By Kimberly T. (e-mail: kimbertow -at- yahoo dot com )
Greetings to all Gargoyles fanfiction readers! This is my fanfic universe's version of the "Gargoyles Bible." It is not a "Who's Who" for the entire universe; sorry, but that would take way too long to type. Besides, it's been done before and better than I'll ever have time for, by Todd Jensen; check out his Guide to the Gargoyles Universe, available from the Gargoyles-Fans' website's "Grimorum Arcanorum" section. I am merely sharing with you most of the facts I've researched and set down on paper (or electrons) in order to keep consistency as stories are written. Most of it is comprised of facts that were established in the show; the rest is comprised of my logical extrapolations from those facts.
I want to stress right from the start that some of the stuff I've put down here doesn't quite match up with Todd Jensen's Guide, or what tidbits of information Greg Weisman has dispensed to fans on Station 8's "Ask Greg" webpages and at the Gatherings. Part of that is because I confess I didn't thoroughly read and memorize the Station 8 webpages before I started creating my particular fanfic universe. I didn't even find the first version of Todd Jensen's Guide until nearly a year after starting my series. And I've never gone to a Gathering (my husband, a total non-fan, says we have to spend our money on more trivial matters such as the mortgage and groceries.) Part of it is also that I just thought a few things would work better for my fanfiction if they were slightly, just slightly, different than the accepted canon.
Baseline Comparison To Humans
Gargoyles are roughly, pound for pound, five times stronger than the average human of similar height and weight. Their bones and skin are tougher than human skin and bone, so they can take more punishment before breaking/bleeding. The talons that tip each digit of their hands and feet are both sharp and extremely durable, and combined with their great strength are capable of punching through stone or metal.
Their senses of smell and hearing are far sharper than a human's, equivalent in range and sensitivity to that of a typical feline (not quite as sharp as a typical canine's senses, but close).
Their sense of touch is generally on a par with the average human's, and extends to every limb. The membranes and struts of their wings are sensitive enough to feel changes in air currents while gliding.
Their eyesight is far, far sharper than a human's, equivalent to an eagle or peregrine falcon's eyesight, and very light-sensitive. They also see ever-so-slightly into the infrared range. On the downside, they are blinded by light at lesser levels of intensity than the average human.
Gargoyle reflexes are roughly at 150 of the average human's reflexes; in other words they respond to stimulus (i.e. danger) in 2/3 of the time it would take the average human to do so. (Assuming, of course, they aren't utterly stunned or confused by whatever is threatening them; moving fast doesn't always mean they think fast.)
Gargoyles are omnivorous but lean towards carnivorous, requiring a much higher level of protein in their diet than humans generally do. There are no vegetarian gargoyles, unless they're allowed all the eggs and milk they want (and they'll want a lot.) Generally speaking, they eat about twice what a human of similar size would need in order to sustain himself for rigorous activity.
Gargoyles can swim, but they don't float very well; they either have to keep moving, rapidly treading water, or extend their wings to make a larger floating surface area (built-in life raft!)Stone Sleep
Gargoyles spend the day in 'stone sleep', their bodies transformed from dawn to dusk into a substance that greatly resembles common granite.
The stonelike substance absorbs solar radiation and transforms it into cell energy, for when gargoyles awaken. This keeps their food intake down to roughly twice that of the average human's, instead of six or seven times that, for the energy to glide and power their feats of strength and generally accelerated metabolism.
Stone sleep is tied to the diurnal cycle, not to actual exposure to solar radiation; a gargoyle indoors or underground will still go to stone sleep when dawn comes to the world immediately outside, and wake up at sunset. Nor will they turn to stone at night if somebody shines a sunlamp on them, though they may feel somewhat lethargic.
Gargoyles do not age in their transformed state. This extends their lifespan to over twice that of a human; 200-year-old gargoyles are not unheard of. (Definitely rare, due to their harsh lifestyle, but not unheard of.)
A gargoyle in stone form has no sense of sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, etc… Not even a sense of time passing.
Gargoyles can dream in their stone sleep, though they generally do not remember the dreams, any more than humans untrained in lucid dreaming will remember all their dreams.
