by Karen


Brooklyn crouched atop the roof of the venerable old brownstone mansion he had scoped out earlier that week. He could imagine, that if any chance passerby happened to glance up and see him grinning down at them, that is, without the rain coming out of his mouth, it might startle them out several years' growth, at seeing a real, breathing gargoyle. Urban myth becoming urban reality, not that he was there to improve public relations between humans and gargoyles, that was Elisa and Matt's job, aside from serving and protecting the citizens against criminals. The duty of a gargoyle was similar, but in done their own unique way. His purpose was helping make the city a safer place to live for all humans and gargoyles alike.

With that in mind, Brooklyn shifted his weight, trying to find a more comfortable position on the crumbling stone, wincing as he followed down the track of chipped stone and dirt that landed with a thud on the ground far beneath him. He marked where it landed with his eyes, the gray flaring to white as he noted where the sound attracted the attention of a group of dark-clad men wearing sweat-shirt, the hoods, pulled up close to cover their faces.

Brooklyn shrugged, the movement making his black wings flexes and settles back to into their original position, in the manner of a cloak down his back. His movement caused the mortar to crack and sent several good-sized pieces of stone hurtling down to the street far below. Shifting his weight, he let a growl to slip out, at the same time watching the blocks of stone fall. It felt like watching events pass by in slow motion, like being underwater; rather peaceful and sleepy-inducing when you stopped to think about it; that is until the thud of crashing rock, wood and dirt hit with a jarring impact.


Several of the smaller pieces showered a group of cloaked and hooded men wearing gray hooded sweat suits, and gold chains around their necks. A few looked up; others reached to pull the drawstrings of their hoods tighter.

Swearing in colorful language, as a group, they turned their attention back to the deal that was in the offing. "Don't worry none about it, man," the leader muttered to the others huddled around him, "Them old buildings are always falling down. Let's get back to business."

"What if," the smallest of the group whispered, glancing up at the roof of the old building and then back at the dirt under his feet. "It was bad enough when all we had to worry about were the cops, now they've got them gargoyles.... And `they' always show up at exactly the right time to ruin things." He shivered, and not from the cold of New York in wintertime. Darting nervous glances at the roof of the old building far above and equally nervous glances down the mouths of dark alleys, he stuffed his hands deep into the pockets of his gray sweat pants and shuffled his feet.

"Don't even go there," the leader shrugged and rolled his eyes at his flunky. "If we don't get this over with sometime soon, you won't even have to worry about them gargoyles, because if they don't get you, the cops will."

"I dunno," the other man said. "It don't seem fair." He shuffled his feet "You got the goods?" kicking several loose chips of paving stone with the heel of his leather boots.

"Hate to burst your bubble, man" the leader said, "Life ain't fair. Now are we going to do this or not?" speaking and gliding forward at the same time until he could all but smell the beery breath of the other man, and leveled a glare at the shorter, mousy man.

"We gotta wait for the client to arrive," another member of the gang remarked, shrugging his shoulders, the gold armbands around his wrists glinting in the moonlight shadows and the small amount of light that seeped in from the street lamps that lined the road.

By the time the long hand on the leader's gold faux Rolex watch had reached had wound itself almost to the 12 and the short hand had met up with it, the client finally elected to make an appearance. The car he pulled up in was black with its smoky windows tinted purple.

The driver left the motor idling and pulled the car to a stop at the intersection of two alleys. Getting out, he walked around to the side door and pulled it open at an odd mincing gate, so that he chiseled profile showed to the men watching this entire procedure. He stepped to one side to allow his passenger to get out. He was tall, dark- skinned, but light enough to be in the realm of cinnamon brown.

"Dracon," the gang leader greeted, his tones even but the newcomer could detect the undercurrent of irritation and threat in the other's voice. "It's about time. Much longer of keeping me waiting and I would have taken the entire stash and bolted. I do have other customers as exacting as you, and they show up on time, no matter how much you're paying to secure the goods for you."

Dracon shrugged, the movement sending his dark hair to come loose from the ponytail he had tied it back in. "Your clientele is not my concern. I was unavoidably delayed. Now do I get my merchandise or not?"

"Fine. Let's just get this done." The leader nodded, and with a wave of his hand he signaled to one of the others to come forward with a metal briefcase. The man stepped forward, crouching down, and then undid the fastenings on the case, and flipped the lid open so that everyone had a good view of the contents.

Just as the leader was about to drop his arm back to its relaxed position by his side, a dark shadow swooped down from the roof of the old building and landed directly in front of him. "Ergh!" was his last coherent thought.

Brooklyn plummeted down to the ground to land with a resounding thud that jarred his bones, and he quickly shook it off. His eyes glowed white and a growl low formed low in his throat. Eyeing the group of druggies with interest, 'Not too tough," he thought to himself.

The one that held open the briefcase took one look at him, and let out a high-pitched scream and bolted down the nearest alley. "One down', Brooklyn thought.

"Game over, boys," Brooklyn said aloud, making sure they were all looking at him, his tail lashing behind him, wishing he still owned the leather jacket that his rookery brother Lexington has once given him when they had been trying to restore an old-fashioned Harley Davidson. That was long gone, both the leather jacket and the ride; the jacket had been ripped to shreds, the motorcycle blown up.

