The Winter ball continued well into the night, until dawn. That's when the party came to an end. Lash met no end of trouble through most of the night obtaining all sorts of attention from both men and women. More then once had been invited into a private alcove for a 'talk'. But he always found a reasonable excuse not to go. Or more to say Zetulan did that for him, stating clearly that Queen Mab's host was to be with him once she was free. Lash was thankful and said as much to her, to which she only smiled and winked at him. When the dawn's light rose Lash, along with his company of Bruce, Selina, Richard, Zatanna, Monic, and Shevalla all joined Lash in his carriage that was provided for the new Winter Knight. Zetulan said goodbye with a simple kiss on his cheek and said she'd be waiting.
Inside the carriage Selina was half asleep and leaning against Bruce's chest, who had his arm around her. Richard and Zatanna had their own little corner. The poor boy was crushing hard on the woman. He sat up straight and was rigid as she leaned against him asleep. Monica and Shevalla both took one of Lash's shoulders and were resting on the ride back to Warden HQ.
“It was a good party, been a long time since I stayed out since dawn.” Bruce said softly towards Lash. Of course Lash knew that was a lie, Batman stayed out till dawn all the time. But he knew what Bruce meant.
“Oh its only dawn here in the Fae Wilds. Once we leave the gate little less then three or so hours will have passed.” Lash said back. Making Bruce shift slightly to look at him as if to say, 'are you serious?' Lash smiled knowingly at him.
“He's right. It will be a little past midnight when we pass through the gate. Time in the Fae wilds is different. Sometimes its faster, other times its slower. The Winter Court adjusted the time to accommodate everyone. They understood that staying there for so long would be disadvantages to their people.” Monica said softly into the carriage. She wrapped her hands around Lash's arm and nestled against him.
“This way those that have a mundane persona have simple excuse to say they went to a party and stayed till midnight. Leaving at a reasonable time so not to arouse suspicion.” Shevalla said, her sing song voice still as enchanting as ever. She pressed her body against Lash, so his arms were nestled between her breasts. Lash rolled his eyes inwardly, he knew she did it on purpose. At least once during the party Monica and Shevalla both offered to speak to Lash privately, or together.
The carriage soon came to a halt then every one stepped out. Lash laughed at his half asleep companions then to cast Sooth, and Nature's Supplement they all perked right up like they all had a shot of espresso! Just as Lash and the women had said, it was a little past midnight on the other side. When they walked through the gate Lash felt like the world was welcoming him back. He felt connected in way that he didn't know was possible. He was apparently not the only one as his group shivered at being back at this side of the gate. There were hundreds of cars on standby to take the party goers back home. Including the legendary Alfred Pennyworth, who helped the woman including miss Kyle into the car. Richard was trying his best to be a good gentleman helping them with Alfred to get settled. Lash and Bruce watched Richard with mild amusement until a logistical operations Warden came running over to Lash and spoke softly in his ear. But it was just loud enough for Bruce to hear.
“Warden Lash, we are getting reports of a gang fight in The Narrows. A chamber was discovered under a warehouse the construction teams dug out. The room was filled with the Neo-steroid 'Venom'. The drug runners were able to get their product out and run. The Council knows you monitor the Narrows. They wanted you to investigate.” The logistical aid said to him, then soon scurried off to relay messages to other returning Warden's. Lash turned to Bruce who to his credit kept his face indifferent.
“Looks like I have work to do, may I trust you to see my friend Selina to your home safely?” Lash said to Bruce. Bruce raised an eye brow noticing that Lash didn't say to take her own home.
“Of course, she'll be safe in my care. Good hunting, Agent Wraith.” Bruce said to Lash. Lash didn't even flinch when Bruce said his persona's name. Lash figured Bruce knew who he was a long time ago, so he just smiled at him. Then he ran off towards the Warden logistical building to find a ride.
Selina stretched out, raising her arms up into the air then sprawled across the massive bed that was inside of Wayne Manor. After Lash's spell energizing spell work wore off she went back to being tired. She was a little surprised when Bruce said she could stay the night, he promised to keep her safe under Lash's encouragement. Which made Selina loath and love Lash all at the same time. Why was he so insistent on getting Selina and Bruce together? A knock on the door sounded.
“Come in?” Expecting Alfred, only to see Zatanna, Monica, and Shevalla walk through the door. They had all swapped from their party dress to comfortable pajamas's, as did Selina. Her dress was hung up and to the side.
“Mind if we talk for a bit, miss Kyle?” Shevalla asked, trying to be polite. But Selina just smiled at her.
“What do you want to know about him?” Selina said towards them. Shevalla and Monica blushed, and Zatanna laughed. The women all took seats in the very nice and sizable guest bedroom to talk.
The women spoke for little over an hour about Lash, they were surprised to know that Selina and Lash had known he each other for less then three months. They seemed very friendly and close. Selina dodged the reason why, she figured the Pack Bond was her and Lash's business. Selina asked about what it meant to be a Winter Knight. Only to be shocked to discover that Lash had essentially become Fae Nobility, not only that but nobility that has the ear of the Queen. What had her friend gotten himself into? Selina sighed in worry, but smiled despite herself when she thought about him.
Lash and Saurian both slipped on some simple Warden Tactical and Operations gear. Including their video and communications up link system. Lash was then shuttled to the Narrows via helicopter. While inside the chopper he shifted his glamour to take on the disguise of 'Wraith' the Nazgul looking monstrosity. A simple glamour from the Wardens was already placed on the helicopter to say UNWS (United Nations World Security). When the helicopter landed at a cleared construction field, Wraith stepped out to be met by GCPD Captain Gordon. Wraith walked over to him, keeping to the alien disguise bowed towards Gordon. Gordon only raised an eye brow and shook himself out of it moving to business.
“We told the UNWS about the incident over an hour ago, we figured you would have been here sooner. Come on I'll show you the site.” Gordon's voice was short and to the point, Lash could see that he was tired. So he waved his clawed hand at the Captain and cast Sooth, and Nature's Supplement on him as they moved.
