Story Concept by Greg Bishansky and Kathy Pogge.
Written by Greg Bishansky and Alan Coleman Waltrip.
Artwork by Lain.
Previously on Gargoyles...
"Hiding is an interesting word," Thailog commented, amused. "Just because you haven't known about my presence doesn't mean it wasn't there." He smiled roguishly. "I may know a lot more than you think, and had much more of an impact too." Thailog looked delighted as Angela struggled to cover her shock. "Demona's quaint little trek down the road of reform and redemption, your weekly visits with her, Madoc Morfryn and all that Unseelie Ragnarok business. Oh yes, I know of it all," he said smugly. "The private little war you and the pixies waged just didn't seem like something I wanted to include myself in. Now that it's concluded, or so I assume, I can... pick things up where Madoc left off." He rubbed his hands together in anticipation. "The spoils of war are mine to collect, and there's no better time to make an entrance than when your opponent's down. Don't you agree?"
~ Re-Emergence, Part 2
From the outside, the warehouse looked worn and rusted. Lack of care upon the part of its owners had allowed it to deteriorate and individuals to graffiti it with expressions and images that society would find distasteful.
The inside of the warehouse was another matter all together. In the light, all of the finest in ultra-modern technology occupied the interior of the building. Computers adjourned the walls and several television monitors were displaying live news broadcasts from many different television networks. An oriental carpet covered the floor.
Jackal and Hyena sat at a glass table playing a game of poker; Wolf sat there as well, chewing on a roasted leg of lamb. Lobo sat on a velvet couch with his legs crossed and propped up on a marble coffee table immersed in a book while Bull napped next to him. Coyote 6.0 stood motionless in the back of the room powering his internal systems. Their current employer sat at a desk speaking into a headset discussing business.
Thailog spoke as he read the business section of the Daily Sentinel. "I trust you understand what I want done with the target, Hikuru San," he said.
"Of course," spoke the voice of Hikuru Inoue from the speaker. "She will be taken care of exactly as you requested."
"Make sure it is prolonged," Thailog said. "I want her to suffer."
"She will. That I can assure you," Hikuru replied. "When will you send the payment?"
"Half of it is already on its way," said the ebon gargoyle. "The other half will arrive pending how well you handle this."
"What I want to know is this," said Hikuru. "Why do you seek the Yakuza's aid? You do have five of the most dangerous mercenaries in the city at your beckon."
"Yes," said Thailog as he glanced at the members of the Ultra Pack. "I suppose I do. But I would prefer this situation to be handled more subtly. And the Yakuza are among the subtlest organizations in the city. The Ultra Pack tends to draw attention to themselves."
"I understand," Hikuru replied. "You will not be disappointed."
"I know I won't," Thailog replied. "I will be in contact with you again shortly."
As Thailog deactivated the headset, Jackal placed his poker cards face down on the table so his opponents' prying eyes would not take advantage of his pause and turned towards the black gargoyle. "I still do not understand why this needs to be handled 'subtly'."
"Yeah," said Wolf as he chewed on a large leg of lamb. "It's been too long since we've seen some action."
"Not that we mind being paid to protect you and be your couriers," Hyena said. "But it's been too long since we've had ourselves some real fun."
"He signs your paycheck," Lobo said as he placed his copy of 'The Art of War' down on the coffee table. "You will not question his orders."
"Thank you Lobo," Thailog said. "But that was not necessary, I understand the need for fun. You and they will have your part to play soon enough."
The ebon gargoyle gazed at the clock on the wall; the sun would rise at any moment. He grabbed his cane and slowly rose to his feet, and with supreme effort he made his way to his protective chamber that he spent his days inside of.
Jackal got up and took the discarded newspaper from Thailog's desk, reading the headline that held his employer's interest all evening: 'DOMINIQUE DESTINE DONATES $25,000 TO P.I.T.'
* * * * *
Dominique Destine read through the 'Wall Street Journal' intently as her limousine made its way to Nightstone Unlimited. Her stocks were doing very well according to the newspaper, and it seemed likely that her plans for a corporate takeover of Faden Industries would go over well. While not the same as attempting to destroy all humanity, crushing the lives and dreams of a few of them brought her a small amount of satisfaction.
