It's a quite night in Gotham, there is the normal running around of Gotham nightlife, but as Dick Grayson knows all to well it's just a matter of knowing where to look to find the real party. After Batman's death Nightwing left the protection of Bludhaven in the hands of the Flamebird Bette Kane, and returned to keep order in the name of his mentor.
With Damian Wayne not being able to deal with the loss of his father he returned to the League of Assassins , and Jason Todd has been gone for the last 8 years with Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and the Martian Manhunter to try and track down the whereabouts of Superman. Plus with Barbara Gordon filling Batman's role with the League Dick felt his only choice was to return home.
Nightwing: "Alfred are you sure this is the location of there hideout?"
Alfred: "Yes Master Dick the Question was very specific that this is where Black Mask was meeting his contacts to try and ship his merchandise."
"Wait I see someone coming it appears to be a convoy of SUV's. Bingo."
Four black Lincoln Navigators come speeding down the alley and stop behind the Gotham Tap Room.Black Mask with 12 of his goons Pile out, and he leaves three outside to secure the exit and heads inside.
Black Mask: "So you are my contacts." (chuckles to himself) "Since when do you slum in this part of town."
Woman's Voice: "Watch your slander's tongue I only allow you to keep it because you have something I need."
Man's Voice: " Cool it Cheshire the sooner we get what we came for the sooner we can be done with this place"
" Couldn't agree more Sportsmaster so lets conclude this deal and be on our way."
Nightwing: "Things have just got a lot more complicated Alfred I'm gonna need some back up."
Man's Voice: "Ask and you shall receive."
"Oliver? Dinah? What are you doing in Gotham?"
Black Canary: "League business, John sent us on a mission to stop Sportsmaster, and Cheshire from doing some shady business. Imagine our surprise when we found out you were on the same case."
Green Arrow "So what are we looking at Dick?"
"Three Guards in the alley nine inside along with Sportsmaster, Cheshire, and Black Mask."
"well what are we waiting for..."
Green Arrow unleashes a sleeping arrow to knock out the guards at the back door as Nightwing, and Black Canary crash through the windows and begin the Assault.
The nine guards standing between Black Mask and Canary are rendered unconscious by Canary's Sonic Cry and as Black Mask draws his trademark duel pistols he's caught with a boxing glove arrow from across the room.
"Hun I thought I told you it was time to retire that old gag?"
"yeah but I couldn't resist."
"Heads up you two we still got our hands full here."
Cheshire: "That me be the understatement of your life little birdie."
As Cheshire Joins the fray and engages Nightwing, Sportsmaster charges the Canary while deflecting arrows with his cricket bat.
Black Canary: "Is that the best you got robin hood."
Green Arrow: "I'm just getting warmed UGH..."
Black Mask and three of his goons have rejoined the fight and caught Green Arrow off guard. As the fighting continues Canary and Nightwing start losing ground as well when Green Arrow sets off the little surprise he set up for the party.
Several mini explosions from the deflected arrows he shot at Sportsmaster go off, and create a smokescreen that distracts the villains long enough for Green Arrow to come to the aid of Canary. But much to their dismay Cheshire and Sportsmaster escaped with the cargo.
Nightwing: "Nice Save Ollie, we got Mask and his goons but the other two got away. Dinah can you reach out to the Watchtower to get a trace on them."
Black Canary: "Already on it John has sent in Steel, Hawk Girl, and Wildcat they are already in pursuit. Also GCPD has been dispatched here so we are free to go."
"Thanks guys, say why don't you come by the mansion I'm sure Alfred could whip us up some dinner."
"I don't see why not Ollie you up for it."
It's been 9 years since the events that left the earth a shattered and broken mess occurred, Vandel Savage and his Secret Society of Super Villains which featured Gorilla Grodd, Two-Face, Bane, Ocean Master, Killer Frost, and Amazo to name a few almost succeeded in their plans to destroy the Justice League and half the planet.
The day was won when a plan which was concocted by the combined minds of Mister Terrific, the Thinker, and Batman were able to put an end to the war but not without casualties... Batman was trapped in an explosion and was pronounced dead at the scene, Superman was transported through a boom tube to God knows were, and Green Lantern John Stewart suffered a severed spinal cord at the hands of Amazo. He now resides in Watchtower as the new overseer for what's left of the League.
As time passed old and new hero's alike begin to feel in the void left by the lose of key members of the JLA . While some others, lost the will to fight all together. It is at this time that Gotham City the home of the final battle finds itself once again in the cross hairs of those who wish to corrupt and kill and end the uneasy peace that has finally been restored...
