To Conclude With Sport

by Anthony "Rodlox" Docimo

Warning: not only do I not own the cannon characters of GARGOYLES.....but the beta-reader I had to check my Hebrew  is sick, so I
apologize for any errors.
Note: in order to prevent too much confusion, I’m changing spelling slightly...hopefully not too much.

I also am almost done the series {ie, almost ready to post the whole thing}.  but the deadline for this loomed before I could get to it....this
explains a lot --- but not everything!

A late entry for the Gargoyle Olympics challenge from a previous issue/

Previously, on Blood Ties series:
The traveler’s kind were gods to the humans before, in the other world; Brooklyn had prevented an initial power grab when they
arrived in this world......but Brooklyn would not be able to stop them the next time.

They were immortal.  They had time.  Lots of it.
 “The journey is not important.”  Before Sata had a chance to respond, Oca went on:  “But neither is the destination.  What matters
is both together.

“If you only learn from the journey, then you will never understand the ending.  If you only learn from the destination, then the journey
will be a mystery to you.  Do you understand me now?”

Sata nodded.

~~~And now, the next installment:


"We owe you and your family a great debt of gratitude," spoke Lord Hianac to the Timedancer.  He was still having a hard time believing the
fact that they were not gods; still, if they wanted him to publicly state that they were mortals, he would obey - they are, after all, his betters.

Brooklyn nodded.  "It's okay.  Just treat gargoyles equally, if you ever find any."  The lord nodded meekly.  Inwardsly, the muscles of Brooklyn
and his family were all aching, sore from helping the Chimu to finish the aqaducts - without which, the drought would kill everyone in a few years.
"Maybe we'll be back," Brooklyn promised, feeling the familiar warm tug of the Pheonix Gate.  The local lord looked positively overjoyed to hear
that.  Sure beats dealing with Quarrymen, I'll give him that! thought Brooklyn.

But when a path through Time opened up, it was not from the Pheonix Gate.  No, it opened with the color of desert flowers painted with
watercolors in the rain.  But things did fly from the mouth of this ‘Gate’ as well.  They looked like gargoyles, even once they’d landed.

“Hi,” Brooklyn said to the new gargoyle who’d positioned himself ahead of the others.  “I’m Brooklyn....and you are?”

“We are -” the ceratopsian leader started to say, when two things happened at once.

The first was the Pheonix Gate activating, taking the TimeDancer family with it.

The second was a coil of energy from the first dimensional pathway, it reached out and struck at the firey red sphere of the Phoenix........the
TimeDancer family went into Time together, but they would not leave it as such.....


The Phoenix Gate opened, dropping the red gargoyle straight down, her young beak embedded in the ground like an arrow.  After a moment of
stiffness, the rest of her body flopped down to the ground.

"Who's there?" asked a boy's voice to the shadows of late evening.  Maybe it hadn't been such a good idea to go looking for bats; he already had
the lizard and cricket anatomies fairly well understood, perhaps that would do.  A second later, he shook his head.  No, it had to be perfect.

Ariana braced herself  and pushed away from the ground, freeing her beak.  Unfortunately, her tail was still by her left foot, thereby affording her no
balance there; and as a result, she wobbled a few steps, her body turning, barely visible to him in shadow, and then toppled onto him, knocking him
to the ground.

"It'th onnl meh," Ariana lisped through the clods of dirt still in her mouth, and spat them out.  The fact that she aimed over the boy's shoulder didn't
seem reassuring.  Uh-oh, thought Ariana.

He stay perfectly still, not even closing his eyes in fear.  Ariana got off of him, standing up.  He looked fourteen years, if a bit short.   "You're not,"
offering him a hand up, "afraid of me?"  Maybe the Chimu and the distant future weren't the only gargoyle-tolerant societies.

Warily, he took the proffered arm, and was brought to his feet.  "Fear is healthy, dragon, in fair measures.  Am I to understand that you're not going
to eat me?"  If not a dragon, then what was this?  It looked rather like a girl.

"I'm not a dragon, and no, I won't eat you," Ariana told him.  "What's your name?  I'm Ariana."

"Leonardo," he introduced himself.  Suddenly remembering something.  "If you'll excuse me, I have to finish a piece of work, something I came out
here to do."

And so, on one early morning of 1914, Graeme was pulled from this time, from this place  by the force of the Pheonix Gate.  The young lads who’d
forged a friendship with the green gargoyle  watched as their buddy vanished into the air and fire.

It was only a few hours later  that the German tanks crossed the border, beginning the invasion of Poland.

World War One had begun.

City-State Of Florence, Italian Peninsula.

The sun set on the hilly landscape, blanketing everything with shadow darkness.  The end of day reached the narrow crevice where Ariana had
positioned herself to sleep in.  The reflexive flexing of muscles which heralded the escape from stone sleep, it propelled her forwards, out of the small
