Pilar Lynx summoned for the massive gargoyle called Fynn. With his shield-like wings and dragon head, he was the most imposing of all the sentinels and therefore the best matched for the job at hand. He didn’t feel any of the other gargoyles would be intimidating enough to keep Piper under control while heading to Greyhaven.
Fynn arrived in the headmasters office in his human form, the only way he was able to fit inside a building designed for humans, if magics could even be called that. He was dressed in modern day jeans with a comfortable black t-shirt. He could easily pass as one of the students with his casual boyish good looks. No one would ever guess him to be over a century old.
Pilar Lynx knew Fynn wasn’t easily intimidated by him the way the others were. He often wondered who his loyalties were actually aligned with. As Headmaster of the school, the sentinels had been sworn in to serve his every command. But, despite his lack of complete trust in Fynn, he was confident that the gargoyle would do what he thought necessary.
Without feeling the need for a long and drawn out conversation, Headmaster Lynx barked out orders the moment the door was shut behind Fynn, “You are to take Piper to Greyhaven and make sure she never returns. Just be certain there are no trails leading back to you or to us, we don’t need the Thaumaturgy Bureau breathing down our necks, now do we?”
Fynn didn’t like this man, not in the least. But, he knew better than to outwardly disagree with him. His dear friend, Nihel, had been sentenced to a century of deep sleep for daring to go against the demands Lynx had ordered twenty years prior. There had been another student, a terrified and timid boy whose parents had dropped him off and sped away. His magic was too light for Lynx, the contrast created some kind of barrier that causing the headmasters powers to weaken. And, the headmaster couldn’t have that. Instead of calling the parents to come get their child under the excuse of the school being a bad fit, Lynx had order Nihel to take him to Greyhaven. When Nihel refused, Pilar Lynx became so enraged that he was immediately frozen where he stood. The students saw Nihel as a fountain where birds came to bathe but Fynn and the other gargoyles were pained deeply to see him every day, his strength and fortitude quieted for one hundred years as nothing more than a marble bird bath.
Choosing to avoid the same fate as his friend, Fynn simply nodded, “Aye, sir. Consider it done.”
“Very good, just what I wanted to hear. I don’t care how long it takes as long as it’s done properly. Now go.” He waved his hand dismissively.
Fynn nodded again and walked out of the office, trying not to slam the door behind him.
He knew Piper Rathbone. He had been fascinated by her since the day of her arrival at Ravenwood. She was a spirited child who quickly became an even more spirited young lady. He loved watching her as she wandered the grounds, her inquisitive nature made her even more endearing. Fynn knew her blossoming powers concerned the headmaster, he saw it happen before. But, Piper was different. She was unlike anyone who had ever crossed the threshold of Ravenwood. Of course the headmaster wanted her gone, when her full potential was finally realized, she was destined to have greater powers than the headmaster himself.
Without realizing it, he had found himself standing in front of Pipers door. With a quick succession of knocks, he announced himself. When the door finally opened, it revealed a terrified girl, the freckles that dotted her nose stood on edge while the rest of her face was pallid with anxiety.
Fynn moved to the side, allowing Piper to exit the room she’d been living in for a decade. “It’s a mild evening, you should be fine with your cape.” He wanted to kick himself, she made him feel stupid and awkward. Both foreign sensations for a gargoyle.
A sad smile erupted as her gaze traveled from Fynn’s chest up to meet his dark as midnight eyes, “Well good since this is all I have.” Piper had only seen Fynn in his human form once before, she had forgotten how handsome he was.
Fynn started to walk toward the central staircase, “Let’s get started then, shall we. We have quite a long journey ahead of us.” He tilted his head over his shoulder to make sure she was following. She seemed to be having a bit of difficulty with the bag she was holding and he had a suspicion she would never ask for wanted help. The least he could do was relieve her of this one burden she was carrying. He took the bag from her.
Her clear eyes shone with gratitude, “Thank you. I don’t know how long I would have been able to lug that thing along. I guess I packed too much.”
He shrugged and kept walking, “No big deal.”
Together, they walked out the door, across the rolling lawn, past Nihel and toward the border where the gate had been beckoning Piper for as long as she could remember.
They came to a dead stop in front of the mysterious fence. Fynn dropped the bag to the lawn and touched each of the gates three slats in some sort of sequential order.
The clear evening sky disappeared as a thick fog enveloped the pair. Instinctively, Piper reached out and grabbed Fynn’s thick arm. She couldn’t see him but felt him begin to move forward and she carefully mimicked his action while sticking as close as respectfully possible.
They walked slowly in silence, carefully stepping forward. At least ten minutes passed when the fog began to release them. It thinned until it was just a translucent veil and they regained their vision. For the second time that day, cold prickles swept over Piper. Even if she wanted to, she couldn’t let go of Fynn’s arm. She was frozen in place, unblinking.
In front of her stood the most remarkable tree she’d ever seen. Within its enormously thick trunk were brightly glowing windows, at the end of a rickety cobblestone path, a metallic door slowly swept open to welcome them inside.
Fynn couldn’t help but grin, Piper’s child-like wonderment was contagious. “Shall we?”
Enthusiastically she nodded, her eyes never leaving the mystical tree. She released the grip she had maintained on his arm and grabbed his hand, instead.
It was at that moment, when her tiny warm hand that emanated otherworldly power held his, Fynn knew he would never do what was asked of him.