4237/Shadows of Gotham

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Shadows of Gotham
Date of Scene: 28 November 2020
Location: Park Row - Bleake Island
Synopsis: With their meeting of the minds finished, the Dark Knight and the Shadow go their separate ways.
Cast of Characters: Bruce Wayne, Natasha Cranston

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Gotham City almost looks peaceful tonight. For a change no rain pours down on the city, no ominious fog fills it's streets nor even steely grey clouds overhead to blot out all traces of the room and stars. For the moment at least there are no sharp sounds cracking through that peaceful night sky demanding attention. No gunshots, no frightened cries, no wailing police sirens. It would be easy to think it might remain so for a time.

It won't last. But it is a brief reprieve.

There have been a great many unfamiliar faces in Gotham as of late. There was a time when he would have done his utmost to... discourage that. The growing 'family' of protegees he has training and working together have given him pause however. At least for now. That doesn't mean that he has given over his tendancy to gather information, to make sure that those operating in his city are at least competent.

To that end he has arranged a number of odd displays over the past few days. It certainly helps to have someone as gifted as Oracle at getting into computer systems that they should not be in. So building lights have flashed in odd patterns when they most definitely should not. Electronic billboards have briefly, but repeatedly flashed seemingly random strings of characters. Repeated little glitches over the span of several days, just to see who might take note. To see just who might make sense of it all.

And so the city's Dark Knight perches on the rooftop of a rundown church, the fall of this particularly neighborhood extracting a toll from once classic architecture that dominated this previously upscale block. Perches and looks out over this part of the city, that gaze sweeping the gloomy night in silence, just one more shadow in a nighttime filled with them.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Even this late at night there is still some traffic; deliveries that need to be made, people heading home from a late party. While traffic is sparse, a taxi cab plying its trade is not particularly remarkable; seen, and then forgotten as uninteresting the moment the eye is drawn elsewhere. Natasha doesn't even have to exert herself.

    Benny glances up at the rear view mirror to regard her as he drives. "Ya sure about this, Boss? From what I hear, the Bat's not someone people want to mess with..."

    Natasha chuckles as she puts on her gloves and coat. "Oh, I daresay you're right. But it'd be the height of rudeness to ignore an invitation this elegant, and I did trespass on his city the last time we met. A conversation might be wise."

    Benny sighs. "Your call, boss." he mutters.

    "Indeed," the Shadow replies as she slips her scarf and hat into position. "Stay in town for now; I'll call when I'm ready to leave..."

    Time passes, and the area below the Bat's perch seems deserted... But then the audio filters in his cowl pick out the sound of footsteps. Calm, deliberate, casual, but when he looks toward the source -- nothing, until something passes under one of the few remaining unbroken streetlights. Something that can't be seen - but which does leave a shadow...

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Of course while Gotham's Dark Knight had his suspicions about just who would be likely to show up there was always the possibility that someone else might take note and decipher the message. That someone else might show up here tonight. And perhaps that too was part of the point. A sort of test maybe, though Batman does not seem the sort to play games. At least unnecessarily. Then again, his motives are not always readily understandable, even to some of those that know him best.

From his perch up above the dark street he hears that other presence well before there is any visual sign. Even once he does though, sweeping the street below with those star-lite lenses embedded in his cowl does not let him spot the figure and the line of his mouth settles in an inscrutable fashion. At least until there is that flick of motion down in one of those rare pools of illumination that still dot this particular neighborhood.

He stands, rising up, still little more then a shadow but a moving once now, no longer completely shrouded in the dark and without hesitation leaps from that perch op on the rooftop of that abandonned church, cape billowing out around him, casting that familiar silhouette as it slows his fall. His path is true and he touches down on the far side of the circle of light, cape settling around him once more like a shroud. "I wondered if you would get my message," he says quietly. Simply.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    There is, again, that chuckle. Hearing it in person doesn't make it sound much less inhuman than it did over the radio during the fight at the docks... And then the shadows move -- twisting and coiling together with the fog, drawing up from the ground, taking form, taking on solidity... And between one moment and the next, in a movement that twists the eyes and the brain like trying to resolve an Escher drawing, the figure is solid.

    Without the distraction of battle there's time for a better look, but it doesn't add much detail: A tall person in a dark greatcoat underneath an opera cloak that seems to be lined with burgundy red silk on the inside when it flares briefly in the breeze; the telltale leather straps of a pistol harness crossing the chest and abdomen; a black slouch hat and crimson scarf concealing all facial features aside from those blue eyes that almost seem to blaze with an inner light...

    Eyes that hold the Bat's gaze steadily for a moment, but then the figure inclines their head. "The invitation was... Irresistibly fascinating," they admit. "If nothing else, I appreciated the challenge. I suppose you wish to talk?"

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Certainly the shadowed shape of the Dark Knight is as unreadable as is usually the case, remaining entirely still on his side of that pool of light. Is he alarmed by the sudden appearance, of shadows seeming to form up into a figure out of seemingly nowere? Impressed perhaps? Is he using all that technology at his disposal to try and get a read on just what is going on? Or does it all apply? Certainly he isn't giving away any hints, that only movement from him in the slight swaying of that cape, caught in the evening breeze.

