7 - "Out of the Shadows"
Originally Written: February 16th, 2000

February 8th, 2000
The twilight, well past the midnight hour, enshrouded New York City in it's malevolent
grip. Enticed were the creatures of the night, those who relished the protective cowl of
darkness, to gorge themselves on the succulent power it provided. Though the iron
lampposts glowed softly upon the sidewalks, it wasn't enough to hold back the
encroaching gloomed void. The creatures were out to play within it's rapturous tendrils,
encircling them, resembling dancers locked together on a concrete dancefloor.

An innocent facade could very well disguise a wicked essence, seeded within any one of
the thousands of residents who now walked the stone veins of this great isle. Past
restaurants, bars, clubs, and all night convenience stores they scurried, oblivious to
anything else around them. Or, perhaps, above them.

The skies, once thought to be the last untouched haven of man's destructive nature,
embraced a new denizen of the Liberty state. Thought to be nothing but tattered rumors
and ancient folk tales, in the past six years, a menagerie of incredible events have come
to life just beyond humanity's reach. But, as always, a heavy price is demanded, for
infinite possibilities come with boundless delights...and perpetual dangers.

Through the towers of glass and iron, he glided effortlessly. His eyes, perfectly suited for
seeing in the dark, focused in on the buildings with pinpointed accuracy as they blurred
past him. Like a forest of steel, larger than that of the amazon, the skyscrapers rose from
the ground, seemingly impervious to the wind or rain or anything else nature held in it's
arsenal. The spires gave way to a smaller building, framed by a crumbling brick exterior,
seasoned with age and hardened by a lifetime of the weather's fury.

As if an angel gracing the earthly plane, the dark figure landed softly upon the rooftop
and brought his wings in close, providing some protection from the unusually harsh wind.
He approached the ledge and gingerly leaned upon the fragile surface. He looked down
towards the street, watching in fascination as the humans went along their way. He
wondered where most of them were going and why they were rushing so. Humans were
an intriguing mystery to him, each one so very different from the other. So arrogant and
yet so reserved, so strong and yet so fragile, so sure of themselves and their place in the
world and yet, so unaware they could be effortlessly wiped out by forces more powerful
than they could ever imagine.

How many times did he come here to watch them? How many hours had he spent, just
observing these amazing creatures? Gazing up to the moon, he longingly searched the
viscera of his mind to try and find an answer to his questions. He shook his head as he
focused back on the street.

The wind had picked up, a sure sign of a storm brewing. He flared his nostrils and
breathed in the cool winter air, embedding itself at the back of his throat and inflaming
the primal senses which lay within. Far in the distance, the swirling clouds of ebony mist
erupted with cobalt flashes, spreading along the clouds' surface and disappearing back
into the sky as quickly as it came. A low rumbling, distinct among the city's unceasing
prattle, swept the air, riding the currents and slowly dying away as it verged upon the
dark figure's position.

The streets were clearing, the humans were finding better places to be than out in the
open. With a light hop that defied his immense weight, he crept to the ledge as he too
did not want to be caught in the storm. His dark skin rippled slightly as he flexed the
muscles in his back. His wings tensed and opened to their full span as he prepared
himself to take to the air.

Without warning, a sharp cry pierced the darkness, causing him to turn in the direction
from whence it came. The alley down below. Racing to the furthest edge, the dark
figure came to an abrupt stop and peered down, his chestnut eyes scanning for what had
shattered the peaceful night. A slight gasp escaped his lips.

A young woman, perhaps in her early twenties was being attacked by two older, and
much bigger men. She kicked and screamed with the ferociousness of a wild lioness, but
failed to break free of their grasp. Her clothes were becoming shredded and torn, her
ivory skin, glowing against the night, bruised with patches of the darkest cerulean. The
larger of the two men had his arms around her neck, choking the life from her small
body. The other, a skinny, ugly man, held her legs and laughed as his companion
tightened his grip, feeding himself on her rapidly growing fear.

With an almost sickening fascination, the dark figure glared from above. The young girl
fought valiantly against her captors, yet he knew her struggle was utterly useless.
'Urchins,' he thought to himself, 'they prey among the weak, for no better reason than to
fulfill their disgusting urges. I will not allow them to kill this young human before my
very eyes.' His eyes burst forth with a radiant sapphire glow, and he edged forward,
intent on saving the young girl.

