Owlman's apprentice, Talon, brings the corrupt officer James Gordon before the Court of Owls.
A Long Halloween
Part I the Court of Owls
Ten years ago, James Gordon, left Paris with his career and life barely intact. He considered himself lucky that the deaths of Thomas and Martha overshadowed his revenge plot. They were the royalty of Paris and with such a bright light it was far easier for a small shadow like Gordon to escape. He managed to kill a thorn in his side and even pin the murder on his rival’s own son. Even if he was never implicated for the murder, that didn’t mean he got off scot-free. His penance came in the form of exile to Marseille. That little trip cost quite a few favors his father had built up. There was little choice in the matter. James knew that if he stayed in Paris for much longer something would turn up. He needed out of the city for a while. He needed time and space to build up the favors he would need to become a made man.
If Paris was the city of lights then Marseille was the City of Trade, and one of the five major trade cities along the Mediterranean states. Athens, Barcelona, Naples, Marseille and Valencia all made up the backbone of trade among the southern United States. The other cities, however, could never touch the class brought by the Marseille families even after Sherman marched through burning everything in his path. The reconstruction of southern Europe brought back trade to the area faster and it would prove the best place for James Gordon to recoup the favors owed to him. His time among the City of Trade was pleasant enough. Between the prohibition and the reconstruction, there were plenty of places to hide one’s darker side.
Just as, Detective Gordon had reestablished himself fate once again struck him down. One his shipments had been attacked but not one of his people could say by whom. Whoever pulled it off quickly eliminated security for the transport ship with ease and without a single gunshot. When the police found the ship they found it devoid of life each person with their throat slit from ear to ear. Whoever attacked the ship left everything else intact, the drugs, the human cargo, and the weapons all smuggled in from Africa were all left to be found. James knew it was only a matter of time before this was eventually linked back to him. As he wondered where he would go this time he received a letter from a very old acquaintance, Alfred Pennyworth.
There was an opening for a Detective and Pennyworth’s master Thomas Wayne Jr had pulled some strings to offer the position to James Gordon if he wanted to return home. It seemed too good to be true but it would be difficult to pass up such an opportunity. Whoever was targeting his men in Marseille was certainly far more organized than he could handle at this point in time. He really didn’t know where else he could run and he doubted he could pull off what he accomplished in Marseille again. James Gordon wasn’t yet 40 but he certainly felt well beyond his years. With a child on the way that further limited his options. James Gordon would be going home.
James Gordon tried to stretch out but immediately felt the ropes binding him. He hadn’t gone to sleep like this, what was going on? His eyes still burned as gently opened them to find darkness. Wherever he was it wasn’t the tiny him he secured for his family. He was thankful Barbara wasn’t set to arrive until this weekend. Whoever kidnapped him could certainly have hurt her and their child. He was thankful for small favors and he began wondering how he would get himself out of his predicament alive. For a moment he thought that the people who hunted him in Marseille were after him again but that quickly vanished. If that were the case he certainly would have been eliminated not kidnapped. Whoever wanted him, wanted him alive for something. They couldn’t have been expecting a ransom of any type.
“So Gordon you certainly have gotten yourself in a pickle haven’t you?”
The voice sounded strange and slightly modulated. Perhaps he could coax more information from the man. “You know there are easier ways to get me out of Marseille.”
“The ship? Not my people. They would not have wasted such cargo. No, there is another game in town in that city. I’ve kept my eye on him.”
“him? not a new family?” James’ eyes were beginning to adjust to the light in the room. There wasn’t much to go by but he could tell the man in the room with him was massive and could break him in half with ease. He had the feeling of a wolf on the hunt and James suddenly felt like a small mouse.
“Just one and very talented. He appears to be dedicated to bring down people like us. The fool will get himself killed for such behavior, nobody appreciates a hero.”
James could hear the scratch of a match being light the sudden brightness causing him to blink. He was wrong there wasn’t just one other person in the room another was walking around lighting candles. He is no wolf. The light of the candles fell on something far worse. An armored man stood by the only door of the cell they held James in. With light, he could see far more detail than he wanted to. The man had an Owl symbol on his chest, with piercing dark blue eyes. The armor itself a combination of blue and silver under a massive layered cape that looked reminded him of wings. The costume was absurd; his kidnapper must be insane and certainly deserved to be in Arkham Asylum rather than running free. He had to get out of here before the madman killed him, or worse.
“I wouldn’t move yet if I were you. My assistant Talon is on edge tonight and he might decide you make a far better mouse.”
James remained as still as he could. His childhood education came back to him in a rush. Owls were predators as well. “What do you want with me?”
“Quick to reason, well it isn’t as if you have a choice in the matter. Well, I suppose that is a lie. You do have a choice. You may accept my offer or die. What my offer is, doesn’t matter at this point. I have need of someone like you. I need you to work within the Paris police department to achieve my ends. Bear in mind I tell you my ends, not your own. The moment you place your needs above mine will be the last moment you have on this Earth.”
James thought the phrasing a bit odd but left it at that. “I’ll accept. What do you want?” James felt himself deflate, but it was far better to live than die.
“The Job is simple. You will keep your head down and attract no attention to yourself. Do not even think about making money on the side. My operatives inside the police department will keep you safe for your later role. I have an interesting future planned for you, little mouse. How would you like to grow up to become commissioner?”
James could hear the money falling and knew this Owl Man had him. He wondered for a moment why he was threatened earlier. He could see the smirk on the Man’s face through the exposed part of his mask. Could he read minds?
“To let you know who owns you and that you really have no other choice. Talon return Detective Gordon to his home, he must prepare for his family’s arrival.”
James had forgotten about the other man in the room. No wait, it was a boy, he couldn’t have been much older than fourteen. His vision faded into darkness as the boy sprayed a mist into his face.
James opened his eyes to the ceiling of his bedroom, eyes burning from whatever chemicals were in the mist that the two lunatics sprayed on him. He looked down on his right hand as he felt something metallic on his ring finger. It was a silver ring with an owl engraving along the inside of it. As he placed the ring back on his finger, James, thought to himself that it was certainly less painful than being branded by an iron. Another message, Owl Man was letting his new mouse know who owned him. He was a fool to have returned home like this, there might not be any escape from the trap this time.
DC Alt Earth-3 A Long Halloween Contents
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