St. Roch: Home Invasion

St. Roch: Home Invasion

Damien: Being transported to St Roch was .. interesting. It was a sensation he’d never felt before and something he didn’t wish to experience again. The feeling of not having control was a big one. Adjusting his jacket, he looks around a moment. The city was small, but just as dark and gloomy as Gotham was. It’s architecture a mix of spanish gothic and early english gothic. Two very different cultures that once held. Pulling his phone out, he finds the address that he was looking for. Where one Kendra lived. A part of a duo named Hawkman and Hawkgirl. The tricky part is to wait when Hawkman was away as he could be a bit … temperamental when anyone but him talked to Kendra.

Though, she’s been working on him.

Damien didn’t know what to expect. But if anything he gained from his conversation with Superboy, er, man, was that Nth metal was being used. If that was the case, then Damien needed information right from one the sources. Kendra and Carter. Though, once again, it was easier to approach Kendra about this, rather than Carter. What he didn’t expect was to find another lurking figure as he approached the Hall Residence where the pair lived. The house wasn’t big, but with it being just a couple blocks from the Stonechant museum, it was perfect for the pair.

Right now, Damien was tracking a figure that was using the shadows of the night to skulk around the dwelling. This couldn’t be a coincidence. Nothing that the Son of the Bat couldn’t take care of. Using his training, Damien followed the other figure, waiting for the perfect time to strike. Then suddenly, the young man sprung into action, going to tackle the figure from behind. Except, this person wasn’t just anybody. The figure twisted his body while in the air, to then flip Damien off of him. The figure hits the ground in a roll as Damien also turns, landing on his feet about ten yards away. Now facing the other man.

Pausing, Damien scrunches his face slightly in confusion and thought.


Dick : You wouldn’t think that tracking down two people with enormous wings on their back would be a problem for just about anyone. Much less two people with the deductive tracking ability and resources of the Wayne Family. Apparently no one gave these Hawk-People the memo. Because Dick Grayson has been all over the globe in search of them. From San Luca, to Cairo, to Athens… one jet ride to the next has taken him around the globe and away from Gotham at a time when it was most inconvenient. As it turns out though, the pair seem to be able to completely hide their wings. Otherwise they’d found some other manner of travel, because they weren’t showing up on any sort of Airport Security. It might be a bit on the nose to jump to the conclusion that the pair would use those same fancy wings for travel, but by all accounts and scientific extrapolation those wings didn’t provide them with the speed needed to manage some of the Museum Robberies they’d pulled. At least not in the time they had managed it.

Finding out that one of those Dick had needed to be on the ground in Gotham, keeping the city safe in his absence, was actually following much the same trail? Surprising, but not nearly as much as you might think. Damien has always had a habit of showing up where he’s least expected. Or wanted. Depending on your view point. Being attacked by your kid-brother, from out of nowhere? That’s where the surprise levels kick up.

It might be one of the rare times in Damien’s life that he too gets surprised, because Dick doesn’t just get tackled. No sooner has he rolled through the attack from behind, but he comes up ready to attack. The last few months wearing Bruce Wayne’s costume, being the Batman in a City that has been teeming with a new level of violence, had left Grayson more than a little on edge. Damien is sure to notice that his ‘Brother’ wasn’t just ready to try to disarm, but was clearly about to go on the offense with razor-bats in each knuckle.

The coat doesn’t conceal much of the Nightwing costume and it surely doesn’t prevent movement. Dick was ready for a fight, but didn’t come dressed as the Bat. “…Jesus! What the hell are you doing here…? You have the worst timing… get down.”

Even as Dick is barking instructions he’s moving. It happens so fast you might liken it to a professional quarterback’s throw, the way his arm cocks and unleashes those razor bats. Not at Damien, but above him. Three of them thrown, but the sound of only one of them making metallic contact is the reward. Until the next sound is a razor-sharp Boomerang implanting itself in the solid stone near Damien tells the guy what Dick was doing.

All of this, just seconds before “Kendra’s” front door explodes and the squad of armored insurgents start to pile in through every entrance.

Shiera: There could be some argument of semantics when it comes to categorizing what’s been going on lately as ‘robberies.’ My own solo ‘expedition’ had been more along the lines of grave robbing, or as Carter would maybe call it ‘liberating the past and bringing it to light.’ I don’t know that I entirely see the difference, because the only line seems to be whether or not the grave in question is clearly marked, and perhaps different layers of dirt over the top of it. My trip to London, cracking the mausoleum, and walking out with what I’d thought was an amulet could maybe have been dubbed either. I don’t consider it stealing, if only because what I took from those damp stone walls was mine.

Or it had been mine, in 1943. The end date stamped on that life, and that crypt. It wasn’t a point I was going to argue with anyone when it came to going in ‘legally’ though. Which brings us back to robbery. Something that we’ve been planning to do again, more liberation, more reclamation of things rightfully ours. Not because of greed, or pride, or heritage. But because somehow, everything gets less crazy the more of our pasts we find.

Actually. It gets more crazy by the same measure. This is Carter’s home. Since we found each other again, I stay here. Most of the time. The truth is, I hadn’t had much to leave behind. This time I had been born as Kendra Saunders. This time, there wasn’t anything especially heroic, or daring about me. Cello isn’t exactly an exciting pastime to devote oneself to, and it was the way I’d set up to spend what I’d hoped was a relaxing, quiet part of my day to, since Carter’s out of the house. He probably would have noticed something coming. I’m not exactly the hair trigger that he is however, and so the detonation of the downstairs entry, along with what sounds to be the back door as well certainly takes me by surprise.

The instrument is rather unceremoniously dumped over as I jerk to my feet, I have no idea who or what is coming, but it sounds like a lot more people than I would have thought I’d made angry. Probably can blame Carter for that. The closest thing I can lay claim to as a weapon is the baseball bat in the bedroom, and that’s two doors down the hallway. An easy enough sprint to make, as well as the closest one with an ‘exit’ in the form of a window if I have to take it.

Damien: Damien was about to counter Dick’s comment about him being here. But decided to drop it. Instead, pulling out a domino mask and applying it after the explosions rocked the front and back doors of this home. Looking over his shoulder, he lifts a brow at his brother. “We have much to discuss. But, clearly it looks like our friend inside may need assistance first.” It seemed NOWHERE was here first, at least it’s who he could only assume whom it was. Moving around to the front of the house. Damien didn’t have any of his normal things on him. That didn’t make him any less dangerous though.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.

Once all the men are in the house that were at the front door, Damien goes in behind one of them, keeping his stance low. The art of surprise doesn’t last long as one of the men coming from the otherside of the house and spot Damien about to bring down one of the men. Usually Damien is equipped for whatever the situation is, but this time he was completely unequipped. No armor, no sensors. Just him.

Honestly, he liked it this way. Made the pain feel real.

“Nightwing. I count fourteen. Apparently they have the same idea we did.” commenting as the man Damien was about to take out turned around, swinging his weapon to clock Damien. But, the young heir was better than that. Leaning back enough for the weapon to miss him. Damien’s able to bounce back easily enough to push him back into his compatriots. Then, they decide to open fire.

Carter was not going to be happy.

Dick: The response that Damien gets? Is in the form of a baton going past him through the door. He was following Damien, although keeping his distance in order to not cause exactly what was happening with Damien’s friends. They’ve made the mistake of coming in from two sides and that puts them at cross-fire to one another. They can’t shoot or they’ll take out their own people. That’s the good news, because neither Damien or Dick have to worry about friendly fire from their particular arsenals.

“That Boomrang came from the roof of the building. That makes fifteen accounted for. There was also a suspicious looking van circling the block.” Which, as Dick’s tone says, he only knows about because he was casing the place. Instead of being quite so abrupt as Damien in his approach. “Too late for subtle.”

Even as Dick speaks he’s in motion. Entering the home through the ruined door behind Damien, but where the little brother goes low Dick Grayson goes high. Using his brother’s back to run right up and spring over him, in to the throng of armed men. Nightwing makes a very brilliant target. An armed and armored target, as opposed to Damien who’s running a little light today.

Boomerang: As the Bats are working on the men in the front, Shiera is getting an eye-full of the men from the back. Despite moving like trained professionals they’re not quite so organized as to be S.W.A.T. for the Police. They’re not clearing rooms, which is why she’s able to dart for that baseball bat. Albeit with a trail of ‘Paft-paft-paft’ that follows her along. Those are not bullet holes in the wall behind her as she moves. They’re darts and those men aren’t bothering to clear the rest of the home, she’s presented herself as a target and they’re swarming towards her.

“Wot have we got ‘ere then? Buncha wankas breakin up me barbeque? Listen mates, e’re not takin interviews t’day.”

There’s number fifteen. His voice is booming all around them, even if he’s not yet in sight. It almost sounds like he’s speaking the lot of them through the comm-units of the men breaching the House.

Shiera: I hadn’t really needed encouragement to run quickly in the first place, but the sound of air that doesn’t usually accompany a bullet so much as something else goads me along even more quickly. As well as making me instantly rethink the plan of going out the bedroom window.
It’s no less clear, and much lacking in cover out back. Shouldering open the ajar doorway, and fumbling inside for the aluminum baseball bat. No, it’s not nearly as effective as my other half’s choice of weaponry, but it’s also a great deal more subtle and less questionable to have out in the open. The stairwell makes a decent enough cover for me to lean my head around and confirm what I suspected. There’s far too much noise for this to be one potentially random sort of break in. There’s also a lot more than I might have expected, and to add another element? They appear to be fighting each other. Or at least part of them are. Two groups at the same time? Argument among the same that’s devolved to violence? Either way, I guess it’s as good a time as any.

There’s really nothing about me that screams superhuman of any sort at first glance, other than the fact that all redheads are technically superhumans. No wings, no costume, just a tank top and a pair of yoga pants as I come barreling down the stairs barefooted and improvised weapon raised in hand, in a posture that isn’t exactly batting stance so much as someone who’s ready to attack or defend as necessary.

I wasn’t prepared for this. Or really for the way this is making my pulse surge and blood roar. ‘Kendra Saunders’ might not have been born for this sort of thing, but that hardly seems to matter much anymore. The real me, under this form, takes great offense at the intrusion into my home, and doesn’t hesitate for even a second before cracking the closest head I can reach as I vault over the last bit of bannister.

Damien: Damien feels Dick vault over him and into the other men. It’s funny how well the two men operate together with effortless efficiency. No matter the circumstances. The way Damien takes on the men is more with fast and fluid movements. A different style than what he usually uses. It was meant to be mobile, attack while moving. Disarm and disable. Then he sees Shiera vault over the staircase and join them on the ground floor. A metal bat in her hand. A smirk crosses his lips.

“For as long as you have known me, would you have ever considered me subtle?” asking as one of the men attempts to take him on in a one on one match. Damien is too quick for the man. Instead of clocking him, Damien uses the man’s armor against him. Unbuckling and unstrapping him, then rebuckling so that he couldn’t move. Once he was done with that man, Damien moved in tandem with Nightwing. Then that voice goes over the comms and Damien exhales through his nostrils.

