replied.
Gary looked at her oddly. "Then why...?"
"Listen, remember what you told me about Kl-Torach wanting to take over the Fey?"
Gary nodded in realization. "I see what you mean. He might be planning a raid on Avalon with this." Gary frowned in thought. "But even if he did try it, he'd still probably lose. The Fey aren't pushovers, they could take out his army in minutes and he'd be right back to where he was before."
Elisa nodded. "But what if they used iron? If you look at the sheets, Brooklyn's imported a lot of iron into his factories, and I've seen some of the weapons requested. Each weapon was to be coated with an iron covering. What if his army was outfitted with weapons and even battle suits covered with iron? Just enough to stop the Fey's magic?"
Gary's eyes widened in shock. "It's possible..." He muttered. "Jesus, if he could do that..."
Elisa nodded grimly. "He could take over Avalon."
"The biggest source of magical energy on earth." Gary muttered. "If he managed to harness that, there's be no limit to what he could do!" Gary paused, considering the implications of this. "But if that's what he's planning to do...I mean, I tried taking him out once by himself and with Xanatos's help, and I couldn't. By now he could have an entire army protecting him. There's no way we could even get to him."
"You said something about being able to summon other beings..." Elisa began.
Gary shook his head. "I know what you're thinking, send a demon to kill him. Ordinarily that would work, but he's too powerful. I'd have to summon an Archfiend or a Soul Destroyer, or some other really powerful demon. And those things are hard for master mages to control. I'd never be able to order him around."
"I thought the demon had to obey the will of the summoner." replied Elisa, puzzled.
Gary smiled slightly. "You've been reading the wrong books. Simple creatures and the most minor of demons might obey you, but the higher up you go the more mental control you have to exert over the creature. It's basically a contest of wills. And if you lose, you either become a slave to the demon or, in most cases, he devours you and takes your soul." Gary grimaced at the thought. "And that is not something I care to experience."
"So is there any way we can stop him?" Elisa asked.
Gary thought for a moment. "Well, theoretically if we can exorcise Kl-Torach from Brooklyn's body then we could recapture him in the amulet. But we'd have to get Brooklyn inside a circle of confinement and do a Major Banishment."
Elisa grimaced. "And I doubt we could persuade Brooklyn to do that."
"Right." Gary nodded. He sat there for a moment in contemplative silence, then turned to Elisa.
"Do you blame him?" he asked.
"What?" Elisa asked.
"Do you blame Brooklyn for what he did to...him?"
Elisa sighed sadly and thought for a moment. "No...no I can't blame him for it. That wasn't Brooklyn...fighting Goliath, it was Kl-Torach. Brooklyn couldn't do anything about that. But I'll tell you this, I will go to any lengths to stop that demon." Elisa told him grimly.
Gary nodded resolutely and turned to Damion. "I think I'd better bring Anne and Mark in on this as well. It's best that they know."
Damion nodded. "I think you should have at least told Mark about his. His chaos magic might have been helpful."
Gary shook his head. "No...I doubt that would have made much difference. Anyway, what's done is done. I'll bring them here tomorrow and fill them in."
Damion nodded. "And then what?"
Gary smiled grimly. "We wait for the right moment."
Damion grimaced. "Somehow I knew you were going to say that..."
The next day Gary, Damion, Mark, and Gary's girlfriend, Anne, sat around the table as Gary filled them in on the situation. Mark, a lank young man with straight brown hair, gray eyes, and a mousey face listened intently to Gary's story. In Damion's mind, if Gary was slightly more odd then most people, he considered Mark downright strange. The young magician was dressed in his usual black tee shirt. A gothic, gray circle with eight arrows pointing in cardinal directions away from the circle symbolized his practicing of Chaos Magic. The metallic and crystal skulls he wore around his neck symbolized his affiliation with the dark side of the Arcane. Combat jeans, black boots, and a black trench coat finalized his ensemble. But despite the young man's eccentricities, Damion knew there was a near genius inside that skull, if a little on the crackpot side. Anne, in Damion's mind, was the most normal of the group. A small girl with straight brown hair and eyes, standing just over five feet, she was dressed in a simple white short-sleeved shirt and jeans. Unlike himself or Mark, who loved to talk, she was very quiet and rather kept to herself. Gary had been patiently trying to bring her out of her shell for a while. And having some success, Damion acknowledged. If she practiced magic of any sort, only Gary knew, and he never talked about it. But she had always been pleasant company for everyone, especially Gary, considering he and Anne were the few who could break Gary out of his occasional bouts of grim despair. Gary could be what Damion thought of as a "big picture" person at times. Seeing the grand scope of things and comparing oneself and the planet to the vastness of the universe tended to make one a bit hopeless at times. But all in all...Damion cut off his musings and refocused his attention on Gary as the sorcerer finished his little briefing.
"...And that's the long and short of it." Gary was saying. "Any suggestions at this point?"
Anne's face was one of thoughtful introspection for a moment. "You say there's no way to get the amulet off him?" She asked.
Gary shook his head. "Not right now. Not as far as I can see, anyway."
"I wish you had told me this earlier before you tried knifing him." said Mark. "I might have been able to affect the probabilities so he wouldn't have been able to dodge."
Gary shook his head again. "The amulet would have protected him, I'm sure. It isn't just a thing, there's a sentient demon attached to it."
Mark nodded. "So basically you're suggesting we just sit around and wait until he makes his next move?" Mark grimaced at this. "I don't like it. He's already too powerful as it is. I mean, if you're right about him wanting to take over Avalon...by the time we act he could become as powerful as a demi-god! We'd never be able to stop him then!"
"As if we can stop him now." Damion muttered.
Mark gave Damion a sidelong glare.
Anne sighed. "If only this thing had some kind of weakness we could use against it..."
Gary nodded. "Or if we had some inside help..."
Damion rolled his eyes at Gary. "Come on, man. That wouldn't have done any good. You had Xanatos, and the element of surprise backing you before and you still couldn't stop him. You'd have less chance now!"
"I don't see you coming up with solutions." Gary growled.
"Come on guys, cool it!" Anne exclaimed, startling Damion and Mark, "We're not getting anywhere like this. Look, we know Brooklyn is going to march on Avalon. Why not try to contact the island and warn them?"
"You don't know the Fey." Gary chuckled grimly. "They think they're invincible, especially Oberon. They've been so strong for so long, they don't believe anyone could actually challenge them and win." Gary sighed. "But...I guess I could try, if nothing else. I'll set up something tonight and see if I can reach them."
Mark nodded. "I'll help you with it."
Gary nodded in acceptance as the meeting adjourned...
Brooklyn sat behind Xanatos's desk, facing the window when Bruno softly entered the room. Brooklyn turned his chair and faced him. "Yes?"
"All is in readiness, Dominus." Bruno reported. "The men's training is complete and they have been supplied their weapons. And the final group of Steel Clan robots are programmed and ready."
Brooklyn nodded in satisfaction. "Good. We depart for Avalon twenty-four hours from now."
Bruno nodded and saluting Brooklyn, left the room.
Brooklyn smiled grimly to himself. This time there will be no imprisonment! This time, I SHALL win! And Avalon WILL be mine!
Mark returned to Gary's apartment a few hours later and began to set up the equipment needed for a Summoning spell. Gary and Mark had discussed the best way to contact the Fey and had decided to summon one of the Fey to them. As the two men moved furniture out of the way, Gary grabbed a jar of powdered chalk and began drawing three large circles on the floor, each several feet apart. Two of the circles of protection would be for the two men in case the Fey decided to get nasty, and the third was to hold the Fey itself. As Gary finished putting the last of the runes within each of the circles, Mark set four various colored candles around each of the circles and lit them. As the two stepped inside their respective circles, Mark raised his arms.
