The Council, Part 1
Story Concept by The TGS Staff.
Written by Bobby Bevard.
Artwork by Robby Bevard.
Goliath looked at the stars, a somewhat wistful smile on his face. "And so I prepare to leave the clan behind once again. The circles that life sometimes takes one through can be most... interesting at times."
Hudson smirked at the thought. "Aye, lad. But this time you aren't leaving without warning, and you won't be gone for months without a word."
The large lavender gargoyle smiled at his old mentor. "Indeed. I just wish the others were coming with us."
The older gargoyle shook his head and then glanced at the aircraft fifty feet away and sighed a bit. "The arrangement is two members per clan for this first council, unless the clans feel it is needed to bring more. You're our clan's leader, Lexington is the one with the best understanding of the technological side of the modern world, and ye all claim that I am the oldest and most experienced. We've already argued this point at length. Besides, someone needs to watch over things in your absence, and I for one am pleased that it will be Brooklyn and his family watching over things rather than Bronx."
Goliath nodded, but did not smile. "I know, old friend. It is just... I am uncertain about my ability to handle this task. Leading our clan is one thing. But leading and negotiating at a council of gargoyles from around the world... I cannot help but think Brooklyn with his timedancing experience might be..."
The bearded gargoyle scowled. "Now is not the time to be uncertain about your abilities, lad. You have done a fine job of leading this clan, you've met most of the clans that will be at the council during YOUR world tour, were important in defeating Madoc Morfryn and the other Unseelie. And besides that, Xanatos is going himself to protect the delegates and directly handle security."
"No doubt to make contacts and deals more than to genuinely supervise the security," the lavender gargoyle grumbled.
"He is a businessman, Goliath. And he is paying for the entire affair out of his own pocket. If he tries to get something out of the council, that is his right. Dinna hold it against him. Yuir spending more time worrying than acting, and that is just a waste of energy."
The leader of the Manhattan clan began to voice another worry, then paused. There was nothing more to be said. Hudson was right. The Gargoyle World Council had been set up some time ago by Xanatos, and it was important that all the gargoyle clans meet. The choices for who would go had been obvious almost from the start.
After what was just a moment of silence, the one-eyed gargoyle spoke up again. "So, have you said yuir goodbyes to Elisa yet? You won't see each other for a week, and that is an eternity to newlyweds." Goliath shot a questioning look at his mentor. "Excuse me, engaged couples."
A look of uneasiness and embarrassment crossed Goliath's face upon hearing Hudson's remark. He noted, "We said our farewells last night. I did not want to..."
"Ah," the bearded one interrupted. Another moment of silence. He was relieved when he saw Talon and Delilah gliding in towards the airfield. The relief vanished when he noticed the look on the Mutate-panther's face.
The older gargoyle narrowed his brow and subtly stepped himself away from the two to just observe. Whatever the situation was, it was not good news. The brow above his good eye arced a bit once he discovered what the problem was.
"You are not going?" Goliath questioned.
Elisa Maza's brother looked at the ground and sighed, and Delilah looked on. "I just don't think that the Labyrinth clan is ready to represent itself. The Clones are all offshoots of your clan, for one thing."
Goliath nodded in agreement and waited for Talon to continue. "And I know I agreed to go as a delegate way back, but... I'm not a gargoyle, but a mutated human, and I don't think I'd be too welcome at the Council. Not the first one, anyway."
Delilah was in shock. This was the first she had heard about Talon's decision. The white-haired girl grabbed the Mutate by his shoulder and yelled right into his face a shout of anger. "But you have to go! The outcome of this council affects all gargoyles! The Labyrinth clan counts as a clan, and you are close enough to a gargoyle to be accepted! And besides that, I thought I was going too!"
The Mutate looked away at that remark. "I know you feel that way, but.... Our presence there could bring up the wrong sort of controversy, and even make things worse for our 'clan'. I mean, clones, mutates, and a hybrid... It might seem like we're there just to add extra votes to Goliath's side. For the first council at least, I think we need to stay out."
Goliath sighed heavily and frowned. "If that is your decision I will not try to change your mind. I just wish you had decided this earlier than half an hour before we were to leave."
Talon looked up at the larger gargoyle, apology in his eyes. "I'm sorry, Goliath, I've been debating this for weeks, and I just think it's for the best that..."
A wave of Goliath's outspread talons cut the Mutate short. "You have already explained your reasons. I understand them. And they are good reasons. We will make do."
Talon nodded and began to walk away from the field, frowning and still weighing his options until the last minute. Delilah did not follow him immediately, but stood, frowning and pensive, looking after her leader.
A few minutes later the man in charge of the entire affair arrived. David Xanatos, dressed in a black overcoat and grey shirt looked almost menacing, but his smile belied something a bit trickier, a bit sneakier. With a slight shift of that smile, Xanatos's sinister and calculating presence turned to something friendly as he asked," So, where is Lexington?"
Hudson, after his momentary silence, replied, "He is already aboard the airplane."
"Ah," Xanatos noted. "Lexington is that eager to get to the council and meet some females his age ,is he?"
Goliath blinked. Hudson smiled.
Twenty minutes later, Xanatos' private aircraft was off on its way to Japan. Its occupants included one multi-billionaire, three gargoyles, a Coyote-robot variant working as the pilot, and one stowaway.
* * * * *
The following night (after a long plane ride)
Lexington stared out the window of the airplane as it began its descent and sighed. Even with stone sleep taking out a large chunk of the ride for him, it had been rather dull. Goliath and Hudson had been discussing things that really did not concern him, and watching the Coyote robot pilot the aircraft had gotten dull after a very short amount of time. He had brought along a laptop, but wasn't able to get a decent uplink due to atmospheric interference. After a little while, he had just shut the machine down and sat back to do some thinking.
Liz had left for college in London a week earlier, and while he had not admitted it to her, she was really the only friend outside of the clan that he had in Manhattan. People whom he knew from the Internet just weren't the same thing as a genuine friend he could talk to and share the same space with or go on a walk with.
Despite the occasional teasing he'd gotten from other members of the clan or friends of the clan, he and Liz were not an item, and there had never been any intention of becoming one as far as he knew. She was a friend, not a date. Still, it stung just a little that he might never see her again.
"Maybe that's why I agreed to come to this stupid council," the small green gargoyle muttered to himself. "So I can get my mind on something else. At least I'll get to see Cole again..."
He stared out the window and saw the ground was getting closer, and then he sighed again. Not long now until he'd be forced to start being polite to all the other delegates and being on his best behavior for the benefit of all gargoylekind or something like that that.
The plane finally skidded to a halt on the runway, and a few moments later, Xanatos came out of the front of the plane, smiling and looking completely rested. Goliath refrained from comment, but he sometimes wondered just how the man managed everything without collapsing once in a while. The billionaire looked at the Manhattan clan, and then beckoned to the door of the plane. "Before we embark into the world of negotiations, you should know that the path of the diplomat is not an easy one. Good luck."
