CyanideBuzzard's forum posts
Zatara Journal Entry, 1 August 2019:
It's strange to believe how quickly something can just seem to dissipate.
The Greyscale Society seems to be AWOL on the magic side of their operations, and they have been for at least three days. Stephanie's been on patrol since my encounter with the first Imbued soldier, but yet I have not found any signs of my brother's interaction, or even my brother for that matter. He seems to be untraceable, even through paranormal methods. However he has done this, it is the most worrying symptom of this whole ordeal. His presence in the magical community is often a booming one, and his signatures could be traced even by a novice magician. I know that the Detective I met on patrol, Crispus Allen, is a part of it somehow, but it is still foggy to me how he would be affected.
I've been performing my usual nightly shows, but there's no energy to them. I just know something terrible is about to happen, but am clueless as to how or when. I believe my audience has noticed my apparent lack of being in the moment, and while they are still selling out, I can't put my heart to it.
The city's filled with smoke, but no fires have started yet. But for the life of me, I cannot how to prevent the entirety of Gotham from spontaneously combusting.
ADDENDUM: My friends, something terrible will happen. My passive stance cannot resume; I need to find Crispus Allen and figure out how he could figure into this plot. I simply didn't realize how dire the situation was. I saw him. He did not speak to me, but his presence told me that I could not simply wait for something to happen any longer than I already have.
His shadowy figure still lingers in my thoughts, but when I look at the gap between the trees in front of my apartment where I saw him, I see that he has already left.
Zatara's Guide to Deities and Mystical Beings: The Phantom Stranger
Very, pitifully little is known of the Phantom Stranger, but the first written mention of him comes from a journal from English occultist Xander Stolls in 1848. The journal, being the originator of the name "Phantom Stranger" used to describe the interloper today, said of him: "I saw, lurking in the shadows of the alleyway, a grimacing man in a grainy blue cloak and hat. [...] Seeing his figure invoked in me a feeling, that something grand was about to happen. I wanted to meet and study this phantom stranger, but alas, he was gone within an instant." This visit was tied to the rediscovery of the Helmet of Fate in an Indian archaeological dig within the days and weeks that followed. While this was the first confirmed mention of the Stranger, many have likened him to such myths as the Markovian "vaukilok," an old man who would warn village elders of diseases or magical crises; and a pre-Islamic Biyalyan folktale of a young boy named Yazid, who was informed by an old ghost of an impending attack on his village from a sorcerer, and who would later defend it to victory.
Despite the Stranger's prevalence in myths as conveying information verbally, he usually only stands idle as a sort of early warning beacon. In fact, there have only been two recorded instances of the Phantom Stranger speaking: once to Marine Corpsman Kent Nelson, who later donned the Helmet of Fate to fight the Spectre's Jim Corrigan iteration in Hungary; and once to none other than Superman, where he was warned of an Apokoliptan invasion that the Justice League faced off against. The latter case is also the only known occurrence of the Stranger warning someone about a non-magical threat. While Superman has not spoken about what exactly the Stranger said to him, Kent Nelson spoke openly in the decades after the war about his encounter with the Stranger, saying that while he doesn't know why he personally was spoken to, he is very glad that the Stranger was there to guide him. Kent described the Phantom Stranger's voice as raspy, but also yearning for something, leading many to think that the Stranger was cursed somehow.
Zatara Journal Entry, 2 August 2019:
I sat down with Crispus Allen over coffee this morning. It was not a perfect arrangement, but it cleared some of my worries away--and brought forth others. All and all, though, it gave me a very clear understanding of how he fit into the Greyscale Society's puzzle.
"You know," he chuckled over a morning bagel, "I was a little suspicious of you when I first saw you out on the street with that creature. Almost wanted to take you in for questioning, but I knew enough about who you were not to."
I remained silent, not knowing what to say to him at first. I felt like this was probably reason enough not to immediately start on the "you're in danger" train with him.
Crispus smiled. "Overshare, I guess? I reviewed your files and I don't have any concerns about you anymore."
"No, no, no," I said, absentmindedly. "It's just that I came to warn you about something, but I don't exactly know what."
Crispus let out a hearty laugh. "You know, John, I'm not exactly trained to take on magical threats. It isn't like I don't have enough on my plate right now."
My stomach dropped. "What's happened?"
"My fiancee," the GCPD Detective said quietly. "The Greyscale Society kidnapped her. I was able to retrieve her from captivity with Batman's assistance, but she was missing an arm after having been tortured by the Great White Shark. She still doesn't want to talk about the events leading up to it, but I have no idea what kind of depravity led to that."
"I'm so sorry," I said, taken aback by his radical honesty. "Is there anything else that happened?" I didn't want to ask it, and regretted asking as soon as I did, but I needed to know the answers to this.
