All the characters appearing in Gargoyles, Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles and Gargoyles comics are copyright Buena Vista Television/The Walt Disney Company.
No infringement of these copyrights is intended, and is not authorized by the copyright holder.
All original characters are the property of Storyseeker and Hardwing.
Here it is, the newly revamped saga! With fresh new/extended and altered scenes!
Once again, this story was co-written with the great author Hardwing! Many thanks!
This fic saga is set in an alternate universe, in Wyvern's past, with characters from the Gargoyles comics, the Dark Ages Saga in TGS and some of Hardwing's own characters. It starts off right after the events shown in the show's episode 'Long Way To Morning' in 984 A.D. where the events in that chapter lead to a different conclusion for the clan. It is also set in the same timeline as the show in that era, with two small differences… Goliath didn't get his name until 984 A.D. and the eggs hatched soon in 995 A.D.
Oh, and in case some people get offended at some of the sexist remarks in this saga… Please remember that it is set in the medieval ages (things were different back then).
Many thanks to Kimberly Towle for her suggestions, and to the author Aesop for all his proofreading!
Scotland; Castle Wyvern; 984 A.D.:
The scarred Gargoyle made his way down the long corridors of Castle Wyvern. He had been summoned to the Prince's bedchamber, where he was even now waiting to see him.
The old warrior winced, as he approached the Prince's door, not really wanting to see him. He was too ashamed.
Despite their best efforts, the former leader and his two young warriors had failed in their mission to save the Prince. Although they had succeeded in retrieving the magic book, the Grimorum Arcanorum, from the now deceased sorcerer Archmage, they had already been too late. In fact, they had been too late from the moment the poison had entered the Prince's bloodstream.
The Archmage had been no fool. He knew that someone would try and steal the Grimorum from him so that the young Magus could retrieve the antidote from its pages. That was why he had made certain that the poison he used on the Prince was extremely virulent.
By the time they had administered the cure, the poison had already done its worst damage. They just didn't know it at the time.
At first, the antidote seemed to work and he appeared to be making a full recovery, but alas that was only temporary. Although they had saved him from death by morning, they had only delayed the inevitable. The poison had left his body so ravaged and vulnerable to sickness that within two days, even with the poison gone, he had become so ill that he was barely able to breathe without pain.
The Magus had tried his best, but in the end concluded that the Prince had only a few weeks before the Angel of Death would come to claim him, a month at the very most.
So the old Gargoyle, known only as the Mentor, and his warriors had saved the Prince…only for him to survive a few more weeks, during which he would suffer greatly. And the Archmage, who was now the only one who could possibly help him, was dead.
The old Mentor felt sick with guilt and grief, as he touched the scar that occupied his left eye, which was now blind, an injury he had received during his last fight with the old sorcerer. Although most warriors prided themselves on the scars they received in battle, like symbols of their bravery, this was one the old warrior would love nothing more than to be rid of. It was like a mockery, symbolising the everlasting shame of his worst defeat.
The rest of the castle had also been in mourning since news of the Prince's fate became known, especially the Princess Katherine who had been spending all her time with her father. It didn't need to be said, but she obviously bore a vendetta against the now former leader of the Gargoyle clan, blaming him for her father's coming death. Everyone in the castle feared what she would do for retribution once her father was gone and she took the throne.
The Mentor had given up leadership of the clan, handing it over to his Second-in-Command, the large lavender Gargoyle with the deep voice. Although he had been denying it for quite a while, the mission against the Archmage had confirmed what everyone had suspected for many months…that he was simply too old to lead the clan. The blindness in his left eye now added that belief.
If it hadn't been for his leader and his love, the azure lass, his head would probably be decorating the Archmage's lair right now. The clan needed a younger warrior to lead them, so he had stepped down in favour of the next generation, but with a promise that he would always be there to offer counsel whenever needed.
When the Prince had been made aware of his condition, he had sworn to all the clan that he bore them no ill will, as he knew they had tried their best, and thanked them for their admirable effort. But even so, the old Gargoyle still shuddered with shame and anger at the memory of his worst failure ever. If he had just been the tiniest bit faster when the Archmage had shot that poison dart at the Prince!
Swallowing his guilt, he knocked on the door and entered.
"You asked to see me, Your Highness?" he asked as he entered the Prince's bedchamber, wincing a little when he saw the state the Prince was in. His condition had deteriorated even furthered since he had seen him the previous night, as he lay upon the bed, held up by cushions, his skin deadly pale, and making low rasping noises as he tried to breathe.
"Yes, old friend," the Prince croaked, and indicated he should sit. "Come, we have much to discuss."
"Have we?" the old soldier said curiously, sitting beside the bed.
"My friend," Malcolm winced. "I have been a fool…and what's worse, I have been a failure."
"What?" he asked in shock. "What do ye mean? When have ye ever failed at anything?"
"I'm talking about my daughter." the Prince looked at him with a small humourless smile on his face. "I have failed with her, and ye know it, so don't bother denying."
