Children of the Stone
DJ Clawson XXRJ13C@prodigy.com
OK, people . . . this is going to sound a bit strange. This story is a crossover between Gargoyles (yes, I mean the DA show) and SWAT Kats–no, mind you, it does not use THE Gargoyles, it just uses SOME Gargoyles. Excuse me if any of this sounds like Awakening (the original G. miniseries). If you haven’t seen Gargoyles before and feel left out, the only thing you truly need to know is gargoyles are creatures who are stone by day and flesh by night. In this story, they are also Lopineneans . . . a culture I created in a previous seaQuest story. Things might seem strange at first, but don’t worry. You’ll get the hang of it. Lopine is a culture that has spread over thousands of races in millions of years. Frith-rah, the sun, was once the main being and is no longer worshipped, except remotely by Brer Lopineneans, “Core Lopineneans.” These Gargoyles as reformly such. This story is my attempt to shed more light on the Pastmaster and Megallith City. In the episode that featured it, it looked rather small and dreary with no one around but Callista and a handful of guards that all looked the same. This happens 200 years before it, when the castle was more booming before plummeting into the decline of the Dark Ages. Please excuse any discontinuality errors. When dealing with a story with immense size such as this one, it’s hard to keep track of the exact spelling of every name and such.
NOTE: Please remember the Pastmaster slept for 800 years before being awoken.
“Gargoyles–with wings or without–were born and destined to be in the air.”
–excerpts from the diary of Professor Jacob Clawson
Children of the Stone
Part 1 996 C.E. Shortly before the Dark Ages
The forests were quiet, almost tranquil, far from the outskirts of Megallith Castle. Two carriages made their way down the dirt road, moving only a bit faster than they should have. On the horizon, the sun was too low for one kat’s comfort. The plump kat frowned, eyes locked on the place where the mountains met the sky as he leaned back against his padded seat. Across from him, his grey-bearded advisor was studying his movements.
“Ambassador . . . something troubles you,” he spoke calmly, almost in a cautious voice.
“Yes, Kehor . . . something does. I am simply worried that we will approach the castle soon enough . . . ,” he hesitated, then spoke, ” . . . before nightfall, I mean.” Kehor nodded understandingly, “M’Lord, I have all ready explained this to you . . . not to be worried. They have a calm side . . .”
“You have a past history with their leader–don’t you? I remember that.”
He thoughtfully rubbed his beard, “For a short while, yes M’Lord. I advise–” He was cut short by the abrupt halt of the carriage. The ambassador nervously stuck his head out the side.
“What is keeping–” He stopped, for he saw something cut in front of their carriage. Could it be them? No–too early . . . again he glanced at the sun, now lower but not yet reaching the horizon. It stopped on the other side of the road, turning back to study the carriage as they got a good look. It was a kat–no, a skeleton! An orange, almost read skeleton with a purple cloak. Only one, yellow pupil turned to meet the ambassador’s. The rest of the eye was black. At his side was a filled pack of something. The ambassador gasped, but before he could speak it was gone and the road was once again empty.
“Well . . . continue the horses,” he sat back down in the carriage, wiping his brow with a handkerchief. Kehor spoke in the same, reassuring tone as before, “Do not fret, M’Lord. I am sure he was nothing. If not, the Captain of the Guard will surely have him under surveillance. He is no need of worry.” “Yes, well . . . I hope you are correct.”
“Approaching Megallith Castle!” The sun was far too low. The ambassador glanced nervously at the castle. The higher ramparts were cluttered with statues of gargoyles. He stepped out of the carriage with the help of his attendant, followed by old Kehor. The other carriage was all ready being unpacked by his few servants. The giant wooden doors in front of them opened as the arrival crew stepped forward.
“Ambassador Beacon . . . welcome the Megallith Castle!” King Claris opened his arms wide to great him. Of course, it was all in formalities–they were cousins, both short and plump.
“Allow me to introduce you to our two Sons of Ecuador.” Two who have been previously residing in the back stepped forward. The first was old and gray, more than Kehor, with a white beard that came down past his shoulders. The second, much younger, had more of an orange-colored fur. Both had wide sideburns, and simple brown monk robes that were lined with gold string on the edges. As Beacon shook their paws, Kehor whispered in his ear, “Their line is sacred to the castle. No one knows where the line started, but they are always very high ranking and powerful mages. The first one is Maric and I believe the second one–if my sources are right–is Ramis.” He nodded, and the two stepped back into the shadows. Beacon stepped a bit closer to the king, “Sire, if you do not mind . . . I would prefer to continue these introductions,” he glanced up at the stone figures leaning over the front ramparts, “inside.”
“Ah yes, of course . . .
Ramis growled beneath his breath. He knew what Beacon meant. His father took the point as well, but he also heard the growl.
“Ramis . . . ,” as they followed the procession inside, his voice lowered, ” . . . please do not embarrass the king again. This kat may be ignorant, but we have to accept that for the sake of manners. He will only be here a short while.” He groaned, then nodded in acceptance as he noticed Kehor joining him at his side.
The sun was down. Dinner was early, to fill the stomachs of guests and weary travelers (it was also noticed the Ramis arrived well after sundown). The tables were arranged in a U-shape, with the king in the middle and the ambassador at his side. The tables were according to ranking, so it ended up Beacon and Kehor seated next to Maric–with Ramis at the end.
Kehor knew Maric quite distantly, but at last he could no longer contain his curiosity, “Tell me, Maric . . .” The old mage turned to meet his gaze, “we saw a curious little kat on the side of the road on our way here–all bones in a purple robe. Do you know of him?”
Maric nodded, swallowing before speaking, “Ah, him . . . that was only Sauraman the Pastmaster–not for you to worry about.”
“I take it he is not very powerful . . .”
“No, he is quite powerful, perhaps even more than me. He was head of the Council when it was in power.”
Kehor’s eyebrows shot up, “And this does not bother you?”
Maric merely waved it off, “No, no, no. Sauraman is evil, but he is also a Lopinenean . . . he would not touch you. Thoran watches over him sometimes. He will listen to any Lopinenean.”
“The Council was Lopinenean?”
“No, but Sauraman does not have the origins of most of the Council members. I suspect Thoran knows where he came from, but no one can be sure. Do not waste time worrying of him.”
King Claris had his cup raised for a toast–when the doors burst open and three, looming gargoyles slowly entered. The first–smaller than the other two–was a solid-built male with his wings caped over his shoulders. He had a beard, cut neatly just a few inches out from his face. Above his traditional belt was thick, leather armor. He was standing, of course, on the balls of his foot with the heels turned up. He was, as Lopineneans called, a Nowye descendant, which meant he was naturally shorter than the others. The clamming of voices died down as he approached; his very presence demanded respect. Behind him were two younger, taller ones–a male and female. The male was the tallest, which a wide mouth and almost blond fur. The female beside him had long, graceful hair and brown fur. Their wings had been loose, but as they entered they also caped them over their shoulders.
Claris rose, almost angry, “Ramis–did you invite these monsters to announce themselves again?”
Before he could defend himself, Kehor rose, “No, Sire . . . I did.”
There was an instant roar of noises, only silenced as the king knocked his cup against the tap, “Silence!”
“Sire, Thoran and I have a small past history together. I asked Ramis to invite them–I thought it was only appropriate.”
Claris turned to the first gargoyle, “Is this true, Thoran? Are you friends of this kat?”
His voice was low and calm, “We have fought on the same side.” Not hesitating, he stepped a little closer and gestured politely to the shivering ambassador.
“Welcome, Ambassador Beacon. You are welcome into our home. If my culture permitted me, I would bow . . . but alas I cannot.”
Beacon managed to nod respectfully back.
“M’Lord . . . ,” Kehor assured, ” . . . you have nothing to fear of these gargoyles.”
“He is right, Ambassador . . . ,” Maric was there to back him.
“You will not be harmed by a creature of Frith.” Thoran acknowledged the king once more, then turned to lead his trio out the door. Ramis rose from his seat.
“Where to you think you’re going?” He turned towards his father, grabbing food and stuffing it in his pockets before heading out the door, “Where do you think?”
“Look, I’m sorry for the way Claris acted tonight-”
Thoran only shook his heavy head, “M’lad, I knew it was coming. Beacon is another traveler with his own opinions of gargoyles–and I do not blame him. His father’s castle was destroyed by a sorcerer’s creature that looked like one of us.” They continued down the hall, the three of them without the female. Ramis followed as they ascended the steps leading to the upper level battlements, Thoran stopped suddenly, noticing first the figure at the top of the stairs, “Old Thoran–life has not dropped enough weight on you yet?”
He smiled, meeting now informally an old comrade, “Not yet . . . I am still leader. How is Frith treating you?”
Kehor only shrugged, “I suppose well enough . . . I have a high place Castle San-Aldus. If the king dies, Beacon will be lorded and I shall be his advisor.”
The old leader nodded, escorting him to the edge of the castle’s front battlement, “We will talk later . . . I have some business to attend to. With a small hop in his knees he lifted himself onto the stone merlon. He did not immediately lift off as Kehor expected him to; his wings were still caped over him as his front claws gripped the front of the merlon, “Charon.” The tan/blond gargoyle perked up, “I do not want you and Ramis going off anywhere tonight. I may need you here later. If Maric asks where I am, he will find me in Sauraman’s chambers.” His wings spread out, and Kehor was almost knocked back–he had forgotten what the full spread of a gargoyle’s wings could look like. Without a backwards nod Thoran leaped from the merlon as the wind caught his wings and he was gone.
Kehor turned to Ramis and his gargoyle friend, “Why is he visiting Sauraman?”
Ramis only shrugged, “There has been some demonological activity about lately and he has his suspicions with the council members.”
“They remain? I thought they were killed after the council was disbanded.”
“Aside from Sauraman–yes, Selena and Frakes both survived. We wanted to go out tonight and look for them ourselves, but…”
“Thoran is no fun,” Charon crossed his arms against his chest, speaking in a low, gruff voice.
“So?” Ramis challenged, “neither is my father.”
“No, Thoran is worse.”
“Bet he isn’t.”
“Bet he is.”
This went on for quite a while, as Kehor left the two friends to fight among themselves.
Thoran’s feet gently touched the ground on the mountain ridge, bringing his wings down at his sides. The mountain wall was open to reveal a cave, but to the naked eye it went in only a few feet. He slowly approached the wall in the back. It appeared as solid stone, but with his mighty gargoyle strength he gripped a small crack in the wall and pushed open a heavy door. The musty smell of rotting parchments and dusty bottles overwhelmed him. Surely Sauraman could bother to air things out once in a while? No, of course not–not while Selena still hunted him. The cave was lit by a few torches, but also several hundred candles that occupied ever vacant space on the tables and shelves. The old sorcerer sat at his main desk, apparently indulged in some sort of study. To the side of him were piles of old books in Lopine. His hood was pulled back, and his purple sleeves rolled up almost to his shoulders. On his cloak was the green broach of the council, as he would always wear. He was shoeless, with his boney feet hanging over the sides of his tall chair.
His head arched backwards; he hadn’t noticed the gargoyles entrance, “Hiekja, Thoran . . . and hello to you, if that is how the people of this day prefer it. How does Frith burden you?” His manner was, of course, all in formality. Thoran knew he was evil, but he was also Lopinenean and they continued with the traditions.
“Hiekja, Sauraman . . . I have come to ask you something. Have you noticed the demonological disturbances lately? I was wondering whether Selena or Frakes had anything to do with it–or perhaps you.”
Sauraman rubbed his bone chin thoughtfully, “I have indeed. I was picking up some herbs near San-Aldus, and I felt it. They might be up to something.”
“And you, of course, do not know anything about it?” Thoran’s words were spoken almost as a challenge, but without the vigor of an accusation–yet.
The sorcerer continued rubbing his chin, letting his levitation magic work was he slid off his chair and floated in suspension a few inches from Thoran, “Since I gave in my thalki to be head of the council and wear this STUPID green thing, I have been responsible for all actions of the council–until the fall of it.I have not been keeping track of Selena or Frakes’ doings. Frakes is nothing to worry off–he fears me as a Lopinenean. Selena . . . well, Selena I suppose is stupid enough to try something. She was too interested in my Lopinenean magic when I first arrived, and she remains so. It stands as a challenge to her. But, she does not understand it–that is her fault.”
Thoran nodded, “I worry of the Ambassador Beacon. He is too ignorant towards gargoyles for my tastes.”
“All travelers these days are such.”
He nodded again, then replied, “I have asked Ramis and Maric to watch him, but they sleep during the day lest they would not be able to stay awake at night. Will you take notice of his movements?”
“If I can, yes. But there had better be something in it for me.”
Thoran turned to leave, “It is merely a safeguard. Shnizfiet, Sauraman. We will meet in better times.”
“Shnizfiet, Thoran. Thus we will,” he watched the gargoyle leave, then turned back–still in suspension–to his view chasm curiously.
“Let us see now what Frith has in play. Perhaps even Old Frakes has something yet to do.”
“Come on, brother–you can do it!” A smaller gargoyle, one with only wings built into his bone frame, skipped in the air, ball tucked beneath his arm. In his landing he slapped the ground, providing him with an extra bounce before he lifted off again to avoid the charging gargoyle. The second, huge and fleshy, missed him by miles. The first soared with the ball in paw, but his eyes had wandered from his forward view and he felt the ball disappear from under him.
Charon gripped the ball in one palm and the smaller gargoyle in another, “Got you, Chip.” Smiling, he set him on the ground, “Watch where you are going.”
The heavy gargoyle turned towards them playfully, “Play again? Why aren’t you out tonight? I thought you and Ramis where going on a night hunt.”
“For a sorceress, aye,” Ramis said rather gloomily from his seat on the stone steps to the side of the courtyard. The “aye” had a touch of his father’s accent.
“Thoran beat us to it.”
“Well . . . do you want to play?”
He shook his head sadly, “My father is angry enough that I spend so much time out with Charon or you, Jumicus. He would prefer me studying. The least I can do is please him for once.” He sighed, then looked back down at the heavy book in front of him.
Charon folded his wings, coming up to the side of him, “Come on, Ramis . . . you will never be the mage your father is. He had studied all his life. Why is it so hard to convince him that you are a warrior?”
Ramis pulled the blade out from its case that was slung at his side. The balance was perfect, along with the metal. It was said to be Ecuador’s blade, even though he himself had never used it. The handle was gold, with two claws coming out of the sides. It was under the influence of spells: it had incredible powers, but only someone of the line of Ecuador could hold it. He stood, holding it in both paws. Sighing heavily, he sat back down again and returned the sword to its case.
“Because I am not. I am a Son of Ecuador, and even if my life is violent everything I do should be for its preservation. Besides, I cannot deny my heritage.” He rose again, book in paw. He was turning to leave as they heard the sound of wings against wind. No–it was not Thoran, but a band of female gargoyles returning from a private meeting. Charon smiled.
[Author’s note: If you haven’t figured it out, Ramis is Razor and Charon is Chance. Chip is a very feline version of Lexington, as Jumicus is with Broadway. No, I didn’t steal EVERY character. Thoran is not QUITE Hudson. The female we are about to meet, despite the former idea of copying characters in ancestry, does not look like Cally or Felina. I don’t do cheezy effects (or at least I try not to overload on them).]
The first female–one with brown fur and jet black hair that sprung out wildly beneath the horns that gripped her skull–dove and gracefully landed only a few inches from him in the courtyard. Her wings caped as Charon’s claws wrapped around hers.
“I have missed you, my love,” Dathena released one claw to trace an imaginary line across his face and down his neck Ramis took that as incentive to inch towards the door, “Ummm . . . you guys can continue your little conversation . . . without me.
“Something wrong, Ramis?” Charon said jokingly.
“Nothing . . . I just do not care too much for romantic dialog,” with that, he disappeared into the chambers on the edge of the courtyard.
The sun, with its blinding light, beamed down on Ramis as he strode rather gloomily among the stone gargoyles. He was typically nocturnal in habit, so he would have enough energy for the evening–but now he was sleepless. Why am I worried? he wondered. Something is bothering me–if only it was more than a just a gut feeling . . . His arm slipped over the sword at his side as he detected a presence behind him.
“Relax, my son.” He sighed, letting his paw swing loose, “Are you without sleep as well?” Maric joined his son at his side, “Perhaps. I believe last night’s swordfish is still churning in my stomach. Did you have it?” Ramis shook his head, “No, father . . . I do not think it was the swordfish. Does Beacon’s presence bother as much as me?” “Too many things are happening at once. Beacon is here, but Frakes and Selena serve a bigger concern. Thoran and Sauraman are keeping a close watch.” “And during the day?” He sighed, “I suppose that is our side with no armor, eh? I believe Sauraman only sleeps a few hours, but one Isatari can only see so much.”
Beneath the two unsuspecting kats, a lone rider made his way out beyond the castle’s borders–slipping out unsurveiled by the hulking gargoyle statues above.
Kehor had just passed the king’s upper chambers when he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. Lost in his thought, he had already passed the point where the object curiosity was practically out of view as he first noticed it. He stepped back for a good look, noticing the letter in the fire of Beacon’s room. He entered, surprised to find it empty. The sun was almost down–wouldn’t he be in the safety of his own guest chamber? Kehor couldn’t imagine where he could be. The king was napping, and aside from Claris, Beacon had no reason to visit anyone else. The letter was nearly burnt–to the point where an ordinary servant would have ignored it. But Kehor wouldn’t have lived to his age without his observation skills, and he knew it. Submitting to his instincts, he took a metal rod from the side of the fireplace and pulled the paper out. Straining his old eyes, he noticed the writing on the end, but it was still hard to read past a few words. Only one word was still legible. A frown formed across his features. Koldran? What was the ‘Koldran?’ A hunch told him the name was Lopinenean–at least it sounded that way. Still, he had never heard the word before; not as long as he had known the gargoyles. Surely Thoran would know of it?
“The Koldran?” Thoran nearly jumped, not masking the urgancy in his voice.
“Where have you heard of the Koldran? Who told you of this?” “Why, I found this letter in–” The old gargoyle had already snatched the burnt paper from his paw. Scanning the reminents of it, he growled as his wings expanded out beneath his. Kehor recognized it was a gargoyle’s sign for rage. Ramis, standing at his side, took the sheet from him, “Let me see this . . .” Thoran lifted off, scanning the battlements for other gargoyles, “Group, my clan! You are needed!” A very confused Kehor turned to Ramis, “Why is he assembling the clan? What is going on? What is the Koldran?” Ramis unsheathed his sword, crumpling the paper in his other paw, “The Koldran is a ruby that amplifies non-Lopinenean powers. It was supposed to have been destroyed or hidden by Sauraman, but . . .” “Surly Sauraman is not involved–” “Frakes or Selena must have it. I never trusted Beacon, not with his past history. If he possessed the Koldran, he could have arranged something with one of them long ago. It is rumored Frakes was hiding out near San-Aldus.” Kehor nodded sadly, “I should have realized–I should have seen it. Beacon is usually so obvious . . . Please, let me go with you.”
“No, stay here . . . keep an eye out and see if anyone else is involved. Here is where you are needed most.” The old advisor had only blinked and Ramis was gone, off with his father and the gargoyles.
Ramis met up with them on the front battlements as Thoran was in the process of selecting gargoyles. Dathena, surprisingly, had not been chosen, despite the fact Charon had. He stood beside Chip and Jumicus instead, with the same serious stare of most of them. Ramis didn’t go over there yet, joining his father at his side.
“Father . . . are you going?” He leaned closer, speaking in a low voice, “I don’t have enough confidence in your abilities as a mage yet to handle a council member possessed with the Koldran, no.” In his paws was a spellbook, and Ramis knew it was serious. Thoran turned to them, indicating he was done choosing.
“I would feel safer with my whole clan,” he spoke with a lower voice to Maric, “but I fear this might be a diversion to lead us away from the castle. I cannot risk that.”