"Yes," said Crispus. "The number of police deaths has increased massively in my precinct. Greyscale's seemed to switch from avoiding the police to actively hunting them out. It's increased the workload for me, but nothing replaces the friends I had in the force that..."
Detective Allen began sobbing. I tried to get a word out, but he started speaking again.
"And then yesterday morning, a member of the Greyscale took my dog from my backyard. I looked everywhere for him, and eventually, I went hiking and found him in the woods near Gothic Acres with a... with a bullet in... in his chest."
The sobbing became louder than anything the Detective could have said beneath them. I wanted to sympathize, but the pattern was perhaps the most horrifying sequence of events that my brother could have inflicted on him.
Zatara's Guide to Important Magical Figures: Jim Corrigan
James Harold Corrigan is the only publicly-known iteration of the Spectre, a Spirit of Vengeance that bonds itself with the souls of men (and potentially women) who have been wronged tremendously. Jim Corrigan was a US Marine who was drafted during World War II to fight on the Eastern Front. Corrigan was shot by a British military officer who went rogue in Hungary, and on his way to the afterlife the Spectre attached to him, destroying almost a third of Hungarian towns and a few in Austria before being finally bested by Doctor Fate, his Helmet controlling the body of Kent Nelson. Occult historians list 6 main factors for why Corrigan ended up attracting the Spectre's attention:
1. A grave massacre of the soldiers in Corrigan's unit, including many of Corrigan's closest friends and acquaintances, by German forces.
2. A German prostitute, one that Corrigan claimed he had a real connection with, being taken to a Nazi concentration camp in front of Corrigan. The woman was rescued, but was famished and near death herself.
3. A message from Corrigan's parents claimed that his childhood dog, Goldie, had had to be put down. Goldie was a very important part of Corrigan's childhood, with historians noting that Corrigan talked about him more than any other figures at home.
4. Corrigan's parents and uncle, having owned a restaurant in Opal City under "protection" from the Mafia, being shot and their business ravaged. Corrigan heard this only a week before his transformation into the Spectre.
5. The night the shooting happened in their unit, Corrigan was dishonorably discharged after information was found under his bed claiming he communicated with German spies. This material actually belonged to the Brit who would carry out the massacre, but it was dumped on Corrigan a few days before the shooting; it was found right before the attack.
6. The attack itself was carried out by the man whom Corrigan considered his best friend within the Corps. This likely was the turning point that got Corrigan's spirit noticed by the Spectre in the first place.
Zatara's Collection of Oddities (Non-Magical Appendix #12): Spoiler Journal Entry 8-2-18:
I know that Zatara's going to be mad at me for this decision, but I can't patrol for him tonight. I know, I know, he CALLED me up today and he seemed really, really angry. Not at me, but you know the kind of anger directed at nobody in particular, but also at everyone? Yeah, that kind. He acted as if he had just seen a ghost. He told me specifically to guard the parents of some random Gotham detective? Yeah, I don't get it either. But anyway, I am NOT going crimefighting today. That's FINAL.
Why? Well, I just don't feel very good.
My stomach hurts a lot, my nose is runny, and I've been throwing up. I haven't told Uncle Marsh yet, because I should usually be asleep this time of night, and if he doesn't think I sleep like a baby every night he'd probably figure out that I was the Spoiler and I'd be grounded for months upon months. So I've been taking care of the cold MYSELF, just like any self-reliant teenager should be doing. So yeah, it's kinda just a cold plus vomiting, but there are some other weird things that seem to be happening. I've been feeling random electric shocks on my fingers, even if I'm not touching anything. And I'm CHILLY. Like, not just when-you're-sick type chilly, but like there's a ton of cold wind passing through my bedroom. I'm not usually cold, but sometimes I just feel a breeze that really, really shouldn't be there. There aren't any fans in my room, and it's just a really, really hot room normally. I just don't GET it.
Oh well, I'll be better in a few days. I can't keep worrying about this type of thing; Lord knows I need sleep.
Zatara's Guide to Protection Against Curses: Zeus' Fury
Zeus' Fury is a strange illness that is the most common way these days that Zeus smites his enemies. It is a sickness that usually only feels like a case of the flu at first, but with weather-related symptoms. By the third day one has this disease, their body begins seizing up, and they die usually within the first 4-5 days. These cases of illness usually befall people who have evoked Zeus at a younger age and not gotten a response, but these mages get many warning signs before this curse begins to affect them: inexplicable birthmarks, bad luck, lightning that strikes dangerously close to their person. The mages can therefore enact preventative measures to lessen the effect of, or stop entirely, the disease. However, this makes it much more likely that Zeus will smite these people instantly with a clean lightning bolt.
