Disclaimer; Gargoyles belongs to Disney. TGS is TGS but borrowed, particularly this story. Its Out of Joint, or at least bits and pieces of it, and all credit should go to the writers who originally wrote and illustrated this story.
Also, . . . Rurouni Kensin is Nobuhiro Watsuki and Sony of Japan.
Summary: New faces have appeared, two of which stir questions and strange events. New mysteries are unfolding. Brooklyn suddenly takes a journey . . . and returns twenty years older and wearing a suit of armor that disturbs Goliath. Does all of this coincide with the appearance of the Journal of Lady Dragon? Is some destiny really on the way? How and when will the answers be given?
Stay with me to find out!!! ^_^
Authors Note: This symbol, *, indicates the change from my fan-fiction segments to those originally written for TGS. The story is Out of Joint, parts 1 and 2. Please look for them. Also, Im changing certain things when it comes to Brooklyns role as Time Dancer. I recall RitaM a fellow artist from Deviant Art stating that she would actually cut his traveling time down, and I kinda like that idea. Goliath is still my favorite character, but Brooklyn comes in pretty close too.
Signs of Destiny, Part #1. -
CASTLE WYVERN, MANHATTAN. -
1996 AD. -
There was a warm breeze in the air tonight. Warm, inviting and peaceful, but it was full of excitement and anticipation. It was full of danger. There was something in the air, waiting and begging for something spectacular to begin. It was the first thing that Goliath noticed as he awoke from stone. Even his magnificent roar, his mighty stretch and the snap of his wings couldn't hide the feeling of obvious magic in the night air. It was so thick that Goliath felt as though he could reach out and touch it.
"Hey, you guys feel that?" said Brooklyn from below the clan. Goliath looked down at him. "Feels funny tonight."
Angela nodded as she began to comprehend the thickness in the air as well. "Yes, it does," she said softly. "Strange."
"Come on, then, lads and lassie," Hudson, the old mentor, said with a growl. He extended his wings and jumped from his perch. "Let us head indoors. I don't like the feel o this."
Nodding, the young warriors followed him inside. Bronx barked and bounded off down the tower steps, but Goliath stayed where he was watching them and listening. Strange how the clan all felt the same thing and it relieved him somehow. Now he no longer felt so on edge. He had sensed magic for several nights now. It started the moment he found that journal and steadily grew stronger. Worse still, he could just barely hear a voice crying out to him on the evening breeze. It seemed to be beckon him, plead with him to listen or come closer. He couldn't tell which, but it was the strangest sensation.
"Hey, Goliath?" he heard Lexington call, and Goliath turned to look at him in surprise. "Aren't you coming inside?"
Goliath sighed. "Yes," he said, obviously distracted as he opened his wings and leaped into the air. Lexington immediately followed suit and glided beside his leader as they crossed into the courtyard, landing at the steps of the castle's entrance.
"You were looking a little distracted for a while," Lexington noted as they walked through the halls. "Is something wrong?"
Goliath thought on his reply, wondering if he should mention the fact that he might be sensing more than the others did. No, Lexington, I was just thinking, he replied at last. I too sensed the airs thickness this night. I was trying to understand it.
He glanced down at the smallest member of his clan and suddenly became surprised. Lexington seemed dressed a little differently tonight. He was wearing a thicker, more protective loincloth than usual, a multi-pocketed vest, gloves with the fingers cut off, and strange leggings that looked more like boots and stopped just below the knees. Pants were impossible because of Lexingtons style of wings, but he still couldnt recall when Lexington had started wearing this.
Now I know Ive been distracted these past few days, he thought ruefully. I would have noticed otherwise.
Lexington regarded him for a moment then shook his head. "Well, I don't know how you could understand magic," he said somewhat bitterly. "All it does is cause trouble."
Goliath eyed him a moment, silently agreeing yet not agreeing, as they headed in the general direction of the clan's new living quarters in Castle Wyvern. It had been the clan's private area of Castle Wyvern for several months now, offering them sanctuary and comfort from a hostile world outside, but they were still uneasy about living there. Though they were getting along fine with Xanatos and his family, the clan was still suspicious of them.
As they passed the recreation room, Goliath stopped and looked inside. Hudson was sitting in his usual spot in front of the television. He barely glanced it and was about to leave when the program his old friend was watching caught his attention rather suddenly.
"The Wyvern Family has been well known for several years in Southern New Jersey for a wide collection of historical artifacts and documents that span the globe and all of history. The museum has made a substantial amount of money over the years, but over the past few months, ticket sales have doubled and the numbers of visitors to The Guardian's Manor have increased. Why is this many might wonder. Its because of the artifacts that lead to gargoyles."
Goliaths eye ridge went up at that. He joined Hudson in front of the television with Lexington close behind him. The reporter was none other than Nicole St. John.
