4981/An Owl's Cry for Help

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An Owl's Cry for Help
Date of Scene: 02 February 2021
Location: The rooftops above Gotham
Synopsis: Strix hunts down Batman to ask him a very important question: Will he help her leave the Court of Owls? Batman agrees and sets her up into a safehouse.
Cast of Characters: Strix, Bruce Wayne

Strix has posed:
The rooftops of late night Gotham comes alive with various forms of life. Vigilante stalk the rooves looking for villains who slink amongst them. It's a strange kind of ecology, unique to the city. It's on these rooves that Strix, one of the Court of Owls most accomplished of Talons, is on the hunt for the Batman. It's not for the Court's desire that she hunts him, but her own, personal one. She needs his help.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Gotham City never sleeps, not truly. There is always something going on somewhere. It is also never truly safe, though when night falls and that blanket of darkness and shadow falls over the city that danger level rachets up considerably. That, of course, is why the Dark Knight and his allies take to the streets and rooftops of the city at night. Well, not the only reason. But it is certainly a significant factor.

This evening is no different of course. While it is distinctly frosty out and first light smatterings of snow flurries have begun to fall on the city, the weather isn't enough to drive everyone indoors. There are still plenty of criminals populating the street. Which means that Batman is also out. For the last several minutes he has periodically noticed another presence on the rooftops. Not one of his usual allies. It is unusual enough that he has detoured off his normal patrol route, seeing if whoever it is will follow after. And when they do? That grapnel appears in his hand as if by magic, fired off with the soft hiss of releasing compressed air as he wings his way up to the thick, encompassing shadows under the eaves of a water tower atop the apartment building below, one hand gripping the rung of a ladder while the other clings to that grapnel, lost in shadows as he surveys the darkness of the rooftops below.

Strix has posed:
The shadowy figure of Strix hesitates when Batman wings away. It's taken all she can to keep up with the man, and it's clear that she's been spotted, now. She hasn't exactly thought through how to go about doing this. Her training has leaned towards stalking and killing, not stalking and talking. She can continue to go on this cat and mouse chase or she can do something to break this pattern.

So she decides to step out into the light. She keeps her posture relaxed and non-threatening, and her weapons are stowed away. She's not here for a fight. She looks up to where Batman is and... unsure of how to communicate to him that she just wants to talk, ends up just waving at him. Hopefully that'll be enough.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
The Court of Owls. They have proven to be a naggingly persistent foe, a constant presence in Gotham that he has failed to root out. Not entirely. It is not often that Gotham's Dark Knight is thwarted, at least not for long. But in this case he has been. It's not an experience that he particularly enjoys. Still, even as secretive as they are, as careful and meticulous as they are he has been able to gather some information. And he has certainly come to recognize their Talons when he sees one.

But this particular Talon isn't acting like the others he has encountered during the recent war he and his allies have waged on the Court. It could all be a trap of course, but it looks much more likely that she is interested in talking. Unexpected to be sure. But also, potentially an opportunity.

Still, the Dark Knight lingers in the shadows, watching her for a moment, carefully studying the nearby rooftops for any sign that she isn't alone. When it comes to care and meticulous action the Court might have met their match in Batman. But finally he drops, shapeless and silent, that cape fluttering around him as he lands in a crouch in front of her, slowly rising up to his full height. "What do you want?"

Direct and to the point. He's not much of one for small talk.

Strix has posed:
Many people would be intimidated by Batman, but Strix isn't one of them. Instead she reaches into a small hidden pocket of her costume and pulls out a notepad and a felt-tip pen. The notepad is rather crumpled having been stuffed in her pocket for far too long, and it has a bullet hole right in the middle of it. She flips to a blank page and scribbles on it.


The letters are big and blocky, like that of a third grader. She holds up the pad in front of her for Batman to read.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
That's new.

There is a reason that the Dark Knight dresses as he does, operates as he does. For most human beings the night is still a place of fear. It's instinctive, going back millenia and while society might have advanced, the hind brain of humanity really hasn't. It's something that he uses to his advantage. But it doesn't mean everyone is susceptible to those sorts of tactics. It's one of the reasons he's so adaptable.

Either way, it doesn't seem that he is intent on reducing her to a quivering mass of uncertainty -- which is good since it seems rather unlikely -- and instead the stony expression behind that cowl remains entirely unchanging as he regards her and that pad of almost childish looking letters. "Help with what?" he finally asks, breaking the silence with those few, simple words.

Strix has posed:
This is it. Strix is taking a terrible risk in asking Batman for help in this. One that could cost her her life. But if she wants to have a life of her own, she doesn't have much choice in this. She looks down at the notepad, flips it over to another blank page and scribbles out:


She holds up the notepad for Batman hopefully. Even though her face is covered by a Talon's hood, there's something almost pleading in the tilt of her head, and the cant of her shoulders.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
It seems like the surprises are just going to keep on coming tonight. One of the things that has made the Court of Owls so difficult to deal with besides the meticulous planning and the secrecy is that there have been no real breaks in their ranks. Sooner or later in Gotham it is inevitable that someone will turn, will tell all they know under a withering interrogation from one of the Bats.