Her driver Gregory interrupted her train of thought. "We're being followed, Ms. Destine," he said.
Dominique raised an eyebrow at that. "Show me." She activated the monitor in front of her and saw a sleek, non-descript black car trailing very close behind her limousine.
"How long have they been following us?" she asked.
"For the past seven blocks," the chauffeur replied.
"Are you sure they're not just heading in the same direction we are?" Dominique asked, somewhat annoyed.
"I'm positive Ms. Destine," said Gregory. "They're definitely following us."
Dominique rolled her eyes back. "Is there any way that we could possibly evade them?"
Before Gregory could respond, the black car collided with the limousine from behind. Dominique fell forward upon the impact but managed to pull herself back off the car's floor and regain her composure. As she reached into her jacket pocket for her cellular telephone, the limousine shook as the black car rammed it again.
Gregory looked forward as the black car collided with the limousine and saw the entrance of a Chinese restaurant ram into him at sixty miles an hour before everything went black.
* * * * *
Gregory had been taken to the hospital shortly after the ambulance arrived. Dominique felt no emotions for her driver, and the police told her that he would be fine in a few days. She stood to the side of the accident, a bulky policeman asking her questions she didn't care for.
"Can you describe the car that caused this accident?" Officer O'Malley asked.
"It was black," Dominique replied. "And it was either a Mercedes or a BMW. A German car; that I'm sure of."
"Okay," said O'Malley as he took down some notes. "You're sure that this was no accident?"
"I'm positive," Dominique said as one of the paramedics approached her. She shooed him away, and the man left quietly.
"And do you have any idea why anyone would attack you Ms. Destine?" O'Malley continued.
"I am a powerful CEO," Dominique said as she gazed at her reflection in the store window. She realized that she was a mess; most of her hair had come loose from her carefully groomed ponytail. "I have many enemies."
"Any prime suspects?"
Dominique's eyes grew cold as she stared at her reflection and continued to fix her hair. "No. None that I can yet name." She lied. She had plenty of suspects in mind, but human justice could touch none of them.
"I see," O'Malley said as he continued to write down notes. "I think you should allow us to take you to a hospital to take a look at you." The policeman motioned towards the waiting ambulance.
"That won't be necessary," Dominique said as she finished fixing her hair. "I am perfectly fine."
"Are you sure?" the officer asked.
"Of course. If you'll excuse me officer, I have some business to attend to."
"I just have a few more questions…" the officer began. Dominique ignored the officer and hailed a taxi. She had more important things to worry about.
* * * * *
Dominique sighed to herself when her intercom rang. Throwing down her pen, she shoved the paperwork she was working on aside and pushed the talk button.
"What is it?" she asked, clearly irritated.
"Ms. Calhoun is here to see you, Ms. Destine," a voice came back.
She allowed herself a small smile, knowing that no one would see it. "Send her in, please."
A few seconds later, Dominique's office door opened and her friend stepped inside. "Andrea," she said, standing. "It's good to see you."
Andrea smiled, moving a stray hair out of her face. "I heard about what happened on the radio. Are you okay?" she asked with concern.
"I'll be fine," Dominique said, organizing some of the papers on her desk. "It's just been one of those days, you know?" she sat back down, motioning for Andrea to do the same.
"I do. Listen, you want to grab some lunch?" she asked.
Dominique looked at her watch, then at the clock in her office, not believing that it was already past noon. She sighed, shaking her head. "I can't," she said. "There's just to much to do. Maybe tomorrow?"
Andrea nodded. "It's okay. I understand. Just don't wear yourself out, okay?" She stood from her chair.
Dominique smiled. "I won't, I promise."
Andrea turned and walked out of the office, and the gargoyle turned human returned to the massive amount of paperwork on her desk, sighing in fatigue. At six o'clock, she decided to call it quits. The world would have to wait for the work of Dominique Destine.
As she raised her arm for a cab, Dominique didn't hear the black car drive by her. She didn't hear outcry of gunfire nearly miss her head. She only heard the zing of bullets minutes after they passed her ear, and the screech of tires as the familiar black car turned a corner far away from her position.
