Authors: E A Price
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Horror, #Occult, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Sword & Sorcery
When a Gargoyle Lives
E A Price
Copyright ©2016 by Elizabeth Ann Price
All rights reserved. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events and places is purely coincidental.
If gargoyles were real – which sadly they are not – there is nothing to say they would behave as they do in this book. Any realism that occurs in this book is entirely coincidental and definitely not the author’s intention.
Before reading, it is highly suggested that the reader suspend disbelief until the very end.
During King Arthur’s reign, to defeat his enemy, Morgan Le Fay and her legions of magical beasts, the King, his magician Merlin, and the leader of the dragon race sacrificed themselves to create a race of warriors. They became known as gargoyles.
After defeating Morgan, the gargoyles lived in tentative peace alongside the humans. But not all gargoyles were happy with their place. A female called Ophelia, second in command to Lucifer, a descendant of the first gargoyle, made a deal with the enemy, known as the Noir Clans, and gave them the spell used to bring the gargoyles to life. The armies of the Noir Clans rallied and in an attack they used the spell on the gargoyles to put them into a stone sleep, and if not reversed within a thousand years would become permanent. Those who were not immediately destroyed were sheltered by the descendants of Arthur’s allies, the Blanc Clans. For years, attempts were made at waking them, but they were unsuccessful.
Almost a thousand years later, Lucifer, along with dozens of other hidden gargoyles, was being sheltered by a man called Professor Hardcastle, who lived in a town called Devil’s Hang. After his death, his heir and nephew, Andrew held a party at his house. A woman named Kylie Summers stumbled upon the gargoyle Lucifer, and while drunk, kissed the stone gargoyle and awakened him. Kylie was discovered to be a distant (very distant) relative of one of Arthur’s allies.
While Kylie and Luc fell in love, a man named Holling, a relative of one of Morgan’s allies, was attempting to revive the gargoyles to create an army. He held Kylie hostage to lure Luc to him. When Luc tried to rescue her, Ophelia was discovered to be alive, and she killed Holling. Ophelia, disgusted at Luc’s relationship with Kylie, tried to kill her. Ophelia escaped, and it was discovered that she had been working with Holling, trying to create a new clan of gargoyles.
Luc and Kylie mated and began working to decipher the locations of the other gargoyles Professor Hardcastle hid.
One month later
Captain Bell strode into the conference room, ignoring the angry mumbles of the council members. “Ladies and gentlemen of the council…”
“Is this urgent?” snapped council member Marsters. “We have other matters that will not wait and very little time.”
Bell ignored the waspish woman. “I must report Holling is dead.”
There were gasps and murmurs amongst the members. The leader of the council, Blackthorne leaned forward in his seat, his eyes flashing keenly. “You are sure? How do you know? We have not heard anything about this?”
“We heard from one of Holling’s men. He reported that Holling was killed in a confrontation with a gargoyle.”
Blackthorne gripped the handles of his chair. “Lucifer?”
“No, Ophelia. He said she turned on him.”
Bell kept his face blank as the various members voiced their shock.
Marsters snorted. “I am not surprised. I never believed that female could be trusted. She had that moron Holling wrapped around her little talon. I think…”
“Where is she now?” interjected Blackthorne, ignoring Marsters completely.
“We do not know. We do not even know where in the country Holling was at the time of his death, or even if he was in this country. He could have been anywhere. My team attempted to trace him numerous times, but it appears he was an adept technomage.”
Bell did not have magic. There was some in his distant family, but it never amounted to anything. He did not consider it was necessary or special as the council members seemed to believe. A tracking spell wasn’t as reliable as an actual tracking device. But, more modern magic practitioners were capable of blending magic with modern technology, and he had to admit they came in useful. Even Holling, the most arrogant asshole on the planet had his uses. Or at least he did when he was alive.
Blackthorne tapped his fingers on his chair. “Holling was very cagey on what he was doing. He would not even tell us where he was going. He feared that we would take over the operation. Unfortunately, he was excellent at covering his tracks, so we had no way to trace him.”
Marsters nodded sycophantically. “He only told us of Lucifer’s awakening because he wished to gloat about it. As yet we are still uncertain as to who woke him.”
“Where is Holling’s man?” asked council member Harthill. “Why on earth have you not brought him here for questioning? What the hell do we pay you for?”
Bell kept his face neutral, ignoring Harthill’s snooty tone. The only evidence of his displeasure at the old man’s ornery tone was a small tic to his left eyebrow.
