Hello everyone this is Writing Avenger 2016
And my name is Author of the Insane, his best friend and co-writer.
As you are no doubt aware, the two of us have decided to combine my TMNT: Turtle Power story with AoI's Gargoyles: Modern Day story.
But recently, we've both been doing some thinking, and we've decided to do a little… revamping.
Part of the reason I've neglected to work on this story is because I've felt it was severely lacking in places. Thus, it's going to get a major overhaul.
So be prepared for a lot of changes, and a lot of rewrites, and we both hope you enjoy this retelling of Shells and Stones.
At a small undisturbed cliffside in Scotland, a large castle sat overlooking the ocean. It's structure was crumbling and covered in vegetation, completely untouched by mankind for centuries. This changed when a large jeep drove through the forest surrounding the castle, approaching the structure without hesitation. It came to a stop as a man stepped out of the driver's seat, a man known as David Xanatos. He was a man of greek descent, long brown hair in a ponytail, sporting a neatly trimmed beard. Following him was Owen Burnett, a pale man with short, blonde hair and glasses, a bored expression on his face. Finally, the back seat opened, allowing Willow Xanatos, a teenage girl with bright blue hair and a face covered in freckles, to climb out. She joined the two men, all three looking up at the castle.
"This is it, isn't it?" she questioned, clutching an ancient, leatherbound book to her chest. "Castle Wyvern..."
"The very same," Xanatos confirmed.
"I can't believe it's still standing..." she gasped in awe. "It's been over a thousand years."
"Some legends are so powerful they can withstand the test of time. I only hope that's the same for our true prize."
Willow grinned, sliding the book in her arms into a messenger bag on her hip.
"Race you to the tower!" she called, already bolting for the shattered gate of the castle.
"Oh no you don't!" Xanatos called back as he chased after her.
The two ran through the gate and across the courtyard, making their way to the tallest tower of the castle. Willow managed to reach the top first, her father trailing right behind her as they walked out onto the battlement. There, overlooking the entire land, was a statue that was covered in vines. Despite the vegetation all over the statue, it appeared to be completely untouched by the thousand years of erosion the castle suffered.
"Dad, I think that's him," Willow whispered, pulling the book from her satchel and flipping through the pages until she reached a sketch of a strange creature. "See?"
Xanatos looked at the sketch before turning back towards the statue, a smile gracing his face.
"Owen, make the offer," he ordered.
Owen, who had elected not to race like his employer, reached the top of the stairs as he pulled out his phone.
"I should warn you that the cost of this venture will be astronomical, even for someone of your standing, sir."
"Start hiring crews. I want to begin as soon as possible."
"It may prove difficult to find the necessary manpower," Owen warned again as he started dialing. "This castle has a bad reputation. The locals consider it haunted."
"You know the answer to that, Owen," Xanatos replied, looking over the statue, pulling off some vines to reveal more of its true form. "Pay a man enough, and he'll walk barefoot into hell."
Owen turned away to make the call, leaving Xanatos and Willow to examine the statue, a massive, long haired gargoyle.
Within the next few months, the castle was taken apart brick by brick, with the utmost care being given to each brick and the six stone gargoyles that adorned the building. Each was packed carefully into padded crates, shipped off to Xanatos' private skyscraper, the Eyrie Building. From his recently refurbished office located in the former throne room of the castle, Xanatos oversaw everything.
"The dining hall will need to be completely refurbished," he declared, looking over some blueprints. "Modernize, but try to maintain a more rustic appearance."
"Can I have one of the towers for my room?" Willow asked. "I know you claimed the Magus' tower for your lab, but the idea of having a castle tower bedroom just sounds awesome in so many ways."
Xanatos cracked a smile.
"Already have one reserved for you. Your stuff is being moved in as we speak."
Willow did a silent fist pump as the door to the office opened.
"Excuse me, sir," Owen spoke up, entering the room. "I'm sorry to intrude, but something has come up."
"I see," Xanatos replied before turning to Willow. "Why don't you go ahead and start planning your room. With any luck, you can be fully moved in by nightfall."
Willow nodded, taking the hint and slipping out of the room. Once the door closed, Xanatos' face grew serious.
"What is it, Owen?"
"I'm afraid one of the convoys has been hijacked," Owen answered, bringing up the information on a tablet in his hand.
"We're missing several pieces from the eastern wall… as well as one of the statues."
"I need the whole thing for it to work… do we have any idea who took it or why?"
