Gargoyle on Water

September 11, 2015:

Ulani and Rowan meet… a Gargoyle

New York Harbour

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The Archives are not, as it turns out, actual archives. They're more like achivists. And interviewing them is long and tedious work. So Rowan has suggested a break. And more than that, he's suggested they see what the surface is like… from the air.

Ulani may be able to swim faster than he, especially when in water form, but he can fly and she can't. And it's a rare kind of treat, he's given to understand so… here they are, over New York. Kind of… soaring.


After creeping (still unintentionally) around Clint's window and watching him sleep for awhile Esme's curiousity has overtaken her again. It's dark, and up in the sky, even darker. No one will be able to see her, it should be safe to look around some more. Idly wondering what it's like to sleep for so long, or to dream, Esme flies up into the air and sighs as her wings stretch. "It's all so big!" She laughs joyouslly and claps her hands in delight as she stares out at the city beneath her.


The benefit of riding a-Dragonback, so high in the air? Ulani doesn't have to wear surfacer clothing … thank goodness for small mercies. So here the Blue Envoy is, soaring over New York dressed in traditional blue garb, a coral pendant at her neck and slave bracelets on each hand. "This was an excellent id…." Ulani breaks off as she spies Esme "What… is that?"


Rowan peers over in the direction that Ulani is tapping. He's not… himself at the moment. Well he is and he isn't. He's a thirty foot long black and red lizard that definitely looks exactly like a dragon. The warrior frowns. "I'm not sure… shall we go and say hello?"

It can't be a comforting sight, watching him peel off and go into a dive, wings tucking in to get down to Esme's altitude.


Esme doesn't notice at first. She'd been clapping and laughing and looking down but then she goes to fly a bit higher and pick a direction and freezes in place, aside from wing movement.

Wide faintly glowing amethyst eyes stare at the approaching .. what.. what it is approaching her??? She doesn't know! It's big! It's not a magic box carriage. That does look like a person on it.. Esme blinks. Without clothes? She pets her nightgown very gently. It's still on her, mostly. Hanging by one sleeve and full of holes. "Esme is afraid!" She gasps softly to herself. "But curious." So she flies a tiny bit closer.


Ulani is wearing clothing, just … not a lot of it by Surfacer standards. "Of course, Dragon Blue. Surfacers have such strange things…" The blue female holds tight as he peels off… and begins to dive.


Rowan is coming really, really fast. It seems like he might hit her for a moment but the huge lizard banks to the left and circles around her once before coming in more directly and stopping. It's a… person! With wings. Which is unusual but now that Rowan thinks about it not as unusual as some of the things he sees. "Hello… I'm Rowan." Well, that seems as good a way as any to start things off. "And this is Ulani."


"EEEEEKKK!" Esme screeches in alarm and throws her hands in front of her eyes. She doesn't think she can fly out of the way without ensuring that it does hit her. When several moments go by and she's still hovering and unhit, hearing voices, Esme's fingers part and those purple eyes peek out. Slowly one hand lowers, then the other and she stares.

Closer now she can see the person is clothed. Just hard to see in the dark. Like her skin, which is a solid dark grey or pale black at the moment. Her wings seem to be.. it's hard to tell. Metal adorns them and the design seems to look like feathers but they aren't exactly. Metal bits extend from various parts of the flying woman's body or seem to grow right out of her skin. Her hands and feet are also clawed. "R-Rowan? Ulani?" She repeats. "I am Esme!" She offers a tentative smile. It's a talking… animal? Esme might not have ever seen a lizard before.


Ulani remains silent as they make their descent, moving with ease as Rowan banks and circles. When he stops she simply regards the strange looking woman, in a night gown, waiting for her to say something… ah… "I am Ulani of the Blue, yes. Well met, Esme." A trained diplomat, the blue knows better than to ask 'what are you?'.


Rown sort of hover circles around Esme. He's curious as she. Maybe a biiiit more circumstpect about it but not much. "You're not… a regular surfacer." He murmurs. He's discovering that surfacers have a lot of variety but he hasn't met any like this so far and they do seem to tend toward the standard human. "What are you doing up here?"


