5880/The Tolling of the Demon's Bell

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The Tolling of the Demon's Bell
Date of Scene: 08 April 2021
Location: A dive motel near the Gotham Marina
Synopsis: Batgirl and Misfit cut a deal with Constantine to restore Charlie back to her own body.
Cast of Characters: Stephanie Brown, John Constantine, Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The request had come into John Constantine, routed through the Justice League. An explanation from Batgirl, of that Silver Wheel of Nyorlath that might have suddenly appeared with him one day, the magic spell that brought it having a signature he might recognize as Zatana Zatarra.

According to Batgirl, the Justice League had fought Felix Faust, Professor Amos Fortune, and the Demons Three. But failed to prevent them from freeing Blackbriar Thorn. Zatana had teleported one of the artifacts related to the demons away from them though, thus the Silver Wheel.

Batgirl has asked if they could meet, as there was magic afflicting someone, related to the  Wheel. And Zatanna had indicated John would be the best bet to cure it. So it was that the meeting had been arranged. At the appointed hour, Batgirl pulls up on a Batcycle, parking it out of sight and making her way over to the motel room whose number she was given. She raps on the door with the back of her glove-covered knuckles. Alone for the moment.

John Constantine has posed:
It takes a few beats for the knocks to register. "Go away," comes a muffled response. When the knocking persists, the voice goes, louder: "Bloody hell, orright, give me a mo'."

The door swings open to reveal a pale blonde fellow who looks like a few miles of bad road. Bags under his eyes, fatigued, and eyes a little red-rimmed-- maybe from the cigarette he's puffing on.

John finishes tightening his belt, having clearly just awoken and stepped into some pants. He gives Stephanie an up-and-down, speculative, then meets her eyes and uplifts his chin. "You're either that gel Zee said, or you're the most over-kitted call girl I've ever seen." The cigarette bobbles between his lips as he speaks.

It's a cheap motel room and looks like he's been living in it for a while. A couple partially finished takeout meals are on the table, along with an ashtray covered with cigarettes and a few empty bottles of cheap bourbon. John walks back to the table and goes for one with some amber liquid still in it and fills up a low tumbler.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl steps inside. Assuming John is at least aware of her, he might notice the hair that is showing is blond instead of red as it had always been before. Though the height is similar enough it might leave one unsure at first if it is a different woman in the suit, or just different hair color. "I really hope no one's wearing this for, for that," she says as she steps inside. Then thinks a moment and lets out a sigh. "Though what are they odds they aren't, right?" she says with another sigh.

Her eyes drift over John Constantine, having read up on him with everything that the Batcomputer had on him. "Thanks for meeting me," she says. "We have a bit of a demon problem, as you probably guessed soon as you saw the Wheel?" she asks. "Which is the lesser reason I wanted to meet with you. Was hoping I might be able to learn a bit from you about this infernal sort of topic. Not what we're used to dealing with in Gotham. But the amount of this sort of thing has increased lately. And it's not something we're the best educated on how to handle when it happens."

She glances around the place, the scent of cigarettes strong in the room, seemingly not just from the one that John is smoking. "But there's a more immediate concern. One of our people came in contact with the demon associated with that wheel. And her body got transformed into something like the demon's own. Zatana indicated you might be the person to help get her back into her own body. Is that something you can deal with? If so I can hget her here immediately."

John Constantine has posed:
"Zee's not likely to take being whistled up well," John points out. "We're a bit on the outs lately, I'm afraid. But--" he gestures with his bourbon in a 'be my guest' gesture, then takes the cigarette from his mouth long enough to take an unhealthy gulp. John hisses with a sigh of relief and starts smoking again.

"Was a bit surprised when the wheel landed in my lap," he admits. "It's one of the Demons Three, innit, I think... Rath? Been a day since we ran afoul of each other."