"Your Highness," he said unsurely. "I'm not sure what you…"
"Oh, come now!" Malcolm rebuked him. "I may be dying, and I may not have been the sharpest blade in the armoury, but I'm not blind or completely stupid! While I've been stuck in this damn bed, I've seen the way she acts around you and your kind, the way she treats you… She obviously has about as much love for you and your clan as I did for the Archmage."
The aged warrior opened his mouth to speak, but closed it again, his honour not allowing him to lie, not even to spare his friend the pain of the truth. "Aye," he finally admitted. "Tis true, the lass don't exactly agree with us being here."
"Even though you have more right to be here than we." Malcolm coughed. "These cliffs were your home ages before Wyvern was even built. It was built so that our two clans could prosper together by living in peace, and now… Now I fear I may have destroyed that dream with Katherine."
"My Lord, ye can't…"
"Be silent!" he said forcibly, and immediately started coughing again, but refused to cease talking. "I told Katherine those ridiculous stories of how Gargoyles would come and get her if she didn't behave. That's all they were, just silly old wives tales! Yet she seems to have fully embraced them as fact. You yourself warned me not to frighten her so, but I just thought you were being overly sensitive. I now know you were right, old friend… I caused this… I turned her into a bigot!"
A fit of coughs came over him again, and his friend instantly handed him a goblet of water, which he gratefully accepted.
"I tried talking to her, get her to see the error of her ways, but she won't listen," he said miserably, as he slowly sipped the water.
"Ye were only the catalyst, My Lord," his friend assured him. "The Princess lives in a castle that's filled with those who don't exactly approve of our presence here. It was only a matter of time before she started listening to them."
"And what will happen once I'm gone?" he asked, worried. "I made her promise that she would honour the treaty between our two clans and keep ye safe. But who knows how long that will last? And even then, that's no guarantee of how she or the other Humans here will treat you in the years to come."
The Gargoyle shrugged. "We have lived with the people's disdain long enough. It makes no difference to us how we are treated…"
"Well, it does to me!" Malcolm groaned. "This castle was created as a means of peace for us all. How it has come to this is beyond me. And I fear what will happen in the coming years, especially with my daughter on the throne. She's so young and hot-headed."
The warrior smirked. "She takes after her father in that respect."
Malcolm looked at him in indignation, but then smiled, laughing slightly. "Aye, I suppose she does… " His eyes then turned solemn. "But I had my mother, you and Robbie to teach me, make me see my errors and guide me in wisdom… Who will Katherine have when I am gone?"
Malcolm's father, Maol Chalvim I, had passed away shortly before he had been born, so he had never known him. His mother, Queen Katherine, who his daughter was named after, had raised him. She had been a brave and righteous woman, and had taught her son much about honour and courage. Lessons he carried with him all his life.
Robbie was the current Captain of The Guard, who Malcolm had known most of his life, and had always looked up to as a friend and confidant.
"Shall I summon the physician or the young Magus?" his friend asked, concerned.
"No, there's nothing more they can do, and we need to speak…" He winced. "I asked you here for a special reason, my old friend. There is nothing I want more than to secure the peace between our two clans, and ensuring the freedom and safety of you and yours. I had hoped Katherine would carry on that legacy when I departed this world, but that is obviously not going to happen…"
"The lass is still just a wee bairn, My Liege," his friend reminded him. "The weight of the crown could…"
"You're playing a dangerous game of chance, my friend," the Prince warned him. "She may mature in time, but then again she may not. The risk is too great to chance…" He coughed. "But I do have another suggestion…one that could help not only free your clan from this castle's bigotry, but also ensure that you will never be at risk to lose your home here."
"How can that be?"
Malcolm took another sip of water. "The Captain will be here soon. When he arrives, we will discuss everything, and then… When we are finished discussing this matter, you must go and talk to your new leader… For he will need to make a very important decision… One that will influence not only the welfare of his clan, but of mine."
The former leader of the Gargoyle clan looked at him dumbfounded, but nodded and listened.
"I tell you, my love," the red-haired, blue-skinned female snarled. "If I have to listen to that whining brat's contempt much longer, I will…!"
"My love," the male lavender Gargoyle tried to calm his Angel of The Night down.
They had both been on their way to meet with the clan at the battlements to discuss who was to be the next Clan-Second, though many believed there was no real need for it. The redheaded female was not only one of the best warriors of the clan, but also the new leader's unofficial mate. She and the lavender warrior had been lovers for many years now, but had not been officially declared mates as of yet. Though it was doubtful that would remain the case, now that he had been made clan leader.
Along the way, they had unintentionally run into the young Princess Katherine. Needless to say, the Princess had not been thrilled to see them, and had told them as much by ordering them to "Get out of my way, monsters!"
"To think that she will one day occupy the throne," his mate-to-be hissed. "It's outrageous!"
"She is still merely a child, Night-Angel," he said diplomatically. "In time, she should…"
"She may not have time!" his lover said forcibly. "You and I both know, as do the rest of the clan, that the Prince is close to death's door. Soon, the four winds will come to claim him, and his brat of an heir will take the throne. And once she does that, what will become of us? Do you really think she has any regard for us as the guardians of this castle?"
