A Glowing Elk In Gotham

Summary:
December 29, 2014: A glowing elk, a druid, 5 heroes all appear in Gotham.

Gotham

You know Gotham, the hive of villainy


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


Gotham. Just the name of the city conjures strong images and emotions in people's minds. Even for those who live there, the dark, sweeping Gothic architecture and rampant crime problem are the enduring pictures. A city on the edge watched over by gargoyles on the tallest heights.

But there is another Gotham. One that most don't even know exists. While less rich in magic than Metropolis and New York, there are places in the City of Shadow that beckon to the unusual and unnatural. The fact that the power players usually pass it by for greener pastures simply means a different class of magical society has a chance to thrive. One that is at once both closer to and further removed from the humanity around it. Rare are the earth shattering sorcerors and dangerous demigods here. This is the realm of the witch and the ghoul and the minor spirt.

It's also the realm of the Fox. Tonight the last survivor of Gotham's own druidic circle rides along the rooftops on a ghostly elk, looking down at the empty markets and lantern festooned streets of Chinatown from behind his masquerade mask with a frown. He looks the part of a druid. Well, for some definitions. Leather and thick cloth ward out the cold while a hood and a fox-mask conceal his features. A blade hangs over his shoulder along with a crossbow with the staves folded in. Pouches dangle from his belt and a bandolier full of violet crystal crosses his chest, odd counterpoint to the double barreled shotgun at his side.

"Hrm… I know he's around here somewhere…"

***

Patrol continues to be a regular thing for the Bat-family and their associates, which is why the newly refurbished Redbird, aptly name Redbird 2.0 (because Tim Drake is oh-so-creative), parks in front of one of the many Chinese takeouts on Gotham's street. Sometimes Robin is just asking for his car to be keyed. Today, may or may not be one of those days. The good news is, the armoured car isn't that damage-able.

***

Robin, having lost the green of his suit in its newest incarnation, has company today. "For the record, I think our mutual friend," Darcy, "liked the car more than me." Although, even the mention of their mutual friend has Tim blushing, making it entirely possible that she insinuated easy like for the Boy Wonder.

He sniffs once as he looks towards his passenger. "So. This is typically where I get out and, well," there's a long pause, "scale the rooftops." He runs a gloved hand over his chin while he smirks. Oracle can almost hear the playfulness in his voice over the comlink as he teases, "Assuming you can keep up," Robin knows full well that the agent can keep up. He's seen her in action.

***

It's nighttime and that means Oracle is watching the Gotham Going Ons in the Clocktower. So far, apart from minor muggings and hold ups, it's been a quiet night and the redhead sits relaxed in her chair watching video feeds from all parts of Gotham on her screens.

All of a sudden, she sits forward with a small frown and pulls one of the feeds to the fore, enlarging it for a better view. "Red Robin, we have a visitor down in Chinatown, someone new. Go check it out, please." Coordinates are sent as Oracle continues to watch and frown.

***

Melinda May takes a moment to tug at the gloves she's added to her usual mission attire, then looks at the newly redder Robin a bit flatly. "Don't try my patience." She gets out of the honestly ridiculous car (but she still would like to drive the thing once, just out of curiosity) and looks at the kid, waiting for him to lead the way. Doesn't matter how old he actually is. He's a kid.

***

Chinese food…the savior of all folks who are in a rush, don't like to cook, or have the munchies. Dick Grayson is much more the former…not at all the latter, but he's chosen this particular restaurant for his Take-Out. After all, it's one of the best Egg Drop Soups in town and the dumplings can't be beat.

Stepping out of the restaurant with his food in hand, the first Wayne Ward pauses upon seeing the car parked right outside. He recognizes it, certainly, and glances about to see if the owner might need help or where he might be.

***

//When the night has come, and Gotham is dark, and the moon is the only light we'll see… // Then the Changeling will just turn into a man-bat and use sonar instead. He's trying to find Robin the Red. There may or may not be a purple cat trailing him somewhere. There are no promises. Someone took off without getting his key to the Castle, and this cannot stand unchallenged.

So, the other thing with those big green batty ears: He can hear pretty well. That's Robin's voice. Fly closer!

But don't get caught.

***

There is always a promise of purple cat. Yesterday they had come back from Orlando via the Rabbit Hole. Vorpalhad the revelationi that, since he could travel by line of sight, and that on an unobstructed view that is about three miles, he could travel at a rate of three miles per second per Rabbit Hole… which means a trip back from Orlando to New York took about twenty minutes (five minutes to rest.) He's just now really exploring the full capabilities of this power.

"We really need to get a comm system going, you know," the cheshire says, emerging out of a Rabbit Hole next to BatGar (Nana nana nana nana…), "We've got a castle and a silo but we don't have a comm system? The JLA is going to make fun of us."

***

If I leave my grin behind remind me… that we're all mad here, and it's okay…

So the song's stuck in Kane's head. Sue him. It's not like he's got much else to do while he waits for this damn g- Wait a moment. There he is. Just emerging from the basement not far from the from an empty market stall in a side street half a block up.

"Come on Stomper…" The Fox urges the glowing translucent elk beneath him. The aparition picks it's way lightly over the rooftop, nimbling hopping a gap as he paces the figure below.

At first blush it seems just like a man, but the clothes it's wearing are ragged and don't fit quite right, and he seems gaunt and a bit pale. He stops to sniff the air… then suddenly breaks into a run. And what a run. If there were any traffic at this hour he'd be keeping up with it.

"Aw hell… GO!" Stomper leaps down a two story building onto the street with a clatter of ghostly hooves and launches after the fleeing figure also at traffic speeds. As luck would have it, two blocks up and coming fast is a chinese food restaurant with a red car parked in front…

***

May's flat tone is met with a large toothy grin from Red Robin. "Yes, ma'am," he wonders if he's supposed to salute, but the wonder only lasts a second. He issues her a two fingered salute and then promptly locks the vehicle from a distance. His hand trails to his utility belt and the grappling gun so promptly locked onto it.

