By Leah Wood
Note to Readers: (Italics) signifies telepathic speaking of some characters!
Prelude: After battling the Predator Goliath finds himself stuck between the alien hunter and two helicopters full of Quarrymen. Is there any escape?
On a rooftop a ways away from Castle Wyvern...
Goliath swallowed hard as the Predator's deadly wrist blades lightly touched his jugular. He glanced over at the two helicopters full of Quarrymen hovering a few feet away. This was it. Either he dies at the hands of this masked hunter or against the masked psychopaths out for his blood. Neither sounded pleasant and Goliath could see no way out of his predicament.
The Predator's heat vision focused on both helicopters full of masked Flatheads. He glanced down where one of the beings had fired a projectile weapon at him and his prey and before he knew it one of the choppers landed on the rooftop and all the Flatheads within it jumped out, armed with some sort of crackling clubs and firearms.
One of the Flatheads shouted, "HEY! YOU! That gargoyle is ours! Just back away from that thing slowly and we'll take care of em!"
The masked hunter couldn't understand the words of these Flatheads and he didn't care! No one comes between a Predator and his prey! No puny Flatheads would interfere with his hunt!
Goliath was suddenly bewildered when the towering alien hunter withdrew his blades from his neck and placed his body between him and the Quarrymen. A deep, angry growl rumbled from the masked figure as he menacingly stared at the intruders. He was...protecting him now? Why?
Obviously the Quarrymen didn't realize that this guy wasn't human so they threatened him, "Stand aside! If you protect that thing then we'll kill you!"
Menacingly the Predator hissed and raised his wrist blades as if to say, 'YOU get the Hell away from my trophy or I will kill you!'
All at once one of the Quarrymen fired a rifle at the Predator and hit him in the midsection. The hunter squealed and roared as a splash of glowing neon green blood sprayed from the wound, but he remained standing.
The men's heads reared back in shock. "SHIT! He ain't human! Kill 'em both!" the leader shouted.
Absolutely livid with rage from the gunshot wound and the Flatheads' interference, the Predator bellowed thunderously, leaping into the Quarrymen with flashing wrist blades and spear! The humans with guns didn't even get a shot off as the masked titan hacked into them! Severed heads rolled across the rooftop, crimson splashes of blood flew through the air, and viscera spilled out onto the ground as the masked assassin wreaked vengeance upon the meddlers!
While the Predator began his deadly task, some Quarrymen charged Goliath, but the lavender giant was more than able to handle himself! Grabbing the hammer-wielding humans by their own weapons Goliath threw them like tennis balls across the roof! Swinging his tail around, he slapped a pair of Quarrymen into senselessness.
As he fought a terrible pain stabbed through his body and he roared when one of the masked men slammed him from behind with his super charged sledge hammer! Staggering Goliath tried to beat down the pain and fight, but he saw the hammer descend again towards his head! If the gargoyle blinked he would've missed it. Just as the crackling hammer neared his head, a lighted disk of metal flew past Goliath's face, sheared the sledge hammer in two, and efficiently lopped the Quarryman's masked head clean off his neck! Convulsing, the body fell to the roof in a splash of hot blood.
Gasping in shock the gargoyle watched the disk swoop around and return to the awaiting hand of the masked warrior, who by this time had killed all the Quarrymen around him. Goliath couldn't believe the hunter's ruthlessness or his resilience, since he was fighting with a huge bullet wound in his chest! What Goliath couldn't figure is why he'd just saved him?
But time to think was not on his side when the other Quarrymen helicopter angled around and a hail of bullets screamed down at them. At the same time Goliath and the Predator turned and ran for the far side of the building as bullets ricocheted behind them and some nicked their flesh! Instinctively Goliath spread his wings and glided off the roof while the flightless hunter leaped from roof to roof. The helicopter immediately fell into pursuit of Goliath, filling the air with gunfire!
Ducking behind a vent shaft on the roof, the Predator turned just in time to see the helicopter's white heat signature chase after Goliath. He growled; no Flatheads were going to take his trophy!
Quickly, he touched a few buttons on his wrist causing a small explosive rocket to rise up at the ready. With proficient aim the hunter raised his wrist at the helicopter and the rocket shot through the air in a trail of fire! The helicopter had no chance. Slamming into the helicopter the miniscule projectile ignited the chopper's fuel tanks and it exploded in a rain of burning bodies and debris! Goliath turned and noticed the Quarrymen helicopter was destroyed and just a rooftop away was the masked hunter lowering his arm in finality.