Esme isn't a diplomat and is little more than a fully grown newborn. The only thing keeping her from blurting out "What are you?" is that she hasn't adjusted fully yet to being allowed and able to ask questions. She flies closer, looking more curious than frightened now. Esme is tall, seven feet tall to be exact and built like an amazon. "Wow. So pretty!" Her fingers twitch. What does he feel like? She wants to touch! "Surfacer? What is that?" Uhoh.. the questions have started, she can't stop now. "What are you??? Are you magic?? Are there more of you??" She gasps and claps a hand over her mouth. "Oooh no! Esme asked too many questions."


Ulani peers curiously at the flying woman, smirking a little as the questions pour out. She's curious, but more reserved about showing her interest… canting her head as the woman speaks "A surfacer is someone who lives on land, not in the water." Which might give Esme some clue about these two.


"I'm a Blue…" Well and a dragon. "And… other things. Ulani looks like a Blue and I do not. At the moment." That's going to clear things right up, right? "I have… some magic." He glances down as a helicopter passes at a distance. "Come, we don't want to be seen by the media."

The dragon turns and starts flying out to sea, pausing for a moment to look behind him and make sure Esme is following. He seems… comfortable around her? Well at least, merely curious and not alarmed as some have been. "I take it, Ulani, you've not seen any manner of creature like she either?"


A wide range of emotions play out on Esme's face as she follow after Rowan and thinks. All people live on the land, they can't breathe in the water! After gazing back at the helicopter "Magic carriage box.." Esme murmurs longingly before looking down the city and then back up at the two before her. Maybe people do live underwater. Look how different all the things are now.. and how much magic there is!

She nods excitedly. "Es-" No that is wrong. She wants to be a person! So she needs to talk like a person. Like Clint. "I didn't know people lived in the water! So neat! I live on top of the buildings. I am going to learn to be a person." She hopes. Desperately hopes. "If I can." Her wings flutter nervously and she glances around as if expecting be yelled at or struck for her daring. "I am magic too. My Creator made me from stone and magic and himself. I only woke up…" "Not long ago." She's not quite sure how many days have passed. "I was alseep for a long time. Two.. Two Sentries!" She's not entirely sure how guards became counting numbers but.. that is what he'd said, right?


Glancing down at the Helicopter, Ulani simply nods. She doesn't have a lot of say in where she's going - the dragon is her mount! "I don't have magic." Not really, although some will say how she manipulates the water may be magic…

Esmes' commentary gets an amused smile from the Blue female, right now she's not going say anything about the Blue and what may live beneath waves…. "I have not, Blue Warrior." she responds to Rowans question and listens with interest as Esme explains. "How were you woken, Esme?"


Esme might think Ulani had magic if she saw her water shaping. And Rowan is just thinking that as he takes a dive down toward the surface. It's not a steep one but enough to get them a little bit of speed. Flying is fun, after all. And soon enough they're skimming the wavetops. Ulani asked a good question… so he listens for now.


Unable to contain her excitement, she's flying and talking to people and they are talking back and not afraid of her and this is just the most wonderful thing ever Esme gasps out a breathy little "wheeeeeee!!" This is fun! and she's never seen the ocean before though she knows what it is.

Her expression turns more serious at Ulani's question. "A bad man woke me. He wanted me to be a tool again. A weapon only, just for him. He was dark, like demons are but different. He was going to make me do bad things! Not anymore though. The magic voice thing sent people to stop him. He can't hurt anyone now." She smiles and looks relieved. That had been very scary.


Ulani can't help herself, the water calls to her… and as they skim the surface, she calls on her inate power, falling to concentration for many minutes. Soon, leaping and diving alongside Esme are three water dolphins… keeping up with three as they fly along.

The 'wheeee' from Esme, once Ulani can focus again, gets a small smile from the Blue, whilst the answer gets a small frown… what did the woman mean by 'a tool again'….


Rowan banks, wings skimming the wavetops has he grins at the water shaping. As much as his abilities are useful, he does wish sometimes he had less… combat oriented gifts. Alas he was born in a time of war so that sort of thing didn't make sense. "Magic voice th-… a… telephone?" He wonders how she doesn't know these words. "Have you never… how old are you?"