“Holling’s man contacted us through an untraceable burner phone. We do not know where he is. He wanted money before he would give us further information. It would appear he is more afraid of Ophelia than us.”
Marsters sniffed. “Why are we wasting time? Ophelia is no great loss. Why do we care about what happened to Holling?”
“Agreed,” said council member Monk. “She is not a fool. She will not show herself to the world for fear of what the humans would do to her. We should concentrate our efforts on obtaining Lucifer. He is the most important thing.”
Bell forced himself not to snicker. Lucifer. The council practically had a collective hard-on when they discovered he was alive again. The gargoyle was a direct descendent of Demon – the first gargoyle. Supposedly the magic he contained was stronger than other gargoyles, and all gargoyles felt a compulsion, no matter how small, to follow him. Although Bell could hardly believe that. He had met the creature Ophelia. She did not strike him as a female who would follow anyone but herself.
Blackthorne looked around the table at his other four council members before alighting on Adler. The oldest of the council members, he was also the smallest and the quietest and for some reason, Bell found him to be the scariest. He possessed magic like all the other council members, but he was also a doctor, one obsessed with non-human patients. One who liked to push his test subjects as far as he could. Bell had been to one of his facilities a couple of times, and those experiences were the only things that actually haunted him.
“We need Lucifer to be with us, there is no question of that,” said Adler in his soft voice.
Harthill frowned. “We do not know who resurrected him. We thought we had eliminated the last descendants of the Blanc Clans, or, at least, those who were able to possess magic of this fortitude. We should be wary. Whoever this person is they could have revived more gargoyles. They could already have an army. We should find out what Holling’s man knows.”
Adler inclined his head in agreement. “If there are more gargoyles, I would like some of them for my experiments.”
Bell repressed the shudder.
Blackthorne nodded. “I agree. We need all the information we can get about Holling. He believed he was close to uncovering hiding places of a great number of gargoyles – that is information we want.” He looked up at Bell. “Speak to Holling’s man again. Tell him we will pay him whatever he wants.”
Bell raised an eyebrow in surprise, and Blackthorne rolled his eyes. “Kill him when we get the information. There is no reason to waste good money.”
He smiled grimly. “Yes, sir.”
Luc growled and stretched his limbs as he awoke from his sleep. He breathed in the damp night air and snarled softly. After hundreds of years of sleep, he would never take waking up for granted.
Luc flicked his tail impatiently, as the rest of his clan awoke, stretching and grumbling, relieved that they had woken at all. It was not something humans could understand. Gargoyles’ sleep was enforced. They turned to stone during the day; they had no choice in the matter. He had never thought anything of it until he had been cursed to remain in his slumberous state. Being trapped in sleep, neither dead nor alive was tortuous.
Of course, now he had a very good incentive to wish to wake. He had a mate. His own mate. A female he could not live without. A human with pretty brown hair and soft curves and a penchant for driving him crazy in a very good way. He surveyed his clan. They believed his mating with Kylie was for the sake of the clan. As far as they knew, she was the only person on earth who could awaken the gargoyles, and they thought he mated her to keep her close, to keep her loyal. They were wrong. She was fated for him. Gargoyles were not known for their finer feelings, most eschewed the idea of love for political alliances and breeding, but he was different. He loved Kylie more than his hard heart could sometimes bear. And the gods help him, she knew it.
For the past months, they had been searching through the Professor’s books to find his fellow gargoyles. Slowly, they were bringing them back to the house in Devil’s Hang, and Kylie was waking them. The process was too slow for his liking.
Luc had liked Professor Hardcastle, but the man had been fond of riddles and had kept the locations of the other gargoyles well hidden. Unlocking the riddles and puzzles was proving difficult and then the time it took to find the gargoyles and transport them seemed interminable. The last gargoyle they found was in Brazil and that had taken over a week to transport back to the house. Kylie had suggested she travel to the gargoyles, but she would have to go without him, and that was unacceptable. The gargoyles were disorientated when they woke; they could hurt her. He needed to be there. He needed to be with her. He needed her close at all times. Luc was trying to lead the gargoyles, and he could not do it without her love and support.
So far they had woken four gargoyles, none from his previous clan. There was Gracchus, a male a few years older than him. He was a calm influence on the other gargoyles but somewhat jaded. A young, frightened female called Annis with a broken wing who was no more a fighter than he was a court jester. Amalric, a young male coming of age who butted horns with Luc at every given opportunity and met his leadership with sullen opposition, and a male called Dragoslava who… who had not come out of his sleep with his full faculties. They knew it would be a possibility – being asleep for so long could not possibly have a positive effect, but the violence they all saw in Dragoslava’s eyes made even Gracchus pause.
