Walk Softly
by Karen

Previously on Gargoyles:
(Goliath: "I have come to recognize that the hand of fate, has guided us to all the places we have gone on our journey." (The Gathering pt. 1)
{Brooklyn: "Do you think our travels have been destined?"
{Sata: "Do you think I will let you out of my sight?
How much trouble have you gotten into without me?"
(Kindred Spirits"}

La Ruta Maya, Guatemala, Present Day

A spark appeared hovering several feet off the floor of a claring. It was walled over by thick greenery; the trees, like the tallest of modern day skyscrappers, reaching in dizzying heights to overhead canopy. The spark grew into a fiery sphere, laced with black lines. As mysteriously as it appeared, it vanished, leaving two gargoyles, one red and one green, sitting dazed in the middle of the clearing.

Brooklyn and Sata, wiped sweat from their foreheads, picking themselves up. They started to make their way through the jungle undergrowth. As usual, they didn't know where they were, only that it was hot, sticky, and hungry. "Do you recognize this place?" Sata asked.

"No, but that's par for the course." Brooklyn replied.

"One of these days, you must teach the meanings of these gaijin expressions of yours, Brooklyn-san. I don't understand what you mean by that." Sata shook her head.

"It means, we're probably lost, which is getting to be kind of routine where I'm concerned."

"Ah! But look on the bright side: half the fun of this adventure of ours, is the discovery!" Sata exclaimed.

"What's the other half? Just kidding," he said. "I am glad you agree," Sata said dryly. "Good thing you gave me this katana sword, or getting through this jungle might have been harder than it already is," Brooklyn commented, flickering his newly accquired sword back and forth is swift cutting motions.

"I told you before, when I gave it to you, that you earned it. And it does not dimminsh the sword's worth by using it, to clear our path." Sata remarked.

"I guess, when you put it that way,,,"

"I do wonder if our need to be someplace else, clear of this jungle, will offend the spirits of this forest. Nature maintains its own balance. Judging from what we've seen so far; this jungle is amazing! The trail we left behind is already rebounding back with new life," Sata exclaimed.

"Yeah, its amazing all right. Right about now I wouldn't mind a little rain to cool off and some dinner. Do you have any idea what might be safe to eat around here," Brooklyn asked. Just then, a large yellow and black jaguar leaped out of the foilage, springing at the two gargoyles. "It seems that you are not the only one who would like some dinner,' Sata said, bracing herself on her feet, waiting for the big cat to come to her. When it did, she clamly knocked the jaguar on the side of his spotted head with the flat edge of her sword blade.

"Nice move," Brooklyn commented.

"Thank you. Shall we continue?"

They started moving again, leaving a very stunnded jaguar,which collapsed into a senseless heap and buried its head in its paws.


Sooner than either expected, Brooklyn's wish for rain was granted. It pelted out of the sky, drenching them both to ths skin. "I know, I know, Be Careful What You Wish For," Right?" So intent on his one-sided harrangue, Brooklyn nearly missed the mango tree with its yellowish fruit. He bumped into the trunk and one of the fruit dropped into his hand. He picked another one, and handed it to Sata. Then he used a talon to peel back the heavy rind before taking a bite.

"Ah, it seems at least one of our problems is solved," Sata said, reaching for another mango, she sighed: "These are delicious." "You said it," Brooklyn replied. "Hey! What's that over there?'He said, pointing with his empty hadn. "It looks like some kind of carved standing stone."

"The seem to be some sort of marking. The carvings are so detailed, but they look so worn.' Sata came over to inspect the stones. "They must have been placed there a long time ago. I wonder what the markings say."

"Let's see if we can get a better look." Brooklyn peeled back several layers of thick forest covering, dirt and grime. "Hey, up close some of the carvings kind of look like gargoyles. Maybe whoever put these here, no matter how long ago, knew something about us. That means we're getting nearer to getting out of here. It beats wandering around in circles," Brooklyn finished excitedly.

"Are all gaijin as hasty as you?" Sata teased. "Ah, well. That's just a guess." Brooklyn answered. "Perhaps they were some kind of readings, leading to a city. If nothing else, we'll follow them,'Sata decided.


Meanwhile, a few miles from where the gargoyles attempt to make some headway, a flurry of activity is taking place at a temporary camp. A somewhat organized jumble of prefab houses and tents are staked along a squared off meter of ground. About thirty people are setting up a base of operations. Researchers from the University of Flagstaff-Arizona, have arrived in this remote corner of Gautemala to conduct aracheological digs at the Mayan ruin of Tikal. The project is part of grant from the school's Mesoamerican civilizations department. Smoke rose up in thin tendrils around a camp fire where the scientists, researchers, and students, and sundry personnel sat drinking coffee, or having their everning meal. They were completly unaware of the gargoyle's presence.


