Story Outline by Kathy Pogge
Written by JM Hall and Brian Dumlao
Previously on Gargoyles

DEMONA to BROOKLYN: You don't know the
depths to which humanity can sink,
my young friend, but I do. Over the centuries,
I have seen horrors that would blast your soul.
-- Temptation
DEMONA to ANGELA: How can you judge me?
You've been hiding on a magical
island while I have been out in the real world.
-- The Reckoning
GOLIATH to ANGELA: She knew how you truly felt,
and Demona's love for you was the first
goodness she has shown in a long, long time.
For her, it may have been a new beginning.
-- The Reckoning

Destine Manor

A comforting breeze wafted in through the open window, accompanied by the soft light cast by the crescent moon of the night sky. The breeze rustled the embroidered curtains only slightly, as they were furled aside to allow the room's sole occupant to enjoy all the night had to offer.

Unfortunately, that occupant was so immersed in her own thoughts that she paid little heed to the breeze or to the moon's silvery light. She was not even truly aware that it was these things that enabled her to relax and lose herself in her work. Demona pulled a sheet of paper from out of the printer atop her desk and added it to the stack she already held in her hand. She started to peruse it critically to see if it met with her satisfaction. She glanced up only once at the printer to make sure that it had begun on the final page. Her eyes then returned to the words in front of her and glided across them, checking for form and content, while at the same time blotting the meaning of what she read from her mind.
Taking the last page from the printer, Demona walked to a table near the center of the room where four candles flickered gently in the breeze, surrounding a number of components that were required for the next phase of her plans. "Lights," she called out. The voice-responsive sensors within the room immediately doused the overhead lights so that only the golden glow of the candle flames illuminated the area around her. Demona began to murmur the opening verse of an incantation as she took a pinch of fine sand from a small brass-chased silver bowl and sprinkled it over the ream of paper she held in her talons.

As the last granule of sand fluttered from her fingers, Demona's incantations in Latin became stronger, as did the halo of light that began to form around the pages. The aura seemed to suck the very life out of the nearby candles, as they seemed to falter and dim while the glow grew richer. It intensified to a blinding glare for only an instant before the mystical halo faded entirely. Once the last of the mote was gone, the stack of pages in Demona's hand began to waver, as though seen through a heat wave, and darken, until the finished product rested comfortably in her grasp.


Somewhere in Manhattan

Angela alighted gracefully atop one of the newest buildings in Manhattan.  Instead of looking at the streets below, her gaze drifted up to the cloudless, star-filled sky. She enjoyed the cool night air with its even cooler breezes because, until coming here, she had not realized that the change of seasons could induce a pleasant euphoria. On Avalon there was no seasonal change. The temperature would remain constant unless it rained. Even then in would drop but only a little. The progression from autumn to winter, she decided, was one of the nicest things she has found since she had stepped off that skiff.

"Angela," Broadway called out as he landed beside her.

She glanced at him knowing that he was also at the top of her "nice" list. Impulsively, she kissed him before he could voice another syllable. The kiss elicited a startled widening of his eyes, and before he could recover enough to enjoy it, Angela broke away, saying, "Oh, Broadway, I just love being here with you."
Broadway's faced darkened a few shades as he produced a smile both loving and foolish. It took him a moment to unscramble his mind to form a single coherent thought.  That thought turned out to be, "I can't think of anyone else I would rather be with than you, Angela." He placed his hands upon her shoulders and was about to pull her into his arms for another kiss when a woman's scream split the night air like a razor.
All intimacy forgotten, both gargoyles peered over the edge of the roof and spotted a man forcing a couple at gunpoint into an alley and away from the streetlights. The woman's mate had obviously been pistol-whipped into obeying the assailant, as he was holding the side of his head while his wife put her arms protectively around him, urging him into the alley to forestall further beatings. Angela and Broadway exchanged a meaningful glance before taking wing.
"One more like that one, lady, and I'll have to shut ya up permanent like," the gruff, oversized youth threatened as he waved his .45 in her direction. "All I want is yer money and jewels. Now give them up."
"Sure, here. Whatever you say," the panicky woman stammered, sobbing back tears as she began rummaging around in her purse in a desperate attempt to find her wallet. "Just don't hurt my husband any more, please."
High on adrenaline and the feeling of power the terrified woman's reactions gave him, the thug did not notice the shadow that fell across him until it was too late. Snapping his head around, he was only able to glimpse the glowing-eyed visage of his worst nightmare before it pounced at him like a vengeful demon. His scream of fright was drowned out by Broadway's battle cry. The youth tried to point the gun at the large aqua-blue gargoyle, but Broadway seized it and crushed the weapon as if it were made of paper.
Broadway grabbed the thug by the collar of his jacket, lifted him off his feet, and then slammed him into the brick wall of the alley, completely stunning him. "That wasn't very nice," he growled in the man's paling face. "Didn't your mother teach you any manners?" The fear-stricken youth stared at Broadway with eyes the size of saucers before they rolled back into his head as he passed out. "Um, guess not," Broadway said off-handedly, letting the glow in his eyes fade before he dropped his victim unceremoniously on his rear.
Angela cautiously approached the equally frightened couple who were seeking shelter deeper within the alley. She stopped to retrieve the woman's purse, which she had dropped at seeing her and Broadway swoop down toward them to attack the mugger. Angela still felt a pang of sorrow and grief at seeing the reaction her appearance had on the humans in this world. All she wanted to do was help.

"Here," she said to the woman, offering her the purse.

The woman looked quickly between the two gargoyles and then exchanged a glance with her husband, who had all but forgotten about his head injury at seeing them. She then took the few steps that separated her from Angela and, after a momentary hesitation and a searching of the gargoyle's gentle eyes, took the purse with calm assurance. Her husband walked up beside her said, "You're those gargoyles we've heard about, right?"

Knowing all the negative press they had been getting since the destruction of the clock tower, Broadway and Angela looked at one another with a dejected expression before Angela replied, "Yes, we are." She then turned to begin climbing the alley wall but was brought up short by a gentle hand on her arm. Turning back, she saw the woman smiling at her.

"Thank you," she said, not bothering to remove her hand from Angela's arm. "Thank you very much." With that she took Broadway in as well. Her husband then shared her smile.

"Yes, thank you," he said.

Angela's countenance brightened immediately. She turned a beaming smile to Broadway, who was scratching his head and smiling too. Covering the woman's hand with her own, Angela looked back to say, "You're welcome." She wanted to say more, to explain to these nice people that everything they had heard about them was not true, but the sound of approaching police cars curtailed that idea quickly. Angela settled for a kind-hearted smile and a patting of the woman's hand before joining Broadway in his climb up the wall.

"Thank you, again," the couple called out in unison just as the two gargoyles disappeared over the roof ledge.

Leaping off the roof, Angela followed Broadway's lead as they winged their way over the patrol cars. As they came around the corner of the building, she gained altitude alongside him when they caught a thermal. Broadway led her out over Central Park and then into a descent as they approached Sheep's Meadow.

"Did you hear that? They thanked us," Angela said, thoroughly delighted.

"Hard to believe, isn't it?" Broadway said, still retaining his smile. "Makes you think there is still hope."

Once they landed, Angela moved up beside Broadway, took him into an embrace and nestled against him. "There is always hope, Broadway."
Returning her affectionate embrace, Broadway caressed her dark, silken hair as he said, "It's just so hard sometimes to remember that, Angela." She lifted her head to meet his eyes, whereupon he instantly felt the weight of his previous words evaporate in the light of her love. "But I'm glad I have you here to remind me." He then captured her lips in a passionate kiss.

Minutes later, Broadway held his love in his arms as they lay beneath the shelter of a tree, gazing up at the star spangled sky. The encounter with that couple tonight had left both of them feeling very good. This inspired the need to enjoy the riches of being together, alone, where peace and life surrounded them. Now, they were silent as they were immersed in the simple joy of each other's company while their eyes wondered over the beauty that was about them. The minutes of the night quickly became hours without either one noticing.


Castle Wyvern

Goliath watched as the eastern sky turned from the velvety black of the late night to the honey and crimson of the early morning. Unfortunately, he did not enjoy the coming of yet another day. His anxiety increased with each change in hue the sky took.

"Where are they!?" he grumbled low within his chest.

"Don't be worrying, lad," Hudson consoled the clan's leader as he came up beside him near the castle's parapets. "I'm sure that they will find a safe place to sleep today." Those last words, though spoken with certainty, did not carry the confidence that he had intended them to, and Hudson knew why. Those "safe places" had become increasingly few and far between since the Quarrymen had begun their war of bigotry against the gargoyles and anyone who supported them. Goliath was about to debate his mentor's wisdom when a pair of winged silhouettes became visible against the horizon as they ascended from the cityscape below. He made his way to where Angela and Broadway would land, building up a scorching reprimand for the two of them, but his daughter caught sight of the glower on her father's face and quickly spoke first.

"We're sorry, father, we lost track of the time," Angela said even before her foot touched the stone of the castle parapets.

Exchanging a scowl for the abashed expressions exhibited by the two adolescents before him, Goliath unfurled his wings, saying, "The two of you should know better than to...." Any further words of Goliath's reprimand were cut short as the sun's rays transformed him from warm flesh and blood to cold, hard stone.


The Eyrie Building

The noontime hustle and bustle of people filled the lobby. Through the glass doors entered a UPS deliveryman, clad in his standard brown uniform, carrying his data clipboard in one hand and a paper-wrapped parcel in the other. He approached the lobby desk with the package and asked where in the building should the package be delivered to.  After a quick scan of the package with a hand-held bomb detection device, the lobby attendant handed it back to the deliveryman.

"Wait here.  Someone will be coming down shortly," the guard said.  Minutes later, Owen Burnett appeared from the elevators to sign for the package.  He began to scribble along the touch sensitive area of the board when he noticed the deliveryman looking at his left hand.

"Say, how'd you get that stone fist?" the man asked curiously.

Owen replied with a deadpan expression on his face, "It is a long story, one I'd rather not get into."  He finished signing the clipboard and handed it over to the deliveryman, bidding him a good day.

"It's cool.  We all got secrets to keep."  The deliveryman took the clipboard and handed the package over before leaving.  Once the man was gone, Owen examined the package and took special note of who it was addressed to, cocking his right eyebrow in surprise.

"Interesting", he said to himself as he took the package to another section of the building.


Castle Wyvern

The last rays of the sun slowly withdrew their radiance from the sky over Manhattan Island, signaling the awakening of the seven gargoyles at Castle Wyvern. The gray stone cracked, quickly forming a spidery lattice across the frozen figures. Various roars were heard as the clan broke out of their stone skin and stretched their sleep-leadened muscles in greetings to the evening.