His brow furrows, the liquor and cigarette helping him shake off the last of his restless sleep. "Wait, back up a tick. Did someone get swapped with Rath, or just shifted into something else? And immediately after that, tell me where Rath is and what bloody vessel it's occupying."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl says, "Ah, actually I meant, I can get the victim here in a flash. Which is, part of the issue why we need to clear it up," she says. Batgirl moves a hand to touch to her ear, like people in a movie using an earpiece. It's not necessary, but it lets John Constantine know she's sending a message. "I'm with John Constantine. Go ahead and teleport over to the spot I said," she says before refocusing on Constantine again.

"I think that's the one, Rath," she says. "Though there wasn't a lot of information on them." The blond Batgirl steps forward, sighing and crossing her arms as she makes room by the door for Charlie to teleport in. "The short of it is, they seem to have swapped bodies to some degree. The girl has some of his demonic powers. And we -think- he has some of her teleporting ability. And probably looks like her, too. It would explain a few robberies and sightings. But the mystical sorts have been kind of closed mouthed about details."

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
Skeptical and worried. Unusual emotions for the pint sized chaos muppet. Still it accurately describes Charlie right now as she worries back in the Clocktower in Gotham.

She takes a deep breath at Stephanie's all clear and pops up to her feet from the couch. She adjusts her hoodie and then double checks that the image inducer is on, layering over a very good normal Charlie over the .. Rath body. "Incoming." she says helpfully back to Stephanie warning of her arrival. She is honestly getting a lot better about that part and not just popping right in on people.

Moments later, through a more infernal sort of method than she is used to, she lands the magical teleportation appearing with a faint wiff of Brimestone by Batgirl. The hoodied girl blinks and looks around a bit wide eyed and then at Constantine. There is a slow pause then she looks at Batgirl.

There is a skepticism to the look. This isn't exactly what people picture for a Wizard's lair after all.

John Constantine has posed:
John casually palms a phial of holy water when Charlie appears. It's done quite smoothly and set in easy reach just out of sight behind his hip. His nose twitches at the scent of the brimstone, clearly well acquainted with it.

"Doesn't look like a demon," John points out to Batgirl. His eyes flicker behind her to glance at the runes written on the hotel's doorframe in black ink. Just dark enough to blend in and not be easily noticed.

Before anyone can catch him looking at his alarm system, John lifts his chin at Charlie. "You noticed any other effects? Weird hungers, violent impulses? Things like that?"

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl doesn't seem surprised by the sudden appearance, or the scent that comes with it. "The appearance is a hologram, to not alarm people," she explains. "Courtesy of the Fantastic Four." She looks over to Charlie and gives her a reassuring smile. "Misfit, this is John Constantine. Mr. Constantine, this is Misfit," she says. "Her own teleporting doesn't have that smell. The normal characteristics of it are missing entirely."

She motions to Charlie, "Want to turn off the image inducer?" she suggests, to let Constantine get a look at the situation with his own eyes. Her own baby blues go to the demonologist, watching his reactions to Charlie. Bruce's comments about the man have Stephanie being rather attentive and observant, not quite sure what to expect but knowing that the man's behavior may be a little different than most.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
The teenage girl looks reluctant but nods. "Hello Mr. Constantine." polite right now if nothing else. Lot of her sass has been negatively impacted by this whole series of events. I mean other than the skeptical look of the whole is this really the wizard who can help me she shot Batgirl. .. .. Is that sass though technically.

"Uh sure.." she fiddles with the watch she is wearing and the image inducer snaps off much like an illusion spell, though this one is advanced technology.

Yup looks just like Rath, just not bulked up huge and dangerous right now. The unassuming small version.

"I mean.. some... cats look much tastier than they have any right to look. Which is really disturbing and I am definitely totes not a fan.. also yeah the teleporting is very different than I am used to."


"I am grateful I could since Superman tossed me at the moon before we realized I was me ... that teleport saved me a bad space flight..... but um.. I really want my body back badly.."

John Constantine has posed:
John gets to his feet and walks over to Charlie, looking her over. Bourbon and cigarette are put in the same hand and just before he gets within rending distance of her claws, he frowns at something in the corner behind her. "Did you bring that?" he asks.

