70 - "A Shining Light"

March 1st, 2002
The screens stared vacantly back at him, a sharp, acerbic glow, the only source of light illuminating his hardened features in such a desolate environment, and setting aflame a platinum fury to his long, sable mane tumbling lightly upon his thick neck and impossibly broad shoulders. As if a fusion of steel and silk and suspended far below where vast, billowing wings attached to sinew and bone, a respective trait favored so by his mate. Goliath brushed back an errant strand from his brow, that which lay heavy upon his slumberous gaze.

He wore a weathered and depleted grimace when hearing the menagerie of deep voices from across the distance, brought forth by an advanced technology, the best the modern world had to offer. Though with four distinctively resonant tones, each with a different accented brogue and merged into a single chaotic snarl, he touched a few talons to his throbbing forehead, and massaged his temple in hopes to sway the migraine between the jagged peaks of his brow. "So you believe this Kokuei no longer poses an immediate threat?" he questioned almost inaudibly, though clearly, breaking through the conflict set between distant corners of the globe.

"You have lived with the constant threat of enemies like Madoc and Sobek hanging over your head, Goliath-sama," answered Kai, the Japanese leader adorning the screen from the farthest left, "and so shall we. We have fortified our defences if she ever dares return. But from Shadow's description, quite vague mind you, she has been substantially weakened, and seemed more interested in him than anyone else."

Goliath nodded in solemn affirmation, the leader surprised in Shadow's forthcoming warning of Kokuei, though unsettled by yet another foe taken a singular interest in a member of his clan, the family he had battled relentlessly for and waged a constant and sometimes futile war to protect. "Much to my…annoyance, my clan now bears the brunt of yet another force who wishes to either possess us or destroy us." His eyes then drifted purposely to the other screens, set eye level and roused to life with others raised to his unique position. Zafiro, of Guatemala, Michael, of London, and Ares, of Ottawa. A conference of clan leaders from around the world, held monthly to share information and gathered knowledge, and give tidings that united their clans through an elaborate network of Xanatos Enterprises satellites, circling hundreds of miles above the Earth. And as always, when these five gargoyles were brought together, respective egos and foreign customs would clash, sparks ignited and fires set ablaze as policy and distinctive fashions of leadership collided head on.

"Your teaching of these humans brings us ever closer to exposure!" argued Michael, the gargoyle of eagle form and markings, and an evidently heavy British accent, cultured in tongue and ferocious in speech. "How many natives now know that a clan lives in that rainforest of yours?"

"I suppose a family of gargoyles operating and roosting within an occultism shop in downtown London serves a better purpose?!" Zafiro snapped back, his scaled lips sneering upwards into a complacent smirk, as Michael pursed his rigid beak. "Pigeon."


"Gentlemen, please, this is an old argument." Goliath interrupted before the insults grew into something more, and rolled his eyes. "It was settled long ago. Zafiro's passing of knowledge about the rainforest to the local villages provides education and lasting life to a needed resource for all of us. And Leo and Una's shop serves to introduce humanity to the wonders of magic, and the powers it possesses. Plus, allows them a rare sight of the unknown in a controlled environment and moderate circumstance." He watched them both eye their monitors, knowing they had passed a cautioned glare the other's way, but remained silent nonetheless.

"But what happens if one of those humans decides to spread his knowledge of our race further?" Ares mused, sober in tone and expression. "We have all seen the newspaper pictures, and the news reports by Miss St. John. Luckily, her story was lost to speculation and considerable disbelief among the human population. But frankly, Goliath, that was far too close for comfort…"

"We all know our time and comfortable places in the darkness will come to an end soon enough. But united, we stand a better chance. And we will not betray our convictions or principles to fear and hatred. That breeds only destruction. We will continue to protect, human and gargoyle. We will continue to teach, and love, and live. That is our way."

"But, Goliath," said Zafiro questioningly, his scepticism apparent even through the distant transmission, "for how long?"

"That depends on you. On all of you." Goliath had effectively finished the heated conversation, standing firm on his beliefs. "I know for a fact how humans can judge us, and how they can become great friends and…"

"And even greater lovers?" Ares jested, garnering a round of quieted snickers from the others.

"Not all of us have human mates, or are lucky enough to be blessed with a half human child." said Kai, passing a knowing smile Goliath's way, poking fun at the lavender leader and trying if only to lighten the mood.

"Yes, that clan of yours, Goliath, is single-handedly courting or mating with half the inhabitants of New York." supposed Michael, his tone supporting a wavered partiality for such spreading into the human populace. "I wonder if there's a chance for more children to pop up along the way…"

"Speaking of which, how fares your clutch, Zafiro-sama?"

Zafiro winced at Kai's mere mention, and kneaded his crowned brow, appearing to age several years before their eyes. "Nineteen hatchlings, all full of energy. Obsidiana has taken to mothering every single one of them alongside our own, and I thank the sun god I am able to sleep during the daylight hours…"

Michael suppressed a quiet laugh in his comrade's misfortune, knowing by his own clan, the largest of all, how tasking young gargoyles can be. "Fatherhood looks quite good on you, Zafiro. But you haven't…eaten any of them, have you?"

"You are fortunate we are separated by over five thousand miles of water, pigeon!" he retorted, angered in the Londoner's jesting tone.

"It's a good thing snakes can't swim!"

"Those two are incorrigible…" Kai muttered upon his screen, as Ares broke into a subtle laughter hidden by his clawed hand, and Goliath rubbed his aching forehead.

"Oh, Kaaaaaaaiii…" A pair of hands then surprisingly drifted into the Japanese leader's monitor, colored a sweetened lavender and distinctly feminine, curling around his neck and rubbing seductively his large, sweeping brow. "Are you finished yet?"

"Ah…" Kai broke into a foolish grin, as the others stared at him with raised ridges. "Sora." he whispered, fending off the arms and raking talons forcefully prying him from the privileged videoconference. "Please…"

"And how is your new mate?" Goliath asked, as Kai desperately tried to keep near the screen, being dragged away by his recently married bride.

"Well, she is…ah, stop that…Sora!"