Maric nodded, “Aye, I doubt Claris would not agree. Let us get moving.”
Thoran waved them on and a few gargoyles began to perch themselves atop the merlons. He himself had uncaped his wings as he felt a touch at his side.
“Are you sure I cannot go?” He turned back towards Dathena, studying the female warrior’s tense body. She was of course up to it, but . . . , “I am sorry. You are a brave warrior, but I fear your emotions may cloud your actions . . . and I need Charon for the front line.”
She understood, stepping back angrily as he lifted off. Of course she did. Lopineneans were unquestioning to their leaders; thus was the endless tradition as leaders were chosen by Frith. She would never doubt his judgement. No, she would stay and watch the kats. If Beacon returned . . . her lips curled into an evil smile.
Charon only got a quick look as he joined his brothers and sisters on the merlons. Taking Ramis under his arm, he lifted off, followed by Jumicus at his side with Maric. With all their powers, the sons of Ecuador had no abilities of flight. They relied on the gargoyles to transport them, mainly because Lopineneans did not believe in the riding of horses. The night sky was filled with looming shadows of wings and bodies as the gargoyle clan took to the sky. Their very graceful movements filled the air in a sort of aura; being more like a ballet. One wing bended back, and one gargoyle spun downward in a spiral motion. A gentle movement of shift in position was all that was needed. It was all in irony: they were warriors to the core, but in the sky their dance released an aura or beauty and enchantment. Wings and muscled stretched, and the clan eventually fell into line behind Thoran in a complicated line based on rank and necessity. The wind was up that night, and as they headed over the forests all that remained were a few left behind in Megallith Castle.
Under Thoran’s command, they had been assigned separate roads. He knew Sauraman would know the location of the Koldran and the councilmember involved; the magical aura would draw him in. Jumicus and Chip had taken to the forest floor (Maric went with Thoran), down on all fours and moving at a speed no kat was capable of accomplishing. The trees moved by in a blur of colors. A gargoyle was meant for the sky, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t capable of letting its own animal instincts kick in.
“Who were we supposed to look for?” Jumicus shouted between pants.
“Frakes or Selena. They should be–” he stopped short, digging his claws into the groud, “Look!” Bringing himself to a halt, Jumicus joined his friend as they crouched down and examined the rough lumping breaking the soft earth, “Horse tracks! Beacon must have gone this way!” They followed the tracks a good quarter mile, moving deeper into the woods until a moving form caused them both stop abruptly. Chip came closer and pulled at the leather straps, “Beacon’s horse! Why would he leave his horse out?” The horse only neighed and twisted uncomfortably as his other claw touched the nose.
“Maybe he was attacked.” “But the horse is tied to the tree–look,” he indicated the neat knot made with the reins around the trunk.
“He stopped and unsaddled here. He left the horse intentionally–not to make tracks.” “So we can’t trace him.” The voice hadn’t come from Jumicus. They looked up as Charon broke through the upper layer of leaves and landed beside them, setting Ramis down. Ramis glanced briefly at the horse’s saddle.
“This was Beacon’s. He must have been under orders to leave the horse at a certain point and then continue–do you think he would have thought of that himself.
“So how do we track him?” Jumicus inhaled deeply through his nose, then bent down beside the horse, “I think I can pick up the scent . . .” Going down on all fours again, he continued sniffing heavily until he decided on his direction, “He went this way.” They turned and ran in the direction he was pointing, leaving him behind, “Hey guys, wait for me!”
“Oh Frith.” Ramis’s words hadn’t been an understatement. His paws gripped the edges of the pit in front of him. As the gargoyles behind him approached, they saw indeed what he was speaking of. Chip backed off, not wanting to see anymore and Jumicus closed his eyes sadly. Only Charon joined him at his side, sighing sadly. The deep pit was about a good ten meters wide at the bottom, ending on their side with a gentle slope of loose dirt and a hard stone on the other. It was completely desolate aside from a leafless willow tree. And a body. Beacon’s. His corpse rested in the direct center, without movement or even decay. On his face was a grim reminder of the horror he had seen. Blood had already seeped into his shirt and leather mail. Ramis slowly let himself slide sideways through the dirt as he went to inspect the body. The trio whimpered and followed.
“He was killed by magic . . . powerful magic.” The marks on Beacon’s chest and singed fur conformed it. He noticed a bag of gold in his hand, “There was a trade here–a trade of gold in exchange for the Koldran. This is not Lopinenean magic, but is is VERY powerful. The councilman has used the Koldran.”
Thoran sensed something amiss as his feet first touched down in front of Sauraman’s door; for starters, it was lying open. As he set Maric down, he noticed him shivering already.
“Magic has gone wrong here,” Maric approached the door cautiously.
“Something has happened.”
“Surely a councilman could not overpower Sauraman?”
“No no no . . . but something is wrong.”
The door was only open a crack; Thoran pushed against it, and it opened completely–enough for them to enter. He was not only met by the smell of musty parchments . . . magical strains were quite evident in the air. The place was mess. Books and notes were scattered everywhere, as if a great gust of wind had come through. Sauraman was curled up in a circle he had drawn for ceremonial uses. They were instantly at his side. He was shivering and muttering gibberish, gripping his councilman broach tightly.
“Sauraman?” Maric knelt beside his ear, whispering quietly.
“What happened?” His words staggered, but he managed a small explanation, “T-Trying t-to find K-Koldran . . . l-linked w-with councilm-man Frakes . . . t-telepathically . . . h-he had it. C-Couldn’t access L-Lopine powers . . . w-wrong s-spell. M-Mixed magics . . .”
“Mixing magics is very dangerous . . . but you still should have been able to defeat Frakes. You are still the most powerful councilman.”
“N-Not just Frakes . . . S-Selena. S-Sharing the K-Koldran . . . m-my s-spell b-backfired . . .”
“Two councilman!” Thoran stood, spreading his wings angrily, “They must not know what they are dealing with; the Koldran cannot be shared. Come–we must warn my clan to watch for them.” Effortlessly he scooped the shivering sorcerer in his arms and carried him out.
Ramis had barely stood when he felt the severe force of a magical beam on his back. He was knocked forward, soaring over the body and plummeting down into the dirt. Charon roared deep in his throat and turned back towards the stone bluff above.
“Selena!” She didn’t move the ruby beam that extended from her hand to Ramis. She wore a decorated purple cloak and the green brooch, but a piece of the small stone that was called the Koldran was hung around her neck as well. She glanced briefly at Charon and the other gargoyles, but at the moment they were not threat to her.
“Foolish mortals! You will soon see the end that the fool beside you saw!” She still didn’t change the beams intensity or direction. Ramis remained her main focus; any magic wielder possessed a threat, especially a Lopinenean one. The kat wrapped his arms around his chest, barely bringing himself above his knees. His features were tightened in pain. Charon growled loudly, leaping with his claws extended in rage. Selena briefly moved the ray and reconcentrated it on him, knocking back down long before he could take a swing at her body. Seeing he was temporarily out, she again shifted it to Ramis.
With Charon down, Jumicus and Chip didn’t miss a beat. They leaped, and the night’s winds were enough to keep them airborne. Selena knocked down the bigger one, but Chip reached her before she could edit her ray again. He slammed himself into her, knocking her frail body off balance. His success lasted only a moment, for the moment she hit the ground her body lit and he left the magical strains flood his body painfully. He growled, the magic hurling him down into the pit. Selena regained her stature, but she hadn’t yet refocused the energy when she felt another one meet her side. Giving a cry of surprise she was knocked back into a tree. Maric let the beam disintegrate. He stood on a higher cliff to the side of the pit, and behind him appeared Thoran carrying Sauraman and the rest of the clan. Not hesitating, he made his way down to the floor of the pit and knelt beside his son.
His son was now coming around, “S-Selena has–?”
“–the Koldran. We know. And Frakes. They have split it,” he glanced up at where she was resting against the tree trunk.
“They must not fully understand it. That shall be their downfall.”
“I think not!” Frakes appeared beside Selena, helping her to her feet. He was an old kat, almost like Maric, which the same purple robe and brooch. Around his neck was the other half of the Koldran.
“You cannot keep up with this, Frakes . . . ,” Thoran approached him slowly, with the rest of his clan backing him.
“The Koldran cannot be split. Remove it now, or you will both be destroyed.”
“Not without destroying you first!” Selena’s eyes lit up in rage as she directed a beam using both hands towards the gargoyles.
They leapt into the air, the beam burning only a few trees. The trio in the pit followed their example and took to the sky. Selena continuously sent out her beams, sometimes missing, but a few gargoyles went down. Maric and Ramis were both shifting through a spellbook. They certainly seem preoccupied, thought Frakes. Perhaps now is the time to slip away. Slowly, he inched his way out into the woods. Thoran and Maric both separately noticed, slipping out in the midst of battle and following him deeper into the woods.
Frakes headed deep into a cave, gripping the Koldran tightly in his paws. Selena could have her fun with the gargoyles; he cared not whether she won or not. Oh, Selena–always so foolish! Rage was both useless and controllable. Why did she not realized that?
A voice his thoughts, “You are the fool, Frakes! You should have been destroyed with the rest of the council!”
He turned to face Thoran simultaneously releasing a beam that sent him flying, “Silence, gargoyle! I have the power here!”
“You only think that, Frakes!” Maric helped the old gargoyle up.
“The Koldran will destroy you! Save yourself now!”
All further conversation was suppressed as they were both knocked down again, feeling the energy being sucked from them. Frakes snapped his fingers, and a spellbook appeared in his other hand and automatically began flipping pages.
“Perhaps–but not before I destroy you and your clan!” He found the desired page all too soon. “You want to serve Frith, do you?”
Beneath the force of the beam, Thoran strained, “It is all life means to a Lopinenean.”
“So Frith will call you when he needs you! You shall sleep, Thoran–but you and your clan shall no longer rise with the moon each night. You shall be stone until Frith bids you for his service!” The beam increased in intensity and Thoran lurched backwards, eventually collapsing in a world of blackness. Maric glanced at him, then turned to face Frakes.
“Stop this . . .” Frake’s eyes lit up as he hit back with a force of energy, “So you want to sleep as well! You and your son shall, if you wish it! Your stone statue will litter the merlon as well!” He released the beam, concentrating down on the book.
“Grooooooooooaaaaaaaaaarhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Frake’s surprised face met Charon’s, as the gargoyle heaved himself into the sorcerer. They both went spinning back, Frakes securely pinned down by the heavy gargoyle above him.
“Get off me, beast . . .” With his free paw he grasped the Koldran, drawing from it a blast of energy that shook him free as Charon wobbled back. Regaining himself, Frakes reached for the spellbook that had been thrown a few meters away.
“Let me see . . . ah–here it is!” One paw raised over his hand with the Koldran grasped tightly within.
“Absemos Domine . . .hkacanta ecuante–” The mix of Lopine and Latin sprung from his lips as his body began to glow brightly. Almost the entire clan filled the cave now, with Selena up behind him. She served as enough of a distraction for Frakes. Only Maric noticed him and warned his son as he felt him at his side.
“Do not let him cast that spell . . . or we all may never see Frith again!” Leaving his father to recover, Ramis raised his sword and ran straight for the councilman . . . but he stopped short. The strains being consumed by the Koldran were too powerful to approach. He was knocked down, but he felt Charon at his side to help him to his feet. Their eyes widened as the rest of the battle seemed nonexistent and only the bright glow of Frake’s body was present.
“Semonas alcalde . . .” Ramis and Charon now reverted their full concentration to blocking the blinding light with their. There was a horrible stream of wind pushing them back.
“Ramis, get back!” Maric lifted his spellbook in a failed attempt to hurl it at him; anything to disturb the spell. Thoran growled in rage. He knew they were too far into it; the spell would be completed momentarily. His only hope that the Koldran would destroy both Frakes and Selena after the completion of the spell so they wouldn’t be around to smash the statues.
“Koldrania gemor westia`cte!”
The brightness of the light grew, illuminating not only the cave but the entire mountain side. Every gargoyle was touched by the warm light as it engulfed them. Their leader growled again; more hopelessly this time. He heard the roars of his clan beside and behind him . . . as they grew distant, almost softer. The warm light was turning cold–could it be the spell was failing. Something inside him told him no. Colder and colder . . . he knew the feeling, the feeling he had every time Frith rose from beneath the horizon. Maric and Ramis had never personally felt it like he had, but it was obvious enough. Colder . . . And eventually, stone cold.
Frakes felt older. The weight of the years had full intensity now . . . and somehow, he was getting heavier. The Koldran that now rested around his neck felt ten times heavier. He fell to his knees, drained both physically and emotionally. Selena looked older, too . . . and perhaps almost as drained. She stood, holding her half of the Koldran in her palm gently.
“So small . . . so much power.”
The room was littered with statues.
Frakes stood as well. “Of course it worked.”
Selena studied him curiously. He was getting older. He, of course, had always had gray fur and a long beard, but it was getting longer. His fur was grayer . . . almost dying . . .. He looked at her, his old eyes tired.
“Frakes? What is happening?” Suddenly, she felt it too, a horrible weight that only increased. She fell to his knees, throwing the Koldran from her neck. It was hurled up against the stone wall and smashed.
“That blasted Koldran! The spell used its energy up!” She shrieked, looking down at her shriveling paws, then pointed accusingly at him, “This is your fault!”
He shook his head sadly, “We never should have split the Koldran.” With tired eyes he watched her collapse in a heap in front of him.
“Frakes! This is your doing!” He turned to see Sauraman enter the cave weakly. He was still drained from his failed spell, but he certainly wasn’t dying like Frakes.
“Sauraman,” Frake’s old lips curled in a smile.
“I always suspected you were on of the Isatari, but I was not sure until tonight. Now it is too late for both of us.”
“Both of us? I shall live on! I have no access to my Lopine powers now, but my strength is coming back!”
“Alas! But I cannot let you terrorize the countryside alone without any other Lopineneans to keep you in line. With the last of my strength I shall cast one more spell!” He sent out a weak beam that smacked into the other sorcerer.
“You shall live on, Sauraman, for you are immortal as a member of the Isatari! But yet, you shall not have any more access to your Lopinenean or council powers. You know the watch you always carry?”
He nodded weakly, pulling it out from beneath his robe.
“From now until the spell is lifted on the gargoyles, the watch shall contain the only magically energy you are capable of using. You shall be useless without it. Your cave will be buried and rendered useless. You shall be a wanderer and a weak sorcerer, Sauraman the Pastmaster! That is my parting gift!”
Sauraman shrieked, collapsing beside the statue of Thoran as his world dissolved into darkness.
Frakes sighed, studying the results of his actions within the last evening: a room full of gargoyles that were stone by night as well as day, two sons of Ecuador in stone beside them. One dead councilwoman at his feet, and an unconscious Lopinenean sorcerer beside her. In his last moments, within the growing darkness, he felt a twinge of sadness.
Kehor silently slipped down the side of the castle wall. With the armies of San-Aldus at Megallith’s front gates, he didn’t feel too safe around Claris and the castle residents. They could easily see him as a traitor in a moments notice–after all, he was the ambassador’s advisor and was assumed to know everything that went on inside Beacon’s head. Only now did he see how much was withheld. Everything was planned, of course. Beacon was to bring the Koldran to the councilmen simply to lure away the gargoyles from the castle. The only thing not put into calculation was the power of the Koldran–and Beacon’s death. It didn’t matter, in the end. The Koldran took care of the councilmen as well as the gargoyles . . . as Kehor soon discovered, through a message from Sauraman. He headed deeper into the woods, not stopping until he heard a shuffle in the bushes beside him.
Sauraman appeared, gesturing him on.
The old Advisor gasped as he entered the cave. The gargoyles in stone he was accustomed to, but . . . Maric and Ramis?
“Frakes did this?”
“Aye . . . ,” the sorcerer grunted. “And Selena. They will sleep until Frith calls for them or the spell is broken.”
Old Kehor looked down at his feet.
“I am partially to blame for this. I should have seen Beacon’s ways more clearly. Now the line of gargoyles and sons of Ecuadors shall end here.”
Sauraman looked at him curiously, “What of the gargoyles left behind?”
Kehor didn’t respond . . . and the silence had its own explanation.
“And the eggs in the rookery? And Ramis’s wife?”
He sighed, “I shall watch over the eggs–if they survive. As for his wife, it is still to early to tell if she carries . . .” A nod, followed by a moment of silence. Kehor waited, then spoke again, “The lines shall end here . . .”
End of Part 1
[OK people, we’re going back to 1996 here, so get into tune. Go watch SWAT Kats or something before continuing this story. I understand the 1000-year-switch can be tricky without visuals.
NOTE: I know this is totally going against what the show said in the Metalikats episode, but in this story, Professor Hackle is Jake’s father. I couldn’t help but notice the incredible similarities in their characters and sideburns. He changed his name from the original Professor Clawson for the protection of his family when he worked for the military.]
[You guys ready? Here goes . . .]
“Destiny is a wheel, poised to spin.”
–excerpts from the diary of Professor Jacob Clawson
Children of the Stone
Part 2 1996 C.E. Megakat City Salvage Yard “In other news, Mayor Manx realeased a statement today . . .” The sound of the TV was barely audible above the racket caused by the firing of a blowtorch. Jake Clawson finally stopped, lifting the mask from in front of his face to get a better look at the engine.
“Hey Jake . . . you almost done with that? Cally’s gonna be by this afternoon.” Sighing, he stood up from his former position–leaning into the engine of the car. Slamming the front hood down, he dropped his blowtorch and headed over to the desk, “I dunno, Chance . . . unless you want to blow the engine again, of course.” Chance Furlong, a blond kat with enough muscle to send the average kat packing, grunted at the remark, “HEY . . . it was YOUR idea to use to turbochargers.”
“Huh? What are you talking about? It was your idea!”
“No it wasn’t!”
“Yes it was!”
“No it wasn’t!”
“Yes it–” they were interrupted by the telephone’s loud ring. They exchanged glances, then dove for the phone. Jake got to the receiver first.
“Yeah? Who is it?” There was a brief moment of silence, followed by a groan from Jake as he continued to listen as he whispered to Chance with his paw over the speaker, “It’s Dad. He’s a little pissed at me.”
“What? He see us on the news again?”
“Yeah–hang on . . . ,” he removed his paw from the speaker.
“Dad, calm down. We knew what we were doing–yeah, I know we were in danger. Chance knows how to fly . . . look, we’ve been through this . . .” This continued to the point where Chance could almost hear the voice on the other line, and Jake hung up. Sighing, he slumped down onto the couch and fiddled with the remote control languidly.
“I take it he didn’t like that little stunt with Dark Kat’s ship.”
Jake looked at him sadly, “Yeah . . . I suppose he’ll get over it someday . . . I just don’t know when. He’d like it a lot better if I was a scientist and not a SWAT Kat.”
Chance could only nod; he didn’t have a greatest relationship with his father, but at least they understood each other.
The wilderness outside the outskirts of Megakat City, just beyond the graveyard, provided many citizens with somewhere to relax. It also, however, served as a wonderful archaeological sight. The remanents of Magellith castle had been studied again and again by several different professors. What amused them most was perhaps not the amount of knowledge that could be drawn from it but the lack of knowledge. A piece was always missing in the puzzle; it led many people to conclude that there must be some hidden records in an unexplored region of the battlements. Still . . . Doctor Sinian took full advantage of her resources, going down there nearly every chance she had for more excavation. Lately they had begun wondering if what they were missing didn’t truly exist, but it had too–there were too many recordings of mages who would show up once every hundred years in the text and then disappear again. This didn’t stop her, it mearly keep her excited. She was very excited, in fact, as her paws gripped the stearing wheel in front of her and the car steadily made its way down the dirt road. Two hours ago she had received a very odd phone call. It seemed Manx had ordered some construction to be done near the base of one of the mountains for a new residentaul area, and the workmen had uncovered some sort of closed in cave they wanted her to look at.