Goliath, still feeling the anger from the previous night, again looked at his daughter and Broadway. He had brought a finger up to punctuate his renewed reprimand when Owen walked out onto the parapet from the nearby tower door, carrying something tucked under his arm.

"Pardon me, Goliath," he said, seeing that he was interrupting something, "but I have something for Angela." With his good hand, he removed the parcel from under the opposite arm and presented it to Goliath's daughter.

Angela accepted it with both excitement and curiosity. The package was about the size and weight of the theatrical manuscripts she sometimes read in the library. She examined the plain wrapping and discovered "To: Miss Angela" printed on one side along with the postal mark and a return address.

"It was delivered this afternoon," Owen added. He turned his attention to Goliath and Hudson, noting the suspicious expressions both gargoyles wore. "There is nothing to worry about," he said as Angela began opening the gift. "I had a thorough security check performed on it as soon as it arrived to ensure that it was safe. Nothing harmful was found."

Broadway moved beside his love, asking, "What is it, Angela?" Goliath, Hudson and Owen joined Broadway in a circle around her to have a look at the gift.

It was a leather-bound book, its cover softened with great age and much use. Elaborate scrollwork adorned the cover and gave the volume a mystical feel to it. Raised lettering in the midst of that scrollwork proclaimed it The True Origin of Gargoyles, Vampires, and Werewolves by Dee Knight. Angela started to casually flip through the thick volume, 697 pages worth, her face radiating thrilled curiosity. The pages within were vellum and had yellowed with age. The text on those pages was hand-written in Old English calligraphy and was bordered by flowery scrollwork. Angela only half-heard her father when he asked, "Who would send you a book?"

Hudson, who had retained the paper wrapping which had bound the gift, straightened out the crumpled edges to look at the return address. After some difficulty, he deciphered the writing on the wrapping. "It's from someone here in town," he said. He passed the paper to Goliath, who, upon reading the address, quickly glanced back at the cover of the book. The name on the return address was the same as the author's.

"What's the hubbub, guys," Brooklyn chimed out as he, Lexington, and Bronx emerged from the tower door onto the parapets.

"Someone sent Angela a book," Broadway replied, temporarily taking his attention away from the pages Angela was perusing.

The new arrivals closed in around the female of the clan to catch a glimpse of the item she held in her hands. They were all bubbling over with curiosity and excitement at the unexpected present. They all asked questions, but Angela had few answers. The clan exchanged glances of bewilderment before they went off to attend their own duties, leaving Angela alone with her book. She leaned back to relax against a crenellation to continue her examination of the book.

Goliath turned a concerned gaze toward his daughter. "What's more important than who sent it is how they knew where to send it," he stated with a hard edge in his voice. "I think we need to find this 'Dee Knight' and discover what her interest in Angela is." He did not like the idea that some anonymous person knew where to find them, especially in light of their recent "fame." He again looked at the return address and said, "We will investigate this place and see what we can find out about Angela's mysterious friend. Broadway and Lexington, you'll come with me. Angela, Hudson, and Brooklyn will patrol the city tonight."

"Ah, Father," Angela spoke up as the others moved to leave. "I would like to stay at the castle tonight." She did not elaborate further but Angela did meet Goliath's gaze squarely, letting him know that she would understand if he refused.

Goliath sighed deeply. "Very well, Angela," he said. "You may remain here." He then led the others off the parapets and into the night sky.

"There's one thing I don't understand, Goliath," Lexington asked his clan's leader once they were away from the castle. "Sending someone a book seems to be a strange way of offering them your friendship."

Goliath gave a brief shake of his head. "There are still some human customs that we are not familiar with yet." He paused to allow a growling sigh to escape his throat. "I only hope that this is all that is."


Castle Wyvern Library

Finding the switch, Angela turned on the lights and made her way to one of the plush, high-backed chairs. The one she chose was roomy enough to let her pull her legs up and sit comfortably, nestled on the soft upholstery. Propping her gift against her knees and the arm of the chair, Angela opened the book to the first page. She gave a mild start as a blue-white aura engulfed the book for a few heartbeats. When the aura faded, the text within had undergone a subtle change.

Angela did not react violently to the book's mystical alteration. Instead, she continued opening the book until she reached the title page, where she found another hand-written page on a loose leaf of paper.  Unlike the rest of the book, the words on this page were written with a blue ballpoint pen. Removing the loose note, Angela read it:


My daughter, Angela,
I know that you have no reason to believe anything that I say to you in light of what has happened in the past, but I would like to try and have you understand who I am and how I became the person who unwittingly hurt you. I never wanted to hurt you in any way. Time, however, has caused me on occasion to act without thinking in order to simply survive, and for that I am sorry.

I have sent you this journal in the hopes that you will read it and, hopefully, come to understand me. I know that you would not listen to me in person, so maybe my written words will succeed where my voice would have failed. I sent it as I did because if anyone else knew it was from me, then they would fear some kind of trap and you would never get the chance to even see it. I wish that I could erase all the wrongs that I have committed against the clan and have them understand me as well, but, to them, my past may be unforgivable.

Please, Angela. All I am asking is that you take the time to read it. I am not expecting a response, only a chance to be heard, and maybe we can narrow this lonely and painful gulf between us.


Angela held the page aloft until she had read the letter a couple of times then laid it back in the book. The tone with which it was written had struck a chord in the core of her being that dulled some of the anger and resentment Angela had been carrying around since she had last seen her mother in the Coney Island dungeon. It was difficult for Angela to even consider putting the journal down and forgetting about it. She did want to learn about her mother and what made her the way she was. So, acquiescent to the intent of the gift, she chose a page a random and began to read.

"Paris, France. The humans refer to this as a revolution against oppression, but all I see is madness and self-destruction. This serves as further proof that humanity itself is a disease that must be stopped at all costs. Once again, I find myself being hunted down like an animal. This time, however, the hunters are self-titled 'revolutionaries for the people'..."


July 1793
Paris, France

Demona desperately sought a thermal to ride to the higher altitudes, but the calm night offered no such benefit, forcing her to struggle to maintain the height she had gained. Her body hurt terribly from the many wounds the incensed crowd had inflicted upon her with thrown stones, arrows, and musket shot. She could still hear the shouts of those people who pursued her on the ground. The occasional fired arrow or lead ball whisked close by her.

The humans of this city had recently revolted against their leader and had executed every man, woman, and child who may have been sympathetic to King Louis XVI. Paris was now a madhouse of blood-crazed humans who used the turmoil to their advantage and killed anyone who might be a threat to their revolution. Unfortunately, they had now turned their mutual attention to a certain female gargoyle who had been caught aware by a group of revolutionaries as she was seeking sustenance in one of the local shops.

While she was able to defend herself well enough against a handful of club-wielding humans, Demona soon found that the fight had drawn the attention of others. Discovering that there were more than she could handle, she fled to the rooftops, but not without acquiring more wounds in the process. With her hunger forgotten, Demona sought the refuge that could be found outside the city. As she crossed block after block, more shouts seemed to be directed at her as the people looked up to see what had just passed before the face of the moon.

In an effort to evade the growing pursuit, Demona inadvertently passed over a squad of armed militiamen assembled in the street below, obviously there to quell the civil unrest. Upon spotting her, the sergeant ordered his men to open fire on her. The resulting hail of lead balls was more than Demona could completely avoid. Two shots proved true, as one took her in the left hip just above the leg and another struck above her shoulder blade in the area where her wings joined her body. That hit proved crippling, as the numbing pain robbed Demona of the feeling in and control of her left wing, causing her to tumble from the night sky.

Many years of experience gave Demona the ability and skill to control her fall enough to steer herself for a darkened side street, where she crashed into the back of a flatbed wagon carrying a load of hay and a quartet of barrels. The force of her impact jarred the wooden conveyance violently and startled the horse that stood patiently in its leather traces.  Dragging the cart behind it, the horse ran frantically from the narrow avenue into the wider cobblestone road where the militia was hunting its fallen prey, sending the men scrambling out of its way in order to avoid a messy death. Concealed in the hay, Demona went unnoticed and the militia chalked up the animal's frightened behavior up to the noise of their weapons fire.

Dragging the wagon with its unconscious burden, the horse ran through the streets of Paris to the point of exhaustion. It eventually came to a stop in the middle of an intersection where a group of people found it and decided to examine it. Four torch-carrying humans searched the wagon and found a reviving Demona in the back. Her unexpected presence caused the group to jump back from the wagon and spurred one to toss his torch into the dry stack of hay, which immediately caught fire, to kill the horror he had seen.

Demona's pain-clouded awareness was brought suddenly into sharp focus at the sight of the imminent blaze kindling up around her. Searing pain wracked her right leg and tail as the flames touched the azure flesh, eliciting a howl of agony. She leapt from the wagon and struck out at the nearest two humans, severely injuring one with her talons and knocking the breath from the other. The remaining pair fled from the anger-driven demon as her scarlet glowing eyes turned their attention toward them.

Eyes dimming quickly, Demona slumped to one knee as she tended to her injured left wing, which hung limply at her side. Her left hip throbbed with a dull fire which became a sharp pain when she moved her leg. The other cuts and bruises added to the overall agony that was quickly sapping Demona's strength and resolve. The tears that she could no longer hold back streamed down her cheeks as she looked about the intersection. There were a dozen or so humans standing about, watching her in the light of the growing wagon fire, who were slowly gathering into a single group. Demona was in serious trouble and she knew it.

Smoke eventually reached the horse's nostrils, igniting the animal's instinctive fear of fire and once again sending the wagon lurching frantically down the night shrouded streets. A barrel, dislodged from its place near the tailgate of the wagon, crashed to the cobblestone and, with explosive force, showered Demona with its contents. The cool water washed over her body, stinging her wounds but cleaning them out in the process, helping to restore a measure of clear-minded reason to her thoughts.

The bystanders, their courage bolstered by their number, were starting to advance on Demona, shouting and waving torches and clubs. "Has this entire city gone mad?" Demona muttered to herself as she painfully rose to her feet. She was inching her way toward the building at her back when a flicker of light glimpsed out of the side of her eye caught her attention. Another group of rioters, larger than the first, had come up behind her and was fanning out to block her retreat.

Demona, eyes glowing, gave a loud roar that gave the mob pause in their advance on the trapped gargoyle. But when the roar had dissipated, the crowd continued their advance towards her. Shouts of "Kill the monster!" and "Send it back to hell!" preceded a rain of stones and heavy pieces of wood that battered Demona toward the center of the frightened and angry mob.

Partially shielded by her one good wing, Demona was about to lunge at her circling attackers when three winged silhouettes swooped out of the starry sky. They plowed into the midst of the crowd in front of her, shattering the fragile courage of the humans and causing them to flee. Demona caught her breath, and her vision swam as she watched the trio of shadows land before her and coalesce into gargoyles. The relief-ridden shock of this discovery, coupled with the painful injuries, robbed any further consciousness from her as she crumpled into her lead rescuer's arms.