Dominique did hear the sound of her knees hitting the concrete sidewalk as she fell down, and the crowd of people gathering around her. She could recognize the sounds of police sirens approach her, but she did not acknowledge them. Lights and sounds clouded her mind and she realized how close she had come to dying.
But then, in an undefined moment of single clarity, Dominique realized where she was, and what had truly happened. Only one person in the entire world could let her know death, and she had nothing to fear otherwise. Whoever was plotting these attacks couldn't know that, or they would not even be trying. She breathed in, opened her eyes, and stood.
Dominique quickly regained her composure. She brushed the dirt off her suit, and turned to the groups of people. A bulky policeman was making his way through the crowd. "Are you okay?" he asked her.
"I'm fine," she said. "I apologize for the disturbance. I really must get going," Dominique added, noting that the sun was almost down.
"I'm afraid I can't let you do that, ma'am," the policeman said, holding her arm to prevent her from running off. The crowd had quickly dispersed, leaving Dominique alone with the policeman and a few other officers.
"I have to go," she said sternly, trying to pull her arm away from the policeman's hand. "I have a meeting I need to get to."
"You can answer some questions first," he said, as if his words meant something to the woman.
Just then, another voice came from the group of patrol cars. "Let her go," it said. Dominique saw Matt Bluestone coming closer to her, and held back a sneer.
"Sir?" the other man asked.
"You heard me. She didn't do anything. I think she just got a little lightheaded." Matt argued. "Isn't that right Ms. Destine?"
"She was shot at, sir," the policeman said.
Matt looked at Demona's human face with surprise. "You were shot at?" he asked her, trying to confirm.
"I was. Look, I really need to get going, Officer Bluestone. You know how I get after dark," Dominique told him.
Matt nodded. "Of course. You'll call my office tomorrow then, give me a full report?"
"There's not much to tell," she said, taking her arm back from the officer, "but I'll be sure to do that. Thank you, Officer Bluestone."
"Ms. Destine," Matt acknowledged.
The businesswoman turned on her heel and crossed the street, heading into a more secluded area of Central Park. The beat officer turned to Matt.
"Why'd you let her go?" he asked.
"You heard her. She had a meeting to get to. There's already been one threat on her life today. I wouldn't want to be in her way when she's trying to get somewhere." Matt turned and walked back to his car, leaving the scene as quickly as he came.
* * * * *
In truth, she hated in when no one was around to watch her change. The sight usually seemed to strike fear in the hearts of most humans, those who didn't know her secret in the first place. But alas, no one was watching her. No one would hear her scream in pain as her bodily appearance morphed into what some people referred to as a demon.
Her wings usually came first, spouting through the skin on her back. Tonight, they ripped through the fabric of her suit, something Demona hated. She normally made a note of changing into her night garb before the change started, but every once in a while she was caught off guard.
Her teeth elongated, her skin deepened to its natural azure color, and her fingers changed into sharp talons. Miles away, she knew that another felt the same pain she did, but that hadn't bothered her since the spell was originally cast.
The change complete, Demona pulled her mind away from the pain and smiled. She scaled a nearby tree and took off into the night, making her way towards her home almost ten miles away.
* * * * *
"No, Hikuru San," Thailog said into the headset. "I am not at all disappointed that she survived. You need not discipline your men."
"Are you certain?" Hikuru asked. "We do not tolerate failure in the Yakuza. I told them to prolong her suffering and then kill her, and they failed."
"You misunderstand," Thailog replied. "I want her to live for now. If your men had succeeded in killing her I would have been most disappointed."
"Then what is it that you desire?" Hikuru wondered.
"Her suffering to be prolonged until I get what I want," said Thailog. "She is not my true quarry, only a means. Continue the original assignment for now. The rest is of no concern to you."
"Of course," Hikuru said before hanging up from his end of the phone.
"Everything is going smoothly." Thailog said to no one in particular. "And now, my dear Demona, I believe the next move is yours."
The ebon gargoyle let out a bellowing round of laughter that echoed through out the entire building before being cut off by a groan of pain in his side.
