All the characters appearing in Gargoyles and Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles are copyright Buena Vista Television/The Walt Disney Company. No infringement of these copyrights is intended, and is not authorized by the copyright holder.
All original characters are the property of Denigoddess2001.
Curiosities store proprietor, Ruby Brandon, has dedicated herself to her shop, Curiosities, after experiencing years of hardship and loss. Ruby's capricious Elvin friend, Crystal, decides to give Ruby a lesson in magic, starting with an ancient bottle holding a magnificent male specimen. Cursed to live within the walls of an enchanted glass prison for eternity, he is imprisoned until summoned by an incantation to fulfill his summoner's wishes for an entire lunar cycle. Knowing that Oberon has something sinister in mind for her and feeling compassion for the Gargoyle's plight, she frees him from the bottle. Abracadabra and voila: unexpected adventures for Ruby!
"Ruby, you really need to get a life."
Ruby Brandon rolled her eyes at Crystal's condescending comment as they strolled along Avalon's shoreline where they watched the Gargoyles fly overhead on night patrol. With Crystal's temperament and demand for attention, one did not easily dismiss the willful Child of Oberon. Ruby said nothing, but folded her arms over her chest to ward off more of her friend's commentary on her life or lack thereof.
Being brought back in time by a magic coin from July 2014 to July 1998 had been a massive culture shock for Ruby. Unable to return to her own time nor be returned by Oberon, he allowed to stay on the island while time passed into the real world until it caught up with her own time. She knew the the truth; she was a prisoner in a magical cage that mimicked paradise. She knew her mother was still alive and her son hadn't yet been born. How Ruby longed to escaped the legendary island, return to the mortal realm and change history so that her family remained alive. She had a rare chance few ever had: to travel back in time and change history.
The heat of July and August had cooled into the early autumn of late September. Trees on Avalon, once green and lush with leaves now were gold and crimson as the season turned cool. A few Gargoyles sitting around a nearby bonfire, roasting fish and drinking mead, suddenly took interest in the Princess' boisterous opinions.
"Jeese, Crystal! I don't think they could hear you on the other side of the island," Ruby strongly preferred Crystal to when she was a cat.
She wished her friend possessed some tact and decorum, but those qualities seemed lacking on Avalon, at least, amongst Oberon's Children. Crystal was both princess and diva and with those positions combined, it made for some awkward situations. Crystal possessed both the beauty and charisma common to the Fae and Ruby wasn't entirely immune. She wanted to be part of that entourage that was always glib, beautiful and sophisticated, but, she simply didn't feel at ease with anybody that called Oberon, "Dad" or "my lord." While Crystal had shown the beginnings of emotional maturity, she still was developing awareness and compassion for others. Then again, the Children of Oberon were far more uninhibited and sensual in their existence that the average Ruby. She found she preferred the quieter, simpler mindset of the castle guard after their patrol.
Ruby shrugged and looked skyward and gave a helpless shrug. "Why me?"
She wanted nothing more than to hide under the nearest rock until the embarrassment passed and the sun rose, hiding from humiliation. The second option was to turn the precocious princess into a frog, but since Ruby didn't have that ability, the point was rather moot. That left the only remaining option: taking Crystal's commentary in stride. Unless Avalon turned into a game of Survivor, there was no way she could get voted off the island soon enough.
Ruby let her mind drift to the waves coming in beneath the moonlight, finding a pristine beauty in the beach and the surf. She saw how the moon's reflection glimmered upon the water and how she wished she had wings to glide away from the island that was, for now, her place of residence. She also notices a couple of handsome Gargoyles flying above, handsome in their youth, and decidedly masculine.
A wave of guilt washed over Ruby in that moment and she felt her cheeks flame as red as her name. It was bad enough that she found her eyes wandering toward beings of another species, but especially those who were just out of adolescence. I really need to get out of here, she thought.
"See anything you like?" Crystal's chiming voice cut into her momentary reverie, dragging her back to reality.
"I was just admiring the view," Ruby shrugged. "Look at how beautiful the water is this time at night."
"You were looking upward," Crystal motioned to the Gargoyles ahead. "Don't lie to me because I know you better. When was the last time you had a boyfriend? I mean, I knew you for three years and you never brought a man home."
