A Knight in Black Leather

February 26, 2017:

After a night of thieving, Nerina tries to steal some rest. She chooses the wrong place to sleep but the timely arrival of a certain elf saves her from becoming a news story. (Maturity Warning for what almost happened to Neri)

East End - Gotham

The first impression of Gotham for many is East End, a district notorious
for it's poverty, crime, prostitutes and drugs. The lit up central strip at
night is colorful, bright and looks like something out of Las Vegas with its
innumerable gentleman's clubs, casinos, bars and strip clubs. The
downtrodden feel of East End has been glossed over by these glowing lights
and brilliant signs along with the towering cityscape of surrounding
districts, such as Otisburg, Burnley and to the north the Robert Kane
Memorial Bridge.

Along the East End's southern region the streets begin to be overtaken by
cobblestone alleyways, alleyways that web work throughout a rundown slum
city of shacks, sheds, makeshift homes and decrepit apartments called
Alleytown. A heavily populated district many immigrants and their
descendants call home.

Park Row aka Crime Alley rests upon the other side of the main strip,
dominated by an underdeveloped housing project called Scurvy City by the
locals (it's actual name being the Skirley Apartments), East End Free
Clinic, the Bowery, Tin Roof Club, Sheldon Park, Robbinsville and the GCPD's
9th Precinct.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's a warm night in Gotham. It's warm and it's damp and it's raining. Only rarely does the sliver of a crescent moon peek out between stormclouds to shed a pitiful glimpse of grey light down upon Gotham's streets. Even with the warm front passing through it's dreary weather that doesn't find many on the streets past the witching hour. At the rate the clouds are passing, it's going to be a dreary morning too, with the invigorating light of dawn dampened by dark clouds.

Good weather for sleeping.

Passed out under the metal awning of a shack in Alleytown, a young blonde is catching up on lost sleep. She's huddled into a tiny ball with a winter coat serving as her blanket and the deflated edge of a backpack as her pillow. Buried inside grey sweats with a blue scarf pulled almost the whole way up her face, the homeless youth tosses fitfully on top of the small bench serving to elevate her above the rainwater. It's an uncomfortable bed and unpleasant weather but for the young blonde with dark bags beneath her eyes, it's enough. Some nights are just that long.


This part of Gotham always harbors the worst of men. Crime and poverty are ripe in this area, and the downtrodden are so often preyed upon that there are few who do not turn a blind eye. The usual viligantes of the area, however, aren't here just yet. Not as five gangers, a little stupid and a lot high on that cocktail of drugs that makes young men feel like raging invincible bulls, spot the fitfully sleeping woman on a bench. There's little that needs to be said to each other that the drug-hazed smiles don't say. They move to pull her from the bench, greedy hands looking for things of value, and when soft girl flesh is found in their pawings, more then just taking a few valuables crosses their minds.

Not far away, peering at an old building's crumbling facade, a silver haired elf stands. This was a city he had not yet explored, and it took him some time to get here, but there was magic here. He had caught the barest hint of it when he had move past the bridge leading into the city. It was old, but still drew him. As the first sounds of the shuffle reach his ears, the elf turns to look, seeing clearly in the dark of Gotham at pre-dawn. He can see what's happening, and he can see that the blonde is vaguely familiar, maybe? Humans look a lot alike! He steps into the shadow near him, reappearing in the shadows behind the handful of men. Does the girl want these advances? If not can she tend to it herself? Or will the elf need to step in and not out right kills these men?

He does have a promise ot keep.


The flautist jolts awake as she's pulled from her cot and falls onto the wet ground. Her fitful squirming turns into panicked thrashing as her clothes are groped and the loose waistband pulled away in the search through her pockets, revealing the t-shirt and cargo pants underneath, as well as a peek of pale midriff. Her mother tongue comes first from the girl's lips as she struggles pointlessly in their grip. There's not even pocket lint in her sweatpants but the pants underneath promise, perhaps, a meaningful bounty. And of course there's a woman in there somewhere, trying to keep warm in a Gotham winter. "Che— Scendere, smetilla!"


"Fucking immigrant man," says one of the gangers, while another laughs and moves to pull himself free of the waistband of his pants.

"Yeah. ain't no one gonna understand this bitch." "Just cover her mouth man. Don't need her squeals calling anyone over." "Yeah, yeah."

Headtilting, Darkedge's keen eyes spot the man pulling his tenders out. His lips frown and he nearly draws his blade, but for the memory of a tearful request. No killing then.

Cutting off man-bits won't kill him.

Behind the group of men, there's a faint gleam of gemstone and silver. Darkedge stalks forward as the men seek to rip at Nerina's clothes, tearing at the shirt to have a rag to shove in her mouth.


