2019-08-25 - The Oath Of A Knight


Batgirl goes looking for Zeal

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Aug 25 02:39:19 2019
Location: Staten Island

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Theme Song



It is early in the evening, Avery is just off shift at UPS and super hungry. So…off she goes to grab a bite to eat from a vendor she knows, the guy is a huge SCA buff, and thinks Avery is too because of her rather odd speech patterns. And for her own part she just likes having someone to talk with that speaks like a civilized Hidden Earther, OMG, so so nice. Of course it doesn't hurt he thinks she's kind of cute, of course. Sadly, the silly girl is rather clueless about that sort of thing, and just enjoys the pizza and chatting with Lyle. Or as he likes to style himself Sir Lyle of York Nova.

Their banter actually serves as something of a draw, mostly people finding them fairly funny. Lyle, not being dumb, is okay with that! Seated at her usual perch, the girl munches away happily on a folded slice (ONLY way to eat New York pizza she's been told!) of 'garbage' pizza, and sips at a beverage in a paper cup, something dark.

A message appears on Avery's phone as she sits there munching on that Pizza.

//Batgirl would like to meet you. Go to the bench 100 yards to your left. She's waiting for you. ~Oracle.

That's probably going to make Avery think Batgirl is even more of a sorceress but it can't be helped.

When the young woman approaches the bench, it's darker and there's no one else here but the black clad Batgirl, the yellow Bat emblem showing on her chest and the yellow lining of cape barely visible as the garment hangs from her shoulders.

A blink, it is comical, the girl clearly does not get a lot of pages, and then she nearly drops the pizza as she GLEEFULLY digs out her phone, and flips the ancient thing open. Hazel eyes widen, and then she looks apologetically to Lyle. "I pray thee good Lyle, forgive me my hasty departure but I have just been summoned by oracular forces for counsel, can you forgive me?"

Without missing a beat, Lyle. "Of course, Lady Avery, Aaronsdottir. It will cut me to the quick, but if duty calls, one needs must answer." He moves to capture her hand, but she's already slipped off the table she was sitting at. "I shall see thee soon, dear friend!" She carols merrily over her shoulder as she departs. Poor guy! Chasing the clueless wonder, still, nobody is hurt—no harm.

And yes, Batgirl is /clearly/ a Sorceress, an Alchemist or Artificer at the very least.

Avery is dressed in her work clothes, so UPS brown shorts and top, a reversed UPS hat workboots and heavy gloves tucked through her belt as she approaches. She smiles when she sees that emblem, and the cape, and the woman in between both. "Greetings, Batgirl! Fair the day."

Batgirl sighs at how easily Avery is 'lured' to her. To be fair, she had at least met Batgirl and heard of Oracle - but what if it was trap?

"Hello Avery." The redheaded womans voice is modulated through her hud. With no domino mask, Batgirl can take in the young womans features. "Do you always just answer summons from strangers? What if I had been one of The Hand seeking to catch you?"

What had been done to those people … it wasn't good and to think that it might happen to someone else…

It's hard to tell if there's any humour in Batgirls voice - the modulator removes all emotion.

Yup, no question, Avery is very easily drawn into danger! In truth she rather likes it when danger comes to her - saves her the trouble of seeking it out!

"Hello again." She says with a bright smile, the girl has /zero/ 'mask' to go with her lack of the domino mask she was wearing, no doubt she's a mistress of disguise in her spare time. She looks thoughtful at the question, then smiles. "Well, then I suppose I would have had a fight upon me, and would have had to do my very best to vanquish them, I am no stranger to ambuscade. Still, by and large, I am an able fighter. Besides, I doubt there is much cause they would have to seek me out, not from one encounter with so many other far more notable personages on the scene." Which is actually a point, not a great one, but not entirely wrong.

The sigh is audible through the modulator this time. "That's what I thought." Is all the redhead says as she starts to move about the young woman, looking at her. "And why did they take those people to begin with?" There had been fairly ordinary people in the mix the other night. The Hand certainly didn't seem to be too fussy.

"Notable personages are tougher fare." Batgirl points out. "But I've seen your fighting ability and you're … adequate."