A very thin outer layer of the stonelike substance, equivalent to the outer dead layer of skin in a human's epidermis, does not convert back to flesh at sunset, and is broken and shed by the gargoyle awakening. (This used to rip the heck out of their clothes, until a kindly and exceedingly modest mage waaaay back in ancient times cast a spell that allowed a gargoyle's clothing and personal effects to transform back and forth with him/her without harm. The spell has spread throughout all the gargoyles of the world by some means as yet unexplained; I'm guessing spell-seeds were tossed up into the Trade Winds that circle the globe.)
At sunset, when transforming back to flesh-and-blood, they awaken healed from nearly any injury that may have been suffered the night before. Note 'nearly'; an amputated limb will not be regrown, though if the limb is sutured back in place immediately by a highly skilled surgeon, before the limb starts decaying, a sunrise and sunset will probably see it restored to full or nearly full function.
A wounded limb still attached but so badly mangled that it's no longer fed by an adequate blood supply (in a human, it would be prime for gangrene), will fall off and crumble to dust upon awakening at sunset. The remaining stump will be sealed over by new flesh, as if the amputation had occurred several days ago.
Broken bones not set properly before sunrise may heal crookedly, and the gargoyle may end up crippled for life unless the bone is re-broken and re-set before the next sunrise.
Healing extensive injuries takes a lot of energy, and the gargoyle who has just woken up healed will be weak and hungry until he/she has replenished that energy with larger than usual amounts of food.
A wound caused directly by magic (Hudson's eye, blasted by the Archmage) may not heal without a healing spell in addition to stone sleep, but if the wound is caused indirectly by magic (for example, magic animating a tree limb that swings out and breaks somebody's wing) it will heal as normally.
Damage done to the stone form will be reflected in the flesh when the gargoyle wakes up; a chip or crack will become a wound upon awakening. Breaking or smashing a stone gargoyle apart will kill him/her.Breeding, Bonding And Eggs
The fertility of gargoyle females is on a twenty-five year cycle, beginning with their fortieth year of life (roughly human equivalent to human twenty-year-olds.) This is the first seriously non-canonical item. Virtually every other author that has the gargoyles tied to a specific breeding cycle (instead of just breeding whenever the clan wants and is ready to have more eggs) agrees that the breeding cycle comes every twenty years. But if they did, then the eggs hatched two Breeding Moons ago would be only thirty-year-old gargoyles, and Angela and her rookery sisters would have already mated and bred eggs while still on Avalon!
And if one had to wait three full Breeding moons, sixty years, until the eggs laid and hatched are now fifty years old, for the next generation to breed… Sorry, that's just too long for my series' purposes. But if the Breeding Moons are twenty-five years apart, at thirty-nine years out of the shell when leaving Avalon, Angela's got a little more time to pick and choose a mate before her biology starts demanding it.
The Breeding Moon will occur in late autumn of the appropriate year, and eggs bred then will be laid six months later, in the spring.
The gargoyles' breeding season is appallingly brief for their incredibly long reproductive cycle, lasting usually only the four nights of the full moon.
When the Breeding Moon arrives, the female's instincts upon awakening at dusk are to fly as fast and far and high as possible, to ensure that only the strongest and fastest male catches her, to breed strong, fast and healthy hatchlings for the next generation. However, being civilized people, the gargoyles usually ensure that breeding pairs are isolated from the clan's unmated males the dawn before the Breeding Moon rises, so only the female's mate flies with her. And a mature female who is prepared for the event can override her instincts to some degree, enough so slow down a little if her mate is normally slower than she is. These breeding flights usually conclude with the couple mating in midair.
At the laying time, the female gargoyle's pelvis actually unhinges at the spine, in order to allow the giant egg to pass through the birthing canal. (Hurts like a m#$#f&$!, too.) Each breeding female lays only one egg, though very rare exceptions (laying two eggs, or one huge double-yolked egg) have been heard of.
The shell of the fresh-laid egg is soft and somewhat pliable until after dawn following the night it is laid; then it hardens to stone, and stays that way until hatching. The developing infant inside will turn to stone and back with each sunrise and sunset, just as the adults do.
Gargoyles eggs take ten years to hatch into infant gargoyles. At their hatching, they are roughly equivalent to the physical development of six-month-old human babies: able to roll over on their own, almost able to sit up without aid, and able to digest soft solids. They'll begin crawling (and teething!) within two months of hatching.
