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The Mighty Thor writes...

Timeline:

Ok here goes nothing, the gargoyles timeline is uninterupted and no actions made by travelers from the past have and effect on the future because they are already part of the time line. Right? Right

This would then make the gargoyles world a fate based world. Because no decision could change the outcome of the future. Now call me crazy but doesn't that seem very out of place in this universe? I mean most of the characters choices come from another of the characters reminding them of their ability to choose between good and evil.
To say that Demona could not change after "Vows" just because she wasn't fated to.

Also, to have a fate means that there must be some higher power that writes everyone's fate and governs it. But with the introduction of Nokkar and the Space Spawn, the sphere of influence has widended to cover the entire universe!

While this sounds like ramble i actually do have a question.
Was this you intention? To have a world deviod of choice?

Greg responds...

No, of course not. And I didn't create one this time. Not even inadvertently.

Your first paragraph is correct. But your second isn't.

It's your second premise which is flawed.

The fact that you, as an audience member, have god-like knowledge, doesn't change the free choice that each character HAD at the time.

Think of it this way. Let's say you got out a camcorder and shot some footage at a local streetcorner. You see a guy turn right.

Now you show me the footage. I could, by your logic, argue that the guy was FATED to turn right. There's the evidence on the screen right in front of me.

But of course that's specious logic. The fact that the guy can't go back in time (with or without a working time machine) and change the fact that he DID turn right, doesn't mean that he didn't have free will at the time he made his turn. The fact that I can't change the footage doesn't mean that he didn't have free will at that time either.

Our knowledge (whether foreknowledge, in the moment or in hindsight) of how things turned out is neither here nor there in the issue of free will.

Response recorded on November 21, 2000

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Vashkoda writes...

Hey Aris. Well, the argument about missing loop origins is moot since Greg says there are none. Now I'm more interested in -why- these loops even exist. But I guess I'll explain more what I was thinking when I brought up the "missing origins".

What I reasoned was that for a certain period of time (lets say the first few hundred cycles of time), time was new and malleable and could be "experimented" with. So if Xanatos got his hands on the Gate in the 1990's and then decided he wanted to go to the 900's, he -could-, and yes, it -would- mess with the timestream, but that obviously would have been his intent if he wanted to send himself the coin so that he could be rich. And yes, that would mean that the Xanatos he once was would never have existed because his actions would change his own history (hence the "non-working paradox"). But lets imagine that this situation happened to hundreds of individuals who tried to alter the timestream, and lets say that for the most part, they cancelled themselves out so that they never happened. But for a -few- individuals, maybe their altered history does -not- prevent their getting the Gate and going back in time as they had originally done (even in real life, some people do get their cake and eat it too). Except of course now, the Xanatos who travels back in time is not the same as the Xanatos who originally went back (this one's richer, for example). So small adjustments are made in the timestream, but nothing as drastic as when Xanatos first appeared in the 900's (now the Prince might notice that Xanatos is dressed nicer than before, but at least Xanatos's appearance itself doesn't trigger anything new). So as time as a whole repeats itself, adjustments are made and wrinkles are ironed out until finally everything -works- and makes sense. Sure, it might take hundreds of cycles, but at some point every predicted event will be accounted for and the timestream, at last, becomes "immutable".

And as for the butterfly-effect, who's to say that there originally was a Macbeth, Napoleon, or Kennedy? Maybe they're all the result of Xanatos or some other traveler going back in time? The way I see it, the present as it is now could just be the final result of all the alterations made in time. So it's not a coincidence at all that Goliath still exists when Xanatos comes back from his trip (for all we know, Goliath still exists only -because- of X's trip).

Greg responds...

You just gave me a headache.

Response recorded on November 21, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

Vashkoda, you said: <<I had hoped that there indeed was a "missing origin" to the time loops, as the presence of such loops would have made a lot more sense to me. >>

This discussion interests me, so I hope nobody minds if I take part in it:

I've read and seen a *lot* of time-travel stories, and I have to say that the "missing origin" concept of time-loops, the idea that there can be time-travel which *does* change history, seems much more filled with plot-holes than the kind of time-travel we saw in Gargoyles.

For example consider your own scenario: That there was once a 975 which *didn't* contain Xanatos as time-traveller. Let's assume that history otherwise goes on as normal and creates a Xanatos which for some reason wants to go back to 975 and change history. Let's assume that he can.

The problem is that if he goes back to 975 he will change history *entirely*. By simply being there for a single second, he will displace certain molecules of air, which (the butterfly-effect) will displace more molecules. After ten years a couple storms will occur which wouldn't have occured, other storms which occur won't. More importantly among the millions of possible gene-combinations for every single child, surely a different one will be made at every conception. *No* individual conceived after Xanatos' arrival in the past will be the same as before his time-travel. By going to the past, Xanatos won't have just erased his own birth from history, he will have erased the births of Macbeth, Napoleon, Lincoln, Kennedy, etc...

The only way to have Xanatos go back to the past, *and* be able to return to an even remotely recognizable world, would be if all the trillions of changes that will take due to his being there are already part of his world's history - aka if there's no "first loop" aka if history is unchangeable... But having someone *both* to be able to change history *and* at the same time change it in such a limited way as to influence only a limited amount of events, is wanting to have your cake and eat it also... Atleast the "unchangeable history" is just illogical for our sequential minds - one could even go metaphysical and say that it's God who put the loops there... The "changeable history" version may be logical, but it's also impossible... :-)

Greg responds...

"changeable history" never seemed very logical to me. Always made me just nuts.

I believe in the big picture, and I believe in sweating the small stuff. And thus the working paradox method of time-travel is the only thing that makes any logical sense to me.

And hell, I don't even have to go down to the molecular level to justify it.

If you try to kill your biological great-great-grandfather and you succeed. Then you will never be born. And if you're never born, than no one ever comes back to kill your g-g-grandfather. And if no one comes back, than your g-g-grandfather doesn't die. If he doesn't die than your are born. If you are born, than he dies.