Her future mate kept silent.
"Do you honestly think that once she's sitting on that oversized throne that she won't take the first opportunity to order our heads shattered during the day? And if she did then who would be there to stop her if not her father?"
He opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted.
The two of them turned to see their old Mentor coming down the corridor toward them. They both bowed their heads respectfully, but after years of serving under his command and learning from him, the male warrior knew at once that something was ailing him. The way the old teacher stared intently at him was a clear sign that he had something on his mind.
"Mentor?" he asked.
The old soldier didn't respond at first, and just looked to the companion of his present leader. "Lass, our leader and I need to talk. Why don't you go and join the others, let them know we'll be running a little late, aye?"
The redhead stared at him for a moment, but then nodded and hurried away, sensing too that the old Mentor had something he wanted to say to her soon-to-be official mate.
"Lad?" the former leader said again, looking to his former pupil. "Come and glide with me. We need to talk…now."
One Hour Later:
The new leader of the Wyvern clan had spent the last hour listening to his old Mentor about what he, the Captain and Prince Malcolm had been discussing. So far, his mind was in turmoil, confused and full of doubt.
"My Mentor," he began. "I'm not sure…what… To be honest, I am completely speechless at what you are saying. I don't know what to say or even what to think of this. Do you have any idea of what you are suggesting?"
The old warrior nodded. "Believe me, lad, when the Prince first suggested it, I was more than sceptical. But the fact is, terrible as it sounds, he is right. I've known the Princess all her life. I've watched her grow, and I've seen the way she recoils every time one of us gets close to her."
His former pupil took a long breath, thinking. "She is still quite young though…" he started, repeating what he had said to his beloved earlier.
"And she might mature in time, yes I know." His teacher sighed. "I said that myself. Tis true, she might gain wisdom in later years, but as Malcolm said, there's no guarantee of that. And if she doesn't…then we could all be putting our fates into the hands of someone who would sooner see us shattered."
The younger warrior winced at these words. The teacher never sugarcoated anything, and stayed right to the point.
"But even so," he remarked. "What you're suggesting…it's…it's never been done before. And what makes you think anyone else will go along with it in the first place, especially the Humans?"
"The Prince has taken everything into account, young one. He assures me that no one will be able to undo what's been done. All that's needed now is yuir decision."
The lavender warrior opened and shut his mouth, his mind a blank. "I…I don't know," he said finally. He honestly didn't know what to think. He had always known that being leader would mean he would have to make difficult decisions and certain sacrifices that would benefit the clan, but…he had never expected anything like this.
His Mentor looked at him sadly. "Lad… I don't need to stress to ye the importance of what yuir decision will be. But there are also other things ye need to consider, things like…what ye will lose, should ye accept."
His former pupil looked at him.
"I know, as do the rest of the clan, that you and the red-headed lass have been lovers now for many a year. I've seen the way ye look at each other. Ye clearly have much devotion for each other, but… Ye do realise that should you go along with this idea, there will be no way that ye can stay with her?"
The clan's young leader stared at him, his eyes moist.
To see him undergo this kind of pressure was heart-wrenching for the old warrior. He had always taught his young warriors to be strong, to remember a Gargoyle's purpose to protect, but never had he once taught them to put their heart on the line. He himself had never gone through a decision like the one the large lavender warrior was being put through. He wondered if he was the best person to offer council?
"What am I to do?" his leader finally asked, almost pleaded with him. "Please, Mentor. You have always been there for me whenever I needed your wisdom. I beg you, don't fail me now. Whatever decision you make, I will obey."
The scarred warrior looked at him in pity. "I'm sorry, lad, but this is a choice that I cannot make for you. Ye are leader now, so only you can decide, no one else." He turned to make his way back to the castle, but paused for a few moments. "Lad…" he started to say. "Do you know why I chose you to be my Second out of all the ones who participated in the exercises?"
The large warrior looked at him.
"I did so not because of the way ye fight, yuir strength or yuir courage," his Mentor continued. "But because of the way you cared. Ye have a warm caring heart, young one. Ye think of others before yuirself in a crisis, ye think of only what's best for yuir clan, and ye are ready to accept any challenge that comes yuir way." He turned to look back at him. "Remember what I told you and your siblings the night when you first began your trials for the title of Second? I said that being leader is about putting the welfare of the clan first before anything else. To be willing to do anything, even make the ultimate sacrifice, no matter what, because…because that's just what being a leader is all about."
He looked at him in sympathy. "But saying that, I never expected to put ye nor any Gargoyle in this kind of position. Ye are leader, and therefore it is up to ye to make the final choice. Ye can either go along with this plan or not, lad, but should ye be unable to make a decision, then I offer a third option… If ye wish, ye can step down as leader and I can temporarily take on the lead again until such time when another new leader can be chosen."
"One who will not be afraid to make the decision," his former pupil said, almost bitterly.
