NOTE: All latin phrases are my own translations, and therefore suspect. However, they are only there for color. Translations have been provided in previous dialoge. So feel free to ignore the really weird words.

Previously, on this warped and twisted version of Gargoyles....

A strangled cry reminded me I wasn’t alone. I turned to find Goldie (I still didn’t know his name!) cradling Stella in his arms. He was crying softly and rocking back and forth.
“Is she... ?” I knew the answer, but still...
Goldie finally registered my presence and looked up. “If I ever find Servarius, I swear I’ll kill him,” he whispered.
Damn. That meant yes. I sighed and raked a hand through my hair. I wanted to help, but I didn’t know if Goldie was the macho type that’d sooner get their arm ripped off then ask for sympathy. I settled for the compromise of sitting next to him and settling a comforting hand on his shoulder. I hoped the sign would work it’s magic.
“She was the only one in the clan left alive,” he eventually said. “We – Servarius took us, used us in his experiments.... He’s a madman.”

“You knew him for – what, a few days? – and you already slept with him? How?”
The fuchsia gargoyle shrugged. “Hormones. Sleep deprivation. Stress. Mental trauma. The fact that he’s hot stuff of the first class....”
Kyla blinked. “Well, yeah, but.... Don’t you want a little time?”
“For what?”

*** Meg’s Journal, The Final Journey ***

To Sadie’s right was a younger female. Also almost human, she had blue skin that darkened from the ice blue of her forehead to the midnight, almost black of her feet. The color matched the black of her long hair, through which three rows of head ridges protruded.
“Guys, meet Stella.”

“What do I have to do?” Topper gasped.
The ghostly male floated forward. “Take my hand,” he rumbled in an unearthly voice, extending and arm. “And I will lead the way.”
Topper seemed to snap back to normal at the male’s voice. “No!”
The three dead gargoyles exchanged a look, then the female reached out a hand. “Then take mine.”
Hesitantly, eyes glazed and locked onto hers, Topper reached out. As his talons entwined with hers, his form shimmered and became as translucent as the others’. Then he and the female disappeared....

*** Evil Twin ***

December 9

Troy stared out at the night, his breath forming gray clouds against the stars. His searching eyes found no darker patches of the night to show any of the clan. He took a deep breath that shook with the cold, rubbing his hands over arms in attempt to stave off the night’s chill.

Cold, gods it’s so cold. Will I EVER be warm again? Shaking the thought off, he retreated back to the house. Finally safely in warmth, he prowled through the halls, searching for his mate. He found Meg ensconced in the library, curled up in a chair with a novel. “Good book?”

“Hmm?” It took her a few seconds to focus, then she smiled. “Oh, yeah. Very good book. Centurion’s Empire.”

The title interested him in spite of himself. “And what sort of empire does this centurion have?”

“Financial of course. See, it’s really cool. This roman soldier–”

“The centurion.”

“Yeah, him. Anyway, he takes this potion and it allows him to be essentially freeze dried over the centuries.”

Troy gasped and stiffened, the blood in his veins slowing to the inevitable pounding of an avalanche, his skin goose-bumping like he’d been dunked into ice water. A small, remote part of his mind was amazed that his breath didn’t escape in giant clouds of vapor. The rest was occupied with the plot Meg was speaking of. Others have considered the possibility? Then is it so odd...?

“So he pretty much time travels to – hey. You ok? Troy? Helloooo. I didn’t think I was that boring.”

He blinked and shook his head, a spasmodic shiver. “I’m fine,” he mumbled around fangs that were beginning to chatter. “Enjoy your book.” He stood and walked with stiff, swift jerks out. Thoughts crept slowly through the overgrown ice cube that was his brain, but he somehow found himself in the room he’d claimed. He gratefully crammed his frame into the corner, piling the blankets around him in a nest. He needed the warmth they promised, but it was a lie. They couldn’t warm him; marble over icicles gave off no heat to capture. “Damn,” he hissed through chattering teeth. Finally desperate, he fumbled a small, blue plastic object from the desk residing next to the bed. He studied it for a moment, wondering once again at the everyday miracles this century produced, marvels that so many took for granted.