"The Why is simple. You're the richest man in New York, and it's no secret how much money you've put into this project. As for the who..." He turned his tablet to show dash cam footage of the heist, where several punks with large, purple dragon tattoos were holding the driver at gunpoint, "It's them."
Out on the streets, the truck was being driven wildly by several members of the famed Purple Dragons street gang. They were all laughing wildly at their success, continuing their reckless driving.
"Aw man, I can't believe we did it!" one Dragon exclaimed.
"What do ya think we got, Dragon Face?" a rotund Dragon questioned.
"I dunno, Two-Ton," a Dragon sporting the signature tattoo across his face answered. "But whatever it is, it's frikken heavy, so it's gotta be worth something!"
They finally came to a stop in a large warehouse, dragon graffiti covering the building. They pulled inside and hopped out, opening the back door so they could access the crates inside. All of them were labeled "fragile", but there was a larger crate that was completely strapped down to almost excessive means. Seeing it, the dragons all chuckled darkly.
"That one first," Dragon Face declared.
One of the dragons pulled out a crowbar and used it to open up the crate. They looked inside, seeing that it contained a stone gargoyle. This one was smaller than the one Xanatos and Willow had admired, sporting a pair of thin horns on its head, and a large, beak-like mouth.
"What is this?" the dragon let out. "Did we just lift some rich guys' lawn furniture?"
They began ripping open the other boxes, only finding crumbling stones inside. Dragon Face was boiling with rage at this point, throwing his crowbar across the warehouse.
"Nothing! We just stole a bunch of useless, worthless rocks!"
"What should we do with em, boss?" Two Ton asked.
"I don't give a flip. Smash 'em for all I care!"
The dragon's grinned, grabbing whatever blunt instruments they could get their hands on as they prepared to vent on the stone. However, before they could, several throwing stars whizzed through the window, shattering the overhead lights. The dragons all froze, eyes going wide as they searched the gloom.
"No, no, no!" Dragon Face screamed. "Not them! Not now!"
One of the dragons slowly backed away when a wooden staff poked out of the shadows, tripping him to the ground. Before he could get up, something grabbed hold of him and dragged him into the shadows. Another was looking around in terror, gripping a crowbar like his life depended on it. He got a chain wrapped around his wrist and yanked him into a metal beam. This knocked him out before he was pulled up into the rafters, vanishing into the darkness. At this point, some of the dragons were getting scared, grabbing guns and shooting randomly into the darkness. Just then, two sai shot out, knocking the guns out of their hands and pinning them to the wall.
"Screw this!" Dragon Face cried out. "I'm getting out of here!"
He made for the door, but twin blades appeared out of nowhere, aimed right at his throat.
"You're not going anywhere," a voice threatened, right before the source kicked him in the head.
Sometime later, the police had received an anonymous tip about where to find the stolen truck, following it to the warehouse. Arriving at the location, they found the dragons all on their knees in front of the warehouse, the truck untouched and all the crates resealed. One of the officers, a Detective by the name of Elisa Maza, got out of her car to survey the scene. Her companion, an officer named Morgan, joined her.
"Looks like the New York Ninjas struck again," Morgan mused, adjusting his cap.
"Mr. Xanatos will be happy to get his truck back," Maza nodded, glancing at the building itself.
As Morgan began processing the goons, Maza walked around the side of the building, seeing that all of the Purple Dragon Graffiti was now covered up. In its place was a massive green circle, and a pair Japanese characters: "家族".
"More of those characters?" Morgan asked, shoving Dragon Face into his squad car. "What's it say?"
"What all of them always say. Kazuko, or Family."
Up on a nearby rooftop, the four figures that thwarted the robbery climbed up top, revealing themselves to be anthropomorphic turtles in technicolored ninja masks, knee and elbow pads, and carrying various japanese weapons.
"That was sick!" the orange masked turtle, Michelangelo, proclaimed. "We took those punks down like they were nothing!"
"Did you see the look on that guy's face when D smashed it into the concrete?" the red masked turtle, Raphael, jeered. "Wish I'd been the one to do that."
"Hey, you're the one that took out all those guns," the purple masked turtle, Donatello, reminded his brother. "If you hadn't, we'd all be swiss cheese."
"An A plus effort all around," Leonardo in blue commended. "I think our training has really come a long way. Splinter would approve."
"So what'd those guys want with a bunch of rocks?" Mikey asked, looking back at the warehouse.
"If I had to wager a guess, I'd say they didn't know what they were stealing," Donnie surmised. "I think all they saw was the Xanatos Enterprises logo on the truck and thought they could get rich."