He was swept away, followed by a rather loud thump, until yet another visage filled the screen and the men took due notice in the abrupt and welcome change in scenery. "Is the meeting over, Goliath-sama?" she inquired pleasantly, flickering her lashes towards the grinning leaders. "It is less than a half hour from dawn."

"We have finished all we need to discuss, Sora." he said, a flattened tone. "If you wish to have him, he's all yours."

The screen shimmered a bright crimson as Sora flashed her eyes and creased her features into an enticingly wicked smile. "Domo, Goliath-sama." she purred, the cat having cornered her prey. She swept away, and the screen left only the view of the Ishimuran communications center, where a blurred silk screen could barely be seen in the background, and a few muffled cries released through the speakers bordering on a carnal growl.

Goliath sighed, as the screen went blank.

"Well," Michael leaned back into his padded leather chair, "I suppose this meeting is officially over. I'll report to Kylie. Until next month, my friends, and be careful out there." Another screen powered down.

"And it is nearly feeding time for the hatchlings." wheezed Zafiro in an exhausted sigh, an animated chatter in the background growing ever louder. "Farewell."

"And I have baby-sitting duties tonight." Ares politely excused himself from the conference, though being the last to sign off. "With Rain spending the weekend in New York…again, and Aurora, Thrash and Magellan on patrol, I am left with Crystal. We'll speak soon, Goliath."

The last of the monitors lost its supple glow and faded to a blackened void, leaving Goliath bathed in only one remaining screen, his flesh an eerie storm cloud indigo almost swallowed by the shadows cast across his form. He peered below to the lasting computer and his written work having been prepared for this evening's monthly conference, part of a massive collected database containing all his clan had learned of their race, neighboring clans, and a detailed description of numerous adversaries. Saving the blurring scrawl of the computer text, he switched off the monitor and basked in the total darkness of the main communications chamber in the Southern corner of Wyvern, habitually claimed as his office, where he could work in peace and utter silence.

He fell limply into the massive high-back executive chair, straining beyond its limits to hold aloft his seven hundred pounds as a steel structure screamed within the tanned leather. He winced as the rhythmic pulsating only seemed to grow in intensity even with an absolute cessation of sound, save for the gentle humming of the castle's power generators beneath, picked up clearly with his great hearing and sensitive tail slumped to the stones. He immediately grabbed for the aspirin bottle next to him and downed over ten large pills hoping to alleviate the pain. "A fine time for a headache…" he muttered, rising languidly from the chair and entering into the castle's halls. "Where is Elisa?" he whispered to himself, heading towards the direction of the media room and passing by an antique clock chiming the late hour. "Her shift ended a half hour ago…"


He saw only the wings first when peering through the doorway, his unique structure inherited and yet coated in molten copper glistening a deep platinum. They bobbed and furled with each of her movements, no matter how subtle, in perfect tandem with her slender tail protruding from underneath the hem of her dress. He walked softly as he approached the diminutive figure seated in front of the television, disguising even his weight with tender steps upon the plush carpeting, a massive form moving as a lavender brume and as light as the clouds. And now lost within the blaring song of voice and musical tone bursting from the speakers and swirling into a chaotic tempest within the room, he crept towards her, and immediately showered his impressive wingspan upon her, startling the young child swept away in her program in a covering of lavender suede. "Hello, Trinity." Goliath rumbled, pressing the hybrid close to his chest in fear she may scurry away.

"Hi, daddy!" she chirped, the sudden fright washed away to a familiar scent and voice, and she turned in the embrace of powerful arms to peer up into Goliath's features, fatherly and comfortingly yielding.

"And just what are you up to now?" he asked of his youngest, roosting upon the carpet and taking the child into his lap.

"I coloring." she replied, excitedly grabbing the thick book bright with wildly scrawled hue and tint, though displayed of some talent for someone so young, and thrusting it to Goliath's face. "Look!"

He leafed through the finished pages of her coloring book, as Trinity delightedly pawed him, helping to show her father her favored works. "You are getting better with every passing night, daughter." he whispered gently, sending a flitter through her wings with such high praise in her growing skill.

"Yeah, she gets that from my side of the family."

Goliath impulsively cringed at the voice thrown from beyond his left shoulder, and slowly turned his neck to see Beth Maza close her book and stretch luxuriously into the embrace of the couch. "Hello, Beth. I see you're back from your latest expedition."

The youngest Maza sibling nodded, and propped herself up on a few pillows, her weary form fatigued and wanting desperately for the comfort of the warmed fabric covering. "Just in time to spend some time with my niece and brother-in-law." she said, falling onto her side and watching Trinity point out her pictures to her father with great detail, and noticing too the enormously structured gargoyle continuously rubbing his forehead, his spurred brow heaving with discomfort. "Problem, Big Guy?"

"It's nothing." he lied outright, and found Beth nodding once more, though this time possessed of a witting smirk. "Beth…" he started, his tone fallen, becoming serious with just the mention of her name. "Speaking of family, have you…spoken with your parents lately?"

"Nope. And I don't plan to."

Goliath seemed surprised at her indifference, and the disturbing efficient apathy with which she swept away an entire half of her lineage. "Are you sure?" he whispered, pained, and subconsciously settling the fault of a family having been torn in two upon his shoulders. "This entire situation has nothing to do with you."

"Where my sister's concerned, and my niece, it's my business. They had no right to choose one over another." she forced out. "I send them cheques in the mail to pay off what I owe them for university…and that's it."

"So you have had no contact with them at all?" he said quietly, hoping the spare Trinity any discomfort when speaking of the absence of her grandparents and uncle, her instincts and heightened empathy allowing her rare insight to the emotions of others.

Beth shrugged, and swallowed the lump forming in her throat, damning her emotions from leaking out from a guarded barrier inherited from the very people she had effectively cut off contact with. "I've…I've seen Maggie a few times…"

"And how does she fare?"

"Okay, I guess. She's frigging huge. It's a little more than a month from her due date."

"That is not what I meant."

Beth found his eyes, the dark portals dominant, and sighed, "She's trying to accept the fact her baby might have been the entire reason this all started. Her one wish, her one desire to lead a normal life, and it all gets flushed down the toilet because prejudice and bigotry are still a prevalent disease…even in a family who've fought against it all their lives…"

"And is the child…?"