"By the ancient powers of the Chaos Masters! By Arioch, Sammel, and Shai'tan, Lords of Chaos! May their powers aid me in my endeavor!" Mark intoned in a loud voice.
Suddenly the crystal skull around Mark's neck began to glow with red light, as the eye sockets of the metal skull began to glow scarlet as well.
Gary nodded to himself and began chanting his own incantation.
"Cum ignis, terra, aeris, et aqua! Postuli Titania penetro tempi et intervalia!"
Suddenly a swift wind whipped through the room, making the candle flames wave wildly. As a luminous green light appeared within the third circle, all three circles began to glow red. Within a moment, the green light had formed itself into an ethereal woman with blue-green skin dressed in what appeared to be red leather and translucent silk.
Gary bowed from the waist. "Titania, Queen of the Third Race. I greet you."
The Fey queen glared at Gary sternly. "Why have you summoned me, sorcerer? I am not in the habit of being pulled from Avalon and brought here simply to satisfy a mortal's whim."
Gary bowed again. "Forgive me your Majesty, but I brought you here not on a whim, but because you and your own are in considerable danger."
Titania raised an arrogant eyebrow at this. "Indeed? From whom?"
"A gargoyle sorcerer of great power, my Lady." Replied Gary. "Whose name is Brooklyn."
A questioning look came over the Fey's angular features. "Brooklyn? Of the Wyvern clan? He is no sorcerer."
Gary nodded. "Normally I would agree. But he has been possessed by the demon Kl-Torach and thus has access to the magic of Avalon."
For a moment, a stricken look came over the woman's face before she composed herself. "That is impossible. The amulet was buried for all time. None can find it."
Mark spoke up. "It was found, your Highness. By David Xanatos."
Titania looked sharply at Mark. "I was not speaking to you, dark one. However, it is obvious that you speak the truth. Nothing else would explain how you know what you do."
Gary once again addressed the Queen. "We fear that Kl-Torach may attempt to invade Avalon again, this time with the help of a small army of trained soldiers."
Titania snorted. "Do you think we are powerless on our own island? Avalon itself will provide adequate defense against a mortal invasion and my Lord and I will be more then a match for Kl-Torach. Never fear, Avalon will withstand this assault."
"Your Majesty, I don't think you realize--" Gary began.
"Do not overreach yourself, young man!" thundered Titania, angrily. "And do not think to lecture me on what I do or do not realize! I know well Kl-Torach's power and what he is capable of. And while he has cunning and some small power at his command, he is no match for my Lord and myself!"
Titania slowly composed herself, then focused her attention on Gary once more. "I will inform my Lord of this development, but I have no doubt that Avalon will easily defeat the upstart. Till we meet again!" And with that, Titania vanished in a flash of white light...
Titania stepped through the magical mirror in the royal throne room. She approached the twin thrones where Oberon lounged. As she walked up to him, his gaze shifted to her.
"What is it, my Queen?" He asked. "Why did you depart with such haste not a short time ago?"
Titania frowned. "Two human sorcerers summoning me using an ancient incantation. They held dire news."
Oberon waved his had dismissively. "News from the mortal realm is always dire, my Queen."
Titania sat down next to him. "Kl-Torach has broken free from his prison. He has possessed the gargoyle known as Brooklyn and has access to our power."
Oberon frowned. "A bad business, this. Still, between the two of us, Kl-Torach shall once again be imprisoned with some small effort. Never fear, my Lady, Kl-Torach will never overrun us." Oberon smiled confidently...
The Eyrie Building
Brooklyn entered the sub-basement where the final battalion awaited to be teleported to the departure site. All in all, Brooklyn was pleased with the situation. The troops were in top physical condition and performance. The Steel Clan robots were among the most advanced in the world, and the battle helicopters were outfitted with chain guns armed with iron bullets. Brooklyn smiled with confidence as he stepped up to the formation of soldiers.
"Prepare for teleport!" He shouted.
The men tensed in anticipation as Brooklyn gripped the amulet in his fist.
"Men of battle, heed my say! Depart from this place at once, I pray!"
A flash of blinding blue light engulfed the soldiers and when the light faded, none remained. Brooklyn paused a moment, then teleported as well. The men and Brooklyn appeared on a large helicopter pad Brooklyn had built, situated in the middle of the bay. Large, iron-coated, military aircraft outfitted with twin chain guns sat ready, their rotors slowly spinning. Most of the previous battalions had either boarded the aircraft or had gone below decks on the water transport ships. As the last of the men got situated, Brooklyn strode over to the large group of Steel Clan robots. For a moment, he surveyed the over one hundred robots gleaming in the various red and white landing lights from the choppers.
"Engage!" He shouted.
The robots suddenly came to life as their wings expanded to their full length. Brooklyn smiled. To borrow a line from the Lion King...It is time! With that Brooklyn raised his arms above his head. One by one the choppers rotors increased their speed and the helicopters slowly lifted off the pad. Simultaneously, the rocket thrusters on the backs of the Steel Clan roared to life and the robots flew into the air in perfect formation. The transport boats slowly detached from their moorings and moved to a prechosen spot out in the bay. As Brooklyn watched from the takeoff pad, the boats clustered together in formation as overhead, the chopper and Steel Clan units joined them. The gargoyle smiled and placing an electronic headset on his head, launched himself into the air, spreading his wings wide to catch the wind currents. He glided over the bay, enjoying the feel of the currents around him, then swooped over to the formation of air and sea ships, positioning himself between them. Switching on the headset, Brooklyn ordered all vehicles to prepare for attack. A list of affirmations acknowledged the command. Brooklyn began to draw power into the amulet. As the artifact began to glow with electric blue energy, Brooklyn spoke the magical command. With a brilliant blast of magical energy, the entire company vanished into nothingness...
Gary looked out his window. Though he couldn't see the powerful blue flash that heralded the army's departure, he could feel the energy pulses. The young man turned towards his friends who had gathered with him, including the detective.
"It's started..." he stated grimly.
A quarter of a mile beyond the shoreline, a blinding flash of magic erupted. When the light cleared, an armada of metal stood in its place. Upon seeing the shoreline, Brooklyn grinned.
"Avalon! At last!" Brooklyn activated his headset. "ATTACK!"
Without further ado, the Steel Clan shot towards the island, the helicopters following close behind. The ships plowed forward, smashing into the beach. As soon as the ships landed, the bows opened outward, revealing the battalions within. Bruno leaped onto the beach, followed by the rest of the commandos. As several other ships executed the same maneuver, the beach was soon filled with soldiers. Brooklyn landed on the beach next to Bruno, wearing his armor as well as a broadsword strapped to his back.
"We storm the castle now!" Brooklyn shouted over the noise. "Once we take down Oberon and the royal court, the rest should fall easily!" Bruno nodded and began directing the troop's movements via his own headset, the men jogging towards the castle.
Tapping the side of his headset, he changed his frequency to that of the robots.
"SC-1! Begin strafing run!" He ordered.
A quarter of the robots broke formation and began to fly towards the castle. As the target neared, powerful laser weapons emerged from the robots' forearms. Suddenly the robots began letting loose with concentrated blasts of energy. As Brooklyn watched, one of the castle's towers exploded into rocky debris...
A Fey suddenly materialized in the throne room in front of Oberon and Titania.
"My Lord! We are being invaded!" He cried.