His Mentor's eyes flared white slightly. "I never said that, lad! Yuir choice is yuir own. No one will hold it against ye, no matter what yuir decision." He turned to leave again. "Consider your options carefully, but remember…once ye have made this decision there's no going back, so choose wisely. Prince Malcolm requires an answer by tomorrow night at the latest. His health diminishes more every second so there's no time to waste."
With that, the old Mentor spread his wings and took flight, his form vanishing into the distance, leaving behind one very troubled and heartbroken Gargoyle behind in his wake.
A few hours had passed and the old Mentor went to see the Prince, finding the Captain already inside, handing him some water to calm his aching throat.
"Have you spoken to him?" Malcolm asked urgently, as his friend entered his bedchamber.
The former clan-leader nodded. "Aye, but as to what his decision will be, only he can answer that. I've given him till tomorrow night to think it over."
"What do you think his choice will be?" the Captain asked.
The scarred warrior shrugged. "Who can say? Tis an awful lot we're asking of the lad. Remember, if he goes through with this, there'll be no going back."
"True," Malcolm winced. "Oh, I wish it had never come to this. I know he is leader now, but he's still so young. You were right in saying it was unfair of us to ask this of him."
"But there is no other choice, My Liege," the Captain added. "We all know what will happen eventually if we don't do this. The people's fear and distrust of them grows more each day. As such, their clan will either be subjected to bigotry, or worse shattered by day. At least this way, their clan has a chance of a better life. We all do."
Malcolm nodded. "Aye."
"The way ye both strive to protect my clan honours me more than I can say," the Mentor said gratefully. "But this is far too much. Mayhap we should just forget the whole thing."
"No!" Malcolm said forcefully. "This isn't just about you, old friend, it's also about my kind, my clan…" He then went off into another rage of coughs, forcing the Captain to intervene, patting his back and handing him his water. "No matter what anyone else here says, my clan depends on the protection that you and your clan offer us. If it weren't for you, the Vikings and other such rogues would have ransacked us ages ago. If we didn't have your protection…we'd be open to all sorts of attacks."
The Mentor stayed silent for a moment and then nodded, accepting the Prince's reasoning.
"What are we to do then, if the lad doesn't go ahead with the plan?" the Captain then asked.
"I've made clear that it is his choice," the Mentor told them. "As leader, if he chooses not to go ahead with it then we must respect his decision. If, on the other hand, he can't decide, then I told him that I would temporarily take back lead of the clan until another leader could be found."
The Captain gave a sly grin. "Mayhap we should consider you for this role then instead?"
The Mentor blushed fiercely, which was uncommon for him. "I…don't think that would be appropriate, my friend."
"As I recall, haven't those of your clan sometimes done it?" the Captain asked curiously.
"True, but it's very seldom. And even so, the thought of… Well, let's just say it would be too strange."
"But if you do have to get a new leader, then we may not have sufficient time," the Captain said, frustrated.
"I am still here you know, Robbie," Malcolm said wryly, addressing the Captain by his true name. "I'm not dead yet, nor am I deaf. I respect my friend's decision, and agree with him to give the young one time to decide."
The Captain looked at him sadly. It drove him to despair to see the Prince suffer so, as he had always viewed him as a younger brother. He had done ever since he had saved him from the former king Indulf, when Malcolm and his mother, the late Queen Katherine, had been held hostage by the tyrant.
Indulf had slain Malcolm's father just before he had been born, but had kept him and his mother alive in case Malcolm's half-brothers, Duff and Kenneth, should ever attempt an attack, thus securing his right to the throne. They had been his prisoners for more than eight years before the Captain, or Robbie as he had been known back when he had been but a simple peasant, had saved the young prince.
When Indulf was eventually defeated and banished, Robbie had remained with Malcolm as a mentor-figure, travelling with him across Scotland until they met the Gargoyles. Once a pact had been made between their two clans, they had built Castle Wyvern together, and Robbie had become its captain.
"But…" he said hesitantly.
"You need not worry, Captain," a deep voice said behind them.
The three of them turned their eyes to the balcony door, which had opened unnoticed during their conversation, revealing the large warrior standing before them.
"Lad…?" the Mentor began.
"I have thought long and hard about what you said, My Mentor," the young leader continued. "Truth be told, I was more than willing to take you up on your offer, to step down and allow someone else to take on the responsibility that you are all proposing. Part of me still wants to take that way out…" He paused, taking in slow deep breaths. "But I did not become leader just to shake off my duties and leave at the first obstacle. I took an oath to protect and serve my clan to the best of my abilities… I cannot back down when it suits me."
His Mentor looked at him with admiration, pride, and a little sadness. "Lad…are ye sure?" he asked him finally. "Ye do remember what I said about this decision being final? There's no going back."
The warrior paused for a few moments, but then finally just nodded. "For the good of the clan…both clans…I am willing."
"Excellent!" Malcolm said, overjoyed. "Come here now, we must make preparations."
"Aye, we must," the Captain added, and then added. "But first things first… We must each take an oath and swear that none of what we are planning leaves these four walls. We can't risk any word of this reaching the Princess nor anyone else, especially the Church. They would never allow this. Agreed?"