"Since the existence of the gargoyles was revealed to Manhattan and the world just months ago, people all over the world have flocked to the humble museum in hopes to find answers to the questions they carry. Gargoyles have a reputation for being fierce and dangerous, but apparently, many of the finds determine that the gargoyle race is a peace-loving race, even a tragic one at that. The Wyvern Family, due to their increased income from the ticket sales to visit their gargoyle displays, has helped to fund a rapidly growing group called the PIT Crew Foundation, otherwise known as People for Inter-species Tolerance. The museum is a favorite for these peace-thinking New Yorkers, but to visit the museum costs time, money and gas. Something that is about to change."
The screen switched from the image of Nicole to a very handsome man who appeared to be in his late or early thirties. He had long, flowing jet black-hair, piercing dark eyes and a polite guarded smile. His posture was strong and non-threatening, yet full of strength and pride, but there was something about his eyes that caught your attention. They seemed old, older than the rest of him. There was knowledge in them, and pain, that was haunting and alluring all at once, but the gentleness about him was incredible.
It certainly seemed to be causing the cold and stuck-up Nicole to sway on her feet.
In the background, a large building, exactly the same height as the Eyre Building, gleamed with many gargoyle statues and fountains, but the gargoyles werent carved in a gothic manner. There was something majestic and peaceful about them, just like the grounds and gardens they stood in. Nothing about this place was dark and gloomy like Demonas town house. It made Goliath and the others feel like theyd be safe if ever they needed to go there.
"Now, I am here with Mr. Lyath Wyvern, CEO of his own billion dollar company and the owner of this new beautiful building behind us. Hes the son of renowned painter Mrs. Cassandra Wyvern and Mr. Odomus Wyvern, a renowned historian who is currently investigating the mystery that is the gargoyles. This building here in downtown Manhattan is where the work will be done. The familys new museum is to be rebuilt here along with other businesses.
Nicole paused and turned to Mr. Wyvern again while Goliath registered what he had heard. His head was reeling with confusion. Lyath Wyvern . . . it startled Goliath just how much the human looked like him, only he didnt have the thick lavender flesh, the horns and sharp teeth, or the claws, wings and long, powerful tail. He was just a man, and yet there was something about him Goliath couldnt place. His father, Odomus Wyvern and even the name Wyvern . . . Was it a coincidence that Lyath Wyverns father had the same name as Odomus, the gargoyle of legend?
"Now, Mr. Wyvern, its been noted that there were many reasons for rebuilding your manor here in Manhattan, but its also rumored that the biggest reason is to be near the clan of gargoyles thats been sighted within the city. Is there any truth to these rumors?
Lyath Wyvern fidgeted slightly as he regarded Ms. Nicole with that same guarded expression. Some, he replied in a voice that was exactly like Goliaths. It would make sense to be as near to them as possible in order to understand them. However, our move is mostly to be near friends and family that live here in Manhattan, as well as the fact that weve obtained more artifacts than we had room for in our old home, and with the business ventures weve needed even more room. Manhattan is one of the best business capitols of the world. It made perfect sense to relocate here.
Mr. Wyvern do you believe the gargoyles could be a threat to our city, or even the human race? The Quarrymen . . .
The Quarrymen, a majority of them, are mad men, Ms. St. John, Mr. Wyvern interrupted with polite irritation. They are a danger to themselves and the entire city. They are cowards who use lies and the gargoyles as scapegoat for their bigotry and hatred. They are the threat, not the gargoyles.
But people are frightened.
It is the nature of humankind to fear what they do not understand and what they fear, they often seek to destroy. That is something I hope to change. These beings may only seek to understand us, or even to live among us as friends. If we succumb to fear and bigotry and try to destroy them before weve had a chance to understand them . . . I fear the repercussions would be terrible, and we would regret it.
Goliath narrowed his eyes at that. It was an all too familiar statement. He had said that once to Angela when their world tour through Avalon had only begun. They had landed somewhere in Canada at the time and Elisa had gone missing. Luckily, they found her soon after.
Nicole gave him a funny look. Do you believe they may seek to destroy us, like the Quarrymen believe?
Mr. Wyvern sighed with exasperation, now seeming just a little more irritated than before. Oh, for goodness sake, no! Honestly, Ms. St. John, this world is far too stuck on horror movies and make-believe. We still live in a dark age. We like to jump at shadows.
Hudson sniggered at that and Goliath glanced down at him.
On the screen, another figure approached the pair and Goliath stared in amazement. Lyath Wyvern was tall for a human, a little over seven feet. Nicole St. John was barely as tall, if not perhaps slightly taller than Elisa. The young looking man who approached them was just barely as tall as Nicole St. John, who barely reached Mr. Wyverns expansive chest, but that wasnt what was so striking about him. He was Japanese, but he had long red hair and beautiful, gentle violet eyes that glowed with intensity only a warrior could possess. He was slender, yet also athletically built, and yet that still was not what caught their attention. He carried a pair of strange looking swords at his side and on his left cheek was a scar shaped like a cross.
Mr. Wyvern stooped down as the red head stood on his tiptoes to whisper something in his ear. The only words they could discern were De gozaru yo. He was speaking in Japanese and using an odd dialect.