Oberon shot out of his seat.
"Who dares attack our isle?!" He shouted.
"Kl-Torach, my husband." said Titania. "Did we not receive warning of his attack?"
Oberon glared at his queen. Suddenly the castle rocked as one of the towers was destroyed. Oberon turned to his servant.
"Have all the Children prepare for battle!" He ordered.
The Fey quickly bowed and vanished into thin air. Oberon scowled at this turn of events.
"Come, my queen. If these foolish mortals wish to fight, then a fight they shall have!"
With that, Oberon stormed out of the room, his eyes blazing.
As the choppers fired upon the castle with their laser weapons, they were suddenly set upon by several Fey. As the Fey blasted the aircraft with energy bolts, the helicopters retreated slightly. Suddenly a regiment of Steel Clan fired at the unsuspecting Fey from behind, knocking them off balance. The choppers took aim, and let loose with their chain guns. As the pure iron bullets ripped into the Feys' bodies, they fell to earth...
As the commandos raced up the steps towards the castle, the air was suddenly filled with the inhuman roars of the honor guard of Avalon. As the gargoyles swooped down on them, they leaped aside, unshouldering their laser weapons. The night was soon filled with roars and the whines of energy weapons. The gargoyles began to slash and punch at their opponents, but to little avail; the suits the men wore were resilient to a gargoyle's talons. Several of the gargoyles got in good shots, knocking some of the soldiers unconscious, but were soon overwhelmed, cut to pieces by laser bolts. As this threat was dispatched, the soldiers continued their assault. Reaching the doors, the men took aim and fired on them, turning the wooden doors into toothpicks. As the smoke cleared, the men moved to storm into the castle, then hesitated. Behind the doors stood Oberon and the Weird Sisters.
"You who dare to desecrate our fair isle and murder our Children! Now you face the wrath of Oberon!" the Fey King bellowed.
As the soldiers raised their weapons to fire, Oberon shoved his hand forward, creating a force wave, which sent the soldiers flying back. As the men picked themselves up, the Weird Sisters began firing bolts of green energy at the soldiers, creating pocks and burn marks in the stairway. As the commandos raced forward, Oberon began to fire energy bolts, machine gun style, knocking the soldiers down like bowling pins...
As Coyote, Anansi, Anubis, and others ran towards the beach, the men began firing at them. These were soon followed by a host of angry elves. Soon the beach was a mess of holes and bodies as energy bolts blasted holes in the sand. Though the commando's suits were able to stop most of the fey's magic, many were thrown into the sea by powerful waves of energy, or a tornado made by Coyote. Some men soon withered and turned to dust in their suits, killed by the Jackal-god's rays of death. But still the men pressed on, slowly overwhelming the Fey. The few that remained, fled to help Oberon defend the castle, now smoking with holes and broken from the strafing runs by the choppers and Steel Clan. As Brooklyn watched the carnage from nearby, a slow, confident smile spread across his beaked face...
Oberon and the others were managing to hold their own against the wave of soldiers assaulting the castle. At Oberon's command, the forces of nature railed against the subverted humans. Lightning streaked from the sky, incinerating some, while others were immobilized by the various plant life surrounding the castle. Even the earth itself rose up against them, crushing them in fists of stone. But still, they kept coming. And slowly, the Fey, the island itself began to weaken...
After several hours of strafing and battle, the entire clan of gargoyles had been slain by the soldiers and the majority of the Fey were either dead or tiring. The soldiers had long since forced Oberon and the rest of the Children back into a defensive position. Barring the throne room doors and warding them with their weakening magic, the remaining Fey, Oberon, Titania, the sisters, and the queen's maidservant Ariel, attempted to hold against the onslaught. However, the battle had not been without cost to the enemy's side. As Brooklyn walked into the castle, a tired Bruno limped up to him.
"Report." ordered Brooklyn.
Bruno let out a tired but satisfied sigh. "The last of the Fey are holed up in the throne room, Dominus. We're attempting to break through as we speak."
Brooklyn nodded. "And our losses?"
"All of the helicopters have been destroyed as well as the Steel Clan robots, and only about one hundred men out of the roughly five hundred we brought are still on their feet, the rest either dead or wounded."
Brooklyn nodded. "Take me to the throne room."
Bruno managed a weary salute and walked down the hall, guiding Brooklyn.
A few moments later, Brooklyn and Bruno arrived at the large oak doors of the throne room. As Brooklyn watched, a dozen soldiers continued to fire on the huge doors, now scorched and burnt, while others attempted to blast through the walls on either side of the room. One of the men walked up to Bruno and saluted.
"What's the situation sergeant?" Bruno asked.
"The rifles are beginning to run low on power, sir." The man replied. "Several are down to at least half strength and most are even lower. And so far we haven't managed to make a dent in the doors or the walls."
"And what about the rest of the men?" Asked Bruno.
"Stationed in various locations around the castle, or on scouting missions." The sergeant replied.
Brooklyn turned his gaze on the reporting commando. "Tell the men to cease fire. I want to test those wards."
"Yes, Dominus." the man saluted and turned.
"Cease firing!" shouted the sergeant.
The firing stopped at once and Brooklyn walked forward. Standing in front of the wall, he placed his hands against the cool marble. For a moment, he stood there, a thoughtful expression on his face, then stepped back and addressed the men.
"There are six Fey within the room, including the royal court. Once I break down the wall, you men concentrate your efforts on the weaker Fey."
"Break out the pistols!" Bruno ordered. "I want those fey taken out quickly!"
In response, the men shouldered their laser weapons and drew twin 9mm Berettas from their holsters, each loaded with a clip of iron bullets.
"Stand back!" Shouted Brooklyn stepping forward.
As the men complied, Brooklyn raised his hands, holding them crossed above his head. Immediately his hands began to glow with rich electric blue energy. Suddenly Brooklyn threw his hands in front of him, forcing his fists together. As his hands came together, powerful twin columns of power shot from his hands, blasting a huge hole in the wall. As the smoke cleared, the men ran through the hole, pistols blazing. Spotting the Fey servant, they fired a dozen rounds into her before she could open her mouth. As the Fey fell to the floor, the others began firing at the soldiers with energy bolts, knocking them off their feet. One of the soldiers standing just inside the hole took aim and began pumping bullets into the Fey triplets. As Selene and Luna fell, Pheobe fired a twin bolt of energy at the soldier, sending him flying into a far wall on the other side of the hall. Suddenly one of the downed soldiers fired three shots, catching her in the side and stomach. As the woman staggered, another soldier ran up and smashed his pistol into her head, knocking her to the floor, stunned. Before she could recover, an iron bullet entered her brain. The half-dozen remaining soldiers slowly began to advance on the royal couple...
"Halt!" shouted a voice.
The soldiers turned to see Brooklyn walking into the room with Bruno.
"I want those two alive!" ordered Brooklyn.
As the men holstered their weapons and stepped back, Brooklyn stepped up to Oberon and smiled chillingly.
"So Oberon. We meet again." Kl-Torach chuckled in his inhuman voice.
Oberon frowned at the gargoyle. "How did you escape your prison, demon?"
Kl-Torach smiled unpleasantly. "This puny gargoyle was kind enough to lend me his body."
Brooklyn turned back towards the soldiers. "You men! Guard that opening!" He said, pointing to the hole. "I don't want these two to leave this room alive!"
The men nodded and stationed themselves around the room at equidistant positions, pistols drawn.