"Friendly visitor or a Joker-type-visitor?" Robin asks into the comlink as he fires the grappling gun towards the rooftop of one of the many buildings. Something, however, stops him from scaling that building. A sound, unusual and forboding, suddenly grasps his attention. He has the gun release and he turns to try to catch whatever seems to be coming their way. "Do you hear that?" The red clad Boy Wonder lifts his chin and begins to peek about the area, catching at least one familiar face. That perhaps, in this incarnation, should not be so familiar.

***

Checking who else is the area, Oracle sees the avatar for Nightwing. Conferencing the call, she speaks "Nightwing, Red Robin. Theres's someone on the roof there, I've not seen them in town before, so I can't say if they are friendly or otherwise. But they're now chasing some….one" Oracle watches as the…. being is transported by "They're riding an elk, I think" the frown deepens as she watches the scene unfold "Video feeds on, please."

***

Melinda May watches the grappling line, but when Robin says he hears something, she stops and listens as well. All she picks up on immediately though are faint voices nearby in relaxed, conversational tones and someone running. Fast. She's not sure if that's what the kid says he heard, but in this setting, running usually doesn't bode well.

Pulling her sash whip (a three-inch wide piece of woven black silk with flat weights in both ends) and setting it spinning, she listens to the approaching footfalls and now hears a very odd counterpoint — hooves. And not normal horse hooves, either. These sound somehow lighter than the Central Park police mounts do at a gallop. Having seen an increasing amount of WEIRD of late (thank you, Trent), she builds her mental picture: someone is being chased by a hooved being. And that's about when Oracle confirms over the comms. And elk. Seriously? Okay, fine, whatever. She now has her target in mind, and sets the sash whip spinning even faster, nearly to the point of whirring audibly. "Get the runner, Robin. The elk is mine."

Her plan: Let the runner pass by and promptly take down the chaser riding the elk. Or, you know, take down the elk and the chaser will go with it.

***

Grayson was pretty much expecting his comm unit to start up as soon as he saw the car. "I just got dinner…" is noted with a little bit of amusement, but he glances about before ducking into one of the dark alleyways. The food, as well as his civvies are quickly stashed someone safe (he hopes) before Nightwing appears on the scene. "An elk? Like…from the Pacific Northwest? I've never heard of elk in Gotham." That's definitely a first.

Nightwing quickly scales one of the fire escapes to get a better look at the elk…and apparently the others who have arrived on the scene. "We've got a couple of Titans here…and someone I don't recognize. This elk-guy is pretty out-numbered."

***

There's a glowing green elk. With a guy riding it. Not dressed in a stupid robe. But it's an elk … and it's chasing someone. Who is moving a bit oddly, but that doesn't mean he's evil, right? Still. Glowing elk. CALL SIGN of the Devouring Wyrm druids who tried to kill all the Titans, but especially Vorpal. So.

A green man-bat comes from the skies at whatever bat-dive-bombing speed is … let's see if that flying punch trick works as well as it did in the practice room. Watch out, you rotten wyrmsucker!

***

And right behind the dive-bombing BatGarf is a diving Cheshire cat. His nocturnal vision lets him get a very clear picture and he doesn't need to ask why Gar is going all Top Gun- he may not be very good at finding Waldo, but he is now an expert at spotting a Druid a mile away. Using his Rabbit Hole technology (it is a triumph) he angles himself so that his dive comes a second later and at a different angle, just in case the Druid gets an inkling of Gar. He's not going for a punch, oh no… the purple flamingo croquet bat that appears in his hand says everything that needs to be said about the Cheshire cat's plans for the elk rider.

***

It is at this point that several things happen at once.

The running man is indeed running quite fast. Possibly thirty or forty miles an hour and the elk following him is going at least that fast as well. It's also glowing, blue and translucent. It's rider, however, seems quite solid.

The gaunt man clears the Red Bird 2.0 in a single leap and keeps going. The elk leaps up and lands on Robin's hood, the rider unslinging his crossbow in a smooth movement. The staves snap out and a bolt flies after the other party in the chase, the tip glowing purple. Rather than the meaty thunk of impact though, when it hits it detonates in a flash of light and glowing bands of violet force wrap around the runner's shoulders, waist, and knees, sending him down in a heap.

The rider has just enough time to smirk in satisfaction before he's knocked sideways off his elk by a green man-bat and clubbed in the head with a flamingo. Right at that instant May's sash tangles up the Elk's front legs and it stumbles off Robin's hood and sprawls.

"Ow! The hell?" He comes up in a roll, grabbing for the double barreled shotgun at his side. The Elk scrambles as well to regain it's footing andright itself.

***

In the Clocktower, Oracle stares at her screens. Not three people, but five… a green man-bat and a purple cat. The redhead looks mildly bemused as she activates the Oracle-App on Vorpals phone and conferences the comms channels but says nothing, the team on the ground doesn't need her interruption, just yet.

***

Melinda May yanks on the sash to tighten it around the elk's legs when it starts trying to stand again, then rushes forward to hastily use the other end of the sash to catch the glowing creature's hind legs. If this elk is anything like a horse, its kick is probably a serious weapon. Her eyes quickly take in the pair that took down the rider, and recognizing a flash of purple-ish fur on one of them under these horrid street lamps, she leaves them to it.

She doesn't concern herself with the runner, yet. That was supposed to be Robin's task, though his sass just rather abruptly stopped. Maybe the kid's been pulled to a different task by Oracle. Wouldn't be the first time. "Oracle. Status." Yes, May's 'I'm working' flat tone was likely just transmitted to every comm the redhead linked. Including Nightwing, whom May has yet to see or meet.

***

There's a guy…on an elk. Chasing another guy. And then Changeling, Vorpal, and the other woman are attacking them. "Do you have visual, Oracle?" Because this is kind of ridiculous. Noting the group and how three seem to be ganging up on the guy on the elk and the one who was being chased is sort of left, albeit trussed, alone. The shotgun is noted and a batarang is thrown at it in the hopes of upsetting the other's grip, or at the very least, aim.

Nightwing makes his way quickly, and most-likely acrobatically, to street-level and lands only a step or two away from the guy who was being chased. He stands firm and puts on his best 'Batman' voice before demanding, "Who is going to tell me what is going on?" To the one with the gun, "Put that thing away before I take it away from you."