The older gargoyles nodded, knowing full well what was ahead. Lexington nodded just to agree. David Xanatos was the first down the plane's staircase, followed by Lex who was just eager to get off. All three gargoyles followed the billionaire as he led the way to where the meeting place would be. After a short bit of travel, Goliath recognized the area, having spent a bit of time at "Gargoyle World" during his Avalon World Tour.
Meanwhile, the stowaway began to struggle to find a way out of the plane from the baggage compartment. Getting in had been easy enough; she had followed the modest bit of equipment Xanatos packed into the baggage compartment and snuck in while no one was looking, but getting out was a bit trickier...
* * * * *
"Hey, it's you! I don't believe it!" The lanky, brown-haired security guard exclaimed, a look of excitement in his eyes.
The leader of the Manhattan clan stared at Vinnie Gregarino, not quite recognizing the man. Hudson, standing a few feet further away stroked his beard, trying to place the man's face. Xanatos and Lex just watched.
"Do you two... know each other?" the billionaire asked, puzzled.
Vinnie had left the security booth to examine the large lavender gargoyle more closely before anyone could object. He smiled proudly and explained," Sure we do! He nearly hit me on Fortress One and got me fired from my old security job and I shot him with a banana cream pie once and then I saved his life from the Quarrymen! And the green one over there," the man grinned without pausing for breath, "he blew up my bike! Would ya believe it?"
Silence spread across the travelers from New York. After a moment of Vinnie just staring at them happily, Goliath managed to let out an acknowledgement. "Oh yes, of course. I remember now..."
The energetic human then turned to Xanatos and held out his hand for a shake. The rich man took the offered hand a bit nervously, only to be furiously shaken. "And thank you, Mr. X, for giving me another chance with this job here! I can't thank you enough! I know, I can show you where the other gargoyles are!"
Lexington chuckled as he watched the scene; he was sure it was the first time he'd ever seen Xanatos look nervous.
Hudson covered for the group. "That is quite all right, lad, you merely need to point the way. I am quite sure we can find it without troubling ye any further. Besides, your job is to guard the castle's front, is it not?"
"Um, yeah, I guess..." The man started, his enthusiasm turned to confusion. He then pointed past the gate. "It's down that way, two lefts, and then a right. A couple of the other clans are already there. The Chinese clan showed up twenty minutes ago, you know what I mean?"
The quartet of travelers nodded, smiled, and quickly moved on. They heard Vinnie whistling some sort of tune that seemed vaguely familiar, and once the human was back in the security booth and they were out of earshot, Goliath whispered what they were all wondering.
"Why is he at the front gate serving as security?"
Xanatos just kept walking, and replied smoothly. "The Ishimuran clan said they had a few trusted human friends that would serve as security and a way to ward off curious travelers that should not be here. I assume they chose him based on his qualifications and... enthusiasm about the job." A moment of quiet. "Is everything he said about your past history true?"
Goliath did not answer immediately, but eyed Lexington, who squirmed a bit under that gaze. "I honestly do not know."
The eldest and youngest gargoyles present exchanged glances and a nervous chuckle. Lexington noted, "I don't know, he seemed friendly enough for the job to greet other gargoyles..."
The group walked on in silence, and took two lefts, then Xanatos paused.
"From here on, you gargoyles are on your own. It is probably not the best thing for you to be associated much with me until we've gauged the audience's general reaction to humans."
Goliath's eyes widened. He had been counting on Xanatos' diplomatic abilities to help him out. The billionaire smiled in a way a man only could if he was absolutely sure he was right.
"Don't give me that look, Goliath, you know I'm right. I'll be in another room monitoring everything, and I can come in if needed. But for now, this is your party."
The leader of the Manhattan gargoyles nodded, and watched as Xanatos turned around and took a different hallway. With no options left, the lavender gargoyle took a deep breath, and proceeded with his walking. He took a right and found that his group was now in a huge room with a large gargoyle statue. Immediately, a plethora of sixteen gargoyles were visible, and mingling. Goliath scanned the group and recognized several of the attendees, and was able to at least place the rest by physical features and dress. The Avalon, Ishimuran, Chinese, London, Caledonian and Guatemalan clans were all represented.
Hudson turned to Goliath and smiled in a knowing way. "Quite a good turn out, considering that we were scheduled to be the first ones here, don't you think, Goliath?"
The leader smiled. "Indeed. It is a good sign that they are so eager to participate. And the rest of the clans should arrive before the night is through."
Lexington frowned; he did not share the optimism. "The clans from Antarctica and Persia are still not here. While I'm pretty sure the Antarctic clan will come, I don't know about the Persians. And the New Olympus clan refused to come outright. All the groups present except for the Chinese clan you already knew fairly well before this summit was put together. I wouldn't get your hopes up much higher if I were you."
Almost as if to contradict the small gargoyle, a loudspeaker came on at that exact moment and began a report, in Xanatos' voice. "The plane transporting the Antarctic clan is scheduled to arrive in thirty minutes. The plane transporting the Persian clan is experiencing unforseen delays and will not be arriving tonight."
Lex chuckled a little at that. "Xanatos may not be letting the clans see him yet, but he's still letting his presence be known."
The leader of the Manhattan clan missed Lexington's comment; he was too busy noting the good news that the other clans would be arriving. "So, two of the clans will not be present tonight. Pity. However, standing about will do us little good. I suggest we go meet the clans that are present."
Hudson nodded in agreement, but before they could get anywhere, the leader of the Ishimura clan, Kai, spotted them. "Goliath!" he called out from across the room. He quickly walked towards the leader of the Manhattan clan, and clasped on to his wrist in a show of respect. "It has been too long!"
"Indeed," Goliath nodded and smiled.
Kai glanced at Hudson and held out his arm, which Hudson immediately clasped onto in a show of friendship. "A pleasure t' meet you at last, lad," Hudson smiled.
The Ishimuran smiled back. "A pleasure to have you." As their arm grab relaxed, Kai pointed to the other two delegates from his clan. "This is my second, Riko, and one of my most trusted advisors, Washi."
As Kai introduced his group to Hudson, the one-eyed gargoyle spotted off in the corner another gargoyle that might be worth his time to meet. "Excuse me, but who is that over there, overlooking the rest of us?"
The leader of the London clan, Michael, smiled politely as best as his eagle beak would allow. "She is Kylie, from the Caledonian clan. They arrived in the same plane as us. They are also from Scotland, like yourselves."
"Aye, lad," Hudson smiled. "I should have known that. Perhaps I should go talk to the other surviving Scottish clan."