Goliath was instantly curious about him. Who was this man? Who was this man who moved with the grace of a unicorn, the silence of a cat and yet carried the strength of a dragon in his slight form?
Im sorry, Ms. St. John, but I must cut our interview short, Mr. Wyvern said apologetically as he bowed politely to her. Weve had a bit of a development. Please excuse me.
Nicole nodded and smiled professionally. Of course, thank you for speaking with us today.
Mr. Wyvern nodded with a warm smile and then turned away, the young-looking swordsman right at his side.
Nicole watched them for just a moment and then turned to the camera again. "Well, thats all we have for now. The Wyvern museums construction is expected to be completed in another two or three months. Commuters will have an easier time getting to the Museum, unless they live in New Jersey, and ticket sales for the museum will be cheaper. If you require any further information about the museum and the rest of the property, you can go online to the Wyvern Family website at www.wyvernguardian.com. This is Nicole St. John reporting live from downtown Manhattan. Back to you."
The room fell silent as Hudson switched off the television. He turned a thoughtful eye to Goliath and Lexington. "Well, lads, what do ye think of that bit o' news?"
"Hmm," said Lexington as he looked up at Goliath, finding once again that he had to crane his neck to even see the face of his eight-foot tall behemoth of a leader.
"I think we should keep an eye on the construction of that new museum, and any goods that may be arriving there," said Goliath, his eyes glinting with wonder and shock. "If that family truly does possess artifacts belonging to our kind, we will need to keep an eye on them. They'll be the perfect victims for the Quarrymen after that broadcast."
"Aye, and we cannae afford to let 'em win," growled Hudson as he stood. "Those would be priceless to our clan." A far away look crossed his eyes. "I wonder if they be possessing anything of us?"
"I don't know," said Goliath thoughtfully, staring outside at a few tumbling clouds as they rolled by.
"Well, maybe Elisa could find out?" suggested Lexington as he hopped onto the couch. "She's patrolling most of the city every night and often hears about things we don't. Maybe several officers are covering that area thinking the same thing we are?"
Goliath nodded. "You may be right," he said as he headed for the door. "Lexington, try to get a hold of Elisa and see what you can find out. In the mean time, I am going to look through this past weeks newspapers. Perhaps there will be something there as well."
"Aye, and let's hope it is good news," rumbled Hudson as he followed after Goliath. Without further conversation, the three gargoyles headed off in different directions.
* * * * * *
Brooklyn sighed as he walked past the kitchen. Only a few nights ago, his heart had been shattered and along with any hope of being able to claim Angela as a mate. He was angry and hurt, lonely and jealous. If only Angela had chosen him . . .
*"There are plenty of other females out there besides me, Brooklyn. I'm sure one of these days you'll find the one that's right for you." She shrugged. "Who knows, you might find someone you like so much that, after you've met them, you'll wonder what you saw in me anyway."
I'm sure there's someone out there for you; you just have to find her, or she has to find you. Like my father said to Macbeth once, 'Keep searching for that love. She's out there, somewhere.'"*
Brooklyn shook his head. "If only I could believe that, Angela," he muttered, and opened the door to the library. Not to his surprise, he found Goliath already inside reading. There were several different newspapers piled around him and he was reading intently, a serious scowl on his face.
Confused, Brooklyn approached his leader. "Hey, Goliath. What're you reading?"
Goliath looked up as Brooklyn stepped closer, and smiled slightly. "Ah, Brooklyn," he said, "Good evening."
"Yeah, hi," he said distractedly, eyeing the newspapers. "What're you looking for?"
"I am searching for information on a Mr. Lyath Wyvern and his family," said Goliath, his tone of voice strange and intense. "He was interviewed on the television earlier tonight by Nicole St. John. It appears his family has acquired a rather impressive collection of gargoyle artifacts, and I am curious to know if they possess anything that might refer to our clan. Theyre rebuilding a museum here to contain those artifacts. I want to learn more about them before the Quarrymen do.
"Really?" said Brooklyn in a stunned tone as he began to shift through the papers too. "Whatve you found so far?
Goliath sighed in irritation. Nothing, he rumbled as he put aside a newspaper and then picked up another.
"Do you think Elisa might know anything?" Brooklyn suggested.
Goliath put the last of the papers down. "Im not certain. Ive had Lexington contact her, but Ive yet to hear back from her. Apparently, shes having a rather busy night.
Brooklyn sighed. "I wish I was," he said, glancing back towards the hallway that led towards the kitchen, a sad scowl on his face.
Goliath sighed. "Then perhaps it's time to organize patrols," he stated as he turned to leave the library. "After dinner, we are going to sort out patrol parties." He waved a finger at Brooklyn. "And no arguments about who you end up with, understood?"
Brooklyn groaned, and then sighed as he stood. "Yeah, okay," he muttered, and followed Goliath towards the kitchen.
