Ra's Al Ghul is not dead.

December 22, 2014: Damian brings Veruca to Ra's, who is well pleased.




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Mood Music:

Long flights are rarely enjoyable, especially when spent on large military transports that were likely desigined with comfort in mind — that is, the designers were probably straining to make them the least comfortable planes in existence. The last thing anyone wants to do after such flights is mill around a crowded airport waiting for your luggage. Luckily for the two passengers aboard the C-5 Galaxy currently coming in for a semi-gentle landing on the small runway of a nearly deserted private strip in one of the few flat regions of Tibet, neither would have to endure the wait.

In fact, even before the engines have slowly died down into silence, a long convoy of vehicles breaks from the cover of an empty hangar and speeds toward the lowering ramp of the Lockheed, apparently unwilling to let the occupants linger for even a minute.

As the plane comes to a stop Damian, clothed again in the black fatigues he wore originally on the plane, moves towards the ramp as the 88 wait on above them. He looks out over the large expanse before turning back towards Veruca. "The convoy will be here in a moment. How's your abdomen?"

He refers to the wound she received during the flight.

Long flights. They /sucked/. If only she knew where they were going, she could have had them their in a heartbeat. Alright, under an hour. There were checks and balances in place so that she wouldn't kill herself through travel. How fun that would have been.

Emerging from the plane itself, fresh new pair of digs, black jeans that hugged the hips and covered the ankle boots she wore, brand new tank top and leather jacket to fit, hair done up in a high bun.

All for the name of the shits and giggles.

"It's fine. Wrapped and snug." With mention to the convoy, she gestures towards the row of vehicles that head in their direction as she descends the stairs. "You mean them?"

'Them' indeed. Only moments after the ramp touches the tarmac, the convoy of armored, black SUVs roars right up to the Lockheed and dozens of armor clad, gun-toting, mercenary-looking grunts jump from the vehicles and train every single muzzle on Veruca. At the same time, the eighty-eight men and women who had been traveling with Damian and Veruca draw an assortment of blades and guns and join their bretheren in training them on the same target as if by some unspoken command.

In barking, aggressive Tibetan, one of the grunts from the convoy addresses a member of the eighty-eight who responds in kind. The grunt lowers his voice, the aggression fading into respect as he turns his focus to a small, shoulder-mounted radio. A short while later, the radio crackles into life and the recognizable tones of Ubu give clipped, direct orders to the grunt who relays them to the group at large. As one, the weapons are lowered and the grunt leader approaches Damian before bending nearly in half to give him a sort of mixed, bow-salute.

"Our Master wishes to commend you, Sir, for your timely success in your endeavors and bids you to accompany us back to his estate so that he may greet you both in person."

At the momentary upheaval, Damian doesn't even flinch. Instead, he merely waits it out and as they lower their guns he holds his arm out towards Veruca to take if she wishes.

"Everything I've learned, I've learned because of him," Damian responds with a nod. "Though she comes on her own and freely." Damian looks over his shoulder towards her, "I believe I can speak for her to say we look forward to meeting with him."

As he walks towards the awaiting SUV, he holds the door open for Veruca, allowing her to enter first.

Already being wounded of her own accord and in mild pain, seeing the weaponry being brandished and aimed towards her was equally unsettling. She pauses in her descent, shoulders tensing as eyes slowly begin to bleed the color black. She was all for cutting loose on foreign soil, and yet once the men withdraw, she calms long enough to continue her way down the stairs, arm slipping to mingle with Damian's, but not for comfort. But for securities sake; glass will fly from her flesh to kill the kid again should they act up.

If she goes down, he does too. But he didn't need to know that.

She says nothing, only nodding in silent agreement as they reach the door, then ducks her head so that she could slide into the SUV without issue.

As Damian and Veruca hop into the waiting SUV and the rest of the League grunts follow suit, the ramp on Galaxy starts to close again as all eighty-eight men and women are left behind to see to the care of the Lockheed. An innocent enough occurance on the surface, but one that would speak volumes to anyone familiar with Ra's al Ghul — Whatever loyalty Damian or Veruca may have earned with them will not help them in any potential ploys from here on out. There is very little room for trust in the League of Assassins.

To that end, it may come as a bit of a surprise that no move is made to disguise their destination or travel route from Veruca as the party is shifted from SUV to waiting helicopter and the army of grunts drops from convoy-sized, to a pair of squads in two accompanying Apaches, and a few men — including the leader — to join Damian and Veruca on their unarmed, but armored AW101 VVIP.

