The Wolf and the Lamb: Ambush

August 29, 2018:

While on Patrol Nightwing is ambushed by the Wolf and the Lamb. He does not prove to be a cooperative ambushee

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: The Wolf and the Lamb (emitted by scandal_savage)

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It is evenings like this one that give Gotham City the reputation of being an unpleasant place to both live and visit. Yes it is hot and humid, but that is true of a great number of cities. No, it is the fog cloud of pollution that seems to hang over the city in a perpetual haze, the weather conditions exactly wrong to keep that mass firmly in place over the city. So Gotham is not only dark and oppressive, the moon and the stars concealed from view by that haze, but it stinks. Quite literally. The thick, humid air is bad enough but add that tang of rotten eggs that seems to just hang there and it is all the worse.

Hot or not, stink or not, Nightwing is out on the rooftops of the city. Conventional wisdom is that prey should go to ground, that it should find some safe place to hole up until the predator moves on or is chased off by a scarier predator. The dark haired vigilante has never been much of one for conventional wisdom. Look at how he spends his nights? So whether he is the target of some death god or some other mystical force, or whether it is just an elaborate scam he refuses to live his life cowering in fear. Commendable really, provided that it doesn't get him killed of course. Then most would probably just settle on stupid.

Thus far his patrol across the rooftops of the East End have been surprisingly uneventful. This neighborhood usually seems to breed trouble like rotting meat breeds blow flies. But not tonight. Maybe even the local predators have sought their hideyholes on this night.
It starts in the distance. A feint soft sound flowing over the wind. The sound is familiar and even those who aren't Dick Grayson can hear it this night. A soft humming, like that of a carefree girl skipping through a forest. https://tinyurl.com/yacec8wr The sound would not normally strike fear and yet there's a sense of growing dread and on a night like this? It is damned strange to hear.

Near to Dick Grayson, a woman comes to her window and looks out briefly before closing her curtains. Below him, rats being chased by a couple of cats all think the chase should end and scatter. A dog howls and a drunk sobers slightly and stumbles his way into his car, dropping his keys twice before speeding off. He'll make it home safely tonight as his mind turns to death.

It's only moments though for Nightwing. What seems like something that started miles away is suddenly only a mile away, then only a quarter of a mile. Then only a hundred yards. Then a wind flows by Dick Grayson and the clicking of claws, a low growl escapes and he can sense the presence of a massive beast behind him. Before him, across an alleyway, sitting on an air conditioner with her bow held in one hand, the wolf masked, lamb like figure looks to Dick.

"This one is mine!" Wolf snaps and then halts and backs down as Lamb raises a hand.

"Not yet, dear wolf. He was distressed before. Not given choice." Lamb states as her glowing white eyes look across to him and almost seems to look into him, "Richard Grayson, you have never run from death. Why do you run now? I merely offer you the ending to a fine life. Come, accept my arrow."

It is true that he does not particularly appreciate the games that his senses have been playing as of late when it comes to the Lamb and the Wolf. For all that he can be a great deal more flippant than Batman he is still very much a cognative individual. He was trained by the Dark Knight afterall and while he has reflexes and acrobatic skills that are more than a match for his mentor, he still relies on his mind first and foremost. His powers of observation, his deductive reasoning and his situational awareness. So when something comes along that messes with that, it is an irritant. A pebble in his shoe. But like his mentor, he is extremely adaptable. He has to be.

The anxiety that he feels when those oddities first register on his senses fells well short of fear. Just a natural and healthy concern. It is the fact that others act upon it that gives him the knowledge that this is more than just tricks in his head again. That this is real. Even the impossibly fast approach is more a point of interest, to be filed away for later, than something to be disconcerted over.

"Not being afraid to risk one's life for a greater good is a far cry from throwing it away because some creepy little exile from a bad horror movie and her ugly pet dog tell you it's time to die," Nightwing chirps back, for a moment pausing in his race across the rooftops. But just for a moment. He might not be afraid per se, but he's not foolish. Motion almost always serves him well.

"Ha! You see! He's mine…" The wolf states and Lamb lowers her hand and looks down, almost sad. She sighs a little, "How one dies, shows how one lived." She looks toward the fleeing Nightwing and then shakes her head a little as she stands, "Tomorrow is a hope, Dick Grayson. Never a promise."

Behind him, Dick can hear it. The massive wolf is chasing him. Its paws scrambling along as it declares happily, "This one has strong legs!" And he continues to chase. None of that amazing speed or movement from just moments ago, a true run.

