A Fox in the Nest

January 22, 2015:

The Fox is summoned by the Dark Knight himself for a little face to face. Batgirl and Oracle join.

Red Hood, Chelsea - GOTHAM

Between residential and the Gotham River's warehouse activity Red Hook is a
squalid smear of homes, low brick-like structures and storage facilities. The
location is surprisingly stable despite the rundown, crime ready look of the
landscape. With a steady influx of harbor work, the Warehouse District is
predominately controlled by the Irish Mob of Gotham, this whole area is
sometimes referred to as "The Cauldron" almost every business and residential
complexes in the Cauldron are owned by some criminal element or another that
has ties directly to the Irish crimelords of Gotham. The Warehouse district
stays busy, productive and secure keeping work in and out of Gotham's western
shores very active.

Renfield Heights is a giant tenement complex here that sprawls out along the
short stacked buildings, warehouses and structures. The Gotham Central
Terminal is also situated here. If you want to get to any location in Gotham
along the monorail the bes starting point is Red Hook.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Perfect view of Finger River and the Gotham River itself the Cauldron. Low sprawling buildings are broken up by the occasional warehouse or stylized Gothic structure, gargoyles included.

the signal Kane was sent not from Oracle this time but the Dark Knight himself - the man in question stands poised over one of the tallest most distinct building in the district the bell tower of the local church, a replica of the Angouleme Cathedral in Charante, France. It is the most obvious and best vantage point in Red Hook this side of the warehouses. No clouds in the skies tonight, those are further east, along the ocean. It's clear beyond that wall and one can even see the fabled zeppelins of Gotham slowly drifting about the dreary heavens marked by their lights or catching reflection from the city below.

The apex predator of Gotham the Batman awaits the arrival of Fox while attempting to remotely monitor Batgirl's activity, he knows it is her night to sweep Chelsea. Where she is, that's a question all to it's own the girl was born in darkness even the Caped Crusader marvels at her talents from time to time a midst those her expertise in stealth. If she doesn't want to be found she usually isn't. The LED screen on the bladed gauntlet infra-lit so only the lenses of his cowl grant him visual of it or special lighting, the small black probe sweeping through the streets still has yet to locate the young woman.

Kane himself is moving along the rooftops of Red Hook sans the usual elk. Elks are fast and good for getting around quickly (and in Kane's world quickly is often necessary) but they're a little obvious. When they're transparent. And glow blue.

The Fox has been busy tonight. Lee Pace, a rather subborn revenant had returned and this time he'd heard about it before the murders started. Putting him back (even temporarily and it's always temporarily) had gotten a bit messy and Kane's sword is stained with the black ichor that always seems to be in his undying bodies (undead bodies? One of those. He's dead now. Well, he was dead to begin with but he's not moving now.). He'll clean it later. The signal had been somewhat curious and like a curious fox he'd come to look, blade on back, crossbow slung behind him, shotgun at his side looking like a curiously indecisive cosplayer, were one to get a look at him at all.

Batgirl isn't normally one to go 'off grid' with regards to the Bat-monitoring. Oracle's got a lot of hardware in the young woman's costume to let her see and hear what the quiet bat does but lately, she's been going dark. Seems she wants some time to herself. Why, and for what, isn't terribly clear but then what is with the girl named Cain?

She had been in Chelsea earlier, and caught sight of the Fox. She's been trailing him, not knowing that he was headed to see her own dark mentor not because Oracle asked her to but because he's confused her. It looks like he killed the man, but obviously the man wasn't a man. And the Fox is expecting him to return. These are things out of her usual scope, and so now the Fox has a tail.

It is not Batgirl that gives away her presence to Batman but Kane's movement. Upon spying him it brings up his shadowy tracker - proximity and technology along with the Detectives attention for detail to credit to this.
Good. Two birds with one stone.
Batman's bracer panel closes as that small black floating probe zips past both Cassandra and the Fox. A red blink on it acting as a beacon as it will lead them towards the man above the Cathedral bell tower.

It's a testament to Batgirl's ability to sneak that Kane didn't (and still at the moment doesn't) know she's there. Not that the man's a world class detective but he can often tell when he's being followed. Comes with the territory. Cassandra though smoothly picked him up after the fight with Lee and has been there undetected ever since.

The Fox parkours over the rooftops. The signal he follows for once not Barbara's but Bruce's. The Bat wants a meet. Oracle may perhaps know of it, or perhaps not. Who can know the mind of a Bat?

