GARGOYLES: Seven Seas of Myrr – part 1

Author: Stephen R. Sobotka, Jr.


Author’s Disclaimer:

This is a original fan-fiction. The plot and story are my own, based on characters and situations from Disney’s Animated TV series “Gargoyles” and from the Hanna-Barbera series “Pirates of Dark Water”. This has been written solely for other fans of the show to enjoy, not to gain profit for the author. All characters, with exception of one’s I created, are TM and Copyrighted by their respective licensee’s, and are used without their knowledge. Please don’t sue, since this was done as a tribute to the spirit of the original shows.

Author’s Note :

Once again, fellow Garg-Fans, we take a little side trip into the Land of Cross-Over . . . this time, into the world of PODW, which I thought was a great show, albeit it smacked of the “toy-promo” slant early on. For those of you who haven’t seen the show, I offer a character brief and a mini-glossary of the more colorful words used in the world of Myrr at the end of this story.

Yes, this is another one of those “The Gang on the Skiff” stories . . . can I help it if it’s one of the easiest and best ways to get the Gargoyles into another universe? . . . Enjoy! 🙂

*     *     *     *     *

~ The Mists of Avalon ~

Bronx looked at the oncoming waves that seemed to march out of the mists ahead, and whined deep in his chest. Turning to look at his other companions, the features of his face seemed to say ‘Is there ever an end?’.

Taking turns poling, Angela and Elisa could understand the garg-beast’s unspoken feelings. “Sure wish Avalon would send us were we should be,” the honey-tan skinned human sighed. “The more places we end up that isn’t home, the more I start to wonder if we’re ever going to get home.”

Standing at the tiller, Goliath’s moody countenance fit well with the flavor of Elisa’s statement. “No matter where Avalon sends us, we must hope that some how it will send us home.”

“Goliath’s right,” Angela replied, her powerful arms adding one stroke to several of Elisa’s. “After all, it can’t keep us here forever. Right?”

Elisa tried to smile at the young female’s enthusiasm, but it was a lost cause. “Right now, I’d just be happy to see some other kind of water, other that all of this,” she replied, looking at the dark waters around them. For a while after her statement, no one said anything, and all they did was wait for the fog to lift once more.

Just then, a flash of light from overhead caught Bronx’s attention. He shot to his paws, his eyes locked onto the general place where he had first seen the light.

The others had also noticed the brief burst, and two pairs of gargoyle eyes and a human’s watched in awe as the light appeared again, seeming to float high in the ether above them.

“What is that?” Elisa asked, seeing that someone had to say something.

“Whatever it is, I’ll wager it’s not natural,” Angela replied.

Goliath shaded his eyes with one hand, trying to identify the source of the light. “Could it be one of your modern flying machines, Elisa?”

The police detective shook her head. “If it was, there’d be three sets of lights; red, white and blue. I’ve never heard of any plane or otherwise having a lavender light!”

Just then, the light – which had been hovering with little to no change in direction or altitude all this time – suddenly dipped and shot directly for the foursome.

“It’s coming this way, guys!” Elisa warned.

Angela was worried, watching as it came on. “Could it be an attack?”

“Let’s not take any chances,” Goliath replied. “Elisa, take the helm! Bronx, stay down!” Switching places with Elisa, he took her pole and told his daughter, “Quickly! We’ll push the skiff out of it’s path! At the rate it’s falling, it could sink it if it hits us!” Together, the two put their sizable muscle behind the two poles and propelled the wooden craft forward like it had been goosed. For a moment or two, it seemed to work…

“Uh, guys, that light’s changing direction!” Elisa warned. Sure enough, the light had shifted towards them, traveling like a rocket.

Goliath growled, “Hard turn, now!”

Elisa leaned into the tiller, shoving it against the one side, while Goliath and Angela switched to one side, adding their power into the turn. Bronx huddled in the bottom of the skiff, whimpering as the rocking motion of the sudden change in direction made him start to feel his last lunch.

Goliath glanced around quickly. “Can anyone see it?!?”

Elisa and Angela both looked. “Nowhere!” “I can’t see it, father!”

Goliath was a bit relieved, but not by much. “It couldn’t have just vanished!?”

“Maybe it plunged into the sea?” Angela offered.

“I doubt it,” Elisa replied with certainty. “Any object, even a small one, would make a sizable wave if it hit the ocean. As fast as that… thing was traveling, we should have heard a splash or something!”

Just then, the light winked into view, coming from behind a thick portion of the fog around them. It zoomed in like it was on greased lighting, but… before any of the four could react, it suddenly lost its forward momentum; slowing, slowing, until it crawled to a hover in front of the bobbing bow of the skiff.

“Talk about good air brakes,” Elisa muttered under her breath, uncoiling from an unconscious urge to fling herself out of range of the… whatever it was. Goliath and Angela were calming down as well, but they were all too wary of what danger this unexpected occurrence forbade.

“What… what is it?” Goliath asked no one in general, staring with an amazed look in his eyes.

“I had hoped you could tell me,” Angela said, coming as close as Elisa could ever remember her quipping a smart remark. The light could now be seen for what it really was, a kind of large, faceted gem, with pieces of precious metal ringed around it’s circumference. It bobbed under it’s own power in mid-air, turning gently, as if waiting for something else to happen.

“It does look… valuable. But, what is it doing out here,” Elisa asked, after stepping closer to get a better look at it. “I mean, a jewel the size of a baseball just doesn’t pop up, just like that. Right?”