"Ignore it" The leader yelled, "Grab the loot and take the money and run!"

"Shoot it!" one man shouted, making a grab for his gun and began shooting wildly in every direction, ineffectually not hitting anything except for the walls of the surrounding buildings and a few dumpsters.

"I ain't shooting it," another shouted.

Brooklyn brought his wings forward and hunkered down trying to present as small a target as possible, wondering what he should do next. All he wanted to do was get them from finalizing their deal, subdue them, and leave them for the cops. He wasn't that keen on letting them use his hide for target practice, even if it appeared that they could use the practice. `Come on, guys," Brooklyn tried, stalling for time, "Put the guns away, and we can do use this the easy way, you take a few swings at me, I land several blows on you, tie you up and leave you out to dry for the boys in blue. How does that sound?"

"Go to hell!"

"Nothing is ever easy," Brooklyn muttered and darted forward swung and connected with the man's jaw, snapping his head back. On the follow through, he lifted the man with dark-haired man off his feet, holding him by his collar, and launched him in the direction where his fellows clustered, splintering them apart like so many pins in a bowling alley. Completing a 180 degree half-circle Brooklyn glanced for other opponents, and was about to call it in using the portable radio Elisa had given him last month for his naming day, when he felt a sudden stiffness in his left shoulder blade. He capped his wings so that they hung down his back like a cloak, and could feel dampness coat his wings. He turned around and growled, irritated more with them than with himself for allowing them to get a shot in. He dodged another shot and leapt atop one of the nearby dumpsters, prepared to jump into the air and take off on the night rising thermals of air. "Okay, guys, I can take a hint. After about the third or fourth not so subtle hint, I can tell when I'm not wanted. But this isn't over." Brooklyn took off into the night air, gliding back to the Eyrie Building and home, wondering how he could disguise the stiffness in his left shoulder from the others, because one, they would either chew him out for getting hurt in the first place. Or two, Angela, most likely would coddle him and try to nurse it back to health. As he glided on the wind, his wings spread to full length, Brooklyn figured that all he would night was a good day of sleep, and once he woke up the following evening, he would be as good as new.


In the shadow of a dumpster and a pile of discarded rags, a bum warming his hands at a garbage can fire, witnessed the entire thing.



Meanwhile, Connor Macleod stepped out of the double doors of his studio apartment in Greenwhich Village, on his way to Madison Square Garden to take advantage of the season tickets he had purchased a month ago, on a whim, and he had never had an opportunity to use. As he entered the stream of traffic that was New York on any given day, elbowing his way forward, he could not help but think, that if there was anyone who would appreciate a good sporting event involving lots of action coupled with lots of imbibing of beer, that person would be his fellow clansman and friend, Duncan Macleod. "Too bad he lives all the way across the country," Connor muttered aloud to himself. "He doesn't realize just what he's missing. In the back of his mind he knew he should have even an iota of curiosity about the package and its accompanying letter that had been delivered to his home two months ago, but one thing had led to another, and he never got around to opening it. Duncan didn't often communicate with him, and when he did, it wasn't exactly a social call. Usually it involved, Duncan's student and protégé, Richie Ryan, and usually one or both was in trouble, often involving danger from another Immortal participating in the cosmic Game. Connor hated to admit, but after 800+ plus years or more of being Immortal, the last thing he needed to take on was another student, and for the life he couldn't imagine how Duncan put up with it. Thinking of the young man in question, maybe the problem was both were fond of the kid, and that was part of the problem. "Get over it, old man,' you're not here to get all nostalgic, you're out tonight to enjoy yourself, and that's exactly what you are going to do!" he mentally chided himself.



The taxi driver let him off at the entrance to the arena; Connor came to the belated realization that he should have left at least four hours earlier if he wanted to avoid the congested crowds swarming into the arena. The place was packed with people. It was good thing he had bought season tickets, which afford him good seats. As it was he still had to elbow his way through the crowds, oblivious of the stares and shouts to watch where he was going. In a momentary clear spot he raised his arm so he could check the time on his wristwatch. The hockey game was scheduled to begin in exactly fifteen minutes, which gave him just enough time to stand in line at one of the concession stands, order a hotdog with relish and ketchup, a beer, and still make it to his seat in time for the start of the game, that is if he hurried. Picking up the pace, Connor marched over to a nearby concession stand, ducked to avoid the low ceiling, cursing as he dragon-headed cane caught on a woman's purse, and together they managed to untangle from each other. He apologized and then went off to stand in line, fuming with impatience. Ten minutes later, packet in hand, he found his seat and settled himself to enjoy the game, allowing the sounds of the crowd, the whir of the Zamboni machine cleaning the ice of the rink, and the throbbing, pulsing sound of piped in rock and roll and music to wash over him. It had been a very long time since he had felt this good and he was going to pump it for all it was worth.



Connor had just settled in to enjoy the thrill of forced in overtime power play as the New York Nets elected to have their star player poised at the blue line to score the winning goal. His opponent, clad in red and green striped with white which to Connor's admittedly jaded sensibilities, the goalie appeared like nothing so much as a giant Santa Bear wearing knees pads and overstuffed padding, blocking the wire mesh cage with his entire body. Connor found that he was cheering at the top of his lungs right along with the rest of the crowd. Savoring the last sip of his beer, wondering if he should head off to the concession stand for another.