The other occupants of the room nodded.
"How will ye deal with the Church?" the Mentor asked. He had never understood why even the King had to answer to the Human's religious sects. Wasn't the king supposed to be the all-ruling one? Humans were just plain strange sometimes.
"Leave them to me," Malcolm smiled briefly. "I will speak to Brother Edmund. I am certain we can trust him to keep silent. He cares for your clan as much as I do, if not more."
"Very well," the Captain agreed. "But no one else, save thy brother the King." He then looked to the clan's young leader. "And secondly… Lad, there is one more thing we should discuss. To do what we are planning, ye will need to have a name of your own."
The young one looked at him, bewildered. "A name?" he said. "Is that really necessary? My kind has never had names before."
The Captain nodded. "Aye, ye will need it when the time comes." He paused for a moment, looking thoughtful as he stared intently at the large warrior, eyeing his huge size and stature, until a thought suddenly came into his head. "How does the name Goliath suit you?"
Over the next few weeks, the two Gargoyles and the Captain met with Prince Malcolm many times. What they discussed was known only between them and nobody else, not even the Prince's own daughter. They had had one meeting with Brother Edmund, the castle's Monk, but even he refused to discuss anything that had been said.
During this time, Malcolm's health continued to worsen until finally, after yet another week of harsh pain, he breathed his last.
His death brought a time of great woe for all of Wyvern, both Human and Gargoyle alike. There was not a single individual at his funeral procession who didn't weep; even the old Mentor who had been known to only cry once at the death of his mate years ago.
The young Princess had not wanted the Gargoyles anywhere near her father's funeral, but the Captain had convinced her that it would dishonour her father's memory if she didn't allow his greatest friends and allies to attend. Reluctantly, she accepted the Captain's advice and gave them her permission.
With the death of her father, Katherine was to rule Wyvern. Normally, a child would not be allowed to rule so young, even if she was the rightful heir, and usually would have been sent to her next of kin, her uncle King Kenneth, until such time when she was old enough. But the journey to her uncle's home was long, and the land was infested with rogues and thieves. Plus, there was no one else to govern the castle, as Wyvern was almost completely isolated from the rest of Scotland.
In the end, it was decided that they would not risk the Princess's safety. So she would remain at Wyvern, but would accept council from her father's most trusted adviser who was, of course, the Captain of The Guard. He would advise her in all decisions concerning the kingdom until such time when she was old enough to make them herself.
As expected by most, the Princess' first order following her coronation had been to have all the Gargoyles shattered during the day. Fortunately, the Captain had been there to kindly remind her of the promise she had made to her father, to honour the treaty between their respective clans. Grudgingly, she once again relented and chose to honour her father's memory, allowing the clan safe haven.
As for the young leader of the Gargoyle clan, he had decided for some odd reason to go against Gargoyle tradition and take on a name, calling himself Goliath. But what was even more bizarre was that he had chosen to end his relationship, of many years, with his beloved Angel of the Night, as he called her.
Every member of the clan had been shocked at this news, as they had all been waiting for them to declare themselves as official mates. In fact, they had been unofficial mates now for several years, and everyone had expected them to make it official once Goliath had chosen his new Second, which again they had expected to be her.
All anyone knew was that one night Goliath had asked to speak to her, and a few minutes later she had stormed out after throwing some kind of half-talisman at him, her eyes flaring red and filled with tears.
Every one of Goliath's rookery, including his closest brother, the large aqua-coloured one with the fin-like ears, the two long upright horns and the red chest-armour and wristlets, had hard-pressed him about it, but all Goliath would say was that he could not talk about it.
Eventually they ceased their constant hounding of him, deciding that if he didn't want to tell them what was wrong then it was senseless of them to continue their persecution. After all, Goliath had never been one to make rash decisions before, so he must have a good excuse, even if they couldn't see what it was…mustn't he?
Ten Years Later; 994 A.D.:
The Viking leader, Hakon, kept close to the walls of the castle, breathing heavily as the sounds of roaring Gargoyles and the frightened screams of his own men echoed in the night.
He and his army had arrived on the shoreline of Scotland two nights ago, after wandering the seas for days looking for something worthwhile for them to plunder. They had eventually found a small village near the coastline, which they had quickly attacked; slaughtering what had passed for warriors there, ransacking it for anything of value. But it was only a small village, with no treasures, cheap cloths and barely any food. The only thing, as it turned out, even remotely valuable had been the people themselves, who could be sold as slaves.
During the first battle, the surviving villagers had fled to this castle, so Hakon and his men had naturally followed them. Since the village had been a bitter disappointment, not coming close to satisfying their hunger for battle and their thirst for loot, they intended to make up for it by taking the castle and everything within it.
Of course, they hadn't anticipated the presence of the Gargoyles.
Hakon paused, attempting to catch his breath.
A low deep growl reached his ears, making him turn around.
What he saw was the most hideous and frightening monstrosity he had ever seen! It looked like something that had been spewed by the sea, with fish-like ears, and skin the colour of ocean-blue… It was half the size of a horse, thick with muscle, jaws that looked like they could crunch right through metal, and gleaming white eyes that sent shivers right down his spine.