“What did you just do?!” Gordon whipped around, snarling at Lash. The green energy infused into Gordon at that point and he became visibly healthier.
“Relax Captain, I did the same thing I did for the rescued civilians in the Narrows and Metropolis. Are you going to deny a natural pick me up? It has no withdrawal symptoms you'll be fine. Tell me about the Venom shipment that was found?” Lash's voice was primal, animalistic and hard to understand. Just like Saurian's would be if he was playing the part of Wraith.
Gordon clearly didn't like what Lash had done. But kept his mouth shut about it. They walked towards the crime scene. A worn down Ace chemical plant was in the process of being torn down, under it was several secret rooms, and tunnels. These were not dug on the sly, these were part of the building. Or were at least installed after the building was finished being built. Several police forensic specialist were looking over the scene. Several workers, security, and police were all shot and wounded during the incident but thankfully no one had died. However, more then half of the product was now missing.
“They went down here, this leads down to the old Gotham Subway train station. It's been shut off and torn apart for over three decades. Wayne Industries is even going to rebuild this as well, so the Narrows has another way to get back and forth. Its a good idea on paper. But its going to take years of work to clean this place out. Anyways, the tunnels connect to any number of pipes and connection to sewers, water, power, and even towards the ocean. It's a labyrinth of metal and concrete, we don't know how they got through it.” Gordon said to Wraith. The forensic people were watching the exchange, more precisely they were watching Wraith drop to all fours and began to...sniff the ground?
Lash moved around in the underground chambers of Ace chemicals on all fours with grace and agility not befitting a human being. He was using his skill Minor Transformation so currently he wasn't considered human. Though he did find out that he was in his default form his blood still read as 100% human. The Warden's couldn't figure out why! Saurian was tired from the Great Hunt and insisted that he would only swap out if it was an emergency. So the giant lizard was asleep, and mumbling across the link between them. Giving advice here and there. When it came to tracking Saurian was clearly the better hunter.
“One of the men wears a distinct after shave, expensive. Another one has an old injury, see how these tracks have a slant to the foot print?” Wraith was speaking for Gordon and the forensic team's benefit. Lash kept getting prompts from his skill Magical Tracking for gaining experience. It wasn't just magic, it also worked on just plain tracking.
Lash listed off foot size, height, body weight, and ethnicity. This made Gordon scoff at him. To which Lash sniffed the police and was able to discern if they had different blood lines in them. Which of course freaked the people out to have a giant nazgul sniff them, but also be able to read their families heritage. Gordon continued to grumble but had to admit he was good. Lash and the police went down into the train station after some investigation he was able to discover they had actually used a mobile train vehicle. Basically a car that can swap out to use basic rail ways. Because there was an old line that never got removed.
“Where does this line go?” Lash asked, Gordon and his men pulled out an old map. Traced it towards another abandoned train station.
“Send your men to the station, I'll walk this line if they got off some place or moved to another we'll have to find it. In the spirit of cooperation since I know you don't trust me. Feel free to send people with me.” Lash spoke to Gordon. Gordon ground his teeth in frustration but it made sense. He called on his radio.
With in a few minutes a GCPD swat team showed up. Why was that? Why was this getting so much attention. Easily explained, first; the Narrows was quickly becoming a Wayne industry advertisement so a lot of money was here. Second; the Neo-steroid Venom was a high priority drug. Imagine fighting against a group of armed robbers that slap on venom the size of a nicotine patch and they suddenly can shake off small arms fire, and throw cars at people, so obviously MCU Gordon's Unit is involved. Third; The UNWS agent Wraith that GCPD fucking hated was helping in an investigation, the Police Department didn't want to leave this thing alone in their operation.
Lash was linked up to their radio frequency. He learned their names, easily found out that Temporary Pack would not work on them. Since they were not friendly towards him. He then set a reminder on his phone to check up on the soldiers the he worked with at the palace. He had written a well received report about their help. Carl had gotten a promotion, and the Lieutenant Colonel didn't get the generals job, but was promoted to Colonel. One rank below Brigadier General.
Lash raised his arms up, and used a bit of glamour to make it look like tiny blue machines danced around the Swat team. He cast Chameleon, Nature's Passage, and Immaculate on the officers. The standing officers at the train station flipped out when they saw the Swat and the Wraith literally disappear from sight! The Swat were surprised as well, but that didn't stop them for long as Wraith called them on the radio to keep up. They were moving on!
Gordon's eyes went wide as saucers when he saw that alien Wraith send tiny machines to surround his team. Then shook in surprise as the swat team disappeared from sight. Only to become moving blurs when they began to move. Gordon had to admit that was pretty cool! The team following Wraith gave one last check in before the dense concrete and water obstructed the communication. Gordon sighed, left the crime scene to his fellow officers and made his way to the next train station. It had been several hours so it was not likely that they would still find anything there. Save maybe another piece of the trail. His phone vibrated, when he saw the caller he smiled and answered.
“Hey Barbara! No, I'm still at the scene...What? Oh ya I met the 'Wraith'”Gordon said the name like he had sucked on a raw lemon. “He figured out that they had used a vehicle with train track swap. So we are checking another abandoned train station. Ya, wont be home for a while. Sorry. Kiss your mother for me! Love you too..” Gordon said goodbye to his little girl. She'd been really animated lately about asking about his work. Maybe she wanted to be a cop like him! Wouldn't that be great!
Lash wasn't sure where he learned it from. His training with the Warden's? His different past lives that dealt with tactics and strategies. But over the course of the next twenty minutes he was able to sync with the swat team like a well oiled machine. Get got prompts that his skills, Dungeon Delver, Commanding Presence, and Skill Trainer kept getting experience. He had learned a new Nature Spell called Animal Eye.