And so on, and so on, and so on...

A non-working paradox. YUCK.

Response recorded on November 21, 2000

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Vashkoda writes...

I had hoped that there indeed was a "missing origin" to the time loops, as the presence of such loops would have made a lot more sense to me. My problem is not with grasping the concept of pardoxes, but with understanding the reasoning behind them. When I thought that there had been an actual origin to the loops, the loops made sense because they were initiated by individuals who had access to the Gate and the desire to alter time. But by telling me that these loops have always existed, I begin to wonder why they exist in the first place. Were they made intentionally, meant to serve a particular purpose, or is the timestream just "flawed" (well, maybe flawed isn't the best word, but the presence of random paradoxes certainly make me question the efficiency of who/whatever created the timestream). If the loops are intentional, it begs the question of who arranged for them to happen, and why. Because of its nature, one can't help but think of a time loop as a means to rectify a mistake or improve one's situation (saving yourself from a fatal fall, making yourself rich, etc). But if you're saying that the characters themselves aren't responsible and that loops were always present in the timestream, then one has to look at it from the timesteam's point of view, and what it has to gain from them. Some characters have greatly benefited from the loops (Griff and Xanatos, for example), so does that mean that the timestream is somehow biased to favor certain individuals? (but you'd still have to wonder why the stream went to the trouble of creating a *paradox* to make Xanatos rich or save Griff's life). Or was the timeline "drafted" with errors, which were then fixed via paradoxes when the timestream was finally created? For example, although Xanatos is a New Yorker from the 20th-21st century, the timestream may have goofed and placed him briefly at a Scottish castle in the late 900's. Then, to explain his presence, the stream sent in the Phoenix Gate and placed him in a situation where he would have access to it (this use for the Gate does in fact fit with your description of it as a kind of "pressure valve" for the Timestream--here, acting to fulfill events that were fated but can't otherwise happen within the normal constraints of time and space).

So is the presence of these time-loops intentional (and if so, who is responsible and why?), or is the timestream just "flawed" (for lack of a better word)?

Greg responds...

Why does anything exist at all? I can't define your belief system for you, but whatever system you choose, the loops fit in as nicely as head lice, mountain streams, black holes or whatever.

Response recorded on November 21, 2000

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Ed writes...

'VOWS' - what an episode. So many twists, so much drama, and some brilliant comedy from the Xanatos family. The thing that always occurred to me when watching this is: who on earth in Shari Goodharz? She only wrote the one episode that I recall and yet this is one of my favourites, if not my favourite outright. And yet she never did anything else. I guess looking at your outline she had a lot of dialogue to work in but even so, it was pretty damn good.

Actually, it always seemed like quite an intense episode to put before a multi-part story. I didn't watch it in order properly until I knew the whole season ('CITY OF STONE' aired at the beginning of the season here in two back-to-back weekends: accompanied with some stunning preview adverts of Demona blasting the stone humans).

Just one reply:

You said…
"But the gate stays open long enough for him to go with. Did it ever occur to her to go somewhen else other than 994? I guess part of it could be chalked up to dim memory. It was over a thousand years ago. And Demona lived through that 1000 years. Even for a very significant event in her life, it must still be very hazy."

Apart from the shock factor of the castle still burning (in this episode) and Goliath in stone, I think this would have meant most to Demona. But another possible explanation is in your outline:
"But choosing requires incredible concentration. Otherwise, the chooser's emotional or mental whim of the moment may cause the gate to drop everyone off at Burger King instead of Fort Knox."

Seeing as how Demona claims to have a clear memory of Goliath's 'inspirational' presumably this is the thought that would have dragged her to 994.

I really like your explanation of the Gate's changing size as being due to its 'time valve' function. Was this something you ever planned to develop or at least mention out loud in the series? I guess we'd get some hints from what you've told us about 'TIMEDANCER' so far.

Greg responds...

I LIKE you're explanation for Demona's choice A LOT. THANKS!

As for the timestream steam valve theory, it would get some real play in TimeDancer for sure.

Response recorded on November 17, 2000

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Vashkoda writes...

Time is immutable -now-, but there must have been a period when experimentation was possible, or else many of the tricks characters have used to take advantage of timetravel could never have happened (Goliath rescuing Griff after realizing he had already done so, or Xanatos knowing to send himself that coin). This period would include, for instance, the events that allowed the original Archmage to get his hands on the Gate and later go back and rescue himself, or the original Xanatos getting transported back in time with Goliath and Demona and -then- realizing that he could send himself a valuable coin in the future and make himself rich. We've never seen these events happen, and it seems in fact that they have been erased from the timeline and replaced with ever-repeating loops (the Archmage himself admitted that his plan would keep succeeding "as it did, as it must, as it always will"), that seem to have no origin.

So my question is, have you ever sat down and thought about the stories that explain the missing "origins" of these loops? Like how the original Archmage was able to get the Gate to save himself from the fall, or how Xanatos originally got rich without the coin (or how he lived if in fact he wasn't rich before the time-trip), or Goliath's encounter with the London clan before he could rescue Griff? I know that you don't like discussing the alternate universe presented in "Future Tense" because it was never more than an illusion, but the events in this missing period did in fact happen, even if they seem to have been erased from history. So if you have indeed given it any thought, could you tell us about what happened in this missing period in regards to the characters I've mentioned?

Greg responds...

No. You don't get it. The loops existed as part of the timestream; they were born WITH the timestream. Always and forever. There isn't a FIRST iteration. These stories you have in mind didn't happen. Never happened. The stories presented on-screen of those events are the ONLY ones that exist in the GargUniverse. We might see some of it again from different points of view. But the events are the events.

They're called "Working Paradoxes". As opposed to the "Non-Working" kind where you go back in time and succeed in killing your own biological great-great-grandfather.