Kl-Torach turned back to Oberon. "Your Children are dead, but you can still win. Destroy me and these men return to their previous state with no memory of being subverted. Destroy me and you can rebuild and repopulate Avalon."
Oberon frowned. "And if you win?"
Kl-Torach smiled grimly. "Then you will die and Avalon will be mine. All or nothing."
Oberon glared at the possessed gargoyle. "And if we refuse to fight?"
"Then you die anyway." replied the demon.
Oberon looked at Titania. "And my lady?"
Kl-Torach smiled. "I have no quarrel with her. If you win, I will not be able to harm her. If I win, well...I'll do with her as I see fit. But I will not ask her to join in the fight. This is between you and me."
Oberon nodded. "Very well. We accept."
Kl-Torach grinned. "Excellent." He turned to Titania. "If you will just have a seat over there, Madam, this should only take a few minutes of your time." He smirked, pointing to the twin thrones.
Titania glared at him, but retired to her throne.
Oberon and Kl-Torach began to circle each other.
"I've waited a long time for this, Oberon." The demon smiled wickedly.
The Fey king glared and fired a fist of pure energy towards Brooklyn, which the gargoyle dodged with relative ease. Brooklyn in turn powered up his hands and began firing magical missiles at the Fey. Oberon quickly raised a shield, which absorbed or deflected the missiles. Suddenly Brooklyn began darting about the room, firing energy bolts at the weakened Fey. Though Oberon attempted to duck or magically block most of them, a few good shots smashed into his side, knocking him to the ground.
"How does it feel to be weak and helpless Oberon?" shouted Kl-Torach as he pummeled the Fey with energy blasts. "Sucks, doesn't it?!"
Oberon snarled and let loose with a powerful blast of power which slammed into Brooklyn, smashing him into the wall.
"Fool Demon! Oberon may be weakened! But Oberon is never helpless!" shouted the Lord of Avalon.
Kl-Torach laughed. "You never could get enough of your voice could you, old fool?!" taunted the gargoyle, staggering to his feet.
Oberon roared with rage and fired another blast of energy at the ruddy gargoyle. As Oberon fired, Brooklyn suddenly erected a shimmering lime green shield in front of him. The energy blast impacted with the shield, distorting it, and then was shot back at the Fey.
Oberon caught the full force of the blast forcing him through the wall and into a column across the hall, shattering it. As Oberon fell to the ground on his knees, Brooklyn grabbed the Fey Lord's tunic and smashed his fist into his chin, uppercutting him. The force of the magically enhanced blow sent Oberon flying into another wall. Kl-Torach laughed cruelly and advanced on the dazed Fey. Brooklyn reached into a pouch on his belt and pulled out an iron gauntlet with knuckle spikes, placing it on his hand. As the Fey struggled to get to his feet, Brooklyn smashed the gauntlet into Oberon's face. The Fey staggered back and fell, his face bruised and bloody. Brooklyn grinned and planted a taloned foot on Oberon's chest, pushing him to the ground.
"Now it ends, weakling." Brooklyn snarled, pulling the iron broadsword from its sheath. Brooklyn gripped the hilt with both hands and raising the sword, plunged it into Oberon's chest. The Fey screamed in agony as the iron ripped into his body. The iron swiftly turned Oberon's well-formed turquoise body into a wizened brown. Brooklyn smiled and jerked the sword out of the Fey and replaced it in his sheath.
"You know, the legends say you Fey are made of pure magic." Brooklyn said in a conversational tone of voice as he knelt beside Oberon. "It's amazing how true those legends can be sometimes."
With that, Brooklyn began to drain Oberon of all his power. As Brooklyn continued the drain, Oberon steadily became weaker and smaller until his body could no longer hold a stable form. As the Fey's body became pure energy, Brooklyn sucked the last of it into the amulet. With a satisfied sigh, Brooklyn stood and walked back into the throne room.
"Oberon is dead!" he announced. "Kl-Torach rules Avalon! For now and for all time to come!"
The men cheered in excitement as Titania stared at Brooklyn in disbelief. Suddenly leaped out of the throne and launched herself forward towards Brooklyn, her face twisted with rage and pain. Brooklyn merely gave her an arrogant glance before letting loose with a blast that forced her into a nearby wall. Brooklyn quickly made a series of gestures and Titania became enclosed in a shimmering green bubble. As the Fey queen regained her senses, she looked at the bubble surrounding her. She then turned to face Brooklyn with a sneer.
"Do you think this simple magical bubble will hold me?" she snorted.
Kl-Torach merely laughed. "Hit it will all you've got if you wish. It'll just make it worse."
Titania gently stretched out her hands and began to run her hands along the bubble's surface, testing it. After a moment, she grimaced.
"A backlash bubble. Very ingenious."
Kl-Torach smiled modestly. "A quite amusing creation, if I do say so. Based on a law of science, ironically. A man known as Newton once said, 'for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction'. I've simply taken that idea to its logical extreme."
Titania's countenance became thoughtful for a moment and a small smile creeped across her face. Unfortunately Brooklyn noticed this.
"Guards, position yourselves around the bubble. If she attempts to escape, kill her."
"How are we supposed to break through the bubble, Dominus?" Asked one of the soldiers.
Brooklyn held out his hand and a small circle of gold, with a ruby embedded in the center appeared in his hand.
"This will deactivate the bubble if necessary." replied Brooklyn, tossing the trinket to the soldier. "I don't think you need to know the penalty for opening it under any other circumstances." insinuated the demon, giving the man a hard stare.
The man snapped to attention. "No, Dominus!" The soldier placed the amulet into a pocket.
Kl-Torach turned to Titania once more. "I do hope you enjoy your stay," he smirked. And with that, left the room.
As Brooklyn walked down one of the corridors, Bruno approached him.
"The men are still scouring the island for hiding Fey, Dominus," reported Bruno. "But the island appears to be under our complete control."
Brooklyn nodded. "Excellent. Any men not engaged in guard duty will go through the castle and search it. Any item, no matter how small will be brought to me for inspection."
Bruno frowned. "I don't understand, Dominus."
Brooklyn just smiled. "It's not necessary for you to understand. Simply obey my command."
Bruno saluted him. "Yes Dominus." And with that, turned on his heel and marched down the hall.
Kl-Torach looked around him. "This will be my base of operations." He mused to himself. "The first thing I need to do is remodel this place into something more...appropriate. But first...living quarters. I need to get this place functional before I do anything else."
Brooklyn suddenly sent out a telepathic message throughout the castle. Attention! Reconstruction of this castle will commence immediately! Prepare at once!
Suddenly Brooklyn's amulet began to glow. Drawing on the various energy fields around the island, he began to channel power into the castle's structure. Broken masonry began to repair itself. Holes in various walls resealed as numerous scorch marks faded away. Within fifteen minutes the entire castle became completely restored to its former pristine beauty. Brooklyn returned to the throne room a few minutes later. Walking in through the great double doors, he saw that the men still stood around the bubble, Titania still inside it. Brooklyn smiled at her and he sat down in what had been Oberon's throne. Titania simply glared at him. The gargoyle regarded her for a moment.
"I don't need two thrones here, so..." Brooklyn's amulet glowed and a blue aura surrounded Titania's throne before the piece of furniture disappeared. Titania simply fumed in impotence. Kl-Torach chuckled at her helplessness.
"This must be incredibly frustrating for you," he commented, his eyes glowing slightly. "Being as helpless as a puny mortal. How does it feel, witch?" he sneered.
Titania raised her fists as if to strike at her tormenter, then lowered them to her sides.
The demon laughed. "Good. You're learning. You aren't as stupid as I thought you were."