Goliath cocked his head to one side. “It might… I feel it has a great deal of magic inside it.”

“Could it be part of the reason Avalon hasn’t sent us anywhere lately?” Angela asked.

“Might be,” Elisa replied. “But how can we be sure?”

“Still, we shouldn’t leave this out here,” Angela said after a moment. “since someone might come and decide to claim it for their own.” Poling the skiff closer, the lavender female reached out with one hand to grab.

“Are you sure about this?” Elisa asked, suddenly getting a weird feeling.

“I agree,” Goliath said, “leave it be, Angela.”

But it was too late. The moment Angela’s talons gripped the strange jewel, it began to glow with a pale light. Suddenly, an answering glow came from the pouch at Goliath’s side.

“What the–!?” Elisa gasped.

“The Phoenix Gate!” Goliath uttered. Reflexively, he reached into the pouch and removed the Gate, which was pulsing with its own white fire. As they watched, the fire from the Gate and the light from the jewel began to slowly arc towards one another. Before Elisa could tell Angela to throw the gem away or Goliath to smother the Gate, the two energies touched…

“K-K-RRRR-AAAAACKLE!!!”

*     *     *     *     *

~ Nighttime, An Unknown Sea ~

Somewhere over the waters of a strange and distant place, a pale spot of fire appeared. It lingered for a second, before a massive thunderclap tore the air apart and smote the rolling waves. In a heartbeat, the fire expanded out, disgorging the skiff and its occupants onto the water. When the skill sailed clear, the energy collapsed on itself, leaving only the trace of ozone and a few wisps of smoke behind.

In the middle of the skiff, the foursome uncurled from the reflexive ball they had huddled together in, looking around in confusion.

“Is everyone all right?” Goliath asked.

Elisa nodded, “I think so…” Bronx whined at her side.

“I’m all right, father,” Angela replied. Looking down, she realized she still had the alien jewel in her hand. “Ugh! And so is this thing!” She made a move to toss it away.

“Angela, wait!” Goliath said quickly. “We cannot lose that jewel!”

Dropping her hand, Angela looked at it skeptically. “Why?”

“We don’t seem to be where we should be… Avalon’s mist no longer surrounds us. That jewel did something to the Phoenix Gate to bring us wherever we seem to be,” Goliath explained. “Until we can figure out exactly what happened, to lose that could possibly trap us here. With no hope of ever returning home.”

Seeing the young female’s distress, Elisa said gently, “Goliath’s right, even though I wish this once he wasn’t. I didn’t like the look of that thing when we first saw it.”

Angela sighed, tucking the jewel into her tunic dress. “Well… just where did we end up, anyway?”

“I don’t know, but… (gasp!) Look!” Elisa said, one hand shooting upward to point at the night sky. The others followed her gaze, joining her in utter amazement as they saw several stellar satellites shining overhead.

“By the Dragon!” Goliath breathed.

“What world are we on, that it has more than one moon!?” Angela whispered.

“More to the point: why would the Phoenix Gate bring us here?” Elisa asked.

Just then, Bronx turned around, facing over the side of the skiff, stiff with warning. The gargoyle beast sniffed the air for several moments, before he began to growl and bark out loud.

“What is it boy? What’s wrong?” the raven-haired detective asked.

The other two gargoyles peered off into the night, watching as what appeared to be a tall formation of fog approached them from no where.

“Father… I don’t like this,” Angela commented.

Nodding, the Manhattan leader seconded her words. “Unless it is normal for fog to suddenly appear on this world…”

“Do you think it’s the Mists of Avalon, Goliath?” Elisa asked hopefully.

Goliath couldn’t answer. Suddenly, his eyes widened. “There is… something in the fog!” Scrunching his face, he looked harder and spied a large mass moving inside the pale mist.

“What!?”

Goliath felt the hair prickle on the back of his neck. “Something… huge, is moving through the fog… and it is coming this way.”

Elisa also felt a coldness touch her stomach. “Could it be a ship or something?”

As the mass drew closer, Goliath slowly shook his head… until the mist thinned, and shapes within the mass became more defined, and he drew a sharp breath. “No! It is a monster!”

Seeming to be true, a massive, bone-white beak-several times as wide as the skiff was long-emerged, followed by what looked like a gigantic head. Looking like some undead sea beast brought back to life, it had empty eye sockets, and several appendages seemed to sprout from behind it like a parody of a spider. As it bore down on the tiny skiff, it seemed to show some sign of life, as it opened the huge beak, revealing a maw that started to swallow lakefulls of sea water.

“Oh, God! It’s going to eat us!” Elisa cried out. With it bearing down on them, there seemed little time to try to make a run for safety.

“NO!” Goliath bellowed. Reaching down, he jammed the Gate into Elisa’s jacket, then, with a strength borne of desperation, he took hold of Elisa, lifted her boldly from her seat and threw her away from the skiff.

“GOLIIIIIIIIATH?!?” she screamed, sailing for quite a distance before she smacked into the surface of the sea. Quickly struggling back to the surface, she gasped for air, looking around for the others. But, it was too late, as the skiff, Goliath, Angela, and Bronx were sucked into the creatures maw.

“No!” she gasped, treading water as the beast surged onward. She had to save her companions… but the thought of what could she do alone against this beast made her stop herself, before she doomed herself to a futile attack.