“What are you so excited about?” Her assistent couldn’t help but ask.
“It’ll probably contain a few scrolls at the most. Just like all the other sites.”
“Mark . . . something I’ve learned in this life is to never miss a chance . . . or you may regret it later. If this IS something, we’ll be kicking ourselves for months.” The car came to a hault, and she stepped out to great a dusty workmen who was apparently in charge.
“Glad to see you, doctor,” he raised his voice to be heard above the noise of sledgehammers as he lead them into the drill sight.
“We thought you’d like to see this. I think this may be what you’re looking for.”
“I like to keep an open mind.” Mark merely grumbled. They were lead into a cave.
“Grab your flashlights,” the workman warned. The doctor had to admit it was quite a cave, much deeper than the drillman could have made in a few days. The long corridor seemed to go on forever. Mark yawned, turning off the path for a moment. His beam shot around . . . then landed on something. He gave a sharp yelp, spinning backwards and landing on his back in the dirt. The flashlight rolled on the floor, but eventually centered on it again. It was a statue. His eyes remained locked on it staring down at him even as he felt Dr. Sinian and the workman at his side.
“D-Dri Abi . . . I t-think we f-found s-s-something . . .” Fearlessly she came forward and steadied her own beam of light on the face. Taking a hankerchief from her pocket, she dusted off the grotesque face. With the light beneath it, its features seemed even more obvious. There was only thing it could be–a bumpy face and a short beard, a full set of jaws more powerful than any kat’s. A gargoyle.
“Get a crew down here!” “Are we drilling?” She turned to the workman, her face bright with excitement, “Of course not! This is the best find of this decade!” Striking a match, she lit an old torch that was mounted on the wall.
“Light all the torches!” Within a few minutes the room was lit, either with torches or bulbs strung across the walls. She gasped, getting a full view of the room. The cave was littered with statues–mainly of gargoyles. The walls were lines with writing carved into the stone. It was quite obvious the cave as built for visitors–a path led through the gargoyles and around the cave. Dr. Abi ran her hand against the stone wall, studying it, “It’s in some sort of subscript . . . but I think I can read it.” “Is this . . . room . . . from the Dark Ages?” She squinted, “No . . . I think this is from sometime BEFORE the Dark Ages. It talks about a battle here . . . between the gargoyles and two mages. I’ll need some time to study this carefully. Let’s get the statues and the plating on the walls back to the museum.”
Cally Briggs stood patiently in the elevator, briefcase in hand and not without her business woman look. The elevator stopped, sounding its toll.
“I’m so glad you could come. This new discover could open so many doors for us in the historiography of Megallith City. It has such a mysterious past . . . we really didn’t have any clues until now.” “Well . . . Manx gave my some time off for working late with his last speech. I’d like to see what all the excitement’s about.” The door in front of them opened, and Dr. Abi led her to a desk. Scattered on the top were various books and scrolls, along with the plating that had been lining the walls of the cave. It had been removed and it was obvious she was attempting to translate it.
“I’ve been having trouble with the translations. So much is implemented; the author assumed we would already know the meanings of many words that were probably slang at that time.” Cally looked at her curiously, “Well, Abi . . . what does it say?” Abi glanced briefly at her translation on the notepad, “It was apparently written by an old kat named Kehor–he was some sort of scholar for the times. Something important happened in that cave, but my knowledge of this ancient subscript isn’t great enough to uncode it.” “What did you find so far?” “From my guess, these gargoyles were probably part of some ceremony . . . or they could have symbolized holy protectors.” Cally drifted over to the statues of two kats, separate from the rest, “Who were these?” “These were of a strange line. They were called sons of Ecuador, I believe. They lived alongside the gargoyles. Apparently, they were all part of the same culture. But . . . something is still missing.” “What?” Abi led her back the desk, holding up the stone tablet and pointing to the inscriptions, “There was a third member of their side, of the Lopineneans. A mage named Sauraman. He’s been mentioned several times in various scriptures . . . but he isn’t among the statues. Kehor said he lived on . . . but lost almost all of his powers in a spell. It makes me wonder . . . if he’s still alive.” “You mean you believe this stuff?” “Well, Cally . . . ,” she looked ou the window curiously, ” . . . I believe there is SOME truth to those old legends. Besides . . how would they get started?”
An old women . . . perhaps older than others suspected . . . headed up the front steps of the museum slowly. Yes, she needed to conserve her energy for later. She couldn’t afford to waste it now. She wore all black, wrapped in a sweater and hunched over. Only her fur was gray. She moved limply, in gentle strides. Around her neck was a small, green brooch.
“Excuse me, can I help you, ma’am?” She returned the polite smile of the guard, “I was wondering if I could speak with the curator?”
Dr. Abi had just led Cally out when she was introduced to an old woman, “Dr. Sinian? Could I speak with you for a brief moment?” “Yes, of course . . .” “Selena May. I’ve been researching Megallith City for some time . . . and I was wondering if I could get a look at those gargoyles you found for just a minute.” Abi wondered curiously, How did she know I had gargoyles? That news wasn’t released yet. I’ve never heard of a Selena May in the archaeological community, “Well . . . all right.”
As the elevator door opened, Dr. May (apparently) gasped, almost knocking back into Abi for support.
“Oh G-d . . .” “What? Do you want me the call the paramedics?” “No no no . . . ,” she straightened, releasing her grip of Abi and leaning on the wall.
“No, it’s just the rush . . . of memories. I’ve waited my whole life for this. I’ve always suspected Megallith Castle has a pack of gargoyles . . . but I wasn’t sure until now.” “But we know so little of them . . .
” Dr. May slowly made her way over to the first statue, the old one with a beard. She rested her hand on his foot atop the pedestal for strength, “Gargoyles? Curious creatures . . . stone by day, flesh by night. It’s ironic, really, because their G-d was the sun they could not see.” Abi gasped in amazement. This woman puzzled her; how did she know so much? There were no scriptures she herself hadn’t studied, and she didn’t know that much.Stone by day, flesh by night? The old woman was either senile or too superstitious for her own good. She glanced at her watch.
“Please, Dr. May . . . I’ll escort you out, but I have to close up now. The cleaning crew is coming by.” The old woman mused, Ah, to have the old days back again! What I would give for that! I could break the spell, but I haven’t the power without the Koldran. I suppose I could steal the energy, as long as I can find enough people with energy to draw from . . .
Professor Hackle, formally Dr. Clawson, tried to concentrate on the road, but was constantly failing. Night was approaching, and a lightening storm was brewing. It wasn’t exactly the best time for him to be out, traveling on a dirty road in a beaten up pick-up truck. My son amazes me! His mind whirled, Everyday, he risks his life–for what? I never should have let him join the enforcers! He sighed, knowing subconsciously he had had no choice. Jake was a smart boy, but the money wasn’t there and even local universities were far to expensive. The enforcers paid well, maybe even enough for a scholarship. Besides, he had incredible aim and his friend Chance was a good pilot. Now, because of the enforcers and that blasted Feral, he was stuck with the lowly job of an automechanic. Oy . . . I don’t think I will ever understand the youth today . . . The truck stopped came to an abrupt hault, knocking him straight into the steering wheel. Slowly he lifted his head, moaning softly. His eyes widened. An old woman was standing on his hood. She had gray fur and a black cloack. Around her neck was a green brooch. Her eyes were wild and her paws raised above her head.
“What the–get off my truck!” There was no response. Behind her, lightening crackled.
“GET OFF MY TRUCK! ARE YOU DEAF?” The woman raised her hands higher, and the lightening rods came down as she consumed their energy. Now redirecting them, she aimed for Hackle.
“You are not match for me, old kat!” The beam hit him smack in the head. All around him the world was darkening. He slumped forward, his face resting on the steering wheel as he drifted into unconsciousness.
The news didn’t say anything particularly interesting; Jake looked nervously at his watch.
“Hey, buddy . . . what’s wrong?” “Dunno . . . Dad said he was gonna call back before this evening. He hasn’t called.” “Any you WANT him to call?” He sighed, “Not really . . . but he always returns calls. I guess I worry about him; he is getting old.” Chance didn’t say anything. He didn’t want his best bud depressed, but he knew there was nothing he could really do, “Come, man . . . I know what it feels like. I’ve had fights with my dad.” “Yeah, but your dad understands you. He was a pilot. And you grandfather was. Hell, for all I care your ancestors had wings!”
Cally Briggs was about to step into her car as she felt a strange feeling. Had she forgotten something? Yes, of course! Her pocketbook! Quickly she hurried back into the museum and into the elevator. The elevator sounded, and the door in front of her opened.
“Abi? Have you seen my–” She gasped. There was an old woman all in black–similar to the one she had seen enter earlier–towering over the statues. Her hands were lit with glowing balls of enery she had seen the Pastmaster hold. Dr. Sinian and an old kat who’s name escaped her for the moment were pushed up against the wall, unconscious. The old woman turned around to meet her, “Who is this? The museum is closed! Can’t you read a sign, mortal?” Cally began backing into the elevator. She instinctively reached for her emergency communicator, then realized it was in her pocketbook, on the desk. The doors behind her slammed.
“Not so fast, mortal!” Cally was knocked into the wall with a beam of energy, then carried and dropped next to Abi, who was just coming around.
“Huh? Wha–?” The old version of Selena was no longer bothered, having subdued them for a moment. She turned towards the statue of the old gargoyle, “It has been a long time, hasn’t it, Thoran?” The statue of course didn’t answer.
“I’m going to finish this, Thoran. I’m going to finish what Frakes could not.” Seeing Selena had shifted her attention, Cally whispered to Abi, “There’s a communicator for the SWAT Kats in my pocketbook on the desk. Do you think we could run for it?” “I don’t know. This sorcerer is more powerful than the Pastmaster–she hasn’t used a watch or a spellbook yet. I wouldn’t trust her, but it’s worth a shot.” Being the closest, she began to inch towards the desk. Cally worked on waking the professor next to her, who was still out cold. Abi’s hand wavered just an inch from the strap that hung over the desk. Another inch . . . , “Got it!” She pulled it down, but it was followed by a large reference book that slammed down onto the ground. Selena’s eyes lit up, “What’s going on here?” Cally grabbed the pocketbook, scrambling for the small communicator. She had barely pressed the button in when Selena grabbed it away.
“What’s this?” she held the small box in her hand, then tossed it on the ground and stamped on it until the beeping light faded.
The alarm was meanwhile going off, which is not something Jake and Chance always looked forward to twice in a day.
“What the–can’t the city go one day without a problem?” Chance sighed. At least a fight would Jake’s mind off his father, “Come on, buddy . . . city need’s savin’.” They were barely down into the hanger when the alarm stopped abruptly. They exchanged glances.
“False alarm?” Chance shrugged, “Better not to take chances. Can you trace that signal?” Jake glanced at the computer thing, “Sure thing, buddy. Head for the museum.” His partner moaned as he put on his helmet and headed for the Turbokat, “I hate the Pastmaster. Every time we fight him we end up in the past or the future. Why can’t it be Dr. Viper or somethin’?” “Oh, stop whining.”
The Pastmaster was disrupted from his musings by the sound of the Turbokat above him. Those blasted SWAT Kats–couldn’t they take a different route for once? Always over the graveyard! He sighed, wandering around his cauldron mindlessly. This accursed time period! So pointless! So boring–his thoughts were interrupted once again as he noticed the cauldron’s water changing colors.
“What?” coming closer, he inspected the cauldron. It didn’t just do things by itself. Such a disturbance could only mean these was a high amount of magical energy being consumed. But how? He wasn’t doing anything . . . Leaning over the water, he whispered a spell to show him the area where the magical strains were most powerful. He somehow wasn’t surprised when it showed him the museum.
Selena’s lips curled into a wide smile. Everything was slowly falling into place. Soon she would have enough energy, as long as Sauraman was still around. She only kicked herself for not thinking of this earlier. She studied Hackle, who was prompt up on a chair and just slipping back into consciousness. So this is what 1000 years of breeding out the line has brought us. Oh well . . . there is energy in him, regardless–and he does not know how to use it. I hope he has a son . . . there will be more energy to draw! Her mind shifted; she had to concentrate on the spell. A ruby beam more powerful than the others burst from her paw, centering on Hackle. His body lit as he lurched back, screaming. His paws gripped the sides of his skull. The pain was immense, condensing and dissolving all other thoughts. Feeling drained, he fell to his knees, but the beam did not disappear.
“DAD?!” There was no way for her to see the two SWAT Kats appear at the door. Selena was also too busy concentrating on Hackle. Instinctively, Razor ran to his father’s side. T-Bone fired a glovatrick’s net in the direction of Selena. It bounced harmlessly off. Selena smiled, feeling the last of his energy being consumed by her own as she released the beam. The old kat fell forward, only to be caught by his son. Her image dissolved before anyone could react, and disappeared. T-Bone joined Razor at his father’s side. Hackle was shivering weakly, feeling drained. His vision was disoriented, but he looked up and recognized the figure above.
” . . . Yaakov . . .?” “Shh, Dad, please . . . it’s Razor for now,” he allowed T-Bone to lift his father and help him back onto a chair.
“How do you feel?” “Oy . . . just tired . . . so tired . . .” “Yeah, well . . . you can relax,” he patted him on the shoulder, then headed over to where his partner was helping Cally and Dr. Abi up.
“What happened here? Who was that woman?” “Yeah,” T-Bone pitched in.
“When we traced the signal, we thought it was the Pastmaster.” Dr. Abi just shrugged her shoulders, “That woman . . . Dr. Selena May, as she called herself . . . showed up a little while ago, wanting to get a look at the gargoyle exhibit. I escorted her out the door, but she came back with the professor and held us hostage.” “She’s a sorcerer? Like the Pastmaster?” “More poweful than the Pastmaster, it seems. She’s very interested in the gargoyles. She’ll probably be back soon.” “Do you know what she was doing to my father?” There wasn’t too much use in hiding it. He had only shouted it as they entered. Inside, Razor was suddenly very, VERY glad Hackle had to change his name. Abi shrugged again, flipping through some papers on her desk, “There’s no way to tell. She must have wanted something from him, if she brought him here. In fact . . . she may be after you next.” Razor shuddered. T-Bone was instantly there to back him up, “We’ll wait here for a while. If she doesn’t show, we’ll take your father home and leave her for the enforcers.” “And what do we do if she gets here? Launch missiles at her?” the question was directed to his partner, but it somehow instantly went to Dr. Sinian.
“Well . . . I suppose we could fight fire with fire . . . and the only one who knows how to do that is the Pastmaster.” “And if only we could find him . . .”
Razor headed slowly down the hallway, almost completing his rounds. It was nearly midnight, and his mind was on his father. What had Selena done to him? Nothing seemed wrong; he just needed rest. Sighing softly, he wandered slowly over to the victorian couch where his father was sitting.
“How’re you feeling?” “Better.” Razor sighed again, sitting down next to him, “Why do you think she wanted you?” “I don’t know. I’m just an old man who makes robots for my son to fight . . .” “You’re still stuck on that, aren’t you?” “Yes.” “You know Dad, you should really–” He stopped suddenly as a ruby beam came from behind them, knocking Hackle forward and sent him slamming onto the polished floor. Trusting his instincts, he immediately jumped back, raising his glovatricks to meet Selena.
“So, mortal . . . you seem a little quicker than your father,” she sent out another beam, which he successfully dodged and simultaniously fired. The bullets bounced harmlessly from her black cloak.
“Do you still disobey?!?” She sent a third beam, but in the next few seconds a fourth from her other hand. It caught him just as he landed, smack in the head. He screamed, experiencing the same pain his father remembered. Hackel stood, leaning heavily on his cane, “T-Bone! Filet Minion! Steak boy! HELP!” T-Bone was there instantly (though he resented being called “Steak boy”), firing his glovatricks. It had the same effect as Razor’s, with her cloack deflecting it easily. Seeing his friend suffer wasn’t an easy thing; he made a dash straight for Selena, hurling himself into her. At last moment a protective sphere appeared around her and he was thrown back. Razor gritted his teeth. Pain was dissolving into disorientation. He backed up, trying to seperate himself from her when he felt himself freed. His body slumped limply into his partner’s arms.
“You all right, Razor?” He didn’t reply; he COULDN’T reply. Moaning softly, he strained to flex his numb muscles and failed as he was carried back to the couch.
“Relax, buddy . . . we’ll get you back to the hanger in no time.” Dr. Sinian and Cally entered, “What happened?” T-Bone side, patting his bud’s shoulder, “She got Razor.” Dr. Abi sighed, “Well . . . it’s probably all right for you to leave now. Something tells me she only wants to cast her spells at night, and the sun’s almost up. She’s gotten all that she wants for now.” Razor sighed, and nodded weakly.
“Are you sure you’re OK?” Jake scratched his head. He had spent the previous day in bed, trying to get his strength back in case Selena showed up again, “Yeah, I’m FINE. Just a little jostled by that sorcerer . . . or sorcereress . . . or whatever . . .” “Well . . . suit up, buddy. We got some flyin’ to do,” Chance glanced out the window nervously. It was nearly sundown.
The Pastmaster wandered the hallways of the museum, feeling the energenic strains all around him. This sorcerer must be close . . . His thoughts haulted as something knocked him from the back, sending him flying. Glancing over his shoulder, his black eys widened.
“Selena! How–?!” “Too many people have thought me dead, Sauraman! For too long! But enough talk. I hear you have powers, expect for what is inside you and inaccessable. Good old Frakes . . . oh well. Don’t mind me, but I need your powers . . .” she released a beam, but it bounced harmlessly off his skull.
“Ha! I may be without my powers, but I can still block out my mind!” Selena laughed, “Ah . . . but you have seen the most of my powers!” She increased the intensity of the beam, penetrating his skull and digging into his mind. He shrieked, falling back into the glass display case when the beam was released. She smiled, disappearing in a flash to leave him groaning among the Indian arrowheads.
Dr. Abi Sinian wiped her glasses, then looked back down at the notes in front of her. Why didn’t things add up? No matter what she wrote, something was always missing! Sighing, she glanced at her watch and realized it was well past closing time. She was about to start cleaning up her work when she heard something on the roof. Selena? “Abi?” Cally appeared behind her.
“Any sign of Selena? I told the enforcers to look out for her right after I got out of Manx’s meeting.” There was that sound again.
“The roof . . . ,” only two words were needed as they simultaniously headed for the stairs.
Cally’s call was a waste; the enforcers knew about Selena easily enough. The lightening storm had built up and during the day. She was making full use of her stolen energy, knocking off the helicopters as they flew by.
“I only wish I had more time for this fun . . . but there’s work to do!” With that, she lifted her paws above her head and greated a sphere of energy. It grew, eventually engulfing the building with a protective shield.
“That should take care of those pesky mortals!” “You forgot about us, Selena!” She was distracted from her work as Cally and Dr. Abi appeared through the door beneath her.
“And the SWAT Kat’s will be here any minute. Give it up!” The sorcerer merely smiled, “Do you really think your friends could defeat ME, much less get here! My force field is impenitratable!” She pointed to the copters who’s missiles were bouncing uselessly off the walls of the sphere.
“This doesn’t look good, buddy . . .” From their view in the cockpit, no, things did not look good. The missiles of the enforcers barely dented the force field Selena had set up.
“Let’s try fying it,” Razor pushed the button that activated the megavolt missile. It shot out almost instantly fired and attached itself to the field. The volts ran through the magic, but did nothing else. The missile, having used up its energy, detacted itself and plummeted down to street level.
“Hey Razor . . . when you said ‘it’ did you mean the force field or the sidewalk?!?” “I don’t think our weaponary was designed to fight magic. Maybe it’ll die down once she uses all her energy. We’ll have to infd another way in.” T-Bone grunted, and did another loop with the jet to kill time.