"I didn't need to," Ruby argued. "I treat my body like a temple, not a bus station."
"You treat it like a monastery," Crystal quipped. "You're celibate and no one ever comes to visit."
"And what business is it of yours?"
"You're spending some time on Avalon, you ought to partake of its delights," Crystal gave her a sly smile. "I know that there are one or two boys that would like to be spellbound by your magic, if you know what I mean."
"No, thanks. I like my men to be be more, well, human."
"Well, if you like the neanderthal, knuckle-dragging type, you could always go slumming and ride a Gargoyle."
"Damn, you can be rude, Crystal. I'm not interested in hooking up with some fairy dude," Ruby quickly reminded her best friend. She saw a beautiful sea shell on the ground, iridescent on the outside and pink within. She turned it over, admiring it's natural beauty. "I just want to go home."
Crystal saw the soulful look in her friend's eyes and shook her head. For three months, she had been on Avalon, being her personal maid and learning how to better empower her magic, but Ruby clung to the concept of home as though it were a raft in a raging ocean. Witch or not, this human didn't know how to enjoy life and live in the moment. She kept her eyes on the past and planned for the future without enjoying the present. Crystal decided that her friend needed a distraction.
"You internalize all of your worry and stress, compressing and compartmentalizing it into a discreet package for easy storage, but the issues remain. You have suffered loss, Ruby, losing your mother and son. But, even mortals know that life moves on and one must move with it. I think a little fun with our taloned natives might be just the thing you need to relieve some repression in your expression. In other words, take a tumble."
"No," Ruby's eyes pleaded with her friend. "I need to go home to Lincoln. I don't belong here."
"I know," Crystal said, her voice quiet. Her exotic features took on a serious expression. "I just want you to find some sanctuary like you're here and as you gave me when I needed it."
"Thank you, but sex isn't a sanctuary, it's trouble. I just want to go home."
"It shows in your magic. It lacks inspiration."
"Maybe, but we all know I'm not exactly a powerhouse. I'm a kitchen witch, not Glenda the Good. I'm happy with what I do."
"Maybe a little easing of the pressure would make your lessons easier to learn," Crystal pressed. "You've yet to complete a proper summoning spell."
"You know I don't feel comfortable doing that," Ruby said tersely, letting her fingers move over the smooth bumps of the small seashell as if it were a worry stone. She took comfort in it's smooth interior and memorized each bump on the outside. "Now,Crystal, if you wanted to show me a portal spell to get out of here or send me back to 2014, then I'm happy to give it a shot."
"You just haven't had a chance to truly summon something worthwhile," Crystal's pale blue eyes twinkled with merriment. "I know just the thing!"
"Oh, Jeese," Ruby mumbled. When Crystal had an idea stick in her head, it usually manifested into a large mess that she had to clean up before it came to Oberon's attention. Ruby had been lucky, thus far, in steering clear of the arrogant Elvin king and had no desire to be in his presence anytime soon. "I don't want to summon anything because it's dangerous. You've been summoned and how did you like it?"
"I hated it," Crystal admitted.
"And what did you do to the person who summoned you?"
"It depended how badly he pissed me off," Crystal's blue eyes glowed with an eerie light that made Ruby shudder. While her friend was kinder that most fae, it frightened her how quickly Crystal became malicious toward humanity with the right provocation.
"Exactly," Ruby never let her gaze live Crystal's glowing eyes. "Not going there."
"It'll be fun."
"It might get you off the island."
Pause. "What do you have in mind?"
"We're going to give you a lesson," Crystal squealed with delight before taking her friend's hand. Ruby saw the green flames leap up from the ground to surround them in a wall of fire and she knew what came next. She waited for her atoms to scramble like eggs in a skillet and for the feelings of nausea and disorientation that followed.
"You know that I hate telepor-" Ruby never had a chance to finish the sentence. Everything blinked out and turned stark white and black flecks of antimatter exploded around her. She already knew that energy was energy no matter what form it took and it was diametrically opposed to what she manifested. It made her ill.