"Normal?" Beth finished for him. "Yeah. I've seen the sonograms. Perfectly, one hundred percent human."

"I'm…happy for her." he whispered, drifting his hands through his daughter's raven sheen, a literal miracle of life seated complacently within his embrace. "It has been especially hard on Elisa. She hides her pain well."

"That's my big sis…"

Goliath nodded solemnly, and stood up, delicately depositing his daughter to the plush surface of the carpeting. "Yes, unfortunately so."

"Play wif me, daddy?" Trinity asked before Goliath stepped away, her chocolate eyes pleading silently as her father rose up and towered over her by six feet.

"I cannot right now, Trinity, I have patrol soon." he answered apologetically, as Trinity's hopeful smile turned downwards and her wings drooped lifelessly. "But I promise, as soon as I come home, we shall spend some time together." His promise, an adamant assurance having never been broken to the young hybrid allowed her wings a lively flutter, and her eyes a sparkle. She clamped to his leg, excitedly hugging his knee and bulging calf muscle, the only available body part she could readily reach. And did the headache relent only just, as his daughter scampered back to her coloring book.

"Bye bye, Barney butt." said Beth playfully while returning to her book, as Goliath sneered, the headache returning.


He trailed along the stones with a tepid gait, inspecting his castle and the damage inflicted, the granite walls once smooth now chipped and a luster lost to the ravages of time. Even when landed into a modern realm and the technology offered by a boastful billionaire, the constant turn of dawn and dusk weathered this ancient place, and brought its existence as home to his brood ever closer to an impending end. It had held as a symbol for a thousand years, served as a silent witness to both family and friends, and death and destruction born of bitter prejudice. An often sudden change in course and purpose and leadership, and raised above the island possessed of steel heart and labyrinthine, concrete vein, Goliath well appreciated the fact this castle had survived far beyond anyone's greatest expectations, yet knew in his heart, that all things must eventually age, crumble, and wither to dust.

The leader stroked the walls as he traveled, as if caressing an old friend, and reveling in the scent of his loved ones. Goliath turned sharp the corner and entered into the main hall which housed the entrance to the grand chambers shared with his wife, and nearly toppled a large moving object bobbing just beneath his chin with seven hundred pounds of muscular girth. "What is this?!"

"What the…" Todd Hawkins noticed the intimidating silhouette envelop him, the jagged clefts of wing and an impossibly massive stature seeming to completely shroud the lights above, and he looked up into Goliath's steeled glare. "Oh…howdy ho, neighbor!" He nudged his elbow into the gargoyle's stomach, as if pressing his flesh into cold, sculpted marble.

"What is this?" Goliath repeated, without giving the human's assertion due notice, and pointing to the object being hauled in through Annika's bedroom door, now to be shared with her new husband.

"My T.V."

Goliath cringed, his caped shoulders become slack as he crept around to see the substantial screen on the opposite side. "Are you sure it's big enough?"

"Well, it's sixty one inches, the biggest they sell. I was hoping for something a little bigger…" he answered, either oblivious to the gargoyle's sarcasm or just allowing his sense of humor to clash against Goliath's own. "But now that I'm living here, I have complete access to the media room T.V. Now that sucker's friggin' huge."

"I for one could have settled for a normal T.V., Goliath," Annika pleaded in her defense, resting upon the slick, raven veneer surface of the television's casing, "this thing was Todd's idea to place in my room."

"OUR room." Todd corrected. "You forced me to move in here, remember?"

Goliath sighed, and rubbed a taloned hand across his aching brow. "Just keep this monstrosity quiet, Mr. Hawkins."

"Sure, it's just my stereo you have to worry about."

"Stereo??" echoed Goliath angrily. "You may now live under my roof, Mr. Hawkins, but you will also follow my rules. Is that clear?"

"Jawohl, mein fuhrer!!" snapped Todd, playing off Goliath's commanding tone, stamping his feet and raising a rigid arm to the air.

Annika watched Goliath's simple mannerisms speak louder than a rabid growl birthed from his throat, and winced when seeing the gargoyle's body become one mammoth clenched fist. "Todd, please don't make fun of our incredibly large landlord," she whispered covertly to her husband on the far side of the television, pointing towards Goliath's lowered brow, "especially when that little vein is throbbing on his forehead."

"Mrs. Hawkins is quite right. Keep your toys quiet."

"Mrs. Hawkins??" Annika exclaimed, appearing as if punched in the stomach. "Oh my god, I'm Mrs. Hawkins…"

"What's wrong with being Mrs. Hawkins?!" Todd asked, folding his arms defiantly across his chest.

"It just sounds…so weird when other people say it…"

They mounted into yet another argument, an enjoyable chore between the couple, and perhaps a precursor to their other favored activity, that of sex, and as Goliath swiftly moved away towards his own room at the opposite end of the hall, a muffled rumble from deep within his chest was released.

"You know, if we were moving into MY apartment, we wouldn't have to live with huge, purple, angry gargoyles." Todd whispered to Annika, bracing his side of the television. "I can't believe I lost that argument…you and your damned feminine wiles…"

"Oh shut up and push."


His own heavy steps were muffled by the thunderous pounding within his skull, the headache suffered since awakening now growing into a serious concern, and a distraction among other uncertainties floating restlessly within his foremost thoughts. "Todd Hawkins is living in my castle…" he whispered to himself, unbelieved of the words spilling from his lips, the very reality dreaded from the moment Annika fell in love with him. "Jalapena…"

He had barely made it down the towards his chambers, attempting to retreat as far as from the newly-mated couple's playful bickering as possible, before a white-frocked man came rushing from an opened door with such alacrity as to surprise even Goliath and his extremely powerful hearing. Only his heightened reflexes and slight of foot avoided a collision, and he stepped back, allowing Dr. Alan Pierce to collect himself and the loose papers clutched to his chest.

"Oh, Goliath." said the now fulltime Eyrie doctor lightly, unaware of Goliath's growing twinge strafing through his brow, and quickly helping to relieve the gargoyle of his enduring patience. "Good, I've been looking for you."