“Ihebiate wesitc’ics . . . jumsimaite `asupa!” The two female kats were hanging on to the side of the small tower Selena was on, fighting the fierce winds as she continued chanting.
“What’s she doing?” Abi shrugged as best she could, “I don’t know! I don’t know this language!” Cally glanced sadly at the Turbokat as it circled the force field, “Looks like the SWAT Kats are as helpess as the enforcers! Is there any way for us to stop the spell?” She raised her voice to be heard above the wind and the chanting, “I think the spell is almost complete. No one could stop it now!” There was a blinding flash of light, and a strong gust of wind that knocked them to the edge of the roof. Luckily, they were caught by the railing. Magical dust spread everywhere, so powerful even the naked eye could see it. They covered their eyes, waiting for the light to subside. The lightening crackled, and flashed once more before the intensity of the light resided. The magical dust around them fell loosely to the ground, then disappeared. Selena had stopped her chanting, but now she lowered her hand and book . . . looking tired. She disappeared down the steps, and without another glance they followed.
When they reached the top floor, Selena was looking at the statues, smiling, “Not long now . . .” Turning back, she noticed their presence.
“I shall leave you two to your musings. It won’t due any good.” Her body faded, the disappeared. It had all passed like that. The museum was quiet; nothing hinted she had ever been there or done anything. All that remained was the force field around the building. Cally went into her pocketbook, and reached for her spare communicator.
“Hi, guys. How’re you doing out there?” T-Bone’s voice sounded a little more than surprised, “You’re all right? What did Selena do?” “I don’t know, but it must not have worked. We’re fine, and she disappeared. Dr. Sinian says the force field should wear down in a little while without her to replenish it’s energy.” “Yeah, well . . . we’ll stick around until it’s gone.” “Thanks, guys,” she sighed with relief, and shut her communicator off.
“Is it really over?” Abi shrugged again, “It depends on the spell. It might take a while to trigger.” Cally placed her paw on the foot of the beared gargoyle–the one Selena had called Thoran–, “You were a big help, weren’t you?” She heard something crack. She felt the stone beneath her paw crumble.
“Huh–?” Looking down, the stone of the foot was coming loose.
“Hey Abi, I think you should see this–!” The stone chips fell to reveal flesh.
“Abi . . .’ The statue moved; now all that remained off the stone shell were chips that went flying and nearly knocked her back, “ABI!” Dr. Sinian turned again, and gasped, “Oh G-d . . .” The once-statue twisted, letting the stone chips fly loose. The wings spread, almost in a stretching motion. His eyes glowed in a bright white as he tossed his head back and roared.
“The statues are coming alive! Look!” Abi pointed to the rest of the statues, who were following in the same motions; breaking free and stretching. The old one, now completely free and eyes still lit, picked up Cally by the arm easily and held her at his eye level.
“Lemme go!” she squirmed, trying to break free of his firm grip. Abi backed up against her desk. The other gargoyles were free now, and the two kats in robes. Cally remembered her communicator, but as she reached for it, it dropped from her pocketbook and landed on the floor. A smaller one, with kite-like wings, picked it up, sniffed it, and crushed it in his hand. The old one holding her sniffed her, then when he saw she was obviously no threat, he set her down again. She backed up against the desk with Abi. The old one, now with the others behind him, hopped off his pedestal and came forward. His eyes were no longer glowing–the pupils were now visibal instead of light–but his claws and the sword in his belt posed enough of a threat. His concentration remained centered on her until something caught his eye. Pushing them aside, he took one of the tablets recovered from the cave into his claws. Speaking clearly, he in an almost trance-like began reading aloud, “‘I watched over their statues, hoping for them to someday awaken in my lifetime. I fear this will not happen in my lifetime, for I am getting older . . .’. This was Kehor’s work.” “You speak English?” Dr. Sinian now came forward. He nodded, caping his wings and clipping them in the front, “I speak three languages. But this tablet is old–how long have we been asleep?” She was interested, noting from his manner he seemed calm enough, “I estimate–since this was before the Dark Ages–1000 years.” One of the gargoyles behind him, a plump one, gasped and leaned against the window that overlooked the city, “A thousand years . . .” Most of the others followed, struggling for their view of the brightly-lit buildings. The plump one turned to the old one, “Oh please, Thoran . . . can we go explore the city . . . please?” The smaller one nodded, “Yeah . . . come on, Thoran–please?” He sighed, leaning towards the window, “Be back by sunrise.” Four of them turned to leave, three gargoyles and the younger of the kats.
“Ramis,” he warned to the mage.
“If they don’t make it back, watch over them.” The kat who reminding Cally of someone nodded, and headed for the roof. Thoan glanced at the other gargoyles, who weren’t to eager to go out but were satified by checking out the museum. They seemed busy enough. Feeling satisfied, he turned back to Abi.
“Excuse me for not introducing myself . . . there was a small mix-up. The last thing I remember was a battle that happened a thousand years ago. I am Thoran, leader of the gargoyle clan, and this . . . ,” the older mage took his place beside him, ” . . . is Maric, our Son of Ecuador.” “Dr. Sinian.”
Dr. Sinian was surprised. The last thing she expected to find in her life was a gargoyle to talk to, much less a very intelligent one. He was obviously very cultured for his time, being able to read and speak in three languages and write in two. As it turned out, all of the gargoyles were bilingual, some trilingual. Most could read, which quite an accomplishment for their time period. Thoran seemed friendly enough. They continued their conversation in a stroll down the hallway.
“There’s so much I can’t understand . . . so much missing from history, ” she explained.
“No one really bothered, in all the writings, to explain Lopineneans and where they came from.” “Lopine is a culture that spreads over so many species and so many eras, origin is nearly impossible to trace. Besides, with so few in this realm of the universe no one bothered to understand us.” “But you worship the sun–Frith, right? Kehor told me that.” He didn’t nod, and the look on his face told her this was something he had much experience in explaining, “No, we do not worship Frith. We do not believe in Frith as G-d. He is also known as Father Time, the emperor of the universe, but never G-d. We are not a religion–we are a culture. We do not believe–we KNOW. Saying Frith is the sun is only a tradition. He does exist, but not as the sun.” “But if you’re saying he exists, then he’s G-d.” “Why must everything be G-d with your race? I said we do not believe, we know. Frith exists, but just because he is a higher power than us does not mean he is G-d. He is not perfect nor allmighty. He stands only as a higher being to us. I have not spoken with him personally, but I have felt his existence.” He turned to her seriously, “I do not expect you to believe this. You are not a Lopinenean, so there is no reason for you to.” “Yes, well . . . I also had a question about the sons of Ecuador.” “Ah yes . . . they are descendents of Ecuador, who was the mortal son of Frith. They are not superhuman, but they are quite good mages. Aside from Ramis . . . he tends to spend his time fighting with his gargoyle friends.” Abi made a turn into one of the rooms listed for the Dark Ages and pointed to a sword in a display case, “Isn’t this sword the same one as the one he was wearing? Ecuador’s sword?” Thoran smashed the case, and held it in his hands, “No, this is a replication of it–but the spells protecting it are the same. Ramis’s is the original.” He looked at her curiously, placing it back in the display case.
“It is said a city falls when they lose their son of Ecuador. That is perhaps why Megallith City went into your ‘Dark Ages’ after ours were both set in stone.” “How can you be so sure Ramis didn’t have a son?” “I cannot, but his wife did not appear to be carrying when the spell was cast. There was no way to know, and I suspect the lineage was lost over the centuries.” “If the legend you speak of is true, how some Megakat City stands now? We don’t have any son of Ecuador.” The old gargoyle looked at her curiously, “How can you be so sure?”
The protective field Selena had set around the building had finally begun to dissolve. Everything seemed quiet enough, but Feral called in–just in case.
“Oh, we’re just fine. The spell must not have worked or something,” Cally replied, shooing away the gargoyle that was currently sniffing the phone cord.
“Everything’s all right.” Sighing, she put down the reciever. She wasn’t sure how to tell him about the gargoyles.
The enforcers didn’t rush off right away; neither did the SWAT Kats. They only didn’t bother to study the museum so carefully now, therefore missing the three creatures with large wingspans leap from the roof.
“Everything sure looks quiet,” Razor glanced at the museum.
“Yeah. Wanna go back to the hanger for some nachos?” He was about to respond when he heard a familiar beeping sound. Turning to his radar screen, he saw a small dot pass in and out of its boundaries, “Huh?” “What is it?” “Something just showed up on my radar!” T-Bone turned to his screen, “Nothin’s there, buddy. Sure your eyes aren’t foolin’ ya?” “I swear there was something! It was right in front of my eyes!” “Riiiiiiigghht . . . ,” he pulled back the throttle, doing a loop.
Three gargoyles and one mage soared above the ground.
“Wow . . . ,” Jumicus gasped in amazements.
“I wonder how they keep all those torches lit!” Beneath him, the lights of the buildings were illuminated in the darkness of night. Chip nodded, inhaling the air deeply and coughing, “The air isn’t clear at all. It smells like . . . ,” he sniffed, ” . . . I can’t put my claw on it.” Charon opened his mouth to say something, then stopped in mid-word as he felt something burn at his side. His wing headed, “What the–?” He turned backwards to see what it was that had shot at him and nearly burned a whole in his wing. Three enforcer helicopters lowered to the level of the gargoyles and increased their speed. The first one activated a bright search beam, and they had to guard their eyes as it caught them.
“Carriages that fly! With metal wings!” Chip moved to avoid the laser beneath him.
“With magical beams!” Charon grunted, “Something tells me we are in for a fight!”
Felina, in the helicopter to the first’s right, strained her eyes to get a good glimpse at the three objects in front of her–even with her own beam now concentrated on them, “What the hell are those things? They’re too big to be creeplings!” Feral’s voice blasted over the intercom, “All forces move in! We can’t take any chances!” “Don’t you think we should find out what they are first, Uncle?” “I’ve had enough dealings with Viper and Dark Kat’s creations to know to shoot first and ask questions later, Lt.!” Felina frowned. She only hoped her uncle’s rashness wouldn’t get them into TOO much trouble.
“You think we can handle them?” Charon grinned widely, “Come on, let’s teach these metal boxes how to fly!” Simultaniously the three gargoyles dodged out of the line of fire. Charon, now with Ramis on his back, and Jumicus soared upward while Chip went sideways. The two hulking gargoyles, making full use of the winds, waited until the flying metal machines were beneath them, then tightened their wings and plummeted straight down into the top of the helicopters. Charon landed on the propellor’s center, smashing it instantly with his heavy weight. Jumicus caught the front of his with his claws, gripping the window and growling at the pilot. Felina gasped and reached for her parachuete. The gargoyle smashed the glass, reaching inside and fumblig with the controls. The helicopter rocked sidewards, then down. Seeing the helicopter was now spinning out of control, they both decided to bail.
As Chip turned sideways, his eyes were concentrated on avoiding the rays of the helicopters until he felt himself slam into something with a loud ‘whump.’ Looking down, he realized he was now holding on to the glass shielding above two kats.
“What the hell–?” T-Bone looked up at the gargoyle with kite wings.
“What the HELL is that thing?” “You think you can shake him off, T-Bone?” Grunting, he pushed the button that activated the launcher and blasted the glass covering–along with one gargoyle–straight up into the clouds. Chip bailed, spreading his arms for a full wingspan as he studied the jet curiously and swooped back down for another try.
Feral’s paws curled tightly around the throttle as he looked through his targeting screen. He had the that thing–whatever it was–in range, but it moved to quickly. If only the other helicopters had been taken down! Damn that Dr. Viper . . . it must be one of HIS creations. The creature flew out of view for his tiny targeting screen, and he looked up to see it swoop down into the side of the chopter. He reached for his gun, pulling it out to face him.
“Freeze! You’re under arrest!” Charon merely growled, taking the gun from his paw and crushing it in his claws. Feral lurched backwards, grabbing a paracheute as he headed out the other side. Ramis jumped off the gargoyle’s back, studying the control panel that was now in autopilot, “I wonder how it works.”
Chip secured himself on the tip of the jet’s wing, denting the metal with his claws. What a wonderous machine! “Hey T-Bone–it’s back!” His partner glanced at Chip, groaning and turning the jet on its side as he headed downward, “We’ll have to scratch it off!” Gripping the controls tightly, he aimed the jet so the wing knocked into the building in front of them. At last minute Chip bailed, letting the wing barely scrape the side. He went straight for the clouds, but he could not control his curiousity.
Ramis was fooling with the throttle when he heard something behind them explode. Charon leaned out the door, “Someone took out the back metal wings! Jumicus must not realize we are in here!” The helicopter began to spin out of control; he turned to his friend, “Time to bail!”
“I have to see how–”
“Curiousity later, Ramis!” Scooping the mage up easily, he jumped from the falling copter.
Chip now had his arms wrapped around the metal bar that had once held the glass in place between the two SWAT Kats.
“The hell–?” T-Bone frowned, then grabbed the trottle tightly.
“If G-forces doesn’t take this guy out, nothing will!”
Razor sighed, “No please, not G-forces . . .”
“No choice, buddy . . .”
The Turbokat plummeted downward in a spiral fashion. Chip clinged for dear life, now worried if he could regain himself if he bailed. His head was spinning, so was Razor’s. The further down they got, the more they felt it. Even T-Bone began to feel lightheaded when he suddenly realized how close they were to the street and suddenly pulled them back up. Sighing, he turned back. Razor was out like a light, and so was the creature, but his claws were so deep into the metal he remained attached.
“I’m taking you home, buddy . . . and you to, whatever you are . . .”
Ramis strolled steadily down the emtpy streets–empty for that time of night. Oh, how much had been accomplished in a thousand years! The bright, tall buildings that dwarfed Megallith Castle, the carriages that moved without horses. Everything was so amazing . . . he only wished his father was there to see it as well. What strange times–a city without gargoyles to protect it. There was something he had never known or even dreamed about. All business was taken care of by mortals, apparently. They were probably not even used to the sight of a living one; he had warned his three companions to generally keep out of sight. Jumicus went his own way and they trusted Chip to find his way home, but he suspected Charon was not war behind him on the rooftops. Beside him, the picture boxes in the window were playing a song with the words moving to fast for him to recognize, and in the mess of noise he was barely able to detect the footsteps off three kats who emerged from the alley as he passed.
“Hey, buddy . . .isn’t it a little late for you to be out?” He looked at them curiously. The second, now in the light of the streetlamp, got a look at his brown cloak for the first time, “Yeah, I thought the looney bin had a nine o’clock curfew.” The first one laughed, then circled around him until he came directly in his way. Ramis looked at him sharply, “Excuse me, but you happen to be in my path.” “Oh? And whattaya gonna do about it?” The first one pulled a bat out from where he held it behind him. The second and third simultaniously pulled out their own weapons, circling him so the only method of retreat was into the alley. He unshealthed his sword, instinctively glancing over his shoulder, “I am warning you . . .” Behind him, there was a small thump-thump of gargoyle feet touching the ground and a shift of shadows as he backed in. The first smiled, “Hey, nice sword you got there . . . I bet I could get a lot for it on the market.” In mid-sentence he came forward and swung. Ramis jumped to the side as hulking figure came forward. Charon spread his wings in full span, growling as he caught the bat easily with his hand and used it to hurl the user nearly clear of the alley.
“M-MONSTER! Come on, guys . . . let’s get out of here!” The gargoyle didn’t have to growl again and they were gone, yelping like scared kittens.
“Well . . . wasn’t that interesting?” he said in a much more cultured voice.
“I could have handled it.” Charon laughed, placing a claw on his friend’s shoulder, “Sure. I am going to look for Jumicus. Maybe he has found Chip.”
T-Bone turned the bucket, dumping a load of ice-cold water on Razor’s head. He nearly screamed, drifting back into consciousness, “What was that for?” “Come on, buddy–we’re all ready back in the hanger!” Razor looked around, realizing his partner was right, “Yeah well, you didn’t have to go through G-forces that hard.” “I sure knocked him out, huh? It worked, didn’t it?” he pointed to the gargoyle, who was still wrapped tightly around the bar in his sleep.
“Poor little guy . . .” T-Bone’s voice raised in almost mocking furry, “POOR LITTLE GUY? May I remind you he attacked our jet–” stopping in mind-sentence, he took a good look at him.
“Ya know, he is kind a cute.”
After changing out of their uniforms, Chance had carried him into the living room and laid him down on the couch. In his sleep, the gargoyle looked harmless . . . almost peaceful.
“Cute little guy, huh?” Jake replied a bit more seriously, handing him a can of milk, “Yeah, but we still gotta find out where he came from, why he attacked our jet, and what he is–” There wasn’t time for a response as the phone rang.
Chance was first to the phone this time, “Who needs a tow?” Listening into the receiver, he frowned as he recognized the voice and handed it to Jake. “Guess who!”
“Aaaaaawwww . . . ,” he didn’t bother to hide his annoyance. After listening for a few minutes, he finally slammed down the receiver.
“Dad’s really freaked out. He says he got a monster with giant wings on his windsill a few minutes ago.”
“There seems to be a lot of them out tonight . . .”
“Yeah, well . . . ,” grabbing the truck’s key’s from the table, he headed for the garage door, ” . . . you know how he is. I’ll go over an’ calm him down–he might have a heart attack.”
“At this time of night? Don’t you think it could wait?”
Turning to him seriously as his paw curled around the truck’s door hande, “With MY father? And yes, I’m taking the car. You need to stay home with him.” He indicated the gargoyle lying on the couch.
Jake Clawson gripped the steering wheel of the towtruck rather tightly, wishing deep inside he was on the side seat instead. He wasn’t much of a driver, and until something happened to Chance, he didn’t plan to become one. For a guy with the greatest aim in Megakat City when it came to standing behind a gun barrel, it was ironic he was lucky to make it halfway without hitting the curb. As much as he tried to keep his mind on the road, it keep shifting. He was worried about his father, Selena, and that creature who had attached himself to the Turbokat. Something didn’t seem right . . . was there a connection between him and Selena’s spell? What about those statues in the museum? And why did she drain his father’s energy? None of the puzzle pieces fitted.
He sighed, shifting his eyes from the road for a moment to glance at the sidewalk. He turned it back a moment later, and there was a form in the road.
Ramis snapped to attention as he heard something behind and in front of him. The road hadn’t been busy for that time of night, and he had been walking in it’s center. He froze like a frightened deer as his eyes were blinded by the headlights behind him.
Pulling his senses together, he turned the other way to see another car coming up in the opposite direction. By Frith those things were fast! There was no time to dodge the line of fire; he leaped in the air and landed on the hood of the truck.
Jake blinked in surprise, “WOAH!” His foot slammed on the break as his truck hit the car. It went straight into a dead spin, while the car remained stationary.
The truck spun, and slammed into a streetlamp. The truck turned on its side, finally halting. Jake was thrown into the shattered glass of the side window. Ramis went flying, landing in the street beside the crash.
The other driver, after leaning his head out to size up the situation, drove off. Better that than stick around in the era of lawsuits.
Jake slowly rolled back into consciousness. How long had he been out? In the distance he saw the other car drive away, and he guessed it had only be a few minutes. Pulling himself up (or, from the position of the car, sideways), he managed to climb out through the opposite windows. Free of the wreck, he shook himself off. Aside from a few cuts and bruises, he seemed all right.
Did I hit somebody? He looked around and spotted a cat, about his size in color in a brown robe, rubbing him head and trying to stand. He looked OK–thank G-d. Jake couldn’t help but be curious; what was a man in a robe with a sword doing out this late at night?
Out of his own curiousity he followed him into the park.
Ramis immediately sensed he was being followed. He hadn’t wanted to attract attention, but he also hadn’t realized how fast those carriages went.
“Hey buddy . . . are you OK?”