The blonde's initially frantic thrashing is already missing some of its verve as the situation has a chance to sink in. She's surrounded, overpowered, and quickly feeling night air breathing close to her skin. The old, worn cotton of her shirt stretches and tears compliantly in the man's hand, leaving a ragged edge in its wake. It takes force but the snug waist of the youth's pants crest the jut of her hipbones with a palpable *pop!* before falling relieved of their support down her thighs. There's a small shock of pale skin near the flautist's knees but instead of the prize of nubile flesh, the black spandex of a swimsuit covers her from neck to upper-legs.

Giving the man nearest her a warning glare as she realizes their aim towards a different kind of valuable, Nerina gets off one more remark before her mouth is stuffed. "Pigs, you owe me that t-shi—mmf!"


"Aw, damn swimsuit," grumbles one guy, hands reaching to try to rip it away too when a blade of diamond blossoms from his shoulder. He screams in more shock than pain as the blade withdraws and the rest of his friends look up at the silver-haired man suddenly in their midsts.

"Fucking wait your turn." because they clearly assume the man wants what they want, and twwo stand to deal with him. It leaves three to turn back to Nerina, including the one Darkedge stabbed. It's mildly urksome, and so the elf inhales once, then moves.

He moves like a shadow, flitting through them, out of their own shadows to stab nonvital but crippling areas. It's a few seconds, Darkedge making sure not a single human lands on the girl he's rescuing. There's blood, of course there is, but when it's done, the men are unconscious or trying to crawl away. So, Darkedge wipes the blood clean on one's shirt then turns back to Nerina, head tilting faintly as if wordlessly asking if she's still whole. The blade in his hand seems to retract back into his sleeve.


The flautist stares in surprise as her assailants fall around her. She flinches away when a fleck of blood sprays across her cheek and wipes hastily at it with her hand in a moment's renewed panic. The blonde looks up at her savior but the black wells of her eyes don't suck in enough light, even swelled until all that's around them are thin blue rings, and the dark elf might as well be one big shadow above her. Taking the rag from her mouth, she sits up and lifts herself onto her cot again before trying to pull her clothes back on. "Grazie…" she murmurs quietly.


The sounds of the unfamliar word from have Darkedge's head tilting again, like a fox not sure he understands what's happening in front of him. As she moves to pull her cloths back to rights, the elf steps back silently, face turning away to regard the humans who are falling into unconsciousness from shock. The drugs in their systems not able to keep up with the broken and severed joints the elf left them. He says nothing, makes no sound as he grants the woman some space.


Luckily only her t-shirt is truly damaged, making it a quick process for the flautist to redress. Her attention stays down at her midriff, pulled internally. After what's just happened she might be rattled for a little while. Then again…

Reaching deep into a pocket under her sweatpants, the blonde produces a handcrank flashlight and spins it a few times before flicking it on and pointing its six shining white LEDs at the ground before sweeping it up. It would be rude to blind her rescuer.


Darkedge had been studying one of the humans, crouched down to be a little closer to him when the light flares in the corner of his vision then tracks across his eyes.

The first hint of sound from him is a pained inhale of a hiss.

Darkedge brings a hand up to ward off the light and he stands to stagger back a step, already a little dizzy from the sudden flare.


Nerina quickly flicks the beam back to the ground and looks at the leather-bound man in surprise. The light reflecting off the sidewalk is, barely, enough to illuminate his pale features for her anyway. "No light for you, huh?" She asks curiously, her Italian lilt bleeding through just as much to her English. Rocking forward off the bench, she crouches beside another of the men and her bony hand reaches out in its half-finger arm-warmer to pat down his pockets and search him.


Dizzy, vision spotted over with a band of can't see, Darkedge takes a step further from Nerina's light source, arm lowering slightly. His eyes are tense, face turned away. The light may be barely enough for her, but it is clearly on the edge of almost too much for him.


Nerina frowns as she flicks the flashlight off and buries it back in her pocket. She continues to rummage by touch, leaving behind a wallet but not loose cash. It's a routine she's been through more than once.

"You know, they make sunglasses for that," she offers gently, her eyes staying down on her work.


Sun…glasses… his mind repeats the word. The touch is light, soft, just enough to cross the distance between them. His mind is repeating the sounds without having context. The lack of context is sensed in the mental touch like a void in the words. And all underlined by the slight dizzy nausea of 'that was too much light'.


The girl freezes and her head whips towards Darkedge as the thought echoes off her mind. "You're that telepath," she murmurs in realization before her face hardens, the facade of gratitude falling off a sterner, wary interior. "Grazie for the help, but stay out of my mind."


Eyes blinking, trying to clear the blind spot, Darkedge looks toward the girl as she freezes.

I can not intrude on your thoughts, he replies, pressing the thought forward without seeking to take anything in return.