The beast's eyes flared as it crouched low, growling menacingly.
It then gave one loud snarl and leapt at him, just giving him barely enough time to jump out of its way as it whooshed right past, leaving clawmarks in the solid stonewall.
Hakon hurried over to the other flight of stairs, only to find another obstacle standing in his way.
A large Gargoyle glared down at him. It was not as huge as the lavender one that had awakened right before him, but big enough, with aqua tone skin and ears similar to that of the beast-dog.
"Have at thee, Viking scum!" the monster warrior snarled, brandishing his halberd, a weapon that was like a cross between a spear and a battleaxe, at him.
Hakon gave a snarl of his own, never one for backing down from a challenge, especially when the challenge was given with an insult to his heritage. He roared, striking at the Gargoyle with his sword, but the beast was too fast and cunning for him to anticipate.
The Gargoyle warrior easily avoided the Viking's strikes, dodging from side to side, and blocking his blows with his weapon.
"You fight well, demon!" Hakon sneered, as he clashed his sword with the Gargoyle's halberd. "But don't expect the devil, or whoever you worship, to come rescue you!"
The Gargoyle gave a low growl, but continued to evade the Viking's every move, while striking out at every opportunity. "You have me confused with your own kind, human! We Gargoyles don't have a deity to speak of!"
"Then that means your soul will have no one but me to claim it when I dislodge your head from your shoulders!"
Hakon roared again, raising his sword as the Gargoyle lost hold of its halberd, letting it fall from his grasp, and struck at him.
Unfortunately for Hakon, the Gargoyle had purposely lost hold of its weapon, renewing his hold on it just as its head neared the warrior's claw. He blocked the Viking's sword with his arm, the blade clinking off the red metal of the wristlet he had on, and with his free arm that held the weapon he shoved his halberd forward…right into Hakon's heart.
He stood still there for a moment, seemingly in shock, blood pouring from the open wound in his chest, as he coughed and spluttered. His body shuddered, as he backed away slowly, before giving one final glare to his opponent, muttering "Miserable…glorified…pebble!"
With his sword still in his hand, he raised his head up.
"ODIN!" Hakon roared his god's name to the heavens with all his remaining strength. It was the custom among his people, when near death, to yell out the name of their god with a sword in their hand, so that they may enter Valhalla, home of the gods and final resting place for all Vikings.
No sooner had he yelled out the god's sacred name, he fell to the ground dead.
The Gargoyle stood there for a moment, staring at the Viking's corpse, bloody halberd still in his claw. He was puzzled a little by the way Humans sometimes threw themselves into their religion. He knew little of gods, as Gargoyles had never had any. They had faith when they went into battle, or faith in their belief that a Gargoyle's duty was to protect, and they believed in Dragons, but as for gods…they knew nothing of such beings.
"Second!" the voice of his leader called out. He looked up just as Goliath landed down on the battlement.
"Tis over," he said. "The Vikings are in retreat. The night is won!"
The aqua Gargoyle nodded, but pointed down to the dead Viking at his feet where even now their watchdog was sniffing at it. "What should we do about him?"
Goliath thought for a moment and then shrugged. "Take a small group and carry his body and those of his other fallen warriors to the outskirts of the forest. Leave them where their kinsmen will find them. They will see to the proper rites."
His rookery brother nodded in agreement, and knelt down to pick the Viking's body up.
The aqua Gargoyle had been made Clan-Second a short time after Goliath had become leader. He had no name, like most of those in the clan preferred, though the Captain of The Guard and Brother Edmund, the castle's monk, often referred to him as Othello, claiming that it suited him.
He was a fine Second, and everyone believed that Goliath had made the right choice in selecting him, although everyone had expected the redheaded female, who had at one time been Goliath's intended mate, would have acquired the title. Even though she and Goliath were no longer together, she was still the finest warrior in the whole clan, second only to him.
The break-up had been painful for both of them. Although Goliath still hadn't given an explanation as to why he had ended their relationship, in the end she had accepted his decision.
It had been a long, hard and emotional time, but eventually they had resolved their feelings, agreeing once again to merely be comrades-in-arms and rookery siblings. He had even asked her to be Clan-Second, but she had refused, believing it wouldn't be a good idea for them to work together so closely. So, in the end, he decided to go with his closest rookery brother, as he was the next best warrior in the clan and understood Goliath better than even he did sometimes.
As for his former Angel of The Night… She had ended up mating with one of their other rookery brothers, a lean and handsome warrior who had been a great comfort to her during the break-up. He offered her solace and understanding, giving her comfort whenever she needed it, which she gladly took. They had now been official mates for over several years, and seemed really happy together. They had even managed to produce an egg together, before the Breeder's Moon had ended.
The rest of the Vikings fled the castle, as a rain of arrows poured down on them from the soldiers on the battlements.
"Our arrows make them run!" one soldier yelled excitedly.
"They'll think twice before coming back!" another added.