Glancing backwards, he unshealthed his sword. He didn’t want an experience like the previous one, but he also didn’t want to be discovered. It was obvious this kat was not simply going to go away.
Silently, he wished Charon was there.
Jake stopped when he saw the glisten of a sword. Backing off, he realized he was up against a possible wacko, “Relax, pal . . .”
Ramis brandished the sword.
“Look, I dunno where the hell you came from, but–”
The mage leaped forward, sword ready. He had no intention of hurting the kat, but he needed a distraction so he could escape. Jake dodged it, lurching out of the way just soon enough to miss the blade. Still not quite sure what he was up against, he slowly realized he was completely alone, without a gun or any sort of weapon. Using last-minute tactics he hurled himself into his opponent.
They both went flying, landing flat in the grass. They rolled, Jake concentrating on getting rid of the sword and Ramis still just trying to get away.
By the end of the battle, Jake found himself pinned down with the blade’s edge pushed up against his throat. Ramis kneeled on his stomach, keeping him braced with one paw holding down his forehead and the other wielding the sword.
“OK, OK–!” Jake gasped, trying to breath without having his throat pierced open.
“You win! Just lemme go!”
Ramis looked at him curiously. With his paw braced against his forehead, the red cap slipped off and his head was bare. The mage removed his paw to get a good look at his opponent’s face, but the sword remained stationary.
Jake swallowed nervously. What was this pyscho doing? Staring at him? What good would that do? He didn’t want to think of what might be going through the crazed mind.
Ramis shifted the blade curiously. What a strange looking kat! How much he looks like me . . . a thought sprung in his head, but he shook it off. This kat could not be my decendant! If my wife had a son, then surely Kehor would have mentioned it in the writings?
The resemblence was unbelievable; there HAD to be a connection.
He loosened his hold and pulled the blade back a bit so he could talk, “Are you a son of Ecuador? Speak seriously now!”
Jake now acknowledged the fact this kat was completely looney, “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.” He spoke quietly, as not to upset the crazy kat with a very dangerous sword, drawing a ragged breath. Ramis’s mind spun. The lineage was lost! After all these years, he could easily be my decendant! There ARE ways to prove it . . . He stood, removing his knee from Jake’s chest and letting him stand as well–but the sword remained ready in his paw.
“I shall repeat the question . . .”
“Look, bud . . . I said no all ready–”
Without warning, he tossed the sword. Jake caught it easily, grasping the golden handle in his paw.
“You ARE!” he grabbed the sword back, slipping it back into its case. “Only a son of Ecuador can hold that sword. You HAVE to be!” Straightening, he shook his paw, “I am sorry for the mistake. I am Ramis, son of Maric and Ecuador.”
“Jake Clawson,” somewhat reluctantly, he shook the hand.
“Look, I still say you have the wrong guy. I’m not whatever the hell your taking about and–” stepping back for a better view, he scratched his head and his eyes widened.
“I-It couldn’t be . . . you’re one of the statues–in the museum!”
“I was, yes. But I was freed from that spell just this evening.”
“Wait a minute . . . ,” Jake crossed his arms.
“No . . . this COULDN’T be right . . . there’s an explanation for this! First of all, what’s a son of Ecuador?”
“A decendant of Ecuador, son of Frith.”
“Oh yeah, I figured as much . . . I still think you’re a bit confused–”
“Are you a mage?”
Jake looked at him surprisingly. Then again, of course he should expect such a question from a complete wacko, “NO, I’m not a mage, and I never will be!” He was getting frustrated with this idiot. “Listen, umm . . .”
“Yeah, well . . . Ramis, I don’t know who you think I am or WHAT you think I am, but you got the wrong guy. First, I don’t have any ‘magical powers.’ Second, I’m not even native to the area, so don’t get any funny ideas about ancestory. My family’s from Poland. Furthermore, I think we should get you to a nice, rubber room . . .” Ramis sighed. He wasn’t getting anywhere with this kat. He obviously did not realize his powers OR his ancestorial lineage. Were all kats of this age so ignorant? He said he came from Poland. So? The line was perhaps stretched further than they thought . . . Finally, he said, “I will prove it to you.” Raising his paw, it lit with the glowing essence similar to Selena’s beam. Jake didn’t have time to reach before he was grabbed by the forehead and held tightly.
“NOT AGAIN–!” he screamed as his mind was taken over by the force of the energetic strains.
Chance heard the scream immediately. Worried about Jake’s driving after not having him return for quite a while, he ‘borrowed’ a car they were currently waxing and followed his tracer signal. For the first time he was thankful they always wore those homing communicators. He heard it as he pulled up at the entrance of Megakat City Park. Surveying the towtruck laying on his side, he didn’t waste a moment and headed into the park. A million thoughts ran threw his head, all of them bad. Coud someone know who they were? Something told him an ordainary carjacker wouldn’t have been able to overpower an experienced enforcer and SWAT Kat, much less turn a truck over. Entering, he heard something swoop above him. One of the creeplings? Too big. It was also too dark for a good look. He only saw what was in front of him; Jake and another kat of the same build. Things were hazy, but the kat had a beam of energy ready in his hand. Chance reacted the only way he could, he swung a punch that would reach the kat as he landed from his leap. It never made it. Something landed right in front of him, only a few moments before his fist would have connected with the kat’s skull. It caught the punch in one claw, lifting it easily as it growled. His feet dangled helplessly. The creature was a gargoyle–from the museum?–with blond fur and full armor. He was wearing the same type of belt he had seen on the one on the Turbokat. Except that one was a lot smaller. He was up against a full-built gargoyle now, something he could never match. The gargoyle growled again, as another landed behind him. The second one was the same size but fatter. Chance’s attention shifted from freeing his own paw to Jake. This partner had collapsed, now free of the kat’s grip, up against a tree, unconscious and head still partially lit with energetic strains.
“Jake!” the gargoyle freed him; he ran to his side. Shaking the kat by the sleeves of his overalls furiously, he tried to stir him awake without much success. He turned back to the mage in the brown robe, “Wake him up!” “I can’t,” he replied rather calmly.
“WHY NOT?” “He is in a trance to look at the hidden parts of his mind. Only he can free himself.” Chance’s voice was filled with rage, “WHY THE HELL DID YOU PUT HIM IN IT IF YOU CAN’T GET HIM OUT?” The kat shrugged, “I needed to show him the truth. He belongs in the ranks of mages.” Calming down a bit, his face melted into a rather confused expression, “Huh? Look, buddy, you’ve got the wrong guy–” he was almost laughing at the insanity of it all. Jake? A mage? THERE was a funny concept.
“Of course it is the right ‘guy’. He must belong to my line. No ordinary kat would have survived such a trance.” He glanced at his best buddy, who was still unconscious, then back at the mage, “You put him in a trance he shouldn’t have survived?!? WHAT IF IT DIDN’T WORK?” “I knew it would. He held the sword, which only kats of my line could do. But he still did not believe; he has to see for himself.” Chance’s head was spinning. He glanced at the sword the mage held. It looked just like the one Razor had pulled from the stone when they were blasted back to Megallith City by the Pastmaster . . . No, he couldn’t believe this. At least not without Jake’s concent. HE was the level-headed one. He opened his mouth to respond when a low moan from Jake brought him back to his his partner’s side, kneeling beside the tree trunk, “You all right, buddy?” “Ugh . . . ,” Jake grasped his skull, waiting for the disorientation to subside.
“The hell . . .?” Leaning on Chance’s shoulder for support, he tried desparately to stand.
“My head . . .” “It is a bit painful the first time . . .” Focusing his vision, he wobbled forward and relocated his paw to the mage’s shoulder, “Ramis . . . all right, I’m part of your line . . . just make the pain stop . . .” “You know I cannot do that. It should lighten up in a few moments. Trances are hard the first few times.” Jake sat back down again, still gripping his skull. Chances joined him.
“Mind filling me in on what the hell’s going on, before I have to fight one of these guys again . . . ,” he gestured towards the two gargoyles.
“I dunno . . . Ramis, explain it–please . . .” Chance looked helpless. Jumicus opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted by the sound of wings on wind. Chip swooped down beneath the foilage, joining him at his side.
“Hey . . . I left you back at the garage! What the hell are you doing here?” Chance instantly recognized the small gargoyle. Chip shrugged, “I followed YOU.” Turning to Ramis, “What is going on?” Charon spoke, “We just found the city’s current son of Ecuador. Or at least, Ramis did . . .
” He pointed to Jake, who was still rubbing his head but looking stronger. The gargoyle approached him on all fours, studying the kat curiously, “Are you?” Jake shrugged, “I suppose that’s why Selena hit me with that beam that drained me . . . and my father.” Ramis’s mouth dropped open, “It was Selena? Why did you not mention it before?!” “Look buddy, we gotta teach you some contractions . . .” Jake shot a serious glance at his partner as he stood, now more steadily than before, “Yeah, Selena broke the spell. Why?” This ancestor’s mouth was still open, as he stepped back with his features darkening, “Oh Frith–it was supposed to be Him! Only Frith was allowed to break the spell! She cheated with your stolen energy and brought us back!” “So? What does it matter? You’re free, aren’t you? Isn’t that better than being trapped in stone for a thousand years?” Ramis sat, clawing at his fur atop his head with a shocked expression on his face, “No . . . no no no! This is wrong! That spell put us under the service of Frith! Any other life is pointless and against fate himself.” He buried his head in his paws, shaking it. The gargoyles wore shocked expressions similar to his.
“Look, Ramis . . .,” holding his newfound very-great-grandfather’s shoulder with his paw for support.
“We’ll sort this out. I hate to interrupt your religion here, but it isn’t your fault. We’ll get you to a mage . . . ummm . . . the Pastmaster maybe?” “Sauraman lives?!” Jake was taken back by the shock in the comment, “Who’s Sauraman? The Pastmaster?” “Yes!” for once, his features seemed to brighten.
“Sauraman the Pastmaster! A Lopinenean mage! I can’t believe he survived the battle!” Grabbing his decendant by the shoulders, he shook him furiously, “Take us to him!” Chance shot a look at his partner, “This time, I’m drivin’!”
Sauraman the Pastmaster hovered several feet the floor. His body levatated, not even at his command. Around him a sphere of demological energy was growing, changing it’s hue constantly. His body hung limply, his arms swinging at his sides and his head hung back. His eyes were shut as he blissfully felt his powers return.
Ahhh . . . One thousand years of torment! The Dark Ages and their glory dissolved in his eyes; the memories belonged to the Pastmaster, not Sauraman the Isatari. He was no longer the weak sorcerer with his failed attempts to overtake the city . . . he had no need of such things. Let those puny mortals have their lives and their city.
The power . . . He felt it.
Curse the council! A thousand years without his very senses was too long!
He knew the spell had been broken; how else would he have his powers back? Somehow he suspected it wasn’t Frith . . . no, Frith would only call for the gargoyles in the face of the apocolypse itself, and he knew Thoran knew it. Could one have the councilman survived? Frakes or Selena? Perhaps a third that was not involved . . . It didn’t matter. As a member of the Isatari, an immortal band of wizards and sorcerers (mostly Lopinenean) from the corners of the Universe, he was more powerful than all the councilmen combined. Why else would he have been chosen as Head Councilman during his first month among them?
Hearing the door slide open, he sucked the sphere back into his body, then slowly lowered until his feet touched the ground again, “Who is it?” Opening one eye . . . ,”Hiekja, Ramis.”
He didn’t seem the least surprised as three gargoyles followed the mage into the room, and eventually two VERY confused mechanics.
Jumicus stepped forward, lifting the short sorcerer and wrapping him in a heavy bear hug no kat could match, “Good to see you, Sauraman!”
He squirmed his way out, pushing his claws up against the gargoyle’s stomach, “Good to see you, too. Now would you kindly mind LETTING ME GO?”
He was dropped almost instantly.
Ramis sighed, pushing the gargoyle aside and helping the sorcerer to his feet, “Well . . . not much has changed, has it?”
“You obviously haven’t been here very long. While YOU had a thousand year beauty nap,” he pointed his claw accusingly, “*I* had to deal with these mortals as a very weak sorcerer. Take over this castle, kill innocent women and children . . . this and that! You have no idea what this did to my stature. I tell you Ramis, if you ever lose your powers and have to make it with a crummy watch . . . KILL YOURSELF. I didn’t even have THAT option . . .” he wandered over to his spellbook out on the table, still grumbling.
Charon sighed heavily and smiled at Ramis, “Same old Sauraman.”
Jake exchanged confused glances with Chance, then turned to whoever who bothered to listen, “What the hell to you mean . . . WEAK sorcerer?”
“Yeah!” Chance pitched in, a little worried.
“We’ve been fightin’ this guy for over a year! He’s not so weak!”
Ramis replied, “Oh, he was weak. He probably lost most of his powers in the spell. He has them back now.”
“GOT THEM BACK?”
Their heads spun.
Chance was looking ahead at the fact the Pastmaster was now much more powerful and the prospect of them fighting him was not to good. They barely beat him before; with his powers amplified, it should be an easy win for the him. Jake wondered about Ramis. The Pastmaster, Sauraman or no, was obviously evil, but his older counterpart was obviously not concerned with that. The idea of being on friendly terms with the enemy was not something he was very adjusted to.
“Ramis . . . aren’t you WORRIED about the Pastmaster? For G-d’s sakes, you know he’s evil, right?”
The mage merely nodded, “Sauraman IS an evil member of the Isatari. I have never doubted that, but he is a Lopinenean like me and we do not touch each other–we are incapable of harming another creature of Frith.”
“But WAIT . . . If I’m YOUR decendant, doesn’t that make me a Lopinenean, practicing or not? Doesn’t that mean he isn’t allowed to fight me?”
Sauraman spun around, staring at Jake with his eyes vivid, “YOU’RE ONE OF THOSE INFERNAL SWAT KATS?”
“Yeah . . .”
The sorcerer dropped his book, then calmly proceeded to bang his head against the stone wall.
“Sauraman . . . ,” Jumicus munched on a pack of machos from the tow truck Chance had given him.
“What happened to the other gargoyles?” The immortal faced him, his face drawn and serious. He drew a long sigh before speaking, “The eggs in the rookery were lost . . . the cave was buried in a landslide. Perhaps a few survived, but . . .” Ramis approached, his face now equally serious, “But what about the gargoyles? The living ones? Did the clan move on?” The look on Sauraman’s face was something he had never seen before, heavy in age and . . . sadness . . . ,”There was more than one betrayal that night. Behind Beacon was San-Aldus’s armies. Without the gargoyles to back Claris’s forces, the castle fell. And during the day . . .” “. . . the clan was helpless.” “Stone doesn’t put up much of a fight. The statues were destroyed . . . not even I could save them. Kehor fled after their destruction; he was not a traitor, but the Megallith Castle tenants would have seen them as such. He was so upset for not seeing the betrayal . . . he dedicated the rest of his life to building the cave . . . so the next generation would know what happened there.” The gargoyles bowed their heads. Of course, it was only common sense; the clan would have eventually been destroyed by someone or they would still be protecting the city. It simply hadn’t hit anyone yet, and the truth was harsh. Jake was also observing a moment of silence when he noticed–out of the corner of his eye–Charon take his leave. Ramis noticed him, “Let him leave.” Jumicus, wings, slumped behind him, turned sadly to the sorcerer, “He lost Dathena . . . didn’t he? She didn’t come.” A nod, “Let him find his own place to roost. He needs to be alone.” Slowly the gargoyles made their way out to the graveyard, in front of the tower. Looking at the horizon, Jumicus sighed, “Guess we won’t be back for Thoran, huh?” He took up a perch on the pedestal beside the tower steps, and Chip climbed onto a large tombstone. Jake and Chance still didn’t quite understand what was going on, but the term for the evening was: watch and learn.
“Ramis . . . ,” the plump gargoyle called for the mage at his side.
“Try and find Charon. He might have landed somewhere wierd.” He readjusted his head to face straight forward. On the horizon, the sun’s first rays shot over the mountains and touched them all . . . . . . and flesh became stone for the two gargoyles. Jake turned to Ramis, “Hey . . . aren’t you gonna freeze, too?” “No . . . it isn’t my nature. I only reason I did it before was I was part of the spell. The gargoyles are only flesh by night.” “And the spell did this?” “Of course not! They’ve been doing it since the beginning of time.” Chance tapped on Chip’s shoulder. There was no response from the cold stone. He grunted, “Guess there’s a down side to havin’ all that power.” Ramis nodded, “It is the balance of life. They trade strength for freedom of the day.”
Leaving Ramis with the Pastmaster–he seemed fine with that arrangement–they headed home. After a long nap, the continued with their normal life to some amount; trying to fix the cars before they were picked. Jake sighed as Chance rambled, carrying a spare tire over to the car, “I can’t believe you missed it. That gargoyle just picked me right up–like it was nothing! By the fist! What I would give for that kind of strength . . . hell . . .” “Oh yeah, SURE . . . I could just see you . . . ever wonder what it’s like to be stone ALL DAY?” he was getting a bit annoyed. Never caring much for brawn, he didn’t envy the gargoyles.
“Well . . . it’d still be cool . . . just for a little while . . .” “Ya know what would be REALLY cool?” “What?” “Helping me with this car, FOR STARTERS!” Chance immediately returned to the car.
The jet’s thrusters flipped forward as it came to a smooth landing on the museum’s roof. The gargoyles landed a few feet from it, with the SWAT Kats shortly joining them at their side. Glances redirected to the figure on the above rooftop. Thoran spread his wings, using them as a paraquete as he leaped from his upper ledge to theirs. He landed merely feet away, caping his wings. Even with his height of being actually smaller than Charon or Jumicus, he was an opposing figure regardless.
“Welcome back . . . I take it you were delayed by your new friends.” Ramis stepped forward for intoductions, “Thoran, this is . . . ummm . . . ,” turning to the kat, ” . . . what is your alias?” “Razor.” “Razor, this city’s current son of Ecuador.” Even with his experience and the weapon on his paw, the kat was a bit afraid to shake the claw of the mighty gargoyle. He was reassured as Thoran’s face lightened at the mention of his heritage.
“And this is T-Bone . . . my partner.” The leader nodded, looking at the powerful kat oddly. Something about him . . . he shook he thought off; there wasn’t time for speculation now. They followed him inside.
“Have you heard of Selena?” “Yes . . . he told us of it.” “Then it’ll save us some time.” As the descended the stairs, a beam of ray stop in front of them, missing Thoran by inches. It dissolved, pulling back into the paw that had released it.
“Sorry about that . . . did not see you there,” from the desk, Maric sighed.
“I was merely showing our young doctor here something.” “Maric, this is T-Bone and Razor . . . Razor is your descendant.” The old mage shook the paw of the young kat, “So the fates have yet to abandon us.” “Look, I don’t see why this is has to be such a big deal . . . I don’t particually care WHO I’m some sort of descendant of. It doesn’t change anything–” he stopped, realizing for the first time how much Maric looked like his father. Pulling himself together, his voice raised a bit in anger, “Why the hell does it matter so much?” “Because, Razor–” Dr. Sinian pitched in.
“It means you’re part of a line of powerful mages.” “So?” “It means . . . ,” Old Maric laid a paw on his shoulder, ” . . . that you have power in you, and you must learn how to use it properly or it might destroy you. Now . . . are you going to let us help you or not?” Razor sighed. The entire idea of him being a mage made him uncomfortable, and exchanging glances with T-Bone indicated his partnerwasn’t too happy with it either. He shrugged.
“All right . . . do whatever you need to do.”
T-Bone shifted uncomfortably. The process of which was called, “opening his soul up to release his energy” by Ramis was making him nervous. Razor’s body hovered several few above the floor. He was incased in a thick tube of thaurmaturgic energy, almost tough enough to repell a good punch. He hung limply, his eyes shut tight in his trance-like state at his arms loosely swinging at his sides.