An abandoned farmhouse
Outside of Paris

A dampened cloth applied to her fevered face helped Demona regain consciousness.  She found herself in a secluded lamp-lit room, attended by a strange female gargoyle.

"Where am I," she asked as she immediately sat upright, quickly finding that such an action caused a wave of vertigo and nausea to overwhelm her senses.

"Easy, ma cherie. You need to rest," the older gargoyle said, placing a gentle restraining hand on Demona's shoulder to force her to lie back down on the improvised bed of blanket-covered straw. "Those rioters almost killed you."

Shrugging off the insistent prodding to remain still, Demona pushed aside the dizziness and nausea to bring herself to a sitting position, where she could better take in her new environment. Surrounding her were four walls made of horizontally planed wood slats which were haphazardly nailed to a simple framework, allowing splinters of moonlight to filter down into the room. There were stacks of straw piled about the room, as well as a few barrels and crates. The scent of straw did not totally mask the earthy smell of the hard-packed dirt floor or the hint of wildflowers that drifted in from outside.

Demona then turned her attention to the female gargoyle kneeling at her side. Her whitened auburn bangs hung loosely between a pair of graceful horns that spiraled in on themselves until they ended near her small fan-like ears. Tiny creases in her mahogany-toned skin spoke of her advancing years, as did the bags under her doe eyes. The garment she wore was a one-piece outfit of light toned suede, and a golden chain with colorful bird feathers dangling out from it adorned her neck. There was only one thing about this female which troubled Demona: she had no wings.

"Who are you?" she asked her.

"I am called Élan," the female said. She turned slightly to immerse the cloth she held into a copper basin of water and then wrung out the excess. This exposed the right side of her back to Demona, revealing the jagged wing stubs that were there.

"Your wings!" Demona gasped, her eyes growing wide.

"The humans took them from me," Élan interrupted in a forced, emotionless voice. "They probably would have done the same to you... before they took your head. Luckily, Valjean and his patrol found you when they did." Haunted eyes refocused on the real world, and Élan, obviously wishing an immediate change in subject, said, "From your accent, I take it that you're a Scot. How did you come to be in Paris?"

"It is a long story," Demona replied, her hatred of humans flaring over the mutilation of a member of her race. She was about to speak further but was interrupted when the heavy cloth acting as the door was pushed aside and a tall male gargoyle entered. He was muscular, broad across the chest, and well defined. His skin was a shade darker than her own over most of his body, but it darkened even more as it neared his wings, which he draped about himself as he stepped in, revealing a deep blue exterior.

"How is our guest, Élan?" he asked as he came to stand at the foot of Demona's bed.

"None of her wounds are lasting," Élan replied, rinsing out the cloth once again before laying it beside the copper bowl. Standing, she added, "Dawn will see those wounds healed." She cast a glance at Demona. "This is Valjean, the leader of our clan."

Looking up at the attractive gargoyle, Demona said, "I am grateful for your aid, Valjean. My name is Demona."

Valjean gave her an inclining nod as he said, "My only regret is that I could not have gotten to you sooner, ma belle amie." He turned to Élan, saying, "Fetch her something to eat, will you?" Élan nodded and departed from the room. "You are new to Paris, oui?" Valjean then asked as he moved around to the spot vacated by Élan a moment ago, crouching down next to his guest.

"Yes," Demona said, crossing her legs while she adjusted her position so she could look squarely at Valjean. "I fled my land hoping to find a place where I wouldn't be hunted down," she said with her tone of voice tight and controlled, "but it seems that gargoyles are hunted even here."

"It has not always been so, ma cherie," Valjean interjected. "Until a few years ago, gargoyles and humans lived in peace with one another.  But the recent rebellion against King Louis XVI has inflamed the people into committing atrocities against not only gargoyles, but against their own brothers and sisters as well. Now they seek anyone and anything on which they can satisfy their lust for blood. It has become a savage time."

"Yes, it has," Demona agreed, glancing away in thought. Her memories of Castle Wyvern seemed to be peaceful compared to the living hell she seemed to have found here. Meeting Valjean's gaze again, she asked, "Have many of your clan been killed by the humans?"

Valjean's countenance fell as he answered, "Sixteen were shattered before we awoke atop Notre Dame Cathedral, and three more, wounded and unable to flee, were taken and beheaded in front of a riotous mob." He clenched his fists tightly in remembrance before adding, "We were too greatly outnumbered to save our brother and sisters. All we could do was watch helplessly from a distance as we fled our home."

"What!" Demona shouted, jumping to her feet and totally ignoring the protests her body assailed her senses with. "You stood by and did nothing while the humans killed your kin?!"

Valjean's eyes flashed brilliantly in the dim torchlight as he leapt to his feet with a growl. "Do you think I wanted to let them die?!" he retorted loudly. "I wanted desperately to save them, but to have done so would have only cost my clan more lives." Demona then saw tears well up in his eyes. "One of those three was my mate." Valjean quickly strode away.

Taken aback by Valjean's words, Demona found herself unbalanced and was unprepared for his sudden violent action. She jerked as Valjean slammed his trembling fist into the nearest barrel, shattering the wood from its iron bands and spilling the grain across the floor. Demona regretted her harsh words at witnessing the pain she had caused her benefactor, but she was unable to voice any apology. The curtained door was flung aside as Élan and another male gargoyle burst into the hut.

"Valjean, what's wrong?" Élan asked, quickly taking in Demona and Valjean with her eyes.

Demona did not allow the clan leader to speak as she immediately raised a hand to stop him. "I apologize," she said, catching Valjean's hard gaze, hoping he saw the sincerity in her eyes, then looked to the others. "I let my anger get the better of me when Valjean told me of how the humans drove you from your home." Again, she looked to Valjean. "I didn't mean to anger you. I'm sorry."  It was her turn to turn away from the others to hide her own brimming emotions. "It's just that I'm the last of the gargoyles from Scotland. The humans there destroyed every last one." She hung her head.

Silence clung thickly to the atmosphere of the small hut until Demona felt a big hand grip her gently by the shoulder. "We all have deep wounds that are reopened too easily," Valjean said in a consoling tone. When she again faced him, he said simply, "Il n'y a pas de mal."

With only inappropriate words coming to mind, Demona decided to give a humble nod and remain quiet. The smile Valjean then graced her with unexpectedly touched a sensitive area of her heart and made her chest tighten. Suddenly uncomfortable near the French gargoyle, Demona broke the awkwardness by looking to Élan and the wooden tray of food she had carried in.

"Thank you," she said, moving to take the tray from her. "It has been a long time since I last ate." She returned to her previous sitting position, laying the tray across her knees, and partook of the bread and fruit.

Sharing her uneasiness, Valjean hurriedly directed his attention to the gargoyle that had entered with Élan. "Is everyone accounted for, Francois?"

"Oui," Francois answered. "Everyone is safely away from the city tonight." Demona looked up at the ebony skinned gargoyle and heard a note of uncertainty in his gravely voice. "However, Valjean, Jean-Luc told me that he sighted a small group of humans heading our way from the north. If they continue on, they'll be here after dawn."

Demona stopped chewing her food as she panned around to Valjean, who was idly scratching his barbed chin. He was deep in thought, which was evident in the distant look in his green eyes.  "I want you to take whomever you need and frighten them off," Valjean ordered, stepping closer to his second. "And, Francois, I don't want any of them hurt, just driven off in another direction."

Francois, his hard-ridged brow furrowing slightly, nodded. "Understood." He paused, clearly chaffing against his leader's choice of action. "What if they are armed and resist? What shall we do then?"

"Then do what you must," Valjean replied, a sour look crossing his face, "but I want nothing done that could lead the humans to this lair."

The ebony gargoyle nodded again, but this time he appeared more at ease. His wings lifted away from his body as he made ready to exit the hut. He stopped short and turned back to Valjean. "Will we be able to return to the cathedral soon?"

"I plan to speak to Father Robert tomorrow night and see if the mobs will respect our right of sanctuary there," Valjean said, closing the distance between them. Placing a hand on Francois's shoulder, he added, "Notre Dame has been our home from many generations and will continue to be so. Have no worries on that count, Francois. We will return home." A smile spread across Francois's face before he departed for the humans' location.

The French gargoyle turned to find Demona standing next to him with a guarded expression. "You expect this human to abide by his word," she said flatly, "should he allow you sanctuary in the cathedral?"

Valjean's face was filled with solemn surety. "Not all humans want to destroy us, Demona," he said, "and, from what I've learned, Notre Dame Cathedral is an important religious site for the humans of Paris and they respect its laws. They will not violate them. If Father Robert grants us sanctuary there, then we will be safe."

Turning her back to him, Demona said in a haunted tone, "I once knew someone who held the same beliefs about humans as you do, but in the end, it proved to be his undoing." She wiped at the tears that threatened to spill over onto her cheek. "Since then, I've learned that every human will betray us in time, no matter what promises are made." Her memories progressed from Goliath to Macbeth.  Each remembrance brought a grimace of recalled pain to her face that only Élan could see.

Again, Valjean placed a comforting, compassionate hand on Demona's shoulder. "You must rest and regain your strength, ma cherie," he said. "Then I will take you to see a much valued treasure which will reassure you that our race will not become extinct." Hearing the cryptic words and catching a subdued grin from Élan, Demona turned and faced Valjean with an inquiring look in her eye, but the leader said nothing. He then left the two females in the hut so that Demona could finish her food and rest from her ordeal with Élan tending her.

Demona remained in the hut, eating and drinking her fill as she rested from her ordeal in Paris. She talked idly with Élan about her clan. She learned the there were fifty adult members of the clan who had survived the flight from Notre Dame, and that the rookery was still carefully hidden within the cathedral, guarded by the human priest that resided there. This last item brought strong doubts to Demona's thoughts about how long the eggs in the rookery would survive with humans watching over them, if they still existed at all. A gargoyle clan's future depended on the offspring that would come from those eggs.  Should they be destroyed, then this clan would indeed face some difficult times ahead.

"Tell me about this mysterious object that Valjean believes will protect our kind," Demona asked Élan as she finished her meal.

Casting a cautious glance at the curtained door, Élan leaned forward in a conspiratorial fashion and said, "It's been in the clan for many, many generations. So long, in fact, that no one can remember where it came from.  It is said to have a magical power strong enough to protect the gargoyles should a crisis befall us that threatens our very existence." She paused when a shadow of disbelief crossed the younger female's face. "It's true, Demona," she said insistently. "I have seen it myself."

"What is it called?"

Again, Élan looked to the hut's only entrance to make sure Valjean did not walk in and catch her revealing his surprise. "It is called the Praying Gargoyle," Élan breathed in reply.