The gargoyle couldn't understand! This guy had been trying to kill him since he awoke and now...he was defending him against the Quarrymen? It didn't make sense! Then...it hit him. The Predator wasn't saving his life...he was preventing the Quarrymen from killing him so he could kill him! Great...
Very quickly the Predator caught sight of Goliath's infrared signature gliding above the buildings. He assessed his options. No shoulder cannon...no camouflage...no wrist rocket. All he had left was his spear, his throwing disk, his wrist blades, his capture/kill net, and his wrist explosive (only to be used in the event of certain death). He very much doubted any of his remaining weaponry could accurately drill the Stone Warrior at that distance. The air was Goliath's realm...not his. He needed to get that gargoyle on the ground in close combat! Had it not been for those meddling Flatheads he'd have that Stone Warrior's skull and wings slung over his back right now! Well, now with no more distractions the hunt could continue!
Goliath circled overhead watching the shadowy form of the masked hunter standing motionless on the roof. What was he waiting for? Oh, yeah...him. In the air he had the advantage, but he couldn't remain in the air if he was to stop this guy. Whoever...whatever...he was fighting was unbelievably cunning, tough, and skilled in the art of death. He'd already nearly killed him and he didn't seem to even notice the gaping green bullet hole in his chest! At least now he could see him instead of fighting ghost images. In any case he had to stop him from continuing his reign of terror on Manhattan.
Retracting his spear once again the Predator flicked it to dare Goliath to fight again. Knowing a challenge when he saw one, Goliath turned his body toward the hunter and rumbled from above; trying to find an opening of attack. The Predator crouched low again, waiting for his prey to make a move. That's when Goliath dove at him. Folding his wings against his muscular frame the gargoyle dive bombed at the hunter, talons flared! Coming in so fast the Predator could barely compensate Goliath zoomed over him and delivered a sound punch to the pewter colored mask. The hunter's head popped back from the blow, but otherwise he was unphased. Tough bastard.
Goliath glided around the hunter, waiting to deliver another blow. Once he spotted an opening he took it, diving at the Predator again! But this time the masked killer was ready. When the huge gargoyle came swooping down at him like a lavender juggernaut the hunter made an unbelievable leap upward, using his spear to launch off the roof. Unable to stop, Goliath passed underneath the Predator and in the blink of an eye the hunter twisted his body around in mid-air and aggressively swung the spear in a sweeping motion beneath him, slitting a nasty gash across the middle of Goliath's back and cutting the bases of his wing struts!
Roaring thunderously Goliath crashed onto the roof, slid across it and left a crimson trail behind him. He groaned and tried to lift his wings, but the gash made the action far too painful. Now he was flightless. Limply his wings sagged along his bleeding back like a pair of broken kites. He was lucky the hunter hadn't sheared them completely off! Then, out of the corner of his eye Goliath saw a flash of metal and he rolled to the side just as the Predator's deadly wrist blades stabbed into the roof where his head had once been! Lying on his injured back Goliath kicked his large arched foot and slammed the side of the cold eyed mask! It reverberated and neon green blood began seeping from beneath its metal surface! He'd bled him finally. Goliath's eyes flared phosphoric white again and he swatted the hunter's spear out of his hand and then coiled his strong thick tail around the hunter's banded ankles and jerked the alien right off his feet onto his back! Once the Predator hit the ground he somersaulted backward and stopped in a frog-like crouch a few feet from a rising Goliath.
Rattling aggressively the Predator wiped the blood from the underside of his 'chin' and glanced at it as if to say, "Hmm...you're pretty damn good at this!'
Goliath growled deeply at the hunter. He couldn't help but notice that the Predator seemed to actually be enjoying this fight to the death; like it was some sort of brutal game for him! And...maybe it was! But to him this was no game; this was a matter of his life and the lives of others!
Forgetting the pain in his wings and back Goliath sprang through the air and tackled the hunter, causing both of them to fly off the roof onto a lower building and through a skylight window! Unable to stop their fall both Predator and prey crashed hard onto the tiled floor of the office building they'd fallen into. Momentarily stunned they laid on the floor listening to the wail of the security system.
After a moment Goliath and the Predator sat up facing each other. Goliath growled and punched the metal mask hard. It rang and the alien's banded dreadlocks whipped to the side. In return the Predator swung his clawed fist and upper-cutted Goliath under his square chin, throwing the gargoyle's head back! Snarling in rage Goliath swatted the hunter's head from side to side until viscous green blood was running down his neck and splattering to the floor in small glowing pools! Seeming to have enough of the gargoyle's beating, the Predator reared his high, broad forehead back and slammed it into the bridge of Goliath's nose causing it to erupt with blood!