Towering hundreds of feet into the air, the sight that awaited the two travelers was worth however many hours they'd spent trekking all over the jungle. In the midst of the jungle filled with teeming life: birds, plants, and animals, rose a city. Apparently, either constructed before the forest rose to claim it, or carved out of it. Either way, it was incredible. Stone buildings had been randomly scattered arround terraced hillsides enclosing a small village. However, the object which drew the eye, was a temple almost 150 feet up, built of limestone with smaller temples on top, mounted on pyramids. Each one had arches, but left gaps between the walls. As Brooklyn and Sata came closer to the top, the intervening space was bridged by a row of flat stones.

They also noticed that the walls were brightly colored, faded in places, featuring life-like figures taking part in battles, festivals, and daily life. Satat noted that many of the images were ones they'd seen on thier way in, covering the standing stones. Here they were repeated on the temples here. She also noticed the big cat they'd met already, showed up frequently, as well as sun and moon images. "Do you think anyone lives here," she asked. "There must be. The place may look deserted, or its in ruins, but there must be somebody here," he replied.

"Hold! A voice cried out from the shadows thrown out by the lower stone buildings. "Declare yourselves!" "Great. Here we go again," Brooklyn grumbled. "Declare yourself first!" he shouted. "You are trespassers!" the voice replied.

"Oh, Okay. If that's how you want to play it. I'm Brooklyn, my friend here, is Sata. Now come out here where I can see you."

Soon two gargoyles, a male with reddish coloring, and a female, with deep aquamarine coloring, emerged from the shadows. The male set aside a carved spear etched with colorful markings, ending in a tapering pommel.

"I am Safiro. This is my mate, Obsidana. I apoligize for the lack of formal hospitality. However, you will come to understand that we dare not take any chances. Not after what has recenlty occurred," he explained.

"Safiro is correct. Come. Sit. Share our fire. We will tell you what has happened. It has been long that we have seen others of our kind. Amigos. However, it meant that humans have once more entered and done grevious damaged to the Green, which our protectorate," Obsdiana explained.

"Thank you." Sata said,and bowed gracefully.

"Thanks. Wait a minute. You've seen other gargoyles around here?" Brooklyn wondered.

"Yes. They looked much like you, Brooklyn. They were clad in similar garb. A human female came with you. We were suspcious of her at first. We suspected her of ulterior motives," Safiro answered.

"Oh Man! You mean Goliath, Angela, Bronx, and Elisa!" Brooklyn exclaimed.

"Yes. Elisa Maza is also your amigo? It has been long since we could claim humans as friends. She and the other members of your clan, helped us defeat a pair of unscruplous humans called Jackal and Hyena. They were working for a logging company. The name escapes me, suffice it to say, they cut down and burned the Green," Obsidana whispered.

"Jackal and Hyena! Boy, it's a small world!" "We had difficulity believng Elisa, your clan's human friend would deal fairly with us. We have been isolated a long time," Safiro added.

"She made us see that other people, humans included, had reasons for what they do; that not all their intentions are harmful to the Green. That we must not be completely inflexible in our zealous protection," Obsidana explained.

"Elisa kind of has that effect on people," Brooklyn, said, grinning.

"One of these days, I must meet the rest of your clan," Brooklyn-san," Sata said.

"Its kind of hard to tell time down here, but don't you think its close to sunrise? I mean, shouldn't we find a place to sleep for the day?" Brooklyn wondered. Since none the pair didn't appear to be worrying about it.

"That will not be necessary," Obsidana said.

"I do not understand, What do you mean by that?

"Perhaps this will help,: the Mayan gargoyle replied.

The amulet that Obisadana produced from underneath the neck of her loose cotton dress, was strung around by a leather thong. It was a beaten golden disk with equidistant rays spreading out from it. On the surface, an etched grinning face.

"It's beautiful. But if this prevents you from turning to stone during the day, when do you get any sleep," Sata asked, fingerng a groove in the amulet.

"We sleep when we are tired, or we take turns wearing the charms. We do not have to sleep at the whim of the sun rolling across the sky. Especially since we can't see it down here," Safiro laughed.

"And you are tired and hungry both, but would you like to delay your rest for a little while longer, I shall let you try the magic of the sun amulet for yourselves," Obsidana said.

"We would be honored," Sata replied.

