Induction to the League

Summary:
January 11, 2015: The leash tightens.

al Ghul Safehouse

I'll never tell


Characters

NPCs

  • Ubu

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


The safehouse that they've acquired was large enough that it was possible for one to wander off and get lost. Though, Veruca has passed the halls and the elite guards more often than not, the bustling of activity on one side of the house gave insight as to where Ra's himself may or may not be staying. While most would take /that/ route to actually try and find and to seek counsel, she did the opposite, venturing into the quietest paths of the manse, unknowing of what she'd possibly find.

If she did find him, she'd be all too happy to knock upon the office door that was his, lips pursed with a little bit of apprehension as she walks into the office without asking. She was dressed like a little street thug, jeans, sneakers, hood still pulled over her head with a slightest bit of anger in her eyes that really isn't meant to be there to begin with. We call that, the bitch face.
The office, it seems, has undergone some redecorating since Ra's arrived unannounced. Where it used to be a bit minimalist, it's now packed full of row upon row of books and tomes, a pair of elegant and comfortable looking chairs, a broad mahogany desk, and a very expensive looking computer.

Sitting in one of the new chairs, Ra's looks up as Veruca knocks and enters, and he meets her 'bitch face' with a ghost of a grin, the corners of his mouth turning upwards. "Come," he commands, though it's politely framed as a welcoming suggestion, "Take a seat, girl." With a bob of his foot, he indicates the other chair across from him, and turns his gaze back to the book in his hands. "Tell me what you need."

His people moved fast, she had to give him that. And while most of the guard were still working upon the rest of the house, it seemed that this room, from her guess.. came first. Her eyes scan the room for any sign of Ubu, her hands soon drawing from her pocket to pull away the hood of the hoodie that she wore to cover hair and eyes.

Crossing the room to settle upon the chair across from him, one leg crossed over the other at a slight tilt, which was enough for her to glance at the bottom of her shoe should she need. And then it starts.

"I need you to loosen the leash you have on Damian and I." Her hand stuffs into her pocket again, pulling out the black American Express card that.. obviously belonged to the al Ghul's. Under another alias of course.

"I went shopping the other night and was attempted to be lured."

Ra's doesn't even look up from his book.

"No."

Flip. Flip. Flip. After leafing through a few pages, he stops and begin reading again. "Don't get me wrong, girl. You and Damian are my prize students. You show the most potential, but you are not ready. If I let you two loose, the damage you may cause my plans could be catastrophic." After a few more flips of the page, Ra's lets out a weary sigh and closes the book gently, setting it aside atop a small table between their chairs as he finally looks up towards her again. "That said… tell me what happened."

Ouch. Veruca wanted to wince, but she didn't. Instead, she leans forward to return the credit card back to it's proper owner.. but thinks better of it. She'll just go to New York to do her clothes shopping, or go online once Ra's leaves the house. His computer looked /pretty/ snazzy.

"But Ra's. I've been doing this my entire life almost. And you've trained Damian well during the time that he was with you." She assumes. "We're more than ready." But, there was no use fighting. Old dogs, new tricks, that sort of thing.

"Of course." She starts. "I went shopping. I was bored. I needed out of the manse. And I saw one of them, just a shadow at first, dashing across the roof tops." She pauses. "Normally I'd give chase and attempt to kill but, he stopped and sat down and began to eat a sandwich." Her brows raise at that, then her head shakes. "It felt off. Very off. So I ignored it and attempted to go about my day. But this person, whomever it was, was able to create many images of me in the faces of the people that roamed the streets. It all seemed to come from some man. I gave approach, he wanted to speak to me in private, but smashed one of your vehicles, so I left."
If Ra's is offended or upset by Veruca's continued argument, he doesn't show it. "Your entire life is but a drop in the bucket compared to my experience, so believe me when I tell you: You are not ready. We are in Gotham, girl. I'm sure you know who protects this place, so I should not need to tell you that we must be extraordinarily careful. While your talent is undeniable, you show little restraint, and I've yet to fully test your loyalty. The only reason you are here now, is because Damian trusts you. If you want slack on your leash, then you must prove you are worthy of it."