She'll let that sit, watching Avery's reaction to the critique.

"I am no sleuth, I am afraid, Batgirl. I am a skilled huntress, and an able bodied fighter." Avery -does- look thoughtful. "I cannot guess why they would mutilate people as part of their enslavement, but these villains of The Hand, well, they deserved not the mercy you had me show." In other words she'd have been just as happy killing them, possibly a strike in the Batgirl's book.

When critiqued, Avery actually laughs. "Oh, aye, I am that. Fear not that hubris will e'er be my downfall! Well I know that I have much to learn, but what better teacher than experience? One cannot learn from books alone, or from The YouTube, mm?" Her eyes are very clear, she is absolutely earnest about this. "Still, I am stronger than many, is it not my duty to protect those that cannot protect themselves? I have sworn oaths, binding oaths to champion the weak and lay low the wicked."

Batgirl takes in a deep breath and lets it out. "Let's walk and talk, you and I." She gestures, moving along the deserted path, keeping to the shadows. It's not like she's worried about the Police showing up, they're presence in Staten Island is … stretched.

Nor does the caped crusader seem to be concerned about the boogey men she's just mentioned to Avery. Except. "Oracle, monitor the cameras in the area. Advise if there's anything unusual."

"I'll do that Batgirl. Feeds to your wearable."

Avery will see the device on Batgirls right wrist light up.

"Experience can teach much, yes but it teaches foresight through hindsight. Some things like assessing risks ahead of time, can be taught and learned without such painful lessons." The redhead answers. "Tell me about these binding oaths…" She'll get to mercy in a bit.

Avery moves along with Batgirl, and with a faint smile curving thin lips, she clings to the shadows, moving in near silence, and the way she moves? Very smooth, no sudden motions - she's got some ability at stealth, that much is plain. Then again, she did claim to being a skilled huntress, perhaps she meant /actually/ a huntress?

As they walk Avery's gaze constantly in motion, scanning the environs.

"Now you sound like mine sainted father, Batgirl. He despaired of my…" Zeal? " …enthusiastic ways." She sighs softly. "He was a scholar and chirugeon of some skill, my father. He was very wise and kind, I am sure you would have liked him." And then she smiles. "But the oaths…when I was knighted, I swore the following oath…" Her eyes close as she recites with care, the cadence of one of repetition, and the tone one of reverence.

"A Knight is Sworn to Valor.
His Heart knows only Virtue.
His Blade defends the Helpless.
His Might Upholds the Weak.
His Words Speak only Truth.
His Wrath Undoes the Wicked."

Now, if Babs has ever seen the Movie 'Dragonheart' this Oath would be VERY familiar. Of course…Avery speaks it with absolute conviction, and is evidently sincere in her belief in it. The hell?

"When you were … knighted." That gets a sideways look. Why does this young woman sound like she's stepped out of a MMO? Batgirl has certainly noted the way that Avery moves and she chuckles a little at the mention of her father "Is that why you're called Zeal?" Yes, she's noticed.

"Well that was a good movie. I enjoyed that one." The redhead says, picking up the connection easily. Photographic memory and all that. "And to whom did you swear your fealty, Zeal?"

"Aye, when I was knighted." Avery confirms, apparently missing that sideways look - or more likely simply not able to read the expression through the mask well enough to notice anything about it.

A smile in response to the chuckle, and Avery nods. "Aye, in memory of his fond exasperation, I took the name Zeal as my own. It seemed right." A grin. "When I learned that the heroes of this world all did use such monikers, I thought long and hard, 'She Who Walks the Space Between Breaths' seemed overly long, Jumper be no the only thing I could do…but /Zeal/ describes me to a nicety, does it not?"

She stops when Batgirl mentions a movie. "There be a movie about the Paladin Templars?" The what? There were Knights Templars, and Paladin, aside from a fun class in D&D is derived from old French. Charlemagne had several knights attendant that were Paladins. "My oath was given in the Hall of the Justiciars of the Mount, I was knighted for valor on the field of battle against the Serpent Kingdom's hordes."