This airborne leg of their journey is significantly shorter than the previous, and inside of an hour their destination comes into view just as the helicopter swings around the side of a mountain. There, nestled on a broad cliff, and carved quite a ways inside the mountain, rises the peaked roof of an ancient looking, but well-maintained palatial temple. With practiced ease, the pilot brings the chopper around for a quick, sweeping overview of the estate before selecting one of a set of four helipads, three of which are open, and coming in for a gentle landing. As the engine is cut, the grunts file out of the chopper and lead the pair through the small courtyard towards a door flanked by two more, almost identical looking guards.

Once inside, the group plunges through door after door, hallway after hallway, and stairwell after stairwell, until at last they slow to a stop outside a pair of oversized doors. With a booming knock, the lead grunt bangs his fist on one of the doors and waits silently for the answering, "Enter," before pushing the door open and holding it for Damian and Veruca to enter alone.

Damian turns to gauge Veruca's reaction as the large doors part and gain each of them access to Ra's al Ghul. Just as he told her, they were not intent on doing her harm. Just as he told her, she'd soon find out that Ra's al Ghul was very much alive.

He tilts his mouth towards her ear as he looks out over the courtyard behind them.

"He's not far, now."

Damian walks into the great hall with the gait of a successful man. He'd told his grandfather she would come. And here she is.

The journey was /such/ a pain in the ass. The next time the two go somewhere together? They're traveling Bloody Mary. The heights, the dry air, it was messing with her hair, skin, and fresh wound that picked up on it's bleeding due to strain. But it remained hidden with a zip of her jacket.

Front door reached, eyes cut towards Damian as a look slowly builds within. It was like Christmas, seeing a gift that you were sure that your parents weren't going to give you because it was way too expensive, or rare in it's apprehension, it kicked up the adrenaline and nearly made her tremble.


Never let anyone see you sweat or be overly eager to meet a dead man.

She nods and follows behind Damian, her lips pursing gently, one brow drawing out as a grin draws upon her nearly pale lips. "Little Bird, you have such a great.." *THWACK* ".. ass!"

Yes. In the temple of the Demon, she swatted his grandsons ass. Surely she'll be killed now.

Sure enough, on the other side of the door is an expansive library, all four walls occupied by a host of enormous bookshelves, every one of which is piled high with books, scrolls, and everything in between. Sitting amongst the treasure trove of ancient and modern knowledge, behind an expensive looking desk, is Ra's al Ghul, scratching away at some hand-written record kept in a massive and aged tome. Without even looking up, his smooth, steel-edged voice carries to the entering duo with a distracted sort of air; "This is the woman who killed you?"

A few scratches later, and he sets down his pen to look up towards Veruca with an appraising eye, his hands folding neatly in his lap as he settles back in his chair. "I'm disappointed. You were trained by the best of the best, Damian. Shiva herself taught you to hold a blade. The Detective is your father, /I/ am your grandfather, and /she/ managed to put a sword through your gut?"

The force of Veruca's slap causes Damian to nearly leap. He looks at her, half incredulously, half 'oh my goodness, you did /not/ just do that.' For once, showing that he is, indeed, a young man, he tries not to smile as they approach his grandfather.

Damian's eyebrows rise slightly in the first bit of emotion he's shown since taking off from Metropolis. "Grandfather, you'll find her talents are extraordinary. I assure you: with her you'll be most pleased." Damian's regained his composure enough to look over at Veruca. It seems clear that there is no hesitation in his conviction.

"I trust you've seen the latest news; that you've watched as she's run rings around the United States' so called 'heroes?'"

The entry or.. introduction that should have been had was met with silence. She should have been used to this; measured by the pound of salt by those in lead of the criminal world, sans being stripped naked and forced to display like a common horse. Maybe, just maybe this one will ask to see her teeth too, but that other person was a bit weird. And while she would have been insulted, she was not. She was left staring towards the man with a slight furrow of her brow, even taking to lean in just a little and back again as the room was quickly surveyed.

Was there a mirror about? Nevermind that. No need to show off where it wasn't asked.

"His back, actually." Veruca mentions. Then quiets down.

Ra's' attention slides from Damian to Veruca and back again, before he waves off his grandson's arguments with a casual gesture, "Peace, dear boy. I've no doubt you have a stirring defense of this young woman prepared, but you can spare your breath. I know she is skilled, I know what she is capable of. What I wished to know, is if you would defend your choice, or be cowed. Once again, you fail to disappoint."

With that, he rises from behind his desk and moves around the other side to stand directly in front of Veruca with the faintest of frowns etched onto his face. "You killed my grandson, girl. Were he anything less than an al Ghul, he would be in a grave at this moment. By rights, I should have your head mounted above my gates," he intones in a low voice, still smooth, but dangerously quiet, "Yet, he desired a different fate for you. On his request, I allowed you to be brought here for a singular purpose. Do you have an idea of what that purpose might be?"