"The statue looked pretty cool though," Raph commented. "Maybe next time we're rooftop running, we'll see him perched on some balcony."
"I wouldn't bet on that. From what I heard, all that stuff is going to a special project David Xanatos has been working on at his personal skyscraper."
"Right," Leo nodded. "The Eyrie building. Apparently, it's going to be taller than even the Empire State building, and topped with some castle he's moving from Scotland."
Raph scoffed, rolling his eyes.
"What would possess a guy to move an entire, ancient Scottish castle to New York?"
"No idea. But he's gone to great lengths to see it through. I kinda wanna check it out once it's finished."
"You ask me, it's a lot of fuss over a guy with way too much money, and way too much free time on his hands."
"Speaking of time, we should get back to Master Splinter," Leo insisted.
The other turtles nodded before moving out. Leo paused for a moment, looking back at the departing truck and wondering himself what Xanatos could be planning. He brushed it off for now, taking off after his brothers.
A few days, the rest of the castle was completed, every stone in place, and every gargoyle erected along the battlements. Xanatos dismissed the last of the workers as they finished, Owen transferring the last of the payments to the workers as they left for the night. By this point, the sun was beginning to set, and Xanatos was getting anxious. He wasn't the only one, as Willow was practically bouncing on her heels from excitement.
"Do you think it will work?" Willow questioned as they ventured up the stairs to the top of the tallest tower.
"I should hope so," Xanatos replied, he and his daughter coming to a stop next to the massive stone gargoyle they'd marveled at back in Scotland. "Otherwise, I will be very disappointed."
Both stood by, watching as the sun began to set in the distance, vanishing beneath the cloudy sea that seemed to surround the building. As the last rays of sunlight vanished, the sky began to fill with ominous dark clouds that swirled around the castle. An unnatural wind began to blow about, and loud claps of thunder resonated through the sky. Xanatos turned up the collar of the trench coat he was wearing, Willow pulling her own coat closer to her body.
"What's happening?!" she called over the howling wind.
That was when a loud crack caught both of their attention. It wasn't thunder, not by a longshot. It sounded almost like cracking stone. This realization hit both Xanatoses as their eyes were drawn to the gargoyle statue before them. Large cracks were beginning to form across its skin. Instinctively, the duo took a step back, Xanatos bringing up a hand to shield Willow. Suddenly, the rocky skin of the gargoyle exploded outward, spraying the immediate area with shards of stone. However, the gargoyle was still there on its perch, perfectly intact. However, there was one big difference… It was made of flesh.
The gargoyle's skin was a purplish hue, dark brown hair flowing down to the center of its back, and a burlap loin cloth serving as its only clothing. Its eyes flashed a bright white as it slowly stood up, stretching its muscular limbs and spreading its massive wings. It let out a loud growl that made Willow's heart skip a beat. Xanatos too found himself with a racing heart.
"Yes…" he whispered under his breath, an almost neurotic smile on his face.
Similar noises began to resonate from the lower battlements, where five other statues had been erected. Willow ran to the edge of the battlements, peering down just in time to watch each gargoyle begin to crack through its stone skin, revealing the flesh and blood creatures underneath. They all stretched and howled, louder than any thunderstorm imaginable, eyes glowing brightly upon their awakening.
"I can't believe it…." Willow whispered. "The tale was true."
The purple gargoyle instantly jumped down onto the lower battlement, a relieved and excited smile on its face. Upon seeing their large companion, the five gargoyles all broke out into massive grins, holding one another tightly.
"You're awake!" the purple gargoyle bellowed in pure excitement. "You're alive!"
All of them began exchanging hugs in a heartwarming scene that had the two observing humans smiling. Xanatos then turned to his daughter, ushering her towards the stairs.
"Go on," he insisted. "Introduce yourself."
Eyes lighting up, Willow bolted for the stairs as Xanatos continued to watch the reunion. The gargoyles were excited to be awake, that much was obvious, but as the enchanted winds died down and the clouds parted, all of them gasped at the massive city below. Cheers of happiness became whispers of fear and suspicious growls, their eyes glowing on instinct.
"Where are we?" one of the gargoyles, an older one with brown skin and white hair, questioned.
Before any of the creatures could even begin to answer, one of them, a beast without wings that almost seemed to be some sort of dog, sniffed the air and began growling. Instantly, the other five turned to see Willow emerging from the doorway to their level of the battlements, staring at them with an awestruck expression.
"It really worked..." she whispered.
"Who are you?" the large purple one demanded. "Where are we?"