That said, he listens to Veruca's story in silence, once or twice nodding his head slightly in recognition of some fact. "You did well," he finally responds, making no comment on his destroyed vehicle or even indicating that he cares, "It was, quite obviously, a trap. As much as I would have liked more intel, it would have been a risk without backup. I've not heard anything about any vigilantes in Gotham whose abilities fit your description, but I will have our men look into it."

"I know who protects Gotham. I know." She admits, and he had a point. "How can we prove this? As of now, he shares the same opinion of you and us staying on this leash while I think otherwise." She points out. "Damian is wise beyond his years, Ra's."

But the last of it, her shoulders shrug faintly. "I believe it was a goad to get me to fight. Most laws state that the person who throws the first punch is the aggrivator. The one that needs to be put to arrest and in jail. I felt that if I had lost my temper, it would have been a reason to at least attempt to capture. Whomever that person was, I felt it was amateurish at best." She purses her lips slightly. "If there is cameras around the area in Gotham, your men would be able to see who it is, Ra's." A pause. "And thank you."

Ra's raises an eyebrow at Veruca and settles back into his chair, "Do not thank me, girl. I don't do this for you, I do this for the League." As for the cameras? Well, it was probably already on the list of places to look, he'll just direct his men to inspect them first. "Very well. We'll wait to make a move on this unknown individual until we get word back."

"As for proving yourself to me," Ra's continues, sweeping his hand through the air, "It is not something you will do as a pair. Damian has made his loyalties clear, it is only you in question." Slowly, he folds his hands over his lap, watching Veruca in silence for several moments, until, with an air of familiarity, as if he's spoken these words before, he says:

"Insisting or swearing your undying loyalty is pointless in our profession. There is no honor in what we do, so I can not trust your sense of pride to enforce any oaths. You must prove it through action. You must show the League of Assassins how far you would be willing to go. So I ask, would you shed blood for us?"

At this point, Veruca was ready to offer him to fight for.. whatever. But that would have been a horrid move, without Damian, she had no hopes of taking down the Great Ra's al Ghul. But the thought itself, was nice enough to draw a little smile upon her lips, then it falls.

"As I am well aware." She comments, "Words mean nothing, but actions do." Her head lowers for a moment, gaze pressed to the floor. The Nepalese Tiger was already dead due to her and Damian's efforts. But that was a joint operation. This, she was sure, would be something solo. Personal.

"Yes. I'll shed blood for the League, no question."

Without any wasted effort, Ra's plucks a kris from some hidden fold in his clothing and tosses it towards Veruca, not as an attack, but by way of giving it to her. "I know you are capable of killing. You would not have even been allowed to speak with me if you weren't. There /is/ a ritual to go with the first kill an Assassin makes for the League, but you are a special case and well beyond that point. What you must prove is that you are willing to shed your own blood."

Surging to his feet, he gestures Veruca to do the same, and turns towards his desk, reaching out to press a small button on the underside. "Ubu, bring the chalice," he instructs a hidden microphone, and a moment the panneling by one of the bookcases swings aside to allow Ubu in by way of a servants passage way. In his hands, he carries an ornate metal goblet, the polished sides rimmed with expertly engraved scenes of bloodshed and violence. Without a word, he offers it to Ra's, who takes it and dismisses the giant of a man before turning back to Veruca. "You may wear what you are wearing now, but it will get blood stained. If you wish to avoid this, disrobe and we will find you something else."

The kris was caught, her hand snatching up to pluck it from the air, at least before it hits anything vital. She nods slowly, then draws herself to a stand just as he, but not moving from the spot where she stood. All she does is listen, apt pupil as always, dagger held between fingers, hands folded at her front. Ubu was greeted with a small nod, the book case noted, just in case escapes were needed to be made if the manse was infultrated.

Good to know.

"Coca Cola would get the stains out. Or I could just buy more on Damian's dime." The chalice, however, was frowned at. "Am I supposed to cut myself and bleed into the chalice?" And.. since he was as old as the stories say, would he drink it? That would be interesting to see.

