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Putting a Knot in Things


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Warning: This thread may include depictions of gore.

 

Outside the Lantern Hill Cemetery, Lantern Hill, Freedom City

Saturday, the 29th of August 2020

11:30 PM

 

Rumors had been spreading about the increased tension in Lantern Hill after the first grave had been vandalized a month ago. The grave in question, that of the recently deceased Gordon Reid, had been mutilated as though someone had attacked it with a knife. Since then, it was said, all manner of ruffians had begun sneaking into the Cemetery after dark, avoiding the attentions of the warden, and had been defacing graves themselves.

 

Most of the time the graves were discovered with rude symbols painted on them - disrespectful, yes, but well within the scope of "children acting up." In the last few days, however, someone had gone beyond that - one grave had been painted with the most vitriolic condemnations of the corpse that lay beneath it, cursing him with foulness that was simply put, outright hate speech. Thus it was that a pair of heroes approached the cemetery to both put a stop to the violation of this sanctuary of the dead and, perhaps, for their own reasons.

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The Rope

 

The man known variously as Devon Dancer, the One who Watches and Judges, Usurper, and Kurush, but who mostly thought of himself as the Rope crouched atop one of the mausoleums in the Lantern Hill Cemetery. As he watched, swathed in shadows, from beneath his hood for the vandals to arrive in the graveyard, the Rope couldn't help but wonder again why he had agreed to this.

 

"Yes, I know that he's dead, my dear Rope, but I want to know why. It wasn't us, and it wasn't his experiments in the Schattenwelt. But he's dead now and we should figure out why, in case it comes for us next!" Wu's voice had raised to nearly a shriek at the last word. Normally, such theatrics would not concern the Rope, but in this case, he agreed with his partner. Gordon Reid had been a potent mage who had delved into shadow magic - one he'd been keeping an eye on, in fact - and now he was dead. Furthermore, his grave was the first defaced. I wonder if it was the vandals that have been at it since... Only one way to find out, he supposed.

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Off in the distance, a low rumble, like far-off-thunder, could be heard. Within two minutes, the thunder's cause was clearer; a vehicle that looked like someone had cross-bred a stealth fighter with a tank. This was the current incarnation of The Unkindness, and without even seeing inside, the Rope knew inside was the Raven. 

 

The car slowed to a stop and went eerily silent for a moment, before the canopy withdrew, and a dark shape slowly drew itself out of the driver's compartment. At first, all Rope saw was an indistinct outline. It shifted, and two glowing green eyes stared at the cemetary for a few moments, before the shape moved. As it walked, the black cloak pulled back to reveal the armored form of the current Raven, the small part of his face that was visible set in a grim frown. With no apparent gesture, the "car" closed its canopy as the owner walked into the cemetery and stopped; his head scanned back and forth over the terrain. Finally, he spoke, his voice...not gentle, but clearly not pitched with the intent to frighten.

 

"Good stealth skills, I'm having trouble spotting you just yet. You found anything substantial yet, or were you waiting to work in tandem?

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The Rope

 

As the car arrived, the Rope blinked. He'd not expected anyone in such an advanced vehicle to arrive here... but then, after a moment, it struck him. The Raven herself! He'd studied her as a child, but he'd honestly forgotten that Freedom City was where she spent most of her time. The glowing eyes took him aback for a moment, but only for a moment as the voice startled him even more. A man? I thought the Raven was a woman - oh. Wait. Of course this isn't the Raven of my childhood, she's got to be too old for this sort of thing nowadays.

 

His lips curved in a grin as he rose from his position of lying on the top of the mausoleum, and he spoke. "Well done, good sir, well done indeed! You are most perceptive - many would not even notice there was someone here." The Rope paused, examining the figure through the shadows. "You must be the Raven. It's so good to meet you."

 

For his part, the Raven saw a shadowy figure, dressed in a dark cloak, the hood covering his features with an impenetrable veil of gloom. "In answer to your question, no, I have yet to find anything substantial. I was waiting for the vandals to show up, but... With your arrival, I suspect they won't be doing so."

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Raven turned slowly to face the Rope. He inclined his head, and there was perhaps the very slightest trace of a smile on his face.

 

"I'd heard rumors there was someone, or something, moving about this area recently. Combine that with the escalating blatancy of what's been happening here, and it seemed likely another was here."

 

He stepped forward just a bit, still shrouded but more visible to his ally for the night. His suit looked subtly high-tech, in a way that suggested he relied more on skill than raw power.

 

"Perhaps, perhaps not. I can send the car away and we can stake things out some more."

 

He reached into his belt and retrieved a device that looked a bit like a smartphone. He quickly entered a series of swipes and taps, and the large vehicle quietly rolled away, making less noise than the Rope would have thought it might.

 

"Based on your outfit and the way you operate, I'm going to guess that you're the hero they're calling the Rope?"

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The Rope

 

The Rope's lips curved upwards beneath the gloom that shadowed his eyes as he whirled his rope like a lasso and stepped through the circle, reappearing beside the Raven. "Ooh, what fun toys you have." He replied as the car drove away. "And yes, it does seem that there has been some level of mischief going on in this wonderfully characterful place." His tone was almost melodramatic as he spoke - he sounded genuinely impressed at the cemetery's 'character,' whatever that meant.

 

In truth, the Rope enjoyed overacting, adored the performative aspects of socialization. Perhaps that's an overcompensation for my utter lack of socialization in my life until now. The thought gave him pause. Well, that's revealing, isn't it? He shook himself inwardly, his smile never fading from his lips, and swept a bow with a flourish. Amusingly, the Lariat he was carrying slipped out of his hand and flourished on its own, as though to emphasize his movements. "You are quite right, my good sir. I am the Rope. Charmed."

 

"Now, I heard tell that the vandals might be visiting tonight, so perhaps we ought to make ourselves scarce, hm?"

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"The toys are part of the package deal."

 

Raven seemed dead-serious but the sentence sure sounded like a joke. 

 

"Hn. It's a historic place. Defacing graves...not the worst crime in existence, but not high on my list."

 

At the other hero's suggestion of hiding, he looked up from his wrist-computer and nodded. He clicked a couple of buttons, reached up to his cape and adjusted its fastenings, then fiddled with his boots. Before Rope's eyes, he all but faded from view. 

 

"Let's go on overwatch, then."

 

The barely-visible shadow of the Raven quickly moved to a vantage point, and the Rope would struggle to keep even a hint of him in view. For an unaware observer, Raven might as well be invisible. 

Edited by KnightDisciple
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