"It seems you have found me, Dr. Pierce." Goliath rumbled, his voice carrying the slightest traces of annoyance in the feral brogue. "What do you require?"

"Yes, well…I uh, need to schedule some more tests for Trinity." he said cautiously, recognizing the expression of aggravation worn by the leader looming over him.

Goliath raised a suspecting ridge, occasionally unnerved by this man's interest in his baby daughter, and sometimes angered in the fact she was occasionally treated more as if a science experiment. "Why?" he growled his question.

"Well, I just…need some fresh blood and skin samples to, ah…study the hybrid genes closer." he faltered slightly in his chosen words, trying to justify these tests without giving away the secret of Maria Chavez's developing pregnancy. "I have some new theories that need answers only your daughter can provide."

"You have tested her since the day of her birth, prodded and pricked her so many times I have lost count and taken every conceivable test in human medicinal science on my youngest daughter." He was suspicious of the motives, but trustful of the man standing warily before him, his eyes nearly lost in the graying strands of hair falling over his brow. "Why the sudden interest now?"

"Just…curious, that's all." he swallowed, and swore he could feel the damnable bead of perspiration creep down his forehead, as Goliath's thinned eyes burned a streak of fire into his flesh. "Plus, it would be quite beneficial to compare her hybrid physiology now to when she was a baby. I-If there are going to be any more interspecies pregnancies, I…want to be fully prepared for any eventuality."

Goliath rubbed his temples, and relented. "Tomorrow night, doctor. And be sure to have Trinity's favorite lollipops on hand to soothe the fact you are taking yet more blood. You know as well as I do she is afraid of needles."

"I will, and thank you, Goliath." He swept away the intruding hair and slinked to Goliath's side, having to turn and contort slightly to allow himself past the stubbornly immobile gargoyle, and down the hall.

Goliath continued on towards his room, and before he could even touch his talons to the door, it swung away from his hand and revealed an identical color of skin to his own, his first-born, of Demona's ferociously striking appearance and carrying his morality and honor within her eccentric heritage.

"Oh, father." Angela cried, her face lighting with her discovery. "I was looking for you."

"By entering my private room without permission?" he snapped inadvertently, and bit his lip as Angela's beaming smile dulled slightly. "Hrm. I am sorry, daughter, what do you wish of me?"

"Well, I was thinking of inviting mother to the dinner we are holding for Todd and Annika tomorrow night, to celebrate their marriage and his moving in."

"Yes." It was an automatic answer, having been prepared whenever this subject arose, that of Demona's frequent trips to the castle, that which still unsettled his spirit. "Of course, I would love her to come."

Angela found the tone used mechanical, without emotion, and curved her brow suspiciously. "Are you sure?"

He gritted his teeth. "Yes. Why would I have any objection to Demona coming for dinner? She is my friend…my…good friend…"

"Thank you, ah…father…" Angela watched the talons in his balled fists knead fiercely his flesh, and knowing he was still getting to used to Demona's presence and her stern predilection towards their daughter, took this opportunity to allow her father the privacy he was perhaps desperately searching for. "Well, I guess I should leave you alone…"

"Hey, Goliath!" came a deep, hoarse rumble, as Broadway came running towards his mate and her father. "I need to talk to you about tomorrow's menu." he said, apparently unaware of Angela's frantic gestures behind her father's back, that to protect her mate from Goliath's searing temper and irritable demeanor. "Should we have chicken or steak?"

Angela slapped a hand to her face, as Goliath lifted himself impossibly taller and sneered. "Must I approve every single, insignificant trial in this castle?!!" he snarled, flaring his massive wings once cloaked about his shoulders. "Figure it out by yourself!!" He swept away, leaving the burly gargoyle in a numbed state of total shock.

"Whoa…what the hell crawled up his ass?"


"Elisa?!" he bellowed, filling even the grand chambers with a growled echo. "Elisa?!!" Goliath searched the entire room quickly as his patience wore desperately thin, his mate's unique scent everywhere and confusing his senses. From Trinity's small side bedroom, to the encompassing bathroom and adjoining hot tub and sauna, to the balcony overlooking the castle's cornices and the glowing city center. But his quarters were despairingly vacant, emptied of any presence save his own, and he snorted a muted growl when noticing the answering machine flashing it's warning of a recent message.

"…Goliath…" It was Elisa, her voice distinctive even through the distortion of the digital recording, melodic while spirited. "…Sorry, Big Guy, I have to work late. There's been a murder, and Matt and I are heading down to the crime scene. Hopefully, I'll be home before sunrise to kiss both you and Trini goodnight. Love you, husband…" The answering machine clicked off, and Goliath swallowed the urge to crush the tiny, insolent contraption in his powerful hands.

But yet he raised a ridge, the swathing anger of his mate being stolen away replaced slightly with great care for yet another victim of this urban realm's deepest, menacing hollows. And perhaps one of the greatest medications for his pain, she was now half a city away. "Perfect."


"Now, now, robotman." she whispered coyly, feeling his hands wrap around her slender waist and adjoining wings with the fused sensation of warm leather flesh and cold sterling steel colored a deep flaxen gold, creating a path of goosebumped flesh as he explored her entire form.

"But, Rain…" Lexington pleaded mockingly, laying soft and delicate kisses to her neck, just below where her curving hairline did not conceal enough to keep the olive-colored cyborg from suckling a uniquely honeyed flavor with his lips. "You're only here for a few days."

She drifted her eyes through her falling blond bangs, seeing his features barely outlined in the darkness, with only a few seemingly disembodied lights scattered around them, creating a soft, soothing glow in a menagerie of color and steady measure. "What say we…see how far those wires of yours run?"


"Ares??!!" Lexington screamed aloud in pure instinct as the overhead lights flashed on in his workshop, pushing Rain away from him as if having committed a crime. "Oh…" he breathed a sigh of relief when seeing Goliath standing in the doorway, defined clearly in the artificial light. "Goliath…I thought you were Ares…"


"Well, I've come to associate the deep, masculine screaming of my name with an angry Canadian clan leader." he explained, with Rain nodding her head in approval. "Habit."