Somewhere over Manhattan

Goliath, Lexington, and Broadway were gliding across the skies with wings unfurled and eyes peeled.  The New York skyline was always mesmerizing at night.  The star-filled sky above and the tops of buildings below created a modern work of art indescribable in its beauty.  However, Goliath was not able to admire this sight, as his mind was on other, more pressing matters.  At the top of his list of concerns was Angela.

The trip to Avalon had brought many happy changes to Goliath's life. He felt the happiness of knowing not only that the clan's eggs had survived, but that he had a daughter among those eggs.  The feeling of being a father was new to him, and though the joy of parenthood was present, the fears that came with it were more prevalent.  The threat of the Quarrymen trying to harm Angela haunted Goliath from time to time, and the thought of Demona trying to corrupt Angela's mind with her anti-human thinking was even more unnerving.  Even her involvement with Broadway was bothering him now.  Broadway was a good person, loyal, pleasant to be around, and a generous soul.  There was nothing harmful Goliath could see in Broadway getting involved with Angela.  In fact, in his eyes, they seemed perfect together.  Yet something deep inside Goliath made him uneasy with this fact.  Something he could never put his finger on.  "Sometimes," he thought to himself, "these human customs are too complicated to be understood."

"There it is!" exclaimed Lexington.  That announcement disrupted Goliath's train of thought and made him focus on the job at hand.  He signaled the rest to land on a nearby building before they entered the building in question.

"Are you sure this is the place?" asked Broadway in disbelief.

Lexington answered, "This is the address.  I'm positive."

The three stared in bewilderment. They had arrived at a burned-out building in the middle of Queens. Most of the windows were boarded up, and those that weren't were blackened with soot. Broadway leaped over to the abandoned building and peeked in a window. In the dim moonlight, he could see the bare outlines of burned fixtures. He craned his neck further, realizing that the floor was missing and he could see through to the floor below. He withdrew his head and bumped into a "condemned" sign.

"It's impossible for anyone to live in there," said Broadway. "It's gotta be a trap. Probably a bunch of Quarrymen waiting to ambush us."

"Great. So now what do we do?" Lexington asked. Both of the younger gargoyles looked at Goliath, who was already pondering that question.

"If it is a trap, then it would not be wise to step into it."  Spreading his wings, Goliath looked towards his companions. "Come. We must return to the castle before we are spotted." He leapt off the roof of the building, gliding towards the castle, with the others following closely behind.


Forest outside of Paris

The crisp night air was strong beneath Francois's ebony wings as he led four of his rookery brothers into the north country to deal with the approaching band of humans. He carefully scanned the trees ahead of him for any sign of the humans but had yet to find anything of importance. A growl rumbled from his throat at having to simply frighten these murderous vermin away. Unlike Valjean, Francois's tolerance for the humans was destroyed when he witnessed the death of his brothers and sisters.  He could not understand how his leader could show mercy to those who would gladly kill them if given the chance.

"There," called Jean-Luc, who soared high on his left flank.

Francois turned to see where his rookery brother was pointing.  About a league to the east, firelight could be seen. "Looks like they have made camp," he said over his shoulder to the others. Banking toward the humans' camp, Francois added, "Remember, Valjean only wants the humans frightened away, not hurt.  But if they resist, teach them a lesson."
The countryside passed quickly beneath the five gargoyles as they headed straight toward the burning beacon in the night. They skimmed the very tops of the trees so as not to be spotted before they wanted to be. When the concealing foliage began to thin and the firelight was but a moment ahead, Francois led his brothers down with a howling roar that seemed to shake the very air. When the others joined in, it turned into a chorus that would freeze the heart of the most steadfast warrior.

Horses and their colorfully dressed gypsy masters cried out in fright as they desperately sought to flee the menacing creatures that were swooping through their camp.  Mothers scrambled to snatch children into protective embraces as they sought the shelter of the half-dozen wagons that encircled the camp. The men tried hard to restore a modicum of order to the blossoming chaos around them but found that the gargoyles' sudden terrorizing appearance had shattered any hope of that.  Lit torches were wielded as clubs to be swung at a low passing gargoyle. Any object which was close at hand became a weapon, including sticks, hand tools, and even musical instruments.

Francois made a third pass low over the camp, coming near a human youth swinging a lute at Jean-Luc's tail. Eyes flashing white, Francois angled toward the young gypsy to seize the wooden instrument in his talons, allowing his forward motion to pull the youth off his feet and send him tumbling across the ground. A quick flexing of his fingers tore the fragile instrument apart. With his attention on the youth, Francois had no warning of the well-aimed stone that struck his head just over his ear. Stunned, he fell from the sky and crashed into one of the wagons, the impact rocking it and cracking its well-made paneling. He then crashed to the ground as the wagon settled back evenly on its wheels.

"That'll teach you to hurt my brother!" an auburn-haired young girl shouted at the felled Francois, brandishing another sizable stone. Brave though she appeared to be, a roar from a descending Jean-Luc sent her running in the opposite direction.

"Are you all right, my brother?" Jean-Luc asked, gripping his dazed rookery brother and lifting him to his feet.

With a hand on his smarting temple, Francois shook his head clear and looked at the beige gargoyle beside him. "My pride is more injured than I am," he replied honestly. He noticed that the other three of his band had remained airborne and were continuing to sweep low over the area, making sure none of the humans got too close to either him or Jean-Luc.

Many of the humans had taken the moment of distraction as an opportunity to flee into the woods nearby, leaving only the few who remained to safeguard the retreat. They, too, soon retreated under the continued harassment of the diving, growling, aerial assault. When the last human was lost from sight, nothing remained in the camp save for the four circled wagons and the crackling fire at their center. Looking at this, Francois felt good at having gotten the job done, but another part of him felt he had done these humans wrong. They had not been warriors or a murderous mob but simple gypsies seeking a peaceful night around a fire, one filled with storytelling, music, and dancing.  Francois and his rookery brothers had just ruined any chance of that.

"What troubles you?" Jean-Luc asked, seeing the forlorn look on Francois's face.
Shaking his head again, Francois replied, "'Tis nothing. My senses are not quite my own yet," but he knew that it was a feeble lie even as it left his lips. Forcing a calm resilience to overshadow the unexpected guilt he felt, he said, "Our job here is done. Let us return to the clan now." Using an abandoned wagon as a stepping stool, he and Jean-Luc leapt from its roof to catch a thermal that lifted them into the starry night sky, and from there they began to wing their way home.


Washington Square Park

The park bustled with activity as the Quarrymen rally prepared to begin. While the crowd was small, it was boisterous enough to put smiles on the faces of the Quarrymen there. A stage consisting of a wooden platform two feet high had been erected near a replica of France's L'Arc De Triumph.  There was a podium set at the front of the stage and large loudspeakers placed on the corners. Hanging behind the stage was a large blue curtain with a Quarryman logo at its center. Behind the stage stood a hoodless Quarryman in his standard dark-blue uniform. He pulled out a cellular phone, dialed a number, and after getting an answer, he began to speak.

"Mr. Castaway, this is Jackson. This small crowd seems enthusiastic enough. Should we begin the rally now or wait till the crowd becomes bigger?"

"Begin the rally now, Mr. Jackson. The crowd will surely grow once they hear our words of truth. Ensure that Mr. Douglas and his team are looking for new recruits among the crowd. The more people we have fighting this menace the better. And make sure that the rest of the team is scanning the area for gargoyles. We can never miss a chance to put those filthy beasts out of commission. Am I understood?"

"Understood, sir." He hung up the phone and looked at the crowd waiting in anticipation for the rally to begin. Surrounded by uniformed Quarrymen armed with rifles and their trademark hammers, the crowd was of particular interest to Jackson. It was composed of ordinary citizens with one thing in common: a fear they knew little or nothing about. They were confused and willing to follow anyone who had the ability to eliminate that fear once and for all. The Quarryman felt confident that his words tonight would make the crowd embrace the organization and help them realize their ultimate goal: the complete annihilation of all gargoyles around the world. With a smile on his face, Jackson stepped onto the stage, cleared his throat, adjusted the microphone, and began his speech.

"Ladies and gentlemen, what's on your mind tonight? Is it your family? Your job? Being able to put food on the plate for your loved ones? Or are your thoughts turned into nightmares? Nightmares with wings." Jackson paused as he let that last statement sink into the crowd's minds before continuing. "These menaces, the gargoyles, are the greatest danger mankind has ever known. They attack people without provocation and have no remorse for their actions. In fact, they seem to enjoy their attacks on helpless humans, even insulting them as the people try to defend themselves as best as they can. Why, just the other day, a friend of mine was walking the street, minding his own business, when he was the victim of a surprise attack by these winged villains. Though he tried to defend himself, he was no match for the gargoyles. In the end, he was knocked unconscious.  He was simply lucky that the monsters didn't kill him. It is very possible that the gargoyles will soon take away a life for their sadistic purposes, maybe even hunt us down as their prey. This is something we cannot stand for!"

Shouts and applause rose from the crowd as the last line was spoken. Jackson delighted in this response, but signaled that he was not finished with his speech. When the crowd fell silent, he continued once more.

"And what has the Mayor done to stop this plague of terror from engulfing the city?" After a pause, he continued with a sarcastic tone, "He has created the Gargoyle Task Force. This group was supposedly created to stop the gargoyles from doing any more harm to the fair citizens of New York. In truth, this 'task force' has done nothing but let the gargoyles get away with even more rampant destruction and danger to human life. The Gargoyle Task Force is composed of nothing but cowards hiding behind tin stars and government officials who are afraid of the truth. And that truth is the hammers of the Quarrymen will dispose of the..."

"Gargoyles!" a Quarryman shouted.

An interrupted Jackson looked at the Quarryman that had uttered this cry. "Where are they?" he demanded.

"Flying towards our location at three o' clock, sir."

He grabbed a pair of binoculars and looked in the direction the Quarryman was pointing.  "Perfect!" he muttered under his breath. With a glint of joy in his eyes, Jackson grabbed the microphone and spoke to the confused, terrified crowd. "Now you shall see how we handle those rogue animals." The Quarrymen armed with rifles began to take aim at the approaching creatures.  The excited Jackson then shouted out the command over the P.A. system.

"Open fire!"


The Farmhouse outside Paris

Stepping out of the hut, Demona looked at the place the Parisian gargoyles now called home. What their lair amounted to was an old, rundown farmstead that was situated on a small rise in the countryside. There was a windmill that was missing two of its four blades. The remaining two were perforated with ragged holes, with much of the framing crumbled. Between the windmill and the main house was an old well, and even the small wooden roof over it was battered and broken. What remained of the main house was little more than a skeleton, with less than half its roof intact. The windows were boarded up haphazardly, while the tiles on the roof were cracked and falling from their places. What remained of the chimney was an unsteady column of bricks, ready to crumble at any moment. The one thing all these items had common was that they all showed signs of having been burned. The wood was blackened and charred.