A "Working Paradox" is the bread&butter of time travel in the Gargoyles Universe. A "Non-Working Paradox" isn't allowed.

Response recorded on November 17, 2000

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Chapter XXI: "Vows"

Written by Shari Goodhartz
Michael Reaves, Story Editor

Benny: "But Daddy, when it's dark they get alive. But when it's light, the get frozen like a statue."

Last night, the kids, my sister, my wife and I all watched "Vows" together. Time to ramble.

Back to the Golden Cup Bakery Building. As I noted in the previously posted memo about this episode, I wanted a little opening battle, but I didn't want to waste time in a tight, packed script explaining how this came about. It does beg the question though. Assume that X contacted Elisa. She told Goliath. He went ALONE? His friends allowed this? Hmmm.

Xanatos knows from the letter to himself what to do, but I sometimes wonder just how detailed the letter was. I like to think it was fairly sketchy. That exactly HOW Xanatos got Goliath to come was his own machinations. Otherwise, though he takes the credit for the letter, the truth is that the plan itself wasn't his idea. He got the idea from the letter. And he wrote the letter based on what he had done, which he had gotten from the letter. None of this is really his to own, though he does claim ownership. So I like to think that at least some of the details were X's. For example, X knows what G will respond to, i.e. Demona.

Hudson, on hearing about the wedding, suddenly makes the connection to the long ago incident when he met the Goliath from the future. So he's strangely ambivalent. Elisa on the other hand, seems flat out jealous to me. After the events of "The Mirror" and "Eye of the Beholder", she's much more aware and focused on her feelings for Goliath. SHE DOES NOT WANT TO ACT ON THOSE FEELINGS. At this time, she thinks it's impossible. But that doesn't change how she feels. And now, she's jealous. Goliath's feelings for Elisa are just as intense, but so are his feelings for the "Angel" of his youth. He HAS to give it one last chance. (And this will be the last chance. The final nail in the coffin of his and Demona's "marriage".) Brooklyn, meanwhile, is just knee-jerk against anything involving Demona.

PETROS XANATOS is introduced. Again, I wonder why he was invited. Was he also included in the letter? Or did Xanatos invite him to prove something to his father. Is X that needy? Or did X invite him to the wedding, because of course he'd invite his father to his wedding, and his already planned "honeymoon" to 975 shouldn't alter his decorum. Perhaps he's mildly surprised his father winds up coming along? Anyway, Petros was a fun character. A tough hard physical man. With morals. A great contrast to the son. I knew even then that we'd give Petros and David an arc to their relationship, (one that eventually would culminate in Gathering2).

"Oh, reason not the need." A little King Lear is always nice. And I love Petros' attitude on the line, "And the armor?" I mean what would you say to your son if you saw him dressed like that? I'd like to know how many people had sort of forgotten that X was even wearing armor (we're so used to it) until Petros made an issue of it?

I love all the irony in the dialogue between Petros and David. David knows what he's planning. He must be smiling when Petros says "I'd like to get my hands on the man who gave you that coin." And when David says, "Someday, I'll prove to you that I'm a self-made man," he must really be patting himself on the back.

I love the voice work of Keith and Marina when doing their teen-age counterparts. So subtle, yet it's always clear which Goliath and Demona is talking at any given moment.

CONTINUITY:
Gotta love that storage room in the clock tower. The Eye of Odin, the Grimorum, half the Phoenix Gate, and, oh, yes, a comatose Coldstone. By the way, despite what the memo said, I think generally, Goliath carried that Gate in the pouch attached to his belt. Not behind some brick. We hadn't actually come up with that pouch yet, not until the World Tour. But using RetCon, I think that's where he kept it until they moved to the clock tower and Demona tried to kill him, Hudson and Elisa in "Long Way to Morning".

One interesting thing: this is the first episode where we actually CONFIRM that the ILLUMINATI does exist. Matt's mentioned it. Even chased it in SILVER FALCON, but we've never been shown any proof of it's existence until now. Was anyone surprised by that?

Judge Roebling was interesting in theory, though not so much in the episode. I'd like to do more with him some day. I also thought that it was interesting that despite seeing the tape of the Gargoyles in advance. And not reacting outwardly when he saw Goliath, he still gasps when Demona enters. What is it about her? When she entered, Benny turned to me and said: "She's queen of the Gargoyles." Oh. So that's it.

(And everytime Xanatos and Fox are on screen together, Benny likes to point out that he and Erin dressed up as them at the last Gathering. "That's me. That's you, Erin.")

To some extent, X must have filled D in on his plan. I love her "acting" when she enters and gives her bitter "excuse" for being there to Goliath. She's playing hard to get!

I love Petros: "Unnacceptable." He's still trying to teach David the error of his ways.

The Gate itself is very idiosyncratic. It's size, the size of its portal, and the duration the portal stays open seems to vary not just from episode to episode but from scene to scene. Sometimes it annoys me, like when Princess Elena removes the Gate from her sleeve, and suddenly it's bigger than her hand. But now I'm just amused by it. Again, if you think of it as a steam valve for the timestream, it explains a lot.

I love the little sound that Paca put in when the two pieces of the Gate first come together. What a tip-off that was, yet it's subtle. Did anyone think about the significance of the talisman that Demona had shared with Goliath before she started speaking in Latin and flames appeared out of nowhere?

It was hard to make people understand the time loop a bit. But it seemed really hard to make them see why I kept wanting to repeat scenes to show the connective tissue. We had to squeeze in Owen's "Honeymoon" line the second time. No one left space for it.

For the first of many times in the series, someone (X) says the line: "It's not where, it's when". (Erin: "I know when.")

I love X & Fox's relationship. "Having fun." "A marvelous time." Great stuff.

Hudson gets a close look at 1995 Goliath and immediately sees the age and wear and tear on the guy. (I love the shot of Goliath gagging him.) That says a lot for Hudson, because the visual difference between the two Gs was extremely subtle in the animation -- when it existed at all.