cavern  and onto the grass.

A young man took a step back.  “You nearly felled me, Ariana,” he said, his words not a reprimand; just a comment.

Ariana stood up on her feet, dusting off anything that might’ve stuck.  “Sorry,” she apologized.

“Don’t worry about it,” her human friend said, turning around to pull something out of his sachel.  “What do you think?” angling it so it caught what
light there was.

Ariana took one look at the picture, and promptly said, “That looks nothing like me.”

Leonardo looked over his shoulder at her.  “I sketched you in first, but you didn’t look nasty enough.”

The young green gargress put her hands on her hips in mock indignation, but couldn’t help smiling.  “Very funny.”

The equally young artist managed to look utterly serious.  “I do mean it, Ariana.  You just don’t have a very threatening mein to you.”

Leonardo diVinci watched as Ariana left through the firey sphere of the Phoenix Gate.

Let everyone make what they would of his life after being called into the courts.  He had had no women in his life  because no human woman could
possibly compare with the beauty that was Ariana.  The graceful curve of her neck, the delicate span of her wings, the way her eyes could convey
so much without words.....and so many more things about her.

diVinci plopped himself down on the nearest fallen log, and let himself weep.

He knew not how long after that it was when a traveler stopped along the roadside beside him.  “May I offer you something that could console you
greatly?” the traveler inquired.

“What could you possibly offer me?” diVinci spat, not looking up at the hooded traveler.

“A way to be reunited with your love,” came the reply.

The reaction was gut level, hope overwhelming reason.  “Then do it!” he said hoarsely, his throat raw.  Leonardo diVinci lept up from the log to his
feet, staring down the absolute nothingness that was under the lip of the traveler’s hood.

“Very well,” and the traveler tipped back his hood, revealing a head that - centuries later - would be called Triceratops.  A spell was chanted in a
language unsuited for human throats and mouths.

The first change was a superposition.  The new Leonardo watched as the original one fell to the ground and did not move beyond simple things like
breathing.  Both of them were fully clothed, and both had all their memories.

Then, all of the still-standing Leonardo’s clothes mashed and melded, merging together, eventually forming a robe around him, complete with hood.
While this was going on, his body was likewise changing  --  only nothing so simple a task!

diVinci’s head elongated untill it was a great shield in the back, and a triangular beak in the front - just like the traveler’s.  His skin toughened and
came close to dividing, forming leathery imitations of scales.  A second set of ribs grew, poking out of his body, providing wings.

“Time is your friend now,” the traveler said once the changes had ceased.  “And you will be able to find your beloved Ariana.”  It had been a long
long time indeed, but the hunch was too great for her to be a coincidence.   “You will recognize her, and she will be able to recognize you,” the
ceratopsian told the standing diVinci.  “What more than that is needed?”  When the former man opened his beaked mouth to object, the traveler
fore-warned, “It will take time for you to master the arts of illusion.  Treat them as no different from any other art, great painter.  Now go, I advise.”

diVinci did as he was told, leaving.

The first traveler watched the new traveler go, then looked down on the unconcious human lying on the ground.  The man would not remember
tonight, except perhaps for the strong feelings of Ariana.

The traveler’s kind were gods to the humans before, in the other world; Brooklyn had prevented an initial power grab when they arrived in this
world......but Brooklyn would not be able to stop them the next time.

They were immortal.  They had time.  Lots of it.


Time does not begin or end.  History does not repeat itself.

No, things are much stranger than that!  And the inhabitants of Castle Wyvern, which sits upon the immensely tall Xanatos building in Manhattan,
New York,  they were about to get a most unusual example of that would change the shape of the clan.

The Wyvern Clan rushed to the castle courtyard, ready to defend their home against whatever had been detected coming in.

A pinprick of flame, hovering in midair, made Brooklyn’s jaw drop.  “The Phoenix Gate.”  Then the dot divided itself twice, each one giving the other
ample room.  And now, instead of one flaming portal, there were four of them  as they opened up, allowing their passengers to pass through.

The ones who came through now  were even older than the timedancers who presently lived in the castle.  The new Graeme and Ariana were adults,
each with their own Gate, as well as a companion covered in plain homespun robe.  The new Brooklyn and Sata were decades older than the ones
already here, though they certainly seemed to have been keeping physically fit.

“Who are you?” Brooklyn asked, breaking the silence that seemed to have descended on the courtyard after the Phoenix Gates vanished.

“I’m Brooklyn,” answered the other one.  “What did you mean to ask?”

“I  want to know how this is possible!” the original Brooklyn said, literally putting his foot down, trying another tactic.   “What sort of magic is this??”