* * * * *
After dinner, the clan gathered at the high tower to await patrolling assignments. Hudson pulled out a bag of straws from his belt. Goliath nodded and took the bag, noting how Brooklyn groaned. The young, brick red gargoyle hated this new procedure, as did the other younger members of the clan. The two older warriors had discovered that doing things this way left little room for argument. Still, he could somehow sense in Brooklyn the disgust of having to patrol with Angela and Broadway. They had begun to get rather close lately.
Shaking his head, Goliath spoke to the clan after everyone had chosen their straws. Brooklyn, Broadway and Angela all received red, furthering Brooklyn's bad mood.
"You three take Times Square," he said before he took off with Hudson and Lexington. "There have been quite a few armed robberies there recently. I want you to be especially careful, is that understood?"
The three young warriors nodded in earnest and glided off into the night sky.
Goliath watched their departing backs with a resigned sigh. "I hope they manage to get along tonight," he muttered as they glided towards downtown.
"They'll be fine, lad," soothed Hudson as they passed through a wave of clouds, but Goliath remained concerned. Sighing, he decided to change the subject. "So, lads, any word from Elisa on these Wyvern characters?"
Lexington shook his head. "Nope, Elisa still hasn't gotten back to me," he said, sounding frustrated and baffled. "I wonder what's keeping her."
"I don't know," said Goliath, also sounding confused. "There is nothing in the papers about it either. And it makes me wonder why, since this family seems to be particularly popular with the PIT Crew."
"Hmm," said Hudson, thoughtfully stroking his beard as he cast a watchful eye on the streets below. "Did ye lads bring yuir radios incase the lass tries tae reach ye?"
"Yep," said Lexington cheerfully while pointing to the mike and earphone on his head. Goliath simply nodded.
Just then, the radios began to crackle. "Goliath? Lex? You guys there?"
"Elisa!" said Lexington excitedly. "Hey, 'bout time you got back to us. What happened?"
There was a sigh. "Sorry, Lex. Things have been kind of crazy down here. Matt brought in a few Quarrymen who showed up at the construction site earlier tonight during and after the interview with Mr. Wyvern. They almost started a riot. Anyway . . . she paused a moment, and there was the sound of rustling paper. "I did get some info on Mr. Wyvern. I'll be running by the castle later tonight and I can leave it with you then."
"Sounds good, thanks Elisa," said Lexington.
"You're welcome Lex," Elisa replied, a smile behind her voice. "Look, I've gotta run. But I'll see you all later tonight, okay?"
"Okay, later," said Lexington, and the line disconnected.
Hudson was watching them. "Do ye think it'll be anything new from what we know already?"
Goliath sighed. "I don't know," he said as he banked towards the left, following the line of a new skyscraper that held his attention. "But, I suppose we'll find out. Come."
Lexington and Hudson followed obediently.
For about an hour, they circled the building, but they saw nothing out of the ordinary other than the red-haired swordsman patrolling the loading bays. Goliath found this odd, but at the same time was relieved. More Quarrymen hadnt attacked yet, but he had the feeling they would, and apparently the warrior below felt the same way. He patrolled the base of the building with the ease and intensity of one who had faced many battles.
He is no mere warrior that one, Goliath noted with a sense of unease. Yet if the Quarrymen should decide to attack, could he hold them off?
Goliath shook his head and turned towards home. He supposed hed never know, but it was getting late. They needed to be home.
* * * * *
CASTLE WYVERN. -
Some time later, Goliath sighed as he, Hudson and Lexington returned from patrol at last. The night had passed quickly, although it had been a long one. There hadnt been a sound from the Quarrymen until just a few moments ago. Elisa had radioed Goliath with a warning that the alarm system at the new Wyvern building had been set off. The police responded, but by the time they arrived, they stumbled onto a startling scene, one that Goliath, Hudson and Lexington had spotted from the air as they arrived. It must have happened too quickly for anyone to see. Shots were fired, the Quarrymen had attacked with their hammers and other deadly weapons, but not one of them had been able to touch the red haired swordsmen dutifully guarding the building. They were taken down within seconds. A strike made once or twice had incapacitated the invading Quarrymen. Elisa told them that if his blade didnt have a flat edge, then every last Quarrymen wouldve been sliced in two.
Goliath shivered. He had seen the welts on the chests and backs of the Quarrymen. He knew for a fact how thick that armor was. It was tough to get his talons through it at times. Yet, that blade had moved so fast and hit so hard that it had ripped through the protective material and slammed into the exposed skins of each Quarryman, causing severe damage and instant unconsciousness. Yet not one man died.
I never saw the battle for myself, he realized uneasily as he landed in the courtyard, but the aftermath was enough for me. He stood there, still on guard, until the police came. Then theres that cheerful behavior of his, that casual aloofness, and the easy way he deterred the policemens questions on how effortlessly he had defeated the Quarrymen. He is honorable, and obviously a lot smarter than he looks. Still . . . Who are you?
That was too wild! Lexington cried as he and Hudson turned to Goliath. The Quarrymen looked like they didnt even get a shot in before they were taken down. Who wouldve thought such a short guy could be so strong?