Knowing what we had planned (more or less) for Avalon, we were already laying groundwork here for that. Setting up the combined power of the Gate, Grimorum and Eye. Setting up the Archmage's desire for that power. Further demonstrating his enmity for the people he'd wind up using. Of course, making Demona his apprentice was fun. Tells a lot about her own desire for power that even when she was a good girl, she was still willing to work for the Archmage in order to learn his secrets. Willing even to steal for him.

The Norman Ambassador and Prince Malcolm make a BIG deal about how odd the Xanatoses' clothes are. But were they THAT strange? Was Fox's wedding gown that odd? And even if they were strange, did they look as shabby as Prince Malcolm seemed to suggest?

Not every episode gives you a double wedding. Fox and David. Elena and Malcolm. Hey, did anyone notice that we married off our lead villain? That was very daring, and we all but threw it away in Act One. Was anyone expecting Fox and X to really get married? And once they were, did you think you'd see them have a kid by season's end? I think we broke new ground there.

I like the exchange between Goliath and Hudson. Goliath's trying to explain that he's not a creature of sorcery, but a time traveler. H: "And I suppose you came back in time on the wind." O.k., well sorcery was involved if you're gonna get technical. And Goliath has some amusing tense problems while trying to describe what happened in his recent past, Hudson's FAR future. Then Hudson looks him in the eye and decides to trust him on no further evidence. Cool.

I knew a girl named Bryant from Bar Harbor, Maine once. That's where we got X's home town.

Fox is so proud of her man. But I love Petros' "Mr. Big-Shot Time Traveler" line. Or rather I love the way Morgan Shepard read the line.

How hard did Demona try to do things differently from the way she remembered them being done? She knows Goliath is going to fly down to try and join her and her younger self. She tries to leave before he can get there. But the gate stays open long enough for him to go with. Did it ever occur to her to go somewhen else other than 994? I guess part of it could be chalked up to dim memory. It was over a thousand years ago. And Demona lived through that 1000 years. Even for a very significant event in her life, it must still be very hazy.

That exchange between Demona and Demona is a lot of fun. Demona is so brutal to Demona. (And, hey, she spells out the Gate's power to any audience member who hasn't yet caught on.) "Do not share it with-- Do not share it!" I love that line. Also:

"I am what you will become."
"I will never be like you."
"I don't want to hurt you."
"And I don't want to BE you."

pretty cool stuff.

I also like the moment when we have two gates rolling about on the floor and young Demona and older Goliath both bend over to pick them up. At first we had a lot of discussion as to who should pick up which gate. But the discussion became moot, since after the gate pieces were reunited, they almost always seemed like they had never been broken in the first place. Magic.

And the young Demona, older Goliath scene is also gorgeous.

"What am I to do?"
"Nothing."

Love that. Love his whole "Do nothing/attend the petty jealousy" speech. I think it's very pretty. Very sad. At that moment, does Goliath hope he's changing the future? Or is he simply trying to spare this young Angel a couple extra decades of pain?

Showing Demona's natural bents again: Goliath isn't sure if he remembers the incantation, though he's heard it multiple times by this point. Young Demona, having only heard it ONCE, does remember and uses the Gate perfectly.

"Time Travel's funny that way." At least it is in the Gargoyle Universe with the strict, strict rules that I imposed. Of course, I've always thought that those strict rules made the stories more challenging for the writer and, yet, more fun and satisfying for the viewer.

I also really like Petros' "American Penny" speech. For once the "Xanatos Tag" of victory doesn't go to David.

Where did the expression "More's the pity." come from? I've heard it many times. I know what it means, though that's more from sound and context than from the words themselves. What am I quoting when I use it? Does anyone know? (This isn't a contest. I really don't know.)

Finally, my tape has the weird mistake ending that first aired, which shows Demona and Goliath in the clock tower. It's pretty, but it drives me nuts and I think it's really confusing. But I've talked about that many times before, and I'm sick of it, so this time, I'll let it go.

COMMENTS WELCOME!


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VOWS memo

Saw "VOWS" last night with the family. I'll ramble on that one shortly, but here's the memo from November '94. Shari Goodhartz wrote the outline, which Michael Reaves edited. Shari's entire story was more or less set at the Eyrie Building. It was about Demona and Xanatos using the wedding to get half of a magical talisman from Goliath. Goliath prevents them from using this macguffin, but realizes once and for all that he and Demona are over.

As I noted below, it seemed like that wasn't enough. So I took ALL of Shari's story and CRUSHED it into Act One. Then I came up with the Time Travel story that was the heart of VOWS. All of Acts Two and Three as presented in the memo below are my work. But I think Shari and Michael did a great job of executing it in this jam-packed episode.

One little tidbit. Petros was my original name for Xanatos' father. (I went to college with a guy named Petros.) But Shari and/or Michael named the dad "Stefan", which I went with here. At the recording session, Marina Sirtis pointed out that the name didn't work for some reason that I can no longer recall. (Aris, any thoughts?) So I jumped in and rechristened him Petros. Later we realized that both Elisa and David had fathers who had been named variations on Peter. To me, that was a very cool thing.

WEISMAN 11-25-94

Notes on "Vows" Outline...

GENERAL
Basically, it still didn't seem like we had enough story. So I compressed what was here and tried to extrapolate forward to fill out acts 2 and 3.

THE TALISMAN
I'm calling it the PHOENIX GATE. It can be used as a gateway to anywhere and anywhen. (The Gate will, I believe, eventually give us our Battle of Britain Story. And give the Archmage a powerful weapon for reaching and conquering Avalon.) By combining the two halves of the Phoenix Gate and invoking the Latin translation of the phrase: "Burn down the walls of time and space!", the gate opens in flame and sucks up anyone in the immediate vicinity, transporting them to the place and time chosen by the invoker. But choosing requires incredible concentration. Otherwise, the chooser's emotional or mental whim of the moment may cause the gate to drop everyone off at Burger King instead of Fort Knox.