She is silent a moment, and for the first time her smile fades, and she looks…lost, and a little bewildered. "If anything I remember be true." The last said in a whisper.

It really does sound like something out of an MMO, or tabletop game.

Paladin Templars! Oh. Batgirl can just imagine such an organisation. Paladins, certainly a fun class in D&D, had a *reputation*. "Your father is passed then?" Another direct question as the redhead tries to work out the younger woman. She moves smoothly, mostly silently for the armoured suit and boots she wears.

Avery won't detect the slight stiffness that afflicts her back. Not now.

It really does sound like a MMO or something and the way Avery speaks, makes her frown. Is the young woman … well, she wonders this. A thought that is made stronger by that last comment. "What do you mean, Zeal? If anything you remember is true?"

"Aye, recently departed. I am all that remains of my line." Avery is clearly not too happy about that either. But she swore the oath, and Batgirl saved her life, she will answer ANY question she asks, to the best of her ability! As to the stiffness - Avery doesn't know Batgirl well enough to note it, indeed, even if she did she'd put it down as a training injury, or a remnant from the fight the other night.

Is she nuts? Could be. She seems pretty coherent, though, if she's crazy she's at least semi-functional and there are FAR worse delusions to live with than dreaming of being a Knight who helps the weak.

"I mean…that I have reason to believe that my life be not what I thought it. I cannot say what be real and what were not." A shrug, her eyes downcast. "It is possible I am but a madwoman, and all this but a dream. Or perhaps I am sane, and the dreams were those events I remembered…all I know is that my life is not what it seems, though true from false? Madness? I know not."

To be fair, there are a number of people in Batgirls sphere of influence that could be classed as 'nuts' or worse and the redhead still works with them. That's an interesting way for the woman to put things, which gets a direct look this time.

"You don't really seem as a madwoman but why don't you tell me the story? You have an interesting way of speaking and I'm sure you've noticed that others around you speak differently. But a dream? What happened?"

Batgirl also saw the woman teleport. Well, felt it really. There's more than meets the eye.

Well, one need not be a raving lunatic to be crazy, and really - Avery sounds all sorts of delusional, if in a reasonably endearing way.

"Ah, but certes an one need not be frothing at the mouth and speaking in tongues to be less than sane, Batgirl. Surely you know this." Avery falls silent as they walk after the request to speak of her past. "Dost truly wish to hear the tale? I have told it all to no other, ere this." She stops, and looks around. "And in sooth I find it awkward to speak of it here, if you wish, I can take us to my home, and we can speak there - or if you have another location we can take The Uber."

"Do you always invite strangers to your home?" Batgirl asks. The answer seems to be 'yes'. "You want somewhere more private to speak? Let me see… " There's a safehouse near here, it won't take them long to get there. Batgirl turns their steps in that direction.

They'll walk.

Oracle by now has a facial scan of Avery and is running the young woman through various databases. Identities are being found.

"So I know you as Zeal. Your name is Avery, though, yes? Avery Aaronson." The redhead asks gently as they walk. "You don't have to tell me the story, but I'm taking us to a place we can talk, if you wish. You don't … that's ok."

The results are still filtering in.

"Let's talk about mercy though and why we show it." She moves the conversation though. "Whilst we try to maintain order on the streets and protect people, it's not our job to decide who lives and dies. We stop those who would do harm and let the authorities prosecute them accordingly."

"Nay, not always…only those who I feel are friends, of course. Well, except that one time when I found the mother and daughter under a bridge, they were living in a BOX." Yes, Avery is outraged. "So…they stayed with me for a few weeks, ere I got them settled at a homeless shelter." A pause, she's clearly remembering other such events, man, she really does take that ridiculous code seriously!

There are a few oddities - she's missing a significant scar, in that home invasion she was struck by an iron, and it was on…her cheek was badly scarred, and the neck broken, there's no evidence of that damage, even the best plastic surgery would likely have left some signs of it. Also, after they took her home—nothing. No sightings at all, not in fifteen years.

"Aye, Avery Amanda Aaronson, only Daughter of Adam and Alice, though I do not remember my mother at all. Just…sort of a smell, a feeling." She smiles then, though her eyes are sad, distant with remembrance. "I trust you, Batgirl and I owe you my life, if you take it now, well, that was some few days I would not have had and I would thank you for the gift of them. Lead on, friend."