Talon Alton Carver: "Grandmaster, the Court has assembled and awaits your command."
Grandmaster: "Very good my Talon let us begin."
As Grandmaster John Wycliffe makes his why through the dark halls of the almost palace size house with his loyal Talon Alton Carver, he takes his time to admire the statues and pictures that litter the walls almost like a museum. They tell a tale of an organization with a very bloody and violent past. The Court of Owls is an organized crime syndicate that has been silently pulling the strings of Gotham's elite and scum alike for centuries, and on the off chance some one pushed back they made sure they were never heard from again. Although they have been dormant since the failed attempt to corrupt Damien Wayne and eliminate Batman nearly a decade earlier, it was only a matter of time before the Owls came out to prey on the city once again.
As the Grandmaster takes his position at the head of the assembly an eerie silence falls over the room. Grandmaster Wycliffe survey's the sea of white mask with black eyes staring back at him, with a slight chuckle he clears his throat and begins his speech.
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the court I come to you tonight with an undertaking of great importance, but for this to come about for our.... society we need to take the next step in our ever present mission of reclaiming Gotham and returning it to the splendor that it once held. We have to do something that hasn't been done in nearly a decade."
"We have to resurrect... The Talons..."
Them room is filled with hushed astonishment and wayward gazes, followed quickly by applause and shouts of affirmation.
"YES BROTHER AND SISTERS OUR TIME HAS FINALLY COME, AND WHEN OUR FORCES RISE THEY WILL NEED A FIERCE CHAMPION. I PRESENT TO YOU THEIR LEADER MY PERSONAL GUARD ... TALON ALTON CARVER."
The room erupts in cheers as Carver takes his place next to his master as they bask in the admiration of the court.
As the Court begins to traverse to the nether regions of the Mansion several floors below the basement and wine cellar only two things can be heard. The methodical almost march like pacing of footsteps, and the demonically gleeful chanting of the Court of Owls nursery rhyme from the children that are intermingled in the crowd.
" Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time,
Ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime.
They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed.
Speak not a whispered word about them, or they'll send the Talon for your head."
This repeats over and over again as the Owls gather into the Talons resurrection chamber were all of the demonic creatures rest until they are called upon by their masters to reap the souls of their enemies.
As they begin the procedure that begins the process of bringing this undead army of assassins to life the children continue to chant their ominous tune. The Grandmaster directs his fellow council members into position they begin turning nobs and pulling levers and a strange orange light starts illuminating from the cracks in the coffins.
With a the sound of stone crumbling the Grandmaster raises a hand to silence the court. More and more cracks are heard coming from the stone and final the first of many emerges from its deep sleep.
"YES, YES, YEEESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!"
"Arise and acknowledge your master, welcome back my Talons we have need of you once again. With the guidance of Lead Talon Carver you will fulfill the wishes of the Court. You will reclaim what is rightfully ours, and with Batman long dead and out of the way know one can stop us."
(maniacal laughs from all in the room)
"Carver you have your mission, and you have your army go and do what must be done. GO AND RETAKE OUR KINGDOM, BRING GOTHAM TO ITS KNEES MY TALON. GO."
"Yes my master I will not fail you."
Carver descends into the night with his Talon thralls in tow, seeking out their first victims they head to the Bowery and put a quick and unceremonious end to Two-Face (who somehow survived the events of 9 years ago) as well as dispatching the last remnants of his gang before running into a couple of patrolmen that were on the take. They are dead before they can open their mouths or draw their guns.
"This ravel is beneath our skill I can't continue to waste time with these small fries, I need a challenge and I know just were to get it."
Meanwhile back at Wayne Manor...
Dick, Oliver, Dinah, and Alfred are enjoying their dinner and reminiscing on the good old days. As Alfred goes around passing out pieces of pie to the group a special reports shows up on the T.V.
Green Arrow: "Hey turn that up that's down town."
TV News Broadcast: " Breaking News, This is Vicki Vale from the Gotham News Network coming to you live from downtown Gotham near the Bowery were we have a gruesome scene behind us with multiple murders including 2 GCPD patrolmen, the criminal known as Two-Face and an untold number of his known associates have been found in various states of dismemberment and disembowelment. I have here Captain Maggie Sawyer from the Major Crimes Unit... Capt. do you have any information you can pass on to the public at this time."
