On Earth-3 the history of the world is reversed. The Old world is the Americas and Columbus sailed east to the New World Europe. It is now 1986 and a new threat has appeared in Paris, the City of Lights, Owl Man also known as Thomas Wayne Jr. and his Court of Owls.
A Long Halloween
Vol 1 the Court of Owls
The city of lights seemed too bright this time of year as the seasons began turning from summer to autumn. The nights would lengthen and while the lights of the city were a pale comparison to the sun they did remind him how difficult it would be to accomplish his lifelong dream. Emperors of old would surely have had an easier time than attempting to take over a city of educated people that could build this. An army would certainly be easier. His court of owls, however, was not an army by any stretch of the imagination. It was a court of assassins, thieves, and smugglers, not the sort to stand up to even a state militia. He would have to go about this in a more intelligent manner. He couldn’t force an entire city much less an entire country to obey him, but slowly and over time he could mold them into something he could control.
There would be obstacles, of course, there always were especially in a city known not just for technology but also for the honesty of their police force. Not all of the individuals who became police in the city of Paris were by any means honest, but that was their reputation. Reputations can be a funny thing reflecting reality from the original image. Thomas had several dossiers of people he could begin working on. One James Gordon returning from Marseille for the first time in years intrigued him.
Jim Gordon’s official record was quite impressive. If one only looked at the surface you would think he was much like the majority of officers in Paris, honest. Some digging, however, uncovered several hidden accounts, even two mistresses, one of which allowed him to return to Paris. Perhaps the policeman had learned from his mistake. In some ways, Thomas thought it could be fate. On the same night he ordered his parents executed, Jim Gordon had eliminated a rival. There were rumors but nobody was able to prove who did the deed. He did, however, leave one witness, but Thomas couldn’t argue too much with that given he allowed his own brother to live, albeit in a vegetative state.
“Talon, invite Officer Gordon to speak with us.” He could hear the shuffling of his apprentice moving from his hiding spot to fulfill his duty. Thomas was lucky to have stumbled upon the Grayson family. The entire family had a unique talent he could put to use in training his army. They were so easy to manipulate and their original boss C.C. Haly even more so. Richard Grayson, the son of the infamous Grayson high wire couple would have little problem with this task.
Haly was a petty criminal with little large ambition other than combining his love of the circus with various petty crimes. Their first foray into the larger world was, to put it bluntly, a disaster. The Graysons while talented and certainly agile were no seasoned kidnappers. That inexperience had led to the death of the businessman Edward Skeevers. Luckily for the circus Thomas had taken an interest in them. The circus still operated under strict controls, this time, no petty crime and an order to search for talent for his Court of Owls.
Outside the door to his office, two such gems stood guard as part of their training. Raya Vestri and Raymond McCreary weren’t yet on Richard’s level, but Thomas was certain it would only be a matter of time. Both showed promise although he was concerned about a certain rebellious streak the two still seemed to possess. It was the breaking of that spirit that had proved the most time consuming. The two came to attention the moment Thomas stepped entered the hallway. The sound of precise movement brought a wave of pleasure to Thomas. He would accept no less than the best to the point where old friends of the family frequently stated that châteaux Wayne reminded them more of a military base than a proper home. With a crook of the finger, Raya fell in behind Thomas. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see some defiance still in Raymond’s eyes as he returned to his original position.
Thomas could understand a portion of the defiance. At five foot eleven inches with long red hair and bright green eyes, she would certainly have made a decent model if not for the tiny scar Thomas gave her when he first took over the circus. He told her the scar would always remind her at who owned her and who she owned allegiance to. Despite the defiance she did earn the rank of Talon easily enough and while she did lack the strength of the other talons her work with blades was truly a masterpiece. “Has she arrived?”
“Yes, sir. She has met with Bruce and is positive about the treatments.”
Thomas wondered if Dr. Pamela Isley would be able to accomplish anything with his brother. On the night of their parents' murder, one of his hired thugs got a little bit too excited with his orders. If it hadn’t been for their butler Alfred Pennyworth then the entire family might have been murdered that night. It was the same night that he decided on forming the Court of Owls. He would not take the chance of hiring a third party mercenary like that again. He would never tolerate an unprofessional thug again. Bruce wasn’t supposed to get hurt and it broke Thomas’ heart every day he had to see his brother waste away, unused muscles atrophying, a brilliant mind lost.
Dr. Pamela Isley came recommended from several of Thomas’ military contacts. She had worked wonders with the plants brought back from the expedition that found Themyscira. He hoped General Lane great luck with his planned invasion. He was certain the military would make great use of the weapons provided to them by Wayne Technologies. For now, he had to focus on his baby brother and preparing Paris to defend itself. To become tougher than what it is, to be strong enough to handle any invader. Taking Themyscira would go a long way to protecting them from the old world to the west but it wouldn’t be enough. There was a cold war certain to heat up again as negotiations about scaling back missile arsenals seemed destined for failure. They needed a trump card desperately to hold back nuclear destruction.
When Thomas opened the door to his brother’s room that world melted away. Dr. Isley sat a desk working on the new medication brought back from the island. The plants brought back from Themyscira seemed to have amazing healing properties so there was great hope that this medicine would help Bruce’s broken brain to heal itself. Trials were still not complete but Thomas managed to pull some strings to get it early.
“I hope I haven’t interrupted you.”
If Dr. Isley was annoyed by the intrusion she didn’t appear to show it. “No trouble, I’m just preparing more medicine. It may be too soon for the medicine to work on other areas but he is breathing easier which is a good sign. The trails that we have worked on so far have shown this as the first stage of regeneration that the plant seems to trigger.”
It was subtle but he could hear her concern for Bruce. Ever since his near failed assassination attempt he hadn’t taken chances with people. Pamela knew Bruce from their childhood and she would throw every bit of her concentration into healing him, just as she had worked on her doctorates. He knows the real reason was to help Bruce; the girl clearly was in love with him so the risk with security was acceptable.
“Will it also help with the muscles?”
“Oh yes. Several of General Lane’s soldiers have already received the treatment. This plant won’t regrow lost limbs but it has no problem with crippled limbs. As long as the parts are all there it’s the best thing out there.”
Thomas was certain she was taking the medication as well. There were subtle changes in her that he could see. Not automatically obvious unless you paid attention to the little details. It seemed that there were other things the medicine did, or she was taking something else for this. Given the limitations of the human body, there might be potential for his soldiers if he played his cards right. “My associate will assist you from here out, she’s interested in medicine.”
Dr. Isley gave him a look that clearly said she didn’t believe a word he said but didn’t see anything wrong with the request. Raya would easily pick up and remember all the tricks Dr. Isley had, it was always good to have a backup plan just in case. His cell phone rang an Elf owl, which would mean Richard Grayson had gotten hold of Jim Gordon already and was heading back. It was time for the next phase of Operation Samhain to begin.
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