She had figured it out one night recently while using an iron poker to move one of the logs in the hearth of her bed chamber. Part of the revelation had been intuition and part chemistry. Humans naturally absorbed negative ions about them and emitted a positive charge because they were creatures of the elements while Children of Oberon were creatures of energy and magic. Put iron near a Child of Oberon and it emitted enough ions to upset their systems which absorbed negative ions. Put iron in the hands of a human practitioner and it become a magical lightning rod that could thoroughly knock someone on his or her Elvin backside. Ruby had figured out through several sessions alone late at night that the key to her magic lay in controlling the charge she emitted. When she had used the iron paper clips and the skillet for her spells on Puck, it was as though she had overloaded his immune system with a virus. Small experiments here and there on unsuspecting elves had proved her theory correct. However, magic worked both ways. A few negative ions were beneficial for a human being, but too many overwhelmed her and effectively shut down her ability to produce magic. Teleportation bombarded her atoms with too many negative ions and made her ill.
A second later she stood in Crystal's chambers. She walked over to the fireplace hearth, reaching for a bottle sitting atop the mantle of the fireplace. Slender at the top and rounded at the bottom, the bottle was a metallic blue adorned with silver. The flowing silver garland on the bottle complimented the luster that refracted the flames of the hearth.
"This was given to me by my mother in an attempt to distract me from Puck," Crystal said. "It didn't work. . .for long."
She handed Ruby the bottle. "Go on, it won't bite."
"What do you have in here, tequila?" Ruby asked.
"Better," Crystal purred. "A midsummer night's dream."
"What do you mean?" Ruby warily looked at the bottle, holding it out to Crystal. "No thanks. My magic doesn't include summoning entities."
"Oh, quit being such a coward!" she chided her friend. "Let me tell you the story. He was a Gargoyle of great renown from millennia ago, one of their finest with strength and courage. He was enchanted it was said, some say his father wasn't a Gargoyle at all, but a Child of Oberon. Of course, no one ever admits to dallying with a Gargoyle. That's like saying one had a prostitute, it simply isn't done."
"How can you think so little of them?" Ruby asked. "Oberon has made them the official castle guards."
"My father thinks he's the great egalitarian," Crystal scoffed, giving a roll of her eyes and a wave of her hand. "But, be quiet, and let me tell you the rest of the story."
"You are really rude," Ruby sighed in defeat. She wanted nothing more than to go to bed and get ready for another day of plaiting hair, humoring Crystal and learning more about Elvin magic. "I really hope you learn some manners."
"He pleased my father so much that Oberon brought him to Avalon," Crystal continued. "His battle skills and keen mind made him my father's favorite personal attendant. So much was he favored that Oberon made him the tutor of his son, Aurin."
"What?" Now, that was a twist that Ruby hadn't expected. Genuine interest stirred within her. "Oberon had a son?"
"Yes, my brother, Aurin," Crystal stared at the bottle. "It was a long time ago."
Ruby studied her friend as she water her eye the glass flask, wondering what was going on inside the princess's mind. "So, did you hate him or love him?"
"Your brother," Ruby pressed.
"Aurin? He was wonderful," she shifted her attention from the bottle to look at Ruby. "And the Gargoyle wasn't bad, either."
"The Gargoyle grew up to be such a fine warrior, so toned and handsome, as if perfectly chiseled from the finest marble," Crystal said with a girlish giggle in her voice. "He was said to be the finest mind amongst Gargoyles, of his era and on the island. He was learned in warfare, the arts and sciences. He read the stars better than anyone alive and he was one of the mightiest warriors alive."
"There is always a 'but in a story like this," Ruby let out a low whistle. "What is it?"
"Ah, such is the way of Avalon," Crystal continued. "It's one of the reasons that changed Oberon into the biggest ass Avalon has ever produced. In a bout of rage, he cursed the poor Gargoyle to be forever imprisoned in this bottle. The poor thing is only allowed out when summoned by a new mistress or master and can only be out for one lunar cycle before returning to his prison."
Ruby was well acquainted with lunar cycles and quickly did the math. She remembered well how one of Jade's diaries was dedicated to the study of moon magic and she remembered the figure given: 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes.