Rather, the best thing to do is to wait until the first day, and enact the preventative spells then. This will reset the disease to the state it was at when the person first contracted it. However, there is no known way for human mages to fully cure someone of the disease, although immortal beings of magic can sometimes cure a person of Zeus' Fury. A person inflicted with Zeus' Fury often has to treat it like a chronic illness, and these rituals as a medication. Zeus is unlikely to strike someone who already has the disease with other methods, but it has happened in the past.
While the only people who have been known to contract Zeus' Fury have been channelers of Zeus themselves, it is hypothetically possible that someone with the repertoire of Zeus would be able to call this on another person. However, this is not something to worry about, as the only one with enough of a relationship with the deity is my brother, Maximillian Zatara; while we have had our serious disagreements, Maxie is not a man to destroy someone in quite the same way Zeus' Fury would. He just isn't that type of person.
So between Zatara and this, we've revived two gimmick Batman villains: Condiment King and Zebra-Man. The latter was done in quite a different manner, blink-and-you'll-miss-it type thing, but it's fun to look back at these classic Silver Age villains. (Was Condiment King Silver Age? I seem to remember so but also seem to remember him being a joke for TAS. You'll have to jog my memory.)
Okay though, let's actually talk about the story and not shamelessly plug my own. I loved this. I'm super excited for a Superman and Nightwing team-up, and I loved the introduction of Robin meeting Superman for the first time. It's just the charming type of scene that evokes real comics nostalgia, or whatever my 17-year-old take on that is. Condiment King was awesome, as mentioned. For some reason I thought he was a serving person at the bar, which would've been hysterical; Gotham's legit businessmen setting up a gimmick restaurant based on Batman villains. Forget the tragedy, we need money darnit!
Zatara's Guide to Mystical Artifacts - Cleveland's Cross (DEBUNKED)
Cleveland's Cross belonged to a Civil War general on the side of the Union, a general of great honor from eastern Massachusetts, named Rodger A. Cleveland. During a battle, Cleveland fell off his horse clutching the cross and impaled himself on its sharp side. While under the possession of the Confederacy, locals claimed that it was cursed, with any site that the Cross was left in being absolutely decimated by Union armies the next day. After the war, a plague of disease in Texas and a separate infestation of Locusts in Oklahoma were also attributed to the Cross.
While Cleveland's Cross went missing for over a hundred years, it eventually did resurface under the possession of the Falcone crime family. I warned Batman gravely that the mere presence of the Cross in Gotham seemed to be a warning of a greater looming threat. Batman's men successfully located it and, after I had examined it, chucked it into the ocean. The only problem was that my examinations proved that there was no magical abilities that the cross had; war and disease were easily available to make a legend out of this cross. What was more, the period of three days in which the hunt commenced saw one of the Joker's greater massacres of Gotham citizens, often called "Jaded Tuesday."
Many of Batman's closest allies still blame me for not being able to be there, and the ones that don't aren't at all willing to take a risk on my predictions. This leaves me with Stephanie Brown, alias the Spoiler, as the only hero who trusts me, being young enough to not even have had to deal with fighting the Joker. Despite her unfortunate lack of skills, she's going to be the one I need to rely on to get the Heart of Darkness returned to safety.
Zatara's Collection of Oddities (Non-Magical Appendix #12): Spoiler Journal Entry 7-25-19
It's just so incredibly STUPID when people ask you for things, and then they force THEMSELVES into YOUR battles. I'm a superhero. I fight people for you. That's how it WORKS. But I mean apparently, everyone has to jump in and help you out.
If you're gonna give me orders, maybe look at why I'm doing this. My DAD was a villain. I had to arrest my own DAD. But still, does nobody seem to trust me with making my own life decisions? This is why I haven't told my uncle about this yet. He'd just get SUPER over-protective and stop me from DOING anything.
So like, okay, I guess I need to give you guys context right now, you future readers or whatnot. This IS my first journal entry after all, at least after my first one filled up. My name is Stephanie Brown, and I'm a superhero. The Spoiler. God, I wish I could change that name now, but none of the Bat-names are available right now. My dad was some Riddler ripoff, and so now I'm living with my uncle and aunt over near Gothic Acres. I've been doing dumb stuff: helping the big folks catch my father, helping old ladies across busy streets, and OCCASIONALLY finding some mafia dude I wanna punch. But then, Zatara, this super-cool magic dude that nobody seems to like, gave me my FIRST ACTUAL MISSION, and he doesn't trust me enough to solve it. I HAVE A BULLETPROOF SUIT, GUYS. WE ALL DO. I'M PRETTY SURE IT'S ALSO MAGIC-PROOF. I just have to get a stupid jewel from a bunch of stupid bad guys, and that's all. Seems like a piece of cake, right?