Connor munched on his hotdog, dabbing at the trickle of ketchup that leaked out of the bun and onto his chin. Polishing it off, he turned his attention back to the game. Groaning as the number 25, wearing red and white colors knocked his counterpart into the wooden panels, and the referee skidded onto the ice and broke them apart using the width of his out flung arms, which meant said player was sent off to the penalty box.

All of which meant, the opposing teams granted a power play. Connor realized that if the puck went out of bounds he was in a perfect position to catch the puck. Grinding his teeth, Connor settled down to see how things turned out, thinking as he did so, that hockey was even more exciting than basketball, and a lot more bone-jarring. Several hours later, and well into the second period, the puck went sailing over the walls of the ice arena and into the general vicinity of the bleachers; Connor and everyone around him stood up, some even leaning precariously over the guard rails. Connor made a grab for the black oblong object, and nearly fell out onto the rink; when he recovered his balance, he was vaguely aware that a little boy of about ten or show had claimed the puck. Connor shrugged and collapsed back into his seat. Just then, Connor felt a dull buzzing begin at the base of his spine. It worked itself all the way to the base of his skull.


It was the early warning sign that made all Immortals instantly tune out of whatever they were doing, having a conversation, making love, drop everything and instantly take a quick look around to watch for potential enemies out looking to take their heads. Connor, had been around a long time, he knew the signs. As it was, Connor nearly fell out of his seat, jostling his nearest seatmates in the over packed hockey arena, oblivious to the roar of the crowd, the thud of smacking hockey sticks and bodies crashing into the wooden boards, and the cold temperature of the ice. His bemused rather dazed state went unnoticed by his the crowed that were on their feet cheering on their team's winning goal. It did not even register on his dazed senses that the game was over and the crowd was leaving the arena in droves.

For a few seconds Connor could not remember where he was or what he was doing there, but it gradually came back to him. Connor felt a large hand thumping him on the back and trying to pour liquid down his throat, and a voice in his ear asking him if he all right.

By this time, Connor realized that buzz could be classified as a headache, but if there had been an Immortal around, he or she was gone now, our just moved out of range of his admittedly drunk senses. Connor shook his head to rid it of the attendant cobwebs, and tried to focus on his surroundings.

"Hey! A low tenor voice asked in an anxious tone of voice.

Connor shook the hand off, trying to focus on the voice, but he was drunk, and trying to get to his feet too quickly was a mistake. On the first try, his knees refused to support him. On the second try, he felt the hand and the person it was attached to, steady him and almost drag, carry him down the steps to the arena's exit. Connor's drunken stupor had subsided by then, and he was able to look the other in the face. What he saw was 5"8 humanoid creature with black wings with red highlights, a beaked nose, and brick-red coloring, and gray eyes. Its mouth was creased in a thin line that Connor took to be a smile. Wondering if he was hallucinating, Connor decided it wouldn't hurt to initiate a conversation, because it seemed friendly enough.

"Uh, hello" So, that was that a good game or what?"

"Yeah," Brooklyn replied, "I kinda only caught the last forty five minutes though, because I was watching it from up where they announce the scores and run the advertisements, but it was a great game." Brooklyn replied, pointing with one hand to the score board and the square roofed building below the board.

Connor glanced in the direction Brooklyn pointed, and wondered how or why anyone would watch a hockey game from the roof of the arena. That thought was jolted out of his head with Brooklyn's next question.

"Uh, mister, you seem like a pretty reasonable guy," Brooklyn said, "When I arrived, you looked you were enjoying yourself a little too much, so I came down to make sure you didn't wind up on the ice.

"Thanks, I think," Connor replied, wondering if this was a waking dream. "Uh, I don't mean to be rude, but what are you?"

"I don't know, if you'd believe me if I told you," Brooklyn replied. "but thanks for asking." Brooklyn drew himself and capped his wings. "I'm a gargoyle." The smile becoming a full-fledged grin.

Connor thought back to the last time he'd ever heard of gargoyles, as far as he knew they were nothing more than ornamental waterspouts built atop medieval and gothic architecture. Ever since he'd been following some of the more obscure press releases, he recalled hearing something about urban myths, but having other worries, he had not really paid those rumors and news reports much attention. And then it hit him, at about the same time that the story first brook about gargoyles being sited in the Manhattan area, there had also be an corresponding drop in the major crime and violence rate in New York City. On the heels of that thought, Connor also realized that there had also been a corresponding rise in the activity of a certain vigilante group that called themselves the Quarrymen.

"What do you call yourself?" Connor asked.

"Do you mind if I ask you a question?" Brooklyn asked.

"Uh, uh, I asked first. It's common courtesy that you answer first," Connor said.

"Well, I guess that makes sense," Brooklyn shrugged, "It's just that you are one of the first people I've ever run across that didn't run in terror at the sight of a gargoyle, so I was wondering why that was."

"Maybe I don't know enough to do that." Connor shrugged. "Chock it up to have an insatiable curiosity. I'm sure you've heard that old saying about curiosity has done in thousands if not millions of felines?"