Strength is not determined in size, Lexington, Goliath reminded him.
Lexington shrugged a little sheepishly. Yeah, but still . . . The guy only had a sword. They had hammers and guns. Who is he?
Goliath growled softly. I dont know.
Just then, Bronx bounded over to them, barking happily. It was his barking that gave him away. His great paws, like all gargoyles, padded over the cement ground without a sound. He was trained to hunt in silence and was sometimes better at it than other gargoyles were. Nevertheless, he crooned and wined happily as he licked Hudsons hand, his stubby tail wagging excitedly as his lonely sentinel duties ended with their arrival.
*"Seems we're the first ones back from patrol, lad," Hudson remarked, looking around for signs of the others. He reached down and scratched Bronx behind the ears. "There, there, boy. Missed us, did you?"
Goliath consulted the horizon for a minute. "They had better be back soon. With the Quarrymen still loose, I don't want them getting stuck roosting somewhere dangerous."
"Don't worry yuirself, lad. Ye taught them well. Ye have tae let go sometime and they are of age now."
Goliath sighed. "You're right, of course. I can't help worrying about Angela though. Her warrior training is not as good as it could be."
"Aye, it's difficult. Even though this idea of being a parent is a new thing, there was always a special hatchling in each rookery, one that ye always kept an eye on and worried about." Hudson arched an eyebrow ridge and pointed at his head. "Ye're the one that got me started on these white hairs!"
The grim expression on the lavender gargoyle's face gave way to a wry smile and a rolling chuckle started in his chest. "Too true, old friend."
They went into the castle to the suite Xanatos set aside for them.
Hudson headed for his comfortable chair and was channel surfing before his seat hit the cushions. Goliath picked up the thick, leather-bound book he'd been reading, a collection of American literature. He opened it to a selection by
Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Celestial Railroad," and started to read ...or would have.
"Goliath! Goliath, look at this!" Lexington was very excited about a glossy magazine in his hands. Bronx growled as the olive-green gargoyle almost stepped on the beast in his enthusiastic charge across the room. "Whoops! Sorry,
Bronx." He held the publication out. "There's going to be a major computer expo!
All the latest cutting edge technology will be there! Isn't it great?"
"Yes, Lexington that's wonderful," he said, trying not to sound bored with Lexington's infatuation with all things electronic, but he heard the same description millions of times before. Young gargoyles always seemed to have a short-term memory about amazing things and could never get enough. Goliath had gone through the same thing with Brooklyn and Broadway, but Lexington had a more insatiable curiosity than his rookery brothers did.
"Are you listening, Goliath?" Lexington was tapping his foot impatiently. "Maddox Technologies is unveiling their new line of virtual reality cyberware! Not even Xanatos has anything close to it."
The gargoyle leader frowned. "Cyberware?"
Lexington rolled his eyes, exasperated. "Auuugh! C'mon, Bronx. Let's get something to eat." He stomped off with the beast on his heels.
Goliath turned to Hudson for advice, but Hudson was laughing so hard it looked like he was having a coronary.
"What is so funny?" Goliath asked, momentarily feeling offended.
"I cannae help thinking that my face must have looked like that once. Remember that curious rookery sister of yuirs that kept making all those odd gadgets and blowing things up?"
"At least her interests were simple," Goliath rumbled. "I don't understand half of what Lexington's talking about most of the time."
"As long as ye don't stop listening, that's all that really matters," Hudson said wisely and settled in for a serious snooze.*
Goliath watched him for a moment then returned to his reading, but for some reason, he couldn't concentrate on it. His thoughts kept returning to the interview he saw earlier with Nicole St. John and the red haired swordsmen who had so swiftly defeated the Quarrymen. All of it brought a strange feeling to his gut.
Ever since that book appeared, strange things have started happening, Goliath mused uneasily as he sat the book down and pulled his knees to his chest in thought. I keep feeling like something is approaching, that something is about to happen. The air is so thick with magic that I cant stand it! Ive never felt magic like this before. Earlier tonight, nearly all of the clan felt the presence of magic, but now, no one even seems to notice it. Why is that? Is the book cursed? He shook his head. No, its impossible. I felt no hostility in those pages. I was just . . . overwhelmed. Theres a reason that book appeared, but how did Xanatos get it? Why do I get the feeling that he is hiding something?
Goliath sighed and stood. Too much too soon, and it was all too strange. It felt like he was back on Avalon, slowly being guided to whatever purpose or destiny he needed to perform.
It seems that magic is choosing me.
He started to head towards the door when something stopped him in his tracks. A powerful sensation filled the room. He could feel it. A great and powerful magical force was entering the vicinity. It wasnt exactly a threatening presence, more like a sense of infinite space, and time. It was strong and so sudden that it startled him.
He turned around in slight alarm to see if Hudson had noticed it, but the old warrior was snoozing peaceably. He didnt seem affected at all.
Odd. Goliath thought.
Growling slightly, he started towards the door again, but as he entered the hall, that strange presence disappeared. He passed through the halls, turned corners, checked in different rooms. He even traversed several different flights of stairs, but found nothing.
