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[personal profile] reluctant_gargoyle
Have I talked about this before?  I don't think I have, except maybe for a small mention here and there.  Pretty full story, actually.  It's got Coldstone and Demona and Macbeth.  Oh yeah, and me fighting for all our lives, but I don't like to brag about that, mostly because a) I pretty much got my butt kicked and I'm not the real hero of the story anyway.

Little bit of background to remember.  Coldstone was, at the time, a combination of shattered Gargoyle remains and cybernetics, brought to life using science and sorcery and the souls of three different Gargoyles from the Wyvern Clan.  Othello and Desdemona, erstwhile members of our own Clan, now traveling with Arthur and Griff, and another, evil one we call Iago because if fits.  For convenience sake, I'll be refering to Coldstone as the body itself and use names for when the individual Gargoyles are in control.

The last encounter with Coldstone, back when I'd still been human, had ended with a computer virus erasing all of the body's programing, leaving him inert and comatose.  The body had been taken back to the Clock Tower, while Lexington tried to learn enough about programing to restore him/them.  Even if one personality was evil, the other two were certainly worth saving.

So anyway, this was not long after the "City of Stone" affair, which I will talk about some day, whenever it stops making me want to break down and cry from just thinking about it.  At the end of that, Demona and Macbeth, revealed to have been magically linked, had been stolen away by the Weird Sisters, a powerful trio of Fey.  This will be important later.

When we awoke that evening, we were almost immediately aware that something was wrong: namely, that Coldstone was gone.  It suggested two possibilities, neither of them great.  Either Coldstone had reactivated and fled--with who knows which personality in control, though a lack of smashed us suggested that it wasn't Iago--or worse, someone had taken him.  If someone had taken him, well, that was potentially a lot worse.  It could easily have meant that someone had discovered we lived there.  Secrecy kept us alive and it was possibly over.

On the plus side, the list of suspects was short: Xanatos.  Anyone else would have smashed us while we slept, like Demona or the Pack, or else had no real reason (and in fact, was prevented from doing so by honor), like Macbeth.  As a detective, I have to say, I should have been more wary of a case that was that easy.

It wasn't.  Goliath took Broadway and Lexington with him to investigate but returned empty-handed.  While it was entirely possible that they just hadn't looked enough, Xanatos had an annoying habit of telling the truth when he wasn't involved in something.  Though, if our one and only suspect was off the list, it meant we needed a new tactic.

Fortunately, TV provided the answer, a news report saying that there bad been unconfirmed sightings of a strange creature in Central Park, near Belvedere Castle.  While that did leave open a few possibilities, the recently vanished Coldstone was certainly high on the list.  It was all we needed; we left at once, leaving only Bronx behind.

And exactly where the report had said, was Coldstone.  Again, too easy.  "I don't know about this," I said, "something doesn't feel right."

"Yeah," Lex added.  "We've got no way of knowing which one of Coldstone's three personalities is in control.  And remember, Goliath, one of them hates your guts."

"Nevertheless, an effort must be made."

I stifled a thought about "famous last words" as we descended. 

"Hello Brother," Coldstone said.  "And good-bye!"  It was a trap; Iago was in control, his laser fire sending us scattering right into more traps.  A leave net ensnared Hudson and Broadway, while a bolo trapped Lexington.  And then it just got worse when Macbeth and Demona appeared.  She overpowered Brooklyn and bound him with a length of chain, while Goliath grappled with Macbeth, only to fall prey to Iago's laserfire.  Through sheer luck, I was suddenly alone against three deadly enemies.

 Demona turned to Iago.  "Kill her.  Now."

It was then that I got the craziest, craftiest, and most outright insane idea of all time.  I laughed.  And when I was done, I pointed an accusing talon at Demona.  "What's the matter, Demona?  Afraid you can't beat me?  Need your lackey to do it?" 

She growled and her eyes went read, so I pushed it one more notch.  "Afraid you can't beat your replacement?"

That did it.  Madder than a wet hen, she snarled, "She's mine!" and came at me at full tilt.