"Yeah," Brooklyn replied. "Friend, let me tell ya, you're a strange one, but anyway, I got my name from the bridge around here. I'm Brooklyn."

"Wait a minute," Connor said, taking his hand back and stuffing it into the pockets of his jeans. "Brooklyn, as in the bridge?"

The other nodded. "That's the one."

Connor thought back to a several weeks ago, and mentally shuffled through all the compartments of his mind, trying to fit the name to his present situation. It took him a matter of ten minutes when it clicked; he remembered that he had meant to get around to reading the correspondence sent to him by his kinsman, Duncan Macleod of Seacouver, Washington. It was under rare and usually dangerous circumstances when Macleod contacted him, and usually involved Duncan's protégé, Richie Ryan, but he did visit the younger member of Clan Macleod for social events as well. Connor looked at Brooklyn and then remembered the package he happened, idly went through when he was bored, and recalled the letter that had accompanied a Scottish two-handled claymore sword along with instructions to take on a newly immortal student. He had assumed it was Duncan's way of playing a practical joke, "I mean, how many Immortals do you know are named, Brooklyn."

"What the hell I am supposed to do with him now?" Connor muttered aloud.

"Are you okay?"

"Fine, Fine. So, what's it like?"


"Hell, I must be senile and drunk at the same time," Connor muttered, grabbing Brooklyn by the arm, and attempting to drag the gargoyle in the direction of the exit, "Come with me, I've got stuff to tell you and it's best down in the privacy. So let's get the hell out of here."

"I'm all for that," Brooklyn replied, folding his arms over his chest, and planting himself firmly on the floor, so he was about as hard to move as if he had been frozen in the stone sleep that his kind went into during the day. "I'm not going anywhere with you until I get a few questions answered. "Exactly who are you with? And where are you taking me. How do I know I can trust you?

"Man, you are hard to move? Connor grunted, releasing his grip on the other's arm.

"To answer your questions in the order, 1, I'm with no one but myself; 2, I already told you where we're going; and three, trust is a funny thing, you take your chances and it works both ways. Now, are you coming or not?

"I'm coming," Brooklyn nodded, capping his wings, and rubbing at the fine white lines on his shoulder which meant his injury was healing a lot faster than he had thought it would take to heal. He shook his head and ground his teeth together, wondering what he was getting himself into, and even though he knew it was dangerous for gargoyles to trust humans, and after his experience with Demona and the few bikers he tried to befriend during the clan first weeks in Manhattan, it was hard not to resist the obvious charm of this Connor Macleod; Brooklyn instinctively felt drawn to him; and that there was something about that made him want to trust him. Underneath the sarcastic, irritable façade, there was a good man there. And the clan good use all the friends/allies they could get, Detective Elisa Maza and Matt Bluestone seemed to be the only people in the city they could trust, and it was all the fault of one mad-on female gargoyle Demona.



Later, at an abandoned office complex that had been up for lease.

"What are we doing here?" Brooklyn asked, giving the place a 360 degree inspection. It was wider than it was long, and it looked like no one has used it for its intended purpose in years. Brooklyn felt a vague itch make itself known at the base of his spine, and he looked around in the corners and shadows, wondering if this had been abandoned recently, because it might have been used as a base of operations for the Quarrymen. Connor's next question distracted Brooklyn out of his wildly meandering thoughts.

"You know how to use a sword?" Connor remarked, tossing Brooklyn a sharpened blade, its dull, notched edge showing. In the next move, the older Immortal had spun around, and threw the sheath in Brooklyn's general direction.

"Yeah," Brooklyn, "This is going to sound really weird...."

"What about this situation hasn't fit into that category?" Connor interrupted.

"Okay, okay," Brooklyn continued, "but where I come from, I mean where' talking the Dark Ages of Scotland, everyone used swords, so I think I think I can figure which end is the business end, and I know enough about to hold one."

Connor nodded. "Pretending I'm still following all of that, there is a difference."

"There's one thing I don't understand," Brooklyn said, "What's with the swords. I was doing all right with what I have, and it's not like I'm going to be use this," hefting the sword and taking a few practice swings with it, "one the goons, thieves, and other undesirables, so why do I need to know how to use one?"

"Because, I said so," Connor snapped. "This is serious. Being Immortal has its price. There are rules and limitations that you need to learn and relearn if you want to survive."

"Brooklyn let the sword hang limply from one hand, his beak hanging open in shock. "Survive?

"You heard me," Connor said, marching forward until he was eye level with Brooklyn, "You see, rule number one is never let anyone take your head. Rule number two: Older immortals usually take on students and teach them the Rules of the Game, and the techniques necessary for survival. You already know why I agreed to take you on, although I must admit this has to be one of my kinsman, Duncan's more bizarre requests." He shook his head. "There are other Immortals out there, all competing in a contest called "The Game" There are as many shades of gray among the participants as they are layers in an onion. Some good, some evil, some in between."

Brooklyn groaned and let the sword drop to the floor with a ringing clang of metal on metal. "Uh, no offense, but I can give up my membership now?"

"NO! This isn't a club. You don't get a choice. "

"So, what does the winner get?" Brooklyn whispered.

"According to legend, the last one standing will have the power and knowledge of every immortal who ever lived."

