THE GOTHAM KNIGHTS OF MIDDLE-EARTH
Disclaimer: I DO NOT OWN anything related to Robin, Batgirl or the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Robin, Batgirl and all related characters belong to DC Comics. The Lord of the Rings meanwhile is property of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Many believe, the downfall of this once peaceful city, truly begun after the deaths of Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha in what is now known as Crime Alley. Others say that it was inevitable. But one way or another, it appeared that in the years that followed, Gotham became the breeding ground for the worse criminals that humanity had to offer.
Crime and corruption was rampant and fear and mistrust gripped tightly at the citizens of Gotham. It looked as if the City were surely on its way to self-destruction. Yet although the police would always deny it, there was always a small glimmer of hope that kept Gotham from falling into complete chaos. At first it had been a whisper, a blurred image in the corner of one's eye. It was said to be a creature that roamed the night and tormented the cruel and unjust. Most people would scoff and claim it be nothing more than an urban legend. A story the police made up to try and frighten the scum of the city. But there were many others who swore that such a creature really did exist and that it wanted nothing more than to punish the scum of Gotham.
As the years passed the legend grew and changed. Stories began to surface that the Bat was no longer alone. Rumors about others like him, who lived in the shadows and fought selflessly so the innocent people of the city might live in peace. Many of them were rumored to be mere children, but no evidence was ever revealed, for like the Bat, they would appear only for a brief moment and then like living shadows would vanish into the night.
One such shadow was moving out and about this evening. Leaping from rooftop to rooftop was a teenaged boy with jet-black hair and clad in a bright red, green, yellow and black costume. On his chest there gleamed a golden insignia designed to look like a sharp-edged letter 'R'. His face was hidden behind a green domino mask, and opaque-colored eyes darted back and forth with unwavering concentration.
"Oracle to Robin," came a synthesized voice over a hidden communication-link. "How you doing there current Boy Wonder? Keeping yourself outta trouble, I trust?"
Landing on the rooftop of one of Gotham's older buildings, Timothy 'Tim' Drake gave a small smile and looked out of the city's skyline. 'Big Sister is watching…' he mused, affectionately.
Once the original Batgirl, Barbara Gordon had fought alongside Batman and the first Robin to protect the city. Yet following a fateful gunshot by their enemy the Joker, Barbara had been left crippled from the waist down, never again to have use of her legs. But if one thing could be said about Barbara it was that she refused to let herself fall. Where her body was limited, her mind was unmatched. A computer savant from long before the attack, Barbara opted to use the digital domain as a new staging ground in the battle against evil. Creating a wealth of information, which she stored in her Gotham Clocktower databases, Barbara began phase two of her crime-fighting career as the all-seeing, enigmatic entity know to only a select few as the Oracle. Using her vast information database, Barbara would help the world's super-hero community by giving them the information needed to win the day, when their metahuman powers were not enough.
"I copy Oracle, and yeah, I'm doing alright. Stopped a few muggings, a rape attempt, and I broke up a drug shipment over on the East Side," he said contentedly. "All things considered, I'd have to say it's been pretty quiet so far tonight." The instant that those words had left his lips, Robin felt the urge to slap himself. Exactly HOW long had he been doing this job again? He knew better than to say that, because sure enough...
"Ah damnit!" Oracle snapped. "Hold on a sec." A loud beeping sound could be heard over their com-link and was soon followed by the sounds of computer keys being typed furiously. There was no doubt that this quiet evening had just been interrupted.
"Just got something over the police band," Oracle said after a moment. "Someone just tripped the security system over at the Gotham Museum of Natural History. The security guards there aren't responding to summons. The GCPD are on their way but you're closer."
Robin gave an audible groan and pinched the bridge of his masked nose. Reaching into his utility belt he pulled out a grapple gun and fired a D-Cell line to a nearby building. "I'm on it. I don't suppose that there is any chance I can get some back up?"
"I'll see what I can do. Oh, and Robin, I hope that you realize…" Barbara added, "that this is your fault."
"Yeah, I know, I know… " Robin grumbled loudly as he leapt off the hundred-story building and swung out into the Gotham night. "Me and my big mouth…"
All was silent in Gotham's Museum of Natural History. The only sounds heard were the soft padded feet of a small ginger colored feline as she strolled purposefully down the marble hallway. Her yellow eyes constantly switching between the statues and other ancient artifacts with a bored sort of expression until at last…
The cat stopped before a large white marble pedestal in the ancient Greece exhibit, in which a golden necklace was laying on a velvet blue pillow. Hanging on the necklace's chain was a large emerald stone that seemed to glow under it's own power.
This was what she had been searching for.
Slowly she made her way to the pedestal but with each step she took, her body began to change. She began to grow in size, taking on the characteristic of a humanoid female. The fur on her head grew into long golden locks of hair that fell low past her waist and her long tail twitched back and forth in anticipation. She no longer looked like a feline yet neither did she look human.
Now fully transformed, the cat-girl stood up on her hind legs and turned to look at the emerald stone in the glass case appraisingly. While she found the shiny object inside quite mesmerizing and lovely, she failed to understand what could be so special about it. Yet that wasn't for her to decide.