"I know that it isn't much," Élan said, noticing the expression on Demona's face as she looked about, "but it has served us well since our flight from Notre Dame."

Demona turned to Élan with a sweeping gesture toward the compound. "You are too vulnerable here," she stated with a vehement tone. "The humans would come upon you easily during the day and then you would be destroyed. This is no place to seek safety."

"What would you have of us?" Élan said imploringly. "When we were forced to flee the city, we did not have anywhere else to go. We came upon this place by accident and since it appeared to have been abandoned some time ago, we figured that no one would think to return here." She walked up beside Demona and looked up at the slightly taller female. "Besides, we'll be returning to the cathedral after Valjean speaks to Father Robert."

Demona continued to look around as members of Élan's clan went about doing odd chores, such as gathering food and drawing water from the well, along with keeping a constant watch over the surrounding area. "This is a mistake," she murmured to herself. She then spotted Valjean coming around from the back of the windmill and headed toward him with Élan in tow. Demona was halfway to him when Francois and his party passed over her head to land in front of the clan's leader.

"...ans have been driven away," was all Demona was able to catch of Francois's first words to Valjean as she got closer.

"No one was hurt?" Valjean asked while passing his gaze over Jean-Luc, Lebeau, Ducan, and Darrius, those who had gone with his second-in-command.

Francois unconsciously rubbed his bruised temple when he replied, "No one was hurt, Valjean." Then he turned his head slightly and whispered to himself, "That's worth mentioning anyway." It was this action that allowed Valjean to notice the Scottish female gargoyle standing behind him.

"Ah, ma cherie," Valjean said, showing a reaction of relief and joy at seeing Demona out and about. "I am most pleased to see that you are feeling well enough to join us."

Demona nodded her head in acceptance of his words. "Thanks to you and your clan, Valjean," she said. Moving past Francois, she came to stand next to Valjean. "I would like to speak with you privately for a moment, if I could." Her eyes flicked over all the other gathered gargoyles.

"Certainly," Valjean replied. He looked to Francois and the others, who took the silent hint to make themselves scarce. When he was finally alone with Demona, he directed his full attention to her. "What can I do for you, belle dame?"

Demona started to casually walk further away from the other gargoyles as she began to speak. "I want to try to change your mind about trusting this human whom you plan on speaking with about returning to the cathedral, Valjean." She saw him about to offer a rebuttal, but she lifted her hand to prevent it. "Yes, you may be able to trust that one human to safeguard you during the day," she said, "but there will always be others who do not share his concern for the well-being of you clan.  They will destroy you at the first opportunity."

"You do not understand, Demona," Valjean said, sighing out his frustration. "The Parisian humans have a sacred bond with Notre Dame and what it stands for. They would not willfully violate a blessing of sanctuary that has been bestowed upon those within its walls."

Demona's temper flared a bit, as did her voice, when she wheeled on Valjean with her next words. "Humans think of us as demons or monsters," she argued. "Do not their religious beliefs tell them that all such beasts should be shunned and destroyed?" The unexpected turn that Demona's reasoning took stumped the deep blue gargoyle for a moment.  While she waited for his reply, Demona pressed her advantage. "It would take but one priest with such a belief in his head to doom your clan before the next sunset. You would never know what happened."

Valjean shook his head plaintively. "I'm sorry, cherie, but I don't feel as you do.  Maybe I should, but I don't." He locked eyes with Demona. "I've known Father Robert since he came to Notre Dame as a boy. He has distinguished himself as a man of faith and honesty. If he gave me his word that he would protect us while we slept then I would believe him." His gaze softened when he added, "You have suffered a great and terrible loss, ma cherie, and I can only imagine what it must be like to be the only survivor of your clan. It is this loss that has molded your judgment. You now think that everything must fit into that mold but..." he shrugged his shoulders, "it doesn't."

Demona opened her mouth to enlighten Valjean as to her immortality, which had caused her to live through vile treacheries that had resulted in the destruction of two clans. However, a sudden apprehension stopped the words before the first syllable was formed. She did not know how these gargoyles would react to her once they discovered that she was no longer mortal and that this was the true reason why she was able to survive the assault in the city. Demona turned away from Valjean, her argument having stalled. She did not know what else to say to convince Valjean of her point of view.

"Demona," Valjean said as he came up behind her. "Come with me to Notre Dame and meet Father Robert for yourself.  You will see that he is a decent, honorable human."

Letting her chin fall to her chest, Demona tried to resist the sincere, plaintive urging that underlined Valjean's request. He honestly believed that he could place the welfare of his entire clan in the hands of a human priest without the slightest inkling of fear. It was something Demona could understand but, at the same time, could not understand. She had trusted Macbeth for over three decades and even thought of him as a friend, but, in the end, he, too, had betrayed her. She lifted her head and turned to face Valjean when his hand enveloped hers and held her firmly. The endearing gesture of the kind gargoyle caused a tremor to race along Demona's arm, leaving a warm, comforting feeling behind. She could not look away from his soft, imploring eyes.

"I want to help you recover, belle dame," he said in a subdued, driving voice. "You have many wounds that have yet to heal." He paused to gaze deeply into her leaf-green eyes, allowing emotion to convey the spirit of his words better than their own meaning could. "S'il vous plait, Demona, put aside your past long enough to hope again, even if it is for only one night." A smile gradually spread across his face.

Glancing to one side, Demona breathed a defeated sigh as she said, "Very well, Valjean. I will trust your judgment of this human long enough for him to prove worthy of the faith you seem to have in him."

"That's all I ask," Valjean said, his smile not diminished by Demona's unbroken reluctance. He gave a gentle tug of the hand. "Come, let us gather a few others and then make our way to the cathedral." He then released her as he led the way back into the heart of the gargoyle encampment.

Demona followed a few steps behind, finding herself drawn to this charismatic gargoyle who seemed to repel her ideologically just as strongly as he attracted her physically. It infuriated her that she could not open his eyes to the extreme dangers of dealing with the human race.  The prospect of her unheeded warning resulting in another tragedy caused her heart to feel like a dead weight within her breast. It had been a long time since she had even seen another living gargoyle, which had led her to believe that she was the last remaining gargoyle on Earth.  Now she was with these Parisians who, while bolstering her hope, seemed to be heading down the same road that her clan did before the attack on Castle Wyvern. What it ultimately came down to was that Demona wanted desperately to be happy having found others of her own kind again. However, she could not allow herself to be content as she feared it would not last.

"Are you coming, cherie?" Valjean called to her. Demona snapped back into reality, realizing that she had unconsciously stopped walking during her introspection. Meeting Valjean's gaze from where he and four others stood waiting for her atop the tallest rise in the area, she started forward again with a heightened pace to make up for the time lost in thought. "You needn't worry," Valjean said with a lilting tone as Demona came next to him. "You'll soon see that you worries are as without substance as a nightmare that passes in the day."

Demona was surprised, and relieved, when a genuine smile lit her face. "I hope you're right," she said, looking at him. "I've lived through enough dreams gone bad."

Valjean unfurled his wings while he kept Demona's gaze locked with his. "Come," he said and leaped off the rise as a gust of wind presented itself. She followed with Jean-Luc, Lebeau, and two females she had not yet seen before, ascending on the wind into the night sky. Once the tree line fell away, she caught sight of the distant city of Paris, lit up against the horizon by both lamp-lit windows and open fires burning in the streets.


Castle Wyvern Library

Angela took her eyes away from the book and let the events of the story sink into her mind before continuing. Though a part of Angela was still angry at Demona for what she had tried to do to her months before, another part was glad that her mother still wanted to reach out to her in some way. However, she was certain that the rest of the clan would not feel the same way if they ever discovered that the book came from Demona. As she continued reading, Angela decided that she would keep this a secret between herself and her mother.


Paris, France

The group of gargoyles continued onward toward the city with the gusty night air supporting them easily. Each of them kept their silence and carefully scanned the land below for any human that may have spotted them. They needed to go unseen for as long as possible or they would risk revealing the direction in which their impromptu lair could be found. To their mutual relief, they saw no trace of any human hunting parties between the lair and the city.  Once they were within Paris' boundaries, however, shouts went up as a few humans glanced up and sighted the winged monsters. Fortunately, no one else seemed to want to hunt down more gargoyles that night.  The late hour called for sleep and caused the few that saw them to momentarily forego any "monster hunting" for the comforts of home.

The cathedral of Notre Dame soon was under the gargoyles' wings as they slowly spiraled down to one of its towers, looking for any sign of danger. Valjean was the first to set down, followed by Jean-Luc, Demona, and then the others. Furling his wings, Valjean led them all to a stairway that descended into the lamp-lit interior of the belfry. The soft glow of the lamplight cast gently flickering shadows about the walls. Demona could not help but wonder why the humans would keep a lamp burning in the bell tower, but that question was soon answered when she was led away from the stairs and into the spacious chamber housing the large iron bells of Notre Dame. A human sat near a door on the far side with a lantern at the foot of his wooden chair.

"Ah, Valjean, it's so good to see you again, my brother," the human said as he rose from his seat and walked over to the gargoyle leader with his arms held out. He embraced Valjean when the two came together. From his plain white robe, Demona figured that this hairless man was Father Robert.

"And you," Valjean said, gripping the man fondly by the shoulders. "I told you that I would be here."

"I never doubted it for an instant."

"How are the eggs in the rookery, Father?"

"Safe and doing fine.  No one has discovered them and no has disturbed them since you left."  Father Robert's eyes then alighted on Demona and a spark of surprise flashed upon his face. "And who is this with you?"

Reaching to take Demona's hand, Valjean drew her close to the priest. "This is Demona. She is a visitor to our land."

"How do you do, madam?" Father Robert asked as he extended his hand in greeting.

Demona secretly wanted to rip the Father's arm from its socket but decided that she must give him a chance to prove himself, for Valjean's sake. She accepted the hand with her talons and replied, "How do you do," in a courteous yet bland manner.

Father Robert then returned his attention to Valjean. "Now, Valjean, do not tell me that she is the reason you returned to Notre Dame," he said jokingly.

Valjean grinned at the remark with one eye directed at Demona. "Non, non, Father.  Something much more important. I came to talk about our return to the cathedral." Father Robert's expression changed from delighted to serious once that subject was mentioned. "What is wrong?" Valjean asked.

The Father hesitated for a moment before answering the question. "Valjean, I must advise you not to return to the cathedral. Please, for the safety of your kind, you must find another place to live."

Valjean looked quizzically at the man. "Father Robert, what compels you to say such a thing? I thought that we would always find sanctuary here in our home."

"Oui, this is your sanctuary and your home, but not everyone here would agree with your views.  Many members of the clergy believe that you and your kind are a product of the Devil himself and that you should all be destroyed. Worse yet, they have influenced the people to believe this, as well."