Goliath merely grunted his reply, and looked around the small corner workshop of the most proficient gargoyle in cybernetics and computer technology in all of Wyvern. Chaos reigned in every crook, the leader being so used to flawless organization in his own claimed office space as he snapped his maddened gaze to dangling wires, half completed devices, floating monitors suspended from the ceiling with miles of cord and twisted wiring connected to a menagerie of computer hard drives below the encircling workbenches. But what truly captured his attention was the now completed Coldstone robot, resting as a whole being in the distant corner, and too entirely lifelike for his penchant. "I hate that thing…" he muttered, as Rain and Lexington both followed his searing glare, as if they could see the trails of fire being burned into the robot's chest plating. "What were you two doing in the dark?"

Lexington shrugged, as Rain demurely placed her hands behind her back, a shimmering emerald sapphire turning as red as the sunset sky. Their answer composed of silence and a pair of abashed grins, the spirit of youth having played too far.

Goliath shook his head. "Have you finished with my commlink unit yet?" he subsequently demanded.

"Uh, yeah…it's been calibrated and tuned to the proper digital frequency, but…uhm, I think I may have left it in the dojo when talking to Shadow last night." Lexington said meekly as Goliath's scanned ultraviolet heat signature raised ever steadily, the cyborg discerning a rapidly beating heart with cybernetically enhanced hearing. "Sorry."

And when Goliath ducked from the doorway without even a word of gratitude, Rain released the breath held within when the proverbial thunderclouds having collected upon the room's atmosphere faded away. "Whoa…" she whispered to an equally relieved Lexington. "And I thought Ares had mood swings…"


The dojo screamed aloud in pain, unceasing of a pounding resonance flooding the hall just outside, as Goliath traveled towards the dulled, repeating sound. Expecting perhaps Shadow, Sata, or another using the facilities, Goliath entered into the spacious gym and gasped at what he found. Far from him, attacking the punching bag with a relentless savagery was his adopted daughter, a clone of his wife and former mate coalesced into a single being, once thought gentle and yielding, and now edged with traces of an anger brimming beneath her copper skin.

Delilah drove her leather-wrapped fists into the bag, unleashing her rage made stronger tenfold when transformed into pure kinetic energy, the heavy bag straining at its moorings. Her eyes were centered, her fury boiling the sweetened chocolate with a lapping flame and strengthening her resolve as she continued in a steady, unbroken cadence against the leather bound surface with her clenched hands.

Goliath watched from the door his daughter desperately try to lose herself, escape her world, her pain by hiding away from any contact. By setting free what had built up within a fragile soul, but he had hoped to at least spare her this.

"Looking for this?"

Goliath turned to see a jade-hued hand offer to him exactly what he had traveled here for, his communications headset. "Thank you, Sata." he whispered, taking the device fitted to his exact size and programmed by Lexington to his own high-expecting specifications. But drawn from the device quickly, his eyes inadvertently wafted towards Delilah, the young winged woman coated in a light sheen of perspiration in such exertion. "Why is Delilah here?"

"It was my idea."

Goliath passed to her a scrutinizing glare, his brow lowering onto thinning charcoal eyes. "You pushed her into this?" he accused sternly.

"You know as well as I do she is not taking Shadow's new relationship with Iliana…particularly well, and she needed to vent her frustrations." Sata explained, unpossessed of any fear as Goliath bore down upon her with his stabbing gaze and hoping to sway his irritation before the conversation took a turn for the worse. "Better this, Goliath-sama, than holding it within, and becoming a danger both to herself and those she cares about."

Goliath impulsively chewed on his bottom lip, the pain in his brow cresting, and relented only just with a bare hint of a nod in no discernable direction, a deep, persistent feeling crawling within the deepest recesses of his skull, that of an infuriating unawareness of the future.

"I know, as a father, you wish her to stay the innocent young girl we all knew, but she is growing up, and must deal with what life will award her, and ultimately punish her with."

"With every experience, her naiveté slowly wears off. But will it only present us with a stronger, stable woman," Goliath mused soberly, as Delilah continued, seeming oblivious to her audience as her great hearing soaked up nothing but the damaging blows set against the punching bag and the thunderous beating of her heart, "or an angry, sullen child unprepared to deal with her pain?"

Sata looked back to the gargess, at last resting her weary, sweat-soaked form and leaning against the punching bag, her chest heaving for air beneath the tight-fitting camisole and causing a metrical jog in her wings. "I will help her train if you wish, I will guide her in dealing with her anger, and eventually it will fade, and she will go on."

"I know." he added, his exact fears only drawn into the spoken word by the time displaced samurai. "It is just…hard to watch her have to experience life like this."

"Life is pain, as is love."

"And only will she learn…by living."


The winds gently took to him as soon as he stepped into his favored domain, the sky calling to him and embracing his form as if a child in the sun. The gargoyle deliberately tromped across the courtyard stones, peering into the sapphire streaked firmament of faded dusk, his path steady yet unchecked by distracted eyes. He inhaled the sweetened scent of ozone and stardust, as yet untouched at this height by the spreading urban creature slowly tainting his world. Attempting to wash away the pain of his headache, Goliath wandered with his nose tipped to the sky, and nearly stepped over a recent, and very uninvited, addition to the parapets. "What?!" he roared in surprise, as he looked down to barely catch a blur of faded dawn scurry away from underneath his large feet. "Haven't they caught that monstrosity yet?" he hissed, as it crawled away with blinding speed and disappeared into the shadows.

"Todd has tried. I see both him and Brooklyn often with flashlights, nets and peculiar Australian accents." A light witticism from an even lighter tone, though husky, almost seductive, and spoken through swollen caramel lips. Desdemona approached her brother, stepping with a remarkable fluidity as if not to disturb even the light coating of dust upon the stone floor of the courtyard. "I think at this point they are content to let it roam free."

"Yes, they now call it the castle mascot." Othello added, coming to rest beside his mate.

"If I get my hands on it, it will be nothing but a twisted piece of rubber and scrap." Goliath growled, a blinding white light having spilled from his eyes. He rubbed his head and hooked the commlink over his right ear, positioning the extended microphone just by his mouth. "Come." he ordered, his voice severe enough to warrant an apprehensive look between the former cyborgs. "Let us go."