***

"You may have heard of the Druids of the Devouring Wyrm, Nightwing?" Gar says. "You know, ride around on glowing elks, tried to kill Vorpal, me, Robin, and Bunker? I know you guys share all the news, don't tell me you never heard about it."

He glares at the guy with the gun… gun? OH fragging cliche.

"Tell me that elk is not transparent, please? Because they used real animals, not spirit beasts."

The Changeling, ever-quick to catch the clues … sometimes even before the oops happens.

***

Vorpal is about to slam the man with another flamingo special when the mallet stops mid-air at the sight of the shotgun.

Wait a minute. Something smells fishy, and it has nothing to do with the fact that he hung out with Rowan last night.

++The druids abhor modern technology.++

The Cait's voice drops that little tidbit in, and the cheshire cat stops trying to better his hit ratio.

"Wait a minute… Druids don't use guns. They use staves and glass swords that try to pierce me through the chest and make me all dead. What the hell is going on here?"

He's not quite Nancy Drew.

***

"If you want it how about I just give it to you?" The hooded figure swings the shotgun in Nighwing's direction and presses the trigger. A bolt of lightning comes out of the barrel. No ordinary shotgun that. The blast isn't actually aimed at Nightwing so much as the masonry nearby, causing a chunk of it to, well, behave as if struck by lightning. He thumbs the other hammer back eying the three Gotham heros and his downed prey.

Stomper is now well and hogtied and… er… yes. He's transparent. May can see the sidewalk through him. Which is weird but she can be forgiven if she doesn't distinguish the 'this is not normal' weird from the 'this is not the flavor of not normal I was expecting' weird. Also, Stomper's glaring at her.

If anyone's paying attention the downed figure about twenty feet from Robin's car is thrashing and straining against his bounds and his mouth is full of needle like teeth. He's also shouting something in Chinese. Kane doesn't speak Chinese. Anyone who does though (cough, May) can hear this: "BROTHERS! BROTHERS! THE DRUID'S HERE! COME FEAST! HURRY!"

***

"If you want it how about I just give it to you?" The hooded figure swings the shotgun in Nighwing's direction and presses the trigger just as the batarang knocks his barrel downward. A bolt of lightning comes out and sends slivers of asphalt everywhere. No ordinary shotgun that. Also the street has a new pothole. He thumbs the other hammer back eying the three Gotham heros and his downed prey.

Stomper is now well and hogtied and… er… yes. He's transparent. May can see the sidewalk through him. Which is weird but she can be forgiven if she doesn't distinguish the 'this is not normal' weird from the 'this is not the flavor of not normal I was expecting' weird. Also, Stomper's glaring at her.

If anyone's paying attention the downed figure about twenty feet from Robin's car is thrashing and straining against his bounds and his mouth is full of needle like teeth. He's also shouting something in Chinese. Kane doesn't speak Chinese. Anyone who does though (cough, May) can hear this: "BROTHERS! BROTHERS! THE DRUID'S HERE! COME FEAST! HURRY!"

***

Mays call for status receives a wry smile from Oracle and as she speaks, her voice will be heard through Vorpals phone and the Oracle-App "Elk and Runner are down. Runner should be secured further, Nightwing please see to that. And that leaves the Fox." Oracles video feeds don't give enough definition to see the rows of teeth and the audio that filters through the comms is unintelligible. "Perhaps someone could ask him to introduce himself?"

***

Melinda May steps back from now calf-roped transparent elk — huh, that's different — then as she's eyeing Nightwing and taking in the bat-ish theme of his outfit and surmising he's a friendly she stiffens and looks over at the runner. Very lispy and gutter-accented, but she understands his words and mentally curses in Mandarin.

"Vorpal. Let him up. Now. We have bigger problems incoming," May says, and reaches to undo the calf-roping around the elk's legs with one deft tug and a quick few steps clear of the mount's path. "Overw… Oracle, this is about to get ugly. Get eyes everywhere." She hastily gathers up the sash whip and sets it spinning again, looking around as if expecting another attack from … somewhere.

***

"Sorry, Changeling…never heard of them," Seems that not everything is shared among the Bats. "Sounds like Titan business…and I'm not kept in the loop." Nightwing's answer is a little flat, "People trying to kill vigilantes is pretty common around here. Also, we don't tend to get a lot of Druids in Gotham. It's much more of an Urban sprawl." He scowls as the shotgun still goes off but does move over to further secure the runner…and add a gag. "Enough. Stay." There's another scowl before he looks to the other 'allies', "Would someone like to explain, please?" A glance to May, "Who are you?"

***

The Bat-Gar speaks .. well, not fluently or anything, but he does know enough of the Mandarin and Szechuan dialects, to recognize 'brothers' and 'feast'.

"If you're out of the loop it's by your choice," Gar says, curtly, as Nightwing walks over to gag the guy with the mouth full of needle-teeth. Hope he has one of the more durable bat-fabrics.

Speaking of Bat, it's probably time to stop being Bat-Gar; the Changeling turns into something a bit more human to talk to the guy with the elemental shotgun.

"You. What are those guys up to? And are you in any way connected to the Cult of the Devouring Wyrm?"

***

The cheshire knows to pay attention to agent May. He kneels down to help the druid up- reluctantly, but hey… if the man hasn't tried to put a sword through his chest already, it means something, right?

"What's the weird one screaming about?" He doesn't like the sound of the warning May gives them. It sounds too much like 'something wicked this way comes' for comfort.

He pivots and turns to look at the streets, nocturnal vision ready to take anything in, ears twitching.

***

"That's a ghoul." The fox masked man says. At least its subtle ish. "Theyve been disappearing people around here. i was trying to figure out where the rest of the pack-" He doesn't get any further in his explanation. As Nightwing approaches the downed ghoul close enough to see the needle teeth the sound of slamming doors and running feet echoes up and down the block. In moments, creeping from the alley theres a dozen more gaunt looking men and women glaring at the heros.

"Well crap… can I take a raincheck for our discussion?"

Then the ghouls rush in, rippijg up signposts to use as clubs on the way.