Capt. Sawyer: "As of right now Ms. Vale all I can say is if you aren't at home or in a safe place... get there. Whoever did this was not an amateur and I believe this wasn't an isolated event, but a message and until we can get some of the evidence back to the lab i won't now much of anything. Excuse me."
"There you have it folks stay safe and stay tuned, this is Vicki Vale with GNN signing off."
Nightwing: "Alfred hold the pie, Ollie, Dinah I think I'm gonna need your help."
Black Canary: "Come on Dick you don't even have to ask lets ri.., WHAT THE HELL IS THAT."
Talon Alton Carver: "That is the sound of death calling you home Justice League. TALONS ELIMINATE THEM!!!"
Nightwing: "ALFRED RUNNNNN, GET THE HELL OUT HERE."
"Running won't save him but we will allow him to live until we are done with you Nightwing."
Carver and his Thralls advance quickly on their prey with carver laying claim to Nightwings head and leaving Arrow and Canary to his forces the battle begins.
Green Arrow starts raining down shock and sleep arrows as Black canary unleashes her mightiest scream she can manage. They look at each other approvingly for taking out half the enemy force on the first shot. Their smiles quickly turn to shock and bewilderment as one by one the Talons get back to their feet and continue their assault.
While dodging kicks and razor sharp talons to the face Nightwing shouts out instructions to his allies.
"THEY ARE NOT ALIVE, THEY ARE REINCARNATED ZOMBIES DON'T HOLD BACK!"
With a shared slow grin Green Arrow quickly switches his load-out to explosive and incendiary arrows, and Black Canary does a quick twist of her staff and out comes two very nasty looking 3 inch spikes on either end. The pair then launch into an assault that can only be described as a whirlwind of death.
The fight continues as Dinah and Oliver make quick work of the Talons, and just when things seem well in hand a second wave comes rushing in.
Green Arrow: "Dinah I'm out of arrows don't get to far away."
Black Canary:"I'm okay Ollie, but we might need to work our way towards Nightwing he's struggling a bit."
Up until this point Nightwing had been holding his own, but when Carver saw how easily his Talons are being dispatched he shifts his focus and makes a quick strike to Nightwings throat, and takes him to the ground hard.
As he continues his onslaught Nightwing the Talons begin to gain the upper hand on Canary and Arrow.
"You fought well but this is were our battle ends, the Court of Owls will not be denied our destiny."
"MASTER DICK GET DOWN!!!"
Just as Carver was moving in for the killing blow Alfred Pennyworth burst back into the room and very decisively changes the tone in the room for the better.
Swooping in wearing one of Bruce Wayne's armored battle suits Alfred not only deflects the killing blow to Nightwing but delivers one of his own and with one swing of his mighty armored fist severs Carvers head from it's body.
As Carvers body falls limp to the floor the other Talons let out a blood curdling scream and vanish back into the night.
"Master Dick are you alright?"
"Yes Alfred, thanks to you I am. I didn't realize you knew how to operate one of those bad boys. No fair Bruce never let me suit up."
"Well once Master Bruce joined the JLA full time i needed something to pass the time so there you have it."
"You sly dog you, well I sure am glad you decided to experiment with the toys in the cave. Oliver, Dinah you guys still with us."
"Yeah were still breathing, so that's the Court of Owls huh, No wonder Bruce was so insistent that we stay out of it they are fierce. We gotta get the league involved, they will be back."
As the weary heroes begin to patch up their wounds and fill in the League of the happenings in Gotham the Talons return to the Court to give their report.
Man's Voice: "Your champion has not only revealed us to the Justice League, but he failed to kill the Batman's apprentice as well. This can not stand John."
Grandmaster: "That's Grandmaster to you Sebasaag...."
Sebastian Clark: "Not anymore... Thank you Calvin I couldn't bear to listen to that worm speak anymore. Yes that's right I Sebastian Clark am now taking my rightful place as Grandmaster of the Court of Owls once again. With my Champion Talon Calvin Rose I swear to you all that I will right this... shame... that has been brought upon us this night. I will lead us back into the forefront of greatness and I will remind Gotham of why they fear us. HOW SAY THE!"
As one the Court rises to their feet and give a salute of recognition to their New Grandmaster, as the masses file out only the Grandmaster, his Talon Calvin Rose, and the Council remain behind as they begin to plot their revenge on Nightwing and continue their neverending seige against Gotham....
To Be Continued in...
Life After Batman: The Reckoning
That's it I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I don't know when part two will be ready but your feedback will greatly help me fine tune the story and get better.
Please comment below good, bad, or indifferent every little bit helps, thanks again for reading.