"And what about those that do not believe we are evil demons?"

"Aside from myself, no one else has spoken in your defense. No one seems to have any desire to protect your kind."

"But why? The clergy has always had an alliance with the clan ever since the construction of the cathedral."

"Valjean, attitudes have changed for the worse, I'm afraid. That is why you must leave Notre Dame. Leave Paris altogether in search of a new protectorate and a new life."

"Never!" Valjean shouted with his eyes blazing white. Never in his life had he imagined that Father Robert or anyone else would ever suggest that his clan should permanently abandon their majestic home. "We will never leave the protectorate!  This is our home and it will always be our home, no matter what anyone believes about us."

Father Robert took a more serious tone as he addressed Valjean. "And if you and your clan stay, who will protect you during the day!" He paused as he let the deep blue gargoyle ponder that statement before continuing. "I can only do so much against an angry mob. The rest of the clergy - even those who do not believe that you are creatures of Hell - will not lift a finger to help protect you. You shall be shattered in your sleep. Is this what you want for your clan?"

Valjean's eyes ceased to glow as he realized that the human was correct. There was no way that Father Robert alone could possibly stop a mob of people bent on eradicating what they believed was evil. If what he said about the other clergymen was true, then there really was no choice but to move away from Notre Dame. However, Valjean could not bring himself to commit to that decision. For as long as he could remember, Notre Dame had been his home and his protectorate.  In his mind, it would always be his home and protectorate, and it would be the home and protectorate for the future generations of his clan, as well; a bond between gargoyle and home was never as strong as this. He could never bear to abandon the cathedral.

"I have no other choice, it seems." Valjean walked over to the edge of the cathedral, past the small group of gargoyles, and pressed a circular piece of stone, revealing a small statue of a gargoyle.  The gargoyle sat on a stone platform, grasping its legs, with wings unfurled and an expressionless look on its stone face. He then took the statue to the group as Father Robert looked on.  "We shall stay here in the cathedral. The Praying Gargoyle will see to our clan's survival."

Demona was more than a little shocked upon seeing the statue everyone seemed to such high regard for. She could not believe that such a bland and inornate object would be able to protect her kind from the savage humans. "How is this supposed to ensure our survival?" she questioned.

"Ma cherie, this statue is a magical one that has been in our clan for several generations," Valjean responded. "According to legend, a special incantation grants the gargoyles protection from any and all harm that may come. It is only to be used during the most dire time. This is the most dire time."

"Unfortunately," Lebeau added, "none of us are practicing sorcerers."

Valjean sighed. "Oui, no one in the clan is learned in the magical arts. It would be too dangerous if we attempted to perform this magical feat, especially if something went wrong. Which is why we must go out and search for a sorcerer before we can permanently return to Notre Dame." Demona felt like speaking up but decided it would be best to stay silent for the moment. Valjean continued, "It is close to dawn. We shall stay here for the day and tomorrow we will begin our search." The crowd began to disperse when Father Robert spoke.

"How can you so sure that this Praying Gargoyle will protect you? After all, you said yourself that no one has used it for many generations."

"Father, for the sake of my clan, I must try."

"Stubborn as a mule, just like I remember you," Father Robert smiled. "Until tomorrow, my friend."

Valjean smiled back, happy to see that things in his life were finally starting to come back to normal. He and the rest of the group began to settle in when he noticed that Demona was leaning against the cathedral edge, an uneasy expression covering her face.

"Is there something troubling you, Demona?" There was no response. Valjean believed that she was truly involved in her thoughts but tried once more to get her attention. 


She finally came out of her trance and acknowledged his presence. "Oh, Valjean.  I'm sorry."

Valjean gave a brief smile. "Non, ma cherie, it is I who should be sorry for interrupting. You seemed disturbed and I wanted to know what was bothering you."

"It was nothing really. Nothing at all," Demona said as she looked at the skyline of Paris. Valjean seemed satisfied with the answer and began to leave when Demona called his attention once more.

"Valjean, if you do not mind, I would like to be alone for a while, away from the cathedral."

Valjean was surprised to hear those last words come from the blue female gargoyle. He found it strange that anyone would like to venture out there, away from a secure place, knowing that there was a great chance that the person would not live to see another sunrise. "But Demona, dawn approaches. If a few gargoyle haters find your stone form during the day, you would be killed."

"I know this, but I must be alone. I will find a safe place to roost for the day and I will return tonight. Trust me, I have done this many times over."

"But..." Valjean was silenced by Demona's talon, which she placed over his lips. She gazed deeply into his eyes and gave him a look that prevented him from saying any more words. Demona took her talon from his lips saying, "Please, Valjean, for my sake."

The blue male gargoyle looked at Demona, especially her face and eyes. The look he received from her made it impossible to resist her request. He could not place it, but, somehow, he felt happy to see a look that was familiar to him. With a sigh, Valjean said, "For you, Demona, I shall grant your wish."

"Thank you Valjean." Demona smiled at her companion for granting this request. As she prepared to glide away, she felt a hand grasp hers. She looked back to see that it was Valjean's hand.

"Be careful, belle dame. I cannot afford to lose you now."

A chord was suddenly struck inside Demona's heart. "I shall," she said as she glided off away from the city, into the forest. Flying over the city, she thought about the situation before her.  This was her chance to save what remained of her kind. No longer would they live in fear of humans that would see them shattered during the day. Her noble race would survive any further attacks and flourish for generations to come. However, she did not want to reveal to the clan that she knew about the magical arts. Her own clan had looked down on anyone that wished to learn sorcery. They surely would have banished her if they had ever discovered that she was an apprentice to the Archmage. She had no way of knowing that this French clan would not react similarly if she revealed her secret to them. In her mind, she could not risk losing contact with this clan, especially Valjean. She desperately wanted companionship once more. Being alone was dreadful, especially for an immortal, and banishment from this clan would crush what was left of her spirit.

Demona thought further as she landed in a heavily wooded area of the forest. A majority of her thoughts were directed towards Valjean. He reminded her so much of Goliath: strong, handsome, a born leader in every way. Yet he was also stubborn about many things, especially about human trust. Demona was falling in love again, this time with someone who had the same personality as her first love. But if she did not do something soon, her new love would end up like her old love. This realization was enough to convince Demona. "Tomorrow evening, when the sun sets and I awaken, I will them about my secret," she vowed to herself. The sun rose, capturing her in a kneeling position as she turned to stone.


Above Washington Square Park

The three gargoyles thought of the apparent trap they had avoided as they glided back to the castle. They speculated as to who could have hoped to lead them into a trap by sending Angela that book. They first suspected that Thailog had sent the book, but they remembered that he died in the Coney Island fire. Macbeth and Xanatos were ruled out as well, though the sincerity of Xanatos' truce was still in question, especially after the battle they had with Coyote 5.0. The first real suspects they all had in mind were the Quarrymen, but they, too, were ruled out when they thought about that package.  How did anyone know just who Angela was and where she lived? Even more confusing than that were the contents of the package.  Why was it a book about the origins of gargoyles? With these and other perplexing questions, the three felt it was necessary to hurry back to the castle before anyone could do harm to the clan.

As they flew over Washington Square Park, they noticed the large crowd that had formed there.  Once they saw that Quarrymen were present, and that this was apparently a rally for the group, the gargoyles were filled with disgust.

"Don't they have anything better to do than spread their hate?" Lexington said angrily.

Goliath responded, "At the moment, let's just hope that they don't see us." Seconds later, the first shot from a Quarryman rifle was fired and the laser blast whizzed past Goliath and Broadway's wings.

"Looks like they've already seen us," Broadway said as he noted just how close that shot was.

"Spread out! It'll be harder for them to hit any of us that way," Goliath ordered as they began to try to evade the laser barrage. He began to bank to the right as Lexington banked to the left. Broadway flew higher as he dodged the shots, twisting and turning his body to avoid each passing blast.  Suddenly, he felt a stinging sensation in his right shoulder. He glanced at the afflicted shoulder and clenched his teeth. Before he could react further, he was struck in both of his wing arms by more laser shots. The searing pain that followed was too much for him to handle, and he began to lose altitude fast, screaming as he fell towards the pavement and blacking out in the middle of his tailspin. Broadway's screams of pain reached the ears of Goliath and Lexington, and they turned back to seem him plummeting toward the crowd of waiting Quarrymen and innocent bystanders on the ground far below.

"Goliath, I'll distract the gunmen while you get Broadway" Lexington shouted.

Goliath was about to protest, but Lex had already sprung into action and veered off, drawing the Quarrymen's fire. Now it was Goliath's turn to go into action. The purple gargoyle swooped down to try and catch Broadway before he could put a crater on the concrete.


"Excellent!" Jackson shouted as he witnessed the large blue gargoyle receive several direct hits from the series of laser blasts. With the creature plummeting towards the ground below, he took a glance at its apparent landing site: a crowd of people. His delight turned to horror at the thought of more people being hurt by a "creature of evil." Hastily grabbing the microphone, he calmed himself a bit before speaking to the crowd. "Ladies and gentlemen, I must ask you to please leave the area.  Although we will deal with this hell spawn, we cannot ensure your general safety if you stay where you are at the moment." The crowd began to back away, but their pace quickened when one person noticed something else coming from above.

"Look! There's another one!" a man screamed. Panic began to spread through the crowd as several of the bystanders ran from the landing site.


Goliath dove into the laser fire, banking left and right to avoid the blasts directed at him. He didn't care if he got shot or was hurt in any other way. His only concern was catching Broadway before the crazed mob could get to him. From what he had seen, he had to get to him fast.  Suddenly, the laser rain had ceased. The riflemen had run out of ammunition and were relying instead on their hammers to finish off the approaching gargoyles. It was now or never. As they prepared to cock their hammers, Goliath dove faster, gaining speed as he directed himself towards the crowd of waiting Quarrymen. Broadway was getting closer and closer to the pavement; the purple gargoyle continued his dive towards the crowd. There were only a few feet left between Broadway and the ground when Goliath finally caught him.

The weight of the fallen gargoyle in his arms caused the clan leader to lose the air current under his wings, forcing him to land. Goliath heard the Quarrymen shouting "Kill the beast!" and "Smash some stone!" as they ran towards him. With no time to lose, he ran towards a nearby subway vent, hoping to get an air current to glide on. He reached the grate just as a subway passed underneath him, causing a blast of hot air to rise from the ground. Goliath rode the current before the Quarrymen reached him. He glided towards a nearby building, hoping to hide on the roof from his pursuers, but he was unable to gain the altitude he needed to make it all the way to the top. He would have to climb, instead. He alighted on the ground near the wall and dug one hand into it to prevent himself from falling, while he used his other hand to hold on to Broadway by the wrist. Caping his wings together, he swung the aqua-blue gargoyle over his shoulder and tried to climb one-handed. The difficulty of ascending with one hand and the extra weight of a heavyset gargoyle quickly exhausted Goliath, but he pushed himself to keep going until he reached the top. As he did, a small band of Quarrymen arrived. Seeing that there was no way they could reach the gargoyles before they could escape, one Quarryman cocked his hammer and threw it towards the creatures. It missed, shattering a nearby window and creating a small explosion inside. Goliath reached the top and placed Broadway face up on the roof. He then collapsed from the fatigue and tried to catch his breath.


