Much Ado about Tengu

Disclaimer: I don't own Gargoyles, or the characters of Brooklyn, Katana, Fu-Dog, Samson, Macbeth, etc. Characters created by Greg Weisman and distributed by SLG.

Antarctica, March 9, 2199 A.D.

The sky barge raced along the cold Antarctic wasteland, an army of thirty to forty gargoyles and automatons flying alongside the vehicle. Aboard the barge itself was an olive colored gargoyle-beast, an LXM robot, and a grey-bearded human over a thousand years old.

"We must hurry lads," Macbeth called out. "We've less then forty-five minutes before the Planet Buster goes off…and we must stop it at all costs."

"Approaching New Camelot," LXM-994 said. "Estimated time of arrival: two minutes."

"You ever notice how the fate of the world is always at stake?" Brooklyn asked Samson. Again Brooklyn was struck by how closely Samson resembled Goliath. If not for the fact that he had Broadway's coloring and ears, Brooklyn would not have been able to tell them apart.

"I feel like we do this at least once a week," Brooklyn quipped. "At ten, nine central."

"Perhaps the fate of the world is at stake quite frequently Brooklyn," Samson replied at his side. "But how often do the consequences of failure mean annihilation?"

"Fair enough," Brooklyn said trying not to sound too downhearted.

"I wish Zafiro and Nick were with us," Samson muttered.

"New Camelot," Delilah said from behind them. She pointed towards the ruins of King Arthur's dream. It seemed innocuous enough, a giant black dome in the middle of the frozen wasteland. "I have not visited since I was a hatchling."

"That was before the Space Spawn took the Master Matrix," Samson said. "The city is preternaturally quiet since its absence."

"You said that there was a clan of gargoyles there?" Brooklyn asked.

"Indeed," Samson said. "The New Camelot clan…I've not heard from them since the invasion began. The Master Matrix would create an artificial day/night environment for the clan, since the cycles are so extreme here. I know not how they've faired since its theft."

"Guess we're gonna find out," Brooklyn replied. At that instant, there was a burst of flame and a bright orange light appeared in the sky. Brooklyn gasped.

"The Phoenix!" Brooklyn cried out. "No!!! It's come for me!"

Fu-Dog, who was on the sky barge alongside Macbeth, began barking violently.

"It seems you are not destined to find out, my friend," Samson said.

"Forget it!" Brooklyn said. "I'm not going to abandon you. Not when the greatest threat the earth has ever faced is going to blow in what? Forty minutes? The Phoenix can leave without me."

"If that is your wish," Samson said, then, without warning, he banked and slammed into Brooklyn hard. The brick colored gargoyle tumbled through the air. As he did, Samson fell back behind the sky barge, and then in one swift motion snapped up Fu-Dog and released the beast, which tumbled through the air after Brooklyn.

With two swift snaps of its fiery beak, the time-bird had swallowed the gargoyles. The flames vanished and dissolved into darkness.

Samson glided down and landed next to Macbeth.

"Are you sure that was wise lad?" Macbeth asked him. "They might have been invaluable in the coming battle."

"Brooklyn must fulfill his role in the time-stream," Samson said. "History cannot be changed. I was sad to see him go, but go he must."

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Japan, September, 9, 1437 A.D.

Brooklyn and Fu-Dog tumbled out of the phoenix flames and into a forest. They landed in a pile of flesh and talons next to a creek.

"NO!!!" Brooklyn screamed at the sky as soon as he had untangled himself from Fu-Dog. "NO!!! You can't just…Take me back! Do you hear me Phoenix?!? Take me back."

But Brooklyn knew that his cries fell on deaf ears. The Phoenix would not return him. His dance through 2198 & 2199 was done. He'd been there almost a year.

"Okay, Fu-Dog," Brooklyn said squatting down and petting his loyal beast, who whined sympathetically. "You can stop staring at your master like he's nuts now…he knows the Phoenix won't take him back."

"Guess we should figure out where and when we are," Brooklyn said climbing back to his feet. The beaked gargoyle frowned and bent down to look a small Shinto shrine atop a rock by the creek.

"Hmmm…" he muttered to himself. Suddenly Fu-Dog's ears pricked up. The gargoyle beast began barking and bounded off into the forest. Brooklyn looked surprised and then bounded after his beast.

They had not gone far when they came to a clearing with an old looking worn-down temple. Standing in front of the temple was a man dressed in the armor of a samurai, and a light blue female gargoyle.