When he gets to the church roof he slows, looking about. Up being a place he often comes from he does eventually look up but it takes him a moment to spy the dark, silent, brooding shadow on the belltower. He stops canting his head, perhaps slightly inscrutable behind his masquerade mask. "Midnight mass is over, I do believe."

The oracle com activates at his voice, giving Babs a clear feed to him. "Though if you were praying for Gotham I suppose this is the place. My visitor tonight suggests it's probably appropriate."

Batgirl' head tilts over to the side as she spots the small drone. Ah, that's who the Fox is going to meet. Her icon comes back to life on Oracle's systems, the previously 'dark' Bat coming back online. She can guess where the Batman is, and while Kane follows the drone, she makes her own path so she doesn't arrive at the foot of the structure, but from the side. When Kane arrives, the Batgirl appears to the side of the broader figure of the Batman, featureless cowl tilted down to watch the Fox.

Oracle has seen the the Fox's and Batman's avatars light up on her screens as she sits in the Clocktower. Then Batgirls comes live… interesting, where has she been and why dark?.

Watching the three avatars converging, she sits back in her chair… waiting. "My two favorite Bats and one favorite Druid, all in the same place. What a pleasant surprise." The redhead speaks through a conference channel. "Or perhaps not so much…" That would generally mean trouble, with a capital 'T'.

The eyes of the man's cowl turn to slits, "Kane Reynard." Batman acknowledges in greeting as that floating probe that lead them up here drifts to him and he casually tucks it in to one of those many pouches on that iconic utility belt. "Meet Batgirl if you haven't already."
A motion to his left where the smaller shadow stands.
"And no, we are not here to pray. We are here to answer the prayers of Gotham and tonight we determine where you stand on that." The probe placed away his cape falls once more around him making the man look like a Bat-themed Grim Reaper once again. "Oracle speaks highly of you, I have watched you in action, now I want to know you personally. Tell me, why do you risk your life for this city? For these people?
A click sounds off in his ear then Babs speaks, "Oracle." The man greets before returning to his questions and focus on Kane.

Yay. Batman knows his name. He really does have to find out how Oracle figured that out. And whether she intends to spread it any further. The sound of his actual name and not his 'codename' (shadow-name was the term used in the Circle), makes him twitch a bit. He has to remind himself that's not terribly likely that this man is going to use his name to cast curses on him from afar. Doesn't seem to be his style.

"Batman, I presume. Before a few days ago I was starting to think that Batman was indeed a legend and the real ones were all bat-women. Yes, Batgirl and I have met. And the one called Misfit. And the other red headed bat-girl." Of course only one of those people has given him a compliment (fist bump style) and taken one of his swords. Which he has since replaced, so it's not like he wants it back.

Kane's eyes flick to Cassandra now and he tilts his chin up in greeting, eyes flicking from she to Bruce and back in question. With him? Or just a coincidence tonight? Years among druids (and necessarily dealing with animals) have given Kane fairly good nonverbal communication skills.

"Oracle, hello. I was starting to wonder where you were tonight. To answer your question Batman, I do it because no one else can. Or at least, that's what I would have told you three weeks ago: That no one who can do what I do cares enough to do it. Now… well, maybe I was wrong about that, but the fact is that when small monsters commit small atrocities most don't notice them, and the ones who do frequently don't know enough to stop them." Not a complete answer, but it'll do for a start.

Batgirl is typically silent. Something that Kane has likely picked up on just from the few encounters where she's shown up. The small bat settles into a comfortable crouch near the Batman as though she were one of those gargoyles, cape draped around her and head tilted down to watch the slightly uncomfortable man. While she listens, the words make even less sense to her than they likely do to others. Eventually, she turns to look up and over towards the Dark Knight. "He kills dead things."

"I'm all seeing, Fox, not all talking. Just because you don't hear me, doesn't mean I'm not there." Batmans question echoes Oracles' own from weeks before and settles more comfortably into her chair to listen. Killing dead things is one but 'why' is the telling factor.

"You were wrong." Batman corrects the /maybe/ in his usual blunt manner. The man listens to Kane speak, Barbara and then Cassandra's rare but fitting words. "You have a leg up on me then. This Misfit and the redhead, I'll presume to know of them, but like you, they are new players in the game. Unexpected additions that I am recalculating for and still attempting to assess." He pauses, "Not exactly unwelcome extensions in the growing Oracle network." Perhaps one of the nicer lines the Fox or anyone will get out of the Bat's mouth. "Just unexpected."