"My name is Willow, and you're in New York City."
"How did we get here?" a small, bald gargoyle with olive skin and wings that were fused to its arms questioned. "And how are we awake?"
"That, my friends, is a very long story," Xanatos declared, stepping out of the shadows behind his daughter and looking at the larger gargoyle. "You are the one they call Goliath, right?"
"Yes," he confirmed.
Meanwhile, deep underground in the large storm drains that ran beneath the city, a secret lair laid hidden amidst the tepid waters. Despite the grimy surroundings, it was a warm and welcoming home, one that belonged to the ninja turtles. At present, the four of them were sitting on a couch in what served as their living room, watching a news broadcast on Channel Six.
"Ugh..." Raph groaned, sitting on the couch upside down. "Do we have to watch the dumb news? I mean, it's not even April on the screen."
"April comes on here in a bit, and I don't want to miss her segment," Leo informed him.
"Yeesh, you sound like Donnie after he saw April reporting in that jumpsuit," Mikey quipped.
"Hey, I just happened to appreciate her giving due credit to the New York Sanitation Department," Donnie defended. "Those men do good work."
"Uh huh," Raph replied coyly. "Look, I'm just saying, ya think we could at least watch something fun while we wait for April to come on?"
"Yeah, dude," Mikey agreed. "Hey, I think the Beagle Birds have a new episode coming out. In it, Englabeth and Britannia expose their adoptive family's evil crime spree!"
"No," Leo shot down. "April's covering the official opening of the Eyrie Building, and that includes a virtual tour. I won't miss a minute of it."
"Yeesh, what's your deal with that place?" Raph asked. "For all we know, bringing home castles like this could be a rich guy version of collecting stamps."
"Maybe, but I just can't shake this feeling like we're missing something. I mean, if he was just bringing a castle here for the heck of it, then why would he care about some stones or a statue going missing? You know police response time is never as fast as it was that night unless someone is pushing for quick action."
"Maybe he's a completionist?" Mikey suggested. "I know when I start on a pizza I'm not satisfied until I finish the whole box."
"This is serious, Mikey!" Leo snapped, surprising his brother. "I don't know why, but everything in me is telling me that there's something fishy going on in that building."
"Leonardo," a commanding voice spoke up.
The four turtles turned to see a large mutant rat in traditional Japanese robes, a jade green walking in his hand, and his left ear missing, entering into the room. This was Master Splinter, their teacher, sensei, and the only father any of them had ever known.
"Your concern for this situation is understandable," he reassured. "But one cannot act on concern alone, nor allow such concerns to cloud one's mind."
"I'm… sorry, Sensei. I just can't shake this nagging feeling that something's going on. I know I need more information, and that's why this segment is so important to me."
"While I applaud your efforts to investigate before acting, you must remember not to let your frustration out on your brothers. You are their leader, and their family, and such actions can lead to great strife down the road."
Leo took a breath before bowing.
Back at the Eyrie Building, the Gargoyles all followed Willow and Xanatos inside to the dining hall. As Xanatos had instructed, it was completely refurbished. While it still looked like a room pulled right from the medieval period, the windows were paned and electricity ran through the room, replacing torches and a candle chandelier with modern lights. The fireplace already had a fire crackling within, illuminating the Castle Wyvern tapestries that Xanatos had restored.
"How long has it been?" Goliath asked, glancing around the room as he remembered the rough interior from before the spell.
"This may come as a shock," Xanatos replied. "But over a thousand years have passed since the spell was cast."
The gargoyles were stunned to say the least. They glanced at each other with shocked expressions before one of the gargoyles, a red one with long white hair and a long beak-like mouth, spoke up.
"How did you know about the spell? Or us for that matter?"
"From the Grimorum," Willow answered, reaching into her messenger bag to pull out the book. "Dad recently got a hold of it, and it tells the entire story. There was even a sketch of you, Goliath. It's how we found you."
"How did you do it?" a large, rotund, light blue gargoyle with fin-like ears asked. "How did you break the spell keeping us asleep?"
"The spell was designed to break once the castle rose above the clouds," Willow explained, setting the Grimorum down on a nearby pedestal. "When dad rebuilt the castle atop the Eyrie Building, it met the criteria."
Suddenly, a smaller gargoyle with wings fused to its arms perked up, large eyes widening in fear and horror.
"The eggs in the Rookery!" he exclaimed. "What happened to them?!"
Xanatos looked down, as did Willow, the latter rubbing her arm sadly.