A short time later around a group of soldiers entered the room, carrying various artifacts. Some carried several in their hands, while others needed two or three men to carry one artifact. Brooklyn smiled.
"Christmas already?" he quipped. "Or are you trying a little brown-nosing?"
One of the soldiers stepped up to him and saluted. "The items you requested Dominus. More are on their way."
Brooklyn nodded. "Good. Set them over there," he replied, pointing to the left hand wall. The soldiers immediately set their loads against the wall and departed. Brooklyn stood and walked over to the line of various curiosities, the items ranging from rings and jewelry to chests and, in one case, a large standing mirror. Brooklyn waved a hand in front of the artifacts and many of them began to glow scarlet, some brighter then others. Brooklyn smiled. "Quite a nice collection. I should have a lot of fun with these." He remarked over his shoulder to the imprisoned Fey. A few minutes later, the rest of the soldiers arrived with the rest of the items found. They laid them next to the others and departed. Brooklyn gazed at the pile of magical items in front of him, the yawned quietly to himself.
"Well, it's been a long night and I need my sleep." He commented to Titania.
He turned to the guards. "Make sure she doesn't escape. Assign shifts accordingly."
The men nodded in acquiescence as Brooklyn strode out of the room. On the way to his temporary quarters, Brooklyn contacted Bruno. I'm going to get some shuteye. You're in charge until I relieve you. Don't wake me unless it's an emergency.
Yes Dominus. replied Bruno.
Brooklyn entered what had been Oberon's quarters and, removing his armor, stretched out on the soft bed, yawning.
All in all not a bad night's work, Kl-Torach complimented himself, as he gazed out the window enjoying the sunrise. Just think Brooklyn, I'm actually doing you a favor, he chuckled. You're actually getting to see the sunrise! The only reply was silence...
3 hours later, Avalon Time
Titania sat in her bubble, running the plan in her head one last time. She could tell the men were no longer as alert as they had been earlier. Titania had barely moved the entire time since Brooklyn had left, utilizing the time she had to herself to formulate an escape plan. She knew that Brooklyn's bubble would rebound any physical attack, but she had other options that Brooklyn had not considered. Over the centuries she had become a natural actor, and she had used every one of them this night; she had known that attacking Brooklyn in such a fashion was the stupidest way of going about it, and thus aided in putting Brooklyn off his guard, thinking her rage could easily get the better of her. In addition, her seemingly 'crushed spirit' only served to enhance Brooklyn's sloppiness.
As arrogant as ever, she thought to herself. Only this time he actually planned for every contingency. Almost.
She glanced at her guards one last time. Though they were still watching her, their eyelids were, for the most part, half-closed. A good sign. She had to time this just right; there would be no second chances...
Suddenly, Titania began draining the bubble's magic. After a moment, it vanished. Before the shocked men could react, Titania dematerialized and rematerialized in front of the mirror. The men quickly turned as the Fey queen activated the mirror, the image of an apartment flat appearing within the glass. As the men took aim, Titania leapt through the mirror and closed the portal an instant before six iron bullets impacted with the mirror, shattering the glass...
Gary was sitting on the couch, studying. When a greenish portal suddenly opened in the middle of the room, and Titania leapt through it, Gary literally jumped on top of the couch. The former Fey queen whirled and closed the portal, then paused to catch her breath. As she saw Gary standing on the back of his couch, she allowed a small smile to cross her face.
"I hope my entrance didn't frighten you too badly." She said.
Gary just grimaced and jumped down onto the floor.
"Might I ask what you're doing here?" Gary asked crossly.
"Escaping from Avalon." she replied.
Gary blinked. "Escape? But...Oh no!" A look of concern appeared on his face. "Don't tell me Brooklyn-"
"Kl-Torach," corrected Titania. "But yes. Kl-Torach has raided Avalon. And won."
Gary sighed. "I knew it. What about the rest of the...um, your Children?" he quickly corrected.
Titania's face became a study in despair. "Dead. Even my Lord and husband..."
Gary's face grew grim. "I'm sorry...He must have meant a lot to you."
She nodded solemnly.
"Forgive me, but why did you come here?"
"It was the first place of sanctuary I could recollect. Should Kl-Torach's men attempt to find me, it is unlikely they will search for me here."
Gary nodded. "Well you're welcome to stay, if you wish. I know it isn't Avalon, but..."
Titania smiled gently. "You forget, I lived among mortals for a millennia. I accept your generous offer."
Gary nodded, an ironic smile on his face. The Queen of the Fey in my living room. Guess who's coming to dinner...
The shout echoed throughout the castle. Within Brooklyn's chambers, the soldier stood, literally shaking in his boots.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN SHE'S GONE?!" Brooklyn shouted at the man, his eyes blazing.
"S-s-she m-m-managed t-t-to escape!", exclaimed the guard, shivering.
"Didn't I specifically order the men to guard her around the clock?" Brooklyn asked, in an ominously low tone.
The soldier seemed to shrink within himself. "Yes Dominus." He said, hoarsely.
Brooklyn stared hard at the man for another moment.
"Take me to the throne room," he commanded.
The commando hastily saluted and followed Brooklyn out. As they walked, Brooklyn began to mutter. "When I find the fool who allowed this to happen..."
The commando swallowed hard and continued following Brooklyn just behind his field of vision in case he should decide to lash out at the nearest target. As Brooklyn stalked into the room, his eyes immediately went to where the bubble had been. Finding no trace of said bubble, he let loose a roar of frustration which sent the men shaking. Slowly, deliberately, Brooklyn walked up to the soldier that had been in charge. As the man slowly backed away from the enraged gargoyle, his back suddenly smacked into the rear wall. Unable to find any means of escape, he silently said a quick prayer and prepared to face whatever might come. Brooklyn planted himself directly in front of the man, his beak inches from the man's face.
"How did this happen?" he asked in a quietly menacing tone.
"Umm...well...you see..." he stammered.
"Answer me!" shouted the gargoyle.
"Uhh!...S-she e-escaped D-d-dominus!" the man said quaveringly.
"How did she escape?" Brooklyn asked.
"T-t-the bubble just vanished, Dominus!"
"Just...vanished?" Brooklyn asked quietly, quirking an eyeridge.
The man nodded quickly. "Before we could stop her, she vanished and reappeared in front of the mirror, and jumped through it."
At this Brooklyn's eyes lit up in ire. "And you didn't think to follow her?!"
"W-we couldn't Dominus!" the commando protested. "She jumped through and then just sort of...closed it! We fired at her, but the bullets never reached the other side!"
Brooklyn turned and looked at the mirror, the pane of glass now shattered by the iron bullets. He then turned back to the man, his face a study in controlled fury.
"So let me get this straight," said Brooklyn quietly, "not only did she managed to escape from her prison right out from under your noses, but you allowed her to gain a means of escape from the island, and then you destroy the artifact so that we can't follow her?!"
The man simply stood there, rooted to the ground.
"You were careless. Now you will face the consequences," intoned Brooklyn, his voice the voice of the Reaper.
Suddenly Brooklyn's hands began to glow with red energy and became translucent. Thrusting his hands forward, he shoved them into the man's chest. As the man began to scream in terror, Brooklyn wrapped his hands around the man's beating heart and began to channel power into it, charring it like a piece of meat. As the soldier's screams grew louder and more agonizing, Brooklyn could feel the man's heart pounding like a trip hammer, the beats getting faster and faster. The gargoyle began to squeeze the heart, feeling it quiver. As he crushed the organ in his hands, the man's tortured screams became a blood-filled gurgle. As the dead commando slumped to the ground Brooklyn removed his now bloody hands from within the man's chest. As his hands solidified, he turned to the others, looking on in horror.