Michael nodded at that. " I will introduce the two of you if you wish."
Hudson gave him a knowing glare. "Do not trouble yourself, I will introduce myself and let you old friends here catch up some." Still smiling politely, the oldest gargoyle in the Manhattan clan made his way to the oldest gargoyle in the room.
* * * * *
Lexington was the last to enter, and he immediately gave his surroundings a look over. He blinked once and then rubbed his eyes. He did not notice the distinct clans or comprehend the significance of the meeting. All he noticed was that among the gathering of gargoyles, the majority of them were female. And several of them were about his age. A small lopsided grin began to spread across the web-winged gargoyle's face as he noted the situation. "Well, this is weird. Kinda fun, but weird."
He glanced at Goliath and saw him reuniting with the Ishimura clan, and noted that the Avalon and London delegates naturally gravitated toward Goliath. Gabriel and Ophelia from Avalon, he knew well enough. He recognized Michael from the London clan, and his second in command, Boz. The large snakelike gargoyle was Zafiro from Guatemala; he was the only member of that clan present, and he was also busy catching up with the lavender gargoyle for the moment.
A glance to another part of the room and he could see that Hudson was already making his way toward the clan that was currently standing in a corner just watching. Kylie, from the Caledonian clan, and her personal physician, Tiberius, if he remembered correctly. Another female was with them, young and quite pretty. Lex smiled, and then froze in puzzlement. " What was her name again?"
He looked at her for a moment. She was a bit on the large side, but that was hardly surprising to Lexington. Despite growing a few inches in the last few years, he was still small compared to most gargoyles, likely to never to get any bigger thanks to his internal cybernetics. It was also quite likely every female in attendance would be taller than him, but that was something he would just have to deal with. Still... He examined the dark brown female. Her hair fanned out in a mass of brown curls surrounding her face. She wore fur-trimmed leathers, possessed an air of utter confidence and a bit of wariness, and all in all, she looked like quite an interesting female.
"I should know her name," Lex thought to himself. " I looked over all the information we had on everyone coming, and I probably actually met her when I was helping Brooklyn and Broadway give out invites to this thing."
The small gargoyle paused and looked at the girl a moment longer, but could not place her name. "I'll introduce myself later, after the council has started and I've caught her name. Better than introducing myself now and making a fool of myself for not knowing who she is."
A look in the other corner of the room allowed him to see the Chinese clan. "Okay, their leader is Mei Hsing... And that must be her second in command, Chiang Yun." Lexington studied them for a moment; they seemed to be observing everything around them with a bit of distaste.
"The security guard said they arrived twenty minutes ago, but they're still standing over by themselves. Maybe I should go talk to them." That thought on his mind, the shortest gargoyle in the gathering made his way to the Chinese clan. They saw him coming about halfway there, and made no move to intercept him.
"Hi!" Lex offered brightly, extending his hand towards the delegates. Mei Hsing, an older, large and ominous dark-haired female with pink coloration stared at him for a moment with a withering look. She merely nodded at the green gargoyle's greeting. Lex held his hand out for a shake a moment longer and tried to start a conversation. After a moment, he pulled his hand back.
"Okaaaay... I'm Lexington, from the Manhattan clan. You're Mei Hsing, right?"
The female nodded, but remained silent. With her horns going almost sideways and her caped wings making her shoulders look broader than they actually were, she seemed nearly Goliath's size, and dwarfed the green gargoyle.
"Um..." Lexington started. "So, what do you think of the turnout here?"
The large pink female glared at him and spoke in precise English with a clipped accent. "It is acceptable for our purposes."
"Yeah..." Lexington smiled weakly, and glanced toward the other delegate, Chiang Yun for a bit of help. She was an all white female smaller and more slender than her leader, clad in a form-fitting black outfit. If she had been a few years younger, her resemblance to Ariana would have been almost uncanny. The girl gave Lexington a look that clearly said, Do not bother my clan leader.
Message received, web-winged Manhattan gargoyle awkwardly backed away.
With his first attempt at diplomacy failed, Lex drifted back to Goliath's side.. The council was full of females, and there were probably another few in the clans still to arrive. "I'll take the time to meet them all later." Trying to convince himself that ignoring the girls was the proper thing to do, and knowing almost for certain that ignoring the Chinese delegates was a good idea, Lexington donned a stern look on his face and moved right to Goliath's side. Right now, I should be paying attention to what Goliath is saying; it might be important later.
He began to focus his attention on the grouping just as they began to talk about how a Xanatos plane had picked them all up and delivered them without trouble, while the Avalon clan neglected to mention that they had used a magic mirror to arrive. Lexington briefly glanced towards the Caledonian clan, and noted again that the brown female there his age was quite attractive. He made a second note to himself to talk to her once he found out her name.
Standing by Hudson and the other two Caledonian representatives, Kirstie noticed that the newcomer from Manhattan clan had stared at her for a moment before trying, meekly, to talk to the Chinese clan. It had not passed Kirstie's ever mate-hunting instincts that he had looked at her again afterwards. She did not turn her head to follow his movements; all she needed was to watch him from the corner of her eye. Kirstie smiled to herself. "He's taken some int'rest in me, has he? Well then, Mr. Manhattan clan, I suppose I have tae take the time tae meet ye."
* * * * *
The clans were all introduced to one another in a very short amount of time; it helped that they were all familiar with at least one member of the Manhattan clan, though the Chinese clan remained almost disturbing in their silence. Lexington stood by Goliath and stayed quiet, suddenly finding himself too shy to say anything at the moment to any of the girls, while Hudson hit it right off with Kylie.
Before the sixteen gargoyles in the room could all become fully familiar or reacquainted with one another, Xanatos' voice came on the loudspeaker again.
"Antarctic Clan now arriving."
Goliath paused for a moment at that. "Which delegates were supposed to be coming from that clan? Their leader Cole is the only one I know of, but they should be bringing more than that," his booming voice barely managed to whisper to Lexington.
"Their clan was hurt pretty badly by the Unseelie," Lex whispered back in his naturally soft voice. "They'd lost about a third of their clan, including their second in command when Brooklyn, Broadway and I went to invite them. I spent a bit of time with Cole and know him fairly well, but I have no idea who else he would be bringing since their second is gone, and a large part of the clan was off somewhere else when I was there."
"I see," Goliath noted. "Then perhaps you should greet them as they arrive, rather than let the security guard..."
"Vinnie," Lex amended. "But I see your point. Be back in a few minutes."
From the back of the room, Kirstie blinked and whispered to herself. "Where's he off and aboot to? I suppose it must be tae greet the new clan." Then turning, she quickly excused herself away from Kylie, Hudson, and Tiberius, to move to the door and catch him on his way back in. It would be a convenient way to "bump into him" and finally get acquainted with the young male who had looked at her with such interest.