As Batgirl speaks of Mercy, she looks a bit dubious. "Some crimes do not deserve anything but death, though. Would you not say that a slayer of a child deserved no mercy? Lawmen and Magistrates are they not corrupt with dismaying regularity? If I were to see a man or woman take the life of a child I would not feel any compunction at ending the murderer, dost not agree?"

Oracle has found the reports and is noting the differences, feeding the information to Batgirl subvocally and via her wearable. Interesting. She'll get to that, shortly, she's sure.

The path takes them to the edge of park they were walking in, to a street that they need to cross. It probably doesn't surprise Avery that they keep to the shadows, slipping from them like wraiths in the night.

"I do disagree, yes. I am not judge, jury or executioner. We have a system of law here that we need to honour. It's designed to ensure that innocent aren't punished instead of the guilty. That anarchy doesn't become our rule."

She's silent for a while, letting that sink in before starting up again "Maybe some of our officials are corrupt and don't act in accordance with their office and they should be exposed and subject to our laws as well. These are people, that we as the people, entrust to enforce the laws that we have agreed on."

It's complex and with crime as it is, Batgirl understands why people are frustrated.

"Do I agree that someone who takes the life of another should be punished. Yes, I do. And we have a system for that."

Another anomaly - for a victim of a neck injury that left her paralyzed from the chin down she surely has no problems with the range of motion of her head and neck, and obviously her body works just fine. So that's a big one right there too.

No, Avery is not surprised at sticking to the shadows, apparently Batgirls are shadow-philes, and she's okay with that. "But if you SAW the murder, surely there be no question of guilt, and what other penalty for child slaying than death? No innocents are involved, and the guilt is without question."

She does think on what Batgirl is speaking of, it is a strange set of values for a girl adventurer more or less from a very advanced video game.

"If you believe that even the guilty have right to face this 'system', I will accept that it may be so, my own experiences are suspect, my mores and values perhaps unrealistic, even simplistic. But evil /must/ pay."

"We are not the arbiters of the law, Avery. We have a system of law to deal with that. And what if you SAW the murder, but not what lead up to that? What if the man who was murdered had killed someone before that? Do they not deserve to die by what you're saying?"

The redhead falls to silence as she turns into a sidestreet, there are houses, apartments here now.

"What if someone saw *you* murder someone and decided that you needed to die because of it?" beat "Child killers deserve little mercy, I agree. However, consider, what if what you think you see isn't the whole story at all? Yes, evil must pay - and we have laws and systems to determine that the *truly* guilty are punished."

And that sort of chain of events is exactly why VR isn't reality - had Adam Aaronson had greater funds he most likely would have made the Hidden World even more real, but really, considering what he had to work with he really did come up with a very real sim. Avery is clearly troubled by the concepts Batgirl speaks of, by the examples she cites, the arguments she presents.

Might give the Batgirl hope to see Zeal truly ponder, and to have doubts, and to worry.

"I…do not know, Batgirl. I am no Mystic able to read minds or the past, I can only see what I see, experience what I have experienced. You raise some very troubling points, however." She looks to Batgirl, a hand touching the other woman's arm. "Have you ever killed?" She asks.

Batgirl doesn't say anything as she leads the pair to a row house and speaks quietly into her comms - though Avery can hear her. "Oracle. Safehouse at my location, disarm the security, I'm unlocking the door now."

There's no response but Batgirl unlocks the door and pushes it open, the lights come on of their own accord. "Come on in, take a seat. I've no food or drink to offer, I'm afraid. We can't stay long, but long enough for us to speak."

It's sparsely furnished. A table with chairs and sofa. No TV is visible at all.

"And our experiences colour our perceptions at times, Zeal. We also don't know the whole story. Think on that." The woman answers. "No, I have not." And she hasn't.

Should Avery decide to go looking - she'll find newspaper articles from about ten years ago. A red headed Batgirl on the streets of Staten Island fighting crime. Then about four years later - she just disappeared, no more headlines, no more stories about her. Other Bats yes, but not Batgirl until she reappeared about a year ago.