"Remember this lesson," Brooklyn told them grimly, displaying his gory hands.
The men simply nodded, trembling in fear.
Brooklyn walked out of the room and mentally summoned Angela to him. She arrived a few moments later and bowed before him.
"I want you to return to the castle and run Xanatos Enterprises from there. Xanatos himself will receive his instructions from you and you will receive your instructions directly from me, understood?"
"I want all Xanatos subsidiaries to begin production of computers, weapons, and hardware immediately. And have the transport ships outfitted to carry cargo; I want to turn this castle into something a bit more...hi-tech."
Angela bowed again. "As you command, Dominus."
Brooklyn opened a portal to Xanatos enterprises and Angela stepped through...
Two weeks later
She isn't all that bad a houseguest, Gary thought to himself. In the two weeks since Titania had appeared in his apartment she had made herself at home, though she insisted on being referred to as 'Mrs. Reynard' when adopting her human form, which was most of the time so as not to put Gary and his friends off balance. Once Damion and the others had gotten over the initial shock, and in Mark's case, excitement, life had relatively returned to normal.
At least she's a good cook, Gary smiled to himself. For some strange reason, Titania had insisted on doing the cooking, perhaps as compensation for her lodging. Not that Gary was complaining, or anyone else for that matter, as the food was invariably excellent.
Gary was also surprised to learn that Elisa knew of Titania and had actually met her on more then one occasion. One night everyone had gathered around the table to discuss Brooklyn's future plans.
"Do you think Brooklyn will just stay on Avalon now that the Fey are gone?" Damion asked.
Titania frowned at Damion bluntness. "I doubt he will be content to rule Avalon uncontested. There is no doubt he has plans for the mortal realm as well."
Damion scowled. "Great. First he wants to take over Avalon and now he wants to take over the world, too. What's next? The galaxy?"
Titania frowned. "With Kl-Torach, who can say."
Over several weeks they watched as huge cargo ships moved in and out of Manhattan. Freighters carrying vast supplies of various metals and technology as well as technicians and personnel constantly moved in and out of the bay. Though Elisa had questioned various officials about the constant 'suspicious movement', each one reported that Xanatos Enterprises was building a large scientific complex on an island appropriated by the corporation, which was, in a sense, true. In the end, the police detective was unable to even get a search warrant to inspect the various cargoes, no doubt because some fresh money was lining the pockets of various office holders in the government.
As far as the rest of the world was concerned, no one really knew to what island the supplies went, only a handful of people knew that the equipment was actually going to...
Brooklyn walked around the large, silvery structure which made up the fortress/complex he had established on the island as his base of operations. At first, he had been concerned that such a massive construction project would take months to complete, time which could be used against him by Titania and whoever else might be helping her. But to his suprise and relief, the magic of the island seemed almost sentient at times, being able to construct concepts in Brooklyn's mind with relative ease. Of course, Lex had been a large help in that area as well. After the battle over the island, Brooklyn had had little use for the clan, except for Angela, who was running Xanatos's company, and thus and used them simply for personal guards. But now, Lexington's genius for all things mechanical and electronic was paying large dividends. The two gargoyles stood side by side, mentally linked together through the amulet. Brooklyn instructed Lex on the basic concepts and designed he required, and Lexington would use his knowledge to create a mental blueprint in his mind which the island's magic could then transmute into reality. Under the two mind's guidance, sheets of steel melted and reformed into various shapes, molding together with others to form a seamless whole. Computers and consoles assembled themselves in minutes and placed themselves in the required locations. Even fiber-optic cables snaked throughout the island seemingly of their own accord, creating a massive power grid encompassing the entire island and running on magic converted into pure electricity. Many of the soldiers had of course, helped with the heavy lifting and the technicians brought in by Angela has assisted in the mental schematics and placement of various components. By the end of a week, the castle had been reconstructed to fit Brooklyn's design complex and the power grid had been established.
He smiled as he walked up the concrete walkway to the seamless steel doors of the main entrance. Placing his hand on a contact panel, which scanned not only his handprints, but also the internal structure of his hand, he spoke aloud his name in a clear voice. A green LED lit up a moment later and the seemingly solid portal slid apart into two halves. The gargoyle walked down the gleaming trapezoidal hallway and after several rights and left turns came to a large steel door, with a guard standing on either side of it. The guards saluted as he punched in a 7-digit code on the door's lit keypad. The door slid sideways allowing him access and he strode into the complex's central hub. The large, circular room reminded him, or rather Brooklyn, of something out of a sci-fi movie; massive computer terminals lined the walls, each manned by a small army of technicians - some human, some gargoyle. In the center of the room a small semicircular console surrounded a circular depression, a control chair sitting in its center. Brooklyn walked into the depression and took his place in the chair. Turning to the console, he punched some buttons in sequence on a LCD keyboard, making the entire console come to electric life. As the row of monitors blinked on, he touched more keys, bringing up various lists and information. After absorbing the data, he typed in a sequence and Bruno's face appeared on one of the screens.
"Report." Brooklyn ordered.
"All systems running with acceptable limits, Dominus." replied Bruno. "No problems so far."
Brooklyn nodded. "Good. Carry on." and terminated the connection.
A few minutes later Lexington walked up to him and bowed.
"The men report that the implementations will be complete within twenty-four hours Dominus. Once the focusing devices are in place, you will be able to amplify your amulet's power a hundred-fold if not more. My calculations indicate that the power level should be enough to break through Avalon's dimensional barrier and cover the surface of the planet."
Brooklyn smiled grimly. "Will I be able to cast the spells of mass transformation and subversion?"
Lex smiled. "You should be able to do that fairly easily, given the power level you'll have to work with."
Brooklyn grinned. "Excellent. Twenty-four hours from now, all the inhabitants of this world will become subverted gargoyles loyal only to me! There will be nothing that is beyond my power!"
Lexington smiled and departed, leaving the possessed gargoyle to his moment of euphoria...
Gary and the rest convened in his apartment for the last time before they embarked on their mission. Titania had managed, through her former husband Halcyon Renyard, to acquire several energy weapons from Cyber-Biotics as well as some light body armor for Gary, Mark, and Damion. The three men were dressed in skin tight black body suits which were resistant to projectile weapons and could deflect a laser beam. Mark and Gary wore black metal wrist guards outfitted with a small laser weapon while Damion, attempting to make a statement, hefted a specially designed double-barreled shotgun armed with armor-piercing bullets.
Mark looked at his outfit and smirked. "What? No cowl and cape?"
Gary just groaned.
Titania looked at each of them. "A pity we didn't have more time or we could have..."
"This is fine." Gary replied. "It's more then I'd hoped for, actually."
Titania nodded and looked at the team again. "If we are ready I will teleport us to the jumping off point."
The three men nodded. Titania raised her arms and as green light enveloped them all, the world vanished in a flash...
They reappeared at the docks next to the bay. Nearby, one of Avalon's skiffs waited, floating patiently in the water. As they boarded the boat and shoved off, Titania went over the plan for the final time.
"My magic will allow us to gain access to Avalon without detection, but I dare not use any magic unless absolutely necessary as Kl-Torach will instantly sense it. Once we land on the island we will make our way to the Hollow Hill."
Gary nodded. "We know that, but what happens when we get there?"
Titania smiled slightly. "Your job is merely to keep me alive until we get there. The final act must be mine."