TIME TRAVEL
So we're going to do a time travel story. Which means we need to establish traveling rules for our series. I'm going with the most conservative, most restrictive rules possible, because more than any other type of fantasy or science fiction convention, time travel is really subject to logic abuse. So...

Whatever's happened in the past has already happened, including the actions of our time travelers. Recorded history may be incomplete or incorrect, but true history cannot be changed. When Demona and Goliath go back in time to meet the young Demona, both of the older gargoyles are seeking to change or influence the young Demona's history. But this meeting already took place. The older Demona remembers it. (Maybe not every precise detail, and maybe she didn't fully understand the event at the time, but she does remember it.) Whatever influence the modern gargoyles had on her has already been figured into the events that followed, many of which have already been depicted in other episodes. (Sadly, in this case, neither Goliath or Demona had any real sustained influence on the younger Demona at all. That's the tragic flaw of both Demonas. They just never learn.)

WHERE AND WHEN ARE WE GOING?
Castle Wyvern. 975 A.D. The castle is ruled by the 21 year old Prince Malcolm of Wyvern. Malcolm's chief advisors are the 35 year old Captain of the Guard [NOTE: per my recent work on the timeline, the Captain was 29 years old in 975.]; the Archmage (nine years younger than when he appeared in "Long Way to Morning"), and Hudson who is biologically 49. Young warriors, Goliath and Demona are both biologically 19, (in "Long Way..." they were more like 23). If you have space for them, Brooklyn, Lexington and Broadway are all biologically nine. Bronx hasn't hatched yet. In contrast, our modern Goliath is biologically 29 years old and Hudson's 59.

VOWS
That's the theme. Vows. When you keep them. When you can't. Why you do or don't. Don't hesitate to play it up.

STEFAN
In thinking about it, I think Stefan Xanatos should be a naturalized American Citizen living in a north eastern fishing community. Maybe somewhere in Maine. He's still Greek, but he emigrated before David was born. That way, David Xanatos could have been born and raised to pursue (and pervert) the American Dream.

BEAT OUTLINE
ACT ONE
1. Night by some landmark, (maybe the Goldencup Bakery Building or the Cyberbiotics Tower). DAVID XANATOS (in armor) and GOLIATH fight. No stolen Cyberbiotics devices. I really don't want to sweat this scene too much. There are a hundred ways that this could have begun, and in the interest of getting to our main story quicker, I don't want to spend a lot of time "prologing" our prologue. But for the sake of consistency, I'll posit the following: Xanatos left a vaguely menacing message for Goliath with ELISA, whom he can reach easily enough at the precinct house. (The location of the rendezvous itself may have suggested bad news.) Goliath, prepared for a trap but not about to hide from danger, went to the stated rendezvous and, expecting the worse, waded into battle before Xanatos could get a word in edgewise. Well, Xanatos is always up for a little workout, so he fought back with relish, taking his time to reveal the real reason he had asked Goliath to come: He wants Goliath to be best man at his wedding tomorrow night. As a little incentive, he's invited DEMONA, and wrested a promise that she'll be on her best behavior throughout the event. [Reveal as much or as little of the "prologing" as necessary in order to make the scene play.]

2. Clock Tower just before Dawn. HUDSON seems strangely ambivalent, but Elisa and BROOKLYN can't believe Goliath would even consider going to the wedding. They have a hundred reasons each why it's obvious lunacy. Goliath doesn't put up much of a counter-argument. He knows they're right. He won't go. Dawn comes. They all turn to stone. Elisa heads home.

3. Castle during the day. In the courtyard, Xanatos waits for something, still in his armor but with the helmet off. A helicopter lands, piloted by FOX and carrying STEFAN XANATOS, a big, tough, weathered but honest Greek fisherman. Stefan is a little put off by his son's armored attire, but tries at first to make the best of an awkward situation. He is teasingly superstitious about his son seeing Fox on the day of the wedding, but the happy couple make their own luck and patronizingly ignore his concerns, which darkens Stefan's mood. Fox exits to get dressed. David asks his dad, what he thinks of the place. Stefan is frankly appalled by the conspicuous consumption. Why does his son need a place like this? "Oh, reason not the need, father. I wanted it. So I took it." Stefan is disgusted by his son's attitude. Why does he need to wear armor? David assures him, the armor is purely defensive. Defense against what? What kind of life does his son lead? He think David would have been better off being a humble fisherman, like himself: "In fact, if I ever get my hands on the man who sent you that coin, I swear I'll teach him a lesson for meddling with my family." David smiles when his Dad brings up "the coin". That's ancient history, Pop. Besides, that coin was only worth about 20 grand. David's now worth "considerably more". But Dad's not letting him off the hook. If he had never received that coin anonymously, he'd never have become what he is now. "You know, Dad, someday I'm going to prove to you that I really am a self-made man. And that's a promise." Besides, if the castle and the armor upset you, wait until you meet the best man.
On cue, OWEN enters with the JUDGE who is to perform the ceremony. Owen has prepared a little videotape of the gargoyles for Stefan and the Judge to watch. That way, they won't swallow their tongues when they see Goliath and Demona. As they all head inside, Owen questions whether this is necessary, will Goliath really show? He'll be here, Xanatos assures him, "I'd take an oath on it."

4. Back at the clock tower during the day, we push in on the stone Goliath and ripple dissolve to his dream/memory.

5. Castle Wyvern, 975 A.D., night. YOUNG GOLIATH finds YOUNG DEMONA standing on the tower with YOUNGISH HUDSON. Demona seems ridiculously happy to see him. Goliath doesn't want to miss PRINCE MALCOLM'S Wedding. She seems a bit distracted. She looks at Hudson, who says "Go on, then." She and Goliath glide down to one of the upper windows of the Great Hall. From there, they watch this strange human ceremony of bonding, including the exchange of rings. Goliath comments on the beauty of the symbolism or something, and Demona takes out the PHOENIX GATE. She separates the two pieces and hands him one. She swears she will never stop loving him. (If she seems a little too intense, we'll chalk it up at this stage to the emotion of the moment.) Goliath takes his half of the gate, and somewhat awed by her intensity, makes a similar vow. They embrace, stroking each other's hair. (The Gargoyle equivalent of kissing.)