"So, what's the rest of the story?" Ruby didn't like surprises or being kept in suspense.
"From full moon to the next, he will be his summoner's servant, doing whatever his master wants. He will grant every request of his master or mistress without hesitation. Once touched by the Gargoyle, one is ruined for any other magic for it will never be as sweet."
Ruby studied the bottle with curiosity. The bottle itself was lovely and the story was intriguing, but her heart went out to the poor creature imprisoned within it. Again, Oberon had proved himself to be the ruthless jack-ass with his overly harsh and dramatic curses. Crystal, Puck and this poor Gargoyle. Just once, I'd really like him to get a taste of his own medicine.
"Have you summoned him?" Ruby couldn't help but ask the princess.
"Not in a long time," Crystal sighed.
Ruby's eyes narrowed in contemplation. "But, that forbiddance doesn't apply to anyone else, does it?"
"Are you sure you're not a Fae in human form?" Crystal asked.
"Hardly," Ruby did her best to hide her disdain. "So, what did he do that was so horrible that Oberon sentenced him to an eternity of imprisonment and servitude? Screw his wife?"
"No," Crystal said, eying the bottle. "The Gargoyle was Aurin's tutor. One night, according to the legend, Aurin was practicing his shapeshifting skills and flying in the skies over Avalon, but didn't keep track of the time. He had taken Gargoyle form and failed to pay attention to the impending sunrise. The Gargoyle flew to him and told him to land immediately, but Aurin defied him. When the sun peaked over the hill, Aurin was caught gliding in midair and started to turn to stone. He fell like of stone, of course, and tried to change back while in flight, but it didn't turn out so well."
"What happened?" Ruby pressed.
"He turned to stone while several dozen feet above Avalon," Crystal explained, motioning to the bottle. The Gargoyle flew underneath to catch him, but also turned to stone. He cushioned Aurin's fall, but lost his wings and tail when he landed on his back. Legend said they broke off and shattered."
"Did Aurin survive?"
"Yes. . ." Crystal paused, her voice lowering an octave. "But, because he was caught in mid-transformation while turning to stone, there were consequences. He couldn't complete the transition back to being a Child of Oberon and was caught midway, looking part-gargoyle and part Fae."
"What does that mean?"
"He became the world's first troll," Crystal took the blue and silver bottle in her grasp, holding it out to Ruby. "In anger and shame, he left the island and no one has seen him since that night. Supposedly, he turns to stone during the day and is so ugly that no one will go near him. Oberon was so angry with the Gargoyle at Aurin's departure that he cursed him into the bottle."
"If what you're saying is true," Ruby said, shocked by the tale. "then, he punished an innocent creature who tried save his son's life."
"Ain't life a bitch?" Crystal shrugged. "I always thought that poor Gargoyle received a raw deal and always wanted to free him. However, I can't find away around Oberon's magic, but maybe you can."
"Don't look at me!" Ruby shoved the bottle back into Crystal's hands. "I pissed your father off once and that was enough for me."
"If anyone deserves freedom, it's this poor Gargoyle," Crystal took hold of the bottle. "I hid this bottle shortly before I was banished from Avalon. If anyone is worthy of keeping this Gargoyle safe, it's you. You're not the kind to be selfish or cruel, Ruby. But, I think he is what you need more purpose than being my nanny. Besides, you need to get out of your shell."
"I like my shell, thank you very much. Besides, how would letting this guy out of his bottle get me out of here?"
"The Gargoyle traveled many times off the island with Aurin. He knows all of the portals as well as any elf," Crystal plaid with a curl of her white hair. "He can find a way for you off this island and at the same time, he'll get a month's worth of freedom. He'll half to do any task you give him, no matter how absurd or impossible and somehow, he'll do it. That's the great thing about Oberon's spell, Ruby."
"Trust me, I'm tempted, but there's always a price to pay for personal gain," Ruby reminded her. "I agree this poor guy got a raw deal, just like you said. By the way, does he even have a name?"
"No," Crystal shook her head. "Back then, Gargoyles didn't need them."
"You know, you could just magically send me back to New York, then no complicated need to summon this poor guy," Ruby suggested. "Oberon would never know and probably not care."