"Jalapena" Brooklyn muttered under his breath.

"Don't worry," Connor said, "I just wanted to let you know what you'll be up against. My job is to make sure you can not just hold your own, but live to fight another day, and in between times, learn to enjoy the good life."

"Uh, since you're got some stock in my continued well-being," Brooklyn muttered, " I think you deserve to know something that could be a serious liability."

"What are you talking about?" Connor asked, looking over Brooklyn's well-muscled arms, chest, and wings. "I would think you'd have an advantage."

"You see, we're nocturnal," Brooklyn replied, "Gargoyles sleep during the day.


"So, we turn to stone during the day," Brooklyn replied, folding his arms over his chest.

"Turn to stone? Connor stared at the other. When he recovered use of his voice, he smiled and clapped the other on the shoulder, muttering an apology when the impact of his hand reopened the rapidly healing wound in Brooklyn's shoulder blades.



"You should tell your uh clan about your being Immortal," Connor said, "they deserve to know.

Brooklyn nodded. "It's funny, but that other immortal who was here, Duncan Macleod, I think may have dropped some subtle and not subtle hints to Goliath. It's been hard to wrestle with this myself, I mean, whether or not to tell them, how to go about it, and all that. I kept telling myself that they'd find out on their own, or it wouldn't come up. Or that I was waiting for the right time."

"I understand," Connor said. "Although, it's been so long that I kept forgetting what `newborn' immortals go through.


Scotland, 1746 AD

Connor rode through Scottish countryside, it's rolling green hills dotted with purple heather and brush. The trees of late summer either standing in rows like sentinels or few and far between and barely clinging to the rocky soil. Connor wished that he had more time to stop and admire the view, but he carried important dispatches from the capital to his prince in field. How he could have missed the signs of civil unrest and dissension among the advisors the surrounded the court of the young upstart his detractors called the "Pretender" he would never know. It did little good to second guess himself at this late date. Connor shook his head to clear of distractions and the attendant cobwebs, and wondered just how much of the unrest had been caused by rumors and spies sent over in England. He knew that this was exactly the opportunity that the Duke of Cumberland and his Hanoverian army had been hoping for..

Connor grasped his hammer-headed horse's reins tighter in his gloved hands and urged the animal on to greater speed, ignoring the clammy feeling of sweat running down his back and lathering the horse around it's mouth and flanks., urging it on to greater speed.

As topped another low hill and saw a snaking line of mounted men wearing red coats camped in the valley below.


A day later, Connor pulled into camp at Narin, and was greeted by the body servant to Bonny Prince Charlie, certain to retrieve the saddle bags before handing over the reins to the boy. Connor nodded his silent thanks watching as the boy led the animal away to join its fellows along the picket at the east end of camp where a meal of mashed oats and barely awaited it along with a rubdown.

Connor one last fond glance at his mount, wondering if he could get the same service.

Instead he had dispatches and a warning to deliver.

As he passed through the camp, he silent counted to himself the clans he knew and several that he did not, by the expression on his face he realized that he realized that not all of the highland chiefs who had pledged their support had arrived. He reached the command tent with the image of a thistle emblazoned on the front the silk tent streaked in patterns of blue and brown. The light of a camp brazier was lit so he knew that the Prince was awake.

"Sire," he began.

"Macleod," Charles replied. "I've been expecting ye. He straightened up from where he'd been poring over maps of the surrounding terrain, and with a curt gesture dismissed the other advisors, coming over to clasp forearm in the traditional highlander greeting.

"Be welcome. Would you like some wine? It's a long ride from Edinburgh and a dry road. Knowing ye I can only assume that ye rode here in haste."

"I did. I would love wine, thank you," Connor replied.

"Dispatches from the capital," Connor replied.

"Leave them on the map table, I'll look at them later. But I can only imagine that it's all bad news." Charlie replied, taking a few steps to one side and lifting a pitcher of wine and pouring them into two cups. "Riding is thirsty work and so is arguing with one's generals, I'll have some too, if you don't mind?""

Connor grinned," Not at all," accepting the cup when it was offered and clinking the drinking vessels together when he raised it, savoring the taste on his tongue as it went down.

"Sire, I think we may have our hand forced sooner than we expected," Connor said.

"How so?"

"The British are here, and they're close, just a matter of a less than a days' ride. They're camped in the valley not far from Dunkirk. If we want to surprise them, I suggest we march by night to Culloden Moor. It's open and flat, and we stand the best chance of pushing them back.

"Are you insane?" Charles demanded.

"No more than you are to try and win back the Stuart Crown and your father's throne." Connor replied smoothly, folding his arms across his chest. "Take it or leave it, Sire, at this point are limited at best."

Charles cocked his head to one side as if thinking the matter through, his blues intent and icy. "The men fought well at Dunkirk, but it would almost impossible to ask them to do a forced overland march at night. They're exhausted, hungry.... Do you know what you're asking?" Charles demanded, idly watching as the cup shattered in his grip and the pieces fell to the floor.

"I do, Mi Lord, and as matters I do not believe we have been given a choice in the matter.."

"Very well, I will inform the troops," Charles decided, heading towards the tent entrance and yanking the flap open partway. "Be certain you are ready to ride by tonight, Macleod."