"Brother?" Othello called to him over the wailing rush of the wind. "Goliath?!"

Goliath came into view beside him, dodging past a colder draft to keep perfectly level in the sky. Yet he never answered, preferring the bitter silence of wind and perpetual city chatter.

"I tried, my love." Othello mumbled into his commlink, switching to a private frequency to Desdemona a few yards away, the gargess rolling over a lighted billboard with a snap of her split wings. "But he seems…untalkative."

"Well, I suppose we should just let him be." she sighed in discouragement, the patrol having passed silently between the trio, due mostly to Goliath's agonizing headache and his elusion of any dialogue. A clear night, where spring met the fading vestiges of winter in a delicate eddy of scattered clouds just above them, and they continued on in a relatively quiet patrol near the southern end of the island, near the piers.

"…Big Guy…"

Goliath grumbled in even Elisa's voice through his commlink, echoing painfully within his ear. "Yes?"

"…Heads up, husband. We've just had a report of a recent parolee who's gone back to his old, destructive ways…"

Goliath creased his eyes, and curled his lip into a sneer, his desperate want for a peaceful patrol shattered. "Who?" he growled the demand through the microphone.

"…His real name is Larry Baker, but down at the precinct he's known as Larry the Bomber…"

"Larry?" Goliath repeated incredulously. "The Bomber?? How clever."

"…He was arrested several years ago in connection with a few small bombings in Times Square. He's psychotic, but an expert in demolitions…"

"Then why was he released?!"

"…Legal loophole, Big Guy…he was paroled on good behavior, and permission from the psychiatric counsel…mostly thanks to a very slick legal defense…"

"And you say he has returned to a life of crime?"

"…Yup. He cleaned himself up, got himself an apartment, and a job…at a large department store…"

The gargoyle flicked his brow in Elisa's concealed implication. "You mean where he could steal any substance and material he wished for a homemade bomb?"

"…Bingo. Seems the respectable act was just that…an act…"

Goliath gritted his fanged teeth in blind legal practices and the sheer stupidity of the system in which he now dwelled. "Where was he last reported?"

"…Where are you now?…"

"Southern tip." Goliath replied, coming low over the abandoned warehouses. "Near the docks."

"…Uh oh…"

Before he could even send an answer to his wife, the entire sky filled with a blinding haze, as a shockwave chaotic in path cast the massive gargoyle from the stars, seven hundred pounds of steeled muscle being tossed through the air as if a toy. A deafening explosion followed, throwing off Goliath's equilibrium as the sound nearly tore off his head, and the ensuing shrapnel piercing his flesh and the exposed membranes of his wings.

"GOLIATH!!!" a voice suddenly screamed to him through the maelstrom of floating fire in the sky, female, and brimming with fear for her brother's safety.

The pain in his head amplified exponentially with the echoing clamor all around him, and he fell, his wings limp and helpless to keep him aloft. He spiraled towards a building perched serenely near the waterline, and through the fire nipping at his flesh he guided himself towards the rooftop. Goliath landed hard, rolling across almost the entire jagged surface similar to a rag doll devoid of life, and when at last coming to a stop, he groaned in pain.

"Yes, mother."

Goliath's vision blurred as he attempted to peer to the voice hovering all around him, unable to sense the source, for what he perceived of a few scattered fires and a damaged roof structure were blended into an anarchic confusion.

"I know, mother, ugly isn't he? Must be one of those gargoyle things…"

The receiver imbedded in his ear hissed static, an infuriating noise inflaming his headache, and what he wouldn't give to hear his wife's dulcet tone once again. But now replaced with the cry of damaged technology, and an alien voice growing closer, he sensed the delicate trembling of footsteps approaching with a steady, intentional pace.

"I know, mother, I hate purple too."

Goliath gritted his resolve and pushed himself from the roof, shaking his aching head to clear his vision of the stranger appearing as a silhouette within the burning flames behind. He pulled himself to a seated position, and fluttered his wings, ensuring of their welfare. But as he looked up, he pulled back in sheer morbid shock when coming face to face with naked male genitalia dangling just before his eyes. Goliath leaned back even farther and raised his eyes to see an extremely muscular man standing over him, completely nude with the exception of an orange, knitted sweater evidently three sizes too small and stretched over his chest and stomach. Draped upon his broad shoulder was a duffle bag held securely with his hand, as if containing purest gold. "Lovely sweater." Goliath muttered.

"I'm wearing my Sunday best!!" he screamed in demented anger towards the gargoyle. "Mother always wants to see her son in his Sunday best!"

"Are you the one responsible for the bombing?!" Goliath accused, slowly heaving himself to a standing position, his head screaming in pain, as was his battered form.

Larry nodded and smiled, his eyes possessed of near frightening dementia. "Mother told me to."

Goliath quirked a brow at the word mentioned a second time. "Mother?"

Larry gently dipped his hands into the duffle bag, and pulled out a large glass jar, and instantly, Goliath whiffed painfully the noxious scent of formaldehyde. Larry cleaned an errant smudge on the glass with a moistened finger, and turned it around to face Goliath, his smile beaming with pride.

"Gah!" Goliath cried out, in seeing the jar contain the severed head of an elder woman, her features frozen into a chillingly reproaching scowl, though made up with fresh lipstick and glowing blush. "Jalapena…"

"…zzzzzzzzGOLIATH!!!…" Elisa's voice at last broke through the commlink, the systems returning to some sense of normalcy, and enough to allow her an exchange with her injured husband. "…What's going on?!! Are you okay?!!…"

"I am…fine." Goliath wheezed, staring towards the deranged human with wary eyes, darting between Larry and his mother. "I think I have just met your friend."

"I know, mother, rude, isn't he?" Larry quipped, the permanent smile etched into his face growing unbelievably larger and sharpened at the ends, appearing as if a jackal upon the prowl.

"…Yeah, that sounds like Larry all right…" Elisa whispered into her transceiver, listening in to the conversation. "…We know him well…"

"And his mother?" Goliath whispered into the microphone, dropping his damnably inquisitive gaze to the jar and the severed head within, staring back at him with eerily open eyes.