* * * * *
The plane's staircase was already down when Lexington arrived, but the delegates had not yet come out of the plane. The plane itself was one of Xanatos', piloted by a Coyote robot. Lexington waited a moment for the delegates to come out, and immediately recognized the first.
Cole was a fairly tall male, with a sunset red coloration all over, including his hair. Not nearly as bulky as Goliath, he was closer to Brooklyn's size before the beaked gargoyle had started his timedances. His left arm and lower calves were covered in a black material, perhaps seal skin, and a small chunk of his left wing was missing. His loincloth was the same black material as the rest of his outfit, and it showed signs of tearing from a battle. The look on his face showed no signs of having ever experienced a day of worry despite this fact, which was unusual since he had the responsibilities of leading a clan.
"Lex!" the Antarctic clan leader flashed a smile as he trotted down the dozen steps that made the stairway. "It is good to see you again."
"You too, Cole. I wish we'd been able to stay around your clan a little bit longer when we were there."
"Do not fret about it. You offered to stay and help clean up the mess, but there was not much you could have done anyway, and besides, you had other things to do." The red gargoyle paused and called to the plane. "Aurora, are you coming or not?"
Lexington paused as he looked to the airplane door as a female gargoyle began to walk out.
She was sky-blue with white hair, colored much more appropriately for a polar environment than Cole was. Each arm and leg sported a thin, fin-like spike similar to the elbow spikes some gargoyles had. Her outfit was a top with sleeves sewn into the sides, accompanied by a long loincloth. It did not seem like enough to keep warm in Antarctic temperatures, but gargoyle hide handled most of the harsh temperatures there. Like most female gargoyles, she looked very attractive, and Lexington was eager to get to know this female he had somehow overlooked when he first met the Antarctic clan.
"Hi there, " Lex waved to the gargoyle as she walked down, hoping not to experience a repeat of the Chinese Clan.
Aurora descended the first three steps and raised a hand to the air to greet the welcoming committee. However, she was not paying any attention to her feet, and the stairs were not built for gargoyle proportions. Her right foot slipped past the next step in front of her, causing her to lose balance. Her tail shot out and her wings unfurled instinctively in an attempt to keep from tripping and falling, and instead only hit the steps and plane behind her.
The end result was she fell faster and harder than she would have before, and had no chance to catch herself before slamming into the ground at the base of the stairs. With a loud growl she was back up on her feet, eyes blazing red, and screaming at the transport.
"Stupid metal bird!" she yelled at the offending plane. Turning, the angered female glowered at Lexington and screamed some of her frustrations at him. "Which way to the council?!?"
The web-winged gargoyle was at a loss for words and pointed in the general direction, which Aurora began to stomp off to, not waiting for any more specifics. Lex stared horrifiedly at Cole. The leader of the Antarctic clan nodded. "Yes, she IS always like this." He rolled his eyes a bit. "Especially when dealing with all this new technology."
Both males then hurried to catch up with the furious female before she reached the others.
* * * * *
Kirstie tried her best to look like she belonged at the door. No one approached her, which did not surprise her too much. "They're all gathered around the leader of the Manhattan clan. I suppose that's nae a bad thing. I only agreed to come on this stupid trip to watch over Kylie and so I would have time to myself to choose between Cervus, Pip, or Reg, but... the little one might be a good catch for more reasons than one..."
Minutes passed and she began to feel a bit annoyed. "What could be keeping him?" The lithe girl prepared to go back to where she had been. "What am I thinking? Just chasing the first male that looks at me and going about it blindly... That's how I lost Griff to Brianna. Nae, I shouldn't even be thinking about this, there's three perfectly fine males waiting for me at home..."
Just as the mate-seeker was about to leave, she saw the doorknob start to turn. Her eyes widened in anticipation like a child on Christmas morning, and she stepped out of the door's path, ready to try and start a conversation with the web-winged gargoyle.
The door opened, and Kirstie moved right into the path of... Aurora.
The girl from Antarctica bumped into the lass from the Caledonian Forest and barely noticed, her mood was so foul. With no explanations given, the sky blue gargoyle trotted right on by.
"Why, you're rather rude aren't ye..." Kirstie began to curse while staring at Aurora.
The other female gargoyle turned and glared. "Look you... I've spent almost the entire last day and night cramped in a large metal bird, and sleeping did not take care of nearly enough of the time for my interests. Then, when I finally get here, my leader immediately goes off and reunites with his old friend leaving..."
As the two began to argue about nothing except their foul moods, Lexington came back in with Cole. By the time Kirstie noticed her potential love interest was back, he had already returned to his leader's side to introduce the Antarctic clan.
Before Kirstie could do anything to rectify the situation, Goliath made a loud proclamation to the room. "My fellow gargoyles!"
The room listened to the loud and imposing voice.
"I am pleased to see that so many of you could make it here for this conference. I know many of you as friends already, and I hope to get to know the rest of you very well in the next few nights."
The members of the audience nodded, and were keenly alert.
"It is unfortunate that the Persian clan could not be with us tonight; there was some sort of delay with their transport. However, they should be here tomorrow night, and then perhaps we can begin this Gargoyle World Council properly!" The large gargoyle smiled, showing his best diplomacy.
"Dawn shall be coming in a few minutes. I suggest we all find a good spot to roost for the day." General agreement filtered throughout the room, and the assembly went outside to greet the dawn.
* * * * *
Out on the airfield, a female was lost. The airfield was big enough to hold several planes at once, and at the moment it held nearly a dozen. It was an impressive sight, and the gargoyle that had stowed away on the Manhattan clan's plane began to wish she had some sort of idea where she was.
She was angry, confused and upset at the same time. A brief glance at the sky revealed it would be dawn in a few minutes and that was not good. The stowaway began looking for signs of any other gargoyle around, then saw a sign and began walking towards it, hoping for a clue, and also hoping it would not be in some unreadable language. Demona's blood flowed true to her nature as her anger began to mount.
"Where is the stupid gargoyle council?" she seethed, growing in anger.
"I was wondering that myself."
Delilah turned around and found herself face to face with a handsome young male. He was almost exactly her height, and had horns that arced from his brow to the back of his head. His clothing was a simple short-sleeved tunic combined with pants. His wings were a style Delilah had never seen before, and were feathered. "Hi. I'm Icarus," he smiled as he offered his hand in greeting.
"I'm... Delilah," she managed as she took his hand, not his wrist, and shook it.
He looked a bit surprised at the gesture, but hid it well. "Perhaps we could look for the council tomorrow evening? It's starting to get a bit light out..."
