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Waking the Gargoyles
An Erotic Tale

Copyright 2018

Published by Reveille Richards at Smashwords

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Waking the Gargoyles: An Erotic Tale

Countess Larissa paced in her bedchamber, her nails bitten to the quick. The embroidered hem of her silk kirtle swept the rushes on the floor with each step, making a swishing sound that could barely be heard over the howling of the wind outside. Her brother should have returned hours ago. If he’d been captured . . .

A knock halted her, and she turned to face the gilded door. “Enter.”

Her chief lady-in-waiting opened the door and dropped a curtsy. Beyond, bowing, was her brother’s page boy.

Her breath caught in her throat. Her brother’s page boy – not her brother. “What . . . what news?”

They both rose, and Larissa’s hand flew to her mouth. The page’s clothes were filthy and torn. Scratches marred his smooth face, too young for even a hint of a beard.

She forced herself to show a calm expression and reached out her hand. “Come, boy. You’re safe now. Tell me what happened.”

He stepped forward. “We were ambushed, your Excellency. It was King Mark’s men. There were dozens of them. We couldn’t fight them off. The Count ordered me to run, to get back to you with the news.” He sniffled and swiped at his eye. “I hid close by, just in case . . . well, they killed all but the Count and his Squire, Ma’am. But they were taunting him, saying he had an appointment at Executioner’s Square in the morning. That hundreds would come to watch the traitor die.” The boy broke into tears.

“He’s no traitor, Lad.” She knelt in front of him and put her elegant hands on his shoulders. “But the king’s coffers are empty, and the Count’s holdings would be forfeit to the crown, were he to be executed for treason. You’re sure of what you heard? They mean to execute him in the morn?”

He gathered his composure. “Aye. They mocked him that his last twelve hours would be harder than all his previous travails combined.”

She closed her eyes for a moment. Took a deep breath. Then she straightened and turned to her lady-in-waiting. “Have my horse saddled immediately.”

“You’re going to go plead for his life? I’ll gather the retinue.”

“No. I’m going to . . . to seek aid. And I’m going alone. Hurry, now. We haven’t much time.”

When they left, she went to her wardrobe and pushed the secret latch on the side. Out popped a hidden drawer, and she gathered the journal, chalice, gemstones, and dried herbs within. She tucked them into a satchel. After considering whether to change into riding clothes, she decided she didn’t have time.

She started for the door but stopped as she passed her looking glass. “What if this doesn’t work,” she whispered to her wide-eyed reflection. “What if it does?”

A century ago, royal sorcerers had cast a spell to wake the gargoyles of the land from their stony stasis, so they could defend against monstrous invaders. When the enemy was vanquished, the sorcerers sent the gargoyles back to sleep on the perches from whence they came.

Her great-grandmother had been one of those royal sorcerers. According to the journal that Larissa now carried in the satchel, there was another way to wake a gargoyle to do your bidding. A way she had never been able to bring herself to try. Until now, when her brother’s life and their lands were on the line.

There were gargoyles at the ruined tower just a few miles away.

The rising moon gave her enough light to gallop to the ruins. She stopped only to fill her waterskin at a small creek, as the journal had instructed.

The chirps of nocturnal insects filled the air as she tethered her horse at the far side of the ruins. She’d come here many times since she’d inherited the legacy, searching out the perches of the various gargoyles. Wondering which one she’d choose to wake if she ever needed to.

She paused at the bottom of the marble stairs leading up to the main entrance. The empty doorway was flanked by matching gargoyles. The statues peeked over the stone banisters, wide as a bench, that led up to their perches.

She looked back at her horse, who calmly munched the grass at his feet. She wished she’d brought some strong mead – spirits would make this so much easier. She’d even daydreamed about the possibilities when she’d been deep in her cups. She blew out a breath, trying to recall those arousing fantasies, and climbed the stairs.

She approached the gargoyle on the left. Smooth as polished marble, the crouching figure looked larger than a normal man. It resembled the satyrs of legend: haunches shaped like that of a goat, a man’s muscled torso and bearded face, with great curling ram’s horns on its head. Bat-like wings and a long tail were tucked behind the figure. Thick arms seemed disproportionately long for its body. Its clawed hands gripped the edge of the banister in front of it, as though it were going to vault into the air with a mighty launch. Its mouth was open in a grinning leer. The tip of its wide tongue peeked out from between small fangs, just a few inches from the edge of the banister that came up to its chin.

Her heart pounded. Fear and . . . something else. Maybe if I just offer the elixir from the chalice, it will wake. She kept that hopeful thought in her head as she placed the stones from her satchel in the silver bowl, crushed the herbs overtop, and poured in enough water to cover the contents.

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