"I could, but if I did, Oberon would punish me again," Crystal's eyes narrowed. "He's forbidden any of us in allowing you off the island."
"Why?" Ruby asked. "Why is he keeping me here under pretense of being generous?"
"I have my theories, but I'm not sure," Crystal turned to her. "Ruby, you are and have always been my one, true friend. I know you think the Sidhe are a vengeful, petty race and maybe we are, but not all of us are that way all of the time. I have a feeling that Oberon has a hidden agenda for you and I don't want to see you hurt. I'm bound by certain magics where I can't help you, so I'm trying to get around that. So, damn it, go with it."
Ruby heard the break in Crystal's melodic voice, the crack that reminded her of chimes breaking glass. She looked into her friend's eyes and saw an unusual emotion lurking there. Fear.
The world just got a whole lot darker, Ruby winced. "Okay, I'll play. I want to get off Avalon and I admit it. What I don't like is the idea of that Gargoyle imprisoned. It's wrong to keep a creature as your own private slave."
"No one can undo the curse. Trust me, I've tried," Crystal said, a said look crossing her exotic features. "No one knows how. The best I can do is give you this bottle and you can help each other."
"You can't summon him, right?" Ruby asked, taking the blue and silver bottle from Crystal. The ornate cobalt glass felt cool in her hands. The silver adorning the bottle reminded her of liquid mercury, flowing in a stream of designs over the glass. Whoever thought a prison could be beautiful?
"Right," Crystal stood behind her friend, looking over Ruby's shoulder at the bottle. "But, I can teach you and I believe you have the ability to let the Gargoyle out of the bottle."
"Summoning 101: know the entity's true name. He can't be summoned," Ruby said, her dark eyes narrowed in concentration. "He can be invited."
"Ah!" Crystal exclaimed, he blue eyes flashed with epiphany. "He needs a name."
"Giving him one doesn't make it a true name," Ruby explained. "He needs to be invited, but he can't leave the bottle."
"We need a key," Crystal said.
"Now, you're thinking outside the box," Ruby smiled at her friend. "Oberon's magic is always affected by iron and that bottle has a cork in it."
"So, what are you thinking?"
"An iron cork screw," Ruby took the bottle. Her eyes widened as inspiration flowed through her mind. She grabbed the bottle and hurled open the heavy oak door with a strength she didn't possess. She ran through the castle's corridors, sprinting down several flights of stairs at breakneck speed until she reached the ground floor. She headed quickly to the back portion of the castle toward the kitchen.
When Ruby arrived, she just felt like the quarterback who'd passed the guard and scored a touchdown. There, she saw Crystal hovering lotus style above one of the wooden preparation tables. "I could've just brought you here."
"No, thanks. I'm tired of having my atoms scrambled," Ruby scoffed. She sat the bottle on the table, rummaging through the drawers until she found the item she needed, one iron cork screw. Becoming still for a moment, she studied the bottle and considered her choices. Who knows what I'd be unleashing?
"Is he evil? Did he hurt anyone?" she asked.
"No, he isn't like that," Crystal exclaimed, a surprised look crossed her features. "He's arrogant, but very much a Gargoyle: loyal, protective, noble. There isn't an evil bone in his body."
"Three thousand years as somebody's trapped monkey can do things to a mind."
"He is a Gargoyle, not a human."
"If we invite him, he has to be invited to something," Ruby mused. "A meal."
The air smelled of fresh rain and ozone as the windows flew open, the breeze turning into a gust of wind. Ruby never grew accustomed to how Crystal's turquoise eyes flamed with twin blue flames as her power manifested to her will. A sound like wind chimes filled the bed chamber, tinkling a metallic melody that echoed off the castle's stone walls. The bottle trembled in Ruby's hands, as if knowing what was about to be done, and she gripped it tightly to keep from dropping it.
"I'm also going to need some a sack of potatoes, a chicken and some vegetables."
"We're not making soup, Ruby, you're going to summon forth an ancient being."
"No, we're inviting him to dinner," Ruby gave her friend a knowing look. "This Gargoyle needs a bit of dignity and respect, not a command. Besides, if he is similar to the Gargoyles I've seen, he's going to be hungry."