But suddenly, the air around him exploded with an angry guttural howl, like that of an
animal's final cry before it's death. The dark figure backed away slowly, lifting his head
to try and locate the source. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a shape in the upper
heavens, barely visible against the black cloud cover, and rapidly closing the gap between
it and the alleyway. As it grew closer, he could make out the form, it was human! But
like no human he had ever seen before.

He was very large and was gliding towards the alley on a massive pair of indigo wings.
Eyes glowing white, tail lashing violently behind him, the warrior dived into the alley
straight towards the young woman and her attackers. The larger human made the fatal
mistake of releasing the girl and standing to attention. Even before he felt the rush of
wind over his skin, he was rammed head on by the lavender specter and knocked back
towards the brick wall. He hit with a thud, the wall behind him cracking and breaking
apart as the big man fell to the ground like a marionette whose strings had been cut. The
warrior landed gracefully and turned to the girl and the ugly one, who was intent on using
her as a human shield. "LET HER GO!!!" the warrior demanded with a growl.

"Holy shit, what...what the hell are you?!!" the ugly man managed to stutter a weak
response, as he finally let go of the girl. She fell to her feet and crawled recklessly to the
edge of the alley, butting up against the wall, eyes fixed on the immense shadow
advancing on her attacker.

The dark shadow above never blinked, staring intensely at the scene below him. 'He is
just like me,' the figure thought, 'he is not human, he is the exactly the same as me.'

The large warrior, his soft lavender skin appearing almost black in the absence of light,
moved slowly towards the ugly man, his eyes burning with a ghostly rage.

"Don't come any closer, freak," the ugly man yelled, "or I'll gut you where you stand!!"
Reaching into his stained jacket, he pulled out a large hunting knife, it's surface shining n
the gentle radiance from the streetlights beyond.

With a swift movement almost like a ballet dancer, the lavender warrior reached out and
grabbed the man's hand, knife included, within his larger one. "You were saying..." He
beared his teeth as his deep voice rumbled throughout the alleyway. A sharp cracking
could be heard.

The ugly man's face contorted in horror, as he realized the cracking was the sound of his
hand being crushed within the grip of the warrior. "AAAAUUUUUUUGGHH!!!" the
ugly man screamed at the top of his lungs. A thick vermilion fluid trickled between
violet fingers, creating a gleaming puddle on the dirty ground, as the ugly man pulled
furiously with all his might to free himself. His strength eventually faded and he fell to
the ground, his anguished scream dying away to a child's whimper.

The figure watching from above could have sworn he saw the lavender warrior actually
smile before picking the small human up by his broken hand. He watched as the ugly
man was thrown across the alley into a pile of garbage cans.

Crawling from the refuse, the ugly man shook his head to clear the cobwebs. While
cradling his mangled hand, he bolted for the open street. But someone was blocking his
path, a smaller and more slender shape had come from around the corner, cutting off his
only escape.

"Freeze pal, you're under arrest."

The ugly man looked towards the voice. Nothing but a blackened blur, partially obscured
by the streetlight, could he see with his erratic vision. A woman, wearing tight jeans, a
black shirt and a red bomber jacket, was staring back at him with a gun pointed directly
at him. She was beautiful. Black hair fell in layers around her copper skin. Her deep
chocolate brown eyes were staring straight into his.

"In case you didn't hear me, pal, I said you're under arrest. So stop right there or I'll put
a bullet through your head."

The ugly man looked at her, watching a perked grin form across her red lips. In a
panicked charge, he ran towards her, knowing her direction was much safer compared to
what was surely waiting behind him. He raised his good fist with the intent to knock the
gun from her hands, but before he could react, the female cop spun around with lightning
speed and caught him in the face with her foot.

WHAM!!!

A black foot struck him squarely in the jaw, knocking him flat on his back, his head
compacting with the unforgiving earth. He passed out on the cold concrete, blood
pouring from his mouth. The female cop holstered her gun and placed her hands on her
hips, her smile returning even bigger than before.

'Impressive, very impressive.' the dark figure thought to himself. He was still watching
from the roof. The ensuing chaos had distracted him from the warrior and he turned his
gaze towards the far end of the darkened alley. The young girl cringed slightly as the
ground shuddered with every footstep the warrior took in her direction.

"Are you hurt?" he asked in a very deep voice.

The girl focused on the warrior's face. A noble face, wearing a slight smile, yet etched
with a battle-wearied edge. "Uh...uh...yeah...yeah, I'm fine. Th...thank you very much."