A particularly strong shiver broke him from his trance. He fumbled it for a moment, then the lighter flicked to life. Another moment’s study of the small, dancing flame that promised to drive away the cold, then he turned his arm and held it above, and finally into the small fire.

At first, nothing. Gargoyle skin was tough, resilient to much, but not to a continual assault. By the time Meg shrieked his name from the doorway, there was pain, and blessed warmth rolling through his veins like lava, melting the ice water in its path.

Troy savored it, basking in the proof that he was alive, that he could be warm, that he had made it. That Pluto could be denied. That knowledge kept him silent during Megan’s hysterical rant, Nina’s scolding while she bandaged his arm, and Mector lecturing him. The warmth was all that was important.

He finally spoke when the Leader wound up his speech, ending with orders to keep inside the house and off patrol for the next few weeks. His calm, quiet “Thank you” left Mector speechless, staring after his clan’s newest addition in puzzlement.

It didn’t matter.

December 24

My new clan means well, I’m sure, but they are careless, inexperienced when it comes to vigilance. When they are celebrating, they are even more so. It was a simple matter to leave them and come to the graveyard. It is the Solstice, Saturnalia, a time for family and clan. But there was one member of my family I needed to visit.

“Io Saturnalia, soror,” I whispered, crouching down next to the tombstone. “Careo te.” It is not just her I missed so badly, but also my old life.

“I miss you too.” The voice came from behind me, achingly familiar in the smooth, rolling cadence I grew up speaking. My mate tells me it is a dead language, but then why do I feel so alive when speaking it?

“Star?” I asked as I turned, not totally surprised to find her standing behind me. My sister looked like she had before that pig spawn used his magic called science on her. Night blue skin at her feet lightening to the white of the three rows of horns on her forehead, jet black wings draped casually over her shoulders, and the familiar white tunic. “You look well.”

“You do not.”

I needed no mirror to see that truth. I had gained a near permanent chill, an almost physical thing that left little room or time for anything other than trying to stay warm. Chattering teeth made eating a chore more easily ignored than suffered, hygiene immeasurably less significant that staying warm. “What brings you back?”

“You, of course.”

I raised an eye ridge. “I am sorry, Star, but I am too cold to think properly. Can we please skip the cryptic remarks and speak plainly?”

She nodded once in acceptance. “How long have you been cold?”

“It feels like forever.”

“I can help you get rid of it.”

“Sister, as much as I love you, I am not eager to die.”

She laughed. “Nor am I eager to see your face for eternity yet, brother mine. I am not asking you to die. This is a much harder path to travel.”

Harder? What could be harder than to give up life, leave my Megan behind? A blast of artic wind made up my mind. It was not as if there was much choice to the matter. To be truly warm, for more than a span of minutes.... by all the gods, I’d happily maim myself for that. “What must I do?”

Star held out a hand. “Walk with me,” she said.

I took her hand, flesh no warmer than my own, and we set out along a path I’d never seen before. “Where are we going?”


That distracted me. I let my sister lead me while I plotted, running through excuses and explanations for why my dead kin was visiting me when I was supposedly cloistered in the house.

Therefore it was twice the shock when Star came to a halt outside the ornate entrance to a cavern. I recognized the columns flanking the entryway, the faint smell of burning oil that came from lamps within, the oh so familiar language of the occupants. “This is impossible,” I managed to gasp.

“Why?” Star tilted her head to the side, daring me to further question how we had gone back nearly two thousand years, and traveled several seas and continents. “Come. They cannot see or hear us. We can only observe.” She led the way inside, though I could have found the way without her help. I followed her past the familiar statues and frescos, now just dust and rubble, wanting to touch it all in hopes that it would prove to truly be real, yet fearing to try should it not.

We came to a halt in the main cavern, a spacious cave beneath the world’s greatest city that was created to hold Rome’s gargoyles. But it had been made soon after the city’s birth, and it could hold only a fraction of the clans when I had last seen it. Considering how many faces I recognized among the assembled, it had to be about that time. We moved through the crowd of gargoyles and humans, race and class mixed past any pattern.