Congratulations User! You've obtained the Nature Domain Spell, Animal Eye: Though you can see in the dark, what about your companions be it mundane or super-natural. This spell lasts for about an hour, but grows with repeated levels. It allows for a combination of low light, and dark vision. The effects grow and change with use. Side effect, eyes tend to glow much like a nocturnal animal's eye does when light is reflected on them.
The team was startled when he first cast it on them. They were trying to decide if they wanted to use night vision or use flash lights. Only to have Wraith cast his alien tech on them, then they could see with little to no light. The team grumbled but soon grew to appreciate it. A few even joked with him about peeping on people at night. Even with his gruff voice he told a joke 'Whoo would want to peak at me? Whoo says I? Whooo?', it was awkward and hard to understand. But the fact that he attempted made it more funny then it was.
They got about half way towards their destination only to see the trucks ahead of them, empty of cargo. Lash looked around using his skill Magic Tracking and soon found the trail that lead into an hold service tunnel. It was wide enough for pallet loaders that's what they assumed they used. Lash used Connectivity on the commanders radio. So they could radio it in. Gordon had them mark their position as he did the same on his map. Then they moved into the passage way, Lash summarized they were about three hours behind them. Re casting the various buff spells on the swat team they moved on.
None of the officers with Lash had a mark of Sherogoth. So that meant they were relatively good people. Good cops can always be debated depending on who you talk to. But good people. They were skilled, and trained well. They had been hand picked by Gordon for the MCU (Major Crimes Unit). Ever since the 'clean' up after the scarecrow attack on the Narrows and Arkham a lot of crooked cops, politicians, etc were running scared or behaving themselves. Being a good cop in Gotham before was a liability. Not so much now. Some time during their travel the nature spells cast on them like Chameleon allowed themselves to been seen by each other, like a friendly IFF (Identify friend or foe). Most likely a utility option the Developers put in place, Lash would ask Dawn about it later. So when Wraith raised a fist to have them stop, they did. He spread his claws out and the group scattered to take cover. Wraith climbed a wall and moved forward like a gecko towards the sound of conversation.
“Christ that still freaks me out every time he does that!” One of the officers hissed across the radio.
Lash ignored him and he crawled along the wall looking around the corner. He saw a barrel with a small fire in it. A few homeless were laying around it, a few more were talking near it. He looked down at the trail and saw that the drug runners had moved right past this point. Maybe these people had seen something? More then likely they hid when the group came by, Lash didn't think the Venom peddlers would care about killing a few homeless. Lash communicated to the commander of the team about what he was seeing. The swat broke cover and under the Chameleon spell moved to take up a positions so the homeless couldn't run. Lash climbed right above them, and was like a giant spider looking down at the prey caught in his web. Lash waved his hand and the Chameleon spell was temporarily removed from the commander who suddenly appeared before the homeless.
“Good evening!” Commander O'Connor was 6' even, with a shaved marine core haircut. Pale skin for an Irish man, with green eyes. His smile was infectious he had a firm attitude but knew when to be soft and when to be hard with his people. Lash and Saurian liked him. He stood before the homeless with a smile on his face, his rifle slug at his side but his side arm was unlocked but still in its holster next to his hand in case. The homeless screamed in surprise.
“What the fuck! What the fuck is a pig doing here?! Where the fuck did you come from?!” A larger man with a beard screamed at him. He picked up an old and rusty crow bar as the entire homeless community got up and hide behind the man.
“I take it your the leader of this little band? My name is Commander O'Connor, we are with GCPD. We are looking for some people that passed this way about three or so hours ago. Seen anything?” O'Connor said, his award winning smile only earning cussing and insults from the homeless.
“We aint tellin you shit! We have nothin in it for us! Nothin! Whatcha going to do! Arrest us piggy!” The bearded man screamed at O'Connor.
“Nope! I'll let you talk to my associate though, he'll be more then happy to talk to you!” O'Connor said with a smile.
“Oh its this fuckin stick! Good Piggie, bad piggie! Go fuck yourself!” The bearded man screamed, and then SCREAMED in horror as a dark shadow dropped from the ceiling falling just behind O'Connon, it stood up and screeched at them! The inhuman wail made them shiver, they felt that screech deep in their very souls. O'Connor impressively didn't flinch and just smiled.
“This is my associate, Agent Wraith of the United Nations World Security. Since you don't want to talk to me, you can talk to him?” O'Connon said, continuing to smile.
It was pretty simple after that, they answered all their questions in a hurry. The drug runners had come by quickly, so quickly they even surprised the homeless. Who hid as fast as they could, the drug runners didn't make any move to silence them as if they didn't care about them. Lash reapplied Chameleon on the commander. Then cast a area of effect Sooth, Nature's Supplement, and Nature's Kiss on the homeless, who were confused by what he just did.
“Payment for your help.” Wraith said in his ghostly animal voice. The homeless shivered every time he spoke. Lash soon disappeared his body merging into the environment.
Another hour past as they followed the trail. Every turn from the main direction Lash helped Commander O'Connor check in with GCPD. Then they hit the sewers, the trail led to a broken down wall and what looked like a poorly made wooden dock. These were not standard sludge, and feces sewers. No, these were connected to old canals, sewers, and water ways. Gotham city had old catacombs and ruined decayed towns underneath the shinning city today. He knew this because several super-natural communities that didn't have access to glamour stayed down here in miniature cities. Though it wasn't fun, they walked along the sides of the canals through sludge, crap, and other things. Lash had spoken to several rats that had seen the boat travel up stream. The swat didn't question Wraith how he knew the direction they assumed it was his tracking skill.
Coming around the bend they came upon an open room at least five football fields could fit in. An ocean of lanterns, candles, and torches lite up in the improvised town. There along the sewage canal was several poorly made boats, and barges for travel. The swat team were shocked to see this town of homeless, criminals, and poor hiding down here. Through some creative climbing and creation of hand holds through Material Shaping Lash created a step ladder for the swat. When they came to the edge of the town a simple gate barred the way. Several homeless and skaven like creatures watched them come up. The swat were confused by the rat people. Lash turned to them.