A once over of Fox while in proximity of lighting and at length enough to see such things, "You don't exactly sound Welsh." He states before carrying on, "Which, rules out several assumptions. The symbolism and fetishes you sport and your particular style I can take several guesses".
"So, law-speaker, are you also a poet? And enlighten me further on the killing of the dead." His voice is a bit more rough there but it's not threatening. Just stern. He's gathered enough to doubt the man is a murderer or blood crazed maniac. A lot of the Bat's habits are simply that, trained and practiced to the point they're just /him/. Like the cowl itself. He is the Batman not a man, not Bruce Wayne, he is the Dark Knight and in his mind Gotham's greatest protector. The rest with him are his flock. His soldiers and his students. Media coined several times: his children. It is fitting to some degree.

"Druid is the word most use." If the Fox sounds impressed it's because he is. Most wouldn't identify him so readly. The markings on his kit are there but their identity is not easily guessed save by the very well read. "Neo-Driud for those more in my circles."

The druidic system of belief was only partly preserved after the collapse of Celtic society and the subsequent collapse of Rome, but the druids themselves had long been driven underground by certain birds of prey by that point.

"Sometimes I kill dead things yes." Kane nods to Batgirl, adding an odd, questioning cant to his head. How, he seems to ask, did you know that. "Particularly when they have the poor manners not to remain quietly resting. At other times I calm spirits, hack ghouls, fight werewolf drug runners and outsmart hatian bokors. With the odd crossbow exorcism thrown in here and there." Oracle's seen one of those. "Gotham may be magically weak, but all that means is you get pettier monsters, not that they're gone entirely. There's still plenty out there happy to drain the life and hope out of the people around here. Sometimes literally. And they don't take kindly to interference." Which is why he has no circle anymore.

The Fox moves a few paces to one side to get a better angle on the two Bats. "Was this meeting your idea Oracle?"

It's more talking from the Bat than Cassandra is used to. He almost doesn't bother if it's just the pair of them, likely to Oracle's endless annoyance, but even with others the Dark Knight is rarely verbose. It has the little bat craning her neck, so she can watch him as he speaks. When she turns back to look at Kane, the slight shift is notable by the long 'ears' of her cowl that accents the motion. While she picks up on his question, she doesn't answer. Maybe later, when Batman isn't in this odd, chatty mood.

Batgirl doesn't offer an assessment of Kane's fighting, which she figures he's made a point to watch, either from afar or video. Instead she notes, "Weapons are good."

Interesting. Oracle smiles to herself as the Dark Knight speaks, he's done his research too. Kanes question gets a short sharp laugh before she replies "I did tell you, Fox, that Batman doesn't take kindly to those that hunt in his territory. No, this wasn't my idea, but it was bound to happen." She pauses "Just be thankful he's talkative tonight. It normally goes a whole heap differently."

"Druid, Neo-Druid, whichever, I imagine the doctrines are close enough. You're capable of handling the supernatural on their own terms?" Rhetorical question. He is aware the man is Batman just wanted that confirmation and now he has had it. Typically Jason Blood is the Caped Crusader's go-to-guy for the occult but the mans ever the unstable and volatile contact - that whole, Etrigan the Demon condition and what have you.
"Here is where my interest in you lies strongest. You've shown considerable restraint in your dealings with the… living. There is no reported blood on your hands and you have an area of expertise we though not completely lacking in are not always prepared for." The Batman does not do unprepared. Ever. "This is my formal invitation for you to work along side us. It will give you access to information sources, safe houses and our support. Also more training." The Bat pauses, "I've watched you fight, you're good but not as good as you could be. We can help you with that. There is conditions of course, this is /my/ city. You operate with us or you clean up after us. With your knowledge and talents I would prefer you work with us as part of our team. Shall I go on or is this where you snub me and go off and get yourself permanently injured or killed?" This sounds like he is speaking from experience. The masked man has been at this a long time and likes to see conviction in those he works with. He is always testing others in word and deed.

"More or less." The Fox shrugs, turning to look out over the city. Quite a view there. Batgirl can likely pickup on the small ticks and movements as Batman speaks. Kane's far too used to dealing with living legends to dismiss the Bat's implicit threats as mere bravado, and too worn out on his own to respond in kind. Were the two to fight, he's aware it'd likely go poorly for him. That said, threatening prospective allies isn't generally the best way to win them over. Play by my rules or else is the province of third world dictators and mafioso. Kane doesn't approve. Oracle is probably rubbing her temples.