When we reached the front, I stop and glared at a group of young gargoyles and mature humans, dressed in the uniform of the Praetorian Guard, the Emperor’s personal troops. “What is it?”

I let my eyes glow and a growl slip free before responding. “It’s them.”

Star moved back to my side. “Who?”

“Them. The murderers.” How could she not know them, not have their faces forever branded into her memory for their treachery?

“So it is.” With only that single, uncaring statement, she resumed walking. I reluctantly followed, wishing for only five minutes to show those bastards what I thought of my Emperor’s murderers.

It was yet another shock when she came to a stop next to a mirror image of herself. I had not expected to see Star at this gathering; most of the crowd was like the murderers, hot headed reactionaries, those who loudly protested the emperor’s rule. We were children of the Leader, members of the Praetorians by deed as well as blood.

The surprises piled up when I finally looked to the speaker’s platform. Father stood there, his blue skin not showing the wrinkles of age in the lamp light, bat wings regally cloaked over a simple tunic with only the broad purple stripe to show his rank.

He coughed and stepped forward. The crowd settled down, only a faint murmur rippling through the assembled people. “Thank you for coming,” he began. “I know how dangerous this is for some of you, but the time has come. We have taken four years of this, and I for one refuse to take it a night longer.”

I wondered what Father was talking about as I looked around, searching for my other self. I was willing to swear I’d never seen such a mixed bunch of people, or heard this particular speech. That in itself was odd; he encouraged me to participate in the political arena often. I think he hoped that one day I could join in as more than an observer, perhaps eventually become the city’s first recognized gargoyle senator.

“Tomorrow will be the last day that Caligula will see!”


My cry broke the silence. I stared around, unable to believe what I heard. Father – Star? – They know of the murder? They sanctioned it?

“I have had enough of that maniac’s ravings, submitting to his demands that can not come from any sane mind! He is no god, he is not even a worthy Princeps! I will not have a horse running the Senate, I will not have Caligula casually destroying any of my clan that happens to ‘refuse to talk with the Emperor’ because they are stone!” The suddenly strange gargoyle before me trembled with anger. “Enough. Whatever he did for Rome the first year, it does not make restitution for three more years of an insane ruler.” He gestured to them. “This brave group has volunteered to take the brunt of Rome’s anger. They and several others will go tomorrow night and cleanse the city of her ill. I only pray that those loyal to the madman can understand.”

For a moment, I was willing to swear Father looked at me, that he truly was begging me to understand. But I could not. Mad or no, Caligula was the Emperor. We were Praetorian gargoyles. Praetorians protected the Emperor. It was as simple as that. I turned in shock to Star, begging for an answer.

“It had to be done,” she said, expression devoid of guilt.


“Yes! He would have destroyed us, all of Rome!”

“Rome fell! Gargoyles died! You did nothing but hurry the end!”

“Paris!” she sighed, using my first name, “You are far too idealistic.”

“My ideals have survived, sister. Your plans found only death.”

She said nothing, merely motioned for me to follow. I had no other option.

Listen as the wind blows
from across the great divide,
Voices trapped in yearning,
memories trapped in time,

The clan’s celebration was going full swing, hitting the wild and loud point long before midnight. So Troy’s now usual quiet entrance attracted no attention. He silently wandered through the room, slipping past dancing and chatting gargoyles as he stalked to a window. His still and quiet study of something outside gradually attracted attention, a disturbing pool of calm oozing from the golden gargoyle.

Que?!?” His abrupt shout instantly had the clan’s attention.

Quiet murmurs spread as he continued to stare out the window, pale and shell-shocked.

“What’s up with him?” “Something wrong?” “What’d he say?” “Something out there?”

“Non...,” he finally whispered.

“Troy? What’s wrong, lover?” Meg asked cautiously, moving to his side.

His face morphed from shock to anger. “Roma caderebat!”

Meg yelped and jumped back, her small scream and the clan’s sudden barrage of questions drowning out Troy’s tirade.