“I like her style.” gesturing to the man who was rolling down unconscious on the stairwell. His helmet nearly cracked in half from the impact of Shiera’s bat. These men didn’t have a chance between the three of them. But, someone like Digger Harkness. He could tip the scale. “This was far too easy.” while the men had the numbers advantage at the moment, their numbers were quickly thinning.

“I apologize about the intrusion, Shiera. Once this encounter is over. We need to have a discussion.” after all, Damien was on a time crunch.

Dick: Subtle? No. But Dick also never imagined Damien as the type of traipse half-way around the world following him either. If that is, as it seems. Saying that to Damien only seems to court even further discussion when they really need to work on getting this situation under control. While they’re on the topic of ‘Having known Damien’ for something, the idea spawns that perhaps the real question is… ‘Since when are you apologetic about anything?’ But that too is going to have to wait for another time.

The herd of men may be thinning in the front, but that’s only half of the man-power they knew for a fact was here. Just as Shiera’s man rolls to a thug at the bottom of the stairs, Dick is evading a series of darts flying all around him by once more vaulting over one man. Turning that same man in to a living shield and a weapon all at once. The captive thug takes the blast of darts in his armor from behind Dick, then becomes a projectile as he is hurled down the hallway in to the path of the men coming from the back of the house.

“What my miniature, unintended, companion means, is that these men are part of a larger group. They’re here for you and/or the items you and your cohort have been procuring. You have a bounty on your head that is large than the gross national product of most small countries right now.”

“You can come with us or…”

Really, Dick Grayson of all people should know better than to ape Arnold in times like this. Nothing good has ever come from it. This is just one more example of it, because as Dick, Damien and Shiera look around at the fallen seven men from the front of the house? A second boomerang of the night makes it’s appearance. This one sails in through the front window, curves through Carter Hall’s living room, before strategically impaling itself with precision on the staircase right next to where Shiera descended.

Unlike the first, that Dick had deflected away from Damien’s back, this one is beeping. Beep. Beep. Beepbeep beepbeep. Beepbeepbeepbeep. Beeeeeeee….


Shiera: Intrusion? That seems to be putting it very, very mildly. Comically so. Also, words that come loaded with so many additional questions. Does that mean that they’re on my side? Are they trying to play this good cop, bad cop? Is it just a swerve to get me to stop fighting them, and then allow for an easier fight? All in all, I’m not entirely inclined to discuss much of anything. Unintended companion. More words, that paint more contextual blanks for me to fill in. It makes me grateful for the things that my body seems to know how to do on its own now, without requiring a whole lot of thought from me. While the motions I make may be those of someone who seems accustomed to a level of violence that nothing in my own personal ‘biography’ might suggest, it’s more savage accuracy than practiced finesse.

“That sounds like the beginning of an ulti-…”

The crash of breaking glass is much softer than the other explosions that have rocked the house in the last minutes, but still present. Maybe if only because of the momentary lull in the room, like the eye of a storm, and my head whips around to where the boomerang has sunk into the wall. I’d moved some small distance from it naturally, but not nearly far enough. Especially once it starts beeping. Faster, and faster, and there’s really only one thing that can ever mean. Most people would probably run. I don’t think I’ve got enough time to get far enough for it to be any better than my alternative.

“Get down!”

Dropping to a knee, in the shattered remnants of my front door and entryway, I turn a shoulder into the direction that explosion is surely about to come from and press a hand to my chest. Metal exploding, with more grace than violence, out of my back. Up and out, curving around me in a pair of enormous wings that change color, fading from silver to glossy hues of brown until they look for all the world like ordinary feathers. They’re a great deal sturdier than what they appear, though.

Damien: Damien doesn’t have the luck of having armor to absorb most of the blast. Instead, Damien attempts to clear distance between himself and the bomb. While, he escapes the initial blast, the shockwave does enough to propel him through the house and into a wooden bookshelf. With the shelf then creaking over and falling onto him. His ears are ringing, pain is shooting through his body as he attempts to crawl out from under. It’s hard at first, Damien can feel blood trickling from his nose.

Is this why they couldn’t have nice things?

He was having trouble thinking clearly. When this is all over, he’s going to have strong words with Conner and his Suicide Squad. Right now, he had to ignore the pain and get up. Thankfully the blast, while strong, wasn’t enough to break any bones. “Ri….Night…Nightwing. Are you well?” asking as he finally gets out from under the bookcase. This needs to end now. Before the house before the supports of the house. Captain Boomerang. The man might be a laugh because he throws Boomerangs, but just like Green Arrow and his arrows. Digger has a boomerang for every occasion.

The one occasion he can’t rely on is Damien needing to take things into his own hands and end this now. Instead of relying on mental preparation, he fights through the pain and switches to instincts as he swoops up a large shard of glass, wielding it like a dagger as he charges towards the window… or rather what’s left of it. Leaping through it, he lands with a roll. If Digger is out there, Damien is intending on charging him and stabbing him with the shard of glass. No matter the cost.

Dick: Much like Damien, there is nothing to really protect you from a bomb in the old Nightwing kit. The one damned time that he would have truly used that damn cape and he left it on the plane. Leaving him with a terrible choice of standing his ground or doing something stupid. Since standing his ground is only helpful if he’s taking the brunt of the blast to protect one of the other people in the room? It’s really just a series of stupid choices, leaving you to pick between the worst ones. As Damien is being thrown one way, Shiera is covering herself with… ah… there are those wings. Leaving Dick to be propelled, because he’s turned to hurdle down the hallway as the bomb goes off.

Stupid choices? Damien is going for the band leader. Dick is smashing through Carter Hall’s surprisingly solid dining room table. At least the maneuver has a touch of grace to it, because of throwing himself in that direction it was much more of a controlled fall than what Damien took. The landing was still bone-jarring and leaves him momentarily propping himself up to look at the pool of blood escaping his lips.

Hey! But he doesn’t have Damien’s ringing ears and the Nightwing armor mostly took the lethality of that fall. It’s the little things that lift you up, especially when the Backdoor Thugs opt to press their advantage. Right then. Pumping the Boy Wonder full of darts right then and there.

Shiera is the least bothered of the three and she’s the target. Funny how life works, huh? She’s in far better shape than Damien who’s charging out on the the lawn to confront…. The man who Dick told him was on the roof. Don’t worry though. The next Boomerang doesn’t hit Damien as soon as he’s in sight. It hits the grass in front of him. This time he can’t hear the beeping as it winds up to shoot electrical taser wire at the other Boy Wonder’s chest. Zzaaaap!

“…Multiplex. Get cher arse up and finish this Mate. We need the bird alive.”

Oh. Right. Those thugs? No one really took the time to notice they’re all identical copies of each other did they? The not so useless thugs are showing exactly none of the effects of the bomb. Unless you count the fact that the concussive force of the explosion just created about a whole new set of 14 more of them.

Shiera: Maybe later I’ll marvel about how well that actually worked. I’d spent so much of the last few years overthinking it all of this, convinced that I was crazy. When I managed to embrace what I was thinking, and feeling, those foreign things that I hadn’t thought were mine floating around my mind, it had all gotten better. Maybe that’s something a crazy person would say. Or maybe I can simply chalk it up to following Carter’s… impetuous is the kind way to put it… example. Either way, there’d been danger, and I’d let myself react. Everyone else runs from the blast, and the only real damage I suffer is the way my ears are ringing in the aftermath. Maybe worse than the others would have been, had they stayed so close, proving the only real downside of having hearing as sharp as I do. One hand rubbing at the side of my head, while the other discards the bat that I was only half holding anyway. End over end like a blunted tomahawk at one of the men in the room with me, who.. I hadn’t heard come in and I’m fairly sure were not there a moment ago.

I don’t need it anymore, because it’s unlikely I’m going to be fighting off the whole pack of them with just a bat. The wings serve as weapon enough for my needs. Part of me thinks the best move here is out that destroyed front entryway and up into the sky. The garbled words of ‘arse’ and ‘alive’ are enough to put more pieces together. I’d been hearing darts, which means they’re not just here to take what I have. We have, I suppose. Maybe that also means that they know it won’t be so simple to take it from me. If I’d realized what a target that Amulet would have made me, perhaps I would simply have hidden it again. Left it stashed in what protection the walls of the Museum had seemed to offer the rest of the pieces for so long.

Moving once more, I bolt through the front door. Wings curved around front both to make it through the opening and to protect me from any more darts. Then it’s up into the air, a leap to send me skyward as I look for the source of that booming voice. My eyes still function, even if my ears are a little iffy. And if I can spot the one that seems to be giving the orders here, I’m intent on taking him for a little ride.

Damien: Normally, Damien would be more than prepared for something like this. But, when he was abducted by Conner. He couldn’t be prepared. So, he was currently fighting a concussion and now the ringing in his ears had stopped…. Just in time to feel the electricity from the taser coarse through his body. Falling to the ground again, he’s not quite down. Smoke rising off his body as he struggles for control over his body. “..Sh..On..Roof.” he could barely speak, but he hoped the girl with wings could hear him.

This just wasn’t Damien’s day, or even Dick’s as he watches him get pumped full of darts. The Son of the Bat collapses to the ground in a feint attempt to draw attention off himself. The guy said Multiplex. Usually a Flash villain, it was clear, that Flash wasn’t here to assist with this. From what Damien knew was that there’s one guy that controls all his dupes. Find him, and you find the source.

Damien focuses on his breath. Pushing air out, pulling air in. Concentrating on pushing out all the pain. Techniques used by the monks he was trained and raised by. Control your heart, control your blood. He could still feel the metal prongs connected to his shirt. The heir of the demon would look into the house. Letting his eyes study his targets, look for that one. That one that stood out from the rest in a sea of identical twins. While twins looked like each other, they were near carbon copies of themselves.

Except for little things here and there. One could be just a inch taller, so on and so forth. Damien needed to find that one to help Dick. but running in and taking care of fourteen dups didn’t sound all that delightful.

Boomerang: It isn’t difficult to see Digger Harkness once you’re above him. The trouble Shiera has with that is getting out that front door. While those original insurgents are still down, the ones born of the kinetic energy of that bomb are all looking to be in pretty tip-top physical health. The way she wields the wings though, is enough to keep her from any true harm. They’re all between her and the door, so none of them get a real chance to shoot her in the back. Not when they’re too busy being bowled over so effectively.

That doesn’t stop them from trying though and take-off is going to prove difficult when all seven of the newly made duploids pile on to her. Seven fully armed, fully capable, men who take to any means of stopping her. Close quarters darts meant specifically to pierce thick skin. Electric batons meant to stun people just like her. Hands that seek to choke. Feet that last out with kicks. No, Multiplex is not in himself stronger than your top-level Olympian, but when you start dealing with the strength, speed and effectiveness of seven men the numbers game does have some advantages.

Oh and let’s not forget that the man she was looking for? Is standing up there on the adjacent roof taking his time to line up every throw. As if it couldn’t get any worse for Damien and Shiera. Another set of boomerangs is raining down on them. As the rangs near both targets they spring open, propelling large nets at the two of them, clearly not caring if he catches the duploids in the process.