Nope, apparently not. So there were these three guys, right? And they were carrying a black jewel with them. So I swoop in and fight them. Kicked the jewel out of one of their hands. You following me? And then, one of the guys turns into this zebra-looking mass of energy and gives me this giant electric shock. It's fine, I'm tough, I got a tough suit. More importantly, this zebra-man was one of the first actual criminals I had the chance to face. And who comes in, but Zatara! And he's shooting stuff at this zebra dude, and he burns it with magic, and everything he does seems super cool but I've been totally SIDELINED and I feel sick of it.
I swing away and pretend I've never met him. I kinda wish I hadn't.
Zatara's Guide to Elemental Imbuement: Introduction
Of all the unique potential applications I've seen of magic, I haven't seen any nearly as reckless or dumb as what I've heard on several sides of the magic community to be called "elemental imbuement." Like my section of this book dedicated to demonic summoning, or death curses, I will be documenting this new and lawless art for posterity, but I highly, highly advise one to stay away from this supposed "self-improvement" technique.
The general idea behind elemental imbuement is that one turns their own body into one or more elements, and lets themselves be consumed by magic. They essentially become living fire, or water, or anything similar. This art has been cited often by the transhumanist sphere of the magical community as a "proof-of-concept," as potential for one to make themselves greater beings with magic, but even many of these nutjobs admit that it is not perfect or recommended at this stage in its development. One of the reasons that they cite for this is the apparent lack of a way out, or a method of reversal. Once you have cast these spells on yourself, you will quite literally remain a pile of water or mud until the end of your life.
Currently, these imbuements require a significant amount of time to pull off. However, as many older-generation mages do, I worry deeply about if and when people can condense these magics into a curse. This could create an enchantment nearly impossible to break, one that consumes one's life completely and utterly.
I have redacted much of the information here on how to conduct these spells; they are all available online anyway. Should someone else ever find my book, I would rather not play any part in their downfall.
Zatara Journal Entry - 25 July2019:
The creature was almost certainly created from elemental imbuement, I could tell that much. Most likely two or more elements; I could tell he had lightning abilities, but the dark clouds that swirled over him probably came from one of the three elements of tangible darkness, and it seemed likely that a slight ice imbuement was a part of his transformation. Either way, my brother's contributions to the Greyscale Society didn't end with Eclipso.
The first few spells I tested on him were just to give me a lay of the land on what could hurt him and what couldn't. Elemental fire, ice and a plant growth spell; nothing worked. It seemed Maxie had created the perfect formula for an imbued soldier. The creature was nearing; what was worse, Spoiler was already here fighting it, and I was not ready to be the man that put her in harm's way.
I sighed and started attempting to breathe deeply. I was not physically spry enough to be a superhero, and while the three mafia goons had been incapacitated by Stephanie, they were by far my biggest threat. The creature was slow enough that as long as I tried different things on it every few seconds, it wouldn't be able to hurt me. I tried to concentrate on my next spell: a light spell, as the darkness surrounding the creature could make it weak to the light. Even still, it would be an understatement to say that light spells required a lot of concentration. I knew it was a bad habit that I needed to break, but it was my only way.
"Ti emusoc ot thgil yloh eht wolla!"
It was still an almost instantaneous reaction. The light emerged from the tips of my fingers, and the creature found itself paralyzed, sitting still. I assumed that this reaction would stay permanent from other experiences, but I wasn't about to let other people find out for themselves. Spoiler was long-gone from the sight; I just had to wait until the police arrived. I was still wearing my suit from the show that had just wrapped up, so I just tried to picture how I looked to passers-by: a magician, without a hat, standing next to something that was probably just a performance art piece.
As I waited, I felt a strong sense of dread. I didn't know why this was, but I could tell that it wasn't connected to the creature I had just bested. It was something else. And as the police sirens came closer, I knew exactly what my sensing was related to.
The police car door opened. "GCPD, police detective Crispus Allen. Would you like to explain in better terms what happened here?"
Maxie's motives... Oh my gosh do I need to elaborate on those now that I think of it. He was just kinda a "gotta make money" type person, but this goes easy beyond the realm of something anyone would just do for money, not doesn't it? Perhaps the gang he'd be targeting with Eclipso killed someone close to him, or I dunno.
Well, rest assured, I will figure something out. Steph's connection to Zatara I thought would be simple, but I'll continue to elaborate on that as we go. Basically she's just the only one in the Family who completely trusts Zatara, therefore making her a liaison to him from the Family.
I also have an idea for a book, basically with a team similar to the New 52 JLA created out of random characters. Long story short the idea is that Reed was the only F4 member to return to Earth in the crash and the others were zapped to space; Reed is now trying to put together a team to look for them.
I'll probably call it Fantastic Force based on that one team a very very long time ago.