"Help would be good. I used to have a lot. Not so much anymore." He says as he regards the city. "Though I have to say, given what I've been dealing with solo for a year plus, and for much longer in other circumstances, I have to say I don't think much of how you've taken care of your city. I've lived here my whole life, Batman. Grew up here, made a home here, watched my friends die here." Felt his friends die here. "I've got no interest in getting in your way. I'd like to work with you. Oracle's been helpful and I've never seen anyone fight like the woman next to you. Ever. But I don't need, and won't ever ask for, anyone's permission to defend my home. So maybe we'd better be clear on what it is you want from me in return for what you offer."

Kane's stance is wary. Rumors of Batman are all he knows. He'd love to work with people again who know what they're about, but he's not sure that's what's being 'offered'.

Batgirl's head cants over to the side a bit, watching the exchange. She's not really listening, because words and even tone mean so very little to her. "He thinks… you're threatening him." Batgirl's words are flat, absent of that aformentioned tone. The cadence broken while each word is almost painstakingly shaped.

The dark cowled girl turns from that long assessment of Kane to look up at Batman again. "Might want to show…" And now her mouth presses into an unhappy line, mostly obscured by her mask. Words are still not her friend, even after years of Barbara's hard work. "The scope." While Cass herself is mostly all boots-on-the-ground, she's aware that the street scuffles are far from how the Batman protects Gotham.

"Yes, he does. Batgirls right." and Oracle can understand why but she's not rubbing her temples yet, she's saving that for the redheaded Batwoman. "Hear him out, Fox. The offer… is not lightly given." The redhead in the Clocktower, watches the three and sighs softly. "He's still there, Batman and hasn't left… he doesn't understand the scope of what you are offering."

Batman's gaze shifts towards Batgirl as she speaks again, she is talkative tonight, "I have that effect on people."
A quiet moment follows and Batman speaks again, "Gotham is a work in progress and it's cancer runs deep. Far below the gang fights and warring crime families. Some of those conflicts you do seen are actually engineered by my team - it's damage control, It's all to the larger picture, I trust you're a visionary."
"The roots of corruption in this city are tethered to politicians, madmen, super-criminals, global threat level terrorists and all manner of undisciplined heartless scum that a simple brawl on the streets cannot fix. Where many see failure I see progress. You will as well in time but it does come with it's price. One we all pay, no doubt you've learned this already."
The living shade glides towards the edge of the tower overlooking the city. "What I require from you is simple, no killing, complete anonymity, cooperation, sacrifice and finally - no killing."

Kane looks away. "I'm not a murderer. I don't do this because I think that killing people solves problems." Well, except when it does. His gaze comes back up to Batgirl for a moment. He's curious what she knows, how she got into this and what her interest in this is. A tilt of the head. Perhaps later they can both get answers.

Then back to Batman. "You cannot know what I've already sacrificed. Which isn't bravado. You can't. You lack the sensitivity. And anonymity… if I lose it you'll know. I'll be dead." He blows out a sigh.

"I don't fight criminals or corruption. I hunt monsters. Mostly they're not people. If you want me to not kill any of them, you need to give me an alternative that keeps people safe. If you can do that, I'll agree. But I'll not have the lives of a dozen cops on my hand simple because someone doesn't have the stomach to put down a rampaging minotaur."

A lot of people have wondered just what it is Batgirl sees behind that quiet facade. So much she still just can't seem to understand, whereas other things, she cuts right to the quick on. "Most people… can't know. What another knows." Her words are still that sort of flat monotone, but this time they're softer. Easy to miss, even. She's quite particular in her words though. Most.
There's a flash on Batgirl's HUD. Trouble that needs intervention. She doesn't bother with goodbyes, not for Kane and not for the Bat. Instead she just melts into the shadows and she's gone.

"You would be surprised." The appraisal of Kane seems done. Batman's body language says he approves or at the very least finds the Neo-Druid acceptable. "Not people." The man says quietly, "We'll be in contact." No Jason Blood demands he find someone with suitable knowledge in the mystical arts and what lies there-in. Kane will make a decent stand in.
A sound like giant wings and the Dark Knight is gone.

Batgirl's special language and familiarity with Batman is enough she knows exactly what just transpired and Oracle will get an incoming update on the Fox.

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