"…Don't get me started. I have no idea how this guy ever got out, the morons over at the psyche ward must be kicking themselves for being duped so damned easily…"

"You're being rude!" Larry screamed, obviously upset at Goliath's sharing of his conversation with his wife. "That makes mother angry…" Larry switched the jar to his other hand and reached into his bag, pulling out a black section of plastic pipe capped at both ends. He lit the shortened wick and tossed the explosive towards the gargoyle.

His body responded sluggishly, and he barely dodged from the path of the homemade grenade, only seconds after it erupted in fragmented pieces of piping and mortar and spilled its fury in a perfect sphere of fire. Goliath jumped away from the flaming pieces of wood and aluminum panels being thrown from the hole in the rooftop. "This man is insane."

"…Keep moving, Big Guy. Larry's rumored to have an unnatural sense of accuracy with his little flaming surprises…"

"I AM moving, but taking the entire brunt of an explosion does not help." he hissed, as another bomb came sailing towards him.

"…Well, excuse me. Where are Othello and Desdemona?…"

Goliath dodged yet another explosion, taking a piece of sheared steel through his wing membrane. "I don't know! They disappeared after the first explosion!"

"…I already called for backup, Big Guy, but I'm stuck here at the murder scene. I wish I was there to help you…"

"As am I. Sometimes I think you are forced to spend too much time at that damned precinct." he said without thinking of any consequence, as rage and relentless pain guided his words of cruelty, eluding just barely another fireball and sensing the searing heat upon his slightly charred flesh. "They have you on a very tight leash!"

"…Ah…and here I thought covering a crime scene where one of my fellow cops was ruthlessly gunned down took precedence over a few lost hours…"


"…Tanaka was killed tonight, Goliath, he was part of the old gargoyles task force…and my friend…"

Goliath winced at her ruthless tone, chiding him, and rightfully so. "I apologize, Elisa. You're…you're right…of course." he whispered, expressing regret over his callousness.

"…It's okay, lover. You don't sound yourself tonight…"

"I am…not feeling one hundred percent." Goliath eyed his attacker, slipping around the ledge as Larry whispered inaudibly to his mother's jar. "Especially with this psychotic hovering over me." He tread lightly on the roof's edge, Larry continuing to heft bombs towards him with enough explosive power to rip even the atmosphere asunder, sending ripples through the wind swells. "Is there any indication of Tanaka's killer?"

"…None. But the fashion in which he was killed is identical to both Maguire and Dracon. A single bullet through the head…"

"The same killer." Goliath flipped over to the neighboring rooftop, a perfect three hundred sixty degree circle to land onto a stable surface, a reprieve at last from Larry's frenzied assault and a chance to plan his own attack. "Are you all right?" he asked of her, sensing the trepidation flow through her voice with practiced ears.

"…I'm fine I guess, but even though he won't admit it, I think Matt's a little edgy. This is now two from the gargoyles task force…"

"I know." said Goliath as he crept behind the venting system, peeking out to see Larry digging furiously into his duffle bag, having rested his mother's jar on the building's ledge. "This pattern frightens me."

"…You mean the fact every single body killed in this fashion in the last three weeks has one, single connection…that of gargoyles?…"

"Elisa." Goliath said severely. "I think when we both come home…we need to talk."

"HEY!!!" Larry screamed joyously to the gargoyle, as Goliath turned his full attention to the crazed and naked bomber. He raised in his hand a massive pipe, showing off proudly an explosive perhaps twice the size of what he had been using before, and possessed of an odd timing device. "Mother said to use the big one."

"…Big one?? Oh shit…GOLIATH!!!…" Elisa screamed through the communications link.

"Jalapena." Goliath curled into the embrace of his wings as the bomb flew overhead and skipped into the middle of the rooftop. But this explosive had no wick, rather a contact sensitive trigger designed to explode upon impact with a hard surface. And it clicked.

It was a total absence of sound, as the light spread out and engulfed the world around him, followed by an implosion of wind rushing in to fill the vacuum and then being forced back out by the crudely constructed bomb's frighteningly effective power.

"Oh look, mother," said Larry euphorically, clutched tightly to the jar as the head bobbed and swirled slightly in its toxic fluid with every subtle movement, "pretty. Like the Christmas lights at Mr. Dugan's house."

A column of fire arose into the atmosphere as if a clawed hand swathing the entire neighborhood in its grasp, and setting aflame a haunting reflection the still waters of the harbor for almost a mile beyond. It consumed the middle of the rooftop in a matter of seconds, and the devastated support beams gave way, pulling the gargoyle into the flames and the massive hole created. Goliath opened from his scorched wings and tried to reach for anything in sight through the burning lumber and falling steel beams, but the struggle proved ultimately futile as he descended deeper into the dilapidated structure and was devoured wholly by the darkness. He fell upon the first floor and immediately burst through the aged wood, his weight turned against him as deadly momentum and sending him through floor after floor after floor.


"…Big Guy?…"

The first sound beckoned to him, forcing his mind to struggle for any sense of intellect within the feverish realms of hallucination. He minded at last the crushing weight resting upon his chest, brought back to some sense of reality by the breath being stolen from his lungs.

"…Big Guy?…Goliath?…Are you okay?…Goliath?!…Goliath!!…"

"…graaauuuuugghh…" He opened his eyes, and found a rising cage of seeming oblivion through the swirling layers of dust, where a series of holes breached far above and exposed a flowing field of slowly revolving stars.

"…C'mon, Big Guy, speak to me…please…"


"…Oh thank god…" Elisa sighed, the commlink still functioning even after falling through seven floors. "…Don't do that to me. Are you okay?…"

He rose from the pile of broken planks and twisted steel, his skin transformed to a deep ashen gray mixed with his blood spilled from numerous gashes and long, jagged rifts in his flesh. With every tortured movement, the pain in his head responded with a clap of thunder. Goliath used his impressive strength to lift the mountain of debris collected on his form, and brushed it away in a fleeting moment of anger, forcing his beaten body to rise shakily and hold itself steady. "This night…is turning out to be perhaps…one of the worst I have ever experienced."