Raising a hand to the case, she placed her claws gently on the side of the glass before twisting her wrist around counter-clockwise. A horrible screeching sound echoed through the museum hall, and stopped once she had completed in making a perfect circle. Pulling her hand back, a circlet of glass was removed from the side of the case, big enough for the cat-girl to reach in and pluck the necklace out. As she grinned in successes the silence of the museum was broken by the sound of someone applauding. Instinctively the Cat-girl spun around to face a young boy who looked no older than ten, dressed in a black suit that looked best suited for a funeral or perhaps Sunday school. His skin was deathly pale, and his dark black hair was mussed around like someone who had never taken a comb to it.
"Excellent work Teekl. As always," Klarion (Bum-bum-bum) the Witch Boy said with a wide smile. "Now give me the pretty necklace." Teekl nodded to her master and leapt high into the air and then landing in a crouch before him, held out her prize. When Klarion took the jewel from her clawed hands, Teekl instantly reverted back to her pure cat-like form and mewed softly to her master.
"It is quite beautiful, wouldn't you say?" Klarion asked. He held up the jewelry and studied it. "But it oh so much more than it appears. Yes, with this little gem, I shall become the most powerful sorcerer in the entire universe, Teekl! According to my findings, he who should wield the Necklace of Hera shall inherit more power than they can even imagine. I shall become as powerful as the goddess whom it is named after. At last I shall get my revenge on all those costume-do-gooders who constantly get in my way. And not even dear Uncle Jason shall be able to rival my- OW!"
The Witch Boy was cut off in mid-sentence as a sleek black object struck his hand painfully and causing him to drop the necklace, which skidded, across the polish marble floor.
"Did anyone ever tell you that you talk too much?" mocked a voice from the shadows. Klarion and Teekl spun around to see a familiar young man melting out of the shadow with an intimidating scowl on his masked features. Raising his left hand, Robin caught his batarang with incredible ease upon its return to him. "You should know better than to pull something in this town, Klarion."
"YOU!" Klarion yelled. "Oh, I was SO looking forward to seeing you again bird-brat!"
The corners of Robin's lips twitched upwards in amusement. "You still remember me. How nice. Now put the necklace back, before I have to do something that you are going to regret."
Both of their minds flew back to the Justice For All rally last year in which Klarion had used his powers to alter the ages of the JLA, JSA, Titans, and Young Justice. Through the joined forces of the age-altered heroes they had defeated Klarion and the organization known as the Agenda. But this was not before Robin and the Witch Boy had faced off against one another on Great Lawn of Washington DC. Apparently Klarion was still a bit angry about the humiliation that Robin and his teammates had caused him that day.
"TEEKL!" Klarion bellowed with rage. "Bring me that birds head!"
Again Klarion's Familiar obeys his orders and changed back into her cat/human form with her claws extended. Robin narrowly avoided the feline's attack by rolling to one side and leaping back to his feet. In one swift movement Robin's hand had shot out, holding a foot long metal cylinder. Pressing a hidden switch on the side, the cylinder snapped into a five-foot long bo-staff.
"Here, kitty-kitty," Robin said in a deadpan tone and falling into a fighting stance.
Teekl hissed loudly at him and leapt towards the Boy Wonder, who had again rolled out of the way. Upon jumping back to his feet, Robin swung his bo-staff about and struck the shape shifting feline hard in the back of the head. Teekl collapsed to the floor in a furry heap and an instant later morphed back into her natural animal state.
"Now stay. Good girl."
"TEEKL!" Klarion screamed, his eyes grown to the size of dinner plates. "YOU HURT TEEKL! YOU SON OF A BI- OW!" Once again, Klarion words were cut short as he felt a strong blow to his right cheek forcing him to fall hard on the floor.
"No… use… bad words," scowled a young woman dressed in a full body charcoal colored costume, complete with a long flowing bat-like cape and pointy-eared mask that completely covered her face. On her chest was a yellow outline of a bat that reflected brightly against the black of the costume.
"Batgirl?" Robin blurted out in surprise. Of all the people Oracle could have called for as back up, why did it have to be Batgirl? Barbara could have called Batman, Nightwing, hell even the Huntress, but she just HAD to send Batgirl. Quickly regaining his composure Robin tried to get his mind back on to the matter at hand.
It honestly wasn't that Robin didn't like Batgirl, but rather that she… sort of… well... intimidated him. Being the daughter of one of the world's deadliest assassins and being the world's greatest martial artist could have that effect on anyone.
"Spit and Hades! Not you too!" Klarion whined. "This so isn't fair! Why can't you two just mind your own business?"
"Give it up, Klarion," Robin ordered.
"That's it!" snarled Klarion in a fit of rage. "I am going to kill you both SO much!" Klarion's hand began to glow and crackle brightly with mystical energy. Raising his fists up, blasts of energy exploded out at the two crime fighters. Robin leapt behind a large stature that ended up having it's head blasted clear off its shoulders and into the Boy Wonder's lap.
"Hmm… I guess I forgot about his temper…" Robin mused as he tossed the marble head to one side.