“When’s he comin’ outta that thing?” he leaned against the glass-like casing. Ramis shrugged, “When he is ready. That is for him to decide.” “Oh.” His attention eventually shifted to the gargoyles playing in the hallway. Charon was not amoung them; he had joined them on their way to the museum but still remained off to the side. T-Bone eventually found him sitting quietly on some dinosaur bone structure . . . he decided not to disturb him. Thoran was sitting my himself as well; wasn’t that odd? The leader seemed very concerned with something on his mind.
“Umm, Thoran . . . what’s wrong?” The old gargoyle shifted, sighing heavily as he turned to face the kat but did not stand, “Did Ramis explain the situation with Selena?” “Yeah. He said you didn’t want to be woken up yet.” “Aye, my boy . . . Frith was supposed to call for us. We are in his service now; without his command life is meaningless to a gargoyle. We were awoken early.” T-Bone took a seat beside him. Thoran closed his eyes, grunting, then repoened them, “My clan is either dead or strangers. All we depend on now is Frith. He is the means of our existence.” “So? Whatta you do now?” “That is what I do not know. We could set the spell back in place, but I would have to debate that and but it in front of the other gargoyles as well. I am thinking of asking for Frith’s guidance . . . in a trance. You see . . . a Lopinenean leader is chosen by Frith and then . . . elevated. I am literally a higher being than the other gargoyles . . . therefore I have the authority to lead. If I call for him, Frith might answer . . . and he might not.” “And if he doesn’t?” Thoran stood, “I do not have that answer for you now.”
Charon had moved his perch to the rooftop . . . perhaps where he could be alone without the noises of gargoyles playing around in the hallways nearby. T-Bone followed . . . not really knowing why, but somehow understanding his loss. Of course, the other gargoyles were in morning, but . . . not like him. As the kat approached, Charon did not change position. T-Bone was still un awe of his muscular gargoyle strength. Silently, he wished he was like that . . . with all his hours in a weight room–high school, the academy–he knew he could never match that kind of power. He sat down beside him, soundless. Charon still didn’t move, his eyes shut tightly. After a while . . . he grunted, turning to T-Bone with eyes open a slit. It was his first acknowledgement of his presence.
“Why did you come here?” He shifted uncomfortably, “I dunno . . . I just felt bad for you.” Charon suddenly hopped of his perch on the ledge, standing straight with his wings open wide. He loomed over the smaller kat, an opposing figure regardless of his motions. His expression was stern at first, almost a little angry at T-Bone’s presence, then it softened.
“You would love to be in my place . . . wouldn’t you?” His eyes widened, “Oh yeah . . . SURE–I mean, come on–” standing, he pressed against the hard muscle of the gargoyle’s stomach. Even through the leather armor, he could tell it was quite solid, “–to have a body like that. Hell . . .” Charon sighed sadly, “There is more to being a gargoyle, my friend, then being strong. Everything in life comes with a price. The gargoyles, in the beginning of time, traded freedom of the day for THIS . . .” he gestured at his thick, padded chest.
“I believe in Frith, but I have never and will never see him. Do you know what that feels like? It is like standing before the thrown of your G-d and shutting your eyes every time he enters the room.” “Hey, I hate to break it to ya, but–” he crossed his arms against his chest, “the sun isn’t such a big deal, OK?” “But you can still see it! You still know what it looks like! You see . . . I don’t have that kind of freedom. I have no control . . .” His voice raised in anger.
“Look, I feel really bad for you, but . . . ,” inside him, he sighed. He wasn’t too good at inspirationals; that was Razor’s job, ” . . . it wasn’t your fault. There was nothing you could have done. Fate was just against you.” Charon sighed deeply. His whole body slumped, even his wings behind him. He spoke quietly, “Perhaps it was.”
On the triangular skylights a few meters away, something landed and perched itself on the metal lining, spying on the two unsuspecting figures below A large laser gun was tied to it’s belt. Could it be? After all these years, he was finally awake . . . she caught a bit of the conversation between the gargoyle and the burly kat. It was enough to explain his presence.
“What’s that?” T-Bone picked up his ears, hearing something shuffle in the distance and the gentle swoosh of wings on air. Another gargoyle? He wasn’t aware that others had left the musem. They were all supposed to stay there for the moment while Thoran was in his trance. Just in case, he readied his glovatrix as he noticed a dark figure leap from the glass skylights. Charon growled, lifting his wings with his mind momentarily off his mourning. The figure came down from the clouds, and her figure became clearer. Charon gasped, remembering vividly the brown-fured gargoyle with long, black hair.
“No . . . it isn’t possible . . . ,” his breath was taken away was she landed only a few feet from him, gracefully pulling her wings in and caping them over.
“Not after all these years . . .” “Yes, after all these years . . . ,” she took his giant claws gently into hers. He shook his head, not quite ready to believe, “B-But . . . you were smashed . . . with the other statues at the castle . . .” “No . . . I followed you . . . I didn’t trust any of it, even though I couldn’t go against Thoran’s decision. I was too far for the the spell to work, but . . . I found my own spell . . . to wait for you.” Finally pulling himself together, the hulking gargoyle smiled and pulled her tight, “Oh Frith . . . I missed you . . .” T-Bone backed up from the couple. He certainly wasn’t attracted to a gargoyle, but he had to admit she was beautiful for such a violent warrior. Still, the whole situation made him nervous . . .
“It was Beacon . . . and the King of San-Aldus . . . ,” she retracted, facing him and looking straight into his eyes.
“I never trusted them, but Thoran let his guard down to be ‘polite,’” he detected anger rising in her voice as her claws formed fists at her side.
“Don’t you see? It was the kats who did this to us! I never trusted their race . . . and Thoran never should have either!” Charon looked at her curiously, “Dathena . . .
” he had never seen her work up rage so fast. The years must not have been kind.
“I would have gone back for their throats, but a passing sorcerer offered a similar spell to me . . . I had to take him up on his offer for you! Don’t you see–it was the kats’ fault that we were separated! Their whole race is disloyal!” T-Bone backed towards the door as soon as he saw her eyes light up.
“Dathena . . . ,” Charon looked at her with shocked confusion written all over his face.
“What has happened to you? I know you never liked the kats in our castle, but that is no reason to go against a race!”
[Yes, this is classic Demona and Goliath stuff. Bite me]
Her eyes remained lit, but her face now carried a similar shocked expression, “What has happened to YOU? I expected YOU to back me for Thoran? Or have you turned against me too?!” “I think it’s foolish to hold a war against a race because or a few betrayals . . .” ” . . . that led to the destruction of our clan!” She pulled the laser gun from her belt, pointing it at him with her wings open. He backed off next to T-Bone, not quite sure what it did but not willing to try out.
“You weren’t there!” Her cold, sharp voice boomed.
“You didn’t see the pieces of stone . . . they were all that remained of us! Almost all of my sisters were killed, and the young ones in the barracks. Not even the eggs survived such a tragity! Charon backed off, “Calm yourself, my love . . .” “You talk of being calm while I talk of our dead brothers and sisters! You have disappointed, me, Charon! I expected more from you!” In one, sweeping motion she lept from the ledge into the air, simultaniously firing her laser.
“GET DOWN!” Charon was quick, but he wasn’t accustomed to the speed of a laser shot. T-Bone shouted and slammed himself into the heavy gargoyle, sending them both to the ground as the ray passed over them. Charon followed her, leaping off the side of the roof and catching the wind. T-Bone ran to end, seeing they were off, then headed for the Turbokat.
“What is going on?” A smaller gargoyle with thin wings burst through the door as the SWAT Kat hopped into the cockpit.
“Dathena’s alive and in the middle of her PMS. Charon’s on her tail!” The covering slipped over the cockpit as the jet’s thrusters lifted it.
The gargoyle scratched his head. As Dr. Sinian came up at his side, he asked, “What is PMS?”
The light of the energenic strains supporting Razor was dimming. Maric sighed, trying to concentrate on the releasal of the spell. His mind kept shifting; Thoran was still in his trance–for an extrodonary long time, too–and now they had a problem with Dathena. He didn’t want to worry about it now, but . . . Whispering beneath his breath, he mouthed the words as Razor’s body slowly was set back down. The ruby casing of energy retracted, collecting in his form and settling in. Now free of it, Razor nearly collapsed as he was caught by Ramis. His head spun as the world around him emerged from the palette of colors in front of his eyes.
“Unnnhh . . .” Rubbing his head, he stood with his knees still trembling and leaning on his older counterpart for support.
“Funny . . . don’t feel any different . . .” Looking around, “Where’s T-Bone?”
“He went off with Charon in you ‘jet’ . . . to find Dathena.”
The voice surprised them all. Thoran emerged from the office had been using for his trance, looking stern as ever but somewhat bewildered. Maric glanced at him oddly. There was no way he could have known of Dathena yet; he was still in his trance when they all heard about it. Thoran approached Razor, placing a heavy claw on his shoulder, “Come.” He gestured towards the stairs leading to the roof.
“We must talk of your friend . . . tell me, what is his real name?”
“Chance Furlong. Why?”
The expressions on the old gargoyle’s face slid from surprised to satisfied, “All the more convincing, then.”
Razor followed him to the roof, not really sure where the conversation was leading. Thoran perched himself on the ledge, and the kat joined him at his side.
“Tell me . . . ,” he began, ” . . . have you heard of the legend of Ecuador? That one of his sons will always protect this city?”
“Yeah . . .”
“There is a follow-up to that legend, Jacob . . . ,” Razor shuddered; How did he know his real name?
“It is said that a Son of Ecuador will always protect this city . . . Megallith or Megakat . . . as it is successful, but alas–that is not the end! It also says a gargoyle will always protect HIM. A gargoyle . . . with wings or without.”
“The eggs in the rookery, alas, did not survive–except for three. Of the other two, I do not know, but one gargoyle definitely made it into the outside world. The rookery caved in after the battle, but he was able to escape the rubble once he hatched. All children are sons and daughters of the clan as a whole, but this one I will mention was the son of Charon and Dathena.”
“The young gargoyle,” he continued, “had no one to teach him of Lopine or raise him properly. So why would he want to remain a gargoyle? There are methods of changing species, but it is forbidden in the Lopine way–but what did he know of the way? So he found a sorcerer with enough talent and managed to somehow survive as a kat.”
“What’s the point of this?” Razor was worried about T-Bone.
“Be patient, Jacob. Regardless, the point I am making is that the line of gargoyles continued–through kats. The young convert eventually married and had a son . . . therefore founding the Furlong line.”
He stared at the old gargoyle for a moment; just STARED, “Woah, woah, woah . . . listen, I went for this mage thing, but I am NOT going for THIS. Chance is–”
“A prey to fate. And the great grandson of Charon, centuries down the line.” His face remained unchanged; he was QUITE serious.
“Does he protect you? Seriously now . . .”
“He covers my back, yeah, but–” The old leader shook his head, washing away any of Razor’s contradictions with a single motion, “He protects you, more than you realize. You two have been playing straight into fate’s hands for a long, long time, Jacob.” Turning to the edge of the roof, he spread his wings, “Come. We must stop this foolish chase before the sun rises.”
The Turbokat’s engines gave an extra boost as T-Bone pulled back the throttle. He brought the jet up behind Charon. He had to stop this stupid chase before they killed each other. He couldn’t net them both; a fall from these heights? They were above most buildings all ready. He didn’t want to risk breaking gargoyle bones. Something told him it wasn’t smart to be around a pissed gargoyle. He pulled in as close as he could to Charon, then set back the glass covering and shouted, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!?” “Stay out of this,” the gargoyle warned, then headed for the clouds.
“You’re not gonna get rid of me that easily!” Pulling his stick back against his chest, the jet followed upward. Nearly over the clouds, Dathena glanced back at the following party. Still silent, she dived downwards into a cloud bank. Wasn’t this whole thing awefully odd? Charon wondered. First she shows up acting strange, then she takes a shot at me and remains silent. This isn’t her manner at all. Clipping his wings, he followed her. Behind him, he could still hear the jet’s engines; it told him easily enough this kat wasn’t one to give up a chase.
Felina Feral pressed her back against the wall, peering over her shoulder into the hallway around the corner. Since the previous night’s expriences, the museum had been relatively quiet–which got her thinking. No, her curiousity was too strong to let this sneak by, especially after her encounter with the creature in the helicopter. Yes, the museum had been quiet–aside from the Turbokat landing on its roof shortly after sundown. Too suspicious. Pulling her gun in close and inhaling deeply, she mustered enough courage as she swung around the corner, “Freeze!” Her gun pointed to the large, dark figure in the shadows of the hallway she had been observing. It didn’t move.
“All right, bud . . . come on out,” she almost mimiced the steel her uncle’s voice always contained. The figure came forward, growling. One of Viper’s creatures? What was it doing in the museum? It must be the Pastmaster’s . . . It emerged from the shadows, standing at full height with its–rather, his–wings spread out. Swallowing for the first time she realized how BIG he was. Something deep inside told her a bullet might not stop him so quickly. The creatured raised his claws menacingly.
“The hell–?” He suddenly spun around, his tail swinging out to knock the gun out of her hands. It hit the floor, firing. The bullets hit the walls harmlessly, and he finished his spin to face Felina again, still growling. He swung one of his huge claws at her, then the other. She dodged them both successfully, hopping back. He kept on coming. Felina was about to turn and run when she heard something growl behind her and a loud ‘thump’ as something hard connected with her head. Her body crumbled on the floor, a smashed helmet beside it. Jumicus sighed, bending down to inspect her body, “Why did you have to do that? Thoran’s going to be angry . . .” Chip emerged from the shadows, crowbar in claw, “Well, it certainly didn’t seem like YOU could handle her . . . what do we do now?” He shrugged, scouping the unconscious form of the enforcer into his arms easily and following the smaller gargoyle down the corridor.
“Dathena!” Again there was no response. Charon sighed, following her in her dive. Why didn’t she reply? She landed gracefully on the roof of a building, turning back with her ray gun ready was Charon landed a few feet from her. The heavy weight of his landing almost shook the roof. He straightened, keeping his distance and advancing all the same.
“Stay back, if you fear for your health,” she cocked the gun barrel. Her eyes were lit in rage.
“The offer still stands! We can rule this puny world!” “Dathena, please–” as he stepped, she directed a ray to where his foot would have stepped down, merely inches from his leg. He lurched back.
“Hey, Dathena–how about picking on someone who’s seen a laser before!” Growling, she turned sideways. Behind her, T-Bone was perched on the ledge, a jetpack on his back. The Turbokat was parked in the street below. His comment had its desired effect. Her attention was shifted from Charon momentarily, and the gargoyle saw the opening. Dathen let loose a laser beam in T-Bone’s direction, which he leaped to avoid. By then, Charon had all ready heaved himself into Dathena, trying to disarm her. T-Bone landed and followed up on the other side. She was a great warrior, but not nearly a match for a well built gargoyle and an experienced SWAT Kat. Her gun went flying, smashing into a wall and blowing up into pieces. Charon held her down securely, not quite sure where to go from there.
“Selena!” The voice directed their attention to the above roof. Thoran emerged from the shadows, facing Dathena coldly, “End this game.” Dathena broke free of their hold, knocking them back with a blast of energy. She stood, her eyes still lit, to face Thoran fearlessly. Her voice seemed different . . . almost like Selena’s . . . , “I must admit . . . you train your warriors well.” Thoran leaped, wings spread, from his ledge to her roof level, “Let her go, Selena. You don’t need her body anymore. It has all ready been defeated.” She growled, “Actually, I’m finding it quite convient.” “I’m not so sure Dathena agrees.” T-Bone groaned, rubbing his head as Charon helped him up, “What the hell’s going on?” “I think Selena has been using Dathena’s body–and Thoran’s trying to force her out. Let’s not disturb them,” he pulled him back to the side. The battle–between wits or brawn–was between the leader and the sorcerer now.
“I’m sure Dathena’s still in there, is she not? Have you asked lately? I’m sure she opposed to you stealing her body.” She snorted, “What does it matter? She has no control over it or me.” “Are you so sure?” He came closer, cocking his head sideways as if to talk in her direction but not to HER, “Dathena! Are you in there? I know you can here me, Dathena! You do not have to listen to this sorcerer!” She crossed her arms determinely, “You’ll not get inside me that easily!” Thoran didn’t skip a beat, “Dathena! Listen to me!” He pointed to Charon on the side, “You see him, Dathena? Do you remember your beloved Charon? Selena would have killed him, and she still can! Will you let that happen to your dear Charon?” Selena/Dathena grasped the sides of her skull, shaking it, “NO! I won’t let her control me! I have the power . . .!” Her eyes suddenly returned to normal, without the red glow. Her featured untwisted, “Dear Frith . . .” “Dathena?” Charon came forward, grabbing her claw in his.
“Is that you?” It had to be . . . but . . . abruptly her eyes lit again, and her features turned cold, “Get away from me! She has no power anymore!” A ruby blast of energy sent him spinning back.
“*I* am in control now! No words could ever change that, Thoran!” Thoran shrugged, “I suppose not, but the young gargoyle who’s body you stole could certainly change that.” T-Bone, not liking the whole conversation, made another lung towards Selena/Dathena. The sorcerer saw it a mile away, sending him back up against the wall with another beam.
“You mortals are so foolish! Who are you to attack ME?” Her claws were still lt with two spheres of magic, ready for blasting.
“He’s a gargoyle, that’s who he is,” Thoran approached from behind.
“He’s the grand descendant of a gargoyle–YOU, for that matter. Look at him, my child,” his speech was now directed towards Dathena as he saw her expressions begin to soften.
“He is the great grandson of Charon and you, ten centuries down the line! How are YOU attack HIM!” T-Bone, just now returning to his senses, rubbed his head, “Huh?” Thoran uncaped his wings, pulling the sword from his belt as he saw Selena distracted in her struggle with Dathena. The gargoyle’s expression were constantly shifting between soft surprise and cold rage.
“No, damnit–it isnt’ possible–!” “Oh, but it is my dear child, it is QUITE possible!” With one swift, fluid motion he leaped, sword raised above his head, and landed right in front of her–simultaniously driving his sword into her chest. She screamed, and as her body split open a blinding flash of light appeared from inside.
“NO! THORAN–?!?” Charon growled, caught between shock and blind rage. No, it was too late. The sword had all ready landed–the blow had been struck. Her body collapsed limply on the ground, sword still sticking out. The light became a beam, which opened wider and began to shift colors. Selena’s image appeared within the escaping beam.
“Damn you, Thoran . . . but nothing was lost for me! You have lost a young warrior, and have gained nothing. I am still powerful! Do you think you could de-feat me with a sword?” Her image hovered a few feet above the body. A beam sprung from her paw, blasting open the brick wall she had smashed T-Bone into. The bricks came tumbling down over T-Bone and Charon–before they could react, they were buried. Laughing, her image disspeared as the beam’s energy particles dispersed.
“T-BONE!” Razor appeared on the ledge, also wearing a jet pack. He hurried over to the collapsed pile of bricks and began digging through for his missing friend. Working with Thoran, he managed to uncover the bodies of his partner and the gargoyle. The old leader inspected them quickly, “There’s still time.” Glancing at the body of Dathena, “And for her as well. Come.” Razor looked at him curiously. Nothing the gargoyle had said contained any sense of haste. He didn’t seem worried. It was almost like . . . he expected it to happen.
“Maric has all ready arranged a teleporation,” as he spoke, the word around the two of them and the three bodies swirled into a palette of colors. They blend–ed, then separated again. The colors were different, yes . . . they were at the museum! Around him he could see the other gargoyles gathered around a drawn circle. He felt Ramis tug his sleeve, beckoning him out of the black circle, “Come. There isn’t much time left.” “What are they doing–” The roof as arranged for some sort of ceremony. The black circle drawn was where the three bodies laid, now arranged in the middle. Outside the circle were four lit torches on stands. The gargoyles stayed their distance, not wanting to advance past the torches. Only Thoran remained on the edge of the circle, now with an axe in claw. Maris and Sauraman were shifting through a spellbook, both wearing black cloaks.
