Sep. 28th, 2010

interrogoiterum: (regret)

When it rains in Gotham, it rains sudden and it thunders hard and it continues until the city is swimming in its own filth. It is, Renee considers, real rain. When it rains in London - and she's decided it's always raining in London - it's a pale imitation of Gotham and somehow more annoying; a grey dampness that doesn't seem to actually come out of the sky so much as ooze up from the poorly kept streets (and Gotham's been through an earthquake) straight into her skin. It makes her miserable, and a miserable Renee is a Renee that misses alcohol and cigarettes and mild violence.

She's in London at the tail end of a short tour of the Religion of Crime's major outposts in Europe, and because of a newly published book by a Professor Stanton Carlyle, a Scot currently holding a research position at the Folklore Society at University College London. Tonight is a talk and accompanying signing - the single one promotional event for Carlyle's new book ; A Blasphemous Mythology: The Religion of Crime.

Renee has, of course, read the book. She's read two copies of the book it was based on: the Crime Bible, holy book of the Religion of Crime, the acolytes of which had only recently tried to cut out the heart of Renee's friend and one time lover. Not to mention that the man who first alerted her to the presence of the cult was Charlie, Vic Sage, the latest in the line of dead friends and partners of Renee Montoya. This is a job that needs completing.

If she could only stop making so many rookie mistakes.

Her first mistake was attempting to confront Carlyle at the talk about the possibility of the cult actually existing. It gave him the opportunity to be rude and dismissive in front of his audience, and alerted him to someone with a special interest to be there.

Her second mistake was, when cornering him in a Bloomsbury street after the talk, to betray that she knew of the existence of the three copies of the Crime Bible, even to name the two 'considered lost' (actually in the lighthouse with Tot). It put his defenses up even further and he stormed off with a mild threat.

So she did what she probably should have already done: she pulled her mask down over her face and broke into his offices, where she found a presentation case for what appeared to be a pair of scissors made by Watson & Weir in Westminster. Scissors - the favoured murder weapon of Peter Kürten, the Vampire of Dusseldorf.

The Crime Bible is like another of a similar name - it's made up of a number of 'books'. The Five Books of Blood. The Book of Moriarity. The Book of Kürten. It's all connected, all entwined. All obvious to the woman who's spent months immersing herself in the Bible and the cult.

The scissor-sellers supplied the charming American PI with Carlyle's home address, and she was back on the trail, pulling her mask down on the way. By the time the Question arrived at the house, it wasn't a moment too soon - Carlyle already had the scissors up and posed ready to kill his wife from behind.

By now, she had the answers, or so she thought. Carlyle, an acolyte of the Religion of Crime, wrote the book about it: pretending to be a dissection but really to promote knowledge of the Book and spread the cult further. The murder of his wife and child in the style of the Vampire of Dusseldorf would just increase profile and have more people turning to the book. Fortunately, the Question has been trained by Richard Dragon, and is able to easily subdue Carlyle. The sudden appearance of a better trained martial artist bearly phased her - she recognised him as a member of Order of the Stone, one of the major covens within the Religion, and he kept her working hard for a few tough minutes.

"You have learned the word," he told her, "but you resist its call."

Renee's final mistake was assuming it was just Stanton in the Cult of Crime. She was too busy with martial fighter man to notice his wife, or to stop her stabbing the professor. They were both followers.

Fueled with a sudden rush of adrenalin, Renee knocked the thug down and raced after the woman to the second floor, where she was just in time to utilise some vicious armbreaking and stop the murder of the son.

Vicious and intensely dissatisfying.

And now it's now. Face clear, Renee watches from an alley as the response to her 999 call comes in. A father is dead, a mother arrested and broken, and a son left. And the cult will get their publicity.

"I should've seen it," she tells herself. "I could've stopped it."

Lesson One: Deceit


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