“Shit!” “What the hell?” “Back off, he’s gettin’ violent!” “What’s goin’ on?!?”

“Shut up, shut up, shut up!” Meg bellowed. When they were all finally silent, she took a deep, shaky breath. “Ok, so yeah, this is fucked up. Back off and let me handle this, ok?”

The collected gargoyles reluctantly moved back. “What’s he saying?” Mector asked.

“....I don’t know,” Meg admitted.

“Has this sort of thing happened before?”

“Not that I know of.”

The Leader’s eyes narrowed. “And just what do you know about him?”

The night is my companion
and solitude my guide,
Would I spend forever here
and not be satisfied,

We didn’t walk far. Somehow, a few paces took us from the meeting chamber to the Forum, where Star halted. As we watched, a man strode by, followed by a small group of humans and gargoyles. I recognized the man even as more gargoyles and humans converged on him, wielding swords and daggers. They were led by Star.

NO!!!” I screamed, knowing it would do no good, but desperate to try. “Sister-!” How could she do this? How could she take part in this treason? “Oh gods, no!”

Her hand rested on my shoulder. “It had to be done,” she repeated.

“How can you say that? You’re my sister! You know our heritage! How can you do this to the emperor? Why?!”

“I’m sorry, Paris. But it is too late. Almost two thousand years too late.”

As awful as it was, she was right. I could do nothing. “So. What now?” I had seen my sister kill my emperor. What more could she wish to do?

“We watch to the end.”

Oh gods. Not that. Please not that.

And I would be the one
to hold you down,
kiss you so hard,
I'll take your breath away
and after I'd wipe away the tears,
Just close your eyes dear

Troy’s abrupt change in posture to resignation warned them to back away even before he began walking. He stopped several feet from Mector, who shifted slightly. “Yes?” the Leader asked.


“Troy, can you hear me?”

Once again, nothing. Then the golden gargoyle’s face warped with a mixture of shock and grief. “NON!!!” he screamed, reaching out. Mector was already dodging back, pulling away from the younger male’s bizarre behavior. Troy ignored him, staring at where the Leader had stood. “Soror-!” he called, voice breaking. “O deis, non!” He closed his eyes and turned slightly away. Seconds later, he turned back slightly, eyes open and glowing white. “Quam posses etiam dicis?” he spat. “Soror es! Scis hereditam nostrum! Quam posses agere Imperatori? Cur?!”

“Anyone have a clue?” Frank called out. All answers were negative.

Troy seemed to calm, resigned to whatever his mind conjured up. “Sic. Qui iam?”

“Megan,” Mector declared quietly, “I’m sorry, but we can’t leave him like this.”

Fear spasmed across Troy’s face.

Through this world I've stumbled
so many times betrayed,
Trying to find an honest word,
to find the truth enslaved,

This.... Now this was truly painful. Bad enough to learn Star was involved in the Emperor’s death, but to once again witness the aftermath as well.....

It began with discussions, citizens stunned over Caligula’s death and the search for his killers. My own guilt and shock which led to my rabid pursuit for the murderers, while Star tried to tell me the truth, stopping only when she realized my devotion to the Emperor. It did not matter to me who it was, but I was loyal to the position. Fanatical, yes; unwise, perhaps; but a flaw more people could use.

But that time, a flaw indeed. I was the one who named the “killers”, fingered the other gargoyles, began the end to gargoyle life in Rome. Rather egotistical, I’ll admit, but true. It was all repeating itself before my eyes. Human fear, multiplied by eager politicians and their tales to consolidate power. Soon after, the massacres began. Finally, Father ordered myself and Star to take our clan to safety, joining those in the empire’s outskirts, Britannia, Caledonia, Gaul, anywhere away from our former home.

It was winter by the time we reached the Alps, a legion of vengeful soldiers at our heels. At least half the clan was dead, be it from wounds, sickness, or the lucky human. Star and I stood witness, only able to watch as once again our family died around us.

In the end, only we two were left. By then, even the soldiers had given up, content that we would die. We were in the heights of the mountains, mid-winter, with no food, no shelter, and only our tunics and stolen cloaks. Death was inevitable.