"We did say that we would talk," he agrees. Not that there was a great deal of time in the aftermath at the docks. He might have a relationship with the GCPD but not everyone can say the same. More, he generally tries to avoid rubbing the police's nose in the fact that they require his help. Probably as many on the force resent the interference of himself and his allies as thank them for it. He has been at war with the police before. It's a hinderence he just does not need.

"You were helpful at the docks. You clearly know what you're about, what your doing. Those are both marks in your favor," he says flatly, words more a statement of fact instead of praise. "But I don't know you. More specifically I don't know your intentions here in Gotham," he adds. Direct and to the point.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    It's hard to really tell facial expressions when you can't see a face, but the way those eyes crinkle probably indicates a smile underneath that scarf.

    "Few people do," the Shadow replies. "I prefer it that way. Don't you?" But at the same time the verbal parry is delivered, a nod of the head and a wave of one gloved hand dismisses it. "To be honest, I don't intend to make a habit out of trespassing on your territory; your attitude toward uninvited visitors on the shadowy side of the law is well enough known."

    Those eyes glitter. "This was a... Special case, in some ways; I had been tracking their operation for a while after it first came to my attention; by the time I learned of this shipment's final destination I..." A shrug. "I wasn't about to let things go without being present at the close."

    "My intentions? Much the same as yours, I expect. To ensure that crime does not - will not - pay." There is a flare of anger in those eyes, now. Not at Batman, but still something personal...

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Certainly he can be a little... particular about Gotham. More specifically how things operate in /his/ city. It might not be an entirely reasonable attitude and to be sure it sometimes rubs people the wrong way. But he finds it to be the way he needs to operate. It's unlikely that he's going to change now, at least not completely. He has... loosened his grip a little over time though and it has worked out surprisingly well.

"Fair enough," he allows. Certainly it is a fair point. He plays things close to the vest. He also doesn't exactly play fair or apply the same rules in the same circumstances. That cape shifts around him, drawn in close though otherwise that statue-like facade continues to be presented to the world; still and unmoving. He does tilt his head to the side ever so slightly as he seems to take in and review what the other shadowy figure has to say. "Interesting," he says quietly. Just that. Any other opinions are hidden behind that impassive expression that rests on the portion of his face that can be seen.

"It would seem that we both have an interest in this Paw of the Beast. So be it," Batman says flatly, offering the other figure just a hint of a nod. "Just so long as you understand that there are lines that no one crosses her in Gotham," he adds softly, head motioning ever so slightly to those telltale leather straps that always, inevitably, means guns.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
"More than aware," The Shadow replies, eyes closing for a moment as the figure nods. "I prefer not to use lethal force anyway. It's difficult to make the dead talk." The tone of voice - already hard to get a read on with that voice mask they have to be using - leaves no clues as to whether that was ironic hyperbole or a skill the Shadow actually possesses. "I give you my word that I'll neither use lethal force, nor order for it to be used on my behalf while in Gotham."

    A pause, then "I make less firm promises about stray rounds by overly excited thugs with assault weapons; but as long as we can shut down the weapons pipeline the Paw is trying to set up that should remain a manageable problem..."

Bruce Wayne has posed:
The Dark Knight might have eased his heavy-handed approach to strangers and new vigilantes operating in his city, but there are a few lines that he is never likely to take a more relaxed stance on. Why someone chooses to respect that line matters less to him then the fact that is respected. He's not here to change every heart and mind. Even he knows that some fights are unwinnable /and/ probably not worth fighting. "Fair enough. I'll take you at your word," he says simply. Thus far he has no reason not to.

"I wouldn't hold you to the actions of others," he agrees without hesitation. He may hold himself to a slightly higher standard, but not others. "You don't seem the careless type, that's all that can be asked. You can't answer for every bad decision from someone else," he says quietly. Innocents will suffer, will die, and each of them will fail to prevent it. All they can do is their best to prevent it.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Those eyes linger on the Dark Knight a bit longer than might be considered polite; regarding, examining, weighing; suddenly that cowl seems almost poor protection against that gaze...

    "... Advice you would do well to heed yourself," comes the response, almost quietly, /gently/, despite the distortion.

    But as quickly as the moment arrives, it passes. "But for now, the night is young and there are leads I have to follow up," the Shadow continues, straightening. "Should I find anything that I feel should concern you, I'll be in touch..."

Bruce Wayne has posed:
That could be a little disconcerting. The sense that the shadowy figure on the otherside of that patch of illumination might have some notion of the standard to which he holods himself. But again Batman's features remain entirely inscrutable, that granite-like facade firmly in face, offering no more then a dip of his head in acknowledgement.

"I will do the same," the Dark Knight agrees quietly. "I won't have them bring that sort of violence to my city," he adds flatly, starting to melt back into those encompassing shadows. Gotham already has more then enough of that without adding newcomers to the mix. "We will be in touch."

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    "... My apologies for that," the Shadow offers. "I had no intent to pry, but when it's shouted so loudly one cannot help but overhear. Fare well, Dark Knight. We will meet again."

    A polite almost-bow -- the correct depth to an equal in their home, a distant corner of the Bat's mind will probably recognize -- and the Shadow backs away, only turning around after the third step, and is quickly swallowed by the shadows and the fog until even the sound of their footsteps fades away...