In the moment when Charlie looks away, John clasps a brass talisman hidden in his palm to Charlie's shoulder. When nothing happens, he relaxes a bit and steps back again. His hand lifts to show the sigil dangling from a chain between his fingers. "Treyarch of Antioch," he explains to them both. "Demons don't have souls, y'see, and devils are corrupted with profane magic. If she didn't have a soul, she'd be on the ground screaming."

He tosses the sigil behind him on the table and goes back to his smoking and drinking. "Right, so, what is it you're expecting me to do here, precisely?" he inquires of the two women.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The purple and black clad young woman turns to look with Charlie, missing where the Treyarch of Antioch comes from. At the explanation, the young woman's head tilts a little bit, examining it. "I suppose that's probably a one of a kind thing?" she asks, tone making it a question though also making it sound one she doesn't think that needed to be asked to know the answer.

Batgirl uncrosses her arms, gesturing towards Misfit with one hand. "Hoping to get her back into her own body. If we can put a stop to the demon being here at the same time, even better. But Misfit is the priority for now," she says, turning to look over towards Charlie, the smile she's given a supportive one.

Looking back to Constantine, Batgirl asks, "Is that something you could manage? Zatana indicated the Wheel had a lot of power over the demon so we were hoping... well, we don't know a lot about magic. The other reason for me wanting to talk with you. Is it possible though?" she asks, gesturing to Misfit again.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
Charlie totally falls for it, though when Constantine presses something to her shoulder she starts a tiny bit and takes a step forward away from John. Then she turns back and peers at the thing in his hand. "Well... that is useful. I guess no one can get mad and call me a soulless brat or anything ever again..."

Okay maybe this whole thing hasn't totally killed the quips and good cheer from the muppet.

Still she nods to what Stephanie is saying. "What she said.. I'd like to evict the demon from my body and move back in." she frowns. "I'm pretty worried about what he might be doing in it... and I definitely don't want to stay in the demon's body." she trails off.

What is left now is a very hopeful looking demon staring at Constantine.

John Constantine has posed:
"Can't get a warding sigil at the corner market, no," John tells Stephanie in a dry tone.

John considers both girls with a level expression. A shoulder rises and falls in an unenthused shrug. "Zee's faith in me is a bit misplaced sometimes. I can't pull a miracle out of my arse at the drop of a hat."

He turns and digs through the stale food, finds some almond chicken in a white container, and starts eating it with a fork.

"You've a few issues to deal with though. First, there's a clock running. The longer you're in that form, the more it corrupts you," he tells Charlie, and nods at her demon-body. "Let it go long enough and you'll start hungering for raw meat. Then live prey. You'll attack someone in a fit of lust or rage. You're wearing a meatsuit of raw hellstuff. It has an effect."

"Second," he says, around a mouthful of food, "the demon's going to wear your body out. Which will probably solve the problem, it'll be tough for it to skin out and try to grab a new host before Hell pulls it back home. Might possess someone new, but--" he shrugs again. "Kooky ritualists are always doing dumb shite."

"Biggest problem is, what's in it for me?" He chews his food, looking back and forth from Stephanie to Demon-Charlie. "You'd need to summon Rath, which you can't do, and contain him, which you also can't do. The rituals are complex and one fuck-up and you're dead," he says. "Then figure out a way to translocate two spirits simultaneously. Possession would be easy, that's just booting a passenger. That demon owns your body. It'll be sunk in deep."

"And it will go wrong, because it -always- goes wrong, and then I'm stuck there dealing with the Demons Three with nothing but my dick in my hand and happy thoughts from you Bat blokes, because I know for a fact--" he spears another bite of almond chicken, savagely, and chews it. "--none of you are worth a shite fighting demons," he finishes, speaking around the chicken.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl gives Charlie a reassuring look after listening to Constantine. When she looks back to the man, eating his takeout, she crosses her arms. "You're right we aren't the best with demons. The entire Justice League struggled with these, including when Superman was there," she tells him.