“Probably ooris magic,” the other Brrooklin replied.  “Trust me, I’ve had a few run-ins with them myself,” at which grown-Ariana’s traveling companion
put a gloved hand on his hooded head.  “Look, I apologized for hitting you, okay?” and got a nod back.

“Never heard of’em.”

“Nor have I,” seconded the original Sata.

“You likely have not heard of my kind either,” responded adult-Graeme’s companion.  “Yet I still exist.”  Her hood fell back, revealing a young gargoyle
on her shoulders, his tiny hands perched on her dull orange skull.

The companion of adult Ariena pulled back his hood, revealing a triceratopsian head.

“Where’d you meet?” younger Ariana asked her older self.

“Technically,” Ariena replied, “we met in Florence, Italy.  Of course, he wasn’t like this then.  Next would’ve been about.....” she turned her head to
look at him, “Which Danish kingdom was it again?” to which he replied with a clack of his beak.  “Sorry,” older Ariena told younger Ariana, “neither
of us recalls."

Someone stuck their head out from behind the ‘ceratopsian’s robes.  A someone with three horns clustered around the place that Brooklyn and his
kids had their two horns, same kind of horn too.  “You can come out, Proctor,” Ariena told her son.

“Do all timedancers come back with kids?” the question was out of Broadway’s mouth before he could stop it.  The heads of both Brooklyns, Satas,
Graemes, and Arianas turned to face him.  The companions did likewise, more defensive in their stares.  “Sorry.”

“But neither of you,” Angela said to the companions, hoping to defuse a fragile situation, “haven’t told us your names.”

“Leonardo diVinci,” the ceratopsian.

“Named after the painter?” young Ariana asked.

“I *am* the painter....well, one of me.”  To clarify, “ooris magic clove me in two, and then made me like this.  A gift I did demand, and am grateful
for,” with a tender look to Ariena.

“What’s an ‘u-riz’?” Lexington asked, swooping down from the sky.  He’d just returned - with Hudson - from a patrol of the city, and what does he
find?  Possible clones?

“They look much as I do,” diVinci replied simply.


Adult Grame was in the study, telling tales - to younger Graeme, Ariana, Bronx, Nudnik, and Hudson - about the splendors of Ankor Wat....and
occasionally getting corrected by his mate, who was perched nearby.

The fact that Grame’s mate had such unusual wings  --  down her legs, rather than down the arms or on separate wing limbs  --  had been startling to
say the least.  Aside from Grame and the rest of the newly-arrived timedancers, she only tolerated the presence of Lexington...possibly because of
his own wings.

Learning so much as the name from her  had been like pulling teeth from an unwilling fae - dangerous at best.  In the end, adult Grame had told them
that he called her Nueve.

“This is Detective Stone,” Goliath introduced.  “He helps us in keeping our city safe for the innocent,” which earned a snort of disbelief from the
young lady standing beside Stone.  “And this is,” about to introduce her.

“Rockbiter,” she exclaimed, to which Grame covered his face with his hands.

“Hello, Ceala,” Grame replied.

This greeting seemed to satisfy the older Hellcop.  “Goliath tells Stone and me  that you think we should hold an Olympics.”  Grame nodded.  Ceala
walked up to him, rapping her knuckles against the spot just above and between his heavy brow ridges.  “Nueve, I think his brain’s gone petrified.”  To
Grame, “Have you forgotten basic anatomy?  You gargoyles can trot; me and Stone - and any other dammed who take part in this - can’t get winded.
Do you really think that this’s going to do anything other than set even more people against us  than just the Quarrymen??”

“Would it be better if we could clear out a section of town,” Leonardo asked, “and cast an illusion over it, making us unseen?”

Ceala turned and regarded him.  “Assuming that there aren’t any dammed looking at your so-called illusion....then fine.  But how are you going to
clear out town?  Bomb scare?”

“Nothing so crude.”  diVinci pulled a card out of a pocket of his robes, and handed it to her.

“‘La Vincini Theaters’,” the old Hellcop read, then looked up at the ceratopsian.  “That World War One motion picture company?” to which he gave
a nod.  “In that case, I retract my opposition to it.”  To explain, “Anyone who can make a production of ‘Spartacus’ that historically accurate, I like.”


The compeditors stood on the rooftop of the Xanatos skyscraper.  The mayor and chief of police had reluctantly agreed to allow La Vincini Theaters
to use the sizable block of streets surrounding the Xanatos building.

Leonardo had done his best at casting the illusion, with only a little help from Angela and Demona.  It hadn’t been that he didn’t want help, as he wasn’t
good at hiding large amounts of was just that ooris magic was an innate part of himself.....and the ooris were even more foreign than the fay
themselves  --  though there was remarkable similarity with gargoyles, for some odd reason.

Just to be on the safe side, though, David Xanatos himself had donated several things that were obviously props, blatantly set decorations; just on the
off chance that a hole opened up in the illusion.