Safiro bent down to pick up a piece of flint. He took his knife from his belt pouch and carved it into the shape that resembled the rays of the sun. With his talon, he punched a hole in the rock and strung a piece of leather thong through and hung them around the necks of the two travlers.

"Come inside, there is a meal waitng, and we would be honored to share what we have with you," Safiro invited.

"Thank you," Brooklyn and Sata said together.


The base camp began showing the first signs of life. as its denziens grumbled sleepily about having to rise at first light, and get started on the day's work. Stumbling out of their cots ans sleeping bags, they pulled on clean clothes and shoes, while others gathered up supplies, tools, rope, and digiging equipment that would be needed on site.

Later the residents lined up for breakfast and their morining cup of coffee. The expedition leader chose the opportunity to make a quick speech.

"All right, people! If I may have your attention. Thank you. I know that you've just woken uo, but we want to get an early start." Professor Jousha Spencer, said, as he consulted the aracheology team's map provided by the local village. "We're not far from a likely sige, a Mayan ruin called Tikal."

A young woman raised her hand, and he waved for her to speak. "That was supposed to be one of the most famous sites along the La Ruta de Maya, wasn't it?" the black haired woman asked.

"Yes, Audrey, it was. As a matter of fact,"

"Uh, OH, Here he goes into lecture mode again," one student groaned. "I came on this dig to get away from colllege lectures."

"Oh be quiet, Roger," his friend, Simon, elbowed him.

"You be quiet, Simon," he said back.

"Would both of you shut up!" Audrey griped.


"Mayan architecture was noted for its maginifcent stone pyramids. Most of them had flat tops on which smaller temples stood. Additonal temples were also built on side platforms. Construction of the pyramids began in the early 200 B.C's and continued for several centuries. Tikal was one of the great cultural and relgious centers along the long network of Mayan citystates which at one time covered most of the Yucatan. The Tikal site is famed for its Temple of the Jaugar," Professor Spencer concluded. "Well, that's enough for now. We should get started. Let's move out, shall we?" Spencer asked, rubbing his glasses on his coat sleeve.

The long snaking trail of explorers marched out in single file a few hours after their impromptu lecture. They were hot and sweaty and some had forgotten their water bottles.

"There's a path here," Roger said.

"That's impossible. No one's been here for thousands of years," Simon replied.

"I'm telling you someone's been here," Roger insisted.

"And I'm telling there isn't any such thing." Simon shouted back.

"What are you arguing about? I know its hot as blazes here, but,,," Audrey said as she came to her fellow classmates.

"Just the fact that I'm almost sure that someone's been here, but.."and not that long ago! See, footprints!" Roger said, pointing at a patch of ground.

"Those don't look like footprints to me. More of an animal track,' Audrey said, bending down slightly to peer at the dirt trail.

"You must be imaginging things," Simon said, and patted his roomate on the shoulder. "Come on, the heat's getting to all of us. Pretty soon, we'll all start seeing things that aren't there," Roger said.

"You believe that if you want to, guys. I know there's a footprint, and a fresh one, too," Roger started walking again, worried that he wasn't keeping up with the rest of the group. He made a quick dash back to double-check the footprint. He almost convinced himself that it hadn't been made by any human feet.


"It's breathtaking!" Audrey exclaimed, her dusky black skin flushed with heat and excitement.

"Yeah, I can't wait to get started," Jousha said. "All right, people, split into teams of two, begin excavating, but be careful. You don't want to bring the whole structure crumbling down around your heads. And, remember, what may look like junk may actually be a valuable museum piece, so don't discard it out of hand! Bring your cameras, take pictues. We'll turn them into slides and use them for presentations when we get back to the States." Go to it."


"Hey! Check this out! I think I found something," Simon cried as his digging pick encountered something hard and resistant. It bounced off the stone nose of a carved figure. "Kind of looks like a lizard and a snake," Simon remarked. "Maybe I should take a picture of it. I mean, I thought the Mayas were big on mythological figures, uh, what's the classical term, oh yeah, now I remember, antrhomorphic; part human and part animal. See, Roger, I did pay attention in class."

"Yeah, you get a gold star for that bit of trivia, Let's see it. You want to stand next to it while I take your picture? Roger asked.

"Sure. Is this a good angle? Simon asked, taking up a pose next to the statue.

"Looks good. Hold still. One, two, three, Smile." Roger ordered, as he snapped off the shot.

A scream cut through the night air.

"It's probably just a howler monkey," Simon said nervously.

"Man, I'm thirsty, did you bring the water bottle?" Roger asked.

"Here," Simon said, tossing him the thermos.