Batgirl meanwhile was evading Klarion's blasts like they were nothing more than dodge balls in a gym class. Her reaction time was uncanny and her speed and agility seemed nearly inhuman, thanks to a lifetime of training. While Klarion's attacks were often coming close to striking her, she always avoided it by a hair, and drew increasingly closer towards the Witch Boy.
"Stand still and die!" he screamed.
Robin watched as Batgirl kept Klarion occupied for a moment before turning his attention to other matters. The necklace that Klarion so badly desired was laying just a few feet away from him.
'Gotta get that thing out of here before Klarion gets his grubby little hands on it,' Robin thought to himself. While he wasn't certain if the legend of Hera's necklace was true, he wasn't anxious to find out. With Klarion's concentration on Batgirl Robin raced across to grab the stone, yet as he did so something sharp cut against his check and knocked him down. Looking up he found himself meeting a pair of sinister yellow cat-eyes. Teekl was back in the fight.
"Um… I see you woke up…" Robin said, giving a half smile just before kicking Teekl's legs out from under her. Still holding the necklace tightly in one hand and his bo-staff in the other, Robin flipped onto his feet and stood ready for a fight.
Teekl who had landed on her feet gracefully glare at him, and let out a horrid snarl and hiss. Her clawed hand flew sharply at Robin's throat, yet the Boy Wonder easily executed a back handspring, taking him out of harm's way. The two then began to circle each other, waiting for the next move.
Batgirl meanwhile now stood towering before Klarion who was breathing as if he had just run a marathon. She had easily avoided each and every attack that the Witch Boy had thrown at her. And to add insult to injury she didn't even look winded while he felt all but completely spent.
"Tired… yet?" Batgirl asked, a smirk forming underneath her mask.
"I'll… (Gasp) show you… tired…" Klarion said through deep breaths. He brow furrowed in concentration and he then began to float in the air as he drew forth more magicks. Holding out his hands electricity began to dance on his fingertips, before twin bolts of lightning blasted forth, striking Robin and Batgirl. Both teens screamed out as pain raced through out their bodies. Although their costumes were insolated to protect against electricity and the elements, the mystical attack had been able to strike the teens with great intensity. As electric blast struck Robin, his entire body began to spasm forcing him to release his grip on the necklace and sent it crashing down to the floor where it shattered. Bits and pieces of emerald stone scattered across the marble floor that was followed by a long silence as everyone stared at the shattered remains in surprise.
"MY NECKALCE!" the Witch Boy screamed in rage. "YOU BROKE MY NECKLACE!"
"I broke?" Robin said through gasps of breath, as he and Batgirl struggled back to their feet. "Excuse me, but who struck who with the lightning bolts?"
"YOU WILL PAY FOR THAT BRIDBOY!"
Klarion's eyes suddenly turned to a soulless black while his entire form began to glow with dark aura of energy. His voice had dropped several octaves as his began to draw forth from the blackest magicks that he knew. The temperature of the room dropped down to such a cold degree that Cassandra could now see her own breath leaving from beneath her mask.
"What… you… do?" Batgirl demanded, as a sudden wind began blasting all around her and nearly knocking her over.
"You'll see…" Klarion promised with a sinister smile. He then he began to chant in a strange long-dead language and extended his arms out. Teekl had taken this opportunity to alter herself back to her natural cat-form and leapt behind her master for protection. Meanwhile the two Gotham crime fighters raced to the center of the room and looked up at the immense power that was being called on. They had to figure a way to stop Klarion from accomplishing whatever it was he had planned. But the only question was how?
The air began to spin and thrash more rapidly. The air was filled with crackling with electricity and claps of thunder.
"You should… not… have broke… thing…" Batgirl said trying to hold herself.
"Don't you start on me," Robin murmured one hand slipping into his belt for a batarang. Not that he was sure a batarang would do much in this situation, but it usually made him feel a bit more confident.
There was another rumbling of thunder and then a blinding flash of light. Both vigilantes used their capes to protect themselves and their eyes as what seemed to be a blinding pool of glowing purple energy that exploded before them. Robin had been doing this job long enough to recognize what it was. It was a vortex.
"Oh shit…" Robin said.
"Yeah… Same… here…" Batgirl responded. Before either one could react further, the wind began to blast at them from behind with renewed force and they felt themselves being drawn towards the mouth of the portal. Pulling for his grapple gun with one, Robin fired out a D-Cell line that wrapped itself tightly around one of the thick museum columns. He then grabbed Cassandra arm with his other hand, just as the wind became so strong that it lifted them off the ground.
"HOLD ON! WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T LET GO OF MY HAND!" Robin shouted to Batgirl as they dangled before the vortex like a piece of string in the wind.
"Your little rope isn't going to help you, Robbie-poo," Klarion laughed. Once again he raised his hands and lighting blasted from his fingertips, severing their lifeline.
"NO!" Robin screamed as both he and Batgirl both flew back and vanished into the vortex with blinding flash.
"So long kiddies!" Klarion threw his head back and gave one of the most horrific laughs imaginable. And with a snap of his fingers, he and Teekl vanished.
TO BE CONTINUED...