Shiera: There’s been an awful lot of upsides to this Amulet and what it had done to my body. The notable and large downside being this particular situation that I’ve found myself in just now, but I’m stronger, tougher, with keen senses. The whole flying thing is my obvious favorite, and the wings that go with it as well. All usually packaged into a neat, glittering adornment that I have to keep hidden because it’s fused itself to my body. Not hidden well enough, clearly, but all it takes is a thought to call it up. Like I had to shield myself. The metal is mine to command, and when it becomes clear that no matter how strong I might be compared to these men individually, their pack methodology is proving to be a bit too much for me.

Hands clawing at my throat, glances with those stun batons that don’t hit home well enough to put me down, but do offer up more than a comfortable level of electric jolt. It’s become very clear, very fast, that a little more forceful defense of my life might be necessary. Even if they do, seemingly, want me alive. As my fighting and wriggling becomes more desperate, and flying elbows, fists and gouging fingers aren’t enough anymore, the edges of my feathered wings grow sharper and sharper. No longer buffeting and blocking alone so much as slicing and shredding, a whirling dervish splattered with blood that’s not mine, and that I don’t spare an instant to feel badly over. The rising feeling of a victory cut short with a high pitched, angry shriek as the net tangles me. Leaving me frantically trying to cut with more purpose and shred the material so that I can get free.

Damien: Damien’s feeling a little better. But the net is a problem. Then he sees Sheira plummet to the ground as she thrashes, working on cutting the net. Meanwhile, Damien stays calm. Batman put all the boys through various kinds of net training. This one was a poly-mesh kind. So, his glass shard wasn’t going to cut through it. Grabbing the boomerang wasn’t going to help, it was the only thing not killing Damien. Slowly, he uses the glass shard to cut the taser lines to the boomerang. Once those were cut, he’d work on finding the edge of the net and tug it off. Doing this was going to expose him to the tranq darts.

The bat that Sheira used was laying on the front steps. If he could just reach it, there might be a chance of him using it to find the one Mutliplex. From what Damien could tell, he didn’t see a unique figure amongst the fourteen dupes that were in the house. So, that must mean either he was somewhere else. Or he was ontop of the roof. Where Digger was. Damien would run towards the bat to pick it up mid stride as he kept close to the house. Wanting to use it for cover. To keep himself from being potentially shot at by the tranq darts. It’d also buy him time for the dupes to get out of the house. If Damien’s ever out of sight, he’d use this opportunity to “vanish” in plain sight. Much like how Batman would do.

Neither of the men had any kind of jumping ability, and if you were going to get ontop of a house. You needed a ladder. Assuming the van was too far for them to use to jump from one to the other. So, this is what Damien is doing. Searching for a way to get onto the roof as quietly as he could. Learning the ways of stealth was beat into him shortly after he learned to walk.

Boomerang: “This lil’ bugger just won’ quit, will ‘e mate?”

Digger’s a little boggled by the manner in which Damien struggles. But there’s a very key aspect to this that Damien isn’t accounting for, for once he isn’t the target. Hell, as far as Digger is concerned he’s worth exactly nothing. Dead or Alive. So once Shiera is actually netted, Damien’s where abouts are only a cursory problem for Boomerang. For once it has absolutely nothing to do with under-estimating his opponents and everything to do with getting out while the getting is good.

“Bird’s down. Wrap ‘er up boys. Let’s get a move on.”

While Damien has been through more than his fair share of training in how to escape all manner of traps? Shiera’s multi-lifetimes are not preparing her for a group that are hunting her very specifically. Slashing at the net is accomplishing nothing. The blood (and gore) from the duploids she slices and dices only makes it that much more slippery. Even if the netting wasn’t specifically designed to bring her down, it’d lose a lot of traction with the lack of friction it can generate to slice anything.

That doesn’t mean she makes it easy for anyone. Duploids are having a terrible time getting to her, even from outside of the net. Forcing them to wait for backup, in the form of the Squad that was coming in the rear of the House. Just as they’re rounding to the front, toting a near unconscious Nightwing, the Van that Dick pointed out before rolls up to the curb. As Damien is working his way around the building? Digger and the previously unseen Multiplex are starting to leave their perch. It’s all done but the wrap-up.

“…put cher backs in ta it, lads. Hawk-One is putting up an even better fight downtown.”

Dick’s one and only contribution to the fight at this point? That shifting his finger to the small, hidden, little link-up on his gauntlet. “Z, pleh rouy deen eW.

Zatanna: Dick had an ace up his sleeve, a little trick to pull him out of a really awful situation. She always said she was a whisper away and she only gave such a favor to good friends that she could trust. There was no hesitation in the flurry of speech and movements it took to get into ‘work clothes’ and transport herself right into the scene in a plume of white smoke that radiated out. She arrived right beside Dick, expecting to see him standing there but was immediately concerned when she looked over her shoulder and then had to look downwards to find him face down on the ground.

Yekaw yekaw, Yob Rednow. Tell me where the bad men are.”

He said ‘we’. Her pale eyes were already searching through the cloud that gave them a slight amount of cover and a distraction. Who were the others? She’d rather have a good idea of where her allies were before she began waving the wand without a thought to any bystanders.

Shiera: Boomerang isn’t the only one not paying much attention to what Damien Wayne is up to. In my defense, however, I’m a lot more preoccupied with my immediate plight. The more I struggle, the more clear it becomes that the razor sharp edges of my feathers are a lot more likely to shred me than they are the net that’s pinning me down. A fact that is both boggling and infuriating, and leads to no small amount of my continuing to try regardless because… why on earth would it not cut? Because they’re prepared for you, or I suppose for anyone who might have a bladed weapon on them.

At this point, the incidental carnage I’m causing with my thrashing? Becomes a lot more intentional. I hadn’t been trying to kill anyone. I may not have the rage fueled tendencies of Carter, but I’m also not a pacifist by any stretch of the imagination. They started this, not me, and if I inflict a lot of damage in the process of defending myself, that’s just simply my right. So I switch tactics. I may not be able to fly, but I can still jump. Flexing the wings, I send them out against the confines of the netting. Forcing the razor sharp pinions out, jabbing no differently than someone would with a spear as I gather my legs beneath me and try to launch myself upwards. Worst case, I give them hell when it comes to actually getting a handle on me, and taking me anywhere.

Damien: Damien is quiet as he finds a way onto the roof via a ladder on the backside. Once he’s on the roof, he pushes the ladder away. No need for them to get down. Using whatever stealth advantage he can get, he finally sees his targets. Digger and Multiplex. When he crests over the middle of roof, where it peaks together, Damien smirks as he starts down the roof, and towards this. Now he wasn’t being completely stealthy, because by the time he reaches Multiplex, Damien’s going to use that bat and strike it as hard as he can against his back. Not caring what damage he’s inflicting to the man.

“Give up, Digger.” Damien says, twirling the aluminum bat with one hand as if it was an extension of his hand. His ears are still ringing, but nowhere near what they were before. If Digger tries anything, he’s going to get met with a bat on forearms followed up with a hard job to his stomach with the top of the bat. They had their fun, and it seemed Sheira was having a hell of a time. Hopefully with his attack on Mutliplex and Digger, it’ll sever the connection to his dupes and make them vanish.

This was the only thing Damien really could do. If he’s too late, then he’ll have to figure something else out. Maybe hurl the bat like a spear at one of them. Right now, he was looking to end this fight before any of them can get away. And maybe help Carter wherever he is. They mentioned Hawk-One, he could only assume that Carter was putting up a hell of a fight against a couple other members of the Suicide Squad. There were a lot of questions, but it’s not like they could just throw them all into jail and let courts settle it.

Dick: With those words a gasp sounds from Nightwing, who was until that incantation barely lucid. Knowing only what was going on, but being out of his ability to do anything to influence it. Such was the state of a normal person being pumped full of narcotics meant to bring down one of the Hawks. As quickly as the words spill from beautiful lips though, Zatanna cleanses the body. Magic, who would have thought that would be saving the Boy Wonder’s butt?

She did not, however, heal him of all that ailed him, leaving him to recover the physical injuries that come with the pummeling of seven duploids. That may mean he’s not ready to charge off, to save the world on his own, but he can put his eyes, ears and mouth to use. “Suicide Squad. Captain Boomerang is the house across the street. Robin,…. the other Robin… is working his way to them.”

“Those soldiers aren’t real people. They’re digitized copies of one another and they seem to be able to replicate at will, I’m not sure how their power works.” Lastly he points at the Hawk-Girl, who’s struggling with the net but seems to be making quite the mess of Digger’s efforts to have the duplicants put her in a Van. “They’re here for her. Well. Her wings. They’re made of the metal we talked about before, Z.”

Boomerang : “Aww y’ got me Mate. No tricks now.. I’ ain’ gonn’ move a muscle…”

Any time a man like Digger says that, you know something is wrong. For once though, it’s not because -he- is the one pulling a fast one. Captain Boomerang kinda gestures with his chin for Damien to look at Multiplex. Oh, sure. He did a number on the one that was controlling the rest. Took him out like a right proper ninja, he did. And sure enough, all the duploids that Multiplex was controlling disperse.

Except that Damien hit Multiplex with so much force that kinetic energy sends more duplicants in every direction. It’s like Damien was playing whack-a-mole and when he hit the first Mole, it splintered in to five more. The difference now? Is that -these- duplicants were created without someone controlling them. And boy are the mad at Damien.

Harkness simply backs away, until he can leap off the roof.

Zatanna: She nods quickly. Injuries she could work with later but she knew even injured, he was capable of taking care of himself as long as he wasn’t in the drugged state he was in before. She was already taking little notes as she strode to exit the building in the direction that Nightwing had directed. More mental notes quickly taken with every step. Ultimately, the mission was very clear. They were not to get the woman or her wings.

The quickest way to the where all the action was up. Not up the stairs and through whatever bodies may be waiting along the way. Up, bending the laws of reality around mystic energy and sheer force of will. The words were whispered and she floated right to the top. Perhaps it was poor luck, or great luck that she would come to that edge right where Boomerang was attempting to make his exit.

She reached to the brim of her hat, tilting it downwards as she scowled. She was not happy with this situation. The fact Dick was in such a state that he needed to call her was more than enough to piss her off. And anger sometimes led to unpleasant thoughts on how to twist his spell, how to render him incapable of causing any harm ever again. All things that she sought to work against but there was always that taste of darkness at the tip of her tongue.

“S’hes ton eht tegart. llac meht ffo

She knew the consequences of getting involved in this. There would be ripples. They would come back. It didn’t appear like anyone was up for a longer fight and she wasn’t about to hold them all off on her own. As easy as it would have been to tell him to just fall, it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do.

Shiera: This time, when I come down, I find myself without any suitable targets to try and land on. As abruptly as they’d appeared in the house in the first place, in the wake of the explosion, they have now disappeared. I’d question the way they went about it, but I have giant wings, which look like feathers but are really made out of mind-controlled metal. There’s a great degree of just accepting the weird and inexplicable, rolling with, and then coping with it to my life right now. I may not be able to take off truly, but my wings slow my descent at least a degree. Allowing me to land with slightly more grace than a sack of wet towels.