Taking the chalice, Ra's approaches Veruca and nods once in answer, "Precisely." Snapping out his hand, he moves to catch her by the unarmed wrist and firmly pull her hand up so that the underside of her forearm faced the ceiling. Drawing a finger slowly across her forearm, he explains, "You will cut here, and bleed a bit into the chalice, then…" Dropping her arm, he moves his hand to her chest, just above the heart, "Cut here and, once again, bleed into the chalice. Answer my questions truthfully and do as I say, understood?" Backing up, he continues to hold the chalice, but keeps it within her reach so she can access it without having to juggle both it and the dagger at the same time.

Patiently, he waits for her to prepare before he says, "The League of Assassins has existed for well over six centuries, and its members were and are amongst the most storied killers in all of human history. To join their ranks, you must give to me the strength of your sword arm…" With a slight nod, he indicates that now would be the appropriate time to cut her forearm.

She nearly jerked her hand away once her wrist was grabbed, but she holds true, her brows raising in mild surprise as she gives a faint nod towards the instructions. "Understood." She finally says with a nod, and as he steps back, she braces herself with one foot behind her as well, fingers grasped together in a fist. Both hands, the free one tensing to draw a vein and the other knuckling the handle of the kris.

As he prepares his speech, and gives nod to cut into her arm, there was little to no hesitation at drawing her own blood. The blade end of the kris was pressed and smoothed against the skin, a tiny streak of red forming to test the waters, the first splits of flesh until it begins to flow freely like a fount of life, right where his finger indicated. Her wrist turns so that the blood misses the carpet, flowing right into the chalice and held there until he moves it.

Ra's waits several moments making sure to capture several drops of blood, before he indicates that she can withdraw her arm, though he doesn't wait for her to tend to it. Instead, he presses onwards, still speaking as if reciting a well-practiced ritual. "Over the centuries, those storied assassins, the killers out of legend, the most dangerous men and women in the world, knew one thing. As great as they were, the League was greater still. Knowing this, they gladly gave their lives in my service, sacrificing the strength of their bodies to my cause. I ask you now to do the same. Devote your life with this next cut, and give to me your loyalty…"

She didn't worry about the arm, she's bled plenty of times, but she still held it upright so that it could at least gather at the crook of her arm, which was pressed into her side, mindful of the carpet. As he continues speaking, her eyes remained pressed to the chalice and then him, and when indicated, she leans in a little, pinpointing where her heart naturally beats within her chest and cuts deep. Not deep enough to knick the breast-plate that protects her heart, but deep enough for the blood could flow and drip easily into the chalice.

In many ways, she was still human, and it hurt. The sadist side of her enjoyed that little ritual, but the young woman within would possibly shed tears after being bandaged later.

Ra's collects the blood again, giving her a mumbled indication when he has enough, and he pulls back the ornate, ritual goblet to look into it. For a moment, it might appear as if he intends to drink it, but in the end, he looks up towards her and continues. "You've given me your blood because I asked it, but your test is not yet finished. Your sword. Your life. These things we lay on the line in our line of work every day. You would risk them both were you a lone assassin, connected to nothing, supported by no one. If you wish to join the League, though, we would ask more just as we offer more." Taking a slight breath, he inspects her briefly, critically examining every aspect of her body and stance before he looks to her eyes, his gaze no longer shifting. "Would you kill anyone I put before you? I don't believe you have family, anymore, and if you do, I don't sense a particular love for them," he says, the air of familiar ritual gone, though there's still something practiced about his words, as if this part were tailor made for the inductee. "But would you kill Damian if I instructed you to?"

Glancing down towards the made hole within her shirt, she finally relents, arm hung down as her hand reaches up to touch her wound, pressing it first, then releasing. Yep, it was going to stain. Figuring she was done with this part of the initiation, she looks behind herself, drawing her shirt upright to stick the kris within her back pocket, the question of family drawing her attention first. "I'm an orphan." Those three words spoke volumes about that, perhaps, it was something she'd never slip again.

But the thought of killing Damian, she blinked twice, clear hesitation within her features. Surely, this was something that she couldn't lie about. But she has, admittedly, grown to love and admire him. Damn, that smarts. But, they were dealing on truths. She'd probably kill her own mother to save her own skin. "Yes. I would."