She giggles and claps her hands gleefully at the water animals. "Oooooh! So pretty!!" The very tips of her claws skim the surface of the water as she flies. "Telephone. Yes that was it I think. I was made two hundred and thirty years ago. I hunted demons for my Master's and when they didn't need me I slept. I wasn't awake then, like now, even when I hunted. They did not think like my creator. They thought that only God could make life and Esme is a thing, not a person. But I am free now and I want to be a person! I am more! I know it!" She does. She knows it more every day, with each new experience she grows and learns and changes.


"Come now, Rowan" Ulani sounds a little amused "Even I, who have visited the Surface in my youth, still struggles with the language." and it's true, poor Bobby and others have had to educate her.

"You hunt demons, Esme?" Out of everything the woman has said, that is what Ulani has picked up and she's done enough research to mostly understand that. The dolphins, a frivolous use of her talents, move closer to Esme, arcing over the Gargoyle and swapping places.


Rowan looks back. "Demons?" He's familair with such things but, oddly, not usually fighting them. In the wars between the Overlords and the rebels, demons were often summoned by magi. Weapons and sometimes allies. Seldom enemies. There were enough things to fight without picking that fight. "Why do you do that? Is it… something you wish to do or more like something you are bound to do?"


"It is what I was made to do. Protect the humans, fight the demons. They are evil and wicked and slaughter and feed upon the innocent." She says matter of factly as if this is something that every one knows. Her eyes are wide still and Esme's head whips back and forth as she watches the dolphins twist and leap.

I have started to remember a little. My Maker's family was taken by demons. I am his life's work. He died when I was born." She can remember sitting at his grave in those rare moments she was awake and not yet being shipped off to fight or put back to sleep.


"If your maker died when you were born, who woke you after that?" Ulani considers Esme answer. Her attention is on the water dolphins, these ones aren't completely autonomous and she needs to focus.

Looking over at Esme, watching the stone-born watch the dolphins, Ulani directs her creations to flank Esme…


"And if a bad man tried to wake you but failed, how is it that you're still awake?" Rowan knows absolutely nothing of magic. Well that's not true, but he doesn't know much. So he might be forgiven if his questions about Esme are a bit on the basic side. Hey, he's a fighty dragon, not a learny dragon.

There's a shift in Rowan's scales and he loses his wings, becoming a water dragon instead, knifing through the water with Ulani on his back while the faux dolphins play about them.


"So pretty! And fun!" Hehehehe!" The distraction and joy of watching the water dolphins while flying and talking makes it easier for Esme to do so. The memories are hazy and distant and when she thinks to hard about them they slide away. They also bring up emotions she's not really ready to deal with but at the moment she's not bothered by speaking of these things at all. It's magic water! after all.

"He died to give me life. He was part of.. there were other people. Men. One was supposed to have Esme and care for her. Something happened. The men bound Esme to them and didn't let me be awake unless I was needed. I only knew the things I needed to know to fight demons and I could only do what I was told. The last Master I had before I went to sleep for so long was different. He was younger, and secreter. He was nice to Esme but I couldn't tell anyone or they would take me away. He wasn't my master for very long and then I was asleep and when I woke up it was now. So different and strange and big and scary! I stayed awake because the bad man didn't complete the binding and all the men from the Order are gone. Long gone. I am free!" She claps her hands in joy and her body moves in what would probably be a very silly looking dance if she were standing still.


It's a good thing Ulani is dressed as a Blue as Rowan takes them into the water, and she laughs as the water hits, spraying up and around her body.

Esme's explanation gets a somewhat understanding nod, obviously she's newly woken and things don't make sense and pushing isn't going to help at all. "So what will you do now then, Esme?"

The dolphins skitter and leap, twisting and turning, one even moves under Esme… matching the womans rather silly dance as they journey forward.


Rowan slows a bit and turns them back toward the land. "So you were a… soldier of a sort. And now you've woken to find your war is over." Well, that's something Rowan can understand. He glances back up at Ulani in sympathy as they begin the return jurney. "So now that you're free…?" She doesn't seem, if he may be forgiven for thinking it, well suited to aactually taking care of herself.