"Oh, it is quite fine, Batgirl. I had just supped on garbage pizza and the beverage Doctor Pepper. I am fine for a while, and if needs must provide, I can share energy bars an it please you." The lack of TV is noted, and the sparse decor. "Most homey, this safe house." Avery offers, and really — her place is only a bit more furnished!

"I confess, Batgirl-Laoshi…" The Mandarin term of respect for a teacher. "…I did not think that far ahead, a failing of mine, a most egregious one at that. I /am/ zealous, one might e'en say rash."

She looks up, and her eyes are almost pure hazel, very few flecks of gold at the moment. "I have killed many times…but never since coming to this world of gods."

Batgirl chuckles, the sound strange through her modulator. "I'm not hungry, but thank you." The results for Zeal, or Avery, are starting to filter in to her wearable, Oracle murmuring in the redheads ear the information that's found.

"We are … not a world of gods, Avery. We are only human and flawed as humans are." The admission of killing somewhere else draws a frown. "Now. I believe you have a story to tell me?" It's phrased as a request but it's not really. Batgirl is slowly collating the information and she's sure this story will give a key.

"It feels like a world of gods, Batgirl. Everyone here has such rich history, such flowing and differing dialog, why…many deal with regularly do greet me in a myriad of fashions! Not but one or few, many." She smiles a little, removing her backwards cap and then finger brushing hair free and shaking it out a little as she settles in a flumph to the ground with the sort of instinctively boneless, utterly unselfconscious fluidity of a ten year old. Sitting Indian Style, she works out some tangles in her hair as she speaks.

"So…my earliest memory…I was entering The City of Nine Stones, father carried me in his arms, I was but…six? I think six, and I was very ill."

Deftly her fingers work through the tangles. "My head hurt very much, it was a nigh unto a week ere I could rise from bed, and then days more before I could speak well, or move well. It was most vexing, let me tell you!" Her eyes? A little more gold in them as she remembers. "It was a fine time of year, soon the harvest was due, and it was a time when Father was not traveling, so we spent the entire summer together!" The gold is more prevalent. "Mostly we did study, he helped me get fit, and started me training with many tutors in the arts martial. My favorites were Master Bayani Acosta, my Eskrima teacher and Master Hideo Sato, my Aikido instructor." Should Oracle check - there actually ARE two such people.

Seeing the young woman work her hair through, Batgirl reaches into her utility belt and produces a comb that she hands over wordlessly, listening intently to the story as it unfolds.

"I see…" Avery might be able to hear the frown in the modulated voice. The information slowly collates with the story. "And … you lived in this City from then on?" Six equates to the information that Oracle is finding but Batgirl doesn't want to say anything yet.

Subvocally, Oracle provides an interesting bit of information Those Masters contracted with Adam Aaronson for a VR Sim around that time, Batgirl. It was demoed with The Hidden World but no product was ever marketed, patented or sold.

"Mm." A nod, and then at the comb she beams at Batgirl, and inclines her head in thanks. "Until I was twelve, yes. I studied unarmed techniques first, of course." Which is the normal order of training for Eskrima, empty hand techniques first, the forms also useful for close in fighting. "Then short blades, sticks, long blades and eventually the stave." She nods then sets comb to hair as she carries on.

"Of course endurance exercises to build strength, acrobatics, and survival." She nods firmly. "Some basic healing, as I grew we would often hunt…though father's scholarly duties oft took him away. he was a great chirugeon and seeker of antiquities, and taught me much about the latter, less about the former." She smiles again.

"It was at twelve that I had my first adventure, it was nothing grand, but oh…the fear I felt! Sewers are /not/ safe, you know. There be monsters within. I spent months clearing the tunnels beneath the City of Nine Stones, ultimately discovering a cult of those who worshiped the Lord of Balefire." She shudders. "I broke their cult, but won myself the enmity of their god. In sooth when I met the one called Venom in this world, I thought him an avatar of the Lord of Balefire, his form most similar in nature, but when the others, heroes all, did treat with him, I bit back my concern."