The white haired gargoyle that had been cloned from Demona and Elisa nodded. "That sounds like a good idea to me." Without further talk, they both found a roosting spot, and went into their preferred poses to await the dawn which would arrive in just a moment. Delilah noted Icarus' pose was not one to strike fear, but looked more like the pose of a classical statue. One arm clasped against his chest and the other pulled back just a little at the side, tail and wings stretched fully in back, it was a confident and noble pose. Icarus smiled warmly as the wind blew his hair, not seeming to care that a female was studying him intently.
The sun's rays hit and the two turned to stone. As a result, both missed the fact that the wind had blown several strands of Icarus' hair into a fairly stupid-looking batch of spikes, destroying the entire noble effect when the strands turned into stone.
* * * * *
Night came quickly for the sleeping gargoyles. Loud roars echoed through the entire area as shards of stone skin flew apart. Goliath stretched and yawned, clenching his hands and then unclenching them. He was a bit surprised when he noticed a piece of paper was in his hand. For a moment he did not know what to make of it, then decided the best course of action was to examine it.
There was writing on the paper.
"Persian clan has arrived, go greet them. -X" Goliath read to himself, and then smiled. Xanatos really was keeping out of the way for the moment so that Goliath would be the one the clans associated as the leader.
"What does the note say?" Hudson asked, having noticed Goliath was reading.
"Just Xanatos being diplomatic."
* * * * *
The two delegates from the Persian clan managed to get off the plane in a much less eventful manner than Aurora. Once they were on terra firma, Goliath held out his arm in greeting.
The first one was a tall, thin and yellow male who looked to be a good bit older than Goliath. Not as old as Hudson, but only by a generation or two. His cheeks bore grown out mopchops, while his hair was wild. His hair served to make his thin face look a bit fuller than it actually was. But the most noticable aspect about him were his wings. Like Lexington, they webbed down his sides instead of attaching to the back. However, the wings looked more like a bat's than a gliding creature. His tunic wrapped from top to bottom and then around in the back. It was an interesting way to get past the clothing dilema his wings posed.
The male Persian took Goliath's hand and shook it politely. "Greetings, I am Darius." His speech had an interesting Middle Eastern accent. He smiled, while Goliath was a bit thrown off by the handshake intead of the typical warrior handshake at the wrists.
"I am Goliath," he smiled back. "Leader of the Manhattan clan." From beside Darius, the female spoke up.
She was Goliath's age, and about a foot shorter than him. Her grey coloration and black hair gave her a shady look, but her elegant posture and clothing off set it. Around her neck was a green gem, and by her side she had a scabbard with a jeweled knife. All in all, she had a very interesting look to her.
"And I am Tamora. A pleasure to meet you, I'm sure," she said as she reached out her arm to shake Goliath's. Unlike Darius, she gave the warrior's shake. Her accent was similar to Darius', but with a sultry tone to it. "I am sorry to say that our leader could not make it to this gathering; he is quite busy overlooking things at home."
"I understand," Goliath nodded.
"So, where do we go from here?" Darius asked, repeating the sentiments of all the other clans that had come before.
The lavender gargoyle smiled at that bit of familiarity. "This way. The other clans should be assembling in the council chamber now, actually. I will introduce you to everyone when we get there."
* * * * *
Upon getting to the council chamber, Goliath froze. The entire room was large and circular with a round table built to seat a fairly large group. Most of the clans had gone to whatever spot they preferred, but there was something wrong with the Manhattan clan's seating.
Goliath first noticed Icarus and did not recognize him. But before he could start to wonder who the stranger was, he spotted Delilah.
"Excuse me," he apologized politely to the Persians. "There seems to have been a development I was not aware of. Find a seat and I will introduce you to everyone else later. I am sorry about this..." The large gargoyle did his best not to growl or let his eyes glow on his way to the Manhattan portion of the table. Upon reaching them, he whispered as loud and angrily as a whisper allowed.
"Delilah, what are you doing here?!?"
"I'm talking to Icarus," she grinned innocently.
Rather than try and refute that logic, the lavender gargoyle turned towards the young male sitting beside Delilah.
"And you are.. Icarus?"
Icarus waved politely and grinned. "Yes, from the New Olympus clan."
Goliath was now a bit confused, but handled the situation as best he could. "Well, it is a pleasure to have you. We had been informed that your clan was not coming at all."
"Yes, well..." Icarus turned his head away a bit to try and hide the slightly embarrassed look on his face. "They decided to send me at the last minute. I got here just before dawn yesterday. I was a bit lost, but then I ran into your second in command here," he continued to smile as he pointed to Delilah.
The large lavender gargoyle blinked in surprise.
* * * * *
"I believe all of you know why we are here, but some of you may not know the specific details involved," Goliath began, trying to get over the fact that Delilah had actually stowed away on the plane and had come to the council. Her child-like innocence could be trouble. Yet, there was nothing to do about it now with everyone watching, so all he could do was try to make the council go smoothly. After introducing the Persian clan to everyone else and making a note to talk to Delilah later, he had decided it was time to begin the meeting.
"The events of the past few years have served to make the various gargoyle clans aware of each others' existence. We know now that we are not as alone as we had once believed." Goliath paused and looked over his audience. They were all paying attention, a good sign.
"But while we know now that there are more gargoyles around than we had dared hope, that we are not the last of their kind, that does not mean that things are better for them." Some of the delegates nodded in agreement, while some frowned. Icarus did neither; his head was resting in his hand as he just watched.
"Several months ago, every one of our clans came face to face with a great danger when the Unseelie Court launched attacks upon all of us. All of our clans survived, but unfortunately not every gargoyle did." Cole and , who were to Goliath's right and sitting beside Lexington, seemed to be most affected by that note. Of all the clans, their losses had been the worst. Gabriel and Ophelia, who sat beside them felt a little guilty since Avalon had not taken any casualties due to the war never reaching them.
"However, if the Unseelie were the only problem we faced, there would be no need for this council, as they have been dealt with." Goliath took a deep breath and sighed. Whether it was for dramatic effect or he genuinely had trouble with what he was about to say, the attendees that did not know Goliath well could not tell. Tamora and Darius, who were to Goliath's right and on the other side of the table, watched him with a keen interest, trying to decide.
"To use my own clan as an example," Goliath began again, "long before the Unseelie Court became a threat, the Manhattan clan had to deal with other problems, such as the human anti-gargoyle groups that called themselves the Quarrymen and Phoenix Rising."
The Ishimura and London clans, on the exact opposite side of the table from Goliath, frowned a bit at what he was saying. He seemed to be saying that humans were a bad thing, even though that was certainly not the case where their clans were concerned.
The Caledonian clan members, who were to the right of the London clan, were not at all certain what to make of Goliath's statement. For many years they had believed humans to be nothing but a menace, and yet recent experience had taught them the situation might be otherwise. What was the Manhattan gargoyle trying to say?
The speech continued. "It should be clear enough that, if gargoyles hope to survive, the various clans must begin to work together."