We were approximately matched in terms of strength and speed.  But she'd had more than a thousand years to hone her fighting skills, whereas I'd gotten a crash course in Gargoyle Fighting Skills 101.  But she was angry and my mind was clear.  With perfect timing, my fist shot out and I delivered a perfect punch to Demona's nose.  Added tot he force of her charge, it made a sickening crack.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Macbeth sink to his knees, clutching his nose.

"Humund bidch!" Demona snarled, through the flowing blood.

"Gargoyle bitch, actually," I countered.  "Thought you'd have remembered that much.  Seeing as it was your idea."

Here too, it was almost too easy.  She came at me again and I grabbed at her wrists, while my tail snaked around her ankles.  A quick jerk and she hit the ground hard.  A cheer went up from the Trio, distracting me, and leaving me open to retaliation.  Demona's talons raked cross my back, causing me to cry out and sink to my knees, even as she landed a blow across my skill that set off starts behind my eyes.

I barely managed to get back on my feet in time to deflect another blow, but I was forced back by the sheer ferocity of her assault.  "not so tough now, are you, Detective?" she sneered, deliberately taunting me with a reminder of what she had taken from me.  I lost my own cool a that, gave in to more aggressive impulses.  I launched a punch that she easily brushed aside, then countered with a slash across my chest that drew blood, not to mention making a further mess of my shirt.  But I was thinking of survival, not modest then.  I was nearing the upper limits of my endurance, and there was still Iago and Macbeth to deal with.  If I could just knock out Demona, that would take care of Macbeth too...

Demona came at me with another strike, but this time I was ready, just barely.  I dodged to the side and raked my talons across her side.  It was a strange thin.  I'd used my talons to climb any number of times.  I'd even used them on some of Xanatos's robots.  But never on flesh and blood.  They left dripping red gashes in Demona and some of it clung to my fingers.

She clutched at her wound in surprise, as surprised as I was that I'd had that kind of savagery in me.  But she struck before I could press my advantage, a right cross that brought me to my knees.  I was certain, then and there, that I was going to die.  Demona raised her talons to strike.  "Oh," she said, "but I am going to enjoy this."

A metal hand clamped down on her shoulder.  Coldstone!  But why?  "I think not, Sister," he growled.  In one smooth motion, before either could react, he hurled Demona into Macbeth, knocking them both out.  I accepted his hand up, remembering at the last moment to fold my wings across my chest to try and save had modesty I had remaining.  With his help, I freed the guys.  The Trio made something of an effort not to look at me, and for that I was grateful.  Goliath had returned to the land of the living by now and wore a puzzled expression.  "What has happened?" he asked.

"Our... new Sister, acquitted herself well against our traitorous Sister, but was nearly slain," Coldstone (Othello now firmly in control) explained.  "But her plight provided the inspiration my mate and I needed to take action against out evil brother.  I am only sorry I did not act sooner."

Goliath smiled and clasped hands with him.  "You did act.  You saved Elisa's life, saved all our lives.  And now, you can rejoin us."

"No."

"No?"

"Not until our Brother is no longer  threat.  Only then will I return.  But beware, Goliath.  I feel as though darker forces are at work here."

"To be sure, Lad," Hudson said, pointing.  "Look!  Macbeth and Demona have vanished!  And why were they workin' together to begin with?"

"Sorcery!" Goliath exclaimed.  "More of the Weird Sister's games.  But to what end...?"

"I know not," Othello said.  "Only that I wish I could be here to help you.  But I cannot.  I dare not."

"You travel your path, my Brother.   And we will travel ours.  May you find the answers you seek."

"And you as well," Othello said, blasting off with his rockets, soon gone from out sight.

I leaned against Goliath, both to offer comfort and to seek support for my own unsteady legs.  "We'll see him again, Goliath.  I know it."

"As do I."

And then the sun rose.  We would late learn that the whole thing had been a plot of the Archmage and the Weird Sisters.  Never about Coldstone, he had simply made a convenient distraction to cover the theft of the Phoenix Gate, the Eye of Odin, and the Grimorum Arcanorum.  We didn't find out just where they had gone until later, until Avalon...
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Elisa Maza

February 2011

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