***

"I have visuals on the area, May. What are we looking for?" Oracles tapped all the security and CCTV feeds in the area "Oh, those… I suppose those are Ghouls." Oracles into tech stuff, not magic and monsters. "What kills Ghouls, maybe there's something I can do from this end." Nightwings request for an explanation is going to have to wait.

***

"Not sure." May is actually admitting not knowing something to Oracle and everyone listening. "But horror movies tell me I should go with the zombie standard." She lets the sash whip fly at the closest ghoul, releasing it completely to free her hands and promptly pull a matched pair of knives from under the back of her jacket that are almost big enough to count as small swords or short machetes. Crocodile Dundee, THESE are knives.

Backing up to put her closer to Nightwing and the others so they can watch each other's backs, she finally introduces herself. In her usual terse manner. "May. SHIELD." Doesn't explain why she was here shadowing Timmy-boy, though. That will have to wait until later.

***

Nightwing turns sharply to peer at Changeling at his words to him. Nothing is said and his mask hides the narrowing of his eyes. This, boys and girls, is how friendships are ended. He isn't given too much of a chance to dwell on that now as the ghouls start appearing. At least the original one is down.

"All right…I'm going to assume that striking should do -something-…" Why does he feel like he's in 'The Walking Dead'?

The first ghouls is given the instruction to 'Stay' again before he unsheaths his escrima sticks and moves to engage the first ghoul to approach, ducking the swing of a street sign. May's introduction gets a nod before he's calling, "Behind you!"

His dinner is going to get cold.

***

Gar and Nightwing have, never, ever argued before. Oh wait, yes, they have, not constantly, but regularly. It's almost a tradition.

"They smell almost dead, but they're still moving, maybe they're only nearly dead," Gar says, and demonstrates the new dance move of the day: the Crocodile. And runs at the nearest ghoul like he's Captain Hook. TICK TICK TICK TICK!

***

"Ghouls? Really? Wasn't it nice back when we were fighting robbers and getting money thrown at us by the King of Sweden?" Vorpal quips. It was a simpler time, a more innocent time. It was also a Time when one of their members was from the future and dressed like he was going to try out for Frank N' Further in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Ah, the memories.

He doesn't have time to pay attention to Gar and Nightwing's crossed words because there are Ghouls coming at them. Besides, he assumes they used to argue quite a bit back in the old days- he doesn't quite know how to handle people who had a history with Gar but kept themselves at a distance now.

Well, he knows how to handle this, at least!

Vorpal's uniform becomes quite different. It changes genres entirely, actually- becoming a leather armor with metal accents and a studded war skirt, not unlike a certain Warrior Princess on television. Producers of that show to this day say that it was a complete coincidence that their show hit the airwaves shortly after Wonder Woman arrived at Man's World- the truth of this shall never be known, unless Wonder Woman decides to put that lasso to use.

Glowing purple chakrams appear in Vorpal's hands as he twirls, sending the glowing constructs flying in the direction of the incoming ghouls. He does this complete with the Xena high-pitched trilling war cry that some people have suspected can cause infertility in the weak of heart.

***

In they come. They seem to know the Fox or at least have something fairly personal against him because while everyone gets some attention, the Fox gets three of them. To be fair most of the other heroes here are going to get double teamed. A couple might get triple teamed like Kane.

The first one up gets the the shotgun. A blast of hurricane force wind hurls him into a bus stop. The druid hooks a swung stop sign away from him with the pistol grip of Reason (that's the shotgun, 'cause when Logic fails he can always appeal to Reason) and uses it to shove his attacker back, buying him time to break the weapon open - a shower of irridescent glittery dust poofs out of it - and shove a pair of heavily carved purple crystals inside, then close it with a flick of his wrist.

There's a rattle from his direction as the druid produces a trinket of raw iron ore. It glows brightly for a moment then disintigrates and a bolt of light streaks over to May as a bright blue aura surrounds her blades as her attackers mount Robin's car and tear the bumper off. Engarde.

One of the ghouls punches at Nightwing and misses, the fist leaving a dent in a brick work wall. It's clear that these things aren't actually very well trained in the art of fighting. They are however, fairly strong and really quick and that does make up for a lot.

Vorpal's chackram slice open a ghoul's chest and fly back to him. His victim looks dumbly down and then back up at him in rage. Bad cat.

You should never smile at a crocadile… even if you're a ghoul. It's about to be seen who can bite better. One Garf or three Ghouls.

"Light!" Kane yells out as he dodges another swing. "Whomever you have on the phone if they can turn on all the lights…"

***

As the ghouls swarm the team on the ground and Kane shouts, the redhead accesses Gothams city management system and turns all the streetlights on in the area. It won't be enough, but it's a start. Methodically accessing building management systems, flood lights, laterns, interior lights all start to flick on. Whatever light systems can be found, will be activated. "Working on light, it will take a few minutes to get everything on…"

***

If May is surprised by the sudden blue glow that surrounds her, she doesn't let it show. She simply lays into the ghouls that barrel toward her, using the butterfly swords to alternately block their attacks and push them back, coupled with the kind of martial arts fighting that usually has accompanying poorly synced overdubbing. Until she gets an opening, that is, and then she uses both swords together in a scissor-like motion to decaptate one of the ghouls. One monster down. Only drawback: it's left her open to attack by another.

***

Light? Bats come prepared! Even as he's punched at, he flips an escrima stick back into its sheath and pulls out a bright, LED light from his utility belt. Like the Boy Scouts, Bats are Always Prepared. The palm-sized light is held up at the ghouls nearest him even as he aims a kick at the nearest one. He has the fighting skill even if he isn't supernaturally strong or fast. He's going to work at the ghouls on him for as long as it takes to bring them down…

***

Changeling has no way to bring down the light. He tries instead to do a good job of bringing pain, but there's three of them and only wee small him… no wait. Crocodiles aren't that small, sometimes they're the size of a SUV. Like today. Tail, Tail, bite, thrash.

***

As long as he's caterwauling, Vorpal's probably OK, so the CrocoGar attacks, not bothering to bite dead-ish flesh, but rather, knocking into ghouls with a tail that masses as much as a small car, then moving with reptilian ferocity to the next, intending to back up Nightwing. It's a reflex. Have your teamie's back. If a ghoul lands on HIS back and starts to attempt to dig in, well, he has thick, durable armor plates for that reason. They should hold out for long enough for someone to deal with that thing, even if it has to be Gar.