* * * * *
Demona swiftly landed on her balcony and threw open the patio doors. She approached her nightstand and found two messages on her answering machine. She sighed as she pressed the 'Play' button.
"I hope you enjoyed today's hi-jinks," a computerized voice spoke. "The fun isn't over yet. Not until they find your corpse at the bottom of the East River."
Demona rolled her eyes and discarded the tattered remains of her red suit as the second message played.
"Dominique? Are you there?" she heard Andrea's voice ask. "I heard about the assault on the news. Call me when you get home, okay?"
Demona gathered the remains of her ruined suit and dropped it in her garbage pail as the phone rang. She let out a snarl and grabbed the phone.
"What?" she snarled, fully intent on taking out her rage and frustration on the caller.
"Mother?" came Angela's voice. "Xanatos told me about what happened. Are you alright?"
"I'm fine, Angela," Demona replied, barely holding back a snarl. "Please, call back later."
Demona slammed the phone back on its receiver before Angela could answer. She walked up to her large dresser mirror and examined herself. She was filthy as well as exhausted. A long bath was what she needed, to clear her head and decide on her next course of action.
She pulled open a drawer and laid her halter and loincloth out on the bed before entering her bathroom.
* * * * *
"How is she?" Xanatos asked as Angela put down the phone in his office. Broadway stood next to his mate, looking at her face. For some reason, Broadway's mind went to the fight they had started some weeks ago. He remembered how she returned home not speak of it. The fight, for all intents and purposes, had gone unspoken of.
"She said she was fine, but..." Angela trailed off.
"But what?" Broadway asked.
"She didn't sound it," she turned to her love.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" Xanatos asked.
Angela looked at the human and smiled. "No. But thank you. I think I'm going to go over there myself."
"Do you want me to come?" Broadway asked.
"I don't think so," she said, taking his hand in hers. "I think this is something I need to do by myself."
Broadway nodded, and the two gargoyles left the office. Xanatos returned to his paperwork, truly wishing that there was something he could do to help.
* * * * *
"So just a week left?" Brooklyn asked as he, Goliath, and Hudson entered the interior of the castle.
"Indeed," Goliath responded. "Are you sure you can handle things here while we are gone?" he asked. He, Hudson, and Lexington would be leaving for Japan in one week, for the first Gathering of Clans from around the world. Xanatos had arranged their transportation, and Goliath was leaving Brooklyn in charge during his absence.
"I survived on my own for a long time, Goliath. I think I can hold onto things for a week," Brooklyn said, trying to make a joke out of it.
Goliath simply grunted.
"He'll do fine, lad," Hudson spoke up.
"I know," Goliath said, turning to Brooklyn. "I do not doubt your abilities as a leader, Brooklyn. It is just that..." the leader trailed off.
"It's okay," Brooklyn assured him. "I understand. You're anxious. I would be too."
The three males stopped as they met Angela in the hall. She looked flustered, and Goliath put his hands on her shoulders. "What is wrong, my daughter?"
"Nothing," Angela said quickly. "It's just... mother."
"What's wrong with her?" Brooklyn asked.
"She was attacked today. Twice," Angela told them. "One time they tried to push her car off the road, and later they tried shooting at her. She's not hurt, but..."
"You're worried for her," Goliath finished her sentence.
Angela nodded. "So I thought I'd go over there and check on her. Just to see if I can do anything."
"You want some company? I might be able to help," Brooklyn offered. Angela looked at him with surprise. He was the last person she would ever expect to offer help to Demona, but she was glad he cared all the same.
"No. I should go over there alone. If that's alright with you?" she asked Goliath.
Her father nodded. "Of course. Tell her-" Goliath hesitated. "Tell her that the clan will offer their help if it is needed."
Angela gave her father a quick hug, waved goodbye to Brooklyn and Hudson, and was soon on her way to Destine Manor.
* * * * *
Angela slowly opened the patio doors and stepped into the bedroom. She sniffed the air, smelling an aroma that she could not quite identify.
"Mother?" the young Gargoyle called out softly. "Mother?"