Ra's planned a bit of intimidation to test Veruca's commitment to her answer, but the truth is evident in her gaze. She really would. With a slow, accepting nod, he begins to circle her, still speaking. "Normally I'd demand you then follow through, and Damian would likely be here for you to kill, but I'd prefer not to have to bring him back again, and for now, I need him to trust you utterly. It wouldn't do for his confidence in your comittment to him to falter," Ra's explains, stopping by her right side. "You do love him, don't you? I can see it in your initial hesitation. You'd likely give him just about anything he asked for, even yourself. But what if I asked, girl? If I commanded you to get on your knees for my pleasure, would you?"

She took in a deep breath to steele herself, her gaze remaining forward after he had left it. Keeping straight, almost militant, at his words of how she felt, that was until the last of it hits her ears and draws a reaction that she, even she.. no. That would be a lie. She's denied people time and time again and it wouldn't stop.

"No."

The answer was sharp, her mouth snapping shut as her gaze turns a little bit sideways towards him. He nearly, nearly made her cry. Nearly. "I would not." Her hand reaches back, drawing the kris from her pant pocket to offer it towards him. "Kill me now. But I would never, ever be a whore for the league. Whether you command it or Damian."

"Very well," Ra's replies, taking the kris and spinning it expertly in his hand before driving it towards Veruca's throat. The blade gleams as it draws nearer, well past the point where he could stop it if he wanted to, but at the last second, it turns, the point whistling past her neck without so much as nicking. "I'm not looking for you to answer yes to everything, girl. I want only the truth. You responded well, though. I do not want you to whore yourself out to the League. I want you for your ability to kill. Were you brought here for the express purpose of pleasuring me, though, you would have done right to offer up your life, for it is the price you pay for refusing Ra's al Ghul." With a flourish, he spins the blade, and unless he moves out of its path, this time it will just barely slash her cheek, the wound barely deep enough to draw blood.

"You will do well to remember that price."

Finally, he offers back the hilt of the kris and dips his thumb into the goblet, wetting it with blood. Murmuring in a long dead language, he raises his bloody digit to her brow and draws a mark on her forehead. "This is the mark of the League. You've earned your place amongst us."

She was going to stay still. This would have been the last act of 'she', whatever the hell she stood for. Most of the time she spent playing, toying with authorities for no reason at all. When in truth? She was bored. She had no purpose, and she found one. And it was going to be taken away, just. Like. That.

But he didn't do it, she swallowed hard as she realizes that she was still alive, and that he wasn't expecting an answer that she couldn't bring herself to give. She almost relaxed, but no.. she was far too afraid of Ra's al Ghul to do anything but move out of the way. Boy did she tremble, and tried to hide it.

Each flourish of the blade causes her eye to twitch and flinch, and whilst she didn't move out the way, her cheek was slashed and finally her eyes close to bite back the pain. Her eyes open, and a shaky hand reaches up to take the kris, this time holding it within her hands for comfort as she keeps her gaze downward. She was fuckin' terrified.

But, she had earned her place amongst them with a mark upon her forehead, her eyes soon lifting, not to match his, but something close enough to appear that she has. There was a quick of her lips in a faint smile as she swallows hard enough to be heard. "Thank you, Ra's al Ghul." Any other time, she'd joke and call him grand-father in law. But no way in hell was she going to joke today. Probably ever.

Ra's smiles in return as he sets the chalice aside on a nearby end table, his hands reaching out to take the bottom hem of her stained and ruined hoodie so he can clean his thumb. When he's finished, he drops it and reaches a hand up to pat her twice on the cheek before Ra's turns away and finds his seat and book again. After a few moments of leafing through it, he looks back up to her and raises an eyebrow.

"Anything else?"

As always, Veruca prided herself in being a smart, practical person. Where in the face of danger, she knew she couldn't make it? She got the hell out. When she knew that she was being goaded? She quelled her reactions. Tempted? The same. But today? She was ready to lash out in a fit of pure fear and anger. It was hard, very hard to tell the difference.

But she remained checked, wisely. She even stood still as he moved away to settle down and read his book. The kris was white knuckled to the point her palm ached, she imagined itself leaving and.. no. Stop it. It just may happen.

Finally, she breathes out a breath of air then shakes her head, to threaten Ra's, would be to call her life forfeit, so instead? She'll rant and rave to his grandson instead. Which, she'll turn to do, after she cries in the shower.


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