***

Vorpal has Gar's back. Tail. Whatever works for Crocodiles, but the green guy is dong just fine on his own for now. His chakram, however, had very little effect on the ghoul, except perhaps angering it. Obviously a change of strategy was needed. When the Fox calls for lights and Oracle complies, Vorpal decides it's time to put his talents to better use to win his team some tactical advantage. He retreats further back to get some distance from the ghoul and his outfit changes once again, this time it is blue and light blue. With sequins.

"What's that? Lights. Sure thing…" he snaps his fingers and says in a sing-song voice "Let it glow… let it glow…"

Activating his powers of illusion, the cheshire becomes a veritable floodlight, adding his own lumens to Oracle's city-block-as-christmas-tree stunt. Every little bit helps, and his bit is quite intense.

'Illusion' is a very deceptive word (heh), as the images conjured by Vorpal are very much real images, not psychic trickery. As such, the light is quite real. The downside of focusing on this illusion is that he's not actively fighting, so he's open to attack.

***

Kane spins in the midst of a ghoul melee. There's a sigil burning on his forehead now, some kind of celtic rune, and he's moving a lot more… smoothly than he was before. He's also pulled his sword out, a single edged, straight affair about two and a half feet long. And it's quite clear he knows how to use it, really, really well as he blocks one stike from behind him, spins to relive a swinging ghoul of his arm and then shoots a third in the face with a blast of fire.

The lights seem to hurt the ghouls. Their flesh doesn't sizzle or anything but the way the cringe and flinch as he scene gets brighter suggests that they find it painful somehow. By now Nightwing has disabled one, Gar another two, Kane a pair, May out and out beheaded one (with odd glowing swords) and the rest have decided that discretion is the better part of ravenous hate fueled hunger.

***

Melinda May does take a hit to her side from one of the remaining ghouls, but somehow managed to turn with the hit JUST enough to make it only mostly damaging. Maybe a cracked rib instead of out and out broken. She kicks the ghoul harshly in retaliation, and then the lights are apparently bright enough to start making them retreat instead of continuing to fight. She's still not dropping her guard, though, and she's protecting her injured side a bit more. It's almost like she's used to not having someone watch her back.

***

Gar's ghoul passenger flees after barely gnawing on a scute, which is almost disappointing; the shift back to human lets him speak more clearly, as crocodiles roar, but don't have inside voices.

"So, do we just let them run?" Gar asks the guy in the fox-eared hoodie.

***

The fox-eared hoodie sort of reminds Vorpal of the lost boys in Neverland. But that's enough fairy-tale references. "Like hell we do, they eat people." The cheshire cat stops with the light show so he can focus on his next trick: a rain of anvils towards the nearest sets of ghouls. Because an anvil is the gift that keeps on giving.

***

The fox-masked man quickly sheathes his sword and flips out his crossbow again. While clearly made of simple wood, iron and sinew, it is a more modern style thing, with a slide on he stock that draws the bowstring back and a shallow 'magazine' of bolts. He racks it back but rather than feed a new bolt in he places one on from his belt and lets fly. The crystal tipped bolt seems to bounce off the fleeing ghoul but keen eyed observers will see the tiniest bit of crystal embedded in the skin. "Let one go. I'll need to track them back to their den to make sure we got them all… and to make sure they don't have captives. They… like fresh meat."

***

Back in the Clocktower, Oracles been watching the melee in silence. As the last ghoul flees and fox-masked man speaks, the woman sits back in her chair. "Nice work team, any injuries on our side?" As she talks, the lights start to turn out returning the street to a more normal state. "Can we have some introductions and explanations now, please?" She assumes that Vorpals phone can be heard by the others who don't have comms units.

***

Melinda May has long since been the master of concealing injuries, so she takes a moment to clean the blades of her butterfly swords and school her breath back to something resembling in control, and now notices the blue glow. It makes her think of the elk, which… is it still here despite all the ghoul stuff? And yeah, she did just fail to answer Oracle about any injuries. She's not beholden to the disembodied voice, and Coulson's out of town.

***

"There's no way to cure them?" Changeling asks. "I mean, some of them are still kind of alive. Is it a disease?"

Yeah, he probably knows the answer but you have to ask … always make sure. He waves fingertips in the direction of the nearest obvious camera, figuring that Oracle is watching, since he can hear the voice of the mysterious information being from Vorpal's pocket. His own phone, somehow, never gets the messages. Because it goes where his civilian clothes go when he changes shape. Wherever that is.

***

Not even Vorpal is brave enough to ask where Gar's clothes go when he changes. "Nothing on my side, Oracle," he reports. Which is kind of a new thing for him- he usually comes out wounded from encounters, what with him being a Rookie and all. Perhaps he is finally leveling up?

He nods to May, he does not see that she is wounded. Even if he COULD see that she is wounded, her eyes would tell him that he does not see that she is wounded.

"Not likely there's any cure, hon, isn't it something like vampirism? I don't think there's a cure for that."

Eyes focus on the Fox-druid, and says, "Alright. So you're not the kind of psycho druid we've been fighting. Who are you, though?"

***

"Some call me The Fox." As if that weren't obvious. The duid goes over to the downed and restrained ghoul to see if it's… nope. It's been Stompered. And it's not restrained anymore. Looks like it tried to take a bite out of his elk after it brok out of its bindings.

"We've got one hurt, if I'm not mistaken." That glow is still around May's weapons and probably will be for the next few minutes. "How bad?"

***

Oracle has been listening to the roll call and watching the street through security feeds "I'm known as Oracle, and I think calling you Mr Fox will cause my purple friend a fit. What would others call you?" There's a slight pause "Who's injured?" She knows it's not Vorpal, so Gar or May…. "Team, some introductions would be nice."

***

Melinda May finishes cleaning her blades and stashes them away — how she conceals blades like that on her 5'4" frame… maybe it's better to not ask. "I'm fine," she says flatly as the fox-masked man tries to out her injuries, and she stalks down the street a bit to recover her sash whip. Should be okay, maybe a little soggy from laying on the ground, but eh.