I watched as Star and I huddled under a ledge, storm raging with all the fury of the gods. As morning came, we – they? – slipped into sleep. The end happened suddenly, a convergence I pray will never happen again. The sun came up, trying to harden our skin to healing stone. The last breath and warmth left our bodies. And the ledge that had protected us all night slipped free, giving two almost stone bodies a cairn of ice and snow.

“The end, Star,” I finally managed through unexpected tears. “We’ve seen the end. Are you happy now?”

Her eyes were sad as she reached out, caressing my face the unspoken acknowledgement of a bond I had once thought could never break. “Our journey has only begun.”

Everything disappeared.

Oh you speak to me in riddles and
you speak to me in rhymes
My body aches to breathe your breath,
you words keep me alive,


“ ‘Hmm’ what?” Meg snarled, still sulking on the couch she’d been banished to after her explosion at the Leader.

“Anybody have a light?” Nina asked, ignoring her sister’s question. Silicon handed her a penlight without a word, then stepped back to the semicircle of gargoyles at the doorway. Nina grunted her thanks before returning to her examination, flashing the light in Troy’s eyes. He didn’t appear to notice her, simply continuing his dejected, silent watch of the room. “Hmm,” the green gargoyle repeated.

“Which means what?” Mector demanded.

“It means Meg’s right. This is pretty damn fucked up.” Nina shrugged. “Near as I can guess is he got his hands on some hallucinogen or he’s having one really bad trip.”

What?!?” Meg squawked. “Come on! He hasn’t even been outta the house for almost three weeks, where’s he gonna find something like that?”

A sudden path cleared between Mector and where Steve and Frank lounged against the doorframe. The pair blinked and stared before realizing what was going on.

Frank raised his hands. “Ain’t been anywhere near that shit.”

Attention shifted to Steve. “Once! I swear I only tried it that once!”

Mector’s gaze lingered for a second, then moved to Nina. “Your supplies?”

“Nope, nothing missing. And I’m not even sure I could brew up something that could knock him out like this.”

“So what’s wrong with him?”

Nina shrugged, frustration clear on her face. “Damned if I can figure.”

“Finis, Stella,” Troy whispered, breaking the silence. Liquid spilled down his cheeks. “Vidimus finem. Esne laeta iam?”

“What are you saying?” Mector roared in irritation.

Troy gasped, then collapsed.

And I would be the one
to hold you down,
kiss you so hard,
I'll take your breath away
and after I'd wipe away the tears,
Just close your eyes dear

On a mountain, one among countless others, humans swarm from hovering vehicles, descending to disturb the ancient cap of snow that even mid-summer’s strength cannot overcome. They home in on a small, inexpert excavation into a cave the wind carved in ice long ago, following an overly brave explorer’s map to the heart of the ice cavern. The frozen water beneath the humans’ feet contains two victims, gargoyles asleep under water for over two thousand years. The peaceful, almost stone bodies are interred from their sleep, taken by hovercraft to their home.

A lab, sterilized white and steel like a morgue, temperature only slightly colder to preserve the two bodies laid out on twin tables. Technicians crowd over and around the pair, attacking hard flesh with needles, nanites, and other weapons of modern medicine. Above the preparations, a digital readout presides, marking off each precious grain of falling sand.

The attack begins seconds before sunrise. Seven minutes later, victory is declared. Heart monitors start to life, their beeps followed by the crackle of hardening stone.

The humans relax, content to celebrate and wait until sunset for interrogation. They are caught unprepared when a team of commandos strikes, explosions rattling the building and bodies begin to fall. All the humans die before the gargoyles are carefully removed, replaced with a scattering of broken statues.

Into this night I wander,
it's morning that I dread,
Another day of knowing of
the path I fear to tread,









Breathing.... I’m breathing.







Why does that surprise me?







Cold. It’s not cold. Why am I not cold? It’s been so long since I’ve been warm.




Did we make it to sunset?


Star! Sister! What happened?

Tap tap tap.