“Is everyone ready?” David Xanatos asked the compeditors.  Two mutant heads, a knot of gargoyle heads, two human heads, and an ooris head,
 all nodded.

They’d gotten the mutants and the [Eben-Amiel] Clan  -- from whose ranks  Ane had come, the Clan who had traveled from ancient Byzantium to
the modern day  --  to participate.

“Then  on your mark, get set, and.....” drawing it out theatrically.  “Aannnddd.....”

He fired his gun into the air.  It had begun!

Alex Xanatos giggled.  This was going to be fun...and a magic lesson at the same time!  Uncle Puck was going to show him how to make a windstorm
while hovering over an empty city street.  He carefully repeated the words that he was told, and let the magic soar.

Nueve was the hardest hit.  Though she’d experienced plenty of bad weather in her timedancing with Grame, her body was built for the calmer air of
the rainforest; her instincts were screaming at her  to take shelter during this hurricane.....advise she ignored, as she did her level best to stay airborne.

Talon fared the best, flapping his wings to keep aloft; Maggie and Claw alongside him.  There was definately something to be said for powered flight
in such conditions.

Leonardo was not far off, the strange rippling motion of his own wings  keeping him stable in the air.

Ane and the others from her past clan, they did not have diVinci’s ooris wings....but they did have the ability for powered flight; even if it wasn’t as
strong as Talon or Maggie, it was better than most gargoyle types had.

As for the gargoyles and Elisa - who was using a hang glider with all the skil she had - it was toiugh going all the way.

The gun went off again, carefull to aim where there was nobody flying or gliding.  Alex made the windstorm go away.

Nueve was soaring right next to Lexington, her wide leg membranes giving her ample stability....and then she flew right over Lex, the tip of her tail
tapping Lexington on his head a few times, then leaving him in the metaphorical dust.

Brooklyn and Brrooklin were swooping and diving at one another, dogfighting in the air, using military manuvers thought up by human and gargoyle
minds both.

Broadway swooped down, intending to cannonball right ahead of Nueva, disrupting her airstream.  But Nueva spied him coming, and clasped her
legs against her body, letting herself plummet to a safe distance  before returning to a casual glide.

David Xanatos watched with interest.  The gargoyles were all fighting, some blunt and blatant, while others used subtler tactics - such as Broadway’s
intention.  Some of the moves were of a type he’d never seen before, a type practiced only by gargoyles...and even then, primarily long ago.

Sata and Satta seemed to have teamed up, fighting off the efforts of Ane and Gideon; fighting kites against raptor cavalry, hardened warriors all.  It was
remarkable to watch the interplay of Japanese and Byzantine styles....yes yes, there were other influences, like Khazaria and China, but that wasn’t the
point of their motions.

Ceala was also watching, memories coming to the surface briefly.  Occasions such as she was now watching, they had been common at one time.
But then things had changed, not for better and not for worse; just a change.

The gun went off again, again carefull to aim where there was nobody flying or gliding.

Lex and several others  -- including  Brrooklin, and Satta  --  swooped down for a landing.  The latter two were not as close as Brooklyn and Sata
were, perhaps from spending so many decades certain that the other was dead.

Watching this, Fox remembered when she’d asked Hudson why they’d be landing in the middle of a competition.  His words were still fresh in her
mind: ‘Lass, the third part’s for couples only, it’s a display of fitness.’

Gideon was the last to land, and he came to a perching  only a few paces away from Mavra, who smiled at him.  The pair whispered between
themselves, with Mavra ending it by shaking her head in a human-style No.   Gideon’s wings sagged briefly, but then went pert  as Mavra began to
dance with him.

Ane alternated watching the dance  and the airborne ballet, herself remembering when she danced the sky with young courtiers, young red-winged
young men eager to fly with her.  She let out a sigh.  Now they were only memories.

Talon and Maggie were holding hands, their bodies forming a giant pinwheel, circling again and again.  Though they were newcomers to gargoyle
events such as this, some things just suggested themselves to the pair.

Grame and Nueve flew towards one another, on a collision course.   Only when a mere twenty feet separated them  did they angle themselves so
as to fly next to one another, gradually coming closer and closer...untill their undersides touched.   They kept their tails together, acting as a rudder.
Betwen his forewings and her hindwings, they were an aircraft like no other.

Elisa and Goliath were soaring alongside one another, carefree; feeling no need to even touch wingtips.

The gun fired one last time, and all the still-airborne gargoyles came in for a landing.  The final event had been canceled, by mutual decision...since the
final event was an all-out fight for dominance of the clan.

“So, did you all enjoy yourselves?” Ane asked the landing gargoyles, her wings only slightly outspread.  Many nods replied back.

“So,” David Xanatos asked, “Same time next year?”