Ohhhkay. Bending down to scoop up the sash whip HURT, but again, she takes the time that she's coiling up the length of silk to bring her breath back under control. By NO means the first time, and very likely not the last. Now. Oracle wants introductions. She walks back over toward the others — Vorpal, the green-skinned young man, and the elk-rider. She looks at each of them in turn. She's not gonna go first.

***

Gar walks over to the smash headed ghoul prisoner. This one smells like dead, rotting meat, and there isn't even the faint sound of a heartbeat, but the undead flesh still twitches as if there was something in there. Gar takes a salt packet out of a pocket and sprinkles it over the ghoul just in case it might work.

"You didn't answer my question, druid. Can they be cured? Before they get this bad anyway?"

***

"Well, we've heard what the Fox said," Vorpal did go there. He catches Melinda's glance, and feels obligated to comply with Oracle's mandate of civility, no matter how paranoid he may be towards anyone slightly Druish. "I'm Vorpal and he is Changeling," he indicates the green one, "we're both from the Titans. The Disembodied Voice is the one known as Oracle, because they know everything."

But he's not introducing Melinda, because he doesn't know if he should be introducing Melinda and he doesn't want to make the mistake of introducing her when he shouldn't be. Super Agents were like royalty that way- it sometimes felt like you needed explicit permission to mention their names. This is one of the other reasons he feels uncomfortable around royalty- introductions and royalty are never entirely clear-cut when it comes to who should be greeting whom, where, how, and who goes first. Though, in the Cait Sidhe's worldview, royalty is best introduced to the guillotine.

The Fae has a grudge against human royalty. Stupid Thomas Lyttelton…

With a multi-threading mind, Vorpal's train of thought doesn't just take detours, it collects souvenirs. "You're chasing ghouls, then. Do you know anything about the other branch of druids who have a fetish for Ouroboros and who are apparently trying to destroy the world? Or did you go to a different Druid Highschool?"

***

"If someone can do sufficiently powerful anti-curse work maybe. Some folks get to be ghouls by getting into the wrong stuff. Others more or less volunteer for it. Ghouls can live a long time so long as they eat regularly. Well… some definitions of 'live' anyway." The Fox shrugs, keeping one mental 'eye' on where the tracker is going. "Curing them is a bit beyond me without a lot of prep work and more ability to restrain them than I'm willing to go to the trouble of. It's hard and expensive and dangerous and simply not worth it most of the time. Some of them don't even want cured."

The mention of the 'other' druids makes him blink. "Orboros? Yes, I've heard of them but they're a myth. Where did you hear of them?" Outside druidic circles and other magical ones, it's not a story often told. The Fox's gaze turns to May. What's her stake in all this…

***

Melinda May simply crosses her arms and waits for the three wildly different men to finish chit chatting in the middle of the street. And she is REALLY glad that she doesn't have to report back to SHIELD about all of this. Though she might have to ask Coulson if there's a form she has to fill out for injuries sustained while moonlighting. 'Cause yeah. SHe'll let Oracle explain to Robin why his precious new car is missing its front bumper and the hood has elk hoof prints all over it.

***

"We were supposed to be finding Robin," Gar reminds Vorpal. He doesn't say anything further to Fox the Druid, because honestly, that response does not make him happy. It's too close to the one used to justify not taking care of prisoners, or not bothering to use non-lethal force.

"We should leave Buffy to his work. Oh. Sorry about jumping you, but yes, the Oroboros are real, and they've come back, so watch out for competition."

OK, one last thing.

***

Vorpal frowns. "… I am sure Zatanna can un-curse them. So you find them, you tell us." A card is tossed at Fox. It has Vorpal's phone number. "'Cause Zatanna knows how to Magic. And yeah, the Oroboros are more than a fairy tale. One of them killed me."

Well, mostly killed him, but he's not going to explain that. He walks next to Gar and nods. "Right. We should go find Robin." He hasn't been briefed on the name change yet. It is going to be rather terrible having a team-mate whose codename constantly reminds him of delicousness and makes him hungry at the same time. He can see himself wanting to snack every time he addresses him from now on.

Then again, he does call Gar Broccoli sometimes. Just as long as Raven doesn't change her name to Outback Steakhouse and Bunker doesn't become Jamba Juice, he'll be okay.

"You need any assistance, ma'am?" he asks Melinda. Just in case. If she doesn't want assistance, he will resume his Searching for Red Robin patrol with Gar.

***

The Fox, by his look, is less than sure. It's not clear of that uncertainty is that Zatanna can uncurse them (he may know more than he's sharing) or that Vorpal was killed (since… you know). Either way he nods slowly. "If that's true that's Bad News. They're sort of druidic boogeymen. It'd be a little like telling you that the monster who hid under your bed when you were a child is an Elder God and he's come back to say 'hi' to you."

"If there's time I'll give a call. I'm a bit less concerned with the ghouls than I am with the people they kidnap and eat. I'm not in this business to save monsters. I'm in it to keep people from being stomped on, victimized and eaten by them."

May gets another look. "You sure you don't want some help? Cause I can do that. It'll hurt but…"

Kane is cut off by a sudden apparition. A woman, glowing blue and transparent like Stomper appears behind Vorpal and just STARES at the back of his head.

***

Listening quietly, not saying anything, is Oracle. What they're discussing is magic, not tech but it does affect the safety of Gotham. As the apparition appears behind Vorpal, Oracle speaks "Turn around slowly, Vorpal… Mr Fox, what is that?"

***

Melinda May has just been standing there letting them talk, but when that glowing blue lady appears behing Vorpal, she pulls a throwing dagger from one sleeve and launches it at the blue lady in about as much time as it takes for Oracle to speak up. What? She's in pain and jumpy. Speaking of, the effort of throwing that dagger caused a visible wince to get past her normally expressionless … expression.

***

"Another spook. Is this yours, Fox?" Gar asks, looking at the glowing woman … wait, are these Force Ghosts? Disney is so going to sue this fox guy.