Interlude present day

Back at Wyvern Castle, Hudson reclined in his old but comfortable leather rocking chair; his fingers laced in front of him and considered the images and the commentary that went along with the 10 o-clock newscast. Crouched at his feet, Bronx, the garg-dog, raised his spiny head and stared at the eldest of the gargoyle clan with his soul in his eyes, his tail whirling like a corkscrew. Hudson regarded Bronx for a few seconds, wondering what by all lights he was supposed to do. One of the many thoughts that swirled through his head: the one he decided on was: `I'm getting too old for this."

Hudson shook himself, feeling his left leg tingle as the blood sluggishly coursed through his veins; he knew it meant his leg was falling asleep and he should get and walk around the room, but it he was old, and Bronx was heavily draped over his feet. The next thing he knew, his attention was riveted on the image being broadcast on the lit television screen blaring in front of him. Elisa he knew, he had also become familiar with the face of the reporter that always seemed to be in the right place at the right time to get the first scoop on any news worthy story involving the city's recent urban myth become urban reality, gargoyles.

The blue and white police cars were gathered in a loose semi circle in front of the headquarters, along with an ambulance from St. Lucia's General Hospital, along with the usual attendant people who were galvanized to witness tragedy, like car crashes and other disasters. Hudson, had to wonder what it was about the human species that made such things, as they went, fascinating. Hudson, smacked himself on the head and brushed the back of his hand over his tired eyes, squinting to make out the images on the screen, knowing that he had been ignoring his clan's and friends' well-meaning hints to get his eyesight checked. Another sign of his advancing age, "I am not yet decrepit and moribund." Hudson muttered aloud to himself. He had missed the reporter's opening remarks, but decided it did not matter, because apparently the story did involve a gargoyle who had gotten involved in a drug deal, gone sour. Apparently the two parties involved were in the midst of the deal, when a brick red gargoyle leapt into the middle of the group, eyes flaring white.

One of the men huddled in a miserable ball of fear: The reporter:

"This is A member of the street gang who had been peddling the drug for sale, in the midst of the transfer of ownership of several kilos worth of heroin were thwarted in their efforts by a brick red gargoyle. Apparently of several that have recently made Manhattan their stomping grounds. The gang member admitted to panicking. He and others began shouting for everyone to shoot the gargoyle."

`In an uncontrolled spray of bullets. According to Detective Bluestone, a total of eleven bullets, two of which found their target. The only eyewitness was a bum warming his hands at a garbage can fire, wrapped in discarded blankets. Not being able to locate the street bum for further questioning, it unknown at this time whether or not anyone of those involved sustained any injuries. The gargoyle in question left the scene as shown as he began bleeding from his left shoulder blade. The cops arrived shortly thereafter, but refused to provide more details. Back to you, Shelia." the reporter wrapped up his report.

Hudson leaned forward, turned the television off, and then snapped his fingers to bring Bronx to his feet, his corkscrew tail wagging in slow circles. Hudson maneuvered his bulk around his T.V chair and began his descent down to the kitchen where Broadway and Angela were cooking dinner.

Hudson, was old enough and wise enough to not allow the growing crooked smile to show as he caught them in mid-embrace, Angela in the act of smearing a piece of chocolate frosted cake over Broadway's already quite sticky face. Hudson, hated being the bearer of bad news, but under the circumstances, it was unavoidable.

At the same instant they could hear footsteps on the steep, narrow staircase the wound through the building as someone made their way up from the street level all the way to the top. A man with red-hair and a white duster coat paused halfway in, and cleared his throat, while a woman with dark-hair and a matching black leather jacket, wound her way past him.

"Aye, tis a sight for sore eyes, lass," Hudson greeted. "Elisa, Matt, always a pleasure."

Elisa nodded and was about to reply as whatever response she would have made was swallowed up in three pairs of gargoyle wings, as they did a group hug. When she could breathe again, she laughed, and nearly fell over into Matt's waiting arms. "Careful there, partner," Matt replied. "All I can see, is that ever since I've been assigned as your partner, it's been good for the waistline, just look at all those stairs." Matt added, waving his arms in the direction of the staircase.

"I wish, this were a social call, guys," Elisa began, her smile fading.

"I fear, I have some bad news, as well," Hudson nodded.

"Then you already know what's happened. Have you heard anything from him?

"We can't find Brooklyn anywhere, and according to police procedure, we can't exactly file a `missing persons' report until he's gone missing for a maximum of three days."

"Brooklyn's missing?" Angela whispered releasing Broadway's arm and moving closer to the two human police detectives.

"I figured he'd turn up at the hockey arena, or at Madison Square Garden for the concert, since that's one of the usual haunts where the Trio hang out," Matt shook his head, "Nothing. And how hard is it to find a 5'7 brick red gargoyle even in a town this size?"

"I have been monitoring the picture box." Hudson said.

"It's called a television, Hudson," Broadway interrupted.

Hudson growled low in his throat, "as I was saying, the picture box, and a that reporter, Hamilton, ran a segment that a gargoyle was injured in a scuffle with a some criminals thwarted in their drug dealing."