Gary looked at her quizzically but received no further information.
Titania looked out into the bay. "Now."
The fey woman pointed out towards the ocean and began to mutter softly under her breath. A few moments later a fog filled with golden sparkles appeared before them.
"The Mists of Avalon." She said softly. "The magical barrier which separates your world and Avalon's."
The men simply gazed at it in awe. As the boat sailed into the mists there was a moment of disorientation which raised hackles and then they were through. As the mists cleared they saw the island in the distance, covered by a thick forest.
Gary looked around, puzzled. "I would have thought Brooklyn would have converted the entire island. But it looked perfectly natural."
Titania frowned. "He has converted the island. At least part of it. He has managed to tap into the island's magic and use it for his own ends. But Kl-Torach's fortress is on the opposite side. Tis why I chose to enter this way; he will be less likely to detect us..."
Lex looked at the video screen in front of him. The radar-like installation showed a small craft entering Avalon's dimension from the opposite side of the island. The diminutive gargoyle smiled and left the room, picking up a small handheld device on his way out...
The skiff skidded into the beach, jolting its passengers. As the party disembarked, the skiff began to break apart. A moment later only a small pile of dust remained. The others looked at it, concerned.
"It has served its purpose." Titania and stated and began to walk up the beach towards the forest.
I wonder if she feels the same way about mortals...Gary thought. The way Titania had been talking, none of them would return. Which is entirely possible, Gary thought grimly. Opening his senses to the universal energy field, he was amazed at the amount of power which flowed around him. No wonder the Fey are so powerful! he realized. They're practically swimming in this stuff! Titania smiled back at him, as if she had read his thoughts.
Slowly, the group made their way into the forest...
Lex eyed the handheld scanner in his hand. The device showed the group of four was just making their way into the forest. The gargoyle pressed a button on the box and a map of the island lit up, showing the four's position in relation.
Lex began walking towards the group, watching their position...
They made their way through the forest, constantly alert. Damion took the point while Mark and Gary walked on either side of the Fey. After the fifth root had tripped Damion up he turned back to the queen, grimacing.
"Can you tell these trees to behave or something?" he grumbled. "I'm tired of tripping over roots."
Titania frowned. "If you wish for our presence here to remain a secret you will simply have to grin and bear it, as you mortals say."
Damion scowled but remained silent.
Titania looked up ahead. "It's not much farther..."
Ah-ha! The gargoyle smiled as he watched the group on his radar, perched in a tree like a monkey. So...they're heading for the Hollow Hill! Just as I thought! He chuckled to himself. Smart of you to remember Titania. Lex took to the air and glided towards the entrance to the Hill...
Brooklyn sat in his command chair reading reports. After a moment he glanced up and fixed his eyes on a technician sitting in front of a large screen.
The tech turned towards him. "All scanners report negative Dominus." the man replied. "No hostile movement detected."
Kl-Torach pondered this for a moment. "I would have thought Titania would have acted by now...odd..."
The tech suddenly looked up at the screen. "Dominus, one of the gargoyles is in sector 7C."
Brooklyn looked up questioningly. "Which one?"
"Lexington, sir." Reported the tech. "I've got a lock on his bios."
Brooklyn frowned. Something odd is going on...
Titania and the others arrived at the entrance to the Hollow Hill. They paused for a moment while Damion peered inside.
"All clear." he reported, after a moment.
Titania nodded and they walked down the stony corridor into the Hill's central chamber. Suddenly a high gravelly voice greeted them.
"Nice of you to show up!" the voice chuckled...
Brooklyn glanced over at the technician. "Where is he now?"
"Sector 7E Dominus!" the man reported.
Brooklyn rubbed his beak thoughtfully. Now why would Lex go there?…perhaps I'd better check up on him…
Brooklyn turned to one of the nearby soldiers. "Get a group of men together." he ordered.
The soldier saluted and left the room.
Brooklyn turned to the tech. "Keep tracking him. I want to know where he is at all times."
The man nodded and turned back to the radar screen...
Lexington chuckled as he sat atop the large raised stone slab where the legendary King, Arthur Pendragon had once rested in eternal sleep. The gargoyle leaped to the floor and strode across the stone bridge to where the others were standing.
Titania's face was a frozen mask. "So, he knows we're here."
Lex smiled. "Not quite. While we were building the complex I managed to route all the scanning systems into one console so all the other scanners would be rendered useless. Only my console registered your arrival."
Titania pursed her lips. "How can we trust you? You are one of the Subverted."
Lex smiled. "Was. Somehow Kl-Torach got the impression that I had a really weak mind. I pretended to be subverted so what little power he used would wear off eventually." Lex turned to Gary and smiled. "How else do you think you got off that knife shot?"
Gary's eyes widened. "You let me go, didn't you? So that I could throw that knife."
"Yeah, and if you had aimed right it would have worked." Lex frowned. "You didn't have to smash my foot so hard, you know. You almost broke it."
As Gary smiled sheepishly Titania returned her attention to Lex.
"Why are you here?" she asked.
Lex simply smiled. "I'm here to help, what else? I can show you the way to the capstone."
Gary looked at Lex. "What capstone?"
Lex smiled at Titania. "You didn't tell them?"
Titania shrugged. "There wasn't any need."
Lex shrugged. "We need to get down to the bottom of the cavern. You provide the elevator and I'll fill them in."
Titania nodded and the group, including Lex, became surrounded by blue energy. As they floated off the bridge and began to descend into the chasm below, Lex began speaking to the others.
"While Brooklyn was busy I managed to hide some of the notes and manuscripts made by the royal family." he explained, nodding to Titania. "Eventually I cam across a reference to the capstone in a sort of 'to do' list after the Gathering had taken place. Apparently, Avalon's magical source can put out incredible amounts of magical energy, much more then what it's producing now. Kinda like a magical fountain. A couple of millennia back Oberon and some of the other Fey decided that there was just too much magic around, since it was overflowing into the mortal realm as well, which is where we get all those stories of dragons and unicorns. Basically they were just normal animals that had become changed by the potency of Fey magic. So they capped the fountain with a warded capstone but allowed a small portion of the magic to leak out, just enough to provide enough power for them, but not so much that it would leak into our world too."
Gary and Mark listened with professional interest, occasionally glancing at Titania.
"Anyway," Lex said as they continued their slow descent, "Without the magic to sustain them, the dragons and unicorns and such eventually died out or reverted to their original forms. And the magic kept building up beneath the capstone. Eventually everyone forgot about it until the banishment of the Fey to the mortal world, and at that point there wasn't enough time to reopen it. So that capstone's got another millennia's worth of power building up under it and it's just about ready to break." Lex glanced at Titania for confirmation.
Titania nodded. "You are correct Lexington." she replied. "My husband intended to siphon off the excess power to a pocket dimension. Unfortunately before he could do so, Kl-Torach came and...destroyed him. The capstone is about to break from the pressure."
Gary nodded. "All that power...how big a blast are we talking?"
Titania thought for a moment. "The power released would have the force of at least ten hydrogen bombs."
Damion whistled in shock. "Damn! And you're going to blow this cap off?! What about us? Are we gonna be blown to La-La Land too?!"
Titania grimaced. "Hardly. The instant the cap is blown we will all teleport back to the mortal realm."
Gary nodded. "But if the blast is as powerful as you say, what about the rest of the world? Surely it's going to feel the blast."
Titania nodded. "Some tremors will occur and the planet will be covered with magic as it was before. But this time, the power will energize everything permanently."
Gary just stared. "A new age of dragons and unicorns. Only this time, it's going to be permanent."