A little shake of her head is given. "And if we don't stop Faust, those he's gathering and the demons, it'll just be a matter of time before it ends up on your plate too whether you want it or not. Better if we can take out Rath here and now and weaken them," she tells Constantine. "Better for us, better for you, and better for the world."

She uncrosses her arms again and looks down to her belt. "But you also won't come away from it empty handed," she says, pulling out a knife with a silver blade. A normal person might just think it steel, but that gleam is too silvery to be steel.

Batgirl walks over and offers it hilt first towards Constantine. "This was forged by the Hand. Who melted down three silver artifacts blessed by Pope Clement in the the 1500s. A chalice from Speyer Cathedral, the Statue of St. Hubert of Liege, and a crucifix from Rouen Cathedral in France. It was used to kill a werewolf that was guarding a tome covered with wolfskin."

A motion of her head is made towards the knife. "The knife is yours if you help. And we're also willing to let you take a look at the tome if you share with us what you can divine of it. The Hand are still after it."

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
Okay Charlie-Rath looks a little speechless for a moment there. I mean. Isn't helping people what heroes like... do.... I mean what the heck is even going on. The wide eyed blink is there despite the fact that Batgirl looks at her all reassuring there.

Then thank god Stephanie takes point on explaining why Constantine should help, because gods knows Charlie may have said something to mess everything up if left on her own. She just shuts her mouth and lets Batgirl talk.

"Oh.. that is.." she is so glad Batgirl came prepared.

"Also if you don't help I think Mr. Fantastic will try to solve it using hyperscience and that could probably crack the barrriers between spheres if it goes wrong... this is genuinely way safer for everyone."

Okay she isn't wrong but how does she know that bit of lingo. It is.. too right.

John Constantine has posed:
John accepts the knife and examines it closely. The edge is tested to pare down the edge of a fingernail, and he nicks the fleshy edge of his fingertip against the blade. The blood evaporates almost instantly, and John nods as if satisfied with his results.

"Nice little tooth-picker," he says, nonchalantly, and drives the tip into the table next to his hip. "Be interested in seeing that tome. Love me a good tome," he says, and winks at Stephanie.

"So, your options are me or..." he purses his lips, looks away, then looks back at Charlie. "Nothing, I guess. Glad we got that bit worked out." He digs around in his box to try and find any edible chicken left.

"Oh, and I'll need fifty thousand quid," he says, to the women. "Dollars, I mean. Cash. And--" another gesture. "You'll both Owe me a Favor." There is a subtle difference to the words when he says them. English, nothing baroque or occult, but... still somehow carrying a deeper meaning that tickles at the soul instead of the ears.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl only has files in the Batcomputer, plus what she's heard to go by. But she's definitely not overly surprised by the direction the conversation has gone. "Zatana is willing to do it, but advised this was more in your area of specialty," she says, naming another option they have at that point in the conversation.

The blond's gaze swings over to Charlie, head turned far enough Constantine won't be able to see the blue eyes that give Charlie a very intent look for some reason, before she turns back to Constantine. "The fifty thousand, but just the Favor from me. Misfit's still a kid, don't let the billion year old demon body fool you," she says.

She continues on quickly, not giving Charlie a chance to interject anything there. "Do we have a deal then?"

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
Woah. Fifty thousand Dollars and Favors from people like Batgirl. Holy crap. Demon fixing is a really lucrative business. Those are all things that Charlie thinks about that leaves her a little speechless for a moment.

So it takes Charlie a moment to realize though that Stephanie just jumped in there and cut the deal.

I mean .. for petes Sake.

Stephanie is like only a couple of years older than Charlie....

She just acts a lot older is all... I mean.. more mature.. but.. for petes sake.

She just turns and stares at Batgirl. "I ... hey" but then there is the whole do we have a deal before she can get over her shock at this sudden but inevitiable betrayal.