Concerned, Goliath checked one last place and found Owen Burnett already there with Alexander held in his only usable arm. Both stared at each other strangely for a moment, and then Goliath realized with a sigh that Owen was the trickster Puck in disguise. He would be foolish to assume that Puck would not have sensed the magical presence, but how did that explain Goliaths sudden talent?
Owen stared at Goliath wide-eyed as the magical emanations in the room died down. The room, which had once been Princess Kathrines bedchamber, was now a pleasant sitting room, a detail that Owen hadnt really taken into account. He was certain he was seeing things, but Goliath was suddenly aglow with radiating power.
"Goliath, what are you doing here?" Owen asked, obviously surprised.
Goliath immediately felt foolish. "It's nothing," he growled and he turned away. "I only thought that I had felt something . . ." He shook his head, trying to wave it off. "It's nothing."
Owen stared at him. Goliath felt something? "You felt magic, didnt you?" he heard himself ask, and Goliath turned to him, not wanting to discuss the issue. Owen approached him. "You - you felt that presence? That rise in space and time?"
Goliath regarded Owen for a long moment. Then, he shook his head and continued on his way. "I was mistaken," he growled flatly.
Owen wasnt going to let Goliath go. Goliath, it seemed, had great powers. The book, the journal, had been the opening Goliath needed, the opening Owen knew would come. He was Puck after all, but he still hadnt expected Goliaths powers to be so . . . powerful! They were exploding out of him without Goliath being aware of it. He was greater than Oberon! Greater than all the Seelie and Unseelie put together!
"Would you care to assist me for a moment?" Owen pressed, and Goliath looked at him again, very irritated. "I believe there is some sort of magical force appearing in the castle and I feel we should investigate."
Goliath growled a sigh, his instinct to protect aroused. "You think it is a threat?"
Owen shook his head. "I am uncertain," he said, glancing down at the sleeping Alexander in his arm. "But we should keep an eye out - at least after I put Alexander to bed."
Goliath was reluctant at first, but he at last agreed. "Very well," he said, and followed Owen to the nursery.
* * * * *
*Brooklyn, Angela, and Broadway were all laughing as they landed on the top parapets of Castle Wyvern. Broadway had just told a joke from the old days at Wyvern, but it seemed like the punch line was just as funny now as it was a thousand years ago. Brooklyn was still eating part of his pretzel; it took him and the others about five minutes to get to the castle from the mall. Broadway had long ago finished his two pretzels and had helped Angela with hers.
As they headed inside, Brooklyn sighed, finally relieved of the stress of hiding his lingering jealousy from the two lovebirds. Brooklyn went into the study of the highest tower where Goliath perched during the day, towering above the others in his clan. The study was small by all accounts and had once doubled as the Archmage's sorcery and lab room. It once held glass beakers and pots full of strange liquids and potions. Skulls lit with candles had once perched where electric lights now illuminated the impenetrable darkness of the room. Brooklyn liked to be here sometimes just to get away from it all. As he sat eating the rest of his pretzel, he thought about how he could avoid getting patrol duty with Angela and Broadway again. This feeling of envy was getting tiresome. Almost as irritating as that scratchy, hissing sound. He stuck a finger in his ear and wiggled it. It was no good. The noise was still there, but now he heard something more . . . a voice beckoning him to come closer . . .
Brooklyn frowned and stepped into the hallway. He tried to think of what it could possibly be but the whispering voice seemed to echo inside his head, reverberating off the inside of his skull in a dizzying whirl until he knew that he had to find out what it was or go mad.
The red gargoyle crept cautiously up the winding staircase leading to the very top parapets of the castle, expecting anything and nothing. He went outside and noted the changing colors of the eastern sky. Dawn was not too far off and, out of habit, he began walking to his usual roost. A blue-white flash of light stopped him in his tracks and he stood there blinking, waiting for the spots in front of his eyes to disappear.
Brooklyn looked down and saw the starlight gleaming off a golden trinket at his feet. Strange images from his childhood came rushing back to him -- thunder, a ball of fire, a black horse. Brooklyn knelt and examined it more closely. The little thing seemed to have tiny dents and pits in it -- a discernible seam was visible where it was once broken in half and somehow restored. He was hesitant to touch it, but something about it reassured him and he picked it up. He half-expected it to burn him but it was cool to the touch. As he held it in his hands, he noticed the incredible craftsmanship that went into the piece.
It was either the shape of a heart or a shield--he wasn't sure which. It was edged in a gold and the inside was something green . . . perhaps a rare, precious stone? There was a beautifully crafted image of a fiery bird inside, curling impossibly inward to match the shape of the outside trim. Its crimson eye gleamed fiercely while its claws raked away at its golden prison.
Brooklyn was broken out of his fascination by the sound of soaring wings coming in his direction. Angela and Broadway, still laughing at something, landed a few feet away. Brooklyn hastily slipped the little treasure into the back of his belt.