“Let me do the talking.” His animalsitic voice spoke softly to the officers. They all nodded in agreement. Lash still wearing his wraith disguise moved towards the gate. The human 'guards' were wary. Then one of the skaven people walked up and started to chatter and squeak at the Wraith.
“Welcome Warden Lash, we have heard of you. What brings some one like you to our home.” The Skaven spoke in a combination of beast talk and skaven. Lash's skills Other Worldly Lore, and Language Smith sent experience prompts to him.
“We are looking for drug runners who came from the Narrows. They carry the drug Venom we believe they came through here. We are tracking them. Venom effects mundanes and super-natural's alike. Which makes it a Warden problem.” Lash spoke back his skaven accent thick, and hard to understand. But the rat man understood him.
“Hmmm, many come and go from our port. But if it involves the law best speak to our town lord. The Croc! Come I'll lead the way.” The Skaven shifted his whiskers and moved back to his companions at the gate to speak to them. Lash went back to O'Connor and explained what was said.
The swat officers slung and holstered their weapons. Though they were under Gotham, Wraith made it abundantly clear that the 'Law' here is what the people of the town say it is. Sticking close to the skaven guide, the rat man was about 4' 3” with dark brown to black fur. This was not a were-rat. But a true rat man. He wore simple garments, but walked bare foot as his claws on his feet tapped against the ground. He kept his tail from dragging however. They technically were not under the Narrows anymore, which means as off the beaten path as this place was. It was technically under the jurisdiction of another Warden. Lash would have to look them up and find out why they never reported the Venom trade.
The 'town' if you call it that was a collection of ram shackle drift wood, metal sheeting, old cloth, ruined tents. A shanty town. Water collection barrels were scattered under the drain pipes. Simple barrel fire pits, and broken tools were used to cook and keep food. Several food stands were set up, roasted rat and sewer fish were being cooked. The stink was nigh unbearable. But the swat team kept it to themselves trying to not puke. Their rat guide brought them up several different levels past different gates. As they went up the levels the 'town' looked noticeably better. It was still a trash pile, but it was a nice trash pile! Each level led to a different port with access to different canal systems. They were actually below sea level right now.
“I had no idea this place existed.” O'Connor whispered to Wraith.
“There is a lot of things in Gotham that most don't know about. Despite my public appearance in the last few months. I've actually lived in this city for my whole life.” Wraith said back. Technically it was true.
“I thought you were an alien?” O'Connor said surprised.
“I am not a native to earth, but it is my home. Much like when a foreigner that migrates to your country they are technically an alien national. But if they have children in the nation, those children are considered citizens of your nation.” Wraith said back. This made O'Connor stop for a moment before he quickly caught up.
“So your not human! But you are actually part of Earth? Well shit! That's completely different!” O'Connor said with a smile. It was at that moment Lash realized he could make a Temporary Pack Bond with O'Connor. But decided against it for now. That skill has a nice utility ability to discern favorability. Maybe Lash could buy a reputation counter in the system shop.
The group soon arrived at a three story mansion made from scrap metal, drift wood, and metal t-beams. Standing at the front of the door were two were-crocodiles. Both were surprised at the sight of the Wraith. Lash made a simple hand sign that they recognized as. Mundanes near by, be careful of what you say.
“Hello I am Agent Wraith of the United Nations World Security.” Wraith took out his badge which said just that, but the were-breeds saw past the simple glamour and saw the Warden insignia.
“This is Commander O'Connor of Major Crimes Unit of GCPD, and his unit. We are here to see your lord this one called, Croc? Its about a drug running operation in the Narrows. They are peddling Venom. May we see your lord?” Wraith said trying to be polite. O'Connor waved at the guards.
The guards were large, muscle heads, with crocodile eyes. One of them nodded and entered the mansion to ask for an audience. Lash cast his nature spells on the skaven and said thank you for the help. That Rat-man bowed his head several times and went back to the gate he was stationed at. O'Connor leaned in and asked a question, but was loud enough that his people and the guard heard him.
“Are they aliens? Did we stumble on a alien refugee camp?” O'Connor asked. The swat team looked around with wide eyes. The guard looked at them and had a wry grin on his face.
“No, every one here is of earth. I am sure you have seen the news about Themyscira. The island nation of Amazons? Amazons have already been described as a sub-species of human. The people of this town are much the same.” Wraith said to him.
“Why are they hiding? I've never heard of rat men wondering around before.” O'Connor said, his unit nodded to this sentiment.
“Yes, because humanity is a shinning beacon of tolerance, acceptance, and understanding. When it comes to anything that looks slightly different from them. Yes, there is no such history of humans enslaving, discriminating, and out right killing other humans for looking different, and being born in a different part of the world.” Wraiths animalistic voice dripped with sarcasm. O'Connor, and his entire unit of people shrunk their neck in like turtles.
“Ya..I...Hadn't thought about that.” O'Connor said sheepishly.
“Let me ask you this, Commander. If Superman had red skin, claws on his hands and feet, bat like wings, and a demon tail. The stereotypical 'Devil' in earths history. But still acted the same way. Being a good guy that helps, saves, and protects. How well do you think he would have been received?” Wraith said to him.
“Why do you think I wear this shroud? I promise you I don't look like this, this is a costume I wear to protect my identity. To protect my family and friends. Humanity is not tolerant, not accepting, and not understanding!” Wraith said, his voice gotten a little louder then he meant. But the point was made. The entire swat team was looking down at their feet, or away, any where but at Wraith.
It was at this moment that the entire swat team became 'friendly' with Lash. They understood him now. The first guard soon came back and said to follow them. The second guard smiled at Wraith as he passed. The inside of the mansion was pretty clean and well maintained. They were brought to an open room where at the end was a simple wooden and metal throne. There sitting on it was a large man crocodile. Erik knew who this was. Waylon Jones, Killer Croc!