Both combatants fell away from each other a moment, bleeding and heaving raggedly. Goliath was seeing white lights in his vision and couldn't focus. The Predator had blood in his eyes but could still make out the hot heat signature of his prey's heaving form. This was great! Goliath had to be the most worthy opponent he'd ever fought against! He actually felt pain from the gargoyle's killer blows! Definitely an honorable prize to acquire. Just as he was about to rise the Stone Warrior's heat signature flared which meant he was about to move. In one powerful leap Goliath managed to grab the ledge of the broken skylight and pull himself back up onto the roof.
The Predator watched. 'Yes...run! RUN! FLEE from me!' he thought.
Goliath ascended the roof and heaved in pain. His wings and back hurt SO badly from the spear wound and now he felt like his nose had been driven into his brain! He wondered if the masked assassin hurt as much as he did. Growling in pain he raced across the building roof until he came to a gaping chasm that led to nothing but pavement below. Across the divide he could see a much taller skyscraper bordering the Hudson River. Maybe if he could jump this he could climb to the top of the building and put the hunter at a disadvantage somehow. Behind him he heard the Predator clicking which meant he wasn't about to quit chasing him! Backing up Goliath painfully bolted for the ledge and made an unbelievable leap onto the side of the skyscraper. His steely talons gouged the brick like Styrofoam and he sighed, grateful he'd made the jump.
Suddenly a hissing filled the air and Goliath gasped as a metallic net enveloped him, effectively pinning him to the wall! He roared when he felt the net's stakes screw tighter into the brick, causing the metal fibers to cut his flesh! No! The BASTARD! Turning powerfully Goliath slashed his talons through the killer net before it could turn him into little bloody chunks. He snarled through his fangs as he stared across the way at the Predator, who was holding a gun-like device; obviously the net launcher.
Rattling in disgust the Predator chucked the net gun aside and backed up as well to make the same leap Goliath did. Goliath cursed and began to swiftly ascend the wall just as the Predator leaped and caught the wall beneath him. Climbing as fast as they could both fighters clawed there way up the skyscraper. Goliath being the faster climber made it to the roof first leaving the Predator still climbing after him. The gargoyle glanced around. There were many vents and even a towering metal crane on the roof. Perhaps those would aide him in his fight. Then he spotted a metal hand-rail next to a small stair way. Using his immeasurable strength he ripped the metal rod apart, giving him an effective weapon to use. He just HAD to beat this guy! Cautiously he approached the ledge where the Predator would pop up and raised the metal rod at the ready. This was a dangerous predicament. He couldn't see the hunter and he dare not peek over the ledge. It was a test of nerve and patience. Goliath waited. No sign of the masked killer. The anxiety was heavy enough to strangle the gargoyle.
Suddenly Goliath's keen ears heard the all too familiar whirring buzz of the Predator's metal disk and instinctually ducked just as the deadly weapon whizzed over his head! Goliath watched the disk swirl around and disappear over the ledge a few feet from him. The bastard was right there! Acting quickly Goliath jumped up and swung his metal club over the ledge where the disk had disappeared. He was rewarded by a heavy Thunk! of metal bashing flesh and a pained squeal from the Predator! However the blow didn't stop the masked hunter from crawling over the ledge and onto the roof. Goliath swung the metal rod again but the Predator managed to roll out of the way and onto his feet in a fighting crouch.
Goliath all at once spotted the damage the rod had inflicted upon the alien. His right arm hung limply at his side, not broken but knocked down out of the socket. He growled low in pain and backed away from Goliath holding his dislocated arm. Then pulling his arm down and outward a sickening audible POP! sounded and the hunter rammed his arm back into its socket! He roared and painfully moved his shoulder. It would work for now. DAMN! This guy was tough!
Goliath swung his bar weapon again and the Predator parried it with his wrist blades despite the soreness in his right arm. Swinging, thrusting, parrying, slamming, and slashing they fought, metal to metal, flesh to flesh! Neither willing to give an inch or succumb to the pain screaming through their beaten bodies. Sparks flew from the metal weapons as the titans channeled their strength, rage, and will through them! Across the roof they moved; ducking, dodging, and attacking spilling red and green blood all over until they ended up next to the roof crane.
At last Goliath's rod could no longer withstand the sharpness of the Predator's blades and it was sheared in two. Along with cutting the rod the hunter's blades hacked off a considerable hunk of Goliath's mane which stuck to the end of the blades.