"Whatcha doin' up here so late, Brook?" Broadway asked.
"Just . . . thinking." Brooklyn answered, tracing circles with his feet.
Angela looked at him curiously. "Brooklyn, what do you have behind your back?"
"What? That? Oh . . . just something I found lying around," he replied nonchalantly, holding it out to them.
Upon closer inspection, Angela gasped when she saw the thing clutched in Brooklyn's talons. "No! It can't be!"
"What? What is it?" Broadway looked at it with as much concern and confusion as
"That is the Phoenix Gate!" Angela said, awed and confused all at the same moment.
"So?" Brooklyn and Broadway said almost simultaneously.
Angela shook her head. "It can't be here! Father threw it into the -" Angela was cut off by a mysterious and yet all too familiar scream that cut through the crisp early morning air like a hot knife through butter. Brooklyn frantically tried to drop the Gate, but he couldnt. It was if he was frozen in time. Angela and Broadway were too horrified to act, frozen in place, watching events happen as if according to some preordained script. Nothing moved except for the reddish mist emitting from the Gate, covering Brooklyn in its wrathful embrace. Suddenly the mist began to dissipate. Freed of his trance, Brooklyn started towards them but to no avail. He was swallowed up in the swirling fire of time.
When the fire cleared away, there was no sign of Brooklyn. There was not even a charred spot on the flagstones.
"What's going on!?" came the bellowing voice of Goliath, and Angela and Broadway turned to see their leader and Owen emerge from the entrance to the tower a few seconds later.
"What happened here?" Owen asked as he pushed his glasses up, looking expectantly at the two gargoyles for an answer. Neither spoke a word for several minutes, both in awe of what just transpired. Broadway looked very upset and angry.
Goliath looked stunned. He knew what that flash meant. He looked at Angela.
"He's gone!" Broadway shouted suddenly. "What have you done with him?" Broadway's eyes lit up with fury as he whipped around to face the ever-calm Owen.
"Broadway, wait!" Goliath began, reaching out a hand to his rookery-son's shoulder.
Broadway wasn't listening.
"I'm afraid I cannot take responsibility for whatever has happened here," Owen tried to explain. "I sensed . . ."
"You sensed what?! That Brooklyn was about to go up in flames?!" Angela snarled. Now she and Broadway were both angry.*
"Wait, both of you!" Goliath growled, and they turned to him. "Owen was not the only one who sensed the magic. I did too!"
Broadway and Angela stared at him, stunned.
"I don't know how, young ones, but I did. Owen was instructing Alexander at the time. He had nothing to do with Brooklyn's disappearance."
Broadway and Angela were speechless.
"Your leader's right," Owen said as he tried to hold his dignity while dangling in the air from Broadway's hands. "The force disappeared, but I sensed it again as I was leaving Alexander's room with Goliath. We came here a moment too late, it seems. I cannot deduce what has happened, but yelling at me will not solve the problem."
Broadway and Angela looked at each other and hung their heads in guilt. They knew Owen spoke the truth; neither Puck nor Owen could ever sink to killing someone, especially a friend.
"Now, tell us what happened," Goliath rumbled in a reassuring voice.
Angela was the first to speak, and she was very excited. "It was the Phoenix Gate, father!" she said, and Goliath's eyes went wide. "It appeared out of nowhere and Brooklyn picked it up. Then it whisked him away!"
Goliath stared at Angela then glanced at Owen before looking back at her. "But that's impossible! I got rid of it!"
Owen looked at Goliath. "How?"
Goliath explained how and why he got rid of the Phoenix Gate, granting Owen very pointed glares on occasion. It seemed to help Owen understand a little of their situation, but not enough.
"So, Brooklyn's been caught up in the Phoenix Flame," Owen mumbled thoughtfully. "I wonder . . ."
Goliath went over to Angela when he noticed that her eyes were brimming with tears. He held her to comfort her as Broadway stared at the spot where his rookery brother last stood. "He can't be gone," he said numbly, "Not Brooklyn. Lost . . . lost forever . . ."
Goliath shook his head. "No, Broadway, not forever," Goliath soothed, but even he couldn't help but feel upset and scared. It wasn't like the Phoenix Gate to simply appear out of nowhere and snatch someone away. It just didn't make sense.
Owen studied the gargoyles for a moment. "Perhaps we should continue this discussion inside?" he suggested.
Goliath and the others nodded numbly, but they followed him.
As they started to leave the tower, that same strange presence suddenly returned, but now it was full of consciousness. Five different minds accompanied the Phoenix Gate. Goliath and Owen stopped short.
Everyone turned to Goliath in surprise. "Father?" Angela questioned.
Suddenly, she gasped, noting how the light of dawn that was only minutes away was not the only light in the courtyard. "B-Broadway?" she said in a quivering voice, pointing to where Goliath and Owen were staring.