Just then, she heard something strange: the sounds of rope creaking… air, moving against canvas. Something she hadn’t heard since she was younger, when she and Derek went on a boating excursion, but this was much louder.

A voice came out of the darkness, needling and whining, “Awww, there’s no more pooka in this barrel!”

Looking up, Elisa nearly blanched white, seeing that the beast seemed to have sprouted sails and rigging from its back. Was it a trick of her shocked mind?

Another voice rounded on the first, “Noi-Borka! You eat too much pooka as it is!” Someone grunted, and a barrel came sailing over the side, hitting the water near her. “The next time you start getting your cravings, we’ll get Bloth to throw you in the Pit!”

Gasping, Elisa pulled herself along with a strong overhand stroke, quickly flinging her hands over the heavy-scented wood. Coughing due to having swallowed a mouthful of water on the way over, Elisa stared up at the strange-looking sight, unable to do much more as it moved on through the mist, where it eventually vanished from view.

“It’s a ship!? Wh-What kind of person builds a ship like that!?” Clinging to her improvised life saver, Elisa worried for the fate of her friends, and also for herself. “I mean,” she told herself, “if that was a ship, they Goliath and Angela are still alive!”

Consoling herself with that thought, Elisa could do little else but drift on with the night…

*     *     *     *     *

All around Goliath, it was darkness… until the sudden thought of the strange light, the huge sea beast, Elisa…

“ELISA!?!” he shouted, coming fully awake. He tried to rise from… a hard wooden surface, when hands on his shoulders prevented him from rising.

“Father, be careful,” Angela’s voice soothed. “You’ll hurt your head if you try to stand!”

Shaking his head, the large male looked up, seeing a series of wooden slats above. “Uhh… then, we were not eaten?”

“No, Goliath… I, I think this is some sort of… ship?! After I blacked out when we went down what I thought was its gullet, I woke up here, with you.”

Sitting back, Goliath glanced around, seeing a ring of bars that looked like… bones, encircling them. “Then, where are we now? This looks like some sort of cage.”

Angela motioned to the space beyond the bars. “It must be a prison ship of some kind,” she explained. “Bronx is in another cage, but so far, I’ve seen no one else.” As if her words were a cue, Bronx’s plaintive whine could be heard.

“This place must have a master,” Goliath reasoned. “We shall just have to wait until they come to speak to us.”

“WHICH won’t be too long, creature!”

Turning around, the two gargoyles looked through the bars behind them, seeing a fat, grotesque-looking man in a dirty breechcloth, boots, and a hat rimmed with bones. He had a pair of wicked looking hooks in one hand, and when he smiled at them, only a couple of teeth showed in a rotting mouth.

“Who are you? Why are we in a cage,” Goliath said levely.

The man just chuckled. “You speak well, for such an ugly beast! I’m the Jailer, and you are currently aboard the Maelstrom,” he explained hoarsely. “And, I have to get you ready to meet the captain… and,” he paused to leer at Angela, “he is going to love you, lovey!” He reached over to place a grime-coated hand on Angela’s cheek, only to have to snatch it back before she sank her fangs into the fleshy part.

“DON’T touch me!”

The jailer snorted, before grinning warily. “A feisty beast?! Well, don’t worry! Mantus will take you to task. And believe me, you’ll learn real quick not to be feisty with him!” He then stepped back to think for a moment. “Well… maybe you can wait until morning! I’m the only one on duty, and I don’t want to risk you three getting loose. Bloth would have me scuttled!” With a shudder, the little man shot back through the entryway, and was gone.

Angela sank back with a scowl. “I just hope whoever this ‘Bloth’ is, that he finds it in his hear to release us. I don’t like the idea of staying here any longer than necessary.”

“And I as well,” Goliath admitted. “However, I am more worried for Elisa. She isn’t with us, though, if we were picked up by a ship, why not her as well?”

“Do you think she’s all right?” Angela asked.

“We will not know until we find her. And for that, we must find a way to regain our freedom.” His sable-haired head dropped to his chest for a moment. “Also, unless we can find her, we may be trapped here, in this alien world.”

His daughter frowned all the more strongly. “What do you mean?”

“In my haste to save Elisa, I put the Phoenix Gate into her coat,” Goliath admitted, staring off between the bars, his heart heavy with the dread that they might never find their human companion…

*     *     *     *     *

~ The Alien World of Mer, The Next Day, On The Sea ~

“Niddler! Trim the foresail, you Gh’ahtan Monkey-Bird!”

“WrrrrAAK! I’m trying, but these ropes are slicker than lampoil!”

“That’s no excuse for being so fumble fingered, you beaked-faced, melon-disposal!”

At the wheel of the Wraith, Ren shook his head at the two arguing members of his crew. The dusky-skinned Prince of Octopon knew that once the former pirate and his monkey-bird companion started in on each other, nothing short of a major disaster would stop them. Still, it was good that they even talked to each other these days. It rankled the former brigand that the quest to save the world of Mur was a profitless one, but, without Ioz and his pirate savvy Ren didn’t even want to think about what shape he or the world would be in.

“Ioz, stop pestering Niddler and let him do his task! It’s bad enough we have to put up with your stench, as well as your mouth!” This came from the other member of his crew; his resident Ecomancer, Tula, who was working to stack several kegs of supplies to the near side of the deckhouse.

