The Lost Man
It was not so long after his return that Master Bruce told me of his plans. At first I was concerned for his sanity and wondered what exactly he'd been doing all those years, but the thoroughness of it all made me doubt that they were the schemes of a madman. Designs, supplies, equipment, materials - he laid them all out for me, and said that he planned to do it all himself.
Yes, he'd learned many things while he was away, not the least of which were extreme hobbies like spelunking, construction, engineering, forensics, law, and the most curious type of combat training regimen.
Somehow, the reality of what he was planning to do hadn't set in until he was already doing it; sleeping all day, stalking the dark city streets by night, and coming back in the mornings with more wounds and injuries than I had ever seen one man sustain in all my life, both then and since. The newspapers began printing stories on him left and right - the masked vigilante of Gotham - calling him a criminal and a hero, sometimes in the same line. He became an icon, a symbol, a warning, and a promise.
He became the Batman, and all the suffering and devotion to city and self that went with it.
I'd kept all those letters Master Bruce had sent, and I still remember him writing that he believed he'd found what he'd been looking for. But I knew that his search was far from over. The Batman may have been what Gotham needed, but the cape and cowl was only a mask for the lost man underneath.