Apparently whatever, or whomever, had been driving that van was now no longer there either. I’d scarcely hit blood splattered lawn, and begun to try to find the bottom edge of this net, before I realize the exact trajectory of the now rogue vehicle. Battlefields are treacherous and require sure footing on the best of days, and this? Is not me at my best. I’ve managed to foul myself even more and a foot slipping out from beneath me stops another skyward jump from going quite as smoothly. Instead, I end up doing my best bird into a car windshield impression, wings destroying the glass more than the impact. It wasn’t going nearly fast enough to really do any threatening amount of harm to me. It’s more insulting, scratches from shattered glass the worst injury. Except maybe my pride as I roll over the top of the windshield, a terrible screech of metal on metal.

Damien: Damien had his own host of problems. Watching Digger get away, he muttered to himself. Falling from a two story house wasn’t an issue. It was the five dupes that were now glaring at him. Taking a couple steps back. They were too spread apart for him to take them off all at once. But, Damien didn’t mind these odds. Nothing new, really. Only problem was that he couldn’t hit them with any kind of force. So, improvisation was the only thing he had. Dodging and weaving their attacks, Damien would then unbuckle his belt capture one dupes hands between then, cinched it closed.

One down. Four to go. Using the bad to deflect punches, he needed to maneuver himself so he could backflip off the roof. That meant dodging, jumping over and sliding out of the way. It was hard, but once he got to the roof, Damien would do a perfect launch. Arms out, feet straight as his back arched slightly as he then tucked into a roll once he hit the ground. If he had his sword, he wouldn’t feel so bad taking these things down.

Hopefully they won’t follow him, Damien landed a little weird on his feet. But, nothing a day or so could fix. Moving over to Sheira, he starts helping her with the netting as fast he could. Maybe later he’ll train her how to successfully get out of a net. Though, more on Damien’s death wish, later. “Are you okay, Sheira?” asking, wanting and hoping she was.

Boomerang: You just know the level of person you’re dealing with when they’re faced with a levitating woman, speaking magical words and the only thing their eyes meet are the breasts that costume puts on display. Hell, that trumps just about any amount of fear you might otherwise merit from one Digger Harkness when he’s spun around in the midst of making his escape. Zatanna’s actually getting a smirk from the old Australian. He never does actually make eye-contact though. Sizing her up and down, then up and down again.

“…blimey, look at ‘t’e norks on this’un…”

His face screws up for a moment as he finally realizes that she’s speaking to him. Or is she? The expression on his face says that he is registering that Zatanna has spoken to him, but hasn’t a bloody clue what she’s said. Whatever magic it is that weaves itself all around the brain waves of one Digger Harkness, they just don’t manage to take root anywhere. Other than that look of momentary confusion, which followed that look of appreciation, Digger just simply continues on his merry way. Dropping off the side of the building.

The difference is that he knows Zatanna said something. She was clearly waiting for those words to mean something to him, even if he hasn’t a clue what foreign language she was speaking at the time. Doesn’t matter, she wasn’t helping with the procurement of the package. That’s why the moment his feet touch the ground and he’s done rolling through the two-story drop, those hands of his are each tossing a boomerang. One in each direction.

Each boomerang has a different target. The first goes in through the open window of Carter Hall’s home. The second goes through the front window of the house Damien and the duploids are fighting. Remember the beeping? Those who can actually hear the noise probably remember what the hell that sound is for sure. With that Captain Boomerang makes off in the direction that Carter Hall had gone earlier in the morning. Not even bothering to call of Multiplex.

Beep beep beep. Beepbeep beepbeep. Beepbeepbeepbeepbeep…

Shiera: Among all the possibilities for ways my day could have gone? This was not really one I could have picked out. Sprawled on a van, having to stop the gut reaction to skewer someone who’s trying to untangle me from a giant net. It’s only the obvious fact that he’s not trying to hurt me, and is clearly trying to get me out that stops more blood from being added to what’s made a rather horrific splatter painting of my face and arms and… well. All of me.

“I’m fine.”

It’s a rather terse response, and one I might feel badly about in any other situation. But I don’t know these two. No, three now from the view I had during my first jump. They turned up just as unexpectedly, and uninvited as the other group, with words like ‘come with us or…’ Anything else I might have wanted to say is cut off by the escalating sound of beeping coming from far, far too close. The van had glided/crashed to a halt into what remained of the front entry to Carter’s house, and that put us once again all too near to the exploding boomerang. This time I don’t just cover myself, though. Wings losing their razor edges as I come up out of the loosened netting, bowling Damien over and shielding him at the same time.

Only there’s no explosion. I’m braced for the detonation, for the way the boom will surely disorient my senses for a few moments and instead there’s… the smell of cotton candy overwhelming even the metallic tang of blood in my nose. I don’t even question it. Not out loud anyway, in my head there’s a litany of confused curse words, as I unfurl my wings from around the prone man, gather my legs under me and launch skyward. A different kind of adrenaline mixing with the other that was already fueling me, and this time I actually manage to get up into the sky. Downtown, the Australian had said…

Maybe I should have offered a thank you. I wasn’t going to stick around for the ‘or else’ I heard in the opening conversation, even if it wasn’t said out loud. Not when Carter might need help.

New Bat, Old Tricks

New Bat, Old Tricks


She couldn’t escape this city’s grip for long. It had a way of pulling her back even when she attempted to resist it. She wasn’t going to go and cancel her shows in Gotham just because she had some unpleasant emotional responses to being there, the memories being dredged up, the memories of what wasn’t there anymore. She took her father’s death very hard and the death of Bruce hurt just as much.

The show must go on. She put on her best winning smile and interlaced a few new illusions into her act. That’s what kept things fresh, kept the fans coming to every show. It was always a mix of the classic and some new inventive bits that still held true to the spirit of the show that the Zatara’s had created over generations.

While she performed she felt absolutely careless and light. She was there to please the crowd and put on an amazing spectacle. When the curtain fell, when she made it back-stage, that’s when the weight settled again. There were big things looming on the horizon, things she couldn’t quite get her fingers into like she would want. She was putting a lot into faith, faith of others that could hopefully do what needed to be done. The bonds she had worked herself into and the bonds of responsibility weren’t ones she could easily slip from.

She sat her hat down on the surface of the vanity and made a quick check at her reflection to be sure everything still looked like it was in place. It’s always the things that are caught in view from the corner of the eye that spook you. For a very brief moment her eyes went wide and her breath was caught in her chest. That feeling when you see a ghost? A chill running down your spine, the feeling of your heart bring gripped and squeezed.



There are roughly six people in the entire world that could see through the ‘illusion’ of shadow and see the Batman when he didn’t wish to be seen. The young woman sitting there before a mirror is one of those. Though in this case he was not making any special effort to remain unseen, it is to her credit that she caught him mere moments before the soft click of her door being shut would have tipped his hand anyway. Being a dealer in fear might have been Bruce Wayne’s greatest tool in the fight against crime, it was also one of his most important lessons. There are those in this world that you never want to startle too much. As it so happens, this woman sits upon that list too.

No, this isn’t the same man she’s known to wear this suit for many years, but it is very much ‘the Batman.’ While Timothy Drake had made every effort to play the part, Dick Grayson does not need too. Maybe a full inch or even two shorter than Bruce, he also misses his Father’s weight class by more than sack of potatoes. Beneath the cape is a svelte figure. One cut with nearly the same physique, just built more for speed than power.

None of that changes the emblem upon the chest. Ringed in gold. Nor the looming shadows that seem to build around him as he nears the Magician. Dick Grayson spent a decade training, working along side his mentor. Then more than a decade out on his own, being his own brand of vigilante. He doesn’t need the suit or the cowl to impress upon someone that he is the real deal, it’s all about demeanor which is built upon confidence and that is born from belief. Belief that you are, in the absence of a better choice, the only person for the job right now.

“Can you contain it?”

Not, ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ No, ‘Explain what’s going on.’ The latter is a question that would imply that the Batman isn’t aware of what is happening in Gotham. With the former suggesting that he might possibly believe she’s here for anything but containing the Magic of the world from spilling in to the streets of a not-quite-so-innocent City.



The question could have meant a lot of things. She was trying to contain the feeling and once the full figure came into view in the reflection. Once she heard The Bat speak with a voice  that wasn’t <i>quite</i> the same voice from the man she knew before, she was able to take a breath and turn around to quickly look the imposing figure over.


She wasn’t one to usually have a lack of words, she had plenty of them to play with both forward and backward but she did need a moment to push her hair from her face and collect her thoughts.

“Uh…yeah. I’m contained. Perfectly. Contained…”

It took a beat for her to realize he wasn’t really speaking about her, an awkward second or two as she picked at her white gloves to try and remove them.

“…yes and no? The more involved I get, the closer some outside powers want to get to your city. It’s already piqued certain interests. My associate is working on it, rather, attempting to take the daughter of one of your known ‘associates’ under his wing. If more waves are made I’m sure he’s smart enough to know to take things away from Gotham. I’ve warned that it’s bad if the Batman needs to get involved.”

With a push from the vanity she moved a bit closer, it was almost cautious which to her felt silly to be cautious around the man she knew was under the cowl. There were things she wanted to say, questions that were wanting to dance off of her tongue but instead she bit her bottom lip before saying anything.



At the turn of Zatanna from her mirror the reaction is minimal and what there is of it is hidden behind the plexi-film over his eyes. Physically, Zatanna isn’t going to scare anyone. In a lot of ways she’s the exact opposite of Dinah, because there is simply nothing about her that is going to warn you off getting punched in the face. Yet she’s every bit as dangerous, if not a thousand times more so. It becomes a simple measurement of what each could do to you. Dinah might feed you, your own teeth, but Zatanna might give you thirty seconds in a dimension where the definition of fun-time is being anally probed by Hellspawn. So you pick your poison with these Ladies.

“Not entirely your true,” if she had seen where his eyes momentarily strayed she would know that the Batman just made a quip about her not being perfectly contained at all. “But a workable fiction, for the time being.”

It is actually not until she speaks about the true topic that has brought him that there is genuine reaction given. A canting of that cowled head in a showing of understanding. Not quite unlike a owl that is tracking a sound it’s heard, tilting the head gives a different vantage over all the same things you were already seeing.

“Gotham is in unusual place. Which is, in itself, saying something. The Spooks look the other way, because we police our own here. Because it is better for them, to show the Batman as lawless creature to be feared, not embraced. Now these new Heroes. This Wonder Woman, has brought new eyes to people like you. Which bring with it new, fresh eyes to people like me. As this is happening the Joker invites a War in to the City. During which a Kryptonian jumps off a building in the middle of the City. Not a week later an Alien crashes down in our Harbor. A week after that another Alien attacks the City.”

“We’re at a tipping point, Zatanna. If this spills in to the streets. If this gets past you. N.O.W.H.E.R.E. comes to Gotham. And then I’ll have no choice but the nuclear option. Your Father, my father. All their work goes up in smoke. You must to contain it.”