6. Dissolve back out to the Clock Tower at Dusk. Goliath and the others explode awake. Goliath goes to a secret hiding place in the clock tower. (Behind the comatose, COLDSTONE, perhaps.) We see the GRIMORUM and the EYE OF ODIN, as well as Goliath's half of the Gate. (He had hidden it a thousand years ago in a hollow brick at the castle, which Xanatos had transported to NYC unaware of its contents. Goliath had retrieved it before moving to the Clock Tower.) He clutches the gate-piece in his huge hand and leaves, never giving the other gargoyles a chance to talk him out of what even he must realize is a foolhardy quest. Hudson watches him go.

7. Night at the castle. Xanatos and Owen wait in the courtyard for Goliath. Both are now dressed in tuxedos, and Xanatos is wearing a lapel pin that depicts a pyramid with an eye at its apex radiating light. Owen questions whether he should be wearing the emblem of the ILLUMINATI SOCIETY in public. Xanatos says cryptically that it's a necessary risk. [By the way, I have no idea if this is an Illuminati symbol or not. But it seems to fit.] Goliath arrives. Owen offers him a bow-tie. Goliath is not amused. Xanatos gives him Fox's wedding ring to hold. That's what the best man does, you see. Hold the ring, until the couple exchanges vows.
The three enter the Great Hall. Everyone is there. The judge and Stefan have already seen Demona, but Goliath is even more startling thanks to his imposing size. Fox is wearing a white dress, but something non-traditional and sexy. And Demona broods. Goliath approaches her, clutching the gate-piece tightly in his fist. She does not even want to talk to him. She feels she has to attend this farce because Xanatos insisted, and she needs to keep him as an ally. But she cannot fathom why Xanatos wants Goliath here. Goliath attempts to remind her of the last wedding they attended together, but she is not interested in reminiscing.
The wedding ceremony begins, rather informally at first. Keep it very short. (At some point, the Judge should ask Fox's real name. Fox coldly informs him that "Fox" is legally her real name now.) We get to the exchange of rings. Goliath hands Xanatos one for Fox. Demona hands Fox one for Xanatos. Demona looks across at Goliath and seems to break down. Just as the Judge pronounces David and Fox, HUSBAND AND WIFE, Demona runs from the Hall. Goliath pursues. Xanatos & Fox, exchange glances. "Now the fun really begins." They start to follow the gargoyles. Stefan tries to restrain his son: What are you up to now? You'd interrupt your own wedding to engage in Machiavellian scheming? But Xanatos is in a bit of a hurry. He and Fox head out the door pursued by Stefan. The Judge turns to Owen very confused. Owen says something dry and witty. And then both men follow the rest.
Outside, Goliath catches up with Demona before she can glide away. Does she remember their vows? Is there still a chance for them? He shows her his gate-piece. He's always kept it. She gently removes it from his hand and takes out hers. So has she. She puts the interlocking pieces together to form the PHOENIX GATE. And then... she laughs. Goliath is such a fool. He's fallen right into Xanatos and Demona's sentimental trap. Now she has the Gate. And she intends to use it. And just as the Xanatos clan approaches, she speaks the incantation. A huge bird of fire seems to engulf Goliath, Demona, David, Fox and Stefan Xanatos. The fire consumes itself. Owen and the Judge arrive just in time to see the last spark go out. There is no sign of the wedding party. Owen: "It seems the honeymoon has begun earlier than expected."

8. Wyvern, Scotland, on the cliffside near the forest overlooking Castle Wyvern. (This is where Hudson and Goliath froze the morning of the gargoyle massacre of 994 A.D. Only now, it's 975 A.D. -- the night of Prince Malcolm's wedding.) Our five time travelers materialize out of the flaming gate. Stefan asks "Where are we?" David: "The question isn't where... but when?"

ACT TWO
9. Pick up right where we left off. Demona laughs and launches herself off the cliff. Goliath pursues, leaving the humans behind. Xanatos doesn't waste any time. "Follow me!" He runs back into the forest followed by Fox and a very confused Stefan.

10. Air chase. Demona manages to put some distance between herself and Goliath. She chants the incantation and vanishes into the flaming "Gate", leaving Goliath alone.

11. In the forest, Clan Xanatos comes upon TWO HOODED RIDERS who are being attacked by FOUR ARMED BANDITS on horseback. Although he is unarmed, Xanatos never hesitates, wading right in against the bandits. Xanatos, Fox, the larger of the two riders and even Stefan make short work of the bandits. The bandits are forced to flee without their horses, which Xanatos commandeers for his family. The large rider is grateful but suspicious of these strangers in bizarre garb. Then he notices Xanatos' Illuminati pin and warms up fast, briefly drawing back his cloak, to reveal that he wears the same Illuminati emblem. He tells Xanatos that he is the NORMAN AMBASSADOR. He and his "companion" bring "priceless gifts" to Prince Malcolm of Wyvern. Xanatos may wear strange garb, but he's a great fighter (and a fellow Illuminatus). The Ambassador would be honored if Xanatos' would accompany them the last few miles to Castle Wyvern. He also promises that Prince Malcolm will be very grateful for their help as well.