"We do not know of their fate," Xanatos informed him.
"The Magus' tale speaks of him and the princess escaping with the eggs, but he was forced to abandon the book, so it is unclear whether the eggs made it or not," Willow added. "But, even if by some miracle they did survive, it's been over a millenia, and you are the only gargoyles we know of."
"I'm sorry," Xanatos told them, sounding genuinely remorseful.
The gargoyles all looked down, crushed by this news. After a moment, Goliath spoke up once more.
"Why have you done all this?" he asked.
Xanatos' smile returned as he straightened up.
"I was fascinated by the Magus' story. I wanted to see if it was true."
"And now that it is, maybe we can be friends," Willow added, a hopeful smile on her face. "This world has changed so much since you've been asleep, and I know it will be hard to adjust, but..." she reached out, taking his claws in her hands, "perhaps we can help each other."
"How?" Goliath questioned.
Before either of the humans could answer, the sound of helicopter blades filled the air. Everyone's eyes flew upward, drawn to the sound.
"Dad?" Willow let out. "Are you expecting visitors?"
"No, I am not," he replied, walking towards the stairs leading to the courtyard. "Willow, stay here with the gargoyles. You'll be safe."
He immediately left the room, leaving the Gargoyles to give each other suspicious and hardened glances. Willow just watched her dad walk out, gritting her teeth in annoyance.
"Dad, wait!" she called, rushing after him. "Dad!"
Seeing her go off, the Gargoyles decided to follow as well, each getting the feeling that they wouldn't like what they found.
Outside, Xanatos walked out into the main courtyard, searching the skies for the source of the noises. He didn't have long to search before a large attack helicopter rose up from beyond the battlements. A large spotlight shown down on Xanatos, momentarily blinding him as several figures descended from the copter via ropes. There were about five of them, men and women all clad in identical dark blue uniforms with grey armor, helmets with red visors obscuring the top half of their faces.
"Secure the area!" one demanded.
As they all went to do whatever it was they came to do, the one who'd spoken up, the leader most likely, jumped down to face Xanatos. He aimed a high powered rifle at Xanatos, making the man tense, gritting his teeth in anger.
"What do you want?" he demanded.
"You'll know soon enough," the leader replied, three of the assailants joining him and aiming their weapons at Xanatos.
Xanatos wearily watched the four holding him at gunpoint, careful to keep his hands in plain sight to avoid being gunned down. Unbeknownst to any of the players in this standoff, the gargoyles and Willow were standing in the shadows of the archway leading to the courtyard. They watched the events unfold, Willow barely suppressing a terrified gasp at the sight of her father's predicament, silently grateful that the gargoyles had intercepted her before she stepped out into the open.
"What's going on?" the red one let out. "Who are these people?"
"They're attacking the castle!" the old one replied. "That's all we need to know!"
Goliath let out an angry roar and leapt from the shadows, followed closely by his clan. The men attacking Xanatos were caught off guard by the angry beasts charging at them, but quickly recovered and began open firing. However, they appeared to be completely outmatched for the speed and ferocity of the Gargoyles. Goliath tossed a single gunman around as if he were a rag doll, the man's training being the only thing that allowed him to regain his footing and continue firing. Xanatos, however, quickly came to Goliath's aid, knocking the gun out of the man's hands and tossing him over his shoulder. Another attacker went to intercept Xanatos but was quickly subdued by the large blue gargoyle.
Elsewhere, the older one was fending off an attacker with a small sword. However, the attacker pulled out a stun gun and shot the gargoyle, sending him to his knees. The red one quickly swooped to the old one's rescue, grabbing the attacker and hoisting him into the air.
"Leave him alone!" he cried as he tossed the attacker across the courtyard.
As the blue one, the green one, and the red one helped the old one to his feet, the attacker regained his footing and pulled out a grenade. He pulled out the pin and lobbed it at the gargoyles. The green one caught it, then tossed it aside, not knowing the danger of the device. Willow acted instinctively, realizing what was about to happen.
"Move!" she shouted, running straight into the gargoyles and knocking them aside.
With a deafening boom, a large explosion shook the ground, sending the five of them flying. The red one grabbed hold of Willow and wrapped his wings around her in a protective cocoon mere seconds before they hit the ground. He unwrapped her as she smiled at him.
"Thanks," she said, getting up.
"Don't mention it," he replied before getting up himself and running back into the fray.
