FILE 321 - Entry 2
Before I continue telling the story of the mystery case which came unasked for, I first must take another look back at the gathering at Wayne Manor.
As we had finished supper, we had told our stories, our promises and our looks at the upcoming future, I needed to spend more time with a certain someone.
Jean-Paul Valley was a member of the Bat family, one with a very controversial past and present even. However, even though he had redeemed himself for his past sins, Dick and Tim still didn’t trust him completely. Jason, he was a different matter altogether. The rage of the Pit was still within his veins. It was more than present each time he and Jean-Paul were in the same room.
The meeting between me and Jean-Paul was private, secret even. I knew that Damian had learnt about it which led to him telling Dick and Dick informing the others. I knew they were going to eavesdrop on our conversation that’s why I made it as transparent as possible.
I wasn’t hiding from them. I didn’t mean to hide anything from them. I just didn’t want them to judge Jean-Paul and to be demeaning to him. However, nothing from initial plan happened as it should have.
Hearing what we were discussing Jason was first to interrupt. He was violent, as always. He decided that the best possible outcome of his higher tone was to hit Jean-Paul…it didn’t work out that well for him. The System was still in Jean-Paul’s blood. He reacted. He reacted with such speed that Jason did not see it coming.
Jason was well trained, probably even better than Dick. It was not because Dick was not skilled in fighting, it was just that he wasn’t willing to go all the way, while Jason didn’t care. It made him the most dangerous if he was thinking straight, but his poor clouded judgement at times often tricked him.
After he ended up on his back on the floor Dick was quick with the diplomatic means of us dealing with the problem at hand. He started a speech on trust, on secrets, basically all the things I was not well known for.
They were disappointed by my actions. It seemed like the dinner which we had just had was merely a show and my private talk with Jean-Paul made Jason storm out. Jason and Damian disappeared together. They are not together at the moment but both of them are clearly mad at me as they are trying to stay off the grid. They are trying to hide themselves from me which is foolish.
If I wanted to track them down, I would have done it. I know their locations and I know what they are doing, but I just want to give them time. Dick reports to me of Damian’s whereabouts and actions as them two keep in touch. While Tim informs me about Jason.
Alfred blamed me for the fiasco as he thought it was my mistake that I didn’t discuss the future of Jean-Paul with all of them.
I had decided that it’s for the best if Jean-Paul was given a new identity and was properly integrated in the Batfamily as he was worried that the System is not completely gone and it was trying to take control of him. I assured him that me and Jason Blood had made sure that his mind is cleansed from the urges to obey the Order. The programming which his father had implanted was still there, but it was there merely as a steroid, as means of him being better than us.
As for the Order of St. Dumas – we shut them down. There was not a single link on the entire world which would try to come for him or do anything wrong. They simply stopped existing.
Or so I thought.
My body was still weak from the gas. I still hadn’t fully recovered. However, I needed this case closed, completed. The knowledge they had was far too big. For them to design this gas meant they knew who I was, who was under the cape. However, this was not the most worrying thought. It meant they had my DNA and were able to retrieve it from somewhere.
From the last encounter with the knights, it was made clear to us – me, Alfred and Dick that they only had my DNA sample as they didn’t use the gas against Nightwing. The first course of action I need to undertake was assign this mission to Nightwing.
His usual patrolling area was assigned to Tim for the moment. He protested. He told me that I don’t get to call the shots on his turf and that he can handle both, this case and his usual patrolling circles. I clearly stated otherwise as I told him that I am not calling shots but I am just being rational.
This behavior of mine drove Dick away from me in the first place, but I had outlived that emotional pain.
I sent him to random locations which I thought might be related to the case – Gotham State University, the Hidden Library of Jason Blood and other places. Places which might have writings of the same time period as of the stolen one.
For a week and a half Gotham was quiet. Too peaceful for its own good.
Peaceful Gotham. Until it wasn’t.
A series of events took place on the 6th of August. First, a breakout from Arkham happened and there were several escapees, such as: Zsasz, Firefly, Mad Hatter and the Ventriloquist. Second, a breakout from Blackgate prison followed. From the prison escaped only minor thugs. If that sounds like a hands full night then I would have been a fool. More followed.
A few kidnappings happened, all of them of small children which were taken from their homes. The last thing that happened which at the time I thought was the worst – Jason Blood was attacked and an old grimoire was stolen from him. A person able to put to sleep Jason Blood was something which I thought would not see. At least not with normal means.
The Gotham night was eventful. We were spread out thin. I went to Jason Blood, Nightwing took Arkham with Jim Gordon’s help, Batgirl went to Blackgate along with Duke and the kidnappings were supposed to be taken care from Jean-Paul.
By arriving at Arkham Nightwing found out that only the cells of those madmen were opened and there didn’t seem to be any assault over the guards. The doors simply opened. Ventriloquist and Hatter was still at Arkham when Dick arrived. Zsasz and Firefly, however, escaped.
Nightwing managed to put them back in their cells, surprising to him without much resistance. Wesker told Nightwing something of the kind that he was feeling at home at the moment and didn’t want to be abused by Scarface anymore. Tetch on the other hand, he just wanted to return to his tea party with his “friends”.
Since that was resolved and the kidnappings were reported some time after the breakout from Arkham and the location of the abducted children was in close proximity to Arkham, I believed that Zsasz might have been to blame… I sent Barbara to a goose chase.
I can go into further detail about the events of the night. How each of the crimes was resolved and taken care of but it is not relevant. All that needs to be known and reported is that it was all part of the plan. The Knights or the person sitting behind them had orchestrated all of this.
The organization which managed to take me out, to scare me for a while, to get me out of my comfort zone were controlling me like a puppet. When I went to visit Jason Blood, an old acquaintance of mine with an incredible power, he told me of the attack over his body. He was not put to sleep as I was led to believe by the initial report from him. He was not attacked and knocked out, he was not tied up or paralyzed, or anything of that kind. He simply “fell asleep” or at least his alter ego was, Etrigan the Demon.
He simply saw things as they were, as they were before the grimoire disappeared. What he was seeing was from his memories of the places, he saw the place as he remembered it.
What had happened to him was exactly the same as what had happened to me.
The grimoire had disappeared long before Jason actually found out that it was gone. The way he learnt what happened to the old book was through a spell which he cast and saw what happened.
A week and a half ago three knights came in the Library, simply walked past him and entered the back area of the place. They took the book and walked out, again, simply by walking past him and him not seeing or sensing a single thing.
His story shocked me. It had shocked me because this meant that the attackers, or the thieves, I am not sure of what I am supposed to call them, had knowledge of Jason. They had knowledge of him, of Etrigan and of this place. The place was hidden well and not many people knew about its existence.
I retold my case to Jason step by step. We carefully discussed the possibilities of the future. The possibilities that might happen with those people having the grimoire and the power they have over us.
We made a list of suspects. All of them having ties with the magical world. It all seemed well constructed by them.
Leaving the place I had to contact the others to see what is their status. To check if they needed any help. But walking out and getting into the Batmobile I remembered a detail which I had forgotten.
The only people who knew of Jason’s library and were connected to me were Dick, Damian and Jean-Paul. The only person who had visited Jason Blood in the past two years was Jean-Paul. Jean-Paul and me went to him when we discussed the Order once again. A week later the grimoire was stolen and two days later there was a break-in in the museum.
I had a prime suspect now – Jean-Paul Valley.