The Gargoyles all stood together on one of the larger battlements up above, watching the Vikings retreat. Many of them scowled, as they listened to the soldiers bragging on about how they had made the Vikings flee, not the Gargoyles.
"I'd love to see what would happen if there was ever a night when we weren't here and the Vikings came back," a small green Gargoyle with webwings said to his two rookery brothers, a largely overweight one with aquamarine skin, and a lean red Gargoyle with a long beak.
The three of them had always been together since their hatching, and they were known together simply as the Trio by all their brothers and sisters. None of the clan's children, aside from another group of four youngsters, was as close as these three were.
"Wouldn't we all," the red one smirked.
Goliath stood by at the battlements with his clan, bandaging his own claw, which had been struck by the Viking Hakon's sword right after he had awoken. He listened to his clanmates and the soldiers down below. His face showed no emotion, but inwardly he found himself growing aggravated, too. Each time it was the same. They would save the castle from attack, and the soldiers would fool themselves into thinking that they were the heroes.
He turned around and saw his former Angel together with her mate, tending his wounds, her eyes full of love and concern.
He was happy that his former love had found happiness, but though he never showed it, he couldn't help but feel painful grief whenever he saw the two of them together, knowing that his brother was standing in a place where he should be…at his Night-Angel's side.
As Goliath looked around, he also saw his other rookery brother, the one many called the sly one, or who some of the humans named Iago. He had recently returned from a year of banishment, which he had been sentenced to after starting a fight between Goliath and Othello.
He scowled when he saw his brother. He knew that when a Gargoyle returned from their exile, they were to be welcomed and their past sins forgiven, but even so, he could never bring himself to trust Iago…assuming he ever had. His brother was bad news, plain and simple.
Iago stood by, separated from the rest of the clan, as he viewed the scene with his usual devious expression. He seemed to have an eternal look of deceit and treachery upon him, which made everyone forever suspect that he was up to no good…an assumption that was often proved correct.
Goliath was so focused upon him at that moment, wondering what mischief he was up to again, that he failed to notice someone coming up beside him.
"Goliath?" a voice said.
He turned around, and found the Captain behind him, along with his old Mentor, both of them looking concerned. "We need to speak," Robbie told him.
Goliath looked at his Mentor behind him who nodded. "Very well," he said, following them down one of the flights of steps.
"I take it from the look on yuir face that you were listening to what some of those ungrateful whiners were saying down below?" the Captain said gruffly.
He sighed. "Captain, it's nothing," he tried to assure him. "It's only…"
"It is not nothing, Goliath!" the Captain replied hotly. "If it were just them I'd be almost content, but it's not… The Princess is just as bad as they are. Every night when we sit down to dinner, if I make even one small remark about you or your clan she rebukes me by telling me, and I quote, don't mention those monster's names in my presence."
Goliath groaned. "Perhaps, but…"
"Perhaps nothing, Goliath." The Captain looked at him seriously. "We all hoped it wouldn't come to this, but it has."
His eyes widened a little at what the Captain was saying, and looked to his former leader for help, but only saw confirmation in his old Mentor's eyes.
"Surely you're overreacting just a…" he began.
"Lad," the Captain said in a serious tone. "There's no point in beating about the bush any longer. We have to face it…it's time. We all agreed that we would wait as long as we did, to see if the Princess would get any wiser in her later years. That has obviously not happened. You know now what we must do."
Goliath swallowed, and looked once again to his Mentor.
"He speaks the truth, lad," the old Gargoyle replied. "We all knew this night would come, though we all hoped it wouldn't."
He groaned, feeling his world coming to an end, but remembered the wise words of his Mentor, A leader puts the welfare of his clan first before anything else.
"Let's go and get it over with then," he said finally.
The Captain entered the Great Hall, as all the soldiers sat down for the evening meal, laughing and joking around, talking about the battle as though they had won it all by themselves. He came up close to his seat at the end of the table on the right, passing by two soldiers…
"I don't mind telling you, I thought we were all under the sword there for a while," one said to the other.
"Aye, a fine soldier is our Captain of The Guard," the other replied.
The first soldier snorted. "Captain of the Gargoyles ye mean."
"He'd fit right well on the cornices with them, it's a fact." The two of them laughed.
The Captain sought hard to control his temper, wanting to draw his sword and run those arrogant fools through, but kept his anger in check. He knew that tonight was not the night for losing control, and carried on to his seat.
"Our thanks for a battle well fought, good Captain," the Princess said graciously, smiling as he came near her.
"The credit is not mine to take, Your Highness," the Captain said honestly, as he came near her. "Without Goliath and his Gargoyles, our defence would have proven useless."
The Princess lost her smile, scowling at the Gargoyle leader's name. "Please," she said. "Don't mention that monster's name in my presence."
'Oh aye,' the Captain thought miserably. 'This is certainly going to be a lot of fun tonight.'
The main doors suddenly banged open, revealing the Gargoyle in question, together with his old Mentor, the former leader with the scarred eye.