Gargoyles are generally monogamous and mate for life, and they will bond to their mates in a form of pheromonal 'imprinting'. A male gargoyle who has fully bonded to a female will have a slight change in his scent, having been 'marked' as hers, and vice versa. This will send off subconscious signals of 'off the market' to other, unmated gargoyles if they get close enough to get a good whiff.
The pheromonal imprinting also ties the males more closely to their chosen females' fertility cues. This is why, in my "Life Goes On" series, Goliath has a real hard time (pun intended) every month when Elisa's human biological cycle makes her fertile. He's imprinted to her as his chosen mate, and his body is responding to his mate's fertility with unabashed horniness, and raw aggression whenever another male is nearby. (Yes, he was once imprinted to Demona and she to him, but it wore off during that thousand years they were apart.)
However, this pheromone marking does not mean that a female separated from her mate during the Breeding Moon will not be driven to seek out another male to breed with; during those few nights, that biological clock is ticking REAL LOUD. And any nearby male, even one already bonded to another female, will go nuts with horniness if he's close enough to get a whiff of her fertility scent.
Gargoyles and humans are not naturally interfertile. (Note I said 'naturally.' Magic and those pesky Fey can throw every biological rule out the window, from stone sleep to fertility and breeding cycles. In point of fact, a magical/supernatural incident once triggered an unexpected breeding season for an entire clan; read "The Times, They Are a-Changin'… Part 2" for the story on that.)Items of (ahem) Interest
Gargoyles have every erogenous zone that humans have, and a few extra. The areas of the back right along and between the wing joints are very sensitive, as sensitive as the inner thighs and groin area of the average human. It's just as sensitive for males as it is for females, and both sexes refer to this erogenous zone as the crewenn. (Hey, we have names and nicknames for all our most sensitive parts; why shouldn't they?)
The base of the spine right above the tail is also somewhat erogenous, though not as sensitive as the crewenn.
A gargoyle can do amazing things with a fully prehensile tail.
Death (and Dismemberment)
Note: I'm using the Red Cross standard definitions of clinical death (heart stops beating) and biological death (cells of the body are dying.) A man whose heart has just been stopped, though clinically dead, might be revived; that's the whole point behind CPR. After ten minutes, biological death sets in and revival is next to impossible, except in hypothermic drowning cases.
Biological death triggers a rapid transformation/decay in gargoyle flesh; it converts to the stonelike substance again but quickly crumbles into fine gravel and dust. (This explains why there's no fossil record of prehistoric gargoyles.) Biological death generally occurs about ten minutes after the heart stops, but severe violent trauma (say, being ripped in half) will bring it on sooner.
A severed limb that is not immediately reattached will start to 'gravelize' in about ten minutes, unless it is packed in ice to preserve it.
Gargoyles killed while still asleep (the stone form smashed) will stay in whatever fragments remain after the initial damage is done, instead of disintegrating into gravel.
GARGOYLE BEASTS, A.K.A. WATCHBEASTS
Watchbeasts have all the capabilities of gargoyles regarding stone sleep, but they don't have wings. The gargoyles of Wyvern Clan have a legend that explains why; read my story "Faith, Hope and Love" for the whole story.
Watchbeasts are considered by gargoyles to be full clan members, not merely pets.
Watchbeasts are generally much more intelligent than the canines and felines they roughly resemble; they are at roughly the same level of intelligence as a gorilla or chimpanzee. (Without speech or manipulative hands, though, they have a hard time showing it.)
Watchbeasts can understand many words and phrases of human/gargoyle speech, but do not have the vocal apparatus for speaking themselves.
Watchbeast eggs are somewhat smaller and darker than gargoyle eggs, but are laid and hatch at the same times. A watchbeast female can and often does lay more than one egg at the same time, but never more than two eggs.
Watchbeasts have roughly half the lifespan of a gargoyle, living to roughly a hundred years of age. They come into season at the first Breeding Moon after hatching, when only fifteen years of age, though usually laying only one egg for the first breeding cycle.
Watchbeasts have a poorer sense of sight than gargoyles; still just as light-sensitive, but with not as much range for farsightedness. On the other paw, watchbeasts have keener senses of smell and hearing, better than the average gargoyle's, and far better than the best bloodhound ever born.Next: Gargoyle Culture and Psychology