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Opening Moves of White Pawns and Black Queens

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This story is No. 2 in the series "An Ode to a City". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Being the First Part of our Heroine's Adventures in a Wicked Place

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
DC Universe > Batman > Drusilla-CenteredbatzulgerFR132214,264105426,84828 Dec 0929 Jan 10Yes

As the Land Meets the Sea.

There are points where the Heights, the Streets, and the Depths converge. One of these points is the harbour.

I travel there some times to meet my grocer. He always seems surprised to see me pay for what he knows I could easily take from some passers-by for free. When he asked, I simply mentioned not wanting to catch the Dark One's notice, and he nods his head in total understanding and hands me my purchases. I thank him and leave, always watchful that other eyes are not following my path.

I occasionally see dark doings in the spots where the far too few and far too dim lamps do not push their glow. I avoid those dealings unless someone will be harmed by my neutrality. The beast that drives me always rails against this, but I have learned over time to quench the unpleasant voices that assault my thoughts. Being forced to remain alone has assisted in this. I have had to learn to focus.

The Fat Man and his associates are doing business in some deserted spot. One eye always cocked to the heavens; anticipating the rustle of rope or the growling gravel of one voice. Sometimes he and his troupe are in an old warehouse. Other times, in a small boat poling out of one of the many entrances to the Depths, and preparing to meet with some darkened, unflagged vessel lying in wait out in the gloom.

Also from the Depths come one of the beasts, the one with scaly armour. He frequents several small taverns in the area. The ones which have no licence, no sign, and cater to those of no hope. The beast visits them to forget he is a beast. To surround himself with others that have been struck as low. I see this in him when he passes my hiding place.

From the Streets I see a Janus-touched devil. He is lurking with his coterie amongst a cluster of disused shacks, plotting their course according to the sweet whims of fortune. The Ragged Golem watches them as well, and I continue, knowing that he will slow any mischief they have planned; departing an area soon to be filled with screams.

I have not seen any others from the aeries, but I am sure at least one of them is here. I skirt a building where a leader with a false face of ebon rallies his forces, slip by an Ice Man's plot and make it finally to the periphery where the buildings cluster, and the shadows and crannies are tighter.

As I pause for a moment, I hear the tiniest scrape, less than that of a moth's wing barely grazing a window pane. Looking up, I see the faintest depth of a shadow twitch, and I know; He has been watching me.
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