Beside Dick Grayson, he can see the hints of something white chasing as well, though off to the side. No arrows come though as the figure chases. A voice calls out on the wind, "All your life has led to this moment."

Certainly his long, loping strides help to carry him swiftly across the tricky footing offered by the various rooftops of the East End. Not everyone is a nice, flat stretch of pavement and gravel. No, it is balance more then anything else that lets him move so swiftly. Despite the conversation going on around him, he doesn't break his stride or glance back of his shoulder — relying on senses beside sight alone to know how the chase goes.

"Your dog's breath really stinks, you know that right? I mean it's really vile and I live in Gotham. He makes this," he continues, giving a flippant little wave towards the night sky, "smell like the sweetest wildflowers. You should probably start brushing his teeth. Or at least give him a milk bone every now and then," he suggests.

As he lands on one of those rooftops that isn't such a nice, flat stretch, Nightwing dodges agiely around the various outcroppings. "I hate to break it to you, but when my life story is written this is going to be a few paragraphs. Not to undersell your self-importance or your ominous pronouncements," he retorts back to the voice coming off from his side. As he rounds the corner, the ledge of the building just up ahead he absuptly lets go out the pellets he had palmed, letting them fall behind him in his wake, bursting open as a field of sticky adhesive coats the pavement darkly.

Moving along the roof top with the agility of a big cat, the wolf is obviously not normal if the size didn't give anything away. He laughs out a wicked, gravely laugh as he chases, "This one has a bark!" He laughs more even as he moves and Lamb just continues her sort of along side chase. She seems to almost glide along in her movements. She shakes her head a little even as Wolf has to come to a skidding stop and turn due to his sheer size alone. He might be graceful but momentum is still momentum. Then he hits something stick and lets out an angry growl as he comes to a ripping halt. Some fur like stuff ripped from him as he ends up halting a moment. Even as he starts growl and barking at his predicament, Lamb doesn't stop though.

She seems to move into a building window and then suddenly she is to Dick's right, literaly glide hopping nearer to him, "Do you always makes such jest at death?" She asks and tilts her head as she moves, simply bounding along beside him, "You do give wolf a merry chase. He will not forget you easily over the millenia."

After having games played with him, with his senses, with his mind, after all the waiting and wondering he has done over the past couple of weeks, this is almost a relief. A race over uneven rooftops with a pair of supernatural predators hounding his every step? Pretty much paradise compared to the rest of it. Brooding seems endemic to his particularly unique family, perhaps understandably. He's been guilty enough of it in the past. He'll probably be guilty of it again in the future. But he works a little harder then some of those he's close to avoid it. To find the happy medium in his life where, despite the seeming insanity of what he does on a nightly basis, he is basically a pretty well adjusted individual. Somehow, right now, he feels closer to achieving the equalibrium then he has in several weeks. What that says about him might not be good. He's not going to sweat that however.

"Glad to hear it. I do so enjoy making an impression. I'm told I'm relatively good at it, so why not play to my strengths?" he asks, his strides elongating as he nears the ledge, enough so that he can hop up on it in one smooth motion. No building waits across a short gap here, no alley to be hurdled. And still he doesn't slow. Laugh in the face of death? Lady, that's pretty much his Wednesday night. Hell, that's pretty much every single night and more then a few days for that matter. Death will catch him. It catches everyone. Almost everyone. But he'll lead it on a merry chase first. Call it confidence, call it arrogance, but he believes, fervently, that this is not the final chase he'll lead death on. So he takes to the air, steps off the ledge as if he weren't six stories up with no place to land but unforgiving concrete so far below. He stretches out arms and those glider wings extend beneath his armpits. And abruptly he is aloft, gliding on the gentle, evening breeze instead of plunging to his death. See? Nightwing 1, Death 0. He'll keep pitching that shut-out as long as he's able.

Skipping along beside him, she shakes her head a little as she comes to a halt at the edge of the building. It seems he has escaped for a moment at least. Then suddenly there's a howl and a bounding. Below him he'll see it. The massive wolf comes flowing up from the ground in a leap that could likely clear ten stories, let alone the six he is up. The wolf's jaws snap right along the path he just traveled and the wolf goes down to the ground with a skid and continues to chase. It slams along the ground even as Lamb skips along a nearby roof top again.