John Constantine has posed:
John's brows lift in surprise at Stephanie's sudden vehemence. "Are you negotiating with me right now?" He turns to look at Charlie, and demon or not, seems to read that youthful uncertainty-- wanting to defer to Stephanie but also not wanting to let her friend shoulder the burden alone.

A brow arches pointedly at her. Daring her.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
The little demon looks a bit uncomfortable about this whole situation. "I .. this is really important. Like life or death...." she scuffs a foot against the hotel carpet.

"If you are going to be a dick about it and need a favor from .. both of us then okay yeah sure. I need to be back in my body. I do not want to be a demon."

John Constantine has posed:
"Done," John says immediately, and beams an unrepentant smile at Stephanie. "Right then. I've a grocery list of things you'll need." He picks up a notepad and starts scribbling in it with a pencil. "Sooner the better, obviously," he adds. "You can get most of this at the occult shop on Waverly. The phylactery can be any saint's bone, I don't care-- I think there's one at the Lady of Grace church in Boston that you could nick. The rest is fairly exotic. You'll need to get it from Papa Midnite," he tells Stephanie. The notepad's torn and he extends his arm with the paper held out, prompting her to step forward and take it. "Runs a nightclub down on 144th and Hilltop. Tell him Constantine sent you."

He pauses, blinking. "Wait, no, one sec." Another beat. "No, okay, I did pay him back. Right, yes, Papa Midnite, Constantine sent you, etc.," he repeats, and extends his arm again.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Though Stephanie has struggled with certain lessons and exercises regarding her expressions, at least in her everyday life, she manages to keep her face composed as Charlie agrees to the deal. When Constantine offers the list, she steps forward to take it. Lenses in her cowl drop into place over her eyes, Oracle receiving a copy of the video feed of the list.

After reading down it, Batgirl says, "Hopefully we can have it all by tomorrow. Does this need to... happen at a certain time? Or just whenever we have it all?" she asks. She glances over to Charlie, giving another reassuring smile.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
There is a slow nod from Charlie when Constantine is running down the list of the locations of the items that will be needed.

"I think... not sure I should go on the shopping portions of the trip. I imagine I could get the Phylactery though without a really big issue..." not like she actually burns in agony from holy stuff it seems. Not yet.

"Is this Papa Midnite guy going to demand his own set of payment though or is it on your tab and therefore later on our tab?"

For no moment does she think he won't charge it through if it is on his tab as it were. She is picking up that part quick at least.

John Constantine has posed:
"You'll have to work that out with Midnite," John advises Stephanie. "Fortunately, he's a retailer. Not an occult expert. I imagine you'll find him plenty amenable." He pauses. "Maybe don't walk in there yourself, though," he tells Charlie. "Rath has made more than a few enemies over the eons and I'm pretty sure someone might tear his head off your shoulders. Just for catharsis."

John's cigarette is mostly dead; he stubs it out in his food and reaches for a pack of Silk Cuts and a lighter to conjure flame for a new one. "Let's say afternoon tomorrow," he advises Stephanie. "Because I sure as fuck am going to rethink things unless I get a few drinks in me tonight. Need me beauty rest."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl takes the information in. Recording it for Oracle as well, no doubt figuring with Charlie the one in need, the procurement of some of the items is already underway. "We can discuss that, sending you to Boston," Batgirl confirms to Misfit. Though it'll probably be others who have say in that matter, she's not going to let Constantine know that.

"Alright. We'll be back tomorrow with everything," she agrees. "Thank you," she offers to him politely enough before turning to Misfit and nodding to her. "Want to head back and I'll meet up with you there," she suggests.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
"You just don't want to be seen in public with me Batgirl..." she notes sadly.

She is honestly sassing though, it isn't a serious sadness. She is feeling a lot more up beat now that they have a plan and can deal with this mess with a real Magicians help. Even if he is a bit of a jerk.

"Okay see you back at base." she turns, stilly demony and taps the watch turning back into for all appearances a red headed teenager. "Thanks Mr. Constantine." polite and all, what does it hurt right.

Then she teleports out, with just the faintest tinge of Brimestone.