Not wanting to be useless to her new friends, Willow quickly found one of the many secret panels that Xanatos had built into the walls of the castle. She opened it and grabbed the gun hidden inside, running into the fray as well. She saw Goliath facing off against one of the attackers and seized her chance. She fired at the wall above the man, cutting several of the stones loose. The attacker didn't even have time to register surprise before the wall collapsed on top of him. Goliath turned and met Willow's eyes. She gave him a small smile, and he gave her a small nod of thanks.
There wasn't much time for thank yous after that. Soon, the entire courtyard was full of rubble, smoke, laser blasts, gunfire, and gargoyle roars. Left and right, attackers attempted to shoot down the Gargoyles, and each time, their shots were dodged and their guns were wrenched from their hands. Willow and the red one found themselves back to back fighting off attackers that had managed to surround them.
"What kind of Vikings are these?" he asked as he tripped up a pair of attackers with his tail.
"They aren't Vikings," Willow replied, letting off three consecutive shots. "These guys are mercenaries."
"Is there a difference?"
"I'll explain it to you later."
Meanwhile on the castle walls, the old one and Goliath had a moment of respite, which they used to examine a laser gun at length.
"These weapons!" the old one shouted. "We must be dealing with sorcerers!"
"Even so!" Goliath replied, "We will protect this castle at all costs! It is all we have left!"
A female attacker lobbed a grenade at the two gargoyles, who quickly jumped out of the way. Soon, everyone was just too busy trying to stay standing to even think or speak another word. Shots lit up the castle like fireworks. Explosions decimated the castle walls, sending large chunks of rumble tumbling into the clouds.
Back down in the turtle's lair, the logo for Channel Six began to appear, signalling the start of April's segment. Almost immediately, everyone was glued to the television as a red-haired woman appeared on screen. Her hair was short, just brushing her shoulder, and she was wearing a yellow jacket over a white tank top. Upon seeing her, Donnie practically had hearts in his eyes, sighing like a lovesick puppy as Raph rolled his eyes and gagged. Leo ignored them both, more focused on what she had to say.
"This is April O'Neil, coming to you live outside of the Eyrie Building, the recently refurbished headquarters of Xanatos Enterprises. Standing taller than even the great Empire State Building, this behemoth of a skyscraper is set to house a majority of the company's major offices, as well as the private residence of David Xanato himself. However, most surprising of all is the unique topper of this impressive building, an ancient scottish castle, known as Castle Wyvern, that was brought in brick by brick, and rebuilt at the very top. This castle, once considered a haunted place since the late 10th century, was meticulously rebuilt and refurbished. Many have questioned Mr. Xanatos as to his decision to undertake such a venture, but he has yet to give an answer."
"Haunted?" Mikey repeated. "Think there's some sort of story there?"
"Let me take a look," Donnie replied, grabbing his laptop.
He quickly pulled up information on the castle. What he found was a wiki page telling the story of the castle, including an ancient legend.
"Whoa," he let out. "Interesting."
"What is?" Leo asked as he and his brothers huddled around him.
"Well, apparently there is a lot of lore surrounding Castle Wyvern," Donnie explained. "It seems that it was once the home of Princess Katharine, the niece of King Kenneth, ruler of all Scotland."
"Fascinating," Raph replied sarcastically.
"There's more. Apparently, this castle was subject to countless attacks by Vikings, but was able to repel each one despite not having a proper army."
"How'd they pull that off?" Mikey asked.
"...Gargoyles," Donnie answered.
The three stood silent for a moment.
"Gargoyles?" Raph repeated, sounding skeptical as hell "As in those stone statues jutting out of the side of the Empire state building?"
"No, real gargoyles," Donnie clarified. "Legend says that a large clan of gargoyles formed a symbiotic relationship with the humans of the castle. In exchange for being allowed to stay, the gargoyles protected it, and all the humans that lived there."
"But how did it end up a bunch of ruins?" Mikey asked.
"Well, apparently in 994 AD, a group of Vikings launched an invasion at sunrise and completely overtook the castle. It's been abandoned ever since, and nobody was brave enough to venture there due to rumors of the grounds being cursed."
"Until Xanatos decided to haul the entire thing over brick by brick," Leo concluded. "But why?"
Just then, the sound of crashing debris emanated from the TV, causing the turtles to look up and see large chunks of rubble raining down onto the streets. The surrounding people screamed, and April flinched hard.
"Uh… there seems to be… something going on at the top of the tower!" she shouted as explosions rang out across the sky. "Debris is raining down on the street, flattening cars… including the news van!"
More rubble began to fall, this time eliciting a scream from April as the camera dropped to the ground. The footage went sideways and staticy, showing more and more rocks falling. Splinter's eyes narrowed at the sight.