Katherine's face flared up a little at the sight of the old warrior, fighting hard to keep control of her own temper, and her fear of the large creatures. The rest of the crowd all looked up, startled by their sudden arrival.
"Your pardon, Your Highness," the Captain said, approaching her at the head of the table. "I took the liberty of asking them to appear this evening."
The Princess looked at him in outrage. "Captain," she almost cried out. "We are most seriously displeased! To allow beasts in the dining hall…!"
"Begging your further pardon, Your Highness," the Captain continued. "But the reason why I asked them here is not because of the battle tonight…but in an official capacity."
She looked at him briefly in wonder, but rarely took her eyes off the huge mountain of muscle heading her way. "What do you mean?" she asked.
'This should be interesting,' the Captain thought, and answered out loud. "Years ago, your father, Prince Malcolm may he rest in peace, sought to ensure the longevity of the peace treaty between our two clans, Human and Gargoyle. He wanted to make sure that the Gargoyles would be well looked after, long after he had departed to the grave."
Katherine's hands shivered a little from the talk of her father. "My father was a noble man and a great ruler," she said. "But everyone knew he tended to spend a little too much time with…them." She glared at Goliath who met her gaze calmly.
"That's because he understood their importance to us," he replied, and at Katherine's hard look, which suggested she was about to say more, he quickly continued. "Your Highness, I meant what I said just now about how useless our defence would have been if not for Goliath's clan. And today has just been the latest example in a long list of battles over the years. During that time, Goliath's clan has aided and saved us from all manner of enemies…the Archmage, Vikings, bandits and even some rogue Gargoyles. They fought against their own kind to save us."
Katherine showed no response, but remained very still in her seat at the head of the table.
"And let us not forget how this treaty was first started, Your Highness," the Captain then added. "Your father met them as a young boy, and it was because of their assistance that he and your uncle, King Kenneth, prevailed in the battle against the tyrant Culen. Thanks to they, your uncle now sits on the throne."
He paused for a few moments, allowing his history lesson to sink in, before continuing.
"Your father knew how important their protection was to us and our home," he explained. "That was the main reason why he took extra special care of the treaty, hoping that one day our two clans would be united as one." He paused for a moment, sighing deeply. "But…sadly that has not come to be." He looked up at the Princess with a hard but still respectful look in his eyes. "Your own misguided hatred and prejudice for Goliath's clan has caused your father's treaty to crumble."
She stared at him in indignation. "How dare ye!" she said. "You dare accuse me of betraying my father's memory?"
"Nay," the Captain shook his head. "But your father did."
She paused at the Captain's words.
"When your father was on his deathbed," he explained sadly. "He finally had enough time on his hands to see what kind of a girl you had grown up into. He saw the way you acted around the clan, the way ye scowled whenever he mentioned them in front of you… It didn't take a genius to know ye had issues with them."
"You're walking on dangerous ground, Captain," she almost hissed at him, but deep down his words were cutting into her like a cold blade, as he spoke of her father and how she was dishonouring him by abusing the treaty.
"Your father only wanted peace and security for Castle Wyvern," he went on. "Not just for us, but also for Goliath's clan…but especially he wanted our two clans to be united as one people." He looked at Katherine. "But when he finally saw and accepted what kind of a girl you had become, he knew that was impossible, at least not if you were allowed to rule…"
"What?" Katherine looked up at these words.
The Captain stuck out his chin, as he prepared to give his last statement. 'This is it,' he thought.
"Your father knew that if you took the throne," he stated. "The Gargoyles would know nothing but bigotry and contempt, despite all that they do for us. He feared that in time the clan would rebel and choose to leave, letting us fend on our own. He knew that we wouldn't stand a chance if they were to do that, even if no one else did. And even if we could, the Gargoyles deserve a whole lot better than to be treated as dogs!"
The Captain stared hard at her, and then at the crowd of curious onlookers sitting around him.
"Before I say anything else, I would like to make point that everything I'm about to say has been ordered by his late Highness, Prince Malcolm, and agreed with his brother King Kenneth. He wrote all his wishes down on paper, on his last will and testament, which I now possess. Further more, everyone in Castle Wyvern is henceforth ordered never to reveal anything of what I'm about to say outside our castle's walls. No one outside our kingdom is to know of tonight's revelation, on the penalty of death!"
Katherine glared at the Captain, her frustration grown beyond control. "What wishes, Captain? And what revelation?"
The Captain turned back to look at her, his face showing no emotion, but just common courtesy and honour of duty. "His wish…" he proclaimed to all in the Great Hall. "That you would henceforth be betrothed to he who is now leader of the Gargoyle clan…Goliath!"
The princess's jaw dropped, and her eyes widened, as she just stared at the Captain in shock, while the rest of the room erupted into a chorus of outraged disbelief.
"No Human could ever possibly marry a Gargoyle!"
"This is outrageous and God damn unnatural, that's what it is!"
The Captain held her stare, as the chaos and commotion carried on around them. He then turned to the Gargoyle leader, motioning him to come closer.
"Your Highness," he said in an official manner. "Allow me to officially introduce Goliath…your husband to be."
To Be Continued…