Angela hear the sound of water as Demona emerged from the spacious bathroom, wrapping a towel around her body and cloaking her wings over her shoulders, her hair was wet and hung straight down her back. The look in her eyes was one of annoyance.
"I told you I was fine," Demona said, all but snarling.
"I'm sorry Mother," Angela said. "I was just concerned, I wanted to make sure you were alright."
The azure gargoyle sat down on the side of her bed. "Thank you, but I've been through worse situations than this."
"Do you need any help?" asked Angela. "I'm sure the rest of the clan would be more than willing to- "
"No," Demona replied, cutting her off. "I am perfectly capable of handling this situation on my own. Mere humans, Angela, are harassing me. I doubt there would be anything you or Goliath could do in this matter. This situation should be easy to dispatch."
"This is my problem Angela." Demona said. "I will deal with it myself."
It's futile to try and change her mind, Angela realized. "Alright, but I'm still worried. And I'm here for you if you need anything."
"I thank you for that," Demona said as she embraced her daughter. "Now I suppose you should be heading back to the castle. I want to finish my bath, and I'm sure you have patrols to take care of."
"Actually," Angela started to correct her, but stopped herself. "Okay," she replied reluctantly as she walked out onto the balcony. "I'll speak with you tomorrow then?" she asked.
Demona closed the balcony doors without answering as Angela took to the air, and strode back to her bath.
* * * * *
The next morning, Dominique Destine mentally counted all the people at the table. Humans, all of them. Some of them had their uses, but they were all easily dispensable. Once she was sure the entire Board of Directors was gathered, she rose from her chair to address them.
"After many hours of consideration," she started, taking in a deep breath. "And with the insistence of Nightstone Security, it is with deepest regret that I take a temporary leave of absence."
"Are you sure that is a good idea Ms. Destine?" asked one of the Board members. "We are doing very well right now, your leave may not go well with the stock holders."
"As it appears right now, I am the target, not Nightstone," Dominique replied. "I have my suspicions as to who could be behind this. But it will be safer for Nightstone if I am away. But I will be back sooner than you think. As of now, I am naming the president of Nightstone's public relations department, Anthony Fergus, to be the Acting C.E.O. of Nightstone Unlimited. He has managed our plants in Scotland well enough to earn his recent promotion, I trust that he is competent enough to run the corporation for a little while."
"But, Ms. Destine- " someone argued.
"This meeting is dismissed," Dominique cut them off, quickly leaving the room.
Anthony Fergus rose from his chair and followed Dominique into the hall. "I am honored Ms. Destine," he said. "But, why me?"
"I told you and the rest of the Board just a moment ago, Fergus. I trust your competence." She caught the little bald man with an icy stare. "Just don't do anything to violate that trust."
"Of course Ms. Destine, you will have no regrets."
Dominique held him in her icy stare for another moment before turning and leaving Fergus alone in the hall. He waited a few moments until he was sure that he was completely alone before he pulled his cellular telephone from his jacket pocket.
"It's Fergus," he said. "It went as you predicted it would. By tonight it will be safe for you to come to the building."
* * * * *
By late afternoon, Dominique laid her head on the back of her chair while the cab took her home. Her limousine and driver were still not available, but she could bear with the taxis for a few more days. She opened her eyes, seeing unfamiliar terrain out of her window.
"Excuse me?" she said to the cabbie. He didn't turn around. "Excuse me? Where are we going?" she asked.
The driver remained silent. Dominique looked at her watch, and realized that she must have dozed off in the back seat. The sun would set in five, maybe ten minutes at the most. "Stop the car!" she said harshly.
They kept moving.
Dominique reached for the door, but of course it was locked. "Oh, please," she said to herself, trying to unlock the door. It seemed to be welded shut.
Then she felt the sensation she felt every night at sunset. The tingle in the middle of her shoulder blades as her wings popped out of her back. She screamed in pain, something she only did when the transformation caught her off guard. The driver looked behind him in surprise as Demona smashed through the Plexiglas barrier between the front of the back of the car. The cab swerved off the side of the road, into a ditch.