"My sons," he began. "You should go and look into-"
He cut himself off when he saw the living room was empty, Donnie's laptop abandoned on the couch and the weapon's rack tipped over and raided. In the distance, he could hear an engine powering on.
Back up in the castle, a large chunk of the wall was blown open as the gargoyles retreated through it, the red one carrying Willow as they did. Several of the assailants gave chase to them, though one ended up getting chased by the gargoyle beast, who barked and snapped like a truly wild animal. Atop the wall, the leader of the attackers pulled another grenade from his belt, pulling the pin and tossing it right at Goliath. It exploded, sending him flying through the air and right off the edge of the castle.
"Goliath!" Willow screamed.
"Don't worry about him!" the red one assured her. "He's got this!"
Goliath spread his wings, trying to slow his descent and avoid the ground below. As he did, he managed to spot a pair of empty flagpoles jutting out of the side of the building. He grabbed one, hoping it would be enough to hold him, but it snapped off its mooring from sheer force of the fall. With no other option, Goliath dug the claws of both his hands and feet into the side of the building, leaving deep gouges in the stone as he held on for dear life. After sliding down another eight stories or so, he finally came to a stop, much to his relief. He let out a breath, then began climbing back up to the castle.
Beneath him, the rubble from the explosion that sent him tumbling continued its descent to the ground. April, who was just regaining her senses after the last round of stony rain, just barely managed to take cover before it hit. As she coughed to clear her lungs of dust, she felt a hand grab her arm. She jerked up, seeing a woman with long black hair and caramel skin trying to pull her to her feet. It was a woman April knew well enough, having interviewed her many times.
"Detective Maza," April greeted, allowing herself to be escorted to safety.
"Nice to see you too, O'Neil," she greeted back. "Come on, unless you want to end up as street pizza."
They got out of the spray of stones, more falling down by the minute. Both women flinched as April's camera man, Vernon Fenwick, came running over.
"April!" he cried out. "Are you okay?!"
"I'll be better once I know what's going on up there," April replied. "This is weird, even for New York."
"Agreed," Maza nodded, all three looking up at the sky as red lights flashed in the clouds.
Just then, something caught the detective's eye. On one of the larger pieces of rubble, there appeared to be massive claw marks dug into the stone. They were thick and almost perfectly straight, like a precision attack. Seeing her attention drawn elsewhere, April and Vern also laid eyes on the stone.
"Are..." Vern swallowed hard, tugging on the collar of his shirt. "Are those…?"
"Claw marks..." April confirmed.
More explosions drew their attention back to the sky, forcing all three to move once more to avoid becoming "street pizza" themselve. This time, a few more cars were destroyed, and a fire hydrant was completely shattered, water spraying up into the air and raining down on everyone. Maza turned up the collar on her jacket, April and Vern just shielding themselves with their own coats. April's eyes then drifted to the claw marks once more, a sinking feeling in her gut.
"What could be strong enough to leave claw marks in solid stone?"
Within the castle, the fifth of the five assailants looked around, clearly searching for something. He eventually came to a room that was locked with a thumbprint scanner, pulling a strange device from his belt. He attached it to the scanner, causing it to overheat and short circuit. The thick, metal doors slid open, allowing the man access to the room inside.
Back up in the courtyard, the battle continued to wage. The smaller, olive colored gargoyle dove off of the wall, tackling one of the men to the ground. However, the assailant managed to get the upper hand, pinning the gargoyle to the ground by the sensitive skin of his wings. As the smaller gargoyle howled in pain, Goliath finally managed to pull himself back onto the battlements. The second he saw his companion in trouble, his eyes began to glow and he tackled the man, ripping him off his companion. They ended up falling onto the lower levels of the courtyard, where Goliath prepared to finish him off.
Before he could though, one of the female attackers lobbed a cylindrical canister at the rip roaring gargoyle. It bounced along the ground for a moment before green smoke billowed from it, causing Goliath to start to choke. He dropped the man he was holding, who was almost immediately rescued by his companions and pulled out of reach of the gasping gargoyle.
Around that time, the assailant that had been in the castle came running out of the building, holding what appeared to be a small black suitcase in his hands.
"Got it!" he shouted, holding the case in the air.
Seeing this, the leader pulled a flair gun off of his belt, shooting it up into the air. It exploded with a blinding light, summoning the helicopter to return. Still coughing and choking, Goliath attempted to intercept the assailants, but he could barely stand. One by one, all five of the attackers climbed into the helicopter, which immediately began taking off.