In the area where Audrey had chosen to start excvating was one of the platforms she'd hearda about in the morning lecture. It was smooth, but had several pitted areas running in uneven grooves. It was also ringed by a semi circle of stone figures, which looked to have been there a long time. So, it was startled her considerably when the statues started moving. Long cracks ran down their arms and legs, and across their wings. When she turned away for an instant, the the three figures that had been statues seconds before, burst out of thier stone sheels very much alive. That's when Audrey screamed and fainted.

"Remember what Safiro said about overly suspicous of humans? Brooklyn asked Obisdana.

"Yes," she replied.

"Well, maybe we should give this one the benefit of the doubt."

"At least give them the chance to explain their presence here," Sata added. "It appears we'll have to wait while this one comes around."

"I have smelling salts in my belt pouch, perhaps they will help her," Obsidana said.

"Good idea," Sata said.

Obsidana pulled her remedy for fainting peoople out and after a few dosages of the herbs, Audrey came to.

"Do not be alarmed, nina. We will not harm you." Obsidana said soothingly.

"Ah, if you don't mind. What are you?" Audrey asked. "We are called gargoyles," Sata answered. "What are you called?"

"Called? Oh, my name is Audrey Valentino."

"I am Obsidana, that is Brooklyn and Sata."

"I'm a student at the University of Flagstaff, in Arizona. I wish Beth had come with me." "Beth?" Brooklyn asked.

"Beth Maza, my roomate."

"Now where have I heard that name before? Brooklyn mused. It had a connection with Goliath's telling them about his travels through time, then it clicked, Beth was Elisa Maza's sister whom they'd encountered and joined forces with both father and daughters, in Arizona. They'd also encountered the Indian trickster Spirit, Coyote, Xanatos was then involved in one his long line of nefarious schemes.

"It couldn't be the same person. It had to be too much of a concidence," Brooklyn muttered.

"You've heard of her?" Audrey asked. "Yeah, well. We get around." Brooklyn replied.

"Beth will flip when I tell here about this! I bet she'll kick herself for missing this trip!" Audrey shouted.

"I can't wait until I get home and tell Elisa about meeting her sister's college roomate, in Guatemala!" brooklyn added. "Now, more than ever, I must meet the rest of your clan." Sata said.


On the other side, directly opposite where the trio faced a human woman, an equally odd trio encounterd one another. Simon, having been sprayed with flakings of stone shrpanel, was jostled backwards from his percg and knocked off his feet.

"The statues around here are pretty lively." "What?" Roger asked.

"Now, that's what I would like to know," Safiro said.

"I ah, I'm not sure where to start. Roger stammered.

"Begin at the beginning, and leave nothing out," Safiro ordered. "Ok. Right. Well I'm Simon Tyler and this is Roger Ellington. We're here on a study abroad program sponsored by the place where we go to school. I feel real funny talking to someone who was a statue just hours eariler. I mean, I took your picture and everything!" What are you?"

"I am called Safiro. My picture?"

"Students in an archeology/anthropolgy program. You have no idea what we're talking about do you?" Simon asked.

"No, but perhaps the others will have more luck. Come with me." Safiro went off in an apparently random direction with the two confused boys stumbling after him in his wake, wondering what they'd gotten themselves into this time.


"Yes. Why? You couldn't possibly know her," Audrey said.

"Actually I don't personally know her, but some friends of mine do," Brooklyn smiled.

"I think maybe we should get the expedition leader over here," Audrey said.

"This would be the person in charge? Does this person have a reason for being here? Or are his intentions hostile to the Green?" Obsidana demanded.

"No. Not hostile. I don't know what you mean by the Green, but'she trailed off.

"The Green is what we call the rainforest. We are its guardians," Obsidana explained.

"It's a good thing somebody's looking after the rainforest. But that isn't why we're here. Beth really should have come along on this dig. I didn't believe her when she told she'd run into her sister, Elisa from New York almost a year ago. All about gargoyles, and some Native American trickster, called Coyote." Audrey said.

"Yes, well, That answers the who question, now answer why," Safiro demanded coming up to the little group. "Another one, I found two more."

"Let me get my walkie-talkie," Simon said, "I'll let the Prof know what's going on here."

"He's the guy in charge," Brooklyn said to the Mayan gargoyles.

"Yes, that sounds like a good idea." Obsidana replied absently, wondering what a walkie talkie was.


Several hours later, the entire group of humans and gargoyles assembled at the foot of the temple. Most were uneasy, others only curious. All waited expectantly.

"Finally, we will get to the bottom of this," Safiro sighed. "We are told that your intentions here are peaceful, that you are here to study, excavte. I don't understand the sense of these words. Yet, you still have invaded our home and the Green. Our protectorate. Why have you done this?"