Waylon Jones, Killer Croc was about 8' feet tall of solid muscles and crocodile scales. He had on a pair of heavy duty cargo pants, no shoes, no shirt, but he did have on a cloak made from an ani...No that was human skin. He had a long muscular tail that came out the back of the throne and wrapped around the chair it self. His face was mostly human like, except his nose was flat much like a snake's. But his jaw, and shape of his head was a elongated human skull. Zero body hair since he was completely scaly. There were several were-crocodiles in the room watching Lash and the swat team walk in. But what caught Lash's eyes...Or rather his nose. Croc had a divine spark inside of him. The Egyptian God Sobek! Which means the Waylon Jones, was a God-Kin. Wraith stepped forward then took a knee and bowed his head in respect. This caught the whole room off guard, including Croc.
“Ummmmm, whatcha doin there fella?” Crock spoke in a thick creole accent, as he tilted his head looking at Wraith.
“I am simply paying my respects to the child of the Ancient Sobek. I mean no offense or disrespect and we apologize for coming to you so late in the night.” Wraith spoke as fluently as his animalistic voice allowed.
Croc's eyes momentarily flashed with a divine light that Lash knew no one else saw. But this was a brief moment when Sobek was looking through his child's eyes. Crock sat up straight and looked at Lash with interest, then shivered as the light faded from his eyes. He smiled wide, his lips pulling back into a huge menacing array of fangs.
“Oh ye talkin about me Daddy are you now! It be so nice n all when some one knows to be polite. So, whacha be needin from me and mine?” Croc said, the smile still wide on his face.
“We are tracking a group of drug runners from the Narrows. They are peddling the Neo-steroid Venom. We tracked them to your city, King Croc. We ask if we may know where they went, if it pleases you.” Wraith said. O'Connor and the swat team were stupefied at the turn of events. Especially when Croc was a man crocodile, and how Wraith was kneeling before him addressing him as a King.
“King? Ahahaha...I like the sound of that. Ya, we be know in about the drug runners. But, they paid in full to use our waters. But I'm not an unkind king! If what you said is true more then likely they be not comin back. They also be bringin trouble to me and mine. So, what can you offer for the information?” Croc said to Lash.
“Several things, we can counter off with money. I would also be willing to return to this town several times a month to provide, food, medicine, and health care. Along with building supplies, all of which will come to you first. You may decide who gets what, and how much.” Wraith said to him. Croc leaned back against his throne holding his chin in thought. One of the were-Crocodiles came to his ear and whispered something to him.
“Aha! I see. Tell your boyz to step to another room. My man here will guide them. You and I will speak privately.” Croc said to Lash. O'Connor was about to object when the Wraith held up a hand and told him to go. Once O'Connor and his unit were in a different room. Croc spoke again.
“My people be telling me you are a Warden from the surface, also a were-breed like them. A Warden Lash be the name. Take your disguise off I want to see you.” Croc said with a smile.
Lash sighed softly, stood up and dismissed his glamour as the Wraith. He was currently using his Minor Transformation so he looked a lot like Killer Croc. Then he shifted that away and was standing in his default form. Croc's eyes were wide at the sight, as were several were-crocodiles. That was really a quick transformation.
“Now we talk business. So, the runners paid us fifty grand to let them pass, I'd expect twice that much to rat them out. But, if you were telling the truth about offering medicine, and supplies for me and mine we can negotiate that price.” Croc said, a older woman walked in from a side room. She was about mid fifties and was wearing a collection of old blue jeans, long winter coat that use to be pricey. But she carried a staff and had the scent of magic on her. She watched the negotiations with interest.
“If I may ask, King Croc. This is a super-natural community? Has the resident Warden not helped with supplies?” Lash asked. This earned him a barking laugh from Croc and his people.
“That fucking asshole?! No! In fact we have to pay him to let us stay here! The only reason we be talking to you, Warden! Is my Daddy said we can trust you! Tell you what! You get that asshole fired! Or replaced and we'll forget about you payin us!” Croc said, the divine light was back in his eyes now. Lash looked surprised, then gritted his teeth in anger. His hands became fists and he growled in frustration.
“Give me the Wardens name, I'll ensure that they are properly punished! Maybe I'll even bring them down here so you can exact your own form of justice on him!” Lash said, anger dripping from his words.
“Billy Strongam, he is a fucking bastard! Been our Warden for little more then four years. Even works with those blood rat types. Oh! That's right! One of the drug runners is a Kindred if that helps you! You get that shit stained fired, or bring him here for punishment we'll be good. But even if Daddy says we can trust you we still need a little something...”
“How about I build an hydro electric generator for the sewer canal so you can get power down here?” Lash said to Croc. Who looked at him in surprise.
“Well that's all well and good but that would take time to build?” Croc said.
“No, give me the right supplies which I saw on the walk up here. Then about ten minutes and I'll have it built for you.” Lash said...Croc looked at him with his mouth open.
So, Lash recast his glamour and became Wraith again. He told Croc the basic situation as to why he does it. Crock laughed at him and paid it no mind. They met up with O'Connor and the unit. Lash conscripted a few citizens and supplies that he saw. Then used Technomancy, Nature, and Synthesis and created three different hydro electric water wheels. He used his glamour to make it seem like hundreds of tiny arms came out to make the machines.
A basic hydro electric water wheel, can generator, store, and use the electricity.
Comments: This crude machine was made from scraps, and magic. It wont do much but it can give a simple town a bit of hope for the future.
Three different water wheels took ten minutes each. Croc, the town, and the swat team looked at him like he just made water into wine. They cobbled together some basic things, and with Lash's help. Light bulbs soon turned on, and they even got a few televisions to work after Lash repaired them. Once that was done, Croc told them which tunnel the drug runners took and even told them the directions they took to get to their drop site. Lash spoke privately to Croc and told him he would come back. Croc laughed and said he would be waiting.