12. Having lost Demona, Goliath soars closer to the castle, debating with himself whether or not he should land there. Then he spots Demona again from a distance. He circles to intercept her, but as she lands on a castle battlement, she is greeted by a young Goliath. And the adult Goliath realizes that he wasn't tracking his enemy, but her younger counterpart. He comes in for a landing on one of the high towers of the castle, and surreptitiously watches the young lovers below him. It almost tears his heart out. And then he hears Hudson's voice behind him, demanding to know what he's doing up on the tower when he had been assigned to hold watch on the battlement. Adult Goliath turns to see his MENTOR, (the YOUNGER HUDSON). When Hudson gets a good look at him, he immediately sees that something is wrong. And when Hudson sees young Goliath and young Demona, below on the battlement, he's ready to cry sorcery, and Adult Goliath has to slap a hand over his mouth.

13. At the gates of the castle, Xanatos, Stefan, Fox, the Ambassador and the hooded rider are greeted by young Prince Malcolm and the ARCHMAGE. The rider is revealed to be PRINCESS ELENA of Normandy. (I made this name up, and have no idea if it's accurate to tenth century Normandy.) The Ambassador had hoped that by arriving in secret, he and the Princess would avoid just the kind of trouble that Clan Xanatos saved them from. Malcolm is very grateful. He was to marry Elena tomorrow, but because the princess was attacked, he has decided to move up the wedding to this very night. He tells his SERVANTS to prepare the Great Hall. At the Ambassador's prompting, Elena pulls out her father's wedding gift. It is a priceless golden treasure known as the PHOENIX GATE, which she will officially present to the Prince after the ceremony.

14. Meanwhile, with great difficulty, Goliath is trying to convince Hudson that he is not a sorcerous creature, but a visitor from the future. (He does not choose to reveal how far in the future.) Goliath is a bit flustered himself: he doesn't know how much to reveal, and he has to remind himself not to use anachronistic names like Hudson and Demona. He manages to babble out the fact that sometime in the future, he attended the wedding of an enemy and that he and his... enemies were sent back in time by some kind of sorcery. He is particularly concerned for the younger versions of himself and Demona. He needs his MENTOR's help. (This conversation will explain the older Hudson's ambivalence in Scene 2. He remembered meeting the adult Goliath after the latter had attended the wedding of an enemy.) Hudson isn't sure what to believe, but he looks deeply into adult Goliath's eyes and decides to trust him.

15. The Archmage returns to his laboratory. He is furious. At first we think he's ranting to himself, but then we realize he's talking to his apprentice, who cowers a bit in the shadows. It turns out that the Archmage hired the bandits to steal the Phoenix Gate from the Normans. To Malcolm, it is just a gaudy bauble, but to him it is the second talisman of power that he needs. (He has the Grimorum. Doesn't yet have the Eye of Odin.) With it he can transverse space and time in a thought. He needs his apprentice to steal it from the Princess before the wedding. Hesitantly, the apprentice steps forward out of the shadows. It is the young Demona.

16. Fox and Stefan watch as Xanatos hands the Ambassador a letter, and returns to face his father. He tells him that the letter contains instructions for the Illuminati society and two sealed envelopes. The Society is to wait 1000 years and then deliver the first envelope to a young David Xanatos of Bar Harbor, Maine. The envelope contains a small coin, a minor reward requested of the Prince for saving the Princess. The coin is practically worthless in 975, but by 1975 it will be worth about 20 grand. The second envelope is to be delivered twenty years after the first. It contains a detailed account of how the coin was obtained. That's how Xanatos knew how to set all this up. He had received instructions from himself last week. "So you see, Pop. I am indeed a self-made man." Fox beams with pride. Stefan is quiet for a beat. Then asks: "All right, Mr. Big Shot Time Traveler. You sent yourself your little letter before you answered one important question: How do we get home?"

17. Young Demona sneaks into the Princess' room through a window and grabs the Phoenix Gate, while Elena's back is turned. She leaves by the same window, but she doesn't get very far. Suddenly, her older counterpart appears before her in a fiery flash of Phoenix flame.

ACT THREE
18. Up on the tower, the burst of Phoenix flame attracts the attention of Goliath, Hudson -- and Young Goliath down on the battlement! Adult Goliath knows the flame signals the arrival of his... enemy. But his younger counterpart MUST NOT investigate. Hudson agrees to waylay young Goliath. Adult Goliath takes off in the direction of the fading flame.

19. Meanwhile, the older Demona confronts her younger self. Both hold a complete version of the Phoenix Gate. (Don't you just love time travel stories?) Anyway, the younger Demona is obviously stunned by what she sees. The older one is right to business. She knows for a fact that her arrival is about to attract some unwanted attention. They need to go somewhere private to talk! She invokes the Latin spell and her gate opens into fire that sucks in both Demonas. At the last possible second, Adult Goliath flies into the fiery gate, and all three vanish.

20. Castle Wyvern. The highest tower. 994 A.D. A few nights after the Massacre. The 994 counterpart of Goliath is frozen in stone (in Thinker pose) at night! Small fires still burn. Fragments of other gargoyles litter the ground. On the cut, the Phoenix Gate deposits Young Demona, Adult Demona and Adult Goliath a few yards above the tower. The Demona's drop down gently enough, but Goliath's momentum from scene 19 sends him crashing into the stone floor of the tower. Adult Demona seems ready for this as well. Before Goliath can recover, she slams him across the back with all her might, plus both fists and the anger of 1000 years. He is knocked unconscious.
And then her real work begins. Young Demona is still in a state of semi-shock. Adult Demona wastes no time. Yes, she is her older self returned from the future with a warning. See the destruction. The death. Goliath frozen in stone at night! Humans did this! And you can stop it! You have the Phoenix Gate. All you have to do is think of a place and time. Hold it in your mind, and by speaking the incantation you are there. With its power you can accomplish anything. Do not give it away to the Archmage. Do not share it with... Do not share it! USE IT!! Destroy all the humans! Rule the Gargoyles! Rule the world!! It's all within your grasp!!!
Goliath starts to come to. Young Demona rushes to his side. Adult Demona intercepts her. "Believe me, I know exactly how you feel." But you cannot trust Goliath. He is weak. He cares more about the humans than the gargoyle clan! The greatest favor you can do him would be to put him out of our misery. (And here is where our Demona has made her big mistake. A mistake made despite the power of hindsight. Because Demona never learns. And because at this time, the younger Demona loves Goliath with all her heart.) Adult Demona: "You must know I'm right! Can't you see I am what you will become?!" And young Demona, still largely innocent and good, snaps: "I will never become like you!" Young Demona attacks adult Demona! Fight scene. Frankly, Young Demona wouldn't be a match for adult Demona, except that the latter is a bit reluctant to trash "herself". Still, it's for her own good.
Goliath regains consciousness and joins the battle. The tide turns and Adult Demona is knocked out this time. Goliath takes her version of the Phoenix Gate from her. Young Demona is pretty near shattered by this whole experience! She turns to Goliath, pleadingly. What should she do?
Goliath is reluctant to use Adult Demona's methods. But he also wants to undo some of the damage the Adult Demona did. Young Demona is touching the frozen version of Goliath. Our Goliath approaches her. Tells her not to worry about this. Not to fear it or look for it. It is not the big catastrophes that must concern her. It is the little slights. The little jealousies and angers that prey upon the heart. Fortify yourself with love and trust, and you need not fear this future.
Goliath looks at Adult Demona. He holds up her Gate. He's not sure he knows how to use it. The younger one lifts her version. She knows how. She speaks the words and the three of them disappear in flames.

