This makes my 2000th post in the FF section and also my 8098th on CV! Good way to start 2014!
This is rated MA and does borrow/use/homage parts of The Court of Owls arc that ran through Batman 1-7 by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion, published by DC. It deals with if it went slightly differently.
Talon held the exhausted, drugged, emaciated Batman high above his head as easily as one would lift a child, “I present to you The Batman! How do you wish him to die?”
The shrill and chatter of the Court of Owls echoed through the rafters of the Labyrinth, blood dripped from the deep wound in Batman’s gut onto Talon’s head. The Court of Owls shrieked in delight as it scurried across the rafters, each member yelling as they built into a frenzy.
“Take his head!” the voice was piercing through the chatter. The Court turned to its littlest member who repeated the phrase “Take his head!”
“TAKE HIS HEAD! TAKE HIS HEAD! TAKE HIS HEAD!”
Talon smiled as he slammed Batman onto the floor. Blood and breath leaked from the Dark Knight as he tried in vain to get to his feet. He was beaten. He was broken, both mentally and physically. The nursery rhyme from his youth was going to kill him.
“The Court will keep your bones down here, to be displayed,” said Talon as he drew his wicked knife that earlier had carved a hole through his back and out his stomach. “As a monument to a valiant enemy. Only three times has the Court honoured someone in this way.”
“ENOUGH!” Batman roared as he staggered to his feet, spittle flying from his mouth, blood leaking from his guts. “You want my head? Come get it!”
Talon looked at his broken opponent, stepped forward and plunged the knife through Batman’s Adams apple and tore open his throat. Batman collapsed holding his neck, desperately trying to hold the liquid in through broken fingers. Talon stepped back and watched as Batman bled out like a stuck pig. Bruce fumbled at his utlity belt for something, anything, but all he managed to grab was a handful of smoke pellets and feebly drop them clouding the area in a thin veil of smoke. Talon grabbed Batman’s ears and finished the decapitation, holding the severed head aloft as the smoke disappated.
“Do you approve my Court?”
The roar was deafening.
Batcave, deep below Wayne Manor
Nightwing wandered down the stairs “Any sign of Bruce?”
Alfred looked up from his endless mopping, a sombre look on his face “I fear not Master Richard”
“It’s been over a week”
“Nine days!” corrected Alfred as he continued mopping “Nine very long days”
“Commissioner Gordon has been running the bat signal nonstop, more as a deterrent than anything,” Nightwing popped off his domino mask “But that doesn’t change the fact he’s missing!”
“Have Master Bruce’s contacts in the JLA been contacted?” asked Alfred as he attacked a particulary nasty stain on the cave floor.
“Not yet. If he turned up and found out I’d called them…” Nightwing looked up at the cave ceiling “Besides for the moment, it’s a family matter”
“Very good Master Richard” said Alfred as he looked up at the computer screen that ran a big bold message across it ‘NO TRANSMISSION DETECTABLE’.
“Well, that was thrilling!” said the old bird as she was wheeled in by other members of the Court. Talon stood there, Batman’s head in hand still dripping blood. “What a wonderful gladiator he was. Pity he is dead.”
She motioned to Talon who handed her the head. She grasped it and looked deep into his now dead eyes “By all rights I should unmask you, but that would tarnish your memory, your legacy. As a fallen combatant you will sit pride of place in the Hall of Talons, perched above them all eternally watching over them as you have Gotham.”
Talon shuddered slightly.
“Do you disagree William?”
“I live to serve. If the Court has deemed it…”
“Yes!” she rasped as she cut him off. Even though the masks were solid and white, the turn of her head and the tone of her voice spoke volumes. “Yes we have.”
Talon nodded as two other Court members wheeled her away leaving him alone with the headless body of Batman.
“It’s been a month!” yelled Damien as he smashed his fist through a window in the dining hall. He shook his hand and picked the pieces of glass out of it “Where is he?”
“Master Damien!” scolded Alfred “We do not wear our costumes in the house! And secondly we do not take our frustrations out on the house! Do you understand?”
He sheepishly took off his mask and unclipped his cape “…yes Alfred”
“I am just as worried as you are,” said Alfred as he took the items off his young charge “Punching windows will not make him magically return will they?”
“No…” he looked at the floor.
Dick entered the room with Timothy Drake by his side. They were both haggard from the seemingly endless nights of protecting Gotham and searching for their lost mentor.
“I am going to contact the…why are you wearing your costume in the house?” said Dick.
“Where have you been?” snapped Damien.
“Downstairs!” Dick replied coldly, using the stare and the voice he’d watched, and been on the reicvieving end of, from Bruce for many years. Damien grunted and headed towards the grandfather clock.
“I’m going to contact the JLA,” said Dick to Alfred.
“I think that would be wise”
“I’ve created a series of sightings via the web,” said Tim “At least we can hide Bruce Wayne for the time being under the cloak of international billionaire jetsetter.”
Nightwing stood at the head of the table as the rest of the League sat at the table. He pointed at the empty chair “I need your help to find Batman.”
Superman looked around at his compatriots; Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash “All in favour?”
Nightwing smiled a little as six hands went straight up.
“Normally Gotham is off limits,” said Superman as he stood “So we’ll be needing a local to help us”.
To hopefully be continued...