Friday, May 05, 2006

The Knight After 4: The Return of the Repressed

So, I was reading a fortune cookie fortune the other day. It said:
PROGRESS ALWAYS INVOLVES RISK.

And that's a pretty good summary of where things stand right now in my ongoing batsaga. When last I updated this account, I was in the clutches of a certain Mad Hatter, who had figured out I was Bruce Wayne and was holding me hostage in Wayne Manor for an extended interrogation, the second phase of which would surely entail some further disclosures on my part.

They say desperate times call for desperate measures, and, encouraged in part by that fortune and a similar message from the cosmos (as I may have explained, in solo play I have long made use of chance, coincidence, and other instinctual devices), I took the biggest of all possible risks. Reasoning that the enemy of my enemy is my friend (am I quick with the proverb/clich├ęs today, or what?), I contacted an old ... friend for assistance.

Regular readers of these accounts already know who I mean, and I imagine they're already smacking their foreheads in anger and/or frustration (or saying "told ya so"). It's true: more than four months after our last conversation, and almost a year to the day after my escape from his clutches, I got in touch with the Monk.

My motivation was as simple as it was outrageous: I did not want to become the Hatter's victim. And I knew that the man behind this villain harbors another side: a hero who longs to be defeated. My plan was to surprise the Hatter by introducing the Monk into the Hatter storyline and letting the chips fall where they may.

I figured I had gotten every last drop of the Monk's influence over me out of my system. That was a safe assumption, given that I had successfully transferred my craving for defeat from the Monk to the Ranger, and then from the Ranger to the Hatter. The third time around, it felt clear to me that my masochistic side does not really care who is after me, as long as it's someone good at being a bad guy. And those three men are all very, very good at being very, very bad.

By the time I contacted the Monk for help against the Hatter, I felt nothing for him as a character other than a vague disdain. I hadn't obsessed about him in months, that energy having been directed quite successfully toward the other two. Our initial reunion was cordial, considering that we have been mortal enemies since Day One (not counting the period immediately after he broke me, during which the Stockholm Syndrome kicked in and I spent my days gladly doing his bidding before I returned to my senses and began plotting my escape). We caught up on old times, and I filled him in on my plan. By chance (?), he already knew the Hatter--or rather his hero side, whom I'll call "HW"--and was delighted by the golden opportunity with which I was presenting him.

I was fully aware that if my plan worked, I had just invited my greatest nemesis back into my life and would have to face the consequences. And I felt I was ready to face that challenge.

But--believe it or not--I never saw what was coming next.

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