You can talk in my mind but can't read mine? Nerina thinks, the idea carried with an undertone of suspicion as her eyes hang cautiously on the elf.


Thought Nerina thinks loudly, Darkedge keeps his mind to himself, and without the huamn pressing the thoughts forward at him, he does not hear them, does not pry for them. So he just stays where he is, head tilting, eyes slowly readjusting.


The blonde doesn't rush to resume the conversation in English but once she's satisfied with her looting, she stands and slips her winter coat on over her hoodie, zipping it up for added warmth. "Do you speak anything?" She asks, perhaps too bluntly, as she looks around. This used to be a nice place to sleep…


WIth his sight slowly returning, Darkedge watches Nerina, and at her question now, he nods once…. but doesn't speak.


The flautist raises an eyebrow but accepts the pale man's silence. She bows her head for a moment and rubs her eyes with a tired grunt. "I need somewhere new to sleep again…" she grumbles.


Would not a cave be better? he asks now, almost managing to sound worried.


Nerina's lips crease in a faint frown. "Can you speak English, o Italiano?"
"I don't know any caves close to here."


I can speak a human tongue. What its name is, I do not know, Darkedge replies with the roll of a shoulder. His eyes sweep across the urban landscape.

**Perhaps, not here. There is a wood not outside of reache…*-


"Try it," the blonde suggests tersely, beginning the bristle as the elf's voice keeps ringing in her head. "The parks here don't have caves," she adds.


Try… speaking? Would you not find it rude, to have me speak aloud to you? Darkedge asks, somehow managing to feel somewhat concerned by the idea of insulting her. Hearing the parks don't have caves, Darkedge purses his lips.

**Shame.*-


Nerina's gaze narrows in the shadow of her hood as she looks up at the elf. "Out of my head. Now."


This sudden request darked the elf up short. Brows pull together, corners of mouth pull into a light frown, but he nods, bringing a hand up rest over his heart as he sketches a very small and shallow bow.


The blonde's shoulders relax and a small breath eases out her nose. "Better," she murmurs. Grabbing her backpack and slinging it across her shoulders, Nerina yawns audibly into her scarf and begins to walk down the sidewalk. The elf isn't bid to follow but neither is he stopped.


He just watches her walk away, not seeming to follow, but as she gets almost out of sight, Darkedge steps. He steps into the shadow near him and then out of a shadow directly at her side.


Nerina's hands disappear into her pockets as her boots set a rhythm on the rainy sidewalk. Her coat begins to darken on its edge now that she's out in the weather and she blinks her eyes hard to force vigor into them. The tired flautist is almost dazed enough that she doesn't notice the elf reappear by her side - almost.

"Ah!" She jumps and turns to stare. "Don't sneak up on me like that," she whines.


Her reaction is so like anothers, that Darkedge can't supress the smirk. He rolls a shoulder, as if saying he can't really help it. And then, he just falls in step with her. She's tired. He'll escourt her to another safe place, and then maybe he'll go.


Where that safe place is? Well Nerina's footfalls are carrying them towards a subway station. It's out of the rain again and there might be a couple hours of quiet before the morning line begins. The blonde shoves her hands deeper into her pockets and pouts just a little at getting surprised. As rough as her life might have been, some things she hasn't grown out of.


The silence does not bother the elf as he walks calmly at Nerina's side, not bothered by the fact that he spooked her. His eyes just flick about looking for trouble, and trying to avoid any flicking street lights.


"You're a strange one," Nerina murmurs as she walks along. "…Magic?"


And again the elf nods, confirming either that he is magic, he can use magic, or he likes magic.


Given where they first met, it's an answer the flautist was expecting. "If you know anyone with magic to keep warm, like in a magic ring, I could use one," Nerina admits, keeping her voice quiet in the rain. Her eyes never drift far from the sidewalk before her, letting her body run on autopilot - hiding herself in a small touch of normalcy after the last few minutes. "I can pay."


What does it mean that Darkedge purses his lips thoughtfully. Does he know someone or is he thinking of someone? Or is he wondering if the someone he knows would help. Regardless, his answer is a light shake of his head.


"Che peccato," Nerina murmurs in disappointment. Reaching the entrance to the subway, she pauses with her hand on the railing and looks over again. The glow of artificial light reaches up from underground, illuminating her eyes. They're a soft sea blue. "Grazie per the walk," she offers, leaving the rest unsaid.


OH That light! Darkedge recoils sharply, backpedalling into the darkness before nodding once and disappearing from sight. That's more than enough suddenly BRIGHT things for one evening.


When the elf recoils out of sight, Nerina begins her descent down the stairs. She grins sadly under her scarf and shakes her head. "Povero… I thought so."

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