*A small speck of fire had developed in the exact spot where Brooklyn disappeared five minutes ago. They all retreated as the flames grew larger and larger, eventually taking the shape of a giant globe. Then five very indistinct forms became visible within the fiery sphere. Angela fell over her feet as she backed away but Broadway was there to catch her. As suddenly as they appeared, the flames died, and when they were gone, five figures stood in the pinkish pre-dawn light.
In pre-planned attack formation, two figures one male and the other female - sprang forward, revealing two small gargoyle hatchlings that were probably about eighteen years old in gargoyle years. The beautiful female gargoyle had hair as dark as midnight and skin like cool jade. Her almond-shaped eyes could either melt a heart or pierce it. She wore a modified dark red kimono embroidered with chrysanthemums over an ivory tunic, the flowing sleeves bound up from wrist to forearm for efficient swordplay with a wicked-looking katana blade gripped in her hand. She seemed older than the rest.*
The male gargoyle was holding some sort of pulse rifle and seemed ready to fire at anything within range. He had Brooklyn's brick-red coloring and the same wing structure. In fact, he looked just like Brooklyn, but a good twenty years older. He wore an interesting mix of armor: an enameled chest plate looking like the latest in laser-proof armor from Xanatos' R&D lab and a dull metal guard on his left shoulder strapped diagonally across his chest with leather. A multiple compartment belt held up form-fitting leather pants and forearm gauntlets gleamed in the early morning light.
The last of the five figures who held back near the hatchlings was also female, but younger than the jade female. She too wore a modified kimono of midnight blue with embroidered sakura and Lillie blossoms. Her flesh was a beautiful snowy white and her eyes were the same as the first female, but she had a beak. Her hair fell in long strands of ebony and her graceful stand promised swift death to any who came too close.
*The male's eyes focused on them. He smiled broadly and immediately lowered his pulse rifle. This only served to confuse Angela and Broadway. Goliath looked absolutely panic-stricken.
The male looked over his shoulder and said, "Uchi da! Koko kara zenbu hajimatta no!" ["I'm home! This is where it all started!"]
Whatever he said, the females lowered their shining katana blades in response. They turned back as the two hatchlings, a male and a female but identical in beaks and fingered wing structures, came forward. Everyone realized the two hatchlings were fraternal twins, something of a rarity among gargoyles.
The young female was a ruddy red with a mane of thick black hair, interwoven with several tiny beaded braids. She wore a blue tunic which also resembled a modified kimono - with capped sleeves and a wide, patterned sash like a Japanese obi. She carried a weapon, a bo staff that she twirled expertly. Her brother, a darker jade green with shorter, wilder black hair, had his arms full with a wiggling, squirming gargoyle beast, very young, little more than a hatchling. The immature beast stared at its surroundings and whimpered, trying to burrow into the tan multi-pocketed vest his young master was wearing along with blue leggings that seemed to be of the same material as the older males leggings. Both twins had matching armbands on their left arms, each with a curious black display panel.
"Hey! Cut it out!" the male hatchling said, giggling. "That tickles!"*
Graeme-kun, look! hissed the young female as she tapped his shoulder and pointed, ignoring his complaints about the small beast. Its Goliath! But hes not wearing his armor.
One of the females promptly, but gently, put her hands on their shoulders and pulled them back a pace or two while Goliath and the rest of the clan regarded them in surprise. Not wearing his armor? What did that mean?
*"Broadway? Angela?" the adult male asked breathlessly as he stepped towards them. A big grin curved around his beak. "Jalapeño! You have NO idea how great it is to see you again!"
The little female grinned as well. She dropped her staff and ran to the other two gargoyles. "Aunt Angela! Uncle Broadway!" She threw her arms around the big blue gargoyle's stomach as far as she could reach and gave him a big hug.
Broadway's mouth hung open as he stared down at the hatchling. "Uh...do I know you, kid?"
"Oh." She frowned and turned back to the adult male. "Tou-san? Are we early?"
"Brooklyn?" Angela asked weakly.
"Yeah, it's me." Brooklyn grinned. He swallowed hard and blinked, eyes looking a little misty. "You still . . . remember me?"
"Of course we remember!" Angela said, puzzled. "You only just left--" She suddenly cut her sentence off as she heard Goliath step forward, his figure completely stiff with amazed fear.
Brooklyn cocked his head and looked past her. "Goliath," he said simply, his voice choked with emotion, "I've been waiting a long time for this." He walked up to the tall lavender gargoyle to clasp his forearm. "It's good to be home."
There was an audible pause while everyone looked at Goliath. The leader of the
Manhattan clan stood there, now flanked on either side by Lexington, Hudson and
Bronx as they joined the group, staring at his second-in-command, the shock clearly visible on his rugged face.
"Brooklyn?" His brow wrinkled. "But it was only a dream...."
The sun rose and there were five more gargoyles frozen in stone on Castle Wyvern's battlements than there had been the night before.*
To be continued . . .
AUTHORS NOTES; Okay, there are a lot of hidden hints in this fiction about what will come in upcoming fictions. One of which is the red haired swordsman with the cross-shaped scar on his cheek. Can anyone take a wild guess as to who he might be? ^_~