“That doesn’t even touch the tip with the mystical nonsense that happens in the shadows. My father worked to prevent that from leaking here. The Demon has been here for nearly two decades crushing whatever may try and seep out. The Order of St. Dumas reared its head for a hot second, until the young woman slayed the knight. Cultists likely tied to an ancient witch. I’m doing the best I can. Unfortunately, or fortunately if you want to think of it that way, there’s bigger fish on the horizon. It’s going to draw the eyes in the shadows away.”

It was true what he said about containing it, it was her duty and that duty was a promise she made to her father, to Bruce, to her friends and loved ones that were the only family she had now.

“There’s crosshairs on Red. Whatever it is he’s doing, he’s giving someone a real mad on for taking him down. Are you able to contain that?”

It was the closest and best thing she could give as a warning. She didn’t know the young man like she knew Dick, but she didn’t want him to be the one of the many reasons they decide to cross borders and raise hell.

Flirtations aside and as much as she’d like to take a naughty peek under the cape, she was dead serious when she placed her hand on that symbol, on his chest.

“You can ask me for anything. Whatever you need, all you have to do is whisper my name. I made that promise to your father and I’m making that promise to you.”



“Containing the Red Hood is like attempting to grab the same exact handful of water twice. Not only is it nearly impossible to do, but it might mean damming up the whole River just to try.”

This is not just a joke, another quip of the Boy Wonder beneath the Cowl of the Bat. It’s the stone cold truth. Damien is well trained. Not just by his upbringing with the League, but almost a decade with Bruce as well. Keeping him contained would be a full-time job of it’s own. One that Dick Grayson lacked the time to do, at the moment. Given that Zatanna was more correct than she knew. There are bigger things at work these days.

“… but, I have an idea, he won’t like it…” Which only makes it a little more attractive, frankly. Maybe it’s time to give Damien a lesson in how life doesn’t always follow his rules? “You mention St. Dumas. Ironic, really. That Cult is one associated with the Group, that I’ve begun to suspect for the death of my .. of Bruce Wayne. Whatever information you get, might lead me closer to Bruce’s…”


It is then, for the first time since stepping from those shadows, that he moves. It’s a very fluid thing, that movement. Broad shoulders shrugging back the lighter cape. A tapered fingertip raising from beneath the folds of the cloak, in order to touch the woman’s chin before him. Though not moving so quickly as to deprive her of the chance to twist away, if she wanted. It’s the mask, really, that makes the movement so different from another time or place. Denying her the chance to see how inquisitive Grayson is beneath the cowl, wondering at something.

Though he quickly makes those thoughts known to her, “Is that a promise to the new Batman or to an old boyfriend?”

“You probably shouldn’t answer that, actually. The suit I’m wearing may have changed, but the person beneath it still hates that you have to work for them. He’s also not nearly as sold on being selfless as the last Batman.” Though in saying that, he does allow the gloved hand to fall away from touching her. As if that might break whatever momentary connection exists in that touch. “If you need me, I’ll be there Z. But for now I’m going to trust this to you. I’ve got to leave town and track down a couple with a bad case of the Indiana Jones fever. You know how to reach me if you ever need.”



“He hated that too.”

Among other things, actions, and decisions that always seemed to pull them apart. It was the price paid to do what they needed to, to protect those close to them and to serve their duty. It just wasn’t always so black and white and there was plenty of drama and tears lost over the years. All Dick would hear was the pain in her voice with those words that would indicate that there was more. It wasn’t an answer. They both know this was beyond an old flame at this point.

Maybe it was an emotional reaction when she rose to the toes of her heels and took a fist-full of cape to draw his lips to hers. It was just easier than words.

“I’m on it.”

She released the cape just as quickly as she slipped that kiss in and turned to get back on the task of dealing with her costume. There was only a sly peek over her shoulder to see if he had really taken on the mantle fully. Batman always knew how to master the disappearing act.

Black Gold:  Meeting at Shadowcrest

Black Gold: Meeting at Shadowcrest

Synopsis:  Faust arrives in Gotham and goes to visit Zatanna Zatara at her home, Shadowcrest, to relay a request from the Deputy Director in charge of Mystic Affairs at Nowhere.



Gotham City.  People either loved it or hated it.  There was no in between.   You either stood on one side or the other.  At least that’s how I saw it.  Of course, most of the individuals that I came in contact with also thought of it in one of two ways. This is also dependent upon your worshipping habits, but usually what came to mind was Gotham City was either God’s left arm pit or Satan’s anus.  Take your pick and deities, demons and other celestial beings were quite interchangeable.

Either way I found myself sitting in an Uber, because it was the only way to travel these days.

Not really, but I thought I would do my level best to fit in.  I was not alone, because there was always someone that was curious about what was happening in other parts of the country.  Not that they lacked for entertainment and in way shape or form, but given all that was shared during my meeting with the Deputy Director I knew that interests would be piqued.

We had arrived at my destination thirty minutes ago, but I wanted to give it a moment before I ventured out.  Gotham was Gotham.  Not the first time I had traveled here, it won’t be the last.  I just wanted a moment to think through everything that happened before I arrived.   What it all meant and how it all would play out.

Tests.  There were always tests, but if there were tests what was being set in motion.  I don’t know if I can answer that.  I don’t know if I care to.  Assumptions are things I care little for. I prefer facts when I can acquire them.  Either way it didn’t matter.  This was just the beginning, or the middle.  Or the middle of the beginning.  Ha!

Opening the door, I stand up tall looking the building over adjusting my shades before stepping forward towards the entrance.  It would serve me right if she wasn’t in.  I didn’t call ahead, but there are reasons for that.   When you call ahead you give someone an opportunity to duck out and say they missed your call or that they were out of town.   No, no.  Can’t have that happen.

I checked into a posh hotel and everything.  That’s no indication that I would be here for several days just a nice place to wait if I have to.  Can’t spend my days in an uber and I can only drink so much before it’s no longer appealing.  Granted I have not reached that limit yet, but I rather experience that somewhere other than Gotham.

Locating the name in question I reach out with a finger and press the call button.



The door opened. There wasn’t a return buzz, there was no voice calling over the speaker in the box. It was just a small burst of the air moving and the door opening entirely on its own. Things were not always as they appeared and that is something Mr. Faust would figure out as he moved through the posh apartment building and to the matching numbers placed on the door in lovely brass findings.

Like many mystics, Zatanna kept her true location a mystery but if people wanted to find her, they could. So long as their intent was not to bring harm, they would be welcome. The Magician was a collector of odd friends and allies that she had crossed paths with over her life and her adventures.

Faust would find the door would open again, before his finger made contact with the heavy brass knocker. No bells, no buttons, just a single knocker that opened into a darkened foyer, a large staircase leading up to the upper levels. By interior design alone it didn’t seem to make much sense for its placement within the apartment building.

“Welcome to Shadowcrest,” her voice was warm and welcoming as she came into view. Those elegant but confident steps down the stairs made it seem like even in her relaxed home life, she always tended to put on a show.

“Pardon the dust and the cobwebs, won’t you come inside?”



When the door opened I look across the threshold knowing that this is when it would be lights out for my “shadow”  there would be no crossing the threshold for my companion.  Private audience which would lead to many questions that I may or may not answer.  Rather than linger I stepped across giving no concern to the door that was left open as it would close soon enough.

Taking a moment to take everything in I direct my eyes to the second door that opens.   Stepping inside my eye focus on stairs that will take me towards my destination. My thoughts focused on the stairs themselves, rather than thinking about the elevator if their had been one.  I probably would have passed regardless.  Each step drew me higher, and as I counted them I focused on that rather than my relative position to the ground at the moment.

The design of the building mattered not, because it is what it is.  There was not a doubt in my mind that if confusion is what was desired confusion would be what was drawn forth.  Twist and turn and you would lose yourself within the well constructed labyrinth.  Luckily for me I had no desire to cause harm or level threats.  Threats were irrelevant and unnecessary not my forte unless truly necessary.  It’s best just to say that other messengers could be dispensed and leave it at that.  For most it meant that they were willing to take that risk. For me, a nice dinner and perhaps a movie before returning to the roost.

When the woman came into view Sebastian stopped for a moment allowing her her due before she apologized for the dust and cobwebs.

“Eh?  Hadn’t noticed.” Stairs.  Those were the only things that had come into focus until I lifted my head and the raven haired woman found herself stair into her own reflection.

“Of course. Didn’t come all this way to do this own the stairs.”   There was a hint of a smirk as I resumed my movements until I was off the stairs and inside her home.  Of course it was a bit of a misnomer as the moment I stepped through the door of the building I was inside her home so to speak.

“I trust I haven’t interrupted anything.”   Would it matter?  I don’t know. It’s possible.  I never really know.  It really doesn’t matter for way I rather not think about, because thoughts can be distracting.    So pleasantries or right down to business which should it be?  Which would be more believable?

Small talk. I’m capable, but really?  Who does small talk these days?



Shadowcrest had been in the Zatara family for many generations. It operated on its own laws that didn’t really adhere to the laws of what most would consider reality. It was exactly where it needed to be at the right moment or it was nowhere at all. Faust may even feel a bit off equilibrium stepping inside. The interior wasn’t in the building, who was to really say where the actual home was anyhow?

The door didn’t stay open long enough to allow a someone passing by a peek, unfortunately it also meant that if Faust tried to open the door again it may lead somewhere else entirely.

“I try to make myself available if someone needs to see me. Unless I’m doing a show, I’m usually around. How can I help you?”

She stopped briefly at the foot of the stairs, looking him over before taking another cautious foot step forward and getting into a more comfortable distance for a conversation. She took a moment to take in a breath before he spoke. Usually when people came to speak to her, it wasn’t good news.



I tethered myself as best as I could.  There was always going to be a bit of disorientation.  Awareness was a blessing and a curse.  Being unaware would be a blessing for my mind at the moment, but no such case for me.  It took less than a moment to right myself, but better this than other things I could be dealing with.  Turning my attention towards Zatanna I offered a smile.

“Well, it seems to be my looking night then.” Throw in a chuckle and I would find myself a seat to drop into.

I don’t bite. Promise.  I’m a messenger nothing more nothing less.  Lies, but tonight right now I’m a messenger.   Surprise you’ve been activated or whatever we want to call it.   I bring tidings of good things.  Lies, but what a wonderful lie it would be.  My lips settle back into a tin line, but at least it’s not a frown.

“It seems that events in Gotham has been picked up by our scryers.   Enough was revealed to warrant a visit.”  Visit not investigation.  I’m not investigating anything.

Yay for me.




“Events like that always create ripples. I’m not surprised.”

She did pause a moment with a brow raised. She had an idea of what scryers he was speaking about. It was impossible to mask the energies of that particular event when she wasn’t even there. Perhaps she should have been, it likely would not have been such a disaster.

“It was also in Gotham which is a bit outside jurisdiction when the city has its own in place. It’s best to tread lightly on this one. I’ve come nose to nose with the Bat over similar situations, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it.”