Up in the rigging, a tall, grey-skinned, swarthy man in sea-worn clothes with a beard, a topknot and a scar scowled down at the deck, looking at Tula. “Be silent, woman! Only a pirate knows his way around a ship’s rigging, and *I* happen to be a pirate!”

“Be that as it may, Ioz,” Ren said evenly, “but we have to work together as a team, or else we’ll never find the remaining Treasures of Rul. With the first seven safe in the Lighthouse of Oktopon, the other six are going to be harder to find.”

“Especially with Bloth trailing us around every island and reef,” Tula added with a shiver, shaking out her dark tresses. “That alone makes it imperative that we find the Treasures as quickly as possible.”

“I *KNOW* that, woman! It’s just for the fact that there might be some gold to be gotten on this quest that I don’t leave you now!” Ioz sighed and muttered to himself, lashing one of the guy-lines down. “Skorpango! It’s not as if we ever FIND any on our misbegotten trips!”

Tula finished with her task and climbed up to the wheel to stand beside Ren. “Has the Compass found the direction to the next Treasure, Ren?”

The white-haired youth fingered the gold-banded gemstone that hung around his neck before answering Tula. “That’s what worries me . . . it hasn’t even made so much as a glimmer since we left Oktopon!” The Compass was the one thing that would guide them to the location to all of the Treasures of Rul

Tula poked at the Compass with a tan-finger. “Strange . . . usually it seeks out the next Treasure right away.”

“They did say that the Treasures would change and be harder to find. Perhaps the next one has the ability to confuse the Compass?” Ren queried.

Just then, Ioz noticed something. “Ren! I see something! Two points off the starboard bow!”

Looking out over the sea, Tula and Ren spotted something tiny against the rolling sea. “Niddler, can you get aloft to see what that is?”

Niddler suddenly squawked, using eyes that were sharper than a human’s to peer at the object. “Ren! There’s something moving in the mist! RWAAK! And it looks human!”

Ren’s brow crinkled with worry. “A human? Out on the open sea?!?” Spinning the wheel, he set his face into a determined mask. “Hold on, everyone! I’m going to bring us close! Iox! Niddler! Stand by to help them if we can!”

Ioz swung out onto a rope, sliding downward to the Wraith’s deck. “Move yourself, Monkey-Bird!”

“I am moving!” Niddler griped. Spreading his wings, the pink-and-orange colored simian leaped away from the rigging, gliding out over the water. Soon, he was over the person, watching as the limp form clung to what looked like a barrel, desperately trying to keep afloat. “Iox! Hurry! I don’t think they can keep above water for long!”

Grabbing a coil of rope with a float attached to one end, the dusky pirate eyed the distance between the ship and the hapless soul. “Just stay ready, Niddler! Hoi! You in the water! Grab the rope when it comes to you!” Slinging a length of it around like a bolas, Ioz let it fly out over the water. It had enough force to punch through a small wave, before landing next to the body.

Seeing his chance, Niddler dipped towards the waves, careful not to get his wings wet. “Hold on! We’ll get you to safety!” Reaching out, he snagged the thrown rope and quickly looped it under the person’s arms. With a deft yank to knot it securely, the Monkey-Bird shouted back to the Wraith. “Ioz! Pull!!”

With a grunt, the pirate jerked on the line, his muscles straining as he heaved to. “That sack of feathers finally does something right for a change!”

Tula called back to the deckhouse, “Keep the Wraith steady, Ren! We’ve nearly got them aboard!”

Niddler soared back to the ship, landing next to Ioz. He quickly set his claws to the rope to help pull the hapless soul aboard. With both of them, and help from Tula at the side, they quickly pulled the body onto the deck.

Ioz was the first to react. “Skorpango!? It’s a woman!”

“A woman?” Ren called. Quickly, the young prince lashed the wheel to, before dashing down onto the deck. “What in all of Myrr is a woman doing on the open sea?”

“We’ll find out, if I can help her in time,” Tula commented, motioning for Ioz and Ren to carry the woman over to the lee of the deckhouse. “Niddler, get some blankets from below. Quick!” As Niddler dashed off, Tula made an inspection of the dusky-skinned stranger’s face and life-beat. “She’s weak… probably from exposure and being in the water for so long.”

Ren’s light blue eyes were tinged with worry. “Can you help her with your powers, Tula?”

“I can only try,” Tula admitted. Niddler returned with an armful of blankets, which the young ecomancer quickly covered the young woman with, before she took her hand into both of hers. Concentrating, Tula channeled the power inside herself, sending it out into the woman’s body. Normally, she could control plants and animals with her power, but it was only on a few rare occasions that she tried working on humans.

Amazingly, the woman’s breathing grew strong, and, after being helped on her side by Ren, she coughed up a puddle of sea water from her lungs. Eyes blinking, the woman tried to get her hands out to push herself upright, but she was still too weak from her ordeal.

“G-G-Gol-?!?” she gasped, stopping when she turned her head to find herself staring in the eyes of the heir to Oktopon.

“Take it easy,” Ren cautioned her. “You’re with friends.”

His words and tone did much to ease her fearful look, but her body was tense as a wire. “Wh-Wh-Who?”

“My name is Ren,” he explained. When she tried to say more, he saw Tula’s cautioning head shake. “Shh, not now. We pulled you from the ocean, and you’re in no shape to start an inquisition. We’ll get you below, so you can rest, and later you can ask us anything.”

Tula nodded to Niddler. “Come, friend. Help me get her below. She can rest in my cabin.”