“There isn’t much time for your friend,” Ramis indicated T-Bone, “but we may be able to save him. It happens to be a very complicated spell. Just keep your distance.” He left to join his father, leaving Razor with Dr. Sinian at his side, “Mind explaining what the hell they’re doing?” Abi shrugged, “They haven’t told me, either. Perhaps some sort of healing spell.” A hush settled over the crowd. The three mages stepped back onto the borders of the circle, all except for Maric. He approached the three bodies fear-lessly, a look of total concentration on his face. His arms raised above his head, almost as to receive lightening from the sky as he cried out.
“Dominus aldcale Ursmai` . . . `hiagc zewieste!” The sky above crackled.
“Absemiste negasxe!” The wind picked up.
“Justapasc . . . naasprenja` semis alcaldrgu hyqueu el-shaddiav apprujiaste!” A beam of light rose from the ground in the circle. The bodies nearly glowed with an eerie light. Razor whispered to Abi, “What’s he saying?” “I don’t know . . . I don’t even think some of the gargoyles know! It must be some ancient branch of Lopine or something . . .” She was interrupted by the sound of the door swinging open behind her. Jumicus and Chip appeared, carrying the limp body of Felina Feral.
“Huh? Are we missing something–” A beam shot out from the circle, grabbing the body of Felina before anyone could react, then pulled her in and placed her beside T-Bone’s body. Razor tried to follow, but the instant his feet touched the lining of the circle he was slammed back. The spells was too far for an interruption. Abi helped him back on his feet, and their attention shifted back to the circle as the two gargoyle’s bodies began to turn . . . to stone . . . Razor glanced at the sky. No, it wasn’t sunrise yet. So what was going on? Thoran stepped within the boundries of the circle fearlessly, axe ready. His face was stiff and expressionless as he lifted the axe above his head, standing over the two statues. The SWAT Kat thought he detected just a split second of hesitation in the leader’s eyes, but the old gargoyle quicky flushed it out . . . and swung . . . Razor gasped as the sound of a gargoyle grunting and the rough ‘slam’ of an axe being propelled through stone filled the dead air. He lifted and swung again . . . and again . . . . . . until the two gargoyles were nothing more than crumbled stone chips. He stepped back, somehow looking much older than his years, and Maric continued his chanting.
“Fuidevidios grumor evdry . . .” Felina and T-Bone stood. Yes, STOOD, though rather unsteadily. Their eyes were completely unfocused. They both quivered were they stood. The chanting continued . . . Something was happening to their bodies. They both wrapped their arms around their stomachs, expressions twisted in pain. Razor prayed Maric knew what he was doing . . . then gasped, feeling lightheaded at what he saw. T-Bone, his partner and friend, was changing–MUTATING. Two stumps rose from his back through his flight suit . . . but they weren’t stumps for long. They got bigger, expanding out . . . wider and wider . . . almost like wings. His flat feet turned onto their toes, like a gargoyle. His kat’s tail grew longer and thicker . . . and his paws sharpened . . . No . . . it wasn’t possible . . . But the same thing was happening with Felina. She grew what anyone would have sworn was WINGS out of her back, ripping her enforcer uniform. Out of her forehead jutted horns that pressed against her skull–like Dathena’s horns. Her feet, now on their toes as well, broke free of her torn boots. And her tail . . .
“Oh my G-d . . .” With the transformations complete, both gargoyles/kats straightened, their arms swinging loosely at their sides and eyes still unfocused. Maric narrowed his eyes, “Gehar huyso!” He muttered, “Rest.” The two instantly crumbled to the floor. The beam in the circle dissolved, and the sky returned to its normal calm-ness. In fact, had his partner not been lying on the floor in his current state, Razor would have SWORN the whole thing never happened. The other gargoy-les were still too terrified to come forward, but the SWAT Kat ran to T-Bone’s side. The huge kat was still unconscious. He felt Thoran at his side, looking tired, “He needs rest . . . the day will heal him.” He glanced at the horizon.
“You bonded Charon and Chance, didn’t you?” He nodded, “Yes. They’re one now . . . and your other friend seems to have appeared at the wrong time.” He gestured towards Felina, “We are lucky her lineage must be close to a gargoyle, because otherwise she would not have survived the spell. She is Dathena now.” “Commander Feral’s gonna be pissed . . .” Thoran looked at him curiously, then directed his attention to more pressing matters, “Come. The sun is nearly up.” Beside him, two gargoyle appeared to help T-Bone and Felina into a perch.
“Wait, what’s–” Thoran had all ready pulled himself onto the ledge, “Maric or Ramis will answer your questions, Jacob. Let your friend rest.” His head turned towards the horizon, taking on an appropriate stance.
“Wait–” The sun’s first rays appeared over the horizon. Thoran’s old face hardened. Beside him, T-Bone and the two gargoyles helping him did the same . . . and Felina . . .
“No . . . ,” still in disbelief, approaching the statue of his partner. Solid stone.
The museum’s upper levels were not typically open to the public, used pri-marily for research and planning new exhibits. Therefore it was remotely private and there wasn’t a need for anyone to rush off before the museum’s opeing at 9:00.
Razor sighed heavily. He was still recovering from the previous night’s experiences. The overall shock he was nearly past; he was now working towards acceptence–partially due to the fact there were three cars in the back of his lot he now had to do himself.
Beside him, Ramis and Maric were still recovering from the spell. It seemed to have drained their energy or something; they were both asleep on the couch. Sauraman levitated several feet of the ground, trying to explain things to Razor. The SWAT Kat was also still getting over the fact Sauraman WAS the Pastmaster, the guy who’s undead hordes he had been fighting for the past few years.
“Your friend still isn’t a full gargoyle,” the mage/sorcerer explained.
“He is merely bound by magic to his ancestor. If the spell works, he should change back into kat form during the day.”
“And today . . .?”
“If he is injured in gargoyle form, his ancient side will demand a day’s sleep and he won’t change back. The same goes for your other friend.”
Sighing again, “Feral’s gonna be really pissed over this.” He reached for the coffee cup, then realized it was empty, “I think I’m gonna need some more coffee.
“Now . . . what I can’t understand is YOU. Three days ago, you wanted us part of your undead horde, NOW you’re treating me like a houseguest.”
“Simply, I didn’t know you were a Lopinenean, much less a son of Ecuador. Had I known that, I probably wouldn’t have attacked you so often. I STILL hate you and your miserable city, but I do not harm other Lopineneans.” The begining of the sentence was spoken with as much malace as Razor normally recognized for the pastmaster. Yes, part of him was still evil, but now the gargoyles were around . . . to keep him in line.
“But how come the scriptures from the Dark Ages keep mentioning you plaging the cities?” Razor glanced at Abi, suddenly wondering the same thing himself.
“Yeah. When we went back in time, you kept attacking the castle.” Sauraman shook his head, “The Dark Ages didn’t start until after the gargoyles were put under the spell. I lost all my powers, and without Thoran around I was considered the most powerful being. Up against the weak magic of Callista, I did seemed like a powerful sorcerer, so I used that to my advantage. I wasn’t incased and buried for another 200 years after the gargoyle’s rest began.”
“So that means you aren’t 800 years old, you’re a 1000 years old,” Dr. Sinian figured.
Sauraman’s eyelids tightened, almost coldly, “Would it surprise you to say I am even older than that?”
Strangely, the conversation ended there. It did leave Abi wondering; where had Sauraman come from? He was obviously more powerful than any of the council and members and the sole evil Lopinenean on this planet. Silently she made a mental note to ask Thoran about it when he awoke.
Razor realized he had to get home to open the garage, or at least get some sleep. Yawning, he headed for the Turbokat, only stopping as he heard a voice behind him.
“Jake? Or is it–” Shuddering, he turned back as he realized the voice belonged to Dr. Abi. Of course, she had been there the whole time. She probably didn’t know who they were, but . . . , “Please don’t call me that; at least not around other people. In public, it’s gotta be Razor.” “Would Cally really know who you were by a first name?” She glanced at him curiously.
“Yeah, . . . actually, she knows us quite well with both identitys . . . she just hasn’t bothered to put two and two together yet,” he almost chuckled, “Stupid isn’t it? The only one to figure it out was my dad.” Abi shrugged, “I don’t know who you are, if it helps. I don’t think I’ve ever met you before.” Nearly laughing, he hopped into T-Bone’s seat in the Turbokat, “Yeah, well, you’ve never gotten your car towed.”
Sauraman the Pastmaster smiled. Inside him, he could feel the mass am-ounts of power building up. Strolling amoung the various manuscripts, his eyes scanned for any useful spellbook. Selena would return, no doubt. She wouldn’t let this sit, though he wasn’t sure whether she was willing to go up against him now. He had his powers back; how much of them she knew about exactly was still a mystery. Old Frakes barely knew. The councilman had managed to figure out Sauraman WAS a member of the Isatari, which mean he probably knew he was older than many kats dreamed. But there was still so much more . . . Sauraman had arrived in this dimension several thousand years earlier. See-ing a non-kat form would arouse suspicious, he stole the body of a young soldier who was on the brink of death. Unfortunately, the huge amounts of energy within him could not be supported correctly by such a small, weak form, and he had to shed the living layer, leaving him with only bones. He was evil, of course, but he was now a Lopinenean–not something he had always been. He had been worse before that, but joining the ranks of the Isatari meant conversion. He eventually made his way to Megallith Castle, meeting up with a back of Lopinenean gargoyles who quickly learned his habits and kept him in line. He saw many seasons come and go, as did many leaders. Time merely slipped by . . . So how did he reach this time so quickly? It seemed like he had been part of this world forever . . . Sighing, he reached for a spellbook in the bookcase. Dusting it off, he remov-ed the post-it note Dr. Sinian had placed over the cover: “Unknown.” Of course it was unknown. There was no way for her to read Lopine. It was one of his books, from his library. He lifted it above his head, the pages glowing brightly. Maniacal laughter filled the hallway, “At last! Hear me, Megakat City! I am Sauraman the White, Sauraman the Pastmaster, Sauraman of the Isatari! I am no longer the weak sorcerer I have been for too long! Fear me, Megakat City!” Still laughing, he looked out the window at the city below.
“Fear me, Selena! When you come back, you shall learn what a true Isatari is like!”
The sun shined bright orange, almost red as it neared the horizon. The Tur-bokat had all ready landed on the museum’s roof. Razor sighed, studying the statues. They were in the same position as before–yes, he would have to get used to this before long. He felt Dr. Sinian at his side.
“Almost time, huh?” She glanced at the horizon, and nodded, detecting something about his best friend and partner being a gargoyle wasn’t making him too comfortable. The sun was red, just barely a sliver on the edge of the mountain, and they were silent. And lower . . . Just a sliver . . . Perhaps no more than a line . . . And then . . . A shadow of darkness passed over the city, and the statues. Over Thoran, T-Bone, Felina, and the others. They heard something crackle. The sound of stone crumbling . . . and growls . . . T-Bone, acting on instinct, burst from his shell of stone, growling with energy. Felina did the same, in tune with only her side that had once belonged to Dath-ena, hopping instinctively off the ledge before coming to her senses. Her legs trembled weakly; one claw gripped her skull as she moaned softly and began to falter in stance. Razor and Abi were there to support her as she tried to regain composture.
“Huh–? Wha . . .?” She pushed free of Razor’s grip, still a little wobbly but basically standing by herself.
“My head . . .?” She rubbed it gently, then gasped and retracted her claw, staring at it with wide eyes. A day ago it had been a paw . . . but now . . . Breathless, she felt her knees buckle as her eyes shifted rapidly and she lurched backwards, into the arms of Thoran. She spun around instantly when she felt him offer his support.
“What the hell–?” Staring at him, she wobbled backwards the other way, finding herself in another group of gargoyles surrounding her. Mouth gaping, she eventually centered her vision on T-Bone, eyes livid.
“Look at me . . .” Noticing for the first time, “Look at yourself . . . what the hell are you . . .?” He laid both his claws on her shoulders protectively, perhaps acting out of his subconscious feelings for Dathena that were really Charon’s. They studied each other, in disbelieving . . . To T-Bone, it was a dream–it HAD to be . . . Felina retracted, “I-I need a mirror, p-please . . .” Dr. Abi look her arm, leading her inside to a full sized mirror on the wall. The other gargoyles followed. She gasped again, eyes livid as she looked at her own reflection. Felina stepped back, almost as if the further she got from the mirror the less truthful it would be, “I-I’m a m-monster . . .” Looking down at her claws again, then turning to Abi in an almost hateful tone.
“LOOK AT ME! They turned me into a . . . dam-nit . . .” Felina collapsed to her knees, covering her eyes with her claws in shock.
“Felina . . .” T-Bone joined her at her side.
“It’s all right . . . ,” turning to Razor and Thoran.
“Isn’t it?” Thoran nodded, “The only way to save you was to bond your soul with the two gargoyles. Felina showed up at the wrong time and she was bonded, too.” “Then I’m–?” “A gargoyle. Yes.” He looked at his own claws, a smile slowly curling across his features, “Ya konw, I could get to like this . . .” Felina, pulling herself together, stood rather shakily, leaning on T-Bone for support, “So I’m a gargoyle–?” A nod. She studied T-Bone, with his new form. He was certainly a lot BIGGER. She felt stronger, too . . . maybe . . . , “Then I can fly . . .” Rubbing her wings, she headed back up the stairs, pushing past the other gargoyles who acted as curi-ous onlookers.
“Felina!” T-Bone followed her out, seeing her hop off the ledge and spread her wings. She glided with the same skill of Dathena, letting the wind lift her.
“Let her go,” Thoran had come up behind him.
“She needs to discover for herself.”
Grunting, the former kat’s features tightened in utter determination as he lept off the ledge, keeping on her trail. Razor headed over the the ledge, stopping just before the edge of the building.
“It seems . . . ,” Thoran crossed her arms across his heavy chest, ” . . . that flying comes quite naturally to them both . . . Let them go, Jacob. There are some things they can learn only by experiencing.”
Felina only concentrated on getting away . . . further from the museum . . . until she finally realized she was FLYING. Yes, flying . . . without the help of a helicopter.
“My G-d . . .,” she landed gracefully on the empty sidewalk. Under the influence of Dathena’s hidden memories she caped her wings over her shoulders, “I can FLY . . . damnit . . .”
T-Bone landed a few feet from her, almost as carefully. She turned to him, her face livid, “I FLEW. Did you see–?”
“Yeah. I did it to. I guess gargoyles to it naturally,” T-Bone grinned. Shaking her head, “I still can’t believe this . . .” “Hey, babe . . .,” behind them, three burly kats emerged, each branishing some sort of street weapon.
“Your in our territory.”
T-Bone suddenly realized–in the darkness of the street, they couldn’t recognize the forms of two gargoyles . . . they must look like two kats in capes or something. THe three muggers circled around, cornering them with the only escape into the alley. Felina growled sharply as one came near.
“Watch it babe, I’ve got a–”
Felina spun around, facing him with her wings spread. She growled loudly, noise echoing into the alley as she held forth her claws.
“What the hell–?”
T-Bone turned to the two kats near him, his back up against his partner’s as he lifted his heavy claws and uttered the deep growl as his eyes lit.
“MONSTERS!” Three immediately took off, not giving the two gargoyles time for even a swipe.
“Hell, the streets are FULL of ’em!”
Seeing they had been victorious, they caped their wings again as Felina glanced down at her claws, “I think I could get to like this.”
For the first time that evening, she grinned.
And old lady made her way in the mucky alley, hands all ready free of her packages. Breathing heavily, no one heard her screams; besides, it was the bad part of town–who cared?
Two kats followed, “Come ‘ere little–”
As they entered, something above them creaked. A huge figure swooped down from his perch on the fire escape, landing in front of the first mugger and easily scooping him up with one claw.
The other turned to run, suddenly finding him face to face with a hissing female gargoyle. He swung out loosely. His crowbar was caught easily and thrown over her shoulder, him included. He landed headfirst into a parking meter.
Felina growled with delight, seeing T-Bone join her in the street with the other mugger in claw. He gingerly tossed the unconscious form on the car’s hood next to his partner.
“That takes care of that, huh?
Smiling, “I DEFINITELY like this form . . . I just don’t think my dad’ll get a such a kick out of it.”
“Yeah, well . . . I think we’d better get back to the museum, or Razor’ll think I got myself a new partner.”
Gripping into the brick of the building with her claws, she slowly began to climb, “Like it or not, I think you have.”
Ulysess Feral scanned the sky nervously.
Damn that Felina! How he wished he could get rid of her! Now she had gotten herself in trouble and his brother owuld surely kill him if anything happened to her. She hadn’t been seen in a day, but she also didn’t bother to tell anyone where she was going.
“Any sign of Felina, Feral?” Cally came out of Enforcer headquarters, briefcase in hand as always. She hadn’t been back to the museum lately; nor had she told anyone about the gargoyles. Glancing at the sky, “Here’s the SWAT Kats. Maybe they know.”
Feral grunted . The Turbokat landed neatly in front of them. The canopy slid open as T-Bone and Razor popped out.
She gasped, noticing T-Bone’s altered form for the first time as he spread his wings before touching the ground. Razor looked the same, but . . .
Feral had noticed it, too. He pulled out his gun, aiming it at the SWAT Kat, “Don’t come any closer, SWAT Kat–or whatever the hell you are.” The steel in his voice was more than apparent, but it didn’t cause any response.
“Where’s Felina? What have you done with her?!”
“Relax, Uncle–I’m right here,” spinning around he saw Felina land on his car hood, “And I’m FINE.” “Felina, I–?”
She approached her uncle, now a closer to his height with her feet on edge. She caped her wings, looking somewhat proper, “We’re gargoyles, Uncle.” Feral just STARED.
“My brother’ll never speak to me again–”
“I know. But he’ll get used to it . . . eventually.”
Feral looked up with the sound of wings in the air, and Thoran landed a feet from them, a thin, lanky gargoyle at his side.
“How many of you are there?” Cally hadn’t had time for a count before she had left the museum.
“We used to me more than a score , but . . . ,” sighing, he was speaking in his gentle, cultured voice.
“I suppose it would be nice to meet the methods of justice in this time.”
The commander was somewhat taken back by the polite formality in the gargoyle’s voice.
“I am Thoran, Lopinenean leader of my clan,” he shook Feral’s paw. The rest of us are in the museum.”
“Where do you come from?” “We were trapped in stone for a thousand years, Commander Feral,” he glanced at Feral’s ID card on his jacket.
“Before that, we were the justice system of Megallith City.”
His voice was still a bit rough, speaking almost angrily, “What did you do to Felina?”
“Felina and T-Bone are part of my clan now. They gave their souls to save the lives to two gargoyles they were decended from–,” he motioned to Felina, “–no matter how distantly.” Feral looked them, unbelieving, not really WANTING to believe, but . . . , “Well . . . you have my trust–for now.” He eyed the old gargoyle carefully, but his wise expression didn’t shift.
Jake Clawson sighed, rubbing his eyes tiredly. He sat in the office, hunched over the desk with his eyes desparately trying to concentrate on the words on the pages in front of him. Maric had given him a book of translated theories and magitorial selections–something he didn’t find particularly interesting when all he truly wanted was sleep. Through the glass window siding of the office he could hear Chance tinkering away at some various compartment of an engine . . . per-haps a little slower than usual. They were both exhausted, but there were three cars that were expected to be finished by that evening. Moaning softly, he rubbed his eyes and tried to refocus his attention when he head the door behind him swing open, “You all ready, buddy?” “Yeah, well . . . I could use a few thousand katnaps, thank you very much.” Chance nodded; he wasn’t as tired as his partner, but he knew what he felt like, “Look, I’m goin’ to the store. We need a restock on a few things. You want anything?” Jake shook his head.
