Monday, September 3, 2012

The humans stand before him, the male wearing his confidence like a cloak. The Nest Kin watch from assorted roosts, some waiting among the trees ringing the glen.

"Taryn amd Lynn? Over the centuries those names have been used by many of Highland Nests. How do I know these are of the Tavish Hills?"

The Gargoyle settles back, wings flexing slightly in the intermittent breeze.

The male, Traeger, considers a moment, then asks if he may make a call. When Crag nods, he speaks quietly even though he knows his words are heard by all. When he finally clicks the cell closed, his expression is guarded. Crag waits in stoney patience.

"My daughter asked her sister-in-laws what else I may tell. They are very private women, so what I say of them is only with their permission." Crag nods slightly. His respect for the human slipping up a notch. "The elder sister has eyes of emerald green, that flicker with flame when angry. The younger has eyes paler in hue, and was still a child when they left. They are musicians who left to satisfy a need to learn. One did a favor for a Brownie, earning her a set of Fae pipes. They were later tricked away from her keeping by the same Brownie. Another Brownie has recently restored them to her.

For six years, before they left the Highlands, the girls kept a cottage on the edge of the woods. They called it Haven. Many villagers gathered there in the evening to play music. If the villagers ever wondered about them, it never came up. When they left, they made a point of going through the village. This way no one questioned their disappearance.."

Crag flexes his wings slowly. "And tell me, when do they plan ta come hame?"

Traeger shakes his head slowly. "I have no answer to that. I know the males of their Nest have taken wives. The girls say they have no intention to leave the Nest or Kin at this time."

The Gargoyle's eyes narrow. "Hame is where they belong, back among the cliffs of the Tavish Hills." His wings fan slowly, his tail sliding along the ground.

"They are grown women, I understand, no longer children in the eyes of the Kin. Is this true?" Crag's features set into sharp ridges. Traeger takes this to mean it is true. He sighs, letting his guard down so the Gargoyles can feel his empathy. "I have a daughter, grown to womanhood while I was gone. If I had my way, she would still be coddled and kept protected from the world. But... she is grown, Her decisions are her own. She has made choices, and I must respect her wishes."

The Gargoyle lowers his head, bringing his eyes level with the Witch. "An this pertains how, exactly?"

"Are the sisters your daughters?" He laughs, the rumble causing a small slide of stones in the upper peaks. "My daughters? Goddess be praised, NO!"

Snickers echo around the glen, quieting as Crag stares at the assembled Gargoyles. "They are Kin. They are female and unattatched. As such, they are to be watched over by the Elders and Guardians. They were ever headstrong and disobedient."

Traeger hides a smile. "Ah, then you know the sisters, and they are of these Hills?" Too late Crag sees the trap. "You are as devious as all your Race, human. That is one reason we no longer work hand in hand with your kind. Another is our unwillingness to become slaves to any spellcaster. Many take without giving in return. Take your clay. But remember this... If you return to these hills, you bring the sisters with you. If they are unmated, they stay. If they are mated, we will know if the mating is untrue. If untrue, they will stay."

There is the sound of great wings beating and small clay bricks are stacked in front of Traeger and the female Witch. Crag looks at the Witches.

"It is dried, but retains the same qualities as when wet."

Kin lift into the air, some scrabble up the bare sides of the hillside. Crag's wings spread, catching the breeze. The downdraft of his wingbeats blows the humans' hair back from their faces. As he hovers above them, the impressive gargoyle utters one more warning.

"Tell Obsidian and Bloodstone that if they do not care for my little sisters as they should, I will seek them out." He flexes his hands, talons glittering in the setting sun. "Yes... I do know them, very well. And I remember the males who formed a nest with them. The Wandering Minstral and the Melancholy Giant. Wish my sisters well... for now."

Crag tilts his wings, catching an updraft, and is gone.

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