Damian opens his mouth, but even as Ra's gets to the P in peace, his mouth closes. It's like a Pavlov's dogs thing; he's been trained so much that it comes as second nature and he falls silent. He folds his arms behind his back, knowing that this time to talk has come and gone.

As Ra's questions Veruca, Damian's dark eyes turn towards her and he looks on her approvingly, as someone might when they were proud to have brought a suitor home to meet their family.

This, was simply fantastic. She nearly had the means to smile towards Damian but that fell short with Ra's approach. Her eyes soon went towards him, widening, and averting to stare into the mans chest. It was purely obvious, and written in stone and made fact; Ra's was not her equal.

But she keeps her chin lifted, jaw tensing as she slowly offers a slight nod. There were no side stories to add fluff and flair to answer his question. Neither one of them deserved the show, only straight cut to the truth like a blade through butter.

To recount Damian's words, as she interpreted. "To be trained by you as you trained him. And when he finally reaches the throne upon which he is heir to, become his closet ally."

Ra's turns an eye over towards Damian, one eyebrow raised as if surprised, "Oh? Ubu will be very disappointed to hear that, Damian. Yet… I suppose it is fitting. Every Ubu has devoted everything to me… Perhaps you /do/ need someone loyal only to you." For a moment, he glances over towards a distant window, lost in thought before he finally swings his gaze back around towards Veruca. "This changes things, but only slightly. I had planned to train you as an assassin suitable for the League, but if you are to serve by my grandson's side, we will need to make adjustments. There are things you must be told about that no ordinary member of the League would know, but of course, that will come in time. For now, you will be treated as every other man or woman who has come before you — you will be taught respect, and you will be taught proper decorum. For instance…" In the blink of an eye, his hand moves towards her throat, a curved dagger in his grip, the edge swiftly approaching the side of her jaw, though it will never actually make a cut — even if she doesn't resist. "Unless you wish to lose a finger, you will refrain from putting your hands on my grandson. At least in my presence." With a flick of his wrist, the dagger is gone, hidden away in some obscured sheath once again, "What you two do in privacy is of no concern to me."

Damian's eyebrows raise as the dagger comes out and right next to Veruca's chin. He's interested in seeing whether she will bend as he has to Ra's' will, or if she will be defiant to the last. It occurs to Damian that Veruca is very much like him, at least how Damian is out in the wilds of society. But here, in this palace and in front of Ra's he's nothing if not a broken horse.

Veruca listened with the utmost devotion as she could in this situation. No words of rebuttal or agreement, just abject silence until…

The blade comes swinging. And this old man was fast. There was a /huge/ struggle within herself to not move, to follow the instinct to dodge, it was ingrained in her so deeply that her shoulders begin to shake and tremble with the need to disrespect and punch, yet that chin lifts higher, possibly scraping against the blade if done so.

"I understand." She murmurs quietly, her gaze cutting towards Damian. There was a thought there, that as soon as he leaves and when they're behind doors? They're going to do battle like gladiators. No winning, no losing, just fists.

That cool icy gaze falls back upon Ra's, still planted within his chest but upon him nevertheless. And for a moment? If they both stared hard enough? They might actually see her tremble.

"Good," Ra's replies, face a stony mask as he turns away from Veruca and moves over towards Damian, laying a hand on his shoulder with the faintest hint of a smile. After a gentle squeeze, he drops his hand and moves back towards the desk. "Damian, find her a room. A room other than your own," he orders, settling easily into his chair again as his gaze settles on the pair, "Get her situated, then give her the tour. I expect you both back here in three hours so we can discuss your mother." Once again, his focus shifts primarily to Veruca, and he continues, "Unfortunately you come to us at an inopportune time. Traditionally, your training would begin immediately, but we will have to delay. I will need you in the field with Damian, though I do think we will have some time for a brief lesson on protocol before you two depart again." With that settled, his eyes drop back to his old, dusty tome and he picks up his pen, apparently forgetting the pair even existed. That is, of course, until the two are nearly at the door — whenever that may be.

"Oh, and Damian?" Looking up briefly, Ra's' eyes find his grandson, "… You chose well."

"As you wish. Thank you, Grandfather." Damian steps off to the side, waiting for Veruca's final remarks before he takes her to her quarters in the more comfortable wing of the fortress. With an extended bow, Damian will lead her, find her food, give her the tour. That sort of thing.

There was a lax in breath as Ra's finally moved away, her chin lowering to stare into the ground as she takes a few deep breaths to regain her composure. Holy, crap. That was intense. Naturally, she wouldn't say that outloud.

Orders were given, plans laid out, all of that snickery bullshit aside, and they were off, getting food, having tours, doing that sort of stuff until it was beddy bye time.

Cause after today? Veruca needed a gosh-damn nap.

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