She looks toward Dick and calls out, "All know us before long." She nods her head, "Your time came when you and yours took our prey from us. A son for a son. A life for a life. You got in the way." She points at him, "We will hunt this city until the intended prey goes where they are meant to."

Of course he did not expect that the adhesive trick was going to work, that he would be able to send animal control to deal with one glue-covered wolf. But all this does serve a purpose besides giving his mental health a little bit of a boost. It gives him — and therefore the entire family — a chance to gather more information about their foes' capabilities. Up close and personal as it were. So Nightwing isn't at all dismayed about the fact that he hasn't brought his pursuers low with a simple trick or two. Her pet wolf is a little too big and burly to be stopped by a puddle of industrial strength glue? That's fine. The lunging dog and those fearsome jaws just miss him. And still he doesn't panic. Nope, he rather casually drops a concussion grenade down towards where the Wolf stalks him from below.

"Yeah, see I think you're exaggerating. I think relatively few have known you. You know how many people have died in Gotham City in the past couple of weeks? How many have died worldwide? And how many of them have been killed with a melty arrow or been savaged by a little girl's oversized puppy dog? The numbers don't quite add up. You've got some scary mojo, but I think you fall a little, well, a lot short of the personification of death," he retorts, angling his glide path around the corner up ahead as he continues to descend, hitting the ground running, again, not so much as breaking stride. "I think you're here because of something the Mastersons did. What do you say? Want to clue me in on your evil plan? I promise I won't tell anyone. Ignore the crossed-fingers, they don't mean anything. Honest."

Lamb leaps forward and looks over at him, "3,432 in the past two weeks." She states and nods her head and down below and the wolf calls up, "1,068,328 worldwide." He laughs a little, "We aren't at every single one but we are all there." He laughs and chases merrily, "Now come down, flying boy."

Lamb looks over at him still, "We are stuck here. We have no evil plans. We merely do our jobs. Unfortunately we have to do them far more overtly right now." She nods her head, "As to who keeps us here…well, you already know the answer so what is the use of speaking?" She asks, "Now…"

As Nightwing comes around another corner, she's standing right in front of him as if she were an appirition out of no where, "…this chase ends and we move to a father until we get the one who is ours." And then she goes intangible as wolf leaps through her in an attempt to use her distraction to clamp down on to Nightwing's throat.

Are the statistics real? Who knows. Certainly not him. Nightwing can probably find out on the Batcomputer later. It might be worth finding out if there truly is some primal connection to death. But it doesn't help him in the hear and now so he just keeps on doing what he is doing. And that is leading them on a little chase, doing his tests, gathering that data. One more advantage of all of Bruce Wayne's money and tech. The sensor suite that feeds what he is gathering back to the Batcave to be poured over later. Of course, he'd still very much like to be around for that part too. He's still working on ensuring that.

As far as distractions go, it is a pretty good one. Most people would probably go skidding to a stop at the sight of her there, somehow in front of them, trying to avoid barrelling into her. Most people. But he's getting a handle on their capabilities too, their favorite tricks. So he doesn't come to a skidding halt and make himself an easy target. When the Wolf comes barrelling through her intangible form, Nightwing has already left his feet, leaping. Arms outstretched, he grabs hold of the bottom rung of the fire escape there in the alley, hoisting himself aloft and curling his legs up to not leave any dangling morsels for the hairy monster so intent on eating him. His momentum is used to go purpose, arching, gaining height and speed before he releases the bar, flipping head over heels in the Flying Grayson's patented quadruple sommersault and landing more then a dozen feet further down the alley. Right where he left his motorcycle. "You know what I hate most about you two right now? You're gonna make me try to save the Mastersons. You have no idea what a depressing thought that is." Without hesitating, he throws himself on the bike, the motorcycle roaring to life, the sound of the engine filling the tight confines of the alley. Lifting a hand in farewell, the cycle tears out of the opposite end of the alley. And he doesn't even flip the pair off. That's how you can tell he's a gentleman.

Slowly, the wolf comes to the end of the alleyway, tongue lolled out and he laughs a little, "I like him…he'll make a tasty treat."

The girl walks to beside him and idly she sets her hand on his head. She pets his fur lightly behind the lamb mask that hides his face. This time when she speaks, he can't hear it, "What will you do, Dick Grayson? Save someone who is already dead?" She laughs a little and then wolf does, too. They both fade away even as the first light of day begins to crest the city skyline.

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