Damion simply grinned. "Well, hey! I've always wanted to be a knight! Now I can go slay me some dragons after all!"
Everyone simply groaned. A few moments later they touched the bottom of the cavern floor. As the energy aura vanished around them, Gary's arms began to prickle.
"Damn! It's almost like walking through an electrical field!" he exclaimed.
Titania smiled. "Yes, the magic of Avalon is powerful, and we are near its heart." She pointed to a cave opening nearby. "This way."
The rest followed them into the cavern...
"He's where?!" Brooklyn cried.
The tech jumped at the outburst. "He's beneath the cavern, Dominus! There's a lot of interference!"
Brooklyn ground his fangs. "He's betrayed me! Somehow that witch Titania managed to slip in right under our noses and that little whelp helped her!"
He turned to the group of ten men that had been assembled nearby. "Gather around me!" he ordered. "We're going in!"...
After a few minutes walk down the tunnel, the group of humans, gargoyle, and Fey arrived in a small circular chamber with a domed ceiling. Etched into the smooth stone floor was a huge circle covered with various runes. In the middle of the circle, a small jet of pure blue magic spouted from a circular hole surrounded by wards. However, judging by the cracks in several runes and other areas, the stone would not last much longer. The others looked in in amazement.
"The heart of Avalon's magic." Titania muttered, almost to herself.
Gary shook himself. "Let's get to it then." he instructed. He turned to Titania. "Do what you need to do. We'll make sure no one get's in."
"DON'T MAKE PROMISES YOU CAN'T KEEP, FOOL!" shouted a voice from the end of the tunnel. Suddenly Brooklyn and his retinue of soldiers raced down the hallway, laser rifles blazing. The group scattered and took up places around the door, alternately returning fire. Titania meanwhile took her place next to the edge of the capstone and began to weaken its wards. Fortunately for Gary and the others, the tunnel's compactness made targeting the soldiers very easy, the tunnel only being three men wide. In a few short minutes only two of the soldiers remained standing. Brooklyn quickly erected a shield in front of him and his remaining men and began moving forward, as Gary and Mark continued to blast at them. Damion meanwhile was finishing reloading his shotgun. Suddenly a tremor rocked the room as the capstone began to weaken.
Brooklyn's eyes widened, realizing what was happening. Suddenly he teleported to the entrance of the room. Before Gary or Mark could take aim, Brooklyn hit them each with a blast that knocked them against opposite ends of the room. Brooklyn raised his arm to fire on the occupied Fey queen...
"Eat this, asshole!" shouted Damion. Suddenly a sound of thunder echoed throughout the room as he fired a round of iron bullets into Brooklyn's side. The gargoyle roared and collapsed to his knees, holding his torn side. He glared up a Damion, his eyes glowing like supernovas. "WRETCHED MORTAL!" he shouted. "YOU WILL PAY FOR THAT!" Suddenly bolts of power shot from Brooklyn's eyes towards Damion.
"NO!" cried Lexington, and leaped between Damion and the death rays. The gargoyle caught the brunt of the blast, knocking him into Damion. Both collapsed to the floor. Lexington slowly rolled off of Damion, his chest burnt and charred from the blast. As Brooklyn took aim, two laser blasts caught him in the back and chest knocking him to the floor. As Gary and Mark slowly got to their feet, Damion knelt by Lex. The gargoyle's breathing was raspy and labored and it was obvious the gargoyle was dying. Lex looked up at the others and grimaced in pain.
"He was my brother..." Lex wheezed.
Damion shook his head somberly. "I'm sorry." He took the gargoyle's hand and gripped it. Lex smiled quietly and squeezed Gary's hand in return. After a moment his body relaxed and the gargoyle breathed his last.
A bitter chuckle suddenly came from behind them. They turned to see Brooklyn lying on one elbow, bleeding from his side and chest, chuckling at the scene. "Good riddance to bad rubbish." he sneered, coughing.
As Gary opened his mouth to berate the creature, a massive tremor threw them to the floor. They looked over to see the capstone beginning to fracture, the hole in the center becoming larger. Titania quickly walked over to them.
"Time to leave." she instructed.
Brooklyn barked a gurgling laugh his throat filled with blood. "You aren't leaving! None of you are!" With that his amulet began to glow.
Titania simply gestured and spoke a word of command. "Leave him!"
Suddenly Brooklyn roared with pain as Kl-Torach was ripped from his body. Suddenly a blast of black energy erupted from his mouth and eyes, forming a shade-like creature with demonic red eyes and a maw of razor teeth, hovering above the prone gargoyle. As Titania attempted to teleport the group out, her spell was blocked by the demon.
"I TOLD YOU!" he shouted in a deep, growling voice. "NO ONE LEAVES THIS PLACE!"
As Titania bunched her fists in frustration, a second ripple rocked the chamber. Suddenly Kl-Torach cried out as Brooklyn surrounded him in a magical shell. The gargoyle turned to Titania, his face twisted in pain and concentration.
"I've got him bound! Go! I'll hold him!"
"What about you?!" Gary shouted.
Brooklyn shook his head. "I'm not coming! I have to atone for what I've done!"
"No you don't!" Gary cried. "We can-"
"GO!!" Brooklyn roared.
Titania nodded and looked into Brooklyn's eyes. I forgive you. she thought to him telepathically. Brooklyn simply smiled tiredly.
Titania quickly formed a bubble around the group and vanished into nothingness. Brooklyn sighed and crawled over to where his rookery brother lay, putting an arm around him.
"YOU CAN NEVER ATONE FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE, FOOL!" Kl-Torach laughed. "YOUR SOUL IS DAMNED FOREVER!"
Brooklyn gave him a grim smirk. "Then I guess I'll see you in Hell!"
Suddenly the capstone ruptured, sending an enormous blast of power through the roof of the room. As the power tore through Brooklyn's body, he stared into the sky...The Light!...It's beautiful...
The blast broke through the island's surface and shot into the sky seconds before the force of the magical geyser ripped the island asunder. The complex disintegrated in a shower of molten metal and glass as men turned to dust in an eyeblink. The geyser seemed to tear a hole in the Avalonic sky as the dimensional barrier was ripped open. Those who were watching the bay that day said they saw a bubble of pure golden energy erupt out of the ocean, a blue fountain shooting out of the top of it. If they had been watching the shore they would have seen four figures flash into existence and collapse on the ground, tired but alive. After a few moments, the bubble disappeared to be replaced by what many described as an atomic explosion but without the mushroom cloud. As a gigantic ripple emerged from the explosion, it shot out seeming to electrify everything in its path, even down to the blades of grass and the earth itself. After about an hour the eruption seemed to subside and eventually the 'fountain' vanished altogether...
Gary smiled as he remembered how people had reacted. The astonishing thing was, no one really minded. They just seemed to take it in stride. It's almost as if Brooklyn did cast that subversion spell...only it wasn't subversion...it was acceptance.
There came a knock at the door. Gary turned from his window and opened it, revealing Detective Maza.
"May I come in?" she asked, smiling.
Gary nodded and motioned her to a couch. As she sat down, she pushed her hair out of her face and pulled it back , revealing her fey ears. Gary chuckled. "Being a fey suits you."
Elisa smiled. "Half-fey anyway, according to Titania. Xanatos is fuming because he didn't get altered like I did."
Gary chuckled. "Black sheep!"
Elisa laughed. "Yeah! So what are you going to do tonight?"
Gary smirked. "The same thing I do every night. Try and save the world!"
The two laughed and the world entered a new era...