“Wakey wakey.”

As slowly, as uncertainly as a newborn, I obeyed the strange words and opened my eyes. It wasn’t the ledge, the mountains. It was a room, filled with bizarre objects. A human, past middle age with graying auburn hair, dressed in white, stood before – below me, looking up with a disturbing amount of amusement in his eyes.

“Have a good nap?” he asked.

Several things hit me at once. He was speaking some odd language, something I’d never heard before, but nevertheless understood. Far more disturbing and important was the realization that distortions I’d thought were from my eyes were due to the fact that the room was underwater, human and all.

Where was I?

I looked down, and reality turned over again. The human wasn’t underwater, I was. I panicked, desperate to get out of the glass pillar I was trapped in. It finally occurred to me that not too long ago I had been breathing perfectly fine. How-?

I took a tentative breath in, feeling liquid slide through my mouth, down to my lungs – and nothing. Magic, will of the gods.... I was breathing water. I would have spent more time exploring the phenomena, but the human applauded.

“Nicely done. We usually need sedatives for first timers.”

“Who are you?” The question slipped free without thought, in the same strange, half-familiar language.

“Ah, straight to the point. I’m afraid even I have been unable to determine the gene for that. And I am Anton Servarius, the world’s foremost and oft-maligned geneticist.”

Oh. “Where am I?”

He grinned, a feral smile that sent a chill back down my spine. “A brave new world.”

It had been three nights since I had awoken in the Doctor’s lab. Except for Servarius’s visits, his ‘tests’, it was a dull existence. Not that said tests were any joy. Most were painful, all were better left unmentioned. But I knew, understood so little. Talk of nanotechnology, “subliminal education”, genetics.... It was so far beyond me, so different from Rome.

But tests were far from my mind at the time. He had promised to let me out, that it was finally safe for me to be free. I impatiently ignored Sevarius’s natterings as he worked, pumping the solution – not water as I’d thought, but something similar yet breathable – out of my lungs, then draining the tube while I suffered with an oxygen mask. At long last, I stepped out, savoring the feel of air currents against my skin, the taste of impure, metallic air as it wandered into my lungs.... Free!

I was too busy enjoying feeling again to question as the doctor handed me clothes, then led me down a maze of hallways. He stopped in front of a closed door and told me I had a visitor.

Totally bewildered, I entered the room. What did he mean? Who-?

“Star!” I couldn’t believe my eyes. My sister, alive and whole! Was it real, or some strange dream? No, never mind. I decided if it was a dream, it would be one I’d enjoy.

“Paris! I thought you’d died!”

“What makes you think he hadn’t?”

Oh into the sea of waking dreams
I follow without pride,
Nothing stands between us here
and I won't be denied,

Nina pulled back from the prone body, brushing a strand of white hair from her forehead. “The good news, he’s alive.” Meg sat back down with an audible murmur of thanks. “The bad news: I don’t have a clue in hell what is up with him.” She made a face and shrugged. “Stress, seizures, some sort of brain thing.... I never even read of something like this.” She puffed out a sigh. “The thing that’s really getting to me is the weirdest bit. His temp is way too low.”

“Translate,” Mector ordered.

“Here.” She beckoned him over, then placed his hand on Troy’s forehead. “See? None of us are even close. He’s a literal icecube. That’s a bad thing.”

The Leader pulled back, absently rubbing his hand. “So what do we do?”

Nina stood. “Try to get him warm, then deal with the rest. Heating pad, thermal blankets, crank up the heat.”

Mector nodded. “Let’s do it.”

And I would be the one
to hold you down,
kiss you so hard,
I'll take your breath away
and after I'd wipe away the tears,
Just close your eyes dear

I didn’t know how long it’d been since Sevarius revealed the truth. Weeks, months, or maybe just days.

It felt like forever. Although I guess it didn’t matter. Almost two thousand years had gone by since Stella and I were lost, since we... died. It was easier to say by then. The renaming helped with that. Stella’s idea. New names for new lives. A fallen city that led to the world’s greatest empire – that is now just more rubble for tourists. Still a star, but in a dead language.