There was more than this man just coming to mention the event, he likely knew she was knowledgeable in how the events came to be, who was involved, how it ended. Information was more valuable than money and information could be used like an arrow from a bow.

“So, what’s the nature of the visit?”

She made a gesture over in the direction of the parlor, a dim light from the fireplace illuminating a comfortable seating area. She was a good hostess, even if certain turns of phrase put her on alert.



“No one’s surprised.”  I could care less, but here I am talking about it, because the even itself is not what lead me to be here talking with Ms. Zatara.

“Bollocks on the Bats and his sycophants.  The Demon’s Head and his assassins arrived en masse to fetch something that was taken.  Same assassins was led by what I can only assume was an demented infant in a red mask that from what I understand is part of the House of Bat.   As far as I’m concerned their house is out of order, but it’s the last thing on my mind.”  My mind, but I’m not exactly the person they need to be concerned with when it comes to all things Bat.

“They sent me not some caped or masked wonder.”  Simple as that.   “I’m not here to tsk, shame or wonder what the hell happened.  It didn’t happen.  As far as I’m concerned that business is closed, but my visit is not unwarranted and it is connected to the event I suspect you’re referring to.”   I move in towards the parlor and find myself the nearest chair so I can glance back towards Zatanna.

“I’m here to solicit your assistance and in a way a lack there of, for something that’s coming.”  Did that sound right.  “It’s not so much I want to put you in the penalty box, more like I want you to sit on the bench. Well, not me.”  I clarify. “My superior would like you to sit this out, but they would like you to observe.  Before you ask no we have set nothing in motion.  This is something that’s occurred all on its own independent of our actions.”



Zee kept her lips quite shut on the subject of the Bats. They’ve been out of order since the Batman was presumed dead. He held that order, he kept everything in line. He had a very calculated and careful way of doing it and he poured all of himself into that very mission. Zatanna’s connections now were rather loose and she hadn’t reached out to the eldest, nor had he reached out to her.

She had no problems following the accent, the words used, the tone used. She was used to that rabble from John.

“In what way is it connected? I became involved, you know. I ran clean up. I spoke with the individuals involved, more of a warning to them than anything.”

Her eyes narrowed a touch, maybe it was a trick of the light from the fire that made them flash blue, or it was the complete lack of information that was being floated to her.

“What am I sitting out on? Do you even know what you’re dealing with? This runs a little deeper and older than what it seems like on the surface.”



“Serendipitous convergence.”  It really is.  It’s a wonder how it happened, but one I did not have the pull to find out through official channels.  Simply put the Deputy Director wasn’t talking.  I’m sure he has people looking into it, but either way, it can be problematic.

“My superiors would like to know how capable certain individuals are. Should it be something they should be concerned about or is it something they should no longer be concerned with.  I mean buildings are still standing.  The populace is alive for the most part. The alternative is troubling, yet they still walk the streets, lead their happy little lives.  So, no there’s no concerned about that.”  For the moment. “It seems that they have it well under hand. Hopefully it continues to remain that way.  Death has a way of bringing a clarity that few ever desires. ”  He waved his hand a bit.

“However..”  He reached into his jacket producing the sheet of vellum.   “As for your involvement.  Oh we’re quite aware of that.   It was made abundantly clear that you were involved.”  Unrolling the parchment he let Zatanna have a good look.  It wasn’t the first sheet with the words that had been written upon it. Instead it was the sheet of Loops.  Lines of loops that formed a bit fat ‘Z’.

“Personally, I have no qualms about your involvement.  someone needs to clean up magic gone wrong.  Why not someone of your caliber.”  My shoulders rose and fell.

“However,  this is the second sheet.   The first sheet revealed demons.  Then, The Demon.”  I shake my head.  “I rather not discuss him if possible.  The less said the better.  I don’t know how many demented infants Gotham can handle honestly, but you know perhaps it’s a magnet.” I couldn’t help the smirk.

“Think of this as an assessment to see if the status quo should remain or if things should change. Whatever has the House of Bat out of sorts is …”  How could I put this?

“…has drawn concern from various individuals.  What if that spread into the area that falls under our purview.  Gotham is your home.  It falls under you eyes.  You aid when you can if you can. You intercede when events demand it, but what if you are unable to?  What if you are drawn somewhere else?  Are you confident that your associates would be able to meet the problem head on.  Handle the fall out?  Make the tough choices if they have to?”  Faust rolled up the vellum spoke a few words then rolled it out revealing what he had seen on the first sheet.

The lines of loops that formed  words.  <I>Demons.   THE DEMON.</i>   “That is the least of our concerns.”

“This….”  He motioned to the words that came after the second lines of lips.  “…does.”

“Born on a Monday.  Christened on a Tuesday.”  That’s where it ended followed by one last line.

“Black Gold.”  Which had nothing to do with oil.

“I find that troubling, but as troubling as I find it.  Do you think your cohorts are ready and are you prepared to sit on the sidelines and watch?”



“I’m concerned about the gathering that occurred. I feel it was a very small play in a larger scheme. A scheme now in the hands of Jason Blood and his apprentice to figure out, assuming they can manage to not make a bigger mess than they have already. You’re right, he’s not a concern. As long as the demon has something to hunt and something to fight, he usually stays out of trouble. He may be following a branch of the tree that is the many problems of the mystical nature that affect this realm.”

The awful part was having to pick and choose which battles were worth fighting and which were worth ignoring until they became a bigger problem. Then again, with those words spoken, there was the bigger problem.

“Who do you need?” her tone was clipped.

She could trust in her friends and her allies but she didn’t like the thought of losing one of them to such a threat. With the right people, it shouldn’t be that bad. With the right people it could also go way off track and into a chaotic mess.



“That is none of my business. It could be, but I’m not one of the “cool kids.” I’m my very own Rudolph.  Except my nose doesn’t glow.” I pouted, before smirking. “There are always larger forces at work.”  It’s true.  “My life is the result of larger forces at work. Well, they both have massive egos.” Can’t help that.

“However, what should we be concerned about?  What you’re concerned about which will probably some kind of hands off deal, because someone will get their tights in a twist.  I’m confident that you will be able to handle that bit of business, but Black Gold it can go one way or another.  From better to worse.  It is possible that these items could intersect or are intersecting”  Potentially.

“Sadly I’m just a messenger.  I could check around, see if there’s anything to be concerned about regarding the Black portion of this, but, given what you said you may have to consider the fact that you may find yourself entangled in this as things become larger.  So, entangled that you may have to delegate and trust.”

When most people that are aware of Nowhere engage with Nowhere it’s not all threats and intimidation.  It was about preparing.  Preparing for the hard choices.  Good or bad.  Like I said.   Depending on who you prayed to Gotham City was either God’s left armpit or Satan’s anus.  Take your pick, but there was always something funky going on.



“Aren’t we all a result of larger forces?”

Everything seemed to happen for a reason and Zatanna had her own complicated web of a past that tied her intricately to this world.

“I’m going to take this with the approach of being the woman behind the curtain. I’ll delegate what I can. Makes it easier for me to keep these eyes on a certain pair of demons until I can find someone else suitable for the role. I am in full understanding of the role they want me to keep in this.”

It was the ‘why’ she was trying to puzzle out. Did they want to see how things turned out? Test the best of those that would gather against the threat? What were they even going to do with those findings? Nowhere was not omnipotent, all-powerful, and impenetrable. All they had to do was twist the knife in the wrong direction and they’d have a host of problems to deal with. Monitoring metahumans and aliens was one thing, monitoring mystics was a whole other realm entirely.

“Scotch before you hit the road, Mr. Faust?”



“Some yes.  Some…”  He considered it for a moment.  “More of a happy or tragic accident.”  Much of that depended upon the person’s point of view, but we all cling to what we want.  In truth my life as it is was the result of someone being craftier than my father.  Still there were things that I was privy to, not because information had been shared by the deputy director or his predecessor, but because of observation and knowledge of certain events.

Someone was testing the edges, wanting to see how much they could fray them.  I won’t pretend to know how far it goes, but I know no good can come of the Black.  There are some things I can look into that has nothing to do with Gotham, but I find myself wondering  is this the beginning or a happy accident. Perhaps that’s been overplayed?

I know what the Deputy Director has done by sending me here.  Damn it.  It’s not that I care for a soul in this city, but my interest has been piqued. Perhaps my shadow can deliver my report for me. Perhaps.

“A drink would be nice, but I’m afraid that I should get back, report in and see where to be I’m sent next.  I may be in Gotham for the foreseeable future or I may be recalled.”  Difficult to say.  “I may be directed elsewhere.” Perhaps find out what the paths that Gold and Black have taken. Perhaps look and see if this portends something more.  It is conceivable.   Anything is conceivable.  Many eyes have been drawn away from Gotham and towards happenings in the Middle East.

What creatures play when the cats are away?

“Perhaps next time?”

Nurse’s Orders

Nurse’s Orders

When Zee arrives back at the house, a door off the main hall is conspicuously cracked open, a trickle of languid steam escaping from within. Inside is a small bathhouse of sorts, a single room featuring a shallow pool of heated water with benches built into the sides. Tucked into the far corner, the Nightmare Nurse enjoys a mimosa, dressed in a purple two-piece with her bright hair already plastered to her head by the heat and moisture. Behind an accordian-style room divider nearby is a selection of bathing suits, ranging from risque to ultra-conservative, and beside that a minibar stocked with primarily scotch. Asa lifts her glass to toast Zatanna as she enters. “Quite a show,” she offers. “But why wait ’til after work for your ‘stiff drink and a hot bath’?”