Esme turns and quickly while they are moving slow enough still, she scoops up some of the water and brings it to her mouth. It takes a few moments for her to answer and there is an intent look of concentration on her face as she considers how the ocean tastes before finally swallowing. "Neat!" She proclaims. "I want to learn. Learn all of the things. I wasn't allowed before and I can now. Also everything is different I must learn how to.. how to.. how to be in this world. I also must find a way I can help people still. I was born to do that, and that hasn't changed. There are still demons, Esme saw some. Different and tiny." She makes an expression of distaste. "So squishy and gross!!" Her fingers wipe against her gown in memory. "Not so many though I think, but that is a good thing." Esme wouldn't be offended by Rowan's thought. She's becoming slightly aware of how helpless she is despite being so strong. She doesn't know anything! And she's big and frightening and so very unsure of herself. It's why she's stayed so close to Clint aside from liking him so much. He explains the things to her and isn't afraid of her, even if she does make him uneasy. She's hoping she can learn how to not do that.


Learning how to be part of this world… that's something Ulani can understand. Just as Rowan can understand being a displaced warrior. "So you wish to learn, this is good. How do you propose to do that?" The look she casts the Gargoyle echoes Rowans thoughts… the creature seems remarkably naive.


"Hopefully someone's teaching her." Rowan says it in a sotto voice but Esme can probably hear it. Her ears are good… and he's big and rumbly. It happens. "Otherwise we might be seeing her on the news. I'm a little bit surprised that hasn't happened already." Oh right, has Ulani seen the news?


Esme doesn't understand the news part, but the rest she does. "Yes! The man I helped to fight the demons, I met him when I first woke up. He took me for a ride in his magic carriage!!!!" Her grin is huge. "It went so fast. So very fast! During the day I hide on the roof and watch his place in case more trouble comes. When its night I fly arounda little and look. I also watch all the people and try to learn. He is looking for a teacher for me. One who won't be scared or make me go back to sleep."

She glances around and then lowers her voice and whispers, obviously afraid she'll be in trouble for this but so thrilled about it she can't help but tell them "He gives me people food!!! It's so neat. He gave me this too." She pets her night gown once more. "I have never had a thing that was mine, only mine, just for me. I am going to learn how to fix it! Even if it is very hard."


Ulani has seen the news. Rowan might be a little surprised at how quickly she's acclimating, there's still some issues but they're only small.

"Magic Carriage?" Ulani questions quietly "You mean a car?" Glancing down at the Water Dragon the Blue Envoy smiles "I think she has at least one person." And they still don't know what she is!


"Uh…" Rowan eyes the gown. Fix it… well. That's probably technically possible. "You know, people here usually just acquire a new one when somthing gets that damaged." Though in this case, whomever her benefactor is may want to get her something made of a rip resistant fabric. Like Kevlar. Or… do they make steel fabric yet? Probably not in this dimension. Pity.

"Well, we're almost back. Are you going to be okay?"


"Yes Yes, Car, that was the name. I barely fit but it was so much fun. I had to sleep inside for a little while. I didn't want to but it was dawn. I only sleep for the two hours after dawn. I turn to stone then, like a regular Gargoyle! I wake up though and they do not. I can be soft skinned too after then for a time. I look human then." She smiles brightly but it falters a little. "I almost look human. I still have wings but all soft and feathery. And still these.." She taps a bit of intricately detailed metal placed at the center of her forehead. There's more dangling from her ears and bits and spots along her arms and legs, what almost looks like a metal spine over the back of her neck beneath her hair.

Esme gives her gown a worried glance and makes a soft sound of distress. "I have tried to be careful! I take it off when I sleep. Things don't like to change to stone and back. I forgotted the first night." She also flies around in the dark touching and tasting every thing she can get her hands on and kneeling, climbing, or clinging to the things she can't fit in her mouth. Everything she sees is new and wonderful and something to learn about. Even the things she is familiar with, she'd never been allowed to examine before. "I will be good! It is time to be a statue almost." Her eyes widen. That would be bad over the ocean. She needs to remember that. "Thank you for flying with me! And showing me the ocean and the magic water animals!"


Ulani just blinks and blinks some more as Esme chitters and chatters away. She's seem some wondrous things living in the water, but somehow, these surfacer creatures manage to confuse and amaze her. Gargoyle… she got that, though.

The dolphins leap and dive around the stoneborn, arcing over the top of her… and Ulani finally smiles "You are most welcome, Esme. And thankyou too, for speaking to us about your adventures."

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