The winged giant smiled and tenderly held out his hand to the girl. She stared at it. So
alien, she thought. His lavender hand only had four fingers, ending with sharp talons.
She reached out her trembling hand and allowed him to help her up. "Are you sure you
are all right?" the lavender warrior asked again.

"Yes, I'm fine. Uh...you're one of those...gargoyles I've heard about, aren't you?" she
replied to him, craning her neck to meet his eyes.

"Yes, I am. My name is Goliath. You have nothing to fear from me, or my kind." His
voice was rugged yet gentle.

'Gargoyles?...' thought the figure watching above, looking at his own taloned hands, 'is
this what...is this who I am?'

"Goliath, we'd better go. I called Matt and he's on his way to collect the 'trash', so to
speak." the female cop called from the side.

"Of course, Elisa." His eyes flicked back to the girl. "I must get out of sight before the
police arrive, but we shall watch from the rooftop until they do." Goliath walked over to
Elisa and she climbed onto the breadth of his back, between the leathery membranes of
his wings, and wrapped her arms around his muscular neck.

The young girl watched as the lavender giant dug his claws into the side of the building
and effortlessly climbed his way to the top. "Wow," she whispered to herself, and looked
back at the two thugs who were lying unconscious on opposite sides of the alley.
"Wow."

As Goliath reached the top of the building, Elisa hopped from his back and turned her
gaze to the alley. Matt Bluestone arrived with Morgan, and a couple of other officers.
She leaned against the building's edge, watching Matt as he questioned the girl, and the
other officers round up the fallen attackers. Bluestone raised his head and shot a look to
the building's roof, knowing his partner was just above, and spotted a familiar shape.
Elisa raised her hand and waved, as Matt turned away and huffed. She knew he was
getting tired of cleaning up her messes.

A sound of footsteps on gravel alerted her to a presence behind her. She felt two massive
arms curl around her frame, and was pulled back slightly into the chest of her husband.
Goliath folded his wings around her and brought his head to her level. Elisa felt his
rough skin glide across her own as his cheek pressed against hers. She leaned her head
into his neck and breathed in his musky scent. "Not a bad night, considering I'm off
duty." she whispered into his ear.

"Yes, Elisa-mine, it's a good thing we spotted her from the air. Who knows what could
have happened if we didn't arrive in time." replied the lavender giant.

Elisa turned within his embrace, looking up into his eyes. Her slender fingers delicately
caressed the length of his face, as he lowered his head, catching her supple lips in a fierce
kiss, and encircling his wings around them both. She slid both hands over his wide chest,
marveling as she caressed the rugged firmness of the muscular expanse. It seemed an
eternity passed before he broke away with a sigh, leaving her spent and breathless.
Blushing slightly, Elisa coiled her arms around his shoulders. "We'd better get going if
we want to salvage the rest of my night off, Big Guy."

"Where to, my Elisa?" Goliath said, as he brushed an errant strand of hair away from her
face.

"We might as well go back to the castle. We could get a fire started in the library and
just lay on the couch until dawn. No robberies, muggings, or shoot-outs. No Quarrymen,
evil gargoyles or renegade fae. Just you, me and the roaring fire. What do you say?"

"It sounds very appealing, Elisa." Goliath replied as he picked her up and held her
against his massive chest. "Let us be off...my wife." Goliath couldn't help but smile.
This small woman held securely in his arms, lay within her a love that he felt he had
searched the world for, over a thousand years. Less than two weeks ago, they joined
together in a union of their hearts, of their souls. A human wedding, with a gathering of
their closest comrades and family.

A wedding Goliath almost didn't want. He felt as if his very history was being diluted by
this new, and sometimes unforgiving world. It wasn't until Elisa's mother, birthplace of
his mate's stubbornness and tenacity, did her best to convince him otherwise. Wife. A
single word to describe the woman who has chosen to live her life at her lover's side, for
an everlasting eternity, through this world and the next. Diane Maza admirably argued
her point, describing the incredible feelings associated with one solitary utterance.
'...there's no better feeling than calling the woman you love, your wife...' Wife. A single
word that helped to persuade the seven hundred pound gargoyle to don a tuxedo suit and
marry his beloved.

Goliath hated it when the Maza women were right. And they often were.

"And make it quick...my husband." Elisa joked, bringing Goliath swiftly back from his
thoughts.

