Based loosely on a fic I began on this site under a different pen name about 7 or 8, 9 years ago.

Theme is loosely set Batman universe with film noir undertones.

High dialogue and character development, world-building.

Pairings: batman + his job.

TWs: blood, murder, reference to murder, (list will continue as needed).

There will be no graphic sex or anything of the sort in this novel work. Clean.

CHARACTERS, with the exception of original characters, © D.C. Comics etc (for batman, bc set around / in batman universe).

Themes: morality: good vs. evil, the grey area between, how community relationships support society, the role of faith or belief within extremely dark times, (list continues). exploring relationship between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law, when it comes to enforcement of virtue and principles within society. Exploring "what makes a man a man". Exploring compassion when it comes to choosing right, wrong, mercy, justice. Exploring human communities and the classic struggle of good v. evil in a highly fictionalized and stylized world.

Inspiration: Les Miserables, The Shadow.. list cont

**Will draw from classic film noir and listed inspiration, plus more.

***May re-up under another name if it takes off.

© ME, at VeritatisSplendorAveMaria5. Pen name, K. June 7, 2019. All content and ideas belong to me under copyright and information rules and regulations. Do not steal, do not permit stealing/copying.

Making a point to spell this out bc this project has been so long coming that I want to be able to actually *write* it. © effective and pending.

If you'd like to write a fic within the universe, contact me for rights and permissions, credits.

© K.C. (legal initials). at VeritatisSplendorAveMaria5 on as of June 7, 2019. All rights to the author, myself. All rights reserved to the author, story belongs to me, the author.

I would just like to tell a story. The characters may not be mine, but this particular writing is. Extensive disclaimers and copyright bc I just want to write this story and do it with joy and freedom and without being concerned someone will try and hijack it tyvm. :)

Please enjoy reading. :)


"Hell is empty

...all the devils are here."

William Shakespeare's The Tempest. Act 1, scene 2.

Edward sighed, and shuffled his papers. Switching careers from hardened thief to practical playright was more difficult than he'd thought.

Why were all the good ideas already taken?

Without assistance, beginning a career as opposed to making a way as a criminal was bordering on burdensome. He'd already read all the truly classic works as a child. Shakespeare crowning his list, as he crowned many, many lists before.

Edward Nigma truly liked William Shakespeare. Unlike some of his former, esteemed (and feared) creative criminal colleagues, Nigma wasn't insane. Intelligent, and a bit outcast because of it, but not insane. Mad hatter (it was in the name); Joker (it was in the face); but the Riddler? - no. Never.

Certainly not, not insane. As neither were William Shakespeare. Creative, certainly. A bit burdened with the darkness he could easily see inside state and man, perhaps. But insane? Definitely not.

Ultimately, Nigma had been forced into the margins not because of insanity, or because of incivility, but because of lack of ability to relate well to others. He remembered well the series of unfortunate events that'd convinced his younger self that fear and anger were better playmates than good sense, or books, or music. Art.

But still. A man of his talents had better use his work to build up the community, rather than destroy it. Too many villains.

Not enough. Well. Art.

Why are the creatives often considered mad?

Nigma, formerly "Riddler" (though he may keep that as his pen name, if his first work was well received), scratched out the Shakespearean verse he'd put on the top of his manuscript.

Ultimately, it'd been Joker who'd conviced him that the criminal life was not the life for him. Oh, certainly, he may still yet play games with "The Batman", whomever that man may be - but for the thrill of the intellect, the hunt, the craft of wordplay, clues - really, if he was being honest with himself - for the story.

Which is why he, the Riddler, now journeyed into writing and a professional life. The Joker'd gone far too far left afield for any self-respecting criminal. There were categories to this all, you see. were rules. Not written in any manual, but in the fiber of humanity. Even in criminalized society.

There was crime, as the general lot do, without pomp, without statesmanship, without costume, without the art of the craft, the joy of the heist: the basic "see, steal, run."

There was play, as he fancied himself, a playmaster, student of rhyme and meter, as WELL as as one might classify also the Catwoman, as one might classify also the Penguin, named criminals with motivations more complicated than basic animalistic impulses of "see, want, take, kill"; ... but then there's the Joker, whom is in a class of his own.

Previously that class had been left to the likes of Harley Quinn, wild enough to assume responsibility out of some strange attachment, and the Batman, wise enough to assume responsibility out of a wider assumed responsibility.

The rest of the criminals, no matter how theatrical, nor how plain, allowed the lover and the costumed "policeman" to keep a reign on the only criminal who truly disturbed even the criminal.

But lately, something had gone wrong.

The Joker had gone darker, and the Riddler realized that he, himself, as a sane, well-meaning (generally) (at least not homicidal!) member of society would have to make a break for it from the criminal underground before it was too late.

He wouldn't give up what gave him most joy, ie, his riddles, his costumes, his flair, his creativity - but he certainly wouldn't be classified as one and the same with the man who'd murder 12 children in their sleep and call it a good night's work for nothing more than the bloodsport.

Albeit that the Joker denied it. It wasn't fair, not really.

Shakespeare was undoubtedly a creative genius. While he sincerely doubted that Shakespeare knew anything of hell - anything, truly, of hell - he knew rhyme, meter, lyric, and character. And while he may not know hell, he certainly, living in England at the time he did, knew pain.

"To be, or not to be. That is the question.

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

And by opposing, end them. .. ".


Only a short section of brilliance, yet, intensely spent verbiage.

Shakespeare understood what many did not, even those within the criminal underground. Misdemeanor, crime, fault - even trickery, as goes Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream - these things are nothing compared to the smoke of true evil, sinister evil, real evil. Not easily found.

Nigma shuddered.

And for Edward, at least, not simply forgotten.