Demona realized that they must have been driving for at least a few hours to be in such a rural area. She got out of the car, pulling the driver from the front seat. "Where are we now, and where were we going?" she asked, somewhat calmly, her eyes growing crimson.
"I, I..." the driver stuttered.
Demona pulled her him, holding the man over her head. "Whom are you working for?" she asked.
"Big guy," the cabbie got out between fearful breaths. "Dark skin, white hair. Like you."
Demona's eyes went back to her normal color. She lowered the man for a second, the events of the past few days clicking in her mind. This was exactly his style: make her suffer, hand over her company, drive her into confusion.
He eyes lit up again as she became enraged. Demona bared her teeth to the human, throwing him against a nearby tree. "Run, before I rip out something you need with my talons." She glanced meaningfully downward.
The man blanched, tried to cover himself, then did as he was told. Sneering, Demona climbed another tree and took off into the night, back towards the city.
* * * * *
They were inside of her office. She could see them even from this distance, going through her things, trying to find whatever it is they wanted. What did Thailog want with her business? This was nothing strategic, she knew. This was good, old-fashioned revenge.
"Nice view," she heard a voice say. She turned, seeing Brooklyn standing behind her. His armor did not seem to reflect some of the unnatural light in the city, but Demona motioned for him to get down all the same.
"They might have snipers out," she said.
"What are you doing out here, Demona?" Brooklyn asked her.
She was still looking at her building. "Keeping an eye on my things. He duped me, Brooklyn. Now I have to fight back."
"I'm sure you do," he answered. "Listen to me. Demona, look at me!" he said sternly.
"What!?" she turned to him, her eyes glowing.
"The rest of the clan will be here any minute now. Listen to them, Demona. Don't go through this alone, you can't afford to."
"I can do this on my own," she said simply.
"No, you can't. Do you remember what I told you?" he asked.
"That you'd be here for me." She turned her attention back to the building.
Brooklyn nodded. "Remember that." He looked up, as if he heard something above them. "They'll be here in a minute."
"Why are they coming here?" she turned to ask, but Brooklyn was gone. Demona looked up at the sound of wings in the air. Goliath, Angela, Lexington, Broadway, and the jade female Angela had called Sata landed on the building with her.
"As I said, I can handle this myself," she told the clan.
"Mother," Angela started. "We want to help."
Demona shook her head. "Why?" she asked.
"Because you are clan," Goliath said. "You are family. We fight for the clan as we would fight for ourselves. We will assist you in this matter."
Demona sighed. "Fine," she said. "Do you know who we're going up against, Goliath? Thailog is in that building, going through my things, taking over my life. Do you still want to help me?"
"Let's go," Goliath said. The males and Angela in the groups left, leaving Demona and Sata alone on the roof.
"Why did you come?" Demona asked her as they took off, following the others.
"We are clan, Demona-san. While you may not know me, I know you. My mate has spoken to you, I believe," she said.
"Yes, he has," she admitted. "Will you be here for me, as well?"
"I will try," Sata said, flapping her wings to gain speed, joining the others.
Goliath pulled back some, coming even with Demona. "Who were you talking to before we came?"
Demona looked at him, nodding. Brooklyn was not as quick as he thought. "It was Brooklyn. He came to give me a warning," she said simply.
Goliath simply nodded in acknowledgement. They flew the rest of the way in silence.
* * * * *
"The old place has hardly changed," Thailog chuckled.
"Are you sure about this, sir?" Fergus asked. "Ms. Destine will be furious when she finds out about this."
"You let me worry about her," Thailog said. "Besides, at this point she is the least of your worries. I have enough information about your various activities last year to make you a marked man. Never forget that Anthony," the ebon gargoyle said as he pointed his silver laser cannon at the bald man.
They entered the CEO's office and Thailog made his way behind the spacious desk. He rummaged through it for a moment before finding the button he was looking for. He pressed it, and a section of the wall opened up to reveal Demona's secret chamber.
The two of them entered the dark room and Thailog placed his gun on aside on a table, and looked towards the window leaning on his cane. "You are not needed here Fergus," he said. "Go now, I will send for you later."