I hadn’t seen her since that night. I’d awoken alone, chained to wall to be tortured, exposed to whatever conditions the doctor chose for the night. Extreme heat and cold to see how much I could take before collapsing, run on a treadmill to find my endurance limits, cut open to have my entrails read at will. I don’t know.

I didn’t care. Not anymore. All I looked forward to was that sleep, that cold peace of death.

I just wanted to rest.

The entryway beeped, signaling more torture. I allowed my hate to rage forth, making my eyes glow white. Sevarius loves to talk, and takes a great deal of verbal abuse which he returns, but I hoped to push him over the limit, anger him beyond what little reason he had.

It wasn’t him. Oh gods! It wasn’t him.

Sevarius, you bastard! You cruel, cold, inhuman evil bastard! I’d seen his clones wandering around, but I’d not thought he would try this. My stamina in other areas perhaps?

A gargoyle slouched in the doorway, her grasp on the wall turning a pause into a seductive pose. Red purple skin, long tan hair caught in a ponytail, feathered wings the light made glow blue and white.... The light behind her obscured her features, but not her beauty.

But no. This I refused to do. Not for him, not for anyone but myself and my chosen. “So, the good doctor couldn’t come insult me today?” I growled. “And he sent one of his little gargoyle rip-offs to do it instead.” I’d say anything, desperate enough to hurt her, make her go away, hit me, anything but that. “Well, listen up, you cheap copy, you are nothing like the original. You’re just a flawed vision from a sick and twisted mind! You’re not nearly – ”

“Pal, everything’s original,” she drawled, fumbling along the wall. “Where the hell is – Ah.” Gods, why did she have to be so casual, so chatty, so gods-be-damned impossible to offend?! “You wouldn’t happen to know which one of these is the light switch, would you?”

“Even if I knew, I wouldn’t bother telling you,” I said, then retreated to the comfort of Latin. “Please, just go away and leave me in peace. I am not interested.”

“Sure, same to you. All right, Alex, I’ll take white switch for three hundred.”

AUGH!!! Gods! A lightning bolt arced down my spine, spreading through my limbs like stinging ants biting into my nerves a thousand at a time! After an eternity, it disappeared, leaving me slouched against my chains in an attempt to recover.

“Are you okay?” she called, almost sounding worried.

“Never better,” I growled back in English before switching again. “Considering Jove just tried to strike me down, idiot.”

“Look, you might not believe this after that little mistake-”

Little?” Were clones damaged in the brain as well as the heart?

“-But I am trying to conduct an escape. That means taking away all of Dr. Sicko’s captives slash experiments. This would go a lot faster if you told me which one of these is the damned light switch!”

Torture indeed. Sevarius is a cold one. I racked my mind for the reference to modern medicine and found what I hoped was the right answer. “Have you considered Prozac? It might help with you delusions.”

She growled and slammed the switches, and of course then the lights flickered on. She turned to look at me.

Cruel Venus. Even with her jaw low enough to catch flies, the gargoyle before me was stunning. Her skin had a pinker tone than I’d thought, and her wings had delicate lines of black and white among the blue. Large, intelligent brown eyes switched from my chains to the now ruined panel. “I’m guessing that opened the chains, right?”

“For gods’ sakes, go away! I don’t want to do this – any of this!”

She growled back, letting her eyes flare red before slamming a fist against the wall.

I fell. My chains let go and I slammed to my hands and knees. I stared at my naked wrists, then closed my eyes, fighting back tears, confusion, panic. I’d thought I was free before, only to find a much more awful truth. To believe now - to be let down now –

Death would be far better. But I’d seen it once. I could not visit it again so casually.

I opened my eyes.

I’ll hold you down,
kiss you so hard,
I'll take your breath away
and after I'd wipe away the tears,
Just close your eyes dear...

I opened my eyes, to find that pair of worried brown eyes staring into mine. “Meg?” I asked.

Some of the worry eased. “Yeah. It’s me.” She twisted to face the doorway. “He’s awake and he recognized me,” she called. In seconds, Nina and Mector were also standing over me, looking down. The Leader I ignored.

