The Target

December 09, 2016:

Cutscene. Takes place directly after The Disciple.

The Excelsior Hotel, Gotham City


NPCs: Gottfried Muller

Mentions: The Winter Soldier

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

He let the smoke fade away from the spell bowl before he stood up to pour himself a snifter of brandy, letting the rich amber liquor reach the widest part of the glass. With the humble drink prepared, Gottfried Muller took a quiet sip, his gray eyes finding the sprawling, Gotham cityscape outside of his window, the stellar view provided by his opulent rooms at The Excelsior, one of the city's most exclusive hotels. While he was never shy in indulging himself, the hospitality industry had progressed tremenduously since his days as a young officer; his in-room fireplace filled his suite with the scent of burning applewood, his socked feet found plush carpet, and the in-room bar had been stocked with bottles of expensive liquor, though he never paid much attention to the fixings that produced the trendiest of urban cocktails. His tastes on that front were always simple; there was a time in his life when he knew nothing but the kind of backroom swill that peeled paint and hardened his liver to stone.

His personal butler, another one of the Excelsior's exclusive services, even took painstaking care to lay out the day's newspapers on his coffee table well before he roused himself for breakfast - copies of the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker and the Gotham Gazette, among others. While most read the news on their smartphones these days, he still preferred printed news; the Gazette, in particular, had just helpfully informed him that security surrounding the Gotham Antiquities Commission's centennial in the New Year was going to be a bit of a concern, and that, more than likely, someone was after him.

Gottfried's thumb rolled over his ring, feeling the familiar image of the eagle clutching a wreath, the swastika embossed on gold. It wasn't the sort of thing that he wore in public, these days, but he remembered the years in which he wore it with pride, the years when it actually meant something. His memories were long, but feeling its cold weight was a comfort on its own. It reminded him of dedication, of purpose, of a cause higher and grander than himself.

But it also served to remind him of betrayal, and his very personal reasons for being in Gotham.

Whoever it was that was on his trail was good; he had absolutely no doubt that the torchbearers of his former compatriots must have sent him. It was both a curse and a boon - one of the disadvantages of having an unnaturally long life was a predilection for boredom, and if anything, the next few days were bound to be very interesting.

It also meant that whoever they sent was bound to get in his way, in the same way Joseph had so many years ago.

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