Lash used Connectivity and sent a video file of his conversation with King Croc. Said that Croc was a God-Kin of the Egyptian God Sobek. Every friendly God-Kin was important! He also demanded that Warden Billy Strongam be brought to the Warden HQ internal affairs department on corruption charges. If they didn't get the man to volunteer his corruption then he would use Root of Information on him, Lash discovered thanks to Restoration he could use Root and heal the damage as he did it. Yay for progress! HQ said they would look into it immediately.
Soon Wraith, and the swat team were on a sewer barge heading in the same direction as the drug runners. A were-crocodile was their ferryman. Lash used his magic to fix the barge up so it was nice and pretty. Making the were-breed smile wide at him. The rudder and propeller were tied to a bicycle that the were-breed rode to make it go. After Lash repaired and altered the boat it ran far better! O'Connor updated the MCU on their route but left the shanty town out of the report at Wraiths request. This entire situation made the swat team look at Wraith differently, as well as the idea that such towns existed right under Gotham. While the wraith had been building the hydro generators the team had found out that there were at least six other shanty towns under Gotham just like this one. Some better, some a lot worse.
The barge came to a stop after about an hour of travel. They couldn't go any further do the different territories. The Drug runners were paid up with all the different factions they interacted with. So Wraith and his team got off the boat and said goodbye to the ferryman. Now, not going against the current the boat soon disappeared into the darkness of the sewers. Having a 'map' given to him by Croc they moved into another tunnel. Updating MCU of their direction. They had almost left the city at this point, the canal they were following would take them to a drainage pipe that lead into a Gotham City river that joined the ocean.
Moving at a nice even pace the swat teams radios suddenly got static across their outside communication. Who ever was talking, it was across a police band radio wave. They heard gun shots going off in the background! Then they heard it was a MCU unit had caught up with the drug runners as they were packing their product up into trucks. Wraith and the swat team sprinted down the tunnel, Lash recast his party buffs on the group just encase. About half a mile before the drain pipe ended they came upon a ruined wall with a massive hole in it. Stairs carved out of dirt and concrete led topside. The swat team checked their gear, and Wraith to the forward position. Show time!
Lash poked his head out slowly from the hole, the runners had a forest net covering the hole to hide it. They were right outside of Gotham now, next to what looked like a road way that would eventually lead to a forest hiking route. Gun fire was flying back and forth between a MCU armored personal carrier and several police cars. Towards two semi trucks, and several black SUV's the standard militant vehicle of choice! The Wraith then motioned for O'Connor to join him.
“So, we have a shoot out and we are in the cross fire. Radio in and tell them we are coming from the south west. I'm going to go in and disable the trucks so they can't leave, and cause a distraction for your team to attack. My enhancements are still on you, so you'll see me moving instead of a blur.” The Wraith spoke to O'Connor.
“Alright! We'll check our fire! But you watch your ass, I know your bullet resistant but still I'd feel bad if one of us shot you in the ass!” O'Connor said, his team laughed. Wraith patted him gently on his shoulder then sprinted through the brush blending in seamlessly.
Lash moved through the brush, and immature tree's littering the area. Snow, mud, and ice covered the ground. He stuck close to the foliage, using his Minor Transformation he was soon running around on all fours. His shoulders, and hips snapped and popped as the muscles and bones altered themselves slightly to accommodate the change. Getting close enough, he slipped into the ground using Earth Swim then swam past the gunmen firing at the police. Even now the runners were trying to load the product into the trucks. Lash could smell Blood-Kindred among them. The Kindred shot at the police while the mundanes loaded the product. This was an uneven fight, the Kindred would get shot by the police but not go down.
Swimming through the earth he soon came underneath the SUV's and Semi trucks. Using Alternation he did a simple switch on the ignition system. So when they turned the key the gears wouldn't catch. It was a simple mechanic fix if you knew what you were doing or took it to a shop. But was clearly to much to do inside of a gun fight. He then swam behind the gunmen and stepped out of the earth like he was stepping from a swimming pool. He stood up, and smoothed out his cloths then he walked forward and switched to his Grave Domain. The Kindred all shivered and felt something behind them. They turned and screamed in horror!
“And the dead shall KNEEL! Just because I fucking said so!” Lash used his Domain passive power, as well as Commanding Presence, and Intimidating Shout. The Blood-Kindred screamed in pain as they tried to resist his Domain. But all of them were lesser Kindred, newborns! Combined with other skills they dropped to their knee's. The mundanes looked shocked but also took a knee confused as to why they did.
“O'Connor come in now! I have them all turned towards me!” Wraith called across the radio. The police stopped shooting as orders were called out, in less then thirty seconds the Kindred and Drug runners were on the ground with a knee in their backs.
The Kindred could have easily over powered the police. Even as newborns they were stronger then average humans. But Lash kept his Domain's passive power enthralled in them. Lash made a simple call to Warden HQ telling them he had captured several blood-kindred drug runners of venom. But had several mundane GCPD with him. Little less then twenty minutes had passed after the call. O'Connor had a huge smile on his face as he came over to talk to Wraith. It was a good morning, but soon came to a stop as Wraith was holding up a hand to stop him. Several choppers were in bound on the horizon, black helicopters just like last time. Lash's Danger Sense went off!
“EVERY ONE TAKE COVER!” Wraith shouted, and tackled O'Connor. As heavy machine gun fire rained down from the sky! Followed my short range air to ground missiles!
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
Explosions rocked the area, and the helicopters shot indiscriminately at the trucks, the police cars, and the SUV's. They turned the APC into scrap metal with their Vulcan cannons. They included the mundanes and the Kindred! As brutal as it may seem as long as the kindred did not take a direct hit from a missile they would live through it, or lose their heart and head in the gun fire. Lash dragged O'Connor across the battle field and linked up the swat team with Temporary Pack Bond. Jacking their stats to 6% more as well as giving each other's locations, and communication. -Questions later! Get yourself and any one you can into the hole that we came out of, now! Lash said across the link. The swat team didn't know how respond but he 'felt' a confirmation through the link. Lash created a Fog bank for them to run through. Because they were linked the swat team could see through the fog as if it was air.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
A deafening cracks of thunder rang out above the scene as the helicopters launched their entire payload into the fog! Their doors opened up and ropes were cast out. Soon combat teams propelled down into the carnage below. Lash scent an urgent text message to Skaleg, Timothy, Mahalia, Simon, Sam, even Achak! Using the phone's auto hack and back trace spell rune Nast'rok installed. The text message said his location, and the Blood-Kindred operations team was attacking him and a GCPD swat team. They appeared right after he sent a message to Warden HQ. That the security main frame may have been hacked again! Or, the problem could have been on GCPD side. All of this was typed and scent in less then two seconds thanks to Connectivity!