"I don't know if I'm more worried about Brooklyn not being able to find a place to sleep for the day, or the fact that's he's injured and alone. It wouldn't do for the wrong people to find him, if you know what I mean," Elisa said.

"I don't mean to be downer," Matt said, aware of the raised eyebrow of his partner." But if we're looking at the worse case scenario, it's possible that the reason he hasn't checked in, or tried to get in contact, is because he can't"

"Don't even think like that!" Angela shouted.

"Matt," Elisa warned, "No conspiracy theories; I can't deal with them right now.

"All right," Matt muttered under his breath, "I can take a hint."

"Here's what we'll do. We wait for the rest of the guys to return from their nightly patrol," Elisa said, glancing down at the watch on her right wrist, "It's getting too late in the day to do anything about this tonight, because they're turning to stone pretty soon, but we'll met back her tomorrow night and start a search for Brooklyn."

"Agreed. "He's has to be somewhere close, and he should know enough to hole up somewhere to sleep during the day," Angela replied.

"Okay, okay," Broadway nodded, "but I don't have to like it," his broad, craggy face creasing even more with worry about the safety of his fellow rookery brother, wondering they would break the news to Goliath and Lexington. Goliath took his role as clan way too seriously, but how would he handle the fact that his second in command was injured and missing? Broadway, wasn't exactly the most imaginative of gargoyles, being slower in the uptake than tech-minded Lexington, and modern-street savvy, Brooklyn, but he knew at thing or two, and this was bad news by anyone's standards.



Connor and Brooklyn left the building where they had been sparring, the former grudgingly admiring the other's native fighting skills while at the same time wondering what he was doing even considering the proposition of taking the latter on as a student. Connor thought back and mentally did the math in his mind; it had been all told, about two hundred years since he had last taken on a student. Even though his old teacher, Juan Sanchez Vlla Lopez Ramirez was dead, Connor could vividly recall every velvet smooth lesson his old teacher had ever drilled into him, sometimes with words, sometimes literally, so he could feel the bruises days later. Connor wondered, now that Ramirez was dead, if there was someplace in heaven where he would be looking down and smiling in approval whenever his protégé did something right, and turning over in laughter whenever he screwed up. Connor ground his teeth together, and wondered if he should do something appropriately nasty to his younger kinsman, Duncan Macleod for roping him into this bizarre situation in the first place.

Brooklyn, on the other hand, had insisted on going back to a place he called the Eyire Building, and Connor seeing the insistent look in the other's eyes, had agreed without putting too much of an argument.

Connor was about to suggest they hail a taxi, when Brooklyn gathered him up into his arms, spread his wings and launched into the air, his wings spread to full extension to catching the evening wind currents. "Ergh!" Connor managed to choke out, making the mistake of looking down at the ground below. Feeling the effects of vertigo sweeping over him, Connor tried to keep his dinner down and not hurl the contents of his stomach. Closing his eyes, he whispered "I just hope you don't drop me, my friend." Hearing a low chuckle in the other's voice, "Don't worry, I haven't dropped any passengers yet."

"Oh, I feel so relieved, don't let this be a first," Connor muttered.

"Yes, Sir," Brooklyn laughed and kept flying in an easterly direction.


Later back at the Eyre Building.

Goliath stepped forward to confront both his second-in-command and the stranger, a low bass rumble of a growl forming in his throat.

"He's with me," Brooklyn said, indicating with a gesture of his thumb at Connor, in his white duster jacket and tennis shoes.

"Indeed, lad," Hudson added, coming over to greet the missing member of the clan. "And where have ye been off to?" Ye had us all mighty worried."

Lexington looked up from the laptop computer that Elisa had given him on her last visit, and remarked that Brooklyn looked pretty good for someone who had gone missing for the last two nights in a row. "So, nobody got to you first. You might have called to let us know where you were."

Brooklyn set Connor down, and looked around with a rather foolish expression on his face, his already brick-red coloring turner an even deeper shade of red as, embarrassed, his hung his head and tried to look remorseful. "Uh, I forgot. I'm sorry."

Connor felt for him, while at the same time he was reeling from several shocks of the previous night; the old saying that you can pick your friends but you're stuck with your relatives running through his head. After one shock, he was about to be greeted with another when he realized that a genuine Dark Ages castle had been securely perched on the roof of the Eyire Building. He decided it was worth asking about, he took a 360 degree inspection of the place and wondered if he suffering one of the more interesting hangovers he had ever experienced. As he opened his mouth to say that it was his fault Brooklyn hadn't called to his 'clan' know about his whereabouts."

"Now," Broadway yawned, "If were second-in-command, I would let my clan know where I was at all times."

Lexington glared at him and said, "If you were in charge, I would be someplace else at all times."

Angela quelled the friendly squabbling with a glare and got in between them, "Stop it, both of you."

Brooklyn tried not to laugh, but it was funny so he limited his amusement to a small grin, figuring he was over the worst of it, except when he happened to glance in Elisa's direction, who was impatiently tapping her foot on the stone flooring, did he realize he had been a bit hasty in assuming that it would blow over that quickly.

"Who is this person, and why did you bring him back here," she demanded.