***

Vorpal's eyes go wide, and he slowly begins to turn around, so that he comes face to face with-

"What… is it with women staring at me?" he says, clearly creeped out by the apparition, but obviously not enough for him to stop being… well, Vorpal.

***

The apparition is that of a young woman wearing a robe, under which she is clearly wearing more modern attire. Jeans and sneakers can be seen peaking out of the bottom. Her hair is tide back in a loose ponytail and her expression is one of intense curiosity.

"That's… that's Caitlyn…" The druid has paled and backed up a step or two. "She's dead."

The knife May throws flickers through the apparition's shoulder, which turns to regard her with equal intense curiosity.

***

"Who is Caitlyn?" Oracle asks using the present tense, noting the druids response to the apparitions presence. Zooming in as far as she can on the ghost-womans face, a freeze frame of the features is taken. It's going to require some work to get the quality of the image high enough, if it can be at all. But Oracle will try some facial recognition cross checked against the missing persons database.

***

Melinda May doesn't back down from the apparition's open stare. She stares right back, apparently prepared to pick a fight with the ghost if that's what it takes. Looks like May consistently falls on the 'fight' side of the fight or flight response. Bring it, Casper.

***

Vorpal frowns, looking at the girl. Part of him is creeped out, but another part of him that is very ancient is familiar with the world of the spirits.

Nevertheless, this has gotten Supernatural, and although he may be a chaos magic creature, there are others who are far more qualified to handle this.

"Broccoli, stay here and listen to this-" Vorpal whispers in one green pointy ear, "I'm going to bamf over to the Castle and see if Raven is there. She might want to see this… be careful, okay?"

He quickly sidesteps into a Rabbit Hole, and then he is off soaring though the skies briefly before another Rabbit Hole opens. Raven sometimes doesn't answer her phone, so he has to get to her quickly. It also means he has to look either in the Castle (in New York), or look in on her absolutely favorite completely amazing chinese restaurant… in Gotham.

***

Since the ghost girl did not immediately threaten harm, he's confident that she's at least not hostile, otherwise he wouldn't leave Gar's side. But this has now become a supernatural manner, and the Goth Titan is the one best qualified to deal with ghosts- more than Zatanna, Raven's own special kind of magic deals with souls. It's why she is so absolutely creepy.

***

The first rule of Ghost Fighting Club is, Don't Fight with ghosts. Besides, this one isn't doing anything, and Raven might want to see her, so Gar says, "Hi, Caitlyn. It was Caitlyn, right?"

He looks at her politely enough, wondering if it's polite to look terrified, or something.

***

The young womans apparition continues to stare intently at May, but makes no move towards her. Vorpals disappearance and Changelings question seems to go completely unremarked.

Oracles had some success with the image, it was suprisingly clear to start with and the missing persons database search has begun "I'm running a missing persons search, May, it will take a few more minutes." the digitally altered voice filters through, though Gar and the Druid won't hear it as Vorpal has rabbited.

***

Melinda May is now officially having a staring contest with a ghost. It's probably better than throwing more daggers, at least. "Search. Faster." May can tell, if this ghost decides that she wants a fight, it's not going to end well for the SHIELD agent. And then the forms she'd have to file. Ugh.

***

"Huh," Gar says. "I'm not hearing Oracle." He pulls a wireless bluetooth earphone from his pocket and sticks it in his ear, turning it on. If it won't synch to his phone, at least Oracle can maybe link to him that way, if someone else is around with one.

"Testing, testing, can you hear me, oh Pythias, speak if you have the voice of the Oracle.

***

The staring competition continues between the ghostly young woman and May. Then the apparation opens her mouth and lets out a shriek like shattering glass. The shriek is almost loud enough to hurt. And then she's just gone.

***

Seeing Gar put on the bluetooth earphone in, Oracle searches for a device it might autoconnect with.

Not Mays phone, SHIELD security has seen to that… But one in a nearby car. Finding the number, Oracle calls that phone - which has been set to autoanswer when connected via bluetooth, how convenient. "Hello Changeling, conferencing you in."

"It's searching as fast as it can…" Oracle replies to May and Changeling now "Ah, got it…" Taking a few moments, Oracle reads the very sparse information and relays "Age 28, Caitlyn Bers, died about 2 years ago from penetrating trauma. Classied as Murder. Unsolved and now a cold case. Seems like our friend there recognises her…"

***

Melinda May was staring down the ghost, but was NOT prepared for that shriek. It's not just the surprise and the sheer volume of the ghost's scream that leaves May gasping for a few extra seconds. She tries to cover it up quickly enough, though, and listens to the data Oracle found out about the apparition. "Penetrating trauma?"

***

"Impaled on something nasty," Gar says, shaking his head to get that ringing out of his ears. Perhaps, making them go away first. The ears. No, that would lose the bluetooth. He decides to tough it out.

"WHAT DO YOU THINK?" Gar says to the Fox druid, quietly and secretively. There may be a calibration issue.

***

Kane shakes his head too, recovering from the sensation of having a spike driven through his head, or so it seemed. "I think it's a crime unlikely to be solved by the GCPD." He says carefully. Clearly he's wary and uncertain how free he should be. "I also think that someone should… probably look into tracking down those ghouls." Changeling's still here… and so is that Agent. Which makes him wonder…

"Okay. You're hurt. Hold still." He says to May breaking out… a stick of sidewalk chalk which he proceeds to use to draw a circle around May.

***

Nodding at the Fox druids comments, Oracle adds a little more "Apart from the fact she was a Civil Engineer, there's no further information on the file. No personal or professional affiliates, nothing. That's all it says." Watching the druid draw the chalk circle, the redhead sighs before continuing "Gotham PD aren't pursuing this, it's gone to cold cases. He's right, it won't be solved by the police…"

***

Melinda May narrows her eyes at Gar. Don't be a smartass when May's in a mood to hit first and maybe consider asking questions later. Then Mr. Foxmask is getting all up in her personal space and drawing on the street with a piece of chalk. "What are you doing?" She's about ready to step out of the chalk circle.

***

Gar adjusts his earpiece. "Darnit. Ears still ringing," he says, just a little too loud. OK. Enough is enough. He turns into an octopus, then back to human. "Testing, can I hear you now?"