Once again Lash screamed internally at himself! He still didn't have a long range skill, spell, or weapon! The helicopter's were about hundred feet or more in the air! Lash was by all accounts a close range Assassin with healing, and supportive buffs! Then he got an idea that he hadn't considered before, he looked at the helicopters then looked up at the sky. Fuck it! He reached into his Nature Domain and 'asked' a question. Then he found it...
Congratulations User! You've obtained the Nature Domain Spell, Call Lightning: Spell-Casters can channel arcane energy and make an imitation of lightning. You however, can call on true lightning! It may not be as malleable as arcane lightning, but true lightning is far stronger! Though you must call it from the sky, for now. It the future you can cast it from yourself like a true conduit of nature.
Storm clouds appeared and grew with in seconds in the skies, static electricity built up in the air. The wind picked up and pushed the fog out of the area. Which was bad for the retreating police, but good for the Special Operations team of the Blood-Kindred. Lash stood up, still wearing his Wraith disguise the helicopters angled themselves towards him about to shoot him dead. When CRAAAAAACK! A lightning bolt fell from the heaven's as if Zeus himself struck. CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! The lighting shattered the sky with brilliance! Thunder rang out like the trumpets of the Gods! The attack choppers burst into flames, and crashed into the ground with huge explosions!
Lash collapsed to his knees and vomited blood! His head was pounding and his vision was growing narrow. He was about to black out! Fuck that took a shit ton of energy! He reached out to Nature and sucked the energy of a square mile free using Minor Natural Energy Absorption almost by instinct. All the grass, bushes, and tree's withered and died. This wasn't Decomposition, Nature just cease to exist for a brief moment in his immediate area. The energy was sucked into his body to refill his reserves! Then he got a prompt!
Congratulations User! You've obtained the skill, Minor Energy Manipulation: Energy is one of the few things in this universe that is nigh impossible to destroy. Energy is a constant, you've learned how to manipulate it with magic. Now, you know how to manipulate it purely by your will alone! Where the end of this road is, no one can know for sure. Be careful you don't lose your way.
Lash felt re energized, he looked up with blood shot eyes. The Kindred wet team had scattered, and ran from the explosions. Lash was furious! Again! Again these shit heads came to kill him! To stop him from doing his job! He broke cover and raced towards the nearest one! He raced to his side and reached out with his Grave Domain! He clawed through the Kindred's chest, blood sprayed across Lash's face. But the Kindred was soon horrified for another reason. He wasn't healing! Lash had deactivated the kindred's ability to heal! The operation specialist dropped to the ground and passed out. Sprinting to the next kindred Lash reached him, and tore his gun arm off. Slammed into him with his shoulder to send him flying, the kindred collided with his companions and Lash was soon gone ripping and tearing the Kindred apart limb from limb. Each one had their healing ability turned off by the Grave Domain. It wouldn't be permanent but it was enough!
Jumping to another target, Lash sliced this man's legs off with a swift motion then slammed him down with a forward kick. The man screamed in pain and panic, gun fire was shot towards Lash who sprinted, rolled, and dodged the bullets. These were not enchanted silver. These were armor piercing rounds. They did incredibly damage to Lash. But he kept getting prompts from his passive skills he was getting experience. He dove straight into the ground swimming under neath them. The Kindred shot into the ground but didn't have enough ground penetration. Using Mud Marsh Lash pulled the kindred into the ground up to their necks and ravaged their bodies under the ground like a crocodile, he rolled under the ground thrashing them to pieces.
After several tense minutes of slaughter, Lash surfaced. The Grave Domain disconnected from the Kindred. He wanted to kill them, but he needed them. Soon the Kindred began to heal, ever so slowly. Soon he heard the sound of choppers inbound across the way. These one's held the UNWS logo, and Sam had responded on his phone they were in bound and he should see them. Lash moved towards O'Connor to check on the GCPD. Lucky enough, no one was dead! Plenty of injuries! But no deaths. Well the GCPD were alive, the drug runners were not! Even some of the drug running Kindred had been destroyed. The Wraith spent a few minutes restoring and healing the wounded police.
Once the real reinforcements had arrived, they secured the area and arrested the brutally injured Kindred that still hadn't healed yet. Lash let them heal enough to live, not enough for them to stop moaning and screaming pain. Sucks doesn't it? Lash wearing his Wraith disguise stood near the screaming and wailing Kindred with an look of indifference. The 'UNWS' teams packed the kindred up for medical care. Gordon showed up about an hour later and began to scream about procedure and the law at Wraith. But before Wraith could respond, O'Connor came to his defense and told Gordon the situation. Then after several tense minutes he finished up.
“So in truth sir, with out him being here we would have never found the drug runners location. We also would have been killed with out his help. We also verified that the link of our location came from our end, Captain. So if you want to get pissed at some one get mad at IA for clearing every one in MCU for duty when it's clear that not every one is clean. And on a personal note sir, can you stop being a racist prick towards Agent Wraith?” O'Connor said that last part through gritted teeth. Several of the swat team vocally agreed.
“What did you just say!?” Gordon screamed at O'Connor! Lash was surprised as well.