While a majority of the people had departed for safer ground, some of the members of the crowd approached the stage and demanded that they be armed so that they, too, could fight off the approaching creatures.

"Are all of you sure that you can handle the gargoyle menace?" Jackson asked as he looked into the eyes of these brave souls.

A man wearing a cap spoke up. "Sir, I can't speak for the rest of these people, but I can tell you that I received military training when I was in the Air Force. I'm more than prepared to deal with these monsters."

Jackson smiled at the boldness and the courage this man seemed to possess. "What's your rank, soldier?" he asked.

"Lieutenant, sir."

"Well, Lieutenant, looks like you get the chance to prove yourself tonight." Jackson turned to a nearby Quarryman and spoke. "Cecil, get this man and the rest of the people here some weapons.  They're going to help us in this fight."

Cecil nodded and rushed to the supply van for the requested items. He returned a few minutes later with a crate of standard Quarryman hammers for the civilian party. Jackson took a hammer and gave a quick lesson to the volunteers as to its proper use. "Cock the hammer here," he said as he demonstrated the action, "and swing at the target." The audience clamored for their weaponry until Jackson passed them out quickly to each and every volunteer. "Be careful and good luck."


Goliath sat up, a bit out of breath, and peered over the building's edge. The Quarrymen were still in hot pursuit, storming towards the building and trying to find access to the roof. Goliath took a quick count of his pursuers and noted that there were too many for him to handle alone. He needed to direct the Quarrymen away from Broadway, but he knew that if he did, he would leave his injured friend vulnerable to further harm. He needed another plan.


He turned in the direction of the call and saw both a crimson red gargoyle and a light brown, armor-clad gargoyle gliding towards him. Now he had the help he needed.

"We heard about the riot over the police scanners. Anyone get hurt?" Brooklyn asked. Broadway began to moan in pain as he regained consciousness. "I guess that answers my question. Where's Lex?"

"He diverted the attention of most of the Quarrymen," Goliath responded. "He may still be in the park, but we must make sure he is safe. Hudson, stay here and protect Broadway. Brooklyn and I will lure the rest of the Quarrymen away from you while we find Lexington."

"Aye. No harm will come to him." Hudson watched as Goliath and Brooklyn flew off from the rooftop back towards the park. Shortly thereafter, he turned his attention to Broadway, who was still groaning and half-conscious. "Dinna worry, lad. This will soon be over," he said, trying to comfort the light blue gargoyle in his time of need.


Lexington was having troubles of his own. Though he was quick and more agile than the rest of his clan, it was still no easy task to avoid the gunfire aimed in his direction. He quickly glided into the wooded area of the park in order to gain some camouflage from his attackers. Hiding within the leafy branches of the trees, Lexington could see and hear the Quarrymen that were chasing him earlier.

"Darn it! I can't find the little critter," one Quarryman shouted.

"Anyone have any ammo left?" another asked.

Another Quarryman responded, "No, we're all out."

The apparent leader of the group spoke. "OK, everyone, ditch the guns and break out the hammers. Knock down every tree in the park if you have to. We have to ferret out the gargoyle."

Lexington's eyes widened in shock at hearing what the Quarryman's plan was. It was only a matter of time before he would be found if he stayed where he was. As the Quarrymen cocked their hammers and began to swing at the trees, Lexington scampered from treetop to treetop to avoid being knocked down. Unfortunately, he eventually landed on a tree just as it was hit. The vibrations sent through the tree were too much for Lexington, causing him to lose his balance and fall to the pavement below.

"Look! I got 'im!" a Quarryman shouted. His companions began to come towards his location, but Lexington was quick enough to recover and began to scamper off on all fours. The Quarrymen gave chase. Lexington continued to scamper until he approached a Quarryman that was ready to swing his hammer. He missed as the dark-green gargoyle dodged the swing and headed off in another direction, where he was met with another hammer-wielding Quarryman. With Quarrymen surrounding him on all sides, Lexington felt trapped. As the white hot glow of the hammers shone through the night sky and the humming noise they created pulsated through the air, Lexington decided he had no choice but to fight his way out. He moved into a fighting stance and his eyes glowed white.

"Don't those things ever run out of juice?" he asked right before he threw the first punch.


Outside of Paris

The stone covering Demona's body had been broken and lay scattered all over the forest floor once the sun had set for the night. Once she had awoken from her sleep, she immediately took flight for Notre Dame Cathedral. She had decided that informing the clan about her training in magic was the right thing to do, even if, in the end, it meant banishment. Although she was willing to accept this fate from the clan, she still hoped that the clan would welcome her once they knew she was a sorceress. She would make Valjean happy by showing him she was still alive, and she would also make the clan happy by revealing that she could be their savior. "This time, my plans cannot fail," she said to herself as she approached the cathedral.

Upon landing, an eerie silence settled upon the cathedral. Demona knew this feeling but tried to convince herself that this was just a bad memory trying to resurface. She called out to the clan members by name but no response came. She even called out the name of Father Robert, but again there was no response. As she approached the other end of the cathedral rooftop, she saw what she had feared the most. Scattered around the parapets were clumps of stone, the last remains of the gargoyles that had once graced the building. The pieces were everywhere, some unrecognizable and others very distinguishable, such as a finger, a horn, or an arm. Demona gasped in horror at what she saw and immediately broke down, crying and wailing at the top of her lungs. The scene reminded her so much of the Wyvern massacre, it was frightening. Images of her fallen brothers and sisters flashed through her mind as she saw more and more remnants of the French gargoyles littering the floor. She began to put the blame on Father Robert when she heard someone call from the corner of the building.

"Demona."  The voice was very faint but still familiar to Demona's ears. It was Valjean. She ran to him and saw that he was pierced in the chest and bleeding profusely.

"Valjean, what has happened here?"

Valjean summarized the events with a faint and weak voice. "Humans led by the clergy stormed in here during the day to destroy the clan. Father Robert tried to stop them. He was overpowered and forced to watch as the clan was massacred. I awoke but was stabbed by a sword before I could do anything. They left me here to die while they killed Father Robert. They were on their way to destroy the eggs." He winced in pain as he gasped for air.

Demona looked around and saw Father Robert laying face down on the roof a short distance away, a pool of blood underneath him. "How long ago did the humans leave for the rookery?"

"Hours ago," Valjean responded. "The eggs are surely destroyed by now." Demona felt a heavy burden in her heart. The world, as she knew it, was starting to crumble, and all she could do was watch. She felt like she was incapable of doing anything to stop the madness happening around her. No matter how much she wanted to do something, she didn't have the will to do anything. As she stood there speechless, Valjean continued. "Ma cherie, you must help protect the rest of the clan who still live. Retrieve the Praying Gargoyle and the spell that goes along with it. Return to the clan and find a sorcerer who can perform the spell so that no more of our kind will suffer the same fate as those here tonight. Lead them in my absence."

Demona's eyes began to well up with tears. She could not believe that Valjean, a proud and strong leader, was admitting defeat. "Valjean, I could not..."

"Yes, you can," he interrupted. "For me, belle dame, you must lead the clan and protect them from harm."

Demona nodded silently as the tears began to stream from her eyes. She grasped his hand and put it to her face as he spoke once more.

"Demona, before I depart this world, I must tell you that I have only said this to one other person in my life. A person that I cared for as much as I care for you. I... lo.." Valjean couldn't find enough strength to continue with what he was about to say. Demona's eyes widened as she tried to coax him to continue living, if only to finish what he was about to say. She felt his hand throb and grow tense before finally going limp. The hand dropped from her face as he passed away, eyes open to catch a final image of Demona.

She could not find the strength to do anything but cry at his passing. She sat there and watched his face, blanketed with the suffering he had to ordeal before his final end. After a moment of mourning had passed, Demona remembered the request Valjean had made. She vowed that this was the way to honor his memory and ensure that no more of her noble race would perish again. 

Demona closed Valjean's eyes with her hand before hurrying to the spot where the Praying Gargoyle was hidden. She pushed the piece of stone as she had seen Valjean do the night before and removed the statue. She held in in her hand for a moment, looking at its solemn face through tear-filled eyes. It was so small - so fragile - yet it had the potential to ensure that no gargoyle ever died at the hands of a human again. "If the humans found me with this," she thought to herself, "they would surely destroy it." She hesitated only a moment longer before deciding she couldn't take that risk. "I'll come back for it later, once I know the others are safe," she thought as she tucked it safely back into its hiding place. Then she launched herself off the cathedral, gliding as fast as her wings would carry her to the place in the forest where the rest of the clan resided.

Demona was in a state of utter disbelief and fear. From a distance, she could see black smoke rising from the clan's encampment. Without a moment to lose, she glided into the forest to see a massive fire engulfing the structures. Demona crashed through the brittle door of one building, trying to look for survivors. The heat of the flames was unbearable even for her, but her adrenaline rush quenched the pain. When she finally found something, she screamed in horror. It was a stone body piece of Élan, half of her face to be exact. Demona was in shock. Everyone she had known and cared for had again been destroyed by a menace known as human beings. As she walked through the flames and into the forest, vengeance once again occupied her heart. The hatred for human beings that had been quelled when she met this clan had sprung up again stronger than ever. The thought of being the only living gargoyle left on the earth solidified that hatred. With the structure still burning behind her, Demona looked in the direction of the city and took a personal oath.

"If I am to suffer this fate, then I shall have all the humans share in my suffering." With that, Demona climbed to the highest point in the forest and glided towards the city of Paris, filling the night air with her hellish cry and her vow for vengeance.


Washington Square Park

Goliath and Brooklyn looked behind them to see that the Quarrymen that had been heading towards the building were now pursuing them instead.  For now, the plan had worked. All they needed to do was find Lexington and hold off the enemy until the police arrived. Brooklyn then caught sight of a circle of Quarrymen attacking and being attacked by a small bat-like object. "Looks like we found him," Brooklyn said, pointing to the human circle below them. Both gargoyles descended towards Lexington's location.

Lexington was fighting valiantly to escape from his current situation. He had just knocked down one Quarryman and was about to attack the others who had come to his aid when Brooklyn and Goliath landed.

"Lexington, are you all right?"  Goliath asked.