The house had a way of providing its occupants with whatever was needed at the time. Zee was thankful for that. The answer to Asa’s question wasn’t really addressed as she began removing the long coat and slipped behind the divider to change into something ‘more comfortable’ as it were.
“That’s how I roll, Asa. I’m glad you were entertained. It made up for your task, I hope?”
She stood on her bare toes to peek over, checking for the creature’s reaction before smirking and ducking back down to fit the suit with the cut-outs and straps that somehow miraculously held it together. When she strolled out with the black suit on she didn’t hesitate to pour herself the a rather oversized serving of Scotch.
There were no other words until she had a few deep gulps and she shuddered the sting away. No, Scotch was not supposed to be enjoyed like that. She didn’t really care at the moment.
“I hope the woman has shown a little remorse over what happened. Without conscience, my hopes aren’t going to float too high. John wouldn’t have handled this so delicately. You know how he feels.”
One toe slid into the water to test for its comfort before she carefully strode in, taking a seat beside Asa with a soft sigh. However frightening and potentially dangerous of a creature that Asa is, Zee was very comfortable around her. Maybe it was hope, a little trust and a lot of horribly bad taste that pulled her towards Asa’s situation.
Asa peers up at Zatanna as she peeks, waving a hand dismissively before looking away and sipping at her flute. “You didn’t have to do that for little old me, mon ami; consider that task pro-bono.” It’s unusual for a service like that to come with no strings attached, but nobody had asked her to do it. Well… gods had, thousands of years ago. And they hadn’t asked nicely.
Making no secret of looking the sorceress over after she leaves the privacy screen, Nightmare Nurse wears a broad, intoxicating grin. She’s hardly one to point out drinking etiquette, as everyone tends to approach hedonism in their own sort of way. The smile falters but doesn’t quite leave her lips at the mention of Johnny-boy; she rolls her eyes and says, “He would’ve made sure he came out of it ahead, at least.” With a shrug of her bare shoulders, she finishes off her drink and turns to face Zee.
“I’m a nurse, not a nursemaid; it’s not proper bedside manner to scold a patient. I think she’s feeling it, though.” With one arm up on the edge of the pool, she leans toward the human. “I might just stick around for a while to see how it all plays out. Could be fun… for both of us.” Her blue eyes take on a bit of a shine from the pale light filtering through the paper-covered windows.
“I didn’t do it for you. Somehow it went from playful to outright horrifying but what are you gonna do?”
There was going to be no further mention of his ‘message’ to Asa. Asa probably heard it and saw it. The Demon had no idea what exactly he was flirting with. Zee thought she was pretty delicate about letting him down about it but demons are an ambitious and greedy sort. Sometimes they don’t understand ‘No’ until the point if driven through their skull a few times.
“I wouldn’t have expected you to scold her at all. Staying here will give her some time to reflect. Meanwhile, I just need to relax and hope The Bat or other larger entities don’t make a big stink of this. I feel like I’ve done everything I could.”
She tilted her head towards the blonde, taking a sip from her glass as she did so.
“Any other thoughts? I feel like it’s one of those situations where we might have to wait and see what happens. I hope for the best but I also worry it may go horribly.”
The ‘healer from Hell’ reacts to that with a playful snicker. “I’ll never give him what he wants, but I doubt telling him that would do much good.” She doesn’t say ‘can’t’ or ‘won’t’ because it doesn’t matter which, or even if it’s both. That her true nature is easy to mistake (and difficult to understand) is generally a useful feature but it can be a double-edged sword at times, as well.
“Oh, I agree completely!” Asa announces. “Her little monster seems to come out during moments of stress, so I made sure she got something to eat then put her to bed early.” She reaches for Zatanna’s glass after setting her own aside, fingers resting on it in silent request rather than tugging the scotch away from the sorceress – truly a dangerous move, even for something like her.
Tilting her head when pressed for further analysis, she shrugs one shoulder then surreptitiously leans it against Zee. “It just might. Blood wants to turn her into some sort of archmage, Etrigan wants to make her royalty in Hell. Meanwhile, all Becky wants to do is hunt demons. “But what are you gonna do?” She mimics Zee’s cadence, winking. “Not like there are many safe alternatives.”
“It’s also very safe to assume anything coming from those demonic lips is just a play anyhow. A joke really truth. A play at you just a distraction and an irritation meant to garner attention. I wouldn’t want you to put yourself anywhere within hellfire’s reach of him.”
Though the same could be said for Asa’s words, only a leveled look given to the blonde as the drink is pulled away. Zee valued Asa’s thoughts on this, she’s been in existence far longer than anyone could even comprehend. She’s seen a lot and has a lot of experience and knowledge to pull from. Then again, it seemed she wasn’t at all bored with her human form and some of the perks it granted her. Zatanna entertained her by crawling her fingers across Asa’s shoulder and towards her neck for a gentle caress.
“He’ll get what he wants if she’s killed or banished. I really don’t want to see any harm come to her and I certainly wouldn’t wish for her to go to Hell either,” Zee’s knowledge was a bit limited on that realm. It wasn’t a good place for her or her magic. It was a force that worked against her and perhaps worked against her very nature of what she was. The Magician was completely content keeping her feet firmly planted in this realm.
“We let it play out? Intervene if needed?”
“Why Zatanna, I didn’t know you cared!” She giggles as she tugs at the glass, taking a delicate sip before handing it back. She winces a bit theatrically at the burn of the liquor as it slips down her borrowed throat. “I promise I won’t play into his little game,” she says, wording it in a way that would be dangerously close to binding if she were a demon. There’s no use aggravating the situation, and anyway he might prove useful. It isn’t as though he can be completely removed from the equation, so they might as well work with it.
She shivers at the touch of Zee’s fingers on her warm, damp skin. In truth her insatiable appetites are a diversion from her true hungers, something to numb pangs that have been left unattended for millennia. Cravings best unfulfilled, for the continuing (relative) safety of all of mankind. Her holy work, once an obligation and now a wilfull and happy task, is small penance for the atrocities she had committed so long ago that only the merest echos remain in the collective human unconscious.

“I knew you’d see things my way; that’s why I brought her here. I didn’t pull her out of Morgana’s clever little trap just to leave her for the proverbial wolves.” Pursing her lips, she nods at the summary. “Solid plan.” She scoots a little closer, resting a hand on the sorceress’s shoulder. “So, now that work’s done, I think it’s time you let yourself relax.”

Cleaning Up

Cleaning Up


Jason had purchased a sizeable brownstone near Gotham’s old city. It was a place to keep his sizeable collections on books and other unique artifacts. He didn’t keep it hidden, or try and deceive anyone on where he lived. And for the casual intruder…well, they were quick to think twice when Etrigan was out.

The rain came down in sheets as the lightning threatened to sunder the sky. Essentially, just another night in Gotham. Tonight, he was expecting a guest. One Zatanna Zarara. Zee, as she’s most commonly called. They’d fought together on various things and relayed on each other when one didn’t know something, or didn’t know who to turn to.

But, he knew that Zee would be coming over for a visit. That portal from last night didn’t just go anywhere. It went to the House of Mystery. And it’s current owner is one John Constantine. Which could only mean that Zee was involved somehow. Jason wasn’t worried about Rebecca’s wellbeing, or safety. She couldn’t be more safe if she tried.

So, sitting by the fire. Book in hand, a glass of a good scotch on the table next to him. Now, it was just a matter of time when she’d show up.



When Zatanna needs to speak to someone she doesn’t really need to make formal invitations. Jason was an ally, even if he sometimes was caught on the wrong side of things. It’s why she felt completely at home and comfortable enough to perch herself on the arm of his chair in his study. A wordless action as she crossed one fishnet-covered leg over the other and leaned over to look at what he was studying with such focus.

She hoped he was thinking about what happened the other night. It made some rather unpleasant ripples. Gotham wasn’t the place to make ripples. If she was smart she probably wouldn’t have even come to work the clean-up, but she did. Coming back to this city cast a rather gloomy and dark cloud over her mood. There were a lot of memories here, she had friends here. One of those friends in particular wasn’t here anymore. Maybe he was dead. In her heart she hoped that it wasn’t true. It didn’t stop her from crying when she heard the news. The sadness dragged her back down to a very dark place. She hadn’t been there since she lost her father.

“You know I have a lot of questions, Jason. Why don’t you tell me your tale of what happened?”

It may have been Jason’s scotch but her graceful hand reached for it to bring it to her lips. A little nip to chase away a case of the cloudy uglies. Maybe it would prepare her for hearing how much of a mess this whole situation caused.

“Your Ward is fine, Nightmare Nurse can only stomach babysitting for so long though. She’s not as patient as you are. I’m assuming she’s your ward or apprentice, whatever you want to call it. Not your girlfriend right? I guess this is why I’m asking you. Maybe if you had told me about this earlier this would have come to a different end.”



“You are not the only one with questions, Zee.” saying as he closed the book on something or another demonic. Jason figured she’d come, and didn’t bother to try and stop her from taking his drink. “I figured as such. After I went back. I scryed the portal and saw it led back to the House.” saying as he took another glass and poured himself a drink.

“She is not my girlfriend, a student apprentice role would be suitable for what she is. As for what happened. Well, her parents are both heavily genetically altered due to some concoctions they had ingested. Then they decided to get pregnant. On the night of Rebecca’s birth. Morgaine LeFey decided that she wanted a new army of demons without hells sway. Her father and I stopped her, thanks to Etrigan able to get in and bite her. You know how he loves to bite her.” a small smile played on his lips, knowing that Morgaine was bound to do something soon.

“All the babies that had been infected were cured, except for her. She never displayed symptoms of whatever Morgaine was trying to do. As far as I could tell, the demonic possession, if you will, never took hold. Her blood was fine. So, I left her…but kept a cautious eye on her through the years to see if she would develop anything more than what was already given to her by her parents.

“That is her story. As for why we were on the rooftop… well, we were investigating a cult that was attempting to bring Barbados back. And… well, I assume you know why that wouldn’t be a good idea. Turns out, the dummys weren’t summoning Barbados, even though they were trying to. A fight ensues, we start taking out the men, then something triggered my change and Rebecca’s change..”

Taking a sip of his brandy.

“Then Asa shows up and starts healing magic on the bad guys…and well, as they say, the rest is history.” crossing his leg, he turns to look at her. “The Order of St Dumas also made an appearance.Special guest. You can guess how that ended.”



“Right, except that it was a trap all along. They were attempting to control her, they might have gotten a two-for-one special but it takes a lot more than a little infernal ritual to control the Big Guy. No one controls Etrigan.”

She relinquished the glass without a protest. It was his and it was only fair he take it back. Zatanna was only speaking the truth as she saw it, even the bit about controlling the demon. Even Merlin gave up and settled for binding him to a human.

She groaned and brought a palm to her face when he mentioned the order. Could she guess? She certainly could. It probably ended horribly.

“I can’t help you with that. The Order will probably seek retaliation against you and Rebecca.”

She threw her head back with an exasperated sigh.

“People died, Jason. Enemy or not, that goes right against the hero code that this city has. Gotham has its own way of dealing with problems and you-know-who is probably going to come crashing through demanding some answers. Not to mention, the taking of human life leaves a pretty nasty stain on the soul. So add in a demon-tainted young woman and deadly mess and you’re just adding fuel to the fire.”

She tilted her head to look him in the eye to see if he understood that, if he understood the seriousness of the situation.

“She needs discipline, she needs to know how to control herself. She has to fight against those dark urges and her very nature if she wants to continue to live in this city and live with her freedom intact. If she’s your apprentice, it’s your responsibility to show her how, not show her how to kill a bunch of lame-ass infernal wizards. Though, I’ll bet that was probably due to Etrigan’s encouragement and believe me, I’ll have words with him too. I think this is a good opportunity for you, I think you would learn a lot but you and the demon need to be a team on this. Rebecca also needs to get a say in this too. She’s tough but she’s still going to crash once the weight of her actions hits her. Are you sure you can handle this? It’s okay if you can’t.”



“To be fair. We tried to be non-kill. The men were killing themselves, essentially. Even going as far as slicing the throats of the men who were unconscious.” a wave of the hand. “I understand fully what you are telling me, Zatanna. I didn’t know she could transform. She never experienced that in the times I observed her.” taking another drink.

“I understand what you are saying, Zatanna. From the moment we set foot on that roof, we were going for a non-kill solution. I knocked out two of the men that were on me. And one just about jumped onto Rebecca’s sword. That’s where things went south. It was not, and is not our intention to kill.” taking a deep breath. “I have been fighting for over a millenia, Zatanna. I know what the consequences are for taking a life. Believe me, I do not wish to kill anyone.” now he was looking her back in the eyes.