“Don't give me that look of surprise, Captain! Every one in the Unit knows you hate this guy. It has everything to do with the fact he's an alien with a badge. But at least he has a badge! Unlike Superman who just does what ever he feels like. Agent Wraith actually works with us, he didn't have to agree to help us with this investigation. We all know for a fact that he could have moved far quicker on his own. He didn't have to share his information but he did! So, stop being a racist shit head towards him! Sir.” O'Connor yelled at Gordon. Gordon went from red, to purple, back to red then let out a slow breath. Lash 'read' him and could see Gordon was struggling. O'Connor had been right, Gordon was being a racist towards the alien.
“I'm sorry Agent Wraith. Thank you for your help today.” Gordon said, looking straight at Wraith and where he assumed his eyes would be. Clearly the apology took a lot of effort. But Gordon did it, because it was the right thing to do.
Gordon hated the situation. He hated how O'Connor was right. Gordon had seen a lot of things in his life, many thing he couldn't explain. Serving in the marine core he had seen a lot of loose cannons get away with murder all because they were signed up with the right people. Hell! Gordon had done a lot of black bag operations as well. But he knew what he hated most about Agent Wraith was that he could go above the law with little to no oversight. Gordon assumed it was because he was a powerful alien with powers and technology that the US government was hoping he would share. Today was a good example! He'd write a report on the incident and all he had to do was say the United Nations World Security Agent Wraith was present for the operation. All the bad paper work would just get brushed under the rug out of sight! But he had to admit that O'Connor was right. Wraith didn't have to cooperate with them he was well with in his jurisdiction to tell Gordon to fuck off. He could have done the entire operation and done it quicker. But he didn't, he invited the GCPD along. Kept the MCU alive, and arrested the drug runners. Yes, they did come in separate pieces but they were alive.
It also didn't help that his little girl Barbra wouldn't shut up about him! Every time he came home she would ask about him, what's he like! Do you know what he looks like? Where does he live? Do you think she could meet him? Why sweetie?! Why do you want to talk to him!? Fuck, Gordon would rather she be obsessed over Batman then this freak show!
Lash watched Gordon struggle internally, he wondered how much he'd freak out if he knew that Lash was not an alien. Also that he didn't report to the UN, but towards a magical super-natural society that had agreement with the United Nations. That all of his 'official' paper work was glamoured documents, and Fae magic. That he was as much as a vigilante as Batman, maybe even worse because he was inside the system and manipulating it. Probably not well?
It was early morning by this point, the winter sun had risen and was shinning across the battle field. Dozens of cop cars had shown up, along with a few news station vans. Lash was sure that 'Wraith' would be on the news tonight. A 'UN' mission debrief team showed up to talk to O'Connor and his swat team. The Warden's would do a thorough job of searching through their memories. They would only alter the bare minimal amount. A car soon arrived to take Lash back to Warden HQ. He bid O'Connor and the swat team goodbye disconnecting the Temp. Pack Bond. He told the Warden's about the possible enhancement the team would have. Lash was quickly becoming a bit of an oddity in the super-natural community. Yes, he was always odd. But he was now capable of making super-natural people.
Despite Lash's incredibly long twenty four hours he wasn't tired. Before he left the battle field he infused the area with Nature magic trying to repair the damage he had done. It wasn't enough, but it was a start. The drive to the HQ was uneventful, he took down his Wraith disguise when they entered the protective glamour and spell barrier that kept unwanted eyes on them. A logistical personal was waiting for him when he arrived. Who bowed when he exited the car, Lash returned the gesture with practiced ease. They led him towards the IA office and he heard the delightful screams of 'former' Warden Billy. Lash gave his testimony, they had learned that the Blood-Kindred had hypnotized members of MCU to notify them if x,y, or z happened. Which was incredibly illegal! They gave a simple explanation to the MCU. A few memory alterations, so the reported officers had been 'threatened' with their families lives if they hadn't informed the interested parties.
“Warden Lash?” Lash turned around and saw the spitting image of a British butler copy cat.
But this butler's eyes had a red tinge around them. Kindred, full conversion which means he is over a hundred years old. Despite his morning, Lash remembered his etiquette and gave a customary Warden greeting of respect and courtesy to a full blooded Kindred. The man's lips did tug upwards just a little but remained indifferent after that.
“Yes, May I help you?” Lash tried to keep his voice even, but the butler could tell he was tired.
“I have a message from the Blood-Kindred Leader of Gotham. Lady Kali, she requests the privileged of your presence in her home tonight at seven pm. To discuss the details of the Blood-Kindred in Gotham.” The butler said to him.
“Since you are in Warden HQ I assume the Warden's are aware of this request?” Lash asked, the butler nodded. “Very well I'll accept, may I ask what the dress code is? Is this a party? Or just a conversation?” Lash asked.
“Lady Kali will have all of the current houses in Gotham in attendance, along with the attending Fae Court envoy's. Lady Kali said any attire is perfectly fine, even if you choose to show up in armor she will not mind.” The Butler stated.
“Armor it is then. Will a car be sent to me or do I need to arrange transportation?” Lash asked.
“We'll arrange transportation for you, Warden Lash. Thank you very much for this consideration.” The Butler bowed, Lash returned the gesture. The kindred soon excused himself.
Lash double checked with the Wardens about King Croc, the God-Kin. They said they would send a emissary, and a community aid mission to the town. He looked up the army team that helped him in the palace. They had all been reassigned as a 'go team' for pseudo-mundanes. They were slowly being incorporated into the fold. Lash got a car and went home, he wanted to sleep even if he didn't need it any more...
Congratulations User! Your Cosmic Patron has chosen to reward you for completing a portion of the Grand Quest of Gotham. Waylon Jones, Killer Croc. One of the original villains of Batman and Gotham has chosen a new life. As King Croc of the lost, homeless, and poor.
Reward: Minor Super Human Stamina: Killer Croc has always had the stamina of a monster. Able to swim for hundreds or even thousands of miles with out sleep, or food. He could swim across oceans if he wanted to thanks to his stamina. Now, you have that ability all be it a minor version, for now! -I wonder what else you have stamina for!