21. They reappear in flame on the same tower in 975. Xanatos, Fox and Stefan are there. (The highest point on the castle was the logical place to watch for the Phoenix flames.) Goliath would be tempted to leave Xanatos behind if he wasn't afraid of the damage the guy could do to the future. Goliath says good-bye to young Demona. By now, he's figured out how the gate works. Young Demona steps back out of range. With some hesitancy, Goliath speaks the Latin and our five time travelers disappear.
Young Demona is left alone. She still has her version of the Phoenix Gate, which she holds tightly behind her back. The Archmage comes running up the stairs, clutching the Grimorum. He had seen the Phoenix fire and jumps to the conclusion that young Demona let somebody else get away with the Gate. Before she can reveal that she still has her Gate, he punishes her with a bolt of lightning, and threatens to tell the Prince that she stole the Gate. Hudson glides in, landing between Demona and the Archmage. Hudson wonders why the Archmage would expect Demona to have the Prince's wedding present? If Demona did steal it, who would she be stealing it for? The Archmage takes the hint, begrudgingly. But he won't forget this. He heads back downstairs, grumbling: Those strangely dressed strangers have disappeared. The theft of the Gate can be blamed on them. Obviously, Young Demona never reveals that she still has the Gate.
Young Goliath glides in and in a repeat of the first half of scene 5, Demona seems ridiculously happy to see him. Goliath doesn't want to miss Prince Malcolm's Wedding. Demona seems a bit distracted. She looks at Hudson, who says "Go on, then." She and Goliath glide down to one of the upper windows of the Great Hall.

22. Xanatos' Castle in Manhattan, 1995. A repeat of the end of scene 7: Owen and the Judge arrive on the scene just in time to see the last spark go out. There is no sign of the wedding party. Owen: "It seems the honeymoon has begun earlier than expected."
Our five time travelers reappear. Demona is recovering. Goliath may have defeated her, but he failed too. Demona remembers his little speech from when she was young. She never forgot it. And it didn't change anything. "More's the pity," he says. And he glides off with the Gate.
In excellent spirits, Xanatos approaches his father. "Did you have a good time at the wedding?" Xanatos Senior takes a penny from his pocket and flips it to Xanatos Junior. David catches it and asks, what's this? Stefan says, "It's called a penny. It's not worth much now, but in a 1000 years, who knows. It's my wedding present to you. Because it's all you seem to care about." Stefan turns his back on his son, and walks away.

23. Goliath arrives back at the Clock Tower. Elisa and Brooklyn are there, ready to blast him for going to the wedding. But Hudson takes one look at Goliath and stops them. Goliath puts the Phoenix Gate back in its hiding place with the Grimorum and the Eye. When he turns to face us, there's a single tear rolling down his cheek. Push in on him and ripple dissolve...

24. Castle Wyvern, 975 A.D., night. M.O.S., Young Demona separates the two pieces of the Phoenix Gate and hands one to Young Goliath. They embrace, stroking each other's hair. FADE OUT.


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Vashkoda writes...

After asking about Goliath having foreknowledge of the Timedancer, I got to thinking of other gargoyles with foreknowledge of someone's fate--Hudson and Demona. In "Vows", Hudson's old self meets future Goliath, and Demona's old self meets future Goliath and Demona. My question is whether Hudson and/or Demona ever truly realized that those encounters meant that Goliath would survive for many years to come (well, exactly how many, they couldn't have known). Did Hudson ever use that as a reassurance that Goliath would return safely from patrols or other dangerous missions--because until "Vows", Hudson knew that Goliath didn't have access to the Gate, and wouldn't be able to accomplish his destined visit to the past? And during all those centuries, did Demona also rely on the memory of that visit as a reassurance that one day, Goliath would awaken?

Greg responds...

Maybe. But keep in mind, until "Vows" they didn't know that Time was immutable. There was no guarantee that the future hadn't been altered in such a way that Goliath would never travel.

Certainly, when Hudson heard about Xanatos' wedding invitation, he had a hunch where the whole thing was going.

Response recorded on November 01, 2000

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LSZ writes...

1) If the Phoenix Gate is, as you've said before, a pressure valve for the timestream, is it the only such pressure valve?
2) Can the Gate be called alive?
3) Can the Gate be called sentient?
4) Is the Gate limited to travelling on Earth, or can it go off-planet?

Greg responds...

1. As far as I know.

2. It can be called whatever you like. Just not late for dinner.

3. Ditto.

4. Anywhen, anywhere, in theory. But off-planet would be a much harder trip.

Response recorded on October 05, 2000


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