Reaching for the woman’s wrapped legs, the Monkey-Bird grunted, “Hope she doesn’t eat too much. We don’t have much food on the Wraith as it is.”

As the two took the stranger below, Ren and Ioz watched with curious and questioning looks. “Strange woman…did you notice the way she was dressed?” the young prince asked his swarthy companion.

“Mmm. Reminds me of a certain tavern girl in Zully’s Game House,” the tall pirate replied. “What in Kunda’s name was she doing out on the sea like that?”

“She might be the survivor of a shipwreck, or perhaps she fell overboard in the night,” Ren reasoned. “It’s a miracle she didn’t get eaten by a Leviathan.”

“Or run into a patch of Dark Water,” Ioz muttered. “Still, she could have done worse that to run into us, eh? She could have gotten run down by Bloth.”

The fair-haired prince nodded, his attention distracted by something shiny on the deck. Bending back down, he reached out to scoop up a small, metallic object, cupping it in his hand for a moment.

“Ren? What is it?”

The young man let the sun wash over the embossed bird-shape on the shield. “I don’t know. I think it must belong to the stranger.”

Ioz looked at the object, his eyes widening. “Noi-gh’aht! That looks like a Treasure!”

Curious, Ren pulled the Compass out from his tunic, holding it towards the object. Nothing happened. “Well, that’s odd. If this was a Treasure of Rul, being this close would have triggered some reaction in the Compass.”

“Perhaps it is too close?” Ioz suggested, tugging on his goatee.

“No, it was able to track the other Treasures at closer range when Kerroptis was trying to get them,” Ren countered. “Well, whatever this thing is, it just deepens the mystery of our unexpected passenger… whoever she is.”

*     *     *

Later, as the sun began its downward swing towards the horizon, the gentle rocking of a calm sea roused their passenger from her rest. At the time, Niddler was watching her… or, more correctly, he was supposed to be watching her. The first thing she noticed was the sound of munching… constant, progressive munching.

“Ummm, wha?” turning over, she noticed three things: one, the rescue from the sea hadn’t been a dream; two, she was dry, if somewhat underdressed under a blanket on a small bed, and three, there was an odd looking creature with wings, eating something fruity-smelling that had a thick, green shell.

“W-Who are you?” Elisa asked.

Turning around, the creature’s wide green eyes regarded her for a split moment, before he hastily swallowed the mouthful he had in his beak. “Err, hello! A-he… feeling better?” It looked down at the half-eaten rind in its paws, before turning to hand it to her. “H-Hu-Hungry?”

Brushing the hair from in front of her eyes, the policewoman eyed it with a touch of distaste. “Ah, no thanks.” Looking around, she asked, “Wasn’t there someone else around here? I… don’t remember seeing you when I was pulled out of the sea.”

Niddler scratched his head before he realized what she was saying. “Oh, well, sure there’s other people on board,” he chuckled. “The Wraith doesn’t steer itself.”

“Right,” Elisa replied, somewhat relieved.

Just then, the door to the cabin opened, admitting a young woman in pink-colored clothes with embroidered trim. One look at the stranger, and she smiled. “Thank Kunda, you’re awake.” Crossing over to the bed, she made a quick check of Elisa’s life-beat and color. “Are you all right?”

“I’ve been better,” Elisa answered. “Can you please tell me where I am?”

Casting a look at Niddler, the woman replied, “You are… on the Wraith. A ship harbored in Oktopon.”

Elisa’s mind wrapped around the unfamiliar name, and she sighed heavily. “Great… doesn’t sound like any place I’ve been to yet.”

Tula frowned, but she recovered and asked, “May I ask who you might be, Miss…?”

“Elisa. Elisa Maza, from New York City.”

Niddler twitched. “Never heard of a port or a city with that name.”

“Niddler! Be polite!” Tula said sharply. “My name is Tula, from Andoris. If you’re up to it, we can get you dressed and then you can speak to Ren, our captain.”

Elisa nodded. “I’d like that. Anything to feel more human again.” She cast her dark eyes around the cabin. “Um, just what happened to my clothes?”

With a laugh, Tula explained, “They’re drying above deck. Niddler? Could you go help the others?” Cradling his rind, the Monkey-Bird shuffled towards the door. As soon as he was gone, Tula crossed the cabin to where a small trunk sat. “I think some of my old clothes should do until yours are dry.”

With a slight grin, Elisa sat up on the cot. “Right now, I’d wear a toga, just to preserve my dignity!”

Tula shot an amused look over her shoulder. “Well, we don’t have… whatever that is, but I do have tunics and leggings to spare…”

*     *     *

Moments later, dressed in a dark-blue tunic that was long enough to hand down to the tops of her knees, along with matching leggings over a spare pair of boots, Elisa emerged from below with Tula in tow. Looking around, Elisa could see that she was on a small, one-mast ship, sailing with what Derrek would have called a ‘following sea’.

“Hoi! Tula!” A voice called from behind the two. “How is our passenger doing?”

Tula turned with Elisa, glaring at the tall man at the helm. “She is doing fine, you pirate!” Motioning towards him, she told Elisa, “That’s Ioz, one of the worst seamen on the face of Myrr.”

“You forget, woman,” the swarthy man added with pride, “I’m one of the most famous pirates on the thirteen seas!”

