The Suriname Gargoyle & Artifact, a collected history

 by Rodlox

Date of publication: 2097 AD

First published in: Archeological Pteros, the official magazine dedicated
to study of the gargoyle role in ancient societies.

Select form: Summary  /  Full  Text

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First found in the summer months of 2052, the fossil remains of the shortly-thereafter-named Suriname Gargoyle provoked a bitter
controversy among adherents of the Divine Design and Local Law philosophies in regard to the form of gargoyles and humans.  The
reason is quite simple: not only did this winged species  -- assumption, as only one fossil has been found  --  have wings, but they are
structured in such a way to actively *prevent* flight or gliding.

The spinal collumn, feet, and wings are all covered with a sub-dermal layer of bony nodules not unlike those found in fossil Ground
Sloths.  Even if one ignores the nodules on the wings, the wings are neither long enough nor strong enough  -- muscle attachment points
common to extant gargoyle types are not found in the Suriname Gargoyle.  The wings do outdo extant gargoyles in one respect: they are
longer in the shoulder-to-hip attachment, evidenced by the wings bearing a marked similarity to those of the more chiropteran-winged
gargoyles  [Reference: Goliath Wyvern-Manhattan].

The combination of solid bones, dermal plates, and ill-shaped wings lead to the conclusion that the Suriam Gargoyle, in life, was a being
poorly shaped for any sort of arboreal lifestyle.

While some contend that the Suriname Gargoyle is a modern-day version of the Piltdown Man hoax, others are not so sure.

And as if all of this was not enough of a confuser, there is the added riddle of the artifact which was found with it: a Celtic Broadsword.  How
this man-made artifact managed to travel this far, yet leave no other evidence of habitation by an intelligent being, is unknown.


1522 AD:

The skiff came ashore, the prow sliding over riverside stones.  Looking around, Tom saw nothing but the plants of the rainforest.  There was
only evidence of animals: in the swinging of branches, for example.  Stepping out of the wooden craft, Tom planted his foot down, inhaling
the rich tropical air.

Since there was still a few minutes before evening began, Tom pulled the skiff up to a point on the riverbank where it would neither be pulled
down by crocodiles or riverine currents.  Once that was done, he picked up dead and fallen wood from the ground, making a pile.

Using skills taught to him by his parents - skills that were nearly useless on magical Avalon - Tom started the fire up, leaving his sword on the
ground.  Two attempts failed, but the third go worked, giving him a small fire as the sun began to set.  Tom's stomach grumbled, reminding him
that he hadn't had a chance to eat yet: before this bend in the jungle, the skiff had taken him to a war time to eat, just to run, and help
a family survive, getting them to safety.

A shower of gravel rained down on Tom and his fire, interupting his thoughts; he waited untill it'd stopped before looking up.  There was a
family of monkeys being stalked by a large spotted cat in the branches, but neither party there could have done it.

Tom stood up and walked around the broad girth of the tree, stepping back and to the side, trying to see what had pelted him.

It took a while, partly from the dim fireflies flying betwixt the trees, partly from the shading of the leaves, nd partly from it's own colouration -
which matched the surroundings spot-on!

"A gargoyle," Tom breathed, noting unconciously the differences to this one.

With wings that appeared to be deadweights, the gargoyle moved slowly, swaying with the breeze as though it was just another leaf.  From
where he stood, Tom couldn't determine if the gargoyle was a man or woman.

The roar of a big cat, bigger than the bobcats of Wyvern's woods, broke the silence that Tom thought properly belonged in a jungle.

Before his eyes, the gargoyle crawled to the underside of the branch, responding to the sound by clamping it's feet in, and hung there.  After
a few moments of looking like it was pondering what to do next, the gargoyle wrapped its wings around its body, forming a blanket that
covered all but the....

The head tucked down, into the enfolding blanket that it had made of itself. Tom just gazed in amazement; this was spectacular, remarkable.
He didn't know why Avalon had sent him here, but he was glad here was here, now.