“Sorba, medica. I need your help.”

“How?” Nina demanded.

Ah, I remembered so much.... so very much that I wish I could forget.... “Sevarius planted a device on me. It’s killing me, freezing me to death.” The look that crossed Meg’s face then.... Would that I could have spared her. But I had so little time! “I need your help to remove it.”

She hesitated, then nodded. “Megan, there’s a green jar labeled Cut Salve 5 on the third shelf in my room. Can you get it?” My mate nodded and ran off.

I hoped it would take her long enough to find it as I struggled up from a pile of blankets. Nina helped me, pulling most away. “Where?”

“Two, actually. And this is going to hurt.”

A second to nerve myself, a quick prayer to the gods, then I dug my talons into my forearm. The world darkened as I pulled a small, bloody cube free.

Nina hissed in sympathy as she tied off the messy wound. “That’s more than enough of a shock for today. The other can wait.”

“No!” She didn’t understand, didn’t see the truth. “This needs to be done now.” I tried not to think or hesitate as I reached towards my heart, slicing into skin and muscle. It was there, it had to be there.... After an agonizing eternity of maybe 10, 15 seconds, my fingers connected with another cube. I pulled it free, collapsing with Meg’s shriek and Nina’s chants ringing in my ears.

January 1

“Happy New Year. I finished the tests, and guess what? They’re cheap nanites,” Megan commented as she handed me a mug of cocoa. She laughed as she sat down beside me. “I don’t believe I just said that. Some of the most advanced technology in the world, and I say it’s cheap.”

“How so?” It was more a matter of enjoying Meg’s company, the sharing of warmth than any interest in the subject. All I cared was that it was done with.

“Well.” She snuggled close. “Theoretically, nanites should be able to create pretty much anything they want, up to and including the sorta controllers you... pulled out. But the ones Sevarius put in you just stopped working once they were out of range of the transceivers. That’s just poor programming. Not that I’m complaining. Anyway, your guess was right. It was Sevarius’s work. Nasty little things, set to lower your body temperature, induce hallucinations, start seizures, and generally make sure you wouldn’t get far from the bastard’s lab.”

Hallucinations. Then... were they the reason I saw Stella, witnessed events long gone that I had never known?

A light thwack upside the back of my head was followed by the gentle laugh of my dead sister. “It happened, Paris. Why question? Just accept the truth.”

“Troy?” Meg called. “What’s so funny?”

“Nothing.” I grinned. “I just realized I have an admission to make.”

“Uh oh. Not a good sign.”

I laughed. “A story, then. It begins in 41 AD, with the death of a mad emperor and a gargoyle who blamed himself for the murder, so much so that he ignored the truth, leading to the deaths of his clan, his sister, and himself.”


“Isn’t it. But it gets better when he is brought back to life thanks to the magic of science, and finally saved from a mad scientist by a beautiful sorceress.”

“....Now this bit sounds suspiciously familiar. How much champagne did you have?”

Eternal thanks to Datafage for proofing. Much groveling to Denis and M.C., both of whom do their best to see I have some sort of ego by reading bits, telling me it's weird, and then immediately demand the rest. And of course, mustn't forget Tyr and his suggestions/help during CRAP testing. I may be a slacker, but I got the fic done. ;)

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Any questions? Complaints? Screams of outrage that I actually consider myself a writer and/or dared to show this in public? Tell me! Send it all to! I love mail!!!!

All characters except those of Sevarius, along with the gargoyle race in general and a bit of gargoyle lore, (all of which are owned by Buena Vista and therefore the Great Mouse, used with great reverence, respect, and without permission. This isn't intended as copyright infringement) belong to me. You can't use them without my permission. But if you ask, you're most like to get it. But you still have to ask.

Lyrics are from Sarah McLachlan's song Posession. Lovely song, but unfortunetly used without permission.

Centurion’s Empire is a real book, written by Sean McMullen and available through (of course). But anyway, a very good book, mentioned without permission. Go read it, it's much better than this.