Goliath used a single fist to punch through the doorway, and entered outside onto the wharf, a few bobbing lights surrounding him as flaming pieces of debris traversed the swaying, milky waves of the harbor. Goliath rubbed his shoulder, and stretched his wings, wiping away the layers of dirt from his face. He traveled on pure instinct, his sense of duty compelling him forwards to see if Larry still remained in the immediate area, while gouging his talons into the building's exterior and slowly climbing towards the rooftop.

"…You're breathing funny…" Elisa mused, as Goliath reached the top.

"I'm guessing I was buried under almost a ton of debris." he answered, resting for a moment and hanging off the side of the building before continuing. "I feel quite…compressed."

"…Well, if it makes you feel any better, I was able to make contact with Othello and Des. They're just above you…and they got Larry…"

Goliath snatched his clawed hand to the molded ledge and hauled himself over the rooftop, seeing a caramel hand quickly offer assistance.

"My brother…" Desdemona sighed gratefully while pulling Goliath onto the portion of roof still standing. "Thank the dragon you are all right."

"I am alive…" Goliath wheezed, rubbing his midsection. "But I am NOT all right."


Goliath peered towards the source of the fuming scream, where Othello struggled to wrap a crazed figure in the sections of steel rods pulled from the damaged structure, now used to subdue the distraught bomber.

"Hold still, psychotic!" he bellowed, forcing Larry to the ground.

"Mother!! No!!"

"What happened?" Goliath demanded.

"I…I…" Othello winced, and shoved Larry forcefully to the rooftop, the large, naked man near tears. He then lifted a few shattered pieces to his brother's disapproving eyes, dripping with the greenish fluid. They were fragments of the glass container once holding within the severed head. "I dropped the jar."

"MOTHER!!!" Larry screamed once again.

"And where is the head, brother?" Goliath asked.

"We think it may have…ah," Desdemona answered for her mate, timidly looking towards the building's edge as her wings curled in, "rolled off the roof."


"We had to subdue him, and in the fight, the jar simply…slipped from Othello's hands."

Goliath settled his hands to his face, perhaps a gesture to conceal himself from the world for if only a moment. "Please, brother, sister, do your best to find the…head." he ordered, hobbling away and rubbing his temples. "I am going home. I have had enough."


He limped within the sky, his wings in constant pain with every stray gust pushing against his sore pinions. Goliath landed within the courtyard with enough force to almost form cracks in the Scottish stones, and snorted a breath as if a dragon breathing fire. His headache had only worsened, and the spattering of clan enjoying the spring night outside held themselves silent with his sudden arrival. Angela, sitting with Broadway near the oak tree, burrowed deeper into her mate's chest. Brooklyn, Sata, Lexington and Rain, they too settled into the shadows, content to wait out Goliath's visibly dangerous mood until it passed.

But Beth, now regretting having taken Trinity outside, tried to scoop her niece away from the sight of her father. Yet Trinity's sense of smell directed her gaze towards Goliath, and the young child's eyes only brightened, even with her father appearing battered, bruised, bleeding, and covered from head to toe in dust and dirt.

"DADDY!!!" She ran towards him, escaping from Beth's grasp and traversing the entire courtyard with a piece of paper entrenched firmly in her tiny hand. The clan watched silently, dreading the expected outcome, as Trinity skipped up to her father and held just at his feet. "Hi, Daddy!!"

Goliath slowly turned and peered down to the winged child, the charcoal of his eyes lit as glowing embers. His breathing was heavy, tortured, and he muffled his snarls with clenched teeth. "Trinity." he whispered, his entire body shaking and wracked with pain. "I am…not in the mood for…"

"Look, daddy, I drawed you a pitcher." She thrust the piece of paper towards him, and Goliath, not wanting to hurt her fragile feelings, snatched the picture away and opened it to his burning glare. It was of the castle, a crudely scrawled representation of the New York skyline being warmed by the sun. And upon the highest perch, lay her version of Goliath and Elisa with Trinity in their arms. "So when you sad, daddy, you ca'look at th' sun."

His brow rose, the once present fire in his eyes doused, as Goliath sighed, instantly releasing the pain, the hatred, the annoyance and anger, all fading away in his daughter's simple gift, that to warm his glacial heart. He immediately stole Trinity from the ground and pressed the child to his chest, enveloping Trinity in the leathery embrace of his wings.

Angela sighed in relief, and fell to the lush field of grass, watching as her father squeezed her half-sister with all the power contained within his massive form.

"Thank you, Trinity." Goliath whispered. "Your gift is…well appreciated."

"Play now, daddy?"

"I can't think of anything I would rather do."


He rested his body upon the soft quilt and bedspread, settling substantially more than a quarter of a ton of weight to the canopied berth. It was nearing dawn and the Wyvern leader looked forwards to his rest, where he would heal, and soon awaken in full form under the moon's supple glow. He had put his youngest daughter to bed in her small corner of the castle, and now listened with great hearing the hybrid breath wistfully, lured with ease into the world of her dreams. And once again the picture drawn by her hand appeared to his eyes, held in his talons, the gargoyle wanting of such peace of a child for all he loved, to keep his clan, his family, safe from any and all harm.


Goliath lifted to the gentle whisper, as Elisa slowly closed the bedroom door behind her, the woman cast in purest bronze almost enveloped in the sheathing shadows. "Hey."

She drifted towards him with a faint step and through the broken moonlight cast in distorted form of the bay windows, as he gestured a single finger to his lips, the signal used many times to warn the other of their daughter's slumber. She tore off her jacket, holster and shoes, and slipped onto the bed beside him, running her hands across his flesh, her touch electric and essentially silent when bridging their souls through simple contact. "You seem better." she whispered, resting to his chest and smoothing her lips over his skin with the gift of soft, embracing kisses, the gargoyle tasting of fresh soap.


"How's the headache?"


Elisa smiled sweetly, and kissed him again, guiding her lips across his own and allowing him sanctuary for only a few seconds from the world and the weight having rested upon his shoulders. "Well, forgetting the naked psycho, the murder, the bombs, the severed head, and everything else for just a minute," she started, hesitant in perhaps ruining the mood in such a sore subject, "how was the rest of your night?"

Goliath passed to her Trinity's picture, and Elisa marveled in the gift having taken away his pain. "Enlightening."