"Yeah, I was wondering when you'd show up," Lexington responded as he hit another approaching Quarryman with a tail whip to the feet. Goliath and Lexington took no more time to converse as each one began to brawl with the approaching Quarrymen. Just then, the sirens and lights of the police cars blanketed the park.

As the melee continued, Matt Bluestone stepped out of his car and drew his gun. He was followed by other police officers and Gargoyle Task Force members who also drew their guns and pointed them at the crowd. As the shouts of "Freeze, police!" filled the air, both the gargoyles and Quarrymen began to flee the area.

"Maguire, take a few men with you and go after the gargoyles. The rest of you take the Quarrymen," Bluestone ordered. The officers dispersed in their respective directions, but Bluestone stayed behind, face buried in his hands. He hated being in this position, as head of the Gargoyle Task Force, where he had the power to harm his friends. However, he had to do his duty or else someone else would take over the position - someone who might see to it that the gargoyles really did get killed. After breathing a sigh, Bluestone proceeded to follow Maguire.


The trio of gargoyles arrived back at the rooftop where Hudson was still looking after Broadway.  Broadway still looked miserable, but his condition was better than earlier.

"We must leave at once before the police find us," Goliath ordered. Brooklyn and Lexington took Broadway on each side and prepared to take off while Hudson and Goliath used an antenna to bar down the rooftop door in order to slow down the pursuers.

Maguire and his company walked silently towards the building with guns drawn, prepared for any surprise attacks. As they approached the door, an officer shouted "Look! There they are!"  Maguire looked in the direction the officer was pointing towards and saw the gargoyles had jumped from the rooftops and were gliding towards an area full of crowded apartment buildings. He raised his own weapon and gave the order to fire shots that would cripple the gargoyles just as Bluestone arrived at the scene.

"Hold your fire! Maguire, what the hell were you thinking?" he shouted.

"Sir, the gargoyles were within range. It was a perfect opportunity to take them down."

"Yeah, and it was also a perfect opportunity to hurt a lot of people that didn't need to be.  You can't fire at a suspect, even to immobilize him, with so many bystanders in the area."

"But sir..."

"No 'but's Maguire. Remember, we're still cops. We protect the innocent first and go after the bad guys second. No bad guy is worth an innocent life, not even a gargoyle.  You got that?"

Maguire's temper was about to reach the boiling point but he was able to hold it back for now.  "Yes, sir," he answered in a voice that demonstrated repressed anger. He muttered under his breath as Bluestone walked away. He then placed his gun in his holster and ordered the rest of the cops to fall back and join the others in their search for more Quarrymen to arrest.


Castle Wyvern

Bronx wandered around the Castle silently. With almost all of the clan gone, the gargoyle beast was lonely and sought company from anyone that would accept his presence. Unfortunately, the humans of the castle all seemed too busy to pay any attention to him. David Xanatos was in his private office, still working on some of his plans involving Elisa and her apartment, and looking over the damage reports from his Xanadu estate. Fox was preparing some of Alexander's clothing, while the baby in question was receiving more magical training from Owen, who had now transformed into the fay trickster Puck. Bronx whimpered at seeing each of them turning their attention to something other than himself. He began to give up all hope of defeating solitude for the time being until he remembered that one of the clan was still in the castle.  Angela. Bronx sniffed the floors of the castle, trying to pick up on Angela's scent, and find his way to her for one last chance at companionship.

A teardrop fell from Angela's cheek and landed directly on a page of the diary, forming a blotch on the paper. The account she had just finished reading caused feelings of immense sadness and grief inside of her. As she perused through the rest of the diary, she glanced over more accounts of the death and destruction her mother had witnessed. Two World Wars, civil unrest around the world, and constant attacks by the Hunter were recorded in this book. Angela could understand now why Demona felt as she did about the human race. However, she still could not share those feelings despite the accounts she had read. She had been raised by humans and automatically felt a kinship with them. Nothing could ever change her perception of them.

Bronx continued to sniff the floors of the castle until he came to the library. Upon seeing Angela, he barked in joy to gain her attention.

No response.

Bronx was puzzled and tried to gain her attention by barking a second time.

Still no response.

The beast approached Angela to see what was the matter. Putting his front paws on the chair, he looked at Angela and licked her face a couple of times, still producing no response. Bronx whined in defeat, tilting his ears back and ceasing to wag his stub tail. He took his front paws away from the chair and lied down disappointedly. Then he noticed that Angela had let her hand carelessly dangle in front of him. Seizing the opportunity, he let the hand rest on his head, moving it back and forth to make himself content.

Down the castle hallway, Puck was levitating with legs crossed and palms facing upwards, thumb and forefinger tips touching each other. As he sat levitating, he looked to see that his prize pupil was no longer behind him.

"Come on, Alex, let's show your mommy the new trick I taught you," he called out to the other end of the hall. Alex turned the corner and caught up to the fay. He, too, was floating, but he was not in the same position as Puck was; his back was up and his arms were stretched forward as if he were gliding like a gargoyle, giggling along the way. Once Alex had caught up with Puck, the duo began to proceed to where Fox was when they happened to pass by the library. Both went inside and saw Angela sitting on the chair reading while Bronx was lying down at her side. While Alex was busy entertaining himself by twisting and turning in the air, Puck looked at Angela with amusement. He then noticed a paper fall from the book and, after reading it, saw that it came from Demona.

"Oh look, a book designed to brainwash you. Mommy must love you very much to give it to you," he said smugly.

No response.

"At least your temper isn't like your mother's. She would have torn me to shreds if she heard that comment." He paused for a moment before continuing. "Hello, what have we here?" Puck began to see an eerie green glow surrounding Angela as she continued reading her book. He recognized the glow as emanating from a disguise spell. While he had no idea why a disguise spell had been placed, he took Alex aside and showed him this phenomenon saying, "Remind me to teach you that one day.  It would make for a really good practical joke." Alex giggled in response. Both were set to move on when the fay trickster literally received a sharp blow to the head. He quickly recovered from this blow, which he deduced was another spell hidden under the disguise spell. However, he could not tell what kind of spell it was.

"Must be this air pollution that's disrupting my senses. Ah well, no reason to take chances." Puck turned to Alex and said, "Alex, your Uncle Puck needs you." Alex floated towards his teacher's arms, still holding a smile on his young face, and received his instructions.

"Now remember, think exactly what I think and we can make Angela feel all better. You want to make Angela feel better, right?" The infant nodded. "OK, kiddo, here we go."

Puck closed his eyes and mentally recited a spell that would undo whatever magic the current spell had unleashed upon Angela. As he did, Alex raised his arms and wiggled his tiny fingers in Angela's direction. In a matter of moments, the eerie green glow that surrounded the lavender gargoyle faded away. Alexander felt drowsy and yawned after the spell was performed. Transforming back into the stone-fisted human Owen Burnett, the fay took Alex into his arms and stood there as Angela began to recover from the effects of the spell.

The trance the diary seemed to have placed Angela under had faded away. She began to feel something rubbing against her talons and saw that it was Bronx caressing her hand with his head. Angela closed the diary and put her full attention towards the gargoyle beast. "Bronx!" she exclaimed, "I'm sorry, boy. I didn't see you there." She scratched the back of his ears as Bronx growled contentedly.

Owen stood in front of Angela and cleared his throat. "I believe that this fell out of your book."  Angela was surprised that Owen was there, and for a moment she was afraid that he might know the secret of the book's origin. As she took the note from Owen's free hand, she asked in a fearful voice, "You didn't happen to read this did you?"

"Of course not, Miss Angela. I never pry into the personal affairs of others, nor do I reveal personal secrets to others."

Angela smiled in appreciation of Owen's efforts to keep this a secret from the rest of the clan.  "Thank you, Owen. You have no idea how much this means to me." She returned the note to its place of origin and placed the diary in an empty spot on the bookshelf.

Owen's facial expression didn't change with that remark. "I believe your friends have returned from their little adventure. One of them looks to be in need of assistance."

Angela turned around to the library window. Outside, she saw everyone returning safe and sound, except for Broadway, who was being carried arm in arm by Brooklyn and Lexington. Angela gasped at the sight of her love injured and ran outside to the castle parapets, Bronx following close behind. Owen turned to Alex, who was now fast asleep, and took him back to his crib for a well-deserved nap.

Angela got to the parapets just in time to see the rest of the clan land. As soon as the trio landed, Angela ran towards Broadway, who was laying on his back with wings caped around his body.  "What happened?" Angela asked as she knelt down next to him to examine his wounds.

Lexington was the first to speak. "He got shot by some Quarrymen. The wounds aren't fatal, but he won't be able to move around till tomorrow."

Broadway rebutted, "What do you mean?  I'm fine, see." He tried to move his shoulder to prove that he was no longer injured but screamed in pain as he did so. Angela took his arm and placed it slowly on his side.

"Hey Angela," Brooklyn said, "When he gets better, tell Broadway to go on a diet. He's getting heavier every day."

She giggled as Broadway responded, "When I get better, I'll use you as a scale."

The brief moment of levity ended when Goliath asked, "Angela, did you find anything out about the mysterious person who sent it by reading that book?"

"No, there was nothing of value in that book." Angela hated to lie to people, especially her own father, but it was necessary in order to protect her mother's involvement in her life.

The clan leader sighed. "It looks as if we may never know who sent you that book." He looked out onto the skyline of the city. The orange hue of the sun had begun to spread and transform darkness into daylight. The rest of the clan began to take their places on the parapets, except for Angela, who was still kneeling at Broadway's side. As Angela brushed Broadway's brow ridge with her hand, Goliath couldn't help but remember the old days in Castle Wyvern, when a friend of his had been injured and he had stood by her side until the next night.  He gave a slight grin at seeing the duo happy and together in this crisis. He turned to greet the sun just as it rose into the New York sky.


Destine Manor

Demona sat by her computer monitor typing out papers for Nightstone Unlimited's company agenda as dawn quickly approached. As she began to save the file to disk, she glanced at the glass container holding fragments of the destroyed Praying Gargoyle statue. The glow the fragments had possessed earlier began to flicker in and out until it slowly faded away. Demona tapped the glass with her talon and sighed upon seeing that the glow was no longer present. Her plan had failed. She rose from her chair, placed the computer disk on the table, and turned the computer off. As she paced around her mansion, she began to ponder her actions.

"Was the subterfuge necessary?" she asked herself. She could have just gone to Angela and placed the spell on her directly - a spell that meant protection from anyone wishing to harm her. That way, she wouldn't have had to keep holding onto the diary in order to fully receive the spell. Then she thought about the rest of the clan, wondering what their reactions would be if she were to attempt such a task. The experience wouldn't be pleasant, but she would have to do it nonetheless. If she wanted to ever be able to protect her daughter from the world's evil, she must take a more direct and active role in Angela's life. As the sun began to rise, Demona prepared herself for the transformation that was about to take place, vowing to protect her child at all costs.

The End