Tula rolled her eyes. Just then, a creak from the rigging heralded the arrival of the last of the Wraith’s crew. With a smile, the ecomancer waved him over. “Elisa, this is Ren, Prince of Oktopon.”

With a slight bow, the dusky-skinned youth smiled at Elisa. “Welcome aboard.”

“Thank you… I think,” Elisa replied.

“Now that you’re rested,” Ren prompted, “perhaps you can tell us how you came to be out on open water, without a ship?”

“Well, I was on a ship,” Elisa explained. “A skiff, actually.”

Tula and Ren exchanged a surprised look.

“A skiff?” Ioz called from the helm. “What sort of a Krel-eater takes a skiff out into the deep water?”

“I didn’t have much of a choice,” Elisa shot back, not liking his tone. “My friends and I… well, we sort of ended up on your world by accident, and we–.”

Ren interrupted, “Wait, ‘on our world’? What do you mean by that?”

Elisa sighed. “It’s… kind of complicated. But, let me try to explain…” As compactly as she could, she told the three natives about her friends, their journey, and the strange circumstances that got them on Myrr in the first place.

After she paused, Tula’s eyes were wide in surprise. “Amazing! A whole other world! And you used magic to get to our world!”

Ren rubbed the backs of his fingers under his chin in thought. “It’s more than power, Tula. I think… somehow, one of the Treasures has something to do with this.”

“Treasures? That was a jewel of some kind that reacted with the Phoenix Gate,” Elisa said.

Nodding, Ren pulled out a pouch and opened it, letting its contents shine in the afternoon sun. “If it looked like these, then it was possibly one of the Thirteen Treasures of Rul.” Tilting the bag, Ren let Elisa see two objects-large gems that were wrapped in precious metal-resting in the sackcloth.

“Those look just like the one we encountered!”

“And what is this Phoenix Gate?” Tula asked.

“It’s a talisman. It allows a person to travel through space and time, in the blink of an eye.”

“Skorpango!” Ioz uttered from where he was steering. “An object like that would be useful to a pirate!”

Ren shot Ioz a quelling look, before reaching into his tunic to remove a glittering object. “Then, I assume this is the Gate you refer to? I found it on the deck this morning after you were taken below.”

Elisa gasped, taking the Gate from the young Prince. “Goliath must have shoved this into my coat before he threw me overboard!”

Ren blinked. “Your friend did what?!?”

“We were being run down by what we thought was a sea monster,” the raven-haired detective said, “so, to save me, Goliath threw me clear before he and Angela and Bronx were swallowed alive. But, when it passed, I could see it looked like a large… ship of some kind.”

“A ship? Like a sea monster?!?” Tula gasped. “Ren! There’s only one ship that fits that description!”

Ren nodded grimly. “The Maelstrom! Bloth’s ship!”

Elisa looked from one person to the other. “Who’s Bloth?”

“Just the biggest sack of bilge-sucking scum to ever walk on two legs,” Ioz growled.

“He’s also the master of the largest crew of cutthroats on all the seas of Myrr,” Tula added. “He’s obsessed with trying to rule the world.”

“And, if you and your friends were swamped by the Maelstrom,” Ren said, “it’s a sure bet they are prisoners aboard her.”

Elisa sagged in partial relief. “W-Well, can’t we go and get them out of there!?”

Ren sighed, “It is possible, but Bloth knows us. We’ve been running from him ever since I was charged with finding the Treasures.” He quickly retold the purpose of the Treasures, and the threat of Dark Water on the world to Elisa. “We recovered seven, and they now rest in safety in Oktopon.”

“We have to find the other six,” Tula said, “before Bloth and the Dark Dweller’s disciples find them first.”

“Wait! If you’re looking for those things, and if it’s possible one of them brought me and my friends here, then you’ll have to go after this Bloth person!” Elisa said, hoping they wouldn’t refuse. “My friend Angela has that gem we encountered!”

“What?!?” Ren gasped.

“By Kun’da! If Bloth searches her friend,” Tula breathed, “he’ll have one of the remaining six to hand over to the Dark Dweller!”

Ren looked up sharply to Ioz. “We have to find the Maelstrom!”

“That’s easier said than don, Ren!” the pirate said curtly. “We lost them the other night in a fog bank, and haven’t seen them since!”

“We have to find them, my friend, or else Bloth will have a bargaining piece to use against us, as well as a chance to get the Dark Dweller on his side!” Ren called up to Niddler, who was resting in the crow’s nest. “Niddler! Come here!”

The Monkey-Bird swiftly descended to the deck. “You called, Ren?”

“You used to be a slave on Bloth’s ship,” Ren reasoned. “Where would Bloth most likely said for?”

Niddler hummed and hemmed. “Well, if he wants to acquire more slaves, he would head for Pandowa, but… if I remember correctly, if he just wants to put ashore for supplies, he’ll head straight for Jonda Town.”

Ren turned to Elisa. “Don’t worry. Ioz! Set sail for Jonda Town! Even if Bloth’s not there, we can get information on where he’ll most likely be.”

Turning the big wheel, Ioz called back, “Now, you’re talking, Ren! Course set for Jonda Town!! Tula, Niddler! Rig the sails for fast running!”

“Aye-aye!” Tula replied. Together, she and the Monkey-Bird scrambled aloft to adjust the ropes.

“It will take us until late tonight to reach Jonda Town,” Ren said. Looking away to the sea, he said to Elisa, “I just pray that Bloth hasn’t found the Treasure or your friends yet.”