"What you have been told is correct. We are only here to learn, to study," Professor Spencer said.

"The study of what?" Sata asked.

"To learn all we can about the people who left behind thse structures; any remmants of their culture, arts, sciences, religious beliefs. The study of which is called araechology." Spencer answered.

"You mean you're scientists? Brooklyn asked.

"Yes, but often in our travels we like to think of oursevles as intrepid explorers rather than academic scientists. I must admit, I didn't expect to find anyone living here."

"Why?" Obsidana asked.

"We were given to understand that these places had been abandoned centuries ago."

"Why do you study them?" Safiro asked.

"Because even in our modern society, with all the technological advances, we have to remember not to lose sight of the past. Sometimes, there has to be somone interested in preserving what has gone before. So, that we can learn from it." he replied.

"Well, that answers that question, but you said that you didn't know we were here."

"I apolgize for the intrustion. This is your home? Spencer wondered.

"How long have you guys been here? Roger asked. "Mind if I take a picture?"

"They have a device that captures one's images on a piece of paper. Safiro explained. "I have seen mine, it's all right for a fascimile, but it's not as good as the real thing," he said soothingly, to Obsidana. "It will be fine, querida mia."

'Now that we have made clear our respective positons, we must make something clear," Obsidana said. "While your intentions do not pose a threat to the Green, digging up our temples does endanger our home."

"I understand where you're coming from," Jousha answered. "When we return home, I'll make sure that your home remains offlimits. In the meantime, we will leave and will honor our agreement we make today. People I'll need to ask each of you to make sure that the promise is kept. If anyone has objections, let me know now. A lot is being lost here, from a research standpoint, but a lot is being gained from encountering these gargoyles. Is that acceptable?"

"I accept your offer, Professor. It seems most fair,"Safiro said, "But can you speak for your followers."

Sooner than expected the majority of the group gave a resounding yes in answer to their leader's decision and the promise that the gargoyles home in Tikal would not be disturbed. The group left the site and returned to their base camp. Audrey asked for a copy of the picture to show Beth when she got back to Arizona.


"Speaking of going home, maybe its time that Sata and I were going as well," Brooklyn said.

"Obsidana sometimes has the gift of foresight. It is one of the talents that our clan still retains from the old days when the Mayans built this pyramids and lived here. She has forseen that you will have far greater need of the sun amulet than we do," Safiro explained.

"Are you sure about this? I mean, it's pretty valuable, and I wouldn't , I mean, aren't you afraid it might fall into the wrong hands?" Sata wondered.

"No. And even without the Fortelling, I believe yours and Brooklyn's hands are the right ones."

"You are becoming so weighted down with trinkets that you will clink when you walk, beloved." Sata teased.

"What else can I do? I'd be honored, Safiro." Thank you just doesn't cover it," Brooklyn gulped accepting the amulet, as he shook forearms in gargoyle fashion with Safiro. "You are welcome, Brooklyn. Give my regards to Elisa and Goliath when you do eventually return home to your clan," Safiro laughed. "I'll remember to do that, Safiro." "And I, as well."


"That's a promise," Brooklyn added. "Farewell, Brooklyn, Sata. We will always remember you." The two Mayan gargoyles bowed and shook forearms in gargoyle fashion with the time-travelers.

Just then, one of those "trinkets' activated itself sweeping Brooklyn and Sata back into the ocean of time.


The Mayan clan reflected on their encounter they'd just had with the mysterious gargoyles who came to them.

"Was it wise to give the sun amulet to the the Timedancers, Safiro?" Obsidana questioned.

"They are strangers far from home, Querida Mia, perhaps they will have more need of it where they go, than we who remain here. Our first duty is to protect the Green."

"Is the origing of the Pheonix Gate's magic, which brought our visitors to us, the same as that which brought the ones who claimned to have been summoned here by the island, Avalon?" Obsidana wondered.

"I believe the origins of both magics are one and the same. I am relieved." Safiro sighed.

"How so?"

"Because, if one group of extranjeros can be sent by the magic of Avalon,then it stands to reason that another group, our clan brother and sister, can travel to there, as well. Which means that Turquessa and Jadin reached their destination safely, along with the rare species of plants that they intended to transplant," Safiro explained.

"The magic of that powers that Phoenix Gate is Avalon's itself. It takes care of its own. As do we, and the future of the rainforest remains our responsiblity," Obsidana.

"We have learned that that perhaps we can relax our guardianship slightly, for there ore others out there who help ease our care," Safiro sighed, they stood togehter, wrapped in each other wings, for a long time.


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