It was a forest like any other in Washington State. The trees were tall and proud, a carpet of pine needles covered the ground along with the grass, and the sounds of forest animals could be heard from all around. However, this forest had one differences on this night: A "demon" was being chased out of his home and he had no choice but to do so.
The demon in question was, in fact, a gargoyle. He was tall with a lean build to match his height. His skin was a slate gray shade that gave him the ability to blend in with the darkness. One could stare into the dark for hours and not see him, not even his hair that was the color of a sunset. As he ran through the forest, leaves and twigs would become entangled in his hair. He shook his head to rid himself of them. It would work, but some leaves would become impaled by his pointed horns.
He couldn't remove those leaves, though. He was more concerned with the large egg in his arms. It was the only egg that had been in the rookery before he was forced to flee. The egg's "parents" had been killed by the same villagers the clan had sworn to protect. Since the egg was close to hatching, the male was determined to help it survive.
He thought back to that disastrous night, which was actually last night. He volunteered to watch the egg while the others (totaling seven) went to patrol the village. Being that he was the leader, the others didn't question his decision. The clan didn't return before dawn, but he wasn't concerned. It hadn't been the first time someone hadn't made it back before dawn. When he awoke, he saw torch lights through the trees and voices chanting, "Kill the demons, kill the demons!"
He was certain that the others had already been killed and the villagers were coming for him and the egg. The only option was to flee. He had no doubt that he would be killed if he was spotted. So, he ran through the woods, hoping the two of them would survive. He headed for the forest's edge that gave way to a cliff. Launching himself off the cliff, he spread his dactyl-like wings and soared into the sky. He didn't know where he was going, but he didn't really care at that moment. As long as he and the egg survived, it didn't matter where they ended up.
Six Nights Later
He walked across the dry, cracked earth. It was warmer than he was accustomed to and there was almost no vegetation. There were a few cacti and a few shrubs that thrived in a dry climate, but not much else.
He dropped by a cactus that had very few needles and thrust a claw into the thick skin. He brought his face as close as he dared before removing his claw. A stream of water came out and he quenched his thirst and washed the egg's shell of dust. Looking to the east, he saw that it would be dawn soon. He placed the egg between his feet before striking a pose and falling asleep.
As the sound of stone cracking and his yawn faded, he heard the crackling of a fire. He looked down and found the egg nestled where he had placed it. Snatching it up, he cradled it as he looked toward the fire.
There was a man seated by the fire and he was looking at the gargoyle with no fear. In fact, he seemed happy to see him.
"Good evening, brother," the man said as he stood up. He wore a loincloth like the gargoyle, but he also wore a buffalo skin cloak. Rawhide beads and bones circled his neck. A quiver of arrows and a bow lay on the ground beside him.
"Who are you? Where am I?" the gray gargoyle asked.
"I am Deer Runner, chief of the Hopi tribe not far from here. You are in what the white men call Arizona."
The gargoyle was amazed. He left southern Washington seven nights ago and had gotten as far as Arizona. Interesting how far one can go when fleeing a mob.
"I had a vision of our meeting and I am convinced that you came here for a specific reason."
"And what reason would that be?"
"To unite the gargoyles scattered about my peoples' reservation into one clan."
"There are others?"
"Yes. Spread out among the area. If they were to unite, they would no longer feel hunted and alone."
"Do you know how many?"
"My tribe has made contact with eight."
Eight. That would make up for his lost clanmembers. Deer Runner gathered a spare branch, lit it, and doused the fire before gesturing for the gargoyle to follow him. They went a few feet before the chief said, "Do you have a name?"
"The others also said that and my tribe gave them names."
"Oh? And what would my name be?"
There was a pause as the chief thought. Then, he spoke. "What do you think of He Who Melts With Shadows?"
He considered the name. It did fit, considering his gift of hiding in darkness. "I like it, but could I be called Shadows for short?"
"As you wish, Shadows."
As the pair entered the camp, Shadows noticed that no one was afraid of him. It made sense. They helped name eight others so a new gargoyle didn't throw them off. They smiled and nodded to him as he passed and he would return the gestures.
Deer Runner stopped before a large tent and gestured Shadows inside. The gargoyle stepped in and sat by the fire that was already going. The inside was decorated with various skins and bones of animals that had been fashioned into clothing, jewelry, or weapons. Various herbs and powders were contained in clay pots and several woods, string, and feathers were tastefully arranged in beautiful dreamcatchers. The male gargoyle placed the egg in his lap, a gesture that was not lost on the chief.
"Is it close to hatching?"
"Any night now."
"Ah. I see. Would you like me to bless it with a name when it emerges?"
"Yes, very much."
One Week Later
Shadows stroked the shell, while gazing at it intently. It had been jerking a lot lately and he knew that it would hatch very soon. Thus, he spent most of the night by the egg's side.
He wondered what the hatchling would look like. The ones who had cared for it weren't the real parents. They had happened upon it one night and brought it home. The entire clan got involved in raising it, but the ones who found it were the primary caretakers.
The egg jerked under his claws. He focused on it and saw a thin crack on the surface. Heart pounding, he went to the tent entrance and called, "Deer Runner, it's starting!" The Indian chief ran in and looked at the egg with reverence.
More cracks began to appear. Bits of shell were flaking off as the egg seemed to pulsate and throb. Then, with an explosion of shell, the hatchling emerged, roaring to the night. The hatchling was female and had a stocky build due to its baby fat. However, she was quite different from Shadows. Her form was that of a wolf. Her body was covered with silver-gray fur. Limp, wet batlike wings hung from her back and a small furry wolf tail hung from her spine.
"Such a fitting young one for this desert climate," Deer Runner commented as the two knealt down and began to clean the hatchling. "Her name shall be Silver Moon."
"Silver Moon," Shadows repeated. "I like that."
"When will your search for the others begin?"
"A week or two from now. I would like to know Silver Moon."
"As you wish." With that, Deer Runner left to tell the tribe of the hatchling's arrival and Shadows pondered on his upcoming search and how the other gargoyles would greet him.