At the permission of Andrew Hardcastle, the current owner, Luc allowed the other gargoyles to roam the house and grounds as they pleased. And had permitted them to go hunting out in the woods under his supervision – it was important they not show themselves to humans.
Dragoslava remained chained in the basement. They hoped that Dragoslava would improve and that his current incarceration was merely a temporary condition. If not, Luc would do what was necessary to ensure the clan’s survival. As clan leader in the past, he had performed this duty many times. It was never something he relished. He did not take lives lightly, but as leader, the duty should fall to him. He could not ask a member of his clan to do something he would not do himself. However, the fact that he was mated now would make the task difficult. He doubted Kylie would be able to accept his explanation of his actions and feared it would cause a rift between them. There was one thing being mated to a gargoyle and knowing of their brutal natures; it was another witnessing it first hand.
Hopefully, it would not come to that. Hopefully, they would be able to awaken more gargoyles soon. Perhaps they would get a healer. Annis had rudimentary skills, but she needed more training.
Luc would never admit it to his mate, but he was disappointed with the state of affairs. His clan back in the day had been one of the strongest, brothers and sisters united. He had envisioned rebuilding his clan with warriors – creatures strong enough to withstand the scrutiny they would undoubtedly endure when humans finally learned of their existence again. It seemed unlikely his clan would ever be the same. But he could not tell Kylie this. Kylie would take it as a failure on her part. Nothing was further from the truth. Without her, he would have nothing and he would be nothing. He lived, and he had taken her as his mate - that was something that could not have happened back when he was born. Their relationship would never have been accepted. Although he would always carry the sadness of how many of his kind had died, forging forward and creating a new existence for the gargoyles was important. A life where there would be no segregation between the species, where they existed alongside each other without the fear or repulsion, he saw in far too many humans growing up.
He would not wish for his children to be treated as outsiders or animals… if he and Kylie can produce offspring. No other gargoyle had mated with a human, so that was not something that he knew about. It was something he wanted, but not something that outweighed the need to free his brothers and sisters.
At that moment, though, he needed to see his mate, he would ensure her safety and then enjoy the pleasure of her soft body. Sleep had left him hungry in more ways than one.
He nodded at his clan mates, which was met with mixed reactions and then went into the house.
Luc smiled as he watched the steady rise and fall of his mate’s chest. She looked so peaceful, so small in sleep. So breakable. He was glad Kylie was his, prouder than he had ever been to have her by his side, but being with her scared him, and that wasn’t something that was easy for him to handle.
She had already been hurt by a gargoyle he trusted. He worried for her safety constantly, and being stone for so much of his time meant that he was not always there to protect her. Ophelia was out in the world somewhere. But at least, she was forced to sleep when he was.
Dispelling thoughts of the treacherous female, he dropped his loincloth. “Little one,” he murmured, pulling the covers off her body. “Time to wake up.” He stretched out next to her and placed his hand on her stomach.
Kylie shivered slightly as her eyelids fluttered open. She blinked a few times before focusing on him and smiling.
“Hey,” he crooned.
She leaned up and brushed a kiss over his lips. “Sleep well?”
Luc flicked his tail and grunted. “As well as I can.”
Kylie ran a finger over his horns. “I wish we could sleep together, too. I told you, I don’t mind if you do wish to sleep in the bed with me.”
“Nothing would please me more, little one, but sleeping next to stone would be unpleasant for you. It is better that I remain outside.”
“I suppose you’re right. I guess I just hoped being separated in the day would start getting easier.”
“I hope it never becomes easy to be parted from you.”
Kylie beamed. “And to think you said you weren’t romantic.”
“Perhaps you are taming me.” He nuzzled her neck. “Perhaps you are changing and improving me.”
She placed her hand over his on her stomach. “I wouldn’t dream of it. I want you just as you are.”
“My mate,” he said gutturally. “I wish to lay siege to your fortress.”
She clucked her tongue. “You read one saucy romance…”
He gently nipped her skin between his fangs, making her yelp. Kylie ran her hands down his chest, her fingers dancing over his flesh until she reached his manhood. She wrapped her small hand around him, stroking and squeezing his throbbing length.
Luc kissed her, his tongue dancing with hers as he pushed her nightshirt up her body, bearing her to him. He cupped one of her creamy orbs, delicately pinching her puckered nipple between his talons.