“You and me both,” Elisa said softly. “Because, without that Treasure… I don’t think I or my friends will ever get home…”

*     *     *     *     *

~ Aboard The Maelstrom, At Sunset ~

With a grinding crackle of stone chips, Goliath, Angela and Bronx awoke for the first time in the belly of the prison known all over Myrr as the Kramadorn; and it wasn’t a good night to wake up there.

The first thing they heard was the grunting cry of horror, which made them look out through the bars again. Instead of the jailer that had first greeted them, a small, pig-faced runt of a man was standing there, his shovel- shaped jaw dropped in shock as she pointed a stubby hand at them.

“Noi-gh’aht!” the little man scuffed his one foot against the floor, the other limb tapping the end of a peg-leg against the chair he had been just recently sitting on. “The sta’tues… they are alive!”

Angela looked to Goliath, the question evident on her face.

“It appears the people in this world have never seen gargoyles before,” her father said sagely.

“A good thing, too. They could have smashed us while we were asleep,” Angela admitted.

Somewhere out of their line of sight, a door slammed open, followed by the rush of booted feet as several bodies came careening around the corner. At the head of the press of bodies, the jailer from the previous night gawped at the sight of the now-animated gargoyles. “Noi-borka! W-What did you do to them, Konch!?”

The little man scrambled to his feet, glaring hotly if still fearfully at the jailer. “Bah! Konch did no’ting!” He paused, making a growling sound before spitting on the ground. “Just sat on stupid stool!”

The jailer looked at his fellows, perplexed. “W-Well, you must have done something! When I came in to check the cages, those three were stone stiff!”

This caused the others to murmur. “Sorcery, perhaps?” “Aye, ’tis not natural!”

Goliath sighed heavily. “Humans are as fearful of the unknown as they are in our world.”

“Well… we were supposed to take them to Lord Bloth,” one of the more nervous men uttered. “You know how he gets when the new prisoners aren’t brought to see him come first light.”

The jailer swallowed heavily. “Well, we’d better get some of the heavier chains then! That big one looks like he could snap a dagron in two!” He turned to Konch with a sour look. “You get a harness for that… dog of theirs. N-Now, let’s get movin’!”

*     *     *

And so, Goliath and Angela were dragged from the Kramadorn by several of the Jailer’s comrades, with Bronx being led by a rather timid, but proud looking Konch in the rear of the press.

The entire party rolled up onto the main deck, where the Manhattan leader could see more barbarians in the masts, the rigging, and along the side-rails of what appeared to be a monstrous ship. Off to one side, a rather bedraggled group of people-all in chains like they were-were being escorted below by several of the other pirates.

“Father,” Angela said under her breath, after she eyed the prisoners expectantly. “I don’t like the look of this! They haven’t got Elisa!”

“Let us hope she is safe, until we can find a way to reason with the captain of this ship!” Goliath replied as they were finally brought next to a large, bone-grate in the center of the ship.

“Silence, Beast! Move along, or I’ll feel you to the Constrictus!” one of the tougher members of the bunch herding the gargoyles snarled.

“Watch your tongue, dog,” came a snide reply from the steps above, as a man as thin as a rake came down to take charge. He had a sharp face, with a thin-tailed mustache and long unkempt black hair that seemed to just barely hang onto the back of his skull. “The prisoners were to be brought forward, not damaged! And why were they not brought out last night!?”

The jailer stammered, repeating what had happened since he went to check on the trio that morning, and what happened now. “S-S-So, you see, Mantus… I-I-I couldn’t just bring stone s-statues in front of Bloth, knowing he wanted to see l-live prisoners!”

The thin man stroked on of his two thin mustaches. “You have a point, you worm! Now get back below and tend to the Kramadorn! I’ll take these to Lord Bloth.”

With a bobbed nod, the jailer turned and scuttled away.

Goliath sized the man up, then spoke, “I would ask to speak with the captain of this ship.”

At that, several pirates began to laugh cruelly. “Oh! He’s a polite one, isn’t he!?”

Mantus only snorted. “The captain will see you only when it pleases him to do so! Until then, you speak to me, and only when I allow you to!” To add effect to his words, he uncoiled a long, thin whip, which he cracked over the gargoyles heads.

Goliath snarled, “We have done nothing to you or your crew! We are gargoyles, and we do not belong in this world!”

“I care not where you came from, beast,” Mantus sneered. “On the Maelstrom, you will do as you are told, when you are told, and you will learn never to talk back to your betters!” Another crack of the whip left a long weal across Goliath’s chest.

Angela and Bronx snarled, hampered by their bonds against coming to Goliath’s aid. “You have no honor! What sort of captain would allow innocent travelers to be treated in such a way!”

At that, a deep voice rumbled, “The kind that does not care what happens to any souls that cross his path … except for ones that make him… curious.”

Mantus stalked over to where the speaker was leaned up against one of the side rails and said, “My Lord, we brought the prisoners that we secured from the sea this night! What shall we do with them?”

To the shock of the gargoyles, the person Mantus was addressing shifted and turned, revealing that he appeared to be a man . . . but a kind of man that neither Angela or Goliath had ever seen before! He was large and bulbous, supporting on to tree-trunk legs a torso and belly that surpassed Broadway’s. Two arms that could even rival Goliath’s own sprouted from this, and every exposed inch of his skin was colored a pale, sallow shade. Except for a drooping mustache and beard, he was completely bald. One ear had a nick and an earring, while one eye was yellow in color, leaving the other eye clouded over with some type of miasma. Thick blue lips under a large nose, which were twisted in a sneer as the man walked his eye over the forms of the Gargoyles.