Thailog mentally counted down, and as soon as he hit zero, the large window shattered, and in the midst of the total devastated glass, a large part of the Manhattan Clan stood, eyes glowing, growls emanating from them, and ready for battle.
* * * * *
"Listen to me, Thailog," Goliath roared into the darkness. "This building does not belong to you. Leave now!"
"But why would I want to leave my property," a deep voice asked from the shadows. The overhead fluorescent lights abruptly came on, and the Manhattan Clan saw Thailog standing before them, leaning on his cane, but still managing to appear powerful and in control.
"Thailog," Goliath said in a mock welcome.
"Hello, Goliath," Thailog replied. "You're looking well."
"I am not surprised to see you here," Demona stated. "This whole scheme has your stench all over it. You should train your lackeys not to reveal such information."
"I always planned for you to find out sooner or later. It's nice to see you too, my love," Thailog chucked. "I suppose now you're going to take revenge on me. Go ahead, make it as painful as you can," the ebon gargoyle invited.
"I'm looking forward to it," Demona said as she advanced upon him.
"No," Goliath said as he grabbed Demona by the arm and pulled her back.
"You let go of me you fool!" Demona yelled, her eyes glowing crimson.
Goliath ignored her and turned his attention back to Thailog. "I will give you this one chance," he said. "Leave now, or be removed."
Thailog merely laughed. "If I were you, I'd think long and hard before you laid a talon on me." Thailog turned to the large monitors and activated one of them. On the monitor appeared the image of the Ultra Pack commander, Lobo.
"Is the Ultra Pack in place?" Thailog asked the cyborg.
"Affirmative, sir," Lobo replied. "We are ready to move on your signal."
"Good," Thailog replied. "But first, have Coyote show me the target."
The image on the monitor changed from Lobo to the Queens home of Peter and Diane Maza. Thailog turned back to the Manhattan Clan and merely chuckled.
Goliath growled and clenched his fist in fury. He turned to the rest of the clan. "We have no choice, stand down."
"You're right Goliath," Broadway reluctantly agreed. "No choice."
"It's alright, Mother," Angela whispered quietly. "We'll find another way."
Demona ignored her daughter and stormed closer to Thailog. "Goliath and his clan may care about these pathetic humans, but I do not," she stated. "You will pay for your stupidity."
"Before you exact your revenge, there's something you should see." Thailog activated the second monitor, and a view of the apartment of Andrea Calhoun appeared. The young artist could be seen through a window, working on yet another of her pieces.
"I have several snipers aiming into that apartment as we speak." Thailog said. "I even have a few agents living in the building, who shall make things somewhat difficult for the girl if I don't page them once every twenty-four hours."
"You dare!" Demona growled.
"I'm surprised at you Demona," Thailog chuckled. "Befriending a human. That's not at all like you. The gargoyle I met back in Paris allowed no room for sentimental weaknesses. But we're different people now it seems. I'm physically different," he said, glancing over his scarred form, "you however are now the champion of human kind… how ironic."
"Humanity can burn for all I care," Demona retorted. "The girl is none of your concern."
"Yes, yes." Thailog chuckled again. "But now I'll get to the point. I am offering you a chance. Leave now, and the Mazas and the artist will not be hurt. Stay away from my affairs, and the affairs of my company, and they will remain healthy. The choice is yours."
"Your company?" Demona asked.
Thailog smiled. "You took a leave of absence, my dear. Remember?"
Demona growled at the scarred clone.
"He's got us Goliath," Lexington said.
"You're right," Goliath reluctantly agreed. "We will leave." He turned toward Thailog again. "But this is far from over."
Demona gave Thailog one final growl and followed the Manhattan Clan out through the window.
"Far from over indeed," Thailog chuckled after they left. "But for now, Nightstone Unlimited is mine again. Time to begin phase two."
* * * * *
"I can't believe we let Thailog blackmail us like that!" Lexington yelled as the clan soared over the city.
"We made the right decision," Broadway said.
"There was nothing we could have done," Goliath added.
At that last statement, Demona let out a shriek of fury. "No, it was the wrong decision, and yes there is plenty we could have done," she screamed as she broke off from the clan.