The gargoyle female had to have been one of the more attractive females Brooklyn had come across. She was beaked, like himself, though her beak was not as long as his own, she had one wing-rib and one wing-claw on each wing. Her talons had two fingers and one thumb, and her feet hat two toe-like talons, and one heel-talon in back. In one talon, she held a deadly looking katana, and in the other, a tessen, or Japanese fighting fan.

The samurai and the gargess were faced off against sixteen nasty-looking men. At the head of this band was a man with a deep gash over the left side of his face, his left eye sealed closed.

"Dawn is not far off Masaki," the gash-faced man said. "Then your tengu partner can save you no more. Give us the chest, and we might spare you. We might even spare your yuokai friend as well."

"What do you think of that Katana?" the samurai said looking bemusedly at the gargoyle. Brooklyn realized that the warrior could not have been much older than Nick…seventeen, perhaps eighteen. "The monkey thinks to offer us the benefits of his mercy."

The female gargoyle grinned. "The ape is more foolish then we thought. We shall have dispatched him and his band of baboons long before the sun rises."

Brooklyn grinned at her bravado, but felt certain that she was bluffing. He could tell that dawn was not far off. No once had noticed Brooklyn or Fu-Dog waiting in the wings of the forest.

Brooklyn drew the broadsword that he had acquired in 10th century Scotland and smiled.

"Hit it Fu-Dog!" Brooklyn said. In an instant, Fu-Dog bounded forward and slammed into the thugs from behind. Brooklyn roared and lunged forward, slashing into another brute as he charged.

Katana and Masaki looked at Brooklyn dumbfounded. Katana only for a moment though, without a word she lunged and began moving so fast that the bandits she struck were dead before they realized it.

"What?" Masaki started to say.

"Dude," Brooklyn said leaping over two thugs that had charged him. He landed nimbly next to the samurai. "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

"Indeed," the samurai said regaining his composure. With a swift motion he had drawn his own blade and was slashing the remaining bandits.

"Curse you," the gash-faced man snarled as he realized that he'd been outmaneuvered. Almost all of his men had been taken down in less then two minutes. He glared at Masaki.

"This is not done! We will face each other again!" he roared. The then let out a sharp whistle. A masked warrior on horseback came vaulting into the clearing. With a swift motion the mounted warrior grabbed the gash-faced warrior and pulled him onto the horse.

"You cannot hide behind the Tengu forever," he crowed as they galloped off.

"Any time Kazuki," Masaki grinned. "Day or night. Tengu or not, I'll take you on."

Brooklyn's beast began bounding towards the horse, but Brooklyn let out a sharp whistle.

"Fu-Dog, Heel!" Brooklyn snapped. In an instant the beast stopped and bounded up next to Brooklyn. He sat at attention. Brooklyn grinned and pet his pet smiling. He wiped his broadsword off in the grass and sheathed it.

"My thanks strange, Tengu," Masaki said. "I am loathe to admit it, but had you not arrived, Katana and I would have been in dire straits."

"Ah, no problem," Brooklyn said shrugging.

"Who are you?" Katana said regarding Brooklyn coldly.

"I'm Brooklyn" he replied. Masaki bent down to pet Fu-Dog. The beast snarled at the samurai. "And this is Fu-Dog. Fu-Dog, play nice."

The beast relaxed and its tongue lolled out. Masaki looked surprised, and gently pet the gar-dog. "A loyal companion."

"From where do you hail, Brooklyn?" Katana said still observing him suspiciously. "I have been to Okinawa, and Mt. Fuji. I have met the clans there, and you are not from either."

"I'm…from a lot further away," Brooklyn admitted sheepishly.

"The continent?" Masaki wondered aloud. He'd heard rumors of gargoyles on the mainland, but was unsure if they were true.

"Your questions will have to wait," Brooklyn said pointing east.

Katana frowned and looked towards the horizon. "I suppose they will."

"Come my friends," Masaki said sliding the door to the temple open. The two gargoyles and the beast stepped inside quickly. "I'll guard you during the day. And at sunset, we can take the chest to Ishimura. Brooklyn-san, you are more than welcome to join us."

Katana dropped to the ground, her back to the temple door; she crouched low and closed her eyes. Brooklyn smiled half-heartedly at her before adopting his usual pose and snarling. Fu-Dog growled next to him. The dawn broke and hardened the three gargoyles, freezing them in time.

Masaki swiftly closed the door, and then sat down in between Brooklyn and Katana's stone forms.

End Act One…to be continued in Act two…