"Oracle, can you get me screenshots of The Hidden World, please?" Batgirl murmurs, watching the young woman as she talks. "What's the status of Adam Aaronson as well?" Somethings wrong here and Batgirls not sure what.

"So you had adventures and the like until when, Avery? What bought you to this world of Gods?" This young woman shows none of the scarring that her earlier files indicates that she should. And more importantly, she can walk.

The Avery Aaronsone that Oracle has found was critically injured and should be confined to a chair at best.

The Hidden World that Avery speaks of never even got pitched, screenshots really would not be available. There is an MMO called the -Secret- World, but it is in a modern setting. Adam Aaronson is legally dead, though no body was recovered. The fire under the Aaronson home however, /that/ is interesting. The damage done virtually consumed the basement, the forensic reports and those from the fire department arson team agree that it left a spherical hole with a six-meter diameter, the actual fire that gutted the home was caused by severed gas lines and electrical conduits. The surface of the sphere was exceptionally smooth, and the sphere itself, were it not for fire damage, was mathematically -perfect- to ten decimal places.

And Avery was found in the middle of the sphere, unconscious.

"Mm? Oh, aye, I explored ancient ruins, hunted dinosaurs, fought in wars and faced bandits and monster hordes. I was nearly one and twenty when I came here, my father had come, he seems distressed, hurried, and wanted me to step through a portal." She sets the comb down, in hand, but held at her knee. She frowns, clearly in some measure of distress. "I…remember stepping through the portal, and I was — briefly in two place at once, there were two..MEs, if that makes sense." She looks up, eyes dull, clearly in pain. "The other me was sickly, frail…scarred…she lay in a metal coffin, but…there be a clear cover instead of opaque, and I was looking at her…and her at me and both of us together." She's visibly trembling now, breathing swift and shallow. "Father…he was fighting two men, powerful men in black garb, suits…and one of them tore metal from the other me's head and we screamed in one voice…" Her pupils are dilated, wide with remembered terror and her form sort of…flickers…phasing in and out.

"And then I knew no more until I woke in the hospital."

Seeing the young womans distress, Batgirl moves towards her to put a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry Avery, if it's too painful we don't have to discuss it." But she really is curious. A picture is forming in her detectives mind. "Oracle, get the details of the first responders who attended the Aaronson home. I want the full police and hospital reports." That's going to take the VI a few minutes to get.

"Batgirl, I've identified some loans in Adam Aaronson's name from some loan sharks. From what I can determine, he had defaulted. I suspect Arson." Avery can't hear any of this but it makes Batgirl frown.

The phasing of the womans form is … interesting.

"And that was several months ago, yes? When you woke in the hospital?"

The forensic and arson reports compared to the blueprints of the house don't match, the basement? WAY too deep, that six meter diameter should have taken out the house too! There was far more down there, though only tantalizing bits remained, some of which might still be in evidence lock ups.

When she looks up, Avery's eyes are pure gold, and then the flecks fade as she focuses, and her form settles once more. "No, it be /important/. There be gaps…things I cannot recall, my childhood ere I woke in father's arms those fifteen years past, nothing. A friend I made, a Telepath, she found I had blocked those memories, and that I feared them. But there is so much…" She sighs, and nods.

"Aye, fully several months past…and aye, six months did I spend with legal entangles, with physical therapy, and you know what be most strange? Old scars of mine own…gone. Badges of honor I carried half my life, wiped away by means I know not. And the therapy, twas most vexing, I had no calluses, my muscle tone was poor, my limbs lacking grace, my movements awkward at best. When I woke I was on a table, of metal and glass…I remember a weight at my head, and I was so cold…" She sighs then, looking to Batgirl. "I cannot recall more, I am sorry to disappoint you, friend Batgirl."

"You've told me enough for now, Avery." Batgirl says gently though the modulator strips most of that out. "Do you have any theories yourself on why all this might be?" Socratic method, Babs subscribes to it. Get the student to think and answer their own questions.

Batgirl does and it's not good. "Oracle can you identify the loansharks and find them?" Vigilanteism has … its benefits.