He pressed her back into the mattress as he covered her body with his. He settled himself over her, careful not to crush her, but with enough pressure for her to feel his heavy, reassuring weight. His wings fluttered around them, creating a cocoon.
Kylie pulled away from his mouth, panting lightly. Her lips were kiss swollen, and her hair splayed around her head like a halo. He’d never seen a more enchanting sight; she was a siren to him. If he did go to sleep for another thousand years, at least he would have this memory to hold onto, to dream of. A moment like this with her was worth a thousand years of pain.
She let go of his member and snaked her arms around his neck. “I love you,” she murmured.
“I love you,” he growled as his sex sought hers and he slowly pushed inside her.
Kylie’s eyes almost rolled to the back of her head as she whimpered. He was careful with her, but he was larger than human males, and she was tiny compared to him, even after all their couplings, she still felt some discomfort on his entrance. But she would not hear of him even considering on cutting back on their lovemaking, and truly he was relieved. He could barely stand to be near her without touching her. Without these moments to satiate him, he feared he would explode.
She shuddered as he thrust inside to the hilt. He held still as she adjusted to him. Luc removed her hands from his neck, taking the time to kiss her palms, before pushing them over her head. Luc pinned her wrists as he started moving inside her. Slowly, he pulled out, dragging out of her tightness before plunging inside. He took her with a steady, even rhythm, growling every time she moaned.
As she became more excited, her insides grew slick with her juices. His entrance became easier, and his movements became faster, rougher. Luc groaned with every plunge inside her. Kylie feared she could not satisfy him in the same way a female gargoyle could, but she was wrong. The way her body clung and molded itself to him was the greatest sensation he had ever experience. The couplings he had shared with female gargoyles had been mechanical and contained as much warmth as a fight to the death with an enemy. His bouts of lovemaking with Kylie were not as wild, but were filled with passion, and he would not change that for the world.
But as much as he would like to protract them, he could feel his release reaching its crescendo. Luc angled his hips, scraping her pleasure nub, making her cry out in ecstasy.
“Luc, I’m close,” she breathed, eyes glazed in lust.
He could feel her inner muscles quivering around him. All it would take was a little more. He drove himself inside her, crashing into her with as much might as he dared. Once, twice and she screamed wildly as her body bucked beneath him. Her sex tightened and clutched at him until he could no longer bear it, the pressure became almost agonizing, and he roared as his own climax overtook him. He poured his seed into his mate, thrilled at their coupling, feeling like the most powerful creature in the world as he took her and made her his in the most primal way. Hopeful that maybe it might lead to something more.
Shattered, she collapsed back into the bed. Luc carefully withdrew and rolled away from her, pulling her onto his chest.
Luc pressed kisses into her hair. “My mate,” he muttered.
“Yes, yours.” She snuggled against his chest and they lay together, enjoying the closeness.
Luc snarled at the knock on their door. He sniffed. “Annis.”
Kylie crawled out of bed, ignoring his complaining rumbles. She pulled her shirt down and opened the door.
Annis blushed as her eyes took in Kylie’s rumpled, flushed appearance, and Luc lying in bed. She looked down.
“Forgive me, my lady,” she said softly.
Kylie frowned. “Call me Kylie, please.”
“Forgive me,” repeated Annis.
“The others are waiting for the chief.”
“Thank you, Annis, and please don’t call me my lady.”
The female gargoyle nodded, never taking her eyes off the floor. “As you wish, Chief’s mate.”
Annis scuttled away as Kylie shut the door and sighed. “Must she?”
Luc rolled out of bed and stretched, his wings nearly spanning the entire bedroom. “She is being respectful.”
“She’s like a frightened bunny, and it make me sad.”
Luc gave her a half-smile. “Annis was born deformed into a ruthless clan. She has never been able to fly, and she does not possess the strength of a normal gargoyle female. Her life will have been hard. She is used to being at the bottom of the hierarchy, and most likely when she questioned it, she will have been beaten.”
Kylie’s eyes widened in horror. “That’s awful! And I wouldn’t say she is deformed… just different.” She gave him an accusatory look. “You know, not all gargoyles have to be carbon copies of each other – there could be some variety. Some gargoyles are great hunters, some are great warriors, but Annis is… great at something else. She’s certainly got the washing machine down. Even I still can’t work out the rinse cycle. Why are you laughing at me?”
He crossed the room and cupped her face as she scowled at him. “I am not laughing at you. I am pleased. You speak with the passion of a true chief’s mate.”