“There are things about Rebecca that I am still learning. It’s been many a year since i’ve had an apprentice of any kind. None like her, I must say. I believe she will do good under my tutelage and bring a unique aspect of what she is. If done right, she has the potential to lead the next age of Magic.” a shrug.

“Don’t worry about the Order. I am unconcerned with them. They won’t be the first order to attempt to kill me and Etrigan. I am sure they will not be the last.”



“If done right, she won’t be following the path that so many others have done before her that leads straight to damnation and hell. She might even be a warrior against the very black magic that created her. That’s entirely up to her and in some part, who guides her.”

She did make a bit of an eye roll at mention of the order, “What about Rebecca? She’s never fought them. This is probably the point where you need to think a bit beyond yourself and the demon and consider who else is getting dragged into these problems.”

She leaned over just a tad, not quite sliding off of the arm of the chair but it looked like she was about to.

“I want you to be happy. I also don’t want you to get in over your head with this. If you need help, please, ask for it.”

A bit of a smirk played on her face as she brought her cheek against his, her lips brushing against his ear, “Jason, there’s something I’ve always wanted to try with you…”



“Do not worry about me and Rebecca. Whatever happens, we will deal with it. And if it becomes something more than we can handle, then we’ll be sure to ask for help. But, I have had apprentices before…. Though, none quite as stubborn as that young woman.” pressing his lips together, he picks his drink up, and before taking a sip, he tilts it in a way to offer it to her first.

Turning to look at her, a brow lifting. It wasn’t that he never thought her attractive, it was just that their relationship was always .. platonic. Afterall, he knew her father. And he’s known her since she was just a child. Though, he’s learned to look past that as … well, most people are much, much, younger than him. Watching her for a long moment, he tilts his head. “What is it, Zatanna?” asking with his brow still lifted.

“What is it that you wanted to try?”




She batted those long dark ashes, she felt a slight twinge of guilt over what she was about to do and may have to answer to him if it fails. She did respect him, as she respected many of her friends and tried not to toy with them too much. She was just genuinely curious and she would never know unless she tried. At least it seemed this would be a safe way to do it, even if Jason seemed a bit confused.

<font color=blue>“Enog enog mrof O’ Nam- Esir eht moned Nagirte”</font>

Her eyes flashed blue as she whispered the words against his ear, the words taking on an alien form as she spoke them backwards. With her tongue though, those backwards words could do quite a lot.

She moved back after the last word was spoken, not wanting to be caught in the flames or perhaps a foul mood of a demon if her little trick had actually worked. Not that she’d allow the demon to be foul for long. She didn’t have time to deal with his temper when she had serious business to discuss with him.



Dropping the glass, he grips one hand on the edge of the recliner, and the other on her thigh, though, unintentionally.

“You could have asked, Zatanna.” saying as he pushed himself from her. Soon, flames would wrap around himself as his flesh started warp and change. Soon, the Demon would be standing in his place as the flames dissipated. Looking around quickly, he’s confused by the change. “Who dares summon me?!” asking as he then turns his attention on Zatanna, hopping back, he readies himself for a fight.

He’s not sure if she’s under the influence of someone else, or something else.

“What do you wish, Zatanna? You dare summon Etrigan when there is no need?! Bah!” waving his hand as he stalks towards the window to glance out. “There is no fight, no reason for me to be here. So, what is it you want, Zatanna? If you are under the influence of another, please know that I will make your death quick and painless. Then find whoever did that, and feast on their entrails while they still breathe.”

He’s nothing, if not, chivalrous.

…in his own, very violent way.



“Hey, Big Guy,” she said with a warm tone and a smirk.

It’s true, it’s probably a bad idea to summon him where there’s not something for him to take down. He’s better thrown at the enemy than brought out for tea and cookies. Fortunately there was no tea and no cookies and all she could really do to get his fire down to a simmer was bring her hand up to put against his armor as she stepped closer.

“Oh that was positively frightening, many will wretch with disgust at the sight of your disemboweled enemies. I’m fine, promise. I’m glad to see you too. I won’t keep you long, next time I promise it’ll be to fight or play,” she offered him a wink. She knew that a lot of the time it was necessary to talk on his level. She didn’t want to be an annoyance to the demon.

“Penny for your thoughts?”

She was very good with casting illusions but this trick was merely a bit of slight of hand as she reached behind his ear and withdrew a shiny penny in between her fingers.

“Jason needs your help training the young halfling. She’s better served on this realm but if she keeps it up, she may not be able to reside it in for long. She might even be able to keep up and fight beside you one day. What are you thinking on this? Do you want to help her or do you want to eat her? You can’t let her go around feasting on entrails. She needs to play by the rules, don’t kill the humans.”



“Eh?!?” he gives her the strangest of looks as she pulls the penny out from behind his ear. Reaching behind his ear, he makes sure there’s nothing else there then narrows his eyes at her for a long moment “Bah! You and your kind are insufferable!” waving a hand at her as he then walks over to the recliner before moving to sit on it as he listens to her. “…But, I am pleased to hear that you are not under the influence of another. As humans go, you are … most pleasant to be amongst.”

When she spoke about Rebecca, he shrugged.

“The girl has potential. I wish to keep her, and then potentially place her in a position of power in hell.” maybe that’s not what Zatanna wanted to hear. Letting the moment sink in for a long moment as he steepled his fingers, hiding his mouth behind it before lifting it and giving her a toothy grin to show that he was kidding.

“We fought upon that rooftop. The girl is poised for great potential. I wish to keep her around, Jason can train her, and I shall assist. Do not worry about her feasting on entrails of the enemy. That is suited for our most hated enemies…such as Morgaine. But, Morgaine is no ordinary human.”


“You do not need to worry, Zatanna. It may not look like it, but I tend to believe Jason has things under control. I suspect you and that most insufferable sorcerer have her?” asking. “Next time I see him..” gripping the edge of the recliner, he squeezes it, nearly ripping it off the recliner itself.

Go figure, someone wants to kill John.

…eyeing her

Then checking back behind his ear…just to make sure.

“Bah! I do not like being toyed with, Witch.”



Zatanna fell for the joke, hook line and sinker, it showed by the scowl that crossed her features and she was inhaling and about to give him her thoughts on that subject before he smiled. Her body language changed like a switch was flipped. She’d much rather keep the mood light, just being in this city had her feeling weighed down and a bit emotionally frail. She was genuinely happy to interact with the demon. It was a great distraction.

She flipped the coin between her fingers before spreading them, making the penny ‘disappear’. Sometimes it was the most simple of tricks that were the most entertaining.

“Actually, Asa is watching over her right now. You don’t need to attack the chair over the thought of John being near your girl.”

She was already going to need to fix Jason’s barware, she didn’t want to have to deal with the mess of fixing the entire study over a fiery temper from just mentioning Constantine.

She didn’t want to see him off in a foul mood and didn’t want to escalate the situation any further. She merely moved over to the side of the chair and leaned against his massive arm.

“You’re easily one of my favorite and most ferocious demons, Etrigan. Thank you for speaking with me…hrmm….”

She leaned in a little closer, eyes narrowing by his ear, “I see another one…right here!”

The toying certainly didn’t stop at parlor tricks, not when she snuck in to peck his cheek, leaving a fresh smear of lipstick in the wake of her lips.



“Hmph!” swatting when she pecked her lips against his tough, scaly skin. “Bah! I see through your lies, Zatanna. But, Your compliments are received. If you are ever need of my assistance, know that I will come to your aid…” trailing off as he paused. Then gave a grin.

“One thing I must ask of you. When you see Asa. Tell her that I am in search of a mate. A .. demon who can truly give me an offspring.” grinning “I will slaughter sheep and cattle in her name. I will burn a church in her honor. I will do anything for her hand.” winking as he stepped away from Zatanna.

“Farwell, Zatanna.” bowing before her.

”Gone now, O Etrigan

And rise again the form of man!”

Once again, the column of flame would erupt and Jason would be standing there, staring at Zatanna.

“Please. Do not ever do that again. John did it once and Etrigan nearly gutted him. But, I suspect Etrigan likes you more than him, anyway.” waving a hand as he walks over to the remnants of his glass.



“I’ll pass along the message. Don’t get too hopeful about her accepting the offer, though. I know it’s lonely for you on this side, you’ll find something that works out,” she didn’t even know how to respond to that any further. The request stunned her in a way that made her cheeks flush.

It was just not something she wanted to linger on too much longer. Perhaps it was just better than Etrigan was wrong about his perceptions of Asa. Knowing that was relieving but knowing the truth about Asa was also terrifying as well. It wasn’t something that was up to discussion, some truths were better left in the shadows.

<font color=”blue”> “Riaper.”</font>

The broken glass was her fault but she didn’t need to leave it a mess. Broken shards pulled themselves back together and fused back into one glass that stood brilliantly on the floor as if it were brand new.

“I’m sorry, Jason. I’m really in a foul mood and needed some levity. It’s good to know, just in case, anyhow. I don’t plan on doing it again. He tolerates me a lot more than John.”

In a way, she was impressed it worked. The startling bit about it also meant that she could just as easily weave Merlin’s own magic. That was how the man and the demon were bound. It was better not thought about too deeply.

“You both seem to be in agreement. I’ll pass along the message to Asa. Rebecca will need to decide if she wants to continue to be your apprentice. I suppose you’ll see her in class if she does decide that is the path she wants to take.”

Wordlessly she bent down to pick up the glass, reaching for the bottle to refill the glass before offering it back to Jason. The apologetic and somewhat sheepish look in those brown eyes for her was hopefully enough to prove she was sincere about her apology. Jason didn’t need to be messed with and neither did Etrigan. There was a purpose behind the attempt.

“Is there anything I can help you with?”



Taking the glass, he places it on the stand and then moves his hand onto her shoulder. “Don’t worry about it, Zatanna. I know Gotham has history for you.” offering a squeeze of her shoulder, he gives her a bit of a smile. “At this moment, I do not think there is much you can help me with. Unless you can teach me how to deal with young women with anger issues and able to transform into a bloodthirsty demon?” asking with some levity.

“I will be fine. Me and Etrigan will be in contact about the girls progress.” taking a deep breath, he glances out, then back to her.

“You should go talk to Richard. Maybe that will help with your mood?” asking, thinking maybe that it would help. He could hope, anyway.



She thinks she knows everything and she can handle everything herself. I was like that at that age too just less angry, and toothy and demonic. She needs outlets for that rage. Most college students just drink, party and screw the stress away…”

Zatanna held a finger up.

“…I also did that. Anyhow. You’ll figure something out. Try to put yourself in her shoes.”

She sighed at the mention of Dick. He wasn’t going to be happy about this situation and she really didn’t want to put herself in the range of fire. It was probably better for what scraps of a decent relationship they had to not put herself right in the middle more than she has already.

“Misery loves company, right? I’ve got to get back. Work first, a stiff drink and a hot bath after. Take care, Jason.”