"Disappoint me? You can't. It sounds like you've had a terrible ordeal. And now, you're upholding your oath and fighting on the streets of this world you find yourself in." A world into which she was born.

"A world you appear to have little knowledge of."

"Theories? Perhaps…but they sit uneasy, I avow and affirm. It be very likely that all I recall, mine whole life of heroics, of questing in causes noble and just…were mere fabrications, I even considered that my father might have been other than he seemed, that his purposes were sinister, but I know not." A helpless shrug, her hand clenched so tight about the comb that the teeth are digging into her flesh. She looks up, and her cheeks damp with silently shed tears. "I feel adrift, lost, so I do what feels right. I try to help others, try to keep others safe, make their lives better." She closes her eyes then and looks down. "And all the time my phantom past be lurking, filling me with doubts I dare not face."

She looks up then, at the absolution given, eyes very intent. "I cannot say what I am, but I can only act as feels right, mm? I might know very little that be real, but lives saved? Villainy thwarted? That be real."

And then a painful laugh. "Oh aye, well I know how little I know. All too well."

Batgirl nods, squeezing the womans shoulder reassuringly or so she hopes. "Let me ask you, Avery. Do you want to know what happened? Or do you just wish to move forward?"

An interesting question.

The loansharks were Sergei Ivanov and Alexander Smirnov. Known ties to the Bratva and their record sheets are rather horrifying. Oracle subvocalises. Both are still alive according to current records. It should be possible to track them.

"And if I was to ask you to stop with your quest, would you do that? Or would wait till I wasn't around and continue anyway?"

She offers a wan smile at the squeeze, and then nearly puts an eye out with the comb as Avery goes to wipe her cheeks. That fact causes her jerk her head back, and then look at her traitor hand in reproach, before laughing softly. "I…do not know, but I need to learn how to live here, in this land of gods you say are not gods - though there be people of power like unto such." Avery looks pensive, and then thoughtful. "I am unsure I /can/ move forward without knowing that which lays behind. To not know—that would, methinks, be worse than knowing ill tidings, do you not think so?"

It actually takes Avery a good fifteen, twenty seconds to parse the last question. That alone is an answer! "Break my vows? Stand aside when evil doth raise its fetid stench? Impossible, if need be I would leave this city, this New York, rather than offend you…but, nay, I could not stop e'en should you demand it of me." She looks ashamed at that declaration. "I owe you my life, aye…but to give up who I am would cost me my soul."

Batgirl doesn't offer any judgement on whether Avery should find out or not, just listens to the answer. "Very well then. If you wish to know, we will find out. Oracle is already searching for information and when we find more, you and I can go look. How does that sound?"

Batgirl won't share her suspicions or what she has at the moment. She wants to be sure of the information she has.

"Kids today…" the redhead snorts softly at Avery's response. "If that's the case, I want you to train with me. Learn … to be safer, better. You're good but undisciplined."

Oh yes. That's an offer.

Avery blinks a couple times at the shift in tenor with the 'we' in finding out about her past. At the snort, and then the offer of training, she just looks up at the other woman, and her smile…it is like watching the sun emerge in the wake of a storm. "Oh, aye! I would be honored, Batgirl." She hops up and hugs poor Babs, and then releases her and peers cautiously to make sure she'd given no offense, and then she returns the comb. "I will serve you well, Batgirl, my fealty once given doth not flag! And do not doubt, my every power, be at your command."

OMG—did Batgirl just acquire her own Knight!?

"Well maybe I can keep you alive and whole for longer." Batgirl sighs internally. What is she doing! "We'll start soon, I need to arrange some facilities. But until then, stay safe, hmmm?"

With that the redhead looks to the door. The night is drawing on and the Bats must fly. "Now, home with you. Get a good nights sleep and I'll be in touch. To start your training and our investigation."

"Living be a worthy goal, on that we can agree." Avery nods, and then bows, fists to heart. "I look forward to your hail, Batgirl. Would it be possible for me to reply to your text with mine work schedules?" Hey! She doesn't know what Babs considers proper training. Yet. A grin, and then she bows. "As you wish." An indrawn breath later…Avery is gone.

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