Quickly the Predator snatched the length of dark hair from his weapon and clutched it tauntingly in his fist as if to say, 'Ha! Got a piece of you!'
Goliath roared, throwing the rods aside and bulled the hunter into the side of the crane, making the metal dent! Holding off the duel blades with one hand the lavender warrior bent down, hooked the hunter's knee under his brawny arm, and lifted him over his head! Then with a mighty heave he threw the Predator upward, slamming him against the long metal 'arm' of the crane. The alien squealed in pain as his chest contacted the metal and he clung to the crane, legs dangling over the racing Hudson River below. His right arm flamed with pain as did his chest, but it only fueled his anger and desire to slay the Stone Warrior.
Eyes blazing Goliath jumped onto the roof of the crane's base and began climbing up to the disadvantaged hunter. Still grasping the bunch of Goliath's hair in his left hand the Predator reached back down for his throwing disk with his other hand. It hummed in his hand as he heaved it at Goliath with all his strength. The gargoyle gasped and barely managed to swing his body under the arm of the crane before the deadly disk nicked his shoulder! Missing Goliath by mere centimeters the lighted disk sheared through the metal beams of the crane arm before spinning around back to its owner. However when the disk cut most of the crane's arm it made the structure groan and bend downward hard, causing the Predator to miss catching it! As a result the disk sliced through the other end of the crane above the Predator and fly away uncaught!
Groaning and creaking like a huge wounded beast the crane's arm began to break the rest of the way until it snapped like a twig and careened down into the Hudson River as a useless twisted mass of metal and cable! The Predator tried to leap away from the crane but the loose crane cable twisted around his leg and held him firmly to the falling metal death trap! Though it was painful Goliath managed to spread his wings and awkwardly leaped away from the falling crane, just snagging the edge of the building with the tips of his talons! He glanced over his shoulder to see the crane and the shrieking Predator crash hard into the dark waters of the Hudson River with a mighty splash! After a moment the blistered water returned to normal as the crane and the hunter sank to the bottom, disappearing beneath the relentless swirling depths.
Goliath winced and pulled himself onto the roof, a beaten, bloody mess. He stared at the Hudson River below. Nothing surfaced. Though it was impossible to think of, Goliath couldn't help but believe the ruthless Predator had survived that fall. But...no. He was caught against that crane. If the initial fall didn't kill him then the rushing depths of the river would drown him. The fight was over. He had triumphed...just barely. Sitting against the edge of the skyscraper roof the lavender giant's chest heaved as he tried to stave the beating of his strained heart. He couldn't remember the last time he'd fought so hard or had to take so much punishment against ONE being! He glanced over toward the East and could just begin to see a strip of light burn on the horizon. Thank God! His stone sleep would come soon and these hellacious wounds he'd acquired would heal and he'd be good as new for tomorrow.
After resting a moment Goliath rose and limped his way across the roof. Maybe he could get back to the castle before sunset...or at least find a safer place to hide for the day. A thought still nagged at his mind. Throughout the whole ordeal he never got to see the masked hunter's face. He never would know what his would-be killer looked like. Perhaps...it was best he didn't know. All he knew now was that the city would be safer with the Predator dead.
A ways down the Hudson River a half and hour later...
A dark mass of flesh and metal desperately clawed its way onto the steep banks of the river. Glowing green blood oozed from numerous wounds, leaving a luminous trail on the muddy shore. He coughed and rattled, ridding the cursed brown water from his 'lungs'. His left leg felt broken and his whole body ached, but he was alive. Very gradually he stood, favoring his leg. His vision adjusted behind his metal mask. Lucky for him he'd managed to cut the cable pinning his leg with his wrist blades or he'd be dead at the bottom of that cursed river!
At length he heard his wrist band click and beep. He glanced at it. His communicator read out in his alien language that the ship was preparing to leave the planet! NO...NO! He wasn't done with his hunt! He still needed to kill the Stone Warrior! He'd come SO close to bagging his trophy! But...the orders were clear. Return to the ship. The clan was departing and he couldn't be left behind.
In his hand he still held a piece of his prey. He stared balefully at the hair and clutched it powerfully. Then, throwing back his head in rage he shrieked and roared his fury to the skies, roaring guttural curses and vows as he held the Stone Warriors hair high! He vowed he would return to this planet and he VOWED that when he did the skull and wings of the Stone Warrior Goliath would hang in his dwelling as the ultimate symbol of his honor!