“Well, well, Mantus . . . what sort of creatures are these? The look like the old Dagron-Master . . . except this little one,” he said, giving Angela an appraising look that touched briefly on lust, “is a sight more prettier!”

“They call themselves Gar-Goils, Lord, and they claim to not belong to this world!”

The one eye arched upwards. “Really?” Bloth’s ponderous bulk shifted so he could face them head on. “Then, what were you doing on the open sea at night?”

Angela tried not to blanch. “N-No reason.”

Bloth laughed evilly. “Everyone is on the ocean for a reason, especially me! Now, come my friends . . . tell me why you were on the high seas in such a small craft, hm? What ship were you traveling on?”

“First, tell us who you are,” Goliath replied, drawing himself up to be eye to eye with the mountain of a man, “and why your men took us prisoner?”

The man laughed again before answering, “My name is Bloth, and I am the most feared pirate lord on the seven seas of Myrr! As for why you are my prisoners,” he sneered, “I simply choose to do so. No one rides the seas in the path of the Maelstrom, unless they have something to hide . . . or they want to take something from me!”

“No one DARE to challenge Bloth . . . unless they wish to meet Great Maker! Ahh-PTOO!!” Konch spat.

“So true, you pig-faced Smul-Brain,” Bloth said under his breath, casting a sideways glance at the little janza pig. “Now, I’ll not ask again . . . why are you three in such a small boat on the high seas?”

Goliath said nothing, but his eyes glowered at the pirate king.

“Is stubborn beast,” Konch grunted.

Mantus unlimbered his whip. “Allow me to loosen its tongue for you, My Lord.” Several of the crew members nodded and laughed in harsh agreement.

“No, Mantus,” Bloth said, holding up one white-skinned hand. “I think I have a better way to get the answers I seek.” Stepping over towards Angela, Bloth grinned like a predator shark. “Tell me, beast… does this pretty thing mean anything to you?” At that, Angela tried to step away, her eyes flashing crimson.

Goliath’s reaction was more graphic. “Leave her be!”

Bloth’s face twisted up with measured glee. “Well, well… she does at that. I believe then we can dispense with the usual methods, Mantus.” Turning to face his second-in-command, he nodded towards the center of the ship’s massive deck. “Take her to the Pit!”

At that, the entire crew within earshot began to take up a chant; “The Pit! The Pit! The Pit! The Pit! The Pit!”

One pirate jumped to the top of a handy barrel. “Takin’ all odds! The Creature versus the Pit!” A swarm of men nearly buried the bet taker, as gold and gems were put out.

Throughout it all, Goliath and Angela were dragged along by their keepers, following the bulk of their captain and the wiry form of his second. Even as they struggled, the two gargoyles could see it was no use; the chains were too strong. And all the while, the air rang with the chat of, “The Pit! The Pit!”

Suddenly, the press of bodies parted, and Goliath spied a huge grate made of long bones, fixed to the deck. At some silent command, four stout men lifted the grate, swinging it away on a massive hinge. It was here that Bloth had the handlers separate Angela from her father, pulling her until her talons hung over the edge of the opening now exposed.

The handlers backed away from Angela, just as Bloth stepped closer, leering into her lovely face. Taking her chin between one large forefinger and thumb, he forced her to look into his one good eye as he regarded her for a drawn-out moment.

“Last chance, gar-goil,” he said, speaking to Goliath. “Tell me what I want to know, or this little slip of a female meets her fate in the Pit.”

Angela looked at the pirate aghast, but she shouted to her father sternly. “Don’t tell him anything, Goliath!”

Goliath, torn between saving her and keeping how they got there a secret, could only watch helplessly and say, “Angela!?!”

“Tell Lord Bloth what he wishes,” Mantus prompted.

Looking at the hard set of Angela’s stare, and the leering look on Bloth’s face, Goliath suddenly set his jaw stubbornly. Drawing himself up, he held his tongue and growled softly, promising menace for Bloth and his crew.

Seeing the way Goliath seemed to go iron, Bloth released Angela’s face and shrugged. “Suit yourself.” With a speed deceptive of his bulk, the massive pirate thrust one arm out, shoving Angela with all of his strength. Caught off guard, the female sailed the length of the Pit, only to crash roughly against the far side. Goliath barely had a moment to watch, before gravity reached up and snatched his only blood-daughter down into the darkness below…

*     *     *     *     *

TO BE CONTINUED…

*     *     *     *     *

Will Angela survive the Pit? Or will Goliath tell Bloth of the Phoeniz Gate and it’s powers? And will Elisa and the crew of the Wraith find them in time? Find out in Part Two, to come in the next issue of Avalon Mists!

*     *     *

List of Expletives of Myrr & How to Pronounce Them

Noi-gh’aht! [noy-jeTAT]
Gh’ahtan [jeTAT-en]
Skorpango! [score-PANgo]
Nagha Dog! [na-JA]
Gh’ana Boy! [je-TA-na]
Noi-Borka! [noy-BORG-a]
Smul-Brain! [SMOOL]
Janza Pig! [GAN-tha]
Kun’da [coon-DA]
Krel-eater! [KRIL]

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