Before Brooklyn could reply, Connor stepped forward so that he was in the line of sight of the dark-haired police officer, "Madam," bowing low and take her hand, and planting a kiss on it. "Allow me to introduce myself, I am Connor Macleod of the Clan Macleod, and it was entirely my fault that your friend, uh, was unavoidably detained. I apologize if it caused you a moment's concern or inconvenience."

"Nicely done," Elisa snapped, snatching her hand out of his grip, " but I still don't buy it."

"Nor do I," Goliath rumbled from his perch on the stone parapets, feeling a stirring of memory at the mention of the last name, Macleod. He turned it over in his mind over and over again, when it clicked, he associated the name Macleod with another Scottish visitor we `recently `entertained', a Duncan Macleod. When he realized the implications, he recalled the other Highlander's veiled warning/caution to make sure that his second-in-command did not lose his head; it shook him to realize why that instruction had been necessary. Brooklyn was an immortal, although not the same nature as the clan's black sheep of the family and nemesis Demona.

Brooklyn was an immortal all the same, and apparently this man had seen fit to take him under his wing, so to speak, and make sure that he had someone to look after him make sure he know the implications and consequences. Goliath shook his head, wondering how that would affect his relations with his clan and his duties as a gargoyle. Elisa would no doubt accuse the clan's leader of being overly cautious and someone who had a tendency to brood too much, but he preferred to mull things over in his mind before reaching a hasty decision, and if he made a mistake, to err on the side of caution. With that going through his head, Goliath jumped down from his perch and came to confront the pair.

"Brooklyn must have his reasons, but I think we can let that slide for you. What I want to you know is what `he' is doing here," Elisa said.

"Well, it's like this," Connor replied, rocking back on his hells and folding his arms over his chest. "Brooklyn, from what I can gather, was injured during a scuffled with a group of some of this city's less than desirables. I wasn't there, so I don't know what happened, exactly. But, taking off, we met up at the end of a hockey game. I was a bit drunk. Okay, a lot drunk."

"Hockey game?" Angela wondered.

"Yes, hockey game, and it turns out we have more in common than anyone thought. I took him to a place I know, and we talked."

"We did more than talk," Brooklyn interrupted, rubbing the sore muscles in his arms, wishing that they could this part of the evening over so that he could get up to his perch on the parapets and get some well-deserved stone sleep.

"And what did ye have to talk about, lad, that was so bloody interesting?" Hudson asked.

"I want you to tell them," Connor whispered to Brooklyn.

"I don't know if I'm ready."

"They're going to find out some time, and it might as well be now."

"Okay, okay. Gee, I can see we're going to have a fine time, you do this to all your students?"

"No, just the stubborn ones, go ahead and spit it out."

Turning back to the circle of puzzled looks on the faces of the people facing him, Brooklyn sucked in a deep breath of the chill New York air, and rambled off. "Uh, guys, I don't know if you're going to believe me or not, but I think I `died' once already since we've been here, and that Duncan fellow said, that the reason I'm still around is because I've got a long life-line..."

"Of for the love of a name," Connor interrupted, "He's an Immortal, just like I am."

"He's a what?" Matt exclaimed.

"You heard me," Connor replied.

"I uh, I thought so," Hudson remarked in the midst of the sudden dead silence that had fallen over the group. Winking at Brooklyn and the equally stunned Connor, he chuckled low in his throat, a broad smirk spreading across his lined brown face, :"You see, I always knew there was something special about ye, lad, ever since ye were a hatchling. Although, this does put an interesting wrinkle into the situation."

"Let assume, for the sake of argument that I'm buying all of this, "Elisa began. "Now that he's an immortal, that won't affect his ability to serve as second-in-command of the clan, right?"

"I shouldn't think so, although rule number one, and I want you to remember this one, do not ever lose your head. Rule number two, don't go around bragging to everyone, that's a sure way to get yourself killed. Just because we're immortal, doesn't mean we can't become dead as dead."

"I don't understand," Brooklyn muttered.

"Exactly, that's why I'm here to teach what you need to know, the Rules of the Game, and the tactics needed to survive. There are others out there, who will try and come after you."

"Great, that's all I need, more enemies, you'd think I'd have enough by now of everyone going after gargoyles>`

"Stop being so cynical, I'm trying to make a point, so continue to train with me, learn what I teach, and the rest is up to you."

"Connor," Goliath said, "As clan leader, I think it would not be asking too much, is that we kept informed of what happens, because what affects one member of the clan affects all. That is not asking too much, is it?"

Connor looked up and up at seven of muscled gargoyle, and found himself taking at least three steps backwards, until his back came up against one of the stone parapets. When he recovered his poise and his balance, Connor stepped forward again, and shook the other's extended hands. "No, I don't see how that would be a problem."

"Then it is settled," Goliath said.

"I guess it is," Connor agreed.

"Welcome to the clan, lad." Hudson came forward and gave Connor a rib- cracking bear hug, wondering why it did not bother him, that this oldster could get away with calling him `a lad' after he'd been around for well over five hundred centuries.' Oh well", he thought in the privacy of his mind, "Go with the flow."

Meanwhile Brooklyn laughed and was swallowed in a group hug by his rookery brothers, Lexington and Broadway. "Just one big happy family," he heard Elisa say, as she and the other detective went down to the kitchen to retrieve a bottle of scotch that saved for special occasions.


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