But not with the Court. Every lead seems to have been painstackingly acquired and more often then not closed off before they have a chance to put it to good use.

And now one of them wants out of the life. He doesn't have the same level of gift for reading body language that say, Orphan does. But he is a pretty remarkable actor and his knowledge of psychology is pretty much second to none. The Dark Knight has a pretty good idea of when he is being played and the fact that he is still around after all this time suggests that he rarely guesses wrong. Probably because he doesn't guess. Certainly nothing here is making him second guess that initial impression, that those words -- even if unspoken -- are entirely genuine.


It is a simple question, short and sweet. And there is no more important one.

Strix has posed:
Strix takes back the notepad, and flips it, and just stares at the blank page for a good while collecting her thoughts. How does one encapsulate the desire to belong with people who want you for you? To be seen as a person and not a tool? To have a chance at a normal life that had been denied to you for so long? How do you say these things on a small notepad and a felt tip pen?


She holds this up for Batman to read. When it's clear that he has, she lowers it, flips another page and scribbles more out.


Bruce Wayne has posed:
Is it a trap? That's always a possibility. It is something that the Dark Knight always is on the lookout for.

But this doesn't feel like. And even if it did, it's not the sort of request that he can ignore. As hard and even brutal as he can sometimes be to Gotham's most notorious criminals, this is ultimately his purpose. There is a reason that he continues to maintain his Bruce Wayne identity despite the inconveniences that sometimes come along with it, the temptation to simply fade out of sight and become Batman permanently. The good that he can do with the Wayne Foundation in reforming and preventing crime before it ever happens is probably greater then the good that Batman can do. At least on a day to day basis.

So if this is a calculated trick, well, they picked the right approach.

He stares at her for a moment, that cowled expression unreadable, though almost certainly judging. Weighing. And whatever he sees there it seems to settle things in his mind.

"Good answer," he says quietly, his words a low rumble, head giving the slightest of nods. "Consider yourself under my protection. We'll get you away from them."

Simple enough words. But still an ironclad pledge.

Strix has posed:
Relief floods the Talon, letting out a long held breath that she didn't know she was holding while Batman considered her words. Strix then does something that nobody else would even dare think of: She attempts to hug the Batman.

Regardless of whether or not she's successful, she takes a step back, takes a moment to compose herself and pulls out the notepad again.


That's the big question, now isn't it?

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Yeah. Batman isn't exactly the huggable sort. At least not to most people. But then she has already proven that she is far from most people. He does not recoil, instead slipping one hand around her briefly to return the hug. He rather suspects that human contact is not something that she has had a great deal of and while seeing her escape the clutches of the Court of Owls for good will require a whole lot more then a hug, there are certainly worst places to start.

He could try to find out what she knows about the Court to see if they could finally drive them out of Gotham for good, of course. But as cold and efficient as he might sometimes seem, it is always the human toll that is top of mind with the Dark Knight. "We will get you to a safe hosue first. Some place the Court is unlikely to find you," he says. He keeps a dozen or some of such places about the city for emergencies -- apartments or homes where he or one of his allies can lay low if needed, to gather up critical gear or get some rest, food or basic medical needs met. They're not all that homey, but they will do. "I'll let the rest of my allies know about your situation as well."

Strix has posed:
Strix nods, her heart full of hope and light for the first time since she spent time with Scott Lang this Christmas. She takes a step back, and flips through her little notebook, looking for something she had previously wrote and upon finding it holds it up for Batman to read.


Bruce Wayne has posed:
Well look at that. She has manners. That is one important step to integrate her to the world outside the Court.

"You're welcome," he offers up in quiet reply before motioning towards the northeast, out across the city and the rooftop highway that those of their sort tend to use to traverse it. "Shelter's this way. If there is anything else you need, anything you want from your old life you had better get it now," he says quietly, regarding her with that quiet intensity. "I suspect that the Court is unlikely to welcome you back after tonight."

He can't be sure of course. There's still too much that he doesn't know about the Court of Owls. But it is a safe assumption in his mind. They haven't gotten this far, lasted this long by suffering traitors to their cause.

Strix has posed:
Strix shakes her head, indicating that she's ready to go. The Talons are nothing more than living weapons to the Court, and any personal items that she has, have had to be smuggled in her costume. (Which, in this case consists of the fuzzy pink unicorn sweatshirt and the badly dented hotwheel car that Scott gave her for Christmas.) She turns to face the direction Batman has indicated to go and once he moves to lead her to the safehouse, she takes off after him, an unseen smile just plastered all over her face. She did it. She broke away from the Court. Now if only she can survive it.