He spends a moment looking at the chalk circle, and says, "Huh, that looks like the circle we made to help keep Keith from falling apart."

He'll wait for the druid to be done before he asks him how he knows that ghost.

***

"I dunno, can you?" Kane looks over his shoulder apparently not aware of his danger of betting May-slapped. "Just hold still, Miss. I can tell that you're hurt pretty badly. I don't normall do this but…" A few items go down at the cardinal directions. Holly. Ashes. A splash of what might be water from a flask and feather. "Okay… now. Don't move. This'll hurt."

Provided May does not in fact move the next thing she feels will be searing pain as her ribs and the flesh around them knit back to their proper place, form and function.

***

Melinda May is indeed THIS close to slapping Kane and stepping out of this weird circle he's drawn. She's just a moment too late in deciding to move, though, as she's caught in whatever the circle is meant to do. To her credit, her only audible reaction to whatever spell Mr. Foxmask used is a soft, wordless grunt as if someone punched her on the cracked ribs.

***

And the next thing that happens is a cloud of purple smoke erupting out of the ground, right next to Gar.

"I am the terror that flaps in the night,
I am the UPS driver who is too lazy to ring up your apartment buzzer code, I am…"

The smoke dissipates to show a closing Rabbit Hole, and Vorpal. "… sorry to say I couldn't find Raven. Uh…. where did the ghost go?"

***

"She shrieked in horrible death and despair and blew away into the ether," Gar says. "Flapping in the night, you say. You're sleeping in the guest room tonight huh?"

Then the circle starts doing something that smells a lot like pain… "Ow? Definitely ow. What's it doing, Zorro?"

***

"Healing." Kane says as he straightens up and takes a step back. The effort is visible on his face… whatever is he did. "She was hurt. I put it back together. It's not easy and it hurts quite a bit." The worse the injury, the worse the pain. Be thankful the ribs weren't broken.

Vorpal's reappearance gets an odd cant of the head. "Okay, that's just… odd. Who or what is Raven?" He glances about, no doubt looking for where this 'Oracle' could be. He's never heard of the information goddess, even if he has heard of the Bats. Sorta.

***

With Vorpal now returned, Oracle re-activates the app on his phone. She'll leave the connection to Gars headset in place though. "That's quite interesting." Oracle has been watching from afar via security and CCTV feeds. Her voice should be heard through the speaker on the phone. "Thank you for doing that, I worry when team members are hurt" even if they aren't Bats and are moonlighting. "What can you tell us about Caitlyns death?" Oracle is right down to business.

***

Melinda May stands very still for several seconds with a pinched expression on her face and her eyes very tightly closed. When the pain fades to nothing, she opens her eyes, focuses on Kane, then punches him. And she doesn't pull that punch, either. "Don't EVER do that again." Not without warning her, at least.

***

Gar watches the punch with a professional sort of interest. That looks like a sure cure for the bedside manner that doesn't bother to explain what's about to happen.

"So, Raven wasn't there, not surprised. She's probably back at her Mom's place. Annual stuff they do there."

***

"Raven is the Titans' resident mystic, which is different than our resident mage. Raven does soul-things, Zatanna does magic-things." Diversity of jobs is one of the strengths of a good team, or so some people say. With Wonder Girl off the roster, they still don't have someone to cover the 'super strong brick' role. He had considered approaching Booster to offer him membership, but when he found out his friend had been drafted into the Justice League, he decided to drop the idea. The Titans weren't the major league that the JLA was- so Booster got a good boost to his popularity, but the Titans were still without a heavy-hitter. They had a Robin for detective work and sneaky sneaky, a Rain for healing magic (if they can ever get her rescued from the clutches of Namor- which they haven't done because you need a heavy hitter if you're going to defy the King of Speedos in his own domain), a Raven for souls and curses, a Zatanna for magic and mystery, a Bunker for construct minecraft mayhem, Misfit and Vorpal for chaos and a Changeling for shapeshifting- but no super-muscle.

"That was- ouch," Vorpal winces as he watches that punch. He already had made a note not to get on agent May's bad side. Right now he is taking that mental note and UNDERLINING it three times, with a few arrows pointing at it and a little eye drawing as well for good measure. "I hope Druid school has a good dental plan, that's all I'm sayin'…" he comments to Gar.

He tries to think of what Raven' mother's place might look like. He quickly tries to forget it.

***

Right on the nose. Which fortunately does not break. Does start to bleed a bit though. The Fox, to what little credit he can be given, just stumbles back and shakes his head. He doesn't look particularly indignant nor does he look like he's of a mine to protest or retaliate. Which would be unwise anyway. "Ow…" He dabs his nose and looks at his blood for a moment before motioning Stomper over. The ghostly elk moves to his side and the druid swings up onto it's unsaddled back with practiced ease.

"Right well… that was fun. I've a ghoul nest to track down. Thanks for your help with that." Because they helped… after they knocked him off his elk and assaulted him.

***

Oracle sighs but that went about as well as could be expected. Now she has someone else hunting, helping, crime fighting in Gotham. At least she knows some of what to look for now … and she might need to find a mage to help her further.

***

Melinda May watches the druid-ish Kane prepare to take his leave, then looks at the green and purple pair for a moment before turning to study what used to be a snazzy little red car. Good luck explaining it to the kid, Oracle. You're on your own here.

***

That's a nice, robin-red-breast colored car. Gar thinks he'll ask Robin-the-Red if he knows the model, it might be something he could go for.

"Yeah, next time we'll try not to attack you first," Changeling says to the Druid.

***

"Sorry about that," Vorpal says with a smirk. "Like I said, the Oroboros kids killed me. Glass sword straight through the heart." It was, actually, true: when the sword separated Keith and the Cait Sidhe, the amalgam entity that is Vorpal- the connective spiritual tissue that held both souls together if you will, was shattered, so he did technically die. "C'mon, Gar, we need to find Robin."

He looks at the car. The Redbird, Robin called it, if he remembers correctly. The Redbird doesn't look so hot. "When we do, I think we'll have to have him call Zatanna so she can xif sih rac…"


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