"Dad!" Willow called out in a panic. "They're getting away!"
"Not quite," Xanatos corrected, leveling his own gun with the copter.
One of the men tossed something at Xanatos, a knife most likely, knocking the gun from his hand. Seeing that, Xanatos grunted in pain, only able to watch as the helicopter took off, vanishing into the night. Once it was gone, everyone regrouped, breathing hard from the battle they'd just fought.
"I've never seen such weaponry before," the red one commented, looking down at the gun Willow was still holding.
"And that creature that carried them off…" the blue one added, dusting bits of rubble off him.
"A dragon, most likely," the old one surmised, sheathing his blade.
"It wasn't a dragon," the small one insisted, shaking his head. "It was some sort of machine."
"It's called a helicopter, and you're right," Willow informed him, nodding slightly. "It's a machine."
Goliath glared Willow's gun, snarling slightly as he remembered the power it possessed.
"And those?" he questioned. "Are they machines as well?"
Willow nodded again, turning the safety on the gun before handing it to her father. Xanatos quickly began inspecting it for damage as Willow continued her explanation.
"They're called guns. Think tiny crossbows, only much faster, deadlier, and scarier."
"Indeed," Xanatos agreed, unable to keep the relief out of his voice as he spoke. "Thank you. I owe you and your clan a great debt. Without you, who knows what may have happened to me, or to Willow."
Goliath looked around the castle, and at the destruction wrought in only an hour. It was worse than any Viking raid he had ever repelled, and there had only been five of them, compared to the armies he was used to. It disturbed him in a way, but he dare not let it show on his face.
"Why were you attacked?" he asked.
"The richer you are, the bigger a target you are. And I'm very rich."
"With luck, they won't be back again," Willow insisted, leaning against the walls of the battlements. "So, if you decide to stay, it should be safe. God willing..."
"Decide to stay?" the old gargoyle repeated, eyes furrowed in confusion.
"Of course," Xanatos nodded, taking over the conversation. "The castle may have moved, and it may be my headquarters, but it was your home originally. I do hope you will stay and help me protect it."
Goliath looked at Xanatos, then over at Willow. She gave him a disarming and hopeful smile, but the gargoyle remained tense and uneasy, dark memories filling his head. He saw the castle ablaze, and rubble strewn across every battlement, the remains of his brethren, struck down so viciously. What was worse, though the world had moved on, for Goliath, those horrible memories were still fresh, like it had happened just yesterday..
"Someone I once trusted said the same thing," he growled. "And then destroyed my people."
Xanatos nodded, knowing of what Goliath spoke of. Willow just winced in sympathy, but remained silent.
"I can see I'll have to work hard to earn your trust," Xanatos mused.
Goliath just growled as Xanatos turned to his daughter.
"Go find Owen, and tell him to send a clean-up crew to the courtyard immediately," he requested. "And make sure to stop by the infirmary, just in case those thugs hurt you."
Willow nodded, then slipped off into the castle, everyone watching her go. Once she was gone, Xanatos turned back to Goliath, letting out a breath.
"Goliath, I meant what I said before. This is your home, as well as ours. Please, stay here and do what gargoyles are meant to do: protect."
Goliath was conflicted, that much was certain. The old one soon approached, placing a gentle claw on Goliath's shoulder in a manner clearly meant to be reassuring.
"The choice is yours, lad," he insisted. "But... we've nowhere else to go."
With a reluctant sigh that was mixed with a growl, Goliath let some of the tension seep from his form.
"This castle is our home, no matter where it has been taken," he remarked. "We will stay here."
"Excellent," Xanatos readily agreed, offering his hand to shake. "I know you've been used poorly by mankind in the past, but all that is about to change. Trust me."
Goliath glared at the extended hand, not even thinking about reaching for it.
"You broke the spell of sleep cast upon us, and for that we are grateful." Xanatos lowered his hand, already sensing the "but" that would follow Goliath's statement. "But we will never trust humans again."
"I see," Xanatos nodded. "Then it seems this relationship is something we'll both have to work on."
Goliath just growled, turning and walking away. The other gargoyles walked off with him, following their leader without question.
Down below, all the noise and rain of rubble had finally come to an end. People were all talking amongst themselves, trying to figure out what had been the cause. Among those curious parties were April and Detective Maza.
"What do you suppose that was all about?" April questioned.
"I don't know," Maza answered, her gaze hardening as she clenched her fists. "But I'm going to find out."