“All right . . .,” his partner shrugged and grabbed the keys from the desktop, heading for the truck. Jake blinked, listening to the sound of the engine sound-ing, then slowly drifting away. Aside from that . . . silence . . . and he found himself drifting off . . .
He awoke to the sound of crashing. Moaning, he blinked and glanced at the clock. Burk and Murry? Too early . . . Heading outside groggily, he felt something smack the back of his head as soon as he was clear of the garage. He was thrown straight into the mud, the swirl of colors around him he noticed turning a ruby color as he recognized a beam of energy in his direction. He jumped to avoid it, the beam barely scraping his side. Selena was on his roof. Her eyes lit and now in her own body, she readied another beam, “Do you think you could escape me just because you aren’t wearing a foolish mask? Where is your gargoyle protector now, son of Ecuador?” Jake ducked behind their mailbox to avoid another beam.
“Right here!” She spun around to meet a barrel from Chance’s glovatix. He had seen her approach the garage earlier and had climbed up behind her. Selena hesitated, then suddenly realized he wasn’t in gargoyle form. So what threat was he? Her form lit with energy, “And WHY should I fear YOU? You’re nothing but a–”
“–foolish mortal? SO?” She didn’t have time to duck as he send a fist in her direction. The punch sent her flying, off the roof and into a pile of scrap metal. Shaking herself off, she began to disappear, “I will return when I have some more worthy opponents!”
Jake stood, dusting his overalls off as Chance made his way down to ground level beside him, “Looks like Selena didn’t have much trouble finding us.”
“I don’t think she cares who we are, Jake. She just wants you dead.”
He shrugged, heading back into the garage, “C’mon, let’s finish this and get some sleep before sunset.”
“I don’t understand why she attacked you,” Dr. Sinian shook her head.
“It just doesn’t seem like Selena.”
Thoran nodded, “Aye, it isn’t like her to attack an unprotected kat. It isn’t the council’s way, at least. She did wake us up to finish the battle, probably to kill us, but she would have normally at least waited until night.”
“So she’s picking fights,” Razor put in.
“To some extent. She is trying to warn us that she won’ let this sit–she wants a big battle, just like last time, and she wants to WIN.” “But–,” T-Bone, now with Felina at his side, “–why doesn’t she does smash you during the day? She knows where you are. It wouldn’t take much.”
The old gargoyle shook his head, “No no no . . . it is not so much that she wants us did–it is the trill of the kill that drives her.”
“I will second that,” Maric stood, joining their conversation for the first time.
“I fear the Koldran has possessed her; all her reality is when she was wearing it. She must live through the battle again and again until it is completed. For a thousand years her soul has been in torment because of the Koldran, but she doesn’t even realize its hold over her.” “So how do we stop her? Gargoyles don’t fight magic with claws–or even missiles.”
“I know how to stop her.”
All eyes turned to Sauraman, who entered now. Instead of his councilman robes, he was wearing a white one. He was carrying a spellbook Abi had never seen before–it had to be from his private library.
“The Koldran has possessed her, Maric–just as you suspected. She will replay the battle out until she wins. Frakes was lucky to be spared from such a destiny. How do I know? I brought the Koldran to this world, I know how it can be stopped.”
Razor stopped short in his sentence as they heard something crash on the roof.
“Hey–should we be concerned about those guys?” T-Bone, closest to the window, pointed to the hordes of undead approaching the museum. When their feet touched its grounds, some of them grew small wings than enabled them to reach the roof.
“Do you remember my undead, SWAT Kat?” Sauraman almost joked.
“I was a weak mage then. Now you’ll see what a councilman is like!”
Thoran quickly turned to the lanky gargoyle at his side, “Sevian–assemble the clan and try and hold them back on the roof. I will join you shortly, as soon as I see what Sauraman has in mind.”
The gargoyle clan had their claws full. Masses of undead were approaching, smashing things and causing havok on the streets on the way. The enforcerers arrived shortly, but they were helpess against Selena’s hordes.
[I was supposed to right a big fight scene here, but I really didn’t feel like it. Just watch Gargoyles #1 a few times if you were really looking forward to this scene]
Razor was heading towards the stairs leading to the roof when Maric caught his paw, holding him back, “Come, Jacob. You are needed more here.”
“I don’t understand,” he fought the pull a bit, but eventually submitted and returned to the group.
“Why do you need me? I’m a pilot, not a mage.”
There was no response.
Their attention turned to Sauraman. Seeing all eyes were on him, he led them into the exhibit based on the Dark Ages. In the glass case in front of him was a stone headpiece, shaped to fit over the eyes and skull of a kat. The stone was lined with carved writings in Lopine and shapes. Striking his paw into the glass, he freed the artifact from its resting place and held it up for them to see.
“Selena, as I said, is sick in the mind. She is controlled by the Koldran, which sits in her head and controls her thoughts. The only way to defeat her is to finally destroy the Koldran–by getting inside her head,” he indicated the headpiece.
“This was designed to free someone’s soul and attach them to another. It can be used to send someone inside her head.”
Glances shifted to Razor.
“C’mon, guys–don’t tell me you want me to USE that thing . . .”
Sauraman shook his head, “If used by a magical source, she would detect it immediately–the Koldran would detect it.”
“I’ll do it.”
Dr. Sinian’s voice was absolutely the last thing anyone expected to hear at that point, “I’m not related to any mage. She won’t detect if I do it.”
“Any your WILLING to go in there?”
She nodded confidently, “For the sake of science . . . yes.”
Maric rubbed his beard, then spoke, “We would still need someone else–she could only serve as a base.”
“But alas, we have no linking headpiece. There is no way to link them.” The group was silent.
Razor suddenly lifted his head, “Hey, wait a minute–I think I have an idea!” He turned to Maric, grabbing him by both shoulders, “Is there any way to link magic and technology?”
“Not easily, but–”
The SWAT Kat didn’t leave room for the rest of the answer, heading for the stairs, “I think I’ve got something that can help us!”
Sevian, the lanky gargoyle, finished off the next two approaching undead with a swipe of his claw, knocking them off the roof.
He barely had time to retract him arm before another two were on top of him.
How long could they keep this up? He glanced up at the moon. It was only a matter of time before sunrise . . .
Sevian had just taken care of them when he heard something growl behind him. Spinning around, he saw Thoran hurl the undead who had been trying to sneak up on Sevian behind his back.
“Thoran! What about–”
“We must keep Selena occupied!” He indicated the female kat on the upper roof, surveying the battle.
“Jacob has a plan, but he will need her distracted.” He nodded, continuing to fight him way toward her.
Ramis watched nervously out the window, “I don’t think they can hold them back much longer, Sauraman.”
The old sorcerer shurgged, “There is nothing we can do for them.” He pointed to the two kats.
Dr. Abi sat in the chair, her eyes open but unseeing. On her head was the headpiece, glowing brightly. Beside her Razor sat cross-legged, his features tight in frustration. He was set up with a VR helmet, which was linked to the headpiece. Both kats were completely stationary, aside from an occasional change of expressions.
“How do we know it’s working?” “We can’t,” Maric answered.
“Not until they pull out of it.”
Out of the corner of his eye, the old mage noticed Sauraman leave the room. Where was he going at a time like this? He suppressed his curiousity, trying to concentrate on holding up the spell that kept Abi and Razor in their states.
Razor recalled nothing, except slipping on the helmet . . . and darkness. The world around him dissovled . . . then reformed, and he found himself on the ground.
Moaning softly, he brought himself to his knees and opened his eyes. His vision was nearly focused when he felt a presence at his side. Abi helped him to his feet.
“Where are we?”
“Inside Selena’s head, a suppose,” she surveyed the area.
They were standing a floating platform: a giant chunk of stone almost with a flat surface. They were surrounded by other platforms–both bigger and smaller, on different levels. The sky was an endless purple, but with each flash of lightening from the nothingness above them the outer walls lit and then dissolved.
“So what are we supposed to do now?”
“Look for the Koldran, maybe . . .”
He had his mouth open to respond as a ray of lightening struck their platform, splitting it in half where they stood. Razor grabbed Abi, trying to keep them from getting separated as the stone beneath them crumbled and collapsed. Instinctively he fired his glovatrix, catching the rim of another platform with a grapping hook.
As they hung for dear life, the endless purple beneath them began to swirl into the whirlpool.
“I don’t think we wanna go down there, huh?” Razor remarked somewhat jokingly, pulling himself up by the cord nd helping her on to the platform. Winds from nowhere were picking up.
“We need to find the Koldran before she finds us!” Abi shouted to be heard above the wind.
The winds of Megakat City were also increasing.
Commander Feral stood behind his car tha served as part of the barracade, shouting orders through the megaphone and trying to keep his forces in line. The battle had extented past museum grounds into the streets, though the undead generally headed in that direction. He tried to keep his troops back, but eventually the mass hordes overcame them and left them to hand-to-hand combat.
“Keep back! Don’t engage unless–”
His words were useless. He slammed the megaphone down as an undead zombie jumped on his car hood. Pulling his gun out he aimed and fired, causing the undead’s bones to scatter on top of the windshield.
“Miss Briggs?” He turned to see her approach.
“What are you doing here? Get out behind the barracade! It’s not safe here–”
“It won’t be safe anywhere in a few minutes! Where are the SWAT Kats?” “They were in the museum at the start of the–”
For the first time he noticed a shadow fall over Miss Briggs. It was too late by the time he realized it was from the undead zombie that had reformed on his car hood, its arms raised for the killing blow.
Something hissed, swooping down from the sky to catch the zombie’s raised arms and hurl it into the building. The bones shattered instantly, but as Felina landed she knew it was only a matter of time before it would rise again. She joined Feral at his side.
“Watch your back, Uncle!”
Feral allowed a hint of a thankful expression to shine through his features.
“There it is!”
Razor turned towards where Abi was pointing. They could now see where the winds were coming from; a bright blue sphere about the size of one of them hovered on one of the platforms, sending out magical energy waves that were powerful enough to see.
When they reached the platform close enough, Razor fired his glovatrix. His missiles bounced harmlessly off, only to be picked up by the increasing winds and nearly blown back at them.
“OK . . . so how do I destroy that thing?!”
Abi pushed away the hair that was being blown in her face, “Can you blast it with magical energy?”
“I’ve been studying for a day! You think I have any clue how that works?!” She sighed, scratching her head, “See how it’s connected to the platform?” She pointed to where the stone met the bottom of the sphere.
“Maybe the only reason it has any control over her is because it isn’t free-floating! It’s connected! Try to blast it out of there!”
Razor nodded, and aimed for the stone.
The missile hit right where he aimed, at the base of the sphere. It knocked some of the sphere loose successfully, but it was still partially connected. The Koldran began to glow brightly, almost angered by the actions.
“Only one more–”
“WHO DARES TO CONTROL ME?!?”
“Huh?” He turned to see where the voice came from. Selena’s form appeared from behind them, several times more than her normal size.
“Uh-oh . . .”
“FOOLISH MORTALS!” Lightening collected in her fist.
“I CONTROL THIS WORLD! YOU COULDN’T DESTROY ME IN YOUR OWN HOME–DO YOU REALLY THINK YOU COULD DEFEAT ME HERE?” She released the beam, smashing their platform instantly.
Abi managed to grab hold of another platform, closer to the Koldran. Razor locked on to her arm, hanging helplessly. Keep your cool, Clawson . . . you can still pull this off–he was interrupted from his musing as he felt something slip. The truth was: Abi had a hold on his glovatrix, not his real paw. He felt himself lose his grip.
He felt like screaming, but for some reason he didn’t do that.
A moment later, Abi was left hanging with an emtpy glovatrix in her paw.
From the roof, T-Bone noticed Selena waver in stance as he finished off another undead zombie.
Whatever Razor’s doing . . . it had better work SOON . . . he thought, glancing at the approaching hordes.
“RAZOR!” The SWAT Kat’s helpless form began plummeting down towards the wirlpool of energy beneath him.
So it’s up to me now . . ., she studied the glovatrix, wondering how it worked. Am I crazy? I can’t fire–
Selena was ready with another beam. It struck beneath where Abi was perched, knocking her off. Luckily, she landed on another platform nearly connected to the Koldran.
“DO YOU THINK YOU CAN STOP ME?!?” the sorcereress lifted her paw. Abi pushed the screams into the back of her mind, concentrating on the glovatrix. She slipped it into her paw, looking for some sort of trigger button. She couldn’t find it. She was too late–Selena has released the beam.
Or was she?
As the stone beneath her gave way, she instinctively tightened her fists, then felt something click–like a button.
The trigger! It was in the rings of the glovatrix! She had activated it! The shot went wild . . . but not TOO wild. Selena screamed in horror.
Abi’s body began to fall . . . with the world around her collapsing. The Koldran was free! Beneath her, she could feel the whirlpool pulling her in . . .
From the rooftop, Selena’s scream could be heard throughout the battle.
“NOOOOOOOO!!!” It came out as a piercing shriek, fading in intensity as she collapsed where she stood. The undead around the gargoyle and the enforcers began to break apart . . . as if almost on an automatic timer . . . and dissolve. Their bones sunk back into the ground, where they belonged.
The headpiece’s glow had been gaining intensity since Maric had begun the spell, but it shone–for that instant–so brightly he had to turn away.
There was the sound of an explosion–perphaps, but when he was able to see clearly again the headpiece was dark and silent. Abi slumped in her chair, her eyes shut and some of her fur partially singed and smoking. Razor collapsed backwards from his sitting position, the VR helmet coming loose. The other later was completely eletricuted and partially burnt.
Ramis bent by his side, removing the helmet completely for an inspection. Razor was unconscious, but there appeared a steady pulse after a minute or so and only some singed fur otherwise. He sighed with relief.
Maric was busy pulling the headpiece off Abi, “She’s alive . . . it must have worked.”
“Aye,” Thoran entered, looking a little worse for wear but otherwise unharmed. Some of his clan followed. He scooped Abi up in his arms, treating her as though she was weightless, then carried her over to the couch and set her down.
“She needs rest.”
“He’s gonna be up soon, right?” T-Bone joined Ramis beside his partner.
“How long is he gonna be like this?”
“That is for his body to decide.”
T-Bone looked at him gravely, and wondered what that meant.
Razor remembered a sweeping whirlpool, and the sensation of falling–nothing else.
When he awoke, he could be sure he was not in the musem. Only silence greeted his ears. His eyelids fluttered trying to adjust to the dark shades around him.
The purple lining of Selena’s mind was long gone. He lay on a warm floor, his form illuminated by the strange spotlight from above. All around him was shadows and darkness.
Moaning softly, he lifted him head painfully from the ground, then set it back down again. The pain was weighting him down–but the air was oddly warm and calming.
His eyes finally adjusting to the light, for the first time he noticed the two figures in the shadows beside him. Instincts reminded him he was in a completely open and helpless position, but his arms were too limp to raise from where they rested.
“Who–?” his voice was more vital sounding than he had anticipated.
“Welcome back, Jake,” the voice of the right figure, apparently male, was strangely familiar–even to the point of when it sent a chill up his spine.
“Does it really matter who we are? Would it change anything?”
“Where am I?”
The figure stepped forward, a little closer to the light–but not close enough. Razor could barely make out his form, but he looked about the same build as himself.
“I think you know, Jake.”
“Have I been here before?”
“You’ve always been here,” the second figure, a female with a slender form, stepped up beside the first.
“Do you remember when Ramis put you in your trance–in the park at night?”
Razor answered, though he didn’t quite understand, “Yeah, but–”
“You were inside your head, Jake,” her voice was strangely comforting.
“You’re inside it now. You’re trapped here because you haven’t made it back yet. You haven’t completed the journey back into your body.”
“But . . . it was brighter last time . . . ,” he was desparately trying to recall what happened in his old trance.
“Your body’s still inactive,” the male replied.
“The spell wore it out. Until you fully re-enter, your mind is shut down.” Razor looked at him curiously. With the bright beam of light shining down on him, the SWAT Kat’s eyes were unable to adjust to the darkness around him and center in the two figures.
The male looked around, gesturing to the endless black space that was slowly showing some signs of color, “You should be getting back soon.”
“I-I don’t understand . . . who are you?”
The figure glanced at the female, then back at Razor, “You won’t remember this later on–this something always in your subconscious.” He shrugged, “I guess it doesn’t matter then, huh?”
He stepped out of the shadows, and Razor gasped.
At first the SWAT Kat was SURE he was looking at his father, but . . . the fur was his orange. He wore a grey beard and lab coat and walked with a cane, but aside from that he was a spitting image of Jake Clawson.
“Wait–how–?” The vision became a swirl of colors, and he felt the sensation of falling again.
“There isn’t enough time, Jake–or you would see more . . .”
Razor opened his mouth to reply, but his world had all ready dissolved into blackness.
The colors around them restored, and the shadows dissappeared. Jake Clawson sighed, letting the past events sink in.
“I was rather demanding when I was young, wasn’t I?”
Dr. Abi Sinian-Clawson, now old and greyed, merely nodded, “Perhaps you shouldn’t have told him.”
Jake leaned heavily on his cane, sighing and shaking his head, “Are you saying tempting fate isn’t any fun?”
The strange feeling of warmth was gone. He felt heavy, somehow more than before. The darkness was clearing, and in the mess he could see a blond form he could recognize as his partner.
“Come on, Razor–wake up!”
“Uuuugghh . . .,” he was prompted up into a sitting position by his partner.
“How long have I been out?”
“Few hours. The sun’s comin’ up fast,” he nervously glanced out the window. Razor stood, leaning partially on T-Bone for support, and joined Maric at Dr. Abi’s side. She was lying on the couch, still unconscious.
“Is she all right?”
Maric nodded, “She should be . . . she just needs rest. The spell drained her energy.”
“Ya know,” Razor turned back to his partner, “I had the wierdest dream . . . I just can’t remember it now . . .”
“Yeah, buddy . . . come on, I’ll get ya home . . .”
The gargoyles were gathering on the rooftop as Feral arrived. He looked a little worse-for-wear, but otherwise unharmed. Felina landed beside him. Thoran glanced at Feral, acknowledging his presence.
Feral sighed, “I suppose I could get used to this.” His works slightly showed is appreciation for the gargoyle’s presence at the battle. Without them, the enforcers didn’t stand a chance.
The old leader shook his paw, “It was a pleasure to fight alongside you as well.”
Behind him Feral could sense Felina smiling at his submission.
“So . . . do want anything for saving the city? I mean, do you need anything?” Thoran took up his perch on the ledge. Beside him, the other gargoyles were gathering. Felina and T-Bone had both been slightly injured in the battle; they would be resting for the day.
He smiled, staring out into the horizon with a view of his clan preparing for rest in the corners of his eyes, “Well . . . some merlons would be nice. Perhaps some good stone ones, too–I can’t spend my life sleeping on a ledge, you know.”
Cally was about to respond, when the old face in front of her hardened in stone.
Razor sighed, patting his friend’s statue on the shoulder, “I think I should get that VCR working–something tells me you’ll be missing a lot of Scardy Kats in the near future.”
On the horizon, the sun shone more brightly then ever.
Sauraman the Pastmaster removed the two pieces of crystal from a small box on his shelf. They lay inert in his hands; how he could remember the days when they were one, when they glowed so brightly!
He sighed quite heavily, placing the two pieces of the Koldran carefully back into the box, then returned it to its rightful place.
He never should have brought it here . . . to this world . . . How much destruction it caused–normally that would have made him happy, which was probably why he brought it in the first place. Oddly, it did no such thing.
Bracing his arms against the outside of this windows, he gazed out onto Megakat City from his view in the graveyard tower. In the far distance, he could see the museum, and the figures distantly at rest on the roof.
At last . . .
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