"Mother, wait!" Angela cried out, and followed after her.
Broadway was about to follow his mate but was stopped as Goliath laid a hand on his shoulder. "Let Angela deal with this," the lavender gargoyle said. "She's made a lot of progress with Demona over the last three years, they'll be better off alone. We'll deal with this together when the proper time comes."
* * * * *
Demona flung open the double doors on the balcony and cried out in rage. She could not believe that she had allowed herself to be manipulated like that by Thailog. She grabbed a Ming vase that was on top of her dresser and threw it against the wall where it shattered into dozens of pieces. But that was not the end; the lamp soon joined the vase.
Angela crept into the room and watched, horrified, as Demona threw a small stone gargoyle into the wall, where it also shattered on contact. As Demona bent over to pick up a chair, her tiara came loose and fell to the floor, rather than re-donning it, she kicked it and sent it flying through the air where it crashed into and shattered a rather old and expensive mirror.
Angela reached out for her mother's shoulder. "Mother, calm down. We'll find another way," she said as her hand came to rest on Demona's shoulder. But in a blind rage, Demona backhanded Angela with her fist and sent her tumbling headfirst into the wall.
Demona's eyes ceased glowing, and she saw Angela lying on the floor against the wall, her hand clutching the area around her eye. Angela's hand left the eye for a moment and Demona saw the beginnings of a swollen black and blue mark. "Angela…" Demona said as tears began to pour from her own eyes, "I'm sorry."
Angela slowly rose to her feet. "Mother..." she started, but was cut off by Demona.
"I'm sorry," Demona said, breaking into tears.
The sun rose before Angela could say anymore, and a stone statue stood in Angela's place.
Demona did not even notice the agony that always came with her transformation. She was too upset to notice or care. But when it was finished, she let out a final "I'm sorry," and continued sobbing.
* * * * *
"She's not coming back tonight," Broadway stated as he waited for the sun to come up. Lexington nodded in agreement.
Elsewhere, Goliath found Brooklyn in one of the gardens inside the Eerie. He approached him quickly, the sound of his footsteps echoing in the garden.
"What were you doing with her?" he asked, Brooklyn's back to him.
"Giving her a warning," Brooklyn said without turning around.
"You will give her a warning, but not us?" he demanded to know.
"It's crucial for her, Goliath. I had to."
Goliath took a deep breath. "I understand your reasoning. But do not let yourself become a player in her war. You do not know the immediate outcome, simply the overall conclusion, correct?"
"Something like that," Brooklyn said.
Goliath nodded. "I understand the rules of time. Otherwise, I would not let you do this."
The leader turned and walked out of the garden. Brooklyn closed his eyes. "Thank you, Goliath," he said to no one as the sun rose to turn him to stone.
* * * * *
The next morning, after she had regained her composure, Dominique wrote a quick letter to her daughter, placing it on her bed.
I cannot begin to tell you how sorry I am for the events of last night. My only wish is that you will someday be able to forgive me. I'm going away for some time, and I do not know when I will return. I only ask you to keep me in your thoughts, as the road I am now traveling is unstable.
Please thank Brooklyn for me. He will know what you speak of. But do not press him to explain, as a favor to me.
I will always love you.
The words of the first letter were still fresh on her mind as she stepped out of the cab and stood in front of the door to Andrea's studio, and glanced down in the letter in her hand. She was wearing a dark overcoat, a pair of sunglasses, and a scarf over her hair.
She re-read the letter in her hand:
I am writing to say good-bye. I cannot say where I am going, but you'll be in danger for as long as you are associated with me. I cannot give you the details, but I want you to know that your friendship meant a lot to me, and I will forever cherish it.
She looked stared down at the paper and placed it in its envelope. She was about to place it in the mail slot, but remembered how Andrea became a weakness. There was no further room for weakness. She turned and walked back to her cab, dropping the letter into a garbage pail, before sitting herself down.
"Where to ma'am?" the driver asked.
Dominique stared out the window; she needed to find an ally now, a means to crush Thailog. Someone he would not expect. She knew where she had to go.
"Take me to JFK Airport."