At this point, the ominous and imposing Mei Hsing placed one hand on top of the other in front of her face, as if she was merely contemplating the scene. But then, from behind her hands came a startlingly clear voice, considering it was being muffled by her hands.
"I do not understand the point of this."
Goliath looked to his left at the leader of the Chinese clan. "Excuse me?"
The pink gargoyle elaborated. "Why is working together necessary? So far, the individual clans have been able to survive on their own. We were all attacked by the Unseelies separately, and still were able to endure. Why start working together now, when being independent has worked out well enough?"
Her voice did not seem agitated at all, but more calm and assured. Mei Hsing knew that she was right and that her point of view was all that was required in this case.
She continued. "In particular, given the fact that, based on what you have indicated, Goliath, the Unseelie Court will not be a problem again, surely the need for any sort of alliance has now passed."
Goliath looked straight at the female who was almost as large as he was. "I admit that the Unseelies are no longer a threat now that Madoc Morfryn is dead, and his lieutenants either dead with him, imprisoned on Avalon, or hiding from Oberon's wrath. But as I was trying to explain, the Unseelie Court was never the only problem that gargoyles had."
It was impossible to tell how the Chinese clan leader was reacting; her folded hands blocked her expression.
The leader of the Manhattan clan pressed his point further. "Another problem we face is the fact that many humans hate and fear us. Because of this, humans have tried to destroy us, and forced us into hiding. But we can not keep on hiding forever. Humans are increasingly exploring the world, and there are few places left that they do not know about."
A voice from the Antarctic clan spoke up, and Cole's naturally cheerful outlook was prominent. "My clan has not dealt with humans in a very long time. So long in fact, they were nearly legends to us, although we do try to keep an eye on the few who have started to live in Antarctica. If not for the Unseelie attack followed by Lexington's visit, my clan would still be isolated and alone. Humans are not going towards the Antarctic in great numbers any time soon, if ever. Yet the Unseelie attack has proved a point. We are vulnerable."
From Goliath's left and Mei Hsing's right, another voice piped up. Icarus, hands now moving to emphasise his words, disagreed. "My clan lives on the hidden island of New Olympus. It has been safe for a long time simply because our technology has been better than the humans, so we've been able to hide our entire island. But it's only a matter of time before human technology can penetrate even New Olympus's cloaking device. The time for hiding is over."
Goliath nodded in agreement and continued his speech. "All the more so since the humans of New York already have known about my clan for the past few years, ever since Jon Canmore exposed us to the public."
Mei Hsing lowered her hands to rest on the table, and she was clearly frowning. "Do tell us more about this, Goliath."
The Manhattan clan leader was a bit thrown off; he had not been prepared to give a history of his clan. "Our story is far too long a tale for this council to hear, and several of you already know the basics."
"Then please, give the rest of us these basics," Mei Hsing said calmly and reasonably. She stared piercingly at Goliath, waiting for the lavender gargoyle's response.
Hudson came to Goliath's aid and smiled at the council. "A gargoyle's nature is to protect, ye all know that I'm sure. For a long time, our clan protected merely our own castle and that served well enough. A few years ago, we expanded our protection from just the castle to the entire island of Manhattan, to include everyone, including our human friends. We've run into a few problems along the way, but it has been nothing we could not handle."
As Hudson explained the Manhattan clan's situation and history in more detail, Lexington smiled and whispered to himself. "It's probably a good thing he's leaving out the details about Xanatos and Demona..."
A quick glance around the room revealed that most of the attendees were listening in rapt attention to Hudson's speech. Only two gargoyles were not paying much attention. Aurora, who was separated from Lexington only by Cole, seemed to merely be bored, although she showed some signs of unease in the artificial surroundings of the council room. Lex then started to blush lightly when he realized the other one not paying attention was the girl from the Caledonian clan whose name he could not remember -- and the reason was because she was staring at HIM. He quickly turned his head back to Hudson as the elder gargoyle neared the end of his history lesson.
Kirstie sighed a bit. "Now that I get a good look at him, he's nae that bad looking... And he seems tae be a wee bit shy... I like that." The brown female grinned to herself. "Now if only I could get his attention away from everything else going on..."
The gargoyle turned her head suddenly as a commotion came from her right when Mei Hsing stood. Kirstie was a bit lost as to what the discussion was about since she had stopped paying attention a few minutes ago.
Mei Hsing's perfect calm was still in place, coupled with a bit of arrogance. "I do not understand how you can possibly consider the methods you run your clan by as sensible, Goliath. You are keeping your clan in a city whose human inhabitants know about you and are not very thrilled with the prospect.
"Various groups that you yourself have named, the Hunters, Quarrymen, and Phoenix Rising have already attempted to take your lives, apparently on numerous occasions. The authorities are not very enthusiastic about you either. And yet still you risk it all due to some biological urge, just to protect these same humans who want you dead? That is positively insane."
The beaked Chiang Yun nodded in agreement as her leader continued. "For one thing, the humans do have a police force and can hardly need gargoyle help."
Goliath frowned as the female that seemed to be his main opposition continued. The worst part about this opponent was that she was not at all angry or excited. She was making all of her points calmly and clearly, which made them seem all the more thought out, truthful, and harmful to his position. Some of the other council members were nodding their heads in agreement, not a good thing.
The pink female's observations continued. "For another, why is it so important that you and your clan protect the humans to begin with? What have humans ever done for gargoyles but hunt them down, to kill them or to lock them up in cages as curiosities to be exploited? It seems clear enough that even though gargoyles have saved humans from marauders and robbers, that has not cured those same humans of their fear and hatred of gargoyles. On the contrary, they keep on at it, revealing themselves thereby to be ingrates of a most despicable kind."
Goliath's eyes narrowed. Mei Hsing was talking like Demona, and she was unfortunately making her case all too well.
"My own clan has had a great many problems with humans. Particularly when the Cultural Revolution took place and fanatic Maoists swept throughout China, destroying all the gargoyles that they could find. My clan only survived by going into hiding. If it had not done so, but stayed out in the open on the grounds of some misguided notion of 'protect the humans', we would have all been killed."
Goliath waited a moment to be sure Mei Hsing was done speaking, trying to keep his temper in check. "Not all humans are like that," he growled. "Yes, the Manhattan clan has had some difficulties, but some of our closest friends are humans."
"A dog could be a close friend as well. But it would still bite if angered," the pink female countered.
"Perhaps. However, Goliath is correct," Kai of the Ishimura clan countered. "My clan has lived in harmony with humans as far back as our written history can tell, and living as one has always been beneficial to both species, human AND gargoyle."