With one swift motion, they were in the air heading back to the Eyrie building. Elisa tore
her gaze from Goliath's visage and looked to her hand. There, on the third finger was a
golden ring with a diamond in the middle, catching the light of the city's burning fire.
On Goliath's hand, a similar golden band wrapped around his middle finger. It was
considerably larger and had a small strip of silver in the center. She thought back to her
wedding and honeymoon, memories still fresh on her mind, and will probably remain in
her conscious thoughts for years to come. The best week and a half in her life.

The breeze grew stronger as they drifted higher into the atmosphere. It coiled itself
around Goliath's massive frame, playing his dark sable mane about his shoulders. The
lightning struck with a crazed vehemence, igniting the sky in a torrid white fervor.
Instinctively, Elisa drew closer to the warmth that was Goliath and closed her eyes. Safe
in his arms, close to his heart. Never had she been so happy.

****************************************

He watched from the shadows as the couple flew farther out of sight. He stepped from
the dark corner, revealing his dark grayish-purple skin to the open air. Steadily, he
prowled towards the ledge where the couple had been just moments before, his deep
mahogany eyes scanning the sky, searching for any trace of the lavender warrior and his
human mate. Hair of the purest snow, bound tightly by a long braid, draped over his right
shoulder. His dark leather loincloth swayed in the breeze. The leather coverings on his
lower legs and arms, the latter with long pouches revealing the handles of long age-old
weapons, were bound tightly to his skin, enough to see the outline of a thick muscular
structure underneath the thick material. Four large Japanese tattoos covered most of his
chest, glowing an eerie orange. Sharp spurs of bone erupted from his elbows and knees,
and on his broad shoulders, two spikes on each side. His long, spiked tail came to a rest
on the graveled roof as he reached the side of the building.

'Why didn't I reveal myself to them?' he thought. 'They seemed trustworthy. I guess I
have been alone for such a long time, I don't relate well with others. It was like I was
afraid of them. It is true I value at my privacy, but...at what price. I wish to find out
more of my race and it's origins, and to honor the dying wish of my grandfather.
This...Goliath seems like a good place to start. But now that I have hesitated, I have no
idea where they have gone.' The dark figure unfurled his massive spurred, black wings
and climbed on the ledge. 'No matter, I'll find them in time.' He managed a slight smile
as he dove from the roof into the cool wind.

He drifted higher and higher, eventually rising above the tallest of buildings save one, the
Eyrie. Set apart from the other skyscrapers, it rose above them with a towering
demeanor, inviting the winds to attempt their most passionate assault upon it's
glimmering walls of riveted steel. Above the diminishing cloud cover, perched an
ancient castle, sitting proudly against the backdrop of modernity. The dark figure
coasted the currents as they guided him past the castle, and set his sights on the stone
passageways. Perhaps one day, he would explore to his heart's content, this castle, a
constant reminder of the far off land he left behind. He flew on, past the commercial
center, on to the coastal waters lining the island's shores. An older warehouse was the
focus of his gaze, as he descended on the rusted steel roof and entered through an open
skylight.

The blackness of night was being pushed back by the blinding sunlight. Soon, a new
breed would claim the streets as their own. As the sun rose, the evening shadows faded
away into oblivion. The cold winds slowed and died, as the clouds parted and drifted to
the ends of the Earth. The storm passed, without laying a single blow to the fragile city.
It had been spared the ravages of the tempest for tonight.

The dark figure gazed towards the coming off the sun. 'How wonderful would it feel to
have the warmth of the sun upon my face.' he thought to himself. He looked away from
the window to his home. An abandoned warehouse, hidden away from prying eyes.
Ancient Japanese weapons lined the walls with archaic scrolls and faded tapestries,
intermixed with posters or oriental martial artists and movie stars. A perfect blending of
old and new. Statues, books, paintings, an assortment of a country's colorful history,
brought together in a small living area, conveyed a lasting comfort to the lone occupant.
Looking further, he glanced at the large open expanse with thick padding covering the
floor and most of the walls. Perfect for working out and honing his skills to their
sharpest degree.

Small shafts of brilliant light poured through the boarded windows, which signaled him
to take his place. He unfurled his wings to their sixteen foot span and crouched into a
position he had claimed as his way to greet the sun for as long as he could remember.
'My search for others of my kind will begin tonight. I will honor my promise
grandfather, I will find those of my kind and perhaps even find where I came from. I
Shadow, will no longer be alone.'

Flesh turns to stone as the sun takes it's rightful place in the sky.