An hour later, with a little magic and some culinary skill, Ruby had a roast chicken simmering in vegetable broth full of carrots, potatoes and onions. The delicious scent of chicken soup and vegetables filled the entire kitchen and Ruby had to keep herself from sampling her cooking one too many times.
"How do I do this?" Ruby mused aloud, trying to figure out the right way to word the spell. Nothing seemed quite right.
Crystal motioned toward the bottle. "I simply commanded him."
"It doesn't work that way for me," Ruby admitted. "I don't have that kind of power."
"All I can do is ask."
The heavy scent of chicken and broth filled the room which mixed with the smoke coming from the fireplace. Ruby set the table with a large dish and a glass of fresh mead that Crystal had procured from the Gargoyles. "Do it as you would any spell that you've done in our lessons. Imagine what you want and make it so."
Ruby closed her eyes, imagining a someone dialing her cell phone number, hearing the ring tone and the vibration in her pocket. From her memory, she remembered the sound of knock on her screen apartment door back home and the ringing of a doorbell. She inhaled the inviting scent of food that filled the bedchamber coming from the cauldron cooking on the bedchamber hearth. Ruby took the cork screw, plunging it into the cork stopping the bottle. With each twist, she put all of her strength into each one, forcing the cork screw deeper.
"Unnamed Gargoyle, I call to thee from the bottle I seek to set you free.
Who fell once long ago from the skies.
Please accept this invitation without guise.
Thank you for your consideration
Be free now of your incarceration.
I ask that you join me, in perfect trust
come if you will, decline if you must."
The room was silent except for the crackling of the fire in the hearth. No wind blew and nothing glowed. Several seconds passed before Crystal sighed in exasperation.
"Nothing is happening. Your rhyme wasn't strong enough," she said impatiently. "Whoever says 'please' and 'thank-you' in a spell?"
"One thing you have to understand about kitchen magic, Crystal, is how to wait. Now, wait for it."
Ruby began counting inside her mind. One. . .two. . . three. . .four. . . five. . .
Still, the room remained silent except for Ruby's heart pounding inside her chest. It was a cadence that beat in time with her steady pulse. It fell into perfect rhythm with her slow breathing and she remained still.
Six. . .seven. . .eight. . .nine. . .
The cobalt blue bottle trembled slightly, wobbling in the middle of the kitchen table. Bright orange flames shot up from the hearth, the fire turning bright green then light blue. Sparks flitted upward a few inches from the stone floor and the scent of sea and smoke filled the room. She looked to see Crystal's sky blue eyes twinkle with glee at her student's attempt. She opened her mouth to say something, but Ruby brought a finger to her lips signaling the Fae to stay quiet.
Ten. . .
Crystal clapped her hands together as a waft of blue smoke came from the bejeweled bottle. Ruby's eyes remained fixed on the bottle as it rose from the floor, hovering several feet above the the two women. It spun around end over end several times as if it were a compass arrow trying to find due north before the opening pointed directly in Ruby's direction. A primal roar filled the room, reverberating off the stone as smoke convalesced in the emerald circle's center.
Ruby shrieked as the roar prompted her to roll to the floor and assume a defensive crouch that she had seen used by more than one Gargoyle training in combat. She kept her eyes on the smoky phantasm taking form within the circle while she took one cautious step forward. Before her stood a tall, muscular Gargoyle with hot glowing eyes and flowing white hair.
Wide platinum bands encircled sculpted biceps while matching bracers adorned his forearms. Two long, jagged scars marred his back, as if his wings had been ripped from his body. He slowly turned toward her, towering over Ruby by nearly two feet. She looked at his eyes and they reminded her the color of pale jade. His hair was thick and lush, falling down his back and over his shoulders. His skin was a like turquoise, not quite green ,but a deep teal that she saw once in an Arizona sunset. A platinum ring encircled his left ankle and his loincloth was held up by a plain leather belt with a simple buckle.
"Oh, and there he is!" Crystal said triumphantly. "Well done, Ruby."
"I have answered your invitation," his voice rumbled, deep and low, so that it sounded more like a growl than someone speaking.