The Avalon clan finally spoke up to second the ideal as Ophelia added her commentary. "My entire clan was raised by humans on a magical island that the rest of the world can not get to. The humans that raised us had no motivation to bring us up except that they had kindness in their hearts. In fact, they suffered many hardships and dangers to ensure that we survived," Ophelia commented. "Princess Katharine, Tom, and the Magus treated us as well as any gargoyle parent would. The Magus even died protecting us."
"A magical island?" Hsing questioned.
Gabriel nodded. "Yes. Avalon. It is a place accessible only by a magical spell. No technology could ever possibly reach it. The humans that raised us did not have to worry about gargoyles attacking them if they did not raise us, if that is what you are thinking. They truly did raise us simply because they love us."
"I see." Mei Hsing stood by her view despite the objections. "So, three humans raised your clan, on a magical island without fear of anyone attacking them. A small village aids the Ishimuran clan simply because it has as far back as you can all remember. And let's not forget that amidst all the humans trying to kill the Manhattan clan, a few are their allies. That is all well and good, but not only are those extremely unique circumstances, but those are only the exceptions that prove the rule. Such humans are most likely only a small minority of the population, and unusual.
"The majority of humans would almost certainly behave more the way that the Quarrymen did, or at best, like a frightened mob. But what really confuses me..." Mei Hsing paused and stared directly at Goliath. Chiang Yun looked over each member of the Manhattan delegation, her beak forming an odd frown..
"This magical island... Avalon... Did you know about it, Goliath?"
"Yes..." the Manhattan leader began.
"And is it truly only accessible by magic? No matter what technology develops, only a spell will reach it?" the large female continued.
"Yes..." Goliath tried again.
His main opposition at the moment arched a brow. "Then your behavior only puzzles me more. This island is clearly a place that humans could never reach since very few if any study true magic anymore. It sounds like a place where gargoyles would be forever safe; even advanced technology can't penetrate its magical defences. So why remain in the outside world?"
Mei Hsing glared at Goliath for a moment, and then looked over the rest of the council and announced calmly, " If there was no place like Avalon, then Goliath's decision to live alongside humans would make some sense, since he would have no alternative. But if he has the option to flee to this... 'Avalon' for safety, and rejects it simply for the sake of aiding a hostile species that neither wants nor needs his help, then that surely makes him a fool."
Goliath growled and then yelled, his angered voice a stark contrast to Mei Hsing's, "A gargoyle can no more stop protecting than breathing the air!"
"That may be so, but it does not change the fact that protecting those that want you dead is foolish." The female smiled, well aware of how Goliath's loud outburst made her look all the more reasonable and intelligent.
"Might I speak?" came a voice from the Persian part of the table. The web-winged Darius, who had been silent so far, looked to Goliath for permission.
"Of course," the Manhattan leader responded, doing his best to calm back down.
Darius stood and looked over the other attendees slowly, and he then began to speak, his voice full of confidence and power.
"Whether we like it or not," he began, "staying hidden is no longer an option. And I do not see fleeing to this 'Avalon' as a practical alternative either. It is too late now; humans know about us. They only officially know about the New York clan at present, but how long until they know about the others? Many of the other clans have already had clashes with humans."
He looked over each of the clans, and most thought of a situation with humans they had been in. The destruction of the bulk of the Guatemalan clan by the poachers. Feldman and Ratcliffe's visit to the Caledonian Forest. Taro's kidnapping scheme in Ishimura. Almost all present accepted what Darius was saying as the truth, as he continued.
"If the Unseelies could locate practically every clan on the planet, then so can humans, surely. And they may even be starting the search now; I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it's being discussed in the United Nations at present. They'll be coming for us soon enough, no matter what we do, thanks to Goliath and his clan being discovered in New York. And it is a pity that they were careless enough to let themselves get found by humans, but it's too late to worry over that now...."
The beaked female in the Chinese corner growled at that. "It is all Goliath's fault that we are having these problems!" Chiang Yun agreed.
"I did not say that." Darius retorted.
"Yes, you did!" she spat back.
Mei Hsing glared at her second and whispered harshly. "This is no time to be yelling; they will not take us seriously if you do."
"I only said that it was a pity Goliath had let his clan's presence be known..." Darius attempted.
"It was not his fault!" Lexington yelled back. "It was the Canmore family that..."
"Goliath helped our clan when he visited us! If not for him we might have..." Zafiro began.
"What does it matter?" another voice yelled.
"So, Delilah, what are you doing after this meeting is over?" Icarus smiled playfully at the girl beside him once he grasped what was happening.
"Humans have almost never visited the Antarctic and they likely never will in any numbers!" Aurora called out, only to have Cole arch a brow at her.
The volume in the room rose as almost all present began to yell to try and make their voices heard.
"SILENCE!" came a female's voice along with the pounding of a staff against the ground.
The room froze and stared at the eldest gargoyle present, Kylie.
"You are acting like hatchlings. What the web-wing has said is true." Lexington paused at that, and Darius seemed a bit offended she did not know his name. "Humans have discovered some of our number and clans, and that is a tragedy, surely. However, trying tae blame Goliath for that is ridiculous! What do we all gain by his punishment?
"Silencing him or passing sentence on the Manhattan clan will not return the rest of the world back to the way it was, before any of them were found. Now is nae the time tae squabble over this like dogs over a bone. It is time for us tae bring forth our numbers into a united purpose. It is only by the strength of numbers and the unity of clan that any of us can hope tae survive against anything humanity has to put against us."
Mei Hsing placed one hand on top of the other and then hid the lower half of her face. Darius glowered a bit.
The ancient gargoyle continued. "Not all that long ago, I too felt that keeping my clan isolated and safe was the answer. However, we suffered greatly from this isolation. Diseases that sleep could nae cure, loss of hunting space, and dwindling numbers were killing my clan.
"Yet, it was the intervention of the London clan, who had help from King Arthur, a human," she added, "that gave my sons and daughters a new hope for the future. By providing medicines, food, and new blood in the form of Griff and other potential mates, they have made Caledonia stronger. Alliance with the London clan has given the Caledonian clan a future again."
Cole and Aurora listened intently to this speech. The Antarctic clan was by far the most isolated from any contact with the outside world and Kylie's words described almost their exact situation.
Kylie continued. "That is the example that we, gargoyles, as a race must follow." She looked at the delegates again. "Aye, there may come a time when the humans will come to face us in full view...and I'd prefer it comes when we present ourselves as a strong race -- more as equals with the humans, rather than several scattered pockets of clans, waiting for man to gobble us up one at a time."
"Indeed," Goliath agreed. Peace returned to the chamber, and all the delegates were suddenly at a loss for words.
"Perhaps..." Tamora began, trying to make up for the havoc her clan had just caused, "perhaps this would be a good time to adjourn for dinner."
Kai stood up and smiled. "The Ishimuran gargoyles have a fine banquet prepared for this occasion. A proper meal might be exactly what we need, and this is as good a time to take a break as any."
The rest of the council agreed, and began filing out a few moments later. Before Delilah could leave, the white-colored Icarus smiled warmly at her. "Will you sit by me at dinner?"
"Um..." Delilah blushed lightly, and on her tan coloration it showed easily. "I'd love to." Then the young clone caught a glimpse of the way her clan was looking at her. "Then again... I think I have to talk to Goliath first..."
"Sure thing. I'll just wait at the door for you, okay?"
"Okay!" Delilah beamed brightly. Then she looked at Goliath and her mood dimmed.
Slowly, the clone walked over to the leader of the Manhattan clan. To her chagrin, she noticed he was growling.
"Yes?" she tried to play innocent and cute.
"Why did you stow away on the plane?" Goliath frowned.
"Well..." she began.
The lavender gargoyle waited.
"When I overheard Talon say that our clan wasn't going to be represented here, I got... upset, I guess. I wanted to help!"
Goliath stared at her a moment. "Hmm. Good intentions aside, I think that you are still too young and inexperienced to be taking part in the Council. You might say something that could cause trouble. And some of the delegates apparently think that YOU are my second in command!"
"I'm old enough to be here! And I never actually said I was second in command, Icarus just assumed that!" the white-haired girl shouted. "I may only be a couple of years old, but I was programmed knowing plenty."
"Knowledge from a book is not the same as knowledge in the real world. I'm simply worried that..."
"That I might ruin your stupid council?" Delilah sobbed. "Well you're doing a fine job of that already on your own. As near as I can tell, the Chinese and Persian clans both think you're an idiot!" The feisty young girl growled loudly as Demona's blood ran through her.
Before Goliath could do anything to react, she had turned and dashed out of the room.
She immediately saw Icarus who was occupying himself by staring at the ceiling. He turned slowly once he realized she was there and smiled. "Done talking to your leader?" The feather-winged gargoyle flinched a little when he noticed the girl was crying. "Hmm, perhaps we should go someplace else and talk..."
* * * * *
Things began to ease up at the banquet, as the good food and company allowed the tensions to subside. The Ishimuran clan had put together several forms of entertainment by some of their clanmembers, which kept many of the guests occupied, while others simply ate dinner. Lexington had little interest in the activities or meal, however. He sat beside Goliath and Hudson again. Right on the other side of the dinner table was the Caledonian clan. Goliath and Hudson were fascinated talking to Kylie and Tiberius, learning about the other survivng Scottish clan. Lex did not care much for the history lesson; instead, he was looking at the girl sitting right in front of him.
She was pretending that she was paying attention to the elders, but it was clear that was not where her concentration was really going.
Lex found himself embarrassed. He still did not know her name, and she was sitting two feet in front of him. So he remained silent, not wanting to embarrass either of them, and also pretended to be paying attention to the elders.
"Um..." he began, trying not to interrupt the reunion. "I think I'm going to go talk to some of the other clans, try to make a couple of new friends," the small gargoyle smiled weakly as he stood up and grabbed his drink.
Kirstie's eyes widened at that. "What, ye are leaving already?"
Lex shrugged as if he were too cool to care about what she thought. "You can come with if you want." He then turned his back and began to walk away.
The brown skinned female frowned. He's leaving... I probably should follow him. Except I don't want him to think I'm stalking him just to get a mate... Once again the Caledonian thought about how she might have gotten Griff if she had acted differently when he first came into the forest. Brianna's method, to be quiet and be herself had worked, while straightforward battle had not. The same method also seemed to be working around Cervus, Pip, and Reg.
She whispered her plan aloud to herself. "No, this time I will do it right. I'll just wait here and when ye come back to reunite with yuir clan, I'll be waiting. I'll just be quiet and shy the first day or two of the council and the fact that I'm mysterious will make ye come tae me..." Kirstie grinned. "Aye, it is a good plan..."
Lexington was several steps away now when he looked back at her. "Are you coming or not?" he asked in his naturally soft and quiet tone.
"Ah.. Nae,.I think I will just stay here awhile..." Kirstie waved and faked a grin, then turned her attention back to the elders and then sighed. A few moments later, she perked up. "Wait a minute... There are other girls here... What if..." A frozen moment of terror, and then suddenly the Caledonian girl was up and gone like a bolt. "Be back later!"
Tiberius noted her leaving and shook his head, smiling slightly. Kylie looked thoughtfully after her young warrior, but said nothing.
* * * * *
Icarus was laying on his back, arms folded behind his head as he looked towards the night sky. "So you stowed away on the plane with the rest of your clan even though you weren't supposed to?"
Delilah sat with her arms crossed around her legs, curled into a ball. "Yes," she whispered softly. Her eyes widened in feat when Icarus began to laugh. "What?!?" she asked, scared that he thought she was just a foolish child.
The male smiled at her. "Honestly, I'm basically in the same boat. The New Olympus clan's official position is STILL that they refuse to attend this thing. I'm not supposed to be here either. I left without any permission. I'm certain to get it from the clan elders when I get back home for having slipped out like I did."
The feathered gargoyle sighed. "Yeah. I wonder if they even know I'm missing yet?"
"I don't know," Delilah smiled. "But I'm glad you're here." Icarus caught her look, turned suddenly and hid the fact he was blushing.
* * * * *
The female attendee from the Persian clan was fascinated. Tamora discreetly stared at what had caught her interest: the leader of the Manhattan clan. "No one is going to admit it to anyone else, but Goliath is the most important gargoyle here. His actions are going to affect the outcome of this whole meeting one way or the other. Perhaps... " The beautiful gargoyle smiled. "Perhaps it is time to get truly acquainted with the Manhattan clan."
The grey female walked straight to where the Manhattan clan was eating and sat down in the spot vacated by Lexington, right next to Goliath. "Hello," she smiled warmly.
"Hello,Tamora," Goliath paused his conversation with the Caledonians and smiled back politely. "I still regret being rude to you earlier when I showed you to the council room."
"Do not worry about it too much. It was clear that something was going on with your clan that you had not expected."
"Yes well..." the lavender gargoyle paused. "Where is your clanmate?" he struggled, trying to change the subject.
"Darius? Oh well, he's a rather dour fellow, who doesn't go in for festivities much. His absence doesn't surprise me at all."
* * * * *
Darius had retired to a secret place far from everyone else, hidden far in back of one of the buildings. He looked over some crates that he had brought along on the plane. A growling noise came from within the crates.
"Be patient," he hissed. "Your time will come soon enough. Just a little more waiting..." Suddenly, Darius heard a sound behind him. The webwing turned in fear and tried to hide his reaction.
"And what exactly are you telling to be patient? I think you should tell me, for your own good." Demona smiled from the doorway.
TO BE CONTINUED...